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Dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating have intertwined histories, she explains, with roots firmly planted at the UA.A 1929 edition of National Geographic boasts, "The Secret Of The Southwest Solved By Talkative Tree Rings." The 35-page article, penned in whimsical prose, was written by Andrew Douglass, the UA scientist who invented tree ring science. In addition to his work as an astronomer at the UA's Steward Observatory, Douglass was the first to discover that tree rings record time.For decades, radiocarbon dating has been a way for scientists to get a rough picture of when once-living stuff lived.The method has been revolutionary and remains one of the most commonly used dating methods to study the past. Pearson, an assistant professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona, studies the past lives of trees to better understand the history of civilizations.Fifty, 20, or 100 years is a lot of time, wherein a lot can happen.Fifty years is the difference between Alexander Graham Bell's telephone and television.Indeed, the "Secret Of The Southwest" was revealed.

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Dates were assigned to Southwestern ruins with certainty.

In its most conventional form, dendrochronology works like this. They have no bias, and they have no political agenda; they just stand at locations all over the world," says Charlotte Pearson, an assistant professor of dendrochronology at the UA, studies samples under a microscope.

A contemporary tree—that is, a tree that was either just cut down or still living—can tell you not just how many years it has lived, but which years in which it lived. Credit: credit: Mari Cleven But what if the wood is older?

Willard Libby from the University of Chicago put it to the test.

By 1949, he had published a paper in Science showing that he had accurately dated samples with known ages, using radiocarbon dating.

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