Dendrochronology is the science of dating wooden objects using tree ring patterns. Dendrochronological analysis can also be used to identify precisely where the wood used in heritage objects was sourced.
The Dutch Centre for Dendrochronology (RING)
The Dutch Centre for Dendrochronology, or RING, was established in 1993 to promote dendrochronological analysis in archaeology and other disciplines in the Netherlands.
At the RING laboratory, dendrochronology is applied and developed in all kinds of ways. Wooden heritage objects such as wells, roads, houses, ships, paintings and furniture are dated. Remains of woodland found in peat are analysed to enable past vegetation to be reconstructed. RING also develops new tree ring calendars for dating purposes, and for identifying the source of wood, including the timbers used to build ships.
RING generally performs dating studies on the basis of short-term contracts. Other studies are part of longer-term research projects. Research is conducted in the laboratory or on location at restoration workshops, for example. RING’s clients include the Cultural Heritage Agency, the Rijksmuseum, universities, local authorities, archaeological consultancies, art dealers and private individuals. Anyone may use the services of RING, though the centre does reserve the right to refuse commissions.
RING is involved in two projects:
- Digital Collaboratory for Cultural-Historical Dendrochronology in the Low Countries (DCCD).
- Arts and crafts in Roman shipbuilding: raw materials management, construction technology, use and disposal of barges in the Lower Rhine region in the Roman period. Roman forestry and shipbuilding: raw materials management and systems of supply, recycling and disposal (R.M. Visser) and Barges of the Zwammerdam type: chronology, provenance, construction, wood technology and use.
See also: project information
- The most informative website on dendrochronology, which includes a bibliography providing access to thousands of publications is
The Ultimate Tree-ring Web Pages
- For plotting tree ring patterns
Crossdating Tree Rings Using Skeleton Plotting
- For tree ring curves and calendars
International Tree-Ring Data Bank
- An out-of-date overview of European tree ring calendars is available at
RING is located at the Cultural Heritage Agency’s head office in Amersfoort.