The Society of Antiquaries of Londons Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector that focuses on the activities of the Society and its Fellows and the contribution that they make to public life. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it aims to stimulate debate and to amuse as well as to inform. A copy of Salons editorial policy can be found on the Societys website. News and feedback for publication in Salon should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling).
The MassMailer distribution system that has been used to send out Salon for the last eleven years is now deemed to be ancient technology and is about to be switched off, so Salon will be sent out on 18 February 2013 in a new and different format one that we hope you will find better designed and easier to read. We hope that the changeover will be painless and problem-free, but if your copy of Salon does not turn up as usual in a fortnights time and it may be worth checking your spam folder first then please do let the editor know.
Thanks to the Societys Communications Officer, Renée LaDue, the Society is embracing another form of social media we now have a Twitter account. For news and event updates in real time, follow @SocAntiquaries.
Tea is served from 4.15pm, and meetings start at 5pm
7 February 2013: Must Farm: Bronze Age boats and metalwork, by David Gibson
The Cambridge Archaeological Unit excavations at Must Farm, near Whittlesey and Peterborough, have revealed an astonishing series of submerged prehistoric landscapes, showing how humans have used this area of rivers and floodplains from the Holocene era (10,000 BC) to the present day. Much attention has been paid to the discovery of six Bronze Age log boats, spanning the period from the middle of the second millennium BC to the early first, but these represent only a fraction of the riches of the site.
This paper will put the log boats in context, showing how the 150-metre stretch of prehistoric river bank and channel in which they were found has also yielded dwellings and hearths, watering holes and animal footprints, burnt mounds, fence lines, cremations and barrows, fish weirs and eel traps, woven wool and bark-fibre garments, wicker baskets, a wooden bowl containing the remains of nettle stew and swords and spears of bronze with intact wooden handles and scabbards.
14 February 2013: The Country House Library, by Mark Purcell, FSA
Mark Purcell is the National Trusts Libraries Curator, responsible for more than 150 historic libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (around 230,000 books in 400,000 volumes). This paper will look at the histories of some of the Trusts most important collections. Some are country house libraries collected by wealthy bibliophiles; others reflect the interests of middle-class readers, while some were assembled by literary figures, such as Kipling and Shaw. Together these libraries provide an unparalleled resource for the study of the history of private book ownership in Britain and Ireland.
21 February 2013: Without Whom
200 years of northern antiquarian endeavour, by Lindsay Allason-Jones, FSA
The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle was founded in 1813 with the aim of promoting enquiry into antiquities in general but more especially those of the North of England and of the Counties of Northumberland, Cumberland and Durham in particular. Our Fellow Lindsay Allason-Jones, President of the Newcastle Society, will tell us how those objectives have been met over the last 200 years, and will cover such notable achievements as saving the Castle Keep and Black Gate in Newcastle from demolition (both are currently being transformed under the Heritage Lottery-funded Old Newcastle Project), preserving Tynemouth Castle and Priory, collecting and publishing the regions folk songs and music in the form of the Northumbrian Minstrelsy, the Societys involvement in the Hadrians Wall Pilgrimage, which takes place every ten years, its publication of Archaeologia Aeliana and the acquisition of major collections of books and archaeological artefacts (the latter now transferred to the Great North Museum).
For more on this, see The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne celebrates its bicentenary below.
As a result of the ballot held on 31 January 2013, we welcome the following newly elected Fellows of our Society:
Janet Alexandra Graffius, Curator of Collections, Stonyhurst College; Sandra Melanie Smith, Head of Conservation, Victoria and Albert Museum; George Andrew Demidowicz, consultant in historic buildings, landscape and industrial archaeology; Adam John Thompson, Archaeologist, Centre for Applied Archaeology, University of Salford; The Hon James Stourton, Chairman, Sothebys UK; Catherine Hardman, Deputy Director (Collections), Archaeology Data Service; Sir Arnold Whittaker Wolfendale, FRS, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Durham and Astronomer Royal 19915; Roger Rosewell, independent scholar; Nicole Boivin, Senior Research Fellow, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford.
The spring meeting of the York Antiquaries will take place on 12 March 2013, in Room SK/223, The Skell Building, St John University, York, starting at 6pm. Seven Fellows (listed below) will give short presentations on their current work, and there will be refreshments (wine and soft drinks) and dinner to follow in a local restaurant. Fellows are welcome to bring a guest: further details from the Hon Secretary, our Fellow Stephen Greep.
Melanie Hall: Towards World Heritage: the international origins of the preservation movement 1870 to 1930 and what do we mean by world heritage?; Rod Mackey: Plough damage are we too late? Evidence from a recent ERAS survey on the Wolds; Mike McCarthy: The Romano-British peasant; Marcus Jecock: The precinct and water supply system to Byland Abbey; Andrew Jones: The Roman villa site at Blansby Park, near Pickering; Philip Lankester: A Birmingham sword makers pattern book: new light on the manufacture of sword scabbards in the early nineteenth century; John Warren: A combined crownpost and principal rafter roof at Nappa Hall, Wensleydale.
The Society is sponsoring a one-day seminar at Burlington House in April that will focus on the conservation of medieval parish churches, with speakers from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the Church Buildings Council, the National Churches Trust, the Churches Conservation Trust, the Church Monuments Society and the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust. Registration costs £20 per person and includes lunch and refreshments. See the Societys website for booking information and a list of speakers.
The Societys Director, John Creighton, and former Vice-President, Clive Gamble, will host a meeting at Burlington House to discuss Open Access and the implications it will have for peer-reviewed journals in the immediate future but on all forms of publishing by publicly funded bodies and charities in the longer term. The meeting will take place between 1.30pm and 4.30pm on 15 February 2013 and all are welcome to attend; please inform the Societys Executive Assistant, Jola Zdunek, if you wish to do so. Our Director, John Creighton, has drawn up a briefing paper, which can also be obtained from Jola, setting out the background to Open Access and the issues that arise for the humanities and social sciences sector (HSS).
Representatives from three leading publishers of archaeological and HSS journals will take part in the seminar, as will representatives of the local and national societies that publish them. The aims of the seminar are to review the steps being taken already to comply with Open Access, to discuss the challenges to the financial sustainability of journals moving to Open Access and to agree a common lobbying position in the event that the seminar identifies aspects of Open Access that we would like to see changed.
The meeting will open with a presentation introducing the key issues, but otherwise it is intended to be a chaired discussion to help everyone understand what is involved, remove a few common misunderstandings, air concerns and consider the challenges ahead.
The idea of Open Access can be traced to medical research and the Wellcome Trust, which, for the last decade, has taken the view that the fruits of research they pay for should be openly accessible to the public and not hidden away behind the pay-walls of journals. This wind of change is now sweeping across the publishing industry as a whole, as governments around the world sign up to the principle that taxpayer-funded research should be publicly accessible.
In the case of the UK, the Open Access proposals that will be discussed at the Societys seminar on 15 February 2013 arise specifically from the recommendations of the Finch Report of June 2012, an independent study commissioned by the Government and chaired by Dame Janet Finch. This recommended two levels of Open Access. Under Green Open Access, the author(s) of a paper are entitled to republish it, after a short embargo period of say six or twelve months, on their own institutional website, where anyone can access the paper without payment, and can cite it and reuse it in their own work without payment, so long as they make acknowledgement of the source. Under Gold Open Access, research papers are accessible to all from the moment of publication, and the users are entitled to use them in any way they wish, including commercial use.
These proposals have been adopted by the UK Government and the seven research councils that make up UKRC, and are similar to measures being adopted by Governments across the European Union, in the US and Australia and in all the G20 and OECD nations. Though devised with technical and scientific publishing in mind, they apply equally to humanities and social science journal publishing. In the longer term it is very likely that the same rules will be applied not just to university research and journal publishing, but to all the publishing activities of publicly funded bodies, charities and research institutions.
The first and most obvious implication is that journal publishers will have to devise new funding models. Currently the subscriber pays for the journal, but they will not be motivated to do so if they can access the papers for free simply by waiting for a few months. To compensate for the loss of income, publishers are therefore asking authors to pay what is variously known as an Author Payment Charge, Article Processing Charge or Article Publishing Charge commonly referred to as an APC. The Government believes that paying this charge will have a neutral effect on universities: if journals are free, the money that libraries save on journal subscriptions can be used to pay the APCs levied on their research staff; but as it will take time for this balance to be achieved, the UK research councils have made a sum of money available to universities to fund APCs for a short transition period.
Many journal publishers have responded positively to Open Access, and have launched new journals that are funded entirely from APCs. Others already conform to Green Open Access (our own Antiquaries Journal has done so ever since we formed a publishing partnership with Cambridge University Press four years ago). Existing journals like our own could well offer Gold Open Access as an option in the future, in which case we would become what is known as a hybrid journal, with a mix of papers published under different levels of Open Access, with charges being levied on those authors who choose the Gold option (peer reviewing would be done blind of the ability to pay; only once a paper has been accepted for publication would the question of paying an APC become apparent).
These are the kinds of issues that all societies engaged in publishing peer-reviewed research-based journals will have to think about over the coming months and to discuss with their publishing partners. There are no straightforward answers: those tempted to adopt the hybrid journal model will, for example, find it far from easy to set an appropriate annual subscription level if the ratio of Gold to Green papers is different every year, and the income from APCs cannot be predicted.
Indeed, the very viability of many journals is challenged by the combination of online publishing and open access. Publishers could simply by-pass the societies who have been the traditional publishers of national, local and period journals and deal directly with authors, competing with each other for papers, offering discounts and incentives in the form of lower APCs, and breaking free of the journal model to create something more like the Archaeology Data Service, a huge pot of archaeology papers of all periods and types to which the publisher provides the portal. This would clearly have ramifications for the many independent scholars whose work is published in the existing journals, and who do not have access to institutional funding for APCs. There is very real and widespread concern about the copyright licence attached to Gold Open Access: many scholars are in favour of open access but draw the line at allowing other users to exploit that material for commercial gain.
The meeting on 15 February 2013 could thus be very lively, and it is hoped that it will mark the beginning of a concerted effort on the part of our sector to lobby the Government and UKRC for the fairest possible balance between the good that will come from open access and the need not to threaten the research freedoms that we currently enjoy, including a thriving independent research sector supported by societies like our own.
It may seem paradoxical to welcome the closure of a website as a victory for free speech, but in this case, the website had been the medium through which so-called internet trolls had been pouring abuse on the head of our Fellow Mary Beard, as was widely reported in the newspapers a fortnight ago. Since, as Mary said in the interviews she gave on the subject, many women, finding themselves the victim of such abuse, would have felt intimidated and perhaps withdrawn from public life, that website can only be seen as an impediment to freedom of speech, and the voluntary closure of the website by its founder can only be welcomed.
Mary herself has shown a great deal of doughty courage and we are very proud to have her as a Fellow. She is a reminder in a world that seems to need such reminders more and more of the value of scholarship pursued for its own sake and of how one persons scholarship can make life more interesting for millions of people through the books, blog and articles she writes and her TV documentaries.
Just as importantly, she reminds us that argument is at the root of the intellectual life: our best universities stay at the top of the world league by teaching students to think and to question received ideas, which perhaps comes as quite a shock (one hopes a pleasant one) to students who arrive fresh from schools where they have been led to believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion and that every opinion is of equal validity. That kind of thinking leads directly to the trolls who believe they have the right to say what they like in their hate mail. We should instead be teaching students to gather and analyse evidence and draw conclusions, and be prepared to discuss them with others and shift in the face of better arguments. Since politicians rarely do this when they appear on Question Time, but instead just shout slogans at each other, we need thinkers like Mary on this show being her lively, questioning, argumentative, irreverent self, without the fear of being abused.
Left: Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi, Panorama from the top of the Mousaion Hill, Athens (1805)
All last week on Radio 3, The Essay has been continuing its series of thirty portraits of key individuals from the Anglo-Saxon period. This week, Fellow Michael Wood discussed the legacy of Alfred the Great and Fellow Martin Carver told us why he is an admirer of Aethelflaed, Alfreds daughter, a brilliant tactician and leader, afraid of nothing and nobody. All the episodes from the series are available on iPlayer.
You can also listen on iPlayer to our Fellow Ian Jenkins being interviewed by Tom Holland on Making History on Radio 4 on 29 January about a new exhibition of early nineteenth-century drawings that has just opened at the British Museum and reveals new insights into pre-independence Greece. The exhibition has been mounted by Ian and our Fellow Kim Sloan as in-house curators and the distinguished American archaeologist John Camp, Director of the Agora excavations in Athens since 1994, as guest curator.
In search of Classical Greece: the travel drawings of Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi 18056 is on at the BM until 28 April 2013. The drawings and watercolours made by the classical scholar Edward Dodwell (about 17771832) and his Italian artist friend Simone Pomardi (17571830) often feature the ruins of classical sites at a time when Greece was under Ottoman rule. Especially fascinating and impressive are five rare surviving panoramas, measuring up to four metres in length, providing 360-degree views of Corfu harbour, the Acropolis and Athens and its surrounding countryside.
The exhibition sets Dodwell and Pomardi in the tradition of travel in Greece in the Age of Enlightenment, examining the motivation and circumstances of such travel as well as its cultural consequences. It is accompanied by a related display of drawings from the British Museums permanent collection including works by the antiquary C R Cockerell and British Museum architect Robert Smirke exploring the theme of travel in Greece in the Ottoman era and just after the War of Independence.
The publication that accompanies the exhibition (whose cover is shown below) was written by John Camp with contributions by Ian Jenkins and Kim Sloan, and by Fani-Maria Tsigakou, Curator of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Benaki Museum, Athens. It will be on sale via the BM bookshop from next week. Among the events planned to coincide with the exhibition, Kim Sloan will give a free gallery talk on 12 March at 1.15pm, as will Ian Jenkins on 16 April, while John Camp will give a lecture on 8 February and Ian Jenkins will chair a debate on the origins of modern Greek nationalism on 8 March, both starting at 6.30pm in the BP lecture theatre (booking essential).
Salons editor went to a most enjoyable showing at the British Film Institute recently of the only episodes from Animal Vegetable Mineral known to have survived. It was a reminder that both Glyn Daniel and Sir Mortimer Wheeler were once as prominent in the media as Mary Beard is now, recipients of TV Personality of the Year awards and subject not to abuse but to flattering caricature (we were shown an excerpt from a wickedly funny sketch in which Peter Ustinov did an impression of Mortimer Wheeler examining an object on AVM).
The BFI session was presented by Fellow Joe Flatman who made an appeal for information about other tapes of AVM that might exist in attics or sheds. What we were shown on this occasion was a 1954 episode from AVM, featuring objects from the Manchester Museum. For those who have never seen the show, Glyn Daniel presented a number of objects for the panel of experts to identify from the collections of the host museum. Glyn awarded up to three points per object if the team could identify and date the object and say where in the world it came from. If they managed to get 20 points, they were deemed to have won; if not, the museum was hailed as the winner.
The audience is told in advance what the object is, which you might think would spoil the fun of making your own guesses; in fact, much of the humour derives from watching the expert get it badly wrong, which you would not know was the case unless you had been placed in a superior position to them. Another source of humour for the twenty-first-century audience was the rudimentary nature of the set and props, and the struggles of the suave Glyn Daniel to make the primitive scoreboard work. There was not a white glove in sight, and the panel members manhandled all sorts of objects (such as a twelfth-century Peruvian doll) with a roughness and callousness (its a horrible thing; I would not like it in my bed, said one panel member) that would surprise and horrify conservation professionals today.
Cruder still were the props used by Glyn and Sir Mortimer in a programme that we were shown called Buried Treasure, an AVM spin-off, in which these two telegenic types discussed a recent archaeological find. On this occasion, they discussed the remarkable contents of the grave of the Lady of Vix sitting either side of a relief model of Europe showing rivers and mountains. Sir Mortimer placed tiny models of the Vix krater, gold torc, bronze fibulae, amber beads and Etruscan bronze wine jug on the parts of Europe and Asia from which they had come, and used a tube of coloured toothpaste to draw lines on the map to show the main trade routes converging on Vix from Italy, Greece, the Black Sea and the Baltic.
Despite the crude props the shows were enjoyable, not least because of Sir Mortimers fluency and charm (not to mention his Edwardian pronunciation: the letter a was invariably pronounced as an e, so that an axe became an ex, for example). It was therefore all the more surprising when Joe Flatman read a letter to us written by Sir Mortimer to a very young David Attenborough, the shows producer, after the recording of the pilot version of the programme. The gist of Sir Mortimers letter was that he had enjoyed himself greatly but did not really think he was cut out for this sort of thing, and had no ambition to become a TV star. The real purpose of the letter was revealed in the postscript, which said that if the BBC felt otherwise and wanted Sir Mortimer to appear on a regular basis he could hardly do so at a fee lower than the £25 guineas that he habitually charged when invited to give a lecture, and that the fee offered to him by the BBC (not quantified) was thus quite out of the question.
Finally we were shown the only surviving extract from a 1974 episode of the revived AVM, this time in glorious colour (but still no white gloves) and featuring younger versions of our Fellows Barry Cunliffe, Kate Pretty, Martin Biddle and Anna Ritchie, who correctly identified a Pictish slate fragment from Jarlshof, inscribed with drawings of seals, fish, birds and a human face. It was an all-too-short reminder of a programme that must have been watched by a high proportion of todays Fellows and that might well have inspired a number of them to pursue an interest in archaeology.
Fellow Martin Biddle was fêted again this week at a press conference called by English Heritage to announce plans for marking the 100th anniversary of the Ancient Monuments Act of 1913. Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, mentioned the appointment of General Pitt-Rivers in 1893 as the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments, noted that English Heritage still employed Inspectors 120 years later and paid tribute to Martin Biddle, who was present at the conference, appointed Inspector in 1961 and possibly the earliest to occupy the post who is still alive. Fellow Dai Morgan Evans, also present, doubted this and has suggested that Fellows Peter Curnow and Mike Thompson, both happily still with us, were both appointed earlier than Martin.
No doubt all three, and some of their successors (Dai himself and our Fellows Geoff Wainwright, Brian Davison and the Rev’d Geoff West, amongst others), will feature in the BBC Four TV series that will be broadcast in March 2013, the working title of which is Heritage: the battle for Britains past and that will tell the story of the heritage movement in Britain. The same theme will be the subject of a book Men from the Ministry: how Britain saved its heritage by Fellow Simon Thurley, English Heritage Chief Executive, due to be published by Yale in May 2013, and of a series of exhibitions at Wellington Arch, beginning on 6 February 2013 with the opening of The General, The Scientist and the Banker: the birth of archaeology and the battle for the past. There will be more on all of these in future issues of Salon.
A century before the 1913 Ancient Monuments Act, on 23 January 1813, seventeen men met in the Turks Head Inn in the Bigg Market of Newcastle at the invitation of John Bell, a local bookseller, in order to decide how best to study the regions many antiquities. They resolved to form a society to study and record antiquities generally but particularly those relating to the north east of England and to draw up rules and regulations to be presented at the first formal meeting on 6 February. Twenty-nine people were admitted as founder members on that day.
On 23 January this year that initial event was celebrated in the Old George Inn, which lies close to the site of the Turks Head (now, alas, demolished). On that occasion, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle launched a book to commemorate the anniversary and presented a commemorative plaque (see the photograph by Sarah Walter on the left) to our Fellow Lindsay Allason-Jones, President of the Society, which has since been placed on the building that now occupies the site of the Turks Head.
This is but the first event of many that the Newcastle Society plans for the bicentenary year. There will be an enhanced programme of lectures and of country walks (including a visit to Lindisfarne, hoping for better weather and fewer transport mishaps than was experienced by those who took part in the Societys visits to the Holy Island in the nineteenth century). The Societys contribution to the regions musical history will be marked by a concert of bagpipe music at Sage Gateshead on 23 June and in the Chantry Museum (which holds the Societys substantial collection of bagpipes and records of traditional music) on 16 October. The Great North Museum will host a commemorative exhibition Tales of Antiquarian Adventure between 16 February and 30 April 2013 and two further exhibitions of material drawn from the Societys collection of nineteenth-century photographs will follow. The years events will close with a celebratory dinner on 15 November.
The easiest way to participate in these activities is to join the Society now (see the Newcastle Societys website) for the bargain price of £33 a year / student rate £20 (with a reduction of £3 for those paying by direct debit). For that, you will get a free copy of the fully illustrated bicentenary book, Two Hundred Years: the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne 18132013, edited by our Fellow David Breeze (to be reviewed in the next issue of Salon), which normally sells for £10 including p&p (available from Ian McVicar, 1 Teviotdale Gardens, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7PU; cheques should be made payable to SANT).
Left: the Tower of London’s White Tower
Our Fellows Edward Impey and John Goodall have agreed to be the patrons of the Castle Studies Trust, a new UK-based charity founded in July 2012 with the aim of increasing knowledge of castles in the UK and abroad. One aim of the Trust is to offer grants to complement traditional funding sources and award grants (up to £5,000 initially) to support promising and relevant work on sites and projects not funded by the national heritage agencies, English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland. Applications will be assessed by a team of castle experts, including our Fellows Jeremy Ashbee, Stuart Prior and John Kenyon, and the initial focus will be geophysical and architectural surveys and projects that increase the public understanding of these sites.
The Castle Studies Group (a separate society founded in 1987) has donated £2,000 to the Trust, In addition, the trustees of the new Castle Studies Trust have pledged to match donations pound for pound up to the first £5,000, so that any donation received is effectively doubled in value. The trust is funded entirely by donations, which can be made by credit or debit card.
Further information about the Trust, including other ways to donate and the kind of projects likely to be supported, can be found on the Trusts website or by contacting Jeremy Cunnington, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Fellow Dr Peter Durrant, Berkshire County Archivist, has bid successfully for the last Reading Abbey manuscript to have survived in private hands. Peter reports that the manuscript is a formulary, a collection of model documents intended to serve as a guide to the style and content of legal documents that Abbey administrators would be expected to create in the course of managing its affairs. It is particularly interesting and important because most of the models seem to be drawn from genuine original texts, and many of these texts have not survived in their original form. It thus contains valuable new evidence for the history of the Abbey not available elsewhere. The original examples can be dated with reasonable certainty as having been created between 1227 and 1337, with the great preponderance drawn from the early fourteenth century, and the manuscript itself was most probably created between 1340 and 1350.
The manuscript was acquired for £36,000 with the help of our Fellow Robert Harding of Maggs Brothers Ltd, and was funded by generous grants from the Friends of the National Libraries and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, supplemented by a donation from the Friends of Reading Abbey and a contribution from the Berkshire Record Offices own Document Purchase Fund.
Several newspapers recently reported that the best hotel in the world for service, according to TripAdvisor users, was not the up-market Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, nor yet the Ritz or the George V, but a humble £35 a night hotel in north Wales. In a triumph for the humble British seaside hotel, the Lauriston Court Hotel in Llandudno topped the websites 2013 Travellers Choice Hotel Awards in the best service category.
Interestingly, the same organisations poll put Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire in second place in the world, and number one in the UK, as the World Heritage Site that travellers would recommend to their friends. And that was not a poll based on a couple of local industrial archaeology enthusiasts posting multiple votes: it was based on a survey of more than 1.1 million feedback forms collected from 962 World Heritage Sites around the world in partnership with UNESCO. The Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa, was voted top in the world, and the Palace and Park of Fontainebleau came third. After Ironbridge Gorge, the UKs Most Recommended Sites were the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, the Studley Royal Park, the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd, the City of Bath, Durham Castle and Cathedral, Edinburgh Old and New Towns, Canterbury Cathedral, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal in north-east Wales and Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and St Margarets Church.
Simon McCloy, Chief Executive at Shropshire Tourism, said: to be revealed as the most highly recommended UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK is a huge coup for Shropshire, but to be rated second in the world exceeds even our expectations. It is true testament to the hard work that everyone at The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust do to make Ironbridge such a first-rate visitor experience.
Perhaps not this year (because the Visitor Centre will not be open until towards the end of the season) but surely some time very soon it must be the turn of Stonehenge.
St Marys Priory, Abergavenny, has been awarded first prize in a new nationwide competition to find the church guide with the best coverage of its monuments. Our Fellow Sir Simon Jenkins chose the Abergavenny guidebook from a shortlist of six finalists. The prize was funded by a bequest from our late Fellow, Claude Blair, a former President of the Church Monuments Society (CMS) and a worldwide authority on armour and church monuments. It is fitting that Abergavenny should have won the prize as the CMS and Dr Blair were instrumental in promoting the case for their conservation, which required a major fund-raising campaign to raise some £250,000. The work started in 1995 and, after a thorough and sensitive restoration, the monuments can now be enjoyed in their full glory.
The £500 prize will be handed over at a special event at the church on 16 February 2013 by our Fellow Sally Badham, President of the CMS, who said: Were delighted with the response to our competition, which aims to raise the profile of monuments in churches and those who care for them. Abergavenny is a worthy winner. Its monuments are nationally important and their church guide really does them justice. The award ceremony at St Marys will be followed by two illustrated talks about the monuments and their conservation. Dr Rhianydd Biebrach (University of Newport), an expert on Welsh sculpture, will discuss the history of the monuments and Michael Eastham, a highly regarded and experienced conservator, will explain the work he carried out in the 1990s to stabilise the structure of the monuments and restore their appearance.
St Marys Priory is justly famous for its monuments, housing probably the finest and most varied collection of medieval funerary sculpture to be found in a Welsh parish church, as well as several notable post-medieval monuments and a unique medieval wooden Tree of Jesse. The church, a Benedictine priory until the Reformation, was the burial place of successive holders of the Marcher Lordship of Abergavenny in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and was taken over as the mausoleum of the powerful Herbert family of Raglan in the fifteenth and sixteenth.
There are eight major medieval monuments in all, reflecting as a group the development of monumental sculpture throughout the entire period. Each of them is a historical and artistic treasure in its own right, and some bear unusual features. That of Lady Eva de Braose, for example, features a large heraldic shield more normally associated with the monuments of knights, which virtually covers the effigys body. Dating from the middle of the thirteenth century, this monument is also among the earliest female effigies to be found in England and Wales. The monument of John, Lord Hastings, who died about 1325, is a rare surviving example of a wooden effigy, carved by craftsmen based at Westminster, from resilient Irish Bog Oak.
Another unusual example is the later fourteenth-century monument of an unknown lady which once had a carving of a small squirrel on the effigys chest, tethered by a chain emerging from the pocket. Tradition tells of how the squirrel was the young womans pet, and that she fell to her death as she played with it on the ramparts of the castle.
Perhaps the most imposing monuments are the large alabaster tombs commemorating three generations of the Herbert family, dating from the mid-fifteenth to the early sixteenth century. One of these commemorates Richard Herbert of Coldbrook, a brother of the earl of Pembroke, who was beheaded after the Battle of Banbury in 1469. When the monument of his nephew Richard Herbert of Ewyas, who died in 1510, was conserved in the 1990s, it was found to have a small carving of a sleeping bedesman (someone paid to say prayers for the dead person) concealed beneath the effigys foot.
Left: Mike Smith recording prehistoric stone arrangements in the central part of the Simpson Desert in 2006. Photograph: Stuart Grant
In the Australia Day Honours list (announced by the Governor-General on 26 January 2013) our Fellow Dr Mike Smith, Senior Research Fellow at the National Museum of Australia, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to archaeological scholarship, particularly of the Australian desert regions. Mike says that only a handful of archaeologists have previously been recognised with an Order of Australia and only five or so specifically for Australian prehistory (as opposed to classical, marine, historical or industrial archaeology): Fellow John Mulvaney, Isabel McBryde, Richard Wright, Jim Bowler and Rhys Jones. None, I think, has previously received an award expressly for desert research.
The award is nicely timed as the National Museum of Australia is hosting a free public symposium on 8 February 2013, celebrating Mikes thirty years of archaeological research in central Australia, showing that Aboriginal groups were already established in the heart of the desert 35,000 years ago, at a time when, half a world away, modern humans were just beginning to move into western Europe.
Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia, said that: the Museum has an ongoing program exploring the cultural history of Australias deserts. Mikes enthusiasm for this is reflected not just in his research but also in museum exhibitions and his role in convening a string of international conferences that have brought together desert researchers from South America, Southern Africa and Australia. This award nicely demonstrates the strength of the Museums scholarship.
On a related subject, Salon may have inadvertently contributed to some confusion about the new position that our Fellow Professor Peter Hiscock has just taken up at the University of Sydney, so here, to set the record straight, is Peters own account. I am now the Tom Austen Brown Professor of Australian Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry. This is a new position created through a substantial bequest from Tom Brown, a law graduate from University of Sydney with a lifelong passion for Australian Aboriginal archaeology. Over a number of decades Tom pursued his interests in Aboriginal technology and ethnography, first as an amateur and eventually with a Masters degree in archaeology. Tom had been a successful industrial lawyer and entrepreneur, and on his death he left almost £6m to the University of Sydney to establish teaching and research capacity in Australian archaeology. A key element in the plan was the establishment of an endowed Chair to which I have been appointed, and other initiatives and appointments are to be announced soon. Peters new contact details can be found on his Sydney University web page.
Staying in Australia, our Fellow Dr Jenny Webb of La Trobe University reports that Fellows feature significantly in two recent books published by Åström Editions. One of these Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology: fifty years on (ISBN 9789170812460), edited by Jenny herself and Fellow David Frankel, celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology series by the late Professor Paul Åström (the distinguished Swedish archaeologist and Cypriot Bronze Age specialist who was nominated as an Honorary Fellow of our Society, but who died on 4 October 2008, just days before the ballot was due to take place). As well as Jennys own paper on Kalopsidha: forty-six years after SIMA volume 2 and David Frankels on Strange places crammed with observation: reporting the site, three other Fellows made contributions: Vassos Karageorghis, on Fifty years of SIMA publications on Cypriot archaeology: achievements and perspectives, Despo Pilides, on The SIMA Corpus of Cypriote Antiquities: the way forward; and Robert Merrillees, on Paul Åström, SIMA and Alashiya.
Robert Merrillees is also responsible for a separate volume, The Ochsenkrater-Grab from Nicosia Ayia Paraskevi (ISBN 9789170812477), explaining how he tracked down the scattered finds from a significant Middle and Late Bronze Age tomb group acquired by Max Ohnefalsch-Richter in the 1880s and subsequently sold to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Fellow Martin Brown has just returned from Burma, where he was part of the project led by Lincolnshire farmer David Cundall that has been trying to locate up to 124 unassembled Spitfires reputed to have been buried by the RAF in Burma at the end of World War II on the orders of Lord Mountbatten. Martin says: my role was to monitor the excavations and to record and interpret any deposits and artefacts uncovered during the search. Work took place beside the main runway of Rangoon airport, the former RAF Mingaladon, where various veterans accounts had led David Cundall to believe the aircraft had been buried. Various local delays meant that only four trenches were opened and none showed any evidence of buried aeroplanes. However, evidence of wartime activity was recorded, including a sandbag-reveted air-raid shelter trench next to the old Prome Road.
The discovery of the road was useful as it allowed some veterans accounts to be tied into the landscape: one veteran, Stanley Coombe, who was accompanying the expedition, talked of travelling up the road, crossing the runway and seeing crates and holes on his left-hand side. Stanley never claimed to have seen burials, just boxes and holes. Further research may reveal how the legend of the burial came about. Stanley also accompanied us to the Rangoon Military Cemetery, where the ranks of beautifully tended graves and the inscribed lists of those with no known grave put the search for material into context and confirmed the sponsor online gaming company Wargaming in their opinion that having specialists including archaeologists and geophysicists to add context and depth to the operation was more than justified.
As a postscript, Martin adds: This was the first time in some thirty years on excavations that I have had a Buddhist monk not only bless the undertaking but also intercede with the serpent spirits to keep us safe from snakes during the works. I would observe that we only saw one snake on site during the entire project.
In Turkey, Fellow Julian Bennett, of the Department of Archaeology, Bilkent University, is pleased to have been appointed to the editorial board of Anatolica, the annual journal of the Nederlands Instıtuut voor het Nabıje Oosten (The Netherlands Instıtute for the Near East), with editorial responsibility for articles relating to Anatolia during the Roman period (in its broadest sense). Julian would welcome submissions, in English, French or German, and he says that, thanks to the sterling efforts of the journal’s main editor, Professor Jacob Roodenberg, Anatolica has a very quick turnaround in publication: an article submitted by December of any year will, if accepted, be published by May of the following year.
Picture: Mary Beaudry with her medal; she is also wearing her Society (North American Fellowship) rosette
Normally based at Boston University, where she enjoys the title of Professor not just of Archaeology and Anthropology but also of Gastronomy (what an enviable job!), Fellow Mary Beaudry crossed the Atlantic in January to visit Leicester, England, where the Society for Historical Archaeology presented her with the J C Harrington award at its annual meeting held on 11 January 2013. Established in 1981, the J C Harrington Award is named in honour of Jean Carl Harrington (190198), one of the pioneers of historical archaeology in North America. The award, which takes the form of an inscribed medal, was presented to Mary for her innovative and interdisciplinary work on material culture over many years and her field research in North America, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.
Finally, York Archaeological Trust has announced that our Fellow David Jennings has been appointed as Chief Executive, in succession to our Fellow John Walker, who retires in March 2013, after a career spanning four decades in academic and field archaeology. David is currently Chief Executive of Oxford Archaeology, which is now seeking a replacement (see Vacancies below).
There will be a Thanksgiving Service for the life of our late Fellow Jonathan Scott at St Mary’s Church, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, at 2.15pm on 7 February 2013, which would have been his seventy-third birthday. A group of Fellows will be travelling by train from London to attend the service, departing Paddington at 11.48am, arriving at 1.07pm and taking taxis from there to Tetbury.
The Society has been informed of the death on 17 January 2013 of Dennis John Turner, of Reigate, Surrey, who was elected a Fellow on 6 March 1969. Denniss family is planning a memorial ceremony in London, probably on 9 March 2013; you are welcome to contact Denniss daughter, Eve Turner, if you would like further information in due course.
Dennis served as a trustee of the Council for British Archaeology, The Surrey Historic Building Trust Limited, Merton Priory Trust and the Surrey Archaeological Society, of which he was a Past President. He made occasional contributions to Current Archaeology, the London Archaeologist and Surrey Archaeological Collections, frequently attended Society meetings and was a regular user of the Library, pursuing his interests in castles, moated sites and the archaeology of London and Surrey.
Fellow Beverley Ballin Smith writes to bring to the attention of Fellows the death just before Christmas 2012 of Ronnie Simison, MBE, the South Ronaldsay Orkney farmer who, in 1958, uncovered what was to become known as The Tomb of the Eagles. He did not excavate the tomb until 1976 after learning from archaeologists excavating a nearby Bronze Age burnt mound on his land, how to do things professionally. His investigation of the Neolithic chambered tomb is one of the most thorough published accounts of a completely excavated Orcadian tomb to date. Ronnie’s interest in archaeology extended not just to the monuments on his land but to explaining their stories to the many visitors he took out to see them. The excitement of seeing the physical remains of the tomb was matched by the visitors experience of the finds displayed in their setting a conservatory museum and latterly a thriving visitor centre. Ronnies work, matched by the enthusiasm of his late wife Morgan and the members of their family, has done much to promote archaeological tourism on Orkney.
Finally, the Society has been informed of the sad news of the death of our Fellow Christopher Phillpotts, who was elected as recently as 1 November 2012 and who was one of the authors of the paper on The Kings High Table at the Palace of Westminster published in last years Antiquaries Journal. Christopher was widely known as a specialist in medieval towns, to whose history and archaeology he brought extensive field experience combined with palaeographical skills in medieval French and Latin. He contributed many specialist reports and papers to monographs and journals on the London suburbs of Spitalfields, Shoreditch and Southwark, on medieval Winchester, Kingston, Uxbridge, Northampton, Bristol, Bath and Newport (Gwent).
Apologies to Fellow Pamela Sambrook, whose paper on Country House Technology, reviewed in Salon 291, was erroneously attributed to Pamela Sandbrook.
Fellow Peter Hodson spotted that the cart seemed to be pulling the horse in Salons report on the 150th anniversary of the London underground: or in this case, the restored Metropolitan Railway coaches were themselves being pulled by a carriage, in the shape of Metropolitan Railway Jubilee carriage No. 353, built in 1892. A vital piece of text had been deleted accidentally from the original draft. The report should have said that the carriages being used on this commemorative journey from Olympia to Farringdon included Metropolitan Railway Jubilee carriage No. 353, built in 1892, the oldest underground carriage still in use, which was restored to full working order by experts at the Ffestiniog Railway, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the London Transport Museum Friends, in time for the 150th anniversary. Following the Underground anniversary celebrations the carriage will tour preserved railways in London and south-east England. Pictures of the carriage being restored can be seen on the London Transport Museums website.
The last issue of Salon highlighted Peter Salways contribution to Chedworth Roman Villa, commemorated in the form of a splendid National Trust acorn plaque. That prompted Jeremy Milln to send this picture of a milestone, which was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant for Staffordshire on 24 November 2012 at Letocetum (the modern village of Wall), another of the National Trusts Roman sites. Designed for the Queens Diamond Jubilee, the milestone was carved by Dave Bradbury (shown putting the finishing touches to the stone). Four classicists collaborated on the content of the inscription and the form of the lettering: Dr Benet Salway of University College London (and son of our Fellow Peter Salway), Dr Jonathan Prag of Merton College Oxford (son of our Fellows Kay and John Prag), Richard Grasby (author of the standard work on Roman inscriptions and father of National Trust curator James Grasby) and Fellow Roger Tomlin. This continuity of interest in ancient history between parent and offspring strongly suggests that geneticists should be looking for a classics gene.
The modern milestone replaces one that once stood in the same position alongside Watling Street, close to its junction with ancient Ryknild Street. The idea of commemorating the Jubilee in this way came from the Milestone Society, which restores and maintains historic milestones and finger posts throughout the UK. Roman milestones were usually engraved with a dedication to the emperor reigning at the time the stone was set up; this one bears the inscription: D N ELIZABETHAE / DEI GRATIA REGINAE / OB SEXAGENNALIA / VICANI LETOCETENSES / A LETOCETO / VMBILICO BRITANNIAE (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth by the Grace of God in the Sixtieth year of her reign the people of Wall set [this milestone] up at the centre of [Great] Britain).
Fellow Mark Samuel‘s previous request for information about unpublished information on Roman-era elephants resulted in some helpful answers, so he is now trying again with a subject closer to his home in Ramsgate, where a very fine First-Rate house of 1800 has come onto the market after long neglect (including use as a furniture warehouse from the 1960s to the present day). I have recently been inside and the interior is virtually as built apart from the loss of the better doors (to ease its use as a warehouse). In Thanet, such a building is likely to be gutted and rebuilt as multiple-occupancy flatlets even though it is listed Grade II and in a Conservation Area. Local folklore, now honoured in the form of a Ramsgate Society Blue plaque, says that the Duke of Wellington lived there from 1809 to 1815 while serving as Commander of the Army. I have found no information to support this, although intermittent renting from the Townley family is not wholly implausible. I would be very grateful if any Fellow with specific knowledge of the Duke and his movements could prove or disclaim the Duke of Wellingtons residence at any point. A confirmation would greatly aid the preservation and appropriate reuse of this building, but I have to get the facts straight!
The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) is in the process of digitising all the inventory volumes published by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, which will then be made accessible on the British History Online website, where the first volumes have already been published. The IHR hopes that the rest of the volumes will go live early in 2013. In order to obtain permission to use images in these volumes on the internet, the IHR has been tracing copyright holders. A list of individuals not yet traced can be found on the British History Online blog. The list contains a number of familiar names (some spelt incorrectly!), including those of living and deceased Fellows, and the IHR would appreciate any help in tracing these individuals or the owners and administrators of their estates.
11 February 2013: The Personal Histories of Archaeology Project presents Tony Robinson remembering his life and experiences as presenter and member of Time Team at 3.30pm in the Babbage Lecture Theatre, New Museum Site, Downing Street, Cambridge. To register for free tickets, go to the EventBrite website, and you can find out more on the Personal Histories Project Facebook page.
1516 February 2013: The joyning of the bright Lillie, and the Rose celebrations for the wedding of Charles I and Henrietta-Maria, 1625, the third Queens House Conference, hosted by Royal Museums Greenwich and Goldsmiths, University of London. Further details from the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
Several Fellows will be speaking at this conference including Professor Sydney Anglo on The festivities that never were, and Professor Iain Fenlon, of Kings College, Cambridge, on Music for Henrietta Maria which will analyse the triumphal entries, masques and court ballets that were planned (if not actually performed because an outbreak of the plague prevented large-scale public celebrations in London) for the controversial union of a Protestant king and a Catholic princess.
21 February 2013: A Future for the Past: enabling the use of built heritage assets, by Deborah Lazarus, Heritage Specialist, Existing Buildings Team, Arup London, 6pm for 6.15pm, A V Hill Lecture Theatre, Medical Sciences Building, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.
The continuing use of heritage buildings, particularly where a significant change of use is contemplated, presents social, economic and environmental as well as physical challenges. These include the extent to which alterations to the fabric are acceptable in finding a viable use for a building, the primacy of form over function, or vice versa, in determining the future of a heritage structure, and how the heritage significance may be enhanced as part of the process. This paper examines these issues through examples where a new life has been devised for a heritage asset, recognising that for many there are both changes of use and alterations to layout and fabric over time that in turn become part of its history and values.
All are welcome at this public lecture; please send an email to Bethia Reith if you are planning to attend.
4 March 2013: This years Toller Lecture, hosted by the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies, will be given by our Fellow Leslie Webster on the subject of Anglo-Saxon Art: tradition and transformation, at 6pm in the Historic Library, John Rylands University Library, Deansgate Building, Manchester, followed by a wine reception. The lecture will examine some of the key themes that run through Anglo-Saxon art visual literacy, animal art, changing attitudes to the human image, and riddles using them as pegs to give a fresh overview of the subject. The lecture is open all, free of charge. Anyone wishing to join the speaker for dinner (£25) should inform our Fellow Gale Owen-Crocker by 18 February 2013.
Leslie Webster will deliver the Basil Brown Memorial Lecture on a similar theme on 11 May 2013 at the Riverside Theatre, in Woodbridge, Suffolk, at 10.30am for 11am, an event hosted by the Sutton Hoo Society.
6 March 2013: The Function and Form of Early Medieval Rotundas in the Adriatic, by Dr Magdalena Skoblar (Department of History of Art, University of York), 6pm for 6.30pm, in the Seminar Room of Sir John Soanes Museum, 14 Lincolns Inn Fields; places must be booked in advance by contacting Beth Walker, Head of Education.
Used by the Romans for mausolea and, at times, for temples, rotundas continued to be built by the early Christians as baptisteries, funerary chapels and churches with a memorial purpose. The same shape was used for palatine and episcopal chapels, especially in the early Middle Ages. This talk will focus on several early medieval rotundas and in particular on the ninth-century episcopal chapel of the Holy Trinity at Zadar in Croatia, for a long time seen as a reflection of Carolingian influences and linked with Charlemagnes territorial pretensions in the Adriatic but more recently attributed to Byzantium. This talk will examine the validity of the Western and Eastern explanations by comparing the form and function of the Holy Trinity to the well-known rotundas from the East and West such as St Marks at Venice and the Palatine Chapel at Aachen.
7 March 2013: The Archaeological Archives Forum will be hosting a meeting to discuss the recommendations of the recent Archaeological Archives and Museums 2012 report, published by the Society of Museum Archaeologists (SMA) and the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME) (Salon 290). Details of the event, to be held in Birmingham, can be found on the SMA website.
12 March 2013: New Light on Medieval Stained Glass, by our Fellow Ian Freestone, Professor of Archaeological Materials and Technologies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, at 6.30pm, in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, UCL. To register for a free ticket go to the UCL websites Inaugural Lectures page. Some 40,000 tonnes of stained glass were produced in Europe between AD 1250 and 1500, primarily for use in windows. There is little evidence for the production of coloured glass in Britain and it is believed to have been imported. This paper explains how laboratory analysis is helping us to understand the origins of medieval glassmaking, the way the glass was made and how the glaziers obtained their glass.
16 March 2013: Renaissance Monuments in Great Britain and Ireland: recent research and new horizons, a day conference organised by our Fellow Adam White on behalf of the Church Monuments Society (CMS) to be held in the Woburn Suite of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London. The speakers include our Fellows Professor Nigel Llewellyn, Jon Bayliss, Clive Easter, Adam White and Jean Wilson, as well as Amy Harris and Edward Town. For more information and a booking form, see the CMS website.
45 April 2013: Holocene Climate Change, a conference hosted by the Geological Society at Burlington House at which our Fellow Graeme Barker will be one of the keynote speakers. The conference will look at the high-frequency climate changes reflected in the geological record during the past 11,700 years. Despite the general stability of the Holocene climate, there have been distinct cool/dry events (for example at 8,200, 6,600, 5,600, 4,100 and 2,700 years ago and in the Little Ice Age between roughly AD 1400 and 1850) and warm/wet periods (like the Holocene climatic optimum, the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period). To what extent were these events global rather than regional? What drove them? What produces the periodic changes at intervals of about 1,500 years seen in marine records and speleothems? Resolving these kinds of questions will aid understanding of the modern climate and the warming that has taken place since around 1970.
For further information, see the Geological Societys website.
27 April 2013: Kent Archaeological Societys South East Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference will be held at the Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford Grammar School, and will look at Kents rich industrial heritage, which includes gunpowder mills, shipbuilding, historic aircraft, early refrigeration machines, cement manufacture and motorcycle production. With our Fellow Ian Coulson in the Chair, the speakers include our Fellow Professor Alan Crocker, joint founder of the national Gunpowder Mills Study Group with our Fellow Glenys Crocker, who will give a paper on gunpowder production at sites at Faversham, Tonbridge, Maidstone and Dartford. Further information and a booking form can be downloaded from the Kent societys events page.
Written by Bridget Wells-Furby, The Berkeley Estate 12811417: its economy and development (ISBN 9780900197819) is the first volume in a new monograph series launched last year by the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society with our Fellow David J H Smith as General Editor, which aims to publish books based on original research on aspects of the history of Bristol and/or Gloucestershire. This first volume arises partly out of Davids long-standing interest in the Berkeley monuments, which are exceptional in their completeness and continuity, comprising thousands of deeds, account rolls, rental agreements and cartularies, mainly dating from the 135-year period covered by this book.
Having previously produced A Catalogue of the Medieval Muniments at Berkeley Castle (Gloucestershire Record Series vols 17 and 18, 2004), the author has now written a richly detailed portrait of a medieval estate. Uppermost in her mind is the question of whether the management of a lay estate always much more vulnerable to the slings and arrows of national political fortune than the Church equivalent, at least until Henry VIII came along was different from that of the more stable ecclesiastical estate.
As you would expect, the answer is far from simple, partly because of the many factors involved, including weather, wages, commodity prices and demand. On the whole, though, the author detects a surprising degree of dynamism in the management of medieval lay estates. Without wanting to characterise the Church as backward looking, clinging to the past and reluctant to change, she finds that the secular Berkeley lords were distinguished by the scale, impact and frequency of their response to changing circumstances, whether measured on the basis of such short-term policies as what crops to grow or such longer term decisions involving significant investment in draining and cultivating waste land, woodland clearance, or acquiring or disposing of manors.
The detailed evidence packed into this book (and summarised in a very useful series of tables of crop yields and cultivation costs) goes a long way to answering one of the questions posed by Richard Morriss book, Times Anvil, reviewed in Salon 291: who had the power and the resources to command the radical rewriting of the landscape that we see time and again in the archaeological record for the Middle Ages?
Sense of Place is a recent theoretical concept, largely used by individuals who call themselves master planners and who pride themselves on being able to create a place that engenders community identity, loyalty and a sense of belonging where none existed before. Heritage professionals tend to be sceptical of the master planners ability to do this, and instead prefer to locate sense of place in the historic environment. The best results surely come from an equal partnership of the two: in the case of Kings Cross station, for example, Cubitts bold 1850s railways station is well matched by John McAslans new western concourse, with its stunning steel and glass lattice-work roof; in the case of the wider Kings Cross redevelopment, the historic environment, such as it is, struggles to give definition to an area that is largely new build.
This may seem a long way from Anglo-Saxon England, but in their introduction, the authors justify the use of the theoretical concept on the grounds that it yokes two ideas the place and how people relate to it. They ask whether, in the complex pattern of those place names that have survived, we can detect any that speak of community identity, as distinct from names that reflect some kind of elite authority (Kings Cross, the Kingstons and the many -burhs, for example). Can we tease out examples of commonly encountered name types in the English landscape that tell us what those places might have meant to the people who named them, or that convey a deeper sense of the unique qualities of that place and its essential points of difference.
That is a lot to ask of a place name, but twenty-one essayists bravely seek to deliver on this agenda in Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England (ISBN 9781907730177; Shaun Tyas), edited by our Fellows Richard Jones and Sarah Semple. Some of the essayists admit defeat: they find that place-name elements are too broad and generic to reflect subtle human distinctions; other suggest that it is in the way that names subtly shift and evolve that you find the human element. Perhaps the most promising of the conclusions is that some names can tell you a great deal about the legal status of the settlement, the social standing of the inhabitants or that settlements specialist function.
One example of this is Fellow Gillian Fellows-Jensens paper on the ways that Danish lords renamed settlements within the Danelaw. She contradicts the prevailing view that -bȳ, as a place-name element, denotes a new settlement on land that had previously been marginal or wooded, by showing that this is at odds with their value, as assessed by the tributes paid in the eight and ninth centuries. The -bȳ place name must indicate a pre-existing settlement taken over by a Dane, possibly as part of a wider process involving the break-up of larger estates into smaller independent units. These places acquired a new -bȳ name as an indication that they were now units taxed in their own right, rather than paying dues to the estate upon which they had been previously been dependent. If true, this presents a rather different idea of Danish settlement than the one that has been popular of late, which argues for a largely peaceful accommodation, with the Danes fitting into the interstices of existing land-use and settlement.
Cairns, Fields and Cultivation: archaeological landscapes of the Lake District Uplands (ISBN 9781907696078; Oxford Archaeology), by Jamie Quartermaine and Fellow Roger Leech, with contributions from several more Fellows, reveals the existence of extensive and well-preserved areas of prehistoric landscape in the Lake District, with the greatest concentrations in western Cumbria, between the marginal uplands and the coastal plain. These probably represent the expansion of farming from the plain during a benign climatic period during the Bronze Age and consist largely of cairns, resulting from field clearance, field systems, boundary markers and cultivation lynchets.
But despite this emphasis, reflected in the books title, there is far more: this is a comprehensive and well-illustrated guide to the archaeology of the Lake District from the Mesolithic to the recent past, far too heavy to carry in your backpack, but the sort of book you should definitely consult before and after a hike: the strong chances are that the vaguely circular or rectilinear features that you see on your walk are significant and are explained in this book. These important archaeological landscapes add further weight to the case for designating the Lake District as a World Heritage cultural landscape. While we wait for this, measures are being taken to improve the management and conservation of this multi-period landscape, thanks in no small measure to the survey that lies behind this book.
The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from October to December 2012. Full records have been entered into the Societys online catalogue and the books are now available for study in the Library.
From the joint authors, Nat Alcock, FSA, and Dan Miles, FSA, The Medieval Peasant House in Midland England (2013)
From the author, David G C Allan, FSA, The Society of Antiquaries of London and the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce: an account of their shared memberships and interests from the mid-eighteenth to the early twenty-first centuries, The William Shipley Group for RSA History, Occasional Paper 23 (2012)
From the editor, Dom Aidan Bellenger, FSA, Downside Abbey: an architectural history (2011)
From the author, Jerome Bertram, FSA, Bishops and Burgers, Dukes and Knights: medieval monuments on the southern and eastern Baltic seaboard: a lecture delivered to the Society of Antiquaries of London on 6 October 2011 (2012)
From the author, Alan Bott, FSA, A Guide to the Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the Town of Godalming, 4th edn (2012)
From David Breeze, FSA, The Lower Danube Roman Limes First to Sixth Centuries AD, edited by Lyudmil Vagalinski, Nicolay Sharankov and Sergey Torbatov (2012)
From the author, John V Day, Indo-European Origins: the anthropological evidence (2001)
From the editors, Jill A Franklin, FSA, T A Heslop, FSA, and Christine Stevenson, FSA, Architecture and Interpretation: essays for Eric Fernie (2012)
From Andrew Gray, Archives Héraldiques suisses: tables des matières, tome IV 19541976 (1982)
From the joint author, Peter Guest, FSA, Archaeological Evaluation of the Extramural Monumental Complex (The Southern Canabae) at Caerleon, 2011: an interim report, by P Guest, M Luke and C Pudney, Cardiff Studies in Archaeology 33 (2012)
From Mark Hall, FSA, Silence on Fouille! larchéologie entre science et fiction, exhibition catalogue (2012)
From Norman Hammond, FSA, The Carnegie Maya: the Carnegie Institution of Washington Maya Research Program, 19131957, compiled by John M Weeks and Jane A Hill (2006)
From the author, Peter Harbison, FSA, William Burton Conyngham and his Irish Circle of Antiquarian Artists (2012)
From the author, Eva Roth Heege, Ofenkeramik und Kachelofen: typologie, terminologie und rekonstruktion im deutschsprachigen raum (CH, D, A, FL) , Schweizer Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, Band 39 (2012)
From the author, Simon James, FSA, Rome and the Sword: how warriors and weapons shaped Roman history (2011)
From Lynne Keys, FSA, Beneath the Banner: archaeology of the M18 Ennis Bypass and N85 Western Relief Road, Co Clare, by Nóra Bermingham, Graham Hull and Kate Taylor, NRA Scheme Monographs 10 (2012)
From J D Lee, Glory in Glass: windows in Ripon Cathedral, by D Ching et al, (2012) and Ripon Cathedrals Royal Portraits: the Long Gallery portraits, by K McIntyre (2012)
From the author, Tom Licence, FSA, Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 9501200 (2011)
From the author, K A Manley, FSA, Books, Borrowers and Shareholders: Scottish circulating libraries before 1825: a survey and listing (2012)
From the author, Lisa Monnas, FSA, Renaissance Velvets (2012)
From Julian Munby, FSA, Royal Carriages: treasures of the Armoury, by Lyubov Kirillova (2000)
From the co-editor, David Palliser, FSA, The Diocesan Population Returns for 1563 and 1603, edited by Alan Dyer and D M Palliser, Records of Social and Economic History, New Series 31 (2005)
From Michael Port, FSA, St Pancras Station, by Simon Bradley (2007), and The Gothic Revival and American Church Architecture: an episode in taste, 18401856, by P B Stanton (1968)
From the author, Merrick Posnansky, FSA, Africa and Archaeology: empowering an expatriate life (2009)
From Derek Renn, FSA, The Anglo-Saxons, by James Campbell, Eric John and Patrick Wormald (1991)
From the author, Paul Richards, FSA, Kings Lynn (1990)
From the author, Peter Saunders, FSA, Salisbury Museum Medieval Catalogue. Part 4 (2012)
From the joint author, Matthew Spriggs, FSA, Irrigated Taro (Colocasia esculenta) in the Indo-Pacific: biological, social and historical perspectives, edited by Matthew Spriggs, David Addison and Peter J Matthews, Senri Ethnological Studies 78 (2012)
From Alan Sterenberg, Mughal India: art, culture and Empire: manuscripts and paintings in the British Library, by J P Losty and M Roy (2012)
From the joint editor, Martin Stuchfield, FSA, A Series of Monumental Brasses, Indents and Incised Slabs from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century. Vol 3: Part 2, November 2012, by William Lack, H Martin Stuchfield and Philip Whittemore (2012)
From C A Veelenturf, Dia Brátha: eschatological theophanies and Irish high crosses, by Kees Veelenturf, Amsterdamse Historische Reeks, Kleine serie, Deel. 33 (1997)
From the co-author, Blaise Vyner, FSA, Making Archaeology Matter: quarrying and archaeology in the Trent Valley, by David Knight and Blaise Vyner (2006) and East Midlands Heritage: an updated research agenda and strategy for the historic environment of the East Midlands, by David Knight, Blaise Vyner and Carol Allen, Nottingham Archaeological Monographs 6 (2012)
From the author, Graeme White, FSA, The Medieval English Landscape 10001540 (2012)
From the author, James Wilkinson, FSA, The Queens Coronation: the inside story (2011)
From the author, Annemarieke Willemsen, FSA, Back to the Schoolyard: the daily practice of medieval and Renaissance education, Studies in European Urban History 11001800 15 (2008)
From John Williams, FSA, Atlas du sous-sol archéologique de la region de Bruxelles. Vol 1: Berchem: Sainte Agathe (1992); Vol 2: Woluwe: Saint Lambert (1992); Vol 10.1: Bruxelles: Pentagone: potential archéologique (1995); The Circular Funeral Monument, by Mihaela Simion, Virgil Apostol and Decebal Vleja, Alburnus Maior 2 (2005); Verdronken land: Valkenisse en Keizershoofd (1995)
From the author, Eva Wilson, FSA, Castletown: a miscellany, Castletown Heritage Occasional Papers 3 (nd)
From the author, Susan Wood, FSA, The Eardisley Font (2012).
Landmark Trust: Head of the Historic Estate; closing date 13 February 2013
The post-holder will be responsible for all aspects of the conservation and presentation of the Landmark Trusts 200 historic buildings, and the continuing programme of historic building rescue projects in which the Trust is involved. Projects currently underway include Eleanor Coades villa in Lyme Regis and Llwyn Celyn, the most important secular building at risk in Wales. The Trust wishes to raise its profile as a whole in the heritage and conservation world, to which the creation of this board-level post will make a significant contribution. See the Landmark Trusts website website for further details.
Oxford Archaeology: Chief Executive
Salary in the range £5570k; closing date 7 March 2013
Oxford Archaeology Ltd (OA) invites applications for the post of Chief Executive Officer following the move of our Fellow David Jennings to a new appointment after fourteen successful years in post. OA is one of the leading charitable archaeological practices in the UK, employing more than 200 staff nationally in three offices (Oxford, Cambridge and Lancaster). OA excels in undertaking nationally and internationally significant archaeological projects and with its broad disciplinary base provides wide consultancy and conservation advice to many public and private bodies. OA has an outstanding publication record, disseminating its research to both the expert and general public and is committed to engaging the public in the archaeological process. OA is continually searching for new markets and opportunities within the heritage and conservation sectors.
The role of the CEO is to lead and develop this established archaeological practice with enthusiasm, drive and vision to ensure its continued success in the dynamic and challenging environment of professional archaeology. Reporting to a Board of Trustees, the successful applicant will be able to show a track record of success in managing organisations and to demonstrate an understanding of the academic, charitable and commercial issues within the sector.
For further details of the post, please see OAs website.