The Implement Petrology Group (IPG) grew out of the Implement Petrology Committee (IPC) which was established in 1952 under the auspices of the Council for British Archaeology. Key figures in the formation of the Committee included F S Wallis, F J North and W F Grimes. The IPC, in turn, built upon the foundations laid by the South-Western Committee Group of Museums and Art Galleries sub-committee on the Petrological Identification of Stone Axes (established in 1936), inspired by A Keiller, S Piggott and C Drew (now known as the South West Implement Petrology Group).
The systematic and rigorous approach to implement petrology and more broadly to stone axe research employed by these groups has informed the research design and working strategy of the Irish Stone Axe Project, established in 1991 and co-ordinated by Gabriel Cooney.
Since their formation these groups have championed the thin sectioning of stone axes in Britain and Ireland in order to identify the nature and provenance of their raw materials. Milestones in their work include:
1941-1974 A series of reports by the South-Western Federation and members of the IPC published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.
1977 An IPC conference held in Nottingham which explored the archaeological contexts of stone axes, and which was published as a monograph in the same year.
1988 A second IPC monograph examining the distribution patterns of the 7,836 thin-sectioned specimens.
1998 The first monograph of the Irish Stone Axe Project.
2007-2009 An international conference held at York (2007), with proceedings published in Internet Archaeology (2009).
2011 The first monograph by the IPG, drawing together the results of international research into stone axes.