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).

This Built Heritage Resource Guide is unusually rich in the information given in the Note Areas accompanying most images. So... when you scan down the pages, be sure to click on the thumbnails so that you can enlarge and explore the images, plus read the extra details provided beneath each.

 scan 200803135
"A Phoenix Rising From the Ashes: The Nova Scotia Tree Ring Project and Saint George's Round Church" by Alan Ruffman 
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library: F5200 G851

Topic: Dendochronology (Tree-rings)
Nova Scotia Information Service scan 200803137
Ottawa House 
Date: ca. 1953
Photographer: Nova Scotia Bureau of Information
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives no. 7216

Topic: Dendochronology (Tree-rings)
Thomas Hill scan 200803138
St. George's Church, Brunswick Street, Halifax, NS 
Photographer: W.D. O'Donnell
Reference no.: Thomas Hill Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1982-412 no. 26

Topic: Dendochronology (Tree-rings)
<i>The Novascotian</i> in <i>The Sunday Herald</i>, 27 May 2007, pp. 3-4 scan 200803139
"Keeping the Tides at Bay" by Jonathan Fowler 
Date: 27 May 2007
Reference no.: The Novascotian in The Sunday Herald, 27 May 2007, pp. 3-4 

Topic: Dendochronology (Tree-rings)
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