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Tree rings as criteria for selection of timber for building of chapels in the Republic of Karelia

Kisternaya, Margarita, Kozlov, Valery, Grishina, Irina, Leri, Marina
Dendrochronologia 2016 v.40 pp. 143-150
Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, buildings, growth rings, multivariate analysis, selection criteria, trees, villages, wood, wood quality
Data on the quality of timber used for building chapels – small buildings for public worship, enabled determination of visual criteria used for the selection of timber in the Republic of Karelia, located in the north-western part of the Russian Federation.It was revealed that as for the majority of timber structures in the region, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) logs were selected for the chapels. Trees perceived as 'Holy' such as spruce (Picea abies Kr.), were not used in these worship structures, in contrast to practices in the neighboring Leningrad Region. The age of the logged trees was 100–150 years, with a high proportion of young trees.Data obtained proved convincingly that compared with huge parish churches, selection of timber for these small chapels was not so strict. Multivariate analysis of variance showed that an ethnological factor played a significant role in the selection of wood for the buildings. Mature trees with narrow tree rings were preferred for worship structures preserved in villages populated by Karelians – the Baltic-Finnic tribe living in the region since ancient times.In villages with a dominantly Russian population, young pines with wide annual rings were dominantly used. A correlation between the height of the structures and the average diameter of the logs used was found with the coefficient of determination high in Karelian villages and lower in Russian villages.