Annual Ceramic Petrology Group Meeting (9th to 12th November 2020)

By Carlotta Gardner, Associate editor for archaeological ceramic

The annual Ceramic Petrology Group (CPG) Meeting provides a unique platform for researchers of all levels to present their work on the scientific analysis of archaeological ceramics to a friendly and specialised audience. The group grew from specialist researchers exchanging ideas and sharing problematic thin sections in the 1980’s to a now, international group of interested individuals from a range of backgrounds and specialisms— the Facebook page, the CPGs main point of communication, now has over 1,300 members! The expansion in the membership of CPG has led to the annual meeting attracting more and more papers from across the world and this was made even more viable due to 2020’s meeting being held online. 

CPG 2020 (9-12th November) was hosted by the University of Cambridge and was excellently organised by Carmen Ting, Mike Lewis, and Kyra Kaercher. The decision was made early on to host the meeting online this year, and indeed was one of the first conferences on my 2020 list to make such a decision. I have to admit to being sceptical about how such an event would work. CPG is well loved for its social community; many ideas are exchanged in coffee breaks and projects and collaborations are developed over pints in the pub at the end of the day. My scepticism was poorly placed! The meeting was vibrant, with presentations covering the globe both in terms of the speakers and the material presented. The nature of the online meeting meant that researchers not normally able to attend, for whatever reason, were now able to and the meeting felt refreshingly inclusive. The chat feature in Zoom, the platform used for the meeting, was used to ask questions, spark new connections, and for jokey conversations.  

I hope that the huge success of this online meeting and its inclusivity will lead to future CPG meetings being a hybrid of online and in person, as let’s face it we did all miss having a drink with friends (in person) at the end.  

The programme for the conference and more information on the group can be found on the Facebook page (The Ceramic Petrology Group):