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Salon: Issue 386
23 May 2017

Next issue: 6 June 2017 

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor

Salon 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


Help Us Improve the Library

If you have recently visited the Society's Library (either in person or remotely!), we would appreciate your feedback. Please take our user before it closes on 31 May. We are carrying out this survey to gather information about our users, how the Library is used, and satisfaction with the services provided. Analysis of the results will feed into our future planning for the Library and, where possible, we wish to implement the right changes for our users. You can complete the survey by visiting this link. You will be entered into a prize draw for a book voucher worth £30.

Celebrating the Centenary of Excavations at Ashley Rails

With our current Library display we are celebrating the centenary of Heywood Sumner’s excavations in Ashley Rails, carried out between December 1917 and October 1918. In addition to the objects on display, we will continue to share highlights from his works on social media, including examples of the New Forest pottery ware from MS 825/2, as well as parts of The Book of Gorley, volume 2 (MS 825/1) – Sumner’s remarkable hand written, illustrated diary of country life. The displays have been research and put together by Magda Kowalczuk, our Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian.
Magda Kowalczuk

Miss Lobb

From Cornwall to Kelmscott: A Life Revealed (From 10 June)

This eye-opening exhibition is the first to focus on Mary Frances Vivien Lobb (1878–1939), the companion of 22 years to May Morris while May lived at Kelmscott Manor. May, a designer and embroidery historian in her own right, was the younger daughter of famous Victorian designer, poet and social thinker William Morris (1834–96). This exhibition will contain photographs, documents and ephemera from the collections of The National Library of Wales and Kelmscott Manor – most of which have never been on public display before.
Little has previously been known about Mary Lobb, and the exhibition sheds light on her origins and family, the years she spent at Kelmscott and her relationship with May Morris. The exhibition will showcase artefacts from their travels to Iceland, their many camping trips across England and Wales, and their mutual love of gardening and animals. In addition, it will also contain representative examples of the archive’s important and previously unseen reference material relating to William Morris’s research activities for his last great endeavour, the Kelmscott Press.
The Society of Antiquaries of London and the National Library of Wales exhibitions service have worked in partnership to mount the exhibition at Kelmscott Manor. It has been co-curated by Simon Evans (The National Collection of Welsh Photographs) and Dr Kathy Haslam (Kelmscott Manor). Simon was responsible for identifying, re-assembling and researching this extensive archive, which was deposited at National Library Wales in 1939 at the wish of Mary Lobb herself.
Kelmscott Manor Exhibition: 10 June – 28 October 2017
Admission: Included with purchase of a ticket to the Manor house
Address: Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Lechlade, Gloucestershire GL7 3HJ
Supported by the Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Image: Mary Frances Vivien Lobb. © The National Library of Wales.

Top Treasure: The Frome Hoard

‘It’s a beautiful hobby,’ says Dave Crisp, a man who should know. ‘It was ‘er fault,’ he adds, looking across the dining table at his wife.
‘You’d just come out of the army, hadn’t you?’ says Shirley. ‘Thirty or 40 years ago.’ He went out and bought a meal detector. It was a converted transistor radio on a stick, and it was no use. He threw it in a cupboard.
He had a job as a master butcher, hauling 180 pound cuts of beef on his broad shoulders – but still hurting his back – and driving all over Wiltshire and Somerset. He was working six days a week, eight or nine hours a day, and he’d come home, shout at the wife and kick the dog.
‘Or vice versa,’ says Shirley. ‘He got up my nerves indoors. I said, why don’t you take up metal detecting?’
So in the early 80s, Dave bought another detector he found second-hand in a hobby magazine, and joined the local gang, the Trowbridge and District Detecting Club. He kept it up. In 2010 he found something extraordinary, a large Roman pot, full of coins. His discovery has just been voted ‘the nation’s top Treasure find of the last 20 years by Telegraph readers.’ As I write not all Telegraph readers may be aware of this; the news was broken by a blog on the British Museum website on 21 May, written by Sam Moorhead FSA, Finds Adviser for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).
Crisp had dug down a foot into the ground, says Moorhead, when he started to pull out pottery and coins. ‘When he realised that he had found a coin hoard, he made one of the most important decisions of his life – he filled the hole in, walked away, and contacted his local PAS Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire, Katie Hinds. Katie contacted her opposite number in Somerset, Anna Booth, and a professional excavation of the site took place under the direction of local archaeologist Alan Graham.’
Hinds rang Moorhead. ‘I immediately knew that we had a “monster” hoard of tens of thousands of coins,’ he says. ‘We agreed that the pot should be excavated in layers – this took two days and resulted in 60 separate bags from specific parts of the pot. Roger Bland FSA (then Head of the PAS) and I collected the coins the day afterwards and drove them back to the British Museum where they were immediately entrusted to Pippa Pearce, Senior Metals Conservator, who gave them all a “wash and dry” to stabilise them. We quickly ascertained that the coins weighed 160kg, and six weeks later Pippa pronounced a total of 52,503, making the find the second largest Roman hoard in Britain. Roger and I, with assistance from colleagues, then took twelve weeks to sort the coins by emperors. The coins spanned from c. AD 250 to 290 and covered about 30 rulers, terminating with Carausius, a renegade emperor who ruled in Britain from 286 to 293.’
They worked with Steve Minnitt FSA at the Museum of Somerset, Taunton, to plan for the museum to acquire the coins. A major publicity campaign was launched with the BBC. £320,000 was raised to acquire the hoard, with help from the Headley Trust and National Heritage Memorial Fund, and the Art. Crisp and the landowner shared the money.
Conservation took four years; cataloguing continues. The discovery led not just to study of this one find, but a major consideration of the practice of hoarding coins. Working with Colin Haselgrove FSA and David Mattingly FSA at Leicester University, Bland and Moorhead secured Arts and Humanities Research Council funding for a three-year project; a monograph is in preparation. ‘I can tell,’ writes Moorhead in the blog, ‘that the Frome Hoard was … buried by an ancient watercourse. Furthermore, it does seem that a number of other hoards were buried for ritual reasons. The project has resulted in all Iron Age and Roman coin hoards ever found in Britain being entered on the PAS database and these records will soon be made available to the public.’
‘Dave Crisp’s decision to leave the hoard in the ground,’ concludes Moorhead, ‘has had an enormous impact on other metal detectorists’ practices. Several coin hoards have been excavated professionally since 2010 and many have been retained in their pot for us to excavate at the British Museum. It will be probably the most important legacy of Dave’s discovery and one for which he deserves enormous credit.’
When I talked to Crisp a few years ago, as we sat at his table I could hear Abba’s Money, Money, Money drifting in faintly from the kitchen radio.
‘I get on my knees,’ he remembers, ‘and get out my knife and my spade. It must be an iron ploughshare, that’s gone down so deep it’s in the clay under the soil: if it’s that deep and it’s good iron, not too corroded, the detector gives a good signal’ – by which he means for ‘good metal’, bronze or better – ‘and only as you get close does it realise it’s iron. I’m down in yellow sticky clay. I pull out a chunk, and when I turn it over there’s a bit of black rock stuck in it. I pull it off, but it’s not rock, it’s Black Burnished Ware’ – a common, distinctive and locally made type of Roman pottery.
‘I put my hand in, another chunk of sticky yellow clay, turn it over, and there is one solitary Roman coin. That couldn’t have given a signal 14 inches down. Another handful of clay. This time ten little grots’ – detectorists’ name for cheap little Roman coins. ‘That was it. I had a pot of coins.’
‘Nearly had a heart attack, didn’t yer?’ says Shirley.
’I sat on my heels,’ Dave says, ‘and said, “Yes! I’ve done it!”’
‘I hated history at school,’ he adds, but it’s not the money that takes him out into the fields in search of junk and the occasional ancient artefact. ‘It’s the interest behind them,’ he says, waving a large, clenched fist in the air. ‘The history! I’m the first person to touch them for a thousand, two thousand years. That’s the buzz!’

In the drawing, the diagram on right shows how coins were excavated in layers in the British Museum. Red figures show numbers attributed to Carausius (British Archaeology/British Museum).

Will Robert the Bruce Seal Return to Scotland?

In March last year Ed Vaizey, then Culture Minister, placed an export bar on a seal commissioned by Robert the Bruce, giving a UK institution until 21 June (21 September with extension) to raise £151,250 to acquire it and keep it from leaving the country. Authorised in 1322 by Robert I, the two-part bronze seal was used by Dunfermline Abbey (where the King is buried) to confirm that he had endorsed customs documents.
Leslie Webster FSA, a member of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, said the ‘remarkable and handsome seal-die is of national importance on several counts; it is closely linked to the charismatic figure of Robert the Bruce, and to the history and institutions of Scotland at a crucial time in its evolution as a nation; its association with the royal abbey of Dunfermline sheds light on how the king acted out his authority, delegating the powers of the crown; and its outstanding quality may suggest the influence of French craftsmen.’
Where is it now? Martin Hanna, writing in the National on 11 May, reported that its fate remains uncertain. The Scottish Government hopes to gain the seal for a Scottish institution, says Hanna, and has been talking to potential buyers. Doubts about its authenticity have been dismissed. A spokesman for the Arts Council said, ‘The export deferral process for the seal matrix has been suspended to allow new information to be considered.’
‘I think it is a scandal that the English Arts Council has taken more than a year to examine the seals and has still failed to come to a conclusion,’ said Sean Clerkin, of the Scottish Resistance, a campaign group. ‘This historical item should be brought back to Scotland.’

UK Elect Manifestos: Looking for Heritage

The main parties contending in the UK general election on 8 June have published their manifestos, useful guides to how politicians think people value culture and heritage. I did some word counts, and came up with this Salon ranking: Labour 40%, Conservative 34%, Liberal Democrat 26% (the relative scores for mentions of art, culture, heritage, museums and galleries). But what do they actually say?
The Conservatives (estimated by Electoral Calculus on 20 May to have an 81% chance of winning, with a 146-seat majority) emphasise spreading opportunities beyond London to the rest of the UK. They hope ‘our vast cultural assets’ will reach more people, and that universities will contribute to their local communities and economies. ‘Britain’s arts and culture are world-beating and are at the heart of the regeneration of much of modern Britain,’ they say. They will continue to support the arts, and more so outside London (Channel 4 will leave London, but will remain publicly owned). Free entry to the permanent collections of major national museums and galleries will stay. There will be a new cultural development fund to invest in communities. There will be a Great Exhibition of the North in 2018, to celebrate innovation, arts and engineering, and they will support the new Edinburgh Concert Hall. They will also promote British culture globally, securing the future of the BBC World Service and the British Council. They will retain the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (no mention of Conservation Areas), but build more houses.
In a section headed Culture for All, Labour describes Britain’s creative industries as ‘the envy of the world, a source of national pride, a driver of inward investment and tourism, and a symbol of the kind of country we are now and aspire to be in the future.’ A new £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund ‘to upgrade our existing cultural and creative infrastructure’ will be administered by the Arts Council, and ‘be among the biggest arts infrastructure funds ever.’ It will focus on projects that could increase museums’ and galleries’ ‘income and viability’, in the face of Conservative cuts to the Arts Council and local authorities. They will invest in museums and the heritage sector (the only use of the H-word in all three manifestos), and free museum entry will stay. More people will be able to enjoy the Government Art Collection. They will support the BBC’s independence (no mention of the World Service) and keep Channel 4 in public ownership. They will introduce a primary school arts pupil premium in England, bringing an annual £160 million for longer term cultural activities.
The Liberal Democrats say less on these topics. They will keep free museums, protect the BBC’s independence and keep Channel 4 in pubic ownership. They will protect National Lottery funding of sports and arts (no mention of heritage).
The Creative Industries Federation reported a ‘highly successful session’ on 17 May with Matt Hancock, Conservative Minister of State for Digital and Culture, but had cancelled an event with Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson of the Labour party, scheduled for 22 May, after Labour changed its mind about how much time it would contribute to its session.
The National Trust found that regardless of who wins the election, farming policy will shift towards stewardship of the natural environment, the state will play a greater role in increasing house-building, and the power of culture and heritage to regenerate places will have greater recognition.

Uzbekistan: Reversing Elitist Science Administration

Salon treasures occasional letters from Heinrich Härke FSA, about the fascinating and sometimes troubling worlds of heritage and culture in contemporary Russia and beyond. He wrote twice from Central Asia in 2014 (in January and February), from Russia in 2015, Central Asia in 2016, Russia in January this year, and now returns to Central Asia, where he attended a heritage conference at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 14–17 May. Conference organisers here might note with envy the magnanimity of a sponsor who flew attendees to Samarkand. A bus to the beach, perhaps, for the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ conference at Brighton Race Course in 2018?
‘Something may be stirring on the Silk Road, insiders realised as the conference at Tashkent unfolded. Its cumbersome title was inauspicious: Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan as the Path to the Dialogue between Peoples and Countries. This is Soviet-style diction, as the presentation of “results” at the end was in Soviet style: listing the titles and positions of the most prominent scholars attending, and the numbers and titles of prestigious publications in the pipeline. That is what you would expect in a Central Asian dictatorship, but it was deceptive. This was the first Uzbek conference organised and funded by a privately owned business (a media empire whose owner is close to the ruling clique of the country); it was the first time that American scholars had been given visas to visit post-Soviet Uzbekistan; and it was the first time ordinary Uzbek archaeologists had been invited to join an international “show conference” in their own country. This was some compensation for the presence of the usual array of bigwigs from politics as well as organisations and foundations supporting the project, such as UNESCO, the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, etc.
‘On the surface, this conference was mostly about the presentation (in papers and videos) of the innovative project Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the Collections of the World, which is cataloguing and publishing artefacts, paintings and manuscripts from Uzbekistan held in international museums and libraries. Five high-quality volumes have already been published, mostly covering Russian institutions (Museum of Oriental Art, Museum of Ethnography, Tretyakov Gallery and Russian National Library), but also one on Uzbekistan embroidery and carpets in collections world-wide. Another five volumes are at an advanced stage of preparation, and the series is planned to continue, covering institutions in Europe (including the British Museum) and the New World. The project had been started under the previous president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, and now continues under his successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev who was elected in December 2016. But some important changes happened in this transition, outwardly signalled by the present prominent role in the project of a journalist who was a well-known opponent of the deceased dictator.
‘There was a second significant theme to this conference: the 75th birthday of Edvard Rtveladse, doyen of Uzbek archaeology, an ethnic Armenian born in the Russian North Caucasus who achieved his greatest scholarly successes in Soviet and post-Soviet Uzbekistan. Colleagues praise him as an immensely likeable individual with great humour, and entirely without careerism. He rose to the top simply on the strength of his fieldwork and publications. In spite of a recent stroke, he remains the driving force behind the project, and carefully edits every volume of the Cultural Legacy series himself. A wiry man decorated with the recently awarded order of Honoured Scientist of the Republic of Uzbekistan, he attended the entire conference himself without ever falling asleep (as some other grandees did). He responded graciously and with great wit to all honours and praises heaped upon him, and insisted on the immediate distribution, there and then, of his latest archaeological book and his memoirs to all conference delegates from abroad. When this took the organisers longer to implement than he had expected, he threw something close to a temper tantrum in the conference hall.
‘After the first day with a ridiculously overloaded programme, the conference moved by charter plane (paid for by the sponsor) from Tashkent to Samarkand. Here, the splendid Registan Square of the 15th to 17th centuries AD formed the backdrop of proceedings, with further sessions held in the Madrasah of Ulugh Beg, ruler of Central Asia from 1411 to 1449, and a famous astronomer in his own right (picture at top). Delegates were entertained by bazaar scenes re-enacted in the courtyard of the madrasah, and taken on an excursion for a sumptuous lunch accompanied by demonstrations of Uzbek crafts.
'The grand finale of the congress was to be the premiere of a 3D laser show on the cultural legacy of Uzbekistan in the Registan. This, however, took a long time to start because of the old Soviet (and new UNESCO) conference ritual of reading out to the congress delegates a long-winded “resolution” drafted by unknown persons, amended by a committee and “passed” by the congress without even the fig-leaf of a vote. In fact, the resolution proclamation took so long that there were stirrings of protest by shouting and clapping among the public, who were kept out of the cordoned-off square reserved for the congress – the whole scene a perfect illustration of elitist science administration stuck in the (political) past.
‘The laser show, when it finally arrived, immediately quelled the public unrest: it was, indeed, visually breathtaking – and what a setting for it! It purported to present the cultural history of the world, from cave paintings to space flight, as a shared legacy of humankind, surely a worthy message. There were, however, some grating details.
'While representing the year of Uzbek independence (1991) as marking the beginning of a new period in worldwide science must have seemed over the top to international attendees (to put it mildly), it drew applause from Uzbek attendees and members of the public. This might suggest that not much has changed in this country, but people with a longer experience of working here remarked that the open expression of public displeasure about anything would have been unthinkable under the former president. On the other hand, quotes from Karimov’s hackneyed pronouncements on Uzbek culture and heritage still grace the entrance of every museum in the country. His successor appears to be cautiously reversing some policies which had negatively affected scholarship in the country; the almost defunct Academy of Sciences has been revived as a central research institution, and there appears to be a political will to strengthen the humanities, foremost archaeology and ethnography. So there may be changes afoot, but they will be slow and gradual, as Uzbek scholars pointed out in private conversations. In the meantime, their western colleagues might feel justified in collaborating in this large top-down project on the Uzbek cultural legacy, as long as the overall changes are moving in the right direction.’
Härke’s photo shows the Registan Square of Samarkand, with the Madrasah of Ulugh Beg (built 1417–20) on the left.

Always and Forever, Farewell

Semper in aeternam o mea cella vale, a poem by Nancy Sandars FSA, is prefaced by a date, 19.7.95. It is three days after the death of her sister, Betty, at the age of 88. The photo shows Betty and twin brother Hugh (who was to die seven months later) at the family home in Little Tew, Oxfordshire, at the time of Nancy’s Christening in September 1914. Nancy spent her long, much-travelled life at Little Tew, and the sisters shared the house after their parents’ deaths. Inspired by a poem by Alcuin, an early Medieval scholar, Semper in aeternam recalls their time together in the Oxfordshire garden: the blackbird, the swallows and the martins, ‘the evening primrose’ and ‘the morning glory and the night-scented stock’; day into night, the passing of seasons, the eternity of memories. ‘We advance together,’ she writes, ‘you one step ahead./I will be coming after.’ She died in November 2015, 20 years later, aged 101.
This beautiful, melancholic poem has given the title to a new collection of Sandars’ poetry, Evening Primroses, edited by John Fuller and published by Agenda. Its lyrical, precise language, emotive but unsentimental, and its backward gaze to a lost past from a position firmly fixed in the present, is typical of the book. The pasts are hers – a now empty house in Waiting, ‘space that held news to tell, plans to make … So many years before the sorrows settle’ – and humanity’s. Sequence begins with a hazel, ‘hatched/nut out of nut back into thicket/shielding bison, brushed by giant elk’, and ends with ‘ham-sandwiches and cheese’, the forests gone: ‘We are alone … and the fires will come.’
Sandars was 87 when she published her first book of poems, Grandmother’s Steps, but, says Fuller in his preface, she wrote copious poetry throughout her life. ‘After Nancy’s death’, he adds, ‘it has become even more clear that her work as a poet was no mere addendum to her career as an archaeologist.’ Evening Primroses is stunning testament to that. It also shows antiquity strong in her poetry, and Fellows may now return to her archaeological writing with renewed insight.
The photo is from Nancy Sandars’ website.

Wrecks in Venice

In the last Salon, Caroline Stanford FSA wrote vividly about Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, Damien Hirst’s exhibition of new works in Venice. I drew attention to the show in Salon, because of its explicit, knowing references to antiquities. Hirst is not the only artist in the Venice Biennale to make such allusions, overtly or less so, and we will note some others below (see photo above). First, here is another view on Hirst from Venice, this time from Richard Barber FSA, a historian and author of The Holy Grail: Imagination and Belief (2004) and The Prince in Splendour (2017, a study of the medieval court festival for the Folio Society).

I wondered about asking Barber for a commentary on Guy Ritchie’s new film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, but hesitated on reading poor reviews and even worse box office takings, for fear of uncovering yet more pain. But perhaps the film’s saving triumph is a sophisticated deconstruction of Arthurian truth-inversions in a post-Althusser take on social media materiality? Reviews to Salon.
Barber was about to send us his comments on Hirst, when the next Salon came along with Stanford's ‘excellent account of the exhibition’. As a newcomer to Damien Hirst's work, he writes, ‘I hope I can add a few observations to what she has said about this gigantic, entertaining, infuriating and thought-provoking show.’
‘Like her,’ says Barber, ‘the visit was serendipitous, coming at the end of four days when I and my companion had rather overdosed on Surrealism – Adès's The Exterminating Angel at the Royal Opera House, the Surrealists at the Guggenheim Museum, and the Bosch exhibition in the Doge's Palace. (The last, Jheronimus Bosch and Venice, deserves a special mention – when did you last see one of the great Bosch masterpieces exhibited in a case where you could get to within six inches of it, and with no-one else in the room? As a bonus there were totally unfamiliar pictures by 17th-century painters who had been inspired by him.) So we approached Treasures from the Wreck of The Unbelievable from a slightly different angle.
‘I'd disagree slightly about the question of the two sites. You do need to go to the Punta della Dogana first, as the Palazzo Grassi exhibits are a kind of commentary/ reinterpretation/ transformation of the material in the Dogana. The entrance to the Dogana exhibition bears the inscription, Between truth and lies lies the truth, a typically maddening comment, almost kitsch, seemingly original, too neat to be … true. Next to it is a film loop showing the supposed diving rig, and throughout the exhibition there are photographs of objects being retrieved from the seabed – but the crystal-clear water and pristine sand show that they are all staged in a diving tank.
‘Furthermore, the catalogue entries for these photographs are described in terms of their materials. So next to The Diver: Bronze, we have The Diver with Divers: Powder-coated aluminium, printed polyester and acrylic lightbox. In other words, both the photo and its casing, not just the image, are the exhibit. The same applies to the showcases full of objects in later rooms. The items in them may be individually described, but the whole ensemble including the showcase itself is the exhibit, as the description of the materials makes clear. Hirst is declaring that the furniture of a museum is as much part of a show as the objects within it.
‘The captions and the catalogue are full of apparent learning, much of it genuine, and the range of inspiration is remarkable. However, caption and catalogue are frequently at odds, and the unreliability of the information is underlined by remarks such as “The presence of objects of presumed pre-Hispanic, South and Central American origin within a Roman-era wreckage is currently unexplained.” And unreality has multiple layers: there is a fragmentary shield of Achilles, presented as a fake purchased by the Collector: “Homer’s shield is – by its very nature – a fiction, an exercise in artistic invention that exceeds anything a human craftsman should be capable of producing.” Sometimes there is overkill: a room full of dimly lit gold is a spectacular sight, yet at one level it simply evokes the reaction, “It can’t be real.” This is neatly confirmed by one of the last exhibits in the Palazzo Grassi, which is a bust of Hathor, the Egyptian goddess, described as gold. A brief inspection reveals tarnish around the neck, and identifies it as brass.
‘There is no question that there are too many treasures, but again, aren't we all sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of objects in a museum? (I remember with delight the Gulbenkian in Lisbon with its half-dozen superb objects in huge rooms.) The problem with Hirst's “collection” is that you would really need two or three visits to explore all the threads and challenges – but if you are in Venice, do go at least once!’
Another, and quite different, engagement with the past in Venice can be found at the Singapore Pavilion. The centrepiece of the installation by Zai Kuning is a ship, built in situ (see photos at top and left). It is the latest material manifestation of the artist’s ‘obsession’, to use a word in the press release, with an ancient Malay world. Dapunta Hyang: Transmission of Knowledge, is a product of decades of research into the mythical orang laut (sea people), and mak yong, a fading pre-Islamic operatic tradition, together with the story of the first Malay king of Srivijaya, Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa. The 17-metre-long ship – the fifth and largest that Zai has yet created – is a symbol of the Srivijaya empire and its regional influence. It is made of rattan and bound with string and beeswax (used, says Zai, for embalming in the ancient world). 

To an archaeologist this extraordinary project looks like a great experiment in maritime technology and ideas – a landlocked Kon-Tiki or Sarimanok, perhaps. Zai is telling stories of lost cultures, hoping to preserve them for future generations. ‘I want to remind visitors’, he says, ‘that our history is a confluence of many different traditions and beliefs. In a time where people are finding reasons to segregate one another, it is important for us to look beyond the petty divides and reposition our perspective to look into what makes us who we are.’
Down in the New Zealand Pavilion is another historical project, Lisa Reihana’s In Pursuit of Venus [infected]. If Zai seeks understanding of the past through experiment, Reihana’s mode is re-enactment. Her starting point was Jean-Gabriel Charvet’s depiction of Polynesians in Les Sauvages De La Mer Pacifique (1804–05). This remarkable work shows an imaginary Pacific landscape in 20 panels of floor-to-celling wallpaper hung side by side, peopled by decorously clothed islanders pirouetting and wrestling in sylvan glades, watched by pet dogs.
Over six years Reihana recreated this vision by filming costumed actors against a green screen and imposing them on a landscape drawn in the style of animated cartoons. The result is an engrossing succession of small scenes that over half an hour slowly pass across a 26-metre-long projected video. But as well as showing us convincing sounds and movements of Māori people, Reihana brings in – to the accompaniment of Bach’s Art of Fugue – the absent Europeans. Her title refers to the quest to map the transit of Venus, a symbol of empire seizing the globe, and the moment of encounter from which there is no return. The work, she has said, is ‘reclaiming our stories and making us more real again, talking about past and talking about now.’

Fellows in Venice might also visit Phyllida Barlow’s Folly, in the British Pavilion. Here ‘great elephantine pillars’ made from mesh and concrete and looking like decaying tree boles or Jurassic bamboo stems (splits down the sides reveal ‘the pretence that lies within grandeur’, says Barlow on the British Council website), conjured images of ‘great henges' in the mind of Sue Hubbard writing for Artlyst.
The Venice Biennale continues until 26 November. Fellows’ views welcomed.

Saving Slides

Archaeologists worried about what to do with their accumulated slide collections – and others worried about those who aren’t, or weren’t – found a heroic solution in the form of the Historic Environment Image Resource Project (HEIR) at the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford, led by Sally Crawford FSA and Katharina Ulmschneider FSA.
Their offer to digitise 35mm collections for no charge sounded almost too good to be true. But true it is. They have just accepted collections from Caroline Wickham-Jones FSA and John Nandris FSA: both, says Crawford, are ‘fascinating sets including some really important images of sites which are no longer accessible/destroyed. We are looking forward to adding them to the online database and sharing them with the archaeological community.’ And now they are preparing for ‘a filing cabinet drawer’s-worth, in transparent hangers,’ of slides from the collection of the late Christine Mahany FSA, courtesy of Paul Stamper FSA. Mahany, says Stamper, ‘was a good photographer with a decent camera. Files are labelled (eg Welsh Castles, English Abbeys) and the individual slides generally have the site name on. About half are of French sites, again with a concentration on Romanesque castles and abbeys.’
HEIR’s mission is not only to copy old photos, but to keyword the images and photograph them in their modern settings. The photos at top, an example from their blog, show the Erectheum at the Acropolis, recorded by George Washington Wilson around 1890, and by Persefoni Lesgidi today. It wasn't always so bare.

Fellows (and Friends)

Anna Western FSA, a former Archaeological Conservator at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, died on 4 May aged 99. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in May 1972. The funeral service will be on 26 May at St James’ Church, Brightwell-Sotwell, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, at 11.30 am.
Fellows Remembered below contains further notices on the late Geoff Wainwright FSA and the late Roger Highfield FSA.

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel FSA won the Duff Cooper literary prize in February. A much-praised compendium of stories about its author’s encounters with medieval books, on 15 May it won the Wolfson History Prize. ‘Christopher de Hamel's outstanding and original book,’ said Sir David Cannadine FSA, Chair of the Prize Judges, in a press release, ‘pushes the boundaries of what it is and what it means to write history… It is a masterpiece.’ Previous winners of the prize, which this year came with a £40,000 cheque, include Cyprian Broodbank FSA (The Making of the Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World, joint 2014), Mary Beard FSA (Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, joint 2009), and Rosemary Hill FSA (God's Architect: Pugin & the Building of Romantic Britain, joint 2008). In 2012 Nikolaus Pevsner FSA featured in the prize: he was the subject of Susie Harries’ biography, Nikolaus Pevsner: The Life. The photo is from The Economist 1843, which predicted de Hamel’s book would be ‘the cultural bestseller of the season’ in its August/September 2016 edition.
The Richard III Society, I noted in the last Salon, may have reservations about some new productions of their namesake’s Shakespearean play. Too true, at least regarding the one at Leicester Cathedral. It will be there on 19–20 July, in a tour that takes in other cathedrals at Peterborough, Ely, Gloucester, Bristol and Salisbury, and culminates (22 August–9 September) in the Temple Church, London. Carol Fellingham Webb, an archaeology graduate and a long-standing member of the Richard III Society, wrote to the Guardian (8 May) to complain. ‘How can this by any stretch of the imagination be construed as either dignified or honourable?’ she asks of the production, which will occur near the king’s new tomb. ‘As with so many of the cathedral’s activities surrounding the discovery and reburial of this king,’ she adds, ‘it smacks only of another desperate attempt at publicity and money-making.’ Phillipa Langley, who led the original search for the grave, told the paper that the Looking for Richard project ‘deplore and condemn Leicester Cathedral for this wholly unprincipled commercial and promotional venture.’ She would like it to go away and never come back. The cathedral seems unflustered. The play, it said, ‘enables many to engage with different dimensions of this complex story.’
Historic England is thinking about the practice of archaeology, ‘which has changed dramatically since our predecessor English Heritage was created in 1984’. As part of this, Steve Trow FSA, Director of Research at HE, has written about development-led work. ‘Given that public expenditure is likely only to decline in the foreseeable future,’ he says, ‘Historic England’s role needs to be focused tightly on those issues the commercial sector cannot resolve for itself.’ It can be an ‘agent of last-resort funding’; research frameworks will continue, but it hopes universities and others will take on more of the burden; retrospective synthetic studies are important, but should not be paid for by developers – the UK and European research councils, and other research funding bodies, are most appropriate; a Heritage Information Access Strategy will tell archaeologists that they must upload their records to the Archaeological Data Service website; HE’s excavation backlog work will move from funding to telling others what needs doing; to help museums, archaeologists will need to think about how much stuff they dig up really needs to be kept. To debate these and other issues, HE is sponsoring a series of round-tables, 21st-Century Challenges for Archaeology, co-hosted with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Photo shows excavation at Bloomberg Place, London, in 2013.

‘That’s kind of like the voice of the planet, right?’ says Goopal Shah of Google Earth, introducing the latest versions of Google Earth, of David Attenborough FSA. The BBC’s Natural Treasures features over 30 locations within the new Voyager feature of Google Earth, with video clips from films presented by Attenborough.
Elizabeth Minchin and Heather Jackson FSA have edited Text and the Material World. Essays in Honour of Graeme Clarke. Graeme Clarke FSA is Emeritus Professor of Classical Studies at the Australian National University, and his research into the ancient world spans the archaeology of Syria and studies in early Christianity and patristics. The book has 29 contributions from around the world, says the blurb, from Bronze Age Cyprus through the classical period in Greece and the Hellenistic and Roman worlds, to the growth of Christianity and the work of the Church Fathers, and, finally, 14th century AD France (a medieval manuscript). Essays raise questions about archaeological publication, the tracking of aesthetic preferences, ethnic identity, cultural relations and social practices in the ancient world.

Neither of them is a Fellow, but many reading this would enjoy listening to Jane Goodall and Bettany Hughes talking to Michael Berkeley on BBC Radio 3. In his long-running series Private Passions, Berkeley entertains guests by playing their choices of music while discussing their lives and careers. A 23-year-old Goodall famously rang Louis Leakey FSA to talk about animals. He arranged for her to study chimpanzees: she proceeded to overturn preconceptions about these complex, intelligent creatures – in the programme she wonders what music they might enjoy – with repercussions that profoundly affected the way we think about early humans, and us. As I write, Hughes, a successful broadcaster and writer of popular books on classical history (often featuring the lives and achievements of women) is due to appear with Berkeley on 21 May. Goodall’s programme was broadcast the Sunday before, repeated from last year. Both can be heard online, as can Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery (7 May). Have any Fellows joined Berkeley in the studio?
The Historic Towns Trust, in association with the University of Hull, has produced An Historical Map of Kingston upon Hull, from Medieval Town to Industrial City. Major Medieval and later buildings and sites of historic interest are picked out on a full-colour map based on an Ordnance Survey map of 1928. On the back is a 6,600-word illustrated gazetteer by D H Evans FSA, David Neave FSA and Susan Neave. Few cities, says the blurb, have experienced Hull's uninterrupted position as one of Britain's leading centres of population and economic activity over nine centuries. The legacy is a variety and richness of architecture which is too often overlooked. The project was developed by Evans, the Neaves, David Atkinson and Keith Lilley.
Fans of Jane Austen will be pleased to see her face on a new £10 note to be issued in July on the 200th anniversary of her death: but not all, says the Sunday Times (21 May), as a ‘prettified’ version of the ‘sour’ original portrait has been used. The National Portrait Gallery has a sketch by her sister Casandra, in which Austen looks determined and glum. A later engraving shows a fuller and less forbidding face, the one used for the note. ‘It’s the National Portrait Gallery’s sketch that we think really is Jane,’ commented Lucy Worsley FSA.

Last year, says the Economist (18 May), ticket sales at the Colosseum in Italy brought in €44.4m (£38m) from 6.4m visitors (at Stonehenge, by comparison, there were 1.4m visitors; many will have paid no entrance charge, as members of English Heritage or the National Trust, so we might guess £10m receipts). In Rome, says the paper, Dario Franceschini, the Arts and Heritage Minister in Paolo Gentiloni’s coalition government, and the city’s Mayor, Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement, have different ideas about how public money should be spent to conserve and present state-owned monuments, museums and excavation sites – not least what happens to the Colosseum’s profits. The issues are current and global. Salon would like to hear from any Fellows with special experience of Rome and its long-suffering antiquities.

Or Orkney. The Orkney islands were once an obscure place of storm, stillness and beauty. Then the archaeologists came. Then the tourists, and now giant cruise ships with more passengers than there are islanders. Orkney has become an Easter Island of the north; it’s only a matter of time before it gets its own Lonely Planet guide. Neil Oliver, a journalist-archaeologist who has presented three TV films about Orkney’s Neolithic past, admits in his Sunday Times column (21 May) that he has contributed to this new popularity (the islands’ tourist board has helped, too). ‘The magnetic draw of so much history’, he writes, ‘is presenting a growing list of challenges.’
Stephen Clarke FSA has edited a new edition of the Selected Letters of Horace Walpole for Everyman’s Library. The original Everyman edition, long out of print, was first published in 1926, and over the years introduced generations of readers (including, says Clarke, the new editor) to Walpole’s letters. The new edition has been annotated throughout with new introductions, and the text has been corrected with excised passages restored. Author of the first gothic novel and son of the first prime minister of Great Britain, Walpole had wide-ranging interests that included literature, politics, world affairs, collecting, antiquities and architecture. He wrote on these and other topics in eloquent, witty prose to his many correspondents. The letters are arranged by subject, including social life, the Court, politics, literature, and the evolution of his Gothic castle and art and book collections at Strawberry Hill.
A story from New Zealand would be deeply shocking if true., a news website, reported that a group with far-right political links calling themselves archaeologists and historians claimed to have found evidence for a pre-Māori European race in New Zealand. That would be stupid and offensive, but otherwise relatively harmless. However, Noel Hilliam defended blonde Caucasian facial reconstructions, supposedly created for him by a forensic pathologist at the University of Edinburgh (the university denies all knowledge), by saying they were based on remains he had dug up. He told Vice that he'd ‘taken skulls and bones from a number of historic burial sites around the Northland area,’ and that in 1997 a London forensic anthropologist had taken a tooth to Britain; the unnamed scientist apparently proved it had Welsh ancestry. Siân Halcrow FSA, a bio-archaeologist at the University of Otago, dismissed the claims. ‘The statement that the young adult woman is from Wales is ludicrous,’ she said, adding there is ‘zero scientific evidence for a so-called “pre-Māori” race.’
Viking: Rediscover the Legend opened at the Yorkshire Museum on 19 May. It is an exhibition created in partnership with the British Museum, in the latter’s extensive project to share its collections and expertise across the country. PR focused on ‘the most significant Viking treasure hoards ever discovered in Britain’, which can be seen together for the first time: they are known as the Bedale Hoard, the Cuerdale Hoard and the Vale of York Hoard, a spectacular haul of loot, much of it silver and featuring pieces from Ireland to Byzantium. But Vikings did more than lose their valuables, and the displays also feature research led by Dawn Hadley FSA and Julian Richards FSA, which they reported in the Antiquaries Journal for 2016. They have, they say, found the winter camp of the Viking Great Army of AD 872–3 at Torksey, Lincolnshire, and it’s much bigger than scholars had thought. The exhibition presents their work as a virtual reality reconstruction – appropriately, visitors will don helmets, presumably without horns.

Fellows Remembered

Roger Highfield FSA, who died in April, is described by the Times (22 May), as a ‘Distinguished fellow of Merton College, Oxford, who was a living compendium on its history, but an uneasy colleague of JRR Tolkien.’ ‘After 68 years as a fellow of Merton College, Oxford,’ the obituary opens, ‘the majority as history tutor, archivist and librarian, Roger Highfield seemed as much a fixture as the mellow stone of Mob Quad, the oldest quadrangle in the university.’ He was not, however, enamoured of J R R Tolkien (a Fellow of the college), who he thought ‘very lazy and supervised few’.
Both his parents died before he was 17. He went to Magdalen in 1940, after winning an exhibition, soon joining Intelligence services in Italy and then Yugoslavia. Back at Magdalen he got a first, and gained a Tutorship at Merton in 1951 with a doctorate on Edward III’s bishops.
The history collection at a new undergraduate library at Merton, built in 1997, was named the Highfield Room. A portrait of Highfield by Jeff Stultiens (1987) hangs in the Upper Bursary.

The Times (13 May) has published an obituary of Geoff Wainwright FSA, who died in March, under the heading, ‘Forceful archaeologist who persuaded developers to pay for excavations.’ This refers to planning policy published by the government in 1990, which, says the paper, Wainwright, a ‘wiry, red-blooded Welshman with a taste for a fight,’ shrewdly negotiated after a public furore over remains of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, exposed during development in London.
The obituary is strong on personal details. Frederick Wainwright, Geoff’s father, was a former miner who lost his job gardening for the local squire, after plucking a bunch of flowers as a birthday present for his wife: ‘His son was furious and roughed up the squire’s boy.’ He was never a willing sufferer of fools. ‘In public, the only indication of his anger was his neck turning a shade of damson. In private, those he judged incompetent felt the abrupt lash of his tongue. “He was black and white,” one colleague said. “But if he liked you, nobody was more loyal, kind or generous.”’
‘He was a master of the exasperated sigh,’ though not always successful in his aspirations. ‘He took about 100 driving lessons, but gave up after a memorable occasion when he oversteered on a hairpin bend, leaving his car on the edge of a hill.’
He had played rugby university as a hooker. A shirt signed by the present Welsh players hung over his coffin.

The Wisdom of Fellows

Nick Aitchison FSA, writer on Picts and Macbeth and of Scotland’s Stone of Destiny (2000), says he was intrigued by an inscribed stone found near Asloun Castle, Bridge of Alford, which a puzzled Robert Waterhouse FSA had described to Salon. Aitchison apologises for the length of his response, but no need: this is a convincing and fascinating reading.
‘This appears to have been,’ he writes, ‘at least in one stage of its history, a marriage stone. These occur more commonly as lintels, with the inscription usually (in Scotland at least) taking the form of both spouses' initials, together with the year of the couple's marriage. This would be displayed in a prominent position, usually above the door to the matrimonial home. They are common from the 16th to early 19th centuries. This appears to be an early example, which may explain its more unusual form, layout and punctuation.
‘The first inscription may be transliterated as:
  J + S + L + F + S + D
  Ad + 15 + Y.s 15193
‘And read as:
  AD 15 Y[ear]s 1593
‘The initials being those of the couple concerned, AD 1593 the year of their marriage and/or the date of construction of the house on which the inscribed stone was displayed. The form “15193” may either be an error by the mason, or a way of representing “15 hundred and 93”. The “15 Y.s”, presumably “15 Years”, is of less certain meaning, but may record that the building was erected after the couple had been married for 15 years, rather than in the year of their marriage, which is more usual.
‘The second inscription is even more interesting. Let's leave the upper line for the time being and transcribe the lower line as:
‘This may be diagnosed as a basic cipher in which each consonant represents itself but vowels are expressed numerically in a simple substitution: a=1, e=2, i=3, o=4 and u=5. Substituting the numeric value for the corresponding letter therefore gives the name SUTHERLAND. This is both a surname and the name of a region in northern Scotland (but not a place-name, so this is unlikely to be a milestone). The cipher and decrypted lower line should provide enough information to decrypt the upper line. Its alphanumeric mix suggests that it is in the same, or at least a similar, code. If we transcribe this line and then decrypt it using the same substitution code we get:
  31 M 2 S )(
  IA M E S
‘This gives us IAMES, for JAMES, with a decorative flourish at the end of the name.
‘The second inscription may therefore be read as the personal name JAMES SUTHERLAND.
‘The fact that the second inscription is on a different plane from the first suggests that the stone was reused, although I cannot tell from the photograph which inscription is the earlier one. However, both inscriptions are in the same style, with very similar letter forms and punctuation. This suggests that they are (at least broadly) contemporary, and perhaps even by the same hand.

'Two interpretations may be proposed. An enterprising mason may have reused a marriage stone as a gravestone, or vice versa. As the similarities in style between the inscriptions imply no great lapse in time between the stone's original use and its reuse, the stone had presumably remained unused when it was “repurposed”. lf 31M2S S5TH2RL1Nd was the earlier of the two inscriptions, then this may not have remained on display but could have been obscured by harling (lime rendering). Alternatively, James Sutherland may be the name of the mason or his apprentice, added as either an elaborate mason's mark or representing a practice inscription, which might explain its more unusual features.’

The last Salon featured this 18th-century portrait of Edward Solly FSA, spotted by Treve Rosoman FSA at an antique fair. Who was Solly? Fellows have the answer.
First in was Roey Sweet FSA, who found an Edward Solly (in Capua in 1753) in John Ingamells’ Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy. Edward Solly, of Southampton Buildings, Esq was elected FSA on 22 January 1767. The Society Council Minute Books (volume 2) note an Edward Solly present at six meetings in 1784.
Next came Cliff Webb FSA, who created a family tree, of which the essentials are:
Richard Solly, baptised 24 March 1694 Holborn, died 20 May 1729; married Ann Hollis (1697–1776). Among their children were:
1 Isaac, born 15 May 1724, died 4 February 1802; married Elizabeth Neal (1742–1819)
2 Samuel, February 1727–5 January 1807; married 1776 Sarah Horsman (1746–1805)
3 Edward, born 23 July 1728, died 30 March 1792.
And last, with a grand comprehensiveness in the form of a ‘little essay I wrote about the picture a couple of years ago,’ Christopher Foley FSA sent a study of the portrait. It’s too long to reproduce (5,800 words), but here are some essentials.
The portrait is indeed of the Edward Solly FSA who died in 1792. Isaac inherited it from his late brother, and it was passed down through the family, beyond whom it was unknown until 2015. It was painted by Pompeo Batoni (1708–87) in Rome in 1753.
Edward was the youngest of eight children, of whom three survived into mature adulthood with a considerable fortune inherited from their father. ‘Only Isaac’, says Foley, ‘chose to dedicate himself entirely to the road of enterprise and continued to expand the family entrepreneurial tradition. While Samuel Solly FSA developed the cutlery business to include a substantial export trade with the north German states and the rest of the Baltic area, his real interests lay in the world of scholarship.’ Both Samuel and Edward owned ‘a substantial library of books on classical and antiquarian matters.’
Edward's ancestors on both sides were religious Nonconformists, successful businessmen and landowners. In 1747 he was apprenticed to Jacob Chitty (1693–1771), of Ironmonger Lane, Merchant Taylor. ‘Chitty had been a successful “packer” (an intermediary between cloth producers and export merchants) for many years, and was one of the most active of cloth merchants in the Middle East. Chitty had enjoyed a comfortable business importing textiles and carpets from the Levant, where his son Joseph resided in Smyrna, but both Jacob and his brother were bankrupted.’
‘What little business training Edward Solly received seems only to have whetted his appetite for travel and not his enthusiasm for commerce. His Grand Tour was the formative fact of his life. He arrived in Italy in the Spring of 1753; aged 25 he was already somewhat older than many of the typical “Milordi” who undertook the journey as a rite-de-passage from the years of their education in England to their subsequent careers as adults. For many of them, the educational value was minimal, despite the best efforts of parents and their appointed Ciceroni: the young men were off the leash, and for every youth dedicated to the search for enlightenment at the altar of Minerva there were several whose interest was more in the realm of Venus. However, the tour evoked in Solly a fascination with the Classical world of art and scholarship which remained with him for the whole of his life: the eager young pupil grew into the enthusiastic scholarly Antiquary.
‘Not all of Solly's time in Italy was spent in libraries, museums and churches: he is recorded in Capua in May 1753. Capua’s Roman monuments include an amphitheatre (where Spartacus fought as a gladiator), baths, a theatre, and a temple dedicated to the god Mithras. His visit to Rome in the early autumn was marked by the commissioning of the portrait from the greatest portrait-painter Rome had to offer.
‘His time in Italy coincided with the second Grand Tour of his cousin, Thomas Hollis III FSA (1720–74), who was to become one of the leading figures in 18th-century radicalism and political activism. Hollis travelled with his intimate friend Thomas Brand FSA (1719–1804) who, like Hollis and Solly, was descended from a family of Dissenters.'
Back in England, Solly ‘settled down to the life of a bachelor aesthete in Great Rupert Street in Bloomsbury, not far from the new British Museum which had opened in 1759 in Montagu House. His interest in classical antiquity was marked by his election first as a Fellow and subsequently as a Council Member of the Society of Antiquaries.’
Thank you, all.

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

You can 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'). Unless indicated otherwise, tea will be served at 16.15, and the Meeting will commence at 17.00 precisely. Online ballots close at noon at the date of the scheduled ballot. At Ordinary Meetings, ballots open at 16.00 and close at 16.20. The results are read at the beginning of the Meeting.

20 July: Private View of Blood Royal
Fellows are invited to join us on Thursday, 20 July, for a private view of the Society's summer exhibition Blood Royal: Picturing the Tudor Monarchy, which will open to the public on 25 July. Details (and booking information) is available at on the website.
28 July: Fellows' Day at Kelmscott Manor
Details for Fellows' Day are available on the website, and you can now book your ticket(s) online. Fellows (and family!) are invited to join us at Kelmscott Manor for a special opportunity to hear about our future plans, explore the Manor and its collections, and enjoy family-friendly activities.

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager ( Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.

Forthcoming Public Events

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.

6 June: 'The Library of Saint Thomas Becket' by Fellow Christopher de Hamel

4 July:
'Shakespeare and the Character of Kingship,' with Simon Russell Beale CBE, Prof Maurice Howard OBE VPSA and Jez Smith (film screening).

Click here for more information on our public lectures. We also run public tours of our building and collections (£10 per person) preceding the lectures above.

Society Dates to Remember

Introductory Tours for Fellows

Join us for an introductory tour of Burlington House to learn more about the Society and its resources. Whether you're a new Fellow or just haven't been to Burlington House, this is a great opportunity to learn more about your Society, your Fellowship benefits, and ways to become more involved. Tours are free for Fellows, but booking is required: 29 June.

Burlington House Closures

Please note that the Society will be closed for the May Bank holidays on 29-30 May 2017.

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

9 June 2017: Join us for lunch at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, followed by a talk by Fellow David Jenkins (Principal Curator, Transport at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea) on his lates book, I Hope to Have a Good Passage (the Business Letter Book of Captain Daniel Jenkins, 1902-1911). Contact Bob Child FSA ( for information.

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

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

May–July: Courses and Workshops in the Historic Environment (Oxford)
Oxford University Department for Continuing Education has a programme of courses at Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills for the historic environment, grounded in everyday working experience. These short practical courses are open to all, from historic environment professionals to members of the public with a keen interest in archaeology and historic buildings. The programme is endorsed by CIfA, the IHBC, the Archaeology Training Forum and FAME, and has been developed in conjunction with leading heritage practices. Courses are linked to the National Occupational Standards for Archaeology, and for Town Planning, Conservation and Building Control, and are widely accepted for continuous professional development. Details of National Occupational Standards. Full details can be found online.
24 May: Project Management in Archaeology: an Introduction
7 June: Photographing Historic Buildings
20–21 June: Understanding Place: Historic Area Assessment
26 June: Archaeological Writing for Publication
5–7 July: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance.
May–June: Heritage Practice Training Programme (Leicester)
In partnership with Historic England the University of Leicester has developed a programme to deliver practical, technical and specialist skills for heritage professionals. Forthcoming courses include:
24 May: New Perspectives on Aerial Archaeology.
15 June: An Introduction to Roman Pottery.
22 June: Lidar – An Introduction.
Details online.
25 May: Manuscripts, Monasteries and Mysteries: The Adventures of a Victorian Bible Scholar, James Rendel Harris (London)
A fundraising lecture for the Saint Catherine Foundation by Alessandro Falcetta, at the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, at 6.30 pm. Falcetta will give a lecture based on his upcoming biography on James Rendel Harris. The one-hour talk will be followed by a drinks reception. Details online.
31 May–2 June: The Jutland Legacy Conference (Portsmouth)
An anniversary conference charting the legacy of the Battle of Jutland, which was fought over 36 hours from 31 May to 1 June 1916. Both Britain (who lost 6,094 sailors) and Germany (losses 2,551) claimed victory in what was considered the defining naval battle of the First World War. Yet even today, the battle's results and aftermath are still being debated. The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s first three-day international conference will feature leading historians and archaeologists who will explore the legacy and wider impact of the battle. Evening activities include a reception with a view of the blockbuster exhibition, 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War; an opportunity to dine on-board HMS Victory; and a screening of Die Versunkene Flotte, a German film about the battle made in 1926. Details online.

2–3 June: Recovering the Past (York)
A multi-disciplinary two-day conference to celebrate and analyse the impact previous generations have had on our understanding of the Medieval past. Examples include issues surrounding the accuracy and authenticity of primary sources; excavation and scientific analysis; recovery of lost or stolen artefacts; skewing the past through editing texts since the later 16th century; fakes and re-carving sculpture; the use and manipulation of the past to support nationalistic/religious causes; varying interests of antiquarians and early historians; museology and how we engage with and display the Medieval past. Rosemary Sweet FSA gives the keynote lecture, on ‘Domesticating the Anglo-Saxons, c 1750–1850,’ and speakers include Aideen Ireland FSADetails online.
2–4 June: Medieval and Tudor Gardens (Oxford)
Gardens were an important part of the medieval and Tudor world, but have been difficult to understand owing to poor survival. There has been a new upsurge of interest in them, and this weekend course at Rewley House will present a selection of current research and new thinking, based on archaeological, art-historical, historical, and literary sources. There will be a coach trip to Kenilworth Castle, and much standing and walking over uneven ground. Speakers include James Bond FSA and Paula Henderson FSA, and Paul Barnwell FSA is Director of Studies. See online for details.

3 June: Ovid's Metamorphoses (London)
The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies is holding a conference in G22/26 (Woburn Suite) at Senate House, at 2 pm after its AGM, to mark the bimillennium of Ovid's death. Details online.
6 June: Liturgical Books and the Medieval Library (London)
It has long been conventional in the history of books and book collections of the Middle Ages to draw a distinction between liturgical books and library books. In practice, however, the distinction was less clear-cut. Tessa Webber FSA will examine the evidence to question how far the conventional bi-partite categorisation of books as 'liturgical' and 'library' reflects the way in which books were conceived during the Middle Ages. at Lambeth Palace Library. At Lambeth Palace Library. Contact
7 June: Maternity in the Age of Shakespeare (London)
As part of UCL’s Festival of Culture, Helen Hackett and Karen Hearn FSA present arresting British portraits from the 16th and early 17th centuries which depict their female subjects as visibly pregnant, alongside literary depictions of pregnancy by Shakespeare and others, as well as medical writings on pregnancy and motherhood from the period. Surprising differences will be revealed between the understanding of maternity in Shakespeare’s time and our own. Details online.
7 June: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (London)
In the last of a series of free lectures as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, Simon Thurley FSA joins Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA at the Museum of London to talk about Conservation Areas. They were designated in 1967, and today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore their origins, variety and challenges for the future. Details online.
9–10 June: Thomas Frederick Tout: Refashioning History in the 20th Century (London)
Caroline Barron FSA and Joel Rosenthal and have organised a conference on T.F. Tout, to be held at the Wolfson Conference Suite, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House. Tout had a remarkable impact on the teaching and writing of history in England in the early 20th century. He shifted the focus of Medieval history writing away from chronicles towards administrative documents, and he built up a remarkable School of History at Manchester to rival those of Oxford and Cambridge. His career and influence are now ripe for reassessment. Speakers include Mark Ormrod FSA, Seymour Phillips FSA and Henry Summerson FSA. Details online.
17–18 June: Norwich and the Medieval Parish Church c 900–2017: The Making of a Fine City (Norwich)
A conference hosted by the Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich Research Project (undertaken at the University of East Anglia and funded by The Leverhulme Trust). All 58 churches, existing, ruined or lost, are included in the project, which seeks insight into how the medieval city developed. The conference (supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and Purcell) will present the churches in their immediate local context and in the broader framework of urban churches in Britain and northern Europe. Subjects will include documentary history, the architectural fabric of the buildings and their place in Norwich topography, the development of architecture and furnishings, the representation of the churches and their post-Reformation history. Speakers will include local and international scholars, as well as the UEA research team, Brian Ayers FSA, Clare Haynes, T A Heslop FSA, and Helen Lunnon FSA. Details online.

23 June: Innovation in Commercial Archaeology (York)
Members and non-member are invited to the annual FAME Forum (Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers), with this year’s focus on how new ways of working, new techniques and new technology are transforming how we investigate the past. Faced with demands from clients and policymakers for greater effectiveness, and with the prospect of a significant capacity gap due to major infrastructure projects, developing and investing in new techniques and technologies is more important than ever. The aim of the day is to update us all on current thinking around innovation and to generate ideas as to what individual firms and the sector need to do to support innovation. Details online.
23–25 June: The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland: Results, Implications and Wider Contexts (Oxford)
This weekend conference will provide an opportunity to explore some of the results of the AHRC-funded Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland project and to set these into wider contexts. Papers will be presented by members of the Atlas team as well as by colleagues working on related themes within and beyond Britain and Ireland. Members of the Hillfort Study Group, and of the Project Steering Committee have been invited to chair sessions and lead discussion. All are welcome to attend and a particular invitation is extended to those who contributed to the Citizen Science initiative associated with this project. Speakers include Eileen Wilkes FSA, Ian Ralston FSA, Mark Bowden FSA, Rachel Pope FSA, Kate Waddington FSA and Gary Lock FSA. See online for details.
24 June: Memorials in the Marches (Ludlow)
St Laurence's Church houses a fine set of memorials to people associated with the Council of Wales and the Marches over the period 1550–1650. The Ludlow Palmers, who raise money for the Conservation Trust for St Laurence, an independent charity devoted to conserving the church’s fabric and treasures, are hosting a conference in the church, on the church monuments, in association with the Church Monuments Society. Fellows can obtain a 15% discount. See online for details.
28 June: Sculptural Display: Ancient and Modern (London)
A conference presented by the Hellenic Society and the Roman Society in the Beveridge Hall, Senate House. Speakers include Olga Palagia FSA, Thorsten Opper FSA and Bruce Boucher FSA, and Lesley Fitton FSA will chair one of the sessions. Details online.
30 June: Building on Philanthropy: The Modern Victorians (London)
The Heritage of London Trust’s Annual Conservation Conference will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, looking at the role of philanthropy in driving change, inspiration and lessons from the past, and realistic expectations for the future. The theme for the morning session is Victorian philanthropy and its impact, and for the afternoon, evolving models to meet today’s challenges. Speakers include Roger Bowdler FSA, Director of Listing, Historic England and Nicola Stacey FSA, Director, Heritage of London Trust. Details online.

6 July: A National Church Tells its Story: The English Church Pageant of 1909 (London)
Arthur Burns (King’s College, London) gives a talk after the Annual General Meeting of the Church of England Record Society. At Lambeth Palace Library. All are welcome, contact

9–12 July: Winchester, An Early Medieval Royal City (Winchester)
An international conference at the University of Winchester features keynote speakers Eric Fernie FSA, Barbara Yorke FSA, Martin Biddle FSA and Sharon Rowley. Topics under discussion include the intellectual life of the city, court and politics, saints and miracle stories, bishops of the city and the people of Winchester. As part of the conference, Fernie will give a public lecture at the Guildhall on the Norman Cathedral of Winchester. The conference is part of Winchester, The Royal City project, which aims to celebrate and promote the ancient city as a centre of key significance to the development of England and English culture. Details online.
17–20 July: Church and City in the Middle Ages: In Honour of Clive Burgess (Harlaxton)
The 2017 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium, convened by David Harry and Christian Steer FSA, will be in honour of Clive Burgess FSA, whose work on the Church as community and institution has shaped perceptions of late Medieval religious culture. The meeting will explore the urban presence of the late Medieval Church; the relationship between lay devotion and urban regulars; clerical provision and the administration of urban parishes; distinctive patterns of worship in large towns and cities; and the material culture and music of urban spaces of worship. Speakers include Julian Luxford FSA, Elizabeth New FSA, Sandy Heslop FSA, Robert Swanson FSA, Jon Cannon FSA, John Goodall FSA, David Lepine FSA, Vincent Gillespie FSA, Julia Boffey FSA and Caroline Barron FSA. Details online.

17–20 July: Understanding Historic Buildings (Oxford)
A number of Fellows will be teaching at this Historic England training course at St Anne’s College, notably Adam Menuge FSA and Allan T Adams FSA. The aim is to communicate investigation and measured survey skills to the next generation. Details online.
7 Oct: Ledgerstones: A Workshop (York)
Discover how to record valuable archives in our churches in a workshop in St Martin-cum-Gregory run by the Ledgerstone Survey of England and Wales. Speakers include Julian Litten FSA, Chair of the LSEW, and the day features a tour of the church and demonstrations of recording and uploading data onto the web. Email Jane Hedley for details at
21 October: From the Cotswolds to the Chilterns: The Historic Landscapes of Oxfordshire (Oxford)
A joint conference hosted by the Society for Landscape Studies and the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Speakers include Helena Hamerow FSA, David Clark FSA and Trevor Rowley FSA. For details email Brian Rich:
21 October: The Long Sunset: the Country House c 1840–1940 (Lewes)
Sue Berry FSA introduces this conference on the theme of how the country house and its setting changed in design and function between 1840 and 1939, comparing the grand houses of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, with their formal gardens and large staff, with the more intimate houses and gardens of the Arts and Crafts movement and subsequent developments. Speakers include Michael Hall FSA and Marilyn Palmer FSA. Visits related to the conference are planned throughout 2017. See online for details.

28 October: Ledgerstones in Brecon Cathedral (Brecon)
An informal Church Monuments Society Study Day exploring the outstanding collections of ledgerstones in Brecon Cathedral and the monuments of Christ College, with introductory lectures on the rich heritage of commemorative verse in Welsh. See online for details.
17 March 2018: Interpreting Medieval Monuments: Iconography and Meaning (London)
A Church Monuments Society conference in Senate House. The speakers will include Sally Badham FSA, Brian Gittos FSA, Moira Gittos FSA, Nicola Jennings FSA and Sophie Oosterwijk FSA. See online for details.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.

Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


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