News of Fellows

We congratulate Emeritus Professor Vincent Megaw, FSA, on his been appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The citation reads: in recognition of his service to archaeology and art history as an educator, researcher and writer, particularly in the areas of European Iron Age art, contemporary Indigenous Australian art and music archaeology. Vincent, recently retired from nearly twenty-five years at Flinders University in Adelaide, joins Graham Connah, FSA, as only the second British-born archaeologist to be so honoured.

Congratulations also to Stan Beckensall, FSA, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne on 7 May 2004. His citation said that Stan Beckensall was Northumbria’s ‘greatest rock star’, having done more than any other archaeologist to raise the international profile of British rock art, and especially the rock art of Northumbria. Describing him as largely self-taught, and ‘Northumberland’s last great gentleman antiquarian’, the citation said that Stan’s passion for the subject had led him to record and publish details of over 1,200 British rock art panels, creating a comprehensive archive that had now been donated to the University, where a website is being developed, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Board, to make this resource available to all.

Information sought concerning the late William Bernard Barr

Mrs S K Albone has contacted the Society to say that her father, William Bernard Barr, passed away in early July and has made a bequest to the Society to be directed towards research in Roman archaeology. William Barr does not seem to have been a Fellow of the Society, and Lisa Elliott would be grateful for any further information that Fellows might have about his life, work and interests.

The Government’s Spending Review 2004

Earlier this week the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Government’s spending plans for the next three years. As ever, great claims were made about the amount of additional money being given to the cultural sector. The harsh reality is that most of the extra money given to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will go on the last part of its departmental remit: the rise of 2.3 per cent a year in real terms (from ‘1.4bn this year to ‘1.6bn in 2007’8) is likely to be eaten up by London’s 2012 Olympic bid and attempting to halt the rise in obesity among under-11s by encouraging more young people into sports programmes.

Heritage leaders have said that the 2.3 per cent increase does not, in any case, come near to covering the costs of meeting the extra burdens created by the targets set for them by the Treasury and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). DCMS has said, meanwhile, that it will not actually reveal the detail of how it will share out the new budget until the autumn. An increase in overall spending does not, of course, mean that individual sponsored organisations, such as English Heritage, will not see cuts (see story below).

The only firm heritage commitment in the spending review was the doubling of the annual budget of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the fund of last resort for saving cultural objects, from ‘5m to ’10m by 2008 ‘ truly tiny sums as a proportion of the national budget.

The Chancellor’s speech also said that the ‘Renaissance in the Regions’ blueprint for the regeneration of regional museums will be rolled out from its current three pilots to all nine English regions. Museum directors said they were ‘encouraged’ by this news but still wanted the details. The Chancellor told regional museums that they were going to receive new funds in the last spending review, only to find their eventual DCMS allocation significantly lower than their needs, which is why the Renaissance strategy could not be implemented in full at the time.

Most newspapers also made much of the Chancellor’s boast that he was granting ‘free entry to university museums’. In fact, most of these museums are already free, so this can hardly be claimed as a Government achievement. All the Chancellor has really done is to remedy the unfair situation whereby university museums were not able to reclaim VAT. Now they can, provided that they do not charge for entry ‘ but if they charged entry they would be able to anyway. Welcome to the Looking Glass world of politics.

English Heritage to merge with the Heritage Lottery Fund?

Buried deep within the Chancellor’s statement on DCMS funding were references to ‘efficiency gains of at least ‘260 million’, and ‘building on the success of the programme of reform and modernisation begun in the 2002 Spending Review’.

The more detailed statement issued for the DCMS went further. It said: ‘The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is committed to increasing the proportion of funding that goes towards the front-line provision of opportunities to participate in sports and culture, by ensuring that both the core department and its sponsored bodies operate efficiently and effectively. The 2002 Spending Review introduced an ambitious programme of modernisation and reform in the department’s sponsored bodies. This programme is now generating annual savings of ’24 million. In the 2004 Spending Review period DCMS will expand this programme to all sectors. Cashable efficiency gains from administrative spending and smarter procurement will be redirected towards improving and increasing culture and sports opportunities for all.’

It is a pity that an English Department of Culture sees fit to use ‘smart’ in its American sense (in English, smart means ‘well-dressed’ or ‘to suffer pain’). Pedantics aside, these jigsaw pieces begin to make sense if you then add in the statement made on 12 July by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in reply to a Parliamentary Question put by Don Foster (Lib Dem, Bath).

Mr Foster asked: ‘(1) if she will publish the report of consultants examining the scope for merging English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund; and if she will make a statement; (2) whether she plans to separate the operational responsibilities of English Heritage from its role as a regulator, funder and provider of advice and if she will make a statement; and (3) what assessment has been undertaken of the responsibilities of different heritage organisations reporting to her Department, if she will place this in the Library, and if she will make a statement’.

In a written answer, Tessa Jowell replied: ‘we commissioned PKF [the accountancy firm, formerly known as Pannell Kerr Foster] to review the structure of Government support for the historic environment in England. Their report focused on the options for a possible change in the relationship between English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The report will shortly be available on the DCMS website [it isn’t yet, but watch this space]. I am arranging for copies of the report to be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. We have accepted its overall conclusion that while there is no business case for a merger of English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, there is scope for substantial savings from rationalisation of shared functions. We are considering [the] next steps with English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund in [the] light of the report.’

The political, statutory and philosophical issues raised by the possibility of a merger between EH and HLF are mind-blowing, but that begs the question of whether this isn’t in fact just the visible tip of a much bigger plan to review and rationalise the whole of the government-funded heritage and built environment sector (including CABE, Historic Royal Palaces, Royal Parks, the Churches Conservation Trust, MLA and the Portable Antiquities Scheme). Senior DCMS civil servants have for a long time now been saying that the department sponsors too many heritage bodies, and that duplication should be eliminated through merger and consolidation.

Tessa Jowell is rumoured to be moving on: she is tipped to be the next Chairman of the Labour Party in the Cabinet reshuffle to be announced on or around 22 July. Look carefully at who is appointed in her place: if it is a former Treasury minister, expect the next few years for heritage to be very uncomfortable. In that eventuality, the best one might hope for is a consultative review in the style of the Haskins review, which recently recommended the merger of English Nature, the Countryside Commission and parts of the Forestry Commission ‘ the worst would be merger by imposition.

Research Assessment Exercise 2008

Information on the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise in Higher Education across the UK has been published on the RAE2008 website. The document published on this site sets out the funding bodies’ decisions in relation to the configuration of Units of Assessment (UoAs) and the grouping of sub-panels under main panels with a summary of the roles and responsibilities of the main and sub-panels in assessing submissions. Under this heading it is interesting to see that Archaeology has been grouped with Architecture and the Built Environment, Town and Country Planning and Geography and Environmental Studies, rather than with History and Classics, as formerly, reflecting an interesting trend in the way the academic subject is perceived. The document also sets out the procedures for recruiting members of the main panels and sub-panels, including an invitation to nominate members of the RAE2008 assessment panels. The site says that nominating bodies will be contacted by letter shortly and a full list of those contacted will be posted by 23 July 2004. Completed nomination forms have to be sent by e-mail to the RAE team by 15 September 2004.

Roman bridge uncovered at Corbridge

Salon 89 reported in May that excavations commissioned and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the Arbeia Society would look for the remains of the Roman bridge at Corstopitum and examine evidence for the origins of the village of Corbridge. The excavation team, led by archaeologists from Tyne and Wear Museums, has now announced that it has found substantial remains of the bridge that would have carried the main Roman road from London to Scotland

Work is being focused on the south bank of the river, where evidence of the spectacular scale and decoration of the bridge is already beginning to emerge, as the archaeologists discover architectural fragments with decorative mouldings. A trial excavation carried out in 1995 recovered an elaborate statue base and moulded blocks, suggesting that the bridge was lined with a balustrade interspersed with statues. A monumental arch, decorated with pilasters and relief carving, might also have marked the approach to the bridge.

This year’s excavation has also uncovered evidence for an enormous causeway that would have carried Roman Dere Street from the flood plain of the Tyne on to the bridge, at a height of 8 metres above the river. Overlying part of the Roman causeway are the remains of a feature which came as a surprise discovery: a nineteenth-century stone lining that runs along the river bank, perhaps as an attempt to halt erosion. Other stretches of similar stones are known further upstream, where they have collapsed into the river. River erosion is probably also what caused the Roman bridge to collapse at some time during the Anglo-Saxon period: research suggests the bridge was the source of the stones used in the construction of the crypt of the church built by St Wilfrid in Hexham in AD 674.

Margaret Snape, keeper of archaeology at Tyne and Wear Museums, said: ‘This is a very exciting project giving us the opportunity to uncover and display a spectacular example of Roman architecture and engineering. We have already made some fascinating discoveries and welcome people to come along and watch us at work.’

Hadrian’s Wall on latest Buildings at Risk register

Some 1,500 structures Grade-I and Grade-II-starred heritage assets are on the danger list according to the 2004 Buildings at Risk (BAR) report published by English Heritage at the beginning of July Among structures newly added to the list are two stretches of Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria, at Burtholme Beck and between Bowness on Solway and Port Carlisle. Part of the Burtholme section, classified as ‘fabulous’ because it consists almost entirely of Roman stonework, with little later repair or rebuilding, is threatened by oak tree roots.

Altogether there are 63 buildings and monuments newly recognised as endangered, including two John Nash structures in London ‘ a terrace in Suffolk Place and a fire-scarred property in Haymarket. The Guildhall at Poole, in Dorset, built in 1761 as a gift to citizens by the town’s two MPs, is also at risk because of the failure to find a sustainable new use.

English Heritage estimates that it would need ‘400m to remove all these sites from the endangered list, compared to an annual grants budget of ‘4.7m, which last year helped to remove 94 sites from the endangered list.

Other assets added to the 2004 list include: Colindale hospital administration block, Barnet (neo-baroque, 1899); Stublick colliery beam engine house, Tynedale (early nineteenth century); Clifton Hall, Holgate, Nottingham (an important sixteenth-century house); the former Anglo-Bavarian Brewery, Mendip (built 1864 for Morris, Cox and Clark of London); Tynemouth station, North Tyneside (railway station designed by William Bell in 1882); the Spotted Dog pub, Newham, London (weatherboarded sixteenth-century timber-framed with pantiled roof).

Twentieth Century Society concerned about listed penguin pool

The Twentieth Century Society is concerned that London Zoo’s famous Grade-I-listed Lubetkin-designed penguin pool might soon join the BAR register. The penguins were recently moved out of the pool because, according to the Zoo, ‘the pool is too shallow for them to dive and swim in, the black-footed penguins housed here have been unable to burrow which is a part of their courting ritual, and all the birds have suffered aching joints because of having to walk all day on concrete’. To replace the birds, the Zoo installed Chinese alligators, along with plants and mud proving, according to the Society, that the Zoo ‘does not comprehend the aesthetic qualities of its best building’. The alligators have now gone and the pool remains empty ‘ with no immediate suggestions in view for an appropriate use.

Listed status for artists’ studios in Cornwall

Heritage Minister Andrew McIntosh announced on 30 June that the Anchor Studio in Newlyn, Cornwall, was to be given listed status. Anchor Studio was built in 1888 as a purpose-built studio for the painter Stanhope A Forbes. It was one of a group of studios built on The Meadow at Newlyn for artists of the Newlyn School, which flourished from 1899 to 1941, much influenced by the French Realist School, and whose members included the painters Frank Bramly, Bourdillon, Norman Garstin, Harold and Dame Laura Knight and Sir Alfred Munnings.

Andrew McIntosh said: ‘The studio is also important in its own right. Few studios of important artists survive today and even fewer are listed since artists could not usually afford to build purpose-built studios’. The studio has recently been bequeathed to the Borlase Smart’John Wells Trust, which intends to restore the building and make it available for the use of contemporary artists.

Will Smithfield be listed?

SAVE Britain’s Heritage and Prince Charles are reported (in The Independent on 17 July 2004) to have been lobbying hard to persuade the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to grant listed status to the unlisted parts of Smithfield Market. A decision will be made later this week.

The ornate Victorian halls of the Central Market (1868), modelled on Paxton’s Crystal Palace, are not under threat, but the buildings to the west are subject to a proposal from the development company Thornfield Properties to build a multi-million-pound complex, creating half a million square feet of office space and a new ‘urban market hall’.

The three buildings, erected in 1875 and 1899, were not listed along with the Central Market because of fire damage in 1958, which gutted the original interiors. Rebuilt in 1963, they are nevertheless an attractive group of low rise buildings in an area that has developed since the mid-1980s as a restaurant, food and bookshop quarter, with a life and character of its own. Not only do the buildings have merit in themselves as fine examples of Victorian brickwork and shop frontages, they have a viable economic future, and the scale of the new development would be out of character with the rest of Smithfield and Clerkenwell. Listing the buildings would bring them under the presumption of preservation rather than demolition.

According to The Independent, Prince Charles is known to have made ‘private representations’ to some of those involved in the decision. A spokeswoman for the Prince said: ‘He not only believes the buildings are an important part of London’s heritage but he also believes they can be restored for the benefit of the local community.’ Those versed in the subtleties of court convention apparently noted that His Royal Highness accorded Tessa Jowell the honour of a kiss on both cheeks when greeting her at the opening of the memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales in Hyde Park recently ‘ something reserved for family and very close friends.

Michael Capocci, managing director of Thornfield, has meanwhile dismissed the campaign to save the buildings as ‘black propaganda’. Like so many property developers wanting to demolish cherished and economically viable buildings he uses the argument that ‘we can build something better: we want to be judged on our plans.’

Unesco adds nineteen new sites to the World Heritage Site register

Meanwhile a building very similar to the Smithfield Market complex has just been added to the World Heritage Site register: the Royal Exhibition Building and its surrounding Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, Australia, were designed for the great international exhibitions of 1880 and 1888 by Joseph Reed. Combining elements from the Byzantine, Romanesque, Lombardic and Italian Renaissance styles, the property is typical of the international exhibition movement which saw over 50 exhibitions staged between 1851 and 1915 in venues including Paris, New York, Vienna, Calcutta, Kingston (Jamaica) and Santiago (Chile).

The twenty-ninth session of the Unesco World Heritage Committee, meeting in Suzhou, China, on 2 July, also named Liverpool as one of its nineteen new World Heritage Sites. The area to be designated takes in the city’s waterfront, commercial centre and cultural quarter, including the neo-classical St George’s Hall, the Walker art gallery and the former court sessions house, as well as the Three Graces ‘ the Liver, Port of Liverpool and Cunard buildings ‘ and a large area of historic docks. Gaining such status is remarkable for a city that has transformed itself with an ambitious programme of regeneration and investment.

Our Fellow, Sir Neil Cossons, Chairman of English Heritage, who was a strong supporter of Liverpool’s Unesco application, said: ‘Liverpool was the great sea port of western Europe. It is the supreme expression of the vigour and self-confidence of the mercantile age’. Lord McIntosh, the Heritage Minister, said: ‘This is wonderful news for Liverpool. Coming on top of their nomination last year as Capital of Culture 2008, this announcement marks yet another step in the continuing regeneration of the city.’

The World Heritage List now numbers 788 properties, including 611 cultural, 154 natural and 23 mixed properties in 134 countries. Among other new cultural sites admitted to the list in July are the Val d’Orcia, in Tuscany, the Etruscan necropoli at Cerveteri and Tarquinia, also in Tuscany, and (despite the severe damage caused by the earthquake last Christmas) the Iranian mud-brick city and citadel of Bam (see story below). The full list can be seen on the Unesco website.

St Kilda’s inscibed for natural but not cultural heritage

The sea around St Kilda, a cluster of four islands and numerous stacks lying forty miles off the Outer Hebrides, was also given World Heritage Site protection because of its important natural features, including the world’s largest colony of gannets and Britain’s oldest and largest colonies of fulmars and puffins. The new designation recognises that the waters around the islands are just as remarkable because of their extensive underwater reef habitats and an ancient relict shoreline dating back at least 18,000 years to a time when St Kilda was one large island.

The Unesco committee deferred an application by the Scottish Executive to award the archipelago dual World Heritage status in recognition of its cultural as well as its natural heritage. There is archaeological evidence that the islands were occupied from prehistory until 1930 when the population of thirty-seven people, renowned for their seabird diet, was evacuated to the mainland. St Kilda is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and about thirty people, mostly environmental workers, now live there.

Our Fellow Robin Turner, Head of Archaeology at the National Trust for Scotland, said: ‘The problem for St Kilda’s cultural landscape lies in its very uniqueness. We have not been able to find anywhere in the world to compare to the level of survival of the remains combined with the remoteness and the unusual way of life primarily relying on seabirds for food.’

Bam’s secrets revealed

The earthquake that killed 26,000 people in Iran on 26 December 2003 and destroyed the superstructure of the mud-brick citadel and city of Arg-e-Bam also had the effect of opening up hitherto unknown parts of the city, which archaeologists have been studying in order to understand the city better.

Eskander Mokhtari, head of the citadel restoration project, and Chahryar Adle, of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, held a press conference last month to explain what they have found so far. Among the discoveries is the evidence that ‘medieval’ Bam actually dates from around 2,600 BC ‘ centuries older than the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC) to which it was formerly dated.

The second revelation is the extent and complexity of the underground irrigation channels that supplied the desert city with water: it is now clear that water was carried by aqueducts that descended at a very shallow gradient from mountain springs several kilometres away.

The third discovery was that the fault line that caused the earthquake was itself the reason for the city’s existence: acting as a sump and partly shaded from the sun, this fault line was the first part of the desert to be cultivated ‘ an agricultural landscape developed along the line and led to the growth of the city.

Cresswell Crags: the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age’

The discovery of eighty engraved figures in the limestone ceiling of Church Hole, at Creswell Crags in Derbyshire, has led the world’s press to hail the cave as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age’ ‘ presumably on the basis that the entire surface seems covered in art, rather than on the basis of any similarity between these 13,000-year-old carvings and Michelangelo’s frescos.

The new discoveries (made a year after the discovery of the first twelve figures, which were then the first known evidence of Palaeolithic cave art in the UK) were made possible by studying the cave surface under particular light conditions. The research team had previously used high-powered torches and lamps to examine the caves but Dr Paul Pettitt (Lecturer in Human Origins at the University of Sheffield) said that the team had to begin work very early one morning ‘simply because we had a lot to do ‘ and we noticed that the low morning sun penetrated the cave and that the stark light really brought it to life. Not only did [the early morning light] reveal to us a lot more art than was visible under artificial light, it also gave us a shadowy glimpse of perhaps the time of day when the images were made’.

The latest discoveries bring the total number of identified images to ninety six ‘ though newspaper reports suggest that there is some good-natured disagreement amongst the members of the team about the precise number: Dr Pettitt suggested that some ‘are in the eye of the beholder’. He is also positive that one image described as a bird shows instead the buttocks and legs of a fat woman. His colleague, Dr Sergio Ripoll, from Spain’s Open University, described the images as masterpieces made by modifying the natural shapes in the limestone, by people who had a very good knowledge of the animals they hunted: ‘they had looked at them for many hours and knew their shapes very well. So they could represent them exactly on the walls of caves’.

Thornborough Henges campaign steps up a gear

Campaigners opposing the proposed planning application by Tarmac Northern to quarry close to Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire have called on those who want to prevent gravel extraction in the archaeologically rich landscape around the henges to ‘gird their loins like David to fight the Goliath of Tarmac’s parent company, Anglo American plc’. Their latest press release says that by ‘destroying what it describes as ‘this low-grade landscape’ and exporting its profits, this international mining conglomerate is treating North Yorkshire like a Third World country’.

George Chaplin, of Heritage Action, which is leading the campaign to prevent further quarrying, says that: ‘Quite apart from the important archaeological arguments and the fact that Thornborough Henges is a site of national importance, people need to understand there is no further need for gravel in the area’. Responding to this statement, Bob Nicholson, spokesman for Tarmac Northern, said: ‘Our planning application is perfectly legitimate within the terms of the Minerals Local Plan, which acts as a guidance document on the types of mineral reserves available and their environments’.

The Friends of Thornborough are calling upon people to support the conservation plan sponsored by English Heritage, attend upcoming parish council meetings, add their names to their petition, and join a letter-writing campaign. Full details can be found on the Friends of Thornborough website.

Save Morpeth’s Bagpipe Museum

Jeremy Montagu writes with the distressing news that the Chantry Bagpipe Museum at Morpeth is facing possible closure. ‘This is one of the most important collections of bagpipes in the world’, Jeremy says, ‘specialising (of course) in the Northumbrian small-pipes (it embodies the collection of William Cocks who was the leading authority on that instrument), which is the most beautiful of all bagpipes in its quiet chamber-music sound, rivalled only by the now all-but extinct musette of the French court of the seventeenth century. It would, I know, help to preserve this collection if anyone concerned were willing to write to Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive, Castle Morpeth Borough Council, The Kylins, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EQ.’ Information about the museum is available on the Castle Morpeth Borough Council website.

Battling Lord Redesdale

Saving Morpeth’s Bagpipe Museum sounds the perfect cause for Lord Redesdale to take up, given his fondness for folk music and the location of his family home in the Redesdale Valley in the heart of Northumbrian small-pipes country. Last week, our archaeological peer was to be seen bravely battling for the House of Lords team on University Challenge (pitted a mite unfairly against an outstandingly knowledgeable team of lexicographers from Oxford University Press). Rupert seemed to be the only member of the Peers team brave enough to risk the scorn of Jeremy Paxman by guessing (incorrectly) at the answers to questions about Caribbean popular music and the portrayal of astronomical phenomena in European art.

Fellows might also remember that this time last year, Rupert led a campaign in the Lords against measures contained in the Licensed Premises Bill, which threatened live music venues with heavy-handed licensing requirements. At the time, the Government assured everyone that small live music venues need have nothing to fear from the Bill’s provisions.

Evidence to the contrary is now beginning to emerge. At Kemspford Manor, in the Cotswolds, an event that attracted 50 people in June made the mistake of advertising the presence of a jazz band as part of the entertainment provided during the regular summer opening under the National Gardens Scheme. Cotswold District Council officials saw an advert for the event in the parish magazine and insisted that if live music was to be provided, a license was required and sent a demand for ‘170, along with eight pages of rules and regulations.

The event succeeded in raising ‘160, so the National Gardens Scheme gained nothiong form the event, and the owner ended up ’10 out of pocket. Cotswold District Council officials were unapologetic and said they will do exactly the same the same again as ‘that is the normal legislation’.

Re-dating the Trojan War

Researchers studying charred building timbers unearthed at Assiros in northern Greece have show that the Mycenaean period ‘ during which the supposed Trojan War took place ‘ probably ended at least fifty years earlier than current estimates.

Ken Wardle, FSA, of the University of Birmingham, Peter Kuniholm and Maryanne Newton, of Cornell University, USA, and Bernd Kromer, of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Germany, have used dendrochronology and carbon dating techniques to obtained the first absolute dates for the period, superseding dates based on assemblages containing material datable by reference to ancient Egyptian rulers.

The timbers dated by Ken Wardle and his team come from mud-brick houses preserved in the settlement mound at Assiros Toumba in central Macedonia, where a sequence of construction levels has been excavated, dating from the Middle Bronze Age (c 2000 BC) to the Iron Age (c 850 BC). Many of these were destroyed by fire and many charred oak construction timbers from the post-framed houses have been preserved for modern study.

Although Assiros Toumba is located in northern Greece, and hence on the edge of the region where Mycenaean civilization flourished, enough Mycenaean pottery was imported and locally imitated to enable precise correlation with events at Mycenae and other southern Greek sites. This shows that the Mycenaean period ended before 1075 BC, and that Trojan War ‘ supposed to have taken place at the height of the Mycenaean era and conventionally dated to some time between 1400 and 1200 BC ‘ probably took place (if it ever did) before 1270 BC.

Ken Wardle, Senior Lecturer in the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity in the School of Historical Studies, said: ‘Our date for the war intriguingly matches the date proposed nearly 2,500 years ago by the Greek Historian, Herodotus, who set it ‘800 years before our time’, with nothing better to start from than the number of generations since the heroic expedition’.

Further information on the project is available on the University of Birmingham’s website.

Seminars, lectures and events

Essex County Council is hosting a Heritage Conservation Day on Landscape and Historic Buildings on 19 August 2004, at Cressing Temple, starting at 9am. The day is open to anyone with an interest in historic buildings and landscapes, and will include illustrated talks on new designs in old landscapes, legislation, town gardens, historic fruit varieties and structures within the landscape, all illustrated by new case studies. The cost is ’50, to include lunch. Contact Pauline Hudspith for further information.

The Postal Heritage Trust autumn lecture series 2004 includes talks on the pre-war films of the General Post Office, Tony Benn’s reminiscences as a former Postmaster-General and Machin’s sculpture of the Queen’s head on British stamps. The lectures take place at the Phoenix Centre, Phoenix Place, London WC1X 0DL, on Tuesday evenings at 7pm. The lectures are free, but pre-booking is required: for further details see the Postal Heritage Trust’s website.

The Association of Gardens Trusts Conference 2004 will take place on 15 October 2004 in the English Heritage Lecture Theatre, 23 Savile Row, London W1X 1AB. The keynote speaker will be the Rt Hon John Gummer MP who will speak on ‘This Green and Pleasant Land ‘ The Case for Sustainability in the Historic Environment’. Further information from Kate Harwood.

Cotswold Archaeology, the Committee for Archaeology in Gloucestershire and the Department of History, University of Gloucestershire, are hosting a day-long conference on Saturday 6 November 2004 at the Park Campus, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, on Twenty-five Years of Gloucestershire Archaeology: a review of new discoveries and new thinking in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Bristol. Speakers include Tim Darvill, FSA, on earlier prehistory, Tom Moore on the Iron Age, Neil Holbrook, FSA, on the Roman period, Andrew Reynolds, FSA, on the Anglo-Saxon period and Mark Bowden, FSA, on the medieval countryside. Cheques for the attendance fee of ’10 (students ‘5) should be made payable to the Committee for Archaeology in Gloucestershire and sent, with an SAE to: Martin Ecclestone, Princess Royal Cottage, Butterow West, Rodborough, Stroud GL5 3UA.


Dr Irena Murray has been appointed as Director of the British Architectural Library (BAL) with effect from 1 September 2004. Dr Murray has held a succession of senior posts at McGill University in Montreal, most recently as Chief Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections Division, prior to which she was Director of the Library of Architecture and Art, also at McGill.

The British Architectural Library ‘ home to outstanding collections of books, journals, drawings, manuscripts, archives and photographs ‘ has recently moved into new study rooms and specialist storage facilities in the Henry Cole Wing at the V&A. These facilities will open in November 2004, along with the new V&A + RIBA Architecture Gallery, which will host a general introduction to architecture, thematic displays and three temporary exhibitions each year.

John Graham has been appointed to succeed Graeme Munro as Chief Executive of Historic Scotland. Mr Graham has been Secretary and Head of the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department since July 1999.

Paul Finch has been appointed interim Chair of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) following the resignation of Sir Stuart Lipton. Mr Finch is a former editor of the Architect’s Journal, and has served for five years as Chair of CABE’s Design Review Committee.


The Georgian Group is calling for entries for its annual architectural awards for excellence in the restoration of Georgian buildings. Awards are given for the rescue of a Georgian country house at risk; the restoration of a Georgian country house; the restoration of a Georgian building in an urban setting; the reuse of a Georgian building; the restoration of a Georgian garden or landscape; new building in the classical tradition and new building in a Georgian context. The deadline for entries is 3 September. See the Georgian Group’s website for further details.

The winners of the Pilgrim Trust Awards 2004 were announced on 22 June. The ‘15,000 Award for Conservation, presented by Tessa Jowell, was given to the Hamilton Kerr Institute and the parishioners of St Mary’s, Thornham Parva, in Suffolk, for the conservation of their fourteenth-century painted and gilded altarpiece, the most complete medieval retable in England. Other major awards went to the National Archives for the Digital Archive ‘ the first time an award has been made for digital conservation. David Howell of Historic Royal Palaces was the winner of the Anna Plowden Award for conservation research and innovation. Further details from the Award’s website.

Books by Fellows

Dr Geoffrey Orrin, who describes himself as a ‘compulsive church crawler’, has just published his latest work ‘ Church Building and Restoration in Victorian Glamorgan (University of Wales Press, ISBN 0-7083-1837-1, ’40) with a ringing endorsement on the cover from Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, who says ‘congratulations on another distinguished contribution to Welsh church history’. Dr Orrin’s study contains a detailed account of all those Anglican churches within the county of Glamorgan that were built, rebuilt, restored or remodelled during the Victorian period, 1837’1901. Further details are available on the University of Wales Press website and a copy of the book is now available to Fellows in the Society’s library.


Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation (IHBC), Director
Salary ‘40,000, closing date 9 August 2004

The IHBC, with 1,400 members, is recruiting its first ever full-time Director to take a lead role in developing the Institute as a widely respected professional body, promoting the Institute within the historic environment sector and focusing development on the long-term needs of the buildings conservation profession. For an application pack, email Lydia Porter.