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Salon: Issue 440
11 December 2019

Next issue: 28 January 2020

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 EditorSalon doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.

Fellows may occasionally find they do not receive email notification of a new Salon. There are suggestions for solving this, and an online archive where new editions are posted. You can also unsubscribe at any point, by following this link.
Lamp flame

Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary


This edition of Salon is going out a day ahead of Council’s meeting on 12 December. However I want to inform all Fellows that the Trustees will be discussing in detail the options, process and timetable for reform of the Statues. Reform will require not only amendments to the Statutes and Orders, but the creation of robust governance mechanisms that will facilitate future complaints procedures. Furthermore, the Society will have to consult with the Charity Commission, Privy Council Office and of course, the Fellowship, on any proposed reforms. Council will keep Fellows updated early in the New Year of the progress of the reforms and a timetable for their introduction. The Trustees appreciate the support they have received from hundreds of Fellows who have clearly expressed their desire for reform.

Back to the beginning of the report

Christmas Miscellany 

12 December 

We will hear two 20 minute papers, from:

  • A Portrait of Charles Marsh by L.F.Abbott: the Society’s acquisition, interpretation, conservation by Professor Maurice Howard OBE FSA
  • Westminster Hall's lost 'Tudor' doorway and passageway rediscovered by Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith CB FSA 

Mulled Wine Reception

We hope Fellows will join us for our annual Mulled Wine Reception, following the miscellany meeting. There will be Christmas Carols by staff and Fellows and festive treats. 

We will also be unveiling the portrait of Charles Marsh FSA following extensive conservation. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this project possible. 

Admission to Mulled Wine Reception is by ticket only (£10). Guests are welcome! You can book a ticket here

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Wax Portraits


Thanks to the Association for Independent Museums (funded by The Pilgrim Trust); the Essay Club and the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars and Robin Myers MBE FSA, we can now conserve the Society’s 19th century wax relief portraits.  

One of the eight portraits include Sir John Evans Hon VPSA, Archaeologist, numismatist, and paper manufacturer. Throughout a successful business career, Evans retained a thirst for knowledge and an insatiable desire to discover the past with his study becoming focused on discovering the traces of pre-historic man both on the continent and in the British Isles. His work formed a steppingstone to the general acceptance of the antiquity of man in western Europe and he became one of foremost figures of archaeology of his time.

The relief portraits will be initially displayed in the Entrance Hall as a temporary exhibition introducing and exploring the interesting lives and careers of those depicted with information on the conservation project and treatment. After this they will be permanently displayed on the landing by the library for all to view, alongside the portraits of our past presidents.

*Image: Sir John Evans Hon VPSA (1823 - 1908) Elected 1852, President 1885

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New Fellowship Platform 

Fellows will have started to receive email invitations to sign up to our new Fellowship platform. This is will be Invitations have been sent out and all Fellows should have received them by now.
Any personal details should be updated via this new platform. Please note that any updates made to your profile in the old system will not take affect. 
Online, you can communicate and network with other Fellows, pay your subscription fees, edit your personal details, choose the personal information you would like to show or hide and indicate your communication preferences amongst other features.
Please note that subscription payments for 2020 will only be accepted online after 13th December 2019.
If you have any questions, please do email

SALON subscriptions will not be affected by this change. 

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Kelmscott Manor: Past, Present and Future 

Our Contractor, Ken Biggs Ltd, has created a site compound in the meadow next to the House (shown in the picture above) and works are now underway to complete the Car Park by February 2020. This will be followed with the conservation and renovation works to the farm buildings and Manor House from March 2020 and to complete in April 2021. 

As part of the works to the historic buildings we will deliver a Heritage Conservation Skills programme with the Contractor, which, we are delighted to say, has received support from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The programme will provide opportunities for young people to develop skills in heritage conservation and help to build capacity within the heritage construction sector.  

 *Image: Chris Poolman, Site Manager, Ken Biggs Ltd, 29.11.19

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 ‘A house that I love’: William Morris and Kelmscott Manor 


Through the generosity of Fellows and supporters we have raised over £10,000 towards the £30,000 costs of mounting the displays for our exhibition ‘A house that I love’: William Morris and Kelmscott Manor, 9th July – 21st August 2020 at Burlington House. Sponsorship of objects will meet the costs transportation, conservation assessments and, where required, display cases and mounting. Sponsors of individual objects will be acknowledged as contributing supporters in the exhibition and permanently at Kelmscott Manor when the conservation works complete and it reopens in 2021. Objects needing sponsorship range from £100 to £2,500.  If you would like to help a complete list of the objects can be found here.

Silver case containing a lock of
William Morris’s hair, Robert Catterson-Smith

Icelandic objects collected by
William and May Morris

(£150 for single items)
Westerwald Stoneware,
19th century, collected by Morris

(£100 per object)
May Morris,
pastel on paper, DG Rossetti 1871

Spring, Peiter Brueghel the younger, 1632, belonged to DG Rossetti



Back to the beginning of the report


The World’s Oldest Known Figurative Art

The last Salon opened with some long, sombre analyses. The difficult issues addressed then have not gone away, but it is a pleasure instead to foreground this edition with some spectacular new archaeology with which Fellows have been involved. Coming up is one of the best pieces of ancient Celtic art yet found in Britain, whose interest is increased by its extraordinary context. First, however, from nearly the other side of the world, is more art, but of a very different kind. Some are likely to challenge the claims made, and the implications for our understanding of early modern humans are, to lapse only slightly into journalese, explosive.
A panel of painted art found on a cave wall in Indonesia, featuring human-like figures, pigs and buffaloes in an apparent scene depicting a hunt, is said to have been created at least 44,00 years ago; it is dated by uranium-series analysis of overlying speleothems (secondary mineral deposits such as stalactites). The date would make it the earliest known hunting scene found anywhere in the world – around twice the age of comparable scenes in Europe. The human figures have in some cases animal-like features which the archaeologists interpret as ‘therianthropes’ – part human, part animal forms imagined in myth. These, too, would be the oldest such examples known. The competition, from Europe, consists of a human figure with a lion’s head, carved out of mammoth tusk and dated to as much as 40,000 years ago. The lion-man, from Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany, is often said to be the oldest known figurative art. The Indonesian panel trumps that too.
The discovery, reported in Nature, was made by a team of archaeologists and doctoral students from Griffith University, South East Queensland, Australia, led by Maxime Aubert and Adam Brumm FSA (on left and right in the photo), working with Indonesian colleagues. It raises fascinating questions about early-modern human thought and the earliest art, in a field where there is considerable controversy and where evidence is often questioned. But first let’s see what they found. The whole panel is shown below, and details from boxes A and B at the top.

In December 2017, write the archaeologists, they discovered a rock-art site high in a limestone cave in a cliff face in Pangkep, Sulawesi, which they named Leang Bulu’ Sipong 4 (below). Ancient art has been known in the southern part of the island since the 1950s, and some 240 decorated caves and shelters have been documented – and new sites are found every year. This one is impressive. There was no evidence for human activity other than the art, which includes poorly preserved hand stencils and animal paintings. The main panel, all in what is now a dark red colour, is 4.5 m wide. It features six animals, identified as two pigs and four dwarf buffaloes, and at least eight, small human-like figures with ‘animal characteristics … several of which appear to be holding long thin objects that we interpret as spears and/or ropes’. Colour, style, weathering and, they say, layout, all suggest the panel was created at once, and is not an accumulation over an unknown period.
Much of the art is overlain by speleothems, offering an opportunity to establish an age before which the figures must have been painted. Four such flows were dated by U-series analysis to 43,900 years ago, 41,000 years ago, 40,900 years ago and 35,100 years ago. There is no inconsistency in the varied ages, as the speleothems could have grown at different times and it is not the art itself that is being dated. If the assumption that everything in the panel is contemporary is correct, then all the figures are older than 43,900 years – by an unknown amount.
Aubert, Brumm and colleagues say that a scene with several people and at least two prey species suggests a game drive – if so, it would be ‘the oldest known visual record of a hunting strategy’. And what are the ‘ropes’? Were the hunters trying to catch live pigs and buffaloes (both local species of small stature)? Did they paint a fictional story – ‘the last and most crucial stage in the evolutionary history of human language and the development of modern-like patterns of cognition’?
Others will address such questions, and evaluate the dating. One of the challenges is to explain how some of the earliest cave art in the world, here in Sulawesi and in Europe at Chauvet in France (the latter dated to 37,500–33,500 years ago; some archaeologists have questioned this, unconvincingly so to my mind) is so sophisticated? It may be the oldest of its type, but it can hardly be the first that was done. It is, rather, the oldest that has survived and has yet been found.
In the 1990s many archaeologists were still arguing that something unique happened in Europe 30- or 40,000 years ago. The sudden appearance of art, sophisticated stone technologies, common use of bone, antler or ivory, and more, heralded a ‘symbolic explosion’, a ‘Great Leap Forward’ or simply ‘the human revolution’: this was the moment, it was argued, and the place, where the modern human mind suddenly found expression.
That idea has since fallen out of fashion, for several reasons. The earliest Homo sapiens fossils, all in Africa, now date back to 300,000 years ago. Archaeological discoveries in Africa indicate that the distinctive cultural changes observed in Europe occurred elsewhere too. Though the quality of European evidence remains exceptional, simple, abstract geometric ‘art’ has been found in South Africa dating from over 70,000 years ago. And in Europe the case has been made for simple art (including in one case a hand stencil) made before modern humans arrived. Recently a team that included Paul Pettit FSA argued that art in three Spanish caves, dated to 65,000 years ago, had to have been created by Neanderthals (Science February 2018). The later dating has been questioned, including, in a paper in the Journal of Human Evolution (December 2018), by Aubert, Brumm and Jillian Huntley.
So far, though, nothing of comparable quality and age to the art in Chauvet and Leang Bulu’ Sipong 4 has been found in Africa. So the big question is, did the minds that made this art develop separately in Europe and Asia, or did those artists have a common creative ancestor? And if the latter, where did they live? Where is their art? I asked Adam Brumm, and here is his response:
‘The cave painting we have dated to more than 44,000 years ago in Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) is the oldest known figurative art in existence, possibly the earliest modern human rock art anywhere in the world, and, in our view, potentially the oldest known pictorial evidence of human storytelling and spirituality. We don’t wish to replace one “centre of origin” story with another, but it is certainly interesting to find these older artworks outside ice age Europe, and it does lead us to wonder whether modern humans could have developed the first rock art traditions as they spread out of Africa. Alternatively, these practices could have an early origin in our evolutionary homeland in Africa.’

‘Although some may question the veracity of the dates,’ comments Chris Stringer FSA in Nature, ‘the method looks to have been applied carefully, and this is almost certainly the oldest dated representational art so far. Although it cannot be proved beyond doubt, this also looks to be a single composition [and] … I find the authors' interpretations reasonable. Certainly these paintings confirm that any Eurocentric narrative of the development of such complex representational art must be wrong. In my view, comparable artistic creations in Australia will eventually be placed to this same remote period of time, and even older representational art may one day be found in Africa, preceding significant dispersals of modern humans from there, beginning around 60,000 years ago.’ Could such art have been made by other humans, such as Denisovans? Probably not, thinks Stringer. ‘It is most likely to be the work of our species, which is represented in the region at more than 70,000 years ago in Sumatra and about 40,000 years ago in Borneo and Australia.’

British Celtic Art: the Find of the Century

Less detail is available about the newly discovered piece of British art (almost all the information here comes from press release or press reports), but there can be no question of its significance. It was excavated in 2018, ahead of a new housing estate being built by Persimmon Homes at Pocklington, East Yorkshire. A superb conservation job at the University of York has revealed copper-alloy shield fittings with classic La Tène motifs expressed in a repoussé design (above). The shield would probably have been mostly wood and of a general type that features commonly in Roman representations such as on Trajan’s Column, an elongated shape with a vertical rib and a central boss concealing a handle. Paula Ware, of MAP Archaeological Practice who excavated the remains, draws attention to a loose ‘scalloped border … previously unknown across Europe’. She further notes ‘a puncture wound in the shield typical of a sword. Signs of repairs can also be seen, suggesting the shield was not only old but likely to have been well-used.’
Melanie Giles FSA, one of the specialists working with the excavation project, described the shield as the ‘most important British Celtic art find of the century’. ‘The shield is a masterpiece of Celtic art,’ said Julia Farley FSA, a British Museum curator, ‘and one of the finest examples from anywhere in Europe’ (Times, 6 December).
Metal shields of this age are rare, and difficult to date; typical suggestions place them in the first five centuries BC. Other British ones are mostly old discoveries. The British Museum has four: the famous Battersea Shield and the Wandsworth shield, a circular boss, both from the Thames; a shield from the River Witham in Lincolnshire; and plain shield fragments dug up at Grimthorpe Hillfort, South Yorkshire – the latter apparently from a shield of similar construction to that from Pocklington (right, photo British Museum). All were found in the 19th century. The decorative Pocklington shield is unusual for having been excavated from the ground under modern conditions, but not unique: fragments of another shield have been found in the same housing project, with apparently just the boss and ribs surviving (below).
That shield was in a grave with the remains of a man, as was the one illustrated at the top. The latter grave, however, was an altogether different affair: it would have anyway been unique in British archaeology. A square grave contained the remains of a man older than 45, ‘his head surrounded by the bones of six piglets’, with the shield and a ‘highly decorated brooch’. This pit lay behind the upright skeletons of a pair of small horses, ‘positioned in motion as though leaping upwards out of the grave’, drawing the man in his chariot (reminiscent in some respects, one might think this week, of a new artwork by Banksy, in which he painted a pair of reindeer on a wall yoked to a bench popular with homeless people).
The horses and chariot were buried at the centre of a large square barrow, of which only the enclosing ditch remained. The shield ‘would have been laid face-down in the square burial pit’, said Giles, ‘before the man’s body was positioned on top in a ceremony conveying great respect.’ The Yorkshire Post gave a date of ‘between 320BC to 174BC’, which sounds like a radiocarbon determination.

This is the third chariot burial to have been excavated by MAP Archaeological Practice, the others being at Burnby Lane, Pocklington (two horse skeletons and a pair of wheels, all lying flat, at a David Wilson Homes development) and nearby at what Paula Ware has described to me as 'Site X’. In 2017 it was said that 74 square barrows had been excavated in an Iron Age cemetery of over 150 burials, characteristic of the local Arras culture. Several chariot burials have been found in the region, but only one other confirmed instance of two accompanying horses; this was excavated in Arras itself in 1817, under a mound known as the King’s Barrow.

Unless otherwise credited, all photos are from MAP Archaeological Practice.

Leo Klejn (1927–2019)


Stephen Leach has kindly written this tribute to Leo Klejn, who, he rightly says, was probably better known in the west than any other Russian archaeologist. Not a Fellow, he was particularly read here for his ideas about theoretical archaeology, a concept he first defined in 1977. Leach writes:
‘Leo Klejn sadly passed away on 7 November aged 92. His career path in the Soviet Union was never easy: his family background was Jewish, and his views in archaeology often ran counter to officially approved orthodoxy. Matters came to a head in 1981 when he was arrested by the KGB. He was released after 18 months’ imprisonment, following protests from both Russian and western archaeologists, including his friend Bruce Trigger. However, he did not regain an academic position for another ten years. It was partly in order to make up for lost time that to the last he worked so hard.
‘He excavated Sarmatian barrows, and wrote on folklore, the Iliad, the origins of Indo-European languages and the history of archaeology. His history Soviet Archaeology (2012) is the principal English language source on this subject. In archaeological theory, he drew detailed comparisons between archaeology and detective work.
‘His work is discussed in my Russian Perspective on Theoretical Archaeology: The Life and Work of Leo S Klejn (2015). His Wikipedia entry is generally accurate, having been checked by Leo himself.
‘The photo shows Klejn (centre left) as a student supervising inmates of a labour camp. This site was being excavated prior to the construction of the Don-Volga canal. The tower of the camp can be seen on the horizon. To the right of Klejn, behind the baulk, is an armed guard.’

UK and Japanese Heritage in Beautiful Harmony


Simon Kaner FSA, Executive Director and Head, Centre for Archaeology and Heritage at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures at the University of East Anglia, has just returned from a trip to Japan. While he was there, he writes, the new Oxford-educated Emperor Naruhito completed all the accession rituals as officially the 126th incumbent of the Chrysanthemum throne, heralding the new Reiwa era (‘variously translated, with the officially favoured version being “Beautiful Harmony” ’). Kaner has provided this useful update on the continuing archaeological relationship between Japan and the UK:
‘Fellows’ enjoyment of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and anticipation of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics may be enhanced through the ongoing UK-Japan Season of Culture, which is providing an umbrella for a wide-range of Japan-related activities across the UK.
The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, whose 20th anniversary partly coincides with the Season of Culture, is rolling out a series of archaeology and heritage projects over the coming year. There is currently a call open for undergraduates in any humanities discipline to join us for the 5th Winter Programme in British Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (5–14 February, application deadline 16 December). This programme, organised in partnership with the Faculty of Letters at the University of Tokyo, brings five undergraduates from Tokyo together with five undergraduates from around the UK and beyond, to explore synergies and differences in these fields between these two nations at opposite ends of Eurasia.
‘In 2020 the focus of the Winter Programme will be prehistoric stone circles and their landscapes. This relates to the development of new collaborations between Japan, English Heritage, the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, and the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes. A number of Fellows and other colleagues, including Simon Kaner FSA, David Dawson FSA and Susan Greaney FSA, recently explored prehistoric Jomon stone circles and associated sites and museums, supported by the Sainsbury Institute and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. Sites including Oyu and Isedotai in Akita prefecture and Komakino in Aomori prefecture (close to the largest Jomon settlement yet identified, at Sannai Maruyama) are all included in a serial nomination for UNESCO World Heritage status, which the Japanese government plans to put forward in 2021.
‘Dawson blogged a first-hand account of the tour on the Wiltshire Museum website. Kaner offers further observations on Japan’s Jomon heritage as part of another Olympic initiative, Japan Insights, encouraging visitors to explore off the well-beaten track. Japan Insights is from the Toshiba International Foundation, which has just celebrated 30 years of fostering understanding of Japan around the world. A further online initiative, Japan Heritage, from the Japanese Government Agency for Cultural Affairs, presents a series of historic routes all around Japan, including two focused on Jomon sites.
‘For Fellows who prefer their archaeology in paper form, Archaeopress will shortly be releasing the 2nd Edition of the Illustrated Companion to Japanese Archaeology, edited by Werner Steinhaus, Simon Kaner, Megumi Jinno and Shinya Shoda [image shows the 1st ed]. This sits alongside their developing series on Global and Comparative Studies in Japanese Archaeology, which now includes Burial Mounds in Europe and Japan (edited by Werner Steinhaus, Thomas Knopf and Shinya Fukunaga), as recently reviewed in Antiquity.’

• Kaner’s photo shows Susan Greaney (far left), David Dawson (third from right), Simon Kaner (far right) and colleagues at the Oyu Stone Circles in Akita prefecture, marking out the midwinter alignment.

Fellows (and Friends)

Stuart Laidlaw FSA, photographer, died in November. An appreciation will follow in a future Salon.
Ted Cullinan has died aged 88. A distinguished, award-winning architect (who was not a Fellow) and, writes Catherine Slessor in the Guardian (6 December), ‘a doyen of the visitor centre, a nebulous, contemporary typology that mediates between the public and sites of historic interest’, Cullinan left his mark in offices, schools, student halls and other university buildings. Major projects included the Fountains Abbey visitor centre for the National Trust in Yorkshire (1992), and Downland Gridshell for the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (as it then was) in West Sussex (2002). His practice might have created a Stonehenge visitor centre. He won a competition for the World Heritage Site facilities in 1992 with a grass-roofed design distant from the stones, featuring a raised circular viewing platform. He had been previously selected for an alternative project there 15 years before, but this one too was scrapped. The present visitor centre, opened in 2013 out of sight of Stonehenge, was designed by Denton Corker Marshall, who themselves had been behind another cancelled scheme. One of Cullinan’s last buildings was a Maggie’s Centre in Newcastle, designed at the invitation of the late Charles Jencks FSA.

Congratulations to ten new Fellows who were elected on 5 December:
Simon Beattie, antiquarian bookseller, Council member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association.
Roger Bowers, Emeritus Reader in Medieval and Renaissance Music at the University of Cambridge, author of English Church Polyphony, working on Monteverdi’s mass, motets and vespers.
Barry Gamble, world heritage consultant who has worked on sites in Japan, the Gdansk shipyard, Africa and South America.
Andrew Harris, founder member and Honorary Secretary of the Hereford & Worcester Architectural Record Group, specialist in the architectural, political and social histories of Worcestershire’s great houses and their estates.
Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Professor Emerita of the University of Notre Dame, USA, specialist in medieval literature, intellectual history and manuscript studies.
Stefan Krmnicek, Junior Professor of Ancient Numismatics at the University of Tübingen, Germany, specialist in the archaeology of money and coin iconography.
Alexander Langlands, writer, broadcaster and academic, Patron of the Heritage Crafts Association, special interest in the human exploitation of natural resources in the middle ages.
Francis O’Gorman, Professor of English at the University of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the English Association, Chairman of the Ruskin Society.
Matthew Richardson, specialist in Manx cultural history and curator of more than ten exhibitions relating to the social, sporting and military history of the Isle of Man.
Matthew Williams, Chair of Llandaff Diocesan Committee and Honorary Curator of Cardiff Castle with specialist interests in 19th-century interior design, the 19th-century Gothic Revival and 19th-century ceramics.
For details see Ballot Results. Further details can be seen in the Ballot Archive (Fellows only).

As always, I'm particularly keen to hear about the activities of new Fellows, please email Salon at

Nicky Milner FSA, Head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, has been honoured in the Times Higher Education Awards 2019, highly commended in the category Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year (won by Tong Sun, Professor of Sensor Engineering at City, University of London). Milner’s university web page lists seven current PhD students, three passed and one awaiting a viva. Addressing future students she says, ‘I am interested in any topics which are related to the Mesolithic!’ The photo shows Milner in 2017 with Francis Pryor FSA, when the University of York conferred on Pryor the honorary degree of Doctor of the University for his outstanding contributions to society.

Mike Heyworth FSA is stepping down from the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) at the end of 2019, after nearly 30 years working for the educational charity, the last 15 as its Director. During his tenure, says the CBA, he oversaw the transition to an open membership organisation in 1993, expanding its mission to involve the public in archaeology. It took over the Young Archaeologists’ Club, which has grown from six to nearly 80 branches. Thousands recorded wartime remains for the Defence of Britain project (2002) and Home Front Legacy 1914–1918 project (2014–18). The Lottery-funded Skills for the Future programme has trained 50 community archaeologists. Heyworth has been Chair of the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Advisory Group, has campaigned for reform of the Treasure Act 1996, and is Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Archaeology. He was instrumental in establishing the Archaeology Data Service and Internet Archaeology, a pioneering online journal. ‘I’ll be moving on next year to focus on new challenges in the UK heritage sector,’ he tweeted (@mikeheyworth, 22 November). The CBA is reappointing, with interviews to be held early next year: see Vacancies at the end of this Salon.
A third York-based archaeologist is moving south. Formerly Senior Lecturer in Cultural Heritage Management at the University of York, Sara Perry FSA will be Director of Research and Engagement at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). This is a significant appointment at an independent archaeology and built-heritage practice funded by business, industry and government infrastructure spending. The R&E division, says MOLA in a ten-page colour brochure advertising the job, currently has over 60 staff, among them community archaeologists, researchers, editors and photographers. Already the only archaeological organisation recognised by Research Councils UK with Independent Research Organisation status, MOLA plans to ‘significantly expand the scope and reach of its R&E work and has ambitious plans for growth in its activities and widening its impact’. It hopes to increase research capacity and grant-funded projects, expand community engagement and 'provide new routes into archaeological work for different groups’. Welcoming Perry in a statement, Janet Miller FSA, Chief Executive Officer at MOLA, said they looked forward to giving developers and other clients ‘the best value from their archaeological expenditure’, engaging with audiences ‘in an accessible way that enhances knowledge and stimulates interest in Britain’s rich cultural heritage, contributing to a sense of place, community and identity.’
Lower down the pay scale, as I write (11 December), Prospect union members at MOLA are striking. Members rejected a 2.5% pay award in June, saying that a promised pay structure had not materialised. ‘MOLA is in crisis’, said Mike Clancy, Prospect General Secretary, in a statement, ‘with experienced staff leaving and market share in London going to its main competitor which pays archaeologists £2,000 more per year.' ‘I live in guardian properties,’ said Kate Faccia, a MOLA archaeologist, ‘which are basically disused buildings due to be torn down and redeveloped. My colleagues and I struggle to live in London.’ ‘Very few people outside the archaeology sector know about the appalling wages archaeologists are paid’, tweeted Lorna Richardson FSA (@lornarichardson). ‘£20k a year for a graduate. In London. You earn more working in Aldi.’

Meanwhile back in York, Terry O’Connor FSA, Professor Emeritus of Archaeological Science at the university there, has published his second book of poetry, titled Out To Grass. ‘Subjects as diverse as wood pigeons, Lazarus, adverbs and Beatrix Potter’, says the blurb, ‘are treated gently and with an eye to the absurdity of life and human fallibility.’ The title reflects the subject of his doctoral thesis (‘in which sheep featured strongly’) and shows his characteristic dry sense of humour. His first poetry, in The Consolation of Bluebells (2017), referenced ‘childhood memories, reflections on times and places, some angry words about the worst of us and some humour.’ ‘The writer is a retired academic,’ he added, ‘whose career in the sciences was an excellent training ground for poetry, as it too requires precise use of the right words in the right order.’

Robert Bevans reported in the Times on the work of the Cultural Property Protection Unit, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Purbrick FSA (1 December). ‘The 15-strong CPPU’, wrote Bevans, ‘includes curators, archaeologists, a building surveyor for Historic Scotland and other heritage professionals. It is the first permanent unit of its type, established following the UK government’s belated ratification, in 2017, of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.’ Are cultural treasures worth a soldier’s life, Bevans asked Purbrick? “The battlefield is seldom, if ever, as stark as where one has to make a choice between art and a life,’ he replied. ‘But the individuals in the CPPU have joined up, and to that extent they are prepared to serve on military operations. It allows us to engage in ways we haven’t before – beyond guns – with the people we are conducting military operations among.’ Umberto Albarella, an archaeologist at Sheffield University, argues that such war zone work should be delegated to neutral organisations such as the Red Cross or the Blue Shield: ‘If you are part of an army, you don’t have the choice of when to get involved.’ ‘If we do not work with the military,’ counters Peter Stone FSA, ‘we have no defence if they damage cultural property during a conflict. They are not heritage specialists, so how can we blame them?’

In a programme conceived by Paul Everill FSA, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Winchester University, and Giles Woodhouse, an archaeologist and retired senior army officer, members of the university’s Department of Archaeology have been working with veterans of conflicts in Georgia, Ukraine, and Afghanistan to build on the Heritage for Heroes scheme, enabling former British service personnel to study archaeology. British and Georgian veterans first worked together in 2017 as part of the Anglo-Georgian Expedition to Nokalakevi, co-directed by Everill. Separately Everill has being doing interdisciplinary research on the wellbeing benefits of archaeology, the next phase of which is being supported by a grant awarded by the Society of Antiquaries.

Peter Wakelin FSA has written Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art, a book about artist refugees and their influence in Britain from the 16th century to the present. It accompanies an exhibition of the same title at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol (until 1 March), touring to MOMA Machynlleth until June. The main focus, writes Wakelin, is on artists who escaped totalitarian regimes and war in Europe from 1933 to 1945, but the book also looks back to Holbein and the influence of artists from the Low Countries, the time Monet and Pissarro spent in London during the Franco-Prussian War, and Belgian artists who spent the First World War in Britain. It also examines artists who have fled oppression between the Second World War and the present, from Hungary and Czechoslovakia, Chile, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. 
• Wakelin tells me that Victor Ambrus FSA is mentioned in his book, as an artist refugee from the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Fellows can read my feature about his story and work in British Archaeology magazine Jul/Aug 2016.
Sam Moorhead FSA, National Finds Adviser – Iron Age and Roman Coins at the Portable Antiquities Scheme, was presented with the Royal Numismatic Society’s Medal at its Annual General Meeting on 10 December. Referring to ‘a truly stunning lifetime of achievement’, the RNS notes Moorhead’s work on the large Frome hoard of Roman coins, his many publications (A History of Roman Coinage in Britain Illustrated by Finds Recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme won the Royal Numismatic Society’s Lhotka Prize), his success ‘in raising the public profile of archaeology, numismatics and Treasure at all levels’, and his ‘major research for the new fully revised edition of RIC on the reigns of Carausius and Allectus, [which] is eagerly anticipated.’ Many times, says the NSM, ‘Sam has demonstrated his unerring ability to present coins to the public as museum displays, often drawing in those who presumed they had no interest in the subject through their connections to grand history and everyday ancient society.’ The photo shows Moorhead (left) with Roger Bland FSA, recipient of the medal in 2014 and now the Royal Numismatic Society’s President.
Neil Faulkner FSA, Editor of Military History Matters magazine, featured in a discussion about T E Lawrence in In Our Time (Radio 4, 5 December, presented by Melvyn Bragg), with Hussein Omar and Catriona Pennell. Lawrence started as an archaeologist in the Middle East, and joined the British army when World War I broke out. The programme focused on his relationship with Sharif Hussein, a prominent Arab leader, and the Arab Revolt of 1916. The topic had been drawn from over 1,200 suggestions from a Listener Week.
‘In this lively, wide-ranging book,’ writes Laura Freeman of Venus & Aphrodite: History of a Goddess in the Times (6 December), Bettany Hughes FSA ‘paints a portrait of a darker Venus, a violent, vengeful, “shape-shifting” Venus, with salt in her hair and surf at her feet. Hughes, the author of biographies of Helen of Troy and the city of Istanbul, takes us from creation to myth to modern advertising campaigns (Gillette Venus razors: “Reveal the goddess in you”) by way of Titian, Rubens and Velázquez… Erudition, with an erotic frisson.’ Through ancient art, says the blurb, myth, archaeology and philosophy, Hughes demonstrates that Venus is more than nudity, romance and sex. Her book is ‘both the remarkable story of one of antiquity's most potent forces, and the story of human desire – how it transforms who we are and how we behave.’ Hughes presented a BBC Four film in 2017, Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love, which she talked about at the time for History Extra. Considering Venus’s story, says Hughes, ‘we can see the development of attitudes to sex and desire, and also towards women and the female body.’

Manufactured Bodies: The Impact of Industrialisation on London Health, by Gaynor Western and Jelena Bekvalac FSA, reports on a multidisciplinary project funded by the Rosemary Green Grant from the City of London Archaeological Trust. They looked at archaeological skeletal collections from the Museum of London and non-metropolitan sites from pre-Industrial and Industrial times, in search of industrialisation’s effects on health and lifestyle. The retention and curation of large collections of human remains, and modern portable digital radiography, allowed them to study over 2,000 adults. The Industrial period, says the blurb, marks a pivotal shift towards increasing longevity and chronic illnesses associated with ageing, as well as a seeming rise in ‘man-made’ diseases such as cancer. To what extent are these illnesses a product of the industrialised environment we have created? Have they always been present, or are they a consequence of our modern, mechanized lifestyles?

Richard Jones FSA, at the Centre for English Local History, University of Leicester, and Jayne Carroll FSA, at the Institute for Name-Studies, University of Nottingham, wrote to the Times to comment on recent flooding in Britain from excessive rainfall (14 November). ‘Those who named our towns and villages a thousand years ago’, they say, ‘were acute observers of the behaviour of rivers. Their knowledge of flood and flow was profound.’ But ‘wet’ place-names should not be read as an instruction not to build. Rather, ‘they warn us that these are locations where water is never far away. Such names should prompt us to make understanding water a priority, places where we make it our business to understand their rhythms and moods. The greater our knowledge of the presence and movement of water, the more flood-resilient communities become, as our forebears knew only too well.’

The Wisdom of Fellows 

In the last Salon I showed three wooden Rapa Nui figures recently sold by Bonhams in New York, and said to have come from a private English collector (who had bought them in 1990) via General Pitt-Rivers FSA (1897) and Cambridge University Library (1899) – no other keepers were mentioned. There was some surprise at this in Cambridge, where none of Martin Millett FSA (Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology), Jessica Gardner (Librarian of Cambridge University Library) or Mark Purcell FSA (Deputy Director – Research Collections, Cambridge University Library) were aware that the carvings had ever been in their care. Purcell writes:
‘I think it is a case of crossed wires. The reference to Cambridge University Library is not to the objects themselves, but to MS. Add. 9455, a set of rather splendid handwritten catalogues of General Pitt-Rivers’ collection, acquired by the Library in 1997. Presumably someone – either Bonhams or a former private owner – has checked them at some point, as the 1899 date is from them. It looks like a date of acquisition by Pitt-Rivers, not a date of arrival in Cambridge.
‘It’s always difficult to be absolutely certain about realia in the University Library, because the historical record is so patchy. Nonetheless in this case I am reasonably confident that these Easter Island figures are not from the Cambridge Library.’
Meanwhile over at Oxford, the Pitt Rivers Museum has a website called Rethinking Pitt-Rivers, which analyses the General’s collecting activities and puts online the catalogues for his two large collections. One of these became the museum’s founding collection at the University of Oxford, while the other remained in the family's hands and was dispersed. The latter is described in nine beautifully illustrated books – the catalogues in Cambridge referred to by Purcell.
Jeremy Coote, Curator and Joint Head of Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, was not impressed that Bonhams got the story of the Rapa Nui figures wrong – the idea they were given to Cambridge University Library ‘is nonsense’, he wrote to Salon (‘I am retiring from the PRM on New Year’s Eve,’ adds Coote, ‘but hope to continue to be able to write annoying emails to people pointing out errors in pieces about Pitt-Rivers’).
The digitised Cambridge catalogue features eight wooden figures from Rapa Nui, which had been displayed together with other Easter Island artefacts in Pitt-Rivers’ Farnham Museum. One is thought to have gone to Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum; another was bought by the Josefowitz collection in 1980; and the subsequent history of the others is unknown. The catalogue lists acquisition dates and prices paid, ranging respectively from 22 September 1892 to 17 May 1899, and from £5 to £8 (around £800 in today’s values). The illustration at the top, copied from Rethinking Pitt-Rivers web pages, shows the three figures sold in New York.
Bonhams listed a ‘Cambridge University Library Number’ with all three carvings: ‘Add.9455vol6_p1986/2, given 17 May 1899.’ This is in fact a Pitt Rivers catalogue reference, and is correct for their Lot 300 – but not the other two: those are Add.9455vol4_p1456 /1 (Lot 299) and Add.9455vol4_p1455 /1 (Lot 301). No indication is given of the online resource or the illustrated catalogues. For items which were expected to fetch $6,000–9,000 each, and which went for a total of $67,100 (including seller’s premium), both the seller and the buyer, one might imagine, could have appreciated just a little more research effort from Bonhams.


Paul Stamper FSA has written ‘ “Britain needed aeroplanes”: First World War flax-growing at Podington, Bedfordshire (UK),’ published in Landscapes (2019). Before 1914, says the abstract, flax was no longer much grown in England, but became essential in the First World War – as imports largely stopped – for linen-based products such as tents and webbing, and especially for high-quality ‘aircraft cloth’ to cover wings and airframes. Much of the crop was gathered by prisoners of war and college girls, as recorded in paintings by Randolph Schwabe, an official war artist.
Stamper illustrates with three of Schwabe’s paintings and three contemporary photos of flax harvesting and processing, all showing women hard at work. All but one of these images (left, from the author’s collection) is from the Imperial War Museum. It is of course good to find such work in the IWM, but did they need to charge Stamper £240 for use of their five? Having previously worked for Historic England, he is now an independent historian-archaeologist, researching and publishing for the love it and running his own consultancy (Paul Stamper Heritage). I asked him about the fee. He wasn't impressed, though he insisted his complaint was not specifically addressed to the IWM, and he wasn’t seeking special treatment:
‘I do understand the struggle institutions have,’ he wrote, ‘with ever-shrinking grants-in-aid with repro fees etc being an income stream they can readily tap. But it does seem iniquitous that scholarly works that bring no [financial] profit to anyone are stung so hard: I can pay, but many others would be dissuaded or simply be unable to pay.’
Scholarly works, he might have added, that can bring new value to a public collection, and its interest to an institution's staff and visitors.

Forthcoming Events for Fellows

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by visiting our YouTube Channel.

Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins, Communications Manager ( We are currently scheduled a year in advance for our Ordinary Meeting Lectures. 

Ordinary Meetings are held from 17.00 to 18.00 on Thursdays. Open to Fellows and their invited guests.  

Forthcoming Public Events

Conferences and Seminars

One day conference on which will explore the wide range of images and text displayed by seals and how this can be interpreted to reveal social identities, both normal and exceptional, across medieval and early modern Britain. Different identities will be explored, including: urban and rural; learned and unlearned; craft and communal. It will also explore links with personal and family names, inherited symbols, and how far family relationships influence seals.

Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.  

Library Assistant Vacancy

We are looking to recruit a Library Assistant at the Society of Antiquaries of London. Dating back to 1718 the Society’s library is the country’s oldest major research library for the study of the material remains of the past.  This is an exciting time to join the library team as we implement our strategic plan to make the Library more accessible physically and digitally and maintain our position as one of the leading specialist libraries in the country.

You will contribute to the provision of a high quality library service by undertaking a range of administrative tasks to support the library.  You will also participate in enquiry work and invigilating the main library.

Closing date for applications is 9.00am on Friday 3 January 2020

Interviews will be held on 10 January 2020 

For more information and for an application pack please visit here

Library Closures

The Library will be closing at 5pm on Thursday 12 December.

The Library will be closing for the Christmas holidays at 3pm on Friday 20 December 2019 and will re-open at 10am on Thursday 2 January 2020.

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Please see bulletin above regarding potential upcoming activities. You can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.

Welsh Fellows

Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.

York Fellows

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (, 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 Danielle Wilson Higgins (, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.

Presently we are scheduled approximately a year in advance. 

Other Heritage Events

• Entries new to this Salon are marked by The Veil of Time, the keystone over the entrance to the Society’s premises in Burlington House

12 December: On Writing the Past Backwards (London)
Matthew Johnson FSA will give this year's UCL Institute of Archaeology Gordon Childe Lecture, which will be held in association with TAG 2019 and will take place the day before the conference opens. While there is much written on how time is socially embedded, says Johnson, there is little on the reversal of time. He is writing a book on English landscapes in the context of the north Atlantic. It spans the second millennium CE, and works backwards, from New World colonial encounters, to interactions with Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, back to medieval infrastructure and beyond. He will discuss the challenges of his project. Details online.
12 December: Theories of Landscape Appreciation (London)
What makes one landscape preferred over another? David Jacques, landscape historian and conservationist, will be launching his book Landscape Appreciation – Theories since the Cultural Turn at the Alan Baxter Gallery for ICOMOS-UK's Annual Christmas Lecture. The book is not a polemic in favour of any particular theory, but critiques the many theories seen over the last half century, covering post-war aesthetics to ‘environmental’ ones with a balanced, didactic approach. Details online.

15 January 2020: Herbariums and Garden History: the Fulham Palace Experience (London)
Mark Spencer, Honorary Curator at the Linnean Society of London, will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. Research of herbariums at the Natural History Museum and at Oxford have revealed overlooked plants that were once grown in the almost entirely lost late 17th-century garden of Bishop Compton at Fulham Palace. This helped the Fulham Palace Trust re-envisage this garden during their recent restoration project. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.
18 January: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The 10th conference on New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, and is organised by Paula Henderson FSA and Claire Gapper FSA, who will be speaking with, among others, Maurice Howard FSA, Paul Drury FSA and Adam Menuge FSA. Details online, or email or
18 January: Fifty Years of Archaeology at Rewley House (Oxford)
This day school will look back at a half century of archaeology at Rewley House, to assess and celebrate the department’s achievements, discussing in particular its involvement in field archaeology from the training excavation at Middleton Stoney in the 1970s through to its recent and current community archaeology work in East Oxford and Appleton. In addition, present and former directors of archaeological studies, alongside others who have played significant roles in Rewley House archaeology, will talk about their work with the department. Speakers include Malcolm Airs FSA, Anne Dodd FSA, David Griffiths FSA, Tom Hassall FSA, Gill Hey FSA, Gary Lock FSA and Trevor Rowley FSADetails online.

22 January: Distant Seas, Connected Worlds: Tintagel, Britain and Greece in Late Antiquity (Athens)
A half-day symposium at the British School of Athens on ceramic production and maritime distribution in the Aegean and east Mediterranean, and long-distance links between Greece, the west Mediterranean and south-west Britain during the fifth to seventh centuries AD. Speakers include Jacky Nowakowski FSA. Details online.
27 January: From Nature: Jean-Baptiste Oudry and the Taste for Landscape Paintings under Louis XV (London)
Camilla Pietrabissa, Associate Lecturer, Bocconi University, Milan, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
29 January: Nicholas Leate (1569-1631) ‘a worthy merchant and a lover of all faire flowers’ (London)
David Marsh, independent researcher, will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. Nicholas Leate was a Jacobean merchant and plant collector who combined involvement in national and civic politics with a love of plants. He was the brains behind Moorfields, and was a friend of Gerard and Parkinson supplying both with new plants. His story serves as a good example of how garden history fits into the wider social and cultural context. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.
31 January: Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland: Prehistoric and Roman (Oxford)
A long-running series of weekends at Rewley House on Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland returns to the beginning, and examines evidence for prehistoric and pre-Christian Roman places of worship. Speakers include Kenneth Brophy FSA, Tim Darvill FSA, Chris Gosden FSA, Seren Griffiths FSA, Martin Henig FSA, Fraser Hunter FSA, Tony King FSA and John Pearce FSA. Details online.
8 February: Belonging and Not Belonging – An Art History Day School (Bristol)
Peter Wakelin FSA, Curator of Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art at the Royal West of England Academy of Art, Bristol (14 December–1 March 2020), will lead a tour and discussion of an exhibition that explores the influence of 1930s and 40s émigrés from eastern and central Europe, examining how they were perceived by their peers in Britain and the extent to which their influence excited or inspired new art. Details online.
13 February: Princes, Parkland and Politics: The Legacy of Muskauer Park and its Modern Revalorization (London)
Brian Dix will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. Later owners largely adhered to Prince Pückler’s vision for the park that he began building at Muskau (Saxony) in the early 19th century. Its area was split between Germany and Poland after the Second World War, followed by neglect and losses which are now being restored through exemplary transnational co-operation. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.

24 February: The Mystery of Redwares in Princely Collections (London)
Errol Manners FSA, dealer in historic ceramics, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.

26 February: Beth Chatto: A Life in Plants (London)
Catherine Horwood, social historian and author, will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. Dr Horwood worked with Beth Chatto for several years on her archives before being asked to write her biography. Her talk will draw on Chatto’s amazing life from her childhood seed patch to her rise to fame and the creation of one of the most influential gardens of the 20th century. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.
11 March: Re-visioning the High Line, New York – “two guys with a logo” (London)
Jill Raggett, Emeritus Reader in Gardens and Designed Landscapes, will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. The world's cities are housing more of us and are having to work harder to re-vision existing spaces. Future designers will be the keepers of such vital places. With the help of an Essex Gardens Trust Travel Bursary, Raggett visited the successful High Line in New York City, to see how we can re-imagine spaces. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.
18 March: Charles II: The Court in Exile (London)
Third in a series of free lectures at the Museum of London on the theme of Theatres of Revolution: Stuart Kings and the architecture of disruption, by Simon Thurley FSA for Gresham College as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment. For a decade after the execution of Charles I the Stuart courts were based in the Low Countries and France. Determined to maintain splendour and dignity, though short of money, Charles II used rented mansions as headquarters for the exiled monarchy. In these hitherto unknown royal ‘palaces’ the king and his courtiers developed tastes that were to fundamentally fashion the art and architecture of Restoration England. Details online.
23–27 March: Histories of Archaeology (Canberra)
The Collective Biography of Archaeology in the Pacific (CBAP) Australian Research Council Laureate Project, led by Matthew Spriggs FSA, will be hosting this conference at the Australian National University in Canberra, airing new ideas on the history of archaeology worldwide. Invited keynote speakers include Margarita Diaz-Andreu FSA, Stephanie Moser FSA, Tim Murray FSA, Lynette Russell and Nathan Schlanger. The conference launches the CBAP-linked international museum exhibitions under the title of Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of Archaeology in Oceania, which will take place at approximately 40 museums and cultural institutions worldwide. Enquiries to, details online.
30 March: The Gilded Age in Canada: Reconstructing the Life and Afterlife of the Sir William Van Horne Collection (London)
Janet M Brooke, independent scholar, Montreal, Canada, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
27 April: The Dutch King Willem II (1792–1849) as Collector and Source of some Important Pictures in the Wallace Collection (London)
Ellinoor Bergvelt, guest researcher University of Amsterdam/Research Fellow, Dulwich Picture Gallery, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
1–3 May: The Great House in the Twenty-first Century (Oxford)
The popularity of the great house for the hereditary aristocracy, aspiring owners and the visiting public has continued to blossom in the present century. A weekend (not the May bank holiday weekend) at Rewley House will provide an opportunity to explore some of the themes about the great house which have emerged since the turn of the millennium. It will cover new and established houses and their garden settings, and will examine the ways in which houses are managed and presented to the public. Speakers include Malcolm Airs FSA, Tarnya Cooper FSA, Ben Cowell FSA, Jeremy Musson FSA and Alan Powers FSA. Details online.
18 May: Marvels in Lucknow: ‘Ajab and Asaf al-Dawla’s Collection of Curiosities (London)
Arthur Bijl, Assistant Curator of Ottoman, Middle Eastern and Asian Arms and Armour, the Wallace Collection, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
10 June: William and Mary: The Court Divided (London)
Fourth in a series of free lectures at the Museum of London on the theme of Theatres of Revolution: Stuart Kings and the architecture of disruption, by Simon Thurley FSA for Gresham College as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment. Like James I, King William III was unhappy with the formality of England’s vast crumbling royal estate. But unlike James, who virtually abandoned Edinburgh, William maintained a second court, and a parallel suite of royal houses, in the Netherlands. Mostly ignored by English historians, these houses are the key to understanding the style that we now know as William and Mary, and its impact on England. Details online.

29 June: The ‘Primo Costo’ Inventory of Count Saverio Marchese (1757–1833): Mapping the Print Market in Malta and its European Connections (London)
Krystle Attard Trevisan, PhD candidate, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
27 July: Descriptions of Collections and their Display at the Stuart Court in 1669 in a Manuscript Account of Prince George of Denmark's Grand Tour (1668-1670) (London)
Sara Ayres, independent scholar, London, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
14–18 September: From College Library to Country House (Cambridge)
This residential course directed by Andrew Moore FSA for the Attingham Trust at Clare College, University of Cambridge, focuses on iconic libraries. These include the historic libraries of Houghton Hall (created by Robert Walpole) and Holkham Hall (home to one of Britain’s greatest private manuscript and printed book collections); the library designed by James Gibbs for Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford at Wimpole Hall, and Anglesey Abbey, created by the Anglo-American oil magnate Huttleton Broughton, first Lord Fairhaven (both now owned by the National Trust); the barely known and privately owned Narford Hall, Norfolk (Sir Andrew Fountaine’s library, built after his return from Europe in 1718); the Old Libraries of St John’s College and Queens’ College; the Wren Library, Trinity; the Pepys Library, Magdalene College; the Parker Library at Corpus Christi; the Founder’s Library at the Fitzwilliam Museum; and historic book collections in the University Library designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. Lecturers include James Campbell FSA, David McKitterick FSA, David Pearson FSA and Mark Purcell FSA. Details online.
28 September: Germanic and Gentle? The Foundation and Early Collections of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg (London)
Heike Zech FSA, Head of Decorative Arts before 1800 and History of Craft, Germanisches NationalMuseum, Nuremberg, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
26 October: The Paintings by Horace Vernet in Louis-Philippe's Private Collection: Commission, Purpose, Display and Destination (London)
Valérie M C Bajou, Chief Curator, Versailles Palace, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
30 November: Creating a Market: Dealers, Auctioneers and the Passion for Riesener Furniture, 1800–1882 (London)
Helen Jacobsen, Senior Curator, the Wallace Collection, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.

Call for Papers

16–18 April 2020: Wall Painting Conservation and its Dilemmas in the Twenty-first Century (York)
A conference in memory of Sharon Cather FSA will take place in the surroundings of the Tempest Anderson Hall of the Yorkshire Museum, the Hospitium in the museum’s 19th-century gardens, and the King’s Manor, University of York, to take stock of the current state of wall painting conservation internationally, and consider potentially productive developments in the future. Contributions will cover all periods of wall painting from ancient to contemporary, and will take the opportunity of reflecting on the type of issues that were of such concern to Sharon Cather. The number of papers will need to be limited to about 18. Many have already been offered, and others are now invited. Speakers will be asked to commit to contributing to the follow-up publication. Details online.

24–26 April: Folklore, Learning and Literacies: Annual Conference of the Folklore Society (London)
Lore is learning: folklore is a body of knowledge and a means of transmission. But how do we learn folklore? How do we learn about folklore? This conference will address issues such as symbols, education, trades, family, children’s lore, proverbs, mnemonics, rapping, supernatural beings and computer games. Proposals for papers of 20 minutes should be sent to the Folklore Society at, or 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT, UK, telephone +44 (0) 203 915 3034, by 12 January 2020. Details online.

27 June: Jewellery in Texts: Texts in Jewellery (London)
The Society of Jewellery Historians Symposium will hold its next symposium at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, to explore recent research and current scholarship on the connections between jewellery and the written or spoken word. We welcome papers of 20 minutes on topics from any geographical area and any time period. Subjects may include, but are not limited to: inscriptions on jewellery or engraved gemstones; links between surviving jewellery and archival references; replications of jewellery or processes using early manuals; textual insights into gemstones, gem working or the gem trade; jewellery in fiction; processes (contemporary or historical) of applying inscriptions; jewellery with messages; jewellery or gemstones in official documents. Submit abstracts of up to 200 words with contact details and a brief biography to by 28 February 2020; if your abstract is accepted, you will be notified soon after. For queries contact Jack Ogden at


The Council for British Archaeology seeks a new Executive Director. Closing date 13 January 2020, 09.00.
This is an exciting opportunity to play a leading role in the development of UK archaeology. The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is an educational charity working throughout the UK to involve people in archaeology and to promote the appreciation and care of the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations. You will be responsible for the CBA’s strategic operations, acting as the Council’s Chief Executive and reporting to the Chair of the Trustees. Based in York, this is a full-time post with an annual salary of £50,000 and additional benefits.
Ask for an application pack at or 01904 671417. Interviews will be held in York on 3 February, and it is hoped that the successful candidate will take up the new role from 1 April. The CBA is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from all sectors of society. Details online.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of (RCAHMW) seeks two Commissioners. Closing date 17 January 2020.
Can you help us to deliver the best possible historic environment services for the people of Wales? The RCAHMW is Wales’s unique, independent national archive and investigation service, based at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and dedicated to the authoritative recording and interpretation of our rich historic environment.
We are looking for new people to join our Board of Commissioners for around 10 days a year, for £198 per day (plus T&S). You will have significant experience or expertise at a senior and/or strategic level in one of these areas, to advise on the most effective means of achieving our objectives and act as an advocate:
1. Architectural history: As an architectural historian or archaeologist you will help us prioritise our places of worship work.
2. Public policy: As someone with experience in public policy and the heritage you will advise on supporting social, economic and wellbeing aims, and help to foster links with political stakeholders and decision makers.
Interviews are expected to be on 25 and 27 March 2020. Email, or find details online.


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