Shining a Light on the Past: Improved Chronology for Aotearoa-New Zealand Using Tree-Ring Based Radiocarbon and Stable Isotope Science
国际木文化学会 | 35 view(s) | 2023/05/18
Preserved wooden artefacts, including houses, palisades, carvings and canoes from species such as kauri (Agathis australis) and matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia), provide valuable insights into our past. These taonga (treasures) are highly significant to Māori hapū (connected family groups) and iwi (tribes), because they provide tangible links to ancestors and places (whakapapa). Interpretation of this cultural heritage is underpinned by the accurate placement of taonga in time. However, in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) there is a problem of temporal resolution in archaeological dating because the two methods used to date wooden objects – radiocarbon (14C) and dendrochronology – struggle to yield calendar ages constrained to a decade or single year. This is largely due to (1) radiocarbon calibration uncertainties in the last 800 years coincident with the entirety of human occupation in NZ; and (2) tree species and growth ring characteristics limiting application of classic tree-ring dating. As a result, a large proportion of NZ’s cultural heritage remains poorly located in time. This lack of temporal precision impacts our ability to contextualise objects, hindering understanding of connections to other taonga, people and past societal and environmental change. Combing ring width dendrochronology, tree-ring based 14C calibration and stable isotope (SI) research, this project aims to deliver advanced, accurate and precise calendar-dating of archaeological sites and wooden taonga (treasures) in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ).