Hughes, M. K., P. I. Kuniholm, J. K. Eischeid, G. Garfin, C. B. Griggs, and C. Latini, 2001: Aegean tree-ring signature years explained. Tree-Ring Res., 57, 67-73.


As a long master tree-ring chronology for the region around the Aegean approaches completion, timbers from monuments and archaeological sites as far as 2,000 km apart, and as far back as 7000 BC, are being dated. The patterns used in this dating are characterized by signature years, in which trees at the majority of the sites have smaller or broader rings than in the previous year. We show that the signature years are consistently associated with specific, persistent, circulation anomalies that control the access of precipitation-bearing systems to the region in springtime. This explains the feasibility of dating wooden objects from widely dispersed sites, and opens the possibility of reconstructing aspects of the climate in which the wood grew.