Salon: Issue 427
13 May 2019
Next issue: 3 June
The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of heritage news. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contributions that the Society's Fellows make to public life. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.
Please send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor. Salon doesn't review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal.
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From the Desk of the General Secretary
Our congratulations to Fellows Peter Cormack and Martin Levy on receiving the Society Medal in recognition of their services to the Society. Peter has made an invaluable contribution to achieving the new vision for Kelmscott Manor and in helping us through the complexities of the development and design of the Kelmscott and Morris: Past, Present and Future project. Martin headed up the successful Kelmscott Manor fundraising auction 2014 , which raised the resources to enable us scope the KMPPF project and he is chairman of the Kelmscott Campaign Group, which has helped us raise over £5.3 million towards delivering the project.
We are immensely grateful for all that Peter and Martin have done to help us achieve our long term aims for Kelmscott Manor. Without their expertise and commitment we would not be in a position to deliver KMPPF, which is due to start in September.
Fellow's Day at Kelmscott Manor
Thursday, 20 June 2019
14.00 - 17.00 (Gates open at 13.30)
Fellows are invited to bring their families to join us at Kelmscott Manor for a special opportunity to find out more about our Heritage Lottery Funded project, explore the Manor and its collections, and enjoy music, cream tea and refreshments on our tea lawn. Croquet and other lawn games will be available.
The Swing Rhythms Trio (Jazz band) will provide entertainment on the day.
MORE ABOUT THE MANOR >
Information About Booking
- Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children): £40.00
- Adult Ticket: £15.00
- Child Ticket: £7.50
Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Use the button below to reserve a place and pay online. You may also purchase a ticket by calling Kelmscott Manor at 01367 252486.
Tickets will be posted to you after your purchase. You should receive a confirmation email from our online booking system. However, we will also post tickets in advance of the event and ask that you please bring your ticket(s) with you on the day.
Purchase Tickets >
Reduced Library Services
Temporary reduced library services
The Society is presently recruiting to fil the two staff vacancies in the library. There will therefore be reduced library services for 3 months until there is a full complement of staff.
Research visits: Research visits by Fellows will continue as usual during the Library’s normal opening times (Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm). Fellows wishing to consult material that needs retrieving by staff (manuscripts, archives, prints and drawings, and printed items on closed access) are asked to order material in advance.
External researcher visits will be limited to no more than 2 researchers per day and will be strictly by appointment only. Our Guidelines for Researchers give information on how to make an appointment.
Image services: Our image services are suspended, and we will not be accepting requests for images and licences from the library and museum collections.
This does not affect the photocopying service.
Other library services to Fellows will operate as normal (book loans and electronic resources service)
Please check our website at https://www.sal.org.uk/library/ for dates of planned closures.
Details of Anglo-Saxon Essex Tomb Finally Revealed
Fellows in Britain, at least, will have noticed the story of an Anglo-Saxon grave in the press on 30 April, and the man likened to an Essex Tutankhamun – at the time of discovery, the Sun newspaper dubbed him the Bling King. They will probably be unaware, however, quite how many Fellows were involved in the work that lay behind the research, two new books and a museum exhibition.
One of the most significant archaeological excavations this century in England has been brought to print by Lyn Blackmore FSA, Ian Blair, Sue Hirst FSA and Christopher Scull FSA, some 15 years after the accidental discovery. Other authors of The Prittlewell Princely Burial: Excavations at Priory Crescent, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, 2003 include, in a long list, Barbara Yorke FSA, Jon Cotton FSA, Simon Burnell FSA, David Sherlock FSA, George Speake FSA, Roger Tomlin FSA, Leslie Webster FSA, Susan Youngs FSA, Jacqui Watson FSA, Sue Harrington FSA, Esther Cameron FSA, Natasha Powers FSA, Alex Bayliss FSA and Christopher Bronk Ramsey FSA. David Bowsher FSA is among the project managers.
Why is this significant? Why were so many people needed to study what was in effect a single trench whose longest side was 15 metres? And why did it take them so long?
The single answer to those questions is the quality of what was found. This was the first Anglo-Saxon chamber grave, an underground plank-lined room filled with treasures, to be excavated in modern times. The interest of the remains was matched by the expertise of the excavation: so not only were there metal vessels hanging on the walls and gold on the body (including two tiny crucifixes on the eyes, and a coin on each hand), but also more fragile things, like the traces of a decayed lyre and a painted wooden box, that demanded lengthy and expensive conservation work followed by study of things that have few if any parallels.
Picturing the lyre, for example – for some, I imagine, worth the whole project on its own – involved 3D CAT-scanning to unpick the locations of metal fittings, thus determining which lay on which side of a musical instrument of which very little physical structure survived. The lyre’s form was betrayed by stains in the earth, and scraps of wood preserved around corroding metal revealed a maple-wood sound box and ash-wood tuning pegs. The body itself had all but vanished: only fragments of tooth enamel were found, in a soil sample in a lab long after the dig was over, the last vestiges of an ancient smile.
The variety of objects brought in a matching range of specialists. Everything had a story to be discovered and told, from a Byzantine silver spoon bearing the scratched names of three previous owners (but not its last, apparently) to sperm-whalebone gaming pieces, originally thought to have been made from deer antler and matched to the correct animal by ZooMS (zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry).
Intimations of Christianity led to early theories that the man might have been Saebert, an East Saxon ruler who converted to Christianity and died between AD 616 and 618, or possibly Sigeberht II (murdered in 653). After much research taking in artefacts styles and radiocarbon dating, however, it was determined that the man must have died before these two, though not by long – around 580–600. If he wasn't a king – notwithstanding the Saxon King, a pub which opened near the site in 2014 – he was certainly of aristocratic or princely lineage, and possibly related to Saebert. The only plausible known candidate, say the archaeologists, is Seaxa, a brother of Saebert, though they emphasise this can be no more than a guess.
But there was an additional reason why the quality of the finds, and the large resources needed to conserve and study them, added to the report’s delay. The dig fell into a local road-planning mess. The original fieldwork was required ahead of road alterations in the normal process of heritage management and development planning. One of four trial excavations – the first, as it happened – by chance fell over part of the grave. The developer, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, was obliged to pay for the research. But the council struggled to get the development underway. And objectors to an already controversial road project were given added vim by the archaeological discovery.
It rolled on until eventually the plans were dropped – the grave need never have been found. But who then would pay for the conservation, now there was no road project? In the end funding came from Historic England and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, and work began in 2012 – after a delay that was ‘unfortunate in several respects’.
In 2006 I visited a road protest camp set up at the site. There was immense local pride in the discovery. It wasn't so much about the bling that gripped the media, as that at some distant time in the past, there’d been someone in Southend who mattered – someone with more power and charisma than councillors, politicians or engineers who were deciding how to reshape Prittlewell. The camp had many local visitors. ‘They can’t get over the fact that something happened in Southend’, one of the protestors told me. ‘They do this in school, and it happened in Egypt, it happened in London... Things never happen in Southend!’ ‘They’ve taken out the so-called treasures,’ another said, ‘you know, the gold crosses, coins, jars, bits and pieces – but the actual Saxon king has dissolved into the soil. He’s actually still down there, and it’s a very sacred site for a lot of people.’
Objects from the burial chamber are now on display at Southend Central Museum, and MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) who are responsible for the whole project, have created an introductory website. Perhaps out there, between the pub and the museum, there still remains a bit of the Anglo-Saxon aristocrat, ‘gone to earth’ beside the road and the railway.
Notre Dame: Moving on from ‘Tears and Emotion’
‘I read with interest the article about Notre Dame in this week’s newsletter,’ writes Christine Thomas. ‘Needless to say I had followed the TV news, but the Salon article is much more informative, and trust we will be advised about the progress in restoring this building.’
Thank you Christine Thomas. The Fellowship embraces a remarkable amount of varied expertise, and I will do my best to keep up with Fellows’ observations – and ask that they will please continue to pass them on. In the meantime, I missed a letter on the subject – the leading letter, he says – from John Nandris FSA (who ‘appreciated the coverage of the dramatic conflagration of Notre Dame in Salon’) published in the Telegraph (18 April). With his help, however we can go better and reproduce his complete, unedited missive:
‘SIR – I beg that any proposal to replace the 850-year old timber “forest” of the attic roof of Notre Dame with “fireproof concrete” be dismissed out of hand. Not only did the timbers reinforce the majestic resonance of the organ of 1403, but the roof breathed to aerate the whole ecosystem.
‘When the timber roof of the Protaton, the oldest church of Karyes on Mount Athos, was insensitively replaced by the Greek authorities with concrete, the damp rising in the building destroyed the exquisite early 14th century Byzantine frescoes by Panselinos.
‘The landscape of Classical Greece was densely forested. The sacred grove of the ancient oracle of Dodona, and indeed the whole of Epirus, was decimated in the 18th century to satisfy the urgencies of the British and French navies. A Ship of the Line such as Victory demanded at least 3000 oak trees.
‘The massive framework which supports the great bells in the tower of Notre Dame contains vertical timbers which are roughly a metre square. The forests of Europe, with the possible exception of Białowieża, are no longer primeval. It will be difficult to match these timbers. Perhaps we should look outside Europe.
‘The Gothic Cathedrals of Europe are great spiritual ships upon the waters of eternity ; creative achievements which define what it is to be human. We could make a little effort to help them on their way.’
Nandris was impressed, he says, ‘by the survival of the reliquary copper rooster, the weathercock on the top of the flèche, falling from 300 feet among the flames.’ Warming to the theme, he ‘made a wholly inauthentic rendering for my daughter (aged 12)’, which we reproduce above.
The rooster, a lightning rod said to contain a thorn from the crown of thorns and relics of saints Denis and Genevieve, apparently broke off the spire and landed in an adjacent road, where it was found the day after the fire. The photo from Wikimedia (where it was pessimistically described as ‘the now destroyed rooster’, Panageotean Graphics/Lämpel, left) was taken last year.
‘In the light of the debate over Notre Dame,’ writes Philip Venning FSA, ‘it is worth recalling the fate of Old St Paul's, substantial parts of which survived the Great Fire of London. According to James W P Campbell FSA in his book Building St Paul's, Wren was under pressure to construct a temporary building within the walls of the nave. He advised against it, perhaps unware of quite how dangerous and difficult the demolition of the ruins would turn out to be. In his detailed description of the process Dr Campbell refers to the use of a giant battery ram operated by 30 men. Wren also tried blowing up sections with gunpowder. Initially successful it proved too dangerous to continue. It was nine years after the fire, including various delays, that the site was finally reduced to foundation level. It takes a great deal to destroy a Gothic cathedral.’
‘Thanks for excellent coverage of Notre Dame,’ writes David Breeze FSA. ‘One small point. Mary Q of Scots married the Dauphin Francis, the son of Henry II, on 24 April 1558 at Notre Dame. Francis succeeded his father the following year as Francis II.’ Peter Yeoman FSA had named Henry as the groom.
Lynn Courtenay FSA, whose informative essay we reproduced in the last Salon, sends a link to a substantial French website called Scientists of Notre Dame, where scientists ‘(historians, art historians, archaeologists, geologists, scientific archaeologists, geophysicists, chemists, biologists…)’ have come together to support the research and restoration of the cathedral. They also have a Facebook page. ‘The initiative for this liaison,’ adds Courtenay, ‘stems, I believe, from the Medieval Academy of America.’
The CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) has convened a consortium of dendrochronologists, dendro-archaeologists and charcoal specialists from different institutions. They say the only dendrochronological study of the roof frame before the fire was conducted in the 1990s by George Lambert and Virginie Chevrier of the laboratoire de Chrono-Environnement (CNRS Univ Franche-Comté) in Besançon, with the help of Vincent Bernard and Patrick Hoffsummer. This found that almost the entire structure dates from the 13th century, with timber sourced from forests that were 100–120 years old.
A long list of Scientists of Notre Dame members includes, as well as Lynn Courtenay, Caroline Bruzelius FSA (Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Duke University), Alexandra Gajewski FSA (Reviews Editor, the Burlington Magazine), John McNeill FSA (Honorary Secretary, British Archaeological Association, Oxford University Department of Continuing Education), Christopher Norton FSA (Professor Emeritus, History of Art Department and Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York) and Christopher Wilson FSA (Professor of History of Medieval Art, UCL)
‘Reflection to guide action,’ they say, ‘must follow the tears and emotion.’
Beaker People ‘A Genuine Migration’
It’s official: after a century of academic and popular debate, new archaeological sciences have established that around the time Stonehenge was built, immigrants brought new continental ways to Britain, stayed, and changed history.
One of the largest collaborative projects ever conducted in British prehistoric archaeology has been published. The Beaker People: Isotopes, Mobility and Diet in Prehistoric Britain, a weighty monograph, is the outcome of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project whose participants, including those in museums and excavating institutions who helped supply samples for scientific analysis, must include a significant proportion of practising archaeologists in the UK. Edited by Mike Parker Pearson FSA, Alison Sheridan FSA, Mandy Jay, Andrew Chamberlain, Mike Richards FSA and Jane Evans, the report also includes contributions from Alex Gibson FSA, Stuart Needham FSA and Neil Wilkin FSA, among several others from the UK, Austria, the US and Canada.
The project, which ran from 2005 to 2010, set out to address an old question about people who were buried with Beaker pots – a distinctive, tall vessel with continental European origins that is first seen in Britain from around 2450 BC – the time Stonehenge was built. Who were they? Or in the words of John Abercromby FSA, who coined the term Beaker in 1912, ‘Who were the brachycephalic invaders?’
The pots, best known from complete examples from distinctive graves that often contain other items also new to Britain, not least a type of fine flint arrowhead, have attracted the interest of antiquarians and archaeologists for over a century. The idea that they were made by ‘invaders’ came partly from an early tendency to ascribe anything new in prehistory to the arrival of new people. But it was supported by the unique association of distinctive skeletal features – brachycephalic, or round, skulls, which contrasted with longer-shaped skulls of the earlier farming population.
Ancient invasions gradually became less popular among academics during the last century, but they were reluctant to abandon the Beaker idea. A major study by David Clarke FSA (published in two large monographs in 1970) claimed to discern several, separate immigrations, purely from pottery styles. By the time Parker Pearson’s project was launched, however, many archaeologists had given up on the idea, preferring to imagine an alien ‘package’ of artefacts, technologies and beliefs that had been adopted by a native population. So in its very name the Beaker People project challenged old orthodoxy. Were these ‘people’ immigrants, and how far did they move around? What was their lifestyle? And how did they compare with people in Britain who did not use Beakers?
The project, which drew in a Scottish Beakers and Bodies Project, was inspired by the recent discovery of the Amesbury Archer, a Beaker burial near Stonehenge which contained not only an exceptional quantity of fine artefacts, but the remains of a man who, isotope analysis of his bones suggested, had been born in central Europe. What would such studies tell us about the rest of the UK’s Beaker population?
This is said to be the largest and most comprehensive isotope study of its kind yet done in Europe, with data from over 350 individuals presented – half the excavated population from 2500–1500 BC. Related studies are on a commensurate scale, with over 200 new radiocarbon dates, and new surveys of grave goods, burial practices, tooth wear and human anatomy (there really is a big difference between Beaker and earlier skulls). It was all done immediately before the first ancient DNA studies were published, but the combination of data and research, including isotopes and aDNA, sets up Britain as a laboratory for understanding a key era in ancient Europe.
Those aDNA data indicate a substantial population change in Britain that occurred at the time of the first Beaker pots. Geneticists and journalists have written not just of invasion, but in some cases of population wipe-out and murder. None of that is seen in the ground, however: the Beaker People project found no unusual occurrence of violence.
It does, however, support the aDNA evidence for immigration by continental Beaker users at the start of the era. They found a handful of Amesbury Archer types – ‘life-time migrants’ who had come from somewhere beyond the UK, such as a man from Bee Low, Derbyshire (a late arrival). ‘This was a genuine migration’, write Parker Person and colleagues, bursting some old theories, ‘not a cult to be emulated or the result of exchange within a network in which prestige goods, rather than people, moved… Yes, Beaker-using immigrants brought novel Continental ways to Britain – but these were not an homogeneous, uniform mass of people. They came from different parts of mainland Europe to different parts of Britain, probably for a variety of reasons, possibly over many generations.’
And, we might say, they transformed the islands’ history and identity.
• The diagram at the top shows a double Beaker grave-pit at Shrewton, near Stonehenge. The original burial around 2350 BC was of an adult of unknown sex who is thought to have experienced a lifetime of mobility in southern England. The second burial, an older teenage boy, was placed in the pit a good two centuries later (British Archaeology).
The photo shows two related older teenagers, one male and one female, at Trumpington, Cambridgeshire (D Webb/Cambridge Archaeological Unit).
Inquiry Exposes Cultural Gulf as Fellow Lambasted for being White
The last Salon was published on the day that Cambridge University announced that Martin Millett FSA (right) was to chair an Advisory Group to investigate the institution's historical links to slavery. The news was immediately greeted with complaints from across the political spectrum. Millett was unsuitable to chair the inquiry, it was said, because he’s white, because he’s an archaeologist and because he’d previously defended free speech. The inquiry ‘set new standards of political correctness’, and, as writers to the Letters column of the Times put it (several of them university academics, 1–2 May), was a project of ‘virtue signalling’, ‘ritualised self-flagellation’ and ‘purging of history’; the colonial slave trade was equated by one to the dissolution of the monasteries, by another to the Roman occupation of Britain.
The Times itself ran a leader headed, Slaves to Fashion (2 May): ‘Places supposedly dedicated to free discourse,’ it wrote, ‘have become burdened by a sense of obligation about the abhorrent practices of a different age… phantom guilt today leads some university administrators to bow to student activist demands… history is being rewritten or at least edited to appease protesters.’
In the Daily Mail (30 April) online comments following a fair report on the inquiry were less even-handed. The worst-rated, which supported the inquiry (‘This has got to be a good thing, it shows students are being taken seriously and it shows it is never too late to apologise’), themselves received many critical responses (‘Apologise? For what? Civilising the world maybe’; ‘How about if you don't like this country leave?’). The most popular comment, with just short of 4,000 ‘likes’, said that ‘Slavery ended in the United Kingdom in 1833… many Germany companies benefited from forced/slave labour under Nazi rule… [and] are still trading and thriving today. Where is the outrage over this?’
More considered comment included a long article by Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology and Director of the Ethics and Empire Project at the University of Oxford (with which Biggar hopes to ‘develop a nuanced and historically intelligent Christian ethic of empire’). The purpose of the inquiry as described by Cambridge University is to address issues of knowledge and history (‘This will be an evidence-led and thorough piece of research’, said Millett). In common with many critics, however, Biggar ignored this and wrote about the errors of raising guilt, reparation and compensation, blaming the university for taking positions on things it had not mentioned.
‘Any hope that the inquiry might be even-handed,’ said Biggar, ‘is punctured by the fact that the advisory group will be chaired by Martin Millett. In April last year Professor Millett, Head of the School of Arts and Humanities, defended Priyamvada Gopal, who teaches English at Cambridge… “The university upholds freedom of speech as one of its primary values…” he declared. “We would also add that we abhor personal attacks of the nature currently being directed at Dr Gopal”… a year later, the same indulgence was not extended to Jordan Peterson, whose visiting fellowship at Cambridge was summarily and rudely withdrawn, on the sole ground that Peterson had let himself be photographed with a fan wearing a T-shirt proclaiming, “I’m a proud Islamophobe”. But Peterson is white, male and socially conservative, whereas Gopal is non-white, female and aggressively woke.’
Trevor Phillips doesn't like Millett either, but for a different reason. Cambridge, he told John Humphrys on the Today programme (3 May, 7.31am), has ‘made some big mistakes, including the choice of the person to chair this inquiry’. ‘It is bizarre,’ he said, ‘that they couldn’t find a black academic to lead this… I’ve got nothing against the guy they’ve put in charge, but he is an expert in Roman archaeology!’ Like Biggar, Phillips wants to judge Cambridge, which in his view is ‘trying to send a big signal about what they’re like… a black academic would’ve sent a great signal to the world that Cambridge understands that black folks aren’t just great entertainers or sports people but we can also be brainy’. When Phillips was Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, several members resigned over governance issues. His ‘leadership style,’ said Kay Hampton at the time, ‘is better suited to a political organisation rather than a human rights one’ (Guardian, 20 July 2009).
Nonetheless, there was some significant support for the project of which Millett is now Chair. The university’s History Faculty welcomed the inquiry. On the day of its launch an open letter written by Jake Richards and signed by over 250 fellow students and staff was sent to the Heads and Fellows of all Cambridge Colleges. Among signatories were two PhD candidates in archaeology, Akshyeta Suryanarayan and Alessandro Ceccarelli (who is also elected President of the University of Cambridge Graduate Union) and Susanne Hakenbeck FSA, Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology and Fellow of Homerton College. The inquiry, said the letter, is ‘crucial for advancing scholarship, improving access to and academic achievement at the Collegiate University, and enhancing Cambridge’s contributions to the wider world.’ Its key point was to ask that every Cambridge College should take part – a common criticism was that the inquiry was concerned only with the university, not its colleges (‘I think this is a terrible dodge on more than one front,’ tweeted Priyamvada Gopal [@PriyamvadaGopal] exercising her right to free speech: ‘many, many problems are located at the collegiate level and the university repeatedly washes its hands of the colleges’).
Writing in the Independent (3 May) Patrick Cockburn said that ‘the very volume and venom of the abuse of Cambridge over its inquiry is proof, if such were needed, that the British role in the slave trade remains a highly contentious topic which stirs deep feelings,’ adding that ‘commentators who accuse Cambridge of unnecessarily raising a dead issue [who] then write thousands of furious words arguing why Britain’s role in the slave trade has no significance in the modern world’ are ‘splendidly, if absurdly, self-contradictory’. ‘There is plenty of guilt for the inquiry to explore,’ he conclude, ‘none of it imaginary.’
‘Everyone is happy for the history of slavery to be investigated so long as the investigation examines the parts in which we look good,’ wrote David Olusoga in the Observer (5 May). ‘What has been started at Cambridge is not just about the money and not just about the slavery. It is also about ideas… What the architects of the project recognise is that universities did not just benefit financially from slavery and colonialism, they played a role in the creation of the racial theories that underwrote both of those grim projects… History will not be “rewritten”, no one is to be blamed for the past, the “standards of today” will not be misapplied to historical events and the sins of the fathers will not be visited upon the sons.’
‘It’s strange that some people who could find a timeless human characteristic to celebrate, or a modern parallel to draw, in virtually any moment of past national glory,’ wrote Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian (30 April), ‘instantly lose that ability when facing a moment of past national shame. Yet both are part and parcel of our understanding of being human.’
Excavating the Jungle
Lande: the Calais ‘Jungle’ and Beyond is a book (by Dan Hicks FSA and Sarah Mallet), and an exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University (27 April to 29 November). Both present the fruits of research and explorations at the site of the Calais Jungle, a refugee and migrant camp active between January 2015 and October 2016 (technically the Jungle comprised several camps, of which la Lande was the ‘official’ one beside a ferry-terminal road close to Calais). Before forcing the camp’s closure, the French authorities claimed to have removed over 6,000 migrants who had been seeking to cross the Channel into Britain, and at its peak the camp’s size was said to reach 10,000 inhabitants – among whom Help Refugees found 865 children.
There have been several reports from the Jungle. The King’s College London Migration Research Group created a residents’ camp record, Humans of Calais (2016), complete with a site plan – absent from Hicks and Mallet’s more overtly archaeological book. Human Rights Watch published Like Living in Hell (2017), highlighting alleged human rights abuses. More uplifting is The Calais Sessions, a collection of music recorded at the camp released in 2016. That year Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of the Economy and now the French President, thought telling the UK that the camp would move to Britain if it voted to leave the EU might boost the Remain vote.
The exhibition in Oxford features objects and images from the Jungle. ‘It does so,’ says the Pitt Rivers website, ‘in order to make visible the landscape of “borderwork” at Calais. Everything on display is on temporary loan from displaced people, activists and volunteers who lived and worked at the “Jungle”… Through these loans our hope is to create some small duration for ephemeral things, artworks and images that have been kept, each object bearing witness to human precarity, resistance, creativity, and hope.’ Exhibits include a cross salvaged from an Orthodox Church, a piece of border fencing and a newly commissioned artwork by Majid Adin called The Wind Will Take Us Away.
If you’re not an archaeologist (indeed, in many cases, I suspect, even if you are) you may be wondering, what can archaeology bring to the understanding of modern refugees and asylum seekers? It’s about things. The idea of what Hicks and Mallet call Contemporary Archaeology (‘closer to the kind of practice-based research that is conducted in film-making or theatre, where the status of writing is less a question of “writing about” than it is one of “writing from”’) already has history.
In 2007 I published (in British Archaeology magazine – it had been rejected by an academic journal) an article by Cassie Newland, Greg Bailey, John Schofield FSA and Anna Nilsson about their excavation of a Ford Transit van – literally, they took the van apart and recorded every detail. Schofield, Director of Studies at the Department of Archaeology, University of York, has since studied (among other things) popular music-making, English Heritage's former HQ on Savile Row shortly before it was demolished, homeless people in Bristol (with Rachael Kiddey FSA), the Teufelsberg, a Cold War listening station in Berlin (with Wayne Cocroft FSA), World War Two graffiti (again with Cocroft, and others), the Greenham Common peace camp, and, most recently, plastic on Galápagos beaches.
Back at Calais, Louise Fowler, Post-Excavation Manager at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), worked with Sarah Mallet on the Dzhangal Archaeology Project, recording objects collected from the camp by Gideon Mendel, a photographer; he had an exhibition at the Autograph ABP gallery, London in 2017. The photo here shows Fowler and Mendel sorting items, and below, a toy head photographed by Mendel (left) with a record shot for the Dzhangal Project (MOLA).
‘An archaeological understanding of these objects,’ wrote Fowler in a blog (27 March), ‘must look for context far beyond the boundaries of the camp: in the global flows of people, money and goods; in the responses of our national governments and of the EU, and in the actions of displaced people, citizens, charities, activists and artists who used all of their available resources to continue to live, to try to make the best of things, and to draw attention to an intolerable situation.’
Janet Miller FSA, Chief Executive Officer at MOLA, wrote in December last year that ‘work on the material collected by Gideon Mendel is about directing our archaeological lens to the objects and material – most often everyday objects – to help us and society to think about the experience of migration today, much in the same way that we study older artefacts to help us to think about life in the past.'
‘But my hope is that in embarking on this journey,’ Miller continued, ‘we also turn that gaze back on ourselves as archaeologists… are our current frameworks of studying archaeological material open, appropriate and meaningful?’ Fowler echoed the thought: ‘This project is also a pressing reminder that the history of archaeology is deeply entwined with the history of nation-states… The Telegraph recently published an article claiming new discoveries from Stonehenge demonstrated that “British identity” began 5,000 years ago with a “Neolithic Brexit”.’
‘How can archaeology help us understand our contemporary world? This ground-breaking book reflects on material, visual and digital culture from the Calais “Jungle”’, says the blurb for Lande. Hicks undertook much of the research for the project as a Visiting Professor at the Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in 2017–18. ‘At Calais and beyond,’ he and Mallet conclude, ‘there can be no more urgent task for Archaeology today than to excavate and advocate for the undocumented present.’
Lande the book can be read online under an open access licence. The collective of exhibition curators includes refugees who lived at the Jungle in 2015–16 before coming to the UK, and activists and volunteers who worked there: Majid Adin, Shaista Aziz, Caroline Gregory, Dan Hicks, Sarah Mallet, Nour Munawar, Sue Partridge, Noah Salibo and Wshear Wali. The photo at the top from the book is by Caroline Gregory.
Fellows (and Friends)
, industrial archaeologist, died in April. An appreciation appears in Fellows Remembered below.
There will be a ceremony and reception for family and friends of the late Arthur ApSimon FSA
, who died in April
, at East Meon Village Hall, Hampshire, on Friday 24 May from 2pm, following a private burial. Light refreshments will be provided. Free parking is available at the hall (GU32 1PF / NGR SU 677 221, see map on the hall's website
) and at the nearby village carpark. No flowers please, but donations welcomed by Parkinson's UK
Ten new Fellows were elected on 30 April:
Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo, archaeologist who has built an influential school in Spanish medieval archaeology, building upon an earlier career in Italian medieval archaeology.
Philip Attwood, museum curator specialising in commemorative medals and related subjects.
Jessica Berry, author and archaeologist working with universities, government bodies, museums and other organisations to investigate and protect international maritime heritage.
Kevin Clancy, museum director specialising in the history of the British coinage of the modern period, particularly the 17th and 18th centuries.
Derek Craig, archaeologist with exceptional knowledge and expertise in pre-Norman sculpture in Scotland and Anglo-Saxon England.
Paul Crane, ceramics dealer specialising in 18th- and 19th-century English and European porcelain, and the relationship between art, design and antiquarianism.
Jacke Phillips, archaeologist researching connections between civilisations across north-east Africa, the east Mediterranean and beyond the Red Sea.
Kate Pugh, champion for the economic and social value of cultural heritage at home and abroad, and the value that heritage contributes to Britain’s global profile.
Julie Satchell, archaeologist working to develop maritime archaeological best practice and policy, and to raise public awareness in the UK and globally.
Thomas Tuohy, art historian and leading authority on 15th-century Ferrara, who has published extensively on Renaissance Italy, the history of art collecting in Britain, and the architecture of colonial India.
Further details can be seen in the Ballot Archive
As always, I'm particularly keen to hear about the activities of new Fellows, please email Salon
Congratulations to Lucy Worsley FSA
, whose Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley
won a Bafta TV award on 12 May. The BBC1 documentary made by Brook Lapping used ‘dramatised testimony to tell the story of a group of working-class women conducting a dangerous campaign for the vote’ – ‘unfinished business’, said Worsley at the presentation. Apart from sport, news and current affairs, there are four Bafta categories of what in other contexts would be called non-fiction: Factual Series, Single Documentary, Reality and Constructed Factual – and Specialist Factual, which Suffragettes
won. Fellows are not frequently called to the Bafta podium, but one in particular has an exceptional record. According to Wikipedia, David Attenborough FSA
‘is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in each of black and white, colour, HD, 3D and 4K.’ His prizes
range from a Special Award in 1961 to Planet Earth II
in 2017, and a Fellowship in 1980.
John Blair FSA
is among authors shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2019, for which he receives £4,000; should he win (the results are to be announced on 11 June) he gains a further £40,000. I’m no Anglo-Saxon archaeologist, but Blair’s Building Anglo-Saxon England
(2018) seems to me a worthy winner. Other contending books cover legacies of Nazi persecution, London's maritime world in the age of Cook and Nelson, birds in the ancient world, Oscar Wilde, and Queen Victoria and India. ‘The great strength and depth of history writing in the UK,’ says David Cannadine FSA,
Chair of the judges and President of the British Academy, ‘is demonstrated by this year’s shortlist. It brings together a range of authors, writing very different types of history across many periods and from divergent perspectives. The unifying element is a commitment to share their meticulous research and passion for their subject with as wide an audience as possible.’
Rose Ferraby and Martin Millett FSA
have launched Sounding Aldborough
, a podcast from the Aldborough Roman Town Project. The Cambridge Archaeologists explore the history of the landscape where Ferraby grew up as they are revealing it through fieldwork and archive research that began in 2009. The village of Aldborough in North Yorkshire was once the site of the Roman town of Isurium Brigantum. The project aims to better understand its origins and development, and its role in the social, political and economic scene of Roman Britain. They have surveyed nearly 120 hectares inside the town and beyond with magnetometry, and since 2016 have been conducting small excavations to re-examine the work of earlier archaeologists and antiquaries, which goes back to 1660. What happened when the Roman town ended, says Millett, ‘is very much a mystery at the moment’. Fellows with sensitive ears may wish to stop listening a minute before the close of the podcast.
Last autumn David Attenborough FSA
launched My Field Recordings from Across the Planet
, 58 music tracks compiled by Julian May from tapes in the BBC Sound Archives. Attenborough recorded the music between 1954 and 1963 when he was on then remote locations making films for BBC TV’s Zoo Quest
. Songlines, who published the two CDs and booklet, has now announced a competition in which UK-based music creators are invited to remix one of the recordings, a Balinese gamelan orchestra featuring two metallophones and a pair of drums. Fellows have until 10 June to mangle the stems, add a hook and submit their reinvented gender wayang
. Failing which, they can vote for a winner from a shortlist up to 15 September. Details online
Chris Skidmore FSA
, Science Minister, spoke at LSE on 7 May about how he believes the UK can best achieve its ambition to invest 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027. He focused on the importance of supporting postgraduate study and post-doctoral staff. Significant investment is required, he said; in 2017, the UK spent just under 1.7% of GDP on R&D, but the government has already pledged ‘the largest increase this country has seen in R&D investment in nearly 40 years’. People matter too, he said: ‘we need to find at least another 260,000 researchers to work in R&D across universities, across business and across industry’. The country needs to educate more of ‘our own students’ to PhD level, more women and more Black and Ethnic Minority researchers. He hopes that the number of international students studying in UK universities will rise to 600,000 ‘by the end of the next decade’, helped by a new ‘automatic one-year “leave to remain” period following the completion of all doctoral degrees.’ There was much more in a long speech
– and there are three more to come. Few Fellows will complain about Skidmore's ambition for a ‘culture change’ leading to a better appreciation of the value of postgraduate degrees among employers and wider society.
The future of the Palace of Westminster has been in the news again, or rather the question of where members of the House of Lords and of Parliament might go when the palace is finally getting its desperately needed restoration makeover. For reasons not fully known to the public (the evidence has not been released) the favoured solution is to demolish most of a Grade II * listed building just up the road, and fill the space with a mini replica of the existing dysfunctional rooms. Marcus Binney FSA
, executive president of SAVE Britain's Heritage, described the ‘destruction of Richmond House’ as ‘state sponsored vandalism of the first order. It is also a grotesque waste of public money.’ Addressing the matter in his Guardian column
(10 May), Simon Jenkins FSA
wrote that ‘this week’s Commons decision on how to decant itself into temporary accommodation beggars belief.’ Richmond House is the late Sir William Whitfield’s ‘finest building’, added Jenkins, ‘and to lose it for any temporary use is bizarre.’
• On 4 May Simon Jenkins and Zareer Masani discussed with Anne McElvoy whether cultural artefacts should be returned to their country of origin, in the BBC Radio 4 series, Across the Red Line
Bernhard Woytek FSA
has edited Infrastructure and Distribution in Ancient Economies
, the proceedings of a conference held at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in October 2014. Studies focus mainly on epigraphy, numismatics and papyrology in the classical and Hellenistic Greek world, the Roman Empire and ancient Iran, from Neo-Assyrian times to the Parthian and Sasanian periods. There is a special emphasis on numismatic contributions, says the blurb, which to date have played little part in modern research on ancient infrastructure, although money and financial services are recognised as indispensable to modern societies. Topics include the economic implications of the extensive countermarking of Hellenistic silver coinages in Asia Minor; the importation and monetary use of blocks of foreign and obsolete bronze coins; patterns of coin production and distribution in the Roman Empire in the Principate; and structures of minting in Iran in the Arsacid and Sasanian periods.
‘The dear warp and weft at Hammersmith’: A History of Kelmscott House
, is an exhibition at the house where William Morris FSA
spent the last 18 years of his life with his family. It opened in April and runs until 26 October. The William Morris Society
says the show ‘faithfully conveys the atmosphere of a house bursting with creative energy and artistic activity’. It features original Morris & Co designs, textiles and wallpapers, and photographic prints, and describes Hammersmith residents who inhabited the house before and after Morris. The house was ‘one of the most significant homes in the history of British interior design,’ says the Society, where among other things, Morris began carpet weaving, wove his first tapestry and established the Hammersmith branch of the Socialist League (in the Coach House), and, close by, set up the Kelmscott Press.
The Archaeology of Afghanistan: From Earliest Times to the Timurid Period,
first published in 1978, was the first book in English to provide a complete survey of the country’s rich archaeological remains. Originally edited by the late Raymond Allchin FSA
and Norman Hammond FSA
, it has now been re-issued in an edition updated and revised by Warwick Ball FSA
with Hammond. The contributors, says the blurb, are ‘all acknowledged scholars in their field, [and] have worked in the country on projects ranging from prehistoric surveys to the study of Islamic architecture.’ New features include a new interpretation of the Afghan Bronze Age within the context of the recently identified Oxus and Helmand Civilisations, reports on excavations completed after the first edition, and major revisions of Kushan and later pre-Islamic history based on the recent discovery of the Rabatak Bactrian inscription and the Bactrian documents.
Under Another Sky
by Charlotte Higgins FSA
is among novels that will be presented in stage adaptations in August at the Lyceum Theatre, in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The book has been adapted by David Greig, Lyceum's Artistic Director, for a one-day presentation.
Last January Salon introduced
four Fellows whose likenesses had been – more or less – reproduced in Lego. Lynette Jensen writes to say that earlier this year she gave a paper at the Australasian Society for Classical Studies at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, which can be seen online in a video
, called Lego Classics: Serious or Superficial?
Along with model versions of Mary Beard FSA, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill FSA, John Bennet FSA
and Michael Turner FSA
, the Society of Antiquaries gets a mention and (cough) Salon
. A Lego newsletter has not yet been approved.
Joan M Day
died on 30 April aged 91. She was elected a Fellow of the Society in March 1975, and resigned in 2013. Tony Coverdale, Chair of the Saltford Brass Mill Project, has kindly sent this obituary:
‘Joan Day was a tour de force in the field of industrial archaeology. Although she had no technical or academic training, her work was of the highest order and very well respected in her field. Her book Bristol Brass: The History of the Industry
(1973) remains the definitive work on the subject, and was the occasion for her election to the Society.
‘Joan worked closely with Professor Ronnie Tylecote, co-editing The Industrial Revolution in Metals
(1991) and overseeing the project to completion after Tylecote’s death in 1990. She published a number of papers on metallurgy in general and on copper, zinc and brass in particular, in the transactions and journals of the Newcomen Society, the Association for Industrial Archaeology, the Historical Metallurgy Society and the Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society. She made a significant contribution to the Routledge Biographical Dictionary of Technology
(1992) in the form of 11 biographies, and to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
(2004). She was a Life Member of the Newcomen Society and the Historical Metallurgy Society.
‘Joan was inspired to conduct her own research after she and her late husband, Roy Day, attended the first series of lectures on industrial archaeology at the University of Bristol, given in 1964 by Angus Buchanan FSA
and Neil Cossons FSA
. She went on to run the course with Roy from 1970 as a Lecturer in Industrial Archaeology, and only retired after 38 years in 2008 at the age of 80. Her speaking extended to the delivery of lectures in Belgium and Germany and at a conference at the British Museum, with a paper being published in the museum’s Occasional Paper, 2000 Years of Zinc and Brass
(1990), edited by Paul Craddock FSA
‘Joan and Roy were most active in the industrial archaeology of the Bath and Bristol region around their home in Keynsham. She was a founder member of the Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society in 1967. In the field of practical industrial archaeology, Joan’s passion was Saltford Brass Mill. She was a founder member of the Saltford Brass Furnace Project in 1981, and was active in recording the evidence of what was then a decaying building. She was subsequently involved in the campaign to prevent the site’s redevelopment and its eventual restoration. The building was restored by English Heritage in 1995 and thereafter Joan founded the Saltford Brass Mill Project to work with the local council to conserve the building, interpret the industry for the public and open the site to visitors. The project continues to perform the work she started. Joan last visited the site in late 2018 and remained President of the project until her death.
‘Joan’s achievements were not confined to industrial archaeology. In her youth, she was an active cyclist and for a short time held the Western Counties Road Records Association cycling record for Land’s End to Bristol; in 1954 she knocked an hour and six minutes off the record, completing the 195 miles in 10 hours 59 minutes. She also held a glider pilot’s licence and led pony treks in the Brecon Beacons with Roy. Joan was one of a kind.’
Maggie Shapland, a former student of Joan Day's and now Editor of the Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society Bulletin
, writes that she first started going to her lectures in 2002, ‘and have been down a stone mine, heard about mill restoration, clock restoration, beer and cider manufacture, Bristol paddle steamers, ochre mines, Roman roads, canals, mining, eel trapping, the Brabazon, Brunel's Paddington, Concorde, millstones, tar distillation, balloon history and John Cowlin amongst other things. I even met my husband Mike Taylor there!’
The funeral will be at Haycombe Cemetery, writes Shapland, with a time of 1pm on Tuesday 28 May provisionally booked.
Photos supplied by Tony Coverdale show Joan Day in 1968, inspecting an eel trap (top) and (above) in September 2018 on her last visit to the brass mill.
Memorials to Fellows
Norman Hammond FSA
sends a photo of another memorial to a Fellow, Thomas Brand Hollis FSA
, in this case also erected by a Fellow, John Disney FSA
. Brand Hollis is buried at Ingatestone parish church, Essex. He left the bulk of his property to Disney.
Thomas Brand Hollis (1719–1804) was a political reformer whose first attempt to pursue the cause in parliament, writes Colin Bonwick in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
, put him behind bars: he bought the rotten borough of Hindon in Wiltshire at the 1774 general election, but was challenged and convicted of corruption, fined and gaoled for six months. His subsequent career saw him support annual parliaments, equal electoral districts, universal male suffrage and the ballot; and condemn the use of British force in pre-revolutionary America, and befriend John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He was elected to the Society of Antiquaries in 1757, to the Royal Society the year before and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1783.
John Disney (1779–1857) will be better known to many Fellows, as the creator and sponsor of Cambridge University’s Disney Chair, whose incumbent is tasked to lecture 'on the subject of Classical Mediaeval and other Antiquities the Fine Arts and all matters and things connected therewith'. It was Britain’s first archaeology chair, and Disney himself chose the first holder, J H Marsden FSA
. Other Disney Professors include Percy Gardner FSA, Ellis Minns FSA, Dorothy Garrod FSA, Grahame Clark FSA, Glyn Daniel FSA, Colin Renfrew FSA, Graeme Barker FSA
and, the current holder, Cyprian Broodbank FSA
; the Society apparently felt it inappropriate to admit the other three Disney Professors.
Among Disney’s bequests is this spectacular Roman sarcophagus (above), decorated with relief scenes of the life of Achilles, which he inherited from Brand Hollis. Disney gave it to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
in 1850, with a great haul of further antiquities.
The Wisdom of Fellows
When I wrote in the last Salon
about sexual harassment concerns at the 2019 Society for American Archaeology (SAA) conference, I missed Matthew Johnson FSA
from the list of Fellows who had signed an open letter of protest. Apologies (it was a very long list). ‘It’s important to stand up and be counted,’ says Johnson, ‘and there has been some criticism of (unnamed) “senior figures” who have remained “silent”.
‘The original sequence of events is complex,’ he adds. ‘There is a good account on Kristina Killgrove’s website
. Killgrove is of course a protagonist but it reads as accurate and reliable to me. As I understand it, Yesner [the alleged offender] turned up at the SAAs without pre-registering, and the investigation by his university had only been made public a few days before. As Killgrove says, the key issue is the inaction of SAA staff once his presence was known.’
SAA members have opened a petition
to the Society for American Archaeology Board of Directors, asking for a policy of barring ‘Individuals who are currently sanctioned for assault or harassment by an adjudicating institution… from taking part in SAA events.’
Norman Hammond FSA
draws our attention to a video
(30 April) in which Joe E Watkins, who took over as SAA President during the conference, says that ‘I didn’t realise until now the enormity of the systemic problem we have in our field regarding sexual harassment… We either address this issue openly, or we risk losing younger talented women and men from our profession. We simply can’t let that happen.’ He outlines a six-point plan for what to do next.
Society of Antiquaries Vacancy
Employer: Society of Antiquaries of London
Salary: £25,591 (£17,913 pro rata) inclusive
Holidays: 19.5days + 3.5 privilege days
Pension: 19.5% Employer contribution
The Society wishes to appoint a Governance and Administrative Officer. The successful candidate will support the governance of the Society, administer the Society’s grants programmes and the election process of new Fellows at the Society’s headquarters at Burlington House, Piccadilly. This is an important post and is essential to the smooth running of the Society.
The Society is a registered charity and the senior national learned society in Britain concerned with the conservation, research and dissemination of knowledge of the material past (http://www.sal.org.uk/). The Society consists of just over 3,000 Fellows, drawn from scholars and practitioners working across the cultural heritage sector.
Closing date: 23.59hrs, Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Interviews: Wednesday 29th May 2019
For more information and an application pack click here.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Introductory Tours for Fellows
If you've never visited Burlington House or had an introduction to the Library and Collections, please join an introductory tour. You'll meet the Society's staff, learn about your Fellowship benefits, and discover more from the collections at Burlington House.
Forthcoming Public Events
Conferences and Seminars
Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.
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.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at email@example.com. If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.
- 11-13 October 2019: Weekend visit to the Pembrokeshire area. Programme to be arranged.
Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.
The meeting to be held in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent, York. The Bar Convent (www.bar-convent.org.uk) is very near the Nunnery Lane car park, Nunnery Lane, York, YO23 1AA. The meeting will begin with refreshments at 18.00, with the presentation at 18.30, concluding with a meal organised by our new steward, Nicola Rogers at 20.00. For those who wish to join us I would be grateful, for catering purposes, if you could let me know if you are able to attend the meeting as well as the meal following. Please remember that you may now bring up to five guests to the meeting. Dr Ailsa Mainman FSA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 14 May 2019: “Petuaria ReVisited – Rediscovering Roman Brough and environs” by Dr Peter Halkon FSA
Other Heritage Events
May 14: Petuaria ReVisited – Rediscovering Roman Brough and Environs (York)
Peter Halkon FSA will talk for a York Antiquaries Lecture in the Bedingfield Room, The Bar Convent at 6pm for 6.30. Since 2014 there has been new interest in this neglected Roman site on the Humber, with some spectacular discoveries. The Petuaria ReVisited project has enabled large scale geophysics to be carried out, revealing large densely packed buildings, walls and roadways, providing a context for a famous inscription commemorating the erection of a new stage by Marcus Ulpius Januarius, Aedile of the Vicus of Petuaria, found by Philip Corder FSA in 1937.
18 May: The Medieval Port of London (London)
A conference organised by the Docklands History Group to be held at the Museum of London, where people with a long involvement in the history and archaeology of the River Thames and the City of London will present papers on a varied range of subjects relating to the Medieval Port of London. Speakers include John Clark FSA, Nathalie Cohen FSA, Gustav Milne FSA, Edward Sargent FSA and John Schofield FSA. Details online.
20 May: Gotha’s Chinese Cabinet: Duke August’s Collection of East Asian Objects (London)
Emily Teo, PhD candidate at University of Kent and Free University of Berlin, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
23 May: The Charisma and Collecting of Classical Art (London)
The Society for the History of Collecting presents an event celebrating Classical Art: A Life History from Antiquity to the Present, by Caroline Vout FSA, Department of Classics, University of Cambridge. Published in 2018, the book offers a provocative reading of the reception of classical art and sculpture over two millennia. Vout will be joined in conversation by a distinguished panel of scholars and curators to reflect on the processes by which the art of antiquity has been continuously assembled and disassembled, reinterpreted and translated over the centuries: Ian Jenkins FSA (Senior Curator of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum), Bruce Boucher FSA (Director of the Sir John Soane Museum), Caroline van Eck (Department of Art History, University of Cambridge) and Eloisa Dodero (Capitoline Museum, Rome). Details online.
25 May: Archaeological Research in Progress (Edinburgh)
Organised by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, this one day conference programme chaired by David Caldwell FSA and Beverley Ballin-Smith FSA includes exciting new research findings and best practice in archaeology covering all periods from across Scotland and beyond. Speakers include Beverley Ballin-Smith FSA, Jane Geddes FSA, Derek Hamilton FSA, Steven Mithen FSA and Alison Sheridan FSA. Details online.
3 June: Do Not Touch? 3D in Museums (Cambridge)
A conference about 3D technology and tactile access to heritage collections hosted by the University of Cambridge Museums. We’ll be exploring how 3D modelling and printing technology can be used to open up collections to everyone. The aim is to bring together people from the heritage sector – including conservators, curators, educators and digital specialists – with university researchers and representatives from the creative and digital industries, exploring how 3D modelling and printing technology can be utilised effectively to open up collections to everyone. Details online.
4 June: Manfrin and Art Collecting in Italy (London)
The Society for the History of Collecting presents Sir Nicholas Penny FSA, former Director of the National Gallery, in the Court Room at Senate House. His talk is inspired by a remarkable series of books that have appeared over the last 20 years and which provide a complete picture of art collecting in Venice over four centuries – in particular Linda Borean’s La Galleria Manfrin a Venezia: l'ultima collezione d'arts della Serenissima. Details online.
4 June: The Library of Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649): New Light on the Manuscripts (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. Richard Holdsworth – academic, preacher, theologian and bibliophile – bequeathed his entire library to the University of Cambridge. On its arrival in 1664, this amounted to a second foundation of Cambridge University Library, but it has barely been studied. Jean-Pascal Pouzet’s presentation offers a survey of current research on the collection, together with the first tangible results on Holdsworth’s manuscripts. Details online.
6–7 June: Fibres in Early Textiles, from Prehistory to AD 1600 (Glasgow)
The Early Textiles Study Group will be holding its 16th conference at the University of Glasgow, on the theme of textile fibres. There will be a full programme of 23 papers, with posters, practical demonstrations and an optional excursion to places related to the textile heritage of Scotland on 8 June. The subject matter includes fibre sources and their preparation techniques; excavated evidence from Europe, Asia, the Americas and New Zealand, from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages; ethnographic material; and modern analytical methods of fibre identification. An international panel of speakers includes Margarita Gleba FSA and Penelope Walton Rogers FSA. Details online.
15–16 June: Tour of South Somerset and Dorset Churches (Sherborne)
This two day coach excursion with the Church Monuments Society will visit some of the finest churches in the South-West – Trent, Montacute, Hinton St George, Sherborne Abbey, Melbury Sampford, Dorchester St Peter, Puddletown and Milton Abbey – containing some of the finest monuments in England. Details online.
24 June: Delivering Public Benefit through Archaeology (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course looks at how we can plan projects to deliver public benefit consistently, how to communicate that benefit effectively, and how to evaluate the impact of our work. It is designed for all those responsible for commissioning, specifying and/or delivering programmes of work in our sector that aim to deliver public benefit. Course Director: Kate Geary, Head of Professional Development and Practice, CifA. Tutors: Taryn Nixon, independent archaeologist and heritage adviser, formerly Chief Executive of MOLA (1997-2017); Rob Lennox, CIfA, whose PhD research looked at heritage and politics in the public value era. Details online.
28 June: Lord Stewartby – The Numismatic Legacy (London)
Lord Stewartby FSA (1935–2018) was a leading figure in British numismatic scholarship in the second half of the 20th century. At this all day Symposium at the British Academy, structured around topics with which Lord Stewartby was deeply engaged, leading figures who place the use of numismatic evidence at the forefront of historical and archaeological interpretation will explore recent work which builds on his contributions to numismatic scholarship. Four sessions will cover Britain AD 300–400, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Viking England 800–1100, the British Isles 100-1150, and Scottish Coinage 1140–1707. Details online.
1 July: A Woman of Taste: Mrs R A Workman’s Collection of Modern French Painting (London)
Frances Fowle, Professor of Nineteenth-Century Art, University of Edinburgh and Senior Curator of French Art, National Gallery of Scotland, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
3–4 July: Understanding and Conserving Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. An increasing number of historic gardens and landscapes are opening their doors to the paying public. Owners and managers, reliant on tourist income, are seeking to widen their visitor base. Such development can sometimes be at odds with the conservation needs of historic sites, and this course will provide the tools for balancing the needs of developing tourist attractions with conservation and care. For trustees, volunteers and staff responsible for managing or working in a historic garden or designed landscape. Course Director: John Watkins, Head of Gardens and Landscape at the English Heritage Trust. Speakers to include: Brian Dix, Linden Groves, Emily Parker, Robin Copeland, David Lambert. Details online.
17 July: Translating Becket: New Themes, New Meanings in the Life and Afterlife of St Thomas of Canterbury 1170-2020 (London)
A Lambeth Palace Library event. The talk by Nicholas Vincent FSA will follow the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. He has published widely on English and European history in the 12th and 13th centuries, most recently on King John and Magna Carta. This lecture anticipates the 850th anniversary of Becket’s martyrdom next year and will be accompanied by a display of manuscripts from the Library’s collections. Details from email@example.com or 020 7898 1400.
22–25 July: The Medieval Book as Object, Idea and Symbol (Harlaxton)
The 2019 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium 2019, convened by Julian Luxford FSA, will address books as cultural artefacts, ie objects that are recognised and understood in particular ways and defined according to given criteria. Why, for example, is ‘book’ generally equated with ‘codex’ to the exclusion of single-sheet documents (OE boc, bec), rolls and fascicles? On what grounds are major distinctions drawn between ‘library’ books and ‘non-library’ books? Why, historically, did books and rolls signify differently? While many papers will have a later medieval focus, earlier material will also be included, and the object domain is not restricted to Britain. Lucy Freeman Sandler FSA will give the inaugural lecture in memory of Pamela Tudor-Craig FSA, on 'It’s an open book: Archbishop Thomas Arundel's copy of the gospel commentary of William of Nottingham'. Other speakers include Jessica Barker FSA, Alixe Bovey FSA, Clive Burgess FSA, Brian Cummings FSA, Elizabeth Danbury FSA, Tony Edwards FSA, Vincent Gillespie FSA, Sandy Heslop FSA, Nigel Ramsay FSA, Kathryn Smith FSA and Jenny Stratford FSA. Contact Christian Steer FSA, firstname.lastname@example.org or find details online.
29 July: ‘The Great Joss and his Playthings’: George IV as a Print Collector (London)
Kate Heard, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
18 September: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce recent guidance to PX, and review the essential components of assessment and updated project design. In the afternoon we will review examples from current practice and consider how far they meet their purpose and justify funding decisions. The course is designed for those in supervisory, junior management or specialist roles who will be compiling and contributing to PX assessments, and those in consultancy and curatorial roles who commission and evaluate them. Course Director: Leo Webley, Head of Post-Excavation, Oxford Archaeology South. Tutors: Edward Biddulph, Senior Project Manager and Roman pottery specialist, Oxford Archaeology South; Sarah Wyles, Senior Environmental Officer, Cotswold Archaeology. Details online.
21 September: Suffolk by the Sea (Southwold)
The 5th Wheeler Conference of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History will consider the impact of the coast on Suffolk’s heritage from prehistory to medieval times. Topics include exploring Doggerland, crossing the North Sea and Scandinavian ships, Medieval trade, underwater archaeology at Dunwich, and Southwold museum (Museum of the Year 2017). Speakers include Brian Ayers FSA, Paul Constantine, Vince Gaffney FSA, David Sear and Simon Loftus. Details online.
25–27 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. Significance assessment is a key part of management and of 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. Open to all, but of particular interest to heritage asset managers and advisers, planners, historic environment professionals and architects, surveyors and others who do not specialise in heritage but may need to understand assessments and their value in guiding change. Course Director: Stephen Bond, Director of Heritage Places and joint author of Managing Built Heritage. Course Co-Director: Henry Russell, Course Director of the programme in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Reading University. Details online.
27 September: Maritime Archaeology (Chatham)
This will be Chatham Historic Dockyard’s first course, with three morning talks covering themes on the history and work of the dockyard at Chatham, the built heritage and conservation of maritime architecture at Portsmouth dockyard, and marine archaeology across east Kent. Lunch will be provided, followed by a guided tour of the dockyard, introduced by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and led by Peter Kendall FSA of Historic England. Details online.
30 September: ‘The Aura of Popularity’: The Rise and Fall of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in the Nineteenth-Century British Art Market (London)
Isabelle Kent, Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection, speaks in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
10 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The course will be of interest to all those who are currently (or hope to be) involved in the commissioning or production of desk-based assessments. It is targeted towards new entrants to the profession and those who would like to develop skills in this area. Course Directors: Jill Hind (formerly Senior Project Mgr Oxford Archaeology) and Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger, County Archaeologist for Wiltshire. Details online.
28 October: Architectural Salvage from Cairo to London: The Pivotal Role of the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 (London)
Moya Carey, Curator of Islamic Collections, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and Mercedes Volait, Research Professor at CNRS, based at InVisu, INHA, Paris, speak in a series of Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
31 October: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
A short practical course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course will introduce the standard types of published reports currently produced by archaeologists, and how the scope and content of a report is planned. The course will then focus on two key components, the stratigraphic narrative and the discussion, and the most effective and successful ways of approaching the planning, writing and illustration of these. This will include a critical review of a number of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements that apply to writing in a professional and academic context. The course will involve some preparatory reading before the training day. Course Director: Elizabeth Popescu, Post-Excavation and Publications Manager, Oxford Archaeology East. Details online.
15 November: Curating Decay (Waltham Abbey)
This will be Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills’ first course, with three morning talks covering a range of issues in the management of vulnerable heritage sites, and reimagining how we might adopt an ethical stance that allows us to collaborate with natural processes and decay, rather than fighting against them. Lunch will be provided, followed by a chance to visit the Royal Gunpowder Mills exhibition and a guided tour of the site led by Wayne Cocroft FSA. Details online.
25 November: A ‘Fauve de la Curiosité’: The Hybrid Career of Edouard Jonas (1883-1961), Dealer and Curator (London)
Barbara Lasic, Lecturer in History of Art and Coordinator of Postgraduate Programmes, University of Buckingham, speaks in a series of free Seminars on the History of Collecting, in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Details online.
27–29 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
A short course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, designed to provide training in key skills and concepts for archaeologists and built heritage professionals. This course is a practical workshop carefully designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called upon to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. It will present the terms of procedure, the roles of the participants and the general feel of a Public Inquiry. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study. Training for potential witnesses will be given in how to prepare evidence for a Public Inquiry, how to produce proofs of evidence, and to experience them being given and tested under realistic conditions. You will be allocated a role to play in the Inquiry and asked to prepare a proof of evidence to fit this role. Active participation limited to 14 participants. There will also be a limited number of places available for observers. Course Directors: Roger M Thomas, Barrister and Archaeologist; George Lambrick, Independent Archaeology and Heritage Consultant. Planning Inspector: Richard Tamplin. Advocates: David Woolley QC and Allan Ledden, Solicitor. Details online.
Call for Papers
18 January 2020: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The tenth conference on New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture organised by Claire Gapper FSA and Paula Henderson FSA will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. Proposals in the form of short abstracts (up to 250 words) are invited for 30-minute papers. While the emphasis remains on new developments in architecture, we welcome proposals on related themes, such as decorative arts, gardens, sculpture and monuments. The proposals should be submitted by 31 August 2019, to Claire.email@example.com, and the final programme will be announced in September. Please include a short biography with your proposal.
The City of London Archaeological Trust (CoLAT) announces grants for projects in the archaeology of London and its environs. 2019 deadline for applications 20 September.
The Trust is concerned with the archaeology of the City of London and any matter relating to the City’s development and the prehistory of its area. There is no specific geographical boundary to define the City’s environs, and work on all periods is eligible. CoLAT will consider applications to fund survey and excavation, the investigation of standing buildings, research and publication, equipment for volunteer and youth groups, preparation and curation of archaeological archives, digitisation of records and older archaeological publications, and exhibitions. The current Trustees also wish to encourage the introduction of young people to archaeology; the commissioning of educational schemes for work on archaeology in schools; and work to help guides on historic sites.
Details online. Further information from the Secretary of CoLAT, John Schofield FSA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Society of Antiquaries of London is seeking a Governance and Administrative Officer. Closing date for applications 23.59hrs, Wednesday 22 May 2019.
The Society wishes to appoint a Governance and Administrative Officer. The successful candidate will support the governance of the Society, administer the Society’s grants programmes and the election process of new Fellows at the Society’s headquarters at Burlington House, Piccadilly. This is an important post and is essential to the smooth running of the Society.
The Society of Antiquaries is a registered charity and the senior national learned society in Britain concerned with the conservation, research and dissemination of knowledge of the material past. The Society consists of just over 3,000 Fellows, drawn from scholars and practitioners working across the cultural heritage sector.
For an application pack contact Jola Zdunek, Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BE. Email: email@example.com or see online.
Interviews: Wednesday 29 May 2019.
Hours: 3.5 days (24.5 hours) per week
Salary: £25,591 (£17,913 pro rata) inclusive
Holidays: 19.5 days + 3.5 privilege days
Pension: 19.5% Employer contribution
London Archaeologist is seeking a volunteer to join the Publication Committee in the essential role of Secretary. Elections will take place at the AGM on 16 May.
London Archaeologist, published quarterly, is the only magazine devoted to the archaeology of the capital, and has been an indispensable resource since 1968. It gets involved in education and community archaeology events, and provides a forum for discussion and advocacy. The Secretary’s duties include organising the quarterly Committee meetings and taking the minutes; arranging the AGM and Annual Lecture with the relevant advance notices; maintaining the journal’s archive; ensuring that London Archaeologist conforms to charity law and meets Charity Commission requirements.
Please contact Jenny Hall FSA at firstname.lastname@example.org with expressions of interest or for further details.
Propose a Lecture or Seminar
Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (email@example.com), the Society's Communications Manager, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). We welcome papers based on new research or themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.
Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Danielle Wilson Higgins (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.