Abstract

Dendrochronology, the science that uses tree rings for dating past events and reconstructing past environmental conditions, has undergone a period of explosive growth in the last three decades. From a discipline of limited topical and geographic scope, dendrochronology has been transformed into a global phenomenon relevant to a broad range of subjects. Firmly grounded in the principle of crossdating—using aspects of ring morphology to identify contemporaneous rings in different trees—dendrochronology provides absolute dates accurate to the calendar year and qualitative and quantitative reconstructions of environmental variations on seasonal to century scales. Archaeological applications of dendrochronology fall into three categories: chronological, behavioral, and environmental. Chronological analysis involves the dating of both concrete and abstract units of archaeological analysis. Archaeological tree-ring collections provide a broad spectrum of information on past human behavior including the treatment of trees as a natural resource and wood as a raw material, sources of timbers, season of wood procurement, and numerous specific wood use practices. Archaeologically-relevant environmental information derives from site species assemblages, geologic dating, and the dendroclimatic analysis of archaeological tree-ring sequences. Further expansion of the geographic compass and topical relevance of dendrochronology can be expected as scholars from around the globe pursue the ramifications of this technique.

Keywords

Tree Ring Ring Width Ring Series American Antiquity Ring Sequence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey S. Dean
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Tree-ring ResearchUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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