Dendrochronology is an invaluable tool to help scientists determine the age of ancient settlements and artifacts. Archaeologists have a group of unlikely allies: trees. Dendrochronology, the scientific method of studying tree rings, can pinpoint the age of archaeological sites using information stored inside old wood.
What does tree-ring dating tell archaeologists?
Dendrochronology (or tree-ring dating) is the scientific method of dating tree rings (also called growth rings) to the exact year they were formed. As well as dating them, this can give data for dendroclimatology, the study of climate and atmospheric conditions during different periods in history from wood.
Which is a way archaeologists use tree rings?
For example, archaeologists use tree rings to date timber from log cabins and Native American pueblos by matching the rings from the cut timbers of homes to rings in very old trees nearby. Matching these patterns can show the year a tree was cut, thus revealing the age of a dwelling.
How do you count rings on a tree?
Start in the middle of the stump or cross-section of wood and count the first dark ring you see. Continue counting outwards from the middle ring until you reach the last dark ring. The total number of dark rings represents the age of the tree in years. Dont count the bark of the tree as a dark ring.
What can you learn from tree rings?
The characteristics of the rings inside a tree can tell scientists how old a tree is and what the weather conditions were like during each year of that trees life. Very old trees can offer clues about what the climate in an area was like long before measurements were recorded.