Salon: Issue 377
13 December 2016
Next issue: 24 January 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.
From the Desk of the General Secretary
Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year
This past year has been an exciting one at Burlington House and Kelmscott Manor. We wanted to take just a moment to tell our Council members, Fellows, Funders, Staff and Volunteers how much we've appreciated everything you've helped us accomplish in 2016. Please enjoy our brief video below (opens in a new window) that gives a summary of just some of the exciting things you've helped the Society achieve at Burlington House alone - not to mention the amazing accomplishments we've seen at Kelmscott Manor! The "soundtrack" on the video is a small sampling of the delightful carols (organised by Treasurer Stephen Johnson FSA
) that those who attended our Christmas Miscellany and Mulled Wine Reception on 8 December enjoyed.
We look forward to working with all of you again in 2017.
Shakespeare and the Character of Kingship: 20 Seats Remaining (Book Today to Avoid Disappointment)
Simon Russell Beale CBE — "the greatest actor of his generation" — Launches Our Library Campaign
Multi-award-winning stage and screen actor Simon Russell Beale CBE will be performing a selection of scenes and monologues form Shakespeare’s history plays at the Society on 29 January
to help us launch our Library Campaign.
The Society’s Library is one of the greatest in Britain and is used by Fellows and scholars from around the world researching the archives, manuscripts, prints and drawings that cannot be found elsewhere and at present can only be accessed by visiting the Library. Our plan is to give researchers of all kinds’ access to the riches of the Library by creating a free searchable electronic resource which will transform access to the Society’s unique resources from anywhere in the world. The Society is looking to raise at total of £500,000 to deliver the Library Plan.
Bonhams, Book and Manuscript Department
have very kindly sponsored the programme for the evening. Matthew Haley, Head of Books and Manuscripts said "As lovers of literature and history, we at Bonhams Book and Manuscript Department are thrilled to be supporting the Society of Antiquaries and their remarkable Library."
You can help us by supporting this very special evening. All income raised will provide the ‘match funding’ to support applications to major funders.
Guarantee your tickets by booking online today
Unlocking Our Collections: Book of Hours (MS13)
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.
Our current 'Unlocking Our Collections' feature is by Dr. Rowan Watson FSA, who has held positions at both the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Library. He explores MS13, a Book of Hours (French, 15th century), and discusses the 15th-century book trade in Rouen.
Fellows can currently see MS13, the manuscript featured, on display in the Library at Burlington House.
Fellows, We Need Your Help!
If you have a favourite object in the Society's Library or Museum collections and would be willing to research and write a short feature for our website, please contact the Collections Manager, Anooshka Rawden, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colchester Roman Coffins Sold by Digger Driver
A crime case in Essex shows that antiquities that appear on the market with no prior archaeological history should be treated with suspicion. Two Roman lead coffin lids, thought to have been stolen from an archaeological dig in Colchester
, were recovered by Essex Police and handed to the Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) on 1 December. One of the lids had previously been listed for sale by a Gloucestershire auction house.
Human remains are likely to have survived in the coffins, both of which were for children. The original vendor would have committed at least two offences, by not reporting the discovery of human remains, and by taking the coffin lids from a construction site. Archaeologists think the coffin bases may have been sold for scrap. ‘The removal of these two coffin lids/coffins from the site of a Roman cemetery is … very unfortunate in archaeological terms’, said Philip Crummy FSA
, Director of CAT, ‘and very sad in human terms.’
Paul Stamper FSA
first drew my attention to a Roman coffin lid offered for sale by Dominic Winter Auctioneers
, Cirencester, in October. The lot (photo above left/DWA) was described as a ‘museum quality Roman lead tapering coffin lid … Purchased by the present owner from metal detectorist Alan Pickering who discovered the piece together with another similar in Suffolk in the 1970s.’ The auctioneer quoted a study published by the late Hugh Toller FSA
(Roman Lead Coffins and Ossuaria in Britain
, British Archaeological Reports 1977) to highlight the rarity of such finds: ‘and only a handful more have been discovered since.’
I asked archaeologists if they knew anything about the coffin lids or Alan Pickering. Richard Hoggett FSA
, Senior Archaeological Officer at Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, said the finds were not listed in the county Historic Environment Record, and neither Faye Minter FSA
nor Jude Plouviez FSA
, archaeologists in Suffolk, knew an Alan Pickering. An online search revealed a man of this name described as an antiquarian book dealer in Lancashire, who had found a Roman brooch in Ribchester with a metal detector, and in 2014 was the 15,000th visitor to see the Crosby Garrett Roman helmet in Tullie House Museum. There was nothing to link him to the Cirencester auction or the coffin lids.
In October 2016 it was estimated one lid would sell for £1,000–1,500. The same item had been offered by the same auctioneers the previous October, with an estimate of £7,000–10,000. It was removed from that sale, as it was from this year’s – this time at the request of the police. PC Andy Long (photo above/CAT) said he recovered a second coffin lid from a house near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire (photo below/CAT). Both belonged to the same man, who ‘was completely unaware they had been stolen’.
The thefts came to light after Caroline Tilley, Senior Reporter at the Colchester Gazette
, was tipped off that a Roman coffin lid offered at auction had apparently been taken from an archaeological excavation in the town. When her first article had run, Colchester and Ipswich Museums asked Essex Police to investigate. CAT had excavated and recovered two very similar lids, one at the site of St Mary’s Hospital. It transpired that the two other lids may also have been discovered by CAT at St Mary’s. As the ground was not to be disturbed by the development, they had been left in situ.
Long told Tilley
that he tracked down the original buyer of the coffin lids, who had acquired them from a digger driver working on a building site in Colchester in 2004. The buyer was told they had been offered to the museum, ‘and they didn’t want them,’ but Colchester Museums knew nothing about them. Taylor Wimpey, the developer, said they remembered two coffins, but were unaware they had been stolen. ‘Unfortunately,’ reports Tilley, ‘the original owner … has extensive dementia and cannot give any further information.’
Long said in a statement
, ‘We are hopeful that the pictures may jog someone’s memory about their disappearance. If you saw anyone acting suspiciously at the time or were offered these artefacts for sale, please let us know.’ ‘Although their monetary value isn’t great,’ he added, ‘their historic value is immense. Having these things in private hands is terrible. You can learn so much about them and it’s very important they are in public hands.’
Long told me that investigation continues. ‘All parties involved have been cooperative’, he said, ‘and after speaking to everyone I am happy these were never found metal detecting.’ Mark Harrison FSA
National Policing and Crime Advisor at Historic England, advised Long, saying, ‘he did a great job’.
• A ground stone blade, described by Bonhams
as ‘A Neolithic finely polished jadeite axe Scotland, circa 2000 BC,’ with an estimate of £1,000–1,200, was withdrawn from a London antiquities sale on 30 November. It was offered from the James Chesterman Collection, which had bought it at Christie's, London, in 1981, from the R Murray Collection; it was said then to have been ‘found by the MacGregor family on the south shore of the Loch of Skene, west of Aberdeen in the late 1950s.’ Some archaeologists suspected the blade to be of ethnographic origin, perhaps from New Caledonia.
A Levels: History of Art Continues, Archaeology Fights
The power of the successful drive to retain A Level History of Art was shown when Pearson announced on 1 December that it would develop a new course in the subject for teaching from September 2017. The campaign, said a release from Bolton & Quinn, an international public relations consultancy, was led by the Association of Art Historians with the support of The Courtauld Institute of Art, the University of York, the National Gallery, Tate and the Royal Academy of Arts. Prominent artists, curators and critics publicly welcomed the move, which came less than two months after AQA had decided to drop the exam
. ‘We are delighted that the art history A-level exam has been saved,’ Charles Saumarez Smith FSA
told the Guardian
on behalf of the Royal Academy. ‘Art history teaches rigorous analytical skills and requires students to engage not only with art but with history, literature, politics, languages and the sciences.’
Less attention was given to A Level Statistics, whose cancellation was also revoked, and Anthropology
, which has not yet been revived. Sally Weale, Guardian
Education Correspondent, wrote that A Level Archaeology 'remains dead and buried, despite the best efforts of Tony Robinson, wearing his Time Team hat.’ Noting that Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards, did not mention archaeology in his statement, Weale spoke to ‘a crestfallen’ Mike Heyworth FSA
, Director of the Council for British Archaeology. ‘I don’t fully understand their reasoning as to why they’ve taken on these [other] subjects’, said Heyworth, ‘but not archaeology. We think there’s a very strong case.’ ‘Archaeology’, artist Jeremy Deller told Weale, ‘has never been more popular in terms of its profile in TV shows and interest in personal history and genealogy. There’s a huge hunger for these subjects. Why they should be taken off the curriculum is a mystery. It can only be about money.’
Heyworth encouraged archaeology supporters to contact their MPs, noting that Tim Loughton FSA
, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group, will raise the subject in a Westminster Hall debate on 14 December (Future of A level archaeology
, 9.30 am – 11.00 am). Mike Nevell FSA
, under the headline Saving A Level Archaeology is Possible and Necessary
, blogged that it ‘seems very strange that a social sciences’ subject that has spent 30 years increasing in popularity amongst the general public should be withdrawn from study at school level.’ Surveys show that voluntary engagement with the practice of archaeology grew from 100,000 people in the 1980s to over 200,000 in 2010. Membership of the National Trust and English Heritage continues to rise, with a 39% increase in visits to historic properties in England since 1989.
‘This interest in the past’, writes Nevell, ‘supports the value of A-Level Archaeology because the subject is about viewing the human past from a unique angle – its physical remains. Only archaeology does this in a way that straddles the sciences and humanities. To deny students the opportunity to use, interpret and understand this kind of time-depth physical evidence verges on the anti-science. It also increases the divide between the humanities and the sciences, whilst narrowing our understanding of the past.’
Bangor Archaeology Told it Will Close
‘Without consulting students, staff, or stakeholders,’ says a petition on change.org
with, at the time of writing, 1,900 signatures, ‘Bangor University has decided to close its Single Honours Archaeology degree from 2017 onwards. Bangor’s Academic and Academic-related Staff Union (UCU) has written to inform the University of its legal duty to consult on the proposed closing of this degree scheme.'
‘Bangor Archaeology is 8th in the UK in the Complete University Guide (2017),' continues the petition, 'and 4th in the Whatuni Guide (2016), and recruitment on Bangor’s Single Honours Archaeology degree continues to steadily and sustainably increase year on year.
‘Bangor Archaeology graduates achieve careers in archaeology and have pursued postgraduate degrees, at Bangor and at other universities such as Oxford, Edinburgh, Durham, and Toronto. English Heritage, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) warn of the current shortage of qualified archaeologists in the UK.
‘We are concerned about the erosion of Archaeology at Bangor University and the effects this erosion will have on students, staff, and the community. We ask that Bangor University puts in place a consultation process on the proposed and misguided closure of Archaeology Single Honours as a matter of urgency.’
According to Matty Rowland, writing on Seren
, the University Students’ Union’s English language newspaper, staff and students were emailed by David Shepherd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, stating that ‘the aim was to place the university’s long-term financial position on a firmer and more robust footing.’ I understand they had first been informed of the decision in November.
Raimund Karl FSA
, who created the petition with the University’s History and Archaeology Society, told Rowland that it seemed ‘rather remarkable’ that the University wants to drop the degree when applicants have been rising, and the course has risen through UK league tables. ‘Instead of arbitrarily cutting successful units,’ he added, ‘the University ‘should properly consult and refrain from taking hasty, ill-informed steps that will cause more harm than good to everyone affected.’
By contrast, Shepherd said
there had been a ‘discernible decline in the demand from students for a single honours degree programmes [sic] in archaeology’. Departmental staff tell me that the University has supplied no figures supporting this assertion.
History, says the School of History and Archaeology's website, has been taught at Bangor since the foundation of the University in 1884. Archaeology has been taught since 1960, with courses which focus on Britain and Ireland. The School currently has 15–20 teaching staff and a yearly student intake of about 110. As well as Karl, Fellows in the School include Nancy Edwards FSA
, Professor of Medieval Archaeology, Kate Waddington FSA
, Lecturer in Archaeology, and Gary Robinson FSA
, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Deputy Head of School. Frances Lynch FSA
is an Honorary Research Fellow. The University is also planning to close its School of Lifelong Learning.
Picturing Robert the Bruce
‘Boffins recreate face of Robert the Bruce and find he had same build as WAYNE ROONEY’, was the Sun’s take
, referring to an English footballer. ‘The combination of these magnificent gilded marble fragments and the skeleton itself,’ David Gaimster FSA told the BBC,
‘the lead wrapping, the depth of the tomb, the location: all of this information begins to build a high level of probability that this was in fact the tomb of Robert the Bruce.’
Gaimster was referring to an excavation in 1818–19 in Dunfermline Abbey, when finds were interpreted as debris from Robert the Bruce’s tomb, destroyed in the Reformation. The human remains were reburied, but the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, where Gaimster is Director, has a cast of a skull made at the time.
Under project leader Martin Macgregor, a Scottish historian at Glasgow University inspired by the success of the Richard III facial reconstruction, the skull cast was scanned, and Caroline Wilkinson, at Liverpool John Moores University’s Face Lab, created a likeness from the digital data – one with signs of leprosy, and one without (photo above left, LJMU).
A photo of the skull cast was used as the basis for a reconstruction by artist Thomas Yeudal in 2013, who went on to paint a portrait (photo detail above centre, Yeudal/Daily Record
). He presented it to Stirling City Chambers, where it hangs in the Bruce Room. Neither was Yeudal the first to be inspired by the proceeds of the early 19th-century excavation. In 1964 the Queen unveiled a statue of Robert the Bruce by Charles d'Orville Pilkington Jackson, at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn (1314). His face was modelled on measurements from the Hunterian cast. The photo (above right, from the Daily Record
), shows the king after conservation in 2013.
‘This is the most realistic appearance of Robert the Bruce to-date,’ Wilkinson told the Inverurie Herald
‘based on all the skeletal and historical material available.’ Macgregor said historians should remain cautious about the skull’s identity: more than one Scottish monarch was buried at Dunfermline.
The images of Robert the Bruce’s reconstructed tomb (above) were created in 2014 to mark Bannockburn’s 700th anniversary. They build on fragments believed to be from the tomb given to The Hunterian and to National Museums Scotland.
Six Wives and Victoria
A carefully scripted attempt by Lucy Worsley FSA
to show Henry VIII’s wives as independent women with more to tell than their victimhood at the hands of contemporary politics and male historians – divorced, beheaded, bitter, ugly and sleeping around – has met with mixed responses. Six Wives with Lucy Worsley
, broadcast on BBC1, is billed as a TV documentary series featuring dramatic reconstruction. Such a mix is now commonplace, but is here distinguished by proper drama (written by Chloe Moss) in which the protagonists not only wear period clothes, but actually talk. And then quite suddenly, one of the hooded women turns out to be Worsley, filling in the gaps for us.
In the Telegraph
, Gerard O’Donovan enjoyed ‘an engagingly different side to Henry VIII's wives’. ‘One of the best moments’ he writes, ‘was when [Worsley] arrived at the Vatican Library in Rome, thrilled to be – impressively – the first presenter granted permission to film its precious collection of 17 amorous love letters written by Henry to Anne Boleyn.’ In the Guardian Sam Wollaston
found ‘the drama scatterings … awful – hammy and lame’. ‘Maybe I’m old fashioned,’ he adds, ‘but I would just like a history lesson from Worsley, without the frocks and the lutes. Because she is fantastic at it.’ In the same paper, Joel Golby
upset Worsley’s fans with a piece that concludes, ‘there’s not much further for this genre to go. TV history programmes are – wait for it, wait for it – history.’ ‘The presentation might be slightly naff at times,’ says Ben Travis in the Evening Standard
, ‘but the intention here is good.’ The second of three episodes
will be broadcast on 14 December.
Meanwhile, Worsley has signed up for two further children’s books ahead of the release of her second title, My Name is Victoria
, in March next year. ‘This book is a real eye-opener on the Tudor court,’ wrote a ‘young reviewer’ on the Guardian website
, of Worsley’s first novel, Eliza Rose
. ‘It shows an entirely different side to what happened to Katherine Howard. The characters are very vividly imagined and are most entertaining.’
Breaking the Bonds of Anonymity
A decade ago Andrew Pearson FSA
went to St Helena, a remote island in the south Atlantic between Angola and Brazil. As an archaeologist, his job was to contribute to environmental studies conducted prior to the construction of a new airport by the UK government. Costing £250 million, the airport was completed in 2015, and promptly deemed unsafe because of wind conditions – just one twist in a long saga of apparent mismanagement, confused goals and baffling use of our money.
Before airfield construction began, Pearson and his colleagues identified the location of two depots which served slave ships making their way west across the Atlantic. Though Wilberforce’s Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was passed by the British Parliament in 1807, Rupert’s Valley, the longer-lived depot, received and treated slaves for a further 60 years. In test pits in 2006 and 2007, in an area of a potential airport access road, the archaeologists found human remains.
Full excavation of part of an upper graveyard followed in 2008. In an area that was just over 10% of the land occupied by the valley’s African burial grounds, they recovered 325 articulated skeletons, and quantities of disarticulated human bone buried in separate pits (photo/Rupert’s Valley project). The appalling evidence from the ground and from contemporary accounts was brought together by Pearson, Ben Jeffs, Annsofie Witkin and Helen MacQuarrie in Infernal Traffic: Excavation of a Liberated African Graveyard in Rupert’s Valley, St Helena
(Council for British Archaeology 2011
Pearson argued that the excavations had done more than expose shameful tragedies. In an article in British Archaeology
, he said the Rupert’s Valley assemblage showed those buried there were ‘more than simply victims. This, perhaps, is where its greatest value lies. The people abducted onto the slave ships came from myriad African cultures, and had a strong sense of both ethnic and personal identity.’ The strongest archaeological evidence for this took the form of dental modifications, but it could be seen also in remains of distinctive jewellery. Other physical alterations, he wrote, were lost to the archaeologist, such as tattooing, ritual scarification and hair arrangements. ‘Together, these conveyed a rich cultural message.’
New science is now adding to that identity and richness, as Ewen Callaway reports in a Nature News Feature
on 7 December. In 2011 geneticist Hannes Schroeder of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, working with archaeologists and historians, won a €4.3 million grant to investigate the slave trade with DNA. Last year they published a study of ancient DNA from the remains of three enslaved Africans recovered on Saint Martin in the Caribbean, tracing its origins to different African source populations – the first result of its kind.
The Copenhagen team have sequenced partial genomes from 20 St Helena individuals. They seem to have come from diverse African backgrounds, but a paucity of modern African genomic data currently hinders precise analysis. Judy Watson and Kate Robson Brown at Bristol University are looking at stable isotopes from the remains to help locate potential source areas for the people. Research continues.
Fellows (and Friends)
Eileen Roberts FSA
, architectural historian whose publications include The Hill of the Martyr: An Architectural History of St Albans Abbey
(1993), died in October. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in November 1980.
David J Smith FSA
, leading specialist in Romano-British mosaics, died in November.
Alan Warhurst FSA
, influential museum director, died in December.
Appreciations of David Smith and Alan Warhurst (both of whom had been Fellows for more than half a century) appear in Fellows Remembered below. The section also contains further notices on the late Gavin Hannah FSA
, the late Anthony Bryer FSA
, the late Giles Waterfield FSA
the late Peter Gibson FSA.
Bronze Age Runnymede: Excavations at Runnymede Bridge
, a gentle, captivating film, was published on YouTube
on 16 November by Egham Museum. It is about a large archaeological excavation in the 1980s, and features Fellows David Bird FSA, Jon Cotton FSA
and Marie Louise Sørensen FSA
, with Heather Knight and Neil Wilkin, explaining the site and the nature of archaeological evidence; there is also an appearance from a younger excavation director Stuart Needham FSA
in British Museum archive film. In the 36-minute film the archaeologists talk about what might have been happening, and what people might have been thinking – Sørensen on jealousy, falling in love and gender relations, Bird on humour and music, Cotton on surviving climatic change – at a time of social upheaval in the Late Bronze Age. Directed by Bill Thisdell, the film is intercut with animations by Simon Clark. It was funded through a Young Roots Heritage Lottery Funded project. ‘We have to let the past speak to us through how it works,’ says Sørensen, ‘rather than make the past just what we like it to be.’
Lost England: 1870–1930
, by Philip Davies FSA
, is described by Atlantic Publishing as ‘the long awaited sequel to Lost London 1870–1945’
. Davies spent seven years trawling through late 19th- and early 20th-century photographs, he told Maev Kennedy FSA
writing in the Guardian
, selecting 1,500 for the book. ‘Many of the buildings are beautiful,’ he said, ‘but if this book does anything, it challenges the Downton Abbey myth of a Victorian golden age. The fact that shocked me most was that life expectancy for a boy born in the slums of Liverpool in the 1840s was 15 years. Many lives were spent in appalling conditions in the shadow of epidemics of killer diseases like typhus, cholera, TB and diphtheria. I was also struck at how contemporary so many of the issues were: immigration, housing, poverty, urban sprawl, employment conditions. You can see these things behind the superficial attraction of many of the images.’
Stephen Buckley and Joann Fletcher, at BioArCh, Departments of Archaeology, Biology and Chemistry, University of York, are part of a largely Swiss team who concluded in an article in PLOS ONE
that a pair of mummified legs, now in the Egyptian Museum in Turin, are probably Queen Nefertari’s (died 1250 BC). Commenting in the Guardian
, Christopher Eyre, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, said, ‘This is an extremely interesting scientific analysis, but in the end it doesn’t add anything to our assumptions before we started.’
Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland, 950–1150
, is edited by P S Barnwell FSA
and follows his earlier book which covered the years 300–950. As before, the study derives from weekend conferences at Rewley House, Oxford. It covers the age of reform, says the blurb, during which western Christianity acquired most of its distinctive features, and saw the maturation of the diocesan system of administering the secular Church. Contributors include Eric Fernie FSA, Julian Luxford FSA, Glyn Coppack FSA, Richard Oram FSA, Richard Fawcett FSA, Paul Everson FSA, David Stocker FSA, Tomás Ó Carragáin FSA
and Barnwell himself.
More honour for Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts
. The Economist
, in its list of books of the year 2016, described Christopher de Hamel FSA
’s work as ‘A delightful and surprising book, by the man who has examined more manuscripts than anyone before him.’ In the Spectator
, Martin Gayford chose the book as ‘a gripping page-turner’ and ‘a unique hybrid of heterogeneous ingredients. De Hamel mingles meticulous scholarship, enthusiasm, autobiography, wit and gossip while pursuing each clue about dating or origin with the tenacity of a detective.’ In the same paper, Jane Ridley chose de Hamel’s book for ‘a superb and sometimes idiosyncratic history of the manuscripts themselves… Brilliant and original.’ And there’s more. In the New Statesman
Alexander McCall Smith liked the book for its ‘lovely reflection on medieval manuscripts, their beauty, their history and their significance… a fascinating intellectual treat,’ and, also in the NS
, Susan Hill found its ‘learning is worn lightly but the erudition is mighty, the illustrations glorious; the whole enterprise is breathtaking.’
Steven Runciman FSA
made the Economist
’s list, in the form of Minoo Dinshaw’s biography, Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman.
This, said the newspaper, is a ‘lively life of a colourful British historian who was best known for his work on the Crusades, by a promising young author. A debut to be proud of.’ Richard Davenport-Hines liked Dinshaw’s Life
, too, writing in the Spectator
that it was ‘idiosyncratic in some of its digressions and structure, but Dinshaw bubbles with nimble wit, wicked gossip, curious oddities and a walloping glee for his subject.’
For the Spectator
Davenport-Hines also chose Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation
, by James Stourton FSA
, which ‘leads the field [in biography]. It is such a lithe, elegant, astute celebration of patrician values, all-surpassing intelligence and glorious style. I read it with joy.’ In the New Statesman
Michael Prodger choose the book as ‘an elegant and perceptive portrayal of the ultimate arts grandee as a frustrated scholar.’
In the Spectator
, Gothic for the Steam Age: An Illustrated Biography of George Gilbert Scott
, by Gavin Stamp FSA
, was chosen by A N Wilson as his book of the year: ‘Stamp is the finest architectural historian of the Victorian era’, he writes, ‘and his evocation of Scott – architect and human being – is a masterpiece, accompanied by superb illustrations.’ ‘It is an intensely sad book,’ he adds, ‘for so many of the towns which Scott beautified have been wrecked.’
Meanwhile at the Financial Times, William the Conqueror
, by David Bates FSA
, appeared in the paper’s ‘round-up of must-read titles’ as one of the best history books of 2016. ‘In this definitive biography of the man who forever changed England with his invasion of 1066,’ it says, ‘Bates contends that a full understanding of William’s place in history requires locating him in a longer period, from roughly 900 to 1300.’
The British army could be recruiting ‘modern-day Monuments Men and Women’ as early as 2017, the Art Newspaper
reported on 29 November. The Ministry of Defence is looking to recruit 15–20 people, such as archaeologists, with the specialist knowledge that the military lacks on the front line. ‘For the first time since the Second World War,’ said Peter Stone FSA
, ‘the UK will have a specialised unit to protect cultural property wherever its forces are deployed.’ • On 12 December the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the British Council announced a first round of £5–6 million of grants from the new Cultural Protection Fund. The Friends of Basrah Museum, a UK charity, received £460,000. The universities of Oxford, Liverpool, Durham and Manchester were promised funds for projects in Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Tunisia and Turkey.
The Archaeological Market Survey 2015–16
shows a continuing growth in demand for commercial archaeological services, with residential development being the most important sector. Jobs, turnover and profitability have all increased, and business confidence is high (though this ‘has been affected by the uncertainty following the EU referendum’). However, local authority cuts mean that fewer archaeological staff are available to provide expert advice to local planning authorities, and numbers continue to fall, risking the quality of work that archaeologists can offer. The study was prepared by Landward Research Ltd for Historic England, the Federation of Archaeological Managers (FAME) and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Tim Malim FSA
, Chair of FAME, said, ‘The data from this survey is essential for developing a sustainable commercial archaeology sector that will ensure the nation’s heritage is appropriately investigated, [while] enabling economic development to proceed.’
Warriors, Warlords and Saints: The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia
, by John Hunt FSA
, is an accessible illustrated introduction to what the blurb describes as ‘this political and cultural powerhouse which at the height of its power, ruled over much of England, and reached out across Europe into the Middle East. The Mercians … were a force capable of both great violence and great art; who fostered the embryonic English Church but fought bloody wars with the rival kingdoms of Wessex, Northumbria and East Anglia.’ Pondering the Staffordshire hoard (some of which is currently on tour in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery), Hunt concludes its burial ‘might find a context in the retreat of the Mercians following Penda’s death in 655; following the defeat of Wulfhere in 674; or possibly with the Northumbrians, burying what they had seized when Wulfhere retook Mercia in 658.’
The Elizabethan Star Chamber Project
, hosted by AALT at the University of Houston, is putting county names on cases in TNA STAC 5 (Records of the Court of Star Chamber in the reign of Elizabeth). There are now sufficient cases identified, writes Helen Good, to make the website interesting to local historians. Secretary hand is not for everybody, she says, but the documents are all in English. Most of the cases are completely unknown to historians, because of their chaotic storage (cases may have up to 20 different references) and the previous inadequacy of finding aids. All the cases are social history of one locality or another.
On 11 December the Observer
put an alabaster statue of the Virgin and Child on its front page. Lloyd de Beer, joint Curator of the Late Medieval Collections at the British Museum, said few statues of its kind survive. Thought to have been made around 1350–75 in the English Midlands, the carving, which had been in the Redemptorist Monastery, Saint Truiden, Belgium, was acquired by the Museum from London dealers Sam Fogg with the help of the Art Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and others. Daniel Pett FSA
has made a 3D image of the statue with Sketchfab
, PhotoScan and a mobile phone.
Bristol University has awarded Ronald Hutton FSA
for his contribution to the Stonehenge Visitor Centre. He won the Society and Culture category in the Vice-Chancellor’s Impact Award Winners, and was overall 2016 winner, netting him a £1,500 cheque. He was Academic Adviser for the construction of the Visitor Centre, says a press release, ‘a brand-new building intended to promote visitor understanding of, and satisfaction in, the monument. As a result of his research and his role at the Centre, English Heritage installed a permanent display gallery there.’ In a video
, Hutton talks about how he influenced the design of the exhibition.
Swiss authorities seized nine antiquities at the Geneva Free Port in 2013, said to have been looted from Palmyra and ancient sites in Libya and Yemen. They were discovered during a customs inspection, reported the Art Newspaper
, and confirmed as authentic by culture authorities in Bern last year. A criminal investigation, opened in March and concluded on 22 November, did not result in a conviction. • On 10 December it was reported
that IS fighters had re-entered the Palmyra World Heritage Site, nine months after they had been driven out, raising fears of further incidental damage and deliberate attacks on heritage that some would regard as war crimes.
Following soon after Minister of State for Transport John Hayes’ dismissal of modern architecture as ‘ugly’,
culture secretary Karen Bradley has rejected Historic England’s advice
to list Dunelm House, a Brutalist students union building at Durham University completed in 1966. Roger Bowdler FSA
, Designation Director at Historic England, said Bradley had concluded the building does not meet the high tests necessary for a structure of its age. ‘While we are disappointed,’ he said, ‘we respect her decision. The listing system allows for a difference of opinion, and last year the DCMS [Department for Culture, Media & Sport] agreed with 99.8 per cent of our recommendations.’ ‘Dunelm House is a strong building’, he added, ‘which complements the Grade I-listed Kingsgate Footbridge. It won awards on its completion in 1966 and plays a prominent part in the World Heritage Site and conservation area. We hope that the university can take forward its plans for its premises in a way which upholds the heritage significance of this outstanding site.’
Who will be the Director of the V&A, to succeed Martin Roth after his resignation in October? Interviews take place this week, writes Richard Brooks in the Sunday Times Magazine
, naming Tim Knox FSA
as one of three ‘top tips’. Currently Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Knox was previously Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, and before that Head Curator at the National Trust. The new appointment is to be announced in Spring 2017.
Yale has launched Blanche of Castile: Queen of France
, by Lindy Grant FSA
. It is, says the blurb, the first modern scholarly biography of Blanche of Castile, 'whose identity has until now been subsumed in that of her son, the saintly Louis IX. A central figure in the politics of medieval Europe, Blanche was a sophisticated patron of religion and culture. Through Lindy Grant's engaging account, based on a close analysis of Blanche's household accounts and of the social and religious networks on which her power and agency depended, Blanche is revealed as a vibrant and intellectually questioning personality.’
Neil Carmichael, Conservative MP for Stroud and Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, put the case for UK universities in the Times of 8 December
, under the headline, ‘Universities must be rescued from the Brexit storm.’ ‘When Leavers try to talk-up the opportunities for Britain outside the European Union,’ he writes, ‘they cite examples such as a more competitive business environment with lower taxes and less regulation, or greater flexibility to make trade deals around the world. For our universities the opportunities are harder to discern and, in the absence of clarity from government, many in the HE sector see Britain’s EU divorce as a fraught exercise in damage limitation.’ ‘Unless the sector’s concerns are listened to and acted upon,’ he concludes, ‘higher education will become a very costly casualty of Brexit to the detriment of us all.’
Howard Williams FSA
, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chester, is excited about a carved stone slab featuring a smiling tonsured man. He believes it is the UK’s first known effigial slab of a Cistercian abbot. Meryl Butler bought the stone at auction in the mid-1990s, when it was said to have originated from the nearby ruins of the Cistercian monastery of Valle Crucis Abbey. She recently told Llangollen Museum about the carving, where it is now on a two-year loan, and where Williams chanced to see it the day after it had gone on display. What survives of the Lombardic writing on the fragment, says Williams, may originally have read, in Latin, ‘Here lies Brother Howel, Abbot’. Abbot Hywel was a predecessor of Abbot Adam who rebuilt the west front of the Valle Crucis abbey church in the 1330s. Williams talks about the stone on BBC Radio Wales
(at 54min 30sec), and has written a detailed blog
, where he notes the carving had first been described in Archaeologia Cambrensis
London’s changing skyline continues to be debated. Responding to a Times
Leader of 5 December, Duncan Wilson FSA
, Chief Executive of Historic England, wrote to the paper
to say that ‘Today’s Londoners care deeply about these views, which have been enjoyed for hundreds of years... the view of St Paul’s from Richmond Park has been blighted, apparently without proper consideration. We trample on irreplaceable layers of history at our peril. We don’t face a choice between spoilt parks or modified views. We face a choice between haphazard planning with a skyline that goes to the highest bidder, or a London Plan that delivers much greater density, respects London’s ancient heart and puts it at the centre of the city’s future.’ In its Leader, the paper had addressed representatives of London’s Royal Parks, who had written in a letter that a 42-storey development in east London had violated the clear line of sight to St Paul’s. ‘They are wrong to cry foul,’ said the Times
. ‘London is a continuous architectural monument to progress. The capital’s most striking views are those that blend its different eras.’
n March the Department for Culture, Media and Sport placed a temporary export bar
on a painting by Joris Hoefnagel, featuring Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace in Surrey. It was announced on 9 December
that the painting (the photo shows a detail) had been bought by the V&A, with the help of the Art Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. It had been priced at £1 million. Mark Evans FSA,
the V&A's Senior Curator of Word and Image, said, ‘Painted in 1568 by the last of the great Flemish illustrators and one of the foremost topographical artists of his day, this is a rare and beautiful work of outstanding importance. One of the earliest surviving English landscape watercolours, it brings to life one of the greatest monuments of the English Renaissance, now lost to us.’
Mary Beard FSA
took issue with Arron Banks, who co-founded Leave.EU and is said to have given a total of £6 million to various anti-European Union campaigns, when he tweeted that ‘the Roman Empire was effectively destroyed by immigration.’ In a two-day exchange of tweets
, Banks argued that Beard had no ‘monopoly on history’, saying that he ‘studied Roman history extensively’ and had enjoyed I Claudius
on TV (‘but the book was better’) and the movie Gladiator
. ‘Sorry Mr Banks,’ said Beard, ‘but this might be a subject on which to listen to experts!’
I Hope to Have a Good Passage… The Business Letters of Captain Daniel Jenkins, 1902–1911
, edited with an introduction by David Jenkins FSA
, is the text of a 500-page copy letterbook kept by the Captain when he was in command of several Cardiff tramp steamers. These letters are probably unique, says the editor, as it seems likely that they are the sole remaining first-hand record of the trades plied by such vessels in the early 20th century. Not only did the steamers distribute the world’s then premium fuel source to countries lacking in their own resources, but they also played a vital part in providing foodstuffs for the growing industrial populations of the UK and northern Europe. There were two clans of Jenkinses in 19th and 20th century Aberporth, David Jenkins tells Salon
– ‘my lot and Daniel Jenkins’s lot! Not that there was any bad blood between us – members of the two families sailed together on many different ships over many generations.’
Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire, has addressed the UK ivory market in a Westminster Hall debate. Writing in the Times on 8 December
, she said the Conservative Party committed to a total ban on ivory sales in its 2010 and 2015 election manifestos. In September Andrea Leadsom, the Environment Secretary, announced that the UK will ban sales of ‘modern day ivory’. ‘I warmly welcomed her clarification’, writes Latham, ‘that these proposals are only a first step as the government presses for a complete ban… As they stand, the proposals do not limit the sale of majority of pieces in the UK which were worked before 1947. However … new, freshly poached ivory is frequently and easily disguised as pre-1947 antiques and sold across the UK and abroad. The government must accept that the next step is to ban the sale of pre-1947 ivory as well as newer pieces.’
Roy Strong FSA
has spoken to the Telegraph
about work and money. ‘As to long-term financial strategy,’ he says, ‘I’m beginning to think I will probably get to my 90s so I’m thinking ahead. I will continue to write and I’m going to start painting again.’ ‘I have really been shocked’, he adds, ‘by the kind of greed that some very high-profile individuals flaunt. I don’t think this level of wealth and ostentation has been seen in this country since the Edwardian era.’
Daphne O'Connell, Development Director, Summer Fields School, Oxford, writes to tell of a memorial service for Gavin Hannah FSA
, former Summer Fields schoolmaster, author and historian, who died in July
‘The Summer Fields community has been deeply saddened by the news of Gavin Hannah's death this summer. There will be a memorial service at St Michael's Church, Summertown on Saturday 25 February 2017 at 11.30 am, followed by a lunch in the Salata Pavilion here at Summer Fields. I hope that it will provide a wonderful opportunity for us all to celebrate Gavin's life and to see old friends.
‘The school has decided to collect together some reminiscences/anecdotes of Gavin and produce a memorial booklet which will be given to all those attending the memorial service in February. If you would like to write a brief recollection for possible inclusion, please send to Dr Paul Dean, at PD@summerfields.com
by no later than 31 January 2017. Thank you.
'We expect that a significant numbers of old boys, former staff and friends will wish to attend. If you would like to attend the memorial service and lunch afterwards, please get in touch with myself in the development office, at email@example.com
, to let us know.’
The photo shows Hannah in Bath in 2004. A tribute, written on his retirement after 30 years teaching at Summer Fields, can be read online
. He went on to edit a history of the school, Summer Fields: The First 150 Years
(2014), to add to his other books, including The Bishops of Hereford 1327–1375
(1975), and The Deserted Village: The Diary of an Oxfordshire Rector – James Newton of Nuneham Courtenay 1736–86
Anthony Bryer FSA
, who died in October
, is described in an obituary in the Telegraph
(6 December) as ‘an exuberant, charismatic historian and lecturer who did more than anybody in his generation to stimulate the study of Byzantium in Britain and beyond.’
‘Instead of writing endless tomes,’ says the paper, ‘he was at heart a traveller and pedagogue who delighted pupils with recondite, well-distilled knowledge.’ A ‘penchant for liminal places reflected his background.’ He was born in Portsmouth to Gerald Mornington ‘Peter’ Bryer, a founder of the Royal Air Force, and Joan (nee Grigsby), a journalist who worked for the Special Operations Executive. ‘One of the family's war-time postings was to Jerusalem where young Anthony encountered a future mentor, Steven Runciman.’ [Runciman, also a former Fellow, is the subject of a new biography: see Fellows (and Friends), above.]
Giles Waterfield FSA
, who died in November
, was Director of Royal Collection Studies (RCS) at the Attingham Trust. Annabel Westman FSA
, Executive Director of the Trust, and Sara Heaton, Administrator RCS, say Royal Collection Studies will continue in 2017; a new Director will be appointed in due course.
Waterfield, they say, ‘was particularly proud to celebrate the course's 20th Anniversary at Clarence House last year, which coincided not only with the Queen's 90th birthday but also the occasion of the longest British reign.’ The Trust is setting up the Giles Waterfield Attingham Scholarship Fund, to encourage others to follow the inspiration and high level of excellence he brought to the world of the fine and decorative arts and architecture. Supporters can find out how to donate on the Trust website
There will be a memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, on Wednesday l1 January at 3 pm. All are welcome to attend.
(2 December) has published a prominent obituary of Peter Gibson FSA
, who died in November
. A glazier who devoted most of his professional life to looking after York Minster’s stained glass windows, says the paper, Gibson lived all his life in a tiny Georgian mews cottage in Precentor’s Court, in the Minster’s shadow, where his parents had moved after the end of the First World War.
He was knowledgeable about stained glass of all periods and styles, and had a particular interest in the work of William Morris and his circle. He lectured all over the world, and in 2000 toured Britain with a presentation, Light and Shade, a Millennium Celebration of 1,000 Years of Stained Glass
David J (John) Smith FSA
died on 24 November aged 92. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in May 1960. He was widely recognised as a foremost authority on Roman mosaics. Stephen Cosh FSA
, who describes himself as a friend and disciple, has written this tribute for Salon
‘David Smith died in hospital in Newcastle just short of his 93rd birthday; his health had been failing for some time. As a student of Professor Ian Richmond at King’s College, Newcastle (then part of the university of Durham) after the War, he took up Richmond’s suggestion that he should combine his interest in art and archaeology to study Roman mosaics. This led to his PhD thesis on Romano-British mosaics in 1952, and a lifelong interest in the subject, famously developing his ideas on various “schools” of mosaicists.
‘In 1952 he became Richmond’s assistant in the establishment of the Roman Fort Museum at South Shields, and from 1956–87 was the Keeper of the Museum of Antiquities of the University and Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. From 1972 until his retirement in 1987 he was Lecturer and afterwards Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at Newcastle University. In 1978 he formed ASPROM (The Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics).
‘He was a lovely, modest, gentle and generous man, who was an inspiration to me and many others. It was his pioneering work that laid the foundations for the four-volume corpus, The Roman Mosaics of Britain
by David Neal FSA
and myself, published by the Society of Antiquaries of London, the launches of which David Smith attended.’
The Institute of Classical Studies, London, has held the David J Smith Mosaic Archive on long-term loan since 1999. It consists of books, periodicals, pamphlets, photographs and slides, and represents the residue of a lifetime's research on ancient mosaics, and is, says the Institute
, an extremely valuable research asset.
The photo shows David Smith, between Cosh (left) and Neal (right), with his wife Silvia, at the launch of Roman Mosaics of Britain Vol 3
at the Society of Antiquaries in 2009.
Alan Warhurst FSA
died on 4 December aged 89. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1958. During a long and distinguished career as a museum curator and director, he gave an influential address about the future of university museums, and was a significant figure in the establishment of the University Museum Group (UMG).
At the July 1986 Museums Association conference in Aberdeen, Warhurst, then Director of the Manchester Museum, elaborated on a ‘triple crisis’ threatening university museums, prompted partly by government spending policy. Having surveyed some 35 university museums across the UK, he identified an institutional lack of identity and purpose, recognition, and resources. ‘The problem is not entirely one of resources,’ he wrote. ‘It is also one of attitudes and information.’ His analysis, published that year in the Museums Journal
, has been described as ‘pivotal’, and one that brought ‘perhaps the earliest international attention to the pressing issues facing British university museums.’ The UMG was formed the following year.
Warhurst’s association with museums began in 1950. He helped Graham Webster FSA
, who was then Curator of the Grosvenor Museum, excavate a hoard of Viking coins found in Chester. As Archaeological Assistant at the Maidstone Museum, he investigated an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Lyminge, and other discoveries in Kent, before taking up the post of Curator of Northampton Museum in 1955. While there he investigated a Roman villa at Cosgrove.
In the 60s he was Director of Bristol City Museum. He appointed Neil Cossons FSA
as his first Curator of Technology, and co-authored, with Leslie Grinsell FSA
and Philip Rahtz FSA
, The Preparation of Archaeological Reports
, a significant study which originated in a lecture course for Bristol University’s Department of Extra-Mural Studies.
Warhurst was Director of the Ulster Museum, Belfast, when it opened a major extension in 1972, an important example of Brutalist architecture. It was also while he was there, on 11 November 1976, that the Museum’s entire collection of costume and textiles was destroyed in a fire when a store on the city outskirts, at Malone House, was bombed. The losses included a linen damask collection ranked one of the world’s best, and Irish lace, Irish and international embroidery, artefacts and accessories. ‘Apart from the irretrievable loss of the historical evidence of our culture’, he said at the time, ‘one of the saddest features of the disaster is that more than any other part of the museum’s collection, this was made by the people themselves. By far the greatest number of the 10,000 specimens had been donated, over the last 70 years or more, by members of the public.’
He wrote Girona
for the Ulster Museum (1974), about a Spanish Armada shipwreck which had been salvaged by divers in the late 60s. He became Director of the Manchester Museum in 1977, where he stayed until retirement in 1993. He was Director of the Boat Museum Trust, and Director Museums, Libraries and Archives North West. He was appointed a CBE in 1990.
The Wisdom of Fellows
Picking up on Current Archaeology
’, Joe Flaxman FSA
would draw Fellows’ attention to his columns in the magazine. As part of its 50th birthday celebrations, he is digging through the archive for stories from the past half-century. In the first of three features to date, he wonders what readers were doing in the spring or summer of 1966, when the magazine’s founders, Wendy and Andrew Selkirk FSA
, were touring excavations in their motor-caravan preparing for the magazine launch the next year. Quite remarkably, it continues as a profitable independently owned publication, retaining its sovereign voice. In his second column, Flaxman looks at front covers, and in his third at occasional forays overseas that resulted in themed issues such as an edition devoted to German archaeology in 1968.
‘I’m always interested in hearing from anyone who appeared in CA over the years,’ says Flaxman, ‘or equally, gossip from those who did not…! Equally, if people have suggestions for stories they’d love to see me follow up in my column then they should feel free to contact me.’ He can be reached at Historic England, where he is Head of Listing Programmes, at Joseph.Flatman@HistoricEngland.org.uk
, phones 0207 973 3136/0776 677 6252.
‘The stunning mirror frame attributed to Admiral Russell
’, writes Robert Merrillees FSA
, ‘will repay detailed examination of its iconography, as the Hercules looks decidedly late Renaissance, almost Christ-like. His club and the lion's head on top of his own head (and the rest of its skin down his back?) leave no doubt about his mythological origin, but what he holds in his left hand is particularly intriguing. Normally, if any plant were represented, it would be the golden apple of the Hesperides, but in this case the centre piece of the bouquet is clearly a pomegranate and the top one looks like an opium poppy capsule!
‘Now, the pomegranate was barely known as a living plant in England before the early 1620s when John Tradescant the Elder brought back specimens from his travels, but, of course, the designer of the carving on the mirror could have been inspired by the Classical images of Demeter and Juno holding a pomegranate – or opium poppy capsule – on statues, coins and terracottas, and both organic heads were associated with fertility and plenty because of their abundant seeds. The word pomegranate was itself so named because it resembled a “seeded apple”. And what is the plant on the bottom right?
‘In any case the designer must have been familiar with Classical antiquity, which suggests a level of cultural sophistication matched only by the supreme quality of the work of the carver, or were they one and the same? It is worth noting that the Royal Coat of Arms of Greece has a rough-looking Hercules, modestly attired with a lion-skin loin-cloth, leaning somewhat lazily on either side of the escutcheon, and the Coat of Arms of Spain has a pomegranate at the bottom of the escutcheon, representing the Kingdom of Granada, supported on either side by the Pillars of Hercules, which have nothing to hide.’
In the new edition of British Archaeology
, inspired by Tate’s Paul Nash
exhibition, I write about Nash’s encounters with archaeology. These might be thought obvious, principally as depictions of Avebury’s monuments. Sam Smiles (who is curating British Art: Ancient Landscapes
at the Salisbury Museum, opening 8 April 2017) has published perceptive and informative articles about Nash’s engagement with antiquity. Yet details of day-to-day events remain elusive. Nash visited excavations, for example, but we know little about what happened.
In 2015, in an article in Contemporary Archaeology
, archaeologists Helen Wickstead and Martyn Barber suggested that one of Nash’s key works, Equivalents for the Megaliths
(1935, detailed in Tate's banner), was inspired by concrete plinths placed by archaeologists to mark absent stones and posts. I think we can see other previously unseen archaeological references, not least in a 1942 watercolour which draws on excavations at Maiden Castle by Mortimer Wheeler FSA
. Nash and Stuart Piggott FSA
exchanged gifts in 1938 (Ros Cleal FSA
, Curator of Avebury Museum, tells me that a diary confirms that the two men were at Alexander Keiller’s excavation on the same day that year). It would be no surprise to find that Nash and Piggott, who knew many contemporary artists, developed a relationship. But did they? I’d be pleased to hear from anyone with even the smallest record or recollection of anything that might throw light on these matters. Paul Nash
is at Tate Britain, London, until March 5 2017. (And should any Fellow wonder, a photo of Neolithic artefacts stuck on a card the Nashes sent to the Moores, appears to be a postcard bought at the Ashmolean.)
Several Fellows have told me that Salon
does not always display properly, with text overwriting images. It happens on my screens too, but the reasons are obscure. Until the cause can be identified and the problem resolved, the one thing that seems to help is to avoid viewing Salon
on Google Chrome. Apologies.
10 New Fellows Elected (8 December)
We post the results of each ballot on our website, immediately following the Ordinary Meeting at which results are announced. In addition to the 60 new Fellows announced in the last edition of Salon, we now have a further 10, elected 8 December. The next ballot will be on 2 February.
Hanna Louise Cobb, MA, PhD.
Jo Appleby, MA, MA, PhD.
Manuel Fernández Götz, PhD.
Julia Farley, MA, MA, PhD.
Fiona Robertson, MA, MP.
Charlotte Higgins, MA.
Duncan Wright, BA, MA, PhD.
Nicholas Vella, BA, PhD.
Cheryl Green, BA, PhD.
Michelle Hetherington, BA.
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.
2 February: "Bronze Age Must Farm: The Tenure and Texture of a Prehistoric Waterscape", lecture by Mark Knight (Site Director)
9 February: "Apethorpe, Northamptonshire: The Building of a Courtier House, 1470-1551", lecture by John Cattell FSA.
16 February: "Culture, Identity and Economy in the Anglo-Saxon Fenland Before 970", lecture by Susan Oosthuizen FSA.
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.
Forthcoming Public Events
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.
31 January: 'From the Dungheap to the Stars: The History of Early Gunpowder', by Kay Smith FSA.
14 February: 'Revealing Verulamium: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town,' by Kris Lockyear FSA and Ellen Shlasko.
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 a tour of the Society's Burlington House apartments and take the opportunity to learn more about the building, collections and benefits and resources available to Fellows of the Society. Book a free place today
Burlington House Closures
The Society's apartments (including the Library and Fellows' Room) will be closed for the Christmas holidays 24 December to 2 January (inclusive).
Additionally, the Society's Library will be closed on the morning of 12 January (until 13.00) due to staff training.
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
2 March 2017: Archaeology at Rendlesham, Suffolk: An East Anglian Royal Settlement of the Time of Sutton Hoo by Christopher Scull FSA, a joint lecture with the Department of Archaeology of University of Exeter (14.30-15.30 at the University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Laver Building, Lecture Theater 3).
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: http://eepurl.com/MvHUr
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at email@example.com.
24 January 2017: Fellows' Evening (miscellany of short papers from Fellows). The talks will take place in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent, York. The evening will begin with refreshments at 18.00, presentations at 18.30 and conclude at 20.00 with a meal organised by our steward, Jim Spriggs. Those who wish to join should email Stephen Greep FSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: http://eepurl.com/8nvxL
Other Forthcoming Heritage Events
15 December 2016: In the Footsteps of the Ancestors – Excursions into the Gorham’s Cave Complex World Heritage Site (London)
Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar Museum and of the Gorham’s Cave Complex, will give the ICOMOS-UK annual Christmas lecture at the Gallery, 70 Cowcross St, to celebrate the inscription of the UK’s latest World Heritage Site. Conventional wisdom tells us that competitively superior modern humans were responsible for the demise of all who they came across in their relentless path towards global colonisation. The story of humanity is much more complex than this, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the evidence does not support this simple model. New technologies, and sites which have survived the attention of Victorian archaeologists and their contemporaries, have the potential to reveal the secrets of the ancestors. Booking online.
15 December: Marine Geoarchaeological Studies in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (London)
George Papatheodorou of the University of Patras will give the Honor Frost Foundation’s fifth Annual lecture at the British Academy, Carlton House Terrace. The free lecture will be followed by drinks and nibbles. Details online.
12 January 2017: Grave Disturbance in Early Medieval Europe (Stockholm)
An international symposium to be held at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, organised by Alison Klevnäs, who won the Kent Archaeological Society's Hasted Prize in 2011 for her Cambridge PhD on the symposium’s theme. One of the most intriguing chapters in early Medieval archaeology is an outbreak of grave disturbance from Hungary to England, peaking in the seventh century. Thousands of recent burials were reopened and rifled, with grave goods and human remains removed or scattered. This will be the first conference on Merovingian-period grave disturbance since 1977. Substantive new research is being carried out into this phenomenon in England, Germany, France, the Low Countries, and Austria. See online for more information.
21 January: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The programme and booking form for the seventh in this conference series are available. The conference will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, and many of the speakers are Fellows. For more information, please contact Paula Henderson FSA or Claire Gapper FSA.
24 January: Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery Fundraising Event (London)
Kensal Green Cemetery Friends and guests are invited to a reception in the River Room at the House of Lords at 6–8pm, with wine and canapés, and an opportunity to visit Westminster Hall and the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft (not open to the public). The event will cost £50 per person with proceeds to be devoted to Friends’ restoration and other programmes at Kensal Green Cemetery. Contact Jenny Freeman FSA, Chair FOKGC, at email@example.com.
27–29 January: Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland 1929–1990 (Oxford)
A weekend school at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square. The 20th century saw fundamental shifts in the patterns of religious observance in Britain and Ireland. Across much of the area traditional Christian congregations declined; partly in response to that new styles of worship were espoused; and adherents to faiths previously rare in Britain and Ireland became numerous. The increase in diversity, combined with new architectural styles and forms of construction, make this one of the most exciting periods in the development of places of worship. Contributors include Allan Doig FSA, Simon Green FSA, Richard Halsey FSA and Sharman Kadish FSA. See online for details.
Simon Thurley FSA is giving a series of free lectures in his capacity as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, a positon created in 2009 for his continuing lectures on the history of English architecture. They will take place at the Museum of London, and will be accessible to the general public on a first come first served basis, beginning promptly at 6pm. Remaining lectures are:
1 February: Perfection or Pastiche? New Buildings in Old Places The blight of the concrete municipal buildings of the 1960s and 70s in the historic centres of our cathedral cities is all too familiar. Everyone wants to avoid the same mistakes being made again, but can we reconcile old and new in our historic cities?
8 March: The Value of Heritage and the Heritage of Value There was a time when old places were valued simply for their beauty and interest, but now this is not enough. Are calculations of the financial contribution of our history adding to the value of our heritage or have they fundamentally devalued it?
7 June: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (Thurley and Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA) The first Conservation Areas were designated in 1967, today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore the origins, variety and some challenges for the future.
18 February: The Man who Collected Oxfordshire (Oxford)
A day school at Rewley House, exploring the life and collections of Percy Manning (1870–1917). Manning amassed an enormous wealth of materials covering the whole county, which he gave to Oxford University, where they are held by the Bodleian Libraries and the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums. His collections range from prehistoric to modern times, from Stone-age implements and truncheons to historical records, plans and drawings. Kate Tiller FSA will chair a panel of five speakers. See online for details.
3–6 April: Objects and Possessions: Material Goods in a Changing World, 1200–1800 (Southampton)
Objects and possessions define us, yet in many ways we know little about them from a historical perspective. This interdisciplinary conference, which takes place at the University of Southampton’s Avenue Campus, looks at material culture across a long timeframe in order to explore the worlds of goods and objects across Europe and its overseas colonies, the connections and relationships facilitated by the exchange of goods, the importance and interpretation of the inheritance of goods and objects, and the ways in which goods brokered relationships between Europe and the wider world in the period. The aim is to deepen our understanding of how goods ‘worked’ in a variety of social, economic and cultural contexts. A closing keynote address will be given by Chris Woolgar FSA. For details see online.
29 April: The Changing Parish Church: From Saxon to Victorian c 600–1900 (Lewes)
Against a background of declining congregations and large numbers of listed churches with uncertain futures, this day conference considers the emergence, use and decoration of the early parish church, how the parish church has changed, and what might lie ahead for rural parish churches. The delegates’ handbook will include illustrations and other information to help ‘read’ a church when you visit. See online for details.
6 May: Portraiture and Representation (London)
Karen Hearn FSA will be the keynote speaker at the Women’s Studies Group 1558–1837 annual workshop at The Foundling Museum. The day always has the same format. Discussion and lunch follow a keynote from a distinguished invited speaker; then participants talk on a relevant subject, leading to discussion: we invite all those attending to give a five-minute presentation inspired by the topic. At Tate Hearn curated Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630 (1995), for which she received a European Woman of Achievement Award. She also curated Van Dyck and Britain (2009), and Rubens and Britain (2011–12). Marcus Gheeraerts II: Elizabethan Artist (2002) established the theme of the ‘pregnancy portrait’, the subject of her next book. Details online.
Call for Papers
2017: Institutions of Literature, 1700–1900 (Glasgow, London and York)
The AHRC-funded research network is pleased to invite expressions of interest from scholars working on the histories and practices of 18th- and 19th-century institutions, and from stakeholders and curators who work in surviving institutions originating from this period. During 2017, the network will run workshops and conduct a series of online discussions in order to explore collaboratively the ways in which the literary institutions of this era arose and operated. Each workshop will feature a combination of papers from participants, roundtable discussions and more open sessions designed to facilitate the sharing of perspectives and expertise. The funding kindly provided by the AHRC will allow us to keep the workshops free of charge for all participants and provide travel and accommodation for speakers at each event. Please email expressions of interest to Matthew Sangster, Jon Mee and Jenny Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is 19 December. You can also follow the network's activities on our website.
22 March 2017: Are Archaeological Archives Relevant? (Birmingham)
The Archaeological Archives Group will be holding their AGM event at the Birmingham and Midland Institute. A day conference will explore the possible ways in which archives can be used and promoted across the sector, and how closer collaboration between creators and repositories can enhance their visibility and value. We will be asking if the relevance of archaeological archives can be demonstrated through the projects presented, as well as questioning the future of those deemed of little use for current analysis and research. We are seeking papers from contractors, museums, academic researchers (including students) and community groups to give their experience with archaeological archives. Papers should be around 20–25 minutes though groups of shorter papers will be considered. An abstract of no more than 300 words should be sent to Samantha Paul (CIfA AAG events coordinator) no later than 15 December 2016, at email@example.com.
31 March–2 April 2017: Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress 2017 (Hull)
The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology is building on the success of its 50th Anniversary Congress in Sheffield with a similar event in Hull as it celebrates being UK City of Culture. The event is open to all researchers at any stage of their career, whether academics, students, commercial or community archaeologists, to report recent research on any aspect of post-medieval/historical archaeology. We encourage contributors to offer 15-minute papers or poster displays which will be grouped by the organisers into themed sessions. Please send offers of papers (title and abstract of up to 150 words) to Harold Mytum FSA by 1 December, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information about the conference is available online.
19–21 April 2017: Archaeology: A Global Profession (Newcastle)
The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ annual conference and training event will be hosted at the University of Newcastle next year. The three broad themes are professionalism, protection and discovery. Archaeology should be without borders, and professional archaeology must be without borders. We hope the conference will provide an opportunity to report on some of the progress made and to explore both the opportunities and difficulties of professionalising across borders. Deadline for proposals 14 October 2016. See online for further details.
17–18 May 2017: Archaeology and History of Lydia from Early Lydian Period to the Late Antiquity (Izmir, Turkey)
This symposium will take place at the Dokuz Eylul University. Lydia was an ancient region, located in inner western Anatolia, and compared to the coastline of western Asia Minor its archaeology is not well known. We warmly invite contributions by scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines of ancient classical studies related to this region. The aim of the symposium is to report on the state of research concerning Lydia between the 8th century BC and 6th century AD. See online for details.
6–10 September 2017: Death, Dying and Disposal Conference: Ritual, Religion and Magic (Preston)
This conference focuses on the role of ritual, religion and magic in healthcare, death, dying and burial. Individual papers might include death technology and magic, liminality, religion and spirituality in end of life care, ethics and culture at the deathbed, dying inside (and outside) of modern health care, spirituality and the death of animals, rites of passage in dying, superstition and funerals, ritual application in preparing the corpse and burying the dead; emergent religious and cultural practices in the disposal of the dead, ancestors online, death, dying and grief in public and on the internet; talking with the dead, the dead in popular horror, the dead in witchcraft execution or haunting or social rituals associated with the dead body, spirituality or lifeways and deathways. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words long. Deadline for submissions is 28 February 2017: forms can be found online. For further information see the conference website.
16–17 November 2017: The Black Prince and Canterbury Cathedral (Canterbury)
Proposals are invited for a conference at Canterbury Cathedral, part of a wider project to preserve and research the material culture of the Black Prince held at the Cathedral through The Canterbury Journey project. The conference will explore and appraise current and developing studies of the Black Prince, his life, his influence past and present, and will contextualise him within the cathedral setting. A keynote address will be complemented by a series of presentations and panel discussions and unusual access to the Cathedral’s architecture. The aim is to offer a vibrant and challenging perspective on the field, review ongoing projects and public and scholarly engagement. Original proposals are welcome from professionals, rising and established academic scholars and graduate students. Email Sarah Turner and Heather Newton by 30 January 2017, at email@example.com and Heather.Newton@canterbury-cathedral.org. See online for details.
Royal Armouries is seeking a Director of Collections, £65,650 per annum. Closing date for applications 19 December 2016.
We are seeking someone who can develop and sustain the Royal Armouries as a major national museum and an internationally recognised centre of expertise and excellence in the study and display of arms, armour and artillery. You will increase the understanding of the collection and its significance through research, and its understanding and enjoyment by specialists and the public. The ideal candidate will combine strong management experience and academic distinction in one or more subject areas covered by the Royal Armouries collection.
Apply online or email, with a covering letter and your most recent CV including current salary, setting out why you are interested in the position and why you believe yourself to be a suitable candidate.
The Leverhulme Trust is currently inviting applications for 2017 Emeritus Fellowships. Closing date for applications 2 February 2017 at 4 pm.
The Fellowships enable retired academics from UK institutions to complete a body of research for publication. Up to £22,000 is available for research costs directly related to the project. Fellowships are offered for periods of three to 24 months, and must begin between 1 August 2017 and 1 July 2018. Approximately 35 fellowships are available in 2017. Applicants must have retired by the time of taking up the Fellowship and no longer have a normal contract of employment, but they may hold a part-time position of up to 0.5 FTE. See online for further 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.