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Salon: Issue 314
17 February 2014

Next issue: 3 March 2014

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

Library closure

Burlington House and the Library will be closed all day on Monday 3 March 2014 for a special event for the Friends of Kelmscott Manor.

Forthcoming meetings

Tea is served from 4.15pm, and meetings start at 5pm

20 February 2014: ‘From Ark to the New Ashmole: collecting and cataloguing sculpture at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, by Jeremy Warren, FSA
In this paper, Jeremy Warren will share some of the insights that he gained during the many years he spent working on the Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum 1200—1540 (to be published in three volumes early in 2014). With more than 500 entries, this will be one of the most significant museum sculpture collection catalogues to be published in many years. The origins of the collection lie in ivories, alabaster carvings (many exhibited at the Antiquaries in 1910) and plaquettes collected by the Tradescants in the early seventeenth century and given by Elias Ashmole in 1683. Other objects come from the eighteenth-century antiquary Richard Rawlinson, while the core of the collection is made up of the Renaissance sculpture collected by Charles Drury Fortnum, a former Vice-President of our Society. Acquisitions made in recent years have complemented the achievements of these earlier collectors.

27 February 2014: ‘Aldborough: new perspectives on the Roman town of Isurium Brigantium’, by Martin Millett, FSA, and Rose Ferraby
The Roman civitas capital of the Brigantes was the subject of considerable archaeological work in the nineteenth century, but has since been little explored. Recent survey work on the site deploying geophysical survey methods provides important new evidence for the planning and development of this key urban centre. In addition, the work has also provided insights into the structure and purpose of its nineteenth-century exploration. This lecture will provide the first full discussion of the new work and its results.

6 March 2014: ‘Entering the Lists: writing a history of the tournament in Europe’, by Sydney Anglo, FSA
The word ‘tournament’ is a generic term that, over the centuries, comprised several different modes of contest, on horse and on foot, with lance, sword and poll axe. There has long been a consensus about the general lines of its development — beginning with mock combats scarcely less violent than warfare itself, then a gradual amelioration of violence as the encounters attracted spectators with changes in armour and weaponry (which affected fighting techniques). All this led to the development of widely accepted rules and limitations, safety precautions, easily regulated modes of fighting and a tendency to incorporate combats within romantic, allegorical scenarios.

Few scholars have accepted that serious ‘mock-fighting’ continued long after the death of Henri II in the Paris Tournament of 1559, and even fewer have been sympathetic to the way in which the tournament’s original chivalric content was absorbed within literary, balletic and musical entertainments that increasingly took place within theatres rather than in the lists. Yet the tournament, although a pan-European phenomenon, did not proceed at the same tempo in all countries and did not evolve uniformly. This paper will examine the various ways in which scholars have tried to make sense of all this, and will finally pose the question: ‘is it possible to construct a general history of the tournament?’. (The answer is ‘yes’!)

13 March 2014: ‘Controlling the Carlow Corridor during the Middle Ages’, by Linda Doran, FSA
The Carlow Corridor in the eastern midlands of Ireland contains an important early roadway, the Slígh Culann, along with a number of associated roads and the navigable Barrow and Nore rivers. In addition some of the best agricultural land in the country is in this region. The control of the Corridor, its communication route ways and its agricultural resources, was important to Gaelic Irish lords, the Vikings, who had two longphuirt (defended ports) in the area and to the later Normans. The latter developed a number of commercial towns along the route way, among which was New Ross, founded by William Marshal. This paper, based on a survey funded by the Heritage Council of Ireland, will examine the settlement and control of this Corridor in the Middle Ages, showing that the struggle for the command of this area mirrors the political and military fortunes of the various groups contesting its domination.

20 March 2014: ‘When Prehistoric farming begins: new insights from Kingsmead Quarry’, by Alistair Barclay, FSA, and Gareth Chaffey
Investigations at Kingsmead Quarry (Berkshire) have produced new insights into social change and habitation from the fourth to the second millennia BC. Over a period of 2,000 years this landscape was transformed from one of small timber houses — the dwellings of pioneer farmers associated with small-scale agriculture — to one where farming was organised on a grand scale.

The (so far) unique discovery of four early Neolithic houses on a single site provides new information on architecture, households, sequence and connections with other parts of Britain. There is also evidence to suggest overlap with mortuary monuments — houses of the living and the dead. Lasting for perhaps no more than 200 years, these houses, and perhaps this way of life, fade from the known archaeological record. A focus on dwelling is replaced by attention to monument building, occasionally on a grand scale, along with enigmatic pit digging and burial.

During this long period of time the traces of habitation and farming become less tangible. However, the less detectable evidence for investment in the land and its tenure may only be apparent by the sudden large-scale reorganisation of the landscape into a system of farmsteads and farms during the middle centuries of the second millennium, a process that may well have preserved past methods and attitudes to land use, marking and ownership.

York Fellows’ meeting, 18 March 2014

The next meeting of the York Fellows group will take place at 6pm at York St John University, in the Skell Building, Room SK/128, and will take the form of a Fellows’ evening, consisting of ten-minute papers from Fellows Vin Davies (‘Prehistoric stone implements from central Cumbria’), Peter Halkon (‘The Nunburnholme Community Heritage Project: new discoveries — including spectacular geophysics of a new Bronze and Iron Age, Romano-British and possibly Anglo-Saxon settlement’), Gill Jones (‘From Soay sheep at Butser to Neolithic cattle at Eton’), Ailsa Mainman (‘16—22 Coppergate: defining a landscape’), Terry O’Connor (‘Writtle, Essex: a pit full of birds?’, about King John's Hunting Lodge, feasting and the preparation of different game birds for the table) and John Toy (‘English saints in the medieval liturgies of Scandinavian churches’).

The evening will conclude at 8pm with a meal in a local Indian restaurant. Please let York Antiquaries Hon Secretary Stephen Greep know if you a) intend to come along to the meeting and b) come for the meal afterwards.

Ballot results: 13 February 2014

We welcome the following new Fellows of the Society, elected in the ballot held on 13 February 2014:

Stephen Nevil Kemp, Senior Archaeologist for the Environment Agency
Has led numerous excavations on Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age and World War II coastal and estuarine sites; has a special interest in the Palaeo-Mesolithic, excavating at Boxgrove, Vale of Pickering, Pontnewydd, Little Hoyle, Klithi, Grotte XVI Dordogne and Verberie.

Denise Allen, Archaeological Tour Operator and Finds Specialist
Author of numerous reports on Roman to modern glass in Britain, Hon Secretary of the Association for the History of Glass and Deputy Director of Andante Travels, the leading archaeological tour operator.

Daniel Pett, ICT Adviser, Portable Antiquities Scheme and the British Museum
Has worked for the Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure (British Museum) since 2003; created the award-winning PAS website documenting over 826,000 objects found by the public in England and Wales; trustee of the Palestine Exploration Fund and a member of several trans-Atlantic numismatic projects.

Lydia Carr, Archaeological and Historical Curator and Editor, Chicago History Museum
Has made a considerable contribution to the archaeological historiography through her biography of Tessa Verney Wheeler (2012) and her many contributions to journals and festschrifts.

Ross Balzaretti, Associate Professor in History, University of Nottingham
Has published widely on medieval and Italian history, including Dark Age Liguria (2013), Victorian Travellers, Apennine Landscapes and the Development of Cultural Heritage in Eastern Liguria (2011), Narrative and History in the Early Medieval West (2006) and Ligurian Landscapes (2004).

Michael Markham, Consultant
Leading geoscientist specialising in the petrology of prehistoric stone artefacts and the provenancing of stone tools using petrographic and geochemical methods; currently developing a research methodology for characterising prehistoric stone tool quarries and manufacture sites in Shetland.

Andrew Crisford, Horologist
Specialises in the work of Abraham-Louis Breguet; curator of the retrospective exhibition of the work of our late Fellow George Daniels in 2006; Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 2001.

Krish Seetah, Lecturer, Stanford University
Leading zooarchaeologist researching butchery, tool use, technological change and the exploitation of animals in colonising/colonial societies; geometric morphometrics in relation to prehistoric animal populations; and the archaeology of colonialism in the Indian Ocean World, with a particular focus on the archaeology of slavery and indenture on Mauritius.

Nicholas Karn, Senior Lecturer, Department of History, University of Southampton
Has made significant contributions to the publishing of medieval ecclesiastical records and to the understanding of the workings of justice in Anglo-Norman England; General Editor of the Suffolk Charters series (Suffolk Record Society); General Editor of the Anthony Mellows Memorial volumes; working on an edition of the ‘Book of Robert of Swapham’, the main cartulary of Peterborough Abbey.
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A new livery company is born

Founded by our late Fellow Jonathan Horne and Fellow Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville and sustained by the many Fellows who have served as Masters, Wardens, Assistants and Founder Members, the ‘Arts Scholars’ have featured in Salon’s pages many times over the last decade as the organisation has progressed from the status of a Guild, to that of a Company without Livery and now to that of a fully fledged Livery Company of the City of London: that event was celebrated on 11 February 2014, when the Company of Arts Scholars was officially informed that it had now been promoted to the status of the 110th Livery Company of the City of London.

Being accepted as a Livery Company is no mere formality. Modern livery companies do a huge amount of charitable work to support their trade, craft or profession, especially in helping young entrants to train via university degrees, apprenticeships and work opportunities. To become a Livery Company means demonstrating that you have the means to support this kind of educational activity, which in turn means a heroic amount of fundraising to create endowments. Much of this has been achieved in the case of the Arts Scholars through the generosity of its members — for example, in donating valuable prizes to a fund-raising auction held at Sotheby’s some years ago.

Membership of the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars is open to anyone actively involved with antiques, antiquities or objects of decorative or applied art, including academics, archaeologists, curators, art historians, writers, archivists and librarians, auctioneers, dealers, valuers and consultants, art fair organisers, insurers, brokers and loss adjusters, tax and legal advisers, conservators and restorers, specialist packers and shippers and last (but by no means least) collectors and connoisseurs. Further details and an application form are available from the Clerk, Georgina Gough.

Fellow Geoffrey Bond donated the funds to the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars that have enabled the award of annual travel grants to ‘a person studying any aspect of the decorative arts at a UK university or institution of further education to enable him or her to travel in pursuit of their studies within the UK or abroad’. The 2014 Geoffrey Bond Travel Ward went to Sirio Canos-Donnay, a PhD candidate at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, who is studying the archaeology of the High Casamance region of southern Senegal, shown here receiving her award from Fiona Woolf, the current Lord Mayor of London (the 686th, but only the second woman to hold the office since 1189).
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And now the IfA is a Chartered Institute too

A day later, on 12 February, the equally momentous news came through that the IfA’s Petition for a Royal Charter of Incorporation had been considered by the Privy Council at its meeting on 11 February 2014 at Buckingham Palace, and that Her Majesty The Queen had been ‘pleased to sign the Order of Grant’.

Writing to IfA members to convey the news, Fellow Jan Wills, current Chair of the Institute, hailed this as ‘a spectacular endorsement of the role of archaeologists; IfA [has] successfully made the case to the Privy Council that archaeology is a clear and distinct discipline working in the public interest’. Jan went on to say: ‘this great news is a tribute to the hard work of this and previous Councils of IfA, their committees, groups and staff, who have over the years created a professional institute with the credibility needed for the granting of a Royal Charter. That the value of archaeology to the public, and our standing as a profession, has been recognised in this prestigious way is a tribute to our members. IfA members will at last attain parity of esteem with other professionals, by being recognised as belonging to a profession served by a Chartered Institute. I hope this momentous occasion will encourage archaeologists who are not members of our Institute to submit an application to become recognised as professionals, and so to participate in further developing the practice of the discipline we love.’

Jan promised celebrations to come (no doubt at the IfA’s annual conference, to be held in the party city of Glasgow on 9 to 11 April 2014), but said that ‘several profound formalities need to happen before the new Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) comes into being and the change of name happens, including drawing up the Charter on vellum, signing and the application of the Great Seal. This gives time for IfA to set in train all the processes required to complete this momentous transition.’

Fellow Pete Hinton, the Institute’s Director, echoed this point, saying that: ‘The award of a Royal Charter will not be the end of a process but the best possible opportunity to increase the effectiveness of our campaign to enhance the status of archaeology and archaeologists, to raise standards of archaeological practice and so to give yet better service to clients and the public.’
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‘New Model’ English Heritage consultation

Many fundamental questions remain unanswered and both branches of the New Model English Heritage could soon find themselves struggling to survive — that seems to be the general consensus of the heritage sector, judging by responses to the Government’s consultation on the future of English Heritage, which closed on 6 February 2014. Our own Society responded by expressing concern at the lack of a ‘robust and credible business strategy’ to underpin the proposal to create a much smaller body (Historic England) to perform the statutory planning role of the former English Heritage, while transferring most of the staff to a new charity, English Heritage, that will be licensed to manage the ‘National Heritage Collection’ on a flexible commercial basis.

In its response, the Heritage Alliance, of which our Society is a member, expressed concern at the ‘slender resourcing of Historic England’, on which the protection of the majority of England’s heritage assets rely; and pointed to the risk that English Heritage would be tempted to focus its resources on the handful of sites that have the most commercial or visitor potential, to the neglect of the rest.

Perhaps the most detailed response came in the form of a research paper by Jamie Larkin, published by the UCL Institute of Archaeology, called ‘Safely into the Unknown? A review of the proposals for the future of English Heritage’. This sets out to be both ‘informative, but also provocative’. The author argues that ‘the motivation behind the changes is centred squarely around economic considerations. The current government is attempting to reduce the national deficit, and aims to generate substantial savings by removing the costs of opening and operating the organisation’s properties from its accounts.’ He quotes Fellow and English Heritage Chief Executive Simon Thurley as saying that the Government is an ‘unreliable’, ‘short termist’ and ‘self-interested’ partner in heritage protection. The consultation document, Jamie argues, offers ‘little substantive evidence as to the feasibility of the proposals, while important issues that it may raise for both the organisation and the wider sector are generally elided’. Attempts by the author to extract key financial and performance information from various reports published by English Heritage and DCMS over the last decade or so are constantly frustrated by lacunae and inconsistencies, thus preventing proper scrutiny.

The paper concludes, as do most of the responses to the consultation, that the pros and cons are evenly balanced: the proposals ‘offer a radical new model for the future of heritage protection and operation in England [that] could revitalise the sector and offer it some much-needed stability ... or leave state heritage protection effectively hamstrung and the new charitable organisation struggling to survive in a commercial market that cannot support such critical mass.’

New ways to make a donation to arts and heritage

Salon reported last year on the testing of a new scheme that makes it easy for smartphone and tablet users to respond to funding appeals strategically placed alongside pictures and objects in museums and galleries. Someone looking at a picture might, for example, be asked to contribute towards the costs of its purchase or conservation. Trials took place at eleven sites last year, including Bath’s Holburne Museum, Knole and Ham House (National Trust), the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A. Individual donations ranged from £3 to £1,562.50 (!), and the average was £32 per person.

The National Funding Scheme (NFS) comes with no joining fees or monthly charges. Instead, it charges a 4 per cent royalty on all funds transacted. In return, the NFS handles all the administration, including Gift Aid and the sharing of donor data (subject to the donor’s permission). Some 200 organisations — ranging from museums in Cornwall to The Pier Arts Centre in the Orkneys — have pre-registered to join the scheme, which will be launched nationally in March 2014. Further information is available on the NFS website.

Our Fellow Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, one of the galleries involved in the trials, said the scheme ‘will revolutionise fundraising practice and create a vital new donor pool ... I heartily endorse it’.

FHLF funding for ‘Capability Brown’ tercentenary

Left: 'Capability' Brown (1716-83), by Nathaniel Dance, c 1773 © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a £139,200 development grant to the Capability Brown 300 Steering Group to assist with the planning of a series of national events to take place in 2016, the 300th anniversary of the landscape architect’s birth. The group aims to open as many Brown landscapes, houses and features as possible during 2016, including sites that are not usually open to the public, to promote the understanding of Brown’s art and designs and his influence, to stimulate new research and to champion landscape conservation skills.

Gilly Drummond, Chair of the Steering Group, said: ‘thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and a marvellous partnership we can now give Capability Brown, England’s greatest landscape artist, his due recognition and spread the understanding and enjoyment of his genius for sustainable landscape design to a much wider audience, both nationally and internationally. With the help of owners and managers and the support of volunteers, we hope to be able to have a huge number of Brown’s parks and gardens open to the public in 2016.’ For more on this, see the Capability Brown Festival website.

You too could get HLF funds for an anniversary

The Capability Brown Festival is just one example of the sort of anniversary event that the HLF is able to fund through its new ‘Anniversaries’ funding scheme, for which £10 million has been set aside over the next four years to fund projects marking some of the UK’s most important anniversaries and commemorative events. The HLF says ‘this new funding reflects the fact there is enormous enthusiasm to provide more opportunities to foster the sense of community spirit and national pride that such events can inspire. It will help to highlight important historical dates that will resonate with people and communities right across the UK.’

Projects of all sizes are eligible, from those requiring smaller grants of a few thousand pounds up to grants over £2m. For detailed guidance on making an application, see the HLF website.

Suffolk Proceedings online

The Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History has made available all past volumes of its Proceedings, dating back to 1848, free of charge to all online. The Institute’s Chairman, Dr Nick Amor, said: ‘the Proceedings include over 150 years, and nearly 20,000 pages, of the best scholarship on the archaeology and history of Suffolk. They provide a rich and unequalled archive which has long been used by those studying the county’s past and which is now available on the click of a mouse.’

News of Fellows

Our Fellow Jonathan Wooding, formerly at University of Wales Lampeter/Trinity Saint David, moved to the University of Sydney last month to take up the Sir Warwick Fairfax Chair of Celtic Studies — reputed to be the only such post in the southern hemisphere.

Fellow Oliver Urquhart Irvine has been appointed to succeed our Fellow Lady Roberts as Royal Librarian, at Windsor Castle. Previously, Oliver headed up the British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership, which is in the process of digitising half a million pages of archival and manuscript material relating to the Gulf and Arabic science.

Someone who will no doubt be an eager user of that new database once it is launched is our Fellow Silke Ackermann, scholar of European and Islamic scientific instruments, medieval astronomy and the history of the calendar. Formerly a British Museum Curator, Silke takes up the post of Director of the Museum of the History of Science in the Old Ashmolean in Broad Street, Oxford, from 1 March 2014.

Congratulations to all three Fellows.

Some southern Fellows might have caught a glimpse of Fellow Mike Farley on BBC South recently, talking about the impact of the proposed route of High Speed 2 on old Stoke Mandeville church, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. Mike said that while most of the line through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be contained in tunnels, it will, once it emerges, cut through Grim’s Ditch, then a former gravel pit that has produced a mammoth tusk, the site of old Stoke Mandeville church (shown above; now demolished), a second Pleistocene site, the National Trust’s Hartwell Park and an unnamed Roman small town on Akeman Street. A little later it passes near to Grade II* Doddershall House and will remove a large area of the associated village earthworks. This list does not include stretches of ancient woodland and a number of less well-documented sites recorded in the Historic Environment Record. If this all goes ahead, Mike said, it will provide employment for quite a few archaeologists, though it will also provide substantial storage problems for local museums.

Mike says that: ‘the television appearance was intended to bring to wider notice the particular plight of old Stoke Mandeville church. The present village appears to have gradually migrated away from the village from quite an early date and a new church was built to serve the migrated village in the 1860s. The old church and churchyard, of which at least 85 per cent would be removed by HS2 (together with a probable manor site and watermill), is now a mound of rubble accompanied by a few surviving gravestones, the whole contained in a small wooded nature reserve sold by the diocese some years ago to the parish council who manage the site (shown below).

‘From surviving parish registers it has been possible to calculate that a minimum of 2,600 burials lie in the path of HS2. There is no escaping the fact that a considerable volume of human remains would result from any investigative work carried out here. The storage of human remains is of course a sensitive issue. From a historical/archaeological perspective, the initial examination and subsequent retention of the remains of an entire village population provides an unusual opportunity, but of paramount importance are the views of the present local population. The Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society is proposing an option which might suit all parties, that the remains should be stored locally in a new purpose-built structure set in a garden which would also accommodate surviving grave markers and any significant stonework from the largely demolished church.’

Mike concludes: ‘If the HS2 line removed a house the owner could reasonably expect sufficient compensation to replace it. There seems no reason why the parish council who own this site should not expect similar treatment in order to re-house Stoke Mandeville’s early residents.’

And we end not with a ‘letter from our Fellow Jane Moon in Iraq’ to match Fellow Heinrich Härke’s despatches from Central Asia but rather a photograph, showing the Ur ziggurat after rain, the view to which Jane says she woke on 3 February 2014. Jane reports that ‘our excavations on the Old Babylonian temple at Tell Khaiber, near to Ur, are going well, and our informal adventures are on display on Facebook’. She adds that ‘we do not post details of finds or spectacular architecture while actually in the field, where we expect to be until late March, as looting is still a threat in these parts.’

The National Trust’s ABC Bulletin

The Winter 2013—14 issue of the National Trust’s Arts, Buildings & Collections Bulletin is, as ever, packed with material of interest to Fellows. The Bulletin leads with an article about the ‘The Forest’, a tapestry designed by William Morris and woven at Merton in 1887, based on Philip Webb’s stunning Dürer-like pencil and watercolour sketches of animals, including a fox and a hare (illustrated). These drawings were offered for sale in 2013, and the Trust has been able to purchase them for Wightwick Manor.

The Bulletin also has news of the publication by the National Trust in partnership with the Public Catalogue Foundation of a six-volume catalogue of all the oil paintings — more than 12,500 — in the Trust’s care. Tania Adams, writing about the project, reminds us that ‘many barriers have been removed in the rooms of the Trust’s houses in order to make them more accessible and to enhance the enjoyment of a visit; it is now possible to get up close to paintings and look hard at them’.

Our Fellow Claire Gapper has contributed an article on the early seventeenth-century decorative plasterwork of the great chamber at Canons Ashby. Claire says that ‘the female busts who stare down at us ... [with their] highly ornate head-dresses and bejewelled apparel indicating that they are women of distinction’ have been interpreted as sybils, goddesses or female worthies in the past, but the discovery of identical faces, cast from the same mould, at Hardwick House, Oxon, and Dorion House, Bucks, offers a clue to their identity as mythological and historical female warrior queens, perhaps ‘intended as a retrospective homage to Elizabeth I’s success in the war against Spain’.

Also at Canons Ashby, Natalie McCreesh and Laura Malpas write an article on the challenges of displaying historic shoes. These are described as ‘a curator’s nightmare’, because they are very difficult to bring to life in engaging ways. The ‘Cinderella Project’ aims to do something about this: and one of the first fruits is the ‘Footsteps through History’ display, which uses the worn walking boots of Sir Henry Dryden to tell the story of the man who inherited the Canons Ashby estate in 1837.

Sir Henry’s worn and dusty walking boots are testament to his archaeological interests. As our Fellow Brian Dix tells us in the entry for Sir Henry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ‘Dryden acquired the nickname “the Antiquary” from his passion for exploring ancient churches, ruins, and other monuments, all of which he investigated with close attention to detail. His methods were truly archaeological, involving careful observation and recording by accurate drawing and measured survey. The exactness of his plans was notorious among contemporaries, who told how he had travelled 200 miles across France in order to check a half-inch discrepancy of measurement.’

History libraries open day: a correction

In reporting the history libraries open day that will take place on Tuesday 18 March 2014, Salon 313 should have said that it was being hosted and organised by the School of Advanced Study and the Institute of Historical Research, both of which are part of the University of London, and not UCL, as Salon wrongly reported. The open day is open to all postgraduates and early career researchers from all universities, and our Society will have a stand at the fair in the afternoon to promote the Library. Full details and booking instructions can be found on the website of the Institute of Historical Research. The day includes a programme of workshops and talks on practical research skills, including reference management and digital imaging.

The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion

Beth McKillop, Deputy Director, Victoria and Albert Museum, has responded to the criticism published in Salon 133 of the Centre’s restricted access opportunities to say that: ‘the Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion provides a very high level of public access to the V&A’s outstanding collection of textiles and fashion, alongside hugely improved storage conditions compared to those on the South Kensington site. We believe that textile history colleagues will be in favour of improving the standard of storage for our collections. Visitors can choose exactly which objects they want to see and study, as individuals or in groups. Since the Centre opened in October 2013, over 900 people have visited it. We hope that Fellows will support us, by encouraging students and scholars to make full use of the improved facilities our Centre offers. Everything the V&A does is intended to stimulate interest in our collections. The establishment of a Study Centre for textiles is a major event for the field, and one that has been warmly welcomed.

‘Looking to the future, new textile and fashion galleries will be developed as part of the museum’s FuturePlan. Browsing and viewing in gallery conditions will be possible when these galleries are opened. In the intervening period, we hope that the excellent facilities the Clothworkers’ Centre offers will be intensively used by textiles students and scholars, and we also hope that the investment we continue to make in publishing our collection online offers a helpful way to prepare for visits.’

Arches project: a correction

In a report based on an article that had appeared in The Times, Salon 312 said that the Getty Conservation Institute and World Monuments Fund had developed a global inventory of heritage places that was being used by the military in the US and UK to prevent the targeting of heritage sites in the event of war. Both organisations have issued a small but important corrective which has already been published in The Times to say that this is not quite true: instead, what they have done is to develop an open source software system that is freely available for cultural heritage organisations to download and implement in whatever way they choose for creating their own heritage site inventories.

More information about the Arches system can be found on the project’s website, and in an article published in the special themed issue concerned with heritage inventories of the Getty Conservation Institute’s Newsletter Conservation Perspectives. LA Weekly also has a feature on the Arches project and the various ways in which it is being used by departments of antiquities in various parts of the world.


Fellow Martin Henig says, of the report in Salon 313 on the imperial cameos that have just gone on permanent display at the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) in Leiden: ‘it is certainly wonderful news that the major Dutch gem cabinet is now at last (back) in Leiden. Far from being an obscure collection, much of it is very well known to glyptic specialists, thanks to the superb catalogue written by Professor Marianne Kleibrink (Catalogue of the Engraved Gems in the Royal Coin Cabinet, The Hague: the Greek, Etruscan and Roman collections, 1978). Published only a few years after the first edition of my own corpus of engraved gemstones from British sites, it was the book above all others that allowed generations of Oxford students studying classical archaeology to become acquainted with this entrancing area of Roman art studies.

‘Marianne very much wanted to publish the cameos too; alas that did not prove possible, but some, like the Great Cameo, were already well known. It was a great thrill to me personally that our Fellow Elizabeth Hartley and I were able to borrow it for the Constantine the Great exhibition held in York in 2006 (cat. no. 76). I was able to examine it front and back, confirm its date to the late third or early fourth century by material and style and in view of the fact that the centaur was trampling down Romans in their under tunics, I suggested then that, like the arch in Rome, it commemorated the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.

‘The recent history of the collection (which started off by being housed in Utrecht, was transferred to Leiden, then to Utrecht, and now back to Leiden) has made it more than a little difficult to assign a modern provenance for the collection in publications, so I welcome the fact that it now has a permanent home. But let us hope that at long last we may have that definitive catalogue of the cameos which we (at least all my students) desired all those years ago.’

Apologies are due to Jon Bayliss, who is a Fellow, though Salon forgot to say so in announcing the list of speakers at the forthcoming Ledgerstone Survey day school, to be held on 6 September 2014; and to Fellow Matthew Symonds, editor of Current Archaeology, whose name was spelled ‘the southern way’ (as Simmonds) in the last issue of Salon.

Lives remembered: Christopher Mee (1950—2013), FSA

Elected a Fellow on 3 March 1994, our Fellow Christopher Mee died on 21 December 2013. Chris was a former Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, having arrived there in 1972 as a doctoral student researching the Bronze Age Dodecanese under the supervision of our late Fellow Nicolas Coldstream (published as Rhodes in the Bronze Age, 1982). He served as Assistant Director from 1976 to 1978, before being appointed to a lectureship in the University of Liverpool, where he remained for the rest of his career, retiring as Charles W Jones Professor of Classical Archaeology.

In addition to his early work on the Dodecanese, Professor Mee made important contributions on Mycenaean connections with Anatolia. He published extensively on burial archaeology, including A Private Place: death in prehistoric Greece (1998, with William Cavanagh). He was a pioneer in the development of landscape archaeology in Greece, collaborating with Hamish Forbes in the Methana survey (A Rough and Rocky Place, 1997) and with Peter James and William Cavanagh in the Laconia Rural Sites Project, which sought to characterise rural sites identified in the Laconia survey via an innovative combination of survey, geophysical prospection and environmental analysis.

His most recent work focused on the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Peloponnese, where he directed excavations at Kouphovouno in Laconia with Josette Renard and William Cavanagh. His broad knowledge and love of Greece is exemplified in his collaboration with Tony Spawforth on the Oxford Archaeological Guide to Greece (2001) and his own Greek Archaeology: a thematic approach (2011).

Further tributes to Chris Mee can be found on the websites of the University of Liverpool and the British School at Athens.

Lives Remembered: Halet Çambel

The death of Turkish archaeologist Halet Çambel, renowned for her excavation of the twelfth-century BC Hittite fortress at Karatepe, has also been announced. Born in Berlin on 27 August 1916, where her father worked as military attaché, Halet Çambel had a liberal upbringing, for which she thanks her father’s close friend, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, later Turkey’s first president, who opened doors for women and ‘encouraged them to be successful under the same conditions as men’.

One of the ways in which Çambel responded to this challenge was to take up fencing, after being inspired by ‘the German books I read [and their] stories about knights’. She became sufficiently proficient to be chosen to compete in the 1936 Berlin Games, where she attracted attention for her refusal to meet Hitler.

Çambel is still invoked by Turkish sportswomen as a source of inspiration, but her lasting fame derives from her work as an archaeologist, exploring unknown parts of Anatolia where, in 1948, she was tipped off by shepherds who reported finding artefacts at Karatepe. Çambel found the whole hillside littered with material and devoted the next fifty years to its excavation, specialising in the translation of the site’s bilingual Phoenician and Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions, while educating village children in her spare time.

In the 1950s when the Turkish Government wanted to move the artefacts from the site, she insisted that they stay, and an outdoor museum was built, designed by her husband. Çambel continued to visit the region for field trips well into her nineties, and she died, aged ninety-seven, on 12 January 2014.


15 to 23 February 2014: The 30th Jorvik Viking Festival includes the Helen Thirza Addyman keynote lecture, to be given this year by David Petts, of Durham University, on the archaeology of Lindisfarne. David will unveil the results of a new phase of research on Holy Island (supported by National Geographic), a place inextricably linked to the Vikings in England, as the attack on the monastery is seen as the first part of the Viking invasion that later saw the Norsemen settle at Jorvik. Tickets are available from the Festival website.

24 February 2014: The National Gallery is organising three evening events to mark the posthumous publication of Professor Francis Haskell’s The King’s Pictures: the formation and dispersal of the collections of Charles I and his courtiers (Yale University Press. On 24 February there will be a panel discussion between Fellow Nicholas Penny, Fellow Simon Jervis and Karen Serres on the formation of the collections; on 3 March Professor Jeremy Wood will lecture on the sales and dispersal of the Stuart collections; and on 10 March, our Fellow Charles Sebag-Montefiore will give a lecture on the influence and legacy of the Stuart collections. All three events take place in the Sainsbury Wing lecture theatre at 6.30pm. To book, see the National Gallery website.

10 March 2014: ‘Giorgione: the great unknown’, a lecture by Jon Whiteley, Senior Assistant Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in aid of the Venice in Peril Fund at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London WC1; doors open 6.30pm, the lecture begins 7pm. To buy tickets visit the Fund’s online shop.

2 April 2014: ‘The Staffordshire Hoard Project: the current state of knowledge’, by Fellow Chris Fern at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. Tea is served from 4.30pm, the Chair is taken at 5pm and non-members of the British Archaeological Association are welcome to attend but are asked to make themselves known to the Hon Director (Fellow Linda Monckton) on arrival and to sign the visitors’ book.

10—11 April 2014: ‘Guthlac of Crowland: celebrating 1,300 years’. The Institute of English Studies and the Institute of Historical Research of the University of London are the joint hosts of this international conference, organised by our Fellows Jane Roberts and Alan Thacker and taking place at the Senate House of the University of London. For further information, including abstracts of the papers, see the conference website.

11—13 April 2014: Church Monuments in Wales, the Cambrian Archaeological Association’s Easter Conference 2014, based at the Wild Pheasant Hotel, Berwyn Road, Llangollen LL20 8AD. Participants will see some of the UK’s oldest Christian inscribed monuments, pre-dating by many centuries the churches that now house many of them or, like the Pillar of Eliseg, standing as potent symbols in the open landscape. Also on the agenda is the latest research, challenging and revising many previously accepted views on the medieval effigies of bishops, abbots and the nobility or the iconography of tomb slabs. Moving into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there will be a chance to compare local, even rustic, monumental styles in Brecknock with the sheer flamboyance of the kind of family tombs that those with money could buy, in the form of the Renaissance tomb sculpture of the Myddleton monuments at Chirk.

For further information, see the CAA’s website.

16—19 May 2014: ‘Puddingstone and related silcretes of the Anglo-Paris Basin — geological and archaeological perspectives’, a joint conference and field trip organised by the Geological Society of London, The Geologists’ Association and the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House on Roman quern stone quarries in east Hertfordshire/Essex, and Saint-Saëns/Sotteville in northern France. See the Geological Society's website for further information.

30 and 31 May 2014: ‘People, place and time in Neolithic and Chalcolithic Europe’, the Prehistoric Society’s Europe Conference 2014 will take place in the Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre, at Cardiff University, home of our Fellow Alisdair Whittle, whose achievements will be celebrated at the conference by an international cast of distinguished speakers presenting the results of new research on early farming communities in Britain and Ireland and on the continent, culminating in Professor Whittle’s Europa lecture. For further information, see the website of the Prehistoric Society.

15—18 July 2014: ‘Harlaxton Medieval Symposium 2014: The Plantagenet Empire, 1259—1453’, at Harlaxton Manor, Harlaxton, Lincs. For the provisional programme and a booking form, see the new Harlaxton Medieval Symposium website.

7—9 November 2014: ‘The Augustinian Canons in Britain’, a weekend school to be held at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford. The Augustinian canons are very much the Cinderellas of medieval monastic history. In Britain, despite their prolific numbers, the not-inconsiderable quantity and quality of their archives, and the fame and celebrity of much of their surviving architecture, the canons continue to stand in the shadow of the more familiar and generally better-researched monastic groups, most notably the Benedictines and the Cistercians. Encouragingly, in recent years, a new generation of monastic historians has been working hard to redress this balance, but much remains to be done. In particular, the buildings of the Augustinian canons, their architecture, art and the liturgy within, all remain woefully neglected areas of study. This is surprising, given the celebrity of English sites such as Bolton in Wharfedale, St Frideswide’s in Oxford (now the cathedral church), St Bartholomew’s in London, Hexham, Waltham and Walsingham; or Llanthony and Bardsey in Wales; or Jedburgh and St Andrews in Scotland.

This conference presents a major opportunity to consider the buildings at these and many other Augustinian sites across the country — more than 200 in all. It brings together an impressive body of historians, architectural and art historians, and archaeologists, whose principal focus will be the canons in Britain. However, the conference will also provide some contextual continental background, and will further consider comparative material in Ireland. It will be the first ever conference to consider the Augustinian canons in Britain from this perspective; and nearly all of the speakers at the conference are Fellows.

For further information, see the conference web page. The Monastic Research Bulletin has an article by the day school convenor, our Fellow David Robinson, on the rationale for the forthcoming conference.

12—18 April 2015: The 5th Conference on the Preservation of Archaeological Remains In Situ (PARIS 5) is to be held at Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. As with previous conferences, the main purpose will be to consider the scientific and technical issues associated with the preservation of buried archaeological evidence and the threats posed by changing ground conditions and their management. Proceedings of the past four conferences have been published, the last in the journal Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites (vol 6, nos 3 and 4).

Kreuzlingen is at the head of Lake Constance and there is a bridge from the German town of Constance which is on the other side of the lake. One of the aims of the conference will be to consider the problems of protecting the extensive remains of the Neolithic and later lake villages in the face of increased boating activity on the lake.

Early bird discounts apply for those booking before May 2014. Further details can be found on the conference website.

England's Motoring Heritage from the Air

Last year Salon reviewed Carscapes: The Motor Car, Architecture and Landscape in England, written by Fellows Kathryn Morrison and John Minnis, a superbly illustrated volume that revealed the surprisingly rich heritage of one hundred years of mass motoring. Carscapes went on to win the 2013 Peter Nevearson Award for Outstanding Scholarship awarded by the Association for Industrial Archaeology and the 2013 Michael Sedgwick Award given by the Society of Automotive Historians of Britain.

John Minnis has now followed this up with a book of aerial photographs drawn from the English Heritage Aerofilms archive — a book that will appeal not just to Jeremy Clarkson types but also to anyone interested in the ways in which road transport has redesigned and reshaped our cities and landscapes over the last century or so. In more than 150 striking full-page black-and-white photographs, this book chronicles the dramatic change from car-free Edwardian England — compact towns and fields reaching almost into the high street — to the urban sprawl that emerged and engulfed the landscape from the 1920s onwards.

More recent photographs in the book capture the dawn of the motorway age in the 1960s, the rapid post-war expansion of towns and cities, the road-dominated reconstruction of city centres and the impact of motoring on leisure attractions, such as the seaside, the races and the countryside amusement park.

The book is not just concerned with the motorcar, however: it explores the whole range of road transport systems, including buses and trams. The advantage of the aerial view is that we can see, divorced from noise and pollution, that many of these systems have a certain logic and beauty. In the case of Derby bus station, for example, we are reminded us what a graceful and imaginative building this was in its heyday, and what was lost when it was demolished in July 2006. Another positive message to emerge from the book is the way that the dominance of the motorcar has been reversed in some enlightened parts of Britain, not least in Sheffield city, where the car has largely been removed and the historic centre reclaimed for human beings.

England’s Motoring Heritage from the Air, by John Minnis; ISBN 9781848020870; English Heritage, 2014

Churches for Communities: adapting Oxfordshire’s churches for wider use

Clerical Fellows and those who sit on DACs or on other church or amenity society committees might be interested in a new book by Becky Payne, former Policy Officer at the Church of England’s Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, which looks at twenty-five historic places of worship in the towns and villages of Oxfordshire that have been reshaped to meet modern worship needs, to enable the buildings to be used for a wide range of community activities and to deliver vital community services. It is hoped that other churches embarking on similar projects will derive inspiration and benefit from the achievements and experiences described in these case studies.

Churches for Communities: adapting Oxfordshire’s churches for wider use, by Becky Payne; ISBN 9780992769307; Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, 2014

The Prehistory of Music

When the Rolling Stones first came to popular attention in 1963 as a loud, rude and rebellious counterpart to the polite be-suited Beatles, the older generation derided them as a ‘bunch of monkeys’, a reference to the simian features of some members of the band. In some respects, though, this is an interesting observation, for the music of the 1960s was primitive in all sorts of positive ways: most of the bands of the era were formed of people who had no formal musical education, other than, perhaps, a copy of Bert Weedon’s Play in a Day guitar guide; those delicious Beatles harmonies, for example, resulted not from learning about the laws of harmony, but by sitting down together and working it out. Which is a roundabout way of getting to the point that music is not only one of humankind’s greatest inventions, arguably the purest of all the arts (in that music cannot be paraphrased, translated or understood in anything other than musical terms), it is also something innate, requiring only a voice and something to bang to produce rhythm and pitch, and hence very likely to be one of the earliest art forms, something that developed millennia ago. The question is, how early, and what relationship might music have to the other essential human characteristics of self-awareness and emotion, language, dance, drama and poetry, religion, sculpture or pictorial art?

Fellow Iain Morley rightly characterises this as a neglected question. What makes it all the more interesting is that music appears to have no utility: fire, cooking, clothing and language all answer basic survival needs, but music, according to Charles Darwin, ‘is not of the least use to man in reference to his daily habits of life’ (one suspects that Darwin knew little about music otherwsie he would surely have known what a powerful advantage music provides when it comes to seduction: witness the heart-melting mandolin serenade that Don Giovanni sings at the window of Elvira’s maid in Act 2 of Mozart’s opera). Lévi-Strauss went as far as to say that music’s inutility is what makes musicians 'god-like': we are the only species to make music, so to ask about the origins of music is to delve into the origins of human cognition and creativity and the essential differences between us and other species.

Iain’s search for answers follows a number of paths and draws on many different disciplines. There is the physical evidence of early musical instruments; but anything can be a musical instrument, as John Cage, fond of scoring pieces for the brake drums of motorcars, or Stockhausen, with his ‘Helicopter String Quartet’, have shown us. This approach will only take us back to the earliest bone flutes, of around 40,000 years ago (appendices at the back of the book list all known Palaeolithic pipes, whistles and flutes); surely the use of the voice and of various percussion instruments that have not survived (or that we are unable to recognise as such) must be much earlier.

Iain turns to physical anthropology for deeper answers, seeking the earliest signs of the neurological and physiological capacity for rhythm and pitch. Leaping forward through 300 pages of evidence and discussion to his conclusion, we find that the australopithecines (4 million years ago), though bipedal, lacked the vocal physiology for singing, but Homo habilis (2 million years ago) had the right ‘vocal and orofacial muscalture’ and ‘left hemisphere neuroanatomy’ for ‘vocal utterances of limited tonal range and duration’, and that once this developed, there was no looking back for the human species.

Did music begin with some show-off at the back of the cave? Iain thinks that parent/infant communication is more likely to have given birth to the first deliberately produced musical sounds, which in part helps to explain why music packs such an emotional punch. And once musical behaviour became established, it was found to be very powerful in fostering group co-operation and social harmony (as anyone knows who has sung along at a folk club or rugby match). So Darwin was indeed wrong about music: it looks as if music had very substantial social benefits when it first developed, and only later acquired the sophisticated forms that we call ‘pure music’ and ‘music for its own sake’.

The Prehistory of Music: human evolution, archaeology and the origins of musicality, by Iain Morley; ISBN 9780199234080; Oxford University Press, 2013


Rethinking the North Italian Early Neolithic

This book, by Fellow Mark Pearce, is the first of many that will surely follow in the wake of the Bayesian approach to refining carbon dates that was pioneered by our Fellows Alex Bayliss, Frances Healy, Alasdair Whittle and many other contributors in Gathering Time, the award-winning study published in 2011 that gave us the fine-tuned dating information that enables us to speak with precision about the spread of Neolithic objects and practices in the British Isles. Mark’s book focuses on the transition from Mesolithic to early Neolithic in northern Italy, using dates from securely stratified deposits from cave sites and pits excavated since the 1950s.

Mark concludes that there is evidence for Neolithic material (pottery and lithics) at a surprisingly early date (from 5900 BC) at coastal sites in Liguria; the Neolithic is evident some time later in Friuli and Adriatic Italy, from 5600 BC, and from 5500 BC In the Po Valley; inland regions, including the Alpine valleys, start later still, from 5200 BC. A striking discovery is that there is almost no chronological overlap in these regions between ‘Mesolithic’ and ‘Neolithic’ sites. In the debate about whether early Neolithic economies continued to rely on wild resources, with a transitional economy of wild and domesticated foods, Mark finds evidence that the early Neolithic in northern Italy was the ‘full’ Neolithic from the start, confirming the picture that is emerging from human bone isotope studies that show Mesolithic fish-dominated diets being replaced quickly and decisively by meat-, dairy- and grain-dominated diets at the Neolithic.

Drawing together a mass of data in his final chapter, Mark sums up the many and complex explanations for the spread of the Neolithic, which tend to polarise around migration and acculturation. He finds evidence for both, arguing that very early dates represent ‘leapfrog’ colonisation, with seaborne migrant groups seeking out the rich grazing resources or prospecting for and finding outcrops of greenstone, used in the manufacture of polished axes and ignoring less productiev lands in between. The slower spread of Neolithic practices to these areas is more likely to be the result of hunting and gathering people adopting farming practices; the observable hiatus in some areas might reflect the lack of any indigenous population in those areas to become ‘Neolithic’. In these virgin landscapes, the more likely explanation for the Neolithic's spread is demic diffusion, with daughter settlements budding off from existing settlements and colonising new lands.

Rethinking the North Italian Early Neolithic, by Mark Pearce; ISBN 9781873415443; Accordia Specialist Studies on Italy 17, University of London, 2013

The Birth of Neolithic Britain

Fellow Julian Thomas has been cast in the guise of someone who believes that the British Neolithic package was not transplanted by groups of continental migrants, but was the result of independent local developments in agriculture and animal husbandry. As he made clear in his contribution to the debate on the origins of the British Neolithic hosted by the Royal Archaeological Institute in January 2014, this is not the case: ‘it is,’ he said, ‘impossible to imagine that such a momentous change could have taken place without access to continental domesticated crops, animals and material culture’. Instead, he downplays the role of migration as the cause of the change from Mesolithic to Neolithic lifestyles, and is interested in understanding the mechanisms of change: in place of the idea that migrants came by boat in large numbers and formed enclaves that showed the rather backward natives what they were missing in their diets, he seeks to understand why anyone would be motivated to swap fish, eggs, seabirds, seal meat and game for bowls of lentils or gruel.

Confusion about the process of the Neolithisation of Britain has been fostered by the idea that the Neolithic and farming are one and the same. Pointing to examples of non-farming cultures that are Neolithic in other respects, Julian asks what do we really mean by ‘Neolithic’ and concludes that we mean a form of social organisation that is markedly different from Mesolithic society, which had to be open, sharing and egalitarian to survive. Neolithic society is, by contrast, a closed system, consisting of a semi-autonomous group of people, relatively static and occupying a particular place in the landscape. Whereas Mesolithic people have very few means of acquiring, displaying and storing wealth, Neolithic society has objects that can be acquired, traded and converted into gifts, loans, tribute and bride wealth. Desiring this, in the form of cattle, polished stone axe-heads and leaf-shaped projectiles, is what induces indigenous communities to choose to become Neolithic, and when they do so, it is by inviting or accepting people into their communities that have skills as potters, miners and cultivators, rather than seeking to join existing Neolthic communities as some kind of supplicant seeking a better way of life (if living side by side with anuimals and all their waste products could be called 'better').

Expressing these arguments in such a summary fashion does no justice to the rigour with which Julian presents his evidence and analysis. This book is, if nothing else, a model of synthesis: the author has read and understood a vast amount of material from all over Europe and Asia and in all kinds of disciplines, from genetics to lithics, and he does full justice to views that differ from his own in chapters characterising the Mesolithic and tracing the origins and spread of Neolithic societies and practices from the Fertile Crescent through to northern Europe. Migration is undoubtedly the means by which the Neolithic spread at the start, but once the Neolithic arrives in Europe, its character changes from that of a relatively homogenous package of Neolithic things and practices to a whole series of local variants; there is a process of selection and filtering going on, which Julian argues is the result of indigenous people making choices about what aspects of the Neolithic they wish to adopt; in that sense ‘Neolithic’ is an indigenous project, the fashioning of an entirely new culture out of the encounter between two different traditions.

This is a book that fizzes with new and plausible ideas that transcend the Neolithic: anyone interested in periods of momentous cultural change, such as from stone- to metal-using societies, or from Roman to Saxon, will reap rich rewards from reading this book (indeed, the chapter on Neolithic halls and houses could easily be describing the early medieval period).

The Birth of Neolithic Britain: an interpretive account, by Julian Thomas; ISBN 9780199681969; Oxford University Press, 2013

Spong Hill. Part IX: Chronology and Synthesis

The question of migration versus acculturation arises again in the concluding volume of the magnificent series of reports on Spong Hill, the largest and most thoroughly analysed early Anglo-Saxon cremation cemetery to have been excavated in Britain. This volume, by Fellows Catherine Hills and Sam Lucy, represents a huge effort of sorting and analysing a vast quantity of data from more than 2,500 burials (mostly cremations placed in burial urns). Correspondence analysis is used to consider such variables as pot shape, decoration, and the nature of the artefacts placed with the burial, including glass beads, buckles, combs, brooches, dress fittings and weapons, all of which have their own stylistic chronologies.

Using this information, together with the stratigraphic relationships of pots to each other pots and to feature such as boundary ditches and internal subdivisions, a phasing and chronology is offered for the site; this was first used for cremations in the first quarter of the fifth century AD and continued in use solely for this burial rite until at least the last quarter of the fifth century. Around AD 480, there was a reduction in burial activity that coincided with the introduction of inhumation alongside cremation as a burial rite, and this phase probably coincides with the relatively small-scale settlement activity that has been identified with Spong Hill. Use of the cemetery ceased in the mid-sixth century.

The authors point out that this phasing presents a major challenge to the accepted understandings of the fifth-century chronology of Britain, which sees substantial early Anglo-Saxon activity as starting only in the second half of the fifth century. This and other major issues are explored in the concluding chapter, which summarises and addresses fundamental questions about the scale and impact of Anglo-Saxon population movements.

It has long been a matter of debate whether material culture is an indicator of ethnicity and detecting migrants in the archaeological record is fraught with difficulty — though some hope lies in DNA profiling and bone / tooth isotope analysis. On the other hand, the close parallels in pottery and artefact styles and depositional practice between Spong Hill and cemeteries in Schlewswig Holstein and the Elbe-Weser region seems to provide unequivocal evidence that people arrived in Norfolk from north Germany in the first half of the fifth century — earlier than most identifiably Saxon cemeteries in England — in sufficient numbers to cause a dramatic change in burial practice.

Intriguingly, these two areas on the other side of the North Sea belong to different ‘Saxon’ and ‘Anglian’ traditions. What that means, and where and how those separate traditions came to be represented in one cemetery is for future exploration. For now, the authors conclude that we should stop looking for a ‘one size fits all’ model for Germanic culture and burial practice in England. Migration, colonisation, acculturation, successful local resistance and the forced imposition of a new elite could all have occurred, possibly even on a village-by-village basis.

In most parts of England there is a more locally varied and long-term process of adaptation to Germanic culture — probably, the authors suggest, reflecting a much smaller scale of migration and (here is a radical thought) perhaps involving migration from East Anglia, rather than directly from the Continent. Such movements of people and practices precedes the sixth-century process of ethnogenesis, when bigger cultural groupings begin to coalesce out of many smaller groups, to create new cultures, with a mix of elements from more than one region as well as a ‘native’ input.

All of this, the authors conclude, suggests that the culture forged in East Anglia in the fifth century played a very important role in influencing the character of early and middle Anglo-Saxon England, though perhaps this has not been fully understood because of the dominance of Bede as an interpreter of this period, and the loss of local written records in the Viking period. This book, then, sets the record straight!

Spong Hill. Part IX: Chronology and Synthesis, by Catherine Hills and Sam Lucy; ISBN 9781902937625; McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2013

Tyttel’s Halh: the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Tittleshall, Norfolk

The publication of this book by our Fellow Penelope Walton Rogers was reported briefly in the last issue of Salon because it marks a publication landmark in the East Anglian Archaeology series, being the 150th volume. It reports on the excevation of a cemetery lying south of the modern village of Tittleshall that was founded in the fifth century AD on the side of a Bronze Age barrow. This continued in use throughout the sixth and early seventh centuries, with one male burial perhaps belonging to the later seventh century. The graves of twenty-eight men, women and children were recorded, and the cemetery has been interpreted as the burial plot of a small farming household, located on the edge of a tribal territory.

The range of artefacts in the graves indicates that the people who lived here were well provided with material goods. A young boy was buried in fine linen with the remains of a sword scabbard, and it is argued that this family was a sword-bearing lineage of local prominence.

A study of local landholding patterns suggests that the land unit was originally small, but that it later expanded to form the modern civil parish through the absorption of neighbouring manors. It is probable that the cemetery ceased to be used when occupation moved to settlements of the Middle Anglo-Saxon period that developed into the modern village of Tittleshall.

The report uses the technique of correspondence analysis to analyse women’s burials on the Wensum—Yare—Waveney river system and, along with a review of place-names in relation to local landholding patterns, it points to new  evidence for a north—south territorial boundary.

Tyttel’s Halh: the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Tittleshall, Norfolk, by Penelope Walton Rogers; ISBN 9780957228818; East Anglian Archaeology 150, 2013

The Stone of Life: querns, mills and flour production in Europe up to c AD 500

This ambitious book by Fellow David Peacock (the first in the new Southampton Monographs in Archaeology series) is nothing less than a global history of the tools that have been developed from the Upper Palaeolithic to the early medieval period for converting grain (wild or domesticated) into flour, which can itself be further converted into any number of different forms of food.

The first part of the book introduces the different quern types used in the past, their typology, origin, attributes and chronology, beginning with saddle and rotary querns of various types, and the mill mechanisms devised to turn them, using animal and human muscle power and water. The second part considers such themes as the organisation and technology of millstone quarry, distribution mechanisms, the symbolic significance of mills and millstones and the use of the latter in structured dispositions. We are also invited to consider what can be gleaned from ethnographic studies and experimental archaeology, to consider the results of the related study of food residues and food remains, and to embrak upon our own fieldwork, using the techniques for recording and characterising mills and millstones that are discussed at the end of the book.

This is another work packed with interesting ideas: to pick two at random, David wonders whether at least some of the cup marks that are an important component of European rock art are not really communal grindstones and rock mortars; and he shows that the story enshrined in the popular folk song, ‘John Barleycorn’, in which Sir John is buried, left for dead, springs up, but is withered by the summer heat, cut down, threshed to cut his skin from his bone and then treated barbarously by the miller who grinds him between two stones, is mirrored in many cultures, as far back as Ugaritic texts of the mid-second millennium BC.

The Stone of Life: querns, mills and flour production in Europe up to c AD 500, by David Peacock; ISBN 9780992633608; Highfield Press, 2013

Farming and Fishing in the Outer Hebrides AD 600 to 1700

Volume 2 in the Southampton Monographs in Archaeology series is this book by Fellow and leading zooarchaeologist Dale Serjeantson, based on the site records made but never written up by Iain Crawford. He spent forty years excavating sites on the Udal peninsula, in North Uist, with a precision that was then unusual for a non-prehistoric site. One result is the asemblage that this book analyses: some 40,000 fish, bird and animal bones or fragments recovered from middens, pits, hearths and house floors, giving the time depth to enable comparisons to be made and trends to be tracked over eleven centuries.

What emerges is the strong evidence for continuity over that 1,100-year period, which in turn testifies to the antiquity of economic practices at the Udal settlement. Sheep and cattle are a constant from the late Iron Age to the medieval period, both being well adapted to the local grazing conditions (seaweed, machair (coastal grasslands) and moorland) and both being complementary to the cultivation of barley and oats. There is strong evidence that the absolute numbers of cattle and sheep were controlled to prevent overgrazing and there is evidence of selective breeding in favour of hardy small cattle whose milk yields are higher than those from larger cattle that consume more food. Increases in herd size in the Viking period can be linked to demands for tribute; in more recent times, the demand from commercial markets had the same effect.

Even when contemporary settlements on mainland Britain turned their backs on fish and wild birds as a source of food, they continued to be harvested in the Udal but with a far greater emphasis during the Viking and Norse periods, when Dale Serjeantson detects a switch from casual exploitation to systematic harvesting. She links this to the fact that Viking boats were more seaworthy than their predecessors; migrants from Norway might also have brought specialist skills into the community, leading to bigger cod being caught in greater quantity.

The large numbers of herring being caught and processed from the eleventh century reflects the strong and growing market for preserved herrings from the British Isles and Ireland from religious establishments and newly wealthy towns. In the later periods covered by the study, the decline in the quantities of fish and sheep suggests a return to production for local consumption, less influenced by external demands.

Farming and Fishing in the Outer Hebrides AD 600 to 1700: the Udal, North Uist, by Dale Serjeantson; ISBN 9780992633622; Highfield Press, 2013

A Companion to the Early Printed Book in Britain

In its day, the book was as revolutionary in changing the way people think and behave as the internet and tablet are today. As our Fellows Vincent Gillespie and Susan Powell point out in the introduction to this collection of essays, to explore the history of the book in Tudor tmes is to explore the major cultural changes that swept through England in the period from 1476 (when printing came to England) and 1558 (the death of Mary Tudor).

Some of these issues have contemporary parallels: just as we worry about the degree to which children and young adults are influenced by the pornography to which they now have easy access, so the debates of the Tudor era surrounded access to religious and political thinking that challenged orthodox views. On the other hand, the book and the web are both powerful forces for the democratisation of knowledge.

This book examines all of these topics, as well as the basics of book production and all the allied trades — paper making, book binding, the making of woodcuts, the translation of texts from Latin, German, French and Italian — and the ways in which books were acquired and received. As we enter the era that might well see the death of the book as an everyday object in our lives, this particular book gives us a very good idea of what it was like to be there at the birth.

A Companion to the Early Printed Book in Britain 1476—1558, edited by Vincent Gillespie and Susan Powell; ISBN 9781843843634; D S Brewer, 2014


Victoria and Albert Museum, Curator
Salary scale £25,407 to £30,241; closing date 21 February 2014

A creative and highly motivated curator is sought by the Designs team of the Word and Image Department to act as lead curator in the V&A+RIBA Architecture Partnership. The successful candidate will be required to care for and develop the V&A’s world-renowned collection of design drawings and design process, and to promote access to the widest possible audience. The Designs team works closely with experts in other curatorial departments, in particular the Contemporary team, and with colleagues in the Royal Institute of British Architects. Good communication skills, enthusiasm and responsiveness will be essential to build fruitful working relationships, and enhance the visibility and reputation of the collection internationally.

For further information and to submit your application, please go to the V&A website.

English Heritage Historic Environment Placements: geospatial investigation techniques
Salary £17,094 pa; closing date 21 February 2014

This twelve-month professional work placement is available under the English Heritage Historic Environment Placements scheme, overseen by the Institute for Archaeologists, and is an opportunity to develop skills relating to the capture, processing, analysis, output and presentation of geospatial datasets using a variety of non-invasive survey and imaging techniques. The placement holder will be employed by the Institute for Archaeologist, seconded to English Heritage for the duration and based in its York office. For more information, see the English Heritage website.

English Heritage Historic Environment Placements: non-invasive archaeological techniques
Salary £17,094 pa; closing date 26 February 2014

This fifteen-month professional work placement offers an opportunity to develop skills in the recognition, interpretation and analysis of archaeological monuments and landscapes using a variety of non-invasive techniques. This includes the interpretation of aerial photographs and other forms of airborne remote sensing data, analytical field survey and geophysical survey. The work involves the interpretation of sites and landscapes within a date range from the Neolithic period to the twentieth century. The placement holder will spend the first six months with the English Heritage Aerial Investigation and Mapping Team in Swindon, six months with the Assessment Team in Swindon and three months with the Geophysics Team, at Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth. For more information, see the English Heritage website.

Kelmscott Manor: Membership and Groups Co-ordinator
Salary £17,500 (pro rata: 87% FTE); closing date 27 February 2014

Our Society is looking for a Membership and Groups Co-ordinator to assist the Visitor Experience Manager with all aspects of the day-to-day running of Kelmscott Manor during its open season (April to October) and to be responsible for group bookings and the administration associated with them. The successful candidate will also be responsible for administering the Friends of Kelmscott Manor and the Patrons schemes and for supporting volunteer and administrative activities during the closed season. Working within a small team, the role will suit a confident self-starter with excellent communication skills and experience of dealing with the public. A full job description and details of how to apply can be downloaded using this link.

Curator/Guide wanted from autumn 2014
The administrators of the PMM Charity Trust are seeking an individual or a couple to be responsible for the wellbeing of what they describe as ‘a ramshackle historic manor house and home in the Marches from autumn 2014’. The advert says ‘they should be gregarious, have a strong sense of hospitality, and wide-ranging cultural interests. Historic House qualifications are less important to us than passionate experience! Pleasure in gardens would be a plus, and all this with a background in the Liberal Arts. The successful applicant will become senior guide and curator with responsibility for the collections. A youthful-in-spirit retired art historian, historian or Eng Lit lecturer might fit the bill. The house is open to the public, and is a venue for concerts and performances, weddings, dinners, festivals and twinning activities. We host young foreign students. The small team is presently a happy one. Accommodation and a very historic house emolument (!) are provided.’ If this might suit you, please contact the PMM Charity Trust.

St Peter’s College in association with the University of Oxford’s Faculty of History: Barron Fellowship and Associate Professorship in Medieval History
Salary scale £43,745 to £58,739; closing date 3 March 2014

To contribute to and enhance the national and international profile of the Faculty of History and St Peter’s College in aspects of medieval history falling within the period AD 1000 to 1300, with a preference for British history. For further information, visit the Oxford University website.

National Trust: Chairman
Closing date: 10 March 2014

Have you got what it takes to succeed our Fellow Simon Jenkins as Chairman of the National Trust? The search is on: more information from the Odgers website.

Propose a lecture

Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 5pm) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 1pm).

We welcome papers based on new research on themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past.

You can view our current lecture programme in the News and Events section of our website.


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

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