News of Archaeometallurgy

The Historical Metallurgy Society and the Peak District Mines Historical Society have announced a conference on The Archaeology of Mining in South-West Britain to be held 12-14 April 1996 at the Seale-Hayne College campus of Plymouth University in Newton Abbot, Devon. For further information write P. Newmanm 6 Burnley Close, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 1YB, UK, or see

The dates of May 1-5 have been set for the next annual meeting of Women in Mining. It will begin in Los Angeles and end in Death Valley with several days' visits to historical mining sites.

Ian MacLeod sent us some notes of the International Committee on Museums Conservation Committee (ICOM-CC) Metals Working Group conference Metals `95, held in Semur-en-Auxois, France, September 25-28th. There were several papers on hydrogen plasma used to treat archaeological iron, with the object as cathode or simply on a pyrex shelf inside the plasma, with or without the use of inert gases. Conservation projects of recent objects included a Nike missile, the prototype of the Concorde, the Alexander III Bridge in Paris and the submarine Holland I. This will be exhibited at Gosport, England, in the huge washing tank made for its treatment, which will be converted into a closed environmental chamber. Mauritzio Marabelli reported on the use of polarization resistance measurements to monitor conservation treatment in the interior of bronze sculptures. This year's meeting of the Metals Working Group will take place at the ICOM-CC meeting in Edinburgh. For further information write Ian MacLeod, Coordinator of the Metals Working Group, at the Materials Conservation Department, Western Australian Maritime Museum, Cliff Street, Freemantle, Western Australia 6160, telephone 61-9-431-8499, fax 61-9-335-7224.

The latest volume in the series published by the Materials Research Society, Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology IV, has just been issued as MRS Symposium Proceedings Volume 352 ISBN: 1-55899-252-9. The symposium was held in Cancun, Mexico, from 16-21 May 1994, and the volume was edited by Pamela V. Vandiver, James R. Druzik, Jose Luis Galvin Madrid, Ian C. Freestone, and George Segan Wheeler. The 900 pages include 82 papers on a wide variety of methods, materials, and issues. Papers on metals can be found in the sections on new methods, the imitation of one material by another, stable protective coatings, process reconstruction, technological style, source characterization, and materials characterization. The volume can be ordered (code: 352-J) from the Materials Research Society Publications Department, 9800 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237-6006 USA, telephone 412- 367-3012, fax 412-367-4373, for US$68 including shipment within the US ($60 to MRS members) and $85 elsewhere. For distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, write Clarke Associates - Europe Ltd., Fourth Floor The Rackhay, Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol BS1 4HJ, England, telephone 44-272-268864, fax 44-272-226437. The earlier volume, Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology III ,MRS Symposium Proceedings Volume 267, ISBN 1-55899-162-X) can still be ordered (code: 267-J) for $62 in the US ($54 to MRS members) and $70 elsewhere. They accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club.

There are papers devoted to metals by Garenne-Marot, Wayman and Pigott, Kusimba, Killick and Cresswell, and Miller in the MASCA Research Papers in Science and Archaeology (ISSN 1048-5325) Supplement to Volume 11, 1994: Society, Culture, and Technology in Africa, edited by S. Terry Childs. It is available, 108 pages hardbound, from University Museum Publications, 33rd and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia PA 19104 USA, telephone 215-898-4090, fax 215-898-6657, for US$22.50 ($17.50 for MASCA subscribers.) They accept Visa and MasterCard.

The proceedings of the International Symposium on the Catalan Forge held at Ripol in Catalonia 13-17 September 1993,La farga catalana en el marc do l'arqueologia siderurgica, has just been published by the Ministry of Social and Cultural Affairs of the Government of Andorra (ISBN 99920-0-089-9). Its 500 pages are in three sections. One is on the Catalan forge, another on direct smelting in the Iberian peninsula. These are mainly in Catalan. The third section is in English or French and covers other parts of the world. An interesting paper by Vagn Fabritius Buchwald, "On the analysis and characterization of slags, with Danish bloomery slags as an example" (pp. 468-474), introduces the concept of a "glass factor" in the interpretation of ores, slags, and slag inclusions in iron objects. The volume was edited by Estanislau Tomas I Morera; for more information, write Dr. Thomas at Societat Catalana de Technologia, Travessera de Dalt 12, 08024 Barcelona, Spain; fax 34-3-200-4642.

The proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Prehistoric Gold in Europe held September 27 to October 1st, 1993, in Seeon, Germany, Prehistoric Gold in Europe: Mines, Metallurgy and Manufacture, edited by Giulio Morteani and Jeremy P. Northover, has been issued in cooperation with NATO Scientific Affairs Division as Volume 280 in the NATO Advanced Science Series E: Applied Sciences. It is available (ISBN 0-7923-3255-5) from Kluwer Academic Publishers Group, P. O. Box 322, 3300 AH Dordrecht, The Netherlands; in Canada and the US from Kluwer Academic Publishers, 101 Philip Drive, Norwell MA 02061 USA. Peter Northover tells me that the volume costs £187, or US$40 each if ordered in groups of 5 for teaching purposes. A second gold volume, on the workshop held in November 1994 in Limoges, just went to press.

The proceedings of the conference held at the British Museum in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World, Trade and Discovery: The scientific study of artifacts from post-Medieval Europe and beyond, was edited by Duncan Hook and David Gaimster and has been issued as British Museum Occasional Paper 100. Half of the volume is taken up with ceramics, glass, and contact studies (these are not limited to trade with the Americas); the rest is given over to metalsóiron, lead and copper alloys as well as precious metals. It is available (ISBN 0 86159 109 7) from the Mail Order Department, British Museum Press, 46 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QQ England, telephone 44-171-323 1234, fax 44-171-436 7315, for £20 plus £1.90 postage and packing in the UK, £3 surface mail overseas. They accept Access, American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard and Visa.

There is a section on metals (pp.183-350) in the volume edited by David A. Scott and Pieter Meyers, Archaeometry of Pre-Columbian Sites and Artifacts, proceedings of the symposium organized by the UCLA Institute of Archaeology and the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles 23-27 March 1992. It includes papers on silver and lead in Peru by Howe and Peterson (pp.185-198), copper alloy production at Batan Grande by Merkel, Shimada, Swann and Doonan (pp. 199-227), North American native copper by Childs (pp. 229-253), site seriation by NNA of copper by Hancock et. al. (pp. 255-25), gold processing in south Ecuador by Rehren and Temme (pp. 267-284), platinum alloys by Scott and Bray (pp.285-322), and gold analyses by Rovira (pp. 323-350). There is also a discussion of the meaning of metal color by Lechtman (pp. 3-12.) The volume (ISBN 0-89236-249-9) can be ordered from the Getty Trust Publications Distribution Center, P. O. Box 2112 - Dept CDN5, Santa Monica CA 90407-2112 USA, telephone 310-453-5352 or 800-223-3431, fax 310-453-7966, for US$55 plus $3 shipping in Canada and the US, $5 overseas. Outside Canada, the US, the UK, Europe and the Middle East, order from Oxford University Press, 2001 Evans Road, Cary NC 27513 USA, telephone 800-451-7556, fax 919-677-1303.

As mentioned in a previous column, Sandig began reprinting the Braunschweig edition of Ludwig Beck's Die Geschichte des Eisens in technischer und kultur-geschichtlicher Beziehung. They have now issued all 5 volumes, bringing the history up to the original publication date (1891). The publisher's address is Sandig Reprint Verlag, Hans R. Wohlwend, Am Schragen Weg 12, FL-9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein. They will send a prospectus. The set (DM1480,-), or separate volumes, can also be ordered through Anton Siegl Fachbuchhandlung GmbH, Postfach 80 17 03, D-81617 Munchen, Germany, fax 49-89-470 49 53. Telephone orders (089-47 52 43) are taken only within Germany; overseas orders can be charged to Visa or Discover. Send your e-mail address to to receive Siegel's Internet Newsletter every few weeks on new books and software on conservation and museology.

There is considerable debate going on presently concerning stable isotope studies, some of which has been published in the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology. Issue number 1 of volume 8 (June 1995) includes a special section on lead isotope analysis and the Mediterranean metals trade that includes three papers and four sets of comments. According to Paul Budd, the Ancient Metallurgy Research Group at the University of Bradford has begun a two-year Tin Isotope Project that will explore the fractionation of tin isotopes in bronze smelting, casting and fabrication with the aim of developing a technique for quantifying the extent of bronze recycling in antiquity. At Oxford, Dr. Brenda Rohl received her degree and has returned to Australia. Her dissertation, on lead isotope ratios of British ores and artifacts, will be published as a British Museum Occasional Paper.

The Archaeometallurgy Committee of the Historical Metallurgy Society is developing data sheets for use on site. Available are: 1. crucibles and molds, 2. precious metal refining, 3. iron working processes, 4. geophysical techniques applied to early metalworking sites, 5. bloomery iron smelting slags and other residues, 8. currency bars and other forms of trade iron, 10. hammerscale, 11. metallographic examination, 12. chemical analysis of metalwork and metalworking debris. In preparation are: 6. bloom refining and iron smithing slags and other residues, 7. blooms billets, forging blanks and wast, 9. sampling strategies for metalworking residues and post-excavation work, and 13. metallurgical databases. They are available on request for an A5 stamped, addressed envelope from David Starley, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, 23 Saville Road, London W1x 1AB, England; telephone 44-171-973-3306; fax 44-171-973-3330; e-mail

Historical Metallurgy, The Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, is catching up with its publication schedule. Volume 28 Number 1 (1994) has already reached us in the colonies. According to Justine Bayley Number 2 is expected to be in the mail before Christmas, with both issues of Volume 29 (1995) mailed by Eastertime.

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:

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