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Abstract Detail


Devall, Emerita, Margaret S. [1].

Tree-Ring dating of a Louisiana antebellum plantation house.

We examined tree-ring samples of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum L. Rich.) timbers from the Solitude Plantation house in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. The purpose of the study is to determine cutting dates of timbers used in the construction of the plantation house, both the original house and the later addition, in order to corroborate or disprove available historical and architectural evidence for the construction dates of the house. The house was built of hand-hewn cypress timbers which were put together with wooden pegs. It is thought that the house was built around 1788 or 1789 on unclaimed land. The Spanish government issued grants to the land in 1797 and 1798. We sampled the house in 2014-2016. We obtained 0.5 mm diameter tree ring samples and small crossections from timbers from the attic, walls, floors and wainscoting of the house. Cores were air-dried, mounted in clamps and sanded to a high polish. Several of the samples were radiocarbon dated and others were crossdated after identification of marker rings. Measuring of the rings and crossdating were accomplished with the assistance of the Dynaclim computer software programs. All of the timbers sampled were cut from baldcypress trees believed to have been growing in the nearby Cat Island Swamp. No samples with bark or a wany edge indicating the last year of growth have been found so far, but the study is still underway. The probable time of cutting of timber for the original house and the later addition will be discussed. We also wished to provide tree-ring data to improve the temporal tree-ring record for the area. The historical samples will extend the length of tree-ring chronologies based solely on living trees. Practically all the older living cypress trees in the nearby Cat Island Swamp have heart rot caused by a Stereum sp. and only about 200 years of solid wood is available.

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1 - U.S. Forest Service, Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research, P.O. Box 227, Stoneville, MS, 38776, USA

tree-ring dating
Taxodium distichum.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 15, Ecology Section: Forest Ecology
Location: 104/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: 15005
Abstract ID:752
Candidate for Awards:None

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