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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Dendroarchaeology is under-represented in the Gulf Coastal Plain region of the United States (US), and at present, only three published studies have precision dated a collection of 18th–19th-century structures. In this study, we examined the tree-ring data from pine, poplar, and oak timbers used in the Walker House in Tupelo, Mississippi. The Walker House was constructed ca. the mid-1800s with timbers that appeared to be recycled from previous structures. In total, we examined 30 samples (16 pines, 8 oaks, and 6 poplars) from the attic and crawlspace. We cross-dated latewood ring growth from the attic pine samples to the period 1541–1734 (r = 0.52, t = 8.43, p < 0.0001) using a 514-year longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) latewood reference chronology from southern Mississippi. The crawlspace oak samples produced a 57-year chronology that we dated against a white oak (Quercus alba L.) reference chronology from northeast Alabama to the period 1765–1822 (r = 0.36, t = 2.83, p < 0.01). We were unable to cross-date the six poplar samples due to a lack of poplar reference chronologies in the region. Our findings have two important implications: (1) the pine material dated to 1734 represents the oldest dendroarchaeology-confirmed dating match for construction materials in the southeastern US, and (2) cross-dating latewood growth for southeastern US pine species produced statistically significant results, whereas total ring width failed to produce significant dating results.

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