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Salon: Issue 369
1 August 2016

Next issue: 6 September 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

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


Burlington House Courtyard Lates

We would like to encourage Fellows and readers of Salon to join us for the next Burlington House Courtyard Lates event on 26 August. The event in August will focus on the Society's modern legacy, and visitors will have the opportunity to meet some of our Research Grant award recipients or researchers who have recently worked with items in our collections. Again, visitors will be able to explore small exhibits, join an introductory Library tour, meet Fellows, and enjoy cake and prosecco from the cash bar. Activities will also be held at the Royal Academy of Art and the Royal Society of Chemistry — guests are strongly encouraged to take this opportunity to experience the full variety of art, history and science available at Burlington House.

More information is available online at The Society's programme of 'lates' was generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Change to Delivery Date of this E-Newsletter and Other Announcements Regarding Society Communications

Delivery Date of Salon: We would like to alert readers to a forthcoming change in the delivery of this e-newsletter necessary for our internal administrative processes. Traditionally, we set a 'Monday' delivery date for issues of Salon, distributing the e-newsletter on Sunday nights so that it is waiting in your inboxes Monday morning. However, after the August break, we will be delivering the e-newsletter on Tuesdays (sending it out on Monday nights so that it is in your inbox Tuesday mornings).

There will be no other changes to Salon at this time – it will continue to be the same great newsletter, edited by Mike Pitts FSA, and sent fortnightly.

Welsh Fellows' Contact Details: A number of Fellows subscribing to the email updates from the Welsh Regional Fellows' Group may have recently stopped receiving communications. Bob Child FSA, who manages the group's communications, has recently reported an increase in bounce rates due to outdated email information – particularly from Fellows who used to have institutional emails with organisations such as the RCAHMW. If you think that the Society or the Welsh Fellows' Group may have an out-of-date email address for you (even if you are still receiving this e-newsletter), please email the Society's Finance Officer Devon Hewitt ( and include Bob Child ( on the message, providing us with your new details.

July Newsletter Mailing: The July edition of our bi-annual Fellowship News (along with a programme of the autumn Ordinary Meetings of Fellows and associated ballot papers) has been delayed this year in order to incorporate news of the Heritage Lottery Fund's decision regarding our funding application for development at Kelmscott Manor. We hope to have news from HLF shortly and the newsletter mailing should be with Fellows in the next few weeks. In the meantime, details for the first Ordinary Meeting of Fellows for the autumn are included later in this e-newsletter.

Historic Paintings Escape Export

Two outstanding paintings have been acquired for the nation after temporary export bars had been placed on them by former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. One features an English naval victory over a Spanish fleet, and the other is a masterpiece by a Netherlandish painter.
On 29 July it was announced that a large and key historical portrait has been bought from Sir Francis Drake’s descendants for £10.3 million. It features Elizabeth I in splendour, with two seascapes showing respectively the English fleet preparing for battle, and the wrecked Spanish Armada. A popular campaign had been backed by grants of £7.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (see below) and £1 million from the Art Fund.
Entering public ownership for the first time in its 425-year-history, the portrait will hang in the Queen’s House at Royal Museums Greenwich when it reopens on 11 October after a major restoration. The Queen’s House is on the site of the original Greenwich Palace – the birthplace of Elizabeth I.
On 26 July we learnt that St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child, by Dieric Bouts the Elder (c1440-1475) will go to the Bowes Museum, County Durham, after the Art Fund, the HLF and a museum partnership raised £2.4 million. The painting will become part of a conservation and research project, led by the National Gallery, where it will be displayed before moving to The Bowes Museum. ‘Dieric Bouts is considered one of the leading Early Netherlandish painters’ says the Art Fund, ‘and the artwork depicts a rare subject, making it a unique piece unlike any other in the UK.’


New Scheme to Record Underwater Finds

A new Marine Antiquities Scheme (MAS) was launched at the British Museum on 21 July, designed to offer a mechanism for members of the public to report offshore discoveries in Welsh and English waters comparable to that of the successful Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).
Like the PAS, the MAS is voluntary. It is funded through the Crown Estate’s stewardship programme, and established in a partnership with the PAS and Wessex Archaeology, which will be running it from day to day. There has also been input and advice from the British Sub-Aqua Club, the National Maritime Museum, the Marine Management Organisation, Historic England, the Nautical Archaeological Society and the Receiver of Wreck.
In a keyntoe address, Phil Harding FSA gave examples of where and when in the past this scheme could have played a vital role in recording and reporting finds. 

New Getty Rothschild Fellowship

David Saunders FSA, a former Principal Scientist at The National Gallery and Keeper of Conservation, Documentation and Research at the British Museum, is the inaugural fellow to benefit from a new Getty Rothschild Fellowship. Saunders, described in a release as a foremost expert in the area of conservation science and now an independent researcher, will work on museum and gallery lighting, writing ‘what will be a seminal book’ on the topic. He will stay in The Flint House, the RIBA-award-winning Rothschild Foundation property, while working at Waddesdon Manor, which will serve as a case study.
The new Fellowship was announced by the Getty and the Rothschild Foundation on 11 July. It will support ‘innovative scholarship in the history of art, collecting, and conservation, using the collection and resources of both institutions. The fellowship offers art historians, museum professionals, or conservators the opportunity to research and study at both the Getty in Los Angeles and Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England.’ Fellowships, administered by the Getty Foundation, will be for up to eight months, with the time split equally between the Getty and Waddesdon, during which fellows will also receive a stipend.

Oxford Community Archaeology Project Awarded

Archeox: The Archaeology of East Oxford project, led by David Griffiths FSA, is one of six winners in the Projects category of the Oxford University Vice-Chancellor’s inaugural Award for Public Engagement with Research. At a ceremony on 1 July at Merton College, the Vice-Chancellor, Louise Richardson, complimented the project for engaging and training over 700 local volunteers in archaeological techniques and skills, supporting a five-year programme of excavation, survey and documentary research, leading to a wealth of new evidence and interpretation for a comparatively under-researched area of the city. Griffiths explains:
‘Key sites investigated by Archeox included a medieval leper hospital and chapel at Bartlemas, Cowley; a 12th century nunnery at Littlemore Priory; and a spread of prehistoric occupation on the Thames gravels near Iffley and Donington. The project was the subject of a lecture to the Society on 19 February 2015. All survey, excavation, finds and research reports are online. A project book is in preparation, and several articles on the key sites are planned.
‘The project was funded between 2010 and 2015 by a combination of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Oxford University’s John Fell Fund, forming a package over just over half a million pounds. Further capacity was added by the award of a Council for British Archaeology Training Placement in Community Archaeology, which coincided with the project’s highpoint of fieldwork activity in 2012–13. The project was a finalist nominee for Best Community Engagement Archaeology Project in the 2012 British Archaeological Awards.’
Photos show children from a local school taking part in digging a test pit, and (left to right), David Griffiths, Louise Richardson, Project Officer Jane Harrison, and volunteers Leigh Mellor and Katie Hambrook.

Museums and Arts ‘Ripped Off’ by ‘Vital’ New BP Grants

Notwithstanding hopes from environmental protest groups, BP and major UK cultural institutions have announced a further five years of arts partnerships. BP says it will continue to grant aid the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company after 2018, investing some £7.5 million.
In a release, Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said BP’s sponsorship had enabled the Museum ‘to host magnificent exhibitions and events with a great public benefit’, which ‘have been enjoyed by millions of visitors to the Museum and have deepened understanding of the world’s many cultures and their interconnectedness.’
BP’s support for the Portrait Award, said Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, ‘is wonderful news for all those, whether visitors or artists, who want to admire or create the very best of contemporary portrait painting from around the world… such longevity and loyalty is unique in corporate sponsorship. At a time when funding for public institutions is increasingly stretched, the support of the arts that BP provides is vital.’
Anna Galkina, from Platform London, said protests would increase. ‘BP is ripping off our cultural institutions’, she said. ‘With this pocket change, BP buys legitimacy, access to invaluable advertising space, and masks its role in destroying indigenous lands, arming dictatorships and wrecking our climate.’

New Museum of London Architects Chosen

Simon Jenkins FSA was a judge on a panel that selected architects Stanton Williams and Asif Khan to design a new Museum of London. Their proposals for a striking redevelopment of West Smithfield, embracing the former historic and much prized Smithfield General Market, Fish Market, Red House and Engine House, include a large dome, ‘a vast excavated underground chamber’ and a new sunken garden and green spaces. The ideas will be worked up for a planning application to be submitted in 2018.
The existing Museum of London has long struggled with its location on the edge of the Barbican residential and arts development, hidden by walkways and walls from dangerous city streets. The new building, close by but surrounded by pedestrianised public space, would allow the Museum to more than double its one million annual visitors and to grow its displays.
Broadcaster Evan Davis, who chaired the jury, said in a release that the project was ‘a clear winner’. The chosen architects ‘offered some really innovative thinking, and managed to combine a sensitivity to the heritage of the location, with a keen awareness of the practicalities of delivering a really functional museum.’
Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said, ‘Over the coming months we will work together to design a new museum for London and Londoners which will be one of the top visitor attractions in the capital.’

Gambling that Pays Off

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has published its Annual Report and Accounts. While, as it says, the HLF has faced ‘risks focused on the dangers to our past lottery investment from changes in the heritage sector in terms of funding, asset ownership and maintenance, organisational capacity and capability and changing business models’, the value of the Fund to the rest of us has perhaps never been more apparent.
The extraordinary, enduring public benefit of the HLF is underlined by a list that summarises progress on projects granted more than £5 million. There are over 50 of them, ranging from the British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre (£10m), the Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Project (£10m) and the Mary Rose Museum Project (£26.3m), all more or less completed, to a conservation project at Buxton Crescent and Spa (£23.8m), Revealing, Celebrating and Exploring the Heritage of the Royal Academy of Arts (£12.2m) and First Light at Jodrell Bank (£12.1m), at various stages of getting going.
On 28 July the HLF launched a new £8 million annual investment programme ‘to help organisations and partnerships build their resilience’. Support will come in the form of Resilient Heritage grants of between £3,000 and £250,000, to help organisations ‘improve the way they manage heritage for the long term’. This might mean, for example, acquiring new skills to raise money, exploring new business models or approaches to governance, creating partnerships between heritage organisations or taking on new responsibilities, such as through community asset transfers. It builds on the HLF’s Catalyst, Transition funding and Start Up Grant programmes, which were launched in 2012.
The HLF gives the UK Association of Building Preservation Trusts (UKAPT) as an example of a charity at risk of closure, that was helped by Transition funding of £79,000 ‘to modernise and become self-sufficient’. The charity is a membership organisation that promotes and supports the rescue and sustainable use of historic buildings; Diana Beattie FSA and Claire Donovan FSA are among its Area Representatives. ‘As a result of the grant,’ says the HLF, ‘the organisation has restructured and developed a new business model so it can generate more income.’ It has employed new staff, set up an office in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham and a new website, and rebranded itself as the Heritage Trust Network.
‘Shortly after the year end’, says the Annual Report, ‘we said farewell to Carole Souter FSA as our Chief Executive. The Fund is deeply in her debt for the remarkable and skilled leadership she has shown over 13 years and her personal and professional commitment to heritage will be missed.’ The new Chief Executive, Ros Kerslake, took up her post in July. Sir Neil Cossons FSA and Richard Morris FSA are among the HLF’s Trustees.
Photo: The National Museum of the Royal Navy (Dominic Tweddle FSA Director General, Tim Schadla-Hall FSA a Trustee) was awarded £5 million as part of the Catalyst Endowment initiative in 2013, helping to fund HMS Victory at the Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth.

‘Foreigners Interpret Our Sites Incorrectly’

In the latest of his occasional Letters from Central Asia, Heinrich Härke FSA, Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Reading and Honorary Professor in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Tübingen, describes what he calls ‘disturbing news’. An already strange world takes a surreal turn when, as he describes, taking a course in international archaeology in Kazakhstan means learning about Britain.


‘Turkmenistan has decided to terminate all international collaboration with foreign archaeologists. There will be no extension of agreements with external project partners (and independent foreign projects were never permitted, anyway). Even more disturbing is what a Russian archaeologist was told when asking for the reason: “Foreigners excavate our sites, and then they interpret them incorrectly.” When I tried to obtain confirmation from elsewhere, a western archaeologist who has carried out fieldwork in Turkmenistan for many years reported that their project was discontinued last year for “administrative reasons”.
‘While this is what one might expect from a secretive and paranoid regime, it is a serious blow to archaeology: a significant part of the Silk Road crosses through Turkmenistan, and it boasts a number of World Heritage Sites, including the Parthian capital of Nissa, and the multi-period trading city of Merv (see Salon 313). It is also worrying because it reflects a wider trend of regimes trying to control the interpretation of their national histories. Russia now puts on trial anyone who states publicly that the Red Army attacked and occupied parts of Poland in 1939 – as is happening right now to somebody who posted excerpts from his post-Soviet school book on Vkontakte (a very popular Russian social network).
‘Turkmenistan’s neighbours Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are not about to bring the shutters down in like fashion – on the contrary. While lack of funding is still preventing high-profile collaborative projects in Uzbekistan, the country does its best to capitalize on its Silk Road past. My visits to Samarkand and Bukhara this spring gave me the impression of flourishing heritage tourism, with busloads of visitors from all major European countries, the USA, Japan and India clogging the streets and monuments of the towns. One wonders how many of them come back for a second visit, given the cumbersome procedures and often rude staff encountered at customs and passport controls when entering the country. The benefits of this tourism go well beyond economics. Talks with several craftsmen on the markets in Bukhara brought home the fact that work for the tourists enables the survival of traditional crafts (such as textile-working, carpet-weaving and knife-making), and sometimes at high standards, but often with some adaptation to expectations and tastes of tourists (quite different, though, from the typical mass-produced souvenirs 'found at all tourist hot-spots across the world).
‘Kazakhstan, while not a model democracy either, is probably the least oppressive and secretive country in Central Asia, and it is certainly not paranoid (although it is getting wary of Russian “interest” in north-eastern Kazakhstan, with its large ethnic Russian population). It has even joined the European University Area and the Bologna Process, not always to the delight of local academics. But this move has had positive effects, too. I was able to see some of them in March of this year while inspecting the Archaeology & Ethnology course at the Al-Farabi University in Almaty, on behalf of a German agency which had been asked by the university to do some of the required European-style accreditation. Like other leading national universities in Kazakhstan, Al-Farabi operates a bilingual policy (teaching in Kazakh and Russian), but with an increasing emphasis on English. Thus, elements of the Archaeology & Ethnology course are offered in all three languages, as are the voluminous course handbooks. Although the English handbook turned out to be a hilarious jumble, you have to concede that at least they try. There is also an advanced taught option on “Archaeology Abroad”, which turns out to be mostly about British archaeology.
‘On the downside, Al-Farabi’s combined Archaeology & Ethnology course only looked “progressive” from a distance because the combination seemed to be modelled on the concept of cultural anthropology – but it isn’t. It is an ill-conceived attempt to save old-fashioned regional ethnography from post-Soviet reorganisation, by bolting it on to an Archaeology Department with a good reputation. This shotgun marriage does not work, because of the lack of a common anthropological perspective – and the “real” Cultural Anthropology with a more up-to-date outlook is taught as a separate subject in a different faculty, so that it cannot be combined in any way with elements of the Archaeology course. The university is aware of the problems, but their difficulty is that Kazakh universities are not free to re-organise their faculties, or re-shape their courses, as they like; there are clear and detailed guidelines from the Ministry of Education which has the last word on everything. Perhaps the recommendations of the visiting accreditation delegation will be able to shift the tectonics of this rigid structure at least a little bit.’

Photo shows a scene in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in 2015, where ‘Foreign visitors to the exhibition held at the National Carpet Museum could not hide their admiration for classical ornamental wool and silk carpets, picturesque canvases and wonderful works featuring renowned Ahalteke horses.’ Coming up on 10 October: ‘Scientific conference The main trends of the stable development of Turkmenistan’, held by the Ministry of Economy and Development and the Ministry of Finances.

Dicing with Death 

Mark Hall FSA, who works at Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Perth, has reviewed the evidence across northern Europe for Migration and Viking Age boat burials that contained games equipment – boards, playing pieces and dice, between around AD 150 and 1000. He catalogues 36 instances, from Iceland to Ukraine and Russia, with two from England (Sutton Hoo) and two from Orkney. The finds range from the odd board or gaming piece to two recently excavated mass-inhumation ship burials at Saalme, on Saaremaa Island, Estonia, where in one the remains of 33 men, thought possibly to have been buried by their killers, were accompanied by over 300 pieces (made from whalebone and walrus tusk) and six dice; a king seemed to have been placed in the mouth of one of the men, as if to suggest a conquered leader.
‘This case study’, Hall concludes, ‘of performance through the citation of living to aid living-on in social and individual memory as well as in some kind of believed-in (and lived-in?) afterlife has explored the link between board games and boat burials… The practitioners were part of an organic enterprise that developed a social, public realm which sought continuity between past and present; in other words, fashioning the present to give meaning to the past and the future… The placing of gaming equipment in the grave mirrors the two worlds of the living and the dead, representing both with pragmatism in the manner of a document-vérité, metaphor, and poetic licence.’
Or, as the Daily Mail put, ‘The Viking family buried with their favourite board games: Playing pieces were thought to entertain the dead in the afterlife.’
See ‘Board games in boat burials: play in the performance of Migration and Viking Age mortuary practice’ (European Journal of Archaeology July 2016, free access). Picture shows impression of a boat burial excavated at Scar on Sanday, Orkney, where 22 whalebone playing pieces were found between the remains of a man, and a woman and a boy.

Roman Coin Hoards: One Bought, One Sought

Two Roman coin hoards have been in the news. The popularity of metal detecting and the success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme has meant that such hoards, already seen as particularly distinctive of Roman Britain, now feel almost commonplace (albeit the costs of conservation, acquisition and display do not fall), though each hoard often has its local significance. So with these two.
The first of some 22,000 coins found on Seaton Down, Devon in 2013 came up in the finder’s shovel. Laurence Egerton, a ‘semi-retired builder’, notified local archaeologists who excavated the rest. Bill Horner FSA, Historic Environment Manager and County Archaeologist at Devon County Council, said at the time, ‘We realised the significance and mobilised a team as fast as we could.’ Egerton slept nearby in his car for three nights for fear a rogue treasure hunter would intervene before the dig was over. ‘The coins were in remarkably good condition’, said Horner. ‘Coming out of the ground you could see the portrait faces; a family tree of the House of Constantine.’
The coins – ranging in date from late AD 260 to almost 350 – were conserved and studied at the British Museum, which claimed them to constitute ‘one of the largest hoards ever found within the whole Roman Empire’. As cataloguing progressed, one coin – a nummus struck by Constantine the Great – marked the one millionth find of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. ‘You know what it’s like’, said Neil MacGregor FSA, then Director of the British Museum, ‘you sit waiting for the millionth object and 22,000 come along at once.’
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, has bought the Seaton Down Hoard for £50,000. Conservation continues of what are now said to be nearly 23,000 coins. Some are already on display, the rest will follow next year.
Constantinian nummi made a good showing in the second hoard, found by another detectorist, near Wold Newton, East Yorkshire in 2014. The 1,857 cons are determined to have been buried in AD 307. Andrew Woods, Curator of Numismatics at the Yorkshire Museum, said, ‘This is an absolutely stunning find with a strong connection to one of the most significant periods in York's Roman history. It contains coins from the time of Constantius, who died in the city, and then the first to feature Constantine, rising to power. This was a pivotal moment in York’s history but also the history of the western world.’ ‘No hoard’, he added, ‘of this size from this period has ever been discovered in the north of England before.’
The finder, David Blakey (in photo), filmed the discovery and immediately reported it. Archaeologists arriving on site saw a Roman jar (described by Ralph Jackson FSA as a typical Crambeck Grey Ware vessel, distributed across north-east England during the early to mid fourth century) weighed down by its untouched contents. Conservation allowed two groups of coins within the pot to be identified, the lower assembled early in 307, and the upper, with two nummi minted in London in the name of Constantine as Augustus, nearly a year later.
The museum hopes to raise £44,200 by October to keep the hoard in public collections.

News of Fellows

Sarnia Butcher FSA, Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Roman brooch specialist, and Christine Mahany FSA, Lincolnshire archaeologist, both died in July. Appreciations appear below.

Lizzie Glithero-West FSA will be the new Chief Executive at the Heritage Alliance, replacing Kate Pugh who steps down in September after 13 years in the role. Glithero-West was formerly adviser to Baroness Neville-Rolfe at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, where she has been helping to steer the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill through its various Parliamentary stages (Neville-Rolfe was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 17 July). She has expert knowledge of a wide range of policy areas including archaeology, heritage protection, gambling and tourism. Loyd Grossman FSA, Chair of The Heritage Alliance, said, ‘Lizzie is that rare combination: a passionate enthusiast for heritage of all kinds, but someone with in-depth inside knowledge of how the corridors of power in Whitehall and Westminster work. We look forward to welcoming her to the Alliance and its family of over a hundred members.’

The Times’ Red Box (subscription needed) reported on a typical day for Tim Loughton FSA in his Parliamentary constituency (or as typical as such as day might be when trailed by a journalist), in which he answered questions about Brexit and Andrea Leadsom, crawled around a school playground and checked his daily 250 emails (251 this morning).
The German Ocean, says Andrew Rogerson FSA, Senior Archaeologist (Norfolk), of the book by Brian Ayers FSA, ‘is a tour-de-magnum-force… a real eye-opener with a mass of interconnected data set in context.’ Subtitled Medieval Europe Around the North Sea, the book ‘examines archaeological and historical evidence for the development of economies and societies from the beginning of the 12th until the mid 16th centuries. It draws in material from Scandinavia to Normandy and from Scotland to the Thames estuary. While largely concerned with the North Sea littoral, when necessary it takes account of adjacent areas such as the Baltic or inland hinterlands.’ ‘In cultural terms,’ continues the blurb, the North Sea has always acted as a lake, ‘supporting communities around its fringes which have frequently had much in common. This is especially true of the Medieval period when trade links, fostered in the two centuries prior to 1100, expanded in the 12th and 13th centuries to ensure the development of maritime societies whose material culture was often more remarkable for its similarity across distance than for its diversity.’

‘Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust.’ This is James Cuno, introducing Colin Renfrew FSA, and author of Who Owns Antiquity?: Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage (2008), considered controversial by some, not least Renfrew (‘fair and thoughtful’, says Cuno of his review). Cuno interviewed Renfrew in the library of Getty’s ranch house near Malibu, California, overlooking a functioning replica of a Roman Villa, modelled on the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum and home to Getty’s museum. You can now hear the conversation or read a transcript (‘CUNO: Beware of angry linguists. [chuckles]’)
‘How optimistic are you about the future,’ asks Cuno at the end, ‘with regard to the greater understanding and protection of the ancient past?’
‘Well, I’m broadly optimistic,’ replies Renfrew, ‘because first of all I see increasing interest in these matters. And clearly if the human past is to survive well, it has to benefit from public interest. But secondly, I think fortunately the archaeological record is surprisingly flexible… [despite looting] there will always be new sites to discover... [Palaeolithic sites] are not particularly interesting to the looter, because the objects they provide are not financially valuable. So they will go on being discovered for centuries… if we all survive the nuclear threats that surround us, then I think archaeology will continue to grow from strength to strength.’

Lives Remembered

Sarnia Butcher FSA died unexpectedly at her home on the Scilly Isles on 12 July, aged 86. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in May 1964. Justine Bayley FSA, a friend and colleague, has provided this tribute:
‘Sarnia was born on 20 August 1930, studied at the Institute of Archaeology in London and joined the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate in the early 1950s, dealing, among other things, with excavations on Roman sites (her first publication was an interim report on excavations in St George’s Street, Winchester, in 1954). Later, as a Principal Inspector, she had responsibility for backlog excavations and publications more generally. She compiled (with P Garwood) Rescue Excavations 1938 to 1972: A Report for the Backlog Working Party of the Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee of English Heritage (1994), a work which was widely seen as marking the end of an era in archaeological fieldwork. She saw the change from the Civil Service to English Heritage in 1984, but retired soon afterwards.
‘She wrote widely on Roman brooches and enamels, making many specialist contributions to excavation reports while also writing at greater length on these topics. Examples are her chapter on enamelling in Roman Crafts, edited by Donald Strong and David Brown (1976), and our Roman Brooches in Britain: A Technological and Typological Study Based on the Richborough Collection, published by the Society of Antiquaries in 2004; the latter was the culmination of over 25 years of collaboration. Retirement did not stop her working, and she took great satisfaction in the appearance earlier this year of her final paper, on ‘The Roman brooches from Nornour, Isles of Scilly’ in Cornish Archaeology; indeed she was still active in the Isles of Scilly Museum until a few days before her death.
‘Fellows with reminiscences of Sarnia they would like to share are invited to send them to Amanda Martin (, the Curator of the Isles of Scilly Museum, who is putting together a fuller obituary tribute to Sarnia.’
Fellows may have more to contribute for a future Salon, but in the meantime I will add a note about Butcher’s work at Nornour. In 1969 heavy seas on this small, uninhabited island washed out part of an Iron Age and Roman settlement that had been partly excavated by the Cornwall Archaeological Society earlier in the decade. Sponsored by the Isles of Scilly Museum Association and the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Butcher excavated the damaged remains. It soon became apparent that the site was larger than had been thought, and was steadily falling into the sea. Her excavations continued until 1973.
Nornour, which she described as an ‘unusually isolated site’, was distinguished by a large number of Roman brooches, sparking an interest that persisted for the rest of her career. Well over 300 were recorded, and many others were said to have been found by beachcombers, posing the question, beyond their intrinsic interest, why they were all there? Dismissing suggestions by others of a workshop or a shipwreck, she proposed the existence of a shrine, at which people left votive objects throughout the four centuries of the northern Roman Empire. Perhaps, as the late Charles Thomas FSA had suggested, it had been dedicated to Sulis, and had links with Roman Bath.
Photos show Sarnia Butcher on a trip to the Nornour site in 2012.

Christine Mahany FSA died on 13 July 2016, aged 77. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1976. ‘Throughout the rest of her life and in her severely declining years’, writes John Smith FSA, ‘she was immensely proud of being a Fellow.’ Smith, former Curator of Stamford and Grantham Museums, has written this tribute:

‘Christine Mahany is best known for her work in Stamford, Lincolnshire, where she moved in 1966 as Director of Excavations of the newly formed Stamford Archaeological Research Committee and stayed for the rest of her life. She was born on 15 January 1939 and spent her early years in Hampshire. She went to Leicester University in 1957 to read Zoology and Philosophy, graduating in 1960. However, as much as she liked animals, her interests were changing.
‘During her undergraduate years she had volunteered at Leicester’s New Walk Museum to catalogue bones under G. A. Chinnery FSA, but found herself increasingly drawn to archaeological artefacts. After graduation she decided that field archaeology was the world for her. She went to work for the late Philip Rahtz FSA on the Cheddar Palace excavations and then the late- and post-Roman cemetery at Cannington, both in Somerset. Having acquired a firm grounding in the principles of open area archaeology, she went on to direct a series of rescue excavations as an itinerant archaeologist for the then Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. In this period of her career she will be best remembered for her excavation of the small Roman town of Alcester in Warwickshire between 1964 and 1966, the report being published by the Council for British Archaeology in 1994. Other notable sites followed, such as a hermitage at Grafton Regis in Northamptonshire and a manorial complex at Whittonstall in Northumberland, but they remain unpublished and have therefore not attracted the attention they deserved.
‘Promising more permanent employment, her arrival in Stamford was something of a departure. It came as a response to the increasing threat of development – this was before the Civic Amenities Act of 1967 – in the historic town core. With her extensive contacts in the archaeological world, she quickly assembled a stellar academic advisory board and began a programme of rescue archaeology and watching briefs that was to transform our understanding of the origins and growth of Stamford. With the discovery of defences both north and south of the Welland, the identification of industrial sites, including several Stamford Ware kilns, and the exploration of various ecclesiastical foundations, a new model of the development of the town began to emerge. She went on to delineate a Danish borough centred on the High Street and an Anglo-Saxon borough to the south centred on High Street St Martin’s.
‘This picture was fleshed out by the results of her most extensive excavation, that of Stamford Castle between 1972 and 1976. Almost the whole area south of the motte was uncovered and the complex history of a Conquest-period castle and fortress, which played an important role in the history of England into the 14th century, was revealed. However, of particular interest was the discovery of a kiln producing Red Painted Ware, otherwise known only from Beauvais, associated with the earliest occupation layers of ninth-century defences. Here, apparently, was compelling evidence that French potters had travelled to England with Vikings who established themselves within what was probably a centre of royal power in Mercia. The discovery, now regularly cited in connection with the Danish colonization of England, finessed Chris’s model of the development of Stamford which she published in its final form in ‘Stamford: the development of an Anglo-Scandinavian borough’ in Anglo-Norman Studies in 1983. Republished in an American Anglo-Saxon history reader in 2000, the paper was hailed as a model of its kind. Her analysis remains the accepted interpretation of the origins of the town to the present day.
‘As beguiling as such matters were, Chris’s professional interests were not confined to the early history of Stamford. She targeted excavations at a number of periods, adding especially to our knowledge of the pottery industry in the later Middle Ages. Her excavation of St Michael’s Nunnery provided sobering confirmation of 15th-century visitations protesting laxity in the house: the skeleton of a new-born baby was found in the rear dorter drain. Equally surprising was evidence for alchemy that she found in excavations at St Leonard’s Priory between 1967 and 1971.
‘Nor were her efforts confined to the town, once her remit was extended as Joint Director of the South Lincolnshire Archaeological Unit. She directed an excavation that revealed that ‘New’ Sleaford was less a post-Conquest new town than an early Saxon estate nucleus of major important. She also oversaw a survey of small towns which is still bearing fruit in significant publications. Unfortunately, she herself was not a prolific author. Her early excavations were published as Excavations in Stamford, Lincolnshire 1963–1969 (1982), but most are still unpublished, although draft reports survive for many of her sites. Her archive is currently being inventoried with a view to future publication.
‘In her heyday Chris was a formidable academic. She had an incisive mind that could cut to the essence of an archaeological problem and place it in its historical context. As such, she was sometimes impatient with those who could not keep up with her: her abrasiveness did not always serve her well. However, once accepted, she was fiercely loyal to her friends. And she was excellent company. Well read with an encyclopaedic knowledge of literature and poetry (she did not have much truck with modernism), and a love of sacred music and travel of any kind, she was ever entertaining in her favourite pub of the day. Topics might range from Anglo-Saxon land tenure, through cooking (a particular passion), to the latest Times crossword.
‘She was great fun to be with, whether regaling her friends with her ‘Travels with a Bicycle’, her exploration of the Cévennes with her bicycle Modestine, or when I observed her pedalling furiously down a mountainside on the island of Aegina to catch a ferry, with a pair of large amphorae dangling and clattering from her handlebars. One of them didn’t survive the trip.
‘Sadly, Chris went through a personal crisis in the early 1980s which, added to redundancy, was a life-changing moment. Thereafter, with the loss of close friends and intellectual stimulation, she became increasingly isolated from her professional colleagues Though she continued to work on the Stamford Castle excavations and other reports, she began to lose her way and in recent years declined visibly. A fiercely independent character, she became increasingly lonely despite the efforts of friends to help her. Hers was a complex character, but her memory will be treasured by all those who knew her well for what she really was.’
The Society was represented at the funeral by Fellows David Roffe, John Smith and David Stocker. Photos show Mahany in the early 1960s (top) and in 1986.


Tessa Murdoch FSA, who co-authored The French Hospital in England: Its Huguenot History and Collections with the late Randolph Vigne FSA, gave an address at his Memorial Service. Vigne is well known for his anti-apartheid activities, but the Huguenot historian in him is less widely written about, and can sometimes seem to be another man altogether. These extracts from Murdoch’s interesting speech show how much he contributed to Huguenot scholarship.
‘Randolph was proud of his own Huguenot origins; his ancestor James Vigne was a clockmaker, working first in London and then established in Dublin’s College Green in the late 18th century. A long case clock with the dial signed Vigne dating from the late 18th century is preserved at Stourhead, Wiltshire, the home of the leading London bankers, the Hoare family. Another, signed by Ferdinand Vigne dating from circa 1740 is at Llanhydrock in Cornwall. This was supplied by Ferdinando Vigne listed as working in London’s Charing Cross about 1750 who died in London in 1763.
‘I first encountered Randolph in the late 1970s when researching for my doctorate on Huguenot artists, designers and craftsmen in Great Britain and Ireland. I joined the committee chaired by Rosemary Weinstein FSA to plan an exhibition on the Huguenots to mark the Tercentenary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes at the Museum of London in 1985, which led to my appointment as exhibition curator. Lady Monson led a further committee building on the support of Michael Montague, then head of the English Tourist Board, to develop awareness of Huguenot Heritage and plan a nationwide Huguenot trail and a commemorative service in St Paul’s Cathedral. Randolph brought to Emma Monson’s team a remarkable international perspective, with his South African background, Irish origins and wide knowledge of Europe through his day job as a publisher of foreign language manuals. Many of the meetings were held in Kensington where Lady Monson, Randolph and Peter Minet formed a triangular Huguenot mafia, with Peter Minet as money man at the apex in Abbotsbury Road then Cottesmore Court, lady Monson in Alma Terrace and Randolph in Cornwall Gardens. Their agenda embraced leading Huguenot historian Robin Gwynn; other luminaries included Jonathan Ouvry and Saskia Hallam.’
Murdoch read from a text sent by Robin Gwynn from New Zealand, which included this edited passage:
‘Randolph has kept the flag of the Huguenot Society flying magnificently, and on an international stage, over the past generation. What he has done for Huguenot scholarship both personally and in encouraging others will be well understood by all. In 1985 he spoke on the history of the Society to mark its centenary; in 1986 on the Van Sommers, a Huguenot artistic tradition; and in 1987 on the Huguenot leader Lord Galway. Randolph, with his Oxford education and political experience, demonstrated that he could turn his mind to any aspect of Huguenot heritage and bring the subject to life. His publication on Huguenots in medicine for the Wellcome Institute in 1985 (‘Mayerne and his successors: Huguenot physicians under the Stuarts’) was particularly ground breaking, and recent reassessment of the role of the Huguenot doctor Pierre Silvestre as the probable architect of Boughton House drew on Randolph’s original research. Randolph edited the Proceedings of the Huguenot Society for 16 years from 1988 to 2004.
‘His extensive travels to share and develop his knowledge of Huguenot heritage included visits to the US, particularly Charleston where he spoke to the Huguenot Society of South Carolina; frequent visits to Ireland; contributions to conferences in France, particular engagement with the German Huguenot Society and a friendship with Pastor Andreas Flick at Celle who has dedicated his latest article for the Huguenot Society Proceedings to Randolph’s memory.
‘Randolph became a Director of the French Hospital in 1979. He served as the Hospital Treasurer from 1981 to 1991. His enthusiasm and unstinting support led to the creation of the Huguenot Museum, Rochester, opened by Princess Alexandra in July 2015. Randolph sat on the museum development board and greatly assisted in the museum design and fundraising activities. His knowledge of Huguenot history, and particularly that of the French Hospital, its Directors and Residents was unparalleled; he was responding to requests about the Huguenot ancestry of applicants for admission until a few days before his death – he will be irreplaceable.’
And this from Jane McKee and Elizabeth Bicker of the Irish section of the Huguenot Society:
‘Randolph was well-known to our members. He was extremely knowledgeable about the Huguenots in Ireland and attended and spoke at many seminars and conferences here, contributing most recently to the Huguenot session at the Eighteenth-Century Ireland annual conference in Maynooth in 2013. He also supported the development of the Huguenot Archive and Collection in the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin, and was encouraging to all Huguenot scholars and a mentor to many. We will miss his genial presence, his learning and his generous support.'
‘Continuing our celebration of contributions made by many skilled immigrant workers from Europe’, concluded Murdoch, quoting President of the Huguenot Society Brian de Save, ‘remains a vital acknowledgement of our continental engagement in this changing political climate. Randolph’s heroic engagement to promote liberty and equality in South Africa and his subsequent exile gave him a particularly close understanding of the Huguenot predicament.’

Norman Hammond FSA added a note to The Times’ obituary of Beatrice de Cardi FSA, commending her ‘incisive comment, efficient management, and humanity [which] made her immensely liked and respected.’ ‘The flourishing state of the Council for British Archaeology', he continues, ‘and its numerous regional groups after more than six decades, with highly professional publication series and numerous conferences each year, is testimony to the efficacy of the federate organisation that de Cardi and her council put in place. She was however happy to take a few hours out of the office, and extraordinarily helpful in planning our 1966 survey of the Helmand Valley of southern Afghanistan, going through trays of pottery fragments in Bloomsbury to ensure that I could tell Samarkand Tomato Ware from Ghaznavid excised monochromes.’
A piece in the last Salon about ship’s rivets from Sutton Hoo prompted Martin Biddle FSA to wonder if Fellows had seen his extended obituary of Rupert Bruce-Mitford FSA, published in the British Academy's latest volume of Memoirs of Fellows. Biddle traces the family history from Bruce-Mitford’s paternal great-grandfather and great-grandmother, who set sail for India in 1836 to work as ‘poor unordained Baptist missionaries’ in Andhra Pradesh, on the Bay of Bengal, to his birth in London in 1914 less than five years before his father died in Madras, where he was Assistant Editor and leader writer on the Madras Mail. Well-referenced details follow of his childhood, education, war service (at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire, where ‘“Cadet R. L. Bruce Mitford, late of the British Museum, spent his leisure from military duties ... in clearing out the Hypocaust” of a Roman house at Middleham first examined in 1881’) and especially his career at the Museum and his work with Sutton Hoo. Should he write ‘the secret history of Sutton Hoo’, Bruce-Mitford asked Biddle in 1993, six months before he died? That apparently (outside John Preston’s novel set at the original dig, called simply The Dig) remains to be done. Biddle’s memoir can be read online. Photo shows Bruce-Mitford in 1976, by Bassano, from a print in the National Portrait Gallery (detail).

The Wisdom of Fellows

‘In your short obituary on Beatrice de Cardi’, writes Steven Ashley FSA, Finds Archaeologist at Norfolk County Council, ‘you unfortunately fell into a commonly made error when referring to the depiction of the coat of arms on the Cardi Palazzo as a crest. The sculpted stone achievement does have what appears to be a later substitute helm, with elaborate mantling and a crest (which appears to be a panache of feathers) placed above the original shield of arms. However, the crest is only one element of the full achievement, and represents an object, often abstracted from the arms and usually constructed of leather or wood, placed on a crest wreath or torse on top of the helm.’
I welcome more specialist comment, though I was concerned this ‘short obituary’ might have been too long for some Fellows. Let me know your thoughts, on this or anything else.

‘In the special Brexit edition,’ writes Tony Birley FSA, ‘someone quoted the comment about the impact of the French Revolution, “It’s too early to say” and attributed it to Mao. It was, surely, said by Chou-En lai – and further, he probably meant the events of May 1968 rather than the famous late 18th century revolution.’
‘A propos of the recent piece about the pyramid of Cestius,’ continues Birley, refrring to a note about an article by Nicholas Stanley-Price FSA. â€˜He ought to be called “Gaius Cestius”: C. was short for Gaius not Caius. This is because the Romans started using the abbreviation C. for Gaius before they had invented the letter G. Cf. the Roman formula “Ego Gaius, tu Gaia”; and the Greeks after all, wrote Gaios not Kaios. Pedantry perhaps, but Quintilian 1.7.28 and other sources make clear that the forms often found in modern works, “Caius” and “Cnaeus” (or even “Cnaius”) did not exist. See e.g. R. Cagnat, Cours d’Épigraphie Latine 4th ed. (1914) 39f.’

‘You are of course quite right’, says Ian Burrow FSA, referring to my reporting of his attempts to stop the Institute for Advanced Study building over an alleged 1777 battlefield site in New Jersey, ‘to have sought to include the counter arguments made by the IAS’s paid consultants, and perhaps my submission seemed a little one-sided.’ I know how complex these arguments can be, and with no special knowledge of this (to me) distant case, I can only remain neutral. Burrow of course believes ‘that the preponderance of the evidence is most firmly in favour of Maxwell’s Field [the proposed building site] being a key portion of the battle. While it is possible’, he continues, ‘to present this issue as one where “experts are divided” (as the Institute would probably wish it to be seen) this is not really the case.’
He presents his argument under two headings:
1. ‘The Institute’s Paid Consultants were inadequately qualified to comment on the National Park Service-Sponsored Study (often termed The Milner Report).’
2. ‘Revolutionary War Historians with detailed knowledge of the Battle and its context are overwhelmingly supportive of the study’s conclusions.’
Burrow’s letter is too long to copy here, but if any Fellows would like to see it, I will be happy to forward a copy. Email me at

‘Mary Beard’s lament for the future of archaeology in Britain outside the EU’, writes Robert Merrillees FSA, ‘seems especially poignant and ironical when viewed in the context of Salon’s other news items.
‘The very notion that the UK could regain a sense of national identity away from the Continent, especially France, is belied by the October 2016 conference on interpreting the Norman Conquest and the lecture on 20 September on Leek’s replica of the Bayeux tapestry; the Government’s decision to place a temporary bar on a Book of Hours made in France, not England, in 1532; and the July feature by the Society's guest curator, Philippe Malgouyres FSA of the Louvre Museum. To say nothing about the French and German connections with Boughton House, and the name of Herstmonceux Castle. Even Beatrice de Cardi FSA was technically a French citizen.
‘Has Britain become schizophrenic ? If so, it is a pity that Sigmund Freud, an exile from Austria who lived and died in London, isn’t still around to psychoanalyse this bizarre outbreak of insularity.’
‘How pleasing that Salon has recognised our late Fellow John Loughborough Pearson’, writes Anthony Quiney FSA, ‘in its notice of the third issue of Historic England Research! Pearson was elected Fellow in 1853 in recognition of his sensitive, archaeologically informed restoration of the magnificent three-bay rib-vault of St Mary, Stow-in-Lindsey. Twenty five years later he had to contend with the strictures of William Morris and SPAB. These reached fever-pitch in 1896–7 when he proposed the urgent restoration of part of Peterborough Cathedral’s west front, which was in danger of falling, by taking down one of its arches and the gable above, and, as it turned out, replacing all but the ten percent of crushed stones in precisely the same positions they had formerly occupied. Our Society’s then Secretary, Sir Charles Read, hand-in-hand with SPAB, was reported as saying that the west front “will never again be seen”. This damning assertion was still current only a few decades ago, but my information suggests that it was misplaced, hence my satisfaction in seeing our late Fellow’s rehabilitated name appear in Issue 368.’

'Although I am indeed a Trustee of the Victorian Society,' writes Alasdair Glass FSA, 'David Cannadine FSA and Simon Jenkins FSA are both Vice-Presidents.' Noted.

Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events'). Unless indicated otherwise, tea will be served at 16.15, and the Meeting will commence at 17.00 precisely. Online ballots close at noon at the date of the scheduled ballot. At Ordinary Meetings, ballots open at 16.00 and close at 16.20. The results are read at the beginning of the Meeting.

6 October: 'Pictures in the Notitia Dignitatum', by Dr Stephen Johnson FSA (Treasurer)

13 October: 'The Red and the Dead: Reconstructing the Political Life, Activities and Networks of Vere Gordon Childe', by Dr Katie Meheux

20 October: 'Christian Symbolism on the Ardagh Chalice, an Early Medieval Masterpiece from Ireland', by Dr Niamh Whitfield

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

Forthcoming Public Events

Burlington House Courtyard Lates

Explore 300 years of learning and discovery at the Society of Antiquaries of London! Discover what's behind the doors of the learned  societies at Burlington House. Visitors will be welcome to enjoy a variety of activities at different societies around the courtyard on 26 August (18.00 - 21.00).

To find out more, visit


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.

23 August: 'Armour and the Afterlife: Knightly Effigies in England and Wales', by Dr Tobias Capwell FSA (now fully booked)

20 September: 'A Copy of a Copy: Leek's Replica of the Bayeux Tapestry', by Dr Brenda King, Chair of the Textile Society.

18 October: 'The Relics of Battle Abbey', by Dr Michael Carter FSA (English Heritage).

22 November: 'Motherboards and Motherloads: The Evolving Excavation of the Digital Age', by Christine Finn FSA.

Click here for more information on our public lectures. We also run public tours of our building and collections (£10 per person) preceding the lectures above.

Filming Antiquity

The Filming Antiquity project was funded in spring 2014 to digitise, research and present the home movies of the British archaeologist Gerald Lankester Harding FSA. Harding began his career in archaeology with Flinders Petrie in 1926 at Tell Jemmah, in what was then British Mandate Palestine. The footage currently being researched by Filming Antiquity dates to the late 1920s and early 1930s, when Harding was working on the sites of Tell Fara, Tell Ajjul and Tell ed-Duweir.

23 September (17.30-19.30): In this presentation Amara Thornton FSA and Michael McCluskey (University College London) will discuss the life and work of Harding as captured on screen, setting the footage in the context of interwar excavations and the history of cinema. The presentation will include screening of footage rarely seen since the 1930s, as well as fascinating materials from Harding’s archive showing his experiences on these digs.

For more information, including booking (£5 per person), please visit the website.

Postgraduate Open Day (14 October)

The Society of Antiquaries of London has the largest antiquarian library in the country, with a collection spanning items from the 10th century to present day, reflecting 300 years of research and scholarship into the history and material remains of Great Britain and other countries. Our second annual Postgraduate Open Day is focused on helping students learn about the resources that can available for their postgraduate studies (aimed at students beginning or currently undertaking postgraduate study).

Find out more and reserve your place via our website (this is a FREE event, but space is limited and reservations are required).

Society Dates to Remember


Burlington House Closings

The Society's apartments, including it's Library, will be closed for its summer conservation and maintenance programme from 1 August to 2 September (inclusive, with the exception of its public lecture on 23 August and the final Courtyard Late on 26 August), reopening on Monday, 5 September. Fellows are advised to contact the Library staff before planning a visit during this time.

The Society's Library will also be closed on Friday, 14 October, for its second annual Postgraduate Open Day.

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

14–16 October: The Annual Field Weekend is in Usk this year. The programme includes visits to castles at Hay-on-Wye and Usk, Llanthony Abbey, Clytha House and Gardens and other historic houses and sites in the area. For more information on this event, please contact Bob Child, FSA, at

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

6 September: The Grey Friars Project: Finding Richard III by Dr Turi King (18.00 at the Bar Convent, York). 

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

See end for 'Call for Papers'
August: Handel at Boughton (Kettering)
During its annual August opening, Boughton House, home to His Grace The Duke of Buccleuch FSA, is holding an exhibition exploring seminal moments in the life of composer George Frideric Handel. The exhibition follows Handel from Rome to London’s West End and Montagu House, where he was a frequent visitor. It brings together a collection of artefacts for the first time, including a 1720 harpsichord (probably Handel’s own), sculptor Louis-Francois Roubiliac’s own first model for Handel’s monument in Westminster Abbey, a Chelsea porcelain orchestra and rare orchestral instruments from the period. The Buccleuch Art Collection contributes a first edition of Messiah, portraits of the Montagu family who entertained and commissioned Handel, period furniture and the original menu from Handel’s lunch with the Montagus in 1747. See website for more information.
2–4 September: Sussex Memorials: The County's Occupants and Occupations (Hailsham)
Father Jerome Bertram FSA will give the welcoming lecture, on ‘Monks, friars and canons: Some Sussex clerical monuments,’ at this conference at Herstmonceux Castle, a striking moated red-brick fortress built in the 15th century and restored by Walter Godfrey FSA in the last. Other speakers include RGW Anderson FSA (‘Scientists’ monuments or monuments to scientists?’), Adam White FSA (‘The Johnson family, at Eastbourne and elsewhere’), Jeremy Hodgkinson FSA (‘Wealden iron and church monuments’) and Mark Downing FSA (‘The medieval effigies of St Thomas, Winchelsea’). For details and booking forms see the Church Monuments Society website.

9 September: The Annual Soane Lecture (Bedford)
Philippa Glanville FSA, formerly Chief Curator of Metal, Silver and Jewellery at the V&A,is guest lecturer at 7.30pm at Moggerhanger Park (designed by Sir John Soane). Tickets £18 (£12 for Friends of Moggerhanger) available from Mary Burt, 07736 411144 or
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: Of Snails and Toads – the Marlborough Mound and the Archaeology of Garden Mounts and Grottoes (Marlborough)
Brian Dix FSA will give the Marlborough Mound Trust Annual Lecture at the Ellis Theatre, Marlborough College, on the history and archaeology, in garden terms, of mounds and grottoes. Recent work at the Mound has restored the spiral path which was cut into the old castle mound around 1650, when the Seymour family built the first house on the site of what is now C House in the College; the garden was much admired by contemporaries. For further details please contact the Marlborough Mound Trust, tel. 01672 892390.

17 September: 850th Anniversary of the Assize of Clarendon (Salisbury)
Before 1166 guilt or innocence was mainly tested by ordeals. During the Assize held at Clarendon Palace, Henry II laid the first foundation of our present judicial system and paved the way for Magna Carta. Speakers at a conference in Salisbury Museum include John Mcneill FSA, Anthony Musson FSA and Nicholas Vincent FSA. The programme will include a chance to see some of the material from the contemporary Old Sarum site, held in store at the Museum. For more information or to book a place contact
23 September–13 November: At the Foot of the Pyramid (Rome)
Nicholas Stanley-Price FSA is curating At the Foot of the Pyramid: 300 years of the cemetery for foreigners in Rome, at the Casa di Goethe, under the auspices of the 15 administering embassies. The exhibition assembles more than 40 European and American paintings, drawings and prints from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, including works by JMW Turner, Jacques Sablet, Walter Crane, Jakob Philipp Hackert, Ettore Roesler Franz, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Edvard Munch. Among the most famous tombs, designed by artists such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Bertel Thorvaldsen, are those of John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley and the Beat poet Gregory Corso; Italians include Dario Bellezza, Carlo Emilio Gadda and Antonio Gramsci. Shelley thought it ‘The most beautiful and solemn cemetery I have ever beheld.’ Photo shows detail of Rudolph Müller’s painting of the tomb of August von Goethe, the poet’s son (1840s), Klassik Stiftung Weimar.

24 September: Anglo-Saxon Rendlesham A Royal Centre of the East Anglian Kingdom (Bury St Edmunds)
A one-day conference to present the results of archaeological investigation at Rendlesham 2008–14, at the Apex, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Speakers include Chris Scull FSA and Jude Plouviez FSA, and discussions will be led by Martin Carver FSA, Catherine Hills FSA and Leslie Webster FSA. For details see Suffolk Heritage Explorer.

24 September: 2016 Deerhurst Lecture (Gloucestershire)
The 2015 Deerhurst Lecture will be given by Matthew Townend of the University of York, under the title 'The Road to Deerhurst: 1016 in English and Norse Sources'. The lecture will commemorate the millennium of the peace-meeting at the island of Olney between Kings Edmund Ironside and Cnut after the many battles in the course of the year. Tickets will be available at the church door or visit the Friends Of Deerhurst Church website.
5–6 October: Auricular Style: Frames (London)
An international conference at the Wallace Collection will be the first dedicated to the Auricular style, centring on one of its most significant manifestations, the picture frame. Speakers currently include Karen Hearn FSA, Christopher Rowell FSA and Jacob Simon FSA. Displays to run simultaneously with the conference are planned with the Guildhall Art Gallery, and Ham House, London. Relevant topics include connections between countries, the Van Vianens, Fontainebleau, the grotesque. ‘Medici’ frames. the influence of prints, Auricular settings, craftsmanship, the style’s decline and its revivals, and more. Enquiries and submissions (300–400-word abstracts) to by 29 January, 2016. Convenors Gerry Alabone FSA and Lynn Roberts, in association with the Institute of Conservation (Gilding & Decorative Surfaces Group). Early bird registration (after which prices rise) ends on 30 June.

7–8 October: Sir Walter Scott the Antiquary (Edinburgh/Melrose)
The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (SAS) and Abbotsford House are holding a conference to celebrate the bicentenary of The Antiquary, at the Auditorium, National Museum of Scotland on the Friday (chaired by Iain Gordon Brown FSA and George Dalgleish FSA), and Abbotsford House, Melrose on the Saturday. Published in May 1816, The Antiquary’s 6,000 copies sold out within three weeks, and went through a further nine editions in Scott’s lifetime. Scott was a Vice President of the SAS, and his interests in the material culture of Scotland and their contemporary research form a core element of the novel. This unique event will uncover a different side to Sir Walter Scott, the antiquary and collector, and the physical culture surrounding and inspiring him.
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.

15 October: The Age of Luxury: the Georgian Country House c 1700-1820 (Lewes)
Between 1700 and 1820 old houses were transformed and new ones built, some on a spectacular scale by owners who would now be regarded as multi-millionaires. The influence of the Grand Tour on country house owners was considerable, not least as many of them travelled abroad themselves, seeing European fashions at first hand. This Saturday conference chaired by Maurice Howard FSA address such aspects of the Georgian country house. Speakers include Sally Jeffery FSA on the influences on early Georgian garden design, Geoffrey Tyack FSA on architecture and planning, Susan Bracken FSA on interiors and Jonathan Yarker of Lowell Libson on the Grand Tour. Other topics include servants, guidebooks and how such spending was paid for.
The Age of Luxury is part of a series of day conferences organised by Sue Berry for the Sussex Archaeological Society at Lewes. New ideas from Fellows are welcomed (and she is seeking an expert on the impact of the Reformation on the English Parish Church). Please contact Speakers are paid a fee and expenses and can bring a friend free. The watercolour by J. Lambert of Lewes (1780, detail) shows Newick Place near Lewes, the home of Lady Vernon (Sussex Archaeological Society).

November 2016–June 2017: Lecture Series on the History of English Architecture (London)
Simon Thurley FSA is giving a series of free lectures in his capacity as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, a positon created in 2009 for his continuing lectures on the history of English architecture. They will take place at the Museum of London, and will be accessible to the general public on a first come first served basis, beginning promptly at 6pm. The lectures are:

2 November 2016: Saving the Twentieth Century
How far can experimental buildings of the 1960s and '70s be altered for new uses? Should there be new rules for a new era of conservation?
7 December 2016: Tough Choices: Heritage or Housing?
The one built environment issue on which there is political consensus is an urgent need to build more houses. Housebuilding and heritage can be reconciled, but at the moment far too few local authorities know how to do it.
1 February 2017: Perfection or Pastiche? New Buildings in Old Places
The blight of the concrete municipal buildings of the 1960s and 70s in the historic centres of our cathedral cities is all too familiar. Everyone wants to avoid the same mistakes being made again, but can we reconcile old and new in our historic cities?
8 March 2017: The Value of Heritage and the Heritage of Value
There was a time when old places were valued simply for their beauty and interest, but now this is not enough. Are calculations of the financial contribution of our history adding to the value of our heritage or have they fundamentally devalued it?
7 June 2017: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (Simon Thurley and Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA)
The first Conservation Areas were designated in 1967, today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore the origins, variety and some challenges for the future.

Call for Papers 

12 September: Objects & Possessions: Material Goods in a Changing World 1200–1800 (Southampton)
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).

3–4 November: Society for Museum Archaeology Annual Conference 2016 (Worcester)
The Society for Museum Archaeology Annual Conference will take place at The Hive, offering an opportunity to network with colleagues while hearing about and discussing the latest developments in the field. This year’s theme is ‘A World of Archaeology: from local to global’. Have you worked on projects with international partners? Do you work on a World Heritage Site? Do you engage overseas audiences online? Or do you concentrate on working with local communities, and use imaginative approaches to open up the world? Gail Boyle FSA, Chair of the Society, says they would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to share the innovative ways they work with archaeological collections. Please send proposals or queries to the Society’s Secretary Kat Baxter at by 31 July.
21 January 2017: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
This seventh conference in a series will be held at the Society of Antiquaries. Proposals in the form of short abstracts (up to 250 words) are invited for 30-minute long papers. While the emphasis remains on new developments in architecture, we welcome proposals on related themes, such as decorative arts, gardens, sculpture and monuments. The proposals should be submitted by mid-August and the final programme will be announced in September. For further information, please contact Fellows Paula Henderson FSA ( or Claire Gapper FSA (


 The Burlington Magazine, the world's leading English-language monthly devoted to the fine and decorative arts, is looking for an Editor to lead the publication forwards in both print and digital formats. The successful candidate will be responsible for maintaining the integrity and academic standards of the editorial content, including selecting, commissioning and editing articles with the assistance of an experienced editorial team. The successful candidate must have a bachelor’s degree, but an advanced degree in art history, literature, or a related field is desirable. A high professional standing in a scholarly press, museum, university or equivalent environment is required. The candidate must also have a tested understanding of the editorial process, be able to work to tight deadlines and have a broad knowledge of art. This is a board-level position that reports to the Chairman and so requires a candidate who is organized, able to set priorities and juggle competing demands. Occasional travel is required.
Deadline for applications is Wednesday August 31, 2016. For a full description of the role, responsibilities and application requirements please see the magazine website.


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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