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Salon: Issue 411
17 July 2018

Next issue: 31 July

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

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

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Inside this issue

From the Desk of the General Secretary

Final Event Reminder: Unearthing the Past: Society of Antiquaries Research Showcase

2-8pm, 27 July: Burlington House

We hope you can join us on Friday 27 July, for a day offering our grant recipients the opportunity to present their research at Burlington House through table-top displays, talks, and interactive workshops. Our aim is to raise public interest in and awareness of history and archaeology by showcasing significant research that the Society has supported.

The event will be fun, informative and accessible to all ages (and ties in with the Burlington House Courtyard Lates, with lots of great food, drink and exciting activities on offer from all the Societies) - so bring the whole family along.

Find out more >

Once in a Lifetime Megalithic Art Find, Co Meath


Archaeologists have found a previously unknown megalithic passage grave within the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site on the Bend of the Boyne. Devenish in partnership with University College Dublin School of Archaeology have been excavating at the 18th-century Dowth Hall, where the press were invited on 17 July to see a carved megalithic slab. It is apparently a kerb stone on the edge of the cairn, which contains two burial chambers. Stephen Davis at UCD described the tomb as ‘the most significant megalithic find in Ireland in the last 50 years’. Two smaller tombs were also found nearby. In the photo below, the engraved stone is on the left surrounded by press and archaeologists.

Dowth Hall will be open to the public from 18-26 August. Photos from UCD Archaeology @ucdarchaeology.

Dragons at Kew


The watercolour pictured above, by William Marlow, shows the new Chinese Pagoda in Kew Gardens in 1763, designed by William Chambers FSA. Unlike the Alhambra and the Mosque also in the painting, the pagoda survives. It opened to the public on 13 July after a £4.5m conservation project, and we can now climb 253 steps to the top for views across the gardens and London.
The entire tower had been shrouded in scaffolding, but opening publicity focused on decorative dragons fixed to the roof angles. There are 80 of them, painted in bright colours, and all are new. The originals were removed in 1784, probably because of their poor condition. Though talk of replacing them began in the 1830s, it has taken nearly two centuries for it to happen.
When the project began in 2014, reported Maev Kennedy FSA at the time in the Guardian, ‘There was great excitement … when a winged dragon found in a local authority store was sent to one of the curators. It had the hopeful initials WC – thought to stand for William Chambers, the architect of the pagoda. However, Craig Hatto, who is leading the restoration project, said further research had revealed the dragon was part of the sign for a public lavatory in Woking.’
There was nothing to go on but a few contemporary records: Marlow’s dragons were closest to an eyewitness description (compare Marlow's drawing, far right, with Chambers' design, centre). Quarter-size dragons were modelled in clay, using Chambers’ own wings-up version for the lowest level (left of the three image clips), and Marlow’s depiction of beasts with wings drawn back for the rest. Tests in a wind tunnel showed they wouldn't take off. The final bottom eight were carved from cedar, and the other 72 3D-printed in polyimide from digital models, the dragons on each level a little smaller than the ones below.
One of the challenges facing the restorers was how to colour everything. Hatto, who was the Project Manager for Historic Royal Palaces, says everybody had an opinion about the dragons’ decor. ‘With five or six people round the table it gets even more complex,’ he says. ‘We let the team just talk. It settled down very quickly to two schemes out of five.’
He quotes Erasmus Darwin’s poem The Botanic Garden (1791) as inspiration for the dragons. Darwin writes of ‘huge dragons with metallic hues, With golden purples, and cobaltic blues … And glazed pagodas tremble in the air.’ Darwin is writing about Chinese decorated ceramics rather than architecture, but in his illustrated book of his Kew buildings (1763), Chambers echoed such splendour when he wrote that the pagoda was covered in a ‘kind of thin glass of various colours, which produces a most dazling reflection.’ The very top was gilded.
Pedro da Costa Felgueiras replicated the concept in modern paints. The effect on the dragons (above) seems not to have impressed Martin Bailey, writing in the Art Newspaper (July/August 2018). Visitors, he says, ‘are likely to find the dragons gaudy,’ though ‘conservators assure us that this is what they would have looked like when Chambers designed them.’
Sir William Chambers (1722–96, right, painted in 1764 by Francis Cotes) was a key architect of his time. Born in Sweden, he was educated in England. As John Harris FSA explains in his essay in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, he set up practice in London after being favourably received by English aristocrats in Rome on their grand tour, almost all of whom he went on to work for. He is best known for Somerset House (1775–96), where the Society of Antiquaries was invited by George III to take up residence in 1780, leaving for its present premises in Burlington House in 1874. On the occasion of the opening of Somerset House, new home also to the Royal Academy of Arts, Joshua Reynolds (President of the RA) painted Chambers (the RA’s Treasurer) in front of his latest triumph (below).
In 1757 Chambers was appointed architect to Princess Augusta and tutor to George, Prince of Wales. He designed 20 ornamental buildings for the emerging royal gardens at Kew, in a sort of world architecture project. The pagoda was one of his most influential works, though if A R Hope Moncrieff is representative of his times, it had lost its power to impress by the early 20th century. A ‘questionable authority in taste,’ wrote Hope Moncrieff in Kew Gardens (1908), Chambers brought ‘extravagant notions’ back from China and ‘let loose a mania for Chinoiseries at Kew’. Fellows who have visited the archaeological excavations at Blick Mead may have seen another of Chambers’ Chinese creations, a small Temple in the grounds of Amesbury Abbey which he is said to have reworked. With decorative knapped-flint wall panels, it stands attractively over the waters of Blick Mead spring, shaded by tall trees.
Not all of Chambers' buildings survive at Kew, but among those that do are an Orangery, a Ruined Arch, a Temple of Bellona and a Temple of Aeolus. The King’s Observatory, now offices on a golf course, remains with its three meridian obelisks outside the modern park.
Chambers is buried in Westminster Abbey, where his worn ledger stone (left, from the abbey’s website) clearly describes him as FRS, FAS and RA. FAS is presumably a typo for FSA: The Society’s Library Assistant Harriet Hansell confirms that he was elected a Fellow in March 1776, and remained so until his death 20 years later.

John Harris is also author of a landmark biography, Sir William Chambers (1970, with contributions from J Mordaunt Crook FSA and Eileen Harris FSA), and editor of Sir William Chambers: Architect to George III, which accompanied an exhibition at the Courtauld Institute Galleries at Somerset House in 1996.
The watercolour at the top is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whose image this is. Chambers’ portrait is on display in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. The image of the Royal Academy’s portrait is from its website.

Uzbek Turkologist Imprisoned 

The latest message of eastern goings on from Heinrich Härke FSA contains an important warning for anyone thinking of getting in touch with colleagues in Uzbekistan. He had hoped, he says, to have written positively about an Uzbek project to compile and publish a complete record of archaeological finds. Instead he sends ‘disturbing news’ about an imprisoned numismatist:
‘What sounds like a publisher’s wet dream, has become tragic reality in Uzbekistan: a scholar has been imprisoned for swapping PDF files. Andrej Viktorovich Kubatin, Senior Lecturer at Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies, was sentenced in December 2017 to 11 years imprisonment (since then reduced to five years) under Article 157 Part 1 (Treason against the State) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The charge against him: exchanging PDF files with a Turkish colleague. This being a high treason case, the details are being kept secret by the Uzbek authorities, but the general assumption among colleagues is that the files exchanged between the two would have contained nothing but scholarly publications. Dr Kubatin is a specialist in Turkic and Iranian studies, specialising in numismatics, and his Turkish “partner in crime” works in the same field.
‘The Central Asian scholarly community is extremely concerned about the case, not just because the career of a promising young scholar with a family has been destroyed. The implications are much wider: if an Uzbek scholar can be imprisoned for exchanging files with undisclosed contents, nobody in that country can exchange information any more without being in danger of arrest and criminal charge – and that means the end of scholarship, because that cannot thrive without communication.
'This disastrous implication has been spelt out in a letter of protest written to the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat M Mirzioev, and signed by some 150 Uzbek and international scholars. The Uzbek Academy of Sciences does not want to become involved in the case, clearly fearing political consequences although their own semi-official explanation is “lack of information on the details of the case”. One would think that this alone should be a reason for getting involved, but clearly this is not going to happen even though recent political developments in the country had given rise to the hope that historical and archaeological disciplines in Uzbek institutions might benefit from a more liberal (or less oppressive) regime.
‘This makes this case even more puzzling. But most of all, for the time being, western scholars should be extremely cautious and circumspect when exchanging information of any kind with Uzbek colleagues: they might put them in real danger.’

Celebrating Charles Thomas 

An Intellectual Adventurer in Archaeology: Reflections on the Work of Charles Thomas, edited by Andy M Jones FSA and Henrietta Quinnell FSA, is a substantial and fond tribute to an outstanding Fellow who died in 2016. It is also a record of earlier times in British archaeology, and in many cases of things other archaeologists got up to, told and pictured in their contributions to the book. It will be treasured by future students of archaeology’s history.
Today archaeology has career opportunities (though not all highly regarded, see below), pensioned jobs and a legal and cultural framework to support its activities, with substantial funds coming from the likes of the state, industry and (for a little while at least) the EU. It is an unrecognisably larger practice than it was when Thomas set out to join the profession, as it could hardly be called then, of archaeology.
Yet great things could be achieved by individuals with vision and confidence (and often a private education). Thomas benefitted from these as well as from boundless energy. He led much productive and important research, especially in Cornwall, described here by many, including Nicholas Johnson FSA, Roger Mercer FSA, Jacqueline Nowakowski FSA, Tom Goskar FSA, Oliver Padel FSA and both editors, as well as elsewhere, such as in Scotland (Ewan Campbell FSA) and in France (Peter Fowler FSA).
He also supported other archaeologists. Among his gifts here could be counted the survival of the Department of Archaeology at Reading University (told by Martin Bell FSA), championing the archaeology of English and Welsh uplands (Tim Darvill FSA), and his involvement with Rescue, a 1970s lobby group that paved the way for the present protective legislation.
There was collateral damage. Prolific early excavators were rarely able to analyse and publish all they dug up, and Thomas was no exception, though one chapter in this book, co-authored by him and Charles Johns, reports thoroughly on an excavation in Scilly – in 1956. Mary-Jane Mountain (‘Charlie was energetic, untidy and charming’) airs her frustrations as an ambitious young archaeologist expected by her male colleagues to do all the housework. Thomas was ‘good looking and charismatic’, she writes, and on one occasion in Edinburgh she had to refuse his request to order attractive female students to move to the front row of his lecture. On remote Iona, report Campbell and Adrián Maldonado, male diggers enjoyed the comfort of the huts of the Iona Community while the woman ‘were initially banished to tents’. This is not a hagiography, say the editors, and little seems spared – Leslie Grinsell FSA appears as I suspect few of us had ever imagined him. Adventures galore.
The photo at the top, taken by Vincent Megaw FSA in 1956, shows (left to right) Peter Fowler FSA, Charles Thomas, Jessica Mann, Rosemary Campbell (uncertain), Barbara Fountain and Sarah Longland, at Teän, Scilly, where Thomas was excavating.

Irish Archaeologists #Dig4Decency


Clive Gamble FSA, who had been contacted by Ben Gearey at University College Cork, has drawn my attention to a continuing row in Ireland about archaeological pay and conditions. Commercial archaeology – where skilled and experienced field staff often work on short contracts living away from home near development sites – is widely recognised as a profession you do not join to get rich. The situation in Ireland, however, has taken an unusual turn: archaeologists are going on strike.
On 4 July Beat reported on a dispute at the construction of a 22km dual-carriageway bypassing Macroom, Co Cork. Members of the Unite union’s archaeology branch were complaining about pay, saying it was the first time Irish archaeologists had left a site for such a protest since the 1970s. The union said Irish Archaeological Consultancy, contracted to manage the work, had declined to engage with the claim or the Workplace Relations Commission.
‘It is one of those professions where 100 per cent of people who are doing it love the job,’ said Unite’s Muiris Wade, but it can be ‘hard to make ends meet’, and work and pay are both unpredictable. ‘This whole event is a build up of years of running into walls,’ he added. IAC, whose head office is south of Dublin and has other offices in Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester, said it had offered salary packages ‘at or up to 4 per cent above’ rates sought earlier this year by Unite. But Stuart Elder, a site director at Macroom, said, ‘We have [archaeologists] … who have spent three to five years in college being paid less than an unqualified construction worker. It is the only profession where you come out of university and are given a shovel on day one.’ Archaeologists tweeted with the hasthag #Dig4Decency.
On 10 July the Irish Times published a letter from Graeme Warren FSA and Aidan O’Sullivan FSA, at UCD School of Archaeology, Dublin. Noting that their department ‘is the largest provider of archaeological education and training in Ireland’, they describe archaeology as ‘a creative, interdisciplinary, hugely varied subject requiring diverse skills and competencies’. Their graduates, ‘and many other professional archaeologists, are highly educated, skilled and passionate about their work. They are entitled to the opportunity to work in a profession with proper pay and conditions.’ ‘Archaeology contributes significantly to Ireland’s national identity and cultural heritage,’ they add.
In the same paper, James Bonsall, Chairman of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, wrote of ‘an accelerating demand for suitably trained, qualified and experienced archaeologists’ as construction recovers. ’Appropriate remuneration and working conditions are a necessity.’
Archaeologists will take further strike action against IAC on 19 July, reported the Irish Examiner (11 July), with a 24-hour stoppage of works at Aungier Street in Dublin. The shot from the Irish Examiner is from ​Unite Archaeology @unitearch.
• In the UK, Historic England has led a call to ensure that a trained archaeological workforce exists to cope with a surge in planned large infrastructure projects, including HS2, Crossrail 2 and major road upgrades. In 2016 HE published a report saying that without immediate action there would not be enough archaeologists to deal with the required excavations.

Unearthing the Past


The Society of Antiquaries is holding a free Research Showcase on 27 July, at 2–8pm. Grant recipients will present their recent research through table-top displays, talks and interactive workshops. The aim is to raise public awareness of significant research that the Society has supported, and encourage interest in history and archaeology. The event, which is aimed at families, will also allow people to explore some of the Society’s historic apartments at Burlington House.
Participants include Lynn Hulse FSA (embroidery workshops) and the Broderers' Company (embroidered crowns), Alex Langlands (Old Sarum and its landscape), Duncan Garrow and Fraser Sturt FSA (excavating the earliest crannogs), Alison Liz Larkin (re-creating Captain James Cook's waistcoat), Nancy Hills (historical dress), Michael Lewis FSA (Medieval fairs), Jacke Phillips (archaeology of the dead in northern Ethiopia) and Harold Mytum FSA (Paramatta: Australia's oldest European burial ground). Anthony Davis FSA will offer tours of the Library.
At 6pm Burlington House Courtyard Summer Late will begin, when visitors can discover the six resident learned societies. The Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Geological Society, the Linnean Society, the Royal Astronomical Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London, will each have their own programmes.

A Summer of Discoveries


The dry weather is revealing buried archaeological remains across the country, as ditches and pits retaining moisture show up as richer growth against parched ground. Unlike on previous such occasions, the most famous being long ago in 1976, discoveries can be sought and recorded with relative ease from drones, as well as from aeroplanes.
Historic Environment Scotland has found a Roman military camp near Peebles. The temporary camp lies within a known Roman complex of sites at Lyne, which already included two forts and two temporary camps. At Stonehenge Tim Daw (who originally spotted patches of dead grass indicating previously unidentified stone pits in 2014) is keeping an eye out for more: he and Simon Banton think there may be ‘regular slight depressions … Beyond the Aubrey Holes on the inner side of the bank … maybe the holes that Aubrey actually saw.’
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, describing ‘perfect conditions for archaeological aerial photography,’ reports that Toby Driver FSA ‘will be surveying right across north and south Wales in a light aircraft to permanently record these discoveries … before thunderstorms and rain wash away the markings until the next dry summer.’ Finds include a prehistoric or Roman farm near Langstone, Newport (top), and a Roman fortlet near Magor, both in south Wales.
The most impressive discoveries to date, however, are in Ireland – inside the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site where almost simultaneously news was released of a new tomb (see top). On 10 July Anthony Murphy and Ken Williams were flying drones near the great Neolithic tomb at Newgrange when they saw a large, detailed cropmark with concentric rings 200 m across, with a rectangular attachment (right). Other discoveries in this already highly researched landscape include, in the same field, two concentric pit circles within a larger pit circuit (belowleft) and, beside a passage tomb known as Mound B, two circular earthworks that could be henges (below right). The photos are all from Williams’s blog. Murphy announced the finds on Facebook, and they have been widely reported in the press.
Meanwhile nearby, and very close to the Newgrange mound, Geraldine Stout FSA and Matthew Stout are excavating a test trench at the site of a remarkable geophysical feature, that has been variously described as a possible Neolithic cursus structure, a Medieval barn or a 17th-century avenue (left). Its apparent combination of massive post pits and deep wall trenches has no obvious parallel, but it seems nothing has yet been found that would contradict a prehistoric date for the monument. 

And we're only half way through July. Let Salon know if you'd like your own discoveries to feature here.


Fellows (and Friends)

Alan Crocker FSA, a physicist with an interest in gunpowder, papermaking and the archaeology of Surrey, died in June. An appreciation will follow in a future Salon.
Gordon Hillman, a popular and influential archaeobotanist, died on 1 July. The photo from the Archaeobotanist blog taken a decade ago shows (left to right) Hillman, Mary Anne Murray, the late David Harris FSA and Sue Colledge FSA. Martin Jones FSA has written this tribute for Salon:
‘Gordon Hillman, one of archaeobotany’s leading lights, combined a deep understanding of plants with an unquenchable enthusiasm for discussing them with others. Many in the archaeobotanical community hold memories of the inspiration they have drawn from being around this engaging personality. He conducted research on some of the major sites connected with agriculture’s antecedents, including Wadi Kubbayana in Egypt and Abu Hureyra in Syria, and opened our eyes to the rich value of ethnographic observation. At University College London, his collaboration with David Harris led the way on research into worldwide agricultural origins. His enthusiasm for understanding human use of plants was not even dented by his battle with Parkinson’s disease later in life, when he continued to inspire academics and the public alike. He will be sorely missed, but will remain an inspiration to anyone interested in people and plants through time. All are welcome to his funeral, at 1pm on Thursday 26 July, at Hailsham Parish Church, East Sussex.’

Susan Bird, a former illustrator in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum and subsequently a freelance illustrator, ceramicist and painter, died on I July. Norman Hammond FSA, with whom she worked in Belize in the 1970s, says there will be a memorial service in St Margaret's Church, Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, on 8 September.
Clive King, author of Stig of the Dump which features one of the most enduring childhood archaeological fantasies, died on 10 July aged 94. King’s writing typically explored an ancient past which could be discerned and imagined in modern landscapes as if it was a living world. His first book, Hamid of Aleppo (1958), is set (through the eyes of a hamster) in Syria. In The Town That Went South (1959) he imagined the lost Medieval village of Rye in East Sussex setting out Isle-of Wight style into the Channel. Stig of the Dump (1963), which you can hear as an audiobook read by Tony Robinson, features a boy who meets the Stone Age Stig in a chalk quarry in Kent. The 22 Letters (1966) follows three sons of a Phoenician master-builder across Egypt, Minoan Crete and Ugarit. The Devil’s Cut (1978) is set among early industrial canals, Ninny’s Boat (1980) in Arthur’s Britain... and so on.


On 5 July, when he was still Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock confirmed further details of a scheme to exhibit the Bayeux Tapestry in Britain (or, as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s press release put it, ‘to return it to the UK for the first time in almost a thousand years’). After attending a Digital Colloque in Paris, Hancock signed a Memorandum of Understanding with French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen. The deal is said to set out a phase of cross-Channel cooperation between universities and research institutes, who will work on making the Tapestry more accessible, and prepare for conservation and safe transport. While here in 2022 the Bayeux Museum will be refurbished, and though no UK venue has been formally mentioned, the British Museum seems a likely contender. It has been researched by many Fellows. Image Wikipedia.

In Royal Books and Holy Bones: Essays in Medieval ChristianityEamon Duffy FSA ‘engages with some of the central aspects of Western religion,’ says the blurb, ‘between the decline of pagan Rome and the rise of the Protestant Reformation. In the process he opens windows on the vibrant and multifaceted beliefs and practices by which Medieval people made sense of their world: the fear of death and the impact of devastating pandemic, holy war against Islam and the invention of the blood libel against the Jews, provision for the afterlife and the continuing power of the dead over the living, the meaning of pilgrimage and the evolution of Christian music.’ This is ‘an absorbing collection of essays,’ writes Nick Rennison in the Sunday Times (15 July), ‘that mostly focuses on the material culture of medieval religious belief … Duffy even finds room to cast his eye over the so-called Voynich manuscript, a text written in an unknown and as yet undeciphered language, in an attempt to weigh up whether it is genuine or a bizarre hoax. Erudite but never unapproachable and laced with a dry wit, his essays are essential reading for those with an interest in how people in the past expressed their faith.’
Gainsborough’s House, a Grade I listed building in Sudbury, Suffolk, has been awarded £4.5m by the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a five-year project to create a national centre celebrating the artist’s life. Gainsborough lived at the family home in Sudbury from his birth in 1727 until 1740, and returned to the town for another three years after his father’s death in 1748. Sudbury and the Gainsborough family were intimately linked to the wool and silk industry; there is a spectacular 400-year-old mulberry tree in the garden. Vanners Silk Weavers, next door, have produced silk since 1740, and today work with a number of international textile designers. The HLF says the new centre will examine in greater detail why Gainsborough and his friend, John Constable, were inspired by the Suffolk landscape. The narrative will be illustrated through the museum’s art collection, with works by Gainsborough, Constable and other important artists with local links. Photo Geograph/Oxyman.
On 5 July the Art Fund announced Tate St Ives as Museum of the Year 2018. The other finalists were Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, Glasgow Women's Library, and the Postal Museum, London. The five judges included Ian Blatchford FSA. The Art Newspaper asked former judges to comment on previous winners. Anna Somers Cocks FSA, a judge in 2014 when the Yorkshire Sculpture Park won, said that ‘it could honourably win the Art Fund prize every year.’ But, she added, 2014 was a year when another institution peaked, after the Mary Rose project had opened its new museum in Portsmouth. ‘Its 19,000 artefacts had been put on display in a brilliantly imaginative way inside the hull, the whole encased by the Wilkinson Eyre, Perkins+Will building, which is wholly modern but also evokes the stern of a wooden ship. And it had all been paid for by private money and the Heritage Lottery Fund. For all these reasons, I thought it should win.’ But contemporary art in the regions beat history and archaeology. ‘I hope that the Mary Rose Museum will … put in for the Art Fund prize again,’ said Somers Cocks, ‘and next time be rewarded for an extraordinary achievement.’
Chris Stringer FSA and Michael Petraglia FSA are among several authors of a paper (lead writer Eleanor Scerri) likely to be read and quoted by a generation of anthropology and archaeology students. Published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, ‘Did our species evolve in subdivided populations across Africa, and why does it matter?’ brings together thinking and data from a wide range of fields, to argue that the dominant model that Homo sapiens evolved from a single, regional population within Africa has had its time. Instead they propose that we evolved ‘within a set of interlinked groups living across Africa, whose connectivity changed through time.’ In its earlier stages, H sapiens exhibited greater variety than it does today, evolving variously on an environmentally complex and changing continent. If they are right, they say, genetic models will need to adjust to a more complex view of ancient migration and divergence.
A major crime operation concluded on 4 July with the seizure of 25,000 archaeological artefacts said to be worth €40 million on the antiquities market. Over 250 police officers simultaneously raided 40 houses across Italy and in Ehningen, Germany, London and Barcelona. Italian Carabinieri were supported in a four-year investigation by colleagues in Spain, Germany and the UK. Twenty three suspects were detained in connection with an operation said to have spanned several EU states, and William Veres, a London art dealer, was served with an international warrant. Veres had been arrested in 2017 in Spain in another antiquities investigation by the Carabinieri. ‘How ironic,’ tweeted Mary Beard FSA @wmarybeard, ‘that the Brit arrested in Sicily for alleged “looting” is called Mr Veres. Shades of Cicero’s enemy Gaius Verres who was alleged to have done exactly the same.’ Photo Europol.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £8.6m to a variety of industrial heritage causes, led by the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers in Newcastle, which will ‘be rescued with a £4.1m grant’. Other recipients of a total of £8.6m include Blaenavon’s Townscape Heritage, Sherwood Forest’s Industrial Landscape, and Mansfield’s Market Place Conservation Area. In Newcastle, the cash will ‘revitalise the Grade II listed building and digitise the largest single collection of mining material in the world. The Institute will become the Common Room for the Great North, a public space telling the story of the North East’s industrial past, and inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators.’
The Art of the Point Cloud, produced by the School of Simulation and Visualisation at the Glasgow School of Art and Historic Environment Scotland, contains a catholic collection of images generated around the world by laser scanning, sonar, CT and photogrammetry, among them historic monuments and buildings, contemporary architecture, cathedrals and churches, castles, ships, landscapes, still lifes, an octopus and the Grand Elephant of Nantes. One of these images, Kenneth Lymer FSA tells Salon, is a photogrammetric recording of a foliate head used in the elaborate decorations of the Old Toronto City Hall. The hall was designed in the North American Romanesque Revival architectural style that flourished during the late 19th century. ‘The most poignant point clouds,’ says Lymer, reveal sections of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building made between the 2014 fire and the more devastating fire on 15 June.
Robin Derricourt FSA has written Unearthing Childhood: Young Lives in Prehistory. This is the first book to survey prehistoric children, says the blurb, from Australopithecines to advanced Stone Age foragers, farming villages and the beginnings of civilisation. He finds kids in footprints and finger daubs, images on rocks and pots, and in the signs of play and early attempts to learn crafts. They can be seen in burials, clothing, adornment, possessions and signs of status, while the bodies themselves provide information on diet, health and sometimes violent death. The study of prehistoric childhood has extraordinary potential, says Derricourt. This will, says Clive Gamble FSA in a puff, ‘be essential reading for everyone who takes the past seriously.' Derricourt has written a blog for Manchester University Press (‘Time-travelling archaeologists visiting a forager camp or farming village would first encounter the noise of children’), and in a Q&Q, when asked ‘Is this your first published book,’ he replies, ‘My ninth, I think.’

The Wisdom of Fellows 

In the last Salon we showed a watercolour (above) in the collection of the Museum of Le Havre, which it describes online as a ‘Scène de vie dans une petite ville des Cornouailles’, ‘probably near Penzance, which is now the largest town in Cornwall’. The painting was done in 1815 by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, a French artist on his way to America.
Robert Merrillees FSA wondered if any Fellow could name this ‘unidentified village’. ‘Indeed we can,’ write Jo Mattingly FSA and Matthew Spriggs FSA. ‘It is no village,’ they say, ‘but Penzance itself’:
‘The viewpoint seems to be from an upper window of the Star Inn or Hotel at the top of Market Jew Street. Demolished in about 1860, the Inn’s pillared porch can be seen in the foreground to the right. Similar porches supported on granite pillars are a West Cornish feature with good examples at Keigwin Arms, Mousehole, King’s Arms, Penryn, and the current Beerwolf pub and bookshop in Falmouth.
‘The drawing clearly depicts part of Penzance market-place, seen in 1833–35 engravings from sketches by Thomas Allom (right, top) and John Skinner Prout (below). Its urban context is demonstrated by the three storey-shop and other building in the background. On the raised walkway in front of these (known as the Terrace) a (faintly sketched) fishwife with cowl on her back appears to be encountering two mill assistants and their horse coming with flour sacks from the town mill at Tolcarne. The main focus of the drawing, however, is clearly the blue slate-hung building labelled Baynard salder (presumably sadler as harness maker seems to be written below in pencil). This has a side entrance where Baynard himself may be presiding. Leather skins on a trestle table to the left appear to be attracting the attention of two fashionable women and a man in a great coat. Two abandoned fishwives’ cowls or baskets lie on the ground to either side of three gentlemen, one with a bicorn hat who seems to be selling other goods from another trestle table or stall.
‘The blue slate-hung house is in the middle of the market place and has a distinctive ball on its ridge. This feature can be clearly seen in both the Prout and Allom prints and was probably to protect the house against witchcraft (an example survives in Penryn Museum). Until December 1801 this was the home and workplace of Dr John Tonkin and where the future Sir Humphry Davy lived from the age of 9 to 14 years. Davy was actually born further down Market Jew Street on the 17th of December 1778, but when the Davys moved to Varfell in Ludgvan, Humphry moved in with Dr Tonkin so that he could continue at school in Penzance. Reputedly the attic of this house was the setting for his first experiments. By the time the watercolour sketch was made, Davy was already a famous scientist and had been knighted. This picturesque early 17th century jettied-building, the tin coinage hall and market buildings to the left were knocked down in 1835 and replaced in 1836–68 by a new market house built in classical style. A statue of Sir Humphry Davy was erected in 1872 on the exact site of the slate-hung house [pictured above from Google Street View].’
• As Mattingly and Spriggs note, in the original pencil sketch the sign (right) was fully transcribed: it reads ‘BAYNARD Sadler & harness maker’. Roger Smith FSA noticed that in the 1841 Census a saddler named Matthias Baynard was living at Rosevean Road, Penzance, a brisk five-minute walk from the market-place shop.


I reported on plans by the National Trust to build bicycle trails on Badbury Hill, Oxfordshire, back in 2016. Lauren Gilmour FSA, who lives near the Iron Age hillfort, told Salon about her concerns. ‘Laying these tracks,’ she wrote, ‘will involve significant disturbance and potential destruction [of a large area] of very sensitive archaeology. The whole project, far from achieving its stated aims, will wreck the peacefulness of this ancient place for visitors on foot, forever.’
Richard Jackson, National Trust Estate Manager for West Oxfordshire, responded that the scheme had been devised to resolve complaints about unregulated mountain biking in the woods. Archaeologist Gary Marshall said that ‘the proposed cycle trails offer a unique opportunity to safeguard the historic features at Badbury Hill’.
Gilmour writes again with news of the project:
‘Badbury Hill in Great Coxwell parish, Oxfordshire, famous for its annual display of bluebells, is the site of a hillfort occupying an eminence on the Corallian Ridge with direct views south to the White Horse, east to Faringdon Folly Hill (another hill fort?) and north to the Thames and Cotswolds. There is a direct link with the ancient village of Great Coxwell in the form of closely similar Early Iron Age pottery, decorated and plain, found near the top of its northwest rampart, and in the village, which is strung along a stream flowing down from the Hill.
'Only the roughly circular top of the hill is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, although clearly the monument was much more extensive; nowadays it is largely woodland, some of it Ancient Woodland.
'The cycling hub proposal would have built 5 to 6 miles of tracks around the flanks of the monument, some of them through ancient woodland. The Vale of White Horse planning authority turned down the application, which was then appealed by the developer.
'A number of Fellows provided helpful advice and support two years ago when the development was first proposed. I am delighted to tell them that the Appeal has been dismissed, and that the Vale's decision to protect the environment, flora and fauna (and with them the archaeology) has been upheld.'
Photo Steve Daniels/Geograph.
David Bird FSA read a note in the last Salon about the late Vera Evison FSA, whose library is being given away to suitable homes. In the meantime the books, wrote Evison’s friends, ‘are being taken to a temporary store at Ewell, in south-west London.’
‘Quite a lot of Surrey has been stolen by “London”,’ says Bird, ‘but we haven't lost Ewell yet!’
‘There is a serious point here. I think that as historians and archaeologists we ought to fight against the use of terms like “south-west London”. For most of the historic period people thought of it as Surrey (a similar point can of course be made all round the capital and in many other parts of the country). If a museum presents objects as coming from somewhere called “Mitcham, south-west London”, that will create an entirely erroneous impression in the minds of younger people. It can also lead to errors: I read a serious work on 18th-century pottery the other day which placed examples as being made in “Lambeth, London” (not true when they were made), but then found that the author was prepared to refer to “Twickenham, Middlesex” and to add insult to injury then placed Mortlake in Middlesex. As a kind of compensation, Hampton Court is often placed in Surrey!’


I missed at least one Fellow in my section on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, the newly elected Lt-Col Tim Purbrick FSA, The Royal Lancers, Army Reserve and Commanding Officer of the Cultural Property Protection Unit, who received an OBE (military division). ‘FSA and OBE in the space of a few months,’ writes Clive Cheesman FSA, ‘represents a good double.’ Philip Lankester FSA points out that Charles Saumarez Smith FSA and Simon Schama were created Knights Bachelor, not the KBE I offered them.


Bevis Sale writes helpfully to say that the photo of a number of people carrying the Lindow bog body I used in the obituary for Rick Turner FSA, was taken by the late Robina McNeil FSA, along with all the photos of the body’s excavation.

Forthcoming Events for Fellows

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

Ordinary Meetings of Fellows

Interested in proposing a lecture? Please download the Lecture Proposal Form, and email it to Amelia Carruthers, Communications Manager (

The next Ordinary Meeting of Fellows will take place after the summer break, on Thursday 4 October 2018. 

Introductory Tours for Fellows

If you've never visited Burlington House or had an introduction to the Library and Collections, please join an introductory tour. You'll meet the Society's staff, learn about your Fellowship benefits, and discover more from the collections at Burlington House. 

Forthcoming Public Events

Conferences and Seminars

Public Lectures

Public Lectures are held from 13.00 to 14.00 on Tuesdays, with advance booking advised to be sure of a place.
  • 21 August - 'Paying the Tolls: Glass in Time and the Regulation of the Free Trade State', lecture by Jenny Bulstrode (PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge)
  • 4 September - 'Coastal Heritage Under Threat: CITiZAN (A National, Community-Based Response)', lecture by Gustav Milne FSA
  • 23 October - 'The Prittlewell Prince: Life, Death and Belief in Anglo-Saxon England at the Time of St Augustine', lecture by Prof Christopher Scull FSA
  • 6 November - 'Seeing Milton's Voice, or Illustrations to Paradise Lost; a social history of Great Britain', lecture by Prof Howard JM Hanley FSA

Regional Fellows Groups


South West Fellows

Further information on talks at Exeter can be found here.

Want to join the South West Regional Fellows Group? Events are not currently being organised, but you can sign-up to hear about future activities, here.

Welsh Fellows

  • 19 October 2018: Weekend visit to the Hereford area, staying in the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford and visiting places of historical and archaeological interest in the area. 
  • 18 January 2019: The Davies Family of Llandinam with its Burry Dock connection, by David Jenkins FSA
  • 11-13 October 2019: Weekend visit to the Pembrokeshire area. Programme to be arranged.
Want to join the Welsh Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to attend any current events, please email Bob Child at If you wish to be added to the mailing list, sign-up here.

York Fellows

  • 29 November 2018: 'Surveying Shakespeare's Guildhall: a public building in pre-modern England' (Out of London Ordinary Meeting of Fellows, held in York). Find out more online.
Want to join the York Regional Fellows Group? If you would like to receive email updates about forthcoming meetings in York, sign-up here.

Other Forthcoming Heritage Events

17–20 July: Performance, Ceremony and Display in Late Medieval Britain (Harlaxton)
The 2018 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium in Grantham, Lincolnshire, aims to explore many dimensions of performance. As well as talks on musical and dramatic performance, it will include papers on aspects of display and associated ceremonies and rituals, on oral performance in a variety of ecclesiastical and social contexts, and on the performative potential of spaces, and of manuscripts and other physical objects. Speakers include Jerome Bertram FSAClive Burgess FSA, Pamela King FSA, Nicholas Orme FSA, Matthew Payne FSA, Ellie Pridgeon FSA, Nigel Ramsay FSA and Anne F Sutton FSA. There will be an excursion to St Mary’s church, Higham Ferrers and to St Peter’s church at Raunds. Details online.
21 July: England’s Bayeux Tapestry: A Celebration of Claverley’s Medieval Wall Paintings (Claverley)
The Leverhulme International Network Charlemagne: A European Icon is holding a public event at All Saints Church in Claverley, Shropshire. All Saints is home to a series of remarkable but little-known wall paintings of knights in combat, apparently alluding to the Medieval legends of Charlemagne. Speakers at this event include Matthew Strickland FSA, Matthew Bennett FSA, Marianne Ailes (project lead) and Christopher Barrett, who published an article on the paintings in the Antiquaries Journal in 2012. Details online.
30 July: J C Robinson's Collection at Auction (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Elizabeth Pergam (Lecturer, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York, NY) will speak about Paris over London: Victorian Curator J C Robinson's Collection at Auction. Details online.
31 August–2 September: Archaeology in Wales (Lampeter)
The Council for British Archaeology Wales will be holding its first annual conference on the archaeology of Wales, at the University of Wales Trinity St David. The programme showcases current innovative projects and fieldwork and provides opportunities for hands-on workshops, CPD, networking, and guided visits to some of the most iconic and interesting sites in Wales. Speakers include David Austin FSA, Toby Driver FSA, Carenza Lewis FSA and Mike Parker-Pearson FSA. Details online.
6–9 September: Recent Archaeological Research in the Channel Islands and nearby France (St Helier, Jersey)
Building on the successful Channel Islands History Conference of 2016, this event hosted by the Société Jersiaise Archaeology Section showcases the best and up-to-date archaeological research. Speakers include Chantel Conneller FSA, Barry Cunliffe FSA, Heather Sebire FSA and Robert Waterhouse FSA. On the fourth day, if there is sufficient interest, it is proposed to run two minibus trips to significant archaeological sites in Jersey. Details online.
11–15 September: Understanding Historic Buildings (Oxford)
Historic England is running a four-day course at St Anne’s College, which will teach key skills in building investigation, interpretation and recording. Tutors Adam Menuge FSA and Allan Adams FSA will demonstrate how to observe, analyse, hand-measure, draw and photograph historic buildings. Details online.
14-16 September: The Monuments of Hereford and Herefordshire (Hereford)
The Church Monuments Society Bi-Annual Symposium 2018 will be held at the Green Dragon Hotel opposite the cathedral. The focus will be on monuments in the cathedral and surrounding Herefordshire countryside, with an optional visit to the Cathedral’s Mappa Mundi, chained library and after evening dinner lecture on the Mappa Mundi. Speakers include Tobias Capwell FSA, Jerome Bertram FSA, Sally Badham FSA, Brian Gittos FSA and Moira Gittos FSA, David Lepine FSA, Jon Bayliss FSA, Holly Trusted FSA and Roger Bowdler FSA. Details online.
15 September: Deerhurst, Pershore and Westminster Abbey (Deerhurst)
The 2018 Annual Deerhurst Lecture will take place at 7.30 pm in St Mary's Church, Deerhurst and will be given by Richard Mortimer FSA (former archivist to Westminster Abbey). Details online.

19–20 September: Photographing Historic Buildings (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is aimed at those who are not professional photographers but wish to photograph historic buildings for the record using a digital camera. By the end students will be expected to know how to choose viewpoint and lighting conditions, correctly set up cameras to capture suitable images and how to post-produce images in software ready for the archive. Details online.
24 September: Dr Christopher Dresser, the South Kensington Museum and their 1877 Gift to Tokyo National Museum (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. Chris Morley will speak in one of a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA. Please note that this is a change of the previously advertised programme. Details online.
26–28 September: Heritage Values and the Assessment of Significance (Oxford)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. Chris Morley ill speak in one of a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA. Please note that this is a change of the previously advertised programme. Details online.

29 September: Georgian Group Symposium: The Architecture of James Gibbs (London)
James Gibbs (1682–1754), born in Scotland and trained in Rome, was one of the most important British architects of the 18th century, responsible for the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, and many other commissions throughout Britain. He published one of the most influential of 18th-century architectural pattern books, which spread his influence throughout the worldwide British diaspora. This symposium at the Society of Antiquaries and led by Geoffrey Tyack FSA, editor of the Georgian Group Journal, will reassess Gibbs’ achievement and its significance for the understanding of Georgian architecture. Speakers include Charles Hind FSA and Pete Smith FSA. Details online.

4 October: Post-Excavation Assessment in Practice (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce recent guidance, and review the essential components of assessment and updated project design. In the afternoon we will review examples from current practice and consider how far they meet their purpose and justify funding decisions. Details online.
13 October: Castle Studies: Current Research and the Future (London)
A conference organised by the Castle Studies Group to be held at the Society of Antiquaries will honour Derek Renn FSA, author of Norman Castles in Britain (1969/1973), and launch a Festschrift, Castles: History, Archaeology, Landscape and Architecture, edited by Neil Guy FSA. Speakers include Oliver Creighton FSA, Bob Higham FSA, Brian Kerr FSA, Neil Ludlow FSA and Pamela Marshall FSA. For details contact John R Kenyon FSA, 140 Fairwater Grove East, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2JW, before 31 July.

15 October: Finds for the Dead in Roman London and Beyond (London)
A conference jointly organised by the Museum of London, Museum of London Archaeology and the Roman Finds Group will be held at the Museum of the London Docklands, currently featuring The Roman Dead exhibition. Twelve speakers will describe finds from the city and cemeteries of Roman London, as well as important objects from funerary contexts elsewhere in Britain. Details online, or contact Stephen Greep FSA at
20 October: Design and Destiny: Arts and Crafts of the Iron Age (Lewes)
A conference organised by the Sussex Archaeological Society to explore the Iron Age through its artefacts. Speakers will bring varied perspectives on artefact research to enlarge our understanding of social influences and the economics of trade and exchange in this period. Speakers will include Jody Joy FSA, Julia Farley FSA, Melanie Giles FSA, Jaime Kaminski FSA and John Creighton FSA. Details online, or contact the organiser, Lorna Gartside,
24 October: Artefacts and Ecofacts in and out of the Field (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will provide expert guidance on how key artefacts and ecofacts can contribute to interpretation of archaeological sites, and good practice in sampling and collection. The course is designed for supervisors, project officers and junior managers with responsibility for running excavations, and those new to specialist artefact and ecofact roles. Details online.
29 October: The Last Great Demidoff Sale of Paintings (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Alexandre Tissot Demidoff (Independent scholar) will speak about the last great Demidoff sale. Details online.
30 October: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This informs participants about the role of desk-based assessments in managing the cultural heritage resource and provides a practical guide to their production. It will also include guidance on the use of desk-based assessments to fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Details online.
3 November: Dawn: From our Earliest Ancestors to the Hunter-Gatherers of the Mesolithic (Southampton)
The Council for British Archaeology Wessex's 60th Anniversary Conference is to be co-hosted with the University of Southampton’s Department of Archaeology in collaboration with the Prehistoric Society, and will be held at the Highfield Campus. Speakers include Nick Ashton FSA, Vince Gaffney FSA, Steve Mithen FSA, Matt Pope FSA, Julian Richards FSA, Roland Smith FSA and Chris Stringer FSA. Phil Harding FSA will chair a session, and Alice Roberts will give the keynote lecture. Details online.

10 November: Structured Deposits: Definitions, Developments and Debates (Chertsey)
A conference organised jointly by CBA South-East and the Surrey Archaeological Society will examine how our understanding and uses of the concept of ‘structured deposition’ have developed during the last 30 years, resulting in a perceived tendency for over-use and ‘ritual’ interpretations in analysis. Research from prehistoric to Medieval times will be considered, revealing new discoveries from southern England. Speakers will include Jon Cotton FSA, Mike Fulford FSA and Sam Moorhead FSA. Details online, or contact the organiser, Anne Sassin,

15 November: Archaeological Writing for Publication (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This will introduce standard published reports produced by archaeologists, and how a report is planned. It will then focus on stratigraphic narrative and discussion, with a critical review of examples, to identify common mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also look at the special requirements of writing in a professional and academic context. Details online.

24 November: Heritage and Resources in Southeast England (Lewes)
An interdisciplinary conference involving aspects of geology, archaeology and local history. Speakers will include Danielle Schreve FSA and David Rudling FSA. For details contact the organiser Anthony Brook,

26 November: Sir William Holburne's Display Mounts (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Catrin Jones (Curator of Decorative Arts, Holburne Museum, Bath) will speak on Piecing Together a Collection: Sir William Holburne's Display Mounts. Details online.
28–30 November: Public Inquiry Workshop (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is a practical workshop designed to improve the performance of anyone who might be called to participate in a Public Inquiry concerned with the historic environment. A mock Public Inquiry will be mounted using a genuine case study, with training for potential witnesses. Details online.

6 December: Commissioning Archaeology (Oxford)
One of a series of short courses for the historic environment put on by Oxford University Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House. This is designed for non-archaeologists who need to work with archaeology within the design and construction process, including architects, surveyors, engineers and other design professionals, planners, and project managers and developers. Details online.

10 December: The Picture Collection of Stephen Alers Hankey (London)
In the bicentenary of Richard Wallace’s birth, the Wallace Collection is focusing on collecting in London and Paris in the later 19th century. In a series of Monday History of Collecting Seminars organised by Suzanne Higgott FSA, Robert Wenley (Deputy Director, Head of Collections, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham) will speak on ‘Rare and Most Magnificent’: The Picture Collection of Stephen Alers Hankey (1809-1878). Details online.

13–14 December: Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms (London)
The British Library is hosting an international conference with 22 leading experts in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts to coincide with its Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition (19 October–19 February 2019). Keynote lectures will be given by Lawrence Nees FSA, University of Delaware, and Julia Crick, King’s College London. Confirmed speakers include Catherine Karkov FSA, Simon Keynes FSA, Rosamond McKitterick FSA, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Susan Rankin FSA, Joanna Story FSA, Elaine Treharne FSA and Tessa Webber FSA. Details online.

Call for Papers

15 September: Journal of the Decorative Arts Society 43 (2019)
The DAS journal for 2019 will celebrate cross-cultural influences between British and Continental European designers and makers of decorative art, as well as exchange with designers further afield. The Society’s remit is 1850 to the present, and typical journal articles take an object-focussed approach. The journal audience is knowledgeable and well-informed, but not necessarily academic. Authors are invited to submit proposals of around 750–1,000 words by 15 September 2018, for articles between around 2,500–6,000 words, plus notes, illustrations and captions. Send proposals to the Editor, Megan Aldrich FSA, at

16–17 November: Reading the Country House (Manchester)
Country houses were made to be read – as symbols of power, political allegiance, taste and wealth. ­This places emphasis on the legibility of their architecture and decorative schemes, and their paintings, collections and furniture. It also draws our attention to the skills required to decode the signs. ­The messages and processes of reading were carried further by 18th- and 19th-century images: in private sketch books and journals, in engravings and in guidebooks. These allowed the country house to be read in very different ways, as did its appearance in novels as backdrop and social symbol. ­This conference at Manchester Metropolitan University seeks to explore such perspectives on reading the country house, and link them to how the house is read today, by managers, visitors and viewers of period dramas. Keynote speakers Phillip Lindley FSA (Loughborough) and Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford). If you would like to present a paper please send title and 200-word abstract with a very brief biography to Jon Stobart at by 31 August 2018.

19 January 2019: New Insights into 16th- and 17th-Century British Architecture (London)
The ninth conference on this topic, organised by Claire Gapper FSA and Paula Henderson FSA, will be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. Proposals in the form of short abstracts (up to 250 words) are invited for papers of 30 minutes long. While the emphasis remains on new developments in architecture, we welcome proposals on related themes, such as decorative arts, gardens, sculpture and monuments. They should be submitted by 31 August, and the final programme will be announced in September. Please include a short biography with your proposal. For further information contact Claire Gapper at, or Paula Henderson at
22–23 March 2019: What is Unique about Cornish Buildings? (Cornwall)
The Cornish Buildings Group in association with Historic England will host a two-day conference to celebrate 50 years of the Group, at a venue to be announced. New and challenging paper submissions are invited to explore and discuss the conference question: What is unique about Cornish buildings? The theme will unite aspects of Cornish architectural design with distinctiveness and exclusivity. The Group welcome contributions from any area or discipline relative to the past, present and future of buildings in Cornwall and how they impact and affect the natural environment. The conference will embrace research looking at Cornish distinctiveness in the widest possible sense. Submissions of 250 words to Paul Holden FSA at by 31 August 2018. Details online.
March 2019: A Matter of Access – Collections and their Availability to a Public (Toronto)
Adriana Turpin FSA and Susan Bracken FSA have been organising monthly research seminars since 2004 on the subject of collecting and display. They are proposing the topic of A Matter of Access – Collections and their Availability to a Public, for the Renaissance Society of America Conference in Toronto in March 2019. If you would like to give a paper, please contact for full details.


The Council of the Church Monuments Society offers a biennial prize of £250 called the Church Monuments Essay Prize, to be awarded with a certificate for the best essay submitted in the relevant year. The aim of the competition is to stimulate people, particularly those who may be writing on church monuments for the first time, to submit material for the peer-reviewed international CMS journal Church Monuments. Therefore, the competition is open only to those who have not previously published an article in Church Monuments. Closing date for applications 31 December 2018. Details online.

Propose a Lecture or Seminar

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

Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please download and complete the Conference Proposal Form, and email it to Amelia Carruthers (, 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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