Salon Archive

Issue: 153

Forthcoming meetings

30 November: Land behind Samarkand: geonomics and settlement archaeology in the Central Asian hub of the Silk Road, by Maurizio Tosi, FSA

7 December: Aerial archaeology 100 years on, by Bob Bewley, FSA, Peter Horne and Martyn Barber

14 December: Miscellany of papers and mulled wine reception. Justine Bayley, FSA, will present a paper on ‘Gold for Christmas: new evidence from Clausentum’, Christopher Schuler will discuss ‘An Angular Saxon Scholar: John Yonge Akerman 1806─73’ and Jayne Phenton will provide a preview of the Tercentenary Festival Programme. Tickets for the mulled wine reception cost £10.50 and are available from Jasvinder Kaur, Administration Assistant, tel: 020 7479 7080.

11 January: Industrial archaeology: a future for the evidence, by Sir Neil Cossons, FSA

18 January: Prehistoric coastal activity in the Severn Estuary, by Martin Bell, FSA

Those who are not Fellows are welcome to attend ordinary meetings (excluding ballots) as a guest of a Fellow. If you would like to attend a meeting but do not know any Fellows, please contact the Society for help (tel: 020 7479 7080).

Ballot results: 16 November

The Society is very pleased to welcome the following new Fellows who were all elected in the ballot held on 16 November 2006:

David Jenkins, Cinzia Maria Sicca, David George Bird, Christopher John Knüsel, Stephen James Dockrill, Deborah Kaye Porter, Mark Fisher, Kenneth Robert Aitchison, David Knight, Penelope Mary Allison, Patrick Hugh Hase, Corinne Duhig, Dawn Hadley, Andrew Wilson, Andrew Charles Carter Johnson, Anne Sarah Eastham, Carl James Knappett, William Bransby Rees Saunders, Alexandrina Caroline Buchanan, Mark Corney, Timothy John Stevens, James Copeland Thorn, Charles Nicholas Mander, David Horovitz and Stephen Riley.

News from the US Fellowship

Thirty-five Fellows and guests gathered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for an Ordinary Meeting of the Society on 3 November hosted by William Stoneman, FSA, in the Houghton Library at Harvard University. Several American Fellows took the opportunity to be admitted and our President, Professor Eric Fernie, CBE, gave a lecture entitled Building in Stone at the Boundaries of the Latin Church, 950─1250. The meeting was followed by a formal black tie dinner organised by Professor Norman Hammond, FSA, of Boston University at which our General Secretary, Dr David Gaimster, FSA, described plans for the Society’s future and for the Tercentenary Festival.

Obituary: Alan Milbourne Cook, FSA

Our Fellow Peter White has contributed the following obituary (compiled with help from Daphne Ford and from Fellows Martin Biddle, Rob Poulton and Juliet West) for our late Fellow Alan Cook.

‘Alan Cook, Fellow, who died in Australia of respiratory failure due to emphysema on 8 October at the age of 73 was an architectural historian of considerable tenacity and great dedication. He contributed handsomely to the greater understanding of Tudor palaces which were his particular field of interest, and he became a significant figure in his career with the Ministry of Works and its successors.

‘Alan was born in Bondi, Sydney, and when he came to England he set out to train as an architect at Regent Street Polytechnic. He did not complete the full course but instead found his metier in the drawing office of the Ministry’s Ancient Monuments Branch understanding and recording old buildings rather than creating new ones. Here, attached to the History of the King’s Works team led by Allen Brown, Howard Colvin and Arnold Taylor, then the Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments, he found himself working with Martin Biddle on the volume dealing with Tudor military works and palaces. This began a period of his career lasting some fifteen years, dominated by research for and publication of the History. From 1963 onwards with Biddle and Colvin he played a major role in the investigation of Camber Castle, surveying and helping to disentangle and interpret the complex, many-period structure and making fine drawings, some of which were used in the History and in the book Henry VIII’s Coastal Artillery Fort at Camber Castle, Rye, Sussex by Biddle and others published by English Heritage in 2001. He was in fact responsible for many of the plans and drawings which subsequently appeared in the History.

‘During the 1960s Alan became a buildings archaeologist in his own right ─ although he would have resisted such a description. He conducted two significant excavations, from 1968─73 with the support of the Oatlands Palace Excavation Committee, at Oatlands, the Tudor palace near Weybridge in Surrey, and in Whitehall. In his “spare time” he also worked with colleagues in the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate at Richard’s Castle, Herefordshire, and on a re-interpretation of the massive Norman castle of Arques-la-Bataille, near Dieppe; and with Edward Johnson on the excavation of Sopwell Priory, Herts. With Whitehall, much of his work at this time was concerned with the bringing together and understanding of a whole series of investigations which had taken place before and after the war. His insight into the social use of many of the areas within the Palace was a particular contribution to this work, which resulted in the published portfolio plan of Whitehall as part of the History.

‘In 1966 Alan married Jane, a colleague in the drawing office and the birth of their first son, Angus, the following year was the beginning of what was to become a close-knit family. Alan and Jane bought a house in New Ash Green, the innovatory Span development in north Kent described in Pevsner by John Newman, himself at that time a fellow resident, as ‘a complete little world in upland country on the North Downs’.

‘From 1969 Alan was heavily involved in the work of understanding the structural development of Hampton Court Palace, in preparation for the History. Here, over the next few years, and working closely with colleagues Juliet West of the Inspectorate and his own assistant, Daphne Ford, a more complete and reliable picture of the early Wolsey and pre-Wolsey phases emerged for the first time, in no small measure as a result of the establishment of a brick typology which he enthusiastically supported.

‘By the early 1970s Alan, with his command of the technical requirements of good draughtsmanship, of history and his understanding of space and style in architecture, had been appointed head of the Ancient Monuments Drawing Office. This was a key appointment, whose incumbent carried responsibility for staff who created the drawn record of both historic fabric and ‘new works’ of all the guardianship sites in England, for the custody of this material in the Historic Plans Room and importantly, for the quality of the published plans and drawings, which by now included reconstruction drawings, in the guide books and on sites, and which informed the public at large. Already in 1970 Alan had contributed to a chapter on ‘Wren’s Design for Winchester Palace, Hampshire’ to the festschrift for Sir John Summerson, The Country Seat, edited by Howard Colvin and John Harris. In the 1980s Alan returned to the study of Winchester Palace as a contribution to a volume on Winchester Castle by Martin Biddle and Beatrice Clayre in the ‘Winchester Studies’ series. This involved working on Wren’s original drawings at All Souls College, Oxford, in the course of which he detected (and Jane drew out) an earlier design visible only as hard-point under Wren’s later and better known drawing. He was elected to the Fellowship in 1974.

‘Notwithstanding his established position in work which so clearly suited him and a settled family life with two young sons, in 1978 Alan and Jane decided to respond positively to Martin Biddle’s invitation to Alan to join him in Philadelphia on the staff of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. The museum had been active in archaeology and anthropology world-wide since 1887, but latterly its publication programme had faltered and Alan’s task as Keeper of Publication Services was to turn this around. Over the next five years Alan and his colleagues oversaw the creation of the University Museum archive, re-established the monograph series and produced the Museum’s journal Expedition. Alan and Jane’s move to Philadelphia ushered in a period of their lives which they enjoyed immensely, their only regret being when the appointment came to an end, and it was necessary to return to the UK in 1983, when they lived at first near, and then in Banbury.

‘Although the breadth and depth of Alan’s learning and his skills were fully recognised by his former colleagues, he was never quite able to resume a career equal to his talents, one rather odd reason being his lack of a driving licence (despite numerous attempts to acquire one!), by now a necessary qualification for official work with historic buildings. He was, however, engaged through a succession of short-term contracts as a historic buildings inspector by English Heritage. In this role he was mostly involved in advising on listed building consents, and he also revised the statutory list for the city of Gloucester.

‘During the 1990s, Alan focused on two major projects. His own work on the Oatlands Palace excavation was completed. Surrey County Archaeological Unit has subsequently brought together a full report, incorporating further work by Rob Poulton and Simon Thurley, and it is hoped to publish this next year. Concurrently Alan was contracted by English Heritage to bring together for publication all the investigations carried out at Sherborne Old Castle, Dorset, between 1930 and 1980, including the current writer’s excavations. The Sherborne work demanded not only Alan’s professional skills, for the records of the works before the ‘Ministry’ assumed control in 1957 were at once voluminous and at times impenetrable, but also the greatest tact and diplomacy. He greatly enjoyed and used to the full the opportunity to examine records becoming available through the work of Ann Smith, the Sherborne Castle Estates archivist. Alan had completed his part of this task before his move to Australia in 2001, including the most credible reconstruction drawing to date of Ralegh’s attempt in the 1590s to modernise the Old Castle. His work is the basis for the drawing published in Brian Davison’s current guidebook to the site.

‘In 1991 and sparked by Jane’s interest in horse racing, Alan and Jane moved to Newmarket, where both quickly found themselves contributing to their local community in their own way. Jane researched, drew and successfully published a map to the local training stables. Alan meanwhile ensured that where appropriate, stables were added to the statutory list, and he completed a report on the royal palace at Newmarket as a preliminary to its conservation. During this period he also returned to a long-standing interest by assisting Simon Thurley with the preparation of his book on Whitehall Palace.

‘Soon, however, Alan and Jane found their family had dispersed, with Angus settled in Australia and Oliver working in London. They decided to retire to Australia ─ Alan had never relinquished his Australian citizenship ─ and in 2001 they set up home in Upwey, Victoria. It gave them great pleasure that their younger son, Oliver also decided to settle in Sydney and that as a family, which now included their new grandson Lewis, they were able to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary earlier this year.

‘Many Fellows will remember Alan as a most knowledgeable, gregarious, good-humoured and loyal colleague and friend over many years: he will be greatly missed.’


Salon’s erroneous addition of a terminal ‘e’ to the name of Magdalen College, Oxford, in issue 152 was greeted with cries of anguish by three former Magdalen College School pupils among the Fellowship. Salon’s editor understands their pain: Oxford alumni are forever putting an ‘e’ where there should be an ‘a’ in the name of his own Cambridge college ─ St Catharine’s.

Further down the same newsletter, the name of the venue for the Society’s Tercentenary Dinner is, of course, the premises of the Honourable (not Honorary) Artillery Company.

Mark Milburn writes to point out an error in the last issue of Salon regarding the ‘Fate of Rock Art in Australia’. The closing date for signing the petition calling on the Australian Government to designate and protect this rich area of rock art in the Dampier region is 28 November 2006, not 2007 ─ so Salon readers have just a day to sign up to this worthy cause.

On the subject of which animals were domesticated first, our Fellow Graeme Barker writes to draw attention to his newly published OUP book called The Agricultural Revolution: why did foragers become farmers?, in which he summarises (in Chapter 8: ‘Africa: Afro-Asiatic pastoralists and Bantu farmers?’) the interesting new data coming out of North Africa (see ‘Books by Fellows’ below).

Further tips on online resources from Ortrun Peyn, the Society’s Head of Library Cataloguing, who says she has come across a very useful directory of open-access journals that provide full-text online access for free. ‘Just see how much you get searching on “archaeology” or “history”, or something more specific such as “medieval history” or “medieval archaeology”. Unfortunately, “prehistory” returns zero hits’, she writes.

Salon’s preference for the word ‘heritage’ over ‘history’ produced several counter-arguments and an amusing story from our Fellow Professor Henry Cleere who recalls the debate in 1992 over the name of the successor body to the Ministry of Works. Henry, then Director of the CBA, argued for ‘Heritage Commission’, as a counterpart to the Countryside Commission. Michael Heseltine, then Environment Minister, retorted that the word ‘heritage’ would be used ‘over my dead body’. When at a press conference in the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall Lord Montagu announced that it would be known as English Heritage, Mr Heseltine seemed somewhat puzzled when Henry congratulated him on his apparent good health.

Percival Turnbull, of the Brigantia Archaeological Practice Heritage is of the Heseltine persuasion, however, believing heritage to be a ‘vague, flabby, spineless word’, which we tend to use for the bits of the past that we are comfortable with, ignoring less palatable aspects of our inheritance (‘industrial slums, badger-baiting, a distrust of foreigners and a poor level of literacy’) that we prefer not to acknowledge. Percival cites Robert Hewison’s 1987 book, The Heritage Industry: Britain in a climate of decline, as an elegant and compelling examination of the way that the vague nostalgia implicit in ‘heritage’ and its uses to market everything from tapestry kits to sausages, illustrates a society uneasy with either the present or the future. The trouble with ‘‘heritage’, he concludes, is that it puts archaeology and morris dancing into the same category.

Catherine Johns says she shares the preference for a word that takes in the natural world as well as human achievements, that encompasses the land and its people, its wildlife, its natural and built landscape, its languages, art, literature and material culture, and points out that ‘history’ fails to do this and in many contexts is used as a contrast with ‘prehistory’. But she can see why John Humphrys asked the question, because: ‘unfortunately, it is also true that heritage, like so many other intrinsically perfectly good words, has been steadily devalued and made to look ridiculous through sloppy bureaucratic over-use and imprecision. It has become a boring media buzz-word that induces immediate irritation in many of us. Now that “heritage” has become tainted by association with the most vulgar and tawdry theme-park concepts, not to mention current political obsessions, it has, effectively, been undermined and trivialised and I suspect that we shall have to find a new word or phrase (goodness knows what ─ national legacy, perhaps?) while heritage spends a few decades resting till it has recovered its force and its precision’.

Another Fellow writes anonymously to say that the use of the word ‘heritage’ would appear to be sanctioned by the Book of Common Prayer, where the ‘Te Deum’ asks the Lord to ‘bless Thine heritage’ (and all good Anglican choristers will be familiar with the evensong version: ‘Lord, save Thy people; and bless Thine inheritance’).

Responding to Jeremy Montagu’s concern at the Halloween activities he witnessed at Avebury and the Rollright Stones recently, several Salon readers wondered where the line should be drawn. IFA member Nick Hanks, who is both a Pagan and an archaeologist, says that jazz concerts at eighteenth-century Dyrham Park, classic car shows at Battle Abbey, and Christmas menus or decorations at Avebury all have the potential to cause confusion if connections are made between event and site, whether this was intended or not. It all depends on how the event is framed and explained by parents, retailers and event organisers. This can be done well or badly. ‘What is an inappropriate use of a site’, he asks, ‘apart from that which would do physical damage?’

Nick also responds to the point about celebrating Samhain on the wrong day by explaining that such is the demand from pagan groups wanting to celebrate at the Rollright Stones that the Trust that owns the monument operates a booking system for groups, principally to protect the fabric of the site from the damage that might be caused if too many people gather at once. He adds that ‘most of the Pagan community regards the ghoulish obsession with ghosts as wholly inappropriate to sacred sites and to Samhain, as well as being unhealthy. Ghost stories have as much to do with how Pagans celebrate Samhain as TV Christmas Specials have to how Christians celebrate Christmas’.

Another Salon reader, Yvonne Aburrow, adds that the Rollright Trust is a lively organisation whose trustees and many of its members, as well as being Pagan, are responsible members of the heritage profession (or retired members thereof). She explains that the Rollrights were formerly owned by a private individual; and that the Pagan community organised a fundraising drive to buy them when they came up for sale: the Trust now keeps the Rollrights open to the public as well as responsibly performing Pagan rituals there ─ see the Trust’s website for further information.

Heritage Assets: Can Accounting Do Better?

Considerable debate is taking place on bulletin boards and discussion forums over the issue of accounting standards for heritage ‘assets’. Salon’s editor argued that there is a presumption against realising the value of museum assets (as the outcry at the sale of a Lowry painting by Bury Council in Greater Manchester illustrates), so their true balance sheet value is zero, in which case they do not need to appear in the accounts at all and thus there is no need for an accounting standard.

Fellow Kate Clark countered by saying that the accounting standard needs to include better reporting of the costs of holding assets and of providing the services that flow from the asset in terms of conservation, research, access, education, maintenance and presentation: ‘If the new standard is to happen,’ Kate says, ‘then it is vital that both sides of the equation are accounted for ─ not just one side.’

With his understanding of the way that accountants always seem to win, John Carman said that the only way to account for such costs on the balance sheet (which is what the Accounting Standards Board consultation is about, rather than profit and loss accounting) was to treat the costs of holding assets as a kind of depreciation: a problem then occurs when the asset reaches a nil or negative value and the costs continue to accrue. As an ‘asset’ the object is now valueless and an accounting case can then be made for disposal: a threat that is very real.

Fellow Robin Turner contributed an apt quotation from Robert Kennedy (cited in Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell’s St Andrew’s Day Speech on Scottish cultural policy in 2003): ‘The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.’

John Carman pointed out that the ‘Public Value’ approach outlined at the February conference organised by the Heritage Lottery Fund is designed to catch those other values: the challenge that remains is how to articulate those cultural values in terms as strong and powerful as economic ones ─ ‘what,’ he asks, ‘is the instrumental value of a buried archaeological feature?’

Tom Boulton, of CABE, argues that the problem lies in allowing economists to dominate the debate on value: some values are measurable, some can be partially quantified and some can only be represented in ‘common sense arguments’ based on what people say and believe.

House of Lords Science and Technology Committee: Science and Heritage report

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee’s report on science and heritage, published last week, says that the discipline ‘lacks overarching leadership and vision’ and needs more research funding. The report calls on the Government to speed up the appointment of a permanent chief scientific adviser in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to address the issue, and to give the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) responsibility for leading on research funding in the area.

The report concludes: ‘Under the current governance and funding structure the maintenance of the science base for conservation, and thus the long-term preservation of the United Kingdom’s cultural heritage, are severely under threat. The DCMS has hitherto failed to grasp the scale of this threat — indeed, probably does not know it exists.’

It says that the DCMS does not have the scientific expertise to act as an ‘intelligent customer’ of science, which has prevented it from recognising the importance of heritage science to the preservation of cultural heritage. ‘It has also inhibited the department from arguing effectively for the allocation of funds to the heritage sector from the European Union Framework Programmes for Research,’ the report says.

To resolve this problem, the report argues that a ‘champion’ is needed at departmental level for heritage science. The former Office of Science and Technology first recommended that the DCMS appoint a permanent CSA in 2004. The Government said in July it would appoint a part-time Chief Scientific Adviser for the DCMS for a period of about six months. Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, was appointed to scope out the role with a view to a permanent CSA being appointed in early 2007.

The report also recommends the Office of Science and Innovation should give the AHRC responsibility for heritage science, and review the AHRC’s funding to reflect the high cost of scientific research. ‘As champion for heritage, one of the key tasks of the AHRC will be to deliver an increase in research council funding for heritage science … We therefore recommend that the AHRC commission an analysis of current levels of research council funding for heritage science, and that it publish the results and update them annually from now on,’ it says.

The full report can be read on the UK Parliamentary website.

British Archaeological Awards

The last issue of Salon focused on the many Fellows who featured as authors of prize-winning books in this year’s British Archaeological Awards, but as their colleagues have been quick to point out, Fellows also featured prominently in several other categories.

Two Fellows ─ Drs Julie Gardiner and Michael Allen, both prehistorians ─ won the Keith Muckelroy Award for Before the Mast: life and death aboard the Mary Rose (Mary Rose Trust, 2005), which explores the rich collection of post-medieval artefacts from the ship and analyses the human remains to construct a vivid and detailed picture of life on board. This is the fourth in a series of volumes being compiled by Wessex Archaeology with and for the Mary Rose Trust, under the general guidance and editorship of our Fellow Julie Gardiner.

Another Fellow who played a leading role in an award-winning project is Dr Gill Hey, of Oxford Archaeology, who is the project manager of the Whiteleaf Hill Local Nature Reserve Project, which won the IFA Award for the best archaeological project demonstrating a commitment to professional standards and ethics in archaeology.

This is a collaborative project between Buckinghamshire County Council, the local community and Oxford Archaeology with a strong research focus and an education programme for local schools. Whiteleaf Hill combines a rich tapestry of ancient and modern, with a Neolithic barrow, a Bronze Age dyke and two supposed round barrows, World War I practice trenches, sunken trackways, ancient and modern woodland and the Whiteleaf Cross. According to the judges, ‘excavating, conserving and interpreting the site for future generations involved community leadership and participation, innovative and ambitious conservation techniques, integration of the historic and natural environment, new archaeological research and the re-examination of museum archives’.

2006 London Archaeological Prize

The British Archaeological Awards are not the only show in town: SCOLA (the Standing Conference on London Archaeology, formed to promote the practice, study and public awareness of archaeology in London) awarded its 2006 London Archaeological Prize last week to Fellow John Schofield and Richard Lea for Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate: an archaeological reconstruction and history published by MoLAS. The highly commended runner up (which also received a cheque) was Sutton House: a Tudor courtier’s house in Hackney by Victor Belcher, Richard Bond, Mike Gray and Andy Wittrick, published by English Heritage with the National Trust.

Heritage Counts 2006

English Heritage published its annual audit of the historic environment on 15 November, taking ‘Communities and Heritage’ as its theme for this year’s report. Research commissioned for the report revealed the ‘magnificent legacy’ of historic buildings now threatened with neglect, demolition, privatisation or redevelopment ─ town halls, fire stations, county court buildings, libraries, schools and public baths ─ unless imaginative new uses could be found to keep them in community use.

‘Public needs have changed dramatically,’ said our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, launching the report, adding that a flood of public buildings would fall out of use in the next fifteen years: ‘These buildings have an important value locally that goes far beyond their original uses,’ he said. ‘They endow a sense of distinctiveness on a place as well as helping to shape its character and they often have an emotional resonance for local people. Because they are iconic their loss has a dramatic impact on the look and feel of a local area.’

Good examples of new uses for such buildings included conversion to restaurants, gyms, museums, community centres or music venues. Shoreditch Town Hall, venue for the launch, was held up as a model: rescued by a community-based trust, the town hall now thrives as a venue for everything from lavish Sikh weddings to fashion shows.

The report highlighted the role played by community-based groups in taking on and finding new uses for redundant historic buildings. Research for the report suggests that local authorities are not sufficiently aware of the wealth of heritage expertise and commitment available within the local community. Despite central Government emphasis on consultation in planning decisions and strategic planning, meaningful community involvement simply isn’t happening in many parts of the country.

A tale of lost glasses and missed opportunities

Some 400 guests attended the launch of ‘Heritage Counts’ on 15 November, keenly anticipating a speech from Tessa Jowell, a major opportunity for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to talk about a theme very close to her heart: communities and heritage. Instead we endured a rambling and repetitious speech in which the Secretary of State told us that the Olympics and heritage were synonymous, that every school pupil in London was an aspiring gold medal winner, and that we had come a long way as a sector as a result of the ideas in her pamphlet on Better Places to Live (‘which some of you helped me to write’). We also learned that there is a magic to the sight of mist rising in the early morning across National Trust land. Oh, and that she had visited Stonehenge this year for the first time ever and was greatly impressed.

After fifteen minutes of rambling, Ms Jowell finally admitted that she wasn’t reading her prepared speech because she couldn’t find her glasses (and that on a previous occasion when this had happened Kim Howells had lent her his); once the glasses had been retrieved the speech became marginally more coherent. Many of us wondered if this was the true explanation. Was it not more likely that a speech on the Heritage White Paper had been scrapped at the last minute? Certainly there was little evidence of the careful crafting normally associated with a Ministerial speech, and the latest news on the White Paper (due to have been published last month) is that it is now undergoing a major redraft and is unlikely to see the light of day this year.

Adding to the general gloom in Shoreditch Town Hall was the news splashed all over the front page of the Evening Standardwhich guests read as they arrived for the launch: Olympic costs rise by £1 billion. That will wipe out half the Heritage Lottery Fund’s budgets for the next seven years, many of us thought (see story below).

At least there was one inspirational moment. Presiding over his last Heritage Counts launch before retiring as Chairman of English Heritage next spring, our Fellow Sir Neil Cossons gave a short valedictory speech in which he said the heritage community had worked very hard to ‘change the mindset of the nation’ in the seven years since Power of Place was published, and that many more buildings ‘once regarded as the detritus left over from previous generations’ were now being recycled and reused. ‘Many communities count on the heritage as the foundation of their community,’ he said. Even so, the battle is not won: ‘because people care, it doesn’t mean that the heritage is safe’. ‘Pity he’s not Secretary of State’ was the unspoken thought that went round the room as we all responded with heartfelt applause.

Communities, Planning and Heritage

Communities, Planning and Heritage ─ the theme of this year’s Heritage Counts report ─ will also be the subject of a debate being hosted by Heritage Link on 6 December 2006 at the Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London N1. The debate is preceded by lunch, from 1.30pm, and begins at 2.30pm with contributions from Anthea Case, CBE, Chairman of Heritage Link, David Sekers, OBE, Trustee of Heritage Link, and Baroness Andrews, OBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, with responsibility for planning policy. Pre-registration is required and there is a charge of £15 (£5 for students). Further information from Kathryn Schofield.

Making and Preserving American History in 2006

Our Fellow Ian Burrow, Vice-President of the New Jersey-based historical resource consultancy, Hunter Research, has news of two recent events that seem likely to have a positive effect on historic preservation in the US.

Ian writes: ‘Fellows may recall reports in Salon last year on the strenuous efforts made by the US historic preservation community to protect key provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act under threat of repeal. The significant change in the political landscape of Washington DC as a result of the November elections bodes well. With Democrats now in the majority in both Houses there is good reason to expect an end to the shameless and relentless attempts to weaken or rescind all the major environmental and historic preservation statutes.

‘Of key importance for the future is the Republicans’ loss of control of the congressional committees where the real work is done on legislation. This, combined with the steadily growing bi-partisan Historic Preservation Caucus in the House of Representatives, means that prospects are much better than a year ago. Particularly satisfying in the rout of the Republican ideologues was the ousting of Congressman Richard Pombo of California, the prime mover behind these efforts and an extreme property rights advocate.

‘While the Congressional majority has been hostile ─ or at best indifferent ─ to historic preservation, the Executive Branch, paradoxically, has been vocal in its enthusiasm for history. The White House’s “Preserve America Initiative” has, as a prime focus, the use of historic assets to promote economic development.

‘That program has now taken on a wider significance. In October 2006 over 450 people, all invitees from a wide range of historic preservation backgrounds (including myself), met in a still-battered New Orleans for the first Preserve America Summit. The objective of the meeting was to assess the effectiveness of the Federal historic preservation program on the fortieth anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act.

‘This was a high-profile event. Keynote speakers included First Lady Laura Bush (who also participated in some workshop sessions), John Nau, Chair of the crucial Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, senior members of Congress and the leaders of several Federal agencies. While cynics might point to both the location and the timing of the Summit as being politically determined, the fact remains that senior political figures made ringing endorsements of the importance of historic preservation in the US.

‘The main work of the Summit was to review the recommendations of eleven panels that had met in the previous months. The final plenary session presented a consolidated list of sixty specific proposals. These fell under five main headings: Identification (better and more inclusive documentation of the nation’s patrimony); Enhancement (better management of resources); Sustainability (highlighting the economic benefits of preservation and promoting best practices); Education (more history in the school curriculum, better training for historic preservation practitioners); and Leadership (stronger commitment to implementation of current law, and a strong recommendation that the US re-engage with the international community over such issues as the World Heritage Sites program).

‘The draft reports covering all these issues are now available for public comment on the Preserve America Summit website. Comments are invited by 16 January 2007. The final report will be submitted to the February 2007 meeting of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, who will then approve and present it to the President and Congress.’

Antiquity makes a bold attempt to change the way we structure time

The new Antiquity to be published on 1 December 2006 takes the bold step of dividing human time on earth into ten chronological periods. The old three-age system, argues the editor, Fellow Martin Carver, originally invented to describe Danish National Museum collections in the nineteenth century, are still useful, but don’t happen everywhere at the same time. In his Editorial, Martin Carver proposes that the common chronology provided by radiocarbon dating means we can all participate in a common prehistory back to 26,000 years ago and beyond. An integrated world prehistory now seems possible, he says, and ‘a neutral taxonomy of time could help to link prehistoric fragments that we can now begin to suspect were never totally isolated from each other’.

The new scheme is suggested by a key paper on radiocarbon dating published in Antiquity by Christopher Bronk Ramsey of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, and colleagues from the universities of Sheffield, Reading, Belfast and Leiden. They show that radiocarbon dates can be calibrated with calendar dates using tree rings back to 12,400 years ago. Between 12,400 and 26,000 cal BP, the calibration curves are based on marine records, and thus are only a best estimate of the atmospheric concentrations that control the quantity of the 14C isotope. Earlier than 26,000 cal BP, there is no calibration and dates have to be based on comparison (rather than calibration) from a variety of sources. Radical variations are thus possible in this period, a matter highly significant for the dating of middle and lower Palaeolithic art, artefacts and animal and human remains.

Here are Antiquity’s ten periods (along with some of the discoveries reported in the journal during 2006 that fall into each of these periods):

1. Before 24,000 BC: hunter-gatherers in the Sahara; use of beads for ornament in Australia; horse and rhino images on the Margot Cave, France
2. Twenty-fourth to thirteenth millennia BC: earliest pottery in east Asia; male and female hand stencils in cave art
3. Thirteenth to sixth millennia BC: seed processing in America; rice cultivation in China; migration to Taiwan; wells and water-management in Israel; flint mining in Iberia; salt production in France
4. Fifth millennium BC: sea travel in Persian Gulf
5. Fourth millennium BC: class distinction at Abydos, Egypt; mound burials in the Urals
6. Third millennium BC: fortified settlements in Greece; Beaker Age stone bracers in England; copper industry in south-western Iberia; ceremonial centre on the Euphrates
7. Second millennium BC: first chariot burials in Eurasia; early settlement in the Pacific; megalithic burial rites on Menorca; Biblical radiocarbon dates in Jordan; stone circle astronomy in Ireland
8. First millennium BC: warrior stelae in Spain; olive cultivation in Egypt; cave painting in New Caledonia; mummification and pyramidal cairns in continental east Asia; Indian traders on Bali; settlement in the Florida Everglades
9. First millennium AD: geoglyphs in Peru; settlers of Iceland; vegetation at Angkor, Cambodia; auroch bones in France; Maya murals from Guatemala; Tang pottery in Sri Lanka
10. Second millennium AD: ritual road on Rarotonga; mound burials of the Golden Horde; tree cults in Russia; taro cultivation on Rapa, French Polynesia; images of anthills in Zimbabwe; burial in medieval Mongolia; Aztec irrigation systems; sites and monuments on the moon(think about it: Ed).

A full list of all articles published in this issue, including those published in the open-access Project Gallery, is available on the Antiquity website.

Proposal to close God’s House Tower Museum in Southampton

Our Fellow Matthew Johnson, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton, would like to draw Fellows’ attention to the threatened closure of the God’s House Tower Museum in Southampton, with its designated archaeology collection. The museum is MLA accredited and performs a vital community learning role, especially for schools, as well as presenting the city’s heritage to visitors and acting as a point of contact for reporting archaeological finds made through metal detecting or other means, as part of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Closure of the museum (saving some £55,000 a year) is one of several difficult options facing Councillors, who have to make savings across the whole authority of several million pounds. Councillor Adrian Vinson has emphasised that closure is just one option on a list of ‘theoretically possible options drawn up by the City Council’s officers as a basis for the deliberations of each of the political groups, as they develop their own budget proposals to put before Council in February 2007’.

Salon will report in due course what the Council decides and whether there is anything that Fellows can do to influence the decision, but the fact that closure of this important museum can even be considered raises important questions about arts and cultural provision at local level. If, as widely predicted, the Heritage White Paper due next year imposes a statutory duty on local authorities to maintain Historic Environment Records, should they also not be required to maintain a museums service?

Journey to the New World: London 1606 to Virginia 1607

This new exhibition at the Museum of London’s Museum in Docklands marks the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America at James Towne, Virginia. It will run until 13 May 2007, 400 years to the day since the London adventurers landed in America with a charter from James I to ‘make habitation, plantation and … deduce a colony of sundry of our people’ between the French-occupied lands to the north of the St Lawrence river and Spanish territories in Florida.

The museum is located a short distance from the Blackwall dock from where the Virginia Company of London’s ships departed for America in three small merchant ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery in 1606, and a replica of the Discovery will be moored in the West India Quay outside the Museum in Docklands for visitors to explore.

The objects in the exhibition include recently excavated seventeenth-century finds from Jamestown which have never been exhibited before as well as material drawn from the Museum in Docklands’ own permanent collection. They include bodices and beads, coins and cups, prints, charts, maps, astronomical and maritime instruments and they are used to provide evidence about the colonists’ diet, health and lifestyles, their relationship with the local indigenous peoples and their early attempts to manufacture goods for trade, leading to the eventual prosperity of the colony based on tobacco.

CVMA online newsletter

Our Fellow Sarah Brown, Chairman of the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (or CVMA), writes to say that the organisation has just launched a free online newsletter, Vidimus, devoted to medieval stained glass. Vidimus will appear monthly and subscription is free. Introducing the first issue, the editor, Tim Ayers, says: ‘We want to share our enthusiasm for this unique art by bringing readers news and reporting on exhibitions, events, books and websites. Every month will bring one in a series of exclusive feature articles, for which a whole range of subjects is planned, including windows, techniques, artists, patrons, collections, and much more. In each edition there will also be a detailed examination of a single panel of glass, our Panel of the Month; this will provide insights into all sorts of stained-glass issues.’ November’s panel shows the angel in the east window of St Mary’s, Shelton (Norfolk).

A Pleasing Terror: Two Ghost Stories by M R James

Robert Lloyd Parry, of the Nunkie Theatre Company, will be performing his one-man show based on M R James’s classic ‘Ghost Stories of an Antiquary’ at various theatres around the UK between 16 December and 6 January (full details on the Nunkie Theatre Company’s website). M R James was a Fellow of the Society and each of these stories involves a museum curator who stumbles across archaeological objects that reveal an unexpected glimpse into another world ─ perfect seasonal entertainment with an antiquarian flavour.

Scammers target archaeologists

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to scammers who seek to extract money from people by fraudulent means that most archaeologists are far too poor to have money to give away. But just in case you are one of the minority with cash to spare, you need to be aware that email scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their methods and are targeting people by asking for donations to fictitious charities, inventing names that are likely to appeal to the interests of the email recipient.

Our Fellow Vincent Megaw, for example, has been informed that the ‘Archaeological Society Foundation’ in conjunction with the ‘United Nations Environmental Protection Commission’ has selected him for an award for his work as a ‘worldwide environmental expert, practitioner, teacher and consultant’. The ‘Archaeological Society Foundation’ was up, apparently, to encourage ‘programs that help the local environment, heritage, and natural resources. It provides support to organizations and individuals that focus on preservation of the natural environment and support conservation in a noteworthy manner [sic].’

Needless to say, no such bodies exist, though there is no doubt a Nigerian bank account in the Foundation’s name that happily accepts donations.

ASPRoM’s autumn symposium

ASPRoM (the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics) is holding its autumn symposium at the Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House, Strand, London) from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday 2 December. The speakers are John Stewart on ‘Mosaics under cover: the conservation challenge of their preservation in situ’, William Wootton on ‘The joys of recycling: investigating material re-use in mosaic’, and Janne Hill on ‘Some new mosaics from Spain and Portugal’. All are welcome. For further details see the Association’s website.

ICOMOS-UK’s Christmas Lecture and Wine Reception

Fiona Reynolds, CBE, Director-General of the National Trust, will deliver a speech on ‘Climate Change and Cultural Heritage: society’s great challenge’ on 7 December 2006 at 6.30pm at The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, London EC1. In the light of the Stern Report, Fiona will speak on how the Trust is learning to adapt to climate change and mitigate its worst effects on cultural heritage. She will also address the need for all of us to call on Government to deliver a robust and targeted climate-change strategy. Admission (including wine and mince pies after the lecture) is £15 for members of ICOMOS-UK, £18 for non-members and £10 for students. A booking form can be downloaded from the ICOMOS-UK website.

Third Annual Ename International Colloquium: call for papers

The Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in the Belgian Province of East Flanders was founded in 1998 out of the experience gained by the Ename 974 Project, a comprehensive programme of archaeological excavation, architectural restoration, and public outreach based in the village of Ename within the municipality of Oudenaarde in the Province of East-Flanders. The Ename Centre’s continuing goal is to develop a wide range of heritage presentation techniques and programmes based on high scholarly standards of archaeological and historical research.

The Centre’s Third Annual Ename International Colloquium will be held in Ghent, Belgium, on 21 to 24 March 2007 and papers are now being sought on the theme of The Future of the Heritage: changing visions, attitudes and contexts in the twenty-first century. The organisers are seeking innovative contribution from heritage administrators, cultural economists, archaeologists, historians, educators and cultural policy specialists under the following four themes: Philosophy and Public Policy, Economics, Technologies and Community Participation.

Abstracts for poster presentations, short papers (10 minutes) and research papers (20 minutes) on these themes (maximum of 300 words, in English) will be accepted until 1 December 2006 by email to colloquium program co-ordinator Claudia Liuzza. For additional information, see the Ename Center website.

Books by Fellows

Twenty-five Years of Archaeology in Gloucestershire is an exemplary publication edited by our Fellow Neil Holbrook, Chief Executive of Cotswold Archaeology, and John Jurica, of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, with contributions from a long list of Gloucestershire-based Fellows, or those who have made Gloucestershire an important part of their field of study, including Tim Darvill, on Prehistory, Neil Holbrook himself on the Roman period, Richard Reece on the early and Andrew Reynolds on the later medieval periods, Mark Bowden on the medieval countryside, Carolyn Heighway on Gloucester city, Jan Wills on the work of the county’s archaeological service and Alan Saville drawing all the strands together and setting the agenda for future research in the county (which leaves just three contributions by non Fellows: Tom Moore on the Iron Age, Robert H Jones on Bristol and David R Evans on the environmental record).

Why exemplary? Because the book sums up what we have learned over the last twenty-five years, and chapter by chapter rewrites everything we thought we knew ─ we, that is, who learned our archaeology in the 1970s. The message, time after time, is ‘we don’t think like that any more; the old picture was biased and misleading’. Every county should have a book like this, and every period society should (if they haven’t already) undertake similar reviews of the vast amounts of new knowledge that lies buried in grey literature and in unpublished work, waiting to be digested and brought into common currency. Members of the B&G will get copies free: others can buy copies at £13, including p&p from Cotswold Archaeology.

Catherine Johns is hoping that the royalties from her recently published popular gift / art book will help support her as she slaves away at her non-remunerative scholarly catalogue: called Horses: history, myth, art, it is published by BM Press at £16.99 and is lavishly illustrated with objects from the British Museum collections from all parts of the world, ranging in date from the palaeolithic to the twenty-first century, to explain the place of horses in human culture.

Animals in human culture form a large part of the subject of Graeme Barker’s newly published OUP book called The Agricultural Revolution: why did foragers become farmers?, in which he addresses one of the most debated revolutions in the history of our species, the change from hunting and gathering to farming. Graeme integrates a massive array of information from archaeology and many other disciplines, including anthropology, botany, climatology, genetics, linguistics, and zoology. Seeking to answer the question in the title, Graeme develops a strong case for the development of agricultural systems as transformations in the life-ways of indigenous forager societies that derived as much from changes in social norms and ideologies as from ways of obtaining food.

Robin Simon’s latest book comes with a special pre-publication offer for Fellows. In Hogarth, France and British Art: the rise of the arts in eighteenth-century Britain (400 pages, 245 b&w illustrations, 90 colour; ISBN 978-0-9554063-0-0; price £45 when published on 15 January 2007) Robin argues that Hogarth liked to present himself as anti-French, but that the artist was able to create a distinctively ‘British’ art chiefly through his profound knowledge of French art and theory. The book ─ described by Dr Martin Postle, Head of British Pictures at Tate Britain, as ‘startlingly original’ ─ is a comprehensive examination of the ways in which Hogarth interacted with his contemporaries, in painting and print-making, sculpture, poetry, the novel, the theatre, art education, music and opera at a time when British culture habitually defined itself in relation to that of France. Readers of Salon (UK only) can take advantage of the pre-publication offer (£40, p&p included) by going to the British Art Journal website and clicking on ‘Hogarth Book Offer’ or by contacting Sally Sharp.

Noble Households: eighteenth-century inventories of great English houses; a tribute to John Cornforth is a treasure trove of unexpected details and insights into the taste and lifestyles of leading grandees and the households that supported them in nine great country houses and four London town houses. Sponsored by the Marc Fitch Fund, the book consists of transcribed inventories chosen by the late John Cornforth (1937─2004), former trustee and Chairman of the Fund, who hoped that their publication would revitalise the study of the great house in the eighteenth century. Produced as a tribute to his historical work, the book is edited by our Fellow Tessa Murdoch, Deputy Keeper, Victoria and Albert Museum, with an introduction and short essays on each group of inventories.

These record in astonishing detail ─ and with great immediacy ─ the goods and chattels accumulated, inherited, or acquired for everyday use or enjoyment. Compiled swiftly on the spot, room by room, with meticulous care, these inventories were written by professional appraisers, in consultation with family members or their stewards. The language is startlingly modern: one house was equipped with a ‘washing machine’; another refers to the latrine as ‘the boghouse’. Kitchen utensils with French names reflect the presence of a French chef and the adoption of French cooking methods. Above stairs these inventories record the collecting habits of leading eighteenth-century patrons and provide an opportunity to compare the arrangements of the interiors of the great country and town houses of the same noble families in different generations.

Library gifts for September and October 2006

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following recent gifts to the Library (some of which will be described in greater detail in forthcoming issues of Salon).

From the author, David Breeze, Fellow, The Antonine Wall, 2006

From the author, Mary Alexander, Fellow, ‘With ramparts crown’d’: the early history of Guildford Castle, 2006

From Dorothy Lockwood, Tithe and Other Records of Essex and Barking by Herbert Lockwood (late Fellow), 2006

From the author, Geoffrey Munn, Fellow, Southwold: an earthly paradise, 2006

From the author, Alan Bott, Fellow, The Parish Churches of Dunsfold and Hascombe, Surrey, 2006

From the Hendon and District Archaeological Society, The Last Hendon Farm, edited by Jacqui Pearce, Fellow, 2006

From the author, Professor Timothy Darvill, Fellow, Stonehenge: the biography of a landscape, 2006

From the author, Aubrey Burl, Fellow, Stonehenge: a new history of the world’s greatest stone circle, 2006

From the authors, Roy and Lesley Adkins, Fellows, The War for All the Oceans, 2006

From the author, John Newman, Fellow, The Buildings of England: Shropshire, 2006

From the editor, Rick Turner, Fellow, Chepstow Castle, 2006

From Madame Catherine Laurent, Fellow, La Bretagne d’apres d’itineraire de Monsieur Dubuisson-Aubenay, 2006

From the editor, Francesca Radcliffe, Paesaggi sepolti in Daunia: John Bradford e la ricerca archeologica dal cielo 1945─57, 2006

From George McHardy, Fellow, Architectural images of the North 1700─1950 by Charles Hind and Jason McKinstry, 1998

From the author, S E D Fortescue, Great and Little Bookham: the North End, 2006

From the author, Warwick Rodwell, Fellow, Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey, 2006, and The Battle of Jersey by Richard Mayne, 1981

From the author, Cecilia Powell, Fellow, Rascals and Ruins: the romantic vision of James Pryde, 2006

From the Somerset Record Society, Architectural Records of Wells 1784─1808 by John Carter, FSA, edited by Warwick Rodwell, Fellow, and Gerard Leighton, Fellow, 2006

From C E J Smith, ‘The livery collar’ (typescript), 2006

From Roger Smith, Fellow, Kaiser Karl IV, edited by Ferdinand Seibt, 1978

From Dai Morgan Evans, Fellow, Enrolment of Exchequer of Pleas relating to Monmouthshire and its borders, edited by Murray L Chapman, 2006

From the author, Matthew Johnson, Fellow, Ideas of Landscape, 2006


Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), Head of Museum Policy
Salary: c £70,000, closing date 15 December 2006

The job involves working closely with a wide range of stakeholder and representative bodies, including government departments, offering advice on national policies and acting as a powerful advocate for museums at the highest levels. An understanding of the needs and aspirations of the sector must be matched by substantial and relevant experience of policy development in the public sector, including expertise in advocacy work at national level with senior politicians and other stakeholders.

Further information from the Tribal Resourcing website.