The Oldest Witness


d3.js, JavaScript, jQuery

JSON, Shapefile, TopoJSON, CSV

The oldest tree with documented age still alive today was born in 3050 BC. The oldest tree with estimated age still alive today is either Jōmon Sugi or the Sisters, possibly born in the range between 6800 - 7200 BC.

This project came to life out of a random conversation in which the question of "When was the oldest tree born?" raised. For obvious reasons, no one knew so I was prompted to do some quick research. Unexpectedly, I found an actual data set out there revealing a rather fascinating story. I, for one, could not help but wonder what these trees have witnessed during all that time… Ironically, I thought they must "know" the answers to many questions from the past that still haunt us today. Trying to find out what these ages mean in practical terms, I visualized their intersection with history.

Here history is understood as a network of interconnected events due to the high complexity and interdependencies among them. It would have been misleading to compare historical time periods with a tree's life. Therefore, the events are shown as points in time rather than periods with a distinct start and end date.

10 000 BC:
Development of intensive flock management in Zagros Mountains
2008 AD:
Democratic candidate Barack Obama elected to be 44th President of the United States
It appears that you are browsing from a mobile phone or tablet. Come back from a computer to view the interactive version ( it requires more processing power ). Meanwhile here are some static snapshots.
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Data sources: Trees:
Wikipedia: List of oldest trees
Historical timeline:
"Timeline" eHistory @ The Ohio State University.
World Map shapefile:
Natural Earth

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