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Relative dating is the science of determining the relative order of past events (i.e., the age of an object in comparison to another), without necessarily determining their absolute age (i.e. In geology, rock or superficial deposits, fossils and lithologies can be used to correlate one stratigraphic column with another.Prior to the discovery of radiometric dating in the early 20th century, which provided a means of absolute dating, archaeologists and geologists used relative dating to determine ages of materials.

As he continued his job as a surveyor, he found the same patterns across England.

Sixteen years after his discovery, he published a geological map of England showing the rocks of different geologic time eras.

Methods for relative dating were developed when geology first emerged as a natural science in the 18th century.

The principle of inclusions and components explains that, with sedimentary rocks, if inclusions (or clasts) are found in a formation, then the inclusions must be older than the formation that contains them.

For example, in sedimentary rocks, it is common for gravel from an older formation to be ripped up and included in a newer layer.

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