Laboratory of Dendrochronology

Archaeological oak timber

        Because the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) was used as the main building material in Lithuania, there is only a small number of historical objects in Lithuania where English oak (Quercus robur L.) was found as a building material. Oak timber formed a bigger part among findings only in Klaipëda Castle and old town. Samples of oak were also found in Kaunas City (pavement) and in Vilnius Lower Castle during archaeological excavations. Oak samples make 9.2% of the analysed timbers excavated in the Vilnius Lower Castle territory - the largest present-day collection of historical timbers in Lithuania. The main material for Vilnius oak chronology was obtained from the ‘bridge foundation (BF)’ construction found close to the Royal Palace gate at a depth of 4-5 m. Ring-width series of the oak beams of the ‘BF’, together with other excavated oak logs were cross-dated and a mean chronology of 217-year length was constructed. The chronology was dated to AD 1202-1418 against the Baltic reference chronologies Baltic1 (t =7.57), BALTIC2 (t = 4.52) and Winchcol (t =5.74) (authors J. Hilliam, I. Tyers, D. Mills). The average date of the hardwood - sapwood boundary on the ‘bridge’ samples that have partially preserved sapwood is between 1406 and 1407. As the average number of oak sapwood rings is considered to be 16, the most probable felling date of trees used for the ‘BF’ is situated around 1423 (Pukienë 2002, Pukienë, Oţalas 2006). Please visit our bibliography page for references.

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