In May, 2002, the Coffin House on High Road in Newbury was run through a battery of tests to determine its age. Dendrochronology, the science of dating timbers based on patterns of tree growth, was used to determine that the oldest portion of the house was built by trees cut down in 1677 and 1678. It was common to build houses with green timbers, and most were used within a year of being cut, so a conclusive date of 1678 was assigned to the house. Timbers from the front range of the house, known to be an addition, were dated at 1713.
Though pleased to have an accurate date for the construction of the house, the Historic New England staff who gave tours of the house were also surprised. The house had been dated to 1654 for centuries by the Coffin family.
I love these. I wrote a book for kids about how tree rings tell tales.