Institute's expertise in archaeological sciences highlighted

30 July 2013

Historical Metallurgy Society (HMS) logo

The Institute's strengths in archaeological sciences research were highlighted at UK and international conferences recently.

There was a strong Institute presence at the Historical Metallurgy Society's 50th Anniversary Conference in London (14-16 June) while UCL archaeobotanists represented the Institute at the 16th Conference of the International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany in Thessaloniki, Greece (17-22 June).

HMS 50th Anniversary Conference

A significant number of past and present staff and students from the Institute of Archaeology presented their work at the recent 50th Anniversary Conference of the Historical Metallurgy Society.

Presentations included those by Miljana Radivojević on the origins of metallurgy, Loic Boscher on arsenical copper in Turkey, Marcos Martinón-Torres on Pre-Columbian Muisca goldwork, Siran Liu on gold and silver smelting in China, and by Thilo Rehren on the Future of Archaeometallurgy. Marcos and Thilo also acted as session convenors and chairs.

Frederik Rademakers submitted a poster on crucible slag, while there were contributions by Institute alumni including Edwinus Lyaya (on Tanzanian iron), Oliver Pryce (on Southeast Asia’s early metallurgy), Mercedes Murillo-Barroso (on Iberian silver metallurgy) and Eleanor Blakelock (on the Staffordshire Hoard). 

The conference was attended by even more UCL staff and students who enjoyed three days of presentations on current archaeometallurgical projects around the world.  A review of the conference will appear in the next issue of The Crucible

16th IWGP Conference  

The International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany, the gathering of archaeobotanists with a focus on the Old World, which takes place every three years in Europe was held in Greece recently. Presentations included those by Sue Colledge (EUROEVOL postdoctoral researcher), Dorian Fuller, Alison Weisskopf (NERC Early Rice postdoctoral researcher), Chris Stevens (a new postdoctoral researcher with the ERC-funded ComPAg project), Leilani Lucas and Charlene Murphy (expected to join ComPAg as postdoctoral researchers from September), a poster by Cristina Castillo (NERC Early Rice postdoctoral researcher), and presentations by three PhD alumnae from the Institute, Ruth Pelling (now with English Heritage),  Meriel McClatchie (now a postdoctoral researcher at University College Dublin), and Phillipa Ryan (now at the British Museum). Dorian co-chaired thematic sessions on “The Origins of Agriculture” and “The Role of Wild Foods in the Neolithic”.

Institute staff and alumni attending the IWGP, Greece
  • Weisskopf A., Van Etten J. and Fuller D.Q. From domestication to global warming: some effects of the origins and dispersal of early  rice agriculture (interpreted through multivariate analysis of archaeobotanical data)
  • Colledge S., Conolly J. Stability and change in neolithic agricultural practices: a formal assessment of preservation bias in archaeobotanical assemblages and the implications for understanding plant diet breadth
  • Stevens C.J., Fuller D.Q. Subsistence diversity as a strategic response to climate change: the changing importance  of wild and cultivated plant foods in the prehistoric British Isles
  • Lucas L., Murphy C. The wild side to the near eastern Neolithic
  • Fuller D.Q. The nut age? The importance of wild plant foods in the Neolithic of west and east Eurasia
  • Pelling R., Carruthers W., Campbell G., and Hunter K. Exploring contamination and residuality: case studies from central and southern England
  • Ryan P., Cartwright C. Approaches to integrating phytolith and charred macro datasets: perspectives from Amara  West and Çatalhöyük
  • McClatchie M., McCormick F., Kerr T. and O’Sullivan A. The early medieval agricultural revolution in Ireland: archaeobotanical evidence for food  production and preparation, AD 500–1100
  • Castillo C.  Phu Khao Thong: east of India and west of Khao Sam Kaeo - the archaeobotany
  • Lucas L. Recent archaeobotanical research in Cyprus
  • Pelling R., Carruthers W. The introduction, dispersal and survival of key crops from the Middle Bronze Age onwards  into southern and central England
  • Weisskopf A. Small scale horticulture in Thailand: an ethnobotanic approach to archaeological data

The Institute has a long tradition in research investigating long term land use, environment adaptation and the impact of climate change on past human societies while the extensively-equipped Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories support research on all aspects of archaeological materials science, artefact production and exchange.