Salon: Issue 410
3 July 2018
Next issue: 17 July
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 doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.
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From the Desk of the General Secretary
Unearthing the Past: Society of Antiquaries Research Showcase
We hope you can join us on Friday 27 July for an exciting event, offering our grant recipients the opportunity to present their research at Burlington House through table-top displays, talks, and interactive workshops. Our aim is to raise public interest in and awareness of history and archaeology by showcasing significant research that the Society has supported. The event will be fun, informative and accessible to all ages - so bring the whole family along!
Projects and participants include:
- Lynn Hulse FSA - running interactive embroidery workshops allowing you to get hands-on with the past. Have a go at stitching one of the floral motifs from the bedcover in William Morris’s bedroom at Kelmscott Manor, designed by May Morris (William’s daughter) in c. 1910.
- The Broderers' Crowns - watch videos showing the original crown (one of two embroidered crowns in the possession of the Broderers' Company, dating from the latter half of the 16th century), and the techniques used in its reproduction. A prototype crown will be on display, and there will also be a secondary interactive area where visitors are encouraged to try their hand at historical embroidery.
- Old Sarum and its Landscape - explore how the settlements of Old Sarum (the earliest settlement of Salisbury in England) are dated and characterised, with archaeological techniques and finds on show - presented by Dr Alexander Langlands.
- Islands of Stone: Excavating the Earliest Crannogs - learn about underwater exploratory excavation with dive videos and explanations, and discover some of the project's amazing finds. Led by Dr Duncan Garrow and Dr Fraser Sturt.
- Re-creating Captain James Cook's Waistcoat - take a look at the waistcoat itself (stitched by Elizabeth Cook), as well as a 'map sampler' and various other examples of eighteenth century costume. Talk to Alison Liz Larkin about her ongoing work.
- Historical Dress throughout the ages - talk to researcher and maker Professor Nancy Hills (who has travelled all the way from Utah State University!), and view life-size examples of historical dress from the 18th, 19th and 20th century.
- Understanding Medieval Fairs - explore and use a specialised database developed to aid our understanding of Medieval commercial activities, as well as archaeological finds and presentations from the research project led by Dr Michael Lewis.
- Archaeology of the Dead in Northern Ethiopia - meet ceramics expert and project member Dr Jacke Phillips and hear about the team's research into this fascinating topic, with a chance to handle some of the material evidence uncovered.
- Paramatta: Australia's oldest European burial ground - discover a table-top display with photos and plans of the site, with Professor Harold Mytum on-hand to answer any questions on the project.
Find out more >
Crownless Royal Saved for Nation
A bust of Queen Victoria that Lowell Libson FSA has described as ‘a tour de force of marble carving … made at the apogee of British power’, has been acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. It had been sold to an unnamed New York Museum in 2017 for £1,200,000. At the recommendation of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, the government placed a temporary export bar on the work, allowing the Fitzwilliam to raise the required £1,077,607, helped by a grant of £267,607 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. ‘It is magnificently, gruesomely, wincingly indomitable in its slightly surly way,’ wrote Michael Glover in the Independent in 2015, when it featured in Tate Britain’s Sculpture Victorious exhibition.
The over life-sized portrait, nearly a metre high, was made by Alfred Gilbert between 1887 and 1889, said the expert submission, ‘with a highly realistic and closely observed likeness of the Monarch’. Rodin had called a full-scale plaster model precursor to the bust, a full-length statue of Queen Victoria, ‘the best monumental figure produced in England’. The bust was commissioned by the Army and Navy Club to mark the 50th year of the Queen’s reign – and of the club itself – and it had remained in their possession ever since. No public statement has been made to explain its sale.
The sculpture was unveiled at the Fitzwilliam on 20 June, the final acquisition made by its former Director Tim Knox FSA before his departure to the Royal Collection, of which he became Director in March. The museum devoted its recent Hartley-Johnson Bequest to the acquisition. ‘Sir Alfred Gilbert, a leading but mercurial light in the British “New Sculpture” movement,’ said Libson, ‘is now regarded as one of the greatest European sculptors of the period.’
Historic Ivories Come to British Museum
Launching the British Museum’s Annual Review 2017/18 on 27 June, Hartwig Fischer FSA announced ‘the year’s outstanding gift’: 556 objects from the Sir Victor Sassoon Chinese Ivories Trust, along with funds for its conservation. The Chinese ivories, dating from the second millennium BC to the 20th century, were collected between 1915 and 1927 by Sir Victor Sassoon (1881–1961). Heir to a banking dynasty fortune, he moved from England to Asia where he enlarged his wealth and became involved in international diplomacy, taking his non-estate assets to the Bahamas (where he was celebrated on postage stamps in 2011) before the communist takeover of China. Late in life he converted to Buddhism. The trust was said to be ‘keen to wind down the operation’, after a gift to the BM from Sassoon had been declined in the last century (he had asked for a dedicated display room).
Jane Portal FSA, Keeper of the Department of Asia, said the gift meant the BM could become ‘a global centre for the study of ivories,’ reported the Guardian. Asked about their monetary value, Portal said, ‘They may be priceless or almost worthless in the future … who knows.’ That outcome will be partly determined by cultural attitudes towards historic artefacts, as elephants, endangered by poachers in search of illegal ivory, face potential extinction in the wild. The BM ‘fully and unreservedly’ supported banning the ivory trade worldwide, said Fischer. Pieces in the Sassoon collection are historic: ‘They exist ... and they do not save any elephant’s life today.’ The photo shows a Ming dynasty figure of Guanyin as ‘sender of sons’ (Trustees of the British Museum).
In April, following a public consultation, Environment Secretary Michael Gove confirmed that a ban on UK ivory sales will be introduced to cover items of all ages. The ban, he said, ‘will reaffirm the UK’s global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past.’ Exemptions will include sales to accredited museums and of musical instruments. Last year a survey by lobby group Environmental Investigations Agency said Britain came second to Italy as the world’s largest ivory seller, and had previously been the largest.
The BM had earlier said it will open an Archaeological Research Collection in Shinfield, in partnership with the University of Reading (the BM_ARC), ahead of the Government's sale of Blythe House in London, currently a museum store. Planning permission for the new centre (left) will be sought this summer, and if granted work is expected to start next year. ‘The decision regarding the storage of the collection,’ said the BM, ‘enables the Museum to start to focus on the Museum building in Bloomsbury. Much needs to be done to improve visitor facilities, collection management and the permanent galleries to make the building fit for purpose in the 21st century. A detailed brief for infrastructure projects will be developed and costed over the course of the next year.’
Horniman Opens New Gallery
The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, south-east London, opened a new World Gallery on 29 June. Its anthropology collections have been redisplayed in what had been an African Worlds gallery, to ‘celebrate the wonder and complexity of what it means to be human’. Nick Merriman FSA, the new Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, said in a statement earlier in June that the museum is the only one in London that covers both nature and people, and that it hoped to promote understanding and tolerance between cultures, and to engage people in pressing environmental issues. ‘The new spaces,’ says the museum, ‘will allow visitors to see their own place among the variety and beauty of the world's many cultures, providing opportunity to reflect upon their own lives.’
For Gemma Bowes writing in the Guardian, this added up to a ‘mind-blowing’ experience in an ‘amazing museum for kids of all ages … brimful of music, nature and dazzling displays from cultures the world over.’ In the Times Rachel Campbell-Johnston found five displays reflecting the cultures of the five inhabited continents made senses of what might otherwise have been a ‘mind-boggling muddle’. ‘Most Victorian collectors,’ she wrote, ‘assuming the supremacy of their western civilisation, amassed their anthropological hoards to record the “primitive” cultures that they believed were fast disappearing. Horniman [a tea merchant and philanthropist who died in 1906], in contrast, created something that feels far more democratic. His collection speaks of shared human values.’
The development, funded by a £3.3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a further £1.3m raised by the museum, took three years, during which former celling lights were opened up and over 3,000 exhibits were installed. A new Studio space is due to open in the autumn, where ‘artists, scientists and creative thinkers will work with visitors and communities, responding to both the collection and global issues’.
Journeys to Stonehenge
Stonehenge has been in the news again, after Norman Hammond FSA reported in the Times (29 June) on continuing research by Rob Ixer FSA and Richard Bevins FSA into the bluestones at the monument, and their sources in Wales. In the Mail Online and the Sun, the Times’ headline, ‘Stonehenge hauliers carved a route from Welsh borders,’ became a ‘stone highway’ used to transport megaliths.
Hammond tells Salon that his story was unhelpfully edited, and as printed there was little explanation for the headline. His original piece was based on as yet unpublished research into the Altar Stone at Stonehenge, whose origin has long been contentious. Bevins and Ixer think it may have come from outcrops in the Black Mountains or the Brecon Beacons. Meanwhile, the two geologists have a paper in the June Antiquity on the theme, reviewing the work of the man who famously started the modern quest for bluestone origins, H H (Herbert) Thomas.
Thomas first mentioned his discoveries at a Society of Antiquaries meeting in 1921, and published them in the Antiquaries Journal in 1923, arguing that all the bluestones (of which there are several quite different varieties) came from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, or close by. Until then, it was known the stones were not from Wiltshire, but their source was a mystery.
Bevins has been researching that part of Wales for some time (he was doing so when I asked him for advice about fragments I’d excavated at Stonehenge in 1980), and the pair have been working since 2010 on a systematic study of everything from Salisbury Plain, and their potential origins, with impressive results. As they say in their latest paper, their work has ‘called into question many, if not most, of the assertions made by a number of the earlier investigators, but in particular those made by Thomas.’
They establish that ‘Thomas’s first-hand knowledge of the Mynydd Preseli might well have been restricted to a single, field collecting visit in 1906,’ and they map all his sampling points. Around 1920 Thomas received a parcel from the Society of Antiquaries, which was then sponsoring excavations at Stonehenge under the direction of William Hawley FSA. Could he say where the stones it contained had come from? ‘Upon opening the parcel,’ write Ixer and Bevins, ‘Thomas immediately recognised these as being identical to the “grey stones” of Carn Meini’ which he and colleagues had seen in 1906. For over 80 years, say Ixer and Bevins, Thomas’s 1923 paper ‘was seen as the definitive account of the lithology and source of the Stonehenge bluestones.’
While Thomas was on the right track (he ‘was without doubt an excellent petrographer'), the very localised nature of Pembrokeshire geology meant he missed all of the actual Stonehenge outcrops, in the process setting up false sources that have become entrenched in academic and popular debate. Pinpointing correct sources has opened up possibilities for locating quarries, as has already been claimed in two cases by Mike Parker Pearson FSA, and looking at potential transport routes – if not highways.
Robert Merrillees FSA has drawn Salon’s attention to a more recent journey to Stonehenge, made by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778–1846), a French artist, and William Maclure (1763–1840), an American geologist. The Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle du Havre, which has some 8,000 documents, drawings and manuscripts related to Lesueur and his close entourage, is cataloguing its collection (none of which is exhibited). Meanwhile, among material it has put online are details of a trip made in 1815 (which include the watercolour reproduced at top).
Lesueur and Maclure left Paris for Dieppe in August, a week after Maclure had signed up Lesueur as his artist for a four-year tour of the States, and not long after Lesueur’s return from a four-year scientific expedition to Australia. Lesueur eventually spent two decades in north America, recording animals, geology, palaeontology and archaeology, including excavations.
The two men reached Newhaven – not Plymouth, as originally intended – on the 18th, and continued to London. There they met scholars, visited the Sir Joseph Banks Library, the Royal College of Surgeons and Kew Gardens, and travelled out to Charlton, south-east London, ‘an important place for palaeontology (study of fossils).’ While in the area Lesueur drew parkland at the Greenwich Observatory.
They then headed for the Falmouth ferry in Cornwall via Stonehenge, presumably taking the road created in the 1760s by the Amesbury Turnpike Trust, from which J M W Turner, John Constable and local artist Philip Crocker all drew Stonehenge early in the 19th century.
Merrillees wonders if any Fellows can identify this ‘unidentified village in England, thought to be in the neighbourhood of Penzance’, in this sketch by Lesueur (right)?
Amara Thornton FSA has spotted another early Stonehenge traveller: Celia Fiennes. In her travels of c 1695 (published in 1888 as Through England On a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary Being the Diary of Celia Fiennes), Fiennes visits Stonehenge, ‘placed on the side of a hill in a rude irregular form – two stones stands up and one laid on their tops with morteses into each other and thus are severall in a round like a wall with spaces between, but some are fallen down, so spoyle the order or breach in the temple, as some think it was in the heathen tymes.’ She appears to describe a bluestone trilithon, known to have once existed, but never otherwise seen in modern times: ‘There is severall rows of lesser stones within the others set up in the same forme of 2 upright and one lies on the top like a gateway.’
How Archaeologists Can Fix the Storage Problem
On 22 June Historic England announced ‘an action plan to address the challenge of sustainable management of archaeological archives’. It has been endorsed by Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism. Commenting on what may become a historic moment for archaeology in Britain, Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive of HE, said in a statement, ‘Finding a sustainable future for these archives which hold evidence of our everyday past as well as unique national treasures, is vital. We believe that the Government endorsement sends a strong signal to the sector to work together to meet this challenge.’
The Mendoza Review (an independent review of museums in England published last November) had asked HE to come up with recommendations for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to improve the sustainability of archaeological archives generated by developer-funded excavations. Long a recognised issue, this is becoming increasingly urgent as excavations on an exceptional scale associated with large infrastructure projects add to an already challenging problem. Many archives – finds and records – are stuck with archaeological consultancies and are publicly inaccessible, for want of museums willing or able to take them on (in 2012 it was estimated there were 9,000 such archives in England). Around Stonehenge, for example, where development-led excavations are making significant discoveries even without the impact of proposed works to the A303, no museum has the capacity to receive the finds.
HE convened an advisory panel to consider the matter, of whose 13 members eight were Fellows (Gail Boyle FSA, Duncan Brown FSA, David Dawson FSA, Jeremy Hill FSA, Tim Malim FSA, Barney Sloane FSA, Steve Trow FSA and Jan Wills FSA). Trow, who is Director of Research at HE, has delivered their verdict, which is endorsed by a variety of other archaeological organisations. Unless it does something, says the report in effect, the Government will see the current system of commercial archaeology collapse.
DCMS should ask Arts Council England (as the museums lead development body) to work with the Historic Lottery Fund and HE and sort it out: a plan needs to be devised for creating new archaeological stores that the public can use. Part of the solution may include new facilities beside existing (Science Museum, Wroughton) or planned (British Museum, Reading) out-of-London stores. Museums might have to charge when their curation services are needed to help others fulfil planning requirements. The Archaeological Data Service might take responsibility for managing a central digital database. There is a 12-point plan for what archaeologists need to do to help.
Putting this into context, the report notes that commercial archaeology has effectively removed a burden from the taxpayer: before the present system was introduced in 1990, the Government had to pay for archaeological recording in advance of development. The principle of ‘preservation by record’ (allowing loss of heritage if research can record and learn from what was destroyed) fails if the record cannot be preserved.
The photo shows an English Heritage archaeology store in Helmsley, Yorkshire (Historic England)
Fellows (and Friends)
Willibald Sauerländer FSA
, art historian, died in April.
Rick Turner FSA
, archaeologist, died in June.
Appreciations appear in Fellows Remembered
Vera Evison FSA
, who died in March
, left no specific instructions as to the disposal of her library, write Justine Bayley FSA
and Valerie Cooper. So her friends who are arranging clearance of her house have decided to make them available, free of charge, to any students or researchers who would benefit from having them. ‘The books are being taken to a temporary store at Ewell, in south-west London, and will be available there for examination and collection later this summer. There is no listing, but the collection includes copies of books that Vera wrote or contributed to, and multiple offprints of many of her articles. As might be expected, the majority of the other books and offprints relate to early Medieval archaeology and languages, and include a significant proportion in languages other than English. Glass studies of all periods are also well represented. In addition long runs of several journals are available. If you would like to be notified when the collection can be viewed, please email Justine Bayley at email@example.com
Miriam Griffin died on 16 May aged 82. Author of major studies of Seneca (1976) and Nero (1984), says Somerville College
, Oxford, where she was Emeritus Fellow in Ancient History and had been Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History (1967–2002), she made significant contributions to Roman history, especially to early imperial history and to philosophy in the Roman republic and empire. ‘Deceptively low-key in manner,’ says Catharine Edwards in the Guardian
, ‘Miriam was a frequent contributor to radio and TV programmes, offering engaging and witty insights into the torrid world of Roman imperial politics.’
Koko, a human-fostered western lowland gorilla, died on 19 June aged 46. A year old when she began working with a developmental psychologist in California, she expressed herself with her hands. Among many studies in which she took part was one about speech ability by M Perlman, F G Patterson and R H Cohn, in Biolinguistics
(2012). ‘Humans show an extraordinary ability to hone their breath control into a dexterous and finely tuned instrument,’ they concluded, after watching Koko toot on recorders, ‘serviceable for a number of culturally determined functions. Mounting evidence suggests that we are not fully unique in this respect, and that our great ape relatives share with us at least a rudimentary basis for this flexibility in their breathing and vocal behaviour.’
Joyce Reynolds FSA
was given an Honorary Degree by the University of Cambridge on 20 June (‘the oration is to be in Latin, as well it should be,’ Lisa French FSA
). ‘Born in 1918,’ says Newnham College in a long tribute
, she ‘is one of the world’s leading ancient historians. She drove an all-woman party of archaeologists through Egypt, Syria and Turkey in the 1950s, and is still to be found in the library working on a major publication of the graffiti of Pompeii in Italy.’ She is seen in the photo with Mary Beard FSA
(left) and Pat Easterling (right), former students, among whom are also French, Charlotte Roueché FSA
and doubtless many other Fellows. Reynolds, awarded the Society’s Gold Medal, was elected a Fellow in January 1953. 'Joyce’s work at Aphrodisias really changed historians’ views about how the Roman empire worked,’ said Beard. ‘I bet it will still be being read in 200 years time.’
Jim Leary FSA
(right) is joining the Department of Archaeology at the University of York as Lecturer in Field Archaeology. He leaves Reading University, where he was Director of Archaeology Field School. Dan Hicks FSA
is now a Trustee at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). Charlotte Higgins FSA
has interviewed Robert Harris, whose Cicero novels have been adapted by Mike Poulton into two plays currently in the West End, enthusiastically reviewed by Mary Beard FSA in her blog
. Maev Kennedy FSA
visited Adam Dant on the occasion of the publication of his Maps Of London And Beyond
, in conjunction with the Spitalfields Life blog
. Julia Galway-Witham and Chris Stringer FSA
, at the Natural History Museum’s Centre for Human Evolution Research, review the current theories on the origins and evolution of Homo sapiens
Katherine Barclay FSA
, Assistant Director of the Winchester Excavations Committee, enjoyed the photo of the city’s Gunni stone next to Julian Litten FSA
's ‘fab pre-memorial (I like the similarity of the carefree styles of letter cutting)’ in the last Salon
. The Search for Winchester’s Anglo-Saxon Minsters
, by Martin Biddle FSA
with illustrations by Simon Hayfield, was to be published the day after she wrote. ‘It includes much nicer photos and drawings of the stones,’ she says, ‘and more about Gunni and Eorl, who are the subjects of continuing scientific study.’ The story of the lost minsters is told through an extensive excavation programme conducted between 1961 and 1970, and years of research, ‘bringing back to life the history, archaeology and architecture of Winchester’s greatest Anglo-Saxon buildings.’
In February Cat Jarman, Martin Biddle FSA
, Tom Higham and Christopher Ramsey FSA
published an article in Antiquity
(‘The Viking Great Army in England: new dates from the Repton charnel’), which reconsidered a 1980s excavation that claimed evidence to back up texts suggesting the Viking Great Army had over-wintered at Repton in AD 873. Doubts had been cast on this theory: radiocarbon dates obtained in the early 2000s conflicted with the evidence from the ground. Jarman and colleagues did some new dating which, properly corrected for marine reservoir effects, showed convincingly that burials could be directly related to the Viking event. The science was not missed by Acts & Facts
, a magazine published by the Institute for Creation Research (May 2018). The Repton case showed that carbon dating used invalid assumptions, said James Johnson, the Institute’s Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer. ‘The take-away lesson,’ he concluded, ‘is that unique historical events such as battles, deaths, traffic accidents, or the Genesis Flood require reliable eyewitness reporting, not just empirical observations in the present such as fingerprints, rubber skid marks, or blood spatters. That’s why we need God’s eyewitness Genesis report to understand our origins.’ Perhaps a Fellow can convince Penguin to publish a Ladybird book on carbon dating.
An article about the use of metal in Bronze Age Europe concludes by saying that archaeologists ‘must maintain friendly, positive, and wide collaborations … at a time of tremendous upheaval in European archaeology, particularly in terms of funding, access, and career structure.’ Writing in the Journal of Archaeological Research
, Ben Roberts FSA, Thilo Rehren FSA, Dirk Brandherm FSA, Kristian Kristiansen FSA, Steve Shennan FSA
, Cyprian Broodbank FSA
and colleagues with lead author Miljana Radivojević, say that the ‘diversity of approaches and viewpoints in European Bronze Age archaeometallurgy’ is ‘a tremendous asset rather than hindrance for future research.’ ‘Along with the central importance of scientific compatibility and data access,’ they add, ‘we must finally stress the human factor and the importance of collegiality.’
Two men from Kent and East Sussex have been jailed for fraud and money laundering, after the Crown Prosecution Service presented evidence that they had been looting the protected wreck of HMS Hermes
. The 19th-century cruiser had been sunk by a German submarine in the Dover Strait in 1914 with the loss of 44 lives. More than six tonnes of metal had been deposited at a Kent scrapyard, and police recovered 100 items of unreported wreck of unknown origin, including ships’ bells, a torpedo hatch and large quantities of metal ingots. Such looting means that ‘part of our national story is lost and can never be replaced, particularly where historic artefacts have been sold for scrap,’ said Mark Harrison FSA
, Head of Heritage Crime and Policing Advice for Historic England.
The Crown Estate has applied to Historic England for a Certificate of Immunity from statutory listing for the Empire Cinema on Haymarket, which it owns, not far from Burlington House. SAVE Britain’s Heritage, the Cinema Theatre Association and the Twentieth Century Society say the Empire, formerly the Carlton, was built in 1927 and is the only remaining major cinema of the inter-war years still in use. John Darlington FSA
, Director of the World Monuments Fund Britain and Matthew Slocombe FSA
, Director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, were among signatories to a letter to the Times
(26 June), protesting that the building, ‘the last of the grand palace cinemas with a substantially original interior, is set for demolition.’ The Crown Estate
, claiming a ‘strong track record for careful and sensitive regeneration of this part of the West End,’ said the certificate sought to formalise an earlier decision by Historic England not to list the cinema. It would work to ‘retain the building’s historic façade’ should future proposals affect the site. Photo Cinema Treasures
Such has become the extent of illegal excavating at Hadrian’s Wall, Historic England has asked the public to report incidents. More than 50 holes made by nighthawks (what HE calls illegal metal detectorists) have been discovered at the Brunton Turret section of the wall. Structural remains above ground, says HE, are surrounded by further buried archaeological remains from the Roman frontier, which are very vulnerable to damage from illegal detecting. Nighthawking incidents at Corbridge, Housesteads and Steel Rigg have increased over the past three years. Mark Harrison FSA
, Head of Heritage Crime and Policing Advice for HE, said in a statement, ‘Illegal metal detecting is not a victimless crime. We may never see or fully understand the objects taken or damaged because they have been removed from their original sites with no care or record as to their history or context.’ Brunton Turret photo English Heritage.
Arthur and the Kings of Britain
, by Miles Russell FSA
, is out in paperback. Subtitled The Historical Truth Behind the Myths
, it argues that Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae
(1136) is less ‘an unreliable piece of medieval propaganda and national mythmaking’ as usually assumed, and more of 'a historical record with elements from the first century BC'. Geoffrey’s skill, says the blurb, ‘was to weave these early traditions together with folklore and material culled from post-Roman sources, in order to create a national epic. In doing so, he also created King Arthur, a composite character whose real origins and context are explained here. This important new work establishes Geoffrey of Monmouth as no mere peddler of historical fiction, but as the man who preserved the earliest foundation myths of Britain. It is time to re-evaluate the Historia Regum Britanniae
and shine a new light into the so-called “Dark Ages”.’
The Bulford Kiwi, a figure carved into the side of a hill overlooking a military village on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, has been refreshed with 100 tonnes of chalk brought in by a Chinook helicopter
. The bird, greatly attenuated to correct for perspective when viewed from the bottom of the hill, was carved out of the turf by New Zealand soldiers in 1919. ‘It has been a truly collaborative effort,’ said Richard Osgood FSA
, Senior Archaeologist at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, ‘and we are also grateful for the involvement and support of the High Commissioner of New Zealand.’ • The All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation
is concerned that promises made by Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood MP are not being kept. At a meeting with the group’s Chair, Grant Shapps MP, Ellwood had pledged to reconsider the Ministry’s plans to sell off 15 historic military aerodromes, but in a subsequent letter failed to commit to continuing flying at any of the sites.
Willibald Sauerländer FSA
died on 18 April aged 94. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1988.
Born in Waldsee, Baden-Württemberg, Willibald Sauerländer obtained his doctorate at the University of Munich in 1953 on the subject of Gothic portal sculpture in France; his studies of the west portals of Senlis, Mantes and Notre Dame Cathedrals were highly influential. He moved to Paris, worked as a tour guide and German teacher with his wife, Brigitte Rückoldt, and then lecturer at the University of Paris (1959–61). In 1961 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Colin Eisler
has recently written how this ‘gifted young German scholar of French Medieval art’ made a strong impact on older German refugees at the Institute, where ‘the breadth of his Francophile interests – from Gothic to Poussin – made Willibald’s a uniquely welcome presence’.
He was not persuaded to stay, however, and moved to the Philipps University of Marburg (1961–62) and then the University of Freiburg, where he taught until 1970, latterly as Professor of Art History. From 1970 until 1989 he was Director at the Zentral-Institut für Kunstgeschichte and Honorary Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. After retirement he became a chief critic at the Süddeutsche Zeitung
, and wrote frequently for the New York Times Literary Supplement
and the New York Review of Books
. He was Visiting Professor at Princeton again in 1973, at New York University (1964–65), the Collège de France, Paris (1981), the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1982), Harvard (1984–85), Berkeley (1989) and New York (1992), and was Mellon Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, Washington (1991).
His many other awards included the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, and the Perfezionato Honoris Causa Scuola Normale Pisa (1999), and the Grand Prix de la Société Française d'Archéologie (2007). One of the most respected international scholars of his generation, he published widely on European Medieval art, French art of the 17th–20th centuries, Classical Modernism and the history and methodology of art history, and was not immune to the charms of American Pop Art. His best known book Gotische Skulptur in Frankreich
(1970, translated into English as Gothic Sculpture in France 1140–1270
) broke a Chartres-centric view of Medieval sculptural origins.
Art historian Sasha Suda published a long interview with Sauerländer in the Brooklyn Rail
(February 2010), in which Sauerländer reflects on his life and work. ‘I believe I’m a relatively rational man,’ he says, ‘and there were all these sides of the German mind with its darkness, mysticism, and romanticism – that I didn’t like. I was always a man of enlightenment. I couldn’t have made this statement in ’53 when I went to France, but it was this kind of uneasiness with that fogginess of German art. It was always this will to go against the dark side of the German spirit.’
Obituaries have been published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung
(19 April), the Zentral-Institut für Kunstgeschichte
and the Association of German Art Historians
. For the latter, Klaus Herding writes about academic conflicts that Sauerländer faced.
The photo by Regina Schmeken of Sauerländer ‘at work’ was tweeted by Johan Schloemann @jschloemann at the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Rick Turner FSA
died on 28 June aged 66. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1992. Jon Berry, Senior Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Archaeology at Cadw, and Gwilym Hughes FSA
, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Assistant Director at Cadw, former colleagues of Turner’s, have kindly written this obituary:
‘Rick Turner made a major contribution to the conservation and study of some of Wales' greatest Medieval buildings. His innovative approach to conservation, which combined rigorous intellectual understanding with an innate practical style, has been transformational and recognised internationally. His work has also significantly improved both physical and intellectual public access to these monuments.
‘After graduating from Cambridge University, he spent six years as a field archaeologist before becoming Cheshire County Archaeologist where, in 1984, he found and organised the excavation and investigation of Lindow Man, a 2,000 year old “bog body” buried in peat. This was undoubtedly one of the sensational archaeological discoveries of the decade.
‘He joined Cadw, now the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments in 1989. Rick's work focused on the study and conservation of some of the greatest Medieval buildings of Wales, including Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey and Caerphilly Castle. His pioneering work at St Davids Bishop's Palace was recognised in 2009 with a prestigious international Europa Nostra award for conservation excellence.
‘He led the restoration of the Elizabethan house at Plas Mawr, Conwy, which is widely admired internationally as an exemplar of new conservation techniques. His work on these projects fostered his interest in the history and philosophy of monument conservation. He wrote extensively on the subject, and made a major contribution to the production of a set of Conservation Principles for the sustainable management of the historic environment in Wales.
‘As Inspector of Ancient Monuments for south Wales, Rick championed the exploration of the Gwent Severn Levels, a "goldmine” for major archaeological discoveries of all periods of prehistory and history.
‘As well as numerous published research articles in national and international journals, Rick authored or co-authored authoritative books on a wide range of subjects from bog bodies to Chepstow Castle and Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road in north Wales, reflecting the extent of his interests and experience. He was also a major contributor to the celebrated Cadw guidebook series, including the guides for Plas Mawr, St Davids Bishop's Palace, Chepstow Castle, Caerphilly Castle and Lamphey Bishop's Palace.
‘The extent of Rick's knowledge and expertise led to numerous appearances as “the informed expert” on television (including several Time Team
appearances) and radio. He was awarded his OBE for services to archaeology in 2012. Following his retirement in 2014, Rick was able to focus on the completion of his PhD on cult and chivalry in the late Middle Ages, which was awarded shortly before his death.’
• I first met Rick in 1989, when I interviewed him for a Guardian
magazine feature about Lindow Man. The discovery caused a media sensation, not least because the year before, the police had treated a similar find at the same site as a modern crime scene, and in a bizarre turn of events obtained a conviction for a previously unsolved local murder.
In 1984 the British Museum, led by Ian Stead FSA
, immediately took over the archaeological study of the body – the upper part of a man in his 20s, who had been violently and probably ritually murdered in the late Iron Age, between the birth of Christ and AD 100. Rick told me how Stead was able to impress on the Cheshire authorities, not least the police scenting another crime to solve, that this was an important archaeological find, as he blasted unexpectedly into Macclesfield District General Hospital morgue in his ex-Ministry of Works duffle coat. A major scientific project was launched to deal with what for the UK was an almost unique find, and the conserved body remains part of a popular display in the BM.
Such a discovery, however, required more than science. Rick seemed perfectly suited to the challenging tasks. He assembled an emergency crew of volunteer archaeologists to attend to the immediate reports of a body (he arrived at the bog on Monday morning with six diggers and 23 onlookers), recorded the find’s circumstances, kept everyone happy from peat diggers and journalists to forensic police officers, and researched the wider picture of bog bodies found across Britain in earlier times but not preserved. He developed a theory that the legend of St Edmund, who died tied to a tree in a hail of arrows proclaiming his love of Christ after which his severed head was miraculously reunited with his torso, had originated with the discovery of an ancient bog body in the Fens of East Anglia. One of his many articles on the find was about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the subject of the PhD he was able to complete in his last months.
Archaeologists are sometimes accused of belittling ancient human remains, and Lindow Man has been the focus of arguments about the morality of excavating and exhibiting them. Rick showed nothing but respect towards 'his' body. He was angered by a Druidic fantasy put out about Lindow Man’s life. 'I like to protect him,’ he told me.
Photo at top shows Turner at Raglan Castle (© Crown Copyright: Cadw). Above (photographer unknown) shows Lindow Man being carried from the bog, with Turner at far right.
The Wisdom of Fellows
‘I enjoyed Salon 409 (as I do with other issues)’, writes Sandy Nairne FSA, ‘and I was very pleased that you featured the new work by Mark Wallinger at Runnymede. Writ in Water, commissioned by the National Trust, is a collaboration with the architect James Lowe of Studio Octopi. It has been constructed in rammed stones and earth, quarried locally, with an open oculus above the central pool, and has been measured out in cubits. I was very pleased to speak at the launch on 15 June as a Trustee of the National Trust, alongside Dr Claire Breay, Head of Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts at the British Library, who spoke fascinatingly about things Magna Carta both is and isn't, and the importance of Clause 39, on which Wallinger's work is centred. After the launch, I had a rare moment when I could take my sketchbook and sit under one of the great spreading oaks.’ (Above.)
A colleague in Belgium, writes Christopher Foley FSA from London, has asked about the iconography of a sword hilt depicted in a ‘splendid 1561 portrait of the Earl of Pembroke’ (right). Can Fellows help with ‘this cri-de-coeur from Flanders?’
The portrait was formerly in the collection of the Dukes of Leeds at Hornby Castle. It hung more recently for some years at Montacute House, and there is a version (with many variations) at Wilton House. What are the figures on William Herbert‘s rapier?
‘The easiest to identify,’ says Foley, ‘is the figure on the handle (below, lower left) as Minerva, goddess of wisdom and guardian of heroes (amongst others of Hercules); the standing, naked figure on the pommel (upper left) appears to be female but apparently does not have hair, nor any attributes. It is unclear to me what the two Satyr or faun-like creatures on either side of this figure hold in their hands: are these punt poles? – or are these rather shepherds' crooks or a thyrsus?
I cannot make out if there is a boat on which they stand. If female, the main figure on the pommel could possibly be Venus, or rather more appropriately Diana (virgin goddess, standing for chastity), who both have been surprised by satyrs, but how can one identify the exact action of these companion figures?
'The figure on the drag (left) is clothed in a long tunic and is possibly female. No attributes are visible. Could she be Hebe, (goddess of youth, cupbearer to the gods) who was married to Hercules after his deification?’
‘With reference to the item in Salon 407 regarding the need to investigate sites for development before work begins,’ writes Alastair Maxwell-Irving FSA, ‘I cannot emphasise too strongly from personal experience the importance of this requirement.
‘Having spent much of my life researching the history and architecture of the tower-houses of the Scottish Borders, it came to my attention in 1977 that the Megget valley in Selkirkshire, part of the Wemyss Estates, was going to be flooded to provide a new reservoir for Edinburgh. There were no plans to carry out investigations for any antiquities in the valley, which would be lost for ever, so I took it upon myself, with the full support of my good friend John Dunbar FSA (at that time Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS)), to excavate the remains of Cramalt Tower, a former tower-house that would be totally submerged beneath the waters. Its remnants appeared to be those of a simple, vaulted tower, situated next to some sheep pens, on the other side of which was a small copse full of mature trees. This copse had clearly been used for many generations, if not centuries, as a refuse dump for the local farm.
‘I subsequently spent 15 months of my spare time excavating and recording the ruins, and it was only in October 1978, when I was investigating and plotting the rest of the site, that I discovered an anomaly in a sheep shed adjacent to the copse. Whilst the two side walls of this old shed were just 2ft thick, the end wall adjoining the copse was no less than 5ft 9in thick. This set alarm bells ringing, and further investigations revealed the springing for a vault half-buried in the copse. Nowhere amongst the Wemyss Estate records was there any suggestion of the existence of another building, nor was there any mention of it on old maps. The excitement at this discovery was electric. Although the Megget valley was an old royal hunting ground, nobody in their wildest dreams would have suspected the existence of what turned out to be a second, much more sophisticated tower-house on the site. (Incidentally, mortar analysis by Historic Scotland's laboratories revealed that the two towers were of different dates.)
‘Almost overnight, Megget became the centre of attention. To help the slow process of excavation, Lord Wemyss arranged for his foresters to cut down all the trees on the site, while the reservoir's Consulting Engineers, R H Cuthbertson and Partners, gave me the services of a Hymac excavator to remove all the massive roots. Then, during the next ten months, I was able to expose the whole of the rest of the basement of a substantial 15th-century tower-house, with entrance doorway, rusty grooves left by the former yett, paved basement, guard-room and pit-prison (see photo at top). And then to cap it all, the landscape architects, W J Cairns and Partners, built a memorial to the two towers on the hillside above the reservoir (above right). All that remains on the original site is now 90ft under the water.
‘But for my own enthusiasm, the second tower would have been lost for ever, and nobody would ever have known of its existence. It is for this reason that I cannot emphasise too strongly the need for historic sites to be properly investigated before being destroyed.’
• A record of the towers is in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 111 (1981), and Maxwell-Irving’s Border Towers of Scotland 2 (2014).
‘There seems to be a lot of spluttering into the cornflakes,’ writes Julian Munby FSA, ‘over Clifford's Tower in York at the thought of building anything near it.’ In the last Salon I quoted Mike Farley FSA (who lives in Aylesbury, not York as I’d said), who has long been concerned about a proposal by English Heritage to create new visitor facilities at the site. ‘In its present guise,’ says Munby, ‘it has always seemed rather lost floating in a carpark, and it used to have such a lovely Georgian Gothick gaol right next to it. What's the problem?’
The unattributed photo, showing castle and prison (built 1825–35), is from the website of the City of York Castle Area Campaign, which is ‘fighting the City of York Council to stop the building of the Castle Piccadilly shopping mall next to the ancient monument of Clifford's Tower and the Castle Museum’. The prison was demolished in 1934, and the site is now a car park.
Gifts to the Library
The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library by Fellows in the period from April to June 2018. These books are, or will shortly be, available in the Library, with full records on the online catalogue www.sal.org.uk/library.
From Tony Laughton, in memory of Jane Laughton FSA:
- Presented to the Society of Antiquaries in memory of Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle FSA (1941-2010) by Martin Biddle FSA on 23 April 2018, Danske Konegrave / edited by Karin Kryger (3 volumes)
- From the author, Herbert Broderick FSA, Moses the Egyptian: in the illustrated Old English Hexateuch (2017)
- From the author, Mario Buhagiar FSA, The icon of the Madonna of Filerimos: rethinking its history and iconography
- From Christopher Catling FSA & the RCAHMW (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales), Discovering the historic houses of Snowdonia : the north-west Wales tree-ring dating project / Richard Suggett & Margaret Dunn (2014)
- From John Cherry FSA, Seals and status: the power of objects / edited by John Cherry, Jessica Berenbeim and Lloyd de Beer, British Museum Research Publication 213, (2018)
- From Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA, La Tene: les collections de Geneve (Suisse). La Tene, un site, un mythe, 5 / Jordan Anastassov (2017). Cahiers d'archeologie romande, 166.
- From the editors, Robin Griffith-Jones FSA and Eric Fernie FSA, Tomb and temple: re-imagining the sacred buildings of Jerusalem (2018)
From Andrew Oddy FSA and Tony Goodwin:
- Seventeenth century Rainow: the story of a Cheshire hill village / Jane Laughton (1990)
- The church in the market place: a history of the Church of St Michael and All Angels in Macclesfield c.1220-1901 / Jane Laughton
- Life in a late medieval city: Chester 1275-1520 / Jane Laughton
From the author, Jack Ogden FSA, Diamonds: an early history of the king of gems (2018)
- Coinage and History in the Seventh Century Near East 1 (Supplement to Oriental Numismatic Society Journal 193, Autumn 2007)
- Coinage and History in the Seventh Century Near East 2 (2010), edited by Andrew Oddy
- Arab-Byzantine Coins and History, edited by Tony Goodwin (2012)
- Coinage and History in the Seventh Century Near East 4 (2015), edited by Andrew Oddy, Ingrid Schulze and Wolfgang Schulze
- Coinage and History in the Seventh Century Near East 5 (2017), edited by Tony Goodwin
From Adrian Olivier FSA:
From Alastair Small FSA:
- The fortifications of Copenhagen: a guide to 900 years of fortifications history (1998)
- A decade of diving, delving and disseminating / Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (2001)
- The reunification of the Parthenon sculptures / Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (2015)
- Atlas arqueolóxico da paisaxe galega / Felipe Criado-Boado (2016)
- Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey, 1987-98. Part III: A zooarchaeological study. East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Paper No. 22 (2009)
- Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey, 1987-98. Part IV: People and property in the documentary record. East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Paper No. 23 (2009)
- An archaeological assessment of County Durham: the aggregate-producing areas / by Richard Hewitt (2011)
- La necrópolis celtibérica de Numancia / Alfredo Jimeno… Arqueología en Castilla y León, 12 (2004)
- The Thames through time: the archaeology of the gravle terraces of the upper and middle Thames. Early prehistory: to 1500 BC / Oxford Archaeology. Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph No. 32 (2011)
- The legacy of Charlemagne, 814-2014 / under the direction of Dirk Callebaut & Horst van Cuyck (2015)
- Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites: Annual Reports for 2002-2010 / Department for Culture, Media and Sport
- Beyond Vagnari: new themes in the study of Roman South Italy / edited by Alastair Small
- La villa romana e tardoantica di San Giovanni di Ruoto (Basilicata): una sintesi / by A. M. Small and F. Tarlano
Forthcoming Events for Fellows
You can catch up on meetings you've missed by visiting our YouTube Channel.
Ordinary Meetings of Fellows
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Amelia Carruthers, Communications Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The next Ordinary Meeting of Fellows will take place after the summer break, on Thursday 4 October 2018.
Introductory Tours for Fellows
If you've never visited Burlington House or had an introduction to the Library and Collections, please join an introductory tour. You'll meet the Society's staff, learn about your Fellowship benefits, and discover more from the collections at Burlington House.
Forthcoming Public Events
Conferences and Seminars
Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.
- 21 August - 'Paying the Tolls: Glass in Time and the Regulation of the Free Trade State', lecture by Jenny Bulstrode (PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge)
- 4 September - 'Coastal Heritage Under Threat: CITiZAN (A National, Community-Based Response)', lecture by Gustav Milne FSA
- 23 October - 'The Prittlewell Prince: Life, Death and Belief in Anglo-Saxon England at the Time of St Augustine', lecture by Prof Christopher Scull FSA
- 6 November - 'Seeing Milton's Voice, or Illustrations to Paradise Lost; a social history of Great Britain', lecture by Prof Howard JM Hanley FSA
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.
Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Events are not currently being organised, but you can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at email@example.com. If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.
- 19 October 2018: Weekend visit to the Hereford area, staying in the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford and visiting places of historical and archaeological interest in the area.
- 18 January 2019: The Davies Family of Llandinam with its Burry Dock connection, by David Jenkins FSA
- 11-13 October 2019: Weekend visit to the Pembrokeshire area. Programme to be arranged.
Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.
- 29 November 2018: 'Surveying Shakespeare's Guildhall: a public building in pre-modern England' (Out of London Ordinary Meeting of Fellows, held in York). Find out more online.
Other Forthcoming Heritage Events
6 July: Churches: History, Significance and Use (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This provides a firm foundation of the history of church architecture and furnishings, and provides skills to draft statements of significance, aimed particularly at those actively involved in management of church buildings. Details online.
14 July: Archaeology in Hertfordshire: Recent Research (Bishops Stortford)
The third Archaeology in Hertfordshire conference will be held at the Museum, Rhodes Art Complex. Speakers include Kris Lockyear FSA. Topics include excavations at various sites, the Early Iron Age territorial origins of the Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire dykes, and Late Iron Age coin production. Details online.
17–20 July: Performance, Ceremony and Display in Late Medieval Britain (Harlaxton)
The 2018 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium in Grantham, Lincolnshire, aims to explore many dimensions of performance. As well as talks on musical and dramatic performance, it will include papers on aspects of display and associated ceremonies and rituals, on oral performance in a variety of ecclesiastical and social contexts, and on the performative potential of spaces, and of manuscripts and other physical objects. Speakers include Jerome Bertram FSA, Clive Burgess FSA, Pamela King FSA, Nicholas Orme FSA, Matthew Payne FSA, Ellie Pridgeon FSA, Nigel Ramsay FSA and Anne F Sutton FSA. There will be an excursion to St Mary’s church, Higham Ferrers and to St Peter’s church at Raunds. Details online.
30 July: J C Robinson's Collection at Auction (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Elizabeth Pergam (Lecturer, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York, NY) will speak about Paris over London: Victorian Curator J C Robinson's Collection at Auction. Details online.
31 August–2 September: Archaeology in Wales (Lampeter)
The Council for British Archaeology Wales will be holding its first annual conference on the archaeology of Wales, at the University of Wales Trinity St David. The programme showcases current innovative projects and fieldwork and provides opportunities for hands-on workshops, CPD, networking, and guided visits to some of the most iconic and interesting sites in Wales. Speakers include David Austin FSA, Toby Driver FSA, Carenza Lewis FSA and Mike Parker-Pearson FSA. Details online.
6–9 September: Recent Archaeological Research in the Channel Islands and nearby France (St Helier, Jersey)
Building on the successful Channel Islands History Conference of 2016, this event hosted by the Société Jersiaise Archaeology Section showcases the best and up-to-date archaeological research. Speakers include Chantel Conneller FSA, Barry Cunliffe FSA, Heather Sebire FSA and Robert Waterhouse FSA. On the fourth day, if there is sufficient interest, it is proposed to run two minibus trips to significant archaeological sites in Jersey. Details online.
11–15 September: Understanding Historic Buildings (Oxford)
Historic England is running a four-day course at St Anne’s College, which will teach key skills in building investigation, interpretation and recording. Tutors Adam Menuge FSA and Allan Adams FSA will demonstrate how to observe, analyse, hand-measure, draw and photograph historic buildings. Details online.
14-16 September: The Monuments of Hereford and Herefordshire (Hereford)
The Church Monuments Society Bi-Annual Symposium 2018 will be held at the Green Dragon Hotel opposite the cathedral. The focus will be on monuments in the cathedral and surrounding Herefordshire countryside, with an optional visit to the Cathedral’s Mappa Mundi, chained library and after evening dinner lecture on the Mappa Mundi. Speakers include Tobias Capwell FSA, Jerome Bertram FSA, Sally Badham FSA, Brian Gittos FSA and Moira Gittos FSA, David Lepine FSA, Jon Bayliss FSA, Holly Trusted FSA and Roger Bowdler FSA. Details online.
15 September: Deerhurst, Pershore and Westminster Abbey (Deerhurst)
The 2018 Annual Deerhurst Lecture will take place at 7.30 pm in St Mary's Church, Deerhurst and will be given by Richard Mortimer FSA (former archivist to Westminster Abbey). Details online.
19–20 September: Photographing Historic Buildings (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is aimed at those who are not professional photographers but wish to photograph historic buildings for the record using a digital camera. By the end students will be expected to know how to choose viewpoint and lighting conditions, correctly set up cameras to capture suitable images and how to post-produce images in software ready for the archive. Details online.
24 September: Dr Christopher Dresser, the South Kensington Museum and their 1877 Gift to Tokyo National Museum (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. Chris Morley will speak in one of a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA. Please note that this is a change of the previously advertised programme. Details online.
26–28 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. Chris Morley ill speak in one of a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA. Please note that this is a change of the previously advertised programme. Details online.
29 September: Georgian Group Symposium: The Architecture of James Gibbs (London)
James Gibbs (1682–1754), born in Scotland and trained in Rome, was one of the most important British architects of the 18th century, responsible for the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, and many other commissions throughout Britain. He published one of the most influential of 18th-century architectural pattern books, which spread his influence throughout the worldwide British diaspora. This symposium at the Society of Antiquaries and led by Geoffrey Tyack FSA, editor of the Georgian Group Journal, will reassess Gibbs’ achievement and its significance for the understanding of Georgian architecture. Speakers include Charles Hind FSA and Pete Smith FSA. Details online.
4 October: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce recent guidance, and review the essential components of assessment and updated project design. In the afternoon we will review examples from current practice and consider how far they meet their purpose and justify funding decisions. Details online.
13 October: Castle Studies: Current Research and the Future (London)
A conference organised by the Castle Studies Group to be held at the Society of Antiquaries will honour Derek Renn FSA, author of Norman Castles in Britain (1969/1973), and launch a Festschrift, Castles: History, Archaeology, Landscape and Architecture, edited by Neil Guy FSA. Speakers include Oliver Creighton FSA, Bob Higham FSA, Brian Kerr FSA, Neil Ludlow FSA and Pamela Marshall FSA. For details contact John R Kenyon FSA, 140 Fairwater Grove East, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2JW, before 31 July.
15 October: Finds for the Dead in Roman London and Beyond (London)
A conference jointly organised by the Museum of London, Museum of London Archaeology and the Roman Finds Group will be held at the Museum of the London Docklands, currently featuring The Roman Dead exhibition. Twelve speakers will describe finds from the city and cemeteries of Roman London, as well as important objects from funerary contexts elsewhere in Britain. Details online, or contact Stephen Greep FSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
20 October: Design and Destiny: Arts and Crafts of the Iron Age (Lewes)
A conference organised by the Sussex Archaeological Society to explore the Iron Age through its artefacts. Speakers will bring varied perspectives on artefact research to enlarge our understanding of social influences and the economics of trade and exchange in this period. Speakers will include Jody Joy FSA, Julia Farley FSA, Melanie Giles FSA, Jaime Kaminski FSA and John Creighton FSA. Details online, or contact the organiser, Lorna Gartside, email@example.com.
24 October: Artefacts and Ecofacts in and out of the Field (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will provide expert guidance on how key artefacts and ecofacts can contribute to interpretation of archaeological sites, and good practice in sampling and collection. The course is designed for supervisors, project officers and junior managers with responsibility for running excavations, and those new to specialist artefact and ecofact roles. Details online.
29 October: The Last Great Demidoff Sale of Paintings (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Alexandre Tissot Demidoff (Independent scholar) will speak about the last great Demidoff sale. Details online.
30 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Details online.
3 November: Dawn: From our Earliest Ancestors to the Hunter-Gatherers of the Mesolithic (Southampton)
The Council for British Archaeology Wessex's 60th Anniversary Conference is to be co-hosted with the University of Southampton’s Department of Archaeology in collaboration with the Prehistoric Society, and will be held at the Highfield Campus. Speakers include Nick Ashton FSA, Vince Gaffney FSA, Steve Mithen FSA, Matt Pope FSA, Julian Richards FSA, Roland Smith FSA and Chris Stringer FSA. Phil Harding FSA will chair a session, and Alice Roberts will give the keynote lecture. Details online.
10 November: Structured Deposits: Definitions, Developments and Debates (Chertsey)
A conference organised jointly by CBA South-East and the Surrey Archaeological Society will examine how our understanding and uses of the concept of ‘structured deposition’ have developed during the last 30 years, resulting in a perceived tendency for over-use and ‘ritual’ interpretations in analysis. Research from prehistoric to Medieval times will be considered, revealing new discoveries from southern England. Speakers will include Jon Cotton FSA, Mike Fulford FSA and Sam Moorhead FSA. Details online, or contact the organiser, Anne Sassin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 November: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce standard published reports produced by archaeologists, and how a report is planned. It will then focus on stratigraphic narrative and discussion, with a critical review of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements of writing in a professional and academic context. Details online.
24 November: Heritage and Resources in Southeast England (Lewes)
An interdisciplinary conference involving aspects of geology, archaeology and local history. Speakers will include Danielle Schreve FSA and David Rudling FSA. For details contact the organiser Anthony Brook, email@example.com.
26 November: Sir William Holburne's Display Mounts (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Catrin Jones (Curator of Decorative Arts, Holburne Museum, Bath) will speak on Piecing Together a Collection: Sir William Holburne's Display Mounts. Details online.
28–30 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is a practical workshop designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study, with training for potential witnesses. Details online.
6 December: Commissioning Archaeology (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is designed for non-archaeologists who need to work with archaeology within the design and construction process, including architects, surveyors, engineers and other design professionals, planners, and project managers and developers. Details online.
10 December: The Picture Collection of Stephen Alers Hankey (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Robert Wenley (Deputy Director, Head of Collections, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham) will speak on ‘Rare and Most Magnificent’: The Picture Collection of Stephen Alers Hankey (1809-1878). Details online.
13–14 December: Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms (London)
The British Library is hosting an international conference with 22 leading experts in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts to coincide with its Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition (19 October–19 February 2019). Keynote lectures will be given by Lawrence Nees FSA, University of Delaware, and Julia Crick, King’s College London. Confirmed speakers include Catherine Karkov FSA, Simon Keynes FSA, Rosamond McKitterick FSA, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Susan Rankin FSA, Joanna Story FSA, Elaine Treharne FSA and Tessa Webber FSA. Details online.
Call for Papers
14 July: Archaeology in Hertfordshire: Recent Research (Welwyn)
The Welwyn Archaeological Society and the Rhodes Museum, Bishops Stortford are pleased to announce the third recent research conference, to be held at the Museum. We are seeking 25-minute papers on all aspects of archaeology in Hertfordshire – very broadly defined – from prehistoric to post-Medieval, including updated work on older projects. If you would like to present at the conference, please send a short abstract to Kris Lockyear at firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate if you would be willing to present a poster should your paper not be one of ten chosen. Details online.
15 September: Journal of the Decorative Arts Society 43 (2019)
The DAS journal for 2019 will celebrate cross-cultural influences between British and Continental European designers and makers of decorative art, as well as exchange with designers further afield. The Society’s remit is 1850 to the present, and typical journal articles take an object-focussed approach. The journal audience is knowledgeable and well-informed, but not necessarily academic. Authors are invited to submit proposals of around 750–1,000 words by 15 September 2018, for articles between around 2,500–6,000 words, plus notes, illustrations and captions. Send proposals to the Editor, Megan Aldrich FSA, at email@example.com.
16–17 November: Reading the Country House (Manchester)
Country houses were made to be read – as symbols of power, political allegiance, taste and wealth. This places emphasis on the legibility of their architecture and decorative schemes, and their paintings, collections and furniture. It also draws our attention to the skills required to decode the signs. The messages and processes of reading were carried further by 18th- and 19th-century images: in private sketch books and journals, in engravings and in guidebooks. These allowed the country house to be read in very different ways, as did its appearance in novels as backdrop and social symbol. This conference at Manchester Metropolitan University seeks to explore such perspectives on reading the country house, and link them to how the house is read today, by managers, visitors and viewers of period dramas. Keynote speakers Phillip Lindley FSA (Loughborough) and Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford). If you would like to present a paper please send title and 200-word abstract with a very brief biography to Jon Stobart at firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 August 2018.
19 January 2019: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The ninth conference on this topic, organised by Claire Gapper FSA and Paula Henderson FSA, will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. Proposals in the form of short abstracts (up to 250 words) are invited for papers of 30 minutes long. While the emphasis remains on new developments in architecture, we welcome proposals on related themes, such as decorative arts, gardens, sculpture and monuments. They should be submitted by 31 August, and the final programme will be announced in September. Please include a short biography with your proposal. For further information contact Claire Gapper at Claire.email@example.com, or Paula Henderson at Henderson.firstname.lastname@example.org.
22–23 March 2019: What is Unique about Cornish Buildings? (Cornwall)
The Cornish Buildings Group in association with Historic England will host a two-day conference to celebrate 50 years of the Group, at a venue to be announced. New and challenging paper submissions are invited to explore and discuss the conference question: What is unique about Cornish buildings? The theme will unite aspects of Cornish architectural design with distinctiveness and exclusivity. The Group welcome contributions from any area or discipline relative to the past, present and future of buildings in Cornwall and how they impact and affect the natural environment. The conference will embrace research looking at Cornish distinctiveness in the widest possible sense. Submissions of 250 words to Paul Holden FSA at email@example.com by 31 August 2018. Details online.
March 2019: A Matter of Access – Collections and their Availability to a Public (Toronto)
Adriana Turpin FSA and Susan Bracken FSA have been organising monthly research seminars since 2004 on the subject of collecting and display. They are proposing the topic of A Matter of Access – Collections and their Availability to a Public, for the Renaissance Society of America Conference in Toronto in March 2019. If you would like to give a paper, please contact CandDToronto19@gmail.com for full details.
The Council of the Church Monuments Society offers a biennial prize of £250 called the Church Monuments Essay Prize, to be awarded with a certificate for the best essay submitted in the relevant year. The aim of the competition is to stimulate people, particularly those who may be writing on church monuments for the first time, to submit material for the peer-reviewed international CMS journal Church Monuments. Therefore, the competition is open only to those who have not previously published an article in Church Monuments. Closing date for applications 31 December 2018. Details online.
The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is looking for a Youth Engagement Manager. Closing date for applications: 12 noon 3 July.
The CBA is changing. In 2019 we celebrate our 75th birthday, and this exciting new role will have responsibility for driving forward our key commitment to working with young people across a wide range of our archaeological heritage projects, including our flagship programme, the UK-wide Young Archaeologists’ Club. You will lead the transformation of the CBA’s approaches to working with young people, including our YAC members and volunteers and help to develop a new CBA membership offer for younger people. Contact Gill Bull, Deputy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Details online.
The RIBA wishes to appoint a Project Curator/Cataloguer and an Assistant Curator/Cataloguer for the C St J Wilson Archive, British Architectural Library. Closing date for applications: 5 July.
The RIBA is privileged to house the archive of Sir Colin St Wilson (1922–2007) and is preparing to catalogue it. Working as part of the RIBA Curatorial team, both posts will be based in the RIBA out store in the Piper Centre in Fulham. The cataloguing and processing of the archive will allow complete research access, by adding inventory records to our online catalogue. Experience in research is important, to develop and exploit both subject and curatorial expertise so as to promote and to further knowledge of the Archive. A keen interest in post-war architecture is essential. These are one-year posts extendable for up to two further years if funding is secured. Details online.
Propose a Lecture or Seminar
Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Amelia Carruthers (email@example.com), the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.
Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Amelia Carruthers (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.