Absolute and relative dating techniques
Before more precise absolute dating tools were possible, researchers used a variety of comparative approaches called relative dating.
These methods — some of which are still used today — provide only an approximate spot within a previously established sequence: Think of it as ordering rather than dating.
Both methods date rock instead of organic material. But unlike radiocarbon dating, the older the sample, the more accurate the dating — researchers typically use these methods on finds at least 500,000 years old.Paleomagnetism is often used as a rough check of results from another dating method.