Research in Progress Meeting

 

 

 Colour Horizontal

Friday 13th November 2015

Newton Room, Hamilton Centre,
Brunel University.

Organised by Lorna Anguilano

 

This meeting is aimed at a wide variety of contributors, from historical and archaeological metallurgists to excavators, historians and economists. If you are working, or have just finished working, on a project related to archaeological or historical metallurgy, we would like to hear from you. We are particularly interested in bringing together contract and public sector archaeologists with academic researchers, and in fostering links between the different disciplines studying metallurgy and related activities. Whether you are a student, a researcher, an interested non-specialist, or a professional excavator, we invite you to meet others working in this field and present your research to an interested community.

The HMS prize is awarded for the best presentation by a student at the meeting was awarded to William Hawkes for his presentation 'Polishing our performance and winning silver'.

Link to programme is available HERE and the abstract book is HERE.

Photo gallery

2015 RinP prize

 

2015 tour1 2015 tour2

 

 

Review

Coming soon

 

 

Research in Progress Meeting

Colour Horizontal

Tuesday 29th November 2016
University of Birmingham
Eleanor Blakelock

 

This meeting is aimed at a wide variety of contributors, from historical and archaeological metallurgists to excavators, historians and economists. If you are working, or have just finished working, on a project related to archaeological or historical metallurgy, we would like to hear from you. We are particularly interested in bringing together contract and public sector archaeologists with academic researchers, and in fostering links between the different disciplines studying metallurgy and related activities. Whether you are a student, a researcher, an interested non-specialist, or a professional excavator, we invite you to meet others working in this field and present your research to an interested community.

A prize is awarded for the best presentation by a student (or recent graduate within 12 months of graduation) at the meeting as chosen by those members of HMS Council present.

NEW! In addition to the prize, The Historical Metallurgy Society is offering a small number of travel bursaries for students presenting papers. If you are a student and would like to be considered please indicate with your submission.

The event will be held in room GC 17 in Metallurgy and Materials Building. This is building G6 on the University campus map, the event is taking place in C Block. A link to the map can be found here.

Link to provisional programme is available here

Online booking for this event is now closed, as there are limited places available. If you wish to attend please contact me using the email below to ensure there is a seat available.

For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Save

 

Metals used in Personal Adornment

banner

31st May-1st June 2014
Birmingham
Organised by Eleanor Blakelock

 

For many centuries metal, especially precious metals, has been the dominate material used in the construction of jewellery and other items of personal adornment. The basic form of personal adornment varies over time, location and culture. This influences not only the style of the pieces but also impacts the method of manufacture. This conference therefore provided an opportunity examine the metals used and the metalworking techniques carried out to produce these pieces.

As part of the conference there will be a tour of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, and a behind the scenes tour of the Birmingham Museum conservation department where they are working on the Staffordshire Hoard.

The conference abstract book can be downloaded using this link and the programme is available HERE.

 

Photo gallery

 

P6014374 P5314371
P5314363 P5314362
P5314365 P5314368

 

 

 

 

 

HMS Conference - Metallurgy in warfare: A spur to innovation and development

banner

3rd-5th October 2014
Salisbury
Organised by Tom Birch and Eddie Birch

 

The scope of this HMS autumn conference was to encompass the various roles that metals have taken in warfare through the ages. The main themes were: the development of metallurgy arising from military needs, the developments in military organising arising from metallurgical innovation, and the developments in metal and metal artefact production arising from the urgencies of war. After an evening and a day of talks there were trips to two museums; the Museum of Army Flying and the Tank Museum at Bovington

The programme is available HERE and the abstract book is HERE.

Photo Gallery

 

10405353 10205048625046306 4466335430108662601 n 1385558 10205048627686372 1684486775962666143 n
10153653 10205048633486517 2439423959886614458 n 10639661 10205048629326413 6972991087845242198 n

 

Review

This year's Annual Conference was held in the historic city of Salisbury. The theme was Metallurgy in Warfare, a fascinating topic but with an additional poignancy on this, the centenary year of the World War I. Metallurgy has always been at the vanguard of advances in warfare and this was aptly demonstrated by the extremely diverse topics on offer.

Friday evening started with a session on Ancient warfare and hand-to-hand combat. Andrea Dolfini's "Bronze Age combat: An experimental approach," possibly one of the most interesting sounding research topics out there, compared use-marks and damage recorded during simulated combat using traditionally made Bronze Age weapons, to archaeological examples. They matched bent swords from flat of the blade parrying to ancient weapons, and noted the surprising efficacy of beaten bronze shields.

Following the Bronze Age theme, Barry Molloy's "Avant garde? A techno-social perspective on the birth of the sword in the Bronze Age" (read by Tom Birch) dealt with the development of sword technology highlighting the need for very highly skilled casting; single pours, and the need to reduce casting errors, particularly at the junction between blade and handle to stop breakage. Off topic, but brilliant none-the-less, "Två 1800-talsbruk," a 1920's film of a 19th century charcoal blast and refinery furnace in Sweden recording the process from ore to finished bar iron, loaned by the Swedish Archive Centre and commentary by Tim Smith. This film was a remarkable historical record encapsulating not only the metallurgical process but a long lost way of life. Of interested was the use of horse drawn sledges for charcoal alongside trains for the ore; hand charging the blast furnace; operation of a Lancashire hearth; water driven tilt hammers for billet and bar production; protective clothing of no more than a leather apron and wooden clogs. The final paper of the day, David Edge's 'Damascus' watered steel: pretty lethal... or just pretty?' discussed modern methods in the identification of damascus steels, detailed study of objects from the Wallace Collection showed that Damascus steel was used only for bits of the object that could be seen with little attempt to make use of its superior material properties.

Saturday morning began with a session on Firearms and Artillery, Chris McKay explained the process of gun casting in 18th century Woolwich, identifying little known techniques, as illustrated in "The Art of Gunfounding" by Carel de Beer. This was followed by Jean-Marie Welter "The Keller brothers; gun casters to Louis XIV" who commented on the many difficulties of producing cannons with reproducible compositions and microstructures despite the technological advancement in casting, this explained the relatively high failure rates in cannons. Kay Smith's paper "Breaking the mould" discussed the drivers of cannon innovation; the change from casting breach up to muzzle up around the late 16th century in an aim to reduce casting defects and stop failure in the breach area during use; and how changes to gun powder production and cannonballs affected cannon design.

The second session, Technology, Organisation and Production began with a very interesting talk by Janice Li on "Metallurgy and China's First Empire: Bronze weapons for the Qin Terracotta Army." This paper used a combination of SEM for compositional and visual analysis, as well as metric analysis, to understand the production of the thousands of bronze objects used for the warriors, concluding that completed objects were made at individual workshops using standardised components and not by assembly line methods. Also recognised were hand and rotary polishing marks. A great example of how scientific methods can inform on past technologies and organisational choices. The second paper, "Persian crucible steel production: Chāhak tradition," Rahil Alipour combined medieval manuscripts and compositional analysis of crucibles to investigate the processes of crucible steel production in medieval period Persia, sharing new insights into this important industry. This session ended with Tom Birch "Supplying the Havor lance: towards standardised war gear in Iron Age Scandinavia".

The research centred around the astounding survival of thousands of iron weapons from lake depositions in southern Scandinavia, using metric and morphometric analysis of over 120 lances coupled with compositional analysis, a picture was presented of a highly standardised lance design with centrally controlled production that used iron from across Scandinavia.

Modern Warfare was the topic of the final session, beginning with Margaret Birch's presentation of the WWI war work of Major General William Huskisson as the Assistant Inspector of Steel, Bombs and Mines division, giving an insight into the organisation of war production. The day ended with an enjoyable presentation by Eddie Birch, "Liberty Ships: winning the logistics war," the design was based on the British designed Empire Ships; simple, versatile, modular and of a completely welded construction. While slow, they were quick to build, reliable and with 2700 built in 5 years, they made a significant contribution to the war effort, many of which continued to have long post-war lives owing to their versatility.

The conference ended with an enjoyable conference dinner at the Red Lion, and on the Sunday trips were organised to two local museums; the first was to The Museum of Army Flying which preserves a unique collection of military aviation history including historic fixed wing and rotary wing aircrafts. The second to the The Tank Museum at Bovington, the birth place of the tank in World War One, 6 halls exhibited an impressive collection of 300 vehicles which covered all major wars of the 20th century, including the first tank ever made, a feared German Tiger, and the modern Challenger 2.

Overall this was an informative and much enjoyed conference, with possibly one of the widest ranges of topics seen at a HMS conference, from Bronze Age swords and Iron Age lances, to cannons and WWII ships. This conference showed how archaeo-metallurgical techniques coupled with historical and archaeological approaches continue to enlighten us on past metallurgy, and how innovation in metal usage and production shaped the world we live in.

This review was written by Matt Phelps and Rahil Alipour for The Crucible 87.

 

 

 

Anniversary of Cyfarthfa Ironworks

1822

17th-19th June 2016
Merthyr Tydfil
Tim Young

 

 This meeting celebrates two separate anniversaries

  • 250th anniversary of the construction of Cyfarthfa Ironworks (1765-7)

  • 225th anniversary of the first successful commercial implementation of the puddling process (1791)

Based in the Merthyr Tydfil area, this conference will discuss a range of related toptics including the story of puddling (technology, economics, social history, engineering implications, international adoption), as well as the wider story of iron conversion technology and the broader development, social history and context of the iron industry in Merthyr Tydfil and South Wales from 1750 to 1950. There will also be discussion of the development of Cyfarthfa Ironworks and its people (Bacon, the Homfrays, the Crawshays, their engineers and partners).

On Friday before the conference starts there is a rare opportunity to visit Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine (book early as numbers limited). On Sunday there will be another excursion through the sites of the Taff Valley in Merthyr, excursion on foot (approx 7km) but transfer between many of the sites may be made by car. Sites to be visited include:

  • Merthyr (Penydarren) Tramroad tunnel,
  • Ynysfach Ironworks,
  • Chapel Row,
  • Cyfarthfa Ironworks

More information about the anniversaries, and ironworks and the call for papers is available here.

The provisional programme is here and details of the presentations here.

Link to booking form is here (this also includes travel and accommodation information). Online bookings are now open, if you are attending the AGM this is free but if you would like lunch get in touch with Tim Young.

Accommodation is not provided by the society and it is suggested that delegates book into the Premier Inn adjacent to the conference venue, as early as possible to receive cheaper prices.

For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Page 2 of 2