Oak Box Cedar Pine Juniper

All conifers

Epochs Neolithic Copper Early Mid- and Late Classical Antiquity /

Age Bronze Age Bronze Age/ Middle Ages/ Iron Age

■ Aegean tree ring chronology for spring 1994 G Alleged datings

-7000 -6000 -5000 -4000 -3000 -2000 -1000 BC./AD. 1000 2000

Fig. 1.58. The modern condition of the dendrochronological scales. One can observe that they are considered to extend until as late as the X century A.D. uninterrupted. The "scale" pertinent to earlier epochs is merely an assortment of unrelated fragments.

of a fragment of the dendrochronological scale around the first piece of wood. Relative datings of ancient findings within this fragment may be correct. However, their absolute dating, that is, the placement of this fragment on the temporal axis, is wrong. The reason is that the first dating has been based on the erroneous Scaligerian chronology.

Let us return to the basics of the dendrochronological methods. In theory, the dendrochronological scale is supposed to grow, beginning with the current period and extending into the past. This implies the collation of ring thickness scales of different specimens. What is the principle of this collation? A modern source [1055] gives an in-depth analysis of the problem on page 341. It turns out that the method used is a combination of mathematical statistical methods and "visual" subjective assessments. Hence, the boundary between dated and undated dendrochronological scales becomes a very vague one.

The book [1055] tells us rather frankly that:

"If we can find a collation position whose diagrams concur with those of the traditional chronology to the best of our certainty and knowledge, the new specimen is considered dated. If we fail to discover such collation position, the specimen remains undated, although even in this case a dendrochro-nologist can point out one or more collation methods whose concurrence is 'good,' but not 'perfect' (in his opinion). Needless to say, the Dendrochronological Society has to agree on what is to considered perfect concurrence." ([1055], page 341)

Dendrochronology is thus affected by subjectivity and arbitrariness. Different dendrochronological datings have generally speaking different veracity. The veracity of a dendrochronological dating depends on the certainty of the collations on the dendrochronological scale. Dubious collations cast the shade of ambiguity over the entire scale. The book [1055], page 341, uses a special term for referring to such datings, namely, "the grey zone" (with the white zone referring to certain datings, and the black one, to the total absence of datings of any kind).

The recently published book by Christian Bloss and Hans-Ulrich Niemitz subjects the dendrochronological method to a number of very sharp criticisms that leave no stone unturned ([1038]).

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