The development of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating, which allows a date to be obtained from a very small sample, has been very useful in this regard.

K–Ar dating was used to calibrate the geomagnetic polarity time scale.

Thermoluminescence testing also dates items to the last time they were heated.

This technique is based on the principle that all objects absorb radiation from the environment.

This process frees electrons within minerals that remain caught within the item.

Heating an item to 500 degrees Celsius or higher releases the trapped electrons, producing light.

This light can be measured to determine the last time the item was heated. Fluctuating levels can skew results – for example, if an item went through several high radiation eras, thermoluminescence will return an older date for the item.Many factors can spoil the sample before testing as well, exposing the sample to heat or direct light may cause some of the electrons to dissipate, causing the item to date younger.Because of these and other factors, Thermoluminescence is at the most about 15% accurate.Argon, a noble gas, is not commonly incorporated into such samples except when produced in situ through radioactive decay.The date measured reveals the last time that the object was heated past the closure temperature at which the trapped argon can escape the lattice.In historical geology, the primary methods of absolute dating involve using the radioactive decay of elements trapped in rocks or minerals, including isotope systems from very young (radiocarbon dating with Radiometric dating is based on the known and constant rate of decay of radioactive isotopes into their radiogenic daughter isotopes.