Martha Goodway, Associate Editor
The Second Annual Meeting of Post-Graduate Researchers was hosted by the Department of Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh February 20-22 as a Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology. For information write: SOMA 98 Administration, Department of Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, Old High School, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LT, United Kingdom. Tel 0131-650-2373/2553; fax 0131-662-4094; web: www.geo.ed.ac.uk/arch/soma/homepage.html; e-mail: email@example.com.
The 1998 Pittsburgh Conference (PITTCON) in New Orleans in March featured a half-day symposium on Archaeology and Art: Diverse Applications of Analytical Chemistry. For further information write The Pittsburgh Conference, Department CFP, 300 Penn Center Boulevard, Pittsburgh PA 15235-5503 USA. Tel 412-825-3220; fax 412-825-3224; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.pittcon.org.
Vincent C. Pigott has edited Volume VII in the University Symposium Series, The Archaeometallurgy of the Asian Old World. It will be issued as University Monograph 89, and has papers on copper and bronze in the Eastern Mediterranean by James Muhly, the coming of iron by Jane Waldbaum, early metallurgy in Mesopotamia and Anatolia by Tamara Stech, metal technologies of the Indus valley by Jonathan Kenoyer and Heather Miller, and the transition to iron in China by Bennet Bronson. Although not yet available for ordering, information will be available from University Museum Publications, 33rd and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia PA 19104 USA; E-mail: email@example.com.
As part of an outreach effort to take the Smithsonians collections to other parts of the United States, the Institution intends to make important long-term loans to the National Museum of Industrial History, which will open in 1998 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the old Bethlehem Steelworks plant. Among the loans will be metalworking tools such as the Van Horn planner of 1856, the Smith mortising machine of ca. 1868, and the 1851-56 Nasmyth steam hammer presently on display as part of the Centennial Exhibit in the Arts and Industries Building. Other plans for adaptive reuse of the Bethlehem Works, which closed in 1995, include a science museum.
The Archaeotechnology column in the JOM, the Journal of the Mining, Metals, and Materials Society conducted by Robert Ehrenreich presented "The practice and characterization of historic fire gilding techniques" by Kilian Anheuser in the November 1997 issue (pp. 58-62.) She performed replication experiments on surfaces of various copper alloys and her conclusions, though they challenge several recent papers, are consonant with the traditional fire gilding I observed in Patan, Nepal, more than a decade ago. I was not able to determine the substance that was used to prepare the copper alloy surface to take the application of amalgam, but it was clear to me that upon heating the mercury was, as she states, evaporated, not boiled off at a higher temperature. She also challenges the published assumption that the amalgam would flow during heating; certainly I saw no evidence of this either. The result of heating is a matte coating of a particularly dirty shade of yellow that requires only careful burnishing to produce a shiny golden surface. Anheuser is a conservation scientist at the Staatliche Museen Berlin, Schlosstr. 1a, D-14059 Berlin, Germany. Tel: 49-30-320-91-298; fax 49-30-322-16-14.
Dr. Michael N. Geselowitz, who as a student at Harvard was active in archaeometallurgy, is now Director of the IEEE Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, located at Rutgers University.
A two-day conference organized by the archeodrome of Beaune on ancient copper and experimental metallurgy was held at Bourg en Bresse, France, in October. An informal one-day meeting was held in November at the Department of Materials in Oxford that ranged across medieval armor, architectural wrought iron, and antimony bronze to whither archaeometallurgy? If you can report on these meetings, or have any other archaeometallurgical news to share or comments to make, please write, fax, call or E-mail me.