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One of the most widely used is potassium–argon dating (K–Ar dating).Potassium-40 is a radioactive isotope of potassium that decays into argon-40.Absolute dating is the process of determining an age on a specified chronology in archaeology and geology.Some scientists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies an unwarranted certainty of accuracy.Thus dating that particular tree does not necessarily indicate when the fire burned or the structure was built.For this reason, many archaeologists prefer to use samples from short-lived plants for radiocarbon dating.

Thermoluminescence testing also dates items to the last time they were heated.This is a radiometric technique since it is based on radioactive decay.Cosmic radiation entering the earth’s atmosphere produces carbon-14, and plants take in carbon-14 as they fix carbon dioxide.The relatively short half-life of carbon-14, 5,730 years, makes the reliable only up to about 50,000 years.The technique often cannot pinpoint the date of an archeological site better than historic records, but is highly effective for precise dates when calibrated with other dating techniques such as tree-ring dating.This technique is based on the principle that all objects absorb radiation from the environment.