Tree-ring dating is formally known as “dendrochronology” (literally, the study of tree time).
It is the science of assigning calendar-year dates to the growth rings of trees, and Colorado figures prominently in its development and application in archaeology and other disciplines.
A warm British winter or wet summer will generally have a positive effect on growth (dependent on site factors) and give rise to a wider ring in that year.
A harsh winter or dry/hot summer generally has a negative effect on a tree's growth causing a narrow tree-ring in that year.
The overlapping of tree-ring sequences and combining of timbers from different sources allows the creation of a "reference or master chronology" generally of known date which can be used with compare to timbers of unknown date and allow them to be dated.
While as illustrated below the theory of dendrochronology is relatively simple, specialist experience, techniques and statistics are all required to provide a scientific date.
Dendrochronology uses the variations in the thickness of annual growth rings in living trees as well as old timbers to date wooden objects and buildings, by counting tree-rings back from the present on very old trees and then by successively overlapping even older timbers further back through time.
However, different regions of the country experienced different climate, and dating may be problematic in some areas where the reference chronology coverage is weak and still in the process of development.
Dendrochronology is a science of precise dating, by the accurate counting of annual tree growth-rings, which allows dating wooden items to the year.
The pattern of annual tree-rings differs each year, depending upon the growing conditions at the time.
The behavioral aspect of tree-ring dating, meanwhile, allows archaeologists to understand ancient wood-use practices, trade, and other activities.
Tree-ring dating may only be performed on tree species that produce one growth ring per year, and do so in response to annual variations in precipitation (and in some cases temperature).
We undertake both private and commercial commissions in dendrochronology throughout the UK: Most previous reports are available for purchase and these are listed on the Building page.