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Salon: Issue 299
3 June 2013

Next issue: 17 June 2013

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contribution that the Society's Fellows make to public life. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-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. News and feedback for publication in Salon should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
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Inside this issue

26 June 2013: Summer Soirée

At the Society's last meeting before the summer break, Fellow Janet Owen, whose biography of Sir John Lubbock has just been published, will talk about the relationship between Lubbock, Darwin and other prominent scientists of their day and examine the parts they played in promoting new ideas in the intellectual ferment that resulted from the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and Lubbock’s own Pre-historic Times (1872). Michael Archer, former conservator in the British Museum’s Clocks and Watches Department, will talk about the Society’s clocks, including the Benjamin Gray and Justin Vulliamy Regulator located in the Society’s entrance hall. Admission to the Pimm’s and wine reception that follows at 6pm is by ticket only (£10, from the Society’s Executive Assistant:

Back to the beginning of the report
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14 July 2013: Fellows’ Day at Kelmscott Manor

The year is flying by and there are less than three weeks left before the 21 June deadline for booking tickets for the Fellows’ Day at Kelmscott Manor on 14 July 2013. Tickets cost £15 (£7 for children under 16) and should be booked by contacting the Kelmscott Manor staff (

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Ballot results 16 May 2013

As a result of the ballot held on 16 May 2013, we welcome the following newly elected Fellows of our Society:
  • Alex Woodcock, stonemason and medieval sculpture specialist, Exeter Cathedral
  • John McNabb, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Archaeology, University of Southampton, specialising in the archaeology of human origins
  • Alexander John Marr, Lecturer in the History of Art, University of Cambridge, specialising in the scientific aspects of early modern art and architecture
  • Kenneth Brophy, Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Glasgow, specialising in aerial archaeology and the Neolithic of north-west Europe
  • Angela Gannon, Archaeological Field Investigator, RCAHMS, specialising in landscape archaeology and the Neolithic of the British Isles
  • William Zachs, independent scholar, editor and collector, specialising in Boswell and the first John Murray
  • Vicki Cummings, Reader in Archaeology, University of Central Lancashire, specialising in prehistoric chambered monuments and dolmens
  • Rodney Harrison, Lecturer in Museum and Heritage Studies, University College London
  • Helen Molesworth, Professor of Jewellery History, Haute Ecole d’Art et Design, Geneva
  • Richard Marriott, former Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, active in many heritage-related trusts.

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Ballot results 30 May 2013

As a result of the ballot held on 30 May 2013, we welcome the following newly elected Fellows of our Society:
  • Ambrogio Antonio Caiani, Lecturer in History, University of Oxford, specialising in the ancien régime and the Napoleonic era
  • David John Algar, archaeologist specialising in medieval and post-medieval ceramics and coins, co-editor of the Salisbury Museum Medieval Catalogue series
  • Kimberley Anne Stabler, archaeologist with the Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service, specialising in coin studies
  • Jaime Kaminski, Lecturer in Cultural Heritage Informatics, University of Brighton, and specialist in Roman Imperial armour
  • Faith Wallis, Associate Professor, Departments of History and Classical Studies and of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University, Quebec, specialising in medieval medicine, natural science and time-reckoning
  • David Heath, Architect, Chair of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, formerly Chief Conservation Architect at English Heritage and Head of its Cathedrals Team
  • Christopher Paul Butler, Director of Mid-Sussex Field Archaeology Team, author of numerous reports on the archaeology of East Sussex
  • Mark Lloyd Dunkley, Maritime Designation Adviser, English Heritage
  • Andrew Myers, Senior Planning Archaeologist, University of Salford, with research interests in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods
  • Jane Baile, Heritage Director, The Prebendal Manor, Nassington, Northants, which she has saved from demolition, excavated and restored.

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Kelmscott Manor: Conservation Management Plan

William Morris has many legacies — he is remembered as a revolutionary socialist, textile designer, interior designer, poet, novelist, translator, visionary, orator and printer, pioneer of the arts and crafts and vernacular architecture movements, and, perhaps most important of all, someone who articulated and promoted the principles that underpin modern conservation practice throughout the world. Many of these facets of William Morris’s life and achievements are embodied in Kelmscott Manor, which the Society has looked after now for fifty years. The Manor, the contents and the wider estate are all in need of sensitive repair and we face the challenge of raising the necessary funds and increasing income from the Manor while remaining true to Morris’s legacy and ensuring that the Manor’s special atmosphere is not compromised.

In defining the Manor’s significance and identifying the opportunities and constraints on what we can do with it in the future, the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is a first step towards working out how the Society will exercise its stewardship over the Manor in the next fifty years. It will become the reference point for future planning, and so it is very important that the plan should be arrived at by means of consultation and consensus, drawing on the enormous expertise that exists within the Fellowship with regard to Morris and his legacies, conservation practice and the management of historic properties open to the public.

The Society has thus published the draft CMP, along with a number of supporting documents, which are all available for downloading from the Society’s website along with a Consultation Comment Form. The consultation is open to all and the closing date is 14 June 2013.

Can you help the Society?

A second consultation was launched on 31 May, asking Fellows for their views on the Society’s activities and what they think the major issues are that the Society needs to focus on for the future. The survey also asks Fellows to identify ways in which they can help to promote the Society by giving lectures, arranging events, writing articles or website material or curating exhibitions. The deadline for responses is 21 June 2013.

Edward Harley — The Great Collector

Despite being an ideal candidate for Fellowship, Edward Harley (1689―1741) never became a Fellow of our Society, though he was greatly assisted in his book collecting by Humfrey Wanley and John Bagford, two of the Society’s founder members, and by his literary secretary, William Oldys, FSA, and he was the close friend and patron of the Society’s engraver, George Vertue. With their encouragement and using his wife’s huge fortune (he married Henrietta Cavendish-Holles, in her day the wealthiest heiress in Britain), he built on foundations laid by his father (the politician Robert Harley) to amass the largest private library in Britain, containing some 50,000 printed books, 7,639 manuscripts, 14,236 rolls and legal documents, 350,000 pamphlets and 41,000 prints. He bankrupted himself in the process, and the collection was sold at his death, the manuscripts being purchased for the British Museum’s (and now the British Library’s) Harleian Collection, while several volumes of British topographical prints and drawings were purchased by our Society. George Vertue subsequently presented a fine portrait of Harley to the Society, painted by the Swedish artist Michael Dahl (1659―1743), which will feature in the forthcoming catalogue of paintings in the Society’s collection when that is published in 2014.

Fellows thus have every reason to head for the Harley Gallery at Welbeck, near Worksop, over the next twelve months to see the exhibition that has just opened there, called Edward Harley — The Great Collector, following the ups and downs of Harley’s fortune, illustrated by examples from his spectacular collections of fine and decorative art and books. One of the exhibits is a larger version of Harley’s portrait by Michael Dahl in which he holds a medal struck with the bust of Queen Anne, perhaps in memory of his father who was her closest adviser. Harley wears a silk dressing gown with matching cap and scarf in the oriental style of his day, a match for the Iranian dagger of c 1550 that is displayed nearby, said to have been a gift from Suleiman the Magnificent to Henry VIII, decorated with white jade and emeralds and bearing the legend: ‘if you stab me a hundred times it is not as painful as losing your love; I cannot end my love for you’.

Harley bought the dagger from a sale of part of the great Arundel collection, from which also came the magnificent Arundel Cabinet (c 1630), arguably the highlight of the exhibition. Perhaps the Flemish ebony cabinet, decorated with paintings by Cornelis van Poelenburgh (1586―1667) and Bartholomeus van Bassen (fl 1613―50), appealed to Harley because its original owner, Thomas Howard, second earl of Arundel (1585―1646), had, like Harley, established the largest private library in England at the time.

Exhibitions in Florence and Paris this summer

Various Fellows have written commending various exhibitions that are worth seeking out if you are travelling this summer. At the Château de Versailles, The Treasure of the Holy Sepulchre is on until 14 July, showing 250 gifts given by European rulers to the Holy Sepulchre Treasury in Jerusalem during the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, as they strove to outdo each other in generosity. The exhibition is set in the Hall of Crusades, whose paintings have recently been restored.

In Florence, surely the must-see exhibition of the decade for anyone with an interest in early Renaissance art, is the one currently showing in the Palazzo Strozzi (until 18 August) called The Springtime of the Renaissance: sculpture and the arts in Florence 1400―1460. Rarely do you get a chance to see so much early Renaissance sculpture in one place (in this case all the more special because the place concerned is the place where the sculpture was made), enabling you to see the influence that Florentine artists had on each other as they competed for commissions and strove to outdo each other in technical and artistic innovation. If you miss the exhibition in Florence, it transfers to the Louvre in Paris from 23 September 2013 to 6 January 2014. And if you are visiting Florence, it is well worth seeking out another exhibition, Pope Leo X and Florence: a Medici from Cardinal to Pope 1475―1521 (until 6 October 2013) in the Museo delle Cappelle Medicee in the Basilica di San Lorenzo.

Above: visitors to this summer’s exhibition in the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, can debate the respective merits of the two panels depicting
The Sacrifice of Isaac designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377―1446) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378―1455) in a competition set up by the Florentine cathedral authority to find a designer for the bronze doors of the baptistery, both panels being regarded as so new and so radical as to mark the birth of the Renaissance in art and a decisive break with the Gothic art of the past. Ghiberti was judged the winner in 1401, but many art historians consider Brunelleschi’s work, shown here, to be the more innovative. Note, for example, the influence of classical sculpture in Abraham’s servant picking a thorn from his foot, based on the celebrated first-century BC Graeco-Roman bronze, Boy with Thorn, and Isaac’s nudity, a sign of the growing acceptance of the humanistic idea that the human body is a thing of God-given beauty, not a sinful prison for the soul.

Letter from Russia

From revolutionary art in one of the cultural capitals of Europe, we turn to what our Fellow Heinrich Härke calls ‘the backwoods of the Russian Federation’, in another of his vivid ‘Letters from Russia’, in which he asks ‘what factors determine issues in archaeological research away from Moscow and the other major centres?’, suggesting that ethnic and ‘national’ issues are of great weight in the formerly autonomous republics.

‘I recently visited Ufa, capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan, at the south-eastern tip of the Urals. This town of some 110,000 inhabitants, most of them Turkic Bashkirs of Muslim faith, has entire streets of wooden (often log-built) houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries preserved in the town centre. It is pleasing to see that wood is still used a lot in the construction of new houses, not just in the countryside, but also in the town’s residential suburbs.

‘A Soviet-period monument ― erected in 1957 on the site of an earlier hillfort (Ufa-1) and of the dynamited orthodox Smolenskij cathedral ― celebrates 400 years of Russian―Bashkir friendship. In a highly symbolic scene, it shows how Russians brought urban civilization to the horse nomads of the Bashkir kaganate. But friendship is hard to come by in Ufa these days between Russian and Bashkir archaeologists where the issue of urbanism is concerned. Archaeologists of the Bashkortostan Academy of Sciences (each republic has its own academy) have in recent years excavated the site of Ufa-2 within the town and identified it as an early medieval settlement of urban character. A senior Russian archaeologist at the National University of Bashkortostan has disputed this interpretation, pointing to insufficient evidence of urban features, the lack of associated artefacts, and the absence of radiocarbon dating. In response, he was barred from publishing with the Academy of Sciences, and the proponents of the urban hypothesis upped their claims: they have now suggested that the site dates to the seventh century AD, pre-dating even Novgorod the Great, and making the Bashkir nomads the earliest pioneers of urbanism in Eastern Europe!

‘A 300-mile coach trip north to Perm (there is no direct railway link from Ufa) moves us into different territory. We leave behind the undulating forest steppe that was the fourth-century BC homeland of the Sarmatians, some of whose descendants ended up, centuries later, on Hadrian’s Wall (although this is an oversimplification of a complex ethnic and cultural history). The southern Urals had been nomad territory from late prehistory to the early modern period. But north of Bashkortostan, the expansion of the First Turkic Kaganate (fifth to seventh centuries AD) petered out in the forested hills of what is now the Perm kraj (region). Here, Turkic nomads pushing north to control the trade routes from, and along, the mineral-rich Ural Mountains encountered Finno-Ugric farmers and hunters. From the fourteenth century onwards, Russian settlers from the west added their culture and genes, and the expansion into this region of the Russian state in the seventeenth century determined the cultural and political trajectory thereafter. The resulting coexistence and mix of physical types is strikingly clear in the locals getting on and off the coach during our ten-hour trip, and the cultural mix shows in the archaeological evidence on display in the Perm Municipal Museum.

To the early medievalist, the most impressive legacy has to be the Perm Animal Style. Found on bronze pendants and bone plaques deposited mainly on “ritual” sites, and therefore only tentatively datable to the sixth to eleventh centuries AD, its enigmatic ― and occasionally spooky ― images of human faces and figures on birds, or of birds with fish heads protruding from their shoulders, betray their origins in shamanistic beliefs.

‘Perm itself is a bustling industrial town of one million inhabitants, continuing in a post-Soviet fashion the mercantile tradition of the trading and mining town established here in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries on the banks of the River Kama, a tributary of the Volga. A tour of the city centre shows that little of the wooden architecture of the nineteenth century has been preserved here; where it still exists on the outskirts, it is almost invariably in a state of decay and neglect, which is shocking to the western observer. Privately owned wooden houses, of whatever date or architectural significance, are not protected or scheduled in any way, so owners can do with them as they please, and many clearly prefer to replace them with stone buildings or sell the land for the industrial development that is rampant on the outskirts of town.

‘Economic, financial and mining colleges figure prominently among the many institutions of higher education. Archaeology is taught at one local university, the Perm University of Humanities and Teaching, as part of the history curriculum, a feature characteristic of archaeology teaching at most Russian universities. The archaeologists here report no major conflict over ethnic or religious issues (Perm has a Muslim minority), and they are in charge of much of the fieldwork in the region because there is no local branch of the Academy of Sciences. Their expeditions gather archaeological as well as ethnographic evidence, and the latter is often used in the interpretation of the former ― a typical component of Siberian and Arctic archaeology, and similar to approaches in northern Scandinavia and Canada. In the Perm region, this tradition goes back to local antiquaries and collectors of the second half of the nineteenth century, among them members of the famous Stroganoff family.’

Auckland Castle opens with grand ambitions

Auckland Castle, historic home of the bishops of Durham, and its collection of works by the Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán, have both featured in Salon in the past because of plans by the Church of England in 2010 to sell the building and the paintings. Philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer then stepped in to buy both for £11m and donate them to the Auckland Castle Trust and the Zurbarán Trust. The Art Newspaper now reports that the castle grounds opened to the public last month, and a major restoration programme is under way that will see a further £39m spent on the castle, including the creation of a permanent gallery that will contextualise the Zurbaráns with exhibitions of art from Europe from the same period, between 1625 and 1650.

Planning for the first show is under way: Sacred Encounters: the pinnacle of Counter-Reformation art in Europe will feature seven works, including three pieces by Jusepe de Ribera, painted around the same time as the Zurbaráns. Ruffer is working closely with the Bowes Museum, plans to buy further work for the Zurbarán Trust and believes that becoming known as somewhere to visit for Spanish Golden Age paintings could usefully contribute to the visitor economy of Bishop Auckland and the north east. The Heritage Lottery Fund announced its support for the project in May, potentially to the sum of £10m, including £1m in development funding.

Humour in archaeology

Salon 295 reported on the launch of the HumArch website dedicated to publishing examples of humour in archaeology. The response to Salon’s appeal for contributions has been very positive. Fellow Tania Dickinson, for example, has contributed the first of a number of ‘archaeological ditties inspired through my early medieval interest’ composed in the 1970s, including this pointed clerihew:

Undue stress has been laid on
The Battle of Badon;
If Gildas had been born in another year,
We might have had none of “this ‘ere”.

Fellow Ian Burrow, now Vice President and Principal Archaeologist with Hunter Research, Historical Resource Consultants, based in Trenton, New Jersey, once showed flair as a playwright and has contributed three examples of his early work: Svard, written during a season at Cadbury Congresbury in the 1970s, plus The Celtic Miscellany and Volkerwanderungzeitung, composed, says Ian, ‘in the playful environment generated at Birmingham by Philip Rahtz, with whom I was doing my PhD in 1972―5’. Philip not only acted in these dramas, he also contributed some of the jokes (eg, What does an Anglo-Saxon phone sound like? Answer: burh-burh…burh-burh).

Our late Fellow Philip Rahtz features on the website for a second time in the form of his witty deconstruction of the language of archaeological reports, published in 1975 in an article in Antiquity 47 (pp 59―61), called ‘How Likely is Likely?’

Also on the HumArch site is a link to ‘Hobley’s Heroes’, where anyone who dug at Trig Lane in the mid-1970s or some of the other sites being excavated around the City and East End of London at the time will be able to wallow in nostalgia through the pages of the diggers’ magazine (named after our Fellow Brian Hobley, then Director of the Museum of London’s Department of Urban Archaeology) and the albums of photographs taken by Christine (Chrissie) Milne.

The HumArch site is well worth visiting on a regular basis: promised for future postings are extracts from the spoof Festschrift produced to mark the fortieth birthday of our Fellow Harvey Sheldon called Southwark: my part in its downfall, and from the York Archaeological Trust’s staff magazine, Yatter, which was edited in its early days by our Fellow Arthur MacGregor.

Request for help with survey on public engagement in commercial archaeology

Fellow Dominic Perring would like to ask Fellows who work in commercial archaeology in the UK to complete a short online survey on public engagement. The survey forms part of a research project, run through the UCL Centre of Applied Archaeology (of which Dominic is Director) and UCL Advances (UCL’s centre for entrepreneurship). The aim of the project is to examine the challenges that commercial archaeologists face incorporating public outreach into their projects. The project’s Research Associate, Hilary Orange, is happy to answer questions about the project. The survey closes on 30 June, after which the results will be released online and through various email lists.

Mortimer Wheeler on film

Salon 292 reported on the lecture given by Fellow Joe Flatman at the British Film Institute on the early days of archaeology on TV and the humour, intentional and otherwise, in the small number of extracts from 'Animal Vegetable Mineral' that have survived. Those episodes can now be seen on the BBC 4 website, where twenty-three programmes, originally broadcast between 1954 and 1974, have been posted up for general viewing, nearly all of them featuring Sir Mortimer Wheeler. They include episodes from his ‘Armchair Voyage: Hellenic Cruise’ series (effectively a TV version of his guided tours for Swan’s Hellenic Cruises), and Wheeler’s accounts of his own excavations at Mohenjo-daro, in Pakistan, and at Stanwick St John, in Yorkshire, dug during the Festival of Britain celebrations in 1951 in search of the Iron Age stronghold of the Brigantes.

Stonehenge petrography re-appraised

Stonehenge seems to have been eclipsed in the popular imagination, at least temporarily, by all the excitement about Richard III, but research is continuing in the background, especially on the continuing debate about where the distinctive bluestones came from. The latest paper on this subject, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, by our Fellows Richard Bevins and Rob Ixer, has gone right back to the source, as it were, and re-examined the work of Herbert Henry Thomas, who published the now-famous paper in the Antiquaries Journal in 1923 (Vol 3, pp 239―60) in which he stated that the bluestones used in the construction of Stonehenge were identical to rocks in the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire.

Thomas was an eminent geologist, who worked for the Geological Survey of England and Wales, served as Secretary of the Geological Society of London from 1912 to 1922 and as Vice-President from 1922 to 1924; he was awarded the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society in 1925 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 12 May 1927. Using the techniques available to him at the time, he determined that the so-called ‘spotted dolerites’ could be petrographically matched to a small number of outcrops at the eastern end of the Preseli Hills, and especially from the prominent outcrop known as Carn Alw.

For their new paper, Bevins and Ixer have re-examined the original specimens used by Thomas using the more advanced geo-chemical techniques that they have helped to pioneer that allow for much more precise matching of rock samples to their source, and the results ‘argue strongly that Carn Alw was not the source of the Stonehenge rhyolites’. Ruling out one source is part of the larger process of eliminating the candidate outcrops and narrowing them down. Craig Rhos-y-felin, to the north of the Preseli Hills, has already been identified as a source of some of the rhyolitic debitage in the Stonehenge landscape, but both authors admit that there is a long way to go and that many uncertainties still surround the precise provenance of the orthostats.

The theft (and return) of an Irish medieval font

Fellow Roger Stalley writes to report on a spate of thefts of medieval sculpture in Ireland, though this particular incident has a happy ending. The group of men who stole the fifteenth-century octagonal font shaft from the ruined church at Rathmore (Meath) some time between 16 April and 10 May 2013 seem to have thought better of it. They returned in the hours of darkness early in the morning on 16 May in two jeep-like vehicles to unload and return the shaft; they may regret their change of heart because they were spotted and the vehicle registration numbers were reported to the police.

Rathmore is one of three distinctive manorial churches erected by the Plunket family in the fifteenth century. The bowl of the font, which was made of a separate piece of stone, has long been missing. The shaft was described at length by the late Helen Roe in her book The Medieval Fonts of Meath (1968) and many photographs of it were taken by the late Edwin Rae of the University of Champaign-Urbana (now online on the Gothic Past website, launched by Trinity College Dublin in 2012 with the aim of providing an extensive visual record of Irish medieval churches and their monuments). Made of a single block of stone, 55cm high, the shaft is carved with figural subjects set in ogee niches, including the Baptism of Christ, Saints Peter and Paul, and Christ showing His Wounds.

Roger says that there have been a worrying number of other thefts from Irish churches in recent years, many involving metal artefacts that were presumably targeted for their metal value, the most serious of which was the removal of the twelfth-century bronze shrine of St Manchan from the church of Boher (Offaly), though this too was recovered within a couple of days.

The National Trust’s ABC Bulletin for May

The Spring issue of the Arts, Buildings and Collections Bulletin is now up on the National Trust’s website and it is, as ever, full of interesting reports, starting with an article by the Trust’s tapestry expert, Helen Wyld, on the Cambridge Tapestry Company, and the two fine tapestries they created in the 1930s for the first Lord Fairhaven (1896―1966), who bought Anglesey Abbey, Cambs, in 1926. The first tapestry (shown left) depicts Anglesey Abbey with the Cambridgeshire landscape stretching away to the horizon, dotted with villages and landmarks all conscientiously labelled, while the second is based on Lord Fairhaven’s coat of arms.

There is a report by Martin Papworth, National Trust Archaeologist for the South West Region, on the Napoleonic-era signalling station that he recently excavated, set among a group of four Bronze Age barrows at Golden Cap, west Dorset, the highest cliff on England’s south coast, but being eroded so rapidly that the barrows will all be gone within fifty years.

Ham House, in Surrey, is the subject of three reports: Barry Sorrell, Horticultural Volunteer with the Trust, writes about the restoration of the seventeenth-century Wilderness Garden; our Fellow David Adshead reports on the discovery of a seventeenth-century carpenter’s drawing, possibly for a staircase or gallery, and he invites further thoughts from readers about what it shows; and our Fellow Christopher Rowell introduces the National Trust’s new monograph on Ham House, published by Yale University Press to mark the 400th anniversary of one of Europe's most important grand houses.

Call for papers: New Insights into Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century British Architecture

The fourth conference on ‘New Insights into Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century British Architecture’ will be held on Saturday 25 January 2014, at the Society of Antiquaries in London. Proposals in the form of short abstracts (up to 250 words) are invited for papers of 30 minutes in length and should be sent to Paula Henderson and/or Claire Gapper by mid-August 2013. While the emphasis remains on new developments in architecture, proposals are welcomed on related themes, such as decorative arts, gardens, sculpture and monuments. The final programme will be announced in September.

Call for papers: Measuring the Benefits of Industrial Heritage Tourism

The 2013 ERIH Annual Conference, to be held on 18 to 20 September 2013 in the Ruhr region of Germany, will examine the impact of industrial heritage tourism through papers on research, visitor surveys and other methods for measuring the benefits. The conference language is English; presentation summaries (no more than one page) should be emailed by 28 June 2013.

Call for papers: TAG-on-Sea

The 35th annual meeting of the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) will be hosted by the Archaeology and Anthropology Group in Bournemouth University on 16 to 18 December 2013; details are now available on the group's website. As always it will be delightful cocktail of theory, practice and performance relating to archaeology across the world. The annual Antiquity Lecture will this year be given by  Professor Michael Brian Schiffer (University of Arizona, USA). Anyone wishing to propose a session, a paper or a poster will find the submission arrangements on the website. The Organizers would also welcome inquiries from anyone wishing to take a display stand or exhibition space.

ICCROM course on Conservation of Built Heritage 2014: application deadline 1 July 2013

Full details of the fourth ICCROM course on the conservation of the built heritage, which runs from 28 February to 30 April 2014 in Rome, can be found on the ICCROM website. The two-month course, delivered in English, is open to a maximum of twenty participants with at least four years of experience actively involved in the conservation of the built heritage. Those in a position to carry the messages of the course to a broad audience (for example, trainers who are able to reach a large audience over time) are especially encouraged to apply.

News of Fellows

Congratulations to our Fellow Raghnall Ó Floinn, who has just been appointed as Director of the National Museum of Ireland. Raghnall joined the Museum in 1976 as Assistant Keeper in the Antiquities division, a post he held until 2003. As Head of Collections he then took overall responsibility for the care and development of the collections and for research. Raghnall has an MA in Celtic Archaeology, from University College Dublin, and his special interests include medieval reliquaries and relic cults, decorated metalwork, the history of collections and the archaeology of the early Viking Age in Ireland and of the early medieval Irish Church.

On the other side of the Atlantic, our Fellow Stuart Pyhrr has been appointed Distinguished Research Curator at the Metropolitan Museum, on his retirement from the post of Curator in Charge of the Arms and Armor Department. Our Fellow Thomas Campbell, the Met’s Director, paid tribute to Stuart’s ‘twenty-five years of extraordinary accomplishments as head of the Museum’s Department of Arms and Armor’, during which he had organised exhibitions on The Art of Chivalry, Liechtenstein: The Princely Collections, Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance, Warriors of the Himalayas: rediscovering the arms and armor of Tibet and the Art of the Samurai: Japanese arms and armor 1156—1868. He supervised the renovation of the Metropolitan Museum’s Arms and Armor Galleries — a space of 10,000 square feet in which 1,200 objects are currently displayed — including the creation of two galleries of Japanese arms and armour.

Stuart is currently overseeing the preparation of two major catalogues — one on the department’s outstanding collection of sixteenth-century English armours made in the Royal workshops at Greenwich, and the other on highlights of the Museum’s extensive holdings of Islamic arms and armour — both of which are scheduled for publication in 2014—15.

Essex County Council Field Archaeology Unit merges with Archaeology South East

After more than two years of negotiations, Archaeology South East (ASE) has completed the acquisition of the former Essex County Council Field Archaeology Unit (ECC). Our Fellow Dominic Perring, Director of Archaeology South-East, explained that ‘the Essex County Council unit has been at the forefront of archaeological research in East Anglia for nearly forty years, but changes in the way in which Essex County Council delivers local services encouraged the Council to find an external organisation able to take over the operation. The ECC has now become part of the Institute’s Centre for Applied Archaeology, which provides professional archaeology services under the name of Archaeology South East operating from offices in London and Sussex as well as the new Essex office.’

ASE and ECC have been working together on the ‘Roman Essex’ project for the best part of a decade; the main report on this project will be published later this year by Dominic Perring and Martin Pitts as Alien Cities: consumption and the origins of urbanism in Roman Britain.

The ASE team has expanded considerably in the last five-years under Dominic Perring’s direction and this acquisition is part of a planned programme of growth designed to support a comprehensive range of specialist services. The combined unit now has more than sixty permanent specialist staff in addition to a large team of short-contract field staff and, as an integral part of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, the ASE team also draws on the expert support of Europe’s largest university-based archaeology department.


Corrections first: the ISBN number given in the last issue of Salon for James Graham Campbell’s Festschrift was wrong: the correct ISBN is 9789004235038. Our Fellow Professor Emerita Alison Stones (not Stone) is the curator of this summer’s exhibition on the fifteenth–century Cistercian abbey at Cadouin, in the Dordogne.

On the question of women in archaeology, Fellow Mark Gardiner says that it is not true that ‘only one of the UK’s leading archaeology departments [has] a woman as head’; Mark reminds us that our Fellow Professor Audrey Horning is head of the department at Queen’s University Belfast. Fellow and Society Treasurer Stephen Johnson says that the list of women in top heritage jobs is far longer than Salon suggested. He cites an unbroken run of National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund Chief Executives (Georgina Nayler 1989 to 1995; Anthea Case 1995 to 2003; Carole Souter 1993 to present), not to mention HLF Chairs (Liz Forgan and Jenny Abramsky) and English Heritage Chief Executives (prior to Simon Thurley: Jennie Page, Pam Alexander and Carole Souter).

Fellow Sarah Buckingham, Head of Heritage Protection Reform at English Heritage, writes with a small but important correction to Salon’s report on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. Salon said the Act’s measures ‘include the requirement for List descriptions to state which parts of the heritage asset are significant and which parts can be regarded as not being of special architectural or historic interest’. In fact, says Sarah, ‘list descriptions will be able to state which parts of the heritage asset are not of significance. The Government has been careful to cast this as a negative, as it is not possible to describe definitively everything that is of significance in the case of many complex buildings (the average medieval parish church, for example) ― certainly not without the list description becoming a rather turgid and unhelpful exercise.

‘Attempting to define everything that is of interest would also carry the risk that anything not mentioned, for whatever reason, might be viewed as being of no significance. The power that is being granted under this legislation, therefore, is for the listing description to state that any part of the building or a curtilage structure is not of special interest with statutory force and that the part or structure so identified will not be subject to the requirement for listed building consent. The reform is intended to clarify the extent of special interest for a given building so that listed building controls are applied only where appropriate.’

Fellow Joe Flatman, Head of Central Casework and Programmes in the English Heritage Designation Department, adds a further comment: twice the Salon report said that the new act imposed a ‘requirement’ for List descriptions to define the significance and extent of the listing: ‘here in EH Designation we’d suggest that rather than being obliged to do this in all cases, we are empowered to do it where appropriate; as such the legal definition is of benefit to all concerned. This is a small but important positive distinction!’.

Responding to Salon’s report on the newly published book, Curating Human Remains, Nick Brannon wonders whether the question of who owns human remains has ever been addressed. ‘I understood that, legally, nobody can own a body/human remains’, he says, ‘and I have long been fascinated by the implications of this and the absence of legal guidance, which has the effect of placing formal museum curation in statutory limbo ... it also has implications for the question of who “owns” Richard III’s bones, and who therefore decides where he is to be reburied.’

Nick adds that His Honour Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC was faced with exactly this question at the trial in 1998 of Anthony-Noel Kelly, a British artist who was found guilty of the theft between 1991 and 1994 of the dissected remains of up to forty bodies from the Royal College of Surgeons, which he had then used to make moulds for his sculptures. In this case he was found guilty and sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment because of a landmark ruling by the trial judge, who ruled that human remains used for medical research could be classed as property, and were therefore stolen in this particular case. Kelly was, as a result, the first person ever to be convicted in England for the theft of body parts.

Finally, Fellow Dai Morgan Evans reminds us of another reason why Fellows should support the campaign of our Fellows Paula Henderson and Claire Gapper for continued access to Prince Henry’s Room. During the seventeenth century, the building was known as the Fountain Inn. As well as being visited by Samuel Pepys (on 14 October 1661), Dai says that ‘this is the sole surviving meeting place of the early Society of Antiquaries before the provision of rooms at Somerset House. The White Bear, the Young Devil, the Mitre and our rooms above the gateway in Chancery Lane have all gone but the Fountain lives on! The fact that it was the meeting place of the “Whig” rather than “Tory” antiquarian society may prejudice some Fellows against it (for more on the Society’s early meeting places, see my paper in the Antiquaries Journal, Vol 89, pp 323―35; the Tory v Whig aspect emerged subsequent to that study).’


3 June 2013: ‘Quinlan Terry: classical architecture today’, 6.30pm at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Award-winning architect Quinlan Terry has championed classical architecture throughout his career; in this talk he discusses the relevance of classical architecture today using examples of his work in the UK and overseas. £15 (including wine reception); to book call 020 7942 2277 or see the V&A website.

4 June 2013: ‘Travellers to the Cape of Good Hope: two mythical representations’, a talk by our Fellow Sir Malcolm Jack, 5.30pm, in the Bloomsbury Room (G35), Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; for further information on this seminar in the Reception of British and Irish Authors in Europe series, contact the convenor, Dr Elinor Shaffer FBA.

4, 5 and 6 June 2013: The Lambeth and Maidstone Bibles re-united. The Lambeth Bible, a giant illuminated Bible of the mid-twelfth century, is one of the finest examples in this country of Romanesque book illustration and one of the greatest treasures of Lambeth Palace Library, where it has been since 1610. The second volume of the Bible, separated from it during the sixteenth century and only identified in 1924, is now at Maidstone Museum. By kind permission of Maidstone Museum, both Bibles will be on display in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace for just two days, offering an historic opportunity to see the two manuscripts together for only the second time since the Reformation. Viewing is free and open to all, but please book in advance, giving your name, contact details and choice of day and time (Wednesday 5 June at 11am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3pm; Thursday 6 June at 11am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3pm). Access at these times is via the main Gatehouse of Lambeth Palace (SE1 7JU, opposite Lambeth Bridge), where a register of names will be kept.

In conjunction with the display, our Fellow Christopher de Hamel will give a lecture exclusively to the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library at 3pm on Tuesday 4 June in the Great Hall, Lambeth Palace, entitled ‘Who commissioned the Lambeth Bible?’. To join the Friends, see the Library’s website.

18 June 2013: ‘“A fine lot of old velvet”: the re-use of historic textiles in country house interiors’. This conference is to be held at Waddesdon Manor in association with the current exhibition, Sacred Stitches: Ecclesiastic Textiles in the Rothschild Collection. Our Fellow Michael Hall, author of Waddesdon Manor: the biography of a Rothschild house), will give a paper called ‘Souls and Saints: historic textiles and the Aesthetes’. Other speakers include Emma Slocombe on the textiles at Knole, Helen Wyld on the display of historic tapestries at Hardwick, Cotehele and Waddesdon, Birgitt Borkopp-Restle on medieval textile collecting in the nineteenth century and Ulrich Leben on the use of historic fabrics in late nineteenth-century interiors.

Further details from Pippa Shirley, Head of Collections at Waddesdon Manor (the Rothschild Collection).

28 June 2013: Risky Business? Risk management in development-led archaeology, the FAME Forum 2013 will take place at the Merchant Taylors Hall, York. The Forum is supported by York Archaeological Trust, and includes free entry to the Trust’s visitor attractions throughout the weekend. Advance booking is essential: see FAME’s website for the full programme and booking details.

1 and 2 July 2013: ‘The Shared Cultural Milieu of Charles Darwin and Samuel Butler: science and literature in the nineteenth century’, a conference organised by Thomas Glick and Elinor Shaffer, co-editors of The Cultural and Literary Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe, to be held in the Divinity School, St John’s College, Cambridge. Registration and programme details are available via the Project office.

5 to 7 July 2013: The Archaeology of Jersey: our Fellow Robert Waterhouse is organising this conference on behalf of the Société Jersiaise, which offers a rare opportunity to learn more about Jersey’s unique archaeology and some of the exciting archaeological research that has been carried out there over the last few years. The President of the Société Jersiaise, Neil Molyneux, will open the conference with a paper on ‘100 years of archaeology in Jersey: the work of the Archaeology Section, 1913―2013’, and a number of Fellows will be speaking, including John McCormack on Jersey’s vernacular architecture, Margaret Finlaison on the archaeology of St Helier, Jill Cook on Jersey within Palaeolithic Europe, Matthew Pope on the Quaternary Archaeology and Environment of Jersey Project, Heather Sebire on the relationship of the Channel Islands to France and Britain in later prehistory, and Robert Waterhouse himself on the Iron Age and Roman Settlement in Jersey Project. See the website of the Société Jersiaise for full details.

20 to 22 September 2013: Transformation and Continuities in the Eleventh Century: the archaeology of the Norman Conquest. The Society for Medieval Archaeology’s autumn conference, to be held at the University of Nottingham, will examine the wider impact of the Norman Conquest and look at the broad question of changes in the eleventh century, both in England and elsewhere. Speakers will consider the full range of material remains, including landscapes, burial practices, settlements, buildings, fortifications, churches, towns and artefacts. Our Fellow Richard Morris (University of Huddersfield) will give the opening keynote lecture on ‘Hastings, Battles and Archaeology’. For further information, see the SMA website.

Pen and Sword Archaeology seeks authors

Pen and Sword Books, known to many Salon readers as publishers of books on maritime, military, social and local history, and with a popular ancient history list, has recently launched ‘Pen and Sword Archaeology’ to re-publish classic books in the field that are no longer available (for example, The Present Past: an introduction to anthropology for archaeologists, by our Fellow Ian Hodder) or to publish new and original titles (such as Darwin's Apprentice: an archaeological biography of John Lubbock, by our Fellow Janet Owen).

As a result the publisher is keen to hear from potential authors of books of antiquarian and archaeological interest, including works dedicated to the lives and work of antiquaries, including single biographies, group biographies, diaries and collections of letters. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, or would like any more information on the imprint, please contact Eloise Hansen.

Lives remembered: Paul Courtney, FSA

The funeral of our Fellow Dr Paul Courtney, who died on 22 May 2013, will take place at 2.15pm, at Gilroes Crematorium, Groby Road, Leicester LE3 9QG, on Monday 3 June 2013. There will be a reception afterwards at the Guildhall, Guildhall Lane, Leicester LE1 5FQ. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Cancer Research UK c/o A J Adkinson & Son Funeral Directors, 12 London Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5DG, tel: 0116 2712340).

Lives Remembered: Malcolm Parkes, FSA

Salon’s editor is very grateful to our Fellow David Ganz for the following obituary.

Malcolm Parkes, FSA, died on 10 May 2013 at the age of eighty-three. He had been a Fellow of Keble College from 1965 to 1997, teaching Old and Middle English. He also taught palaeography to generations of Oxford graduate students, in recognition of which he was appointed to a personal Chair in Palaeography.

A student of Neil Ker, the finest English manuscript scholar since Wanley, he wrote the authoritative account of English cursive book hands, and his terminology and analysis have shaped countless editions of Middle English texts. His book Pause and Effect: an introduction to the history of punctuation in the West, was a superbly lucid treatment of a standard feature of all manuscripts that had seldom been explored, memorable for its plates showing how the same passage was punctuated in different ways at different dates and how that revealed the various ways in which it was understood. His Lyell lecture series, ‘“Their hands before our eyes”: a closer look at scribes’, not only offered a substantial prosopography of English scribes and the manuscripts they copied, it also revealed how palaeography could develop from giving names to different scripts to exploring the process of copying and the ways in which scribes envisioned the scripts which they chose to write.

All of his books had exemplary glossaries, demonstrating a precision of terminology derived from a deep understanding of how best to put into words what a palaeographer sees and how he understands it. And his lavishly illustrated Catalogue of the Manuscripts of Keble College set a very high standard for the cataloguing of manuscripts.  His work with Ian Doyle on the earliest manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales remains a classic, as does his lecture on ‘The scriptorium of Wearmouth-Jarrow’.

Malcolm had an international reputation and was elected to the Comité international de paléographie latine in 1986 and as a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 1992; as visiting Professor, he taught in Konstanz, Minneapolis and Harvard. He was tremendously generous with his time, patiently and carefully helping countless pupils and colleagues to express themselves more clearly and effectively. Never content with descriptive palaeography, he asked new questions and succeeded in answering them in ways that made the study of manuscripts at once more insightful and more exciting.

The Architecture of Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral is a building with which many Fellows are involved — indeed this book opens with a picture of our Fellow Martin Biddle standing in what looks like Canterbury Cathedral in ruins rather than the church we know, with the nave floor removed and the apse of the Anglo-Saxon church exposed, thanks to excavations directed by our Fellows Paul Bennett and Kevin Blockley in 1993. It was in that year, too, that the author of this guide, Jonathan Foyle, now Director of the World Monuments Fund Britain, became assistant to John Burton, Surveyor of the Fabric at Canterbury Cathedral. The knowledge that Jonathan gained then of the building in all its details shines through in the story that he tells, plentifully illustrated with crisp and informative photographs, of a cathedral whose heritage and antiquity has been an influence on the way the building has evolved. Where other great cathedrals have had their earlier structures pulled down to make way for new work, often replacing with airy Gothic the heavier structures of the Norman period, Canterbury’s Romanesque seems to have been held sacrosanct, seen as symbolic of the Augustinian mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Roman Catholicism.

Everyone knows the dramatic climax of that story: the murder of Becket in the cathedral resulted from centuries of tension over an issue that can be traced to the early days of the Conversion Period when Rome’s missionaries found it expedient to forge mutually supportive alliances with Anglo-Saxon rulers, leaving it to another day to work out whether it was the prerogative of the Church to sanction kings or kings the Church. But neither the fire that gutted the choir four years after Becket’s death nor the vast amounts of money that flowed into Canterbury’s coffers when pilgrims flocked to Becket’s shrine, resulted in a complete rebuilding. Instead the result was the happy marriage of Romanesque and early Gothic that Jonathan calls ‘Romanitas’, arguing that this was a stronger political and intellectual force in church architecture in northern Europe than has been recognised.

He finds evidence for Roman influence in such details as the style of the nave columns and capitals, the opus Alexandrinum floor of the Trinity Chapel, where Becket’s shrine once stood, incorporating stone salvaged from the ruins of classical buildings in medieval Rome as a gift from the papacy, and above all the cathedra, the archbishop’s chair. Fellow Matthew Reeve has now shown that this was made in 1203—4, but so convincingly did it mimic an ancient style, harking back to the simplicity of early Christian examples, that subsequent generations thought it genuinely dated from Augustine’s age and revered it as a symbol of the pedigree of Canterbury and its long association with Rome.

The Architecture of Canterbury Cathedral, by Jonathan Foyle; ISBN 9781857597011, Scala, 2013

Books by Fellows: Art and Authenticity

That question of 'what is genuine' is explored in this compellingly readable book edited by our Fellow Megan Aldrich, of Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and Jos Hackforth-Jones, examining the concept of authenticity in art and the impact that our beliefs about a work have on the perceived cultural and monetary value. Authenticity, it emerges, is not a black and white concept, but a spectrum of values, and the case studies in this book provide an insight into the ways in which art historians, faced with any work, go about establishing when it was made, by whom, in what context, what it depicts, what materials it employs and how it might relate to other works of art of the same period, workshop, artist or school.

The book includes some high-profile cases, such as that of La Bella Principessa, controversially attributed to Leonardo da Vinci by the distinguished scholar of that artist’s work, Martin Kemp, but it is not solely concerned with pictorial works of art: there are chapters on ceramics, which have risen stratospherically in value thanks to Arab and Chinese collectors keen to recover their heritage, on textile and costume, also beginning to be very collectable, on furniture and on antiquities. But this is no guide to spotting fakes and copies; it is concerned just as much with the value systems inherent in the concept of authenticity and how our responses differ according to whether we think we are looking at something old and original or more recent or derivative: think, for example, of how the Gothick, neo-Gothic and Gothic Revival have gone from being derided to admired and cherished (eg St Pancras) in the lifetimes of many Salon readers, or think how Horace Walpole treasured such artefacts as a lock of hair that he thought came from the head of Mary Tudor, a hat that he believed to have belonged to Cardinal Wolsey or the comb that he treasured as having once belonged to the Anglo-Saxon saint, Queen Bertha.

A chapter devoted to the work of Coggeshall-based carver and cabinet maker Ernest Beckwith (1872—1952) illustrates this problem well, asking whether we dismiss as ‘inauthentic’ the very fine Tudor-style church pulpits, choir stalls, chancel screens and memorial boards that he made, or the large quantities of new carving that he produced for the National Trust when the merchant’s house called Paycocke’s was restored in 1908—9? And does it effect our judgement to know that Beckwith was not a revivalist inspired by Morris and Arts and Crafts thinking, but a ‘bread and butter’ cabinet maker, just doing what a small workshop in Coggeshall had always done?

Authenticity, in the sense of ‘genuinely what it purports to be’, turns out to be a much more elusive concept than one might think, and one that has been a central concern of artists themselves for more than a century, starting with Marcel Duchamp’s porcelain urinal submitted for exhibition as a work entitled Fountain in 1917. In this sense, the concepts of art and authenticity collide in ways that today’s artists have greatly enjoyed exploring (several have become rich in the process and have even been elected as Royal Academicians).

When Damien Hirst’s works are produced in industrial quantities by anonymous hired hands in a former textile mill in Chalford, near Stroud, the question of authenticity has to be redefined, and the editors of this book suggest that we think in terms of the authenticity of a concept; the best analogy for this is a musical performance, which is not felt to be any the less authentic because somebody other than the composer interprets the score. That may be so, but even here there are shades and degrees: tickets for Led Zeppelin’s reunion concert in 2007 changed hands for tens of thousands of pounds: those for tribute bands, no matter how good, sell for less than twenty.

Art and Authenticity, edited by Megan Aldrich and Jos Hackforth-Jones, ISBN: 9781848220980, Lund Humphries, 2013

Books by Fellows: If Hitler Comes

Fellow Gordon Barclay has also written a book about the difference between perception and ‘reality’. The implication in the title, ‘If Hitler Comes’, is that ‘we are ready for him’, but the story Gordon tells shows just how far from prepared Britain was in 1939 for a German invasion that was widely held to be imminent. Indeed, Gordon quarrels with Dame Vera Lynn’s statement that the British army was ‘the finest in the world’ by showing how untrained and ill-equipped it was at the outbreak of the Second World War, with a rigid command and control structure that was ‘a recipe for delay and lethargy’.

For saying so then, Gordon would have been regarded as one of the Fifth Columnists widely held to have been parachuted into Britain, agents in disguise whose task was to spread uncertainty and panic, undermining morale and making the invasion task easier. Among the well-chosen pictures that illustrate this book is one that looks like a still from an Ealing Studios comedy, depicting the murder of a member of the Home Guard by a Nazi spy disguised as a governess pushing a pram from which ‘she’ pulls a concealed gun; fortunately the photograph shows a training exercise rather than a real event.

As time went on, the defensive arrangements became more serious and organised. The book interweaves the story of what was planned by way of stop lines, barriers and pill boxes with an account of what survives today by way of physical evidence. Gordon writes with a Goon-Show sense of humour, one that sees the hand of Neddie Seagoon in much that was done (his picture of a Orkney Type 22 variant pillbox is captioned ‘a candidate for the least effective pillbox of 1940—1’, while another is unconvincingly painted to look like a pile of wood). He is only echoing comments that were made at the time for, as one anonymous GHQ civil servant reported, most pill boxes were potential death traps, badly sited and of limited value.

Of limited value for defence, perhaps, but of great interest to the archaeologist and social historian, not least those tank cubes that have contemporary graffiti in the form of names, dates, hearts and arrows and caricatures. One of them, carved with the words ‘Hitler’s Graveyard’, shows that somebody believed the defences would be effective. Perhaps then the main achievement of all these pillboxes and concrete barriers was to reassure the civilian population that ‘If Hitler comes’ Scotland was, indeed, at the ready.

If Hitler Comes: preparing for invasion, Scotland 1940, by Gordon Barclay; ISBN 9781843410621, Birlinn, 2013

Books by Fellows: War Underground: memoirs of a Bevin Boy in the South Wales coalfield

Meanwhile in Wales sixty years ago Michael Edmonds was selected as one of the army conscripts who spent their war years working in a coal mine ― the so-called Bevin Boys, named after Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour and National Service in the wartime coalition government, whose speech announcing the scheme said: ‘we need 720,000 men continuously employed in this industry; this is where you boys come in. Our fighting men will not be able to achieve their purpose unless we get an adequate supply of coal’. Released from four years of toil in the South Wales coalfield in 1947, Michael wrote a memoir of his time in the mines, which has been edited by our Fellow Peter Wakelin, Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, and published by the South Wales Record Society.

Peter says the book is ‘an insightful, informative and often moving memoir’, which should have been published long ago (by Methuen) had not the author set it aside to pursue his career first as an architect with the Greater London Council and then, after moving back to Wales in 1984, as a highly regarded artist.

There is more information on the website of the South Wales Record Society, and the BBC website has an interview with Peter in which he talks about the book.

Books by Fellows: Excavations at South Mimms Castle

The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, founded in 1855 ‘for the purpose of investigating the antiquities and early history of the Cities of London and Westminster and the Metropolitan County of Middlesex’, has seen a revival of the Society’s Special Report series, after an eleven-year hiatus, under the editorship of our Fellow John Schofield. The latest volume, Special Paper 16, reports on the motte-and-bailey excavations at South Mimms undertaken by the late John Kent in the 1960s.

Fellow Derek Renn, along with Anthony Streeten and a cast of several other Fellows, have done a good job in bringing the important results of this excavation together, along with the documentary evidence for the castle’s most likely builder, Geoffrey II de Mandeville, between 1136 and 1143. It is, in other words, a product of the Anarchy, and it is noteworthy that de Mandeville secured consent for the castle’s construction from both Stephen, who created de Mandeville first earl of Essex for his support, and Matilda, who was perhaps seeking to attract Geoffrey away from the king; she was successful in that he rebelled in 1143, but no other lord joined him and he suffered the consequences. The large quantities of pottery found during the excavation, being the products of such a short-lived occupation, are therefore very useful for establishing a fixed chronological point for dating ceramics in the region north of London.

Excavations at South Mimms Castle, Hertfordshire 1960—91, by John Kent, Derek Renn and Anthony Streeten; ISBN: 9780903290661, LAMAS Special Paper 16, 2013

Books by Fellows: The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture

This is a much enlarged and extended edition of the book (long out of print) that our Fellow Malcolm Thurlby originally published in 1999, now in a larger format with some 400 colour illustrations of the sculpture itself and of potential sources, and a history of the Anarchy in Herefordshire by our Fellow Bruce Coplestone-Crow.

Malcolm Thurlby has spent many years investigating the Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, which produced a vibrant and distinctive body of carvings between c 1134 and 1155, working in the days of the Anarchy on or near the front line between the opposing factions supporting Stephen and Matilda. The book explores the school’s chronology and development, the work and careers of the main sculptors, the role of their patrons, their sources and the degree to which they were influenced by metalwork, wall paintings and illuminated manuscripts. The author also discusses the interpretation of the images in some detail, looking at the extent to which the imagery reflects the Anarchy and the involvement of the School’s patrons as border warlords.

The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, by Malcolm Thurlby; ISBN 9781906663728, Logaston Press, 2013

Books by Fellows: A Corpus of Early Medieval Inscribed Stones and Stone Sculpture in Wales. Volume III: North Wales

Fellow Nancy Edwards is the principal author of this third and final volume in the corpus of inscribed stones and stone sculpture in Wales dating from the period AD 400 to 1150. It provides fresh insights and new interpretations of more than 150 monuments, many of which have been found since V E Nash-Williams’s Early Christian Monuments of Wales was published in 1950. The introductory discussion analyses the historical and archaeological context of the monuments, earlier research, geology, form and function, ornament and iconography and the language and lettering of the inscriptions, as well as cultural connections, dating and chronology. The well-illustrated catalogue provides more detailed descriptions and analyses of individual monuments.

Nancy says of the book: ‘Inscribed stones and stone sculpture form the most prolific body of surviving material evidence for early medieval Wales; in particular, memorial stones, inscribed in Latin or Old Irish ogam (or both), dating from the fifth to seventh centuries and commemorating the elite of Welsh society, are crucial to our understanding of the degree of continuity with preceding Romano-British culture, Irish settlement and the evolution of the early Welsh kingdoms, as well as the Welsh, Irish and Latin languages, literacy, and the development of the church. Cross-carved stones and more ambitious sculpture, including freestanding crosses and cross-slabs, sometimes with inscriptions, date from the seventh century onwards; these monuments allow us to identify a range of early medieval ecclesiastical sites within a wider landscape and trace the patronage of the church by the secular elite. They also provide evidence for the impact of external cultural contacts with the Irish Sea zone, Anglo-Saxon England and further afield.’

A Corpus of Early Medieval Inscribed Stones and Stone Sculpture in Wales. Volume III: North Wales, by Nancy Edwards, with contributions by Jana Horák, Heather Jackson, David N Parsons and Patrick Sims-Williams; ISBN 9780708325506, University of Wales Press 2013

Books by Fellows: Wroxeter, the Cornovii and the Urban Process. Volume 2: Characterizing the City

The names of the brothers Chris and Vince Gaffney on the cover, along with those of Fellows Roger White and Arnold Baker, signal that this book results from the project set up in the mid-1990s to undertake the most ambitious and intensive campaigns of geophysical survey ever carried out on a Roman town, the site of the Roman city of Viroconium Cornoviorum at Wroxeter, in Shropshire. This volume is the final report on that Wroxeter Hinterland Project, covering work done during the years 1994 to 1997, when a complete plan was produced of the city itself, using magnetometry, resistance, GPR and various other more experimental survey techniques, using the site as a geophysical laboratory.

This volume reports on the archaeological interpretation of that work, marrying the extensive geophysical data with a detailed analysis of the aerial photographic record largely created by Arnold Baker during the 1950s to 1980s. The resulting work is the first insula by insula description of all the visible buildings in the town, the first time that this has been attempted for a Romano-British town, and one of the few attempted anywhere in the Roman Empire. The analysis has enabled a complete reinterpretation of the historical development of the town, linked to its hinterland and to wider questions about Roman urban development. The volume also contains detail of small-scale excavations carried out since 1999, many in previously unexplored areas, thus completing the publication of all outstanding archaeological work at the monument.

Wroxeter, the Cornovii and the Urban Process. Volume 2: Characterizing the City, by R H White, C Gaffney and V L Gaffney with A Baker; ISBN 9781905739615, Archaeopress, 2013

Books by Fellows: Currency and Exchange in Ancient Pompeii

The publication of this book by Fellow Richard Hobbs is well timed given the strong interest being shown in the British Museum’s current exhibition on Pompeii and Herculaneum. The book throws useful light, for example, on some of the graffiti in the exhibition, scratched into plaster walls, such as that from a Pompeian bar suggesting that the staff might be available for encounters of a sexual nature: ‘Acria sold herself for 4 asses’, says one scrawl while Prima Donna (‘First Lady’) could only command 1.5 asses, despite her name. To get an idea of what these figures meant, the price list in another Pompeian bar featured in the exhibition says ‘good wine at 1 ass, better for 2 and Falernian [the best] for 4 asses’, so Acria sold herself for the equivalent of a decent glass of red (assuming it had not been diluted: a third graffito warns passers-by that the landlord was a drunkard who ‘drinks the wine and serves water to his customers’, while a fourth advises travellers to ‘eat bread in Pompeii but drink in Nuceria’ ― today’s Nocera, on the inland side of Vesuvius.

Richard’s book reviews this and other evidence for Pompeii’s economic life, such as the price of goods and services, the activities of bankers and moneylenders, and the ‘live’ coinage left behind by those fleeing the volcano. It is based on an analysis of one of the largest assemblages of coins found so far from below the AD 79 destruction layer, consisting of some 1,500 coins found during the ten-year-campaign of the excavation of Regio VI, Insula 1 by the Anglo-American Project in Pompeii (AAPP). The range of coins found, from mints across the Mediterranean, reflects Pompeii’s wide-ranging trade connections, but of equal interest is the number of local imitations, many unique to Pompeii. A full catalogue of the AAPP assemblage and the ‘Bathhouse hoard’ is included, with illustrations of many of the coins.

Currency and Exchange in Ancient Pompeii, by Richard Hobbs; ISBN 9781905670413, Institute of Classical Studies, 2013

Books by Fellows: Delftware in the Fitzwilliam Museum

Eighty-five years after James Whitbread Lee Glaisher (1848—1928) died, bequeathing 6,000 pieces of European pottery and forty-one notebooks to the Fitzwilliam Museum, in Cambridge, our Fellow Michael Archer has heroically tackled the task of cataloguing the English and Irish Delftware that makes up the majority of the collection. In this he was aided by Fellow Julia Poole, who has provided the biography of Glaisher, the eminent astronomer and mathematician, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was a collector of, in addition to ceramics, late medieval sculpture in wood, samplers, Valentines and children’s books (and, although he did not collect ethnographic material himself, he provided the funds in the 1920s that enabled the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography to purchase important examples of South American pottery, North-west Coast Indian artefacts and the museum’s gigantic Haida totem pole).

The beautifully designed and laid-out catalogue begins with an introduction to the making of Delftware, illustrated by engravings from Diderot’s Encyclopaedia of 1756. It then goes on to describe the collection by shape, decoration and chronology. Chargers, dishes and plates form the largest part of the collection, providing a large and relatively flat surface for the makers to exercise their pictorial art, and a number of examples are illustrated alongside the contemporary engraving that may well have provided the source for charmingly naive depictions of monarchs, Biblical scenes, leaves, fruit flowers, houses, landscapes and hunting scenes and not least — reminding us that Delftware ultimately owes its character to attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain — orientalised scenes.

There is much to enjoy in this book, even for a non-specialist, and it will no doubt serve as the basis for many future analytical studies of design influences, popular taste, the development of ceramic technology, the products of different potteries, from Lambeth to Liverpool, and not least the influence of this material on the Pre-Raphaelites and on our own William Morris.

Delftware in the Fitzwilliam Museum, by Michael Archer; ISBN 9781781300022, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2012

Books by Fellows: The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon

Fellow Stephanie Dalley seems to be making a bid for best-seller status with the intriguing title of her work, and she has so far enjoyed generous media coverage for a book that is far better written and far more scholarly than the sort of book that is usually published with the word ‘mystery’ in the title or with blurbs that promise an ‘exciting story of detection involving legends’ and a ‘dramatic and fascinating reconstruction’.

Stripped of the hype, this is a genuinely gripping account of the author’s decipherment of a seventh-century BC cuneiform inscription in which a garden is described that matches later descriptions of the Hanging Garden of Babylon, the earliest in date of the seven ‘wonders’ that ancient Greek travel writers recommended as ‘things to see before you die’. Antipater of Sidon, the second-century BC author who claimed to have seen the hanging garden, must have been indulging in literary licence if Stephanie Dalley’s account is correct, for she argues that the gardens were sacked and destroyed in 612 BC. Writers such as Antipater, and, long after him, Philo of Byzantium ‘the Paradoxographer’, who wrote a lengthy description of the gardens in the fourth century AD, have misled us with their fictions — so much so that scholars who have unpicked their works have almost given up and concluded (like Irving Finkel in his chapter on the gardens in our Fellow Peter Clayton’s 1988 book, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) that the gardens themselves never existed, which would be odd given that the other six wonders are all attested, even if only one, the Great Pyramid of Giza, still exists in anything like its original form.

It has been too tempting in the past to attribute the gardens to Nebuchadnezzar and to Babylon because of the sheer narrative appeal of his story, but the intriguing fact remains that he was a ruler who left numerous inscriptions proudly describing his building works, and there are many genuine first-hand descriptions of Babylon, and there is not a trace of evidence among any of them for the existence of gardens in that city, hanging or otherwise.

In fact, as Stephanie demonstrates, the hanging gardens did exist, but they were built by Sennacherib, King of Assyria (705—681 BC), for his palace garden at Nineveh and they truly deserved the status of world wonder. Built in a theatrical hemisphere, rising up the terraced slopes of an artificial hill, they were fed by water brought to the site by means of canals, tunnels and aqueducts. An innovative irrigation system (using Archimedean screws that perhaps ought now to be renamed Sennacheribian screws) was used to raise the water through the garden terraces and to feed artificial springs set amongst the pavilions, carvings, grottoes and garden groves. Not that the evidence for this garden has only just been found: some of it, including a depiction of the garden and of the aqueduct carved in relief in the North Palace at Nineveh, has been known since the mid-nineteenth century, but such has been the fixation with Nebuchadnezzar that Sennacherib’s garden has been dismissed as a ‘precursor’ to the ‘real’ hanging garden.

An Appendix to Stephanie’s book contains the crucial evidence, in the form of a translation of the text in which Sennacherib, writing in the first person, describes his rebuilding of the city and his creation of the gardens surrounding his palace which he says he laid out as a ‘wonder for all peoples ... imitating the Amanus mountains ... [planted] with all sorts of aromatic plants, orchard fruit trees’, etc. It is a powerful piece of writing, full of revealing information about the quarrying and transport of stone and the felling of forests, land reclamation and flood defences, the use of slaves, ship building, metal casting, brick making, alabaster carving and much more. If this, and much else in the book, is already known to those who specialise in the period (and Stephanie says in her conclusion that ‘from detailed articles already published, the attribution of the Hanging Garden to Sennacherib at Nineveh has now been accepted by many scholars’), the non-specialists among us can only be grateful for such an enjoyable introduction to the history and archaeology of ancient Assyria.

The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: an elusive world wonder traced, by Stephanie Dalley; ISBN 9780199662265, Oxford University Press, 2013

Books by Fellows: Thomas Smith of Derby (1721—67): pioneer of the Picturesque

Fellow Trevor Brighton argues in this book that William Gilpin’s aesthetic treatises on landscape did not mark the start of Picturesque art, and that Thomas Smith of Derby, a self-taught provincial artist, was certainly painting ‘picturesque’ and ‘sublime’ works before such terms were codified. Smith was not neglected in his own day (admirers included George Vertue, Richard Gough and Thomas Grey) but has slipped out of the canon; the author makes a strong case for rewriting art history to restore Thomas Smith to his proper place and to give the credit to the Peak District, not the Wye Valley, as the inspiration for the Picturesque style of landscape painting. Quite apart from that argument, the pictures reproduced in Trevor Brighton’s book, are of enormous documentary value, showing as they do such buildings as Wingfield Manor, Chatsworth, Haddon Hall, Kirkstall and Fountains abbeys, Kenilworth and Tynemouth castles, and a number of newly landscaped aristocratic parks and gardens as they were in the 1740s and 1750s.

Thomas Smith of Derby (1721—67): pioneer of the Picturesque, by Trevor Brighton; Bakewell and District Historical Society (further details from the Old House Museum in Bakewell), 2013

Books by Fellows: Christians and Jews in Angevin England

Taking as its starting point the suicide and murder of Jewish men, women and children in York's Clifford’s Tower, to which they had fled for safety, on the night of 16 March 1190, Fellow Sarah Rees Jones and Sethina Watson have brought together eighteen papers exploring the causes and consequences of this and the many other attacks on Jews that took place across England in the years 1189 and 1190.

In their introduction, the editors pay tribute to our late Fellow Barrie Dobson, saying that ‘every chapter in this volume owes a debt to his singular contribution to writing the history of the massacre and of medieval English Jewish communities more widely’ via his essays in The Jewish Communities of Medieval England (1974). To set that tribute in context, one has to understand the conspiracy of silence surrounding the massacre, one that was only broken when representatives of England’s Jewish and Christian communities unveiled a memorial plaque at the Tower on the 800th anniversary; only since 2010 has the event been acknowledged in the guidebook to York Castle.

Much commentary on anti-Jewish violence has trodden a well-worn path, pointing to the role of medieval Jews in money lending and to the popular beliefs concerning ritual child murder. This book shows that the causes were far more complex and that English Jews were the scapegoats for multiple grievances, including strained relations between northern lords and the Crown: Richard I’s decree stating that all Jews were under his personal protection did more harm than good by providing the means by which those opposed to the monarch could show their contempt and their anger at the heavy exactions made upon them to fund the Third Crusade, a crusade that further fanned the flames of anti-Jewish hatred all over Christian Europe.

The book dwells, as it must, on the dark side of human nature, but what also comes across, written between the lines, is the remarkable degree to which England was multi-cultural until this time, and the degree to which Jews had, until then, existed as neighbours, business partners, tradesmen, tenants, landlords and financiers to the Christian community; and it has to be said that many leading members of England’s Christian communities were appalled by the massacres, doing what they could to intervene and offer a refuge to local Jews against the murderous mob.

Christians and Jews in Angevin England: the York massacre of 1190, narratives and contexts, edited by Sarah Rees Jones and Sethina Watson; ISBN 9781903153444, Boydell for the York Medieval Press, 2013

Books by Fellows: Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England

Jane Austen wrote novels that are full of gentle humour, playing with people’s ideas of class and propriety. In her own time, the subtleties and nuances of her text would have been understood and enjoyed, but, as time has gone on, we have gradually lost a sense of what her finely tuned words and situations tell us about her characters. Riding to the rescue come our Fellows Roy and Lesley Adkins, whose very readable new book provides a compendium of background information about Jane Austen’s England so that when she writes, for example, about the clothing worn by her characters, or the duties and income of a parish rector, we have a much clearer idea of the weight of meaning that lies behind her apparently artless words.

As with their other recent best sellers, Jack Tar and Trafalgar, what makes this book so valuable and readable is the extensive use made by the authors of contemporary letters, diaries, newspaper reports, advertisements, concert programmes and more. The irritatingly wrong-headed generalisations and unsupported assertions that fill so many popular histories are replaced here by the precision of quotations that tell the story better than any paraphrase, in the language, spelling and punctuation of the time: the art of the Adkins is to read very widely, choose their quotations very well, and set them in a well-thought-out structure that here addresses such themes as marriage, class and ‘breeding’, childhood, fashion, church services, superstitions, wealth, work, leisure, transport, medicine and health and death.

As we approach the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s own death (18 July 1817), there will be hundreds of books, no doubt, clamouring for attention, but few will be as genuinely informative as this one, sending you back to read Jane Austen’s novels with the ability to see so much more of what literary critics like to call her ‘sub text’.

Roy and Lesley Adkins will be giving talks at various festivals and events throughout the summer, including the Cheltenham Science Festival, on 7 June 2013, a book launch talk in the Museum of Somerset at Taunton on 19 June 2013, in the Great Hall, where Jane Austen’s aunt was tried for shoplifting! (tickets are £8 each, available from the Museum of Somerset), at the Telegraph ‘Ways With Words’ Festival at Dartington, Devon, on 12 July 2013, and at the West Meon Festival of Books, in the heart of Jane Austen country, on 13 July 2013. You can see details of other festival appearances on the Adkins’s website and sign up for their informative and entertaining Occasional Newsletter, issues of which are almost a book chapter in themselves on diverse historical and archaeological subjects.

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England: how our ancestors lived two centuries ago, by Roy and Lesley Adkins; ISBN 9781408703960, Little Brown, 2013

Books by Fellows: special offer on Late Roman Silver: the Traprain Treasure in context

This book by Fellows Fraser Hunter and Kenneth Painter was reviewed in Salon 293 and the authors gave a lecture to the Society on this subject on 16 May 2013, which you can watch by going to the Lecture Archive pages of the Society’s website. The lecture gave an insight into the latest research into this specific example of ‘hacksilber’ treasure, and to such finds more generally, suggesting that they do not represent metalworkers’ hoards or the proceeds of raiding, but consist rather of payments made to friendly allies north of Hadrian’s Wall for military services.

The book in which all of this is discussed at greater length, along with an analysis of some of the magnificent late Roman tableware from which the hacksilver was derived, is already good value at £50 for 492 well-illustrated colour pages, but even better value is the discount that the publisher, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, has extended to the Fellows of our Society. Making sure to identify yourself as a Fellow of this Society, you can order the book for £45, plus £3.95 p&p, by post or by sending an email to Erin Osborne-Martin, Managing Editor at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, who will arrange for payment to be made by credit card over the telephone.


English Heritage, Chair
Salary £40,000 for two days a week; closing date 10 June 2013

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has begun the search for a successor to Baroness Andrews as Chair of English Heritage. The priorities facing the organisation are to increase income from commercial activities and to work with property owners, local authorities and voluntary bodies to promote the role of the heritage in stimulating economic growth. The recruitment process is being managed by Gatenby Sanderson, whose website has further details.

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