Salon: Issue 430
4 July 2019
Next issue: 30 July
The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.
Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor. Salon doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.
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From the Desk of the General Secretary
Elements: Society of Antiquaries Research Showcase
2-8pm, 19 July: Burlington House
We hope you can join us on Friday 19 July, for a day offering our grant recipients the opportunity to present their research at Burlington House through table-top displays, talks, and interactive workshops. Our aim is to raise public interest in and awareness of history and archaeology by showcasing significant research that the Society has supported.
The event will be fun, informative and accessible to all ages (and ties in with the Burlington House Courtyard Lates, with lots of great food, drink and exciting activities on offer from all the Societies) - so bring the whole family along.
We had a full house for our summer miscellany and soirée on Thursday 27 June. Attendees were presented with 3 fascinating and diverse papers which illustrated the breath of expertise and interest that the Society represents.
Bill Woodburn FSA took us on a journey through France using the photographs of T.E. Lawrence. Professor A.W. Lawrence FSA, gave the Society some boxes of Lawrence's photographs and amongst them were two envelopes containing photographs of medieval architecture in France, taken by one of his older brothers, T.E. Lawrence, more commonly known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. This collection was the focus of a recent exhibition in the library and conveys the many treasures that the Society houses that are waiting to be 'unlocked'.
Dale Sardeson, an MA student at West Dean College studying conservation, enthralled us with the work he had completed alongside side Malcolm Archer FBHI conserving the Falling Ball Clock. This fascinating account showcased the uniqueness of the clock and was complemented by the return of the clock to the Society. The clock, which was given by Vulliamy to the Society in 1850, has undergone extensive conservation work thanks to the generous support of The Leche Trust, the Antiquarian Horological Society, The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, Mr Andrew CH Crisford FSA and Fellows and supporters of the Society. The conservation work on the clock afforded a valuable opportunity for in-depth analysis and research, with a detailed report compiled by West Dean in collaboration with Jonathan Betts FSA and Michael Wright FSA. Our thanks to all involved in the project. The clock is now on permanent display in the Library in a purpose built case.
Finally Alex Kader FSA
introduced those in attendance to the newly discovered Lewis Warder which has been attributed to the workshop of the Lewis Chessman. This was a rare opportunity to see the piece before it went to auction on July 2. We are extremely grateful to Sotheby's and Mr Kader for displaying the chessman and allowing everyone to view this fascinating piece. It certainly added to the evening's festivities!
Thank you to all our speakers and to everyone who attended. It was a great end to our meeting season.
You can view our miscellany on our YouTube channel.
You can find out more about the auction through Sotheby’s website: https://www.sothebys.com/en/articles/a-newly-discovered-lewis-chessman-comes-to-auction
Congratulations to Dr Edward Harris MBE, FSA who was awarded the Society Medal at our summer miscellany. Born in Bermuda and educated in New York and London, Dr Harris is the inventor of the "Harris Matrix" and associated methods published in the 1979 work, Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy, which set the industry standard worldwide for recording on archaeological excavations and other related stratigraphic contexts. In 1979 he became the founding director of what would later become the National Museum of Bermuda, a 16-acre site and one of the largest such institutions in the Americas.
He was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1982 and was awarded the Society Medal in 2018 in recognition of his significant contribution towards the Society’s research grants.
Vetusta Monumenta: Digital Edition
An open-access digital edition of Vetusta Monumenta http://vetustamonumenta.org has been launched with the release of Volume I (1717 – 1747).
This digital edition of the Society of Antiquaries major print series makes high-quality scans of the original copperplate engravings, with full text and new scholarly commentary, freely available to scholars and the public. Vetusta Monumenta (Ancient Monuments) was published by the Society of Antiquaries between 1747 to 1883 in 6 volumes. This digital edition focuses on the first three volumes, produced in the 18th century and offer two complete sets of digital images, searchable transcriptions of the texts with the Latin portions translated into English, and commentaries on each individual plate and text by an international team of scholars, including several Fellows.
Almost all of the 70 plates in Volume I were engraved by George Vertue, the Society’s official engraver from its revival in 1718 until shortly before his death in 1756.
Plate I https://scalar.missouri.edu/vm/vol1plate1-bronze-lamp depicts the bronze lamp found at St Leonard’s Hill, Windsor in 1717, presented to the Society in 1736 by Sir Hans Sloane, and later adopted by the Society as its emblem.
The digital edition is produced by the University of Missouri, with the support of the Society of Antiquaries of London, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Marc Fitch Fund.
Gifts to the Library
April – June 2019
The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library by Fellows in the period from April to June 2019. These books are, or will shortly be, available in the Library, with full records on the online catalogue www.sal.org.uk/library.
From the co-author, James Bettley FSA, The Buildings of England: Pevsner Architectural Guides: Hertfordshire / James Bettley, Nikolaus Pevnser and Bridget Cherry (2019)
From the author, Jerome Bertram FSA:
From the author, David M. Browne FSA:
From Marian Campbell FSA, Caherconnell archaeological project summary of fieldwork to date / Michelle Comber (2018)
- Archaeological, architectural and topographical observations, no. 1. Andean Pottery in Wales
- Archaeological, architectural and topographical observations, no. 2. A Nasca civic-ceremonial centre at Llipata, Palpa, Peru
From the co-author, Michael Fulford FSA, and Jenni Eaton, The Silchester Environs Project: Silchester Roman Town: The baths 2018
From the co-author, Heinrich Härke FSA, Ritual, society and population at Klin-Yar (North Caucasus): excavations 1994-1996 in the Iron Age to early medieval cemetery / Andrej B. Delinskij and Heinrich Harke. Archaologie in Eurasien, 36 (2018)
From Liz Lewis FSA, Vous avez dit barbares? Archeologie des temps merovingiens en Normandie, 5-8 siecles / Sandrine Berthelot & Vincent Hincker (2018)
From George McHardy FSA:
From Val Horsler FSA:
- From decay to splendour: Repair of church treasures / R. Haslam (1985)
- Women stained glass artists of the arts and crafts movement / William Morris Gallery (1985)
- Church plate / R. Emmerson (1991)
- Whitechapel bell foundry (1977)
- Belur / N. Nagaraj (1979)
- A guide to the archaeological galleries of the Indian Museum, Calcutta / C. Sivaramamurti (1978)
- Sarnath / V. S. Agrawala (1956)
- Khajuraho / K. Deva (1980)
- Archaeological Museum, Khajuraho / K. Deva and B. S. Nayal (1973)
- The Chola temples: Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram / C. Sivaramamurti (1978)
- Mahabalipuram / C. Sivaramamurti (1972)
- Fatehpur Sikri / W. H. Siddiqi (1972)
- Old Goa / S. Rajagopalan (1975)
- Sanchi / D. Mitra (1973)
- Konarak / D. Mitra (1976)
- Pandrethan, Avantipur and Martand / D. Mitra (1977)
- Bhubaneswar / D. Mitra (1978)
- Hampi / D. Devakunjari (1998)
- A short history of Cranham and its parish church / Harold William Sparling, rev. Vincent Paul Bowen (1966)
- The Viking ship finds / Anders Hagen (1966)
- Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, new series, volume 5 (1957)
- The age of Adam / James Lees-Milne (1947)
- Temples, churches and mosques: a guide to the appreciation of religious architecture / J G Davies (1982)
From the author, Robert Hutchinson FSA, Henry VIII: the decline and fall of a tyrant (2019)
- The history and treasures of St May Magdalene Church, Cobham, Kent / Val Horsler, et al (2018)
- Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon: a visitor's guide to Shakespeare's church / Val Horsler, et al (2010)
- Clare College, Cambridge / Val Horsler, et al (2009)
- Corpus Christi College, Cambridge / Val Horsler, et al (2010)
From J. V. S. Megaw FSA:
From the author, Matthew Reeve FSA, Gothic Architecture, sexuality, and license at Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill / Matthew M Reeve. Art Bulletin, volume XCV, number 3 (September 2013)
From the author, Ronald Ridley FSA, The prince of antiquarians Francesco de Ficoroni (2017)
From the author, Lisa Skogh FSA, Material worlds : Queen Hedwig Eleonora as collector and patron of the arts (2013)
From Christian Steer FSA:
- The art of allusion: illuminators and the making of English literature, 1403-1476 / Sonja Drimmer (2019)
- Memorializing the middle classes in medieval and Renaissance Europe / edited by Anne Leader (2018)
From the co-author, Frank Vermeulen FSA, The Potenza Valley survey (Marche, Italy): settlement dynamics and changing material culture in an Adriatic valley between Iron Age and late antiquity / Frank Vermeulen et al. Academia Belgica. Studia Archaeologica, 1 (2017)
From Bill Woodburn FSA, Crusader Castles / T. E. Lawrence, edited by Denys Pringle (1988)
Head of Library & Museum Collections
The Society is seeking to appoint a new Head of Library and Museum Collections. This post is a key member of the Society’s Senior Management Team and is responsible for delivering the strategic and operational leadership of the Library and Museum Collections in order to deliver high quality services together with research resources to support the Society’s strategic objectives. The successful candidate will build on the work of their predecessor to implement our strategic plan to make our world-famous library and museum collections more visible and accessible. This is a challenging role at a time of exciting change for the Society.
An application pack is available on our website.
Closing date: 23.59hrs, Sunday 14th July 2019.
Interviews: Monday 22nd July 2019.
The Imperial War Museum celebrates defiant culture
Culture Under Attack is a major initiative for the Imperial War Museum, London, that runs from 5 July until 5 January next year. It sets out to argue the case that we should recognise the significance of the loss of culture and heritage in war: ‘war threatens not just people’s lives, but also the very things that help make those lives worth living.’
The museum’s third floor is occupied by three different exhibitions, all of which feature art and artefacts, but are dominated by texts, photography and videos. If that sounds dry, it isn’t: as I walked into one gallery I was greeted with a loud blast of Teenage Kicks. Culture Under Attack also features events at the museum and other locations (including the WOMAD Festival on 27 July), among them the third annual IWM Remembrance Lecture made with Radio 3 (6 November). I was assured that this Saturday (6 July) there will be a live performance of Syrian Death Metal in the museum’s atrium, beside Jeremy Deller’s Baghdad, 5 March 2007 (a rusting car hulk, victim of a fatal bombing in Iraq and toured by Deller around the world), a battered-in-action press Land Rover and a First World War gun carriage, and below a Spitfire and a V-1 flying bomb. You don't see that every day.
The exhibitions are at their best in sometimes easy to miss small vignettes. A recurrent feature is a touch screen on which you are asked to give a yes or no answer to tricky questions about heritage, after which the sum of visitor responses is displayed in front of you. ‘The value of art objects should be decided by which ones are the most popular.’ ‘It is okay to censor music if someone finds its message offensive.’ Yes or no? If you answer the question about music, the screen tells you that ‘Radio B92 was forced off air four times in the 1990s because the Serbian government was concerned their music and messaging would spark protests.’
What Remains, one of the three exhibitions, has been put together by IWM and Historic England, the latter’s first co-production of this kind, Duncan Wilson FSA told me. With photos, oral histories, objects and artworks from both IWM’s and HE’s collections, What Remains explores why cultural heritage is attacked during war and the ways we save, protect and restore what is targeted, with ruins portrayed from both world wars, the Bamiyan Buddhas and modern Iraq. The Historic England photo (above) shows Exeter in 1942 after a Baedeker raid: a Baedeker guide to Britain occupies a small case.
One of the most impressive moments of the whole floor is here, a short video in which Captain Mark Dunkley FSA talks eloquently about the role of the military in protecting cultural heritage. Dunkley is an advisor in the UK’s Cultural Property Protection Unit (CPPU), which was set up after the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017 was passed. ‘The world is really beginning to wake up to the necessity and the importance of protecting culture during armed conflict,’ says Dunkley. ‘Culture is our identity.’ Near the video screen is a pack of cards, of a type issued to American soldiers on duty in Iraq. The cards bear advisory photos and texts about archaeological remains, and are loaned to the exhibition by Peter Stone FSA, who has helped shape the CPPU.
The other exhibitions are Art In Exile, the story of how IWM and other museums and galleries looked after their collections during the Second World War, and Rebel Sounds, which features four examples of people making music in defiance of war and destruction. And Teenage Kicks.
Survivors of the Fire
Alison Stones FSA (Department of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh) writes to say that she recently participated in a tour of some statues that with remarkable luck escaped the fire at Notre Dame, Paris:
‘Removed from the roof of Notre-Dame for the first time on 11 April 2019, the 12 Apostles and four Evangelist symbols by Viollet le Duc (1859–60) escaped the fire of 15 April and are now undergoing restoration at SOCRA, located at Marsac-sur-l'Isle near Périgueux. Each measuring 3.40 m and weighing 150 kg, the apostles are made of repoussé copper plaques 1 mm thick, soldered together with bands of tin around a steel armature (seen most clearly in the St Bartholomew figure (below). Each statue retains its original cage-like armature.
‘The vertical rod currently in place is a temporary replacement: the original rods, thicker in diameter, remained in situ and melted in the fire. The heads were removed as part of the dismembering process and have now been re-attached. Work on the Notre-Dame statues includes repairs to the copper plates, to the soldering mechanism and to the armature. The work is being done by specialist restorer Marie-Dominique Ceaux who estimates it will take about two years per statue. The statues will lose their characteristic green patina and will end up brown; the precise shade has yet to be determined. Tours can be arranged by appointment and are highly recommended.’
Digitising Endangered Heritage in Central Asia
‘From megacities to religious sites, from nomadic camps to burial mounds, and from mountain forts to complex water management systems,’ writes Tim Williams FSA, ‘there is an astounding range of archaeological heritage across Central Asia.’ Many of these sites are protected by state legislation. A very significant number, says Williams, are not: ‘A vast range of heritage is rapidly disappearing through recent urban expansion, changing agricultural practices, rural depopulation, and the effects of climate change.’
To help confront such issues, Williams has launched the Central Asian Archaeological Landscapes (CAAL) project at UCL Institute of Archaeology. Made possible by the generosity of Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – CAAL aims to create an online digital inventory of archaeological heritage across a vast region, stretching from the Caspian Sea to western China.
‘The multinational and multidisciplinary team’, says Williams, ‘will digitise existing archives and records, and in doing so will consolidate information held by regional institutions and research centres into a single multilingual catalogue. This will be enhanced by new research using a combination of high resolution photographic and satellite imagery, along with “on the ground” field visits, in order to discover new sites, improve documentation, promote awareness and scholarship, and facilitate policy-making to better enable site and landscape preservation.’ To achieve this the project is adopting the open-source ARCHES inventory package developed by the Getty Conservation Institute and the World Monuments Fund.
The CAAL project is a partnership between institutions from the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan, and the People's Republic of China (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). It also includes the International Institute for Central Asian Studies based in Samarkand, and the ICOMOS International Conservation Centre Xi'an. Williams himself is Director of the International Research Centre for Silk Roads Archaeology and Heritage, a joint initiative between UCL Institute of Archaeology and Northwest University School of Cultural Heritage and Culture, Xi'an, Peoples Republic of China, two institutions with a long history of Silk Roads archaeology and research.
‘This exciting new project,’ adds Williams, ‘will create a shared space for archaeologists, architects, conservation professionals, as well as the wider public interested in the fascinating and varied archaeological heritage of Central Asia. CAAL stories, tweets (@uclcaal), blogs, videos and images all coming soon! Comments and enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.’
The photograph by Gai Jorayev shows a medieval icehouse in the outskirts of the great Silk Roads city of Merv, Turkmenistan, in 2017.
An Archaeologist’s Career in Kodachromes
We have written here before about archaeologists’ old photographic slides, their value and their vulnerability. Phillip Rahtz FSA left his collection to the Department of Archaeology at the University of York for free availability. Paul Stamper FSA writes to say that his slides are now indeed freely available, having been scanned (and cursorily cleaned) and placed online. A quick search through the folders suggests this must have been a challenging job, as there are very large numbers of transparencies, which have been scanned at satisfactorily high resolution.
The collection is described thus:
‘Images from the slide collection of the late Philip A Rahtz (1921–2011), renowned archaeologist who founded the Department of Archaeology at the University of York in 1979 and was its first head. The collection covers a large number of digs associated with Philip Rahtz, from the 1950s onwards, including Wharram Percy, Chew Valley, Glastonbury Tor, Chew Stoke and Bordesley Abbey. The collection also contains images of Rahtz and colleagues and images from overseas trips.’
As example, I show two photos (above and left) taken at Downton, Wilshire in 1956 (when Rahtz discovered the site) or 1957 (when Eric Higgs excavated it more thoroughly). It is an important Mesolithic hunter-gatherer activity or settlement area beside the River Avon, downstream from the better known site of Blick Mead. This folder contains 18 photos.
There are 97 folders. Cadbury Congresbury, for example, has 315 slides. Cheddar (top) contains 356.
Inca, Mytilene and Doggerland: the ancient past on BBC radio
Archaeology is often in the news, but less often in BBC radio programming than it once was. Some Fellows – not least those who appeared in it – may remember The Changing Past, an archaeology series on Radio 4 presented by Peter Fowler FSA in the 1960s and 70s; it was succeeded by Origins, and in earlier decades the likes of Sir Mortimer Wheeler FSA, O G S Crawford FSA and Glyn Daniel FSA were almost radio stars. We have long had no returning archaeology series, but the ancient past has featured in several recent programmes that can be listened to on BBC Sounds, among them three successive editions of In Our Time.
On 13 June Melvyn Bragg and guests, Frank Meddens FSA, Helen Cowie and Bill Sillar, discussed the Inca and how the people of Cusco, in modern Peru, established an empire along the Andes down to the Pacific under their supreme leader Pachacuti. On 20 June the subject was the Mytilenaean Debate – why did Athenians send a fast ship to Lesbos in 427 BC to track down an earlier ship which had set out with instructions to kill all the adult men in Mytilene? Bragg led this discussion with Paul Cartledge FSA, Lisa Irene Hau and Angela Hobbs. Finally on 27 June Vince Gaffney FSA, Carol Cotterill and Rachel Bynoe told Bragg about Doggerland, the submerged Mesolithic landscape beneath the North Sea.
Meanwhile Susan Greaney FSA has been chosen by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to be a ‘New Generation Thinker’, an annual selection of ten academics who are helped to bring their ideas and research to radio. On 26 June Greaney appeared on Radio 3’s Free Thinking (26 minutes in) to talk about local museums, ‘storehouses of human history’. Conjuring archaeologist Harold St George Gray FSA, a student of General Pitt Rivers FSA, Greaney discussed excavations, the challenges they raise for under-funded museums that are asked to curate the archives, and what the future holds.
Historic building in Mumbai WHS could be demolished
Objectors to a proposed road tunnel inside the Stonehenge World Heritage Site sometimes worry about the precedent were it go ahead. People would start pushing roads through World Heritage Sites, they say, everywhere. The evidence suggests would-be developers are happy to go ahead without any help from Stonehenge. UNESCO currently lists 54 inscribed properties it considers to be ‘in danger’ (an official label), among them the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (threatened by transport infrastructure, governance and housing), the Historic Centre of Vienna (housing, legal framework and infrastructure) and early Christian Abu Mena, Egypt, where an inappropriate land-reclamation and irrigation scheme has damaged the site and raised the water table.
UNESCO finds one endangered site in the UK: Liverpool’s historic docks, which it is threatening to drop from the list at its annual heritage meeting, now underway in Azerbaijan (30 June–10 July). The Committee is not convinced that when the city council and the UK Government said in 2018 that they would stop new development around the key historic features, they really meant it.
Meanwhile in India a significant structure in the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (inscribed in 2018) could be demolished. Seen in the photo at the top, looking south-west on the bottom right corner of a block of mostly red-tiled buildings, Watson’s Hotel long ago lost its glory, and as the Esplanade Mansion is now filled with residents and businesses whose protected low rents, say its owners, are insufficient to pay for restoration.
A judicious letter to the Times (29 July) noted that the building is as much Britain’s heritage as India’s. The letter was signed by Philip Davies FSA, chairman, Commonwealth Heritage Forum; Marcus Binney FSA, Save Britain’s Heritage; Sir Neil Cossons FSA, former chairman, English Heritage; Christopher Costelloe, director, Victorian Society; John Darlington FSA, executive director, World Monuments Fund Britain; Dr James Simpson, Asia-Scotland Trust; and Stuart Tappin, Stand Consulting Engineers. ‘
‘Esplanade Mansion,’ they write, ‘built between 1867 and 1871 as Watson’s Hotel, was revolutionary. It is the world’s first habitable, multistorey, iron-framed building, a prefabricated framework of cast and wrought iron manufactured by the Phoenix Foundry in Derby, and the precursor of skyscrapers.
‘Designed by Rowland Mason Ordish, the engineer of the Crystal Palace and St Pancras station, it is of outstanding international significance. It is also the birthplace of Bollywood. In 1896 the first films shown in India were screened there by the Lumière brothers. Its demolition should be unthinkable.’
It was not only the cast-iron frame that was shipped out from the UK. So too were bricks and cement (from London), tiles (Staffordshire) and stone for the plinth and column bases (Penrith). It’s long been clear the site needed help. It was listed in 2005 by the WMF as one of 100 endangered monuments, shortly before some converted balconies collapsed, crushing cars and killing one person; part of another balcony fell from the top floor last year. The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee approved restoration in 2010, but a subsequent structural survey highlighted the risk of further accidents, and suggested demolition as the sensible option. In April the High Court thought a local housing authority should repair the site and, perhaps rather optimistically, recover the costs from tenants who, said the court, should move out.
Nonetheless, say the Times letter-writers, ‘In spite of years of neglect, the building is capable of restoration. We urge the municipal authorities and the Indian government to commission conservation and engineering advice to inform options for its repair and reuse before any irrevocable decision is made on its future.’
The photo at the top is by Jehangir Sorabjee/Abha Narain Lambah Associates. The painting (above), which hangs in the Watson Institute, now the village hall, in Castle Carrock, Cumbria, shows a mansard roof that was never done.
• The UNESCO meeting was told on 2 July that climate change threatens the future of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. A report details the potential impact of rising seas and increasing rainfall, saying the risk was ‘particularly acute’ at the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae (above). Excavated by Gordon Childe FSA and more recently by David Clarke FSA, the stone-built village owed its remarkable survival partly to having been overwhelmed by coastal sand-dunes in the distant past, which eroded and exposed the remains early in the last century. ‘Climate change is the fastest growing threat to world heritage sites,’ said Adam Markham, Deputy Director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). UCS worked with James Cook University, Historic Environment Scotland, the University of the Highlands and Islands, Orkney Islands Council and ICOMOS to test a new rapid assessment methodology – the Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) – for the first time on a cultural World Heritage site. (My photo.)
Fellows (and Friends)
Sharon Cather FSA
, art historian and wall-painting conservator, died in June. An appreciation appears in Fellows Remembered below.
The section also contains further notices on the late Bernard Hamilton FSA
, the late John M Lewis FSA
and the late Claire Donovan FSA
Congratulations to 10 new Fellows who were elected on 27 June:
Katherine Barker, a Research Fellow with a distinguished career as an historical geographer focusing on the early medieval West Country.
Adrian Corder-Birch, Parish Council Clerk, author of studies of Essex local history and industrial archaeology, former President of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.
Susan Greaney, archaeologist and properties historian who is researching Neolithic monument complexes in Britain and Ireland. She is one of ten UK researchers selected as 2019 New Generation Thinkers by BBC Arts and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Francis Green, archaeologist working in the New Forest National Park, and archaeobotanist with interest in Roman and medieval urban sites.
Christopher Jones, Associate Professor of History and currently President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, with many publications on the history of medieval political thought.
Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, Professor of Political Science who is an authority on heraldry and military orders on which he has published extensively.
James Monroe, archaeologist and Associate Professor of Anthropology who researches the historical intersections of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, anthropologies of space and landscape, and archaeologies of the state.
Eric Nye, Professor of English and specialist in the Romantic period, and collector of rare books, which he binds and restores.
Greg Sullivan, art historian and curator specialising in British sculpture from the late 17th to the mid-19th centuries, and online editor of the Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain
Andrew Woods, museum curator who has published widely on early medieval coinage and was 2017 winner of the Blunt Prize for a significant contribution to the study and interpretation of numismatics.
For details see Ballot Results
. Further details can be seen in the Ballot Archive
As always, I'm particularly keen to hear about the activities of new Fellows. Please let me know what you’re up by emailing Salon
Oliver Urquhart Irvine MVO FSA
was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order on 14 December 2014 by the Queen in private audience at Windsor Castle. He recently became Director of Library and Learning Services at SOAS University of London, having been the Royal Librarian for five years.
Our Fellow for the planet, Sir David Attenborough FSA
, was serenaded by singing whales as he walked onto the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival in front of a vast, cheering crowd on 30 June (‘The biggest cheer of the afternoon,' tweeted @BBCEarth). He thanked the event for ‘going plastic-free’ – the sale of single-use plastics had been banned on the site. Attenborough is ‘just a legend,’ Ian Simmons told the Guardian
. ‘He’s looking out for the people of the future,’ said Dean Cousins. Photo David Levene/The Guardian
Jack Hanbury-Tenison FSA
writes to say that Clytha Park, a large 18th–19th century garden around a lake with wide lawns and specimen trees originally laid out by John Davenport, will be opening to the public on 14 July through the National Garden Scheme. ‘This year’, says Hanbury-Tenison, ‘will be a Bastille Day special, and the theme will be tricouleurs and sans-culottes, with a touch of the gilets jaunes. Even the flowers will be red, white and blue.’ The Clytha gardens are known for their historic lakeside setting and the walled garden, set in spectacular countryside on the old A40 between Raglan and Abergavenny. The open day will feature stalls and displays, food and drink, and a chance to relax in the shade of Giant Redwoods. Details online
Claire Breay FSA
has won the Longman-History Today Trustees' Award 2019, for the promotion of history (seen in the photo with Paul Lay, History Today
Editor). Among many other achievements, says the citation, Breay was lead curator of the British Library's exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War
. The exhibition, which closed in February, was a popular and critical success, awarded five stars by the Guardian
(‘discover a culture of barbaric splendour and fierce vision’) and the Evening Standard
(‘by some distance, the most significant exhibition in London’), and described as ‘glorious’ by Time Out
Susan Oosthuizen FSA
has written The Emergence of the English
, an essay in four chapters (and many footnotes) that challenges the traditional idea that English origins lie in fifth- and sixth-century immigration from north-west Europe. Focusing on the agricultural landscape, she argues that the nascent English should rather be sought among late Romano-British communities, evolving, adapting, and innovating in a post-imperial context. Oosthuizen also explores themes of universal interest, says the blurb – ‘the role of immigration in cultural transformation; the importance of the landscape as a mnemonic for cultural change; and the utility of a common property rights approach as an analytical tool.’
Cambridge University is promoting two of its archaeologists. Chris Evans FSA
, Executive Director of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit which he co-founded in 1990, will become Director of Research. Evans (left) has a long career in archaeology, publishing several major British excavation and research monographs as well as directing fieldwork projects in Nepal, China and Cape Verde. The British Academy recognised his work on key development-led archaeological sites by making him a Fellow in 2018. Hratch Papazian, the Herbert Thompson Lecturer in Ancient Egyptian Language at the Department of Archaeology, is to become a Senior Lecturer. His research focuses on ancient Egyptian social and economic history, especially earlier periods (3100–2200 B.C), though he teaches modules on all stages and scripts of the ancient language across four millennia. Both appointments at the Department of Archaeology
take place on 1 October 2019.
The Heritage Alliance, of which the Society is a member, has published what it describes as five heritage fiscal and funding priorities for 2019. ‘Our heritage is our future,’ says the Alliance in Backing the Bedrock
. ‘It has never been more important to our nation’s identity. It is our great national asset and an integral part of “Brand Britain”. It breathes life into our towns, cities and countryside, creating places that people want to live and invest in, and underpins the success of other sectors from construction to the creative industries. It tells our nation’s stories, supporting social cohesion, pride in place, learning and identity. Its positive effects on health save the NHS money and improve quality of life. England’s heritage industry is valuable, it directly generates at least £13.1 billion in gross value added (GVA) and indirectly generates 2% of national GVA (£29 billion) – more than the agriculture and aerospace sectors combined. Heritage jobs account for 1% of total national employment. Heritage tourists spend £16.9bn each year at our sites.’ The manifesto can be read online
In the last Salon
I reported how the Society co-hosted a talk by Chris Skidmore MP FSA
, in which he spoke powerfully on the importance of the humanities in modern society. Alice Thomson addressed the same subject
in the Times
, where she is an editor and columnist, on 26 June. Maths, she writes, is now ‘by far the most popular subject’ at A Level: ‘University candidates and their parents often feel they should do maths A Levels even if they want to study the arts, but STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) students don’t feel as obliged to appear well-rounded… The problem is’, she adds, ‘that English, history, philosophy, fine art and languages are now coming to be seen as second-rate degrees… But an arts training can lead to stimulating, rewarding, lateral-thinking careers.’ The next day the paper published several supportive letters
, among them one from Sir David Cannadine FSA
(left). ‘Research from the British Academy’, he wrote as the BA’s Director, supports Thomson’s case: ‘graduates from [the arts, humanities and social sciences] are highly employable and able to weather the changes of a fluctuating job market. They move between sectors and roles with ease and have the flexible, adaptable skills that employers prize.’
Chris Skidmore MP FSA
, meanwhile, was another Fellow in the public eye to highlight the unprecedented and destructive impact of people on the natural world. Working through his red box, he came across ‘a document called Climate Change Act (2050 target amendment) Order 2019. While it might sound dry,’ he wrote in the Times
(28 June), ‘this is one of the most important slips of paper to ever pass through the Whitehall churn.’ The Act commits the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. ‘Signing that seemingly insignificant piece of paper’, he added, ‘made us the first major economy to legislate for … ending our contribution to global warming entirely. As a Tudor historian by trade with a few books under my belt, I can safely say it’s the most satisfying pen stroke of my career.’
Benjamin Gearey, Suzi Richer, Seren Griffiths FSA
and Michelle Farrell FSA
have edited a special issue of Internet Archaeology
, featuring presentations given at a Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference in Bradford in 2015. In his introduction, Gearey notes how contributors ‘question assumptions about why environmental archaeology is a worthy subject of enquiry and how this value is defined, developed and communicated’. In ‘Pinned Down in the Trenches? Revisiting environmental archaeology,’ Terry O'Connor FSA
takes up this theme with gusto. ‘If we cannot satisfactorily define and theorise environmental archaeology,’ he asks, ‘then is it time to quietly pack the term away into a stout box and place it in archaeology's crowded loft alongside invasion hypotheses and diffusionism? We could simply fold environmental archaeology into archaeology and stop making the distinction. Although this is very tempting … I am not persuaded that it would be a good idea given the current theoretical trends in archaeology. To be blunt, some threads within theoretical archaeology are now so far away with the fairies that our firmly grounded, evidence-based discipline needs to keep itself distinct.’ ‘Environmental archaeology is a science,’ he adds, ‘based on hypothesis testing and evidence, not on rhetoric and argument from authority.’ The diagram is from a contribution by Lisa Lodwick FSA
English Heritage is focusing on Stonehenge as a place from which to watch the skies, after a midsummer solstice event on 21 June with an unusually clear and dry sky and a perfect sunrise. An interactive website called Skyscape is designed to allow visitors to see the sky as if viewed live from among the stones, 24 hours a day. Susan Greaney FSA
and space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock introduce the project
with a video shot at the site. ‘The entire monument is aligned around the movements of the sun,’ says Greaney. In Skyscape
, a 3D photographic representation of Stonehenge is seen from the site’s centre against a sky that reflects both time of day and weather; it can be watched as live, or historically in hourly steps. Astronomical information such as the paths of the sun or visible planets can be added at the touch of a button. Within ten days the Skyscape site had attracted nearly 100,000 users. Five lectures on themes of astronomy and Stonehenge will take place at the Stonehenge visitor centre between 10 July and 16 October. Aderin-Pocock’s talk and night visit to the stones for 12–17 year-olds is already sold out, but free places are available for lectures by Greaney and Heather Sebire FSA
(21 August) and Clive Ruggles FSA
Mobile steel flood-gates between the Venetian lagoon and the Adriatic Sea, meant to be ready in 2011, are currently scheduled to start operating in 2021. That may be further delayed, suggests Anna Somers Cocks FSA
in the Art Newspaper
(1 July), by works needed to repair the gates, already suffering severe corrosion, which are estimated to take ten years at a cost of €34m. Dragged out by a ‘huge corruption scandal’, it is now thought that the project needs nearly €300m for completion, and will have consumed a total of €8bn. If the gates are ever done, the running cost as presently estimated will be €80m a year.
Kenneth Aitchison FSA
is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME). A founder and director of Landward Research Ltd, Aitchison has been actively involved with UK and European agencies, representing the archaeological profession and commercial archaeological practice. At Landward he has specialised in labour market research. FAME’s Chairman, Tim Malim FSA
, said in a statement that ‘I and the board are all excited to harness the experience and contacts that Kenneth brings, so that we can explore fresh opportunities which will help grow our advocacy and member services during the next three years and beyond.’
James Stevens Curl FSA
is proposing to bring out a facsimile edition of J C Loudon’s On the Laying Out, Planting, and Managing of Cemeteries; and on the Improvement of Churchyards
(1843). Illustrated with 60 engravings, Loudon’s seminal work on cemeteries was originally published on very poor-quality paper, says Curl, and with an extremely small font. The new limited, numbered edition, available by subscription from Curl by no later than 1 September 2019, will be on good paper with an enlarged font, and will include a new introductory essay, a bibliography, a colour portrait of Loudon, a facsimile of Loudon’s Obituary of 1844, a list of subscribers and an index.
Hadrian’s Wall: A Study in Archaeological Exploration and Interpretation
, brings to print the Rhind Lectures given by David J Breeze FSA
to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland this May. Two chapters focus on the history of research on Hadrian's Wall over the last 200 years, while two explore the changing function and operation of the frontier over its 300-year life. The impact of Rome on life on and around the frontier is the subject of the fifth chapter. The final chapter considers how we study Hadrian's Wall and looks forward to future research. The chapters reflect closely the lectures, the main change being the addition of references.
Historic England has published Illustrating the Past
, about archaeological reconstruction artists and their work. It features seven illustrators: Alan Sorrell, Terry Ball, Ivan Lapper, Frank Gardiner, Peter Dunn, Allan T Adams FSA
and Judith Dobie. An introductory chapter covers aspects of the history of archaeological reconstruction drawings, including how they have been used to inform archaeologists, sometimes leading to new ideas of site interpretation. ‘All the illustrators worked for English Heritage, its predecessor organisations or Historic England, including myself,’ writes Adams. ‘I wrote the chapter that describes my development and techniques though Judith Dobie wrote most of the rest of the book. Judith still works for Historic England, and is well known in archaeological circles having worked in the field for many years. I began my career in Winchester, then moved to the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. In 2000 RCHME merged with English Heritage and then became Historic England. I “retired" in 2016 but still occasionally do commissions.’
Neil Jackson FSA
writes about his two new books, Pierre Koenig: A View from the Archive
and Japan and the West: An Architectural Dialogue.
‘These two titles are not as disparate as they might seem,’ he says, ‘for both California, where in Los Angeles Pierre Koenig (1925–2004) worked, and Japan share very similar seismic conditions resulting in the use, in domestic architecture, of lightweight structural frames and consequently open-plan, flexible spaces. The book on Koenig is the result of time first spent as a guest scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute in 2013, and examines his work from the evidence of his extensive archive held at the Getty Research Institute. Famous in the 1960s for his two steel-framed Case Study Houses, Koenig lived long enough, as Time
magazine said, to be “cool twice”, following the resurgence of interest in mid-century architecture.'
'One building,'continues Jackson, 'Koenig's Johnson/Riebe House in Carmel Valley, California (1961), is also discussed in Japan and the West
, a book which describes how Meiji Japan first seized upon Western architecture as a way towards modernisation and how Western architects soon discovered in traditional Japanese architecture something profound and meaningful, whether that be the purity of the design or the notion of ma
, the pause or space between. The book concludes that while neither architecture, Japanese nor Western, could have developed as it did without the other, the architecture of the West owes more to Japan, than that of Japan does to the West.’
Sharon Cather FSA
died on 6 June aged 71. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1993. Paul Williamson FSA
, Keeper Emeritus and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, has kindly offered this obituary of a pioneering art historian and specialist in the conservation of wall paintings:
‘Very few scholars can claim to have fundamentally changed the approach to a subject, both theoretically and practically. This is precisely what David Park FSA
and Sharon Cather FSA
did, however, when they persuaded the Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art of the University of London, Professor Peter Lasko FSA
, to agree to the setting up of a new postgraduate course on the conservation of wall paintings in 1985. The real work started from there, with the need to raise funds for the course's survival, and with the establishment of a close and mutually advantageous relationship with the Getty Conservation Institute, the first partnership of its kind. More than 30 years later, the Courtauld's course is a world leader, driving the research agenda and training the best conservators and academics for the future. Without Sharon Cather none of this would have happened.
‘There was little in Cather's background to suggest that she would devote most of her working life to the conservation of wall paintings, much less those of the English Middle Ages and in places very much further afield. She was born in Berkeley, California in 1947, and went on to graduate in art history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was to spend a further ten years in the offices of the art department there, before going to Princeton University for her MA and starting work on a doctorate on the Italian Renaissance architect Sebastiano Serlio, under Professor John Shearman. She was also at the American Academy in Rome in 1981–82, and helped Professor Irving Lavin, the pre-eminent authority on Bernini, with an exhibition on the artist's drawings.
‘In 1982 she came over to Cambridge and lectured in the art history department of the University. It was here she met David Park, who was engaged in marshalling the material for a comprehensive survey of the wall paintings of Great Britain, and together they formed a dynamic double act. Park was the affable, witty and apparently laid-back – but actually remarkably driven and hard-working – Englishman, Cather the extremely efficient, tech-savvy, straight-talking and tough American.
‘Park and Cather realised that the conservation and restoration (the latter a dirty word in some circles) of wall paintings was at that time a hit and miss affair, with little scientific rigour, an over-emphasis on repair rather than preventive conservation, and with inadequate opportunities for professional training of those who wanted to enter the field. So, with a chutzpah perhaps thankfully blind to the manifold challenges ahead, they decided single-handedly (but with the wise and prescient support of the Courtauld Institute) to remedy the situation. Within an astonishingly short period they developed and built the course into one that attracted students worldwide and that transformed the accepted norm of conservation strategy for wall paintings. “Treat the causes rather than the symptoms of decay” and “understand how to do as little as possible” became their catchwords.
‘The practical conservation was at first concentrated on English wall paintings, but gradually – through access to funding partnerships and pragmatic opportunities, and because the course was attracting international praise – the department was invited to advise and work on an ever-increasing roster of work abroad. Eventually this was to take in paintings in Cyprus, Jordan, Malta, Georgia, China, India, Bhutan and elsewhere, and with this spread came a surge in applications by students from overseas – a good thing both for the university and the outreach of the course. Alumni now occupy positions of influence in many countries.
‘Cather was at the heart of the course – teaching, planning the curriculum, supervising dissertations, selecting staff, raising money, and negotiating and organising the conservation campaigns in the many different places that work was carried out. She drove herself relentlessly, and the cliché that “her work was her life” would be hard to deny; it was common knowledge that throughout her career she could often be contacted in the office well into the night. Holidays were rarely taken, but she knew how to relax: a brilliant cook, with a repertoire based firmly on her time in Italy, she and Park were stimulating and highly amusing hosts, with friends and close colleagues from numerous countries. She loved works of art of all sorts, and enjoyed expeditions to antique shops and Portobello Road market in the hunt for treasures. Her homes, especially that in Greenwich (where she lived for longest), were always impeccably and tastefully appointed, and shared by an indulged cat or two.
‘Fearlessly outspoken, she rarely tempered her views and opinions out of false politeness, and one or two of those who did not know her well wandered into an unexpected verbal broadside. But even these unfortunates would have admired her sharp intelligence; and it was a refusal to accept received wisdom that served her so well in her professional life and earned her the respect of her peers. She was loved by her students, who learned quickly that they had to perform to the high standards she set, but were then supported wholeheartedly. Many became close colleagues and friends as they progressed through their own careers.
‘In addition to teaching, Cather published widely, with numerous co-written scholarly scientific articles in specialist journals, and she edited several volumes of conference transactions. Her immense contribution to the conservation and art-historical worlds was recognised by her Fellowships of the American Academy in Rome (1982) and the International Institute for Conservation (1995, later Member of Council and Vice-President) as well as her Fellowship of this Society, as a guest scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute in 2000–01, and by invitations to advise on the running of allied courses abroad.
‘The international status of the Courtauld course was underlined by foreign plaudits, including the People's Republic of China Friendship Award in 2014 (China's highest award for foreign experts) in recognition of her work with the Dunhuang Academy on the murals of the Mogao caves; and recently Cather was the project director and taught regularly on the Leon Levy Foundation Centre for Conservation Studies at Nagaur in Rajasthan. She was appointed as the first Shelby White and Leon Levy Professor of Conservation Studies at The Courtauld in 2015, and in 2017 her career was crowned by the award of the Plowden Medal by the Royal Warrant Holders Association for “an outstanding contribution to the conservation profession”.
‘Retirement from the Courtauld for both Cather and Park came in 2018, and they headed north for a different life away from the politics of university life. Buying a splendid wing of a grand house in Kirklees in Yorkshire, they had just started planning its improvement when Cather suddenly fell ill in December, never to recover. This was just before a conference held at the University of York in honour of David Park, where the assembled company's great affection for her was self-evident. Had she been there, no doubt at least some of the papers would have been met with her characteristic friendly but firm response to anything she disagreed with: “Really?”’
The photo shows Sharon Cather monitoring the condition of the wall paintings in St Gabriel's Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, in 1990 (the Courtauld Institute).
Brendan O'Connor FSA
writes about Bernard Hamilton FSA
, who died in May
‘I was a student at Nottingham University in the early 1970s and would like to pay tribute to Bernard Hamilton as a teacher. His first-year undergraduate lectures on the Byzantine Empire and the Arabs were a revelation at the time and would be even more apposite now. His more rigorous third-year special subject, the Albigensian Crusade, provided excellent preparation for postgraduate research, albeit in archaeology. Nearly 50 years later I can increasingly appreciate just how valuable all this was.’
Blaise Vyner FSA
has kindly written an obituary of John M Lewis FSA
, who died on 4 June
aged 92. He was Assistant Keeper of Medieval and Later Antiquities at the National Museum and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff:
‘John Masters Lewis was brought up in Mountain Ash, a Glamorgan coal-mining community, where his father was a teacher. He went up to Balliol College, Oxford, where he read English, afterwards embarking on the Education Diploma, although with diminishing enthusiasm, as he explains in his evocative memoirs. He joined the Oxford University Archaeology Society, where he was involved in a field project to trace the course of a potentially Saxon earthwork, Ave’s Ditch. The experience encouraged him to sign up to a summer excavation at Verulamium.
‘He had begun teaching Latin, along with some English, at Llandaff Cathedral School, but he was becoming hooked on archaeology and signed up to an external degree at the University of London, eventually opting to take a diploma in European Prehistoric Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology (now UCL). He described his time at the Institute (1952–54) as “the happiest days of his life”.
‘His account of Sir Mortimer Wheeler FSA
’s Verulamium excavation, and his second dig, with Hubert Savory FSA
at Pipton, a Breconshire chambered cairn, and others afterwards, are intensely evocative of British field archaeology in the 1950s. This is all recorded in his highly entertaining, but still largely unpublished, reminiscences, all well observed and gently amusing. The recent war loomed large in his memories of the thread-bare Llandaff Cathedral School and of excavations peopled with diggers who, unlike him, had military experience and brought, depending on character, either a disciplined or a light-hearted approach to their work – John favoured the latter. Many of the archaeological assistants John encountered were to become well known in the 1960s and 70s.
‘He finished at the Institute of Archaeology in 1954 and was recruited by John Hurst FSA
into the Ministry of Works as an “occasional” supervisor on emergency archaeological excavations. It was while he was thus engaged – at a deserted medieval village near Kettering – that he met his future wife, Clemency, who had been a previous incumbent of his “digs”. John’s newly married status necessitated a more permanent post, and he acquired one at Wakefield Museum, but it proved not to be a successful move and after three months he resigned. Fortunately, soon afterwards he was appointed to a temporary post in the Ministry of Works as an Assistant Inspector of Ancient Monuments, based in London, and assigned to its Welsh section, where, in his words, “it was considered that at least he would be able to pronounce the place-names”.
‘His line-manager was Oswin Craster, newly elevated Inspector for Wales. In 1958 the section was outstationed to Cardiff, initially to offices in Gabalfa, afterwards to Cathedral Road. John had occasionally to deal with castles (he discovered a Roman fort at Caerphilly) and other medieval monuments, but his principal interest was in prehistory, in particular standing stones, of which he excavated at least five. John liked to recall Oswin Craster’s dictum that the only qualifications essential for an Assistant Inspector of Monuments were a high crotch and a driving licence. John lacked the first of these, and on the occasion of being chased by a guard dog on the site of a Milford Haven Palmerstonian fort, Oswin had to lift him bodily over a barbed-wire fence.
‘As his post at the Ministry of Works remained temporary, advancing years, a growing family and an increasing unwillingness to undertake the extended travelling his job entailed, persuaded him to apply for the post of Assistant Keeper of the Post-Roman Collections at the National Museum of Wales, to which he acceded in 1965. At the Museum John’s colleagues were Hubert Savory FSA
(prehistory) and George Boon FSA
(Roman antiquities), both considerable scholars. Although not without their eccentricities, they were amenable colleagues and John was able, largely, to pursue his own interests.
‘In the museum environment John will be remembered for his re-casting of the existing exhibition of rather grey and dusty Early Christian monuments into a coherent, colourful and interesting display which lasted 20 years. He was also responsible for the new Medieval Gallery of the late 1970s, while the White Monks in Wales
was a memorable temporary exhibition. In these John was aided and encouraged by George Evans, the ever-enthusiastic and resourceful Departmental Assistant.
‘At the Ministry he had embarked on the excavation of a standing stone and associated features at Rhos y Clegyrn, St Nicholas, Pembrokeshire, a project which he completed while at the Museum before embarking on the excavation of Loughor Castle, near Llanelli. Here he discovered, to George Boon’s delight, his second Roman fort, but Boon’s desired hat-trick eluded them.
‘The Museum encouraged research and publication in the areas of its collections. In John’s case this resulted in a series of illustrated booklets: Welsh Monumental Brasses
(1974), Welsh Paving Tiles
(1976), Medieval Pottery and Metalware
(1977) and a wider study of a country pottery, The Ewenny Potteries
(1982). In the mid-1970s, in an initiative not previously contemplated by the Archaeology Department, John worked with younger archaeologists in establishing the Welsh Medieval Pottery Research Group, whose Journal
John edited for ten years. John’s friendship, encouragement and wise advice were much appreciated by a wide range of visiting archaeologists, as was the hospitality which he and Clem provided at their house in Howells Crescent, Llandaff.
‘Towards retirement John took on some new projects, which he continued to work on for some years – the catalogue of The Medieval Tiles of Wales
(1999) was perhaps the project that he enjoyed most; he also completed the revision of sections of Early Christian Monuments of Wales
(2007). The report and publication of his Loughor Castle excavations was also finally achieved (1993).
‘In archaeology, as in all other areas, John was a modest and self-effacing man. He was keenly interested in music and a proficient pianist. Despite having abandoned teaching, he retained an enduring interest in literature and poetry, being especially fond of Anthony Powell’s Dance
series and the poems of Philip Larkin and Douglas Dunn. Together with Clem, he weekly scanned the TLS
for likely reading material. Perhaps less well known, John Lewis was an accomplished poet with poems published in The Anglo-Welsh Review
, and one selected as the Late Night Poem on Harlech Television.
‘John Lewis’s early reminiscences, “Llandaff Cathedral School 1949-52, a View from the Staff Room”, are published in North of the Green Baize Door: Memoirs of a Teacher and Pupil, 1948–53
(Llandaff Society Occasional Paper 15, 2008). He remained typically modest about publishing later reminiscences, and, indeed, much of his poetry, being finally persuaded to issue Maestro at a Valley Festival and Other Poems
The photo is thought to show John Lewis at Loughor Castle in 1973 (Blaise Vyner).
Paul Stamper FSA
adds this note about Claire Donovan FSA
, who died early in June
‘Claire Donovan was, of course, a scholar in her own right and a worthy FSA. But many of us first met her when she married Colin Platt FSA
– gaining thereby not only a husband but also the introduction to a host of ex-Platt students who thought the world of him. Many of us became regular guests at Littlempston in Devon, enjoying their legendary hospitality. Her untimely death, so soon after Colin’s in 2015 – she edited a Festschrift, A Fresh Approach,
for him in 2014 – is felt by all who knew them.’
Memorials to Fellows
Philip de Jersey FSA
writes from Guernsey about a memorial to Frederick Corbin Lukis FSA
, a Fellow, he says, who is not actually identified as such. ‘His first intended resting place,’ he adds, ‘is about to be reopened to the public after some 50 years of neglect, following restoration by a small group of volunteers (myself included).’
‘There is a vault in the Brothers’ Cemetery, St Peter Port, Guernsey, which bears the name F. C. LUKIS discreetly at the base of the eastern side of the tomb (right). Alongside him to the north is a vault inscribed I. LUKIS, for his father, John, and to the south another for his brother-in-law, Thomas Mansell (later Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Mansell). As far as I can establish, this triplet of vaults was constructed between about 1815 and 1820, when Frederick (born 1788) was still a young man. By the time of his death, in 1871, the popularity of the Brothers’ Cemetery as a final resting place for the upper echelons of Guernsey society had much diminished; a new cemetery just up the hill at Candie had opened in 1831, and after a slow start it soon received all the local notables, including members of the Lukis family. In about 1853 or 1854 they had built for them a rather splendid grey and polished pink granite confection (top), with a fine view over St Peter Port and out towards Sark, and it was there that Frederick Corbin Lukis was buried (below).
‘Lukis’s tomb in the Brothers’ Cemetery did not go completely unused: on 31 December 1848 his youngest son, Ernest William, was interred there, following his death at Marlborough School, aged 15. But we have a note in the Lukis Archive at Guernsey Museum recording that his body was removed to the family tomb in Candie Cemetery in 1854, presumably just after the completion of that vault.
‘The Brothers’ Cemetery continued its slow decline through the 19th century: burials became increasingly rare after 1900 and the last recorded interment was in 1951. Almost all of the headstones were destroyed in 1954, and in about 1970 the cemetery was locked up and more or less forgotten. In 2011 the parish authorities put forward a proposal to the local Ecclesiastical Court to clear the site, removing all but one of the 130 or so vaults still surviving. I opposed this proposal, both in my professional capacity and with a personal interest: my great-great-great-grandfather is buried in a vault in the cemetery. The Ecclesiastical Court sided with me and my fellow objectors, and so in 2012 we started to restore the vaults with the aim of making the cemetery safe and accessible to the public once again. After nearly seven years and several thousand hours of work, all of it voluntary, we are delighted that the cemetery will reopen on 1 July. I’ve been writing a blog on our progress
, and further information specifically on Frederick Corbin Lukis’s tombs is available in a post on Vault no. 52 and vault no. 53
The Wisdom of Fellows
In the last Salon
I included a note about Cardiff University, which will be celebrating a century of archaeology teaching in 2020. I included an email address with which alumni could contact the Archaeology Department in regard to an event in June next year, and for help in tracking down other alumni and former staff. There was a typo in the address, as Catherine Johns FSA
experienced: ‘As a member of one of the oldest generations of Cardiff graduates still alive,’ she writes, ‘and more or less compos mentis, I want to keep informed about [next year's centenary]’. The correct address is firstname.lastname@example.org
. My apologies.
In the last Salon Mark Samuel FSA
asked about an image he’d found online of a Roman carved elephant. Iain Ferris FSA
was the first of several Fellows who were quick to point out that the scene was a detail from the front panel of a sarcophagus from Via Salaria in Rome, now displayed in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, USA. Robert Hannah FSA
and Jack Ogden FSA
say that the ‘splendid elephant’ can be found on the Walters’ website
. ‘The triumphal march of Dionysus’, the description says, ‘(or Bacchus, as he was generally known in Rome) through the lands of India was equated in Roman thought with the triumph of the deceased over death. … Dionysus rides in a chariot pulled by panthers. Preceding him is a procession of his followers and exotic animals, including lions, elephants, and even a giraffe.’
‘It took me about a minute to find the details simply by typing “elephant roman sarcophagus” into Google,’ writes Jon Bayliss FSA
, who adds, ‘I presume the sculptor had no knowledge of different sub-species of elephants.’ A similar search trick, I found, can be achieved by copying the image into Google.
The Society apartments and library will be closed from Monday 29 July to Monday 2 September.
Forthcoming Events for Fellows
You can catch up on meetings you've missed by visiting our YouTube Channel.
Ordinary Meetings of Fellows
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins, Communications Manager (email@example.com).
Forthcoming Public Events
Conferences and Seminars
- 19 July: Research Showcase: Elements You are invited to join us for an engaging afternoon and evening event, providing our grant recipients the opportunity to present their work at Burlington House through table-top displays, talks and interactive workshops.
- 21 September: Open House London Join us for Open House London. We participate in this city-wide event every year, welcoming visitors into our apartments in Burlington House to learn about the architecture.
- 25 October: Postgraduate Open Day Spend the day learning about our collections and resources that can help you with your research. Hear from Fellows of the Society who are experts in their fields. Network with other postgraduate students and early-career researchers. Spend time in the Library, exploring our collections.
- 26 October: New Researchers Conference This conference is on the history of collecting and the role of the antiquary. The conference is part of our public outreach programme with a specific focus on engaging with ‘new’ researchers, postgraduate and early career academics. Key note speaker: Professor Arthur McGregor FSA
- 1 November: Publishing The Staffordshire Treasure: Impacts and Implications, organised by Prof Leslie Webster FSA, Dr Sam Lucy FSA & Dr Tania Dickinson FSA
- 29 November: Respect and Protect: fulfilling the obligation to safeguard cultural property in the military context organised by Dr Clive Cheesman FSA (College of Arms) & Dr Helen Forde FSA
Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.
Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Please see bulletin above regarding potential upcoming activities. You can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.
The Welsh Regional Fellows’ Group of the Society is holding a one-day symposium on Raglan Castle, Gwent (Monmouthshire), in the Beaufort Arms, Raglan.
The meeting is being organized in honour of the late Rick Turner OBE, FSA, formerly of CADW, who died in June 2018. It will report on a new project of research into the castle and grounds of the exceptional very late medieval and Renaissance-period castle at Raglan and its role as a cultural and political centre, which Rick himself had been involved in planning.
We shall have a programme of papers and reports from leading specialists in the field from 9.45 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and propose to discuss future prospects for research and publication, including the aspiration to bring together a comprehensive volume of the scope and quality of Rick Turner’s own co-edited volume on Chepstow Castle (with Andy Johnson, Logaston Press, 2006). The cost for the day will include coffee/tea morning and afternoon and a buffet lunch. You can book tickets through the Society website here.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.
Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.
Reduced Library Services
Temporary reduced library services
The Society has recruited two new staff members in the library, they will take up their appointments in July. We are still operating with reduced library services which is expected to continue until October.
Research visits: Research visits by Fellows will continue as usual during the Library’s normal opening times (Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm). Fellows wishing to consult material that needs retrieving by staff (manuscripts, archives, prints and drawings, and printed items on closed access) are asked to order material in advance.
External researcher visits will be limited to no more than 2 researchers per day and will be strictly by appointment only. Our Guidelines for Researchers give information on how to make an appointment.
Image services: Our image services are suspended, and we will not be accepting requests for images and licences from the library and museum collections.
This does not affect the photocopying service.
Other library services to Fellows will operate as normal (book loans and electronic resources service)
Please check our website at https://www.sal.org.uk/library/ for dates of planned closures.
Other Heritage Events
8 July: Why Study the History of the Church? Reflections on English History from the 17th to the 19th Century (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. A public lecture by Stephen Taylor (Durham University) will follow the Annual General Meeting of the Church of England Record Society. Details online, or contact email@example.com or 020 7898 1400.
17 July: Translating Becket: New Themes, New Meanings in the Life and Afterlife of St Thomas of Canterbury 1170-2020 (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. The talk by Nicholas Vincent FSA will follow the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. He has published widely on English and European history in the 12th and 13th centuries, most recently on King John and Magna Carta. This lecture anticipates the 850th anniversary of Becket’s martyrdom next year and will be accompanied by a display of manuscripts from the Library’s collections. Details from firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7898 1400.
22–25 July: The Medieval Book as Object, Idea and Symbol (Harlaxton)
The 2019 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium 2019, convened by Julian Luxford FSA, will address books as cultural artefacts, ie objects that are recognised and understood in particular ways and defined according to given criteria. Why, for example, is ‘book’ generally equated with ‘codex’ to the exclusion of single-sheet documents (OE boc, bec), rolls and fascicles? On what grounds are major distinctions drawn between ‘library’ books and ‘non-library’ books? Why, historically, did books and rolls signify differently? While many papers will have a later medieval focus, earlier material will also be included, and the object domain is not restricted to Britain. Lucy Freeman Sandler FSA will give the inaugural lecture in memory of Pamela Tudor-Craig FSA, on 'It’s an open book: Archbishop Thomas Arundel's copy of the gospel commentary of William of Nottingham'. Other speakers include Jessica Barker FSA, Alixe Bovey FSA, Clive Burgess FSA, Brian Cummings FSA, Elizabeth Danbury FSA, Tony Edwards FSA, Vincent Gillespie FSA, Sandy Heslop FSA, Nigel Ramsay FSA, Kathryn Smith FSA and Jenny Stratford FSA. Contact Christian Steer FSA, email@example.com or find details online.
29 July: ‘The Great Joss and his Playthings’: George IV as a Print Collector (London)
Kate Heard, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
14 September: Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians (d 911) and his Deerhurst Connections (Deerhurst)
Barbara Yorke FSA will give the Annual Deerhurst Lecture in St Mary's Church, Deerhurst, Gloucestershire. Details online.
18 September: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce recent guidance to PX, and review the essential components of assessment and updated project design. In the afternoon we will review examples from current practice and consider how far they meet their purpose and justify funding decisions. The course is designed for those in supervisory, junior management or specialist roles who will be compiling and contributing to PX assessments, and those in consultancy and curatorial roles who commission and evaluate them. Course Director: Leo Webley, Head of Post-Excavation, Oxford Archaeology South. Tutors: Edward Biddulph, Senior Project Manager and Roman pottery specialist, Oxford Archaeology South; Sarah Wyles, Senior Environmental Officer, Cotswold Archaeology. Details online.
21 September: Suffolk by the Sea (Southwold)
The 5th Wheeler Conference of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History will consider the impact of the coast on Suffolk’s heritage from prehistory to medieval times. Topics include exploring Doggerland, crossing the North Sea and Scandinavian ships, Medieval trade, underwater archaeology at Dunwich, and Southwold museum (Museum of the Year 2017). Speakers include Brian Ayers FSA, Paul Constantine, Vince Gaffney FSA, David Sear and Simon Loftus. Details online.
25–27 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. Significance assessment is a key part of management and of development within the historic environment. This course will introduce the process, show you what is involved in preparing assessments of significance, teach you how to read and judge such assessments, and explore the ways in which they can be used. Open to all, but of particular interest to heritage asset managers and advisers, planners, historic environment professionals and architects, surveyors and others who do not specialise in heritage but may need to understand assessments and their value in guiding change. Course Director: Stephen Bond, Director of Heritage Places and joint author of Managing Built Heritage. Course Co-Director: Henry Russell, Course Director of the programme in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Reading University. Details online.
27 September: Maritime Archaeology (Chatham)
This will be Chatham Historic Dockyard’s first course, with three morning talks covering themes on the history and work of the dockyard at Chatham, the built heritage and conservation of maritime architecture at Portsmouth dockyard, and marine archaeology across east Kent. Lunch will be provided, followed by a guided tour of the dockyard, introduced by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and led by Peter Kendall FSA of Historic England. Details online.
30 September: ‘The Aura of Popularity’: The Rise and Fall of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in the Nineteenth-Century British Art Market (London)
Isabelle Kent, Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
10 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The course will be of interest to all those who are currently (or hope to be) involved in the commissioning or production of desk-based assessments. It is targeted towards new entrants to the profession and those who would like to develop skills in this area. Course Directors: Jill Hind (formerly Senior Project Mgr Oxford Archaeology) and Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger, County Archaeologist for Wiltshire. Details online.
28 October: Architectural Salvage from Cairo to London: The Pivotal Role of the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 (London)
Moya Carey, Curator of Islamic Collections, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and Mercedes Volait, Research Professor at CNRS, based at InVisu, INHA, Paris, speak in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
29 October: Fire: Friend or Fiend in Human History? (Bournemouth)
The Third Annual Pitt Rivers Lecture at Bournemouth University will be given by the internationally renowned anthropologist Ruth Tringham (University of California at Berkeley). She will explore how archaeologists can and do act as arson investigators centuries or millennia after the event, focusing on the burned houses of Neolithic Southeast Europe, and earlier examples in Neolithic Anatolia (Çatalhöyük, Turkey), in order to consider how fire has been managed and controlled, and why fire is chosen as a means of destroying places, urban or rural, public or domestic. Details online.
31 October: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce the standard types of published reports currently produced by archaeologists, and how the scope and content of a report is planned. The course will then focus on two key components, the stratigraphic narrative and the discussion, and the most effective and successful ways of approaching the planning, writing and illustration of these. This will include a critical review of a number of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements that apply to writing in a professional and academic context. The course will involve some preparatory reading before the training day. Course Director: Elizabeth Popescu, Post-Excavation and Publications Manager, Oxford Archaeology East. Details online.
9 November: Sunrise Over the Stones: Recent Research into Neolithic and Chalcolithic Wessex (Bournemouth)
The CBA Wessex 2019 Annual Conference will be held at Bournemouth University. Roland Smith FSA will give the welcome address, and other speakers include Tim Darvill FSA, Mike Parker Pearson FSA, Josh Pollard FSA, Julian Richards FSA, Miles Russell FSA, Alison Sheridan FSA and Ann Woodward FSA. Details online.
14–15 November: Collecting and Collections: Digital Lives and Afterlives Workshop (London)
The Collective Wisdom project, funded by an AHRC International Networking Grant, explores how and why members of the Royal Society, the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Leopoldina (in Halle, Germany) collected specimens of the natural world, art, and archaeology in the 17th and 18th centuries. Three international workshops at Carlton House Terrace will analyse the connections between these scholarly organisations, natural philosophy, and antiquarianism, and to what extent these networks shaped the formation of early museums and their categorisation of knowledge. Details online.
15 November: Curating Decay (Waltham Abbey)
This will be Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills’ first course, with three morning talks covering a range of issues in the management of vulnerable heritage sites, and reimagining how we might adopt an ethical stance that allows us to collaborate with natural processes and decay, rather than fighting against them. Lunch will be provided, followed by a chance to visit the Royal Gunpowder Mills exhibition and a guided tour of the site led by Wayne Cocroft FSA. Details online.
25 November: A ‘Fauve de la Curiosité’: The Hybrid Career of Edouard Jonas (1883-1961), Dealer and Curator (London)
Barbara Lasic, Lecturer in History of Art and Coordinator of Postgraduate Programmes, University of Buckingham, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
27–29 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
A short course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is a practical workshop carefully designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called upon to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. It will present the terms of procedure, the roles of the participants and the general feel of a Public Inquiry. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study. Training for potential witnesses will be given in how to prepare evidence for a Public Inquiry, how to produce proofs of evidence, and to experience them being given and tested under realistic conditions. You will be allocated a role to play in the Inquiry and asked to prepare a proof of evidence to fit this role. Active participation limited to 14 participants. There will also be a limited number of places available for observers. Course Directors: Roger M Thomas, Barrister and Archaeologist; George Lambrick, Independent Archaeology and Heritage Consultant. Planning Inspector: Richard Tamplin. Advocates: David Woolley QC and Allan Ledden, Solicitor. Details online.
Heritage Lincolnshire seeks a new Chief Executive. Final closing date for applications 21 July.
Heritage Lincolnshire operates across the historical county to advance the education of the public in all matters relating to Lincolnshire’s rich and diverse heritage, and to preserve and investigate that heritage for the benefit of local people and visitors to the county. The charity is at a key stage of its development, with significant opportunity for growth.
The new Chief Executive will be someone with the drive, initiative and enthusiasm to deliver the aims and objectives of their ambitious business plan. To be successful in the role you will ideally have broad heritage knowledge with a good overview of the sector, combined with a business-focused and commercial approach to understand and action how to best capitalise on opportunities. Some commercial experience would be an advantage.
See online for details.
Propose a Lecture or Seminar
Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.
Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (email@example.com), if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.