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These layers, called strata, form a record of past events that archaeologists analyze and interpret.

The materials deposited first are the oldest and are always found at the bottom of a given stratigraphic section.

In archaeological sites, natural and human-generated materials occur together in layers.

Instead, other methods are used to work out a fossil’s age.

These include radiometric dating of volcanic layers above or below the fossils or by comparisons to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

Any observable tilting or swirling is due to disruption of the process. Material that intrudes or cuts into a horizontal bed is assumed to be younger than the material that is disrupted.

Consider a lake that dries out or somehow contains older sediments that are washed into it.

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