Dr Gretel Ingrid Boswijk

BA (Hons) Archaeology & Prehistory (Sheffield), Ph.D. (Sheffield)

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Associate Professor


I studied archaeology at the University of Sheffield, England, and then specalised in dendrochronology. In late 1999, I returned to New Zealand to take up a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Auckland. 

My research interests are broadly in environmental history and environmental change. I am largely responsible for development of a 4500-year long tree ring record from kauri, used for palaeoclimate reconstruction, radiocarbon calibration, and dendroarchaeological dating of historic-era structures. Much of this work has been funded by RSNZ Marsden and FRST/MBIE grants. Tree ring analysis of kauri, and particularly timber elements from structures, stimulated my interest in environmental history/historical geography/archaeology in New Zealand. One area of particular interest is the environmental and socio-economic history of kauri. I am also involved in research into the origins of swamp pa in the Waikato, and another project on using stable isotope assisted dendrochronology to date Maori artefacts.

Research | Current

  • Chronology development and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction from kauri;
  • Dendroarchaeology of kauri and other species;
  • Environmental and socio-economic history kauri.

Teaching | Current

The courses I contribute to are:

  • GEOG 202 Cities, Regions and Communities
  • GEOG 352 Landscape, Environment, Heritage (Course co-ordinator)
  • GEOG 399 Capstone
  • GEOG 750 Landscape and Environment (Course co-ordinator)
  • EARTHSCI 732 Reconstructing Quaternary Environments

Postgraduate supervision

William Howie: Can public intellectualism reignite Geography and reclaim the generative potential of a geography education? (Co-supervisor. Primary supervisor: Nick Lewis)


I run the SENV Tree-Ring Laboratory, including administration of the internationally significant wood and data archive (predominantly kauri). Modern and archaeological tree-ring data are publically available via the International Tree-Ring Data Bank (ITRDB). Tree ring site reports are generated for most assemblages analysed at the TRL and these are available on request.

Areas of expertise

Dendrochronology; Dendroarchaeology; Environmental change.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

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  • Lorrey, A. M., Boswijk, G., Hogg, A., Palmer, J. G., Turney, C. S. M., Fowler, A. M., ... Woolley, J.-M. (2018). The scientific value and potential of New Zealand swamp kauri. Quaternary Science Reviews, 183, 124-139. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.12.019
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/44677
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anthony Fowler
  • Boswijk, G., & Johns, D. (2018). Assessing the potential to calendar date Māori waka (canoes) using dendrochronology. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 17, 442-448. 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.11.030
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Dilys Johns
  • Hogg, A., Gumbley, W., Boswijk, G., Petchey, F., Southon, J., Anderson, A., ... Donaldson, L. (2017). The first accurate and precise calendar dating of New Zealand Māori Pā, using Otāhau Pā as a case study. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 12, 124-133. 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.01.032
  • Boswijk, G., Brassey, R., Bader, H.-D., Adamson, J., & Jones, M. J. (2016). Dendrochronological dating of kauri timbers from Browne's spar station (1832-1836), Mahurangi, Auckland, New Zealand. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 7, 129-137. 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.03.035
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/28730
  • Boswijk, G., Fowler, A. M., Palmer, J. G., Fenwick, P., Hogg, A., Lorrey, A., & Wunder, J. (2014). The late Holocene kauri chronology: assessing the potential of a 4500-year record for palaeoclimate reconstruction. Quaternary Science Reviews, 90C, 128-142. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.02.022
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anthony Fowler
  • Boswijk, G., Munro, D., & Jones, M. J. (2014). Tree-rings and transportation in the New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) timber industry: Investigating the time lag from tree to building. Dendrochronologia, 32 (3), 245-255. 10.1016/j.dendro.2014.06.001
  • Hogg, A., Lowe, D. J., Palmer, J., Boswijk, I. G., & Bronk Ramsey, C. (2012). Revised calendar date for the Taupo eruption derived from 14C wiggle-matching using a New Zealand kauri 14C calibration data set. The Holocene: a major interdisciplinary journal focusing on recent environmental change, 22 (4), 439-449. 10.1177/0959683611425551
  • Fowler, A. M., Boswijk, G., Lorrey, A., Gergis, J., Pirie, M., McCloskey, S. P. J., ... Wunder, J. (2012). Multi-centennial tree-ring record of ENSO-related activity in New Zealand. Nature Climate Change, 2, 172-176. 10.1038/nclimate1374
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anthony Fowler


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 5, Room 565
New Zealand

Web links