Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.

However, age of deposition does not mean the age of artifacts found in that layer.

Artifacts found in a layer can be compared with other items found in layers of similar age and placed in order.

Though using similar methods, these two techniques differ in certain ways that will be discussed in this article.

As the name implies, relative dating can tell which of the two artifacts is older.

He also found that certain animals were in only certain layers and that they were in the same layers all across England.

Due to that discovery, Smith was able to recognize the order that the rocks were formed.

It is clear then that absolute dating is based upon physical and chemical properties of artifacts that provide a clue regarding the true age.

This is possible because properties of rock formations are closely associated with the age of the artifacts found trapped within them.

However, archeologists still require further information to find out the items that are oldest and those that are youngest in the order.

It is left for absolute dating to come up with the precise age of an artifact.

The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah is a great example of Original Horizontality and the Law of Superposition, two important ideas used in relative dating.