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Salon: Issue 308
11 November 2013

Next issue: 25 November 2013

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contribution that the Society's Fellows make to public life. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-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. News and feedback for publication in Salon should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
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Inside this issue

Christmas Closing at Burlington House

The Society’s apartments and library will close at 4pm on Friday, 20 December 2013, and re-open at 10am on Thursday, 2 January 2014.

Subscription rates for 2014

The Society’s annual subscription is to be increased next year to £164 in line with the Retail Prices Index. Payment is due on 1 January 2014. If you have changed your bank or credit card details since your last payment, please download a new Direct Debit or credit card mandate for completion. The Society has now changed to ‘Sagepay’ for collection of credit card payments, which means that any Fellow paying by this method should complete a new credit card mandate as more information is required than under the previous sytem. With these two methods of payment you can also elect to pay in quarterly instalments (January, April, July and October). Please contact Giselle Pullen in the Society’s finance office, tel: 0207 479 7087, to provide up-to-date details and to request quarterly payments.

Forthcoming meetings

Tea is served from 4.15pm, and meetings start at 5pm

14 November 2013: ‘The Celtic moon-based culture and the burial mound of Magdalenenberg’, by Allard Mees, FSA
A huge early Celtic calendar structure has been identified at the royal tomb of Magdalenenberg, established in 616 BC near Villingen-Schwenningen in the German Black Forest. The order of the burials around the central royal tomb fits exactly with the sky constellations visible between midwinter and midsummer on the northern hemisphere. Rows of wooden posts on the burial mound were directed towards the lunar standstills, which occur every 18.6 years. Several more burial mounds of the Celtic Hallstatt period show exactly the same orientation. Caesar remarked upon the moon-based calendar of the Celtic culture in his commentaries on the Gallic wars. Ptolemy also wrote about the cultural meanings associated with lunar standstills. These early Celtic burial mounds shed new light on the moon-based Celtic culture, which, after the conquest of Gaul, was replaced by the modern sun-based calendar introduced by the Romans.

21 November 2013: ‘African ivories and eighteenth-century English antiquities’, by William Hart, FSA
Among the earliest artefacts to be brought back to Europe from sub-Saharan Africa were a group of ivory sculptures carved in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the Congo for early Portuguese mariners in the late fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries. These elaborately sculpted hunting horns, saltcellars, pixes, spoons and forks were objects of prestige that circulated widely among Europe’s royal and princely families and appeared in contemporary inventories of their treasuries and wunderkammern from an early date. Over the years, the fate of these ivories became veiled in obscurity, however. Of the 200-plus ivories identified today, comparatively few have a provenance that can be traced back beyond their presence in the records of museums and private collections in the nineteenth century. The letters and minute books of such eighteenth-century English antiquaries as Richard Rawlinson, Thomas Hearne, Sir Hans Sloane, George Vertue, Andrew Ducarel, Richard Bateman and Thomas Allan do, however, afford glimpses of African ivories and prove to be a valuable, if hitherto unexploited, source for tracing the history of two Afro-Portuguese ivories in particular: the so-called ‘Drumond Castle Oliphant’ and a saltcellar with Christian motifs now in the British Museum.

28 November 2013: ‘Torksey, Lincs: the Viking winter camp and Saxon town’, by Julian Richards, FSA, and Dawn Hadley
In the winter of AD 872—3, a Viking army made camp on the banks of the River Trent at Torksey in Lincolnshire. The location of the camp has now been identified from the recovery, by metal detector users, of large quantities of war booty, including silver and gold, as well as copper alloy scrap metal. Torksey went on to become a Late Saxon town and the army is also thought to have introduced foreign potters to England, leading to the establishment of the Torksey-ware kilns. With the support of the Society of Antiquaries and other bodies, Dawn Hadley and Julian Richards are now leading a new project to investigate the winter camp and its relationship to the Saxon town and pottery industry, and will report on the latest findings.

5 December 2013: ‘The malleability of portraiture in post-Reformation England: the Kaye panels of Woodsome, Yorkshire’, by Robert Tittler, FSA
In 1567 the Yorkshire squire John Kaye commissioned four complex tableaux painted on both sides of two panels. Two are portraits, one of John and one of his wife Dorothy, while a third offers a family genealogy in the form of a Tree of Jesse. The fourth offers sixty-six coats of arms of those family members and friends with whom the Kayes claimed affinity. The panels are also painted with poems and moral apothegms born on scrolls by small human figures floating on the picture plane, sundry heraldic devices and various other visual elements. This paper suggests that the emergence of secular panel portraiture offered the unsophisticated, but socially aspiring ‘backwoodsmen’ of post-Reformation England a ‘malleable moment’ in which to experiment with the form and content of portraiture as a form of self-expression. The Kaye panels, like some others of their time, employed a number of visual elements in transition: some soon to disappear; others to become common portrait tropes; still others to find their place in other visual media. By c 1600 the conventions of polite, continentally derived portraiture swept over even such remote areas as Woodsome, Yorkshire, bringing this malleable moment to a close.

6 December 2013: ‘Antiquity in a world of change: celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Sir Thomas Smith (1513—77)’
Sponsored by our Society and the Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and organised by Fellow Richard Simpson, this seminar will investigate Sir Thomas Smith’s scholarly studies and his practical activities, helping us to understand how the analysis of antiquity in the sixteenth century provoked not only a desire for the recovery of the past, but also a critical and creative questioning of the present.

Registration costs £10 per person and includes lunch and refreshments. To book, please email Executive Assistant Jola Zdunek or tel: 0207 479 7080.

12 December 2013: Christmas Miscellany and Mulled Wine Reception
This year’s Christmas miscellany has a Stonehenge theme. First, artist Mark Anstee and documentarist Gabi Cowburn will tell us about their year-round observational tour of the stones, then we will hear from our Fellow Susan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, about the planning and research that went into the creation of the new Stonehenge visitor centre (where several of the Society’s prints will be on display).

Admission to the Mulled Wine Reception that follows the meeting is by ticket only (remarkably good value at £5, half the price of previous years!). Guests are welcome. Please book by contacting Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Executive Assistant; tel: 0207 479 7080.

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Society Christmas cards

Wedding Feast at Bermondsey, c 1569, by Samuel Hieronymous Grimm in the Society's collection; one of two new Christmas card designs for 2013

Five different Christmas card designs are available this year, including two new designs, each one based on a historical image from the Society’s own library and collections. You can see them on the shop page of the Society’s website and order them online or by contacting Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Executive Assistant; tel: 0207 479 7080; priced £7 for a pack of 10 cards and envelopes (p&p extra).

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York Antiquaries’ meetings

14 December 2013: Christmas Lunch, to be held in the McLeod Suite at the Dean Court Hotel, York, on Saturday 14 December 2013, 12.30pm for 1.00pm. The cost this year is £26.50 per head. Bookings to the Hon Steward, Jim Spriggs, by 27 November. As per tradition, Fellows are invited to bring objects, documents, photos, etc, of antiquarian interest for the purposes of post-prandial edification and entertainment.

4 February 2014: York Antiquaries lecture, to be given by John Warren, along with two colleagues from English Heritage, on the subject of Nappa Hall, at the Kings Manor (Room k/159), with refreshments at 6pm and the presentation at 6.30pm. Following the lecture there will be a meal in a local restaurant; further details to follow.

18 March 2014: Fellows evening. The third of our now annual ‘Fellows’ evenings will be held at York St John University (Skelton Building SK/223) with refreshments from 6pm. Fellows are invited to submit suggestions for short presentations (10 minutes maximum) on their current work, or anything of interest they would like to present to Fellows. Following the lecture there will be a meal in a local restaurant; further details to follow.

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Ballot results: 7 November 2013

We welcome the following new Fellows of the Society, elected in the ballot held on 7 November 2013: Christopher Owen Hunt, Reader in Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast; Robert Beech Masefield, Director of Archaeology and Historic Environment with RPS Group plc; Richard Dorment, art historian, writer and critic specialising in the fine and decorative arts of nineteenth-century Britain; Matthew Leavseley, Lecturer in Archaeology, James Cook University College, Cairns, Australia, specialising in the colonisation of Papua New Guinea and human adaptation to tropical rainforest environments; Susan Weber, historian and founder of the Bard Graduate Center, New York, and benefactor of the Dr Susan Weber Furniture Gallery at the V&A; Rhianydd Biebrach, Lecturer in History, Universities of South Wales and Swansea, Hon Editor of the journal Church Monuments and expert in late medieval commemorative practices of Wales; Robert John Zeepvat, Manager and Historic Buildings Consultant with Archaeological Services and Consultancy Ltd; Shawn Adrian Ross, Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, specialising in pre-Classical Greece and early Thrace; Graham John Foster Casher Saxby-Soffe, Chairman of the Association for Roman Archaeology and editor of its Bulletin.

Roman eagle found by archaeologists in City of London

MOLA conservator Luisa Duarte working on the eagle sculpture (photograph: MOLA)

Described by our Fellow the Revd Martin Henig as ‘the finest sculpture by a Romano-British artist ever found in London’, the sculpture of a Roman eagle in combat with a toothed serpent has gone on display at the Museum of London. The archaeologists who found it on the last day of an excavation on a development site at the Minories said that the carving was so fresh and crisp that they thought at first that they had unearthed a Victorian garden ornament.

Martin Henig said that the sculpture, carved in limestone and originally painted, probably came from a workshop in Roman Cirencester, and was ‘amongst the very best statues surviving from Roman Britain’. The closest parallel from across the Roman empire is an eagle and serpent found in Jordan, now in the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The first-century AD carving might have been a funerary emblem; the flattened and uncarved back suggests that it was made to sit in a niche, perhaps of a roadside mausoleum that was later demolished at the time when London’s defensive wall began to be constructed in the late second century. Michael Marshall, a finds expert at MOLA, suggests that the eagle was carefully laid into the ditch where it was found because those demolishing the mausoleum respected the sculpture’s powerful religious symbolism.

Church of England launches campaign to conserve 100 works of art

Our Fellow the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has launched a campaign to raise £3m to conserve endangered works of art in Anglican churches. Church Care, the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England, which helps look after 16,000 parish churches and 42 cathedrals, has selected these 100 works as those most in need of conservation and most at risk of permanent damage and loss.

The list includes the sixteenth-century chest at Newington, Kent, once used to store parish records and now severely affected by damp and woodworm; the fifteenth-century Last Judgement mural at Waltham Abbey, Essex, which is flaking off the wall because of damp; a William Morris carpet made around 1906 at Roker, County Durham, which is part of the original decorative scheme for the church (see picture above) and now needs cleaning and repairing; funerary brasses commemorating the Lyndewood family (1419―21) at Linwood, Lincolnshire, damaged by wear and rising damp; and a glazed terracotta relief of the Virgin and Child at Nynehead, Somerset, probably by Andrea della Robbia, threatened by damp.

What can be done to defend archaeological and historical sites from the fall-out from war?

Fellow Norman Hammond commends the blog of archaeologist and writer Alex Joffe, currently a Shillman/Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum. His most recent posting asks some uncomfortable questions about whether we can or should do anything about the destruction of the world’s archaeological resources taking place in Africa and Asia as a result of recent uprising and civil wars.

‘Syrian rebels and Assad regime loyalists are pillaging archaeological sites. Malian Islamists are systematically demolishing the tombs of Muslim notables in Timbuktu. And there are renewed reports of calls from Egyptian Islamists to demolish the pyramids on religious grounds. The West needs to ponder the question of what can and should be done to defend archaeological and historical sites, if anything.

‘What practically can be done? The international community, through UNESCO, has issued calls for Malian Islamists to stop their attacks, and for the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria to be preserved, which have, of course, been ignored. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has called the Malian attacks war crimes. The World Archaeological Congress has issued a strongly worded press release. These accomplish nothing except to salve the wounded consciences of Western academics and bureaucrats. The United Nations Security Council has threatened sanctions against the Malian Islamists but military intervention in Timbuktu ― to rescue its people, monuments or its 700,000 medieval manuscripts ― still seems unlikely. In Syria, it seems virtually impossible.

‘Just whose responsibility is it to preserve the past anyway? Archaeologists themselves have always been of two minds. On the one hand, they have argued that the past belongs to all mankind, in the process condemning nationalists who exploit sites, such as the Parthenon, as symbols. On the other hand, out of moralism, anti-imperialist sentiment and to curry favour, they have supported national claims to restore antiquities, such as the Elgin Marbles or Khmer statues from Cambodia, to their countries of origin.

‘Archaeologists also have an uneven track record of condemning the destruction of antiquities. When the Baghdad Museum was looted during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US was excoriated for permitting, or committing, an unprecedented cultural crime. When Iraq, China or any other country ― where archaeologists wish to retain access ― destroys sites, floods valleys to create reservoirs or demolishes historic quarters of cities for Olympic villages, complaints are muted, if they are heard at all.

‘What leverage remains? Economic sanctions that starve an already desperate population? Political sanctions on Islamist leaders who regard themselves as divinely guided? The Arab Spring has brought another phase of a twenty-first-century mass archaeological extinction event that is transforming the Old World. But once we go beyond the level of self-satisfying outrage, the choices for action to preserve the past are far from clear. Salvaging fragments in the future may be the only practical and moral options.’

The future for Cressing Temple

Alex Joffe might well ask whether petitions and responses to consultations make any real difference. In the interesting debate that was sparked off last week by Russell Brand and Jeremy Paxman about whether we really have democracy in the west, one politician made a telling distinction between consultation and joint problem solving, the gist of which was that consultation was a meaningless and one-sided paper exercise. On the other hand if we don’t protest or participate or present alternative views, it is easy for politicians to justify their decisions on the grounds that nobody objected. With that in mind, Fellow Martin Bridge, of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, wshes to draw attention a consultation that is currently going on over the future of Cressing Temple, in Essex.

Cressing Temple is most famous for the magnificent Wheat and Barley Barns, built for the Knights Templar in the thirteenth century. These form part of a medieval moated site of considerable historical and archaeological interest along with the main farmhouse, other outbuildings, and a kitchen garden surrounded by the sixteenth-century walls of a former pleasure garden. Essex County Council bought the farm in the late 1980s with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The Council carried out extensive repairs and opened the site to the public, offering a range of educational activities, including practical and highly regarded buildings conservation courses.

Now the Council has put forward plans to restrict opening of the site to weekends and school holidays only, and to close the shop and café facilities, thus making the site far less attractive to visitors. Perhaps more disturbing is the potential that the site would no longer have a resident manager, opening it up to the possibilities of vandalism and theft (which is exactly what happened last time this was done). When the Council acquired the site it published a ‘charter’, which said, amongst other things, that Cressing Temple ‘will be used as a focus for the County’s heritage’ and that ‘opportunities for learning and research offered by a site of such importance will be used to enable present and future generations to be aware of the County’s history and their personal relationship to it’. Time, says Martin, to remind the Council of this and to take a more creative and positive view of Cressing Temple’s potential.

Martin concludes: 'If any Fellow felt moved to add their thoughts on the proposed treatment of this site, I would encourage them to write to the Leader of the Council, David Finch, during the consultation period that is currently under way and that closes on 6 December 2013'.

Farewell to Colindale

On Friday 8 November 2013, the doors finally closed on the British Library’s national newspaper collection at Colindale, north London, home to the archive since 1934, though the repository building itself opened even earlier, in 1902. The huge collection of UK national daily and Sunday newspapers ― complete back to 1801, plus many older titles dating back to the seventeenth century and many local and regional newspapers and periodicals ― has outgrown Colindale’s 45km of shelving, so the physical collection has been moved to a new purpose-built Newspaper Storage Building in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. Researchers who previously travelled out to Colindale can now visit a dedicated newspaper Reading Room at the British Library’s main site at St Pancras, where digital or microfilm copies are available. Where a copy does not yet exist, an original print version can be ordered up and this will be made available within 48 hours, if it is in good enough condition to travel. For more information, see the British Library’s website.

The newspaper library staff have for some time now contributed to an entertaining blog and newsletter that draws attention to quirky stories trawled from the archive. The latest edition has a seasonal flavour, with an article dating from 1878 on the origins and traditions of Halloween, another, from 1827, about the practice (still then current, chillingly) of hunting witches and another, from 1929, which considers the legality, or otherwise, of guising at Halloween. To read these, and other entertaining articles from the past, you have to take out a (free) subscription to the British Newspaper Archives newsletter.

The Arts, Buildings & Collections Bulletin

Another excellent free newsletter is the ABC Bulletin, showcasing the latest curatorial and conservation news, projects and expertise at National Trust (the omission of the definite article is not an error, by the way, but rather the result of National Trust’s recent rebranding: grammar purists might have views on the matter). The Autumn 2013 issue has the second part of an interview with Director General Helen Ghosh on National Trust’s policies on property acquisition and nature conservation and on what National Trust might choose to preserve from the twentieth century to illustrate for future generations ‘what mattered to people’s lives, what changed people’s lives, and what enriched people’s lives’. Perhaps surprisingly, Dame Helen singles out the now redundant Didcot Power Station. She also thinks railways and motorways have value as reflections of the values of their age, and she argues that the British are not as sentimental about heritage as many another nation: ‘we were very un-reverential in the post-war period. We wanted to build a new nation in the image of the Festival of Britain: let’s knock everything down and build an Arndale Centre. Whereas in continental Europe they reconstructed what they had before.’ Finally she compares making decisions about what to conserve as akin to sorting out one’s library: ‘We’re surrounded by books’, she says of her Oxford home, ‘but even there I’m the one who says “Let’s go to Oxfam”, and my husband looks slightly pained on the basis that one should find a space for every book.’

The newsletter also has reports on Hardwick Hall’s textile and painted cloth collections, the archaeology of the lost bathing house at Studley Royal, the ‘Studio Silver Today’ exhibition at Erddig (a collaboration between National Trust and the Goldsmiths’ Company featuring historic silver and the work of leading contemporary silversmiths) and an account of the apotropaic marks at Ham House, carved on openings, such as doorways, fireplaces and windows, and in places where food was prepared, designed to ‘deter malevolent intrusion’. If you would like to receive the Arts, Buildings & Collections Bulletin, please send an email to National Trust.

News of Fellows

Congratulations to our Fellow Jean Wilson on being elected President of the Church Monuments Society in succession to our Fellow Sally Badham.

A snippet in the CBA Wessex Newsletter for November 2013 draws attention to a new online video, called 'Following the Stone', presented by our Fellow Julian Richards who provides, in his inimitable style, a fascinating glimpse of the history of the Portland stone quarries in Dorset and of the Victorian Portland Stone Railway that linked the quarries to the port at Weymouth. The same newsletter also has links to video footage of Fellow Matt Pope’s recent excavations at La Cotte de St Brélade, Jersey, a site that has produced more Neanderthal stone tools than the rest of the British Isles together. Matt is quoted as saying that ‘in terms of the volume of sediment, archaeological richness and depth of time, there is nothing else like it known in the British Isles; given that we thought these deposits had been removed entirely by previous researchers, finding that so much still remains is as exciting as discovering a new site’.

Elected to the Fellowship only three days ago (see ‘Ballot results: 7 November 2013’ above), Fellow Susan Weber is joint curator with Fellow Julius Bryant of a major exhibition ― William Kent: designing Georgian Britain ― at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture, New York, on until 9 February 2014, after which it travels to the Victoria and Albert Museum (22 March to 13 July). The accompanying book includes contributions by Fellows Geoffrey Beard, Steven Brindle, John Hardy, John Harris, Tim Knox, Frank Salmon, Nicholas Savage, Michael Snodin, David Watkin and Roger White, as well as by Susan Weber and Julius Bryant and by Catherine Arbuthnott, Clarissa Campbell Orr and John Dixon Hunt.

Kent’s abortive designs of the 1730s for a new Houses of Parliament are explained in an online film presented by Frank Salmon, a shorter version of which can be found on the BBC History Magazine website.

Fellow Karen Hearn has co-curated the special exhibition ― West Country to World’s End: the South West in the Tudor Age ― that is on at Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter until 2 March 2014. This celebrates ‘the spirit of adventure and enterprise’ of the people of the West Country during the Elizabethan Golden Age, typified by the likes of Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and John Hawkins, not to mention Exeter’s Nicholas Hilliard, producer of exquisite miniature portraits, and fellow Exonian Thomas Bodley, who re-founded Oxford University’s library.

The exhibition has grown out of a recent RAMM research project funded by The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the objects, paintings and manuscripts on display have been chosen to reflect the region’s craftsmanship, prosperity and civic pride alongside the fruits of overseas trade. These include the first regional histories, maps and records of monuments made by such antiquaries as Richard Carew, John Hooker and John Norden, as well as Cornishman John White’s watercolour views of indigenous Algonquians and their settlements in the New World. The exhibition also includes the rarely seen large-scale oil painting of Elizabeth I and the Armada shown above, celebrating the role of West Countrymen in repulsing the Spanish naval threat to England’s security (the painting, owned by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, was the subject of an essay in the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 2004, vol 14, 2005, pp 123―40).

The fully illustrated catalogue produced to accompany the exhibition has been edited by co-curator Sam Smiles, with essays from Susan Flavin on developments in the decorative arts of the sixteenth century, by Sam Smiles himself on education and learning, by Stephanie Pratt on exploration and by Karen Hearn on Nicholas Hilliard and on art in Britain 1540―1620.

Nominations open for the 2014 British Archaeological Awards

Nominations are now being invited for the 2014 British Archaeological Awards in the following categories:
  • Best Archaeological Project
  • Best Community-engagement Archaeology Project
  • Best Archaeological Book
  • Best Public Presentation of Archaeology
  • Best Archaeological Innovation

The British Archaeological Awards website has full details, setting out the criteria for each award, along with a downloadable nomination form, which you can also complete online. Nominations close on Friday 28 February 2014 and the award ceremony will take place on Monday 14 July 2014 at the British Museum.

Call for papers: ‘Heritage and Landscape as Human Values’

ICOMOS has launched a call for papers for its 18th Symposium, which will take place in Florence on 10 to 14 November 2014 on the theme of ‘Heritage and Landscape as Human Values’. Under this heading, there will be five sub-themes: ‘Sharing and experiencing the identity of communities through tourism and interpretation’; ‘Landscape as cultural habitat’; ‘Sustainability through traditional knowledge’; ‘Community driven conservation and local empowerment’; and ‘Emerging tools for conservation practice’. The deadline for abstracts of no more than 3,000 characters is 31 January 2014, and further information can be found on the ICOMOS website.

Call for papers: ‘The Collector and His Circle’

This day seminar will be hosted by the Wallace Collection in conjunction with Warwick/IESA MA in the History and Business of Collecting and the Collecting and Display Seminar Group at the Institute of Historical Research, at the Wallace Collection on Wednesday 2 July 2014. If you are interested in contributing a 15-minute presentation, please send an abstract of c 300 words to Carmen Holdsworth-Delgado by 31 January 2014. The focus of the workshop will be on the collector and his circles, whether friends, advisers or dealers, so as to give further understanding to the context in which individual collectors acquired and displayed their collections. Speakers are invited to examine the mutual interests of collectors and art patrons; the client relationships between dealers and collectors; the roles of advisers, museum curators and critics and the importance of art publications.

New light on fireproofing in Stukeley’s notebooks

Our Fellow John Smith writes: ‘That our first secretary, William Stukeley, was a polymath is well known, but while researching my article on his residence in Stamford for the current volume of the Antiquaries Journal, I could not help but be struck by the sheer range of his interests: his attempts to design a horseless carriage; his proposals to consolidate a dangerously unsafe medieval church tower in Stamford; his ingenious engineering solution to demolish a tall building in his own garden; or, at the other end of the scale, making the first record of the Bogbean (or Buckbean, Menyanthes trifoliate) in Northamptonshire.

‘Alongside all this, he also puts on record a very early experiment in fire proofing buildings. One normally associates this with iron framed mills at the end of the eighteenth century, but there were earlier proposals. For example, Batty Langley (The London Prices of Bricklayers Materials and Works, 1749, 246) proposed a building with “brick floors, with arches, groined, or coved ceilings ... to prevent the sad consequences of fire in dwelling-houses”.

‘Stukeley’s record of 1741 is eight years earlier and is perhaps worth quoting: “Mr Wych of Godeby [presumably Goadby, Leics] is building a house where all the floors are arches of brick thro’out: in order to prevent fire: even the roof its self. Instead of a buttment, he frames long timbers together, by irons at the corners in squares. These are let into the walls, so as not to be exposd to any fire, & the arches are turn’d within these timbers, like a cupola in an iron hoop. He tryd by repeated experiments, the force and weight required to brake the timber frame suppose of 18 inches square beams, & finds it amounts to 20 tuns, much more than any weight we can possibly have occasion for in a house floor" (Bodleian Library, Oxford: MS Eng misc e125, fols 40 and 41). He also illustrates the scheme (see left).’

Who invented ‘four-field anthropology’?

Research into the archives of Augustus Pitt-Rivers has led Fellow Dan Hicks to ask whether he too has found evidence that challenges accepted facts. In this case, it is the so-called four-field model of anthropology, conventionally understood to have begun with a paper read by Franz Boas in St Louis in 1904, proposing that anthropology is a conglomerate science, made up of four sub-disciplines that frequently overlap but use different methodologies: biological or physical anthropology, social or cultural anthropology, archaeology and anthropological linguistics. In a paper published in the December issue of Current Anthropology and available in open-access format on JSTOR, Dan publishes for the first time a drawing made by Augustus Pitt-Rivers in England in 1882 and a letter, written from 4 Grosvenor Gardens on 10 May 1882, which leaves no doubt that a four-field model was already current a generation earlier, in the 1870s and 1880s, on both sides of the Atlantic.

The story that Dan reveals to explain the letter and drawing is a fascinating one, bound up with discussions at Oxford about the content of a new anthropology component within the natural science degree that had been stimulated by the development of the University Museum and the notorious July 1860 debate on evolution during the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS). Plans for teaching anthropology happened to coincide with plans for the donation of the Pitt-Rivers collection, and it was therefore natural enough that a draft schedule for anthropology teaching was sent to General Pitt-Rivers. The letter and drawing represent his detailed vision for the instruction of anthropology at Oxford.

The division into four fields is striking, and it is clear from the letter that the proposed syllabus was not thus divided, though the idea itself may not be original to Pitt-Rivers: Dan traces the various influences on Pitt-Rivers’ terminology and thinking and suggests that the idea goes back to the late 1870s; Dan argues however, not for the replacement of one myth about the origins of the discipline for another, but rather for the more difficult historiographical concept that history does not consist of a series of stopped moments, but of a flow of thought and that what we now see with hindsight as a defining moment was at the time just one idea among many under discussion.

‘Table of the various sections and sub-sections of Anthropological science according to my view of the matter’, by General Augustus Pitt-Rivers: photograph of original manuscript drawing by Pitt-Rivers (A), redrawn by the author (B). Bodleian Library, Oxford: Acland Papers d92, fol 90.


In the list of library services referred to in the last issue of Salon, it should have been stated that the loans and postal loans service is only available to Fellows.

The last issue of Salon said that the late James Dyer had not been a Fellow, but our Fellow Bill Manning thinks he was an FSA at one stage. Bill goes on to say that ‘I was at school with James, although he was a few years senior to me, and his enthusiasm for archaeology and a school society which that he founded, were probably critical in my own development as an archaeologist. My first dig was with him at Galley Hill, which was stopped prematurely because he had omitted to get Scheduled Monument Consent! He finished the work about ten years later. Fellow Josh Pollard was one of his students in his final phase as a school-teacher.’

Bill adds that James’s schoolboy interest in the subject ‘was confirmed when he read Richard Atkinson’s Field Archaeology, and digging with Atkinson at Dorchester-on-Thames. In 1951, while still at school, he then began a series of excavations on sites in the area around Luton, which included Bronze Age barrows on Galley Hill and a ring ditch near Barton, a neolithic enclosure at Waulud’s Bank, the massive Iron Age ditch system at Dray’s Ditches and the hillfort at Ravensburgh Castle. He also founded the first archaeological society in Luton, and played a major part in the creation of the Bedfordshire Archaeological Council and the launch of the Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal. His later publications included two excellent guide books (Southern England: an archaeological guide and The Penguin Guide to Prehistoric England and Wales) as well as a collaborative history of Luton (a copy of which was given to every child then at school in the town) and a history of his former school (Rhubarb and Custard: Luton Modern School and Luton Grammar School for Boys).’

By coincidence, this picture (left) of James was published in the most recent issue of British Archaeology, in an article about recent excavations at the Iron Age hillfort at Burrough Hill, Leicestershire: James had directed excavations there in 1960.

Fellow Malcolm Lillie (Director of the Wetland Archaeology and Environments Research Centre at the University of Hull) writes to say that he was perplexed by the piece in Salon on the ‘Bronze Age Slipway’ and the link to the Daily Mail’s article headlined ‘World’s Oldest Boatyard’ because of the total absence of actual evidence for boatbuilding at the Monmouth site. ‘I am somewhat surprised that no one has picked up on the fact that the Mail article uses information from the find site of the Ferriby boats, a site which incidentally actually does have evidence for boat building and which has an absolute date of 2030 cal BC for one of the boat planks and that has, for some time now, been considered to be the earliest realistic site of a ship/boat yard for the well-known Bronze Age sewn plank boats’, he writes.

‘It appears from the Mail article there is in fact absolutely no evidence to support the suggestion that the channels at Monmouth were used for the craft that are hypothesised, and the evidence is lacking to the point whereby it is beyond tenuous. Furthermore, the statement that: “there was no sign of the wooden boat but there was evidence of wood working on the site ― with sharp flakes of imported flint found alongside the channels” is again not in any way substantiated, as the total lack of any suggestion that wood working debris was found (which would surely have been preserved in the clays at the site?) argues against these interpretations.

‘Perhaps having halted the development for six months the archaeologists are compelled to produce something of substance to justify such a move, but statements like “no one in the world has ever identified a prehistoric boat building site before” is clearly erroneous and presumably designed to sensationalise what is simply a site with three (unusually straight admittedly) channels excavated into the clays at the edge of a lake.’

Julia Sorrell, daughter of our late Fellow Alan Sorrell, the subject of the current special exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum writes to say that her father, as well as specialising in archaeological reconstruction drawings, had a special love of trees, which appear in many of his pictures. Indeed, when he died in 1974, the painting that he left unfinished on his easel was a poignant study of five JCBs, ripping into an ancient wood, in order to clear the land for development. Julia, an artist herself, has inherited this love of trees as can be seen in the article she has contributed) to the web page of the Ancient Tree Forum.


19 November 2013: ‘The “Perfect World” of the London Square’, by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, at 7pm in the Lord Mayor's Reception Rooms, City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London SW1, organised by the Westminster History Club, which raises funds for research into the complex history of the City of Westminster, being published in three volumes by the Victoria County History. Tickets are £10 each at the door. Todd’s lecture delves into the history, evolution, and social implications of London’s squares, which have been an important element in the planning and expansion of London since the early seventeenth century. As an amenity that fosters health and well being and a connection to the natural world, the square has played a crucial role in the development of the English capital.

20 November 2013: The Triumph of Music over Time: George Frideric Handel and Charles Clay's Musical Clocks, an exhibition at the Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, London (until 23 February 2014). In the 1730s Handel provided music for a series of clocks created by watch and clockmaker Charles Clay. These beautiful machines, which incorporated automata, paintings, sculptures, furniture and gold and silverwork by some of the finest artisans in London, also included chimes and pump organs that played musical excerpts from popular operas and sonatas. This exhibition is an opportunity to see a Clay clock from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery at Handel House as it would have been viewed in the clockmaker’s own home. There will also be a recording of the music from a Clay clock where you can hear the earliest ‘recordings’ of Handel’s music made during his lifetime.

Fellow Tessa Murdoch will be giving a paper on this subject to the Society of Antiquaries on Thursday 6 February 2014; in the meantime, for further information on the exhibition, see the Handel House Museum website.

25 November 2013: ‘A temple to travel: Grand Tour souvenirs in the collection of Jane and Mary Parminter at A la Ronde, Devon’, by Freya Gowerly, of the University of Edinburgh, 5.30pm in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Admission is free and booking is not required. Further information and details of future seminars can now be found on the Wallace Collection website.  

26 November 2013: ‘Magic, Beauty and Mystery: exploring the glories of the great pottery churches’, the 2013 SAVE lecture will be given by Matthew Rice, the painter, writer and architectural enthusiast in St Mary Abchurch, starting at 7.30, with drinks afterwards. Tickets are priced at £15 and can be reserved by sending a cheque to SAVE Britain's Heritage, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ, or by paying through the PayPal link on SAVE’s homepage.

27 November 2013: Soane Museum Annual Lecture: ‘Nairn's London’, by Fellow Gillian Darley, at the Art Workers Guild, London, drinks from 7pm, lecture at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 (£10 for students) and can be booked in advance or can be purchased on the door. In her lecture.

Gillian Darley, biographer of Soane, continues her quest to chronicle the lives and works of great architectural personalities. Architecture critic Ian Nairn (1930―83) is her most recent subject. Starting with a brief overview of Nairn’s career ― which started with a search for Soane’s buildings in Norfolk ― Darley will focus on the development of Nairn’s London (1966), a book unrivalled for its energetic, anarchic and highly subjective view of the capital. Gillian’s study of Nairn and his writing ― Ian Nairn: words in place, co-written with David McKie ― is to be launched on 19 November 2013 at the London Review Bookshop.

2 December 2013: Fellow Francis Pryor in conversation about his life as an archaeologist, 4pm, in the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge. As always with these annual Personal Histories events, the meeting will be preceded by a superb homemade tea from 3pm. All are welcome but seats are limited so please reserve a place by sending an e-mail message.

3 December 2013: ‘The Survival of the Old Royal Library Collections 1660―1760’, by John Goldfinch (British Library). Researching a chapter for a forthcoming British Library publication on Royal Libraries, John Goldfinch came across some of the older Royal Collection catalogues that were available to George III when he began to assemble what became the King's Library. This seminar, in the Board Room of the British Library, provides an opportunity to see some of the catalogues and the books to which they refer: meet at 5.20pm at the British Library’s reception desk on the ground floor, and if you are intending to attend, please send an email to Jon Millington. This seminar is one in a series concerned with research into the History of Libraries, details of which can be found on the IHR website.

6 December 2013: ‘Landscape Archaeology Forty Years On’, a lecture by our Fellow Trevor Rowley at 6pm, in the Rewley House Lecture Theatre, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA. This lecture, sponsored by the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, is to be given in memory of our late Fellow Mick Aston, who was tutor in local studies in the Department before moving to Bristol University as Staff Tutor in Archaeology. Earlier he had made a major contribution to the archaeology of Oxfordshire through his work on the Sites and Monuments Record, then based at the City and County Museum, Woodstock.

In this lecture Trevor will discuss the thinking behind Landscape Archaeology, a book that went on to have a significant impact on the development of field archaeology in Britain. He will also explain how he and Mick worked together to produce the book against the background of the burgeoning of Rescue Archaeology. Trevor will also examine subsequent field archaeology projects, including Mick’s own work at Shapwick. Finally, Trevor will look at current work in greater Oxford, which continues the tradition that Mick did so much to promote.

Further details can be found on the OUDCE website.

16 to 19 May 2014: Puddingstone and related silcretes of the Anglo-Paris Basin: geological and archaeological perspectives, a joint meeting of the Geological Society, the Geologists’ Association and the Society of Antiquaries to be held at Burlington House.

Hertfordshire Puddingstone and its regional counterparts have long been of interest to both geologists and archaeologists. In particular, Roman puddingstone querns are found over a wide area. In the last six years the growing co-operation between geologists and archaeologists on puddingstones studies has led to the investigation of the Hertfordshire Roman puddingstone quarry and (as recently as 2011) to the discovery of a second Roman puddingstone quarry in the Paris Basin area of northern France. This meeting will consider puddingstones and silcretes of similar age in these locations, and the weekend field trip will include visits to sites in east Hertfordshire and Essex in the UK and Saint-Saëns and Sotteville in France. It is anticipated that the meeting and the field trips will lead to further co-operative research between archaeologists and geologists. For further information, please contact Georgina Worrall at the Geological Society or see the Geological Society’s website.

Counterpoint: essays in archaeology and heritage studies in honour of Professor Kristian Kristiansen

This huge book, fully the size and weight of five Antiquaries Journal volumes, contains ninety essays from the world’s leading archaeologists, sixteen of whom are Fellows. Twelve thematic headings provide a framework for the book, each of which reflects a facet of Fellow Kristian Kristiansen’s many professional interests, from rock art to heritage studies, and from subsistence economies to travel. Proof that that by no means exhausts Professor Kristiansen’s interests is demonstrated by a picture that goes a long way to explaining why so many people have contributed: it shows KK playing keyboards in a rock band to entertain the delegates at the EAA conference in the Hague in 2010. Archaeology is a very sociable activity, and there are few archaeologists more sociable, or more passionate about international collaboration and interdisciplinarity, than Kristian.

That passion has many a legacy, including the EAA itself, whose annual conference has become a byword for conviviality and hospitality, as the organisers in each host city vie to showcase the best of their nation’s archaeology and leave their guests for the year with indelible memories. Two essays in this volume, one by Fellow Willem Willems and the other by Predrag Novaković, tell the story of Kristian’s crucial role, as the EAA’s first Provisional Committee Chairman, in getting the organisation off the ground in November 1994. If words like ‘chairman’ and ‘organisation’ suggest a committee man, Kristian’s son, Niels Kristiansen, dispels that idea in his affectionate portrait of growing up as the only child of archaeological parents. His father, he writes, is ‘not afraid of bending the rules and norms if he believes that they are wrong ... over-arching rules and methods are not always best suited to deal with special situations that will naturally rise in any organisation ... [my father’s] liberal sense of not feeling constrained by norms is something that I admire tremendously’.

All of the essays in this volume illustrate that principle of ‘thinking outside the box’ to a degree, which makes this volume all the more exciting: each essayist probes and challenges accepted ideas, and yet, as Michael Shanks points out, in his essay ‘Archaeology in the making’ on the recent history of the discipline of archaeology, what underlies the diversity of practice in archaeology today is ‘a commitment to certain values, principles, ethics, that enable an authentic engagement with the past’. In seeking to define those, Shanks mentions ‘respect for stakeholder standpoints, interests and ideologies’, allied to a willingness to critique those same beliefs, and ‘a kind of curious and probing attitude ... a concern to expose assumptions and the taken-for-granted myths’, especially those that are used to ‘facilitate control, to extend power and, thereby, inequities’. Arguably, these values are not exclusive to archaeology, and arguably not all archaeologists live up to them all the time, but they are an inspiring manifesto for life and are exemplified to the full in the essays in this book and in the life and work of the archaeologist they honour.

Counterpoint: essays in archaeology and heritage studies in honour of Professor Kristian Kristiansen, edited by Sophie Bergerbrant and Serena Sabatini; ISBN 9781407311265; BAR International Series 2508, 2013

The Bosporus: gateway between the ancient west and east

Edited by, among others, our Fellow Gocha Tsetskhladze, this volume reflects another collaboration, this time of scholars attending the Fourth International Congress on Black Sea Antiquities, held in Istanbul on 14 to 18 September 2009, sharing the fruits of their research into the archaeology of the Bosporus hinterland, taking in the Black Sea to the north and the Sea of Marmara, the Dardanelles, the Aegean and the Mediterranean to the south. The papers range from studies of peoples and settlements and material cultures to accounts of recent fieldwork to such social and political issues as illicit excavation, tomb raiding and international museum policy.

One theme that emerges is the importance of the sea as a cultural accelerator ― not a new idea perhaps but one given real substance in this volume ― a path along which people, trade, ideas, art, language and armies pass more quickly and easily than they would on land. Hence too the focus on such narrow straits as the Bosporus in power politics: those who control the strait effectively control the wider region, which has seen frequent oscillations between peace and war.

The Bosporus: gateway between the ancient west and east (1st millennium BC to 5th century AD), edited by Gocha Tsetskhladze et al; ISBN 9781407311357; BAR International Series 2517, 2013

The Making of the Middle Sea

Fellow Cyprian Broodbank’s book is subtitled a ‘history’ of the Mediterranean, but is really an ‘archaeology’ of the Middle Sea, distinguishing it from similarly entitled books, such as our Fellow David Abulafia’s The Great Sea (2011), which charts the same shores but from the perspective of an economic, social and political historian. Not, of course, that any of these different perspectives can be cleanly separated, but the emphasis on material evidence in Cyprian Broodbank’s book is clear simply from scanning the first few pictures of this well-illustrated book, nearly all of which show archaeologists at work.

The author adds a further distinction: he says it is, fundamentally, a ‘barbarian’ history, by which he means that the powerful narrative of a superior ancient Greek and Roman civilisation that drives so many Mediterranean overviews is not so much ignored as balanced: as much weight is given to Catalan and Berber, Turk, Cypriot, Dalmatian and Sardinian, allowing the multiplicity of Mediterranean cultures to emerge from the shadows and take their proper place in the region’s history. The result, argues the author, is to replace the Classical ideas that still, to a great degree, dominate our political and educational system and our thinking about the Mediterranean, and even our more recent pejorative view of the Mediterranean as a land of olive oil and blood feuds, sunshine and siestas, with a more inspiring model of the Mediterranean as a region of ‘mobility, encounter and flux ... a good, instructive, even guardedly hopeful place to study the world’.

What follows is a masterful chronological account of the Mediterranean’s geology, plant life, minerals, wildlife and climate and the ways that these have changed and the ways they have been used and turned to advantage by diverse people, from the arrival of our hominin ancestors to the book’s end date of 500 BC. Rather than the more conventional transition points between Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages, Cyprian uses climate shifts to separate the chronology into manageable chunks, arguing that the Earth’s climate history is a more reliable guide to the pattern of Mediterranean archaeology. He also traces certain trajectories, in agriculture, trade and maritime activity, that are better at explaining the course of the region’s history than the dominant technology, all leading to what he calls the ‘glitzy phase’ (think Mycenae and Tutankhamun) that represents the result of ‘the growth and proliferation of things set in train in the preceding millennium’. All in all, this is a riveting account of a region that you thought you knew, viewed through fresh eyes, full of challenging ideas, based on relatively recent archaeological fieldwork, bringing before us the fruits of new evidence and new thinking in equal measure.

The Making of the Middle Sea: a history of the Mediterranean from the beginning to the emergence of the Classical world, by Cyprian Broodbank; ISBN 9780500051764; Thames & Hudson, 2013

Monuments and Monumentality Across Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Several Fellows have contributed essays to this volume, based on the conference of the same name held at the University of Stirling in 2011. Given the location, it is not surprising that many of the papers focus on Scottish funerary monuments, including our Fellows Richard Fawcett on Scottish canopied tomb design and Richard Oram on the tombs of Scotland’s medieval bishops, but the methodologies reflected in the papers are of much wider relevance, and the monuments of other European nations do get a look in, as in the fascinating paper by Fellows Brian and Moira Gittos, entitled ‘The English medieval churchyard: what did it really look like?’.

Anyone tempted to answer ‘probably not much different from now’ would be wrong. For a start, you will look long and hard to find any English churchyard with a medieval memorial: headstones did not become a feature of churchyard cemeteries until the late seventeenth century. Grave markers there definitely were: William of Malmesbury, writing about Glastonbury Abbey in c 1129, said: ‘the whole surface of the ground was so thickly covered with memorials of the dead ... you could scarcely put your foot down without running into some tomb or other’.

Archaeology offers some clues: 43 per cent of the interments excavated at Berwick upon Tweed in 1998 had carved or plain grave slabs. At Raunds, graves were marked by a variety of structures: plain and decorated slabs, rough stones and pitched stones laid over the grave fill, upright crosses and rough or shaped stones used as markers at the head and foot of the grave. Many probably had timber grave markers too, and occasionally stone sockets, probably intended to hold a wooden cross, have been found. Documents provide further evidence: in 1390, the people of Abingdon sought to have a churchyard of their own, separate from that of the abbey, because the monks ‘without the consent of friends or executors, removed, sold and appropriated to their own use the costly tombstones’.

Some grave slabs have survived reused in walls, or as door and window lintels or stair treads, and Limpley Stoke, in Wiltshire has no less than fifteen medieval grave slabs surviving in situ, all tapered, with the eroded remains of incised crosses. Later medieval developments include table tombs, carved effigies, external tomb recesses and inscriptions requesting prayers for the deceased. This is, say the authors, a field of study in its infancy: among the pioneers are our Fellow Father Jerome Bertram, who has undertaken extensive fieldwork in Oxfordshire, Peter Ryder, studying cross slabs in northern England, Ben Stocker, in Kent, and the authors themselves, working in the north east and the Welsh borders. That leaves plenty of scope for others to add to the database that the authors say they hope to publish of their preliminary findings.

Monuments and Monumentality Across Medieval and Early Modern Europe, edited by Michael Penman; ISBN 9781907730283; Shaun Tyas, 2013

Cutting into the Workshop: celebrating the work and life of David Kindersley

Our Fellow Ann Saunders has contributed the following review of a book and a series that she thinks might be of interest to Fellows.

This is the twelfth, but not the last, of a series of modestly priced little books on the work undertaken by what is now the Cardozo-Kindersley Workshop. All are published by Cambridge University Press. This volume recounts David Kindersley’s life, from birth to death, and the continuation of his workshop under the aegis of his third wife, Lida Cardozo, who wrote the brief Introduction. The greater part of the book was the work of Lottie Hoare, who was also responsible for Kindersley’s entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and is stiffly written, which makes for uncomfortable reading. It is, however, immensely informative and worthy of the reader’s perseverance. The second and shorter half is by Thomas Sherwood. It covers the arrival of Lida at the workshop just when Kindersley, now sixty-one, was thinking of retiring, and her gradual taking over of both Kindersley and the workshop, becoming his wife, partner and finally his successor.

The real value of these twelve books is their revaluation of the development of lettering in England from 1940 when Eric Gill died ― Kindersley had earlier become his apprentice ― its changes during the rest of Kindersley’s life, and its continuation under Lida’s guidance into the present. It covers plain, straightforward work, culminating in the instantly readable motorway signs of c 1960 ― they were never adopted ― through the more complicated, sometimes indecipherable alphabets of the 1970s and the present return to simpler styles. The book’s importance lies in the number of examples by various hands reproduced in more or less chronological order. One can pass an hour just gazing at one page, sometimes admiring beauty, sometimes comparing in one’s mind the relationship to other examples seen elsewhere. Another feature of this book are sidenotes, printed in red, giving brief details of the lives and work of other, now half-forgotten, artists, craftsmen and letter-cutters. Finally there is a very brief bibliography. We should be grateful to Lida and her fellow workers for what they have given us in this compact, accessible presentation.

Cutting into the Workshop: celebrating the work and life of David Kindersley, by Lida Cardozo Kindersley, Lottie Hoare and Thomas Sherwood; ISBN 9781107614680; Cambridge University Press, 2013

Presenting the Romans

Heritage presentation is an emerging discipline within cultural and heritage tourism, quite distinct from museum presentation and curatorship in that it deals with sites rather than objects. In the case of this book, an important contribution to the discipline, the sites concerned are the frontiers of the Roman Empire, collectively a World Heritage Site and together stretching for more than 5,000km, from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, and from there to the Red Sea and thence across North Africa back to the Atlantic coast. The contributors include our Fellows David Breeze, Mike Corbishley, Susan Greaney, Don Henson, Richard Hingley and Christopher Young, and their papers examine the efforts that have been made to bring this heritage to life using traditional guidebooks, re-enactments, reconstruction drawings, multi-media presentations, replica buildings, museum displays, smartphone apps and various forms of guided tour and lecture. The book is packed with case studies, mainly from northern Europe, in which Hadrian’s Wall figures large. All of the contributors attempt to assess the success of their chosen approach in engaging people and hoping to stimulate them to some form of active participation.

Presenting the Romans: interpreting the frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site, edited by Nigel Mills; ISBN 9781843838470; Boydell, 2013

Baroque and Later Ivories in the Victoria and Albert Museum

Written by our Fellow Marjorie Trusted, Senior Curator of Sculpture, this catalogue catalogue of the baroque and later ivories in the V&A has illustrated entries on more than 500 pieces in an outstanding collection that is particularly strong in German, Netherlandish, French, British and Hispanic works by such leading ivory sculptors as Francis van Bossuit, Benjamin Cheverton, Balthasar Griessmann, Joachim Henne, Johann Christoph Ludwig Lücke, David Le Marchand and Balthasar Permoser.

Carved and turned ivories were highly treasured items in the baroque period: they might render dramatic scenes from mythology, present exquisitely carved portrait likenesses on a small scale, or depict religious narratives. The range of objects includes portrait busts, tankards, statuettes, devotional reliefs and figures, turned cups and vessels, boxes, cutlery handles, snuff rasps and sundials.

In addition to detailed entries on each piece, the Introduction summarises the history and techniques of baroque and later ivory carving, while indexes of subjects and artists, in addition to a comprehensive bibliography, provide a full scholarly apparatus. The book complements the catalogue of early medieval ivories in the V&A by Fellow Paul Williamson, published in 2010, and the forthcoming catalogue of gothic ivories by Paul Williamson and Glyn Davies, which is due to appear in 2014.

Baroque and Later Ivories in the Victoria and Albert Museum, by Marjorie Trusted; ISBN 9781851777679; V&A Publishing, 2013


Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Fellowship and Development Officer
Salary: £24,159 to £31,512

You have until 5pm today (18 November 2013) to put in an application for this post, which involves increasing the Society’s income streams from the Fellowship and other sources, and increasing the Society’s engagement with existing and potential Fellows. Full details and application information are available here.

PhD Bursary in Architectural History, Middlesex University, London
Closing date: 22 November 2013

The successful applicant will be supervised by our Fellow Professor Dana Arnold and will have the opportunity to work in collaboration with Sir John Soane’s Museum on the relationship between Sir John Soane (1753―1837) and John Britton (1771―1857). This topic remains loosely defined and will be up to the student in consultation with Professor Arnold to develop and shape the project according to his or her own interests. Proposals are also welcome from suitably qualified students wishing to research other topics in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British architectural history and/or theory.

Initial inquiries should be made directly to Professor Dana Arnold and applications should be made via the Middlesex University website.

Propose a lecture

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 5pm) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 1pm).

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 News and Events section of our website.


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

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