Salon Archive

Issue: 168

Fellows' Day at Kelmscott Manor

Fellows who have booked to attend the Kelmscott Manor Fellows Day 2007 are reminded that this is also the weekend of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, so roads around Fairford and Lechlade could be congested. Fellows who live locally say that getting to Kelmscott should present few problems after 12 noon, but getting away could be more difficult; the best way to avoid the traffic is to approach and depart from the direction of Faringdon, Bampton and Highworth.

Burlington House Cultural Campus events

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 telephone system

Any Fellow who has tried to telephone the Society over recent weeks will be pleased to hear that the Society’s antiquated telecommunications system has now become part of history, and has been replaced by a new and more robust switchboard. The direct line number for individual members of staff can be found on the Society’s website and these numbers can still be used. Alternatively, you can telephone the Society (020 7479 7080) and choose from the following options:

• For general queries, press 1 for Georgia Toutziari, Office Manager;
• For the Society’s Tercentenary Festival, press 2 to be put through to Jayne Phenton, Head of Communications;
• For the Library, press 3 to be put through to Adrian James, Assistant Librarian.

Website: tickets for the Tercentenary lecture programme

Details of the Society’s Tercentenary Festival programme of public lectures are now available on the Society’s website. The lectures are being publicised widely and are bound to be popular, so you are urged to take advantage of the Fellows’ priority booking service by detailing your ticket requirements in an email to Jayne Phenton or by telephoning Jayne on 020 7479 7080 (select option 2).

All seven lectures are free to Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London, as is the Edinburgh lecture to the Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Dublin lecture to Fellows of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Booking is essential, however, and there is a charge for guests, as well as a small separate charge (typically £5) if you wish to attend the post-lecture receptions.

Members of the public can book tickets via the website using the Society’s online booking system.

‘The arts matter, and in Britain they are world class’, says new DCMS Secretary of State

In his first speech since being appointed to the post of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, James Purnell, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, signalled a break with the past by saying that it was time to drop the ‘targetolatry’. What was appropriate ten years ago is no longer necessary, he said, referring to access quotas for ‘priority groups’ such as black and minority ethnic groups or the socially excluded. ‘That battle has been won’, Mr Purnell said, adding that: ‘we can take all that [the debate about access] for granted now; it's in the bloodstream of British arts.’

He went on to tell an audience at the National Portrait Gallery on 6 July 2007 that: ‘We want our art to be the best, our museums and collections to be the greatest in the world. We need to work to keep them there, and never stop to think that we have arrived at our destination’, and he said that this would be achieved through ‘an approach that empowers people to take risks and take a much richer view of creative development’. He then announced that he was appointing Sir Brian McMaster, former director of the Edinburgh International Festival, to head an inquiry and report back to him by the autumn on the right structures for ‘setting culture free to do what it does best … in a light touch, non-bureaucratic way, encouraging successful organisations and continuing to challenge complacency’.

Before entering parliament in the general election of 7 June 2001, James Purnell was Head of Corporate Planning at the BBC from 1995 to 1997 and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on culture, media, sport and the knowledge economy form 1997 to 2001. He will be assisted by Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, who becomes the new Heritage Minister. Tessa Jowell remains in the Cabinet as Minister of State for the Olympics, though Mr Purnell will be responsible for the ‘cultural Olympiad’.

The UK’s knowledge economy is as big as the financial services sector, report says

The UK’s cultural reputation and achievements earn the country some £4 billion a year in exports, according to a new report by the Work Foundation. The creative economy – which includes museums and galleries, publishing, theatre, music, film, TV and computer games – employs 1.8 million people, is as big as the UK’s financial services industry and is, according to the report, ‘a great unsung success story’. The report added that it was vital that the Government continues to invest in the UK’s creative industries in ways that nurture talent and create jobs.

British Museum plans dedicated exhibition centre

Further evidence of the scale of public interest in the arts comes in the form of an announcement from the British Museum that it wants to build a new exhibition centre because its current exhibition space is too small to cater for the huge numbers of people wanting to see its exhibitions.

The museum realised that it needed more space after last year’s exhibition of Michelangelo drawings drew more than 160,000 visitors. Our Fellow Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, said that even though it opened until midnight every Saturday the exhibition could not accommodate everybody who wanted to see it and could have sold tickets ‘many times over’. The museum has also announced that 30,000 tickets have already been sold for ‘The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army’, and an additional 10,000 school visits booked, two months before the exhibition opens. ‘That is astonishing,’ Mr MacGregor said at the press conference to launch the plans to construct a dedicated exhibition centre in Montague Place, on the site of offices that were once occupied by staff of the British Library.

Lord Rogers of Riverside has been commissioned to take control of a project, which has a budget of £70 million. Subject to planning permission, the museum hopes to open the centre by 2011. The plan is also to build a ‘world conservation centre’, where the public could see conservators at work, though it has yet to be decided whether this will be in the same building or somewhere separate.

The museum also announced that Sir Joseph Hotung, the Hong Kong businessman and collector, has made a substantial donation towards the conversion of the museum’s former music library to form a new purpose-built gallery for the Percival David Foundation collection of Chinese ceramics, which will transfer next year to the museum from its current home in Gordon Square. The best collection of its type outside China, the Percival David Foundation collection contains 1,752 ceramics spanning the tenth to the early twentieth centuries.

National Gallery triple whammy

But can the UK sustain its cultural reputation if its institutions are denuded of key works of art? That question was raised last week by the announcement of what was headlined in the newspapers as a ‘heritage crisis’ at the National Gallery, faced with the simultaneous decisions of the Duke of Rutland, Viscount Hampden and the Earl of Halifax to sell paintings that had previously been on loan to the gallery.

The paintings include a series of five Sacraments by Nicolas Poussin, valued at £100 million, a Rubens oil sketch, valued at £15 million, and Titian’s portrait of a young man painted around 1515, valued in excess of £50 million.

The gallery said that it was facing the worst acquisitions crisis since the 1890s, when many aristocratic families sold paintings acquired by their ancestors on Grand Tours; many went across the Atlantic to form the basis of the first great American art collections. Today’s problems are exacerbated by the boom in world art prices, which have put many works of art out of the range of public collections.

Caring for our Collections

A solution to the National Gallery’s problems might be to encourage philanthropy by fiscal means, according Caring for Our Collections, the sixth report of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which was published on 25 June 2007.

The Committee expressed disappointment at the lack of progress in implementing many of the recommendations in the report written by our Fellow, Sir Nicholas Goodison, entitled Securing the Best for our Museums: private giving and Government support (January 2004). The Goodison Report, as it is widely known, recommended that tax reliefs should be available to corporations and individuals who donate important objects, works of art or archives to the nation.

The CMS committee report also commended the work of the export control system, which ‘plays an invaluable role in assisting national museums and public bodies to build their collections’. The Committee recommended that DCMS amend the system to strengthen the position of public institutions when they indicate serious intent to make matching offers for export-deferred cultural objects.

The report highlighted the need for better co-ordination between Government departments in relation to museums and — even more so — in relation to archives. ‘The fact that responsibility for the archives sector is spread across several government departments, leading parts of that sector to feel that no one is responsible for it, has undoubtedly increased the difficulties faced by the sector in raising its profile’, the committee notes.

Olympics money to be repaid from land sales

The CMS committee report expressed ‘deep concern’ about the impact on the heritage sector of the diversion of lottery funds towards the 2012 Olympics. In response, Tessa Jowell announced last week that a portion of the money siphoned off from Lottery proceeds for the Games would be repaid from the sale of regenerated land at the Olympic Park, Stratford, in east London. Key to the deal was reaching agreement with Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, over the distribution of the proceeds from land sales between London’s council tax payers and the Lottery. It would appear, however, that the Government is only planning to repay the second tranche of money (£675 million) that it is taking from the Lottery to pay for higher than anticipated costs: it has no plans to repay the £1.5 billion that the Government originally top-sliced from the Lottery to pay for the Olympics.

The Wardington Hours and Dumfries House

Now for some good news: last week the British Library announced that it had acquired the fifteenth-century prayer book known as the Wardington Hours, a book of Christian prayers, after a grant of £250,000 from The Art Fund enabled the Library to match the £635,200 asking price. The Art Fund was also instrumental in securing the purchase of Dumfries House by a charitable trust in a £45m deal that will see the house opened to the public and secure the integrity of its matchless Chippendale furniture collection.

The agreement to buy Dumfries House was apparently reached after a last-minute intervention by Prince Charles, who is lending £20m needed to prevent the auction of Dumfries House and its contents going ahead; in return the prince hopes to build a new village with a mix of affordable rental and private housing on a 66-acre development plot adjoining land he already owns. A spokesman for the prince said he wanted the property to become an engine for economic regeneration in the area, helping to create new craft-based enterprises as well as having tourism spin-offs for local businesses.

The balance of the £45m cost, which includes the expense of running the property and opening it to the public, is being met by donations and grants from many sources, including a £7m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, £5 million from Historic Scotland, £4 million from the Monuments Fund, £1 million from the Garfield Weston Foundation and £2.5 million (its largest ever grant) from the Art Fund, which launched a national fundraising campaign earlier this year jointly with SAVE Britain’s Heritage.

David Barrie, the Director of the Art Fund, said: ‘This is an extraordinarily unique survivor … an absolute jewel of architecture, designed by the Adam brothers. Its original contents represent the absolute height of taste and fashion of the 1750s.’

Field report: the ‘Rotherwas ribbon’

Archaeologists excavating the route of an access road at Rotherwas, 2 miles south east of the centre of Hereford, have uncovered a remarkable feature that has been dubbed the ‘Rotherwas ribbon’ because of its serpentine form. Stretching for some 60 metres (and continuing into the baulks at either end of the excavated area, the feature is made up of fire-cracked pebbles and lumps of quartz. Speaking on the ‘Today’ programme on Radio 4 earlier this week, our Fellow Keith Ray, County Archaeologist for Herefordshire, described it as ‘a structure that writhes three-dimensionally, with at least four distinct curves, across the landscape’. He went on to say: ‘This is an exciting find, not just for Herefordshire and the UK, but apparently, so far, it is unique in Europe. It has international significance’ (for pictures and film footage of the site, see the BBC website and the website of the Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record).

There is as yet no direct dating evidence for the snake-like formation, though it is cut by Roman features. Associated with the site are several fire-blackened postholes of a kind found at some Neolithic causewayed enclosures in which the post seems to have been burnt in situ. ‘The position of the posts in relation to the curves suggests that they might have been used as setting out points’, Keith Ray said; there is also evidence that timber revetments were used to keep the fire-cracked pebbles in place to either side of the feature.

Mounds of burnt stone are known from the Neolithic and possible parallels for the undulation are the Dorset Cursus and the West Kennet Avenue. The Stonehenge Riverside Project uncovered a third millennium BC avenue last year; the 30-metre-wide flint and gravel avenue linked the River Avon to the Southern Circle at Durrington Walls, a distance of just over 170m, and it was divided by posts down the centre.

Keith Ray told Salon’s editor that the binary nature of the Durrington Walls avenue offers insights into the Rotherwas ribbon: ‘the fire-cracked stones evoke multiple resonances, but the oppositions of fire and water are the obvious ones: water and fire are transforming and purifying elements – just think about the way that food is transformed – I think we can assume that whoever moved along this symbolic path was symbolically transformed, arriving at the far end in a different state from that in which they started out’.

The find has attracted enormous attention locally, and a series of guided tours and open days is planned to cater for the demand from local people to see the site. English Heritage inspectors will visit the site with a view to scheduling the feature, and road engineers plan to encase and protect the ribbon before it is buried beneath the access road. Local activists have been gathering at the site to lobby visitors in support of their campaign to halt the road construction and allow for a debate about the site’s future: they have set up a website calling on Herefordshire County Council to consider a new route for the road.

Coastal access consultation

Do you support the Government’s proposal to create a right of public access to the whole of the UK coastline? If so – or, indeed, if not – you might like to respond to the consultation document drawn up by Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which outlines the four options for achieving access by different voluntary and statutory means. The response deadline is 11 September 2007.

£6.6 million of Repair Grants for Listed Places of Worship

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and English Heritage (EH) have announced a package of grants worth £6.6 million for essential repairs to listed churches and chapels across England. Our Fellow Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of London and Chairman of the Church Buildings Division of the Church of England, said: ‘This invaluable financial support is helping breathe new life into Britain's churches, and the communities that they serve. Local churchgoers and their communities contribute some 70 per cent of what is currently being spent on repairs, but this leaves a significant shortfall to make up.’

The grants will help to repair over seventy historic places of worship. The largest grant goes to St Michael and St Bishoy Coptic Orthodox Church in Margate, Kent. Originally built in the early French Gothic style and in the form of a Greek cross as St Stephen’s Methodist Church in 1878, the grant of almost £450,000 will help to repair the tower roof, belfry and masonry. The church provides significant help for asylum seekers and refugees in the area.

Listed places of worship in England of all denominations are eligible to apply for a grant under the scheme; priority is given to single repair projects costing less than £200,000. There is a two-stage application process, with development funding available after Stage 1 to help work up proposals. Copies of the application pack for Repair Grants for Places of Worship in England are available from the HLF website.

New National Churches Trust

The Historic Churches Preservation Trust and the Incorporated Church Building Society are joining forces to form the new National Churches Trust, dedicated to ‘a structured programme of national fundraising initiatives’ and development of ‘an enhanced, robust and innovative new grants programme’ for church repair and maintenance across England and Wales.

A statement from the Trust said that ‘the task of simply giving modest grants to churches in need is no longer sufficient. The average cost of repairs continues to rise considerably faster than inflation. New and significant sources of funding need to be identified for the sector and new ways of working need to be developed.’

Our Fellow, the Bishop of London, welcomed the creation of the new body, saying that: ‘the evolution of the National Churches Trust brings renewed hope that Britain's churches will continue to thrive, prosper and in turn bring added strength to the communities they were founded to serve.’

For further information see the National Churches Trust website.

Scrap metal thieves target churches

Ecclesiastical Insurance has warned churchwardens to be aware of the rising threat from thieves who are stripping churches of valuable metals to cash in on high prices stimulated by heavy demand from China. Recycling firms pay about £900 a tonne for lead and £2,700 a tonne for copper. Since 2005, thefts of lead have trebled and copper thefts have multiplied by ten, Ecclesiastical said. Criminals have stripped entire church roofs, stolen bells, and ripped lightning conductors from spires by tying them to trucks and driving away, wrecking historic masonry. Current hotspots include London, Bristol, the West Midlands and Sheffield.

Manchester's Gorton Monastery back to former glory after restoration

The former Monastery of St Francis, designed by Edward Pugin, and built between 1863 and 1872, has been rescued from dereliction and converted to a 500-seat conference venue thanks to a newly completed £6 million restoration. Elaine Griffiths was created an MBE in last month’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of her leadership of the Monastery and St Francis Gorton Trust, which was set up to rescue the Grade II* listed building, described as Edward Pugin's architectural masterpiece.

‘Back in September 1996, it was difficult to imagine we’d ever see this day’, Ms Griffiths said. In 1997, the monastery was included on the World Monuments Fund watchlist of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. Having restored the building complex with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and English Heritage, among others, the trust intends to use the income generated to benefit to other charities and community organisations in the arts, health, skills and education sectors.

Hall of Mirrors unveiled

Another outstanding building that has just emerged from an £8 million face-lift is the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, whose walls are dazzling again after being disguised for years under layers of grime. The hall, in which the Treaty of Versailles was signed after the First World War, was built in 1684 for Louis XIV and is named after the 357 mirrors that line the 220-foot-long side walls.

World Heritage Site distinction for 'daring' Sydney Opera House

Joining Versailles on the list of World Heritage Sites is Australia’s most famous building, the Sydney Opera House. The harbour-side landmark, completed in 1973 to designs drawn up in 1956 by the Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, is the youngest building on the list. A UNESCO spokesman, Roni Amelan, said: ‘There was consensus that it was a truly outstanding, iconic building that was a defining moment in twentieth-century architecture.’

The 31st Session of the World Heritage Committee, meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, added a further sixteen sites to the World Heritage list, including the Red Fort Complex, Shahjahanabad, India, the Palace of Galerius, in the east of Serbia, commissioned by the Emperor Caius Valerius Galerius Maximianus in the late 3rd and early 4th century, the Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape in central Azerbaijan, with an outstanding collection of some 6,000 rock engravings dating from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages and the Samarra Archaeological City, with its Great Mosque and ninth century Spiral Minaret.

The latter site, located 130km north of Baghdad, was immediately placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger because of the unsettled state of the area and the occupation of parts of the site by multi-national forces in Iraq.

The World Heritage Committee did not place the Tower of London or the Westminster World Heritage Sites on the List of World Heritage in Danger as some had suggested they might because of concerns about developments impacting their setting; the Committee has instead asked for a further report next year (for details see the Department of Culture website).

Lübeck Declaration

Meanwhile, Lübeck, in Germany, played host to a meeting held on 13 and 14 June 2007 of World Heritage Site stakeholders. This was the first time that people who work on a day to day basis with World Heritage Sites had gathered in one place to exchange ideas and best practices at international level. Among the delegates was our Fellow David Breeze, who gave a paper on the Frontiers of the Roman Empire project, the first grouping of World Heritage Sites based on an archaeological theme rather than on political boundaries.

A declaration signed by participants at the end of the two-day colloquium emphasised the important role of World Heritage Sites as a resource for understanding and experiencing the common history of humankind, as a tangible testament to the diversity and value of past and present cultures, as places for encountering foreign cultures, as a reflection of human creativity and a stimulus for a humane and peaceful way of life in the societies of today and the future, as places that expand nation-bound conceptions of cultural identity towards a universal, human and intercultural understanding of cultural and natural heritage, and as places of education, where people can gain access to their own history, to the history of other peoples and the history of the world.

Who was Christopher Columbus?

Our Fellow Kate Pretty, Principal of Homerton College and Cambridge University pro-vice chancellor, was in the news this week when she revealed that only one member of her class of twenty students aspiring to become teachers of history knew anything about Christopher Columbus. Dr Pretty was speaking at the annual summer conference of the Prince of Wales's Teaching Institute, and the figure was revealed as evidence of the decline in history teaching in primary and secondary schools. A report by Ofsted due to be published later this month will express similar concerns, and is expected to show that time allocated for history teaching in schools is increasingly threatened by the concentration on core curriculum subjects, such as maths, English and ICT, and by compulsory lessons in citizenship. ‘There is some difficulty at university level of knowing how to build on what has been studied before … It is quite difficult to teach people who have no knowledge of a historical period’, Dr Pretty said.

DNA suggests ancient Etruscans were immigrants from Anatolia

Salon recently reported on a study that showed that the white cattle of Tuscany and Umbria are more closely related to Turkish cattle than to cattle from surrounding Italian provinces, and now it is claimed that the ancient Etruscans were themselves migrants from Anatolia.

Professor Alberto Piazza, from the University of Turin, delivered a paper to the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics on 16 June 2007, in which he analysed genetic samples from three present-day Tuscan populations living in Murlo, Volterra and Casentino. ‘We already knew that people living in this area were genetically different from those in the surrounding regions’, he said. ‘These are among the most archaeologically important Etruscan sites in a region of Tuscany also known for having Etruscan-derived place names and local dialects.’ The Tuscan samples were taken from individuals who had lived in the area for at least three generations, and whose surnames were unique to the region.

The Tuscan DNA was compared with samples taken from males living in northern Italy, the southern Balkans, the island of Lemnos in Greece, the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia and with data from modern Turkish and Middle-Eastern populations. ‘We found that the DNA samples from individuals from Murlo and Volterra were more closely related to those from Near Eastern people than those of the other Italian samples’, Professor Piazza said. ‘In Murlo particularly, one genetic variant is shared only by people from Turkey, and, of the samples we obtained, the Tuscan ones also show the closest affinity with those from Lemnos.’ A similar, but less conclusive, study tracked the DNA passed down from mothers to daughters and also pointed to a direct genetic input from western Asia.

Professor Piazza said that the results were only the start of an enquiry into the question of how and when people migrated to Tuscany from the Near East. He is also keen to sample people from other villages in Tuscany, and to test whether there is a genetic continuity between the ancient Etruscans and modern-day Tuscans.

The water stops in the fountains of Rome

Rome’s dependence on Roman water management systems was demonstrated dramatically last month when workmen laying the foundations for a garage smashed an ancient Roman conduit which caused some of the city’s most famous fountains to stop flowing. Concrete foundations laid in the city’s Parioli district blocked part of the 13-mile-long Aqua Virgo (Virgin Aqueduct), which feeds the Trevi fountain and Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. The severing of the Aqua Virgo has highlighted the remarkable extent to which Rome depends on ancient engineering; during the forty-five days it took to repair and restore the aqueduct, fountains dried up in the Villa Borghese Gardens, at the Pantheon and on the Piazza Colonna in front of the Prime Minister’s residence, the Palazzo Chigi.

The Virgin Aqueduct has flowed almost continuously since 19 BC, when, according to legend, thirsty soldiers of the general Agrippa were shown a secret spring south east of Rome by a girl, hence the aqueduct's title. The Aqua Virgo was extended by papal authority in the fifteenth century to what is now the Trevi Fountain.

Archives for London

The last issue of Salon named David Mander as being among the Fellows created an OBE in last month’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Since moving on from his post as Borough Archivist and Head of Archives for the London Borough of Hackney (1983–2005), David has been Chairman of Archives for London, an organisation that deserves to be better known by Fellows (see the AfL website for further details).

AfL provides a forum for archive practitioners and users across the capital, though its excellent Newsletter roams far beyond the capital in its coverage of archival news. For example, the latest issue profiles BARGE (British Archival Resources relating to German-Jewish Refugees 1933–50), which is held at the University of Sussex (see the website of the Centre for German-Jewish Studies); Connected Earth, the partnership founded by BT to safeguard telecommunications heritage, including the memories of people involved in the communications industry; and DANGO, based at the University of Birmingham, which is a Database of Archives of UK Non-Governmental Organisations.

There is news too of a new edition of Keep or Bin? The Care of Your Parish Records (free download available from the Church of England website), containing guidance for Church of England clergy and parish officers on managing their records (for example, marriage banns and baptisms, minutes from parochial church council meetings, inventories of church property and insurance information).

Two intriguing stories from the Newsletter caught the eye of Salon’s editor. The first, under the heading ‘Detectives visit TNA’, said that Scotland Yard detectives involved in the ‘cash for honours’ investigation had visited the National Archives to study records relating to the trial of Arthur Maundy Gregory, the only person so far convicted under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act of 1925. Gregory was an MI5 agent tasked with spying on left-wing British politicians and reporting on their sexual activities; he was later sentenced to two months' imprisonment for trying to sell a baronetcy to an army officer. He pleaded guilty, so no evidence was presented to the court, though many believe he was acting for the prime minister of the day, David Lloyd George.

The other story concerns the identification of Geoffrey Chaucer’s scribe, who wrote the earliest and most authoritative copies of The Canterbury Tales; named Adam Pinkhurst, a scrivener of London, he was identified by Professor Linne Mooney, Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, by matching the handwriting of the two earliest Chaucer manuscripts to Pinkhurst's signature when he was admitted to the Scriveners' Company in 1392.

Chaucer scholars will remember the poet’s mock fury at his copyist’s sloppiness; in a short poem called ‘Chaucer’s Wordes Unto Adam His Own Scriveyne’ he accused Adam of ‘necligence and rape [haste]’, and threatened that unless ‘thou write mor trew’ in future, he would curse him with the plague, so that ‘under thy longe locks thow maist have the scall’.

Professor Mooney is compiling a database of all known scribes working in England between 1375 and 1425 (for more on this story see the Cambridge University website.

Access to archaeological journals on line

The Council for British Archaeology and the Society of Antiquaries of London are pleased to announce the launch of ArchLib, a new service that provides access to digital versions of a growing library of archaeological journals and books.

Initial members of the ArchLib consortium, who are making the contents of their books and journals available via the system, include the British Academy, the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, the Sussex Archaeological Society and the UCL Institute of Archaeology. As an initial offering, the site offers access to 19 volumes and 171 articles, but this number is set to grow as other organisations come on board, including our own Society which has helped fund the development of the site and intends to make the Antiquaries Journal available shortly.

The site allows users to search for material by search term, title, author and/or publisher, and provides free access to the opening page of the relevant publication. Each publisher sets its own level of charges for access to the complete paper, which can be downloaded in the form of a PDF file.

ArchLib is a developing resource, and archaeological publishers interested in joining the service should contact Dan Hull at the CBA.

Henry III Fine Rolls website

Fellow Charlotte Roueché has drawn Salon’s attention to another website of potential interest to Fellows: the Henry III Fine Rolls project aims to publish the Fine Rolls of Henry III from 1216 down to 1248 in English calendar format, in both print and electronic form. The print version will be published in four printed volumes, with full indexes, by Boydell & Brewer. The electronic version appears on the website, which displays facsimiles of the rolls and an English translation. It is hoped that a second three-year project will complete publication of the rolls down to the end of Henry III’s reign in 1272.

The Fine Rolls record money promised to the king by individuals and corporate bodies, both municipal and religious, for a variety of concessions and favours. Such promises, known as ‘fines’, are explained and their significance analysed in a series of informative essays written by leading historians, which you can also read on the site.

The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain and Ireland

This conference, being hosted at the British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, on 7 and 8 September 2007, will explore the relationship between the Protestant reformations on the continent and in Britain and Ireland. The programme will address a wide range of subjects in theology, literature, linguistics, book history, intellectual history and social history. For full details on the programme and how to book, see the British Academy website.

The impact of the Edwardian castles in Wales; conference on 7 to 9 September 2007

2007 is the 700th anniversary of the death of Edward I. This conference, arranged by Cadw in partnership with the Castles Study Group and University of Wales, Bangor, will review recent research into his great castles and towns in north Wales. Speakers will consider the political context for the construction of the castles, their design and use, their impact on the people and landscape of Wales, their visual and poetic legacy and their significance as symbols of power and places of ceremony. For a full programme and booking form visit the conference website, or contact Fellow Dr Nancy Edwards.

European Industrial Heritage 2007 Conference: call for papers

The annual ERIH industrial heritage conference will take place this year in Dortmund, Germany, on 13 and 14 September, and the organisers are seeking papers that focus on examples of best-practice / innovation in industrial heritage tourism / interpretation. For further details, see the ERIH website.

Henrici–Medici: artistic links between the early Tudor courts and Medicean Florence

The Paul Mellon Centre, London, and I Tatti, Florence, are jointly sponsoring a three-day event, which will take place in Florence, at the Villa I Tatti, on 19 to 21 September 2007. Devoted to the study of the artistic links between the early Tudor courts and Medicean Florence, the conference will focus on the sculptural projects which galvanized the attention of Henry VII and Henry VIII. The architectural context for decorative sculpture will be highlighted together with the parallel and growing interest in painting documented through imported works, as well as by the presence of Florentine painters in London. Further information from the website website of the Paul Mellon Centre.

Conference on the impact of transport schemes on historic landscapes

This multi-disciplinary conference to be held on Friday 28 September, at ICE, Westminster, London, will consider the policy background to the protection of historic landscapes and methodologies for assessing the impact of transport schemes on cultural heritage. Core to the day’s discussion will be the draft guidance, Assessing the effects of road schemes on historic landscape character, available on English Heritage’s HELM website and produced by the Highways Agency covering the assessment of historic landscape character, evaluation and the effects of road schemes through the analysis of topography, archaeological remains, historic buildings and the natural world. Further details of the conference are available from Surendra Singh-Suman, Highways Agency, 2/12E Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6HA; tel: 0117 372 8376.

News of Fellows

Fellow David Breeze has spotted an omission from Salon’s list of heritage heroes honoured in the Queen’s Birthday honours list: James Walter Thorburn Simpson was created an OBE for services to the heritage in Scotland.

Talking of heritage heroes, that is how our Fellow Sir Neil Cossons is described on a blue plaque that was presented to him by the staff of English Heritage on his retirement after serving seven years as Chairman. Fittingly, the presentation was made in a building looking out over St Pancras Station, a building whose restoration has been one of the great achievements of Sir Neil’s period in office.

In making the presentation, our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said that Sir Neil was a champion for ‘the gritty end’ of the heritage. He also referred to the breathless pace of change under Sir Neil’s leadership, during which the implementation of the Power of Place agenda had changed government policy towards the heritage and led to the recent White Paper with its promise of a new philosophical, practical and legal basis for our work. He also said that English Heritage now had more paying visitors to its Guardianship sites than the National Trust.

Salon should have spotted this some time ago, but better late than never: Buckingham Palace announced on 23 April 2007 that The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty's Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2007 to our Fellow James Fenton. The Medal is given for a book of verse published by someone from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm and was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. Recommendations for the award of the Medal are made by a committee of eminent men and women of letters, under the chairmanship of the Poet Laureate, Professor Andrew Motion.

James Fenton was Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1994 to 1999. He has also worked as a political journalist, drama and literary critic, war and foreign correspondent and columnist. His poetry has won him many awards and his numerous books include The Memory of War (1982), Children in Exile (1983), Out of Danger (1994), Selected Poems and a history of the Royal Academy of Art (of which he is the official Antiquary) in 2006.

Normally the ‘News of Fellows’ section of Salon celebrates achievements, but on this occasion Salon has been asked to highlight the plight of our Fellow Professor Paul Buckland. A highly respected scholar with an international reputation as an environmental archaeologist, Paul Buckland is a university teacher of almost thirty years experience. Last year he taught a course on environmental archaeology and examined it with another examiner. There were a high number of failures but the Examination Board accepted the examiner’s marks. When several students complained, the Head of School appointed a new examiner (with no expertise in the subject, according to Paul), and without consulting either Paul or the Examination Board revised the results, considerably reducing the number of failures. Buckland felt that he had to resign and now, as a result of standing up for academic standards, he has no post and no salary. If any Fellow can suggest ways to make use of Paul’s vast experience and expertise, his email address is

Qualifying for the ‘They would say that, wouldn't they?’ award for suspect internal inquiries, the Atlanta police have decided that their officers were perfectly justified in assaulting our eminent Fellow Felipe Fernandez-Armesto last year when he was arrested for jaywalking whilst attending a history conference in the US city.

Professor Fernandez-Armesto responded to the results of the internal investigation by saying that he would consider legal action against the city’s police department: ‘My goodwill is not inexhaustible, I'm not going to let this go’, he told the Atlanta Constitution. Professor Fernandez-Armesto dismissed the investigation as ‘profoundly incompetent’ and said that investigators had not sought his side of the story. Others attending the conference reported similar harassment: Rick Shenkman, editor of the History News Network, said that throughout the conference there were complaints about police harassing pedestrians, and Monica Ricketts, a PhD student at Harvard University, said she was accosted by an officer: ‘He started yelling at us, blowing a whistle as we were crossing the street. He got in my face and was pointing his finger at me’, she said.

Obituary: Peter Ucko

Many readers have expressed the hope that Neal Ascherson’s paean of praise for Peter Ucko, written for the Independent and reproduced in the last issue of Salon, might be balanced by a more objective account. Several made the point that, while Ucko was ‘a passionate anti-racist’, this was only part of the story of a complex personality, who could, to quote one Fellow, ‘be as heartless towards some as he was compassionate towards others’. Perhaps the full story will have to wait until some future date when the history of archaeology in the last quarter of the twentieth century comes to be written. For now, anyone interested in reading further accounts of Peter Ucko’s life can follow these links to further obituaries in the Guardian (by our Fellow Stephen Shennan), the Daily Telegraph and the Times.

Books by Fellows

Perhaps intimidated by the scale and complexity of Stonehenge, archaeologists have refrained from tackling the monument in print for some thirty years or more. Now, after a period of reflection, Fellows are back in business: volumes by Christopher Chippendale, Mike Pitts and Tim Darvill have all been mentioned in past issues of Salon, and the latest to join the throng is Julian Richards, with Stonehenge: the story so far (published by English Heritage, ISBN 9781905624003, price £36). Publicity for the book says that it provides a fresh and very personal look at Julian’s favourite ancient monument, that it includes many images of Stonehenge, some of which have never been seen before, and that the book focuses on the ‘ triumph of science in unlocking some of the stones’ most closely guarded secrets’.

Richard Bradley’s much anticipated rewriting of British prehistory is being billed by its publisher, Cambridge University Press, as the ‘first complete survey of the prehistoric archaeology of Britain and Ireland to be published in over twenty years’. The Prehistory of Britain and Ireland makes use of unpublished data from commercial archaeology projects and from archives to weave what Richard describes in the preface as an ‘organic’ approach to prehistoric Britain in which patterns can be recognised but are not presented as all-embracing answers. A clue to the book’s themes is also given in the title, which treats Britain and Ireland on equal terms, standing as they do on both sides of one of the most important sea routes and distinct from continental Europe for much of the prehistoric record.

Christopher Tadgell’s substantial brick of a book, Antiquity: origins, classicism and the new Rome, is astonishing in the breadth of its coverage – the story of the Classical tradition in architecture from its origins through to the late twentieth century. Christopher Tadgell is well qualified to attempt such a survey, having travelling the world to examine and photograph buildings from every tradition and period – he writes with the authority of someone who has felt and experienced the buildings he describes in such detail, with illuminating plans, elevations, isometric drawings and thousands of the author's own photographs.

David Roffe’s new book, Decoding Domesday, tackles the long-standing notion that the Domesday Book presents a comprehensive snapshot of society and the economy of England in 1086. Instead, David argues that the data in the Domesday book are partial and mainly concerned with taxation and tribute. Viewed in this light, Domesday Book tells us less about the real economy of the time but offers a richer understanding of late eleventh-century England in its own terms and elucidates many long-standing conundrums of the Domesday Book itself. David’s own website has much more information on his publications and research.

Chester 400–1066 (Tempus books) is a continuation by David Mason of his earlier book, Roman Chester: City of the Eagles, and it tells the story of Chester’s archaeology and history as it develops from a Roman fortress into a medieval English town. Based on new material from recent archaeological excavations, it traces the emergence of Chester as Legacaestir, an important military, commercial and religious settlement in Anglian Mercia and subsequently of Anglo-Scandinavian England. The author also describes every day life in the town in the 150 years prior to the Norman Conquest.


The British Museum, Keeper of the Department of Greece and Rome
Salary £53,701 to £69,469; closing date 14 September 2007

For full details see the British Museum’s website, using ref. no. 73104.

IFA Workplace Learning Bursary: Assistant Training and Publications Officer with
the Nautical Archaeology Society in Portsmouth
Salary £14,270; closing date 27 July 2007

This is an opportunity to gain meaningful maritime archaeology experience and practical skills, including desk-based research, underwater and inter-tidal fieldwork, post-fieldwork analysis, interpretation, report and article writing, as well as in training and publishing. For a full job description and information on how to apply, please contact Susie Hammond at the NAS office.