Aoife Maeliosa Daly

Aoife Maeliosa Daly

Associate Professor, Visiting researcher

Member of:

    I am the Principal Investigator in a project funded by the European Research Council entitled Northern Europe's timber resource - chronology, origin and exploitation (TIMBER). The project is engaging a multi-disciplinary team to analyse the material and written evidence for timber usage over six centuries (c. 1100-1700). Taking specific case studies of structures throughout the period under study, the region of origin of timber will be analysed using several scientific methods. Some methods are tried and tested, some highly experimental. Identifying the timber source and the timber destination and using high-precision dating that dendrochronology provides, we will be able to see the changes, through time, in the availability and exploitation of this essential resource.

    Past projects

    In 2011-2013, due to a generous grant from the Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (IEF), I carried out the project Chronology, Culture and Archaeology (CCA) at the School of Archaeology, University College Dublin. I carried out holistic tree-ring studies of fishing structures on the inter-tidal zone of the Fergus Estuary, in Co. Clare Ireland. This work allowed detailed chronology of the structures to be constructed, so that the intensity of the medieval fisheries in these waters could be mapped.

    I have worked with a range of research projects, particularly with a maritime theme, in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Ireland. Recent projects include wood studies of the Drogheda Boat and its barrel cargo, dating and provenance determination of the harbour structures and shipwrecks from Oslo, dating and provenance of painted oak panels and ecclesiastical furniture. I have carried out non-destructive dendrochronology, both using CT scanning of wood objects and from gaining tree-ring measurement from exposed surfaces. CT-scanning of wood from the Norwegian Viking ship burials at Oseberg and Gokstad has enabled non-invasive dating and provenance studies of over 90 objects. I have also successfully applied these methods in non-invasive analyses of polychrome sculpture.

    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 archaeology of timber trade.

    I am originally from Dublin, Ireland and I completed my BA (archaeology and geography, 1988) and MA (archaeology, 1991) 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 have worked as a dendrochronologist/dendroarchaeologist in Scandinavia for over 20 years at a range of different institutions (National Museum of Denmark, University of Southern Denmark, Roskilde University, University College Dublin, Statens Museum for Kunst) and freelance (

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