It is traditional that the President of our Society appoints a new Vice-President at the start of each new Presidential year; at the meeting on 2 October 2008, Geoff Wainwright announced that he had chosen Stephen Johnson for this role. Stephen was elected to Council in 2007, shortly after his retirement from the posts of Director of Operations at the Heritage Lottery Fund and as Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Prior to that Stephen worked for English Heritage where he had many roles but is best known for his work on Hadrians Wall.
16 October 2008: The Society of Antiquaries 1896 Exhibition of English Medieval Paintings and Illuminated Manuscripts and its role in the collecting of medieval manuscripts by private collectors and public libraries, by William Stoneman, FSA
17 October 2008: Under the Volcano: Sir William Hamilton and Mt Vesuvius: Dr Chris Kilburn, Fellow of the Geological Society, and our own Dr Jill Cook at the Geological Society of London will explore the legacy of Sir William Hamilton, FSA, FRS (17301803). Venue: the Geological Society; tea at 5.30pm, lecture at 6pm, reception, with wine from the slopes of Mt Vesuvius, from 7pm to 8.30pm. Entry is free to all, but by ticket only: to reserve a place please email [email protected].
23 October 2008: Imported Images: Continental late Gothic sculpture in English churches, by Kim Woods, FSA
30 October 2008: Ballot. You can now vote in the 30 October ballot on the Fellows side of the website; apply to Christopher Catling if you would like a password or a password reminder. The exhibits for this meeting have yet to be finalised (and if any Fellow has something they would like to exhibit, please do contact Salons editor) but they will include the Societys new Making History website, which David Gaimster, our General Secretary will present, and in particular Fellows will be invited to comment on the iconography of the Societys Roll Chronicle, which is an important exhibit on the site and in the travelling exhibition.
6 November 2008: Windows on the Past: new research on the long-forgotten sites of the central Nile Delta, by Joanne Rowland
13 November 2008: Archaeological Investigation in Historic Villages: new approaches and recent results, by Carenza Lewis, FSA
14 November 2008: Meeting of the US Fellowship at the Harvard University Faculty Club The annual meeting of the American Fellowship will be hosted this year by our Fellow Professor William Fash, Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. The speaker will be our Fellow Professor Norman Hammond and his topic will be Discovering the Ancient Maya. The reception begins at 6pm, the dinner at 6.30pm followed by a brief business meeting and then Normans lecture. Places for the dinner can be booked by contacting Monique Duhaime, who will also be able to answer questions about the event.
22 November 2008: York Antiquaries lunch The York Antiquaries are organising a lunch in York on Saturday 22 November. Space permitting, all Fellows are welcome to attend. Details may be obtained by writing to Philip Lankester, 29 Stanley Street, York YO31 8NW (enclosing an SAE or email address for reply), or by emailing Philip, whose email address may be found in the List of Fellows in the Fellows Area on the Societys website. The deadline for receipt of applications (with cheques) is 20 October.
25 November 2008: Getting to know the Society: introductory tours for new Fellows Coffee in the Council Room from 10.30am, tours start at 11am and end at 12.30pm; those who wish may stay for a light sandwich lunch, for which a charge of £5 will be made. Numbers are limited to twenty-five Fellows per tour. To book a place please tel: 020 7479 7080 or email: [email protected]. You can also book now for the tour planned for 12 February 2009.
The Societys autumn term began with a paper on Bush Barrow and Normanton Down Early Bronze Age Cemetery, the full content of which we hope to publish in the Antiquaries Journal in due course. Andrew Lawson, FSA, began by reviewing what we know of Bronze Age round barrows: that they are the commonest form of prehistoric monument in the British landscape, with more than 12,300 recorded examples, the greatest concentration of which, by far, occurs in southern Wiltshire, in an area that has Stonehenge at its heart. Though round barrows are found in isolation, they frequently form groups or cemeteries with various configurations: some clustered, others more linear in arrangement. The majority date from the earlier part of the Bronze Age, and their changing architecture is crucial to an appreciation of the chronology of the British Bronze Age.
The Normanton Down cemetery has at least fifty-eight barrows of various shapes and sizes, mainly laid out on a ridge overlooking Stonehenge. William Cunnington, in alliance with Colt Hoare from 1803, excavated twenty-four round barrows in the Normanton Down Group, and, with one exception and despite much excavation of the mounds before and after, Bush Barrow is the only recorded excavation of a round barrow in this group. It is also, in terms of grave goods, one of the most lavish excavated.
No drawing has survived of the burial in situ. Paul Ashbees reconstruction (1960) followed the prevailing thinking that the burial was analogous to the princely burials of central Europe, and that the Skeleton of a stout and tall man lying from South to North of Cunningtons record, must have been extended. Andrew demonstrated convincingly that nothing in the written record was inconsistent with this being different from well-established burial practice, with the deceased being placed in a flexed position, and that the likely date of the burial was the first quarter of the second millennium BC.
Ann Woodward, FSA, dealt in detail with the surviving finds from the barrow, reinterpreting several in the process: rivets from a shield or a helmet were more likely to be from the hilt of a dagger, and so-called bone tweezers might have been clips used in ritual display or to fasten and adorn a particular form of garment, or a special hairstyle. Ann emphasised that the assemblage contained much that was made from exotic materials, including gold, amber, jet and shale, much that could have originated as gifts, and much that could have been valued as an heirloom; all probably had special symbolic and ritual connotations.
Stuart Needham, FSA, then reviewed the wider landscape context for the barrow, showing different ways of interpreting the Normanton Down group as a classic linear cemetery (implying a steady progression in construction from one end to the other) or whether the barrows were grouped in ways that had genealogical or political meaning for the builders and incumbents, clustered around an arena for the rites accompanying burial and remembrance. He argued that the relationships resulted not from a master plan but from complex, organic and slowly growing systems, whose growth at any one moment in time depended on both the contemporary political situation and the specific relationships claimed between the newly deceased and those ancestors strategically placed in the landscape.
Looking to the wider landscape, he noted that grassed-over long mounds, already eons old, dotted the landscape into which the barrows were placed. The results of field-walking show an intriguing dearth of flint working on Normanton Down relative to immediately surrounding areas, raising the possibility that the site had a special significance and was set apart from everyday activities. The Normanton Down ridge (and specifically Bush Barrow) enjoys commanding views on to Stonehenge and across to the other local ridge tops in every direction except the north west, and it is crossed by the same solstitial axis as that which passes through Stonehenge.
It is probably uncontroversial to say, Stuart concluded, that the Bush Barrow individual was a key player, perhaps for a while the central figure, in the conduct of ceremonies in and around Stonehenge. This resulted not only in a richly furnished grave, but also in the choice of a burial spot on ground commanding views across Stonehenge and many surrounding high-profile locations. In fact, the series of burials strung out along the Normanton ridge represents just a few generations and thus perhaps a particular and phase-specific relationship between the community leaders and the ritually structured landscape.
A week later, Stonehenge was again the topic of a paper from our President, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Vice-President, Timothy Darvill, in which they gave an account of their excavations of April 2008. The paper (which will also be published in the Antiquaries Journal in 2009) was much anticipated, not least because of the amount of publicity generated by the recent BBC2 Timewatch programme, which followed the course of the excavation.
Chaired by Vice-President Clive Gamble, the packed meeting saw features and sections from the excavation for the first time and heard a first interim account of their phasing. Organic materials from the site, including animal bones, carbonised grains and charred wood, had confusingly yielded Mesolithic, medieval and modern dates, demonstrating how much residual material had found its way into Neolithic features as a result of burrowing and mixing and the opening and filling of voids in the soil as a result of the movement of stones or of later interventions.
The stratigraphic evidence broadly supported previous interpretations of the phasing of Stonehenge, but Tim and Geoff had found evidence for phases of activity that do not feature in earlier accounts, including late Roman activity in the form of a possible grave and a separate pit into whose fill a piece of bluestone had been centrally placed. The reshaping of the Stonehenge landscape was thus presented as being a more fluid and continuous activity than has been seen in the past, with much more re-cutting and intervention in the form of pits of various dates whose evolution we dont yet understand, just as we do not know how long some of them might have remained open, or by what processes they were filled.
If there is one certainty, it was the centrality of the bluestones that were the focus of this activity, the excavators argued. It was the bluestones, not the sandstone sarsens, that were targeted over and again by people collecting pieces of Stonehenge; so much so that Tim characterised the archaeological record as revealing far more about the destruction of Stonehenge than about its construction. Two-thirds of the bluestones have gone from the monument, and the two bluestones excavated on this occasion are considerably truncated. In one case, only a third of the surviving height protrudes above the turf and in the other, there is 1m or more of stone below ground and 50mm or so above. It is this fact that Tim and Geoff have tried to explain by means of their healing hypothesis, suggesting that the stones were sought for their supposed magical qualities, and that Geoffrey of Monmouths medieval account of the healing properties of the bluestones might be the faint echo of distant Neolithic beliefs.
In lively debate after the paper, Fellows paid tribute to the painstaking and detailed nature of the fieldwork and post-excavation analysis. Several made the point that the excavation had raised more questions than it answered, that one was left knowing less about Stonehenge than before, but that this was positive as it would lead to further research.
Tim Darvill responded by pointing to several questions that the larger PreseliStonehenge Bluestone Project was already seeking to address: one was to go back to first principles and undertake a petrological study (with Fellow Rob Ixer) of the twenty or so different types of bluestone incorporated into Stonehenge. This would be tied to an attempt to match those different stones not only to sources in the Preseli landscape but also in the landscape as a whole; to ask where else are these exotic stones might be found, both in their natural state and incorporated into structures such as passage graves. Are there other sites that utilise bluestones, or is Stonehenge unique? Analysis is under way, too, of water samples from some of the springs that surround the Preseli Hills to see whether they have properties that might be medicinal.
As for the healing hypothesis, about which several speakers expressed reservations, Tim said this was not being offered as a fixed and finished theory, but as a hypothesis that was being worked upon and that had emerged from a number of different observations that all pointed in this direction. The key questions remain why were the bluestones singled out, and what might the evidence for a centre of healing look like in the archaeological record?
Geoff said that Stonehenge was clearly a multi-functional monument, but that he was quite content that the archaeological evidence showed an association between stone, water and healing, while Clive Gamble summed up the meeting by saying that clearly another function of Stonehenge, though not one intended by those who built the monument, was to excite comment and debate, and keep the intellectual fervour of archaeology moving forward.
Another packed meeting at the Antiquaries took place on 10 October when Fellows, friends and members of John Hopkinss family met for the unveiling of the bronze bust of John sculpted by our Fellow David Neal (see the Societys website for a picture). Like Henry Wood at a Proms concert, Johns bust then presided over some seventy-five minutes of reminiscences by Johns former colleagues and friends. What every tribute had in common was the reflection that John cared deeply about his books but he cared as deeply for the readers. He was curious about everyones work, monitoring the books they read and using this knowledge to suggest other relevant books they might have overlooked. He would also introduce one library user to another if he thought they might benefit from the introduction because of a shared interest he was thus the instigator of several lifetimes friendships.
We were treated to the speech that John made when he was invested with the Societys one and only silver medal in 1983, complete with memories of the Society when he first joined the staff (dinner-jacketed Fellows fresh from the club or the Café Royal, smelling of cigars mingled with Chanel No 5; students from the Institute of Archaeology began to drift in and staff from the Inspectorate and Royal Commissions) and of the beginning of war (more and more Fellows attending meetings in uniform), before wartime closure (when the books and pictures were packed up and sent to mines in Wales or to the homes of Fellows in the countryside away from the destructive force of the Blitz) and of the bicentenary of the Royal Charter, celebrated in 1951 in great style.
John was witness to all of these great events and their chronicler: we were reminded of Johns habit of commemorating every incident in the life of the Society and of its Fellows in verse. Adrian James, our Assistant Librarian, who continues that tradition, read us a few recent examples of what John called his ditties, including one excoriating the Millennium dome (well see in this new millennium with a sense of great rebellion!) and another lamenting the outcome of the hearing on the payment of rent by the learned societies based at Burlington House (Will our destiny be to stand outside with a begging box, as the venerable Fellows drift slowly towards the rocks?).
We were also treated to a few of his jokes and bons mots: (archaeologists have to be philosophers, he said, because archaeology does not tend to lead to great personal wealth; staying in one place for fifty years, moving no further than from one end of a thirty-foot library table to the other, might imply a stick-in-the-mud attitude: far from it, life at the Antiquaries has been full of incident not that there hasnt been a muddish moment or two, especially among the lectures).
Pamela Tudor-Craig shared a little-known confidence when she revealed how close had been the friendship between Mortimer Wheeler and John Hopkins: the two of them worked hand in glove to achieve the weekly feat whereby Sir Mortimer would always be able to identify the mystery object on Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. Somehow John would find out which museum had supplied the mystery object (was he tipped off by the curators?); he and Rick would then disappear into the depths of the library, study the relevant museum catalogue (often in a nineteenth-century edition) and identify with unerring accuracy which object it was that was most likely to feature in that weeks programme.
Summing up, Pamela said: John knew everything, though he never took an exam. All agreed that John was a man of great individuality and character, and one who, according to his son, Tim Hopkins, speaking at the end of the meeting, enjoyed his job because he found the same qualities in many Fellows: intelligence, integrity, friendship and wit were the values he held dear.
The Society played host to more than 100 delegates from across the historic environment sector on 7 October when they gathered at Burlington House for the Archaeology Forum day-seminar devoted to reviewing progress on the proposed Heritage Protection Bill. Our General Secretary David Gaimster reports that the speakers included senior managers from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and from English Heritage who described the next Parliamentary steps for the progress of the bill. It is anticipated that the new DCMS Minister for Culture Barbara Follett, MP will steer the Bill through its various stages in the next session of Parliament following the Queens Speech on 3 December 2008. Meanwhile, DCMS is in the final stages of revisions to the Bill following recent scrutiny by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (see Salon 194) and will respond to the Committee in the next week or so. A very useful commentary by English Heritage on the draft Bill, including core objectives and areas covered, is now available on the EH website.
Key to the new heritage protection regime, and in many ways as important as the bill itself, is the secondary legislation accompanying guidance; we learnt at the seminar that the new guidance that will replace PPG15: Planning and the Historic Environment and PPG16: Archaeology and Planning is to be issued for consultation by the Department for Local Government and Communities (DCLG) to coincide with publication of the primary draft legislation on 3 December. Doubtless, further seminars and workshops will follow to discuss and analyse how these various instruments knit together. Presentations from the day will be hosted on the TAF website shortly.’
In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Barbara Follett MP was appointed as the new Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism, under which heritage and museum matters fall. Barbara Follett was appointed after Margaret Hodge requested compassionate leave in order to look after her husband, who is unwell. In an interview with the Guardian, Barbara Follett said that she and her husband (Ken Follett, the author of thrillers and historical novels) shared a passion for visiting cathedrals and churches. The biography on her website provides a candid account of her eventful life to date.
A massive and detailed report on archaeological employment in the UK has just been published by the Institute of Field Archaeologists. Written by Fellow Kenneth Aitchison and Rachel Edwards, Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: profiling the profession 20078 is based on data gathered in the summer of 2007, when employment in field archaeology was riding high on the back of major infrastructural projects, such as gas pipelines, road schemes, shopping centres and housing estates, whereas the economic situation now looks very different. Nevertheless, similar archaeological labour market intelligence has been analysed twice before, in 19978 and 20023, so the broad trends are as important as the data from any one specific period.
The headline figures show that there were 6,865 professional archaeologists working in the UK in 2007, up 20 per cent from the 5,772 of 2002 and up 55 per cent over ten years since 1997. A further 886 people work as support staff to these archaeologists, so some 7,731 people in the UK earn a living from archaeology. The importance of PPG 16 is clear from the fact that some 58 per cent of archaeological posts are funded by work related to development or the planning process.
By employer, 10 per cent of archaeologists work for national government agencies, such as English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland; 17 per cent for local government; 15 per cent for universities; 51 per cent for private sector organisations, including contracting units; and 8 per cent for other types of organisation. By job type, 51 per cent work for organisations engaged in field research and investigation; 27 per cent in providing historic environment advice; 12 per cent in education and academic research; and 5 per cent in museum work and visitor services.
It will come as no surprise to know that the average full-time archaeological salary is just £23,310, which is only 78 per cent of the UK average. It is some comfort to know that salaries have increased by 22 per cent since 2002, and that the national average increase over the same period was 23 per cent, so archaeological earnings are increasing at about the same rate as the national average. Effectively, 100 per cent of the workforce is made up of graduates, and 40 per cent have a Masters degree (10 per cent a doctorate). Even so, 93 per cent of employers identified training as a real and pressing need; and particular skills gaps were identified in buildings survey, geophysical survey, desk-based research and assessment, artefact and ecofact research and conservation, geomantics and information technology and report writing.
Profiling the Profession 20078 is part of a wider project, Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe, which is collecting data on archaeological employment in twelve European countries, with funding from the Leonardo da Vinci II fund. Further information on this can be found on the Discovering the archaeologists of Europe website.
On the subject of developer-funded archaeology, the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) has just published a comprehensive manual for its members called Archaeology and development: a good practice guide to managing risk and maximising benefit. CIRIAs members include seventy-two of the UKs leading developers, and some 19,000 construction industry professionals, so this is likely to be a very influential publication.
The guidelines cover the organisation of UK archaeology, the relevant legislation, the nature of archaeological work, and how archaeological investigation can be integrated into development projects. Extensive use is made of case studies to highlight the potential benefits and pitfalls. The text reflects the current situation in law and planning guidance, though it flags up the main proposed changes under HPR, and references the Heritage Bill (April 2008). A full list of contents can be found on the CIRIA website.
One of the best possible outcomes of the rewriting of PPGs 15 and 16 would be to make explicit the opportunities for putting historic buildings on a par with below-ground archaeology in requiring developers to fund the investigation and recording of historic buildings that are subject to development proposals. If so, the latest English Heritage publication on Understanding Historic Buildings: policy and guidance for local planning authorities will become a key document and the starting point for efforts to assess and express the significance of a historic building, and show how that significance can inform development proposals and not just in the case of designated buildings, but for all above-ground structures that have historical or architectural significance. Copies of the guidance can be obtained from the HELM website, along with companion guidance on Understanding Historic Buildings: a guide to good recording practice and Understanding the Archaeology of Landscapes: a guide to good recording practice.
This collection of documents is also reviewed in the latest issue of the IFAs magazine, The Archaeologist (contact the Editor, Alison Taylor, FSA, for further details), in which Catherine Cavanagh and Kate Page-Smith consider the practical implications of the new guidance.
The impact of falling income at the Heritage Lottery Fund was brought vividly into focus by the recent board meeting at which trustees had to consider applications from projects seeking four times the amount of money available a very different picture from the time when, not that long ago, good projects that met HLF criteria could count on being funded.
Now it is the Judgement of Solomon that has to be exercised by the HLF Board, and trustees have decided to support two ambitious projects in which Fellows have a considerable interest: the Vindolanda Trust and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
The HLFs £4 million grant to Vindolanda will contribute to the cost of transforming the Trusts presentation of the central section of Hadrians Wall in Northumberland: the two Roman forts and civilian settlements at the site will be better explained, with an education centre to inspire the next generation of young archaeologists and new galleries that will allow the significant element of Vindolandas collection that is currently hidden in storage to be shown for the first time.
The £5 million award to the National Maritime Museum will enable the display of more of the world-class material in the museums archive through the creation of a new state-of-the-art gallery and exhibition spaces, with a new entrance directly from Greenwich Park, improving the way the museum relates to its surroundings and the rest of the Greenwich World Heritage Site.
Carole Souter, Chief Executive at HLF, said: These two exceptional projects were competing in a very tough batch and stood out for the quality of their proposals, management and the unique experiences they will provide. To illustrate how tough was the decision making faced by the Trustees, the HLF has published a list of the projects they were unable to support. They included grant requests from Historic Royal Palaces for improvements to Kensington Palace, from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for the Royal Naval Museums Centenary Project, from Derby Museum for the citys historic silk mill, from Lichfield Cathedral and from the UK National Inventory of War Memorials.
Previous editions of Salon have reported on the threatened closure of the Local History Library and Archive, at Bancroft Road, in Stepney, London, a key resource for East End and émigré history. On Thursday night, 9 October, Stepney Council agreed to keep the borough’s local history library and archives in Bancroft Road.
Councillor Lutfur Rahman, the Leader of the Council, issued a statement saying: After receiving expert advice I have decided that the Council will retain Bancroft for the Local History Library and Archive. The challenge now is to secure the funding needed to complete the urgent repairs and bring the Vestry Hall back to its former glory Our shared history is not something to be locked away or reserved for the few. It is something to be shared and celebrated by the many.
Thanking campaigners for highlighting just how valuable a resource the Local History Library and Archive is to local people, Councillor Rahman said: I hope your campaign will not stop here, but will now get behind our efforts to persuade other public bodies to help finance the restoration of the Vestry Hall and give the Local History Library and Archive the home it deserves.
The recent service of thanksgiving for the life of our late Fellow Thomas Cocke was reported in The Times on 7 October 2008, along with a list of those who attended.
It is with much sadness that we report the news that our Fellow Tom (Thomas Felix Rudolf Gerhard) Braun died in hospital on 25 September 2008 as a result of a road accident in which he had been involved as a passenger on 22 August 2008. Salon will give details of the memorial service in due course, which is likely to be held at Merton College, Oxford, of which Tom was a Fellow and a former tutor in classics.
Equally sad is the news that Paul Åström passed away on 4 October 2008, after an illness of three months. Not only is this a loss for Mediterranean (and, in particular, Cypriote) archaeology, it is also a loss to the Society since Paul was a candidate for election as Honorary Fellow in the ballot on 30 October 2008. Pauls funeral will be held in Sweden, and his ashes will be dispersed on the Mediterranean Sea from the Late Bronze Age site at Hala Sultan Tekke that he spent much of his life excavating.
Splendidly illustrated obituaries for our late Fellow Elizabeth Eames (19182008), who died 20 September 2008 at the age of ninety, have appeared in the Independent (written by our Fellow Laurence Keen) and in The Times.
Laurence Keen describes Elizabeth as the leading twentieth-century scholar and writer on Englands rich heritage of medieval glazed tiles in which she developed an interest working at the British Museum as a volunteer, where she was asked to make an inventory of the Duke of Rutlands tile collection, which had been purchased with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund in 1947. This just happened to be one of the greatest collections of its type, and it led to a lifetimes study, culminating in her great two-volume catalogue of the Medieval Lead-Glazed Earthenware Tiles in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities in the British Museum (1980), a work that turned the study of tiles from mere collecting to an understanding of the medieval craft and its place in medieval economic and art history.
The catalogue, detailing 13,882 tiles, gave a complete overview of the development of tiles from the late Saxon period to the mid-sixteenth century, set a new standard in the recording of tile designs, and emphasised the importance of the study of kiln sites as a key to the distribution, ordering and use of tiles.
Before developing her interest in tiles, Elisabeth had studied English and Archaeology and Anthropology at Newnham College, Cambridge, from 1936, then travelled to Norway, where she studied Norse archaeology as the basis for her thesis on the position of women in Viking society (awarded an MLitt in 1950 after her studies were interrupted by war service in the Womens Auxiliary Territorial Service).
Elizabeth lectured at the City Literary Institute, the London University Department of Extra Mural Studies, the City University and the WEA for more than forty-three years, and was an exuberant lecturer across the whole field of archaeology from the prehistoric sites in Orkney, to which she often took her students, to the detail of the (then) new discipline of medieval archaeology. She encouraged a whole generation of younger scholars of medieval tiles, both in England and abroad and established, with Dr A B Emden, the Census of Medieval Floor Tiles in Britain. In the course of her work for this she visited many excavations, and her windswept appearance and vivacious enthusiasm inspired many and created lasting friendships.
Salons editor is very grateful to our Fellow Ian Simmons for the following obituary for our late Fellow Arthur Owen.
Arthur Owen died at home in Thimbleby, Lincolnshire, on 24 August 2008, aged 84. He was the son of a country solicitor and claimed that it was the discovery in his father’s office in Alford of some of the records of the Commissioners of Sewers dating back to the seventeenth century that set him on the twin paths of interest in records and the Lincolnshire landscape. He graduated from King’s College, Cambridge, in 1947 and thereafter held posts in manuscript administration, passing through the Historical Manuscripts Commission to become Keeper of Manuscripts in the University Library at Cambridge in 1970, where he stayed until retirement. In 1958 he married Dorothy Williamson, who also became a Fellow. She died in 2002 but her work in archive development and publications as a historian of Boston, Kings Lynn and of the medieval Church in Lincolnshire are still the benchmark studies.
While on the staff of the HMC, Arthur wrote a list of the Bethlem Hospital’s Lincolnshire estates documents which is still in regular use. His later output falls into two categories. That which derived from his tenure at Cambridge involved the publication of some of the material in the University Collection, as well as the 1986 Summary Guide to the Accession of Western Manuscripts (other than Medieval) since 1867, which continues to be a valuable tool for scholars. Further afield can be found a series of papers and chapters on aspects of drainage and landscape formation, and on place-names, in east Lincolnshire. His explanation of the term Halfdic, and the date and role of the sea-banks along the coast north of Ingoldmells, opened up entirely new thinking about the age of reclamation along that coast. His 1998 paper on the salt-making activities of the monks of Bury St Edmunds at Wainfleet issued a challenge to map the holdings set out in the medieval rental lists: it remains to be successfully undertaken.
Arthurs pleasure in this kind of work came through in his accounts of how he was unable to sleep after realising that the obscure Domesday place-name Tric was cognate with names like Utrecht and reflected the existence of a ferry port. The subsequent 2003 paper (with Professor R Coates, FSA) in Lincolnshire History and Archaeology was one of his last, though he was, until very recently, much concerned to find out why Skendleby Psalter was thus named and had moved from choirs to the chase as a likely explanation. He also edited several volumes for the Lincoln Record Society, of which The Medieval Lindsey Marsh: select documents (LRS 85, 1996) is a treasure-trove of starting points for all kinds of new explorations.
The effects of his war wounds (he lost an eye and the hearing in one ear in Normandy soon after D-Day) had been exacerbated by increasing infirmity in the last couple of years, but he continued to be cheerful and responsive until soon before his death. His funeral in Thimbleby saw a gathering of both the scholarly from afar and of local people like the thatcher who lived opposite. He was cremated at Alford in what was perhaps a symbolic gesture of completeness.
The report in the last issue of Salon concerning the History Press (Tempus as was) encouraged several Fellows to write with the very positive news that they had now received royalty statements and cheques, and that bills they feared would never be paid have in fact been paid in full, so the commitment reported in the Bookseller to pay Tempus creditors as a gesture of goodwill, even though the publisher is not legally obliged to do so, seems to be holding good.
Salons editor failed to consult his Titles and Forms of Address before describing our Fellow Dr Richard Chartres as Very Reverend. As Ia McIlwaine points out, this would mean he is a dean; as the Lord Bishop of London, he is the Right Reverend and Right Honourable.
Commenting on the BBC2 Timewatch programme on Stonehenge, reviewed in the last issue of Salon, Fellow Robert Harding says we should remember that often when we look into the past we manage to find what we are really looking for our own reflections. Discovering that Stonehenge may have been a Stone Age healing centre may be as much in tune with the zeitgeist as earlier theories, such as those associating it with Merlin, were in their day.
Fellow Stephen Briggs is concerned that so far, media and scholarly reports and Salon have all given the impression that it is established fact that all the Stonehenge bluestones were quarried from Carn Meini and transported by humans to Salisbury Plain. Stephen writes: This ignores research carried out by a team from the Open University (among others) who have undertaken petrographic and geochemical analyses and surveys showing that bluestones are found in at least fifteen different localities in south-west Wales and possibly elsewhere. Of the forty-three surviving and original eighty-plus bluestones at Stonehenge, only thirty-one are now of the (supposedly) highly-prized spotted dolerite. It therefore has to be explained why Neolithic people picked up twice as many stones of non-magical types on their stone collecting expeditions. It seems clear that the non-dolerite Stonehenge bluestones have disappeared or diminished in size because their lithologies were particularly prone to weathering. In any case, spotted dolerites were not employed preferentially at Stonehenge, elsewhere on Salisbury Plain, or anywhere in Wales or western Britain on later prehistoric ritual or burial sites. Stonehenge was most likely built because sarsens and bluestones could be obtained easily within a reasonable compass of the present site. Stephen would like to see open debate about the origins of Stonehenges stones and asks whether, in their stone gathering activities, the builders even knew where the stones they used originally came from?
Back to an earlier issue of Salon, which reported on our Fellow Julian Richardss exhibition, Inspired by Stonehenge. Salon said that the exhibition was about to close, but Julian says that it has now reopened at Chippenham Museum (until 3 January 2009), after which it will move to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum at Devizes (16 May to 20 September 2009), so there are many more opportunities to see this informative and amusing collection of tourist souvenirs, memorabilia and works of art inspired by our most iconic monument. Julian adds that: I would also like to know if there are any museums outside Wiltshire who might be interested in hosting this exhibition. Stonehenge is a universal icon and the exhibition, which is lively and entertaining, comes with its own package of events and outreach activities. I would love it to travel more widely as this would put off the problem of what to do with all the stuff when the Devizes exhibition ends. The collection has grown so much I simply don’t have anywhere to put it!.
Salon 197 reported on the closure of the Department of Archaeological Research at Colonial Williamsburg. According to the official statement, which Audrey Horning has forwarded to Salon, the department is not closing: it is merging with the Department of Architectural Research to form a single Department of Architectural and Archaeological Research, under the leadership of Edward Chappell. The statement says: Colonial Williamsburg remains committed to archaeological research, excavation, and field schools. The Foundation continues to support one of the largest archaeological units in the nation, consisting of staff and project archaeologists, laboratory and curatorial staff, and several part-time archaeological technicians. Staff archaeologists will be actively engaged in excavations in Williamsburg’s historic area and elsewhere and curatorial staff will continue to have responsibility for the nationally known collection of artifacts and faunal remains.
A lesson in how unreliable the information can be that is published on the internet comes from Patrick Wildgust, Curator of Shandy Hall, who, whilst being very happy with Salons enthusiastic endorsement of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant to secure the future of Shandy Hall, home of the Revd Laurence Sterne, author of Tristram Shandy, wishes nevertheless to point out two errors in the report. Firstly, Kenneth Monkman was never the owner of Shandy Hall and so was not in the position to bequeath the property to the Laurence Sterne Trust. His significant contribution to Sterne’s legacy was to set up the Trust in 1969 (with Herbert Read as the first Chairman) and to act as Honorary Curator until his death. Half of his collection of Sterne books, prints and related material was purchased by the Trust in the 1980s but the other half that remained in Shandy Hall was owned by his family. The Heritage Lottery Fund has given sufficient funding to secure that remainder as well as Martin Rowson’s original drawings for his brilliant illustrated Tristram Shandy (published in 1996). Secondly, the University of York was never offered the collection and so it is not true to say it refused it.
Stained Glass Museum Autumn Lectures 2008: As ever, the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral has an interesting series of lectures coming up, all of which take place at 7.30pm in The Long Gallery, Sue Ryder Care, The Old Palace, Palace Green, Ely. On 21 October, Frances Spalding, Professor of Art History, Newcastle University, talks on John Pipers stained glass, on 4 November, David King, Research Fellow, School of History, University of East Anglia, talks about the stained glass of East Harling Church, Norfolk, and on 18 November, John Maddison gives a paper on Building in Context: alterations and extensions by medieval cathedral builders. Tickets £5 (£4.50 Friends) in advance (£6 at the door): email: [email protected], website: www.stainedglassmuseum.com.
2 November 2008, Temple Church, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem Our Fellow Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple, looks forward to meeting other Fellows at this lecture to be give by our Fellow Martin Biddle on The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem: investigations and influences, at Temple Church, off Fleet Street, London EC4, on 12 November at 7pm, an illustrated lecture co-hosted by the Temple Church and the World Monuments Fund in which Martin will discuss the influence of the Holy Sepulchres rotunda on the Temple Church. This years exhibition of images charting the history of the Temple Church will also be on view. Tickets for the lecture and drinks beforehand (served in the Round Church from 6.45pm) cost £14 for WMF members, £19 for non-members (see www.wmf.org.uk/activities, or tel: 0207 730 5344).
28 November 2008, St Mary Magdalene, Barkway, The Turin Shroud Our Fellow John Ray, FBA, Professor of Egyptology at Cambridge University, will give a lecture on the latest research into the Turin Shroud at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Barkway, at 7.30pm for 8pm, with drinks and canapés on arrival. The suggested donation is £10 a head (towards the new Church Room; payable to Barkway V.C.C. Building Fund) and donations can be gift aided: for forms and tickets, write to our Fellow Mirjam Foot, Martins Cottage, Nuthampstead, Royston SG8 8ND.
Sir John Soanes Museum: The Adam Brothers in Rome: Drawings from the Grand Tour This new exhibition (until 14 February 2009) explores the impact of the Grand Tour on Robert Adam (172892) and his younger brother, James Adam (173294). Travelling in 1754, Robert visited the great classical monuments of Rome as well exploring newly discovered sites such as the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. As part of a group led by the French painter Charles-Louis Clérisseau they also met contemporary Italian artists and architects. James followed a similar route on his own tour in 1760, and all of this was to have a profound influence on their work, as revealed by an exhibition curated by Adam expert, Alan Tait, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, Glasgow University, that draws on the Soane Museums unparalleled holding of Adam drawings.
Newcastle University announced last week the establishment of a new Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies (CIAS), to be headed up by our Fellow and former Director of Archaeological Museums in Newcastle, Lindsay Allason-Jones. The new Centre is located within the School of Historical Studies and will harness the University’s established reputation in artefact research, utilising the skills of a wide range of academic specialists to investigate objects of all periods in new ways.
In making the announcement, the University said: Lindsay Allason-Jones, the first Director of CIAS,is an internationally recognised artefact specialist who is well placed to bring together academics already working in the field of artefact research with craft-workers and experts who will have special insights into the materials from which different artefacts are made. As well as archaeologists and materials scientists, psychologists, theologians, educationalists, medical specialists and creative writers are already working together planning a number of projects, such as research into ancient recycling. As well as research, CIAS will also be developing new undergraduate and postgraduate courses in artefact studies, and continuing the outreach work for which the archaeological museums were famous.
Fellows are in for a treat on 18 December 2008 when, at the traditional Christmas Miscellany meeting, our Fellow Yvette Staelens will be talking about her Singing Landscape Project, which has just been awarded a £204,000 AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellowship grant. This will enable Yvette and her colleague Dr C J Bearman, of the Centre for Archaeology, Anthropology and Heritage, at the School of Conservation Sciences in Bournemouth, to continue with a project tracking down the singers and their descendants from whom Cecil Sharp (18591924) collected the traditional songs, tunes and dances that are such an important resource for the study of English folk music. Having already produced a Folk map for Somerset, the new grant enables the work to continue into Gloucestershire and Hampshire.
According to Yvette, Sharp was mostly interested in the songs and not the singers; her work involves going back to the areas where Sharp worked, identifying song-bearers or their descendants and collecting biographical and photographic material to set the music in context. Equally important is outreach work to inform the public and re-connect them with a cultural heritage of which English people are largely unaware, an ignorance and lack of attention towards a countrys cultural heritage, says Yvette, that is unique in Europe and North America.
If you would like to hear Yvettes own renditions of some of these songs, her website has downloads of tracks from her latest album, The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife.
People in the publishing trade call 2 October Super Thursday because that is the date on which many of the big books that are contenders for the bestseller list are put out, in the run-up to the important Christmas market. Let us hope then that this bodes well for two books published on that day by our Fellows Roy and Lesley Adkins. Jack Tar: life in Nelsons Navy is a fine example of bottom-up history: Roy and Lesley have been delving in diaries and letters written by the mariners who served in the Royal Navy at a period that has left an indelible mark on history. Just as reading accounts of life in the trenches of the First World War leave you astonished at the depths of human courage and endurance, so this book makes you wonder at how men and women could endure the harsh and brutal conditions of life on board a battle ship, when, even when you were not in danger of being killed in battle or drowned in a tempest, you faced the daily battle with the effects of scurvy and venereal disease, vermin and parasites, and food that was rotten and infested with maggots and weevils. Sailors were little more than slaves, press ganged into life on board with no relief from conditions worse than prison, with harsh physical punishments the norm for any petty failing.
Despite the tale it tells, the Adkinss book is itself far from depressing. In a chapter devoted to entertainment, the authors remind us that Nelsons sailors composed the tunes and sea-songs that form such a rich heritage of folk music today, and for every song in which a young man regrets being taken in by the hospitality of the press gang there is another describing the orgies of conspicuous consumption for which Jack Tar was notorious once allowed ashore, his pockets full of booty and prize money (usually to be parted from his hard-won silver coin by a knowing prostitute, innkeeper or trader). This is a book that charts the extremes of misery and merriment in a life that might well have been the lot of any one of us, had we been born 250 years ago.
A man who knew something about folk music was Ralph Vaughan Williams, and a Fellow who knows something about Ralph Vaughan Williams is Hugh Cobbe, of the British Library, whose edition of the Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams, 18951958 was published by Oxford University Press earlier this year to some considerable critical acclaim, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the popular composers death on 26 August 1958 (yesterday being, coincidentally, the anniversary of his birth on 12 October 1872).
Reviews of the book say that the letters reveal much about Vaughan Williamss compositional methods; not during the composition, but once a work was complete in draft, the polishing and crafting that continued until the final work emerged. As an immensely popular composer (at least until the experimental era of the 1960s and 1970s) he was a moderately wealthy man, but he shared his good fortune with younger composers, and this volume includes his correspondence with those who succeeded (Butterworth, Howells, Finzi and Britten) and some who never made it, but to whom Vaughan Williams was invariably kind and helpful. In his review of the book in the Telegraph, Simon Heffer says Hugh Cobbe has done a superb job both in his footnotes and in his selection, and the result is a fitting half-centenary tribute to a truly great man.
The second of Roy and Lesley Adkinss newly published books is a new edition of their bestselling Handbook of British Archaeology , revised with the help of Victoria Leitch, and to illustrate just how up to the minute it is, it even refers (page 460) to the rebranding of National Archaeology Week as the Festival of British Archaeology (a suggestion that Salons editor made at the IFA conference in Liverpool five years ago, but that the CBA only got round to realising was a good idea a month ago). The book is divided into chapters devoted to each of the main archaeological periods, with two additional chapters on techniques and artefacts and a concluding chapter on archaeological organisations and legislation, which is a very useful source for anyone trying to penetrate the mysteries of MAP2, PAS, FLOs, GIS and HERs. The extensive bibliography points you to sources of more detailed information.
Some reviewers like to point out errors: Salon does so not out of a sense of superiority, but because this one is so delicious: the index (page 520) refers to something called the Blling period; it should be Bolling, but it does conjure up a rather enjoyable vision of a new archaeological period characterised by the ostentatious display of much gold.
Also just published in a fully revised and updated second edition is Tim Darvills Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (Oxford University Press, ISBN 978019953405), originally published in 2002, since when it has established itself as the leading dictionary for archaeological terms. Where the Adkins focus on British archaeology (as their title says), Tims book is international and includes useful definitions of key archaeological principles, theoretical approaches, techniques and artefact types, as well as potted biographies of influential archaeologists and descriptions of key type-sites from around the world. It covers legislation relating to archaeology in the USA as well as the UK and it has links to recommended websites for further information.
Archaeology very rarely penetrates the bestseller list (by contrast, there are more than twenty cookery books in the top 100), though one exception is our Fellow Mary Beards book on Pompeii, currently at number 97 in Amazons list of top 100 books. Mary has benefited from universal acclaim: every reviewer has characterised the book as full of the kind of vivid detail we would expect from an antiquary, exploring the stuff of everyday life in a Roman town, from the smells of unwashed bodies in the amphitheatre or from the manufacture of fish sauce to the ferocious zebra-stripe colour scheme in one Pompeian house that would not look out of place in the 1960s, and public baths that more resemble a San Francisco bathhouse of the 1970s than a gleaming Germanic spa.
Many also pick upon Marys discussion of the Pompeian Brothel Problem, which sounds rather salacious, but is a perfect example of an archaeological conundrum: what does a brothel look like in the material record, should we assume that everything that looks like a brothel was such and should we assume that commercial sex was restricted to brothels anyway? Previous attempts to resolve the problem have characterised as brothels any building of room with phallic imagery and boastful sexual graffiti. On that basis, Pompeii was a sexually hyperactive city with 35 brothels, or one per 75 free adult males. Mary suggests that the only certain brothels are those with a masonry bed near the street and graffiti of a particular (and unprintable) kind, on which basis there is but one brothel in Pompeii: so not such an edgy city after all, unless you remember those baths.
And surely a shoo-in for the bestseller list, especially once the TV programmes start to roll, is our Fellow David Starkeys newly published: Henry: Virtuous Prince, being the first volume of a two-part account of Henry VIIIs reign. Salons editor is willing to bet this will end up as a three-volume work, because David ends part 1, after 413 pages, with Henrys appointment of Thomas Wolsey as his chief policy guru and hatchet man when Henry is but a lad of nineteen, after two years on the throne but constrained in his behaviour by ministers who will not allow him the absolute power he might imagine came with the Crown.
Davids point is that this marks the watershed from Henry the virtuous prince of the title, brought up as the second son, a spare, rather than an heir, enjoying the life of an athletic and opinionated student, not unlike many that David probably teaches today at Cambridge, and Henry the mature schemer.
The book, as reviewers have pointed out, shows just how much the embers of past conflicts the toxic legacy of the Wars of the Roses continued to foment and flare up during the first two decades of Henrys life, and David has already gone on record as saying that writing the book has enthused him with the desire to write a book on Henry VII but first he has to complete Henry VIIIs story, and there are another thirty-six action-packed years to go: so either a very large volume two, or perhaps a third volume?
In its way, our Fellow Jeremy Hodgkinsons book on The Wealden Iron Industry must count as a bestseller, because Amazon has nearly sold out of stock (thought they promise more copies are on the way). You can understand why it is selling well: written by someone who has been researching and writing about the Wealden iron industry for twenty-five years, it is an accessible account of an industry that everyone has heard of, but about which we know so little.
Jeremy shows how the green and wooded landscape of the Weald is still packed with more than 800 ironworking sites from late Iron Age through to early nineteenth-century date. He illustrates the processes by which ironstone is quarried, separated into metal and slag in a bloomery or furnace and worked in a forge at different periods in time, and he illustrates the many uses to which Wealden iron was put, from the ferramenta used in constructing castles, churches and cathedrals, to the millions of horseshoes, arrow heads and nails used by the medieval military, to later cannons, guns, cannon balls and shot to more peaceful firebacks, firedogs, iron headstones and agricultural tools. Wealden iron was and is ubiquitous: admire it, for example, in the form of the eighteenth-century cast-iron railings that surround St Pauls.
Changing subject entirely, Andrew Breezes book on The Mary of the Celts (Gracewing) has a fine front cover showing the National Museum of Wales’s Annunciation on a Welsh Hillside by the poet and artist David Jones (18951974). The book, from one of the Societys leading scholars of medieval European literature and art, is a guide to Marian iconography in Celtic Ireland and Britain, especially in Irish, Welsh and Cornish literature (for example, Muiredeach Albanachs thirteenth-century poetry from the Western Isles of Scotland, and that of his Welsh contemporary, Brother Madog ap Gwallter), but also in hymns, painting and sculpture. What is of great interest is not just the Church-sanctioned themes and imagery associated with the Annunciation, Nativity, Crucifixion and Assumption, and the Virgins Joys and Sorrows, but also the rich evidence of popular legends, including the Instantaneous Harvest that grew when the Holy Family fled Herods army and arrived in Egypt, and the legend of the girdle thrown down by the Virgin to St Thomas at the Assumption.
Coming up next week is the official launch of the first two volumes of Names on Terra Sigillata, the product of forty-five years of assiduous research by our Fellows, the late Brian R Hartley and Brenda M Dickinson. The books are a catalogue of the more than 5,000 names and some 300,000 stamps and signatures that Gaulish potters used to identify terra sigillata (Samian ware) manufactured in the first to the third centuries AD in Gaul, the German provinces and Britain, by the use of stamps or by manuscript graffiti.
Volume 1 (A to AXO) and 2 (B to CEROTCUS) are being published under the imprint of the Institute of Classical Studies (Managing Editor, Richard Simpson) and they will replace the catalogue of our Fellow, the late Dr Felix Oswald, published in 1931 as his Index of Potters Stamps on Terra Sigillata. Each entry illustrates the stamp or signature which the potter used with examples of the vessel types on which it appears, together with details of find spots, repositories and museum accession numbers or excavators site-codes. Dating of the potters activity is supported, as far as possible, by a discussion of the evidence, which is usually based on the occurrence of material in historically dated contexts or on its association with other stamps or signatures dated by this method.
The publication grows out of the 5,600-page incomplete and unedited manuscript left by Brian Hartley at his death in 2005; Brenda Dickinson took on the onerous task of completing the text and plans another seven volumes between now and 2012. Two other Fellows have been important collectors of information for the project Kay Hartley and Felicity Wild (née Pearce) and many other Fellows and their colleagues have been involved, including Mike Fulford who procured grants for the project, Geoffrey Dannell, Paul Tyers, Joanna Bird and Peter Webster, Allard Mees of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, and Rosemary Wilkinson, Robert Maltby and Roger Brock at the University of Leeds. Their work, and that of many volunteers, has contributed to the publication of a huge data-set that will act as a reservoir for research for many years and serve as a resource of international importance to all students of the Western Roman Empire.
Finally, though not by a Fellow, here is a book about a Fellow that you might want to add to your Christmas present list: Richard Holmess The Age of Wonder: how the Romantic generation discovered the beauty and terror of science (Harper Press) is built around the life of the naturalist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks (17431820), Fellow and Council member, and his protégés, William Herschel and Humphry Davy. Holmess theme is the excitement of discovery and Bankss insatiable curiosity; John Careys Sunday Times review says the book is full of fascinating bypaths that lead to unexpected vistas [Holmes] believes that we must engage the minds of young people with science by writing about it in a new way, entering imaginatively into the biographies of individual scientists and showing what makes them just as creative as poets, painters and musicians. The Age of Wonder is offered, with due modesty, as a model, and it succeeds inspiringly.
University of Cambridge: Librarian; closing date 7 November 2008
The University of Cambridge is seeking a successor to Peter Fox, who retires as University Librarian in March 2009. The Librarians primary role is to manage the University Library and to give strategic advice on library matters to the University. The successful candidate will have an outstanding academic record and experience of strategic leadership and institutional management within a major academic library or comparable organisation. Requests for further information should be addressed to Shirley Collins at search consultants Heidrick & Struggles.