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Salon: Issue 351
19 October 2015

Next issue: 2 November 2015

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. Like the intellectual salons of 18th- and 19th-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website.

Send news, comment and feedback for publication to the Editor, Mike Pitts, at Salon Editor (if you are reading this in an email, please do not reply directly as we will not receive your message). 

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.
Lamp flame

Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary

Fellows' Room at Burlington House

On the top floor of the Society's apartments at Burlington House, overlooking the courtyard, is the Fellows' Room. It is a little haven in central London, which includes displays of some of our collections and paintings such as the recently-restored canvass of the Fire of London (showing St Paul’s in flames as seen from the riverbank).

Here Fellows can informally meet, read, use the internet, or take a break from work in the Library to have morning coffee or afternoon tea. Staff also take their breaks here. Fellows are encouraged to use this space, while being mindful of other users as well – particularly when hosting informal meetings in the room (for exclusive use of rooms for formal meetings, the Society has spaces for hire to Fellows at discounted charitable rates).

Occasionally, you may find library and collections staff in a corner of the Fellow’s Room photographing objects or preparing for a forthcoming display or exhibition as it is one of the best-lit rooms in the building. Fellows are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities to see what we are doing with our collections — staff will be only too happy to answer questions.
The room is only very rarely closed, but because it is such a quiet haven in the building, being well above the noise of the courtyard, that it is the perfect location for filming or recording interviews, which happens two or three times a year. We try our best to notify Fellows' of forthcoming closings in advance via the Fellow’s Area of our website or other means of communication.

A copy of the Council’s Policy on the use of the Fellow’s Room can be found in the Fellows' Area of the website (login required) and pinned to the back of the Fellows' Room door.

New Property Manager Appointed to Kelmscott Manor

I am very pleased to announce that the Society has appointed Gavin Williams as our new Property Manager at Kelmscott Manor. Gavin has spent the last 12 years managing Forty Hall Estate, a Grade I listed building and estate in the London Borough of Enfield. During his time at Forty Hall, Gavin developed and diversified the visiting audience and implemented a varied programme of activities and events. Gavin has worked closely with a large team of part–time staff and volunteers to make Forty Hall a success. Gavin led Forty Hall through a major Heritage Lottery Fund refurbishment programme, and this experience will prove invaluable at Kelmscott.

Gavin is able to start work at the Manor on 20 October. He will be bringing a wealth of experience in running a historic property and estate, and is looking forward to meeting and working with all the Fellows, staff and volunteers at Kelmscott and Burlington House.

Tristan Hillgarth, FSA, Has Sponsored a Three-Year Research Award

The strength of the £15,000 grant demonstrates the project will have a guaranteed momentum for three years. This is really important for leveraging funding from elsewhere. The kudos and reputation of the Society of Antiquaries really strengthens the other grant applications and demonstrates the academic seriousness of the project. (David Roberts, recipient of the Tristan Hillgarth Award)

Click here to watch a short video about what the researchers have discovered in year one!

If you would like to help scholars undertake research and present important new discoveries to a rigorous academic audience through peer-reviewed publications there are many ways you can help. Contributions of any size are welcome and can be used to bolster the Society’s Research Grant funds. Get in touch to discuss supporting Research by contacting Dominic Wallis, Head of Development, at or 020 7479 7092.

Arched-top Portrait of Richard III is Part of 'The Huge History Lesson'

We are delighted to announce that our arched-top portrait of Richard III is now part of The Huge History Lesson Online, a branch-off project linked to the British Museum and Department for Education’s ‘Teaching History in 100 Objects’ campaign.

Our portrait of Richard is one of the objects children can explore and research – and he is even featured on the main project page! We are looking forward to finding out what kind of projects the painting inspires among school children. Read the full story on our website.

Update on Statute Reform

Proposed changes to the Society's Statutes were read out following an Ordinary Meeting of Fellows on 15 October, and a printed version of the proposed changes has been posted to Fellows (delivered to the post office on 16 October). Fellows can also review the proposed changes by downloading an electronic copy from the Fellows' Area of the website, or watching a recording of the recent reading.

The document described above sets out Council’s proposals for new Statutes, to replace those last issued in 2004, and new wording for the Charter of 1751, provisionally agreed with the Privy Council Office. The new Statutes develop work begun by a group of Fellows in 2011 and have been drafted by the legal team at Stone King LLP. The Statutes were, in places, out of step with the Founding Charter of 1751, and parts of the Charter have been changed to align it with the proposed Statutes. The new Statutes, if adopted by the Fellowship, provide for Council to make Orders, which set out in more detail how the Society conducts its business. Orders can be amended without disturbing the Statutes and will provide the Society with greater flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. The document includes two new Orders proposed by Council – concerning the conduct of Anniversary meetings and provisions for voting – that must be endorsed by the Fellowship to come into effect.

Revision of Statutes must follow Chapter XVIII of the 2004 Statutes, also set out in the document. The reading of the proposed new Statutes on 15 October signalled the start of a period of four weeks (until midnight on 12 November 2015) during which any Fellow may propose amendments or additions. The new Statutes, with any amendments received by the General Secretary, together with the revisions to the Charter will be considered and voted on at an Extraordinary General Meeting for Fellows to be held at 2.00 p.m. on Thursday, 3 December 2015, at Burlington House. If the new Statutes are agreed, the new Orders will also be put to the Fellowship for a vote at that Meeting.

You will see that the document also provides answers to a number of questions about the background to these changes which Council hopes Fellows will find helpful. These matters may only be determined at the Extraordinary General Meeting, so your vote at the meeting on 3 December is important. In order for us to ensure that we have a venue that can hold all those Fellows who wish to attend, please reserve your place by Monday, 23 November: either email or call 020 7479 7080. You can also reserve your place online at

Recent Ballot Results

The Society held a ballot on 15 October during which the below Fellows were elected. Read more on our website
  • Michael Carter
  • Peter Brown
  • Graham Charles Gordon Thomas
  • John Salvatore
  • David Gregory
  • Kathleen Marie Lynch
  • Pierre du Prey
  • Elizabeth Kay, Baroness Andrews


Forthcoming Ordinary Meetings

Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 16.15 and meetings start at 17.00. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow. Details of forthcoming meetings and events can be found on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

22 October 2015: ‘Digitised Diseases’, by Dr. Jo Buckberry and Dr. Andrew Wilson.

29 October 2015: ‘Picturing Speech: The Iconography of the Speech Scroll in Manuscript Illumination Before 1200 and an Anglo-Saxon Variant’, by Michael Curschmann (Princeton University).

5 November 2015: ‘Sacred Landscape and National Identity: New Work at Strata Florida Abbey, Wales’, by David Austin, FSA.

12 November 2015: ‘Why is Celtic Art 'Celtic'?’, by John Collis, FSA.* **
*Please note: A ballot is scheduled for this meeting (login required for online voting).
**Please note: This is a change from the meeting and events card previously posted to Fellows. The lecture by Matthew Grenby has been postponed to our spring 2016 programme.


Forthcoming Public Lectures

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.

27 October 2015: ‘Agincourt: The Battle, Myth and Memory’, by Anne Curry, FSA
Unfortunately, this lecture is now fully booked. But we hope to post a recording after the event!

24 November 2015: ‘Folk Carols of England’, by Yvette Staelens, FSA
A few places are still available! Book now!

19 January 2016: ‘The Waddeson Bequest at the British Museum, A New Look’, by Dora Thornton FSA and Tom Fotheringham. A few places are still available! Book now!

Click here for the full programme of public lectures 2015-2016.

Society Dates to Remember: Mark Your Calendars


Forthcoming Closures

The Society's apartments (including the Library and Fellows' Room) will be closed to Fellows and visitors on Friday, 18 December for a staff training and development day.

The Society will be completely closed for the Christmas holidays from 24 December 2015 to 1 January 2016 (inclusive).

Introductory Tours of Burlington House for Fellows

The next in the Society’s regular series of introductory tours will take place on 29 October 2015, and three more are scheduled for the spring programme in 2016: 28 January, 24 March, 23 June.

Tours are free, but limited to 25 people, so places should be booked in advance. Please contact the Society’s Executive Assistant (call 020 7479 7080 or email Tours start at 11.00, and coffee is served from 10.45. Lunch is available at the end of the tour for £5, but must be ordered in advance. There will be further tours scheduled in the autumn.

Order a William Morris Fruitcake for Christmas by 16 November —
Kelmscott Manor Will Receive £5.50 From Each Purchase

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.’
Each order supports 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 16 November via the My Cottage Kitchen website.

A Quarter Century at The Art Newspaper

The Art Newspaper, whose founder-editor is Anna Somers Cocks FSA, is celebrating its first 25 years as an online and paper publication with offices in London and New York. To mark the event the paper is presenting a series of debates (‘public investigations’) into the role of art in contemporary society, under the title What Is Art For? The first will be at The British Museum on 28 October at 6.45 p.m., introduced by Neil MacGregor FSA, the Museum’s Director. Witnesses will be Karen Armstrong, John Barrow, Ben Okri and Zaki Nusseibeh, and the prosecution will be by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.
In a special comment section of The Art Newspaper, MacGregor writes:
‘The power of great objects to affirm the one-ness of humanity is often dismissed as a comforting illusion of the Enlightenment. We now know it to be a deeply felt truth, to which the martyr masterpieces of the past decade bear powerful, lamentable witness. How to stop the destruction is the first challenge. But there is a second: can we now build on that truth to find a way of enabling more of the world to study and enjoy its shared inheritance? If we can make some progress in that endeavour, the losses will not have been futile.’
Debate will continue at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in February 2016, and at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, also in 2016. After recent protests at London cultural institutions against sponsorship by BP, the British Museum should feel safe on this occasion. What Is Art For? Is supported by Volkswagen.

Kelmscott Express

The Starlight Years: Love and War at Kelmscott Manor 1940–1948, edited by Joscelyn Godwin and published by The Dovecote Press in March, illuminates a curious episode in the history of the Society’s popular visitor attraction in Oxfordshire. ‘Starlight’ was the protagonists’ term for Benzedrine, which helped Edward Fell Scott-Snell and Stephani Mary Allfree, the editor’s parents, see through the Second World War in ‘an icky erotic fantasy’ of ‘assorted gardeners, priests, and organists who gleefully seduce their willing, under-aged charges’. Scott-Snell and Allfree fell in love with each other, Morris and the house, which they rented before moving to America as authors and illustrators.

Ghost Ship 

Historic England announced in a press release dated 12 October that a wreck lying in Hampshire mud may be the remains of the Holigost (Holy Ghost), a 600-year-old ship that sailed to France in Henry V's war fleet. The find was made by Ian Friel FSA, ‘re-visiting documentary evidence’ for his new book, Henry V's Navy (History Press). He first spotted the wreck on an English Heritage aerial photograph of the Bursledon stretch of the River Hamble, when he was working in the former Archaeological Research Centre at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
‘I am utterly delighted’, said Friel, ‘that Historic England is assessing the site for protection and undertaking further study. In my opinion, further research leading to the rediscovery of the Holigost would be even more important than the identification of the Grace Dieu in the 1930s.’ 

The Holigost was clinker-built, around 740–760 tons, and sailed only in war. Despite huge expenditure on maintenance work, she succumbed to leaks and timber decay. In 1423 a 'dyver' named Davy Owen, probably a Welshman, was employed to stop up cracks under the ship, perhaps the earliest-known instance in England of a diver being used in ship repair.

Titanic Wars 

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests can be easy to make, but less so to respond to. ‘Dear Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England,’ wrote Duncan Kerr in June 2013. ‘Please provide copies of all correspondence between your organisation, Shropshire Unitary Authority and any other organisation in relation to the preparation of the Site Allocations and Management of Development policy document.’
The request (that was it, in full) was in connection with a continuing dispute about planning applications to build new houses at the foot of Old Oswestry hillfort, that has concerned many Fellows. English Heritage (as it then was) sought clarification from the questioner, the statutory period for response of 20 working days was exceeded, and Kerr asked for ‘an internal review of why this request has taken so long and whether the clarification requested was justified’. The final response came in July, with ‘the documentation [split] into two bundles … due to the volume of information’.
Over two years later, another FOI request has revealed how distant from each other parties appear to be on the future of the Oswestry landscape. HOOOH (Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort) obtained correspondence that suggests the farmer hoping to grow houses is not easily moved from his aspirations.
English Heritage, said HOOH in a press release dated 8 October, hoped to excavate First World War practice trenches on the hillfort plateau next year, with reference to Oswestry-born poet Wilfred Owen, who was stationed at the camp in October 1916. English Heritage needed the farmer’s consent. Unfortunately for them, they had opposed two out of his three proposed housing sites.
‘My client’, wrote the farmer’s representative in November 2013, ‘would be delighted to support your aspirations, but feels unable to agree being positive until such time as he has managed to obtain support from your “whole” organisation in respect of the development and betterment proposals. I trust you appreciate the difficult position my client therefore finds himself in.’

Restoring Pitzhanger Manor

Elizabeth Hallam Smith FSA writes to Salon from her desk in the House of Lords, ‘not far’, she says, ‘from the site of Sir John Soane's lost Scala Regia’, about the £11m restoration of the Grade I Pitzhanger Manor, to be completed in 2018:
‘Salon readers may be interested in the recently launched restoration project for Pitzhanger Manor, Soane's country manor and gardens in Ealing. With Heritage Lottery Fund support, Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery Trust is working with Ealing Council on a project to “restore Soane's architectural vision, reveal Pitzhanger's rich history and create a world class arts and heritage attraction”. The project aims to complete the restoration started in the 1980s, revealing the original exteriors and restoring and opening up further rooms. The gallery will also be upgraded. When in a couple of years' time Pitzhanger reopens, it looks likely to be a magnet for Soane enthusiasts and the wider public in west London and beyond.’

Vlad the Van Driver

The Sentencing Council has launched a new Definitive Guideline to Theft Offences, which takes into account the impact of heritage crime. The guidance comes into effect on 1 February 2016.
It is designed to help courts ensure a standard approach to sentencing, focusing on the impacts on victims beyond financial loss. It applies to the full range of theft offences (including shop theft, pick-pocketing, handling stolen goods, stealing by employees or care workers and abstraction of electricity), and for the first time sets out that the theft of historic objects or the loss of national heritage can make an offence more serious. Significant heritage impacts could include damage to war memorials when thieves steal metal plaques, or theft of objects from a historic shipwreck.
Mark Harrison FSA, National Policing and Crime Adviser for Historic England, welcomed the new guidance. It will, he said, ‘help the courts identify all the relevant factors to include in their sentencing decisions in relation to heritage crime including “going equipped to steal”, “the act of theft” and “handling stolen goods”. It will also aid Historic England’s work with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service in bringing theft cases to court where it involves loss and damage to a significant “heritage asset”.’

Meanwhile, Mark Horton FSA was on the job, peering out of the dark from a field somewhere in Gloucestershire, on the trail of nighthawks – people with metal detectors operating illegally in the early hours. Horton presented a segment for local BBC TV’s Inside Out West on 12 October. The actions of nighthawks, he said, speaking from Bristol University’s annual dig at Berkeley Castle, ‘are destroying everything I work to achieve as an archaeologist’. At the excavation, archaeologists are in a ‘constant battle with nighthawks breaking into the site’. At the end of every season, detectorist Peter Twinn clears new metal finds to thwart potential thieves. Along the way, we see Mark Harrison talking to a barn full of police.
Horton spoke to a farmer with a scheduled archaeological site on his land, which nighthawks were ‘raping’, removing Roman history than can never be replaced. And sure enough, motion-sensor infra-red cameras catch three men in army camouflage with detectors in the middle of the night. They wait for a van. ‘Is that Vlad?’ says one. ‘He was quick, weren’t he?’ Horton is thrilled.

Archaeologists and Public Engagement

Lorna Richardson FSA is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Digital Sociology at the Department of Sociology, UmeÃ¥ University, Sweden. She is organising a survey about archaeologists’ attitudes to public engagement, provocatively titled, What do Archaeologists Think About the Public? The survey is anonymous, so no personal data is stored, and, she says, ‘it's very short and multiple choice, rather than one which requires long comments. It should take about 5 minutes to complete.’
‘My aim’, she explains, ‘is to obtain some quantitative data on attitudes towards this type of work in the UK – whether the anonymity of the survey will allow some greater “truths” to be revealed! Do archaeologists really value outreach work, and how it impacts upon public perceptions of their expertise, or do they in fact feel that it is a waste of time? Perhaps in the busy commercial sector for example, this work is too time consuming and financially expensive to undertake, but the agendas for impact, localism and place-making etc. force their hands? I am taking the pulse of attitudes to the public as it were – to see if private perceptions match public rhetoric, and I hope that the data will be a stepping off point for further work with some of the issues raised.’
Interested Fellows will find the survey here.

Re-excavating Richmond 

Jason Wood FSA, Director of Heritage Consultancy Services in Lancaster, enjoyed the appreciation of Ian Richmond FSA in the last Salon by Alan Wilkins FSA. ‘In Lancaster,’ writes Wood, ‘where Alan first met him as a sixth former, we marked the 50th anniversary of Sir Ian’s death by re-opening one of his last ever excavation trenches, and by holding a respectful minute’s trowelling in his memory at midday on 5 October.'
‘A succession of Roman forts, dating from the first to fourth centuries, occupied Lancaster’s Castle Hill. Only limited excavations have taken place since the 1920s, and none at all in the last 40 years. Consequently, very little is known about the nature of the Roman and later remains. The northern slope of Castle Hill, immediately outside the site of the Roman forts, is equally poorly understood. It was here that Sir Ian dug in 1950, 1958 and 1965. He wrote up the 1950 excavation (which Alan was on) but his final season in 1965, which was intended to resolve some questions posed by his earlier work in 1958, remained unpublished due to Sir Ian’s untimely death just three months after leaving Lancaster.
‘As part of the current HLF-funded Beyond the Castle project (BTC) a valuable archive of Sir Ian’s notes, diaries, drawings and photographs relating to his work at Lancaster was examined in the Sackler Library, Oxford. This has now been reunited with the finds from the excavations stored in Lancaster City Museum, but it still remains impossible to reconstruct Sir Ian’s thought process and interpretation from what survives, especially as he believed he was digging inside the Roman forts, rather than, as we now know, to the north of them.
‘In order to help understand what he found, we decided to apply for Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) to re-excavate one of Sir Ian’s July 1965 slot trenches that he dug across the line of a Roman ditch and a Roman building. (Alan says his last letter from Sir Ian referring to his heart condition is dated 6 July, which coincidentally is when he was digging this trench.) The exact position of the trench was identified from a newly commissioned close-contour topographic survey of the area conducted on behalf of the BTC project by Oxford Archaeology North. Sir Ian’s archive and later published plans by others were at variance as to the precise location and dimensions of the trench.
‘SMC was granted just days before the anniversary. No excavation of undisturbed deposits was attempted: the aim was just to remove Sir Ian’s backfill (examining this for any unstratified finds) and to record in detail the trench plan and sections. In the event no sections could be recorded as the surviving Roman deposits lay just below the turf and, as it transpired, Sir Ian had simply drawn a pre-excavation plan and chosen to excavate only one feature, confusingly not on his plan. The Roman ditch he drew he hadn’t excavated but projected its line from a neighbouring trench; the Roman building he drew we couldn’t see, rather we think we have evidence of three phases of Roman building and on different alignments. More confusion.
‘We hope to return next year to extend the excavation area and locate more of Sir Ian’s trenches. Better comprehension of the archaeology of this part of the site will help inform future management and interpretation of the Roman remains and in due course it is hoped that Sir Ian’s work can be brought to publication as he would have intended.’

Lives Remembered 

John Blatchly FSA, a distinguished Suffolk antiquary, died on 9 September, aged 82. Richard Barber FSA says there will be a memorial service at St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich, on 21 November at 10.30 a.m.
Writing in The East Anglian Daily Times, Lynne Mortimer described Blatchly as ‘an educator, scientist, historian, author, musician and passionate advocate for the heritage of churches, for the town of Ipswich and the county of Suffolk’.
He was headmaster of Ipswich School from 1972 to 1993, and more recently was the school’s Archivist Emeritus, ‘organising school artefacts and writing a very thorough history of the school, A Famous Antient Seed-Plot of Learning’.
He was Honorary Wolsey Professor and Visiting History Professor at University Campus Suffolk, which notes he raised funds for a bronze statue commemorating Thomas Wolsey in his birthplace. For many years he was President of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, and Chairman of the Suffolk Records Society.
Caroline Grigson FSA wrote an informative obituary of Juliet Clutton-Brock FSA for The Guardian, which was published on 7 October.
‘After obtaining a first [in zoology at Chelsea College of Science and Technology],’ says Grigson, ‘Juliet returned to the Institute of Archaeology and completed, under [Frederick] Zeuner, a PhD on animal remains from some archaeological excavations in India and the Middle East. She also attended lectures there given by the now almost legendary archaeologists Gordon Childe, Max Mallowan and Kathleen Kenyon. This was the beginning of her career in archaeozoology, which under Zeuner’s guidance was being established as a new discipline. It involves the identification of often fragmentary bones and teeth, which requires not only a wide knowledge of comparative osteology, but also an appreciation of the significance of these remains to the history of the people who accumulated them.
‘During college holidays Juliet returned to live in Chastleton House, a fine Jacobean manor in the Cotswolds that her father had inherited from a cousin in 1955. The house had been in the family, virtually unchanged, since its construction, or, as family tradition had it, “built in 1603 and never dusted since”. It was sold to the National Trust in 1991 by Alan’s second wife, Barbara.’
‘I can confirm that Juliet had a sense of humour’, writes Dale Serjeantson FSA from the University of Southampton. ‘She gave a lecture at the Institute of Archaeology (London) in 1979 on the evolution of dogs and dog breeds. Her final slide showed a Pekinese. She claimed that producing this from a wolf was the peke of human achievement.’
Peter Meadows FSA died just before Easter. The website of Great St. Mary’s Ministry, Cambridge, carries a tribute, and Richard Halsey FSA has written for Salon this ‘short piece on his antiquarian achievements’:
‘Peter Meadows died suddenly at the age of 56. An archivist especially interested in buildings, he was an Under-Librarian in the Manuscripts Department at Cambridge University Library and archivist at his College, Pembroke (where he recognised Sir Christopher Wren's writing on building material bills). He enthusiastically succeeded Dorothy Owen as archivist for the Ely Diocesan Records and later became Ely Cathedral Archivist, editing two mighty volumes on the History of Ely Cathedral (with Nigel Ramsay) in 2003, and on the Bishops and the Diocese of Ely 1109–2009 (2010). His lifelong Anglican faith also encouraged his work as Bible Society Librarian at the University.’

News of Fellows

Four Fellows were honoured by the British Academy on 29 September, when the 2015 prize and medal winners were announced at an evening ceremony. Among four President's Medals, rewarding signal service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences, two were given to Peter Addyman FSA (formerly York Archaeological Trust and Jorvik Viking Centre) for his significant efforts in making archaeology and historic heritage publicly accessible, and Michael Wood FSA (University of Manchester and broadcaster with Mayavision) for his significant work in promoting the field of history. David Hall FSA (University of Exeter) received the biennial John Coles Medal for Landscape Archaeology for his significant contribution through his research into the Midland open field systems and his role in the Fenland Project. Neil MacGregor FSA (Director of the British Museum) received the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding, a major £25,000 award, for A History of the World is 100 Objects (Penguin 2012) and Germany: Memories of a Nation (Allen Lane 2014).

Raghnall Ó Floinn FSA has co-authored with Stephen H. Harrison, the latest volume in the National Museum of Ireland’s Medieval Dublin Excavations series. Entitled Viking Graves and Grave-Goods in Ireland, it is the first comprehensive catalogue and detailed discussion of over 400 artefacts (both Insular and Scandinavian) from more than a hundred Viking graves, many published for the first time. The volume includes a detailed study of the archives of the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Irish Antiquities Division of the National Museum of Ireland, key resources for those interested in the history of museums in Ireland and in 19th and 20th century collectors and collecting. While much of the text is given over to the Kilmainham-Islandbridge burial complex – now confirmed as by far the largest cemetery of its type in the Viking west – the monograph also includes details of the Viking graves from elsewhere in Dublin, and from the rest of Ireland.

Robert Hannah FSA appears in a History Channel documentary first broadcast in May this year in the US, and in June in New Zealand, where Hannah is Dean, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, at the University of Waikato. ‘The write-up on the History Channel website is over-the-top’, says Hannah, ‘but that is the way of the doco world. It features my archaeoastronomical work on the Pantheon, Nero’s Golden House and the Meridian of Augustus, as well as others’ work on Hadrian’s Villa. My abiding memory is of the filming just outside Los Angeles, outdoors in an Native American park, where we contended with crows and planes. It’s amazing they got any connected sentences together from me with the interruptions!’ Roman Engineering, in season 2 of the series The Universe: Ancient Mysteries Solved, has yet be scheduled in the UK.

Early Medieval Stone Monuments: Materiality, Biography, Landscape (Boydell Press), is edited by Howard Williams FSA, Meggen Gondek and Joanne Kirton in the series Boydell Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture. Using themes of materiality, biography and landscape, it reveals how carved stones created senses of identity and history for early medieval communities and kingdoms. Writers from the University of Chester, and Ireland, Scandinavia and across Britain, consider early medieval inscribed and sculpted stone monuments, including Pictish symbol stones, the important memorials at Iniscealtra, County Clare and rune-stones from central Sweden.
‘To find a king in a car park’, said the Queen, ‘is not an everyday occurrence.’ This, according to Hello! Magazine (and other sources), is what Her Majesty told John Ashdown-Hill FSA and Philippa Langley on 9 October, after presenting them with MBEs for their roles in locating Richard III’s grave.
Robert Weaver FSA writes to say that his colleague Keith Adams has a run of 40+ years of the Antiquaries Journal, free on offer for the taking, contact

As well as appearing on BBC Radio 4, Barry Cunliffe FSA also discussed the British Museum’s Celts: Art and Identity and his new book, By Steppe, Desert and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia, on Radio 3’s Free Thinking. Appearing on 24 September with presenter Rana Mitter and historian Janina Ramirez, Cunliffe was described by Mitter as ‘a Marxist-determinist wearing a green vest’, with which he seemed rather chuffed.

The Mary Rose Museum has unveiled a bronze bust of Margaret Rule FSA, by Luke Shepherd, a Devon-based sculptor. Rule died in April. In his obituary for The Guardian, Peter Marsden FSA wrote how she took a leading part in creating a home for the remains of the Tudor ship in Portsmouth, ‘one of the finest museums in the world’.

Maev Kennedy FSA reported in The Guardian on 9 October that excavation by Steve Mithen FSA and Karen Wicks, both at the University of Reading, had taken the earliest evidence for human activity in Scotland back by more than 2,000 years. Stone tools left by ice-age hunter-gatherers on the island of Islay some 12,000 years ago, had initially been uncovered by rooting pigs. Mithen and Wicks write about their research in the new edition of British Archaeology.

Mike Fulford FSA tells the story of the University of Reading’s recently concluded major Field School excavation, in Silchester: Life on the Dig (Two Rivers Press), to accompany illustrations by Jenny Halstead. Halstead spent the summer of 2014 on site, recording day-to-day activity. The book will be launched at The Old Fire Station Gallery, Henley, on 24 October, with an exhibition of Halstead’s paintings continuing until 3 November.
American Travelers on the Nile: Early US Visitors to Egypt, 1774–1839, by Andrew Oliver FSA, retired art historian and museum administrator living in Washington, DC, was published in January by The American University in Cairo Press. Followers of the controversial Sekhemka sale will find descriptions of the collector Henry Abbott of interest. An export bar was imposed on the beautiful Egyptian statue of Sekhemka sold by Christie’s in 2014 on behalf of Northampton Council and the 7th Marquis of Northampton. On 2 October the government extended the bar until March 29 2016. How the statue came to be in Northampton is not clear, though it is said to have been brought to England by the 2nd Marquis of Northampton in 1850. Part of the case for that 1850 export lies in the fact that Abbott displayed another Sekhemka statue, presumed to be from the same tomb, in New York in 1851.
As Charles Higham FSA points out, his son Tom Higham (unlike the latter's colleague Christopher Ramsey FSA) is not a Fellow. Apologies.

Fellows' Bookplates

‘It is very hard’, writes Anthony Davis FSA, ‘to follow the most recent in your series of Antiquaries' book plates, the book given by Evans to Schliemann. The attached book label is by contrast very boring, but I thought charming – George Jefferey FSA was an archaeologist in Cyprus and I imagine him clinging onto civilisation out there before the war, life being made more tolerable by his Fellowship of the Society. One might like to think this was or is a general theme. There is also such a contrast with the very elegant bookplate of John Blackburne of Hale underneath it (there was an MP of this name of no great distinction who died in 1833) [left]. The book is The Natural History of Aleppo by Alex Russell MD published in London in 1756 (apparently misdated). It is now in the collection of Harriet Rix, Jefferey's great niece.’

Memorials to Fellows

Richard Busby FSA sent in a photo of a memorial to William Stevenson FSA. The memorial got the better of his camera, but the Norwich Historic Churches Trust has this photo, taken in the church it describes as having ‘one of the finest collections of monuments in the City’. Busby writes:
‘This marble memorial, high on the wall of the north aisle at St Stephen’s church, Norwich, is in memory of William Stevenson, who died on 13 May 1821 in his 72nd year. It has his Arms and motto above. Stevenson was proprietor of The Norfolk Chronicle from 1785/86, as well as a printer and publisher, and contributed to Nichols’ Literary Anecdotes and The Gentleman’s Magazine. He died at his home in Surrey St., Norwich, having been made Sherriff of Norwich in 1799.’

Forthcoming Heritage Events

Until October 30: The Simulacrum (Northumberland)
Dawn Felicia Knox, an American artist living in Gateshead, has been exploring the subject of conservation and decay at Hadrian’s Wall. Having earlier worked indoors with English Heritage, she has now built a small monument at Walltown Crags. Lindsay Allason-Jones FSA reports:

‘A new milecastle has appeared on Hadrian’s Wall, not built of stones but of books. The milecastle, known as The Simulacrum, is an art installation conceived by Knox in collaboration with the Hadrian Arts Trust and funded by Northumberland National Park Authority and the Arts Council. The sculpture has been created from donated books and will start to decay immediately – rain will permeate the paper, the sun will crack their spines and plants will begin to take root. This will mirror the act of ruination of the stones of the Wall itself, albeit at an accelerated pace. The milecastle, which is intended to celebrate the introduction of literacy to Britain by the Romans, will be on site at Walltown Quarry for 28 days, during which time Dawn will film its decay. At the end of the month there will be a concert by the Noize Choir of a new composition inspired by the work. The books will then be recycled, either for new paper for more books or by burning to produce electricity.’

Until 15 November: Under the Rays of the Aurora Borealis (Helmsdale)
This exhibition at Timespan, a museum in north-east Scotland, features aurora drawings made in Finland in 1882 by Sophus Tromholt, a Danish-born teacher and self-taught scientist. Christine Finn FSA came across the northern lights images, originally made to accompany Tromholt’s newspaper articles, when she was looking at Tromholt’s better known photographic portraits of Sami people in the archive at the University of Bergen. On display are prints from Tromholt’s negatives. ‘The wooden surface against which Tromholt captured the drawings using his large plate camera is visible, knots and all. Also present are the annotations showing the dates and times at which each aurora was recorded, almost certainly in Tromholt’s own hand. And, in some of the works, the remains of what was possibly glue. These traces are part of an archaeology of the image, from Tromholt’s eye, his pencil on paper, to glass plate negative, then digital file, and now, digital print.’
Until 10 April 2016: The Crime Museum Uncovered (London)
Jackie Keily FSA has co-curated an exhibition at the Museum of London which displays objects from the Metropolitan Police’s Crime Museum at Scotland Yard. Items never seen on public display before relate to cases that include Dr. Crippen, the Krays, the Great Train Robbery and the Millennium Dome diamond heist. Keily has co-authored, with Julia Hoffbrand, the accompanying book, The Crime Museum Uncovered: Inside Scotland Yard’s Special Collection (I. B. Tauris).

7 November: ‘Wessex & Mercia Connections & Comparisons c. AD 800’ (Brixworth)
Barbara Yorke FSA, Emerita Professor of Early Medieval History at the University of Winchester, is to give the 33rd annual Brixworth Lecture this year. Tickets can be obtained on the door, or from Kate Knight, Brixworth, Northants ( or Jo Story FSA, School of History, University of Leicester ( Image shows ‘Two Emperors’: reverse of a silver penny of Ceolwulf II, king of Mercia (874–79), from the Cuerdale Hoard.

29–30 November: Words on Paper (London)
Robin Myers FSA, Michael Harris FSA and Giles Mandelbrote FSA have organised the 37th Annual Conference on Book Trade History, which will be held at Stationers’ Hall. Words on Paper: Transmission in Manuscript and Print, from the Fifteenth Century features several Fellows: Arnold Hunt talks on ‘Manuscript and print in John Bagford’s collections’, Alison Shell on ‘Catholic books and manuscripts in 17th-century Shrewsbury’, Rowan Watson on ‘Facsimiles of manuscripts in the 19th century’, Harris on ‘The coffee house communication nexus around 1700’ and Myers on ‘The circulation of Andrew Ducarel’s antiquarian histories’.
3 December: Louis XIV, the Global King (London)
Lecture by Philip Mansel at the Institute of Historical Research, Malet Street, London.
20 February 2016: Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology (London)
A one-day seminar will celebrate the work of Richard K. Morris FSA (1943–2015) at The Courtauld Institute of Art. Papers are invited on subjects related to Morris’s work and interests, which included approaches to the study of medieval architecture, buildings archaeology, stylistic analysis, mouldings or masons marks, commemorative art and architecture, West Country buildings, the Decorated style and architectural fragments. Title, 300 word abstract and 200 word biography should be sent to by 1 November 2015 (indicate if you would be prepared to publish in the proceedings).
20–22 April 2016: Archaeology in Context (Leicester)
Many Fellows will probably attend or speak at the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ annual conference and training event in Leicester next year. Sessions include ‘Archaeology within the context of criminal justice’, ‘Promoting archaeology as a key learning tool within the national curricula’, ‘The boundaries of public archaeology: Are we archaeologists or are we social workers?’ and [honest] ‘The archaeology of brewing’. The deadline for papers is 23 November.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 17.00) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 13.00). When proposing a lecture, it is helpful to provide a working title, a few sentences about the topic and its significance, and how you will make it relevant and accessible to the entirety of the diverse Fellowship. We welcome papers based on new research on themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past. You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.

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


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

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