7 October 2013

BUMA 8 mascot

Held in Nara, Japan, from 10-15 September 2013, the 8th conference on the Beginning of Use of Metals and Alloys (BUMA) has been a resounding success.

It was attended by a good mix of Western and Eastern scholars covering a wide range of topics from the very inception of metallurgy to the later metal-bearing cultures. Papers covered such wide themes as mining, primary smelting, manufacturing techniques of copper, bronze, iron, gold, silver or zinc, and also covering aspects of archaeometric praxis and the application of brand new techniques to the study of ancient metals. The use of remotely controlled robots equipped with various kinds of sensors to look through narrow mining tunnels too small for human access was a prime example of the use of such technologies. Japan’s reputation as the undisputed leader in the development of electronic devices is indeed well deserved!

BUMA 8 IAMS-UCL delegates

The meeting was not uniquely an academic success but also a great opportunity to reunite UCL/IAMS members both old and new. We were all greatly overwhelmed by the kindness of the Japanese people who took care of every detail. The trip included tours of all the wonders of Nara, from the shameless deer, the impressive daibutsu (Great Buddha), the making of a katana blade, and, of course, a karaoke and several fortifying sake toasts to maintain the demanding day-to-day schedule.

IAMS made a strong showing at the conference this year, with several members attending and presenting various papers and posters. Our own director, Prof. Thilo Rehren, presented his own ground-breaking work on the early use of meteoric iron and its identification in the archaeological record. We are particularly proud that one of our own funded PhD students, Siran Liu, presented his research entitled “Gold and silver production in the Imperial period of China: A comparative study of two sites in central-south China”. Other presentations by IAMS students included a paper by Agnese Benzonelli and her Italian colleague on the “Non-invasive investigation of Japanese patinated metalwork: the tsuba collection of the Stibbert Museum in Florence” and David Larreina-García’s joint paper on “Smelt, Slag, Recycle. A sophisticated copper smelting method in Tang Dynasty China: The Sijiawan plant

BUMA 8 Marcos Martinon-Torres poster award

Not to be outdone, two of our IAMS alumni and long standing members were recipients of the two of three ‘best poster awards’ as voted by the conference participants. Miljana Radivojević was commended for her poster with Benjamin Roberts entitled “The polychrome beginnings of the use of metals and alloys”, while Marcos Martinón-Torres and his co-authors received the same award for his poster entitled “Technological knowledge and labour organisation in the production of weapons for the Terracotta Army”.

In addition to this great academic showing, a few members of the IAMS community were also interviewed by Prof. Mei Jianjun, director at the Institute for Historical Metallurgy and Materials in Beijing, for a documentary to be broadcast on CCTV, the main television channel of China.

This conference has been a great experience for both young and experienced members of the IAMS community and we hope to be able to join our colleagues again at BUMA IX  in Busan, Korea!

Page last modified on 07 oct 13 08:40