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Dating of non-oak species in the United Kingdom historical buildings archive using stable oxygen isotopes
Dendrochronologia, Volume: 69, Start page: 125862
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Stable oxygen isotope dendrochronology is an effective precision-dating method for fast grown, invariant (complacent) tree-rings and for trees growing in moist, temperate climatic regions where growth may not be strongly controlled by climate. The method works because trees preserve a strong common...
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Stable oxygen isotope dendrochronology is an effective precision-dating method for fast grown, invariant (complacent) tree-rings and for trees growing in moist, temperate climatic regions where growth may not be strongly controlled by climate. The method works because trees preserve a strong common isotopic signal, from summer precipitation, and therefore do not need to be physiologically stressed to record a dating signal. This study explores the working hypothesis that whilst tree species may differ in their eco-physiology, leaf morphology and wood anatomy they will record an isotopic signal in their growth rings that is sufficiently similar to enable their precise dating against isotopic reference chronologies developed using dated oak tree rings from the same region. Modern and historical samples from six species (sweet chestnut, English elm, ash, alder, European beech and black poplar) were analysed and their oxygen isotopic variability was compared against an oak master chronology previously developed for central southern England. Whilst differences in the relative strength of the agreement between the different species and the master chronology are apparent, the potential for interspecies dating is demonstrated convincingly. The ability to date non-oak species using stable oxygen isotopes opens-up new opportunities for science-based archaeology and will improve understanding of a largely-unexplored, but significant part of the European historical buildings archive.
oak; Quercus; elm; Ulmus; stable isotope dendrochronology
Faculty of Science and Engineering