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Salon: Issue 332
15 December 2014

Next issue: 5 January 2015

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 greetings

From all at Burlington House to all Fellows and Salon readers, we wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

To end the year on a festive note, the Society held its Christmas Miscellany meeting and mulled wine reception on 11 December 2014, beginning with four talks from Society interns on their research into aspects on the Society’s collections at Burlington House and Kelmscott Manor. Kat Donahue, of Aberystwyth University, and Caoimhe O’Gorman, of Sussex University, talked about their work cataloguing and conserving the Society’s seal collection; Sophie Ridley, of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, spoke about her efforts to trace the current whereabouts of various objects that were either bequeathed from Kelmscott Manor at the deaths of May Morris and Miss Lobb or subsequently sold at auction; and Thomas Wilson, of Exeter College, Oxford (William Morris’s alma mater), spoke about his work in tracking down paintings and historic photographs of the manor and garden and on his work to catalogue various Morris family letters, bills and invoices, notebooks and political pamphlets in the Kelmscott Manor collection.

The presentations, as with all the papers given at ordinary meetings over the last three months, can be seen on the Society’s YouTube channel, as can an extract from the carol singing that followed the formal meeting.

Christmas closing at Burlington House

The Society’s apartments and library will close for the Christmas and New Year holiday at 4pm on 23 December 2014 and re-open on 5 January 2015.

Forthcoming meetings

The January edition of Fellowship News and the spring meeting cards will be posted to Fellows in the first week of January; meeting details should be on the website by Christmas. Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 4.15pm and meetings start at 5pm. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow.

29 January 2015: ‘The Thames Tunnel: Brunel’s first project’, by Robert Hulse, Director of The Brunel Museum

Brunel’s first project, the Thames Tunnel, built between 1825 and 1843 to connect Rotherhithe and Wapping, was the first tunnel constructed beneath a navigable river. It was originally designed for horse-drawn carriages, but it paved the way for underground transport systems all over the world, and now forms part of the London overground railway network.

5 February 2015: ‘Britain’s medieval episcopal thrones’, by Charles Tracy, FSA, and Andrew Budge

This lecture will principally focus on the early fourteenth-century timber throne at Exeter Cathedral and the two stone thrones at Wells and Durham. The Exeter throne is the largest and most impressive in Europe. It is a distinguished and early example of the English Decorated style and it exemplifies most of the historical and formal strands that characterise medieval episcopal thrones generally in terms of visual appearance, distinctiveness within the building, prestige, construction, stylistic context, finance and the patronage and personal role of the bishop himself; as well as the subtler issues of the individual and collective politics of bishop and chapter, the throne’s liturgical role, its relationship with the cathedral’s relics (where applicable), its symbolism and what it tells us about the aspirations of the institution within the existing ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Forthcoming public meetings

Public meetings are from 1pm to 2pm on Tuesdays. These meetings are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place.

13 January 2015: ‘Maya art and Maya kingship’, by Norman Hammond, FSA

Norman’s lecture will focus on Mayan archaeology and art history based on his work in the Maya lowlands, with interdisciplinary projects at Lubaantun (1970―1), Nohmul (1973―86), Cuello (1975―93) and, most recently, La Milpa (1992―2002), a large Classic period (AD 250―900) city in north-western Belize.

10 February 2015: ‘Monuments of the Incas’, by John Hemming, FSA

John Hemming will speak about some of the work illustrated in his latest book relating to new research into Incan architecture, particularly focusing on Inca masonry techniques, new thinking about the functions of Incan sites, and developments in the discovery, excavation and conservation of Incan ruins. John Hemming has been awarded Peru’s two highest honours: Gran Oficial de El Sol del Peru (South America’s oldest order of chivalry) and the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.

Ballot results: 4 December 2014

The Society welcomes the following new Fellows, who were elected at the ballot held on 4 December 2014:
  • Matthew Rice, Company Director, author of Building Norfolk and Lost City of Stoke-on-Trent; has rehabilitated industrial buildings in Stoke for continued use for pottery manufacture;
  • William Wootton, Lecturer in Roman Art, King’s College London, specialist in the production of art in antiquity, especially mosaics and sculptures, and the relations between patron and client;
  • Frank Vermeulen, Professor of Roman Archaeology, Ghent University, who has made substantial contributions to archaeological methodology for landscape research, especially in Italy, Corsica and Portugal;
  • Kenneth Lymer, Drawing Officer, Wessex Archaeology, specialist in the rock art and prehistoric art of central Asia;
  • Keith Moore, Head of Library and Information Services, Royal Society, author of works on the collections of the Royal Society and the Wellcome Library;
  • Lowell Libson, art historian and dealer in British art, especially eighteenth-century portraits; member of Reviewing Committee for Export of Works of Art;
  • Hallie Buckley, Deputy Head, Dept of Anatomy, University of Otago, leading biological anthropologist working in the Pacific;
  • William Andrew Saturno, Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Boston University, who has excavated and published important Maya sites in Honduras and Guatemala;
  • Carole Souter, Chief Executive, Heritage Lottery Fund with wide experience and knowledge of the history, archaeology and natural history of Britain.

2014 Kelmscott Manor Artist in Residence

Architectural stained-glass artist Sasha Ward was appointed as the first Artist in Residence at Kelmscott Manor earlier this year. During the 2014 open season, Sasha set up an artist’s studio in the Manor’s brewhouse. She explored the Manor, ran workshops, and created works of art inspired by the Manor and its collection. To commemorate her time at Kelmscott Manor, the Society has made a six-minute video in which Sasha talks about what she has learned from the residency, her fresh perspectives on the Manor and her growing understanding of Morris’s own artistic practice. The video can be seen on the Society’s website.

Formal launch of the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists

The seal from the Charter.
Photograph: © Adam Stanford, Aerial-Cam Ltd

Tuesday 9 December 2014 saw the formal launch of the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists, described as ‘a momentous occasion for both the professional body and the profession of archaeology’. CIfA is the leading professional body representing archaeology in the UK and its successful application for Chartered status, winning an order of grant from the Privy Council in February 2014 and the Charter itself in June, provides recognition from the state that the profession of archaeology is working in the interests of the public and that the Institute is the proper body to regulate the conduct of the profession.

The combined launch and AGM, attended by more than 200 members and guests, introduced CIfA’s new Board of Directors and Advisory Council, both of which will begin their new cycle of meetings in 2015. The Board of Directors, up to twelve strong, has legal responsibility for CIfA; and the Advisory Council comprises up to twenty elected accredited members and up to twenty representatives from CIfA’s Area and Special Interest Groups.

Fellow Peter Hinton reminded delegates that CIfA’s work over the next few years will continue to be underpinned by the Strategic Plan published in 2010, setting out six strategic objectives:
  • to increase understanding of the role of archaeologists in society and improve our status;
  • to inspire excellence in professional practice;
  • to strengthen the relationships between archaeologists across the historic environment and other sectors;
  • to make CIfA membership and registration essential demonstrations of fitness to practise;
  • to develop a stronger influence on historic environment policy;
  • to give archaeologists a credible, effective and efficient professional institute.

Fellow Jan Wills (centre right), current Hon Chair of CIfA with former Chairs of the Institute. Photograph: © Adam Stanford, Aerial-Cam Ltd

Museum of London considering a move to Smithfield General Market

The Museum of London has revealed that it is considering moving from its current Powell & Moya-designed building to Smithfield General Market, which was saved from demolition to make way for an office and retail scheme in July when Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, ruled that the scheme would have ‘an extremely harmful effect on the significance of the General Market as an important non-designated heritage asset’.

Reports in the media last week said that the museum had identified the former market as one of three options for its future. A spokesperson for the Museum of London said: ‘in order to create a museum that meets the needs of Londoners and visitors to the city, the Museum of London is considering a range of very speculative options for our long-term future and a detailed appraisal of each is under way’.

Our Fellow Marcus Binney, Chairman of SAVE, which campaigned long and hard to protect the market buildings from demolition, said that the idea of converting the market to museum premises was ‘a very interesting suggestion’, while Christopher Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society, said: ‘sensitive designs for the relocated museum could both secure the future of the historic London building and increase the Museum of London’s visitor numbers. The Society looks forward to seeing any plans in due course’.

St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, and Preston Bus Station

The future looks brighter for two celebrated Brutalist buildings in search of new uses. After twenty-five years of decay, St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, Scotland (left), is likely to be converted into an arts venue with a 600-seat performance space (below), exhibition galleries and teaching studios. Designed by Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan, the concrete seminary sits shrouded in woodland near the Firth of Clyde, in west Scotland, and was completed in 1966 , but was only used for its original purpose for fourteen years, followed by a brief spell as a drug rehabilitation centre.

Glasgow studios ERZ Landscape Architects and NORD Architecture have been selected as the design partners for the £7.3 million project, which is being led by the Scottish cultural charity NVA. Only part of the site will be restored; NVA says that the intention is ‘to preserve a raw sense of otherness, excitement and revelation’ at the site, retaining the ‘Brutal, beautiful, romantic, ravaged, spiritual, shocking’ aspects of the seminary ruins (below).

NVA also says that it has so far raised in the region of £5m for the capital works from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Creative Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council and private donors, that Planning and Listed Building Consents for the outline designs have been approved and the current owner of the site, the Archdiocese of Glasgow, has conditionally agreed to donate the entire site for the public good in 2016.

Three times that sum has been set aside for the redevelopment of Preston’s Grade II-listed bus station: plans unveiled by Lancashire County Council (LCC) and Preston Youth Zone (PYZ) in October 2014 envisage a new sports hall and arts facility in part of the building, as well as thirty-six new bus bays. £7.4m is being allocated to the bus station, £6m to the Youth Zone Plus and the remainder for repairs and highway improvement costs. Work will start in October 2015 if planning permission is granted.


New cultural campus for London Olympic site

The Treasury announced on 2 December 2014 that it was allocating £141 million towards the creation of a new arts and education quarter on the site of the London 2012 Olympics in Stratford, east London. The Victoria and Albert Museum is to be a key player, along with the Sadler’s Wells Dance Company, the University of the Arts, the London College of Fashion and University College London. The east London scheme has been dubbed ‘Olympicopolis’, an allusion to the ‘Albertopolis’ area of South Kensington, named after Prince Albert and constructed as a legacy of the Great Exhibition of 1851, home to the V&A, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Colleges of Music and Art, Imperial College and the Royal Albert Hall.

Staff at the V&A are emphasising that they plan ‘a different type of museum’, letting visitors see some of the normally hidden processes of research, conservation and curation. The intention is also to encourage cross-fertilisation between the different institutions on the site, to emphasise modern design and to mount exhibitions like the enormously successful David Bowie show of 2014 — and all of this will be housed in a ‘museum building that people will talk about’.

Newport museum to close?

Against all this potentially good news, the proposal by Newport City Council to cut the funding of Newport Museum and Library by 80 per cent, close both museum and library and mothball the collection is less welcome. The Council denies that the museum is closing and says: ‘the Council is considering moving it to an alternative site somewhere in the city, although this is likely to be smaller in size than its current location. There would still be public access to the museum’s collections and art works and the Council is working to identify potential locations. The Council could also develop a programme of pop-up displays and exhibitions in other locations.’

The Society of Antiquaries has an interest in this collection: the museum houses the finds from excavations at Caerwent sponsored by the Society early last century. In addition, the 126-year-old museum is a main repository for material from major archaeological sites across the old county, including Cadw monuments such as Tintern Abbey, Llanthony Priory, Raglan and Skenfrith Castles and the Blaenavon Ironworks World Heritage Site.

The reference library houses the original documents relating to the trial of the leaders of the Newport Chartist uprising of 1839 (the equivalent artefacts and weapons are in the museum; Salon readers might remember reports in this newsletter deploring the destruction in October 2013 of the mural commemorating the Newport Rising, since when a trust is to be set up to commission a new memorial with £50,000 of funding from the City Council) and a unique collection of printed tracts and original documents relating to the Civil War and to the so-called 'Popish Plot' (the latter a campaign in the 1930s to secure the canonisation of the Jesuit martyrs St David Lewis and St Philip Evans). It also houses the ‘Monmouthshire Collection’, a remarkably comprehensive topographical collection put together over many decades by historians and bibliophiles.

A local campaign is underway to persuade the Council to think again, led by the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association, the local newspaper The South Wales Argus, the Friends of Newport Museum and other local bodies. Public meetings are to be held in Newport to decide how best to respond to the Council’s plans, and a petition will be launched in due course: to follow developments, see the Friends of Newport Museum’s Facebook site.

Stonehenge road tunnel

In his so-called ‘autumn statement’ (delivered on 3 December, so well beyond any definition of ‘autumn’; but perhaps ‘winter statement’ lacks the required connotations of mellow fruitfulness), the Chancellor announced that the Government would be investing in a new 2.9km tunnel to remove the A303 from the Stonehenge landscape. This was one of three options that the Government put to public consultation the last time improvements to the A303 were discussed; viz the so-called ‘long-bore tunnel’, twice the length of the ‘short-bore tunnel’ that is now proposed, and a ‘cut-and-cover’ tunnel.

Our Society’s official position at the time was to favour the long-bore tunnel, but this drew fire from the Stonehenge Alliance, whose members include CPRE and RESCUE, who argued that none of the three was acceptable and that the road should be removed entirely from the World Heritage Site area. The Alliance has since modified its position and is now calling on the Secretary of State ‘to investigate the option of a 4.5km tunnel, which would avoid significant damage being inflicted on the World Heritage Site’.

The English Heritage response to this new proposal was predictably positive, but less expected perhaps was the warm welcome given to this ‘truly momentous decision’ by the National Trust, which was ambivalent towards the three schemes previously on offer. This time, Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, said: ‘the importance of this announcement today cannot be overstated. After many false starts and challenges, this does for the first time feel like a real opportunity to tackle the blight of the road that dominates the landscape of Stonehenge. If designed well, putting the A303 into a tunnel of 2.9km will bring the Stonehenge landscape together once more, creating space for nature and improving the site’s tranquillity. I know there will be some sadness that people will no longer be able to see the stones from the road, but visitors will once again be able to hear the sounds of skylarks singing rather than the constant noise of traffic.’

Our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: ‘we have been trying to find a solution for the A303 improvements since 1986 when Stonehenge became a World Heritage Site. It is vital that any new scheme to put the A303 into a bored tunnel is located in the right place and designed to the best specification.’

Stonehenge in Antiquity

Meanwhile, the latest (winter) issue of Antiquity has an eagerly anticipated paper by our Fellows Tim Darvill and Geoff Wainwright on their recent excavations at Carn Menyn, in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire. Salon has reported on previous occasions the work of Fellows Richard Bevins, Rob Ixer and Mike Parker Pearson in pinning down the source quarries for some of the rhyolitic and doleritic ‘bluestones’ at Stonehenge, and these have focused attention on the quarry site at Craig Rhosyfelin, in northern Pembrokeshire. This research has been based on matching debitage from Stonehenge to quarry sites, rather than samples taken from the stones themselves, and this has thrown doubt on Carn Menyn as a quarry site, since no waste debris from stone dressing has yet been found from Stonehenge to match the precise geochemical signature of the Preseli hilltop site.

Section through the Carn Menyn quarry site, Pembrokeshire, showing the stratigraphy and the source positions of samples used for radiocarbon dating. Drawing: by Vanessa Constant based on field plans and sections by Timothy Darvill and Hubert Wilson

In their new paper, Darvill and Wainwright suggest that the lack of a match so far is due to ‘uneven sampling during the original fieldwork’, which means that ‘some outcrops are very poorly represented’ in the debitage data sets. They say that it is too early to make definitive statements about where the Stonehenge bluestones (or pillar-stones) were and were not quarried, but they remain convinced that Carn Menyn is a probable source for some of the dolerite pillar-stones used at Stonehenge because of the secure evidence they now have for dolerite extraction dating not only to the later third millennium BC, when the first stone circles at Stonehenge were constructed, but going back to the seventh millennium BC: in other words, Mesolithic communities were the first to exploit the geology of this remote upland location. Twelve samples from the quarry site were subject to carbon dating and they produced a sequence spanning 8,000 years of activity at the site, evidenced by stones shattered by fire setting and broken and abandoned pillar stones.

Broken pillar-stone at Carn Menyn with traces of working. Photograph: Timothy Darvill

The authors say that the discovery of formal quarrying in the British late Mesolithic adds significantly to the growing list of monuments and structures from this period. Recognition of the early date of quarrying on Carn Menyn and the confirmation of bluestone working there contemporary with the movement of pillar-stones to Stonehenge means that the challenge now is to explain what was so special about the Preseli bluestones, and why and for what purpose they were transported to Salisbury Plain for exclusive use at Stonehenge. While they acknowledge that ‘many explanations as to why the bluestones were considered sufficiently important and meaningful to move from Wales to Wiltshire can be proposed’, and that ‘there may be more than one reason’, they repeat their view that ‘the association between bluestones and healing springs in the Preseli Hills was important’, arguing that the recent work at Blick Mead shows another aspect of Stonehenge’s relationship to water.

‘We propose’, they conclude, ‘that, after the earthwork enclosure at Stonehenge ceased to be a major cremation cemetery sometime about 2500 BC, bluestones from Carn Menyn and other nearby outcrops in west Wales were brought to Stonehenge and set up within a temple whose structure had already been built from sarsen stones. From that time onwards, pilgrims and travellers were drawn to Stonehenge because of the special properties that had empowered Stonehenge to provide pastoral and medical care of both body and soul: tending the wounded, treating the sick, calming troubled minds, promoting fecundity, assisting and celebrating births and protecting people against malevolent forces in a dangerous and uncertain world. The bluestones hold the key to the meaning of Stonehenge, and Preseli was the special place from whence they came at a high cost to society in labour and time, as befitted such important talismans.’

Geophysics at Old Sarum

Old Sarum, just up the road from Stonehenge, has been in the news this week because of the spectacular results of a geophysical survey carried out by archaeologists from the University of Southampton. These show that the outer bailey of the Norman motte and bailey at the centre of the site was once packed with masonry buildings. Some perhaps had a military function, being used as barracks or storage or stabling; others seem to be associated with kilns, furnaces and ash and pottery debris; and some look like a residential zone. Some areas of the bailey appear to be entirely free of structures, and so might have been used as exercise or mustering yards.

The most intriguing discovery, however, is that of a possible royal palace, hitherto unsuspected, in the quadrant opposite the foundations of the cathedral. According to a report in the Independent, the 170m-long, 65m-wide complex, arranged around a large courtyard, has walls up to 3m thick and includes a 60m-long great hall. Fellow Edward Impey, Director-General of the Royal Armouries, says that ‘the location, design and size of the courtyarded complex strongly suggests that it was a palace, probably a royal one. The prime candidate for constructing it is perhaps Henry I sometime in the early twelfth century’. Fellow David Bates went on to describe this as ‘a discovery of immense importance. It reveals the monumental scale of building work taking place in the earlier twelfth century’.

The survey project, led by Kris Strutt, Dominic Barker and Tim Sly, from the university’s Archaeological Prospection Services unit, was designed to provide Southampton’s students with training in the use of range of geophysical techniques combined with lidar, GPS and Total station contour survey.

‘The battle over the Warburg Institute’; former Director Charles Hope writes

Charles Hope, Director of the Warburg Institute from 2002 to 2010, has contributed a major article to The London Review of Books (4 December 2014) in which he sets out the background to the recent High Court judgment in some detail.  The central core of the article could be characterised as a commentary on the statement made in the University’s press release issued after the judgment, and in particular the sentences saying that: ‘the University is aware that over the course of the proceedings, there were individuals and interest groups claiming that we intended to split the collection. However, these claims were always wholly unfounded and we absolutely reject them.’

Charles explains that, on the contrary, it was a plan to consolidate all the libraries of the different University of London Institutes into one central library (so as to remove duplication, reduce the size of the libraries and free up space for other purposes) that sparked off the series of events that led to the High Court. The Warburg’s library is a unique artefact, arranged according to principles established by the late Aby Warburg designed to highlight cross-disciplinary connections; in that Library resides all that is distinctive about the Warburg Institute and treating it like any other library was never going to be appropriate. But the Warburg was not alone in being opposed to the scheme: the Institute of Classical Studies, for example, objected strongly to the prospect of losing control over its library and had to point out to the university that many of the books actually belonged to the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. Some of the other institutes argued that special expertise was needed to manage their libraries.

The article goes on speak in regretful tones of the institutes’ loss of autonomy generally, saying that: ‘the University of London itself is now a very strange institution ... despite being called a university, the role of disinterested (or even interested) academics in its decision-making process ... is now very minor, and continues to decline’. As for the university’s reaction to the judgment, Charles Hope describes this as ‘curiously mixed. It issued a press release declaring that the judge had found in its favour “on almost every point that was of importance to us”. Yet at the same time its lawyer sought and obtained permission to appeal.’

Charles concludes: ‘the Warburg’s advisory council stands ready to start positive discussions with the university about how to put into effect the judge’s rulings; the university’s willingness to enter into such a constructive process remains, at the time of writing, unclear.’

News of Fellows

Salon is pleased to be able to report that two of our Fellows were garlanded in this year’s Apollo magazine awards, the results of which were announced on 12 December 2014. Nicholas Penny was hailed as ‘Personality of the Year’ and Jeremy Warren was awarded the prize for the ‘Art Book of 2014’ for his three-volume catalogue of the Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, described as ‘a tour de force of scholarly writing, offering wide-ranging and often original insights without sacrificing attention to detail’.

Fellow Charles Higham has been awarded the Mason Durie Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand ‘for his work to understand social change in Southeast Asia over three millennia, work which has identified a series of social changes that ultimately led to the establishment of the rise of the Angkor state in modern-day Thailand’. The medal selection panel said that when Professor Higham started his research, virtually nothing was known about the prehistoric sequence in south-east Asia and that: ‘no other archaeologist has done as much to aid current understanding of the prehistory of Thailand and adjacent regions. By integrating a wide range of data from settlement patterns, materials, mortuary and biological remains, Professor Higham has identified a series of social changes that led to the establishment of rice farming communities and ultimately the rise of the Angkor state.

‘His excavations of burial sites during the Bronze Age at Ban Non Wat in modern‐day Thailand challenged the idea of an egalitarian farming community and the length of this period. He uncovered what might be best described as a royal cemetery, and his excavations reveal how the advent of metallurgy stimulated the rapid rise of a social elite before a sharp decline. A total of seventy-six radiocarbon samples provide a chronology for this period.

‘His later research in the Iron Age from four large moated town sites in Northeast Thailand has shown the role of an agricultural revolution, the industrial production of salt, a burgeoning exchange in exotic goods, population growth and competitive warfare in the rise of leaders and social inequality that stimulated the rise of the state of Angkor (the Khmer Empire).’

Professor Higham accepted the Mason Durie Medal with ‘deep gratitude’, saying that: ‘identifying the origins of a civilisation takes years of fieldwork, and the contributions of many colleagues. It also needs financial support. I thank my team for their dedication to our project, and the continued and vital backing of the Marsden Fund for enabling me to achieve my aims.’

Fellow Norman Hammond gave the Andrzej Wiercinski Annual Lecture at the University of Warsaw on 5 December 2014 on the theme ‘From village to city: the pre-Classic foundations of Classic Maya civilisation’. Previous Wiercinski Lecturers were the late Klaus Schmidt (German Archaeological Institute), on the excavations at Gobekli Tepe (2011), and Jean-Jacques Hublin (Max Planck Institute), on the peopling of Europe (2012).

Fellow Veronica Sekules was invited by the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm to open its new medieval display on 27 November 2014. Veronica also gave a keynote lecture at the accompanying symposium, attended mostly by academics and museum specialists, about the presentation of medieval art in which reference was made to a number of recent re-displays, including those at the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Veronica says that the invitation to speak reflects the museum’s strong interest in education as well as curatorship and her own role as a museum educator at the Sainsbury Centre. The other speakers talked about longer term trends in the display of medieval art Sweden and more recent experiments combining medieval and contemporary art — one being Janet Cardiff’s ‘Forty-part motet’ installation in the permanent galleries and the other a feminist exhibition about the Virgin Mary with a soundtrack by a well-known Swedish pop musician.

For the last few years Fellow Mark Staniforth has been part of an international research team working with archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology to conduct community engagement, awareness raising, co-operative training and capacity-building activities associated with underwater cultural heritage in Vietnam. This helps Vietnam to preserve, protect and valorise underwater cultural heritage. A video, image and text feature on Vietnamese maritime archaeology and the problems with underwater cultural heritage preservation in Vietnam is now available on the BBC magazine website.


Fellow Catherine Johns says she is ‘very shocked and saddened to hear of Colin Burgess’s death. We were very close friends at Cardiff when I was an undergraduate and he a PhD student, and although our academic paths diverged after Cardiff, and I saw him very rarely in later decades, I shall always remember him with the greatest affection. Although I was devoted to Roman archaeology from the start, I was really rather knowledgeable about Bronze Age metalwork as a student, because of the company I kept. Colin, like my Don, was one of those outstanding natural scholars who spring unexpectedly from a totally non-academic background. I remember him telling me once of a relative, an aunt, I think, who had expressed concern and surprise to hear that Colin was still “at school” (in fact university!) at the age of twenty-two: she evidently thought that he must be a very slow learner!’ Catherine’s photograph, taken in Cardiff in the spring term of 1961, shows Colin Burgess at exactly that age.

Fellow Gillian Darley writes to correct Salon’s report on the monument to Sir John Soane (and as Soane’s biographer, Gillian should know): Salon said that Soane’s tomb was designed for his first wife; in fact, says Gillian, ‘although it was originally designed for Eliza his ONLY wife, who died in 1815, it was always intended as his family monument (four sides for three members of his family, excluding by then the errant George)’.

Fellow Lynn Hulse points out that, as she is not Dr Who, the Kelmscott embroidery workshop ‘“Flowers from field and garden”’: May Morris’s botanical studies’ listed in Salon 331 will take place on 24 and 25 August 2015, rather than in 2014, and that it will be a solo show on this occasion, run by Lynn without her usual partner, Nicola Jarvis. For further information on this and other workshops, see the Ornamental Embroidery website (

Various Fellows are concerned to note that St Peter’s Church, Astwood, near Newport Pagnell, in Bucks, is up for sale. The sale particulars state that ‘there are few if any burials; those that are there date back many centuries, giving the property great character’. Whether or not a potential purchaser would agree with that, the church also has a range of wall monuments dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and two well-known brasses — one commemorating Roger Keston (d 1409) and the other for Thomas Chibnale (d 1534) and his two wives. Fellows who are active in the Church Monuments Society are monitoring the case; any future developments of interest to Fellows will be reported in Salon.

The last issue of Salon reported that the long-lost Winchester bronze head of Jupiter had been traced to the British Museum. As a follow-up, Fellow Martin Biddle wonders whether anyone can help find another piece that was found at the same time as the Jupiter head. Although originally described as a figure of Venus (for fairly obvious reasons), Fellow Martin Henig says that the presence of the lion skin and a club identify her as a figure of Omphale, to whom Hercules was enslaved (in some versions of her story, she wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Hercules’ club while he was forced to do women’s work and even wear women’s clothing). This figurine disappeared into the saleroom in 1848 and was purchased by someone unknown, and Professor Biddle is very keen to hear from anyone who thinks they might know its current whereabouts.

Recent export deferrals

A marble statue of Aphrodite and a painting of The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Jan Brueghel the Elder are both subject to temporary export bars; substantial sums of money are needed in each case to prevent these works being sold overseas. £9,594,200 is the price of keeping the early first-century AD statue of Aphrodite in the UK, and £6,963,000 for the painting.

The statue, by an unknown sculptor, is based on a Greek original dating from 430—20 BC. Formerly installed in the entrance hall at Syon House, it is a prime example of the kind of Roman sculpture collected by English aristocrats in the eighteenth century that influenced art and taste in the great period of neoclassicism in Britain. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest said that the statue is of ‘outstanding aesthetic importance, and outstanding significance for the study of Greek sculpture, the interpretation of Greek art during the Roman period and the history of collecting’. Committee member Richard Calvocoressi went further and made connections between the statue and the work of Henry Moore: ‘the almost miraculous carving of the goddess’s rippling drapery, and the need for the sculpture to be viewed in the round, are echoed in Moore’s draped figures of the 1950s’, he said. Further details can be found on the Arts Council website.

The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man
is an exceptionally well-preserved oil-on-copper painting that belongs to a small group of so-called ‘Paradise’ landscapes, created around 1612—15 by the Flemish artist Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568—1625). The painting (237 x 368mm) combines a wooded landscape with highly detailed depictions of a large variety of animals and plants, for which Brueghel was particularly famous. Further details can be found on the Arts Council website.

Monuments to antiquaries

Philip Whittemore, co-author with Chris Byrom of A Very British Antiquary: Richard Gough 1735—1809 (Wynchmore Books, 2009), has submitted this picture of Richard Gough’s monument on the south wall of the chancel of Wormley church, Herts, with an inscription that Gough himself composed.

In her ODNB biography of Gough, Fellow Rosemary Sweet tells us that he ‘was an active director of the Society of Antiquaries, if not always happy with the direction the society’s affairs were taking. He and a coterie of close friends, including Michael Lort, Jeremiah Milles, and Samuel Pegge, were often highly critical among themselves of the quality of the papers presented there and the learning of their fellow members. He disapproved of those who joined for social reasons or who displayed dilettante leanings towards virtu rather than antiquarian rigour. He had firmly held views about the society’s role as a public body and custodian of the nation’s antiquarian heritage, and was opposed to what he saw as some of its more extravagant and self-indulgent projects ... such as the move to more grandiose apartments in Somerset House in 1780.’

Philip adds that anyone interested in tracking down Gough’s friend and our former President Jeremiah Milles (1714—84) will find his grave in the City of London church of St Edmund the King and Martyr, Lombard Street, where his monument by John Bacon is in the chancel.

Fellow Martin Henig says that anyone visiting Newcastle should set aside time to call in on John Collingwood Bruce in the cathedral of St Nicholas; his marble effigy makes him look almost like a medieval abbot; his feet lie on an open copy of his Roman Wall book. Nearby is a wall plaque to Matthew Duane FSA, 1785, a collector of antiquities given to the city’s Hunter Museum.

If there is any one place in the world that might be described as an antiquarian Pantheon, Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, London W10, may well be the place. Over a number of years, Fellow Julian Litten has compiled what he describes as this ‘monstrous long list of FSAs buried (and with monuments) at the cemetery’:
  • BARNWELL, Charles Frederick (1780—1849)
  • BLAND, Michael (1796—1851)
  • BROCK, Edgar Philip Loftus (1833—95)
  • BRUCE, John (1802—69)
  • BUTLIN, John Rose (1829—65)
  • CHALK, Sir James Chell (1803—78)
  • CHAPPELL, William (1809—88)
  • DILKE, Charles Wentworth (1789—1864)
  • ELLIS, Alexander John (1814—90)
  • FRANKS, Sir Augustus Wollaston (1826—97)
  • LASCELLES, Rowley (1771—1841)
  • LEADHAM, Isaac Saunders (1848—1913)
  • LEAKE, William Martin (1777—1860)
  • MADDEN, Sir Frederick (1801—73)
  • MARTIN, Francis (1767—1848)
  • NICHOLS, John Bowyer (1779—1863)
  • ORRIDGE, Benjamin Brogden (1814—70)
  • PINKERTON, William (1809—71)
  • ROBERTS, Edward (1819—75)
  • SANDYS, William (1792—1874)
  • SAULL, William Devonshire (1784—1855)
  • SELBY, Walford Daikin (1845—89)
  • SMIRKE, Sir Edward (1795—1875)
  • SEYMOUR, Edward Adolphus (1775—1853)
  • TAGART, Revd Edward (1804—58)
  • TAGART, Charles Fortescue (1820—81)
  • TAYLER, William (1809—79)
  • THOMSON, Richard (1794—1865)
  • TUER, Andrew White (1838—1900)
  • UPCOTT, William (1779—1845)
  • WOODWARD, Bernard Bolingbroke (1816—69)
  • YOUNG, Sir Charles George (1795—1869)

Monuments to living Fellows!

Omitted from this list is Julian himself (long may he live!), though he does have his own brick-lined grave (empty) and monument on Kensal Green Cemetery’s Oxford Avenue. This was constructed in 2002 and the sculptor was Charles Smith (just visible at the left-hand edge of the photograph). Julian says that erecting a memorial in advance of the necessity gets round the problem that you can’t trust your relatives to put up something which one would or could describe as ‘suitable’!

Another Fellow who has recently been memorialised (or perhaps turned into a monument) though still full of life is Fellow Jason Wood, who was presented this summer with a personalised National Trust omega sign to mark the completion of his nine-year term as Chairman of the NT Archaeology Panel and fifteen years as a Panel member. Jason now looks forward to new challenges ... and to finding a suitable load-bearing wall on which to hang the sign. The Panel’s new Chairman is our Fellow Adrian Olivier.

The Mausolus Essay Prize

To encourage the study and appreciation of historic monuments, the Mausolea and Monuments Trust (MMT) is inviting entries for the Mausolus Essay Prize, to be presented in 2015 in memory of our late Fellow Thomas Cocke, a former Chairman of the MMT, who was passionately interested in the evolution of church architecture. The £250 prize and publication in the journal of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust will be awarded by a distinguished judging panel whose members include Carolyn Cocke, Chair of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust, Fellows Roger Bowdler and Gavin Stamp, Gabriel Byng, editor of Mausolus, and Frances Sands, of Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Essays may be on any subject relating to mausolea or monuments, including, but not limited to, head stones, ledger stones, cemeteries, churchyards and other types of memorial. They may concern objects in Britain or abroad, of any time period. Essays must be no longer than 3,000 words (not including footnotes and bibliography) and can be illustrated with up to five figures. The footnotes and bibliography must be in ‘Chicago’ style. The deadline is 30 April 2015 and entries should be sent to Dr Gabriel Byng.

Lives remembered: Willem Willems

Fellow Adrian Olivier and Past President Geoff Wainwright write to say that: ‘with very great sadness we learned on 13 December 2014 of the death of our Honorary Fellow (and close friend) Willem Willems. Willem had recently been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer and was admitted to hospital only this week. Willem was a gentle giant of European (and world) archaeology, an outstanding scholar, teacher, leader, colleague and friend. We know that Fellows will want to join us in sending our condolences to his family.’

Lives remembered: Margaret Aston, FSA (1932—2014)

The Daily Telegraph recently published the following obituary for our late Fellow Margaret Aston (The Hon Mrs Buxton), CBE, FSA, who died on 22 November 2014 at the age of eighty-two. This said that ‘Margaret Evelyn Bridges, known as “Martha” to family and friends, was born on 9 October 1932, the youngest of four children of Kitty and Edward, later Lord Bridges, the greatest civil servant of the last century. Robert Bridges, the Poet Laureate, was her grandfather. She grew up at Goodman’s Furze, on the North Downs near Epsom, and went to school at Downe House.

‘A scholarship took her in 1951 to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, to read History, and there her academic career took off. She became a lecturer at St Anne’s College in 1956, and embarked on a DPhil. In 1954 she married Trevor Aston, Fellow and Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was a brilliant scholar and teacher, but his many talents were clouded by bipolar disorder. A difficult marriage became deeply unhappy, and they parted, although divorced only in 1969. Margaret went to Germany in 1960—1 as a Theodor Heuss Scholar, then spent five as a research fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge.

‘She had chosen Thomas Arundel (1353—1414), Archbishop of Canterbury, as the subject of her doctoral thesis and her first major work, Thomas Arundel: a study of church life in the reign of Richard II, was published in 1968. Arundel’s concerns with the roots of piety were to be a recurring theme in her own work. Next, however, encouraged by Ernst Gombrich, she wrote The Fifteenth Century: the prospect of Europe, an illustrated general work on original themes: the East, the concept of news, the layman’s voice and “the sense of renewal”. This was a by-product of a residency at the Folger Shakespeare Library at Washington, DC, during which she taught at the Catholic University from 1966 to 1969. In 1984 she published Lollards and Reformers, bringing together some of the many articles she had now written, on images, the Lollards, women priests and on Richard II’s reputation as “a literary construction”.

‘In 1984—5 she was honorary Senior Research Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast. This enabled her to complete her masterpiece, England’s Iconoclasts (1988), an exploration of the long and complex reactions of English men and women to images in the practice of religion, which she traced from Byzantine roots to Oliver Cromwell. Right or wrong, venerated or smashed, images as theological topics or visible objects dominated the Reformation years. The Second Commandment forbidding idolatry now became a secular crime, punishable in court. Aston’s thoroughness in research and subtle perception of overt and covert issues attracted wide admiration.

‘In 1993 she published two more books. The King’s Bedpost elucidated the strange group portrait in the National Portrait Gallery of Edward VI as the biblical king Josiah, triumphing over the Pope, watched by his courtiers. Old Testament imagery, popularised by the Dutch engraver Martin van Heemskerck, was used to justify more iconoclasm. But if Queen Elizabeth was another Hezekiah in repudiating idolatry, she still maintained a crucifix in the royal chapel. Faith and Fire brought out more related work, on Wyclif and the growth of the vernacular, Cain as the archetype of heresy, and the absence of aesthetic judgment among the iconoclasts. Another pictorial survey, The Panorama of the Renaissance, came out in 1996, then two more collections of essays, edited jointly with other scholars. Her own work was celebrated at a conference in 2008, published as Image, Text and Church, 1380—1600.

‘England’s Iconoclasts was planned as part of a diptych, and she was able to finish the second part before she died. Broken Idols of the English Reformation will appear next year; the two books together will be a monument to a lifetime of deep and original scholarship.

‘A second marriage to Paul Buxton, a diplomat, in 1971 brought her much happiness and two daughters, one with Down’s syndrome. This made a conventional academic life difficult, but her husband’s last posting, as under-secretary at the Northern Ireland Office, coincided with her fellowship at Queen’s University. The Buxtons’ house beside Belfast Lough was blown up by the IRA. They had early warning and escaped injury, but Margaret Aston’s papers were all scattered; mercifully, it was a dry night, and her work was retrieved. Latterly they lived peacefully at Castle House, Chipping Ongar.

‘Distinguished in appearance, her voice clear, Margaret Aston stood out in any gathering. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society, she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1994. York University gave her an honorary doctorate in 2001, and she was appointed CBE in 2013.’

A request for help

Fellow Anneliese Arnold is a member of the Rochester Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee, which plans to set up a list of bishops on an internal wall. The committee would like the list to be as accurate as possible and so needs help in achieving consistent spelling, especially (but not only) for the Anglo–Saxon period (AD 604—1075). If you would be willing to assist with the small task of checking the list, Dr Edwina Bell would be very pleased to hear from you.

Call for papers: Fifth Cambridge Iron Age conference

To be held on 25 to 27 September 2015 at Magdalene College, the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum and the McDonald Institute, the Fifth Cambridge Iron Age conference will take ‘Craft and Production’ as its theme and the term ‘Iron Age’ will be defined as the long first millennium BC so as to include the traditions of both northern and southern Europe. Expressions of interest should be sent as soon as possible to our Fellow Simon Stoddart. Further details about the themes and current participants can be found on the conference website.

The first two conferences — Landscape, Ethnicity and Identity in the Mediterranean Area and Fingerprinting the Iron Age — have now been published and two more — Gardening Time and Frontiers — will be published in 2015.

Call for papers: ‘Place and space in the medieval world’

Abstracts up to 250 words are invited by 15 January 2015 for a conference to be held at the King’s Manor, York, on 29 to 31 May 2015. Proposals should be sent by email to Heidi Stoner and Meg Boulton.

‘Space’ and ‘Place’ are terms that have had a ‘renaissance’ within medieval scholarship in recent decades, becoming increasingly employed to describe the cultural and intellectual landscape of the Middle Ages. However, despite the widely recognised importance of these terms, of late, various factions of scholars have begun to debate whether one has primacy over the other in terms of its agency and usefulness in determining how we conceptualise and discuss the medieval world. While taking into account these vagaries, this conference will extend the conversation surrounding these terms and ideas, considering the extant visual and textual sources alongside the contemporary scholarly discussions of this milieu. Further details can be found on the ‘Medievalists’ website.


27 and 28 February 2015: more information has been published concerning the celebrations to mark the Centennial of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge: see the Archaeology Division’s website for the latest details of speakers and venues.

16 and 17 March 2015: ‘Finds from the Roman north and beyond’, the Roman Finds Group Spring 2015 Meeting, to be held jointly with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies, University of Newcastle at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Fellow Lindsay Allason-Jones will give the keynote speech. There are four sessions of papers, with fourteen illustrated talks, on various aspects of finds from sites throughout the north, and an organised visit to Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum. This is an excellent opportunity to hear about recent finds and research in the north, as well as to view one of the major museums along Hadrian’s Wall, which has undergone major work in the last few years. For full details contact our Fellow Dr Stephen Greep.

16 April 2015: ‘Exploring the early history of British archaeology in Turkey and Syria’, the Oliver Gurney Memorial Lecture to be given by Nicolò Marchetti, Alma Mater Studiorum and Associate Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Bologna. He is Director of the Turco-Italian Archaeological Expedition at Karkemish and Director of the School of Specialisation in Archaeological Heritage, at 6.30pm in the Wolfson Auditorium at the British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London. For further information, see the website of the British Institute at Ankara.



Canal & River Trust: Head of Museums

Salary up to £65,000; closing date: 31 December 2014
See the Canal & River Trust website for further details.

English Heritage: Trustees for the English Heritage Trust; closing date: 2 January 2015
English Heritage is recruiting trustees for the board of the new charity that will take over responsibility for the care of the national collection of historic properties in April 2015. For further information, see the English Heritage website.

University of Edinburgh: A G Leventis Chair in Byzantine Studies
Professorial salary; closing date: 5 January 2015

See the Academic jobs website for further details.

University of Reading: Professor of Public Engagement with History
Professorial salary; closing date: 5 January 2015

See the Reading University website for further details.

Qatar Museums, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha: Textile Conservator
Closing date: 11 January 2015

See the Museum of Islamic Art website for further details.

Executive Director, World Monuments Fund
Salary: £80,000—£90,000 per annum; closing date: 12 January 2015

The Executive Director is responsible for the overall management of WMFB and the successful delivery of the business plan. He or she will also work with trustees and staff at the WMF head office in New York to formulate and achieve business strategy, plans and targets, including fundraising targets. Initial inquiries should be addressed to Sue Daniels, WMFB trustee.

And finally ...

Apropos of nothing whatsoever and with no direct links to the Society and its Fellowship, Salon’s editor nevertheless commends a 23-minute film about London’s Soho from the 1930s to the present day.

The documentary describes the area and its buildings through the eyes of Soho legend, Harvey Gould. It starts with his early memories from 1937, when, as a seven-year-old he moved from the East End to the buzzing streets and alleys of Soho to be the only Jewish boy at his school of mixed Chinese, Italian and Irish children.

Combining archival footage with contemporary images of one of the city’s most bohemian areas, it goes on to tell of his working life and the scenes he witnessed from his Berwick Street market-stall, including the arrival of the ‘Yank’ soldiers in the war, the prostitutes, the criminals and the crooked police antics of the period.

The film is not all crime and grime, however: there is one especially delightful moment when Harvey talks about the games of street cricket that he played during the war and points out the stumps that are still there, surviving as white paint marks on a brick wall in Portland Mews. This is an excellent example of how to capture intangible heritage, and it reminds us that not everyone sees buildings the same way: we might see architecture, but Harvey Gould sees a street cricket scoring system â€”  the higher you hit the ball the more runs you score.

Propose a lecture or seminar

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 Events section of our website.

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


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

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