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Symposium. Historical Timbers and Wooden Artifacts as Archives: New Glimpses On Trees, Ecology, and People

15:00, Thursday 30 Jun 2022 (1 hour 30 minutes)

Information garnered from historical timbers and wooden artifacts (e.g. houses, barns, ships) can greatly enhance our understanding of human, ecological, and climate history, especially in regions where few old-growth forests and trees remain, tree longevity is relatively short (less than 300-400 years), and environmental conditions break down wood rather quickly, like in mesic to wet regions Over the last decade plus, the application of tree-ring techniques on wooden archaeological material is quickly growing beyond the dating of historic structures and climate reconstructions. New advances and recent works have highlighted a range of applications, including ecological change and disturbance, human-environment interactions, and deeper questions about historical human development (e.g. trade and migration through provenancing materials). 

Our symposium will feature a diverse set of international scientists who work with materials and data from historical timbers and wooden artifacts in different subdisciplines including ecology, human history, and astrophysics. Speakers will cover the breadth of these studies, including the movement of wooden materials between broad regions, cultural and economic uses of wood material, shipwrecks, and new approaches in provenancing wooden pieces created by people and moved to new regions or continents. We also hope to feature a geneticist to educate us about the application of new techniques that could be applied to tree-ring research and, specifically, historical timbers and wooden artifacts.