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Salon: Issue 363
9 May 2016

Next issue: 23 May 2016 

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor (if you are reading this in an email, do not reply directly as we will not receive your message). 

Salon does not review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and front cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal: for details see Publications.
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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary


Introducing Our New Council Members

The Anniversary Meeting on 21 April 2016 was the final meeting at which Fellows could see John Creighton, FSA, sitting in the Director's chair. John has served the Society as Director and been a tremendous asset to Council and committees, helping to guide the Society's publications, grants and lecture and seminar programmes — among countless other projects in between! Please join Council and staff in thanking John for his years of service to the Society.

Fellow Christopher Scull will be taking the Director's seat at Ordinary Meetings when they commence this autumn. Following are short biographies to help introduce our new Director and the three new Council members appointed in April:

Director: Christopher Julian Scull, MA; MCIfA; Hon Visiting Professor Institute of Archaeology (UCL) and Department Archaeology Conservation, Cardiff University

From his career in universities and in the public sector, Christopher has gained wide experience as a practitioner, researcher and teacher, and he thus has an unusually broad expert perspective on research and management issues in the historic environment. This ideally suits him to lead the Society’s research and outreach activities as its Director, in addition to continuing to assist Council with many aspects of his operational and strategic business skills.

Stephen Lloyd Dunmore, BA, OBE

Stephen’s experience in the public service and charitable sector has suited him for Council membership immensely in the field of business leadership, critical decision-taking, change management and governance, as well as non-executive experience on various boards and knowledge of fundraising for charitable concerns. Since retiring as CEO of the Big Lottery Fund in 2008, he has been Interim Chief Executive of a number of high-profile charitable bodies, as well as serving for six years on the Society's Finance Committee. He is currently helping to set up the new Charity Funding Regulator.

Paul John Drury, MRICS

Paul is currently a Vice President of the Society, and has already served on Council for three years. He worked for 25 years as a Chartered Surveyor in private practice before working for five years as Head of English Heritage’s London Region, leaving to set up a historic buildings consultancy in 1997. He was instrumental in producing the Society’s Conservation Plan for Burlington House. Council agreed that in the light of the Society’s need for advice in the renegotiation process currently under way for the Burlington House lease, it was important to retain Paul’s expertise on Council for a further term at this juncture.

Holly Helena Trusted, MA; PhD

Holly has worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum since 1979, where she is now a Senior Curator of the Sculpture Collection. She is an immensely experienced museum professional, having curated exhibitions and new galleries, as well as having published extensively on sculpture, with several important collection catalogues.  Throughout her career, she has been committed to public engagement, through lectures, exhibitions and publications. She brings to Council considerable experience and has much to offer the Society in terms of exhibition and interpretation, and management of the library and historic collections.

Unlocking Our Collections: 'Old St Paul's' Diptych

The Society of Antiquaries has, over more than 300 years, accumulated astonishing collections. Through the Library and Museum collections at Burlington House (London) and Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire), the Society cares for a vast array of material, ranging from Old Master paintings to archaeological objects, from prints and drawings to one of the finest libraries for antiquarian and archaeological research anywhere.

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

Our May feature is by Dr Dora Thornton FSA (curator of the Waddesdon Bequest and Renaissance Europe at the British Museum). She explores
the Society’s aeolipile (or hearth-blower) forms a characterful example of late medieval metalwork and a splendid relic of 18th-century antiquarianism - See more at:
the Society’s 'Old St Paul's' diptych, painted by John Gipkyn in 1616, and explains the symbols in the painting that would have resonated with James I and Shakespeare in 1616. Visit our website for full details.

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

Countries of Culture

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is investigating Countries of Culture. The inquiry nominally addresses ‘ways to preserve and promote UK's cultural wealth’, but is especially exercised by the political issues of ‘whether this cultural capital is too heavily concentrated in London, and concerns that local authority budget cuts are constraining the cultural offering in the regions’. A previous inquiry into Arts Council England had found ‘a clear arts funding imbalance in favour of London at the expense of tax payers and lottery players in other parts of the country, which must be urgently rectified’. Now they wish to consider ‘our wider cultural landscape, to include arts, theatre, museums, and festivals’.
Step up Sir Neil MacGregor FSA, who gave evidence on 4 May. On the day before, it heard together from the Chair and the Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and on 11 May the Committee will ask questions of Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Carole Souter FSA, former Chief Executive, Heritage Lottery Fund.
Fellows, I suggest, will find MacGregor’s evidence worth the listen – better than the transcript, which is not always careful with the art historian’s precise choice of words. In an hour and 20 minutes you get an insight into part of what allowed the British Museum and its former Director to achieve so much in his time, without fuss.
In his opening address, MacGregor points out that last year some 7.7 million people saw objects from the British Museum’s collections outside London – more than saw them in Bloomsbury. Everyone thinks this, and the partnerships behind it, is a good thing, but there are difficulties. Most public funding, such as through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) or Arts Council England, comes from English institutions. How do we maintain the notion that there is a shared UK cultural inheritance in an era of devolution? ‘It’s where the Heritage Lottery Fund is extraordinarily important,’ says MacGregor, ‘and it’s where the Arts and Humanities Research Councils are very important. They, I think, are the only two UK-wide bodies.’
Museums are not statutory obligations of local authorities. Curators may create knowledge, but rarely generate instantly measurable revenue. Thus there ‘has been understandably a steady erosion of curatorial strength. This is very serious indeed … it is very hard for those collections outside London to be … intelligent borrowers … [and] it makes it impossible for the local museum to use its own resource properly.’
As a result, when the BM works with partners beyond London, as it extensively does, funding also has to come through the London museum. And this is mostly private cash. A UK-wide fund should be set up, says MacGregor, ‘to enable museums in every town or city across the UK to draw on the national collections … [and] their expertise.’
The Chair, Jesse Norman, asks MacGregor if he has read the White Paper on culture? ‘This one?’ he retorts, brandishing the document published in March. He has.
I reported a favourable response to this in an earlier Salon. MacGregor drew attention to ‘a formal presence of the Department for Education. That is something that, astonishingly, has been throughout my professional life impossible properly to achieve… The other extremely welcome presence … is the Department for Communities and Local Government’.
He offers Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery as an ‘exemplary’ regional hub, where local authorities have decided to prioritise culture and museums. ‘The result has been a level of energy and engagement and … of public enjoyment, which is remarkable. That is a good model for the smaller cities to follow.’
He talks of the success of a project in which the British Museum and Mumbai’s major museum (‘the current Indian name is so long’, says MacGregor, ‘that they tend to refer to it as formerly the Prince of Wales Museum. It is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, or something like that…’) are seeking to ‘locate Indian history in world history’. He praises the British Library for its global leadership in digitising collections. He notes the significant cultural benefits shown by Germany of ‘really allow[ing] local authorities … political and financial autonomy’. The problem in the UK, he says, is that outside London, and to an extent Edinburgh, museums have talented staff bereft of the resources that would allow them to show their worth. Busy councillors fail to notice their value.
Along the way MacGregor manages to praise the BBC, the Open University, free entrance admissions (‘a part of British citizenship … of which we should be very proud and with which we should meddle with great caution’) and our membership of the European Union: ‘A very, very large percentage of our senior academic curatorial staff in British museums and galleries comes from continental Europe… It is a totally international skills base.’
In schools the focus on Egypt, ancient Greece, Romans and Vikings – at the expense of other worlds, such as Africa, India or China – is problematic, and something the BM is attempting to redress. Things are paramount, repositories of stories and effects that stimulate but do not control. When confronting an artefact, ‘It can be clear that there is no single history, but the object will be the base, focus and evidence for different narratives, which intersect and may overlap or contradict… All of our major immigrant communities have matching objects in the [UK’s] collections.’
At the BM itself, says MacGregor, ‘The skills area that I worry about is digital.’ 

Opening The Curtain

In the last Salon I noted that a community group had been granted a Judicial Review Hearing to consider the actions of London Mayor Boris Johnson, regarding planning applications which it said threaten the character of Norton Folgate in Spitalfields. Things have moved on. The Review was held on 26 April (the report is awaited). And Johnson is no longer Mayor, having reached the end of his term and handed over to Sadiq Kahn, elected with a good majority.
Meanwhile across the road from Spitalfields, a new development raises its head. The PR focusses on artists, fashion and clubs, young entrepreneurs, street buzz and vibrancy, and references the neighbourhood’s historic buildings – values that might, at least in part, appeal to members of the Spitalfields Trust seeking to preserve Norton Folgate. The development itself, however, is sleek and monumental, a residential tower with adjacent commercial blocks that talk to new City architecture more than Georgian terraces. Flats, priced from £695,000 to £2,570,000, are being marketed off-plan to investors. Barring a truly spectacular success by the new Mayor in making London’s rents more affordable, few young creative types will be living there.
Nonetheless, there is an aspect to the development that makes it of considerable interest to those whose heart lies with history and culture. The site is on Curtain Street, a name deriving from The Curtain Theatre, a playhouse which opened in 1577 and was probably where Shakespeare’s Henry V was first performed – ‘may we cram/Within this wooden O the very casques/That did affright the air at Agincourt?’ were first spoken by actors looking out at the very same O.
This has not been missed by the developer, though the old plaque commemorating The Curtain has already come down. Galliard Homes calls the project The Stage. On 25 April journalists were shown a building site at an early phase, the one where archaeologists start to conduct their excavations. For London, the site is very unusual: it’s large and barely touched by deep foundations or basements. Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) is anticipating significant remains of The Curtain Theatre.
Galliard Homes would pay for the excavation anyway as part of the planning process – which by a narrative twist, was initiated by a public row up river at the site of The Rose Theatre over 25 years ago. Galliard will do more than this, however. Not content with mere branding, they will turn whatever remains can be preserved into a ‘local landmark’, and – perhaps even with an eye on what Richard III achieved for Leicester? – build an underground public visitor centre (right).
Julian Bowsher FSA is London’s leading expert on the archaeology of the Elizabethan playhouses, and author of Shakespeare's London Theatreland: Archaeology, History and Drama (2012), which includes walks around known sites of playhouses and bear pits. He talks about The Stage project in a Cain Hoy Enterprises video.
We know very little about The Curtain, he says, so the chance to look at it is ‘very important and quite exciting’. In Shakespeare’s time, Shoreditch was ‘a vibrant hub of actors and literary folk living in the area’. Earlier evaluation, explains Heather Knight, MOLA senior archaeologist, found part of the gravel yard surface where audiences stood, and some walling; they hope to investigate the back stage area and plot the shape and dimensions of the building.
You can also watch Bowsher talk about London's Elizabethan playhouses in a video of a lecture he gave at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage in March. Photo at top shows The Curtain Theatre excavation launch, with (left to right) Cain Hoy Chief Executive Jonathan Goldstein, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and MOLA archaeologist Heather Knight. Left, Julian Bowsher in the Cain Hoy video.

Handaxe ahoy! 

In The Times on 7 May (subscription needed) Norman Hammond FSA wrote about a chert handaxe found on Cyprus, reported online in Antiquity by Thomas F. Strasser, Curtis Runnels FSA and Claudio Vita-Finzi, and the thoughts this and similar finds have inspired about early human marine navigation (Duncan Howitt-Marshall and Runnels, in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 42 (June 2016), 140–53).
The Cypriot handaxe was found in 1992 at Kholetria-Ortos, and newly examined in the form of a 3D printed replica. It is, say Runnels and colleagues, a typical Acheulean artefact and likely to be considerably more than 100,000 years old. At the lowest Ice Age sea levels there would still have been some islands in the Aegean, Cyprus among them. Pre-modern humans, Homo neanderthalensis or even erectus, must, they argue, have made and used watercraft.
Convincing palaeolithic finds on Mediterranean islands have been hard to pin down: the ‘dominant paradigm for research … has been that [islands] were not colonised until the Neolithic or later.’ In his award-winning The Making of the Middle Sea, Cyprian Broodbank FSA recognises that ‘tree trunks and crude paddles lay within Neanderthals’ woodworking skills’. Howitt-Marshall and Runnels wonder if proper craft such as papyrus rafts or dugout canoes were being made in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic, and suggest ‘archaic hominins had the cognitive abilities and curiosity to cross open seas’. Targeted surveys of Mediterranean islands, they say, are required to test these ideas.

Victor Ambrus in Somerset

Over the years Victor Ambrus, award-winning illustrator and on-screen talent in Channel 4’s Time Team, developed a special relationship with Somerset. Many Time Team films were made there. The Museum of Somerset, Taunton, newly designed in 2011, features 19 specially commissioned works, and last year Ambrus illustrated an exhibition the museum put on about the archaeology and history of Hinkley Point.  
Sixty years since he arrived at Blackbushe airport as a refugee from the Hungarian uprising, he is now being treated to his first retrospective and solo exhibition. Working with Bob Croft FSA, Historic Environment and Estates Manager for the South West Heritage Trust, and Steve Minnitt FSA, Head of Museums, South West Heritage Trust, he has packed in 70 original works. The show was launched on 22 April with quite a Time Team flavour: as well as many illustrations on the walls prepared for the programmes, among the crowd were fellow TT members Stewart Ainsworth FSA, John Gater FSA and Phil Harding FSA, along with Tim Taylor, the series creator, and partners of the late Mick Aston FSA and the late Robin Bush.
Millions know of Ambrus’ work through his presence on Time Team, but his output in book illustration, embracing children’s fiction, classic texts and historical novels and non-fiction titles, has been truly remarkable – he says he stopped counting after 300 books. Taylor tells a much-repeated story that he first came across Ambrus’ works through a Readers Digest History of Britain he found in a secondhand bookshop. He tracked him down, and asked how quick he could draw? Ambrus dashed off a portrait, and the job was his.
But what, really, was the book? After some searching, the nearest I could find to fit the bill was The Story of Britain, by school teacher and writer R. J. Unstead, first published by A. C. Black in 1969. Once chosen by the US Library of Congress as one of the 'best books of the year', it was still in print by at least 1984, by when it had been split into four paperbacks. Can any Fellow through light on this Time Team mystery?
The Art of Victor Ambrus runs until 2 July. Minnitt would like to hear from anyone with an interest in hosting the exhibition after it closes in Taunton. Please contact

Photos show, upper, Ambrus (centre), Minnitt (far left) and Croft (far right), and lower (left to right) Gater, Harding, Ambrus, Taylor and Ainsworth (South West Heritage Trust). The original illustration for Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse (top) is offered for sale by The Illustration Cupboard, London.

Echoes of Empire 

While he was at English Heritage (now Historic England), Philip Davies FSA, former Planning & Development Director (South), set up the London Buildings at Risk initiative, London Squares and Streets for All campaigns. His photographic Lost London, 1870-1945 (2009) was a best-seller.
He has also long had his eye on buildings beyond England. He has been promoting heritage conservation in Kolkata for decades, and was instrumental in setting up the Yangon Heritage Trust in Myanmar, where he sits on the International Advisory Group. His Splendours of the Raj: British Architecture in India 1660–1947, was published in 1987. The Penguin Guide to the Monuments of India: Islamic, Rajput, European, along with a companion volume by George Michel (Buddhist, Jain, Hindu), both published in 1989, was described by a reviewer in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society as ‘a monumental achievement’; the reviewer preferred Davies’ ‘Pooterish or even Pythonesque humour’ to Michel’s ‘dogged prose’.
His next promised book is Echoes of Empire: The Architecture and Monuments of the British Empire and Commonwealth. In late April, Davies brought the subject to the attention of the press, telling The Telegraph that ‘At a time when so much public debate is focused on Britain’s role in Europe, I think we often forget that we built much of the modern world. Heritage-led regeneration works. It pays real economic dividends. Historic buildings and neighbourhoods are a huge economic and cultural asset.’
He has submitted a report to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, writes Philip Sherwell, the paper’s Asia Editor, proposing that an initial £2 million be made available from 2017 for a pilot fund. â€˜Much of the historic fabric of Calcutta is in a shocking condition and requires urgent intervention, and conservation strategy,’ says Davies. ‘The UK experience in urban regeneration could help to safeguard this unique shared heritage generating jobs, skills and prosperity for the city, and opportunities for British cultural exports.’
‘The architectural legacy of Britain's global role is increasingly endangered,’ Loyd Grossman FSA told Sherwell. ‘Britain's heritage abroad doesn't have many local champions as it is sometimes seen as an uncomfortable legacy of Empire. But whatever our politics or ideology we neglect history at our peril.’
Responding to the story in The Guardian, Chibundu Onuzo suggested ‘spectacular ruination’ of colonial buildings may be their just fate. In Lagos, her home city in Nigeria, she claimed, ‘Not only is our British past not missed; it is barely remembered.’ ‘… we often forget’, she disapprovingly quotes Davies as saying, ‘that we built much of the modern world … [colonial architecture is] part of Britain’s history and legacy’.
Writing personally (I have not seen Davies’ report), I think it would be an appalling shame to lose the case for loving and learning from historic buildings for reasons of politics. Shunning great architecture because of associations with oppressive rule is not entirely removed from the game played by Albert Speer (which Onuzo refers to) of building Classical monumentality to represent a German nation: both put politics before architecture and history. The case for preservation needs care, too. Davies is appealing to a government largely educated in the private schools that created the British Empire, but both should remember that the ‘we’ who raised colonial splendours were not just people shipped in from Britain; they were also native designers and builders, and all were inspired by local as well as European traditions. Indeed, it is often that unexpected mix in landscapes as far removed from southern England as it is possible to imagine, that brings astounding force to beautiful structures with rich – and, yes, troubled – histories.
To borrow words from Neil MacGregor in his testimony to the Countries of Culture inquiry (see above), historic buildings, no less than museums, ‘are an extraordinary resource for making the idea of global citizenship’. The British Museum and a museum in Mumbai are working together as equal partners; India wants ‘to be able to present in Mumbai a narrative that locates Indian history in world history’. Using an example of a Benin bronze, MacGregor suggests ‘the dialogue can be initiated from the source country. It can be clear that there is no single history: but the object will be the base, focus and evidence for different narratives, which intersect and may overlap or contradict. They allow that and make that possible.’
‘Perhaps some colonial monuments must be toppled,’ concludes Onuzo. ‘Either way, it is for the people of the former empire to decide how they will commemorate their connection to Britain: with ruins or with plaques.’

Illustrations from The Telegraph (Wikipedia/Davies), show the Pegu Club in Yangon, Myanmar, a once famous colonial gentleman’s club, built from teak in the 1880s.

The Impossible Dream

At the start of the season the highest betting odds for Leicester to win the football Premier League were 5,000 to 1. These were not just extraordinarily good odds: they were absurd. Bookies thought it was more likely the Pope would play for Rangers, that Hugh Hefner would reveal that he was a virgin, that Kim Kardashian would be the next US president, or that Elvis would walk out on stage. The industry was not thinking straight. When in 2015 a punter put £1 on Leicester to win, the manager of the Betfred outlet wrote on his slip, ‘Pigs might fly’. In 2016 so confident was Betfred that Leicester would in fact win, it paid out a month before the end of the tournament.
When, on 2 May, Leicester did win, few could resist at least a passing reference to the excavation and reburial of Richard III’s remains, in which several Fellows were involved. As The New York Times told the story, on April 4 2015, with the Foxes in last place and nine games to go, ‘it seems certain that they will be relegated to the second tier of competition. Yet a week after King Richard III’s remains are reinterred in Leicester, the team defeats West Ham United on a goal by a player named King (Andy, in this case). It is a harbinger, fans now say, as Leicester goes on to win seven of its final nine games and ensure its return to the Premier League.’
The Foxes had done their bit for the king. In 2013 they had urged the city to sign a petition to rebury Richard III’s remains in Leicester, not York. ‘It’s a discovery of great historical significance and cultural value’, said Leicester City Football Club’s Chief Executive Officer Susan Whelan, ‘and something everyone associated with the city of Leicester should be extremely proud of.’ Andy King joined in. ‘I’ve lived in Leicester for eight years now’, he said, ‘and I can’t remember many stories as big as this. It brought the world’s media into the city.’ The Leicester Mercury re-issued its T-shirt featuring Richard III in blue football garb. In March 2015, when reburial had been decided in Leicester’s favour and the Cathedral was raising money for the ceremonies, Leicester City Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha gave the appeal £100,000.
After the victory, stories about Richard III’s effect, several pretending to have been written by a king, were legion, including ones published by Reuters and Live Science, and in The Guardian (‘I, too, was mocked, my public always wary,’ went Stephen Moss’s doggerel, ‘Just like the mighty Claudio Ranieri’). The best, and worth a listen, was Michael Morpurgo’s short story, broadcast by the Today programme on Radio 4, ‘Fox and the Ghost King (or Uneasy Lies The Head That Dreams The Impossible Dream)’: a fox finds the king’s grave, and they discuss football, Shakespeare and ‘archaeological workings’.
Meanwhile with a mix of new features, recycled articles, interviews and quotations (freelance writers will know most of these as post-internet techniques that offer debatably useful PR but no fees), BBC History Magazine has published an attractive ‘collector’s edition’ titled Richard III: The Full Story of the King under the Car Park. Reproductions of the Society’s portraits of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III with broken sword are among the many illustrations.
Chris Skidmore FSA attempts to think ‘inside the mind of Richard III’ (he was fond of York, he writes, fashionable clothes, and his wife and son), and in a second feature, addresses the ’dawn of the Tudors’. He also introduces a page-full of books. His own Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors (2014) and The Rise of the Tudors: The Family That Changed English History (2015) will be joined by Richard III: Brother, Protector, King (Weidenfeld & Nicholson) this coming November. Skidmore is a Member of Parliament and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History.
Glenn Foard FSA, who co-authored Bosworth 1485: A Battlefield Rediscovered with Anne Curry FSA (2013), explains over eight pages how a lengthy metal-detector survey found the site of the battle in which the king died. An interview with Foard, recorded by the magazine in 2010 linked to a printed feature at the time, is still online.
Mark Ormrod FSA, in an article originally published in 2013, writes about how the grave’s discovery (‘one of the greatest archaeological breakthroughs of our age’) might change the way we think about the king.
‘Richard was deformed after all,’ says Nigel Saul FSA: ‘amazingly, Shakespeare was right, not Josephine Tey.’ ‘The archaeological excavation and the historical reconstruction were enormously successful,’ says Francis Pryor FSA. ‘Without further excavation’, objects Martin Biddle FSA, ‘there is … no certainty about the burial that it has been claimed was that of Richard III’ (to which I respond, yes there is, adding, ‘A distant medieval monarch has been revealed as one of us.’). ‘This is only the beginning’, says Lin Foxhall FSA. 

News of Fellows

Marion Archibald FSA, distinguished Medieval numismatist and British Museum curator, died in April. An appreciation appears below.
Kenneth Neale FSA died on 18 April, aged 93. In addition to eventful war experiences with the Royal Navy and a distinguished career in the Civil Service, he was Chairman of the Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress and of the Sampfords Society, and Honorary Life President of the Saffron Walden Historical Society.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) decided to names its new polar research vessel the RRS David Attenborough, after the Fellow came fifth in a public vote; it reserved the winning name, Boaty McBoatface, for the ship’s remotely operated submarine. The competition caused such interest that busy Members of Parliament have committed a meeting of the Commons Science and Technology Committee to question the NERC’s chief executive about the affair. Attenborough was said to feel honoured.
Honorary Fellow K Paddaya FSA, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology and former Director of Deccan College, Pune, is publishing Revitalizing Indian Archaeology: Further Theoretical Essays (Aryan Books International). The book draws together 20 previously printed articles dealing with aspects of theoretical archaeology. Paddayya seeks to dispel, says the blurb, ‘the commonly held impression that traditional culture history, New Archaeology and Interpretive Archaeology are mutually incompatible… he convincingly argues that these various perspectives are complementary, and, even more important, that the Indian archaeological record is a fertile field for the employment, singly or in combination as according to the problem chosen for investigation, of all these research orientations.’

Paul Latcham FSA was elected president of The Bookplate Society at its AGM on 16 April. Latcham was editor of one or another of the Society’s periodical publications from 1995, including The Bookplate Journal from 2001 to 2008, which he redesigned in larger format and improved presentation. He is author of Bookplates in the Trophy Style (2006) and is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
In September, Oxbow Books will publish St Paul's Cathedral: Archaeology And History by John Schofield FSA, the first ever account of the archaeology of Christopher Wren’s cathedral – and, indeed, says the blurb, of any major late 17th century building in London. The book is priced at £65, but can be ordered now, and for a month after publication, for £48.75, a 25% reduction. Schofield reviews the cathedral’s history ‘from the early 18th to the early 21st century, as illustrated by recent archaeological recording, documentary research and engineering assessment. A detailed account of the construction of the cathedral is provided based on a comparison of the fabric with voluminous building accounts which have survived and evidence from recent archaeological investigation. The construction of the Wren building and its embellishments are followed by the main works of later surveyors such as Robert Mylne and Francis Penrose.’ St Paul's was the most important building to emerge after the Great Fire, the 350th anniversary of which is being celebrated also in September.

The rise of Mary Beard FSA as a public tutor in classical history and archaeology continues. John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, said he plans to stop the BBC from scheduling its most successful shows against commercial broadcasters’ peak-time programmes (ITV complained when the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing got more viewers than its own offer). ‘Where will this end?’ someone at the BBC retorted. ‘Will we have to schedule a documentary by Mary Beard against X Factor?’ Fellows might hope. In The Guardian on 7 May Beard chose as her blue plaque to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the scheme, that of Michael Ventris FSA, ‘architect and decipherer of Linear B script’, who lived at North End, London NW3.
Welsh Slate: Archaeology and History of an Industry, by David Gwyn FSA, has been chosen as the winner of the Association for Industrial Archaeology’s 2016 Peter Neaverson Award for outstanding scholarship in industrial archaeology. The book is an attractive and informative presentation of extensive new surveys, published in 2015 by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMS). Gwyn, who lists Chairman of Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Ltd and Director of Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway among his current commitments, was the inaugural winner of the same award in 2009, for Gwynedd, Inheriting a Revolution: The Archaeology of Industrialisation in North-West Wales.

In an essay in The Guardian on May 4, Charlotte Higgins wrote about the British passion for the Tudors. Lucy Worsley FSA (who is filming a new history series for the BBC called Henry VIII’s Six Wives) told Higgins the three one-hour programmes take as their premise ‘that they represent “archetypes of femininity”, though, when she explained,’ continued Higgins, ‘they sounded more like stereotypes harvested from the pages of the Daily Mail.’ In the films, says BBC publicity, ‘Lucy will move seamlessly from the present to the past, appearing [in dramatised scenes] as a range of silent servants’. David Starkey FSA, says Higgins, first argued (in his 1973 PhD, which took as its subject the king’s privy chamber) that ‘the minutiae of court life were inextricably intertwined with the life of the nation’, making ‘the political personal’. ‘Every nation has a changing and sometimes fraught relationship with its past,’ concludes Higgins. ‘For the English … nostalgia is both a national disease and a profit-making enterprise. Thinking about Tudor history is, at least in its laziest manifestations, an excellent way of not thinking about history.’
Toby Driver FSA has written The Hillforts of Cardigan Bay (Logaston Press), due to be launched on 11 May at Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth. It is, says the blurb, ‘the first popular history and guide to the magnificent Iron Age hillforts of Ceredigion and Cardigan Bay. The book describes the people, monuments and ways of life of the region from the prehistoric Bronze and Iron Ages through to the Roman period, and includes details of some of the most accessible Iron Age hillforts to visit in the Cardigan Bay region. Some of the great prehistoric treasures from the region are also illustrated and described.’ Driver is an aerial archaeologist with the RCAHMS.
BBC Earth, a website and ‘global genre brand’ launched by BBC Worldwide in 2013, rounds up BBC broadcast material with new features, without, it says, using any licence fee money. A well-informed article by Amanda Ruggeri published on 4 May discusses prehistoric metal hoards in Britain, quoting Adam Daubney FSA and Peter Chowne FSA, and referring to academic research by David Yates and Richard Bradley FSA. Elsewhere on the site, Ardman/BBC Natural History present a birthday video for David Attenborough FSA, featuring his encounter with a lyrebird, which ‘can imitate the calls of at least 20 different species … and incorporate other sounds that he hears in the forest.’ Cue plasticine bird attempting an impression of Attenborough and a falling tree.
Mark Edmonds FSA and Alan Garner FSA have put together The Beauty Things (Group 6 Press), a record of conversations between them which focussed on objects that matter to Garner, including several that appear in his novels; the objects are ‘the touchstones for an exploration of the power that things possess, and the roles they play in the stories we tell, about the world and about ourselves.’ ‘Universal and deeply personal,’ writes Edmonds, ‘this entanglement with stuff is something that Alan and I have been talking about for some time. Nothing organised, just a rambling conversation around and about some of the things that matter to us. Wandering between archaeology, folklore, anthropology and literature, it’s a conversation had for the pleasure of it… From weapons with names and talismans in chimneys to the tools that carry their owners, his stories often turn upon the bonds between artefacts and people.’
Phil Newman FSA, who was a Project Officer and Editor of the volume, writes with news of Historic England’s latest research agenda, executed by the National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO). The Archaeology of Mining and Quarrying in England: A Research Framework for the Archaeology of the Extractive Industries, ‘presents the results of an in-depth assessment of available historical and archaeological resources for all minerals in England, from non-ferrous metals, such as tin, copper and lead, through to building stone, iron, clay and coal, plus numerous minor minerals, and covering the period from prehistory to the 20th century. This assessment draws primarily on expertise from within the voluntary sector and provides background information on the geology and applied technology.’ It can be downloaded from the NAMHO website.
Dame Averil Cameron FSA and Paul Cartledge FSA led a list of ‘UK Classicists for Europe’, which also included Steve Hodkinson FSA, whose letter about the European Union was published by The Times on 2 May (subscription needed). ‘As classicists and ancient historians,’ they write, ‘we study the earliest civilisations in Europe and their continuing legacy. We know as well as anyone that claims about an unbroken European cultural tradition from classical antiquity to the present are dubious, and have been put to dubious uses. However, we have no doubt about the existence of a vital tradition of engagement with classical antiquity as one of the constituents of European culture; and we have no belief at all in a pure British culture, isolated from any “continental” influence.’ ‘If we leave the EU,’ they conclude, ‘Britain might retain some access to research funding, but only after a period of destabilising uncertainty; and our research culture would be deeply impoverished.’

Two quite different books have recently been published by Aidan Dodson FSA. Poisoned Legacy: The Fall of the Nineteenth Egyptian Dynasty, a revised paper-covered edition from the American University in Cairo Press, explores the controversial period that followed the death of Rameses II, which featured usurpation, civil war and one of the handful of female pharaohs. The other is The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871–1918 (Seaforth Publishing). This is the first book to cover the technical and operational history of all such ships between the foundation of the German Empire during the Franco-Prussian War and its collapse at the end of the First World War.

Lives Remembered

Leslie Webster FSA remembers a much admired colleague, Marion Archibald FSA, who died on 23 April, aged 80, after a short illness:
'Marion Archibald was one of the most scholarly, best known, and best loved Medieval numismatists of her generation, whose many publications from 1962 up until her death have made an outstanding contribution to the study of British coinage in the Medieval period – especially in the field of Anglo-Saxon coins, which remained her primary passion.
'Scottish by birth, she was a graduate of Glasgow University, and developed an early interest in archaeology, taking part in several excavations. Her wide historical knowledge, combined with a hands-on appreciation of the importance of archaeological context – the latter rare among numismatists of the time – brought a significant depth of understanding to her publication of the many Treasure Trove and Treasure finds which arrived on her desk at the British Museum, where she was Curator of Medieval Coinage from 1963 until her retirement in 1997. Her excitement at the chance discovery at Middle Harling, Norfolk, of a dispersed hoard of the extremely rare coins of the eighth-century King Beonna of East Anglia – till then represented by only seven examples – was typically persuasive. She convinced the Museum to fund a full excavation of the site, which finally yielded 53 new Beonna coins, and vital information about their archaeological context, within what was revealed to be a high-status middle Saxon settlement.
'Marion’s appreciation of the importance of public engagement went back to her time as Curator of Numismatics at Birmingham Museum, where she began her museum career. She was an accomplished lecturer, whose enthusiasm for her subject could capture audiences at every level. Exhibitions were also very important to her, as a means of bringing the significance of these early coins to a wider public; she curated one herself, on coins in ancient jewellery. She also greatly relished her collaborations with colleagues from other disciplines – archaeology, manuscripts, art history – first in the 1980 Vikings exhibition at the British Museum, and in three major Anglo-Saxon exhibitions which were jointly staged by the BM and British Library during the 1980s and 90s. Her mission here was to integrate the understanding of Anglo-Saxon coinage into its wider historical and social context, a lasting achievement, manifest in her contributions to the exhibition catalogues.
'She was President of the British Association of Numismatic Societies 1986–91, was active in both the British and Royal Numismatic Societies, and was awarded by them and the Société Française de Numismatique. In 2005, Marion’s 70th birthday was celebrated in a volume of essays in her honour, Coinage and History in the North Sea World, c 500–1250 (edited by BM colleagues Barrie Cook FSA and Gareth Williams), which includes a bibliography of her numerous contributions to numismatic literature; she continued to research and publish, active to the end. Among her last, and perhaps most challenging, projects, was her trenchant vindication of the numismatic dating of the early Anglo-Saxon sceattas set out in the recent volume reassessing the chronology of Anglo-Saxon graves, using radiocarbon dating and other analytical techniques (Anglo-Saxon Graves and Grave Goods, edited by John Hines FSA and Alex Bayliss FSA, 2013).
'Her personal enthusiasm, and her desire to share it with others was infectious; she was also unfailingly supportive of colleagues and friends, often going out of her way to be of help. Some of my abiding memories are of the many mornings when, as I waited unsuspectingly for a 134 bus on my way to the Museum, a passing Marion would swoop down in her snappy Peugeot (‘I like it because it’s got a bit more pizazz!’) to offer a lift, entertaining and enlightening me with her latest news and views on Anglo-Saxon coins, all the way down to Bloomsbury. Passionate about her subject, and generous in sharing her knowledge, she was a true embodiment of the spirit of the Society of Antiquaries.'

Charles Thomas FSA, who died in April, ‘rejected any association [of Tintagel] with King Arthur’, said The Telegraph in an obituary on 24 April. It quotes Thomas’ memories of the Institute of Archaeology in St John’s Lodge, Regent’s Park, where he was a student in the early 1950s:
‘… the shuffling arrival of the great Abbé Breuil; Kathleen Kenyon striding in, dressed as a Red Cross commandant and accompanied by a small barking dog (which Childe loathed because it once stole his teacake); and, on a Friday afternoon, Childe himself in what he thought was rustic garb, greeting a tall dreamy lady with a much shorter, darker, spouse and announcing to us all “I’m just for a weekend with Max and Agatha” (Professor Max Mallowan and Agatha Christie).’

Peter Fowler FSA has written a fond obituary of the Cornish archaeologist for The Guardian (online 8 May and perhaps to be in Monday’s paper), noting that he first met him ‘in July 1955, when I was mistakenly the first volunteer to arrive on an archaeological excavation’.
‘Charles Thomas,’ writes Fowler, ‘was an outstanding scholar of early Britain, with an international reputation. He researched and published widely about Cornwall, its local history, its archaeology and religion, its language, dialect, customs, folklore and humour, its art and artists, its military history and its relationship with other Celtic nations. He was also a nonconformist in every sense: a committed Methodist and a founding member of Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish nationalist party.’ He liked to be seen, he adds, ‘as an affable “man of the people”, but he was an intensely complex character, full of contradictions. He was a Cornishman to his roots, deeply imbued with his family’s mining history.’

The Wisdom of Fellows

After reading the item in the last Salon about the Palmyran arch erected in Trafalgar Square, Matthew Slocombe FSA, Director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, wrote to say SPAB's views on the â€˜replica’ were expressed in a letter he had sent to The Guardian. ‘New technology’, he says there, ‘allows us to reproduce the form of an ancient structure more accurately than ever, but it can never recapture the spirit of the original which is the product of true ageing and change over generations. William Morris, founder of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, rightly felt that replication leads to “feeble and lifeless forgery”. Damage at Palmyra is a tragedy, but it is a loss we must all accept. This barbaric act of destruction, intended to erase cultural heritage, is now part of the site’s long history.’ ‘This is an anti-replication comment’, Slocombe notes to Salon, ‘and is not anti-archaeological!’
John Fidler FSA was, he thinks, one of the last Fellows to have worked at the Palmyra World Heritage Site in recent years. He writes:
‘I was there in 2007/08, working for a Edessa, a Beirut firm of environmental engineers, on behalf of Qatar Diar (the Sovereign Wealth Fund of the state of Qatar) on an environmental impact assessment project. Its purpose was to aid the Syrian Government Departments of Antiquities, Tourism and Aviation, and the Regional Government of Homs, with a plan to determine the siting of a potential airport to service the ancient site, and bring economic development to the adjacent Arab town of Tadmur.
‘My job was to assess the structural fragility of the 64 hectare archaeological park’s third-century buildings and monuments – the main determinant as to whether a local redundant MIG fighter base should be reused as a regional airport, or whether a new facility should be built out on the salt desert 19km from the site. The locals had complained about Syrian fighter pilots showing off to their girlfriends by executing subsonic rolls over the ancient ruins.
‘Such was the hospitality of the local people, that much of the daytime was taken up in irrelevant meetings, drinking endless tea and coffee. So much of my survey work was done at night by a full desert moon in the company of curious feral camels.
‘As many Fellows will know, much of what remained at Palmyra had been conserved and restored by the French during the 1920s Mandate. But the change-over-time records are fascinating and include, of course, Robert Wood’s and James Darwin’s pioneering survey and publication in English and French, The Ruins of Palmyra in 1753; the later German and French surveys; besides many recent orthorectified images and metric reconstructions being attempted from the plethora of web-based imagery.
‘I determined that many of the monuments were not as fragile and susceptible to desert winds or aircraft turbulence as was imagined (since the French concealed much in the way of steel reinforcement and anchoring in the ancient masonry). But that the flight path, dictated by the old military aerodrome’s alignment and the wind pattern directly over the World Heritage Site, was too risky to utilize, and that the more remote site for the airport out in the desert should be adopted. Unfortunately for the local economy, the Qatari’s British economist also determined that tourism numbers did not warrant the investment for the time being…
‘While much has been written in the press recently about the ancient silk road site and the losses caused by the destruction by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, I have not seen anything drawing attention to the major influence on Western culture (since publication by Wood and Darwin) of the now destroyed Bel Temple sanctuary apse and its incised, heavily-coffered, decorative patterns. The impact of those designs upon Neo-Classical architecture can be seen in stone, plaster and textiles – in the UK, ranging from Osterley House, Isleworth (1780) to Bush House (1925) on London’s Strand, and from palaces in St. Petersburg to Plantation Houses in Virginia.
‘A sad loss indeed. But given the illustrative material – eminently retrievable.’
Photos show (top, Wikipedia) the centre bay of the north side of Bush House, with two Corinthian columns supporting symbolic figures of England and America, by Malvina Hoffman; and (above, Fidler) a Bel temple ceiling and an 18th-century Adam carpet design.


‘Thank you for the continuing pleasure and instruction that Salon brings,’ writes Simon Bradley FSA. ‘It's only because the standard is so high that it seems worth emailing on a point of detail. Surely the first National Museum outside London (Salon 362) was the National Railway Museum at York, opened 1975? Or, if this is disqualified as an outstation of the Science Museum, then the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, established as such in 1986, would still have priority over the Royal Armoury at Leeds.’
Indeed. When I wrote that the Royal Armouries Museum was ‘the first national museum outside London’, I had carelessly edited down, from a press release, ‘the first national museum with its headquarters based outside of London.’ You can never be too careful with PR.
‘The train careens into the dessert sands,’ I wrote in the last Salon, in a short piece about Lawrence of Arabia’s War by Neil Faulkner FSA. I really did. The phrase ‘conjures an image of a ship on its side in a bowl of custard!’ writes Percival Turnbull FSA, graciously adding, ‘This is most unlike you, Mike!’, and, quoting Seneca, Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus. ‘Don't you mean “careers” into the “desert” sands?’
Guy Taylor, who, he says, was ‘heavily involved with the project, both in the field and the subsequent finds processing,’ was put in mind of ‘a giant pudding’. ‘Careening’ he points out, ‘is the process of beaching a vessel at high water and then scraping biological fouling from the hull. I believe you must have meant “careers”.’
Clearly no puddings were harmed in the train crash, but I would defend my use of ‘careen’. It’s a vivid word – yes, whose strict meaning describes a leaning ship, but which is strong enough to pursue a career as metaphor for rapid and uncontrolled movement. It has been doing so (says the O.E.D.), almost as long as it has been in nautical use. In 1675 it could describe a man adjusting his wig; in 1895 a ‘big office desk… careened over like the hull of a stranded ship’; and since at least 1925 the word has been in use (‘chiefly U.S.’) to mean ‘to rush headlong, to hurtle, esp. with an unsteady motion.’ But, with apologies, there are no desserts in the desert.

John Cruse FSA says his Lascaux litter bin is still ‘in daily use’. Any more? 

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows and Other Exclusive Fellows' Events

Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 16.15 and meetings start at 17.00. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow. Details of forthcoming meetings and events can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

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

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

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events').

Interested in proposing a lecturer? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer (

Forthcoming Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays. These lectures are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place. Details of forthcoming lectures can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

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

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

Click here for more information on our public lectures -- the entire autumn programme is now live!

Society Dates to Remember


Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows

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

Tours are free, but limited to 25 people, so places should be booked in advance. Please contact the Society’s Executive Assistant (call 020 7479 7080 or email Tours start at 11.00, and coffee is served from 10.45. Lunch is available at the end of the tour for £5, but must be ordered in advance. There will be further tours scheduled in the autumn.

Burlington House Closures

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

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

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

Welsh Fellows

Friday, 17 June: Fellows are invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Welsh Archaeological Trust with us. Director of the Glamorgan Gwent Archaelogical Trust, Andrew Marvel FSA, invites you to visit Heathfield House, the Trust's headquarters in Swansea, for a tour and a buffet lunch (£15.00 per person). The visit to Heathfield House will be followed by a visit to Margam Abbey and the collection of Early Christian Stones. Please download and return the booking form to Bob Child to reserve.

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

York Fellows

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

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

Other Forthcoming Heritage Events

12 May: Inhabited Architecture: A Pervasive Motif in Medieval Art and Modern Theory (London)
Anthony Cutler FSA, Evan Pugh University Professor in Art
History, Penn State University, will present a Research Seminar
in Islamic Art at the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS, University of London, at 6 pm in Room B104 (Brunei Building).

Until 21 May: Hugging the Hillfort (Oswestry, Shropshire)
A community’s affection for a Shropshire landmark is the focus of an exhibition of over 60 works at the Willow Gallery. Artists explore the many facets of Old Oswestry hillfort, as neighbourhood greenspace to national heritage icon, with paintings, textiles, sculpture, jewellery, photography and ceramics. The exhibition is part of the Artists Hugging the Hillfort (AHH!) project, a local art movement supporting the campaign to protect Old Oswestry from inappropriate development. The photo shows a detail of Gwenhwyfar and the Barbarians, by
Tony Meadows.
21 May: The Power of Place: Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape (Machynlleth)
A day conference of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at the Museum of Modern Art Machynlleth on the Welsh landscape as a source for visionary artists. Papers will cover the Wye tour, Turner in Snowdonia, John Sell Cotman, the neo-romantic movement, David Jones and a contemporary artist’s response to place. Speakers include John Barrell, Mary-Ann Constantine, Andrew Green, Damian Walford Davies and Peter Wakelin FSA, who has curated the accompanying exhibition at MOMA Machynlleth, which runs from 19 March to 18 June. Details and bookings (£15): Angharad Elias: 01970 636543 Picture shows The Southern Extremity of Carnedde Mountain in Radnorshire, by Thomas Jones, 1794.

24 May: Biography of a Building: the Foundation and Life of Westminster Cathedral (London)
The Westminster History Club is hosting a talk in the Lord Mayor's Reception Rooms, Westminster City Hall, by Cathedral Historian Patrick Rogers. He will speak at 7 p.m. about the history of the Catholic community in England after the Reformation, the relaxing of penal laws, the restoration of a Catholic hierarchy and the need for a Catholic cathedral. Contact Francis Boorman

31 May: Norwich Historic Churches Trust conference – call for papers
Norwich has the highest number of surviving medieval churches north of the Alps: there are 31, of which 18 are now redundant and in the care of NHCT. This conference, on Saturday 22/29 October 2016, aims to promote importance of these beautiful buildings to their settings and local and national history. Submissions are invited for 30-40 minute papers on any aspects of church buildings including architecture, archaeology, history, liturgy, art history, sociology, as well as other topics, from any historical period. Please include a short biography and send proposals to the conference organiser Nicholas Groves at

15–17 June: Reading the Wall: The Cultural Afterlives of Hadrian's Wall (Newcastle)
Rob Collins FSA is co-organising a conference at Newcastle University which will explore the broader cultural impact of Hadrian's Wall beyond the disciplines of archaeology and heritage, notably in literature and the arts. The conference includes keynote lectures by award-winning authors Garth Nix and Christian Cameron, and Lindsay Allason-Jones FSA and Richard Hingley FSA. Other speakers include David Breeze FSA, Rachel Newman FSA, Mike Bishop FSA and Collins himself. The conference has a website and a Twitter account, @HWall2016.

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

18 June: Exploring the Heritage of St Michael and All Angels Church, Great Tew (Great Tew, Oxfordshire)
Caroline Barron FSA has assembled an afternoon programme of talks about the art and architecture of St Michael’s Church, Great Tew, to be held in the church. Speakers include Nicola Coldstream FSA and Nigel Saul FSA. A brief history of church music in the period will be traced, with the occasional forays into secular repertoire so as to include favourites such as ‘Sumer is ycomen in’ and the ‘Agincourt Carol’. Proceeds will be divided between the Somerville Bursary Fund and St Michael and All Angels.

7 July: Van Dyck in London (London)
The Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyck lived and worked in London during the 1630s. Supported by his studio, he produced many remarkable portraits. In this lunchtime talk at the National Gallery, Karen Hearn FSA, Tate’s former Curator of 16th and 17th-century British Art, considers some of Van Dyck's British works, and examines the influence on them of his art collection.
19–22 July: The Great Household 1000–1500 (Harlaxton)
The theme of the 2016 Symposium convened by Chris Woolgar FSA is the medieval great household, from the 11th to the early 16th century, with a focus on elite contexts in the British Isles. Delegates will be given a guided tour of Harlaxton Manor and the afternoon outing will be to Gainsborough Old Hall, one of the finest and best-preserved 15th-century manor houses in England. The conference banquet will feature food inspired by medieval cuisine. The keynote will be delivered by Chris Dyer FSA, University of Leicester. See website for details.
9–11 September: Capability Brown: Perception and Response in a Global Context (Bath)The influence of Capability Brown and the naturalistic landscape design style on landscapes across the world will be presented at a major ICOMOS-UK conference at the University of Bath, as part of the first-ever national Capability Brown Festival. Speakers include David Thackray FSA, President of ICOMOS-UK and Megan Aldrich FSA. For more information see the ICOMOS website.
12 September: Objects & Possessions: Material Goods in a Changing World 1200–1800 – call for papers
Chris Woolgar FSA is organising a conference at the University of Southampton, 3-6 April 2017, to focus on objects and possessions between AD1200 and 1800 across Europe and its overseas colonies, the connections and relationships facilitated by the exchange of goods, the importance and interpretation of the inheritance of goods and objects, and the ways in which goods brokered relations between Europe and the wider world. He invites proposals for single papers and whole sessions (three papers). Abstracts (maximum 200 words) to Keynote speakers include Chris Briggs (Cambridge), Giorgio Riello (Warwick) and James Walvin (York).

14–16 October: 1066: Interpreting the Norman Conquest in 2016 (London)
In this 950th anniversary year, a conference on the Norman Conquest is to be held by the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, running from the day of the battle. The conference is intended for a general audience, but the contributions will be delivered by prominent experts, including David Bates FSA, author of a forthcoming biography of William the Conqueror, and Elisabeth van Houts, who has edited and translated several Anglo-Norman chronicles and has published on women and gender in the Middle Ages. Subjects will include the background to the Conquest, arms and armour, architecture, landscape, government, aristocracy, the church, society, the Bayeux Tapestry and the task of studying the period today. To register interest and obtain further information please contact or call 0113 220 1888.


The Society is recruiting for a part-time Publications Manager. The part-time post will focus mainly on The Antiquaries Journal (although other duties will be required). Applicants should have experience in editing academic journals and monographs, preferably in the heritage sector. More information about the post is available at

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

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.

Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


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

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