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Salon: Issue 441
11 February 2020

Next issue: 25 February 2020

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon EditorSalon doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.

Fellows may occasionally find they do not receive email notification of a new Salon. There are suggestions for solving this, and an online archive where new editions are posted. You can also unsubscribe at any point, by following this link.
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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary


The 80 m2 base has been laid for the new Learning Space & Artists Studio, which stands on the footprint of former stabling. The new build will once again enclose the south range of Kelmscott Manor’s 17th-century farmyard. The structure will be oak framed, with a thatched roof and is designed to accommodate a class of 35 children. This new structure forms the backbone of the new Learning offer for schools and community groups and along with the accredited collection will provide the focus for activities for our general public visitors, including a studio space for an Artist-in-Residence.

We will be beginning recruitment this month for a Learning & Outreach Officer to deliver the Society’s planned learning programme for schools and community groups to broaden public access. The Learning & Outreach Officer will enable us to develop the educational dimension of Kelmscott, so that young people can learn about the artists, writers and designers it has inspired (eg William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, May Morris, Marie Stillman ) and give them the opportunity to participate in designing and making for themselves.  We want to involve our visitors in more participation with the heritage, opening up pathways to learning creative skills, and drawing inspiration from the whole site and the collection.  

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100 years of female Fellows 

Monday 09 March 

Seminar organised with support from Amara Thornton FSA

This year the Society celebrates 100 years since we elected female Fellows. To mark this momentous occasion we are holding a seminar to highlight the role of female Fellows in the Society and in particular the first female Antiquaries and their legacy. 

The passing of The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 on 23 December 1919 meant that the Society had to open up the fellowship to women. On 25 February 2020 six women were chosen for nomination. 

This seminar has been organised to mark International Women's Day (March 08) and will celebrate the role of female Fellows both past and present. 

Speakers include Amara Thornton FSA, Ellie Miles, Jennifer Wexler FSA and David Gill FSA

There will also be a panel session in the afternoon featuring Fellows Janet Owen FSA, Gillian Hey FSA and Janet Miller FSA.

This is a free event and booking is available through our website

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Gifts to the Library

October – December 2019

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library by Fellows in the period from October to December 2019. These books are, or will shortly be, available in the Library, with full records on the online catalogue
From Gill Andrews FSA, The Church of the Nativity Bethlehem : a guide / by R. W. Hamilton (1947)
From Pippa Bradley FSA, A prehistoric burial mound and Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Barrow Clump, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire: English Heritage Operation Nightingale excavations 2003-14 / Phil Andrews et al. Wessex Archaeology Monograph, 40 (2019)
From the author, David Breeze FSA, Hadrian's Wall: a journey through time (2019)
From Sarah Brown FSA, Investigations in medieval stained glass: materials, methods, and expressions / edited by Elizabeth Carson Pastan and Brigitte Kurmann-Schwarz. Reading Medieval Sources, 3 (2019)
From the co-author, John Cherry FSA, The Ludlow Castle heraldic roll / Rosalind Caird, John Cherry, Philip Hume and Hugh Wood (2019)
From the editor, Caroline Dakers FSA, Fonthill recovered: a cultural history (2018)
From the author, Philip Dixon FSA, Crickley Hill, volume 2: the hillfort settlements / by Philip Dixon (2019)
From the co-author, Michael Farley FSA, Pots, potters and potteries of Buckinghamshire circa 1200-1910 / Michael Farley and Barbara Hurman (2019)
From the authors, Janet Ing Freeman FSA & Arthur Freeman FSA, Courtship, slander and treason : studies of Mary Queen of Scots, the Fourth Duke of Norfolk, and a few of their contemporaries, 1568-87 (2019)
From the author, Jolyon Warwick James FSA, Australian gold and silversmiths marks: from the records of the Sydney Hall Mark Co. and the Commonwealth of Australia Hall Mark Co., 1923 to 1928 (2019)
From Medieval Pottery Research Group, Ceramics & glass: a tribute to Sarah Jennings / edited by Julie Edwards and Sarah Paynter. Medieval Pottery Research Group Occasional Paper, 8 (2019)
From the author, M. A. Michael FSA, St Albans Cathedral wall paintings (2019)
From the editor, David M. Smith FSA, The heads of religious houses: England and Wales, supplement (2019)
From Bruce Watson FSA, The priory and manor of Lynchmere and Shulbrede … / by Arthur Ponsonby (1920)
From the author, Annabel Westman FSA, Fringe, frog and tassel : the art of the trimmings-maker in interior decoration (2019)
From Niamh Whitfield FSA, Le trésor de Preslav: reflet d'un âge d'or du Moyen Âge bulgare (2018)

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Even more Research Reports available as Open Access  

With the most recent batch of Research Reports now uploaded to the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), this week the Society has made fully available as Open Access almost half of its Research Report titles. To access the most recent Research Reports uploaded to ADS, please go to

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 The future of the York Fellows

The York Fellows is well established and has been growing in strength and numbers in recent years with well over two hundred Fellows on the mailing list. Despite the name, we welcome all Fellows to our events and have, in the past, opened our doors to other organisations in the region and will continue to make these links.  Some of you will have attended the ordinary meetings of the Society held in York, which are arranged in collaboration with London, and we meet for lectures, outings and the ever-popular Christmas dinner. We have at least two lectures a year, spring and autumn, which are held in the Bar Convent in York, an handy and delightful venue which is close to the railway station, is on out-of-town bus routes and has a large pay-and-display car park nearby.  There is always an opportunity, wine glass in hand, to meet other Fellows (and guests) before the lectures and there is usually a meal in a local restaurant, open to all, where we take the speaker afterwards. In past years there have also been summer events, usually somewhere out in the region, and plans are underway to organise one for 2020.

The York Fellows committee is tiny. The chairman is Dr Patrick Ottaway FSA and I am the secretary and Nicola Rogers FSA is our steward, arranging the meals and Christmas dinner. A move south means that we will shortly be losing Nicola’s very helpful input and this provoked a discussion about expanding the committee -  and so are looking to recruit two or three additional members, including a replacement steward. We can then increase the number of events we hold and inject new ideas into this already thriving northern group. Although we have one or two lectures in mind for 2020, as well as a possible summer event, we are always open to ideas from Fellows on any and all aspects of the Society’s interests hoping that, in time, this group can be a more established focus for Fellows in the north. If you are interested in joining the committee or have suggestions for lectures, events or for a lecture at the annual ordinary meeting (held in November) then please do contact me as we would love to hear from you.

Dr Ailsa Mainman FSA

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 Church Conservation Grants: William and Jane Morris Fund

The first round of 2020 applications for our William and Jane Morris Fund (Church Conservation Grants) will close on 31 March 2020.

The Morris Fund was formed in 1939 following a bequest to the Society from May Morris, the younger daughter of William and Jane Morris. May Morris required that grants should be made only to support work that is carried out according to the principles of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), which was founded by her father.

Grants are awarded to churches, chapels and other places of worship in the United Kingdom for the conservation of decorative features and monuments, but not for structural repairs.

Applications are considered by the Society's Morris Committee, which is composed of Officers of the Society and Fellows with relevant expertise. The Committee meets twice a year.

For full details and an application form, please go to our website: 

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John Singer Sargent in Washington DC

Richard Ormond FSA tells Salon that he was ‘rather in awe of my grandmother’. As well he might have been: Violet Sargent Ormond was John Singer Sargent’s sister, and often painted by the artist (who was 14 years older than Violet, and whom Ormond never knew). He has kindly written this piece about an exhibition he has curated of Sargent's drawings. After a successful run at the Morgan Library, New York, says Ormond, John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal will soon open at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC (28 February–31 May):
‘John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was one of the greatest portrait artists of his time. While he is best known for his portraits in oil, he largely ceased painting them in 1907 and turned instead to charcoal to satisfy portrait commissions. These drawn portraits represent a substantial, yet often overlooked, part of his practice, and demonstrate the same sense of immediacy, psychological insight, and mastery of chiaroscuro that animate his sitters on canvas. Recognising the sheer scale of Sargent’s achievement as a portrait draftsman, the exhibition comprises over 50 drawings, including important international loans, from both public and private collections.

'The drawings showcase Sargent’s sitters, many of them famous for their roles in politics, society, and the arts. His charcoal portraits are remarkable not only for their quantity – they number over 750 in total – but also for their vivid portrayal of the men and women who sat for him. The portraits become telling records of artistic and cultural friendships, as well as the networks of patronage that underpinned Sargent’s practice as a portraitist. Important sitters include Winston Churchill, the Queen Mother when Duchess of York, Nancy Astor, Ethel Barrymore, Henry James, W B Yeats and several members of the “Souls”, an elite group of artistic and high-minded aristocrats.
‘By the time Sargent switched his portraiture practice almost entirely to charcoal, he had developed a consistent format. Before he set to work, he seemed to have a clear image in his mind of what he wanted to achieve. He focused on the head and shoulders of each sitter, depicting them a little less than life-size. After establishing key proportions and masses, he would develop the drawing in stages, elaborating details at the end. Often set against a dramatic dark background, these subjects have a powerful presence. Many sitters recounted the speed and confidence with which Sargent worked; he finished most of these charcoals in less than three hours. The artist would often invite friends to drawing sessions to keep the sitters entertained and also to help enliven their features. The finished charcoal portraits are valuable testaments to Sargent’s prodigious skill as an artist and draftsman. 
‘Sargent had little interest in promoting his career as a portrait draftsman, and these charcoal drawings were rarely exhibited. While many of the portraits were commissions, he gave a number to his sitters, tokens of his admiration and affection for talented performers and valued friends. The portraits often remained in the private collections of the sitters and their descendants. This exhibition is the first in recent times to assemble such a wide selection of Sargent’s drawn portraits, and many of the works have never been publicly exhibited before.’
• Ormond has written the catalogue for the exhibition, which, he says, has a lengthy introduction and full entries for the individual drawings.
A talk at the Morgan Library and Museum given by Sir David Cannadine FSA on 11 December can  be watched online. In British Aristocrats and American Plutocrats in the Age of Sargent, he investigates why, among the transatlantic worlds of the traditional and titled British wealth elite and the new American multimillionaires, and especially those who formed Anglo-American marriage alliances, Sargent was the man they wanted to paint and draw their portraits during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The illustration at top shows Sir William Blake Richmond, by John Singer Sargent (c 1910), lent to the Smithsonian gallery by the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The Rolling English Road


Ancient remains are frequently encountered during developments and roadworks, and councils are used to discussing the significance of monuments in their areas. It is probably not often, however, that representatives consider the interests of ancient people, which is what happened last November at a meeting of of Oxfordshire County Council. Chipping Norton town councillor Mike Tysoe, fighting to see road traffic diverted away from his town, stood up to propose a route through the Rollright Stones, a well-known megalithic site. The health of Chipping Norton’s residents, he said, should be weighed up against the heritage of their ancient ancestors, who ‘would understand’ the need for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to rush close past their standing stones. Transport cabinet member Yvonne Constance said Tysoe’s proposal was ‘doable’.
George Lambrick FSA (who described Tysoe’s comment as ‘flippant’ and his proposal as ‘bonkers’) would draw Fellows’ attention to an online petition asking Oxfordshire and Warwickshire county councils to ‘Protect the ancient Rollright Stones from road expansion’.
‘At a recent meeting of Oxfordshire County Council,’ says the petition, ‘the cabinet member responsible for transport endorsed the idea of re-routing HGV traffic from Chipping Norton along the Rollright Road. We call on you to take the initiative to rule out immediately upgrading the road through the Rollright Stones for HGVs, but also to initiate traffic calming measures and ban non-local HGVs from that road.’
For the uninitiated, the Rollright Stones are a picturesque group of megalithic remains on the Oxfordshire and Warwickshire border, presently consisting of a stone circle (known as the King’s Men, above), five large stones – four of them upright – that may or may not once have formed a burial chamber within an earthen mound (the Whispering Knights) and, the other side of a small road to the north, the King Stone, a single standing megalith (right). There have been no modern excavations, but it is thought the stones are Neolithic or Bronze Age in date. They are on private land, and have variously been in state care (now English Heritage) since 1883 and 1894, having been listed in the original schedule of the Ancient Monuments act 1882. In 2001 those south of the road were bought by the newly formed Rollright Trust, of which Aubrey Burl FSA and Sir Mark Rylance, actor, theatre director and playwright, are Patrons. Trustees include Lambrick (Chair) and Gill Hey FSA.
Oxfordshire County Council agreed a Local Transport Plan in 2015, updated in 2016, during which rerouting traffic past the Rollright Stones was proposed by members of the public; ‘it is essential that the feasibility study considers all options’, said one comment. The Council replied by stating that this and other proposals ‘were explored in the OCC 2007 report Chipping Norton AQMA Feasibility Study, which concluded none of these were suitable to take forward, which was when the A44 primary route status declassification scheme was included in LTP3. This remains the preferred scheme.’
In other words, if the Council wished to approve directing lorries past the Rollright Stones, it would need to change its policy. The photos are mine.

For Whom the Bell Tolls


There’s been a fuss about an old foundry site in Whitechapel in east London, as I’ve reported at least five times in previous Salons (originally in March 2017). Industrial premises don’t often come this historic: the business was founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and it had been casting bells – among them the Liberty Bell and Big Ben – on its present site since the 1740s. But the demand for big bells isn’t what it was, and fearing bankruptcy, in 2017 the Whitechapel Bell Foundry’s directors sold the site for £7.9m to Raycliff, an American investment group, having cast their last bell for the Museum of London; the records are being given to the London Metropolitan Archives.
Historic England has called the new owners’ plans for a café, small production facility (the Westley Group would continue to make small bells in the Old Foundry) and a six-storey hotel, ‘creative and sensitive in conserving the Georgian parts of the site’, adding that they will ‘preserve the spirit of the place’. Will Burges, of architects 31/44, has said the hotel will be where 1980s buildings now stand (described by Historic England as ‘not of architectural or historic interest and not listed’). ‘The original building’, said Burges, ‘contained a wide range of uses. We are totally focused on sustaining the heritage and legacy of this globally significant site.’
In November last year, as James Pickford reported in the Financial Times (25 December), Tower Hamlets Council approved the hotel scheme, on the casting vote – appropriately enough – of the Development Committee’s Chairman. Not everyone supports the scheme, however. Prominent objectors include Sir Antony Gormley, an artist who works with cast metal, Sir Charles Saumarez Smith FSA and Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and public comments on the planning application were overwhelmingly negative. The United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) and Factum Arte, an international business that makes sculptures and precise replicas of ancient sites, are leading a campaign to ‘save’ the foundry. Tower Hamlets’ vote ‘was a big setback for the campaign for an alternative’, said Pickford, but ‘its hopes have not been entirely extinguished’. In early December Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, had unexpectedly asked the council to temporarily suspend its decision while he pondered what to do.
Sure enough, in January Jenrick called the plans in for a public inquiry, giving him the final decision. In a statement Historic England said, ‘We believe that the proposals have the makings of a successful heritage regeneration scheme, and would provide a sustainable future for this important group of listed buildings. Overall the design [including a new hotel] complements the setting of the historic buildings and the character of the conservation area.’ Last year Duncan Wilson FSA, Chief Executive, Historic England, wrote in a letter to the Times that the proposals had ‘been misrepresented by those arguing for the alternative scheme.’
Last autumn Gillian Darley FSA suggested in Apollo (19 September) that Historic England’s new and necessary ‘commitment to income generation … offers the strong possibility of conflict’ when the organisation has to take decisions ‘in the context of high-value developments and vulnerable listed buildings’. ‘How can it maintain objectivity when it comes to giving advice?’ she asked, pointing at HE’s support for Raycliff Whitechapel LLP’s plans for the bell foundry as ‘the most controversial case’. Raycliff’s vision included ‘the turning and polishing of hand bells in the foyer, and … bell-making equipment hanging on the walls – like horse brasses in a suburban pub’. In contrast, wrote Darley, UKHBPT and Factum Arte’s ‘sophisticated proposal’ would bring ‘a commitment to training bell makers and tuners and an expansion of the foundry’s activity into fine art casting’.
In support of her case that official lines are becoming blurred between preservation and income generation, Darley commented on a Fellow’s move from Historic England to private practice: ‘Welcoming Roger Bowdler FSA,’ she wrote, ‘formerly Historic England’s Director of Listing, to his new role at property consultancy Montagu Evans this year, Chris Miele FSA (another former English Heritage man) pointed out that when it comes to buildings from the 1970s and ’80s, the “risk of listing does not even figure on most of our client’s radar [sic]”.’ (Announcing Bowdler’s recruitment to Montagu Evans [29 March 2019], Miele wrote that ‘Roger’s expertise and knowledge are of real commercial value in all contexts, and particularly relevant when dealing with … commercial properties from the 1970s, 80s and even 90s. Many buildings from this period are now being considered for listing, at critical points in the development and property cycle, and the risk of listing does not even figure on most owners’ radars. The risk is notoriously tricky to manage because sound judgments on the build [sic].’)
I asked Bowdler, Miele and Historic England for comment: all declined. Bowdler did, however, send me a photo taken on a visit to the foundry in 2017 (noting that he was not involved in the planning discussions). In the foreground (top) is a bell marked SAVERNACK. It is one of five bells installed in the 1860s when St Katherine's Church, Savernake was built by T H Wyatt, outside Marlborough in Wiltshire. £40,000 was raised in an appeal for the bells’ restoration, and they were among the last to be worked on at the old foundry. A recommissioning service led by the Bishop of Ramsbury was held in the church on 17 September 2017.

• Saumarez Smith has been elected Professor of Architectural History at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Defining the Right Thing for Museum Collections


Dan Hicks FSA (whose The Brutish Museums: the Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution is out later this year) is leading a new DFG-AHRC project, The Restitution of Knowledge: Artefacts as Archives in the (Post)Colonial Museum, 1850–1939, with Bénédicte Savoy from the Technische Universtiät, Berlin. Expect heated debate. Hicks, who is Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford and a Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum, has been writing provocative pieces about museum collections, curatorial ethics and ‘what many visitors experience as racist displays’. When Hartwig Fischer FSA (British Museum) and Tristram Hunt (V&A) defend collecting, Hicks wrote in Apollo (January), their language ‘is not that of curators or activists, but press officers … it’s divisive’.
‘The intention of rectifying historical wrongs is admirable’, said a Times leader on 10 February, responding to its story that university museums are repatriating ‘overseas relics’ due to ‘pressure from students to redress perceived historical injustices’ – but ‘acquiescing to pressure groups is not the way to do it’. ‘Disastrously confused and misleading’, tweeted Hicks (@profdanhicks). ‘What a disappointing, misleading and obfuscatory leader column on cultural restitution in today's paper’, tweeted The Brutish Museums (@BrutishMuseum), ‘mixing up questions of human remains, colonial looting, and Holocaust spoliation.’
On BBC Radio 4 (January), Tristram Hunt has presented a stimulating series called Curating the Future. ‘Colonialism shaped the cultures of both the colonised and the coloniser,’ he says, ‘and it is up to museums to tell that complex and nuanced story’.
Hartwig Fischer discusses keeping original artefacts and giving quality replicas to originating counties. The idea, he says, is to ‘create a set of objects that allow people in different parts of the world to engage with this cultural heritage … the original context of these objects has been destroyed.’
Another Oxford curator, Paul Collins FSA at the Ashmolean Museum, talks to Hunt about Assyrian reliefs in the museum’s collections. He’s working on an exhibition, Lines in the Sand, which will look at the division of the Middle East by the British, He is bringing members of Oxford’s diaspora communities into the Ashmolean, says Hunt, to work with him. One of them is Mustafa Bacha, a Syrian Kurd. What does he feel when he sees the reliefs, asks Hunt?

Bacha replies that he is very happy that the museum has saved the antiquities, as he is sad about the destruction wrought by Isis. One day, he hopes, modern technology will allow his people to see the Ashmolean's artefacts online. His dream would be a new national Kurdish museum ‘to bring these things together’.
The Horniman Museum, London (Chief Executive Nick Merriman FSA) is taking a similar approach to its Benin bronzes – asking Nigerian Londoners what they think (Evening Standard 30 January). ‘Our primary focus’, said a spokeswoman, ‘will be holding equitable conversations about the future of our collections. This includes being open and transparent about what we have and what we know about it, as well how these collections are currently used and stored, and what opportunities for access are currently available.’
‘There was a certain ideology of loot’, Hicks tells Hunt on Radio 4, ‘for a short period of time, under the British Empire, in which world culture museums were absolutely complicit, and in some ways were co-opted … For us now it’s really the challenge to face up to those histories and do the right thing.’

• The photo at the top is from the Guardian (lecsandra Raluca Dragoi, 17 December), showing Dan Hicks (right) with Mark Walker, grandson of a British soldier who took part in the 19th-century looting of Benin City. Walker has two ceremonial paddles from Benin, which are currently displayed in the Pitt Rivers (next to a fire exit and extinguishers) pending negotiations to repatriate them.

In London, objectors to BP’s sponsorship of the British Museum’s exhibition Troy: Myth and Reality (closes 8 March) staged a theatrical protest over the weekend 7–9 February, parking a wooden horse in front of the main entrance steps and parading in the Great Court in costumes representing Trojan soldiers and Greek gods. BP Or Not BP? had organised speeches highlighting climate change and condemning ‘colonialism’. Reporting the event, Mail Online (8 February) focused on the positive atmosphere and enjoyment of the campaigners and visitors; 'The protest is good fun,’ said a school teacher who had travelled to London to join the campaign with her daughter. ‘The museum is a public space’, said Hartwig Fischer (Evening Standard 10 February), ‘where people can come to debate, and we respect other people's right to express their views. We share the concerns for the challenges that we all face together as a result of climate change.’ Photo Mail Online/EPA.

Fellows (and Friends)

Andrew Argyrakis FSA, heritage care consultant, died in December. An appreciation appears in Fellows Remembered below, along with one for Bob Child FSA, whose death has been announced previously.
We remember three archaeologists, who were not Fellows, who died recently:

Jasper Griffin, a Homeric scholar and, according to the Times (13 December) one-time tutor to the Prime Minister, died in November. A Telegraph obituary (28 November) says Griffin ‘rose from humble origins to eminence as a classical scholar, becoming a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and Public Orator and Professor of Classical Literature in the University from 1992 until 2004.’ He ‘made his name as a Homeric scholar,’ and was able ‘to produce work of the highest quality in both Latin and Greek. In addition to publishing several important works of literary criticism, he compiled two witty anthologies of snobbery, and wrote book reviews and magazine articles on everything from the dangers of booking a ticket on British Airways online to the advantages of polytheism.’ An obituary in the Guardian focuses on the insights he brought to the study of the Iliad and the Odyssey, seeking to reconcile academic emphases on ‘technical aspects’ and ‘the poems as poetry’.
The Buffalo News (7 January) reports that Warren T D Barbour, the first African American to earn a doctorate in archaeology in the United States, died in December. Based at the University at Buffalo, New York for 37 years, Barbour was ‘an innovative archaeologist’ who specialised in Meso-American archaeology and worked at Teotihuacan, Mexico. Analysing fingerprints baked into terracotta human figurines from the ancient city, he determined that they were made by both men and women. His consultancy Dean and Barbour Associates, which focused on historical archaeology, excavated an African American burial ground in New York City, uncovering the remains of hundreds of slaves. He led the site interpretation and outreach about ‘an entire population of first-generation African slaves … virtually buried under Wall Street’.

Janice Stargardt, Professorial Research Fellow in Asian Historical Archaeology and Geography at the University of Cambridge, and a Senior Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, died in January. Her research explored the transition of societies in South-East India, Burma and Thailand, from Iron Age villages to complex, literate and urbanised communities. She conducted annual surveys and excavations in Myanmar, mainly on early Pyu urban sites. ‘Janice worked in relative obscurity for much of her SEA archaeological career, despite her innovative research approaches to studying landscape change and water management,’ commented Miriam Stark on the Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog (15 January). ‘She experienced the kind of professional marginalization that so many other women archaeologists did in her generation, and – like them – labored on seemingly undeterred.’


David J Breeze FSA has written The Pilgrimages of Hadrian’s Wall 1849–2019: A History, with contributions from Tony Birley FSA, Katie Mountain, Ivana Protic, John Peter Wild FSA and John Wilkes FSA. The Pilgrimage of Hadrian’s Wall has been organised by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle and the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society since 1886, and since the centenary in 1949 has been held in the ninth year of every decade. Over 200 ‘Pilgrims’, each with a Pilgrimage handbook, spend a week visiting sites that reflect recent work on the Wall, in addition to inspecting forts and museums. The book tells the stories of all 14 Pilgrimages held over the last 170 years. It is ‘probably the oldest and continuing archaeological tour in the world’, says Breeze, who chaired the organising committee for four successive events and claims to have attended every one since 1969. The front cover shows Matt Symonds FSA enthusing walkers in 2019.

Dirk Obbink, Associate Professor in Papyrology and Greek Literature at the University of Oxford, is accused of selling texts from the Egypt Exploration Society’s Oxyrhynchus collection, which it says it the world’s largest collection of ancient papyri, to Hobby Lobby Stores, an arts and crafts chain based in Oklahoma City. The EES is working with the Museum of the Bible for the texts’ return. In August 2016 the EES did not re-appoint Obbink as a General Editor of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri; in June 2019 his access to the EES collection was blocked; and in October, according to Charlotte Higgins FSA in a long and fascinating piece for the Guardian (9 January) he was ‘suspended from duties following the biggest scandal that has ever hit, and is ever likely to hit, the University of Oxford’s classics department’. ‘Classicists’, says Higgins, ‘are by turns gripped by the drama, and horrified by its implications.’ Roberta Mazza added details in a long blog (January 13), concluding that current UK legislation 'does not help fostering a cultural environment in which ancient manuscripts are studied and protected by academics, dealers and collectors with higher ethical standards than those this story has brought to light.’ Obbink denies all accusations, which were reported to the police in November. • As Higgins reported on 21 January, Obbink was the owner of the anchorite manuscript described in the last Salon. He sold it to an overseas buyer, and it now has a temporary export bar in the hope that someone can raise £168,750 to keep it in the UK.

From the reprehensible in Oxford to the ridiculous in Spain. Eliseo Gil, an archaeologist, Óscar Escribano, a geologist and Rubén Cerdán, a materials analyst, are in court in the Basque capital Vitoria-Gasteiz, accused of fraud and damage to heritage. The men claim to have excavated hundreds of Roman-era ostraca, pottery sherds incised with graffiti, which, among other things, show the oldest illustration of Christ’s crucifixion and the first examples of written Basque. Soon after they had announced their discoveries in 2006 the inscriptions were officially declared false: much of the script, language, wording and content, it was said, could not possibly be so old. This did not stop claims and counterclaims, however, and in 2017 (Zephyrus 79) Ignacio Rodríguez Temiño added to the controversy by pointing out that graffiti syntax reflected contemporary expressions of nationalist identity. The hoax, said Rodríguez Temiño, was conducted in a project to promote an ancient site at Iruña-Veleia III, uniquely funded by public companies and approved by the Basque Culture Department. Nonetheless, ‘it cannot be concluded that nationalism was the driving force behind the forgery’, and Rodríguez Temiño was critical of media ‘complicity’, emphasising ‘the new, exotic or unusual’ and blurring ‘the boundaries between entertainment and information’. The photo shows a front page detail of Berria, a newspaper whose support for the fraud is said to have been critical to its success. Gil maintains that he is innocent and that the artefacts are genuine.
Glynn Coppack FSA and Laurence Keen FSA have written Mount Grace Priory: Excavations of 1957–1992, which reports in detail on excavations at the key Carthusian monastery in North Yorkshire that is now owned by the National Trust and managed by English Heritage. The first to dig among the ruins was Sir William St John Hope, in 1896–1900, followed by others in 1968–74 and again in 1985. In 1987 English Heritage commissioned the re-excavation of two areas examined by Hope, which was accompanied by a reappraisal of the monastery’s architectural development and reconstruction of lost structures. Coppack and Keen, both involved in the more recent excavations, describe monks’ cells with evidence for copying and binding books. Because each cell was enclosed by high walls, the pottery and metalwork recovered could be identified to an individual monk. Most of the contributors, says Coppack, are also Fellows, among them Colin Hayfield FSA, Kevin Leahy FSA and the late Andrew Saunders FSA.

Mark Evans FSA, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is curating Renaissance Watercolours: from Dürer to Van Dyck, which will open on 16 May. The exhibition, says the V&A, ‘will bring together 200 rarely seen masterpieces to present the early watercolour as a unified art form for the first time. Due to their light-sensitivity, watercolours are rarely displayed, and great works in this medium have traditionally been separated across specialist fields in different collections. Renaissance Watercolours will finally unite some of the finest examples of watercolour from the V&A – home to the national collections of watercolours and portrait miniatures – and many other world-renowned UK and international collections.’ ‘I have dreamed of mounting this exhibition for 20 years’, says Evans in a statement. The illustration shows an unknown man painted by Nicholas Hilliard c 1600, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Matthew Spriggs FSA and Stuart Bedford, both of the Australian National University and Vanuatu Cultural Centre, have edited Debating Lapita: Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence, the updated proceedings of the Eighth International Lapita Conference, held in Port Vila, Vanuatu in 2015. There are 23 chapters about the archaeology of Lapita, a cultural horizon associated with people who first colonised much of the south-west Pacific some 3,000 years ago. The first list of Lapita sites, identified by distinctive decorated pottery, was compiled in 1979: there were 60. The new tally is 293, ranging from New Guinea to Samoa. It was decided to return to Port Vila for the 2015 conference, say the editors, because of ‘extremely significant findings made during the excavation of the Teouma Lapita Cemetery site on Efate Island, Vanuatu, from 2004 to 2010’. ‘This volume is the most comprehensive review of Lapita research to date,’ says a puff, and it can be downloaded for free.
Presenting Open Country on BBC Radio 4 (30 January), Helen Mark went to Tintagel in Cornwall to see a new cantilevered footbridge linking the castle to the mainland. The bridge opened in August last year, replacing the old route that went up and down over 100 steps, and reinstating, claims English Heritage, ‘the original route, offering visitors the chance to experience Tintagel Castle the way its medieval inhabitants once did’. Mark talks to a story teller and archaeologists about King Arthur. Jacky Nowakowski FSA describes excavations in 2016–17 required by works for the footbridge, ‘an extraordinary place to be’, where they found previously unknown buildings and fine Mediterranean artefacts from the fifth and sixth centuries AD, and an inscribed stone: ‘every day was just an amazing day’. And the two women hide from the wind and rain. • English Heritage is hosting a conference about Tintagel in early April, see Other Heritage Events below.

Fellows Remembered

Robert Ernest Child FSA died on 16 December 2019 aged 68. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in May 1990. David Leigh FSA, a conservation advisor to the National Trust and a former Director of the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation, has kindly supplied this memorial:
‘Bob Child was formerly Head of Conservation at the National Museum and Galleries of Wales in Cardiff. His scientific background and intimate working knowledge of collections led to his becoming a champion for integrated pest management in museums and historic houses around the world.
‘The younger of two children, Bob was born in Kenya where his father worked as Senior Chemist and Director of the Tea Research Institute and his mother as a teacher. In 1961 the family moved back to England, settling in Wokingham, Berkshire. On retirement his father became a local councillor and later Mayor of Wokingham. His mother, Frances, was a teacher in Finchampstead School where she taught the young Bob. He was the only one in his year to pass the 11+ exam and he went on to attend Forest Grammar School for Boys in Winnersh.
‘While studying Geology and Chemistry at Exeter University he worked part-time as a research chemist in the oil industry for Castrol. After graduating he worked on an archaeological site outside Exeter Cathedral, and this led to him turning down a proposed job with Castrol in favour of being the new Conservator at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.

'In 1977 he moved to what is now St Fagan’s National Museum of History outside Cardiff. At his interview for the job, when asked if he spoke Welsh, he replied that the only Welsh he knew was the motto on the Prince of Wales’s coat of arms, Ich dien, but fortunately his interviewers realised he was joking. He was, however, required to learn Welsh quickly as all meetings were held in Welsh. He also acquired a cursory knowledge of rugby.
‘His grasp of the requirements of conservation, his background in chemistry and his engaging personality meant that he was an ideal teacher to conservation students. With this in mind, groups of London Institute of Archaeology conservation students were taken to St Fagan’s for a day of theory and practice on preventive conservation. In the 1980s Bob also featured as a tutor on International Academic Projects Summer School courses.
‘In 1989, he became Head of Conservation at the National Museum where he worked until his retirement. There he progressed conservation of the collections and is remembered especially for being so supportive and encouraging to staff, students and interns.
‘In his later years, Bob was a visiting lecturer at numerous institutions in the UK – among them Sotheby’s Institute of Art, UCL Institute of Archaeology, the Science Museum, the Wallace Collection and the British Museum – as well as around the world. He travelled alone, with entomologist David Pinniger, or others including conservator Valentine Walsh FSA, to locations such as Vienna, Paris, Rome, Sri Lanka, Australia, Guatemala (with Valentine during a civil war), Texas, Florida, Egypt, Croatia and Bosnia (again during a war).

‘During the Bosnian War in the 1990s, Bob travelled to Sarajevo to help safeguard the exhibits of the Balkan Natural History Museum. To get to the museum each day, he was required to sprint down a street nestled between two high-rise buildings, Sniper’s Alley. Remarkably, the museum remained open throughout the entire conflict.

'It is said that people never forgot what he taught them given the very un-PC jokes he littered throughout his lectures. He developed a reputation as a knowledgeable, witty and irreverent speaker. David Pinniger recalls: “I soon found out he was one of the most interesting, entertaining and infuriating people I had ever met. I learnt a lot about conservation and working with museums, and we also had some great times together as well as some embarrassing ones.”
‘Bob was for many years a highly valued expert adviser to the National Trust, travelling the country to identify the pests afflicting their collections and advising on suitable means of control. He also advised Historic Royal Palaces and English Heritage. In addition, he ran his own successful company, Historyonics, which provides insect traps and advice to many clients across the world.
‘He collaborated with David Pinniger on 12 papers for journals and conferences, and some of these, such as the “Pest Odyssey” series, were pivotal in the development of pest management. In its formative years Bob served as the Secretary of the United Kingdom Institute of Conservation (UKIC) where he helped set a direction for the organisation, including accreditation. He was for many years the Secretary of this Society's Welsh Regional Fellows Group, in which capacity he organised many memorable meetings in Wales. He was also a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation.
‘He might have been described as “a lovable rogue” with a most irreverent and dry sense of humour which could be quite cutting of himself or others. He was clever, kind, understanding, and could be very entertaining. He could also rub some people up the wrong way! Nevertheless, he was well-liked throughout the heritage world and renowned for his healthy scepticism of authority, his keen intelligence and wealth of knowledge.
‘Bob was married three times, his third wife from 2011 being Valentine Walsh, fellow conservator. She survives him alongside his three children from his first marriage.’
Alan Aberg FSA adds a further note about the Welsh Fellows:
‘Bob Child began attendance at meetings of the Welsh Fellows in 1995 and took the post as Secretary in the following year, thus relieving me of being both Chairman and Secretary. He widened the circulation list to include all Welsh Fellows instead of just the circle in South Wales. He also added more meetings to the programme including the now annual lecture in March. Two meetings a year turned into four and his network of contacts added new participants at our meetings. Also the locations expanded to include a variety of venues for lunch followed by a lecture. He provided an efficiency and consistency that kept the Welsh Fellows active.’
The photo is by Valentine Walsh.


Andrew George Argyrakis FSA died on 23 December 2019 aged 68. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 2006. What follows is taken mainly from his LinkedIn profile:
Andrew Argyrakis attained the Museum Association Conservation Certificate at UCL London Institute of Archaeology in 1975, and worked for a year as a Conservation Officer at the Museum of London. In 1976 he became Principal Assistant Curator (Conservation) at the Passmore Edwards Museum, London, where he was responsible for the care and conservation of the museum's collections.
In 1990 he joined the Church of England as Senior Conservation Officer. Based in Westminster, he advised on the care and conservation of historic furnishings and works of art in over 16,000 parish churches across England, and administered a grants programme. From 1992 he was also advisor on conservation issues to the St Albans Diocesan Advisory Committee. He continued to work as an independent heritage care consultant after leaving Westminster in 2011.
He was a manager of agency agreements with the Area Museums Service for South Eastern England (AMSSEE), and with English Heritage for the provision of regional care of collections and conservation services. He was a member of AMSSEE’s Archaeology Advisory Panel and Chair of AMSSEE’s Care of Collections Panel.

The Wisdom of Fellows 

Vincent Megaw FSA writes from Flinders University, Adelaide, having read Salon’s tribute to the late Alexander Cambitoglou FSA. Born in Greece, Cambitoglou spent the greater part of his career teaching Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney – where Megaw also taught:
‘Cambitoglou was the most recent recruit to Archaeology at Sydney University. Like those who preceded him – Judy Birmingham (the Near East), J R “Dick” Green (Roman archaeology) and myself (European prehistory) – he was part of a grand plan developed in the early 60s by J R B Stewart, Foundation holder of the Edwin Cuthbert Hall Chair of Near Eastern Archaeology and a Cyprus specialist, to establish a department centred on the Mediterranean and the regions bordering on it.
‘I was the token barbarian while Cambitoglou was to be concerned with Ancient Greece. Stewart died very shortly after, and – a point where your summary of Cambitoglou’s career is not entirely correct – Cambitoglou, though the senior academic amongst us, was for some time chair-less; clearly he did not fit Stewart’s rubric for the Chair.
‘It cannot be denied that he was a consummate leader, for what he saw as the senior branch of our profession and his ability to attract financial support was – almost – universally admired. Thus, the wealth of a Greek-Australian champion of football (soccer, not Australian rules), Arthur T George, funded a new Arthur and Renee George Chair of Classical Archaeology in exchange – as it were – for one of the last knighthoods appointed before Australia established its own national orders. It was Alexander’s cultivation of the aristocratic Labor Prime Minister of the day, Gough Whitlam with his wife’s love of all things ancient and Greek, which led to the foundation of the Archaeological Institute in Athens.
‘Cambitoglou had a single-minded view as to what Archaeology at Sydney should comprise. As with Stewart, it was not to have anything do with the archaeology of Australia, either of Indigenous Australia or the archaeology of white settlement. His field was first and foremost South Italian vase painting. The chance for Sydney to become a centre for a broad-based Department of Archaeology only finally approached a reality with the appointment a few years ago of the first Chair of Australian Archaeology.
‘Cambitoglou used to tease us from time to time by saying: “I could have been quite a successful concert pianist”. Tease, because whatever else this was very probably true.’

Matthew Spriggs FSA tells us that Tim Denham FSA has recently been promoted to full Professor in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, at the Australian National University.
In the last Salon I mentioned that John Kenyon FSA has written a souvenir guidebook to Llandaff Cathedral, adding that he was the Cathedral’s Head Server. Kenyon writes to say that he was indeed Head Server, but retired a couple of years ago, and is the Honorary Archivist to the Cathedral and also the Vicar’s Churchwarden (the Dean is Dean and Vicar in the Cathedral). Apologies.


I gave considerable space in the last Salon to a Fellow who had objected to my reporting of newly published research into early art in Indonesia. Where he disagreed with my judgments, based on knowledge of the academic literature, he accused me of being lazy, ignorant and ‘unimportant’. It was all very silly, but I felt he should have his say, and I was gratified to receive messages of support from archaeologists around the world. I have thanked them personally, and I will not quote them for fear of attracting further accusations of grandstanding. But I’d like to refer to an article sent to me by a Fellow with considerable research expertise in the world’s earliest art. The piece was written by Gail Cardew, and published as a comment in Nature 578 (4 February).
Wellcome, writes Cardew, has confirmed that ‘unkindness, and worse, is pervasive in science. Academic leaders expressed alarm – both for the health of young researchers and for how such pressure could erode the quality of science.’
But she thinks there is a greater worry.
‘What hope’, she continues, ‘is there for those in science to build a trusting and respectful relationship with the public when so many scientists are schooled in a culture lacking these qualities? The need for trust and respect is particularly acute now, when people, as the British politician Michael Gove infamously put it, “have had enough of experts”.’
Cardew concludes:
‘A kinder research culture will build stronger, deeper support for research, as well as higher-quality science. Maintaining public trust should not mean shouting more loudly in a noisy world. Instead, let’s look at our own behaviour and ask ourselves – are we really acting in the best interests of others?’

Forthcoming Events for Fellows

You can catch up on meetings you've missed by visiting our YouTube Channel.

Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins, Communications Manager ( We are currently scheduled a year in advance for our Ordinary Meeting Lectures. 

Ordinary Meetings are held from 17.00 to 18.00 on Thursdays. Open to Fellows and their invited guests. There are an additional 20 places available for non-Fellows to book. These places are £5 and can be booked through our website. 

13 Feb: The Hypogée des Dunes, Poitiers:  Faith and Science in Nineteenth-Century France by Professor Bonnie Effros  

20 Feb: Anatomy of a Lithic Scatter: The contribution of the Grieve Collection to understanding of the site at Nethermills, Banchory, Aberdeenshire. by Caroline Wickham-Jones FSA

27 Feb: Unpicking the Morton ‘cope’ by Dr Mary Brooks FSA & Dr Sonia O'Connor FSA

Forthcoming Public Events

Conferences and Seminars

One day conference on which will explore the wide range of images and text displayed by seals and how this can be interpreted to reveal social identities, both normal and exceptional, across medieval and early modern Britain. Different identities will be explored, including: urban and rural; learned and unlearned; craft and communal. It will also explore links with personal and family names, inherited symbols, and how far family relationships influence seals.

Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.  

Room Closures 

The Library will be closing at 3.30pm on Monday 9 March to facilitate a Society event. 

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Please see bulletin above regarding potential upcoming activities. You can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.

Welsh Fellows

Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? Please see bulletin above regarding potential upcoming activities. You can sign-up to hear about future activities, sign-up here.

York Fellows

Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.

Tuesday March 17: Fellows' Evening

From the Dungheap to the Stars. Investigating medieval gunpowder: A multidisciplinary approach using experimental archaeology, contemporary sources and artefact studies by Kay Smith FSA  

‘Gunpowder, or black powder, is one of the most important inventions of the last millennium, changing the world as much as printing or the silicon chip. Yet we know surprisingly little about its origins and early development and even less about its properties and performance. This can be put down to a number of factors: few, if any, surviving examples; confusing and often difficult to understand documentary sources; and finally the invention of nitro-glycerine-based explosives in the 1840s which put a stop to investigation of black powder. However, over the last 15 years, experimental work and archive research by the Ho Group at the Middlealdercentret in Denmark has begun to unravel its mysteries.
One of the primary outcomes of our research has been that this seemingly simple mixture, of saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur, has proven to be amazingly complex. Its properties, such as how fast it burns, are related to a number of interconnected variables including how it is contained, its degree of compaction as well as its composition. This lecture will outline our work over the last decade and the results of our most recent experiments and investigations.’

Save the date: July 23rd 
We are in the process of arranging a summer event and more details will follow. A late summer event is also under discussion.


York Antiquaries Lectures take place in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent, York. The Bar Convent is close to the Nunnery Lane car park, Nunnery Lane, York, YO23 1AA and ten minutes walk from the railway station. The meetings will begin with refreshments at 6-6.30 with the presentation at 19.00 followed by questions. There is a meal for those Fellows who wish to join us after the lecture, but it is essential to let me know in advance as we have to book a table.    

It is also very helpful to know if Fellows intend to come to the lecture so that we can order the right amount of wine. Fellows may, of course, bring guests (in line with the new constitution up to five), but please book at


Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (, the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.

Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.

Presently we are scheduled approximately a year in advance. 

Other Heritage Events

• Entries new to this Salon are marked by The Veil of Time, the keystone over the entrance to the Society’s premises in Burlington House

13 February: Princes, Parkland and Politics: The Legacy of Muskauer Park and its Modern Revalorization (London)
Brian Dix will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. Later owners largely adhered to Prince Pückler’s vision for the park that he began building at Muskau (Saxony) in the early 19th century. Its area was split between Germany and Poland after the Second World War, followed by neglect and losses which are now being restored through exemplary transnational co-operation. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.

17 February: The Snowball Revolt – Renaissance Politics in the Venetian Lagoon (London)
Venice in Peril presents a joint event with the British Italian Society at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. In 1511 the fishermen and glassmakers on the island of Murano staged an unusual challenge to their patrician ruler. Claire Judde de Larivière, political historian and author, takes the Snowball Revolt of 1511 as a starting point to show how ordinary citizens played a part in shaping politics in the Venetian Republic. Details online.
18 February: The Lost Art of Wentworth Woodhouse (London)
Peter Brown’s talk for the Georgian Group re-imagines what the Wentworth Woodhouse mansion would have looked like in its heyday. When the Fitzwilliam family moved out of the house in the 1940s, a series of sales saw much of the contents distributed around the globe. Some 200 paintings and engravings, by the likes of Van Dyck, Reynolds, Stubbs and Lely, plus masterpieces by Guercino, Guido and Andrea del Sarto, were dispersed, together with 400 pieces of furniture and a significant collection of sculpture including important works from Herculaneum and Tivoli. Details online.
19 February: Craig Ellwood and the Betterment of Johnnie Burke (Oxford)
Neil Jackson FSA will give the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain’s President’s Lecture 2020 in Rewley House. Few architects did more than Craig Ellwood to create the image or life-style of post-war Los Angeles. Although he was feted world-wide in the architectural press, his rise from humble beginnings to architectural stardom was as much the product of single-minded self-promotion as it was of any real design skill or architectural ability. Details online.
24 February: The Mystery of Redwares in Princely Collections (London)
Errol Manners FSA, dealer in historic ceramics, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.

26 February: Beth Chatto: A Life in Plants (London)
Catherine Horwood, social historian and author, will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. Dr Horwood worked with Beth Chatto for several years on her archives before being asked to write her biography. Her talk will draw on Chatto’s amazing life from her childhood seed patch to her rise to fame and the creation of one of the most influential gardens of the 20th century. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.
27 February: An Introduction to GIS for Archaeologists (Oxford)
This course will provide participants with a working knowledge of GIS software and its practical applications for use in archaeology and is aimed at those working in fieldwork or in the office within development-led archaeology, acting in supervisory or project officer roles. It is recommended that participants should have some prior understanding of how archaeological projects are usually carried out and a basic understanding of key GIS concepts prior to their attendance. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
5 March: Law and the Historic Environment (Oxford)
This course provides an introduction for all who need to gain a broad understanding of the main legislative, regulatory and policy regimes for the historic environment, the ways in which those regimes are being applied at present, and the implications in practice for those working in the area. It is designed for those responsible for the supervision and conduct of historic environment investigations, whether in the professional or voluntary sectors. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.

11 March: Re-visioning the High Line, New York – “two guys with a logo” (London)
Jill Raggett, Emeritus Reader in Gardens and Designed Landscapes, will talk in a series of Gardens Trust lectures. The world's cities are housing more of us and are having to work harder to re-vision existing spaces. Future designers will be the keepers of such vital places. With the help of an Essex Gardens Trust Travel Bursary, Raggett visited the successful High Line in New York City, to see how we can re-imagine spaces. For further details contact Sally Jeffery FSA: or 07817 128147, and see online.
16 March: Francesco Morosini, Warrior Doge: Venice and the End of Empire (London)
Francesco Morosini (1619–94) was Venice’s last great doge. Fighting the Turks in the Peloponnese, he brought the Elgin Marbles – indirectly – to Britain, and gave Venice its final burst of prestige as a Mediterranean power. Jonathan Keates FSA, Chairman of Venice in Peril, evokes the thrilling yet also tragic career of this compelling figure. The talk will be at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. Details online. • An exhibition, Francesco Morosini: The Serenissima's Last Hero, between History and Myth, is at the Correr Museum, Venice, until 3 May.
16–18 March: Short Course in Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Chronological Analysis (Oxford)
Hosted by NERC Radiocarbon Facility and Oxford NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, this course is aimed at researchers using radiocarbon and other techniques, including Quaternary geologists, palaeobiologists, archaeologists and marine geoscientists. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
18 March: Charles II: The Court in Exile (London)
Third in a series of free lectures at the Museum of London on the theme of Theatres of Revolution: Stuart Kings and the architecture of disruption, by Simon Thurley FSA for Gresham College as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment. For a decade after the execution of Charles I the Stuart courts were based in the Low Countries and France. Determined to maintain splendour and dignity, though short of money, Charles II used rented mansions as headquarters for the exiled monarchy. In these hitherto unknown royal ‘palaces’ the king and his courtiers developed tastes that were to fundamentally fashion the art and architecture of Restoration England. Details online.
23–27 March: Histories of Archaeology (Canberra)
The Collective Biography of Archaeology in the Pacific (CBAP) Australian Research Council Laureate Project, led by Matthew Spriggs FSA, will be hosting this conference at the Australian National University in Canberra, airing new ideas on the history of archaeology worldwide. Invited keynote speakers include Margarita Diaz-Andreu FSA, Stephanie Moser FSA, Tim Murray FSA, Lynette Russell and Nathan Schlanger. The conference launches the CBAP-linked international museum exhibitions under the title of Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of Archaeology in Oceania, which will take place at approximately 40 museums and cultural institutions worldwide. Enquiries to, details online.
25 March: Economies of Destruction? Creating Value by Destroying Valuables (Reading)
Professor David Fontijn, University of Leiden will give the inaugural Richard Bradley Lecture in the Ditchburn Lecture Theatre, hosted by the Department of Archaeology. Economies of Destruction is the title of a book by the speaker (2019), which asks why people destroy objects and materials that are important to them? The book focuses on a time when such destructive behaviour reached unseen heights and complexity: the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in Europe (2300–500 BC). Details online.
30 March: The Gilded Age in Canada: Reconstructing the Life and Afterlife of the Sir William Van Horne Collection (London)
Janet M Brooke, independent scholar, Montreal, Canada, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
2–4 April: Tintagel in Late Antiquity - Recent Excavations and Research (Truro)
This conference organised by English Heritage at Truro College will draw together the results of a major four-year research project, which included the first excavations since those by Glasgow University in the 1990s. Results of the Tintagel Castle Archaeological Research Project focus on the evidence for trading links in Late Antiquity with the Mediterranean. Speakers include Alex Bayliss FSA, Mark Bowden FSA, Michelle Brown FSA (paper to be read on her behalf), Nick Holder FSA and Jacky Nowakowski FSA. Details online.

3–4 April: New Research on Finds from Roman Scotland and the North (Glasgow)
The Roman Finds Group is holding a conference in association with the University of Glasgow and Historic Environment Scotland, with talks on various aspects of finds from recent work in Scotland and the north. There will be a pre-conference tour of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and a private viewing of The Antonine Wall: Rome’s Final Frontier in the Hunterian Museum. Speakers include Lindsay Allason-Jones FSA, Mike Bishop FSA, David Breeze FSA, James Gerrard FSA, Stephen Greep FSA, Jenny Hall FSA, Fraser Hunter FSA, Rebecca Jones FSA and Lawrence Keppie FSA. Details online.

4 April: DARGANFOD – DISCOVERY: A Celebration of New Archaeological Research in Wales (Cardiff)
This is the first of a new series of biennial conferences which will showcase work supported by the Cambrian Archaeological Association Research Fund, organised in association with Cardiff University. Speakers include Jeffrey L Davies FSA, Toby Driver FSA, Adam Gwilt FSA, Alan Lane FSA, Gary Lock FSA and Mike Parker Pearson FSA. Details online.
16–18 April: A Commemoration of Sharon Cather (York)
With papers from leading conservators and scholars, this conference celebrates the life and achievements of the late Sharon Cather FSA, especially her unique contribution to the conservation of wall paintings. The conference will also provide a forum to take stock of the current state of wall painting conservation internationally, and to consider future developments. Speakers include Sarah Brown FSA, Tobit Curteis FSA and Michael Michael FSA. Details online.
24–25 April: Celebrating Roman West Cumbria: The Senhouse Roman Museum 30th Anniversary Conference (Maryport)
2020 is the 30th anniversary of the Senhouse Roman Museum opening to the public. Events and exhibitions are planned throughout the year, of which this conference is part. Speakers include Lindsay Allason-Jones FSA, Ian Haynes FSA, Rachel Newman FSA, Sebastian Sommer FSA and Tony Wilmott FSA. David Breeze FSA, Patron of the Museum, former Trustee and previous Chair of Trustees, will be guest of honour. Details online.
27 April: The Dutch King Willem II (1792–1849) as Collector and Source of some Important Pictures in the Wallace Collection (London)
Ellinoor Bergvelt, guest researcher University of Amsterdam/Research Fellow, Dulwich Picture Gallery, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
30 April: Stratigraphic Analysis in Archaeology (Oxford)
This course is designed to develop your skills in post-excavation stratigraphic analysis. Starting with a review of first principles, we will look at how sites form through a combination of natural processes and human interventions. It is designed for those who are familiar with the processes of excavation and stratigraphic recording, and are looking to develop their skills in the post-excavation stages of analysis, dating, and interpretation. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
1–3 May: The Great House in the Twenty-first Century (Oxford)
The popularity of the great house for the hereditary aristocracy, aspiring owners and the visiting public has continued to blossom in the present century. A weekend (not the May bank holiday weekend) at Rewley House will provide an opportunity to explore some of the themes about the great house which have emerged since the turn of the millennium. It will cover new and established houses and their garden settings, and will examine the ways in which houses are managed and presented to the public. Speakers include Malcolm Airs FSA, Tarnya Cooper FSA, Ben Cowell FSA, Jeremy Musson FSA and Alan Powers FSA. Details online.
6–7 May: The Setting of Heritage Assets and Places (Oxford)
The course will be of particular interest to those involved with heritage issues in planning decisions, especially major developments affecting sensitive locations. Such involvement could be as planning or heritage consultants; planning officers; agency regulators; historic environment curators; or representatives of amenity societies or other voluntary bodies. It will also be of use to those who commission studies such as conservation plans, heritage assessments or specialist studies for strategic and project scale environmental assessments. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
13 May: Heritage Research: Skills and Sources (Oxford)
This course aims to introduce you to the research sources available online, in archives, museums and libraries, and help you develop the skills needed to work with these sources. It will also introduce the types of information that you can collect from simple field surveys, and how scientific methods can aid heritage research projects. The course will be useful to anyone engaged professionally with heritage assets including students engaged in heritage-related research projects. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.

18 May: Marvels in Lucknow: ‘Ajab and Asaf al-Dawla’s Collection of Curiosities (London)
Arthur Bijl, Assistant Curator of Ottoman, Middle Eastern and Asian Arms and Armour, the Wallace Collection, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
23 May: New Thinking about Medieval Furniture (London)
The Regional Furniture Society’s themed Research in Progress event 2020 will be on 16th-century furniture and the regional chair, reporting on the latest research and drawing on both furniture history and history of art approaches. Speakers include Martin Bridge FSA and Nick Humphrey FSA. Details online.
27–28 May: Churches: History, Significance and Use (Oxford)
The course provides a firm foundation of the history of church architecture and furnishings, and provides the skills to draft statements of significance. This will enable participants to analyse and evaluate proposals for change. The course is aimed particularly at those who are actively involved in the management of church buildings. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
10 June: William and Mary: The Court Divided (London)
Fourth in a series of free lectures at the Museum of London on the theme of Theatres of Revolution: Stuart Kings and the architecture of disruption, by Simon Thurley FSA for Gresham College as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment. Like James I, King William III was unhappy with the formality of England’s vast crumbling royal estate. But unlike James, who virtually abandoned Edinburgh, William maintained a second court, and a parallel suite of royal houses, in the Netherlands. Mostly ignored by English historians, these houses are the key to understanding the style that we now know as William and Mary, and its impact on England. Details online.

26 June: Delivering Public Benefit through Archaeology (Oxford)
The public value of the historic environment is recognised in planning policy across the UK, professional bodies require their members to work in the public interest, funding bodies expect the public to benefit from publicly funded archaeological work. The course is aimed at all archaeologists/historic environment professionals responsible for commissioning, specifying and/or delivering programmes of work which aim to deliver public benefit. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.

29 June: The ‘Primo Costo’ Inventory of Count Saverio Marchese (1757–1833): Mapping the Print Market in Malta and its European Connections (London)
Krystle Attard Trevisan, PhD candidate, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
1–3 July: Condition Surveys of Historic Buildings (Oxford)
This course aims to give participants an understanding of traditional construction and its defects and to provide the skills to carry out balanced and informed surveys of historic buildings. It is designed for built environment professionals who are responsible for the repair, maintenance and management of heritage assets, public sector planning and conservation professionals, and owners of heritage. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
3–4 July: 'Our Aelred': Friendship, Leadership and Sainthood at Rievaulx Abbey (Leeds)
This major conference hosted by English Heritage is timed to coincide with the Leeds International Medieval Conference. Aelred, abbot of Rievaulx 1147–67, was one of the most important monastic leaders of the Middle Ages, and remains an inspirational figure. The conference is an opportunity to examine his impact on the architectural development of Rievaulx, his role in the Cistercian settlement of northern England, his activities as an author and his impact in the wider monastic world and his legacy. The event also features a round-table discussion focused on debates about Aelred’s sexuality. An international panel of speakers includes Janet Burton FSA, Michael Carter FSA, Peter Fergusson FSA, Alexandra Gajewski FSA and Stuart Harrison FSA. Details online.
27 July: Descriptions of Collections and their Display at the Stuart Court in 1669 in a Manuscript Account of Prince George of Denmark's Grand Tour (1668-1670) (London)
Sara Ayres, independent scholar, London, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
14–18 September: From College Library to Country House (Cambridge)
This residential course directed by Andrew Moore FSA for the Attingham Trust at Clare College, University of Cambridge, focuses on iconic libraries. These include the historic libraries of Houghton Hall (created by Robert Walpole) and Holkham Hall (home to one of Britain’s greatest private manuscript and printed book collections); the library designed by James Gibbs for Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford at Wimpole Hall, and Anglesey Abbey, created by the Anglo-American oil magnate Huttleton Broughton, first Lord Fairhaven (both now owned by the National Trust); the barely known and privately owned Narford Hall, Norfolk (Sir Andrew Fountaine’s library, built after his return from Europe in 1718); the Old Libraries of St John’s College and Queens’ College; the Wren Library, Trinity; the Pepys Library, Magdalene College; the Parker Library at Corpus Christi; the Founder’s Library at the Fitzwilliam Museum; and historic book collections in the University Library designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. Lecturers include James Campbell FSA, David McKitterick FSA, David Pearson FSA and Mark Purcell FSA. Details online.
16–17 September: Photographing Historic Buildings (Oxford)
Digital cameras have greatly changed the way we record our architectural history, simplifying the process and reducing the cost of image capture, thereby encouraging a scatter-gun method of photography. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
23–25 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
Significance is now a core concept within our planning process. Its assessment is a key part of management and development within the historic environment. This course will introduce the process, show you what is involved in preparing assessments of significance, teach you how to read and judge such assessments, and explore the ways in which they can be used. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online
28 September: Germanic and Gentle? The Foundation and Early Collections of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg (London)
Heike Zech FSA, Head of Decorative Arts before 1800 and History of Craft, Germanisches NationalMuseum, Nuremberg, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
8 October: Project Management in Archaeology: An Introduction (Oxford)
Project management has become a core function for those working at senior levels within the historic environment sector, but many historic environment professionals still progress into management roles with little or no formal management training. This course is designed for those who are new to the project management role and will draw on the extensive experience of the tutors in development-led archaeology. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.

26 October: The Paintings by Horace Vernet in Louis-Philippe's Private Collection: Commission, Purpose, Display and Destination (London)
Valérie M C Bajou, Chief Curator, Versailles Palace, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.
25–27 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
This course introduces potential witnesses and advocates to the techniques and procedures of public inquiries dealing with the historic environment, including preparing proofs of evidence. A mock inquiry will be staged. An Oxford University Department of Continuing Education course at Rewley House. Details online.
30 November: Creating a Market: Dealers, Auctioneers and the Passion for Riesener Furniture, 1800–1882 (London)
Helen Jacobsen, Senior Curator, the Wallace Collection, will talk in the Wallace Collection’s 2020 History of Collecting seminar series. Details online.

Calls for Papers

20–22 June: Pottery and Religion (Durham)
Religion was an integral part of daily life in the medieval and post-medieval periods, and it would be surprising if we could see no evidence of its impact in the ceramic record. That impact could have taken various forms: in the types and functions of pottery used on religious sites (did this really differ from secular consumer sites?), and in the stimulus to the establishment of ceramic industries to service religious establishments. Religious messages could be transmitted in various ways on vessels, or more subtly through the incorporation of religious symbols in ceramic design. The pots themselves also featured as symbols in religious iconography. High quality ceramics are often found on religious sites, but is this a general pattern, and is it always a straightforward reflection of higher social status? Can religious change be seen in the ceramic record? What were the impacts of religions other than Christianity? The Medieval Pottery Research Group invites papers of up to 30 minutes addressing any aspect of the links between pottery and religion in the medieval and post-medieval periods. Please submit an abstract of no more than 150 words to Lorraine Mepham, MPRG Meetings Secretary, by 1 March, at or telephone 01722 326867.

24 June: Gowers at 70 (Oxford)
Historic Houses and University of Oxford – with generous support from the Historic Houses Foundation – will be running a symposium to mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of the Gowers Report on the future of Britain’s buildings of ‘outstanding historic or architectural interest’ (1950). This conference will consider the report’s legacy for the conservation and use of historic houses, owned both independently and by organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage. Researchers and heritage professionals are invited to contribute 20-minute papers on themes that include the post-war landscape of built heritage preservation, government policy towards country house preservation, how country houses have fared in relation to other types of heritage asset, international comparisons to preservation policy, and country houses in popular culture. Please email a 300-word abstract and 100-word biography to by 17 February. For further information contact Elena Porter (University of Oxford & Historic Houses DPhil researcher) or Emma Robinson (Director of Policy & Public Affairs at Historic Houses) via, and see online.


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