|09-06-2004, 02:44 AM||#1|
Ancient cypress logs intrigue scientists
The State -
Owners hope to make big bucks from sale of wood that is tens of thousands of years old
By JOEY HOLLEMAN
Cypress logs uncovered at a sand mine near Johnsonville are so old they could have provided shade for woolly mammoths.
Felled by a natural disaster before people walked these parts, the forest of trees has been radiocarbon-dated at up to 40,000 years ago.
A group of Pee Dee entrepreneurs hope specialty furniture-makers, high-end builders and artists will pay as much as $100 a board foot for the chance to work with the ancient wood.
Scientists already are excited about the find, which ranks among the oldest large samplings of wood from the last ice age.
Dave Stahle, a tree-ring specialist at the University of Arkansas, has studied cypress wood as old as the Johnsonville cache. Several stumps dated to that period were uncovered during construction of a hotel in Washington, D.C., he said.
But Stahle has never heard of a site with the quantity apparently found near Johnsonville. Scientists could use this large quantity to come up with valid theories on the climate and environmental conditions of a period.
“I’ve only heard of an odd tree here or there,” said Stahle, who has not seen the Johnsonville wood but is eager to see such a forest of samples. “From a scientific point of view, that would be spectacular.” More...
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