The dendrochronological method is one of the modern dating methods claiming to be capable of dating historical artefacts independendy. It is based on the assumption that the yearly growth of tree rings is uneven. Annual ring thickness rates are supposed to be roughly similar for the trees of the same kind that grow in similar conditions.
In order to make this method fit for actual dating, one has to construct a reference scale of annual ring thickness for trees of a particular kind for a historical period of sufficient length. Let us call this graph a dendrochronological scale. If such a scale is constructed, it might aid one in the attempt at dating archaeological findings containing wooden pieces. One has to determine the timber type, saw off a sample, measure the thickness of rings, build a diagram and try to find out whether it concurs with any part of the reference scale. One should also consider the question of what deviations of compared diagrams can be ignored safely.
However, the European dendrochronological scales only reaches several centuries back in time, which does not allow for the dating of "ancient" constructions.
"Many European scientists have started to experiment with the dendrochronological method... however, obtaining results appeared a formidable task. The oldest trees in the European forests are only 300-400 years old... Deciduous trees have vaguely defined rings which are hard to study and most reluctant to tell the researcher anything about the past... Quality archaeological material proved extremely scarce, against all expectations." (, page 103)
American dendrochronology exists in better conditions, since it is based on Douglas fir, mountain pine and yellow pine (, page 103). However, this region is far away from the zone of "ancient history." Furthermore, there is always a large number of ignored factors, such as the weather conditions for the period in question, soil quality, the humidity level fluctuation for the area in question, its geography, etc. All of them affect the growth rate of the rings significantly (, pages 100-101). It is most important that the creation of dendrochronological scales had been based on the existing Scaligerian chronology (, page 103). Thus, any alteration of the chronology of documents should automatically alter these scales, whose independence is thus gready compromised.
It appears that the dendrochronological scales for Europe and Asia only reach several centuries back from our age. We shall give a more detailed account of the contemporary state of such scales for Italy, the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey.
Let us refer to a diagram of dendrochronological dating scales for those countries that reflects the state of affairs in this area as of the spring of 1994 (fig. 1.58). This diagram was kindly provided by Professor Y. M. Kabanov (Moscow). He took part in a conference in 1994 where the American Professor Peter Ian Kuniholm had made a report on the modern state of dendrochronology, presenting this rather noteworthy diagram that had been compiled in the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
In fig. 1.58 we can see fragments of dendrochronological scales for different kinds of timber: oak, box, cedar, pine, juniper, and conifers in general.
All of these scales have a very obvious gap around 1000 a.d. Thus, none of them can be continued without intervals further back in time than the X century a.d.
All of the earlier fragments of dendrochronological scales as shown on the diagram cannot be used for independent datings, since their attachment to the temporal axis is wholly dependent on the Scaligerian chronology, which had served as a basis for the dating of several individual "ancient" pieces of wood.
A piece of wood found in a Pharaoh's tomb thus gets the dating of some distant millennium before Christ due to "historical considerations" which are naturally based on the Scaligerian chronology. After that, other "ancient" pieces of wood are linked to the one that has already been dated. These attempts occasionally succeed, which results in the construction
48 woods 101 mediaeval 97 ancient italy
4 woods M mediaeval 4 ancient
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