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It must be made clear at the outset that typology is not, strictly speaking, a dating method, but a means of placing artefacts into some kind of order.

Classification divides things up for the purposes of description, whereas typology seeks to identify and analyse changes that will allow artefacts to be placed into sequences.

Archaeology in the United States is often said to have started in 1764 when amateur archaeologist Thomas Jefferson had his African slaves dig up hundreds of Monacan skeletons so that he could learn more about their mortuary customs.

During the next century and a half, many ancient American Indian sites would be dug up by archaeologists, both amateur and professional, who were unable to determine the actual age of these sites.

Desde 1984, la investigacidn arqueolbgica de 10s poblados en Cophn, Honduras, ha producido la serie mris extensa de fechas basadas en la hidratacibn de obsidiana derivada de sitios bien excavados, en toda Mesoamkrica (Webster y Freter 1990).

Geoffrey Braswell (1 992) ha criticado la metodologfa usada en nuestra investigacibn, las asociaciones especificas de 10s datos de tiempo, y en particular, nuestra reconstruccibn del ocaso demogrdfico y politico de Copdn, que ocurrid mucho despuks del aiio 900 D. Braswell ha juzgado ma1 nuestra metodologfa, y comete muchos errores reales a1 evaluar 10s datos de Copdn.

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Freter's (1992, 1993) recent reviews of our methods and research design address many of the issues raised by Braswell.The extent of documentation varied considerably in 'historical' cultures and the information that survives is determined by a variety of factors.If a context containing burnt debris and broken artefacts is excavated on a site from a historical period, it is tempting to search the local historical framework for references to warfare or a disaster in the region, and to date the excavated context accordingly.Complacent trees have rings of uniform width and therefore have no use for dating.In sensitive trees environmental conditions influence the width of the annual rings.