A multi-century eastern white pine tree-ring chronology developed from salvaged river logs and its utility for dating heritage structures in Canada's National Capital Region Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The early settlement history of Canada's National Capital Region, including Ottawa (Ontario) and Gatineau (Québec), was shaped in large part by the towering eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) forests that once covered the Ottawa Valley and fuelled a lucrative lumber export industry spanning the 19th and much of the 20th century. Some of the first dwellings and farmsteads of this era are still standing and serve as reminders of this history. A crucial piece of information in the assessment of a structure's heritage value is its date of construction. Unfortunately, this information is not always known and is approximated based on construction styles and other sources of information. In this study, dendroarchaeology methods are applied to constrain the construction dates of six historic structures in the National Capital Region of 19th century vintage. A multi-century (AD 1670–2009) eastern white pine ring-width chronology was developed for dating the study structures using cross sections from sunken logs recovered from the Ottawa River and cores from live trees from the Petawawa Research Forest. The tree-ring inferred construction dates for the six structures ranged from 1830 to 1878. For most structures, historical records about the property or first inhabitants were available to corroborate the results. The ring-width chronologies of the individual structures were well correlated with the regional chronology (ravg=0.63, p≤0.01), and this regional coherence clearly demonstrates the value of tree-rings for heritage structure assessments and reconstructing the settlement history of this region.


  • Dick, Melissa
  • Porter, Trevor J
  • Pisaric, Michael
  • Wertheimer, Ève
  • deMontigny, Peter
  • Perreault, Joelle T
  • Robillard, Kerry-Lynn

publication date

  • 2014