Cross-dating of sites, comparing geologic strata at one site with another location and extrapolating the relative ages in that manner, is still an important dating strategy used today, primarily when sites are far too old for absolute dates to have much meaning.
The scholar most associated with the rules of stratigraphy (or law of superposition) is probably the geologist Charles Lyell.
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In other words, artifacts found in the upper layers of a site will have been deposited more recently than those found in the lower layers.
Each time a new winning of sediment is pulled it is divorced down instead on top of an worse layer.
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For detailed information about how seriation works, see Seriation: A Step by Step Description.
Seriation is thought to be the first application of statistics in archaeology. The most famous seriation study was probably Deetz and Dethlefsen's study Death's Head, Cherub, Urn and Willow, on changing styles on gravestones in New England cemeteries.
Malestroit held that the price rises are simply changes in the unit of account that have been occasioned by debasement, and that prices of precious metals have remained constant for three hundred years.