14 July: Fellows' Day at Kelmscott Manor. This event, organised exclusively for Fellows and their guests, provides another opportunity to see some of the Kelmscott Press books that featured in last years popular Kelmscott Press Day. Specially selected by Fellow Colin Franklin, the exhibition focuses on inscribed and association copies. Fellows can also enjoy the permanent collection throughout the Manor and the garden. The programme includes a seasonal Kelmscott afternoon tea and music from The Caged String Quartet. Kelmscott Manor shop will also be open.
The event starts at 2pm (with wine or soft drink on arrival) and continues until 5pm. Tickets cost £14 per person (including Kelmscott tea, wine and other refreshments). To order your ticket(s), send a cheque made out to Kelmscott Manor to: Fellows Day 2007, Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Lechlade GL7 3HJ. Enquiries: tel: 01367 253348; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The last date for the receipt of bookings has been extended to Tuesday 3 July.
There will be a private view of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition exclusively for Fellows of the Courtyard Societies, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 1 August 2007. Tickets cost £20 a head and include champagne and canapés. For tickets and further details of all these events, contact Jayne Phenton.
New on the website this week is an up-to-date list of Fellows (two lists in fact: names only on the public side, but with contact details in the password-protected Fellows area). These supersede the printed Fellows List, last published in 2004 and already inaccurate the day it was sent to the press, so frequently do Fellows details change. We will strive to keep the website versions as accurate and timely as possible Fellows can help by ensuring that changes in their details are notified to the website manager as well as to the Societys administrator.
Post sent by the Society to the following Fellows has been returned marked unknown at this address. We would be grateful for news (by email to email@example.com) of the current whereabouts of Dr Joseph Decaens (last known address 7 Grand Rue, Louvigny 14111, France), Dr David Fraser (Sustainability and Rural Affairs, Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber City House, Leeds) and Professor Anthony J Mills (Egloshayle, Wadebridge, Cornwall).
Last week David Gaimster announced that Dr Georgia Toutziari had been appointed to the post of Office Manager with the Society of Antiquaries, a key post that includes providing support to the Societys many different functions, from secretarial support to the General Secretary and the Societys various committees to the management of room and conference lettings, IT maintenance and health, safety and security.
Georgia, who will also be the first point of contact for enquiries, studied art history at Glasgow University and, having won a scholarship at the end of her MA, stayed at the Centre for Whistler Studies, University of Glasgow, for her PhD. Here she edited The Correspondence of Anna McNeill Whistler, 18551880, and made the important discovery that Whistler's Mother, one of the worlds best-known portraits, was painted by chance in 1871 when the artist, James McNeill Whistler, was expecting a young model to show up at his studio in London. When she failed to appear he asked his mother, Anna, visiting from America, to pose instead.
Georgia has since contributed conference papers and curated several exhibitions on Whistler, her most recent work being the catalogue for the Whistler and Russia exhibition organised by the British Council and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow as part of the State Tretyakov Gallerys 150th Anniversary Celebrations that ran until 15 February 2007.
Georgia will take over the administrative responsibilities that previously formed part of Jayne Phentons job as Head of Administration and Communications. Jayne in turn has been appointed as the Societys first full-time Head of Communications. David Gaimster described this as an important refocusing of Jaynes job to highlight the importance of internal and external communications to the Society as it enters the Tercentenary year. Jayne, who joined the Society as a part-time admin assistant in 1999, said: the new job is very exciting, and very challenging, and I look forward to it.
Salons editor is grateful to Philip Lankester, Keith Ray, Martin Smith and David Mander for help in compiling the following list of people who were honoured in the Queens Birthday list for services to heritage and related fields (Fellows names are picked out in bold type).
Norman Leon Rosenthal, Exhibitions Secretary, Royal Academy of Arts, for services to art.
Professor Christopher Alan Bayly, Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, University of Cambridge, for services to history.
Royal Victorian Order, MVO
Mrs Megan Gent, RVM, Paper Conservator, Royal Archives.
Order of the Bath, GCB
The Rt Hon Sir Robin Berry Janvrin, KCB, KCVO, Private Secretary to The Queen and Keeper of The Queen's Archives.
Order of the British Empire, CBE
Rear Admiral Roy Alexander George Clare, formerly Director, National Maritime Museum, for services to museums.
Dr David Starkey, historian and broadcaster, for services to history.
Ms Judy Ling Wong, Director of the Black Environment Network, for services to Heritage.
Order of the British Empire, OBE
Ms Sarah Mary Collins, Curator, British Museum, for services to museums.
Dr David Crook, formerly Senior Archivist, National Archives.
Mrs Karen Olivia Latimer, Architectural Librarian, for services to heritage in Northern Ireland.
David Leonard Mander, Director and Chair, Archives for London Ltd, for services to local government.
Professor Martin Ferguson Smith, Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Durham, for services to scholarship.
Duncan Henry Wilson, Chief Executive, Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College, for services to heritage.
Order of the British Empire, MBE
Peter Bailey, Curator, Newhaven Local and Maritime Museum, for services to museums in East Sussex.
William Frederick Bond, founder, Battle of Britain Historical Society, for services to heritage.
Mrs Grace Eileen Cupitt, President, History and Preservation Society, for services to heritage in Calverton, Nottinghamshire.
Stephen John Earl, Conservation Officer, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, for services to heritage and to local government.
Dr Michael Heyworth, Director, Council for British Archaeology, for services to heritage.
Kenneth Frederick Reeves, Curator, Kington Museum, Herefordshire, for services to museums.
Nicholas David Johnson, County Archaeologist, for services to Local Government in Cornwall.
Mrs Ruth Hope Kamen, formerly Director and Sir Banister Fletcher Librarian, British Architectural Library, Royal Institute of British Architects, for services to architecture. Terence John Wyke, Senior Lecturer in History, Manchester Metropolitan University, for services to higher education and to local history.
Dennis Colin Mitchell Urquhart, Director, Scottish Stone Liaison Group, for services to conservation.
Our President Geoff Wainwright joined Fellows Dai Morgan Evans, Chris Musson and John Kenyon in paying tribute to our late Fellow Richard Avent at a celebration of his life held at Laugharne Castle on 21 June 2007. The event was attended by 150 of Richards friends from all over the country, and a memorial rose arbour was ceremonially opened at the castle, a fitting location given that Richards career began with his excavation of the castle from 1973, a project that he continued for a further twenty years, leading to his international reputation in the field of castle studies.
Peter Ucko, who died on 14 June 2007, was a Fellow until his retirement as Director of the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 2006. Peter's funeral will take place on Tuesday 26 June at noon in St Michael's Church, Highgate, followed by burial in Highgate cemetery, to be followed by a reception (about 2pm) in the Garden Room in UCLs Wilkins Building.
Neal Ascherson, writing in the Independent, said that Ucko was the most influential archaeologist of his time and that: Almost single-handed, he brought about a revolution which irrevocably changed the whole structure and outlook of international archaeology. Aschersons obituary then went on to say: This upheaval began in 1986, when in scenes of frantic drama and controversy the profession's international body exploded at its congress at Southampton University. Out of the smoke and debris there emerged the World Archaeological Congress, dedicated to new and radical principles which included the notion that archaeology was profoundly political and that the archaeology of indigenous peoples in post-colonial continents societies for whom the relics of a distant past were still components of a living culture was more significant than the academic and Eurocentric studies of prehistory.
With his tight curls and his powerful, mobile face, Peter Ucko resembled a small Roman emperor. Passionate and unpredictable in his loves and hates, he could put superhuman energy behind causes and people he believed in (he was still editing a book on Chinese archaeological training on his death-bed). His own formation was as much in anthropology as in archaeology, one of the sources of his gift for breaking through academic barriers. Anthropology also satisfied his need (as he put it) to be taught by and to meet academics who had respect for the beliefs and activities
of the people of other cultures. His antipathy to racism was always violent. As a friend wrote about him, the reason Peter is such a good hater is the motivation which powers the hate a deeply felt anger at unfairness and injustice.
Peter John Ucko was born in 1938, the son of intellectual Jewish emigrants from Germany. From his father, a doctor, he inherited a lasting delight in music, especially opera. After the progressive public school of Bryanston, he began an anthropology degree at University College London in 1956, but always so he later said hoped to get into Egyptology, a lifelong craze which began when he collected figurines off antique stalls as a boy. After a PhD on Egyptian figurines, he spent ten more years at UCL lecturing with increasing brilliance and originality in anthropology.
In 1967 Ucko and his then partner Andrée Rosenfeld published his first book, Palaeolithic Cave Art. Shortly afterwards, they moved to Australia where in 1972 he became principal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. This was to be a decisive, radicalising experience. I found that my Institute was a totally white institution whites gave out money to whites, through white committees, to study the blacks
an untenable situation. When he left in 1980, he made sure, against angry opposition, that his successor was an Aboriginal. It was in Australia that he met the anthropologist Jane Hubert, then married to Anthony Forge (who died in 1991), who was to become Ucko's stout-hearted partner and counsellor for the rest of his life.
Back in Britain, in 1981 he became Professor of Archaeology at Southampton University. And it was here, in the 1980s, that he encountered the crisis of his professional life. The International Union of Pre- and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS) proposed to hold its 11th congress at Southampton and Ucko was persuaded to organise it. At that time (it has improved since), the IUPPS had decayed into a slovenly, deeply conservative and Eurocentric clique. To its horror, Ucko insisted that he wanted the conference to be a World Archaeological Congress, attended by archaeologists from the Third World and devoted to global themes rather than to the cosy comparison of excavations and discoveries.
After enormous exertions, he seemed to be getting his way when disaster struck. Unwisely, Ucko had pushed to the back of his mind the crisis of apartheid South Africa, and the existence of an international academic boycott. But in 1986, only months before the congress, the Southampton student union and then the municipal authorities declared that they would withdraw all facilities if South African archaeologists attended. Worse, many of the African and Asian delegates now threatened not to take part.
Well aware of the storm he would provoke, Ucko decided that the cause of a new world archaeology must not be abandoned. He declared that the South Africans would be disinvited. It was an act of outstanding courage. Uproar followed. Ucko was accused of betraying academic freedom. Funders withdrew; many of the leading archaeologists of Europe, Britain and America resigned from the congress and denounced him sometimes with shameful abuse which they would now prefer to forget. The IUPPS condemned him and pulled out.
But Ucko, urged by Jane to stand fast whenever his resolve faltered, stuck to his guns. In the end, over a thousand enthusiastic delegates arrived and Uckos dream of a new global order for a humanised science of the past was triumphantly realised. The first World Archaeological Congress (WAC-1) took off, and no fewer than twenty-two books were published from its sessions.
The cost was heavy, not least to Ucko's health. He had lived off his nerves for twenty years, a heavy smoker with a generous wine intake; now appeared the first signs of the diabetes which was to end his life prematurely. And the crisis did not improve his confidence in his fellow humans. Students got the benefit of his tough humour and his adventurous, eccentric imagination. But colleagues had to tread warily; you were in or out. He could be childishly sullen and suspicious one day; brilliantly welcoming and lovable the next.
In 1996, he was appointed director of the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, Britain's leading centre of teaching and research. There were grumbles from crusty colleagues. But the maverick Ucko was now, beyond challenge, the most creative figure in British archaeology. In 1997, he launched the first courses in Public Archaeology, typically redefining it as a critical audit of the professions ethics in areas as diverse as the handling of the indigenous dead and archaeology in the media.
He retired in 2006. Surprisingly, Ucko refused to accept the presidency of the WAC, but his master-work lives on, its vast congresses sparkling with fresh insights and theories. The 1980s were a decade in which British innovation in archaeology (for better or worse) led the world. Margaret Thatcher privatised the profession, while Ian Hodder, Chris Tilley and Michael Shanks invented postprocessual theory. But Ucko's contribution will outlast them all: an irreversible, institutionalised commitment to an archaeology which happens now rather than in the past, and is concerned with the living as much as with the dead.
Last week saw another example of the Conservative party trailing a new set of policies then running away from them as soon as the policies were criticised. On the last occasion it was education policy; this time it was heritage. Hugo Swire, Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, outlined his partys thinking on heritage at a lunch with arts correspondents last week, letting it be known that charging for entry to museums and galleries would become a matter for their directors and trustees to decide if the Conservatives win the next election, that targets for black and minority ethnic and socially excluded visitors would be dropped, and that museums and galleries would be judged according to their academic excellence alone; furthermore that galleries and museums would be free to sell works on the condition that the proceeds were used to fund better acquisitions, that a Conservative government would set up a national purchase fund for arts and heritage acquisitions, that it would scrap the Big Lottery Fund and go back to the original four good causes of arts, heritage, sport and charities.
Many commentators howled in dismay, picking on Labour's decision to introduce free admission as (to quote the Independent) one of its most popular policies. Mr Swire then retracted his earlier statement saying that It is not our policy to bring back admission fees for museums and galleries. We are committed to the principle of free admission, to which Tessa Jowell, the Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, responded by saying that: free admission has been extraordinarily successful in opening up our national institutions to a wide range of people.
Support for free admission also came from national museum directors, including those who have expressed unhappiness with the policy of free admission in the past (including our Fellow Charles Saumarez Smith, who once said that the amount the National Gallery receives in grants from central Government does not even meet the cost of opening the premises to the public, let alone pay for conservation, research, presentation or acquisitions).
A letter to the Guardian published on 21 June and signed by seventeen museum and gallery directors (including our Fellows Neil MacGregor of the British Museum, Charles Saumarez Smith of the National Gallery, Rosalind Saville of the Wallace Collection, Tim Knox of Sir John Soane's Museum and Alan Guy of the National Army Museum) said: free admission has been a central part of this government's policy for museums and has been one of its most significant achievements
Free admission has seen nearly 30m more visits to our world-renowned collections. Visits to former charging museums have increased by 87 per cent and have attracted more diverse audiences. An extra 16 million children have visited museums since they were granted free entry in 1998, and the number of visits from people from lower socio-economic groups has risen to 6.5 million in 200405.
Sadly what seems to have been lost in the heat of this debate, with its single-minded focus on the issue of free admission, was a point tucked away in an opinion piece in the Independent on 18 June in which the leader writer referred to economic freedom from government influence and the vagaries of financial cutbacks (or, one might add, raids on the heritage pot to pay for the Olympics).
This same point was made more explicitly by the museum and gallery directors in their letter to the Guardian when they said: It should be noted that free admission was only made possible through additional public funding. Adequate public funding remains vital [Salon editors italics] if we are to continue to attract and engage with an increasing number of different audiences offering not only information, learning and enjoyment, but the potential to transform individuals, communities and society.
The debate over Tory arts and heritage policy was given extra spice by the announcement by the Government that Sir John Tusa has been appointed to take over from Paula Ridley as Chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum for a period of four years (for the full press release, see the Downing Street website.
Sir John is not only a prominent critic of the Governments arts policy, he also chairs the Conservative Partys Arts Policy Task Force, though he will step down from this position before taking up his V&A post on 1 November 2007. He is a forceful writer and broadcaster, whose two books of essays on the arts Art Matters and Engaged with the Arts have attacked the Government for making the arts serve a social, political, educational or economic purpose in other words be an instrument for delivering other government policies.
The Governments policy on museums and heritage generally was thoroughly discussed in a Westminster Hall debate on 6 June 2007, in which MPs swapped claim and counterclaim about the level of funding for the heritage over the last ten years and the impact of the Olympics on funding for the sector. Heritage Minister David Lammy was adamant that Government support for the heritage was one long story of investment, enrichment and success and that the combination of investment in museums and heritage and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund resulted in more being spent on heritage last year than has ever been spent on the sector in this countrys history.
The House of Lords returned to aspects of the same subject on 12 June when peers debated the Science and Technology Select Committees report on the application of science and technology to the care and conservation of our cultural heritage. Opening the debate, Baroness Sharp of Guildford, who chaired the select committee inquiry, said that there was one central and dominant conclusion to our report
that this is an area of science and technology, albeit a highly specialist one, in which Britain has, in the past, led the world but which has, in the last two decades, been in decline and which will decline further and much more seriously unless urgent action is taken.
Baroness Sharp went on to say that: it was very clear that conservation, let alone the development of new techniques of conservation, ranked very low in government priorities
Conservation gets no mention in the departments strategic objectives or in the public service agreements that it negotiates with its non-departmental public bodies organisations such as English Heritage, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the major museums and galleries, to which it devolves responsibility in these matters. Yet with the countrys earnings from tourism, much of it cultural tourism, now running at over £38 billion, the potential loss is economic as well as cultural, and then quoted the words of our Fellow John Fidler given in evidence to the select committee: There is no upward synthesis of needs and concerns … One could argue that DCMSs strategy is to divide and conquer ie manage Englands heritage in small parcels so that cumulative impacts are lessened or lost in the detail.
The Governments response came from Lord Davies of Oldham who acknowledged that the committee has highlighted the relationship between science and heritage that had perhaps not been fully appreciated before, re-emphasised the Governments real commitment to this important sector, but said it was all a matter of resources and priorities, and that DCMS was doing its best under financial restraints imposed by the Chancellor.
Culture Minister David Lammy, meanwhile, was unapologetic last week about continuing to demand that museums contribute to social and political ends, and he threatened to penalise museums and art galleries that failed to appoint black and ethnic minority people to their management boards, saying that the boards of most national museums, galleries and libraries are pale, male and stale. Lammy has written to all national museums and galleries to ask for figures on the ethnic make-up of their staff and is said to be considering the introduction of binding targets, tied to financial penalties, to ensure that black and ethnic minority people are better represented.
England's museums are doing a fantastic job putting on stunning exhibitions and drawing in visitors as never before, he said. But usually theres also a face at the window looking in, and all too often that face is black. And we won't get those people in … if they can't see themselves in the staff who put on the shows. The banks have managed it, the Bar has managed it, so it's preposterous that publicly funded cultural bodies who embrace diversity in so many other ways are dragging their feet.
Perhaps popular entertainment is a better reflection of reality than the rarefied world of politics. Radio 4 began broadcasting a new comedy series called The Maltby Collection on 15 June (Fridays, 11.30am). The sitcom is set in a museum where Rod Millet, the son of a self-made biscuit mogul, is appointed deputy director of painting and sculpture. Episode 1 concerns Rods fight to keep the museum open: No sooner have I got a job, he says, than the Government wants to close it down. It does rather look as if the Government needs to work harder if it is to get its message across that its record on heritage is one unremitting story of achievement.
The Daily Telegraph has been talking up a childrens novel that it claims will be the next Harry Potter. Tunnels, to be published on 2 July, is said to be the story of a boy archaeologist, merciless villains, a lost world and a journey to the centre of the earth. Unfortunately, the extracts that the newspaper published suggest that the authors have never been close to an archaeologist or an excavation, as the following sample paragraphs illustrate.
Schlaak! The pickaxe hit the wall of earth and, sparking on an unseen shard of flint, sank deep into the clay, coming to a sudden halt with a dull thud. This could be it, Will! Dr Burrows crawled forwards in the cramped tunnel. Sweating and breathing heavily in the confined space, he began feverishly clawing at the dirt, his breath clouding in the damp air. Under the combined glare of their helmet lamps each greedy handful revealed more of the old wooden planking beneath, exposing its tar-coated grain and splintery surface. Pass me the crowbar.
Will's whole appearance was rather odd; he was wearing his digging kit, which consisted of an oversized cardigan with leather elbow pads, and a pair of dirt-encrusted old cords. The only things Will kept really clean were his beloved shovel and the exposed metal toecaps of his work boots. This was a milestone in Will's life, the first time he'd ever allowed somebody from school or anywhere else, for that matter to see one of his projects.
All good stuff, though more Enid Blyton than Sir Mortimer Wheeler. But what if Tunnels is the success it is predicted to be and does for archaeology what Harry Potter did for wizardry? The careers column in the Education section of last weeks Independent happened to be headlined How to succeed in archaeology. This said: If you're interested in the past and like working outdoors, archaeology could be for you, and advised that the biggest advantages of being an archaeologist are that you get a tan, and are able to meet and impress girls (so does that mean there are no female archaeologists?).
It was left to our Fellow Roland Smith (Resources Director with Wessex Archaeology) to tell the harsh truth: The reality is that we operate professionally as businesses with a need for all the other skills required in achieving commercial as well as archaeological success.
And having acquired this all-round range of skills, there is the little (and we do mean little) matter of pay. Low pay and the need to work away from home for long periods can result in low morale, Lynne Fouracre (consultant at AOC Archaeology Group in Edinburgh) told the Independent.
But, said Martin Lightfoot (Senior Project Manager at West Yorkshire Archaeological Services), there are compensations: The sense of fraternity [its a boys world again] and teamwork with other archaeologists, particularly on a big project, is a world away from the nine-to-five office slavery which is the fate of most graduates, he said.
While we might debate many aspects of the Governments heritage policy, there is no doubting the robustness with which the Department of Culture has responded to a report from ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, saying that Down House, Charles Darwins home, does not meet World Heritage Site criteria. Heritage Minister David Lammy had no choice but to withdraw the nomination, but he has done so in terms that leave nobody in any doubt about the strength of feeling that the ICOMOS report has engendered.
The letter of withdrawal firmly but politely points out that Down House meets all the criteria for nomination as a site of world significance for the heritage of science, that it fully justifies World Heritage status and that the Government remains committed to this nomination. The letter suggests that ICOMOS needs to tighten up its procedures, sort out its criteria and stop making statements that are unsupported and unsubstantiated.
We believe, says the DCMS letter of withdrawal, that this shows a lack of rigour which is totally unacceptable, and that their [ICOMOSs] failure to justify [their] assertions openly and transparently is a matter which the Committee needs to take up with them in the context of their role as an advisory body.
The DCMS letter concludes by asking whether ICOMOS alone should shoulder the challenge of defining scientific heritage: As happened in the past with cultural landscapes and some aspects of industrial archaeology, the challenge of new concepts requires new thinking and consideration which we do not think can be done by ICOMOS alone, the letter says, and it offers the services of the UK Government to facilitate a meeting of international experts in the history of science to meet in 2007 or 2008 and to examine how sites recognising and celebrating achievements in science can be recognised under the World Heritage Convention, and to recommend appropriate Policy, Strategy and Resources Unit guidelines.
Down House, at Downe, near Bromley, Kent, is where Darwin researched and wrote On the Origin of Species. The ICOMOS report says that the house and garden has undergone substantial changes in use and appearance since the second half of the nineteenth century and is by no means the landscape that aided Darwin in his studies. Randall Keynes, Darwin's great-great-grandson, was reported in the Guardian as saying: They have completely misunderstood the nature of the place. What is extraordinary about it is that you can step through the pages of the Origin of Species, and see the animals, plants and insects, still there, still doing the things which he observed, and on which he based his key conclusions.
DCMS has confirmed that it intends to resubmit the Down House application in 2009 and that the sequence of nominations for World Heritage Site status is now: Frontiers of the Roman Empire: The Antonine Wall, nominated in January 2007 for consideration in June 2008; Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to be nominated in January 2008 for consideration in June 2009; Darwin at Downe to be re-submitted in January 2009 for consideration in June 2010; the Monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow to be nominated in January 2010 for consideration in June 2011.
Back to muddles (or was that muggles?): the new Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has issued confusing advice on the current position with regard to the excavation of human remains, which in some circumstances will require a six-week public consultation period before excavation can proceed, and that could require reburial of the remains, so precluding longer-term retention for future study. In many cases, however, archaeologists need no longer obtain licences under the Burial Act 1857, and may be free to proceed without statutory constraints on the removal, study, sampling and retention of buried human remains.
Which of these three applies depends on whether the excavation is a disused burial ground (covered by the Disused Burial Grounds (Amendment) Act 1981) which covers disused burial grounds irrespective of their age, provided that the ground in question is still, in effect, a burial ground or whether it is a burial ground that has passed into some other use (for example, if it has already been built over).
Advice from our Fellow Sebastian Payne, Chief Scientist at English Heritage, is that: At present, when archaeologists expect to encounter burials they would be well advised to apply to the MoJ in good time to clarify the status of the site they propose to work on and whether either Act applies. If human remains are encountered unexpectedly, it is unlikely that either Act applies; if in doubt, again the Coroners Unit of the MoJ are willing to advise.
In a statement put out by English Heritage, he goes on to say that: We are of course concerned at the present uncertainty, as it risks causing unplanned delay to time-sensitive projects, resulting in disruption and additional cost. We are also concerned that a requirement for reburial might in some cases prevent us from retaining important series of excavated human remains for further research, resulting in a loss of understanding of the past. We are working actively with the Ministry of Justice to clarify the position
there is as yet no published guidance, but we understand that MoJ intends to ensure as far as possible that any disruption to the work of archaeologists and developers is kept to the minimum.
Further information is available on the website of the Institute of Field Archaeologists, including a letter from the Ministry of Justice explaining its latest legal advice, and a letter from the IFA to the Minister of State, The Rt Hon Harriet Harman, QC, MP, requesting a speedy resolution to the uncertainties created by this advice.
Fellow Kevin Leahy also warns against digging cemeteries, but not for political or legalistic reasons: writing in the latest issue of Current Archaeology he says that such excavations can effectively take over your life, as witnessed by the thirty years that he has devoted to Cleatham Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Lincolnshire. Five seasons of excavation resulted in 1,014 cremation urns and 62 graves rescued from ploughing, making Cleatham the third largest such cemetery to be excavated in England (after Spong Hill, Norfolk, at 2,700 urns, and Loveden Hill, Lincolnshire, at 1,700).
Analysing the material from Cleatham would have been impossible without a relational database, and Kevin writes feelingly about the frustrations of using early computers, including one called Christine [Kevin doesnt say why], which he describes as a PC of such gratuitous malevolence that I was in two minds whether to throw it through the window or take it across to the churchyard and hammer a stake through it.
Kevin explains how he phased the site based on the stratigraphic relationships between seven key urns; the decorative mosaics on these urns were allocated to different phases and other urns with similar motifs fitted in to the matrix; this was modified in turn by groups of urns buried together in the same deposit, whose motifs could thus be shown to be contemporaneous.
There were many surprises: not all urns contained human bones one that was appropriately decorated with horseshoes contained the bones of a large animal, probably a horse; many urns had holes punched through the base or sides, and sometimes filled with a lead plug or, in one case, with a piece of glass. African ivory and Indian Ocean shells and coral were among the grave goods, but bone combs were the most common grave offering.
Kevin also found four pots that were closer in style to Romano-British than Anglo-Saxon urns, but for which no parallels exist in any Romano-British assemblage. He believes that they date from the late fifth century and represent the tail end of the Romano-British pottery industry; they provide evidence, he says, that Roman Britain probably died, not with a bang, but with a long drawn-out sigh.
All this and more will feature in a forthcoming publication called Interrupting the Pots: the excavation of the Cleatham Anglo-Saxon cemetery, which the CBA will be issuing in July, while the full dataset resulting from the excavation is accessible on the Archaeology Data Service website. Kevin told Salon: I am very pleased with the way that this has turned out and think that the ADS have done an amazing job to produce a really user-friendly database. The hard-copy version includes all of the analysis of the site and it, and the database, complement each other.
Also in the latest Current Archaeology is an article (written by Salons editor) on Fellow Bryony Coless research into the archaeology of beavers in Britain. In the course of her research, Bryony has become convinced that beavers should be reintroduced to Britain under the European Habitats Directive, which encourages member states to consider reintroducing native species killed off by human action. Beavers still excite strong reactions: as recently as May 2007, letters were published in the Independent from Scottish fishing organisations claiming that beavers killed salmon (in reality they are vegetarian; their favourite diet is willow coppice) and from tree lovers saying that Britains woods and forests would be devastated (in reality, beavers create coppiced riverside habitat, rich in bio-diversity).
There is plenty of room for beavers to live along streams and rivers and coexist with humans, as they have done for thousands of years in the past, says Bryony, and this could happen as we move from a farming regime based on subsidising production to one based on stewardship.
Archaeologists who complain that the sectors magazines no longer carry fieldwork reports should surely subscribe to the Colchester Archaeologist, a very professionally designed and printed colour magazine published by the Colchester Archaeological Trust though the imprint page makes it clear that this is a labour of love on the part of our Fellow, Philip Crummy. The latest (annual) issue is full of crisp and informative colour photographs of recent archaeology in Colchester, but also of all the smiling faces of all the people that the Colchester Archaeological Trust has recruited as supporters and volunteers, from schoolchildren, students and teachers to soldiers from the local army base and the staff of local businesses.
Salon has not reported on the dire situation in Iraq for many months because, to be frank, the unremitting catalogue of catastrophe after catastrophe for the poor human beings caught up in the conflict and for the heritage is just too depressing, and there seems nothing that any of us can do to help the situation. However, numerous Salon readers have suggested that an article by our Fellow Simon Jenkins, published in the Guardian on 8 June, should be brought to readers attention. In this article, Simon provides evidence that the pillaging of Iraqs heritage is not something that we can simply blame on Iraqi criminals: our own troops are involved, and belligerent American army commanders are blocking all attempts by the Iraqi board of antiquities and heritage to inspect and report on the condition of some of the countrys most important monuments.
Here is a flavour of what Simon says in his report. Abbas al-Hussaini (head of the Iraqi antiquities board) recently addressed a conference in London and confirmed a report two years ago by [Fellow] John Curtis, of the British Museum, on America's conversion of Nebuchadnezzar's great city of Babylon into the hanging gardens of Halliburton. This meant a 150-hectare camp for 2,000 troops. In the process the 2,500-year-old brick pavement to the Ishtar Gate was smashed by tanks and the gate itself damaged. The archaeology-rich subsoil was bulldozed to fill sandbags, and large areas covered in compacted gravel for helipads and car parks. Babylon is being rendered archaeologically barren. Meanwhile the courtyard of the tenth-century caravanserai of Khan al-Raba was used by the Americans for exploding captured insurgent weapons. One blast demolished the ancient roofs and felled many of the walls. The place is now a ruin.
Hussaini showed one site after another lost to archaeology in a four-year looting frenzy. The remains of the 2000 BC cities of Isin and Shurnpak appear to have vanished: pictures show them replaced by a desert of badger holes created by an army of some 300 looters. Castles, ziggurats, deserted cities, ancient minarets and mosques have gone or are going. Hussaini has eleven teams combing the country engaged in rescue work, mostly collecting detritus left by looters. His small force of site guards is no match for heavily armed looters, able to shift objects to eager European and American dealers in days.
It is abundantly clear that the Americans and British are not protecting Iraq's historic sites. All foreign archaeologists have had to leave. Troops are doing nothing to prevent the farming of known antiquities. This is in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention that an occupying army should use all means within its power to guard the cultural heritage of a defeated state.
Responding to Simon Jenkinss article, Andy Stephens, Board Secretary, British Library, wrote to the Guardian to say that Iraqs precious heritage of rare books and manuscripts had also been systematically looted.
Meanwhile the Pentagons pathetic response has been to hand out packs of playing cards to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrated with pictures of Iraqs best-known archaeological monuments. Despite the fact that many of these monuments no longer resemble their playing-card depictions because they have been so heavily damaged, American military strategists see this as part of an archaeology awareness programme to prevent further war damage to the countrys 11,000 archaeological sites. Thus the Pentagon neatly seeks to wash its hands of responsibility by blaming archaeologically uninformed troops for the damage, when in reality much of the destruction, as Simon Jenkins makes plain, is the result of high-level military decisions about the location of facilities and activities that treat the heritage as if it did not exist; tragically, before long it will not.
Exactly a year ago (on 5 June 2006) Salon reported that archaeologists were concerned at the news that the Aerofilms Library was to close and that the librarys historic stock of oblique and vertical aerial photographs dating back to the end of the First World War was to be sold. Now Salon can report that a buyer has been found in the shape of English Heritage, in partnership with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW). The purchase has been made possible by financial support from English Heritages donors and supporters, the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and the Friends of National Libraries.
The Aerofilms Historic Collection is a superb record of the changing face of Britain over a period of intense and unparalleled change. The collection covers the countryside, industrial and urban landscapes, archaeological sites and historic buildings and charts the growth of new towns and the spread of motorways across the landscape. Almost every community is represented, many with a series of views taken over the decades showing how cities, towns and villages have changed and grown.
The fragile prints, negatives and documentation which comprise the collection will now be transferred to the NMRs specialist archival storage facility in Swindon, where English Heritage and its partners will catalogue, conserve and digitise the collection; it is expected that it will be some months before the collection is publicly accessible.
Grade I-listed Apethorpe Hall, the celebrated Northamptonshire Jacobean house rescued by English Heritage from near collapse, is to open to the public for a very short period before the stabilised house is put back on the market with the intention of finding a sympathetic owner willing to complete the buildings conservation. Having used compulsory purchase powers to rescue the house from neglect, English Heritage has already spent £4 million on a rescue programme and guided tours will now enable the public to see what has been done in its name to save a building that has an important place in the nations heritage because of the role it played in entertaining Tudor and Stuart royalty at the pinnacle of its influence around the turn of the seventeenth century. According to English Heritage, its State Apartment is arguably the most complete in the country and provides a fascinating window on a rich period of English history.
The £5 tours will be run by English Heritage every Saturday and Sunday throughout August and September and will last an hour and a half. For full details of the tour route and highlights see the English heritage website.
Professor Ehud Netzer, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who announced on 8 May 2007 that his team had exposed the remains of Herods grave, sarcophagus and mausoleum on Mount Herodiums north-eastern slope, will deliver a lecture on the topic, hosted by the Anglo-Israeli Archaeological Society (AIAS) today, 25 June 2007, at 6.30pm at the BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre in the British Museum. Further details are on the AIAS website.
This new exhibition at the University of Glasgows Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery showcases the art collection of Dr William Hunter (who was elected a Fellow of our Society in 1768), examining his taste, relationships with artists and the reasoning and influences that lay behind his purchases of art. The exhibition demonstrates Hunters well-developed knowledge and understanding of the fine arts; the collection includes outstanding paintings by Rembrandt and Chardin and drawings by Pietro da Cortona and Inigo Jones, books and prints reflecting an obsession with the art of ancient and modern Italy, theatrical prints, portraits of famous beauties and caricatures needling the medical profession. The exhibition continues until 1 December 2007.
Fellow William Kilbride (Research Manager Human History, Glasgow Museums), writes to correct the misconception that the seminary at St Peter's College in Cardross (recently placed on the World Monuments Funds watch list of buildings at risk) became obsolete because of changes in the way that Catholic priests were trained. This is only part of the story, William says: The small band of survivors from Cardross suggest that the building was almost impossible to live in: the glazing and the central heating were so poorly designed that the building made itself obsolete. Stories are told of students huddled over small electric heaters, dressed in full clericals less out of religious conservatism, than from a basic need to maintain body temperature. The building may have been a triumph of design, but clerical wit has it that the place is no more draughty now, in its windowless state, than it was when completed.
Described by the Twentieth Century Society as Scotlands best post-war building
a masterpiece of twentieth-century design, St Peters geography was unusual. Hitherto, William writes, Scottish priests had been trained in town at a college in Bearsden in the suburbs of Glasgow which burned down in 1946. The Scots College in Rome was historically in the centre of town and only moved to its current suburban location in the 1960s. If anything it was the myriad small altars in the college church which meant that Cardross was out of step with the liturgical changes of Vatican II.
Of the inclusion of Wiltons Music Hall in the same WMF watch list, Fellow John Earl, who has been involved with Wilton's since 1963, writes to say that: it was depressing to read the quotation from a Times letter suggesting that the decrepitude of its auditorium is its attraction and enhances many of the performances. Perhaps I should be relieved that the writer did not insert only before attraction, but the underlying (alas, not uncommon) attitude, which sees sweet decay as preferable to care and repair, can do a great deal of harm to a building whose survival is still trembling in the balance. Whatever is now done to Wiltons, as a rare monument and as a working entertainment house, must be done with a featherlight hand, but preserving it as an untouched relic is not a sensible option.
I should, perhaps, also point out that, although the old place is in urgent need of a huge injection of money and an extensive programme of works, the present appearance of the auditorium is only marginally relevant to those needs. A theatre, and that is what Wiltons has been for the last few years, is a place of illusion. Decrepitude is one of the things that theatre people do (as, indeed, do the film and TV companies, who love Wiltons as a location). When the previous management, Broomhill Opera, moved in, they were looking for a found space. Wiltons didnt look quite found enough, so they added several decades of neglect. With a brush! Unfortunately, the tangle of conservation and public regulation problems presented by this unique building are a deal more than skin deep.
In last weeks round up of National Architecture Week events, Salons editor missed the fact that Fellow Christine Finn was participating by opening up her semi-detached Edwardian house in Deal, Kent. Christine recently inherited from her parents what had been her family home for thirty-five years (although she left it in the late 1970s). Deciding whether to sell the house or keep it, she chose to stay on and revive the house as an artwork, while she continued to live in it. The house is now both home and sculptural art piece, says Christine, with flying ducks on the bathroom wallpaper, living room floor excavated down to bare earth, broadband connection next to Edwardian moulding, a house that sparks fascination and nostalgia not least because Christines own emotional journey, as she gets to know her parents lives better through the archaeology of the house, is recorded in her Guardian blog; here she recounts how one of the visitors to her house during National Architecture Week had lived in the house before her parents, and was able to fill in many of the gaps about the way rooms were used and decorated.
Salon also got wrong the details of the exhibition on the recently completed refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall; as Fellow Charles Hind points out, rather than being at the RFH itself, the exhibition entitled Royal Festival Hall Revival is being held in the V&A and RIBA Architecture Partnership Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where it is well worth going to see and continues until 14 October.
Dr Jane McIntosh writes to say that: the report in Salon 166 discussing options for broadening the Ancient History A-level mentions the drawback of a lack of primary sources in translation. In answer to this I should like to point to a wonderful website where a large body of Sumerian literature is instantly accessible in English translation. This is the website of the Oxford-based Electronic Corpus of Sumerian Literature, which was run by Dr Jeremy Black until his untimely death last year; it has not been funded since then, but is still on the internet and it is a wonderful resource.
Fellow Alan Johnston, Reader in Greek Archaeology at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, quite rightly writes to correct the news that Fellow Malcolm Wiener had been honoured by the three great European centres of Aegean prehistory: the Universities of Sheffield, Tübingen and Athens, which should have read by three of the great European centres of Aegean prehistory: the Universities of Sheffield, Tübingen and Athens.
And Fellow Professor Malcolm Airs, Vice-President, Kellogg College, was grateful for the mention of The Renaissance Villa in the last issue but says we should redress the inexcusable gender bias of the publishers in their flier, which features only a few of the contributors all of them male and thus missed the symmetrical balance of authors seven of each sex. Hence we should mention that the scholars recruited by Malcolm for this volume include Fellow Paula Henderson, Patricia Smith, Fellow Sally Jeffery, Caroline Knight, Dianne Duggan, Lucy Worsley and Elain Harwood.
Respecting the ambivalence of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings towards the English Heritage Conservation Principles, Fellow Blaise Vyner confirms that developers have already begun to quote the Principles in support of damaging proposals: In Stokesley (North Yorkshire) we have recently seen a proposed demolition of part of a property in a conservation area (severely detrimental in its effect on the CAs specific character) being justified (with quotation from the Principles) on the basis of the quality of the design of the proposed new build (actually a nasty pastiche), said to be enhancing the quality of the Conservation Area, with no analysis of the impact of the proposal whatsoever. Fortunately the planners and elected members could see through that one! Carpe Diem, as my old school motto had it, also goes for developers who are often sharper than EH.
Our Fellow David Wigg-Wolf of the Fundmünzen der Antike, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main, writes to draw Fellows' attention to the facilities available at the Römisch-Germanische Kommission (RGK) in Frankfurt, Germany, in particular the library. David explains: Founded in 1902, the RGK is part of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut and houses one of the very best all-round archaeological libraries in Europe. It contains 144,000 volumes, including 1,800 periodicals, mainly on European (including British) archaeology up to the late Middle Ages, and is particularly strong on Eastern Europe. The RGK has a number of self-catering rooms in its guest house which are available at a very reasonable rate. Guest staying there have access to the library outside of normal opening hours, including at the weekends.
A look at the visitors' book in the guest rooms reveals that visitors from the British Isles are rare, yet, as one recent English visitor noted, for many colleagues a long weekend in Frankfurt is less expensive, and more convenient and productive, than three return train tickets to London! Frankfurt is also a useful base for visiting a number of important sites in the area, and the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz, which also has an excellent library, is only some 25 miles away. More information on the RGK can be found on the librarys website. Room enquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org (but book well in advance!).
Oxford Archaeology has been commissioned by COWRIE (Collaborative Offshore Wind Research into the Environment, the Crown Estates marine stewardship programme) to develop guidance on the cumulative impact of offshore renewable energy schemes on the historic environment. Oxford Archaeologys work is one of a number of studies that will also look at the impact of wind farms and wave and tidal energy schemes on bird and marine life.
Oxford Archaeology is seeking views on existing and planned renewable energy proposals from a wide range of stakeholders, both in relation to some specific questions and more generally. Draft proposals and a questionnaire can be found at www.offshorewind.co.uk, and the consultation period is from 15 June until 30 July 2007. Oxford Archaeology would be grateful for the input of Salon readers.
Two acronyms that are new to Salons editor are FISH (which stands for the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage) and MIDAS (Monument Inventory Data Standard), which is a widely used agreed list of the items or units of information that should be included in an inventory or other systematic record of the historic environment.
FISH is seeking feedback on a new edition of MIDAS, to be sent to email@example.com by 29 June. To download and review the consultation version, go to www.fish-forum.info/midaspr.htm, where all is explained. The authors are interested in receiving feedback from as wide a range of colleagues as possible.
In recent weeks Martin Biddle has been elected an Honorary Fellow of his undergraduate college, Pembroke, Cambridge, and Tim Mowl has been given the chair he richly deserves and is now Professor in the History of Architecture and Designed Landscapes at Bristol University.
Mark Horton was to be heard on the BBC News, on News 24 and on the Breakfast News on 19 June (how does he manage to be in so many places at once?), strongly supporting David Milibands coastal access initiative, whereby the Government is proposing to create a right of public access to the whole of the UKs coastline. Mark says he likes to think he even planted the idea in David Milibands mind with the first series of Coast, the BBC TV programme that Mark co-presents, when I went down to Wembury to plead that we needed access to the coast certainly our series has raised awareness and interest in the problem, although unlike Jamie Oliver we wont claim all the credit!.
Also in the media less than a week after he was elected a Fellow was the Master of the Temple Church in London, the Revd Robin Griffith-Jones, interviewed in a Radio 4 documentary on the history of the Knights Templar called On the Trail of the Templars. That programme can be downloaded as a podcast from the BBC website, as can a separate extended interview with Robin Griffith-Jones on the history of the Temple Church.
At a reception to mark the launch of Edward IIIs Round Table at Windsor held at the Society of Antiquaries early in June, authors Julian Munby, Richard Barber and Richard Brown said that the book was a perfect example of what antiquaries could achieve by combining their respective skills in archaeology and literary, architectural, political and social history. It is also remarkable that such a substantial book could have been produced so speedily: it was, after all, less than a year ago that the nation was dulled to a stupor by the Royal Big Dig, one of the dreariest editions of Time Team ever to have been broadcast; but while the archaeologists at Buckingham Palace were finding little to enthuse about over that August bank holiday weekend, Julian and the two Richards (Barber and Brown), along with Tim Tatton Brown (who also contributes to this book), were conjuring visions of medieval pageantry on a lavish scale at Windsor Castle, where they found convincing evidence for the huge building planned, and partially built, by Edward III for courtly entertainment on an Arthurian theme.
This book analyses all the evidence for the Round Table building in the form of the Windsor building accounts, the surviving pieces of sculpted building stone and the robbed-out walls that the Time Team team uncovered. It sets the building in its political and military context it is hard today to imagine that Tony Blair might entertain military commanders to a theatrical entertainment in order to galvanise support for the war in Iraq, but presenting visions of virtue, courage and knightly prowess certainly worked for Edward III as a strategy for winning support from the English aristocracy for his wars in France.
New editions of Pevsner are flowing off the printing press with two newly published volumes: one devoted to Worcestershire from the pen of Alan Brooks, and another on Essex by Fellow James Bettley. The latter builds on the work of our late Fellow Nikolaus Pevsner, whose first Essex volume was published in 1954, and of Enid Radcliffe, whose revised edition came out in 1965. The once-slim volume now runs to 960 packed pages, with 123 new colour illustrations. James told Salon that Essex also has contributions in the form of introductory essays by two further Fellows: David Andrews and Nigel Brown.
Buildings at Risk Officer, SAVE Britain's Heritage
Salary £18,500; closing date 4 July 2007
SAVE, the national heritage campaigning organisation, is looking for an enthusiastic and dynamic new recruit to take over the post of Buildings at Risk Officer. The duties include maintenance of the online Buildings at Risk Register, production of the annual Buildings at Risk publication, organisation of SAVEs annual Buildings at Risk conference, representation of SAVE on the national Buildings at Risk Group and Buildings at Risk casework. The applicant will need to have good organisational and research skills as well as a passion for the historic built environment.
For a full job description, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 0207 253 3500. Apply by sending a CV and covering letter to Adam Wilkinson, The Secretary, SAVE Britain's Heritage, 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ, or by email to email@example.com.
National Trust for Scotland, Director of Conservation Services and Projects
No salary details or closing date given
Contact Debbie Stewart at Munro Consulting, quoting ref G420a, for further details of this post.
National Gallery, Director
Closing date 6 July 2007
The imminent move of our Fellow Charles Saumarez Smith to the Royal Academy has created a vacancy for Director at one of the UKs pre-eminent arts institutions. Further details from Saxton Bampfylde Hevers website, quoting ref ANTB/ST.