Ivory research


Posters and presentations from the Ivory Workshops

Together Again! The Non-Contact Replication of a Medieval Ivory Diptych Panel
Conservation Technologies, National Conservation Centre, Whitechapel, Liverpool

Why do we need stable and radiogenic isotopes?
Julia Lee-Thorp (Archaeological Sciences, Division of AGES, University of Bradford) & Ashley Coutu (Archaeology Department, University of York)

What can proteins do for us?
Matthew Collins (Archaeology Department, University of York) 

Conference archives

1st International Congress: The World of Elephants.
Rome, October 16 - 20, 2001
This archive includes links to PDFs of all the papers

Ivory and elephants in the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean. Alicante, November 26-27th 2008
Organised by the German Archaeological Institute, Department Madrid

Ivory objects

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.  Images and detail of ivory objects in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  The images can be accessed via 'ivory' in the subject index and are organised by geographical region and linked to thematic essays and much more. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/intro/atr/atr.htm

Gothic Ivories Project, The Courtauld Institute of Art. Starting with the photographic resource of the Conway Library, http://www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/about/conway.html, the aim of this project is to provide a database of Gothic ivories made in Europe dating from c. 1200 to c. 1530 (excluding Embriachi), and modern imitations, and to make this resource fully accessible online to researchers, students, and the wider community.  Database entries will gradually become available online throughout 2010 and the project should be complete by October 2011. There will be at least one image of each objects and it will be possible search the database on iconography, provenance, origin, post-medieval repairs and replacements, modern forgeries, and any other relevant topics. Ultimately, it will be possible to view in one place images and detailed information on thousand of items scattered in collections around the world.

Cultural Objects Worked in Skeletal Hard Tissues
Dr Sonia O'Connor has been awarded 3 years full-time funding from the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme for a post-doctoral research project to evaluate, refine and develop non-invasive and minimally destructive techniques for the identification of ivories and other skeletal hard tissues used in the making of cultural objects.

Starting on 1st June 2010, Sonia's research will be based at the University of Bradford in partnership with Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, Hull Museums, the Horniman Museum, the Hawley Collection and York Archaeological Trust, who are all providing access to their extensive collections, and The Henry Moseley X-Ray Imaging Facility, University of Manchester, who will provide high-resolution 3D imaging.

The correct and confident identification of ivories underpins all ivory research but most visual criteria are based on thin or polished sections of the raw material. Surface working, decoration, use, wear and decay can greatly change the appearance of ivories by altering or masking the diagnostic features and can compromise other physical or chemical identification techniques. The aims of this project are to characterise ivories and other skeletal hard tissues in worked objects and in various states of preservation, and to disseminate this knowledge and the identification skills to those involved in their care, curation and research.

Further details of the award are available at http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/FundedResearch/Pages/ResearchDetail.aspx?id=149012

Ivory histories

Global trade and local craft – The Dutch elephant ivory trade and craft in the 17th and 18th centuries

Marloes Rijkelijkhuizen, PhD research, University of Amsterdam, started 2010

This PhD research is an interdisciplinary study of the Dutch trade and craft in elephant ivory in the 17th and 18th centuries. Ivory was the second most important import product from the West coast of Africa and the craft in ivory became a growing industry in Amsterdam. Archaeological excavations revealed a large variety of products of this industry. From a historical point of view this trade and craft is largely unknown. By combining archaeological and historical sources the study of this specific part of the economic and social history can shed new light on European expansion and craft industries.

Different aspects will be studied, such as the mechanics, scale and socio-economic consequences of the Dutch importation of elephant ivory. The first part of this study will focus on the import of elephant ivory from Africa, the export of ivory to Asia and trade of ivory between European countries. The second part will investigate the local ivory craft in the Dutch Republic, in order to assess the impact of the ivory trade on local craft activities and the extent to which ivory became a part of daily life.

Mammoth discovery. Principia College Elsah, Illinois, USA. http://www.principia.edu/users/els/departments/mammoth/

Ivory trade references (numbering 110) in Bibliography of the African Elephant
Bibliography from the African Journal of Ecology (Wiley-Blackwell) can be downloaded free of charge.

Ivory Carvings in England from Before the Norman Conquest by Dr Paul Williamson for BBC British History in Depth http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/normans/ivory_01.shtml

Portuguese 16th C trading vessel wreck, Bom Jesus, found off the coast of Namibia. National Geographic magazine feature and picture gallery http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/10/shipwreck/smith-text

Ivory and ivory substitute billard balls. From The English Amateur Billiards Association web site, A Brief History of Billiards and the Tools of the Trade, by Peter Ainsworth

Billard and snooker balls - including a picture of 'a mountain of billard balls'. http://www.normanclare.co.uk/museum.htm

Excavation of elephant remains from the HK6 cemetery, Hierakonpolis, Eygpt

Thematic Essays on ivories from the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Only a few of the key essay are listed below.  Each essay is linked to timelines, maps, objects, techniques, materials and other thematic essays relating to ivories.
Ivory Carving in the Gothic Era, 13th -15th centuries http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/goiv/hd_goiv.htm
Byzantine Ivories http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ivor/hd_ivor.htm
Ivory and Boxwood Carvings, 1450-1800 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/boxw/hd_boxw.htm
Afro-Portuguese Ivories http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/apiv/hd_apiv.htm
Kongo Ivories http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kong/hd_kong.htm


Ecology and animal conservation

Bibliography of the African Elephant
Bibliography from the African Journal of Ecology (Wiley-Blackwell) can be downloaded free of charge.  1057 references. Topics covered include  ivory trade, age determination and dental development, anatomy, behavioural studies, elephant censuses and distribution studies, conflict, conservation issues, culling and management, demographic studies, ecological studies, elephant/vegetation studies, genetics and evolution, physiology, subspecies classification and more.......

Historical Ecologies of East African Landscapes (HEEAL) A four year research programme based at the University of York, and funded by a European Union Marie Curie Excellence Grant. The project aims to study the historical ecology of east African landscapes over the last 500 years through a combination of archaeological, historical, ethnographic and palaeo-environmental research. The programme involves 6 interrelated sub-projects including the historical ecology of the 19th century caravan trade in slaves and ivory the bioarchaeology of the ivory trade.