securely dated


Senior Member
Can someone help me with the meaning of "securely dated" in the following excerpt from Unbound: How Eight Technologies Made us Human?

In 2001, a team of British and Kuwaiti archeologists discovered twenty-two slabs of bitumen near the shores of the Persian Gulf, where the Euphrates River empties into the sea... The bitumen slabs have been securely dated as having originated between 5,500 and 5,300 BC.
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It means they've been dated to 5,500-5,300 BC and there's no doubt about the accuracy of that date.


    Senior Member
    British English
    "Securely dated" means not only that the relevant people have no doubts about the accuracy of the dates, but that the dating was done properly by people qualified to do it, who had the right equipment and did their tests under approved conditions.

    In the context of archaeological dating, there is probably some kind of international agreement about what exactly constitutes "secure dating".

    It definitely does NOT involve someone merely looking at the items and saying they look like X thousand years old to me!
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