Trees, Astronomy, Ruins and Isotopes

A Review of the Dendrochronology and Radiocarbon Calibration Relationship

Published in: South African Forestry Journal
Volume 133, issue 1, 1985 , pages: 54–60
DOI: 10.1080/00382167.1985.9629575
Author(s): R.N. ThwaitesSaasveld Forestry Research Centre,


The history of dendrochronology is traced from the discovery of the method to prove astronomic sun-spot cycles to its use in archaeology for dating purposes. The principles and problems of both dendrochronology and radiocarbon 14C dating are described and the subsequent relationship of the two sciences is aiding the calibration of absolute dating methods using carbon isotopes is explained. The development of graphic calibration, which introduces a seemingly erratic curve, is discussed as regards its validity for accurate dating up to 50 000 years B.P. Whilst dendrochronology continues in other spheres as a science in its own right, the polemics surrounding valid radiocarbon calibration remain.

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