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Bones are primarily composed of the mineral calcium hydroxy apatite.When exposed to water that contains fluoride, a fluoride ion (F-) can replace a hydroxyl ion (OH-) in the bone mineral.Before this, archaeologists and scientists relied on deductive dating methods, such as comparing rock strata formations in different regions.Chronometric dating has advanced since the 1970s, allowing far more accurate dating of specimens.Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter.His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications.Over time, buried bones pick up fluoride ions from soil moisture or exposure to groundwater.
Stratigraphy is the oldest of the relative dating methods that archaeologists use to date things.
The requirement of identical burial conditions means that fluoride dating works best when it is applied within a single site with little variation in soil chemistry.
Many different techniques can be used to measure bone fluoride content, but measurement by ion selective electrode is the easiest and simplest method available today.
Chronometric techniques include radiometric dating and radio-carbon dating, which both determine the age of materials through the decay of their radioactive elements; dendrochronology, which dates events and environmental conditions by studying tree growth rings; fluorine testing, which dates bones by calculating their fluorine content; pollen analysis, which identifies the number and type of pollen in a sample to place it in the correct historical period; and thermoluminescence, which dates ceramic materials by measuring their stored energy.
Scientists first developed absolute dating techniques at the end of the 19th century.
The resulting sequence from the bottom-most sediments would be oldest-to- young-to- older.