Bank holiday closing

The Society’s Library and Apartments will be closed for the Late May Bank Holiday on Monday 30 May and Tuesday 31 May 2011.

Forthcoming meetings

Thursday 26 May: ‘New light on medieval English archdeacons’ seals’, by Brian Kemp, FSA

After bishops, archdeacons were the second most important figures in the hierarchy of the English Church in the Middle Ages. Despite this, relatively little work has been done on the seals by which they authenticated their written acts or confirmed those of others. After the pioneering paper read to the Society by W H St John Hope more than a hundred years ago, and subsequently published in the Society’s Proceedings, virtually nothing has appeared in print. Archdeacons’ seals do not survive in the same numbers as bishops’ seals of the period, but Professor Kemp’s work on archdeacons’ charters and acta has brought to light enough hitherto unknown or little-known seals to warrant a return to the subject. This lecture deals only with the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and focuses mainly on the iconography of archdeacons’ seals, including their personal seals (secreta) which they also employed as counterseals. It reveals a more varied picture than previously thought, and includes several illustrations of seals not previously published.

Thursday 2 June: ‘Palace House, Newmarket: the “Home of Horseracing” project’, by Chris Garibaldi, Director of the National Horseracing Museum

This paper will look at the project to redevelop the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket and its proposed move to a new site at Palace House, the last element of Charles II’s palace in the town. It will look at the history of Newmarket’s Stuart royal palaces and explore the challenges of finding a sustainable use for an important range of heritage buildings linked to the history of horseracing.

Thursday 9 June: ‘Romanticism and reconstruction: Alan Sorrell and his influence on archaeology’, by Matthew Johnson, FSA, and Sara Perry, University of Southampton

Alan Sorrell (1904—74) was an artist best known for his reconstruction drawings of historic sites and monuments and his tableaux of ancient life. His distinctive style — with contrasts of light and dark and threateningly stormy or unstable backdrops — was carefully researched for accuracy, and has proven inspirational to both archaeologists and the broader public. During the mid-twentieth century, Sorrell produced defining images of many of Britain’s most renowned archaeological sites and, in so doing, helped to transform the institutional and intellectual dimensions of British archaeology. With a neo-Romantic sensibility and a career that included employment by the former Ministry of Works, he stands at the junction of a series of potent conceptual concerns in the discipline-between art and archaeology, academic and broader public consumption, discipline and imagination, scholarship and governmental establishment.

The archive of Alan Sorrell is currently on loan from the Sorrell family to the Society of Antiquaries of London. Never before subject to systematic investigation, the archive is populated primarily by artwork produced for Sorrell’s books, alongside accompanying sketches, correspondence and working notes and drawings. This lecture will discuss Sorrell’s work, and will be illustrated by a fascinating range of unpublished material from the archive.

Thursday 16 June: Summer Soirée: papers to celebrate the launch of our serial publications (Archaeologia, the Antiquaries Journal and the Society’s Proceedings) online. Confirmed speakers are Fellows Christopher Catling, Eric Fernie and Clive Gamble. Admission to the reception that follows the meeting is by ticket only (to book, contact the Society’s Executive Assistant, Jola Zdunek.

Ballot results

At the ballot held on 19 May 2011, Charalambos Bouras, President of the Acropolis Restoration Service, responsible for the Athenian Acropolis restoration programme for the last thirty-five years, was elected as an Honorary Fellow of our Society. The following were also elected as Ordinary Fellows (short career summaries can be found on the Society’s website): William (Bill) Horner, Francis Harry Panton, Luke Schrager, Anthony Charles Musson, Luciana Gallo, Clive Edwin Alexander Cheesman, Victoria Anne Bryant and Robert Edward Waterhouse.

Government priorities for the heritage

A year almost to the day after his appointment as Minister of Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose addressed a gathering of heritage sector leaders earlier today (23 May 2011). Speaking in the Waterloo Gallery at Apsley House on the Government’s priorities for the heritage, he said they were ‘improving the designation system, developing better responses to heritage at risk and stimulating philanthropy’.

The first, he said, was a matter of making sure that the Heritage List for England was as up to date as it could be and is fit for purpose. The second was about developing new tools to ensure that ‘stubborn cases’ of buildings that have been on the Heritage at Risk register for many years are not allowed to continue to deteriorate. He referred to the current measures — urgent works notices and compulsory purchase — as the ‘nuclear option’, a button that nobody wanted to have to press; what was needed was a graduated series of measures, a combination of sticks and carrots, that could be used to encourage owners to undertake necessary repairs. On the third issue, he said that some heritage bodies, such as the National Trust, were world class in their ability to raise funds, but that in general there was a sense that the heritage sector lagged behind the rest of the arts sector in securing sponsorship and donations, and he urged those who were good at it to mentor those who needed help.

The Minster also stressed that it was not the Government’s intention to undermine and weaken existing measures for the protection of the historic environment through the Localism Bill, ‘and we have got the message that PPS5 is valued and felt to be successful, and must be protected as we begin to devolve power in planning to local communities’.

English Heritage Corporate Plan 2011—15

Today also saw the launch of the English Heritage Corporate Plan 2011—15. What is immediately noticeable in this is the difference in language and tone from similar documents published in the past. When he first took over as Chief Executive of English Heritage, our Fellow Simon Thurley used to refer to the organisation as a social security service for buildings and monuments that no other organisation was willing to take on. Perhaps that message was appropriate for the New Labour era, but today there is a different, and arguably more positive, message: English Heritage is now presented as the custodian of ‘the National Heritage Collection’, which the strategic plan sets out to define.

We learn that it consists of the 420 or so properties under the direct custodial care of English Heritage. It also embraces the surprisingly diverse contents of those properties — from Rembrandt’s best-known self-portrait and Darwin’s notebooks to the Duke of Wellington’s boots (as worn at the Battle of Waterloo). Added in to this mix is the English Heritage National Archive, better known for now as the National Monuments Record (NMR), but likely to be rebranded some time soon. Finally, it takes in ‘the wider national collection of designated sites’, consisting of some 400,000 listed buildings, monuments, shipwrecks, landscapes and so on.

What is English Heritage’s role in relation to this national collection? Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, puts it eloquently in her ‘Foreword’, saying that it combines the practical (extracting the tourism benefits and generating income) and the spiritual (English Heritage is the guardian of the memories and stories that embody the ‘world pictures’ that lie at the root of peoples’ passions, preoccupations and beliefs). She says that English Heritage is charged with ensuring that ‘the nation can enjoy to the full the emotional satisfaction that humans have always taken in the physical remains of the past’.

Inspiring as this is, the context for the corporate plan is the need to live within a much-reduced budget for the next four years, so there is much emphasis in the plan on driving up income and of the need to ‘explore innovative ways to make [the National Heritage Collection] increasingly self-sufficient’. Stonehenge, Kenwood House, Osborne House, Kenilworth Castle and Dover Castle and the Wartime Tunnels are all picked out as important historic attractions with the potential to generate additional commercial revenue through increased visitor numbers.

The cuts will also result in redundancies at all levels, as a result of a major restructuring of the organisation that has seen several departments merged, and the number of senior managers significantly reduced. Throughout, the aim has been to protect what English Heritage regards as the core functions that it alone can perform: support and advice for all those involved in the planning system, including those at community level who will play a more prominent role as a result of measures in the new Localism Bill; running the national designation system and finding ways to improve the way the system works; and custodial, conservation, educational and interpretation work based on the properties in the English Heritage portfolio.

The National Heritage Protection Plan

The work of the planning and designation section of English Heritage, headed up by our Fellow Edward Impey, published its own supplementary document today, in the form of the National Heritage Protection Plan. Launching the plan, Simon Thurley described it as ‘a list of the battles we intend to fight over the next four years — all the pressing threats to the heritage about which we feel we can do something substantial’.

The plan has emerged from an exercise to define the ‘nationally significant parts’ of England’s heritage, to itemise the many different threats that the heritage faces, including gaps in knowledge, and to create an objective scoring system that can be used to identify the areas of greatest priority and risk on which to focus the organisation’s limited resources, including its research and grant-giving programmes.

English Heritage proudly boasts that ‘no other European country has such a comprehensive plan as this’, and the extent to which it will permeate English Heritage language and thinking in the coming years is indicated by the fact that jobs at English Heritage are increasingly defined in terms of the plan’s priorities; for example, the advert in this issue of Salon for a Designation Director to succeed our Fellow Peter Beacham, who retires on 31 July this year, refers to ‘implementing Measure 5 (Protection Responses: Protection of Significance)’. The reference is to the three measures set out in the report for responding to threats to the heritage: Measure 5 is pre-emptive activity, such as designation; Measure 6 is management activity to minimise damage to the historic environment; Measure 7 is grant aid, targeted at urgent repairs and emergency recording of heritage assets facing imminent destruction.

Portico and the Heritage List for England

Last but not least in today’s list of new initiatives from English Heritage was the official launch of two major enhancements to the English Heritage website. The first is the National Heritage List for England, a searchable database of all nationally designated assets, along with guidance on applying to have a heritage asset designated, with the relevant forms.

The second is an area of the website branded ‘Portico’ to signal that it is the gateway to scholarly information on the properties curated by English Heritage. Hundreds of new pages have been added to the website, providing information on the history of a property or monument and its significance, along with a guide to past, present and future research themes and questions and a summary of the key primary, secondary, visual and artefactual sources for the further study of the property. There are also links to relevant catalogues, pictures and digitised documents held by English Heritage itself and by other archives.

Written by English Heritage staff and external specialists (many of them Fellows), there are twelve major entries on the site at present, and 200 shorter property summaries. The aim is to add new entries at the rate of one a fortnight until every EH property is covered, creating a sort of Wikipedia for EH properties. EH promises, somewhat ambitiously, to try to keep the information up to date and they hope that users will help with that task, providing feedback on specific content, but also on the overall approach (). Some of the contributors will also be talking about new research at English Heritage properties at a day school that will be held at the Society of Antiquaries on 15 October 2011 (see ‘Events’ below).

New MSt (Master of Studies) degree in Building History, University of Cambridge

Our Fellow, John Cattell, Chief Building Historian at English Heritage, reports that a new Master’s course in building history is to be offered by the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art, together with the Institute of Continuing Education at Cambridge, from this October. The course has been specifically developed by Cambridge in close association with English Heritage to provide graduates in art and architectural history, buildings archaeology and related disciplines with the knowledge and skills they will need to pursue a career in the heritage sector. This pioneering new course, to be offered on a part-time basis over two years, aims to redress a documented shortage of suitably qualified architectural historians and building archaeologists, and those from other disciplines involved in researching and analysing the historic built environment to inform its conservation.

English Heritage support for this important initiative involves the assignment of one of its Senior Architectural Investigators, our Fellow, Dr Adam Menuge, as Course Director; he will be working closely in the development of the degree course with Fellows Frank Salmon and James Campbell at the Cambridge faculty. The course will be taught by leading experts and practitioners and, in addition to the taught programme, will include a six-month placement in the sector and a dissertation. More information on the degree and enrolment procedures is available on the website of the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, or by contacting Adam Menuge.

Dating of Neanderthal fossil suggests they died out earlier than previously thought

Researchers have dated a Neanderthal fossil discovered in a significant cave site in Russia in the northern Caucasus, and found it to be 10,000 years older than previous research had suggested. The research centres on Mezmaiskaya Cave, a key site in the northern Caucasus within European Russia, where the team directly dated the fossil of a late Neanderthal infant from the Late Middle Palaeolithic layer, and a series of associated animal bones. They found that the fossil was 39,700 years old, which implies that Neanderthals did not survive at the cave site beyond this time.

The revised dating is being used to reopen the debate about the degree of interaction between Neanderthals and modern humans, even to suggest that Neanderthals had already become extinct in northern Europe before anatomically modern humans arrived on the scene and that climate change, dwindling resources or other scenarios should be sought for their demise, rather than genocide or competition with Homo sapiens.

Co-author of a paper published in PNAS, Dr Tom Higham, Deputy Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said that existing dates obtained from fossil bone have systematically provided younger dates because of contamination with more modern particles, but that ‘the latest dating techniques mean we can purify the collagen extracted from tiny fragments of fossil very effectively without contaminating it’. He and his fellow authors call for a systematic re-dating programme, so that ‘possible associations between Neanderthal extinctions, dispersals of early modern humans and climatic events can be properly assessed’.

Like winning the Lottery

Fellow Cliff Webb has sent Salon a couple of intriguing clippings from The Times of India, suggesting that great treasures await discovery in surprising places. In a tale reminiscent of something from the Arabian Nights, the newspaper reported on 26 March that Ata Khurshid, Head of the Manuscript Division at the Maulana Azad Library, Aligarh Muslim University, opened the doors of a cupboard that had not been opened for some fifty years, and a scabbard tumbled out with an old and worn casing. Inside was an obviously ancient and heavy metallic sword, engraved with a couplet in letters of gold.

Head Librarian Professor Shahabat Hussain was shown the find and recognised the name of the emperor Aurangzeb (1618—1707), who ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly half a century, and was the second longest reigning Mughal emperor after his predecessor, Akbar. Further study suggests that the sword was made for the emperor, and might have been given to the university, located in Aligarh, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, about 90 miles (140km) south east of New Delhi, by one of the sixteen royal families who have donated manuscripts and artefacts to the library in the past.

The second story concerns Pakistani archaeologist Ghulam Akbar Malik, who was working on an excavation in the ancient Salt Range mountains of Jhelum district, some 100km south east of Islamabad, when he was approached by an elderly man who showed him a manuscript that had been handed down by generations of members of his family. The remarkably well-preserved hand-written manuscript, weighing around 5kg and consisting of 1,200 pages, turned out to be a copy of the Quran written by Sirajuddin Abu Tahir Muhammad Bin Muhammad Bin Abdur Rasheed during the twelfth century.

This week’s topic for debate: House of Lords reform

The Society is well represented in the House of Lords by a number of distinguished peers who are also Fellows, but Fellow John Smith is convinced that there could be yet more if his idea for a ‘House of Talents’ were to emerge from the current debate on reforming the second chamber. John has taken time out from his Stukeley studies to contribute to that debate by means of an article published in the Church Times.

In this, he argues that the present House of Lords has ‘more expertise in more fields than any other legislature in the world’. John believes that direct election could easily threaten this state of affairs by replacing people of maturity and wisdom with power-seeking and ambitious individuals, overly concerned with career and salary, fodder for the party machine and whips, and always with one eye to the next election. Furthermore, the likelihood is that ‘electing both Lords and Commons at a single General Election would tend to produce Houses of a similar political complexion; while electing them at different times could fall prey to the nation’s habit of reacting against the party in power. The first scenario could undermine the Lords’ vital task of standing up to the Commons when necessary; whereas the second could produce direct conflict between two Houses of equal authority’.

The answer, John argues, is to set up a series of electoral colleges representing science, the arts, academia and education, industry, finance, law, medicine, culture, the media, trade unions and so on. It would then be up to each college to choose the most appropriate people to sit in the House of Lords drawing on the expertise of the members of the UK’s professional and learned bodies.

John’s article summarises how he thinks this could work; he originally presented his thoughts in greater detail to the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords (the Wakeham Commission) in 2000. ‘I am realistic about the chances of my proposals being taken up’, says John, ‘but one does what one can.’

More on the Royal Wedding

Warwick Rodwell writes to add to the tally of Fellows at the Royal Wedding: ‘I omitted to mention that James Wilkinson FSA was there; not as a guest, but on duty as one of the Honorary Stewards. This week Scala has published his latest book, The Royal Wedding: The Official Westminster Abbey Souvenir (£5). Quick work!’

Our Fellow The Reverend Canon Jeremy Haselock, Precentor and Vice-Dean of Norwich Cathedral, says that Fellow Mary Beard misquotes the 1928 Book of Common Prayer marriage service on her blog: ‘the question to which Mary takes exception is “Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?” A surprisingly high proportion of brides, in my experience as a parish priest and now in cathedral ministry, ask that this, now optional question, be left in. There is no reply to the question and the father of the bride or appointed stand-in simply takes the hand of the bride and places it in the hand of the priest who, in turn, places it in the hand of the groom. The rubric reads: “The Priest, receiving the woman at her father’s or friend’s hands, shall cause the man with his right hand to take the woman by her right hand”.’

Meanwhile, an advertisement for T-Mobile, in the form of a spoof royal wedding, in which a host of royal look-alikes dance down the aisle to the sounds of East 17’s ‘The House of Love’, has become a cult hit on YouTube. What makes the advert special is the skill with which the actors manage to convey something of the characters of each of the key participants: The Queen’s stately sway and rhythmic wave, the evangelical zeal of the Archbishop of Canterbury as he bounces up the nave to the altar.

Sadly, not everyone has seen the funny side: our Fellow, the Revd Dr Martin Dudley, has been forced to defend his decision to allow St Bartholomew the Great to be used as the location for the spoof wedding against the accusations of one fellow cleric who said that the advert was ‘embarrassing’. Dr Dudley said that the fee of £3,500 paid by the filming company would go towards the upkeep of the church, which costs £500,000 a year. Noting that the church has recently been added to the Heritage at Risk Register, he said, ‘you can’t say it’s not going to a good cause’.

The church has previously been used as a set for Four Weddings And A Funeral, The Apprentice and The League Of Gentlemen and will feature in a BBC adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard II later this year. ‘We would not allow the church to be used’, Dr Dudley said, ‘for anything that mocks the Christian faith or anything that is offensive, but you couldn’t say this was anything other than fun: this church has always had a bit of a tradition from its founder [Rahere, Henry I’s court jester] of using entertainment to appeal to a wider audience.’

Stolen bust recovered

The fine eighteenth-century marble bust of Elisabeth Borrett has been recovered by police and returned to the church of St Peter and St Paul, Shoreham, West Sussex, from where it was stolen on 28 January 2011. The bust is one of a pair carved by Sir Henry Cheere around 1740 for the Borrett memorial, the other depicting Elisabeth’s husband, John. Fellow Philippa Glanville, when informed of the theft, recommended that a picture be sent to the Antique Trades Gazette where it was spotted by a dealer who alerted the police, having bought it unaware of its origins before sending it to Sotheby’s for sale. For once, a case of heritage theft has had a happy outcome, but it once again highlights the vulnerability of art in churches and raises questions about how such thefts can be prevented in future.

Our pictures shows the bust of Elisabeth, still with Sotheby’s sale label attached, being returned to her rightful place.

Silversmithing talents on display

Almost by definition, Fellows of our Society tend to be multi-talented, and none more so than our Fellow Paul Hetherington, who is now well known as an art historian specialising in Byzantine studies (see, for example, Paul’s article in the March 2011 issue of Apollo magazine on a hitherto unknown Byzantine silver processional cross of the tenth or eleventh centuries, inscribed by its maker, Mark, a monk).

In earlier life, Paul studied silversmithing at the Brighton College of Art and he has just encountered a work from his past in the ‘Ecclesiastical Metalwork’ gallery (Room 83, Case 8B) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where, among several twentieth-century pieces, is a chalice and paten that he made fifty years ago. The V&A catalogue entry describes his work as ‘accomplished … both in its design and execution’. Paul modestly says ‘the iconography now seems to me to be somewhat unsubtle, and the carved ivory knop would be illegal today!’ An interesting comment in the V&A catalogue explains why Paul’s promising career as a silversmith came to an end: ‘the 1950s and early 1960s were a lean period for silversmiths. Not until purchase tax was finally repealed in 1963 did the craft begin to revive’.

Richard Morris appointed to the NHMF/HLF board

Our Fellow Richard Morris has been appointed one of two new trustees to the board of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund, along with social housing expert, Atul Patel.

Richard Morris took up the post of Professor of Conflict and Culture at the University of Huddersfield last year, having previously been Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds and, from 1991 to 1999, Director of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA). His many interests embrace musical composition, aviation history, church archaeology, landscape studies, historic buildings and industrial archaeology. He was awarded the Frend Medal by our Society for his seminal Churches in the Landscape (1989). He is Chairman of The Blackden Trust and Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Expert Panel, as well as being a former English Heritage commissioner and former Chairman of the Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee for England.

His forthcoming book, Voices from the Ground, examines interactions between archaeology and historical interpretation, and he is currently working on two books: a new study of the life and work of the engineer Barnes Wallis, and a social history of twentieth-century Britain seen through the aerial camera.


It is pleasing to report that Salon’s enthusiasm for cartwheeling vergers and for Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader is shared by many Fellows (including Rosemary Dunhill, who said that Bennett’s book was recommended to her by Fellow Robert Franklin, and ‘is the funniest book I have ever read! It reminds me of the review of The Once and Future King which read “A glorious tale of the Middle Ages as they never were but as they should have been”’).

Salon reader James Doeser also approves of Fellow Stephen Calloway: ‘urbane, witty and outstandingly well-dressed — I can only hope that the Cult of Beauty exhibition leads to few more silk cravats and velvet jackets being seen about Burlington House in future’. James also suggests that anyone interested in the subject of horse-racing history (apropos Chris Garibaldi’s paper to the Society to be given on 2 June) might like to watch Jonathan Meades’s ‘funny and provocative “Nag, Nag, Nag”, all about the architecture of horseracing, and especially that of Newmarket, which can be seen on YouTube.

On the ruins debate set in train by our Fellow Simon Jenkins, Fellow Norman Hammond reminds us that Rose Macaulay’s book, Pleasure of Ruins (1953), made the aesthetic case nearly sixty years ago, reinforced by her thrilled account of the Comnene palace ruins of Trebizond in The Towers of Trebizond (1956). He also asks whether Gardyloo is really Scots dialect: ‘my junior school history book in the 1950s said it was French, from “gardez l’eau”’; perhaps its inclusion by Boswell in his manuscript dictionary of Scots dialect reflects the influence on everyday speech of the Auld Alliance and the strength of the Franco-Scottish relationship until France and Scotland went their separate religious ways at the Reformation.

Fellow Patrick Greene, Chief Executive Officer, Museum Victoria, writes to say that ‘Fellows who find themselves in Melbourne, and whose interest in Tutankhamun’s trumpets has been stimulated by the discussion in Salon, will find that the silver and gold instrument is on display at Melbourne Museum in the Tutankhamun and Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition that will be open until November. We also have the painted wooden core that protected the trumpet, made from thinly beaten silver and gold, from damage. There is also a sistrum from the tomb. And no, there will be no attempt to get a note from the trumpet … though there is a full lecture programme to accompany the exhibition, organised in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, details of which can be found on our website‘.

Fellow David Bird has spotted another candidate for the roll call of renowned individuals who might have been Fellows under other circumstances. David has found the following references to a sustained interest in archaeology on the part of the poet Wilfred Owen in Dominic Hibberd’s Wilfred Owen: a new biography (2002). On page 56: visits to the museum at Reading with its collection of finds from the Roman site at Silchester; page 60: ‘One of Wilfred’s favourite recreations, digging at the enormous Roman site of Uriconium [Wroxeter] … patient searching in the fields was often rewarded with shards and bones’; page 108: [1912] ‘went digging at Uriconium again’; page 132: [1913] ‘He went to see some new excavations at Uriconium, meeting some of the archaeologists … of whom he was rather jealous; a note says that one of them was Mortimer Wheeler. Apparently he wrote a “not very good” poem about it that included a list of artefacts based on what was in the site museum’; page 395: visits Aldborough to see the Roman remains. David concludes: ‘these instances cover quite a long time period and the last was not long before he went back out to France (to die a week before the end of the war). He seems to have gone to quite a lot of trouble to visit these sites, so was clearly very interested.’

Fellow Nick Merriman picks up the debate on museum displays with a view that is different from those expressed by Fellows so far. He writes: ‘I find myself rolling my eyes when reading contributions to Salon that dismiss attempts to engage a wider public with museums as “dumbing down” or as betraying the needs of scholars. In the last decade or so, thanks to investment by HLF, by Renaissance in the Regions and others, and thanks to a whole generation of people trained in interpretation and museum studies, museums are currently in better shape than they have been, possibly ever, or at least since the Victorian period. Engagement by schools for educational purposes, and participation by a wide range of audiences, is at its greatest ever extent. Much of this success is predicated on serious research on how to communicate to a variety of audiences, using sophisticated theories of informal learning. Given the importance attached to scholarship and research by the Society of Antiquaries, it is regrettable that due accord is not given to the intellectual background underpinning museum interpretation.

‘It is all too easy to play the “dumbing down” card — what is more difficult is to engage a wide range of people successfully, many of whom have hitherto felt excluded from museums and are only just recently discovering what marvellous places they are. It is true that some museums are better than others, but the criticisms of too few objects and not enough information are themselves rather outdated. For a few years now there has been a welcome “return to the object” in museum display in general, which has been met with great approval by the public. Just visit the new displays at the Ashmolean to see evidence of this. At the Manchester Museum we are just about to redisplay our three galleries of archaeology and Egyptology and will be putting more objects on display than are currently there, but working closely with our designers to ensure that our interpretation makes links with the lives of people today. This will include making use of mobile digital media via smartphones and tablet computers.

‘I went into museums and archaeology because I wanted to engage as wide a range of people as possible with the excitement of the past, and I would hope that many Fellows would share this aim. The reasons that museums have been so successful over centuries is that they have changed with the times. I suggest that it is much more positive to embrace current changes, rather than rejecting them, particularly when they are introducing more people — and a wider range — to museums and the past.’

Lives Remembered

It is with sadness that Salon records the passing of Kathleen Maxwell-Hyslop, archaeologist and our longest serving Fellow, who was elected on 25 March 1943, and was therefore a Fellow for no less than sixty-eight years of her life. Born in 1914, Kathleen died on 9 May 2011, at the age of ninety-seven. An obituary is being prepared and will be published in Salon shortly.

The only other living Fellow to be elected during the Second World War is John Erik Scott (9 March 1944), who is now the Fellow with the longest record of Fellowship, followed by Charles Thurstan Shaw, who was elected on 9 January 1947 and Beatrice de Cardi (2 March 1950).

Fellow Heinrich Härke points out that there were a couple of errors in the obituary for Lewis Binford that was reproduced from The Times in the last issue of Salon: ‘If an amateur astronomer may be allowed to correct a very minor error, the august body which named an “asteroid” after Binford was NOT the “International Aeronautical Union”, but the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and the “asteroid” is what is now termed a minor planet (anyone really interested can see a complete list on the Minor Planet Centre’s website; Binford is number 213629.

Meanwhile, further obituaries for Lewis Binford continue to appear: the latest was written by our Fellow Clive Gamble and published in the Guardian.

Calls for papers

21 January 2012: ‘More new insights into sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British architecture’. Following the success of the first conference on this theme held on 22 January 2011, Fellows Claire Gapper and Paula Henderson are organising a second one-day conference at the Society of Antiquaries on new insights into sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British architecture. Proposals in the form of short abstracts (up to 250 words) for papers of approximately 30 minutes in length should be submitted by mid-August. The final programme will be announced in mid-September.

6 to 11 September 2012: XXII International Limes (Roman Frontiers) Congress, to be held in Ruse, Bulgaria. Sessions are envisaged on: Fortifications, Units and Arms; Civil Settlements, Roads and Trade; Burial Rites and Religion; Barbarians; Interdisciplinary Research in Presenting the Roman Frontiers; Varia. Those wishing to participate as speakers are asked to submit a summary of no more 250 words in English, German or French, by 28 February 2012, indicating for which session it is intended. Papers should be of 15 minutes duration, followed by 5 minutes for questions.


25 May to 29 July 2011: ‘“Out of the Original Sacred Tongues”: The Bible and Translation’, an exhibition in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. This exhibition explores the tools and traditions of biblical translation, from Wyclif to the New English Bible. On display will be a wide range of manuscripts and books from the collections of Lambeth Palace Library, offering a glimpse into the practical processes involved, as well as the motives behind these initiatives. At the centre of the exhibition is the 1611 edition of the King James Version, set in the historical context of the scholarship that created it. Admission is by pre-booked (timed entry) ticket only, which can be booked online (£6 adults; children under 17 free) or by calling the booking line: 0871 230 1107.

28 May 2011: ‘Re-excavating Kenyon’s Jerusalem; a review fifty years on’, 2.30pm at Wolkson College, Oxford; to reserve seats contact the Ashmolean Museum. Fellow Kay Prag marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the large-scale excavations undertaken by Dame Kathleen Kenyon in Jerusalem by asking whether Kathleen Kenyon achieved her aim of putting the archaeology of Jerusalem on a sound scientific footing for the first time.

4 June 2011: Who were the ancient Britons? New research in genetics, archaeology and linguistics, a one-day conference at the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre, National Museum Wales, Cardiff, sponsored by the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and the Learned Society of Wales in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales. Among those debating the issues and presenting new research will be our Fellows Stuart Needham, on ‘Cultural connections in the maritime world of the Bronze Age’, Barry Cunliffe, on ‘The Celts: our changing vision’, and Mark Jobling on ‘The power and limitations of genetics in studying (pre)history’. Further information on the National Museum Wales website.

11 June 2011: The Summer Symposium of ASPRoM (Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics) will be held at the Verulamium Museum, St Albans, from 2pm to 5.30pm. Speakers are: Simon West on ‘Verulamium: an historical overview and review of recent work’, Claire Thornton on ‘The collections in the Verulamium Museum, St Albans’, our Fellow David Neal on ‘The Verulamium mosaics: problems of dating’, and our Fellow Roger Ling on ‘Mosaics in Roman Britain; the corpus and life after it’. Further details are available on the Association’s website, and anyone wishing to attend should contact Dr Will Wootton at King’s College London .

22 June 2011: Remaking architecture for genteel tourists: country-house guidebooks in the late eighteenth century, by Jocelyn Anderson, 6pm for 6.30pm, in the Seminar Room of Sir John Soane’s Museum, at Number 14, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP. Places must be booked in advance by contacting Beth Walker.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, country-house tourism became increasingly popular in England; by 1770, hundreds of tourists were visiting the country’s greatest estates every summer. In an effort to cope with the influx of visitors, country-house owners began to formalise the terms under which their estates were open to the public and, as certain houses became exceptionally popular, a new practice developed: that of publishing guidebooks. This talk will explore the different methodologies of viewing the building fabric of a country house and analysing its architecture through an examination of the guidebooks to several popular country houses, including Blenheim Palace, Kedleston Hall and Stowe.

22 to 25 June 2011: New Light on Vernacular Architecture: studies in Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man, to be held at the University of Liverpool Centre for Manx Studies in Douglas, Isle of Man. See the conference website for the draft programme and registration form. Keynote addresses will be given by our Fellow Dr Eurwyn Wiliam, on ‘Understanding and protecting the traditional buildings of Wales’, by Fellow Ron Brunskill, on a topic yet to be confirmed, by Marcel Vellinga, on ‘Vernacular architecture: where next?’, and by Henry Glassie, on ‘Learning from the vernacular: history in the domestic environment’, in between a programme packed with papers, field tours and social events.

1 July 2011: ‘Trouble in store: facing up to the archaeological archives crisis’, to be held at the Merchant Taylors Hall, York. The annual meeting of FAME (the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers) this year will be held in association with the Society of Museum Archaeologists (SMA) and will consider the growing crisis facing archaeologists as museums refuse to accept any more archaeological archives. The FAME Forum will bring together speakers from both organisations to discuss whose responsibility it is to ensure that archives are properly stored and cared for, the extent of the problem, the hidden costs to FAME members, the research value and usage of archaeological archives, the public benefits, and how can they be increased, the greater use of digital technology, and the difficult questions of retention policies and being more selective in what we retain from excavations?

Admission is free to FAME and SMA members, and £50 to non-members, including lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea. Advance booking is essential: for a booking form contact Hilda Young.

7 to 9 July 2011: ‘Documenting the Early Modern Book World: Inventories and Catalogues in Manuscript and Print’, the Third Book History Conference, University of St Andrews. The conference will discuss book inventories and catalogues in manuscript and print, between the fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries, with confirmed papers on printers’ and booksellers’ lists, private collectors, discussions of the fate of specific items, and the collections of religious institutions. It will cover themes from the Baltic, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Spain, France, Germany and the British Isles. For a draft programme, see the conference website.

22 to 24 July 2011: Chinese embroidery workshop, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Our Fellow Lynn Hulse joins forces with tutor Nicola Jarvis in one of a series of courses designed to introduce participants to embroidery history and techniques, combining a scholarly introduction to the subject with practical training. This three-day course will look at designs from Qing-dynasty China (1644—1911), inspired by objects from the Ashmolean’s oriental collection, and it includes an introductory lecture on Chinese textiles and design by Gary Dickinson, co-author of Imperial Wardrobe.

Courses later in the year include crewel embroidery in the Jacobean style, inspired by the panels worked by Lady Carew for Castle Boro early in the twentieth century, at Girton College, Cambridge; blackwork in the Tudor style with particular reference to the portrait of Elizabeth I at Jesus College, Oxford; raised, or stump, work based on objects from the Ashmolean collections, at the Ashmolean Musuem; and crewel embroidery at the Winterthur Museum and Gardens, Wilmington, Delaware, USA. For further information, please contact Lynn by email, or telephone 020 7431 9059.

15 October 2011: Day school: New research on English Heritage properties, 10am to 5pm, at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London W1J 0BE.

In the exercise of their curatorial responsibilities, English Heritage staff are continually carrying out new fieldwork and archival research. The results are used to inform conservation work, educational programmes and the presentation of properties to visitors. New findings are published in the English Heritage Historical Review and via the new Portico pages of the English Heritage website, where an increasing volume of information on the history and significance of English Heritage properties is being made available, along with guidance on research themes and on primary sources in the English Heritage National Archives and elsewhere.

This day school will introduce Portico and feature current research on a wide range of themes, from the chronology of Stonehenge and the results of recent archaeological investigations at Byland Abbey, Hailes Abbey and Audley End to reconstructing the interiors at Dover Castle, the gardens at Kenilworth Castle and the lost landscapes of Witley Court. Further details will be published shortly, but you can book a place now by sending an email (there will be a £10 charge to cover the cost of refreshments).

Books by Fellows: Digging up a Past

Fellow John Mulvaney must surely have kept a diary from a relatively young age, or else he is blessed with an astonishingly retentive memory, for his autobiography, Digging up a Past (University of New South Wales Press; ISBN: 9781742232195), details with remarkable precision the key events of a packed life of eighty-five years (and still going strong). Many Fellows feature in John’s biography, and many more will enjoy the portraits that John paints of such Titans as Charles McBurney, who features largely in the story, Grahame Clark, Glyn Daniel, Mortimer Wheeler and Peter Ucko.

They form a group of people who were influential on Mulvaney’s choice of a career in archaeology, rather than as a historian of the British Labour Party, which is what he had intended in the late 1940s, inspired by the rise of the Australian Labor Party. His scholarship was combined with political activism, and what builds up through the book is John Mulvaney’s growing sense of frustration at the attitude of colleagues towards the archaeology of Australia during the 1950s, born of prejudice against the indigenous population and a belief that they lacked the sophistication to have created anything but the most primitive and superficial of cultures; and then, from the late 1960s, when it became fashionable to undertake fieldwork in Australia, partly because of John’s own pioneering work in demonstrating the sheer antiquity of Aboriginal culture, the failure of archaeologists to engage at all with indigenous communities whose living culture they were trampling all over. John is very modest about his own achievements, and often questions how successful he was in bridging the gulf between archaeologists and prominent Aboriginal people who regarded archaeologists with deep suspicion, but if there is now something of a rapport, it is surely down to his early efforts.

Equally John is to be found as a strong influence in many other key policy issues and initiatives: the creation of a national museum, not considered a priority at a time when other national institutions were being created during the 1960s in Canberra, hence only opening its doors as recently as 2001; fighting the notion that heritage only consists of the homes of the great and arguing for industrial heritage, vernacular architecture, buried archaeology and cultural landscapes; arguing, too, against the conservation philosophy of the day that wanted to ‘restore’ historic homes by demolishing parts added in later periods to get back to an idealisation of a particular period; helping to articulate heritage principles that have now put Australia in the forefront of heritage thinking — at least among those who care about heritage, for John details some of the ongoing battles that have yet to be won, not least the battles to protect the rock art of the Burrup Peninsula from the effects of mining development and oil and gas exploitation.

In order to further the causes that he held dear, John Mulvaney did a huge amount of travelling: reading his book, one almost feels that London and Cambridge are next door to Canberra or Sydney, so frequently does he hop from one to the other; the friendships made and the relationships forged explain why, to this day, there is such a strong bond between archaeologists working in Australia and the UK and why we have such a strong Fellowship in that island continent.

Books by Fellows: Inventing Africa

It was another member of the Australian Fellowship, Robin Derricourt, then Managing Director of the University of New South Wales Press, who encouraged John Mulvaney to turn what had been written as a family memoir into a full-scale biography. Having now moved on from the UNSW Press to become Associate Professor in History at the University of New South Wales, Robin has turned from publisher into author with a short but packed and challenging book, Inventing Africa: history, archaeology and ideas (ISBN: 9780745331058; Pluto Press).

Engagingly written, as one would expect from an author whose earlier works include guides to effective writing (Ideas into Books and An Author’s Guide to Scholarly Publishing), Robin interweaves a huge amount of information about what we know about Africa’s past with a critical analysis of the ways that Africa’s history has been narrated in the past. In many ways this mirrors the theme of John Mulvaney’s book: European contempt for ‘primitive’ Africa giving way to the slow realisation that we are all African and that there is almost nothing that defines humanity that does not have its origins in the continent.

But lest we be complacent about our own scholarly humanism, there is a third strand to the book, in which Robin makes it clear that we continue to over-simplify and over-romanticise Africa, and to impose grand narratives on a continent in ways that fail to do justice to one of its defining characteristics: its sheer diversity. Indeed, having read Robin’s book, one feels cautious at using the word ‘Africa’ at all, except in a strict geographical sense, for this is a continent of so many pasts and so many diverse peoples that any generalisation is bound to be untrue.

Books by Fellows: Origins of Agriculture in Western Central Asia

In saying that ‘there is almost nothing that defines humanity that does not have its origins in Africa’, Salon’s editor is, of course, aware that agriculture might be considered an exception: he is equally aware that the verdict is still out on whether agriculture is a ‘good thing’, but, as the majority of the world’s population of six billion people is now wholly dependent on agriculture for survival, the farmers would appear to have won the argument, even if, as survey after survey shows, many people have only a vague idea of where our food comes from and how it is produced.

Still fewer of us have any sense of where, when, why and how agriculture originated, questions that our Fellow David Harris, former Director of the London Institute of Archaeology and now Emeritus Professor of Human Environment at the same Institute, has devoted his career. David’s latest book, Origins of Agriculture in Western Central Asia (ISBN: 9781934536162; University of Pennsylvania Press), tackles these questions through a detailed study of Jeitun (Djeitun), an early Neolithic site on the southern edge of the Karakum desert.

With farming already established in south-west Asia, David and his colleagues are interested in teasing out the story of the adoption of domesticated crops and animals in the vast ‘dry heart’ of western central Asia. In such a harsh and unstable environment, it is perhaps not surprising that any strategy that adds to the chances of staying alive, fit and healthy is likely to be adopted rapidly; at Jeitun, herding and cereal cultivation are two modes of food procurement that sit alongside hunting and wild-plant gathering, extending rather than replacing hunting and gathering.

It seems unlikely that the barley and einkorn and glume wheat seeds found at Jeitun were domesticated locally, because their wild-seed progenitors do not occur in the region. The wild goat progenitors do occur locally, but not the sheep. Genetic studies point to an origin in the eastern parts of south-west Asia for at least three of the four ‘founder domesticates’, underpinning the agro-pastoral economy at early Neolithic Jeitun.

The final chapter of the book tackles the difficult question of how they got to Jeitun at around 6100 BC, and a range of possibilities is discussed, none of which can be said to be definitive because there is too little securely dated evidence to chart the spread of plant and animal remains. On balance, David believes that the uniformity of the material culture (mudbrick architecture and chaff-tempered pottery) at Jeitun and similar sites suggests that they were established by migrants seeking new land suitable for arable cultivation and livestock rearing, and that the cluster of Jeitun Culture sites represents the easternmost spread of that migration.

Setting Jeitun in a wider context still, David suggests that the cereal cultivation and caprine herding that was being practised prior to 7000 BC at sites such as Ganj Dareh, Ali Kosh and Jarmo, led to slow population growth over at least a millennium and that this, coupled with changing concepts of land ownership, provided the stimulus for migrants to go prospecting for new land and creating new settlements in an arc that fans out from the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent, though this does not rule out the possibility that some hunter-gatherer communities adopted farming practices along the way, or that the two communities did not ultimately merge.


English Heritage: Designation Director
Salary c £80k, closing date 31 May 2011

Central to the mission of English Heritage is our ability to protect England’s rich heritage through the listing system. A substantial part of our resources are devoted to identifying places worthy of protection and getting them added to the statutory list. We are looking for someone with impeccable heritage credentials to lead a team of around one hundred designation staff and to help shape a vision for the protection of England’s historic environment in the twenty-first century.

As Designation Director you will play a leading part in the development and implementation of the National Heritage Protection Plan, with particular responsibility for implementing Measure 5 (Protection Responses: Protection of Significance). Aligned with this you will need to ensure that our statutory role is fulfilled in the most efficient and effective way and our advice to Government is of the highest standard. To be successful in this role you will need a profound knowledge of archaeology and/or architectural history in England, the capacity to make and criticise finely tuned assessments of ‘significance’ and ‘special interest’ and substantial experience of managing multidisciplinary expert teams. An understanding of the planning system and conservation in a local government context and excellent influencing and negotiating skills are also essential.

To discover more and to apply, please visit the English Heritage website.

University of Cambridge, Lectureship in European Art, c 1400—1700
Salary £36,862—£46,696 per annum; closing date 3 June 2011

The Department of History of Art at Cambridge is seeking to appoint a full-time University Lecturer from 1 October 2011. This Lectureship is a permanent, established post, which is generously funded for the first five years by the Isaac Newton Trust. The post-holder will be expected to contribute towards the teaching of the undergraduate Tripos in the History of Art, including providing a Special Subject Paper on any aspect of European art in the period 1400—1700, and towards the MPhil in the History of Art and Architecture. It is expected that the Lecturer’s teaching and/or research interests will relate to the strengths of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collections. The post-holder will also be asked to undertake supervision of Tripos students by some colleges, for which additional remuneration would be made by the colleges. For further details, please visit the Cambridge University website.

Editor for VCH Gloucestershire; applications by 3 June 2011
The first task is to research and write the five remaining parish histories planned for Volume XIII, viz Ashleworth, Hartpury, Maisemore, Norton and Twyning. This task is estimated to take 300 days over a two-year period, and a contract of £40,000 is available for this work. Satisfactory completion of this stage of work could lead to a contract for the editorial work required to bring Volume XIII to publication. See the VCH website for further details.

DCMS: English Heritage Commissioners (six posts); applications by 6 June 2011
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is seeking to appoint individuals with expertise in architectural history and architecture to the governing body of English Heritage. Four further commissioner posts will be filled by people with property development and estate management skills, and by two ‘public interest’ representatives.

For further information and application forms, see the DCMS website.

University of Birmingham: Chair of Heritage and Director of the Ironbridge Institute
Competitive package; closing date: 14 June 2011

Applications are invited from specialists in heritage, its exploitation and its dissemination through both postgraduate and professional programmes and research. For further details and to apply online, see the Birmingham University website and search for Director Ironbridge Institute Ref 44487.