Archaeological science (also known as Archaeometry) is the application of scientific techniques and methodologies to archaeology.
Significant new data can be obtained using these techniques, which has the potential to alter the understanding of the past. A good example of this is the so-called "Second radiocarbon revolution", which significantly re-dated European prehistory in the 1960's (the first radiocarbon revolution was the original introduction of the method to archaeology).
As indicated, one of the most important applications of archaeological science has been the absolute dates it can provide for archaeological strata and artefacts. Some of most important of these are:
However, archaeological science has been applied in many other ways. A variety of methods have been used to analyse artefacts, either to determine more about their composition, or to determine their provenance. These techniques include:
Lead, strontium and oxygen isotope analysis can also be applied to human remains to estimate the diet and the even birthplace of study subjects.
Provenance analysis has the potential to determine the original source of the material used, for example, to create a particular artefact. This can show how far the artefact has been transported and can be used to indicate systems of exchange.
The use of remote sensing has enabled archaeologists to identify many more archaeological sites than would otherwise have been possible. The use of aerial photography remains the most wide_spread remote sensing technique, but this has been supplemented by the use of satellite imagery, especially with the declassification of images from military satellites.
Techniques such as lithic analysis, paleobotany, palynology and zooarchaeology are also sub-discplines of archaeological science.