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This fact has been well established from a number of studies where tree-ring dating has been undertaken in conjunction with documentary studies.

Thus, establishing the felling date for a group of timbers gives a very precise indication of the date of their use in a building.

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Tree-ring dating relies on a few simple, but quite fundamental, principles.

Firstly, as is commonly known, trees (particularly oak trees, the most frequently used building timber in England) grow by adding one, and only one, growth-ring to their circumference each, and every, year.

When samples from the same phase do cross-match with each other they are combined at their matching positions to form what is known as a "site chronology".

As with any set of data, this has the effect of reducing the anomalies of any one individual (brought about in the case of tree-rings by some non-climatic influence) and enhances the overall climatic signal.

In general, good conditions produce wider rings and poor conditions produce narrower rings.