“The oak was only found by accident when a drain in the neighbouring forest had to be cleaned. They thought it was just a muddy piece of wood and only discovered what it is after sawing into it,” Reinhard Ferchland, deputy director of the forestry office in Liebenburg told The Local on Monday.
The tree lived for approximately 150 years before it was immersed in mud for some 1,500 years, almost perfectly preserved due to an almost complete lack of oxygen. Substances in the mud have given the 58-centimetre-thick piece of timber a unique dark colour and hard texture, making the high quality wood popular for extravagant furniture or musical instruments.
Buyers will have a chance to view the eight-metre-long tree at the Liebenburg office to judge the quality of the wood before the January 14 auction, Ferchland said.
“We will get written offers and the highest bid gets the tree, but it is difficult to say how much it will sell for as it depends on the wood quality and it isn't necessarily the best piece of wood. There are branches and it isn't all that straight,” Ferchland said. He added the office had already received offers from buyers interested in using the wood for furniture.
The money will go to owner of the wooded land the where workers found the tree. “The forestry association is lucky, they didn't have to do much apart from what was necessary, which was cleaning the drain,” Ferchland said.