5 – 6 May 2007 (Penzance)

5th Meeting of the Implement Petrology Group

held at the Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance by kind invitation of Alison Bevan (PHG&M)

Present: Dr R Vin Davis (Chair), Dr Alison Sheridan (Secretary), Dr Jens Andersen (Camborne School of Mines), Dr Steve Burrow (SB), David Dawson, Dr David Field, Heather Jackson, Dr Andy Jones (Historic Environment Service, Cornwall), Dr Mik Markham, Jane Marley (Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro), Dr Yvan Pailler, Dr Joan Taylor and Dave Weddle.

Alison Bevan was warmly thanked for allowing the IPG to use the Penlee House Gallery & Museum as a venue, and for having come in on a Saturday.

1. Apologies for absence
Dr Stephen Briggs, Tom Clare, Professor Gabriel Cooney, Professor Tim Darvill, Dr Peter Davey, Professor Mark Edmonds, Allison Fox, Dr Mike Heyworth, Dr Rob Ixer, Dr Frances Lynch, Dr Stephen Mandal, Jamie Quartermaine, Fiona Roe, Dr Peter Topping and Dr Ann Woodward.

2. Previous minutes
These were approved and signed as an accurate record.

3. Matters arising, not dealt with elsewhere.
RVD reported that the Stuart Feather collection of stone implements and debitage had been donated to The Tullie House Museum, Carlisle. The Geoffrey Taylor collection of stone implements and debitage had been donated to the York University Archaeology Department.

4–7 Progress reports
please see the annotated copy of the Chair’s Report for details, and note the following additional documents, appended herewith as electronic attachments:
a) List of York Conference contributors (see item 3 in Chair’s Report)
b) The IPG and its work in Britain and Ireland (see item 5 in Chair’s
c) IPG policy & procedure for dealing with implements accepted for
thin sectioning (see item 7 in Chair’s Report)
d) List of recent publications on implement petrology that had been
tabled at the meeting
and please note: comments are invited from Members on the wording of documents (b) and (c), by 5 June, please, so that agreed amended versions can be posted up on the IPG website..

8. Members’ reports.
1. Alison Sheridan and Yvan Pailler reported on progress with Pierre Pétrequin’s million-Euro, Europe-wide ‘Project JADE’, examining axeheads made from jadeite and similar Alpine materials. Yvan also reported on his researches on other types of prestige axehead in Britain, especially all-over-polished flint axeheads.

2. Steve Burrow presented an update on his and Heather Jackson’s fieldwork at Mynydd Rhiw: a short season in 2006 had produced 9 C14-datable samples (currently being dated) and evidence for a field system overlying an area of quarrying. A week’s further fieldwork was programmed to start on 21 May 2007.

3. Mik Markham delivered a presentation on ‘Axe factory or fiction?’, summarising his research into the sources and nature of Group 1 greenstone in Cornwall. A hard copy version of his Powerpoint presentation was handed out at the meeting; this served as an excellent introduction to the field visit on the next day. (This is a big file. Copies of the electronic version are available from RVD on request).

9. AOB
Dave Field alerted the Group to two initiatives that offered scope for cross-fertilisation with the IPG’s activities (and for hot-linking on the IPG website), namely: i) the Society of American Archaeologists’ Prehistoric Mines & Quarries Group, which he and Pete Topping had been involved in establishing. An initial canvass of interest on the SAA website in 2006 attracted 500 responses; ii) the Flint Mining & Technology sub-group of the UISPP (International Union of Pre- and Protohistorians). The UISPP Committee was due to meet immediately before the IPG September conference, so Dave would talk about our conference there. Both these initiatives reflected an increasing interest in quarrying, extraction and use of stone. Jane Marley echoed this by saying that the number of scholarly visits to the Museum in Truro was increasing, with 8 this year so far: this seemed to signal a resurgence in artefact studies.

10. Date & venue of next meeting.
This was set for Saturday 10th November at the Department of Archaeology, University of York, starting at mid-day. It was agreed that, following John Williams’ kind offer, the spring 2008 meeting should be held in Bangor, and would, if possible, include a field trip to Mynydd Rhiw led by Steve Burrow and Heather Jackson, and to Graig Lwyd led by John Williams.

The business meeting was followed by a field trip, on Sunday 18 June, kindly led by Mik Markham and Dave Weddle. Potential source areas for Group 1 greenstone were explored and Dave Weddle kindly gave a practical demonstration of his axehead-making and -using skills at his house. Mik and Dave were heartly thanked by the Group for their efforts.

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