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Scientific Dating

Historic England, and its predecessor English Heritage, have produced technical advice on scientific dating techniques. This page provides an introduction to these documents. 

Scientific dating methods are important tools in helping to understand and date archaeological sites and they are now used routinely during archaeological investigations. The best known and most often used techniques are radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating.

You can contact our Science Advisors or contact our scientific dating experts for direct advice.

On 1 April 2015 the part of English Heritage represented on this website changed its name to Historic England. You may notice that some of our content still refers to English Heritage. We are in the process of rebranding, but in the meantime please be assured that all our content and guidance is still current.

Archaeomagnetic Dating

Archaeomagnetic Dating

Published 1 April 2006

Guidance to help archaeologists better understand and employ archaeomagnetic dating.

Dendrochronology: Guidelines on producing and interpreting dendrochronological dates

Dendrochronology: Guidelines on producing and interpreting dendrochronological dates

Published 1 June 1998

An aid to make people more aware of the potential of dendrochronology as a dating method. These guidelines aim to provide the user with a step-by-step introduction to dendrochronology.

Luminescence Dating

Luminescence Dating

Published 1 September 2008

Guidelines in the use of luminescence dating for providing chronological frameworks. They provide practical advice on using luminescence dating methods in archaeology.

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Contact

Alex Bayliss working on a scientific dating project
Alex Bayliss

Head of Scientific Dating

1 Waterhouse Square,
138 - 142 Holborn,
London,
EC1N 2ST

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Also of interest...

  • Scientist in laboratory preparing a sample for radiocarbon dating.

    Science Advisors

    Our Science Advisors (SAs) provide advice on all aspects of the historic environment. Here you can find our contact details and what we do.

  • Photograph of tree trunk cross-section

    Scientific Dating

    Scientific dating uses biological and physical methods for assessing the time when things happened in the past. We offer advice and conduct research.