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Salon: Issue 419
11 December 2018

Next issue: 29 January

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 EditorSalon doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.

Fellows may occasionally find they do not receive email notification of a new Salon. There are suggestions for solving this, and an online archive where new editions are posted. You can also unsubscribe at any point, by following this link.
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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year

2018 has been an exciting year for the Society at both Burlington House and Kelmscott Manor. Our biggest success story this year is the wonderful news that the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded us £4.3m towards our Kelmscott and Morris: Past, Present and Future project. You can read an update on that in SALON 416. This year we held our first Research Showcase which was a huge success and something we hope to continue moving forward. Our Open House London tours in September were fully booked and we enjoyed another fantastic Postgraduate Open day in October. We are now looking ahead to 2019 with many more plans afoot to develop the Society and engage with both Fellows and members of the public. 

We wanted to take just a moment to tell our Council members, Fellows, Funders, Staff and Volunteers how much we've appreciated everything you've helped us accomplish in 2018. 

We would like to wish all our Fellows and friends a Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2019. 

Back to the beginning of the report

Antiquaries Journal Volume 98 

Volume 98 of the Antiquaries Journal has published online with over 40 book reviews and 12 peer-reviewed articles on material culture. The print version will be dropping through Fellows' letterboxes shortly. Meanwhile, Volume 98 is available now via Cambridge Core (, with Fellows being able to access the journal for free via the links on the Fellow's Area of the Society's website ( 

Volume 98 contains the following papers:
  • Tara Draper-Stumm FSA re-assesses the British Museum’s group of Sekhmet statues from the reign of Amenhotep III (c 1390–1352 BC: 18th dynasty), as well as a formerly uncatalogued head fragment 
  •  Tanja Romankiewicz uses architectural design theory to highlight the complexities in interpreting Iron Age roundhouses
  • Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA discusses the 1857 discovery, and later dispersal, of the finds at La Tène (in Switzerland) in the context of contemporary understandings of the past and collecting practices
  • David Swan explores the cross-cultural portrayls of an unusual and striking musical instrument – the carnyx – on the coinage of the Romans and Iron Age Britons and Gauls
  • Eric Fernie FSA evaluates what is known of the function and chronology of St Wystan’s, at Repton, one of the most important churches of the Anglo-Saxon period
  • Nick Hill FSA & Andrea Kirkham analyse an exceptional survival for a secular building – the decorative scheme applied to the internal gable wall at the ‘high’ end of the hall at Oakham Castle, Rutland
  • Matthew Payne FSA & Warwick Rodwell FSA address the question of metre raised by their article published in an earlier volume of the Antiquaries Journal (97), which looked at the dating of the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey
  • Christopher Pickvance highlights a hitherto unrecognised group of six pin-hinged, clamped, early medieval, wooden chests in East Kent, England, providing data and systematic evidence concerning their origins, construction, decoration, ironwork and locks
  • Joanna Ostapkowicz et al draws on contemporary ethno-historical accounts and scientific analysis to examine four native Amerindian clubs (part of the founding collection for the Ashmolean Museum), providing new data that reveals not only the type of wood from which the clubs were carved, but their probable dates of manufacture, use and possible provenance, allowing insights into the lives of the Carib people in the Americas before and during the early Colonial period (1300–1700)
  • Peter Lucas FSA examines the use of Anglo-Saxon characters in Early Modern maps printed in England and Amsterdam  
  • Nicholas Stanley-Price FSA gives a fascinating account of how a rogue archaeologist fell foul of the law in 1870s Cyprus and was prosecuted for exporting antiquities
  • Henrik Schoenefeldt highlights the experiences of the 19th-century MPs in the House of Commons by using data from parliamentary archives that shed light on innovator David Boswell Reid’s historic ventilation system of the building (1840–52). The paper shows that, although environmental factors such as climate or air purity formed a more transient dimension of architecture, in the case of the House of Commons, they were key drivers of architectural form.

£3.5 Million Sought to Keep Turner Oil in UK 


Lowell Libson FSA describes this oil on canvas by JMW Turner, Walton Bridges, as a ‘beautiful evocation of the unusual and picturesque double bridge crossing the Thames by the market town of Walton… made at a time when Turner was mostly living at nearby Isleworth rather than in London.’
The painting was sold at auction in July, and will leave the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the price of £3,484,000 (£2,800,000 hammer price, £570,000 buyer’s premium, £114,000 VAT) by 28 February 2019, with a possible extension to 30 June.
The view shows a double-span bridge that ran across the Thames between the locks at Sunbury and Shepperton in Surrey, erected in 1788 to replace a decayed wooden structure, once depicted by Canaletto. It is believed to be the first painting Turner completed outdoors, done after his move to Sion Ferry House in Isleworth in 1804/5. It led to a major series of Thames scenes during a prolific period when he worked in sketchbooks and painted in watercolour and oil, collecting material for exhibited pictures.
The work had been loaned to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, between 1997 and 2017. ‘It is the absolute antithesis of his Battle of Trafalgar (Tate Britain),’ added Libson, ‘which was painted at the same time. This is a superb example of Turner’s work from the early years of his success and fame.’

V&A’s Cast Courts Restoration Completed 


‘Monuments,’ said Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London, at the launch of a replica arch in Trafalgar Square in 2016, ‘are significant and complex repositories of cultural narratives.’ The shocking thing was how bad it was. The Institute for Digital Archaeology boasted that its copy of the Roman Triumphal Arch from Palmyra, the original of which had been destroyed by Daesh, was a precise representation, carved in marble. The technology, it said, could be used to rebuild the ruined city. Yet the quality of what we saw had more in common with a toy from a cornflake packet than the real thing.
Contrast that with the contents of the V&A’s Cast Courts, the second of which re-opened in late November, triumphantly completing a lengthy conservation and redisplay programme led by Marjorie Trusted FSA, Senior Curator of Sculpture and Lead Curator of the Cast Courts. Here copies of art and monuments from across time and Europe are piled together in random juxtaposition (at top is Trajan’s Column, which we can now see from the inside as well as out, surrounded by medieval and Renaissance sculptures). There is no pretence at reality. Plaster casts were made as educational substitutes for people unable to see the originals. Yet their presence is more real than the fake Palmyra arch. Surface details and textures are not smoothed, and colours are painstakingly copied in paint. Often poor restoration or corrosion mean the originals now show less information than the copies; in a few cases they no longer exist. The casts present a rich story of European art history, 19th-century politics and museum thinking, in which the replicas are objects in themselves, crafted by hand and astonishing to behold.
Casts fill two of the museum’s largest rooms, renamed the Weston Court (re-opened in 2014) and the new Ruddock Family Court. Between them runs a grand corridor, whose fabulous mosaic floors had been hidden beneath lino, where the casting processes are explained. The gaps between the pillars (my photo on the right shows the hall before completion of the new works) have been re-opened so that all three rooms now interconnect.

Critics have been wowed. Jonathans Jones (Guardian, 27 November) writes of ‘monuments to a Britain that understood and acknowledged its Europe[an] cultural heritage and was full of passion for the continent’s art.’ ‘As ruminations upon issues of authenticity and reproduction,’ writes Waldemar Januszczak (Sunday Times, 9 December), the Cast Courts ‘could hardly be more timely… No photograph, no film, no computer graphic can act on you as viscerally as a good plaster cast.’ Trusted and her colleague Angus Patterson have written a new guide, The Cast Courts. The Courts are free to visit. All photos mine.

Fellow Appointed Minister for Education & Science

Fellows concerned about the future of higher education (of whom there are many) will have been interested in the news that the latest Education Minister is historian Chris Skidmore MP FSA (making him perhaps the first ministerial Fellow, at least in modern times?). According to a Government statement, his responsibilities at the Department for Education include universities and higher education reform, student finance, widening participation and social mobility, international students and research, review of post-18 education and funding, and ‘tackling extremism in higher education’. He holds the position jointly with Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where ‘science and research’ is one of his concerns, succeeding Sam Gyimah MP, who resigned in protest at Theresa May’s Brexit arrangements.
Skidmore has been Conservative Member of Parliament for Kingswood, a constituency east of Bristol where he grew up, since 2010, when he took over from a Labour incumbent, increasing his proportion of the total vote in both subsequent elections. According to They Work For You, ‘on the vast majority of issues he votes the same way as other Conservative MPs.’ Exceptions include voting against investigations into the Iraq war, consistently voting for equal gay rights and for allowing marriage between two people of same sex, and for MPs and Members of the House of Lords to leave the Palace of Westminster during proposed renovations (a move that was approved by Parliament). However his voting record is mostly close to recent Conservative thinking.
He has, for example, voted against measures to prevent climate change on 15 out of 19 occasions. He has consistently voted for reducing, or against raising, a variety of social benefits, and against increasing income tax for high earners. He has consistently voted for a stricter asylum system, for stronger enforcement of immigration rules, and for mass surveillance. In the past two years he has almost always voted against a right for EU nationals already living in the UK to remain, and against UK membership of the EU, despite having campaigned and voted to Remain in the EU Referendum in 2016; his constituency voted 57.1% to Leave, and he has since backed the Prime Minister's position on Brexit.
Skidmore was one of five Tory MPs, including Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab and Elizabeth Truss, to co-author Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity (2012). The book attracted controversy for claiming British workers to be ‘among the worst idlers in the world’, and suggesting the UK should adopt a work ethic nearer that of South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. ‘We must stop bailing out the reckless,’ they wrote, ‘avoiding all risk, and rewarding laziness.’ The Evening Standard (August 2012) dubbed the authors ‘young guns from the new Right of the party.’ ‘There is definitely a new Right which is much more international in its focus,’ said Kwarteng. ‘The old Tory Right are a busted flush.’

Skidmore was educated at Bristol Grammar School before studying history at Oxford, where he continued with postgraduate research. He taught history part-time at Bristol University, and has written four books about late medieval and Tudor England: Edward VI: The Lost King of England (2007), Death and The Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart (2010), Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors (2013), and Richard III: Brother, Protector, King (2017). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
In September he secured a Westminster Hall Debate on the ‘Preservation of Historic Battlefields,’ at which proposals were discussed for a £26 million driverless car test-track on the edge of the designated field of the Battle of Bosworth. A ‘culture of permissiveness in our planning process,’ he said, ‘allows for the substantial erosion over time of historic sites without ever crossing the law.’ He would have liked the former English Heritage battlefields panel to be re-established, and the Battlefields Trust to be registered as a statutory planning consultee. Should there be, he wondered, Areas of National Historic Importance? Despite further objections from, among others, Glenn Foard FSA and Michael Wood FSA, Hinckley and Bosworth Council approved the development proposals.

In the last Salon, written before Skidmore’s ministerial promotion, I noted a Times column in which he explained why he ‘was wrong to vote Remain.’ Trevor Rowley FSA responded:
‘Perhaps our MP Fellow Mr Skidmore could explain to the Society how leaving the EU will impact on the spheres of our mutual interest – archaeology, curating, historical scholarship, care for the historical environment and so on. His somewhat anodyne and disingenuous contribution to the argument quoted in the Times completely ignores the fears and predictions of many Antiquaries, some of which have appeared in past editions of Salon.’

• The photo shows Skidmore in November promoting UK Parliament Week, which sought to engage people, especially the young, from different backgrounds and communities with democracy. The event was part of the Vote 100 programme, celebrating the UK’s equal voting rights.

Medieval Festschrift for Fellow

Paul Stamper FSA writes:
‘On 17 November a conference was held at Southampton University to honour Professor David Hinton FSA, a long-time member of the university’s Archaeology Department – now retired but still very active. It recognised not only his contribution as a lecturer and mentor, but also the major advances he has made to our understanding of medieval Wessex, and to medieval England more generally, through his many and substantial publications and his highly regarded editing work.
‘Unbeknown to David many of the speakers had also contributed to a Festschrift, edited by conference organiser Ben Jervis, titled The Middle Ages Revisited: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Medieval Southern England. Tom Beaumont James FSA presents a lively account of the life and work of the antiquary Richard James, a scholar whose life can be linked to that of David Hinton in a number of ways. In the second chapter two of his former students, Mark Brisbane FSA and Richard Hodges FSA, discuss the development of archaeology and Hamwic and the changing ways that archaeologists have interpreted this site, emphasising, in particular, David Hinton’s role in championing Southampton’s archaeology. Staying with the topic of Hamwic, Barbara Yorke FSA discusses the wider political context of the Solent region.
‘The next five papers revisit sites and material with which David Hinton has some personal connection. Martin Biddle FSA discusses Winchester Old Minster (David was a major contributor to the volume on finds from the medieval city), Katherine Weikert explores the household of Faccombe Netherton (the original report on the site being supervised by David Hinton), Duncan Brown FSA revisits Cuckoo Lane (an important site from medieval Southampton) and Maureen Mellor FSA discusses the distribution of later medieval tiles in Oxfordshire (a subject with which David Hinton concerned himself at the very beginning of his career).
‘The following two papers, both by long-standing colleagues of David Hinton, relate to his interest in medieval diet. Mark Robinson FSA discusses the cultivation of wheat in medieval England and Dale Serjeantson FSA et al contrast the faunal remains from two early medieval monasteries, St Albans and Eynsham. The final chapter by Matthew Johnson FSA discusses work that David Hinton supported following his retirement, examining the landscapes of Bodiam and Scotney castles.’
• Photo above shows Hinton c 1979 (Department of Archaeology, Southampton University).

A Year of Books

As usual at this time of year, Fellows’ books feature in roundups of best reads. In specialist publications (and Salon’s email inbox) Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism, by James Stevens Curl FSA, wins hands down for long, enthusiastic reviews from people agreeing with his analysis that ‘the triumph of architectural Modernism has led to massive destruction, a waste of resources, and the elimination of all decoration and choice.’ In the wider press Thomas Cromwell: A Life, by Diarmaid MacCulloch FSA, is the clear winner in the 2018 popularity stakes.
‘Diarmaid MacCulloch,’ writes Andrew Pettegree reviewing Thomas Cromwell in the December History Today, ‘is one of our greatest living historians and this is one of his finest books... This is the definitive study of an astonishing career,’ he concludes, ‘propelled by extraordinary talent and an instinctive grasp of the workings of government and of the personalities of its leading players. The result is a masterpiece of history writing, with all the subtle clarity that is MacCulloch’s signature as a writer. If anyone wants to know how early modern societies worked, they should set aside Machiavelli and start here.’

In the Sunday Times (25 November) Dominic Sandbrook chose MacCulloch’s ‘definitive biography of the Tudor statesman’ for one of his Best History Books of 2018. ‘Yes,’ he concludes, ‘books on the Tudor trencherman and his hangers-on are ten-a-penny. But this is exhaustively researched and superbly written.’ Reviewing it earlier in the paper (27 September), Dan Jones had called it 'A masterpiece.’
For Guardian Best Books of 2018, Kathryn Hughes chose Thomas Cromwell for its ‘prodigious amount of archival research’. Hilary Mantel singled it out, too: ‘What could I choose, but Diarmaid MacCulloch’s masterly Thomas Cromwell: A Life? Reviewing the book earlier in the Guardian (22 September), Jessie Childs noted that MacCulloch’s ‘virtuoso life’ manages to capture more of the man ‘than any previous attempt.’
Claire Armitstead took MacCulloch to the British Library to look at Cromwell’s correspondence, for a Guardian podcast (27 November). And on Radio 4 Start the Week (3 December) Tom Sutcliffe talked to MacCulloch about the subject of his book. Meanwhile Raymond Tallis chose MacCulloch’s A History of Christianity (2009) in the TLS Books of the Year 2018 (sic), a book so special that it ‘justif[ies] being re-read… Essential reading for believers and infidels alike.’
Other Fellows’ books got a look in. In the Sunday Times Michael Prodger’s choice of Best Art Books of 2018 included two: The Royal Academy of Arts: History and Collections, edited by Robin Simon FSA and MaryAnne Stevens, and Eric Ravilious Scrapbooks, edited by Peyton Skipwith FSA and Brian Webb
Rachel Campbell-Johnston picked Living with the Gods by Neil MacGregor FSA as The Times Art Book of the Year (‘What David Attenborough did for racing snakes, Neil MacGregor does for the Lion Man of Ulna or a Transylvanian church coat’). In the same paper, Gerard DeGroot chose Napoleon: The Man Behind the Myth by Adam Zamoyski FSA for his selection of Books of the Year 2018: History (‘At last, a book that questions the genius of Napoleon Bonaparte… In this authoritative and robust biography Adam Zamoyski shows how Napoleon’s genius was the creation of his own propaganda machine’). Zamoyski is also the only Fellow to make this year’s Economist’s Books of the Year list: ‘In this superlative account,’ says the paper, ‘Napoleon is a mortal, with great virtues and equally great flaws, at once dazzling and gauche.’
Where Shall We Run To? by Alan Garner FSA was another memoir chosen by Kathryn Hughes for Guardian Best Books of 2018. ‘His narrative is lyrical and clear-eyed by turn,’ she writes, ‘full not just of dappled sunlight on five‑bar gates and bomb shelters but also of the social apartheid brought about by the well-meaning 1944 Education Act.’ Garner was earlier interviewed by Alex Preston in the Guardian (4 August).

I look forward to reporting more outstanding Fellows’ books in 2019!

Fellows (and Friends)

John Weaver FSA, inspector of castles and ecclesiastical buildings, died in October.
Roger Mercer FSA, archaeologist, died in December.
Appreciations appear in Fellows Remembered below. The section also contains a further notice on the late Brian Smith FSA.

Walter Cockle FSA died on 6 December. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1987. He was author of Euripides. Hypsipyle: Text and Annotation Based on a Re-Examination of the Papyri (1987), based on his doctoral thesis presented at the University of London in 1974, and in the 1990s he co-authored reports on Latin and Greek ostraca (texts written on pottery sherds) from excavations at Mons Claudianus, a Roman quarry in the eastern desert of Egypt.

Making the first People’s Seat Address at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland on 3 December, Sir David Attenborough FSA spoke of ‘a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon… Time is running out. [The world’s people] want you, the decision makers, to act now. They’re behind you… supporting you in making tough decisions, but also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives… The people have spoken. Leaders of the world, you must lead.’ Attenborough launched Act Now, a Facebook Messenger bot designed to help people adjust their contributions to global warming. Within 24 hours more than 16 million people around the world had watched the speech. Some amusement was caused when HuffPost UK tweeted an apology for broadcasting a video ‘that incorrectly described Sir David Attenborough as a “naturist”. We of course meant to describe him as a naturalist.’

Just over a week before the UN address, Songlines magazine launched a two-CD set of field recordings of indigenous musicians made by Attenborough between 1954 and 1963, when he was filming for the BBC TV series Zoo Quest. Tapes from the BBC Sound Archive have been edited for publication by producer Julian May. David Attenborough: My Field Recordings from Across the Planet includes recordings from Sierra Leone, Paraguay, Madagascar, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islands and northern Australia, and comes with a 52-page booklet.
Ronika Power FSA, an Associate Professor of Bioarchaeology at Macquarie University and an Honorary Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge, featured in the Sydney Morning Herald (5 December) in a piece headlined ‘Superstar of STEM … makes a living by looking into death.’ ‘Obsessed’ with mummies from before she went to primary school, she ‘did not believe that being a “mummy detective” could be a real job until after she went to university. Determined to turn her passion into a profession, she combined her love of science, medicine and the arts to create the job of her dreams.’ She has been chosen as an inaugural Superstar of STEM for Science and Technology Australia. STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are important, says Power, ‘because they acknowledge the critical links between disciplines that will lead to the jobs and discoveries of the future.’

Peter Boughton FSA, Keeper of Art at Cheshire West and Chester Council, has curated Memento Mori: Tombs and Memorials in Cheshire, an exhibition of watercolours, drawings, prints and photos at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum showing how the county has commemorated its dead from the Romans to the present day. With tombstones, tomb-chests and mural slabs, public sculptures, cenotaphs and a shrine, the imagery of commemoration ranges across the centuries with knights and their ladies, parents and their children, skeletons and skulls, heraldry, saints and angels. Howard Williams FSA has written about the exhibition, for which he delivered the opening speech, on his blog, where he describes it as ‘a valuable and rich display of art on a mortuary theme: an exhibition exploring memorialisation across time through 19th- and 20th-century art’s engagement with past and contemporary monuments to the dead.’ Open until 24 February 2019.

Diana Murray FSA, Jane Ryder FSA and Caroline Wickham-Jones FSA have been elected as Honorary Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The Society elects a maximum of 25 Honorary Fellows at any one time.

Sir Charles Saumarez Smith FSA was treated to a farewell party at the Royal Academy of Arts on 6 December, to celebrate his 11 years as the RA’s Secretary and Chief Executive. He did not disappoint his audience in conversation with Sir John Tusa, reports Louisa Buck in the Art Newspaper, taking ‘the opportunity to make a few confessions and also to air a number of grievances, most notably concerning the National Gallery where he was director between 2002-7.’ ‘The resounding message of the evening,’ says Buck, ‘was that the Royal Academy has been an infinitely better place to work and to lead’ (‘At the RA,’ said Saumarez Smith, ‘you know when you are being stabbed in the back’). In 2019 he takes up the post of Senior Director at the Blain Southern Gallery. Photo Art Newspaper/RA.

Pete Wilson FSA, Tony Wilmott FSA, Rob Young, John Cruse FSA, Sue Stallibrass, Richard Tipping and Fraser Hunter gave papers at a Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research Trust day-school in Grassington in October 2016, which explored how the late Iron Age residents in the Pennines had to adapt to incoming Roman military forces. Their papers have recently been published by the trust as Romans and Natives in Central Britain, edited by R D Martlew. The book shows the archaeological changes which can be seen on either side of Hadrian’s Wall, and investigates regional differences in beehive querns, changes to farming practices and their environmental impact on the countryside, and the evolving role of Celtic art in the Roman province.   

In a long and interesting piece for artnet (29 November), Javier Pes considers the issue of repatriations from museum collections with reference to human remains. ‘Typically donated by collectors, missionaries, and colonial officials in the 19th century,’ he writes, ‘these objects are a dark legacy of European’s voracious appetite for “curios” of so-called primitive people. Others were collected as evidence of long-discredited, pseudo-scientific theories of white racial supremacy.’ Some were collected less than a century ago. ‘When the Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl sailed the Pacific in 1955, he brought back bones belonging to the Rapa Nui, the Aboriginal Easter Islanders. They are now in Oslo’s Kon-Tiki Museum.’ Nick Merriman FSA, Director of Museums and Collections at Manchester Museum ‘when it agreed to return human remains to New Zealand last May, says there was no evidence that the museum had ever used the objects for research “the entire time they had been in the collection”.’ At the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer FSA ‘declined to comment on the issue to artnet News; instead, a museum spokeswoman referred to its published policy on human remains.’

Writing for the Times’ Red Box, Tim Loughton MP FSA (29 November) defended foreign aid as ‘a worthy expression of a global Britain.’ ‘I have campaigned for an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill,’ he says, ’that would ensure that a version of the Dublin system remains in UK law after we leave the EU. The Dublin system currently allows children who have reached Europe to reunite with a relative in the UK safely, but this small mercy will not be preserved in the current Bill… British aid has helped to create a safe haven for hundreds of thousands of people in Jordan and is providing a lifeline to those who remain in Syria. It is a worthy expression of our intentions as a global Britain beyond Brexit.’

In his Guardian column for 3 December, Simon Jenkins FSA wrote that ‘Whatever nonsense was talked during 2016, hard Brexit was going to be wretched to negotiate – which is why those who tried have all resigned.’ The prime minister’s deal is the best the UK can expect for now. [She] must do everything in her power to get it through.’

Blick Mead, Wiltshire, site of excavations directed by David Jacques FSA, was in the news in early December. Mesolithic hunter-gatherer debris has been found in the dig close to a spring on the south-western edge of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Jacques said Highways England had drilled a hole through the site, destroying aurochs footprints dating back 12,000 years in an act akin to ‘punching a hole through the Bayeux tapestry.’ Engineers were said to have gained access, as part of works linked to proposed alterations to the A303 road, without permission of the landowner or knowledge of the excavation team. In a statement, Highways England said, ‘No damage has been caused to archaeological layers. We notified Professor David Jacques of the locations of our water table monitoring, and have adhered to guidelines in carrying out the work' (which is being conducted at Jacques’ request). Amesbury Museum (@AmesburyMuseum) tweeted a photo of a Highways England borehole (above, the blue pipe). The pit behind Andy Rhind Tutt, former mayor and a colleague of Jacques, is, I was told, an excavation by Tony Brown, from the Department of Physical Geography, University of Southampton, who is ‘leading an analysis of aDNA, seDNA and pollen’ from Blick Mead.

Arthur MacGregor FSA has written Company Curiosities: Nature, Culture and the East India Company, 1600–1874. The East India Company dominated British trade and relations with Asia for nearly three centuries, making handsome profits but also providing European collectors with natural and man-made specimens prized for their scientific, aesthetic or cultural value. Administrators, soldiers and surveyors spent much of their lives attempting to inventory and comprehend India’s vast country: nearly 40 species of mammals and over 120 species of birds were discovered in the Katmandu valley alone; astonishing fifth-century wall paintings were unearthed in caves at Ajanta; and spectacular fossil fauna arrived from the Siwalik Hills. MacGregor offers the first overview of the remarkable role of the Company and its servants in collecting and showcasing India’s nature and culture.

Richard Osgood FSA, Senior Archaeologist at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, is among three candidates for Current Archaeology magazine's Archaeologist of the Year. The others are Sophie Jackson, Director of Research and Engagement at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) and Christophe Snoeck, a post-doctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Voting takes place online.
The Wiltshire Museum, home of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society and the William Cunnington collection deriving from excavations around Stonehenge in the early 19th century, is to move house. It has long struggled to fit into a converted residential terrace in Devizes, and will now occupy a more commodious court, behind the equally famous Wadsworth Brewery. The project will also save the long vacant Devizes Assize Court, built by T H Wyatt in 1836. David Dawson FSA, Director of the Wiltshire Museum and Advisor to the Devizes Assize Court Trust, said earlier that ‘The added perks of having [the] Assize Court would be the extra space, and it would also be part of the restorative project by Wiltshire Council. It is a landmark building and I think with it we could promote ourselves, in turn making us a landmark.’

The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George celebrated its 200th anniversary this year. Founded to recognise Mediterranean service, principally in Malta and the Ionian Islands, the Order’s scope has since been extended so that it is now the main UK honour for service overseas to British interests. Its first full-length history, The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George by Peter Galloway FSA (2000), has now been revised and updated. Fifteen chapters cover the Order's historical development from its use in Britain’s Mediterranean empire, its extension to the wider British Empire, its uses by the Diplomatic Service and the armed forces, and now for overseas service generally.

Fellows Remembered

John Weaver FSA died on 20 October aged 89, after a short illness. He was a Lifetime Fellow of the Society, having been elected in May 1966. Stephen Briggs FSA has kindly sent Salon this obituary, of a man whose interests are listed in the Society’s files as ‘Conscientious objectors’:
‘From 1954 to 1990 John Weaver had been English Heritage Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Northern England. A Yorkshireman proud of his Welsh roots – his first Christian name, Owain, came from his father – he was schooled at Penistone Grammar School (founded 1392, the 43rd oldest school in Britain) before taking up a scholarship at Jesus College, Oxford.
‘After brief encounters with accountancy and librarianship, John took up a career with the Ministry of Works, as a polymathic Inspector whose main interests of necessity lay in castles and ecclesiastical buildings. In that role he wrote several Ministry handbooks – Beeston Castle, Boscobel House, Middleham Castle, Richmond Castle and Easby Abbey, and White Ladies’ Priory.
‘Additionally, he was involved in investigations of the Crown and Anchor in St Albans, with D H Poole (1961); Spofforth Castle, Yorks, with Roy Gilyard-Beer (1965); a medieval aisled barn at St Julian's Farm, St Albans (1970); the Chester Roman Amphitheatre, with Nigel Sunter and the late Hugh Thompson FSA (1976); and Heath Old Hall, Yorks (1977). He also wrote the HMSO Exploring England’s Heritage guide to Cumbria and Northumberland (1992). Both before and during retirement, he sat on and eventually chaired the Magistrate’s bench at St Albans until 2000.
‘Then came real retirement when he returned to the area he had so loved as Inspector – Cumbria. There he set about authentically restoring a minor gentry Listed Building – Newby Hall, near Penrith. Though the house’s Listing brought protection, he was concerned that this offered little to its environs, and difficulties were encountered even in persuading officialdom to recognise its rare undeveloped garden curtilage. The problem was eventually solved by appropriately enlisting historic garden expertise to campaign for the necessary recognition, and buying back two adjacent building plots that had been granted planning permission prior to the Weavers taking up ownership of the place. Thus he restored the integrity of the original garden curtilage.
‘That achieved, John long nurtured an interest in researching the conscientious objectors of the First War, so five years ago set about writing a book titled Sentenced to be Shot. Completed before he died, the work remains with his publisher and arrangements are being made to ensure its publication.’
An obituary appears in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald (3 December).


Roger Mercer FSA died on 3 December aged 74. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in November 1977. His funeral will be private, and a memorial service is anticipated early in 2019.
Roger Mercer was a distinguished archaeologist and prehistorian, appointed an OBE in January 2004 for services to archaeology. During a career working for the Department of the Environment, the University of Edinburgh and finally, as Secretary (Chief Executive), the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), he became known particularly for his excavations at Neolithic and Bronze Age sites. These included major projects at Carn Brea (the site of his honeymoon in Cornwall), Grimes Graves flint mines (Norfolk), Balfarg henge (Fife), and most notably in excavations that ran for over a decade, Hambledon Hill causewayed enclosure (Dorset).
As Inspector of Ancient Monuments in London (1969–74) he was responsible for scheduling and casework in south-west England, and prehistoric Guardianship Monuments including Stonehenge and Avebury. It was during this time that he excavated at Carn Brea and Grimes Graves, as well as surveying and excavating at early military defensive sites in southern England, and at Fountains Abbey (North Yorkshire).
At Edinburgh University (1974–90) he rose from Lecturer to Reader to Acting Head of Archaeology. His excavations on Hambledon Hill (below), conducted at one of the UK’s largest complex of Neolithic earthworks that, it was realised, were rapidly disappearing under the plough, drew in a large number of researchers. The project had a profound impact on understanding of the earlier centuries of Britain’s first farmers, and study of the site’s remains continues to this day. In the meantime he directed excavations at several sites in Scotland, as well as significant field surveys, as student training exercises, in Caithness, Dartmoor and elsewhere.
As Secretary of the RCAHMS (1990–2004) he was responsible for over 100 staff, overseeing a move to online access to Commission records with the creation of Canmore, and to a large expansion of curated collections. In his retirement year the Scottish Government announced a grant of £12 million for a new Archive Store.
Having survived a V2 bomb explosion as an infant in London and discovered the rewards of ‘organisations and other people’ in the school Combined Cadet Force, Roger Mercer studied archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, where he was taught by Mary-Jane Mountain and the late Charles Thomas FSA, Stuart Piggott FSA and Ruth Tringham. Looking back on his career in 2006, his reflections on why he decided to move to the RCAHMS speak both of how things used to be done, and of changing times (Antiquity 80).

In the field, wet clothes and boots, 16-hour days and ‘hard knocks physically, dietetically and personally’ were becoming less attractive to him. Landowners were increasingly wary, and ‘health and safety requirements were becoming harder to meet within limited resources.’ So too university regulations ‘were increasingly onerous, and the expense (both of time and finance) in writing up field survey exercises, in particular, was becoming prohibitive.’ Meanwhile undergraduates, 'trained to answer examination questions well, rather than to experience their subject and to think,’ were expecting more of their university.
His books include Excavations at Carn Brea, Illogan, Cornwall, 1970–73 (1981), Hambledon Hill: A Neolithic Landscape (1980), Farming Practice in British Prehistory (1981), Hambledon Hill, Dorset, England: Excavation and Survey of a Neolithic Monument Complex and its Surrounding Landscape (2008, with Frances Healy FSA), and Native and Roman on the Northern Frontier: Excavations and Survey in a Later Prehistoric Landscape in Upper Eskdale, Dumfriesshire (2018). He was granted Honorary Chairs at Durham and Edinburgh universities, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (right), Director of the Discovery Programme (Ireland), Vice-President of the Prehistoric Society and a member of the Ancients Monument Board for Scotland. He was a founder member (in 1976) of the Bronze Age Studies Group. 
Diana Murray FSA, former Chief Executive of the RCAHMS and joint Chief Executive of Historic Scotland, has kindly written this piece for Salon. She says she knew Roger Mercer for over 40 years, as they both worked in Edinburgh:
‘Roger and I set up the Scottish branch of the IFA [now CIfA, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists], the first of the regional spread of IFA to make sure that Scottish matters were given due weight in the IFA. We had great fun as well as serious purpose. He, of course became Secretary of RCAHMS, taking over from John Dunbar. He was given a remit by the Commissioners to make the organisation much more entrepreneurial and outward facing, a direction that I was able to capitalise on when I took on the role in 2004.
‘There are many memorable moments, but one that stands out was his involvement with providing advice and assistance abroad. He visited Croatia after the war there and was devastated by the damage to the cultural heritage. We also went to Syria in 2000 to talk about building a national record using modern technology. I remember that we struggled out with a PowerPoint projector, although Roger decided to use 35mm slides. When we arrived we found that they had much more up to date technology but had to hunt the whole of Damascus for a normal slide projector. The highlight of the trip for him was a trip to Krak des Chevaliers, which he had dreamed of visiting since childhood.
‘Like others, I am shocked by his sudden death. He was a great friend, colleague and mentor to me, and we got up to a lot of great things. He was a true gent, full of endless stories, most of which we had heard many times, and had a great capacity for retaining information and sharing that with anyone who needed or wanted to know. He will be greatly missed.’


In the last Salon Christopher Kitching FSA added to my obituary of Brian Smith FSA, who died in November. He writes again, with a correction and more interesting details:
‘Brian Smith's post-retirement mission was not to the Falkland Islands, but to the even more remote location of St Helena. It was in the days before the Island had an airport, and in order to get there he had to take a military flight to Ascension, and from there the infrequent supply ship to St Helena. With the letter instructing him to report to RAF Brize Norton came the stern instruction that, as he would be On Her Majesty's Service, he should dress respectably for the flight. (Nobody who knew Brian would ever have imagined him doing anything less!) When he boarded the plane he was surrounded by off-duty servicemen in jeans! He had to synchronise his mission to coincide with the next available supply ship to take him off the island some months later.’

The Wisdom of Fellows 

‘The latest edition of Salon,' writes John Titford FSA, 'addresses the question of restitution. So must the outcome be that paintings by Titian, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli and the rest must be sent back to Italy, and that the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer and Shakespeare first folios will need to be shipped back to the UK from the Huntington Art Gallery in California?
‘If so, I wish that I owned a haulage company – rich pickings…’


Mark Samuel FSA has this to say about what he describes as ‘an otherwise fine new series of Digging for Britain, BBC TV’s archaeology strand currently on its seventh outing (and featuring the excavations of several Fellows):
‘I was wondering what other archaeologists, and not just those who are Fellows, think of the sorry inclusion of ghoulish (and pointless) recording-free treasure hunting at the sites of crashed WW2 aircraft. This has no inclusion in anything claiming to be of an archaeological nature; merely depriving future generations of evidence.
‘About the only possible reasons for the disturbance of such sites (often potential war graves) is in the context of bomb disposal and perhaps in situations where no example of the aeroplane survives (i.e. the recent recovery of a Dornier 17 from the sea).

‘This all raises an interesting question. What does being an archaeologist of the recent past mean now? Does “aircraft archaeology” amount to a “mis-use of the past”? It could be argued that such archaeology is complicit with an advocacy of nationalist ideologies that have (quite unchallenged) appropriated the memory of WW2 in Britain? How do we maintain our integrity as archaeologists in an increasingly polarised world?’
Such digs take many forms. One of my first editions of British Archaeology (which I only recently realised I’ve now been editing for 15 years) carried the excavation of a Spitfire crash-site on the cover (right). Well-meaning enthusiasts had taken heavy machinery to a place where a man had died, and it seemed to me it was not a dig that should have happened. At least one of my readers thought so too: my Dad, who’d been a rear gunner in Liberators in the Second World War. Addressing me as ‘Dear Editor’, he explained why he thought it was wrong to disturb war graves; I published the letter.
Much has since changed. Another English Spitfire crash-site (with no fatalities) was excavated by professional archaeologists in 2013, led by Richard Osgood FSA, senior archaeologist at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. We featured that in British Archaeology too. The project was one of several run by Operation Nightingale (of which Osgood is a co-director) designed to help men and women returned from military action in Iraq and Afghanistan recover from their experiences; it filled a lot of gaps in the story of a particular war incident. Digging for Britain itself (in series 4) showed the excavation of a Second World war Hurricane by Breaking Ground Heritage, a partner to Operation Nightingale that again works with the military community.
Please let Salon know what you think – not least if you have taken part in such work.


Simon Thurley FSA, one-time Curator of Historic Royal Palaces (1989–97) and Chief Executive of English Heritage (2002–15), has long had his own blog, but has now embraced the web with more ambition, with an example that other Fellows might usefully follow in respect of their own interests. He has launched, which he describes as ‘an encyclopaedic website about British royal residences’. He is also Tweeting and posting photos on the subject on Instagram, and you can buy signed copies of his Houses of Power (2017) from his eBay page. As he writes to Salon:
‘There is currently nowhere online that people can go to find authoritative information about royal residences from the Saxons to the present, or to find out quickly and easily about royal domestic architectural patronage. will eventually have nearly 150 place entries covering royal residences from Abingdon to York; most entries have an image and a plan in addition to explanatory text. The website has launched with the first 50 entries.
‘There will also be nearly 30 monarch entries for the greatest British royal architectural patrons – the website launches with ten, including one for Queen Elizabeth II. There will also be podcasts covering various thematic issues. The first podcast deals with the tricky issue of what is a palace? – and the answer is not “a royal residence”. Hopefully of use to the more scholarly-minded will be the bibliographies attached to each entry. All contributions or omissions in these will be gratefully received as will notification of errors spotted.’


Please note that the next Salon will be distributed on 29 January 2019. I will read all correspondence in the meantime, and though (as regular writers will know) I do not always have time to respond to every message, I will act on all as appropriate. In the meantime, I wish all readers an early happy Christmas and New Year. I doubt 2019 will be any less interesting than 2018.

Fellowship Subscription 

Subscription Rates for 2019

Council have agreed that the Fellows’ subscription for 2019 should increase by £6 to £178.00, having remained at the present rate for the last three years. The decision was taken in the light of RPI presently running at 3.5%, and it is forecast to remain at this rate in 2019. However, the Society continues to face considerable financial pressures outside its control and Council will need to take into account those pressures as well as the rate of RPI when determining future subscription rates.

The annual subscription will fall due for payment on 1 January 2019.

Christmas Cards

Our Society Christmas Cards are now on sale. 

The Society has a wonderful selection of Christmas cards for sale – each design inspired by items from our own library and museum collections. Visit the ‘Society Christmas Shop’ section of our online shop for a full list of available Cards.

To order Christmas Cards please contact us: Call +44 (0)20 7479 7080 / Email Pay online:

Sale of our Christmas cards for the festive season will end on Monday 17th December. 

Forthcoming Events for Fellows

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by visiting our YouTube Channel.

Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins, Communications Manager (

Introductory Tours for Fellows

If you've never visited Burlington House or had an introduction to the Library and Collections, please join an introductory tour. You'll meet the Society's staff, learn about your Fellowship benefits, and discover more from the collections at Burlington House. 

Forthcoming Public Events

Conferences and Seminars

Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.

Our public lecture series resumes in 2019,

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Events are not currently being organised, but you can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.

Welsh Fellows

  • 18 January 2019: The Davies Family of Llandinam with its Burry Dock connection, by David Jenkins FSA
  • 11-13 October 2019: Weekend visit to the Pembrokeshire area. Programme to be arranged.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.

York Fellows

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.

Other Heritage Events

13 December: Space: The Final Heritage Frontier (London)
Bryan Lintott, from the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, will give ICOMOS-UK's Annual Christmas Lecture. The UK’s Space heritage extends to Mars, where the Beagle 2 lander rests on the surface of the red planet. In recent years the Google Lunar XPRIZE and current plans for humans to return to the Moon have transformed theoretical academic interest in the many objects sent beyond the Earth and in their associated sites. Based on the history of heritage conservation in Antarctica, the lecture will consider options for the governance, management and in-situ conservation of space heritage, and the roles that the UK and ICOMOS could have in developing approaches to its conservation. Details online.

13–14 December: Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms (London)
The British Library is hosting an international conference with 22 leading experts in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts to coincide with its Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition (19 October–19 February 2019). Keynote lectures will be given by Lawrence Nees FSA, University of Delaware, and Julia Crick, King’s College London. Confirmed speakers include Catherine Karkov FSA, Simon Keynes FSA, Rosamond McKitterick FSA, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Susan Rankin FSA, Joanna Story FSA, Elaine Treharne FSA and Tessa Webber FSA. Details online.

14–15 December 2018: Interpreting and Preserving the Cultural Heritage (York)
A conference in honour of David Park FSA’s contribution to the study and preservation of Medieval art, at King’s Manor, University of York. Christopher Norton FSA and Sharon Cather FSA are keynote speakers, and other speakers include Jessica Barker FSA, Michael Carter FSA, Anna Eavis, Eric Fernie FSA, Sandy Heslop FSA, Francesca Piqué, Stephen Rickerby, Lisa Shekede, Géraldine Victoir, Paul Williamson FSA and Christopher Wilson FSA. Details online.

17 December: Playing with Your Food: Public Engagement through the Material Culture of Food and Dining (London)
Annie Gray will give the 2018 Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture at the University of Liverpool in London campus. Using case studies from Hampton Court Palace and Audley End House, the only two UK historic sites to use professional costumed interpreters on a food-based project, the lecture will see how working in period dress, with carefully chosen recipes and theoretically underpinned interpretive structures, can aid in the public understanding of historic themes as wide-ranging as the Victorian class structure, Tudor gender norms, and the birth of the global economy. Details online.

19 January 2019: New Insights into 16th-and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The ninth meeting of the New Insights series takes place at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly. Organised by Claire Gapper FSA and Paula Henderson FSA, the conference has the themes of Architecture on the Celtic Fringe, Timber, Plaster and Paint, Inigo Jones and Recreating the Antique, and Documents and Recovery. Speakers include Gerry Alabone FSA, Hentie Louw FSA, Nicholas Cooper FSA and Edward Town FSA. Details online.

28 January: Calouste Gulbenkian (1865–1955), Collector (London)
Jonathan Conlin, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Southampton, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
28 January: Domenico Brucciani and the Formation of Museums of Classical Archaeology (London)
A talk by Rebecca Wade, Assistant Curator for Sculpture, Henry Moore Foundation, Leeds, in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. A new PhD-led research group, Exploring the Institutionalisation of Archaeology, is examining the historical and contemporary intersections between archaeology, museums, and collections, hoping to bring to light hidden histories which shaped the discipline of archaeology. Details online.
30 January: The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth: History and Restoration (London)
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester created a remarkable garden at Kenilworth Castle in the 1570s. Perhaps the best recorded Elizabethan privy garden, it was at the heart of Elizabeth I’s long visit to the castle in 1575, and the subject of an ambitious restoration by English Heritage in 2009. The talk will discuss the garden and its significance, the research and investigation process that informed the project and the challenges and issues which were tackled in realising the re-created garden. The talk by Anna Keay, formerly Curatorial Director at English Heritage, now Director of the Landmark Trust, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Tickets can be bought for each lecture, or a discounted season ticket is available. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.

1– 3 February: Chapels Royal in England: Architecture, Music and Worship from the Middle Ages to the Restoration (Oxford)
This weekend at Rewley House will explore the English Chapel Royal from the Middle Ages to the end of the Stuart period. Starting with an introduction to the Medieval chapel royal, the programme consists of three pairs of talks by architectural historians and musicologists, each considering a different period, and will conclude with an examination of the importance of preaching in the 16th and 17th centuries. Speakers include Maurice Howard FSA and Rory O’Donnell FSA. Details online.
18 February: Plaster Casts, Restoration, and the Interpretation of Classical Sculpture (London)
A talk by Emma Payne, King's College London, in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. A new PhD-led research group, Exploring the Institutionalisation of Archaeology, is examining the historical and contemporary intersections between archaeology, museums, and collections, hoping to bring to light hidden histories which shaped the discipline of archaeology. Details online.
20 February: Oxford Botanic Garden: Past, Present and Future (London)
Oxford Botanic Garden, founded in 1621, is the oldest botanic garden in the UK. This talk will reflect upon the Garden’s history, its current status and challenges, and ambitious plans for the future as the Garden approaches its 400th anniversary. The talk by Simon Hiscock, Director of the Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Tickets can be bought for each lecture, or a discounted season ticket is available. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.

25 February: ‘Rich treasures of ivory carvings’: Francis Douce’s Network, Medieval Ivories and the Doucean Museum (London)
Naomi Speakman, Curator of Late Medieval Europe, The British Museum, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
27–28 February: Braving the Dragons: Art and the Archaeological Imagination (Aberystwyth)
This conference will explore the uncharted territory where art and archaeology meet. Leading practitioners will meet at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre to explore ways in which artists are inspired by archaeological methods and discoveries, and ways in which archaeology is, in many respects, an artistic endeavour. Carmen Mills, artist in residence with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, believes this is the first time that archaeologists and artists have met to engage in what she hopes will be a fruitful exchange of ideas that will help to define new fields of academic study and artistic practice. Speakers include Colin Renfrew FSA, Jennifer Wallace, Michael Shanks, Kate Whiteford, Julia Sorrell and John Harvey. Details online.
March (date TBC): Museums and Decolonisation (London)
A talk by Alice Procter, Independent Tour Guide, in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. A new PhD-led research group, Exploring the Institutionalisation of Archaeology, is examining the historical and contemporary intersections between archaeology, museums, and collections, hoping to bring to light hidden histories which shaped the discipline of archaeology. Details online.
6 March: Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Designs for the Gardens of Castle Howard (London)
Among documents formerly at Wilton House are four sketches for streams and rockwork attributed to Nicholas Hawksmoor, recently identified as projects for the garden in Wray Wood, Castle Howard. This naturalistic woodland garden was much admired by early visitors for its innovative features, including a cave, an artificial stream with cascades and rockwork, and much classical sculpture inspired by Ovid. Little now survives, but using these drawings and other records, a picture of the garden can be constructed, and Hawksmoor’s role in the design can be better appreciated. The talk by Sally Jeffery FSA, Architectural and Garden Historian, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Tickets can be bought for each lecture, or a discounted season ticket is available. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery, or 0208 994 6969.

23 March: William Somner, 1606-1669 (Canterbury)
A one-day colloquium at Christ Church University, including papers by Jackie Eales and Kenneth Fincham, will celebrate the life and work of this remarkable Canterbury scholar, and will be preceded by a display of his books and manuscripts in Canterbury Cathedral Archives. Details online. A two-part full life of Somner by David Wright FSA will be appearing in Archaeologia Cantiana in 2019 and 2020. For information and other enquiries please contact Wright at or visit

25 March: The Case of Leo Nardus (1868-1955): Reconstructing the Remarkable Career of a Major yet Forgotten Dealer in Old Masters (London)
Esmée Quodbach, Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief, Center for the History of Collecting, the Frick Collection, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
27 March: John Brookes: His Landscape Legacy (London)
John Brookes is most often associated with the ‘room outside’, the subject of his seminal book of 1969 inspired by his early work in small London gardens. This talk will demonstrate how over the subsequent 50 years he remained at the forefront of design by creating distinctive gardens and landscapes increasingly based on ecological principles and designing in harmony with nature and the local vernacular – without losing sight of his belief that a garden is a place for use by people. The talk by Barbara Simms, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.
April (date TBC): Scripting Spadework: Publishing Archaeology in the Late 19th and early 20th Centuries (London)
A talk by Amara Thornton FSA, Honorary Research Associate, UCL, the last in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. A new PhD-led research group, Exploring the Institutionalisation of Archaeology, is examining the historical and contemporary intersections between archaeology, museums, and collections, hoping to bring to light hidden histories which shaped the discipline of archaeology. Details online.

6 April: Exploring the Archaeology of Yorkshire Landscapes (Hull)
A Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society conference at the University of Hull, inspired by Tony Pacitto (1931–2003), archaeologist, air photographer, excavator, geophysicist and metal detectorist. The conference will be opened by Ian Stead FSA, and papers from Matthew Oakey, James Lyall, Peter Halkon FSA, Paula Ware, Marcus Jecock FSA and Tony Hunt will focus on landscapes within the East Riding of Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire, reviewing techniques for revealing archaeological sites from prehistory through to the medieval period, new insights into Iron Age chariot burials and the later prehistoric settlement of the Yorkshire Wolds. Details online.

10 April: Studying Orchards in Eastern England (London)
Orchards have formed an important part of our culture for centuries, but investigations of their history are hampered by persistent myths concerning the age of particular examples, and about the antiquity of the fruit varieties they contain. These issues are being addressed by a research project based at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. This talk will discuss the history of different kinds of orchard – farmhouse, institutional, commercial, and as elements in designed landscapes. It will also explore a range of related issues, including the age and origins of ‘traditional’ fruit varieties. The talk by Tom Williamson, University of East Anglia, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.

14–26 April: UK Archaeological Sciences Conference 2019 (Manchester)
The UKAS 2019 conference will take place in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB). Themes include site interpretation, cultural heritage resource management, trace element analysis and material sourcing, origins and spread of agriculture, health and disease, isotopes and subsistence strategies, imaging techniques, portable techniques and environmental archaeology and geoscience. Details online.

29 April: The Formation of Renaissance Taste in Early Victorian Britain: The Second Duke and Duchess of Sutherland as Collectors of Florentine Copies (London)
Giuseppe Rizzo, PhD candidate at the Rupert-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
20 May: Gotha’s Chinese Cabinet: Duke August’s Collection of East Asian Objects (London)
Emily Teo, PhD candidate at University of Kent and Free University of Berlin, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

1 July: A Woman of Taste: Mrs R A Workman’s Collection of Modern French Painting (London)
Frances Fowle, Professor of Nineteenth-Century Art, University of Edinburgh and Senior Curator of French Art, National Gallery of Scotland, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
29 July: ‘The Great Joss and his Playthings’: George IV as a Print Collector (London)
Kate Heard, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
30 September: ‘The Aura of Popularity’: The Rise and Fall of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in the Nineteenth-Century British Art Market (London)
Isabelle Kent, Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

28 October: Architectural Salvage from Cairo to London: The Pivotal Role of the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 (London)
Moya Carey, Curator of Islamic Collections, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and Mercedes Volait, Research Professor at CNRS, based at InVisu, INHA, Paris, speak in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

25 November: A ‘Fauve de la Curiosité’: The Hybrid Career of Edouard Jonas (1883-1961), Dealer and Curator (London)
Barbara Lasic, Lecturer in History of Art and Coordinator of Postgraduate Programmes, University of Buckingham, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

Call for Papers

14–26 April: UK Archaeological Sciences Conference 2019 (Manchester)
To submit an abstract for talk or poster format, find the UKAS 2019 abstract submission form online and send it by 21 December 2018 to

25 January: The Art of the Lost: Destruction, Reconstruction and Change (Canterbury)
A two-day conference will be held at Canterbury Cathedral in November 2019, offering the opportunity to explore how art changes, is reused or repurposed, disappears or is rediscovered over time, with a particular focus on art and architecture within the context of cathedrals and other places of worship. Submissions are invited on topics including, but not limited to, stained glass, graffiti, wall art, paintings, textiles , books, manuscripts and libraries, architecture and interior design, sculpture, monuments and tombs, church plate, new art making use of old or reacting to architectural settings, and photography and moving image. Proposals are welcomed from professionals, rising and established academic scholars and graduate students, with a deadline of 25 January. Further details from Sarah Turner, Collections Manager, and Heather Newton, Head of Conservation at, or by phone on 01227 862797.

22–24 March 2019: Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress 2019 (Glasgow)
The fourth annual Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress will be held at the University of Glasgow, founded in 1451 and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities in a city with some of the most impressive post-medieval and later-historical architecture in the world, and a long industrial history. The Congress is open to all to report current and recent research on any aspect of post-medieval/later-historical archaeology. We welcome 15-minute papers or poster displays from around the world. Short organised sessions of up to six papers set around a particular research interest or theme are also encouraged. Please send paper or poster proposals with a title and abstract of up to 150 words (session proposals should include a title and abstract, as well as a list of speakers) to by 11 January 2019. Details online.


The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is looking to appoint a Festival Coordinator for the 2019 Festival of Archaeology. Closing date for applications 10am, 17 December 2018.
Following a year off in 2018, the 2019 Festival of Archaeology will be back bigger and better, and will form part of the CBA's 75th anniversary. We are looking for an individual who has the enthusiasm and experience to work with event organisers and partners to showcase the very best of archaeology through two weeks of events held across the UK. The appointment will be on a fixed term contract to the end of July 2019. Details online.

The William Morris Society seeks a Magazine Editor, to be in place after publication of the Spring issue in February 2019.
The Magazine is published three times a year, and is the Society’s most comprehensive method of communicating with our membership. It includes features on Morris and his circles, and covers news and updates on the Society’s activities and Morris-related events.
We are looking for someone with editorial experience and a desire to communicate all aspects of Morris’s life and works, who can commission articles and manage members’ submissions. The post is unpaid, but travel and subsistence costs are reimbursed. Our hope is that the role will be filled by someone who can continue to inspire the wide appreciation of Morris’s multifaceted career, and foster fellowship between Society members. For more details contact the current Editor, Susan Warlow, Applications to

The Board of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is advertising for Trustees, a Treasurer and a President. Application deadline 5 pm, 2 January 2019.
Both the Museum and the Welsh Government are keen to ensure that the Board reflects the diversity of the people and communities of Wales, and would very much like to attract a diverse pool of candidates, of all ages and backgrounds, for these opportunities. See online for Trustees, the Treasurer and the President.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (, the Society's Communications Manager, 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 Danielle Wilson Higgins (, 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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