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Salon: Issue 349
21 September 2015


Next issue: 5 October 2015

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. Like the intellectual salons of 18th- and 19th-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

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


Treasurer Reports on Reform of the Society's Charter and Statutes

In the July issue of Fellowship News, we reported on the background and progress of the work that is taking place to provide the Society with a set of governing documents which have, in the words of the Working Party that looked at all this in 2011–2012, been “recast in clearly expressed and coherent form, fit for the 21st century.”
 
Our lawyers have now been in contact with the Privy Council Office about our draft proposals, and it looks as if these, with minor amendments that have now been made, will prove acceptable to the Privy Council and to the Charity Commission. Therefore Council will, at its next meeting (October), be asked to pass a resolution to alter and add to the Charters, and formally to propose the alteration of the Statutes. If they do so, this will begin a process for the Fellowship to vote on these changes, as laid down in the current Charter and Statutes.
 
At the close of the Ordinary Meeting on Thursday, 15 October, the Treasurer will read out the proposed changes to the Statutes and the consequent changes to the Charter. Since this involves a complete redraft of the Statutes, this is likely to take some time, and the reading will be video-recorded and posted on the Society website. As soon as practicable after 15 October, we will post a printed version of the proposed documents to all Fellows, and will also post the document on our website.
 
The crucial element of all this is the vote by Fellows on whether to adopt the revised Charters and the new Statutes. This must occur at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held no sooner than 5 weeks after the reading on 15 October, a period which allows for 4 weeks within which Fellows may propose amendments. On 15 October, Council will be asked to confirm the date of 3 December for this EGM, which will be held either before or after the Ordinary Meeting scheduled for the same date, which will begin as usual at 17.00.
 
The current Statutes and Charters do not provide for voting by Fellows other than in person at the EGM, though of course our proposals for change, if agreed by the Fellowship, will make provision for online or postal voting on issues such as these in the future.
 

Order a William Morris Fruitcake for Christmas — Kelmscott Manor Will Receive £5.50 to Support Development

Award-winning artisan baker Ursula Evans follows Morris’s fruitcake recipe almost to the letter, soaking the vine fruits in brandy, baking slowly in her AGA. ‘The luxury glace fruits used in the original William Morris fruitcake mixture are used as a topping now’, she says, ‘but otherwise, these are the cakes that the Morris family enjoyed for tea in the 1880s.’

You may thinks it's a little early to begin planning for Christmas, but you need to order soon to guarantee it arrives in time! Each order supports the future care and development of Kelmscott Manor, Morris's 'heaven on earth'. To enjoy a William Morris fruitcake with family and friends this Christmas, please place your order no later than 16 November via the My Cottage Kitchen website.
 

Summer Internships at Kelmscott Manor Provide Valuable Experiences

For the past two years, interns at Kelmscott Manor have worked on research projects as well as audience development projects to help the Manor improve interpretation and the visitor experience. One of the Manor's summer interns, Graham Atkins, recently wrote to us to provide the following review of his experience:

Interning with [the Society] for six weeks was a pleasant experience, and I would thoroughly recommend the internship to anyone interested in getting experience in the heritage industry, as well as anyone interested in market research or looking to develop their quantative research or analysis skills more generally. I really enjoyed the work I did, and it was valuable experience of quantative research in a non-academic context. Working on the audience analysis project led me to seriously consider a career in market research, and I’m happy to say that my six weeks with [the Society] almost certainly helped me move into my first post-graduate role – I will be starting with the Politics & Reputation team of Populus, a polling-focussed research & strategy consultancy, on 21 September. In short, interning with [the Society] was a very valuable experience for me, and I’m looking forward to returning to Kelmscott later this year to explain the findings of the Kelmscott Manor audience analysis project to staff and volunteers.
 

'The Cultural Legacy of the Battle of Agincourt, 1415-2015' (Conference, Society of Antiquaries)


Recordings from this day-long conference, organised by Fellow Anne Curry, will be posted to our website in the coming week. Visit www.sal.org.uk/events, filter for 'past events' and click on the 17 September conference event page to view the recordings.
 

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings


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.

1 October 2015: ‘Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt’, by Dr Christian Liddy, Durham University

8 October 2015: SPECIAL MEETING IN YORK: ‘The Lost Twelfth-Century Choir of York Minster Reconstructed’, by Stuart Harrison, FSA. Please see the website for this out-of-London meeting.

15 October 2015: ‘William Worcester (1415-c.1480), Topographer and Antiquary’, by Nicholas Orme, FSA*
*Please note, as stated in 'From the Desk of the General Secretary' above, the Treasurer will read out the proposed changes to the Statutes and the consequent changes to the Charter at the close of this meeting.
 

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.

22 September: ‘The Dublin King: What Really Happened to "The Princes in the Tower"’, by John Ashdown-Hill, FSA
Unfortunately, this lecture is now fully booked. But we hope to post a recording after the event!

27 October 2015: ‘Agincourt: The Battle, Myth and Memory’, by Anne Curry, FSA
Unfortunately, this lecture is now fully booked. But we hope to post a recording after the event!

24 November 2015: ‘Folk Carols of England’, by Yvette Staelens, FSA
Places still available! Book now!
 

Society Dates to Remember: Mark Your Calendars

 

Forthcoming Closures

The Society's Library will be closed on Friday, 9 October for a special event: a Postgraduate Open Day to introduce student researchers to the wealth of resources available in our collection.

The Society will close for the Christmas holidays from 24 December 2015 to 1 January 2016 (inclusive).
 

Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows

The next in the Society’s regular series of introductory tours will take place on 29 October 2015, and three more are scheduled for the spring programme in 2016: 28 January, 24 March, 23 June.

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 admin@sal.org.uk). 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.
 

Heartbreak in Syria













It is no surprise that news of archaeological damage continues to come from the Middle East, though apparently nothing yet quite so disturbing as that I reported in the previous Salon. At a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 16 September, organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Sofia and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research with international partners, the talk was about the appalling scale of antiquities theft and smuggling. The hope was that Fighting the Looting of Syria’s Cultural Heritage would strengthen joint action against looting and trafficking of ‘blood antiquities’, said to finance terrorism.
 
There were strong words from Bulgarian officials. Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova noted that her country is a transit zone for illicit trafficking due to its location. Bulgaria’s national legislation, she said, had responded, with an emphasis on a ban on cross-border trade from Syria and Iraq.
 
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (speaking in photo above) said satellite images show Syrian archaeological sites ‘riddled by thousands of holes … illegal excavations and mass looting are taking place on industrial scale, as an integral part of a strategy of cultural cleansing. The fight against this plague is our priority number one.’
 
‘It is not simply the history of Syria that they are trying to destroy today’, Syria’s antiquities director, Maamun Abdulkarim, told the conference via videolink, ‘but a whole page of the history of humanity.’
 
Like many specialists in the area (and some such as myself who are no such thing), Warwick Ball FSA, former Director of Excavations at the British School of Archaeology in Iraq (now the British Institute for the Study of Iraq), has been asked by the press for comment.  ‘There is little more that one can add’, he writes, ‘apart from the usual platitudes, but may I make two further comments?’ Please.
 
‘First, between 2008 and 2011 I was invited to participate in the production of a major new exhibition on Syria just next door to the Society at the Royal Academy. The exhibition was intended to be a “blockbuster”, on a similar major scale to previous Royal Academy exhibitions (such as Turks in 2005), to showcase to the British public art and archaeology treasures drawn mainly from Syria itself but also from museums all over Europe and North America – probably the greatest display of Syrian art treasures ever assembled under one roof, and one of the biggest art treasure exhibitions to be seen in London for many years.
 
‘The periods covered were to be from the Bronze Age to the late Islamic; my own curatorial role was for the “Graeco-Roman” period, where Palmyra naturally features highly. The exhibition was due to open in the autumn of 2013 but was aborted in the summer of 2011 due to the civil war in Syria. It is a tribute to the Syrian antiquities authorities that on an official visit with the Director of Exhibitions at the Academy in 2011 they agreed, within reason, to nearly all our requests: their greatest treasures coming to London. Many of these were to have come from the Palmyra Museum, many from their stores and never previously displayed in public, in Syria or elsewhere. The British public itself is, therefore, one of the unwitting casualties of the Syrian war, denied a treat they will now never experience.
 
‘Second, it is perhaps worth pointing out that this is the second time Palmyra has been brutally sacked. The first time was in AD 272 by: the Romans!’
 
‘I wondered if you were aware’, writes Emma Loosley FSA, Professor of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter, ‘that the Society was one of the early sponsors of the excavations at Dayr Mar Elian?’ Dayr Mar Elian esh Sharqi (the monastery of St. Julian of the East) was in the Syrian desert between Homs and Palmyra. It was bulldozed by Islamic State (IS) in August.
 
‘I founded the Dayr Mar Elian Archaeological Project in 2001’, continues Loosley, ‘and, after a survey season, the Society granted me £1,200 towards the first season of excavation in 2002. However this was not my first contact as in 2001, I was the first recipient of the Frend Prize, nominated by Professor Frend himself, who had been a regular correspondent whilst I lived and worked in the Syrian desert – I remember a particularly moving letter that he sent me on the death of his wife that reduced me to tears.
 
‘One of the stipulations of the grant was that I lodge information with the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) and so, in that spirit, I thought I should write and add that all the information on Mar Elian is now available through the website for my current European Research Council funded project, Architecture and Asceticism: Cultural Interaction between Syria and Georgia in Late Antiquity.

‘All photographs and interim fieldwork reports are published there, so anybody wishing to know more about Dayr Mar Elian can access the material freely. I am also in the process of uploading the data from the first season at Zalabiyeh, which was all that we managed to complete (in 2010) before the outbreak of the civil war.
 
‘Finally, I too have been asked to contribute to the press about the destruction of Palmyra, in particular I was asked to give some idea of how it would have been in its heyday, and the result was published in The ObserverI also wrote a piece about the effect on the community in Qaryatayn about the destruction of Mar Elian for The Catholic Herald.’
 
Salon readers are strongly recommended to both of these articles, which are informative and powerfully written. ‘ISIS’, Loosley says, ‘has ripped the heart out of a poor desert community who were united in their pride in Mar Elian.’ Photo above shows basilicas, tower and houses in the village of Hawwarin, from the ADAS archive.

Finally, this seems a good moment to draw attention to Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa, a two-year Arcadia Foundation-funded project to record and make available information about archaeological sites and landscapes under threat in more than 20 countries. Based at the Universities of Oxford and Leicester, the project uses satellite imagery from Google Earth and other sources. Andrew Wilson FSA is Principal Investigator, and Robert Bewley FSA, David Kennedy and David Mattingly FSA are Co-Investigators, with a large team. The image shows details from two photos of a small fortification identified on Google Earth at the Pharaonic chert quarry of Wadi Araba/Wadi Umm Nikhaybar in Egypt, which may have been in use from the Old Kingdom period. The site was well preserved in June 2010 (left), but by October the eastern corner had been bulldozed (right).
 

Trouble at the Savitsky Museum


Warwick Ball (above) has another thing to tell us. ‘I would also like to highlight another sad bit of cultural news’, he writes, ‘that has not had widespread press coverage: the dismissal by the Uzbek Government of Marinika Babanazarova from her long-standing post as Director of the Savitsky Collection in Nukus, Uzbekistan. The astonishing unfairness of this act by this increasingly unsavoury regime is better expressed in the attached open letter to the Uzbek Minister of Culture, and can only have a negative effect on this unique collection.’
 
Here is the full unedited letter:
 
'24 VIII 2015
 
'To Minister Bahodir Ahmedov,
Minister of Culture and Sports of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
 
'It is with shock and sadness that we have learned of the firing of Marinika Babanazarova from the Savitsky Museum in Nukus. Ms. Babanazarova has been the loyal and enlightened director of this Museum for many years, during which time she has done much to promote its collections through exhibitions, conferences, interviews and publications, both international and national. At every step she has manifested uprightness of character, moral integrity and total dedication to the collections under her command – and the anonymous accusation to the effect that she had pictures copied and sold the originals is as preposterous as it is offensive. Far from insulting Ms. Babanazarova with such inane and malicious mendacity, the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan should be rewarding her for her yeoman service, her unflinching honesty and her constant exposition of both the vernacular treasures and the collection of Russian Modernism at her Museum.
 
'Relieving Ms. Babanazarova of her directorial duties at this moment of Savitsky’s one-hundredth jubilee is an insult to Savitsky’s life-long endeavor to save a precious legacy of both Uzbek and Russian artifacts. As a student of Savitsky, Ms. Babanazarova has carried his banner high throughout the past decades – and it is unthinkable that she should become the victim of such slander and invented iniquity.
 
'As members of the international art historical community, we ask you to withdraw the accusation, return Ms. Babanazarova to her rightful position at the Savitsky Museum and do everything in your power to redress this act of defamation.
 
'Sincerely,
 
'Nicoletta Misler, Professor, University of Naples, Italy
 
'John E. Bowlt, Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Ca 90089, USA
 
'Ildar Galeyev, Galeyev-Gallery, Curator and Publisher, Bolshoy Kozikhinsky per. 19/6, Moscow, Russian Federation 123000'

Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy 

 
Ai Weiwei is now installed in Burlington Gardens, where a major exhibition will run at the Royal Academy until 13 December. Visiting Fellows will see the courtyard forest – eight trees (accompanied by an uncannily real-looking marble armchair) created from bolted-together pieces of wood, in a new work called Tree, made possible by a crowdfunding campaign. However, even if you know the Chinese artist’s work only for destructive acts with apparently ancient and historic pottery, I strongly recommend a look inside.
 
We have been able to see various of Ai’s pieces in Britain before (most notably last year at Blenheim Palace), but this is the first time a wide range of material has been assembled together here in a gallery. For the historically minded, the significance of Chinese history and material culture to Ai Weiwei comes across very strongly. The whole corpus could be said to be profoundly archaeological, but – driven by incidents of injustice, torture and death which have personally affected the artist – far from whimsically so.
 
I wrote in my first Salon about one particular new work, Remains, porcelain replicas of human bone fragments clandestinely excavated at a labour camp. Confronted with the work rather than a photo, it’s possible to see burning. It seems the bodies had been inefficiently cremated. More photos here.
 

How Many Digs? 

 

















In August the Greek Ministry of Culture announced that excavations underway near Sparta since 2009 had uncovered a Mycenaean palace. This, said a press statement, was just one indication of ‘the importance of the archaeological wealth and cultural heritage of the country’: already in 2015 ‘more than 150 archaeological excavations have been carried out in Greece’.
 
I was reminded of a notice in Orkney Museum: ‘The following is a list of Orkney 2012 archaeological excavations that the Orkney Archaeological Society has been made aware of.’ All those islands, all those archaeologists. How can you keep up? And then I thought, 150 doesn’t sound like a large number. How many excavations have there been in the UK this year? Surely more than that? I asked people who should know. Their answers, gratefully received, are interesting beyond the mere number.
 
Peter Hinton FSA is Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. ‘That’s a very good question’, he replied, when I said there’d been 150 excavations in Greece. ‘The rather imprecise answer is “a lot more than that”.’ There has been no formal count ‘for a few years,’ he added, ‘but based on numbers of staff employed in fieldwork, their average salaries and some on costs, the estimated expenditure is in the order of £150m p.a. So unless UK fieldwork exercises are averaging £1m a shot – which would be a development! – there’s quite a difference with the cited figures from Greece.’
 
Stewart Bryant FSA, former chair of ALGAO (Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers) England and for nearly 30 years County Archaeologist for Hertfordshire, noted that until recently Bournemouth University’s English Heritage-funded Archaeological Investigations Project (AIP) was the best source for this type of information – ‘not complete’, he says, ‘but c. 90%. Now it’s almost impossible to get an accurate figure without a lot of work. The ALGAO statistics give the input stage and are consistently 12–14,000 planning recommendations for England. Around 2007 the AIP figure was c. 6,000 interventions via the planning system. The lack of a simple counting system is a strategic problem for the sector.’
 
‘If you want a headline figure,’ he concludes, ‘you would be safe with 5,000+.’
 
Kenneth Aitchison FSA (Executive Director, Landward Research Ltd) backed this estimate. He recently published his doctoral thesis on Kindle (Breaking New Ground: How Professional Archaeology Works, Landward Research 2012). He found that there were over 5,000 archaeological investigations in England in 2007, with 174,000 applications for planning permission in the quarter April–June; by October–December 2008, this had fallen by 36% to 110,000, with the same number being reported a year later in October–December 2009.
 
‘So’, he says. ‘If we work out a best guess using number of planning applications as proxy, 5,000 investigations in 2007 falling by 36% in 2009 gives 3,200. That’s a useful year, because (to use another proxy indicator), Heritage Market Survey 2015 (forthcoming) is about to say the number of people in work in March 2015 was back to 2009 levels. So maybe in 2014–15 there were 3,200 fieldwork investigations in England. 2015–16 is definitely busier than 2014–15, so I would expect that number to be rising. In 2015 there will already have been more than 2,000.’
 
Bryant wondered if there might already have been over 3,200 investigations in 2014–15. ALGAO planning casework returns for the preceding year indicate a small rise, with 11,010 planning application with archaeological implications. There were 3,299 WSIs (written schemes of investigation, the action documents that follow desk-based assessments) from less than half the ALGAO members. The WSI figure, says Bryant, ‘is a good measure of current activity and intention (if not actual archaeological events)’. Those 3,299 projects consisted of 1,455 evaluations, 541 excavations, 282 historic building recordings and 1,021 other (‘mainly watching briefs’).
 
Even this, he says, may be systematically under-representing full-scale excavation – ‘it’s an irony of the current planning system that evaluations are more visible in the literature than excavations’. Excavations, he says, are more likely ‘to slip under the radar until the final publication is produced which may be five to ten years later. There may also be multiple phases of excavation (e.g. on large housing projects) that are monitored by the local authority but which don’t produce reports for many years.’ Watching briefs have also been under-reported, he adds – and sometimes these can ‘produce some of the best archaeology’.
 
Tim Darvill FSA, Director of the Centre For Archaeology at Bournemouth University, supports Aitchison’s calculations, which as he says are mostly based on AIP data. A full report on the AIP analysis for 1990–2010 (what Darvill calls ‘the PPG16 Era’, the life of the original planning policy guidance that resulted in developers paying for necessary excavation on their sites) is under peer review at Historic England (HE); Darvill hopes for publication later this year or early next. How we record archaeological activity since 2010, he adds, ‘remains an issue that HE are, I believe, still grappling with’.
 
Meanwhile, thanks to digitisation, finding out what all this work has achieved is becoming increasingly easier. The OASIS project, based at the University of York, links the resources of the Archaeology Data Service, Historic England, Historic Scotland, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. The result is an ‘online index to the mass of archaeological grey literature that has been produced as a result of the advent of large-scale developer funded fieldwork and a similar increase in fieldwork undertaken by volunteers’.
 
‘With a degree of pride and a statement of interest,’ Darvill recommends Cotswold Archaeology’s online archive as ‘one of the best and the biggest. It contains pretty much every available report, and can easily be searched by map or queries.’
 
So, thanks to a system of developer-led excavation that has run well for 25 years, the UK can boast an enormous number of excavations and (eventually) publicly and freely accessible reports. Those excavations have transformed how we think about our past, but that's for another time. For now, if excavations are a measure of ‘the importance of the archaeological wealth and cultural heritage of the country’, as the Greek Culture ministry put it, Britain is riding high – thousands to Greece’s hundreds.

Photo at top shows London Crossrail excavation of the Bedlam burial ground at Liverpool Street earlier this year.
 

Megaliths at Durrington Walls? 


The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, having already featured widely in the news and in a TV film, hit the media again on 7 September when it revealed (technically for the second time, but few noticed last year) ‘a major new prehistoric stone monument … discovered less than 3 kilometres from Stonehenge’. ‘The extraordinary scale, detail and novelty of the evidence,’ said Paul Garwood, the project’s principal prehistorian (University of Birmingham) ‘is changing fundamentally our understanding of Stonehenge and the world around it. Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written.’
 
Using ground penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity tomography and electro-magnetic induction, the team, led by Vincent Gaffney FSA (University of Bradford) and Wolfgang Neubauer (University of Vienna and the Vienna University of Technology), found what they describe as a row of up to 90 former standing stones, now marked by empty pits or buried megaliths; some of the stones are large, up to 4.5 m. by 1.5 m. by 1 m. Other team members are Richard Bates (University of St Andrews), Henry Chapman FSA and Christopher Gaffney (University of Birmingham), and Philippe De Smedt and Marc Van Meirvenne (Ghent University).

Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, thinks it ‘possible that some or all of the large pits are in fact giant postholes rather than stone holes’. But of the ‘large solid objects’ (‘at least 40’), she says, ‘As with any form of geophysical survey without excavation we can’t be utterly certain they are stone. But given the nature of the GPR evidence it is frankly all but impossible to imagine what else they could be.’ She adds that since the published plot was produced, ‘it’s become clear that there are more pits (and possibly stones) beneath the western and northern sides of the henge bank, together with some just to the east.’
 
This could be the most significant find of the whole project. A megalithic structure of that scale would be unusual anywhere, but where it is – on the edge of the Durrington Walls henge, said to be under its bank – complicates attempts to understand the Stonehenge complex more than anything else that has come from the fieldwork.
 
All the more reason, then, to ‘ground truth’ the discovery – test it through excavation. Until that is done, too much certainty over the features’ age and nature may be misplaced. Other hypothetical explanations offered by commentators include First Word War training foxholes associated with the adjacent military camp. As The Economist put it, 'The purpose of the structures around Stonehenge is still a mystery, and in the absence of written records may remain so.'
 

Guildford Councillor Embarrassed by Museum


Soon after Salon reported that Guildford Borough Council (GBC) had served notice on the Surrey Archaeological Society (SAS) to quit Guildford Museum, Simon Stoddart FSA wrote an open letter to Councillor Geoff Davis which The Guildford Dragon published in full.
 
‘The council should be forging an alliance with volunteers who maintain the important culture of the town of Guildford,’ he wrote, ‘where I was brought up, and which has produced so many leading archaeologists.’
 
‘By contrast you appear to seek the dismemberment of one of the most important local societies in Britain. You speak of the £2 million held in trust by the Society, but as a chartered surveyor, you will know how little that represents in the property market of Surrey, and, as a businessman, how little return there is today for a charity investing safely and wisely for the long term. I speak as a financial manager of an Institute that has trust funds many times the size held by the Surrey Archaeological Society, and we plan to hold those funds in trust for our descendants.’
 
An internal council review of museum options is underway. Before the publication of Stoddart’s letter, Cllr. Davis told The Guildford Dragon that in his opinion ‘the current buildings are not “fit for purpose” for the museum in any way, and there are exhibits in there that are frankly embarrassingly poor for the town. A senior council officer met David Calow of SAS in the week, and reiterated, once again, that GBC has no straightforward means of discussions with SAS, as they are not structured to do so. That has been our constant difficulty, and may indeed explain how SAS let seven years drift by, since the notice to quit was originally served. Mind you, their capital base increased substantially in that period.’

Skinny Digging 

 
Early human fossils make frequent press headlines, a fact that helps explain why the field seems to attract an unfair share of investigators who enjoy grandstanding more than describing their discoveries in peer-reviewed publications. No one, however, could deny that an announcement made on 10 September merited its glory. A collection of hominin bones from a cave in South Africa, the Dinaldi Chamber in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, is truly astonishing. One thousand, five hundred and fifty pieces are said to represent at least 15 individuals. That alone is, to coin a phrase, jaw dropping. But those remains are likely to be a small proportion of what the cave contains; they were retrieved from a tiny, shallow excavation inside a wide area where bones can be seen littered on the surface.
 
The discovery is described in two long articles in an open-access journal, eLife (see below); the many international contributors, mainly based in South Africa or the US, include several with UK-university affiliations. Lee Berger, the project leader at the University of the Witwatersrand, is no stranger to controversy, one ironic complaint being that he publishes his finds too rapidly. The first fossils were seen in the Dinaldi cave in October 2013, which may explain why they have not yet been dated.
 
Chris Stringer FSA, writing in eLife, says he is ‘puzzled by the apparent lack of attempts to estimate [the hominin’s] age.’ Scientific age is unusually significant in this case, as the fossils are apparently a new species, a small creature named Homo naledi that is tricky to fit into the wider picture. It might lie at the very root of the Homo genus. That’s Berger’s team’s choice, allowing him to draw wild conclusions about the origins of human burial practices from their interpretation that the bodies had been deliberately taken to the cave. They might, as Stringer says, be less than 100,000 years old, an African equivalent to Homo floresiensis, the relatively recent 'hobbit' on an Indonesian island – in which case talk about early funerary concepts is a distraction. 
 
As extraordinary as the finds, is how they were made, deep in an inaccessible cave so narrow that Berger advertised on Facebook for scientists who were ‘skinny and preferably small … They must not be claustrophobic, they must be fit, they should have some caving experience, climbing experience would be a bonus.’ The work was done by two teams of three, all women: K. Lindsay Hunter, Marina Elliott, Alia Gurtov, Hannah Morris, and Becca Peixotto (US) and Elen Feuerriegel (Australia). All but two charted the dig on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Notably, to British archaeologists, the project adopted the Museum of London Archaeological Services system for single context recording (many Fellows contributed to the 1994 manual) and followed an explicitly forensic archaeological approach as defined by John Hunter FSA and Margaret Cox FSA. In addition to two technical reports (archaeology and geology), there are several good and well-illustrated pieces of journalism, including from National Geographic, The Atlantic and, from Stringer again, in The Guardian.

Flushing Out Heritage Crime


Mark Harrison FSA, Historic England’s National Policing and Crime Advisor, writes with news of a remarkable conviction after theft from a historic wreck in the Thames Estuary. The conviction came after a two-year investigation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency revealed that Vincent Woolsgrove (left, in action), a commercial diver of Ramsgate, Kent, had been less than truthful about significant heritage artefacts raised with sophisticated techniques and equipment from a shipwreck where many men had died. He has been jailed for two years and ordered to pay £35,000 in costs. A Proceeds Of Crime Act confiscation order will be made at a future date.
 
The Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News gave a full report on 6 September, from which this edited narrative is taken.
 
‘In 2007, Mr. Woolsgrove reported to the Receiver of Wreck that he had recovered five historic bronze cannons from two different shipwreck sites. Two of the cannons were English and had been found on the wreck of the Warship London, built in Chatham dockyard in 1654. In 1665 she sank off Southend, probably due to an explosion in the powder magazine, with the loss of over 200 lives. The other three cannons were Dutch and were reported as having been found at an unidentified site outside UK territorial waters.
 
‘The London cannons were both very rare. One is thought to be the only surviving example by gunfounder Peter Gill. The other bears the Commonwealth crest and is thought to be the only surviving example of a Commonwealth bronze gun. The Dutch cannons were 24lb guns bearing the crest of the City of Amsterdam, dated 1600–17 and made for the city defences.
 
‘In 2009, Mr. Woolsgrove was awarded title to the Dutch cannons. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) had been unable to identify the legal owner or the wreck site, supposedly outside territorial waters. The cannons were sold at auction to a private collector for over £50,000.
 
‘In 2011, fresh information was received regarding heritage crime in the Kent and Essex area involving divers recovering cultural objects of great historic value. The MCA, Kent and Essex Police and Historic England undertook a joint operation. A search warrant was obtained for Mr Woolsgrove’s house. Three 16th century bronze cannons were found, along with a considerable amount of other wreck items including copper, lead, tin and glass ingots, ship’s bells and portholes.
 
‘Extensive research by Charles Trollope FSA, a world authority on muzzle loading cannons, Frank Fox and the Dutch Police and heritage agencies, tracked the cannons’ history in Dutch and British naval archives of the mid 1600s.
 
‘The Dutch cannons were part of a battery of 36, loaned by the City of Amsterdam to the vessels Groote Liefde and St. Mattheus during the first Anglo-Dutch War (1652–54). The ships were captured in battle by the English Navy and their armament was distributed to English warships. The three cannons in question were allocated to the Warship London.
 
‘The London was rediscovered in 2005 and is now designated as a historic wreck under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. Historic England is funding excavation, working with Cotswold Archaeology and a local volunteer licensed dive team led by Steve Ellis.
 
‘In passing sentence, His Honour Judge Ralls said, “Mr. Woolsgrove persistently misled officers of the crown and these items have now been lost to the nation." Alison Kentuck, Receiver of Wreck, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said, “All wreck material found within or brought within UK territorial waters must be reported within 28 days to the Receiver of Wreck. It is not a case of ‘finders keepers’. Had these artefacts been correctly reported, the finder would have been entitled to a substantial salvage award and important information could have been added to the historical record.”'
 

News of Fellows


Roger Bland FSA, a Roman coin specialist who was seconded by the government to work on the Treasure Bill in the 1990s and had been head of the British Museum's Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure, left the museum in July. He had resigned in the face of what he saw as threats to the funding and structure of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). The internationally praised scheme, which manages voluntary recording and education through a network of 36 Finds Liaison Officers across England and Wales, joined the British Museum in 2010. Since April this year PAS funding has not been ring-fenced within the museum’s government grant, which has been steadily falling. The PAS (under its head, Michael Lewis FSA) and Treasure teams moved to the Department of Learning, Volunteers and Audiences, while Dan Pett FSA and Mary Chester-Kadwell, who maintain the PAS database, transferred to the new Department of Digital and Publishing. Bland’s former colleagues posted a warm tribute on the PAS website, expressing ‘a massive debt of gratitude to him for all he has done for British archaeology’. Paul Barford, no fan of the PAS, rounded up his several blog posts on the story (first revealed by British Archaeology magazine) under the headline ‘PAS Meltdown Coverage so far’, acknowledging Bland’s accomplishments as ‘a thoroughly decent bloke who believes in what he is doing’.

There are many books about Agincourt, but few authors can claim to have contributed as much to the subject as the industrious Anne Curry FSA. Professor of History and Dean of 
the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Southampton, she has written Agincourt for Oxford University Press’s Great Battles series (published August) and The Agincourt Companion for Andre Deutsch (published September). She has also co-edited with Malcolm Mercer FSA the attractive and substantial Yale University Press book, The Battle of Agincourt (October), to which both make several contributions, as well as Christopher Allmand FSA, Matthew Bennet FSA, Thom Richardson FSA, Jenny Stratford FSA, Matthew Strickland FSA and Karen Watts FSA. Not to be outdone, The History Press is printing ‘a newly updated edition of the most respected work about the battle’, Curry’s 2006 1415 Agincourt: A New History (October). When the King of France called for word of England's fall, he had no idea what he'd started.
 
At Home with the Soanes: Upstairs, Downstairs in 19th Century London, by Susan Palmer FSA, has been reprinted by Pimpernel Press in a handy illustrated paperback. First published by Sir John Soane’s Museum in 1997, it has been updated with information gained during the museum’s extensive restoration work.
 
Archaeology for All. Community Archaeology in the Early 21st Century: Participation, Practice and Impact, is an A4 paperback from the University of Salford. Edited by Michael Nevell FSA and Norman Redhead FSA, the book stems from a 2006 conference and aims to capture a rapidly changing period for community archaeology, with papers by some of the leading voluntary, museum, university and commercial-based archaeologists in the UK field today. 
 
Tony Rook FSA has been presented with a festschrift, Archaeology in Hertfordshire: Recent Research, edited by Kris Lockyear FSA. Originating at a conference to mark Rook’s 80th birthday three years ago, the book gathers detailed articles on excavations, coins and other Hertfordshire archaeology matters.
 
‘In 1948’, opens the Preface to The Greeks in Asia, ‘I met an elderly Greek man on the island of Naxos who said he had been with General Kitchener at Khartoum.’ Thus John Boardman FSA makes it clear from the start that this attractively illustrated Thames and Hudson hardback draws on a lifetime’s experience and research. He sets out to recount the influence of Greek communities and their culture across Central Asia, India and Western China, from the Bronze Age through to the rise of Islam.
 
Taking time out from editing Yale’s Pevsner Architectural Guides, Simon Bradley FSA has written The Railways: Nation, Network and People (Profile), a history of Britain’s railway network. Avoiding a chronological approach, the book explores the changing experiences of travel and work, the formation and character of the railways’ infrastructure, and the social and cultural impact of the new technology, including railway enthusiasm and preservation.
 
John Kenyon FSA writes to say that English Heritage has published his guidebook to Middleham Castle, North Yorkshire, in its Red Guide series. It replaces a former guide by John Weaver FSA.

Fraser Hunter FSA and Ian Ralston FSA have edited a book that considers how Scotland related to wider European patterns in the later Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Scotland in Later Prehistoric Europe reviews the explosion of recent data to investigate settlements and domestic architecture, art, craft, beliefs and environmental change, with perspectives from southern Scandinavia, the Low Countries, Atlantic France, Ireland and northern England. Hunter says contributors include a number of Fellows, and the publisher, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, is happy to extend the special offer price (£45 + P&P rather than £60) to FSAs up until the end of the year: quote ‘silpe2015’ in the online ordering system.
 

Fellows' Bookplates


Curtis Runnels FSA has in his library, as well as a book that once belonged to General Pitt-Rivers FSA, another that began its life with Heinrich Schliemann FSA. The first edition copy of Ancient Stone Implements (1872) by Sir John Evans FSA was originally acquired in Athens in the 1960s, says Runnels, by Åke Åkerström of the University of Göteborg. ‘Alas,’ he continues, ‘there are no bookplates, and the bottom of the spine preserves only part of Schliemann's shelf label, but it does have an interesting inscription from one Fellow to another. Schliemann was presented with a diploma of Honorary Fellowship in 1877, and I presume that it was while Schliemann was in London on that occasion that Sir John presented his book to him. Perhaps we can attribute Schliemann's careful attention to stone tools in his subsequent publications on Troy and Tiryns to the influence of this timely gift?’
 

Memorials to Fellows


Having sorted out a spot of confusion between father and son, Julian Litten FSA sent this photograph of a memorial to Edward Milligen Beloe FSA.
 
‘Edward Beloe (1871–1932; FSA 1908) is buried at Hardwick Road Cemetery, King's Lynn, Norfolk beneath an elaborate tomb by William Brown of London Road, King's Lynn. It was erected c. 1879 following the burial of his grandmother, Lydia (d. 1878), and is based on a 15th century tomb-chest in the burial-ground of St Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn. Educated at Rugby, E. M. Beloe entered his father's solicitor's firm in King's Lynn and was admitted to the Bar in 1894. His early interest in archaeology was inherited from his father, also called Edward Milligen Beloe (1827–1907). In 1898 he published The Monumental Brasses in Westminster Abbey and, in 1890–91, three volumes of Photolithographs of Monumental Brasses and Matrices in Norfolk at his own expense. In 1911 he purchased a house built in 1605 on Bridge Street, King's Lynn, for John Aitken, a merchant, and restored it, again at his own expense. He opened it in 1912 as the Greenland Fishery Museum, which housed a large collection of local antiquities, maps, manuscripts, etc. He died in a King's Lynn nursing home on 12 February 1932 and was buried at Hardwick Road Cemetery, following a service at St Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn on 15 February.’

Beloe’s museum had a bakery, where ships biscuits were made in the basement. They were ahead oftheir time: visitors had to both enter and exit through the bakery. Having been taken over by the Council and the Norfolk Archaeological Society after Beloe’s death, the museum was hit by a bomb in 1941 and converted back to housing and offices after the war. It still contains substantial 17th century wall paintings. See Norfolk Heritage Explorer and the Greenland Fishery Project.
 
Norman Hammond FSA writes about Henry Corbould FSA, whose grave is in the Church of the Assumption and St Nicholas, Etchingham, East Sussex.
 
‘Henry Corbould (1787–1844) was a Regency and early Victorian illustrator, best known as the artist whose profile portrait sketch of Queen Victoria was used (in his cousin Charles Heath’s engraving) for the Penny Black, the world’s first postage stamp in 1840; the portrait was used until Victoria’s death in 1901.
 
‘Corbould was the son of an artist, Richard Corbould, and his mother Charlotte came from the Heath family of engravers. His precocious talent led to his exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the age of 14, and his admission to the RA Schools in 1805. He was a friend of his fellow-pupil Francis Chantrey, and did a fine sketch of the latter’s seated statue of the botanist Joseph Banks, later engraved by Samuel Cousins. After his wife’s death he became engaged to Chantrey’s widow, but died before they could marry.
 
‘Corbould had married a Miss Pickles of Chelsea in 1812 and produced four sons: he abandoned history painting, hitherto his forte, to concentrate on book illustration as a way of making a living; many of his drawings, some of the most “graceful and effective productions of the age”, were engraved for publication by Charles Heath. Scott’s novels and Byron’s poems were among the works he illustrated.
 
‘He also became an antiquarian draughtsman, drawing the marbles in the collections of the Duke of Bedford and Lord Egremont and as a result being commissioned by the Trustees of the British Museum to illustrate the Elgin Marbles [which the BM now calls the Parthenon sculptures]. The Description of the Marbles of the British Museum (1845) appeared the year after his death. He was a member of the Society of Dilettanti as well as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, although only the latter distinction is noted on his monument, with a rather laconic Latin inscription.
 
‘Henry Corbould lived in Robertsbridge, East Sussex (where he may have been born), and died there in 1844: the cause of death has been variously described as “an apoplexy brought on by exposure to cold”, a fall from his horse, and an accident on the Eastern Counties Railway. For such a prolific and well-connected member of the art world, it is odd that C. Skelsey’s medallion on his monument in Etchingham Church is the only known portrait. His ledger slab in the floor nearby says only that “Henry Corbould Esquire died December 9th 1844 aged 57 years”.’
 

Forthcoming Heritage Events


Closes 1 December: The Sinews of War: Arms and Armour from the Age of Agincourt (London)
One of the most famous battles of the Hundred Years War, Agincourt was ultimately won in a hard-fought hand-to-hand struggle between armoured knights on both sides, with the English archers joining the fray not with their bows but with hand-weapons. This special display at the Wallace Collection brings together original weapons and armour dating from the time of the battle, exhibiting them alongside other medieval pieces in the Collection and from the museum's library and archive, to explore the real story of this fascinating but sobering moment in history.
 
Closes 3 January 2016: Cradle of Scotland (Glasgow)
This exhibiton at the Hunterian Art Gallery, jointly curated by The Hunterian and Perth Museum and Art Gallery, presents the results of ten years’ archaeological fieldwork by the University of Glasgow’s Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot Project (SERF). A Pictish royal palace stood at Forteviot alongside a huge prehistoric ceremonial complex. Archaeology has revealed Forteviot’s story of over three millennia using cropmarks, sculptures, buried structures and artefacts. The exhibition explores the evolution of society from the loosely connected communities of early farmers in prehistory to the centralised kingdom of Alba (Gaelic for ‘Scotland’). Iron Age hillforts, the clash between the Romans and Caledonians and the development of the Pictish kingdom complete this biography of a sacred landscape.

21 September: Maurice and Shelagh Bond Memorial Lecture (Windsor)
This year’s Bond Memorial Lecture, entitled Gilebertus and John Tresilian: Two master smiths of the Middle Ages in St George’s Chapel, will be delivered by Jane Geddes FSA, Professor of the History of Art at Aberdeen University, an acknowledged expert in medieval decorative ironwork. The lecture will commence at 7 p.m. in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Attendance at the lecture will be free, but is by named ticket only. Ticket applications tickets should be made to The Chapter Office, Windsor Castle, Berkshire SL4 1NJ, listing the names of all those requesting tickets and enclosing a stamped addressed envelope, by Wednesday 7 October 2015. Tickets and photographic ID will be required to gain entry to the lecture.
 
15–16 October: A Rothschild Renaissance: A new look at the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum (London)
A conference to celebrate the opening of a new gallery for the Waddesdon Bequest at the British Museum (BM), supported by the Rothschild Foundation, in the grand suite of rooms dedicated to collecting history from the Enlightenment to the present. Baron Ferdinand Rothschild’s 1898 bequest was originally housed in Waddesdon Manor, and the conference will illuminate how he used the Kunstkammern of Renaissance and Baroque Europe as blueprints for his own ‘Renaissance Museum’, and the collection’s subsequent transfer to the BM. Extending research undertaken by Curator Dora Thornton FSA (see A Rothschild Renaissance: Treasures from the Waddesdon Bequest, British Museum Press, June), speakers will include BM and Waddesdon staff and international colleagues. On 17 October delegates can travel from the BM and back to visit the Manor and its accompanying exhibition on the history of the New Smoking Room (extra charge). Contact Gina Murphy, Project Curator: Waddesdon Bequest, by 25 September at gmurphy@britishmuseum.org.
  
 28 October: Beyond Agincourt: The Funerary Achievements of Henry V (London)
Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of Henry V, marks the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt with a one-day conference for Henry V academics, students and enthusiasts. A strong list of speakers include Toby Capwell FSA, Anne Curry FSA, John Goodall FSA, Susan Jenkins FSA, Lisa Monnas FSA and Karen Watts FSA, covering armour, architecture and conservation to real the significance of Henry V’s ‘funerary achievements’ – the king’s shield, saddle, sword andhelm – carried at his funeral, which took place at the Abbey. Henry V’s achievements form part of the Abbey’s collection and can be seen before the conference. Tickets available online.
 
2 November: Mr Gough’s ‘Curious Map’ of Britain (Oxford)
This symposium in the Bodleian Library concerns Gough’s medieval map of Britain, with a new interdisciplinary approach to its study including the application of hyperspectral analyses. Richard Gough FSA (1735–1809) exhibited the map to the Society on 5 May 1768, and presented it to the Bodleian on his death. Catherine Delano-Smith FSA wrote about the map in Imago Mundi, the journal she edits, and more recently convened her own study group, the Gough Map Project. At the symposium they will report their findings – as far as they go – as the basis of a new phase of research, not a definitive new account (although much that is new has emerged). Other speakers include Peter Barber FSA, P. D. A. Harvey FSA, Nigel Saul FSA, Christopher Whittick and FSA James Willoughby FSA. Details online.
 
From 5 November: Venice in Peril Lecture Series (London)
The Venice in Peril Fund is holding an autumn lecture series at the Society of Antiquaries, on Mondays at 6.45 p.m: Venetian Mosaics in Victorian London: Eternal pictures for a modern age, by Heike Zech (21 September), Venice, the Adriatic and Asia: Connections across the Silk Roads, by Peter Frankopan (12 October) and The Frari Revisited: The Experience of Sacred Art in Renaissance Venice, by Dr Donal Cooper (9 November). See website for details.

7–8 November: Bronze Age Forum (Exeter)
The next Bronze Age Forum will be held in the University of Exeter. Please contact Anthony Harding FSA with any enquiries.
 

Vacancies


Heritage Lottery Fund Committee Chairs and Members
We are recruiting a Chair for each of our Committees for the East of England, South West, South East England and West Midlands and a member for each of these committees plus a member for the Committee for the North West and three members for the Committee for Scotland. See website, email decisionmakers@hlf.org.uk or telephone Secretariat on 020 7591 6014 for more information. Closing date for applications 28 September 2015.
 

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please email 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). When proposing a lecture, it is helpful to provide a working title, a few sentences about the topic and its significance, and how you will make it relevant and accessible to the entirety of the diverse Fellowship. We welcome papers based on new research on 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 email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.

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