• Moisture record of the Upper Volga catchment between AD 1430 and 1600 supported by a δ13C tree-ring chronology of archaeological pine timbers

      Panyushkina, Irina P.; Karpukhin, Alexei A.; Engovatova, Asya V.; Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona (ELSEVIER GMBH, URBAN & FISCHER VERLAG, 2016-09)
      Investigations of interactions between climate change and humans suffer from the lack of climate proxies directly linked to historical or archaeological datasets that describe past environmental conditions at a particular location and time. We present a new set of pine tree-ring records (Pinus sylvestris L) developed from burial timbers excavated at the historical center of Yaroslavl city, Russia. A 171 year delta C-13 tree-ring chronology from AD 1430 to AD 1600 evidences mostly wet summers during the 15th century but exceptionally dry conditions of the 16th century at the Upper Volga catchment. According to the tree-ring record there were four major droughts (<-1.5 sigma) lasting from 9 to 26 years: 1501-1517, 1524-1533, 1542-1555 and 1570-1596, and major pluvials (>+1.5 sigma) lasting from 70 to 5 years: 1430-1500, 1518-1523, 1534-1541, and 1556-1564. We discuss a plausible contribution of these droughts to crop failures and city fires documented with historical chronicles for the Upper Volga catchment. The devastating drought regime of the 16th century corresponds to the loss of independence of the Yaroslavl principality to the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the formation of the centralized Russian State during the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) underpinning the emergence of the Russian Empire. This study substantiates the value of archaeological timbers from the oldest Russian cities and inclusion of stable carbon isotope analysis for understanding hydroclimatic regimes across the mid latitudes of East European Plain, and their relationship to the history of Russia. (C) 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
    • A new digital field data collection system for dendrochronology

      Brewer, Peter W.; Guiterman, Christopher H.; Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona (Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, 2016-06)
      A wide variety of information or 'metadata' is required when undertaking dendrochronological sampling. Traditionally, researchers record observations and measurements on field notebooks and/or paper recording forms, and use digital cameras and hand-held GPS devices to capture images and record locations. In the lab, field notes are often manually entered into spreadsheets or personal databases, which are then sometimes linked to images and GPS waypoints. This process is both time consuming and prone to human and instrument error. Specialised hardware technology exists to marry these data sources, but costs can be prohibitive for small scale operations (>$2000 USD). Such systems often include proprietary software that is tailored to very specific needs and might require a high level of expertise to use. We report on the successful testing and deployment of a dendrochronological field data collection system utilising affordable off-the-shelf devices ($100-300 USD). The method builds upon established open source software that has been widely used in developing countries for public health projects as well as to assist in disaster recovery operations. It includes customisable forms for digital data entry in the field, and a marrying of accurate GPS location with geotagged photographs (with possible extensions to other measuring devices via Bluetooth) into structured data fields that are easy to learn and operate. Digital data collection is less prone to human error and efficiently captures a range of important metadata. In our experience, the hardware proved field worthy in terms of size, ruggedness, and dependability (e.g., battery life). The system integrates directly with the Tellervo software to both create forms and populate the database, providing end users with the ability to tailor the solution to their particular field data collection needs.