Dendrochronology Records & Dating Historical Structures:
What We Do

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We are interested in sampling historical structures for their tree-ring records. Our goal is to assemble long tree-ring chronologies from oak trees by sampling both living trees and old wood. The tree-rings extracted from old wood can be calendar-dated and thus we can determine the calendar date the tree was cut. The tree-ring series are also records of past drought. The data will be used by us and others in modeling past droughts in Ohio and together with similar records across North America.

What We Can Provide You

If you wish we can supply you with a written report of the findings of our work. Typically the report will include a brief statement of methods, a summary of the dates on each beam and a list of references to learn more about the work. Click here for sample reports or take a look at our current and past projects for background information on each historical structure.

What We Hope to Accomplish

By linking tree-ring width data from cores taken from beams with tree-ring chronologies from old growth sites around Northeast Ohio we are able to crossdate the cores and assign calendar dates to individual rings. This method is essentially pattern matching that is done by eye and with computer routines. (see accompanying graphic below).

Pattern Matching

Moisture Reconstruction Graph

The figure to the right is an example of a moisture reconstruction based on tree-ring records from Northeast Ohio. We hope to extend this work by sampling beams in historical structures (ie. houses and barns). Our field research is done at sites in northeast Ohio. Analyses are performed in the WTRL.

Field Methods

The increment borers (shown right) are for living trees. This hollow drill bit cuts a 5mm cylinder of wood out of the tree. The process does not hurt the tree. Once the core is taken, the tree quickly fills the hole with sap to protect the small wound. The drill (bottom left) is used for houses and historical structures - holes in beams are filled with wooden pegs to hide the hole. However, for fallen structures or loose beams a chainsaw is used to collect cross-sections of the beam. (bottom right)

Drill Core

Increment Borers