Home Archives & Manuscripts Archive Contents ANCIENT MINING AND METALLURGY COMMITTEE (A89)

Minutes, correspondence, and papers. 1947-71.

The Committee (as the Early Mining and Metallurgy Group) held its first meeting on 8 May 1946 attended by C.E.N. Bromehead, H.H. Coghlan (Chairman), Prof. Desch, (Prof.) C.F.C. Hawkes, Dr Winifred Lamb (Secretary) and (Prof.) Stuart Piggott. Later in 1946 and in 1947 Miss Sylvia Benton (later Secretary), Adrian Digby, A.A. Moss, T.K. Penniman, Dr H.J. Plenderleith, Dr J. Raftery, and Webster Smith joined the Committee. Subsequent members included I.M. Allen (Hon. Technical Advisor), H.W.M. Hodges, Herbert Maryon and Dr R.F. Tylecote. On 30 Sep.-2 Oct. 1963 the Committee held a Conference on Metallurgy and Archaeology (see A90). After Dr Marian W. Smith’s death in 1961 (Hon. Secretary; succeeded by A.H. Christie, resigned 1970) and H.H. Coglan’s retirement as Chairman at the end of 1963, Dr Tylecote tried to ascertain Council’s views on the future of the Committee; an Iron Sub-Committee was also considered. A colloquium was held in Jan. 1965 to consider the matter. However, despite Dr Tylecote’s efforts to revive the Committee nothing further occurred until 1970 when a meeting was arranged on 25 Sep. between Dr Tylecote, Henry Cleere (Iron and Steel Institute), H.W.M. Hodges and the RAI Administrative Secretary. As the Historical Metallurgy Group of the Iron and Steel Institute had been created to fill the gap left by the Committee and now published its own journal, it was recognized the reestablishment of the Committee was superfluous. It was felt, however, that a RAI representative on the Historical Metallurgy Group would be beneficial. B.E.B. Fagg, Curator, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford was the first representative. See Man, 1946, No. 87; 1948, Nos. 3, 17; 1949, Nos. 50, 178; 1950, Nos. 4, 49, 199, 236; 1951, Nos. 6, 65, 234; and later volumes for reports of the Committee. See also Reports of the Council.


SB        Miss Sylvia Benton, Hon. Secretary, 1948-63

HHC    H.H. Coghlan (d. 1983), Hon. Curator, Newbury Borough Museum; Chairman, 1946-63

WBF    W.B. Fagg, CMG (1914-92), Keeper, Dept of Ethnography, British Museum, 1969-74; RAI Hon. Secretary, 1939-56; Hon. Editor of Man, 1947-65

MWS    Dr Marian W. Smith (1907-61), RAI Hon. Secretary, 1956-61

RFT    Dr R.F. Tylecote, Dept of Metallurgy, University of Durham

 1/    Correspondence. 1947-71

  1    Report by H.J. Plenderleith and A.A. Moss, Research Laboratory, British Museum, on problems, action required, and procedures, 28 Mar. 1947 (tp.)

 1a    V. Gordon Childe to HHC, 20 June – on co-operation with museums in other countries for the obtaining of samples (tp.)

 1b    HHC to WBF, 14 July – specifies material which should be dealt with first, as agreed with Childe (autogr.)

 1c    V. Gordon Childe to HHC, 26 July – on Hungarian axes in Pitt Rivers Museum, Farnham (tp.)

 1d    Ibid., 19 Aug. – on British Association meeting; on Hungarian axes (tp.)

 1e    HHC to WBF, 5 Sept. – encloses letter from Childe about Hungarian implements [/1/1c, /1d]; on examination of these (autogr.)

  2    HHC to WBF, 26 Oct. 1948 – agrees on further nominations to the Committee; refers to BM Laboratory, the National Physical Laboratory and possible hitch (autogr.)

  3    G.A. Wainwright to WBF, 9 Nov. – on invitation to join the Committee; rarely in London now; comments on T. Burton Brown’s (TBB) season on the Armenian border; and archaeological finds at Mikindani (tp.); see /3/3

  4    Message from TBB on Oxford visit (autogr. note by WBF)

  5    Note by WBF on TBB (autogr.)

  6    HHC to WBF, 3 Jan. 1949 – will write to TBB about Oxford visit (autogr.)

  7    Ibid, 12 Jan. – encloses note on Committee for publication (see Man, Apr. 1949, Item 50); will write after meeting with TBB (autogr.)

 .1    Text of the note [enclosed with /7] (tpc. draft)

 7a    HHC, Feb. 1951 – Report on Mining and Metallurgy Committee – Copper Development Association unable to carry out analyses on behalf of the Committee; the question of his retirement from Council and Committee (tpc.)

 7b    SB to WBF, 22 Oct. – on a meeting of Committee on 14 Nov. (autogr.)

  8    RAI to SB, 14 Mar. 1955 – on membership of the Committee (tpc.)
  9    SB to RAI, 21 Mar. – amends membership list (autogr.; autogr. note by WBF)
 10    RAI to SB, 16 Aug. 1956 – on Prof. F.E. Zeuner’s membership of the Committee (tpc.)

 11    SB to RAI, 27 Aug. – Prof. F.E. Zeuner was not nominated at last meeting (autogr.)

 12    WBF to HHC, 25 Sept. – Prof. Zeuner’s membership of the Committee arose at the June Council; after the Committee’s nominations were approved Prof. Zeuner’s nomination was then proposed and approved; regrets he was not informed (tpc.)

 13    RAI to SB, 15 Oct. – explains the position of Prof. Zeuner; will write about reappointment of Committee by Council; informs her of the appoint¬ment of Prof. C.F.C. Hawkes and WBF (tpc.)

 14    HHC to RAI, 9 Nov. – surprised at letter to SB; Prof. Hawkes is a foundation and leading member of the Committee; Committee already too large; leads to personal difficulties; asks for ‘prior information of proposed appointments’; asks for views to be put before Council (tp.)

 15    RAI to HHC, 12 Nov. – acknowledges letter of 9 Nov. (/14 above); explains confusion over Prof. Hawkes’s nomination (tpc.)

 16    SB to RAI, 4 Feb. 1957 – asks for Council to be informed of Miss Caton Thompson’s resignation; Prof. F.C. Thomson has been proposed and seconded (autogr.)

 17    Hon. Secretary, RAI (Dr Marian W. Smith) to SB, 7 Feb. – notes decisions on Miss Caton Thompson and Prof. F.C. Thomson; recommendations are ‘finalised’ by Council (tpc.)

 18    RAI to HHC, 26 Mar. – reports Council’s agreement to Committee Chairman or Hon. Secretaries of Committee attending Council when relevant matters are discussed (tpc.)

 19    HHC to RAI, 29 Mar. – glad to know Council. has agreed that Committee Chairman or Hon. Secretaries may attend meetings (tp.)

 20    Herbert Maryon to RAI, 5 Dec. 1958 – glad to hear of his reappointment to Committee (autogr.)

 21    MWS to HHC, 22 Jan. 1959 – sends letter and reprint from Prof. L.S. Palmer asking for information on the Committee (tpc.)

 22    Ibid to Prof. L.S. Palmer, 22 Jan. – informs him his letter and reprint forwarded to HHC (tpc.)

 23    HHC to MWS, 27 Jan. – acknowledges letter of 22 Jan. (/21)

 24    Miss Winifred Lamb to RAI, 31 Oct. – resigns from the Committee with regret (autogr.)

 25    MWS to Miss Lamb, 4 Nov. – urges her to remain on the Committee; meetings are rare as it is mainly consultative (tpc.)

 26    Miss Lamb to MWS, 5 Nov. – will be glad to remain on the Committee (autogr.)

 27    HHC to MWS, 6 Nov. – suggests meeting; wishes to inform her of ‘all that is going on’ (tp.)

 28    RAI to HHC, 10 Nov. – MWS agrees a meeting would be helpful; feels unable to go to Newbury (tpc.)

 29    HHC to RAI, 14 Nov. – will manage a visit to London to suit MWS in the New Year (autogr.)

 30    RAI to HHC, 28 Jan. 1960 – outlines procedures for proposing members of the Committee and Council’s procedures (tpc.)

 31    HHC to RAI, 29 Jan. – acknowledges letter of 28 Jan. (/30 above); encloses memo for Council. (autogr.)

 32    MWS to HHC, 4 Feb. – interested in his readiness to extend the Committee’s work to the ‘Near East and/or the Orient’; agrees emphasis should remain analytical research (tpc.)

 33    HHC to MWS, 8 Feb. – hopes to extend interest if the right person is available; work already done for TBB at Geoy Tepe (tp.)

 34    Ibid, 8 June – grateful for good report given to Council for 1959/60; would welcome the Committee as a centre for the ‘metallurgical back¬ground of Far and Near Eastern archaeology’ (tp.)

 35    Ibid, 12 Dec. – reports the death of Dr E. Voce; he undertook most of the metallographic research; suggest three appointments for Council’s consideration: I.M. Allen, H.W.M. Hodges, Dr R.F. Tylecote

 36    RAI to HHC, 14 Dec. – MWS in hospital; WBF acting Hon. Secretary (tpc.)

 37    RAI to HHC, 6 Jan. 1961 – reports his recommendations for the Committee (see /35 above) approved by Council (tpc.)

 38    Ibid to I.M. Allen, 9 Jan. – invited to become member of the Committee and to act as Hon. Technical Secretary (tpc.)

 39    Ibid to Henry W.M. Hodges, 10 Jan. – invited to become member of the Committee (tpc.); similar letter to RFT, 10 Jan. not retained

 40    I.M. Allen to WBF, 13 Jan. – accepts position as Hon. Technical Secretary (pc.)

 41    RFT to WBF, 16 Jan. – accepts membership of the Committee (tp.)

 42    HHC to A.H. Christie (AHC), Hon. Secretary, RAI, 14 June – has been contacted by Dr Banerjee on possible survey of iron in India; as a former pupil of Sir Mortimer Wheeler asks him to obtain his support; suggests matter should be put to Council (autogr.)

 43    AHC to HHC, 20 June – has doubts about Dr Banerjee; advises caution (tpc.)

 44    RAI to HHC, 24 July – has minutes of the last meeting to type; unfamiliar with names of Dr Raftery and Mr Webster Smith; suggests rewording of minute on Corresponding members, Dr J.R. Marechal and Prof. R. Pittioni (tpc.)

 45    HHC to RAI, 25 July – Dr J. Raftery and Mr Webster Smith members of long standing; agrees with rewording of minute (autogr.)

 46    RAI to HHC, 26 July – comments on omission of names (tpc.)

 47    HHC to RAI, 2 Aug. – list of Committee members must be correct before next printing; names matters for discussion (autogr.)

 48    AHC to HHC, 23 Mar. 1962 – confirms the Publications Committee’s approval of the publication of the next major report on ancient metals; suggests he invites H.J. Case to help; paper for Rome to be pre-printed paper for JRAI (A report upon analytical methods presented by the Ancient Mining and Metallurgy Committee, Vol. 92, 1962, pp. 125-40); 100 copies to be made available (tpc.)

 49    HHC to AHC, 27 Mar. – acknowledges letter of 23 Mar. (/48 above) (autogr.)

 50    Ibid, 28 Sep. – Rome Congress was not a success (VI International Congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences); no conclusions reached on ‘analysis and their correlation in respect of the non-ferrous ores and metals’; suggests calling conference in 1963 on problems of metallurgy in archaeology; suggests coverage (tp. with autogr. note)

 51    Ibid, 18 Dec. – had no time to discuss proposed conference at their meeting; opinion favourable among Committee members; assumes Council’s approval. needed (autogr.); see Council minutes, CM/92/4, Item 8, CM/92/6, Item 4(c), CM/93/1, Item 5(c), ff. 167, 171, 182,    10 Jan., 7 Mar., 10 Oct. 1963

 52    SB to AHC, 11 Oct. 1963 – tenders her resignation as Hon. Secretary; comments on E.T. Hall’s articles on the source of the silver used in Corinth in the classical period (autogr.)

 53    SB to the Committee, 11 Oct. – formal letter of resignation (autogr.; enclosed in /52 above)

 54    AHC to SB, 28 Oct. – thanks her on behalf of Council for her work on behalf of the Committee (tpc.)

 55    RFT to AHC, 11 Nov. – has been discussing composition of the Sub-Committee with Henry Cleere, Iron and Steel Institute; makes proposals; has not heard if his Chairmanship has been approved (tp.)

 56    AHC to RFT, 14 Nov. – proposes to send a circular announcing HHC’s retirement and proposing RFT as his successor; hopes to set up a ferrous sub¬committee; suggests a Committee meeting in the New Year (tpc.); see Council minutes, CM/93/1, Item 5(c), f. 182, 10 Oct. 1963

 57    RFT to AHC, 21 May 1964 – inquires if Council has decided on the fate of the Committee; the Historical Metallurgy Group, Iron and Steel. Institute is considering enlarging their activities to include the work of the Iron Sub-Committee; Committee members have a sense of urgency about the future (tp.)

 58    AHC to RFT, 3 July – RAI wishes to continue and extend the work of the Committee; suggests a meeting (tpc.)

 59    RFT to AHC, 14 July – will not be in London until Oct.; would like to know his precise status; feels he should know who the Chairman is before a programme is planned; suggests AHC visits Newcastle and that George R. Morton, Chairman, Historical Metallurgy Group should be present (tp.)

 60    AHC to RFT, 22 July – thinks he will be elected Chairman when the Committee meets; suggests a meeting on the reconstitution of the Committee in Oct. (tpc.)

 61    Kenneth C. Barraclough, Sheffield to AHC, 7 Dec. – regrets cannot attend colloquium on the future programme; offers his services as a metallurgist (autogr.)

 62    Frank Willett, Nuffield College, Oxford to AHC, 8 Dec. – would like to attend colloquium (autogr.)

 63    AHC to K.C. Barraclough, 10 Dec. – has not yet made his views known on the Committee; hopes to express some ideas on paper (tpc.)

 64    Bernard E.B. Fagg, Curator, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford to AHC, 13 Dec. would like to attend colloquium (autogr.)

 65    H.C. Case, Dept of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford to AHC, 8 Jan. 1965 – regrets cannot attend colloquium (autogr.)

 66    Prof. Stuart Piggott, Dept of Archaeology, University of Edinburgh to AHC, 8 Jan. – regrets cannot attend colloquium (tp. pc.)

 67    Henry Cleere (HC), Assistant Secretary, Iron and Steel Institute to AHC, 11 Jan. – pleased to attend colloquium (tp.)

 68    John W. Brailsford, Deputy Keeper, Dept of British and Medieval Antiquities, British Museum to AHC, 12 Jan. – regrets cannot attend colloquium; Dr I.M. Longworth to deputise as agreed; finds he is too busy to devote time to the Committee; suggests Dr Longworth should be elected (tp.)

 69    Prof. F.C. Thomson, Dept of Metallurgy, Manchester University to AHC, 15 Jan. – regrets only saw invitation to the colloquium today; since his retirement no longer has facilities for experimental work; sends his resignation (tp.)

 70    HC to AHC, 18 Jan. – following the meeting sets out his views; Committee members should have an active interest in pre-industrial metallurgy; suggests representation from learned societies and metallurgical industries; comments on size of the Committee and its coverage (tp.); see Council minutes, CM/[no ref.], 11 Feb. 1965, Item 6, f. 12

 71    Frank Willett to AHC, 22 Jan. – wishes to contact ferrous metallurgist; asks for name (autogr.)

 72    AHC to Frank Willett, 27 Jan. – sends HC’s name and address; considers Committee should be limited to those actively engaged in the subject (tpc.)

 73    HC to AHC, 1 Feb. – on archaeological representation on the Committee (tp.)

 74    Harold Barker, Research Laboratory, British Museum to AHC, 9 Feb. – thanks him for the copy of HC’s letter; in general agrees; outlines Research Laboratory’s facilities and possible expansion; stresses importance of analysts’ awareness of conservation problems (tp.)

 75    John C. Allan (JCA), Consulting Engineer, Lisbon to AHC, 10 Oct. – outlines his work on the antiquity of mining in the Iberian Peninsula and its extensive scale; encloses draft of his paper on the subject (tp.)

 76    Prof. John D. Evans, Institute of Archaeology, University of London to AHC, 11 Mar. 1966 – has now read JCA’s paper; is of considerable value; appropriate for RAI to publish it; prehistoric sections need revising, recent work not mentioned (autogr.)

 77    JCA to AHC, 23 May – pleased to learn at their meeting that RAI is considering publication; gives further evidence of ancient mining in the Iberian Peninsula; an earlier draft was published in Portuguese in Boletin de Minas; encloses copy and translation of letter from the Director-General of the Mines Department giving permission for use of this paper in the new paper (tp.); see /78-9 below

 78    Direccâo-Geral de Minas e Serviços Geológicos, Lisbon to JCA, 18 May gives permission for material from Portuguese article to be used (photocopy; in Portuguese)

 79    English translation of above (tp.)

 80    JCA to AHC, 22 Aug. – has had no information since Apr.; asks if paper will be published (tp.)

 81    AHC to JCA, 30 Sept. – apologies for delay in writing; RAI definitely willing to publish paper; asks for revision of prehistoric section in the light of recent work (tpc.)

 82    Mrs G.E. Settles, formerly Secretary to JCA, to AHC, 1 Oct. – thanks him for copy of 30 Sept. letter; gives his permanent Lisbon address (tp.)

 83    JCA to AHC, 3 Oct. – glad to have confirmation of publication; willing to make any necessary revisions; asks for help in obtaining copies of relevant articles (tp.)

 84    Mrs Settles to AHC, 19 Oct. – asked by JCA to contact him for help in obtaining relevant articles (tp.)

 85    AHC to JCA, [31 Oct.] – hopes manuscript and book on subject have arrived; cites references of interest (tpc.)

 86    JCA to AHC, 2 Nov. – thanks him for letter of 31 Oct. (tp.)

 87    Ibid, 10 Nov. – acknowledges receipt of manuscript and book; revision will take time (tp.); see Considerations on the antiquity of mining in the Iberian Peninsula by John C. Allen, 1970 (RAI Occ. Pap. No. 27)

 88    HC to AHC, 21 Jan. 1970 – glad RAI has not abandoned the Committee; suggests meeting to discuss reviving it (tp.)

 89    Mrs Barbara Bentley (BB), Administrative Secretary to HC, 5 Mar. – AHC has resigned as Hon. Secretary; understands he is interested in reviving the Committee; he may prefer to contact new Hon. Secretary, Dr John Waechter (tpc.)

 90    HC to BB, 11 Mar. – outlines earlier history of the Committee and failed efforts to revive it in 1965; will consult RFT, the Chairman; other developments include an Historical Metallurgy Group in association with the Institute of Metals (tp.); see /57-74 above

 91    RFT to BB, 16 Mar. – Committee never formally dissolved but never met while AHC was Hon. Secretary; Historical Metallurgy Group (HMG) created to replace it; has been active for 5 years; feels there is a need for liaison with anthropology; will put the matter to the HMG of which he is Hon. Secretary (tp.)

 92    BB to RFT, 18 Mar. – glad to hear he thinks a Joint Committee might be useful; new Hon. Secretary (JW) will be glad to meet him (tpc.)

 93    RFT to BB, 11 Apr. – will be in London on 28 May; hopes to meet JW then (tp.)

 94    BB to RFT, 28 Apr. – JW glad to meet him on 28 May (tpc.)

 95    Ibid, 15 May – JW regrets he cannot meet him on 28 May; wishes to bring Henry W.M. Hodges to a meeting; suggests dates in June (tpc.)

 96    RFT to BB, 18 May – will not be in London before the autumn; suggests JW should visit him in Newcastle (tp.)

 97    BB to RFT, 21 May – much regrets cancellation of plans; invites him to Garden Party on 25 June (tpc.)

 98    RFT to BB, 6 Aug. – will be in London on 25 Sept.; suggests meeting (tp.)

 99    BB to RFT, 10 Sep. – JW will be glad to meet him on 25 Sept. (tpc.)

100    Ibid, 28 Sep. – encloses note (see /101 below) on meeting of 25 Sep.; hopes renewed contact will be beneficial; informs him of Ethnographic Film Lending Library and its relevant purchases (tpc.)

101    Report of meeting, 25 Sept. between RFT, HC, Henry W.M. Hodges, and BB; RFT outlines developments since the failure to revive the Committee; HMG has taken its place; has its own journal.; Committee no longer necessary; RAI representative on HMG agreed (tpc.)

102    D.W. Crossley, Hon. Secretary, HMG, University of Sheffield to Bernard E.B. Fagg, 24 May 1971 – appointed as RAI representative to HMG (tpc.)

2/    Papers

  1    Council, 5 Jan 1961, Committee reports (CM/90/4, Item 4(b), f. 120 – note for Hon. Secretary on HHC’s reaction to previous suggestions for nominations to the Committee (mimeo.); see /1/32-4 above

  2    Minutes of the Committee on Spectrometric Analysis, 13 Apr. 1961 and Appendix; Analysis of artifacts by optical spectrometry by C.F.C. Hawkes (mimeo., annotated by HHC)

  3    Report sent to Prof. Hawkes for Rome Congress, 4 Aug. 1961 by HHC (tpc.)

  4    List of members, 1963 (tp.)

  5    Acceptances and regrets for Colloquium, 14 Jan. 1976 i.e. 1965 (tp.); see /1/60-9

 3/    Printed matter

  1    Committee report by WBF, Nature, 1949; see also similar report by HHC in Man, 1950, No. 49

  2    Draft of the above (tp. with autogr. annotations by WBF and another)

  3    Second report: Bronze Age metal objects from Azarbaijan, Part I, by T. Burton Brown and E. Voce, Man, 1949, No 178; see /1/3-7 above

  4    Second report: Iron objects from Azarbaijan by TBB, Man, 1950, No 4

  5    Second report: Bronze Age metal objects from Azarbaijan, Part II, by TBB and E. Voce, Man, 1950, No 49

 4/    Minutes

  1    Agendas, minutes and Committee papers, 1946-70, made up of unsigned mimeographed agendas, minutes and papers inter-filed with holograph signed minutes and mimeographed signed minutes as follows:

8 May 1946    Minutes (first meeting)
16 Oct.    Agenda and minutes
12 Mar. 1947    Agenda and minutes
5 June    Agenda, minutes, and memorandum from H.J. Plenderleith and A.A. Moss
17 Dec.    Agenda and minutes
31 Mar. 1948    Agenda and minutes
16 Mar. 1949    Agenda and minutes (holograph)
14 Nov. 1951    Agenda and minutes
20 Jan. 1954    Agenda and minutes (holograph)
9 Mar. 1955    Minutes only
24 Jan. 1957    Agenda and minutes (signed mimeo.)
11 May 1961    Agenda and minutes (signed mimeo.)
14 Feb. 1963    Agenda and minutes
25 Sep. 1970    Report of meeting; see also 89/1/101
Shelved with quartos.

  2    Holograph signed minutes; 8 May 1946-20 Jan. 1954; and Provisional Index (original minutes copied on acid-free paper)

  3    Mimeographed signed minutes: 9 Mar. 1955 11 May 1961. 6 leaves. (original minutes copies on acid-free paper)

W.B. Fagg Papers combined with RAI files.