Event Details

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Tree-Ring Dating in the US Southwest and Beyond: An Introduction to Dendrochronological Methods, Practical Applications, and Case Studies from the Field and Laboratory [Deeper Digs]

When: September 05, 2024 3:00-5:00 PM ET

Duration: 2 hours

Certification: RPA-certified


Individual Registration: $99 for SAA members; $149 for non-members

Group Registration: $139 for SAA members; $189 for non-members

Benjamin Bellorado, PhD, RPA, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Dr. Benajmin Bellorado is the Assistant Curator of Archaeology at the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona. He is an anthropological archaeologist specializing in the tree-ring sciences of dendrochronology and dendroarchaeology. Dr. Bellorado has conducted extensive fieldwork and laboratory research using tree-ring dating to date archaeological sites in the US Southwest, including a focus on documenting at-risk sites in the Bears Ears and Natural Bridges National Monuments, while developing new, minimal-impact sampling methodologies. He was trained in the dendrosciences and archaeological methods at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where he received his doctoral degree. For over 20 years, Dr. Bellorado has used dendrochronology to study Ancestral Pueblo agricultural strategies, climate change, seriation of iconography, and the timing of the thirteenth century depopulation of the Four Corners area. His dissertation work focused on dating changes in building mural styles and ritual paraphernalia (i.e., yucca sandals and cotton blankets) using tree-ring dating. He is the author of articles, book chapters, and technical reports focused on dendrochronology. Throughout his career, Dr. Bellorado has worked with federal land management agencies, universities, and tribes, and instructed dozens of students including K-12, college, graduate students, and interns, as well as life-long learners in the basic and advanced field sampling and laboratory analysis using tree-ring dating methodologies.

This course will provide students with an overview of basic methods and practical applications of tree-ring dating in the archaeological and climate sciences with a focus on the US Southwest. Students will learn about the history of tree-ring dating, including its uses in the climate and social sciences, and get an overview of recent dendroarchaeology field and laboratory methods and techniques. Discussions of case studies from the Four Corners area of the US Southwest will focus on recent applications of tree-ring dating in projects geared towards documenting and preserving of at-risk archaeological sites on federal lands in the Bears Ears and Natural Bridges National Monuments in southeastern Utah.
  1. Introduce students to the basic techniques and history of tree-ring dating.
  2. Learn how tree-ring dating works and some of the diverse ways it has been used by the environmental and social sciences.
  3. Gain awareness of current field and laboratory sampling and analysis techniques.
  4. Gain a better understanding of recent applications of dendrochronology and the advantages and weaknesses of using tree-ring dating alone or in concert with other dating methods.