Chris Speagle - 2014 Spring Eagle SPUR Recipient

Chris Speagle  Mentor:Grant Harley
Project:Using Techniques of Dendrochronology to Date the Historic Deason Home, Ellisville, MS, U.S.A.

The research project undertaken by Chris Speagle involves the use of dendroarchaeological techniques to better understand the construction history of the Deason House in Jones County, Mississippi.  Historical primary documents show that the house was built sometime between 1845 and 1848 with longleaf pine wood from the property, but the exact year or years of construction is uncertain. Dendroarchaeology is the study of historic and prehistoric structures using the techniques of dendrochronology (science of tree rings).  This type of project is common on houses, cabins, and other structures in the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest regions of the US, but projects like this are rare in the Gulf Coast region because of the widespread logging practices.

At the Deason House, various cores approximately 1 cm (~1/2”) in diameter were extracted from timbers used in building the house.  Because the timbers came from a location very close to the DeSoto National Forest (reference chronology), they can provide the reference chronology that can be used to provide calendar years to the Deason Home timbers. In addition, by adding valuable information to the DeSoto reference chronology, this project will allow us to better understand the longleaf pine ecosystem in the past and help us predict future climate and environmental factors.  

Click here for a short video of the work.


Speagle Mentor