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VERA Seminar

Old olive trees: Can we know how old a tree is?
Can we know when a tree died?
A high-resolution radiocarbon research on the growth patterns of olive trees

Lior Regev, D-REAMS Radiocarbon Laboratory, Scientific Archaeology Unit, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The olive tree (Olea europaea) is known to be in the 'blacklist' of tree-rings experts, and hence, determining its age by ring counting is highly debatable.

Here we present the use of a novel integration of δ13C measurements and radiocarbon dating, to identify, for the first time, a proven annual signal in modern olive wood. Comparing these results with CT scans of a parallel radial section indicated that CT might not be sufficient for assessing the total number of rings in fresh and charred olive wood. Furthermore, we demonstrate the complexity of the olive stem, expressed in different growth by sectors along the circumference, and the difficulties of dating a tree by 'coring and extrapolating', using a test case of dating a full section of the trunk.

Our results have implications for former and future chronological questions, being answered using olive wood samples, and open possibilities for future dendrochronological and climatological research using olive wood.


Donnerstag, 06.12.2018    16:30 Uhr

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