A Door in Use in Tallinn Appeared to Be Over 600 Years Old


  • Alar Läänelaid
  • Aoife Daly
  • Tomasz Ważny
  • Kristof Haneca
  • Andres Uueni
  • Kristina Sohar




Bremen Tower, door, dendrochronology, oak, tree rings


In a medieval tower in the Tallinn Old Town wall there is a wooden
internal door that was suspected of being rather old. The age of the
door was determined using dendrochronology. It was possible to
measure tree rings from the lower ends of the oak planks of the door.
Matching the ring-width series with oak references from northern
Europe revealed that the door was over 600 years old, and still in
place in medieval Bremen Tower in Tallinn, Estonia. The ring-width
series of the door was most similar to oak chronology from the
Daugava River. However, this does not mean that the door timbers
originate from that region. At present, we do not possess Estonian
oak chronologies extending back to that time. Thus, the provenance
of the oak for this door remains undecided. The dendrochronological
date of the door, AD 1394–1411, can be confirmed and can be narrowed
by documentary evidence to AD 1400–1410.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Alar Läänelaid

Alar Läänelaid, PhD (b. 1951) is Associate Professor emeritus in
Landscape Ecology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He has
dendrochronologically dated a number of architectural objects,
wrecks, violins as well as painting panels and sculptures.

Aoife Daly

Aoife Daly, PhD, (b. 1966) is Associate Professor at the Saxo Institute,
University of Copenhagen, Denmark, where she is leading ERCfunded
research into past trade of timber across Northern Europe
using tree-rings, isotopes, aDNA, archaeology and history. She also
operates a freelance dendrochronology consultancy, dendro.dk.

Tomasz Ważny

Tomasz Ważny, PhD (b. 1957) is Professor in Centre for Research and
Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Faculty of Fine Arts, Nicolaus
Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. His major research
interest is located in dendrochronology and its applications with
dendroarchaeology and dendroprovenancing methods in particular.

Kristof Haneca

Kristof Haneca, PhD, (b. 1976) is a heritage researcher working
at Flanders Heritage Agency in Belgium. He is specialised in
dendrochronology, wood species identification and radiocarbon

Andres Uueni

Andres Uueni, (b. 1974) has worked in different memory institutions,
designing, developing information systems and led many cultural
heritage digitization and documentation projects, focusing on
imaging and survey measurement technologies. In 2014 Andres
was a co-founder of Archaeovision LLC (archaeovision.eu) and since
then he has been also a researcher in the Estonian Academy of Arts
(EAA). Currently Andres is a PhD candidate in EAA, focusing on
cultural heritage 3D documentation and multi-spectral imaging.

Kristina Sohar

Kristina Sohar, PhD (b. 1983) is a research fellow in physical
geography at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her research focuses
on dendrochronological dating as well as climate change from tree