Researchers at UCD


Aoife Daly

Research Fellow

School Of Archaeology
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 716


I am originally from Dun Laoghaire, and I completed my Bachelor (archaeology and geography, 1988) and Master of Arts (archaeology, 1991) right here at University College Dublin. After a 2½ year stint at the Discovery Programme's North Munster Project, I moved with my family to Copenhagen, Denmark. I worked as a dendrochronologist at the National Museum of Denmark for seven years and then as an independent freelance dendrochronologist. In 2003, I was awarded a grant from the Elisabeth Munksgaard Fund, Denmark, for the preparation of the paper 'The dendrochronological dating of timber crossings in west Jutland, Denmark', which is published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Wetland Archaeology, 2006.

I attained funding for my Ph.D. studies from the Danish Research Council, which I carried out fulltime for three years (2004-2007) at the University of Southern Denmark, and was awarded the degree in 2007. In my thesis, 'Timber, Trade and Tree-rings', I refined the method in which dendrochronology is used to determine the area of origin of timbers, found in archaeological/historical contexts. I then examined the insights this provides us with, in the context of the history of Northern European timber trade.

I have worked with a range of research projects, particularly with a maritime theme, in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and here in Ireland. Recent projects include wood studies of the Drogheda Boat and its barrel cargo, dating and provenance determination of the wharf and shipwrecks from Oslo Harbour, dating and provenance of fine art (painted on oak panels) at the Danish National Gallery, and non-destructive dendrochronology, where industrial CT scanning of wood objects from the Norwegian Viking ship burials at Oseberg and Gokstad has enabled non-invasive dating and provenance studies of over 90 objects.

Currently, due to a generous grant from the Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (IEF), I am immersed in the project, Chronology, Culture and Archaeology (CCA). I am carrying out tree-ring studies of wood structures found in wetland contexts in Ireland, chiefly fishing structures on the inter-tidal zone of the Fergus Estuary, in Co. Clare. This work is allowing detailed chronology of the structures to be constructed, so that we can map the intensity of the medieval fisheries in these waters.



Conference Contributions

Daly, A (2012) Timber - regionality and temporality in Northern Europe's shipbuilding resource. [Oral Presentation], International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology (ISBSA) Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands , 08-OCT-12 - 12-OCT-12.
Daly, A (2012) Oak in Northern Europe. [Invited Oral Presentation], CAA Montreal 16-20 May 2012, Montreal, Canada , 16-MAY-12 - 20-MAY-12.
Daly, A (2012) The Boarland Rock fishweirs on the Fergus Estuary - attempting fine-tuned chronology. [Oral Presentation], Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland Spring conference, Galway, Ireland , 20-APR-12 - 21-APR-12.
Daly, A (2012) Skovens tilstand, med fokus på vikingetiden - årringsdata. [Invited Oral Presentation], Skoven som resource, Roskilde, Denmark , 01-NOV-12 - 01-NOV-12.
Daly, A (2012) I presented results of non-destructive dendrochronological analysis of the Gokstad viking ship burial. [Invited Oral Presentation], Gokstad Revitalised, Sandefjord, Norway , 26-MAR-12 - 27-MAR-12.
Daly, A (2011) Ikke destruktive dendrokronologiske undersøgelser - en succeshistorie. [Invited Oral Presentation], Natark, Copenhagen, 22-23 august 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark , 22-AUG-11 - 23-AUG-11.
Daly, A (2011) Dating without damage - computer tomography for dendrochronology. [Oral Presentation], Eurodendro, Switzerland , 19-SEP-11 - 23-SEP-11.
Daly, A (2011) A tale of tall trees. [Oral Presentation], School of Archaeology UCD Research Day, University College Dublin , 15-DEC-11 - 15-DEC-11.





Aoife Daly; (2007) Timber, Trade and Tree-rings, A dendrochronological analysis of structural oak timber in Northern Europe, c. AD 1000 to c. AD 1650. phd thesis University of Southern Denmark: University of Southern Denmark. Available Online [Details]

Book Chapters

Daly, A; Läänelaid, A (2012) 'The dendrochronological dating of three paintings in the style of Bosch/Bruegel' In: Hermens, E (eds). On the Trail of Bosch and Bruegel: Four Paintings under Magnification. Glasgow: . Archetype Publications/SMK. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2013) 'Dendrochronological Analysis of the wreck' In: Holger Schweitzer (eds). The Drogheda Boat - The excavation of a 16th century clinker built cargo vessel. Ireland: Ireland. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2013) 'Dendrochronological analysis of the barrels' In: Holger Schweitzer (eds). The Drogheda Boat - The excavation of a 16th century clinker built cargo vessel. Ireland: Ireland. [Details]
Ferd Hocker and Aoife Daly; (2006) 'Early cogs, Jutland boatbuilders, and the connection between East and West before AD 1250' In: Blue, L., Hocker, F. and Englert, A (eds). Connected by the Sea: Proceedings of the 10th international symposium on boat and ship archaeology, Roskilde. Oxford: Oxbow Books, Oxford. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2005) 'Dendrokronologiske dateringer og proveniensbestemmelser' In: E. Roesdahl and J. Kock (eds). Boringholm, en Jysk Træborg fra 1300-årene. Århus: Århus. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2005) 'Datering af bolværker, dendrokronologiske dateringsresultater - en gennemgang' In: Roland, T (eds). Bolværker - fra middelalderen og nyere tid. Næstved: Næstved. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2005) 'Dendrochronological dating and species determination of wood from Viborg Søndersø' In: Iversen, M., D. Robinson, J. Hjermind and C. Christensen (eds). Viborg Søndersø 1018-1030. Arkæologi og naturvidenskab i et værkstedsområde fra vikingetid. Højbjerg: Jysk Arkæologisk Selskabs Skrifter. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2005) 'Trade and tree-rings' In: M. Agnoletti, M. Armiero, S. Barca and G. Corona (eds). History and Sustainability. Third International Conference of the European Society for Environmental History. Florence: Florence. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2002) 'The Dating of Naval Bases in Southern Scandinavia, 7th to 12th Centuries' In: Lars Jørgensen & Anne Nørgård Jørgensen (eds). Maritime Warfare in Northern Europe 500 BC to 1500 AD. Copenhagen: PNM Studies in Archaeology & History, Vol. 6. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2001) 'The dendrochronological datings of the barrages in Haderslev fjord, Nakkebølle Fjord and Jungshoved Cove' In: Birger Storgaard (eds). Military Aspects of the Aristocracy in Barbaricum in the Roman and Early Migration Periods. Copenhagen: PNM Studies in Archaeology & History, Vol. 5. [Details]
Aidan O'Sullivan and Aoife Daly; (1999) 'Prehistoric and Medieval coastal settlement and wetland exploitation in the Shannon estuary, Ireland' In: B. Coles, J. Coles and M Schou Jørgensen (eds). Bog Bodies, Sacred Sites and Wetland Archaeology. Exeter: Exeter. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (1998) 'A tree-ring chronology of ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) from Viking Dublin' In: T Bartlett (eds). History and Environment. Dublin: University College Dublin. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Bill, J. and Daly, A.; (2012) 'The plundering of the ship graves from Oseberg and Gokstad - an example of power politics?'. Antiquity, 86 :808-824. [Details]
Arbin, S. and Daly, A. (2012) 'The Mollö Cog Re-Examined and Re-Evaluated'. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, . [Details]
Bill, J., Dalen, K., Daly, A. & Johnsen, Ø. (2012) 'Dendro CT - dendrochronology without damage'. Dendrochronologia, 30 :223-230. [Details]
Aoife Daly and Pål Nymoen; (2008) 'The Bøle Ship, Skien, Norway - Research history, dendrochronology and provenance'. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 37 (1):153-170. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2007) 'The Karschau Ship, Schleswig-Holstein: Dendrochronological Results and Timber Provenance'. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 36 (1):155-166. [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2006) 'The dendrochronological dating of timber crossings in west Jutland, Denmark'. Journal of Wetland Archaeology, 6 :19-48. [Details]
Eoin Grogan & Aoife Daly; (1994) 'Excavations at Clenagh, Co. Clare, Interim report'. Discovery Programme Reports, 4 . [Details]
Eoin Grogan, Tom Condit, Finn O'Carroll, Aidan O'Sullivan & Aoife Daly; (1994) 'Tracing the late prehistoric landscape in North Munster'. Discovery Programme Reports, 4 . [Details]
Aoife Daly & Eoin Grogan; (1992) 'Excavation of Four Barrows in Mitchelstowndown West, Knocklong, Co. Limerick'. Discovery Programme Reports, 1 . [Details]

Other Journals

Niels Bonde, Aoife Daly & Kaare Lund Rasmussen; (2001) 'Nyborg Slot i nyt lys. Naturvidenskab og bygningsarkæologi' Aarbøger for Nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie 2000 . [Details]
Aoife Daly; (2001) 'Træer lyver ikke - Dendrokronologiske dateringer' Vejhistorie, tidskrift fra Dansk Vejhistorisk Selskab 2 . [Details]
Bonde, N., Bartholin, T. Daly, A. et al; (1993) 'Dendrokronologiske dateringsundersøgelser på Nationalmuseet 1992' Arkæologiske udgravninger i Danmark 1992 1992 . [Details]

Conference Publications

Daly, A; (2009) The chronology of cogs and their timber origin . In: Bockius, R eds. Between the seas. Transfer and Exchange in Nautical Technology , pp.237-248 [Details]
Daly, A; (2011) Dendro-geography - Mapping the Northern European historic timber trade . In: Fraiture, P eds. Tree Rings, Art, Archaeology , pp.107-123 [Details]
Daly, A (2005) Contacts across the North Sea c 800-1500 from a dendrochronological perspective . In: Scholl, L; Williams, D eds. Crisis and Transition. Maritime Sectors in the North Sea Region 1790-1940 , pp.136-149 [Details]


Research Interests

Timber: From analyses of wood found in historic buildings and on archaeological excavations, I work with questions about timber as a building material, trading commodity, resource (abundant or dwindling) and as an indicator of trade contacts between regions in Northern Europe over the last ca. 2000 years. The precise dating and identification of area of origin that are obtained by these tree-ring analyses, coupled with the find context and usage of the timber (castle, church, ship, barrel, art object, etc.) enables a very nuanced and detailed cultural-historical interpretation.

Chronology, Culture and Archaeology (CCA). Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (IEF)From June 2011 to June 2013, I am working with the medieval fishtraps on the Fergus Estuary, Co. Clare. I am attaining high-precision chronology from tree-ring studies of these wooden structures. This analysis is to form a comprehensive understanding of changes in the exploitation of the river resources over time and of people¿s decisions in terms of form, structure and life-spans of wooden fishing structures, including their repair and abandonment year by year ¿ all at a chronological resolution normally impossible to discern in conventional archaeology. At UCD School of Archaeology we are currently investigating these estuarine remains. The tree-ring analysis will be integrated into the stratigraphical, environmental, tree-species and morphological analyses of the structures. This project will provide one of the key tools through which past human-environment interactions can be modelled at varying chronological scale of seasons, years and decades.

Ph.d., awarded 2007In my Ph.D. thesis, I set out to describe and improve the method by which the region of origin of historic oak timber is identified. I worked with historic oak tree-ring data kindly shared by dendrochronology laboratories in Northern Europe, and demonstrated that it is possible to locate the provenance of timbers in quite marked detail. On the basis of a range of case studies, where the methodology was applied to timbers from ancient shipwrecks and barrels, I was able to describe the patterns of the increasing trade in timber in Northern Europe, from early medieval to early modern times, and describe the balance between regions with timber shortages and regions with surplus.

DendroCT, non-destructive dendrochronological datingI have had success in carrying out dendrochronological analysis using non-destructive methods, in cooperation with Professor Jan Bill from Oslo University, thereby attaining precise dates for wooden archaeological objects without needing to damage the object in any way. The results of this breakthrough are in press (Bill, J., Dalen, K.S., Daly, A. & Johnsen, Ø. (in press) ¿Dendro CT ¿ dendrochronology without damage¿, Dendrochronologia). Using the techniques developed, additional analyses of wooden artefacts from the famous Viking Age ship burials at Oseberg and Gokstad in Norway have been possible, and the results of this is forthcoming.

Bosch and BruegelIn collaboration with the National Gallery of Denmark I have been carrying out dating and provenance analysis of painted oak panels. This work is providing insights into the procurement and supply of oak panels, from the medieval period onwards, to the Dutch and Flemish painting industry. 




Modules Coordinated

201200   ARCH30300     Archaeology: Timber, time and tree-rings