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Salon: Issue 317
31 March 2014

Next issue: 14 April 2014


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

Easter closing


The Society’s library and apartments at Burlington House will be closed for Easter from 18 to 22 April inclusive.
 

Forthcoming meetings


30 April 2014: Anniversary Meeting
Fellows are invited to attend the Society’s Anniversary Meeting and guests are welcome to join for the President’s Address and the reception; admission to the reception is by ticket only (£10, including VAT), which should be booked by email or telephone (0207 479 7080) by 23 April 2014.

The part of the meeting reserved for Fellows begins at 3.30pm with the ballot for the election of Council members, Officers and President to serve during 2014—15. At 3.45pm, the Treasurer and General Secretary will report on the Society’s activities during the past year. The public meeting begins at 5pm when the retiring President will announce the names of those elected in the ballot and deliver his Presidential Address. The reception will begin at 6pm, and will include a display of items from the Society’s collections in the Library.

8 May 2014: ‘Shelters for Eternity: recording ancient Egyptian coffins in British and foreign collections’, by Aidan Dodson, FSA
Objects that languish unpublished in museum collections are in many ways as ‘lost’ as those still concealed under the ground. Amongst such pieces are many ancient Egyptian coffins which, although popular as museum exhibits, have often received little or no specialist attention since arriving from Egypt, whether as tourist souvenirs or the fruits of proper archaeological excavations. Dr Dodson is currently undertaking a long-term project to record such objects in UK provincial collections, as well as having been invited to publish those in the national collections in Edinburgh and Stockholm. This lecture will give a brief overview of the history of Egyptian coffins through the lens of collections studied to date, also highlighting some interesting (and some cautionary) tales regarding the collection and conservation of ancient Egyptian antiquities.

15 May 2014: ‘Hoarding in Iron Age and Roman Britain’, by Roger Bland, FSA, Adrian Chadwick and Eleanor Ghey
Some 340 hoards of Iron Age coins and 2,591 of Roman coins are known from Britain, probably a greater concentration than anywhere else in the Roman Empire. This is a fast-expanding dataset, as 600 of the Roman hoards have been found in the last twenty years. Hoards have long attracted the attention of scholars, but mostly they have been concerned with their contents and have paid less attention to their contexts. An AHRC-funded project, a collaboration between the British Museum and the University of Leicester, will try to redress the balance by studying hoards in their context to understand better why they were buried through a systematic GIS-based analysis of their findspots and survey of selected sites. The paper will look at some of the issues involved and some of the early results.

22 May 2014: ‘London in 1712 as recorded in the letters of Samuel Molyneux, FRS’, by Paul Holden, FSA
In October 1712, Samuel Molyneux travelled from his native Dublin to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society in London. During his stay in England he corresponded with his learned uncle, Thomas Molyneux, communicating well-measured accounts of some of the most noteworthy connoisseurs of the day as well as first-hand descriptions of ecclesiastical and secular buildings, historic royal palaces, parks and gardens and notable public and private libraries and collections. Before the next half-century was over, many of these collections and libraries had become the nuclei of the British Museum and British Library. For the modern reader these seven meticulously written letters offer an intimate, erudite and discursive analysis of early Enlightenment London and a fascinating insight into the cultural and scientific world of the time.

29 May 2014: A Miscellany of Papers
This year’s miscellany of papers will include a talk from Kelmscott Manor’s new artist-in-residence, and will be followed by the Summer Soirée at 6pm. Fellows and Guests are welcome to both; admission to the soirée is by ticket only: booking details will be available shortly.
 

‘Church Treasures: perils and possibilities’


Co-sponsored by the Society of Antiquaries and the Churches Conservation Trust, this half-day conference (9.30am to 12.35pm) will examine the status of church fixtures and fittings that are greatly threatened not only by theft and church re-ordering schemes, but also by the sale of the churches themselves (see ‘The sale of churches and monuments: the case of Horton church’ below) and the sale of the valuable works of arts and artefacts by cash-strapped parishes tempted by the dizzying prices that collectable objects are achieving on the open market. Arguably the treasures of our parish churches are communal assets with the ability to enhance our enjoyment and significantly increase our understanding of the past rather then assets to be monetized for temporary and short-term gain. The speakers will include Fellow Loyd Grossman (Churches Conservation Trust), Fellow John Goodall (Country Life), Janet Gough (Church Buildings Council), the Revd Nigel Done, and Crispin Truman (Churches Conservation Trust). Admission is by ticket only (£10, including VAT). To reserve your place, please call 020 7479 7080 or send an email.
 

Vote for Kelmscott Manor and help us win the Guardian award for 'most inspiring museum'


Renée LaDue, the Society’s Communications Officer, writes to say that ‘in January we asked you all to consider nominating Kelmscott Manor for an award from the Guardian Culture Pros Network and Musesums + Heritage Awards: UK’s most inspiring Museum or Heritage Visitor Attraction. Well, it worked! We’ve been shortlisted and included in the public vote for the award. Out of 350 nominations, only five were picked: The Haslemere Educational Museum, Surrey; Barts Pathology Museum, London; Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens, Kent; Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth; and Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire (and not Gloucestershire, despite what the Guardian website says!).

Our work is not over — now I have to convince you and everyone you know to VOTE for us! The competition is stiff, and it is incredible that we were even shortlisted. It only takes a moment to tell the Guardian that Kelmscott Manor is your choice for the UK’s most inspiring Museum or Heritage Visitor Attraction. Don’t wait! Vote now — the poll closes on 11 April, with the winner announced at the Museum + Heritage Awards in May.

If you want inspiration, have a look at the Kelmscott Manor YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter profile.
 

Ballot results: 20 March 2014


We welcome the following new Fellows of the Society, elected in the ballot held on 20 March 2014:

John Whitehead, specialist in French eighteenth-century interior decoration and dealer in works of art
Council member of the Furniture History Society, co-editor of the French Porcelain Society’s journal, founder member of the Association des Spécialistes de la Céramique de Collection, author of The French Interior in the Eighteenth Century (1992) and two works on the Sèvres museum and factory (2011).

Emily Gee, Head of Designation, English Heritage
Emily is responsible for oversight, endorsement, handling and ensuring the national consistency of EH’s designation (listing, scheduling, registration) advice. She is a specialist in Victorian and Edwardian housing for women and post-war architecture.

Duncan McCallum, Government Advice Director, English Heritage
Responsible for the annual Heritage Counts audit and the Conservation Bulletin and has overseen the production of 100-plus guidance notes relating to heritage management, including Practice Guidance for implementing the heritage aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Nicola Hembrey, Finds Specialist for English Heritage
Specialises in Roman and later material culture, especially artefacts as markers of identity, or curated as heirloom objects. Secretary of Roman Finds Group and has co-run Fort Cumberland’s contribution to the annual Festival of British Archaeology for eleven years.

Helen Fulton, Professor of Medieval Literature
Specialist in the history and politics of medieval literature, classical reception in the Middle Ages, Celtic studies, Arthurian literature and English and Welsh cultural exchanges in the late Middle Ages, with extensive experience of transcribing and editing Middle Welsh texts preserved in late medieval manuscripts. Author of more than sixty published works, including Urban Culture in Medieval Wales (2012), Companion to Arthurian Literature (2009) and Welsh Prophecy and English Politics in the Late Middle Ages (2008).

Olga Vladimirovna Dmitrieva, Deputy Director, Moscow Kremlin Museum and Associate Professor of History at the Moscow State Lomonosov University
Author/editor of more than 150 works, including the catalogue for the recent V&A exhibition, Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars (2013) and The Golden Age of the English Court 1509—1649 (2012) at the Moscow Kremlin Museums. Among her other works are English Silver at the Court of the Tsars (2006, with Natalia Abramova), for the exhibitions held at the Yale Centre for British Art in 2006 and at Somerset House in London in 2007.

Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture, University of East Anglia
Nicole’s study of the Japanese export porcelain trade, Vessels of Influence, was published in 2012. She is currently on secondment to the British Museum where she is completing a survey of the museum’s extensive holdings of Japanese porcelain, to be published by the British Museum Press as Four Hundred Years of Japanese Porcelain. She is Research Director for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures at the Sainsbury Institute, having served as Founding Director from 1999 to 2011.

Sarah Whittingham, author and lecturer
Author of Sir George Oatley: architect of Bristol (2011), The University of Bristol: a history (2009), The Wills Memorial Building (2003), Fern Fever: the story of Pteridomania (2012), The Victorian Fern Craze (2009) and numerous articles on similar themes.

Thomas Alexander Goskar, independent archaeologist
Has made substantial contributions to the fields of 3D capture and visualisation, surface analysis, and web technology within archaeology since 2001 and is known for work at Stonehenge with 3D laser scanning, resulting in the discovery of previously unknown prehistoric carvings on stone 53; he contributed the Stonehenge animation for the Society of Antiquaries’ tercentenary exhibition at the Royal Academy.

Dylan James Rees, Head of History and Ancient History at Gorseinon College
Introduced ‘A’ Level Archaeology in 1998, the only college in Wales to offer the subject; has led numerous fieldwork projects in Wales and beyond and since 2000 has played a leading role in organising and leading field meetings of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society, of which he is Chair Designate. Author of books and papers on Welsh history and archaeology, and editor of Carmarthenshire and beyond: a Festschrift for Terry James FSA (2009).
 

The sale of churches and monuments: the case of Horton church


Fellow Jon Bayliss has published a paper in the latest volume (23) of Church Monuments (the journal of the Church Monuments Society), drawing attention to the possibility that the church of St Mary Magdalen, at Horton, in Northants, will be declared redundant and sold. If so, argues Jon, this will pose ‘a grave challenge to our monumental heritage’, because the church contains a monument of exceptional significance: the fine alabaster tomb chest with effigies of William, Lord Parr (d 1547), uncle of Katherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII, and his wife Mary Salisbury (d 1555). This is in addition to an early nineteenth-century tomb chest in the churchyard, which is separately listed at Grade II and three important monuments in the chancel: the brass of Roger Salisbury (d 1491), an alabaster wall monument (c 1580), depicting Sir William Lane and his wife and family, and a marble monument of 1756 in memory of Edward and Henrietta Montagu, probably designed by Horace Walpole and carved by James Lovell.

Jon’s article focuses on the Parr monument, demonstrating that it was probably made in the 1520s for different patrons and adapted for use by Lord Parr. Having escaped iconoclastic damage in the mid-sixteenth century, it is an outstanding and superbly well-preserved example of early Renaissance alabaster carving. The question is whether it will remain so for much longer if it falls into private hands and thus into a legal limbo. As Jon explains, when a church is sold into private hands, the Church Commissioners can remove monuments, but this rarely happens. If disposed of and converted to other uses, the church and continuing care for its monuments becomes the responsibility of the new owners, who are also put under an obligation to allow public access. However, no legal record is made of such monuments as remain when the church changes hands, and covenants that are intended to protect their future well-being are not enforced and are probably unenforceable.

What is needed, Jon says, is a system for checking that monuments are being appropriately conserved and that the owners are respecting the provisions for enabling public access. But he concludes that there is little chance of a cash-strapped Church Buildings Council being able to afford to set up and run such a system.
 
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Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300 to 1100




A generous donation made by our Fellow Sir Paul Ruddock and his wife Lady Jill Ruddock to the British Museum has enabled the early medieval collections at the British Museum to be redisplayed in Room 41. The result was opened to the public on 27 March 2014, seventy-five years after the discovery of the Sutton Hoo ship burial in 1939. The ship burial now takes pride of place in the centre of the new gallery in a display case that shows some of the finest artefacts from the grave.

Arrayed around the rest of the cruciform room, with its Wedgwood blue walls, are some of the best-known objects from the formative period in Europe that stretches from the end of the Roman Empire through the age of the great migrations and the Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Celtic periods to the time when the forerunners of many modern states first began to take shape. They include the Lycurgus Cup, the Projecta Treasure, the Kells Crozier, the Domagnano Treasure, the Cuerdale Hoard and the Fuller Brooch, to name but a few. Also on display are some less familiar objects: notably a necklace made of copper alloy chains from the Baltic Sea region that was too large to fit into any of the old showcases.

Curator Sue Brunning said that the donation from Sir Paul and Lady Jill Ruddock had enabled the museum to show this as a period of vibrant change and great cultural achievement, transforming the former drab displays, which really did suggest that this was a Dark Age.
 
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Record-breaking year for the Museum of London


The Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands have together announced that visitors have already exceeded the one million mark this year, with a month still to go before the end of the year, setting a new record. By comparison the two museums welcomed 615,000 people in the twelve months from April 2012 to March 2013. The Director of the Museum of London, Sharon Ament, said that this was ‘one of the fastest growth rates in any of the large museums this year ... we really are turning people on to history, stretching their thinking about the capital and engaging them in all sorts of interesting ways’. The Museum of London’s critically acclaimed exhibition, The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels, has just under a month to run. In October 2014, the museum will host a major exhibition on the theme of Sherlock Holmes.


 
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Museums booming all over the world


Though national museums and galleries in the UK seem to have done particularly well in recent years in attracting visitors, the rise is not limited to this country, where (according to DCMS figures for England, over half the adult population visited a museum in 2013): globally the number of public museums has more than doubled in the last two decades, from 23,000 to 55,000. China in particular is building more and more to meet a growing demand from an increasingly educated and culturally hungry nation: it has 4,000 museums now, and these received more than 500m visits last year. This is still only a quarter of the number of museums in the USA; figures from the American Alliance of Museums show that they received 850m visitors last year, which is more than all the theme parks and big-league sporting events combined.

A recent report by Fiammetta Rocco for The Economist  says that museum building has flourished because governments want their countries to be regarded as culturally sophisticated. They see museums as symbols of confidence, sources of public education and places in which a young country can present a national narrative. Some, such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi, hope to use cultural offerings to attract tourists.

The Economist’s report reveals some of the ways in which museums are funded. Some museums charge for lending their works to other galleries: Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie raised €1m by lending its two Vermeers to museums in Japan, while the Picasso Museum in Paris raised €30m of the €50m it needed for its current makeover from lending works to museums abroad.

The British Museum apparently costs about £100m a year to run, of which 40 per cent goes on staff. As well as raising money from sponsorship, special exhibitions, retail and catering operations, the BM sells its curatorial expertise to other museums: a contract with the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, which will open in 2016, is thought to earn the BM as much as £10m a year. In addition, the worldwide cinema screening of last year’s Pompeii Live took £471,000 at the UK box office alone, a sum that may well be exceeded by the planned screening of Vikings on 24 April 2014.

In the US, entrance fees are said to be a diminishing source of income compared to the income from Friends schemes that offer such perks as free entrance, exhibition previews, a regular magazine and a club-like members’ room with catering, a model that is being increasingly adopted in the UK, with new and recently opened membership rooms at the Royal Academy, Tate and the British Museum.
 

Lawrence of Arabia’s desert camp


The Sunday Times of 23 March 2014 reported on the fieldwork of our Fellow Neil Faulkner and the other members of the Great Arab Revolt project who have, for a number of years, been recording the remains of T E Lawrence’s Jordanian desert campaigns of the First World War. The newspaper reported the discovery of an overnight camp at Tooth Hill where Lawrence and other British men and officers spent New Year’s Eve 1917 dining on bully beef and biscuits washed down with tea and Gordon’s gin. The overnight stay is recorded in Lawrence’s diary where he admitted that he found it a strain to act as a Bedouin, and that he relished the respite of being surrounded by fellow soldiers. The site of the encampment was traced using satellite images and a photograph of the Rolls Royce armoured vehicles that Lawrence used for desert transport lined up in front of Tooth Hill, taken when Lawrence returned to the site in April 1918.

 On the ground, the campsite was found to be exactly as described, with fire pits and trenching tools intact, broken-up biscuit boxes, empty tins of bully beef and condensed milk, and fragments of gin bottles, as well as spent bullet casings. Perhaps the sad end to the story is that the once intact campsite is no more: the members of the Great Arab Revolt project have found in the past that as soon as they complete their fieldwork and move on, local people arrive with mechanical diggers, believing they are going to find gold. Instead, the finds will be conserved and shown at the Imperial War Museum, probably in 2016.
 

Campaign news


The Victorian Society is trying to halt the threatened demolition of Hartlepool’s Tunstall Court. Designed by architect T Lewis Banks and built in 1894—5, this is one of the most important of the great villas built by Hartlepool’s late Victorian industrialists, and one of only two to survive. The grand proportions, fine exterior and exquisitely detailed interior are testament to the wealth and prestige enjoyed by its owner, shipbuilder and MP Christopher Furness. New owners have now applied to demolish the whole building and build homes on and around the site; the Victorian Society is urging Hartlepool Borough Council to refuse consent in favour of restoration and sensitive development. At stake is the question whether neglect, compounded by vandalism and arson, should be used as justification for demolition. The National Planning Policy Framework specifically states that ‘Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of or damage to a heritage asset the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any decision’.


SAVE Britain’s Heritage has described an application by Perth and Kinross Council to demolish Category B listed Perth City Hall as ‘an act of civic vandalism’. The Council, which is both the owner of the Hall and the planning authority, wants to replace it with a public square in front of the Category A listed St John’s Kirk. SAVE argues that such a space would be underused and windswept for much of the year, and the perimeter buildings, St John’s Kirk excluded, are not good enough to front a grand civic open space. The proposed scheme would also cost £4 million, funds which could be used to bring City Hall back into use, SAVE says, as a hotel or market or concert hall.

Our Fellow David Walker, the former Chief Inspector of Historic Buildings for Scotland, said that he considers the Hall to be the finest public building of the Edwardian period in Scotland. More than 850 people and organisations have voiced their objection to the scheme, including Historic Scotland, which expressed their view that alternative schemes should be given every opportunity to progress before an application for demolition can be fully considered.
 

Historic Environment Scotland Bill: call for evidence


In England, we face the prospect of the splitting up of English Heritage into research / statutory arms and a historic property management charity. In Scotland, the opposite is proposed: the merger of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and Historic Scotland. That proposed merger, which will create a new body, to be known as Historic Environment Scotland, was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 3 March 2014 and has now reached the committee stage. As part of its scrutiny of the bill, the Education and Culture Committee has launched a call for written evidence addressing the Bill’s general principles and overall strategy, as well as a number of specific questions — such as: ‘are the functions proposed for Historic Environment Scotland the correct ones or are there any omissions? Are the outcomes expected of the new body ambitious enough or could they be strengthened? Are there any areas of the Bill that you consider could be strengthened or improved?’

Answers are invited by 22 April 2014, and the Committee expects to take oral evidence on the Bill in April and May, and to report to the Parliament in June. The details can be found on the Scottish Parliament website. Some important points relating to the merger and expectations of government are also contained in the Official Report of a recent meeting of the Education and Culture Committee, which can be downloaded here. Fellow Caroline Wickham-Jones, who provided the information in this report, says ‘it is very important that as many people as possible respond so that the outcome is as good as possible for the historic environment, that core tasks are not neglected and that resourcing remains adequate’.
 

Responses to the ‘new model’ English Heritage consultation


Meanwhile in England there seems to be a difference in interpretation over the outcome of the consultation on the future of English Heritage. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has issued an initial analysis of the more than 600 responses to the consultation and says that: ‘the majority of respondents agreed with the proposed benefits outlined in the model. 20% strongly agreed with the proposed benefits and 40% somewhat agreed. 14% somewhat disagreed and 8% strongly disagreed (497 responses to this question). The remainder neither agreed/disagreed or gave a don’t know response.’ The report goes on to say that ‘respondents required more detail to make a better-informed judgement about the resilience of the proposed model. Many would like to see the business case, in particular the evidence for the earned income projections and fundraising sources. Some respondents, including those with experience of running/owning heritage assets, said that it would be challenging to meet self-sufficiency within the projected timeframe. Related to this point was a desire for further clarity on what would happen if the Charity did not become self-sufficient in the time period.’

By contrast, the Independent put a less favourable gloss on the DCMS findings. Under the headline ‘Radical plan to break up English Heritage “rushed” and “not viable”’, the newspaper reported that ‘serious questions have been raised over the Government’s plans to split English Heritage in two, after a lengthy consultation provoked a flood of angry responses.’ Quoting the Council for British Archaeology, the newspaper said that the consultation had been ‘rushed’, leading to a document ‘that has errors and does not provide the level of detail we would have expected to enable us to reach an informed decision’. Fellow Peter Hinton, Director of the Institute for Archaeologists, was also quoted as saying that the Government had failed to provide enough detail ‘to give confidence that the charity can become self-funding’ in the eight-year period envisioned and that the lack of clarity over future funding ‘casts a considerable shadow over the viability’ of the new body, while ‘the absence of any contingency planning in the vision is a real cause for concern’.

Helen Goodman, the shadow Culture Minister, has called on the Government to go ‘back to the drawing board’. Ms Goodman said: ‘People have several concerns. One is whether Historic England, the planning organisation, will be adequately resourced. If not, it spells disaster for the built environment over the long term; an erosion of building protection.’ Our Fellow Simon Thurley, English Heritage chief executive, has said that the move is ‘the only way forward’ and that the majority of respondents supported the split in principle. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it was ‘giving full consideration to the concerns raised and will publish a full response to the consultation with additional detail in the summer’.
 

English Heritage launches survey of Buddhist buildings




Above: the Wat Buddhapadipa is Europe's only Thai Buddhist temple and one of only two built outside of Asia. Designed by Praves Limparasangsri in association with the Sidney Kaye Firmin Partnership, the temple was originally located on Christ Church Road, Richmond, but was relocated to Calonne Road, Wimbledon Parkside, in 1976.

England’s Buddhist buildings are the subject of a new national survey to be carried out by English Heritage in partnership with the Centre for Religion and Public Life at the University of Leeds. The survey is part of a larger research project looking at faith places belonging to minority faith groups in England. Emma Tomalin and Caroline Starkey of Leeds University have set up a blog to explain their work and share the results. They are asking those who know of Buddhist buildings or are part of a Buddhist community to get in touch. They are principally interested in public buildings in England, as opposed to residential houses where groups might meet. The project will run until September 2014.
 
 

News of Fellows


The London Evening Standard reported that our Fellow Sir Paul Ruddock gave a ‘storming speech’ at the opening last week of the British Museum’s new Sutton Hoo gallery, to which Sir Paul and his wife, Lady Jill Ruddock, have contributed generously. Unfortunately no newspaper has reported what he actually said, but another speaker at the launch was the Chancellor, George Osborne, who, apparently, ‘studied the Anglo-Saxon haul while at university in Oxford’ (he read History at Magdalen). Let us hope that Sir Paul made some pointed remarks about the value of state investment in arts, heritage, humanities and culture. The Standard, meanwhile, says that Sir Paul ‘looks like a man waiting for the next big job’ and suggests that he might make a good successor to our Fellow Simon Jenkins as Chairman of the National Trust.

Our Fellow Professor Sir David Cannadine has been appointed as the new Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. David will take up the post on 1 October 2014 in succession to Lawrence Goldman, of St Peter’s College, Oxford, who has held the Editorship since October 2004. Sir David will combine the Editorship of the Oxford DNB with teaching at Princeton. He will also become a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford.

Sir David said: ‘I am hugely honoured and flattered to be following Lawrence Goldman, Brian Harrison and the late lamented Colin Matthew as the next editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Oxford DNB is an unrivalled scholarly resource of exceptional high quality, it is an essential and defining part of the public culture of our nation, and it is admired and emulated — and envied — around the world.’

The latest update to the ODNB includes the biographies of 219 men and women who died in the year 2010. Those newly added include our late Fellows Raymond Allchin (1923—2010), archaeologist and scholar of early Indian culture, Claude Blair (1922—2010), museum curator and scholar of arms and armour, Honor Frost (1917—2010), marine archaeologist, and Carola Hicks (1941—2010), art historian and author.

Fellows Andrew Burnett and Anne Curry are among five new trustees recently appointed to the board of the Royal Armouries. Chairman Wesley Paul said: ‘we have spent a lot of time carefully selecting our new trustees, with great help from the DCMS and ministers, a process where we met many outstanding candidates. We feel that with the addition of Andrew, Anne, Chris [Christine Mayer], Deborah [Mills] and Jason [Kingsley] that we have brought five outstanding professionals who each bring specialist skills, world-class expertise and powerful networks to the Board of the Armouries.’

Fellow Warwick Rodwell, himself a Worcester College graduate, says that he is glad that Salon inveighed against the sale of the Jacob van Ruisdael painting by the college: ‘disposing of college assets behind our backs is short-sighted’, he writes. ‘Once lost, these generous gifts by former alumni can never be recovered. This is on a par with selling church plate.’ On a happier matter, Warwick reports that our Fellow Jerry Sampson has just been appointed as Cathedral Archaeologist at Wells, ‘a post from which I am retiring after thirty-seven years. I believe this is the longest any archaeologist has held such a position in a single cathedral. Jerry, who is also Cathedral Archaeologist at St Davids, first came to work for me at Wells in 1978, and published the seminal monograph on the West Front in 1998. I am delighted that he has been appointed to succeed me.’

He adds that ‘having been a cathedral archaeologist since 1976, Wells is the last one to go from my portfolio. I have also progressively relinquished all other buildings, both ecclesiastical and secular, with a single exception: Westminster Abbey. That occupies an ever-increasing amount of my time. All my other energies are henceforth being diverted to just one project, rescuing Northwold Manor, Norfolk. Derelict and boarded up for thirty years, it has long been on the Buildings-at-Risk Register, and was the cover illustration of SAVE’s publication Live or Let Die (2010). I felt sorry for it and bought it. So, I am not retiring — just re-adjusting the balance!’
 
 

Feedback

It took Salon readers no time at all to identify the mystery castle in Stephen Freeth’s picture, featured in the last issue. Stephen is very grateful to all the Fellows who provided information: ‘Fellows are a wonderful resource’, he says. The fullest account came from Fellow Ruurd Halbertsma, who wrote: ‘the drawing depicts Castle Wijk bij Duurstede, near Utrecht, in the Netherlands. The central, rectangular donjon (on the left-hand side of the drawing) was built around 1270 by Zweder I van Abcoude. The castle was enlarged and embellished by Bishop David of Burgundy in the fifteenth century. He added several new buildings, including the elegant round early-Renaissance tower on the right. In 1672 the Dutch Republic was invaded by French troops, who reduced the castle to ruins. Castle Wijk bij Duurstede is now a visitor attraction and a popular wedding venue. The drawing published in Salon closely resembles one by Cornelis Pronk (c 1735), which is kept in the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels (De Grez Collection, inv. no. 2915).’

Fellow Richard Hobbs writes to say that the last issue of Salon incorrectly set the Colombian Gold and Grayson Perry exhibitions in the British Museum’s Round Reading Room. Richard writes: ‘the gallery used was Room 35, which was constructed as part of the Great Court project back in 2000. The Reading Room was temporarily converted to an exhibition space largely to accommodate the terracotta warrior exhibition when it was realised that the temporary space previously used for such exhibitions as Michelangelo was not going to be sufficient. The last exhibition to appear in the Reading Room was Pompeii. The new space currently housing the Vikings exhibition now replaces the historic Reading Room as the main venue for large-scale exhibitions.’

Fellow Judith Jesch, of the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age at Nottingham University, questions whether Salon’s editor has any evidence for attributing ‘vile atrocities’ to the Vikings, other than in literary and historical texts, ‘which present their own problems of interpretation’. The only archaeological evidence for such atrocities in the current British Museum exhibition, says Judith, ‘is the display of skeletons from the Ridgeway site near Weymouth, decapitated and murdered in the most horrible way; however, those atrocities were committed against people of Scandinavian origin, as shown by the isotope analysis of the skeletons’ teeth, and not by the "Vikings" themselves.'

Judith goes on to say that ‘the meaning of Old Norse víkingr is not “pirate” and is more complex than just “raider”, and let’s not forget the noun vívkng which refers to an activity rather than a person. The meanings of these were discussed at length in my Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age (2001), yet it seems to suit many people, including specialists, to reduce the “vikings” to piratical committers of vile atrocities, despite plentiful evidence in this exhibition for other aspects of their rich and varied culture. They probably did commit atrocities, but so did many other groups at the time, including the “hapless Anglo-Saxons” (to quote from the BBC’s 'Culture Show' this past Saturday), and it is disingenuous to blame the violence of the past on one group only.’

If Judith felt that Salon was unfair to the Vikings, Fellow Peter Pickering thought that Salon’s report on Fellow Ronald Hutton’s book, Pagan Britain, was far too generous to ‘beliefs that are sincerely held by large numbers of rational people and that attract a huge following’. ‘Would an astronomer take this view of astrology’, he asks, ‘another belief that is sincerely held by large numbers of [otherwise] “rational” people and that attracts a huge following? An astronomer would surely dismiss astrology lightly and contemptuously. Why the difference? I hope, for archaeology’s sake, that it is not because astronomy is a serious science while archaeology is not. Astronomers, like other scientists, continually change their minds as new data is produced and as theories come along that fit the data better. That does not make the irrational rational. We must not lose confidence in ourselves. There was a world, with people in it, before 4004 BC.’

Fellow Elain Harwood questioned why Salon’s review of Twentieth-century Architecture 11: Oxford and Cambridge, which she co-edited by Fellow Alan Powers and Otto Saumarez-Smith, described the Cambridge History Faculty as ‘derivative’. The answer is that it was preceded in materials and style by the Engineering Faculty at Leicester. But as both buildings are the work of the same architect (James Stirling), perhaps ‘derivative’ is not the right term — perhaps the Cambridge building is better described as a variation on ideas pioneered at Leicester.

Fellow Simon Stoddart said that Salon’s views on recent architecture in Cambridge chimed with the contents of a book with the title Hideous Cambridge, which came out in late 2013. ‘It highlights the Varsity Hotel, a truly hideous building that rivals St John’s Chapel tower for height and is visible unapologetically from everywhere. The Planning Guidelines on height in Cambridge should have prevented this building from going ahead, but it was somehow approved by the politicised planning committee. To add to the pain of local residents the hotel boasts of the view from its roof garden, neglecting to mention what it offers in return. Another point made by the same book is that the approaches to Cambridge are unrewarding architecturally, not least the view from the station. By compensation, the Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre in west Cambridge, known as the Schlumberger Tent, had an honourable mention in the BBC 4 programme on "Modern British Architecture".’



Fellow David Palliser suggests that Salon’s editor ‘misread my careful references to Fellow Richard Hodges’, in the report on David’s new book on Medieval York. ‘His [Hodge's] dismissal of Alcuin was in the first (1982) edition of his book (see my footnote on p vii), not the second of 1989, and the Fishergate wic was discovered in 1985—6, not 1992 (my p 35). By 1989 Richard was, like all of us, aware that his 1982 statement was wrong — and I do admire his pioneering book despite the point I was making.’



Finally, Fellow Mark Samuel writes to commend Google Earth to anyone researching lost First World War sites (or Second World War sites for that matter). ‘This has to be the most revolutionary archaeological aid!’, he says, and to prove it he attaches the image shown above of Birchington, Thanet, where ‘not only can infilled invasion defences be seen but also the many scars of the bombs the Luftwaffe dropped. Comparison with a map of invasion defences prepared by the Luftwaffe shows just how thorough and accurate they were. This would be near impossible without the archaeological information unwittingly recorded by Google. It is also very useful for inaccessible and partially overgrown sites of the sort Salon describes. There is an abandoned WW2 airfield in the New Forest which is just a wilderness at ground level but is startlingly clear on Google Earth.’
 
 

Study Group for Roman Pottery online bibliography


Fellow Rob Perrin writes to say that the Study Group for Roman Pottery has published twenty-eight years’ worth of Roman pottery bibliography online, thanks to a grant from English Heritage. This includes bibliographic information published between 1986 and 2004 in the Group’s Journal of Roman Pottery Studies, plus subsequent entries published via the Group’s website. The online bibliography has a number of searchable data fields and further amendments and improvements are planned.
 
 

Lives remembered: Norman Scarfe, MBE, FSA (1 May 1923 to 2 March 2014)


Our Fellow Norman Scarfe, elected on 7 May 1964, has just died at the age of ninety. Salon’s editor is very grateful to Fellow John Blatchly for the following obituary, a version of which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 12 March 2014.

Norman was born in Felixstowe on his father Norman’s birthday, 1 May 1923. After a brief spell at Felixstowe Grammar School, he boarded at King’s School, Canterbury, until 1942 when there was just time for a services short course in PPE at Magdalen College, Oxford. There he discovered, with the help of Bruce McFarlane, that he was more historian than philosopher or economist. Reading R H Hodgkin’s History of the Anglo-Saxons at McFarlane’s suggestion was the turning point; after the war, Norman read History, and spent a lifetime following up his ‘insatiable curiosity about the origins of East Anglia and especially Suffolk’.

After that first brief spell at Oxford it was time for very different experiences. Enlisting in the Royal Artillery as a subaltern, Norman landed on Sword Beach in Normandy on 6 June 1944 with the Suffolk Regiment; he was promoted Captain during the advance into France and Germany. His first success as a writer was Assault Division (1947), an arresting account of the 3rd Division’s role in turning the tide, a history taken up to the surrender of Germany.

Back at Magdalen, reading medieval history, he took Schools in 1949 and became a lecturer at Leicester, in Jack Simmons’ department. There, W G Hoskins was pioneering the study of local and regional history and of the English landscape. Inspired by what Pevsner did for the buildings of England and Hoskins for their setting, Norman reinterpreted his county in his Suffolk: A Shell Guide (1960) and The Suffolk Landscape (1972). Equally illuminating Essex (1968) and Cambridgeshire (1983) Shell Guides show him prepared to look further afield for contrasts and parallels. His artistic collaborators included John and Edward Piper, Angus McBean and Edwin Smith; all provided images as memorable as Norman’s prose. Norman was a master of the felicitous phrase; where did we read about his ‘punctiliously ailletted knight’?

In 1963 Norman left the University of Leicester with his partner and former pupil Paul Fincham to return to Suffolk. In this new phase of his life, Norman developed new talents, all closely allied to his writing. By praise and criticism, as appropriate, he used his pen as a powerful tool, sometimes as a weapon, in working relentlessly for the conservation and preservation of all that is best in East Anglia. In the days when councillors could be and were independent, and authorities had the humility to realise that co-opted members on planning and leisure services committees could bring invaluable breadth of vision to discussions, Norman served, unelected but invited, valued and effective.

The first stirrings in 1962 of plans to set up a Museum of East Anglian Rural Life excited Norman, who helped to choose and install everything from whole buildings to small artefacts at Abbots Hall, Stowmarket, where he became founder chairman of the Friends. He led more than a hundred excursions for the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History and was involved from their beginnings with the Suffolk Preservation Society and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust; these and many other bodies profited from his enthusiasm and hard work. While he was always ready to attack shoddy and downright ugly intrusions into the East Anglian landscape, he was quick to discern truly creative and imaginative kinds of development, and to praise warmly such work as that of Tayler and Green in the Waveney valley.

His founding of the Suffolk Records Society in 1958, with Geoffrey Martin as his fellow general editor, was a notable and enduring achievement. Amongst the many volumes he oversaw were eight of Constable’s Correspondence. From 1988 to 2001, François de la Rochefoucauld, his brother Alexandre and their faithful tutor Lazowski were his almost constant companions as he is retraced their visit to Suffolk in 1784; Norman’s translation of the original account was masterly. A Frenchman’s Year in Suffolk was followed by their travels further north in Innocent Espionage. In 2000 Norman and Paul made a fortnight’s expedition to discover how the boys travelled and what they saw on the west coast of Scotland for To the Highlands. The trilogy stands as Norman’s proudest monument.

Norman wrote regularly for Aldeburgh Festival Programmes, and for Music in Country Churches. He inspired and taught, informally and generously, a wide circle of East Anglian historians and archaeologists. At UEA, particularly as chairman of the committee of the Centre of East Anglian Studies, he gave massive support to its first directors, and notably generous help to the 1987 appeal. And the generous assistance goes beyond the scholarly when necessary: practical, tangible, even financial help may be given through the Scarfe Charitable Trust which has enabled projects and publications in all the main cultural fields.

Aside from history, archaeology and the landscape, Norman and Paul have loved art, architecture, music, opera, drama and natural history, at home and abroad. With enviable energy and much kindness and generosity they have welcomed scores of guests to the Garden Cottage, Woodbridge, not least on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday party on a lovely summery day last May.
 
 

Lives remembered: Brian Anthony, FSA (18 February 1934 to 26 February 2014)


Salon’s editor is very grateful to Fellow Elain Harwood for the following obituary for our late Fellow Brian James Anthony, elected on 11 January 1973, historic buildings inspector, who has died at the age of eighty.

That over 375,000 man-made structures across England — ranging from terraces of houses to gravestones and telephone boxes — are listed as heritage assets owes much to Brian Anthony. As head of the team of historic buildings inspectors at the Department of the Environment (DoE) in the early 1980s, he oversaw the completion of a nationwide listing survey on behalf of the then Secretary of State, Michael Heseltine.

The principle of protecting buildings, advancing earlier legislation for ancient monuments, was accepted during the Second World War. The first surveys were skimpy, however, and a new national study was commissioned under Richard Crossman at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. This was continued by the DoE but the programme had lost political favour by the late 1970s and only four people were engaged on it, covering all of Wales as well as England. The incoming Conservative Government was not a natural supporter of constraints on property rights but Heseltine was supportive and, walking him through the newly restored Covent Garden, Anthony persuaded him that action was necessary so that owners knew once and for all what might be listed. The catalyst for action was the demolition of the Art Deco Firestone Factory in west London in 1980: the developers were aware that only staff shortages over a bank holiday weekend were delaying its listing. Anthony used protests by the young Thirties Society (now the Twentieth Century Society) to argue for a rapid assessment of inter-war architecture, and to institute an accelerated programme for listing buildings of all periods.

Anthony’s childhood had not been a happy one. Raised in Little Kingshill, Buckinghamshire, he contracted spinal tuberculosis at the age of four and this went untreated until the death of his Christian Scientist father in 1939. He then spent six years in the Wingfield-Morris Orthopaedic Hospital in Oxford, where his back was eventually reconstructed using bone grafts from his legs in a pioneering operation. He thus had little formal education, spending hours on his back or in simple pursuits such as basket weaving. Eventually he attended the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, and went on to read history at Leicester, then still a university college.

Anthony’s first job was teaching history at the Wildernesse School, Sevenoaks. He had become fascinated by archaeology, however, and in 1956 he joined a Roman dig in the north of England. A complex hoax based on an inscription he carved with a friend typified an idiosyncratic mix of high intelligence and love of mischief. He joined the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments in the Ministry of Works in 1963, inspired by meeting the charismatic inspector Stuart Rigold when walking on the Downs. Anthony’s job there was to assess buildings of outstanding interest for grants; he was thus able to come to the aid of major ensembles of buildings in Bath, King’s Lynn and other historic towns.

The formation in 1970 of the Department of the Environment introduced Anthony to the historic buildings investigators from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, responsible for listing. When in 1978 he became Assistant Chief Inspector responsible for the whole historic buildings team, he finally secured equal pay and conditions for them. The next step was to revive the listing programme. Michael Heseltine eventually agreed to finance ten new inspectors and 120 temporary fieldworkers. The first fieldworkers were based in the offices of county councils and metropolitan authorities with strong conservation departments; the second group were managed by local architects, a pioneering involvement of the private sector in government-funded work in 1982. The programme led many young historians to pursue careers in conservation, and by 1990 the planning authorities finally had workable lists of buildings identified for their special architectural and historic interest.

This intense programme coincided with the creation of English Heritage out of the DoE. Anthony kept abreast of changes in planning legislation and orchestrated a smaller but similarly successful programme of registering parks and gardens that followed the formula of the buildings resurvey. However, one of English Heritage’s many restructurings saw his post abolished, and Anthony retired to Stamford in 1991. There he became involved in the local Civic Society, but nothing compensated for the loss of his English Heritage role. He suffered from vascular dementia for many years before his death.

Anthony was charming, witty and kind, despite days when he visibly struggled with the almost constant pain from his back. He loved the company of young people, to whom he offered invaluable advice and encouragement. He was a great supporter, too, of voluntary organisations devoted to the built environment, notably the Vernacular Architecture Group and the Royal Archaeological Institute.
 
 

Lives remembered: David Harris, FSA (14 December 1930 to 25 December 2013)


Salon’s editor is very grateful to Fellow Norman Hammond for the following obituary for our late Fellow David Harris, elected a Fellow on 7 January 1982, geographer, anthropologist and archaeologist, leading authority on agriculture’s origins and the domestication of animals and plants, who died at the age of eighty-three.

David Harris was a renowned authority on the ecology, origins and evolution of agricultural systems, and of plant and animal domestication. He was Director of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (UCL), from 1989 until his retirement in 1996, when he became Emeritus Professor of Human Environment at the Institute.

David Russell Harris was born in London, educated at St Christopher School in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, which was ‘progressive’ for its time, being co-educational and vegetarian, with predominantly Quaker teachers. During the Second World War he spent 18 months as an RAF conscript then studied geography at University College, Oxford. In 1955 he was awarded a King George VI memorial fellowship to study in the United States and enrolled as a research student at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was greatly influenced by the celebrated cultural and ecological geographer Carl Sauer. For his PhD (awarded in 1963) Harris undertook research into the history and ecology of land use in the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. His ecological study of Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla was published in 1965. Back in London, first as a lecturer in geography at Queen Mary College and, from 1964, a reader in the geography department at University College London, he became increasingly interested in the overlap between archaeology, anthropology and geography.

He participated in an expedition in the American tropics with the objective of travelling by hovercraft from Manaus in Brazil to Port of Spain in Trinidad, making a range of observations on the way. Tiring of the noise of the hovercraft, Harris travelled for part of the way by dugout canoe in the company of a Venezuelan botanist, during which a visit was made to a Yanamamo settlement to study the subsistence system. He observed that the inhabitants combined cultivation of root crops and fruit trees with fishing and hunting, leading him to conclude that the clear distinction that had conventionally been made between the hunter-gatherer and agricultural modes of subsistence was an oversimplification. This stimulated a major field project, commencing in 1974, on present and past human subsistence in the Torres Strait region between Australia and New Guinea. After he moved to the Institute of Archaeology in 1980, as Professor of Human Environment and Head of the Department of Human Environment, this project was expanded to include archaeological surveys and excavations of coastal middens and relict field systems in the western islands of Torres Strait and coastal Papua New Guinea.

In 1986, after a series of negotiations in which Harris played a major part, the Institute merged with UCL. Harris’s priority was to develop research and teaching in archaeobotany. His most tangible legacy at the Institute is the Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories and the secure artefact store in the basement, both built after a major fund-raising effort and opened in 1991. He expanded teaching at graduate level with new MA and MSc degree courses. David also made active contributions to the academic and administrative affairs of UCL and the University of London, and also externally to the University.

For generations of archaeologists Harris was an influential teacher on past resources and human subsistence, drawing on a global and encyclopaedic knowledge of ethnographic subsistence systems and world archaeology. In addition to numerous important chapters and journal articles he published many books, among the most important of which are: Origins of Agriculture in Western Central Asia: an environmental-archaeological study (2010), The Origins and Spread of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Eurasia (1996), The Archaeology of V Gordon Childe: contemporary perspectives (1994) and Foraging and Farming (1989).

On retirement, Harris continued to work, first as the founding editor of Archaeology International, the in-house journal of the Institute of Archaeology, but also cultivating the large garden at home, practising, in his wife Helen’s words, a little of what he preached: growing subsistence crops such as potatoes and beans.
 
 

Events


5 April 2014: No. 7 Hammersmith Terrace opens again for pre-booked and pre-paid tours at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm on Saturdays until 25 October. This important historic house was the home of the printer and collector, Sir Emery Walker, William Morris’s neighbour, friend and mentor. Little has changed since Walker’s time. As well as the William Morris wallpapers and textiles, this charming river-fronted house contains furniture and glass by Philip Webb, ceramics by William de Morgan and furniture by Ernest Gimson. Tours can be booked online.

2 May 2014: The second annual Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Graduate Student Research Forum, hosted by the History of Art Department, University of Cambridge, will be held at the Old Divinity School, St John’s College, Cambridge, between 9am and 7.15pm. This student-led event offers post-graduate students in architectural history an opportunity to present their research while engaging with others studying and working in the field. The aim of the Forum is to break away from more traditional conference models by creating a dynamic and friendly event where students, established academicians and professionals can exchange knowledge, skills and experiences. To meet these aims, the day is structured around sixteen ten-minute ‘lightning-round’ talks that cover a wide range of topics. Our Fellow Deborah Howard will give the keynote speech on ‘The Concept of “Progress” in Architectural History’. The Forum is free to attend, but registration is compulsory and space is limited. For further details see the SAHGB website.

2 May 2014: The Educated Eye? Connoisseurship Now, at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, 16 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA. This one-day conference will address the issue of connoisseurship in relation to historic, modern and contemporary British art studies. Speakers from different spheres — art dealers, museum curators, conservators, art journalists, and academics — will give personal ‘position papers’ based on their own professional perspectives and experiences of the role and relevance of connoisseurship in today’s art world. For further details, see the EventBrite website.

6 and 7 September 2014: ‘The Archaeology of Early Christianity: Cheshire and the Pillar Of Eliseg’, a conference organised by the Society for Church Archaeology (SCA), to take place in Chester Cathedral Chapter House, featuring new research from the county, tours of the cathedral and visits to sites of early Christianity archaeology in the region. For further information, see the SCA website.
 

Process and History at Colne Fen, Earith


Fellow Chris Evans writes with news of two new volumes recently published by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit. Process and History at Colne Fen, Earith charts a decade of intensive fieldwork along a 2km stretch of the Colne Fen, Earith, including a foreword by Fellow Ian Hodder and papers by no less than sixty-five contributing specialists, who explain the innovative methodologies used during the fieldwork phase and the results of ground-breaking scientific and micro-sampling studies. Portions of text are, moreover, avowedly experimental (eg intertextuality and antiquarian-informed perspectives) and the whole work explores the long-term interplay of landscape process and (proto-) historicism. Appropriate to the practice of a comparative archaeology and the ‘challenge of numbers’, emphasis is given throughout to multiple-scale settlement and spatial/distributional analyses.

Volume I is concerned with the landscape’s prehistory. As well as relating the project’s palaeoenvironmental researches, the volume outlines the excavation of two ring-ditch monuments (with accompanying cremation cemeteries), major Middle Bronze Age field systems and their accompanying occupation clusters, and seven Iron Age settlements. The scale of Volume II — the ‘Roman book’ — is even more ambitious. Aside from including reports of earlier local excavations, it is primarily concerned with two major ‘set-piece’ sites. The one, Langdale Hale, was a mass-production supply farm; the other, The Camp Ground, a great inland barge-port settlement linked to the Car Dyke canal. Both inform us about the potential role of the state and address crucial issues of ‘Romanisation’, with facets of their sequences markedly contrasting with the Stonea-engendered Fenland Imperial Estate model. Besides uniquely detailing the character of the settlements’ late Roman usage (involving terpen-like mounds and raised ‘platformed’ structures) and trade connections, the port-site’s aftermath is also discussed as an important assemblage of Anglo-Scandinavian bonework was recovered. To provide further immediate-landscape context, the results from neighbouring sites also feature, including an important late Roman cemetery at Knobbs Farm, Somersham.

Process and History at Colne Fen, Earith. Vol 1: Prehistoric Communities, Bronze Age Field Systems, Ring-Ditch Cemeteries and Iron Age settlement, by Christopher Evans, with Matt Brudenell, Ricky Patten and Roddy Regan; ISBN 9780954482497; Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 2013

Process and History at Colne Fen, Earith. Vol 2: Romano-British Communities, an Inland Port and Supply Farm, by Christopher Evans, with Grahame Appleby, Sam Lucy and Roddy Regan; ISBN 9780957559202; Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 2013
 

Winter of the Warrior Queen


Also just published is a book aimed at the young teenage book market that draws on Chris Evans’s report, Power and Island Communities: Excavations at the Wardy Hill Ringwork, Coveney, Ely (East Anglian Archaeology Report 103). Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen (Sourcebooks, 2014) tells the story of twelve-year-old Sam Sutton who comes to work on the Wardy Hill site with her Uncle Jay, a ‘brilliant, risk-taking archaeologist’. The author, Jordan Jacobs, Head of Cultural Policy at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, visited the Wardy Hill site as part of his research for the novel and the excavations feature highly in the text, complete with reworked site plans and fictionalised notebook entries (with the doings of the Cambridge Department of Archaeology also prominent!). In short, says Chris, ‘it is an exemplary case of fieldwork impact!’ (Not to mention a book that Fellows might like to give to younger friends and relations to encourage an interest in archaeology — or perhaps to warn them away from archaeology and steer them towards a more dependable and lucrative profession!)
 

R G Collingwood: An Autobiography and other writings


R G Collingwood’s work was very influential in the life of Salon’s editor when young, so it is good to see that a new edition has just been published of his Autobiography, alongside a previously unpublished account by Collingwood of a journey that he made to the East Indies in 1938—9. These writings are accompanied by eleven specially written essays examining aspects of his life and work, edited by David Boucher and Teresa Smith (R G Collingwood’s daughter with his second wife, Kate).

Fellow Anthony Birley has contributed the chapter on ‘Collingwood as archaeologist and historian’, something that Tony says he was very pleased to do as ‘I had overlapped briefly at Oxford with Teresa Smith and RGC had been my father’s mentor’. For anyone who struggles with Collingwood’s writing in the raw, Tony’s essay makes an admirable introduction, showing how intimately linked were Collingwood’s twin interests of philosophy and archaeology. The latter was fostered by working with his father, W G Collingwood, surveying prehistoric monuments in the Lake District during school holidays and then, in 1906 and 1907, working as his father’s assistant on the now classic excavation of the Romano-British village at Ewe Close.

These and similar experiences, Tony explains, started Collingwood thinking about the extraction of meaning from archaeological data. From that he evolved his influential theories about historical and archaeological enquiry and the realisation that human ideas, in whatever form or medium they are expressed, are best understood as answers to a question or a problem; to understand the form and content of the answer, you have to try and work back to the question that was being addressed. Vice versa, you can only make sense of archaeological data by examining it for a best match fit with a previously framed question. Therein lies both the challenge — thinking up interesting and significant and resonant questions that enable the data to speak — and the limitation — you have not explained the data in any definitive sense, only shown that it is not incompatible with your model. Archaeology was thus, in Collingwood’s own words, ‘the laboratory’ for his work on the philosophy of ideas.

While that philosophy has been enormously influential, Collingwood’s archaeological practice has not always been held in such high regard, but Tony is keen to rescue that reputation from the hammer blows struck to it by Gerhard Bersu and Ian Richmond, who both called into question the accuracy of Collingwood’s 1937 excavations at King Arthur’s Round Table, the Neolithic henge in Cumbria, effectively accusing him of making features up and mistaking animal burrows for evidence of structures. In a paper that will appear in the next issue of the Arbeia Journal, Tony reprints and analyses Grace Simpson’s defence of ‘R G Collingwood as an archaeologist’ and in true Collingwoodian fashion offers some suggestions as to what really motivated Bersu and Richmond to denigrate Collingwood’s work.

All this demonstrates just how much we need a reliable Collingwood biography. James Connelly, of Hull University, who contributed the chapter on ‘Collingwood controversies’ to the new OUP volume, is reported to be preparing one — publication cannot come too soon.

R G Collingwood: An Autobiography and other writings, with essays on Collingwood’s life and work, edited by David Boucher and Teresa Smith; ISBN 9780199586035; Oxford University Press, 2013
 

Vacancies


Church of England: Senior Church Buildings Officer
Salary: £40,162 rising to £44,529 upon completion of probation; closing date 11 April 2014

The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England is seeking someone to manage the work of the Church Buildings Council and relations with Diocesan Advisory Committees on the care of churches, including meetings, casework and advice under the faculty system, online guidance notes and educational outreach. Based in Westminster and reporting to the Director of the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, you are likely to have relevant experience of working with church buildings, an understanding of the Church of England’s structures and an empathy for its mission. For the full job description and an application form, see the Church Care website.

Society of Antiquaries of London: Volunteer Visitor Assistants
Application deadline: 17 April 2014

In July 2014 we will be opening the doors of the Society’s Burlington House apartments and inviting people in to see our collection of historic paintings, which include an outstanding group of rare fifteenth- and sixteenth-century portraits of medieval, Tudor and European monarchs and rulers. Many of our paintings have been loaned to national and international exhibitions in the past, but this will be the first time the public will be able to see the paintings together in their home surroundings.

In preparation for the July opening, we are looking for volunteers to welcome visitors and serve as room stewards. No previous experience is necessary, as training will be provided; all you need is an interest in history and art history as well as a friendly manner and a flexible attitude. This is a great opportunity for Fellows to tell visitors about the Society and its collections, or for graduate or postgraduate students looking for a career in the museum and heritage sector to gain some experience.

If you would be interested in volunteering, please download and complete a Volunteer Application form; if you would like an informal chat, please contact Heather Rowland, Head of Library and Collections(tel: 0207 479 7096).

Arts and Humanities Research Council: Head of the Histories, Cultures and Heritage Team
Salary from £44,670; closing date 23 April 2014

For further information, see the Academic Jobs website.
 
 

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