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Science & Technology in Archaeology

Dendrochronological Studies

Dendrochronological (tree-ring) studies allow scientists to identify and date droughts and other climate-driven environmental changes. Thin annual rings reflect years of lower precipitation and slower tree growth; thicker annual rings reflect years of higher precipitation and faster tree growth.

A dendrochronologist cores an in-place roof beam in an ancient pueblo. The growth rings revealed in the sample are a record of the environmental conditions over the life of the tree. The same wood core could also be used to date the construction of this structure; see discussion under dating.