Dendrochronicle is a consultancy led by Dr Coralie Mills, a dendrochronologist and wooded landscape archaeologist, based in Scotland. Coralie collaborates with forester/native woodlands advisor Peter Quelch and archaeologist/traditional woodworker Hamish Darrah on many projects.

Rassal: Copyright Coralie Mills

Dendrochronicle’s work focusses on woodland heritage and dendrochronology, including on how careful study of old wooded landscapes can reveal their amazing untold stories and on how tree-ring analysis and other complementary approaches can provide insight into the history of our cultural wooded landscapes and our built heritage. This approach provides rich, chronologically controlled, information which can inform interpretation, conservation and future management. It also offers many opportunities for community involvement and outreach activities.

Equally applicable to living trees, natural deadwood and historic timbers, tree-ring dating allows events to be dated with precision, for example identifying the last coppicing event in an old oak woodland or the year of felling for timbers in a historic building.

Cruck detail: Copyright Coralie Mills

Tree-ring analysis of historic timbers is a facet of this approach which is capable of providing much more than construction dates. Woodworking evidence reveals the nature of the technology used to convert and shape the timber while other parameters such as age, growth rate and dimensions reveal much about the nature of the source woodland and its management.

Dendro-provenancing allows historic timbers to be provenanced to particular source countries and regions, and thus identifies whether they were imported or native and sheds light on the timber trade, both domestic and foreign.

Together, this information allows a picture to be built up of the changes in woodland resources and stewardship through time, particularly pertinent in Scotland where, for most of the last 500 years or so, imported timber has dominated the supply. Why did Scotland’s own timber supply run out, in much of the country, by the end of the medieval period? To what degree did climate change play a part? To what extent did other land uses affect woodland? What does this mean for the future of Scotland’s native woodlands?  Such themes are explored further in Dendrochronicle’s research and publications.