Radiocarbon dating tree rings
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Dendrochronology is the formal term for tree-ring dating, the science that uses the growth rings of trees as a detailed record of climatic change in a region, as well as a way to approximate the date of construction for wooden objects of many types. As archaeological dating techniques go, dendrochronology is extremely precise: if the growth rings in a wooden object are preserved and can be tied into an existing chronology, researchers can determine the precise calendar year—and often season—the tree was cut down to make it. Radiocarbon dates which have been calibrated by comparison to dendrochronological records are designated by abbreviations such as cal BP, or calibrated years before the present. Tree-ring dating works because a tree grows larger—not just height but gains girth—in measurable rings each year in its lifetime. The rings are the cambium layer, a ring of cells that lies between the wood and bark and from which new bark and wood cells originate; each year a new cambium is created leaving the previous one in place.
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The Reliability of Radiocarbon Dating
Ancient radioactive tree rings could rip up the history books • The Register
Radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it. But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is. Radiocarbon dating was invented in the s by the American chemist Willard F. Libby and a few of his students at the University of Chicago: in , he won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention.
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Dendrochronology - Tree Rings as Records of Climate Change
Tree-ring dating and radiocarbon research led by Cornell University archaeologist Sturt Manning has established an absolute timeline for the archaeological, historical and environmental record in Mesopotamia from the early second millennium B. Manning, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Classical Archaeology and director of the Cornell Tree-Ring Laboratory, resolved how to more accurately date the rich archaeological and textual record across years of ancient Near Eastern history -- the time of such famous figures as Hammurabi of Babylon. For several decades, scholars have debated discrepancies in chronological schemes for this period that were up to years or more apart. The previous inconsistencies in the timeline for ancient Mesopotamia stem from incomplete text records preserved on clay tablets, and existing, proposed and debated chronologies from other sources including partial astronomical records, archaeological materials such as ceramics, a tree-ring growth anomaly in Turkey originally thought to be caused by a volcanic eruption, and dates derived from radiocarbon dating. The multiple and often conflicting timelines have vexed historians and other scholars for a century.
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