The Ceramic Petrology Group meeting, 2018 – Tübingen
The 2018 Ceramic Petrology Group Meeting was hosted by the Competence Center Archaeometry – Baden-Wuerttemberg University of Tübingen. It was a wonderful event at which a series of excellent papers and posters were presented and with plenty of opportunities to meet new students, returning friends, and colleagues.
The meeting kicked off with a keynote by Patrick Quinn, the current secretary of CPG. Patrick spoke about the ever-extending range of analytical techniques applied to archaeological ceramics and placed these in reference to work he has completed over the years. This provided an opportunity for those attending the meeting to become familiar with the types of work that would be presented the following day (not everybody was an archaeologist, for example, the ‘thin section club’ from the University of Tübingen attended, the club work with geological material). At the end, a member of the audience posed the question… what next? This resulted in a conversation about how despite new technology and techniques continuously being developed and applied, ultimately any archaeometric study always, well should always, come back to archaeological questions. A very relevant point and one which crept up a number of times the following day.
On Friday the main presentations were given. There was a wide range of subjects covered, material from all over the world, and from a variety of time periods. New techniques were introduced, and old theories challenged. I was grateful to be given the opportunity to present a paper on Cross-craft interactions between the metals, ceramics, and glass industries of Roman Britain. This paper explored ideas of dependency of different industries on each other and the transfer of knowledge between craftspeople were demonstrated.
Some of my personal highlights of the day included the presentations of Esther Travé and Sarah Machin. Esther (University of Barcelona), presented work on the peasant communities in the Upper Arlanza Basin, Spain. Using petrographic studies of pottery found during recent excavations, questions about cross-cultural exchange were addressed for a community which appears to have been resistant to wider socio-economic changes over a considerable period of time. Sarah (University of Reading), used Roman flue-tiles from Silchester and other nearby sites to discuss issues of itinerant crafts-people and to assess whether long distance trade of CBM materials was taking place in Roman Britain. All 14 talks were stimulating and informative and their titles and abstracts can be found here.
As well as the rich academic content, the social side of the meeting was also well organised and very successful. We were treated to Aperol Spritz at the ‘wine’ reception after the keynote lecture and we also had the opportunity to try some of the local cuisine at the conference dinner on the Friday night. Thank you to the entire team that organised this year’s meeting, but especially to Christoph Berthold, Silvia Amicone and Tobias Kiemle.
Next year’s CPG meeting will be hosted by the Fitch! We are excited to host this upcoming meeting and will announce details in the near future.
Carlotta Gardner, Williams Fellow in Ceramic Petrology at the Fitch Laboratory