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Tree-Ring Dating of Baldcypress and the Potential for Millennia-Long Chronologies in the Southeast

  • David W. Stahle (a1), Edward R. Cook (a2) and James W. C. White (a2)

Abstract

The tree-ring dating of baldcypress has been achieved in the southeastern United States, and the first 500 to 600 year long baldcypress chronologies have been developed from remnant stands of old-growth trees. An 800 year long cypress tree-ring chronology based on living trees and extended with long dead submerged logs has recently been dated, demonstrating the feasibility for very long chronology extension using progressively older sources of preserved cypress wood from old-growth trees, historic buildings, prehistoric archaeological sites, and natural deposits of submerged and buried logs and stumps. The longevity, climate sensitivity, and excellent preservation of ancient baldcypress wood make this species the only realistic prospect for millennia-long tree-ring chronologies extending to the mid-holocene in the Southeast, with important potential applications to the tree-ring dating of prehistoric archaeological sites, paleoclimatic reconstruction, and the calibration of independent dating methods.

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