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Portuguese olive tree dated to 437 BC

olivesResearchers at the University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro have dated an olive tree situated in the Alentejo town of Monsaraz as being 2,450 years old.

This is the second oldest tree that has so far been dated in Portugal, the oldest is in Santa Iria de Azóia, Loures and is a venerable 2,850 years old.

The Monsaraz olive tree is to receive a long overdue ‘birth certificate’ in a public ceremony on Wednesday in Reguengos de Monsaraz.

The dating method was developed by University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro and has been used in the field by investigators from the Forest Sciences and Landscape Architecture Department.
The calculations are done using a dendrometric mathematical model combined with data from trunk features, radius, diameter and girth.

This formula allowed the scientists to estimate the age of any tree, including those old ones such as olives that can grow for up to three thousand years even if its interior is hollowed out by the passage of time.

The Monsaraz olive tree is part of a group of seven ancient trees that a local hotel wants to include in a historical walk within its grounds, linking the trees with significant events in history.

2,450 years ago was 437 years before the birth of Christ.

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