View this email in your browser

Salon: Issue 327
6 October 2014

Next issue: 20 October 2014

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contribution that the Society's Fellows make to public life. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website. News and feedback for publication in Salon should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
Lamp flame

Inside this issue

Forthcoming meetings

Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 4.15pm and meetings start at 5pm. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow.

9 October 2014: ‘“Not bad for a provincial museum”: researching the history of the Fitzwilliam Museum’, by Lucilla Burn, FSA. Founded in 1816 by the will of Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge will celebrate its bicentenary in 2016. Today’s museum is the product of evolving ideas about the function of museums and galleries, within the context of the University of Cambridge and more widely, and of the characters, personalities and ambitions of successive directors, staff, Syndics and benefactors. This paper will explore how the Fitzwilliam reached its current form, and ask where it is it going next.

16 October 2014: ‘Rendlesham rediscovered: an East Anglian royal settlement of the time of Sutton Hoo’, by Christopher Scull, FSA, and Jude Plouviez, FSA. Fieldwork on arable land at Rendlesham, Suffolk, has identified an elite settlement complex of the sixth to eight centuries covering c 50ha which may be identified confidently with the Anglo-Saxon royal establishment recorded by Bede in a context of AD 655 x 664. There is evidence too for antecedent prehistoric and Romano-British activity, including a significant late Roman presence, and for activity through the Middle Ages to the present day. More than 3,000 finds have been retrieved by systematic metal-detecting, and their context established by magnetometry and targeted field evaluation. This paper presents the background to the survey, summarises current results and their interpretation, and considers the wider applicability of the approach and methods employed.

23 October 2014: ‘Painting, practice and purpose: the “Making Art in Tudor Britain” project at the National Portrait Gallery’, by Tarnya Cooper, FSA, and Charlotte Bolland. The National Portrait Gallery has recently completed a seven-year collaborative research project, combining technical analysis with new art historical and archival research, to discover more about artistic practices in sixteenth-century Britain. This paper will discuss some of the findings of new research on key Tudor paintings and will also introduce the NPG exhibition, The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered (12 September 2014 to 1 March 2015), to which our Society is lending several works, including Hans Eworth’s portrait of Mary I.

30 October 2014: ‘Beyond the horizon: societies of the Channel and North Sea 3,500 years ago’, by Peter Clark, FSA, and Anne Lehoërff, FSA
The well-preserved Middle Bronze Age sewn-plank boat discovered in Dover in 1992 has provided an immense amount of new information about the technology of water transport and the skills of Bronze Age craftsmen. It has also stimulated research and fieldwork into Bronze Age communities on both sides of the Channel and North Sea. Close similarities in material culture, settlement types and funerary rites seem to suggest a maritime ‘culture’ focused on the Transmanche coastal zones, quite different to those communities living further inland during the second millennium BC. This paper will review and assess the results of one such international project, called ‘BOAT 1550 BC’, which examined the evidence for cross-Channel connections, accompanied by the construction and sailing of a replica Bronze Age boat and a far-reaching programme of education and outreach.

6 November 2014: ‘Early European urbanism in the Trypillia Group? The mega site at Nebelivka, Ukraine’, by John Chapman, FSA
It is now recognised that Trypillia mega-sites of the Ukraine and Moldova were the largest settlements in fourth millennium BC Europe, the largest being as big as the first Near-Eastern cities. The first thirty-five years of research into Trypillia mega-sites (1971—2008) gave an understanding of broad planning principles but also provided exaggerated site sizes, little detail on intra-site grouping and no indication of intra-site phasing. On the basis of these results, Fletcher (1995) characterised Trypillia mega-sites as the major world exception to his limit to agrarian settlement size.

The key questions for current mega-site studies include: how did such massive sites develop, how were they maintained and why did they collapse? In the last five years, high-precision magnetometry has provided detailed settlement plans, identifying internal ditches, palaeo-channels, roads, kilns, regularly occurring household clusters, pit clusters, bounded unbuilt spaces and larger ensembles of houses, as well as large public buildings. These new elements reveal a far greater degree of internal spatial ordering than was ever detectable on the older plans and facilitate an improved understanding of social space at the neighbourhood as well as the community level. These approaches are exemplified at the mega site at Nebelivka.

Forthcoming public meetings

Public meetings are from 1pm to 2pm on Tuesdays. These meetings are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place.

28 October 2014: ‘Mackintosh, Muthesius and Japan’
Fellow Neil Jackson, Professor of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, will talk about the influence of Japanese art, architecture and design on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and on his close friend, the German architect and writer, Hermann Muthesius. Muthesius had lived in Japan and this presentation argues that it was his specific knowledge of Japan, as well as Glasgow’s Japanese zeitgeist, that allowed Mackintosh’s most famous building, the Glasgow School of Art, to assume such an idiosyncratic yet, at the same time, recognisably Japanese appearance.

4 November 2014: ‘Silent Voices from the Lord’s Pavilion (MCC)’
In 1899, the Australian cricket team competing for the Ashes scratched their initials or signatures on the balustrade of the terracotta balcony fronting their dressing room at the Grade-II listed Lord’s Cricket Pavilion. Fellow Howard Hanley will use these recently rediscovered graffiti as a springboard for a series of fascinating stories about the cricketers themselves, and about the period in which they lived — at a time when cricket was becoming an international sport and the ongoing England—Australian rivalry really got going in earnest.

Tours of Burlington House for new Fellows

Forthcoming tour dates are: 9 October 2014 and 15 January, 26 March and 7 May 2015. Coffee is served from 10.45am and the tours begin at 11am. Lunch is available at a cost of £5 and should be ordered in advance. To book a place, please contact Jola Zdunek, Executive Assistant (tel: 0207 479 7080).

'Heaven on Earth' auction a huge success

If not exactly ‘Heaven on Earth’, Burlington House was transformed into a little piece of William Morris’s world on 25 September 2014 when our Society hosted a charity auction that succeeded in raising more than £37,800 for Kelmscott Manor over the course of the evening.

It was an evening that benefited from a well-connected and committed organising committee, generous donors and munificent guests. More than 100 lots and raffle prizes were displayed in the Council and Meeting Rooms prior to the auction. Draped with yards of Morris fabric, our Rooms were transformed into a semblance of a late nineteenth-century aesthetic home, with the auction lots appealingly set out on black display stands as if to say ‘how could you not want to give me a new home’. This was the work of our Fellow Martin Levy who, says Philippa Glanville of the organising committee, ‘deserves huge and heartfelt thanks for all his efforts in managing the auction, bringing in such wonderful lots and securing the services of Jeremy Morrison from Christie’s as auctioneer’.

Philippa reports that: ‘as well as being glamorous, the auction was great fun and brought many friendly faces to Burlington House, including supporters from Kelmscott village and members of the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars. The Society’s staff put in a huge amount of work, taking payment and packing up the lots as they were sold in a very professional manner. Fellow Loyd Grossman kept everyone entertained by swapping jokes with Jeremy Morrison, the auctioneer. The evening ended, as all good parties do, with goodie bags — these contained delightfully packaged and decorated William Morris cakes.’ You can savour the atmosphere by viewing the photographs taken on the night that have been posted on the Society’s Facebook site.

The auction marks the beginning of a major fund-raising campaign for Kelmscott Manor; if you want to know more about donating to this conservation and development project, do contact Dominic Wallis (tel: 0207 479 7092), our Head of Development. Don’t forget too that if you did bid successfully for any of the lots at the auction, completing a Gift Aid form will mean that the Society can benefit even further.

Sale of Fellow’s medals

Another auction will take place on 16 October 2014 at the Salisbury salerooms of Woolley & Wallis, this time of Fellow Christopher Foley’s collection of fifteenth- to seventeenth-century English commemorative medals. In his Foreword to the catalogue, Fellow Richard Falkiner writes: ‘today these medals are less easy to acquire than in earlier times because of the amiable depredations of museums who give these nationally significant pieces a permanent home ... for this reason we must regard this as perhaps one of the last such sales we are likely to see’. The sale has been catalogued in great detail by Daniel Fearon and the catalogue itself is likely to be an important work of reference. A digital copy can be seen on the Woolley & Wallis website.

Lot 366: the Naval Reward for Captains gold medal of 1653, by Thomas Simon, was awarded to captains and officers of lower rank of the ships involved in the last of the three great naval battles of the First Dutch War — Portland, Gabbard, and Texel — all of which took place on 31 July 1653, during the course of which the commander of the Dutch fleet, Admiral Tromp, was killed. The obverse shows the united shields of England, Scotland and Ireland suspended from the beams of an anchor; the reverse, shown here, depicts a naval engagement, the sea filled with ships; in the forefront a Dutch ship sinks, its stern marked with the signature SIMON.

Fellows in the US highlight threats to heritage in Iraq and Syria

On 22 September 2014, our Fellow Thomas Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was joined by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova for an event at which our Fellow Professor Michael Danti of Boston University’s Archaeology Department made a presentation to an audience of distinguished members of the preservation and museum community highlighting the destruction of the heritage taking place throughout Iraq and Syria at the hands of extremists, including the ‘Islamic State’, and by the governments of those counties and by looters taking advantage of the unstable situation.

A statement issued by the US Department of State in connection with the event, said: ‘as the United States responds to the violence in Iraq and Syria that has destroyed millions of lives and caused enormous suffering to the region’s people, we also remain deeply concerned about the destruction of cultural heritage in these areas of tragic conflict. Ancient treasures have now become casualties of continuing warfare and looting and are targets for destruction. Historic monuments and archaeological sites of the world, which enrich modern societies by connecting all of us to our cultural origins and informing our identities, must be preserved. The unique cultural heritage of both Iraq and Syria represent an historical sequence of human development from ancient times to the present day. The Department of State remains committed to preserving these countries’ ancient cultures and joins international partners, intergovernmental organizations, and other institutions in advancing efforts to protect and restore this heritage.’

Nighthawk convicted

A man from Grays in Essex pleaded guilty in court on 2 October to using metal-detecting equipment to locate and unlawfully remove a Roman gold coin of the Emperor Valentinian from privately owned land in Castle Acre, Norfolk. Roy Wood was fined £400 and ordered to pay £250 costs.

The conviction results from close co-operation between Essex Police, English Heritage and the British Museum after staff of the BM reported that Wood was suspected of being in possession of items that had not been reported to the Coroner as required by the Treasure Act 1996. In May 2013, Essex Police, working with experts from English Heritage, executed a search warrant at Wood’s home and found documentation implicating Wood in the theft and subsequent sale of two gold coins.

Our Fellow Mark Harrison, National Policing and Crime Adviser for English Heritage, said: ‘we recognise that the majority of the metal detecting community comply with the laws and regulations relating to the discovery and recovery of objects; however, we work hard with the police to identify the criminal minority who operate outside of the law.’

Church theft

Meanwhile thefts of sculpture from churches continues: the latest instance is described as ‘a section of an eleventh-century grave marker, stolen from All Saints church in Somerford Keynes (Gloucester Diocese)’. Contact Pedro Gaspar, Senior Conservation Officer at the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops’ Council if you spot missing object.

East Devon hoard

At the launch of the latest annual report of the Portable Antiquities Scheme at the end of September, our Fellow Neil MacGregor revealed the discovery of one of the largest ever hoards of Roman coins to be found in Britain. Some 22,000 coins, dating from the period AD 260 to 348, were found in a field near Seaton, in north Devon, close to the site of a previously excavated Roman villa. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter has launched a fund-raising campaign to buy the hoard.

Wedgwood collection ‘saved for the nation’

A deadline of 30 November to raise the £15.75m needed to buy the Wedgwood collection has been comfortably beaten. The collection, made up of works of art, ceramics, manuscripts, letters and photographs, would have been sold to fund Waterford Wedgwood’s pension bill, had the campaign failed. The collection will be managed by the Victoria and Albert Museum but is expected to remain on display at the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston, Staffordshire, for the time being, pending the construction of a new visitor centre that is due to open in spring 2015.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and a number of smaller trusts contributed £13m, while a public appeal raised a further £2.74m. Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said the ‘Save Wedgwood’ appeal had been the fastest fundraising campaign in the charity’s 111-year history, reaching its target almost two months before its deadline. He said it demonstrated ‘nothing less than a national passion for Wedgwood’. Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, described the collection as ‘perhaps the most compelling account of British industrial, social and design history anywhere in the world’.

Josiah Wedgwood’s Portland Vase (1789—90) is one of the centrepieces of the collection


Virgin of Sorrows (Mater Dolorosa) saved by public appeal

In another example of public philanthropy, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has acquired a work by the Spanish artist Pedro de Mena (1628—88) called the Mater Dolorosa (Virgin of Sorrows), a realistic painted wood bust with eyes and teardrops made of glass and eyelashes made from human hair. The acquisition had been supported by grants of £30,000 from the Art Fund and £10,000 from The Henry Moore Foundation plus a generous £85,000 from the public appeal.

Our Fellow Tim Knox, Director of the Fitzwilliam, said: ‘this has been right to the wire, and every single penny has counted. Our sincere thanks go out to all who donated towards the appeal: you have helped secure an important and beautiful work of art for the nation’. Described as ‘mesmerisingly beautiful, with gently furrowed brows and natural flesh tones’, the bust was probably created for a private chapel, study or bedchamber and might originally have been paired with a similarly-sized bust of the Ecce Homo (Christ as the Man of Sorrows).

Pedro de Mena was taught the art of wood carving by his father, Alonso de Mena (1587—1646), a well-regarded sculptor of traditional religious images in Granada. Following his father’s death, the eighteen-year-old Pedro took over the workshop and was joined by established artist Alonso Cano (1601—67), who taught him how to paint sculpture realistically. As a result, Mena’s statues and busts have a remarkable lifelike quality. Mena left Granada in 1658 and spent the rest of his career in Málaga, well regarded by prestigious patrons from church and state and known for his religiosity, for which he was elected by the Inquisition in Granada and Málaga as a censor of images.

Leicester's tower opens at Kenilworth Castle

Visitors to Kenilworth Castle can now climb the great tower, known as ‘Leicester’s Building’, that Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, built to accommodate Elizabeth I on her visits to the Warwickshire castle. As Fellow Richard K Morris wrote in his paper on ‘The Earl of Leicester’s remodelling of Kenilworth Castle’ in the Antiquaries Journal Vol 89 (pp 241—305), Leicester’s Building was erected between 1570 and 1572, in anticipation of the queen’s 1572 visit. Archaeological analysis of its standing fabric shows that it underwent considerable modification subsequently, presumably in readiness for the queen’s 1575 progress. Richard argues that Leicester’s Building ‘was the prototype for the Midlands “high house” (of which Hardwick New Hall is the best-known exemplar) and was probably the most significant model for the eclectic, linear style which came to dominate great houses in the second half of Elizabeth’s reign’.

Until now, visitors could only admire this spectacular work from ground level. Now they can climb new stairs and platforms 18m up into the ruined shell and experience the views that Elizabeth enjoyed through the enormous expanse of window that is one of the building’s defining features. Fellow Jeremy Ashbee, Head Curator at English Heritage, describes Leicester’s Building as ‘one of the most spectacular works of architecture in Elizabethan England’ and said ‘it is absolutely exhilarating to be up there. As well as the fantastic views you see so many beautiful historical details. I hope people will look closely at these things that no one else has been able to see. They will find a lot of amazing details ... masons’ marks, a place where someone has sharpened his tools, where panelling has been ripped off the walls. The archaeology of the building is an exercise anyone can do and I’m sure people will see things we have missed which is part of the fun.’

Chasing Anglo-Saxon middens: a spectacular finale to Lyminge Excavations 2012—14

Fellow Gabor Thomas, of the University of Reading, Director of the Lyminge excavations, writes with a summary of the exciting finds that have emerged from this year’s excavations.

‘Summer 2014 marked the end of a three-year campaign of excavations in the Kentish village of Lyminge supported by a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The current phase of the project has enjoyed sustained attention in the national media since imaginations were captured by the discovery of a seventh-century ‘feasting hall’ in the inaugural excavations. This was followed, in 2013, by further high-status halls, one concealing an exquisite bone gaming piece paralleled by the set deposited in the famous princely grave at Taplow, Bucks. The grandeur of these halls has served to draw attention away from equally significant settlement remains dating to the sixth century: Lyminge, as we now recognise from a reassessment of its Northumbrian counterpart, Yeavering, was implanted into the core of an ancestral community.

In previous seasons, this earlier phase of activity proclaimed itself most obviously through sunken-featured buildings, some of which had been unceremoniously truncated by the foundations of the seventh-century halls. Our final campaign revealed that Lyminge had been withholding an altogether more remarkable testament to the sixth-century occupation of this bit of land in the form of a feature that the diggers had decided was to be called “the blob” until we knew more about it.

A vertical view of the 2014 trench at an advanced stage in the excavation showing a Bronze Age ring-ditch, overlain (right) by a sixth-century sequence of superimposed timber halls and (top) by the midden-filled hole known as ‘the blob’.

‘”The blob” showed up earlier in our project as a large (12m x 14m) sub-circular geophysical anomaly located beside an equally obvious Bronze Age ring-ditch, 20 metres in diameter. In the final season we were thus perfectly poised to unravel the mystery of “the blob” and to explore the prehistoric barrow’s influence on the Anglo-Saxon settlement. It was soon apparent that we had more to do than we had bargained for, not least because it transpired that we had placed our trench over a superimposed sequence of post-built timber halls built into the southern lip of the barrow mound. Diagnostic metalwork recovered from the post-holes — some evidently intentionally placed — indicated that these structures were standing in the sixth century.

Evidence from the midden of copper-alloy metalworking in the form of a selection of sheet and wire offcuts and raw and melted metal

But what of our globular enigma? Surface indications seemed promising: a charcoal-blackened expanse crammed with animal bone and a wide array of Anglo-Saxon artefacts. Sieves were rigged up and excavation proceeded in a chequerboard of 1m grids. The squares gave a consistent picture: feasting debris, including a steady stream of luxury vessel glass (over 200 sherds were produced by the end of the season), and evidence for specialised production in the form of the detritus from iron smelting and copper-alloy metalworking. Diagnostic dress-accessories again indicated a sixth-century date.

A small selection of the 200-plus fragments of Anglo-Saxon vessel glass recovered from the midden deposits.

‘The chosen methodology worked well, but time began to run out with no bottom in sight to our Anglo-Saxon midden, so two perpendicular rows of grids were prioritised to create continuous transects across its girth. The smelting debris intensified, interleaved with thick deposits of charcoal, then, at 1.5m, we broke through to a new horizon of deposition marked by smashed Anglo-Saxon pots, some intricately decorated, and large hunks of butchered cow.

‘Surely this couldn’t continue: early Anglo-Saxon settlement archaeology is meant to be ephemeral! Is that sterile clay I see at 1.8m? No, merely a thin capping over a layer of course flint nodules forming a deliberately laid platform or surface. What are they doing down there? I can’t answer you, it’s the end of the excavation and there’s still 1.4m of deposition below said the man holding the auger!

The east-west transect across the the Anglo-Saxon midden deposits excavated down to the level of the laid platform of flint nodules which appears as a defined band in the deepest part of the sequence.

‘It’s been nearly a month since the curtain closed on the final campaign and the team are none the wiser concerning the true identity of the deep hole that served as a receptacle for Anglo-Saxon midden-dumping on such a massive scale. We can at least say that the flint platform (whatever its intended purpose) is late Roman or later thanks to a radiocarbon date recovered from an animal bone incorporated into its matrix. For all its enigmatic qualities, this discovery must be celebrated for producing one of the richest records of elite settlement in sixth-century England and a striking testimony to the fact that places of Anglo-Saxon royal residence could have very deep roots indeed.

If you want to now more, look out for the new series of ‘Digging for Britain’ when it is televised on BBC4 in November. In the mean time, further details of the final season’s discoveries can be found on the project blog.

Monuments to Antiquaries

Norman Hammond’s photograph of the monument in St Benet’s Church, Cambridge, commemorating Dr G H S Bushnell, former Vice President of our Society, has resulted in a number of similar offerings.

The first, in the church of Saint Lawrence, Ardeley, Herts, dates from 1913, but commemorates Sir Henry Chauncy (1632—1719), lawyer and antiquary. Chauncy was responsible, as Recorder for Hertfordshire, for issuing the warrant for the arrest of Jane Wenham (d 1730), the last person to be convicted of witchcraft in England, and for testing her by asking her to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Her failure to do so fluently led to her trial and conviction; fortunately, Sir John Powell, who presided over the trial, was a humane and rational man, and he was successful in obtaining a royal pardon before the sentence (death by hanging) could be carried out. On a happier note, Sir Henry wrote The Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire (1700), described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as ‘the bedrock for all histories of Hertfordshire written before the twentieth century’.

The second, in the church of St Benet Paul’s Wharf, the Welsh Anglican church of the City of London, commemorates our late Fellow Gerald Cobb (1900—86), antiquary and architectural historian, best known for his book English Cathedrals: the forgotten centuries (1980), and whose comprehensive notes, records and photographs of English churches, subsequently deposited with the National Monuments Record and the Guildhall Library, proved invaluable to Nikolaus Pevsner in compiling The Buildings of England series, and remain vital for restoration research.

Fellow Michael Sayer writes on the subject of recent memorials to Fellows in Norfolk to mention ‘the one commemorating Tom Blofeld at Hoveton St John and another for Wyndham Ketton-Cremer (whom I suppose to have been a Fellow) at Felbrigg. I thought one was planned for Mick Riviere, but could not find one when I looked at Dilham. It would be interesting, more generally, if the Society were to produce a booklet on memorials, whether to Fellows or not, because they are getting few and far between, and some dioceses have a policy against them. I commemorated my father here at Sparham, and we are in the course of commemorating Billa Harrod at Warham St Mary Magdalene.

There are a small number of others in Norfolk (Barningham, Hoveton St Peter, Raveningham) and also the recent Waldegrave one at Chewton Mendip with its Garter banner, the Mynors memorial (for the twin brothers) at St Weonards, and one for Sir Jasper More at More (Shropshire). But headstones will, in fact, tail off very soon, due to the predominance of cremations, and so commemoration both inside and outside the church is, in my view, likely to become a thing of the past.’

Fellows Roy and Lesley Adkins say ‘you will probably have been swamped by examples of “monuments to antiquaries” for Salon (it sounds like a book idea), but here is another one for you, commemorating Richard Hensleigh Walter. It was in the porch of the church of St Mary the Virgin at Stoke-sub-Hamdon in Somerset — not far from the massive hill fort of Ham Hill. We say “was” because this is scanned from a 35mm slide taken in 1994. We have not visited the church since then, so cannot be certain that the monument is still there.’

Finally (for this issue), Fellow Nigel Llewellyn recalls an interesting memorial that he encountered when doing the fieldwork a few years ago for his Sussex Records Society volume on East Sussex Church Monuments 1530—1830: ‘there is a mural monument dated 1826 in the south-west corner of the nave at St Mary, Harting, East Sussex, re-erected to the memory of Thomas and Mary Elliott, (died 1815 and 1817 respectively). The patron was Obadiah Elliott, FSA, their second son, who styled himself as a coachbuilder of Westminster Bridge, London. Fellows can look at a mediocre photograph of the monument here.'

Googling the name of Obadiah Elliott reveals that he revolutionised the road transport of his day by inventing the elliptical spring made from steel, which was soon being used widely all over the world in place of the wood or leather braces previously used in coach and carriage building.

Portrait of John Warburton (1682—1759)

Salon’s editor learns from the latest College of Arms newsletter that the College has recently purchased a portrait of John Warburton, Somerset Herald and one-time Fellow. The portrait was acquired from Sir John Elphinstone, Bt, a descendant of Warburton’s daughter, Amelia (1735—86), who married Captain John Elphinstone, RN, an admiral in the service of Catherine the Great.

The newsletter reports that ‘Warburton was something of a notorious figure. Born at Bury in Lancashire, the son of a tenant of Lord Derby, he worked as a customs officer in Cumberland, Northumberland and Yorkshire and acted as a government informer during the Jacobite rising of 1715. Soon after being demoted for drunkenness in 1718 he left the revenue service and was appointed Somerset Herald, supposedly in reward for his service to the government in convicting some of the rebels. Admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, he was eventually ejected from both bodies. A noted collector of manuscripts and antiquities, he also published county maps for which he sought subscribers in return for including their arms in the margins, but without establishing their entitlement to arms. This caused bad relations with his fellow heralds.’

Fellow Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms, includes several more colourful incidents in his ODNB entry for Warburton. Of these the one that is surely the greatest cause for regret is that his collection of fifty Elizabethan and Jacobean play manuscripts, several of which were unique, was destroyed through his own carelessness and the ignorance of Betsy Baker, his cook, who used the pages as scrap paper, either for lighting fires or for lining the bottoms of her pie pans. He also claimed to have been instrumental in the re-founding of the Society of Antiquaries in 1717, and in July 1720 he tried to get Humfrey Wanley ‘muddled’ through drink during the course of negotiations over the sale of a number of valuable manuscripts; it seems that Wanley turned the tables and succeeded in buying the manuscripts on behalf of the earl of Oxford at an advantageous price.

Despite all this, Warburton left a very substantial collection of printed books and manuscripts at his death. So large was the collection that its sale by auction in 764 lots by Samuel Paterson at Essex House, Strand, took place over six consecutive evenings from 19 November 1759. Edward Howard, ninth duke of Norfolk, purchased sixty-three lots and presented them to the College of Arms, where they form the EDN collection; a further thirty-eight volumes are now in the Lansdowne collection in the British Library.


War memorial conservation register

Memorials of a different kind — war memorials in this instance — are the subject of a new register that can be found on the website of the Institute of Conservation (ICON). Fellow David Leigh, former ICON Director, ever alert for opportunities to promote the profession, says that ‘in view of all the World War commemorations and the likelihood that communities across the UK will be focusing on the conservation needs of their local monuments, ICON has compiled this register of accredited conservators who have experience in specific aspects of war memorials conservation’.

Research News from English Heritage

Fellow and Council member John Cattell writes to say that: ‘readers of Salon may be interested to know that the second edition of Research News, English Heritage’s e-magazine of applied research, is now available via the EH website.

EH Chairman, Sir Laurie Magnus, writes in his foreword: “we report on a wide range of research, from policy-related initiatives focusing on the development of tools for calculating the economic and social value of heritage, to projects undertaken in response to major infrastructure developments, such as the proposed electrification of the Midland Main Line. There are also intriguing items on individual buildings and sites, including a piece on England’s earliest surviving open-air school in Birmingham. Alongside our in-house research work we also fund important research by others through our National Heritage Protection Commissions Programme. Without this programme it is doubtful that the remarkable and highly threatened Viking-age cemetery at Cumwhitton in Cumbria (discussed on pages 16—19) would have been excavated, analysed and recorded.”’

News of Fellows

Fellow Marie Louise Stig Sørensen, Reader in the Archaeology and Anthropology Division at Cambridge University and Professor of Bronze Age Studies at Leiden University, went to the EAA (European Association of Archaeologists) conference in Istanbul in mid-September and came home bearing the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2014, which she was awarded jointly with Erzsébet Jerem, Professor and Senior Fellow of the Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The prize is awarded annually to an individual, institution or a local or regional government for an outstanding contribution to the protection and presentation of European archaeological heritage. Marie Louise was honoured for her ‘ground-breaking achievements within two major fields. At the University of Cambridge she introduced one of the very first masters courses in archaeological heritage and museums, a course that she is still directing. In this capacity she has educated more graduate students in archaeological heritage than any other lecturer in the field, and perhaps more importantly helped to raise the academic awareness of the field internationally. She introduced the Annual Heritage Seminar, which is now an established international institution running in its fifteenth year.

‘Secondly, as an innovative researcher Marie Louise Stig Sørensen has also directed a major EU-financed project on heritage and the reconstruction of identities after conflict (CRIC), which dealt with difficult but important issues related to heritage reflecting Europe’s more recent traumatic past and the role of that heritage in a current political and cultural context. Her book edited with John Carman, her co-lecturer for many years in Cambridge, entitled Heritage Studies: methods and approaches (2009), is widely used in teaching and covers the main aspects of modern heritage studies.

‘Today, when cultural heritage studies are taught globally, Marie Louise Stig Sørensen deserves this recognition both for her own innovative research activities and for her early awareness of the need for an academically and critically anchored academic teaching program at Master and PhD level. In this she has, and has had a major influence on the European and even global expansion of what is now known as critical heritage studies.’

This is the second time this year that Marie Louise has been honoured. In May she received one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific research prizes in Denmark, the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen award for Scientific Research. The award is presented by Aarhus University, from which Marie Louise herself graduated in 1981.

Further awards were presented at the Association for Industrial Archaeology conference in Chester last month at which our Fellow and AIA President Marilyn Palmer (wearing her Presidential medal) presented Fellow Jonathan Coad (on the far right of the photograph) with the Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Industrial Archaeology for his book Support for the Fleet: architecture and engineering of the Royal Navy’s bases 1700—1914. Joint winner of the Peter Neaverson Award was another English Heritage book — Textile Mills of South West England, by Mike Williams. Our Fellow Keith Falconer (standing next to Jonathan) accepted the award on Mike’s behalf. The book is the culmination of a project that Keith and Fellow John Cattell initiated and were closely involved with for many years at the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) and at English Heritage.

If you are in the King’s Cross / Euston / St Pancras area of London in the next few weeks, you might like to divert a couple of blocks south to walk past Bloomsbury Design, at 61B Judd Street, where the window display (until Friday 17 October 2014) consists of various ceramic bowls made and fired by our Fellow Rowan Whimster ( As will be evident from the display, Rowan’s ‘round-bodied bowls and jars echo the ceramic forms of prehistoric Wiltshire and Cornwall, but their eroded rims and bell-like chimes belong to an altogether more contemporary world’.

Lives remembered: Mary Hodges, FSA

The Society has been informed of the death of our Fellow Mary Hodges, at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on Friday 26 September. Mary’s long-time friend, Fellow Kate Tiller, writes to say that: ‘Mary had already enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher (including time in Africa) and a teacher trainer (becoming Head of the Education Department at Oxford Polytechnic, now Oxford Brookes University) by the time I met her. Following this she found new directions in local history and was a wonderful colleague and friend in developing work in this field.

She was far ahead of most in seeing the potential of computing for census and other studies, and in applying database methods in practice. This she did through many courses for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, including a major role in writing the Oxford University Advanced Diploma in Local History, an online programme that continues to attract many students from the UK and abroad, often enabling them to progress towards further, graduate-level work.

Mary was a great teacher, clear thinking, highly organised and motivated. With groups of adult students she worked on substantial studies of early modern Thame and Woodstock from original documentary sources. She also contributed the chapter on “Kelmscott: the people in their place”, to the Society’s 2007 publication, William Morris’s Kelmscott: landscape and history. She was a proud FSA.’

Swan on the menu

Debate continues over the gustatory qualities of swan meat and traditional restrictions on their consumption. In response to the question posed by Fellow Michael J T Lewis who asked ‘did Darwin commit a crime by eating swan?’, Fellow Anne Crawford says that she discovered the following when writing her History of the Vintners’ Company (1977): ‘swan-keeping on any river is a privilege, confirmed by statute in 1483, granting it only to freeholders with an estate worth 5 marks per annum, so any landowner with estates large enough to include a river with swans could claim them, take responsibility for feeding them in particularly hard winters and offer a swan as a gift to a favoured recipient, or sell surplus numbers.

'The situation on the River Thames was quite different: there were only three legal owners, the Vintners Company, the Dyers Company and the Crown. The Vintners took their responsibilities seriously. They paid a swan herd and kept a record from the sixteenth century of their swans, their numbers, the cost of their upkeep and those swans given as gifts. Each year in late July or early August Swan Upping takes place on the Thames, with the three legal owners marking the beaks of that year’s cygnets (before they can fly) with their mark.

'The practice still continues, though now the Crown swans are unmarked. While the two livery companies probably did not sell their swans, it may be that the Crown did. It is clear that there were many legal sources from which swans could enter the market, so it is unlikely that Darwin (or Robert Clayton, the Sidney Street fishmonger and poulterer) were acting illegally.’

John Prag says that ever since he took part in a musical setting of The Canterbury Tales at school, he cannot see a swan ‘drifting arrogantly across the water’ without hearing Chaucer’s description of the ‘fair prelate’:

A Monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
An outridere, that lovede venerie ...

He was nat pale, as a forpyned goost:
A fat swan loved he best of any roost.

John says that he has always wondered what it actually tasted like, ‘for the sleek Monk’s recommendation has weighed with me, but the opportunity has not arisen to put it to the test’. By contrast, Paul Cockerham has tried it because ‘though the consumption of swan in this country is (in theory) severely restricted, swan was (and maybe still is) the chief dish of the dinner served during the St John’s College May Ball, and is thus not restricted to Fellows of the College. I was at the college from 1976 to 1982 reading for a veterinary degree — it takes a while — and managed to attend all six of the St John’s May Balls during my time there, albeit, for the record, with different partners. As I recall, the swan was always served “cold”, as a kind of terrine, and although my sensibilities might already have succumbed to the general “enjoyment” of the event, by the time I came to partake, on every occasion I can’t remember it as being much other than something resembling corned beef. Sorry to disappoint those who might have expected a more exotic reminiscence.’

According to Fellow David Gurney, this is a judgement with which our late Fellow, John Wymer, would agree. David remembers that John ‘foraged’ (as trendy restaurateurs would now no doubt put it) a dead swan ‘from beneath some overhead cables somewhere in central Norfolk in the mid- to late 1980s. It was wrestled into the Wymer oven with some difficulty, cooked, and, for quite a few days afterwards, John would peer into his sandwich box at lunchtime at the Norfolk Archaeological Unit office and mutter: “Oh no! Not swan again!”’

From Fellow Peter Hoare comes another Cambridge swan anecdote; this time about the naming and sexing of swans rather than their consumption:

When students at Emmanuel and St John’s
Gave to the Girton girls a brace of swans,
Each one was christened by its donor’s name
And straightway “John” and “Emma” they became.
Nomenclature like this involves dilemmas,
For Emma’s sex was John’s, and John’s was Emma’s.

Peter says that ‘the verse was passed on to me by an early Girtonian many years ago; it must date from the 1880s or earlier, perhaps soon after Girton’s foundation in 1869’. Today, we would perhaps look for an amorous innuendo in such a verse, but it was probably written as no more than a piece of donnish humour.

Finally, Fellow Katherine Barclay says she remembers very well the reports that the former Master of the Queen’s Music, Peter Maxwell Davies, had been cautioned for possession of a dead swan because the zoo-archaeologist Jenny Coy was concerned lest this crime of ‘possession’ create a precedent with consequences for those with swan bones in their specimen collections at home or even in the lab.

Katherine says that Max might not have been reported to the police by someone seeking revenge for the soundtrack to Ken Russell’s 'The Devils', or 'Eight Songs for a Mad King' (or the other way around: a lover of Modernist music who took a dislike to Max’s music for Ken Russell’s 'The Boyfriend', or for 'An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise'). Apparently he hung the carcase to mature in plain sight, offered the police a dish of swan terrine when they came to call and presented the wings to the local nursery school for use in their Nativity play. The bad puns department at the Scottish Herald reported this as having ‘ruffled local feathers’, while the Scotsman had Max ‘falling foul of the law’.
Lamp flame


The order in which people list post-nominal initials is an interesting topic. Do you list all of your degrees in order of academic status (BA, MA, MA, PhD — some people do indeed have more than one MA) or only the last, on the assumption that it subsumes the others? Do you include the name of the university (BA (Oxon), MA (Oxon & Lon) PhD (Pisa))? Do you list them in some sort of ranking of importance? The latter question arises because Salon’s editor expected FBA to precede FSA in the inscription commemorating Dr G H S Bushnell that was published in the last issue of Salon. But Fellow Norman Hammond, who submitted the picture of Dr Bushnell’s memorial, says that he does the same — signing himself Professor Norman Hammond ScD FSA FBA — because the etiquette is to list learned societies in the order in which they were founded (in this case 1707 and 1902).

Harking back to the ‘auroch[s]’ question of an earlier issue of Salon, Robin Milner-Gulland writes to say that ‘I recently read in one newspaper the usage “a sapien” to mean a person (presumably from Homo sapiens)’. He occasionally also spots references to a ‘bicep’.

On a more serious note, Robin reminds us that ten years ago, Salon reported on the ‘extraordinary Buncton incident’ of 2004, when someone defaced the twelfth-century chancel arch at Grade-I listed All Saints Chapel, Buncton, West Sussex, by taking a hammer and chisel to a carving of a naked person. Time and erosion had rendered the sex of the figure indeterminate (Robin thinks it was intended to represent Adam, the fruits above (pomegranates?) representing Paradise) but this did not appease the angry iconoclast who targeted this supposedly ‘unchristian’ carving..

In an age when we deplore heritage vandalism in various parts of the world, including Iraq and Syria, it is salutary to remind ourselves that this sort of thing also goes on in Home Counties England . Robin says: ‘the vandalism was reported in the press, the police made investigations, but since that time everything seems to have stalled. After ten years we still live with the unresolved consequences of an incomparable act of deliberate vandalism in one of the most precious of Sussex churches: a mystery story that lacks its last chapter.’ Robin would like to see the carvings restored, and is writing a longer article on the history of the church and its carving for Sussex Past & Present.

Some of the broken pieces lying on the chancel floor (for more images see Martin Snow’s website

Fellow Mike Corfield adds his thoughts to the report in the last issue of Salon on the BBC2 broadcast, ‘Operation Stonehenge’. Mike agrees that the presentation of the geophysical research and the interpretation of the results was well done, but he was surprised at the lack of any mention of the work of Richard Bevins and Robert Ixer on the bluestone quarries, and at the lack of integration with the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the work of Mike Parker Pearson et al at Durrington Walls or of the work of Fellows Tim Darvill and Geoff Wainwright at Stonehenge and in the Preseli Hills.

But puzzlement turned to anger, Mike says, when watching the final part of th second programme in the series. This looked at the Bush Barrow gold and particularly at the gold-stud ornamentation of the daggers: ‘the programme's description of the method of making the studs (featuring a well-known and skilled micro sculptor) was utter bunk and made worse by the sculptor's elbow apparently resting on a page from my paper (from the Joan Taylor Festschrift ) in which I describe in detail how the studs were made and how they were put into the wood. I do very much hope that nobody will think that I endorsed this part of the broadcast.’
Lamp flame


Caroline Watson and Female Printmaking in Late Georgian England
Fellow Karen Hearn commends this exhibition, which is currently on show in the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Charrington Print Room (until 4 January 2015). The exhibition explores the work and career of Caroline Watson (1760/1—1814), the first professional woman engraver to work in Britain

‘The Death of Cardinal Beaufort’, stipple and etching by Caroline Watson, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1792

Wallace Collection Great Gallery rehang
The Great Gallery of the Wallace Collection in London reopened on 19 September 2014 after a two-year refurbishment, largely funded by the Monument Trust. Works by Titian, Rubens, Poussin, Frans Hals and Velázquez now hang on walls of crimson silk damask, in place of the pink walls of old; subtle lighting, refreshed gilding, plasterwork and parquetry are among the other improvements.

Christoph Vogtherr, the gallery’s director, says that work will now begin on the next phase of a ten-year improvement plan, which includes renovating the European and Oriental arms and armour galleries. A research centre will also be established, in partnership with the universities of Oxford and Lille, focusing on European arms and armour, eighteenth-century French art and the history of collecting in France and England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Rossetti’s Obsession: images of Jane Morris
The William Morris Gallery is marking the centenary of the death of Jane Morris (1839—1914) with an exhibition of rarely seen drawings and pastel studies by Dante Gabriel Rossetti who drew and painted Jane with an obsessional intensity and cast her in many literary and mythological roles, including Dante’s Beatrice, Pandora, Proserpine and Astarte.

Based on the insights into her interests and personality revealed in the edition of her collected letters (2012, edited by Jan Marsh and Frank C Sharp), the exhibition also explores the key role she played in the Morris & Co family business and her talents as embroiderer, linguist and musician (to 4 January 2015).

Roman Ostia: ancient ruins, modern art
This exhibition at London’s Estorick Collection (until 21 December 2014) juxtaposes mosaics and antiquities from the archaeological site at Ostia Antca with works by two contemporary Italian artists.

Monumental in scale, the works of Ettore de Concilis (b 1941) are directly inspired by Ostia and depict the play of light across the site’s ruins and the mouth of the adjacent River Tiber. They serve as the backdrop to a display of classical statuary and mosaics from the ancient Roman harbour site and its cemetery, reflecting the taste and culture of the city’s Roman inhabitants.

The work of the late Umberto Mastroianni (1910—98), by contrast, is described by the exhibition’s curator, Alice Bygraves, as ‘three-dimensional compositions that almost appear as archaeological fragments themselves, recalling great gears and mechanical components which, once active and powerful, now appear frozen and without function’.

Among the associated events is a free lecture by our Fellow Simon Keay on ‘Ostia, Portus and the port system of ancient Rome’ on 22 November 2014 at 3pm.

Above left: Fishes, late first/early second century AD (courtesy of the Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Roma)

Above right:
Yellow, Black and White, 1965, by Umberto Mastroianni (courtesy of Il Cigno GG Edizioni)
Lamp flame

Call for sessions: 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA)

The University of Glasgow will host the 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) on 2 to 5 September 2015. Planning for the event has already begun and a promotional video has been made extolling the attractions of Glasgow to the 2,000-plus delegates who are expected to attend.

The conference sessions will be built around framework of six major themes: Celtic Connections, Archaeology and Mobility, Reconfiguring Identities, Science and Archaeology, Communicating Archaeology and Legacies and Visions. The Call for Sessions is open until 31 October 2014; guidelines are available here.

Further information can be obtained from the organiser, Louisa Campbell; and updates are available by ‘liking’ the EAA 2015 Facebook page.
Lamp flame


18 October 2014. The Paul Courtney Memorial Conference at the University of Leicester, organised by the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (SPMA) and the Finds Research Group, will remember our late Fellow, long-standing member of the SPMA and former editor of the society’s journal, Post-Medieval Archaeology, through papers representing his many interests, from local history and fortifications, to ceramics studies and material culture. The conference programme and registration information are on the SPMA’s website.

28 October 2014: ‘John Lockwood Kipling, the William Morris of India’
, a lecture to be given by our Fellow Julius Bryant, 6pm for 6.30pm at The Dutch Church, Austin Friars, London EC2N 2HA. John Lockwood Kipling (1837—1911) was a man of letters, artist and teacher, and a heritage activist in the nineteenth-century struggle between art and industry. Friend of Rossetti and Swinburne, brother-in-law of Edward Burne-Jones and Edward Poynter, he belonged at the heart of England’s Arts and Crafts movement, and worked to secure recognition for the craft skills of India. From 1860 to 1864 he made terracotta decorations for the new buildings of the South Kensington Museum (today’s Victoria and Albert Museum). Between 1865 and 1875 he taught at the J J School of Art in Mumbai. After a century of British influence and imports to south Asia, craft traditions had suffered, but Kipling encouraged his students to explore their own heritage and local skills. In 1875 he was appointed Principal of the new Mayo School of Art (today Pakistan’s National College of Art) and curator of its museum in Lahore, known locally as the Ajaib-Gher or ‘Wonder House’. Kipling is lovingly described as the ‘Keeper of Images’ there by his son, Rudyard, in the novel Kim (1904).

Further information may be found on the website of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars and tickets (£25 each, including wine and canapés) are available from Georgina Gough.

5 November 2014: The Rise and Fall of the Aksumite Kingdom, a lecture by our Fellow David Phillipson to be given from 6.30pm at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7, under the auspices of the Ethiopian Embassy and in connection with the World Travel Market; Professor Phillipson will discuss Aksum's history and archaeology as well as its contribution to Ethiopian tourism development. Pre-booking is required.

24 January 2015: The programme is now available for the fifth ‘New Insights into Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century British Architecture’ conference, to be held at the Society of Antiquaries. Further information is available from Fellows Claire Gapper and Paula Henderson. The speakers include Fellows Malcolm Airs (on ‘David Papillon and Lamport Hall’), Nick Hill (‘A Rural Transformation: the seventeenth-century rebuilding of Rutland’), Bruce Watson (‘ Suffolk Place: the architectural terracottas of a lost Tudor palace’) and Simon Jervis (‘Ornament, Design (and Architecture): a neglected early seventeenth-century album’). Early booking is encouraged.
Lamp flame

The Archaeology of Medieval Spain 1100—1500

Fellow John Schofield has contributed the introduction and concluding chapter (‘Hopes for the future’) to this book in the series ‘Studies in the Archaeology of Medieval Europe’; John was the founder series editor and Fellow Neil Christie is the current series editor. John says in his introduction that Spain was late in developing modern archaeological services but has since caught up: since the mid-1980s there has been ‘an explosion of archaeological excavations in towns and countryside, resulting in a mountain of new data, most of it undigested’. This book, edited by Magdalena Valor and Avelino Gutiérrez (who teach archaeology at the Universities of Seville and Oviedo respectively), is the first attempt to make sense of the new data for the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, a period when Spain was the hinge or fulcrum between Christianity and Islam, and that saw the gradual displacement of the previous Islamic culture and way of life by that of the Hispanic kingdoms.

Such an ambitious book is difficult to summarise; all one can say is that it is astonishing that so little attention has been paid until now to such a rich archaeological resource: a land in which so much has survived, and that is the meeting place where two great medieval civilisations mixed and for a while co-existed peacefully until counter-Reformationary zeal did so much harm. Passages in the book remind us how much medieval Spain owed to North African hydraulic technology, for example, and how, as a result, water, considered a communal property, was shared and distributed through a series of reservoirs and main and secondary acequias, or channels. People lived well as a result, on a diet of olives, raisins, grapes and dates, rice, cereals, pulses and sugar cane, artichoke and melon, plus turnip, cabbage, carrot, leek, chard and spinach in winter. And with food in mind, John Schofield cannot resist quoting Richard Ford, whose account of travelling in Spain in the 1830s is still a valuable resource. Ford wrote that he could live in Spain for weeks on a diet of grapes and bread ‘that is good to a degree of which our English bakers have no conception’, a statement that, sadly, remains just as true of English bread to this day, though one fears it may no longer be true of Spanish baking.

The Archaeology of Medieval Spain 1100—1500, edited by Magdalena Valor and Avelino Gutiérrez; ISBN 9781845531737; Equinox, 2014. To receive a 25 per cent discount, enter the code SPAIN (in capitals) at the checkout when prompted to do so.
Lamp flame

Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum

Fellow Jeremy Warren has very generously donated a copy of his magnificent three-volume work on the Ashmolean’s medieval and Renaissance sculpture to the Society — all the more generous when one considers what an expensive undertaking it is to produce such a catalogue, one that is, on the one hand, vital to the academic credibility of the museum, but, on the other, demands huge resources. Writing in the introduction, Christopher Brown, the Ashmolean’s Director, says that it is ‘a heartening testament to the admiration that Jeremy has himself earned in the sculptural world’ that sponsorship funds have flowed in to make the publication possible.

Jeremy himself, modest as ever, pushes our one-time Fellow and Vice-President Charles Fortnum (1820—99) into the limelight as the ‘hero’ of the catalogue, for it is Fortnum’s astonishingly rich and varied collection, shrewdly built up at a time when few people had much knowledge of medieval and Renaissance sculpture, that forms the core of the Ashmolean’s holdings in this field; his gifts to the museum — of money as well as of sculptural treasures — were of such munificence that his Times obituary hailed him as the ‘second founder’ of the Ashmolean.

In his introductory chapter Jeremy presents a great deal of new biographical information about Fortnum and his collecting practices and the ways in which his collections were displayed at the family home, Hill House, Great Stanmore, in Middlesex. Fellow Arthur Evans is given the credit for winning Fortnum’s confidence at a time when he could just as easily have left the collection elsewhere: Fortnum was a trustee of the British Museum and ‘Art Referee’ to the South Kensington Museum. What is more, when, in 1882, he approached the vice-chancellor, Benjamin Jowett, with a view to donating his collections, he felt slighted by the lukewarm response.

All this is of considerable relevance to Jeremy’s catalogue, for in tracking down where and when Fortnum made his purchases, and seeking the provenance of each item in the catalogue in astonishing detail (but always written in an lively and entertaining style), Jeremy frequently quotes from the letters of those who hope to acquire an object or two from some rich and elderly owner. One of the many sub-themes of this catalogue is the history not just of antiquarian collecting back to the Medici and the early Renaissance Church, but also of private philanthropy and its impact on the growth of the public museum. How many letters have been written by museum directors over the last 150 years, one wonders, asking ‘could I persuade you to entertain the idea of a benefaction?’.

Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, by Jeremy Warren; ISBN 9781854442314; Ashmolean Museum, 2014
Lamp flame

Rusher’s Banbury Directory

Banbury seems unusually blessed in local history records — and the town is equally fortunate in having such an active Historical Society, with a lively publishing programme that makes those records available in book, CD and digital form under the editorship of Fellow Jeremy Gibson. Volume 34, just published, with an introduction by Fellow Barrie Trinder, is a portrait of the town from 1832 until 1906 as reflected in the pages of Rusher’s Banbury Directory to Trades and Occupations, published by various members of the Rusher family and here digested into an alphabetical list by surname that can be then be correlated with other kinds of name-led record.

Even a superficial dip into this volume encourages further exploration. First one is fascinated by the variety of trades and occupations: among all the many bakers and tailors, carpenters, butchers and carters, there are umbrella manufacturers, ink manufacturers, ‘foreign fruit’ merchants, a number of tripe sellers (some who also deal in cow heels and Neats foot oil), agents for such branded products as Burton’s Ales, Guinness Stout and Ind & Cos Romford Ales and a ‘teacher attending families (organ, pianoforte, harmonium, singing)’. And then there are the people who seem to switch trades as easily as we would change our clothes: what, one wonders, is the story of Dan Dixon’s slow climb from rags to riches, beginning as a humble tripe seller in 1847, but described in each successive directory first as boot and shoe maker, then as miller and mealman, then town crier and bill poster, then town hall keeper, then bill poster again, then agent for Provident Fire and Life Assurance, then for Alliance Fire and Life Assurance and finally ending up in 1890 as ‘Dixon & Co’, trade unspecified, but no doubt a lucrative one.

Membership of the Banbury Historical Society is £13 per annum, which includes copies of the regular publications; alternatively, Volume 34 can be purchased from Banbury Museum for £15 (p&p extra).
Lamp flame

Poulnabrone: an early Neolithic portal tomb in Ireland

This latest volume in the excellent archaeological monograph series published by Ireland’s Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, edited by Fellow Ann Lynch with specialist reports by a number of Fellows, presents the results of excavations carried out at the Poulnabrone portal tomb in the Burren, Co Clare, in the mid-1980s. Occasioned by the urgent need for conservation work, the excavation focused on the camber, portico and part of the surrounding cairn.

Analysis of the ‘unburnt commingled remains of a least thirty-five individuals’ from the tomb found male and female and all age groups represented in the tomb, with dates ranging from c 3800 cal BC to 3200 cal BC. Stable isotope analysis showed an exclusively terrestrial diet, with limited consumption of animal protein and all the individuals except one seem to have local origins. The tomb seems to have been the focus for intermittent internment over many decades, with the subsequent removal of some skeletal elements and their replacement by others: the bones, say the authors, probably represent what was left after some sort of ritual that went on elsewhere, perhaps some sort of ‘engagement with the ancestors’.

Intermingled with the human remains were the bones of domesticated cattle, pig and caprid, mostly of very young animals, with no sign of burning or butchery. Stone beads, a polished stone axehead, chert and flint tools, a toggle and a bead of bone and a triangular pendant were found and the pottery was mostly Western Neolithic plus a few probable Beaker sherds.

Poulnabrone: an early Neolithic portal tomb in Ireland, by Ann Lynch; ISBN 9781406428179; Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 2014
Lamp flame

Digging Sedgeford: a people’s archaeology

‘Community archaeology’ is a theme much discussed at conferences, but in truth there are precious few examples of the real thing, as distinct from archaeology largely run by professionals with a hierarchy of director(s), supervisors and labourers, who welcome volunteers, but who largely restrict their input to undemanding tasks — and certainly not to undertaking specialist work or contributing to the final report. Sedgeford declares that is different even on the front cover of its report, where the authorship is attributed to SHARP (the members of the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project).

What then do we call Fellow Neil Faulkner, whose brainchild this is and who set out in 1995 with a vision of ‘democratic archaeology’ that would break free of the restrictions of our ‘corporate, hierarchical and inhumane world’. Instead, Neil (sounding like a latter-day William Morris) believes in ‘labour as something potentially creative, democratic and empowering ... a way in which people can develop their own skills and achieve self-enrichment in the context of a collective endeavour in which they share ownership’.

Neil’s inspiring introduction (which should be a compulsory reading and debating topic for all archaeology undergraduates) develops this theme and explains how it worked in practice at Sedgeford. He signs himself ‘Founder-director’. He probably struggled with his conscience before adopting such a title: perhaps ‘band leader’ is the best analogy for Neil’s role in this brave experiment, for Neil’s vision, easily labelled ‘Marxist’ if you wanted to be dismissive, perfectly describes the way in which people come together to make music, for example — somebody takes a leadership role, but the enterprise of making music is essentially egalitarian.

And there is no evidence from this first monograph that the archaeology has been harmed by this approach — quite the contrary, this is an exemplary report which genuinely looks at the site at Sedgeford as part of its landscape and properly includes studies of geology, flora and fauna, vernacular architecture, documents, maps and placenames, natural resources, waterways and water management, transport routes and wetlands alongside the more conventional artefact and ecofact reports. The report is ruthlessly honest in setting out the questions that Sedgeford has not answered as well as those that it has: Neil rightly points out that, in respect to ‘the Dark Ages’, it is ‘we who are in the dark’, not the people of that period of time. And the report ends with that rare thing, a genuine invitation to anyone who has read the report and been inspired by it to come along and get involved in this continuing project.

Digging Sedgeford: a people’s archaeology, by SHARP; ISBN 9781909796089; Poppyland Publishing, 2014
Lamp flame

Binsey: Oxford’s Holy Place: its saint, village and people

In a similar sort of vein, this book about the hamlet of Binsey, located on Oxford’s north-western edge, is a labour of community love for a parish that has rich historical, archaeological and literary interest but that has long lived in the shadow of its bigger neighbour, about which whole libraries have been written. Now Binsey has its own history, thanks to our Fellow the Revd Martin Henig, who says that the volume contains ‘new editions and translations of the early lives of St Frideswide, contributed by our Fellow John Blair, together with another paper from John on the archaeology of the defensive enclosure around the church, now enriched by Roger Ainslie’s magnetometry survey. These very important papers take up half the book. As I am now Assistant Priest in the Osney Benefice, which includes St Margaret's Church, Binsey, I have written about “Binsey as Sacred Space” from two different though inseparable perspectives of antiquary and priest.

‘Our Fellow Julian Munby has written a very fine piece on the “Church and its Landscape”, also in his dual role as antiquary and as churchwarden. Fellow Lydia Carr has written a chapter on Binsey as a pilgrimage destination, bringing pilgrims from afar in the Middle Ages to St Frideswide’s Treacle Well and again in the twenty-first century, as a focal point of Oxford’s newly designated Thames Pilgrim Way. There are other significant contributions by, amongst others, Carl Boardman, former County Archivist, on the Church Registers, from Beatrice and Peter Groves on Gerard Manley Hopkins and his poem, “Binsey Polars”, and Edward Wakeling discusses the Alice in Wonderland connection with the “Treacle well”.’

Binsey: Oxford’s Holy Place: its saint, village and people, edited by Lydia Carr, Russell Dewhurst and Martin Henig; ISBN 9781905739844; Archaeopress, 2014
Lamp flame

Open-air Rock-art Conservation and Management

Fellow and Hon Vice-President Timothy Darvill is co-editor of this new book in the Routledge Studies in Archaeology series that explores work in a relatively new field. Tim says that ‘while much has been achieved in understanding, conserving and managing ancient imagery within the relatively protected environments of caves and rock-shelters, the same cannot be said of rock-art panels situated in the open air. Despite the fact that the number of known open-air sites has risen dramatically in recent decades there are few examples in which the weathering and erosion dynamics have been investigated with a view to developing proposals to mitigate the impact of natural and cultural processes. Much of the work being done in different parts of the world appears to be ad hoc, with minimal communication on such matters between teams and with the wider archaeological community.’

In response, Tim and his co-editor have brought together a number of rock-art conservation researchers to share their experiences through twenty well-illustrated chapters focusing on key themes, including documentation, weathering and erosion processes, conservation intervention, monitoring programmes, public presentation and the demands of ongoing research. The case studies look at open-air rock-art from many periods and cultural traditions across the Old and New Worlds and in World Heritage Sites and National Parks. All in all, the volume is a must for conservators, managers, researchers and administrators dealing with aesthetic and ethical issues as well as technical and practical matters relating to the conservation of open-air rock-art sites.

Open-air Rock-art Conservation and Management: state of the art and future perspectives, edited by Timothy Darvill and António Pedro Batarda Fernandes; ISBN 9780415843775; Routledge, 2014


The Collections Trust: trustees
Closing date: 7 November 2014

The Collections Trust is the culture sector’s organisation for promoting excellence and innovation in the development of collections. Chaired by Fellow Nick Merriman, Director of the Manchester Museum, it works with c 20,000 organisations worldwide from its base in London. The Trust is now seeking up to four new trustees with backgrounds in national museums, conservation/collections management in a higher education context, corporate or private finance, learning or engagement with collections or the charitable sector, and someone who can represent early career professionals in this sector. Please contact Nick Merriman if you are interested in being considered.

Aarhus University: Assistant or Associate Professorship in Sustainable Heritage Management
Salary not specified; closing date 17 October 2014

Further details can be found here.

University of Cambridge: University Lecturer in Classics (Ancient History)
Salary scale: £38,511 to £48,743; closing date 17 October 2014

Further details are available here.

Durham University: Lecturer in Classical Archaeology
Salary scale: £31,342 to £37,394; closing date 25 October 2014

Further details available here.

Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge: Director of Development
Salary scale: £51,702 to £54,841; closing date 20 October 2014

Find further details here.

And just for fun: Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club Foundation is looking for a Heritage Project Manager (£18,000) to work on a project ‘celebrating the history and traditions of a proud northern Rugby League Club and its association with the heritage of coal mining in the West Yorkshire town of Featherstone’. See further details here.

Propose a lecture

Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 5pm) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 1pm).

We welcome papers based on new research on themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past.

You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.


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

Share with a friend

Like Salon: Issue 327 on Facebook


You are receiving Salon because you are a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries or because you have asked to be put on the circulation list.

Subscribe to Salon, our fortnightly e-newsletter.
Unsubscribe (You will no longer receive Salon nor any other e-communication from the Society).
Forward this e-newsletter to a friend.

SAL logo

The Society cannot guarantee the accuracy of, or accept any responsibility for, the contents of Salon. Readers who wish to use or quote from items in Salon should always check the accuracy and current position with the source.

© 2014 Society of Antiquaries of London | Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE
Telephone: 020 7479 7080 | Website: