Sometime during the 6th century, a mudslide felled some trees along western New York's Genesee River. Today, Perry, New York, woodworker Thomas Pedlow works wood from those trees into boxes and other items.
ancient stock

As Tom tells it, a few years back Don Eckler, shown above, a Perry-area landowner, discovered some tree trunks peeking from the mud of the receding river. With equipment, he had a few of them hauled out onto his adjoining land, washed them off, and then had them sawn into boards.

Curious as to how old the well-preserved wood might be, Eckler had a local college send samples of it to a Florida carbon-dating firm. The answer was 1,500 years. The wood dated to about 500 A.D. Some of it—presumed to be a type of birch—had acquired a dark patina from minerals in the mud. The softwood appeared to be hemlock, but little was usable because it displayed ring shake.

ancient stock
Samples of 1,500-year-oldbirch wood from the mud ofNew York's Genesee River.That's quartersawn at leftand flatsawn at right.