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The Laboratory for Wood Anatomy and Dendrochronology

The Laboratory for Wood Anatomy and Dendrochronology has been active at the Department of Geology, Lund University, since 1973. The focus of the laboratory is on dendrochronological age determination of wood material from archaeological excavations, historical constructions, ship wrecks, art work etc. All material sent to the laboratory is registered and archived, and the laboratory hosts the by far most extensive and regularly updated collection of reference series for dendrochronological dating in Sweden. Dating with yearly precision is commonly possible back to about 1000 year before the present, sometimes considerably earlier than that, and in some cases it is even possible to determine during which season of the year the tree was felled. Even much older material can be dated with very high precision through combination with radiocarbon dating. In many cases the geographical origin (provenance) of wooden artefacts can also be determined. Wood anatomical analyses of small samples, such as charcoal fragments, are also performed at the laboratory, and microscopic analyses for species determination can be combined with age determination at the radiocarbon dating laboratory, which is also hosted by the Department of Geology. Hence, age and provenance determination can be applied to many different types of artefacts, deposits and constructions that contain wooden materials, information of great importance within a variety of disciplines, such as geology, archaeology, history and arts. Palaeoclimate research based on tree-ring series (dendroclimatology) is also carried out at the laboratory. This type of studies can be based on living trees, historical construction timber or wood remains preserved in lakes or peat deposits. Variations in temperature, moisture and a number of other environmental properties may be recorded as changes in ring width but also, for example, as changes in the stable carbon- and oxygen-isotope composition of wood samples. This type of palaeoclimate research, which is commonly carried out as part of PhD student projects, is integrated with research in Quaternary Sciences at the Department of Geology, and a recent example is given by Johannes Edvardsson's PhD thesis

Examples of dendrochronological sampling and results during building renovation. Here the "Kungshuset" in Lund:


Hans Linderson
Department of Geology
Lunds University
Sölvegatan 12
SE-223 62 Lund

+46 46 222 7891
hans [dot] linderson [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Cross-section of a pine tree from the Ural Mountains, Russia, showing signs of seven forest fires between AD 1704 and 1932.
Cross-section of a pine tree from the Ural Mountains, Russia, showing signs of seven forest fires between AD 1704 and 1932.