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Inscribed objects sometimes bear an explicit date, or preserve the name of a dated individual. However, only a small number of objects are datable by inscriptions, and there are many specific problems with Egyptian chronology, so that even inscribed objects are rarely datable in absolute terms.In the archaeology of part-literate societies, dating may be said to operate on two levels: the absolute exactness found in political history or 'history event-by-event', and the less precise or relative chronology, as found in social and economic history, where life can be seen to change with less precision over time.But, even when the scientific methods of absolute dating are available, this method of dating has not lost its importance, as many a time we have to depend solely on relative dating.Even when the absolute dates are available, we have to supplement the information with relative dating.With the introduction of objective quantifiable methods such as dendrochronology and Carbon-14 dating, over the past half century, European and North American archaeology have developed independent and more reliable chronologies, that often make it possible to date more precisely than in Egypt. For Egypt absolute year dates can only be established back to the beginning of the Late Period, from links to Greek chronology, and then from Assyrian king-lists and other Near Eastern sources, back to the Ramesside Period (still debated). The Egyptians dated by the year of reign of the king on the throne (for example 'year 3 of king X').If we knew the precise length of reign for every Egyptian king, chronology would be no problem.
On the one level, events and individuals are placed in an absolute chronology: the exact years and sometimes even months and days of the events and biographies are known.The stratigraphic method, which observes the sequence of earth strata containing artifacts, makes it possible to attribute each stratum to a definite epoch. The typological method is based on the fact that the types of objects and the material from which they were made were different in various historic epochs.