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The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of 'relative dating' as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

The regular order of occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around 1800 by William Smith.

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It only sequences the age of things or determines if something is older or younger than other things.When you talk about the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic on Earth, or the Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian for Mars, these are all relative ages.Relative-age time periods are what make up the Geologic Time Scale...radiometric methods of dating rocks, the ages of rocks and other geologic features could not be expressed quantitatively, or as numbers of years, but instead were expressed solely in terms of relative ages, in which the age of a particular geologic feature could be expressed as relatively younger or older than other geologic features. Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled.This then can be used to deduce the sequence of events and processes that took place or the history of that brief period of time as recorded in the rocks or soil.

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