The pattern of ring widths on a specimen taken from a building is matched, using a computer with a 'master chronology' often several centuries long for the particular area.
None is infallible and before embarking on an extensive dating survey, due thought must be given to what might be achieved and which methods might be the more successful. Whilst earlier types of wooden joints may be copied in later buildings and earlier styles may be reintroduced in later periods to confound the conservationist or historian, any reuse of older materials should become obvious by the use of the chronometrical methods described here.
The incorporation of ancient bog oak into a building, no matter how intricately carved or jointed, would immediately become obvious to the chronologist, as would timber renovations.
These are: dendrochronology (or 'tree-ring' dating), radiocarbon dating and thermoluminescence dating.
Each method has a distinct role in the investigation of historic buildings.
Knowledge of radioactivity helps them understand how rocks can be dated, which helps them appreciate the scale of geologic time…
Scientific evidence indicates that some rock layers are several billion years old.College Board Standards for College Success: Science ES.3 Earth’s History: Relative and Absolute dating.Students understand that various dating methods — relative and absolute — have been used to determine the age of Earth. Between Earth Science and Other Disciplines: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Divergence (LS.1.1); Living Systems and the Physical Environment (LS.3.1); Nuclear Chemistry (C.1.6); Nuclear Interactions and the Conservation of Mass–Energy (P.2.3) Benchmarks: American Association for the Advancement of Science.If research into other sources of information also fails to throw light on the building's history, resort may be made to the various scientific methods of dating.This article outlines three of the most important methods currently used for dating buildings or, in a complex situation, the order of construction within the building.In a 'poor' growing season the trees all respond so that only a very narrow growth ring is formed.