An important characteristic of the history of Greek sculpture in the Archaic and Classical periods (seventh to fourth centuries BC) is that works of art can be precisely dated to within a decade. Greek masters followed the artistic patterns they inherited from their predecessors, but they also kept on renewing them. Sometimes change was slow, as in the sixth century BC, sometimes it was revolutionary, as in the early fifth century, when a new way of balancing the sculpted human figure, the introduction of contrapposto created radically new possibilities for the representation of movement. Archaic sculptures (seventh to sixth century BC) fit into long-standing artistic traditions; their harmony derives from the beautiful execution of inherited models. The sculptor drew the design on a rectangular block, then created the statue by carving off the unnecessary layers of stone. Early Archaic period sculptures are characterised by an abstract, geometric representation of the human figure, making these works of art easily distinguishable from later creations.