Cornell – STARC Dendrochronology Seminar at Pelendri

July 11, 2017

Students from The Cyprus Institute and Cornell University participated in a seminar on Dendrochronology and Architectural History held on June 14th at the Church of the Holy Cross in the village of Pelendri. Led by Cornell Professor Sturt Manning and CyI Assoc. Professor Nikolas Bakirtzis, this full-day seminar introduced students to the method of Dendrochronology and its great research potential in the context of the church building’s complex structural history.

Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating has been available as a recognized scientific technique since the early 1900s. Simply stated, many species of trees in temperate zones (and some in tropical zones) grow one visible ring per calendar year. For the entire period of a tree's life, a year-by-year record or ring pattern is formed that in some way reflects the climatic and environmental conditions in which the tree grew. These patterns can be compared and matched ring for ring with trees especially of the same species growing in the same geographical zone and under similar climatic conditions. In sum, dendrochronology measures, compares and matches tree-ring growth offering invaluable information on the age of the wood used by builders and artists thus helping to date buildings, wooden objects and works of art such as icons. The tree-ring records can also inform us about past climate and environment.

The seminar was organized in the context of the ongoing collaboration between STARC and the Cornell Tree Ring Laboratory and the Cyprus Department of Antiquities aiming to develop a specialized dendrochronology lab in Cyprus and to further pursue tree-ring dating for art and architecture in Cyprus and the broader region. This event marks the expanding collaboration between Cornell University and the Cyprus Institute which includes in addition to dendrochronology collaboration in the fields of Bioarchaeology and sub surface imaging.

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A group of students pose in front of the entrance to a stone building