This aspect of analytical expertise is based on several concepts: Objects can be dated directly (this is the most obvious principle) or, these can be placed in a precise chronological context.
The possibilities of placing the object in a chronological context are very numerous:
- This requires the analysis of the constituent materials. Like the pigments in a painting, the very glass in an antique alabastron or the metal alloy in a bronze sculpture.
- This also involves studying the products of alteration or degradation of the work and their “alteration profile”.
- And finally, it can also go through imaging or x-ray examination techniques.