Introduction to tree ring dating

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Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, is the science of dating wood utilizing the phenomenon of yearly tree-ring growth.

By using this technique, we can provide precise calendar dates for wooden structures and other objects.

Michael Worthington is a dendrochronologist with extensive experience working on both sides of the Atlantic.

Among the many buildings he has dated are Mount Vernon in Virginia; the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams in Massachusetts; the Josiah Henson Site ("Uncle Tom's Cabin") in Maryland; Drayton Hall in South Carolina; the Officers’ Club at the Presidio in San Francisco, California; and Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London in the U. He began his career in buildings as an industrial archaeologist at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire, England.

A key distinction of dendrochronology is that all trees rings being analyzed are dated to their correct year of formation.This page does not attempt to cover the details of wood formation that make tree rings possible, but rather provides an overview of common wood characteristics and anomalies that you will need to identify when you are crossdating.Variation in these rings is due to variation in environmental conditions when they were formed.After deciding to specialize in dendrochronology, he received his academic training at Oxford University through a grant from English Heritage.At Oxford he was a member of staff at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art and an assistant tutor on the master's degree course in Archaeological Science.

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