Sample from Pit 20 prepared for Tree Ring Dating

Pit20SampleSince the eastern end of the structure seems to have been undergone some sort of repair or extension, we have decided to take samples for tree-ring dating (dendrochronology)from the western-most timbers to see if we can push back the dates we have already obtained from this technique. The image to the left, taken from a photograph supplied by member Roger Lancefield, shows a sample sawn from the end of the transverse beam which we have uncovered at the far western end of Pit 20. Although this looks a fairly massive piece of timber it is still only aout half the size of the main structural beam we have beam investigating. The sample appears to be of oak and is dense and solid in spite of the waterlogged nature of the environment. Interestingly, although the top of the beam appears smooth, as though it has been worked to lower face is quite irregular, leading us to speculate that it was possibly originally part of a hollow tree.

We have also tried to sample the main beam with less success, since it is so massive. Attempts to take a core have proved difficult since the waterlogged nature of the wood has clogged the coring tools. We have removed a core, but in sections, which we hope can be joined together to provide a sufficient sample for dating.

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