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Salon: Issue 425
9 April 2019

Next issue: 30 April

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.

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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary

In the Chapel at Exeter College, Oxford, last month, Sandy Nairne CBE FSA, former director of the National Portrait Gallery, and art historian Claire Donovan FSA, each gave a talk on the continuing importance of William Morris, FSA and the special significance of Kelmscott Manor.

This well-attended event was held to mark the conservation-led development of the Manor, which begins this autumn.  Both speakers are involved in the Kelmscott Manor campaign and have helped the Society raise over £5 million towards the project costs.
Exeter College was chosen for the event because it was where Morris studied between 1852 and 1855. Here Morris’s thinking began to develop, much enhanced through his encounters with others, such as the artist and designer Burne-Jones, who also shared a love of the medieval and who cared about the future of architecture and design. Morris and Burne-Jones matriculated at Exeter College on the same day, 2nd June 1852, but neither man was able to take up his place until January of the following year because there was no room. At the time, Exeter College was something of a building site because the old chapel was being demolished to make space for a new chapel designed by the fashionable architect George Gilbert Scott. The College had no undergraduate library in Morris’s day, and undergraduates were not allowed to use the Fellows’ Library, which held beautifully illustrated medieval manuscripts. But Morris and Burne-Jones were welcomed by the Bodleian, where they eagerly viewed the ‘painted books’ in Duke Humfrey’s Library and gazed out of traceried windows overlooking Exeter’s Fellow’s Garden. Morris’s knowledge of medieval manuscripts and their histories, which he developed as a result of these early studies, made him a most discerning and knowledgeable collector. Throughout the rest of his life, he continued to collect, initially printed books, then early printed incunabula, displaying a particular interest in page design and typeface. The items he collected often included wood-block illustration. His medieval manuscripts came later; these he collected intensively from l890, creating a truly important collection which ultimately included some of the greatest English illuminated manuscripts that survive from the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
The recent event at Exeter College was hosted by Professor Sir Rick Trainor, Rector of Exeter College, whose predecessor, Dr Lewis Richard Farnell, assisted May Morris in her wish to leave Kelmscott Manor to the University of Oxford in the late 1920s. Within twenty years, the University would conclude that its stewardship of the Manor was not to be long term, and in 1962 the Manor passed to the Society in accordance with May Morris’s wishes.
The Kelmscott and Morris: Past, Present and Future project will see the first major conservation works on the Kelmscott site for nearly 60 years.  To complete this project, the Society must raise £500,000.
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Reduced Library Services 

Temporary reduced library services

The Society’s library currently has two staff vacancies; details of these can be found on our website at
There will therefore be reduced library services for 3 months until there is a full complement of staff.
Research visits: Research visits by Fellows will continue as usual during the Library’s normal opening times (Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm). Fellows wishing to consult material that needs retrieving by staff (manuscripts, archives, prints and drawings, and printed items on closed access) are asked to order material in advance.
External researcher visits will be limited to no more than 2 researchers per day and will be strictly by appointment only. Our Guidelines for Researchers give information on how to make an appointment.
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This does not affect the photocopying service.
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Please check our website at for dates of planned closures.

Old Oswestry Hillfort Landscape Safe (For Now)

Campaigners who have been working for several years to stop residential development close to Old Oswestry hillfort are celebrating, after Shropshire Council declined to approve seven plots of nearby land for future housing in the Local Plan. ‘This new plan will go through until 2036’, said Andy Wigley FSA, Historic Environment Manager at Shropshire Council, who added that it was the Council’s job to assess any proposals. ‘There was a call for sites and any piece of land can be thrown into the pot. None of the sites were acceptable.’
HOOOH (Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort), formed in 2013, had argued that ‘not many’ people would benefit from the hypothetical housing, appearing to omit those who might come to live in the homes at a time of a national housing shortage in a list of beneficiaries: ‘the landowner, his consultants, the developer and a handful of Councillors and planners juggling with housing numbers’ (HOOH Campaign News, April 2014). However, heritage and environmental opposition to the proposals had been strong from the start, including from the Society of Antiquaries, and other organisations such as the Council for British Archaeology, RESCUE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Prehistoric Society, Oswestry and Border History and Archaeology Group, and Heritage Action (Heritage Journal).
In December 2014 Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn FSA, Sir Barry Cunliffe FSA, Ian Ralston FSA, the late Geoff Wainwright FSA, Richard Bradley FSA, Dennis Harding, Colin Haselgrove FSA, Niall Sharples FSA, Ian Armit FSA, John Creighton FSA (then the Society’s Director), Alex Gibson FSA and Alison Sheridan FSA wrote an open letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Eric Pickles) and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport MP (Sajid Javid), expressing ‘on-going concerns within the heritage community over Shropshire County Council’s proposal for housing development OSW004, a site for 117 houses, less than 300 m from the scheduled ancient monument’. Old Oswestry, they wrote, ‘is one of the greatest Iron Age hill forts in Britain’. OSW004 ‘would cause irreparable harm to the hillfort’s setting … contrary to planning legislation established to protect the historic environment,’ setting ‘an unacceptable precedent’. Approval to develop the farmland would ‘set a potentially calamitous precedent for the greater part of the nation’s historic environment’.
The case received widespread media coverage, including a feature on BBC Radio 4’s Making History in 2015, presented by Matt Pope FSA (centre in photo right, with Rachel Pope FSA and radio producer Nick Patrick). Tim Loughton MP FSA, Vice-Chair of the Archaeology All Party Parliamentary Group, said ‘a sort of heritage greenbelt’ was needed ‘around such important heritage sites as this’. ‘We should be viewing heritage as just as important a consideration [as new houses, flooding risk and congestion problems],’ he added, ‘because once you destroy its context, you don’t get it back.’ Barry Cunliffe, Rachel Pope and Bill Klemperer FSA also expressed their concerns on the programme.
Many other Fellows joined the fray. ‘It is not simply the banks and ditches which give [hillforts like Old Oswestry] meaning,’ said Catherine Hills FSA, ‘but [also] their topographical location and relationships with the surrounding natural and manmade landscape.’ OSW004, said Jo Caruth FSA, ‘does not take adequate account of the setting of the Scheduled Monument, it does not represent sustainable development, and it flies in the face of enormous local opposition.’ Alison Sheridan FSA said future generations should be allowed ‘to appreciate and understand [Old Oswestry’s] place in human history and prehistory.’ ‘There are some unusual features which we don’t quite understand,’ said Stewart Ainsworth FSA, which make Old Oswestry ‘unique and really quite unusual. The zones around the hillfort, the penumbra, are just as important as the hill. Even in prehistory these areas had meaning for religion and history.’ ‘Any development which impacts on the setting of the monument,’ said Mike Heyworth FSA, ‘would be totally inappropriate and goes against national planning policy.’
Archaeological understanding of Old Oswestry comes from an analytical earthwork survey by English Heritage's Archaeological Survey and Investigation Team (now Historic England) in 2008, and excavations by Bill Varley FSA, assisted by Bryan O’Neil FSA, in 1939 and 1940. Characteristically Varleydid not complete his work before his death in 1976, and the project was finally published by Gwilym Hughes FSA in 1996.
Old Oswestry is a large, well-preserved and particularly complex hillfort, and a significant local landmark; a row of substantial hollows at the western entrance is unique. It may have started in the Late Bronze Age, around 1,000 BC, and developed over centuries as successive earthwork, stone and timber ramparts were added. At its most extensive the defences occupied more land than the enclosed area, where people lived in round houses, farming the land beyond. In the eighth or ninth century AD the fort was incorporated into a stretch of Wat’s Dyke, a 40-mile-long boundary earthwork that runs parallel to nearby Offa’s Dyke. During the First World War soldiers, among them Wilfred Owen, were trained at the site, causing considerable damage.
'I grew up in Shropshire,’ Andy Wigley told the Shropshire Star (28 March), ‘and have visited the hillfort many times. I also studied hillforts and now it is my job. [Old Oswestry] is a nationally important monument and the campaigners who are fighting to save the hillfort have a right to go out there and be passionate about it.’

Violence at Pocklington Iron Age Chariot Site

It’s not unknown for law-breakers with metal detectors to threaten violence when challenged (I speak from personal experience), but an unfortunate incident in Yorkshire may be the first in England when at least one person defending an archaeological site has been physically assaulted.
On 6 April, Wildlife and Rural Crime for the Humberside Police Area went to Twitter (@HPWildlifeRural) to ask if anyone knew of a ‘silver Audi estate or similar car … involved in illegal metal detecting in Yorkshire… A similar car was involved in an assault around midnight 06/04/19 near Pocklington.’
The next day Delice Anderson (@Aseamlessbond) added more detail:
‘Apparently, two people who tried to stop looters near the site of the chariot burial in Pocklington were the subject of a serious assault and are now in hospital. First 4 numbers of the car reg may be BDO6.’
‘Don't know the exact official details,’ tweeted Paul Blinkhorn, an archaeologist (@R1100GSBlueNose), ‘but have been told one was hit in the face with a spade and had 30 stitches and the other has a broken leg where they [were] driven over by the car.’
On 8 April the Humberside police asked anyone with information about the assault of a man on Yapham Road in Pocklington to call 101, quoting reference 16/44596/19. ‘The man sustained a serious head injury, he remains in a stable condition in hospital following the incident where he had challenged men that were on his land illegally metal-detecting, known as nighthawking.’
Two Iron Age chariot burials have recently been excavated at Pocklington, ahead of a housing development, and featured widely in the media.

Brexit, Brutal Invaders and Stony British Steadfastness

Last month two editions of the weekly New Scientist featured stories about British archaeology on the front cover. You might think archaeologists would be pleased, but most of the commentary, some of the more prominent from Fellows, seemed to suggest not. In one of the magazines Timothy Glauser, a law professor dedicated to exposing false medical remedies, says that scientists should ‘speak up, in the news and on social media,’ when they ‘hear somebody using scientific language inaccurately’. Archaeologists have been doing just that – about articles in New Scientist. What’s going on?
Concern about the first story (9 March) was less to do with the science than its headline: ‘The original Brexit’. Richard Webb, Executive Editor, had written about the history of Britain’s physical connection with the continent over the past 800,000 years, and the origins of the English Channel. He describes the comings and goings of early humans across an isthmus. ‘You see a drop in accessibility during warm periods’ (when the sea level was higher), says Nick Ashton FSA. ‘The only times people could get across was when it was cold.’
That connection was eroded by water flowing south from the North Sea, first around 450,000 years ago, in a catastrophic overflow that created huge chalk cliffs between Dover and Calais, and again after 180,000 years ago. Lower sea levels 20,000 years ago exposed a wide land shelf between eastern Britain and Scandinavia, which was, from our perspective today, terminally flooded 8,200 years ago, leaving the UK separated from the continent.
The land shelf was conjured into public consciousness by Bryony Coles FSA in 1998. Hitherto, she argued in a ‘speculative survey’, archaeologists had referred to the land between Britain and the continent as a ‘bridge’. That concealed, she said, the significance of a landscape the size of southern England, rich in resources that would have appealed to hunter-gatherers. So she gave ‘the North Sea Plain’ a proper name, after a sandbank where in 1931 a trawler had brought up a hunter’s harpoon point made 13,500 years ago: Doggerland. Orme drew maps, imagining how Doggerland looked. Since then considerable evidence has accumulated for lost coasts and rivers, thanks especially to seabed surveys by the oil and gas industry exploited by a project led by Vince Gaffney FSA and the late Kenneth Thomson. And now the submerged land has returned to the imagination, featuring in two well-reviewed books. In Time Song: Searching for Doggerland (February), Julia Blackburn discovers Doggerland history (talking to, among others, Nick Ashton, Bryony Orme, Martin Bell FSA, Jim Leary FSA and Dave Field FSA) blending past and present. Doggerland (March) is the title of Ben Smith’s first novel; writing in the Guardian Stuart Evers describes it as a book set in the near future on a North Sea windfarm, with conversations ‘reminiscent of Beckett or perhaps Pinter’.
Roger Cox wrote in the Scotsman that it was ‘impossible to read [Time Song] without Brexit in mind’ (he found the book ‘magical, mesmerising’). It was this link between prehistory and Brexit (New Scientist compared an ancient strip of land between the Netherlands and England as ‘a backstop that prevented Britain’s exit from Europe for the next 150,000 years’) that caught the attention of Kenny Brophy FSA. He had recently written an article, published in the December Antiquity, proposing that ‘any archaeological discovery in Europe can – and probably will – be exploited to argue in support of, or against, Brexit.’ In ‘The Brexit hypothesis and prehistory’ (a title consciously modelled on ‘The invasion hypothesis and prehistory’, by Grahame Clark FSA, Antiquity 1966), Brophy writes that ‘Examples demonstrate how archaeological and ancient DNA [aDNA] studies are appropriated for political ends.’ His thesis is discussed in the same Antiquity by Chiara Bonacchi FSA, Andrew Gardner FSA and Nathan Schlanger. ‘These calls for disciplinary solidarity, advocacy and activism’, concludes Brophy in an afterword, ‘are all the more vital as we await the inevitable post-Brexit Brexit hypothesis mutation, as suggested by Schlanger’s (2018) dystopian vision of Union flags draped from Stonehenge. We will all need to be vigilant.’
Brophy continued the argument in The Conversation (12 February), writing that ‘The [UK’s] feverish Brexit neurosis … has poisoned the well of public discourse. It has even infiltrated narratives about our ancient past.’ As an example, he quoted a Daily Mail headline to a story inspired by an English Heritage press release: ‘Stonehenge exhibition of ancient artefacts reveals how Britain has ALWAYS had a fraught relationship with ‘Europe’’ – ‘offer[ing] legitimacy’, adds Brophy, ‘to the Brexit process as prehistorically the natural state of things.’
In its first feature New Scientist had used Brexit as a hook to promote an informed article. The second feature, felt critics, distorted archaeological understanding. Drawing on recent aDNA research, science writer Colin Barras claims that Stonehenge is ‘a memorial to a vanished people … wiped out by incomers,’ the Yamnaya and their descendants from northern Europe, who might be ‘the most murderous people in history’. Media picked up the theme. ‘The most violent group of people who ever lived,’ headlined Mail Online: ‘Horse-riding Yamnaya tribe who used their huge height and muscular build to brutally murder and invade their way across Europe than 4,000 years ago.’ The Sun ran a similar story, and both quoted the archaeologist who was Barras’s main source: Kristian Kristiansen FSA.
The controversy dates back to 2017, when a large aDNA study went online ahead of peer-review publication in Nature (March 2018). As I wrote in Salon at the time, the paper (among whose many authors were at least 11 Fellows) argued that a substantial immigration into Britain from around 2500 BC was followed by the almost complete replacement of the native genome – reported in the press as ‘Intruders forced out ancient farmers that built famous relics such as Stonehenge.’ A debate followed about the extent to which aDNA and archaeological data were revealing different narratives about the same societies, the dangers of creating sweeping theories that relied on small and possibly unrepresentative samples, and ways of interpreting the evidence that did not involve great migrations (such as the movement of women at marriage).
Nuance was not the first concern of the other New Scientist feature. Supported by dramatic illustrations by Simon Pemberton – perceptively analysed in a blog by Katy Whitaker FSA (5 April) – Barras focuses on the idea that genome change, both on the continent and particularly in Britain, was the outcome of a violent annihilation of an earlier native population. ‘I’ve become increasingly convinced there must have been a kind of genocide,’ Kristiansen tells Barras, perpetrated, explains the science writer, by horse-riding people represented in the ground by ‘Yamnaya-like artefacts and behaviour’. David Reich, a lead geneticist in the research, supports this view, referring to an aDNA study in Iberia where he sees ‘males from outside … displacing local males ... almost completely’. Barras also talks to Volker Heyd, an archaeologist who is sceptical of the violent migrants thesis, and qualifies his conclusions (‘Even if they weren’t the most murderous people in history, there is no doubting that they spread far and wide’). But it was New Scientist that upset some archaeologists.
Tom Booth, a bioarchaeologist at the Natural History Museum, argued on Twitter that there are many other possible readings of the data: ‘my view is that all the ancient DNA can say on its own at the moment is that there were large-scale population shifts across Europe resulting from movements of people carrying ancestry originating in the Pontic steppe … certainly in Britain, there is no evidence for a surge in violence at the beginning of the Beaker period’ (@Boothicus, 31 March).
Rachel Pope FSA (@preshitorian, 5 April) suggested that ‘Not all change is (necessarily) an indication of mass migration of rampaging big-men (and an accompanying genocide/rape). Change can also be about cooperation and love.’ How do we tell? ‘Interpretation based on good data, hard evidence and reason,’ she suggests. ‘Multi-variate, inter-disciplinary research across years. Not an unsupported, too-rapid, pop interpretation of aDNA data, in a publication that really should know better!’
‘Wonder if anyone has bought the film rights for this yet?’ tweeted David McOmish FSA (@DavidSMcOmish, 30 March): ‘The Yamnaya, evil superheroes...’ Kenny Brophy (@urbanprehisto, 29 March) left his copy of New Scientist on the train … unread.
It’s not going to go away yet. In his series Simon Says on National Public Radio (transcribed under the headline, ‘Can Stonehenge Offer A Lesson For Brexit?’, 6 April), Scott Simon says, ‘Something in the standing stone slabs in that ancient ceremonial site seems to signify stony British steadfastness… even when the slabs of Stonehenge were being raised, people understood they were stronger together than apart.’
‘Load of old rubbish,’ tweeted Kenny Brophy.

A Museum for the Palace of Westminster

As Parliamentarians think about moving out of the Palace of Westminster in 2025 to allow uninterrupted urgent repairs to the historic, largely Victorian buildings, Ed Vaizey MP, former Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, is looking further ahead: he suggests the representatives should never return. In a piece in Apollo (1 April) he argues that Charles Barry’s design, in contrast to the neoclassical Capitol and White House buildings in Washington, was a Gothic ‘throwback to a bygone era’. ‘Until recently equipped with its own shooting range,’ he writes, ‘and with its swathes of male politicians commemorated in sculpture or other art forms, it is a building so aggressively grandiose that it’s aggressively unwelcoming.’
‘While this is the most diverse Parliament yet,’ he says, it still has a long way to go to properly reflect the British population. ‘A heritage building fosters heritage politics.’ The debating chambers are rectangular and designed for aggressive intimacy, he seems to say, not circular for open sharing. A full decant ‘provides the perfect opportunity to make the refurbished Palace a museum and permanently move Parliament to a new, fit-for-purpose, modern building.’
Responding, Michael Hall FSA asserts that ‘a fundamental principle of architectural conservation [is] that the best purpose for a building is the one for which it was designed. Any work of architecture may be adaptable to new uses, but only if its design, and in particular its plan, are sufficiently flexible.’
‘One potential advantage of conversion into a museum’, he writes, ‘might be that it could reduce the cost of refurbishment, currently estimated at around £3.5 bn … Yet a large part of that cost is repair work, which will be necessary even if Parliament abandons its old home. Is the taxpayer likely to welcome the expenditure of billions to achieve a museum… ?'
‘In any case,' he continues, 'the Palace of Westminster cannot be just a museum. Although there would be a public willing to pay to see the principal interiors – Westminster Hall, the two chambers, the lobby and the royal processional route – the majority of the building is no more than long, narrow corridors and small offices of little interest to a visitor. Such parts of the building would require a use of their own.’
Besides, he concludes, ‘Charles Barry and A W N Pugin were brilliantly successful in creating a setting for the ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament… [a tradition that is] ancient in almost every detail. Properly read, it – and the building that houses it – explains more honestly than is usually appreciated the grounds on which power in Britain rests… as the example of Parliament struggling with the executive to take control of the Brexit negotiations demonstrates, it is a matter of daily and sometimes urgent political reality – very far from a museum, in fact.’
If I may be allowed to make a proposal, as editor of Salon and in no way representing the views of the Society or necessarily anyone else. The ‘long, narrow corridors and small offices of little interest to a visitor’ are exactly what a museum needs behind the scenes. Vaizey’s proposal would be good for Parliament, and the Palace would make an excellent, long-pondered site for a museum of British archaeology. Visitors to the UK, and indeed many residents, are often confused by the name of the British Museum, which is a museum of the world in Britain, not a museum about Britain – there is none. Westminster Palace could house an equivalent to the much-admired Musée National de Préhistoire in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, southern France (itself inside a 16th century chateau), but featuring most of the past million years of human occupation, into the 19th century that saw the fire that prepared the site for Barry and Pugin’s masterpiece.
The timing is right. Our national ancient story has been transformed since 1990, partly as a result of legislation passed on the last day of Margaret Thatcher’s government, which created a world of development-led excavation, and partly because of a revolution in archaeological sciences, most recently with the arrival of ancient DNA studies on a grand scale. There is a lot to tell. The excavations, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, another Parliamentary success for heritage, have generated an enormous amount of material, of value not only to researchers, but also a vast pool of artefacts and human and animal remains from which to select for display. In fact there is so much material, there is a recognised archives crisis across the country. Where, archaeologists have been wondering, might it all be stored?
The Place of Westminster is already a museum, with its stunning architecture, its history and its collections of art, sculpture and documents. There is more than enough to endow a new building with history and tradition, and there are too many ceremonies to need to take them all away from Westminster. We seem to be witnessing a potential re-invention of democracy. Why not a re-invention of its seat too?

Stonehenge Secrets Revealed in Kansas?

Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries, at the Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren, Belgium until 21 April (above), will soon be travelling to a reinvented railway hotel, at Union Station, Kansas City (open 25 May till 29 September).
This ‘large-scale exhibition is full of multimedia installations’, says the Gallo-Roman Museum, and features ‘authentic objects from internationally respected British museums … showcased in a powerful and stylish but no-frills setting.’ At Union Station ‘You will encounter 300 original artefacts (150 of which have never traveled outside Europe) and learn what 20 years of groundbreaking scientific research has revealed. … The silent icon that is Stonehenge will be transformed into a monumental story rivaled only by that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.’ ‘World-renowned archeologist’ and exhibition curator Mike Parker Pearson FSA will be in Kansas to open the show.
Aside from the displays, which seem to promise something larger than has ever been seen in a temporary Stonehenge exhibition in the UK, what caught my eye was a promotional video on the Union Station website. It includes a brief but extraordinary aerial film-clip showing the best photographic record I’ve seen of grass parchmarks revealed in 2013’s hot, dry summer; the Kansas film appears to have been shot in the same year. The marks were described by Mark Bowden FSA and colleagues in Antiquity (2014). As well as showing old archaeological excavation trenches around the stones, not all of them so precisely mapped before, dead grass also revealed previously unseen – even in high resolution geophysical surveys – suspected prehistoric features, including holes for missing stones and a possible new ring of pits.
The archaeologists’ survey of these marks, which appeared and went within a few days and were first noticed by Simon Banton and Tim Daw, was ‘undertaken rapidly in difficult circumstances and poor conditions’. The best published photographic image, created by Damian Grady for English Heritage (left) shows less detail than the film clip (above): compare, for example, the excavation trench around the three standing stones at the very top of the video clip with the same stones in the English Heritage image (upper left, 10–11 o’clock). There is the suggestion of a stone pit to the right of the single stone, and it is likely that further views in the film sequence would show many features beyond the stones. Where is this film? It should be tracked down.

Fellows (and Friends)

Greek Art in Motion, edited by Rui Morais, Delfim Leão and Diana Rodríguez Pérez with Daniela Ferreira, is a collection of studies in honour of Sir John Boardman FSA. It stems from an international congress held in his honour at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in 2017 on the occasion of his 90th birthday. The book’s many contributors include Lucilla Burn FSA, Paul Cartledge FSA, Thomas Mannack FSA, Olga Palagia FSA, Gocha R Tsetskhladze FSA, Claudia Wagner FSA and Susan Walker FSA. The congress’s keynote speakers, ‘as friends and students of Sir John, present a debate and a problematisation of Greek Art from the archaeological and historical point of view.’ The themes of Sculpture, Architecture, Terracotta and Metal, Greek Pottery, Coins, Greek History and Archaeology, Greeks Overseas, Reception and Collecting, and Art and Myth have all ‘greatly benefited from Sir John's researches throughout his long and distinguished academic career’.

‘What is the point of this story?’ asked Chris Skidmore FSA on Twitter (@CSkidmoreUK, 7 April). An ‘Observer investigation [had] reveal[ed]’ that ‘Cambridge University spent more than £1.6m on works of art last year’. Among items acquired (in this case by the Fitzwilliam Museum) was a bust of Queen Victoria, saved from export and described by Lowell Libson FSA as ‘a tour de force of marble carving … made at the apogee of British power’. The spending was ‘not a good look’, Paul Cottrell of the University and College Union told the Observer, claiming that ‘Research shows that students value substance over style and that they want to see the hard work of staff properly rewarded.’ ‘Art of historic interest’, tweeted Skidmore, ‘saved for the nation by the Fitzwilliam Museum, using funds raised by donations and grant. We need responsible journalism that doesn’t use universities for click bait.’
Bryony Coles FSA (of Doggerland fame, see above) would like beavers to return to the wild in Wales. In anticipation, she has written Avanke, Bever, Castor: The Story of Beavers in Wales, taking her title from Humphrey Llwyd, who wrote in 1559 of ‘a great numbre of castors, which maye be Englished bevers, and are called in Welshe avanke’. After an introduction to beaver ecology, the book chronicles what Coles has been able to discern of their Welsh story, starting with archaeological evidence, the oldest being teeth from Pontnewydd cave (where Neanderthal remains have also been found), and more recent including Bronze Age gnawed wood. Most of the book deals with historic centuries, where Coles’s study breaks new ground, using documents, placenames, maps and field observations to identify possible former beaver tunnels and lakes, suggesting, as is emerging with other animals now extinct in the UK, that beavers survived into more recent times than has been assumed.

The Times headed a letter from a very long list of names, among them Stephen Daniels FSA and Rosemary Hill FSA, ‘ROW OVER WRECKING OF PARKS ARCHIVE’ (29 March). In the course of giving grants for the restoration of public parks, they wrote, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (as it is now known) had since 1996 accumulated ‘an unrivalled hard-copy archive of these parks, their history and design, the trees that are growing in them, their ecology, and the way they are used by the public today.’ The NLHF has destroyed it, ‘claiming the high costs of storage and difficulties with copyright… Offers were made before and during the shredding of the archive to take it on at little or no cost in order to preserve it. The NLHF would not say where it was stored, would not give access to it, would not detail the financial and legal opinions on which the decision was based and continued regardless with its programme of destruction.' ‘What right,’ the letter asks, does the NLHF have ‘to act against the national interest’? David Jacques, a former English Heritage inspector, told the paper that he had been warning the fund for 25 years ‘about the historical importance of the information that was being gathered and the need to ensure that it could be preserved for posterity’.

Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive of Historic England, is unhappy about a high-profile planning consent given in the City of London. ‘The Tulip’, whose 305-metre-high tower is exceeded in Europe only by London’s Shard, is designed by Foster + Partners and will rise from the roots of their Gherkin. With a thin circular shaft and a swollen tip that features gondola pod rides and 360-degree city views, it blends the Post Office Tower with the London Eye. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, opposed it as the public will have to pay to visit the viewing platform, and for the harm it will bring to protected views of the Tower of London. ‘The setting of the Tower of London,’ said Wilson, ‘has already been damaged by the Walkie Talkie and it would be a great shame if that mistake was repeated.’

Prehistoric and Early Medieval Landscapes at North Park Farm, Bletchingley, Surrey, by Nick Marples and Rob Poulton FSA, describes the results of excavations ahead of quarrying between 1997 and 2014. These range from evidence for Mesolithic hunter-gatherer activity, including an ‘enormous flint scatter that lay within a valley hollow,’ to a medieval deer park and a pillow mound and associated vermin trap. ‘Important and rare evidence of Early Iron Age ironworking was identified,’ and ‘several roadside ditches of … a green lane’. This route, say the authors, had been used from the Bronze Age onwards (perhaps even as far back as the Mesolithic period), as part of a transhumance economy, linking the North Downs and the Weald. The dramatic cover photo shows the post holes of a large (6m by 8m) 12th-century building of possible industrial function.

Mary Beard FSA is to give the 2018–19 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, on six days in May. Speaking under the title The Ancient World and Us: from Fear and Loathing to Enlightenment and Ethics, she will explore ‘why the classical world still matters and what ethical dilemmas the study of classics raises (and has always raised)’; she hopes to shows ‘how antiquity can continue to challenge the moral certainties of modernity.’ Suitably challenged, the Sunday Times (7 April) found the most interesting thing about the lectures to be that they come with ‘Content guidance’ – ‘This series addresses adult themes’ – or, in the paper’s words, ‘a trigger warning’. ‘The lectures take off from an occasion in the Colosseum about 20 years ago’, Beard tells the Sunday Times, ‘when … I snooped a little on what the school parties were being told. It turned out all the teachers did much the same thing. First, ask the class what happened in the Colosseum (answer: words to the effect of “kill people for pleasure”) then say “Would we do that now?”. Chorus of “No, miss”. Now, I am absolutely not wanting to defend gladiatorial games but I am interested in questioning our overconfident sense of moral superiority.’
Writing in Prospect magazine (2 April), Charlotte Higgins FSA says that, contrary to common opinion when she was studying Latin and Greek at university, ‘a degree in classics can prepare you for more or less anything’. ‘I know classicists’ she says, ‘who work in television and film, classicists who are poets and novelists and playwrights, classicists at tech startups and NGOs, a bunch who have landed up in law and finance, and some in journalism, like me.’

The Harris Matrix and its associated methods, published in Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy (1979, 1989), writes Edward Harris FSA, ‘continue to affect world archaeology via that British invention of 1973’. The latest translation has just appeared in French, with text of the 1989 edition by Anne-Sophie Murray. The book and seven of its ten foreign language editions (Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Slovenian and Spanish) are available for free downloading at, courtesy of the author and supporting institutions of the University of Vienna and the National Museum of Bermuda. Since revised to fit with current devices, says Harris, the website was devised over a decade ago by Wolfgang Neubauer and Klaus Löcker of the University of Vienna. ‘Thousands of downloads have since been made by students and professionals around the world.’

Suffolk Archaeology has merged operations with Cotswold Archaeology. The two companies have collaborated on projects in East Anglia in recent years on projects such as Sizewell Nuclear Power Station and the cable connection to East Anglia One offshore wind farm. Suffolk Archaeology’s premises in Needham Market are now trading as the Suffolk office of Cotswold Archaeology. Suffolk County Council decided to outsource the Field Team, whose roots go back to the County Archaeological Service created in 1974, as an independent Community Interest Company in 2015. It now conducts around 150 projects a year with a staff of around 40. ‘Suffolk’s core operating area of Suffolk and surrounding counties is a great match with the territory we currently service from our office in Milton Keynes,’ said Neil Holbrook FSA, Cotswold’s Chief Executive.
John Barrett FSA and Michael J Boyd have written From Stonehenge to Mycenae: The Challenges of Archaeological Interpretation. With a preface by Colin Renfrew FSA, the book ‘reconsiders how we can understand archaeology on a grand scale by abandoning the claims that material remains stand for the people and institutions that produced them, or that genetic change somehow caused cultural change. … The radiocarbon revolution made the old view that the architecture of Mycenae influenced the building of Stonehenge untenable. But the recent use of “big data” and of genetic histories have led archaeology back to a worldview where “big problems” are assumed to require “big solutions” … Stonehenge did not require an architect from Mycenae for it to be built,’ says the blurb, ‘but the builders of Stonehenge and Mycenae would have shared a mutual recognition of the kinds of humans that they were, and the kinds of practices these monuments were once host to.’

On 26 March the government said it would no longer reveal why it has called in planning applications on those rare occasions when decisions are taken out of the hands of local planning authorities, or why it has not done so. James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) explained that calling in decisions, which since 2001 have been made public, are ‘inherently about process and not the merits of the application’. SAVE Britain’s Heritage is dismayed at the change. ‘Mr Brokenshire’s decision is a slap in the face for openness in planning decisions in favour of arbitrary government,’ said Marcus Binney FSA, executive president of SAVE, in a statement (2 April). ‘Developers have an automatic right to appeal against a refusal of planning permission but those with environmental, architectural, historic concerns have a much more limited chance of securing a proper debate. The result is that ministers’ call-in decisions will now be more likely to dodge the public scrutiny that they richly deserve.’

Historic England has commissioned Jason Wood FSA, a specialist in the public history and heritage of sport and leisure – and football grounds in particular – to run a project to capture memories of the old stadium at Bootham Crescent, as York City Football Club plays it final full season. The last 25 years have witnessed comprehensive demolition, redevelopment and relocation of football grounds, says Wood. Many have disappeared under housing estates, supermarkets and retail parks. Research has shown that grounds are keenly valued, conveying intense senses of identity and belonging, with the power to stir hearts and minds. Bootham Crescent, says Wood, offers an opportunity ‘to test imaginative ways of involving people for whom the ground holds great meaning, and to explore why they value the site and how it should be memorialised.’ Videos documenting the project can be seen on Historic England’s YouTube channel.

Stalking Awareness

This week (8–12 April) is National Stalking Awareness Week, organised by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the National Stalking Consortium. With her father’s support, I am presenting Fellows with the story of Alice Ruggles, daughter of Sue Hills and Clive Ruggles FSA. Alice was murdered in 2016. The crime of stalking, and the appalling levels of intimidation and violence that can accompany it, remain poorly recognised by authorities and members of the public. Alice’s family are keen to increase awareness and understanding.
Alice Ruggles started a relationship via social media in October 2015 with a man serving in the British Army, who was then stationed in Afghanistan. They met in January 2016 when he was based in Edinburgh, 130 miles from where Alice lived. She ended the relationship in early August that year, after she discovered that he had been lying to her and been active on dating sites. After this he routinely stalked and harassed Alice, and contacted her family and friends, up to 12 October 2016 when he brutally murdered her in her flat. She was 24. In April 2017 the perpetrator was found guilty of the murder, and sentenced to prison for at least 22 years.
A Domestic Homicide Review was completed by the Gateshead Community Safety Board in December 2018. There are 32 key findings, making it clear that authorities had missed significant signs of concern about Alice’s relationship with the perpetrator. Both police and Army had failed in their responsibilities: among several police errors, ‘a missed opportunity’ was the ‘failure of officers to recognise the signs and identify stalking,’ despite the perpetrator having had a ‘previous history of stalking behaviour and coercive control.’ The Army ‘failed to record concerns about the perpetrator’s behaviour on several occasions,’ and there is ‘a lack of understanding about measures the Army can take to manage the perpetrator’s behaviours.’
The public are generally unaware of stalking behaviours and associated risks, says the report, recommending ‘urgent action … to increase awareness of cyber-related stalking both for the wider public and those involved in criminal justice.’ Digital stalking ‘is often a significant factor in abusive relationships and needs to be robustly reflected within future risk assessments.’ There is no national definition of stalking, and no National Stalking Register.
Alice's family welcomed the report, saying that ‘it is important to us that her story is not forgotten. It is equally important that failings are acknowledged, lessons learned, and improvements made so that if similar situations arise in the future they may have better outcomes… We hope that the Army will now realise that they have an important part to play when one of their soldiers is accused of criminal behaviour against a civilian and, like other agencies, will proceed to learn lessons from Alice's case.’
The family set up the Alice Ruggles Trust, a charitable organisation. The Trust ‘exists to raise awareness of coercive control and stalking, to ensure that relevant legislation is effective and adhered to, and to bring about lasting improvements in the management of perpetrators and the protection of victims.’
Sue Hills and Clive Ruggles told the Homicide Review that they believe that Alice’s death was preventable. ‘We find it difficult to comprehend that, although Alice described in her first phone call to the police that she was being stalked and provided ample evidence, the police and the Army were unable to support and protect her.”
Alice's sister, Emma, a serving member of the British Army, thinks both the Army and the police need to take similar situations more seriously: ‘Failure to do so,’ she told the Review, ‘would show a blatant lack of regard for my sister, the nightmare she lived in her last few months and the sustained, painful, violent last few minutes of her life.’ ‘I think it is important that people understand that this is not something that only meek, timid, submissive women are at risk of,’ she said. ‘Alice was none of those things.’

Anniversary Meeting

Tuesday 30th April 

There will be a ballot for election of Fellows before the meeting which will open in the Meeting Room at 4.00pm and close at 4.20pm. Visitors will not be admitted to the Meeting Room during the ballot.

The Anniversary Meeting of the Society will be held in the Meeting Room, Burlington House, on TUESDAY 30th April 2019 at 5.00pm. Tea will be served in the Council Room from 4.15pm.

The Ballots for Director and for two Ordinary Members of Council are uncontested this year and therefore will not take place (as provided for in Order no 1, para 4.2). The Fellows who are candidates for the vacant posts are:
As Director (second term):
Professor Christopher Scull FSA MIFA
As Ordinary Council Members:
Professor Vincent Gaffney MBE FSA
Dr Samantha J Lucy FSA

In order to meet the requirement of Statute 4.4 that one third of the Ordinary Members of Council retire each year, we have asked the following, who are the longest serving members of Council but who have not completed their three years of office, to retire and immediately be co-opted to complete their agreed terms:
Dr John Maddison FSA (Vice President)
Dr Elizabeth Hallam-Smith CB, FSA, FRHistS, FRSA
Dr Alan Lloyd FSA

The business to be conducted at the Anniversary Meeting is as follows:
  1. To thank the Director and Ordinary Members of Council whose term of service has come to an end
  2. To note the (re-) election of the above-named Fellows as Director and as Ordinary Members of Council for the period 2019-2022 (see overleaf for a list of Officers and Council for 2019-20).
  3. To approve the appointment of Kingston Smith LLP as the Society’s auditors for 2019-20
  4. To note the names of Fellows deceased and amoved during 2018-19
  5. To note and thank the Benefactors of the Society for 2018-19
  6. To award the Society’s medals to Mr Peter Cormack MBE, FSA and Mr Martin Levy FSA
The President’s Anniversary Address will follow.
                                                                  JOHN S.C. LEWIS, FSA
                                                                  General Secretary and Returning Officer
                                                                        March 2019

Library Vacancies

 Employer:                    Society of Antiquaries of London

Location:                      London

Salary:                         £25,591 - £31,989 per annum

Status:                         Permanent

Ref:                             SAL/SERL

We are looking to recruit a Serials and E-Resources Librarian 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 5-year 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.

Closing date for applications is 8.00am on Monday 29th April 2019.

For more information and an application pack click here  

 Employer:                    Society of Antiquaries of London

Location:                      London

Salary:                         Pro rata £25,591 - £31,989 per annum

(£20,472 - £25, 591 for 28 hours per week)

Status:                         Permanent, 28 hours per week (Tuesday – Friday)

Ref:                             LIB/USL

We are looking to recruit to the post of User Services Librarian 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.

Closing date for applications is 8.00am on Monday 29th April 2019.

For more information and an application pack click here  

Library Closure

The Library will be completely closed to all researchers (Fellows and external researchers) from Wednesday 17th April and will re-open on Wednesday 24th April.

Details of this and other planned closures can be found on the library webpage

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 (

Introductory Tours for Fellows

If you've never visited Burlington House or had an introduction to the Library and Collections, please join an introductory tour. You'll meet the Society's staff, learn about your Fellowship benefits, and discover more from the collections at Burlington House. 

Forthcoming Public Events

Conferences and Seminars

Public Lectures

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

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

  • 11-13 October 2019: Weekend visit to the Pembrokeshire area. Programme to be arranged.
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.
  • 14 May 2019: “Petuaria ReVisited – Rediscovering Roman Brough and environs” by Dr Peter Halkon FSA
The meeting to be held in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent, York. The Bar Convent  ( is very near the Nunnery Lane car park, Nunnery Lane, York, YO23 1AA. The meeting will begin with refreshments at 18.00, with the presentation at 18.30, concluding with a meal organised by our new steward, Nicola Rogers at 20.00.  For those who wish to join us I would be grateful, for catering purposes, if you could let me know if you are able to attend the meeting as well as the meal following. Please remember that you may now bring up to five guests to the meeting. Dr Ailsa Mainman FSA (

Other Heritage Events

9 April: Bristol (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Andrew Foyle will focus on Bristol. Details online.

10 April: Studying Orchards in Eastern England (London)
Orchards have formed an important part of our culture for centuries, but investigations of their history are hampered by persistent myths concerning the age of particular examples, and about the antiquity of the fruit varieties they contain. These issues are being addressed by a research project based at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. This talk will discuss the history of different kinds of orchard – farmhouse, institutional, commercial, and as elements in designed landscapes. It will also explore a range of related issues, including the age and origins of ‘traditional’ fruit varieties. The talk by Tom Williamson, University of East Anglia, is part of the Gardens Trust’s Winter Lecture Season 2018–19. Details online, and contact Sally Jeffery FSA, or 0208 994 6969.

13 April: Would an Institute for Detectorists Aid Revision of The Treasure Act & implementation of the Valetta Convention? (London)
How does hobby metal detecting relate to professional archaeological practice? Does England comply with Article 3 of the Valetta Convention? The proposed changes to the Treasure Act 1996 and consultation on future ways forward – what should we say? RESCUE’s annual Open Meeting will look at these issues, still hotly debated after 20 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Keith Westcott will speak on his plans for an Institute of Detectorists. Discussion panel: Michael Lewis FSA, Tim Pestell FSA, Jude Plouviez FSA and Sarah Poppy. Details online.
14–26 April: UK Archaeological Sciences Conference 2019 (Manchester)
The UKAS 2019 conference will take place in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB). Themes include site interpretation, cultural heritage resource management, trace element analysis and material sourcing, origins and spread of agriculture, health and disease, isotopes and subsistence strategies, imaging techniques, portable techniques and environmental archaeology and geoscience. Details online.

15 April: Scripting Spadework: Publishing Archaeology in the 19th/20th C (London)
A talk by Amara Thornton FSA in a monthly series given by curators, academics, and PhD researchers in the Virginia Woolf Building, King's College. Her talk will draw on her 2018 publication, Archaeologists in Print. Details online.

16 April: Derby (London)
The Georgian Group is holding a series of lectures exploring aspects of the Georgian architecture of a number of towns and cities in the context of their social and economic history. This lecture by Max Craven FSA will focus on Derby. Details online.

16 April: Project Management in Archaeology: an Introduction (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is designed for those who are new to the role of project management and will draw on the extensive experience of the tutors in development-led archaeology. While some familiarity with development-led archaeology will be beneficial, the course will be relevant to those taking on project management roles generally within the historic environment sector. Health and Safety management not covered. Course Director: Nick Shepherd, independent heritage consultant and CEO of FAME. Speakers: Ben Ford, Senior Project Manager, Oxford Archaeology; Anne Dodd, Strategy Delivery Officer and former Head of Post-Excavation, Oxford Archaeology. Details online.

27 April: Four Northamptonshire Churches (Wansford)
Michael Thompson FSA and Jean Wilson FSA will lead a tour of monuments with the Church Monuments Society in the churches of Thornhaugh, Apethorpe, Fotheringhay and Blatherwyck. Details online.

29 April: The Formation of Renaissance Taste in Early Victorian Britain: The Second Duke and Duchess of Sutherland as Collectors of Florentine Copies (London)
Giuseppe Rizzo, PhD candidate at the Rupert-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
2 May: New Research on Roman Temples in Britain: Recent Findings from Hayling Island and Meonstoke, Hampshire (Brighton)
Tony King FSA will give the Holleyman Archaeology Lecture for 2019 at a meeting of the University of Sussex Archaeological Society, at the University of Sussex, Falmer. This lecture will review recent investigations at Meonstoke and Hayling Island which have given insights into Roman sacred landscapes, and how villas and temples interact. Details online.

2 May: Stratigraphic Analysis in Archaeology (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. The course is designed for those who are familiar with the processes of excavation and stratigraphic recording, and are looking to develop their skills in the post-excavation stages of analysis, dating, interpretation and description. The course will comprise a combination of presentations to explain theory and approaches, and practical sessions providing opportunities for participants to work with real data. Course Director: Victoria Ridgeway, editor and manager of Pre-Construct Archaeology’s monograph series. Tutor: Rebecca Haslam, Senior Archaeologist, Pre-Construct Archaeology. Details online.

4 May: Sussex Archaeology Symposium 2019 (Lewes)
The Sussex Archaeology Symposium is an annual event held by the Sussex School of Archaeology which showcases recent archaeological research in the county and beyond. Speakers include Jaime Kaminski FSA and David Rudling FSA, exploring thousands of years of the human past in South-East England. Email, details online.
May 8: The Protestant Cemetery in Rome (London)
Nicholas Stanley-Price FSA will talk at the Dissenters' Chapel, Kensal Green Cemetery at 6.30 for 7pm. The Protestant Cemetery in Rome is the resting place of poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley among many British and other eminent individuals. Stanley-Price has written on the history of the Cemetery, and will be pleased to answer questions on its management after the talk.
8 May: Dr Andrew Ducarel, Lambeth Librarian 1757-85, Seen through his Brother’s Eyes (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. Andrew Ducarel FSA, the eldest of three Huguenot brothers, was a successful ecclesiastical lawyer, Librarian at Lambeth, historian of the palaces of Lambeth and Croydon and of the architecture of Normandy. In The Two Brothers, a new book by Robin Myers FSA, it is his younger brother James who takes centre stage, writing letters to Andrew in London about his life in France. Details online.
8–9 May: The Setting of Heritage Assets and Places (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. In the context of official guidance and wide-ranging experience of practical casework, this course explains why the setting of historic places matters, and the principles and practical skills of sound assessment and decision-making. Course Director: George Lambrick, with Stephen Carter (Headland Archaeology), Ian Houlston (LDA Design), Richard Morrice (Historic England), Julian Munby (Oxford Archaeology), Michael Pirie (Green College), Ken Smith (formerly Peak District National Park), Karin Taylor (National Trust) and David Woolley QC (formerly Landmark Chambers). Details online.

9-10 May: Collections in Circulation: Mobile Museum Conference (London)
This conference will bring together scholars from the UK and overseas with a shared interest in the mobility of museum collections, past and present. Their papers will address various aspects of the history of the circulation of objects and their re-mobilisation in the context of object exchange, educational projects and community engagement. This conference is organised by the Mobile Museum project, an AHRC-funded collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Details online.

May 14: Petuaria ReVisited – Rediscovering Roman Brough and Environs (York)
Peter Halkon FSA will talk for a York Antiquaries Lecture in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent at 6pm for 6.30. Since 2014 there has been new interest in this neglected Roman site on the Humber, with some spectacular discoveries. The Petuaria ReVisited project has enabled large scale geophysics to be carried out, revealing large densely packed buildings, walls and roadways, providing a context for a famous inscription commemorating the erection of a new stage by Marcus Ulpius Januarius, Aedile of the Vicus of Petuaria, found by Philip Corder FSA in 1937.

18 May: The Medieval Port of London (London)
A conference organised by the Docklands History Group to be held at the Museum of London, where people with a long involvement in the history and archaeology of the River Thames and the City of London will present papers on a varied range of subjects relating to the Medieval Port of London. Speakers include John Clark FSA, Nathalie Cohen FSA, Gustav Milne FSA, Edward Sargent FSA and John Schofield FSA. Details online.

20 May: Gotha’s Chinese Cabinet: Duke August’s Collection of East Asian Objects (London)
Emily Teo, PhD candidate at University of Kent and Free University of Berlin, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

4 June: The Library of Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649): New Light on the Manuscripts (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. Richard Holdsworth – academic, preacher, theologian and bibliophile – bequeathed his entire library to the University of Cambridge. On its arrival in 1664, this amounted to a second foundation of Cambridge University Library, but it has barely been studied. Jean-Pascal Pouzet’s presentation offers a survey of current research on the collection, together with the first tangible results on Holdsworth’s manuscripts. Details online.
6–7 June: Fibres in Early Textiles, from Prehistory to AD 1600 (Glasgow)
The Early Textiles Study Group will be holding its 16th conference at the University of Glasgow, on the theme of textile fibres. There will be a full programme of 23 papers, with posters, practical demonstrations and an optional excursion to places related to the textile heritage of Scotland on 8 June. The subject matter includes fibre sources and their preparation techniques; excavated evidence from Europe, Asia, the Americas and New Zealand, from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages; ethnographic material; and modern analytical methods of fibre identification. An international panel of speakers includes Margarita Gleba FSA and Penelope Walton Rogers FSA. Details online.

15–16 June: Tour of South Somerset and Dorset Churches (Sherborne)
This two day coach excursion with the Church Monuments Society will visit some of the finest churches in the South-West – Trent, Montacute, Hinton St George, Sherborne Abbey, Melbury Sampford, Dorchester St Peter, Puddletown and Milton Abbey – containing some of the finest monuments in England. Details online.
24 June: Delivering Public Benefit through Archaeology (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course looks at how we can plan projects to deliver public benefit consistently, how to communicate that benefit effectively, and how to evaluate the impact of our work. It is designed for all those responsible for commissioning, specifying and/or delivering programmes of work in our sector that aim to deliver public benefit. Course Director: Kate Geary, Head of Professional Development and Practice, CifA. Tutors: Taryn Nixon, independent archaeologist and heritage adviser, formerly Chief Executive of MOLA (1997-2017); Rob Lennox, CIfA, whose PhD research looked at heritage and politics in the public value era. Details online.

28 June: Lord Stewartby – The Numismatic Legacy (London)
Lord Stewartby FSA (1935–2018) was a leading figure in British numismatic scholarship in the second half of the 20th century. At this all day Symposium at the British Academy, structured around topics with which Lord Stewartby was deeply engaged, leading figures who place the use of numismatic evidence at the forefront of historical and archaeological interpretation will explore recent work which builds on his contributions to numismatic scholarship. Four sessions will cover Britain AD 300–400, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Viking England 800–1100, the British Isles 100-1150, and Scottish Coinage 1140–1707. Details online.

1 July: A Woman of Taste: Mrs R A Workman’s Collection of Modern French Painting (London)
Frances Fowle, Professor of Nineteenth-Century Art, University of Edinburgh and Senior Curator of French Art, National Gallery of Scotland, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
3–4 July: Understanding and Conserving Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. An increasing number of historic gardens and landscapes are opening their doors to the paying public. Owners and managers, reliant on tourist income, are seeking to widen their visitor base. Such development can sometimes be at odds with the conservation needs of historic sites, and this course will provide the tools for balancing the needs of developing tourist attractions with conservation and care. For trustees, volunteers and staff responsible for managing or working in a historic garden or designed landscape. Course Director: John Watkins, Head of Gardens and Landscape at the English Heritage Trust. Speakers to include: Brian Dix, Linden Groves, Emily Parker, Robin Copeland, David Lambert. Details online.

17 July: Translating Becket: New Themes, New Meanings in the Life and Afterlife of St Thomas of Canterbury 1170-2020 (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. The talk by Nicholas Vincent FSA will follow the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. He has published widely on English and European history in the 12th and 13th centuries, most recently on King John and Magna Carta. This lecture anticipates the 850th anniversary of Becket’s martyrdom next year and will be accompanied by a display of manuscripts from the Library’s collections. Details from or 020 7898 1400.

29 July: ‘The Great Joss and his Playthings’: George IV as a Print Collector (London)
Kate Heard, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
18 September: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce recent guidance to PX, and review the essential components of assessment and updated project design. In the afternoon we will review examples from current practice and consider how far they meet their purpose and justify funding decisions. The course is designed for those in supervisory, junior management or specialist roles who will be compiling and contributing to PX assessments, and those in consultancy and curatorial roles who commission and evaluate them. Course Director: Leo Webley, Head of Post-Excavation, Oxford Archaeology South. Tutors: Edward Biddulph, Senior Project Manager and Roman pottery specialist, Oxford Archaeology South; Sarah Wyles, Senior Environmental Officer, Cotswold Archaeology. Details online.

21 September: Suffolk by the Sea (Southwold)
The 5th Wheeler Conference of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History will consider the impact of the coast on Suffolk’s heritage from prehistory to medieval times. Topics include exploring Doggerland, crossing the North Sea and Scandinavian ships, Medieval trade, underwater archaeology at Dunwich, and Southwold museum (Museum of the Year 2017). Speakers include Brian Ayers FSA, Paul Constantine, Vince Gaffney FSA, David Sear and Simon Loftus. Details online.
25–27 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. Significance assessment is a key part of management and of development within the historic environment. This course will introduce the process, show you what is involved in preparing assessments of significance, teach you how to read and judge such assessments, and explore the ways in which they can be used. Open to all, but of particular interest to heritage asset managers and advisers, planners, historic environment professionals and architects, surveyors and others who do not specialise in heritage but may need to understand assessments and their value in guiding change. Course Director: Stephen Bond, Director of Heritage Places and joint author of Managing Built Heritage. Course Co-Director: Henry Russell, Course Director of the programme in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Reading University. Details online.

27 September: Maritime Archaeology (Chatham)
This will be Chatham Historic Dockyard’s first course, with three morning talks covering themes on the history and work of the dockyard at Chatham, the built heritage and conservation of maritime architecture at Portsmouth dockyard, and marine archaeology across east Kent. Lunch will be provided, followed by a guided tour of the dockyard, introduced by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and led by Peter Kendall FSA of Historic England. Details online.
30 September: ‘The Aura of Popularity’: The Rise and Fall of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in the Nineteenth-Century British Art Market (London)
Isabelle Kent, Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

10 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The course will be of interest to all those who are currently (or hope to be) involved in the commissioning or production of desk-based assessments. It is targeted towards new entrants to the profession and those who would like to develop skills in this area. Course Directors: Jill Hind (formerly Senior Project Mgr Oxford Archaeology) and Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger, County Archaeologist for Wiltshire. Details online.

28 October: Architectural Salvage from Cairo to London: The Pivotal Role of the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 (London)
Moya Carey, Curator of Islamic Collections, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and Mercedes Volait, Research Professor at CNRS, based at InVisu, INHA, Paris, speak in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

31 October: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce the standard types of published reports currently produced by archaeologists, and how the scope and content of a report is planned. The course will then focus on two key components, the stratigraphic narrative and the discussion, and the most effective and successful ways of approaching the planning, writing and illustration of these. This will include a critical review of a number of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements that apply to writing in a professional and academic context. The course will involve some preparatory reading before the training day. Course Director: Elizabeth Popescu, Post-Excavation and Publications Manager, Oxford Archaeology East. Details online.

15 November: Curating Decay (Waltham Abbey)
This will be Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills’ first course, with three morning talks covering a range of issues in the management of vulnerable heritage sites, and reimagining how we might adopt an ethical stance that allows us to collaborate with natural processes and decay, rather than fighting against them. Lunch will be provided, followed by a chance to visit the Royal Gunpowder Mills exhibition and a guided tour of the site led by Wayne Cocroft FSA. Details online.
25 November: A ‘Fauve de la Curiosité’: The Hybrid Career of Edouard Jonas (1883-1961), Dealer and Curator (London)
Barbara Lasic, Lecturer in History of Art and Coordinator of Postgraduate Programmes, University of Buckingham, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.

27–29 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
A short course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is a practical workshop carefully designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called upon to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. It will present the terms of procedure, the roles of the participants and the general feel of a Public Inquiry. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study. Training for potential witnesses will be given in how to prepare evidence for a Public Inquiry, how to produce proofs of evidence, and to experience them being given and tested under realistic conditions. You will be allocated a role to play in the Inquiry and asked to prepare a proof of evidence to fit this role. Active participation limited to 14 participants. There will also be a limited number of places available for observers. Course Directors: Roger M Thomas, Barrister and Archaeologist; George Lambrick, Independent Archaeology and Heritage Consultant. Planning Inspector: Richard Tamplin. Advocates: David Woolley QC and Allan Ledden, Solicitor. Details online.

Call for Papers

5 October: One Thousand Years of Ceramic Innovation (London)
Joint conference of the Medieval Pottery Research Group and the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, at Mortimer Wheeler House, London. From the introduction of the potter’s wheel, to the spread of factory production during the Industrial Revolution and beyond, the ceramic industries of the UK have been progressively transformed by waves of innovation. This conference will focus on technological, stylistic and functional advances introduced into potteries across the country from the 11th century to the present day. Expressions of interest with a brief summary (up to 200 words) for papers up to 30 minutes long (including questions) should be sent by 1 May 2019 to Further details online.


The Georgian Group seeks a Membership and Fundraising Support Manager for a full-time salaried post. Closing date 12 April.
The Georgian Group is an independent charity whose purpose is to protect and promote the appreciation of 18th-century architecture and landscape. It is one of seven national amenity societies and is a statutory consultee in the planning process in England and Wales.
We are looking for a highly motivated individual with a strong interest in the charitable and heritage sectors, to assist in the development of the Group’s relationship with its members, and to support the Group’s initiatives to raise funds from its members and external sources, helping to ensure that casework, campaigning and educational activities can be sustained and developed. Details online.

The National Trust seeks an archaeologist to be based in Suffolk. Closing date 15 April 2019.
The National Trust is working on a range of exciting projects in the East of England, and we are looking for an archaeologist for a maternity cover post to support our internal consultancy and operational teams deliver an exciting project programme, by providing clear guidance and support to project managers on archaeology. Your expertise will support the archaeological care and conservation we deliver, to the monuments, historic landscapes, and buildings in our care. Through your expertise, you’ll identify opportunities that will allow us to achieve our aims. Details online.

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is seeking an Honorary Treasurer. Closing date 30 April.
Based in York, the CBA is a UK-wide educational charity working to involve people in archaeology and promote appreciation and care of the historic environment. Working with the Chair, Trustees and Senior Leadership Team, the new Hon Treasurer would oversee strategic financial management, present internal accounts and annual financial statements to Trustees, advise on the financial implications of the charity’s strategic plan, and attend to other duties in line with good governance, legal and regulatory requirements.
The Hon Treasurer would have appropriate skills and experience of charity fundraising and finance practices, knowledge of charity SORP and a proven ability to explain financial information to members of the Board and other stakeholders. Commitment up to two days per month. Trustees meet four times a year, normally in York and London. The Hon Treasurer is a key member of the Resources Committee which meets at least three times a year.
For further details and an informal conversation about the role please contact Mike Heyworth FSA, CBA Director, on 01904 671417 or by email at Details online.

London Archaeologist is seeking a volunteer to join the Publication Committee in the essential role of Secretary. Elections will take place at the AGM on 16 May.
London Archaeologist, published quarterly, is the only magazine devoted to the archaeology of the capital, and has been an indispensable resource since 1968. It gets involved in education and community archaeology events, and provides a forum for discussion and advocacy. The Secretary’s duties include organising the quarterly Committee meetings and taking the minutes; arranging the AGM and Annual Lecture with the relevant advance notices; maintaining the journal’s archive; ensuring that London Archaeologist conforms to charity law and meets Charity Commission requirements.
Please contact Jenny Hall FSA at with expressions of interest or for further details.

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.


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