The method is still a standard for cemetery studies.
Absolute dating, the ability to attach a specific chronological date to an object or collection of objects, was a breakthrough for archaeologists.
Until the 20th century, with its multiple developments, only relative dates could be determined with any confidence.
Since the turn of the century, several methods to measure elapsed time have been discovered.
Without those, the archaeologists were in the dark as to the age of various societies. The use of tree ring data to determine chronological dates, dendrochronology, was first developed in the American southwest by astronomer Andrew Ellicott Douglass.
Secondly, annual rainfall is a regional climatic event, and so tree ring dates for the southwest are of no use in other regions of the world.
Not only that, it varies regionally, such that all trees within a specific species and region will show the same relative growth during wet years and dry years.
Each tree then, contains a record of rainfall for the length of its life, expressed in density, trace element content, stable isotope composition, and intra-annual growth ring width.
Stratigraphy is the oldest of the relative dating methods that archaeologists use to date things.
Stratigraphy is based on the law of superposition--like a layer cake, the lowest layers must have been formed first.