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Salon: Issue 348
7 September 2015

Next issue: 21 September 2015

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. Like the intellectual salons of 18th- and 19th-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

Send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor (if you are reading this in an email, do not reply directly as we will not receive your message). 

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

From the Desk of the General Secretary

Welcome Back to Burlington House

We're re-opening Burlington House to Fellows and guests after our summer closing. We had a wonderful summer exhibition – Magna Carta Through the Ages received more than 14,000 visitors in the end (including educational workshops, special exhibition events, and general exhibition visitors), and people are still talking about it. Now, we are looking forward for our autumn programme of events. We hope you'll be joining us for a conference, Ordinary Meeting of Fellows or Public Lecture soon!

Fellows returning to Burlington House after the summer closure will notice some new display cases around the building. These are the display cases from the Magna Carta exhibition which we have utilised to show items from the library and museum collections. The displays in the Entrance Hall are of arms and armour,  and Roman pottery from the J. E. Price collection.  An 18th-century, Ethiopian illuminated roll (prayers, spells and religious text) is displayed in the Council Room. In the Library there is a display of silk paper and William Morris’s copy of Super tertium Senteniarum (Venice, 1475) – this is one of three incunabula owned by Morris now in the Society’s library, and it is this copy that Morris took to J. Bachelor as a guide for making paper for the Kelmscott Press.

Update From Kelmscott Manor - and a Message from the Prime Minister

Kelmscott Manor has had another amazing open season. It has won the International Travel Zoo Excellence Award, been highlighted as a favorite cultural getaway by popular designer Kirsty Ward, listed as reason no. 35 to 'Love the Cotswolds', and mentioned by The Telegraph as one of '50 Hidden Gems to Seek Out This Summer'. Visitors to the Manor this year have had several opportunities to participate in fun family workshops, attend public lectures, and see a wonderful new object on display: the children's cot quilt created by Jane and May Morris (the Society is currently fundraising to ensure this priceless national treasure can stay at Kelmscott Manor permanently). If you haven't yet visited the Manor this year, there's still time! The next public lecture at the Manor will be on Saturday, 26 September: 'Unravelling Miss Miss Lobb', by Simon Evans, National Library of Wales. And the Manor will remain open on Wednesdays and Saturdays until 31 October.

Kelmscott Manor is at forefront of the Society’s vision to become an outward-facing charity, engaging with and informing the public. We have received two grants from Heritage Lottery Fund (Catalyst and Transition) to help us explore how best to deliver this vision, in addition to the extraordinary support shown by the Fellowship and supporters of the Kelmscott Charity Auction. The momentum of this transformation has to be maintained through Kelmscott Manor, as it is our prime vehicle for delivering public benefit – as increasing visitor numbers demonstrate. However, our public audience has outgrown our visitor facilities and our limited activities, interpretation and displays. These need to be improved to provide a wider range of visitors with a deeper understanding of the Kelmscott that inspired William Morris.

The Manor now receives more than 20,000 visitors annually. Increased visitor demand has put unsustainable pressure on the site and is expected to escalate – for example, in 2014 we achieved a 24 per cent increase in visitors from 2010. Major repairs are now urgently needed, and these exceed our resources and the income generated from the visitor attraction. We have now submitted the first of a ‘two stage’ application to the Heritage Lottery Fund requesting stage one development funding to help us achieve the Society’s vision.

We have also received, just this past week, a letter of support for our HLF application from the Rt Hon David Cameron MP. He wrote:

'I am writing to support the Society of Antiquaries of London's application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a major grant for essential repairs and upgrades to the visitor facilities at Kelmscott Manor, which is in my constituency...I have no hesitation in supporting the funding application which is so important to Kelmscott Manor and the villagers in the surrounding rural area of my constituency.'

Read the full letter on our website.

William and Jane Morris Church Conservation Grant Awards

The Society was delighted to disburse funds (in May) to help in the conservation of three churches:
  • St. John the Baptist, Bishopstone (Wiltshire), involving the restoration and redisplay of some medieval window glass.
  • St. Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton (Oxfordshire), for the conservation of three alabaster and limestone tombs, of Richard and Anne Croft (d. 1502/09), Thomas and Elizabeth Rickardes (d. 1579/1604) and Revd. Edward Redrobe (d. 1720).
  • St. John the Baptist, Kingston Lisle (Oxfordshire), to conserve a series of 14th century wall paintings of St. Peter and St. Paul, and scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist, including his nemesis Salome.

17 September 2015: 'The Cultural Legacy of the Battle of Agincourt, 1415-2015' (Conference, Society of Antiquaries)

Tickets are still available for this full-day interdisciplinary conference, organised by Fellow Anne Curry. Tickets are £20 per person and can be booked online or by contacting our Executive Assistant (, 020 7479 7080). Details of the conference (including a full programme and booking details) are available at

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings

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

1 October 2015: ‘Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt’, by Dr Christian Liddy, Durham University

8 October 2015: SPECIAL MEETING IN YORK: ‘The Lost Twelfth-Century Choir of York Minster Reconstructed’, by Stuart Harrison, FSA. Please see the website for this out-of-London meeting.

15 October 2015: ‘William Worcester (1415-c.1480), Topographer and Antiquary’, by Nicholas Orme, FSA

Forthcoming Public Lectures

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

22 September: ‘The Dublin King: What Really Happened to "The Princes in the Tower"’, by John Ashdown-Hill, FSA
Unfortunately, this lecture is now fully booked. But we hope to post a recording after the event!

27 October 2015: ‘Agincourt: The Battle, Myth and Memory’, by Anne Curry, FSA
Unfortunately, this lecture is now fully booked. But we hope to post a recording after the event!

24 November 2015: ‘Folk Carols of England’, by Yvette Staelens, FSA
Places still available! Book now!

Society Dates to Remember: Mark Your Calendars

Open House London

Spread the word! We'll be participating in Open House London on 19 September, providing guided tours throughout the building and working with the other Burlington House societies to provide a full day of education and entertainment for Open House visitors. Details are on the website.

Forthcoming Closures

The Society's Library will be closed on Friday, 9 October for a special event: a Postgraduate Open Day to introduce student researchers to the wealth of resources available in our collection.

The Society will close for the Christmas holidays from 24 December 2015 to 1 January 2016 (inclusive).

Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows

The next in the Society’s regular series of introductory tours will take place on 29 October 2015, and three more are scheduled for the spring programme in 2016: 28 January, 24 March, 23 June.

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

Palmyra: Testing the World on Heritage Sites

While European politicians argue about refugees fleeing Syrian conflict, news from the ground has become doubly distressing for archaeologists. We learnt on August 18 that the 81-year-old Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad had been murdered by Islamic State (IS) militants. Over the next few days we were told that the retired Director of the Palmyra World Heritage Site and the city's museum had been held for over a month, during which he had been questioned about antiquities. His brutalised body was hung from a classical Palmyran column, it was said, with a board listing his demeanours, which included curating the ancient city’s ‘idols’.
In case we had missed the point, IS then began to wreck the archaeological site (having bulldozed an early Syrian monastery of Saint Elian a few days after al-Asaad’s death). On 23 August Palmyra’s Temple of Baal-Shamin, built in AD17 and converted into an early Christian church, was packed with explosives and destroyed. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, called the vandalism ‘a new war crime’. A week later we heard that the Temple of Bel had also been attacked. At first it appeared the damage may not have been extensive, but then we saw images showing its almost complete annihilation.
Maamoun Abdulkarim, the Syrian Director-General for Antiquities and Museums, said Palmyra was being systematically destroyed; IS was digging for antiquities to sell. ‘This is the start of the total loss of Palmyra in the coming days,’ he told western journalists. ‘The city is being raped.’
A few days later Maamoun Abdulkarim announced that IS had already destroyed the Kithot, Jamblique and Elhbel and funerary towers, built in AD 44, 83 and 103 respectively.
It is not just archaeologists who find this cultural destruction shocking. Julian Baggini, a British philosopher, explained in The Guardian ‘Why it's all right to be more horrified by the razing of Palmyra than mass murder.’ ‘We know that people matter much more than things,’ he wrote, ‘and yet it seems we can be more moved by cultural vandalism than cold-blooded murder.’ ‘If I had to choose,’ he concluded, ‘I’m sure I’d pull a person from a burning building before a Picasso. But that does not mean to care about the destruction of our heritage is to care about things more than we do people. Rather, it is to care about people as more than just biological things.’
The irony that IS’s destruction of history has focussed on a site that is not just beautiful, but is a symbol of free movement and varied cultures has not been lost on observers. ‘Painful though it is to say it,’ wrote Tim Whitmarsh (A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge) in The Guardian, ‘and unlikely though it is that its asinine followers realise it, Isis [IS] have chosen their target exceptionally well. The ancient city’s prosperity arose thanks to its citizens’ ability to trade with everyone, to integrate new populations, to take on board diverse cultural influences, to worship many gods without conflict.’
‘People feel instinctively that these buildings stand for something remarkable,’ wrote Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and a talked about future Prime Minister) in The Telegraph ‘– the willingness of one civilisation to learn from another, to adopt architectural styles, to blend, to merge – to enjoy and accept and build on the legacy of the past.’ He favoured military intervention. ‘We cannot let Isil [IS] destroy sites that are not only emblems of our civilisation, but which offer hope for the Syrian economy. If the Syrians are deprived of their past, they will have no future.’
‘When Khaled al-Asaad refused to flee the descent of Isis upon the ruins,’ wrote writer and classical historian Tom Holland in The Guardian, ‘he was making a statement that deserves long to be commemorated: that the fragile and romantic remains of the ancient city embody an ideal worth dying for.’
Jonathan Tubb FSA wrote an appreciation of Asaad in The Guardian. Italy’s museums flew flags at half mast in his honour. Obituaries appeared in The Independent, The Times (subscription needed), and The Telegraph.

The Curious Case of Bede’s Skull

Joanna Story FSA and Richard Bailey FSA have traced the complex and fascinating story of a newly discovered plaster cast of a skull said to have been the Venerable Bede’s. James Raine (1791–1858) excavated Bede’s grave in the Galilee chapel in Durham Cathedral in 1831, on the anniversary of the monk's death in 735 on 27 May (a similar trick was pulled off by Leicester University, which began its excavation in search of Richard III’s grave on the anniversary of the king’s funeral on 24 August). Before the bones’ reinterment, Raine took a mould of the upper part of the skull cavity; three casts were made. In 2001 a review concluded that ‘no visible trace of Bede’s body or his relics’ survived: but Story recently found one of the casts at the Duckworth Laboratory collection in the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Story and Bailey’s report follows the cast’s history, via ‘a thieving monk’ called Alfred Westou; the antiquarian asylum keeper John Thurnam; an evocative storage box; ‘aboriginal Britons’ and the ‘somewhat low grade of intellectual endowment and mental cultivation’ displayed by contrasting Anglo-Saxon skulls; Raine’s excavation (which they conclude probably did uncover Bede’s remains); a late Old English poem, De Situ Dunelmi; and a gilt ring. The saga ‘takes us to the heart of 19th-century ideas about race and the peopling of the British Isles in antiquity’, says Story. But is the cast really Bede? 'Whether or not it is actually Bede', she tells Salon, '(and the chances are very slim, though not impossible), the cast stands for the person who was Bede.'

‘The skull of Bede,’ by J. Story and R. N. Bailey, The Antiquaries Journal 95 (FirstView), pp 1–26, is free for all to view online until 31 December 2015, to coincide with the opening of an exhibition in Jarrow (see Forthcoming Heritage Events below) at Cambridge Journals.

Redeveloping the Royal Academy 

The Society’s grander (if younger…) neighbour the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), which has occupied the main north wing of Burlington House since 1867, celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2018. To mark this it has embarked on a major redevelopment project, creating new public areas for exhibitions and contemporary art projects, a double-height lecture theatre with over 260 seats, improved facilities for RA Friends and visitors, and more spaces for the RA Schools. A significant part of architect David Chipperfield’s scheme involves connecting Burlington House and 6 Burlington Gardens to the north, where the British Museum’s Department of Ethnography had its home until 2004, exhibiting as the Museum of Mankind between 1970 and 1997. The RA is already popular with London’s public, who flock to its popular shows. The changes promise to draw yet more people to Burlington House.

In late August the RA set up an open-air cinema in the courtyard for a weekend, and posted historic photos of the site, including that reproduced here. It shows the Duke of Gloucester inspecting a Guard of Honor of the Artists Rifles outside the Society’s doors in April 1933 (© RA). The Artists Rifles was (and is) largely what it sounds like – a creative regiment of painters, sculptors, engravers, musicians, architects and actors, swollen by lawyers and others. There are memorial stones for the two World Wars on the Burlington House portico, and you can see a Facebook tribute to the artists online.

TV: How to Do it 

In August Andrew Wallace-Hadrill FSA presented a two-part documentary on BBC2 called Building The Ancient City: Athens And Rome – an hour about the origins of urban democracy followed by an hour on the world’s ‘first ancient megacity’ (available on iPlayer to around the end of September). It was wonderful, with its interviews, readings, film locations (starting with a papyrus copy of Aristotle’s constitution of Athens in the British Library) and informed, enlightening narrative.
What is more the critics liked it, and in their slightly confused way made an important point. Wallace-Hadrill, they said, is no mere celebrity reader, but someone who knows what he’s talking about. ‘He may not look like one of life’s natural TV presenters (tweed jackets, badly cut grey hair, lived-in face) but he was quietly engaging,’ said The Telegraph of a charismatic man clearly experienced in public talking. ‘It was hard to feel anything but warmth’, said The Independent, ‘for the antithesis of the typical Oxbridge academic presenter.’ ‘So many rely on the gaping awe of a RADA graduate and background the information,’ felt The Guardian; a ‘mix of wonder, backed up with actual knowledge, is all I ever want from a documentary.’
The credits described Wallace-Hadrill as both presenter, and script and historical consultant (the director, Paul Elston, was credited as writer). Commissioning editors will have noticed. Perhaps they will have learnt. Academics, too, might learn from Wallace-Hadrill’s presenting skills.

The People of Mungo 

Message from Mungo, an award-winning film made over eight years and launched in 2014, was broadcast on National Indigenous Television (NITV) this August. Fellows in Australia who missed it can view it online; there is an evocative trailer on YouTube.
The film was made by Andrew Pike working with Ann McGrath from the Australian National University’s Centre for Indigenous History. Dealing with a much disputed subject which divided public and academics, it has been praised for its dignity, balance and insights. It tells the story, through the landscape and the words of those involved and affected, of ‘Mungo Lady’, one of three human remains finds made at Lake Mungo, New South Wales, between 1969 and 1974. All are culturally and archaeologically significant; Mungo Lady seems to be the world’s oldest yet known human cremation burial, made some 40,000 years ago.

In 1992 the remains were handed to the Three Traditional Tribal Groups, an Aboriginal alliance, and are kept in a safe which needs two keys – one owned by archaeologists, the other by the Elders. Discussion continues over the ‘repatriation' of 'Mungo Man', an inhumation of similar age to Mungo Lady; the remains currently reside at the Australian National University.
The discovery and debate involved many of Australia's leading archaeologists (John Mulvaney FSA speaks in an online clip), as the remains came to symbolise recent Australian history as much as ancient, with archaeologist Isabel McBryde playing a leading role in achieving resolution. So in part the film is a ‘candid record of some pioneer Australian archaeological researchers,’ says archaeologist Mary-Jane Mountain, and, in part, of ‘strong, articulate Aboriginal custodians and local land owners. All views’, continues Mountain, ‘come across as absolutely sincere recollections expressed without bitterness or rancour but with understandable frustration.’ 

John Piper's photos 

Many Fellows will enjoy leafing through John Piper’s previously unpublished photographic archive, which Tate has digitised and put online – especially as most of the shots, featuring buildings and landscapes but very few people, are baldly identified, if at all. To make the point, apparently inadvertently, Tate’s press pack was headed with a photo of Caerlaverock Castle, a great ruin near Dumfries now in the care of Historic Scotland, with the title, ‘Photograph of a ruin possibly near St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire’ (right).
Piper started taking the photos when he worked with John Betjeman on the Shell County Guides. While many of the places depicted were documented by him when Tate acquired the collection of nearly 6,000 black and white negatives in the 1980s, locations in nearly 1,000 of them remain to be identified. Tate is asking online visitors for help at a dedicated website.

Arthur the Brave 

In March Andrew Breeze FSA suggested that two early Christian martyrs, Aaron and Julius, were buried in Leicester. ‘Scholars have always known of three martyrs from Roman Britain because their names were mentioned in the 8th century by the Venerable Bede,’ he told the Leicester Mercury. ‘There is no real problem with St Alban, beheaded at what is now St Albans. According to Bede, Aaron and Julius died at “The City of the Legions”. Some writers claim that it was Caerleon, in South Wales.’ But David Dumville recently translated Gildas as saying the tombs were in a part of Britain conquered by Anglo-Saxons. ‘That would rule out Caerleon,’ said Breeze. ‘The only place which fits the description is Leicester.’
Breeze had another historical theory based on a reading of Gildas’s The History of the Britons, that also caught the media’s attention in March: having moved the martyrs from Wales to England, he put Arthur in Glasgow. ‘Dr Andrew Breeze of the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain,’ said The National, ‘is to present a paper in Glasgow in July in which he claims he will show his new research into place names of ancient battles proves Arthur was a warrior king defending Strathclyde from invaders – “he could have been a Glaswegian, possibly from Govan”, as the philologist and Celticist put it.’
Thomas Owen Clancy, Ollamh na Ceiltis (Professor of Celtic) at Glasgow University, would have none of it.
‘Dr Breeze’s approach to associating the battle sites with Scottish place names,’ Clancy told the paper, ‘is very unscientific.’
Breeze also suggested the Battles of Guinnion Fort and the City of the Legion took place at Kirkgunzeon, between Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, and The Rock of the Legion near Kinneil, at the east end of the Antonine Wall, respectively.
Clancy: ‘First of all, the idea that Arthur might be northern is not new: place names like Arthur’s O’on and Arthur’s Seat testify to medieval and early modern associations of Arthur with the Scottish landscape, and the Campbells liked to think Arthur was in their genealogy. But the search for a historical Arthur in the north is doomed by the sources.’
Not to be outdone, on 3 September – rather stretching the journalistic meaning of ‘exclusive’, a word which headed the story – The Independent reported that ‘King Arthur was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde’.
Breeze, said the paper, had now identified ‘every single location’ referred to by Gildas.
‘In some cases I agree with earlier scholars,’ he said, ‘in accepting Glein as the River Glen, Northumberland, for example. But other identifications are quite new, such as taking the “Dubglas” as the River Douglas near Lanark, or putting the “city of the Legion” at the east end of the Antonine Wall, and not at Chester or York’. The battle of Badon, likely to be in Wiltshire, was ‘not to do with Arthur at all’.
'We can say straight away [Arthur] wasn’t anything to do with stopping the Anglo-Saxons’, Breeze told MailOnline, ‘he was fighting other Britons in the North.’ ‘King Arthur was SCOTTISH and not even a king, according to new research,’ said the Mirror.
Meanwhile The Independent corrected the notion that Arthur was Scottish (‘You’ve heard the legend, now the truth: Arthur was Scottish’, read its own headline) as anachronistic: he was actually British.

Archaeological Society Asked to Quit Guildford Museum

David Bird FSA, President of the Surrey Archaeological Society, writes:
‘Fellows will be concerned to hear that Guildford Borough Council has served Surrey Archaeological Society (SAS) with notice to quit Guildford Museum and take its exhibits away, bringing to an end over a century of close collaboration. The Society was founded in 1854 and worked with Guildford Council to create a museum which the Borough took over in 1933. The Society’s and Guildford Museum’s own collections have been looked after as one ever since.
‘The SAS is shocked that a new administration in Guildford has chosen to end this close relationship without warning. Details have slowly emerged about the Council’s plans for a future museum but they are not encouraging. Public consultation is belatedly promised but actions have already been announced that will seriously limit the options. From what has been said it appears that the aim is to sell the existing museum buildings and provide elsewhere for a much reduced offering with a narrow focus on Guildford alone.
‘It appears that those responsible for the new policy were unaware of the proportion of the museum exhibits that belonged to the SAS and are now saying they might license the Society to leave some on loan yet ask us to pay for storage for the rest. Such an approach hardly seems correct for an accredited museum and coupled with the need to find office and library space may force the Society out of Guildford altogether. The end result may therefore be that there will be no county archaeological museum in Surrey, a sorry state of affairs for such a rich county.
‘If Fellows with personal experience of the importance of the SAS collections wish to express their concern at this turn of events the Society would be pleased to hear from you.’
The SAS's President has issued a longer statement. The view of Cllr. Geoff Davis, Lead Councillor for Economic Development, responsible for Heritage and Tourism, can be read here, and the story has been well covered by the Guildford Dragon.
The photo shows Castle Arch, Guildford, and part of Guildford Museum.

Paying for Musuems 

What do Fellows think about the possibility, or perhaps likelihood, that many of our currently free to entry museums will soon be charging? Salon will be returning to this issue again. In the meantime Christopher Ramsey FSA was moved to write after reading last edition’s item. ‘Clearly this is a very major issue for the sector as a whole’, he says, ‘and the potential drops in local and central government support is indeed worrying. I think there are, however, some useful lessons from other UK organisations.'
'The key issue we always raise here is access for people to drop into their (usually local) museums and not be put off by being charged. To some extent this can be mitigated by the annual ticket issued by many museums and other sites of interest (Blenheim Palace for example, in Oxfordshire, or York Minster). Certainly in the case of Blenheim, which I visit regularly with my family, the fact that a single entrance ticket gives year-round access seems to have greatly increased visitor numbers – and I would suspect that this has also increased income because, as with museums, once on site people often spend money.
‘There seems to be an interesting psychological effect. These one-off yearly tickets make people feel a member of an institution, and therefore almost more keen on going than if they did not pay at all. It seems to be much more successful that having “friends” schemes, which require paying a premium for multiple free visits, because it does not make people feel they have to commit ahead of time.
‘Of course there are significant disadvantages. There are still up-front costs that may put some people off, and there is the potential problem for frequent museum goers of a large number of membership tickets to keep hold of. In practice I think the latter is probably the most significant problem, given the socioeconomic status of most museum visitors and the relatively low cost of entry. It is here that I think the Society might be able to help coordinate something, possibly in conjunction with the newly configured English Heritage and/or the National Trust.
‘You could imagine a national museum membership card which could be issued by any participating museum, giving you access not only to that museum but to all museums in the country for a year. There would have to be some mechanism for distributing the funds between the museums actually visited – but that should not be too technically difficult these days. This would then replace charging for special exhibitions with charging for all entry – with the enticement of free special exhibitions to encourage visits (given that actual museum income would still be visit related).
‘Although keeping government subsidies does seem the most attractive proposition, I think there are better ways of payment than simply one charge for one entry. I also think that we could improve on the situation where each museum does its own thing. Of course this would also gather income from all of the tourists who currently do not contribute either through taxes or through entry fees. If by this we could get to a position where museums were not dependent on oscillations in government policy, it would clearly be something very well worthwhile. It would also be worthwhile if by paying what one would hope would be a modest fee, people would feel more a part of their local museums.
‘Clearly the devil is in the detail here. How much would have to be charged? What would be the best algorithms for sharing income, etc? But these are all things the Society of Antiquaries has the expertise to evaluate. It would be very fitting if the Society could play a central role in finding a satisfactory solution to this problem.’

Holt Castle Rises Again

Jeremy Cunnington, Chair of Trustees at the Castle Studies Trust, writes with news about a digital reconstruction of a royal castle in Wrexham.
‘Robbed of stone to build Eaton Hall in the 17th century, little today remains of the Edwardian castle of Holt, a favourite of Richard II’s. Towards the end of his reign it became the king’s royal treasury storing an estimated 100,000 marks, and played a crucial role in his eventual downfall.
‘Funded by the Castle Studies Trust, Rick Turner FSA and Chris Jones Jenkins FSA have digitally reconstructed Holt in great detail inside and out. They used a variety of historical sources such as inventories, antiquarian drawings and plans, as well as the results of recent excavations, to reveal what the castle was like at its zenith in the late 15th century.
‘Two previous attempts had been made to understand the castle’s original appearance, by Alfred Palmer (1907) and Lawrence Butler (1987). They had access to drawings made in 1562 and 1620, but the two sets are contradictory, and were hard to relate to what survived. Since 1987, new evidence has been made available, including documentation for Richard II’s building work; a transcript of the Holt Castle inventory taken after Sir William Stanley’s arrest in 1495; an early-17th century castle plan discovered in the National Library of Wales; and results from a programme of masonry consolidation, archaeological excavation and survey led by Steve Grenter, Wrexham County Borough Council, in partnership with the Holt Local History Society.
‘The development of the model became an iterative process between the historian and the artist. Different combinations of layout and floor heights were tried, building on fixed points surviving at basement level and rising up in an effort to accommodate all the rooms. Suites of accommodation began to emerge. Then, working with Chris Marshall of Mint Motion, they were able to complete a video of the complete castle.
‘To find out more about the Trust and its work (entirely reliant on public donations) visit the website or follow social media.’

Cumberland and Westmorland free online

The Archaeology Data Service and the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, founded in 1866, have placed online all of the Society’s Transactions, published from 1874 to 2006, with articles from the years 2007–14 available as abstracts. Papers and notes are now refereed or peer-reviewed, and cover all aspects of past life in the old counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and Lancashire north of the Sands – the present day Cumbria. The illustration is from ‘A Runic Inscription on Hessilgil Crag: Murchie's Cairn,’ by the late Rev. John Maughan, B.A., Rector of Bewcastle, in the CWAAS’s first Transactions for 1870.

How to spend £4.5m on Holy Trinity Church, Hull?

‘Piloti’ (a.k.a. Gavin Stamp FSA) wrote about Hull in the last edition of Private Eye (21 August–3 September) in his column Nooks and Corners. With an eye on Hull’s status as UK City of Culture 2017, he explains, the authorities plan to update Holy Trinity Church – ‘one of the finest parish churches in England’ with a claim also to be the largest, and ‘a masterpiece of Perpendicular Gothic’.
Piloti is particularly concerned about what is to happen inside: in come a café and interactive displays, out go the pews. The Victorian seats, he says, are ‘woodwork of the highest quality and character’, and ‘an important part of the interest of the building’ – and ‘surely … serve the primary purpose of the [church] as a place of worship’.
Charles Tracy FSA, who drew Salon’s attention to the story, writes that as a specialist in ecclesiastical woodwork, he finds this ‘to be a particularly egregious case of a proposed vandalism of an English church. From west to east, at a stroke a fine, irreplaceable church interior will be lost. As both monument and institution, Holy Trinity encapsulates the history of a historic port, as well as the merchant families who financed it, the Wilberforces, for instance, and their descendant William Wilberforce, who was baptised there’ (albeit he died before the pews were put in, Ed.).
‘This is a classic case of pious vandalism borne of short-term Evangelical enthusiasm,’ responded Diarmaid MacCulloch FSA.
Richard Halsey FSA notes that the pews belong to restoration in the 1840s, not to that by George Gilbert Scott in 1859–72. The former had no “architect in charge”, he writes, ‘but was run by the then vicar using local craftsmen. A George Peck is credited with creating the pews, which are excellent examples of the early Gothic Revival and so closely modelled on medieval examples (but of East Anglia rather than Yorkshire?). The pew ends are of very thick timber, and although there is much variation in their carving, they have the distinct, almost earnest character of the 1840s.’
The rationale of the changes, he says, ‘is depressingly familiar’. The congregation had collapsed; Holy Trinity ‘is truly enormous’, and ‘quite intimidating for the select few regular worshippers on a normal Sunday who reportedly only used the choir (which is by Scott).’ Without the necessary support, the church was locked up.
So what should be done? There are plenty of examples, says Halsey, where civic use ‘has been disastrous for the building and especially the furnishings’. Partial redundancy and use as offices or a performance space again has a poor long-term track record.
‘The City of Culture link up’, says Halsey, ‘is at least attempting to give the setting of the church a facelift (“an ace caff with a nice church attached?”) and to give the building new functions beyond worship, without cutting up the interior. For unless there is an Evangelical Revival church plan, there seems little hope of getting a regular congregation that can even half fill the place. Churches like this just have to find other uses to survive in anything like their present architectural form – a long established and proven policy for any historic building that has lost (or reduced) the function for which it was built.’
Crucially, says Halsey, the pews don't have to be permanently removed: they can be made mobile to allow for different seating layouts. ‘Perhaps the body of the pew’, he suggests, ‘can be reconfigured into benches, so retaining the ends and continuing the architectural massing that the present pews provide. Perhaps the pews can be adapted for use elsewhere in the building (the choir aisles are empty and each as big as a normal parish church).’
As Tracy and Halsey agree, in the latter’s words, ‘establishing the quality and value of these pews in the statutory statement of significance is key to prompting people's imagination and encouraging some lateral thinking to get a better solution than total clearance.’
And perhaps, as the late Colin Platt FSA found in his Devon church (see Lives Remembered, below), putting the pews on wheels would help.

Photo Wikimedia/Steve F-E-Cameron.

More on Ivory

In the last Salon, Martin P Levy FSA wrote about the unhelpful side effects of President Obama’s Director’s Order 210, which has led to an effective ban on the import of ivory into the U.S.A., including that used in historic artefacts. Jeremy Montagu FSA responded:
‘The American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS), an international body despite its name, has a listserve to members which has been very active in recent months on the battles between the Fish & Wildlife Service and museums and private collectors over these nonsensical rules about ivory and other protected substances that are used on and for musical instruments. They have already won some concessions (e.g. automatic permission for amounts of less than seven ounces, which is considered to suffice for a piano or harpsichord keyboard). The regulations are not concerned only with ivory – other animal substances and even some vegetation are also restricted. The more that we can help in this struggle the better, and we should also bear in mind that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has also been looking into this, and that there may be risk of similar trouble here.’

Julian Bennett FSA wrote from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey:
‘It is quite amusing to read the US document on this. It seems that if you legally shoot an African elephant, then you can take up to two African elephant trophies a year into the U.S.A. Reading the document through it looks like another example of hard case makes bad law. And evidently not enough thought has been given to the matter of trade or the travel of antique artefacts that are made of or incorporate African ivory.’

Lives Remembered

Harold B. Mattingly FSA
We have received the following obituary for Harold Mattingly from his daughter Joanna Mattingly and son David Mattingly, who are both also Fellows.
‘Harold B. Mattingly, who has died on 23 August 2015 aged 92, was the son of another famous FSA, also named Harold. Since they were both noted numismatists and ancient historians (sometimes with overlapping research interests) there was potential for confusion.
‘Harold (B.) was born in Finchley in 1923 and educated at Saffron Walden and the Leys School. After service in the Friends Ambulance Unit and a period of convalescence, he took a double first in Classics at Gonville and Caius, Cambridge (1946–48). From 1950–65 he was Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Nottingham (then Reader 1965–69), before gaining promotion to Professor of Ancient History at Leeds University (1970–87), from whence he returned to Cambridge in retirement.
‘His research throughout his career focused on Classical Greece and the Roman Republic and on numismatic and epigraphic problems. He was a past President of the Royal Numismatic Society. He continued to research and publish and, when elected FSA well into retirement, he became a fairly regular attender of Society of Antiquaries lectures and user of its library up to his 90th birthday, even though with increasing infirmity he came to rely more and more on his children and London-based grandchildren for logistic support and dinner company afterwards.
‘Harold’s major scholarly contributions centred on long-running controversies, in which the recurrent pattern was that he adopted a minority view against the prevailing orthodoxy, maintaining his position across decades and in the face of sustained and sometimes harshly expressed rebuttals from senior academics. Unfortunately for his opponents, he had an annoying habit of eventually being proved right. The most important of these debates centred on the dating of key series of inscriptions relating to Athenian imperialism. The chronology of the shift in Athenian policy towards her allies, becoming increasingly harsh and imperialistic, depended on the dating of a change in letter form from the three- to four-barred sigma used in public inscriptions in the mid to late 5th century BC. The debate turned on whether a dated text with the more archaic three-barred sigma could be found after 445 BC, and Harold’s claim from the 1960s onwards that an inscription recording an alliance between Athens and Egesta should be dated to 418 BC was eventually shown to be correct by the use of photo enhancement and laser imaging in the late 1980s.
‘Harold’s scholarly battles belie the fact that he was a mild mannered man, a generous and congenial colleague and teacher. Several letters to the family have independently described him as the nicest man the correspondent ever encountered in academia. His eventual vindication in the scholarly arguments was widely celebrated when it came.
‘He enjoyed a long marriage to the artist and potter Erica (who died in 2008) and was an inspiration to his children and grandchildren for the breadth of his knowledge and interests (art, music, theatre, poetry, literature, cricket, politics, pacifism and Quakerism). His taste for sweets and desserts was legendary.’
Salon adds: Illustrated is Studies in Honour of Harold B. Mattingly, ed. A. P. Matthaiou and R. K. Pitt, Greek Epigraphic Society 2014. Anglian Potters described Erica Mattingly’s ‘handbuilt architectural impressions’, which began with ‘Graeco-Roman temples, aqueducts and theatres inspired by travels in Greece and Turkey.’

Colin Platt FSA
Paul Stamper FSA writes:
‘In a long series of books published from 1969 Colin Platt, who died on 23 July 2015, drew together the evidence of history, archaeology and architecture to offer elegant, up-to-date, syntheses of the medieval built environment and its social and economic context.
‘Colin Peter Sherard Platt was born in Canton on 11 November 1934, the identical twin of the distinguished modern historian D. C. M. Platt. Colin took up a post as Research Assistant at Leeds University in 1960. This led to his Ph.D., published in 1969 as The Monastic Grange in Medieval England, where already his integrated approach to the study of the Middle Ages could be seen. His investigation of granges had included excavations, and Colin went on to excavate at Dartington Hall, and most notably at Southampton, the last written up in one of the best-designed excavation reports of its time, the two-volumed, slipcased, Excavations in Medieval Southampton (1975).
‘He had moved to Southampton’s History Department in 1966, and remained there for the rest of his career, latterly holding a personal chair. A stammer meant his teaching was conducted through supervisions and tutorials, and later field trips, and he rarely attended conferences. But he was the most genial, stimulating and helpful of teachers, and warm tributes from many past students were paid in a Festschrift published to mark his 80th birthday, A Fresh Approach, edited by his second wife, Claire Donovan FSA.
‘While at Southampton, and beyond retirement in 1999, he worked with unbending rigour on research and writing. Among his books which attracted particular notice were The English Medieval Town (1976), Medieval England: A Social History and Archaeology from the Conquest to 1600 (1978), and The Architecture of medieval Britain: A Social History (1990), which won the Wolfson Prize.’
Salon adds: The top photo shows Colin Platt with Paul Stamper, who spoke at his former university teacher’s funeral. It was taken inside the church at Littlehempston, Devon, where Platt lived in the Old Rectory; he was buried in the churchyard. Pews on castors (right) were among his contributions to re-ordering the church.

Arthur Percival FSA
Dot Percival writes about her late husband, who died on 16 November last year, aged 81.
‘Arthur’s schooldays in the City of London and student years at Oxford’s Wadham College gave him an appreciation for fine buildings which was passionate, lifelong and reflected in his two separate careers. At the old London County Council he carried out the research for their famous blue plaques, and managed the magnificent collection of prints and drawings of London which was part of the Members’ Library. In 1965 he joined the Civic Trust, a charity concerned with the built environment, its conservation and regeneration, where he co-drafted the Civic Amenities Act which provided for the designation of conservation areas. With Sid Weighell (General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen) he also founded Transport 2000, a campaigning group for fairer transport policies. The Civic Trust published his Heavy Lorries, the first comprehensive study of their impact on towns, and Understanding our Surroundings, again the first manual of urban interpretation.
‘Living in Faversham, “a mediaeval gem”, led him to co-found the Faversham Society in 1962. This rapidly became, and still is, one of the finest of its kind in the country. His experiences of its early days gave him a good grounding when he had the role of “god parent” at the Civic Trust to the burgeoning number of civic and amenity societies round the country. His professional and volunteer work merged together seamlessly as he worked tirelessly for the Faversham Society until the day before his death.
‘He was a man who could write magnificent prose and retain an encyclopaedic knowledge of Faversham for all to tap freely into. He never shirked the routine tasks though, and was luckily an accomplished touch typist so dozens of letters a day poured out against a background of Bach and pipe smoke. Though appreciative of them, Arthur modestly regarded the “too many letters after his name” [MBE, MA, D.Litt., FSA, FAHI] mainly as useful tools for hopefully adding ammunition in battles with those in authority impressed by such things.
‘His W.E.A. evening class lectures on Faversham and its villages became legendary over 30 years, inspiring many to work for the town. Even some of the Faversham born and bred admitted they had never quite appreciated their home town before he opened their eyes afresh.
‘A huge sense of loss ran through Faversham at the news of his unexpected death, and his memorial service in Faversham Parish church was attended by 550 people. One of the many tributes quoted from the Public Orator’s address when Arthur received his honorary doctorate from Canterbury University: “All around us beautiful buildings are being demolished, bad planning threatens, awful developments ruin towns. But not, if he can help it, where Arthur Percival is.” His wife, daughter and all those present thought this very well said.’
The photo, taken in the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, Faversham, is from an appreciation in Kent Online, November 2014.

News of Fellows

Sarah Barter Bailey FSA, former Librarian and Archivist at the Royal Armouries, Tower of London, died on 14 August. Her funeral is on 16 September at 2.45 p.m., at Camden and Islington Crematorium, High Road, East Finchley N2 9AG (correcting details posted in The Times).
Geoffrey Beard FSA, former Director of the Cannon Hall Art Gallery, Barnsley, Assistant Director of Leeds City Art Gallery, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Polytechnic and Director of the Visual Arts Centre at the University of Lancaster – and prolific writer – died on 24 June. There will be a memorial service at St George's Church, Bloomsbury, London on October 29 at 5 p.m. The September edition of The Burlington Magazine has an obituary.
Gerard Leighton FSA, who served the Society on several committees, jointly published the Society's drawings of Wells Cathedral by John Carter and was former President of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, died in August. An appreciation will follow in a future Salon.

Timothy Leetham Taylor FSA died on 2 July.

Simon Thurley FSA, until May of this year Chief Executive of English Heritage, has joined the board of Trustees at the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. He will be involved in the Foundation’s active grant giving programme, which since 2010 has awarded over £10m to more than 200 recipients for projects – many of them supporting heritage – which make a visible positive impact on the quality of life of individuals and communities. ‘I am passionate about saving heritage at risk’, said Lloyd Webber, ‘and am delighted to welcome Simon to our board of Trustees.’

Giles Waterfield FSA has written The People’s Galleries: Art Museums And Exhibitions In Britain, 1800–1914, which is published by Yale University Press. The book traces the rise of art museums in Britain through the First World War, focusing on municipal galleries. Beyond London’s National Gallery and the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) galleries in cities such as Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham were immensely popular. They represented a new type of institution: an art gallery for a working class audience in the rapidly expanding cities, shaped by liberal ideals. This richly illustrated book studies patrons and public, collecting policies, education programmes and architecture.
Arts & Crafts Stained Glass, published by Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, is by Peter Cormack FSA. It is the first study of how the late-19th-century Arts and Crafts Movement transformed the aesthetics and production of stained glass in Britain and America. Cormack talks about his subject from a London church, a modern glass workshop and other locations in an interesting video on Yale’s website. ‘Windows should dream’, he says, quoting Christopher Whall (1849-1924).
Judith Jesch FSA, at the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, Nottingham University, has written The Viking Diaspora (Routledge). She presents the early medieval migrations of people, language and culture from mainland Scandinavia to new homes in the British Isles, the North Atlantic, the Baltic and the East as a form of ‘diaspora’, in which migrants from Russia to Greenland were conscious of being connected to other migrants of Scandinavian origin in many other locations.
Jackie Hall FSA and Susan M Wright FSA have edited Conservation and Discovery: Peterborough Cathedral Nave Ceiling and Related Structures (MOLA). Investigation and analysis accompanied a major conservation programme (1998–2003) on one of Europe’s greatest medieval painted wooden ceilings in the former Benedictine abbey church of Peterborough. The book documents the conservation programme and what was learnt about the nave ceiling, the medieval roof structure that supported it and the transept wooden ceilings that preceded it. Documentary history, iconography, and structural and scientific studies (including tree-ring dating, paint analysis and environmental monitoring) throw new light on the original works and later repairs. Contributors include Paul Binski FSA, Tobit Curteis FSA and Hugh Harrison FSA.

James Stevens Curl FSA says his The Victorian Celebration of Death (Sutton 2004), is to be published shortly by Heritage Ebooks as his first e-book.

Two Fellows were elected to the Fellowship in the British Academy Elections 2015:

Cyprian Broodbank FSA, John Disney Professor of Archaeology and Director, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. Comparative world archaeology and deep history; the archaeology of the Mediterranean; Aegean prehistory; the archaeology of islands; the emergence of connectivity, particularly maritime; landscape archaeology.
And Michael Parker Pearson FSA, Professor of British Later Prehistory, Institute of Archaeology, University College London. The prehistory of Britain and western Europe from the Neolithic to the Iron Age; the archaeology of death and burial; the archaeology of Madagascar; Stonehenge and its landscape.
Not for the first time, Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves FSA made the news in August. The Economist scooped his theory that the undisturbed tomb of Nefertiti lies hidden behind the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb, though his impressive academic paper (available for free) had been online for a bit before anyone noticed. Norman Hammond FSA reported the story for The Times (subscription needed).

Memorials to Fellows

In the previous Salon Kevin Leahy FSA described a stone urn on the tomb of Thomas Bateman FSA (1821–61, left). I wondered if any Fellow could say exactly what type of urn it was? Pauline Beswick FSA can. It was modelled, she writes, ‘on a Bronze Age Collared Urn of Ian Longworth's North Western Style. The sculptor used a fair degree of artistic licence both in the shape and decoration which are more clearly visible on an earlier photograph in Paul Ashbee's The Bronze Age Round Barrow in Britain (1960, Pl. IIb). The intention appears to have been to represent herringbone decoration around the collar, incised lattice on the neck and a row of jabbed impressions around the shoulder. This particular combination of motifs is present on an urn from a barrow in Flax Dale, close to Bateman's home at Lomberdale Hall, Middleton by Youlgreave. He found it on 6 February 1847 in a stone cist, inverted over a cremation (T. Bateman, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, 1848, 100) and it is now in the Bateman Collection in Weston Park Museum, Sheffield ( J.93.759).’
More memorials, and bookplates, will feature in the next Salon, where hopefully there will be more space.

Forthcoming Heritage Events

Closes 26 September: Missionaries & Idols in Polynesia (London)
This is an unusual exhibition at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, about the London Missionary Society 1792–1825, documenting its work in the Pacific and showing religiously-scorned but now rare Polynesian artefacts brought back home. Guest curated by American biochemist and collector David Shaw King, the exhibition (with an illustrated catalogue by him) hosts previously unseen objects from the British Museum, National Maritime Museum, Cuming Museum, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology Cambridge University, SOAS University of London and private collections.

The illustration shows The Massacre of the Lamented Missionary, the Rev. J. Williams, and Mr. Harris Baxter, by George Baxter (1841, SOAS). Williams was clubbed to death in 1839 on the island of Erromango in what is now Vanuatu, making him in Christian missionary eyes the first Pacific martyr. The depiction of Melanesians in a style soon to be used in illustrations of primitive ice age Europeans, contrasts with the noble, classically inspired Hawaiians seen killing Captain Cook in Johan Zoffany’s great oil of 1779, currently hanging in Tate Britain’s Fighting History (London, closes 13 September), an exploration of the genre of history painting.

6–12 September: Breaking Ground: Art and Archaeology (Bradford)
In November 2013, Park Avenue football ground, a long-forgotten time capsule of Bradford’s social history, began to be unearthed when archaeologist Jason Wood and artist Neville Gabie conducted the first ever archaeological excavation of a football goalmouth and goalpost. This small intervention generated much interest. This September Wood and Gabie return to the site for a further week’s excavation at other parts of the former football ground, while artists work alongside. On 11 September the Department of Archaeological Sciences, Bradford University will demonstrate their work as part of the National Science Festival. There will be National Heritage Open Days on 11–12 September. All are welcome, and invited to bring a story, object, photograph, or memory to share.
7–12 September: Discover Hidden Somerset (Uphill, Weston-Super-Mare)
A week of archaeology events at St Nicholas’ Church will culminate in a day of talks and tours. Professional archaeologists will lead interactive sessions, including a full excavation of the medieval church; Phil Harding FSA will lead the excavation of the nave. Onsite training will be available for emerging archaeological technologies such as RTI photography, geophysical and building survey techniques. All sessions are free. To book a place contact Neil Rushton FSA on or 07887 728 206, or turn up on the day.

Opens 8 September: The Skull of Bede (Jarrow)
A copy of a long-lost cast (see The Curious Case of Bede’s Skull above) has been made for permanent display at Bede’s World at the Museum of Early Medieval Northumbria. A new exhibition explores the medieval devotion to Bede, and the mid-19th century discovery, preservation, and debate about the authenticity of the cast.
11–13 September: English Music Festival (Yorkshire Dales)
The second EMF Autumn Festival centres around Richard III and Middleham, with concerts in churches in Middleham and the neighbouring villages of Aysgarth and Thornton Steward. On Saturday afternoon in Middleham church there is a composer panel discussion on Richard III commissions, followed by a concert of world première performances of compositions by Paul Carr (Sonatina On the Reburial of King Richard III), Paul Lewis (Threnody for Violin: The Most Famous Prince of Blessed Memory), Richard Pantcheff (Suite – King Richard III) and Francis Pott (Tenebrae). Other concerts include music by Parry, Holst and Walton, and folk song from Albion.

14 September: The Marlborough Mound Trust Annual Lecture (Marlborough)
This year’s speaker is Jeremy Ashbee FSA, who will deliver the first lecture of the series to look at Marlborough Castle itself, under the title of ‘The Mound, the Castle and the Palace: Royal Residences in Marlborough and other Castles in the 13th Century.' The mound, which rises among close-packed buildings within the grounds of Marlborough College, was originally scheduled as a Norman motte. Recent research led by Jim Leary FSA, however, showed it to have a Neolithic origin around 23–2000BC, allying it with Silbury Hill, also beside the River Kennet and a few miles upstream. The talk is at 8 p.m. in the college's Ellis Theatre. For further details contact the Marlborough Mound Trust, tel. 01672 892390.

17 September: The Cultural Legacy of the Battle of Agincourt, 1415–2015 (London)
The Society of Antiquaries’ full-day conference explores themes of literature, art and music, British identity and family ancestral pride, objects claimed to be associated with the battle and problematic early excavations, and more, to explain why Agincourt has generated such a legacy in antiquarian traditions as well as in the popular psyche. Places for the conference, organised by Anne Curry FSA, can be booked online or by contacting the Society’s Executive Assistant (, 020 7479 7080). For details see the Society’s website.

18–19 September: Annual Conference of the Landscape Survey Group (Shrewsbury)
On the theme of Landscape Narratives: Creating Stories from Archaeological Survey, a Friday conference ­at the Gateway Education and Arts Centre is followed by a Saturday fieldtrip led by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust. Speakers include Paul Belford FSA, Mark Bowden FSA, Paul Everson FSA and Angela Gannon FSA. The tour will take in a number of multi-period sites and landscapes in Powys, including Breiddin Hill and Rodney’s Pillar to view the Severn valley, Llanymynech, Long Mountain, Four Crosses and Wrekin, and continuing to Montgomery Castle, Offa’s Dyke and Chirbury. For further information contact the Landscape Survey Group website or

30 September: Deadline for 'Transforming Topography' Call for Papers (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art). Conference Date is 6 May. Details on the website.
22 September–2 October: British & European Receptions of China, 17th–21st Centuries (Lincoln)
The University of Lincoln's School of History & Heritage is holding a free public exhibition and symposium in the Gallery space of the University's Art, Architecture & Design Building. The exhibition includes 17th-century books about China from the Wren Library, Lincoln Cathedral, and chinoiserie chairs, lamps, a leather screen, and samples of chinoiserie wallpaper from the Queen Mother's State Apartment at Kensington Palace. The exhibit also features artefacts of the tea trade, as well as 20th–century replicas of the famous Chinese terracotta soldiers.
A free academic symposium, booking required, will take place in Lincoln Cathedral’s Wren Library on 24 September. Speakers include Will Poole FSA (‘17th-century British sinology’) and Anna Marie Roos FSA (‘Diego de Pantoja and 17th-century conceptions of lunar voyages’). See website for programme, for booking contact
November: The Art of More (online)
Available to certain Fellows to view online (but not currently those in the UK) The Art of More is billed as Crackle’s first hour-long scripted drama series. For this, Crackle, part of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has chosen as a subject the illegal antiquities trade. A young man ‘leverages his way into the exclusive realm of premium auction houses by exploiting connections to antiquities smuggling rings he was exposed to as a soldier in Iraq’. The teaser trailer looks like a mashup of Homeland, Nip/Tuck and top New York salerooms. If that last sentence means little to you, The Art of More is perhaps not something you would enjoy. A glamorisation of the dark business in a violent, sexed-up Hollywood fashion is suggested.
27 November: The Mick Aston Landscape Archaeology Lecture (Oxford)
Hosted by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Carenza Lewis FSA will talk on the subject of ‘The Power of Pits – New Views from the Past’, at 5.30 p.m. at the Rewley House Lecture Theatre, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA. After ten years directing Access Cambridge Archaeology from the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge, Lewis has just moved to the University of Lincoln to take up a newly created position as Professor for the Public Understanding of Research in the School of History and Heritage. 

5 December: Reading Architecture Across the Arts and Humanities – call for papers
A one-day multidisciplinary conference at the University of Stirling seeks proposals for 20-minute papers that consider ‘the creation, expression and representation of architecture, architectural space and the built environment from students and scholars working within all subject-areas across the Arts and Humanities… Original and creative accounts of how architecture might variously be “read” and interpreted across such disciplines as literature, law, history, art history, heritage studies, politics, film and media studies and philosophy are particularly welcome.’ The plenary speakers will be Rosemary Hill FSA and Olivia Horsfall Turner. Email 300-word proposals to Dale Townshend and Peter N. Lindfield at by 26 September 2015. The conference is the first event arising from the AHRC-funded project, Writing Britain’s Ruins, 1700–1850: The Architectural Imagination (June 2015–December 2016).

12 December: A Line Through Contemporary London (London)
James Dixon and Lorna Richardson, from the Public Archaeology 2015 project, are organising an end-of-year walking discussion on ‘The Archaeology of Austerity’. The event is ‘a collaborative walking discussion about the contemporary archaeological manifestations of … complex [contemporary] socio-political and cultural issues [and] will seek to put a running section across the middle of London and attempt to take the pulse of London past, London present, and what it means to inhabit this world for archaeologists and archaeo-sympathisers.’ The walk will start at Canary Wharf at 10 a.m. For details see the website.


Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology
The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (SPMA) is looking for a new Hon. Treasurer and two new Ordinary Members (3-year term) for its Council of trustees. It is a particularly exciting time to get involved in the running of the SPMA, as the Society celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016. Council carries out much of its business during quarterly meetings at locations across Britain, and reasonable travel expenses are reimbursed. Those interested in standing for election can find further information on the SPMA’s website, and should contact the SPMA's Hon Secretary by 1 September 2015.

Royal Society of St. George
Tom Haines is looking for an enthusiastic person who knows anything about Henry V, and the Battle of Agincourt in particular. He is a member of The Royal Society of St. George, which is holding a lunch in Dawlish, south Devon, on 25 October to celebrate the 600th anniversary of St. Crispin’s Day. If any Fellow would like to be a guest and say ‘a few words’ please phone 01626 772616 or email

National Trust: Building & Landscape Design Adviser
The National Trust is advertising for someone to provide design advice and promote a culture of good design across its properties. For full details see the Trust’s recruitment pages.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
The Commission has two vacancies for Commissioners. Further details can be found on the Public Appointments pages of the Welsh Government website, in English and in Welsh.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). When proposing a lecture, it is helpful to provide a working title, a few sentences about the topic and its significance, and how you will make it relevant and accessible to the entirety of the diverse Fellowship. We welcome papers based on new research on 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 email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


Follow the Society of Antiquaries on Twitter for news and event updates: @SocAntiquaries

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