The analysis of timber frames often reveals a great deal about a building’s provenance.  The evolution of building techniques, tools and layout methods can offer a great deal of insight about a structure’s origins.  Some details, like the marriage marks pictured here, are more obvious than others.  The wood itself often contains a more definitive record a building’s age.  This can often be revealed through dendrochronology.

Dendrochronology is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “The science or technique of dating events, environmental change, and archaeological artifacts by using the characteristic patterns of annual growth rings in timber and tree trunks.”  Using this technology, it is possible to determine the felling dates of timbers used in the construction of timber framed structures with a high degree of accuracy.  Typically, early American structures were cut and erected while the wood was still green, often within a year of felling, making dendrochronology a valuable tool in the discovery of construction dates.

Our partner company, Transom Historic Preservation Consulting, provides coring services for the submission of samples to the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory located in Oxfordshire U.K. The Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory works closely with the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at Oxford University and has dated many prominent historic structures throughout the United States.  More information about Dr. Daniel Miles, dendrochronology and the laboratory can be found here.  For information about rates and eligibility for sampling, please contact me directly.

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