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The methods that are used depend on the presumed age of the site from which they were excavated.
For instance, if a site is believed to be over 100,000 years old, dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating could not be used.
Given the associated mammal fauna and the geological context, the find layer has been placed in the early Middle Pleistocene, but confirmatory chronometric evidence has hitherto been missing.
Here we show that two independent techniques, the combined electron spin resonance/U-series method used with mammal teeth and infrared radiofluorescence applied to sand grains, date the type-site of at Mauer to 609 ± 40 ka.
When odd numbers of electrons are separated, there is a measurable change in the magnetic field (or spin) of the atoms.Radiometric dates, like all measurements in science, are close statistical approximations rather than absolutes.This will always be true due to the finite limits of measuring equipment.In the example below, the bone must date to sometime between 1.75 and 1.5 million years ago.For instance, a date of 100,000 5,000 years ago means that there is a high probability the date is in the range of 95,000 and 105,000 years ago and most likely is around 100,000.