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Although the principles were not clearly articulated, the application of basic typological techniques can occasionally be found in the work of early modern antiquaries.

As early as the 1530s, John Leland successfully identified Roman bricks (under the misleading designation "Briton brykes") at several different sites, distinguishing them from more modern bricks by size and shape.

in archaeology, a method of systematic and chronological classifying of archaeological remains. The typological method entails the classification of ancient objects—such as weapons, work implements, ornaments, or vessels—according to the materials and methods used in making them and according to their shape and ornamentation.

With the development of statistical techniques and numerical taxonomy in the 1960s, mathematical methods (including Cluster analysis, Principal components analysis, correspondence analysis and Factor analysis) have been used to build typologies.

These techniques provide a qualitative way to articulate the degrees of consistency among particular attributes.

most archaeologists give Oscar Montelius the credit for the first serious application of the typological method, but in Eggers' view, his contemporary colleague from Stockholm, Hans Hildebrand made important contributions to the development of the methodology as well.

Hildebrand published a fundamental paper on the development of fibulae in the 1870s using the typological method, whereas Montelius at the same time went to international congresses and published smaller papers on this method.

For instance, you could list events in your life in a relative chronological sequence.

Birth, school, university, job, marriage, children, is one example of a relative sequence.

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In archaeology a typology is the result of the classification of things according to their physical characteristics. A typology helps to manage a large mass of archaeological data.

Correlation coefficients created by these methods help archaeologists discern between meaningful and useless similarities between artefacts.

During the 1990s archaeologists began to use phylogenetic methods borrowed from Cladistics.

Another early example is the typology published in 1899 by Flinders Petrie for the objects (mainly pottery) found in 900 prehistoric Egyptian graves.