Firmly identified tephra deposits have the potential to define an i in natural contexts partly due to sea level changes, but it does occur in a range of archaeological contexts that are not contemporaneous with the original, pumice-forming eruptions.
Recent years have seen considerable advances in tephrochronology studies, especially regarding the detection of macroscopically invisible micro- or cryptotephras.
In parallel with the possibility of detecting hitherto invisible tephras over vastly increased areas, the overall potential of tephrochronology as a major dating tool for both palaeoenvironmental scientists and archaeologists is greatly expanded.
The aim of this paper is not to be comprehensive, but to provide a brief and timely general review of tephra studies and their methodologies, and to make a case for better linking tephra research to archaeology, all from a primarily Scandinavian perspective.
We argue that the identification of tephra in archaeological sediments should, in due time, become as routine as other types of geo-archaeological analyses, especially given that tephra cannot only act as a useful chronostratigraphic marker, but can also play a role in changing patterns of environmental and cultural change at the level of the site or the region.
Geochronology is the science of dating and determining the time sequence of events in the history of the Earth.
This web page provides an overview of selected geochronology methods used by USGS scientists.The presence of unambiguously identified and dated tephra layers can provide a crucial test of other chronological methods (e.g.Dugmore 1995 a and b), as well as providing otherwise unobtainable precise dating of palaeoenvironmental and proxy climate records (e.g. This allows precise correlations to be made between high resolution palaeoenvironmental records within Scotland, across Greenland, the North Atlantic and north-west Europe.In order to move towards such integration, a series of methodological challenges have to be met.We outline some of these, and provide pointers as to how and where tephrochronologists and archaeologists can work together more closely.].Geologic studies of active tectonism are greatly aided by definition and time calibration of local stratigraphic sequences.