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1 March 2007 ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS OF DENDROCHRONOLOGY IN ARCHAEOLOGY
James H. Speer a, KARLA M. HANSEN-SPEER b
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Abstract

Dendroarchaeology became established with A.E. Douglass' (1929) classic paper in National Geographic Magazine, dating approximately 45 ruins throughout the southwestern United States. Since then, dendrochronology has established the occupation sequences of numerous archaeological sites and has been used to describe past climatic conditions experienced by native and historical populations. The technique of dendrochronology has continued to expand and new methods are being developed that can provide ecological records that may help answer questions concerning anthropogenic ecology and resource availability in an archaeological context. The applications discussed in this paper include fire histories, stand-age structure, climate reconstructions, insect outbreak reconstructions, and mast (synchronous fruiting of trees) reconstructions. Native Americans' effect on natural fire regimes is a debated issue that we can now explore through numerous fire histories extending back to the 1600s in the southwestern United States. Historical fire regimes can be examined in the eastern United States back to the 1800s. Climate reconstructions in the southwestern United States extend back more than 2,000 years in multiple locations. Native Americans have used Pandora Moth larvae as a food source, and outbreak reconstructions now extend to the 1300s in south-central Oregon. Furthermore, new techniques in dendrochronology have been developed to reconstruct masting in oak trees in the southeastern United States over the last century. These dendroecological records can provide useful information for resource availability if specific studies can be conducted that combine archaeological findings with these long-term reconstructions.

James H. Speer a and KARLA M. HANSEN-SPEER b "ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS OF DENDROCHRONOLOGY IN ARCHAEOLOGY," Journal of Ethnobiology 27(1), 88-109, (1 March 2007). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771(2007)27[88:EAODIA]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 March 2007
KEYWORDS
anthropogenic ecology
dendroecology
insect outbreaks
mast
resource availability
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