Tree-Ring Dating and the Ethnohistory of the Naval Stores Industry in Southern Georgia
AffiliationDepartment of Geography, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Department of Geography, The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA
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Collection InformationThis item is part of the Tree-Ring Research (formerly Tree-Ring Bulletin) archive. It was digitized from a physical copy provided by the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at The University of Arizona. For more information about this peer-reviewed scholarly journal, please email the Editor of Tree-Ring Research at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CitationGrissino-Mayer, H.D., Blount, H.C., Miller, A.C. 2001. Tree-ring dating and the ethnohistory of the naval stores industry in southern Georgia. Tree-Ring Research 57(1):3-13.
AbstractSince the mid-1700s, slash (Pinus elliottii Engelm.) and longleaf (Pinus palustris Mill.) pines growing in the coastal plain region of the southeastern United States were intentionally wounded ("boxed" and/or "chipped ") to induce the production of resin, which was then collected and distilled into turpentine and its derivatives (termed "gum naval stores "). Relicts from this once-dominant industry are seen throughout southern pine forests as boxed and chipped stumps or (rarely) still living trees. In this study, we dated the years of chipping on slash pines growing in two locations in Lowndes County, Georgia, to (1) better understand past forest land use patterns, and (2) raise public awareness of the ethnohistorical importance of these trees to the cultural heritage of southern Georgia. We collected cores from ten living trees with characteristic chipped surfaces ("catfaces ") from Taylor-Cowart Memorial Park (TCMP) in Valdosta, Georgia, and cross sections from ten chipped stumps in the area surrounding Lake Louise, 12 km south of Valdosta. We conclude that chipping at TCMP occurred in 1947-1948, while two chipping events occurred at Lake Louise around 1925 and between 1954-1956. Our dating was facilitated by observing periods of growth suppression, distorted and /or discolored rings, and the absence of some growth rings that may indicate possible chipping events. We recommend that these chipped stumps and living trees be preserved intact for their ethnohistorical significance, educational importance, and potential for future research.