Tree-ring Dating of Colonial-era Buildings in New Zealand

  • Gretel Boswijk The University of Auckland
  • Martin John Jones New Zealand Historic Places Trust
Keywords: archaeology, building, dendroarchaeology, kauri, tree-ring analysis


This paper describes recent research in dendroarchaeology in New Zealand. In the Northern Hemisphere, dendrochronology is routinely applied to assist with investigating the age and phasing of wooden structures, and is often carried out in conjunction with building recording and documentary research. In New Zealand, tree-ring analysis of building timbers has been undertaken since 2000, in some cases to assist with archaeological investigations of standing structures. The results of three such sites, Sinton Road (SINT), Arney Road (ARNY) and Westney Farmstead Barn (WSNY) are presented here, and the potential and limitations of dendroarchaeology are discussed. Key points are: the identification of fell dates for timber from two structures (SINT, ARNY) and the importance of secure context; the development of a ‘use-date range’ to assist interpretation of felling dates regarding construction and phasing; and recognition of other information from tree-ring analysis that could shed light on building construction as well as timber production and supply processes.

Author Biography

Gretel Boswijk, The University of Auckland

Senior Lecturer/Director, Tree-Ring Laboratory,

The School of Enivironment, The University of Auckland.

How to Cite
Boswijk, G. and Jones, M. (2011) “Tree-ring Dating of Colonial-era Buildings in New Zealand”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 3(1), pp. 59-72. Available at: (Accessed: 27July2021).