Different researchers have applied a variety of absolute dating methods directly to petroglyphs or to sediments covering them, including AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) radiocarbon, cation ratio, amino acid racemization, OSL (optically stimulated luminescence), lichenometry, micro-erosion and micro-stratification analysis of patina. These techniques have yielded mixed results in terms of reliability and feasibility, but, in any case, none has been applied to date in Saudi Arabia.
By the mid-1800's the New York Surveys had resulted in the development of a relative stratigraphic zonation based primarily on fossil distribution.
Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of an object or a series of events.
The two main types of dating methods are relative and absolute.
Given the current status of direct chronometric dating methods for Arabian petroglyphs, it is rare that the precise age of a rock art panel can be determined.
However, all is not lost, and it is possible to establish a temporal sequence that can be quite edifying.