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Human time in tree rings

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Abstract

‘Human time’ means time in the context of human culture and activities. It is shown how ‘human time’ is biologically archived in and dendrochronologically extracted from tree rings. For illustration, examples in the late medieval Hanseatic city of Lübeck are selected.

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... Absolutely dated tree fellings from well-preserved historical construction timbers constitute a promising source for constraining the timing of societal crises and estimating demographic declines (e.g. Baillie, 1982Baillie, , 1995Schweingruber, 1988;Nicolussi, 2002;Eckstein, 2007), especially during periods when documentary evidence is of insufficient quantity and quality. Tree felling dates have, for example, been used to reconstruct demographic trends among the Ancestral Puebloans in the southwestern United States (e.g. ...
... The year a tree was cut is approximately equal to the year of construction, as the wood was usually utilized while fresh, although wood was often harvested in the autumn before the construction year and transported during winter (e.g. Büntgen et al., 2006;Miles, 2006;Eckstein, 2007). However, the felling dates are not randomly distributed over space and time. ...
... Unusually fast-growing trees, in periods following known demographic crises, are likely to have grown on abandoned agricultural lands that were reforested following widespread farm desertion. This phenomenon has been inferred in several parts of Europe for the Late Medieval Crisis (Kuniholm and Striker, 1983;Schmidt et al., 1990;Baillie, 1982Baillie, , 1995Eckstein, 2007;Thun and Svarva, 2018). Although reforestation, in most cases, does not occur immediately following desertion, germination dates from unusually fast-growing trees may provide a terminus ante quem for the start of widespread farm abandonment. ...
... For wood samples where the bark is still attached, and where the last ring below the bark is preserved (Fig. 3), it is possible to determine the exact year in which the tree was felled. In the case of ringporous oaks, even the season in which the tree was felled can be specified (Eckstein, 2007). European oak trees, growing under temperate climatic conditions, form new wood, more particular large earlywood vessels, prior to bud break, which happens around the end of April/beginning of May. ...
... The earlywood/latewood transition occurs around the end of June/beginning of July, and radial growth is completed between late August and mid-September. The lignification of the cell walls follows with some delay and can continue into late autumn or early winter (Eckstein, 2007). ...
... The felling dates are apparently spread over a period of more than 33 months. These mixed felling dates, randomly distributed throughout the same roof construction, clearly support the assumption that the building timber was purchased from a local timber market, where wood was stored and sold (Eckstein, 2007). Comparable evidence of stockpiling was found when analysing 1760 dated oak timbers from 389 buildings from mainland Britain (Miles, 2006). ...
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We overview the recent development of oak dendrochronology in Europe related to archaeology and art-history. Tree-ring series of European oaks (Quercus robur and Q. petraea) have provided a reliable framework for chronometric dating and reconstruction of past climate and environment. To date, long oak chronologies cover almost the entire Holocene, up to 8480 BC and the network over the entire area in which the two oaks grow is being improved. We present the main characteristics of oak ring series and discuss the latest methodological advances in defining the calendar year in which the tree-rings were formed and in interpreting such dating in terms of the age of a wooden object. Dendrochronology has established itself as a standard dating tool and has been applied in a wide variety of (pre-)historical studies. Archaeological wood, historical buildings, works of art (such as panel paintings and sculptures) have been successfully investigated. Recent advances in dendro-provenancing have helped to obtain more information on the timber trade in the past. Information on past forest structures, silviculture and timber use have become available through scrutinizing historical and contemporary ring-width patterns.
... Currently they focus on development of micro-focus X-ray computed tomography and its potential for non-destructive tree-ring analysis, which is of great importance because valuable objects must not be damaged (Okochi et al. 2007). Examples of successfully investigated oak sculptures from northern Europe are the triumphal cross with a number of statues in the Cathedral of Lübeck (Eckstein 2007) and sculptures in the late Gothic Brabantine altars from Belgium (Haneca et al. 2005a). ...
... Long chronologies have recently been used for climate reconstruction in China (Sheppard et al. 2004), the Aegean (Hughes et al. 2001) and in Germany (Wilson et al. 2004), to reconstruct vegetation dynamics as an indication of climate change (Leuschner et al. 2002, 2007), to study the effects of climate on human cultures (Cleaveland et al. 2003; Therrell 2005), or to improve radiocarbon calibration (Friedrich et al. 2004; Sakamoto et al. 2003). Dating to a calendar year is very precise but modern wood anatomy and wood biology techniques can improve dating to identify the season or even the month of tree felling (Eckstein 2007). However, it must not be forgetten that dendrochronology only dates the tree rings; it does not tell the date when the object was created. ...
... Recent investigations on dendroprovenancing of Baltic timber have already given new information on the origin of timber, logging activity and the timber trade around the Baltic Sea during the Middle Ages, which has enriched historical information (Wazny 2002; Haneca et al. 2005c; Läänelaid and Nurkse 2006; Eckstein and Wrobel 2007, in press) or even allowed specification of when certain forested areas were exploited (Haneca et al. 2005b). Such investigations should be extended in the near future and include other projects, such as that on imported wood in England (e.g. ...
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Since 2000, important advances have been made worldwide in the dendrochronology of wood associated with past human activity and cultural heritage. This review summarizes this recent progress in regions with a longstanding tradition of using tree-ring methods, such as Europe and the USA, as well as others such as Asia where developments have been particularly rapid in recent years. The oldest wood generally originates from archaeological sites and the largest amount of wood for research comes from historical structures such as monumental and vernacular architecture. In addition to construction wood, wooden doors, ceilings, furniture, objects of art (such as panel paintings and sculptures), Medieval books, musical instruments and boats can also be utilized. Dating is the first and crucial step of the research and is often difficult even in regions where dendrochronology has a long history of use. In addition to absolute dates, dendrochronology has provided extra information that has enhanced historical knowledge from other sources. Behavioral and environmental inferencing and dendroprovenancing are becoming major areas of research in regions with well-developed networks of reference chronologies and active cooperation among laboratories. The online Bibliography of Dendrochronology and information from conferences have been indispensable in this compilation, because much work related to dendrochronology in cultural heritage is still published in “gray” literature, making it difficult to access.
... Absolutely dated tree fellings from well-preserved historical construction timbers constitute a promising source for constraining the timing of societal crises and estimating demographic declines (e.g. Baillie, 1982Baillie, , 1995Schweingruber, 1988;Nicolussi, 2002;Eckstein, 2007), especially during periods when documentary evidence is of insufficient quantity and quality. Tree felling dates have, for example, been used to reconstruct demographic trends among the Ancestral Puebloans in the southwestern United States (e.g. ...
... The year a tree was cut is approximately equal to the year of construction, as the wood was usually utilized while fresh, although wood was often harvested in the autumn before the construction year and transported during winter (e.g. Büntgen et al., 2006;Miles, 2006;Eckstein, 2007). However, the felling dates are not randomly distributed over space and time. ...
... Unusually fast-growing trees, in periods following known demographic crises, are likely to have grown on abandoned agricultural lands that were reforested following widespread farm desertion. This phenomenon has been inferred in several parts of Europe for the Late Medieval Crisis (Kuniholm and Striker, 1983;Schmidt et al., 1990;Baillie, 1982Baillie, , 1995Eckstein, 2007;Thun and Svarva, 2018). Although reforestation, in most cases, does not occur immediately following desertion, germination dates from unusually fast-growing trees may provide a terminus ante quem for the start of widespread farm abandonment. ...
Article
Variations in building activity reflect demographic, economic and social change during history. Tens of thousands of wooden constructions in Europe have been dendrochronologically dated in recent decades. We use the annually precise evidence from a unique dataset of 49 640 tree felling dates of historical constructions to reconstruct temporal changes in building activity between 1250 and 1699 CE across a large part of western and central Europe largely corresponding to the former Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Comparison with annual records of 9772 plague outbreaks shows that construction activity was significantly negatively correlated to the number of plague outbreaks, with the greatest decrease in construction following the larger outbreaks by three to four years after the start of the epidemics. Preceding the Black Death (1346–1353 CE) by five decades and the Great Famine (1315–1322 CE) by two decades, a significant decline in construction activity at c. 1300 CE is indicative of a societal crisis, associated with population stagnation or decline. Another dramatic decline in building activity coincides with the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648 CE) and confirms the devastating nature of this conflict. While construction activity was significantly lower during periods of high grain prices, no statistically robust relationship between the number of felling dates and past temperature or hydroclimate variations is found. This study demonstrates the value of dendrochronological felling dates as an indicator for times of crisis and prosperity during periods when documentary evidence is limited.
... In Europe, there are limited examples in archeological and historical research of using felling dates for reconstructing building activity changes at large spatial scales, but several smallscale studies have provided valuable insights into demographic declines or the timing of societal crises (Baillie, 1982(Baillie, , 1995(Baillie, , 1999Mallory and Baillie, 1988;Schweingruber, 1988;Wrobel and Eckstein, 1993;Nicolussi, 2002;Eckstein, 2007), and also into past settlement and demographic dynamics in the Swiss Alps (Büntgen et al., 2006), the northwestern Carpathian arc (Büntgen et al., 2013), the north-eastern France (Tegel et al., 2016), in Sweden (Bartholin, 1989(Bartholin, , 1990Lagerås et al., 2016), in parts of Norway (Thun and Svarva, 2018), in eastern Austria (Grabner et al., 2018), and Ireland (Brown and Baillie, 2012;Campbell and Ludlow, 2020). ...
... The use of less preferred tree species would indicate changes in forest species composition, advancing deforestation and resulting in a lack local construction timber. Similarly, changes in the age of the trees used for construction activities could be informative with regard to resource availability (e.g., Baillie, 1982Baillie, , 1995Eckstein, 2007). Answering these types of questions, however, would require the collection of more extensive contextual data from each construction, a serious challenge on its own. ...
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Although variations in building activity are a useful indicator of societal well-being and demographic development, historical datasets for larger regions and longer periods are still rare. Here, we present 54,045 annually precise dendrochronological felling dates from historical construction timber from across most of Europe between 1250 and 1699 CE to infer variations in building activity. We use geostatistical techniques to compare spatiotemporal dynamics in past European building activity against independent demographic, economic, social and climatic data. We show that the felling dates capture major geographical patterns of demographic trends, especially in regions with dense data coverage. A particularly strong negative association is found between grain prices and the number of felling dates. In addition, a significant positive association is found between the number of felling dates and mining activity. These strong associations, with well-known macro-economic indicators from pre-industrial Europe, corroborate the use of felling dates as an independent source for exploring large-scale fluctuations of societal well-being and demographic development. Three prominent examples are the building boom in the Hanseatic League region of northeastern Germany during the 13th century, the onset of the Late Medieval Crisis in much of Europe c. 1300, and the cessation of building activity in large parts of central Europe during armed conflicts such as the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648 CE). Despite new insights gained from our European-wide felling date inventory, further studies are needed to investigate changes in construction activity of high versus low status buildings, and of urban versus rural buildings, and to compare those results with a variety of historical documentary sources and natural proxy archives.
... Oak also offers a potential for exact dating because, for specific subspecies in particular regions, the approximate number of sapwood rings before the bark has been shown to be predictable (e.g. Hillam et al. 1987;Kuniholm and Striker 1987;Ważny 1990;Eckstein 2007;Griggs et al. 2009). This means that where the last ring under the bark is not preserved to provide an exact cutting date, if any sapwood is present it is possible to improve on a terminus post quem date for the last measured year by making an informed estimate as to the likely number of missing sapwood rings (see Kuniholm 2001). ...
... This means that where the last ring under the bark is not preserved to provide an exact cutting date, if any sapwood is present it is possible to improve on a terminus post quem date for the last measured year by making an informed estimate as to the likely number of missing sapwood rings (see Kuniholm 2001). Where the last ring under the bark (terminal ring or "waney edge") is present, dating precision with oaks can be exact to a particular season depending on the degree of cell formation observed (Eckstein 2007;Gričar 2010Gričar , 2013. Unfortunately, in the abrasive context of our riverine burial environments, sapwood preservation is extremely rare. ...
Article
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A total of 272 oak (Quercus sp.) samples have been collected from large subfossil trees dredged from sediment deposited by the Sava and various tributary rivers in the Zagreb region of northwestern Croatia, and in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Measurement series of tree-ring widths from these samples produced 12 groups, totaling 3456 years of floating tree-ring chronologies spread through the last ca. 8000 years. This work represents the first step in creating a new, high-resolution resource for dating and paleoenvironmental reconstruction in the Balkan region and potentially a means to bridge between the floating tree-ring chronologies of the wider Mediterranean region and the continuous long chronologies from central Europe.
... Oak also offers a potential for exact dating because, for specific subspecies in particular regions, the approximate number of sapwood rings before the bark has been shown to be predictable (e.g. Hillam et al. 1987;Kuniholm and Striker 1987;Ważny 1990;Eckstein 2007;Griggs et al. 2009). This means that where the last ring under the bark is not preserved to provide an exact cutting date, if any sapwood is present it is possible to improve on a terminus post quem date for the last measured year by making an informed estimate as to the likely number of missing sapwood rings (see Kuniholm 2001). ...
... This means that where the last ring under the bark is not preserved to provide an exact cutting date, if any sapwood is present it is possible to improve on a terminus post quem date for the last measured year by making an informed estimate as to the likely number of missing sapwood rings (see Kuniholm 2001). Where the last ring under the bark (terminal ring or "waney edge") is present, dating precision with oaks can be exact to a particular season depending on the degree of cell formation observed (Eckstein 2007;Gričar 2010Gričar , 2013. Unfortunately, in the abrasive context of our riverine burial environments, sapwood preservation is extremely rare. ...
Article
Full-text available
A total of 272 oak ( Quercus sp.) samples have been collected from large subfossil trees dredged from sediment deposited by the Sava and various tributary rivers in the Zagreb region of northwestern Croatia, and in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Measurement series of tree-ring widths from these samples produced 12 groups, totaling 3456 years of floating tree-ring chronologies spread through the last ca. 8000 years. This work represents the first step in creating a new, high-resolution resource for dating and paleoenvironmental reconstruction in the Balkan region and potentially a means to bridge between the floating tree-ring chronologies of the wider Mediterranean region and the continuous long chronologies from central Europe.
... Until now, studies on dendroprovenancing focused mainly on the import of high-quality oak timber for (ship) building (Bonde et al., 1997) and art-historical objects (e.g., Wazny, 2002; Haneca et al., 2005). However, by studying wood transport throughout Europe, dendroprovenancing was successfully used to reconstruct former trade connections (Bonde, 1992; Bonde et al., 1997; Wazny, 1992, 2002; Haneca et al., 2005; Eckstein, 2007; Bonde et al., in preparation). During the Middle Ages the forests of the Netherlands were overexploited and the country was gradually deforested (Buis, 1985). ...
... Fig. 1. Principles of dendrochronological dating and dendroprovenancing (Bonde, 1992; Bonde et al., 1997; Eckstein, 2007; Nash, 2002; Wazny, 1992, 2002). ...
Article
In this study, we investigated whether dendrochronology can be used to determine the felling dates and origin of the trees that were used as wooden pile foundations under historic buildings. Dating and dendroprovenancing of the timber was possible for eight out of nine buildings. This is due mainly to the availability of newly constructed tree-ring chronologies of pine for the Netherlands and was of particular value in three of the investigated buildings where local timber had been used. Problems with the analysis of short time series from local timber are discussed. Detection of the felling date and origin of the trees used as piles allowed determination of the time lag between felling of the tree and implementation of the timber. Any possible effects of storage and/or transportation time on the susceptibility of the timber to bacterial degradation are considered.
... The method determines the year of wood formation for each annual ring in a wooden sample. For objects in which the most recent ring (i.e., outermost) is preserved the exact year and in some cases even the season of the year for tree felling can be determined [4,5]. The precision of dendrochronology thereby surpasses most other dating methods and has thus become a well-established method for the dating of wooden constructions [6], historical buildings [7,8], shipwrecks [9,10], archaeological artefacts [11,12], historical events [13,14], climate dynamics [15,16], as well as hazards and environmental changes [17,18]. ...
... Since the 1970s, dendrochronology has also been regularly used to date the planks used as wooden supports (i.e., panels) for paintings [1,2,[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]. As well as providing a date for an analysed wooden construction or object, dendrochronology provides information about the origin of the utilized timber (i.e., dendro-provenance), historical trading routes [5,[27][28][29][30], wood technology and further processing techniques used in woodworking workshops [11,26]. ...
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The implementation of multidisciplinary research approaches is an essential prerequisite to obtain comprehensive insights into the life and works of the old masters and their timeline in the production of the arts. In this study, traditional art history, cultural heritage, and natural science methods were combined to shed light on an Adoration of the Shepherds painting by Jacques Jordaens (1593–1678), which until now had been considered as a copy. From dendrochronological analysis of the wooden support, it was concluded that the planks in the panel painting were made from Baltic oak trees felled after 1608. An independent dating based on the panel maker’s mark, and the guild’s quality control marks suggests a production period of the panel between 1617 and 1627. Furthermore, the size of the panel corresponds to the dimension known as salvator, which was commonly used for religious paintings during the period 1615 to 1621. Finally, the interpretation of the stylistic elements of the painting suggests that it was made by Jordaens between 1616 and 1618. To conclude, from the synthesis of: (i) dendrochronological analysis, (ii) panel makers’ punch mark and Antwerp Guild brand marks, (iii) re-examination of secondary sources, and (iv) stylistic comparisons to other Jordaens paintings, we suggest that the examined Adoration of the Shepherds should be considered as an original by Jordaens and likely painted in the period 1617–1618. The study is a striking example of the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary approach to investigate panel paintings.
... Determining the year the tree was cut also approximates the date of construction (Klein and Grabner 2015), although the two do not necessarily coincide. Standing trees were often selected in the forest, cut, transported directly to the building site and built in without any storage time in-between (Eckstein 2007). Although Pacold (1887) reported that trees were cut and used for construction up to two years after cutting, a longer delay cannot be ruled out in some cases. ...
... Although Pacold (1887) reported that trees were cut and used for construction up to two years after cutting, a longer delay cannot be ruled out in some cases. Additionally, felling dates showing a range of several years from the same construction can suggest that the timbers were provided from the local timber market (Eckstein 2007) or that harvesting took several years because of the difficulties of wood transport in mountain regions, such as the Alps (Klein and Grabner 2015). Furthermore, the intended use of wood could play an important role. ...
Article
The development of settlement and building activity is the result of socioeconomic, political and demographic changes in the past. However, accurate information on temporal variation in building activity is rather limited. Dendrochronological databases containing dated historical wooden constructions provide an important resource. We used 6514 tree‐felling dates to reconstruct building activity in the Czech lands for the period 1450–1950. Comparing felling dates with historical events demonstrated that building activity was negatively associated with intense wars, particularly during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). After the Peace of Westphalia (1648), socioeconomic renewal and demographic growth were reflected in an upsurge of building activity, especially ecclesiastical buildings. While the construction of ecclesiastical and noble buildings culminated around the 1720s, rural buildings peaked in the 1780s and the 1820s. Although no direct effect of climate was demonstrated, adverse climatic conditions leading to harvest failures and subsequent famines (e.g. the ‘Hunger Years’ 1770–1772) significantly contributed to declines in building activity. In contrast, a higher number of felling dates were detected when strong and/or frequent windstorms occurred. This study provides a comprehensive understanding of building activity in Central Europe and advocates the use of dendrochronological databases for the investigation of human activities in history.
... The letter also mentions several farms in Trøndelag (the region surrounding Trondheim) being abandoned in 1334, 1338 and 1342, showing that crises were emerging decades before the plague in 1349-1350 (Dybdahl, 2010: 206). Eckstein (2007) gave examples of how dendrochronological data can be used to investigate past human behaviour and showed that human impact on tree-ring growth can provide knowledge about the timing of events and living conditions. In many countries, dendrochronologically dated buildings go more than a millennium back in time. ...
Article
The Black Death (1349–1350 in Norway) is often cited as the cause of a severe population decline and building hiatus in the middle of the 14th century. This paper analyses this hypothesis by matching the Black Death with human and environmental impacts on tree-ring growth. The number of buildings dated by dendrochronology in Norway shows a dramatic decline several decades before the plague. In Norway, the building hiatus, which has parallels in several other places in Europe, dates from the late-13th century almost to the 16th century. The first dated houses built after the plague date from the 15th century and many of the logs have exceptionally wide tree rings compared to timber from other periods. Assuming the rapid growth was because of an open landscape, the trees are likely to have grown on infields of farms abandoned due to the 14th century population decline. Since many of these fast-growing trees germinated in the early-14th century and the number of dated buildings drops dramatically several decades before the plague, the Black Death can hardly be the only reason for the population decline in Norway and one plausible explanation is that some environmental impact occurred decades earlier. The dendroclimatological evidence of cold and wet summers in the years before the plague is suggestive, but historical sources also pinpoint famine due to crop failure. They also tell of farms being abandoned several decades before the plague and mention periods of heavy rainfall and famine in the early-14th century.
... In all cases we sought to take samples which included the bark edge (i.e. the last formed ring) of the timber's parent tree. The presence of bark edge in a sample makes it possible to date the year or even the season in which this parent tree was felled (Eckstein, 2007). In its absence, on conifers, the precision of dating would be limited to a terminus post quem (the year after which the tree must have been felled). ...
Article
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Combined dendrochronological and archival research revealed the history of construction and subsequent repairs to the roof structures of Segovia Cathedral, the last gothic cathedral built in Spain. Although this iconic building has been extensively documented by different scholars, the completion date of the 16th century original sacristy was uncertain. Furthermore, disaster struck the building on two occasions, in the 17th and 18th centuries. First, on September 1614, lightning hit the bell tower and fire spread through the roof of the nave. Then, on 1 November 1755, the Lisbon earthquake shook the cathedral building. However, the extent of the damage caused by these events was unknown. Our combined research revealed that the trees used to make the tie-beams of the sacristy were cut in the late summer/winter months of 1676/77, one century later than the completion date, suggesting that this part of the original sacristy was renewed when a new one was built together with the offices in an annexed building. Furthermore, absolute dates obtained for the nave indicate that the trees used to build the current roof structure were cut in the autumn/winter of 1614/15, which implies that the 16th century original roof must have burned down entirely due to the lightning fire. A historical document registering the purchase of the wood to repair this structure in 1614 confirms this information. Finally, the damage caused by the Lisbon earthquake must have compromised the structural integrity of the roof, as the support timbers used to reinforce it belong to small trees cut in the spring or summer of that same year 1755. Archival research revealed that the roofs were inspected a few weeks after the earthquake, and that repairs were carried out in 1756. This suggests that the wood to prop up the structure was most likely purchased shortly after the inspection (probably in a nearby saw mill where cheap wood from trees cut in the summer of 1755 was available), and before the repairs took place.
... Dieter and Sigrid Wrobel were the motivating spirits of the Eurodendro conferences, twenty of which were organized between 1989 and 2018. In almost all of them he was a member of the scientific, advisory or the organizing committee and provided a great deal of support to the local organizers (e.g., Eckstein, 2006). Dieter, Sigrid, and colleagues organized two Eurodendro conferences in Northern Germany: in Travemünde (1994) and Rendsburg (2004), the latter to celebrate Dieter's retirement which was attended by his numerous friends from all over the world (Sass-Klaassen, 2005). ...
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Prof. Dr. Dieter Eckstein (1939-2021) was a leading scientist, teacher, mentor, leader, promoter and motivatorin the field of dendrochronology and wood biology. After graduating in wood science and receiving a PhD indendrochronology, he was professor of wood biology at the University of Hamburg. From 1995-2004, he was Director of the Department of Wood Biology, University of Hamburg, and of the Institute of Wood Biology and Wood Protection at the Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products in Hamburg, Germany. His work had a decisive influence on the development of wood anatomy, wood biology and dendrochronology and his laboratory was a reference point for dendrochronology worldwide. He supported dendrochronologists throughout Europe and around the world in their pioneering work to establish dendrochronology laboratories and develop dendrochronology in numerous countries, including Slovenia.
... In England and Wales it is known from the combined efforts of dendrochronological research and the examination of written records that most timbers were used in a roof construction between 1 and 3 years after felling ( Miles, 2006). In the town of Lübeck (Germany) it was observed that some roof structures of historical buildings contained timbers from different felling campaigns, separated by up to 33 months, while others only had timbers with one single felling date ( Eckstein, 2007). The occurrence of mixed felling dates within one roof construction suggests that construction was dependent of the amount of wood in stock at local timber markets. ...
... In dendrochronology, the most important metadata for precision dating are associated with the outermost growth rings (sapwood). Where the last grown ring is preserved, the year of felling can be determined, and the degree of development of the tree-ring structure can be used to ascertain the season in which the tree was cut (Eckstein, 2007). In Quercus spp. ...
... After that, the application of tree-ring dating has greatly expanded to include the dating of historical and archaeological structures (Huber and Giertz, 1970;Schweingruber, 1988Schweingruber, , 1996Wight and Grissino-Mayer, 2004;Park et al., 2001), panel paintings and sculptures (Bauch and Eckstein, 1970), musical instruments (Topham and Cormick, 1998;Bernabei et al., 2010), tombs (Wang, 2004;Wang et al., 2007Wang et al., , 2008 and chests (Thun and Alsvik, 2009). The method also provided extra information of human behavior (Dean, 1996), social-economic information (Baillie, 1995) and wood trade (Eckstein, 2007). Archaeological tree-ring dating has proven to be a powerful research method. ...
... On the one hand the age of the furniture can be proved; on the other hand historical wood-working processes might be reconstructed. Eckstein (2007) states that the work of the dendrochronologist is the translation of information stored in tree rings into human language. This describes quite well, the aim of the present study. ...
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In the present study, 208 furniture and 168 coopered vessels from three Austrian museums were examined. Dendrochronology was used to date objects and to extract further information such as the necessary time for seasoning, wood loss through wood-working and methods of construction. In most cases sampling was done by sanding the cross section and making digital photographs using a picture frame and measuring digitally. The dendrochronological dates of the sampled furniture range between 1524 and 1937. The group of furniture includes cupboards, chests, tables, benches, commodes and beds. In many cases furniture was artfully painted and sometimes even shows a painted year. With the help of dendrochronology it was proved that some objects had been painted for some time after construction, or had been over-painted. Most furniture, however, was painted immediately after completion. In this case the seasoning and storage time of the boards and the wood loss due to shaping can be verified. As an average value, 14 years have passed between the dendrochronological date of the outermost ring and the painting. The time span includes time of seasoning and storage and the rings lost by wood-working. This leads, on the one hand to a short storage time of less than ten years and on the other hand to very little wood loss due to manufacturing. Those boards being less shaped turned out to be back panels of cupboards, therefore they are recommended to be sampled for dating. Coopered vessels were dated between 1612 - 1940. There was evidence that staves were split and not sawn in many cases. The staves were often split out of the outermost part of the tree and hardly any wood was worked away which was proved by the close dendrochronological dates of the single staves of a vessel. Since there is a short time of storage and only little wood loss through wood-working, dating of objects without a waney edge becomes reasonable.
... Dean, 1996;Krąpiec, 2000) and historic human activities (e.g. Büntgen et al., 2006;Eckstein, 2007;Opała and Kaczka, 2008;Büntgen et al., 2011). ...
Article
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An annually resolved and absolutely dated ring-width chronology spanning 443 years has been constructed using the historical and living-tree Scots pine samples from the Upper Silesia, south of Poland. The constructed regional chronology, based on six object chronologies, covers the period of 1568-2010. It is composed of 178 wood samples with the mean correlation of 0.51, mean series length of 104 years and mean EPS of 0.85. In total, 65 extreme years were distinguished. Their inde-pendent verification, based on the historical and meteorological data, showed significant correlation with the exceptionally cold/mild winters as well as severe droughts. The comparison of the extreme years with the other Polish pine chronologies showed similarities in the years with the anomalous winter conditions. Some extreme years can be associated with the exceptional pluvial conditions; these years are common in the Central European hydroclimatic tree-ring records. The construction of this regional pine chronology enables for the absolute dating of many architectural monuments from investigated region. The application of the new chronology for the dating of local wood can support interpretations of changes in the environment of the Upper Silesian region. In the future it can also be used as the basis for climate reconstruction.
... Journal homepage : http://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/aer archaeological artefacts; that is to say, information about past human cultures and behavior, and sometimes even on the contemporary socioeconomic environment [9,10,11]. There are however, few examples of the use of dendrochronology for dating of log coffins [12,13,14]. ...
Article
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Log coffins have been discovered in caves and rockshelters in the Pang Ma Pha district, Mae Hong Son province, Northwestern Thailand. Most are made of teak wood. Many researchers have used the 14C method to determine their age. However, 14C cannot provide as precise a ca-lendar age as dendrochronology. In this paper, we therefore applied dendrochronology analysis to a number of teak log coffins at the Ban Rai Rockshelter to establish a floating chronology and to cross-date the coffins relative to each other. Then, wiggle matching was used for one log coffin to derive an approximate but absolute calendar age. The findings indicated that cutting of this teak tree occurred around AD 265. The analyses also revealed a close association between coffins of the same head style.
... The comparison of these curves (sample curves) with different standard curves that originated from different places can in fact be used for discovering the provenance of the wood used in the respective objects. The method that we emphasize here is based on the analysis of two values: the "correlation coefficient" value and the "coincidence rate" value, developed by Eckstein (2007) in a study of a few statues and panels of the L€ ubeck Cathedral. However, our study is also based on a graphic comparison of the trend curves of samples with the trend curves of the references. ...
Chapter
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In this paper we would like to address the study of the provenance of wood used for artistic objects (e.g., statues, panels), architectural structures (e.g., rafters, beams) and archaeological findings, (e.g., foundation piles) through the analysis of its growing curves. The comparison of these curves (sample curves) with different standard curves that originated from different places can in fact be used for discovering the provenance of the wood used in the respective objects. The method that we emphasize here is based on the analysis of two values: the “correlation coefficient” value and the “coincidence rate” value, developed by Eckstein (2007) in a study of a few statues and panels of the Lübeck Cathedral. However, our study is also based on a graphic comparison of the trend curves of samples with the trend curves of the references. In fact, by following this methodology, it has been possible to study the provenance of a large number of samples gathered by the Dendrochronological Laboratory of the Institute for the History of Material Culture (ISCUM – Genoa, Italy) during the past years.
... The cutting season can only be determined in wooden elements in which the bark or the last growth ring is preserved (Marguerie and Hunot, 2007). Then, using a microscope, it is possible to identify the moment at which the last tree ring stopped growing (Eckstein, 2007;Favre and Jacomet, 1998). Based on this, four moments in the formation and growth of tree-rings have been identified: when the early-wood first began to grow (EW), when the wood was in transition from earlywood to latewood (EW-LW), when the latewood was growing (during LW) and when the latewood formation stopped (final LW). ...
Article
Woodworking debris and formless pieces of wood are twice neglected wooden materials on archaeological sites. Initially, they are neglected as all the archaeological wooden materials are, due to their perishable nature. Secondly, they are neglected since archaeologists tend to ignore them on their analysis as they are not final products or bigger structural elements. In this paper, it will be discussed the importance that even those materials can have regarding the wood procurement and elaboration processes, which will never be entirely studied without adding debris and formless pieces of wood into the equation. Based on the archaeological example of the waterlogged Neolithic site of la Draga (Banyoles, Spain), it will be discussed the way in which wood as raw material is obtained and transported to the settlement, and the ways the elaboration process is realized
... Similar case-studies exist for France for e.g. the cathedrals of Auxerre and Beauvais (see Hoffsummer, 2009: p. 100 for more details). In Germany, historical and dendrochronological research on roof construction within historical buildings in Lübeck it became clear that some of the investigated roof structures contained timbers from different felling campaigns that were separated by up to 33 months, whilst others were built with timbers from a single felling date (Eckstein, 2007). In Belgium only few case-studies exist that can underpin the use of unseasoned timbers that were brought to the construction site immediately after felling; e.g. the roof of the pavilion De Notelaer (Haneca, 2010). ...
Article
A dendrochronological study of the roofs of the Basilica of Our Lady in Tongeren (Belgium) showed that the current roofs date to the period right after the deliberate burning of the church in 1677. High resolution dendrochronological dates – based on wood-anatomical observations of the outermost tree-ring – combined with detailed archival sources, allow to trace the progress of reconstruction of the various roofs throughout the years following the fire at an intra-annual resolution. This provides an exceptionally detailed timeline of both the temporal and spatial progress of the reconstruction of the roofs of the Basilica of Our Lady. As such, this case-study can serve as a very detailed reference for the study of post-medieval roofs and the workflow during their construction.
... For a given site, a multiplicity of samples is essential to acquire a representative mean chronology for the site in which individual variances are minimized; in the field, this means sampling at least a dozen cases presumed to be contemporaneous, in order to achieve, whenever possible, a mean chronology of at least 80 years (Fig. 8.3). This methodological requirement explains the negative outcome of repeated attempts to date isolated pieces of wood, regardless of the context of their discovery, even if, in certain exceptional conditions (very long ring series, particularly well-documented period), statues and dugout canoes may have been dated by dendrochronology (Arnold 1996;Eckstein 2006)! Synchronization between different tree species, called heteroconnexion, although discouraged because of differences in climate response and ecological requirements between species, is sometimes carried out between species with very similar ecological requirements. ...
Chapter
Dendrochronology makes use of the annual pattern of tree radial growth in temperate regions. Each year trees put on a new ring under the bark whose width varies depending on various factors among which climate. Under same climatic conditions, trees of the same species growing at the same time show similar tree-ring patterns. Then there is agreement in year-to-year variation over long periods of time, making it possible to synchronize and date them. In that way, wooden samples from trees which died at an unknown date can be dated by comparison with master chronologies. Since the production of ¹⁴C in the atmosphere is not constant, radiocarbon dates are calibrated by using ¹⁴C content of tree-rings of known ages: that converts ¹⁴C age to the true calendar age. Currently, such calibration of radiocarbon dates by tree-ring chronologies is possible over the last 12,400 years.
... Regarding the wooden roof structure (planking and trusses) of the Cathedral, the elaborated chronology (1496-1651), whose the outer ring dating is very close to the felling date, is much later than the construction dates of the original roof. According to European dendroarchaeological studies, the time lag between when the tree was felled and the wood was used to construct the roof is estimated to be between 1 and 3 years [9,42,48,49]. It is therefore highly likely that the definitive construction of the roof structure of the Cathedral was in the mid 1650s. ...
Article
The present paper analyzes different types of natural disasters recorded in the woody elements from reconstruction or repair works in two World Heritage buildings (the Old Mint and the Cathedral) in Segovia (Central Spain). We employed architectural and historical documentation, along with archaeoseismological analysis techniques in order to frame the events and processes. We analyzed several woody elements from the wooden deck of the Old Mint, including beams, planks and support blocks; and for the Cathedral roof the structural elements analyzed were tiebeams, raised aisles, rafter braces, common rafters and roof battens, as well as many planks and soulaces. For the dating, we combined two methodological approaches based upon dendrochronological techniques (dendroarchaeology and dendrogeomorphology) in an integrated study of the tree-rings series obtained. Furthermore, four wood samples (one from the Old Mint and three from the Cathedral) were dated by means of radiocarbon techniques. The results enable us to detect and corroborate the dates of at least two catastrophic flood events that affected the Old Mint (1695 and 1733). Additionally, we establish the unknown effects to date upon the Cathedral roof of the fire caused by the thunderbolt in 1614 and by the Lisbon earthquake in 1755. From the point of view of cultural heritage, these data are of great interest for the history of the reconstruction of the Old Mint and of the Cathedral of Segovia.
... Journal homepage : http://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/aer archaeological artefacts; that is to say, information about past human cultures and behavior, and sometimes even on the contemporary socioeconomic environment [9,10,11]. There are however, few examples of the use of dendrochronology for dating of log coffins [12,13,14]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Log coffins have been discovered in caves and rockshelters in the Pang Ma Pha district, Mae Hong Son province, Northwestern Thailand. Most are made of teak wood. Many researchers have used the 14C method to determine their age. However, 14C cannot provide as precise a calendar age as dendrochronology. In this paper, we therefore applied dendrochronology analysis to a number of teak log coffins at the Ban Rai Rockshelter to establish a floating chronology and to cross-date the coffins relative to each other. Then, wiggle matching was used for one log coffin to derive an approximate but absolute calendar age. The findings indicated that cutting of this teak tree occurred around AD 265. The analyses also revealed a close association between coffins of the same head style.
... This is recognizable primarily by a change in color, hardness, and/or decrease in the presence of tyloses in the earlywood vessels. Where the last growth ring is preserved, the year of felling can be determined, and the degree of development of the tree-ring structure can be used to estimate the season in which the tree was cut (Eckstein, 2007). Where the outermost ring is absent (due to deterioration in the burial environment or deliberate removal before use) an accurate estimation of the year of felling is often possible if any identifiable sapwood is present (Hillam, Morgan, & Tyers, 1987;Hughes, Milsom, & Leggett, 1981;Wazny, 1990). ...
Article
Front Cover Legend: The cover image is based on the Research Article Establishing a high‐resolution stratigraphy in the Holocene marine sequence of the ancient Theodosian harbor of Istanbul with the help of dendrochronology, by M. Namik Yalçin et al., https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21729.
... The identification of the time of the year when the stem or branch has been cut is established by the moment when the trunk has stopped growing stems. It contributes information about the temporal framework of those processes (Eckstein 2007;Favre and Jacomet 1998). The time of procurement can only be identified in the case of the wooden elements that still preserve the bark, or where it is certain that they maintain the last growth ring (Marguerie and Hunot 2007;Schweingruber 1996). ...
Article
Full-text available
Wood is one of the most common raw materials for the prehistoric societies. Therefore sites were wood is preserved in waterlogged conditions are essential in order to understand those prehistoric societies. La Draga (Banyoles, Spain) is a lake dwelling dated 5300–4900 cal BC, which correspond to the firsts farming societies on the Iberian Peninsula. The site has provided an excellent sample of tools and architectonical remains made of wood. This work summarizes the results of the study of wood remains in order to characterize the wood acquisition strategies of Neolithic societies. The morphology and size of the wooden elements as well as the anatomical features provide an excellent picture of taxa selection. Quercus sp deciduous is the most important taxa according to the number of individuals identified between the piles and beams. However, other species were also used for specific purposes.
... lesenih predmetov in je še posebej pomembna takrat, ko ne poznamo starosti in nimamo drugih podatkov o predmetu (Čufar, 2007;Haneca et al., 2009). Dendrokronologijo pri tem uporabimo za razbiranje informacij, zabeleženih v lesu, ki jih prevedemo v jezik drugih strok (Eckstein, 2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
Poslikane kmečke skrinje so pomemben del zbirk muzejskih predmetov ljudske umetnosti alpskega prostora. V Gorenjskem muzeju Kranj smo pregledali nad 30 in dendrokronološko raziskali 18 skrinj iz lesa iglavcev, pretežno navadne smreke (Picea abies). Na odsekih radialnih desk pokrovov in stranic skrinj smo posneli visoko ločljive fotografije za merjenje širin branik. Na osnovi dveh ali več zaporedij širin branik smo sestavili kronologijo za posamezno skrinjo ter uspešno datirali 9 skrinj (8 smrekovih in 1 jelovo) z datumi zadnje branike od 1742 do 1882. Raziskavo skrinje iz lesa jelke (Abies alba) smo podrobneje predstavili. Dendrokronološki datumi so praviloma za nekaj let odstopali od domnevnega leta izdelave posamezne skrinje. Med razlogi, da datiranje preostale polovice skrinj ni uspelo, je majhno število branik, velika variabilnost dendrokronološkega signala smreke v Sloveniji in pomanjkanje mreže ustreznih referenčnih kronologij. Rezultati kažejo, da lahko dendrokronologijo uporabimo za ugotavljanje starosti in pridobivanje informacij o skrinjah, ki jih ne moremo dobiti iz drugih virov.
... This is recognizable primarily by a change in color, hardness, and/or decrease in the presence of tyloses in the earlywood vessels. Where the last growth ring is preserved, the year of felling can be determined, and the degree of development of the tree-ring structure can be used to estimate the season in which the tree was cut (Eckstein, 2007). Where the outermost ring is absent (due to deterioration in the burial environment or deliberate removal before use) an accurate estimation of the year of felling is often possible if any identifiable sapwood is present (Hillam, Morgan, & Tyers, 1987;Hughes, Milsom, & Leggett, 1981;Wazny, 1990). ...
Article
Salvage excavations in the Theodosian harbor (Yenikapı‐Istanbul) have uncovered diverse archaeological objects including 36 shipwrecks and various Byzantine period wooden docks. The sequence of these docks provided a unique opportunity to obtain a high‐resolution stratigraphy. The new approach is based on stratigraphic interpretation of deformation patterns created by the posts in soft sediments, combined with dendrochronological dating of the posts. Dendrochronology offers the potential to date the posts to within one calendar year of felling, a level of precision and accuracy rare in sedimentological analysis. The posts, most of them Quercus, were rammed during six different time periods. The first period is associated with posts cut in 528 AD. The second and third periods are dated by posts cut in 583 and 594 AD, respectively. The fourth‐period dates within 8–10 years of 639 AD. The fifth period could be dated only roughly to between 690 and 770 AD. The last period produced a possible placement of after 778 AD. This new approach helps to establish a high‐resolution stratigraphy. Furthermore, it provides information about sedimentation history and specific anthropogenic events.
... It was possible to shed some light on an entire civilizationdthe native North-American Anazasidthanks to the dendrochronological study of their architecture (Dean, 1988 and many others). In Europe, Eckstein's (2007) study on the woods from the town of Lübeck gives an explanatory example of the large amount of information we can acquire from tree rings through dendrochronology: not only the absolute date, but also timber quality, timber sources/stands, woodland management, and more. ...
Chapter
Today tree-ring analysis, including wood anatomy and dendrochronology, is one of the most important scientific studies in the field of cultural heritage to assess date and provenance of the wood used in artifacts. Although it focuses only on wood, the information provided from tree rings may often prove to be the only certain point of reference, when misleading or erroneous historical records may confound correct interpretation. The very force of dendrochronology relies upon its absolute independence with respect to other methods, but it is especially highly effective when integrated in a wider research context, when scholars with different disciplines cooperate.
... It was possible to shed some light on an entire civilizationdthe native North-American Anazasidthanks to the dendrochronological study of their architecture (Dean, 1988 and many others). In Europe, Eckstein's (2007) study on the woods from the town of Lübeck gives an explanatory example of the large amount of information we can acquire from tree rings through dendrochronology: not only the absolute date, but also timber quality, timber sources/stands, woodland management, and more. ...
... Journal homepage : http://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/aer archaeological artefacts; that is to say, infor- mation about past human cultures and behavior, and sometimes even on the contemporary socio- economic environment [9,10,11]. There are however, few examples of the use of dendro- chronology for dating of log coffins [12,13,14]. ...
Article
Log coffins have been discovered in caves and rockshelters in the Pang Ma Pha district, Mae Hong Son province, Northwestern Thailand. Most are made of teak wood. Many researchers have used the 14C method to determine their age. However, 14C cannot provide as precise a ca-lendar age as dendrochronology. In this paper, we therefore applied dendrochronology analysis to a number of teak log coffins at the Ban Rai Rockshelter to establish a floating chronology and to cross-date the coffins relative to each other. Then, wiggle matching was used for one log cof-fin to derive an approximate but absolute calendar age. The findings indicated that cutting of this teak tree occurred around AD 265. The analyses also revealed a close association between coffins of the same head style.
Article
We dated vernacular folk crafts (traditional snow shovels) made of beech wood (Fagus crenata Bl.) in north-central Japan. A raw chronology was constructed for the folk crafts, spanning the period from 1721 to 1953 (233 years). The raw chronology was crossdated using a reference chronology in central Japan. Eventually, tree-ring dates were confidently determined for 26 out of 44 samples. The final tree-ring dates of the folk crafts ranged between 1872 and 1953. We used oral folkloric records collected in a public survey for comparison and verification of our results. The time period of use of the folk crafts was supposed to range between the late Meiji Period and the beginning of the Pacific War (World War II), and the tree-ring dates were generally consistent with the date range. However, the final tree-ring dates were after the Pacific War for two youngest samples, showing better agreement with the historical change in industry of modern Japan. The tree-ring dates demonstrate the potential to describe the historical use of the artifacts more accurately than the folkloric records. In addition, the existing site chronology of Japanese beech has been better replicated using the folk craft samples. The chronology can possibly be further extended using archaeological wood from historical buildings.
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This article addresses the discipline of dendrochronology and, especially, one of its most useful aspects for the study, restoration and appreciation of architectonic heritage: dating. In its pages it deals with the origin, foundations and principles of this technique, the requisites for its application, the different ways of obtaining samples, the use of statistics and the various difficulties, limitations and aspects of dating. Finally, it touches upon the ­field of dendroprovenance, that is, the technique used to discover the geographic origin of timber by means of concrete examples of works performed by the authors, such as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine.
Article
Tree-ring methods along with historical documents and oral history reveal the structure history of a Jesuit plantation built in the 1760s in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jesuit missionaries arrived in South Louisiana and other European colonies in the early 18th century with intentions to spread Catholicism to local natives and African Americans. Tree-ring dating of the attic and ceiling timbers reveal cutting dates as early as 1762 and hand-made nails demonstrate pre-1800 construction, confirming that the Jesuit plantation is the second-oldest surviving structure in New Orleans. Historic documents depict a standing structure similar to that of today's structure in 1765. However, the current structure is missing a second floor, and numerous attic timbers date to the late 1780s. We assume that repairs to the original structure follow numerous hurricane strikes and a city-wide fire in New Orleans. Taxodium distichum (baldcypress) timber samples are also indicative of logging and lumber practices of the time, especially within a large city. Dendrochronological analyses reveal that the baldcypress trees used in construction of the structure may have been sourced from numerous sites across the Gulf Coast via a lumberyard that may have served as an export station for timbers across the Caribbean and Europe. Historical documents allude to the appearance of the original structure in 1765, the 300-year ownership of the property, lumber practice of the time, and the history of New World Jesuit missions.
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This work is devoted to the application of dendrochronological methods to establish the time of construction and reconstruction of the archaeological monument named Nadymsky gorodok where located 60 km to the north-north-west from the town of Nadym, Yamal-Nenets autonomous area, Tyumen region. We discussed aspects related to the building of tree-ring chronologies of different tree species and their cross-dating and relation with calendar periods. The next periods of construction (reconstruction) of Nadymsky gorodok were distinguished: the third decade of the XV century, middle of seventh – beginning of eighth decade of the XV century, end of XV – beginning of XVI century, the third or fourth decade of the XVI century, the first quarter of the XVII century. Generalized tree-ring chronology of Nadymsky gorodok was built and covered the period from 1010 to 1616 AD
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Tree ring are one of the most important data sources for reconstructing past climate variability. In order to understand climate variability, it is necessary to get a spatial and temporal coverage of climate information. In dendroclimatology, ring width has been a variable of choice when assessing the tree ring and climate relationships of trees species. We were assessing a ring-width from a dendroclimatic perspective using beech (Fagus orientalis). The aim of this paper is to use tree ring information of Fagus orientalis to assess its capability as a model for reconstruction of Mazandaran province past climate. Therefore, for this purpose tree ring samplings were performed on three selected growing heights of 400, 500, and 700 meters above sea level at northern aspect of Darabcola forest in Mazandaran province. Increment cores were taken from the diameter of breast height (d.b.h.). The rings' widths were measured using a binocular microscope. Standardization and comparison of tree ring series for each growing elevation were performed for all sites. Radial growth of all Beech tree species in three sites was positively correlated with climatic variables in this regional. Tree Ring chronology show significantly positive correlation with October and December minimum temperature in previous growing season. Maximum temperature in April has inverse relationship with regional chronology. Monthly total precipitation in March and September in current year had positive effect on Radial growth in three sites. Therefore Beech one of the usable species in dendroclimatology studies, this show may can be chronology of Beech extended more than a century in this regional. Also, may can be possible the reconstruction of meteorological data such as mean, minimum and maximum temperature and monthly total precipitation for this region.
Article
The new, significantly revised date of ca. 800 BC for Gordion's Early Phrygian Destruction Level was initially proposed in DeVries et al. 2003, on the basis of five radiocarbon dates and the reappraisal of archaeological linkages. Some have accepted this new dating but others have vigorously opposed it, seeking to retain the old, lower date of ca. 700 BC for the Destruction Level (most notably Muscarella, 2003, 2008a, and 2008b). Keenan (2004) has also criticized the new radiocarbon evidence and attempted to show that these data failed to rule out the old chronology. These claims do not stand up to scrutiny, however, and continued radiocarbon dating (formally reported in this chapter) has yielded clear support for the new chronology, as has further study of the artifactual evidence and textual sources (as discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, this volume). The present chapter summarizes all the radiocarbon dating work carried out for Gordion up to the end of 2006 (text then subsequently revised in 2009, and a postscript added in 2010), and we address the question of the date of the Early Phrygian Destruction Level on the basis of the available evidence (now much expanded since 2003). We argue that there are clear grounds for the revised, early date for this event. © 2011 by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Article
The exceptional preservation of the cityscape in the medieval city of Bruges (Belgium) triggered dendrochro-nological research on numerous preserved roof constructions in historical buildings, that date from the Middle Ages up to the early modern period. As many of these oak timbers lack the preservation of waney edge, a method was developed to combine sapwood estimates of felling dates within each building phase and to compute a summed probability distribution (SPD) for those felling dates. These summed probabilities now allow us to reconstruct temporal trends in building trade activity in an expanding medieval city. When linked to the social status of the patrons of the building projects, it is observed that resilience to demographic crisis and political turmoil differs among the social groups and political elite of a medieval society. Furthermore the dating results of decades of tree-ring research now provide a typo-chronological framework of roof constructions and shows that it took nearly two centuries before more advanced technological skill in the construction of roofs completely replaced the traditional common rafter roofs.
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Seasonal climate variability can affect the availability of food, water, shelter and raw materials. Therefore, robust assessments of relationships between environmental change and changes in human behaviour require an understanding of climate and environment at a seasonal scale. In recent years, many advances have been made in obtaining seasonally-resolved and seasonally-focused palaeoenvironmental data from proxy records. If these proxy records are obtained from archaeological sites, they offer a unique opportunity to reconstruct local climate variations that can be spatially and temporally related to human activity. Furthermore, the analysis of various floral and faunal remains within archaeological sites enables reconstruction of seasonal resource use and subsistence patterns. This paper provides an overview of the growing body of research on seasonal palaeoenvironmental records and resource use from archaeological contexts as well as providing an introduction to a special issue on the same topic. This special issue of Journal of Archaeological Science Reports brings together some of the latest research on generating seasonal-resolution and seasonally-focused palaeoenvironmental records from archaeological sites as a means to assessing human-environment interaction. The papers presented here include studies on archaeological mollusc shells, otoliths, bones and plant remains using geochemical proxies including stable isotopes (δ¹⁸O, δ¹³C, δ¹⁵N) and trace elements (Mg/Ca). The geographical scope encompasses parts of Europe, North America and the Levant, while temporally the studies range from Palaeolithic to historical times.
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Considerable work has gone into developing high-precision radiocarbon (¹⁴C) chronologies for the southern Levant region during the Late Bronze to Iron Age/early Biblical periods (∼1200–600 BC), but there has been little consideration whether the current standard Northern Hemisphere ¹⁴C calibration curve (IntCal13) is appropriate for this region. We measured ¹⁴C ages of calendar-dated tree rings from AD 1610 to 1940 from southern Jordan to investigate contemporary ¹⁴C levels and to compare these with IntCal13. Our data reveal an average offset of ∼19 ¹⁴C years, but, more interestingly, this offset seems to vary in importance through time. While relatively small, such an offset has substantial relevance to high-resolution ¹⁴C chronologies for the southern Levant, both archaeological and paleoenvironmental. For example, reconsidering two published studies, we find differences, on average, of 60% between the 95.4% probability ranges determined from IntCal13 versus those approximately allowing for the observed offset pattern. Such differences affect, and even potentially undermine, several current archaeological and historical positions and controversies.
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We present the application of dendrochronological dating of the renovation and construction works of churches in the Kaunas and Vilnius regions of Lithuania. The model for the estimation of the missing rings of Scots pine was used in Lithuania for the first time. We have assessed 18 timber cross-sections from nine churches, which were used for the constructions from the second half of the 17th to 19th c. The oldest wood samples were dated from St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius (1668±4) and St. George, the Martyr, (Bernardine) Church in Kaunas (1693±3). The aim of this study was to compare the results of the investigation of timber samples from 9 churches with archival sources and literature data and to reveal the renovation history of the buildings. The study of written historical sources has revealed a lack of recorded building and reconstruction phases of the churches. This fact was later confirmed by the results of dendrochronological dating. The dating of the timber revealed undocumented reconstruction dates in Zapyškis church (1791±3), St. George, the Martyr, (Bernardine) Church in Kaunas (1711±4), St. Anne Church in Skaruliai (1693±3) and Vilnius Cathedral (1814±4).
Article
Archaeological investigations in the forest-tundra zone of western Siberia are highly important for understanding the material culture, social structure and ethnic history of the indigenous population. Extraordinary preservation conditions for organic material in the frozen cultural layers favour the preservation of wooden material suitable for dendrochronological studies. During archaeological surveys in 2011 and 2012 in the Nadymskiy Gorodok settlement, located in the forest-tundra zone in Yamalia, northwestern Siberia, 347 samples of construction timbers were taken and analyzed with dendroarchaeological methods. The main species are larch (Larix sibirica (Ledeb.)), spruce (Picea obovata (Ledeb.)) and pine (Pinus sibirica (Du Tour)). Methodical approaches that allow the determination of the source of the wood and correct dating of the time of the constructions are presented. The tree-ring dating of eleven buildings and parts of the palisade highlighting four periods of construction activity during the second half of the 15th century (i.e. at around 1466 AD and 1475 AD) and the first half of the 16th century (at the beginning of the 16th century and after 1530 AD). The results determine that only two wooden structures were built using wood from local forests. In all other cases, the distribution of the dendrochronological dates and timber provenance indicates the use of driftwood from forests further upstream of the Nadym River. Thus, for a precise determination of construction activity in the Nadymskiy Gorodok settlement, a long exposure time of the driftwood needs to be considered and previous presumptions about the settlement history revised.
Article
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