The Mystery of the Missing Oak Trees

The Mystery of the Missing Oak Trees

Digging deeper into the opaque world of dendrochronology is a strange “scientific” experience because dendrochronologists tend to be a rather secretive bunch of Chronology Oracles.

A Hamburg dendrochronologist responded to my request for recent literature in December, 1994: today sequences and dates are no longer published because there exists the danger of abuse.

Hobby-dendrochronologists earned money by dating for example timbers of houses for private clients with unreliable methods.

So laboratories in Europe and worldwide exchange their dates without publishing them (Niemitz 1995 – in preparation).

Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist – 1995 – Hans-Ulrich Niemitz

The reticence of the Chronology Oracles to explain their dark arts probably explains why it requires an organisation like British Heritage to spill the beans regarding the mystery of the missing 4th century oak trees in England.

There are now many long oak chronologies throughout Europe.

The Northern Ireland chronology, for example, goes back to 5452 BC (Brown et al 1986; Pilcher et al 1995), while a German sequence from the Rhine area extends back to 8480 BC (M Spurk and M Friedrich personal communication May 1997).

Other species have also been used for dating purposes, but the potential of non-oak species for dating is only now beginning to be developed in Britain.

In England, over the years, many regional sequences of oak have been constructed.

These were initially dated by bridging them with chronologies from Germany and Ireland.

For the historic period there is now a continuous sequence that runs from the present back to AD 404, and another from Roman contexts covering 434 BC – AD 315.

The latter is still reliant on cross-links with Ireland and Germany for its dating since no English tree-ring sequence has been found that spans the fourth century AD.

Both the ‘Roman’ chronology and the AD 404 to present-day sequence are represented by master sequences from many sites.

Commonly used composite oak chronologies

Dendrochronology – Guidelines on producing and interpreting dendrochronological dates
English Heritage – 2004

UK Oak Chronologies - Bar Chart + Text

Working forwards from Roman Times the Chronology Oracles have managed to patch together a chronology [using “cross-links with Ireland and Germany”] to cover the period 434 BC – AD 315.

Working backwards from Modern Times the most determined Chronology Oracles have managed to conjure up an England chronology for 404 AD – 1981 AD.

At the very least there is a mysterious gap of 89 years in the history of the English oak tree.

However, it looks like the East Midlands chronology covering 882 AD – 1981 AD is probably the best of the bunch because it is fairly geographically focussed and doesn’t seem to rely upon patching in a collection of random floating chronologies.

Based upon this assessment of the chronologies the gap increases to 567 years [from 315 AD – 882 AD] although an actual gap of [about] 700 years may be more realistic given the archaeological evidence from Rome and Salzburg coupled with the extraordinary abilities of the Chronology Oracles to bridge [almost] any gap.

Unsurprisingly, Europe also has a long standing problem with missing oak trees in the 4th century.

There is another argument against applying dendrochronology to the Middle Ages.

The number of suitable samples of wood, which connect Antiquity and the Middle Ages is very small.

But only a great number of samples would give certainty against error.

For the period about 380 AD we have only 3, for the period about 720 AD only 4 suitable samples of wood (Hollstein 1980,11); usually 50 samples serve for dating.

Central European oak chronology

Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist – 1995 – Hans-Ulrich Niemitz

The German Medieval Masters struggle to get much further back than 1,000 AD.

Hohenheim Tree-Ring Laboratory - Medieval Masters - 1983

The Long-Term Radiocarbon Trend of the Absolute German Oak Tree-Ring Chronology 2300 to 800 BC – 1983 – Bernd Becker
Radiocarbon, Vol 25, No. 2, 1983, P 197-203

In 1983 the Hohenheim Tree-Ring Laboratory only managed to patch together a longer chronology by [somehow] bridging Archaeological and Sub-Fossil chronologies onto the Medieval Masters.

Hohenheim Tree-Ring Laboratory - 1983

The Long-Term Radiocarbon Trend of the Absolute German Oak Tree-Ring Chronology 2300 to 800 BC – 1983 – Bernd Becker
Radiocarbon, Vol 25, No. 2, 1983, P 197-203

Given than archaeologists have a pronounced ability of overlook gaps [whiles dendrologists have a pronounced ability to bridge any gap] it is more than likely than the missing oak trees only appear to be missing because [about] 700 years of fiction have been inserted [out of thin air] in the first millennium by the Chronology Oracles.

Hohenheim Tree-Ring Laboratory - Sub-Fossils -1983

Gallery | This entry was posted in Catastrophism, Dendrochronology, History. Bookmark the permalink.