Salon Archive

Issue: 114

Forthcoming meetings

28 April: Managing the Periphery: the role of the Ushnus as a link between Inca people, their deities, ancestors and environment, by Dr Frank Meddens, FSA, and Dr Nick Branch (Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London), in collaboration with Dr C Vivanco (University of Ayacucho, Peru), N Riddiford and Dr X Meng (both Royal Holloway).

The Inca state required a mechanism that tied the aspirations of its diverse ethnic groups to the needs of the ruling elite. This was achieved by providing local elites and groups with incentives, such as increased status and personal resources, which were channelled in a formalised ritual/religious system using Ushnus (a stepped platform). Ushnus were distributed throughout the Inca state, and are believed to have formed a link between the ruling elite, Inca people, deities, ancestors and the environment.

Many questions concerning the precise role of Ushnus remain unanswered. Were Ushnus constructed to resemble the environmental characteristics of the surrounding landscape (for example, mountains), thereby forming a physical and ideological link with ancestors and deities? If so, were Ushnus and the landscape characteristics interconnected along pre-determined sight lines? Was the system of child sacrifice (Capac Hucha), used to link distant parts of the state, actively employed?

This paper summarises the findings of recent archaeological, ethno-historical and scientific investigations. The investigations demonstrated a clear relationship between the structural and sedimentary architecture of Ushnus and their environmental context, and between Ushnus and the ideological framework in which the Inca state was organised. An improved testable model for understanding the role of Ushnus is presented.

5 May: English Vernacular Art c 1650—1841, by James Ayres, FSA

Painting and sculpture at the vernacular level may have been part of ‘the little tradition’ but they were, for this reason, a component in the visual culture of most people in early modern Europe. In Britain these arts were the products of artisans trained in a relevant craft, commissioned by ‘customers’ whose needs were practical — a sign for a shop, a figurehead for a ship, or an armorial device for a carriage. Similarly, easel paintings within this milieu could be no less functional in intent — a portrait of a ship for a mariner, a prize cow for a grazier or a child in an age of high infant mortality. It is this sense of purpose that gives works of this kind their vitality.

Anniversary meeting

At the Anniversary meeting held on 22 April 2005, our former General Secretary, Dai Morgan Evans, was awarded the Society Medal and David Phillipson was awarded the Frend Medal for his work in Ethiopia. Martin Biddle, Clive Gamble, David Jennings, Ann Payne and Tony Wilmott were all elected to the Council.

14 April ballot results

The following candidates were elected Fellows of the Society at the ballot held on 14 April 2005:

Professor Vésteinn Ólason (Honorary Fellow)
Timothy Burnett
Leslie Watkiss
James Miles
David Cranstone
Mark Purcell
Winifred (Mary) Beard
Margaret Faull
Richard Cruse
Mary Beaudry
Max Egremont
Peter Clark
Keith Manley
Derrick Chivers
Silke Ackermann
Paul Rainbird
Matthew Strickland
Rupert Shepherd
Malcolm Lillie
Robert Sharer
John McNeill.

The Blue Papers for these new Fellows can be read on the Fellows’ side of the Society’s website, as can the Blue Papers for the candidates in the 2 June ballot.

Online balloting system

As Miscellanea announced recently, Fellows will soon be able to take out and sign Blue Papers online and vote online as an alternative to postal voting, or to voting in person. An online balloting system has been created for the Society by our IT consultants, Adaptive Technologies, and is now being tested by members of the Society’s Council and Publications Committee. These ‘guinea pigs’ are being invited to take out Blue Papers online and then invite other Fellows to visit the online balloting website and add their signature. If you are invited to sign an online Blue Paper you will automatically be sent a unique user name and password by Adaptive Technologies. This will enable you to access the site, read the candidate’s Blue Paper and then click a box signifying that you are willing to be a signatory to that person’s Blue Paper.

Once the testing phase is over and the lessons learned, every Fellow will be sent a user name and password and a guide to using the system, which we hope will be fully operational by summer 2005.

News of Fellows

Subscribers to British Archaeology, edited by our Fellow Mike Pitts, will have seen an example of Peter Fowler’s artistic output, proving that antiquaries are every bit as good at avant-garde art as any BritArt college graduate with attitude. According to British Archaeology, Peter makes pictures by laying carpet under the feet of Languedocian sheep and glueing shells to board, as well as deploying more conventional paint-on-canvas techniques, but always inspired by cultural landscapes and world heritage sites. At least Peter stops short of using real blood in his art: though the big all-red painting of Hadrian's Wall reproduced in British Archaeology was (says Peter) ‘originally meant to be a metaphor for all the blood spilt over the Wall during 2,000 years’ (see more on Hadrian’s Wall in Feedback on Salon 113 below).

If you want to see this picture and more, then Peter is hosting a private view of his ‘Mainly ‘Scapes’ exhibition on 13 May 2005 at The Gestalt Centre, 62 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NA, from 6 to 8pm. Some forty works will be displayed, including new works to replace those that have been sold since the exhibition opened. If you would like to attend, please let Michelle Brown know at .

Malcolm Cooper, FSA, has just taken up his post as the first chief inspector at Historic Scotland, a new post combining the previously separate responsibilities of chief inspectors of ancient monuments (previously held by our Fellow David Breeze, who is now managing the project to promote the frontier structures of the Roman Empire as a multinational World Heritage Site) and of historic buildings (previously held by our Fellow Richard Emerson, now in retirement).

Peter Wakelin, FSA, has just been appointed by Commissioners to succeed Peter White, FSA, as Secretary to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Peter Wakelin will join RCAHMW in early May, running in tandem with Peter White until he formally retires on 28 May.

Peter Wakelin was born and brought up in Swansea, and has been involved with the historic environment of Wales for many years in an official capacity. He is currently head of the Welsh Assembly Government's Urban Regeneration Unit. Before that he was an Inspector of Ancient Monuments with Cadw, where he had particular responsibility for industrial heritage, and in this post he was a key player in the nomination of Blaenavon as a World Heritage Site. Some years ago, he was a co-author of the Welsh Royal Commission's publication on collieries.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have appointed David Baker, FSA, to succeed John Newman, FSA, as the next Chairman of the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches. The Advisory Board for Redundant Churches is the statutory independent adviser to the Church Commissioners on churches, their contents and churchyards being subject to the Pastoral Measure. The appointment is with effect from 1 May 2005. David Baker, who was first appointed to the Board in June 2001, was head of the Heritage Group at Bedfordshire County Planning Department, 1972—97, a member of English Heritage’s Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee, 1990—2000 and the Churches and Cathedrals Advisory Committee, 1992—98. He has been a member of the Urban Panel since 2000 and main Advisory Committee since 2003.

Burlington House refurbishment

Burlington House is looking particularly denuded at the moment, as the huge main gates have gone away to spend six months being restored, though the temporary wooden gates in place at present will soon have a picture of the old gates superimposed on to aluminium sheets which will then be fixed to the outside of the gates.

The western range of the courtyard, which includes the Society’s apartments, is enshrouded in scaffolding as windows are removed and repaired, the stonework cleaned and repointing of the masonry joints carried out. As a result, anyone visiting Burlington House over the next few weeks can expect a certain amount of disruption, though the contractors are doing their best to minimise noise and dust.

Obituaries

Leslie Webster, FSA, Keeper at the Department of Prehistory and Europe, has written to let us know of the death of Hugh Tait, FSA, Assistant, Deputy and sometime Acting Keeper of Medieval and Later Antiquities (1954—92), who died on 12 April. There will be a memorial service at some stage. Hugh was a prolific author and an internationally recognised expert in the decorative arts, and in particular, porcelain, glass, and jewellery. He was a member of the Government’s Export of Works of Art Committee, Honorary Fellow of the Corning Museum of Glass, New York, a member of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmith’s Antique Plate Committee, President of the Historical Association for the History of Glass, President of the Glass Circle and the Association International pour l’Histoire du Verre, and past President of the Society of Jewellery Historians. At the British Museum he was responsible for curating numerous exhibitions, including The Golden Age of Venetian glass, Treasures from Romania, Jewellery through 7,000 years and 5,000 years of glass. At the time of his death, Hugh was one of three elected members of a review group set up by the Hunt Collection to look into allegations made by the Centre Wiesenthal that items from the collection had been looted by the Nazis.

Frank Herrmann, FSA, writes with news of the death of David Sanctuary Howard, FSA, at the age of 77. Frank says that David will be remembered above all for his monumental first book, Chinese Armorial Porcelain, published by Faber in 1974 at the then phenomenal price of £60 (second-hand copies now sell at £1,800). David’s own introduction to the book helps to explain the appeal of the subject: ‘the romance of the merchant adventurers, a glimpse of eighteenth-century history, the analysis of porcelain styles and people … and of Chinese export painting’. David’s interest in the subject and his constant travel in search of new material led him to open a shop selling armorial artefacts in London’s Hay Hill, just off Berkeley Square, and later (‘when bank managers became obstreperous’) in Bath and at his home in West Yatton, near Chippenham. His regular newsletters went to collectors all over the world; he was also a formidably outstanding lecturer, in great demand in America where he lectured to museum and institutional audiences in thirty-five states. The seven years between his initial diagnosis of leukaemia and his death were enough to enable him, with the help of his third wife, Angela, to complete a second volume of Chinese Armorial Porcelain and begin a third supplement.

John Blatchly writes to let us know that Joan Kersey Corder, FSA (elected 1967), died in Portsmouth on 13 April, reporting that ‘her goddaughter took her from Ipswich, revived her and gave six of the best months she has enjoyed for years, but there were probably hidden ailments which brought her to her end at 84. Joan’s early work included photographs of all known Hatchments in Suffolk (the accompanying text was published in 1976 as the Suffolk section of Peter Summers’ Hatchments in Britain, Volume 2, Norfolk & Suffolk), and a Dictionary of Suffolk Arms, published in 1965 by the Suffolk Records Society and hailed by G D Squibb, Norfolk Herald Extraordinary, as ‘the first substantial English work in ordinary form since Papworth’s Ordinary of 1878’ and ‘within its territorial limits … and a great improvement on Papworth’.

‘Joan’s definitive edition of William Hervey’s Visitation of Suffolk for the Harleian Society was completed in 1973. The manuscript was despatched to C F H Evans, the Harleian Society editor, from whom nothing whatever was heard for eight years. Then out of the blue, and perhaps not completely out of character for Charles Evans, came a sheaf of proofs, much in need of updating after such a delay. The two volumes finally appeared in 1981 and 1984. In 1988 work began on a Dictionary of Suffolk Crests which appeared ten years later as Volume 40 of the Suffolk Records Society series.

‘The thoroughness which Joan Corder brought to her work, particularly in detailing her sources, makes her publications of far wider value and significance than most single county works. Thanks to her, Suffolk is already better served for heraldic reference than any other county in the British Isles, and she has established standards and methods of working for larger surveys, notably the great Dictionary of British Arms, whose authors in their prefatory History of the Project in Volume 1 (1992) make clear that “we envisaged a work on the lines of Joan Corder’s Dictionary of Suffolk Arms”’.

Belatedly Salon has been informed of the death of Hans Schönberger, Honorary Fellow, on 9 March 2005, at the age of 88. In 1947, Hans Schönberger became the Director of the Saalburg-Museum, which he ran until 1966, turning the long-neglected museum into a centre for international Limes research and organising the 6th lnternationaler Limeskongress. In 1966 Schönberger was appointed Deputy Director to the Römisch Germanische Kommission, where he continued as Director from 1972 until 1980.

The archaeology of the Roman provinces, which, after and as a consequence of the Nazi years had been a severely neglected subject in Germany, flourished under Schönberger. His remarkably productive excavations at the forts at Rodgen, Oberstimm, Krinzing and Altenstadt, as well as at many other Limes sites resulted in exemplary publications. After his retirement his scholarship found its culmination in a survey of Limes research between the North Sea and the River Inn, which has for a long time now been an indispensable classic.

Witham Bowl hits the headlines

You never know what archaeological stories will be picked up by the media but, as Maev Kennedy, The Guardian’s arts and heritage correspondent will tell you, an arresting picture is certainly a great asset, as is an element of mystery. The press release put out by the Society of Antiquaries on 21 April had both, which is perhaps why the Society was inundated with phone calls from TV news producers and journalists on 20 April. The press release (see below) invited anyone with information about the current whereabouts of the lost Witham Bowl to contact the Society. The bowl, originally found in 1816 in the River Witham near Washingborough in Lincolnshire, has been described as ‘the most remarkable piece of pre-Conquest plate ever found in England’, and was last seen in an exhibition in Leeds in 1868.

Early risers on 21 April might have heard the Society’s Librarian being interviewed on ‘Morning Reports’ on BBC 5 Live at 5.15am, and news of the search for the original bowl was broadcast on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme and throughout the day on BBC radio and TV news bulletins and on the BBC website. The Guardian published the story, saying that the Society had put out ‘an international missing water monster alert’, and pointing out that Cromwell's wart is also missing (‘once the pride of the [Society’s] museum, [the wart] has not been seen since a long-dead secretary took to wearing it as a watch fob’). Bernard Nurse was again interviewd by BBC Radio Lincolnshire, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Look East, while Jayne Phenton, our Head of Administration and Communications fielded questions on BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Saga Radio (East Midlands).

Internationally, the story was reported as far afield as South Africa and the Gulf (Bahrain). In fact, the romantic appeal of the story was so strong that some budding Wilkie Collins or Walter Scott must even now be writing a novel based on The Mystery of the Beastly Bowl.

Archaeologists online search for lost Anglo-Saxon relic: the Witham Bowl press release

The Society of Antiquaries of London hopes to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the legendary Witham Bowl with the launch of its new online picture catalogue of drawings and ancient relics on 22 April, to coincide with its annual Anniversary celebrations. The country’s top archaeologists are optimistic that someone visiting the website may recognise the eighth-century silver hanging-bowl as one in their own collection or attic.

Loyd Grossman, FSA, a prominent supporter of the Digital Preservation Coalition and a Fellow of the Society said: ‘This mystery highlights the importance of preserving these rare and exceptional archives and it is marvellous that the Society has worked so hard to make these gems accessible to the public.’

The bowl has been missing for over 130 years and the Society’s collection of historic drawings of portable antiquities contains the only records of its existence. Described as ‘the most remarkable piece of pre-Conquest plate ever found in England’, it was originally found in 1816 in the River Witham near Washingborough in Lincolnshire.

Last seen in an exhibition in Leeds in 1868, the precious bowl is probably about six inches in diameter and is ‘richly ornamented with wild animals’. The mysterious creature at its centre is variously described as a dog or a ‘water monster’. It is thought the bowl would have originally contained water allowing the three dimensional animal's head to appear above the water level, though its specific purpose or symbolism remains in doubt.

One theory suggests the bowl could have been sold as part of a collection sold at Christie’s in 1920s and may have gone to America, but research by academics and leading scholars in the field have drawn a blank.

‘People often think archaeology is about buried treasure’, said Professor Julian D Richards, FSA, Director of the Archaeology Data Service, the organisation that has helped to build the electronic gallery. ‘In reality the treasure often lies buried in archives and stores that are inaccessible or poorly documented. In the digital age we are one step closer to the holy grail of universal access.’

Since 1707, the Society of Antiquaries, based at Burlington House in Piccadilly, has been an international centre for archaeological discoveries. For the first time its unique collection of over 4,000 drawings and archaeological recordings is available on the internet via the Society’s website () where the public can see images of the priceless bowl.

The Society’s General Secretary, Dr David Gaimster, said: ‘Throughout its history, the Society has always embraced new technologies and recognises the internet as a significant tool in fulfilling our aims and objectives’.

Anyone who thinks they might know the whereabouts of the bowl is invited to contact the Society of Antiquaries by sending an email to Jayne Phenton or telephoning 0207 479 7087.

LibDem election manifesto

Last week’s Salon reviewed the Labour and Conservative manifestos to see what both parties had to say on the subject of heritage. This week it was the Liberal Democrats turn to publish their main manifesto, along with sixteen mini-manifestos each devoted to a major election topic or theme — one of which was dedicated to the subject of Culture, Media and Sport (see the LibDem website).

The mini-manifesto opens with strong words of support for culture for ‘its own sake as well as its undoubted benefits to other areas, such as the economy, health, crime prevention and education and creating a sense of community. It is an important part of personal development too’.

The mini-manifesto goes on to say that ‘Liberal Democrats are firm supporters of freedom of speech. It is right that our art and culture should sometimes ruffle feathers, challenge the status quo and make us all, and politicians in particular, feel uncomfortable at times. But under Labour, we’ve seen excessive Government interference in the arts. We oppose the way this Government has chipped away at the principle of keeping cultural organisations at arms’ length. Liberal Democrats would give the arts, culture and heritage real independence. We would start by restoring the National Lottery funds’ independence, ensuring that never again can Government dictate which schemes lottery players’ money is spent on.’

What follows these introductory remarks is a list of sixty-two specific and clear manifesto commitments. Those relating to the heritage are as follows:

· Continue to support free entry to DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries and the roll-out of Renaissance in the Regions.
· Help protect our built environment by reducing VAT on historic building repair paid for by a rise in VAT on new build.
· Where possible, encourage museums and galleries to loan interesting pieces that are not displayed, and would not be put at risk, for display in public and commercial spaces.
· Enhance the protection of our historic environment for future generations by creating an interdepartmental ministerial committee on archaeology, giving statutory status to local authority Sites and Monuments Records and ensuring the long-term funding of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
· Axe centrally directed government schemes such as Creative Partnerships and ensure that public spending on the arts is not prioritised directly by Government but rather by artists, arts organisations and the communities they serve.
· Restore the National Lottery funds’ independence by ensuring that never again can Government dictate which schemes lottery players’ money is spent on and requiring the Department for Culture to separate clearly Government spending from Lottery spending in its annual reports.
· Allow live music to flourish by reducing the currently overly bureaucratic requirements for licences for small venues while strengthening local authorities’ powers over noise, disturbance and safety to prevent public nuisance.
· Change lottery rules to enable lottery funding to kick-start endowment funding for national, regional and local cultural institutions.
· Retain a defined, strong, natural and cultural heritage strand in the National Lottery in the review of Lottery funding distribution which will be implemented in 2009.
· Develop a more robust framework to enable public-sector funding to provide loans and investment capital as well as grant aid.
· Streamline the plethora of public funding agencies who support the arts, culture, creative and arts-based industries, in particular by creating a new Heritage Agency whose transferred core budget we would increase by £12.5m over five years.
· Rewrite the constitutions of the national museums and galleries to make them fit for the 21st century.
· Investigate additional measures to encourage philanthropists and business to invest in the sector.
· Create a committee on the creative industries at ministerial level to ensure their huge importance is acknowledged across government.

The manifesto contains much else of direct relevance to the heritage in the sections relating to education, farming, tourism, the environment, sustainability and planning — to quote it all would be to risk seeming partisan, and it is hard not to seem so, given that the LibDems have such an impressive and coherent set of policies for culture and heritage. This is partly because archaeologists have been involved in shaping LibDem policy — our own Fellow Andrew Fitzpatrick, Lord Redesdale and Richard Allen, MP, for example — one does not have to agree with all the policies in detail, but there is no denying that the party understands heritage, has grappled with the issues, knows what it wants to do and why, and sees heritage as an important public benefit.

Sadly this is all probably too intelligent for the average voter: though voters claim to want rational, consensus politics, they nevertheless revert to voting along tribal and emotional lines in a general election, and the inherent bias in the first-past-the-post electoral system against smaller parties means that the LibDems are very unlikely to be called upon to put their manifesto into practice. Nevertheless, New Labour has a record of ‘borrowing’ long-standing LibDem policies, so perhaps it might be encouraged to adopt a few of these. We might also see some of these policies applied at local level, given that culture and heritage spending and decision making is increasingly being devolved to regional and local governments, where the Liberal Democrats are strong.

Reviewing all three manifestos, the Lottery is the one issue that is common to all three party manifestos. It is encouraging to know that the Liberals and the Conservatives are explicitly committed to retaining heritage as a separate lottery-funding stream: if any election winner were minded to abolish the HLF, it is now clear that it will not be able to count on Liberal or Conservative support and would probably not be able to do so without substantial opposition.

Fellows urge archaeologists to engage with politics

The May/June issue of British Archaeology publishes a letter signed by the Society’s Director, Martin Millett, along with eleven other Fellows (Tim Schadla-Hall, David Hinton, Colin Haselgrove, Graeme Barker, Martin Carver, Tim Darvill, Matthew Johnson, Marilyn Palmer, Rosemary Cramp, Anthony Harding and Roberta Gilchrist), calling on archaeologists to protest against the sidelining of heritage in public spending reviews and against the erosion of resources for archaeology in general and English Heritage in particular.

The letter says ‘English Heritage’s archaeological landscape investigators have [recently] been cut from twelve to seven. Like many other university-based archaeologists, we hold the fieldwork of the archaeological staff in English Heritage in high esteem and view job losses with great concern’.

‘This loss should be seen in a wider context. Despite “spin” on the public expenditure statement announced before Christmas, there has been a real cut in government funding for archaeology in England and Wales.’

‘The decline is real. It represents a failure by archaeologists to muster political support, despite archaeology’s wide and increasing public popularity. If we want to change this we must campaign politically at national level. Now is the time to write to MPs and parliamentary candidates. We must make them all aware of the broad public support for archaeology, and draw their attention to the decline in funding for archaeology and the damage that this will do. Until archaeology has a strong presence in politicians’ postbags, they will continue to feel able to treat it as irrelevant to twenty-first-century Britain.’

Who should speak for antiquaries?

The British Archaeology letter throws out a challenge to the Society and to all in the antiquarian and archaeological communities to become more political — not in the party political sense, but rather in participating more actively in the process of shaping and influencing public policy. It is the case that well-organised groups can influence policy and it is equally the case that archaeology has yet to develop a unified voice and a set of commonly agreed principles to serve as a basis for participation in the political process. The museums sector (represented by the Museums Association and the National Museum Directors’ Conference) and the natural heritage sector (represented by Wildlife Link) are examples of communities that have organised themselves in order to achieve political influence, and closer to home, the Portable Antiquities Scheme has shown us all what can be achieved in terms of funding and goodwill with determination.

One of the questions we face in deciding how to become more politicised is whether ‘speaking with one voice to government’ means defining a set of objectives that are specific to antiquaries and archaeologists or locating ourselves within a bigger heritage community, such as Heritage Link, which was established three years ago to speak for a very diverse range of heritage bodies in the voluntary sector. Heritage Link has been explicitly criticised by archaeologists for not representing their interests and is seen as fundamentally a buildings-based lobby, but more active involvement by archaeologists could change that.

There is another long-standing body that could become the collective voice of archaeology: the Society of Antiquaries is already a member of the Historic Environment Forum (HEF), whose other members include the Institute of Field Archaeologists, the Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation, the Council for British Archaeology, the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers, the Association of Regional and Islands Archaeologists, The National Trust, the National Trust for Scotland, English Heritage, Rescue and the Standing Conference of Archaeological Unit Managers. Perhaps this general election could be the trigger for HEF to broaden its base, become a more proactive organisation and establish itself as the voice of the sector — though to do so would undoubtedly mean tackling the issue of funding: the example of Heritage Link demonstrates that without a Secretariat, good intentions can never be turned into deeds.

Conservatives pledge Heritage Maintenance Review

The same issue of British Archaeology contains a contribution from Conservative shadow arts minister Hugo Swire in which he says that ‘lack of adequate everyday maintenance is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the heritage sector. Much of our heritage could be better preserved if a simple programme of skilled maintenance was adhered to. We will establish a government-led Heritage Maintenance Review and ensure that there is greater recognition of heritage issues in local authorities.’

No progress on Restoration of the Victoria Baths

Nearly two years after the crumbling Victoria Baths complex in Manchester won Restoration’s top prize of £3.5 million, after a telephone vote by 282,000 viewers, the Grade II-listed building is still under threat. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the Heritage Lottery Fund will not part with its £3-million share of the restoration fund because they do not believe that the plan to restore just the Turkish Baths in the basement of the three-storey complex is sustainable. HLF trustees are asking the baths' trustees for a proposal that takes the whole building into account.

Griff Rhys Jones, the Restoration programme’s presenter, commented that there was now a general consensus that spending money merely on the Turkish baths was a ‘fantasy’. ‘I think we have to accept the advice of those who are experts in the field’, he said. ‘They have now decided that spending the money on the Turkish baths would be unwise when the envelope of the building still required so much work. It is down to the some heavy political movers in Manchester to get together to come up with a long-term future of the building.’ A spokesman for the Heritage Lottery Fund said: ‘From the start, the Victoria Baths Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund have known that a solution for the whole site would be needed before any funding for the Turkish baths element of the project could start to be released.’

To restore the whole complex would require trustees to raise another £17 million. The city council is inviting applications from developers who may want to use the site for offices or shops.

Republicans target Historic Preservation Act

Salon could be accused of focusing too much on London-centred issues (partly excused by the fact that we are the Society of Antiquaries of London) so here, from our Fellow Ian Burrow, President of the American Cultural Resources Association (), is a reminder of the equally serious battles that antiquaries face in America in fighting unreasoning destruction of the heritage.

Ian writes that ‘A committee of the US House of Representatives is considering radical changes to the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the key law requiring federal agencies to identify, evaluate and protect historic sites and buildings. Under the most disturbing of the proposed amendments, federal agencies will in future be required merely to check if there are sites already listed on the National Register of Historic Places within the limits of their projects. This is a huge change from the present requirements, in which the area must be actively surveyed to identify, evaluate and provide appropriate protective treatment for any significant sites. The National Register lists only a tiny percentage of the important sites in the country. Under this amendment the remainder will never be identified, never listed, and could be destroyed with impunity by federal agencies or their surrogates. Another amendment will prevent state or federal government officials from even evaluating whether a site is important if an owner objects. Between them, these two measures will eviscerate the 1966 Act.

‘It is ironic that the preamble to the Act states that the policy of the Federal Government is to “provide leadership in the preservation of the prehistoric and historic resources of the United States and of the international community of nations” and to “administer federally owned, administered, or controlled prehistoric and historic resources in a spirit of stewardship for the inspiration and benefit of present and future generations”. Presumably the Republican ideologues who have come up with these proposals neglected to read the preamble. How times have changed since 1966.

‘A strong effort is being mounted by national organizations, including the American Cultural Resources Association, to oppose these changes, which will be aired at a congressional hearing on 21 April. They are part of a broader neo-conservative assault on all environmental protections, as evidenced by the recent opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploitation, a decision of breathtaking irresponsibility.’

Celebrating Hoskins

Again from British Archaeology is an enjoyable review by our Fellow Matthew Johnson of the legacy of W G Hoskins’s The Making of the English Landscape, which was published fifty years ago. One of Hoskins’ strengths was the lucidity and clarity of his writing, but he felt that this very virtue might originally have stood in the way of his acceptance by the academic community: ‘I once wrote a book’, he said, ‘with the simple title of The Making of the English Landscape, but I should have called it The Morphogenesis of the Cultural Environment to make the fullest impact’.

Hoskins has more recently been accused of being cosy, romantic and ‘tolerant’ (since when has that been a sin?) in his celebration of the English landscape. Surely such accusations can only come from minds determined to find fault in everything: there is nothing inherently sentimental, white, middle class or cosy in Hoskins’s message that landscape is like music: ‘if instead of hearing merely a symphonic mass of sound, we are able to isolate the themes as they enter, to see how one by one they are intricately woven together and by what magic new harmonies are produced … then the total effect is immeasurably enhanced. So it is with the landscapes of historic depth and physical variety that England shows everywhere. Only when we know all the themes and harmonies can we begin to appreciate its true beauty.’

Sadly, anyone reading Hoskins now might struggle to understand what it was that so excited him about the English landscape. So much that once gave character to our landscapes — the once commonplace hedgerows, ridge and furrow and barrow mounds — have been ploughed out and grubbed up since 1955 — that it is doubtful that anyone could write such a sunny and optimistic book today.

There are still places on the Hoskins’s anniversary conference being held at Leicester University on 7 to 10 July: further information from our Fellow Christopher Dyer.

Archaeology in Cambridge and Huntingdon

The many Fellows who live in Cambridge might be interested to know that the town’s largest ever excavation is taking place at the moment, on part of the Saxon and medieval town that straddles the King’s Ditch (the town boundary until the nineteenth century). Our Fellow Alison Taylor reports that, in preparation for a new shopping complex, Cambridge Archaeological Unit is excavating through eighteenth and nineteenth-century building layers (where assemblages of high class finds seem to belie the description of area recorded later in the nineteenth-century as a slum), through a horticultural layer that covered the site behind the street frontage after the end of the Middles Ages, and into Saxon and medieval deposits beneath. So far only small sections of the King’s Ditch itself have been found, the rest of it being destroyed by shops and a multi-storey car park in the 1970s. However, with work planned to continue until September, more of the remains hinted at by Biddle and Addyman’s work in the 1960s, and by Harvey Sheldon and John Alexander in the 1970s, are expected. Open days are planned in late May. Contact Alison Dickens for further information.

Meanwhile in Huntingdon, Alison reports that the back plots of nearly half the medieval town and a large part of the Saxon burh are due to be developed, preceded by excavations by Cambridgeshire County Council Archaeological Field Unit. The first phase of excavation relates to the rear of plots fronting on to the market, with rows of ovens, pits and boundary markers. Most of these are twelfth- to fourteenth-century, with Saxon Thetford wares occurring near the River Ouse. Some of the boundaries continue on medieval alignments up to the nineteenth century. A significant Saxon discovery is a line of massive square postholes near the river, thought to be part of the boundary to the burghal town. There are changing exhibitions of finds from the excavations in the Cromwell Museum, Huntingdon. Extensive further work is planned in the near future as development proceeds. For further information contact Rachel Clarke or Richard Mortimer.

Abbey House, Whitby, to be a youth hostel

The Heritage Lottery Fund has given over £1 million to the Youth Hostels Association for England and Wales (YHA) to convert Abbey House, a Grade I-listed building overlooking the historic town and right next door to the abbey. The grant will be used to restore the house, remove the unsympathetic alterations carried out in the early 1980s and create a 100-bed YHA flagship youth hostel. The surrounding Grade II-listed gardens will also be restored.

The feminine side of the marauding Viking

The Scotsman reports on a DNA study which suggests that Viking settlers in Scotland included far more Viking women than had previously been thought: the traditional picture of bachelor men on the rampage is being replaced by the idea that overseas settlers brought women over to settle the lands they had conquered. However, it appears that Viking ‘wives’ refused to go deeper into Scotland, with little evidence they made it as far as the Western Isles.

Researchers from Oxford University took DNA samples from 500 residents of Shetland to identify genetic traits which they share with modern Scandinavian populations. By examining two elements of DNA, one that is passed from father to son and one passed down the female lineages, they worked out the gender balance of the original Viking populations. Dr Sara Goodacre, who conducted the research with colleagues from Oxford University, said: ‘Contrary perhaps to people’s image of Vikings, we did find evidence of a lot of females outside Scandinavia. Viking family groups were much more evident in such places as Orkney and Shetland. The genetic balance becomes much more male orientated the further away from Scandinavia you move to such places as the Western Isles. Colonial strongholds would have been more secure the closer to home they were.’

Alex Woolf, a lecturer at the University of St Andrews, said: ‘The way that the Norse language did not spread south of Mull and Ardnamurchan also backs up this DNA theory of Viking migration. In northern Scotland, Norse took hold, suggesting that male Vikings moved over with their families.’

The evidence has been disputed by archaeologists. Dr Mary MacLeod, an archaeologist who specialises on the Western Isles, said there was evidence from burial sites in the area of Viking female settlers. She said: ‘There has been work on the Viking heritage of these islands which found a burial ground of people from Oslo fjords which included women as well as men.’

Spoliation Advisory Panel says British Library must give back Benevento Missal

The British Library has been asked to return a twelfth-century manuscript looted during the Second World War from the southern Italian city of Benevento. The ruling marks the first time that a cultural object plundered during the Second World War and held in a British national collection will be returned to its rightful owners.

The Missal is written in Beneventan script (known as Benevento VI 29 or Egerton 3511) and is of particular interest to scholars because it contains early examples of musical notation. The manuscript was brought back to England by Captain Douglas Ash, then a young intelligence officer in the Royal Artillery. Ash sold the Missal at auction through Sotheby's in 1947 when it was bought for £420 by the London dealer Bernard Quaritch, who subsequently sold it to the British Library.

The independent Spoliation Advisory Panel, a body set up in 2000 by the UK Government to assess claims on art in national collections alleged to have been looted during the Nazi era, has now ruled that the Missal must be returned: it will now be transferred to the Chapter Library in its home city on loan until the law is changed to make the arrangement permanent. Parliament has to make a small amendment to the British Library Act before the Missal can be handed back permanently. Arts Minister Estelle Morris welcomed the panel's findings, saying: ‘I know that the British public would be unhappy to know that a cultural institution in this country contained a work which had been identified as being wrongfully separated from its rightful owners during this period, and nothing had been done to right that wrong.’

Lynne Brindley, the chief executive of the British Library, said she would begin negotiations over the details of the loan. ‘The library will be seeking to ensure that the loan meets rigorous conditions which will guarantee that appropriate levels of stewardship and scholarly access will be maintained’, she said.

Basement dig reveals glittering prizes

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has mounted a new exhibition of objects never before seen by the public that have come not from new excavations, but rather from the museum’s own basement, where about 40,000 objects are in store. The exhibition is the first of a planned series entitled ‘Masterpieces of the Egyptian Museum Basement’. Wafaa El Saddik, the museum's director, commented that: ‘We have so many objects which are hidden away; every day we find something interesting.’ A highlight of the new exhibition is the treasure of Doush, a hoard of gold jewellery found in a clay pot by French archaeologists in the Western Desert in the 1990s: it dates from the second century AD and is thought to have been looted from a Roman temple near Kharga oasis, 375 miles from Cairo. It includes a collar of seventy-seven pendants carrying the image of the god Serapis and a beautifully wrought diadem of golden vine leaves.

Dinosaur-dung memorial

Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire is to erect a bronze memorial on its village green in the form of a pile of dinosaur excrement. It will be a memorial to the wealth brought to parts of Cambridgeshire in the nineteenth century by mining fossilised dung for fertiliser. David Billings, a former teacher, won a competition to design a sculpture that best captured the village's past: the parish council has agreed to pay £5,000 towards the monument and South Cambridgeshire district council will meet the other half of the £10,000 bill.

Export ban on Blake's vision of 'Blair's Grave'

In one of her last decisions as Arts Minister, Estelle Morris, placed a temporary export bar of up to six months on nineteen watercolours by William Blake designed for an edition of The Grave, an gloomy 800-line meditation on mortality and redemption written in 1743 by the Scottish poet Robert Blair. The paintings resurfaced in a Glasgow bookshop four years ago in an inscribed leather case — seven were previously unknown to scholars and the remainder were last seen in public in the 1830s. To prevent the export of the paintings, a public collection in this country will have to come up with a ‘matching’ offer of £8.8 million, excluding VAT. The chances of a British collection raising sufficient funds appear slim, however. Tate Britain, which already has 177 Blake works, would appear to be the only serious contender. A gallery spokesman welcomed the export block but would only say: ‘Tate is considering its position in relation to this important group of works.’

St Paul's blocks Essex wind farm plans

St Paul's Cathedral has pulled the plug on plans to build England's largest onshore wind farm on a remote stretch of coastal marshland around the Essex villages of Bradwell-on-Sea and Tillingham. The cathedral owns 1,000 acres in the area thanks to a gift made by the King of Kent in AD 604. People living in about 850 village homes and scattered farms feared that the twenty-six 400-ft tall wind turbines would destroy the unspoiled coastal marshes, threaten the thousands of migrating wildfowl and waders and cause noise pollution from the so-called ‘blade thump’ of the turbines. Christian groups were also worried that the constant noise could destroy the tranquillity of St Peter-on-the-Wall, built by St Cedd of Lindisfarne in AD 654.

Delays in rescue plan for school Latin

The newly elected Pope, Benedict XVI, has made it clear that he wishes Latin to be restored to its former role as the universal language of the Roman Catholic Church. Will Griffiths, the director of the Cambridge Schools Classics Project, based at Cambridge University has warned that shortage of teachers and delays in the implementation of online learning materials could mean that Latin disappears from the state school syllabus within ten years and from the independent sector in the next quarter of a century.

Last year, out of 600,000 sixteen-year-olds sitting GCSEs, 9,886 students took Latin (3,758 were from state schools). Plans to revive interest in the classical language centre on a £4.5 million Department for Education and Skills scheme to create a package of books, CDs, study aids and ‘e-tutors’ to answer pupils’ questions by e-mail and help to mark work, without relying on specialist classroom teachers.

The project has been successfully piloted in fifty schools (where the number of pupils opting to learn Latin has trebled) but errors and delays mean that the programme has not yet been rolled out nationally. ‘The delay in this project has meant another 200,000 pupils have lost their chance to learn Latin, and we have been told not to expect the software in time for September 2005’, says Will Griffiths. Responding to Mr Griffiths’s concerns, the Department for Education has said that ‘the resource has been an immense undertaking. Part 1 has completed the final stage of testing and Part 2 is at an advanced stage of testing. Both will be available shortly.’

Archaeologist finds 'oldest porn statue'

You would think that Guardian readers were too high-minded to be interested in pornography, but one story has been hovering at the top of the list of ‘most-popular’ articles on the newspaper’s website for several weeks, proving that Guardian readers have more in common with readers of The Sport than they might like to think. The story concerns the discovery of the 7,200-year-old remnants of a sculpture of a man and a woman. The two figures were found at separate parts of the site in Saxony by Harald Stäuble of the Archaeological Institute of Saxony, based in Dresden. Dr Sträuble found that the two figures fitted together and reported that: ‘There are two ways of looking at this. The first is that they were doing a ritual dance, but the other possibility is that the man and woman were copulating and that he was standing behind her. The copulation option is far more likely, and would make this the oldest representation ever of a pornographic scene.’ ‘This is such an interesting discovery,’ Dr Sträuble went on to say, ‘as these figurines are not stylistic, but realistic’.

Genealogists say family historians need psychotherapy

The Society of Genealogists is concerned that amateur historians who stumble across unpleasant discoveries while researching their family history could need counselling to help them through the emotional process. Else Churchill, a genealogy officer at the society, said: ‘People can be dealing with many serious things — from discovering your ancestor was a rapist who was deported to Australia to finding out you are adopted. Having trained counsellors on hand could help. My job as a genealogist ends when I have put the whats and the whos together, but there needs to be a continued support.’

Family history has become an increasingly popular pursuit in recent years, aided by the publication of census returns on the internet and the proliferation of television genealogy programmes. It is estimated that Britain now has some four million amateur genealogists, most of whom are ill-prepared for discovering illegitimacy, incest or crime in the family. Such discoveries can ‘come as a huge shock; counselling would be a good idea’, according to Sally Angel, who works for an archive research agency, and who has now undertaken training as a psychotherapist in order to help clients to deal with such discoveries.

But what about those who don’t discover any dark family secrets? A survey conducted by 1837online.com, a genealogical website, found that many amateur historians were motivated precisely because they hoped to unearth a family skeleton; perhaps the disappointment at not finding a long-buried secret is just as likely to cause trauma.

Clue to earliest American may lie in Suffolk grave

The Diocese of St Edmondsbury and Ipswich, the Council of the Care of Churches and the Home Office have all given permission to archaeologists to obtain a DNA sample from the bones of a Suffolk woman buried 400 years ago. Elizabeth Gosnold Tilney, who lies in the chapel of Shelley All Saints Church in Suffolk, was the sister of Bartholomew Gosnold, Captain of the Godspeed and co-founder of the Jamestown colony in America. The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) discovered what it believes to be Gosnold’s grave two years ago. William Kelso, the APVA director of archaeology, said: ‘Based on the archaeological evidence and forensic analysis, we are confident that the remains excavated at Jamestown are those of Bartholomew Gosnold. If we can find matching DNA, we will have done everything possible to confirm the identity of this great man and raise awareness about his contribution to the founding of the United States.’

A spokeswoman for the APVA said that Gosnold was the ‘most overlooked of the country’s founders … Gosnold was the principal promoter, vice-admiral and one of the most influential leaders of the Jamestown colony, which eventually gave birth to the development of the United States. America’s English language, rule of law and representative government all evolved from the pioneering efforts of Gosnold and others at Jamestown’.

Looking for the real Shakespeare

On the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) announced that the 'Flower Shakespeare', a portrait of the poet and dramatist claimed to have been painted during his lifetime, dates from the nineteenth century. The discovery is the first step in a year-long study of the six works with the best claim to be contemporary portraits of the playwright. The gallery will reveal the full results early next year.

The ‘Flower Shakespeare’, owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and displayed at its headquarters in Stratford-upon-Avon, is so named because it was given to Stratford in 1895 by the Flower family of brewers. The unknown artist painted the inscription ‘Willm Shakespeare 1609’ in the top left corner. Microscopic examination of pigments in the paint shows that it contains chrome yellow and French ultramarine, which were not available until 1818 and 1826 respectively. Experts also ruled out the possibility that they had been used to repair an older work. The painting’s first recorded owner, in 1840, lived in Peckham, south London. The portrait was painted over a much earlier religious painting, now identified by the NPG as a minor Florentine work of the 1540s, showing the Madonna and Child with John the Baptist.

The most widely accepted likenesses of Shakespeare are a bust at his burial place of Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, and the engraved portrait by Droeshout that appeared on the First Folio of his collected plays, seven years after his death in 1623. Two other pictures with strong claims to be contemporary are the undated ‘Chandos Shakespeare’, the first painting given to the newly founded National Portrait Gallery in 1856, and the ‘Grafton Shakespeare’ at the John Rylands Gallery in Manchester, which bears an inscription saying it was painted in 1588, when the playwright was 24.

A letter subsequently published in the Daily Telegraph on 23 April chastised the NPG for spending so much time and money ‘discovering’ that the Flower Shakespeare wasn’t a contemporary portrait, saying that it had been established in the 1950s that the painting must be based on the first folio portrait, because it replicates a mistake in the Droeshout woodcut, where the left-hand side of the portrait depicts the front of the sitter’s doublet, but the right-hand side depicts the rear. The correspondent reminds the NPG of a G K Chesterton witticism, to the effect that ‘The man before you has, with the greatest determination, discovered what has been found before’.

Rubbish at The Rose

Another good Shakespeare’s birthday story, published in The Guardian on St George’s Day, said that archaeologists have finally got round to sifting through all the Elizabethan rubbish that they found during the excavation of The Rose theatre, sixteen years ago.

Julian Bowsher, one of the archaeologists who worked on the rescue site in 1989, has been sifting sacks of soil taken from the site and has found pieces of the clay boxes into which members of the audience placed the coins that they paid in admission to the theatre along with bottles, fruit stones, nutshells and shellfish and tobacco pipes in such quantities as to suggest that the audience smoked, drank and chomped their way through snacks throughout the performances. Other finds included parts of costumes, shoes, silver pennies from under the seats, a razor and a mummified rat.

Hard dating evidence for rock art at Creswell Crags

Dr Alistair Pike of Bristol University is presenting evidence for the rock art at Creswell Crags at the British Rock Art Group conference being held at the university this weekend (23 and 24 April). The results establish once and for all the authenticity and Ice-Age antiquity of the rock art. Dating rock art is difficult, especially if there are no charcoal-based black pigments that can be radiocarbon dated. However, scientists from Bristol, Sheffield and The Open Universities have been able to measure minute traces of radioactive uranium in the thin limestone crusts that have coated the engravings, formed in the same way as stalagmites. As a result they have dated the paintings to around 10,800 BC. The paintings depict animals such as the European Bison (now extinct in Britain), female dancers and birds or — depending on the view of the archaeologist — female genitalia.

Museum inquiry into provenance of ancient bowls

University College London (UCL) has set up a committee of inquiry into the provenance of 650 Aramaic incantation bowls loaned to the Petrie Museum by Martin Schoyen, a Norwegian tycoon who has built up one of the world’s finest collections of antiquities in private hands. The bowls were loaned for research and cataloguing and were exported from Jordan, but their country of origin may have been Iraq, the site of ancient Mesopotamia.

Members of the Committee include our Fellow, Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, who is among scholars who have questioned the provenance of the material, and David Freeman, founder and senior partner of D J Freeman, solicitors. Michael Worton, UCL’s vice-provost, said that in setting up the committee of inquiry, they hoped to develop guidelines that will help other universities to handle antiquities that lack a detailed provenance.

He said when the bowls were lent to the Petrie in 1996 there was no specific regulation on the university accepting cultural objects: ‘Indeed, until recently, most universities have taken a relaxed approach to the acquisition of such objects, with academic staff acquiring and publishing research and teaching collections. To restrict such activities would have been seen as restricting academic freedom. However, in the 21st century new principles and policies are emerging. In 2002, the UK signed up to the 1970 Unesco convention on illicit cultural trade and in 2003 the UK implemented the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act. Intelligence on the pillaging of archaeological sites has greatly increased and attitudes are changing.’

Feedback on Salon 113

Thanks to Andrew Pike, FSA, for pointing out that Salon 113 omitted to say where the pioneering iron-framed Ditherington Flax Mill, rescued by English Heritage, is located: it is, of course, in Shrewsbury, just under a mile north of the town centre. Whilst it was built as a flax mill, Andrew adds, its last use was as a maltings, for which some new buildings and extensions to the original structure were added.

English Heritage has published a Position Statement responding to the story in The Times (and originally in British Archaeology) concerning the threat to Hadrian’s Wall from visitor erosion. The statement says that ‘the management and maintenance of the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail is the responsibility of the Countryside Agency and highway authorities. English Heritage plays an advisory role. Before the trail was set up, English Heritage urged that monitoring systems were put in place to flag up any issues at an early stage. These systems have proven to be doing their job and have identified areas of erosion. But this is not irreversible damage and can be and indeed is being addressed largely through management mechanisms. Reports that Hadrian’s Wall is on the World Heritage “in danger” list are not true. We are holding meetings with our partners to resolve these issues’.

Kate Clark, FSA, wrote to draw Fellows’ attention to the Getty Conservation Institute report on Hadrian’s Wall, to which she contributed. This takes a pioneering look at how values associated with the site are understood, articulated and taken into account in the site’s management policies. The Hadrian’s Wall report is one of four case studies that do not attempt to measure the success of a given management model; rather, they illustrate and explain how different groups have dealt with the protection of values in their management efforts, and how they are helped or hindered by legislation, regulations and other policies. The case studies, Kate says, will be useful for anyone teaching heritage management or grappling with the complexities of value-based management.

As with the Witham Bowl, the Hadrian’s Wall story seems to have been timed perfectly for a Monday morning when there was momentarily no news between all the pomp and circumstance of the Royal wedding, reported in the Sunday newspapers, and the Conservative manifesto, launched later on that same Monday morning. Peter Fowler, FSA, says that ‘the story ran all day with umpteen interviews, culminating with Eddie Mair on Radio 4s ‘PM’ programme, but I didn't make it to ‘Today’, which was what I hoped (but I did do CBS News, so I was able to compare Hadrian’s Wall with NPS sites like Yosemite, where they have “people rationing”, and rangers, which is what HW needs — nobody is there on the ground doing day-to-day maintenance).’ Nobody, Peter goes on to say ‘is suggesting now that it [the Long Distance Path] be removed, for it is a fait accompli, but it is because of it, and its promotion, that an already delicate situation has been seriously acerbated and, as a result, requires a management input of a scale and quality that is at the moment neither present nor planned.’

Perhaps the final word on the subject came in a letter to The Times from a Mr Gerry Orme who claimed that walkers on Hadrian’s Wall were simply ‘exercising their Right to Rome’.

International wetland conference in Edinburgh

The 2005 WARP (Wetland Archaeology Research Project) conference, organised by SWAP (the Scottish Wetland Archaeology Programme) and supported by Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, will be hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on 21 to 23 September 2005. It will be worldwide in scope, and will focus in particular on peatland, lacustrine and alluvial/estuarine archaeology. Papers/posters on these themes are welcomed. The conference will consist of two days of lectures followed by a day-long field trip. There will be evening receptions at the Royal Commission and the National Museum of Scotland, and a conference dinner and ceilidh on the last night. For more information, contact Alison Sheridan or see the Scottish Wetlands website.

Secret Heritage of London lectures

The Secret Heritage of London’s free lecture series continues with the ‘Secrets of Bromley Hall, Bromley-by-Bow’ on 17 May by Andy Wittrick, Senior Architectural Investigator at English Heritage, and Paul Latham, architect, at English Heritage Lecture Theatre, 23 Savile Row, London W1, at 6pm for 6.30pm. On 15 June, Steven Robb, Historic Buildings Inspector at English Heritage, will speak about ‘The Stuart Royal Family's Secret Visits to London’, at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, at 6pm for 6.30pm. Send an SAE, indicating the number of tickets required, to the Heritage of London Trust at 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET.

LAMAS 150th anniversary lecture series

The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its foundation with a series of lectures, being held at the Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2. The next two in the series are being given by Martin Biddle, FSA, on ‘London in the First Millennium: an outsiders’ view of some of the big problems that continue to haunt us’ (11 May at 6.30 pm) and Maev Kennedy, The Guardian's arts and heritage correspondent, on ‘Broadsheet archaeology: a narrowing space?’ (15 June at 6.30 pm). Tickets (£3 for members of LAMAS, £5 for non-members) are available from John Clark, LAMAS, Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN (cheques to London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, with SAE for tickets please). Tickets will also be available at the door.

ASPRoM’s 52nd symposium

The 52nd symposium of ASPRoM (the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics) will take place at the Brading Roman villa, Isle of Wight, on 14 May 2005. It will be preceded in the morning (11am) by a tour of the villa. The afternoon talks (2—5 pm) will take place in the new visitor centre and will include David Low on ‘The development of the new cover building’, Kevin Trott on ‘The archaeology of the Brading villa’, Tony King, FSA, on ‘The mosaic at Yarford, Taunton’, Carol Edwards on ‘The conservation of the mosaics at Brading’, and Steve Cosh, FSA, on ‘The mosaics of the Isle of Wight’. Non-members are welcome. Further information can be found on the ASPRoM website.

SAVE Britain's Heritage's annual book sale

Always a good social occasion as well as a chance to browse and buy, SAVE’s annual book sale will take place on 17 May from 12 noon to 7pm at 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ. Focusing on architectural conservation and heritage, there will be a wide range of publications for sale from a variety of preservation societies — a must for everyone interested in architectural history, conservation and restoration, and the built heritage. If you want to sell publications at this event, there are still a few tables available: these are free of charge, but you must book one in advance. Contact Dale Ingram.

The Potential of Buildings Archaeology and Building Materials

To be held on 9 June at Mortimer Wheeler House (LAARC), 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1, this day-long seminar organised by the IFA’s Finds, Buildings Archaeology and Archaeological Ceramic Buildings Materials Groups will look feature (amongst others) Ian Betts of MoLAS on ‘Building Materials Research: past success, future problems?’, David Barker, FSA, on ‘The Staffordshire Potteries; an archaeological approach’, and Stephen Deane, of Staffordshire County Council, on ‘The Role of Research Agendas and Data in the Historic Environment. Further details from Catherine Cavanagh.

Roman and transitional sites wanted for Channel 4’s Big Dig

Channel 4 is still looking for Roman and transitional sites for this summer’s Roman Dig live TV event, which goes out in the first week of July. The producers hope to feature existing projects and to film in the capacity of observers, although there is some funding available to help extend the range of research questions being asked where a site warrants it, or to help out with post-excavation work, professional staffing or geophysics.

Channel 4 is especially keen to find sites that illustrate archaeologically the transition from Roman Britain to the early medieval period. It is, for example, looking at a site in the Midlands where a large Roman roadside settlement appears to have an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery cut into the top of it and it is interested in sites similar to this that display any kind of spatial relationship between Roman and post-Roman archaeology.

Fellows involved in suitable sites are asked to contact Nick Corcos at Time Team’s Big Roman Dig before 27 April at or tel: 0208 735 5283/4.

Museums and galleries reveal their 'Objects of Desire'

The annual Museums and Galleries Month will be launched on 27 April at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales. This year's theme is to be ‘Objects of Desire: the art of collecting’. Full details can be found on the MGM website.

On Saturday 30 April, the Portable Antiquities Scheme will be hosting ‘Fabulous Finds Days’ at museums around the country, when the public can bring finds and treasures for identification by curators and experts. These events are designed to attract new visitors to local museum venues and to reach families and young people whose previous experiences of museums may have been limited to school trips.

More information about Fabulous Finds Days can be found on the 24-hour museum website.

Vacancies

Church of England, Chairman for the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England
Non-salaried, voluntary post (expenses are paid)

The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England is a statutory body, set up under the Care of Cathedrals Measure 1990, to operate and oversee the Church’s own system of controls over works to cathedrals. The position of Chairman is about to become vacant when our Fellow Professor Averil Cameron, who has held the position since 1999, moves on. This is a huge job, but very rewarding, for anyone who has the necessary time and commitment: its functions and duties are set out in detail on the Church of England website.

The National Assembly for Wales, Head of Cadw
Salary £54,788 to £76,156, closing date 11 May 2005

The Head of Cadw leads a multi–disciplinary workforce including professional and technical specialists. Its turnover is £17 million per annum, of which £4 million is earned income. As a unit within the Welsh Assembly Government, Cadw’s Head provides advice to Ministers on the protection and promotion of the historic environment of Wales. This includes programmes to extend statutory protection, the management of a number of grant schemes and the conservation and presentation of 127 unstaffed and staffed monuments in state care.

If you are interested in applying for this post, you will need to have gained at least five years’ experience at a senior management level with demonstrable financial management ability. You will have the ability to allocate and manage resources and the ability to handle issues of political sensitivity. Experience of managing the historic environment will be a definite advantage but even more important will be a clear understanding of how the special historic environment of Wales can support the wider aims of the Assembly Government.

For downloadable copies of the job specification and application forms, see the National Assembly for Wales website.

Research Director, English Heritage, based in London or Swindon
Salary c £55,000, closing date 16 May 2005

Reporting to the Director of Research and Standards, you will champion built environment and archaeological research within and beyond English Heritage, develop innovative work of the highest quality, and help build the necessary capacity within the sector through training, standard-setting and outreach. You will manage 140 staff from the following areas: aerial, buildings, landscape and measured survey, archaeological projects and science, photography and graphics, and the Survey of London, and be responsible for a budget of approximately £7.5m.

You will have an impressive track record of publishing and delivering projects in one or more of the specialist areas stated above and at least five years’ senior management experience, including substantial experience of managing budgets. You will be a committed and enthusiastic people manager who is able to lead and motivate staff and command respect from other managers and key stakeholders. Clear vision and practical planning skills will be combined with the ability to identify and achieve the research priorities of English Heritage and the sector, including forging partnerships with universities and voluntary organisations.

For an electronic application pack, please email recruitHQ@english-heritage.org.uk quoting R/54/05 in the subject box.