Salon: Issue 379
7 February 2017
Next issue: 21 February 2017
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.
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.
From the Desk of the General Secretary
Nominations for Council, President and Treasurer
Fellows are reminded that the deadline for nominations for vacant posts for 2017-2020 on Council, including the roles of President and Treasurer, is 1 March 2017 (in time for the Anniversary Meeting on Thursday, 27 April). Our current President and Treasurer each come to the end of their term of appointment, and there are in addition three vacancies for Council Members. According to the Statutes, no Fellow can be elected into any of these positions unless either nominated by five Fellows before 1 March 2017, or recommended by Council.
Any nomination for the vacant posts must be supported by the necessary five Fellows, must have confirmation that the person nominated is willing to stand in the election, and needs to be supported by a brief statement about your candidate’s suitability for the role. A nomination form
can be found in the Fellows’ area of the website (login required).
At their meeting on 16 March, Council are due to look at all the nominations made, and make their recommendations to the Fellowship for appointment to the vacant positions, seeking, so far as possible, to ensure that we have the skills we need on our governing body for 2017 onward. At the Anniversary Meeting, there will be a ballot, unless the number of nominations is equal to the number of vacancies, in which case the ballot will not be held, and the names of those all of those nominated will be circulated to the Fellowship with the papers for that Meeting.
Congratulations to Our Lifetime Fellows
Every year, it is my pleasure and honour to write to a select band of Fellows who have achieved 50 years of Fellowship and convey to them the good news that they no longer have to pay an annual subscription! This year’s band of Fellows who have reached '50 not out' is particularly illustrious, and they are listed below with some (certainly not all) of their achievements:
- Mr Peter Vincent Addyman CBE FSA MIFA (Hon): Elected 2 March 1967. Past and present roles: President of York Civic Trust, Hon Vice President of Royal Archaeological Institute
- Mr Brian Ashley Barker OBE FRIBA FSA: Elected 6 January 1966. Past and present roles: Chairman of the Canterbury Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee and member of the St Paul's Fabric Advisory Committee
- Prof Henry Forester Cleere OBE HonMIFA FSA FCMI: Elected 2 March 1967. Past and present roles: Honorary Visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL), Director of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), World Heritage Co-ordinator for the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
- Mr Michael Frederick Flint FSA: Elected 5 January 1967. Past and present roles: Vice President of the British Archaeological Association
- Dr Roy Martin Haines FRHistS FSA: Elected 2 March 1967. Past and present roles: Assistant Editor of the Victoria County History of Oxfordshire, Fellow of Royal Historical Society, Trustee of Somerset Record Society and author of many publications on ecclesiastical history
- Dr Michael Jonathan Taunton Lewis FSA: Elected 5 January 1967. Vice President of the Railway & Canal Historical Society, senior lecturer at the University of Hull, and author of Temples in Roman Britain, How Ffestiniog got its Railway and Early Wooden Railways as well as other volumes
- Dr Ian Heaps Longworth CBE FSA: Elected 5 May 1966. Past and present roles: Keeper of Prehistory and Romano-British Antiquities at The British Museum and author or contributing author to various publications such as Durrington Walls: Excavations 1966-1968, Sutton Hoo Excavations 1966, 1968-70 and Catalogue of the Excavated Prehistoric and Romano-British Material in the Greenwell Collection
- Prof William Harry Manning FSA: Elected 5 January 1967. Past and present roles: Emeritus Professor at Cardiff University, director of excavations on the Roman legionary fortress at Usk, co-director of excavations at Verulamium (St Albans) and author of various publications on Roman archaeology
- Prof John Vincent Megaw AM FSA FAHA MIFA Korrespondierendes Mitglied des DAI: Elected 6 January 1966. Past and present roles: Emeritus Professor at Flinders University, Chair of Archaeology and Head of Department at Leicester University, Visiting Professorship at the University of Edinburgh and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow
- Mr Bernard Chester Middleton MBE FSA: Elected 5 January 1967. Past and present roles: Antiquarian bookbinder, Manager of Zaehnsdorf's, author of A Bookbinder’s Miscellany, Restoration of Leather Bindings and A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique
- Mr Ivor Noel Hume OBE FSA: Elected 5 January 1967. Past and present roles: Chief Archaeologist and Director of archaeological research at Colonial Williamsburg, Director of excavations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (Roanoke Island, North Carolina), author of Digging through Darkness: Chronicles of an Archaeologist and many other publications
- Dr Grant Gray Simpson FSA FRHistS: Elected 4 May 1967. Past and present roles: University of Aberdeen, author of Scottish Handwriting, 1150-1650: An introduction to the Reading of Documents and various other titles
- Dr Ian Mathieson Stead FSA FBA: Elected 3 March 1966. Past and present roles: Fellow of the British Academy, Deputy Keeper of Prehistoric and Romano-British Antiquities at The British Museum, author of British Iron Age Swords and Scabbards and other publications
- Prof Geoffrey John Wainwright MBE Hon VPSA FSA MIFA FRSA: Elected 2 March 1967. Past and present roles: President of Society of Antiquaries of London and the Prehistoric Society, Chief Archaeologist of English Heritage and author or contributing author to various publications such as Durrington Walls: Excavations 1966-1968
- Prof Andrew George Watson FSA FRHistS: Elected 5 January 1967. Past and present roles: Emeritus Professor of Manuscript Studies at the University of London and at University College London, a Gold Medallist of the Bibliographical Society and author of various publications
- Mr Owain John Weaver JP FSA: Elected 5 May 1966. Past and present roles: Inspector of Ancient Monuments
Shakespeare and the Character of Kingship
Performed by Simon Russell Beale CBE on 29 January 2017
We held a launch to support the campaign for the development of our Library on Sunday, 29 January
. It was a sold-out show, raising more than £8,000 toward improving access to the Society’s archives, and drawings collection. By their very nature our archives are unique as are our collections of original drawings, and at present they can only be studied by making a visit to the Library. We aim to make these remarkable materials available to a wider range of scholars and people interested in the past by creating a free searchable catalogue and digital resources which can be used by anyone anywhere in the world.
Actor Simon Russell Beale CBE, Professor Maurice Howard OBE Hon VPSA
and Medieval musician Jez Smith vividly brought to life the ‘character’ of the Society’s portraits of Medieval and Tudor monarchs through Shakespeare’s history plays, music and scholarly insight. Simon gave a performance of extraordinary power and dexterity, acting Henry V’s rage at the Southampton plotters, Henry VI’s fragile reconciliation of the warring houses of York and Lancaster, Queen Margaret’s disillusionment with her King, Edward IV’s single-minded pursuit of a wife, Richard III’s craving for power at any price and Henry VII’s magnanimity in victory. Jez played music of the period and Maurice explained how the Society’s portraits were imagined by audiences in Shakespeare’s day.
Thanks to the generous support of Graham and Joanna Barker, we have produced a high-quality HD recording of the event, which is now available for pre-order at a special price: Purchase as a digital download for £5 or a limited-edition DVD at £5.00* (+ £2.00 p&p)
Supporting the Library
of any size can help. For example:
- £500 would pay for one day’s scanning of original documents;
- £250 would enable us to re-bind a Minute Book;
- £50 would allow us to provide a new protective box for a collection of drawings.
We are grateful to Edward Harris MBE FSA
for his kind gift of £1,000. All donations
will go towards creating a free searchable electronic resource that will transform access to the Library’s unique materials. We are looking to raise £500,000.
If you would like to support our Campaign please contact Head of Development Dominic Wallis (020 7479 7092 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Left to right: Musician Jez Smith, actor Simon Russell Beale CBE, President Gill Andrews and Professor Maurice Howard OBE Hon VPSA receive applause at the conclusion of the performance.
Society is a Proud Sponsor of the Raising Horizons Photographic Exhibition (1-28 February 2017)
Highlighting women in geoscience past and present, the exhibition will be on public display at the Geological Society, Burlington House
A collaboration between Leonora Saunders and Trowelblazers has created a stunning re-imagining of fourteen historic women from archaeology, geology and palaeontology - including 19th-century Mary Anning, known as the “world’s greatest fossil hunter”.
The Raising Horizons exhibition aims to bring to life women from the past at the same time as highlighting contemporary ‘trowel-blazers’. Ranging from the 1830s through to the 1960s, each historic woman is posed by her modern counterpart. Mary Anning’s portrait is based on a contemporary sketch of her working in rough skirts, a top hat and carrying a hammer, unlike the better-known painting from just before her death showing her in her ‘best’ clothes. The new portrait also has a canine guest star, Oscar, standing in for her beloved dog Tray who was killed in a landslide in 1833 while she was fossil collecting. Her modern counterpart is Dr Lorna Steel, specialist in pterosaurs (one of the winged Jurassic reptiles first found by Mary Anning) and Curator at the Natural History Museum, where they have a specimen found by Anning.
Photographer Leonora Saunders’ captivating images represent a moment in time from the lives of each historic individual. Working with TrowelBlazers, an organisation run by three archaeologists and a palaeobiologist, both famous and little-known women are paired with a range of diverse individuals working today from different sectors and at varied career levels.
Raising Horizons sponsors:
Prospect is a major project supporter, and the UK’s trade union for scientists and other specialists in areas as diverse as agriculture, education environment, and heritage. Raising Horizons is also supported by Museum of London Archaeology, Historic England, Geologists’ Association, Society of Antiquaries
, Geological Society, Palaeontological Association, Prehistoric Society, Past Horizons, Arklu, Chalke Valley History Trust and Harris Academy Bermondsey.
Taking Control of Objects of Cultural Interest (Sometimes)
These lovely things are among items recently subjected to temporary export bans imposed by Culture Minister Matt Hancock. The most recent statistics on the export of objects of cultural interest were published last December
. Between May 2015 and April 2016, there were 10,5851 applications for export licences for 71,731 items. Twenty one cases were referred to the Secretary of State for deferral, of which nine, with a total value of £7 million, resulted in acquisitions for the UK. Among them were a pair of Charles II Silver Andirons (£649,200), a Baird Phonovision disc and ephemera (£78,750), and an Anglo-Saxon gilt-bronze strip brooch (£10,152).
On the left, above, is one of only four vases known to have been made by Josiah Wedgwood himself, on the opening day of his Etruria factory on 13 June 1769 (enamel painter William Hopkins Craft is thought to have executed the tricky bits). In a press release
, Philippa Glanville FSA
, a member of the Reviewing Committee, said, ‘This beautiful First Day vase has a monumental quality which belies its relatively small size. Burnished to a delicate sheen, it glows as an embodiment of the pride of Wedgwood and Bentley in their collective achievement, a key day and event in the British technical and commercial revolution of the 18th century.’ The decision on the licence application for the vase will be deferred until 14 March (extendable until 14 July) to allow a buyer to raise £482,500 (plus VAT of £16,500). Two of the other vases are owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and displayed in the Wedgwood Museum in Staffordshire; the third is on long-term loan to the British Museum.
The other items, including the flask on the right, were imported by Robert Clive (Clive of India, 1725–1774). The huqqa set (above) is an extremely rare survival, as the objects were often broken down; set with white sapphires and rubies, it was part of an original collection at the imperial court in Delhi. It is believed that Clive, who was Governor and Commander-In-Chief of India under British rule, was presented with the flask after the Battle of Plassey. Silver inside and gold out, it is decorated in jade, emeralds and rubies and is unique. The decision on the licence application for the flask will be deferred until 17 May (extendable until 17 November) to allow a buyer to raise £6,000,000 (plus £1,200,000 VAT). The decision on the huqqa set will be deferred until 17 April (extendable until 17 July); the price is £240,000 (plus £48,000 VAT).
These pieces face an export ban for the second time. As Martin Bailey notes in the Art Newspaper
, the culture minister of Qatar bought them from Clive of India’s descendants at Christie’s in 2004. The V&A and the National Trust set out to acquire them, but the Qataris withdrew the licence applications and kept their shopping in the UK, blocking rival purchases. The incident led to calls for a change in the rules. At the time, the objects were valued at less than half the price any buyers will now have to raise.
• On 6 February the National Gallery said its attempt to buy Pontormo’s Portrait of a Young Man in a Red
Cap (1530) for £30.7 million had been thwarted by Brexit. The painting had been bought in 2015 by Tom Hill, an American hedge fund manager, having been in the family of the Earl of Caledon since 1825. The then Culture Minister Ed Vaizey placed a temporary export bar on it, giving a spirited defence of its national significance. The Art Newspaper says
that Hill now argues that the dramatic fall in the value of sterling means he would lose $10 million, which he wants the Gallery to pay, though, writes Martin Bailey, this is not required by the terms of the export system.
Tam Dalyell 1932–2017
Tam Dalyell, who died on 26 January, was not a Fellow, though he might have been. An outspoken and popular Labour Member of Parliament, he is remembered in politics especially for his criticism of the lethal sinking of the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano in the Falklands war of 1982, and for lending his constituency’s name to ‘the West Lothian question’, over the fact that Scottish MPs can vote for English legislation, but not vice versa. His boundless energy and curiosity drew him into many areas of concern to Fellows.
In 2002 he wrote ‘A politician’s perspective of archaeology’ for Antiquity
(76, 1050–54). ‘Typical Politician’s Question!’ he opened. “‘Does archaeology have a relevance in this modern world?’ To which I respond with an emphatic ‘Yes’.” ‘I have the strong anecdotal impression,’ he wrote, ‘that employers have come to regard archaeology graduates as among their most desirable employees. Why? Because the study of archaeology creates a “Can-do” attitude of mind, on top of a discipline that demands reasoning and deduction.’
He stood up in Parliament for cultural heritage in war zones. ‘What is the truth or otherwise,’ he asked the Culture Secretary in 2003, ‘of reports that the 6,000-year-old ziggurat at Ur has been sprayed with paint? Is not the uncomfortable truth that, whereas British forces have been very disciplined, American forces have often behaved like yobs?’
He wrote long, personal obituaries for the Independent
newspaper of people like Magnus Magnusson (broadcaster), Lord Kennet (politician and conservationist), David Learmont (curator at the National Trust for Scotland), Florence MacKenzie (fundraiser for the Scottish Architectural Heritage Trust), Denis Mahon (art historian and lobbyist for free museum entry), Sandy Fenton (Scottish ethnologist) and David Charteris (Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland), and many more. David Breeze FSA
, former Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Scotland, shares some of his memories of the man with Salon
‘Some years ago, on a Sunday morning I received a phone call from Tam Dalyell. This was disconcerting as I was a civil servant and Tam an MP. David, he barked, what are you going to do about the new mast to be erected on Cairnpapple Hill next to the prehistoric cairn? I admitted that there was nothing that I could do as the proposed mast lay outside the protected area, but I told him to consider the advice of Wayland Kennet: to save an archaeological site, you must buy it, legislate to protect it or shame people into not destroying it. By the next morning, Tam had assembled half-a-dozen of the great and good of Scottish archaeology to stop the bulldozers. The mast was not built, and the phone companies agreed to share the existing mast.
‘Tam had a keen interest in archaeology and history, nurtured through the friendship of his family with archaeological luminaries such as Gordon Childe FSA
and Stuart Piggott FSA
, and pursued through carefully worded parliamentary questions. In the 1990s the Institute of Field Archaeologists invited representatives of the political parties to set out their views on archaeology in advance of a general election. Tam spoke on behalf of the Labour Party. He soon had the audience eating out of his hand with stories of his early memories of Childe and Piggott. His support for archaeology was also demonstrated through his Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons, often put down after his attendance on an Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland tour – his wife Kathleen was a member of the Board and spouses were allowed to join the tours at their own expense. On one Board tour, I ensured that the coach drove past a house named “Belgrano”, to Tam's delight.’
The photo shows Dalyell (second from left) with Alison Sheridan FSA, J D Hill FSA, Julian D Richards FSA
, David Breeze and Nina Crummy, at the British Museum in 2001
If there is anything of specific relevance to the work of Fellows in the Government’s new White Paper on Brexit
, it might be section 10, ‘Ensuring the United Kingdom remains the best place for science and innovation.’ Among other things this repeats assurances about certain EU students being eligible for loans and home-fee status, and says UK businesses and universities should keep asking for EU funding while they can. ‘As we exit the EU,’ it concludes, ‘we would welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.’
Ed Vaizey MP, speaking during the debate
on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill two days before on 31 January, threw a little more light on the Government’s actions to support science. In his opening address, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (David Davis MP) said the Bill means the UK will leave Euratom, a nuclear energy organisation set up in 1957.
‘I am so angry with the Government over their position on Euratom,’ said Vaizey. ‘Not a single Minister has contacted me, my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood) or my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell FSA
). The Culham research centre, the site of the Joint European Torus, employs hundreds of people and is at the heart of nuclear fusion research. We have all been inundated with countless emails from people who believe they are losing their job. The European Space Agency is in my constituency. If the Government are to make such an announcement in the explanatory notes of a Bill, at least they could alert the relevant MPs beforehand.’
The photo above shows the Franks casket, a whalebone box in the British Museum made in the early 700s, and inscribed in a mixture of Old English, Latin, runes and insular script. Tom Tugendhat MP referred to it in his speech on the Bill. It symbolises, he said, ‘exactly what we are. It symbolises the fact that we are a union of peoples and that we are a combination of our past and our future, because it is inscribed in runic and in Latin. It has stories of Romans, of Jews and even of pagan Germans.’
• In other areas, there is more positive news. The Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill will be considered at its Report Stage and Third Reading on 20 February. Long fought for by archaeologists, this Bill seems finally to be approaching the point of receiving royal assent. Several Fellows submitted supportive written evidence, including David Gill FSA, Mark Dunkley FSA, Peter Stone FSA, Mike Heyworth FSA
(on behalf of the Council for British Archaeology) and, as signatories to a letter to the then Culture Secretary in a submission from the Heritage Alliance, Peter Hinton FSA, Barry Cunliffe FSA, Nigel Pollard FSA, Peter Clayton FSA, Robert Bewley FSA
and Graham Philip FSA
. Full details can be seen on the Parliament website
. Peter Stone wrote about the issues under the headline, ‘Why ratifying the Hague Convention matters’, in the Art Newspaper last November
• Diana Beattie FSA
, Chairman, Heritage of London Trust Operations, writes to say that Baroness Kay Andrews (a former Chair of the former English Heritage), has agreed to sponsor a Probing Amendment in the House of Lords to England’s Neighbourhood Planning Bill. The proposal is to insert a new clause that would force a local planning authority to use its powers to compulsorily buy a listed building or building in a conservation area, if a charitable conservation trust has pledged to cover the costs. ‘I have campaigned for this for many months,’ says Beattie, ‘as I am shocked at the number of historic buildings which are empty and derelict in London on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register; whilst local authorities are very reluctant to use their compulsory purchase powers. I am delighted that Baroness Andrews has agreed to sponsor this, and Historic England has agreed to it.’ The Bill was due to continue to be discussed in Committee on 6 February.
• John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, warned the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the impact of Brexit
of risks facing the sector if free movement and access to European arts and culture funding are lost. A non-British workforce fills a skills gap, he said, adding that education practices do not help. ‘It was a bizarre relationship we had with the previous administration’, he said, ‘in that David Cameron and George Osborne completely got the creative industries, and were proclaiming them from the rooftops, and yet the education system that underpins it was not fit for purpose.’ Peter Bazalgette, departing Chair of Arts Council England, was asked if Arts Council England would be able to replace current European culture funding, were the UK to withdraw from such commitments: he said it wouldn’t.
• There will be a Short debate in the House of Lords on 9 February about the protection of historical statues and memorials, and the ‘establishment of new memorials that reflect broader UK history.’
Trump: Ban Muslims and Promote Creationism?
For his critics, given the speed at which Donald Trump is acting, perhaps the scariest thought is what the new US President might be doing in two or three years. A report saying he planned to close the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has not been confirmed, but the arts world has been wondering what might happen if it was. The Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Alliance of Museums, Americans for the Arts and PEN America, among others, have objected to the idea, says the New York Times
, in a piece that considers where the money goes.
James Cuno, President and CEO of the J Paul Getty Trust, wrote a short blog
headed, ‘The travel ban is just wrong.’ ‘Curiosity, diversity, and tolerance are the core values of the humanities,’ he writes, ‘values that require the free movement of people and ideas.’ The ban ‘may have a profoundly adverse effect on important work the Getty is pursuing in the Middle East, even in the midst of turmoil there, to protect and preserve the world’s cultural heritage. It will have a corrosive effect on scholarly exchange with the United States and on the stature of American cultural and educational institutions.’
Kevin Roose writes in Fusion
about Jerry Falwell Jr, said to be favoured by Trump to head a higher-education panel, and Betsy DeVos, a billionaire patron of the Christian right nominated for Secretary of Education. Roose shows a photo (detail right) of what he describes as ‘a science textbook I was assigned at [Falwell Jr’s] school in 2007.’ It interprets the biblical flood in historical terms, with a diagram showing how Noah’s ark was constructed (‘People and dinosaurs,’ says a note, ‘are shown to scale’). Vice President Pence is reported to have given a speech on the House floor in 2002, criticising public schools for teaching evolution but not creationism.
Trump backers spoke scornfully about the 1906 Antiquities Act last year, their eyes especially on an alleged misuse of the Act by Barack Obama to indulge ‘environmental groups’ at the expense of ‘forgotten Americans’. Those are the words used by a contributor to the Washington Examiner
on 2 January. William Perry Pendley says the Act was created to protect ‘historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures,’ but not ‘scenery alone’. That is how Reagan and George H W Bush saw it, he says, but Clinton used the Act to close down mines, and Obama broke federal law to authorise a huge new park. And in a parting gift ‘to Leonardo DiCaprio and other environmental extremists,’ he set up the half million hectare Bears Ears National Monument, Utah.
This narrative omits the fact that, according to Nature
, George W Bush created underwater monuments under the Act 38 times the area of Clinton’s entire achievement. ‘Most legal scholars,’ says Nature
, ‘say that only an act of Congress can reverse a monument designation,’ adding, ‘That might not stop the Trump administration from trying.’
On 27 January the Washington Post reported
Senator Orrin Hatch saying that Trump was ‘eager’ to undo the Bears Ears protection. The designation came after numerous reports of vandalism, illicit excavation and looting at monuments said to be among the best preserved and archaeologically rich in the US, including ancient Pueblo villages preserved by the dry climate. Five tribes – Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Pueblo of Zuni – have joint responsibility for protecting the area. Utah’s politicians largely condemned the designation.
Weird Secrets of Neolithic Orkney
In January BBC TV broadcast a three-part series about excavations at the Ness of Brodgar on Orkney. The Neolithic site is no stranger to TV, but with four presenters, led by journalist-archaeologist Neil Oliver and naturalist Chris Packham, and Orkney archaeologist Caroline Wickham-Jones FSA
as series consultant, the programmes made interesting viewing.
The oft-repeated headline narrative was rather odd, though, suggesting Orkney to be some kind of cultural hotspot that enlightened the rest of Neolithic Britain. Kenneth Brophy FSA
complained of this in The Island Review
, an online magazine. ‘There was much to interest and admire’ in the films, he writes, ‘and it is a shame that the makers of the programme chose to cast Orkney as a warm-up act for Stonehenge, rather than celebrate the strange and wonderful uniqueness of the archipelago.’
That got them talking. ‘Row over BBC’s Secrets of Orkney as top archaeologist claims islands don’t seem “weird” enough and blasts “nonsensical” theory that they were cultural capital of UK 6,000 years ago,’ headlined the Scottish Daily News
. Executive producer Rachel Bell told BBC Radio Orkney that ‘People understand that national identities and capitals did not exist as such then, but it provides an anchor for a modern audience to get to grips with complicated subject matter.’
Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney
can be watched on BBC iPlayer
by those with access. Photo shows Mike Parker Pearson FSA
(left) with Oliver at Skara Brae.
Is Great Barn Threatened by Airport Expansion?
A new Department for Transport report on airport expansion options
in south-east England summarises the heritage costs of the Government’s favourite site: the Northwest Runway Scheme at Heathrow, west of London. The land (mainly Green Belt) has on it one Grade I listed building, 22 Grade II* listed buildings, two Scheduled Monuments, two Conservation Areas and 167 ‘non-designated assets’. If the works went ahead, 21 listed buildings would need to be demolished, there would be harm to the setting of 54 listed buildings, and the setting of 166 designated assets in the wider area could be affected; 167 archaeological remains would be lost or damaged, and a further 90 could be affected by changes to their setting.
The Grade I building is the remarkable Harmondsworth Great Barn (right). ‘While the … structure will not be demolished,’ reported the Times
, ‘the airport’s runway perimeter will be moved to within metres of the site.’ I asked Justine Bayley FSA
, Secretary, Friends of the Great Barn at Harmondsworth – who happens also to be the Treasurer for the Stop Heathrow Expansion campaign – what she thought of the putative threat to the building. Being a great old timber-framed structure, perhaps the Barn could be taken apart and re-erected somewhere else? This is her response:
‘My personal belief is that the third runway at Heathrow cannot and will not go ahead, as there is increasing evidence stacking up against it. However, if the Government wants the project to go ahead, it will say that black is white and it just might happen. The grounds for the legal challenge that sunk the previous runway proposal are still live issues, and form part of the basis for the current challenge by a consortium of local authorities – including Theresa May’s! It was decided in the High Court last week that the case should not be heard until the Government’s final Airports National Policy Statement has been approved; it will be debated in Parliament towards the end of this year.
‘Consultation on the draft statement has just been launched (available online
). Fellows or others might wish to respond as individuals, even if the Society itself does not. There are also 20 consultation information events
in and around London – though interestingly none of them are in the Heathrow Villages, the area most directly affected – as well as further regional consultation information events for invited stakeholders across the country.
‘You ask for my thoughts on moving the Barn. Well, it should be possible to create a realistic replica, as most of the structure is in such good condition, but that would separate it completely from its setting, which is a major reason for its significance. Where would you put it? It's probably too large for the Chiltern Open Air Museum of (smaller) re-erected buildings at Chalfont St Giles, and the landscape there is also quite different. Certainly many of those who live in Harmondsworth look on it as a talisman to protect the village from the “elephant in the room” that is Heathrow Airport.
‘Most residents are not against the Airport, just against its expansion; it has grown enormously since it was built as a military airfield towards the end of World War Two, wiping out the hamlet then called Heathrow. Those most threatened by the current proposals live in Longford (which would be wiped off the map) and Harmondsworth (where maybe 10% of the people would be left without the community they are now part of). In both villages there is a palimpsest of buildings from the 15th century onwards, with more of quality in Harmondsworth. Visitors always comment on how quiet and unspoiled it is, although it is close to the present airport. If you've not been to Harmondsworth, then look at the well-illustrated Conservation Area Assessment
to get a feel for the place. It does seem a pity to remove a village with a continuous history going back to at least the sixth century, for a runway that may be operational for only a few decades!’
The Friends manage the Barn on behalf of English Heritage
. In 2017 it will be open to the public, free of charge, on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, April and October 11am–4pm, May to September 10am¬–5pm. Photo English Heritage.
4,000 Slides Need a Home
Following my item in the last Salon
about old slide collections, David Roffe FSA
and John Smith FSA
write that Christine Mahany FSA
, who died last July
, left among her effects a collection of some 4,000 undigitised 35 mm colour slides. ‘We hope an Antiquary might be interested,’ they say. The slides are looking for a new home:
‘The collection, resulting from Chris’s travels – professional, conferences and holidays – largely reflects her interests as a medieval archaeologist with a special focus on architecture. It is housed in 212 x 24-slide hanging wallets, which are designed to be stored in standard-sized filing cabinet drawers. There are also a few boxes of unsorted slides. They are arranged by country, England (45 wallets) and Europe, and there is an emphasis on fortification, castles and Romanesque architecture.
‘Fortification and castles occupy 84 wallets, 35 of these being devoted to Wales and Switzerland, reflecting Christine’s great friendship with past President of the Society Arnold J Taylor FSA,
and his interest in Master St James of St George. The Romanesque, particularly France (36 out of 40 wallets), comprises a good proportion of the rest of the collection. A detailed contents list
can be found online.
‘The slides are easily transportable and are available free to anyone who can use them and collect them from Stamford, Lincolnshire. It would be appropriate, but not essential, if the collection could be kept together. For more information, contact John Smith at email@example.com.’
Fellows (and Friends)
Peter Woodman FSA
, archaeologist and leading authority on the Irish Mesolithic, died in January.
An appreciation appears in Fellows Remembered below. The section also contains further notices on the late Sir Brian Young FSA
and the late Peter Gibson FSA.
Ian Eaves FSA
was appointed MVO (Member of the Royal Victorian Order) in the New Year Honours, for services to the Royal Collection. Eaves was formerly Keeper of Armour at the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, where he worked for 18 years. Philip Lankester FSA
says he edited and made additions to Arms and Armour in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen (vol 1): European Armour,
by the late A V B (Nick) Norman FSA
, published last year.
Tourists may want to come to Britain in ever growing numbers, but apparently fewer of them now want to see our museums. In the year to March 2016, according to performance indicators
published by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, overseas attendance at DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries fell by 2%, accounting for most of the overall 2.8% attendance decline. Nine of the 15 institutions saw their overseas visitor numbers fall, including Tate, the V&A and the National Gallery. By contrast, the British Museum, already wondering how it can cope with the sheer number of people who come through its doors, saw overseas visitor numbers grow, contributing to an all-time-high attendance of 6.9 million. Figures overall continued to fall in 2016
, due to fears of terrorism, hot weather, declining schools’ attendance (they don't teach culture anymore) or exhibition programming, depending on who you listen to.
Secrets of the High Woods: Revealing Hidden Landscapes
, edited by John Manley FSA
, is an attractive presentation about a three-year project of the same name, which investigated 305 hectares of the South Downs National Park. Airborne laser scanning (lidar) was a key tool in revealing extensive prehistoric field systems under woodland (as Barry Cunliffe FSA
says in his introduction, no great surprise, but a challenge for future work with great promise). Numerous test excavations are described, well illustrated with happy diggers, and documentary searches explore stories of the earlier 20th century. The essays are mostly personal and anecdotal, but there is authority in local knowledge and understanding, and the enthusiasm conveyed in this impressive book augurs well for more intensive research.
Julian Pooley FSA
writes with news of a book about copper-plate engraving. Four generations of the Basire family of skilled printmakers, draughtsmen and engravers, spanning 1730–1883, were celebrated for their skill in drawing, on copper and stone, accurate representations of monuments and antiquities. Their pictures can be found throughout Archaeologia, Vetusta Monumenta
and many of the most celebrated works of 18th and 19th century topography and antiquarianism (James Basire, 1730–1802, was engraver to the Society of Antiquaries for 20 years). Richard Goddard, a descendent of the Basire family, has published a meticulously researched and beautifully written study of their careers, interests and influence called “Drawing on Copper”: The Basire Family of Copper-Plate Engravers and their Works
. It is beautifully illustrated by over 70 plates, says Pooley, and has six chapters assessing the medium of engraving and careers of successive members of the Basire family. Details can be found on the author’s website
, where a PDF of the book can be downloaded.
Christine Finn FSA
writes to say that her performance of Lead to Air
in Averill Park, New York, went well. She typed around 60 feet of single-spaced text on a paper roll, listening to music on headphones while an audience in another building heard the audio played openly. But the 1920s technology slowed her down. ‘The most frustrating thing’, she says, ‘was the typewriter keys kept jamming as I hit them so fast, so harder to get words out than I imagined. I typed pretty constantly, a mix of prose – thoughts and description – and poetry when it arose. The ribbon changing was a challenge. Inky fingers brought back the memory of the newsroom as much as the feel of typing. Towards the end an audience member decided to wrap me in the paper, which was an unexpected artistic intervention. Wouldn't get that in a newsroom!' She would love to do it again in the UK, she says – with a newer machine.
Nigel Saul FSA
has written Lordship and Faith: The English Gentry and the Parish Church in the Middle Ages,
a subject, says the blurb, hitherto considered only in journal articles. The book aims to use lordly engagement with the parish church as a way of opening up the piety and sociability of the gentry, focusing on that locally crucial group as founders and builders of churches, worshippers in them, holders of church advowsons, and patrons and sponsors of parish communities. Chapters feature the churching of the Anglo-Saxon landscape, the rebuilding of churches after the Conquest, the changing pattern of lay burial in the parish church, gentry involvement in late Medieval churchbuilding, and gentry interest in the parish as an aspect of lordship.
Alex Bayliss FSA
, a Historic England scientist, has been working with a variety of archaeological teams over the years with the aim of refining a reliable chronology for prehistoric Britain. Her tools are radiocarbon analysis – which has become significantly more precise, cheaper (allowing more samples to be dated with a given budget) and in need of smaller samples than was the case not long ago – and Bayesian statistics. Mesolithic specialists Chantal Conneller, Nicky Milner FSA
and Barry Taylor have joined Bayliss in an Early Mesolithic study, available in Internet Archaeology
. Their subject is the millennium and a half after the Upper Palaeolithic ended some 11,500 years ago, a time of warming climate, significant vegetational change and rising sea levels, in which hunter-gatherers colonised most of the UK, and since when people have never left. With 305 measurements (200 of them from Star Carr, Yorkshire) they model the histories of three different stone technology assemblages, also looking at lithic technology before and after the era. This is, they say, a necessary first step towards understanding the Mesolithic resettlement of the British Isles.
‘If you had been doing it now,’ says Sir Roy Strong FSA
of himself, ‘you would probably have left the coats of arms on.’ The words were quoted by the Sunday Times
on 29 January, and the former Director of the National Portrait Gallery was talking about a painting of Thomas More’s family done in 1593. When the work was restored in 1972, five Catholic heraldic shields and two motto scrolls were removed – or possibly, hints John Guy in a new book about Moore, painted over. Picture from the Gallery’s website
David Bird FSA
has edited Agriculture and Industry in South-Eastern Roman Britain
. The book arose, he says, from a couple of Surrey Archaeological Society Roman Studies Group conferences, and he added authors ‘to fill out the gaps’. In an ‘up-to-date assessment of our knowledge of the southern hinterland of Roman London and an area that was particularly open to influences from the Continent,’ studies cover rural settlement, and the production and exploitation of crops, querns and millstones, animals, salt, leather, bone and similar materials, iron and iron, non-ferrous metalwork, pottery, and tiles for Roman London. Contributors include these Fellows: Justine Bayley FSA
, Edward Biddulph FSA
, Paul Booth FSA, Michael Fulford FSA, Chris Green FSA, Jeremy Hodgkinson FSA
, Jackie Keily FSA
, Mark Maltby FSA
, Quita Mould FSA
, David Rudling FSA
and Louise Rayner FSA
FutureLearn launched a free online course
on 6 February run by the Trafficking Culture international research consortium and hosted by the University of Glasgow. Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime
runs for three weeks, with weekly online videos and lectures. The course can be joined at any point during its run.
Small Dictionaries and Curiosity: Lexicography and Fieldwork in Post-Mediaeval Europe
, by John Considine FSA
, tells a new story of the first European wordlists of minority and unofficial languages and dialects, from the end of the Middle Ages to the early 19th century. The lists were collected by people curious about languages they heard around them. About 90 are described in the book, from single-page jottings to printed books. They document more than 40 language varieties, from a Basque-Icelandic pidgin of the North Atlantic to the Kalmyk language of the lower Volga. Considine explores, says the blurb, the kinds of curiosity and imagination by which makers of dictionaries and wordlists were moved: the lover of all languages hearing new voices in an inn; the speaker of a dying language recording his linguistic memories; the patriot deploying his lexicographical findings in the service of an emerging nation. Considine is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Pre-colonial sixth–14th century AD terracottas from Koma Land, Ghana, contain cavities which may have been for liquids, and have been linked to traditional African libation. In an article in the Journal of Archaeological Science
(2017, 10–18) Heather Robinson, Timothy Insoll FSA
, Benjamin Kankpeyeng, Keri Brown FSA
and Terence Brown FSA
describe how they used generic polymerase chain reactions to amplify plant and fungal DNA to identify libation residues in 14 archaeologically excavated terracotta items. They found three different types of plant: plantain/banana, pine (suggesting the boiling of tree bark) and grasses (perhaps from cereal paste). They also identified Coniochaeta
yeast in the mouth of a horse-and-rider figurine, suggesting that it was burnt before burial; the yeast is an early coloniser after wood fires.
Oxfordshire Record Society’s Volume 70 is the Diary of William Wood, edited by Mark Spurrell FSA
with a comprehensive introduction describing the main characters and putting the work into context. Wood’s Radley College Diary 1855–1861
features the only surviving substantial record from the period when William Sewell, the Founder of Radley College, was warden, a formative period in the College's history. Wood was an accomplished diarist. In his old age, he described the years as ‘A long and anxious yet happy time of struggle at Radley, where, assisted by a party of friends zealous for the school, we tried to check Sewell’s eccentricities and carry out for the best his original and excellent ideas of what a school should be; while he (alas!), first alone, and then under the unhappy direction of his brother, was plunging deeper and deeper into financial difficulties.’ The story ends with Mr Hubbard rescuing the College, and refounding it as a public school.
Peter Woodman FSA
died on 24 January aged 73. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1982. Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, University College Cork and formerly Assistant Keeper of Antiquities, Ulster Museum, Woodman was, as the Irish Times
headlined its obituary on 4 February, the leading archaeologist on the Irish Mesolithic period (8000–4500BC), and a beloved and inspirational teacher.
Alison Sheridan FSA
has written this tribute for Salon
‘With the death of Peter Woodman, a few days after he suffered a massive stroke, the world of Irish Mesolithic studies has lost a giant. Born in Holywood, County Down, Peter’s interest in archaeology was sparked during his schooldays at St MacNissi’s College in the Glens of Antrim and he went on to study Archaeology at Queen’s University Belfast during the 1960s. For many years thereafter he was Assistant Keeper of Antiquities at the then-named Ulster Museum, before moving to University College Cork as Professor of Archaeology in 1982, a post he held until his retirement in 2006. His life then took a new turn – and he adopted a new identity as “Papa Pete”! – when he became a teacher of Ultimate Tai Chi in Cork, but he continued to work on the Irish Mesolithic, producing his magnum opus – Ireland’s First Settlers: Time and the Mesolithic
– in 2015.
‘I met him during my research on the Neolithic collections in the Ulster Museum in the late 1970s and early 80s, where he was Assistant Keeper of Antiquities under Laurence Flanagan; he was completing his excavations at Mount Sandel (1973‒77), which remains Ireland’s oldest settlement site. He was a fount of knowledge and amusing anecdotes, and working on his team in his Glens of Antrim project was never dull. He was kind, witty, and generous with his time.
‘His contribution to Irish Mesolithic studies is enormous. Having synthesised what was known of this period in his PhD (published 1978), he went on to revolutionise our understanding with a series of research and fieldwork projects over the following decades. His excavations at the Late Mesolithic camp at Ferriter’s Cove in Co Kerry produced the earliest evidence for the presence of domesticated cattle in Ireland, and sparked a long-lasting debate about the Neolithisation of Ireland. His discovery that red deer seem to have been a Neolithic introduction, absent from the faunal repertoire of Mesolithic Ireland, raises the question of the status and significance of this animal to early farming communities.
‘His work set early prehistoric Irish studies firmly on the European map, highlighting the stark differences between Mesolithic (particularly Late Mesolithic) lifeways and material culture in Ireland as compared with those of Britain and beyond (except, arguably, the Isle of Man) – differences that no doubt relate to the narrow resource base on the island. His contribution extended beyond the Mesolithic to encompass the lithic artefacts of Neolithic to Bronze Age Ireland and the history of antiquarian activities in Ireland, as exemplified in his invaluable publication, The Archaeology of a Collection: the Keiller-Knowles Collection of the National Museum of Ireland
(2006). His contribution to archaeology was recognised with the awarding of the Prehistoric Society’s Europa Prize in 2009, an event accompanied by the presentation of a surprise Festschrift, From Bann Flakes to Bushmills
, edited by Nyree Finlay, Sinéad McCartan FSA
, Nicky Milner FSA
and Caroline Wickham-Jones FSA
‘Peter’s commitment to teaching and communicating the archaeology that he loved so much is reflected in an interview about Mountsandel
that was recorded for Coleraine Borough Council and Causeway Museum Service for a recent Heritage Lottery-funded Project.’
Jim Mallory, a contemporary of Woodman’s and an Emeritus Professor at Queen's University, Belfast, wrote a tribute for the university’s Facebook page
. ‘He was not born with [Mesolithic] microliths either in the hand or on the brain,’ he writes. ‘At Carnlough, for example, after the students had washed and bagged a tonne of flint waste and departed for the local pub, Peter and I would load many of the bags onto a Land Rover, drive back into the field and rebury the flints to prevent the Ulster Museum from disappearing under a mountain of flint of uncertain provenience. At Oughtymore, a shell midden on Magilligan Strand, Peter and I had just cleaned the section, reached for a drawing board, and watched the entire face of the sandhill collapse. The section had to be drawn from our ever diminishing memories as we sat in a pub, sipping hot Irishes, straining to recall what we had just excavated. And the less said the better about his exercise in experimental archaeology where we attempted to hunt hare at night with ranging rods for spears.’
‘Peter had a perpetual intellectual curiosity, was always generous with his time and could be very persuasive – before he left for Cork he lured me into devoting the next four years of my life to excavating Donegore Hill. He was not just a good scholar but a good friend, and his sudden and wholly unexpected passing will leave a real gap, both in Irish archaeology and in the lives of all those who knew him.’
Ireland’s First Settlers
is a remarkable book. It is informed, wise and questioning about the Irish Mesolithic, as one would expect, but it is also a compelling story of how its author came to his ideas on the prehistoric past, and about his changing profession (for good and for bad), written in the aftermath of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. Woodman always aimed to do more than catalogue antique artefacts.
and the Guardian
have published obituaries of Sir Brian Young FSA
, who died in November
. They lead on his prominent career as a broadcasting regulator who oversaw the formation of Channel 4, and, says the Times
, the man who defended a live interview with the Sex Pistols which caused some viewer to object to their ‘unpleasant lifestyle’. He gained a first-class degree in Classics at King’s College, Cambridge. ‘He was unostentatious almost to the point of self-parody,’ writes Dennis Barker in the Guardian. ‘When he left his Independent Broadcasting Authority office after 12 years, it was furnished virtually the same as when he had walked into it 12 years previously, except that the chairs, including his own, were so worn and rickety that colleagues avoided them, fearing injury.’
Sarah Brown FSA
, Director of York Glaziers Trust, has written a long tribute to the late Peter Gibson FSA
, first superintendent of the York Glaziers Trust, who died in November last year
. This is an extract:
‘Peter lived all his life in the shadow of York Minster,’ she writes, ‘the building he served for over 70 years, as altar boy, apprentice glazier and then as leader of a team of craftsmen entrusted with the care of the Minster’s world-famous stained glass. He saw the Trust grow from a team of only two at its inception in 1967 to seven by the time it celebrated its 14th birthday, and as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the team has doubled in strength and grown in international reputation.
‘Peter Gibson was a citizen of York first and foremost. He lived all his life in the modest home in Precentors Court into which his parents moved soon after their marriage. While the family worshipped at the parish church of St Michael le Belfrey, Peter became an altar server at the nearby Minster. Writing in 1989 of the Dean, Eric Milner-White, Peter recalled that his first meeting with him had been during his early morning paper round when he was asked to deliver the Church Times
to the deanery: “Ah,” said the Dean, “the Monday boy serves the Dean on a Friday”, and proceeded to give Peter a short lecture on historic lamp-posts. Shortly afterwards, the Dean conducted a tour of the Minster’s windows, showed him around the glaziers’ workshop, lent him some books on stained glass, and then suggested that he try out as an apprentice member of the glazing team.
‘Peter joined the Minster glaziers at a momentous time. Eighty windows had been removed into safe storage for the duration of the war, and in 1945 as he entered into his seven-year apprenticeship, the Dean launched the task of returning the windows from their hiding places, cleaning and restoring them to the building.
‘Over the last 50 years stained glass from nearly 500 locations from all over the UK have come to the Deangate workshops, which, extended and equipped with the assistance of the Pilgrim Trust, were put to the greatest test after the terrible Minster fire in 1984. Looking back in 2007 Peter recalled: “Without doubt these events were the most traumatic experience of my working life. I have never been able to read accounts of other great fires, such as that which gutted the choir of Canterbury Cathedral in 1174, without feeling a sudden rush of memory, the noise, the smoke the smell of 9 July 1984, all over again.”
‘Peter was a public communicator and popular advocate for stained glass. In 1949 a travelling scholarship to the cathedrals and workshops of France had enabled him to make the first of many visits to see glass abroad He nurtured a particular passion for the stained glass of William Morris and his circle. He gave thousands of lectures, using his skills as a photographer to excellent effect. He had an especially loyal following in the USA, where he was made a life member of the Stained Glass Association of America.
‘Peter remained a very private person. He worshiped all his life at St Michael le Belfrey. He continued to lecture and educate, giving up to 100 presentations a year after retirement and contributing to the training of Minster guides. He had a roguish sense of humour, often calling himself the Minster’s window cleaner.’
Brown’s full text can be read here
The Wisdom of Fellows
English Heritage proposals to develop visitor facilities
at the Medieval Clifford’s Tower have generated a mini Stonehenge-tunnel saga
in York. A petition
to the City Council to ‘Stop English Heritage Making Clifford's Tower Look Like Disneyland!’ gathered 3,703 signatures last year; the promoter added an outsize MacDonald’s logo to a picture of the site, in case anyone missed the point. Richard Green FSA
writes with an update on events:
‘At an Executive meeting on 26 January, the City Council endorsed the building of the proposed visitor centre by agreeing to sell, on long lease, to English Heritage/Historic England a strip of land at the foot of the motte. The context for the Council’s endorsement was approval in principle of a proposed Castle Gateway scheme – improving the area around Clifford’s Tower, taking in the Castle Museum buildings and the Court House, which has been visually blighted for decades through the use of a large part of it as a public car park.
‘Meanwhile the campaign against the visitor centre has been spearheaded by Councillor Johnny Hayes, in seeking a judicial review of the planning process on the part of English Heritage and the City of York Council. He has obtained permission for such a review to be undertaken, probably at Leeds Crown Court in early May. The transfer of ownership of the piece of land referred to above is on hold until the outcome is known. Through a crowdfunding website
, over £10,000 has already been raised and further pledges of financial support are welcome.”
The visitor centre ‘would be like a boil growing on the side of what is a unique urban setting,’ Russell Wright, local resident and former Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Architectural Studies, told the Guardian
Jeremy Ashbee FSA,
Head Properties Curator, at English Heritage, was quoted by the Times
as saying, ‘Something has to be done.’ A visit ‘leaves a lot to be desired’, he said, and the ‘facilities are inadequate, poorly accessible and inappropriate for a site of this importance.’
Ashbee then wrote a letter to the paper
, pointing out that the report left ‘important points unsaid. Far from being driven by money, English Heritage has a core duty to conserve and present buildings and monuments as testaments to the past and ways for modern people to understand and enjoy it. The historic stonework of Clifford’s Tower will be conserved for future generations; it will be possible for people to enter medieval spaces inaccessible for three centuries; and the arduous climb up the grass mound will become much easier. We chose to set the new building into the base of the mound because that part of the monument was only created in the 1930s … and it will provide facilities … exactly where people need them. Above all, it will be possible to tell the stories of the castle and its people in ways that are presently impossible.’
published a letter from Simon Jenkins FSA
on 4 February, supporting the proposed changes. ‘The concept of a ruin as something to be frozen in time and space,’ he says, ‘is a 20th-century scholastic cult. It has no authenticity in history, conservation or aesthetics.’ Among several other letters (Eric Westropp wonders what his ancestor, a Sergeant at Arms of King James I, would have made of a visitor centre), one from Tim Tatton-Brown FSA
recommends archaeological excavation following removal of the car park.
Christopher Wilson FSA
corrects me for misspelling the name of London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the last Salon
, and David Jacques FSA
writes that I omitted to say that Peter Rowley-Conwy FSA
was among signatories to a letter to the Times
objecting to the Stonehenge tunnel. Apologies. In the tunnel piece
, I reported that Simon Jenkins FSA
wrote about the road in the Spectator
. Duncan Wilson FSA
, Chief Executive of Historic England, responded in a letter to the magazine, describing Jenkins’ idea of turning the present A303 into a one-way dual lane, with a new road to the south going the other way, as a distraction ‘in a shoal of red herrings’.
Trevor Rowley FSA
writes from Oxfordshire with news about Dyke Hills, part of a unique sequence of archaeological remains around Dorchester-on-Thames, dating from the Neolithic to the Second World War. A threat to the site in the 19th century, says Rowley, led to the appointment of General Pitt Rivers as the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments; Dyke Hills featured in the first list of designated monuments.
Rowley reports that the site’s new owner is stopping access, and, he says, illegally erecting fences on the scheduled area. The Oxford Mail
says lawyer Andrew Reid, a former UKIP treasurer, bought the land in 2016; ‘spiked fences started shooting up across the fields in October.’ Villagers are challenging the fences. Reid says he is protecting livestock.
Ballots: 10 New Fellows Elected
Elected on 2 February 2017:
- Michael Rhodes, BEd, PhD.
- Sian Halcrow, PhD.
- Geoffrey John Tann, BA.
- Laura Basell, BA, MPhil, PhD.
- George Said-Zammit, BA, MA, PhD.
- Rowan McLaughlin, BSc, PhD.
- Geraldine Stout, BA, MA, PhD.
- Geoffrey Browell, BA, MSt, PhD.
- Matthew Davies, BA, MA, DPhil.
- Anna Wessman, MA, PhD.
Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows
You can 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'). Unless indicated otherwise, tea will be served at 16.15, and the Meeting will commence at 17.00 precisely. Online ballots close at noon at the date of the scheduled ballot. At Ordinary Meetings, ballots open at 16.00 and close at 16.20. The results are read at the beginning of the Meeting.
9 February: 'Apethorpe, Northamptonshire: The Building of a Courtier House, 1470-1551', lecture by John Cattell, FSA.
16 February: 'Culture, Identity and Economy in the Anglo-Saxon Fenland Before 970', lecture by Susan Oosthuizen, FSA.
23 February: 'Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty', lecture by Jennifer Scott, FSA
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.
Forthcoming Public Events
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.
14 February: 'Revealing Verulamium: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town,' by Kris Lockyear FSA and Ellen Shlasko.
21 March: 'Faking King Arthur in the Middle Ages' by Richard Barber FSA.
25 April: 'Hands Across Time: Medieval Fingerprints in Wax Seals' by Fellows Elizabeth New and Philippa Hoskin
Click here for more information on our public lectures. We also run public tours of our building and collections (£10 per person) preceding the lectures above.
Society Dates to Remember
Join us for an introductory tour of Burlington House to learn more about the Society and its resources. Whether you're a new Fellow or just haven't been to Burlington House, this is a great opportunity to learn more about your Society, your Fellowship benefits, and ways to become more involved.
Introductory Tours for Fellows
Tours are free for Fellows, but booking is required: 23 March, 11 May, 29 June.
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
2 March 2017: Archaeology at Rendlesham, Suffolk: An East Anglian Royal Settlement of the Time of Sutton Hoo by Christopher Scull FSA, a joint lecture with the Department of Archaeology of University of Exeter (14.30-15.30 at the University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Laver Building, Lecture Theater 3).
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: http://eepurl.com/MvHUr
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at email@example.com.
4 April 2017: Ivory: The Real Thing? The Roman Ivories from York and Brigantia by Fellows Stephen Greep and Sonia O'Connor. (18.00, Bar Convent, York.) Contact Stephen Greep, FSA, at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
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: http://eepurl.com/8nvxL
Other Forthcoming Heritage Events
7 February: The Bloomberg Tablets (London)
The Hellenic and Roman Societies host an evening event at Chancellor’s Hall and the ICS Library, Senate House. John Pearce (King’s College London) and Roger Tomlin FSA (Wolfson College, Oxford) will talk about the Roman writing tables recently excavated by MOLA in the city of London. See online for details.
2017: Courses and Workshops in the Historic Environment (Oxford)
Oxford University Department for Continuing Education has a programme of courses at Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills for the historic environment, grounded in everyday working experience. These short practical courses are open to all, from historic environment professionals to members of the public with a keen interest in archaeology and historic buildings. The programme is endorsed by CIfA, the IHBC, the Archaeology Training Forum and FAME, and has been developed in conjunction with leading heritage practices. Courses are linked to the National Occupational Standards for Archaeology, and for Town Planning, Conservation and Building Control, and are widely accepted for continuous professional development. Details of National Occupational Standards. Full details can be found online.
7 February: Assessing Archaeological Significance
17 February: Law and the Historic Environment
23 February: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments
28 February: Starting in Post-Excavation
8–10 March: Public Inquiry Workshop
20–22 March: Short Course in Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Chronological Analysis
5–6 April: The Setting of Heritage Assets and Places
11 April: An Introduction to GIS for Archaeologists
8–10 May: Condition Surveys of Historic Buildings
15–16 May: Artefacts and Ecofacts in and out of the Field
18 May: Stratigraphic Analysis in Archaeology
24 May: Project Management in Archaeology: an Introduction
7 June: Photographing Historic Buildings
20–21 June: Understanding Place: Historic Area Assessment
26 June: Archaeological Writing for Publication
5–7 July: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance.
18 February: The Man who Collected Oxfordshire (Oxford)
A day school at Rewley House, exploring the life and collections of Percy Manning (1870–1917). Manning amassed an enormous wealth of materials covering the whole county, which he gave to Oxford University, where they are held by the Bodleian Libraries and the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums. His collections range from prehistoric to modern times, from Stone-age implements and truncheons to historical records, plans and drawings. Kate Tiller FSA will chair a panel of five speakers. See online for details.
25 February: The Arts & Crafts Domestic Interior in Britain (London)
A day symposium in support of Emery Walker’s House, at the Art Workers’ Guild, WC1. As part of the programme of events leading up to the reopening of Emery Walker’s House in Hammersmith to the public on 20 April, this symposium will examine the history, materials and legacy of the Arts & Crafts movement in the smaller houses of Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Focusing on houses open to the public, the speakers will address such topics as the influence of William Morris, the role of textiles and wallpapers, and the relationship between architects, designers and crafts people in the creation of domestic interiors. Speakers include leading scholars of the Arts & Crafts movement and curators of house museums, among them Annette Carruthers FSA, Stefan Muthesius and Barley Roscoe, The meeting will be chaired by Michael Hall FSA, who has organised it with Aileen Reid. See online for details.
2 March: The Middle Temple and the Secrets of Britannia (London)
Alan Ereira, a former BBC film producer and author of The Nine Lives of John Ogliby: Britain’s Master Map Maker and his Secrets, will speak at the Middle Temple about John Ogilby’s relation to the Temple and his road atlas Britannia, at 6 pm.
4 March: Architecture and Biography: Master Mason to the Modern Practice (Oxford)
A day school at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square. What are the relationships between architecture and biography? This event looks at changing concepts of the architect and the architectural profession – from medieval master masons to those in post-war practices – and at the value of biography for an understanding and appreciation of British architecture. Leading architectural historians and biographers combine three thematic surveys of the architect, in medieval, early modern and modern Britain, with two case studies on biographical approaches to studying the built environment. The event is organised in connection with the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. See online for details.
Simon Thurley FSA is giving a series of free lectures in his capacity as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, a positon created in 2009 for his continuing lectures on the history of English architecture. They will take place at the Museum of London, and will be accessible to the general public on a first come first served basis, beginning promptly at 6pm. Remaining lectures are:
8 March: The Value of Heritage and the Heritage of Value There was a time when old places were valued simply for their beauty and interest, but now this is not enough. Are calculations of the financial contribution of our history adding to the value of our heritage or have they fundamentally devalued it?
7 June: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (Thurley and Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA) The first Conservation Areas were designated in 1967, today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore the origins, variety and some challenges for the future.
31 March–2 April: The Archaeology of Caesar in Britain and Gaul (Oxford)
Colin Haselgrove FSA and Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA have organised a conference of international speakers to discuss Julius Caesar’s Battle for Gaul. The dramatic opening chapter in Britain’s written history, Caesar's invasions have long been neglected by archaeologists and historians, and often dismissed as a sideshow to the Battle for Gaul that left few archaeological traces and changed little. This weekend conference will explore the war's archaeology and its aftermath. Leading scholars will consider Caesar as a politician and general, the combatants, their bases, the battle sites and the lasting consequences of the Battle for Gaul. The conference will appeal to those interested in archaeology, ancient history, military history, and numismatics. Speakers include Greg Woolf FSA and Ian Ralston FSA. See online for details.
3–6 April: Objects and Possessions: Material Goods in a Changing World, 1200–1800 (Southampton)
Objects and possessions define us, yet in many ways we know little about them from a historical perspective. This interdisciplinary conference, which takes place at the University of Southampton’s Avenue Campus, looks at material culture across a long timeframe in order to explore the worlds of goods and objects across Europe and its overseas colonies, the connections and relationships facilitated by the exchange of goods, the importance and interpretation of the inheritance of goods and objects, and the ways in which goods brokered relationships between Europe and the wider world in the period. The aim is to deepen our understanding of how goods ‘worked’ in a variety of social, economic and cultural contexts. A closing keynote address will be given by Chris Woolgar FSA. For details see online.
7 April: Design for Cornwall (Truro)
The Cornish Buildings Group, Cornwall Council, Royal Institute of British Architects and the Cornwall Architectural Trust present new and challenging papers at a one-day conference based around the topic of architectural design. See online for details.
22 April: Late Iron Age Oppida (Reading)
A day conference at the Henley Business School, University of Reading Whiteknights Campus, which will examine current understanding of British Iron Age oppida. Ten invited speakers representing some of the most exciting and up to date research projects on Iron Age towns and their environs will present their thoughts and recent findings. There will also be discussion and debate on present and future directions for research in this area. Speakers include Michael Fulford FSA, Tom Moore FSA, Colin Haselgrove FSA, David McOmish FSA, Philip Crummy FSA and Stewart Bryant FSA. See online for details.
29 April: The Changing Parish Church: From Saxon to Victorian c 600–1900 (Lewes)
Against a background of declining congregations and large numbers of listed churches with uncertain futures, this day conference considers the emergence, use and decoration of the early parish church, how the parish church has changed, and what might lie ahead for rural parish churches. The delegates’ handbook will include illustrations and other information to help ‘read’ a church when you visit. See online for details.
6 May: The Fruitful Body: Gender and Image (London)
The Women’s Studies Group 1558–1837 holds its annual workshop at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ. Karen Hearn FSA, keynote speaker, will talk on ‘Women, agency and fertility in early modern British portraits.’ Early modern painted portraits are constructs (like literary texts). They result from choices – to include, to exclude – and were made for specific contexts and purposes. Hearn’s paper will consider 16th- and early-17th-century British portraits of women, and will address the types of information that they offer today. All participants are invited to prepare a contribution of no more than five minutes, from any discipline related to the speaker's subject, with 30 copies of any handouts. See online for further information.
24 June: Memorials in the Marches (Ludlow)
St Laurence's Church houses a fine set of memorials to people associated with the Council of Wales and the Marches over the period 1550–1650. The Ludlow Palmers, who raise money for the Conservation Trust for St Laurence, an independent charity devoted to conserving the church’s fabric and treasures, are hosting a conference in the church, on the church monuments, in association with the Church Monuments Society. Fellows can obtain a 15% discount. See online for details.
Call for Papers
17–18 May 2017: Archaeology and History of Lydia from Early Lydian Period to the Late Antiquity (Izmir, Turkey)
This symposium will take place at the Dokuz Eylul University. Lydia was an ancient region, located in inner western Anatolia, and compared to the coastline of western Asia Minor its archaeology is not well known. We warmly invite contributions by scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines of ancient classical studies related to this region. The aim of the symposium is to report on the state of research concerning Lydia between the 8th century BC and 6th century AD. See online for details.
2–3 June 2017: The Ceramics of Drink (Leicester)
The Medieval Pottery Research Group and the Centre for Historical Archaeology are organising a joint conference at the University of Leicester. Drinking-related ceramics form a significant part of archaeological assemblages in Europe and beyond throughout the Medieval and post-Medieval periods. Ceramic containers, used for producing, storing, transforming and consuming beverages, are associated with a wide range of activities from large-scale transnational trade and ceremonial consumption, to intimate daily rituals at home. The conference aims to explore the important social and economic roles that ceramics of drink filled and how they can be effectively studied., Papers addressing research both in and outside Britain are warmly welcomed, and should be around 20 minutes. Please send abstracts of no more than 150 words to Lorraine Mepham FSA, MPRG Meetings Secretary, by 1 March 2017: email@example.com.
6–10 September 2017: Death, Dying and Disposal Conference: Ritual, Religion and Magic (Preston)
This conference focuses on the role of ritual, religion and magic in healthcare, death, dying and burial. Individual papers might include death technology and magic, liminality, religion and spirituality in end of life care, ethics and culture at the deathbed, dying inside (and outside) of modern health care, spirituality and the death of animals, rites of passage in dying, superstition and funerals, ritual application in preparing the corpse and burying the dead; emergent religious and cultural practices in the disposal of the dead, ancestors online, death, dying and grief in public and on the internet; talking with the dead, the dead in popular horror, the dead in witchcraft execution or haunting or social rituals associated with the dead body, spirituality or lifeways and deathways. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words long. Deadline for submissions is 28 February 2017: forms can be found online. For further information see the conference website.
The University of Glasgow is appointing a full-time Lecturer/Curator in Frontier Archaeology. Deadline for applications 7 February 2017.
This is a new position. As part of a collaboration between Archaeology (in the School of Humanities in the College of Arts) and The Hunterian, to undertake high-quality research and research supervision, and to make an active and high level contribution to teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level in Archaeology, to stimulate and activate new levels of academic engagement with world class museum collections held by The Hunterian and to undertake administration as requested by the Head of School. The post-holder will be an expert in the archaeology of frontiers and boundaries, with research expertise in frontier material culture, with theoretical expertise in this area preferable. The post-holder will bring period, preferably but not necessarily Roman, and regional expertise to complement current strengths with the Archaeology subject area and the collections of The Hunterian. See online for full details.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is recruiting for two posts for a new European Funded Project, CHERISH – Climate Change and Coastal Heritage. Deadline for applications 5 pm 17 February 2017.
The posts for Project Manager and Investigator (Coastal Archaeology) are both full time, and have a fixed term until 31 December 2021. For full details see online, and above for information on the project, in Fellows (and Friends).
Members are being sought for the Cultural Protection Advisory Group. Deadline for applications 23:59 pm 26 February 2017.
The £30m Cultural Protection Fund is managed by the British Council in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It supports cultural heritage projects in conflict-affected regions overseas, by helping to create sustainable opportunities for economic and social development. The Advisory Group will advise the Fund’s Programme Board and on the Fund’s management. It will be a forum for advice on matters related to the Fund’s work, and will have no decision-making or executive powers. Applications are sought from heritage professionals with significant recent experience in cultural heritage protection and a broad network of contacts within the UK and the Middle East. Full details can be found online.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is recruiting a full-time member of staff to work on a Welsh Place Names list. Closing date for applications 5 pm 3 March 2017.
The Welsh Ministers have asked the Commission to compile and maintain a list of historic place names in Wales, and the Place Names Officer will be a key part of this commitment. The successful candidate for this new, permanent post will be responsible for compiling and maintaining the list, answering enquiries about the place names of Wales and promoting the place names work of the Commission. The ability to communicate in Welsh is essential. For an informal discussion about the role and the project contact David Thomas, Head of Public Services, on 01970 621205 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Full details online.
Propose a Lecture or Seminar
Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.
Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.