Because we kicked off our summer in Lewisburg, WV, we'll start there....
Just as a reminder to our readers, the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS), have been curious to find out how old the Barracks truly is. Based on historical documentation, they've determined it was likely built some time between 1787 and 1807.
How do we do it, you ask? Step one. Field work. We start by mapping out the structure, labeling all logs, and finding the best places to sample. We look for logs with bark or a rounded outer edge. In the case below, we had plenty of bark. We tack labels to the locations we want to sample, snap a few pictures for reference, and get ready to core.
Yep. It'll be ok! Just watch.
Because we're using hollow drill bits, a little core of wood is left inside of the log during drilling. We use a sharpie to color it black. This lets us know the outer edge of the wood is still intact (upper right). Once we've drilled halfway through the log we stop and retrieve the precious core. The very end of the core is still attached to the wood, so we use our handy cutting tool (lower left) to cut the fibers loose and extract the core (lower right).
No, we didn't make Shawn do everything at the Barracks. He just happened to be the most photogenic person in our group that day. Here are some other shots from our work at the Barracks.