Thus nonliterate communities can be dated by their contact with literate ones.
Using real-life stories collected from women I knew I gave out scenarios in which women and girls were streets harassed, followed, or even assaulted by men for no other reason than walking down the street.
After each scenario, I would ask the guys in the room to let me know what could have been done to avoid the situation altogether. For the people in the room to see the role they or their fellow males play in terrorizing women.
Second, there is a need for interpretive analysis of the material from which artifacts were made.
This is something that the archaeologist himself is rarely equipped to do; he has to rely on colleagues specializing in geology, Stonehenge (a prehistoric construction on Salisbury Plain in southern England) had come from the Prescelly Mountains of north Pembrokeshire; and he established as a fact of prehistory that over 4,000 years ago these large stones had been transported 200 miles from west Wales to Salisbury Plain.
Now, with exact dating techniques at his disposal, the prehistorian is becoming more like the historical archaeologist and is concerned with the periodization and the historical contexts of his finds.
A couple of years ago, I ran a little experiment at an event aimed at talking to men and women about the dangers of street harassment.
Is it possible that there could have been later intrusions that have been difficult to distinguish in the field?
The analysis of the bones has been very helpful here. If bones in apparently the same geological or archaeological level have markedly different fluorine content, then it is clear that there must be interference—for example, by a later burial, or by deliberate planting of faked remains, as happened in the case of the king lists and records in Egypt and Mesopotamia goes back only 5,000 years.
There have been problems and uncertainties about the application of the radioactive carbon method, but, although it is less than perfect, it has given archaeology a new and absolute chronology that goes back 40,000 years.
The last and most important task of the archaeologist is to transmute his interpretation of the material remains he studies into historical judgments.
This gave a chronology of about 18,000 years—three times as long as the man-made chronology based on Egyptian and Mesopotamian king lists. It has been possible by dendrochronology to date prehistoric American sites as far back as the 3rd and 4th centuries carbon-14) present in bones, wood, or ash found in archaeological sites is measured.