Dendrochronology: Social and Cultural Aspects of Wood in Archaeology

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

At its most basic level, dendrochronology allows for the dating of structures and their construction phases. However, during the past 30 years it has rapidly expanded to include a wide variety of behavioral and cultural events and processes. Its growing appeal and utility has transformed the shrinking corpus of historic buildings into a documentable cultural resource. As an approach in archaeology, dendrochronology has carved out a scholarly niche that intersects with the study of shipwrecks, heritage buildings, environmental archaeology, wood as a material relevant to the human past, and dendroprovenancing, which enables the study of wood as a historical material in both time and space. This session is devoted to exploring the social and cultural relations of wood (terrestrial and maritime) to which dendrochronology provides access.

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  • Documents (6)

  • Dendroarchaeological dating and authentication of historic Cherokee dwellings of the Northern Georgia Trail of Tears (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Georgina DeWeese. Henri Grissino-Mayer. W. Jeff Bishop.

    The understanding of settlement patterns of Native Americans in northern Georgia has largely come from historic documents, land deeds and records, and in some cases creative speculation. Documenting sites in northern Georgia that are related to the Trail of Tears would promote the importance of the state in the history of Cherokee removal, which has long been overlooked. By using dendroarchaeological techniques, wood collected from historic sites and structures can be dated using the tree rings...

  • Dendroarchaeology of Eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) in the Greater Montreal area: local use and imports (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marie-Claude Brien.

    The Groupe de Recherche en Dendrochronologie Historique (GRDH) has carried out various tree-ring analysis of Eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) in the St. Lawrence Valley since its creation in 2002. Its first major project was the creation of a reference chronology for the Québec City area in 2007. Since then, around twenty heritage buildings and archaeological sites of the greater Montreal area have been analysed, totalising one hundred of locally felled eastern white cedar covering the...

  • Dendrochronological Evaluation of Ship Timber from Charlestown Navy Yard (Boston, MA) (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Pearce Paul Creasman.

    More than 200 warships were built, and thousands serviced, at Charlestown Navy Yard (Boston, MA) in its 175 years of service for the U.S. Navy (1800-1974 C.E.). Recent renovations and redevelopment of the former yard revealed an historic timber pond, where hundreds of unfinished naval-quality ship timbers remained buried. Many of these timbers were offered to the Henry B. du Pont Preservation Shipyard (Mystic Seaport, CT) for their restoration of Charles W. Morgan. Courtesy of Mystic Seaport,...

  • Dendrochronology in the Absaroka Mountains, Wyoming: How Ancient Wood Frames a High Montane Archaeological Landscape (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marcy Reiser.

    The Big Horn Basin in Wyoming was one of the last areas in the West explored and settled by early Euro-Americans. Thus, first-hand historical accounts from this region are sparse, especially from the Absaroka Mountains which flank the basin on the west. Tree-ring samples collected from ancient wood at high elevation sites in the Central Absarokas, including from prehistoric culturally peeled trees, archaeological features, and historic cabins, provide a unique window into this region’s past....

  • La vie à bord de “La Dauphine” et de “l’Aimable Grenot” (baie de Saint-Malo, France): études archéodendrométriques (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Catherine Lavier.

    En 1994, dans le chenal d’accès au port de Saint-Malo, des épaves de frégates ont été découvertes et les fouilles, dirigées par le DRASSM, ont été menées de 1999 à 2008. Issus de la Dauphine (arsenal royal du Havre, 1703/1704) et de L’Aimable Grenot, (chantier de Granville, 1747/1749), quelques 3138 objets de la vie quotidienne à bord ont été extraits de ces épaves dont 1710 en bois. Leur étude archéodendrométrique n’a pu débuter qu’en 2011, après restauration des objets. On montrera comment...

  • The Puebloan construction wood-use cycle: Implications for dendroarchaeological research (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jeffrey S. Dean.

    An important component of models of wood-use behavior used to interpret archaeological tree-ring data is the temporal cycle through which wooden construction elements pass. Understanding the prevailing cycle of construction-wood-use behavior is vital to deriving both chronological and behavioral information from tree-ring collections from archaeological sites. Intensive dendroarchaeological research has identified a strong pattern of Puebloan wood-use behavior that can be generalized to evaluate...