10 November 2007 (York)

6th Meeting of the Implement Petrology Group

held at the Archaeology Department, University of York.

Present: Dr R Vin Davis (Chair) (RVD), Dr Alison Sheridan (Secretary) (JAS), Tom Clare (Treasurer) (TC), Dr Steve Burrow, Jon Clatworthy, Professor Gabriel Cooney, David Dawson (DD), Professor Mark Edmonds (ME), Mike Heyworth (MBE then imminent), Heather Jackson, Dr Mik Markham.

1. Apologies for absence
These were received from Dr Stephen Briggs, Professor Tim Darvill, Dr Peter Davey, Dr Frances Lynch, Dr Rob Ixer, Dr Dave Jenkins, Dr Steve Mandal, Professor Colin Richards, Fiona Roe, Dr Joan Taylor, Dr David Williams and Dr Ann Woodward.

2. Minutes of 5th meeting, Penzance
These were approved and signed as an accurate record.

3. Matters arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda)
DD reminded the Group of the forthcoming 80th birthday of Nick Thomas (Former Chair of the SW Federation); plans were still underway to mark this with a day conference.

4. Officers’ reports:

i. Chair: see annotated copy, attached herewith.

ii. Secretary: JAS reported on: 1) progress with the international, million-Euro Projet JADE, directed by Professor Pierre Pétrequin of the University of Besançon & CNRS: the British Museum’s collection of British jadeite axeheads, together with other axeheads, from south-west England and from Scotland, had recently been analysed at Le Frasnois. Detailed results were expected early in the New Year, but in most cases an Alpine source was confirmed. One fragment, from Inverness, was found to have been burnt (like the fragment from Cairnholy chamber tomb). Details of the project’s website were tabled: http://msh.univ-fcomte.fr/jade. 2) A Call for Papers had been received from Patrick Quinn (Sheffield University) for a conference, Petrography of Archaeological Materials, at Sheffield University Archaeology Department, 15–16 February 2008. For further details, see http://www.ceramicpetrography.com. Action: It was agreed that: a) IPG should create a poster (whose printing ME could arrange) – but it was left open as to who would provide copy for this; and b) a hotlink be made from the IPG website to the Ceramic Petrology Group website (RVD/ME to arrange)

iii. Treasurer: TC reported that the current balance of the bank account was £85. 30 people were listed as members, of whom 17 had so far paid the £5 annual subscription; these were thanked and others were encouraged to pay. Emeritus Prof Barry Cunliffe counts as a non-paying Honorary Member. This bank account is separate from the one opened for the Conference.

It was agreed that the modest amount in the account would suffice for minor expenditure (eg photocopying, teas etc) but would not cover items such as the rolling maintenance costs of the website (eg domain name). Other funds would need to be sought to cover this. Action: Committee to consider possibilities for funding.

5. Members’ business & reports (not covered elsewhere on the agenda)

DD reported that the next SW Federation meeting would be in Taunton on 28 Jan, 10.30.

SB reported that the Clwyd-Powys Trust had recently cut 3 trenches over quarry areas at the source of Shotton & Cummings’ picrite source (as used foraxe-hammers). Nothing had been found but the excavators would return in 2008.

RVD reported that on 10.11.07, Stephen Briggs had presented a paper on how to locate sources of stone during an IFA day seminar on extractive industries.

6. Review of International Conference & Field Excursions (York, 6–11 September 2007)

It was agreed that these had been an outstanding success, with excellent, worldwide attendance (arnd 150) and very positive feedback. Every aspect had been a success, and long-lasting networks, friendships and collaborations had been established. This had been a wonderful inauguration of material culture studies at York University Archaeology Department, and a very effective way of raising awareness of the IPG. RVD and ME were congratulated for their phenomenal achievement and extremely hard work. Financial assistance from the CBA, York University, the Robert Kiln Trust, National Museums Scotland and Antiquity was acknowledged, although the problem of raising sufficient funds to cover costs was noted as a major drawback.

The Editor of British Archaeology, Mike Pitts, had expressed willingness to publish follow-up material if IPG wished to provide copy.

IPG now needed to be realistic about what could be achieved on the back of the conference. It was agreed NOT to plan another conference in the near future, and to ensure that adequate grant-aid was in place for any such initiative in the future.

7. Publication of International Conference Volume

After lengthy discussion during which the impossibility of creating a hard copy publication covering all the many Conference contributions was accepted, it was agreed to produce TWO forms of publication: 1) a web-based publication of papers (as .pdf files), hosted by ADS and accessible through the IPG website, that was predicted to cost £3000–5000 to produce and would be capable of being added to as contributions arrived. This to be available for free; and 2) a much shorter, hard copy book for sale, Stone Axe Studies III: Stone Artefacts as Material & Symbolic Markers in Cultural Landscapes – An International Perspective, containing key contributions (that were to be submitted by the end of 2008). This arrangement was the only realistic way of ensuring that all the many contributions got an airing. ME would investigate funding possibilities for arranging translations. Possible funding sources to cover costs of producing both publications: CBA could provide up to £750; the Clare Fell Fund might be able to provide £1000. Additional funds would have to be obtained. Action: a Fundraising sub-committee, comprising JAS, GC, TC and MM, was formed.

8. The Way Ahead

i. Website &/or portal development (see also annotations to Chair’s Report, section 7). It was agreed that: a webmaster was needed (SB kindly volunteered and ME offered to assist) and that the responsibility for providing content rested with the whole of IPG. Each Committee meeting should include an agenda item on web content and suggestions for links. It was financially outside of IPG’s capacity to develop a portal; efforts should concentrate on developing the website. Similarly, the website should not be used as the long-term location for basic data (such as Ann Clarke’s database on Orcadian stone axeheads); such material should be e-housed at ADS. Technical support would contine from Geoff & Phil, but this was not open-ended.

ii. Major grant applications: 3 were currently underway:
a) to AHRC, by English Heritage (Dave Field & Pete Topping) with ME, to investigate the environs of Grimes’ Graves;
b) ME with Portable Antiquities Scheme, to AHRC (deadline 29 Nov 07), for a 3 year studentship to idetify all the thousands of flint and stone axeheads reported through the PAS and in grey literature;
c) major AHRC application for Irish Sea Littoral Zone Project: 2 PhDs and 1 post-doc fellowship, to: update the database for Irish Sea area to ISAP/IPG standard; undertake geochemical characterisation (incl PIMA) and petrological identification; to review grey literature finds of axeheads and similar stone tools; and create a definitive history of the IPG/IPC. RVD working with ME on costings; this application could not be rushed. RVD and ME were thanked for their efforts.

iii. IPG’s teaching role: it was agreed that it would be desirable to create a research agenda for stone axehead studies, for posting on the IPG website as a way of stimulating fresh research. Action: proposals to be brought to next meeting. It was also noted that Chris King, from theEarth Sciences Department of the Open University, visits schools to talk about stone characterisation.

9. AOB.
The following were reported and/or tabled:
– a flier for Tom Clare’s book, Prehistoric Monuments of the Lake District (Tempus, 2007, pb, £17.990
– notification of the session (and call for 15–20 minute papers), From Tools to Tombs: the Creation of Identities in Stone, at the World Archaeology Conference, Dublin, 29 June – 4 July 2008, organised by Pete Topping, François Giligny and Gabriel Cooney (see www.ucd.ie/wac6)

– a call for papers for an International Conference, Challenging frontiers: Mobility, transition and Change, hosted by the Graduate Archaeology Organisation, University of Oxford and organised by Paul Preston (see www.graduatearchaeologyoxford.co.uk)
– recent discovery of a large Gp VI roughout at Droughdool, Dumfries & Galloway – a very rare (or possibly unique) example of a roughout of Gp VI in Scotland

10. Date & venue for next meeting
It was agreed that the venue should be Bangor, North Wales, the proposed date being Friday – Sunday early May 2008 (NOTE: subsequently fixed as 24-25 May). Field visits to Graig Lwyd (led by John Williams, Jane Kenny and David Jenkins) and Mynydd Rhiw (led by SB & HJ) were proposed. John Williams has kindly offered to make the arrangements (details to follow).

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