The University of Arizona

Destructive Testing

Destructive testing for tree-ring analysis is not uncommon and is expected to increase with new technological advances. Destructive testing is defined as any treatment that alters or destroys the basic analytical potential of a sample. Exceptions: (1) “defacing” archaeological artifacts, art objects, etc, (2) destruction of samples collected expressly for the purpose of destructive analysis. The method for evaluating such requests is outlined below and applies to internal as well as external requests.

General Information
Current LTRR PIs may conduct destructive testing on their active research collections at their own discretion, but must receive prior approval for sampling from any portion of the LTRR Archives. LTRR PIs should follow Procedure B below for sampling from the Archives. Current LTRR PIs will not be denied access to Archived samples they have collected, and will be consulted on any requests for sampling from such material.

No research specialist, research associate, technician, student, visiting scholar or post-doctoral researcher may authorize or independently execute destructive testing on any sample(s) at the LTRR. Prior written approval from the LTRR Director, their Advisor/Host and/or the Curator (as applicable) is required to conduct such tests on any sample(s)collected with“significant use of university resources,” as defined by the University of Arizona Board of Regents.

Specimens on loan to and from the LTRR may not be subjected to destructive testing without prior written approval.

Procedures (choose one):
A   Requests for sampling from active research collections

      All requests for sampling from active research specimens must be directed to the current LTRR PI who funded, collected and maintains the samples. Approval should be obtained prior to testing. Destructive testing from active research collections is at the discretion of the PI; however, the PI should communicate with other pertinent LTRR faculty and staff to ascertain if the requested sampling will conflict with internal research or other priorities. In the case of multiple PIs, a decision must be reached among the group. External applicants should use the “Destructive Testing Request Form,” and submit it directly to the appropriate PI, with a copy sent directly to the Curator.

B    Requests for sampling from a portion of the Archives

      All requests for sampling from the Archives must be directed to the Curator. The request must use the “Destructive Testing Request Form.” Requests will initially be vetted by the Curator for completeness and credentials will be confirmed. For researchers or scholars who are not well established, please attach a brief CV. Vetted requests will be presented to an informal committee of LTRR faculty and staff for consideration of the following points:

1 – Is the request scientifically sound?
2 – Is the requesting person/entity reputable OR, in the case of junior scholars and students, has a letter of support from a reputable advisor (a brief email is acceptable)?
3 – Does the request conflict with current or planned LTRR research priorities?
4 – Does the requested sample size/amount diminish any portion of the Collection or potentially inhibit future analyses?
5 – *Other pertinent points, relative to the request

The informal committees will be chosen by the Curator, based on the sample(s) requested and include: Director, Curator, one LTRR PI in the research specialty under consideration, one PI outside of the specialty. Unanimous consent is not required, but should all members not be in agreement, the Curator and Director will consult for a final decision.

*Many specimens curated by the LTRR are the property of government agencies. It is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange permission with the appropriate authorities and forward this information to the Curator. No samples will be prepared or released until the Curator has confirmed agency approval.

Should a request be approved, the recipient agrees to the following conditions:
1 – Acknowledge the LTRR in all related publications, theses and presentations.
2 – Any excess sample material will be returned to the LTRR at recipient’s expense.
3 – The sample(s), or any portion thereof, may NOT be transferred, sold, loaned, or redistributed to any person or organization other than the approved applicant.
4 – The requesting person/entity is responsible for all costs relating to shipping, in advance.
5 – Results should be published as appropriate and in a reputable location(s).
6 – Related articles/reports/theses, etc. are to be forwarded to the LTRR Curator (in PDF format) and permitted to be linked to an online catalog at an appropriate time (e.g. after published or after the dissertation is defended).
7 – External requests will be responsible for a $40 per hour fee (plus ASC), minimum of one hour, for sample preparation, should their request be approved. All monies are due prior to the release of any sample(s).
8 – Any other conditions specifically noted (determined on a case-by-case basis).

Should any of the above policies be circumvented, abused or violated the individual, sponsor, and/or affiliated organizations may be barred from any further loans, samples, or use of the LTRR Collections.



As the LTRR hopes to encourage greater use of our Archives for legitimate purposes, fees may be negotiable at the discretion of the Curator and/or Director. Please contact us about alternative arrangements as early as possible.

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