Salon Archive

Issue: 111

Forthcoming meetings

10 March: Urbanism and an Unkind Coast: a new study of the Cinque Ports, by Helen Clarke, FSA, and Gustav Milne, FSA

The Cinque Ports, the federation of settlements on the Kent and Sussex coast, have never received the degree of archaeological attention they merit, although they include some of England's earliest medieval towns. Catalysts for major urban change from the eleventh to the fifteenth century included flooding, silting, attacks by the French, as well as developments in the size of merchant shipping and the associated harbour works. To realise the real but neglected value of the Cinque Ports, an inter-disciplinary agenda is being developed to study them in their economic, social, political and topographic context, and their crucial relationship to an unkind coast.

17 March: The 'Dallye Cross': the processional cross in late medieval England, by Colum Hourihane, FSA

Processional crosses were destroyed in such great numbers at the Reformation that we perhaps forget what an important role they once played in community and liturgical life (as they still do in Brittany, Spain, Portugal and many other parts of Catholic Europe). Tracing the form of the processional cross back to specific ceremonies in the sixth-century Byzantine world, this paper will show that they had become ‘dallye crosses’ by the later Middle Ages, objects indispensable to everyday religious observance.

This paper will also look at the history of the procession itself, which was an occasion for clergy and public to join together in festive community events with all their music, banners and colourful vestments. Processions came to develop their own liturgical status, separate from other ceremonies, and associated with membership of a professional organization or religious fraternity. Large and well-supported processions accompanied the celebration of saints linked to the parish or the definition of parish boundaries, while others were associated with membership of a professional organization or religious fraternity.


At the ballot held on 24 February 2005, the following were elected Fellows of the Society:

Dr Jennifer O'Reilly
Brendan Smith
Robert Foley
Professor David Cannadine
Dr Anthony Ward
Tim Malim
Peter Mitchell
Richard Andrews
Peter Kuniholm
Daniel Woolf
David Leighton
Katharina Ulmschneider
Frederick Hepburn
Stephen Burrow
Kevin Andrews
Elizabeth Walker
William Kelso
William Klemperer
Peter Guest
Jonathon Parkhouse


Professor Sir Glanmor Williams, FSA, died on 24 February 2005, at the age of 84. His obituary in The Independent described him as ‘the pre-eminent historian of Wales, the most prolific and the most authoritative, who made a magisterial contribution to our understanding of religion, language and society in Wales and led, by example, the remarkable renaissance in the writing of Welsh history that got under way shortly after 1945 … his magnum opus was The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation (1962)’, a comprehensive account of ‘the medieval church in the two and a half centuries that followed the Edwardian conquest of Wales’.

Being in his own words ‘too British for many Welsh-speaking Welshmen and too Welsh for many an English-speaking one’, he was nevertheless appointed to many committees in Wales and England, where he was regarded as a ‘safe pair of hands’, serving as National Governor at BBC Wales, Chairman of the Broadcasting Council for Wales, first member and later Chairman of the Welsh Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments, and on the Board and Advisory Council of the British Library.


Quite a number of reports in the last issue of Salon provoked reactions from Fellows who have written to correct errors, clarify issues or add further information.

First, Matthew Saunders, FSA, whose appointment to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Board of Trustees was announced in the last issue, writes to say that he will be relinquishing the post of Secretary to the Joint Committee of National Amenity Societies as a result of his new commitment, and that Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society, will take over his Joint Committee role. Matthew will, however, continue to serve as Secretary of the Ancient Monuments Society and Honorary Director of the Friends of Friendless Churches.

Jenny Hall, FSA, then writes to point out the astonishing number of errors in The Times report that served as the basis for Salon’s story concerning the finding of an intact Roman timber coffin in London. Jenny gave the correct information to the newspaper, but it nevertheless managed to get a number of key facts wrong, saying that:
1. the skeleton was that of a man over 25 — he has been recorded as 'elderly';
2. the burial dated from AD 120 — in fact there were two wood coffin burials, one of which had an accompanying flagon (and the excavation shot in The Times showed this burial) and the other is the one chosen for display at the Museum of London; though neither can be closely dated, they have a second- to third-century date;
3. the coffin on display at the museum was not found with a flagon: that was the other coffin;
4. ‘unusually early example of this type of burial’ — the fact that it has survived intact is the unusual feature and that the wood used to make the coffin had been re-used; also unusual was the fact that the skeleton had left marks — not sunken imprints where the weight of the skeleton had pressed down but raised ridges where the ribs, spine and knee joints had rested and some chemical action had caused the wood either to swell at these points or had preserved the original surface of the wood;
5. although the coffin base went on display in February, the coffins were actually excavated in 1999 — conservation treatment delayed the opportunity to display the coffin.

Alan Johnston, FSA, wrote to say what a pity it was that our knowledge of Professor Carandini’s work in the Roman Forum relies upon a single press release, and to ask exactly how a large area of the Forum could have been excavated at such a great depth without anyone knowing or without the Forum being closed to visitors. Part of the answer, he suggests, lies in the use of the word ‘vast’ to describe the scale of the building found by Carandini: vasto/a in Italian means ‘large’, suggesting that a translation error might have given rise to an inflated idea of the size of the structure.

Robert Fowler, Trustee of the Herculaneum Society, has written to point out a couple of misapprehensions in Salon’s recent reports on the excavation of the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum. Robert says that: ‘many of our members are keen to see the villa excavated, but opinions in the Society do in fact differ about when and how. We cannot be described as a pressure group to get the villa excavated; we are a legally registered charity for the purpose of furthering education and research at Herculaneum, and as such cannot, under charity law, constitute ourselves as a political lobby. We are interested bystanders, ready to help improve the lot of Herculaneum in whatever way seems best; such decisions are not at all ours to make, but rather the Italian authorities'. For all these reasons we have not pledged, and could not pledge, to raise £10 million at this time for the excavation of the villa. That amount has been mentioned in several fora, including our last meeting, as the kind of sum that might be needed; but that in turn very much depends on the scale and kind of excavation one might choose to conduct.’

Robert adds that the statement in Salon 109, that ‘scientists at Oxford University have developed imaging techniques to allow the charred manuscripts to be read’, is untrue: the technique was in fact developed by a team at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Arnold Taylor Day

Andrew Saunders, FSA, has contributed this account of the Seminar in Celebration of the Work of Arnold Taylor, President (1975—8), which took place last November.

‘The Society, by custom, often honours its deceased Presidents by a Memorial Service. In the case of Arnold Taylor (d 2002), the previous General Secretary of the Society, Dai Morgan Evans, proposed a day seminar as an alternative form of celebration of Arnold’s life and career. This met the wishes of Mrs Pat Taylor, who was in attendance with family members and friends.

‘Entitled “From Castles to Wider Archaeological Shores”, the seminar was held in the rooms of the Society on Friday 5 November 2004. In his introduction to the programme, Andrew Saunders said that there were a number of factors in Arnold’s academic and official career that continue to resound today, and some consideration would be given as to how they might be advanced in the future. The purpose was not intended as the occasion for a eulogy but rather to examine some of the main and varied strands in his work as a documentary and architectural historian, and as an innovative leader within the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate.

‘Arnold was generally regarded as a castles man, and his fame firmly rests on his study of the design, construction and function of Edward I’s great Welsh castles. Derek Renn pursued this theme in an intriguingly entitled paper, “Castles from Aberdeen to Sicily: an amateur and Arnold” and Jeremy Knight continued with “Before and After Harlech: Arnold’s other Welsh castle”. Associated with the castle theme Sir Howard Colvin gave an account of the beginnings of The History of the King’s Works and Arnold’s role in ferreting out details from the Exchequer manuscripts relating to royal building projects. It is hoped that this paper will be published in a future volume of the Antiquaries Journal.

‘Arnold’s part in the development of rescue archaeology was covered at very short notice by Peter Addyman (“Arnold Taylor and Dirt Archaeology”), who acknowledged Arnold’s role in establishing full-time archaeological staff within the Inspectorate and who changed the system, which had previously failed to fund the preparation and production of excavation reports. He also recalled the difficulties he had faced from the relentless pressures of rescue archaeology in his final years in office.

‘Very dear to his heart was the protection and care of historic churches and Richard Halsey’s title — “Churches and Heritage: the conjunction of enthusiasts” — built on Arnold’s membership of the Cathedrals Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches. Arnold’s perception of the rising interest in industrial archaeology and its conservation was the subject of Jonathan Coad’s “The King’s Maritime Works and Industrial Archaeology”.

‘Arnold played a prominent role in the development of the International Castles Institute and the Château Gaillard conferences in particular were important in his career. These were brought home in Rikke Agnete Olsen’s reminiscences, “Next to Arnold Taylor and what came next: the heritage from a learned historian and castelologist”. Finally, the President, Professor Eric Fernie, summed the day’s proceedings.’

Welsh Fellows’ lunch

Professor David Austin, FSA, has contributed this account of the recent meeting of Welsh Fellows that took place on 18 February.

‘Members of the Welsh Fellows group met on a cold February Friday for one of their twice-yearly lunches, hosted on this occasion by the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Wales Lampeter. Our meetings are informal and we carry no elaborate secretariat; indeed it all functions very much through the good offices of individual Fellows, notably Bob Child and Alan Aberg. This time, Professor David Austin did the organising.

‘Some fellows met for coffee in the morning, appropriately in the Great Hall of the original St David’s Building designed by Cockerell for the opening in 1827. We were delighted to be able to welcome both the President and the General Secretary who had had a long journey down on the previous day following an Antiquaries’ Finance Committee Meeting, to end up in a bed and breakfast on the flood-plain of the River Teifi! This group was shown around the growing facilities of the Lampeter department by various members of staff, including the current Head, Dr Paul Rainbird.

‘We then adjourned to the Falcondale Mansion Hotel for lunch. This house, built in 1851, was once the country seat of the Harford family who, as Lords of the Manor of Lampeter, had donated the land on which the University now sits. The lunch was splendid and, in all, twenty-three of us sat down to dine. Speeches were eschewed and then some of us went on to view the remains of the Cistercian abbey of Strata Florida where the department has begun a major research project.’

Funding for Listed Places of Worship

English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund have announced a package of grants worth £17.5 million for repairs to Grade I and II* listed religious buildings across England (further details from the English Heritage website) under 'News'. The two bodies also announced that their joint Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme would continue in its present form until 2007 - two years longer than was originally planned.

Launched in April 2002, the Repair Grants scheme has resulted in £52.5 million worth of funding for more than 600 buildings. The majority of grants go to parish churches, but the scheme has also helped non-Anglican places of worship such as Brighton Synagogue, Sheffield Buddhist Centre and the World Mission Korean Presbyterian Church in Weybridge.

The grants just launched will help to repair 165 historic places of worship, including Holy Trinity, one of the major landmarks of Stratford-upon-Avon and the burial place of William Shakespeare, which has been offered an initial £16,000 to develop proposals. Up to £34,000 has been made available for a major repair project. Some serious structural problems have been found at the church and the first priority is the celebrated tower and spire where cracks have appeared and the stonework is clearly decaying. The stage-one offer will enable a steeplejack to carry out further investigations.

Our Fellow, Richard Halsey, Places of Worship Manager at English Heritage, said: ‘These grants should fill the funding gap faced by congregations in maintaining some of England’s finest buildings. In return, the public is guaranteed access and we can pass on this national inheritance in good repair to future generations.’

New English Heritage guidance on project management published for consultation

English Heritage is revising its project management guidance, Management of Archaeological Projects (MAP 2) — which is currently restricted to archaeological projects — to encompass all research projects within the historic environment funded or undertaken by English Heritage.

The guidance will be released in two phases: the first is a statement of principles and this will be followed by more detailed guidance on the practical application of the principles to the various specialist areas within historic environment research, such as maritime archaeology or the recording of buildings.

A consultation draft of the statement of principles can be downloaded from the EH website under 'News'. The closing date for comment is Friday 25 March 2005.

Smithfield Market’s Red House cold store to be listed

Members of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, which has been heading up a campaign to prevent the demolition of the Farringdon Road end of London’s Smithfield Market, were celebrating the announcement last week that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has decided to give listed status to the Red House cold store. Adam Wilkinson, Secretary of SAVE, said: ‘It is excellent news that the Secretary of State has agreed with our assessment that the Red House cold store merits listing as the earliest surviving powered cold store in the country. This is an important victory in our campaign to prevent the demolition of this building and Sir Horace Jones’ 1880s General Market Buildings.’

SAVE also welcomed the action taken by the Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell, to write to her colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, drawing his attention to the strength of public feeling about the case and asking him to consider using his powers to ‘call in’ the application to demolish the Red House and the General Market buildings at Smithfield for scrutiny at a Public Inquiry. As Adam Wilkinson pointed out: ‘All of the threatened buildings sit in a conservation area specifically designated to protect them, and the current plans ride roughshod over this.’

The Red House and the adjoining General Market buildings at Smithfield are threatened with demolition by Thornfield Properties, who wish to replace the handsome two-storey buildings and their market halls with over 750,000 sq ft of office space on nine storeys. The buildings are currently owned by the Corporation of London, which is also the planning authority responsible for deciding on the planning application for their demolition. The Corporation stands to receive a share of the income generated from any new buildings erected on the site.

SAVE fundraising lecture

Historian and TV presenter, Dan Cruickshank, will be giving a lecture in aid of SAVE Britain's Heritage at the Royal Geographical Society on 24 March at 7pm, looking at the threats to heritage across the globe that he has encountered while filming his new BBC series, Around the Globe in Eighty Treasures. Dan will also be signing copies of his new book, written to accompany the series. Tickets are £12 (and £8 for Friends of SAVE): send a cheque to SAVE Britain's Heritage, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ.

Scotland first in Europe to ‘green proof’ all public-sector development plans

Scotland’s Environmental Assessment Bill, introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 3 March 2005, aims to put Scotland at the forefront of environmental protection by ensuring that all public-sector plans, strategies and programmes are scrutinised for their environmental impact. The Bill requires public bodies to undertake Strategic Environmental Assessments and to notify and consult the public and key environmental agencies — Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency — on the environmental impacts of all strategies, plans and programmes. Strategic Environmental Assessments cover all aspects of the environment, including biodiversity, population, human health, flora, fauna, water, soil, air, climat, material assets, cultural heritage (including architectural and archaeological heritage), and landscape.

The Scottish Environment Minister Ross Finnie said: ‘This legislation puts Scotland ahead of Europe in the protection we afford to the environment. Too often in the past major public projects have been undertaken without proper consideration of their effect on our environment. This Bill puts consideration of environmental impacts at the start of the process. It gives the public a say in the preparation of all major public plans that affect our lives. Environmental assessment underpins our commitment to put sustainable development at the heart of public policy.’

Eleventh-century monastery for sale

Paul Arthur, FSA, has written to draw Fellows’ attention to the impending sale (for 1 million Euros) of the famous medieval Italo-Greek monastery of San Nicola di Casole. Paul says: ‘It is absolutely ridiculous that such an important Italian historical and archaeological site can be sold publicly, and I should be grateful for any suggestions as to how it can be saved.’ Paul’s email address is and sales particulars can be found on the web.

The monastery was founded between 1098 and 1099 by the abbot Joseph, attested in the Typikon, which is housed in the Library of the University of Turin. The foundation was protected by the Norman kings and dukes: Bohemund I, son of Robert Guiscard, conqueror of much of southern Italy, was one of its principal benefactors. It housed an important scriptorium, particularly noted under abbot Nectarius in the thirteenth century. A papal bull of Honorius III, dating to 29 January 1218, lists the various churches and monasteries that made up the extensive patrimony of Casole. Under Nectarius, who had travelled to Constantinople with Cardinal Benedict of Santa Susanna, the monastery became the principal site of Greek learning and culture in southern Italy. It gradually started to decline during the fourteenth century and appears to have been sacked by the Turks in 1480.

Britain’s newest and smallest National Park

The New Forest National Park officially became the twelfth and smallest member of the National Parks family last week, providing enhanced protection to some 350 square miles of woodland, pasture and open heaths that encapsulate some of Britain’s most ancient landscapes. This landscape now has the highest level of protection available in English law against inappropriate development. From 1 April 2006 it will have its own twenty-two-member planning authority, management plan and a budget of £3.5 million for its first year of operation.

Despite all this, our Fellow Simon Jenkins chose to describe the New Forest's new National Park status as ‘a sham’ in his column in The Times on 3 March 2005. He argues that the Forest is already well enough protected by its locally based Court of Verderers and its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). What we should be worrying about, he says, is the rest of the countryside: the undesignated parts of rural Britain, which are subject to unprecedented development pressures. He hails as good news Margaret Beckett’s ‘born-again agriculture ministry’, and its new Environment Stewardship Scheme, which replaces production subsidies with payments for conservation work. ‘In survey after survey people profess their enthusiasm for the countryside. It is a defining quality of Britishness’, he says: ‘The one hope is to keep Mr Prescott at bay long enough for Mrs Beckett’s farm policies to bite. The alternative is … a Britain in which national parks are throttled by an endless monotonous sprawl — and everyone takes their leisure in France.’

The Archaeologist

The Winter 2004 issue of The Archaeologist, the house magazine of the Institute of Field Archaeologists, has been taken over by the IFA’s Buildings Archaeology Group and is packed with good articles on such unlikely topics as the archaeology of lettering (how to phase the different periods of development of Covent Garden underground station on the basis of the lettering on the facade and on directional signs) and on defending Britain’s ugliest building (Cambridge’s nuclear bunker, built in the 1960s as a regional seat of government and designed to withstand bomb blast, radiation and attack by members of the public).

Articles also cover the value of oral history in the recording of buildings (for example, interviewing US servicemen on the way that the various buildings at Greenham Common were actually used – facts that were previously covered by the Official Secrets Act), the scanning of buildings (did you know that you can do geophysics on historic buildings?) and the making of local lists of designated buildings, structures, monuments, landscapes and landmarks.

For your copy contact the editor, Alison Taylor, FSA.

Café given listed status

English Heritage inspectors have recommended giving Grade-II listed status to an Italian-style café in London’s Bethnal Green Road. Pellicci's was founded by the current owner’s father in 1900 though its décor dates from the 1950s and is described in the listing schedule as consisting of a ‘stylish shop front of custard Virolite panels, steel frame and lettering, as well as a rich deco-style marquetry panelled interior’.

EH also warns that ‘The 1950s café is becoming increasingly rare, and the recent proliferation of new chain coffee shops is threatening their economic viability’, echoing the views of Adrian Maddox, café aficionado, who has set up a website devoted to independently owned cafés. Maddox estimates that fewer than 500 remain of the 2,000 Italian-owned cafes and coffee bars that flourished in the UK after the Second World War. Those that remain are faced with the threats of large rent rises and what Maddox calls ‘a campaign of corporate cultural napalming’ by the high-profile US-owned coffee chains.

Maddox says these cafes created an artistic and social cohesion that cannot be replicated by corporate chains. ‘Music, fashion, film, advertising, photography, sex, crime, the avant garde … the cafes were the creative enclaves where it was all honed … they added an impassioned European vibrancy to Britain's deflated post-war social, artistic and commercial scene’. He could have added, as The Daily Telegraph pointed out, that such cafés also played a less salubrious role in gang culture, crime and violence. Pellicci's was a favourite meeting place of the notorious Kray brothers’ gang, who lived around the corner. According to the newspaper, current customers include soap stars, page-three girls, and cult novelist, Iain Sinclair.

Forty-nine headless men found in Roman cemetery in York

The Times reported last week that archaeologists working for York Archaeological Trust had unearthed a Roman cemetery in York with the skeletons of forty-nine men whose skulls had been removed after death and placed in the grave by their feet, legs or pelvis. One of the men was buried with iron shackles round his ankles. Our Fellow, Patrick Ottaway, is reported as having said: ‘To find such a large group is very unusual … we do not know why they were decapitated. Had they been executed or killed in battle? Was this a military burial site for soldiers of York, or were they foreigners from another part of the Roman Empire with curious customs? The head was considered the seat of the soul in the Roman period, and by removing it was perhaps thought that the deceased were prevented from coming back to haunt the living.’

Analysis of the bones has suggested that all of the adult skeletons were young men under the age of about 45. The skeletons date from about AD 200, roughly when Emperor Septimius Severus came to York with an army to fight in Scotland. Dr Ottaway said he would be liaising with archaeologists abroad to see whether burial rituals from Rhineland, where many soldiers in the army originated, or North Africa, where the emperor was born, fitted the York deaths.

History rewritten by a tombstone

Also from The Times comes a report by our Fellow Norman Hammond, the newspaper’s Archaeology Correspondent, based on an article that originally appeared in Current Archaeology (No 196: 168—176; a full copy of the article can be downloaded from, regarding the inscription on a Roman soldier’s tombstone found at Alchester, north of Oxford. The inscription describes the deceased soldier as a member of the Second Legion, commanded by the future Emperor Vespasian. Our Fellow Eberhard Sauer, of Edinburgh University, interprets the inscription as evidence that Vespasian’s campaign headquarters might have been located in the Midlands, rather than in the south of England as has long been assumed.

The memorial was found in fragments, buried in the foundations of the town wall. Roman Alchester overlies the site of a fortress-camp, which has been securely dated by dendrochronology to the Roman invasion period: a gatepost of AD 44 has been found at the entrance to an annexe built when the camp was extended to accommodate more troops.

The gravestone was of Lucius Valerius Geminus, a member of the Pollia tribe in northern Italy. The epitaph describes him as a veteran of the Second Augustan Legion, and he died at about the age of fifty. Since veteran status was only granted after at least twenty-five years’ service, and the legion was moved to Exeter in AD 60, he must have retired between then and the invasion. ‘He must have joined the army before the invasion of Britain, probably in his late teens or early twenties and almost certainly under the Emperor Tiberius (AD 14—37), when the legion was stationed at Strasbourg,’ Dr Sauer argues in Current Archaeology.

When he left the army he stayed in Britain, where the epitaph notes that his heir had the tombstone ‘set up in accordance with his will’; but the text ‘does not just tell the biography of an individual’, Dr Sauer says, ‘it also provides an essential clue to the whereabouts of Vespasian’s headquarters for the conquest’. The Latin author Suetonius tells us that Vespasian took the Isle of Wight and more than twenty fortified oppida which are thought to include the great Iron Age hillfort of Maiden Castle in Dorset. He became Emperor in AD 69 on the basis of his military reputation, and reigned for a decade.

The site of his headquarters has always been assumed to be in the south because of the details in Suetonius, but the Isle of Wight is the only specific place that he mentions. ‘The Dorset hillforts could have easily been captured by a legion stationed in the Midlands,’ Dr Sauer argues. He also says ‘there is no serious competitor for Vespasian’s base’, and no other site ‘has yielded a shred of evidence for the presence of the Second Augustan Legion’. Since all known legionary veterans who chose to stay in Britain settled either at their main base or at one of the special ‘colonies’ set up for them at Colchester, Lincoln and elsewhere, and there is no evidence that Alchester was a colonia, it must therefore have been Vespasian’s base, Dr Sauer says.

Bronze Age sauna found in the Orkneys

From The Times again comes a report that archaeologists have found what they believe to be a Bronze Age sauna, possibly dating back to 1800 BC, on the island of Sanday, off Orkney. The stone chamber was discovered by chance after a shingle beach that had covered it for almost 3,800 years was washed away by January’s fierce storms and high tides. At first the discovery was thought to be a burial chamber but excavations unearthed no bones and instead revealed two intriguing structures — a 4.5-foot stone tank and a deep, stone-lined pit near by, now believed to be a cistern to gather water. There was also a pile of broken boulders.

Julie Gibson, of the Orkney Archaeological Trust, said: ‘A sweat lodge or sauna is the most likely explanation … We don’t know if they had a religious aspect to them. The steam and heat may have been part of a cleansing ritual’.

German scholar 'is exposed as a fraud'

The Guardian reported in February that Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten, the distinguished German anthropologist, has admitted that he systematically falsified the dates on important finds over the last thirty years. An inquiry instigated by his university in Frankfurt has established that he was guilty of ‘numerous falsehoods and manipulations’, and that his deceptions may mean an entire tranche of the history of man's development will have to be rewritten. For example, a skull fragment claimed to be that of a 36,000 year-old Neanderthal known as Hahnhöfersand Man — and hailed as the vital missing link between modern humans and Neanderthals — is now put by Oxford University's radiocarbon dating unit as a mere 7,500 years old.

‘Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago,’ said Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax. ‘Professor Protsch's work appeared to prove that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals had co-existed, and perhaps even had children together. This now appears to be rubbish.’

Another of the professor's sensational finds, Binshof-Speyer woman, lived in 1300 BC and not 21,300 years ago, as he had claimed, while Paderborn-Sande man, dated at 27400 BC, only died 255 years ago, in 1750.

The university admitted that it should have discovered the professor's fabrications far earlier. But it pointed out that, like all public servants in Germany, the high-profile anthropologist was virtually impossible to sack, and had also proved difficult to pin down. ‘He was perfect at being evasive,’ a spokesman said: ‘He would switch from saying “it isn't really clear” to giving diffuse statements.’

Homo floresiensis is a new species, according to new research

A team of scientists led by Professor Dean Falk, Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University, has stepped into the debate as to whether Homo floresiensis, whose remains were found on the Indonesian island of Flores last year, is a new species, or a modern human suffering from a condition called microcephalia, a condition that limits brain growth because of chromosomal abnormalities.

The Florida team has used a cast of the interior of the brain along with CT scan data to produce a digital representation of her brain casing. The team concluded that the brain is unique and is shaped nothing like that of a microcephalic, nor does the brain size to body size ratio resemble that of a human pygmy. The brain of Homo floresiensis is also markedly different from that of chimpanzees and Homo erectus, the human ancestor from which it is thought to have evolved. ‘What we have here is a little brain unique in its appearance compared to anything seen before,’ Dean Falk said. ‘This is something new. It’s got to be a new species’.

The team noted that the frontal lobes above the eyes were enlarged, suggesting the creature was capable of intelligent thought. ‘We know that this region [of the brain] is important for planning ahead and taking initiatives,’ said Professor Falk.

The brain also had fat temporal lobes, which would have aided memory, the processing of emotions and speech sounds, and helped identify objects. The models also showed that a crescent-shaped groove, called the lunate focus, had been pushed toward the back of the head, indicating that other parts of the brain had expanded, most probably those parts which glue together information from different senses.

Another six Homo floresiensis fossils have now been found, each with a skull of similar size and shape.


Metallurgy — a touchstone for cross-cultural interaction: this three-day international archaeo-metallurgy conference will be held at the British Museum on 28 to 30 April 2005 to celebrate Fellow Dr Paul Craddock's contributions to the study of historical metallurgy. For programme information and registration go to the British Museum website.

International Medieval Congress: Europe’s largest medieval conference is to be held on 11 to 14 July 2005 in Leeds. Hosting over 1,300 medievalists from over forty countries across the globe, it provides a unique forum for interdisciplinary discussion and the dissemination of new ideas concerning the Middle Ages. This year's special thematic strand, Youth and Age, has generated an enthusiastic response from scholars around the world. The programme features over one hundred sessions devoted to various aspects of youth and age, including burial practices, virginity, chastity and sexuality, medicine, demographics, retirement and inheritance, and social status. In total there are more than 300 sessions dealing with all aspects of the European Middle Ages, including archaeology and material culture.

Neil McGregor, FSA, Director of the British Museum, will present a special lecture entitled 'The Middle Ages for the Modern World — Presenting Medieval Collections'. There will also be a roundtable discussion entitled 'Medieval Studies Within Higher Education — Where do We Go from Here?', focusing on the role of medieval studies within British Higher Education, its perception in society as a whole and its prospects for the future.

Full details can be found on the conference website.

Warfare and violence in prehistoric Europe: The School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast, will host a conference on this theme on 27 to 29 May 2005. Recent archaeological findings, particularly of human remains showing trauma, have raised questions concerning the prevalence and importance of warfare and violence in prehistoric Europe. While Europe has a rich database upon which to draw for a study of the extent and contexts of prehistoric violence (real and symbolic), different languages and research traditions have tended to lead to fragmentation of the evidence. The intention of this conference is to bring together a group of researchers investigating different aspects of prehistoric violence, from the Mesolithic to the Iron Age, and including consideration of skeletal trauma, weaponry, architecture, iconography, and settlement patterns.

Full details can be found on the conference website.

The Architecture of the Arts and Crafts Movement: further to the item in Salon 110 on the Arts and Crafts exhibition at the V & A and the accompanying catalogue edited by Linda Parry, FSA, and Karen Livingstone, Fellows are reminded that our Fellow Malcolm Airs, of the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, is organising a weekend conference on the same subject on 13 to 15 May 2005. The glittering line up of speakers (including Linda Parry and several other Fellows) has already attracted an audience of nearly 200 so the conference has moved from Rewley House to the larger lecture theatre in the Department of Physics, and there are still some places available — without food or accommodation but still a bargain at £71 for the weekend! Further details from

Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 2005 Conference: from 27 June to 1 July 2005 the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology’s Annual Conference will be held on the island of Nevis in the eastern Caribbean. Papers and other contributions are welcomed on the conference theme in its widest context: the archaeology of the colonial or shared landscapes of the Greater Caribbean from the late fifteenth century onwards, embracing the south-eastern coast of North America and extending to Bermuda. Specific themes will include the historical archaeology of agricultural, urban and defended landscapes, pre- and post-emancipation landscapes of plantation slavery and of industrial production, theory and method in historical landscape, colonial and post-colonial archaeology, and material culture and landscape, including the vernacular and other architecture of the peoples of the historic Caribbean.

Over twenty offers of papers have already been received, covering diverse themes, ranging from an examination of Colonial Caribbean fuel sources to the capabilities and limits of Georgianization in the Greater Caribbean, from the cartography of the seventeenth-century colonial landscape to the modern-day survey and understanding of that same landscape. Contributors of proposed papers must submit a title and abstract (not to exceed 150 words), to the Conference Chair, Professor Roger Leech, within the next seven days. The proceedings of the conference will be published in the refereed Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology Conference Series.

For further details see the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology’s website.

Books by Fellows

Sheila M Elsdon:’s new book pays tribute to a pioneering and almost forgotten nineteenth-century lady antiquary: entitled Christian Maclagan: Stirling’s formidable lady antiquary (The Pinkfoot Press, Balgavies, Forfar, Angus DD8 2HT), the book tells the story of a lady who inherited a considerable fortune at the age of fifty and devoted it both to charitable institutions in her home town of Stirling and to her archaeological interests. A contemporary of Queen Victoria (to whom she dedicated her first major work, Hill Forts, Stone Circles and Other Remains in Scotland, 1875), she acquired her love of Roman remains from her grandfather and probably started studying them from a comparatively early age. Possibly her greatest contribution to posterity was her meticulous collection of rubbings of Celtic Christian crosses and Pictish symbol stones, made from c 1850 onwards. Now preserved in the British Library, they show details that have subsequently been lost but are also a little imaginative in some cases, which is perhaps why serious scholars have ignored them.

Maclagan was undoubtedly an abrasive personality and created much disruption in the Stirling church communities. Battling with men in authority seems to have been part of her make up and is nowhere more evident than in her dealings with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Although she had been made a ‘Lady Associate’ of that body, she was denied the rights of a ‘Fellow’ and she felt that her work as a ‘mere woman’ was never regarded as seriously as that of a man.

Sheila Elsdon suggests that the truth is more complex: on the one hand, Maclagan was an inspiring woman, who at the age of ninety was still looking forward to a future in which Celtic Art might be recognised by a new generation; on the other hand her views on Scottish brochs and stone circles have to be studied in order to appreciate just how marginal they were: ‘her reconstructions of Stonehenge as a broch tower are astonishing, but they are backed up by her own version of scholarship and personal observation’, Sheila concludes.


The British Museum, Curator of Insular Early Medieval Collections
Salary £23,000—£30,000, closing date 24 March 2005

To present the Museum’s Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Viking and Anglo-Scandinavian Collections to the public through exhibitions, displays and publications. Requirements: degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject such as History, Archaeology, Art History or Anglo-Saxon Studies; experience in museums or other cultural institutions as well as some excavation or fieldwork experience. Further details from the BM’s website quoting ref: 70162.

National Trust, Board Members
Voluntary positions, expenses available; closing date 31 March 2005

The National Trust is creating a new Board of Trustees to be responsible for the running of the Trust and is looking to build a team of people with diverse backgrounds and skills who are distinguished in their chosen field and who have the ability to contribute effectively to thinking at strategic and practical level. Further details from Jane Clarke.

Cabinet Office, Chairs and Members of Honours Advisory Committees
Voluntary positions, expenses available; closing date 14 March 2005

Chairs and members are required for the eight advisory committees (including Arts and Media) that make recommendations for the award of honours to the Main Honours Committee. Applications are invited from people with ‘significant public standing’ and ‘considerable experience of the area covered by the committee’. Further details from the Cabinet Office website.