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Noting the similarity in the response of trees across the region, he invented a technique that would prove to be a fundamental tool in tree-rings studies: cross datingis a technique that ensures each individual tree ring is assigned its exact year of formation by matching patterns of wide and narrow rings between cores from the same tree, and between trees from different locations After hearing Douglass speak about tree rings in 1914, Clark Wissler of the American Museum of Natural History approached Douglass to ask if it were possible to connect tree-ring records from living trees with undated ring-width records developed from timber in the prehistoric pueblo ruins.

If such a thing were possible, then many pueblo sites--and the history of civilization in the Southwest--could be dated with exact calendar years.

The multi-story construction produced massive masonry walls as much as 3 feet thick. Douglass, the founder of the science of dendrochronology, was a young astronomer working at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona.

Tree ring data have been used to reconstruct drought or temperature in North America and Europe over the past 2,000 years.In this lab, you will experience first hand how these records were ultimately connected and you will use tree-ring data to create a historical timeline of drought for the region.In this lab, you will take a journey to the Southwest and examine and interpret tree-ring data to tell the story of the ancestral pueblo people at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon: When did they live in the region?Photo by Ken Lund, used under a Creative Commons license.(ITRDB), which contains ring width data from forests worldwide, plus ring width data from old buildings, and even from rare Stradivari violins.

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