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Diverse construction types and local timber sources characterize early medieval church roofs in southwestern Sweden

Journal article
Authors Andrea Seim
Kristina Linscott
Karl-Uwe Heussner
Niels Bonde
Claudia Baittinger
Jan Michael Stornes
Thomas S. Bartholin
Hans W. Linderholm
Published in Dendrochronologia
Volume 35
Pages 39–50
ISSN 1125-7865
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Department of Conservation
Pages 39–50
Language en
Links http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dendro...
Keywords 12th century, Church roofs, Dendrochronology, Early Middle Ages, Southwestern Sweden, Timber
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Archaeology, medieval

Abstract

A vast number of early medieval roof structures are still preserved in Swedish churches, yet countrywide surveys and detailed dendrochronological investigations, in tandem with building archaeology, are largely lacking. Here, we present new findings from four parish churches (Forsby, Forshem, Gökhem and Marka) in Västergötland, southwestern Sweden. The roof constructions, made from local oak and pine trees, were dated to the period between AD 1131 and 1157, making these some of the oldest preserved roof structures in Sweden and Europe. With the development of new regional pine and oak tree-ring chronologies covering the 10th to 13th centuries, we open up the discussion about medieval timber technology, wood utilization and the potential for future tree-ring based paleo-environmental exploration.

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