Facilitating tree-ring dating of historic conifer timbers using Blue Intensity
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Dendroarchaeology almost exclusively uses ring-width (RW) data for dating historical structures and artefacts. Such data can be used to date tree-ring sequences when regional climate dominates RW variability. However, the signal in RW data can be obscured due to site specific ecological influences (natural and anthropogenic) that impact crossdating success. In this paper, using data from Scotland, we introduce a novel tree-ring parameter (Blue Intensity – BI) and explore its utility for facilitating dendro historical dating of conifer samples. BI is similar to latewood density as they both reflect the combined hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin content in the latewood cell walls of conifer species and the amount of these compounds is strongly controlled, at least for trees growing in temperature limited locations, by late summer temperatures. BI not only expresses a strong climate signal, but is also less impacted by site specific ecological influences. It can be concurrently produced with RW data from images of finely sanded conifer samples but at a significantly reduced cost compared to traditional latewood density. Our study shows that the probability of successfully crossdating historical samples is greatly increased using BI compared to RW. Furthermore, due to the large spatial extent of the summer temperature signal expressed by such data, a sparse multi-species conifer network of long BI chronologies across Europe could be used to date and loosely provenance imported material.
Wilson , R , Wilson , D , Rydval , M , Crone , A , Büntgen , U , Clark , S , Ehmer , J , Forbes , E , Fuentes , M , Gunnarson , B E , Linderholm , H W , Nicolussi , K , Wood , C V & Mills , C 2017 , ' Facilitating tree-ring dating of historic conifer timbers using Blue Intensity ' Journal of Archaeological Science , vol 78 , pp. 99-111 . DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2016.11.011
Journal of Archaeological Science
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at www.sciencedirect.com / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2016.11.011
The Scottish pine network expansion has been an ongoing task since 2006 and funding must be acknowledged to the following projects: EU project ‘Millennium’ (017008-2), Leverhulme Trust project ‘RELiC: Reconstructing 8000 years of Environmental and Landscape change in the Cairngorms (F/00268/BG)’, the Native Oak and Pine project or ‘NOAP’ (Historic Scotland) and the NERC project ‘SCOT2K:Reconstructing 2000 years of Scottish climate from tree rings (NE/K003097/1)’. Further PhD funding for Milos Rydval is acknowledged from The Carnegie Trust.
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