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Letters to Nature
Nature 312, 150 - 152 (08 November 1984); doi:10.1038/312150a0

A 7,272-year tree-ring chronology for western Europe

J. R. Pilcher*, M. G. L. Baillie*, B. Schmidt & B. Becker

*Palaeoecology Centre, Queen's University, Belfast, BT7 1NN, UK
University of Köln, 5000 Köln 41, Weyertal 125, FRG
University of Hohenheim, 7000 Stuttgart 70, Garbenstrasse 30, FRG

Long tree-ring chronologies provide a unique calendrical record that is of value for archaeological dating, climatic and post-glacial studies. They also form a standard for the calibration of the radiocarbon time scale. The world's longest continuous tree-ring chronology is based on the bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata and Pinus longaeva) growing in the White Mountains of California1–3. The great age of living and sub-fossil trees of this species enabled a continuous tree-ring sequence of 8,681 years to be established, providing absolutely dated wood samples for the first radiocarbon calibration4,5. We have now established an unbroken west European tree-ring sequence spanning the past 7,272 years.

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