dendrochronologie

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Our researches

From 2003 we gathered dendrochronological samples and a series of data from almost two hundred monuments and places. Based on these collected samples we can date much more accurately many chronologies or dated series for oak and silver fir structures in Transylvania between the 12th -13th century and the present time, but for spruce structures and wooden objects this is only possible from the 18th-19th centuries.

We can now present the summarized version of the dendrochronological research results of the objects and monuments investigated by us, in the alphabetical order of the settlement names. In every case we indicated subsidizing institution or partner and also the year of the research. If the results were already published, then we attached to the description the link of the downloadable pdf version of the publication. If anybody needs more detailed data, please contact us in a letter.

 
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Acâș Reformed church
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Agrișteu Reformed church
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Aiud Reformed church
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Acâș - Reformed church
 

Ornate balustraded benches

We investigated nine boards of three ornate balustraded benches in the church. The boards were made of spruce. They were made about the same time, but their last annual rings disappeared through working. That is why it is not possible to determine the time of the cutting of the trees used for the balustrades of the benches, nor exactly when they were made. The last measured annual rings of the boards had been formed between 1705-1756.

OTKA (2015)

Agrișteu - Reformed church
 

(H: Egrestő, Maros county) – wooden bell tower, roof structure of the nave and chancel
Near the picturesque church in Agrişteu dating back to the age of the Árpáds stands the wooden bell tower, the precisely dated elements for which, were oak trees cut out between 1742-1745. The roof above the nave (which has many similarities with the nave-roof of the next village Filitelnic; see there) is made from oaks felled arround 1494-1498. A later major intervention could be also dated, for which there were used oks cut out arround 1742-1745.
OTKA (2014)

Aiud - Reformed church
 

(H: Nagyenyed, Alba county) – roof of the nave and of the chancel

We can define two building periods for the inclined principal truss (Liegender/Dahl/Stuhl) and short joisted (Stichbalken) roof structure above the nave. A few elements which originate from the beginning of the 1790s (short joist andrafter) quite definitely mark the building time of the roof, because between the years 1784 and 1804 the present, Baroque arch of the nave was built. The elements of the roof which can be linked with the first part and the middle of the 1850s are reminders of the destruction of the town in 1849 and the restoration of the ruined roof. The fir tree elements come from trees cut out in 1853, but the oak elements are from trees felled in 1854 and 1855. The fir-tree roof structure with collar beams and truss with two posts we cannot date yet, probably because of the missing date series of the spruce.

Forster Centre (2015)

Aiud Bethlen castle
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Aiud Bethlen Gábor Reformed School
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Alma Vii Lutheran church
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Aiud - Bethlen castle
 

(H: Nagyenyed, Alba county) roof structure

The uniform inclined principal trussed Baroque roof structure is made from spruce cut out in the winter of 1757/1758, mostly in the winter of 1758/1759, and also in the summer of 1759. The congruity values of the dating series from Aiud compare so closely with the spruce chronologies from the Eastern Carpathians, that we can state with strong probability that the wooden materials of the roof structure were rafted down on the Mureș-river to their place of construction. This observation agrees very closely with the written data with regards to the rafting on the Maros river from the Gheorgheni region.

Forster Centre (2015)

Aiud - Bethlen Gábor Reformed School
 

(H: Nagyenyed, Alba county) – roof structure

The research primarily on the roof structure of this monument building was not only justified because of the dating of the objects we investigated, but also from the enlargement of the spruce annual ring series. Thus alongside the two building periods which were identified dendrochronologically (respectively in 1828-1830, and in 1884), it was more important that based on the wood samples we obtained, a spruce annual ring dating going back to the mid-17th century, could be compiled.

Forster Centre (2015)

Alma Vii - Lutheran church
 

(G: Almen, H: Szászalmád, Sibiu county) – towers, roof structure of the nave and of the chancel

Through the restoration of this fortress-church our task was the dendrochronological dating of different parts or wings of the building. The results were influenced in many cases by the fact that the outer part of the elements which contained annual rings of sapwood was removed pointlessly throughout the restoration. In spite of that the dendrochronological research in the case of every wooden structure we examined, resulted in very important datings in building history. The cross-beams of the southern bell tower had been made from trees cut out in the winter of 1559, but the spire was built from oaks which were felled a decade later, in the winter of 1568/1569. On the balcony and at the bells newer structures and strengtheners had been built even later; 1721/1722, and also around the years 1791-1795. The floors of the western gate-tower had been made of oaks cut out in the winters of 1557/1558, and 1558/1559 as well as the balcony and the spire. But on the balcony some strengthening was done with trees felled around 1630 and 1701/1702, and again in the winter of 1846/1847. The northern tower is the earliest part of the surrounding wall: and here were oaks that had been built into the floors cut out around 1541-1545, and in the present spire trees felled in the summer of 1824 had been used. The western tower could have been made with cross-beams cut out around 1539-1543. But its present spire was also built at a later time, around 1753-1757. The defence level of the chancel and its roof structure which is strongly connected with it had been built from trees cut out in the summer of 1553 and in the winter of 1553/1554. Above the nave there is a roof in Baroque style made from oaks felled in the winter of 1803/1804, but for this many longer elements were used (wales, rafters) from the mediaeval roof which was made earlier. These secondarily used elements originate from oaks cut out in the winter of 1566/1567 and which define the building time of the late-Gothic roof as well.

”Vasile Pârvan” National Archeology Institute, București (2016)

Apold Lutheran church
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Arduzel Reformed church
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Băgaciu Lutheran church
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Apold - Lutheran church
 

(G: Trappold, H: Apold, Maros county) – western gallery

From the earlier parapet of the western gallery of the church discovered by Ferenc Mihály we measured annual rings of more spruce-boards. We compared the dating series with silver fir chronologies. According to the dating got in this way the gallery-parapet was made from spruce cut out after the year 1545, which coincides with the restorer’s opinion. As long as this dating is appropriate, then this is our first dating series of spruce!

OTKA (2013, 2014)

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Arduzel - Reformed church
 

(H: Szamosardó, Maramureș county) – roof structure

The roof structure of the church from Arduzel is “Gothic style”. This definition is quite misleading. Its deceptive aspect is shown by the fact that the structure was uniformly made of oaks cut out in the winter of 1722/1723 and in the spring of 1723.

OTKA (2012)

Băgaciu - Lutheran church
 

(G: Bogeschdorf, H: Szászbogács, Mureș county) – roof structure of the chancel

Above the high chancel which is built with a defence level, the old wales which remained under the present roof structure originate from oaks cut out in the winter of 1439/1440. These give the date of the building time of the Gothic-style chancel. For the dating of the defence level built at a later time, as well as the dating of the tower, new samples are needed.

OTKA (2014)

Baia Mare old town
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Biertan Lutheran church
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Bisericani Roman Catholic church
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Baia Mare - old town
 

(H: Nagybánya, Maramureș county)– archeological artefacts

At the main square of the mediaeval old town and its vicinities along the archeological excavation, from the wet substrate, what turned up in several places were wooden piles which had been beaten down into the ground, also some pits covered with boards, and remnants of barrels which had been dug into the ground. These we could investigate with the help of Dan Pop, local archeologist. The dating of the silver fir tree and oak samples we could make with the contribution of our Polish colleague, Tomasz Wazny, so now we have more accurately established a dated series from the 11th to 14th centuries!

OTKA (2014)

Biertan - Lutheran church
 

(G: Birthälm, H: Berethalom, Sibiu county) – sacristy door, wooden belfry, choirstall, gallery, roof structure of the nave and the chancel, the Catholic-tower.

In Berethalom church we investigated several objects and furnishings at the request of

the architect Jan Hülsemann. The silver fir floorboard of the choirstall number 30, was cut out after 1460. In the case of the inlaid sacristy door from 1515 it was suspected that the boards at the back could have been strengthened later. But after the comparison of the annual ring series it turned out that the two oak boards are from the same tree which was cut out around 1502 or later, that is to say that they could have been made at the same time as the front board which dated from 1515.

The investigation of the northern gallery of the church ended with a surprising result. At first sight it seemed to be a historical looking piece of furnishing from the modern era; but its floor-beam was found to be made of oak dated 1546, whilst the two columns were made of oak trees which were cut out around 1550 and 1551-1555. It is certain that the northern gallery on the inside of the church was in use no later than the mid-16th century. Through the research of the so-called Catholic tower important new observations and datings were born. The building of the tower according to the cross-beams under the first floor of the building today, date from the ’20-es of the 15th century.  The dating of the original elements of the roof structure alludes to this period as well from around 1425-1426. About the beginning of the years 1500 the level of the first floor was raised by one metre and new floors were built, respectively when the wooden balcony and the steeple were finished. Oak trees cut out in the winter had been used for the building of these in 1501-1502, and the summer of 1503 or around this time. The belfry or bell tower north of the church – together with the level of the balcony – was built from oak trees cut out in the winter of 1521/1522 or 1522/23. This means that according to our present knowledge, the wooden bell tower at Biertan is the oldest one in Transylvania.

OTKA (2014), Forster Centre (2015)

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Bisericani - Roman Catholic church
 

(H: Székelyszentlélek, Harghita county) – roof structure of the nave and of the chancel

The dating of the oak roof structure of the church from Székelyszentlélek fits in well with the building period which is historically well-known for wooden structures in Udvarhelyszék region. This strongly correlates with the Turkish ravage of the year 1661, and which is marked by the re-building of roof structures after the havoc on many sites. The church roof of Bisericani is similar, because the oaks for its nave had been cut out in the winter of 1662/1663, and for its chancel in the summer of 1663.

ArcStudio, Miercurea Ciuc (2013)

Bistrița Lutheran church
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Brădeni Lutheran church
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Braşov Lutheran church
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Bistrița - Lutheran church
 

(G: Bistritz, H: Beszterce, Bistrița-Năsăud county)roof structureof the naveand the chancel

The history of the construction provides quite enough information, but through its restoration in the year 2009 became important to verify if the imposing roof structure made of fir belongs to the medieval phase reconstructed in the 16th century. According to the dendrochronological investigation the structure of the nave was built from trees cut out on the winter of 1559/1560, the structure of the chancel was made from wood from trees cut out in the winter of 1560/1561 (silver fir). The dendrochronological data coincides well with the written and epigraphical sources about the medieval re-construction of the church.

Utilitas SRL.,Cluj (2009)

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Brădeni - Lutheran church
 

(G: Hendorf, H: Hégen, Sibiu county) – roof structure of the nave and of the chancel

From the fortress-church of Brădeni we collected quite a large number of samples from the defence level, of the roof structure and the sacristy. According to those samples which could be dated, for the roof structure of the chancel, wood felled around 1482 had been used, whilst for the roof structure of the nave the wood had been cut out around 1484. At the time of the taking of the samples we did not have enough experience about the “understanding” of the roof structures, that is why in this case we think that it would be very necessary to make a new visit to the spot and take new samples to re-evaluate these results.

OTKA (2006)

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Braşov - Lutheran church
 

(G: Kronstadt, H: Brassó, Brașov county) – roof structure of the nave and the chancel

The roof structure of the church burnt down in 1689. Based on the dendrochronological investigation of the present roof we know that the new structure was made from mixed wooden materials (oak and different species of fir trees) and was built in two schedules. Primarily the roof above the chancel had been made from trees felled around 1689 and 1690, then a few years later, between the years 1693 and 1694 they cut out the trees for the roof the nave as well. Between the two structures there are several differences from the point of view of the technique of the carpentry as well as the ages and the genera of the trees used in the construction.

Brașov Lutheran Church, Forster Centre (2015-2016)

București Hanul Constantin Voda, Lipscani
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Buia Bolyai-castle
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Cârţa Roman Catholic Church
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București - Hanul Constantin Voda, Lipscani
 

Along the archeological excavations at Calea Victoriei, oak beams were observed in several places laid under the road. We could measure the series of datings on the samples with the mediation of the MNIR. The dating series gained from here with the co-operation of Tomasz Wazny could be dated with chronologies from Northern Greece to the beginning of the 18th century. This was one of our first works and it revealed that from the viewpoint of the Romanian protection of monuments and historical buildings as well as archeology, a research and data collection focusing on the territory over the Carpathians would be of high priority.

Muzeul Național de Istorie a României, Bucureşti (2007)

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Buia - Bolyai-castle
 

(H: Bólya, Sibiu county)

In our searching through the ruins of the manor-house we hoped that we could identify medieval elements. On the basis of the walled up wooden elements we could identify two construction periods from the early modern age. The former construction could be dated at the turning point of the years 1620-1630, then later – based on the trees cut out in the summer of 1669 – when there was a bigger restoration.

Géza Entz Foundation, Cluj; OTKA (2015)

Cârţa - Roman Catholic Church
 

(H: Csíkkarcfalva, Harghita county) –round wall, hoarding, roof structure of the chancel

In the wall which surrounds the church there are several sawn and mangled oak beams, which are part of a former hoarding with a wooden balcony. Unfortunately the trees used are quite young, and because of this their dating is unsure. However, some spruce elements of the roof structure of the chancel had been made from trees cut out in the winter of 1795/1796, thus it is sure, that at the time of the Baroque reconstruction of the nave, the roof structure of the chancel was also rebuilt.

IrodM Ltd., Cluj (2011)

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Cetatea de Baltă Reformed church
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Cluj Napoca Reformed church, Kogălniceanu street
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Cluj Napoca Saint Michael Catholic church
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Cetatea de Baltă - Reformed church
 

(H: Küküllővár, Alba county) – roof structures, towers

The dendrochronological research of Cetatea de Baltă resulted in much new data about the history of its construction and new observations. The roof structure above the chancel was built from oaks cut out in the winter of 1422/1423, then after the demolition of the vaulting it was reinforced in the years of 1590. Among the brick towers there was a wooden structure at the end of the 15th century, which obviously served as a foundation for the balcony covering the towers as well. The present balcony and belfry were made in the year 1710.

Through the taking of the samples we documented for the first time an early tower construction which could have been made earlier than the western façade of the paired towers dated to the 13th century. Originally the church had only a single tower in the middle of the nave made of stones, the close parallel of which we can find at Rădești.

OTKA (2012)

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Cluj Napoca - Reformed church, Kogălniceanu street
 

(H: Kolozsvár, Cluj county)– roof structure

For the dating of the spruce samples from M. Kogălniceanu street, we waited ten years. The first investigations from the samples taken in 2006 gave us no conclusions. In 2016 in the “spruce programme” of the Forster Centre using new data, we restarted the analysis and the dating was born: the roof structure was made from spruce cut out in the winter of 1799/1800. This dating is confirmed by written data as well.

OTKA (2006), Forster Centre (2016)

Cluj Napoca - Saint Michael Catholic church
 

(H: Kolozsvár, Cluj county) – roof structure of the nave and chancel

The building date of the roof at present time is not in question according to written data, but the original construction of the structure is uncertain because of later reinforcement. Apart from that the research seemed to promise that we could collect annual ring data with the help of which we could support the dendrochronological research from spruce. The analysis of the samples was successful: we dated and consequently we could identify the elements of the original structure. These had been made from spruce cut out between the winters of 1771/1772 and 1773/1774, whilst the samples coming from the elements of the reinforcement originate from spruce felled in the summer of 1830 and in the winter of 1830/1831.

Forster Centre (2016)

Copşa Mică Lutheran church
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Corund Unitarian church
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Crăciunel Unitarian church
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Copşa Mică - Lutheran church
 

(H: Kiskapus, Sibiu county) – roof structure

From the north of the tower in the wall there remained from the earlier roof structure of the original nave a piece from its second rafter in its western part. The dating of the annual ring series consisting of 54 annual rings, probably from the 13th -14th centuries has not been proven successfully yet.

OTKA (2012)

Corund - Unitarian church
 

(H: Korond, Harghita county) – roof structure

In the roof structure of the Unitarian church in Corund we could identify elements of oaks cut out at the end of the years of 1710, whilst the cross-beams of the tower were made of oaks cut out in the winter of 1793/1794.

The Unitarian Congregation from Corund (2011)

Crăciunel - Unitarian church
 

(H: Homoródkarácsonyfalva, Harghita county) – bell tower and the roof structure of the nave

On the Gothic gate of the western bell tower can be read the year 1496. But the dendrochronological investigation of the cross beams from different levels of the tower suggests to the fact that the tower had been built in several stages, for a long time, between 1495-1525.  The lower levels had been built at the end of the 15th century, whilst the 3rd to 4th level had been finished at the beginning of the 16th century. Above the nave the roof structure was made from oak cut out in the winter of 1522/1523 and summer of 1523 so it could have been built in 1523 or in the following years.

OTKA (2008, 2015)link

Crasna Reformed church
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Crivina de Sus Orthodox wooden church
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Curciu Lutheran church
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Crasna - Reformed church
 

(H: Kraszna, Sălaj county) – roof structure

With the “Gothic aspect” of the roof structure of the church from Crasna the dendrochronological research proved unequivocally that archaizing had taken place, because the wood originates from trees felled in the winter of 1661/1662, whilst those above the nave came from trees cut out in the winter of 1666/1667. From the tower we have a single sample, from one of the columns of the 2nd level which had been made of oak cut out in the winter of 1728/1729.

OTKA (2012)

Crivina de Sus - Orthodox wooden church
 

(Timiș county)

The small church – according to its exterior marks – seems to have been built over several construction periods. However, the dendrochronological investigation revealed that the original construction elements (carved corner beams or joists, side-walls, crossbeams) originate uniformly from oaks cut out around 1677. For the arch of the nave (naos) oaks cut out after 1738, had been used. The turret had been put on the church even later (after 1779). Then the church was put on new sleepers in the 40’s of the last century.

Pro Patrimonio Association, Bucharest (2016)

Curciu - Lutheran church
 

(G: Kirtsch, H: Küküllőkőrös, Sibiu county) – bell tower

According to the specialist literature of art history the western gate of the churchtower can be placed to the first quarter of the 15th century.  The dating of the three boring samples taken from the floor beams of the first floor of the tower are entirely in line with this.  The trees used here had been cut in the winter of 1413/1414, and in the summer of 1414.

OTKA (2014)

Dârjiu Unitarian church
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Delniţa Saint John church
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Drăuşeni Lutheran church
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Dârjiu - Unitarian church
 

(H: Székelyderzs, Harghita county) – roof structures, tower, rounded walls

In Dârjiu we successfully dated the roof structure of the church made of oak which was believed to be from the beginning of the 17th century. The dendrochronological analysis proved unequivocally, that the defense levels and the roof structure are about the same age, but between the chancel and the wooden structures above the nave there are a few years difference. For the roof structure of the chancel the trees had been cut out in the winter of 1493/1494 and in the winter of 1494/1495 respectively. The roof structure of the nave had been built from trees cut out respectively in the winter of 1499/1500, and the summer of 1500. According to the wooden samples the defence wall built with four corner bastions had been built in several periods in the 17th century. The original load bearing lintels of one of the crenelles of the tower had not contained sufficient annual rings, so we could not date the building tower, only a later restoration of it with the help of some trees cut out in the summer of 1606.

OTKA (2006, 2013), PlanT Studio, Miercurea Ciuc (2008) 

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Delniţa - Saint John church
 

(H: Csíkdelne, Harghita county)bell tower, chancel – southern niche

In the tower of the one-time parish church we did not find any wooden elements contemporary to its construction. In the southern wall of the chancel the external annual rings of the sample taken from the upper beam of the wooden niche disappeared because of fire (probably due to the Tartar invasion of 1694?). The last measurable annual ring was formed around 1426 or later, so the construction of the chancel could only have happened later than this year.

OTKA (2005, 2010)

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Drăuşeni - Lutheran church
 

(G: Draas, H: Homoróddaróc, Brașov county) – roof structure of the nave and of the chancel, tower

From the Lutheran fortress-church of Drăuşeni we collected samples from the roof structure of the chancel and the nave, and from the upper levels of the tower. In the case of the chancel a precise dating concerning the year was born, here a beam was cut out in the winter of 1478/1479. The roof of the nave was dated to the years around 1566-1569.

In the building of the tower we can separate several building periods. The steeple of the tower had been made on the turn of the 15th to the 16th century, but a lower cross-beamed floor had been built from trees cut out around the years 1451-1457. Later there had been made some kind of reparation/building on the hoarding as well, because the dating of one of the elements is the summer of 1723. In 2008 we could see on the lower levels wooden elements from the original time of the construction, but because of the state of the tower and the side-aisles these were not accesible. Unfortunately along the restoration work these were changed and probably not preserved.

Utilitas Ltd., Cluj-Napoca (2008)

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Feliceni Reformed Church
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Filitelnic Lutheran church
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Geoagiu rotunda
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Feliceni - Reformed Church
 

(H: Felsőboldogfalva, Harghita county) bell tower, roof structure of the nave

The church from Feliceni probably suffered from the campaign of Ali pasha in 1661, because some elements of the roof structure above its nave originate from around 1662 or trees cut out later. In the bell tower there are old beams probably taken from their original places and replaced, the dating of one of them is from around 1494-1498. The joists of the niche made in the eastern wall of the tower also refer to this period of time. The dating here is from around 1498.

 OTKA (2006, 2011)

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Filitelnic - Lutheran church
 

(G: Felldorf, H: Fületelke, Maros county) – roof structure of the nave and chancel, tower

At Filitelnic the restoration of the ruined church began based on a civil movement. We wanted to help this initiation in the course of the dendrochronological researches with OTKA. The original roof structure of the nave – being built with a rare kind of solution – is from mediaeval times. The oaks used here had been  felled in the winter of 1447/1448. On one of the tie beams can be read the year 1772, when the roof had been restored. The roof above the chancel was constructed from oaks cut out on the winter of 1771/1772, in which, only one truss could be saved due to decay. The cross-beams of the 1st to the 3rd floor in the tower had been made from trees cut out in the winters of 1641/1642 and 1642/1643, so that the tower is not mediaeval.

OTKA (2013-2014)

Geoagiu - rotunda
 

(H: Algyógy, Alba county)

In the course of the research of the rotunda from Geoagiu we hoped that we would find in the building, which had been built in the 12th century, original wood elements from the age of the Árpáds. Unfortunately all the accessible cross-beams had already been placed through a later restoration. Their dating time is the winter of 1673/1674. Although the secondary beam used above the triumphal arch is from an earlier time, it is not original either. It stems from a tree cut out on the winter of 1649/1650.

OTKA (2013)

Gheorgheni Roman Catholic Church
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Guşteriţa Lutheran church
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Hălmeag Lutheran church
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Gheorgheni - Roman Catholic Church
 

(H: Gyergyószentmiklós, Harghita county) – bell tower, roof structure of the church

The investigation of the bell tower in Gheorgheni confirmed the mediaeval origin of it. The dendochronological datings are in accordance with the date of 1498, which can be read on the western gate of the tower: one of the floor beams of the first floor is from oak felled  around 1499-1503; on the second floor one of the original spruce floor beams is from wood cut out in the winter of 1497/1498. The datings of the lintels above the embrasures of the 2nd and 3rd floors, can be placed in the first part of the years 1470s, so the question occurs as to whether the smaller timbers are of secondary usage or not. The investigation identified later periods in the raising of the tower, when beams from elm trees had been used for the building. The roof structure of the church had been built from spruce cut out in the winters of 1753/1754 and 1754/1755, and had been changed in the middle of the 1790-es.

OTKA (2013), Forster Centre (2015-2016)

Guşteriţa - Lutheran church
 

(G: Hammersdorf, H: Szenterzsébet, Sibiu county) – triumphal arch, tower

In this building we collected samples from three places: from the former traverse beam of the triumph arch; from the lintels of the tower window in the second floor; and also from the elements of the structure walled up in the western gable. The last datable annual ring of the oak stump of the traverse beam had formed in 1454, and accordingly the building of the triumphal arch (and maybe the chancel?) could be dated around 1467 or a little later. The oak elements walled into the western gable may originate from the western truss of the mediaeval roof structure. The last datable annual ring of the wooden samples had been formed in 1438, which suggests that it had been built around 1451 or afterwards.  The dating of the charred beams above the window of the tower can also be placed in this period of time (around 1456 or a little later).

OTKA (2015)

Hălmeag - Lutheran church
 

(H: Halmágy, G: Halmagen, Brașov county) – roof structures

We investigated the roof structure of the Lutheran church for restoration plans. The church had not kept its contemporary roof structures when it was built and we could not identify old secondary elements used either. The oaks used for the roof structure of the high nave and the chancel had been cut out in the winter of 1773/1774 and the summer of 1774, then, after a few years’ time the roof of the northern side-aisle had been repaired with oaks cut out in the winter of 1776/1777. The interesting point of our research here was that for the building of the roof structure both oak and spruce had been used, mixed, so in this way the dating authenticated the elaborated chronologies reciprocally for the different species.

OTKA, Lutheran Parish Hălmeag(2013)

Horoatu Crasnei Reformed church
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Huedin Reformed church
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Joseni Roman Catholic Church
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Horoatu Crasnei - Reformed church
 

(H: Krasznahorvát, Sălaj county) – roof structure

The roof structure of the church from Horoatu Crasnei was suspected of being mediaeval also, but the wood elements from the structure of the roof –both nave and chancel- originated from between 1718 and 1720 – and surprisingly – are from oaks cut out in summer time.

OTKA (2012)

Huedin - Reformed church
 

(H: Bánffyhunyad, Cluj county) – roof structure of the nave, the chancel and the tower.

On the interior walls of the tower more holes of missing timbers can be seen, so the original floors of the tower were desmonted. All the investigated oak elements of the wooden structure of the 1st and 2nd floors of the church tower at Huedin come from trees cut in the winter of 1702/1703 or the winter of 1703/1704, whilst all the elements of the wooden balcony and its roof foundation originate from wood cut out in the winter of 1735/1736. The roof structures of the church had primarily been made from spruce beams. These elements we are not able to date yet. But about the fir elements of the roof structure of the chancel we could state that they originated from trees cut out in the summer of 1691 or in the winter of 1690/1691.

OTKA (2014)

Joseni - Roman Catholic Church
 

(H: Gyergyóalfalu, Harghita county) – bell tower

For the cross-beams or joists of the tower  wooden material of different species had been used, although mostly elm-tree (Ulmus sp.), the dating of which from dendrochronological methods is uncertain at the present time. The oak parts were younger, but one of them could be dated to the summer of 1517. Thus the tower joining the present Baroque church in an irregular way, suggesting that the tower is mediaeval.

Joseni Catholic Parish (2010)

Lăzarea Roman Catholic Church
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Lazuri archeological excavation
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Luna de Sus Reformed church
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Lăzarea - Roman Catholic Church
 

(H: Gyergyószárhegy, Harghita county) – bell tower, high altar

The mediaeval construction history of the church is not clear enough. However, based on the wooden samples from the tower we can state with certainty that the bell tower had already been standing at the end of the 15th century. The dating of a built-in oak element on the second floor could be from around the winter of 1444/1445, while on the upper floors cross-beams not built-in, from around 1480-1490.

Behind the Baroque high altar there are two vertical stay-pillars. The pillars originate from oaks cut out in the winter of 1669/1670.

OTKA (2007)

link 1.

link 2.

Lazuri - archeological excavation
 

(Satu Mare county)well

Our sample originates from the oakboard of a well (33/1998.) from the migration period from the excavation of Ioan Stanciu. We could not date the sample perfectly with dendrochronological analysis, but a relative chronological connection with charred wooden elements from an inside structure of a ditch system from the fields of Ocland (Harghita county) called Kakasborozda-Csúzlik could be shown. The C14 dating of the latest ones mentioned are AD 689-789, and 681-766. Although the datings of the individual samples is always uncertain, in this case as well the conformity values are only just acceptable. In the knowledge of congruent archeological dating for the time being we can consider the relative dating authentic.

OTKA (2013)

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Luna de Sus - Reformed church
 

(H: Magyarlóna, Cluj county) – ceiling

We could investigate only some of the boards of the coffered or wooden ceiling of the church from Magyarlóna. The species definition of the elements is uncertain, possibly they had been made of spruce. In the absence of the closing annual ring it may be possible that the boards originate from trees cut out after the years 1722, or 1725.

OTKA (2015)

Lutița Reformed church
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Mălâncrav Lutheran church
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Mălâncrav Altarpiece
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Lutița - Reformed church
 

(H: Agyagfalva, Harghita county) – tower, church roof structure

Above the front door of the churchyard there is quite a plain tower. The investigation of the beams from its building time told us that they are from trees cut out in the winter of 1627/1628 or the summer of 1628. So the date of 1628 on the outside of the tower confirms a reference to tradition as to when it was built. The wooden structures located on the 4th floor of the tower come from oak trees cut in the winter of 1755/1756 and therefore date the raising of the tower. We investigated the roof structure of the church in the dendrochronological research programme of the Forster Centre from 2015 (by collecting a series of annual rings of Transylvanian spruce). On the roof structure made from mixed wood, such as silver fir and spruce, and on other elements, the year 1827 can be read. Beams from both kind of fir trees could be dated respectively to the winters of 1825/1826, and 1826/1827.

The Council of Hargita County (2008), OTKA (2015), Forster Centre (2015)

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Mălâncrav - Lutheran church
 

(G: Malmkrog, H: Almakerék, Sibiu county) roof structure of naveand of chancel

Over the vaulted chancel, which is decorated entirely by frescoes, runs a roof structure, where the lower part of the tie beams are decorated with chamfer. This seems to indicate that above the chancel there could have been a cross-beamed floor, which it could be seen from below before the raising of the vault. More elements and wales of the roof structure above the chancel according to the dendrochronological investigation, were made of oak cut out around 1342 or later, whilst the roof structure of the nave was built from oak cut out in the winter of 1369/1370. These datings also very probably indicate the time of the Gothic construction and give a postquem terminus for the frescos.

OTKA (2013, 2015)

Mălâncrav - Altarpiece
 

(G: Malmkrog, H: Almakerék, Sibiu county)

In the church of Mălâncrav there can be found one of the most beautiful winged altarpiece in Transylvania. We measured the annual rings of twelve boards of five painted panels and one board from the predella (in the case of the painted panels in frames at the back of the boards). The painted panels and the predella are the same age, they were made from silver fir cut out in a uniform way in the winter of 1459/1460.

OTKA (2015)

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Mănăstirea Kornis-castle
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Mărtiniş Unitarian church
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Miercurea Ciuc Peasant House
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Mănăstirea - Kornis-castle
 

(H: Szentbenedek, Cluj county) – cross-beams

Throughout the assessment of the castle Ferenc Mihály the restorer sawed samples from two cross-beams which were built into the wall for dendrochronological analysis. Because the sapwood annual rings were missing, the dating is not exact to the year, and we estimated that the oaks had been cut out around 1617, or shortly afterwards.

OTKA (2015)

Mărtiniş - Unitarian church
 

(H: Homoródszentmárton, Harghita county)rounded wall

From the present ruined walls of the church of Mărtiniş from above two of the crenelles or embrasures in the wall, from an originally placed oak beam we took samples at the request of András Sófalvi, archeologist from Odorheiu Secuiesc. According to one ofthe samples, which was from a lintel of a walled-off crenelle, that tree had been cut out around the years 1624–1628. An other lintel, which came from a two-pronged crenelle, originated from a tree cut out around the year 1625 or later. This agrees with the historical dates, when, after the assault in 1613, efforts were made to strengthen the church.

OTKA (2006, 2011)

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Miercurea Ciuc - Peasant House
 

(number 255 Kájoni street,H: Csíkszereda, Hargita county) 

In the cellar of the peasant house with a portico, which lies near Somlyó-stream there are cross-beams. They can be linked with two building periods. At the former construction there had been used trees cut out around 1717, while the latter period had built in beams from around 1830. According to our present knowledge this house is the oldest civil house in Miercurea Ciuc.

OTKA (2015)

Mugeni Reformed church
details     
Ocland Unitarian church
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Odorheiu Secuiesc Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel
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Mugeni - Reformed church
 

(H: Bögöz, Harghita county) –tower, roof structure of the nave and the chancel, crypt

The famous fresco of the Mugeni church covers the tower as well, so that its lower part is surely from the times of the House of Anjou. The main aim of the investigation was to gain 14th century annual ring series from the elements of the building constructed in earlier times. But the oaks which could be found on the first floor of the tower originated from the raising of the tower in the modern period, the cutting out time of the trees had been the winter of 1669/1670 and the summer of 1670.

The samples from the structures of the nave are also from the modern historical period, the mixed wooden material (oak, silver fir and spruce) which had been felled in the winter of 1664/1665, presumably the restoration following the campaign of Ali pasha.

However, the roof of the chancel managed to survive the havoc; the samples collected from here are from oaks cut out in the winter of 1503/1504. This date refers to the time of the building of the Gothic chancel as well. The remnants of the crypt which turned up through the excavation of the inside of the chancel had been made from trees cut out in the winter of 1738/1739.

The Council of Harghita County (2008), Haáz Rezső Museum (2013), OTKA (2015)

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Ocland - Unitarian church
 

(H: Oklánd, Harghita county) – bell tower and roof structure

The dating of the bore samples at the lower levels of the tower are from the winter of 1651/1652, and 1652/1653, whilst the upper level with the bell could be dated to 1797-1798. In the loft above the nave two roof-periods could be differentiated: the trees being used in the former, were cut out in the winter of 1728/1729, these are all re-used elements, today without having any function, whilst the beams of the actual roof structure originate from trees cut out in the summer of 1784.

The Council of Harghita County (2008), ArcStudio, Miercurea Ciuc (2014)

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Odorheiu Secuiesc - Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel
 

(H: Székelyudvarhely, Harghita county) – roof structure

The chapel is believed by many to date back to the age of the Árpáds, but this cannot be certified by archeological research. On this question the dendrochronological samples are not decisive, because from the young cross-beams only one could be dated: arroun 1664-1668. This beam cannot be linked with the building of the chapel, but can be correlated with the building-restoration after the Turkish ravage of 1661 and which can be documented at several monuments in the region.

Museum Haáz Rezső (2011)

Petreni Unitarian Church
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Petrindu Reformed church
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Pir Reformed church
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Petreni - Unitarian Church
 

(H: Homoródszentpéter, Harghita county) – roof structure

The roof structure of the Petreni church is one of the oldest, mediaeval roof structures in Hargita county. We found the roof structure ‘coincidentally’ when we went around the church towers of Odorhei region with the archeologist András Sófalvi. One sample from the tower could be dated exactly to when the cutting out of the tree happened in the summer of 1630. For the other elements the cutting out of the trees can be placed between the period of 1630–1635. Based on this, the time of building of the tower can be placed in the first part of the 17th century. The building of the roof structure of the church which stands apart from the tower had happened in two phases. The chancel was made from oaks cut out around 1537-1544, whilst the roof of the nave had been made a few decades earlier, from trees cut out in 1517.

The Council of Hargita County (2008), OTKA (2015)

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Petrindu - Reformed church
 

(H: Nagypetri, Sălaj county) – coffered wooden ceiling

We investigated the boards of the coffered ceiling which had been taken down for restoration, in Ferenc Mihály’s workshop in Sovata. The boards of the ceiling – according to their inscription - were painted by János Umling between 1769 and 1770, that is why their dating was not in question. Their analysis was important because we wanted to practise a new kind of measuring method, the measuring of annual rings without charring and checking it with the help of a digital microscope. According to the analysis of the annual rings the silver tree board originated from trees cut out in the winter of 1767/1768.

OTKA (2012)

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Pir - Reformed church
 

(H: Szilágypér, Sălaj county)– roof structure

The roof structure from Pir is one of the “Gothic style” roofs of the region. The dendrochronological analysis again certified in this case that the typological definition is far from the facts about the real building period of the church. This is because all analyzed elements of the roof structure had been carved in the winter of 1699/1700 or around that time.

OTKA (2012)

Porumbenii Mari Reformed church
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Roşia Montana Greeko-Catholic Church
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Săcădate Lutheran church
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Porumbenii Mari - Reformed church
 

(H: Nagygalambfalva, Harghita county)– tower and roof structure

The wooden elements of the western bell tower which can be dated securely had been made from oaks cut out in the winter of 1663/1664. Nevertheless, this dating does not apply to the construction of the tower because of the different sizes of the beams and beam-nests, but it does give out very clearly the date of the renovation after the year 1661, pasha Ali’s havoc. At the level of the bells the people were still renovating them at the beginning of the 20th century as well. The re-building of the sacristy had been done with oaks cut out in the winter of 1733/1734, whilst the roof structure was made from spruce cut out in the winter of 1876/1877 and in the summer of 1877.

The Council of Harghita County (2008), Forster Centre (2015)

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Roşia Montana - Greeko-Catholic Church
 

(H: Verespatak, Alba county) – belfry

The exact time when the church and the tower were built was unknown.  Inside the tower there is an inner structure of high standard made from spruce, organically coherent with the open balcony and the spire above. From the samples of different wooden structures for the building of the tower – from the cross-beams of the first floor to the spire – there were some used trees felled in the winter of 1728/1729. On the balcony three decades later they placed a strengthening wooden structure which was made from silver fir tree cut out in 1759.

OTKA (2015)

Săcădate - Lutheran church
 

(H: Oltszakadát, Sibiu county) – roof structure of the nave and of the chancel

The beginning of the church goes back to the 13th century, but we could not identify any traces of this in the roof structure, and because of the many havocs we could not find any mediaeval elements either. The present roof structure had been made from silver fir trees cut out in 1765/1766 and in a small portion by spruce.

Forster Centre (2015)

Sâncrăieni Roman Catholic Church
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Sândominic Mary’s enthronement panel painting
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Sângeorgiu de Mureş Roman Catholic church
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Sâncrăieni - Roman Catholic Church
 

(H: Csíkszentkirály, Harghita county)bell tower

Because of its buttresses and its mediaeval bell the western bell tower of the church was considered mediaeval according to art historical research. However, the dating of the samples taken from the oak beams contemporary with its building time is from the end of the 17th – beginning of the 18th century. The dendro-data was strengthened by written sources also. The tower had not been mentioned in 1716 at the Episcopal visits, though in 1713 it had been described as only recently built. (Lat: „recenter erecta”).

OTKA (2006)

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Sândominic - Mary’s enthronement panel painting
 

(H: Csíkszentdomokos, Harghita county)

The panel painting got into the Székely Museum of Ciuc from Sândominic. It is entitled Mary’s enthronement is relatively well known in the specialized literature of art history, mostly because of the fact that it was linked to a workshop from Salzburg based on stylistic criticism, and because of this was considered to be an imported piece. However, the annual ring series measured on the corner of the fir tree boards of the painted panel did not show any kind of agreement with either Austrian or German chronologies. But we made a successful dating in Sândominic with a silver fir tree annual ring series from other Transylvanian datings from Bistrița and Sibiu: the boards were made from silver trees cut out after 1485. Based on this we can state surely that the painting panel from Sândominic – independently from its maker’s origin or learning – was made in Transylvania on a tree from this region.

OTKA (2012)

link 1.

link 2.

Sângeorgiu de Mureş - Roman Catholic church
 

(H: Marosszentgyörgy, Mureş county) – ceiling

We carried out the investigation of the boards of the wooden ceiling after it had been dismantled, whilst the restoration work was taking place, and with the help of Ferenc Mihály the restorer. The ceiling had been made of mixed wood materials, silver tree and spruce. The dating of the former was successful, the ceiling panels had been made from silver trees felled in the winter of 1725/1726.

OTKA (2014)

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Sânpaul Unitarian church
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Sântimbru de Mureş Reformed church
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Sânvasii Unitarian church
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Sânpaul - Unitarian church
 

(H: Homoródszentpál, Harghita county) – bell tower

The quite plain western bell tower is in fact the sole medievalpart of the building.

The dendrochronological investigation of the cross-beams brought to light that the trees used for the building of the tower were felled uniformly in 1531-1532. The final completion of the construction of the tower could be indicated by the two bells which are dated 1542.

The Council of Harghita County (2008), OTKA (2015)

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Sântimbru de Mureş - Reformed church
 

(H: Marosszentimre, Mureş county) – roof structure of the nave and of the chancel

The original roof structure had not survived through the storms of history. The present structure made of spruce had been repaired several times. At the present time the spruce datings are not entirely sure. According to our present data the earliest parts of the roof had been made of trees cut out after 1713, but there were quite significant restorations after 1786, and also after the winter of 1924/1925.

Forster Centre (2015)

Sânvasii - Unitarian church
 

(H: Nyárádszentlászló, Mureș county) – roof structure and bell tower

The structure of the roof is typologically early “Romanesque –style”, but in its compounds it is a mixed structure with several secondary elements. The dated beams are not by any measure as early as they werethought to be from the character of the trusses. There are some elements from the 15th-16th centuries, but most of them originate from around the years 1680. Unfortunately the original wooden compounds of the tower were changed, and the earliest dated beam is from a tree cut out in the winter of 1710/1711.

The Museum of Maros County (2011)

Sebeş Lutheran church
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Sibiu Lutheran church
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Sibiu House at  22 Ocnei street
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Sebeş - Lutheran church
 

(G: Mühlbach, H: Szászsebes, Alba county) – roof structure of the nave, tower

The roof structure of the nave in the church in Sebeş possessed many traces which allude to an old origin. For example, part of the wale-rafter connections had originally been made by splicing and they were teemed posteriorly. But a part of the elements was made of spruce, and many of our samples originated from quite a young entity. For the time being we could date just only a few silver fir samples, which originated from trees felled by the end of the 14thcentury. In one of the beam nests of the tower we identified a beam stump which seemed to be contemporary with its building time; this is from a tree cut out around 1255-1259. It is possible that the building of the tower was begun only after the ravage of the Tartars.

OTKA (2012)

Sibiu - Lutheran church
 

(G: Hermannstadt, H: Nagyszeben, Sibiu county) – roof structures

Above this monumental church can be found a roof made from silver tree which evolved through several building periods.  In the roof structure above to the last “restoration” in the recent past the development of carpentry as a craft could be traced, and many kinds of mediaeval trusses could be re-constructed. According to the dendrochronological datings the periods of the building of the church, and how it advanced from east to west, are very easily traced. The original roof structure above the chancel had been built of silver trees cut out in the winter of 1338/1339, but from this only secondary used elements remained. For the roof to the crossing and the southern transept, trees cut out respectively in the winter of 1351/1352, in the summer of 1352 and in the winter of 1352/1353, had been used. For the roof structure of the nave a decade later, the necessary quantity of wood had been felled respectively in the winters of 1362/1363, and 1363/1364. The whole roof structure underwent a restoration at the end of the last century, when not only the chancel got a new roof structure, but in every standing structure there was built in a lengthwise stiffener between 1393 and 1397, from spruce cut out in winter time. To the roof of the ferula which was built west of the tower silver fir trees felled in the winter of 1458/1459 had been used. The roof of the southern aisle was built from fir trees cut out in 1517-1518. According to our present knowledge the roof structure of Sibiu Lutheran church is the earliest standing silver fir wooden structure in Transylvania. The inner dendrochronological chronology reflects well the different periods of mediaeval construction of the church, and it is in itself, a primordial historical source as well. That is why it is such a pity that wantonness in the roof “restoration” carried out between 2012-2015 caused changed elements and knots carelessly and consistently used which practically truncated this unique structure in Eastern Europe.

OTKA (2012)

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link 2.

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Sibiu - House at  22 Ocnei street
 

(G: Hermannstadt, H: Nagyszeben, Sibiu county) - beams of the ceiling

At the time of the restoration of a private house from the lower town from the beams

of the ceiling in the corner room on the first floor, we managed to saw off some thin slices from the ends of the beams which were covered. The dating of the silver tree samples surprised us all because they originated from trees cut out in the winter of 1546-1547 or around that time. So that, in spite of the many historical storms in Sibiu, some of the mediaeval civil buildings, and lodging houses had remained ‘untouched’ from their foundation to their upper floors.

OTKA (2011)

Sibiu House at number 4 Turnului street
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Sic Reformed church
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Șoimușu Mare Reformed church
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Sibiu - House at number 4 Turnului street
 

(G: Hermannstadt, H: Nagyszeben, Sibiu county) – beams of the ceiling

From this building we got samples from the beams of the ceiling of the hall on the first floor which looks over the street. The analysis of the spruce samples was unsuccessful, but we did determine that a silver fir tree beam had been made from a tree cut out after 1541.

OTKA (2011)

Sic - Reformed church
 

(H: Szék, Cluj county) - floor (joists), roof structure of the nave

The church in Sic suffered significant interventions in the twentieth century. That is why from the recent restoration it is questionable as to whether the present roof structure has any historical value worth preserving. The dendrochronological analysis proved that most of the structure had been made from oaks felled in the winter of 1693/1694, whilst the silver fir cross-beams of the ceiling originate from entities cut out after 1734.

OTKA (2006), Irod M, Cluj Napoca (2014)

Șoimușu Mare - Reformed church
 

(H: Nagysolymos, Harghita county)– bell tower

The mediaeval church in Nagysolymos was demolished entirely except for its tower. This provided the starting point for the rebuilding of the present church. Even the inner joists or cross-beams had been removed. From the original wooden materials from the time of its first construction only the lintels remained above the crenelles. Nevertheless, most of them are very young, so the dating of only one sample from around 1517-1521 gives a guideline in reference of the time of the building of the tower.

The Council of Harghita County (2008), OTKA (2016)

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Şumuleu Parish Church
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Tărceşti Reformed Church
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Târgu Mureş Fortress-church (Reformed church)
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Şumuleu - Parish Church
 

(H: Csíksomlyó, Harghita county)bell tower

Because of its buttresses, walled off pointed arched windows, and mediaeval bell the western bell tower of the church was considered mediaeval by art history research. From the dendrochronological samples of the contemporary wooden beams of the building of the tower however, it could only be dated from the end of the 17th century. The dendro-dates were also confirmed later from written sources and epigraphical data.(Lat: Domus Historia: „turris lapidea constructa cepta 1683”).

OTKA (2005)

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Tărceşti - Reformed Church
 

(H: Tarcsafalva, Harghita county) – belfry

We took altogether five samples from the belfry; most of them are from the beginning of the 18th century (a safely datable beam was made from oak cut out in the winter of 1731/1732), but in the structure exists a secondary used element cut out in the summer of 1699.

The Council of Harghita County (2008)

Târgu Mureş - Fortress-church (Reformed church)
 

(H: Marosvásárhely, Mureş county) – former Franciscan, at present Reformed church, tower, roof structures

Though the church could hardly be called out-of –the-way, up to the dendro research it was not known that above the chancel there is a mediaeval roof structure. Through the research made here it turned out that the roof structure had been built from oaks cut out in the winter of 1479/1480, and in the summer of 1480. We think that it may be possible that the dating of the roof structure is in close relationship with the building or re-building of the chancel. After the ravage of the town at the beginning of the 17th century which touched the church and also the tower, the townspeople had to partially re-build the damaged roof with oaks felled in the winter of 1602/1603. When it was repaired they followed entirely the structure of the former mediaeval roof. The earliest investigated wooden elements of the tower all originate from trees cut out around the year 1603. Not long ago the spruce roof structure above the nave could be dated successfully; the elements investigated are from trees cut out in the winter of 1783/1784.

The Museum of Maros County (2010-2011), OTKA (2013)

link (paper in Hungarian)

link (paper in English  and Romanian)

 

Târgu Mureş Former Franciscan monastery
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Tăşnad Reformed Church
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Turda Roman Catholic Church from old Torda
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Târgu Mureş - Former Franciscan monastery
 

(H: Marosvásárhely Mureş county) – archeological excavation

Through his archeological research of the monastery near the former Franciscan church, Zoltán Soós opened up (in 2006) remnants of a burnt wooden house at lower than the 15th century walking level. The annual ring under the bark of one of the oak beams of the house could be dated to 1303, so therefore the tree was cut out in the winter of 1303/1304. It is possible that the dating could show the earliest domus or domicile of the Franciscans, built before the monastery itself.

OTKA (2006)

Tăşnad - Reformed Church
 

(H: Tasnád, Satu Mare county)– roof structure of the nave and the chancel

The “Gothic style” imposing oak roof structure, like several monuments in the region was built in modern historical times. For the building of the structure the necessary trees were cut out in the winter of 1713/1714. The roof structure from Tăşnadis a good example of a kind of mediaeval-type of roof structure linked with the traditional carpentry that could have survived through the centuries.

OTKA (2012)

Turda - Roman Catholic Church from old Torda
 

(H: Torda, Cluj county) – roof structure of the nave and the chancel

The original roof structure of this imposing church did not survive. From the newer, spruce elements of the roof structure of the nave we managed to do the dating exactly to the year, and these were made from trees cut out in the winter of 1820/1821. In the case of the roof of the chancel the analysis was made more difficult because of the young age of the trees. Here an element from silver fir tree could be dated to the winter of 1711/1712, or shortly afterwards.

OTKA (2013)

Turda Reformed Church from new Torda
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Zagon Mikes-Szentkereszty mansion
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Turda - Reformed Church from new Torda
 

(H: Torda, Cluj county) – tower, roof structure of the nave and the chancel

Many elements of the western bell tower originated from oaks cut out in the winter of 1699/1700 or the summer of 1700. However their building time is questionable. It is possible that some spruce beams of the former floor above the nave originated from the cutting of 1476/1477 or the summer of 1477. The present-day elements of inclined principal trussed roof structure (Liegender Stuhl) were made from spruce cut out in 1787.

OTKA (2013)

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Zagon - Mikes-Szentkereszty mansion
 

(H: Zágon, Covasna county) – door frames

Through the restoration of the mansion in 2012 from the decorated moulding, a Renaissance wooden door frame was discovered. Some fine slices were removed for dendrochronological analysis. The elaborate oak elements did not contain either outer annual rings nor sapwood, so we could establish only, that the wood as a raw material had been cut out in 1628 or later.

OTKA (2012-2013)

 
 
 
 
© 2016 Erdélyi dendrokronológiai laboratórium