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Dendrochronological research in North-Central Europe and the East Mediterranean has produced networks of long regional oak (Quercus sp.) reference chronologies that have been instrumental in dating, provenancing, and paleoclimate research applications. However, until now these two important tree-ring networks have not been successfully linked. Oak forests and historical/archaeological sites in southeastern Europe provide the key for linking the North-Central European and East Mediterranean tree-ring networks, but previous dendrochronological research in this region has been largely absent. This article presents the initial results of a project, in which we have built oak tree-ring chronologies from forest sites and historical/archaeological sites along a north-south transect between Poland and northwestern Turkey, with the aim of linking the North-Central European and East Mediterranean tree-ring networks and creating a new pan-European oak data set for dendrochronological dating and paleoclimatic reconstruction. Correlation among tree-ring chronologies and the spatial distribution of their teleconnections are evaluated. The southeastern European chronologies provide a solid bridge between both major European dendrochronological networks. The results indicate that a dense network of chronologies is the key for bridging spatial and temporal gaps in tree-ring records. Dendrochronological sampling should be intensively continued in southeastern Europe because resources for building long oak chronologies in the region are rapidly disappearing.
A total of 272 oak (Quercus sp.) samples have been collected from large subfossil trees dredged from sediment deposited by the Sava and various tributary rivers in the Zagreb region of northwestern Croatia, and in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Measurement series of tree-ring widths from these samples produced 12 groups, totaling 3456 years of floating tree-ring chronologies spread through the last ca. 8000 years. This work represents the first step in creating a new, high-resolution resource for dating and paleoenvironmental reconstruction in the Balkan region and potentially a means to bridge between the floating tree-ring chronologies of the wider Mediterranean region and the continuous long chronologies from central Europe.
The 17th c. Flemish painting on panel, The Armorer's Shop, has long been attributed to David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690). The painting depicts an opulent pile of parade armor at the bottom left foreground, a seated armorer at the bottom right foreground, and a forge surrounded by workers in the middle ground. The Teniers attribution is derived from his signature at the bottom right as well as figural groups and other visual elements that are commonly associated with him and executed in his style. During dendrochronological examination of the painting, a portion of the oak plank comprising the overall structure was found to have been carved out so that a smaller plank (containing the parade armor) could be inserted into the resulting depression. This unusual construction, combined with the identification of several paintings by Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678) depicting the same parade armor, raised questions about the attribution and chronology of construction of the painting. Art historical research suggests that the smaller plank with the armor was painted by Brueghel and that the remainder of the panel with the workers and forge was painted by his brother-in-law Teniers. While Brueghel writes of collaborating with Teniers in his journal, this appears to be the only identified collaboration of the two artists. Conventional microanalysis methods did not resolve the painting's construction chronology. However, confocal x-ray fluorescence microscopy (CXRF) revealed the composition and location of buried paint layers at the panel interfaces by combining depth scans at a number of adjacent lateral positions to produce virtual cross-sections over 20 mm in length. The relationship of the paint layers at the panel interfaces provided evidence for the armor panel having been painted separately and prior to the rest of the composition. This data, along with dendrochronological and IRR data, provided a chronology of construction for the painting that provided additional evidence for a Brueghel attribution. An overview of the CXRF technique will be provided along with a discussion of how CXRF data relates to data collected using SEM-EDS, FTIR, Raman, conventional XRF, x-radiography, IRR, and dendrochronology.
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