The numerous constructional timbers provide ideal conditions for the dating of individual houses or entire village units to the year by using dendrochronology: the structure of the timbers is preserved so that the tree-rings can easily be measured. Their pattern is like a bar code that has recorded the sequence of good and poor years of growth. The comparison with reference chronologies reveals the exact position within the timeline of the tree-ring sequence measured. If the last tree-ring inside the bark has survived, this gives the actual year the tree was felled.
More than 100,000 pile-dwelling timbers have already been dated using this method. This does not only allow us to reconstruct the building history of the villages to the year but it also means that the finds can be dated with an accuracy that is unique worldwide. Finally, in many cases the pile-dwelling sites bear great potential for future climate change research. Tree-ring analyses offer invaluable insight into the climate and environmental conditions.