9 – 10 May 2009 (Ballycastle)

9th Meeting of the Implement Petrology Group

held at the Marine Hotel, Ballycastle, Antrim, Northern Ireland

Saturday 9 May 2009 by kind arrangement of Professor Gabriel Cooney

Present: Dr Steve Burrow (SB), Professor Gabriel Cooney (GC), Dr Vin Davis (Chair) (RVD), Dr David Jenkins (DJ), Rosemary Stewart (RS), Dr John Williams (JW).
Members were joined for the field visits only by Dr Graham Warren and three research colleagues from the Department of Archaeology, University College Dublin; and two guests from the Centre for Marine Archaeology (CMA), University of Ulster.

1. Apologies for absence
Professors Tim Darvill, Mark Edmonds and Colin Richards, Dr Torben Ballin, Dr Stephen Briggs, Tom Clare, Jon Clatworthy, David Dawson, Dr Dave Field, Dr Mike Heyworth, Dr Rob Ixer, Heather Jackson, Dr Frances Lynch, Dr Mic Markham, Dr Yvan Pailler, Fiona Roe, Dr Alison Sheridan, Dr Joan Taylor, Dr Pete Topping, and Dave Weddle.

2. Minutes of 8th Meeting, York, 10th January 2009
Approved with one minor alteration (Item 4 (ii) changed from 2008 to 2009), the previously circulated annotated Chair’s Report as was approved and signed by the Chair as an accurate record. the Meeting.

3. Matters arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda)
There were no Matters arising which are not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

4. Officers’ reports
i. Chair
An annotated copy of the Chair’s Report was circulated to the meeting.

ii. Secretary
JAS had confirmed previously that there was nothing to report. She had requested, albeit reluctantly, that the Group appoint a successor because pressure of work prevented her from continuing as Honorary Secretary. Members completely understood and accepted the situation; they deeply appreciated the tremendous service provided by JAS as Honorary Secretary since the inception of the Group. It was unanimously agreed that the Chair would invite a suitable successor. Outside of the Meeting, SB confirmed his acceptance of the Chair’s invitation to succeed JAS as Hon Sec., with immediate effect. The Chair agreed to write a letter of appreciation to JAS once her successor had been confirmed.

iii. Treasurer
The Treasurer’s Report was tabled. The current balance stands at £483.57. Half of Members paid their subscriptions by Standing Orders, the other half paid by cheques and cash.

Discussion focused on the following points raised by TC in connection with his Financial Report. Is taking (subscription) money too hit and miss; is it sufficiently clear what we are offering in return? A newsletter about new axes or work in progress? A chatroom/forum? Access to field weekends, where the Executive can conduct its business as a Sub Committee Meeting? If we are about putting on fieldtrips and discussions of axe working localities, could such events be more widely advertised and more open, e.g. to Prehistoric Society members? Supporting thin sectioning, which surely is by museums commissioning the work or by obtaining grants/other monies for specific projects?

In response to these points, it was unanimously agreed that:
i. Members should continue to pay an annual membership fee of £5
ii. that the Group was successfully building up a fund with which to pay for the infrastructure costs required to support its future activities (e.g. developing the IPG website)
iii. that Officers and Members who did not currently ask for the reimbursement of appropriate out-of-pocket expenses should keep a record of their costs in order that a more accurate awareness of the Group’s actual running costs is known. It was unanimously agreed that the Group gives very good value-for-money, and should continue with its present financial arrangements, to be reviewed and reported annually by the Honorary Treasurer. The Honorary Treasurer should ask all Members to pay their annual subscriptions using a Standing Order.

5. Members’ business and reports (not covered elsewhere on the agenda or in the Chair’s report)

5.1 DJ tabled a paper describing the use of Cosmogenic Nuclides for the dating of rock surfaces. He invited interested Members, especially those who are employed in a university or a National Museum, to contact him with a view to seeking grant support for a research project which would evaluate the potential of this analytical technique in the IP setting.

5.2 DF emailed his comments on the recent meeting of the SAA to which he and PT had contributed. He had promoted the IPG to an interested audience, some of whom had attended the 2007 IPG International Conference in York.

5.3 An article in British Archaeology about amphibolite axes of possible French origin, found in Cornwall, was mentioned. However, Members were not sufficiently aware to comment further.

6. Review of Publications
i. York Conference e-Transactions
ii. Stone Axe Studies III.

7. Developing the IPG Website and Network
The Chair thanked SB for the systematic way in which he had gathered Members’ views about the development of the IPG website. SB spoke to his tabled document: IPG Website Map (copy attached) which summarised the views of Members about ways in which the IPG website might be developed. He estimated an annual commercially hosting cost of up to £100/a, which might be paid for from Members subscriptions. We should consider the option of collaborating with an existing service provider, e.g. a university, once we decide where to host the website. It was agreed to create a commercially hosted IPG Website, which SB would manage, guided by Members’ responses to the IPG Website Map. All Members were urged to submit their comments to SB before the end of May 2009, so that he might take appropriate action in setting up the IPG Website.

8. Members’ business
GC reported that:
i. the Irish Stone Axe database was almost ready to go on-line
ii. that work on the Rathlin Monograph was progressing, to which Emmett and Graham will contribute a lithic overview. Members looked forward to these gaining future access to both of these important sources.

8. Any other business

9. Date and venue for next meetings
Winter 2009 Meeting: Saturday 14 November 2009, at York, was proposed
May 2010 Field-based Meeting. Two venues were proposed:
i. Implement petrology and related sites on Shetland, led by TB.
ii. the Bronze Age copper mines at Great Orme’s Head, together with a study of the stone mining tools from the site. led by DJ plus visits to archaeological sites in the vicinity led by JW.
Additional suggestions were: to Sark, to study a Sacred Island environment with significant stone implement associations (Barry Cunliffe); and Brittany (Yvan Pailler)

Three excellent days of fieldwork associated mainly with Group IX were planned around the Meeting, and led by GC. Friday afternoon to coastal working sites and Teivebullaigh; all day Saturday on Rathlin Island, with transport to Brockley and around the island generously provided by CMA; Sunday to the Giant’ Causeway and Dooey’s Cairn. RVD led the warm thanks to all those concerned for their hard work.

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