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The volume's editors have not prepared an overall assessment or written a summary about the status of chronometric dating or its future prospects.This is not a shortcoming but would make the book even more valuable as a reference and resource.The book may certainly be regarded as a highly technical compendium, an essential reference work that should be acquired by any library and is mandatory for advanced students, and practitioners.This is, however, also a significant document--a status report--which synthesizes the latest thinking about important dating methods written by a distinguished assemblage of international experts. Initially, I provide a broad assessment that will establish a background and a context for chronology in archaeology, and I shall present an overall evaluation of the volume.Aitken's own 1990 work may be the last volume of its type to have sole authorship.Therefore, Taylor and Aitken assembled 19 of the world's leading experts on a dozen aspects of archaeological dating method and theory.Basic textbooks on archaeological method and theory relate that there are two methods of establishing chronology: 1) methods of relative dating (ascertaining the correct order of the events) and 2) absolute or chronometric dating (quantifying the measurement of time in terms of years or other fixed units).
The subsequent group of techniques depends upon the physicochemical premise that unstable parent isotopes decay at a known rate and produce stable daughter isotopes.
The individual presentations, in the main, follow a chronological progression, beginning with those techniques developed earliest and concluding with those more recently developed.
The first contribution is on "Climatostratigraphy" and considers varve analysis and marine sediment and ice core studies used to discern past climatic history and chronology.
In the second section, I furnish a more technical and detailed appraisal of the each of the twelve chapters with comments about those major publications previously regarded by archaeologists as key sources on these specific topics.
Lastly, there is a conclusion that incorporates a general discussion about this volume and its relationship to similar works and the current status of chronometric or "time placement" dating.