Interested in pre-coal iron production and mining in Ireland
- Pre-coal iron production
- Mining in Ireland
My interest in the history in metallurgy is based on my father’s hobby of mineral collecting leading to my childhood holidays being spent in quarries and mining areas. When deciding on my university trajectory, my choice fell on History and, as I wanted something outside of archives only, I ended up specialising in Archaeology. I graduated from Ghent University in 1992 with a thesis on Iron Age and Roman iron production in Belgium.
Many years later, I moved to Ireland to work in commercial archaeology during which time my interest in metal production was rekindled through the frequent excavating of iron and non-ferrous metal production sites. When excavation jobs disappeared during the recession of the late 2000s, I chose to attempt a doctoral degree at University College Cork. This was obtained in 2014 on the subject of iron production in late medieval Ireland.
During this period, I also became a proud member of HMS, started compiling specialist reports on excavated metal production assemblages (www.slag.ie) and launched a research project into 17th and 18th century blast furnaces in Counties Clare and Galway (www.furnaceproject.org). Out of the latter grew the Woodford Furnace Festival (www.furnacefestival.org), centred around the production of Irish iron.
In 2018, I was invited to serve as Chair of the Historical Metallurgy Society, which I gratefully accepted. I am hoping to keep the high quality of the Society where it is and steer it safely through any challenges which it might encounter.
My favorite HMS journals/articles
A few of my publications
- Ironworking in late medieval Ireland, c. AD. 1200 to 1600. PhD Thesis, University College Cork
- The Irish bowl furnace: origin, history and demise. Journal of Irish Archaeology, Vol. XXVI, 2018, pp. 101-116
- The metallurgical enterprises of Richard Boyle, First Earl of Cork in Edwards D. and Rynne C. (eds) The Colonial World of Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, Four Courts Press, Dublin, pp. 112-120.
- (with Peter Claughton) Early silver mining in western Europe: an Irish perspective, Journal of the Mining Heritage Trust Ireland, Vol. 13