Salon Archive

Issue: 188

Forthcoming meetings and events

16 May 2008: Antiquaries in Europe: the role of national antiquarian societies today. A copy of the programme can now be downloaded from the Society’s website, and tickets, costing £15 (Fellows) / £25 (public), including wine and refreshments, are available from the Society.

22 May 2008: Ballot meeting, at which there will be an opportunity to debate the report of the Working Group set up by Council to evaluate the achievements and lessons from the Society’s ‘Making History’ exhibition (the report can be downloaded from the Fellows’ side of the Society’s website. Papers for the ballot will be posted out shortly and those who wish to vote online or view Blue Papers can do so on the Fellows’ side of the website.

29 May 2008: The Cowdray Engravings and the Loss of the Mary Rose, by Dr Dominic Fontana, FRGS, Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Portsmouth.

The Cowdray engravings record five large paintings that once adorned the dining parlour walls of Cowdray House, at Midhurst, in Sussex. The original paintings were probably made for Sir Anthony Browne between 1545 and his death in 1548. The Society of Antiquaries commissioned Samuel Grimm to draw the paintings and James Basire to create engravings for reproduction, work that was completed between 1778 and 1788. The original paintings were lost in 1793 when Cowdray House was largely destroyed by fire. This paper uses the Society’s drawings and engravings as evidence to help us develop a model of the events surrounding Henry VIII’s campaign in France in the summer of 1544, the French invasion attempt of July 1545 and the loss of the Mary Rose during her engagement with the French in the Solent on 19 July 1545.

13 June 2008: Burlington House Lecture: Archbishop Ussher (1581–1656) and the Age of the Earth. This public lecture, in the Burlington House interdisciplinary lecture series, will be given by our Fellow Professor Graham Parry, FSA (University of York), and Dr Patrick Wyse-Jackson (Trinity College Dublin) at 6pm, preceded by tea from 5.30pm and finishing at 7pm. Entry to the lecture is by free ticket, which can be reserved by sending an email to the Society.

Archbishop Ussher’s pronouncement that the Earth was created on the evening preceding Sunday 23 October 4004 BC has always been regarded with scepticism. Ussher’s chronology was, however, based on serious scholarship and it initiated a tradition of enquiry into geochronology at Trinity College Dublin that led directly to the radiometric dating techniques that have now established the Earth’s age at 4.567 billion years. The speakers will examine the man behind the legend, the great work he left behind, and his successors at Trinity College, including Professor John Joly (1857–1933), the scientist most famous for his development of radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer but who also used radioactive elements present in minerals to make estimates of the age of the major geological periods. A copy of Ussher’s Annales Veteris Testamenti (1650) (‘Annals of the Old Testament’), containing his chronology of Biblical events from Creation, will be on display.

5 June 2008: East Africa and the Trade in Medieval Luxuries, by Dr Mark Horton, FSA. Mark will be discussing recent archaeological discoveries made along the East African coast, and how these inform our understanding of the medieval world systems, especially in terms of the trade of high-value luxury commodities such as ivory, crystal and gold.

11 June 2008: Summer soirée, for Fellows and guests at the House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, hosted by our Fellow Sir Patrick Cormack, MP, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, with speeches at 7pm. Tickets cost £20, to include drinks and canapés. Places are limited so early booking (through the Society) is recommended.

19 June: Ballot

24 June: ‘Getting to know the Society’ introductory tour. Please contact the Society to book a place.

26 June: The Future of the Past, the last of the Society’s Tercentenary Festival events. This will take the form of a debate, moderated by our Fellow Robert Key, MP for Salisbury, between members of the audience and a panel consisting of our Fellows Richard Bradley, David Cannadine, Mark Horton and Carenza Lewis. The debate will take place in the BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, London WC1, starting at 6.30pm, to be followed by a wine reception. Fellows’ tickets should be booked through the Society; members of the public should book online.

4 and 5 July 2008: Tercentenary Research Seminar on Westminster Abbey Chapter House: its history, architecture and context. Further details are available on the Society’s website. Places (limited to 100) should be booked through the Society.

12 July 2008: Tercentenary Fellows’ Day at Kelmscott Manor
A special programme is planned by the Kelmscott Manor team for this year’s Fellows’ Day, which will take place on Saturday 12 July and will mark the close of our Tercentenary celebrations. The event starts at 1.30pm, continues until 5pm and is open to Fellows, their families and guests at a cost of £17.50 per head (£7.50 children aged six to sixteen). Cheques should be made out to ‘Kelmscott Manor’ and sent in an envelope marked ‘Fellows Day’ with the names of the people in your party to Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Lechlade GL7 3HJ. For further information, please contact Kelmscott Manor on 01367 253348 or email

Help needed with the Society’s touring exhibition

The Society is inviting Fellows living in the vicinity of the four venues for our HLF-sponsored ‘Making History’ travelling exhibition to come forward and volunteer lectures, gallery talks, workshops, site tours or other activities. The schedule for the ‘Making History’ touring exhibition is as follows: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, October to December 2008; The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, January to March 2009; The Collection, Lincoln, April to June 2009; Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, July to September 2009. The involvement of the Fellowship and local heritage institutions in the outreach programme associated with the exhibition was a key element of the HLF bid. The programme will be co-ordinated by the local partner in each case, but offers of assistance should be sent to our General Secretary, David Gaimster, in the first place.

And with Journal reviews

In the same spirit of enlarging the involvement of the Fellowship in the Society’s affairs, we would also like to hear from Fellows willing to contribute book reviews to the Antiquaries Journal. If you are willing to write a review of a book published during 2007/8 that you believe deserves to be brought to the attention of Fellows and Journal readers, please contact Christopher Catling with the details. We are looking for a balance of reviews covering all the disciplines, periods and subject areas represented by the Fellowship, and of books that make a major contribution to their discipline. Reviews are typically 500 to 750 words in length, and the copy deadline is one month hence.

Farming: a mixed blessing

Martin Jones, Professor of Archaeological Science at Cambridge University, told his audience in Cardiff on 1 May 2008 at the Society’s Tercentenary Festival lecture that food debris from deeply stratified sites in Europe and south-west Asia showed that our ancestors tried eating many different plants and animals. Some people were no doubt poisoned in the process, but our species was ultimately successful because of endless experimentation, and the deliberate selection of animals and plants for domestication. Farming was not, however, an unmixed benefit: bone evidence shows that hunters and gatherers enjoyed better overall health, and the genome of some of the most harmful bacteria (such as Yersinia pestis, cause of the Black Death and responsible for 100 million deaths in Europe and Asia in the fourteenth century) suggest that it evolved as a result of close contact between humans and domesticated animals.

Reinforcing Martin’s conclusion was a report published last week by the Karolinska Institute of Sweden in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which recommended a ‘caveman’ diet for better health. Eating berries, nuts, fruit, unsalted lean meat and fish for just three weeks lowered the blood pressure of volunteers, and enabled them to lose an average of five pounds each in weight. All dairy products were banned as well as beans, salt, peanuts, pasta or rice, sausages, alcohol, sugar and fruit juice. Dr Per Wandell, who led the study, said that the research proved that even short-term use of the diet had favourable effects on the major risk factors for heart disease, but added that there were also potential downsides to such a diet: ‘One negative effect is the decreased intake of calcium from dairy goods, which could be a risk factor for osteoporosis later in life.’

Silbury Hill stabilisation work completed

On 8 May, Fellow Amanda Chadburn and Jim Leary, her English Heritage colleague, gave an account to the Society of their research at Silbury Hill, two days after work to repack voids and consolidate the Neolithic mound was completed, an event marked by the sowing of locally gathered grass and wildflower seeds by those involved in the work.

The £1.66 million conservation project, carried out by English Heritage archaeologists and Skanska civil engineering, became necessary after a hole appeared in the summit of the Hill in 2000, above a shaft originally sunk by the Duke of Northumberland in 1776. After temporarily capping the collapse, English Heritage’s research into the Hill’s condition revealed the need for stabilisation work at the summit and within the 85-metre-long tunnel that was dug to its centre by Professor Richard Atkinson in the 1960s, partially following the route of an earlier tunnel dug in 1849 by Dean Merewether.

The programme of works proved far more complex than first anticipated, with heavy rainfall in the summer of 2007 causing further collapses in the tunnel and dangerous tunnelling conditions for the team. Skanska and English Heritage devised new tunnelling methods and a revised backfilling methodology in order to continue the work.

Dr Amanda Chadburn, Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage, said: ‘Silbury Hill is a masterpiece of human creative genius and is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. It is proof of the creative and technological abilities of prehistoric peoples to conceive, design and construct features of great size and complexity.’

Atkinson’s work in the 1960s identified three phases of the hill: an organic mound (Silbury I), a chalk mound with a quarry ditch (Silbury II) and the final mound (Silbury III), which buried the earlier ditch and was itself constructed of chalk quarried from the surrounding ditch. The new work, led by Jim Leary, shows this to be a simplistic model of the Hill, which has grown through many small constructional events, rather than a few grand statements, as believed by Atkinson.

Antler picks and animal bones found during the recent fieldwork might help to date the phases of construction much more accurately. Well-preserved organic remains, including molluscs and insects, have also been found and will be analysed for information about the Neolithic landscape, including the vegetation, climate and land use.

Heritage Protection Bill: secondary legislation and guidance

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport estimates that nearly 100 pieces of secondary legislation and policy guidance will need to be published to underpin the provisions of the Heritage Protection Bill, and a start has been made on that gargantuan process with a draft statutory instrument, code of practice and guidance on Ecclesiastical Exemption, and draft guidance on the operation of statutory Historic Environment Records in England. Copies of the drafts can be downloaded from the DCMS website, and comments on the drafts are requested by 27 June 2008.

Heritage Protection Bill: CMS Select Committee announces pre-legislative scrutiny phase

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has been entrusted with the task of undertaking pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Heritage Protection Bill, and in order to undertake this task, the committee has announced a new inquiry to look into the overall aims and scope of the draft Bill; the estimates of costs and benefits set out in the Impact Assessment published alongside the draft Bill; and the staffing and skill levels needed for effective implementation of the provisions in the draft Bill.

The committee wishes to receive written submissions in response to these questions from interested parties; these should be sent to Rowena Macdonald, Committee Secretary, preferably in Word or rich text format (not as a PDF document) by 16 June 2008. Further information on the membership of the committee and on the preferred form of submissions can be found on the committee’s web page.

UNESCO Cultural Heritage Laws Database

As we pour over the details of the draft Heritage Protection Bill in England, UNESCO has launched a new online database of cultural heritage laws around the world. Relevant statutes are available for consultation in their original languages and in their official English-language translations. To date, 757 legislative measures, from 113 UNESCO Member States, have been published on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Laws Database, which has been created to aid international efforts to stem looting, theft and illicit trafficking in cultural property. UNESCO claims that the database will ‘make it harder for traffickers to claim to be ignorant of the law and thus of the illegal nature of what they are doing’.

Historic Scotland launches consultation on historic battlefields policy

Historic Scotland has published the latest in its Scottish Historic Environment Policy series (SHEPs), this time addressing the issues impacting historic battlefields. Views on the policy are invited by 25 July 2008. One of the SHEP’s core proposals is the compilation of an Inventory of Historic Battlefields, comprising a list of battlefields considered to be of national importance. It is proposed that the Inventory will be non-statutory but that inclusion in the register should be a material consideration in the planning process. Nationally important battlefields will be included that can be located accurately and whose value has not been seriously compromised by subsequent land use. Alternative means of commemoration may need to be considered for other sites, the SHEP says.

Joint Guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research

The Publishers Association and the British Academy have just published a set of Joint Guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research setting out practical, objective guidance on copyright law from the perspective of the academic researcher and from that of the publisher. The Guidelines address the most frequent problems encountered, including fair dealing exemptions, the terms of protection for different types of materials and copyright for material held in digital form. Free copies of the Joint Guidelines can be downloaded from the British Academy website.

£4 million HLF grant for the Black Cultural Archives

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced a £4 million grant for the Black Cultural Archives (BCA); the funds will be used to help convert Raleigh Hall in Windrush Square, Brixton, into a permanent home for BCA’s collection of historical material relating to black Britain and the African diaspora, as well as providing an educational resource for schools, students and the general public. The London Borough of Lambeth has also granted a 99-year lease on the currently derelict Grade II-listed Raleigh Hall and committed to a financial package of £600,000 until 2011.

Established in 1981, the BCA documents the lives, history and heritage of people of African and African-Caribbean descent in the UK. The BCA collection numbers some 8,000 items, predominantly dating from after 1945, with a smaller number of items from before that time, including letters, notebooks and memorabilia relating to John Barbour-James, founding member of the League of Coloured People, an original bill of sale from 1843 with details of slaves sold at auction in England, an original score by the nineteenth-century musician and composer, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, and photographs of prominent figures such as Sislin Fay Allen, the first black woman to join the Metropolitan Police Force (1968), and John Alcindor, the prominent nineteenth-century Paddington-based doctor. There has always been a strong focus on community involvement and it is anticipated that donations of important records will come from organisations, families and individuals once the archive is established in Lambeth.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: ‘The BCA’s vision for a major black history and cultural centre has been a long-time in the making but worth the wait. And Raleigh Hall will make the perfect setting – a listed building with huge potential at the heart of Brixton – in which to properly celebrate the contribution of black Britons to our cultural, social, political and economic life.’

Raleigh Hall’s re-development will mean that the building will be removed from the ‘At Risk’ register. The Hall is being described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Brixton’s cultural quarter, along with Lambeth Town Hall, the Tate Library, Brixton Academy and the Ritzy Cinema.

Paul Reid, Director of the Black Cultural Archives, said: ‘This announcement is a major milestone achievement for people of African descent. We want to tell our stories from our own perspectives. We’ve worked so hard to get here and there’s still a lot to do to reach our remaining fundraising target of £1.5millon. I’m confident that we will be able to achieve this and build a centre that we can all be proud of.’

Campaign aims to get the Purton Hulks scheduled

The Purton Hulks sound like a heavy metal rock band or a Sherlock Holmes mystery: in fact they consist of a number of redundant coastal and river boats deliberately beached along the banks of the River Severn, between Purton and Sharpness, between 1909 and 1963 in order to help stabilise the eroding river bank and protect the entrance to the Sharpness and Gloucester ship canal. The surviving hulls have since acquired enormous importance as evidence of coastal and river transport from the mid-nineteenth century; more than that, they include such historic vessels as the Katherine Ellen, the IRA gun-running ship seized by the Royal Navy in 1921. Altogether, the eighty-plus schooners, lighters, barges and Severn trows lining the 1.5-mile stretch of river have been called ‘the world’s largest conglomeration of historic wooden vessels’.

Recognising the importance of this repository of marine archaeology, the Friends of Purton are appealing for support in their campaign to gain statutory protection for the hulks. Leading the campaign is Paul Barnett, winner of the 2007 ‘Adopt a Wreck’ award given by the Nautical Archaeological Society to avocational archaeologists working to conserve wrecks above and below water. The NAS is chaired by our Fellow George Lambrick, who describes Paul Barnett as a very worthy winner.

Having researched the history of every vessel, its owners and crew, and kept a comprehensive photographic record for the last thirty years, Paul is now concerned at the rate at which the hulks are deteriorating – mainly as a result of vandalism, trophy hunting or local people wanting a free supply of firewood or barbecue fuel. His efforts to persuade English Heritage to schedule the wrecks has come to nothing so far, but he is urging supporters to write to Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, ‘advising them that the site is both valued and loved by many, and asking for them to be protected for the good of the nation’.

To learn more about the Purton Hulks and the Friends’ campaign, see the Times Online.

The Gresham Ship Project

Our Fellow Gus Milne is appealing for help from anyone who can throw light on the fate of a large assemblage of material salvaged from an Elizabethan shipwreck from the Thames in 1846. The material included 2,000 stamped tin ingots, guns and an unusual silk doublet. Three gentlemen are known to have been involved in the salvage – W A Gilman, of 21 Hanley Road, Holloway, James Robinson Planche, of Brompton, and one Fellow: William Debonaire Haggard, FSA, FRAS, of Sussex Place, Hyde Park.

The finds were reported in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association, vol II (1847), pages 361–2. The journal report runs thus: ‘December 9th 1846 … Mr Gilman, through Mr Haggard, exhibited: an ingot of tin, stamped with the royal mark (a rose surmounted by a crown); a knife with the maker’s mark (a double fleur-de-lis) on the blade; a round-toed leathern shoe; a dagged or pounced silk doublet procured from the remains of an ancient vessel which had been wrecked off Whitstable.’

A note was read, stating that: ‘It had been known long since there was a wreck on the Girdler Sand [off Herne Bay] but no-one took any notice of it, not knowing what wreck it was, until this spring when divers went down and examined and recovered some iron guns, of very ancient date, also some of those curious ingots and some iron, lead in pigs and red lead in cast iron casks, covered with wood; what quantity they recovered of the several articles, no one knows but themselves. At the date of this letter, however, the operations were being conducted under the orders of the Duke of Wellington, as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and the men had then recovered about 2,700 of the ingots, and more iron, pig lead, red lead, together with some stone shot, all of which had been delivered to the deputy sergeant at Ramsgate’. The writer added that the divers were still at work, and that a quantity of the metals, it was thought, still remained in the wreck, which lay in about four fathoms [24ft; 8m] at low-water mark.

Mr Planche made some observations about the doublet, which he said was ‘of a kind in fashion in the time of Elizabeth’, and he pointed out an example precisely similar in the 30th plate of Caspar Rutz’s work on Dress (published in 1588) which contains ‘a figure of a Dutch soldier in a doublet of exact pattern’.

Gus adds that his team has already tried the Receiver of Wreck, the British Museum, Whitstable Museum and Ramsgate Museum, and is about to check through the Wellington Papers. His email address is

News round up

Human faeces excavated from a cave system in Oregan, USA, have been dated to 14,300 years ago, and provide the first secure evidence for humans living on the American continent at that date, some 1,200 years before the Clovis culture. DNA analysis confirmed that the cave dwellers were of Asian origin. The Bering Strait land bridge was under ice at that time, so the Oregon cave dwellers must either have arrived by boat, or even earlier. The excavation team, from the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History, also found sinew and plant fibre threads, hide, basketry, cordage, rope, wooden pegs, animal bones and two forms of projectile point fragments in the Paisley Cave system. For more on this see the Eureka Alert website.

On the opposite side of the Bering Strait, at Un’en’en, near the modern whaling village of Nunligran on the Chukotka Peninsula in Russia’s far east, a Russian–American research team has found a prehistoric whaling settlement and a remarkable piece of ivory, approximately 0.5m long, carved with scenes of people in boats harpooning whales. The carving was found beneath the wooden roof of a building dated to 3,000 years ago. For more on this see the University of Alaska Fairbank website.

The world’s oldest known tree has been discovered in the Dalarna province of Sweden; carbon dating has given an age of 10,000 years to the trunk of a spruce that grows on Fulu Mountain. But this spruce lacks the huge trunk one would associate with a tree of such an age: the rather spindly tree is in fact a clone, or sucker, from a tree that has been growing continuously from that period of time, so is unfortunately not going to yield important tree-ring data.

The release later this month of the latest Indiana Jones movie will throw the spotlight on the human skulls carved from rock crystal, and claimed to be of Maya origin, that are to be found in several national museums, including the British Museum. Jane Walsh, of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, has spent many years researching these skulls and has identified that none of them is more than 150 years old, and that they result from several distinct episodes of ‘fakery’, designed to capitalise on the link between Meso-American cultures and human sacrifice. Some of the finest and largest were made in Europe in the latter part of the nineteenth century using jeweller’s wheels and industrial diamonds. For more on this see the Smithsonian Institute’s website and the website of the British Museum.

A 4,000-year-old nine-bead necklace from a site near Lake Titicaca, in southern Peru, is described by its finder, Professor Mark Aldenderfer of the University of Arizona, Tucson, as the oldest known worked gold artefact ever uncovered in the Americas, and the first evidence of the emergence of an elite stratum of society in the Americas. The necklace was buried in the grave of an adult skull of indeterminate sex in a burial pit next to a dwelling at Jiskairumoko, a hamlet that was settled from 3300 to 1500 BC. Radiocarbon dating of nearby material places the necklace’s origin at roughly 2100 BC. The necklace’s discovery at a transient settlement of seasonal hunter-gatherers shows that the use of gold jewellery to distinguish wealthy and important people began before the appearance of more complex societies in the Andes, Professor Aldenderfer says, and ‘undermines the idea that only sedentary societies could create more material wealth than they could consume’.

Mexican mathematician Maria del Carmen Jorge y Jorge, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, has cracked the code used by Aztec surveyors for recording land holdings as the basis for levying tax or tribute. The University’s Codex Vergara, containing property maps recorded in 1540, records land area using heart, hand, bone, arm and arrow symbols, which previous researchers had failed to understand because they assumed the symbols stood for whole numbers. Professor Jorge has resolved the land-area formulae, used to measure curvilinear plots and hillside terraces, as a result of trying out various fractions, or subdivisions, of the tlalquahuitl, the basic unit of measurement employed by Aztec surveyors.

Such is the rate at which Alpine glaciers are melting that a task force of archaeologists, anthropologists, mountain climbers and Alpine rescue teams has been set up in the Italian city of Trento to investigate reports of newly revealed objects, including prehistoric weapons, clothing and tools. Archaeologist Franco Nicolis said that mountain climbers and hikers were being asked to report any finds to the task force rather than removing them as souvenirs. The initiative, which will ensure that items are preserved before they can deteriorate, is being organised by the superintendency of archaeology at Trento and the Stelvio National Park.

Tourists are stripping ancient Rome bare, according to a report in Il Messaggero newspaper; archaeologists working at the site of Trajan’s Forum say that the statue fragments and amphorae sherds are being removed in daylight, without the perpetrators being challenged. Eugenio La Rocca, the head of Rome’s cultural heritage authority, was quoted as saying that: ‘There are lots of gaps in the security system of one of the most important archaeological areas in the world; the close-circuit television cameras are pointless, and the gates are practically non-existent. Even a child could climb over them.’

Once the current programme of excavation work is completed, Trajan’s Column is to have its original colouration ‘restored’ courtesy of a computer-controlled light projections system and high-definition films. These will be used to bath the scenes on the column, depicting Trajan’s triumphant campaigns in Dacia, with the colours in which they were originally painted. Maurizio Anastasi, head of the technical office of Rome’s Superintendency for Archaeology, said: ‘People will be able to see the monument as it appeared to the ancient Roman world for a few minutes every hour at night’. The project, scheduled for completion in 2009, is part of a wider scheme to light up the entire Roman Forum.

Claudio Velardi, the new tourism chief in Campania, wants to limit the number of visitors to Pompeii, and thus charge premium rates for access, and allow commercial enterprises to host product launches, parties and events in the ruins ‘without being hampered by cultural fuddy-duddies’, he told a press briefing. ‘By controlling the number of visitors we could first make the Pompeii experience better for everyone. But we could also increase revenue by offering an opportunity to firms like Google or Microsoft to use the site for a private event’, he said.

Piero Guzzo, the archaeological superintendent for Pompeii and Herculaneum, pointed out that private money was already being given towards upgrading Pompeii and Herculaneum, from the Packard Humanities Institute, which had donated €1.5m (£1.17m), and from a number of Italian firms that had given large sums to restoration work.

The best way to improve conditions on the sites, according to our Fellow Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the Herculaneum Conservation Project, is not to limit numbers but manage them better. ‘You need more custodians on site to stop people doing damage. Tourists behave better if they are better educated, for example if they are told what makes the site fragile.’ He also welcomed the fact that ‘For the first time one man will be responsible for Pompeii and all the other sites in the Bay of Naples, including Herculaneum and the National Archaeological Museum, where most of the treasures from the two sites are collected. The museum only gets a fraction of Pompeii’s visitors, even though it is wonderful. The hope is that you can reunite the sites with the objects.’

A first-century AD Roman altar inscribed ‘To the mother goddesses Hananeftis and Ollototis, Aelius Victor willingly and deservedly fulfils a vow’ has been found during excavations at the junction of Great Jackson Street and Chester Road in Manchester. Our Fellow Norman Redhead, Greater Manchester’s county archaeologist, said: ‘It is in fantastic condition; Aelius Victor may have been a centurion commander posted from Germany, where worship of Hananeftis and Ollototis originates.’ The find site is not far from the fort and civilian settlement of Mamuciam, Manchester’s Roman predecessor.

Archaeologists working in Gloucester have found a Roman mass grave containing the remains of ninety-one men, women and children, believed to be the victims of an outbreak of disease in the second century. Louise Loe, Head of Burial Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology who led the analysis, said: ‘The skeletons were lying with their bones completely entangled, reflecting the fact that they had been dumped in a hurried manner. When we studied the skeletons we looked for evidence to explain why they had been buried in such a way. This has led us to conclude the individuals were the victims of an epidemic.’ Brooches found in the pit date from the second half of the second century AD. ‘This ties in with an outbreak of the Antonine Plague [AD 165 to 189], which was probably smallpox’, said Project Officer Andrew Simmonds.

Save Britain’s Heritage is campaigning to protect a ‘delightful, listed eighteenth-century brick granary’ at Barford Park, near Salisbury, which is facing demolition. In a letter to The Times, SAVE’s Secretary, William Palin, deplores the fact that ‘its death warrant was signed recently by the local authority in spite of strong protests by heritage bodies’, and asks ‘What message does this send to the thousands of owners across the country who are struggling against the odds to maintain the lesser historic farm buildings that help to define the special character of our rural landscapes?’ For the letter in full, and a picture, see the Times Online.

William Palin’s letter was followed up by another from Richard Deane, Chairman, Salisbury Conservation Advisory Panel (see the Times Online), asking why English Heritage had not called in the case for review or public inquiry. ‘For government officers to fail to demonstrate the unacceptability in principle of demolishing listed buildings, thereby sending out the message to less committed owners that the simplest way out of a maintenance problem may simply be to pull the building down, is deeply worrying. Our stock of traditional farm buildings is a finite heritage, and the loss of any of them can only devalue what we should be appreciating as a unique national asset’, he wrote.

Archaeologists at the University of Newcastle, studying the region’s prehistoric rock carvings as part of the Northumberland Rock Art Project, have found a stylised carving of a human face, of unknown date, close to Rothbury. Dr Aron Mazel, of Newcastle University’s School of Historical Studies, said: ‘it reminds me of works done by Picasso around a hundred years ago that were inspired by African totemic carvings. We would welcome any suggestions from people who can offer a well-informed insight into who did the carvings and what they might represent’. For more on this see the Northumberland Rock Art Project’s website.

The message to would-be donors from our Fellow Mark Jones, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, is that ‘giving to the arts leads to happiness’. Launching a campaign to encourage Britain’s growing numbers of multimillionaires to become as famous for their generosity as their wealth, Mark Jones said that being a philanthropist was not a ‘dour moral imperative’, but a question of enlightened self-interest: ‘One of the luxuries that wealth affords is the ability to make things happen. Life has many pleasures, and one of them is giving,’ he said. The campaign, Private Giving for the Public Good, is spearheaded by museum directors and Arts Council England. They want to change UK tax regulations to make giving easier. A more intangible aim is to encourage a culture of giving that will engender a ‘societal change’. Roy Clare, chief executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, said: ‘there are incentives for people to give after their death – but when you’re dead you can’t take the credit and you can’t come to the party’.


While London-based Fellows were listening to Geoff Wainwright give his Presidential address on 23 April, Orkney-based Fellow Caroline Wickham-Jones was following that day’s heritage debate in the Scottish Parliament and was surprised to hear her own name come up, when Liam McArthur (Orkney, Liberal Democrat) referred to the way that archaeology was breathing new life into the economy, education system and culture of the islands: as a result, there is such an ‘appetite for finding out more about Orkney’s archaeological heritage that Radio Orkney dedicates a regular programme to the subject, fronted by the irrepressible and hugely impressive Caroline Wickham Jones [sic]’, he said. It was, says Caroline, good to see Parliament debating heritage matters, and ‘embarrassing enough to make one chuffed’. The whole debate can be read on the Scottish Parliament’s website.

Commenting on the profile of Fellow Beatrice de Cardi in Salon 186, Fellow Vincent Megaw says that ‘surely, if the Society had a Gold Medal for Elegance it would be hers?’

He also wonders ‘how many Fellows owe their professional beginnings to Bea’s kindly council? Certainly, this is my case. In 1952, having quite deservedly failed to obtain a classics scholarship to Peterhouse (where my two archaeological uncles had studied), and having not immediately accepted my Headmaster’s advice that Harrods had good openings, I was toying with reading Drama and English at Bristol. “Why” asked my Uncle Basil, “don’t you go and have a word with Miss de Cardi?”

‘In those days Bea was not so much working for the CBA: she was the CBA. I took myself off to the upper floor office in South Kensington to be regaled with tea and good advice. “I gather,” said Bea “that you’re not so keen on Cambridge; have you ever been to Scotland?” “No,” I rejoined, “but I know that Edinburgh has a very fine Festival”. “Ah,” continued Bea, “but archaeology there is taught by Stuart Piggott, an old friend and one of the subject’s greatest scholars, and his assistant Richard Atkinson is one of the most practically minded men I have ever known.” The rest is (pre)history: bless you Bea!’

Vincent is not the first Salon correspondent to suggest that we are too parochial and only report on London affairs. He draws attention to an article on the website of The Australian, in which Science Writer Leigh Dayton castigates the Australian government for secrecy and incompetence in the investigation of a First World War mass grave on the site of the Battle of Fromelles, fought on French soil in 1916 with the loss of 2,000 British and Australian lives.

Apparently a team of Australian and British mass grave experts, led by highly experienced forensic archaeologist Richard Wright (University of Sydney emeritus professor), offered to investigate the newly discovered mass grave at no cost to the taxpayer through the not-for-profit group called Recovering Overseas Australia’s Missing. Instead, the Government chose Glasgow University battlefield archaeologist Tony Pollard, presenter of the BBC TV programme ‘Two Men in a Trench’, described in the article as ‘an expert in re-creating events at battle sites … [with] … no experience with mass graves’, and paid him AUS $150,000 to survey the site. Pollard’s report, says the article, ‘was condemned as flawed and useless by specialists in mass grave geophysics and forensic archaeology at Britain’s Bournemouth University, partly because ground-penetrating radar was not used to investigate the graves, as specified: instead, a ground-phase reader was deployed, an instrument good at finding buttons and bullets a few centimetres deep, but incapable of “seeing” to the bottom of a deep pit’.

Finally Vincent asks if Salon would pass on his best birthday wishes to our Fellow Emeritus Professor Charles Thomas who, it is rumoured, has, or is about to, celebrate his eightieth birthday.

Salon’s editor apologises if anyone suffered a near heart attack at what appeared to be an endorsement in the last issue of Ken Livingstone’s campaign to be re-elected as mayor of London. Livingstone’s letter was quoted not in order to praise him, but rather to reveal the difference between his words and his deeds. Livingstone’s record on heritage in London surely speaks for itself (he is, said one Fellow, ‘a vandal and a cultural terrorist’, adding that ‘his support for tall buildings at Waterloo, the South Bank and Victoria will wreck the settings of Somerset House and the Palace of Westminster and will damage the Westminster World Heritage Site’).

That is now water under the bridge: the new mayor, Boris Johnson, has already let it be known that he does not share Ken Livingstone’s enthusiasm for tall buildings in central London, having announced that he will revise the London Plan in favour of historic views and set maximum building heights. Mr Johnson has also appointed Sir Simon Milton, the leader of Westminster City Council and a critic of tall buildings, as his senior planning adviser. During the mayoral election campaign, Boris Johnson said that he would block the development of buildings which threatened London’s historic views, adding that it was ‘hugely embarrassing’ that UNESCO saw the Tower of London and Palace of Westminster as potential candidates for the endangered list of world heritage sites because of planned skyscrapers.

Meanwhile in the central London parish of Norton Folgate, campaigners are using the fact that their parish is an extra-parochial ‘liberty’, under the jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral, to fight off proposals for a new Norman Foster-designed skyscraper next to Liverpool Street’s Broadgate Tower, on a corner of land sold to developers Hammerson six years ago. The land originally formed the precinct of the Priory and Hospital of St Mary Spital and was outside the jurisdiction of the City. The area’s residents claim this means that London’s planning policies do not apply to them and that they have their own right to determine planning consents.

The campaign to preserve the area from more skyscrapers is being led by architectural historian Robin Stummer, who says he has support from English Heritage, Cabe (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), the Georgian Group, the Spitalfields Trust and the singer Suggs, front man of the band Madness, who is about to release an album and a song called ‘The Liberty of Norton Folgate’.

Latest news re the British Library’s campaign to save the Dering Roll

The British Library reports that it is making considerable progress with its campaign to save the Dering Roll (see Salon 185). The Library has until 19 July 2008 to raise £226,188 to purchase the roll. To date the Library has received grants of £10,000 from both The Friends of the National Libraries and The Friends of the British Library, along with a recent grant of £40,000 from the Art Fund. An application for funding has been submitted to the National Heritage Memorial Fund for a major grant, and a decision will be made towards the end of May. Alongside this the Library has received numerous individual donations and pledges towards the appeal, which have made an invaluable contribution, and provided a huge boost to the Library’s fundraising efforts, showing the strength of feeling and support towards the campaign to keep the Dering Roll in the UK. If you would like to make a contribution to the Library’s campaign please contact Trust Fundraiser Gabbie Filmer-Pasco, or send your donation to Gabbie Filmer-Pasco at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB; cheques can be made payable to the British Library.

Action on skills training and education for the historic environment

Serious skills gaps highlighted by two new National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) reports (Traditional Building Craft Skills; England 2008 Review and Built Heritage Sector Professionals in the UK 2008; see the NHTG website) were discussed at an ICOMOS-UK two-day conference held at The Prince’s Foundation, London, on 29 and 30 April 2008. Under the Chairmanship of our Fellow Henry Russell, delegates agreed to establish a new Heritage Skills Task Force to co-ordinate action across the whole built conservation sector to promote the need for training and education and ensure an adequate supply of skilled craftspeople and building professionals in the UK to fill the gaps.

The members of the Heritage Skills Task Force will also represent their common interests to government at the highest level, and will help the sector engage with the sustainability, carbon footprint and energy efficiency debates, and show how skills for design, construction, conservation, maintenance and management, and the innovative use and reuse of traditional materials, remain key components in our drive for sustainability and can contribute to the quality of the built environment. The new Heritage Skills Task Force will be facilitated by ICOMOS-UK.

Obituary: David Johnson, OBE (1934–2008)

Fellows and colleagues will be very sad to learn that David Johnson died on Thursday 17 April 2008, just days after being diagnosed with cancer. David’s former colleague, Stephen Ellison, at the Parliamentary Archive, writes that: ‘David joined the House of Lords Record Office in 1966 and was Clerk of the Records from 1991–9. He was active in the Society of Archivists, was a founder member of the Political Parties and Parliamentary Archives Group and a member of the Steering Committee of the equivalent International Council on Archives Group. In retirement he was Chairman of the Council of the British Records Association from 2000–4. Others will have known him as an active historian of London.’

Obituary: Thomas Cocke (1949–2008)

The following obituary for our late Fellow Thomas Cocke appeared in The Times, with a portrait photograph, on 10 May 2008.

‘Aged 16 Thomas Cocke passed his A levels and won an open scholarship to Pembroke College, Cambridge. With two years to wait before going up to Cambridge he left Marlborough (where he was a scholar) and went on his travels. After visiting the US, where he became an honorary member of a Native American tribe, he went to Bologna to stay with an aunt, Kitsy Colliva. She had married the city’s mayor in 1933 and remained in Italy during the Second World War. There he learnt Italian and laid the foundations of his lifelong interest in Italian art and architecture.

‘His interest in matters ecclesiastical had been sparked at school by his friendship with the family of Joseph Fison, the highly cultured and urbane Bishop of Salisbury (his appointment to the rural diocese of Salisbury was likened by The Times to “harnessing a racehorse to a farm cart”). Still earlier, Cocke’s precocity had been apparent when he won the Townsend Warner History Prize for prep schools in 1961 and 1962.

‘His father and grandfather were City accountants, and Cocke grew up in a comfortable house in Wimbledon. The family business interests extended to a share in the famous London pub, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, acquired to preserve its atmosphere. At Pembroke he changed from classics to history, winning a first and then moving to the Courtauld Institute where he was one of a group of talented art history students. They included [Fellow] Neil MacGregor, who would become director of the British Museum, and [Fellow] Alastair Laing, curator of paintings at the National Trust. Cocke’s Italian interests were fostered by Anthony Blunt while his study of Gothic profited from two brilliant tutors, [Fellow] Peter Kidson (with whom he was later to write a monograph on Salisbury Cathedral) and [Fellow] George Zarnecki.

‘His PhD thesis was on ‘Attitudes to the restoration of medieval buildings in England from c 1550 to c 1775’. During this time he built up a commanding knowledge of the liturgy and furnishing of cathedrals. He also championed the work of the 18th-century Cambridge architect James Essex, the first to take an antiquarian interest in medieval architecture, carrying out exemplary repairs to the octagon of Ely Cathedral. This led in 1984 to his exhibition, ‘The Ingenious Mr Essex’, at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

‘Cocke’s career illustrates the difficulties which face even the most talented architectural historians in an exciting field of studies which remains without a career structure. In 1971 he went to teach at the University of Manchester history of art department and played an active role in the lively Manchester group of the Victorian Society. In 1976 he joined the Salisbury office of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, producing a scholarly and illuminating volume, Churches of South East Wiltshire (1987), and contributing to the volume Salisbury: The Houses of the Close in 1993.

‘During this time Cocke applied for and was offered one of the best posts in British architectural history, as curator of the great drawings collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, but did not take up the job because of an in-house challenge to the appointment.

‘In 1990 he became secretary of the Council for the Care of Churches, the Church of England body which advises on and assesses schemes for remodelling churches. In this post his great knowledge of liturgy and commitment as a practising Anglican led him to play an important role as a negotiator at a time of enormous pressure for often damaging change. After the Heritage Lottery Fund began its joint scheme of grants to churches with English Heritage in 1995 he was an influential member of the advisory panel ensuring the smooth progress of the scheme.

‘Cocke’s interest in church furnishings prompted an increasing role in church recording, particularly in the voluntary work being done by the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies (NADFAS), which had taken on the task of compiling detailed inventories of parish churches all over England. In 2001 he became the chief executive of NADFAS, spending five years there until a clash of personalities prompted him to resign. His career never recovered, though he continued to teach, write and lead tours. Last year he went with the Society of Architectural Historians to Bologna where he explained the city’s version of the Church of Holy Sepulchre and Pilate’s garden, which continue to serve for annual re-enactments of the Passion.

‘Cocke was a prolific writer and contributor to studies. He wrote an illuminating series of papers for the British Archaeological Association which each year holds its conference at a different cathedral. Cocke’s contributions on Gloucester, Lincoln, Ely, Lichfield, Hereford and Salisbury covered the work done in the 17th and 18th centuries (and also extended to 19th-century restoration), prompting a new respect for the work of this period.

‘He played a key role in the exhibition ‘Nine Hundred Years: the Restorations of Westminster Abbey’ held in St Margaret’s Westminster in 1993 and earlier contributed a paper on ‘The Rediscovery of the Romanesque’ in the Arts Council’s important Romanesque exhibition in 1984.

‘Cocke was generous with both his knowledge and his time, befriending the lonely and entertaining generously. He served on many voluntary committees. These included the executive committees of the Georgian Group and the Society of Architectural Historians, the councils of the Society of Antiquaries, the British Archaeological Association and the Royal Archaeological Institute. He was a trustee and joint secretary of the Pevsner Memorial Trust. Latterly he had been chair of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust, which was founded in 1997.

‘No less important was his contribution to the fabric advisory committees for Ely and St Edmundsbury cathedrals and Westminster Abbey. He had also completed a study of Brighton’s Victorian churches, to be published by SAVE Britain’s Heritage.

‘Though suffering from severe depression, Cocke had latterly begun working at Westminster Abbey, where he was about to embark on the important task of compiling a complete inventory of the abbey’s furnishings.

‘He was found drowned on 23 April 2008, aged 59. Thomas Cocke is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and by a son and daughter.’


Land of the Iceni: current work on the Iron Age in northern East Anglia, 17 May, 2008
The conference held in Norwich in June 1995 to review recent thinking about the Iron Age of northern East Anglia stimulated fresh thinking about the period between c 700 BC and the Roman conquest in the region. Now, ten years on, the developments and progress that have occurred during the intervening years will be reviewed, through significant studies of metalwork, coinage and pottery, major discoveries in the field (largely through metal-detection) and new methods of interpretation. The conference, to be chaired by our Fellow J D Hill, takes place from 10am to 5pm, at The King of Hearts Centre for People and the Arts, 7–15 Fye Bridge Street, Norwich, and costs £10. Further information from Dr John Davies, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service.

The London Archaeologist’s Annual Lecture and AGM, 20 May 2008
Mithras and other quandaries: interpreting and presenting archaeological sites

Famously excavated at the eleventh hour by Grimes, the Roman Temple of Mithras in the City of London was eventually reconstructed around the corner. Now the reconstruction is in the path of development and new evidence has come to light on the original temple site. So where, and how, should monuments like this be presented? How should they be interpreted? And who decides? Sophie Jackson, Senior Consultant at MoLAS, examines the archaeology and the issues for the London Archaeologist’s 40th anniversary lecture at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1; 6.30pm for wine and light refreshments; 7pm for the AGM and Annual Lecture.

John Julius Norwich on ‘The art and architecture of Byzantium’, Thursday 10 July, British Museum’s BP Lecture Theatre
John Julius Norwich, the author of a three-volume history of Byzantium, will give this illustrated lecture tracing the history of the Empire and discussing its surviving monuments and works of art, to raise funds for the Byzantine Research Fund Archive, housed by the British School at Athens, which consist of some 2,500 drawings and photographs dating to between 1888 and 1949, recording art and architecture across the Byzantine world. For ticket information, contact Carol Bell, Treasurer of the British School at Athens.

Conservation in Context: projects, money, deadlines, science and heritage projects in conservation, 25 July 2008
This one-day meeting, held jointly with the Historical Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry, will discuss conservation science, conservation of objects and conservation heritage projects in their historical, contemporary and national contexts. The meeting, open to all, will be held in the Grade I-listed Michael Faraday Museum, at the Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London, which has recently undergone a major reinterpretation, partially funded by the HLF. The overall programme of works includes a number of major conservation projects to the building’s fabric and contents and some of the speakers will talk from their experience about delivering this project.

For further information, see the Royal Institution’s website.

Books by (and in honour of) Fellows

Fellow Andrew Fleming, recently retired Professor of Landscape Archaeology at Lampeter University, was presented with a book produced in his honour at a recent gathering in Sheffield. Monuments in the Landscape (The History Press) was conceived and edited by Lampeter’s Head of Archaeology and Anthropology, our Fellow Dr Paul Rainbird. The twenty-six contributors were drawn from the many former students, colleagues and friends that Andrew taught or worked with during his long and distinguished academic career, including our Fellows Richard Bradley, Mike Parker Pearson, Mike Fulford and John Collis (and Tom Williamson, who isn’t a Fellow, but surely should be) and former Lampeter archaeology staff Alex Woolf, Brian Boyd, Mark Pluciennik, Sarah Tarlow, Rob Young and Yannis Hamilakis.

Topics include megalithic monuments in Yorkshire, Portugal and Stonehenge, hillforts in Wales and landscape studies of central France, the Peak District, East Anglia, County Durham, Sicily and Salisbury Plain. In presenting the volume Paul Rainbird said: ‘Despite the myriad ways in which Andrew is known to the authors of this volume, they all share a desire, realised through their writings presented here, to express gratitude to Andrew now that he has retired from formal academic duties and to wish him the very best for the future.’

Spire Books has just published Who Built Beverley Minster?, edited by Fellow Paul Barnwell and Arnold Pacey, with contributions from Fellows Jennifer Alexander and Ian Stewart (Minster Architect), as well as Paul himself. The book demonstrates how the combined study of masons’ and carpenters’ marks can provide new insights into the way in which a great medieval building was constructed, and discusses the craftsmen (and women) who constructed, maintained and restored the Minster from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries. Paul says that flyers, with a pre-publication offer (valid to the end of June), should be available in the Society’s Library shortly.


Heritage Lottery Fund, Head of Historic Environment Conservation
Salary £42,218 to £57,380; closing date 23 May 2008

The HLF is re-advertising this post, whose purpose is to ensure that positive conservation outcomes are achieved through HLF-funded projects by providing expert advice and guidance on all aspects of conserving the historic environment to staff, decision takers and applicants. Candidates need to be able to demonstrate a high level of professional knowledge of conservation principles and practice in the historic environment, experience of advising on, or managing, conservation projects and experience of developing policy/strategy and guidance for the historic environment. Further details from the HLF website.

British Museum; three Trustee positions
Closing date, 28 May 2008

The BM would like to recruit three new trustees, with knowledge or experience in one or more of the following areas in which the Museum will have to take important policy decisions over the next five years: exchange and capacity building in Asia and Africa; developing partnerships with universities though AHRC academic analogue status; the historical and contemporary characteristics of multi-ethnic and multi-faith populations; and the impact on societies of climate change and environmental developments. For an application pack, please contact Cassie Brown at the BM Directorate.

Council for British Archaeology (CBA), Head Of Development
Salary up to £33,000; closing date 30 May 2008

The CBA is seeking to appoint a Head of Development to plan and implement a campaign to raise the public profile of the CBA and diversify its income through a programme of fundraising. The successful candidate will have considerable fundraising experience, ideally in the heritage sector, and have professional accreditation in that field. Working arrangements are negotiable, and candidates seeking to fulfil the role on a part-time or full-time basis will be considered. The post can be based either in York or elsewhere with regular visits to the York office. Further information from the CBA’s website.