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Salon: Issue 431
16 July 2019

Next issue: 30 July

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

Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon EditorSalon doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.

Fellows may occasionally find they do not receive email notification of a new Salon. There are suggestions for solving this, and an online archive where new editions are posted. You can also unsubscribe at any point, by following this link.
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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary


Elements: Society of Antiquaries Research Showcase

2-8pm, 19 July: Burlington House

We hope you can join us on Friday 19 July, for a day offering our grant recipients the opportunity to present their research at Burlington House through table-top displays, talks, and interactive workshops. Our aim is to raise public interest in and awareness of history and archaeology by showcasing significant research that the Society has supported.

The event will be fun, informative and accessible to all ages (and ties in with the Burlington House Courtyard Lates, with lots of great food, drink and exciting activities on offer from all the Societies) - so bring the whole family along.

Participants include:
  • Dr Matthew Fitzjohn (University of Liverpool)

The Domestic Economy of Ancient Olynthos
Reconstructing the cost and life history of one of the houses at ancient Olynthos (Greece), integrating information from historical source and excavation, will for the first time allow a robust estimate of the construction materials and the resources needed to create the whole of an ancient city.

  • Dr Hajnalka Herold FSA (University of Exeter)

Landscape Transformations in the Erlauf Valley, Austria 
Systematic field survey to investigate post-Roman to medieval (5th-11th centuries) settlement and landscape transformations in the Erlauf Valley, Austria. 

  • Dr Cynthia Johnston (University of London)

Book Collecting in the Industrial North West

To catalogue, publish and exhibit four unexplored collections of rare books assembled by those working in or associated with the cotton industry powered by the industrial revolution in the North West of England, now held by Blackburn Public Library (Dunn Collection), the Harris Museum (Sheperd and Spenser collections) and Towneley Hall Museum (Hardcastle Collection).

  • Dr Alexandra Makin (Independent Researcher)

The re-creation of half of St Cuthbert's maniple
Experimental reconstruction of part of the 10th-century maniple of St Cuthbert, the only extant embroidered maniple from early medieval England.

  •  Professor John Hines FSA (Cardiff University)

Cosmeston Archaeology Project: Excavation Completion

Single season of targeted excavation to clarify and contextualise the results of previous investigations of the DMV site in order to enable final analysis and full publication.

  • Dr Stephen Upex (Nene Valley Archaeological Trust)

Durobrivae Geophysical Survey
Magnetometer survey of the total walled area of the Roman town of Durobrivae (Water Newton, Cambridgeshire).

Back to the beginning of the report

Courtyard Lates

As it is the International Year of the Periodic Table this year’s Burlington House Courtyard Late theme is ELEMENTS!

Join us on Friday July 19 for an evening of exhibitions, experiments, lectures, tours and family-friendly workshops exploring elements across art, history and science at Burlington House.

See the Burlington House Courtyard like never before and discover the six learned societies that reside here, furthering the study of art, history and science and sharing it with audiences around the world.

As 2019 is the International Year of the Periodic Table we will be exploring elements through art, history and science …

Each society has a unique programme to offer audiences of all ages, and great food and drink on offer, too!

You can find out more information on the Burlington House website

Back to the beginning of the report

An Ivory Chess Piece Mystery

As Fellows will have read from items in the General Secretary's section of earlier Salons, on 2 July Sotheby’s sold an ivory chess piece which it attributed to the Lewis Chessmen Workshop, saying it was probably Norwegian, and made in Trondheim in the 13th century. There was considerable media interest (‘Harry Potter chess piece granddad bought for £5 sells for £735,000 at auction,’ reported the Mirror). Now the sale is over, it’s worth an archaeological look at the story.
The carving, said to be a warder, featured on the front cover of the catalogue for Sotheby’s Old Master Sculptures and Works of Art, and across 12 pages inside. Ahead of the sale Alexander Kader FSA, Senior Director and Head of the European Sculpture and Works of Art Department, Sotheby’s London, brought the warder to Burlington House for the Society’s Summer Miscellany on 27 June (above), and talked about the piece; he can be watched here, 41 minutes in.
It’s not uncommon for Kader to be asked to consider newly discovered Lewis chessmen, he says, and respond with a polite ‘No’. ‘But last August it was a bit different,’ he continues, and goes on to explain ‘how I approached the task of confirming my initial, very positive impression that here, unbelievably, it was the real thing.’ It felt right in his hand, he says – ‘the wear, the carving, the material’. He wanted to be ‘100 per cent sure about the material’, and asked Sonia O'Connor FSA to look at it. She confirmed his suspicion that it was made with walrus ivory. Sotheby’s and the owner then decided to radiocarbon date it, which was done by Jill Walker, a scientist who formerly worked at the Harwell dating lab, of RCD Lockinge.
The ‘first result’, says Kader (around AD 1380) was ‘quite a bit later than the accepted dating for the hoard, which is to around 1200’. However, as he correctly notes, a correction needs to be applied to dates obtained from a walrus, to allow for the ‘marine reservoir effect’. Because oceans have their own source of radioactive carbon which can mix with that derived from the atmosphere on the surface, marine samples have ‘surplus’ carbon-14 and give dates around four centuries too old compared to equivalent terrestrial samples.
The adjusted date for the chess piece, says Kader, ‘is better, but still raises questions’. In fact, as given in Sotheby’s catalogue and as quoted by Kader in his talk, the ‘second date’ is the same as the ‘first’. Something here doesn’t add up.
I was not able to attend Kader’s talk, and neither RCD Lockinge nor Alexander Kader have responded to my brief emails, so I will not comment on this, but it’s worth setting out the problem. It matters because none of the known pieces from the Lewis hoard has been dated. So if the Sotheby’s warder really is from the hoard, it is the first objective indication of the age of the whole lot. And as Kader says, that age is not what archaeologists and art historians have up to now predicted.
But how can I say the two results are the same when apparently to Sotheby’s they are different? It’s the way they are written. Date 1 is given as a range, AD 1328–1434. This is a standard way of representing a calendar date calculated by radiocarbon analysis. To get an idea of where within that range the date is more likely to fall, you need to see the statistical distribution, usually represented as a graph (which in this case has not been made available). Typically it will be more likely to be somewhere near the middle and less likely at the outer edges, but that is often not entirely the case, and there might be two or even three different points of ‘greater likelihood’ within that range. What you can’t do is pick a date somewhere that fits what you want it to be.
When I said ‘around AD 1380’, I was quoting the centre point of the range of Date 1 (actually 1381). AD 1381 is also the centre point of Date 2 (1283–1479). One way to explain this is to imagine that they are different expressions of the same thing, Date 1 written at one standard deviation (1381±53) and Date 2 at two (1381±98). Or, to put it another way, there is about a two-thirds probability that the real age lies somewhere between 1328 and 1434 (Date 1), and a more comfortable 95% chance it’s between 1283 and 1479 (Date 2). This isn’t exactly what archaeologists would have predicted, but it is also not that far out (the ivory is not prehistoric or Victorian), and I’m guessing it’s a result corrected for the marine effect, in which case we can use it. But it would be helpful to have the full report (please?).
So for the sake of immediate argument, guessing we have got this right and rounding out the date at 95% probability (standard archaeological practice), we can suggest the age of the ivory from which the chess piece is carved is at some point between AD 1280 and 1480 (conventionally written as cal AD 1280–1480). That would be a result.
In the academic literature, Kader points out, there are ‘few hard facts about the hoard.’ What do they tell us?
A good place to go for this is an article by David H Caldwell FSA, Mark A Hall FSA and Caroline M Wilkinson in Medieval Archaeology 53 (2009), 155–203: ‘The Lewis Hoard of Gaming Pieces: A re-examination of their context, meanings, discovery and manufacture.’ They further describe the pieces in The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked, which they prepared for an exhibition in 2010 at which all 93 were brought together from National Museums Scotland and the British Museum, and displayed in Edinburgh, Aberdeen Lerwick and Stornoway. And Caldwell joined other colleagues in an article about the Chessmen’s history and surface condition in ArcheoSciences 35 (2011).
Essentially the story of their discovery is fascinating, convoluted and impossible to pin down. They are said to have been found in 1831 in Uig, on the west coast of the island of Lewis. But if we were to be strict, not only can we not be sure of that, we can’t even safely assume they were all found together in the same place, or at the same time. It doesn’t get much better once they are in the hands of dealers and early collectors, but the bottom line is that 93 pieces were taken to Edinburgh in 1831, and 93 is now the total owned by the two national museums. However, as Neil Stratford FSA says in Sotheby’s catalogue, ‘One thing is sure:’ between discovery and the chess pieces’ appearance in Edinburgh and London, ‘anything could have happened.’
Sotheby’s date the Lewis hoard, and by implication the piece they sold, to the 13th century. This follows Caldwell et al, who suggest the presence of at least four sets of chessmen from the same workshop, conceivably made for use in Lewis, and dating ‘from the end of the 12th century to the early 13th century’. Could they in fact all be at least a century more recent, as the radiocarbon date might seem to imply? Stylistically that seems unlikely, but if nothing else, the Sotheby’s date encourages new questions. Perhaps it is time to consider dating some of the original sets. The science now can generate convincingly precise results from very small samples, and one date on its own can be only the beginning.
Certainly the museums in Edinburgh and London had questions about the new piece. Neither bid for it.
‘The British Museum’, I was told in a statement, ‘did not seek to acquire the Sotheby’s chess piece because a considerable programme of research would be required to establish its date, place of origin and provenance, as well as its connection to the Lewis hoard.’ In a closely similar comment, National Museums Scotland said it ‘did not seek to acquire the Sotheby's chess piece because it cannot [prove] beyond reasonable doubt either its authenticity or its connection to the Lewis hoard or to Scotland. A considerable programme of research would be required to establish its date, place of origin and provenance.’
Who made the newly revealed chess piece, when and where? We don’t know. But what its resurfacing has drawn attention to, is that such questions cannot be answered with complete confidence about the great hoard either. As a prehistorian, used to dealing with often extremely difficult and thin evidence, it seems to me that more research is needed – and not just of the ivory pieces, but in the Outer Hebrides too. The game is far from over.

Photo above and at top Society of Antiquaries, others Sotheby’s.

H sapiens in Europe 150,000 Years Earlier than Thought


Rainer Grün FSA and Chris Stringer FSA are among 12 authors who have a controversial view of two human skulls excavated in Apidima Cave in southern Greece in 1978. Modern humans evolved in Africa some 300,000 years ago. It is thought successful colonisation by Homo sapiens outside Africa did not occur until 60,000 years ago in Asia, and 40,000 years ago in Europe. The new study challenges this story.
On 10 July a team led by Katerina Harvati and working in England, Germany, Greece and Australia, described their analysis of the shapes of the Apidima crania in Nature. Both skulls had previously been dated to at least 160,000 years ago on geological evidence, but they had no archaeological context, having been found wedged into a high crevice. One of the skulls had been described as an early Neanderthal, and the other, a smaller fragment still partly embedded in rock, had been assumed to be from the same species; as the scientists were completing their new study, they heard of another, by French archaeologist Marie Antoinette de Lumley, which proposed the two skulls represented a form part-way between Neanderthal and modern humans.
However, after a sophisticated computed tomography and statistical study of the skulls’ shapes, Harvati and her colleagues felt the crania were sufficiently different to be from two species. They submitted a draft paper, says Stringer in a commentary he Tweeted on 10 July (@ChrisStringer65), and reviewers objected that a modern human fossil sat oddly with an early Neanderthal. They couldn’t disagree, and made a new attempt at dating the skulls.
Uranium-series dating by Grün showed the skulls were indeed of different ages (they were already old, and one more so than the other, when entombed in the rock). The surprise, and the difficulty for some observers, was that while the confirmed Neanderthal skull came in at a reasonable 170,000 years old, the other, now identified as a modern human, was even older – at 210,000 years. ‘If this interpretation is correct,’ the team write in Nature, ‘it documents – to our knowledge – the earliest known presence of Homo sapiens in Eurasia, which indicates that early modern humans dispersed out of Africa starting much earlier, and reaching much further, than previously thought.’
‘As with any challenging new find,’ comments Stringer, ‘the appropriate initial reaction should be a healthy scepticism, even when my own name is on the paper.’ Writing in the Guardian (10 July), Ian Sample found three archaeologists – Juan Luis Arsuaga (Madrid), John Hawks (Wisconsin–Madison) and Warren Sharp (Berkeley) – who wanted more evidence before being convinced. Nonetheless, Stringer goes on to say, both the indication of a ‘high and rounded back to [one] skull that is typical only of H sapiens’, and the dating, seem robust. ‘If these latest analyses are correct,’ he adds, ‘H sapiens entered Europe over 150,000 years earlier than we thought, raising a whole new range of questions and possibilities, including where they came from, and what happened to them.’

The photos (Nature) show the skulls as found (left) and after removal of solidified sedimentary matrix (right).

Butser Ancient Farm and UCL in New Partnership


In a significant moment for experimental archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology has announced (15 July) that from September its annual Prim Tech Course will be based at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire. The course and the farm have both pioneered areas of experimental archaeology and teaching, and both were launched by Fellows.

Butser Ancient Farm was the idea of a Research Committee on Ancient Agriculture run by the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Council for British Archaeology. Many senior archaeologists and geographers were involved, among them Peter Grimes FSA, C W Phillips FSA, Stuart Piggott FSA, Christopher Hawkes FSA, Peter Fowler FSA, John Collis FSA, Alan Aberg FSA, Colin Bowen FSDA, John Coles FSA, Barry Cunliffe FSA, Jane Renfrew FSA. They produced a detailed, budgeted proposal (‘The man-in-charge should be an archaeologist with farming knowledge and interests and, preferably, a scientific training’) and the late Peter Reynolds FSA got the job.
‘Butser Ancient Farm was set up in 1972 specifically as a programme for research and education,’ Reynolds wrote in 1999. He was particularly interested in Iron Age and Roman archaeology. The idea was to introduce real-world data into what Reynolds considered to be often ill-informed academic debates about the agricultural and domestic economy of the years between 400 BC and AD 400. He would do this in three ways: consider recently recorded and existing practices of non-industrial farming; experiment with rare breeds of crops and stock (back-breeding pigs produced cute-looking Celtic beasts that could be too vicious to handle); and use the evidence of excavations as a starting point for creating buildings and below-ground structures.
Over the years, a rickety roundhouse and a garden plot grew into a farm and a small village located in picturesque Hampshire downland, with buildings ranging from Neolithic to Anglo-Saxon, and a long public open season, school visits, lecture tours, workshops, a Warrior Camp and a gift shop; the site is run today as a community interest company. A notable addition was a Roman villa, built in 2003 for a Discovery Channel TV documentary advised enthusiastically by the late Dai Morgan Evans FSA. The villa needs renovating, and a project to raise £100,000 for the purpose was launched in 2017.
Prim Tech (Primary Technologies), partly inspired by Butser, was founded by the late Peter Drewett FSA in 1982 on some land he owned in West Sussex. Every year since it has introduced new undergraduate students to the basic elements of technology, crafts and skills – making stone tools, extracting copper from ore, making and firing clay pots, processing crops to make bread, and learning about constructing ancient buildings. Participants have been encouraged to approach these activities in a questioning way, thinking about how archaeologists understand the past. Run by senior students, the gathering rapidly became a social occasion for freshers to get to know each other and staff, and find their feet.
‘Butser Ancient Farm has pioneered experimental archaeology and presenting prehistory to schools and the public in the UK,’ Matt Pope FSA tells me. ‘A key aspiration of this collaboration will be to work with Butser’s archaeologist Claire Walton and the Directors to develop new programmes of relevant and rigorous experimental archaeological research.’
‘For us this signals a new chapter in the farm's development,’ said Maureen Page, Director of Butser Ancient Farm, in a statement. ‘We value this collaboration as it will enhance our ability to promote current research and encourage the enthusiasm of new archaeologists, enabling us to bring this knowledge and understanding to a wide and varied audience.’
Sue Hamilton FSA, Director of UCL Institute of Archaeology, looked forward to ‘investigating “primary technologies” to better elucidate the past and provide more alternatives for sustaining present-day environments and resources.’ ‘The common ethos and interests of the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Butser Ancient Farm’, she added, ‘make this a compelling partnership.’
• Many Fellows will have worked on either or both of these schemes. If you have pictures or memories to share, especially of the early years, please send them to Salon, and I’ll compile a feature of ancient memorabilia.

One of the farm’s more remarkable records – indeed, an extraordinary piece of TV archaeology by any definition – can be seen on YouTube. In 1984, a 12-year-old Ben Affleck visited Butser, '60 miles south-west of London, England,' for an American educational programme. He interviewed Peter Reynolds, who showed him around the farm.
‘It’s called daub,’ answers Reynolds, feeling the wall of an Iron Age house.
‘Darb?’ says Affleck.
‘Daub,’ says Reynolds, ‘D-A-U-B.’
‘Oh, darb.’ And Affleck is soon shovelling, and standing in, goat dung.
‘Remember,’ says Reynolds, ‘the archaeological data is the key to everything.’ Somehow Time Team with Ben Affleck never happened.
Photos Butser Ancient Farm.

Fellows (and Friends)

Shortly before this Salon was due to go out, we heard of the death of two Fellows. Appreciations will appear in a future edition:
Simon Bendall FSA, antique coin specialist who worked for dealers in London and Los Angeles, amateur archaeologist and collector, has died.  
Aoi (‘Leo’) Hosoya FSA, archaeobotanist who studied in Cambridge and worked mostly in East Asia, with a succession of posts in Kyoto, died on 10 July aged 51.

The Times has published an obituary of the late Sharon Cather FSA, who died in June, under the headline, ‘Cat-loving Californian conservationist of wall paintings from England to China who was unafraid of speaking her mind’ (July 9).

At first sight Walking Where We Lived might look at home in a British bookshop among local history titles and family memoirs. It tells the story of six generations of a family adapting to rapid changes in technologies and social values brought about by developments in the wider world, enlivened with old snapshots and wise quotes from Grandam. But it is more than this. Published in 1998 and set in the Californian Sierra Nevada, the book is a memoir of a North Fork Mono Indian family (Nim) shaken by harsh colonial European interventions, from the Gold Rush and missionaries to the establishment of a modern National Forest. Its author, Gaylen D Lee, was a descendant of tradition leaders of the Nim's Eagle clan, and an upholsterer and life-time champion of his family's culture. On 6 July he died from gunshot wounds, aged 69 or 70; police arrested a man whose residence contained marijuana plants and a hashish workshop. The photo shows Gaylen Lee demonstrating bow-making at the Sierra Mono Museum in 2016. An anthropologist reviewing Walking Where We Lived called it an ‘innovative … tour de force’.

‘By the way’, opined the Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist, which was edited by John Romilly Allen FSA, in 1898, ‘we believe that Professor Flinders Petrie is not a Fellow, either of the common or garden or honorary, of the Society of Antiques of London. Would not this august body be paying itself a delicate compliment by acknowledging the claims of the most able living English Egyptologists in such way as lies in its power?’ (The Society never did.) UCL, which today runs the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, is asking itself a similar question, but the other way round. Should it be dishonouring Petrie by removing his name from public places? Robin McKie reported in the Observer (13 July) that ‘A committee of inquiry has been set up by UCL to probe … links with eugenic causes and to consider if buildings, lecture theatres and libraries named after them should be re-titled.’ Those being investigated include Francis Galton, Marie Stopes, Karl Pearson and Petrie, all ‘committed eugenicists who believed there were superior races of humans who should be allowed to breed more freely than those from inferior races.’ Detail of portrait by Philip Alexius de Laszlo, 1934 (Wikimedia).

Two Fellows signed letters that were published in the Times on 12 July. John Clark FSA, Curator Emeritus, Museum of London, addressed a leader on folk tales. This had praised a plan to record readings of eight ‘British folk tales’ for a podcast series (one, The Tale of Kathleen, is actually from Ireland), selected by Carolyne Larrington, who teaches medieval English literature at St John’s College, Oxford. The Green Children of Woolpit, writes Clark, ‘is not a folk tale. The strange and sudden appearance of two “Green Children” in the village of Woolpit, Suffolk, was reported, as a matter of fact, by two reputable historians at the end of the 12th century. The tale was then apparently forgotten until one of the historian’s works appeared for the first time in print late in the 16th century.’ It went on to be debated, read and rewritten until returning to Woolpit in local guidebooks and being picked up for oral transmission. ‘I’ve told it to several dozen people myself,’ says Clark, ‘which proves it! It has inspired novels, poetry, plays, music and a children’s opera.’ Photo Rod Bacon/Geograph.
On the same Letters page, Dan Cruickshank and Sir Charles Saumarez Smith FSA expressed their ‘increasing dismay [over] the failure of our heritage authorities to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Britain’s oldest manufacturing operation, responsible for casting the bells of St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and the Liberty Bell. The present proposal to turn it into a boutique hotel with a bar in the old foundry and a swimming pool overlooking the local mosque is bizarrely supported by Historic England.’ In a brief statement on 1 March, HE said they were ‘supportive of the plans that the new owners of Whitechapel Bell Foundry have submitted. They are creative and sensitive in conserving the Georgian parts of the site and preserve the spirit of the place.’ Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive, Historic England, responded to the letter on 15 July. The proposals, he writes, ‘have been misrepresented by those arguing for the alternative scheme. The plans of the new owners, Raycliff, are closer to the Whitechapel legacy of bell-making. The Hughes family, who ran the foundry from 1904 until it closed (as it was uneconomic to continue) has supported the Westley Group to continue production of small bells in the Old Foundry, and larger bells elsewhere. These plans, being considered by Tower Hamlets, are creative, sensitive, and respectful of the historic buildings, as well as allowing public access.’ Photo Derek Kendall, HE Archive.

In 2013 archaeologists launched a research project to study evidence for early hunter-gatherers on the upper reaches of the River Dee. The location is not one where they would normally expect to find Mesolithic people, near Britain's second highest peak and where, 8,000 years ago, there were permanent snowfields in the area and possibly even glaciers. Yet fieldwalking and small excavations found pits, artefacts and charcoal from fires, ranging in age from at least 8100 BC to 3800 BC, the latter a time when elsewhere in the UK hunter-gatherers seem to have ceded to immigrant farmers. Led by Graeme Warren FSA of University College Dublin, and working with the University of Aberdeen, the University of Stirling and the National Trust for Scotland, archaeologists have returned to the Cairngorms. ‘These landscapes are resource rich’, Warren tells the Scotsman (11 July), ‘so they have good fishing available with the salmon on the Dee and there may have been large mammals to hunt. You have the River Dee running through the Lairig Ghru, and the Geldie Burn is a very significant east to west route. People were moving around using these routes.’ Photo NTS.

The London Topographical Society has published London Bridge and its Houses, c.1209–1761 by Dorian Gerhold FSA. The bridge, writes Gerhold, was one of London’s most famous structures, and home to over 500 people. ‘The book is based on newly-discovered evidence, including dimensions, which makes it possible for the first time to describe the houses on the bridge and their occupants, and how they changed during five centuries. It also makes it possible to reconstruct the plan of the bridge in the 17th century, and then to trace the house plots back in time to the earliest survey, of 1358, and to recover the original plan. New light is shed on the architecture of the bridge houses, including one of England’s earliest classical facades, at Nonsuch House of 1577–79. Contemporary views are supplemented by specially-commissioned reconstructions.’

Novelist Ali Smith has chosen Red Thread by Charlotte Higgins FSA as her ‘book that changed my summer’ for Penguin’s website. ‘I read it on the balcony of a hotel in Rome’, Smith writes of a ‘masterwork’, ‘overlooking two ancient temples and the church that features the old open Mouth of Truth in its entrance, and it was as if the city itself opened playfully and thoughtfully around the reading experience in its amalgam of pasts and presents, histories and mysteries.’
SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society convened a meeting on 3 July in the Houses of Parliament, to discuss the future of Richmond House, a Grade II* listed building designed by the late Sir William Whitfield in 1988. All but the entrance façade is to be demolished, under current plans, to create space for a new temporary home for MPs when they vacate the Palace of Westminster for urgent renewal and repairs. ‘Richmond House is not a compromise between Modernism and history,’ said Alan Powers FSA, ‘but a very clever hybrid that encompasses both and gives visual pleasure at every point, while demonstrating integrity of materials and construction. It represents the best aspects of the 1980s awareness of historic context.’ Several alternatives have been rejected: SAVE lists eight potential sites within walking distance of the Palace.
Australian Gold and Silversmiths Marks From the Records of the Sydney Hall Mark Co and the Commonwealth of Australia Hall Mark Co, 1923 to 1928 is by Jolyon Warwick James FSA, who says it covers material that has never been published before and is not accessible anywhere else. The archive described consists of 43 registration forms, some loose correspondence, and (each in its own envelope) 20 silver plates on which are stamped the maker’s marks. The illuminating correspondence includes a formal letter to the Commonwealth statistician outlining the Company’s background, formation, name change and marking system. A lengthy letter from the deputy Assay Master details operations and there is also a highly informative annual report of 1924. There has been an overall attempt to reproduce as much of the material as possible in its original size and form. While not a facsimile, this publication retains the mood of the original ledger and its contents.

In the last Salon I wrote about an unusual amount of archaeology programming on BBC Radio 4. No sooner had Salon gone out than something remarkable happened, again on Radio 4. On 9 July Hartwig Fischer FSA was the last person to be interviewed on the Today programme (5 minutes before the end), talking about the British Museum’s part in returning some stolen artefacts to Afghanistan. The next programme was The Life Scientific, on which Turi King FSA discussed with Jim Al-Khalili how she used ancient DNA to seal the case for a skeleton excavated in Leicester as being that of Richard III. And finally came Book of the Week: the first of five daily readings from The Fens: Discovering England's Ancient Depths, by Francis Pryor FSA. Three archaeologies, three Fellow, in a row. In his latest book, Pryor tells an autobiographical story of the landscapes where he has spent most of his life, excavating and farming, and of what archaeology has done for an understanding of the ancient worlds buried in the silts and peats inland from the Wash. ‘In 1981,’ the second reading opened, ‘I persuaded Geoff Wainwright [FSA], the Chief Archaeologist of English Heritage, that it would be a good idea if we could be allowed a small sum of money to do a pilot season of dyke surveys out in the open Fens … I was on the lookout for the right spot.’ He concludes in reflective mood, contemplating a fenland slipping away: ‘we can only guess how and when the truly catastrophic, irreversible flood will happen,’ he writes, adding, ‘I am in no doubt whatsoever: it’s a firm “when”’.

On 3 July the Sentencing Council published new guidelines, writes Mark Harrison FSA, Head of Heritage Crime Strategy for Historic England, that will see the courts take full account of the harm caused by offences such as arson attacks on historic buildings or criminal damage leading to severe disruption of public services. ‘These offences have a detrimental impact on both the historic property or site, and the local community in which it is located,’ says Harrison. 'The new guidelines will help the courts identify all the relevant factors to include in their sentencing decisions. They will also aid Historic England’s work with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service when cases involve damage caused to heritage or cultural assets.’
The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge has published a tribute to Martin Jones FSA. Edited by Emma Lightfoot, Xinyi Liu and Dorian Q Fuller FSA, Far from the Hearth: Essays in Honour of Martin K Jones is inspired by a man, says the blurb, ‘whose research over the last four decades has exemplified the potential of archaeology, archaeological science and their cognate disciplines to address central questions about food and human nature.’ Graeme Barker FSA, Terry Brown FSA, Christine A Hastorf FSA, Christopher O Hunt FSA and Marie Louise Stig Sørensen FSA are among authors of 17 papers, and James H. Barrett FSA contributes a Foreword. Themes covered are the development of archaeobotany and biomolecular archaeology, the archaeology of food from evolutionary perspectives, and recent research on food globalisation in prehistory.
Doggerland, the submerged ancient landscape beneath the North Sea so named by Bryony Coles FSA and the subject of current research by, among others, Vince Gaffney FSA with Europe's Lost Frontiers project, has not only an excellent new reflective memoir by Julia Smith in Time Song: Searching for Doggerland, but also a folk duo. Doggerland are Norway-based Englishman Richard Burgess and Swede Anders Ådin, ‘a meeting’, says their website, ’between English and Scandinavian folk music, between powerful singing and delicate guitar playing, between concertina and hurdygurdy’. They adopted their name from that of their first album (2005), ‘a very persuasive collection’ (Folk Roots).
Wayne D Cocroft FSA and John Schofield FSA have written Archaeology of The Teufelsberg: Exploring Western Electronic Intelligence Gathering in Cold War Berlin. During the Cold War, West Berlin lay far behind the Iron Curtain surrounded by communist East Germany. One of the West’s most important electronic listening and intelligence gathering posts, with British and American staff, sat high on the Teufelsberg, an artificial hill of wartime rubble. Its white radomes rising above the wooded hill have been a prominent city landmark since the early 1960s. The Teufelsberg is today a spectacular ruin, says the blurb, ‘a significant relic of a lost cyberspace of Cold War electronic emissions and espionage.’ With archaeological fieldwork and recently declassified documents, Cocroft and Schofield present a new history of Western intelligence gathering sites in Berlin, raising questions ‘that appear both important and timely’.

Memorials to Fellows 

‘I'm not sure if this one has already been featured’, writes Stuart Harrison FSA, Cathedral Archaeologist at York Minster. I don’t think it has, so here is the memorial to Francis Drake FSA, historian of the minster and city of York in the 1730s.

‘It's in the so-called “priest's room” above the north choir aisle vault of St Mary's church in Beverley,’ writes Harrison. ‘It was obviously removed from its original setting to preserve it and now resides in relative obscurity. Drake persuaded the Dean and Chapter to dig up the floor of the minster nave and find the burial place of St William of York when it was being repaved. The great reused Roman sarcophagus in which William was buried was duly located and then opened, documented with its contents and then reburied. It re-emerged in the excavations undertaken in 1968–72, and can now be seen in the western crypt of the minster.’
Harrison’s photos show the memorial stone and an adjacent notice with a translation of its Latin inscription.
Francis Drake (1696–1771), says the Dictionary of National Biography, was appointed by the corporation of York in 1727 to be the city surgeon, ‘an office of little profit but of considerable local importance’. He used his position to good effect, pursuing an interest in 'history and antiquity’, as he wrote in the preface to Eboracum (1736), that since his childhood ‘were always my chiefest tast.' ‘A sturdy Jacobite in politics,’ adds the DNB, ‘he could not always disguise his opinions even in the sober pages of his history.’

The Wisdom of Fellows 

A small correction to a piece in the last Salon by Alison Stones FSA, who wrote about Viollet le Duc’s copper figures, which escaped the fire at Notre Dame by days. We claimed that specialist restorer Marie-Dominique Ceaux had estimated it would take two years to treat each statue. That should have been a more cheerful two months.

Summer Closure

The Society apartments and library will be closed from Monday 29 July to Monday 2 September.

Forthcoming Events for Fellows

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by visiting our YouTube Channel.

Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins, Communications Manager (

Forthcoming Public Events

Conferences and Seminars

  • 19 July: Research Showcase: Elements You are invited to join us for an engaging afternoon and evening event, providing our grant recipients the opportunity to present their work at Burlington House through table-top displays, talks and interactive workshops.
  • 21 September: Open House London Join us for Open House London. We participate in this city-wide event every year, welcoming visitors into our apartments in Burlington House to learn about the architecture. 
  • 25 October: Postgraduate Open Day Spend the day learning about our collections and resources that can help you with your research. Hear from Fellows of the Society who are experts in their fields. Network with other postgraduate students and early-career researchers. Spend time in the Library, exploring our collections.
  • 26 October: New Researchers Conference This conference is on the history of collecting and the role of the antiquary. The conference is part of our public outreach programme with a specific focus on engaging with ‘new’ researchers, postgraduate and early career academics. Key note speaker: Professor Arthur McGregor FSA
  • 1 November: Publishing The Staffordshire Treasure: Impacts and Implications, organised by Prof Leslie Webster FSA, Dr Sam Lucy FSA & Dr Tania Dickinson FSA 
  • 29 November: Respect and Protect: fulfilling the obligation to safeguard cultural property in the military context organised by Dr Clive Cheesman FSA (College of Arms) & Dr Helen Forde FSA

Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Please see bulletin above regarding potential upcoming activities. You can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.

Welsh Fellows

The Welsh Regional Fellows’ Group of the Society is holding a one-day symposium on Raglan Castle, Gwent (Monmouthshire), in the Beaufort Arms, Raglan.

The meeting is being organized in honour of the late Rick Turner OBE, FSA, formerly of CADW, who died in June 2018. It will report on a new project of research into the castle and grounds of the exceptional very late medieval and Renaissance-period castle at Raglan and its role as a cultural and political centre, which Rick himself had been involved in planning.

We shall have a programme of papers and reports from leading specialists in the field from 9.45 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and propose to discuss future prospects for research and publication, including the aspiration to bring together a comprehensive volume of the scope and quality of Rick Turner’s own co-edited volume on Chepstow Castle (with Andy Johnson, Logaston Press, 2006). The cost for the day will include coffee/tea morning and afternoon and a buffet lunch. You can book tickets through the Society website here

Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.

York Fellows

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.

Reduced Library Services 

Temporary reduced library services

The Society has recruited two new staff members in the library, they will take up their appointments in July. We are still operating with reduced library services which is expected to continue until October.
Research visits: Research visits by Fellows will continue as usual during the Library’s normal opening times (Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm). Fellows wishing to consult material that needs retrieving by staff (manuscripts, archives, prints and drawings, and printed items on closed access) are asked to order material in advance.
External researcher visits will be limited to no more than 2 researchers per day and will be strictly by appointment only. Our Guidelines for Researchers give information on how to make an appointment.
Image services: Our image services are suspended, and we will not be accepting requests for images and licences from the library and museum collections.
This does not affect the photocopying service.
Other library services to Fellows will operate as normal (book loans and electronic resources service)
Please check our website at for dates of planned closures.

Other Heritage Events

17 July: Translating Becket: New Themes, New Meanings in the Life and Afterlife of St Thomas of Canterbury 1170-2020 (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. The talk by Nicholas Vincent FSA will follow the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. He has published widely on English and European history in the 12th and 13th centuries, most recently on King John and Magna Carta. This lecture anticipates the 850th anniversary of Becket’s martyrdom next year and will be accompanied by a display of manuscripts from the Library’s collections. Details from or 020 7898 1400.

22–25 July: The Medieval Book as Object, Idea and Symbol (Harlaxton)
The 2019 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium 2019, convened by Julian Luxford FSA, will address books as cultural artefacts, ie objects that are recognised and understood in particular ways and defined according to given criteria. Why, for example, is ‘book’ generally equated with ‘codex’ to the exclusion of single-sheet documents (OE boc, bec), rolls and fascicles? On what grounds are major distinctions drawn between ‘library’ books and ‘non-library’ books? Why, historically, did books and rolls signify differently? While many papers will have a later medieval focus, earlier material will also be included, and the object domain is not restricted to Britain. Lucy Freeman Sandler FSA will give the inaugural lecture in memory of Pamela Tudor-Craig FSA, on 'It’s an open book: Archbishop Thomas Arundel's copy of the gospel commentary of William of Nottingham'. Other speakers include Jessica Barker FSA, Alixe Bovey FSA, Clive Burgess FSA, Brian Cummings FSA, Elizabeth Danbury FSA, Tony Edwards FSA, Vincent Gillespie FSA, Sandy Heslop FSA, Nigel Ramsay FSA, Kathryn Smith FSA and Jenny Stratford FSA. Contact Christian Steer FSA, or find details online.
29 July: ‘The Great Joss and his Playthings’: George IV as a Print Collector (London)
Kate Heard, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

19–23 August: Prehistoric Skills Camp (Tylwch, Llanidloes)
A week of experimental archaeology will feature in the Wilderness Trust’s and Cambrian Archaeological Projects’ first summer camp, with sessions on bone and antler working, flint knapping and hafting, fish and deer skin tanning, bronze casting, Neolithic pottery making and turf-kiln firing, building a Neolithic house, cordage and nets, prehistoric rock art and painting. Contact Kevin Blockley FSA at Details online.
14 September: Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians (d 911) and his Deerhurst Connections (Deerhurst)
Barbara Yorke FSA will give the Annual Deerhurst Lecture in St Mary's Church, Deerhurst, Gloucestershire. Details online.
18 September: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce recent guidance to PX, and review the essential components of assessment and updated project design. In the afternoon we will review examples from current practice and consider how far they meet their purpose and justify funding decisions. The course is designed for those in supervisory, junior management or specialist roles who will be compiling and contributing to PX assessments, and those in consultancy and curatorial roles who commission and evaluate them. Course Director: Leo Webley, Head of Post-Excavation, Oxford Archaeology South. Tutors: Edward Biddulph, Senior Project Manager and Roman pottery specialist, Oxford Archaeology South; Sarah Wyles, Senior Environmental Officer, Cotswold Archaeology. Details online.

21 September: Church Monuments Study Day (London)
The Church Monuments Society will celebrate its 40th birthday and AGM with a day of free lectures at the St Alban’s Centre, Holborn. Speakers include Roger Bowdler FSA, David Carrington FSA and Adam White FSA. Details online.
21 September: Suffolk by the Sea (Southwold)
The 5th Wheeler Conference of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History will consider the impact of the coast on Suffolk’s heritage from prehistory to medieval times. Topics include exploring Doggerland, crossing the North Sea and Scandinavian ships, Medieval trade, underwater archaeology at Dunwich, and Southwold museum (Museum of the Year 2017). Speakers include Brian Ayers FSA, Paul Constantine, Vince Gaffney FSA, David Sear and Simon Loftus. Details online.
25–27 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. Significance assessment is a key part of management and of development within the historic environment. This course will introduce the process, show you what is involved in preparing assessments of significance, teach you how to read and judge such assessments, and explore the ways in which they can be used. Open to all, but of particular interest to heritage asset managers and advisers, planners, historic environment professionals and architects, surveyors and others who do not specialise in heritage but may need to understand assessments and their value in guiding change. Course Director: Stephen Bond, Director of Heritage Places and joint author of Managing Built Heritage. Course Co-Director: Henry Russell, Course Director of the programme in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Reading University. Details online.

27 September: Maritime Archaeology (Chatham)
This will be Chatham Historic Dockyard’s first course, with three morning talks covering themes on the history and work of the dockyard at Chatham, the built heritage and conservation of maritime architecture at Portsmouth dockyard, and marine archaeology across east Kent. Lunch will be provided, followed by a guided tour of the dockyard, introduced by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and led by Peter Kendall FSA of Historic England. Details online.
28 September: ‘Embroidered with Dust and Mortar’: Women and Architecture 1660–1840 (London)
The Georgian Group presents a symposium at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, exploring how women contributed to and interacted with architecture between 1660 and 1840. Drawing on recent research, the symposium will reassess, and throw new light upon, female architectural achievement and the significance this has upon our understanding of architecture from this period. Speakers include Sue Berry FSA, Caroline Stanford FSA and Rosemary Baird Andreae FSA. Details online.

30 September: ‘The Aura of Popularity’: The Rise and Fall of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in the Nineteenth-Century British Art Market (London)
Isabelle Kent, Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

5 October: One Thousand Years of Ceramic Innovation (London)
This conference organised by the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology and the Medieval Pottery Research Group, will focus on a wide range of technological, stylistic and functional advances in ceramics that have taken place from medieval times to the present. These are manifested in innovative developments in methods of manufacture, ceramic fabrics, new and increasingly specialised forms, decorative styles and techniques, and their collective effect on the place and role of ceramics within society. The conference will bring together speakers covering a diversity of topics, and will also offer opportunities to visit the Museum of London’s Ceramics and Glass Collection. Details from Lorraine Mepham FSA, at or 01722 326867, and online.
5 October: Walking Tour of Churches (Stamford)
The Church Monuments Society continues its series of Walking Tours with a visit to medieval churches in Stamford, Lincolnshire, with a galaxy of monuments from all periods. Not for the faint-hearted, we shall be visiting five churches in five hours, each with a good 20–30 minute walk between, so please wear suitable shoes. Details online.
10 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The course will be of interest to all those who are currently (or hope to be) involved in the commissioning or production of desk-based assessments. It is targeted towards new entrants to the profession and those who would like to develop skills in this area. Course Directors: Jill Hind (formerly Senior Project Mgr Oxford Archaeology) and Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger, County Archaeologist for Wiltshire. Details online.

28 October: Architectural Salvage from Cairo to London: The Pivotal Role of the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 (London)
Moya Carey, Curator of Islamic Collections, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and Mercedes Volait, Research Professor at CNRS, based at InVisu, INHA, Paris, speak in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

29 October: Fire: Friend or Fiend in Human History? (Bournemouth)
The Third Annual Pitt Rivers Lecture at Bournemouth University will be given by the internationally renowned anthropologist Ruth Tringham (University of California at Berkeley). She will explore how archaeologists can and do act as arson investigators centuries or millennia after the event, focusing on the burned houses of Neolithic Southeast Europe, and earlier examples in Neolithic Anatolia (Çatalhöyük, Turkey), in order to consider how fire has been managed and controlled, and why fire is chosen as a means of destroying places, urban or rural, public or domestic. Details online.
31 October: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce the standard types of published reports currently produced by archaeologists, and how the scope and content of a report is planned. The course will then focus on two key components, the stratigraphic narrative and the discussion, and the most effective and successful ways of approaching the planning, writing and illustration of these. This will include a critical review of a number of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements that apply to writing in a professional and academic context. The course will involve some preparatory reading before the training day. Course Director: Elizabeth Popescu, Post-Excavation and Publications Manager, Oxford Archaeology East. Details online.

9 November: Sunrise Over the Stones: Recent Research into Neolithic and Chalcolithic Wessex (Bournemouth)
The CBA Wessex 2019 Annual Conference will be held at Bournemouth University. Roland Smith FSA will give the welcome address, and other speakers include Tim Darvill FSA, Mike Parker Pearson FSA, Josh Pollard FSA, Julian Richards FSA, Miles Russell FSA, Alison Sheridan FSA and Ann Woodward FSA. Details online.
14–15 November: Collecting and Collections: Digital Lives and Afterlives Workshop (London)
The Collective Wisdom project, funded by an AHRC International Networking Grant, explores how and why members of the Royal Society, the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Leopoldina (in Halle, Germany) collected specimens of the natural world, art, and archaeology in the 17th and 18th centuries. Three international workshops at Carlton House Terrace will analyse the connections between these scholarly organisations, natural philosophy, and antiquarianism, and to what extent these networks shaped the formation of early museums and their categorisation of knowledge. Details online.
15 November: Curating Decay (Waltham Abbey)
This will be Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills’ first course, with three morning talks covering a range of issues in the management of vulnerable heritage sites, and reimagining how we might adopt an ethical stance that allows us to collaborate with natural processes and decay, rather than fighting against them. Lunch will be provided, followed by a chance to visit the Royal Gunpowder Mills exhibition and a guided tour of the site led by Wayne Cocroft FSA. Details online.
25 November: A ‘Fauve de la Curiosité’: The Hybrid Career of Edouard Jonas (1883-1961), Dealer and Curator (London)
Barbara Lasic, Lecturer in History of Art and Coordinator of Postgraduate Programmes, University of Buckingham, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

27–29 November: Art of the Lost Conference (Canterbury)
Over three days curators, conservators, scientists, historians, archaeologists and artists from the UK, Europe and the USA will gather at Canterbury Cathedral and look at how, and why art is defaced, destroyed or lost within architectural settings. With a particular focus on art within the context of cathedrals and other places of worship, the conference considers changing ideologies, iconoclasm, war, fashion and symbolism. It will discuss art from the sixth century to the present. Delegates will have exclusive access to the Cathedral’s collections, with behind-the-scene tours of conservation in action, and wall paintings and graffiti. Speakers include Gerry Alabone FSA, Paul Bennett FSA, Kate Giles FSA, Tessa Murdoch FSA, Sandy Nairne FSA and David Rundle FSA. Details online.

27–29 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
A short course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is a practical workshop carefully designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called upon to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. It will present the terms of procedure, the roles of the participants and the general feel of a Public Inquiry. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study. Training for potential witnesses will be given in how to prepare evidence for a Public Inquiry, how to produce proofs of evidence, and to experience them being given and tested under realistic conditions. You will be allocated a role to play in the Inquiry and asked to prepare a proof of evidence to fit this role. Active participation limited to 14 participants. There will also be a limited number of places available for observers. Course Directors: Roger M Thomas, Barrister and Archaeologist; George Lambrick, Independent Archaeology and Heritage Consultant. Planning Inspector: Richard Tamplin. Advocates: David Woolley QC and Allan Ledden, Solicitor. Details online.


Heritage Lincolnshire seeks a new Chief Executive. Final closing date for applications 21 July.
Heritage Lincolnshire operates across the historical county to advance the education of the public in all matters relating to Lincolnshire’s rich and diverse heritage, and to preserve and investigate that heritage for the benefit of local people and visitors to the county. The charity is at a key stage of its development, with significant opportunity for growth.
The new Chief Executive will be someone with the drive, initiative and enthusiasm to deliver the aims and objectives of their ambitious business plan. To be successful in the role you will ideally have broad heritage knowledge with a good overview of the sector, combined with a business-focused and commercial approach to understand and action how to best capitalise on opportunities. Some commercial experience would be an advantage. 
See online for details.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

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

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


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