You want old? Here's old. Burled root stock, from long before anybody thought of building the pyramids. (From Ancientwood Ltd.)
What about some 50 000 year-old wood for your next redecorating project? You can get some from the New Zealand company Ancientwood Ltd. (Via Makeblog.) This wood has been lying beneath the surface for a long, long time. Until somebody started digging it up.
Mining for wood is not a completely new idea. Eric Sloane, sign-writer, illustrator, author and weather forecaster, wrote about it in his book A Reverence for Wood:
Virgin American white cedarwood had a remarkable quality to resist water and damp-rot. During the 1700's most of the nation's shingle material came from the New Jersey cedar swamps. The demand was so great that by the 1800's these swamplands were depleted of their trees. After that, astonishingly enough, white cedar was mined in New Jersey. It was while a stump was being removed from these swamps that several sunken logs were loosened and floated to the surface. The logs had been submerged anywhere from a few centuries to a thousand years!
The submerged logs, it was found, were of a superior quality and contained good timber. It was further discovered that a layer of fallen cedar trunks, about twelve feet deep, covered the swamp bottom. When people learned of the remarkable lightness and durability of this material, there was a great demand for it. With the aid of an iron “progue pin” to probe beneath the surface of the water and locate the sunken logs, cedar mining prospered until the Civil War.
The roof on Independence Hall in Philadelphia was made of this material, and many of the three-foot sningles on historic American homes are from cedar that had been buried under the water for centuries.
Dig it: From Eric Sloane's A Reverence for Wood.
This sounds familiar. You find something in the ground, it's wonderful, you dig it up, and in the end there's nothing left.
At least the old-timers didn't use this to just build a great big bonfire so they could run around naked and go "Whee!"