Gold & Mercury. Metals in Transit

The AlchemEast team is part of this workshop, organized by Donna Bilak at the Loretz Center, which convenes scholars working at the intersection of sciences, artisanal practice, and humanities. Three talks by AlchemEast members:

  • Vincenzo Carlotta & Matteo Martelli, Ancient Alchemy: Gold and Mercury as Living Bodies
  • Gabriele Ferrario, Roudtable discussion: Graeco-Roman, Byzantine, and Arabic medico-alchemy
  • Matteo Martelli, Hand-off Mercury: AlchemEast laboratory reconstructions of ancient techniques for extracting mercury from cinnabar

June 7-10, 2022, Lorentz Center, Leiden

Website of the Conference


Occult Technologies in the Islamicate World

AlchemEast Reading Sessions and Workshop organized by Matteo Martelli. Two days devoted to the reading of primary sources followed by 1-day workshop. Invited speakers: Godefroid de Callataÿ, Matthew Melvin-Koushki, Sébastien Moureau and Petra Schmidl.

Two papers delivered by AlchemEast team members:

  • Lucia Raggetti, The Craft of Talismans: Erratic Blocks and Technical Notes
  • Gabriele Ferrario, Bāṭinism in the fragments of the Cairo Genizah – Ikhwānian and Jābirian traces

May 2-4, 2022, Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies, Bologna (Hybrid).


Ancient Science and Technology of Colour: Pigments, Dyes, Drugs and their Perception in Antiquity

International Conference organized by Matteo Martelli (University of Bologna, ERC project AlchemEast) and Maria Michela Sassi (University of Pisa, PRIN 2017).

This conference brings together the expertise of historians of science and technology on the one hand, and archaeologists and historians of ancient art on the other, in a wide-ranging exploration of the production methods and uses of colour substances in the Greek and Roman worlds and in the ancient Near East. This project, strongly multi-disciplinary and the first of its kind, relies on the investigation of a variety of sources, from ancient scientific and technical literature to archaeological data and results of chemical analysis. 

Two papers delivered by AlchemEast team members:

  • Eduardo Escobar, On the agency of change: Color and renewal in Assyro-Babylonian cultures
  • Matteo Martelli, Divine waters and dyeing ‘sauces’: Changing colours and transforming matter

April 18-19, 2022, University of Pisa



Batinism among the Jews of Medieval Cairo: the Evidence from the Cairo Genizah

Paper delivered by Gabriele Ferrario at the International Conference Power, Religion and Wisdom: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy in al-Andalus and Beyond. Convened by Godefroid de Callataÿ (Université catholique de Louvain), as part of the ERC project PhilAnd. Sponsored by Sabine Schmidtke (School of Historical Studies, IAS)

March 29 – April 1, 2022, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Webpage of the Conference

Female Practitioners in Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy

Short paper delivered by Matteo Martelli at the roundtable 4th Turba Meeting: The Female Presence in Alchemy, organized by Jo Hedesan (University of Oxford).

Here are the titles of the short talks:

  • Jennifer Rampling, Queen Elizabeth I and Women’s Patronage of Alchemy
  • Matteo Martelli, Female Practitioners in Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy
  • Ute Frietsch, The Common Iconography of the Urinal, the Alchemical Vial and the Womb in 16th-Century German Woodcults
  • Carmen Schmechel, Male and Female Minerals in Georgius Agricola’s De natura fossilium: A Matter of Classification
  • Jo Hedesan, Mercury – Female or Male? Some Historical and Cross-Cultural Considerations

December 10, 2021 @ 17:00 (GMT), Online

YouTube video of the roundtable