Combining Woodworking Features, Tree Rings, DNA and Radiocarbon to Reveal the Production Time and Place of a Historic Foot Cuff from the Rijksmuseum Collections (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)



报告嘉宾:Marta Domínguez-Delmás
嘉宾简介:荷兰国立博物馆 客座研究员


We present a multidisciplinary approach combining observations of woodworking features with  dendrochronology, radiocarbon and DNA genotyping to determine the date, provenance and  manufacture process of a wooden foot cuff from the Rijksmuseum collections in Amsterdam. This  type of objects can be found at museums in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Some are associated to  the Spanish inquisition, others to the history of slavery, or to illustrate punishment or  imprisonment methods. Despite their abundance and historical relevance as witnesses of cultural  oppressive measures, there is a huge gap in knowledge about their chronology and production. In  2019, on the occasion of an exhibition about slavery, a foot cuff made of oak (Quercus sp.) was  donated to the Rijksmuseum. The history of the object was unknown, and a team of experts was  gathered to determine its potential date and origin. The tool traces and marks found on the surface  of the wood are characteristic of traditional woodworking techniques that were implemented in  the early 19th century and indicated that the wood was processed in fresh. The tree-ring analysis  revealed that the logs originated from the same tree, but failed to return an exact date for the  wood. Therefore, we resorted to DNA-genotyping and radiocarbon dating. DNA results placed the  provenance of the wood in central Europe, and the radiocarbon wiggle matching, adjusted with  sapwood statistics for central Europe, revealed that the tree must have been cut between 1790  and 1837 C.E.. These results combined suggest that the foot cuff was produced in the early 19th century at a small rural town in central Europe, using local wood. Its association with slavery or  with the Spanish inquisition has yet to be assessed.