Methods of dating from tree rings

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Fully anchored chronologies that extend back more than 10,000 years exist for river oak trees from South Germany (from the Main and Rhine rivers).Timber core samples measure the width of annual growth rings.Many trees in temperate zones make one growth ring each year, with the newest adjacent to the bark.For the entire period of a tree's life, a year-by-year record or ring pattern is formed that reflects the climatic conditions in which the tree grew.By taking samples from different sites and different strata within a particular region, researchers can build a comprehensive historical sequence that becomes a part of the scientific record; for example, ancient timbers found in buildings can be dated to give an indication of when the source tree was alive and growing, setting an upper limit on the age of the wood.Some genera of trees are more suitable than others for this type of analysis.The inner portion of a growth ring is formed early in the growing season, when growth is comparatively rapid (hence the wood is less dense) and is known as "early wood" or "spring wood" or "late-spring wood." The outer portion is the "late wood" (and has sometimes been termed "summer wood," often being produced in the summer, though sometimes in the autumn) and is denser.

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The rings are more visible in temperate zones, where the seasons differ more markedly.Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.While archaeologists can use the technique to date the piece of wood and when it was felled, it may be difficult to definitively determine the age of a building or structure that the wood is in.The wood could have been reused from an older structure, may have been felled and left for many years before use, or could have been used to replace a damaged piece of wood.

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