Pre-conference workshop (11-12 May)

TRACE 2020 is preceded by pre-conference workshops. Registration for the workshops is done via the online registration process on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Workshop 1
Historical Dating using Blue Intensity and Dendroprovenancing
(11-12 MAY)

11 May: Blue Intensity for Historical Dating and Dendroclimatology

Prof. Rob Wilson, University of St. Andrews, UK
Dr. Ryszard J. Kaczka, University of Silesia, Poland

Max. 20 people
Requirements: A laptop running Windows

Blue Intensity (BI) is as a comparable tree-ring variable to maximum latewood density (MXD) in conifer trees. MXD is the gold standard tree-ring variable for the reconstruction of past summer temperatures and research over the past decade has shown that BI performs very similarly to MXD. Measuring BI rests on the spectral properties of lignin in the cell walls which preferentially absorbs the blue part of the light spectrum. When latewood ring density is high (i.e. thick cell walls), the intensity of reflectance is low (i.e. darker). BI and MXD are therefore inversely correlated in their raw measurement forms. Unlike MXD, BI can be measured easily, quickly and cheaply from digital images of wood samples of various conifer species. Unlike MXD, it is therefore an analytical approach available to all tree-ring laboratories for a modest investment.

To date, ring-width has been the main tree-ring variable used for historical dating. However, the utilization of BI and stable isotopes provides exciting new possibilities in dendroarchaeology. The workshop will introduce both theoretical basics of the BI method and practical aspects of measuring and using it for dendrochronology with the workshop focusing on its potential for historical dating. We will however also provide participants with information relevant for utilising BI data for dendroecology and dendroclimatology.

12 May: Dendroprovenancing

Aoife Daly (Principal Investigator ERC-funded TIMBER project, GA 677152), Alicia Van Ham-Meert & Paloma Fernández Díaz-Maroto, SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen
Anne Crone, Project Manager, AOC Archaeology Group, Edinburgh
Marta Domínguez-Delmás, University of Amsterdam (Principal Investigator NWO-funded Wood for Goods project, 016.Veni.195.502)

Establishing the origin of ancient timbers is the crucial first step in the study of timber-trade connections, the exploitation of woodlands in the supplying and receiving regions, and the spatiotemporal changes of different economies and environments in former centuries. By inference, knowledge about resource shortage is gained, which helps us understand other features of the tree-ring datasets that can indicate woodland management for specific purposes.

Currently, the most straightforward and cost-effective method of identifying the place of origin of timber from temperate species is cross-dating ring-width based series with reference chronologies representing well-defined geographical areas. This method has important caveats, and new methods have emerged in recent years to complement its pitfalls.

In this one-day workshop we will discuss in depth the methodology and pitfalls in ring-width based dendroprovenancing and will review the methods currently being explored to trace the origin of ancient timbers, such as methods based on species-identification (wood anatomy and organic chemistry), potential of latewood density in conifers (BI), strontium isotope ratios, and DNA-sequencing. We will provide insights into the fundamentals of each method and their limitations and will carry out a hands-on exercise to illustrate how to generate provenance maps.

Workshop 2
Applications of Dendrochemistry with special focus on microXRF
(12 May)

Tobias Scharnweber, University of Greifswald
Andrea Hevia-Cabal, University of Huelva
Eva Neiva Campos Da Rocha, Stockholm University

Dendrochemistry, i.e. the chronological analysis of elemental composition of tree-rings has been applied to answer various research questions like dating of volcanic eruptions, documentation of pollution history or even for reconstructing changes in soil chemistry or climate. Among the different analytical methods available, micro-XRF is a rather cheap, non-destructive and easy to apply method for extracting dendrochemical profiles from wood.

In the workshop we give a brief overview about methodological aspects of micro-XRF with special focus on the ITRAX-system (Cox analytics, Sweden). In the second part we present different case studies in which micro XRF-has been applied to a wide range of species and sites and try to provide a brief outlook on the challenges in establishing dendrochemistry from wood as a robust proxy of environmental conditions.

Workshop 3
DendroTools R package: dendroclimatological analysis using daily climate data and simple nonlinear machine learning methods
(12 May)

Jernej Jevšenak, Slovenian Forestry Institute, Department of Yield and Silviculture, Večna pot 2, Slovenia

This workshop is practically oriented and provides insights into the dendroTools R package, particularly emphasizing the use of daily data for dendroclimatological analysis. Short introduction about machine learning methods will be given as well, with the focus on dendroclimatic reconstructions and the comparison between different regression models. Given the advanced topic of this workshop and the comparably short time, there will be no time to explain the fundamental functioning of ‘R’ wherefore a basic understanding of ‘R’ is mandatory for a meaningful participation.

Workshop 4
The Art of Scientific Presentations
-Increase the signal to noise ratio by boosting your visuals and presentation skills
(11-12 May)

Alan Crivellaro, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Elisabeth M.R. Robert, Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, Barcelona (CREAF)

Presenting is a crucial skill for early and advanced researchers, yet it is often something that even experienced scientists struggle with. This interactive workshop is designed for people who want to create and deliver an effective poster and oral presentation through achieving some new and creative design and presentation skills. 

Most postgraduate researchers benefit from giving presentations about their research by gaining feedback, sharing their ideas and/or findings, and raising their profile in the research community. Therefore, learning how to present your research effectively is an important skill to develop during the course of your scientific career.
Our workshop is open to researchers from all career stages that would like to develop their skills in this area. It is an hand-on workshop that provides the opportunity for practical experience of designing posters and presenting within a supportive environment.

Get at the workshop with your poster or presentation, you will be given time to discuss, practice and improve it.

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