Dendrochronology studies in Atlantic Canada are rare partly because old-growth forests are scarce making it difficult to establish multiple-century tree-ring chronologies. One approach to overcome this problem is to use tree-ring records found in the wood of historical structures. For our study, the Sinclair Inn in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, was selected for a dendroarchaeological assessment because of its rich and complex history: it resulted from the merging of two early 18th Century houses (the Soullard and Skene houses). To date the Sinclair Inn, three other historical structures of a younger age were used to establish an annual ring record in lieu of old-growth forest data. Red spruce (Picea rubens), a dominant tree species in the Maritimes, was the most prominent wood found in the structures and allowed for the creation of a regional red spruce reference chronology extending far enough into the past to cover the supposed period of construction of the Sinclair Inn. Crossdating results indicate cutting dates of 1709 and 1710 for the Skene and Soullard houses, respectively, and 1769 for the inn itself. In the process of dating the structure, a ∼200-year long regional floating red spruce chronology (1591–1789) was developed that will further help future dendrochronological investigations in the Maritimes.
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