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When carbon-14 falls to Earth, it is absorbed by plants.
These plants are eaten by animals who, in turn, are eaten by even larger animals.
Narrow rings grow in cold or dry years, and wide rings grow in warm or wet years.
The rings form a distinctive pattern, which is the same for all members in a given species and geographical area.
Using thermoluminescence, pottery pieces as old as 100,000 years can be dated with precision. Known as dendrochronology (pronounced den-dro-crow-NOL-o-gee), tree-ring dating is based on the fact that trees produce one growth ring each year.These include the uranium-thorium method, the potassium-argon method, and the rubidium-strontium method. Thermoluminescence (pronounced ther-moeloo-mi-NES-ence) dating is very useful for determining the age of pottery.When a piece of pottery is heated in a laboratory at temperatures more than 930°F (500°C), electrons from quartz and other minerals in the pottery clay emit light.This method is based on the assumption (which nearly always holds true) that deeper layers of rock were deposited earlier in Earth's history, and thus are older than more shallow layers.The successive layers of rock represent successive intervals of time.