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Salon: Issue 361
11 April 2016

Next issue: 25 April 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


Charter Reforms Past and Present

On 10 February 2016, Her Majesty the Queen was pleased to approve the Order which put in place the amendments to the 1751 Royal Charter and its Supplementary Charters as presented to and endorsed by the EGM on 3 December. All elements therefore of the revised Royal Charters and the new Statutes are now fully in force. A copy of the Statutes, as approved by the Extraordinary General Meeting on 3 December 2015, and of the version of the Charter now given Royal approval, can be found in the “Governance” section of our website.

Order no 1, on the Conduct of Anniversary Elections for Officers and for Council Members, and no 2, on the Provision of postal or electronic voting for Anniversary Elections and other matters, were also confirmed by the Meeting on 3 December 2015, and the texts of these can also be found in the “Governance” section of the Society’s website.

There are two items of business to be conducted at the forthcoming Anniversary Meeting on 21 April 2016, on which a vote will be taken:
  • [item 3 on the printed agenda of the Meeting] To confirm Order no. 3, ‘The Conduct of Elections and Admissions to the Society for Ordinary and Honorary Fellows.
  • [item 4 on the printed agenda of the Meeting] To approve the appointment of Kingston Smith LLP as the Society’s auditors for 2016-17.
Order no. 2 of the revised Statutes, ‘On the provision of postal and electronic voting for Anniversary Elections and other matters for the Society’s Fellowship’, allow for voting other than in person at the Anniversary Meeting. You may use this link to vote (online) in advance of the Anniversary Meeting. If you are present at the Meeting itself, you must not vote again! The deadline for online voting will be 12.00 (noon) on the day of the meeting (21 April).

Gifts to the Library

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from January to March 2016. Full records for all are on the online catalogue, and all books are available in the Library at Burlington House.  
  • From the author, Alan Bott, FSA, Merton College: a longer history of the buildings and furnishings (2015)
  • From Pippa Bradley, FSA, Imperial College Sports Ground and RMC Land, Harlington:  the development of prehistoric and later communities in the Colne Valley and on the Heathrow Terrace by Andrew B. Powell et al. (Wessex Archaeology Report, 33) (2015)
  • From the co-author, Susan Brind, Curious arts no. 6 by Susan Brind and Jim Harold (2015)
  • From the author, Tobias Capwell, FSA, Armour of the English knight 1400-1450 (2015)
  • From the author, Maxwell Craven, FSA, John Whitehurst: innovator, scientist, geologist and clockmaker (2015)
  • From the author, Stephen L. Dyson, The last amateur: the life of William J. Stillman (2014)
  • From the author, Anthony Emery, FSA, Seats of power in Europe during the Hundred Years War: an architectural study from 1330 to 1480 (2016)
  • From the joint author, Richard Harrison, FSA, Un Poblado de la Edad del Bronce en El Castillo by R. J. Harrison, Mª. T. Andrés Rupérez and G. Moreno López (BAR International Series, 708) (1998)
  • From Richard Harrison, FSA
    • Cancho Roano: Más que Palabras: bibliografía crítica sobre el yacimiento post-Orientalizante de Zalamea de la Serena (1980-2010) by Javier Jiménez Ávila (2012)
    • Early English lantern clocks 1615-1700 (exhibition catalogue) (n.d.)
    • mweltarchäologie --  naturkatastrophen und umweltwandel im archäologischen Befund:  3. Mitteldeutscher archäologentag vom 07.bis 09. Oktober 2010 (Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale), Bd 6) (2011)
    • Arqueología de la Sal en las Lagunas de Villafáfila (Zamora): investigaciones sobre los cocederos prehistóricos by F. Javier Abarquero Moras et al. (Monografias:  Arqueología en Castilla y León, 9) (2012)
    • Alcalar 7: estudo e reabilitação de um Momumento Megalítico (Cadernos, 6) (2004)
    • 130 Años de arÇ«ueologia Mandrileña: Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Febrero-Marzo 1987
    • El Poblado Íbero-Romano de El Palao by F. Marco Simón (Ä€l-QannÄ«s, 10) (2003)
    • Carta Arqueologica de Teruel by P. Atrián Jordán et al. (1980)
    • Cemetery of the corded ware culture in Źerniki Górne by Andrzej Kempisty and Piotr WÅ‚odarczak (ÅšWIATOWIT Supplement Series P:  Prehistory and Middle Ages, vol. 5) (2000)
    • Elfenbeinstudien Fas.2:  Chalkolithische und Fruhbronzezeitliche Elfenbeinobjeckte auf der Iberischen Halbinsel by Th. X. Schuhmacher (Iberia Archaologica, Bd. 16 Faz. 2) (2012)
    • Iberos del Matarraña by Pierre Moret et al (Ä€l-QannÄ«s, 11) (2006)
    • El Hallazgo Leonés de Valdevimbre y los depósitos del bronce final Atlántico en la penÄ«nsula Ibérica by J. Celis Sánchez et al. (Estudios y Catálogos, 17) (2007)
    • La navegación Fenicia: technología naval y derroteros by Victoria Peña et al. (2004)
    • El Yacimiento de Cueva Lóbrega by Ignacio Barrios Gil (Historia. Arqueologia, 15) (2004)
    • Las Comunidades Campaniformes en Galicia by M.P. Prieto-Martinez et al. (2011)
  • From the editors, K. J. P. Lowe, FSA, and Annemarie Jordan Gschwend, The global city on the streets of Renaissance Lisbon (2015)
  • From the author, Malcolm Lyne, FSA, Late Roman handmade grog-tempered ware producing industries in south east Britain (Archaeopress Roman Archaeology, 12) (2015)
  • From Vincent Megaw, FSA
    • Arte protoceltica a Salisburgo: catalogo a cura della della regione di Salisburgo by Fritz Moosleitner (1987)
    • Persistent economic ways of living: production, distribution and consumption in late prehistory and early history edited by AlžbÄ•ta Danielisová and Manuel Fernández-Götz (2015)
    • Das Jastorf-Konzept und die vorrömische Eisenzeit im nördlichen mitteleuropa … (2014)
    • Satu Mare: Studii ÅŸi comunicări  (Seria Arheologie 30.1) (2014)
  • From the authors, Ingrid Mida and Alexandra Kim, The dress detective: a practical guide to object-based research in fashion by Ingrid Mida and Alexandra Kim (2015)
  • From the author’s widow, Carolyn Osborn-Jones, The heraldic elephant by C. Osborn-Jones (2015)
  • From the author, Cecilia Powell, FSA, Excursion to Wordsworthshire:  a Victorian family in the Lakes (2015)
  • From the author, Pierre de la Ruffinière du Prey, FSA, The villas of Pliny from antiquity to posterity (1994)
  • From Mark Purcell, FSA, The Montaigne Library of Gilbert de Botton at Cambridge University Library by Philip Ford (2008)
  • From the author, Peter Salway, FSA, Roman Britain: a very short introduction, 2nd edition (2015)
  • From the author, Timothy Schroder, FSA, English silver before the Civil War: the David Little Collection (2015)
  • From the author, Siegmar von Schnurbein, FSA, Atlas der Vorgeschichte: Europa von den ersten Menschen bis Christi Geburt (2014)
  • From the author, Barbara Tomlinson, FSA, Commemorating the seafarer: monuments, memorials and memory (2015)
  • From Sir David Wilson, FSA, Hellenistic and Roman terracottas from Egypt by Lászlo Török (Bibliotheca Archaeologica, 15) (1995)
  • From The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, In search of Alderman John Browne, King’s Painter 1511-1527, Serjeant painter 1527-1532, died 1532 and Richard Calard Esquire, died 1544 and the reasons for the joining together of the Painters’ Company and the Stainers’ Company in 1501 or 1502 by Duncan Burton (2014)

Unlocking Our Collections: The Basingstoke Aeoliphile

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.

This year, we have launched a new programme to highlight a variety of the treasures in our collections, focusing on one special object each month. The features, which consist of short text, sometimes with supporting material or short videos, are published on the Society’s website and shared via this newsletter and our social media profiles (such as Facebook and Twitter). Their aim is to raise 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 share their that knowledge with our public audiences.

Our April feature is by Arthur MacGregor FSA (former director of the Ashmolean Museum). He explores
the Society’s aeolipile (or hearth-blower) forms a characterful example of late medieval metalwork and a splendid relic of 18th-century antiquarianism - See more at:
the Society’s aeolipile (or hearth-blower), which is an interesting example of late medieval metalwork and a splendid relic of 18th-century antiquarianism. Visit our website for full details.

Basingstoke Aeolipile 

If you have a favourite object in the Society's Library or Museum collections and would be willing to research and write a short feature for our website, please contact the Collections Manager, Anooshka Rawden, at

Wide Support for New Culture White Paper

Fellows have been busy in the four weeks since the last Salon. Many will have followed the big British story in arts and heritage, the launch of a Culture White Paper by the undefeatably upbeat Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey. As much a discussion paper as a statement of new policy (and still less a promise of significant new funding), the White Paper has been widely welcomed within the industry, which recognises a minister with genuine and informed concerns for its patch. A Church Buildings Task Force is to be set up, to work with the Church of England to consider its cathedrals and church buildings, and separate reviews of museums in England, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have been promised.
Carole Souter FSA, Chief Executive of the HLF, wondered if the proposals in the White Paper would ‘continue this job of changing people’s lives for the better?’
‘First of all,’ she wrote, ‘it’s really heartening to see heritage talked about throughout the Paper. Sometimes the voice of heritage struggles to be heard but that’s not the case here. There are several measures directly related to heritage, many of which reflect HLF’s work.
‘There’s a new Cultural Citizens Programme, which aims to create new cultural opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. … The Great Places Scheme is also new … This will bring National Lottery Distributors and cultural organisations together to back local communities who want to “put culture at the heart of their local vision”. The aim is to support jobs, economic growth, education, health and wellbeing – all things that we know can be delivered when local knowledge and expertise is backed by National Lottery funding.
‘Our Skills for the Future programme funds work-based training in a wide range of skills that are needed to look after buildings, landscapes, habitats, species, and museum and archive collections and the Culture White Paper includes our commitment to a further £10million of this funding. We share the Government’s commitment to attracting more diverse new entrants to the heritage workforce.’
‘I think there is a lot to be positive about,’ she concludes. ‘Certainly the White Paper fully embraces heritage as an essential part of the Government’s vision and there is a firm recognition of the role it plays supporting jobs, skills and tourism and making our towns, cities and communities better places to live.’
Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive of Historic England, said access to ‘England's rich heritage has never been more important. The links between taking part in cultural life and life-chances are increasingly well-understood and evidenced. Taking part has a positive effect on the health, wealth and happiness of individuals and communities. As a nation, we need to include and involve more people than ever before. We are delighted to be part of the effort to do this, and are wholly supportive of the way this White Paper promises to open up culture and heritage to enrich people’s lives.’
The National Trust shared these views, saying ‘it’s good to see clear recognition from the Government of the value of heritage and culture and their ongoing support for Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, both of which provide vital support for owners across the country, both private and public, to look after the UK’s heritage.’ However, it continued, ‘many challenges’ face the sector. ‘We rely on local authorities’ planning departments being adequately resourced and having the right levels of expertise on ecology, archaeology, conservation and heritage to help us look after National Trust places, but also the wider countryside, coast and beautiful urban landscapes. This resourcing crisis must be faced and tackled by Government, with sector involvement, to ensure it is both cost effective and sufficiently protects places into the future.’


Budget 2016

Ed Vaizey was pleased about some of the things in the Chancellor’s budget revealed on 16 March, apparently with some justification. In their weekly email, his team boasted of a long list of cultural achievements:
  • A new museums and galleries tax relief to encourage new exhibitions and touring [this will be introduced from 1 April 2017; consultation will occur over the summer]
  • £54 million for the expansion of the Royal College of Art in Battersea
  • £20 million across 2016-17 and 2017-18 to extend the First World War Centenary cathedral repairs fund
  • A commitment to a further £13 million to Hull UK City of Culture 2017
  • £5 million to support the refurbishment of Hull New Theatre and £8 million to create a lasting cultural legacy in Hull
  • £5 million to support Shakespeare North, a new theatre in Knowsley
  • £5 million for Dundee V&A’s general fundraising campaign
  • £2 million to support the refurbishment of the Hall for Cornwall
  • £1 million to support S1 Artspace to create an arts complex in Sheffield
  • £1 million to support the transformation of Drapers’ Hall into a multi-purpose music venue in Coventry
  • £620,000 to support Being Brunel, the National Brunel Project in Bristol
  • £27,000 of funding per year from 2017-18 to 2019-20 towards Lloyd George Museum in north Wales
  • Support for the British Library’s ambition to develop land to the north of its St Pancras site
  • An invitation for bids from northern cities and towns to host the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018.
Simon Tait wondered why the Lloyd George Museum, whose local authority funding is under threat, should be offered money, while other local museums (such as five in Lancashire) are not. Was it to avoid the ‘international embarrassment’, during the centenary period of the First World War, of ‘the closure now of the place devoted to the memory of the leader that saw us through that most catastrophic of conflicts’?

Coming Full Circle

‘High on an exposed hill immediately east of a noisy motorway on the edge of Glasgow city centre’, wrote Kenneth Brophy FSA, Helen Green and Adam Welfare FSA in British Archaeology in 2014, ‘is a scruffy, graffiti-daubed stone circle.’
No longer. On 7 April VHE Construction began winching the megaliths into the air. The work at Sighthill Park is part of a five-year project, due to finish in 2019, which also involves creating 800 homes, a new footbridge across the M8 connecting to the city centre, improved parkland, allotments and public spaces, and ‘tackling a foul stench … which plagues the area’ (a soda works dumped heaps of insoluble chemical waste).
As Brophy and his colleagues explained, though having the appearance of great (if damaged) antiquity, the circle was raised in 1979, ‘a folly emerged from socialist ideals and council largesse’. Science writer Duncan Lunan and his colleagues persuaded the Glasgow Parks Department to let them build a monument using skills, knowledge and labour marshalled by a jobs creation scheme, to celebrate the work of archaeoastronomers Alexander Thom and Archie Thom. The circle also commemorated Euan Mackie FSA, who as Deputy Director and Curator at the Glasgow University’s Hunterian Museum, had sought to test Alexander Thom’s astronomical and geometrical ideas through excavation.
The impending removal had brought local protest, but a planned relocation nearby seems to please Lunan. He said the new site is the one he originally chose in 1978: at the time it was deemed unsuitable.
‘When it was first created’, he told the Glasgow Evening News, ‘we had the use of the helicopter for just 10 days, so I had a relatively short amount of time to spend ensuring the stones were in the places that had been plotted out. I am hoping that I will have a year to work on it before the circle is reconstructed.’

Barrow Adventure

I described DigVentures, a crowdfunded archaeological field outfit, in the previous Salon. They have since launched ‘a two-week excavation at a TOP SECRET location near Morecambe Bay’, to take place between 4 and 17 July. ‘We’ll be live-streaming from site’, says the website, ‘and, in partnership with Morecambe Heritage and with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, hosting the dig HQ, Archaeology Incident Room and Pop-Up Museum in Morecambe Heritage Centre on the beachfront promenade.’
The project will be directed by Stuart Noon of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Ben Roberts FSA, Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University and former Curator for the European Bronze Age collections at the British Museum, and DigVentures’ Brendon Wilkins.
The site was identified by two metal detectorists in 2013. Their finds, and those from a small follow-up excavation directed by Noon, included Bronze Age artefacts and fragments of cremated human bone, suggesting a burial in a now invisible barrow mound dating to around 1000–850 BC. ‘The potential is huge’, Roberts told The Observer, ‘because untouched, undiscovered sites [in the region] are very rare indeed. What’s really special about our site is that no one knew about it before … The barrow appears to be intact and it’s pretty substantial.’ ‘This will be the first scientific excavation of a Bronze Age burial mound in Northwest England in over 50 years,’ says DigVentures.

Photo shows detectorists Matthew Hepworth (left) and David Kierzek ready for action.

Monastic Whip

‘There must be a number of unidentified scourges from monastic excavations,’ said Glyn Coppack FSA commenting on a discovery made at Rufford Abbey, Nottinghamshire, ‘but apart from the one from La Grava I have not seen any others myself. I suspect they are very rare indeed, and this is an exceptional find.’
What are believed to be parts of a monastic copper scourge or cat-o-nine-tails have emerged during conservation work on finds from excavations in 2014 by Nottinghamshire County Council Community Archaeology. It is suggested that Cistercian monks may have used scourges in an attempt to defeat the Black Death, or for the mortification of the body.

Never Mind the Bonfire 

Historic England has advised listing cartoons painted on the walls of a London home used by the Sex Pistols, a punk rock band of strong influence in the 1970s. The decision was said to have been closely informed by work by John Schofield FSA (pictured), Head of Archaeology at the University of York, and Paul Graves-Brown, who described the art in 6 Denmark Street in Antiquity in 2011.
Schofield himself admitted to doubts about the listing. ‘I think these artworks are highly significant,’ he said in a York press release, ‘but that view and the Grade II* listing will of course divide opinion – the Sex Pistols are and will always be controversial.’
‘I have mixed feelings about the listing’, he continued, ‘to be honest. It is good to have this designation off the coattails of our own research, and to see such an alternative and counter-cultural place given this national recognition.
‘But it is also a rather odd contradiction, for a building so closely associated with the Sex Pistols and their rallying cry “No Future” to be preserved for the benefit of future generations.
‘Punk helped change the world, and it did so with genuine anger, but also with passion, compassion and humour. May be there is a lesson there for our times. Denmark Street was where it all started.’
Joe Corré, son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, who managed the Sex Pistols and gave them their name, would probably share Schofield’s doubts.
In a press release Corré said he plans to burn his £5 million memorabilia collection on 26 November, to commemorate 40 years of punk. ‘When the Queen gives a ***** nod to punk’s 40th Anniversary Year,’ he said, ‘you know something has gone seriously wrong.’

Tea with the Queen

The Royal Collection has announced major works to tourist areas at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, to improve public facilities and access at two of the Queen’s official residences. The £37 million transformations, funded by the Royal Collection Trust charity, will include a new cafe in the Medieval undercroft at Windsor Castle (pictured).
Jonathan Marsden FSA is the Director of the Trust. ‘People have been visiting Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse for centuries,’ he said, ‘and now more than 1.5 million do so every year. We want everybody to have a proper sense of arrival, to be able to make choices about how they go about their visits. We will interpret the palaces and collections in new ways, open up new spaces to the public, and we’re going to create two purpose-built learning centres.”
The work will begin in early 2017, said the Trust in a press statement, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Both residences will remain open to visitors during this time. Marsden describes the projects in a video. ‘The only way to understand [Windsor Castle’s] long history’, he says, ‘is to stand within its surviving Medieval spaces, and Future Programme is going to provide that opportunity.’

Oracle Bone

A 3000-year-old inscribed bone has become the world's first Chinese 'oracle bone' to be scanned and printed in 3D. The bone is one of 614 examples in the collection of Cambridge University Library, and features in the Library’s 600th anniversary exhibition, Lines of Thought. The artefacts are the oldest known documents written in the Chinese language, dating from 1339–1112 BC. Inscribed on ox shoulder blades and turtle shells, they record questions to which answers were sought by divination at the court of the royal house of Shang. One notes a lunar eclipse in 1192 BC.
In a press release, Charles Aylmer, Head of the Chinese Department at the Library, thanked archaeologist Dominic Powlesland FSA, ‘one of the leading pioneers in this area [of 3D digitisation]’. The print was made at Addenbrooke's Hospital, using equipment more commonly used to assist in planning maxillofacial and orthopaedic surgery.
‘The reverse sides of the bones,’ said Aylmer, ‘which are crucial to understanding the process of divination but have hitherto been neglected because of the difficulty of representing them adequately, can now be studied in detail thanks to this new technique. To hold a 3D print of an oracle bone is a very special experience, as it provides the same sensory impression as that obtained by the people who created them over three thousand years ago, but without the risk of harm to the priceless originals.’

Dug for Britain

BBC TV’s Digging for Britain completed its fourth series with more Fellows on the screen. In programme two, Phil Harding FSA popped up in a trench at Hougoumont Farm, investigating the site of the Battle of Waterloo. We saw Jelena Bekvalac FSA in the Museum of London’s archaeological store, with the jaw of a 19th-century woman fitted with teeth taken from other mouths, and describing a skeleton ‘from a man who served in Nelson’s navy’. In East Sussex, Richard Osgood FSA directed Operation Nightingale at the excavation of a crashed World War Two Hurricane plane.
In the final programme Nicky Milner FSA showed the engraved Mesolithic pendant from Star Carr noted in an earlier Salon. Milner, Andrew KG Jones FSA and Danielle Schreve FSA are among several authors of a recent paper in The Journal of Archaeological Science (subscription needed) which describes new evidence for fish at the site. Forensic techniques have shown not just the presence of fish, but also evidence for the species, data on how and where fish were being processed, and suggestions for fishing methods – when all previous research had found no fishing took place.
Later in the Digging for Britain broadcast Duncan Sayer FSA talked about Ribchester Roman fort, at the excavation and in studio, where he is investigating the demolition and re-use of the fort after the Romans left Britain.
Digging for Britain Series 4, East, can be seen on iPlayer until 20 April, and North until 23 April.

In the Steps of Elephants

Sir Gavin de Beer FSA, director throughout the 1950s of what is now known as the Natural History Museum, was gripped by Hannibal’s legendary march into northern Italy with elephants. Alps and Elephants: Hannibal's March (1955) and Hannibal: Challenging Rome's Supremacy (1969) were but two of his books that considered the feat.
Like many before and after him, de Beer tried to establish exactly where the pachyderms had crossed the Alps. Bill Mahaney, a Geography Professor at York University, Toronto, and a large team of mostly geomorphologists and soil scientists, think they may have solved the issue. In an article published in Archaeometry (subscription required), they ‘present stratigraphic, geochemical and microbiological evidence recovered from an alluvial floodplain mire located below the Col de la Traversette … on the French/Italian border that potentially identifies the invasion route as the one originally proposed by Sir Gavin de Beer.’
Mahaney had suggested this route before (Geology Today 2008, Archaeometry 2010), which is now supported, he says, with new evidence. According to Live Science, an American news website, Mahaney and Chris Allen, a microbiologist at Queen's University Belfast, ‘were conducting research near Col de la Traversette that was unrelated to Hannibal.’ Studying soil cores, they found ‘unusual indicators’ at a level dated to about the time of Hannibal’s crossing around 218–201 BC. ‘The dirt was physically churned up, as though a number of animals had plodded through. Chemical analysis identified organic materials that typically inhabit a human's or a horse's gut, while DNA analysis revealed the presence of microbes associated with horse manure.’
Microbiologists, reported Philip Ball in The Observer, ‘think they might have found a distinctive horse tapeworm egg in the samples. “There is even the possibility of finding an elephant tapeworm egg,”’ said Allen. â€˜My sniffer tells me [items dropped by the army] will turn up,’ said Mahaney ‘– coins, belt buckles, sabres, you name it.’ ‘If Mahaney can secure firm evidence,’ added Ball, ‘– such as chemical or microbial fingerprints of elephant faeces – it would be the culmination of a personal quest.’
‘All of us more or less follow de Beer’s footprint’, Mahaney told The Observer

Image from Wikipedia.

Merlin in Offshore Shock 

As Head Properties Curator at English Heritage (EH), Jeremy Ashbee FSA is responsible for Medieval castles and archaeology. Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, has featured largely on his desk in recent months. A design for a new footbridge to reach the headland – in fact two cantilevers separated by a small gap – was selected in March, in a competition won by Ney & Partners Civil Engineers (Belgium) and architects William Matthews Associates (UK). Less happy (more rocky, perhaps) has been the story of a small carving which EH launched in February, representing the face of Merlin.
‘The new artwork’, said EH, ‘is the first part of a project by English Heritage to reimagine Tintagel's history and legends across the island site. Further works will be revealed late this spring.’ The wizard’s face was carved into the cliff face beside Merlin’s Cave by Peter Graham, described as a local craftsman. Property Manager Matt Ward said it’s ‘just the beginning of our exciting new project here at Tintagel – but what a start.’
Press reports indicate that some of the excitement has been of a kind EH might rather have missed, with accusations of ‘Disneyfication’ by ‘comic-book characters’ and ‘graffiti’, in what The Guardian described as ‘the battle of Tintagel Castle’. When EH posted news of the carving on its Tintagel Facebook page (‘more to follow!’), it attracted nearly 200 comments, most of them critical. ‘Now you've started’, wrote Erica Ford, ‘why not just rebuild the entire castle and use is [sic] for company fuctions [sic], film sets or maybe a theme park – it would increase your revenue and you don't seem that bothered about preserving anything any more.’ Lee Sanders claimed the ‘local sculptor’, whom he had heard speaking on BBC TV’s The One Show, ‘has a north of England accent … No native Cornish person would do this to a site of Cornish heritage.’ ‘What next,’ wrote Meg Green, ‘a mythical druid carved into Stonehenge?’
Kernow Matters to Us, a campaign group that describes ‘Cornish people [as] a National Minority … [who have] been suppressed by English cultural domination’, sees a bigger picture.
‘Members were horrified to be informed’, it blogged after watching The One Show, ‘that a 2.5 metre tall statue of King Arthur is to be erected and bolted to the castle, that a King Arthur's “compass” (?) is to be built in the castle, that a Tristan and Iseult “theme” attraction is to be installed, that a flyover bridge to be set across the site, that there is to be a sword in the stone display and that this whole programme of “improvements” has commenced with a carving of a face meant to represent Merlin into the castle cliff. The object of this all is to draw more fee paying tourists to the site, large parts of which remain unexcavated and in a fragile state… this action at Tintagel has been denounced as desecration.’
Andrew Long, Callington Cornwall Councillor, thought ‘the time for [EH] to be removed from looking after our assets has now arrived’, blaming ‘the London Government’ for taking ‘control of [Cornwall’s] Heritage and Planning’. ‘We have written directly to English Heritage’, he continued, ‘to ask them to explain why they have decided to do this and ask them to stop work immediately.’
For Ashbee, myth and legend are an integral part of the site.
‘Since the Middle Ages,’ he told The Guardian, ‘the legends and literary associations of Tintagel have played a key role in shaping the castle. The importance of these legends is widely acknowledged by historians and archaeologists. Our new outdoor interpretation explains this and places the legends within the context of Tintagel’s overall history and significance. We recently opened a new exhibition there which explores both the site’s archaeology and history, including for the first time, excavated artefacts.’

London Skyline

London’s changing skyline continues to be debated. Historic England published a survey purported to show that half of Londoners think new towers planned for the capital will have a negative effect on views. ‘The millions of people who live and work in the city need to be better informed and more involved in the changes that are gathering pace,’ said Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive of Historic England. ‘It matters when tall buildings spring up in the wrong places, overshadowing our crescents and squares, our playgrounds and palaces, canals and cathedrals.’
In a letter to The Times, Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman Historic England, Loyd Grossman FSA, Chairman Heritage Alliance, and architect Sir Terry Farrell, bemoaned the lack of strategy for ‘more than 400 tall buildings (of 20 storeys plus) in the pipeline for London’. ‘The next mayor will be judged by his or her contribution to London’s continuing success,’ they concluded.
Historic England is calling for wider public involvement in how the city develops in the run-up to the next London plan, a development strategy for the Greater London Area to be drawn up by the new mayor after elections in May.

Chance to keep Florentine table tops in the UK

An Old Kingdom statue of Sekhemka (24–2300 BC), once owned by the people of Northampton and sold in 2014 by their Borough Council, failed to find a buyer to keep it in the UK. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey extended a temporary export bar until March 29, but no one it seems was prepared to be seen to be validating the controversial sale by matching the enormous auction price of £14 million.
Christopher Rowell FSA, the National Trust’s Curator of Furniture, hopes for a better outcome for British collections with a stunning pair of Florentine table tops. The tops feature mosaic stone panels showing Rome’s Colosseum (pictured) and the Porto Mediceo of Livorno, Tuscany. They were commissioned by George Clavering-Cowper, 3rd Earl Cowper, a lover of Italian art. After his death in Florence in 1789, his collection was brought to Britain and displayed by his sons in Panshanger, Hertfordshire, built for the purpose. They remained in the picture gallery until the mid-20th century, when the estate was sold and the house demolished.
Rowell, who is a member of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, said: “Earl Cowper was one of the most fascinating of all British Grand Tourists. His varied collections were of supreme quality, including Raphael’s two ‘Cowper’ Madonnas, and there is considerable documentation about his remarkable life in Florence. The Florentine pietre dure craftsmen were immensely skilled and their art was time consuming, exclusive and expensive. Imagine designing and making a jigsaw from stone and cutting every piece meticulously without modern cutting machinery! No wonder that Earl Cowper had to wait several years to take delivery of them. The Cowper connection renders these beautiful and original table tops key documents for the history of the Grand Tour and for 18th-century British patronage of Italian art.”
The decision on the export licence will be deferred until 3 July. This may be extended until 3 November 2016 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase them is made at the recommended price of £1,500,000.

One ring to fool them all?

A smaller artefact that has crossed the Channel from a London auction house (see above) has also drawn wide interest, more for its alleged historical associations than its appearance. Timeline Auctions set up the sale as a potential battle between England and France. A silver ring, said to have been taken from a finger of Joan of Arc before her death on an execution pyre in 1431, was sold on 26 February for £297,600, 20 times its higher estimate. It was bought by the Puy du Fou historical theme park in the Vendée, founded by Philippe de Villiers, now a politician known for his extreme criticism of Islam in France (‘Thanks to @PhdeVilliers for returning Joan of Arc's ring to French soil,’ tweeted Marine le Pen after the sale).
The auctioneer offered a 'professional drawing showing the ring extended', a 'positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate', and a mountain of provenance documentation, including press cuttings, typed research notes, correspondence, shipping documents, exhibition captions and more (all part of the lot). But none of that reached back before the last century. The only document with a claim to historical significance (as opposed to, at best, glamorous interest) was written by a former Fellow, Frederick Oates FSA.
Oates, who was Keeper of the King's Armoury and Keeper of the London Museum in the 1920s, published Catalogue of Finger Rings; Brought Together by F. A. Harman Oates, in 1917, printing only 36 copies (the February buyer had to settle for a photocopy). In this he refers to the ‘belief’ that the ring had belonged to Joan of Arc. It was sold by Sotheby's in 1929 as part of the F. A. Harman Oates collection, whence it ended up this century as the ‘property of an Essex gentleman’. Its earlier owners were of greater public interest. Timeline Auctions listed these as Augustus John before 1914, who had been given it by Lady Ottoline Morrell; she had inherited it through the Cavendish-Bentinck family (Duke of Portland) from cardinal Henry Beaufort (1375–1447), who was present at Joan of Arc’s trial and execution; and, to complete the full provenance history, ‘the ring [was] stated by Joan at her trial to have been a gift from her parents’.
The Economist (from whom I stole the headline above) failed to find any evidence to support the French saint connection. ‘I have yet to talk to a museum curator, an art dealer or an independent scholar who believes that the association with Jeanne d'Arc dates back to her lifetime,’ it quoted Sandra Hindman as saying. A medievalist, Professor Emerita at Northwestern University and dealer in Medieval art and rings, Hindman thought that ‘the attribution of the auctioned ring was part of the Jeanne d'Arc mania that begins in the 19th century and continues until about the mid-20th century.’ ‘Her opinion was echoed by the other experts consulted by this reporter,’ said The Economist.
The Art Newspaper had another line. Martin Bailey wondered if the ring had an export licence, given the speed with which it was conjured out of the country. He quoted a spokeswoman for Arts Council England: 'the application process is confidential', she told him; 'however, given the age and price of the item, its export would require an individual licence'. Bailey’s historical sources, however, disagreed with The Economist's. ‘The link with Joan of Arc’, he wrote, ‘is widely accepted among specialists, since it so closely fits the description of a ring she spoke about during her trial.’

New Travel Grant

The trustees of Churches Conservation, who include Loyd Grossman FSA, have announced a new grant award scheme for young craftspeople with an interest in religious heritage conservation who want to travel to increase their expertise and knowledge, and ultimately benefit UK heritage skills. Up to two awards of between £500 and £1000 will be granted in June for each of the next three years. See the Foundation’s website for more information. The deadline for initial applications is 16 May 2016.

News of Fellows

Charles Thomas FSA, distinguished historian and archaeologist long associated with Cornwall, has died at the age of 87. He combined a long university career with a role as founder-Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies. He was a founder-member of Rescue, an influential archaeological lobby group, and was awarded the Society’s Frend Medal in 1982, the year it was established in recognition of contributions to the study of archaeological and material remains of the early Christian Church. A full tribute will follow in the next Salon.

John Christian FSA, art historian and authority on the work of Edward Burne-Jones, died in March. An appreciation appears below.

Allan Tribe FSA, chartered accountant
with interests in the history of the City of
London and the Bible in English,
died on 10 March, aged 80. He was elected
to the Fellowship in May 1975.
Carole Souter FSA, who steps down as Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund at the end of April, will be a Truste of Historic Royal Palaces from 1 May, for three years. She currently sits on the Boards of Creativity, Culture and Education, the Kent Wildlife Trust and the National Communities Resource Centre.

Ron Hutton FSA is featured in the current edition of English Heritage Members’ Magazine, where he talks about blue plaques – he chairs the selecting panel. He is pictured (on right of photo) by a plaque in Chelsea, London, for Labour politicians Nye Bevan and Jennie Lee (author of the only previous culture White Paper, see above).

Susan Lawrence FSA (pictured right), Head of the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University in Melbourne, has been promoted to Professor. Her research has focussed on the Australian gold rush, the colonial whaling industry, the pastoral frontier, and comparative studies of 19th-century British colonies.

Roberta Gilchrist FSA, Professor of Archaeology and Research Dean at the University of Reading, and Archaeologist to Norwich Cathedral, is the author of Norwich Cathedral Close: The Evolution of the English Cathedral Landscape. First published by Boydell in 2007, the award-wining study is now out in paperback.
‘It must be time for the Italian government to begin to take its responsibility for Venice seriously,’ said Anna Somers Cocks FSA, Chief Executive of The Art Newspaper and former Chairman of Venice in Peril, at the announcement by Europa Nostra on 16 March that the Venice Lagoon is Europe’s most endangered heritage site. The problems are not new: rising water, tourists, cruise ships and the lack of an agreed management plan, said The Art Newspaper, have 'created a perfect storm of threats to the city’s preservation’.
‘The idea of an educated female is challenging to some people,’ Lucy Worsley FSA told The Mail on Sunday. The writer, broadcaster and Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said, ‘If you read any of my books or watch my TV programmes, they’re all really about feminism. I haven’t been silenced [by online trolls]. I just say it in a more subtle way. I’m the friendly face of feminism.’ Eliza Rose, her debut novel for children set in the Tudor court, launched on 7 April. ‘I would often wonder about my future husband. A knight? A duke? A stable boy? Of course the last was just a wicked fancy. Eliza Rose Camperdowne is young and headstrong, but she knows her duty well. As the only daughter of a noble family, she must one day marry a man who is very grand and very rich. … can a girl choose her own destiny in a world ruled by men?’
Democracy: A Life, by Paul Cartledge FSA, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, has been published by Oxford University Press. It provides a thorough, long-range comparison between ancient and modern understandings of ‘democracy’, says the blurb, offers linguistic as well as historical and philosophical analysis of how democracy developed, and incorporates new literary and archaeological evidence.

Richard Wendorf FSA, Director of the American Museum in Britain, has published The Three Laws of Portraiture printed in 150 copies by the Thornwillow Press, New York. The book, says the blurb, explores the relationship between the painter and their sitter throughout the history of portraiture. ‘Wendorf's charming anecdotes come together with beautifully printed color images in this limited edition bound in beige handmade paste paper.’

On 9 March Jonathan Tubb FSA, Keeper, Middle East, The British Museum and Director of the BM’s Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme, joined a discussion panel at the UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, to consider heritage and disasters.

Paul Barnwell FSA, Director of Studies in the Historic Environment, University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, has co-edited Late Medieval Liturgies Enacted: The Experience of Worship in Cathedral and Parish Church (Routledge). The book explores ways in which our understanding of late medieval liturgy can be enhanced through present-day enactment. It is a direct outcome of a practice-led research project, led by John Harper and undertaken at Bangor University between 2010 and 2013 in partnership with Salisbury Cathedral and St Fagans National History Museum, near Cardiff. Videos of the liturgical enactments themselves are available online, with other background material. The AHRC-funded project of which both are outputs has been adopted by the ARHC as an impact case study.
The Culture of Food in England, 1200-1500 (Yale University Press) is by Chris Woolgar FSA, Professor of History and Archival Studies at the University of Southampton. ‘I have long thought that there was much more to be said about food,’ writes Woolgar, ‘beyond the sustenance it provides, and this book looks at the many meanings it had for people, as a part of their ways of life – and this is my attempt to put it into print. I have given a copy of the book to the Society's Library, as it has kindly given me permission to include two images from one of the manuscripts in its collections.’ ‘Drawing on a vast range of sources,’ says the blurb, Woolgar ‘charts how emerging technologies as well as an influx of new flavors and trends from abroad had an impact on eating habits across the social spectrum … [illuminating] desire, necessity, daily rituals, and pleasure across four centuries.’

Matt Pope FSA has won a Provost's Teaching Award for 2016 at UCL, where he teaches courses in Palaeolithic archaeology, human evolution and interpreting archaeological evidence. He will receive the award as part of the keynote for the UCL Teaching and Learning Conference on 19 April.

Michael J Jones FSA writes with news of two substantial publications with several authors who are Fellows, covering a similar area of the city of Lincoln: the lower walled city on the hillside. The first, published in March, is Lincoln Archaeological Studies 4: The Archaeology of the Lower City and Adjacent Suburbs (Oxbow Books/Historic England). It includes definitive reports on excavations, brought up to date in the light of more recent research in the discussion sections. The authors are Kate Steane, Margaret Darling FSA, Michael J Jones, Jenny Mann, the late Alan Vince FSA, and Jane Young. More details are available on the front page of the Oxbow web-site, whence it can currently be purchased at the special price of £42 (normally £55).
The second book, launched at the annual conference of the Vernacular Architecture Group held in Lincoln, is Steep, Strait and High: Ancient Houses of Central Lincoln, by Christopher Johnson and Stanley Jones FSA (Boydell and Brewer for Lincoln Record Society). This large-format book includes surveys and analyses by Stanley Jones of many historic structures – including the 12th-century Jew's House – in the lower walled city as well as some notable buildings outside the walls, along with the appropriate documentary evidence.

Lives Remembered

John Christian FSA died on 10 March, aged 73. In an obituary The Telegraph describes him as ‘probably the world’s leading authority on the work of Edward Burne-Jones’. When he curated an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Hayward Gallery in 1975, pre-Raphaelite painters were emerging from an era of critical disdain. The Telegraph describes The Last Romantics, an exhibition at the London Barbican Gallery in 1989, as ‘the high point of his career’.
In a review for The Art Bulletin of the catalogue that accompanied Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer, an exhibition in 1998 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York which went on to Birmingham and Paris, Elizabeth Helsinger noted how Christian described the artist’s rise from an early 20th-century ‘scorned and rejected figure’ to ‘one of the most popular British artists’. Christian’s ‘own scrupulous labors of art historical scholarship', wrote Helsinger, were ‘largely responsible for transforming the critical understanding of this artist’.
‘Tall, soft-spoken, courteous and kind,’ says The Telegraph, ‘Christian was a much-loved presence in the auction rooms and galleries of London. He was in great demand as a curator, writer and as a consultant for Christie’s Victorian paintings department, for whom he produced detailed catalogue notes, that were long, according to one specialist, but “never boring”.’
He attended Endsleigh School in Colchester, Essex, gaining a scholarship to Gresham’s School in Holt. As children he and his sister Margie, also an art historian, were taken to the National Gallery, the British Museum and the V&A. While at Gresham’s, Christian discovered that Sir Sydney Cockerell, William Morris’s last secretary, was alive in Kew. He wrote to him, and for the next few years, says The Telegraph, Cockerell travelled to Essex to visit the Christians; he introduced John to Dorothy Hawksley, a painter, and Virginia Surtees, a Rossetti scholar.
Christian won a scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he studied History of Art. He catalogued the Old Master drawings in the picture gallery at Christ Church, Oxford in the early 1970s, and followed his success at the Hayward Gallery with exhibitions around the world. He was on the Art Fund’s advisory panel.
Christian’s books include The Pre-Raphaelites in Oxford (1974), The Oxford Union Murals (1981), Edward Burne-Jones: The Hidden Humourist (2011) and A Claim to Beauty: William Morris and the Kelmscott Press (2014).

'Palaeo 2020' (Conference, Society of Antiquaries)

This meeting seeks to address urgent challenges currently faced in Palaeolithic Archaeology in Britain, as well as developing a new and radical approach to Palaeolithic research. Central to the discussion will be how we can optimise available resources to deliver a new understanding about our deep past while maintaining effective and consistent protection of the resource.

Places are still available for this full-day event, organised by Matthew Pope FSA and Clive Gamble FSA. Tickets are £20 per person and can be booked online or by contacting the Society's Executive Assistant (, 020 7479 7080). Details of the conference (including a full programme and booking details) are available at  

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows and Other Exclusive Fellows' Events

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.

21 April 2016: Anniversary Meeting
The Anniversary Meeting will begin at 15.30 and is open to Fellows only. Tea is served at 16.15, followed by the President’s Address (including ballot results) at 17.00, and concludes with a Reception at 18.00. Guests are welcome to Tea, the President’s Address, and the Reception. Entry to the Reception is by ticket only (£10.00 per person). Please book in advance for the Reception. You may book online, call 020 7479 7080 or email

26 May 2016: Miscellany of Papers and Summer Soirée
Fellows are invited to our annual summer meeting, where we will hear a miscellany of papers celebrating the Society’s current loans programme (with an in-depth look at the Society’s contribution to the British Museum’s Sicily: Culture and Conquest exhibition), followed by our Summer Soirée (with Pimm’s and wine). Admission to the soirée is by ticket only (£10, including VAT). Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 020 7479 7080.

16 June 2016: Private View of Celts at the National Museum of Scotland
Fellows are invited to join us at 11.00 am on Thursday, 16 June, for a private curator talk and a chance to explore the Celts exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. We will be joined by Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Details are available (with booking information) on the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland website (

Details for the full spring programme are available on the website: You can also catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events').

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.

26 April 2016: 'Royal Gold and Royal Rubbish: Metal-Detecting and the Anglo-Saxon Palace at Rendlesham, Suffolk', by Christopher Scull FSA. 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).

31 May 2016: 'Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1904-79: Reassessing the Medieval Monastery', by Roberta Gilchrist FSA. This lecture only has a few places still available. Book now!

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

Click here for more information on our public lectures.

Society Dates to Remember


Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows

The next in the Society’s regular series of introductory tours will take place on 23 June. More will be scheduled for the autumn (watch this space).

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.

Burlington House Closures

The Society's apartments, including it's Library, will be closed on 2 May, 3 May, and 30 May. The Society will also be closed for its summer conservation and maintenance programme from 1 August to 2 September (inclusive), reopening on Monday, 5 September.

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, you can subscribe online at:

Welsh Fellows

Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at

York Fellows

Saturday, 14 May: Enjoy a two-part walking tour of Beverley, accompanied by Fellows Barbara English, David Neave, and John Wilton-Ely. Meet at 10.30; depart at 16.00. Guests welcome! Please note that there will be a £5.00 entry charge for the Beverley Guildhall. Send questions or expressions of interest to Stephen Greep, FSA, at

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, you can subscribe online at:

Other Forthcoming Heritage Events

16 April: A Celebration of 40 years of the Welsh Archaeological Trusts (Abergavenny)
Morning spring meeting of the Council for British Archaeology Wales Cymru Group at St Marys Priory Centre, Abergavenny, followed by an afternoon symposium with speakers including Chris Musson FSA, Andy Marvell FSA, Andrew Davidson FSA, Paul Belford FSA and Gwilym Hughes FSA.

16 April: Marne and Beyond: Achievement and Legacy (York)
A one-day Symposium at York St John University to explore the potential of Operation Nightingale – which helps rehabilitate injured soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan by involving them in archaeological investigations – through the experience at Marne Barracks, North Yorkshire, its achievements and its legacy. Keynote speakers include Carenza Lewis FSA and Steve Sherlock FSA. The free symposium is presented in collaboration with the Defence Archaeology Group and HAVRC (Heritage and Arts Visitor Research Collaborative) based at York St John Business School.

23 April: York Historic Atlas Study Day (York)
An illustrated atlas of the history of the city of York, concentrating on the growth and form of the settlement across 2000 years, was published in December 2015. This study day is intended to explain and explore the making of the atlas, highlighting challenges in mapping historic York, and introducing the wider comparative European context for the project. Speakers include Peter Addyman FSA, Patrick Ottaway FSA, Ailsa Mainman FSA, David Palliser FSA and Sarah Rees Jones FSA. See website for details.

28 April: The Origins of Stonehenge: New Discoveries & New Perspectives (London)
David Jacques FSA will present a University of Buckingham Humanities Research Institute Public Lecture at the Society of Antiquaries at 6 pm, in association with History Today. Jacques is Project Director for Mesolithic excavations at Blick Mead, Amesbury.
21 May: The Power of Place: Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape (Machynlleth)
A day conference of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at the Museum of Modern Art Machynlleth on the Welsh landscape as a source for visionary artists. Papers will cover the Wye tour, Turner in Snowdonia, John Sell Cotman, the neo-romantic movement, David Jones and a contemporary artist’s response to place. Speakers include John Barrell, Mary-Ann Constantine, Andrew Green, Damian Walford Davies and Peter Wakelin FSA, who has curated the accompanying exhibition at MOMA Machynlleth, which runs from 19 March to 18 June. Details and bookings (£15): Angharad Elias: 01970 636543 Picture shows The Southern Extremity of Carnedde Mountain in Radnorshire, by Thomas Jones, 1794.

17 June: Building a City: 350 Years after the Great Fire (London)
A conference on the Great Fire and its aftermath in the context of London in 2016 – innovations in urban design, ideas on place-making, regeneration of historic buildings and strategies for the future. The conference in Westminster City Hall will span the history and future development of London, and is organised by the Heritage of London Trust. Speakers include Charles Hind FSA, Philip Davies FSA and Nigel Barker FSA. See website for further information and to book a place.

19–22 July: The Great Household 1000–1500 (Harlaxton)
The theme of the 2016 Symposium convened by Chris Woolgar FSA is the medieval great household, from the 11th to the early 16th century, with a focus on elite contexts in the British Isles. Delegates will be given a guided tour of Harlaxton Manor and the afternoon outing will be to Gainsborough Old Hall, one of the finest and best-preserved 15th-century manor houses in England. The conference banquet will feature food inspired by medieval cuisine. The keynote will be delivered by Chris Dyer FSA, University of Leicester. See website for details.
9–11 September: Capability Brown: Perception and Response in a Global Context (Bath)
The influence of Capability Brown and the naturalistic landscape design style on landscapes across the world will be presented at a major ICOMOS-UK conference at the University of Bath, as part of the first-ever national Capability Brown Festival. Speakers include David Thackray FSA, President of ICOMOS-UK and Megan Aldrich FSA. For more information see the ICOMOS website.
14–16 October: 1066: Interpreting the Norman Conquest in 2016 (London)
In this 950th anniversary year, a conference on the Norman Conquest is to be held by the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, running from the day of the battle. The conference is intended for a general audience, but the contributions will be delivered by prominent experts, including David Bates FSA, author of a forthcoming biography of William the Conqueror, and Elisabeth van Houts, who has edited and translated several Anglo-Norman chronicles and has published on women and gender in the Middle Ages. Subjects will include the background to the Conquest, arms and armour, architecture, landscape, government, aristocracy, the church, society, the Bayeux Tapestry and the task of studying the period today. To register interest and obtain further information please contact or call 0113 220 1888.


Fellows will have been made aware of proposed changes to the Society's Library staff structure and our future plans for the Library. More information about Library staff changes is available on the Fellows' Area of the Website (login required).

We have now published advertisements for the new Library positions and are now recruiting for the following:
We are also currently recruiting for volunteers to help us produce our forthcoming programme of summer 'museum lates', to be held in conjuction with the rest of the learned societies at Burlington House. Details about the lates will shortly be available on our website (, and we welcome help from anyone who would like to assist us in sharing our Soceity's exciting history and modern-day legacy with new audiences. The events will take place on Friday evenings (24 June, 15 July and 26 August). More information about volunteering is 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.


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

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