Desmond Clark (1979) wrote that were it not for radiocarbon dating, "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation" (Clark, 1979:7).
Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".
The two of them were introduced to one another by a mutual friend at a social function some weeks prior. As she steps outside, he offers an umbrella to shield her from rain showers, walks with her to the passenger side of the car, and opens the door for her. The pair takes a scenic route to a special destination: a reserved table at an elegant restaurant.
Conversation flows naturally for a couple hours, with each beginning to learn about the background and interests of the other.
After dessert, the gentleman pays for the meal and then drives the lady home.
Accompanying her to her door, he thanks her with a warm smile and departs.
This may be repeated on a regular basis, and could eventually lead to courtship and marriage as the two get to know one another through hours of conversation, spread over months.
To older readers, the scenario above may have at least a vague, distant familiarity.
(This summary is largely an amalgam of Toulouse 1969b; Miller & Sullivan 1981; Jones & Sullivan 1989; Boow 1991; Cable 1999; Miller & Mc Nichol 2002; Miller & Morin 2004; empirical observations.) It should be noted that features #1, #3, #4, #5, and #6 are primary indicators of machine-made manufacture.
Feature #2 (mold seam diameter) is not as strongly diagnostic as the primary indicators as mouth-blown bottles sometimes can have very fine mold seams.
The offset is a function of the orientation of the parison relative to the two molds (parison and blow molds) used on the particular machine, or occasionally, to the hot parison "sticking" to the neck ring of the parison/blank mold when transferring to the blow mold (Ceramic Industry 19-15).
There are also no horizontal tooling marks present on the finish and/or upper neck as would be observable on the finish of mouth-blown bottles.2.
"Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.