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Salon: Issue 297
22 April 2013

Next issue: 13 May 2013

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contribution that the Society's Fellows make to public life. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website. News and feedback for publication in Salon should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
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Inside this issue

23 April 2013: The Society’s Anniversary Meeting

The Society’s Anniversary Meeting, to be held on St George’s Day, will be in three parts: at 3.30pm the Fellows-only part of the meeting begins with the election of members of Council and officers to serve during 2013—14, plus reports from the Treasurer and General Secretary on the Society’s activities during 2012—13. Tea will be served from 4.15pm and guests are welcome at the second part of the meeting, starting at 5pm, when the President will announce the results of the ballot and give his Presidential address. Admission to the third part, the reception that starts at 6pm, is by ticket only (£10, from the Society’s Executive Assistant).

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Forthcoming meetings

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

2 May 2013: ‘“Less mudslinging and more facts”: a new approach to public health in late medieval English towns’, by Carole Rawcliffe, FSA
The study of public health measures in late medieval English towns has made only limited progress since the 1920s when Lynn Thorndike urged historians to set aside their ‘Victorian’ preconceptions and to approach the primary evidence with fresh eyes. Despite his demand for ‘less mudslinging and more facts’, there is still a widespread presumption that magistrates remained passive in the face of repeated epidemics and that effective responses to disease were hampered by backwardness and superstition. This lecture will question such assumptions by examining the strenuous efforts that were made to improve the urban environment during an age of plague.

9 May 2013: ‘The “Seals in Medieval Wales” project: recent research and new discoveries’, by Elizabeth New, FSA, and John McEwan
Seals have been an important tool for communication since the earliest times, and are a valuable source for historical studies. The study of British medieval seals can be traced back to the later sixteenth century, with such eminent scholars as William Dugdale, Walter de Gray Birch and William St John Hope (all Fellows of our Society) using sigillographic evidence to make important contributions to the study of the Middle Ages. Building on such scholarship, the ‘Seals in Medieval Wales’ project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and based in Aberystwyth University, has taken sigillographic research in new and exciting directions, focusing on seals and sealing practices in Wales and the Welsh Marches from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. This paper will explore in detail one aspect of the ground-breaking study, namely the type and distribution of motifs present on seals and what this can tell us about their historical development.

16 May 2013: ‘The Traprain Treasure: new light on a Late Roman silver hoard’, by Fraser Hunter, FSA, and Kenneth Painter, FSA
The hoard of late Roman silver from Traprain Law (East Lothian), found in 1919, is the finest example of a so-called ‘Hacksilber’ hoard, consisting of the bent, crushed and broken pieces of a number of vessels. An international collaborative research project co-ordinated by the speakers is now providing fresh insights into this important find. The interpretation of such hoards has long been debated. For many years they were seen as barbarian loot, but the speakers' research has revealed other intriguing possibilities, casting new light on the late Roman economy, the late Roman army and its links to people beyond the formal boundaries of Empire. The lecture will look at the various lives of this hoard, from the original range of high-quality elite silver to the processes leading to its fragmentation, movement beyond the Roman frontier and burial in a ‘barbarian’ power centre.

30 May 2013: ‘Climate and environment and the Indus civilisation: new Insights from the “Land, Water, and Settlement” project’, by Cameron Petrie
There has been considerable debate about the role of environment and climate in the development and decline of the urban phase of the Indus civilisation, which thrived on the plains of Pakistan and western India during the third millennium BC. Recent research by a collaborative University of Cambridge and Banaras Hindu University team is revealing new insights into these processes that are contributing to a fundamental change in the way that we understand this ancient society and the transformations that it underwent.

6 June 2013: Summer Soirée
Fellow Janet Owen, whose biography of Sir John Lubbock has just been published (see ‘Books by Fellows: Darwin’s Apprentice’ below), will talk about the relationship between Lubbock, Darwin and other prominent scientists of their day and examine the parts they played in promoting new ideas in the intellectual ferment that resulted from the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and Lubbock’s own Pre-historic Times (1872). Michael Archer, former conservator in the British Museum’s Clocks and Watches Department, will talk about the Society’s clocks, including the Benjamin Gray and Justin Vulliamy Regulator located in the Society’s entrance hall. Admission to the Pimms and wine reception that follows at 6pm is by ticket only (£10, from the Society’s Executive Assistant).

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14 July 2013: Fellows’ Day at Kelmscott Manor

Tickets for Fellows’ Day cost £15 (£7 for children under 16) and should be booked by 21 June 2103 by contacting the Kelmscott Manor staff.

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Public lectures

20 May 2013: ‘Historical Archaeology on Mauritius: Colonial Insights from the Indian Ocean World’, by Krish Seetah
Starting at 1pm, the lecture is free but it is advisable to book in advance by emailing the Society’s Executive Assistant.

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A six-month excavation campaign is drawing to an end on the north-western outskirts of Cambridge, where the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, directed by our Fellow Chris Evans, has uncovered some 14 hectares (9 per cent of the 150-hectare development site) of landscape, an area larger than Roman Cambridge. The land stands in the angle between the Madingley and Huntingdon roads; what was recently a featureless landscape of flat agricultural land, with scarcely a tree or a hedge to break the monotony, was once a very busy landscape, it now appears. ‘We have discovered that vibrant prehistoric settlements inhabited the land and those settlements grew with complexity in the Roman age’, Chris Evans says. The excavation has found evidence for three separate Roman roadside settlements, which were preceded by intensive later prehistoric usage, and a series of Middle Bronze Age enclosures and ring-ditch monuments (c 1500 BC). The site’s long archaeological sequence closes with a number of World War II practice trenches.

Further pictures can be seen here.

‘Neolithic houses’ under construction at Stonehenge

English Heritage has released a computer-generated image (above) showing the outdoor gallery adjacent to the new Stonehenge visitor centre, scheduled to open in December 2013. This will feature three ‘Neolithic houses’ reconstructed on the basis of the evidence from Durrington Walls, thought to be north-west Europe’s largest Neolithic settlement. The outdoor gallery will complement the archaeological gallery indoors featuring important objects associated with Stonehenge on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

Call for Papers: prehistoric and historic textile finds: deadline 31 May 2013

NESAT (the North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles) will hold its twelfth symposium on 21 to 24 May 2014 in Hallstatt, Austria. The conference will consider prehistoric and historic textile finds, focusing on the contextual analysis of finds and new methods of study. The organizers are interested in papers that present lesser known or recently excavated textiles, techniques and iconography that will generate discussion and exchange of information among the conference attendees. Papers can be presented in English or German and should not be more than 30 minutes in length. Abstracts of no more than 250 words can be submitted as Word or pdf files to Karina Groemer at the Vienna Natural History Museum.

Consultation on revisions to British Standard 7913

Did you even know that the British Standards Institute’s tentacles stretch to conservation? If you did, then you are probably already familiar with BS 7913 (first published in 1998 as a ‘Guide to the Principles of the Conservation of Historic Buildings’, later renamed ‘Guide to the Conservation of Heritage Assets’), and if you are familiar with it you may well have views on its contents, which include sections on ‘Heritage values and significance’ and ‘Using significance as a framework for managing change’. You can read the latest revised version, and comment on it, by registering on the BSI website. The closing date for comments is 31 May 2013.

New online archaeological journal

GUARD Archaeology Ltd (formerly part of Glasgow University; now trading as an independent company) has just launched a new online journal, Archaeology Reports Online. Fellow Beverley Ballin Smith explains that ‘over recent years, we have come to realise that an enormous amount of archaeological fieldwork is undertaken across Scotland and other areas of the UK that struggles to find a publication outlet, particularly for fieldwork in those areas where there is not a regional archaeology journal. Through ARO, we aim to provide a quick, cost-effective opportunity for archaeologists to publish the peer-reviewed results of their fieldwork research, the results of which will then be freely available to download from the ARO website.

‘The ARO website already includes the publication of GUARD Archaeology’s recent excavation of Soutra Hill, which has revealed this site to be a focal point for a variety of activity during the Early Bronze Age and medieval periods. The ARO website also includes reports on sites where new evidence for medieval burial traditions in the Scottish Borders and Iron Age settlement in the Highlands has been recovered. Many more reports will be published over the coming months, written by individuals and other archaeological organisations.’

So if any colleagues have archaeological fieldwork reports languishing in cupboards and computer files that are worthy of publication, but have found it difficult to identify a suitable journal, you know who to contact: Beverley Ballin Smith.

Butrint Foundation archive online

Our Fellow and Hon Secretary Brian Ayers was, until recently, Chief Executive of the Butrint Foundation (BF); Brian writes to let us know that the Foundation has now placed its archive on the web. ‘The BF’, he says, ‘was established in 1994 by Lord Rothschild and Lord Sainsbury with the great and long-lasting assistance of our Fellow Richard Hodges. Over a period of eighteen years it has undertaken a range of research, conservation, training and enterprise work at this World Heritage Site in southern Albania. The surveys and excavations will all have been published by 2015 (details can be found on the Foundation’s website), with the result that Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman Butrint will be the best-published site in the eastern Mediterranean. The archive provides a wealth of additional material; not just the Foundation’s own archives, but also pictures of Butrint taken by nineteenth-century visitors and records of the Italian excavation campaigns of the 1920s and 1930s and archaeological work undertaken during the Communist era. The digital archive was created by David Bescoby of the University of East Anglia and placed online with the help of Olivia Hay of the Rothschild Foundation.’

Charles Dickens and medicine

Our Fellow Nicholas Cambridge, historian of science and of medical practice in particular, gave an account of his current research on ‘Charles Dickens and Medicine’ in the talk that he delivered as President of the William Shipley Group for RSA History, following the group’s Annual General Meeting on 18 March 2013. Dr Cambridge revealed that Dickens did not just write about the plight of London’s poor, and their treatment at the hands of shabby and ineffective medical characters, he was an active campaigner in support of those hospitals that, as charitable institutions, depended on voluntary financial support. He was, for example, one of the most active supporters and patrons of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children during the first precarious years of its existence from 1852. In 1847, together with his philanthropist friend, Baroness Burdett Coutts, he set up Urania Cottage, an asylum where ‘fallen women’ could be helped to return to a normal way of life. With his friends Thomas Southwood-Smith and Edwin Chadwick, Dickens campaigned on public health issues, including water quality, atmospheric pollution and living conditions in slums.

His own medical history included anal fistula, renal colic, gonorrhoea, gout and a fatal stroke in 1870. He also suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder; unable to sleep, he sometimes walked thirty miles from Tavistock House, his home in London, to his house in Gad’s Hill, Kent.

Finally, there is a link between Dickens and the [Royal] Society of Arts. He was elected a member on 28 November 1849 and in the following year he served on the ‘Committee for the Working Classes’ appointed to advise the Commissioners of the proposed Great Exhibition, which brought him into contact with Henry Cole, the exhibition’s manager. Dickens disagreed with Cole over the timing of the shilling admission days but, as a member of the Committee, appointed by the Society of Arts on 4 September 1850, to promote the ‘legislative recognition of the rights of inventions in arts, manufactures and science’, Dickens was Cole’s close ally.

The report above was extracted from the newsletter of the William Shipley Group for RSA History, which also contains a number of items of interest to Fellows of our Society, including Fellow David Allen’s review of Fellow Charles Suamarez Smith’s book, The Company of Artists: the origins of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, an obituary for our late Fellow Gertrude Seidmann and a report on the unveiling of a blue plaque on The Five Courts, in Pinner, the home of Sir Ambrose Heal (1872—1959). For further information, see the William Shipley Group’s website.

On royal burial places and papal enclaves

In a piece in The Times, published on 30 March 2013, our Fellow David Palliser wrote about the controversy surrounding the proposal to bury ‘the remains of Richard III’ in Leicester. David begins by pointing out that Leicester would have been anathema to the king, as it was a stronghold of the rival House of Lancaster. He goes on to say that ‘it is true that no will survives with his burial intentions ... we can, however, make a shrewd guess, in that, as king, he began to establish and endow a lavish college of 100 priests at York for them to celebrate Masses for him’. David then quotes our late Fellow Barrie Dobson, whose own funeral was held last week: ‘Professor Barrie Dobson, of the University of Cambridge, who has analysed the surviving references to the college, thinks it entirely plausible that Richard intended it as his own mausoleum.’

Our Fellow Tim Tatton Brown, who probably knows as much about the last resting places of English monarchs as anyone, gave an account of Henry VIII’s burial recently to the Friends and Companions of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, which made it clear that, even when monarchs left clear instructions about their mortal remains, their wishes were not always observed. The man who had been so powerful in his lifetime was given an elaborate funeral Mass, but nothing was then done about the ‘honorable tombe for our bones to rest in’ that he had specified in his will, nor the ‘aulter honorably prepared and apparailled’, nor the ‘dayley masses there to be sayd perpetuelly while the woolrd shall endure’, nor yet the sermons nor the almshouse he had endowed ‘for poor knights’, partly because Protector Somerset had embezzled all the money that was intended to be given to the Dean and Canon of St George’s, Windsor, to pay for Henry’s chantry.

Tim’s paper goes on to say, however, that work did take place on a very elaborate Renaissance tomb that Cardinal Wolsey intended for his own use and that Henry VIII then took over, along with Wolsey’s palaces. Discarding the parts of the tomb that were personal to Wolsey, Henry then used the rest as the nucleus of his own tomb; new designs were made by da Rovezzano and da Maiano, and work continued on the carving and construction of the tomb at Westminster, in what is now the Dean’s Yard, for many years. We gain odd glimpses of progress in such documents as Edward VI’s will, in which he asks that ‘the king my father’s tomb’ be made up and finished. What we lack is any knowledge of what ultimately happened: whether the tomb was ever completed and erected and what this splendid Renaissance work looked like; the best we can hope for, concludes Tim, is that ‘one day ... a drawing of it may turn up’.

Finally, Tim reminds us, apropos of the recent election of Pope Francis I, that conclaves to elect popes have not always convened in Rome. The best-preserved papal complex outside Rome, apart from Avignon, is the little-known Palazzo dei Papi, in Viterbo, host to five papal conclaves in the thirteenth century. Pope Alexander IV took over what was then the bishop’s palace in Viterbo in 1257 and he built a large extension, notable for the very large number of latrines with which it was equipped. The new hall was intended as the venue for the ecumenical council that Pope Alexander planned for 1261. Unfortunately he died just before the council was due to take place, and the new chambers were thus used first as the venue for what was then the relatively new method of electing popes (first used in 1241) by locking the cardinals in a room (cum clave, ‘with a key’) until they had reached a decision.

Subsequent popes seem to have taken a shine to Viterbo, as they slowly transformed it into a magnificent Gothic palace with a large fountain and loggia enjoying fine views, and a magnificent staircase. Several popes also chose to be buried in Viterbo, so the Franciscan church in the town has the Cosmati tomb of Pope Clement IV (d 1268), probably designed and built by the same Cosmati craftsmen who had just finished working for Henry III at Westminster Abbey. Another Cosmati tomb in the same church is that of the English pope, Hadrian V (Cardinal Ottobono), elected in Viterbo on 11 July 1276, but dead six weeks later. His successor, the Portuguese Pope John XXI, was killed by his fondness for the Viterbo palace: the new private chambers he had built for his own use collapsed on 20 May 1277, with himself inside. He was dragged alive out of the ruins but died six days later and is buried in the cathedral in Viterbo. The last of the popes elected by conclave in Viterbo was Martin IV, who tried the patience of the citizens of Viterbo so sorely that a quarrel ensued and the pope used his ultimate weapon: he excommunicated the Viterbese for the whole of his pontificate, which ended, as did papal use of the palace, in 1285.

Thereafter the palace reverted to episcopal use and is, says Tim, a remarkably well-preserved example of a thirteenth-century great residence, with which, perhaps, only Edward III’s Windsor Castle can compare. Tim’s account of the palace can be found in vol 158 of The Archaeological Journal (2001), pages 371—6, and he also recommends Gary M Radke’s Viterbo: profile of a thirteenth-century papal palace (Cambridge University Press, 1996).


The last issue of Salon mentioned, under ‘Events’, the lecture programme that accompanies the annual Art Antiques London fair and said that Fellows who booked a lecture will be given a complimentary ticket to the Fair (normal cost £15). The notice should also have said that to obtain the complimentary ticket, you should book directly with the Fair’s organiser, Anthea Roberts, by sending an email with ‘Salon’ in the subject line.

It took no time at all for Fellow Stefanie Knöll and her architectural historian husband, Dr Michael Overdick, to identify the mystery church in the last issue of Salon as the Franciscan church in Salzburg, which, apart from a few minor differences (the tower was then topped by a cupola, but now has a short spire), looks exactly the same (see photograph) as it did when the watercolour was painted that our Fellow Charles Hind was seeking to identify. Charles now says that the painting is ‘unlikely to be by Peter de Wint because he never went to Salzburg and I do not believe that he copied other people’s drawings. I have encouraged the owner to look amongst de Wint’s pupils to see who might have gone to Austria.’

Fellow Alastair Maxwell-Irving returns to a theme on which he has written to The Times in the past, that of charging for admission to the UK’s national museums and art galleries. ‘Forty years ago, I could walk into any museum or art gallery in Italy free of charge, and I did frequently’, Alastair writes, ‘but the world has changed beyond recognition since then and we have to face reality. Charges have been gradually introduced over the years in Italy and only local tax payers can visit a museum or art gallery on the Continent for free now, except for some special days (often a Sunday). Maintaining museums costs a fortune and governments do not contribute the whole cost, so why should we expect free admission and why should we begrudge having to pay? The admission charges are well within anyone’s pocket and more than value for money. I also believe that people in life generally appreciate things more if they have to pay for them.’

Alastair does, though, recognise that a return to charging would run up against legal complications, because of what he calls ‘the problem of the Art Fund, which usually contributes only a portion of the acquisition cost of works of art but sets the rules that include the quite unreasonable condition that, if the gallery ever charges for entry, they will take the picture back.’

The picture of the Nigg cross-slab that was included in the last issue of Salon, alongside our Fellow George Henderson’s report on its conservation and redisplay, showed the slab in its old pre-conservation state, and did not do justice to George’s lyrical description of ‘this brilliant new combination of eighth- and twenty-first-century art and design’. Fortunately, we can now make up for this omission with a picture of the newly conserved slab (courtesy of Alan Whiteford, Nigg Old Trust) as it was when unveiled on 6 April 2013, showing that it now incorporates ‘a vitally significant fragment from the reverse of the missing band of carving — discovered near the Old Church in 1998 — namely a substantial part of the “Pictish beast” symbol, that has been put back where it belongs, inset on a veneer of sandstone of exactly matching colour, lightly engraved for continuity of line.’

Fellow Guy de la Bédoyère writes to challenge the idea expressed in Salon’s review of the current British Museum exhibition on life in ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum that one area in which the people of today differ from those of the past is in our attitude to cruelty towards animals and humans, as represented by gladiatorial combat. Guy asks: ‘Do you really think that if amphitheatre tickets were put on sale today guaranteeing real blood and violence that they wouldn’t be sold out? Yes, there’d be moral outrage in some quarters but I am absolutely confident there would be no shortage of punters and no shortage of a certain type of man who wanted to try his hand at being a gladiator. We are a brutal and barbaric race and we have replicated the crushing boredom and entrapment of Roman city life, which is why Game of Thrones and other series like it, set in a mythologized violent past, are a booming business. It doesn’t take much of a leap of consciousness to see where it could go — it’s really only a question of legislation. Trust me.’

The photograph alongside was contributed by Fellow David Bird, who writes as follows: ‘I have been working for some time on a project to gain greater understanding of the Roman villa and tileworks complex on Ashtead Common in Surrey, involving fieldwork and documentary research. The site was first excavated in 1924—9 by A W G Lowther and A R Cotton, who were both Fellows and are shown in the photograph at the far end of room B in the separate bath house. Lowther published reports on the excavations with exemplary speed in Surrey Archaeological Collections, but in doing so he left out quite a lot of useful information, some of which can be supplied from contemporary press reports, photographs and other documents.

‘The latter include the texts of three talks given by Cotton, probably in 1927, or early 1928 at the latest. Recently I have been working my way through all the photographs I have been able to gather of the earlier excavations. One of Cotton’s talks has marginal indications for a sequence of lantern slide illustrations. Although these do not apparently survive I have come to realise that I can place surviving photographic prints within the talk with a high probability of them being the very images to which Cotton would have been talking, as the text offers sufficient information to do this. In short, I can recreate, with a reasonably high degree of accuracy, an illustrated archaeological talk given over 80 years ago. I would be interested to know if this is unusual.’

Finally, Fellow John Blair writes with regard to Betjeman’s remark that he used to ‘shudder’ at the suffix FSA to remind us that the situation was probably much worse in the Society’s early days, when the Fellowship title was expressed in Latin, producing the post-nominal initials ‘ASS’.

Help wanted to identify a coat of arms

Fellow Peter Boyden asks whether any of the many Fellows who specialise in matters armigerous can help him with the identification of a coat of arms (shown left) that appears on the wall of his local parish church. Peter says ‘the arms form part of a mural painted by Thomas Curtis of Ward & Hughes on the chancel of St Mary’s Church, Plaistow (Bromley, Kent), c 1890. It appears on the left-hand side of the site of the organ console, with the arms of the See of Canterbury (in which diocese the parish then was) on the right. It was assumed that they belonged to one of the families who were benefactors of the church (consecrated in 1863) but none of those that I have checked — Adams, Bosanquet, Emmett, Farquhar, Graham, Hodgson, Richardson and Satterthwaite — seem to have arms matching those illustrated. Any thoughts or ideas on the possible identity of the family with whom these arms are to be associated will be greatly appreciated.’

Lives remembered: Arnold Aspinall FSA (1926—2013)

Left: Arnold Aspinall in 1978 on a field trip to Winchester surrounded by students who would graduate in 1980. Photograph: A Webster

News has come to the Society of the death on 8 April 2013 of our Fellow Arnold Aspinall, elected 6 May 1976, a pioneer of the application of geophysics in archaeology and founder of the Archaeological Sciences programme at Bradford University. The funeral will be held at noon on 23 April 2013 at St Alkelda’s Church, Giggleswick, West Yorkshire, with a reception afterwards at the Hart's Head Hotel (there is limited parking at the church so you are advised to park at the hotel).

An account of Arnold’s life and achievements can be found on the Bradford University website, and there are further tributes and photographs on the website of the International Society for Archaeological Prospection.

Lives remembered: Anthony Swaine FSA (1914—2013)

We have also been informed of the death on 5 April 2013, at the age of ninety-nine, of our Fellow the conservation architect Anthony Swaine, elected 13 January 1972. The Canterbury-based Kentish Gazette reported that Anthony continued to work until just days before his death, and hailed him as ‘a determined conservationist with a relentless quest to protect and enhance old buildings and who railed against the brutal post-war designs that came to blight many British cities, including Canterbury’.


27 April 2013: ‘The Archaeological Archives Storage Crisis’, a free open meeting for members and non-members of Rescue at which Gail Boyle, Chair of the Society of Museum Archaeologists, will lead the discussion on the challenges facing the sector in storing and looking after the annual recovery of archaeological finds from many excavations in the UK. The meeting begins at 1pm with Rescue’s Annual General Meeting and will be held at the Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking GU21 6ND. Further details are on the Rescue website.

3 to 5 May 2013: The Rhind Lectures 2013 will be given by our Fellow Richard Fawcett on the theme of: ‘“Magnificent for the beauty and extent of its buildings and worthy of everlasting fame”: the architecture of the Scottish late medieval Church’. The lectures are free and open to all — no ticket is required — and the six lectures, over the course of three days, take place at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22—26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ. For details of the timing and titles of each lecture, see the website of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

9 May 2013: ‘The Enemy Within: Rome’s frontier with Isauria between Konya and the Taurus Mountains’, a lecture by Stephen Mitchell, FBA, to be given in the Wolfson Auditorium at The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH, at 6.30pm. This is a free event, followed by refreshments, but please contact Claire McCafferty to make a reservation, as seats are limited.

The Isaurians, who inhabited the central section of the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey between Konya and the Mediterranean, were regarded throughout antiquity as brigands or barbarians. Between the first century BC and the fifth century AD they were a dangerous enemy at the heart of Rome’s Asia Minor provinces and a threat to peaceful neighbouring cities and regions. The Romans created an internal frontier to meet the Isaurian challenge, based on strategic road building and the deployment of troops, especially of cavalry units. This was as important to the security of the provinces of Asia Minor as the Empire’s eastern frontier along the River Euphrates. The lecture will examine the creation and development of this internal frontier especially in the region south of Konya, along the northern edge of Isauria.

10 May 2013: ‘Samuel Molyneux (1679—1728) in early Enlightenment London’, a talk by our Fellow Paul Holden, Lanhydrock House and Collections Manager for the National Trust, will be given at 10.15am as part of the Fowey Festival.

Paul is also giving a talk on ‘The earls of Radnor and their collections (1679—1758)’ in the History of Collecting seminar series hosted by the Wallace Collection on 20 May 2013 at 5.30pm.

11 May 2013: St Pancras Old Church Appeal: First Annual Lecture Series. Fellow Roger Bowdler will launch this lecture series with a talk entitled ‘No ordinary churchyard: the tombs of St Pancras’, to be given at the church at 5pm as part of the St Pancras Festival weekend. Further lectures in the series will be given by Fellow Philip Davies, on ‘Lost London’ (17 May, 7pm), Jane Sidell, on ‘The Quick and the Dead: the archaeology of High Speed 1 and the Old St Pancras burial ground’ (6 June, 7pm), Fellow Gillian Tindall, on ‘The Fields Beneath’ (13 June, 7pm), Fellow Gillian Darley, on ‘John Soane and St Pancras’ (12 September, 7pm), and Fellow Simon Bradley, on St Pancras Station (10 October, 7pm).

The series is designed to raise money for St Pancras Old Church, one of London’s oldest. Having survived the dramatic impact of the railway lines that truncated its churchyard, the church is now under threat from ancient drains whose collapse is threatening the stability and longevity of the building. All money raised will go towards building new drains and securing the cracks in the stone walls. Further information can be found on the appeal website.

14 May 2013: ‘The Wonderful World of Disney: collecting classical antiquity’, on the work of Dr John Disney to whom the origins of modern academic archaeology in the British Isles can be traced, the inaugural lecture of our Fellow Professor David Gill, in the Waterfront Building, University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich; registration and refreshments from 5.30pm, lecture starts at 6pm. Please send an email to book this event; further information is on the UCS Academy website.

17 May 2013: ‘A window on antiquity: the Topham Collection at Eton College: collecting and the Grand Tour in eighteenth-century England’, a conference at The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in collaboration with the University of Buckingham and Eton College to accompany the exhibition Paper Palaces: the Topham Drawings as a source for British Neo-Classicism, Eton College Library, Verey Gallery, 3 May—1 November 2013.

Richard Topham’s collection of books and drawings relating to the antique, left to Eton College in 1736, is one of the most significant resources for the history of antiquarianism and for the culture and industry of the Grand Tour in Europe. This inter-disciplinary conference looks at the early eighteenth-century context of the collection, its value as an archaeological record, and its influence and legacy. By bringing together international scholars working on the Topham Collection within their fields, the conference will investigate the value of this previously overlooked collection, and act as a springboard for future comprehensive study.

For further details please visit the conference website.

18 June 2013: ‘An Evening with David Cannadine’ and Medlicott Awards ceremony, in the Macmillan Hall at Senate House, central London; doors open at 6pm, the ceremony lasts from 6.30pm and ends at 8.15pm, approximately, after which there is a wine reception. Our Fellow Sir David Cannadine will be presented with the 2013 Medlicott Medal for Service to History and will give a talk on a subject yet to be announced. In addition to the Medlicott Medal award, the Historical Association (HA) will award Honorary Fellowships and prizes for the Young Quills Historical Fiction competition and the Dissertation competition. Further information is on the HA website.

Books by Fellows: Breaking down Boundaries: Hadrian’s Wall in the twenty-first century

Edited by two recently elected Fellows, Rob Collins and Matthew Symonds, with contributions from Fellows David Breeze, Lindsay Allason-Jones and Andrew Birley, amongst others, this volume is about what else archaeology can tell us about Hadrian’s Wall, apart from the themes that have dominated Wall studies for decades: the physical structure and its military role. Instead, the essays look at Wall communities — before the Wall was built, within and around the forts and at such vibrant urban centres as Corbridge and Carlisle, their lives, beliefs and material culture and the environments in which they lived. The result is a volume that sets out clearly what new light has been shed on these subjects by recent research and by excavations at Vindolanda and Maryport, and that makes the point very effectively that Hadrian’s Wall is not an exhausted topic, a subject about which we probably know as much as is worth knowing: but rather a structure whose full archaeological potential we are only just beginning to appreciate, opening up more avenues for further research than ever before.

Breaking down Boundaries: Hadrian’s Wall in the twenty-first century, edited by Rob Collins and Matthew Symonds, ISBN 9781887829939; Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 93, 2013

Books by Fellows: People and the Sea

In the same vein, People and the Sea summarises our current state of knowledge with regard to the maritime archaeology of England and sets out priorities for future research. Maritime archaeology is one of those disciplines that scarcely existed forty years ago and was considered far too specialist for most archaeologists for many decades but is now central to our thinking, thanks to the slowly dawning realisation that the sea is not the point at which archaeology stops, but rather a rich archaeological resource in its own right and an element that has had an enormous catalytic influence on our development as an island nation. 

Fellow Robert Van de Noort’s book on North Sea Archaeologies sets out very clearly the ways on which this island culture has depended for millennia on the exchange of objects and ideas that could only get in or out by means of long and potentially dangerous sea voyages, such voyages themselves being the means by which key cultural and leadership skills have been tested and honed, and the fact that the traders, raiders, pirates, migrants and missionaries who have mastered the sea have had as profound an impact on human history as land-based armies and conquerors.

Robert is one of more than fifty academics and specialists who have contributed to this volume, which adopts a broadly chronological approach to the subject, looking at nine periods, from the Palaeolithic to the modern, asking what the key research themes have been for each period, and assessing what the results have told us so far, then setting out areas for future research. Some themes cross period boundaries: locating ports, landing places and harbours, for example, land reclamation, salt production and ‘maritime identities’, looking for the evidence for the ways in which the culture of coastal communities, seafaring communities and shipboard communities can be identified. Once again, this book has enough ideas to spark hundreds, if not thousands, of PhD theses, but it can also be read by anyone who wants to know where we are in our understanding of the sea and its role in shaping English culture over the last 12,000 years.

People and the Sea: a maritime archaeological research agenda for England, edited by J Ransley and F Sturt with J Dix, J Adams and L Blue, ISBN 9781902771939; Council for British Archaeology Research Report 171, 2013

Books by Fellows: An Animate Landscape

This book, whose authors include our Fellow Andrew Meirion Jones, sets out to ask why the Kilmartin area of western Scotland has the greatest concentration of prehistoric rock art in the British Isles and some of the most impressive examples of the cups and rings and labyrinthine motifs that make up the repertoire of British rock art images. At the heart of the book is a series of detailed specialist reports on the excavation of two specific rock art sites — Torbhlaren and Ormaig — and from these emerge some very useful hard facts. One, for example, is that this rock art is not the idle doodling of bored herders; associated with one of the rocks were postholes for one platform, and the terraced base of another, deliberately erected to give a working base for the creation of the rock art and perhaps a base from which to view the results. Another is that the making of the art seems to be the important activity, judging by the amount of debris left by the makers in and around the rock: there was no notion of ‘tidying’ the site for the benefit of visitors who might come after, and perhaps no notion that, once made, the rock art would have any further significance.

A third apparent fact is that the material used to make the rock art seems to have been selected in a way that suggests it too had significance: more than 90 per cent of the lithic assemblage from one of the excavated sites consisted of quartz, showing that this was clearly the mineral of choice for pecking and abrading the Torbhlaren outcrop to create the cups and rings that cover the surface (the book does not consider this specifically, but it could be that quartz was chosen for its piezoelectrical potential — when struck, it produces an electrical spark; if the rock art was being made at night, the effect would be like fireworks).

All of this begs the question whether we should be calling this ‘art’, since it is not art in the modern sense; and if not ‘art’, then what is it, what purpose does it serve and what does it mean? Based on ethnographic accounts of rock-art production, especially in Australia, Africa and North America, the authors make a brave attempt to answer such questions, explaining the production of these patterns as an animistic response to a living landscape (hence the book’s title), but the truth is that we will probably never know — all we can do is admire the results through the many fine pictures contained in this book, which include photographs of the beautiful Kilmartin landscape, of the rock art itself and of the landscape as it might have looked in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age and a number of true works of art by contemporary artists inspired by this landscape and its prehistoric monuments.

An Animate Landscape: rock art and the prehistory of Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland, by Andrew Meirion Jones, Davina Freedman, Blaze O’Connor, Hugo Lamdin-Whymark, Richard Tipping and Aaron Watson, ISBN 9781905119417; Windgather, 2011

Books by Fellows: Darwin’s Apprentice: an archaeological biography of John Lubbock

In 2008, our Fellow Janet Owen contributed an essay on the friendship between John Lubbock and Sir John Evans to a volume edited by our Fellow Arthur MacGregor that resulted from the Sir John Evans Centenary Project. Janet revealed that Lubbock and Evans were members of a secretive and informal society, the X Club, that transformed the London intellectual landscape of the 1860s and 1870s by supporting each other’s efforts to gain election to key officer posts in the Learned Societies of the day, so that they could promote the kind of progressive ideas enshrined in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) in the face of what they considered to be conservative bodies, unable to understand the implications of new scientific discoveries.

Janet has now returned to this theme with a full-scale biography of Lubbock, well timed for the anniversaries of Lubbock’s death (28 May 1913), his Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882 and the appointment of General Pitt-Rivers as the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments in 1893. The story is told in a very personal way, interweaving the events of Lubbock’s life with the author’s own experiences of encountering his letters and diaries, or of handling artefacts from Lubbock’s collection when she worked as a teenaged volunteer at Bromley Museum.

One object in particular serves as a central metaphor in the book: a harpoon given to Darwin by ‘Jemmy Button’, a native of Tierra del Fuego who sailed with Darwin on HMS Beagle. Just as the members of the X Club wanted to bring new liberal ideas to the London scientific community, so the aim with Jemmy was to give him an education and then return him to his native land to spread the ways of western civilisation. It did not work: Jemmy mastered cutlery, the English language and western clothing, but was miserable and lonely and wanted only to go home, even if home was a wild and inhospitable land.

The same desire for companionship and shared values that made Jemmy pine for a return to Fuegian society lay at the heart of Lubbock’s relationship with Darwin, and it made Lubbock a lifelong champion of Darwin’s ideas. Janet passionately believes that this relationship has left us with a legacy of immense importance: Lubbock and his fellow Darwinists (‘brothers in arms’, she calls them) demolished such ideas as that ‘you needed to be a member of the established Anglican church under the patronage of the aristocracy to succeed’. The ideas they espoused helped shape the world in which we can ‘take freedom of thought and belief, a right to education and the ability to choose our own destiny for granted’, and in which science has ‘lost its shackles of conservative religious values and is free to explore the full richness of our universe’.

Darwin’s Apprentice: an archaeological biography of John Lubbock, by Janet Owen, ISBN 9781781592663; Pen & Sword, 2013

Books by Fellows: Renaissance Velvets

This beautifully produced catalogue by Fellow Lisa Monnas of the Renaissance velvets in the V&A collection shows that we do not always progress forward in all areas of art and craft. Do the skills exist any more to produce such astonishingly fine and intricate cloths as these, ranging in date from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries? The fifty, mainly Italian, examples in the catalogue come largely from the courts of princes and popes. Lisa sets them in their historical context, using contemporary Renaissance paintings to show similar cloth in use as vestments, furnishing fabrics, cloaks, hats, carpets and wall hangings.

She reminds us that they were rare and exceptional even in their own day: lest we gain the impression from this book that the late medieval and Renaissance world was more colourful by far than our own, we are told that sumptuary laws, such as the Venetian dress code, forbade all but plain-coloured clothes for ordinary citizens, and that the very fact of depicting members of the Holy Family, saints and clerics and wealthy patrons in flamboyant multi-coloured clothes signified their ‘otherness’.

More prosaically, Lisa charts the cloth industry of the day in fascinating detail, with insights into life as an apprentice, as a weaver, their pay, what they paid for looms and raw materials, how the guilds sought to control the quality of velvet and other luxury cloths, and all the cheating that went on, such as substituting inferior yarns, less colourfast dyes and cheaper materials than silver and gold, and the use of paste to make the cloth seem stiffer and give the impression that the thread count was higher than it was: a case of ‘never mind the quality, feel the width’.

Renaissance Velvets, by Lisa Monnas, ISBN 9781851776566; V&A Publishing, 2012

Books by Fellows: Citizen Portrait

Which just happens to be the motto of William Camden, although in the more elegant form of the Latin motto pondere, non numero (‘[judge by the] quality, not the number’) that he chose to have incorporated into his portrait when it was painted by the distinguished Dutch artist Marcus Gheeraerts in 1609. For by that date, having your portrait painted was no longer the sign of elite status that it was in the late medieval and Renaissance period. Whereas only royalty and the landed gentry had the wealth and power to command a portrait previously, portraiture proliferated from the second half of the sixteenth century, as merchants, lawyers, physicians, clergymen — even poets, playwrights, actors, musicians and antiquaries — now sought a kind of immortality by means of a portrait. In Citizen Portrait, Fellow Tarnya Cooper looks at this phenomenon and asks how did you go about getting a portrait painted in Tudor and Stuart England, who produced portraits, who chose to be painted, how did they choose to be portrayed and what was the intended impact of the resulting image.

If you were of a religious mind, there were certain theological issues to sort out before you could sit for a portrait. On the one hand, desiring a portrait could be considered a form of self-promotion, verging on the deadly sin of pride. On the other hand, some Protestant theologians promoted secular painting as an alternative to religious works, which they considered to be idolatrous and interdicted by the second commandment, forbidding the use of images and likenesses (the Roman Catholic Church allowed these, so long as the image itself was not worshipped). Yet a third strand of difficulty was the idea that the act of painting was itself presumptuous, as creation was a divine activity, not the prerogative of man. This was an issue with which Shakespeare was, of course, familiar and his answer, like that of many other poets and painters of the day, was that he was holding up a mirror to nature: what was shown on stage and what was depicted in the pictorial arts was not the result of a primary act of God-like creation, but a copy, and the skill to copy nature well was a gift from God.

One’s conscience could be further salved, and the appearance of vanity mitigated, by having yourself portrayed in sombre garments, holding a book or with a hand on a skull, hands clasped in prayer or wearing the badge of a religious confraternity. Humility, sobriety and piety could be further emphasised by the inclusion of moralising texts and emblems in the portrait, like William Camden. By and by even these conventions were eroded, as the rising middle class began to grow in self-confidence and self-belief, desiring to celebrate their rise to social and professional standing, and wishing to hand something on to the next generation as a reminder of the founder of their family’s wealth. Alongside those sober portraits, then, there rose the kind of portrait that one might anachronistically call Thatcherite, encouraging the viewer to contemplate the achievements of the sitter and desire to emulate them.

Citizen Portrait: portrait painting and the urban elite of Tudor and Jacobean England and Wales, by Tarnya Cooper, ISBN 9780300162790; Yale Books, 2012

Books by Fellows: Designing Antiquity

Fellow Stephanie Moser has written an engrossing book about the impact of ancient Egypt on designers during the latter half of the nineteenth century when the taste for all things Egyptian challenged the dominant influence of classical Greece and Rome culture on architecture and the arts. The catalyst for the unleashing of this Egyptomania in England was the 1854 Crystal Palace exhibition. Whereas the 1851 Great Exhibition had been about the contemporary arts and industries of the world’s great nations, the 1854 exhibition was concerned with the achievements of the past. The vast exhibition area was divided into ‘courts’ devoted to the art and architecture of Greece, Rome, Assyria, Moorish Spain, the Byzantine, medieval and Renaissance worlds and — the most lavish of them — the Egyptian Court, designed by the designer and architect Owen Jones (1809—74), along with the architect Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820—77) and the sculptor, Egyptologist and future Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum, Joseph Bonomi (1796—1878).

Stephanie Moser suggests that the Egyptian Court, with its ten large-scale painted plaster reconstructions of ancient Egyptian buildings, complete with statues and wall paintings, was the star of this capriccio world, combining real and fantasy elements, because it satisfied a ‘lust for opulence and colour’ on the part of English designers and consumers. The impact of the Egyptian Court can best be summed up in the words of the Quarterly Review critic, Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, who characterised it as a ‘gingerbread toy for the wonderment, not even the delight, of the vulgar ... investing Egypt and Nineveh in the gaudiest hues of Manchester cottons’. To a world used to the chaste white of Roman and Greek marble, the exhibition revealed just how colourful the past might have been and this, combined with the bold graphic style of Egyptian art, inspired a design movement, inspired by archaeological discovery, whose many manifestations Stephanie Moser traces through her analysis combined with the effective use of contemporary illustrations.

Designing Antiquity: Owen Jones, ancient Egypt and the Crystal Palace, by Stephanie Moser, ISBN 9780300187076; Yale Books, 2012

Books by Fellows: Silence: a Christian history

Fellow Diarmaid MacCulloch’s latest book, Silence, results from the Gifford Lectures that he gave in 2012, in which he tackled the history of the many forms of religious silence. In truth, the book is as much about noise as it is about its absence: the point that emerges over and again from this overview of Jewish and Christian history is that silence is a form of orderliness and control; noise is the work of the devil. Or, as moralists and 1960s pop groups have it: ‘Silence is golden’.

Fortunately, that enables Diarmaid to count music as a form of silence, since music is a form of order that, he writes, forms the 'colour and often the backbone of the liturgy throughout most of Christian history, policing the frontier-zone between eternity and the fragility of human words. Many of its practitioners, following Ambrose of Milan, have seen it effectively as a form of regulated celestial silence, banishing any rival noise.’

If that extract gives you a flavour of the author’s fresh and muscular writing style, the following passage conveys the sense of humour that is threaded through the entire book, and the author’s love of a deliciously opinionated aside: ‘One can have some sympathy’, he says, ‘with the austerity of the Reformers when dealing with some eighteenth-century Mass settings, which exhibit infuriatingly operatic and deeply inappropriate settings of that congregational plea for peace in the Agnus Dei, “Dona nobis pacem”. Mozart is a prime offender in that respect. There is a discretion to be observed in sacred music that such solecisms violate; I will not point to more modern instances in which that decorum has been forgotten.’

There are many forms of bad silence, too, and Diarmaid rightly draws attention to the silence of ruined monasteries, now in the care of English Heritage, the silence of churches locked against theft and the lack of a sustaining congregation, and the silence of deliberate concealment (notably the corrosive impact of the conspiracy of silence in the Roman Catholic Church over clerical child abuse). On the whole, though, silence is, in this book, presented as something to be commended and practised; if so, and if music is allowed to be a form of prayerful silence, then perhaps the choice is between the glorious words and music of the Anglican Evensong and the silent worship of the Quakers.

Silence: a Christian history, by Diarmaid MacCulloch, ISBN 9781846144264; Allen Lane, 2013

Books by Fellows: Supplications from England and Wales in the Registers of the Apostolic Penitentiary

Our Fellow Patrick Zutshi, co-editor of this work, explains that the Apostolic Penitentiary was the department of the papal bureaucracy that dealt with sins reserved to papal absolution and which produced documents relating to this process as well as certain other dispensations and favours. Its archive, which was completely forgotten until its rediscovery in the early twentieth century, consists of a series of registers of petitions or supplications that had been approved by the Cardinal Penitentiary or his deputy and resulted in the issue of letters in their name. Access to these registers has been possible only since 1983 and even now is subject to strict control. This volume has been made possible by a generous grant from the Leverhulme Trust and is the first of three that will see the publication of more than 4,000 supplications to the Penitentiary from the ecclesiastical provinces of Canterbury and York; each volume comes with an introduction, explanatory notes and indexes.

The mind perhaps boggles at the idea of sins so serious that they demand the pope’s absolution, but Patrick explains these were not necessarily spectacular sins on a par with Becket’s murder. For example, ‘any priest involved directly or indirectly in any act of violence was automatically excommunicated and regarded as “inhabilis ad divina” — that is, forbidden to participate in the divine service until absolved. If a priest did so participate, he became “irregular” and required absolution and a dispensation from the pope (in practice, the Cardinal Penitentiary) before he could minister licitly as a priest again. Similarly, laymen committing violence against clergy could only be absolved by the pope. The penitentiary’s registers are therefore an importance source concerning violence in late medieval society. There certainly could be a political element: for example, some clergy were involved in fighting during the Wars of the Roses. This element is also apparent in some of the many dispensations for marriage within the prohibited degrees (of consanguinity, affinity, etc), since there are marriage dispensations for members of the royal family in an age when marriages were, of course, a means of forging diplomatic alliances.’

Supplications from England and Wales in the Registers of the Apostolic Penitentiary 1410—1503. Vol I: 1411—64, edited by P D Clarke and P N R Zutshi, ISBN 9780907239758; Canterbury and York Society (Vol 104 for 2012), Boydell


University of Chester, Lecturer in Medieval History (ref: HRMS/12125)
Salary £31,331—£34,223; closing date 29 April 2013

To teach undergraduate modules in the history of medieval Britain and Europe in the late Middle Ages and contribute to the MA in Military History and the MRes in History. Apply online.

University Campus Suffolk, Lecturer in Cultural Tourism and Heritage Management
Salary: £32,267 to £32,382; closing date 30 April 2013
Apply online.

University of Glasgow: Lecturer in Medieval History (ref: 003844)
Salary £32,267 to £36,298 (three-year contract); closing date 10 May 2013

Apply online.

University of York, Department of Archaeology: Lectureship in Archaeology (ref: 2894)
Salary £36,298; closing date 31 May 2013

Apply online.

UK National Commission for UNESCO: two Non-Executive Directors
Closing date 7 June 2013

The UK National Commission for UNESCO is seeking to appoint two non-executive directors to its Board, which consists of seven non-executive directors, each of whom looks after a UNESCO programme sector (education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture and communication). On this occasion, the vacancies are for directors able to take the lead and advise on higher education and culture. Additional experience in general management, HR, legal or financial matters would be useful. Directors must be prepared to commit to a minimum of four Board meetings per year, plus task-related activities or policy advice in the applicant’s areas of expertise. Appointees will also be expected to attend part of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris (4—19 November 2013).

For application details, see the UK National Commission for UNESCO website.

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