HMS Archives and Collections Committee

The Archives and Collections Committee of the Historical Metallurgy Society was set up in 2008 to facilitate the management of its various archives and collections. There is a Memorandum of Agreement between the HMS and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) where the archives and collections are housed. Follow the links below for further information.

The HMS archive includes the records of the Society itself and other historical documents.

The Tylecote papers comprise a substantial body of notes and other written material amassed by Ronnie Tylecote. The papers have recently been catalogued and a list of the papers is available to download here.

Ronnie Tylecote’s collection of metallographic mounts is subject to a Memorandum of Agreement between HMS and the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA) at Oxford University who are housing and managing it for HMS. Dr Aurélie Cuenod at the RLAHA produced the original online catalogue, complete with scans of Tylecote’s notebooks. A new verion of this database is here.

The HMS Library consists of books, pamphlets and leaflets that have been donated to the Society.

The National Slag Collection, which is the property of the IGMT, was formed from several collections (including those of founding members of the HMS); it is stored at Ironbridge. The procedure and assessment criteria for receiving new acquisitions into the NSC can be found here.

HMS and IGMT were involved with the ‘Who Cares?” project which explored the role of enthusiasm, creativity and affection in the stewardship of less well-known collections. The Slag Collection provided one of the case studies.

Meet the team

Chair of the HMS ACC

Vanessa Cheel

Applies metallography, optical and electron microscopy to a variety of archaeological metals.

Vanessa studied Engineering and Materials Sciences at first degree level and has a doctorate in Metallurgy & the Science of Materials which involved using light, x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons and electrons to investigate copper. Since the techniques were mastered, they’ve been applied to a variety of archaeological metals. Metallography, optical and electron microscopy are current pursuits. Small scale experimental metal working takes place in the back garden.

Her academic interests in Materials Characterisation have been blended with education and public outreach; committee experience was gained on the local Parish Council.

Secretary of ACC

Eddie Birch

ACC Liaison with IGMT

Spencer Smith

Jonathan Prus

His principal interests are the unresolved aspects of bloomery technology, especially relating to draught, furnace thermal properties and slag chemistry.

Born 1950. In teaching for 10 years. Subsequently ran a company providing learning disability services. First degrees in History and Politics, then Life Sciences. Then Ph.D. at Cranfield University. Then an MBA. (The last three by part-time study.)

A member of HMS Council since 2014 and Hon. Gen. Secretary since 2017. An active member of the Wealden Iron Research Group.

Principal interests: unresolved aspects of bloomery technology, especially relating to draught, furnace thermal properties and slag chemistry. A recently developing interest in the interrelated issues of skill, cognition and ideology among ancient ironworkers.

Louise Bacon

Rachel Cubitt

Is a registered finds specialist, assessing and reporting on metalworking debris and individual objects made of metals and non-metals.

As well as serving on the HMS Council Rachel Cubitt is a member of the Archives and Collections Committee and the Web Team. She has worked for MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) as a Registered Finds Specialist, assessing and reporting on metalworking debris and individual objects made of metals and non-metals. She studied Archaeology at Durham University before completing a Masters in Archaeological Science at the University of Bradford.

Peter Northover

Brian Gilmour

Mike Dobby

Andrew Naylor

Corresponding Members

Justine Bayley

Specialising in non-ferrous metal and glass working, and continues to lecture and research on various aspects of Roman and medieval metalworking.

Justine has been a member of HMS Council since the early 1980s, serving as Treasurer from 1986 to 1991 and as Joint Editor since 1990. For many years she was also a member (later chairman) of the Archaeology Committee. She led the Technology Team at the Ancient Monuments Laboratory, which became part of English Heritage/Historic England, specialising in non-ferrous metal and glass working, and ran many ‘slag days’ that offered field archaeologists hands-on training in identifying metalworking debris. She is now an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL and continues to lecture and research on various aspects of Roman and medieval metalworking.

Paul Rondelez

He obtained his thesis on Iron Age and Roman iron smelting in Belgium and his PhD degree based on research into late medieval iron production in Ireland.

Paul has a life-long interest in mining and metal production through his father's mineral collecting hobby. He obtained his Master's Degree in Archaeology at Ghent University (Belgium) with a thesis on Iron Age and Roman iron smelting in Belgium and his PhD degree based on research into late medieval iron production in Ireland. His interests also include non-ferrous metal mining in Ireland and the Irish charcoal-fired blast furnace.

Eleanor Blakelock

Has an interest in metallurgy of the Anglo-Saxon period, having worked on iron knives for a PhD and the metals from the Staffordshire Hoard.

Eleanor Blakelock received her PhD in 2012 from the University of Bradford studying the technology of iron knives. As part of her sandwich degree course she worked for six months with the English Heritage Technology Team studying a range of ancient materials. She was the main scientist analysing the precious metals of the Staffordshire Hoard. Her main research interest is in the archaeometallurgy of the early medieval period.

Peter King

Peter King's main interest is in the history of the iron industry. He has recently published A Gazetteer of the British Iron industry 1490-1815 (BAR Publishing: BAR British Series 652, 2020, click here for link). His present area of research concerns river transport in the Sev

Peter King's main interest is in the history of the iron industry. He has recently published A Gazetteer of the British Iron industry 1490-1815 (BAR Publishing: BAR British Series 652, 2020). His present area of research concerns river transport in the Sev

Aurélie Cuenod

David Dungworth

Sue Mossman