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The seriation method works because object styles change over time; they always have and always will.
A good example of a change in artifact type is the development of hand-held PDAs from those first enormous cell phones. As an example of how change through time works, consider the different music recording methods that were used in the 20th century.
What this step does is create a visual representation of the qualities of the artifacts, and their co-occurrence at different junkyards.
Notice that this figure does not mention what kind of artifacts we're looking at, it just groups similarities.
You would expect a large number in one closed when 78s were popular and a small number again after 78s were replaced by a different technology.
For a study we're doing on, say, the availability of music in rural locations during the 20th century, we'd like to know more about the deposits in these illicit junkyards.
The same is true for 45s, and 8-tracks, and cassette tapes, and LPs, and CDs, and DVDs, and mp3 players (and really, any kind of artifact).
For this seriation demonstration, we're going to assume that we know of six junkyards (Junkyards A-F), scattered in the rural areas around our community, all dated to the 20th century.
Archaeologically, you would expect no 78s to be found in a junkyard that was closed before 78s were invented.
There might be a small number of them (or fragments of them) in the junkyard which stopped taking junk during the first years 78s were invented.
Absolute dating techniques were not available to him (radiocarbon dating wasn't invented until the 1940s); and since they were separately excavated graves, stratigraphy was no use either.