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Paleo Slide Set: Tree Rings: Ancient Chronicles of Environmental Change
Keet Seel Ruins, Navajo National Monument, Arizona
The father of dendrochronology is widely acknowledged to be A.E. Douglass, who came to Arizona at the turn of the 20th century as an astronomer interested in sunspots and climate. A pioneer in the study of the relationships between tree growth, climate, and solar cycles, he was also instrumental in developing dendrochronology as a method to date archaeological remains. By matching the ring patterns in wood from roof beams and around door and window openings with the patterns in a dated tree-ring chronology derived from living trees, he and others were able to date many of the Anasazi ruins in the southwestern United States. The Anasazi ruin Keet Seel was built around AD 1250. The Anasazi are believed to be the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians of northern Arizona and New Mexico. They inhabited parts of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico from about AD 900-1300. During this time, they built many cliff dwellings and multi-storied towns in the canyon country of the southwestern U.S., of which Keet Seel is one example.

Photo Credits:
Peter Brown
Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, Ft. Collins, CO
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Last Modified: 12 October 2001

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