Stevenson at Vulcano in the late 19th century
a Scottish mining venture in southern Europe
Mineral, Inorganic material
Vulcano; Aeolian Islands; Sicily; Italy
This project seeks to recover and record the archaeological evidence associated with the extraction of sulfur (and perhaps other minerals as well) by James Stevenson, a Glasgow industrialist, from the volcanic island of Vulcano, Aeolian Islands, Italy, in the second half of the 19th century. This short preliminary report sets the scene by linking archival material with present conditions and by carrying out select mineralogical analyses of the type of the mineral resource Stevenson may have explored. New 3D digital recording tools (structure-from-Motion photogrammetry) have been introduced to aid future multidisciplinary research. This is a long-term project which aims to examine a 19th-century Scottish mining venture in a southern European context and its legacy on the communities involved. It also aims to view Stevenson’s activities in a diachronic framework, namely as an integral part of a tradition of minerals exploration in southern Italy from the Roman period or earlier.
Bernabò Brea, L & Cavalier, M 1992 Isole Eolie. Vulcanologia e Archeologia. Muggio: Oreste Ragusi.
Burens, A, Grussenmeyer, P, Carozza, L, Lévêque, F, Guillemin, S & Mathé, V 2014 ‘Benefits of an accurate 3D documentation in understanding the status of the Bronze Age heritage cave “Les Fraux” (France)’, International Journal of Heritage in the Digital Era 3: 179–95. https://doi.org/10.1260/2047-4918.104.22.168.
Campostrini, I, Demartin, F, Gramaccioli, C & Russo, M 2011 Vulcano: Tre secoli di mineralogia. Cremona: Associazione Micro-mineralogica Italiana.
Christidis, G & Photos-Jones, E in prep ‘The mineralogy of Roman alum’.
De Astis, G, Lucchi, F, Dellino, P, La Volpe, L, Tranne, C A, Frezzotti, M L & Peccerillo, A 2013 ‘Geology, volcanic history and petrology of Vulcano (central Aeolian archipelago)’, in Lucchi, F, Peccerillo, A, Keller, J, Tranne, C A & Rossi, P L (eds) The Aeolian Islands Volcanoes, 281–349. London: Geological Society, Memoirs 37. https://doi.org/10.1144/M37.11.
Gill, A & Vickers, M 1995 ‘Antiquities from the Lipari islands in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, in Giustolisi, V (ed.) Vulcano: Introduzione alla storia e all’archaeologia dell’antica, 223–34. Palermo: Hiera.
Giustolisi, V 1995 Vulcano: Introduzione alla storia e all’archaeologia dell’antica. Palermo: Hiera.
Glasgow Museums Collections. http://collections.glasgowmuseums.com/mwebcgi/mweb?request=advanced;_tkeyword=lipari. Accessed 4 July 2018.
González-Aguilera, D, Muñoz-Nieto, A, Gómez-Lahoz, J, Herrero-Pascual, J & Gutierrez-Alonso, G 2009 ‘3D digital surveying and modelling of cave geometry: Application to paleolithic rock art’, Sensors 9: 1108–27. https://doi.org/10.3390/s90201108.
Hall, A J & Photos-Jones, E 2009 ‘The juice of the pomegranate: quality control for the processing and distribution of alumen in antiquity and making sense of Pliny’s Phorimon and Paraphoron’, in Shortland, A J, Freestone, I & Rehren, T (eds) From Mine to Microscope: Advances in the Study of Ancient Technology, 197–206. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Harry, H M 2002 ‘Seismology and Vulcanology in Antiquity?’, in Tuplin, C J, Rihll, T E & Wolpert, L (eds) Science and Mathematics in Ancient Greek Culture. Oxford: Oxford Scholarship Online. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152484.003.0004.
Homer 1919 The Odyssey. Murray, A T (trans). London: Heinemann.
Hoover, H C & Hoover, L H (trans) 1950 Georgius Agricola, De Re Metallica, 1556. New York: Dover Publications.
Houel, J 1782 Voyage Pittoresque des Isles de Sicilie, de Malte et de Lipari, 4 vols. Paris: Imprimerie de Monsieur.
Houel, J 1770s ‘Interior view of the crater of Volcanello’, The State Hermitage Museum. http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/ portal/hermitage/digital-collection/02. +drawings/224352. Accessed 9 August 2018. This painting is of the interior view of the La Fossa crater, not Vulcanello as it has been erroneously labelled.
Johnston-Lavis, A J 1888 ‘The recent eruption at Vulcano’, Nature 39: 173. https://doi.org/10.1038/039173b0.
Kutney, G 2007 Sulfur. History, Technology, Applications and Industry. Toronto: ChemTec Publishing.
Macdonald, G 1896 ‘On a find made in the Lipari Islands including an unpublished coin of Rhegium’, Numismatic Chronicle 3rd series 16: 185–90.
Murray, A S 1886 ‘Antiquities from the island of Lipara’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 7: 51–6.
Photos-Jones, E & Hall, A J 2011 Lemnian Earth and the Earths of the Aegean: An Archaeological Guide To Medicines, Pigments And Washing Powders. Glasgow: Potingair Press.
Photos-Jones, E & Hall, A J 2014 Eros Mercator and the Cultural Landscape of Melos in Antiquity. Glasgow: Potingair Press.
Pliny 1938 Pliny: Natural History. Rackham, H (ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Polybius 1962 Histories. Shuckburgh, E S (ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Salvator, L 1893 Die Liparischen Inseln I: Vulcano. Prague: Druck und verlag von Heinr, Mercy Sohn.
Singer, C 1948 The Earliest Chemical Industry: an essay in the historical relations of economics & technology illustrated from the alum trade. London: The Folio Society.
Smyth, W H 1824 Memoir descriptive of the resources, inhabitants, and hydrography, of Sicily and its islands. London: John Murray.
Stevenson, H 2009 Jobs for the Boys. London: Dove Books.
Thucydides 1954 Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War. Finley, M I (intro) & Warner, R (trans). Penguin