Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies
Institute for Historical Studies

WATCH: "Ancient Trees in Modern Times"farmer-flyer

Just as modernity created antiquity, modern science created ancient trees. However, most old trees do not suit the needs of data-driven science. After looking for centuries for the "oldest living thing," scientists finally found something both ancient and instrumental: the tree-rings of Great Basin bristlecone pines. In the end, the abstract science of dendrochronology recapitulated the material history of sacred trees. As proxies for past climates and as symbols of climate change, bristlecones cannot be more timely or timeful. Dr. Jared Farmer is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies the overlapping historical dimensions of landscape, environment, technology, science, religion, culture, and law. His temporal expertise is the long nineteenth century; his regional expertise is the North American West. Read more about his work on his Penn profile page and on his professional homepage. Photo credit: Jared Farmer @geohumanist.

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