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He was right, and the more trees that were added to the record, the greater the size of the data could be extrapolated and the more complete picture we could build of our past climate.It was not until the 1970s that archaeologists saw the benefits of the use of tree ring data in their own field (8), even though Douglass himself had used his method to date many prehistoric North American artefacts and monuments that had previously not been satisfactorily placed into a definite chronology.We can see this in any tree stump, a series of concentric rings circling the heart wood and fanning out towards the edge.Naturally, the outer rings represent the youngest years of the tree and you may notice that not all rings are uniform - some are thinner, some thicker, some light and some dark.This enormous and comprehensive data set is fundamental to both European and North American studies of the palaeoclimate and prehistory (8).There is one major drawback to dendrochronology and that is that we can only date the rings in the tree.Trees are a ubiquitous form of plant life on planet Earth.

The method has gone from strength to strength and is now a vital method across multiple disciplines.Before this, their ancestors would have a recognisable tree form, believed to be that of a giant type of fern that began the process of developing a woody stem.Wood helps the developing tree to stay strong as it gets older and grows upwards, building new branches and drinking in more sunlight for photosynthesis reproduction.In each growth season, trees create a new ring that reflects the weather conditions of that growth season.On its own, a single record can tell us only a little about the environmental conditions of the time in a specific year of the growth of the tree, and of course the age of the tree at felling, but when we put hundreds and thousands of tree-ring records together, it can tell us a lot more.

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