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1 December 2008 Dendrochronological Dating of Vernacular Folk Crafts in Northern Central Japan
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We dated vernacular folk crafts (traditional snow shovels) made of beech wood (Fagus crenata Bl.) in north-central Japan. A raw chronology was constructed for the folk crafts, spanning the period from 1721 to 1953 (233 years). The raw chronology was crossdated using a reference chronology in central Japan. Eventually, tree-ring dates were confidently determined for 26 out of 44 samples. The final tree-ring dates of the folk crafts ranged between 1872 and 1953. We used oral folkloric records collected in a public survey for comparison and verification of our results. The time period of use of the folk crafts was supposed to range between the late Meiji Period and the beginning of the Pacific War (World War II), and the tree-ring dates were generally consistent with the date range. However, the final tree-ring dates were after the Pacific War for two youngest samples, showing better agreement with the historical change in industry of modern Japan. The tree-ring dates demonstrate the potential to describe the historical use of the artifacts more accurately than the folkloric records. In addition, the existing site chronology of Japanese beech has been better replicated using the folk craft samples. The chronology can possibly be further extended using archaeological wood from historical buildings.

Yasuharu Hoshino, Takayuki Okochi, and Takumi Mitsutani "Dendrochronological Dating of Vernacular Folk Crafts in Northern Central Japan," Tree-Ring Research 64(2), 109-114, (1 December 2008).
Received: 15 May 2008; Accepted: 1 August 2008; Published: 1 December 2008

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