Salon Archive

Issue: 115

Forthcoming meetings

12 May: Otricoli in Umbria: a new survey of the Roman town of Ocriculum, by Simon Keay, FSA, and Martin Millet, FSA, with Sophie Hay

The Roman site at Otricoli on the Via Flaminia, 70 km north of Rome, was the subject of extensive excavations in the eighteenth century. Indeed, exploration of the site was integral with the development of the Museo Pio Clementino in the Vatican. The Sala Rotunda in the museum was designed around the mosaic excavated from the bath-house and many of the sculptures from the site were displayed there or elsewhere in galleries. Since the eighteenth century there has been comparatively little further work on the site, and although the remains of a number of substantial buildings are open to visit, an understanding of the overall topography of this complex site has remained elusive.

Since 1997, we have been undertaking survey work on the site as part of a broader project examining Roman towns in the Tiber Valley. In this lecture we will present a preliminary account of the work, demonstrating the nature of its urban topography and showing the complementary use of different techniques of non-destructive survey. Our fieldwork provides new evidence for large-scale Roman engineering work in modifying the topography of the site as well as illustrating its continuing richness as a source of sculptural finds.

19 May: Rebuilding a Printing House: the archive of John Nichols and his family, printers, antiquaries and editors of the Gentleman's Magazine, 1745—1873, by Julian Pooley, FSA

John Nichols (1745—1826) will be familiar to many Fellows as the historian of Leicestershire, biographer of Hogarth, editor of Swift, friend of Johnson and a skilled printer who designed the type for the first printed facsimile of Domesday Book. His son, John Bowyer Nichols (1779—1863), and grandson, John Gough Nichols (1806—73), were equally illustrious printers and antiquaries. As printers and editors of the Gentleman’s Magazine between 1778 and 1856, the Nichols family were integral to the antiquarian network, collaborating with Richard Gough, John Carter and John Britton to encourage the study of the materials of the past. Their correspondents were numerous and their surviving correspondence is enormous. This paper will trace the accumulation and dispersal of their amazing archive of printing and antiquarian history.

26 May: From Egypt to the Coromandal Coast: Rome’s eastern trade, by David Peacock, FSA, and Roberta Tomber, FSA

Rome’s trade with the East, a facet of the ancient world that is almost stranger than fiction, has always been a point of fascination despite the limited archaeological evidence. Recent work throughout the region has revealed new evidence of the sites and objects involved in this trade. The paper will begin by outlining the results of recent excavations at Quseir al-Qadim in Egypt and field survey at Adulis in Eritrea. It will then discuss the Indian sites and the trade objects of Mediterranean origin as well as evaluating Indian imports into the Roman world.


Three Fellows held in great affection by their friends, family and colleagues passed on recently.

Brian Hartley died peacefully in York on 26 April 2005, aged 75 years. Brian’s funeral is to be held at St Olave's Church, Marygate, York, on 9 May at 1.15 pm, and all friends are invited. A memorial service to be held at a date and place to be announced. Brian’s widow, Elizabeth Hartley, who is also a Fellow, says that the best memorial to Brian’s life is the 1998 festschtrift, Form and Fabric: studies in Rome's material past in honour of B R Hartley — being mainly dedicated to Roman pottery and Samian studies, edited by our Fellow Joanna Bird (Oxbow Monograph 80).

Geoffrey Dannell, FSA, adds that since 1998, Brian has been fully engaged, together with his assistant Brenda Dickinson, FSA, in the revision of Felix Oswald's Index of Potters' Stamps on Terra Sigillata, and that over 3,500 pages of manuscript existed at the time of his death. Brenda, along with Brian’s friends, students and colleagues, plans to complete the work as soon as possible.

Graham Ritchie died on 27 April 2005 at the age of 62. David Breeze, FSA, writes that Graham was a member of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland from 1965 to 1998, retiring as Head of Archaeology. Graham was one of those rare people who was equally at home preparing the precise entries required for Royal Commission inventories and writing the popular accounts which bring the fruits of field work to the attention of wider audiences. It is not surprising that he was in much demand as a lecturer and tour guide. Graham's interests were wide ranging. His core research lay in the Neolithic and Bronze Age, but he wrote about Celtic weapons, Roman material on native sites, Pictish symbol stones and even developed an interest in archaeoastronomy. He was a prolific writer with over a hundred publications to his credit.

‘Graham served on the Council of this Society. He was also a staunch supporter of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, serving as President from 1999 to 2002, during which time he had the unusual distinction of delivering two of the Rhind lectures in 2000.’

Dr Babette Evans, FSA, FRHistS, died on 3 May. Dr Alan McWhirr, FSA, says that Babette joined the then University College Leicester in 1946 as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of History, and was promoted to a Lectureship in 1948, and to a Senior Lectureship in 1962. In addition to holding the position of Head of the Department of History during the 1970s, she served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts between 1978 and 1981. Dr. Evans retired from the University in 1982. Dr Evans's funeral will be held at Gilroes Crematorium, Leicester, at 12.15 pm on 17 May. No flowers, but donations to LOROS should be sent c/o A J Adkinson & Son, Funeral Directors, 12 London Road, Oadby, Leicester, LE2 5DG (tel: 0116-2712340).

News of Fellows

Congratulations to Neil Jackson, FSA, currently Hoffman Wood Professor of Architectural Engineering at the University of Leeds, who has just been appointed a Professor in Architecture at the University of Liverpool, with effect from 1 September 2005.

Although it is only three days since the UK general election, the first by-election of this parliament has already been called for next month, to decide whether our Fellow Sir Patrick Cormack will return to the House of Commons as the MP for South Staffordshire. Voting in the constituency was cancelled following the untimely and regrettable death of the Liberal Democrat candidate Jo Harrison. Sir Patrick’s return to parliament is surely only a matter of time, given that he polled over 50 per cent of the vote at the last election (8 June 2001), with a majority of 6,881. After thirty-five years as an MP (he was first elected in 1970), Sir Patrick must surely be a candidate for the title of the ‘Father of the House’, a title traditionally bestowed on the Member who has the longest unbroken service in the Commons. Sir Patrick has also been editor of The House Magazine since 1983, the Salon equivalent for members of the Commons and the Lords: in the May issue Sir Patrick contributes an amusing campaign diary in which he reports being mistaken for the new Pope!

Feedback on Salon 114

Nick Merriman, FSA, Director of Museums & Collections and Reader in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, has written with further information concerning UCL's enquiry into the provenance of the 650 Aramaic bowls lent by Martin Schoyen. Nick says that ‘Dalya Alberge in The Times wrongly reported these as having been lent to the Petrie Museum. They were in fact lent to the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies and their existence only subsequently came to the attention of the museum professionals in UCL. The Petrie has always followed the Museums Association’s code of ethics, and, even before the UK signed up to the 1970 UNESCO Convention, followed its principles, and would not have borrowed such a collection without having made sure of the legitimacy of its provenance beforehand. One of the issues that the enquiry will examine is the collecting and borrowing of antiquities by university research staff operating outside the formal museum system, and we hope that the conclusions will be of use for the university sector as a whole.’

HEF congratulates Tessa Jowell on her reappointment

Speculation that Tony Blair’s post-election Cabinet reshuffle might lead to a fundamental rethink of the Cabinet structure, with the abolition of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (and a move for Tessa Jowell to the Department of Health) foundered on opposition from several leading Cabinet members. As a result, it is business as usual at the top of DCMS, with Tessa Jowell back as Secretary of State, although (at the time of writing) two junior Ministers have yet to be appointed to replace Andrew MacIntosh (former Heritage Minister) and Estelle Morris (former Arts Minister), both of whom have retired.

Last week’s call in Salon for the Historic Environment Forum (HEF) to be more visible and active as the voice of archaeology has not gone unheeded: our Fellow Pete Hinton, Chairman of HEF as well as Director of the Institute for Field Archaeologists, lost no time in despatching a letter to Tessa Jowell congratulating her on her reappointment as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, promising a response to her personal essay on Better Places to Live: Government, Identity and the Value of the Historic and Built Environment, and seeking an early meeting to discuss the issues raised by the Secretary of State in her IFA conference speech.

Copies of Better Places to Live can be downloaded from the DCMS website. The essay is important for its recognition that heritage has intrinsic value and its assertion that we should ‘stand up for what heritage can do for individuals in a way that nothing else can.’ If this signals a change at DCMS from critic to champion of heritage, it is greatly to be welcomed, and it would be a pity for the heritage community to let such a fundamental change of heart pass by without support or comment. Ms Jowell is seeking responses from individuals as well as organisations to the ideas presented in the essay, which are said to be ‘personal’, but no doubt will inform DCMS policy over the foreseeable months. Although no deadline has been set for responses, most contributions are likely to be sent over the next six weeks.

'The arts are a good thing.’ Discuss.

Whilst Tessa Jowell can assert that culture is good, her Treasury colleagues, economists who like to have the measure of everything, are apt to respond with the questions ‘how good? how do we know? how do we measure this good (and can we tax it)?’. New Labour’s insistence on ‘evidence-based policies’ has spawned a whole new area of heritage research, seeking to develop language and data with which to describe and quantify the benefits that society derives from culture.

DCMS, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund have all recruited economists to their policy teams in the last twelve months, and universities are busy competing for research council money to undertake such research, often adopting cross-departmental, multi-disciplinary approaches. Symptomatic of the trend is the announcement by the University of York that it is creating a new Research Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (see ‘Vacancies’ below), whilst Professor Oliver Bennett of Warwick University's Centre for Cultural Policy Studies has also just announced a three-year study to evaluate the social impact of the arts, funded jointly by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Arts Council.

Bennett and his research assistant, Eleonora Belfiore, are critical of work undertaken in this field in the past, saying that ‘Consultants rather than academics have been doing it, and sometimes it appears to be more about advocacy than research’. Says Belfiore: ‘I read one report on a ballet performance in Manchester, after which the audience were asked: “Do you feel happier?” Most of them said “yes”, from which the conclusion was drawn that a performance like this could have life-changing powers.’

Bennett and Belfiore are keen to remind sceptics that this kind of debate isn’t new: classicists will happily tell you what Socrates, Plato or Aristotle had to say on the subject, whilst Shelley, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Arnold, Carlyle and Morris were amongst the many who contributed to the passionate debate about human values that fascinated intellectuals during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Further developments can be expected during the summer: Tessa Jowell was due to preside over the launch of the new English Heritage research strategy in April. Postponed because of the election, it will now take place on 13 July, when the UK Historic Environment Research Group will also launch its strategy endorsing English Heritage’s recognition of the importance of rigorous research into the social and economic benefits of heritage.

Art and civilisation

Anyone thinking of writing to Tessa Jowell in response to her pamphlet could do worse than direct her attention to a fascinating article in this month’s Smithsonian Magazine which suggests that art (and the rituals surrounding its making) is so fundamental to the human psyche that it played a pivotal role in the transformation of human society from nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles to settlement and agriculture.

The article, by journalist and author Michael Balter, focuses on the work of our Fellow Ian Hodder at Catalhoyuk, the 9,500-year-old settlement in central Turkey, which our Fellow Lord Renfrew describes as ‘one of the most ambitious excavation projects currently in progress’. Bruce Trigger of Montreal’s McGill University, a noted historian of archaeology, adds that Hodder’s work at the site ‘is providing a new model of how archaeological research can and should be carried out’.

Balter notes that Hodder’s unorthodox approach — ‘combining scientific rigor and imaginative speculation to get at the psychology of Catalhoyuk’s prehistoric inhabitants’ — has generated controversy. The surfaces of many houses in the village are covered with murals of men hunting wild deer and cattle and of vultures swooping down on headless people. Some plaster walls bear reliefs of leopards and the site is rich in clay figurines of female figures. ‘Hodder is convinced that this symbol-rich settlement, one of the largest and best-preserved Neolithic sites ever discovered, holds the key to prehistoric psyches and to one of the most fundamental questions about humanity: why people first settled in permanent communities’.

Archaeologists have long debated what caused the Neolithic Revolution. Gordon Childe argued that the earth became warmer and drier about 11,500 years ago, when the last ice age came to an end, forcing people and animals to gather near rivers, oases and other water sources. From such clusters came communities. Childe’s theory has fallen out of favour because geologists and botanists now know that the climate after the ice age became wetter, not drier.

Lewis Binford argued that early humans initially lived where the hunting and gathering were best but competition for resources increased as populations grew, leading some people to move to the margins, where they resorted to domesticating plants and animals. This idea does not square with recent archaeological evidence that plant and animal domestication actually began in the optimal hunting and gathering zones of the Near East, rather than in the margins.

These traditional explanations for the Neolithic Revolution assume that farming and settlement went hand in hand. It is now clear from sites in Israel and Jordan that permanent human settlements of stone date back 14,000 years and pre-date the first documented agriculture in the Levantine Corridor by some 3,000 years.

Hodder is said to believe that the establishment of settled communities was the real turning point in civilisation, and that agriculture was a later consequence. Influenced by the theories of Jacques Cauvin, one of the first to champion the notion that the Neolithic Revolution was sparked by changes in psychology, Hodder is looking for evidence that settlement resulted from changes in human cognition. ‘Before humans could domesticate the wild plants and animals around them’, he says, ‘they had to tame their own wild nature — a psychological process expressed in their art.’

Because early sites are full of representations of death and wild animals, he believes that prehistoric humans had attempted to overcome their fear of wild nature, and of their own mortality, by bringing the symbols of death and the wild into their dwellings, thus rendering the threats psychologically harmless. Only then could they start domesticating the world outside.

Adding weight to Hodder’s theories is the siting of Catalhoyuk some seven miles from the closest arable land. Why would a farming community of 8,000 people establish a settlement so far from its fields? For Hodder, the explanation lies in the availability at Catalhoyuk of the rich deposits of dense clay used by the villagers to make figurines, plaster reliefs and painted wall surfaces. Catalhoyuk’s early settlers valued spirituality and artistic expression so highly that they located their village in the best place to pursue them. ‘They were plaster freaks’, Hodder says.

Among those who disagree with Hodder’s interpretations is our Fellow Ofer Bar-Yosef of Harvard Univeristy, who believes settlement became more attractive for hunter-gatherers when environmental and demographic pressures pushed them to keep their resources together, and our Fellow Curtis Runnels of Boston University who believes that the location of early Neolithic sites relates to the availability of spring water and river transport. Runnels has failed to find equivalent art in his extensive studies of prehistoric settlements in Greece. He accepts that there may well be other reasons why Catalhoyuk occupants settled where they did, even if it is not yet clear what they were. ‘Economic factors always seem a little inadequate to explain the details of Neolithic life, particularly at a site as interesting as Catalhoyuk’, Runnels says, ‘but my view is that Neolithic peoples first had to secure a dependable supply of food, then they could concentrate on ritual practices.’

But Hodder maintains that the people of Catalhoyuk gave a higher priority to culture and religion than to subsistence, and that ritual activity was the catalyst for settled communities. At 11,000-year-old Gobekli Tepe in south-eastern Turkey, a German team has uncovered stone pillars decorated with images of bears, lions and other wild animals. ‘These appear to be some sort of monuments, and they were built 2,000 years before Catalhoyuk’, Hodder says, ‘and yet there are no domestic houses in the early levels of settlement at Gobekli. The monuments appear to belong to some sort of ritual ceremonial centre. It is as if communal ceremonies come first, and that pulls people together. Only later do you see permanent houses being built.’

The article ends with a poignant description of a plaster-covered skull found last year at Catalhoyuk, which testifies to the significance of clay for the people of this prehistoric village. The find presents an enigmatic portrait of early human togetherness: a woman lying in her grave, embracing the painted skull of someone presumably very important to her for 9,000 years. ‘Whatever brought our ancestors together, it was enough to keep them together — in death as well as in life’, the article’s author concludes.

Lost treasure comes out of the closet

The Daily Telegraph reported last week that the Westminster Retable, described as ‘the earliest surviving oil painting in the country’, will shortly go on public display. For the last 400 years the 10ft by 3ft carved panel has been used as the roof of a cupboard housing effigies of monarchs made for their state funerals in the abbey. It has now undergone six years of painstaking conservation at the Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridge. Tree-ring analysis undertaken during the restoration has dated the panel to the 1260s, suggesting that it was commissioned by Henry III as part of his reconstruction of the abbey in French Gothic style in tribute to St Edward the Confessor in 1269.

‘The panel is a unique, a fantastic treasure’, according to Ian McClure, the director of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, who added that ‘It is so exquisitely painted that we can — thrillingly — show there was craftsmanship in this country in the thirteenth century every bit the equal of what was going on in Italy.’

The original effect was of a spectacular solid gold altarpiece decorated with jewels and paintings, according to Susan Foister, the director of collections at the National Gallery where the restored work will be put on exhibition from 18 May for four months. The impression of expensive opulence was created by using copper alloy, silver foil, pieces of glass and gold leaf to imitate jewels, porphyry and enamel, as well as ultramarine blue pigment extracted from lapis lazuli imported from Afghanistan. The retable is divided into five compartments with Christ at the centre, sheltering in his hand all creation, in the form of a tiny globe, delicately painted with trees, animals and birds, the waters of the earth and a sun and moon.

Gardener unearths Bronze Age hoard

Reuters reported last week that a man landscaping his garden in eastern England has unearthed a late Bronze Age hoard consisting of 145 items, including spear and axe heads, swords and metal-working tools. Alan West, curator of archaeology at Norwich Museum, described it as ‘one of the biggest late Bronze Age hoards ever found in Norfolk and up there among the major finds in Britain’. West said the latest find dated from around 800 BC, but that a Viking brooch had also been found with the hoard.

Cambria Archaeology to excavate Roman lead mine

Archaeologists from Cambria Archaeology, working with students from Birmingham and Lampeter universities, are to return to a site discovered last year in a peat bog near Borth in Ceredigion where the best-preserved example of a medieval track in Wales was found to overlie a Roman industrial estate, with evidence of lead mining. The dig at Llancynfelyn, near Borth, will begin on 31 May and end on 17 June. The medieval track is made up of thick wooden beams carbon dated to between AD 900 and 1020. An open day is planned at the site. Directions and more details of the event will be posted on Cambria Archaeology's website.

Is the Ripon Horn the oldest musical instrument in the UK?

Our Fellow Richard Hall, of York Archaeological Trust, is leading a study which aims to establish whether the Ripon charter horn, reputedly given to the North Yorkshire city in AD 886 by Alfred the Great, really is as old as is claimed. As Ripon prepares to celebrate the 400th anniversary of its second charter, granted by James I in 1605, the council has decided to have the horn recorded, but carbon dating has been ruled out as too invasive and damaging. Instead, Richard will attempt to date the horn on the basis of its decoration. ‘It is a most important piece of civic regalia and has an amazing story’, he said. ‘One of the important things we will be doing is making a detailed record of it with drawings and photographs and getting experts to look at the various bits of it because there could be a variety of dates’. He is sceptical of the horn dating to AD 886, however: ‘If it does, I would eat my hat because I would be very seriously surprised. We know Alfred had other things on his mind in the south of England in AD 886 not to be chasing about and giving Ripon ceremonial regalia.’ Dr Hall believes it is more likely that the horn dates from between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.

Visitors to Ripon from all over the world can witness the tradition of the horn being sounded at the four corners of the city’s obelisk every evening at 9pm. The horn used for the daily ceremony is a replica made in 1986, but the original Charter horn still plays an important role in the annual Mayor-making Ceremony held in mid-May.

English National Inventory Online at ArchSearch

The English Heritage National Monuments Record Centre and the Archaeology Data Service/AHDS Archaeology announced last week the inclusion of the English Heritage National Inventory within ArchSearch. Although the English National Inventory has now been online for some time via the NMR’s own facility, ArchSearch allows users to search several databases simultaneously, and this latest development means that researchers can follow up multiple leads or pull together resources that might otherwise be difficult: for example, it is now possible to interrogate the National Inventory for England and the National Monuments Record of Scotland for sites and monuments along the Anglo-Scottish border.

The National Inventory is the primary record of England's archaeological and architectural sites held by the National Monuments Record (NMR) and contains over 400,000 records. It encompasses the historic environment in its widest sense and includes archaeological, architectural and historical sites from earliest times to the present day, covering England and its territorial waters (the 12-mile limit).

The data set provides basic information about each site together with sources, archive and activity details as appropriate. Core elements of this data set are presented here with links for more information from PastScape, English Heritage's easy-to-use online resource that provides access to the National Inventory and related information. In addition, the new data set provides users with contact details and reference numbers for specific items of information held in the National Monuments Record Centre in Swindon.

Ecclesiastical Exemption in Wales

The Welsh Assembly Government’s Review of the System of Ecclesiastical Exemption in Wales has been published and is available on the Cadw website. The thirty-five-page report was prepared by Peter Howell, a former Deputy Chair of the Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societies and co-author of The Companion Guide to Wales. It concludes that Ecclesiastical Exemption should not be abolished in favour of bringing places of worship within the same regime as listed buildings, but it holds this out as a possibility for the future by recommending that Ecclesiastical Exemption procedures should more closely mirror those of the new heritage protection regime, which is in the process of being piloted in England and Wales. The report also contains a number of important recommendations for improving the operation of the existing system. These will be used as a basis for discussion with the relevant church and chapel authorities in Wales and they include closer monitoring for breaches in procedure or of conditions attached to grants for repairs to places of worship.

Swimmers win right to bath in Hampstead pond

After recent reports in Salon about the tyranny of local authorities and their insurers, desecrating cemeteries and graveyards and cutting down healthy veteran trees, it is good to be able to report one small victory over the risk-averse nanny state. The Hampstead Heath Winter Swimming Club recently won a High Court victory over the Corporation of London, which manages Hampstead Heath and wanted to stop members of the club meeting for early morning swimming in the Mixed Pond on the heath. The Corporation argued that it could be at risk of prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive if any of the club’s members were to suffer an accident. Mr Justice Burnton ruled that the Corporation had fallen into legal error and said that swimmers should be able to swim at their own risk. He said: ‘The Corporation's grant to the club of permission to swim unsupervised [ie when lifeguards are not present] … will not of itself render it liable to prosecution.’

Mary Kane, chair of the swimming club, said: ‘This was a test case with wide implications for all open water swimming in England and represents another successful attack by ordinary citizens on the government-sponsored cult of “health and safety”.’ Ms Kane added that the club was proud to have played its part ‘in re-establishing an important principle of personal freedom in this country, which is taken for granted everywhere else, that responsible adults must be free to decide for themselves whether to pursue recreational activities involving an element of risk.’

Campaigning to save Britain's orchards

The apple orchards of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Somerset, Devon and west Gloucestershire look particularly beautiful at the moment, dressed in abundant blossom and fresh green leaves, but campaigners for traditional orchards (such as Sue Clifford, of Common Ground) are having to work harder than ever to prevent the disappearance of this bucolic cultural landscape. An article in this week’s Guardian, entitled ‘Root for fruit’, reports that there are only 24,000 hectares of orchards left in England, and only 6,500 hectares of the traditional kind. A recent English Nature survey using sample areas, maps and aerial photographs reveals that Kent has lost 92 per cent of its orchards since 1946, and 38 per cent since 1990; Gloucestershire has lost 15 per cent since 1995. ‘We are now at the same point as we were with traditional wildflower meadows fifteen years ago, when we realised how valuable they were and how quickly they were disappearing’, says Heather Robertson, of English Nature.

Herefordshire, where cider making is still an important part of the economy, has the highest percentage of dual-purpose orchards in the UK — those producing cider and perry fruit and dessert and culinary fruit. The demand for organically produced fruit from the county’s traditional orchards comes mainly from small artisan cider and perry makers who produce specialist products using traditional methods.

Bulmers, meanwhile, the county’s largest commercial cider producer, is experimenting with biofuels as a means of using up the surplus from its more commercial orchards, planted over the last fifty years, where production substantially exceeds demand. Bioethanol produced from apples for use as a fuel is a renewable energy source that has the potential to eliminate 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and create £5m in earnings for the county.

Herefordshire also has 38 per cent of England's traditionally managed ‘standard’ orchards of tall old trees where grass is grazed by cattle or sheep. These are rich in wildlife and are gems of the cultural landscape. Many old orchards were grubbed out before lobbying by Britain to include traditional orchards in the EU's single farm payment scheme, introduced last year, and now there are moves to designate and protect those that remain.

In Shropshire, there are 5,000 old orchards, 90 per cent of which are in private gardens, and many of them are down to one tree. Grants are now available for people to plant new orchards, and campaigners in the county are encouraging rural communities to club together to buy equipment and learn how to manage the trees. In Devon, Ben Pike, Director of Orchard Link, says: ‘The future of orchards here will only be sustainable because of enthusiasts, not farmers or traditional growers. The boom in interest is fuelled by incomers — commercial orchards are not thriving.’

The demand for dry-stone walling in the US

Though we associate dry-stone walling with the Cotswolds and pastoral upland regions such as Dartmoor, the Lake District and Yorkshire, there are also hundreds of miles of dry-stone walls in America surviving as property boundaries from the colonial period, as well as more substantial structures that are now desperately in need of renovation, according to a recent report in the Independent.

As agriculture, industry and roadways developed over 200 years in colonial Vermont, for example, farmers used dry-stone methods to build houses, barns, slave quarters, spring houses, smoke houses and ice houses. Colonial towns have dry-stone court houses, clerk's offices, banks, shops, inns and churches, and dry-stone mills, dams, bridges, stream and pond borders, iron furnaces, lime kilns and distilleries. Few people in America have the skills to repair and renovate these early structures, and UK craftsmen are reported to be earning a good living exporting their skills to America where they can earn in six months what it takes a year to earn back home.

The paper quotes the example of Mr Helmsing who retrained as a dry-stone waller, having been made redundant when the Blue Circle cement works closed in Co Durham, and who is now a wealthy man, with a thriving business and a string of apprentices.

Inland Waterways Association announces diamond anniversary plans

The Inland Waterways Association, formed in February 1946, is planning a year of celebrations in 2006 to highlight the IWA’s achievements and enlist support for existing and potential canal restoration and enhancement projects: full details of proposed activities are on the IWA’s website.

The IWA was the brainchild of L T C Rolt whose best-selling book, Narrow Boat (1944), contained an account of the Rolts’ honeymoon when, in 1939, he and his new bride, Angela, set of in the narrow boat Cressy to explore what was left of the UK’s fast-declining inland waterways. Rolt and literary agent Robert Aickman decided to form a society to campaign for canal regeneration, holding the inaugural meeting of the Inland Waterways Association on 15 February 1946 in Robert Aickman’s flat at 11 Gower Street. More than 500 miles of canal and river navigation have since been re-opened to the public use and a further 500 miles of derelict inland waterways are currently the subject of restoration plans, including the ambitious plan to restore the Cotswold Canals, constructed in the late eighteenth century to link the rivers Thames and Severn.

Seminar on Research and Management at World Heritage Sites

Several Fellows are chairing sessions or giving papers at a seminar to be held on 25 May at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, to compare approaches to excavation, research, conservation, access and interpretation at World Heritage Sites in Malta (the Hagar Qim temples, the Brochtorff Circle, Xaghra and Gozo), Wiltshire (Avebury and Stonehenge) and Turkmenistan (Ancient Merv). Peter Fowler, FSA, will sum up the day and there will be contributions from Fellows Caroline Malone, Tim Schadla-Hall and Tim Williams. Free admission, no ticket required; further information from Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger.

Lettice Sweetapple Weekend

To mark the bi-centennial of the burial of Lettice Sweetapple at West Overton church on 5 August 1805, a memorial service will be held in the church on 5 August 2005, following which Peter Fowler, FSA, will review forty years' study of 'Lettice Sweetapple country' in a public lecture in Kennet Valley Hall, Lockeridge, near Marlborough, Wilts, at 8pm. He, Ian Blackwell and Gill Swanton will then lead guided walks throughout the Saturday and Sunday, through the archaeology and history of the landscape of Fyfield and Overton Downs, through the villages of West Overton, Fyfield and Lockeridge, and along the earthworks and boundaries of West Woods, including Wansdyke. A special walk for families with children will take place on the Sunday afternoon. Participants can attend for any one, several or all of the elements making up the weekend — each will be costed individually — but need to make their own arrangements for accommodation and food. Numbers on the walks will be limited to sixty — three groups of twenty — so early application is advised. Application forms and further information are available from Dr Sue Rogers, Rosemary Cottage, West Overton, Marlborough SN8 4ER.

SAVE Enforcement Conference

Fed up with the failure of local authorities to enforce heritage protection law, SAVE is hosting a one-day conference at the University of Derby on 23 May to serve as a forum for sharing insights into the theory and practice of enforcement — a must for Historic Environment Champions, Conservation Officers, Historic Buildings Officers, Planning Officers, Planning Enforcement Officers, Heads of Planning/Conservation/Heritage Management and Local Authority Solicitors with Planning Enforcement responsibility. Further information from SAVE's website.

The threat to church pews

A one-day symposium on church pews is to be held on 9 June 2005 at Lydiard Park, near Swindon. With church seating susceptible to change as church communities seek to achieve ‘more flexible’ space in which to accommodate a range of worship and community activities, the humble pew is in great danger of being lost because its important contribution to the architectural and historic character of a church or chapel interior is so little understood. The threat is very real, and both the Council for the Care of Churches and the Methodist Property Office have recently issued guidelines on the evaluation of re-seating proposals, while English Heritage has recently commissioned research into the typology and evolution of pew designs.

This symposium will provide a valuable opportunity to explore these issues in depth and develop an informed understanding of the significance of pews. The church of St Mary, Lydiard Tregoze, the venue for the symposium, provides an excellent case study, highlighting the extraordinary complexity of pew-design evolution and the fascinating light it sheds on the worshipping life of past congregations — as well as demonstrating how the challenges of accommodating modern worship in a sensitive fully pewed interior can be met.

Speakers will include Sarah Brown, FSA (English Heritage), Hugh Harrison (conservator and historic carpentry expert), David Hawkins (Worcester DAC), Dr Geoff Brandwood (The Victorian Society) and Roy Porter (Advisory Board for Redundant Churches). For further information and a booking form, please contact June Warrington.

Should we junk collections?

As part of Museums and Galleries Month 2005, Andrew Burnett, FSA, Deputy Director, the British Museum, Anna Somers Cocks, FSA, Editorial Director of The Art Newspaper Group, Maurice Davies, Deputy Director of the Museums Association, and James Fenton, Poet and Essayist, will debate the question ‘Should We Junk Collections?’ under the Chairmanship of Tiffany Jenkins of the Institute of Ideas at the Wallace Collection, London, on Monday 16 May, at 6.30pm.

For some time, cultural institutions have been criticised for neglecting their treasure troves of objects, concentrating instead on developing audiences, access and inclusion. Recently, however, there has been a renewed focus on questions of what we should collect and why, with the debate about de-accessioning and acquisition driven by political considerations relating to cultural ownership, repatriation and social relevance. New criteria are being developed for what should be collected and communities are asked to donate everyday objects of local relevance as an exercise in enhancing community coherence; young people are recruited to curate exhibitions of objects meaningful to their lives; cultural and ethic groups are consulted as to how certain collections are to be displayed and interpreted. Are we in danger of sacrificing artistic and curatorial judgement in decisions about what to collect in the face of political considerations? How should we decide what we keep and collect?

Further details from the Museums and Galleries Month 2005 website

A report from a past Institute of Ideas conference on ‘What are Museums For’, held in September 2004, has been published and can be found on the Cumberland Lodge website.

‘History of Collecting’ seminars at the Wallace Collection

The first seminar of 2005 will take place at 4.30pm on 25 May with a fascinating presentation on ‘The estate of the eighteenth-century Parisian art dealer Jérôme Chéron’, given by François Marandet. The seminar will focus on important new discoveries concerning the estate of Jérôme Chéron (died 1742), who owned six shops at the fair of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and whose clients included such high-rank collectors as the Prince de Carignan and the Comte de Sainte-Maur, as well as the renowned dealers Noël Araignon and Claude Lallemant. To reserve a place on this seminar, please email Rosie Broadley.

Theoretical Archaeology Group (Tag) Conference 2005

Session proposals are invited for the TAG 2005 conference, to be held at the University of Sheffield, from 19 to 21 December 2005. TAG encourages its participants to explore diverse perspectives and new topic areas and to cover all aspects of archaeological theory and practice. In an age of new uncertainties and threats in our discipline and in our world, the organising committee would particularly welcome sessions and papers that explore the themes of common humanity and human diversity in the context of archaeological research and theory.

For additional information, visit the TAG web page or email the TAG organising committee.

Books by Fellows

Roy Adkins’s best-selling book, Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle, has just been published in paperback by Abacus. Allan Mallinson in The Spectator, September 2004, described the book as ‘not just another bit of anniversary opportunism. Adkins is an archaeologist, and … his book is as much social history as it is military. Indeed, his painstaking digging, sifting, arranging and questioning take him everywhere in Nelson's fleet … His account of the battle is a gripping album of snapshots from the quarterdecks and gun decks of the ships themselves … Adkins's description of the tension during the approach, as well as the nature of the fight itself, is first-rate. The maps and diagrams are admirable, and the illustrations well chosen. His account of the aftermath, both the immediate and the longer-term, are quite fascinating, and filled with glimpses of the humanity of the men who fought so coolly yet ferociously at Trafalgar. Truly, it is a most eclectic but engaging book.’ Further details can be found on the Adkins’s website.

Research funding opportunity

The John Templeton Foundation has made US$3 million available for research grants to stimulate new research pertinent to the debate over ‘purpose’ in the context of the emergence of increasing biological complexity, ranging from the biochemical level to the evolution of life and the emergence of society and culture. This programme seeks to enrich and deepen the rigour, quality and scientific and philosophical basis for this debate. The focus is primarily on innovative scientific and systematic research, but projects with strong philosophical or theological components are also encouraged. Grant proposals from all sides of this debate are welcomed. Further information can be found at the Cambridge Templeton Consortium website.

The selection and evaluation of proposals will be managed by the Cambridge Templeton Consortium whose members include Professor Graeme Barker, FSA, and Dr Chris Scarre, FSA, of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, who are particularly interested to receive research proposals addressing the theme of ‘Becoming Fully Human: Social Complexity and Human Engagement with the Natural and Supernatural World’.

Material Culture and the Culture of Exchange in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

The Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, Queen Mary, University of London, and the Victoria and Albert Museum are inviting applications for a three-year fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award to commence in the autumn of 2005. This research opportunity arises out of the V&A’s plans to redisplay the museum's medieval and Renaissance collection of largely European objects dating from AD 300 to 1600; due to open in 2009, the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries will merge collections that are currently separated, such as the Italian, Spanish and Northern European Galleries. This will provide the opportunity to investigate issues across geographic boundaries north and south of the Alps, as well as beyond Europe. The doctoral student will join the Gallery team at a crucial phase in terms of research input.

The suggested area for research — a study of the import, export and circulation of goods in Continental Europe — has numerous possibilities both in terms of the many objects (textiles, liturgical and secular goods, metal-ware and ceramics) that moved across geographic and social boundaries and in terms of questions that such movements raised. The doctoral project (which will be framed in detail when the student is appointed) will aim to explore how objects migrated in Continental Europe during the period 1450—1600, examining routes of transmission, the esteem in which they were held in their place of origin and the uses to which they were put in other countries and contexts.

Informal inquiries are welcome and should be addressed to Professor Evelyn Welch, Professor of Renaissance Studies, School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London, from whom particulars and details of how to apply can also be obtained. Closing date for applications: 27 May 2005. Interviews will take place in June.


University of York, Director of the new International Research Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (ref: BA05154), closing date 13 May 2005
Initially tenable for 3 years, salary on the professorial scale (current minimum £43,513 per annum)

The University of York is to fund a world-class research institute for the public understanding of the past. Its ambit will range from the study of attitudes to the past to the political and socio-economic implications of its curation, representation and marketing. It will promote intellectually rigorous research with the potential to inform public policy. The post, which will carry the title of professor, is funded initially for three years to create a sustainable programme of funded research. The Director should be able to demonstrate evidence of the ability to articulate the vision for the new institute, proven expertise in the development of research projects, a track record in research management, leadership abilities and good links with Government, museums, galleries and national agencies.

Further details can be found on the York University website.

Norwich Cathedral, Archaeologist
Closing date 14 June 2005

Norwich Cathedral wishes to appoint a new Cathedral Archaeologist, following the retirement from this position of our Fellow Professor Roberta Gilchrist. Details of the position and how to apply are available from the Chapter Clerk.

English Heritage, part-time Assistant Inspector, one-year contract, four days per week, based in Northampton
Salary £23,183 to £29,000 pro rata, closing date 18 May 2005

Training will be given to the person appointed to this post so that they can undertake the responsibilities, which range from assessing the condition of scheduled monuments and facilitating their management to acting as the regional liaison for information on Archaeology Commissions. Providing Countryside Stewardship advice on the management of the historic environment across the East Midlands region, the postholder will also negotiate agreements with owners, occupiers, local authorities and other agencies on matters relating to development proposals affecting scheduled monuments.

Candidates need to be educated to degree level, or equivalent, with at least three years’ experience of the historic environment and be familiar with current land management practices and conservation techniques.

For an application pack, please contact English Heritage quoting reference D/005/05.

Victoria County History, England’s Past For Everyone project, various posts
With almost £6m of funding from a range of partners, the Victoria County History is launching England's Past for Everyone, one of the most wide-ranging local history projects to be undertaken in the UK today. It will focus on studies of particular localities such as Parham House in West Sussex, the fishing communities of Mousehole and Newlyn in Cornwall, Bolsover Castle and Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, Ledbury in Herefordshire, Burford in Oxfordshire and the city of Sunderland. It will include a study of the landscape of Exmoor and an account of one thousand years of migration to Bristol.

The studies will be produced by VCH county teams, supported by the input of local volunteers and designed to enable researchers, students and the wider public to explore the history of the places and communities in which they live, work, travel or have family ties. The studies and associated materials will be made available in paperback and online. Schools will benefit with the creation of the related online 'History Footsteps' linked to the national curriculum requirements for History.

In order to support the project, the VCH is seeking to fill the following posts.

Manager (ref: 26/05-G), fixed-term post to 2010 based at Senate House, Malet St, London
Salary £32,497 to £38,017

This is the principal post within the EPE project. The Manager will head a team of six people. S/he will have proven financial and administrative experience, combined with excellent team management, communication and organizational skills. Previous experience of managing multi-faceted projects will be an advantage.

Education and Skills Manager (ref: 27/05-G), fixed-term post to 2010 based at Senate House, Malet St, London
Salary £24,641 to £31,262

A significant component of the EPE project will be Schools’ and Volunteers’ programmes that will run alongside the published studies (print and online). Materials for schools will be published online on the site. The Education Manager will co-ordinate the development of the Schools and Volunteers programmes of the county projects, ensuring appropriate teaching materials for schools and training opportunities for volunteers are in place, and supporting county project teams in delivering these aspects of their projects. S/he will be expected to travel extensively.

Architectural Assistant (ref 29/05-G), fixed-term post to 2008 based at Senate House, Malet St, London
Salary: £23,643 to £27,116

The Architectural Assistant will assist the Architectural Editor of the Victoria County History in delivering the architectural programme for the EPE Project. The post holder, who will have a postgraduate qualification in architectural history or building archaeology, will liaise with the Architectural Editor and the Team Leaders in formulating contributions on the built environment for each VCH Study. S/he will also contribute towards the development of volunteer projects and educational materials that involve the study of sites and buildings. S/he will travel extensively in order to supervise and carry out fieldwork and architectural research and will help maintain the project’s strong academic profile.

Team Leader, Kent (ref: 00171), fixed-term post to 2007 based at the Maritime Greenwich Campus
Salary: £18,777 to £29,479 plus £2,713 London Weighting

The Team Leader will be an experienced English local historian, who will produce high-quality scholarship and will be responsible for the production of EPE materials in Kent. The post also involves collaboration with local historians, educationalists and their associations in the county. S/he will be required to attend meetings at Central Office and to submit papers and draft text as per the agreed project plan.

Team Researcher, Exmoor (ref: VCH EX), fixed-term post to 2007 based at Dulverton (Somerset)
Salary: £17,922 to £20,295

To assist the Victoria County History (VCH) County Editor for Somerset in compiling the VCH of Exmoor which will be a published work. This is an innovative project, involving historical research into a number of selected parishes, the success of which may lead to the setting up of similar projects elsewhere in the country.

Team Researcher, Oxfordshire (ref: 31/05-G), three days a week, fixed-term post to 2009 based at the Bodleian Library, Oxford
Salary: £19,460 to £29,128 pro rata

The Oxford Team Researcher will be an experienced English local historian who will join the established team of researchers in Oxfordshire responsible for the production of EPE materials. The successful candidate will be required to research and write VCH texts using content guidelines agreed by VCH staff and submit texts for publication. S/he will be required to contribute to the establishment of a strong academic profile in Oxfordshire, which involves close liaison with county archive services and other local bodies, and by assisting in the development of work by volunteers and local educationalists.

To apply for any of these posts you must first obtain an application pack as VCH has specific requirements as to the method and content of your application. Closing dates and employment terms vary with each job. Details for all posts can be obtained via email from; please quote the job title and reference in correspondence.

Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Scotland
One day per month, daily fee of £80 plus travel costs and expenses

HLF wishes to appoint a new member to the Committee for Scotland, which meets quarterly in Edinburgh to make decisions on grant awards up to £2 million. Candidates need to be able to demonstrate a commitment to and an enthusiasm for protecting heritage across Scotland and promoting its greater public enjoyment and understanding. HLF welcomes applicants from a diversity of backgrounds. For further information and an application pack, please visit the HLF website.