The mystery surrounding an olive tree in southern province of Muğla's Milas district has been solved by nuclear physicists from Ankara University. The botanists have been working on determining the age of the olive tree for years. Finally, nuclear physicists rolled up their sleeves to solve the mystery by using the luminescence dating method.
The scientists took a trip to Milas and collected samples from the soil as well as the roots of the tree. Returning to their lab, scientists led by Professor Niyazi Meriç of Ankara University, discovered that the tree was planted 3,000 years ago. They also identified the area that the tree was planted was a burial site dating back to the Roman times.
Offering insight to the luminescence dating method, Professor Meriç said: "We needed to pinpoint the time when the soil last see the light of day. We collected samples from seven different parts of the roots. We have managed to find that the tree was planted 3,000 years ago. This is the first time that luminescence dating method is used to determine the age of a tree. We will publish an article on this discovery on an international science magazine."
The 3,000 years old olive tree which is called as "Ata Ağaç" (or Elder Tree in English) still continues to offer fruits to the locals. The olives which were collected during the latest harvest have been made olive oil and one liter of it is sold TL 100,000 at the auction. The revenue of the auction will be donated to the unprivileged children's education.