Archaeology, Archaeology Conferences

ISA 2012 Leuven (Day 2 – Metals and metallurgical ceramics)

  1. I’m currently at the 39th International Symposium on Archaeometry in
    Leuven, Belgium, where I have a poster to present. I’ll be writing a
    proper conference review when I return, but in the mean time I’ll be
    making informal collections of the tweets and discussing the conference
    here on a daily basis using Storify. The following is from Tuesday; you can find Monday’s here.
  2. The second day of the conference was entirely devoted to Metals and metallurgical ceramics, and was organised by Thilo Rehren. Full details of the posters and papers, including abstracts, can be found in the Scientific Programme PDF.
  3. wallerpottery
    39th International Symposium on #Archaeometry: “50 years of ISA” is on twitter! Follow @ISA2012Leuven & #archaeometry2012 or #ISA2012Leuven
  4. LeMoustier
    Follow @RuthFT and #Isa2012Leuven for livetweeting of all the great research from massive archaeological #science meeting
  5. We started to get some more interest in ISA over twitter, which I think is a positive thing. Archaeometry/archaeological science is sometimes criticised for not engaging with archaeologists from other specialisations/paradigms, and Twitter is a good way of raising the profile of our work with other open-minded and technology aware archaeologists.
  6. RuthFT
    Today will be pretty non-stop, from the first paper at 9am through to end of Anniversary Reception at 9pm. #Isa2012Leuven
  7. PrimitiveMethod
    RT @RuthFT: Today is a whole day of papers on metallurgy and metallurgical ceramics! This is my favourite day 🙂 #Isa2012Leuven
  8. It was a very long day, but as someone who primarily studies metals and metallurgical debris, I was extremely excited by the range of papers. I was sad that there were no papers on precious metals, but there were a wide selection of presentations covering copper alloy and iron use across a period of 5000BC to 1500AD.
  9. RuthFT
    First paper of the day, @milaiana Radivojevic et al presenting v exciting evidence for earliest tin bronze c.5K BC #Isa2012Leuven
  10. RuthFT
    Interested in earliest human use of tin-bronze? Radivojevic et al 2010 Journal Arch.Sci 37, 2775-2787 #Isa2012Leuven
  11. Although many of the authors gave references on their abstracts, which I tried to share, I was surprised that some of them gave little or none at all. Considering the number of years it takes to get conference papers published, it’d be useful to be able to read background or lead-in work somewhere.
  12. RuthFT
    Angelini et al discussing a very thorough muli-technique analysis of some complex Chalcolithic copper debris #Isa2012Leuven
  13. This was one of a number of papers which showed petrographic images of slag, which I used to think was quite a rare technique. However after seeing the beauty and clarity of some of the images, I am keen to try this myself!
  14. RuthFT
    FMI on Spanish Chalcolithic copper production see Colpani et al in Proc.ISA 2006, pub 2000, 367-374. #Isa2012Leuven
  15. RuthFT
    Loic Boscher presenting s-w Asian arsenical copper production: some of first actual analysis of production of this alloy #Isa2012Leuven
  16. Some background on Near-East arsenical copper alloys can be found in Eaton and McKerrell, 1976, World Archaeology, 8, 169-191.
  17. RuthFT
    Hayashida and Killick present Middle Sican period Peruvian copper debris, only one other studied site of type/period #Isa2012Leuven
  18. This was another paper which tackled a material/cultural context which had not seen much research before. However some information on early Peruvian copper smelting can be found in Epstein’s 1993 PhD thesis from the University of Pennsylvania.
  19. RuthFT
    Really excited about Shadreck Chirikure paper which argues against usually assumed gender divides in African metallurgy #Isa2012Leuven
  20. RuthFT
    Chirikure argues crucibles were made by women, which should be forbidden in metallurgy, but clearly gender divide not simple #Isa2012Leuven
  21. Shadreck was one of the most entertaining presenters of the conference so far; not only did he make the audience laugh, but he gave a strong and clearly explained, meaningful anthropological/archaeological interpretation for his scientific work. I was really pleased to see a paper like this at an often methodological or data-dominated conference.
  22. RuthFT
    Benjamin Roberts of @britishmuseum now presents redebate on Bronze Age metal spread using established data #Isa2012Leuven
  23. LeMoustier
    RT @RuthFT: Roberts suggesting metal adoption on colour, and needs movement of skilled individuals #Isa2012Leuven
  24. Roberts presented an overview of his work trying to show how the adoption of various forms of copper alloys and iron took place over time and space. A number of attendees mentioned individual sites which went against the trends he was proposing, but I was more interested in whether his broad-brush approach of making statements about widely differing types of culture and interaction was viable. It was good to see a synthetic paper presented here, and it raised important questions beyond the usual single site/material analysis.
  25. RuthFT
    On to Kristina Franke comparing use of pXRF and WDS to comment on the pXRF limitations #Isa2012Leuven
  26. EAconferenceUK
    Christina Clarke is presenting her experimental work replicating Minoan vessels at Archaeometry Conference #Isa2012Leuven
  27. Having met Christina and heard her present at the Historical Metallurgy Society’s last Research in Progress Meeting I was extremely pleased to see her at ISA. Christina is a gold/silversmith by profession, rather than an archaeologist, and undertook a PhD which involved considerable research and replication Minoan vessels. I was very happy to see a non-scientist non-archaeologist invited to present at ISA, and she presented some new information on the technology, the physical practice and the tools used.
  28. LeMoustier
    RT @RuthFT: Really excellent cross-over work by Christina Clarke with experimental, experiential, craft and science #Isa2012Leuven
  29. RuthFT
    Now Andreas Charalambous et al on alloy variations in Cypriot bronzes from early iron age #Isa2012Leuven
  30. RuthFT
    David Larreina Garcia talking about copper production plant in Sijiawan China #Isa2012Leuven
  31. Poor David had the hard slot just before lunch, but he did very well and his presentation on Chinese bronze production for elite Imperial use was interesting.
  32. RuthFT
    Twittering silence 2-3pm was due to needing to stand in front of my poster and tell everyone how lazy my Romans were #Isa2012Leuven
  33. ISA always runs poster sessions on the four full days of the conference, with two days for each theme and a full hour after lunch and before the oral papers start for authors to be present at their posters to answer questions and discuss them with other attendees.
  34. LisetteKootker
    poster opgehangen bij #ISA2012Leuven over isotopenonderzoek in de Nederlandse archeologie. Nu maar hopen op veel respons! #archeologie
  35. Marcos was talking about a popular and unique subject, and though I should say that Marcos is my primary supervisor, his presentation was engaging and contained very interesting conclusions.
  36. RuthFT
    Arrows of the Terracotta Army were batch made rather than production line made #Isa2012Leuven
  37. However I think perhaps my favourite paper – both personally and as an analytical work likely to influence my own studies – was David Dungworth’s paper.
  38. EHArchaeology
    RT @ruthft: FINALLY some iron slag! David Dungworth et al on bloomery iron. Fantastic! #Isa2012Leuven
  39. EAconferenceUK
    David Dungworth is discussing his experimental iron smelting work at International Symposium on Archaeometry #Isa2012Leuven
  40. David works for English Heritage, and presented some 60 analyses of different slag, ore, ceramic and iron pieces produced during an experimental smelt. I was extremely interested to see the quantity of variation in the raw materials and the slag fragments, and very pleased to hear David encourage archaeometrists to talk more with the many crafts/people with established experience in ancient technologies.
  41. subbasegirl
    RT @RuthFT: David Dungworth’s paper is fantastic! So pro experimental! And fantastic analytical data. #Isa2012Leuven
  42. RuthFT
    Onto Tom Birch’s paper on variability in slag inclusion as issue in provenancing #Isa2012Leuven
  43. I met Tom at a site in Austria last year, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of hard statistics he was going to bring to ISA! His paper took a very thorough look at various aspects of provenancing using trace elements.
  44. RuthFT
    Toms work is looking at provenancing iron from bog iron ores, using Crews experimental work #Isa2012Leuven
  45. RuthFT
    Maxime L’Heritier up now for analysing lead and ferrous construction pieces in Gothic Cathedrals #Isa2012Leuven
  46. There are a number of people based in French labs looking at tracing the shift from iron produced in a bloomery to that produced in blast furnaces, and Maxime’s work comes from some of that. Cathedrals and large churches are some of the best areas for looking at this, as they contain massive structural iron fixtures which can be dated to the well-documented phases of construction of the Cathedrals.
  47. RuthFT
    And now Filomena Salvemini et al on quantitative and 3D mapping of Japanese blades #Isa2012Leuven
  48. This presentation was extremely popular, and had immediate visual appeal supplemented by some absolutely fantastic videos of neutron imaging of objects. The first one was of a Moka pot boiling, where it was possible to see through the metal of the pot and watch the water bubbling up within.
  49. RuthFT
    Neutron imaging is very cool, showing areas of slag inclusions etc as well as corrosion #Isa2012Leuven
  50. David Killick was originally billed as the key note speaker, but unfortunately he was not able to be present and instead Mark Pollard presented his vision of where archaeometallurgy should go over the next fifty years.
  51. RuthFT
    Pollard is arguing for reuse of old data as easiest source rather than new tech/theory #Isa2012Leuven
  52. Pollard had some very strong opinions about the use of legacy data, which I think were interesting and certainly got people talking. I certainly agree with his position that we need to fully publish all our data and to share it with each other openly. As he said, we all have colleagues who are remarkably difficult to pursuade to share data, and I think that’s a real loss in many cases.
  53. RuthFT
    Pollard wants to make giant database of all Bronze Age analyses to share with all #Isa2012Leuven
  54. RuthFT
    And we’re done with serious work! Rest of evening is discussion of next venue, reception. #Isa2012Leuven
  55. As is traditional at ISA, the two venues/organisers competing to host the next symposium gave brief presentations to try and win the votes of the attendees. ISA alternates between Europe and North America, so ISA 2014 will be in the US: the choice was Philadelphia with Rob Sternberg of Marshall College at Drexel University, or Los Angeles with Marc Walton and Ionna Kakoulli at UCLA and the Getty Institute.
  56. ISA2012Leuven
    After an excellent day of lectures we were treated to a reception celebrating 50 years of #archaeometry
  57. Following that we were treated to a reception at the province house Vlaams-Brabant celebrating 50 years of ISA. This included a number of speeches by founder members, and a discussion of the history of ISA and its birth as a place  for owners of magnetometers to meet and discuss their work.
  58. wallerpottery
    MT @ISA2012Leuven: Prof Martin Aitkin (founder of #archaeometry) & Prof Mike Tite gave excellent speeches #archaeometry2012 #ISA2012Leuven
  59. In typical archaeological style we moved from the reception to finish the evening celebrating the many successful presenters with some of the excellent Belgian beer.

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