Peter Ian Kuniholm

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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Dendrochronology is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings, or growth rings. Also known as tree-ring dating, it is a deceptively simple technique. Because dendrochronology works only with tree species having clear, annual growth rings, it is highly recommended to scholars investigating the history of Byzantium, where buildings were built with oak. All dendrochronology is based upon the fundamental principle of crossdating. However, there are several caveats to the dendrochronological method, including the possibility of reused wood, changing habits of users of wood, heavily trimmed wood, and wood imported from some other climatic region. This article discusses sampling and analytical techniques used in dendrochronology, the chronology for oak in Northern Europe, dendrochronology in the Byzantine Empire, and reference sources and additional applications of dendrochronology. It also presents case studies in dendrochronology and in environmental and climatic reconstruction in Europe, Aegean, and the Near East. Finally, the article considers radiocarbon calibration and "wiggle-matching" of seriated samples.

Keywords: tree-ring dating; dendrochronology; Byzantium; Europe; oak; Aegean; Near East; climatic reconstruction; radiocarbon calibration; wiggle-matching

Article.  3947 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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