4th East-West Workshop on Industrial Archaeology
The Archaeology of Technology
From underground to outer space, from the 14th to the 21st century, the 4th E-W Workshop on Industrial Archaeology explores the interlinkages of archaeology, technology, science and industry with cases from Australia, Asia, Europe and the Universe! This edition of the workshop revisits the original focus of industrial archaeology on the research and conservation of technology, which is expanded and revised with new geographies, chronologies, methodologies and questions.
The East-West series of workshops aims to exchange ideas and knowledge among Western and Eastern colleagues to build a more international and diverse industrial archaeology. The activity is organised jointly by the Institute for Cultural Heritage and History of Science & Technology (USTB, China), and the UK Association for Industrial Archaeology together with its Young Members Board.
Register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/4th-east-west-workshop-on-industrial-archaeology-tickets-608294634627
SPEAKERS & TALKS:
Alice GORMAN (Flinders University, Australia): “Beyond the rocket: the archaeological study of space technology“
Space archaeology is the study of the material remains of human space-related activities on Earth and on other celestial bodies. While there are many methodological commonalities with historical archaeology, such as the use of documents and oral histories to augment interpretations of the archaeological record, space archaeology has had to develop image-based methods of analysis in order to overcome the obstacles to fieldwork in space. A focus on material culture offers opportunities to investigate how humans adapt to the space environment, such as the microgravity of the International Space Station or the dust of the lunar surface, and develop distinct space cultures. However, the majority of the material record of space, from Earth orbit to interstellar space, could be considered a machine landscape produced by robots. Nonetheless these robotic space objects can be used to tell creative stories which operate outside the dominant narratives of space exploration, for example, highlighting the participation of amateurs or Indigenous people in space industry.
Shujing FENG (National Academy of Innovation Strategy & Tsinghua University, China): “Wenzhou Alum Mine from the perspective of the archaeology of technology“
Wenzhou Alum Mine in Fanshan Town, Zhejiang Province (China), operated from the middle of the 14th century to December 2017 and, as an important centre of the Chinese alum industry for more than 600 years, witnessed both change and continuity in the development of alum mining and refining technology. Alum was produced in Wenzhou from the alunite ore mined in the territory, and included quarrying, calcining, weathering and steeping the ore to produce an impure solution, or liquor, of aluminium sulphate and potassium sulphate, which was then boiled at the appropriate temperature to form a concentration of alum. A review of the documentary evidence coupled with an archaeological survey of the mining and refining sites owned by the Wenzhou Alum Mine Company has enabled the site to be redefined as a complex production landscape by paying attention to the evidence for the evolution of technology used for producing alum.
Geoffrey WALLIS (GW Conservation/Dorothea Restorations & AIA, UK) “Developments in practical engineering conservation. The works of Dorothea Restorations Ltd.“
Dorothea Restoration Engineers Ltd was set up in the mid 1970’s by a group of young graduates concerned about the widespread post-World War II clearance of the historic machinery which had driven the industrial revolution, and for which Britain had become a world-famous manufacturer and exporter. What started as a volunteer activity soon became a thriving business which grew to become the largest independent engineering conservation company in the UK, celebrating its half-centenary next year. This paper looks at the wide range of practical conservation projects undertaken, many of them technically or logistically difficult, some of the ethical issues encountered, how staff were trained in such a specialist field, and how modern technology is now being employed in the practical restoration and conservation of heavy machinery, traditional mills, and historic metalwork.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Dr Alice GORMAN is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology and author of the award-winning book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future (MIT Press, 2019). Her research focuses on the archaeology and heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-earth mining, and space habitats. In 2022, she co-directed (with Justin Walsh) an archaeological survey on the International Space Station, which was the first archaeological fieldwork ever to take place outside Earth. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide and a heritage consultant with over 30 years’ experience working with Indigenous communities in Australia. Gorman is also a Vice-Chair of the Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities, a member of the Advisory Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia, and an expert member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Aeropace Heritage. Asteroid 551014 Gorman is named after her in recognition of her work in space archaeology.
Dr Shujing FENG is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Tsinghua University and the National Academy of Innovation Strategy (Chinese Academy of Science and Technology). Her research interest is industrial archaeology, industrial heritage, and the history of technology, with experience in the industrial archaeology of Wenzhou Alum Mine, the industrial heritage of Shougang (which held the latest Winter Olympics), and the value evaluation of China’s industrial heritage. She has published numerous articles and a book on these topics. She obtained her PhD degree from the University of Science and Technology Beijing in 2020 with the dissertation ‘Industrial Archaeological Research on Wenzhou Alum Mine from the Perspective of the History of Technology.’ In 2018, she was a visiting PhD student at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (University of Birmingham). Her current research is supported by the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation.
Geoffrey WALLIS C.Eng MIMech.E is a mechanical engineer (Bath University) with wide expertise in the restoration and conservation of historic metalwork, machinery and traditional mills. He co-founded Dorothea Restoration Engineers Ltd. and directed the company for 30 years, before becoming a consultant (see www.gwconservation.com). He has practical experience working on high-profile sites involving complex machinery and metalwork often in poor condition. Wallis has led the Architectural and Structural Metals Conservation Masterclass at West Dean College near Chichester since 2005 and lectures widely on engineering conservation to several UK universities. He has delivered metalwork-conservation courses in Britain, Myanmar, Zanzibar, and online to India, has contributed to several conservation textbooks, and has featured in TV programmes covering practical restoration projects. Geoffrey is a trustee of the Museum of Bath at Work, a founder and Director of the National Heritage Ironwork Group, a Past President of the Newcomen Society and a Council member of the Association for Industrial Archaeology, for which he founded the Young Members Board.