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Salon: Issue 309
25 November 2013

Next issue: 6 January 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

Christmas Closing at Burlington House

The Society’s apartments and library will close at 4pm on Friday, 20 December 2013, and re-open at 10am on Thursday, 2 January 2014.

Forthcoming meetings

Tea is served from 4.15pm, and meetings start at 5pm

12 December 2013: Christmas Miscellany and Mulled Wine Reception
This year’s Christmas miscellany has a Stonehenge theme. First, artist Mark Anstee and documentarist Gabi Cowburn will tell us about their year-round observational tour of the stones, then we will hear from Susan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, about the planning and research that went into the creation of the new Stonehenge visitor centre (where several of the Society’s prints will be on display).

Admission to the Mulled Wine Reception that follows the meeting is by ticket only (remarkably good value at £5, half the price of previous years!).  Guests are welcome. Please book by contacting Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Executive Assistant; tel: 0207 479 7080.

Ballot results: 5 December 2013

We welcome the following new Fellows of the Society, elected in the ballot held on 5 December 2013: David John English Constable, independent scholar, specialising in early English and Scottish silver spoons and heraldic wine labels; Peter Thomas Warry, Chairman of the Royal Mint and Visiting Research Fellow, Dept of Archaeology, University of Reading, specialising in the Romano-British construction industry; Kevin Michael John Hayward, archaeological building materials specialist and geologist, employing petrological examination to understand Roman and medieval use of stone; Anthony Davis, retired taxation lawyer, specialising in bibliophily and bookbinding; Edward Biddulph, Senior Project Manager, Oxford Archaeology, and Roman pottery specialist; Fraser Sturt, Senior Lecturer in Maritime Archaeology, University of Southampton; George Dalgleish, Keeper, Scottish History and Archaeology, National Museums of Scotland; Jørgen Hein, Senior Curator, Danish Royal Collections responsible for exhibitions and displays at Rosenborg Castle; Andrew Haydn Bevan, Senior Lecturer, UCL Institute of Archaeology, specialising  in spatial analysis, Mediterranean archaeology and the Chinese terracotta warriors.

The Society’s 2012—13 Report and Accounts

Stephen Johnson, our Society’s Treasurer, writes to say that ‘the Society’s 2012—13 Report and Accounts, covering the period from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013, have now been posted on the Society’s website. This is the regular independently audited statement of the Society’s activities and financial position compiled to a format that is set by the Charity Commission and required to fulfil the Society’s obligations as a registered charity’. At a meeting on 28 November 2013 attended by most of the Members of the Finance Committee, Stephen also presented the key aspects of this year’s financial report to Fellows, and a meeting to present the Accounts to Fellows may well become an annual fixture for this time of the year, rather than at the Annual Meeting in April. This presentation, like other lectures given at the Society, was recorded, and is also available to view on the Society’s website.

The Annual Report and Accounts is a public document that reports on key achievements and performance during this period, including highlights of the activities we have undertaken under our key themes of Conservation, Research and Dissemination, a summary financial review, a brief statement of some of our future plans and a full set of accounts for the last twelve months compared to the previous eighteen-month accounting period (October 2010 to March 2012). This report, we hope, is now crisp, brief and helpfully informative and Council has agreed that we should commend the whole of this to all Fellows to read. If there are questions about the report that Fellows or any other readers of Salon have, please send these to John Lewis, our General Secretary, in the first instance. There will also be an opportunity for Fellows to ask questions about the Society’s performance and accounts at the Anniversary Meeting, which, because of the date of Easter next year, will be held on 30 April 2014.
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‘In the Temple of the Self’: Morris textiles on display in Munich

Designed by William Morris and worked in brick stitch by Jane Morris, the ‘St Catherine’ embroidery has been loaned to the Munich exhibition, as has the ‘Daisy’ wall hanging, designed by William Morris and worked by Morris and Jane, the ‘Sunflower’ embroidery, designed by William Morris, and a large round oak table, designed by Philip Webb and made by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co for Red House. All four were originally in Red House c 1860—5.

While Kelmscott Manor is closed for the winter, our Society has loaned four important objects from our collection to a newly opened exhibition in Munich’s Museum Villa Stuck. On until 2 March 2014, the exhibition is entitled In the Temple of the Self: the artist’s residence as a total work of art, Europe and America 1800—1949. It looks at the ways in which the homes of artists reflect their values and interests — the Villa Stuck itself being a prime example: Franz Stuck (1863—1928), painter, sculptor, engraver, architect and co-founder of the Munich Secession, described the house as his most splendid work of art.

Textiles and furniture from Kelmscott Manor are used in the section on Red House, which William Morris commissioned from his friend, the architect Philip Webb, as a ‘Palace of Art’, decorated like a jewel box, and described by Dante Gabriel Rossetti as ‘more of a poem than a house’. It was Morris’s inability to find furniture and household goods to furnish the house to his taste that led him to found the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company (later Morris & Company) to produce the tapestries, carpets, wallpapers, furniture, stained glass and metal work that transformed Victorian taste in interior design.

A short video of the opening of the exhibition can be seen on the Vimeo website (our Daisy embroidery features 01.00 minutes into the video and a guest with an uncanny resemblance to William Morris can be seen touring the exhibition at 02.18).
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Exhibitions on in London now and in the future

Meanwhile in London, there is but one month left in which to see some of the season’s major exhibitions. Elizabeth I and her People, curated by our Fellow Tarnya Cooper, explores the achievements and developments of the Elizabethan period through portraits of those who brought them about, and is on at the National Portrait Gallery until 5 January 2014.

Portraiture is also the theme of Facing the Modern, The Portrait in Vienna 1900 at the National Gallery until 12 January 2014, providing a rare opportunity to see works by Viennese Secessionist artists, such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, that normally hang in Vienna and New York.

Earlier this year in Vienna, posters publicising an exhibition of paintings of male nudes shown at the Leopold Museum were torn down or defaced. No such protests have greeted the excellent examples of Male Nude studies showing at the Wallace Collection until 19 January 2014, offering us a glimpse into the world of academic art training in eighteenth-century France.

Francois Boucher, Study of a Man Lying Down, 1739, detail © ENSBA

Dürer’s figure studies were the subject of a famous lecture given on 5 October 1905 by Aby Warburg on Dürer’s debt to classical antiquity and the art of the Renaissance. The same drawings that Warburg used to illustrate his influential lecture (borrowed from the Hamburger Kunsthall) have been brought together again for the Courtauld Institute’s exhibition, Antiquity Unleashed: Aby Warburg, Dürer and Mantegna, augmented by supporting material from the Warburg Institute, the celebrated research library that Aby Warburg founded after he came to London in December 1933 to escape Nazi persecution. You have until 12 January 2014 to catch this exhibition, along with the Courtauld’s parallel exhibition, The Young Dürer: Drawing the Figure.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834—1903), Wapping, 1860—4, oil on canvas. Photograph: National Gallery of Art

Also on until 12 January 2014 is an outstanding exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery of almost unrecognisable Thames views by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834—1903), painted in 1859 to 1864, works in which you can feel the icy fog and bitter winds, hear the barges and the paddle steamers and smell the mud.

From that London mud emerged on 18 June 1912 the hoard of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewellery that is now on display at the Museum of London in an exhibition called The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels (on until 27 April 2014). Curated by our Fellow Hazel Forsyth, the exhibition displays the treasure in its entirety for the first time since its discovery, has informative displays on the techniques used to create some of these intricate items of jewellery, and uses the engraved design on one intaglio, emblazoned with the heraldic badge of William Howard, who became the first and only Viscount Stafford, to suggest a date for the hoard of about 1640, a year or two before the Catholic peer and his family left England for Antwerp.

One of the most spectacular items in the Cheapside Hoard is a gorgeous watch (shown on the right) set into an emerald that probably came from the great Muzo mines of Colombia. There are many more precious items from Colombia on show a short distance away at the British Museum: Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia (on until 23 March 2014) uses some 200 objects from the Museo del Oro, Bogotá (see below), and around 100 from the British Museum’s own collection, to tell us about the complex network of societies in ancient Colombia, their spiritual lives, and their skills in working with metal, textiles, feathers, stones and ceramics.

Last but not least is the exhibition of prints and drawings by the Genoese baroque artist, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, currently showing at The Queen’s Gallery in London (until 16 March 2014) in an exhibition co-curated by our Fellow Martin Clayton, of the Royal Collection Trust (RCT), and by Timothy J Standring, Gates Foundation Curator at the Denver Art Museum. As Brian Sewell pointed out in his fulsome review, the ‘drawings’ are executed in thinned oil paint applied with a brush and so almost qualify as paintings. Sewell sums up the work as ‘most delicate, innovative and astonishing’, and says that this glimpse of Castiglione’s work should prompt art historians to ‘mount the exhibition he deserves’.

Two lectures associated with the exhibition are being given by the co-curators: Timothy Standring’s lecture, ‘The Genius of Castiglione’, is on 12 December 2013, and Martin Clayton’s lecture, ‘Castiglione, the most original draughtsman of the Baroque?’, is on 26 February 2014, both at The Queen’s Gallery; see the RCT website for further information.

Looking to the future, the British Museum has announced a programme for 2014 that begins with Vikings: Life and Legend, the exhibition that will inaugurate the new Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery (6 March to 22 June 2014), whose star exhibits will include a 37-metre-long Viking long ship and the Vale of York hoard. This will be followed in September 2014 by Ming: Courts and Contacts 1400—1450 on the fifty years that saw Chinese culture transformed, the establishment of Beijing as the capital and an outpouring of porcelain, gold, jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculptures and textiles. The British Museum’s Late Antique to Early Medieval collections will also be back on display from 27 March 2014 when Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300—1100 opens, following a major refurbishment, and thanks to a generous donation from our Fellow Sir Paul Ruddock and Lady Ruddock. The new gallery will tell the story of the end of the Western Roman Empire, the evolution of the Byzantine Empire, migrations of people across the Continent and the emergence of Christianity and Islam as major religions.
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Forty Years of Oxford Archaeology

Oxford Archaeology (OA) celebrated its fortieth anniversary with a lecture by Fellow Julian Munby on the highlights of the last four decades and a gathering of staff past and present at the King’s Centre, Osney Mead, on 30 October 2013. Our Fellow Tom Hassall, OA’s first director (1973—85), writing for OA’s website, explains that the Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit (as it then was) came into existence in 1973 through the merger of the many smaller independent excavation committees and groups that had been formed in response to development pressures in Oxfordshire, and the realisation that many of these committees had the same members (drawn from central and local government, Oxford University and local archaeological societies), and were competing for the same funds. Tom writes: ‘a consensus rapidly emerged that this duplication was wasteful and that all the committees should pool their resources to provide a county-wide service for archaeological research, using the opportunities presented by development’.

When Tom moved on to become Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, Fellow David Miles oversaw the next phase of OA’s development (1985—99), which saw OUA expanding beyond the county’s boundaries to carry out fieldwork in advance of some major infrastructural developments, such as the expansion of Reading, the A419 road scheme linking the M4 and M5 motorways across the Cotswolds, the Eton Rowing Lake and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now known as HS1).

Even bigger in scale was the excavation of Heathrow Terminal 5, under the leadership of Fellow David Jennings, who took over as Chief Executive in 1999, when David Miles was appointed Chief Archaeologist at English Heritage. The scale of the Heathrow excavation was such that the renamed Oxford Archaeology (OA) formed a partnership (Framework Archaeology) with Wessex in order to undertake the work, and new methodologies for data capture and analysis were pioneered that have subsequently been adapted and refined on such major projects as Stansted Airport, the East Kent Access Road, Crossrail and Thameslink. One office expanded to three when OA embraced the former Lancaster University Archaeological Unit in 2001 and Cambridgeshire County Council’s Field Unit in 2008, to become OA North and OA East respectively. The three offices combined now employ 250 staff, making OA one of the top 100 employers in Oxfordshire in 2012.

As recently as April this year (so recently that he is still shown as Chief Executive on OA’s website) David Jennings moved on to run the York Archaeological Trust and the Yorvik Viking Centre. Taking over as only the fourth Chief Executive in forty years, Fellow Gill Hey says: ‘I am excited and privileged to be leading such talented and hard-working colleagues, who I believe to be the best in British archaeology. Cutting-edge research and new insights into our past are not just the preserve of universities but occur on our own sites and in our offices’. Gill’s agenda for the next stage in OA’s development is: ‘providing high-quality work in a reliable and professional manner ... working hard to create more wide-ranging partnerships with other organisations and academic bodies, engaging in more inspiring and innovative research and forging closer links with our local communities’.

DCMS consultation paper on the future of English Heritage

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has published its consultation paper on the future of English Heritage. The paper sets out the plan (drawn up by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission with Government approval and support) for splitting the organisation in two. ‘English Heritage’ will become a charity whose purposes will be the conservation and public enjoyment of the National Heritage Collection; the Commission’s statutory duties and responsibilities for preserving England’s wider historic environment will be delivered under the new name of ‘Historic England’.

The document sets out the advantages of this strategic split and proposes an eight-year transitional period, during which £80 million of public money will be made available to the National Heritage Collection to fund an ambitious programme of investment that will 'remedy conservation defects, create new exhibitions, renew existing ones and continue to improve the visitor experience through investment in presentation of the properties and visitor facilities’. English Heritage will be expected to raise a similar sum from third parties.

Several of our Fellows are members of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission and they hope that as many other Fellows as possible (plus friends and relations) will respond to the consultation in order to demonstrate to Government that there is strong public interest in the heritage sector. Any comments made in answer to the consultation questions will also be useful to English Heritage as the process of setting up the charity goes forward. The deadline for responses is 7 February 2014.

Autumn Spending Review

The Government’s autumn spending review confirmed the allocation of a one-off capital sum of £80 million for investment in the National Heritage Collection. Giving with one hand but taking with the other, DCMS also announced that ‘resource funding’ for English Heritage would be reduced by 10 per cent next year, but that their capital grant programme would be maintained at current level and that EH would receive an additional £5 million to help with the set-up costs associated with the new structure.

England’s national museums and galleries have been asked to take a five per cent cut in their budgets. The DCMS statement said that ‘this relatively small reduction recognises the huge contribution that they make to our economy and will protect free admission to our national collections.’

News of Fellows

On a happier note, we begin this round-up of news from Fellows by congratulating Fellow Robert Hannah (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of Waikato) on his election to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Congratulations are also due to our Fellow Cyprian Broodbank who is to be Cambridge University’s twelfth John Disney Professor of Archaeology and the third McDonald Institute Director when he takes over from our Fellow Graeme Barker at his retirement in September 2014.

The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne held its Bicentenary Dinner at the Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, on 15 November 2013. The evening ended in the surprise presentation of a Festschrift published in honour of the Newcastle Society’s President, our Fellow Lindsay Allason-Jones — or, to be more accurate, the presentation of the book’s cover since the book itself will not be available until early in 2014 (watch this space). Life in the Limes: studies of the people and objects of the Roman frontiers, edited by Fellow Rob Collins and Frances McIntosh, will have twenty-eight papers on the two subjects with which Lindsay is most closely associated — small finds and Roman frontier research — including what promises to be an interesting ‘Tailpiece’, a discussion of the widespread occurrence of mice in Roman art by Fellow Ralph Jackson.

Festschrift contributors and editors pictured with Lindsay at the presentation; on the left of Lindsay are Fellows Jon Coulston and Nick Hodgson and Frances McIntosh; to her right are Fellows Rob Collins, David Breeze, Rebecca Jones and Alex Croom

Fellow Peter Wakelin is about to hand over the reins as Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales to Hilary Malaws, who has been appointed Acting Secretary for an initial six months. Peter takes up his new appointment as Director of Collections and Research at Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum of Wales on 6 January 2014. Peter says: ‘The Royal Commission is a wonderful organisation and it has been a privilege for me to contribute to its work for nearly nine of its 105 years. Its staff and Commissioners bring enormous skill and commitment to the services the organisation provides for the people of Wales. I have greatly enjoyed working with them and with colleagues and partners across the historic environment and culture sectors for nearly nine years. Inevitably, I have mixed feelings about moving on but I hope that I will maintain many of these relationships in my exciting new role with another of Wales’s great cultural institutions.’ Further information can be found in the RCAHMW’s blog.

Several more books written by Fellows have been cited in various ‘Best of the Year’ lists. After winning the ‘Political Book of the Year’ award earlier this year, Fellow Caroline Shenton’s book, The Day Parliament Burned Down, was one of the New Statesman’s Books of the Year last week. Caroline was herself asked to choose her ‘Books of the Year’ for the December issue of History Today: she selected Lucy Inglis’s Georgian London: into the streets (Viking, 2013), a ‘brisk, astringent and highly amusing tour around various quarters of Hanoverian London’, plus The Riddle of the Labyrinth: the quest to crack an ancient code and the uncovering of an ancient civilisation (Profile, 2013) by Margalit Fox, ‘a fascinating and very readable account of the life and work of the three scholars whose separate efforts over the course of a century eventually led to the cracking of Linear B’, and finally, ‘the most interesting public history book I have read this year is Ann Gray’s and Erin Bell’s History on Television (Routledge, 2012), a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how history is commissioned and the audience segmented by producers; and it convincingly analyses how and why women historian-presenters often get a rough deal on the telly’.

The Sunday Times nominated Fellow Alan Powers’s book on Eric Ravilious as one of its books of the year, saying that it is ‘both a delight to look at and an engrossing read. Ravilious was a hugely versatile artist who was just thirty-nine when he was killed in 1942. This handsome book gives you an idea of his designs, illustrations and engravings, though the biggest attraction is his elegant, restrained watercolours, the epitome of Englishness.’

William Leith, in the London Evening Standard, nominated Time’s Anvil, by Fellow Richard Morris, which he describes as ‘a very thoughtful book — very intelligent’ ... in which ‘a man has a conversation with history ... and makes the point that history is always changing as we find new things, or come to see old things in new ways’.

Books and manuscripts

Fellow Daniel Woolf writes to say that he is the proud new owner of a first edition of Thomas Hearne’s Collection of Curious Discourses (essentially the papers of the Elizabethan ‘college’ of antiquaries of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that James I held in some suspicion). That in itself would be an acquisition to treasure, but this copy is rather special because it was the one owned by our first President, Peter Le Neve, Norroy King of Arms (d 1729). Daniel says: ‘I got this at well below the price it should have commanded because the bookseller (or his cataloguer) clearly misread the inscription “Peter” as John, found out that there was no such person who was Norroy, and marked the book down. It’s not the first time I have scored a find from a seller who did not really realize what he had.’

Further proof that there are discoveries out there to be made if you know your field comes via Fellow Cliff Webb, who spotted a BBC report on the discovery of a rare Jewish Haggadah manuscript, whose text is used in Jewish Passover rituals to tell the story of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt and to pass the story down through the generations. The manuscript, dating from 1726, was found in the home of a recently deceased Jewish couple in Bury, Lancashire, and might have been smuggled out of Belgium by the family when they escaped from persecution during World War II. Rabbi Yehuda Brodie, of the Manchester Beth Din, said that ‘one of the fascinations of Haggadah art is that the illustrations are very often not necessarily depicting what a Jew in Egypt would have looked like, but what a local Jew would have looked like at the time when the manuscript was created’. Originally created in Austria, the manuscript has now been purchased by the Jewish Museum in Vienna.

Food archaeology

Fellow Norman Hammond recently reported two food-related discoveries in The Times. One concerns the intriguing discovery of the remains of kumara or sweet potato as a cultivated plant at Mangaia, in the Cook Islands of central Polynesia, on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), on Hawaii and in New Zealand, all carbon-dated by palaeobotanist Jon Hather at the Institute of Archaeology, London, to around AD 1000. What makes that something of a puzzle is that kumara (Ipomoea batatas) is indigenous to southern America. How then did it get to remote Polynesia 500 years before Spanish colonial contact with the ‘New World? Dr Ian Barber suggests in the Rapa Nui Journal that early Pacific voyagers reached the coast of the American mainland, probably in Peru or Chile, and not only took sweet potato tubers back with them, but also the Lagenaria siceraria gourd, also indigenous to the Americas and widely used throughout Polynesia as a container for liquids.

Though kumara was probably never more than a minor crop, Dr Barber says, it was a good crop to take when exploring unknown islands because it ‘offered the prospect of a harvest within a few months of arrival at all but the coldest of Pacific islands’. In effect it was a ‘survival yam’, offering a quick, low-maintenance return in many habitats, and its acquisition from the Americas around AD 1000 may have underwritten the last great voyages of exploration in southern Polynesia, voyages that led all the way to what Europens think of as their 'New World'.

The second story concerns the discovery of what could be the oldest wine cellar in the world yet discovered: this one held 2,000 litres (the equivalent of 3,000 bottles) of wine in forty large jars packed into a 15ft-by-25ft storage room at Tel Kabri, Israel, a mound of some 75 acres covering the ruins of a northern Canaanite city dating back to approximately 1700 BC. The excavation's co-director, Assaf Yasur-Landau, of the University of Haifa, said the wine cellar was located ‘near a hall where banquets took place, a place where the Kabri elite, and possibly foreign guests, consumed goat meat and wine’. The wine cellar and the banquet hall were destroyed during a violent event, perhaps an earthquake, that covered them with a thick mound of mud bricks and plaster. Analysis of the organic residues in the jars revealed the presence of tartaric and syringic acids, both key components in wine, as well as honey, mint, cinnamon bark, juniper berries and resins.

The 'Big Heritage Debate’

If you missed, or wish to re-live, the ‘Heritage Past, Present and Future’ conference that the Society hosted on 16 and 17 September 2013, you can now watch a seven-minute video entitled ‘The Big Heritage Debate’ on the AHRC website. The AHRC, which co-sponsored the conference, along with the National Trust, English Heritage and our Society, is currently preparing a ‘Heritage Past, Present and Future Conference Agenda for Action’, pulling together the ideas and concerns raised during the two-day conference. This will be published shortly.

Whitley Bay’s Spanish City and Dome to be restored

The Dire Straits song ‘Tunnel of Love’ concerns a brief encounter with a beautiful girl at a fairground that, according to the chorus, looks ‘so pretty to me ... like the Spanish City to me, when we were kids’. The Spanish City to which Mark Knopfler refers is not some hot and exotic Mediterranean resort, but the rather more homely funfair in the North Tyneside seaside town of Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, a short railway ride from Knopfler’s childhood home in Blyth, Northumberland. Built in 1910, when its dome was the largest in the UK after St Paul’s Cathedral, this quintessential Edwardian seaside concert hall, restaurant, roof garden and tearoom (to which a ballroom and funfair were added later) was built of concrete with a mix of Renaissance and Moorish architectural details. Now listed Grade II, the building closed to the public in 2000 but is to be restored and reopened following the announcement of a £3.7 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to North Tyneside Council.

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn, said: ‘The Spanish City is an incredibly special place, held dearly in people’s affections ... they see it as part of our heritage, our identity and, like me, they want to end years of neglect and stagnation and breathe life back into this wonderful historic building’. Plans for the Spanish City include its partial conversion into apartments and a boutique hotel. The grant was awarded through HLF’s new Heritage Enterprise programme, launched in April 2013 to address ‘market failure’, where buildings have previously failed to attract investment or realise their commercial potential because the cost of repair has meant that they were not commercially viable. The Lottery investment is intended to bridge that financial gap, enabling vital repairs and conservation works to be undertaken.

Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Salon 309 made the point that Fellows make a huge and under-appreciated contribution to the UK economy through the work that they do that underpins the thriving heritage tourism sector. Another example came to mind last week with the announcement that Hull (Kingston upon Hull to give the city its full name) had been selected as UK City of Culture 2017. The choice of Hull was greeted by a chorus of sneering from London-based journalists who ought to know better along the lines of ‘where is Hull?’ and ‘what culture’.

To all such sceptics, may we recommend that they visit the city and allow themselves to be guided round its architectural riches by our Fellow David Neave and his wife Susan, who have been actively promoting the city for many years, not least through their Architectural Guide to Hull, published by Yale in the Pevsner City Guides series in 2010, and through their shorter illustrated guide The Building of a Port City: a history and celebration of Hull, published by English Heritage and Hull City Council in 2012.

These two works record the city’s long history as one of Britain’s leading ports and its wealth of historic buildings, particularly the Old Town with its medieval churches, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century merchants’ houses and Victorian and Edwardian commercial and public buildings. The city has, for its size, the best museums and art gallery in the country (again thanks in large part to Fellows working as curators and as field archaeologists in the East Riding of Yorkshire and the Humber estuary).

When Trevor Mitchell, Planning and Conservation Director for Hull, recently led a walking tour of the Old Town and Waterfront for English Heritage members, it sold out almost instantly ... proof that some people do not need persuading that Hull is a good choice as UK City of Culture 2017.


Following up on Salon’s account of the achievements of our late Fellow Mavis Batey, our Fellow Malcolm Airs writes to say: ‘she was a remarkable woman possessed of great charm and a highly effective advocate. In the late 1970s, when I was conservation officer for South Oxfordshire, she persuaded me to designate the whole designed landscape of Nuneham as a conservation area at a time when the concept of a conservation area was largely confined to built settlements. Subsequently when Oxford University decided to sell off the cottages in the eighteenth-century planned village she persuaded them to enter into a strict legal agreement with the Council which ensured that the uniformity of all the buildings was retained and, after forty or so years and a flood of new owners, it has endured — even down to the colour of the paintwork. I think of her every time that I drive through the village.

‘I was last in correspondence with her in 2009 after I heard her in conversation with Libby Purves on BBC Radio 4’s “Midweek” programme. She wrote me a lovely letter which included the following which I think is worth putting on record: “When Secretary of the Chest, Keith [her husband] succeeded in getting Congregation to vote the money for the restoration of the mansion, which had become a millstone round their neck. He had always hoped that it would have been a suitable place for External Studies in the same way that Madingley Hall is for Cambridge, but Rewley House, being in the centre of Oxford, obviously made that more attractive.”’

Fellow Paul Gilman writes to say that Sussex was not the only county with which the artist Eric Ravilious was connected: ‘Fellows might be interested to know that Ravilious lived in Essex in the 1930s and that the Fry Gallery at Saffron Walden has a collection of works by him and by contemporary artists, notably Edward Bawden. The emphasis is on artists such as Bawden and Ravilious who settled in the Great Bardfield area in the early 1930s. The Fry Gallery’s website has a searchable online catalogue, and the gallery itself is well worth a visit, as well as being adjacent to the Grade II* registered Victorian Bridge End Gardens. Admission is free but it is currently closed for the winter.’

Fellow Hugh Cheape says that he was ‘intrigued by Salon 309’s report on The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue and its author, Francis Grose. I thought, how interesting ... another Francis Grose, and then with the info from the new DNB and that he was an antiquary, I realised that he was one and the same as Burns’ patron (one of several) and the subject of one of his poems, and the “Chiel’s amang ye taking Notes” — a Dumfries-shire laird known here as “Captain Grose”. His papers are with our sister Society of Antiquaries (of Scotland). His interest in “words and things” is something that we may understand better with more research since it is a marker of how Scotland came to see itself in the “Enlightenment”.

‘While the term “pastoral” was such a popular cultural benchmark, it seems to have acquired a special sense in eighteenth century Scotland where the Idylls of Theocritus were widely read (and lovingly published). The portrayal or evocation of “pastoral” Scotland was then as much an historical as an idealised construct, and therefore had a special meaning for Scots whose landscape, society and languages were seen as exhibiting qualities analogous to those of Homeric Greece. Native language, song and music were part of the evidence drawn into the contemporary Enlightenment enquiry into human nature and the moral sciences, part and parcel in fact of the world explored by Hume and Rousseau. Whether as a result of Union in 1707 or otherwise, this native tradition, real and imagined, had been “rediscovered” by Allan Ramsay (1684—1758), impresario and maker of “pastorals”, and then published in The Ever Green (1724) and The Tea-Table Miscellany (1724—32).

‘By the time Captain Grose began his antiquarian researches and travels — and intrigued by his acquaintance with Robert Burns whose language of composition could be richly “vulgar” in every sense — language was deeply embedded as part of his intellectual sense, or even his ideology. Another curious prompt behind this book — although I have not studied this — might have been the short-lived popularity of Thomas Sheridan’s lectures in Edinburgh in 1761 warning the citizenry against the use of “Scotticisms”.

‘If we have been denied information on Captain Grose in the new edition of The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, it leaves the field open for a well-informed research student with appropriate language skills in Scots and Gaelic to produce a biography of the Captain and to place it securely in the context of “enlightenment” and “antiquarianism”. This would be something exciting to look forward to!’

Lives Remembered

The Society has been informed belatedly that Elfyn Scourfield, elected a Fellow on 3 May 1990, died on 16 February 2012. Elfyn was the author of a number of books on Welsh rural life and in particular of agricultural machinery and implement makers in Wales.

Call for papers: The Great War at Home (deadline 15 December 2013)

The 83rd Anglo-American Conference of Historians, co-organised with the British Association of Local History and the Victoria County History, is to be held on 3 and 4 July 2014 at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. It will address the ways in which the global conflict of the First World War had a local impact on private, family and social life, on communities and local institutions, and on the built environment. In effect, the conference aims to be an international festival of local history seen through the lens of war looking at ‘home fronts’ across the world, including those of Britain’s empire, allies and other combatant nations. The conference is also keen to showcase current research projects relating to the First World War, the teaching of the history of the Great War, and the 1914—18 period in the media, visual arts and museum world then and now.

If you are interested in participating in this conference please send a proposal by 15 December 2013. Proposals for a conference panel, which should comprise three speakers offering 20-minute papers and a chair, are particularly welcome. For further information, see the conference website.

Call for papers: Emblems and Enigma: The Heraldic Imagination (deadline 10 January 2014)

Professor Fiona Robertson (St Mary’s University College) and Dr Peter Lindfield (University of St Andrews), the organisers of this interdisciplinary symposium (to be held at the Society of Antiquaries on 26 April 2014), invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of the employment and perception of the heraldic in literature, history, art, architecture, design, fashion, and contemporary and historical practice. Topics may include, but are not restricted to:
  • the languages and grammar of heraldry
  • armoiries parlantes, allusions and puns
  • imaginary and fantastical heraldry
  • decoration and display
  • blazonry and identity: nations, groups, individuals
  • mock- and sham-heraldics; parody and subversion
  • practices of memory and memorialisation
  • history, development and modern practice
  • blazon and the body
  • heraldic revivalism; medievalism; romance
  • enigma, error, and absence: the bar sinister and the blank shield
  • individual designers, writers and collectors
  • gendered identity
  • hierarchies of signs
  • international and interdisciplinary perspectives

Proposals of 200 words should be sent by email by 10 January 2014.

The programme will include a keynote address by Professor Vaughan Hart (University of Bath) and a special session on the heraldry of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill and William Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey. There will also be papers on eighteenth-century antiquarian exploration of the heraldic, and on heraldry in nineteenth-century British and American literature. Further information will be available on the symposium website.

Call for papers: SAHGB Graduate Student Research Forum (deadline 31 January 2014)

The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain has announced that its second annual Graduate Student Research Forum will be held in Cambridge on 2 May 2014. This is a student-led event that offers postgraduate students in architectural history an opportunity to present their research while engaging with others studying and working in the field. The day is structured to include a number of student presentations covering a wide range of topics, with ‘lightning round’ talks, where each student is given ten minutes to present their research, interspersed with longer discussion sessions and keynote panels led by scholars and professionals from the architectural history field.

Proposals are welcomed from students studying for a PhD or Master’s degree in any aspect of architectural history: please submit enquiries or proposals (maximum 300 words) by email no later than 31 January 2014. For further information, see the SAHGB website.


18 December 2013: ‘Taking up the glove: finds, uses and meanings of gloves, mittens and gauntlets in Western Europe, c AD 1400—1700’, by Annemarieke Willemsen, Curator, Medieval Department at the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden. This third annual Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture hosted by the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (SPMA) will take place at the Museum of London, beginning at 7pm, preceded by a wine reception from 5.30pm. Seats will be limited, so Fellows should email the SPMA Secretary, Chris King, by 11 December 2013 to reserve a place. Further information about the lecture, including an abstract, is on the SPMA website.

17 January 2014: ‘Making an Impression: seals as a resource for historical research’, Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, 2pm to 5pm. This afternoon event at the Museum of London will comprise the following: ‘Seals as a resource for historical research’, by our Fellow Elizabeth New (Senior Researcher, Exploring Medieval Seals project, Aberystwyth University); ‘Recording and interpreting seals: a hands-on workshop’; ‘Medieval seals in the Museum of London’, by our Fellow John Clark (formerly Senior Curator (Medieval), Museum of London); and an opportunity to view a display of seals from the MoL collection plus a hands-on session with replica seals. The event is sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Museum of London and is free, but prior booking is essential. For enquiries and bookings please contact John Clark.


Counting People: a DIY manual for local and family historians

Fellow John Moore has written an excellent introduction to local and family history in which he sets out to answer all the questions that hundreds of undergraduates and postgraduates have put to him in forty years of teaching. His discussion of research questions, sources and methods is illustrated by examples from his own research in the very different counties of Sussex, Staffordshire and Gloucestershire, and there is an extensive bibliography that does not simply list useful books, archives and primary sources, it explains the different types of record, provides links to those that can be accessed via the internet, and does not neglect aerial photography, maps, photographs, prints and drawings, archaeology and oral history records as important types of evidence.

Counting People: a DIY manual for local and family historians, by John S Moore; ISBN 9781842174807; Oxbow, 2013

Urban Bodies: communal health in late medieval English towns and cities

The title of this book by Fellow Carole Rawcliffe is deliberately ambiguous, being both a study of medieval bodies, in sickness and in health, and of the various bodies corporate that were active in the Middle Ages in promoting healthy living conditions and looking after the sick. Carole gave a paper to the Society on this theme recently, entitled ‘less mudslinging and more facts’, which sums up her approach and her broad conclusions: that medieval hygiene was nowhere near as dire as we have been taught to think: on the contrary, clean streets, salubrious market places and well-maintained hospitals were a matter of civic pride, and they gave you a considerable competitive advantage: who would want to live and work in an unhealthy town, buy food and beer from a disease-ridden and filthy town, or buy clothing infested with fleas — not for nothing was Florence both a commercial success and a pioneer of hospitals and hygiene.

We should not let Renaissance cities such as Florence take all the credit for progressive planning, however, and make English towns look backward, as our Victorian forebears were wont to do, choosing Italianate architectural styles for their waterworks and associated public buildings, and looking to ancient Rome as the model of civic cleanliness: medieval London was, according to Carole, at least 100 years ahead of the Tuscan city states in removing slaughterhouses away from residential areas, and in understanding that it was no good simply providing citizens with a supply of fresh water if you did not at the same time provide a comparable system for sewage disposal.

All told, this is a highly readable book, packed with surprising facts — some of them quite disgusting enough to appeal to fans of ‘Blackadder’ and ‘Horrible Histories’ and not to be read after a meal — balancing our idea that medieval life was a constant dance with death by showing the myriad ways in which citizens organised themselves to stamp out bad practices, drive out the bad, dishonest and corrupt, protect citizens from the unscrupulous and provide charitable help for the sick, poor and needy.

Urban Bodies: communal health in late medieval English towns and cities, by Carole Rawcliffe; ISBN 9781843838364; Boydell, 2013

Transforming townscapes: the archaeology of Wallingford AD 800—1400

With such thoughts in mind, one turns to this book by Fellows Neil Christie, Oliver Creighton, Matt Edgeworth and Helena Hamerow in search of an account of the town’s medieval hospitals, and one is not disappointed. Hospitals and public hygiene are given their rightful place in this account of Wallingford, in a section that includes a discussion of the funding of such institutions. Often founded with royal or aristocratic patronage, they were later dependent on grants, gifts and bequests from local gentry and others in return for prayers for their souls. Decline and dilapidation was the result of greatly reduced benefactions in the fourteenth century, a period that sees increasing emphasis on fund-raising through alms begging and tolls: a traveller approaching later medieval Wallingford would have encountered the equivalent of today’s charity muggers, as well-organised bands of hospital inmates sought alms from the pious as they enetered the town.

This example demonstrates how comprehensive an account of Wallingford this book is: though the title emphasises the town's archaeology, bringing together the results of geo-physical survey, test pitting and larger-scale excavation, the book also pays full heed to the documentary sources, not least because Wallingford is best known as one of the thirty-three fortified sites mentioned in the early tenth-century 'Burghal Hideage', thus inevitably inviting the question whether the archaeological record can throw any light on the historically attested status of Wallingford as a burh, instigated by Alfred (or his son and successor, Edward the Elder). Thus Wallingford counts as something of a ‘classic’ site for British medieval archaeology, potentially a textbook example of how a newly founded defended settlement evolved into today’s market town, and this book does full justice to that potential, showing just in what ways Wallingford does and does not help inform us about wider questions to do with the dynamics of urban growth and decline.

Transforming townscapes; from burh to borough: the archaeology of Wallingford AD 800—1400, by Neil Christie and Oliver Creighton with Matt Edgeworth and Helena Hamerow; ISBN 9781909662094; Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 35, 2013

Landscapes of Defence in Early Medieval Europe

Quite a number of the same themes and the same authors turn up again in this collection of papers, edited by John Baker and Fellows Stuart Brookes and Andrew Reynolds, on the evidence for fortified sites in Europe dating from the period of warfare, raiding and clan and gang rivalry that characterises the early medieval period. How did people react to Viking raids, for example, and in what sorts of ways did they seek to defend themselves from future attack, having once fallen prey to such thuggery? Battles and battlefields are core to the narratives that we have inherited from that period, such as, in England, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and yet physical evidence is difficult to find. The search for ‘archaeological correlates’ for early medieval warfare is tackled through thirteen essays that look at different kinds of evidence — linguistic, documentary, archaeological and topographical — mainly in England, Scandinavia, Germany and the Low Countries, but also in north-western and central Spain.

Most of the contributors are keen to take their studies beyond physical evidence and to try to draw conclusions about the ways in which the archaeological data can be used to understand the intricacies of social and political power during this period: since warfare and defence involve the organisation of people and resources, the search is on to try and understand who had the power and authority to take decisions that others would respect and act upon in the face of threat, and how that power was acquired and exercised, with what implications for the development of social hierarchies. Almost all of the contributors regret the limitations of the evidence for this purpose and its patchy nature, but are sure that answers will be found with further research.

Landscapes of Defence in Early Medieval Europe, edited by John Baker, Stuart Brookes and Andrew Reynolds; ISBN 9782503529561; Brepols, 2013

Radnorshire from Above

There are some very fine landscapes of defence in this book of aerial photographs selected (and in some cases taken by) by our Fellow Chris Musson from the collections of the Welsh Royal Commission and the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust. For a small county that technically does not exist (it is now part of central Powys), Radnorshire has more than its fair share of distinctive historic landscapes, thanks to its largely rural and upland character, with small-scale livestock grazing being the predominant land use and arable cultivation being limited to small pockets of lower lying land around Presteigne or the banks of the Wye. As a consequence, anyone who takes to an aeroplane in winter, with low raking sunlight, will see a wealth of hilltop forts and ditched and banked enclosures, boundaries such as Offa’s Dyke, military roads and medieval castles, not to mention shrunken medieval villages, pillow mounds and field systems, and the evidence of past mining and quarrying activity.

By contrast with these upstanding, shadow-casting monuments, the book has plenty of pictures of crop marks and plough marks, revealing Roman villa and temple complexes, dried-up rivers meandering across the landscape with long ploughed-out barrows lining the banks and the occasional Neolithic causewayed camp, palisaded enclosure or cursus. This is the kind of book that delights the eye and whets the appetite to learn more about these monuments and the impact of human activity on the landscape over the last 6,000 or so years.

Radnorshire from Above: images of landscape and archaeology, by Chris Musson; ISBN 9780992721503; The Radnorshire Society and The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, 2013

Masterpieces: Early Medieval Art

The same could be said for Fellow Sonja Marzinzik’s new book, in which some 160 gorgeous objects are reproduced in intimate and crystal clear photography with short explanatory essays. The book has been published ahead of the re-opening of the 'Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300–1100' gallery in March 2014, and it brings home what a rich collection of objects the British Museum has to represent the art of thst period, and how much has survived from the late Roman period through to the start of the twelfth century.

Some is familiar and will always have a leading place in any account of this period’s art, but some probably represents the author’s personal favourites: new to this reviewer are the strikingly modern-looking lidded silver bowl from the Carthage Treasure bequeathed by A W Franks, and a seventh-century Frankish palm cup, from Reims, with its expressive swirl of red glass caught like a whirlpool in a matrix of blue-green glass; a sixth-century Coptic curtain, reused as a funeral shroud decorated with sea nymphs, leopards, flowers, birds and fruit in vivid scarlets, blues, greens, orange and purple; and a gilded silver figurine from Carlton Colville, Suffolk, dating from the early seventh century, showing a bearded and helmeted male, standing in a formal pose of oration or obeisance before some unseen god. He is a rare example in Anglo-Saxon art of the depiction of human form, and he is every bit as mysterious and thought-provoking as Spong Man (which doesn’t feature in the book, being in Norwich Castle Museum) or the berserkers from the so-called Lewis Chess set (which do).

Masterpieces: Early Medieval Art, by Sonja Marzinzik; ISBN 9780714123202; British Museum, 2013

Magnificent Marble Statues

Written by Fellow Julius Bryant, this is a guide to the seventeen marble statues that adorn Mansion House in the City of London, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London for his or her year of office. Clare Gifford, wife of Roger Gifford, Lord Mayor in 2012—13, has contributed an introductory essay on what it is like to be a temporary resident in this Georgian town palace, which was built using fines imposed on those who wished to avoid serving as Sheriff (Mark Twain has it that the City aldermen cynically elected Dissenters to the post of Sheriff, knowing that they were ineligible, and then fined them for refusing to serve).

In the remainder of the book, Julius Bryant rescues from obscurity and error the statues that adorn the Egyptian Hall, the main entertainment space, pointing out that Pevsner thought them magnificent but that other historians of the Mansion House have ignored them or have described them incorrectly, most of them stating wrongly that the statues were procured from the Great Exhibition.

They were, in fact, part of the original 1753 scheme for the Egyptian Hall, the main entertainment space at the coure of Mansion House, but they were not commissioned until a century leater, in 1853, nor were they finally installed until 1864. The story of how the commissioning committee went about its work, the themes and subjects considered and rejected, the art-historical battles of the day (pro and anti the ‘pseudo-classical’), and the eventual choice of heroic subjects from English history and poetry is told amusingly and well. The book also sets all this marble statuary in context, drawing attention, for example, to the very fine plasterwork that decorates many of the Mansion House’s public rooms.

Magnificent Marble Statues: British sculpture in the Mansion House, by Julius Bryant; ISBN 9781907372551; Paul Holberton, 2013

Dirty Diggers

Just in time for Christmas comes another humorous look at the life archaeological written by Fellow Paul Bahn with cartoons by the noted illustrator, Bill Tidy. Dirty Diggers is aimed at anyone tired of the ‘airbrushed’ accounts of archaeology that fill the TV schedules. Paul promises dozens of fun tales and anecdotes from the trenches to illuminate what really happens when archaeologists go into the field. He reveals ‘startling episodes with dangerous situations, dangerous archaeologists (sometimes unclothed), dangerous animals large and small, and cans of beer large and small’ — in other words, all the stories that don’t appear in the official reports.

Dirty Diggers: tales from the archaeological trenches, by Paul Bahn; ISBN 9781611329780; Left Coast Press, 2013

At the Sign of Atlas: the life and work of Joseph Moxon, a Restoration polymath

Following on from the lecture that he gave to our Society on 8 November 2012, Fellow Derek Long has now published a biography of his hero, Joseph Moxon (1627—91). After a period in Holland with his father and brother, Moxon established himself in London as a printer, publisher, type-founder and maker of scientific instruments and globes, including pocket globes and the Castlemaine (or English) globe. He became Hydrographer to King Charles II in 1662 and was well known in Restoration London, acquainted with Pepys, Hooke, Halley and Evelyn. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1678, the first and only tradesman to be so honoured.

Moxon published some eighty books, many of great importance. Some, like Spaher’s Anatomy, are splendid examples of seventeenth-century publishing skill. In his later years he himself wrote and published The Mechanick Exercises, of which volume I deals with smithing, carpentry, joinery and woodturning, and volume II with all aspects of printing. By giving accurate accounts of these crafts, the traditional secrets of the Craft Guilds were exposed.

At the Sign of Atlas: the life and work of Joseph Moxon, a Restoration polymath, by Derek A Long; for an order form, contact Shaun Tyas at Paul Watkins Publishing by email, or tel: 01775 821542.

The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland

Another strong contender in the Christmas book market is this richly illustrated book from Fellow Annette Carruthers on the history of the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland, the most detailed and authoritative book on its subject to date. Although Arts and Crafts ideas were current in Scotland from the 1860s, Annette argues that they did not emerge to influence mainstream design until after 1890, but for the next two decades — up to the start of the First World War — the public appetite for Arts and Crafts was voracious.

Across Scotland, the movement transformed the look of domestic and church buildings, as well as the stained glass, metalwork, textiles and other furnishings that adorned them. Scotland’s art schools were energetic in promoting the new design ideas, as was the Scottish Home Industries Association, with its campaign to revive rural crafts. Among the movement’s leading practitioners were such figures as Ann Macbeth, W R Lethaby, Robert Lorimer, M H Baillie Scott, Douglas Strachan, Phoebe Traquair and James Cromar Watt. Together, these architects, artists and designers inspired each other and contributed to a major expansion of the movement both within and beyond Scotland’s borders.

The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland: a history, by Annette Carruthers; ISBN 0780300195767; Yale Books, 2013

Salt in Prehistoric Europe

Fellow Anthony Harding has chosen to publish his latest book, on the archaeology of salt, in a format that we will no doubt see becoming increasingly dominant for research monographs in the coming months, as an e-book that is free to read online, or as a downloadable PDF (for €4.50) or as a hard copy print-on-demand edition (€29.95). This book packs a lot into its 140 pages, summarising all that is currently known about salt production and use in Europe since the Mesolithic, well-illustrated with pictures of salt mines and salt pans, ethnographic parallels for salt extraction in various mainly Eastern European counties, and the various kinds of wooden and ceramic equipment and installations used in storing, filtering and evaporating brine.

The final section of the book considers the role of salt in society and asks who controlled its production and distribution, and who shared in the considerable wealth thereby created — as the Early Iron Age cemetery at Hallstatt and the rich graves at the cemetery of Helpfau-Uttendorf in Upper Austria testify. Such questions are hard to answer: Anthony calls for more research into the procurement, extraction and transport of salt, and the study of containers to see whether salt residues can be detected and whether different salt sources have unique chemical signatures that could unlock a potentially informative data source. He warns that many coastal sites are at risk from rising sea levels and that we do not have long to study this fragile heritage.

Salt in Prehistoric Europe, by Anthony Harding; ISBN 9789088902017; Sidestone Press, 2013

Staircases: History, Repair and Conservation

Routledge has a track record of publishing definitive and encyclopaedic books on the history and conservation of architectural details: its exhaustive account of Windows, published in 2007, has now been followed up by this volume on Staircases, edited by James W P Campbell and Michael Tutton, in which the combined wisdom and experience of eleven experts has been brought between two covers. Among the contributors are Fellows Linda Hall, who contributes a chapter on the use of details to date staircases, and Treve Rosoman, whose chapter is concerned with the special case of London staircases. Other notable contributions are the chapters by Michael Heaton and Caroline Hardie on the ‘Archaeology of the Stair: Surveying, Recording and Scientific Methods of Dating’ and by Donal Channer (husband of Fellow Jill Channer, and the designer / maker of some very beautiful modern staircases) on the ‘Conservation, Repair and Replication of Timber Stairs’.

The front cover shows what could easily be taken for the grand staircase of a Venetian palazzo, but which turns out to be the formal entrance to a building much closer to home: it is the Lion Staircase in Glasgow City Chambers, and it is an inviting cover to a book that deserves to be on the shelves of every buildings archaeologist, architectural historian, conservation officer, curator, stair maker and conservation architect in the land.

Staircases: History, Repair and Conservation, edited by James W P Campbell and Michael Tutton; ISBN 9781873394977; Routledge, 2013

The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict

Something completely different, also from Routledge, is this overview of the nature and development of human conflict, from prehistory to recent times, based on skeletal remains, edited by Fellow Christopher Knüsel (University of Exeter) and Martin J Smith (Bournemouth University). But as Christopher emphasises, this is not simply a catalogue of injuries illustrating weapon development or a narrative detailing ‘progress’ in warfare; rather, it provides a framework in which to explore the social contexts in which such injuries were inflicted. In particular, the contributors all draw their conclusions from the actual evidence of physical aggression from skeletal injuries as a corrective to approaches that start with weapons or defensive works (both of which may be statements of prestige or status, rather than of actual violence) and the notoriously unreliable evidence of biased and incomplete written sources.

The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict, edited by Christopher Knüsel and Martin Smith; ISBN 9780415842198; Routledge, 2013

Global Ancestors: understanding the shared humanity of our ancestors

Fellows Rebecca Redfern and Jelena Bekvalac have joined forces with colleagues from the Natural History Museum to publish a collection of papers reflecting on modern museological responses to the often complex and emotive relationship that people have with the ancestors and objects which they created.

Set out in three broad themes, the first collection of papers explores the representation of modern indigenous peoples in museums, and uses case studies from Panama and China to show how more can be gained by working with indigenous communities to further our understanding of the ancestors.

The second section uses case studies involving material from the British Museum and Glasgow Museum to examine changes in British and American museological thinking regarding the repatriation of human remains and objects to indigenous peoples, focusing in particular on the impact of legislation on western institutions and the expectations of indigenous communities and alternative religious groups.

The final section explores the ways in which archaeologists and indigenous communities interact, via case studies from South Africa, Finland and Canada, and how both groups can work together for their mutual benefit or to change the majority viewpoint.

Global Ancestors: understanding the shared humanity of our ancestors, edited by Rebecca Redfern, Jelena Bekvalac, Heather Bonney and Margaret Clegg; ISBN 9781842175330; Oxbow, 2013


English Heritage: Head of Interpretation and Resources
Salary scale: £47,615 to £52,978; closing date: 15 December 2013

You will lead the work of bringing the history of English Heritage properties and collections to life for a wide range of audiences through a variety of media, including on-site interpretation, publications and digital resources. You will be responsible for ensuring that all such schemes and resources are imaginative, engaging, accessible and always based on the highest possible academic standards. For further information, see the English Heritage website.

University of St Andrews, School of History: Professor in Medieval History
Salary: negotiable; closing date: 19 December 2013

Specialising in any historical field, geographical region or chronological period within the Middle Ages. See the university’s website for further information.

Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales: Treasurer and two trustees
Closing date: 20 December 2013

Visit the Welsh Government’s website for further details.

Pembroke College, Cambridge: The Mastership
Closing date: 17 January 2014
Pembroke College is seeking to elect a new master to succeed Sir Richard Dearlove, who will retire in July 2015. See the college website for further details.

Brasenose College, Oxford: Principal
Closing date: 31 January 2014

Our Fellow Alan Bowman retires as Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford, on 1 October 2015, and the governing body is now seeking a successor. Full details can be found on the college website.

Propose a lecture

Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 5pm) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 1pm).

We welcome papers based on new research on themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past.

You can view our current lecture programme in the News and Events section of our website.


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

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