News of Archaeometallurgy



Workshops for archaeologists interested in archaeometallurgy are becoming all the rage. Following the successful meeting last April in Cairo, IAMS organised such a workshop in Egypt for late August and early September. And the Historical Metallurgy Society are planning another slag workshop to be held as a session of the annual Institute of Field Archaeologists Conference at Bradford University 11-13 April 1996. It is being organised under the aegis of the HMS Archaeology Committee and will provide an introduction to mining, smelting and working as well as an opportunity to examine detritus diagnostic of metallurgical activities. For information write David Starley, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, 23 Saville Row, London W1X 1AB England; telephone 44-171-973-3306; fax 44-171-973-3330; or email: D.Starley@eng-h.gov.uk.

In 1997 Tavistock in West Devon will have a millennial observance of the Viking invasion of 997, in which the Benedictine Abbey was sacked along with the Saxon mint at Lyford. If you might be interested in attending the conference being planned, write Julian Barnicoat, 10 Cuxton Meadows, Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7NG, UK, and if you have comments or suggestions on the form and content of the events, write Tom Greeves, 39 Bannawell Street, Tavistock, Devon, or telephone 44-1822-617004.

To be put on the electronic discussion list for archaeometallurgy (ARCH-METALS) originated at Oxford by Chris Salter, send the command line "join arch-metals [first name] [last name]" to the address: arch-metals@mailbase.ac.uk. Recent discussion has tended to center on stable lead isotopes and the identification of the site at Kestel in Anatolia as a tin mine, but the list is also a practical vehicle for queries (as is this column.) Chris Salter's address is salter@vax.ox.ac.uk.

David Killick recommends a new book edited by Alan C. Craig and Robert C. West, In Quest of Mineral Wealth: Aboriginal and Colonial Mining and Metallurgy in Spanish America (ISBN 0-938909-57-6), published in 1994 in paper by Louisiana State University Geoscience Publications as number 33 in its Geoscience and Man series. He describes the chapter by Izumi Shimada as the best summary treatment of Andean metallurgy that he has seen. It can be ordered from Geoscience Publications, P. O. Box 16010, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70893-6010, telephone 1-504-388-6245, fax 1-504-388-4420, for US$25 plus US$2 for shipping and handling within the US. Unfortunately they do not take credit cards and require prepayment in US funds.

Dorothy Hosler's book, The Sounds and Colors of Power: The Sacred Metallurgical Technology of Ancient West Mexico (ISBN 0-262-08230-6), was published by the MIT Press in 1994. The area received its metals technology among other import from the south and applied it first to bells, and only later to tools such as beam tweezers; the function of these was analyzed by finite elements and related to measured properties of the metal. The book is in hardcover and can be ordered from The MIT Press, 55 Heywood Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, for US$50 in the States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Israel, New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand; elsewhere it is US$60. For shipping charges telephone the book order department, 1-800-356-0343 x772, or fax 1-617-625-6660. They accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

A revised and extended second edition of The Iron Industry of the Weald by Henry Cleere and David Crossley has been announced. Cost in the UK is 24.95 post free from Milton Priory Press Ltd, 7 Nant Fawr Road, Cardiff CF2 6JQ Wales, telephone and fax 44-1222 761544.

There were a number of interesting reports in the last issue of the IAMS newsletter (Number 19, June 1995), among them one on the International Merv Project, in which crucible steel remains were excavated in Turkmenistan during the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Another was on "Late neolithic copper smelting in the Arabah" by Beno Rothenberg and John Merkel, who identified the materials at Site F2 at Timna as a less advanced stage of smelting than the Chalcolithic procedure, which consistently used an iron-containing flux to lower the melting point of the slag. The pottery at Site F2 although locally made closely resembles Qatifian ware of the late Neolithic, as does that at Site Fidan 4 in Jordan. Formerly dated to the Chalcolithic, it is now dated to the turn of the fifth millennium BC. A subscription to the IAMS newsletter (ISSN 0261-068X) is still I believe 10 a year from the Institute for Archaeo-Metallurgical Studies, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY England. You can inquire of Christine Crickmore, secretary for IAMS, at 44-171-387-7050 x4756.

If you have any archaeometallurgical news to share or comments to make, please write or call:


Martha Goodway
Smithsonian Institution
MRC 534
Washington DC 20560 USA
tel. 301-238-3700 x164
fax 301-238-3709; e-mail: cal.meg@ic.si.edu.


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