Nova Scotia Archives

Built Heritage Resource Guide

Dendochronology (Tree-rings)

Dendrochronology is the scientific method of tree-ring dating based on the analysis of tree-ring growth patterns. Trees in temperate climates annually add a layer of light early wood beneath their bark in the spring. Then a darker ring of late wood forms in the summer and autumn. The paired bands of light and dark form an annual growth ring. Skinny rings are produced in dry years, fat rings in rainy years. By comparing patterns in trees, dendrochronologists compile a datable chronology.

Dendrochronology has been used to date some 110 buildings in New England (Yankee, March 2006, pp. 56-61) as well as the Doucet House Museum in Rustico, PEI (Edifice: Old Home Magazine, No. 11, 2007). In Nova Scotia, dendrochronology has been used to date Ottawa House, Parrsboro; the Sinclair Inn, Annapolis Royal; and St. George's Anglican Church, Halifax. Alan Ruffman discusses dendrochronology in Nova Scotia and its application, in particular, to St. George's in 'A phoenix rising from the ashes' (Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, The Griffin, December 2000, pp. 18-19). The technology has also been used to date wood in an Acadian-era sluice at Grand Pré (Jonathan Fowler, 'Keeping the tides at bay' in The Novascotian supplement, pp.3-4, of Sunday Herald, 27 May 2007).

Ottawa House

Date: ca. 1953

Photographer: Nova Scotia Bureau of Information

Reference: Nova Scotia Information ServiceNova Scotia Archives no. 7216

Topic: Dendochronology (Tree-rings)

St. George's Church, Brunswick Street, Halifax, NS

Photographer: W.D. O'Donnell

Reference: Thomas HillNova Scotia Archives accession no. 1982-412 no. 26

Topic: Dendochronology (Tree-rings)

"Keeping the Tides at Bay" by Jonathan Fowler

Date: 27 May 2007

Reference: The Novascotian in The Sunday Herald, 27 May 2007, pp. 3-4

Topic: Dendochronology (Tree-rings)


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