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Salon: Issue 355
14 December 2015

Next issue: 18 January 2016

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

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

Statutes Reform Agreed by the Extraordinary General Meeting

On 3 December, at the Extraordinary General Meeting called according to the provisions set out in the 2004 Statutes, Fellows who attended voted overwhelmingly to adopt the new Statutes with only a few minor changes from the version circulated in mid to late October this year. The pros and cons of a number of suggested amendments were put forward before each of them was voted upon. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Statutes were adopted by the required two-thirds majority of the Fellows voting – in fact, there were no votes against the final text. The same result was achieved for the proposed changes to the Charter, and for the confirmation of the first two Orders, covering the conduct of the Anniversary Elections and providing for Postal and Online voting.
The formal series of resolutions that were passed by the Meeting will now be laid before the Privy Council Office, who are still formally to confirm the proposed changes to the Charter, probably at their meeting in February 2016. This event marks the a big step toward the conclusion of a long process of reform of the Society’s governance, which began in 2011, and which has been helped by the “transition” grant we were awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund during the course of 2014–15. With this, we were able to engage the services of Stone King, the lawyers who have guided us through the process, and who now have embarked on the final step of achieving consent for our new Charter from the Privy Council.

The revised Charter and Statutes are now available publicly on our website.

Society Submits Response for the DCMS Culture White Paper

In Salon 353, circulated on 16 November, we noted that the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport is proposing, as soon as February 2016, to publish a White Paper on Culture, on the broad themes of Places, People, Funding, and Cultural Diplomacy. A general invitation was issued for contributions from individuals or organisations. Our thanks to those Fellows who wrote in with suggestions for text or points to include; the Society's Policy Committee has now agreed the text for the Society's response, which has been made available on our website. The committee was not able to accept all the suggestions put forward, but has tried, so far as practicable, to fashion a response to DCMS which encapsulates many of the Society's values, which were agreed by Council earlier this year. We await the Culture White Paper with interest!

Highlighting Our Collections — Your Help is Needed!

The Society of Antiquaries has, over more than 300 years, accumulated astonishing collections.  Through the Library and Museum collections at Burlington House (London) and Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire), the Society cares for a vast array of material, ranging from Old Master paintings to archaeological objects, from prints and drawings to one of the finest libraries for antiquarian and archaeological research anywhere. 

In 2016, we will be launching a new programme to highlight a variety of the treasures in our collections, focusing on one special object each month. The features, which will consist of short text, sometimes with supporting material or short videos, will be published on the on the Society’s website and shared via Salon and social media. Their aim will be to raise wider awareness and appreciation of the Society’s wonderful collections, but also to engage Fellows more closely in the life of the Society, by calling on those Fellows with knowledge and expertise of objects in the collections to contribute to the scheme. 

Please do watch out for the first published post, which will appear in February!

If you have a favourite object in the collections, please do consider contributing! For more information, please contact the Collections Manager, Anooshka Rawden, at

Highlights from Our Christmas Miscellany and Mulled Wine Reception

Fellows and guests were thrilled to have the opportunity to hear about research that has taken place on the Society's collections this year, including a short lecture by Dr Kathy Haslam on the 'Homestead and the Forest' cot quilt that has been on loan to Kelmscott and an on update on the progress of the Kelmscott Manor 'Lost Treasures of Kelmscott' research project from research interns Olivia Jones and Jennifer Pitt. Recordings from the papers are available online from our website and on YouTube.

Fellows and guests were able to see the cot quilt at Burlington House during the event, as it was on display in our Library during teatime and the Mulled Wine Reception. The Reception was further enlivened by the Society's Treasurer Stephen Johnson, who, with help from Fellow Deborah Priddy, led those in attendance through a round of Christmas Carols (click on the images below to see short clips!). It was a very festive event. We hope to see you there next year! 


Burying Arthur

From the Desk of the General Secretary in the last Salon contained a piece about Glastonbury Abbey. Glastonbury Abbey: Archaeological Investigations 1904–79, by Roberta Gilchrist FSA and Cheryl Green, received considerable media publicity, not all of it to the authors’ liking. Salon (repeating comments in The Guardian and found widely elsewhere) said that Gilchrist had accused Glastonbury monks of making up links between the abbey and Joseph of Arimathea, to help raise funds. What Gilchrist actually said (between curiously dressed visitors ‘feeling the energy’ and modern Abbey PR), was that the monks wanted to boost their reputation by claiming the oldest church in western Europe. The magic thorn tree and the Holy Legend of Glastonbury, however, were later additions to medieval myth.
The book is one outcome of the first stage of a major project, in partnership with the Trustees of Glastonbury Abbey and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which analysed and published the archive of antiquarian excavations over 36 seasons between 1904 and 1979. The Archaeology Data Service is hosting an integrated database.
The research found no evidence to support the claim of Ralegh Radford FSA to have found ‘Arthur’s grave’ – in that respect it was archaeologists, not monks, who spun the myth. Some of Radford’s other well-known claims are also questioned, such as the existence of England’s earliest cloister. ‘The reinterpretation of Radford’s work’, Gilchrist tells Salon, ‘does not challenge or quash the myths; indeed, I have been working on a parallel project on multi-vocality in the interpretation and presentation of the site.’
‘We are not in the business of destroying people’s beliefs’, she told Maev Kennedy FSA. ‘A thousand years of beliefs and legends are part of the intangible history of this remarkable place.’ Over the coming year Gilchrist and Rhi Smith will work with Abbey Trustees to implement a new interpretation strategy, connecting the archaeology more directly to the abbey’s spiritual and legendary significance.

Hammersmith Register Decoded

Also in the last Salon, Cliff Webb FSA asked if Fellows could help him translate coded entries in Hammersmith’s 17th-century parish register. They could, with a fascinting result.
Duncan Harrington FSA suspected it was Jeremiah Rich’s system, particularly patronised by the clergy, and Richard Barber FSA noticed a similarity to Pepys’s shorthand. The definitive confirmation came from Kate Loveman, Senior Lecturer in English 1600–1789 at the University of Leicester, to whom her Leicester colleague Gordon Campbell FSA had passed the query.
‘The register is using Thomas Shelton's shorthand,’ writes Loveman, ‘which is the same shorthand system used by Pepys. I've been able to transliterate bits of the register using the 1691 edition of Shelton's Tachygraphy. Shelton's system is in use for much of the 17th century, with lots of editions, and it doesn't change much – at least it's much the same from the 1640s (the editions I'd use for Pepys) and 1691. I used the 1691 edition as the date of the register wasn't clear.’
As an example, she transcribed a line from Webb’s photo, on the second page, first column, last line.
‘This had a mix’, she says, ‘of what looked at first glance like short words, long words, and symbols to stand for whole words – so a good test of whether it was actually Shelton's shorthand. It turns out to be a line worthy of Pepys: “And sent my wife a memorial [word obscured?] at the same time.” Other bits do indeed indicate church accounts, e.g. it shows a number of payments of 6d for “Churching”.’
Campbell wondered what precisely Webb meant by ‘Hammersmith Parish Register', as Hammersmith was a chapel-of-ease in the parish of All Saints Fulham from its dedication in 1631 until 1834. ‘I worked on the 1630s records years ago’, he writes, ‘because of the presence of John Milton the Elder (the poet's father) in the accounts, but I did not see a parish register.’ Was Webb’s text a curate's notebook, or a register of baptisms, marriages and burials?
Indeed, replied Webb, Hammersmith was a chapelry of Fulham until the 19th century. ‘I was using parish register rather loosely as a generic term for records of baptisms, marriages and deaths.’
As Campbell then pointed out, the curious contents of the Hammersmith registers had already been noted in print: first by Frederic Madden and colleagues in 1836 (Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica, Volume 3), and recently by Adam Smyth in his Autobiography in Early Modern England (2010). Smyth translated some of the coded notes, written by the Revd. John Wade. It has fallen to Cliff Webb to draw them to the attention of a wider readership – and perhaps to decode the entirety. 

A New Gallery at the Natural History Museum 


London galleries and museums continue to invest in their permanent galleries as well as mounting temporary exhibitions. The Natural History Museum has a public event in the making: it is conserving and moving two of its great historic skeletons, the cast of a Diplodocus and the bones of a blue whale; the latter will replace the former in the great Hintze Hall in 2017.
A little later than planned, the Museum's new gallery dedicated to human evolution opens on 18 December. It will be populated with two extremely life-like models first seen in the museum’s temporary exhibition about early humans in Britain (taking a break in a staff room, above), of an early Homo sapiens and a Neanderthal. But these are nouveaux arrivistes: the story begins seven million years ago.
Chris Stringer FSA, the Museum's Research Leader in Human Origins, said:
‘Over the past decade, we and our colleagues have unravelled many astonishing ideas and discoveries using the Museum’s collection of human and pre-human fossils. With the latest investigative research techniques that are available here, such as CT scanning and DNA analysis, we continue to uncover the origins and dispersals of humans in an ever-changing world and present these advances in this permanent display.’
The gallery will feature original skulls, teeth and jawbones, casts of complete skeletons, and stone tools. Also on display will be fossils of animals that shared the same environments as different human species. Homo naledi is to be represented by casts of a reconstructed skull, hand and foot. This new species was first described only in September 2015, identified from an astonishing find in a cave in South Africa of bones said to come from at least 15 individuals.
There will be a ‘wall of skulls’, reported Robin McKie in The Observer. ‘The skulls will be placed in rough chronological order,’ says Stringer, ‘but we will not try to connect these species and make an evolutionary tree. We simply do not know how some of these finds relate to each other yet. In a way, we are being spoiled for riches. It is certainly great for science. Our image of ourselves, our evolution and our spread across the planet are being transformed.’

One for the British Museum 

Meanwhile in Bloomsbury the Waddesdon Bequest opened in June in a new gallery, funded by The Rothschild Foundation. The Bequest – named after the Baron’s splendid Buckinghamshire Manor – is a lavish collection of nearly 300 medieval and Renaissance pieces (and 19th-century fakes) left to the British Museum (BM) in 1898 by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild. The gallery is about collecting as much as about the objects themselves, and is sited next to the Enlightenment and Collecting the World Galleries. Dora Thornton FSA, Curator of the Waddesdon Bequest and Renaissance Europe, wrote a blog about the redisplay, on which she worked for three years. Those who have already booked will hear her talk on the subject in Burlington House in January (see Forthcoming Public Lectures below).
The Waddesdon Bequest now has a digital guide. George Oates, Director of Good, Form & Spectacle (the design firm that made it) has blogged about it on the BM’s website. It’s a clever thing, offering an experience quite unlike that of the more wide-roaming online Google microsite. While the latter holds you firmly in Google hyperspace, the new Waddesdon Bequest collection explorer shows its superbly photographed objects around the room in which they are displayed (and in which you may be standing). It feels like a genuine museum addition, hosting extensive imagery and detailed catalogue entries – in its modest way, perhaps the breakthrough the BM’s website has been craving for some time.

At the V&A: Europe 1600–1815 

Across the now semi-pedestrianised road from the Natural History Museum, on 9 December the V&A opened its new suite of rooms dedicated to Europe 1600–1815.
Over 1,100 objects from the Museum’s collections are on show, among them some of the most magnificent works it holds – spectacular examples of textiles and fashion, painting and sculpture, ceramics and glass, furniture and metalwork, prints and books. Many of these things were made by Europe’s finest artists and craftsmen for what the V&A calls ‘the period’s most discerning leaders of taste’, such as Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great and Napoleon.
There are also new acquisitions exhibited for the first time, including this Sèvres porcelain sculpture (one of the smaller exhibits) featuring Mother Nature nursing a European and an African child; made in 1794, the year France voted to abolish slavery in its colonies, it celebrate the ideals of universal rights.
There is a good introduction to the new galleries (which rather confusingly run more or lees chronologically from Room 7 to Room 1) on the V&A website.
Jonathan Jones in The Guardian gives the display 4 stars: ‘This is not an exhibition to visit once. It’s an extremely rich series of galleries to see again and again … This museum has so many great works that it is always unveiling new wonders … the best display of [Bernini] that you can see outside Rome’.
‘We wanted to open up Europe and be more inclusive,’ Lesley Miller, the galleries’ lead curator, tells The Art Newspaper, ’including not just the traditionally well-represented objects of Western Europe, but also from Central and Eastern and Ottoman Europe.’ ‘For the first time’, says Martin Bailey, ‘the display also addresses slavery and trading links with the rest of the world.’
‘Architects removed Seventies lowered ceilings and plasterboard blocking out windows’, says The Evening Standard, ‘as part of the £12.5 million restoration project that has enlarged the gallery space by about a third.’

Not Forgetting Some Music 

And finally, for here, back out into the street and round the corner, the Royal College of Music is celebrating the Heritage Lottery Fund’s gift of £3.6 million towards new displays and a performance space at its Music Museum. The College’s collection comprises instruments (including Ulm’s Clavicytherium, the oldest known stringed keyboard – 1480 – and the world’s earliest surviving guitar – Lisbon 1581), manuscripts, sculptures, paintings, archives, books (such as a choir book linked to Anne Boleyn) and programmes. Work will take in conservation of over 500 instruments, and documentation and digitisation of 45,000 items for online access. The investment is designed to kick-start a three-year project.

Local Government Hit, Museums Close

All this investment might encourage us to believe the Chancellor’s sympathies when he said, in his Spending Review and Autumn Statement in November, that money spent on ‘our extraordinary arts, museums, heritage, media and sport’ is money spent very well. Osborne promised funds to museums beyond London as well as in, but, as I concluded my item in the previous Salon, ‘the devil is in the detail’. The elephant of a detail here is the ability of local authorities to back Osborne’s vision. Mostly they can’t. Either the Chancellor knows this, or he has a poor understanding of how local arts and heritage work.
Fellows know better.
‘It is of course to be welcomed that the financial cuts are turning out to be not quite as severe as expected,’ writes Rick Jones FSA from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds, ‘especially for the London-based national museums. However the sense of cautious relief on hearing that Mr. Osborne thinks “Britain is brilliant at culture” will not be shared across the country, where the savaging of local government finances is leading to very widespread damage to museums and to posts in development control. I don't think we can blame local Councils for this when they are struggling to maintain statutory services for vulnerable people. We can pay attention, rightly, to the destruction of heritage in war zones, but we can't be sanguine about the condition of the protection of our own heritage and our own museum collections, at risk not from IS but from the cutting of funds.’
The good headlines, especially for London, adds Tim Schadla-Hall FSA from UCL Institute of Archaeology, need to be qualified by highlighting the ‘continuing massive cuts in provincial/local authority museums that hold key collections’, leading to ‘real trouble and … a haemorrhage of expertise because of cuts to the Department for Communities and Local Government’.
‘The government’s changes to local authority financing are a huge cause for concern,’ writes Alistair Brown on the Museums Association website. Phasing out local authorities’ central grants will leave them short by £6.1 billion – more than half their total grant. The redistribution the central grant allows will vanish once authorities have to fill the gap from local business rates. ‘All of this’, says Brown, ‘adds up to a very complex situation for local authority funded museums (including many trusts) and for those who work in them.’ Some will do slightly better than expected; many will suffer. ‘The Spending Review provokes some very serious questions about the future for local culture, particularly in England.’
‘London might appear to well off’, adds an anonymous commenter, ‘but it has some of the most economically deprived boroughs in the UK and the LAs there (which are really 32 relatively small LAs + 1 bizarre City State) are going to really struggle to keep their social care and children services going with this settlement, let alone their cultural offer.’
Mike Heyworth FSA, Director of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), draws attention to the impact of English local authority cuts on historic environment services, including ‘significant and potentially damaging cuts’ in Norfolk, Lancashire and Cheshire, and threats in Suffolk. In Norfolk, as Mary Beard FSA points out in her Don’s Life blog in the Times Literary Supplement on 9 December, this has already hit the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS): ‘Three posts (2.5 fulltime equivalents) in the archaeological Identification and Recording Service funded by the County Council are to be axed, leaving just three posts (also 2.5 fulltime equivalents) fully or part funded by the PAS. It is a team that has been dealing with over 15,000 archaeological finds each year, and the recording of these is making a big cumulative impact to our understanding of the history of the area.’
‘What do Local Authority budget cuts mean for archaeology?’ asks the CBA. All but 5% of England’s archaeological sites, it answers, rely on the planning system for care and protection. ‘This system in turn relies on a network of historic environment specialists, including archaeologists and conservation officers, whose role is to advise Local Authorities on planning decisions and to maintain the Historic Environment Record.’ Among other things, this is a critical part of the successful system of development-led archaeology (see next item). A Government Review into Local Authority Archaeology Services is awaited.
The key problem is that by putting arts and heritage funding into local hands, the Chancellor has pitted it against everything else while dramatically shrinking the budget. The effect is shown in Lancashire, where the County Council plans to shed an estimated 367 full-time jobs on top of those 1,100 staff who recently took voluntary redundancy, and lose over 500 further full-time posts up to 2018. ‘These are the most challenging times for local government in living memory’, says Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council (LCC), ‘as we face the combination of relentless central government cuts and rising demand for our services, particularly those serving vulnerable people.’ ‘It is impossible to overstate the seriousness of our financial situation’, says Deputy Leader David Borrow, who manages the finances.
LCC soon announced it would close five museums from 1 April next year: the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, Fleetwood Museum, Queen Street Mill in Burnley, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, and Judges' Lodgings Museum in Lancaster. The futures of two regimental museums housed at the Museum of Lancashire, and the council-run Higher Mill Trust Museum, are unclear. There is a petition to Save Lancashire's Heritage from Council Cuts and a Save Lancashire's Mill Museums Facebook page (whence the photo). Without change in central government policy, however, Lancashire’s options seem limited. They are not alone.

A Planning Policy that Works

On 23 November Historic England launched a booklet, written by Salon’s editor with Roger Thomas FSA, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of PPG 16. Well known to British archaeologists, this otherwise obscure moniker refers to Archaeology and Planning – Planning Policy Guidance Note 16, approved the day before Margaret Thatcher resigned from government in 1990. If that still sounds abstruse, the effect of this planning guidance – now embodied in the National Planning Policy Framework – is anything but. It led to a transformation of the practice of archaeology in Britain, and in our knowledge of the country's past.
In the wake of a very public row after the discovery of the foundations of Shakespeare's Rose Theatre on Bankside, London, a solution was found to the threat posed by development to historic remains that was acceptable to industry, politicians and archaeologists. Councils should not grant planning permission until the archaeological effects of works were clear. When present, important remains should be preserved if possible. In other cases, development could proceed after excavation and recording, which became known by the jargon phrase ‘preservation by record’. Local authority archaeologists were put at the hub of the system, advising, monitoring and liaising. Critically, developers would pay, not public agencies.
It worked. Developers avoided the risks of unexpected discoveries, and finds offered good public relations opportunities. Important archaeological remains were preserved, or excavated and recorded. The longer-term effects, however, were not fully predicted. These include a huge growth in archaeological firms and skilled field archaeologists to do the work. Most significantly, the scale of remains discovered, excavated and recorded – often in places that would never have bothered traditional archaeologists – was beyond anyone’s imagination. The result has been not just more past, but a complete new vision of the past, in which more people created more sophisticated worlds over a longer time than the text books told. They have all duly been rewritten.
PPG 16 was, and its modern successor is, as John Ingham wrote in The Daily Express, ‘one of those rarest of ideas, a policy that achieves what it set out to do.’

Hillfort Protest 

Lord Renfrew FSA and Sir Barry Cunliffe FSA were among archaeologists putting their name to an open letter to the government in 2014 objecting to a planning application for 117 houses (OSW004) near Old Oswestry, a scheduled iron age hillfort. Granting permission, say objectors would, ‘breach a long-respected town boundary triggering further urban enclosure’ and ‘set a potentially calamitous precedent for the greater part of the nation’s historic environment.’ Inspector Claire Sherratt judged the proposals would ‘lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated asset,’ adding, ‘Notwithstanding the level of opposition to the inclusion of site OSW004, Historic England has not maintained an objection, a consideration that I afford considerable weight.’ Protestors plan an In Defence Of Old Oswestry demonstration on 17 December at Shirehall, Shrewsbury.

Carved Stones in Scotland 

Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland: A Research Framework is considering carved stones of all periods, from prehistoric rock art to war memorials and public monuments. It will be published as part of the Scottish Archaeology Research Framework (ScARF) in summer 2016. Sally Foster FSA (the project's Principal Investigator, at the University of Stirling) thinks Fellows may be interested in the key issues and the approach taken, and she and her Co-Investigator Katherine Forsyth (University of Glasgow) would welcome feedback and input. See online for the current state of play and next steps, and for an introduction to the project as a whole.

Historic England Research 

Historic England (HE) has published the second issue of Historic England Research, its e-magazine about discovery, innovation and science in the historic environment. This edition reports on recent work ranging from the drowned prehistoric landscapes of the North Sea, to Tintagel Castle and the story of Tristan and Yseult (article by Mark Bowden FSA). It also illustrates how Historic England is forging closer links with UK universities and the private sector, to secure maximum value from public investment in heritage research. In the case of the Staffordshire Hoard (by Hilary Cool FSA), says HE, ‘it demonstrates our important role as the agent of last resort in securing England’s most important heritage.’ The magazine, introduced by Duncan Wilson FSA, can be subscribed to and read online or downloaded as a PDF.

Addyman: Was Jorvik 'A Responsible Thing to Do?'

On 4 November Peter Addyman FSA distinguished himself at the University of Cambridge, at the inaugural Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Archaeology in Honour of [Fellow] Professor Norman Hammond. The event can be watched online; the diagrams here are taken from the presentation. It was introduced by Cyprian Broodbank FSA, Director of the MacDonald Institute, who spoke about archaeology and the university. The old Arch & Anth degree, he says, is no more, but a new Tripos in Archaeology to admit from October 2017 passed its formal discussion in late October. Around the same time, Peterhouse elected John Robb as a new Professor of European Prehistory in the Division of Archaeology.
Addyman talks about York, Vikings and Jorvik (a pioneering archaeological visitor centre) and the work of the heritage companies (Continuum Leading Attractions and Paragon Creative) that spun off into the wider world. He says Vikings came onto the national curriculum within a year of Jorvik’s opening in 1984; 18 million people (over a million of them children) have been round the display; and, he estimates, it has contributed £125m to York’s economy. It also made money itself, helping to fund research and the publication of York’s excavations.
Is creating heritage in this way, asks Addyman, a responsible thing to do? ‘Academic integrity’ are watchwords at Jorvik, but archaeologists can’t control promotional events. An annual Jorvik Viking festival ‘raises the severest academic doubts, however much the public revel in it’.
In contrast, however, modern development-led field archaeology leads at best, he says, to dry grey literature reports which are rarely looked at – at worst, not even that. Where is archaeology heading? Should we be worried? One hopes, he concludes, that Jorvik’s messages have been understood.
The tensions between ‘academic integrity’, commercial archaeology and populism are never far away in public archaeology. They can be empowering, but when the divisions of work are matched by separations of expertise and personnel, things can go wrong that are not always noticed.
The same issues that concern Addyman are apparent in Leicester, which has taken a different route to an urban economy transformed by archaeological excavation: and if Addyman’s estimate – and my understanding of it – are right, a more profitable one. Earlier this year Leicester published statistics that showed that excavating and reburying the remains of a king in the city had cost it £3 million. But deeper in the figures was the astonishing claim that it had made £62 million, in only two years and five months. This would appear to be but the beginning, as city planning, renewal and business seem fired up by the discovery of Richard III’s grave.
In York, before the days of development-led archaeology, it was archaeologists (among whom Addyman was a leading force) who got things going. Horrified by the potential loss of historic information to new works, they raised money in spectacular ways to pay for what were then exceptional excavations. They were blessed with exceptional finds. In the new spirit of enterprise – 1984 was the year English Heritage was separated from central government under the chairmanship of the late Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, a pioneering country house entrepreneur – Jorvik launched as a sort of entertaining research project for, and part-funded by, the public.
Leicester’s archaeologists, who did an exemplary job in testing circumstances, were caught in a sandwich. The project was initiated by amateur historians, who even now seem to struggle to understand archaeological processes. It could not have proceeded without the support of the university and the city (in particular its enthusiastic elected Mayor, Peter Soulsby), both of which committed large sums in the belief that the outcome would bring good publicity. Everyone was proved right. The University has just issued a press release announcing a new student project to create ‘an audio guide [that] will take visitors on a 300-year-journey through the area's legal history’. The project, tutored by Jo Appleby who led the study of Richard III’s remains, is part of Leicester City Council's £1.6 million Greyfriars Townscape Heritage Initiative – to conserve and regenerate the area in which the king was buried and later reburied.
Where next for York and Leicester?

Viking Hoard Found in Oxfordshire

On 10 December Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture, launched annual reports for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and Treasure in the British Museum (BM). The star new find was a significant Viking Age hoard, metal detected in October (so too late for the BM’s hoards exhibition, see Other Forthcoming Heritage Events below) by James Mather. It was excavated by David Williams FSA, PAS Finds Liaison Officer based at Surrey County Council, and taken to the BM in a block of soil. There it was found to hold 186 coins, including pieces by Alfred (871–99) and Ceolwulf II (874–79), seven items of jewellery such as Viking arm-rings, and 15 silver ingots.
‘The hoard comes from a key moment in English history,' says Gareth Williams, Curator of Early Medieval Coinage at the Museum. 'At around the same time [as its burial in the late 870s], Alfred of Wessex decisively defeated the Vikings, and Ceolwulf II, the last king of Mercia, quietly disappeared from the historical record in uncertain circumstances. Alfred and his successors then forged a new kingdom of England by taking control of Mercia, before conquering the regions controlled by the Vikings. This hoard has the potential to provide important new information on relations between Mercia and Wessex at the beginning of that process.’
The occasion was a bit of an event for Ed Vaizey. The hoard’s official site name is Watlington, Oxfordshire – the address of the Member of Parliament for Didcot and Wantage’s local Conservative Association, and in the Constituency of fellow MP John Howell FSA. The BM presented Vaizey with a medal for his long support of the PAS. In the photo, he is seen with Director Neil MacGregor FSA (right), Senior Conservator Pippa Pearce and Michael Lewis FSA, Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure.
MacGregor, noting the ‘ongoing contribution of finds discovered by the public to our understanding of Britain’s past’, announced that the Dorset Foundation, the principal supporter of the Museum’s national programme since 2002, will for the first time help with the acquisition of finds for regional museums through the PAS.

Rare Saxon Coin Acquired

There’s only one, but it’s a little older than those in the Viking hoard above, it’s made of gold and David Dawson FSA is very pleased to see it come to the Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, of which he is Director. Struck between 655 and 675, the Anglo-Saxon coin was found in a field at East Grafton near Bedwyn in April. It was secured at Spink in London (who described it as ‘excessively rare’) on 3 December with a bid of £18,000, £6000 more than the higher estimate. Grants towards the purchase from Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Purchase Grant Fund and the Art Fund were bolstered by donations and pledges raised through a museum fundraising appeal.

Archaeology Awards

British Archaeologists have entered award season, with two different sets, both of which require the public to take part. First up, Current Archaeology magazine has published its annual short lists for four awards. Nominees are selected by the magazine's editors from items featured in the previous year’s editions. ‘These awards are voted for entirely by the public – there are no panels of judges’, boasts the magazine. Voting on its website closes on 8 February 2016.
All three nominees for Archaeologist of the Year 2016 are Fellows: Philip Crummy, Vincent Gaffney and Roberta Gilchrist. The six titles shortlisted for Book of the Year 2016 are mostly written by Fellows, including Hella Eckardt, David Breeze, John Barber, Clive Gamble, John Gowlett, Chris Gosden, Sally Crawford and Katharina Ulmschneider. And Fellows are well represented among the projects nominated for Research Project of the Year 2016 and Rescue Dig of the Year 2016. Winners will be announced on 26 February at Current Archaeology Live! 2016, a conference in London.
The biannual British Archaeological Awards (BAA) are a more formal affair. Their purpose, says the website, ‘is to advance public education in the study and practice of archaeology in all its aspects in the United Kingdom, and in particular by the granting of awards for excellence and/or initiative.’ The public are invited to nominate contenders, who are considered against criteria by a panel for each of the five awards. They are Best Archaeological Project (whose panel is chaired by John Lewis FSA), Best Community Archaeology Project, Best Archaeological Book (chair Paul Stamper FSA), Best Public Representation of Archaeology, and Best Archaeological Innovation (chair Andrew Davidson FSA). The Society is one of the Awards’ Official Sponsors.
Nominations for the British Archaeological Awards close on 29 February 2016, and the results will be announced at the British Museum on 11 July 2016, at an event marking the launch of the Council for British Archaeology’s annual Festival of Archaeology.

A Victorian Photographer

Paul Holden FSA recommends to Fellows a photograph album in the National Trust collections at Lanhydrock, Cornwall. The packed volume dates to c. 1860 and was owned by Charles Lygon-Cocks (1821–85) of Treverbyn Vean, near Liskeard. It holds many images of archaeological sites, castles, churches, country houses and gardens, monuments, formal portraits, quarries, towns and villages. Many of the sites are in Cornwall, but the album also features wider English cathedrals and houses, Welsh sites and places in Tangier, Malta, Corfu, Spain and Gibraltar. For those interested in country houses many interiors are on show, and extensive images of Lygon-Cocks's own house designed by George Gilbert Scott and Henry Rice with interiors by William Burges and possibly A. W. N Pugin. The album can be viewed online (put Lygon-Cocks in the search box). Examples show Carnsew Quarry, Cornwall, and fortifications and ships at the West Front of Gibraltar.

When a Pitt Rivers Went Wrong

In his biography of A H Lane Fox Pitt Rivers FSA, the father-figure of British field archaeology (Pitt Rivers, 1991), Mark Bowden FSA described the General’s grandson, George, who managed his highly significant museum inheritance in Farnham, Surrey, to near ruin. He broke a formal agreement to save the collections, which after his death were discovered to have been much dissipated through underhand sales; the still important archaeological residue eventually went to Salisbury Museum.
There was more to the Captain than that, however. Bradley W Hart, Assistant Professor at California State University, Fresno, and a former by-fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, has written a biography of the man. In George Pitt-Rivers and the Nazis (Bloomsbury) we learn how he began his career as one of Britain's most promising young anthropologists, conducting research in the South Pacific and publishing peer-reviewed articles. By the early 1930s, however, he had turned to politics, attacking international communism and praising Mussolini and Hitler (whom he met in 1937 when attending the Nuremberg Rally). He was interned in 1940, ending his academic career. While he was arguing with the likes of Mortimer Wheeler FSA about the future of Farnham Museum, it seems, George Pitt-Rivers was falling deeply for anti-Semitism and eugenics.

News of Fellows

Howard Thomas FSA, former investigator at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, died on 4 July age 72.

The Nautical Archaeology Society has given Claimed by the Sea: Salcombe, Langdon Bay & Other Marine Finds of the Bronze Age by Stuart Needham FSA, Dave Parham FSA and Catherine Frieman (Council for British Archaeology) the Keith Muckelroy Award for the best published work on UK maritime archaeology. The book, says the citation, ‘brings to fruition the major contributions made by Keith Muckelroy to the study of the Salcombe and Langdon Bay artefact assemblages and their relevance both to site-formation studies ... and to wider issues of maritime trade in the Bronze Age … the detailed chronicling of the evolution of the two projects is an important and hitherto unpublished aspect of the early days of nautical archaeology in Britain.’
In November the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, revealed a painting it had bought in 2012 from the Church of St Mary, Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire and subsequently conserved. The Kiss of Judas, is one of the rarest artworks of its type. It seems to have survived damage in the Reformation by being reversed and the back converted into a painted board listing the ten commandments, typical of a Protestant church furnishing. Dendrochronologist Ian Tyers estimates a date of 1437–69. Tim Knox FSA, Director of the Fitzwilliam, is seen here with the work and paintings conservator Jenny Rose, in the January 2015 edition of House & Garden magazine.

Fellows have contributed to a well-illustrated series of over 25 Informed Conservation paperbacks published by Historic England (formerly English Heritage) reaching back to 2000 (The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter: An Introduction and Guide, by John Cattell FSA and Bob Hawkins). The books aim to highlight the special character of important historic areas and the development pressures 
they are facing, from whole towns such as Coventry to particular building types such as English schools. Added in November were The Hoo Peninsula Landscape (in north Kent), by Sarah Newsome, Edward Carpenter and Peter Kendall FSA, and Boston, Lincolnshire, by John Minnis FSA, Katie Charmichael, Clive Fletcher and Mary Anderson. The books can be bought, or downloaded for free as PDFs.
‘People such as myself are caricatured as being somehow anti-Celtic when the reverse is true,’ says John Collis FSA. ‘I have spent much of my life digging up and studying people in central France who considered themselves to be Celts even as late as the fifth century AD. Language can be used to define the modern Celts and also Celtic Studies – I have no problem with that – but it makes nonsense to impose it on the people of the ancient world where the Celts were defined by classical writers (some of them Celts and Celtic speakers) using criteria we do not understand, but certainly not language as there were no reliable classifications of languages until the 19th century.’
Collis was commenting on the annual Angus Matheson Memorial Lecture given on 1 December at the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, Glasgow, by Thomas Owen Clancy. Clancy does not like the current exhibition at the British Museum, which, he says, ‘fails to deal with issues of Celticity and Identity.’ ‘Undoubtedly’, he adds hopefully, ‘when the exhibition comes to the National Museum in Edinburgh, it will tell a different story,’ before proceeding to set out how he would have curated it himself. ‘I can only suggest’, retorts Collis, ‘that people read my book (Celts: Origins, Myths and Inventions), though it needs updating.’ His talk to the Society on 12 November (Why is ‘Celtic’ Art ‘Celtic’?) can be watched online
Physical Evidence for Ritual Acts, Sorcery and Witchcraft in Christian Britain: A Feeling for Magic (Palgrave Macmillan) is a new title edited by Ronald Hutton FSA. Articles investigate the evidence for magic in medieval and modern Britain, including ritual marks and designs, concealed objects, amulets hung about the person and home, and the equipment of folk magicians. We are forced, says the blurb, ‘to reconsider the history of ritual and religion and admit to the existence of a whole dimension of activity which has hardly been considered before’.

Martin Carver FSA, Emeritus Professor at York University (right), was awarded the 17th European Heritage Prize at the meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Glasgow in September. The prize was to recognise his significant and continuing contributions in combining field archaeology and research with inspiring approaches to the understanding of archaeology as a service to society. The committee acknowledged Carver's reputation for his support and encouragement to younger colleagues, as well as his contribution to the promotion of archaeology through the media. He shared the prize with María Ángeles Querol Fernández, Professor of Prehistory at the Universidad Complutense Madrid and Deputy Director General of Archaeology of the Ministry of Culture in Spain.
In History Today Tom Holland chose Barry Cunliffe FSA’s By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean as one of his two history books of the year, which ‘cover immense and continent-spanning sweeps of history; both, at a time when power is palpably shifting from West to East, provide a perspective on the past that is refreshingly non-Eurocentric.’
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard FSA, was one of The Economist’s favourite history books (‘A masterly new chronicle, by Britain’s most engaging historian of the ancient world’), reviewed in the current New York Review of Books. Beard managed a good showing on BBC1’s Question Time on 11 December, ‘Topical debate in which guests from the worlds of politics and the media answer questions posed by members of the public.’
Defining Beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art, the illustrated catalogue to a British Museum exhibition of the same name earlier this year by Ian Jenkins FSA, is one of The Times’s Best Art Books of 2015 – it is ‘a work of highly accessible scholarship’. Also in the list is Loyd Grossman FSA’s Benjamin West and the Struggle to be Modern.
Journalist Max Hastings chose The Railways: Nation, Network and People, by Simon Bradley FSA as one of his two non-fiction books of the year on BBC Radio 4 Front Row: he called it ‘the most enjoyable book I’ve read this year’. It was Radio 4 Book of the Week starting November 30, which for those with access can he heard on BBC iPlayer. It is, says Michael Palin in the blurb, ‘both authoritative and absorbing. A first class journey.’ David Kynaston chose it as one of his Best Books of 2015 for The Guardian.

Neil Christie FSA is the series editor of Studies in the Archaeology of Medieval Europe (published by Equinox), having taken over from John Schofield FSA of London. One of the titles, The Archaeology of Medieval Spain 1100–1500 by Magdalena Valor and Avelino Gutiérrez, is now available in paperback. The first account of medieval archaeology in Spain in English, by two Spanish archaeologists, the book has been reviewed as ambitious and wide-ranging, and achieving its purpose of putting the country on Europe’s archaeological map. Write SPAIN (in capital letters) in the publisher’s promotional code box for a 25% discount. Equinox also distributes three series published by John Collis FSA: Recent Trends, Sheffield Archaeological Monographs and Sheffield Excavation Reports.

Nick Higham FSA has written Ecgfrith: King of the Northumbrians, High-King of Britain. Ecgfrith was last in a line of expansionist, seventh-century northern English kings, and a major figure in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. For much of his reign (670–85) he was the most powerful figure in the British Isles. Nevertheless, this is the first book-length account of the king, written, says publisher Shaun Tyas, by one of the period's leading historians.

Parish Church Treasures: The Nation’s Greatest Art Collection, by John Goodall FSA, is among many titles featuring in an online ‘Christmas sale’ by Bloomsbury; its price is cut by 45%.

Unwrapping Ancient Egypt (Bloomsbury), by Christina Riggs FSA, was one of two runners-up in the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize 2015. The anonymous reviewer described the work as ‘a fundamental contribution to Egyptological understanding which speaks to a wide range of disciplines and contexts in the modern world. The final chapter, entitled Sanctity, is designed to be uncomfortable reading because it problematizes much in modern museum practice and attitudes to the ancient world. As a reminder of modern understanding and ethics this chapter is a salutary and effective conclusion to this outstanding book.’
Sean Ulm FSA, Deputy Director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at James Cook University, Cairns, was elected to The Australian Academy of the Humanities at its Annual General Meeting on 28 November, the highest honour for achievement in the humanities in Australia. The citation reads: ‘A specialist at the forefront of human-environmental studies in Aboriginal archaeology, particularly from coastal contexts in northern Australia and the Pacific, Ulm’s work is credited for recasting the nature of coastal occupation models from the Holocene period by integrating accurate climate models with forensic analysis of coastal sites. He is highly regarded for his coordination of multidisciplinary expertise in the investigation of the prehistoric coastal record.’

Marc Oxenham FSA and Hallie Buckley FSA have edited The Routledge Handbook of Bioarchaeology in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. In 28 chapters (including those written by the editors, Matthew Spriggs FSA and Tim Denham FSA) the book reflects and expands on enormous recent progress in the bioarchaeology of the region. ‘Including a number of contributions from sub-disciplinary approaches tangential to bioarchaeology’, says the blurb, ‘the book provides a broad theoretical and methodological approach. No other volume provides such a range of new information on the globally relevant topics of farming, population mobility, subsistence and health.'
Celia Powell FSA has published Excursion to Wordworthshire: A Victorian Family in the Lakes, the journal of a tour in 1844. Taking advantage of a new railway line, the Johnson family travelled through the Lake District on holiday from Essex. Their illustrated record, now in the Wordsworth Trust Collection, contains an account of their adventures, during which they used Wordsworth's own Guide to the Lakes and glimpsed the poet himself and members of his family. The book is published by The Wordsworth Trust and available through the Trust's website.

Lives Remembered 


Nancy Sandars FSA (N K Sandars) died on 20 November aged 101. Assisted by Mike Tomlinson, she recently documented her life and work online. ‘I have had so many wonderful friends over the years’, she says on the front page, ‘and I would like this website to be a record of them.’ It’s a fascinating thing: every Fellow should have one.
After she left school, which was interrupted by illness, Sandars’ parents ‘offered her a choice of pursuits – hunting, which was popular in Oxfordshire, or foreign travel. She chose the latter.’ (The family moved to Romsey, Hampshire, in 1918, where her father was Commandant of the Demobilisation Camp. ‘There was very good hunting at Romsey which both Nancy's parents enjoyed. Romsey had quite a number of demobilised horses which were used as polo ponies.’) And off she went with friends, to Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Malta and Spain, writing long letters home, ‘most of which’ are preserved.
Her interest in prehistory began with an introduction to Kathleen Kenyon FSA, whom she joined in 1939 at an excavation on the Wrekin, an iron age hillfort in Shropshire. She was soon in London to help Kenyon pack up her excavation display at the Institute of Archaeology, as war became imminent. She says she held ‘strong pacifist convictions’ (or as The Times puts it, she was ‘a pacifist by inclination’), and at first she worked in hospitals in Oxfordshire. However the experience of London air raids and the fall of France led her to join the Mechanised Transport Corps, a women’s organisation for which she became a motorcycle dispatch rider based in Reading.
In 1942 she joined the WRNS (after helping with a government music survey in Newcastle upon Tyne), where her knowledge of German – learnt while studying in the Rhineland – drew her into intelligence work. She was seconded to the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, collecting and analysing German radio traffic. This took her to Looe in Cornwall, Lyme Regis in Dorset (from where she wrote to her sister asking for an article by Christopher Hawkes FSA about hillforts, so she could mug up before taking her officer to see Maiden Castle) and a coastal house between Dover and Folkestone. At the latter, she arrived to hear Ray Spender singing an aria from La Bohème, but the house was in range of a German battery, ‘and it was very tense waiting for the shells to stop’. For this work she is listed in the Bletchley Park Roll of Honour.
After the war she studied at the Institute of Archaeology under Gordon Childe FSA, ‘who had a methodological approach to the excavation of ancient sites and a rather idiosyncratic teaching style that [she] enjoyed and found inspiring’. Her thesis at St Hugh’s College, Oxford (studying with Hawkes for her B.Litt.) became her first published book, Bronze Age Cultures in France (1957). In pursuit of her archaeological interests, she travelled extensively in Greece, Turkey, eastern Europe (crossing the Iron Curtain with Stuart Piggott FSA, Terence Powell FSA and John Cowen FSA) and elsewhere. She went to Turkey in 1962 with Rachel Maxwell Hyslop FSA, who became a close friend.
A popular work was The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean 1250–1150 BC (1978), of which a reviewer in The Journal of Economic History complained about the title (‘anomalous and inappropriate’), and wrote that the author seemed to have relied on conversations with ‘selected experts’ and unpublished seminars for her information: she was up to date with ideas, but out of touch with ‘the background of published work’; some writers might take such criticism as a compliment. Other books included The Epic of Gilgamesh, an English Version, for Penguin Classics (1960), Prehistoric Art in Europe (1968), Poems of Heaven and Hell from Ancient Mesopotamia (1971), and Grandmother's Steps and Other Poems 1943–2000 (2001), a collection of her own work.
Sandars' biography in her Penguin Gilgamesh says she ‘has written and lectured extensively on the poet and painter David Jones’.
‘How is it that David Jones is so different in his whole manner of handling past time?’ she wrote in 1997. ‘And what is this difference that makes prehistorians claim him as their particular poet, above other poets, even where the subject-matter may be the same distant past?’
These are questions that a prehistorian might profitably ask today. A superb selection of the artist’s work can be seen at the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 21 February 2016, in David Jones: Vision and Memory. The photo here is a small detail from his Vexilla Regis (1947–48), a swirling tangle of myth, landscape and symbol on loan from Kettle’s Yard. It's not hard to see why prehistorians (Piggott was another) were interested in Jones's art. 

In its obituary on 9 December, The Times (subscription needed) headlines Sandars as an ‘Archaeologist and expert on prehistoric Europe who was a wartime dispatch rider and intelligence worker.’

Peter Clayton FSA has sent this record of a memorial event for Donald Bailey FSA, who died in August 2014, aged 83. The photo (right) shows him around 2007. Catherine Johns FSA wrote an obituary for The Guardian.
‘On Wednesday 9 February a notice on the door of the Department of Egypt and Sudan in the British Museum read: “Don’s Day. Visitors.” The Department was closed for the day when colleagues and friends met in memory of Don Bailey. The Keeper of the Egypt Department, Neal Spencer, opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone to the Study Room, which was full. Lesley Fitton FSA, Keeper of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, Don’s old Department which was sharing the day, then acted as compère. Catherine Johns, Don’s widow (always known professionally by her maiden name) began, using PowerPoint, and gave an overview of Don’s life from his schooldays, his army National Service, his unusual personal background to his academic career and his joining the British Museum where he would spend the rest of his career.
‘Catherine was followed by short presentations from 14 speakers who all added their reminiscences of Don and his wide ranging specialist knowledge, and at times a far more apposite practical knowledge, especially on the many excavations in which he had participated on Egyptian and classical sites. Don was respected internationally for his work on ancient lamps, his many contributions to learned journals and his own magisterial publications on lamps and Romano-Egyptian terracottas. His quiet unassuming character, his generosity of spirit in imparting knowledge, being always at hand when needed no matter what, and having been mentor or guide to many of those speaking or present in the room, were emphasised by every contributor.
‘After the presentations the party proceeded to the Students Room of Don’s old Department to drink a toast to him, and to Catherine, and to exchange personal memories and reminiscences of Don. The number of people present reflected the great esteem and love in which Don was held. This was very apparent when, at his funeral at Golders Green Crematorium, an announcement was made to a packed, standing-room-only chapel that it would be moved to a larger adjacent chapel – those who were not quick enough to get there were left, still with standing room only – such was the response to Don’s passing. He will be sorely missed, and the ancient Egyptian prayer, “Speak my name that I may live” is extremely apposite and his memory will live on.’

Vin Davis died in November. The Vin Davis Bursary is being established in his memory at the request of his family in the UCD School of Archaeology with the support of the UCD Foundation. It celebrates and honours Davis’s life and work, and his international leadership and commitment in the field of implement petrology and stone axe studies. This graduate award will be open to suitably qualified students. Anyone who would like to make a donation to support the fund is asked to contact Orla Dermody, Friends of UCD, Room 102, Tierney Building, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland,, or +353 1 716 1287.

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

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.

Fellows will have already received a Programme of Meetings and Events card in the post. The next Ordinary Meeting, and lecture, will be on 28 January 2016. Details for the full spring programme will be available on the website by in the new year: You can also catch up on meetings you missed this autumn by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events').

Interested in proposing a lecturer? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer (

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.

19 January 2016: ‘The Waddeson Bequest at the British Museum, A New Look’, by Dora Thornton FSA, and Tom Fotheringham. Unfortunately, this lecture is now fully booked. But we hope to post a recording after the event!

There will also be a public tour of Burlington House on this day (booking required).

23 February 2016: 'The Camera and the King: Photographing the Excavation of Tutankhamun's Tomb', by Christina Riggs FSA. Unfortunately, this lecture is now fully booked. But we hope to post a recording after the event!

There will also be a public tour of Burlington House on this day (booking required).

22 March 2016: 'Denim: Fashion's Frontier', by Emma McClendon, Janet Arnold Award Recipient (for research into historic dress). A few places are still available! Book now!

There will also be a public tour of Burlington House on this day (booking required).

Click here for the full programme of public lectures 2015-2016.

Society Dates to Remember


Forthcoming Closures

The Society's apartments (including the Library and Fellows' Room) will be closed to Fellows and visitors on Friday, 18 December for a staff training and development day.

The Society will be completely closed 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 28 January 2016. Additional tour dates include 24 March and 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.

Other Forthcoming Heritage Events

3 December 2015–22 May 2016: Hoards: The Hidden History of Ancient Britain (London)
This exhibition at the British Museum looks at the stories behind the headlines of buried treasure, focusing on prehistoric and Romano-British and later hoards from across the UK. It showcases recent discoveries reported by finders and archaeologists through the Treasure Act and studied at the British Museum. The centrepiece is the Frome Hoard, 52,503 Roman coins in a single pot, the largest such collection found in one container. Hoards: Hidden History, by Eleanor Ghey, has been published in parallel to the show.

16–17 January 2016: Celtic Revival: Authenticity and Identity (London)
The Celtic Revival is usually associated with the late 19th century, but this conference at the British Museum will demonstrate how it constitutes a series of revivals, from medieval into the modern times. Leading art and design historians, archaeologists and curators will present the Celtic Revival as a rewriting, recreation and reimagining of the past, with topics such as Ossian’s impact on the visual arts, Celtic Revival costume, Mary Watts’ designs for Compton Chapel, the Welsh bardic tradition, medieval sculptural casts, silver facsimiles, medieval illuminated manuscripts and Irish arts and crafts. Tickets can be booked online. Image shows The Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe (1890) by George Henry and Edward Atkinson Hornel (Glasgow Museums).
February–July 2016: Courses for Historic Environment Professionals (Oxford)
Anne Dodd (FSA), Course Programmer, has sent a list of short courses and workshops put on for historic environment professionals at Rewley House by the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The programme is endorsed by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, the Archaeology Training Forum, the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers, and ICOMOS and has been developed with leading heritage practices. Courses are linked to the National Occupational Standards for Archaeology and are accepted for continuous professional development. Speakers include several Fellows. Full details can be found online.
25 February: Assessing Archaeological Significance
3 March: Stratigraphic Analysis in Archaeology
11 March: Law and the Historic Environment
14–16 March: Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Chronological Analysis
22–23 March: Everyday Heritage
6–8 April: Condition Surveys of Historic Buildings
20 April: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments
28–29 April: The Material Culture of Roman Britain
3 May: Excavating Human Skeletal Remains
5–6 May: The Setting of Heritage Assets and Places
16 May: Intangible Cultural Heritage
19–20 May Churches: History, Significance and Use
23 May: Environmental Sampling in Archaeological Fieldwork
25–26 May: Post-Medieval Cemeteries: Best Practice in Excavation and Research
13 June: Accessible Archaeology
6–8 July: The Art of Walkover Survey for Commercial Archaeologists

4 April 2016: Objectively Speaking – The Value and Practice of Object Based Teaching (London)
Call for Papers, deadline 15 January 2016. A conference and debate at the British Museum free to museum professionals and educators will examine three key questions: How can museums connect collections with classroom and academic teaching? How can objects facilitate creative teaching practice? And what are the impact and opportunity of digital technology for object-based teaching? The conference relates to issues raised by two projects with which the BM is involved, Teaching History with 100 Objects and the Huge History Lesson. Send proposals to Katy Swift, National Programmes Coordinator, at, and enquiries to Katy Swift at

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to 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). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.

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


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