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Author Topic: Dendrochronology - Oak & Elm
Ken Hume
Posts: 437
Post Dendrochronology - Oak & Elm
on: May 18, 2016, 18:50

Dr. Martin Bridge (UCL Institute of Archaeology) is currently trying to establish if there is a reliable way to dendro date elm timbers used in timber-framed buildings. Until recently English Elm has been thought to be a notoriously difficult timber to work and date because of its wild grain and highly variable growth rates.

The strategy that Dr. Bridge will employ is simple and this is to establish a list of buildings that contain coeval elm and oak timbers where the elm will be dated by using the oak as a reliable reference dating datum. Hopefully a growth chronology can then be established.

English elm can grow at alarmingly fast rates with trees reaching over 3 ft in diameter in about 100 years however few elm timbers in timber-framed buildings have been converted from such stock with 25 - 30 year old elm able to produce 8" x 8" beams with some waney edge to be used as spine beams or quarter sawn for use as studs or rafters.

A distinction needs to be made between English Elm and Wych Elm with the latter being a native tree common in Scotland, The Chiltern Hills and North & South Downs.

To this end, The Oxfordshire Woodland Group are seeking woodland owners who have both oak and elm growing close together in their woodlands such that comparative samples can be obtained with an absolutely known growth date range.

Woodland owners that can help should contact The Oxfordshire Woodland Group

Ken Hume - Exec Trustee.

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