Black Oak - Recent advances for a South Scandinavian multi-millennial bog-oak chronology

Project: Research

Research areas and keywords


  • Oak, Dendrochronology, Climate Change, Archaeology


This is an ongoing initiative to develop a continuous multi-millennial Scandinavian tree-ring width (TRW) chronology from subfossil oak (Quercus spp.). About 1500 oak trunks extracted from Danish and South Swedish peatlands have been analysed, and at present, the material consists of a mixture of absolutely dated, radiocarbon dated, and not yet dated TRW records showing a temporal spread over the last 8500 years. The material has been collected during dendrochronological fieldworks and archaeological excavations since the 1970s, but since there are still gaps in between the chronologies, new efforts are under way to find materials that can bridge the gaps.
Significant long distance cross-dating statistics between Swedish – Danish – German bog-oak chronologies proves that there is a valuable (palaeo)climatic signal in the TRW data. Moreover, several oak burial events coincide with wet shifts causing expanding peatlands, which makes the oak material a valuable complement to the Scandinavian bog-pine chronologies under construction. The importance of this initiative should therefore not be underestimated as (1) climate records of comparable length and resolution are rare for southern Scandinavia, (2) the chronologies can serve as an important dating tool for archaeological artefacts from the region, and (3) there is a widespread lack of detailed moisture proxies spanning several millennia. Our data clearly show that a continuous 8000-year bog-oak chronology from South Scandinavia is a realistic objective, and would doubtlessly fill a major geographic gap in an ecologically sensitive region located at the interface between the temperate and boreal vegetation zones.

Layman's description

The aim of the project is to use oak trees excavated from Swedish and Danish peatlands to link the already existing oak chronologies we have. The material has a potential to form a 8000-year oak chronology, which would be of importance for climate research and as a dating tool for wood material from archaeological excavations.
Short titleBlack Oak
Effective start/end date2019/01/01 → …


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