New Tools for Science-based Archaeology: Isotope-supported Dendrochronology

Tree-ring dating or dendrochronology, is unique in its ability to assign calendar dates to timber artefacts. Through careful statistical matching of ringwidth patterns, dendrochronology has revolutionised science-based archaeology and palaeoclimatology, however its application is limited by wood species, provenance and segment-length.


A new dating technique; isotope-dendrochronology, combining multiple isotopic indicators and tree-ring widths will be developed to provide precise dating with quantified statistical confidence. As stable isotopes exhibit higher spatio-temporal signal strength and inter-species coherence than ringwidth, there is significant potential to revolutionise the dating of difficult samples: for example where species, segment-length or chronology replication make conventional dendrochronology challenging.


The project (REF:RPG-2014-327) is funded by The Leverhulme Trust. This society was established by the will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers. Since 1925 the Trust has provided grants and scholarships for research and education. Today, it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80m a year. For more information about the Trust, please visit

The Research Team

Christopher Ramsey

Danny McCarroll

Giles H.F. Young

Darren Davies

Daniel Miles

Neil Loader