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Salon: Issue 362
25 April 2016

Next issue: 9 May 2016 

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor (if you are reading this in an email, do not reply directly as we will not receive your message). 

Salon does not review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and front cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal: for details see Publications.
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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary


Anniversary Meeting Review

During the Anniversary Meeting on 21 April 2016, Fellows had the opportunity to hear from Honorary Treasurer, Stephen Johnson, on the 2014-15 statutory accounts, which were more thoroughly reported to Fellows in November 2015 (visit the website for a recording of the earlier presentation). Fellows also voted online and in person to confirm the following two items:
  • [item 3 on the printed agenda of the Meeting] To confirm Order no. 3, ‘The Conduct of Elections and Admissions to the Society for Ordinary and Honorary Fellows.
  • [item 4 on the printed agenda of the Meeting] To approve the appointment of Kingston Smith LLP as the Society’s auditors for 2016-17.
Finally, the President of the Society delivered her anniversary address, reporting on the achievements of the Society this past year, as well as the challenges the Society will face in the year ahead and Council's plans for fulfilling the Society's mission and its charitable objectives while increasing engagement with public audiences and fostering relationships with Fellows despite our current financial constraints.

You can click on the image below to watch a recording of the President's Address (it is of course also available on the website). 


Gifts to the Library

Following the previous issue of Salon, in which we thanked the donors of gifts to the Library for January to March 2016, we realised that we have erred in not thanking the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from October to December 2015. We apologise for the error and wish to convey our gratitude for these gifts. Full records for all are on the online catalogue, and all books are available in the Library at Burlington House.  
  • From Sonia Anderson, FSA, Every traveller needs a compass:  travel and collecting in Egypt and the Near East edited by Neil Cooke and Vanessa Daubney (2015)
  • From the joint author, Michael Barke, A Northumbrian miscellany:  historical essays in memory of Constance M. Fraser edited by Elizabeth Ashton, Michael Barke and Eleanor George (2015)
  • From Alan Bell, FSA, Church plate of the Diocese of Chester (to 1837) by Maurice H. Ridgway, edited by Michael Sherratt (2008)
  • From the author, Cormac Bourke, FSA, The excavation of an early medieval crannog at Newtownlow, County Westmeath (2015)
  • From Pippa Bradley, FSA
    • Seabed prehistory:  investigating the palaeogeography and Early Middle palaeolithic archaeology in the southern North Sea by Louise Tizzard, Andrew Bicker and Dimitri de Loecker (Wessex Archaeology report, 35) (2015)
    • From hunter gatherers to huntsmen:  a history of the Stansted landscape by Framework Archaeology (Framework Archaeology monograph, no. 2) (2008)
  • From the author, Bridget Cherry, FSA, Ivy-mantled tower:  a history of the church and churchyard of St Mary Hornsey, Middlesex (2015)
  • From the author, Christopher St J. H. Daniel, FSA, The sundial page (from Clocks Magazine 1988-2008) (2015)
  • From Jill Franklin, FSA, Kleine Geschichte des Hauses Württemberg by Harald Schufraft (2007)
  • From the author, Arthur Freeman, FSA, Julia Alpinula, pseudo-heroine of Helvetia:  how a forged Renaissance epitaph fostered a national myth (A footnote to Bibliotheca Fictiva) (2015)
  • From the co-author, Michael Fulford, FSA
    • Silchester Insula IX
      • The ‘Town Life’ Project:  the first six years 1997-2002 by Amanda Clarke, Michael Fulford and Margaret Mathews (2002)
      • Interim report no. 5 by Amanda Clarke and Michael Fulford (2002)
      • Interim report no. 6 by Amanda Clarke and Michael Fulford (2004)
      • The ‘Town Life’ Project:  nine years on 2003-2004 by Amanda Clarke, Michael Fulford and Margaret Mathews (2005)
      • The ‘Town Life’ Project 2009-2010 by Michael Fulford, Amanda Clarke and Frances Taylor (n.d.)
      • The ‘Town Life’ Project 2011 by Michael Fulford, Amanda Clarke and Sarah Lucas (n.d.)
      • The ‘Town Life’ Project 2012 by Michael Fulford, Amanda Clarke, Nick Pankhurst and Sarah Lucas (2012)
    • Silchester:  The ‘Town Life’ Project 2013 by Michael Fulford, Amanda Clarke, Nick Pankhurst and Sarah Lucas (n.d.)
    • Silchester:  The ‘Town Life’ Project 2014 by Michael Fulford, Amanda Clarke and Sarah Lambert-Gates (2014)
  • From the co-author, Angela Gannon, FSA, St Kilda:  the last and outmost isle by Angela Gannon and George Geddes (2015)
  • From the editor, Michael Gullick, Pen in hand:  medieval scribal portraits, colophons and tools (2006)
  • From Jim Harker, Icons of Northamptonshire (2014)
  • From the author, Karen Hearn, FSA, Cornelius Johnson (2015)
  • From the author, John Kenyon, FSA, Middleham Castle (English Heritage Guidebooks) (2015)
  • From Adrian Olivier, FSA
    • Aspects of archaeology in the Planarch region (2001)
    • Evaluation of archaeological decision-making processes and sampling strategies by Gill Hey and Mark Lacey (2001)
    • Guiding principles for cultural heritage in environmental impact assessment (EIA) (n.d.)
    • Protecting the past in the present for the future:  the development of SMRs in the Planarch project region and beyond:  papers from the Planarch Chelmsford seminar May 2001 edited by C. Phil Clarke (2001)
  • From Mike Pitts, FSA
    • Newton Hall:  rediscovering a manorial complex by Dr. Michael Nevell (Greater Manchester’s Past Revealed, 7 (2013)
    • Greengate:  the archaeology of Salford’s historic core by Richard Gregory and Ian Miller (Greater Manchester’s Past Revealed, 13) (2015)
    • Warburton:  glimpses of rural life:  the archaeology and history of a Cheshire village. edited by Michael Nevell (University of Salford Archaeological monographs, vol. 4) (2015)
  • From the author, Richard Reece, FSA, Cotswold studies V (2015)
  • From the co-authors, David Rudling, FSA, and Miles Russell, FSA, Bignor Roman Villa (2015)
  • From the author, Abbot Geoffrey Scott, FSA, The guide to an exhibition of the Wintour vestments in the Douai Abbey Library 25 May – 25 September 2015 (2015)
  • From the author, Elizabeth Simpson, The furniture from Tumulus MM:  illustrations and text  (University Museum Monograph:  Gordion Special Studies, 4)  (2010)
  • From the author, Matthew Spriggs, FSA, Bombs and butter:  the revival of ancient irrigation techniques for a market economy, a Pacific example (Occasional Papers in Prehistory, no. 2) (1981)
  • From the joint editor, Matthew Spriggs, FSA, Sahul in review:  Pleistocene archaeology in Australia, New Guinea and Island Melanesia (Occasional Papers in Prehistory, no. 24) (1993)
  • From the author, Nicholas Stanley-Price, FSA, The Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome:  its history, its people and its survival for 300 years (2014)

'Palaeo 2020' (Conference, Society of Antiquaries)

This meeting seeks to address urgent challenges currently faced in Palaeolithic Archaeology in Britain, as well as developing a new and radical approach to Palaeolithic research. Central to the discussion will be how we can optimise available resources to deliver a new understanding about our deep past while maintaining effective and consistent protection of the resource.

Places are still available for this full-day event on May 19, organised by Matthew Pope FSA and Clive Gamble FSA. Tickets are £20 per person and can be booked online or by contacting the Society's Executive Assistant (, 020 7479 7080). Details of the conference (including a full programme and booking details) are available at  

Restoring Syria's antiquities

As I write, a 10-minute walk away from the Society’s rooms in central London a Roman-style arch is about to be taken down. The small, honeyed structure with its ornate detailing, unveiled on April 19, is quite unlike anything else in Trafalgar Square. Its curving yellow marble contrasts with the pale cream columns and entablatures of surrounding buildings. Sir Aston Webb’s monumental Admiralty Arch (inspired by late Roman architecture) is just out of sight.
The temporary arch was made and raised by the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), for which Mary Beard FSA is Academic Consultant. About two thirds the size of the original, the arch is a digitally modelled replica of the Roman Triumphal Arch at Palmyra which was blown up by IS last October. To create it, the IDA used photos taken previously for other purposes to build a 3D digital model (or perhaps it commissioned others to make one), which drove computer-operated drills in an Italian quarry; the stone itself is from Egypt.
Roger Michel, IDA Executive Director, says the project’s purpose is primarily to signal solidarity with ‘people in the conflict region of the Middle East’. He also hopes the arch can show how, ‘where traditional techniques prove inadequate, the consolidation of a monument can be achieved by the use of any modern technique for conservation and construction.’ The arch is said to be heading for Syria, via New York and Dubai.
What little detail is available to date about the IDA and its Palmyra project consists mostly of a promotional website and the model arch itself. The arch’s creation however, has caused much discussion about the rights and wrongs of restoration at ancient sites. The points of view are mostly well established, but have been rarely aired so publicly. Archaeologists, conservators and heritage managers seem largely to agree that the arch is entertaining and encourages useful debate, but is of limited relevance when it comes to conservation or restoration on the ground. To my eye, comparing photos of the replica and the original, the two are not as identical as they are often said to be. I'd be interested to hear about that point – or any other on this debate – from better informed Fellows.
Bob Bewley FSA, Project Director at Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA), University of Oxford, told the BBC that it was important the reconstruction did not diminish the original monument’s significance. There was also a ‘question of value for money … But if wealthy philanthropists wish to create these symbols of the cultural heritage, to raise awareness of the destruction of identity and cultural heritage, then that is their right.’
Emma Cunliffe, Research Assistant at EAMENA, wrote in The Conversation that ‘Rebuilding … fails to redress the loss caused by the extensive looting … Perhaps most importantly, it’s worth asking whether returning Palmyra exactly to its pre-conflict state denies a major chapter of its history? … there may need to be a memorial as a testimony to those beheaded in the arena, or tied to columns that were detonated, or to the [executed] former site director… These stories, and many more, are a part of Palmyra’s, and Syria’s, history.’
‘One thing is clear,’ she added. ‘While Palmyra may hold great significance to the world, the final decision should belong to those who have lived alongside it, cared for it, managed it, fought for it, and protected it for generations: the Syrian people.’
John Curtis FSA, former Keeper of the Middle East collection at the British Museum, noted that many ancient sites had already been restored over the years. ‘Provided we know exactly what we are doing,’ Simon Jenkins FSA quoted him in The Guardian as saying, ‘I would certainly favour restoring them to what they were a year ago’. Restoration ‘after overnight destruction’ was acceptable, however, but ‘so far and no further’.
Curtis listed sites worthy of such attention in Iraq, including ‘all the Christian churches in Mosul, most of the monasteries – some of the earliest Christian sites in the world … the ancient al-Arbain mosque in Tikrit … Nimrud, then perhaps Hatra, almost entirely a rebuild before its destruction by Isis’. Jenkins, however, was more optimistic about the potential of digital restoration. In a column headed ‘After Palmyra, the message to Isis: what you destroy, we will rebuild’, he concluded: ‘In the regions concerned, there seems a craving for normality, to put back the clock on the destruction wrought by Isis. The obstacle is not the will or the means. Both are now present in abundance. The obstacle could yet be an inability on the part of so many enthusiasts to work together, and an obtuse academic dismissal of a technology that can release to the world a new delight in the past.’
‘What I approve of is collecting a record of and documenting vast numbers of sites,’ Tim Schadla-Hall FSA, Reader in Public Archaeology at UCL, told The Telegraph, referring to the IDA’s Million Image Database project. He was less impressed by the arch, however, which he found ‘a bizarre expenditure of money, possibly with worthy but misinformed aims, to promote something which isn’t a real past, in an entirely reproduced form. I don’t get it; I find it very, very odd. I’ve got better uses for the money.’
‘I don’t think individual sites are important,’ he continued. ‘It’s getting people to change their attitudes to what’s important about the past, and the way you do that, if you’re talking about the preservation of monuments, is you make them worthwhile to the people who live there. It’s the economic benefit they get.’
‘I really hope they succeed,’ said Daniel Pett FSA (responsible for the Portable Antiquities Scheme website and other digital projects at the British Museum) of the IDA, ‘but at the moment people are slightly sceptical.’
‘The biggest threat to archaeological sites in the Middle East’, Bewley told The Telegraph, ‘is not Isil, it’s ploughing and urban expansion.’
'To over-restore the ruins', I told The Guardian last year, 'would be to create a fiction, denying the tragedy and devaluing what had genuinely survived.’
Jonathan Tubb FSA, Keeper of the British Museum’s Department of the Middle East, was in Trafalgar Square to greet Maamoun Abdulkarim (Syria’s Director-General of Antiquities and Museums) and Mayor of London Boris Johnson (centre, right and left in the photo, respectively). The latter unveiled the model arch after a stirring speech in support of solidarity with Syria, antiquity and decent people. He had earlier praised British archaeologists. ‘We have some of the greatest archaeological experts in the world,’ he wrote in The Telegraph. ‘I hope that the Government will fund them to go to Syria and help the work of restoration. It is far cheaper than bombing.’
Jesse Norman, Chairman of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, also thinks the Government has a part to play. ‘… this is a moment when the British Government and leading governments around the world should vigorously support Unesco in taking a lead,’ he wrote in a letter to The Times. ‘In the 1960s Unesco was instrumental in the relocation and protection of the temple of Abu Simbel and 20 or so other great monuments when the Aswan dam was constructed. Palmyra is already a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is time for Unesco to demonstrate its leadership once again in this area, with our and other nations’
Abdulkarim, Tubb told me, favours sensitive conservation at Palmyra, using digital imagery to help restore recently damaged remains with original fragments, but not to create replicas on site. Photos of the ruined arch obtained since Palmyra was taken back from IS suggest a fair amount of the structure and its stone survives.
Tubb is leading an imaginative project that will bring a total of 24 Iraqi archaeologists to London. The British Museum’s Emergency Heritage Management programme, with funding from the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, will offer archaeological and conservation training, to be followed by further tuition and experience in Iraq; the first trainees are due to start this week. The goal is to create a large, skilled team of professionals to confront the beleaguered country’s archaeological heritage needs. ‘The scheme cannot stop further acts of cultural destruction’, says the BM, ‘but it can equip colleagues with the skills required to conserve and restore where possible, and is an attempt to enable colleagues to preserve sites and objects of global significance.’

Meanwhile wars continue.

Sir David Attenborough, a Broadcaster at 90

The BBC is celebrating David Attenborough FSA on the occasion of his 90th birthday on 8 May, with broadcasts across three of its TV channels. These will include Attenborough At 90 (an interview with Kirsty Young, ‘joined by film-makers, zoologists, conservationists, biologists, and anthropologists, as well as pioneers from the world of broadcasting,’ BBC1 8 May), and Life That Glows (a film about bioluminescence, BBC2 9 May).
On 11 May BBC4 will show Zoo Quest In Colour. First broadcast in 1954, says the BBC, ‘Zoo Quest was one of the most popular television series of its time and launched the career of the young David Attenborough as a wildlife presenter.’ Zoo Quest was broadcast 10 years before colour television was seen in the UK, but some of it was shot on colour 16mm film. The 90-minute programme draws on newly discovered original footage. ‘I was astonished when someone said we’ve got nearly all the film of the first three expeditions you did in colour,’ said Attenborough. ‘I said it’s impossible – we shot in black and white.’
In addition four of Attenborough’s ‘passion project’ films will be shown:
A Blank On The Map (1971, BBC2 7 May), in which Attenborough ‘joins an expedition into the heart of unknown territory in New Guinea, crossing through a previously unexplored region in search of a group of uncontested people, known as the Biami.’
The Lost Gods Of Easter Island (2000, BBC2 7 May), ‘a personal quest to uncover the history of a strange wooden figurine carving which turned up in an auction room in New York during the 1980s, which had been identified as originating from Easter Island.’
Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives (1989, BBC2 14 May), ‘a journey of discovery to the world's most famous fossil sites … as he meets fossil hunters and expert palaeontologists, as well as using modern visualisation techniques (for the time), all to reveal how life existed on prehistoric Earth.’
Darwin's Tree of Life (2009, BBC2 14 May), asking ‘three key questions: how and why did Darwin come up with his theory of evolution? Why do we think he was right? And why is it more important now than ever before?’
Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC TV Channels and iPlayer, said, ‘There’s no other broadcaster like him, and his passion for natural history continues to delight and surprise audiences, inspiring a new generation to explore and discover the wonders of the planet we live on.’
Meanwhile Attenborough’s name was shortlisted in a public vote run by the Natural Environment Research Council to grace a major new polar research vessel: the RRS David Attenborough came fifth with 10,284 votes (one behind RSS It’s Bloody Cold Here, both famously losing out to the winner, RRS Boaty McBoatface; the online poll was dismissed by the Science Minister who launched it, but according to The Sun, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey called for ‘the will of the people’ to be respected). ‘It’s a compliment of course,’ Attenborough told The Guardian. ‘I don’t spurn a compliment and I’m very grateful. But I don’t think it’s of any consequence. I think they should call it something serious. I mean, words like discovery, endurance, victory, indomitable, looking at the Navy it’s got a great tradition of a lot of good names, you know?’

Photos show Sir David with an armadillo in Attenborough's Animals (1963, BBC), and an Easter Island wood carving at a talk in Middleborough part-presented by The Captain Cook Birthplace Trust, of which he is President (2014, Northern Echo).

Lawrence of Arabia’s Bullet

In Lawrence of Arabia’s War, a new book from Yale University Press, Neil Faulkner FSA vividly describes the ambush of a train at Hallat Ammar in 1917 which later became a spectacular scene in David Lean’s 1962 film, Lawrence of Arabia. In the film the train careens into the dessert sands; in reality it fell from an exploded bridge over a wadi, with great loss of life. ‘I hope this sounds the fun it is’, wrote Lawrence to an acquaintance, but in another letter he confessed ‘this killing and killing of Turks is horrible’.
Faulkner acknowledges the significance to his book of Bristol University's Great Arab Revolt Project (GARP), directed by Nicholas Saunders, Faulkner and colleagues, which has excavated sites across the Arabian desert associated with the 1916–18 revolt by Arab forces against the Ottoman Turks, then allied to Germany. In a press release dated 31 March, GARP announced the discovery of a spent bullet at the site of the train ambush.
The bullet, said Saunders, ‘came from a Colt automatic pistol, the type of gun known to be carried by Lawrence and almost certainly not used by any of the ambush’s other participants.’
‘Several of Lawrence’s biographers have accused him of embellishing his stories,’ says the release, but ‘nothing the archaeologists found at any of the sites they excavated supports this view.’
‘Lawrence has something of a reputation as a teller of tall tales,’ said Faulkner, ‘but this bullet – and the other archaeological evidence we unearthed during ten years of fieldwork – indicates how reliable his account of the Arab Revolt in Seven Pillars of Wisdom is.’ Photo (right, by Saunders) shows track remains at the ambush site.
In February Culture Minister Ed Vaizey placed a temporary export bar on a dagger and robes that belonged to T. E. Lawrence, which was due to expire on 1 April. 

Sorrell School Mural Listed 

Alan Powers FSA describes The Seasons as Alan Sorrell’s most important in situ mural, in Alan Sorrell: The Life and Works of an English Neo-Romantic Artist, ed Sacha Llewellyn and Richard Sorrell (2013), page 131. The Seasons is an impressive work commissioned in 1953 for Oaken School in Warwick, now Myton Academy School, which thought the mural so irrelevant to ‘developing the key learning habits for [its students’] employability’, that it covered it up in favour of panels featuring slogans such as ‘Enthusiasm and zest’, ‘Self control’ and ‘Curiosity’. Powers says the 52-foot-long painting, ‘a considerable feat’, was in ‘its general mood … inspired by Breughel’, and seems ‘to have much in common with Tolkien’s compelling vision’, revealed in the Lord of the Rings trilogy which began its publication a year after the mural was finished.
Julia Sorrell writes to say that thanks to her suggestion, her father’s mural has now been assessed by Historic England (HE) and Listed Grade II. ‘In 2015,’ says HE, ‘a false wall was constructed several inches outside the mural, obscuring it from view, with the intention of protecting it from damage. The wall has been provided with ventilation grilles at intervals, top and bottom, along its length.’ ‘The school buildings’, adds the Designation report, ‘are not of interest’.
The Listing, says Julia, is ‘a fitting tribute to an artist who did so much for our heritage! However we still have to get it uncovered.’
The good news for Sorrell fans ‘begs the question’, says the 20th Century Society, ‘as to why the magnificent John Piper glass mosaic mural in the foyer of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce was recently turned down for Listing, and now faces demolition along with the building it resides in.’
Photo detail from Liss Llewellyn Fine Art.

The Smythe Family Portraits

Nine paintings by the 16th century Dutch artist Cornelis Ketel are thought to be the earliest surviving British example of a family portraits collection whose sitters are neither royal nor aristocratic. The father of the group, Thomas Smythe, was an elite merchant who served as collector of the customs on goods imported into London, helping to expand English international trade.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on the collection, to allow the asking price of £350,000 to be matched to keep it in the UK. The decision on the licence application has been deferred in the first instance to 21 July.
‘As it happens,’ writes Karen Hearn FSA, Honorary Professor in the Department of English Language & Literature at UCL, ‘I was the first person to publish [the portraits], having been tipped off about them by Dr Malcolm Rogers FSA [former Keeper at the National Portrait Gallery].’ They feature in Hearn’s Tate Gallery exhibition catalogue, Dynasties: Painting in Tudor & Jacobean England 1530–1630 (1995), 108–10, cat. nos 58–60. She wrote about them more recently, after further research, in the V&A exhibition catalogue Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts & Russian Tsars (2013), 36–43, ‘Merchant Class Portraiture in Tudor London: “Customer” Smith’s Commission, 1579/80’; and in Emerging Empires: England & Muscovy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, ed Emma Volodarskaya, Jane Roberts & Tessa Murdoch (Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages 2014/15), ‘“To Russia and Muscovia …”: Thomas Smith’s family and its international network'.
‘The next key step is, of course,’ adds Hearn, ‘for a UK institution to step forward and to start raising money to acquire them.’

Accommodating Soldiers on Salisbury Plain 

Martin Brown FSA, Principal Archaeologist at WYG (White Young Green), is managing an archaeological project for the The Defence Infrastructure Organisation at Bulford, Wiltshire. Excavation was conducted by Wessex Archaeology ahead of new housing, part of plans to accommodate 4,000 Army personnel and their families on and around Salisbury Plain, under the Army Basing Programme which commits the Government to bring all military units back from Germany by 2020. The Ministry of Defence plans to invest over £1bn in the area, whose rich archaeological landscape will be subjected to several excavations as a result.
The work at Bulford uncovered Neolithic pits, Bronze Age barrows, part of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, and military features from the last century when the site was used for training. Many First World War horse-shoes were recovered, and from the Second World War came evidence to suggest that PIAT anti-tank weapons, which first saw action during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, were fired at stationary armoured vehicles.
Managing the project ‘has been an enormous privilege’, said Brown.

Exhibiting Hadrian’s Wall 

The photo shows Nick Hodgson FSA, archaeologist at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), standing in a recently excavated bath house at the Roman fort of Segedunum. The bath house, together with a newly uncovered 50m of Hadrian’s Wall, features in Hadrian’s Wall on Tyneside (23 April–30 October), the culmination of a three-year community archaeology project called WallQuest.
The discovery, says Geoff Woodward, Museum Manager North & South Tyneside at TWAM, in a press release, ‘marked the first sizable excavation of a bath house on Hadrian’s Wall since the 19th century. The additional 50 metres of Hadrian’s Wall was first discovered in 1998, but it’s been undercover to protect it.’ It can now be seen, following conservation.
Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths & Museum opened in 2000, at the most excavated fort along the Wall. It was awarded £500,000 by the Government to support conservation and development work as part of the ‘Northern Powerhouse initiative’.
Next year, reported Dalya Alberge in The Observer, ‘the world’s largest-ever re-enactment of Roman cavalry battles’ will take place along the Wall, linked to a six-month exhibition, Hadrian and His CavalryBill Griffiths FSA, Head of Programmes for TWAM and Chair of the project steering group, said Roman cavalry armour was ‘shiny and showy … It’s bling’. ‘The objects are to die for’, said Jon Coulston FSA, Lecturer in the School of Classics at the University of St Andrews. ‘The army is probably the sexiest area of Roman archaeology as far as the public is concerned.’ However, he continued, re-enactment is ‘not boys and their toys. It’s about technology, economy, metallurgy, culture, art history. Most of the showy stuff was practical. It made [soldiers] distinctive on the battlefield. If they did something brave, they would be instantly recognised and get military decorations. That was all part of the ethos of achievement and attainment.’
Coulston is organising the 19th Roman Military Equipment Conference, RoMEC XVIIII: Cavalry in the Roman World, at the University of St Andrews 6–11 June 2016. 

Celebrating the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds 

HM Queen Elizabeth II opened the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds (RAML) 20 years ago. The £42.5 million building, designed by Derek Walker (chief architect for Milton Keynes development), became the first national museum outside London, developed by the then Director General and Master of the Armouries, Guy Wilson FSA.
The museum traces its origins to the Royal Armouries’ early role as the main royal and national arsenal, housed in the Tower of London, making it one of the world’s oldest museums, with a collection which has been on display for over five centuries. RAML ‘has become an integral part of the cultural landscape in Leeds and Yorkshire,’ says a press release issued in March, ‘with a major impact on the regeneration of Leeds. It continues to build positive relationships with a wide range of organisations which include businesses and other cultural and educational organisations.’
Edward Impey FSA, the current Director General and Master of the Armouries, said, ‘Today our museum is a flagship for the Royal Armouries, providing free access to everyone to one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world. We are proud of our local connections and our international profile, and ambitious about our role in contributing to the cultural success of the region.’
Five themed galleries display 8,500 items, including weapons from the Bronze Age to those of today’s armed forces; the museum’s architectural centrepiece is the Hall of Steel, with the largest mass display of arms and armour assembled since the 19th century. Warrior Treasures: Saxon Gold from the Staffordshire Hoard (27 May–2 October) will be a highlight of 2016.

The Archaeology of #Caveart #Bin 

Archaeology is sometimes described as the science of rubbish. Here is a curious tale in which a waste bin might have inspired young minds to become archaeologists.
Last year Angela Kingston curated The First Humans, an exhibition in Battersea Park, London: inspired by local remains of ice age mammoths and rhinos, she brought together six artists who make ‘prehistoric-looking objects and primeval-looking landscapes’. The show is currently on tour, having recently closed after a successful appearance in Plymouth.
In conversation with Fiona Pitt, Senior Curator and Curator of Archaeology at Plymouth City Council, Kingston heard that Pitt’s interest in the ancient past was fired by a wastepaper bin decorated with prehistoric art when she was child in the 1960s. Kingston remembers the same bin, bought with pocket money in Woolworths, and going online found a couple for sale on eBay – and also ‘several mentions of them, including by prehistoric archaeologists/historians. Children look and look and look at things’, she told me, ‘and this bin has perhaps something to answer for.’
David Cobb, an artist, also recalls the bin. ‘I clearly remember’, he told Sanne Kristensen in 2013, ‘my grandmother having a metal waste paper bin with that famous image from Lascaux of a magnificent white bull, and those mysterious and ancient images are still very present in my mind.’
Kingston found a reference to the bin In a novel, The Anathema Stone by John Buxton Hilton (2012), in which ‘a precocious, pretty adolescent’ is discovered dead on said Bronze Age stone: ‘Slowly, and with informative resignation, she tore up the notes of her talk and dropped them, a pinch at a time, into a wastepaper bin decorated with reproductions from the walls of Lascaux.’
Looking at photos of the bin I was surprised to find that I too remembered one from my childhood, at my mother’s desk. As to do Paul Bahn FSA and Matt Pope FSA.
‘My own acquaintance with Palaeolithic cave art began in June 1963’, wrote Bahn in the original preface to the book newly published as Images of the Ice Age. Aged 9, he heard a radio broadcast about Ice Age art, and about the same time acquired ‘a waste-paper bin – as a free gift from some brand of washing powder – which I use still, decorated with Lascaux-type animals!’
In 2013 Pope Tweeted, ‘In my dad's workshop he had a waste bin with the Lascaux cave paintings on it. I was 6 or 7, maybe I imagined it?’ And later the same day, ‘Found it! Not going mad #caveart #bin Apparently given away with washing powder in the 1960's.’

Mayor of London Challenged over Spitalfields Development 

In February Charles Saumarez Smith FSA, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy, Tim Knox FSA, director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and Mark Girouard FSA, architectural historian, joined writers, actors and other familiar names (though not to all – ‘Who are Jeanette Winterson, etc.?’ was one online comment) in signing a letter to The Times. They urged Greg Clark, Communities and Local Government Secretary, to inquire into planning applications which they say threaten Norton Folgate in Spitalfields, east London. ‘This historic conservation area on the fringes of the City’, they claim, ‘is imperilled by plans by British Land to demolish a swathe of buildings for a banal office-led scheme. The plans were rejected by the local council but this decision has been shamefully overruled by the Mayor of London, one of a string of permissions [Boris Johnson] has handed to developers against the will of local people.’
Historic England has not objected to the plans, which were adjusted after consultation, saying that no Listed buildings are affected. In approving the scheme in January, Johnson overruled an earlier decision by Tower Hamlets Council. Campaigners have been granted a Judicial Review Hearing before 5 May to contest the Mayor’s actions, the first such challenge he has received. This is the 13th London planning decision he has called in, says The Spitalfields Trust, in every case over-ruling local councils.

W. D. Caroe’s Cypriot Home

The Victorian-Edwardian architect William Douglas Caroe FSA (1857–1938) was the subject of an exhibition, Architecture, Design, Conservation, at the RIBA Heinz Gallery in 1991, held to coincide with the publication of W. D. Caroe: His Architectural Achievement (Manchester University Press 1990), by Jenny Freeman FSA. Caroe was ‘one of the most brilliantly talented and tantalising architects of his generation’, writes Freeman. ‘Not only was he an architect of originality, but he was a pioneer of the modern practice of building conservation. He was a designer of new buildings of many types, and of strikingly original furniture, sculpture, embroideries and metalwork.
‘While the majority of his legacy can be found in the British Isles, he also worked overseas, notably in Scandinavia, Italy, the Near East and in Cyprus, where he died and is buried. Latomia (Stone Quarries) is the house he designed for himself in Kyrenia, north Cyprus, an extraordinary achievement realised by local Cypriot craftsmen.
‘The house is one of 60 buildings on Cyprus' historic structures list. It is now disused and the tiled roof is suffering from neglect. A Friends group is in process of being founded to develop a restoration programme, to fundraise in the UK and Cyprus and to re-open the building as an Art Gallery and Museum, with official backing. The extensive gardens, overlooking the sea, could be successfully retrieved. There are several useful outbuildings that might form a shop and café, and there is also scope for a housekeeper's accommodation.’
Fellows who might wish to help can email Jenny Freeman at
Photos show Caroe’s church of Exeter St David’s (Philip Halling/Wikimedia), his tomb and his pencil drawing of Latomia.

News of Fellows

Brian Vincent FSA, archaeologist and ceramic specialist, died in March. An appreciation appears below.

Introducing the Spring/Summer edition of the British Museum Friends’ magazine, Clive Gamble FSA writes about the BM’s exhibitions, Sicily: culture and conquest (until 14 August) and Sunken cities: Egypt’s lost worlds (May 19–November 27). Among other current exhibitions are Drawn to Sicily: early exploration of the classical world (18th and 19th century expeditions, until 14 July) and Francis Towne’s watercolours of Rome (until 14 August). Gamble is Chairman of the British Museum Friends Advisory Council.
The late John Leopold FSA and Roger Smith FSA have edited The Life and Travels of James Upjohn, a facsimile and transcription of the 1784 manuscript travel journal of James Upjohn (1722–94), a noted watch and clockmaker. The journal is in the collection of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, which has published it with the Antiquarian Horological Society (AHS). A detailed introduction by Leopold (1935–2010), a distinguished former British Museum Curator of Horology, has been updated by Smith and Jonathan Betts FSA, Emeritus Curator at the National Maritime Museum. Leopold had wanted to publish the manuscript for many years, writes James Nye, AHS Chairman, and this outcome of his final scholarship is a tribute to his life and career. The book also features a detailed new index by David Thompson FSA, also former Curator of Horology at the British Museum. Several key places visited by Upjohn on his European journeys are illustrated, as are some of his remarkable clocks and watches, now in the Palace Museum (Beijing), Versailles and the V&A. The book is available from the AHS or through horological bookseller Jeff Formby.

Loyd Grossman FSA and The New Forbidden will be returning
to the Glastonbury Festival for their sixth appearance in June.
They are expected to release their debut album this year, and
will also be playing at Bruton, Sheffield, Norwich, Nottingham
and Skegness. Photo Wikimedia/Aaron Sneddon.

Mark Harrison FSA, National Policing and Crime Advisor for English Heritage, is Director of Kent-based Timescapes. Its Forgotten Frontline project is researching a network of Second World War anti-tank ditches, concrete obstacles and pillboxes that formed part of the ‘Coastal Crust’. It has just restored, with other organisations including the Woodland Trust, a Royal Observer Corps Cold War bunker in Victory Wood, near Whitstable. The bunker opened in 1966 and was decommissioned after a decade. ‘People who have lived in the area for 30 or 40 years’, said Harrison, ‘had no idea the bunker was here.’
Jeremy Warren FSA has written a new catalogue of Italian sculpture in the Wallace Collection, with 159 entries covering works in bronze, marble, terracotta and wood dating from AD1400 to 1900. The art is ‘by or associated with some of the most famous names in Italian sculpture, such as Donatello, Pietro Torrigiani, Giovanni Bologna (Giambologna) and Alessandro Algardi. Each entry is packed with information, with a comprehensive description and bibliography followed by a commentary exploring attribution, dating, function and social and historical context. The research carried out for this ground-breaking new catalogue’, says a press release, ‘led to numerous important discoveries, which reconnect many of the sculptures with their origins in Renaissance and Baroque Italy.’ The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Italian Sculpture is in two volumes and costs £250.

The Development of Neolithic House Societies in Orkney (Windgather Press), is edited by Colin Richards and Richard Jones FSA, honorary lecturer at the University of Glasgow. ‘Drawing on the results of an extensive programme of fieldwork in the Bay of Firth, Mainland Orkney, the text explores the idea that the physical appearance of the house is a potent resource for materialising the dichotomous alliance and descent principles apparent in the archaeological evidence for the early and later Neolithic of Orkney. The major excavations undertaken during the Cuween-Wideford Landscape Project provided an unprecedented depth and variety of evidence for Neolithic occupation, bridging the gap between domestic and ceremonial architecture and form, exploring the transition from wood to stone and relationships between the living and the dead and the role of material culture.’
Paul Holden FSA writes to say he is the new Commissioning Editor for Architectural Historian, a twice yearly magazine published by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. Along with Nick Jones, the magazine’s Editor, Holden is seeking article submissions for future editions. If any Fellows have thoughts on contributions please contact him at

John Schofield FSA writes with news that the London &
Middlesex Archaeological Society has added its Special Papers
1 to 16 to its website, where they are free to download. They
join the larger archive of the Society's Transactions since
1860 already online. The Special Papers, produced between
1976 and 2013 by Hugh Chapman FSA, Schofield and
Francis Grew FSA, chronicle many of the major
discoveries in the City of London up to 1992 and discuss 
the finds. Most are now out of print.

Mary Beard FSA presents Ultimate Rome: Empire without Limit, on BBC2 on 27 April 27. She address, says BBC publicity, ‘questions which have fascinated and intrigued [her] throughout her whole academic career. Why the Romans? What made them special? What formula for empire building did they have and why does it still seem so relevant today? Alongside these more familiar queries, Mary asks the unexpected questions …’ The BBC's photo shows her in front of the Ara Pacis, Rome.

Keith Ray FSA has written The Archaeology of Herefordshire: An Exploration (Logaston Press). In recent years, says the book’s blurb, Ray, ‘leading Herefordshire Archaeology, the county archaeology service, has worked with local archaeologists and historians, contract archaeology companies, English Heritage, The National Trust, Manchester University, Channel 4’s Time Team and other experts, to generate a wide range of exploratory projects, including many excavations. Much new knowledge and understanding of Herefordshire’s archaeology has been gained as a result of these investigations. In this entirely new study, the author has described what is now known of the county’s archaeology, assessing both the work of past generations and the discoveries of this modern era of enquiry.’ Roy Strong FSA has contributed a foreword.

Ray is also the ao-author, with Ian Bapty, of Offa's Dyke: Landscape & Hegemony in Eighth-Century Britain (Windgather Press). The book ‘offers a fresh perspective on Offa’s Dyke arising from over a decade of study and of conservation practice by its two authors. It explores the specifically Mercian and English context for its creation, and identifies “political places” along its route that may have pre-existed it. As well as reviewing past studies of the Dyke and debates about its character, the authors identify build practices not previously noted.’

Lives Remembered

Charles Thomas FSA died on 7 April aged 87. A ‘noted and much respected academic, field archaeologist, author and military historian’, said The Scotsman obituary, ‘Thomas had an intrinsic understanding of the formation of the countryside and could observe a landscape and interpret its history and the use it had been put to over the centuries. His finds, research and detailed archaeological discoveries were highly influential in determining our history and the living conditions and habits of our forebears.’ He was, said The Times obituary (subscription needed), ‘Exuberant and endearingly eccentric’.
He was best known for his love of Cornwall and his research into early Christian archaeology and history – in The Plymouth Herald, Simon Parker wrote that Thomas acquired the mantel of the ‘greatest living Cornishman’ following A L Rowse’s death in 1997. But his interests and accomplishments spanned most of human history across much of the UK. Reading books by Grahame Clark FSA, and studying at the Institute of Archaeology in London with Gordon Childe FSA, Ian Cornwall and Frederick Zeuner, among others, as a young man he found hunter-gatherer archaeology of particular interest: he later recalled ‘collecting flints from the age of puberty’ in the Gwithian-Camborne area, and falling ‘deeply and irrevocably in love with the Mesolithic’. While lecturing in Edinburgh, said The Scotsman, ‘he accumulated a passionate interest in the Pictish remains throughout Scotland’.
Charles Thomas grew up in Cornwall, where his father was a solicitor and a grandfather was an active amateur archaeologist. After Winchester College he served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Scotland and Egypt (and collected prehistoric flints). He graduated from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1951, in English law and jurisprudence. He then took the Diploma in Prehistoric Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, London, while excavating a Bronze Age farm in the sand dunes of Gwithian, Cornwall. The site occupied him in the field until 1963, and in 2014 he described it as the archaeological project of which he was most proud.
In 1957 he was appointed Lecturer in Archaeology at Edinburgh University, where he interpreted ever-challenging Pictish inscriptions and excavated an early Medieval site on Ardwall Island, Galloway, where he proposed the former presence of a significant Irish settlement. He was appointed the first Professor of Archaeology at Leicester University in 1967, where, in his words, he taught ‘archaeology to social conscripts … in the sodden Midlands’. In 1971 he returned to Cornwall, to take up the Chair of Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter and the Directorship of the newly created Institute of Cornish Studies. He retired in 1991.
He was variously President of the Council for British Archaeology, the Cornwall Archaeological Society and the Societies for Medieval Archaeology, Landscape Studies and Church Archaeology. In 1971 he was a co-founder of Rescue, campaigning for better protection of the archaeological heritage, and he was Acting Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.
As well as being a Fellow of this Society, which elected him in 1960 and awarded him the Frend Medal in 1982, he was honoured by many other institutions, including the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Royal Irish Academy, the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland and the British Academy, which all made him a Fellow or Honorary Fellow. He was received into the Gorsedh Kernow as a Bard in 1953, and was made a CBE in 1991.
Among his key publications are The Early Christian Archaeology of North Britain (1971), Christianity in Roman Britain to AD 500 (1981), And Shall These Mute Stones Speak?: Post-Roman Inscriptions in Western Britain (1994), and Gathering the Fragments, a collection of writings spanning 1953 to 2007 (2012).
When digging at Gwithian he met Jessica Mann, whom he married a week after she graduated from Cambridge in 1959; the photo shows them at Godrevy Lighthouse. Jessica
is a writer and novelist – her The Stroke of Death will be published in June. Of their four children, Susanna Thomas FSA is an Egyptologist, now working at the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza; Charles was ‘pleased and proud’ when she was made
a Fellow.
Thomas, said The Scotsman, ‘was a delightful non-conformist. He strode over all the sites on which he was involved in shabby gear with boundless energy and enthusiasm invariably puffing eagerly on his pipe. He was hugely respected by generations of students at Edinburgh, Leicester and Cornwall and formulated his opinions with profound knowledge, vigour and a dash of learned humour.’
Vincent Megaw FSA adds his own recollections:
‘Amongst many who have influenced my life as an archaeologist, two stand out – the indestructible Beatrice de Cardi FSA, who set a dithering schoolboy on the road to joining the profession by recommending Edinburgh to me, and Charles Thomas. It was he who in 1953, as co-director with Nicholas Thomas FSA (no relation) of a group of barrows at Snail Down on Salisbury Plain, introduced me to archaeology in the field. So started a series of projects – two decades at Gwithian, an early example of multi-period excavation (handy when your family owns the site, later donating it to the National Trust), Tean in the Isles of Scilly, and that most magical of sites, the Isle of Iona. Over time a varied group of diggers, schoolgirls on holiday, members of the Special Air Service who somehow managed to work Gwithian into field manoeuvres, and members of the National Theatre all were attracted as much to Charles as to the sites. Wedded to his pipe as much as to a trowel, Charles himself was always clearly the director. Athos to a latter-day three Musketeers, he was early joined by fellow Cornishman Bernard Wailes and myself – a fourth was Peter Fowler FSA.
‘Many will remember “Charlie’s digs”, quirky as they might seem to have been – one season at Gwithian was run as if it was an episode of the Goon Show. But there were serious and memorable events – Ruth Megaw FSA and I were engaged at Gwithian and it was natural that Charles was to be our Best Man (it was to Gwithian that we went for our honeymoon – it poured for a week). And as if it were destiny I followed Charles in the Chair of Archaeology at Leicester, while Charles returned to his native Cornwall as the first holder at Exeter of the Chair of Cornish Studies. Many times I tried to tempt Charles and Jessica to South Australia with its long tradition of Cornish miners. After all, Charles had an ancestor born on the Victorian gold fields and one who was a mining captain and lay-preacher.
‘More recently Charles produced a series of slender volumes which one could find tucked away amongst many other things such as a series of models of local fishing craft and a fine collection of local painters – Charles and Jessica had a series of images of the lighthouse on Godrevy headland, the model for Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927). In 2009 Charles and Jessica – Jessica taking time off as a successful writer of crime fiction – published Godrevy Light, a beautifully produced volume on the history of the light and its representations. Less than a year ago Charles took me out to Godrevy Point to look across to the waves breaking half-way up the lighthouse. Charles framed against a stormy sky with Godrevy light in the middle distance, is a suitable image to retain of a great Cornishman – and a dear friend.’

Brian Vincent FSA died just four days after his 78th birthday on the 30 March, writes Charles Higham FSA:
‘Brian came to archaeology in 1975, after a successful career as a builder, when he enrolled in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Otago for his BA. His deep interest in the discipline led to his doctoral research at the Thai Bronze and Iron Age site of Ban Na Di, where he undertook the analysis of the ceramics. Following a period of study at Southampton with the late David Peacock FSA, he completed the first analysis of an assemblage of mortuary vessels and occupation ceramics of its kind in Southeast Asia. His identification of local and trade vessels on the basis of temper variations contributed much to the overall social interpretation of the site.
‘In 1985, Brian Vincent spent four months as the site ceramicist during the excavation of Khok Phanom Di. This estuarine settlement, now behind the eastern shore of the Gulf of Siam, had been a major pottery making community between 2000–1500BC. The vessels found in the graves from seven mortuary phases were of exceptional quality, and many of the female dead were interred with their anvils and burnishing stones. The occupation levels also yielded tons of potsherds. Brian ran the on-site ceramic workshop with a masterful efficiency. His subsequent thin sectioning and detailed analyses were to be published by the Society of Antiquaries in a volume that has not been, and possibly never will be matched in terms of its detail and insight into five centuries of development and change in a prehistoric Southeast Asian pottery-making centre.
‘Brian later branched out, and in 2006 he worked in the East Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, undertaking pottery-sourcing research. He was meticulous in obtaining potting clay samples and beach sands, and using petrographic analysis to source 2,000-year-old pottery from Koil Island. Brian excelled in the tropical conditions and earned the respect of all those he worked with.
‘Brian was an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Otago until his unexpected and untimely death. His regular presence at conferences, and insightful papers on the importance of going beyond form and decoration, and getting to grips with every aspect of pottery manufacture, will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues. He was elected to the Society of Antiquaries on the 29 November 2007.’

The Wisdom of Fellows

Mark Samuel FSA writes on the subject of Hannibal’s elephants:
‘I am glad to see that this old “crux” of antiquarians has now been settled once and for all. It is a peculiarity of archaeology that it almost never provides direct answers to historical questions. A good example is Caesar's invasion of Britain, from which no arrowhead – let alone fortification or battle site – has been certainly identified. Hannibal's invasion of Italy is “proven” by one battle cemetery and a single inscription. Readers might also find it remarkable that not a single bone of the type of elephant used by Hannibal (Loxodonta africana pharoensis) has ever been found (or published?), and that we know much less about it than the mammoth. 
‘However, my research, aided by Professor Adrian Lister, is homing in on the North African elephant's appearance and physical peculiarities on the basis of Roman Art. Roman mosaics have already proved their scientific worth in the case of the Dusky Grouper, a fish that is now rarely grows larger than a cod, but which in Roman times is sometimes depicted as large enough to swallow unwary fishermen! ‘

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows and Other Exclusive Fellows' Events

Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 16.15 and meetings start at 17.00. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow. Details of forthcoming meetings and events can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

26 May 2016: Miscellany of Papers and Summer Soirée
Fellows are invited to our annual summer meeting, where we will hear a miscellany of papers celebrating the Society’s current loans programme (with an in-depth look at the Society’s contribution to the British Museum’s Sicily: Culture and Conquest exhibition), followed by our Summer Soirée (with Pimm’s and wine). Admission to the soirée is by ticket only (£10, including VAT). Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 020 7479 7080.

16 June 2016: Private View of Celts at the National Museum of Scotland
Fellows are invited to join us at 11.00 am on Thursday, 16 June, for a private curator talk and a chance to explore the Celts exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. We will be joined by Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Details are available (with booking information) on the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland website (

Details for the full spring programme are available on the website: You can also catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events').

Interested in proposing a lecturer? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer (

Forthcoming Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays. These lectures are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place. Details of forthcoming lectures can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

26 April 2016: 'Royal Gold and Royal Rubbish: Metal-Detecting and the Anglo-Saxon Palace at Rendlesham, Suffolk', by Christopher Scull FSA. This lecture is now fully booked, but we hope to post a recording after the event!

There will also be a public tour of Burlington House on this day (booking required).

31 May 2016: 'Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1904-79: Reassessing the Medieval Monastery', by Roberta Gilchrist FSA. This lecture only has a few places still available. Book now!

There will also be a public tour of Burlington House on this day (booking required).

Click here for more information on our public lectures -- the entire autumn programme is now live!

Society Dates to Remember


Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows

The next in the Society’s regular series of introductory tours will take place on 23 June. More will be scheduled for the autumn (watch this space).

Tours are free, but limited to 25 people, so places should be booked in advance. Please contact the Society’s Executive Assistant (call 020 7479 7080 or email Tours start at 11.00, and coffee is served from 10.45. Lunch is available at the end of the tour for £5, but must be ordered in advance. There will be further tours scheduled in the autumn.

Burlington House Closures

The Society's apartments, including it's Library, will be closed on 2 May, 3 May, and 30 May. The Society will also be closed for its summer conservation and maintenance programme from 1 August to 2 September (inclusive), reopening on Monday, 5 September.

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, you can subscribe online at:

Welsh Fellows

Friday, 17 June: Fellows are invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Welsh Archaeological Trust with us. Director of the Glamorgan Gwent Archaelogical Trust, Andrew Marvel FSA, invites you to visit Heathfield House, the Trust's headquarters in Swansea, for a tour and a buffet lunch (£15.00 per person). The visit to Heathfield House will be followed by a visit to Margam Abbey and the collection of Early Christian Stones. Please download and return the booking form to Bob Child to reserve.

Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at

York Fellows

Saturday, 14 May: Enjoy a two-part walking tour of Beverley, accompanied by Fellows Barbara English, David Neave, and John Wilton-Ely. Meet at 10.30; depart at 16.00. Guests welcome! Please note that there will be a £5.00 entry charge for the Beverley Guildhall. Send questions or expressions of interest to Stephen Greep, FSA, at

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, you can subscribe online at:

Other Forthcoming Heritage Events

28 April: The Origins of Stonehenge: New Discoveries & New Perspectives (London)
David Jacques FSA will present a University of Buckingham Humanities Research Institute Public Lecture at the Society of Antiquaries at 6 pm, in association with History Today. Jacques is Project Director for Mesolithic excavations at Blick Mead, Amesbury.

12 May: Inhabited Architecture: A Pervasive Motif in Medieval 
Art and Modern Theory (London)
Anthony Cutler FSA, Evan Pugh University Professor in Art
History, Penn State University, will present a Research Seminar
in Islamic Art at the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS, University of London, at 6 pm in Room B104 (Brunei Building).

21 May: The Power of Place: Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape (Machynlleth)
A day conference of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at the Museum of Modern Art Machynlleth on the Welsh landscape as a source for visionary artists. Papers will cover the Wye tour, Turner in Snowdonia, John Sell Cotman, the neo-romantic movement, David Jones and a contemporary artist’s response to place. Speakers include John Barrell, Mary-Ann Constantine, Andrew Green, Damian Walford Davies and Peter Wakelin FSA, who has curated the accompanying exhibition at MOMA Machynlleth, which runs from 19 March to 18 June. Details and bookings (£15): Angharad Elias: 01970 636543 Picture shows The Southern Extremity of Carnedde Mountain in Radnorshire, by Thomas Jones, 1794.

31 May: Norwich Historic Churches Trust conference – call for papers
Norwich has the highest number of surviving medieval churches north of the Alps: there are 31, of which 18 are now redundant and in the care of NHCT. This conference, on on Saturday 22/29 October 2016, aims to promote importance of these beautiful buildings to their settings and local and national history. Submissions are invited for 30-40 minute papers on any aspects of church buildings including architecture, archaeology, history, liturgy, art history, sociology, as well as other topics, from any historical period. Please include a short biography and send proposals to the conference organiser Nicholas Groves at
17 June: Building a City: 350 Years after the Great Fire (London)
A conference on the Great Fire and its aftermath in the context of London in 2016 – innovations in urban design, ideas on place-making, regeneration of historic buildings and strategies for the future. The conference in Westminster City Hall will span the history and future development of London, and is organised by the Heritage of London Trust. Speakers include Charles Hind FSA, Philip Davies FSA and Nigel Barker FSA. See website for further information and to book a place.

19–22 July: The Great Household 1000–1500 (Harlaxton)
The theme of the 2016 Symposium convened by Chris Woolgar FSA is the medieval great household, from the 11th to the early 16th century, with a focus on elite contexts in the British Isles. Delegates will be given a guided tour of Harlaxton Manor and the afternoon outing will be to Gainsborough Old Hall, one of the finest and best-preserved 15th-century manor houses in England. The conference banquet will feature food inspired by medieval cuisine. The keynote will be delivered by Chris Dyer FSA, University of Leicester. See website for details.
9–11 September: Capability Brown: Perception and Response in a Global Context (Bath)The influence of Capability Brown and the naturalistic landscape design style on landscapes across the world will be presented at a major ICOMOS-UK conference at the University of Bath, as part of the first-ever national Capability Brown Festival. Speakers include David Thackray FSA, President of ICOMOS-UK and Megan Aldrich FSA. For more information see the ICOMOS website.
12 September: Objects & Possessions: Material Goods in a Changing World 1200–1800 – call for papers
Chris Woolgar FSA is organising a conference at the University of Southampton, 3-6 April 2017, to focus on objects and possessions between AD1200 and 1800 across Europe and its overseas colonies, the connections and relationships facilitated by the exchange of goods, the importance and interpretation of the inheritance of goods and objects, and the ways in which goods brokered relations between Europe and the wider world. He invites proposals for single papers and whole sessions (three papers). Abstracts (maximum 200 words) to Keynote speakers include Chris Briggs (Cambridge), Giorgio Riello (Warwick) and James Walvin (York).

14–16 October: 1066: Interpreting the Norman Conquest in 2016 (London)
In this 950th anniversary year, a conference on the Norman Conquest is to be held by the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, running from the day of the battle. The conference is intended for a general audience, but the contributions will be delivered by prominent experts, including David Bates FSA, author of a forthcoming biography of William the Conqueror, and Elisabeth van Houts, who has edited and translated several Anglo-Norman chronicles and has published on women and gender in the Middle Ages. Subjects will include the background to the Conquest, arms and armour, architecture, landscape, government, aristocracy, the church, society, the Bayeux Tapestry and the task of studying the period today. To register interest and obtain further information please contact or call 0113 220 1888.


We are currently recruiting for volunteers to help us produce our forthcoming programme of summer 'museum lates', to be held in conjunction with the rest of the learned societies at Burlington House. Details about the lates will shortly be available on our website (, and we welcome help from anyone who would like to assist us in sharing our Society's exciting history and modern-day legacy with new audiences. The events will take place on Friday evenings (24 June, 15 July and 26 August). More information about volunteering is at

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.

Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


Follow the Society of Antiquaries on Twitter for news and event updates: @SocAntiquaries

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