Provenancing Baltic timber from art historical objects: Success and limitations

Kristof Haneca, Tomasz J Wazny, Joris Van Acker, Hans Beeckman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During the Middle Ages northern Belgium and The Netherlands were gradually deforested. A steadily rising demand for quality timber obliged merchants to look for new timber sources. From the 13th century onwards, large volumes of timber were imported from surrounding regions and, despite the remote supply area, merchants of the Hanseatic League managed to organize a huge timber trade from towns around the Baltic Sea. Trees from forests along the Vistula River seem to have been exported via Gdansk, first to Bruges and later to Antwerp. At their final destination the imported wood assortments were highly appreciated for shipbuilding and construction purposes, but also by woodcarvers and famous painters. Over the last decade dendrochronologists have established a dense network of historical site chronologies for northern and central Poland. These site chronologies are supposed to reflect local growth conditions and may allow the identification of the provenance of the wood of many art historical objects made out of Baltic timber. Tree-ring patterns of panel paintings and sculptures, mainly from the 14th-16th centuries, were measured and compared to this data set of site chronologies. An evaluation of the accuracy of sourcing medieval Baltic timbers using standard correlation techniques was made. The identification of provenance enriches historical information on logging activity and timber trade around the Baltic Sea during the Middle Ages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-271
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

middle ages
Hanseatic league
art
assortment
shipbuilding
painter
Belgium
Poland
Netherlands
town
river
supply
demand
evaluation
Provenancing
Art
Timber
Medieval Period
Chronology
Timber Trade

Keywords

  • Baltic timber
  • Dendrochronology
  • Provenance
  • Quercus sp.
  • Timber trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology

Cite this

Provenancing Baltic timber from art historical objects : Success and limitations. / Haneca, Kristof; Wazny, Tomasz J; Van Acker, Joris; Beeckman, Hans.

In: Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 32, No. 2, 02.2005, p. 261-271.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Haneca, Kristof ; Wazny, Tomasz J ; Van Acker, Joris ; Beeckman, Hans. / Provenancing Baltic timber from art historical objects : Success and limitations. In: Journal of Archaeological Science. 2005 ; Vol. 32, No. 2. pp. 261-271.
@article{b9321347ce5a49ab9e3efafe76733913,
title = "Provenancing Baltic timber from art historical objects: Success and limitations",
abstract = "During the Middle Ages northern Belgium and The Netherlands were gradually deforested. A steadily rising demand for quality timber obliged merchants to look for new timber sources. From the 13th century onwards, large volumes of timber were imported from surrounding regions and, despite the remote supply area, merchants of the Hanseatic League managed to organize a huge timber trade from towns around the Baltic Sea. Trees from forests along the Vistula River seem to have been exported via Gdansk, first to Bruges and later to Antwerp. At their final destination the imported wood assortments were highly appreciated for shipbuilding and construction purposes, but also by woodcarvers and famous painters. Over the last decade dendrochronologists have established a dense network of historical site chronologies for northern and central Poland. These site chronologies are supposed to reflect local growth conditions and may allow the identification of the provenance of the wood of many art historical objects made out of Baltic timber. Tree-ring patterns of panel paintings and sculptures, mainly from the 14th-16th centuries, were measured and compared to this data set of site chronologies. An evaluation of the accuracy of sourcing medieval Baltic timbers using standard correlation techniques was made. The identification of provenance enriches historical information on logging activity and timber trade around the Baltic Sea during the Middle Ages.",
keywords = "Baltic timber, Dendrochronology, Provenance, Quercus sp., Timber trade",
author = "Kristof Haneca and Wazny, {Tomasz J} and {Van Acker}, Joris and Hans Beeckman",
year = "2005",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.jas.2004.09.005",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "32",
pages = "261--271",
journal = "Journal of Archaeological Science",
issn = "0305-4403",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Provenancing Baltic timber from art historical objects

T2 - Success and limitations

AU - Haneca, Kristof

AU - Wazny, Tomasz J

AU - Van Acker, Joris

AU - Beeckman, Hans

PY - 2005/2

Y1 - 2005/2

N2 - During the Middle Ages northern Belgium and The Netherlands were gradually deforested. A steadily rising demand for quality timber obliged merchants to look for new timber sources. From the 13th century onwards, large volumes of timber were imported from surrounding regions and, despite the remote supply area, merchants of the Hanseatic League managed to organize a huge timber trade from towns around the Baltic Sea. Trees from forests along the Vistula River seem to have been exported via Gdansk, first to Bruges and later to Antwerp. At their final destination the imported wood assortments were highly appreciated for shipbuilding and construction purposes, but also by woodcarvers and famous painters. Over the last decade dendrochronologists have established a dense network of historical site chronologies for northern and central Poland. These site chronologies are supposed to reflect local growth conditions and may allow the identification of the provenance of the wood of many art historical objects made out of Baltic timber. Tree-ring patterns of panel paintings and sculptures, mainly from the 14th-16th centuries, were measured and compared to this data set of site chronologies. An evaluation of the accuracy of sourcing medieval Baltic timbers using standard correlation techniques was made. The identification of provenance enriches historical information on logging activity and timber trade around the Baltic Sea during the Middle Ages.

AB - During the Middle Ages northern Belgium and The Netherlands were gradually deforested. A steadily rising demand for quality timber obliged merchants to look for new timber sources. From the 13th century onwards, large volumes of timber were imported from surrounding regions and, despite the remote supply area, merchants of the Hanseatic League managed to organize a huge timber trade from towns around the Baltic Sea. Trees from forests along the Vistula River seem to have been exported via Gdansk, first to Bruges and later to Antwerp. At their final destination the imported wood assortments were highly appreciated for shipbuilding and construction purposes, but also by woodcarvers and famous painters. Over the last decade dendrochronologists have established a dense network of historical site chronologies for northern and central Poland. These site chronologies are supposed to reflect local growth conditions and may allow the identification of the provenance of the wood of many art historical objects made out of Baltic timber. Tree-ring patterns of panel paintings and sculptures, mainly from the 14th-16th centuries, were measured and compared to this data set of site chronologies. An evaluation of the accuracy of sourcing medieval Baltic timbers using standard correlation techniques was made. The identification of provenance enriches historical information on logging activity and timber trade around the Baltic Sea during the Middle Ages.

KW - Baltic timber

KW - Dendrochronology

KW - Provenance

KW - Quercus sp.

KW - Timber trade

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=11244271730&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=11244271730&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jas.2004.09.005

DO - 10.1016/j.jas.2004.09.005

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:11244271730

VL - 32

SP - 261

EP - 271

JO - Journal of Archaeological Science

JF - Journal of Archaeological Science

SN - 0305-4403

IS - 2

ER -