Pre dating wood
Thus for radius 2, our visual ring count has underestimated the true number of years, serving as an additional example of the difficulty of identifying annual rings in olive wood. As more than half the samples from the outermost ring dated to well before 2013, we decided to re-examine the trunk of another olive tree from a different location in northern Israel that was studied previously, Zippori) were analyzed for radiocarbon dating from a cross-section of a whole olive tree cut down a few years after the tree had died, from the site of Zippori in northern Israel.
As the tree had been dead for only a few years before felling in 2013, the wood nearest the bark would be expected to fall within a few years from this date.
The wearing of the bark can expose live parenchyma cells, which can create “tissue bridges” eventually forming continuous cambium tissue.
This process may result in wood of different ages from independent trunks or branches to merge and become visually undistinguishable.
In addition, our results are also significant for any future studies based on archaeologically preserved olive wood.
The olive tree trunk is composed of independent vascular systems, which results in a sectorial interaction between major roots and specific sections of the crown.
Therefore, when certain roots are damaged, the specific section of the crown relying on that water supply will die.
Only 3 of the 11 wood samples from just beneath the bark gave a 2009 date, while all the others were older.
Four of the dates are in the 1980s (points 1–3 and 11 in Fig.