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Salon: Issue 360
14 March 2016

Next issue: 11 April 2016 (in four weeks, with a break for Easter)

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 (if you are reading this in an email, do not reply directly as we will not receive your message). 

Salon does not review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and front cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal: for details see Publications.
Lamp flame

Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary


Kelmscott Manor Season Opening 2016

We'd like to remind our Fellows and other readers that there's a great way to celebrate spring: a visit to Kelmscott Manor, the inspirational Cotswolds retreat of William Morris. The Manor opens for the season shortly after Easter Weekend, on 2 April. The Society was successful in acquiring the 'Homestead and the Forest' children's cot quilt, designed by May Morris and embroidered by Jane Morris, and this stunning object is now on permanent display at the Manor. Additionally, visitors will be able to explore some new displays in the Manor house as well as a number of family days and other special events throughout the season!

Battlefield Recovery

In Salon 358, we published a follow-up report on the response the Society received from Channel 5 regarding the Society's concerns over the programme Battlefield Recovery. Our criticism focused on the careless, insensitive and unethical treatment of the human remains, but also the mistreatment of other finds, the inept standards of excavation and the shocking disregard for safe systems of working. A copy of the Society's official letter, in its entirety, is available on our website. The Society also registered a formal complaint with Ofcom.

Recently, The Heritage Alliance (issue 319) reported that Ofcom has decided not to investigate the programme:

"As detailed in Update 317, a number of Alliance members have written to Channel 5 to register complaint about the TV series Battlefield Recovery. Ofcom has announced, however, that it will not be investigating the series. In the latest issue of 'Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin', published 7 March, the communications regulator detailed that it had received 170 complaints between 15 and 28 February, but that they 'did not raise issues warranting investigation'.

"In a statement issued to the heritage news site thePipeLine, Ofcom commented: 'We assessed a number of complaints that this series was offensive and disrespectful in its treatment of war graves. We won’t be taking this forward for investigation... The series dealt effectively with potential audience concerns about the contributors’ methods. It made clear that the specific practices adopted were undertaken within recognised protocols. Scenes that featured human remains were dealt with sensitively, and the contributors appeared visibly moved by their discoveries.'”

William Morris Fruitcake Easter Offer


Kelmscott Manor Receives £5.50 for Each Order

Award-winning artisan baker Ursula Evans follows Morris’s fruitcake recipe almost to the letter, soaking the vine fruits in brandy, baking slowly in her AGA. ‘The luxury glace fruits used in the original William Morris fruitcake mixture are used as a topping now’, she says, ‘but otherwise, these are the cakes that the Morris family enjoyed for tea in the 1880s.’
Each order supports the future care and development of Kelmscott Manor, Morris's 'heaven on earth'. Christmas sales of these special cakes raised more than £260 to support conservation at the Manor. This Easter, you can choose between a cake topped with glace fruit (like the Christmas cake) or a festive marzipan topping.

To enjoy a William Morris fruitcake with family and friends this Christmas, please place your order  via the My Cottage Kitchen website.

Unlocking Our Collections: The Virginia Broadside

The Society of Antiquaries has, over more than 300 years, accumulated astonishing collections. Through the Library and Museum collections at Burlington House (London) and Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire), the Society cares for a vast array of material, ranging from Old Master paintings to archaeological objects, from prints and drawings to one of the finest libraries for antiquarian and archaeological research anywhere.

This year, we have launched a new programme to highlight a variety of the treasures in our collections, focusing on one special object each month. The features, which consist of short text, sometimes with supporting material or short videos, are published on the Society’s website and shared via this newsletter and our social media profiles (such as Facebook and Twitter). Their aim is to raise awareness and appreciation of the Society’s wonderful collections, but also to engage Fellows more closely in the life of the Society by calling on those Fellows with knowledge and expertise of objects in the collections to share their that knowledge with our public audiences.

Our March feature is by Philippa Glanville OBE FSA, who explores the history behind a 1616 broadside promoting the Virginia Company's lottery! You can watch the video below, or visit our website for full details.

Still of Philippa Glanville
Click on the video above to watch a three-minute presentation on the broadside.
If you have a favourite object in the collections, please do consider contributing! For more information, please contact the Collections Manager, Anooshka Rawden, at

Support saves Bede’s World

In the last Salon I noted the closure of Bede’s World by South Tyneside Council. The loss had caused quite a public stir, but the circumstances were unclear, and the Council were said to be considering re-opening the centre ‘on a more commercial footing’. Dame Rosemary Cramp FSA, President of our Society from 2001 to 2004 and Director of excavations at the Monastic sites of Wearmouth and Jarrow between 1959 and 1968, has written with most encouraging news.
‘I have not been able to say anything on the subject of the closure of Bede’s World by South Tyneside, with very short notice to the Trustees that the core funding would cease forthwith, because I was the academic adviser to the Trust, one of its Members, and indeed a founder trustee of the original Trust, which some people may remember, with “The Bede Monastery Museum”. It is now very welcome news that the Council has decided to reopen it, with Groundwork as a tenant, in the hope that they may be able to raise greater revenue from a more commercial approach.
‘At the closure stage the perception seemed to be that the name of Bede and the whole heritage package of the site and museum had been a nonstarter, and that only the use of the farm with more commercial events, was the way forward to a more sustainable future. That now seems to be water under the bridge thanks to the massive effort of so many supporters of the world of Bede and its legacy today. I would therefore like to thank all those Fellows who wrote on behalf of Bede, and the importance of understanding his world. The letters sent really have changed minds and hearts in South Tyneside, and you must have seen the press releases which pledge to “carry on the work of celebrating Bede and the Borough’s Anglo-Saxon history”. So thank you all very much for world wide support, we have had a crucial step in the right direction.
‘Now we have to see that proper curatorial care is put in place so that the collections can be safe, accessible and put to good use, and also that the exciting plan to exhibit the perfect facsimile of the Codex Amiatinus, which the Friends of the World of Bede have purchased, really goes ahead in July. Please, as many of you as possible visit Bede’s World this year – and indeed afterwards – and watch over its progress. If Groundwork can add new attraction to what is there, working also with academic partners, and as a bigger Trust, can raise more money for core costs, then it will be a wonderful and more sustainable future.’
‘Bede's World was an important cultural and heritage attraction, giving visitors a fascinating insight into Anglo Saxon life,’ Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, told the Museum Association on 9 March.
‘Following concerns over the sustainability of the trust and careful consideration of a number of options, we believe we have found a solution to ensure this venue has a long-term future for the people of South Tyneside and the wider region. We want the site to remain open for education, training and community uses and feel this option would protect this valuable place of learning from closure in the long run.’
Andrew Watts, Executive Director of Groundwork, said, ‘To add value to the Bede's World site, we are investigating new ways to create a wider visitor attraction and community offer, such as craft fairs, summer plays and celebration events.’

The picture shows a guide to Bede's World’s predecessor, The Bede Monastery Museum, c 1980.

Building a National Photography Collection

Richard Ormond FSA, former Director of the National Maritime Museum and late Deputy Director of the National Portrait Gallery (and still a busy man in the museum world) was among signatories to a letter published in The Guardian on 7 March. Over 80 artists and museum, film and photography specialists wrote to protest about the ‘sudden and largely secret decision by the trustees of the Science Museum to relinquish the major part of the photography collection now in the National Media Museum, Bradford’.
It had emerged a month before that some 400,000 historic items, most of them belonging to the Royal Photographic Society and not long ago housed in Bath, would be transferred from the National Media Museum (NMM) to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The move would nearly double the size of the V&A’s holdings, to create, it was said, the best collection of its kind in the world.
Martin Barnes, Senior Curator, Photographs at the V&A, was delighted. ‘Having worked in national museums nearly my whole working life,’ he told The Guardian (which has taken a particular interest in the story), ‘it is really heartening to see national museums working together to look at where the collections are best placed … In terms of research, exhibitions, publications, access to the public, touring shows, conservation … it is a big project. It kick-starts a really exciting time for us, for photography.’
‘Our two museums’, said Ian Blatchford FSA, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group which includes the NMM, ‘have a long and proud shared history, and this decision illustrates just how seriously we take our common mission to cherish and share the nation’s extraordinary cultural heritage.’
Others, however, sniffed at the notion of a triumph for the public appreciation of photography, and instead saw an imperialist attack from London on a regional museum. Bradford Council’s Conservative leader described the plan as ‘an act of cultural rape on my city’. The Labour MP for Bradford East called it ‘absolute metropolitanism’. Former Cabinet Minister (and Bradford Councillor) Eric Pickles blamed it on ‘southern elites’. Maria Eagles, Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, described it as ‘a huge backward step for Bradford,’ and asked Ministers to act on the ‘anger’ to ‘prevent the hollowing out of this important cultural venue.’ The Culture Secretary himself, John Whittingdale, expressed concern that ‘too much of our arts and museums go to London’, but said it was not his job to interfere.
Jo Quinton-Tulloch, the NMM’s Director and former Head of Exhibitions at the London Science Museum, explained that she saw the scheme as a positive one for both the NMM and the V&A. The former, having for some time faced challenging management decisions, needed to ‘refocus’. It was doing this by emphasising science and technology in its schools programmes and festivals, and plans to ‘breathe new life into the Museum’ with a ‘world-class interactive gallery' featuring 'the science of light, sound and perception’. The NMM’s Trustees are said to be considering a name change, perhaps to Science Museum North, but even after the transfer, the Bradford museum, said Quinton-Tulloch, will still have over three million ‘photography objects’.

The photo at the NMM is from The Guardian.

If Carlsberg did Arrowheads

Reading University has created a 5-minute video telling a story of astonishing prehistoric craftsmanship, featuring two flint arrowheads excavated at Marden in Wiltshire. The neolithic henge (3000–2500BC) is the focus of a major field project for archaeology students, directed by Jim Leary FSA. In 2010 they found two exceptionally fine pressured-flaked arrowheads, both of which appeared originally to have had a long, thin tail on one side, but which had broken off. They also found a curiously long and fragile rod that looked like such a tail, but it fitted neither arrow.
Last summer a digger found another rod. The video shows its discovery, Leary’s reaction, and students describing it at the dig – not much is missed today on some excavations. Leary and David Dawson FSA, Director of Wiltshire Museum (right and left in the still, respectively), meet in Devizes to see if it fits one of the two arrowheads: and it does, as we see in the video which was posted online on 9 March. It is one of the finest pieces of ancient stone technology yet seen from Britain. As Leary says from his office – a copy of his The Remembered Land (Bloomsbury 2015) tastefully propped up against his computer screen – it could never have been intended for shooting. More like elite jewellery.

The Marden project was the first to feature in the new series of Digging for Britain, in which BBC TV visits excavations in progress. On 10 March Leary described a strange packed chalk floor structure – he thinks it was a Neolithic ritual sauna, a sweat lodge. At least, he tells presenters Alice Roberts and Matt Williams, 'It’s the best solution that we can think of at the moment.'
Next up was Miles Russell FSA, digging up strange animal burials at an Iron Age settlement near Winterborne Kingston, Dorset; here students at Bournemouth University can gain field experience within a research project. And later in the programme we see Matt Pope FSA excavating a late Ice Age hunter-gatherer campsite in Jersey, and Chris Fern FSA talking about metalwork from the Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard.

Celebrating Shakespeare

William Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616, nearly four centuries ago. His grave in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, curses anyone who might think of disturbing it, but that hasn’t stopped Channel 4 (mindful of its earlier success with a king’s grave) filming archaeologists conduct a ground penetrating radar survey over the ledger stone. There has been no official release, but perhaps behind this is Francis Thackeray, the Phillip Tobias Chair in Palaeoanthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, who has made no secret of his desire to excavate the remains. A year ago a leader in The Times thought digging Shakespeare up a good idea, allowing, through some as yet unrevealed scientific process, the question of the poet’s ‘noble birth’ to be resolved. The TV broadcast is said to be scheduled for ‘later in the spring’ – Saturday April 23, perhaps.
There will be much more of this ilk over the coming months, mostly less controversial and often involving Fellows. Let us begin this quick survey with Grace Ioppolo FSA, Professor of Shakespearean and Early Modern Drama at the University of Reading, who is celebrating the chance to be the 2017 Sam Wanamaker Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, London. In May this year she will be talking there about Philip Henslowe, and will also speak at a symposium she has organised about Henslowe and the Rose Theatre, as part of a massive programme called Shakespeare400 (of which more below).
The Rose, or at least its excavation, is famed among archaeologists for being the project where heritage and developers came face to face in 1989 in a very public row. English Heritage negotiated an outcome which both saved the theatre’s remains (mostly), and brought a key impetus to the launch of English planning policy, still extant, which obliges developers to pay for excavation of significant remains which cannot otherwise be preserved.
Among high profile players then were Harvey Sheldon FSA, whose Museum of London archaeologists initially excavated the site; Martin Biddle FSA, a prominent archaeologist roundly critical of events (Richard Hughes FSA, an archaeologist at Ove Arup and Partners, noted Biddle, had warned that ‘structural timbers are likely to be preserved’ at the site as long ago as 1971); Geoffrey Wainwright FSA, English Heritage’s Chief Archaeologist, whose Central Excavation Unit completed the job; and Simon Jenkins FSA, Deputy Chairman of English Heritage. The excavation was published, along with that of another theatre, as The Rose and the Globe: Playhouses of Tudor Bankside, Southwark, Excavations 1988–91 (Museum of London Archaeology 2009) by Julian Bowsher FSA and Pat Miller.
The sites of a further nine Elizabethan London playhouses have been identified and variously watched or partially investigated (along with two bear-baiting arenas). Part of The Curtain, opened in 1577 in Shoreditch and the longest-lived of these playhouses (and probable venue for the first performance of Henry V) was revealed in 2011 and again in 2013–14 (see photo). MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) now plans to excavate this theatre, and run a series of public events in parallel; the latter occur between 31 March and 25 May, and the excavation, I am told (directed by Heather Knight), will be in ‘late spring/early summer’. The first talk will be by Bowsher, followed by Michael Wood FSA (5 April) and later Jacqui Pearce FSA (6 May), among others; see online for MOLA’s full events programme.
The Curtain production is another part of Shakespeare400, ‘a season of cultural and artistic events across 2016, celebrating … [Shakespeare’s] creative achievement and his profound influence on creative culture across the centuries.’ Coordinated by King’s College London, this is a metropolitan project that involves a long list of ‘some of the best of London’s creative and cultural sector’, from the Barbican, Arden Shakespeare and the British Library, to the City of London, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Opera House and The National Archives, to name a few.
Meanwhile back in Stratford, in July the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will be opening Shakespeare’s New Place (where archaeologists have been digging up the poetic kitchen) ‘the single most significant and enduring Shakespearian project anywhere in the world to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy’. The Trust is a contributing partner in Shakespeare Lives, a global programme led by the British Council and the GREAT Britain campaign. The project will ‘celebrate Shakespeare’s works and his influence on culture, education and society throughout the 400th anniversary of his death.’
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, British Library, the National Archives and the Folger Shakespeare Library are among over 30 parties to have contributed material to a new online exhibition, Shakespeare Documented. Still growing, the resource already holds an enormous number of scanned documents.
The Royal Shakespeare Company is re-opening The Other Place, with a new café, and The Swan Wing, has an exhibition, The Play's The Thing, opening in June, and will celebrating the bard’s coming and going on 23 April with fireworks.
The District and Town Councils are leading Shakespeare’s Celebrations, ‘developing the traditional Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon to make them sustainable, so reducing pressure on the local public purse’. Shakespeare’s England hopes we will all visit the town (along with Warwick, Kenilworth and Leamington Spa).
If you are a Fellow engaged with celebrating Shakespeare, or you know one who is, please let me know and I will report.

Bible of British Taste

Ruth Guilding FSA, architectural historian, writes and photographs a blog that will appeal to many Fellows, if they do not already follow it, called Bible of British Taste. In it she once described London as 'the clearing house of the world, a huge emporium of commodities and money, beautiful, ostentatious luxury and empty churches, migrants, rent boys in little vests and city boys in Turnball and Asser, green, Georgian squares, sooty plane trees, too many bicycles, taxi drivers who’ve had Tracey Emin in the back of their cab and white vans, gunned along by men whose grandparents spoke proper cockney. Boris Johnson, William Blake and William Hogarth are its guides and geniuses. It is an aggregation of marvels and fascinations, unexpected loveliness, dereliction and despoilation, with a river running through it.’
Her blog is such a collection of marvels. In her most recent post, ‘Wonders of the East End: Malplaquet House’ (28 February) she visits the home of Tim Knox FSA, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, garden designer and historian. They bought the 18th-century house 30 years ago from the Spitalfields Trust, which had acquired it and next door (now home to Romilly Saumarez Smith and Charles Saumarez Smith FSA) to prevent their demolition. Knox and Longstaffe-Gowan have since, writes Guilding, restored Malplaquet House ‘as a place of domestic habitation and a fabulous, unique house museum’, re-instating front steps, landing and railings just last year. The photos show an astonishing collection of art, ornaments and furnishings – not ‘lucky finds,’ says Guilding, ‘but the fruits of vast knowledge and meticulous research’.
‘Their restoration and fitting up of the house has been both imaginative and conservative’, she says under a photo of the basement kitchen, in which ‘a stoneware sink decorated with Vitruvian scroll pattern was retrieved from a skip’. In another room they commissioned an overmantle to fill a hole in a chimney breast, featuring plaster portrait medallions by Christopher Hobbs, their two dachshunds, garden implements and architectural devices. It also contains ‘an ancient human skull (excavated in the early 1970s in the site of the YMCA in Tottenham Court Rd)’.
This skull reminds me of a case that came before the Westminster High Court in 1880, when a developer, Nathan Woolf Jacobson, was convicted of removing human remains without a licence from an old nonconformist burial ground on Tottenham Court Road (some years earlier Jacobson, who seems to have been quite a character, had been convicted of ‘burglariously breaking and entering’ and stealing a vase worth (then) £20). The land had been sold for development, but it was clear that some burials were fresh and the deceased had living relatives. The case interested me because colleagues and I were then arguing for the retention of prehistoric human remains we had recently excavated at Stonehenge; a Pagan Druid seeking their reburial had taken the issue to court. In 1880, counsel for the prosecution made it clear that disturbance of ancient remains was not covered by legislation: ‘To disturb the remains of Druids’, he said, ‘who had been buried on Salisbury Plain, for instance, would not be indictable.’ Perhaps the overmantle skull came from that nonconformist burial ground.
Tim Knox has recently been promoting Gold and Precious Pigments: The Secrets of Medieval Illuminators Revealed in Cambridge, which will be at the Fitzwilliam Museum from 30 July to 30 December. Some of the finest illuminated manuscripts in the world, says the Museum, will be exhibited for the Fitzwilliam’s bicentenary. ‘Ten years ago’, says Knox, ‘The Cambridge Illuminations was the Museum’s first ever record-breaking exhibition, attracting over 80,000 visitors. People were enchanted by the remarkable beauty and delicacy of the manuscripts. I am convinced that our bicentenary visitors will again be equally inspired by the superb illuminations collected and treasured at the Fitzwilliam for 200 years, and will value this rare opportunity to find out how they were made and how we are preserving them for the future.’

Pictured is a detail from the Macclesfield Psalter, East Anglia, probably Norwich, c. 1330–40.

A Museum of Loss

On 7 March Emma Loosley FSA, Professor of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter, told the moving story of the Mar Elian Monastery in the Syrian town of Qaryatayn. She was interviewed for an enlightening, civilizing series on BBC Radio 4, in which Kanishk Tharoor and mostly local people considered ten antiquities or cultural sites, recently destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria. Museum of Lost Objects, ten programmes broadcast between 1 and 11 March and now permanently available on iPlayer, offers rare insights into a world known more for its rhetoric than on-the-ground reality.
Mar Elian, or in English St Julian of the East (or, said Tharoor, St Julian the Old Man), had been venerated by Moslems and Christians for centuries in a sort of pact of mutual respect. The town was captured by Islamic State in May 2015. Father Jacques Mourad, the Prior of Mar Elian and a close friend of Loosley’s, was kidnapped and taken away, at one point being held in Palmyra. Blindfolded, he thanked God for his life, believing it was soon to end. But the tragedy that befell him was to be returned to Qaryatayn in September – before his eventual escape – and shown the ruins of the Monastery to which he had given his life. The ancient building, Loosley's excavations and the saint’s sarcophagus had been bulldozed into rubble.
Loosley recalled her earlier realisation of the destruction. She had not expected IS to ‘erase the whole site in that way – especially not since there were so many refuges living there … Where do those people go? And who’s going to look after them once Jacques had been kidnapped?’ As she told Salon last September, the Society of Antiquaries was one of the early sponsors of excavations at Dayr Mar Elian, through the Frend Prize in 2001 and a fieldwork grant in 2002.
The final programme considered a Sumerian cylinder seal, made around 2600 BC, which disappeared when the Iraq Museum in Baghdad was ransacked during the 2003 invasion. John Curtis FSA, then Keeper of the Middle East collections at the British Museum with a direct line to the Prime Minster through Museum Director Neil MacGregor FSA, was one of the first to enter the Iraq Museum after it had been looted in the heat of war. He recalled sleeping in the courtyard outside the main door. ‘The Museum was a government symbol, in a sense,’ said Curtis, ‘and there was a lot of anti-government feeling, so people took it out on all of those buildings and institutions which they perceived to be associated with the government.’

Recording Remote Landscapes from Above

Aerial Archaeology in Jordan and Beyond, an exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society, London, opened on 2 March and runs until 6 April. ‘The photographs in the show’, reports The Art Newspaper, ‘beautifully capture the country’s cultural past, from the prehistoric phase through to the Islamic Period. Well-known locations, such as the coastal city of Aqaba and Petra’s rock-hewn architecture, are featured alongside newly discovered sites and images illustrating recent damage and destruction.’
Behind this is Aerial Archaeology in Jordan, launched by David Kennedy FSA (far right in photo, taken in 2008) in 1997 and one of three linked projects using film and satellite imagery run from the School of Archaeology in the University of Oxford. In the exhibition, Bob Bewley FSA (second from left) tells me, ‘The vast majority of the images are from the work we have done using the helicopters (Huey) of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.’ It celebrates ‘almost 20 years of aerial reconnaissance in Jordan (2016 will be the 20th season), and shows the pace of change in the landscape.’ It is the only project of its kind outside Europe, and, says Bewley, ‘a testament to the openness of Jordan, as a country, to allow us to study and photograph their landscape from the air. We are very grateful to HRH Major General Prince Feisal bin Hussein, as former Commander of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, for his annual approval for our flying requests.’
Aerial Archaeology in Jordan is a significant contributor to the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME), a long-term research project directed by Kennedy and Bewley, based currently between the University of Western Australia and Oxford University. The project is developing methodologies suited to the region, and holds over 100,000 images and maps, displayed on the archive’s Flickr site (photo here shows the Piazza in the Roman city at Jarash). Most photos are the outcome of nearly 20 years flying; thousands more are ‘historic’, some from as early as 1917.
Finally, Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) is a two-year project supported by the Arcadia Fund with ten Oxford staff and one at the University of Leicester. This uses satellite imagery to examine and publicise information about archaeological sites and landscapes under threat across the Middle East and North Africa. Bewley is Project Director; Kennedy and Andrew Wilson FSA are Principal Investigators; Bewley and David Mattingly FSA are Co-Investigators; and Mike Bishop FSA is among the several Researchers.
‘Archaeologists, and especially aerial archaeologists,’ write Bewley and Kennedy, ‘balance the joy of discovery, using photography as their recording medium, with dismay at seeing so many sites being transformed, without proper recording.’

In the Salerooms 

Geoffrey Bond FSA has bought a stained glass roundel at auction, and thinks Fellows would be interested in seeing it, as it presents a ‘wonderful depiction of the President’s hat’.
The roundel, he writes, was ‘executed by George Kruger Gray (1880–1943) depicting part of, I think, the Arms of the Society of Antiquaries, being dated 1929 with our motto Non Extinguetur. The roundel is 28cm in diameter. I purchased it because George Gray was a member of my Livery Company, the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, first recorded in 1328, of which I had the privilege of being the Master in 1998.’

Archie Walls FSA has news of items that some Fellows may wish to bid for.
‘It may be of interest’, he writes, ‘that I am selling at Sotheby’s on the 28th April a collection of some 140 architectural A1 and A2 size drawings recording 15th century Mamluk buildings in Jerusalem and Cairo, surveyed and drawn by me in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They concentrate on the works of the Mamluk Sultan Qāytbāy (872 AH/AD 1468–901AH/AD 1496), often referred to as “The Prince of Builders”, with special reference to his imperial Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya in al Haram al Sharif, Jerusalem, constructed in AD 1482 and severely damaged by an earthquake in AD 1545. The collection is unique for two reasons: firstly, political conditions have changed over the years and it may no longer be possible to work in these religious buildings; secondly, at the time of the surveys the stone decorative details were already being badly eroded through air pollution and rain, a process that is ongoing.’


DigVentures, a ‘crowdfunded archaeological social enterprise’, was founded in 2012 by archaeologists Lisa Westcott Wilkins, Brendon Wilkins and Raksha Dave. To date it has conducted a few archaeological excavations, but now seems to have geared up its ambitions. On 1 March it announced the creation of an advisory board to be led by David Gilbert, Chair of Creative United and Writer’s Centre of Norwich, and former Managing Director of Currys Group and Waterstones. The board includes Carole Souter FSA, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund until the end of April (when she will be succeeded by Ros Kerslake), and Tim Schadla-Hall FSA, Reader in Public Archaeology at UCL, Institute of Archaeology.
DigVentures set out to counter what it sees as ‘decreasing funding available for excavation from local authorities, commercial units and universities’, while responding to a ‘rising popularity of archaeology’. It says it has raised £115,000 for projects, nearly £400,000 in match funding, and £300,000 in grants. Much of an enlarged programme for 2016 offers people outside the world of professional archaeology the chance to join existing excavations. A ‘Dirty Weekend at Marden’ (the website is rather blokey), for example, offers tuition, tools, tea and a T-shirt at the TV-featured dig (see above) for £325.

For £525 a week you can join an excavation on Holy Island, Northumberland, which hopes to find evidence for a seventh-century monastery. ‘Most of Aidan’s monastery’, David Petts FSA, Lecturer at Durham University, told Maev Kennedy FSA in The Guardian, ‘probably lies under the modern village, and we’re not going to be able to knock that down – but we have had some encouraging geophysics results indicating structures under some areas of open ground which we will be able to get at.’ The project earlier received a National Geographic Society grant, but Petts told Kennedy that now ‘it would have been almost impossible to raise the money … any other way given the present funding climate.’
The Heritage Lottery Fund has grant-aided a Digital Dig Team, a ‘Community Management System’ for archaeology projects, ‘built onto a cloud-based, open-source software platform enabling researchers to publish data directly from the field using any web-enabled device.’ ‘Early results’, says its Wikipedia page, ‘have shown that the Digital Dig Team system can enable archaeologists to build audiences (through immersive storytelling), generate revenue (through crowdfunding), enable public participation (through crowdsourcing) and improve research by making results available to a networked specialist team in “real time”.’

A Rare Painting of Nonsuch Palace 

‘British institutions’, says Peter Barber FSA, Head of Cartographic and Topographic Materials at the British Library, ‘have a chance to acquire a beautiful object that is of enormous significance for English culture and history.’ He is quoted in a press release from Ed Vaizey MP and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. Barber is a member of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, and the item they wish to keep in the UK is a watercolour by Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel, featuring Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace in Surrey, which he painted during his visit to England in 1568. It is the earliest depiction of the Palace.
‘Though drawn after Henry VIII’s death,’ continues Barber, ‘this exquisite watercolour is redolent of England’s best-known King. It is the most accurate depiction of the palace through which Henry sought to immortalise his reign and emphasise his role as a Renaissance prince and a leader of European fashion. Uniquely it shows details of the external decorations, of which only a few battered fragments now survive, that made Nonsuch, as its name suggests, a wonder of its age, an expression of Tudor pride and power and later a favourite residence of Elizabeth I.’
The export licence decision will be deferred until 31 May. This may be extended until 31 August if a serious intention to raise funds to buy the watercolour is made, at the recommended price of £1,000,000.
This is not the first time the painting has been taken to market in recent years. On 4 November 2010, the London Historians’ Blog noted ‘fast-gathering interest over the past 24 hours following the announcement that Christie’s is to auction a rare depiction of Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace in December.’
Christie’s said it was ‘The most important depiction of Henry VIII’S “lost” Palace … seen in public only twice before; at Sutton Place in 1983 and at The National Gallery, Washington, in 1986. Described by Martin Biddle as “the only surviving impression of what Nonsuch really looked like”, it is expected to realise £800,000 to £1,200,000.’
Benjamin Peronnet, Director and International Head of Old Master and 19th Century Drawings at Christie’s, described the painting as ‘an exceptionally rare and exciting picture; not only is it one of the earliest British watercolours and a work of art of immense beauty, but it is also the most exact pictorial record of Henry VIII’s great commission, Nonsuch Palace.’
‘Hoefnagel executed the present work in situ at Nonsuch’, he added, ‘and used it to create a later, less detailed depiction that was used for the engraving. This later version is now in the British Museum. The present work was acquired in the mid-19th century by Sir Alfred Morrison of Fonthill ... and has since passed by descent.’
However the painting failed to meet its reserve and remained unsold; it went on long-term loan to the V&A. The vendor is now seeking a similar price.
‘This is an extremely important picture,’ noted the Art History News blog on 2 March 2016, ‘and I hope we can keep it here. It is not just a rare and beautiful object … but an important record of Tudor architecture at its best.’ To which ‘a reader’ added, ‘The press releases don't mention that there is an almost identical watercolour in the British Museum. It would be difficult for an institution to justify buying the other version!’

So is the BM’s painting ‘identical’ or ‘less detailed’? At top is the export-barred work, and above is the BM’s. Also painted in 1568, the latter shows Queen Elizabeth I about to drop in for a visit. Martin Biddle FSA (who, in his words, ‘discovered and excavated the site of Nonsuch in 1959 when an undergraduate at Cambridge and [has] been writing and working on it at intervals ever since!’), has no doubts that the former is the more important, and wrote to that effect both to Bendor Grosvenor at the Art History News blog, and to Ed Vaizey; the comments that follow are edited extracts from his emails.
‘I've been involved with this watercolour since I asked the family about it in 1963’, he said, ‘as a result of which they located it on the nursery corridor wall at Fonthill. There is much still to learn from it.
‘The British Museum drawing is secondary. Hoefnagel's amazing watercolour, now under threat of export, is a primary record of the most extraordinary building erected in Tudor England, made by the greatest miniaturist of the age. Uniquely it shows details of Nonsuch, notably of the Renaissance stucco decorations of the south front, which can only be appreciated when magnified, revealing high relief stuccoes of figures from the stories of Ovid's Metamorphoses. This watercolour is of the highest importance for art and architecture in England in the 16th century, and must on no account be allowed to leave the country. It should join the version prepared for the engraver in the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings.’

News of Fellows

Pamela Combes FSA, teacher and field archaeologist, died in February. An appreciation appears below.

Margaret Faull FSA has been elected as Chair of the Network of European Coal Mining Museums. She retired as Director of the National Coal Mining Museum for England in October 2015, and will be chairing the next meeting of the Network at the Muzeum Górnictwa WÄ™glowego Zabrzu (the Zabrze Coal Mining Museum) in Zabrze, Poland, during a conference and trade fair on tourism in industrial areas (13–15 April). The national coal-mining museums of England, Germany and Italy and the leading coal-mining museums in Belgium, France, Poland and Spain formed a Network in May 2012. The aim is to carry out joint programmes of work, and to exchange staff and information; for example a member of staff of the Deutsches Bergbau Museum (German Mining Museum) in Bochum spent six weeks in 2015 working at the National Coal Mining Museum for England. The Network meets two or three times a year at one of the member museums. The Network is hoping to obtain European Union funding to set up a European Route of Coal-Mining Heritage along the lines of the already well-established European Route of Industrial Heritage. For further information, please email; telephone 01924 379690; mobile 07904 262768.

Paul Bahn FSA has updated his Images of the Ice Age (Oxford University Press) for a third edition, described as ‘the most comprehensive guide to Ice Age art, the world’s earliest artistic imagery’. The long gaps between editions (first in 1988, second in 1997) and the many new discoveries and publications, and changes in thinking and research technologies, really make this a new book. As well as a new publisher, it has a new format, with smaller pages and pictures but more text (and more footnotes). Bahn reveals, says the blurb, ‘his own view of the possible function of Ice Age art based on 40 years of experience in the field. He offers a unique opportunity to appreciate universally important works of art, many of which can never be accessible to the public, and which represent the very earliest evidence of artistic expression.’

‘My good friend and another nervous undergraduate’, writes Gillian Darley FSA, ‘met during our first term at the Courtauld Institute, 50 years ago this year. Now Emeritus Professor Demetrios Michaelides FSA has been awarded an Italian presidential decoration: Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity.’
Many Fellows work at or for UK operations for which last year’s visiting figures were published by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions on 7 March. For the ninth consecutive year, the British Museum (Jonathan Williams FSA, Deputy Director) leads with 6.8 million visitors, followed by the National Gallery (5.9 million), the Natural History Museum (5.3 million) and the Southbank Centre (5.1 million). The Victoria and Albert Museum (Beth McKillop FSA, Deputy Director and Director of Collections) is sixth; the Tower of London ninth (Jonathan Marsden FSA, Trustee of Historic Royal Palaces); and the National Portrait Gallery tenth (Tarnya Cooper FSA, Curatorial Director). Further down the list, the British Library came in at 17 with 1.6 million visitors (Peter Barber FSA, Head of Cartographic and Topographic Materials); the Royal Academy of Arts (Charles Saumarez Smith FSA, Secretary and Chief Executive), crediting a staggering 33% increase to Ai Weiwei and Summer exhibitions, is at 29 with 1.1 million; the Fitzwilliam Museum (Tim Knox FSA, Director) at 70 (418,000); and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, with 62,400 at 187 (Jody Joy FSA, Senior Curator (Archaeology)).

Ian McPhee FSA has edited Myth, Drama and Style in South Italian Vase-Painting. Selected Papers by A.D. Trendall (Astrom Editions). Dale Trendall FSA’s work on vase-painting in South Italy, writes Gillian Shepherd FSA, Director of the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies, defined the discipline. Alongside his fundamental monographs, he wrote many shorter studies of particular vases, painters and subjects. These remain significant for our understanding of the development of red-figure vase-painting in South Italy and Sicily during the Classical period. This collection of 21 articles explores the representation of myths and dramatic scenes, and offers detailed analyses of regional styles and individual painters. The A.D. Trendall Centre was founded through Trendall's bequest in 1995 to La Trobe University of his extensive private library, photographic archive of some 40,000 images of South Italian vases, and his antiquities collection. This is the Centre’s first publication.
‘Eminent historian and dedicated follower of fashion’ Sir Roy Strong FSA will be in conversation with Ben Whyman, from the Centre for Fashion Curation at the London College of Fashion, on 19 April in Bath. Bath in Fashion 2016 (18–24 April) will be celebrating fashion with ‘stimulating debate, in-store events and fast-paced catwalks’, and some headline-name designers.

The British Museum-National Museums Scotland exhibition Celts opened in its second manifestation in Edinburgh on 10 March. In an enthusiastic double act, curators Julia Farley (BM) and Fraser Hunter FSA (Iron Age and Roman Curator at the National Museum of Scotland), look at some late prehistoric metalwork in an online video, enjoying in particular a modern brass carnyx reconstruction (with wagging red tongue). The show – ‘Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Celts will be in the museum’ – continues until 25 September. Hunter will give a lecture about Celtic art at the Museum on 11 April. Photo shows detail of a Pictish silver plaque from Norrie’s Law, Fife.

Hunter is among specialists from across Europe on an Academic Board advising European Celtic Art in Context (ECAIC), an archaeological research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Chris Gosden FSA, J.D. Hill FSA and Jody Joy FSA, with two researchers. It sets out ‘to explore the dynamic traditions of art that emerged in central and northern Europe around 500 BC’, and has a website and a blog. Gosden will be giving a lecture at the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford on 15 June.
David Gaimster FSA, Director of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, and former General Secretary and Chief Executive of this Society (2004–10), has been named a Fellow by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). Through the breadth of disciplines represented by its Fellowship, says the RSE, it can provide independent and expert advice to Government and Parliament, support aspiring entrepreneurs through mentorship, facilitate education programmes for young people, and engage the general public through educational events.
‘In the wrong places,’ wrote Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive of Historic England, in a letter published in The Times on 11 March, ‘tall buildings seriously harm this city, which is home to some of the most important and sensitive heritage sites in the world.’ He was responding to debate about news from London of an accelerating growth in planning applications for buildings of at least 20 storeys. Construction has begun on 89, planning permission has been granted for a further 233, and 114 more have been proposed. Some see this as evidence of the city’s modern vitality and status as a leading world centre. But ‘Consultation with Londoners about tall buildings is too narrow,’ wrote Wilson, ‘so the odds are too often stacked in favour of a proposed development. We are on the cusp of massive change, and it is time for a pan-London approach to tall buildings, with Londoners being better informed and involved in the changes that are gathering pace.’
Julian Richards FSA was among archaeologists and dignitaries at the British Embassy in Vienna on 2 March, for the launch of an exhibition at MAMUZ Museum in Mistelbach, Austria, called Stonehenge – A Hidden Landscape (20 March–27 November). It features the work of geophysicists and archaeologists in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, and from the universities of Birmingham (Vincent Gaffney FSA, project initiator and national project leader), Bradford and Ghent, and the University of St Andrews. In February the team completed their extensive landscape survey by working within the stone circle.

Under the heading ‘Berlin: The End of a Museum Idyll’, Ian Johnson writes in The New York Review of Books for February 29 about the Humboldt Forum, ‘one of the most controversial projects in a city famous for architectural and urban planning disputes’. ‘It is hard to find an architect, planner, or curator’ he says, ‘who doesn’t have serious misgivings about the plan.’ Neil MacGregor FSA hopes otherwise. ‘The Berlin collections are astonishingly rich,’ he said when news was announced last year that he was to be the Forum’s first Artistic Director. ‘They allow you to tell the story of humanity from the beginnings up to today. But until now it’s not been possible to think of all the Berlin collections as one, to use them together to address the big question of human existence, human culture. That is the great opportunity that the Humboldt Forum offers.’

Lives Remembered

Mrs Pamela Combes FSA, died unexpectedly in Lewes, East Sussex, on 16 February shortly after her 80th birthday. This appreciation, supplied by David Parsons FSA, is taken from the funeral oration given by Christopher Whittick FSA.
‘Pam did not have long to enjoy the benefits of Fellowship. She was elected as recently as 2012, but by then she had been a leading figure in archaeological and historical research in Sussex for over 30 years, a vice-president of the Sussex Archaeological Society and in a national context active in the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland. She had originally trained and practised as a teacher, initially in Warwickshire, but on moving to Sussex she developed a keen interest in history and archaeology. She was a classic example of the honourable tradition of amateur scholarship of which the Sussex Archaeological Society was the embodiment.
‘Pam became an active member of the Wealden Iron Research Group, and in 1977 published her first article, on bloomery furnaces, in the Group’s Bulletin. She went on to produce outstanding geophysical surveys at University College London sites near Vix in France and locally at Lewes Priory and the Roman villas at Barcombe and Beddingham. Between 2002 and 2006 she coordinated a major Heritage Lottery Fund-aided research project on the history and archaeology of the parishes of Hamsey and Barcombe, and from 2004 to 2009 undertook an administrative role with a UCL team in Italy. Her research and publication on the pre-Norman Conquest settlement at Bishopstone provided a crucial platform for the excavation of the site by Gabor Thomas FSA, in which she was an active participant. She leaves several unfinished projects, but had typically made arrangements for their completion by others.’

The Wisdom of Fellows

‘The issue of charging for entry to museums’, writes Madeleine Gray FSA, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of South Wales Newport, ‘isn't altogether simple.’
She is responding to Alastair Maxwell-Irving FSA, whose comments on the issue appeared in the previous Salon.
‘Many local museums do in fact charge, and most charge all they think the market will bear. It has been suggested that Bede's World actually charged too much. So many museums are in areas of economic deprivation, and high prices simply contribute to the feeling that museums “aren't for us”. Then you lose the local will to keep them open.
‘Part of the problem (and I suggest this with some reluctance) may be that we have become used to museums, galleries and archaeological excavations being run by professionals with the highest professional standards. What I am about to say will be extremely unpalatable: but do we have to accept an easing of standards? I'm not suggesting we go back to the days of Sir Mortimer Wheeler FSA, whose research strategy for Caerleon seems to have been “Find the Roman stuff”, leaving Medievalists like me scratting through the spoil heaps looking for a rather interesting little Medieval borough. But we may have to accept more being done by volunteers, and a reduced paperwork load.
‘And finally – and probably even more unpalatable – we should not automatically blame local authorities. Yes, culture is seen as a soft target: but local authority funding has been slashed through the bone and into the marrow in the name of fiscal rectitude. Given the choice between providing some support to the sick and disabled and keeping the town museum open, what can they do? I hate to say it, but if people voted for it, this is what they have got.’

Recent Ballot Results

We elected 9 new Fellows on 3 March: Peter Ellis; Nell Hoare, MBE, BA; Zena Kamash, MA, DPhil; Mark Hauser, PhD; Judith Bronkhurst, BA, MA, MA, PhD; John Gough, MA, DipCompPhil, PhD; Sue Anderson, BA, MPhil; Faye Minter, BA, MA; James Peill, MA.

We elected 9 new Fellows on 10 March: Peter Jones, BA; Timothy, Lord Boswell of Aynho, DL, MA; Elaine Jamieson, BSc, MA; Susan Irene Rotroff, AB, MA, PhD; Peter Magee, BA, PhD; Beccy Scott, BA, MA, PhD; Hannah Fluck, BA, MA, PhD; Helen Lunnon, BA, MA, PhD; David Blackmore, BA, MA, PhD.



Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 16.15 and meetings start at 17.00. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow. Details of forthcoming meetings and events can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

17 March 2016: 'The Dress Detective and the Slow Approach to Seeing', by Ingrid Mida, a Janet Arnold Award recipient.

24 March 2016: 'Children, Antiquarianism and Heritage', by Matthew Grenby.

21 April 2016: Anniversary Meeting

The Anniversary Meeting will begin at 15.30 and is open to Fellows only. Tea is served at 16.15, followed by the President’s Address (including ballot results) at 17.00, and concludes with a Reception at 18.00. Guests are welcome to Tea, the President’s Address, and the Reception. Entry to the Reception is by ticket only (£10.00 per person). Please book in advance for the Reception. You may book online, call 020 7479 7080 or email

Details for the full spring programme are available on the website: You can also catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events').

Interested in proposing a lecturer? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer (

Forthcoming Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays. These lectures are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place. Details of forthcoming lectures can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

22 March 2016: 'Denim: Fashion's Frontier', by Emma McClendon, Janet Arnold Award Recipient (for research into historic dress). A few places are still available! Book now!

There will also be a public tour of Burlington House on this day (booking required).

26 April 2016: 'Royal Gold and Royal Rubbish: Metal-Detecting and the Anglo-Saxon Palace at Rendlesham, Suffolk', by Christopher Scull FSA. This lecture is now fully booked, but we hope to post a recording after the event!

There will also be a public tour of Burlington House on this day (booking required).

Click here for more information on our public lectures.

Society Dates to Remember


Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows

The next in the Society’s regular series of introductory tours will take place on 24 March and 23 June.

Tours are free, but limited to 25 people, so places should be booked in advance. Please contact the Society’s Executive Assistant (call 020 7479 7080 or email Tours start at 11.00, and coffee is served from 10.45. Lunch is available at the end of the tour for £5, but must be ordered in advance. There will be further tours scheduled in the autumn.

Burlington House Closures

The Society's apartments, including it's Library, will be closed during the Easter holiday from Friday to Tuesday, 25 March to 29 March (inclusive), reopening on Wednesday, 30 March. The apartments will also be closed on 2 May, 3 May, and 30 May. Finally, the Society will be closed for its summer conservation and maintenance programme from 1 August to 2 September (inclusive), reopening on Monday, 5 September.

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, you can subscribe online at:

Welsh Fellows

Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at

York Fellows

Thursday, 31 March: Join us for a lecture by Fellow Kevin Leahy (National Adviser, Early Medieval Metalwork, The Portable Antiquities Scheme), 'The Staffordshire Hoard: Six Years On'. The meeting will take place at Bar Convent, York. Send questions or expressions of interest to Stephen Greep, FSA, at

Saturday, 14 May: Enjoy a two-part walking tour of Beverley, accompanied by Fellows Barbara English, David Neave, and John Wilton-Ely. Meet at 10.30; depart at 16.00. Guests welcome! Please note that there will be a £5.00 entry charge for the Beverley Guildhall. Send questions or expressions of interest to Stephen Greep, FSA, at

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, you can subscribe online at:

Other Forthcoming Heritage Events

14 March: Masterpieces of Renaissance Glass: Wine, Women and the glory of Venice (London)
Dora Thornton FSA, Curator of Renaissance Europe and the Waddesdon Bequest at the British Museum, will talk at the Society of Antiquaries at 6.30 for 6.45 pm. The superb Venetian glasses in the British Museum offer an intriguing glimpse into 16th-century Venetian social mores which would have fascinated early tourists and armchair travellers across Shakespeare's Europe. Depictions of women on these glasses – as virtuous wives or sophisticated courtesans – often appear deliberately ambiguous, opening up a world of tensions and nuance that runs through Shakespeare's Venetian play, Othello. The combined appeal of wondrous new technology and captivating fashion made Venetian glass the envy of the world and Dora's talk will draw on many sources to enable us to fully appreciate these masterpieces. Book through the Venice in Peril website.

18 March: Tension & Transition: Construction 1900–1925 (London)
The Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings’ 2016 Conference will look at changes in construction in the first quarter of the 20th century, in the setting of Edwin Lutyens’ church of St. Jude-on-the Hill, Hampstead. Charles Wagner FSA, President of the ASCHB, will chair a plenary session. See the ASCHB website for details.
22–23 March: Everyday Heritage (Oxford)
Course at Rewley House directed by Stephen Bond FSA, Director, Heritage Places. The vulnerability of everyday heritage has become more widely recognised in recent years, but its significance, its contribution to the character of the historic environment and its pivotal importance to local communities and their cultural memory are still under-explored and undervalued. This is the first in a planned series of linked courses seeking to redress that imbalance, exploring everyday heritage, its importance to communities and the local historic environment, and the issues that affect its conservation and benign use and development. This course will focus on housing and open spaces in towns, and a range of common types of public buildings. For more details and to book see online.
23 March: Souvenirs of the Sepulchre: Devotion to an Empty Tomb at the Time of the First Crusade (Birmingham)
William Purkis will give the first of three public lectures to be held at the Museum of the Order of St John as part of the Bearers of the Cross project at the University of Birmingham. The event is free, but tickets must be booked ahead online.
6–8 April: Condition Surveys of Historic Buildings (Oxford)
Course at Rewley House directed by Henry Russell FSA, Reading University. Condition surveys of historic buildings require an understanding of architectural and construction history, as well as the ability to analyse and prioritise defects. This course aims to give participants an understanding of traditional construction and its defects and to provide the skills to carry out balanced and informed surveys of historic buildings. Speakers include Stephen Bond FSA, Sinclair Johnston, Robyn Pender and Jagjit Singh. For more details and to book see online.

16 April: Marne and Beyond: Achievement and Legacy (York)
A one-day Symposium at York St John University to explore the potential of Operation Nightingale – which helps rehabilitate injured soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan by involving them in archaeological investigations – through the experience at Marne Barracks, North Yorkshire, its achievements and its legacy. Keynote speakers include Carenza Lewis FSA and Steve Sherlock FSA. The free symposium is presented in collaboration with the Defence Archaeology Group and HAVRC (Heritage and Arts Visitor Research Collaborative) based at York St John Business School.
21 May: The Power of Place: Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape (Machynlleth)
A day conference of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at the Museum of Modern Art Machynlleth on the Welsh landscape as a source for visionary artists. Papers will cover the Wye tour, Turner in Snowdonia, John Sell Cotman, the neo-romantic movement, David Jones and a contemporary artist’s response to place. Speakers include John Barrell, Mary-Ann Constantine, Andrew Green, Damian Walford Davies and Peter Wakelin FSA, who has curated the accompanying exhibition at MOMA Machynlleth, which runs from 19 March to 18 June. Details and bookings (£15): Angharad Elias: 01970 636543 Picture shows The Southern Extremity of Carnedde Mountain in Radnorshire, by Thomas Jones, 1794.
9–11 September: Capability Brown: Perception and Response in a Global Context (Bath)
The influence of Capability Brown and the naturalistic landscape design style on landscapes across the world will be presented at a major ICOMOS-UK conference at the University of Bath, as part of the first-ever national Capability Brown Festival. Speakers include David Thackray FSA, President of ICOMOS-UK and Megan Aldrich FSA. For more information see the ICOMOS website.
14–16 October: 1066: Interpreting the Norman Conquest in 2016 (London)
In this 950th anniversary year, a conference on the Norman Conquest is to be held by the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, running from the day of the battle. The conference is intended for a general audience, but the contributions will be delivered by prominent experts, including David Bates FSA, author of a forthcoming biography of William the Conqueror, and Elisabeth van Houts, who has edited and translated several Anglo-Norman chronicles and has published on women and gender in the Middle Ages. Subjects will include the background to the Conquest, arms and armour, architecture, landscape, government, aristocracy, the church, society, the Bayeux Tapestry and the task of studying the period today. To register interest and obtain further information please contact or call 0113 220 1888.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 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 Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


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