To progress, it is essential to apply the second type, or relative, dating.
Sometimes the proximity of a campsite or settlement that is dated directly by absolute dating methods is considered helpful for determining the age of an apparently associated petroglyph panel, but caution must be exercised, since it does not always mean that the site’s inhabitants were the artists who created the art.
Often there are multiple sites of varying ages nearby and the petroglyph itself may be a palimpsest of images created through the ages.
On rare occasion, archaeological deposits can accumulate up against a petroglyph panel, concealing part or all of the art.
In that case, it may be possible to discern a minimum age for the art because its creation had to precede the archaeological deposit covering it.
In archaeological terminology, there are two categories of dating methods: absolute and relative.