Absolute dating, on the other hand is capable of telling the exact age of an item using carbon dating and many other techniques that were not there in earlier times.
Relative dating makes use of the common sense principle that in a deposition of layers.
If the archaeologist finds a sample suitable for carbon dating, then an absolute date may be assigned to an object.
Similarly for paleontologists who find layers of fossils.
Short Answer: The term relative dating is distinguished from absolute dating to make it clear that one does not get a specific estimate of the age of an object from relative dating, but one does get such an estimate of true age from absolute dating.
Very often historical evidence is found in layers and older layers are further down that the top layers.
The primary difference is that absolute dating assigns an actual time or age to an event or object.
Relative dating simply says one is older than the other but no age is specified.
The circumstances of the object may allow one to say that one object is older than another without being able to assign a particular age to the objects.
For example: If an archaeologist is studying past civilizations, the archaeologist may be able to say that in a particular location the ruins of once civilization were found to have been build on another and so the layers unearthed in an excavation convey the sequence of historical occupations without revealing the actual dates.