Dating methodology and development of chronologies


Dating methodology and development of chronologies


Age determination and chronology of events is the basis for conclusions on both research and administration. Within research will age determination of material be of importance in archaeology, geology and biology. Within administration are precise age determinations important to make decisions related to the Cultural Heritage Act.

Contacts: Marie-Josée Nadeau and Terje Thun



The Stave Church Preservation Programme was a maintenance and research program for related to stave churches headed by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage (Riksantikvaren). The research program included dendrochronological analyses of 22 stave churches. Results and documentation from the project were published in 2016.

Study of areas previously covered by ice sheets enable us to learn more about how the ice sheet interacts with long-term climate and sea level changes. To connect the local changes in the ice sheets position or dynamics with regional or global variations, it is important to know when these changes occurred. This project used cosmogenic age determination to find the age of landforms shaped by the edge of the ice sheet.

External participants: Eiliv Larsen and Johanna Anjar, NGU

14C dating is used to track carbon in environmental and artificial processes. The laboratory conducts research on new cleaning and isolation methods, extending the method to new materials and research fields. The project started in 2016 and will continue.

The relationship between stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C) in reindeer antlers refers to the diet throughout spring and summer. In a historic perspective, this project can mark changes in eating habits of reindeer when combined with 14C dating. The changes can be compared with regional and supra regional climate changes.

The project began in 2015 and will continue.

Paddy fields are open systems with access to minerals and organic material. 13C and 14C isotopes in organic compounds can be used to track the transport of carbon in the soil.

External participant: Pieter M. Groot, University of Kiel.

The project started in 2015 and will continue indefinitely.

The formation of lake sediments and moraines on Jan Mayen is dated with 14C and cosmogenic dating. Matching this with changes in ocean circulation will illustrate changes in climate and what was causing these.

Cooperation between NTNU, NGU and universities of Stockholm, Lund and Bern.

Funding: Norwegian Research Council, the program for free climate research.

Duration: 4 years starting in 2015.

External participant: Eiliv Larsen, the NGU.

NIKU (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research) project with project number: 1020752-35. The purposeof this project is to document variations in construction activity over the last 1000 years and demonstrate how human activities have been affected by climate variations, epidemic and natural disasters. The raw data comes from dendrochronological investigations.

The project was started in 2016 and must be renewed each year.


Jan Michael Stornes, NIKU.

The Revitalization Project (Norwegian: Vitaliseringsprosjektet) of Trondheim Cultural Heritage Management Office (Byantikvaren), the Chamber of Commerce in Trondheim and Sør-Trøndelag county aims to make the area along Kjøpmannsgaten in Trondheim more attractive. The laboratory is engaged to perform dendrochronological dating of buildings along the river.

The project is planned to run for three years, from 2015.

Contact: Architect Elisabeth Kahrs, Cultural Heritage Management Office (Byantikvaren) in Trondheim.

After the fire in the main building of the Ringve Music Museum, there is an agreement of co-operation between Ringve Music Museum and the NTNU University Museum to perform dendrochronology and 14C-dating on buildings, and items that belong to the museum.

The project started in 2016 and intended to be completed in 2017.

Partner: Architect Lars Erik Brustad Melhus.

In the northern part of Scandinavia and Finland several long temperature sensitive tree-ring chronologies were constructed and made an important contribution to our knowledge about climate trends. The aim of this project is to reconstruct the temperature in the southern parts of Norway, in order to improve our knowledge of climate history. The project is expected to end in 2019.

PhD. project: Fellow Helene Løvstrand Svarva

The archaeological investigations of Ørland Main Air Base has revealed several findings from the Iron Age to the Viking Age. The investigation includes multiple 14C datings of material from the cooking pits, post holes and fireplaces. Wood anatomic analysis of these findings can reveal the composition of species of shrubs and trees on Ørlandet during this period, and any changes in species composition that are a result from climate or human activity.

Collaborator: Thomas S. Bartholin, National Museum, Copenhagen

The project started in 2016 and is expected to end in 2018.