Salon Archive

Issue: 205

Forthcoming meetings

22 January 2009: ‘Timely and Timeless: the first century of the Royal Commissions’, by Diana Murray, FSA, and Peter Wakelin, FSA

29 January 2009: ‘From Barrow to Bunker: integrating the historic environment with defence needs’, by Phil Abramson, FSA

5 February 2009: Ballot. You can now vote in the 5 February ballot on the Fellows’ side of the Society's website; apply to Christopher Catling if you would like a password or a password reminder.

6 February 2009: ‘Wroxeter 150: past, present and future’. You can book (£15) by credit card by telephoning Sue Bowen on 0121 414 7245 for this day school to be held at Burlington House from 9.30am to 5pm, marking the 150th anniversary almost to the day of the start of Thomas Wright’s excavations at Wroxeter (which began on 3 February 1859), to which Charles Dickens, at the end of April, was one of the first visitors. The aim of the day school is not so much to celebrate past achievements as to focus on future directions for Wroxeter in terms of its archaeology and what it has to offer to the development of archaeological practice; leading experts will explore how Wroxeter might be managed in the future and draw together a vision for what Wroxeter could become. For further details see the Wroxeter day school web page.

12 February 2009: ‘Getting to know the Society introductory tour’. Coffee in the Council Room from 10.30am, tour starts at 11am and ends at 12.30pm with a light sandwich lunch for those who wish to stay (and for which a charge of £5 is made). Numbers are limited to twenty-five Fellows per tour. To book a place please tel: 020 7479 7080 or email: admin@sal.org.uk .

12 February 2009: ‘Italian Renaissance Ceramics: culture and collecting’, by Dora Thornton, FSA, and Timothy Wilson, FSA, marking the publication of Italian Renaissance Ceramics: a catalogue of the British Museum’s collection, a comprehensive scholarly catalogue of the British Museum’s collection of nearly 500 examples of Italian Renaissance ceramics, including pieces made for such eminent Renaissance patrons as Pope Leo X, Isabella d’Este and Francesco Guicciardini. The speakers will consider the relationship between ceramic art and the other arts of Renaissance Italy, the history of collecting, the role of the British Museum collection in developing the international study of the subject and the results of a programme of scientific analysis of the clays used by Renaissance potters.

The Antiquaries Journal online

The Society is very pleased to announce that a contract has now been signed with Cambridge University Press for the publication of the Antiquaries Journal online. As part of that agreement, Fellows have free access to the online version via the password-protected Fellows’ side of the Society's website: having entered your username and password, select ‘The Antiquaries Journal Online’ from the green menu box on the right-hand side of the page, and then click on the link in the page that comes up.

Volumes 86, 87 and 88 (the current volume) are already available in digital form, and others will be added in due course. In future the Journal will be published in two releases a year — the first in late March and the second in September 2009 — and the printed volume will also be distributed in September, instead of December.

The Research Assessment Exercise — the definitive account

Numerous Fellows wrote to point out that Salon got it wrong again in the last issue when the RAE percentages were described as grading individual researchers. In order to provide an accurate and definitive account, our Fellow Graeme Barker, Chair of the RAE Archaeology Sub-Panel, has provided the following explanation.

‘As with all disciplines in the exercise, the profile published for each “unit of assessment” in archaeology shows the percentages of different levels of research activity represented in their submission, NOT numbers of people at the different quality levels. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) put an enormous amount of effort into developing a system designed to allow nuanced profiling of research activity and HEFCE’s entire philosophy was precisely to avoid giving grades to individual researchers.

‘Instead, each unit’s research quality profile is compiled from three sub-profiles: (1) outputs: up to four publications submitted by each researcher (75 per cent of the score); (2) environment: the evidence for the unit’s research strategy, achievements and plans, including measures of graduate activity and research grant activity (15 per cent); (3) esteem: evidence of international and national recognition of the research (10 per cent).

‘The resulting profiles can and will be used in different ways by universities, but it is generally agreed that important measures for HEFCE are likely to be the percentages of four- and three-star research activity in an institutional profile.’

Graeme’s more detailed commentary on the results of the archaeology sub-panel’s work has been published on the HEFCE website (see Panel H) and it amounts to a ringing endorsement for the quality, strength and vitality of archaeological research in UK universities as a whole. ‘Over a third of the submitted researchers across the entire sector produced work of the highest (four-star) quality’, Graeme says, ‘and these were people at all stages of their career, including Early Career Researchers. The number of PhDs awarded in the period (over 750) was an increase of more than 50 per cent compared with the number in the previous review period (1996—2001). Research grants totalled £72.3 million, compared with £41 million in the previous review period.’

The Subject Overview concludes: ‘During the review period Archaeology has enhanced its position as a core field of research that is indispensable for the study of the human past. Many disciplines now recognize increasingly the fundamental importance of material culture for understanding society in all its aspects. The submitted outputs demonstrate that researchers are engaging fruitfully with those disciplines and with others to which Archaeology contributes and from which it draws inspiration and techniques. This inter-disciplinarity emerges strongly from the submissions and is a very positive signal for research in the years to come. The sub-panel came away from its deliberations confident both in the creativity of the archaeological profession in the UK and in its high international standing.’

Cadw’s twenty-fifth anniversary year starts with new funding initiative

Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Historic Environment Service, which celebrates its quarter century this year, is to disburse some £2 million in new funding under the Welsh Cultural Heritage Initiative (WCHI) announced by the Heritage Minister for Wales, Alun Ffred Jones. The initiative will pay for a programme of works to enhance physical and intellectual access to ten sites of iconic significance to Welsh culture, heritage and nationhood.

Those sites include Nevern Castle, the possible stronghold of the eleventh-/twelfth-century Welsh prince Cuhelyn, where excavations will take place in partnership with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, where our Fellow Phil Bennett is Head of Archaeological Heritage, aimed at uncovering evidence of life in twelfth-century Wales.

Other sites to be investigated and opened up to public access include four monuments associated with Owain Glyndwr: Glyndyfrdwy, where Glyndwr raised the banner of revolt on 16 September 1400 and was proclaimed ‘Prince of Wales’; Sycharth, a motte and bailey in northern Powys, possibly built around 1100, that was the home of Owain Glyndwr at the time of his rebellion in 1400 and that was described by his court poet, Iolo Goch; Pennal, the historic house associated with Glyndwr’s Pennal Letters, located on the site of an un-excavated Roman fort; and Parliament House in Heol Maengwyn (Machynlleth), where Owain Glyndwr established his independent Welsh Parliament in 1404.

Funds will also go to research and presentation work at two Cistercian abbeys: Strata Florida, the burial place of Dafydd ap Gwilym, and Abaty Cwm-hir, which lies in the Valley of Clywedog in central Powys, and is reputed to be the burial place of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.

In making the announcement, the Heritage Minister said: ‘The iconic sites which have been selected are key in telling the story of Wales and are strongly linked with our Welsh nationhood, language and culture. I’m confident that people will feel a stronger connection with Wales and our story when visiting these sites as they play a crucial role in giving us a sense of place and purpose.’

The British Museum celebrates 250 years

Some fifty years the junior of our Society, the British Museum has just celebrated the 250th anniversary of the day — 15 January 1759 — that the museum was first opened its doors to the public. To mark the occasion, our Fellow Neil MacGregor gave a lecture setting out the role of the museum in today’s world. Its job, he said, was ‘to slow down conclusions, to complicate the questions, to make the hasty judgment harder’. The BM can only play a very limited role in formulating ways of dealing with current politics, he said, but ‘it does allow people to look at issues with the understanding that they are part of long historical processes’.

With reference to the current situation in Gaza, he pointed to objects in the museum that help explain to non-Jews what the world looks like from a Jewish perspective, suffering from centuries of hostility from their neighbours: ‘In the current Babylon exhibition we are showing the cuneiform tablet that documents the Assyrian assault on Jerusalem [in 597 BC], the destruction of the first temple and the carrying away of the population … And in the recent Hadrian exhibition, we exhibited the oldest known inscription, dating from AD 139, in which the Romans wiped Judaea off the map, literally [renaming the province Syria-Palestina]. Both those seem to me to be historical events that need to be borne in mind in relation to what’s happening now.’

But he also pointed to evidence that the situation was not beyond resolution: ‘we are also showing the Cyrus cylinder [of c 539 BC], which provides evidence of a successful attempt to put right that Assyrian violation of Jerusalem, leading to the rebuilding of the temple and what appears to have been a stable solution and a very happy co-existence [between Jews and non-Jews]. So there is also evidence that problems of this magnitude can be solved.’

The museum itself began as a collection of 71,000 objects that Sir Hans Sloane acquired with the fortune he made as the inventor of drinking chocolate. His library and cabinet of curiosities were left to the nation on condition that his daughters were provided with dowries.

Paris, Neil MacGregor said, was the only other city that had the international links and intellectual life to create an equivalent collection at the time, ‘but what stops this happening in Paris is the fact that such collections are royal and therefore a part of state policy; the British Museum has always, by contrast, been a civic collection, the property of the people, not the Crown’. The trustee structure created for the British Museum, whereby Government funds the institution but does not control it, became the model for most other museums in the English-speaking world, he said, as well as for the BBC and the Open University.

Wedgwood’s demise threatens 250 years of history

By a sad twist of irony, another institution that should be celebrating its 250th anniversary has instead been taken into receivership: some 8,000 jobs are at risk worldwide at Waterford Wedgwood (which includes Royal Doulton), some 1,900 of them in the Potteries heartland of Barlaston, whose historic ceramics industry received another blow last November with the closure of Royal Worcester Spode, bringing to an end an industry that once defined the Stoke-on-Trent pottery towns. A potential bidder (believed to be a US private equity investor) is in talks with the Wedgwood administrator, Deloitte, which has had nine other expressions of interest in the company.

As with a number of the companies whose demise is being blamed on the so-called ‘credit crunch’, this is not the first time that Wedgwood has been close to closure in recent years: it was rescued by the Waterford Glass Group in 1986, and when losses continued under the new ownership, large-scale production shifted to Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, though hand-painted figurines and the iconic blue-and-white Wedgwood china continues to be made in England.

Will Morris dancing be the next victim of the credit crunch?

Salon’s editor made that headline up because it seems that just about everything that is wrong in Britain today is being blamed on the credit crunch (a nice neutral way of blaming forces beyond our control so as to ensure that no individual (and certainly no banker, politician, regulator, accountant or politician) has to take the blame). But the crisis in Morris circles is real enough, according to dramatic reports in the media during the Christmas and New Year period, a time when Morris sides are normally as ubiquitous as part of the seasonal celebrations as hunt meets.

Morris dancing, it seems, parallels amateur field archaeology in having had a boom in the 1960s and 1970s, but having failed to attract a younger generation to carry the torch forward. According to the Morris Ring, the age of the average Morris side is edging upwards while the number taking part is slowly dropping. Charlie Corcoran, Secretary of the Morris Ring, says: ‘The situation is serious. Unless younger blood is recruited, Morris dancing will soon become extinct: there’s a distinct possibility that in twenty years’ time there will be nobody left. It worries me a great deal. Young people are just too embarrassed to take part.’

To counter the threat of extinction, the Morris Ring is holding a recruitment drive to attract new members. Paul Reece, Chairman of the Morris Ring’s Advisory Council, called it a ‘spring fertility offensive’. The alternative, he said, was to see Morris dancing ‘confined to the history books’.

In fact, Morris dancing has had many ups and downs in recent centuries, and though four English sides can trace their history back in an unbroken line to the early eighteenth century, most are the result of the English Folk Dance Society revival of the early twentieth century, inspired by Cecil Sharp’s collecting and publishing activities, or of the more recent folk revivals; in the late 1960s and early 1970s, every town had a folk-song club, and folk song and dancing was promoted by BBC schools programmes and myriad country dance festivals; Bob Dylan made folk cool with intellectuals of the CND generation but now, according to the Morris Ring, young people ‘just do not perceive it as a young person’s activity’.

The Times reported one heartening exception: the Chipping Campden Morris Men have a history dating back to 1732, and count among their dancers several fathers and sons from the town, one as young as eight and several of them teenagers or university students. Alex Cranke, aged twenty-one, and now a student at Bangor University, told The Times: ‘the secret is to take the dance seriously but not ourselves’.

Titian campaign: the final pieces in the jigsaw

The campaign to raise £50m for Titian’s Diana and Actaeon seems to have succeeded, after the Scottish Executive agreed to contribute £17.5m, although no official announcement has yet been made; the Duke of Sutherland, who is selling the paintings, says that he hopes legal loose ends will be tied up and a deal signed in ‘a week or two’.

The grant from the Scottish Executive represents more than one-third of the total cost of painting, most of the rest coming from other public sources, including the National Gallery in London (£12.5m), which will share the paintings on a five-year rotating basis with the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Heritage Memorial Fund (£10m) and the Art Fund (£1m). Several wealthy individuals have made substantial contributions totalling around £8.5m and the remaining £500,000 has been donated by members of the public.

Now the National Galleries of Scotland have another four years to buy a second Titian painting — Diana and Callisto — from the Bridgewater collection. Both pictures have been in the Duke’s family for 220 years and on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland since 1945. Painted in 1559, they have never been separated.

Should looted art be returned?

Those who attended the Royal Academy’s exhibition of art from Russia last spring were left in no doubt that many of the 120 paintings by Russian and French artists of the period 1870 to 1925 now in Russian state collections had been looted or confiscated from their original owners; indeed, the UK Government had to rush a special act through Parliament guaranteeing to return the paintings to Russia and not to allow them to be held in legal limbo should the heirs of previous owners seek to claim them back while they were in the UK (other countries in Europe had passed similar measures to ensure that their national museums could show the works of art).

This knowledge added poignancy to an exhibition that celebrated a period of astonishing creativity in European art, encouraged by some far-sighted art-loving patrons, who played an integral part in that heady cultural mix, but who had ultimately been deprived of their property — and in many cases the art was itself very personal, consisting of family portraits or pictures commissioned for family weddings and events.

Now Norman Rosenthal, the former Exhibitions Secretary of the Royal Academy, has defended the Academy’s decision to mount the exhibition; in the Art Newspaper, he argues that restitution so long after the original crime is meaningless, often leads to the work being sold to a wealthy private collector and deprives the world of key works which in many cases might well have ended up being donated to public collections by their philanthropic owners.

In the case of the Russian works, the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow are described as beacons of civility and culture; to weaken their collections by taking works away from a public museum would achieve nothing, right no wrongs and reverse no human tragedies; instead, it would deprive the world of great works, enable the already rich participants in the art market to make themselves even richer and result in the general culture being impoverished.

Admitting that his views are ‘idiosyncratic, non-politically-correct’ and that ‘many people will disagree’, he nevertheless calls for a statute of limitations on the restitution of looted works: ‘if the owners were still alive, then it would surely be correct to give these paintings back, but not now and not to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The world should let go of the past and live in the present … each person should invent him or herself creatively in the present, and not on the back of the lost wealth of ancestors’.

Italy plans to reopen medieval and Renaissance canals

Local authorities in northern Italy have announced a plan to recreate the canal network that once linked Lake Maggiore to the Po delta, enabling people to travel by boat for more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) via the cities of Milan, Pavia, Piacenza, Cremona, Ferrara and Venice. Work will start this summer to clear the first eight kilometres of canal, from Sesto Calende to Somma Lombardo. The billion-euro (£886-million) project aims to revive what was once a major transport artery, used for, amongst other things, transporting the stone used to build some of Italy’s finest palaces and cathedrals. The marble for the duomo in Milan was carried in horse-drawn barges from quarries at Candoglia in the Val d’Ossola in Piedmont. Milan’s own canal system dates from the twelfth century and was extended to the designs of Leonardo da Vinci. Some of the waterways continued in use up to the start of the Second World War.

Stop flattening gravestones, Heritage Ministers says

So belatedly as almost to be too late, the Ministry of Justice has issued guidance to owners or operator of burial grounds calling a halt to the pernicious health and safety practice of ‘topple testing’ headstones and flattening those that are deemed to be at risk of collapse. The practice has caused great damage to historic tombstones in numerous graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries, and the new guidance says that moving or flattening headstones should now be seen as a last resort where there is a demonstrable, rather than theoretical, risk to the public. Not that the motive in issuing the guidance is concern for the historic environment: in announcing the new guidance, Justice Minister Bridget Prentice said that the intention was to protect ‘bereaved families [who] can feel distressed if a memorial stone for a loved one is laid down, propped up, or otherwise marked for repair, without them being made aware … this guidance should help them strike the right balance and crucially give peace of mind to those wanting to visit their loved ones’ gravestones’.

The new guidance can be downloaded from the Ministry of Justice’s website.

Chemical warfare in ancient Persia

Our Fellow Simon James, Reader in the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, has uncovered evidence of ancient chemical warfare in Syria. At the recent meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Simon presented evidence that some twenty Roman soldiers, found in a siege-mine at the city of Dura-Europos, met their deaths as a result of inhaling clouds of choking gas.

During the siege of AD 256, the Roman city of Dura-Europos was besieged by Sasanian Persians, who excavated tunnels in order to undermine the city walls. Excavations during the 1920s and 1930s, renewed in recent years, found evidence that the Roman defenders responded with ‘counter-mines’ to thwart the attackers. The remains of some twenty Roman soldiers were found in the 1930s piled up in one of the galleries, disposed in such a way as to lead Simon to conclude that, when mine and countermine met, the Romans lost the ensuing struggle and the corpses of the victims were piled up to create a wall of bodies and shields, keeping Roman counterattack at bay.

‘But for the Persians to kill twenty men in a space less than 2m high or wide and about 11m long, required superhuman combat powers — or something more insidious’, Simon told the conference. He then revealed that bitumen and sulphur crystals had been found in the tunnels, and that their combined use to generate choking smoke in siege-mines is mentioned in Classical texts. ‘I think the Sasanians placed braziers and bellows in their gallery, and when the Romans broke through, added the chemicals and pumped choking clouds into the Roman tunnel’, Simon said, adding that: ‘The archaeological evidence at Dura shows that the Sasanian Persians were as knowledgeable in siege warfare as the Romans; they surely knew of this grim tactic.’

Armenian cave yields 6,000-year-old human brains

At the same annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, reported the finding of a preserved human brain considerably older than the one that Salon 203 reported as having recently been found from an Iron-Age pit near York. The brains come from the Areni-1 cave, excavated during 2007 and 2008, which is located in south-eastern Armenia, just across the Arpa River from Iran.

As well as yielding an extensive array of Copper Age artefacts, dating to between 6,200 and 5,900 years ago, excavators also found three skulls, each buried in its own niche inside the 600-sq m cave. The skulls belonged to girls aged about twelve to fourteen, and fractures on two skulls indicated that they were killed by blows from a club. Remarkably, one skull contained a shrivelled but well-preserved brain from which red blood cells have been extracted for analysis. It is hoped that this study will throw light on the origins of the people who frequented Areni-1: the pottery assemblage from the site includes material from west-central Iran, the Maikop culture of southern Russia and south-eastern Europe and the Kura-Arax culture that flourished just west of Maikop territory in Russia.

A basin two metres long found inside the Armenian cave and surrounded by large jars and the scattered remains of grape husks and seeds apparently belongs to a large-scale winemaking operation. Additional discoveries include metal knives, seeds from more than thirty types of fruit, remains of dozens of cereal species, rope, cloth, straw, grass, reeds and dried grapes and prunes, all preserved, like the young girl’s brain, by the extreme aridity and stable temperatures inside the cave.

Archaeologists uncover 700-year-old Maori home

Otago University archaeologists have identified the site of early settlement in New Zealand at the Wairau Bar in Marlborough. The find comes as a result of an agreement between local iwi Rangitane, Canterbury Museum and Otago University that enables archaeologists to undertake the first fieldwork at the site for almost half a decade in return for the re-interment of Maori bones excavated some decades ago. Team leader Richard Walter described the main focus of the current excavation as a mound of earth known by Rangitane as Mohua, where the remains of a house had been uncovered that could have been the home of a professional adze-maker.

The Wairau Bar is considered to be one of New Zealand’s prime archaeological sites. A thin slice of land separating a lagoon from the open sea just east of Blenheim, it was settled about AD 1300. Bones and artefacts uncovered at the site in the 1940s and 1950s provided the first direct evidence to link the settlement of New Zealand with people from the islands of east Polynesia. Walter said the team had already gained a fuller picture of the site’s original inhabitants: ‘What we are finding now is evidence of the structures, the layout; we are beginning to uncover the plans of the village itself.’

Memorial Service for Thomas Braun

Just a reminder that the memorial service for our late Fellow, Thomas Braun, takes place on 31 January 2009 in the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, followed by tea in Hall. All are welcome, but if you have not already let Thomas’s brother, Christopher, know that you plan to attend, please inform Helen Kingsley, the Alumni Relations Manager at Merton.

Double honours

As Norman Hammond has pointed out, Salon failed to notice in the New Year Honours List 2009 a double cause for celebration in one family: not only did our Fellow David Cannadine get a knighthood, his wife, Professor Linda Colley, Shelby M C Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University, was also created a CBE in the Foreign Office section of the honours list for her services to history.

Events

AHRC briefings on European trans-national Collaborative Research Projects: briefings are scheduled for 29 January 2009 in London and 20 January 2009 in Glasgow to advise academic institutions on how best to put an application together under the HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) Joint Research Programme, which is making 1m euros available for collaborative research projects in two humanities research areas: ‘Cultural Dynamics: inheritance and identity’ and ‘Humanities as a Source of Creativity and Innovation’. Further information about this event can be obtained by emailing hera@ahrc.ac.uk, and further details about the scheme can be found on the HERA website.

The Soane Museum Study Group: ‘Weather Architecture: pigments and pollution’, by Jonathan Hill, Professor of Architecture and Visual Theory at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, 11 February 2009, 6pm for 6.30pm. As industries and populations have expanded, weather has increasingly become a hybrid of the man-made and the natural, questioning the opposition to weather that has historically defined architecture. This talk will contrast two early nineteenth-century attitudes to urban weather, which remain relevant today. The talk’s two protagonists, the architect, John Soane, and the painter, Joseph Mallord William Turner, were friends for over forty years. Places must be booked in advance by contacting Beth Kingston, Education Manager at Sir John Soane’s Museum.

’Vernon Lushington: Pre-Raphaelite, friend of William Morris and father of “Mrs Dalloway”’, talk by our Fellow David Taylor at The Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York on 12 March 2009 at 6pm, reception to follow
Although he was a friend and colleague to many famous artists, authors, and activists, the lawyer and positivist Vernon Lushington (1832—1912) remains virtually unknown today. In his talk, David Taylor will draw upon previously unavailable materials from the Lushington archive to shed light on this interesting and influential figure who arranged the first meeting between Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and who visited William and Jane Morris at Kelmscott Manor.

David Taylor will also discuss the connection between the Lushingtons and the Stephen family. After the death of Mrs Lushington, Vernon’s three daughters were taken under the wing of Julia Stephen, wife of Leslie Stephen and mother of Virginia Woolf. Vernon Lushington’s eldest daughter, Kitty, became the model for the title character in Woolf ’s novel Mrs Dalloway (1925). The Lushingtons also spent summers with the Stephen family at Talland House in Cornwall, which provided the setting for the Ramseys’ summer home in Woolf ’s To the Lighthouse (1927).

Tickets (US$12 for members of the sponsoring groups, US$18 for others) may be purchased from the website of the William Morris Society in the United States, who are co-sponsors of the event, with the American Friends of Arts and Crafts in Chipping Campden, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms and the Victorian Society in America.

Exhibitions by Fellows

The Intimate Portrait: drawings, miniatures and pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence: showing at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery until 1 February 2009 and then transferring to the Prints and Drawings Gallery at the British Museum from 5 March to 31 May (admission free at both venues), this exhibition consists of 200 or so Georgian and Regency portraits drawn from the two collections, curated by our Fellows Stephen Lloyd and Kim Sloan (joint authors, too, of the accompanying catalogue). The exhibition is built around portraits intended for more private and personal domestic spaces, such as miniatures painted on ivory and worn as jewellery or pictures intended to be framed and hung in family groups or kept in albums or portfolios to be shown to friends and family. They are presented in thematic sections on self-portraiture, the depiction of family and friends, and the art of celebrity. Highlights for Fellows of our Society include two works by John Carter, as well as portraits of antiquaries, including some of the founding members of the Scottish Society.

Andrea Palladio: his life and legacy: at the Royal Academy, from 31 January to 13 April 2009. Although it has yet to open, our Fellow Charles Hind says that he has been eating, sleeping and living Palladio for the last year as he prepares for this major exhibition to celebrate the quincentenary of the birth of Andrea Palladio (1508—80).

Charles says that this exhibition has a different focus from the last major exhibition — The Portico and the Farmyard — held in 1973 at London’s Hayward Gallery. This time the exhibition will ‘demonstrate Palladio’s extraordinary influence and the central role he came to play on the international stage in his own lifetime, as his advice was sought from such widely varying rulers as the Ottomans in Constantinople and the Habsburgs in Madrid (he is now known also to have designed the funeral chapel of Diane de Poitiers at Anet for Henry III of France). ‘Included in the exhibition are various international loans, including a recently identified portrait of Palladio by El Greco from Copenhagen. About one-third of the loans are drawings that belonged either to Inigo Jones or to Lord Burlington, or to both, over fifty of which come from the RIBA.

The exhibition is curated by Howard Burns and Guido Beltramini, with MaryAnne Stevens and Charles Hind as co-curators, and joint authors of the catalogue, which Charles describes as ‘a doorstop in size but the most up-to-date thing on Palladio available, bringing together much recent research buried in not always very accessible Italian, American and British academic journals’.

Look out for an hour-long BBC film on Palladio, currently showing on BBC4, but due to be shown on BBC2 when the exhibition opens. ‘It is one of the best general accounts of a historic architect I have seen and it both sets Palladio in context and explains why he is the most influential architect in history’, says Charles, who adds that his involvement in the project has ‘led my already high opinion of him to rise even further; too few of us know how much the built environment owes to Palladio, right up to the Second World War. What is rather sad is that Palladio’s overriding belief that good architecture enhanced life and made people better was something he shared with the idealist post-war Modernists, but so much of what they built from the 1950s onwards has had diametrically the opposite effect.’

The RIBA is launching a website on Palladio and Palladianism in Britain on 26 January, drawing on its own huge collections of books, drawings and photographs , which include the vast majority of Palladio’s surviving drawings (over 330 of them, all of which can be seen on www.ribapix.com).

Books by Fellows

Fellows who specialise in the harder heritage sciences are always keen to break through the communications barrier and persuade the rest of us that it really isn’t that difficult: hence a new book by our Fellow Arnold Aspinall, Honorary Professor in Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford, with colleagues Chris Gaffney, Lecturer at the University of Bradford and editor of Archaeological Prospection, and Armin Schmidt, senior lecturer at the University of Bradford, where he leads the Archaeological Prospection Research Group, on Magnetometry for Archaeologists (AltaMira Press). The book explains the technology, the applications, the opportunities and the limitations of a geophysical technology that has transformed archaeological field practice in the last decade or so. The authors recount the history of magnetometers, from their inception through today’s state-of-the-art detectors, explain the physics behind the different types of sensors, describing the most fruitful ways in which the technology can be employed and how knowledge gained from magnetometry influences the ways in which archaeological survey and excavation are undertaken.

Another excellent introduction to a vast topic is Metals and Metalworking, compiled and edited by Justine Bayley, David Crossley and Matthew Ponting (published by the Historical Metallurgy Society as its Occasional Publication No. 6). This manages to pack into just 96 pages (good value at £6.50 post free) a comprehensive overview of metal extraction and working methods from prehistory to the twentieth century, brought to life through photographs of excavations, artefacts (such as Anglo-Saxon brooches and brooch moulds), contemporary illustrations (such as sixteenth-century German woodcuts of copper smelting) and reconstruction drawings (of a Saxon blacksmith’s forge in Hamwic, or a charcoal-fuelled blast furnace in Cumbria). All this is accompanied by an account of the sources — documentary and archaeological — and the methods used to understand historical metallurgy (from fieldwork to laboratory analysis and experimental archaeology). The book ends with an agenda for future research: topics where we have too little data at present, accompanied by an invitation to colleagues across the archaeological community to help identify sites and material that can provide some of the answers.

Fellow Adrian Webb has been studying some 1,200 wills falling within the ancient county of Somerset. The original wills were burnt during the Blitz of Exeter in 1942 but, fortunately for historians, Miss Olve Moger had kept carbon copies of the transcripts she had made which are the subject of this volume of Somerset Wills that Adrian has now edited for the Somerset Record Society. The volume is free to all members of the Society (membership £10 per year; see the Society’s webpage). Non-members can order copies from the Somerset Studies Library, Taunton Library, Paul Street, Taunton TA1 3XZ, at £33, plus £2.49 postage in Europe, £5.46 overseas surface; existing members can purchase additional copies of the wills volume at £22 plus postage.

A distinguished cast of Fellows contributed to a newly published festschrift presented to our Fellow David Watkin to mark his retirement as Professor of the History of Architecture and Head of Department at the Department of Art History at Cambridge University. The fifteen essays in The Persistence of the Classical: essays on architecture reflect David’s lifelong research interest in aspects of the classical architectural tradition; they range from Italian Renaissance interpretations of the architectural theory of Vitruvius to the Picturesque in contemporary garden design. Authors include Roderick O’Donnell, Roger Scruton, Robin Middleton, John Harris, Charles Saumarez Smith, John Martin Robinson, John Wilton-Ely and Gavin Stamp. Archaeologists get a look in, too, in the essay by Frank Salmon (who also edited the volume) on the discovery of entasis in the columns of the Parthenon. Copies of the festschrift can be obtained for £30, including packaging and postage, from The Georgian Group bookshop.

Vacancies

The Victorian Society: Conservation Adviser
Salary £20,000; closing date 26 January 2009

The Victorian Society is the national charity campaigning for the Victorian and Edwardian historic environment. The Society’s conservation advisers are at the forefront of efforts to ensure that changes to historic buildings are made in a way that does not damage their architectural interest. For job description, selection criteria and an application form, see the VicSoc’s website.

IfA Workplace Learning Bursary in Human Osteoarchaeology; closing date 30 January 2009: hosted by the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast. Further information about the post can be found at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/gap/.

IfA Workplace Learning Bursary in Communicating Archaeology; closing date 9 February 2009: hosted by the Council for British Archaeology. For further details and information, please visit the CBA website.

Cathedral Archaeologist at Lichfield Cathedral, closing date 13 February 2009: after long and distinguished service, our Fellow Warwick Rodwell will retire this year from the post of Cathedral Archaeologist at Lichfield Cathedral. During this time he has revealed much about the cathedral’s development (the most recent manifestation of this being the article he co-authored in the Antiquaries Journal Vol 88, in which he summarised evidence for the building’s pre-Norman structural history, as revealed by the excavations in which he recovered the Anglo-Saxon carved stone known as the Lichfield Angel).

The Dean and Chapter, whose care for the cathedral will require substantial structural recording of the fabric over the next decade, are in the process of appointing his successor; any Fellow who may be interested will find further particulars of the post on the cathedral’s website.

English Heritage, Head of Research Policy (Freshwater/Wetlands); closing date: Friday 20 February 2009: one-year contract/secondment, salary likely to be in the range of £38,000 to £45,000, flexible location (depending on the circumstances of successful candidate).

You will take the lead role within English Heritage in providing policy and strategic advice on English Heritage’s interests in the freshwater (groundwater and fluvial) and wetland historic environment. This will include updating and implementing English Heritage’s relevant strategies for the freshwater and wetland historic environment, and defining English Heritage’s role in, and contribution to, research on the subject at a national level.

You will liaise with other agencies and NGOs and build strong working relationships across English Heritage, to ensure that our responses to national initiatives and international directives related to the freshwater and wetland historic environment are consistent, effective and focused on our key priorities.

You will need to have good knowledge and wide experience in the historic environment sector, and a strong understanding of the policies and issues effecting the freshwater and wetland historic environment. Excellent skills in collecting, analysing and organising information and in writing, as well as the ability to work with multi-disciplinary groups to deliver results on time, are also essential.

For further information and to apply for this role, please see the EH website.

English Heritage, Head of Research Policy (Places of Worship); closing date: Friday 20 February 2009: two-year contract/secondment, salary likely to be in the range of £38,000 to £45,000, flexible location (depending on the circumstances of successful candidate).

You will take the lead role within English Heritage in continuing the development of the research policy and strategy for Places of Worship, and for defining English Heritage’s role in, and contribution to, research on the subject at a national level. This will include providing effective support for key English Heritage initiatives (Inspired!, Heritage at Risk, and Heritage Protection Reform) to ensure, wherever practicable, that these are underpinned by the relevant advice and research related to Places of Worship.

You will co-ordinate the ‘Taking Stock’ programme and the development of a sustainable toolkit/template, which will support dioceses in developing strategies to care for their historic environment and work to extend the methodology to other denominations. You will liaise externally with the Places of Worship sector and build strong working relationships across English Heritage, to ensure that our research strategy and agenda for Places of Worship responds to sector and corporate needs.

You will need to have good knowledge and wide experience in the historic environment sector, a strong understanding of the policies and issues effecting Places of Worship, and a substantial track record/or research and publication in Places of Worship subjects. Excellent skills in collecting, analysing and organising information and in writing, as well as the ability to work with multi-disciplinary groups to deliver results on time, are also essential.

For further information and to apply for this role, please see the EH website.