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Oxygen isotope dendrochronology of Llwyn Celyn; One of the oldest houses in Wales / Danny McCarroll; Neil Loader; Daniel Miles; Caroline Stanford; Richard Suggett; Christopher Bronk Ramsey; Ross Cook; Darren Davies; Giles Young
Dendrochronologia, Volume: 58, Start page: 125653
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We report the application of oxygen isotope dendrochronology to date a high-status and remarkably unaltered late medieval hall house on the eastern border of South Wales. The oak timbers have either short and complacent ring series, or very strong growth disturbance, and none were suitable for ring-...
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We report the application of oxygen isotope dendrochronology to date a high-status and remarkably unaltered late medieval hall house on the eastern border of South Wales. The oak timbers have either short and complacent ring series, or very strong growth disturbance, and none were suitable for ring-width dendrochronology. By using stable oxygen isotopes from the latewood cellulose, rather than ring widths, it was possible to cross-match and date all 14 timber samples and to provide felling dates related to several phases of building. The hall and solar cross-wing were constructed shortly after 1420CE, which is remarkably early. The house was upgraded using timbers felled in the winter of 1695/6CE by ceiling over of the hall and inserting a chimney. A separate small domestic building was added at the same time and the addition of the kitchen is likely to be contemporaneous. A substantial beast house was added a few years before the house was refurbished, emphasising the importance of cattle as the main source of wealth. A small barn with timbers felled in spring 1843 CE was added later. Llwyn Celyn is one of the most important domestic buildings in Wales, but without the new approach none of the phases of its evolution could have been dated precisely. Oxygen isotope dendrochronology has enormous potential for dating timbers that have small numbers of rings and/or show severe growth disturbance and it works well in regions where tree growth is not strongly constrained by climate. The research was generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust, Natural Environment Research Council, Landmark Trust and the UK National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Stable isotopes, Dating, Mediaeval, Medieval, Hall house
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