December 26, 2012

Morning wood

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 9:54 am

Well, it’s morning when I’m posting this anyway. . . . . .

Archaeologists Date World’s Oldest Timber Constructions

A research team led by Willy Tegel and Dr. Dietrich Hakelberg from the Institute of Forest Growth of the University of Freiburg has succeeded in precisely dating four water wells built by the first Central European agricultural civilization with the help of dendrochronology or growth ring dating. The wells were excavated at settlements in the Greater Leipzig region and are the oldest known timber constructions in the world. They were built by the Linear Pottery culture, which existed from roughly 5600 to 4900 BC.

. . .

The four early Neolithic wells were constructed from oak wood. In addition to the timber, many other waterlogged organic materials, such as plant remains, wooden artifacts, bark vessels, and bast fiber cords, as well as an array of richly decorated ceramic vessels, have survived for millennia hermetically sealed below groundwater level. With the help of dendrochronology, the scientists were able to determine the exact felling years of the trees and thus also the approximate time at which the wells were constructed.

I suppose given my recent post I should probably add some snarky note about it being “hermetically sealed. . . . .until the archaeologists got a hold of it”, but there’s no indication of why it was uncovered so I shall keep the snark to a minimum. And you’ve got to figure this was no beginner’s first attempt so the technology undoubtedly goes back much further.


  1. Those wells were discovered during rescue excavations / CRM work for the enlargement of Leipzig airport.
    I’d estimate about 80 – 90 % of all archaeological excavations in Western Europe today are CRM work, related to road construction, high-speed rail lines, industrial buildings, etc. There are very few excavations for pure research purposes (or just “for the fun”)today.
    We are well aware of the problems you adressed in your recent post, concerning conservation of excavated buildings and objects.
    There’s an article about those wells in pdf format (in german) at:

    Comment by Murmel Jones — December 27, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  2. Excellent. Thanks for that update.

    Comment by acagle — December 27, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

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