Salon: Issue 373
18 October 2016
Next issue: 1 November 2016
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 does not review books, but the Editor is pleased to receive details and front cover images of new titles written by Fellows. Scholarly publications are reviewed in The Antiquaries Journal: for details see Publications.
From the Desk of the General Secretary
Postgraduate Open Day at Society of Antiquaries of London
Our second-annual Postgraduate Open Day was held on Friday, 14 October. The event was generously promoted by Fellows and university departments to students around Britain; as a result it was a fully-booked event. We would like to give a huge thank you to the Burlington House staff (organised by Head of Library and Collections Heather Rowland) and the Fellows who volunteered their time to making this event a success. The Fellows who helped deliver information sessions about the Society's collections and short workshops included: Prof Christopher Scull (Director), Jeremy Warren (Honorary Secretary), Dr Adrian Ailes, Prof Stephen Church, Prof Maurice Howard (past-President), Prof Stephanie Moser, Dr Elizabeth New, and Dr Amara Thornton.
The students who attended returned overwhelmingly positive feedback, and we are looking forward to many of them returning to use the Library and making use of our vast resources for their future research.
"I very much appreciate the time and effort invested in making this a useful and enjoyable day."
"It was great to discover such an open and positive institution. I will definitely spread the word about your great work and collections."
"Thank you very much for a truly informative and enjoyable day. I learned a lot and will certainly be returning for research in the future."
Update on Access to The Times in the Fellows' Room
The Society has taken the decision to update its Fellowship subscription to The Times. Previously, a hard copy of the newspaper was available to Fellows (and read by very few) in the Fellows' Room. The Society has decided to change the subscription to the cost-saving online-only version for the Fellows' Room.
Fellows are invited to enjoy the newspaper using the computer in the Fellows' Room. It's easy! There is now a 'Press Reader' icon on the desktop (next to the icon for the Library Catalogue). Double-click the 'Press Reader' icon and the program will open with a list of digital copies of The Times from the past seven days. Double-click on the issue you wish to read and it will open on the computer.
News for the Antiquaries Journal - Call for Papers (Volume 97)
Papers are sought for Volume 97 of the Antiquaries Journal
. For further information on submitting a paper, please see the 'Publications
' area of our website.
Send your papers in the fields of antiquarianism, conservation, landscape study, art history, world archaeology and British archaeology (especially Prehistoric Britain and Britain from AD 43 to AD 410) to Publications Manager Lavinia Porter (firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t Miss Your Chance to Order a William Morris Fruitcake for Christmas
(Order by 8 November and Kelmscott Manor Will Receive £5.50 from Each Cake)
Award-winning artisan baker Ursula Evans follows Morris’s fruitcake recipe almost to the letter, soaking the vine fruits in brandy, baking slowly in her AGA. 'The luxury glace fruits used in the original William Morris fruitcake mixture are used as a topping now', she says, 'but otherwise, these are the cakes that the Morris family enjoyed for tea in the 1880s.'
Your order will go directly into the future care and development of Kelmscott Manor, Morris's 'heaven on earth'. To enjoy a William Morris fruitcake with family and friends this Christmas, please place your order no later than 18 November via the My Cottage Kitchen website
This extraordinary image shows an Ottoman-period shipwreck, 300 m under the Bulgarian waters of the Black Sea. It is one of over 40 wrecks to be recorded by photogrammetry using cameras on a remotely operated vehicle.
The wrecks ‘are astonishingly preserved’, said Jon Adams FSA (
Founding Director of the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Principle Investigator on the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project) due to the absence of oxygen below 150 m.
The survey’s prime focus is land inundated as the water level rose following the last Ice Age. The wrecks are an accidental bonus, many of them providing the first views of ship types known from historical sources, but never seen before. Fraser Sturt FSA
is a co-Investigator on the project, which has its own website
Outrage at A Level Losses
A Levels like archaeology, art history and creative writing are not top of the list that politicians like to promote. As minority school subjects they attract committed, enthusiastic staff and pupils, who not only need to teach well and pass the exams, but also have to defend what they are doing. On 12 October the fight got a lot harder. AQA, an educational charity and one of five officially recognised awarding bodies for public exams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, revealed that it was dropping a total of 20 A Level subjects. Media commentators bemoaned the loss of History of Art, but many others are being given the boot, including Anthropology, Electronics, Creative Writing, Science in Society, Archaeology, Classical Civilisation and Statistics.
The reason given for dropping Archaeology, Classical Civilisation and History of Art (offered by no other examining boards) is the same: ‘We have concluded’, writes AQA, ‘that continuing to offer these qualifications would present unacceptable risks to delivering the results on time for our students.’
‘The existing specification’, says a letter from AQA to schools about Archaeology, ‘is challenging to mark and award because of the specialist nature of the topics, the range of options, difficulties in recruiting sufficient experienced examiners, and limited entries… we have concluded that the delivery risks we currently manage for this subject are not sustainable in the longer term.’ The letter begins by pointing out that changes to the exam system mean that only new qualifications accredited by Ofqual, a UK government department, can be offered.
For Archaeology, Mike Heyworth FSA responded to AQA by tweeting, ‘why a “necessary decision”? with no prior discussion with heritage sector who were planning to support the A Level delivery & work with @AQA.’ The Council for British Archaeology (CBA), of which Heyworth is Director, called the loss ‘doubly disappointing as it comes at a critical time in our discipline’s development. The public appetite for archaeology is at an all-time high’, while career opportunities are strong, given ‘the massive scale of projects such as HS2 [which] has highlighted the shortage of archaeologists … and demonstrated the growth potential within the discipline.’
In 2014, said the CBA, AQA described the subject as ‘one of the most exciting on the curriculum’. The wide range of disciplines the subject covers makes it difficult to teach, admitted the CBA, but this was being addressed. ‘It is particularly shocking’, said the charity, ‘that this decision has been announced now by AQA without consultation with the archaeology sector – which was planning a significant package of support for the reformed qualification.’ ‘This is disastrous news for archaeology,’ said Heyworth, ‘We need more archaeologists!' adding, 'even the team working on the reform of the A-Level were unaware of the decision until it was announced.’
‘Archaeology is not an elitist subject,’ wrote Mike Nevell FSA in a blog: ‘indeed I would argue it subverts many of the traditional approaches to the past by focusing on bottom-up evidence and by spreading involvement across all sectors of society.’
Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ Chief Executive Pete Hinton FSA saw the loss of Anthropology, Classical Civilisation and History of Art, along with Archaeology, ‘as a serious affront to those who believe that the study of past cultures can bring both positive benefits in terms of cultural understanding, as well as practical transferable skills for students – whether they wish to pursue archaeology as a career or not.’
Maev Kennedy FSA wrote about the loss of History of Art in the Guardian. AQA’s comments were similar to those it has made about Archaeology. ‘Our number one priority’, said a spokeswoman, ‘is making sure every student gets the result they deserve – and the complex and specialist nature of the exams in this subject creates too many risks on that front… Our decision has nothing to do with the importance of the history of art, and it won’t stop students going on to do a degree in it as we’re not aware of any universities that require an A-level in the subject.’
The paper launched a readers’ comment page, describing the loss of History of Art as ‘the latest in a cull of perceived “soft” subjects following the curriculum changes begun by the former education secretary Michael Gove.’
This summer, says Kennedy, ‘Only 839 students sat the A-level exam … and History of Art is only offered in a handful of state schools.’ The latter point was picked up by one of the paper’s art critics, Jonathan Jones, who wrote, ‘Far from a savage attack on the people’s art history, this is the end of one privilege of the public-school elite… Art history has become an obscurantist, elitist subject. It is remarkable that while theoretical physicists are constantly communicating their latest whacky ideas in popular books or on TV, none of the readable popular books on art history you will find in shops are by academic art historians.’
An incensed Simon Schama, a historian who writes about art, took the opposite line on this issue. He’d posted nine tweets about the loss of History of Art when someone pointed out that Classical Civilisation was going too. ‘So basically’, he responded, ‘the idea is to eliminate the deep wisdom of the past (and present) altogether for anyone not in private school,’ adding, ‘It’s the new class war, as in classroom war: classics and art history OK for private school students but state school kids, hey why bother?’ Archaeology’s out, too, said Sophie Hay: ‘also an outrage’, said Schama.
Neither did art critic Waldemar Januszczak hold back. ‘I'll tell you what's a “soft” subject’, he tweeted, having previously suggested Michael Gove should do something that Salon’s overseers would not allow me to repeat: ‘politics. Any twit who's gone to Eton can get to the top in politics.’ In the Sunday Times (16 October, subscription) he wrote that ‘Understanding [art’s] story is a crucial human qualification.’ The reason for the A Level’s loss, he claimed, ‘is that in the ghastly post-Govian mindset of our education overlords art history is viewed as a distraction. It doesn’t lead directly to a job. It won’t put a roof over your head. Only toffs are interested in studying it.’
The Association of Art Historians has published a response online, calling the loss of History of Art ‘particularly worrying to us, both as an organisation that represents practitioners of the subject and more broadly as a champion for art history and visual culture, within and beyond education.'
The response to the loss of Classical Civilisation has been less immediate; though AQA is dropping it, OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations) continues to offer the subject. Alasdair Matthews offers interesting comment on the Classics Library website.
The action, he suggests, is ‘one way of solving the inconsistencies in marking and grading that were troubling many of us over the last few years, but not really the one we were hoping for.’ AQA’s reasons for dropping Classical Civilisation, he says, ‘include limited entries. The three-year average entry for Classical Civilisation A Level is 2,627 candidates, and is fairly steady. Accounting has a three-year average of 2,426 and is declining; Computing has 2,510 (though is slightly rising); Dance has 1,783 (declining); German has 1,957 (very slightly rising); and Music has 1,075 (steady): all these subjects are being retained. We have to drop to average entries of 811 for History of Art and 326 for Electronics before we find them dropping subjects from their rosters… There appears to be an amount of disingenuity in their reasoning.’
Heyworth tells me AQA has supplied a detailed justification of its decision. He hopes to meet the body soon, after discussing the issue with colleagues, and is pushing for it to be raised in Parliament. This summer 623 candidates sat Archaeology at AS Level and 371 at A Level.
There is an online petition to save Archaeology (6,032 signatures as I write), and two for History of Art – one (13,769) and two (5,099). An earlier petition to save Creative Writing closed at 6,992 signatures; the subject is to be dropped. When AQA announced it was to drop Anthropology in 2015 (there were 222 A Level students in 2014), an online petition was launched and the Royal Anthropological Institute wrote to Prince Charles – to no avail.
Hugh Toller: Accountant, Archaeologist and Croquet Player
This striking photo, taken on the steps of the UCL Wilings Building in 1972, shows, on the left, Hugh Toller, who has died after a long illness. Toller worked with a London accountancy for five years, before taking a degree at the Institute of Archaeology, where he continued with postgraduate research in Roman archaeology. For the rest of his life he managed to keep active in both archaeology and chartered accountancy, the latter as part-time Finance Director and Accountant to small and medium sized businesses (among them Corrigan Restaurants and Langfords Silver Galleries), and a partner in Toller and Co. He was Field Archaeologist for Essex County Council 1975–83, leaving this to become Finance Director for the Marquee Organisation and Reading Festival. His archaeological passion was Roman roads, on which he published academic research (contributing more than anyone else on the subject since Ivan Margary FSA, says
Mike Haken, Chairman of the Roman Roads Research Association) and did much to encourage others in the field; he was a Trustee of the RRRA.
The photo was a joint effort between Toller, Anthony King FSA
(standing) and Julian Munby FSA
, during a student photography course with Gandolfi cameras. They were experimenting with parallax correction and depth of field (the cameras had movements), and the shot was done with a tripod and timer, and swift manoeuvres by Munby. It is most important, he says, to record Toller’s county level croquet handicap of 3 (at least), and his successful career at Hurlingham.
Verulamium in 1957
These three remarkable clips are from a British Pathé news film made in 1957, featuring 'a camp of holidaymakers in northern Hertfordshire' – known to Sheppard Frere FSA
, the project director seen at work at a drawing table, as a rescue excavation in Roman St Albans. The other clips feature Maurice Cookson, one of the great archaeological photographers, who worked for Mortimer Wheeler FSA
and taught students at the Institute of Archaeology in London. He has a Gandolfi camera (holding the lens cap off for exposure), which could be the very same one used by the late Hugh Toller (see above). The short sequence, put online by British Pathé
from a large archive, is a reminder that documentary archaeological film, little studied, was still being made long after television began.
Jenkins on Cathedrals
In his Guardian column
(10 October), Simon Jenkins FSA
writes passionately about the threat to the nation’s collection of churches, and the ‘paradox’ that cathedrals are in good health. ‘Cathedrals present themselves,’ he says, ‘like castles, as the great memorials to the nation’s past. The two dozen pre-Reformation survivors are, to me, the most beautiful things the English ever created. They are museums of medieval architecture, art, sculpture, stained glass and woodwork beyond compare. Filled with sunlight and music at the end of the day, they offer an irresistible experience. The key here is that a wider community of the unaffiliated, even the unbelieving, has come to see cathedrals as something it “owns”.’
Jenkins writes in similar vein in the Spectator
(8 October). ‘Barely half of Britons call themselves Christian and only a tiny group of these go near a church. Just 1.4 per cent regularly worship as Anglicans, and many of those do so for a privileged place in a church school. Yet one corner of the garden is blooming: the 42 cathedrals… There are more visits to cathedrals than to English Heritage properties.’
Adrian Tinniswood reviews Jenkins’ new book, England’s Cathedrals
, in the Times
(8 October, subscription). ‘Jenkins does more than simply offer potted histories and guidebook highlights,’ writes Tinniswood. ‘As a newspaper columnist [he] is a master of provocation. The great joy of his 1999 England’s Thousand Best Churches
, the precursor and companion volume to Cathedrals
, was his value-laden descriptions and the one-to-five star-rating that he adopted for every church, which provoked hallelujahs and anger in equal measure. Only one star for (supply the name of your favourite parish church)? we would cry. And five stars for some overrated ecclesiastical lump just because it has some quirky bench-ends or an all-but-indecipherable fragment of wall painting? What is he thinking of? It was the architectural equivalent of yelling at the TV.’ Jenkins is ‘biased’, says Tinniswood, against the 20th century; Guildford is ‘clinical and downbeat’ [what, not five stars? Ed.). The book, concludes the reviewer, is ‘an enjoyable addition to the literature of the English cathedral.’
Nuclear Deterrence and Soft Furnishings
I have Wayne Cocroft FSA
(Manager Historic Places Investigation Team East, Historic England, and co-author of Cold War: Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989
) to thank for drawing my attention to this remarkable story. It involves William Morris (yes, that one) and nuclear submarines.
Goldsmiths College, University of London, and The Arts Catalyst have brought together artists, curators and academics, led by Ele Carpenter, a Senior Lecturer MFA Curating at Goldsmiths, to form The Nuclear Culture Research Group. Members visit nuclear sites, talk about and publish their research, and create art and exhibitions, responding especially to issues raised by submarine dismantling (Black Dog Publishing launched their Nuclear Culture Source Book
, a nuclear fleet submarine which joined the British task force to the Falkland Islands in 1982, was retired in 1992 and is now a museum at Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, is a natural attraction for the Group. For David Mabb, Reader in Art at Goldsmiths and an artist who works with William Morris designs, the sub had the added appeal of being decorated with Morris fabrics.
Mabb joined a tour of the submarine in 2014. He’d heard that a Morris fabric known as Rose
featured on the ship, which began her service in 1971. ‘It seemed like an odd contrast,’ Mabb writes in a an article
for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
, ‘the work of a 19th-century socialist on a nuclear-powered submarine.’
What he saw was more than the occasional cushion. ‘After climbing down a steep ladder from the outside of the submarine,’ he writes, ‘we went straight into the officers’ wardroom, where Rose
covers every upholstered surface – seats, chairs, even beer barrels. I told the guide that I had come to see the Morris fabrics and, unperturbed, he showed me other places where they appeared – curtains in the officers’ bunk spaces, covers on some of their mattresses. They were even used to cover one of the seats used to “drive” the ship. In this part of the sub, the fabric was everywhere.’
‘For three decades’, Mabb continues, ‘starting in the 1960s, Britain’s Ministry of Defence commissioned Sanderson, the firm that owns the Morris & Co. brand, to supply Rose
for its nuclear submarines. The fabrics have even been used in Vanguard-class subs, which carry nuclear-armed Trident missiles. The bearers of both nuclear weapons and nuclear power, these vessels embody all the fears of atomic apocalypse, catastrophic accidents, and radioactive contamination associated with the nuclear age. They are not where one expects to find fabrics created by a famous socialist.’
In response Mabb created A Provisional Memorial to Nuclear Disarmament
. The work put Morris’s fabric, he says, ‘in another nuclear context, one prompted by the work of the British Marxist historian E. P. Thompson, who published the political biography William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary
in 1955 then updated and republished it in the 1970s, when Thompson was a leading intellectual in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
‘The installation features 15 old projection screens – not unlike the ones found in officers’ wardrooms on nuclear submarines. The fronts are plain William Morris fabrics, but most have been painted black or occasionally yellow, colours often appropriated by protestors from radiation warning signs. The painted black surfaces dominate, reminiscent of an anarchist protest or Modernist black paintings. It is only on the backs of the screens that the Morris prints come to life and mingle with signs, slogans, and symbols of the anti-nuclear movement.’
The artwork, part of the exhibition Perpetual Uncertainty: Contemporary Art in the Nuclear Anthropocene,
is on display at Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden, until April 2017. The exhibition explores how nuclear technology has influenced the interpretation of concepts such as archives, memory, knowledge and time in art. Mabb has written an article about Morris and submarines which will be published in the Journal of William Morris Studies
photos Devonport Natural Heritage Centre
Museums Consultation: for the Benefit of All
An open consultation as part of a wide-ranging Review
to produce a ‘state of the nation report on England’s museums’ is being run by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). The consultation closes on 31 October.
The Government, says the Review’s terms of reference, ‘is committed to ensuring that arts and cultural experiences, including those offered by museums and galleries, are available to, and benefit, everyone and not just the privileged few.’ It seems that that commitment does not preclude cuts, possibly in the form of funding transfers from national to regional museums. The Review will ‘Examine the need for the functions performed by [national] museums and whether existing funding and delivery models remain appropriate;’ and ‘Examine the capacity for the museums as a group to deliver more effectively and efficiently, including the potential for back office efficiency savings across the group and the group’s ability to contribute to economic growth.’ The terms continue with issues such as ‘How the overall investment can most effectively be deployed,’ and ‘incentivis[ing] new funding models, partnerships and better use of assets.’
A Review Team within the DCMS museums team, led by a Grade A civil servant, will commission input from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Simon Thurley FSA
Members of a seven-strong Challenge Panel, which will work alongside the Review Team to ‘challenge the scope, assumptions, methodology and conclusions of the Review,’ include Sandy Nairne FSA
The Review was announced in the Culture White Paper
earlier this year, and is expected to be published in summer 2017.
Meanwhile, the Museums Association (MA) has launched a UK-wide museums survey
of its own. The deadline for responses is the 28 October.
• Historic England, with the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, has reported on
local authority staff resources. Using figures collected early in 2016 and published on 14 September, the paper shows that the ‘number of historic advice specialists in local authorities had fallen over the previous 12 months, whilst the workload in terms of number of planning application decisions and Listed Building Consent decisions had grown.’
• Three museums run by Kirklees Council are to close after cuts to museum funding from £1m to £531,000 were agreed, reports the Museums Association
. The museums are Tolson Museum in Huddersfield, Dewsbury Museum and the Red House Museum in Gomersal. The Council plans to merge Tolson Museum with Huddersfield Art Gallery at a more central location in Huddersfield, blaming central government cuts for the closures.
Fellows (and Friends)
Valerie Hall FSA, elected a Fellow of the Society in June 2009, died on 28 July aged 70. She was Professor in Palaeoecology at Queens University Belfast, where she had taken her first degree in 1968, and, moving from botany to palaeoecology, a PhD in in 1989. She was Vice President of the INQUA Commission for Tephrochronology and Volcanology, and Honorary Company Secretary of the Irish Naturalists' Journal. Her publications include Flora Hibernica: The Wild Flowers, Plants and Trees of Ireland (2001, with Jon Pilcher) and The Making of Ireland's Landscape Since the Ice Age (2011).
Maurice Byrne FSA, 'eccentric polymath' (Times), died in September. An appreciation appears in Lives Remembered below.
The section also contains further notices on the late John Mulvaney FSA.
The Science Museum in London launched a new interactive £6m gallery for children on 11 October, called Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery. More than 50 ‘prominent scientists, campaigners and politicians’ signed a letter to the Guardian, asking the Museum to drop the sponsorship. ‘It is unacceptable’, they write, ‘for the Science Museum and Statoil to make future generations pick up the bill for their ill-made decisions. Wonderlab’s entry charge and its unethical sponsor must both be dropped.’ Responding, Ian Blatchford FSA, the Museum’s Director, said, ‘We’ve already taken 30,000 bookings for school children to visit this extraordinary interactive gallery for free and our goal is to welcome 200,000 schoolchildren annually. That will mean twice as many of our most diverse and representative group of visitors enjoying this inspirational space for free as our previous interactive gallery could accommodate.’ On 17 October Chris Garrard, ‘composer, researcher and activitist [sic] at Art Not Oil’, wrote in the Guardian that Statoil’s sponsorship ‘is buying a social legitimacy it does not deserve’. Comments seem largely supportive of the Museum.
‘When cultural attacks are intended to erase identities and memories in the name of religion, politics or conquest, they are a crime against humanity – an attempt to dehumanise and devalue. Where there is also an intention to destroy a group in whole or in part through cultural deracination as much as murder, it should count as genocide.’ So writes Robert Bevan, Member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, in the Art Newspaper. He defends Al Faqi Al Mahdi’s prosecution at the International Criminal Court, for ordering destruction at the Timbuktu World Heritage Site, against ‘much incorrect reporting’ and ‘hostile responses’, notably from Jonathan Jones, a Guardian art critic, who wrote in August, ‘The destruction of art is vile and offensive to many – but it is not mass murder and we should not pretend it is the same.’ ‘This is a false dichotomy,’ says Bevan. ‘Attacks on human lives and on material culture are often inextricably linked.’
The Catalogue of Paintings in the Collection of the Society of Antiquaries of London, by Jill Franklin FSA, Bernard Nurse FSA and Pamela Tudor-Craig FSA, has been reviewed by David Gelber in the Times Literary Supplement (30 September). ‘Few of the 83 pictures in the collection’, writes Gelber, ‘are what the art market would deem “masterpieces”,’ but he welcomes this ‘exceptionally scholarly’ study of ‘a hoard of curiosities,’ which ‘reveals in abundance the historical value of the works owned by the Society.’ It is, he concludes, a ‘learned and exhaustively researched’ book.
Jack Malvern reported on trouble at The Burlington Magazine in The Times on 7 October. Editor Frances Spalding, who started at the magazine in September last year and is a Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge, has resigned, frustrated at being unable to bring ‘intellectual brio’ to the publication. Previous Editor Richard Stone said Spalding had ‘made a complete mess of it and the staff revolted’. ‘The existing team’, said Spalding, ‘were entrenched in their way of doing things, and some of the editorial practices were slightly eccentric.’ Clicking on a Wikipedia link to ‘Editors of The Burlington Magazine’ took me to a web page headed ‘THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE. We have a problem…’ It hopes to appoint a new Editor in January.
The Lost Tribes of Humanity, a Horizon film on BBC2 broadcast on 13 October, considered the impact of new DNA research on our understanding of the evolution of modern humans. The evidence from excavations, said Chris Stringer FSA, bolstered by improving dating technology, shows Neanderthals were doing things traditionally deemed exclusive to moderns, and that both were living in Europe at the same time. DNA shows we interbred, and elsewhere both ancient and modern DNA reveal the existence of species closely related to us yet to be seen in any fossil detail, if at all. The programme was presented by Alice Roberts.
The Rea Valley, in the south suburbs of Birmingham, has a litter of erratics moved by ice 440,000 years ago, many coming from Snowdonia. Roland Kedge, chair of the Rea Valley Conservation Group, has catalogued them, rescued some, and, says Rob Ixer FSA, made a heritage trail which ends at the Great Stone Inn, Northfield, which has an erratic next door. A memorial plaque has been installed to commemorate this and the other stones, unveiled by Ixer (on right in photo by David Fisher) on 8 October. With an earlier study lost, Ixer established that the stone had formed somewhere just north of the South Pole, travelled north for about 450 million years, and was then moved from the middle of Snowdonia by ice in the Pleistocene. It rested during the 10,000 years of the Holocene/Recent era, and was there when the pub was built, until ‘it was finally moved by man to the village pound next to the pub, ironically at the very beginning of the new Geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in the early 1950s.’
A project part-funded by the Society of Antiquaries is to look at the Dietary Impact of the Norman Conquest. Ben Jervis and Richard Madgwick (Cardiff University), Elizabeth Craig-Atkins (University of Sheffield) and Lucy Cramp (University of Bristol) will study such things as stable isotopes, osteology, and organic and lipid residues on pottery, to see how the diet and cooking habits of ordinary people changed, and examine the wider impact of the Conquest on the physical health of a specific population.
Richard Gem FSA and Niamh Whitfield FSA, along with 20 other predominantly Classical, early Medieval, architectural and art historians from Britain and Ireland, many also Fellows, recently enjoyed themselves in Thessaloniki and Greek Macedonia on a study tour. They would like to recommend their local tour operator: ‘Our itinerary was complex and demanding,’ they write. ‘However, we were able to put it together with the invaluable help of Naturally Greece. It was flexible, responsive, got us to everything we planned to see plus several extra sites (some not normally accessible), and it provided us with a highly educated and outstanding guide. Hotels, transport and meals were of excellent quality. The cost was very substantially below that of any comparable tour offered by any UK tour operator. Naturally Greece can offer bespoke tours anywhere in Greece, and we recommended them most highly.’ Gem’s photo shows a 'little known’ Byzantine church, Kontariotissa, c AD 800.
Fellows seeking to explore further north might consider using Travels in Transylvania: The Greater Tarnava Valley, by Lucy Abel Smith FSA. ‘This charming and accessible guide’, says the blurb for the Blue Guide published in June, ‘takes as its focus the towns and villages of the Greater Târnava Valley, home to an exceptional cultural heritage. Here Romanian, Hungarian, Saxon, Jewish and Roma cultures come together in an extraordinarily rich mix, against a backdrop of some of the loveliest landscapes in Europe. The villages are famous for their unique fortified churches and unspoilt rural way of life. The guide to the sights of the valley also includes sections on the plethora of flora and fauna, bee-keeping, winemaking and gypsy heritage, as well as an outline of the region's complex and often turbulent history.’ ‘I think Fellows would find it interesting’, says Abel Smith, ‘as it basically reflects the history of the whole of Transylvania.’ In 2013 she started a book festival in the Saxon village of Richis, where she has a small village house. This year’s festival, which took place in September, featured many speakers, and ‘music, celebratory meals, excursions and wonderful company’.
The Egyptian limestone statue of Sekhemka, in a public museum until sold by Northampton Borough Council and the Marquis of Northampton in 2014, has been back in the news. The BBC reported on 1 October that lawyers had warned the Council that sale of the artefact ‘should not be financially motivated except in exceptional circumstances’. The Council refused a Freedom of Information request for pre-sale legal advice, on which it had spent nearly £58,000 (a sum revealed in a separate FOI request), calling the advice ‘legally privileged’. The Independent published a story on 15 October saying the statue was believed to be in the US, though it quotes as a source a Department for Culture, Media and Sport document published in April, when It was revealed that the export licence application was for the statue to go there.
ITV has dramatised the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, filming four one-hour episodes in Egypt, the first of which was transmitted on 16 October. It is based, says ITV, on 'the compelling personal story of … [an] eminent British archaeologist’ (not a common phrase). The press dug for controversy. ‘The current Lord Carnarvon,’ said the Mail on Sunday, ‘great-grandson of the Egyptian adventurer… disputed the show's racy affair.’ 'There was no romance between Carter and my great-aunt Lady Evelyn Herbert,' Carnarvon told the paper. Scriptwriter Guy Bert said, ‘to completely ignore any romance between Lady Evelyn Herbert and Carter as they hunted for the treasure in the Valley of the Kings, would be to “dodge” the evidence.’ The romance, he said, is 'emphatically not' an invention: it is a 'persistent rumour'. 'Arid, dusty and uncomfortable', said The Times – 'and that goes for the acting and writing as well as the location.'
The Times published a Leader on 15 October headed 'Brexit Brain Drain’. ‘Brexit represents a wrench for scientists reliant on EU support,’ it said. ‘Yet it is also an opportunity for the government to show that it understands that this country cannot flourish outside the EU if cutting-edge research is blunted by lack of support. To seize that opportunity, ministers must pledge to increase net research funding after Brexit… Britain’s academic elite is too valuable to be sacrificed to politics.’
David Attenborough FSA laid the first block of the keel of a polar research ship on 17 October, in Merseyside. Commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council and the country's largest commercial shipbuilding project in 30 years, she will be called the RSS Sir David Attenborough. The submersibles operating from her will be called Boaty McBoatface. Photo Guardian/Peter Byrne/PA.
Neil MacGregor FSA, speaking in Berlin, called Britain’s approach to history ‘dangerous’, reported the Guardian. ‘In Britain’, he said, ‘we use our history in order to comfort us to make us feel stronger, to remind ourselves that we were always, always deep down, good people… Maybe we mention a little bit of slave trade here and there, a few wars here and there, but the chapters we insist on are the sunny ones… This sort of handling of history is dangerous as well as regrettable.’
The publication by Oxbow Books of Romano-British Settlement and Cemeteries: Mucking Excavations by Margaret and Tom Jones, 1964–1978, completes the set of reports for this historic dig. The project, says the blurb, ‘revealed extensive evidence for a multi-phase rural Romano-British settlement, perhaps an estate centre, and five associated cemetery areas (170 burials) with different burial areas reserved for different groups within the settlement. The settlement demonstrated clear continuity from the preceding Iron Age occupation with unbroken sequences of artefacts and enclosures. Some of the latest Roman pottery was strongly associated with the earliest Anglo-Saxon style pottery, suggesting the existence of a terminal Roman settlement phase that essentially involved an “Anglo-Saxon” community.’ The photo shows the book's authors at the launch in Cambridge on 3 October (from left): Christopher Evans FSA, Chris Going, Rosemary Jefferies, Grahame Appleby and Sam Lucy FSA.
Robert Merrillees FSA has written down for Salon some personal memories of John Mulvaney FSA, who died on 5 October.
‘It is difficult now to conjure up the cultural environment in which John Mulvaney and I were brought up in Australia in the 1940s and 50s,’ says Merrillees, ‘despite the difference in our ages.Not only were we taught to think of ourselves as displaced Brits, but we were thought of as Colonials when we went afterwards to England. Those of our generation who made the Mother Country their home tried to become more English than the English, and to mask their Antipodean origins. John never did. His whole outlook, not to mention his accent, remained staunchly Australian, though not at all chauvinistic, and no doubt contributed to his re-orientation from a study of the Old World to investigating the New. He thereby initiated a revolution in archaeological research in Australia, in all its aspects, and fully merits the tributes he has been accorded for his singular and enduring achievements in elucidating the continent's Aboriginal past and preserving its natural and man-made heritage.
‘When John and I entered university in Australia, there were no courses anywhere on Australian prehistory, and only Sydney University offered courses in Old World art history and archaeology. It was mainly through John’s pioneering efforts that a study of Australia’s earliest settlement became of widespread academic and popular interest, and an established part of university curricula. This innovative attention to the long history of the Aboriginal people was accompanied by a growing awareness of the need to acknowledge the island continent’s original inhabitants as citizens with equal rights to the immigrant population. This was shown by the successful 1967 referendum, which removed clauses in the Constitution discriminating against the Aboriginal people, and the Mabo law case of 1992 which recognised native land title in Australia for the first time. John’s activities and advocacy complemented these historic decisions.
‘My wife, Helen, met John for the first time when they were both studying in London at the Institute of Archaeology in 1961. She particularly remembers that he was not given to mincing his words. This trait is amply on show in his memoirs, Digging up a Past, where he deplores the lack of Aboriginal participation in the running of the Institute of Aboriginal Studies in Canberra in the 1960s – where Helen once worked as a bibliographer. When Peter Ucko FSA came out from London as potential Director of the Institute, John sought to persuade him to accept Australians as “intelligent people, not colonial ignoramuses”, and after Peter’s appointment strongly supported him in involving the Aboriginal community in the Institute’s affairs. John was no less outspoken in lamenting Queen Elizabeth’s apparent indifference to a display he mounted in her honour in the Museum of Australia during a Royal visit to Canberra in April 1988, and in frankly recording his deep disillusionment with the Roman Catholic church, to which he ceased his devotion late in life when others are more inclined to curry favour with the Almighty. He believed, he wrote, that death would be his final fate.’
In an obituary in The Telegraph (11 October), a story is told of Mulvaney that when he graduated, ‘somewhat to his disappointment with a second-class degree, his supervisor, Professor Grahame Clark FSA, observed: “Well, John, I suppose a second’s good enough for Australia.”’ He was ‘the first university-trained archaeologist to work in Australia,’ says the paper, ‘where he became a scholar of prehistory and an eloquent campaigner on issues from water conservation to the preservation of ancient sites.’ The headline describes him as ‘archaeologist specialising in Aboriginal prehistory’.
Maurice Byrne FSA died on 1 September aged 76. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in January 1984. The Times carried an obituary on 21 September (subscription), describing him as ‘a fascinating man who pursued interests in science, music and archaeology – sometimes all at the same time.’
Born in Edgbaston to a family whose wealth was founded on making car and aircraft tyres, says the paper, Byrne ‘had no need – and probably no inclination – for regular employment’. He took his DPhil at Exeter College, Oxford in inorganic chemistry, and ‘often collaborated with established academics with whom he published several scholarly articles. He helped to develop a theory of how “Greek fire” was projected; hosted parties where musical friends performed operas by Mozart; and studied Roman remains in Turkey, taking a particular interest in how fields were laid out, the musical instruments that were played and the coins that were used.’ He played a series of woodwind instruments, starting with the flute and progressing to the bassoon. ‘He was the proud owner of a contrabassoon, which meant that he was much in demand by community orchestras in the Midlands. This fed his research into the development of wind instruments in the 18th century and in turn led to his editorship of the Journal of the Galpin Society.’
The Wisdom of Fellows
‘Dear Editor,’ writes Leslie Smith FSA, about Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel FSA. ‘I'm just getting into this marvellous book and on page 20 is this: The Corpus Glossary, a kind of alphabetical dictionary from around 800, also from St Augustine's Abbey and now too in the Parker Library, defines the word “Antiquarius” as “qui grandes litteras scribit”, one “who writes large script”: an antiquary was one who used uncials, [which, page 148], became the more sophisticated script of early Christian writings such as the Gospels. I didn't know that. Did you?’
Smith enjoyed the “latest bumper edition” of Salon.
‘Having never had a perceptive and worthwhile comment to contribute to Salon,’ writes a too-modest Steve Hobbs FSA, ‘I’m not changing the habits of the last 12 years: your mention of the musical event at Stonehenge in 1896 makes me wonder if it might have been an early Rock Concert.’ He signs off, ‘Yours in anticipation of a large groan.’
I noted the Stonehenge concert (staged by a travelling musical troupe called the Magpie Musicians) in connection with a story about John Maynard Keynes’ grandfather, who had filled the monument with dahlias on a number of occasions in the 1840s. I quoted an uncredited 2014 piece in the Western Daily Press. That, it turns out, was written by Wiltshire historian Brian Edwards who, he tells me, is hoping one day to publish a paper on the topic. He supplies this photo of a contented John Dahlia Keynes (1805–78).
Lorna Watts FSA writes to identify the site at which I pictured the late Don Brothwell examining a muddy human skull. It is, she thinks, Cannington, Somerset, where Philip Rahtz FSA excavated an important post-Roman cemetery in 1962–63. ‘I was there’, she adds.
Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings of Fellows
You can catch up on meetings you've missed by watching our lecture recordings (visit the events page and filter the results list by choosing 'past events'). Unless indicated otherwise, tea will be served at 16.15, and the Meeting will commence at 17.00 precisely. Online ballots close at noon at the date of the scheduled ballot. At Ordinary Meetings, ballots open at 16.00 and close at 16.20. The results are read at the beginning of the Meeting.
20 October: 'Christian Symbolism on the Ardagh Chalice, an Early Medieval Masterpiece from Ireland', by Dr Niamh Whitfield, FSA
27 October: 'Curating Celts – an Insider View of the Recent Exhibitions', by Dr Julia Farley and Dr Fraser Hunter, FSA
3 November: 'St Kilda: Mapping a Future for the Past', by Angela Gannon, FSA
Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer (email@example.com). Please note that lecture programmes are planned between 6 and 12 months in advance.
Forthcoming Public Events
Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays. These lectures are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place. Details of forthcoming lectures can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.
18 October: 'The Relics of Battle Abbey', by Dr Michael Carter FSA (English Heritage).
22 November: 'Motherboards and Motherloads: The Evolving Excavation of the Digital Age', by Dr Christine Finn FSA.
31 January: 'From the Dungheap to the Stars: The History of Early Gunpowder', by Kay Smith, FSA.
14 February: 'Revealing Verulamium: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town,' by Dr Kris Lockyear, FSA, and Dr Ellen Shlasko.
Click here for more information on our public lectures. We also run public tours of our building and collections (£10 per person) preceding the lectures above.
Society Dates to Remember
The Society's apartments (including the Library and Fellows' Room) will be closed for the Christmas holidays 24 December to 2 January (inclusive).
Burlington House Closures
Regional Fellows Groups
South West Fellows
2 March 2017: Archaeology at Rendlesham, Suffolk: An East Anglian Royal Settlement of the Time of Sutton Hoo by Prof Christopher Scull, FSA, a joint lecture with the Department of Archaeology of University of Exeter (14.30-15.30 at University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Laver Building, Lecture Theater 3).
Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, you can subscribe online at: http://eepurl.com/MvHUr
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings, email Bob Child at firstname.lastname@example.org.
26 November: Christmas Luncheon at Library, The Grange Hotel, York. Save the date and email Stephen Greep FSA at email@example.com for details.
Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, you can subscribe online at: http://eepurl.com/8nvxL
Other Forthcoming Heritage Events
See end for 'Call for Papers'
19 October: The Power behind the Throne: William, Lord Hastings (d 1483) and his Chantry (Windsor)
This year’s Maurice and Shelagh Bond Memorial Lecture will be delivered by John Goodall FSA, and will commence at 7pm in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Attendance will be free, but is by named ticket only. Applications for tickets should be made to The Chapter Office, Windsor Castle, Berkshire SL4 1NJ, listing the names of all those requesting tickets and enclosing a stamped addressed envelope, by Friday 7 October 2016. Tickets and photographic ID will be required to gain entry to the lecture.
19 October: Shakespeare, the Earls of Derby & the North West (Prescot)
Knowsley Hall is hosting an international symposium in association with Liverpool John Moores University and Shakespeare North, organised by Stephen Lloyd FSA. Leading scholars of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre culture will mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, and reveal new research and interpretation about the deep involvement of the Earls of Derby and other members of the Stanley family in the world of Shakespearean theatre, especially in the north-west. See online for details.
20 October: Mick Aston and the Dark Art of Geophysics (Taunton)
John Gater will give the third annual Mick Aston memorial lecture in the Museum of Somerset, Taunton Castle. Tickets from the Museum 01823 255088 or online.
21–23 October: The Neolithic of Northern England (Carlisle)
This conference at Tullie House Museum hopes to bring much new and exciting work in the North of England into the mainstream of Neolithic studies. An outstanding group of speakers includes Richard Bradley FSA, Alison Sheridan FSA, Clive Waddington FSA, Gill Hey FSA, Alex Gibson FSA and Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA. See the Royal Archaeological Institute’s website for details.
26 October: Wigber Low (Ashbourne, Derbyshire)
John Collis FSA will give a lecture on the Bronze Age and early Medieval burial mound at Wigber Low, Derbyshire, at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, DE6 1EP. Professor Collis led excavations at the site in the 1970s and made an award-winning film there on excavation techniques. The talk is part of Ashbourne Treasures, a community project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. See online for tickets and details.
26 October: The Arundel Choirbook and Tudor Polyphony (London)
A concert in the Great Hall, Lambeth Palace, followed by a reception. Created in 1525, the Arundel Choirbook is one of very few part-books to have survived the Reformation. It reveals a wealth of extraordinary music and is one of the jewels of the collection of Lambeth Palace Library. In a rare performance, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen will perform pieces by Ludford and Fayrfax, complemented with works by Sheppard, a younger contemporary of Fayrfax. For tickets (£60) phone 01904 651485, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see online for full details.
29 October: Romans and Natives in Central Britain (Grassington, N Yorks)
This one day conference at the Devonshire Institute will review the evidence, in the highlands on either side of Hadrian’s Wall, for interaction between native groups and their Roman conquerors. Contributors include Fraser Hunter FSA, Pete Wilson FSA, Tony Wilmott FSA, Dave Went FSA, Richard Tipping, Sonia O’Connor FSA and John Cruse FSA. See online for details.
1 November: St Stephen's Chapel: Bringing a Building Back to Life (London)
Rosemary Hill FSA will address the Westminster History Club in the Lord Mayor's Reception Rooms, Westminster City Hall, at 7pm. St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster was one of the glories of medieval Christendom, England's Ste Chapelle. Today it is one of London's most poignant ghost buildings, a subtle influence on the present Houses of Parliament. The story of its death, resurrection and afterlife is part of the history of Romanticism, of antiquarianism and of the Gothic revival. The Westminster Club was set up to raise funds for local scholarly research by the Victoria County History. This is one of four social events, with a glass of wine and a talk. All welcome but please RSVP, see online. Tickets £10 at the event.
7 November: Beatrice de Cardi Lecture (London)
This annual event will take place at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, this year preceded by a celebration of the life of Beatrice de Cardi FSA, at 2.30–4 pm. Following the CBA's Annual General Meeting for 2016, the presentation of the Marsh Archaeology Awards and a drinks reception, at 6.30 pm Mark Knight, Must Farm Site Director from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, will talk about the ongoing exciting discoveries at Must Farm. Details and booking online.
November 2016–June 2017: Lectures on the History of English Architecture (London)
Simon Thurley FSA is giving a series of free lectures in his capacity as Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, a positon created in 2009 for his continuing lectures on the history of English architecture. They will take place at the Museum of London, and will be accessible to the general public on a first come first served basis, beginning promptly at 6pm. The lectures are:
2 November 2016: Saving the Twentieth Century
How far can experimental buildings of the 1960s and '70s be altered for new uses? Should there be new rules for a new era of conservation?
7 December 2016: Tough Choices: Heritage or Housing?
The one built environment issue on which there is political consensus is an urgent need to build more houses. Housebuilding and heritage can be reconciled, but at the moment far too few local authorities know how to do it.
1 February 2017: Perfection or Pastiche? New Buildings in Old Places
The blight of the concrete municipal buildings of the 1960s and 70s in the historic centres of our cathedral cities is all too familiar. Everyone wants to avoid the same mistakes being made again, but can we reconcile old and new in our historic cities?
8 March 2017: The Value of Heritage and the Heritage of Value
There was a time when old places were valued simply for their beauty and interest, but now this is not enough. Are calculations of the financial contribution of our history adding to the value of our heritage or have they fundamentally devalued it?
7 June 2017: Fifty Years of Conservation Areas (Simon Thurley and Desmond Fitzpatrick FSA)
The first Conservation Areas were designated in 1967, today at the golden anniversary there are some 10,000 sites. The presentation will explore the origins, variety and some challenges for the future.
24–25 November: Richard Hakluyt and the Renaissance Discovery of the World (Oxford)
This year is the 400th anniversary of the death of Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616), which the Hakluyt Society will mark with a programme of events in Oxford, of which the principal is a two-day international conference. The programme includes a keynote lecture by Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University) and a free public lecture, Voyages, Traffiques, Discoveries, by broadcaster and historian Michael Wood FSA. Details online.
26 November: Romantic Antiquarianism: A Conference Celebrating Scott's The Antiquary (London)
A day conference organised by Fiona Robertson and Peter Lindfield at the Georgian Group, 6 Fitzroy Square, celebrates the bicentenary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott's novel, The Antiquary, by looking at the multi-faceted nature of antiquarianism in Georgian Britain. Leading scholars from across the UK will gather to present new and engaging material on the topic, including Rosemary Sweet FSA. See online for details.
26 November: ‘What the Romans built for us’ in Kent (Canterbury)
The importance of Roman villas in the landscape and history of Kent will be the theme of a one-day conference sponsored by the Kent Archaeological Society (KAS) in association with the Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies, University of Kent, to be held at Rutherford College. Speakers include Edward Biddulph FSA and Keith Parfitt FSA. Application form on the KAS News & Events page.
27–28 November: The Destruction Of Books (London)
This year’s 38th Annual Conference on Book Trade History, at Stationers' Hall, Ave Maria Lane, is concerned with the attrition and loss of books and manuscripts. Speakers will explore misfortunes that can befall books, ranging from accidental or wilful destruction of books to the cutting up and re-use of text and pictures. The impact of book-trade practices and changing fashions in collecting, with the recycling of paper and parchment and the rebinding of books, will form another major theme. Speakers include Brian Cummings FSA, John Goldfinch FSA, Christopher de Hamel FSA, Giles Mandelbrote FSA and Nicholas Pickwoad FSA. See online for full details.
12 December: ‘Business as Usual’: The Great War and the Ceramics Trade (London)
The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology’s Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture 2016 will be given by David Barker, at the Society of Antiquaries, Piccadilly, at 7pm. The lecture considers the impact of events of 1914–1919 on British manufacturing industries. The pottery industry was not alone in feeling the effects of labour shortages – and the need to fill male roles with women workers – and it suffered from the closure of markets, shortages of raw materials and difficulties in pursuing the all-important export trade. The lecture will be preceded by the SPMA’s AGM at 5.30pm and a wine reception at 6pm. See online for details.
12 January 2017: Grave Disturbance in Early Medieval Europe (Stockholm)
An international symposium to be held at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, organised by Alison Klevnäs, who won the Kent Archaeological Society's Hasted Prize in 2011 for her Cambridge PhD on the symposium’s theme. One of the most intriguing chapters in early Medieval archaeology is an outbreak of grave disturbance from Hungary to England, peaking in the seventh century. Thousands of recent burials were reopened and rifled, with grave goods and human remains removed or scattered. This will be the first conference on Merovingian-period grave disturbance since 1977. Substantive new research is being carried out into this phenomenon in England, Germany, France, the Low Countries, and Austria. See online for more information.
21 January 2017: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The programme and booking form for the seventh in this conference series are available. The conference will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, and many of the speakers are Fellows. For more information, please contact Paula Henderson FSA (email@example.com) or Claire Gapper FSA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
18 February 2017: The Man who Collected Oxfordshire (Oxford)
A day school at Rewley House, exploring the life and collections of Percy Manning (1870–1917). Manning amassed an enormous wealth of materials covering the whole county, which he gave to Oxford University, where they are held by the Bodleian Libraries and the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums. His collections range from prehistoric to modern times, from Stone-age implements and truncheons to historical records, plans and drawings. Kate Tiller FSA will chair a panel of five speakers. See online for details.
Call for Papers
31 March–2 April 2017: Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress 2017 (Hull)
The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology is building on the success of its 50th Anniversary Congress in Sheffield with a similar event in Hull as it celebrates being UK City of Culture. The event is open to all researchers at any stage of their career, whether academics, students, commercial or community archaeologists, to report recent research on any aspect of post-medieval/historical archaeology. We encourage contributors to offer 15-minute papers or poster displays which will be grouped by the organisers into themed sessions. Please send offers of papers (title and abstract of up to 150 words) to Harold Mytum FSA by 1 December, at email@example.com. Further information about the conference is available online.
19–21 April 2017: Archaeology: A Global Profession (Newcastle)
The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ annual conference and training event will be hosted at the University of Newcastle next year. The three broad themes are professionalism, protection and discovery. Archaeology should be without borders, and professional archaeology must be without borders. We hope the conference will provide an opportunity to report on some of the progress made and to explore both the opportunities and difficulties of professionalising across borders. Deadline for proposals 14 October 2016. See online for further details.
29 April 2017: The Changing Parish Church: from Saxon to Victorian c 600–1900 (Lewes)
Against a background of declining congregations and large numbers of listed churches with uncertain futures, this day conference considers the emergence, use and decoration of the early parish church, how the parish church has changed, and what might lie ahead for rural parish churches. The delegates’ handbook will include illustrations and other information to help ‘read’ a church when you visit. See online for details.
May 17–18 2017: Archaeology and History of Lydia from Early Lydian Period to the Late Antiquity (Izmir, Turkey)
This symposium will take place at the Dokuz Eylul University. Lydia was an ancient region, located in inner western Anatolia, and compared to the coastline of western Asia Minor its archaeology is not well known. We warmly invite contributions by scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines of ancient classical studies related to this region. The aim of the symposium is to report on the state of research concerning Lydia between the 8th century BC and 6th century AD. See online for details.
Carlisle Cathedral wishes to appoint a Cathedral Archaeologist. Closing Date for expressions of interest 24 October 2016.
The appointee will be responsible for this statutory role for the 4.5 acre Cathedral precinct, which contains seven Grade I and four II* Listed Buildings, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. For full details see online.
The National Trust is looking for new members to join the Collections and Interpretation Advisory Group. Closing date for applications 3 November 2016.
The Trust’s ten-year strategy commits us to change on many fronts, including the ways in which we present, interpret and open up our houses and collections to the public. We are looking for potential members who can make a contribution in one or more of the following areas of expertise: curatorship of decorative or applied arts, curatorship of fine arts, and the history of historic interiors. We are looking for colleagues who have a passion and deep knowledge about heritage and history; about curatorship, conservation, education and engagement; significant experience of leadership, innovation and critical reflection in these areas; and a collegiate and curious outlook.
The role requires a commitment of about ten days per year, and is for an initial term of three years, with the potential for one renewal. The positions are voluntary, but expenses will be paid. For further information please contact Jess McGurk, Convenor, 07342084865 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or see online.
To apply email a brief CV and covering letter to Becci Shanks, Group Administrator, email@example.com 0207 824 7138.
Propose a Lecture or Seminar
Please download and complete the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 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 Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.