5 February 2009: Ballot meeting, at which our Fellow Paul Drury will present the draft of the Burlington House Conservation Management Plan for discussion (more about this below). You can now vote in the 5 February ballot on the Fellows side of the 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 Wrights 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: email@example.com.
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 Museums collection, a comprehensive scholarly catalogue of the British Museums collection of nearly 500 examples of Italian Renaissance ceramics, including pieces made for such eminent Renaissance patrons as Pope Leo X, Isabella dEste 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.
19 February 2009: Kangaroos and Violets: archaeological research on Great War landscapes in Belgium and Britain, by Richard Osgood, FSA, and Martin Brown, FSA
26 February 2009: Out from the Shadow of Dartmoor: twenty-five years of air survey and post-reconnaissance in lowland Devon, by Frances Griffith, FSA
Our Fellow Paul Drury has researched and written a comprehensive account of the architectural history of our Apartments at Burlington House along with an assessment of the significance of the different parts of the building, as an aid to managing future repair, maintenance and improvement. That Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is now available for downloading as a PDF file on the Fellows side of the Societys website and copies will also be made available in the Fellows Room and Library at Burlington House. This consultation draft will be presented by Paul Drury for discussion at the ballot meeting on 5 February 2009. Comments are invited on the draft by 12 March 2009, addressed to David Gaimster, the General Secretary.
The CMP concludes that our Apartments (unlike those of neighbouring Learned Societies) remain largely as designed by Banks and Barry and that the principal rooms are of exceptional value as a constituent part of one of Londons foremost nineteenth-century public buildings. They are also of considerable significance in associative terms, through the use of the building by leading scholars of the last 130 years, and because of their continued use by the Society for which they were designed.
Key matters for improvement that are discussed in the management plan include the scope for providing better WCs and cloak rooms and for wheelchair and disabled access and related facilities.
With the completion of protracted work to replace the boiler and central heating system at Burlington House now complete, the building is now not only comfortably warm again, our Head of Library and Collections, Heather Rowland, is also pleased to announce that all areas of the Library are fully operational and accessible again. Heather would also like to remind Fellows to complete and return the questionnaire that went out in the January mailing (you can also download a copy from the Societys website home page to print out and complete). Finally, new on the Fellows side of the website is an updated introduction to the Library and its services for Fellows. Though initially written to introduce new Fellows to the library, it contains answers to questions that even long-established Fellows occasionally ask.
The scale of job losses in archaeology over the last six months is now painfully apparent as a result of a survey conducted by the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) together with FAME (the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers).
In total, 345 archaeological jobs were lost during the survey period, from 1 October 2008 to 1 January 2009. This represents 8.6 per cent of the jobs in commercial archaeology and 5 per cent of the entire UK archaeological workforce, and is a sharp reversal of the previous employment statistics, which show archaeology jobs growing at an average of 4 per cent per annum over the last five years.
Larger organisations employing over fifty staff in 2007 have been particularly heavily affected. What is more, many of the organisations that took part in the survey say they anticipate further job losses in the quarter to the end of March 2009. Business confidence is very poor, with most employers expecting the situation to deteriorate further in 2009 as the slump in housing construction continues to have a negative impact on commercial archaeology. Some archaeological practices anticipate that they will even cease trading.
The IfA will repeat its survey in April 2009 and report the results in due course. Meanwhile, it has developed a recession plan to help its members and registered organisations retain their membership and Continuing Professional Development during the recession. Details of the plan (including a seminar to be held on 16 February 2009 at the Museum in Docklands to explore ways of surviving the recession and keeping skills within the profession) can be found on the IfAs website, where the employment report is also available.
Mention in last weeks Salon of the new Ministry of Justice guidance on assessing the safety of memorial stones prompted our Fellow Diana Murray to forward information on the work of the Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust of India. Staff from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), of which Diana is the Secretary, flew to Kolkata (Calcutta) last November to make a record of the Scottish Cemetery, which lies almost forgotten behind its enclosing wall. Founded in 1820, it is the burial place of some 1,600 former members of Calcuttas Scottish community, many of whom came to the city in the service of the East India Company.
Before they were able to record the hundreds of monuments in the cemetery, the field team had first to hack through the luxuriant vegetation that has engulfed the enclosure, bursting the monuments and graves apart with their long-established root systems. An ambitious conservation project has now been set up to research and record the cemetery and restore as many of its buildings and monuments as possible, establishing a centre for training local people in the traditional building skills of Kolkata. More about the project can be found on the Trusts website.
Meanwhile English Heritage has announced the award of £2.6 million for repairs to twenty-three cathedrals under its joint Cathedrals Grants Scheme with the Wolfson Foundation. The maximum single grant is £250,000 which is being given to cathedrals in Truro (for the repair of the central tower and spire) and Lincoln (for masonry, roofing and glazing repairs to the south-east transept and St Hughs Choir), and to St Pauls, London (for stonework repairs to the north transept). Announcing the grants, our Fellow Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, Interim Chairman of English Heritage, said: Cathedrals are some of our countrys most imposing and beautiful buildings. The excellent craftsmanship demonstrated in these places of worship is something which we must strive to preserve for generations to come. The grants announced today will go some way to helping the custodians of these buildings in this task.
This is, however, the final year of the current joint grant scheme with the Wolfson Foundation. Over the past seventeen years the Cathedral Grants Scheme has given out more than £52m. English Heritage has said that it will continue to fund priority repairs to cathedrals in need through its regional grants scheme. A new survey has also been commissioned to review the condition of Englands cathedral buildings, to be carried out in partnership with the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.
Having already restored the magnificent interior of the Westminster Abbey Chapter House, English Heritage announced in January that it will now complete its programme of work with a £2 million restoration of the exterior. English Heritage manages the Chapter House as a Royal Peculiar, falling directly under the jurisdiction of the monarch, rather than the Dean and Chapter. Dating from the twelfth century, it was home to the Kings Great Council from 1257, the forerunner of the English Parliament.
Repair and conservation of the mixed limestone and sandstone stonework will be a priority, particularly at high level where it has suffered most from pollution and weathering. The gargoyles and stained-glass windows will also be carefully restored and the lead roof and gutters will be repaired and made weather-tight.
Tim Reeve, Properties Director for English Heritage, said: The Chapter House is a building of international importance and sits at the heart not just of Westminster Abbey but of the Westminster World Heritage Site, one of the most visited places on earth. This programme of repairs is an investment in Londons unique heritage so that present and future generations can enjoy this jewel of English history, the cradle of its Parliamentary system.
The works are due to be completed in 2010, and to mark the event, the Society will publish a major monograph on all aspects of the history, art and architecture of the Chapter House, edited by our Fellow Warwick Rodwell, Consultant Archaeologist to Westminster Abbey. Co-funded by English Heritage and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, the book results from the Societys Tercentenary Research Symposium, held in July 2008.
The website of the Institute for Historic Building Conservation reports on a recent ruling by Englands Local Government Ombudsman that really deserves to be better known. Regular readers of Salon will have worked out that the editor holds strongly the view that governments national, regional and local have a duty of stewardship towards the natural and historic environment. Regrettably, too many elected members (and salaried officers) collude with those who stand to profit from harming the environment (often presenting spurious arguments about heritage standing in the way of investment and prosperity). Many also suffer from the delusion that they were elected to exercise personal judgement (for which read prejudice), and many are culpably ignorant of their legal duties with regard to the environment.
Thats a long build-up to saying that it appears that Englands Local Government Ombudsman agrees and has ruled that the partial demolition of a listed barn in Darlington Borough was the result of the planning authoritys multiple and various failings, which together amounted to maladministration causing injustice.
The Ombudsman excused council members themselves from blame on the grounds that they were not properly advised and therefore not able to take all relevant matters into account when reaching decisions. Instead, the Ombudsman blamed Council officers for (amongst other errors) failing to identify that the buildings concerned were listed, failing to explain to council members that there is a general presumption in favour of preserving listed buildings and failing to explain Planning Policy Guidance 15 to them. The Ombudsman urged the council to ensure that in future all staff involved in dealing with development control decisions are properly trained in the law and its own policies and procedures relating to listed buildings.
The Ombudsmans ruling ought to be trumpeted to the skies or at least read out, in the manner of a prayer, at the start of every planning committee meeting in the land. In particular, it is something that the members of Lancaster City Council might like to ponder: their planning committee has given outline planning permission to the highly controversial North Canal Corridor project, which involves the demolition of more than twenty-five listed buildings across three conservation areas.
Local people have said that the scheme, which involves constructing 32,500sq m of shops plus parking for 800 vehicles alongside the Lancaster canal, will suck life away from the old town. National opposition has come from architect and TV presenter Ptolemy Dean, who, writing in Country Life magazine, accused the Council of adopting a blanket retail redevelopment approach, that would destroy the continuity and completeness of the city and result in a monolithic, dead-at-night town shopping place. William Palin, Secretary of SAVE Britains Heritage, asked the planning committee why they backed a scheme that needlessly destroyed historic buildings that could easily be repaired and with a little imagination converted for reuse, together with the historic street pattern in which they stand.
Campaigners against the scheme were therefore hailing a victory when, earlier this month, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears called in the scheme and ordered a public inquiry. Our Fellow Henry Owen-John, Planning and Development Director for English Heritages north-west office, was one of those who welcomed that decision, saying that: Implementing this scheme would cause lasting harm to Lancaster and damage much of what makes the city such a distinctive and special place. We have negotiated at length with the developer but they were unwilling to deliver a scheme which responded to and was inspired by the distinctive, historic character of this part of the city.
A spokesman for the developer, Centros, was less than pleased: What it [the call-in] says is that both English Heritage and the Government feel that retaining a few poor-quality, unlisted and unloved buildings in a conservation area is more beneficial to Lancaster than
the delivery of over 1,000 new jobs, more than 150 new homes, [and] new public amenities including a park, he said.
And heres another example of a crazy planning decision: Slough Borough Council wants to re-locate its offices and demolish the handsome 1930s town hall that it currently occupies so as to develop the 2ha site for residential development. The building was constructed to mark Sloughs newly found borough status and completed in 1937, the same year in which Sir John Betjeman wrote his notorious poem calling on friendly bombs to fall on Slough. Eleven years later, Betjeman praised the building in the Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide, saying that the building represents a striving for unity out of chaos. Campaigners have lodged an application with English Heritage to get the building listed, pointing out that they are supported in this by the councils own conservation officer. More than 800 people have written to English Heritage in support of listing, and campaign leader Tristan Miles has used a Freedom of Information request to establish that confidential guidance from English Heritage to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport recommends a Grade-II listing.
Ed Vaizey, the Shadow Arts Minister, has also called for the building to be saved and has written to Culture Minister Barbara Follett to ask her to accept English Heritages recommendation. Diana Coad, the Conservatives prospective parliamentary candidate for Slough, described the building as magnificent inside and out.
Predictions made in Salon and elsewhere that the Government had lost faith in World Heritage Sites (WHS) have been temporarily allayed by the announcement this week that Down House, Charles Darwins home and workplace near Orpington in Kent, has been chosen as the UKs 2009 nomination for WHS status. The nomination also includes Darwins experimental garden and seven hectares of the countryside immediately around the property, taking in farms, fields and woods in the Downe and Cudham valleys of the Kent North Downs where Darwin would walk every day as he collected evidence for his world-changing ideas on mechanisms of speciation.
In announcing the nomination, Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said that Darwins life of science was based on meticulous research in and around his home and the surrounding farmed valleys. These still survive as the tangible context for his original scientific insight. They remain 200 years exactly after his birth an inspiration to shape the thinking of future generations on our approach to biodiversity, ecosystems and the role nature can play in helping people adjust to the effects of climate change.
The nomination document for Darwins Landscape Laboratory was prepared by the London Borough of Bromley working in close partnership with local bodies and English Heritage, which manages Down House, described by our Fellow Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, Interim Chairman of English Heritage, as the place where Darwin carried out many of his ground-breaking experiments as well as where he wrote the book that shook the world: On the Origin of Species.
The nomination will now be assessed by expert advisers to the World Heritage Committee. A final decision on inscription will be made by the World Heritage Committee at its annual meeting in the summer of 2010.
A footnote to the announcement says that Down House was first submitted as a candidate World Heritage Site in 2006 but that the nomination was withdrawn in 2007 following concerns raised by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The nomination has now been revised following careful consideration of the issues raised by ICOMOS and in the light of an expert international expert meeting, hosted by the UK on behalf of the World Heritage Committee in January 2008, to consider the appraisal of potential sites with scientific values for inclusion on the World Heritage List. In particular, the application has been strengthened by the inclusion of the cultural landscapes element, and the nomination stresses the importance of that landscape in providing Darwin with the raw materials for his research and scientific work, a landscape that has escaped much of the twentieth-century development associated with Londons hinterland and that has survived remarkably unchanged since Darwins death.
Salon 203s reference to earthworms, which Charles Darwin said had played a more important part in the history of the world than any other creatures, elicited a response from our Fellow David Bird, who has forwarded some notes on Darwin, earthworms and the Roman villa at Abinger Hall in Surrey based on research by Shirley Corke (which is to form part of the publication in due course), and by Gillian Lachelin (as part of work towards a degree at the University of Surrey).
David writes that Darwins book on earthworms is of considerable interest to us here in Surrey, as Darwin had close family links with Thomas Henry Farrer, who married Darwins niece Katherine Euphemia Wedgwood as his second wife in 1873 (and in January 1880 Farrers daughter Ida married Horace Darwin). In 1876, part of a Roman villa was found by chance in landscaping work near Farrers new house, Abinger Hall. Knowing of Darwins interest in the effects of worm action on ancient sites, Farrer invited him over from Kent. He wrote later that There had been doubts whether Mr and Mrs Darwin would pay us a visit: but on hearing of these remains he at once decided to come not however for the sake of the antiquities, but for the sake of the worms.
Darwin arranged for trenches to be cut across the remains of the building, giving us the first, albeit schematic, section through a Roman site in Surrey. He actually recorded this himself and kept careful records over a week or so of worm casts on the buildings floors to match against those obtained for him from other sites such as Silchester.
Darwins section has been read wrongly in the past, not least by me; there is a natural tendency to see it as a normal archaeological section, and therefore the open trench in the centre, alongside one of the walls, is seen as an archaeological trench, le long de mur. In fact the open trench is Darwins own; he extended the section schematically in each direction on the basis of what he could see in the sides of the trench. This is made clear by correspondence between Farrer and Darwin some time later, when the latter was preparing his book and asking for extra information to help him unravel his notes.
There matters rested until the mid-1990s, when Surrey Archaeological Society carried out excavations to investigate archaeological evidence revealed when a tree blew over. When well-preserved remains of an eastwest range were discovered, this fieldwork was targeted to provide information for the future management of the site and indicate a suitable area for scheduling as an ancient monument, under the guidance of Steve Trow of English Heritage. Unfortunately the work has not yet been published and the Societys recently-established Roman Studies Group has therefore been gathering the records and finds with a view to completing a report. At the same time new fieldwork is being undertaken, mostly targeted at the villas surroundings, but we hope also to find the actual site of Darwins two trenches in limited excavation later this year, as the exact location has still not been established.
Our Fellow Norman Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent of The Times, has been causing considerable anguish to readers with sensitive teeth, thanks to his 13 January article on the extreme lengths to which the Maya went to transform their bodies. Todays Botox injections, nose reshaping and surgical face lifts are nothing compared to the ancient practice of inlaying ones teeth with precious minerals. This procedure, probably part of a rite of passage to adulthood, involved filing and notching the upper incisors and canines then drilling a shallow hole into the front face of the tooth enamel (using a reed or bone hollow drill and an abrasive such as sand or jade dust), and cementing small discs of green jade, red obsidian or black haematite into the holes.
According to Professor Mary Miller, writing in the journal Archaeology, skull reshaping was also practised by the Maya in order to make their rulers look more like corn-on-the-cob. As an example, Professor Miller cites Kinich Janaab Pakal, who ruled the western Maya city of Palenque from AD 615 to 683, and after his death at the age of 80 was interred in a great carved sarcophagus below the Temple of the Inscriptions. His skeleton shows that, soon after his birth, his head was strapped between two cradle-boards to compress it from back to front. A stucco portrait head found below the sarcophagus shows that Pakals hair was cut in a series of bluntly trimmed tresses, with longer strands on top flopping forward, like the corn silk on a maize plant Pakal was thus shown symbolically to be ever-youthful, like the maize that springs up anew each year.
In the same newspaper, on 31 January, our Fellow Huon Mallalieu writes about the surprising objects that turn up in the mud of the Thames foreshore. He recalls interviewing Mike Webber, the archaeologist who headed the Museum of Londons 1998 survey of the tidal Thames foreshore, who, in the course of a short walk, picked up a walrus tusk, a London Delft floor tile, probably from the nearby Bear Lane pottery, and the mouth of a sugar mould.
Unlike his own casual beachcombing, Huon reports that there are fifty or so members of the Society of Thames Mudlarks who operate under licence from the Port of London Authority, which collaborates with the Museum of London. They operate between Blackfriars and the Tower, although there are places where they are no longer permitted to dig and are highly responsible in their methods, showing all their finds to the museum and building up a formidable store of archaeological knowledge. Tony Tilson, their secretary, is proud of the publications resulting from his finds, one of which concerns a collection of 2,400 lead tokens that he has donated to the British Museum. His current passion is for metal belt couplings and buttons, but he also collects pewter plantation tokens from James IIs reign, and axes and hammers dropped by shipwrights. Other recent finds made by the Mudlarks include a slaves ball and chain, an Æthelred penny and a Mesolithic bone harpoon.
Many of the finds that museums do not wish to buy end up being sold in Greys Mews antiques centre, near Bond Street, where pre-Reformation pilgrim badges range in price from £150 for more common examples, up to £1,500 for a Becket head, and £2,000 for the martyred archbishop on a horse.
The same group of organisations that drew up the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal-detecting in England and Wales some two years ago has now added a supplement designed to limit the impact on the archaeological record of rallies and large-scale events.
Drawn up by the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO), the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), English Heritage (EH), the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and the Society of Museum Archaeologists (SMA), the Guidance Note is also supported by the two largest commercial rally organisers, who have promised to run their rallies in line with the Guidance Note in the future. The CBA is also encouraging Natural England to send this Guidance Note to all landowners entering into Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements, in order to promote good practice when rallies take place.
The guidance makes sixteen recommendations, including a notice period of at least twelve weeks for the local Historic Environment Record (HER) and Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) so that any known archaeological sites can be identified and proper preparations made for the recording of finds. The boundary between the rally area and any known Scheduled Monuments or Sites of Special Scientific Interest should be clearly marked, preferably with a buffer zone of 20 metres.
The full text of the guidance can be found via the CBA Portable Antiquities pages.
The name of E A Bowles (18651954) is perhaps not as well known as that of Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville-West or William Robinson, but there are many gardening aficionados who cherish his writing and botanical illustration, and regard him as one of the great gardeners of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Now his garden at Myddelton House, Bulls Cross, Enfield, is to be restored and enhanced with a grant of £487,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project will open the Victorian Kitchen Garden for the first time, show how horticulture was practised in Victorian times and create education and training programmes. The story of Bowles, including rarely seen artefacts and historic photographs, will also be made available to visitors at the gardens, owned by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority which uses Bowless house as its head office. Wesley Kerr, Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London, said that this is one of Londons most poetic horticultural plantations, set in a remarkably peaceful and evocative setting. The potting shed feels as though Bowles had just stepped out, he said.
Earlier this year Salon reported that Turners painting of Popes Villa at Twickenham (1808) was subject to a temporary export bar to enable a UK buyer to match the £5,417,250 price that the work had fetched at auction. Fears have since been expressed that the painting will go to an anonymous American buyer, after hanging at Sudeley Castle for more than 160 years. Selby Whittingham, chairman of the Independent Turner Society, blamed donor fatigue for the likely outcome, saying that So much money and campaigning time and effort was spent on raising £50m for Titians Diana and Actaeon that theres nothing left. No British art gallery or museum has come forward to buy or help buy the painting. The export bar runs out on 9 February 2009.
In an article in the Observer newspaper, Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, has called on website administrators to preserve their websites and other digital records so that future historians do not face a black hole in the knowledge base of the twenty-first century. Ms Brindley points out that, contrary to popular belief, internet service providers and search engines such as Google are not collecting and archiving website material. She makes the case for the British Library as the repository that will ensure emails and websites are preserved as reliably as books, periodicals, newspapers and recordings have been in the past. Her remarks come in advance of a report from Communications Minister Lord Carter on the future of digital Britain. This vision of a digital Britain must include the critical public service of preserving digital Britains collective memory and digitising the unrivalled content within the British Library, Ms Brindley believes.
The British Library and The National Archives have already set up projects (in which the Societys own website is participating) to capture daily website snapshots to test the feasibility of creating a large-scale comprehensive archive of notoriously ephemeral material from the UK web domain: there are 8 million websites under the .uk domain name, and the number is growing at the rate of 20 per cent a year.
Salon is sad to have to report the death of our Fellow Nancy Edwards (née Briggs) in a hit-and-run road accident in Chelmsford on 23 January 2009. Nancy spent much of her life on the staff of the Essex Record Office (ERO), which she joined in 1953, being Senior Assistant Archivist for many years until her retirement in 1987. Nancy was, until her death, a regular visitor to the ERO search room where she was undertaking research for a book on country houses.
Our Fellows Martin Stuchfield, Vice-President of the Monumental Brass Society, also says that Nancy was a very active member of the Society and a personal friend of many members. Nancy joined the Society in 1950 and was elected a Vice-President in 1974. She was actively involved in the affairs of the Society until the last. A full appreciation will be published in the MBS Transactions in due course (which we hope also to publish in Salon).
An obituary for our late Fellow Vivien Swan has been prepared by our Fellow David Breeze for the Independent, and we also hope to publish that in Salon once it has appeared in the newspaper. Meanwhile, Viviens friends and colleagues are warmly invited to a celebration of her life that will take place on 21 February at 12 noon at St Lawrences Church, Flaxton, York. Tony, Janine and Flavia Swan can be contacted on tel 01904 468335 if you need further details.
A memorial service for our late Fellow Colin White is to be held on 2 March 2009 at 2pm in Portsmouths Anglican Cathedral, followed by a reception at the Royal Naval Museum, to which all are welcome.
A memorial service is to be held on 7 February 2009 at 2.30pm, in Great St Marys Church, Cambridge, for Derek Brewer, who was a Fellow during the 1980s and 1990s, and was well known to many Fellows, not least through his publishing partnership with our Fellow Richard Barber, which led to the formation of the Boydell & Brewer Group. Tea will be available after the service at Emmanuel College and all are welcome.
The following obituary for our late Fellow Professor Valerie Flint has been kindly contributed by Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Professor of Medieval Literature, at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, with minor emendations by our Fellows Barbara English, Professor Emerita of History at the University of Hull, and Philip Lankester, Secretary of the York Antiquaries.
Professor Valerie Flint died on 8 January 2009 at Beverley after a long battle with cancer. Val, who was latterly G F Grant Professor Emerita of Medieval History of the University of Hull, was elected a Fellow of the Society in 2007 and was a member of the York Antiquaries. Her books are magisterial studies in intellectual and cultural history and include Ideas in the Medieval West (Variorum Reprints, 1988), The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe (Oxford and Princeton, 1991), The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus (Oxford and Princeton, 1992), Honorius Augustodunensis of Regensburg (Variorum 1995), and Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome (London, 1999). In retirement she worked on the Hereford Mappa Mundi the subject in 2006 of the last of her many pre- and post-retirement forays as a visiting scholar (Princeton History Department and Institute for Advanced Study; All Souls, Oxford; University of California at Los Angeles; Michigan; and many others).
Fierce trenchancy and immense lucidity and readability are the hallmarks of all Valerie Flints work. But she was almost as well known for the extraordinary relish and gusto she brought to all she did in life as for the extremely distinguished quality of her scholarship. As another visitor to the York Centre for Medieval Studies, John van Engen, Andrew V Tackes Professor of Medieval History at the University of Notre Dame, has written: Her spirit was unstoppable, and her intellectual energy burst through every neat fence others had thrown up, and coming out of the [dissertation students group] of Southern [Sir Richard Southern, Chichele Professor of History, University of Oxford 19619, and President of St Johns College till 1981] with whom she [kept] close relations she managed to make it in what was then a mans world.
For the last decade, while still receiving treatment for her illness, Professor Flint continued to give papers, to publish, to globe-trot with the greatest enjoyment of a huge range of people and places and to inspire and give a new zest for life and scholarship to all who met her. Impatient of bureaucracy, committed to high intellectual standards, she will be much missed and warmly remembered.
Watch out on Friday 6 February for a Channel 4 TV programme featuring our Fellow Lord Redesdale, in his guise as the defender of Northumberland from the menace of the grey squirrel. The programme, called Squirrel Wars: Red vs Grey, will be broadcast at 7.35pm, and the advance publicity for the programme says that it is an original film by up-and-coming director Luke Sewell who follows Paul Parker, a hunter on a single mission: to rid Northumberland of grey squirrels. Pauls mission is funded by Lord Rupert Redesdale, who runs the Red Squirrel Protection Partnership. But how will this one-man elimination team, armed with a rifle, a camouflage jacket and a few traps, fare in a county of 1.2 million acres? And what happens when Lord Redesdales squirrel war money-chest starts to diminish, leaving Paul more alone than ever?
Our Fellow Daniel Woolf has just been appointed as the new Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. Dr Woolf is currently the Dean, Faculty of Arts, and Professor, Department of History and Classics, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He takes up his new appointment on 1 September 2009. On behalf of the Queens University Board of Trustees, Chair William Young said that Dr Woolf is a noted scholar with significant leadership and management credentials who will serve the university well.
Daniel is a specialist in early modern British cultural history and in the history of historical thought and writing, both in Britain and globally; his contribution to our Societys Visions of Antiquity volume Images of the antiquary in seventeenth-century England is a lively analysis of the tensions between the portrayal of antiquaries as methodical scholars and obsessed pedants, and the ways in which the iconography of Fellows portraits reflects their desire to be seen in a positive light.
Our Fellow Lawrence John Forbes Keppie, of Glasgows Hunterian Museum, recently travelled to Pennsylvania for the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian Wars, at the invitation of the town of Ligonier east of Pittsburgh. His ancestor Brigadier General John Forbes (hence Lawrences middle names) led a composite force of British and Colonial troops, including the twenty-six-year-old Colonel George Washington, across the mountains of Pennsylvania through dense forests, forcing the French to abandon their fort at the junction of the Ohio and Monongahela rivers, a site which Forbes in November 1758 renamed Pittsburgh (note the Scottish spelling of burgh, still used) in honour of the Secretary of State of the day. Forbess death soon after deprived him of fame and further military employment, so that nowadays he is completely eclipsed by General James Wolfe who won at Quebec in the following year.
Lawrence unveiled plaques along his ancestors line of march in the towns of Bedford and Ligonier, where a fort built in 1758 (and named after Sir John Ligonier, commander-in-chief of the British army) has been reconstructed, and a new exhibition inaugurated. A weekend of celebrations at Ligonier, including displays by re-enactors, was launched by a grand parade, in which Lawrence, as representative of the Forbes family, processed in an open carriage, preceded by the United States Marine Corps Band. The town hosted over 100,000 visitors during the weekend, proving that a sense of history is still very much alive in Pennsylvania.
Several Fellows have commented on Salons coverage of the Research Assessment Exercise, mainly, this week, to say what a futile exercise they consider it to be and asking whether the standard of research in our universities is any better as a result of the RAE than it was before the scheme was devised in 1986? Fellow Julian Munbys views on the RAE cannot be quoted in full without falling foul of email firewalls designed to filter inappropriate language, but the bit we can quote runs as follows: The RAE is an enemy of scholarship, free-thought and creative cross-boundary thinking; it promotes a sea of unwanted journals, repetitive productions and short-term projects to the detriment of serious life-long scholarship.
Fellow Robert Hannah, Professor of Classics at the University of Otago, reports that the New Zealand equivalent is called the PBRF (Performance Based Research Fund), and that it corresponds in most details to the RAE, except that here the individual is scored, as the basic metric of the scheme.
Several Fellows made the point that we have yet to see the real outcome of the RAE, which is the allocation of £1.5 billion in research funding that will be based on the metrics of the review, though the formula by which the money will be divided up has yet to be announced. Debate rages in the educational press between those who foresee that more money will go to newer universities whose research strengths have been overlooked for too long, and those who worry that the best universities will be starved of research funds as a result of cutting the cake too thinly.
Meanwhile, our Director Maurice Howard rightly suggests that Salon should report on some of the other RAE subject areas, having up to now concentrated mainly on the archaeology rankings, so here are some of the headline conclusions from the History of Art, Architecture and Design sub-panel, of which Maurice himself was a member.
The submissions to the sub-panel contained a wide range of types of research output, about 25 per cent of which were of the highest quality, significantly more than in 2001. Submissions contained a wide range of output types, including websites, exhibitions, art practice and films, suggesting a willingness to experiment with modes of research dissemination and a desire to reach different and wider audiences.
Overall, outputs scored more highly for their rigour than for significance or originality. Researchers were sometimes reticent when it came to explaining what was new about the research or its significance in the wider world. This implies that the envisaged audience was primarily one already engaged in the subject, rather than the larger academic community, let alone its demographic base. That said, the quality of outputs was generally high, most of it at the level of international excellence and an impressive amount world-leading.
More than two-thirds of submissions contained research in areas of long-standing significance within the discipline of art history: European art of the Middle Ages and Early Modern period (15001800) or the growing field of nineteenth-century British art. Over half of the submissions contained work on twentieth-century British art, twentieth-century European art and modern/contemporary art. Less well represented were studies of the art of Asia, Africa or the Pacific, the art of the pre-twentieth-century Americas and of ancient/classical art (in the case of the latter figure, relevant research might have been submitted to other sub-panels). A number of new strengths are emerging on the history of design, material culture and the applied arts, on the history of photography and film, in museology and conservation and on the history of gardens and designed landscapes.
Overall, the sub-panel concludes, the subject has emerged with firmer foundations and enhanced intellectual self-awareness after a protracted period of reassessment in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and is typically practised in self-standing departments of art history and theory, or of visual and material culture. Submitting institutions were very successful in gaining competitive research funding from Research Councils and charities, for projects, research leave and research students. This success can be taken as an independent index of the quality of applications and the reputation of the sector for delivering research quality. A further basis for direct quantitative comparison is provided by the high level of research degree supervisions and the number of successful doctoral degree completions. These demonstrate the extent of engagement with training the next generation of researchers to carry the subject forward.
As for rankings, the top-rated universities for research in History of Art, Architecture and Design were all very closely clustered, with similar average scores, headed by Glasgow, and followed by the Courtauld Institute, Sussex, Manchester, East Anglia, York, UCL and Birmingham.
Salon 205 mentioned the excavations at Wairau Bar in Marlborough, New Zealand, but omitted to say that the excavation team leader, Richard Walter of the University of Otago, is, of course, a Fellow of our Society. Those excavations have now come to an end, and the local paper, the Marlborough Express, reported that a 700-year-old hāngi pit, used for cooking food, was discovered on the final day the oldest of its kind found in New Zealand. Richard Walter told the newspaper that the 2m-deep stone-lined pit had been constructed as a hāngi (into which hot stones were placed to provide a heat source for cooking) but that it had later been used as a rubbish pit. Other finds included the remains of three houses from one of the first settlements on New Zealand, and an adze made from Tahanga basalt, a dark, dense rock found only on the Coromandel Peninsula, some hundreds of kilometres away, found buried in the foundations of a building for spiritual protection. Richard Walter said the find showed that Maori who lived on the bar had explored New Zealand widely.
Mention of the Morris Rings recruitment campaign and the Rings dire warning that Morris dancing could be extinct within twenty years without an injection of young blood brought a number of responses from Fellows pointing out that the Morris Ring is a male-only organisation, and that that might account for its recruitment problems, rather than that young people found Morris dancing embarrassing. Linda Hall recalls that this is a long-standing issue and that some years ago, rival supporters of the Morris Ring and the Morris Federation wore T-shirts emblazoned Keep Morris Masculine and (on worn by children) My Mums A Morris Dancer! We thought the battle had been won and that male-only was no longer an issue, Linda goes on to say, adding that there are certainly large numbers of mixed sides now and that during the Great War it was the women who kept the Morris tradition going when all the men went off to fight. Linda also reports that there were plenty of dancers under thirty years of age at the Wassail and Mari Lwyd held in Chepstow in January.
Fellow Toby Parker says that a more worthwhile campaign would be for the Arts pages of national newspapers to carry more coverage of folk dance and song events, though he doubts whether this will happen as the newspapers tend to reflect the urban, commercialised tastes of the advertisers target readers, whereas folk dance and song have always occupied an anti-commercial, rural niche (but cheer up Toby: the Independent now includes folk and world music in its Saturday listings supplement). Toby also takes Salon to task for talking about folk revival; we are talking of an evolving, not a fossil or antiquarian tradition, he says, adding that no traditional arts have been preserved unchanged from time immemorial, but that doesnt make them any less worthwhile!
Back on the subject of gravestones, Fellow Mark Milburn reports that in his study of the landscapes of the Second World War in the alpine regions of north-east Italy he has often seen the sad sight of illegible and damaged gravestones and war memorials erected but he is consoled by the fact that all records of partisans who died for Italy are kept in official archives. He also reports that it is common in rural Italy for graves to be reused after twenty years, so that todays grave marker is only the latest in a succession.
Finally, our Fellow David Bird offers an apt quotation to mark the inauguration of a new US President, which also chimes in with comments that our Fellow Neil MacGregor made in his recent speech marking the 250th anniversary of the founding of the British Museum. David found it in the Observers Music Monthly and admits that he knows little about Bruce Springsteen apart from the name, but that the quotation, whilst rather apocalyptic, has a lot of truth in it, and not just for the USA.
Bruce Springsteen is quoted as saying: The past is never the past. It is always present. And you better reckon with it in your life and in your daily experience, or it will get you. It will get you really bad. It will come and it will devour you, it will remove you from the present. It will steal your future and this happens every day. Weve lived through a nightmare like that in the past eight years here. We had a historically blind administration who didnt take consideration of the past; thousands and thousands of people died, lives were ruined and terrible, terrible things occurred because there was no sense of history, no sense that the past is living and real.
23 February 2009: CBA Winter General Meeting on the theme of Archaeology and Music
The 2009 Winter General meeting of the Council for British Archaeology is to be held this year at the National Centre for Early Music, in York, and will explore the relationship between archaeology and music, with presentations that will include live performances and both audio and video recordings on such topics as Music and Silbury Hill (Sarah May, English Heritage), The Archaeology of Folk Music (Yvette Staelens, University of Bournemouth), The Acoustics of Medieval Buildings (Anthony Masinton, University of York) and The Archaeology of Medieval Performance. Further details from the CBA website.
6 March 2009: Van Dyck and seventeenth-century Britain
26 and 27 March 2009: Anthony van Dyck: the image of the aristocrat
These two symposia have been organised to coincide with Tate Britains major spring exhibition, Van Dyck and Britain (18 February to 17 May 2009). The first, to be held at Queen Mary, University of London, features our Fellow Karen Hearn, the curator of the exhibition, along with Kevin Sharpe, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary, London, and historical consultant to the exhibition, and other distinguished speakers who will share the results of their research into van Dycks paintings, English family values, portraiture and the aristocracy in seventeenth-century Britain.
At the second, a two-day symposium hosted by Tate Britain, Karen Hearn is again joined by world-renowned scholars and curators to present new thinking and research on van Dycks work, his impact on (and legacy in) British art and culture and the identity he created for the aristocracy and representations of courts in other cultures. For further information, see the Tate website.
17 March 2009: The Archaeology of Frederick Douglas, a paper to be given by Professor Mark Leone (University of Maryland, College Park) at 4pm, in the Garden Quad Auditorium, St Johns College, Oxford. Mark Leone is a leading archaeologist of the modern period. He has directed the Archaeology in Annapolis project since 1981, and has written widely on historical archaeology, archaeological theory, African-American archaeology and the politics of archaeology. His most recent book, The Archaeology of Liberty in an American Capital: excavations in Annapolis (University of California Press), received the 2008 James Deetz Book Award. Further details from our Fellow Dan Hicks.
26 and 27 March 2009: Clergy, Church and Society in England and Wales c 12001800
This colloquium, to be held at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, will introduce three major research projects and share some of the results: the Records of Government Taxation in England and Wales: clerical taxes 11731664 (University of York, funded by the AHRC); the Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540 to 1835 (Kings College, University of London, Universities of Kent and Reading, funded by the AHRC); and Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York 13001858: a database project (University of York, funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation). For further details and a booking form, see the York University website.
20 May 2009: Past Forward! Celebrating and Promoting Our Historic Environment
HEACS (the Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland), the advisory body set up in 2003 to provide Scottish Ministers with strategic advice on issues affecting the historic environment, has completed its work and delivered its final report and recommendations on the infrastructure of the historic environment in Scotland. As a final flourish, HEACS is convening a national conference to celebrate and promote Scotlands historic environment to take place at Dynamic Earth, in Edinburgh.
The opening address will be given by Linda Fabiani, MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, and other speakers will include Liz Burns, Chair of HEACS, and Shonaig Macpherson, Chair of the National Trust for Scotland. Key bodies and voluntary groups in the historic environment will showcase their work and outline their vision for the future. The day will conclude with an open forum focusing on the challenges and opportunities for the historic environment in the years ahead.
All are welcome. Attendance is free and a buffet lunch will be served. Prior booking is essential. For further information, please contact Pat Stables at the HEACS Secretariat.
9 to 12 July 2009: Local History in Britain after Hoskins
This conference at the University of Leicester marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Local History in England by W G Hoskins, an influential book that helped to establish the subject both as an academic discipline and as a pursuit of thousands of local historians, many of whom are not professional academics. The conference is designed to appeal to everyone interested in local history, in all its varied aspects, and will have a wide scope in time and space, addressed under seven major themes: Local history now; Culture and belief; The history of local history; Community and society; Identity and belonging; Family, population and migration; Making a living in town and country; and Sources, methods and techniques. Naturally, there are many Fellows amongst the organisers, session chairs and speakers, including our Fellow Christopher Dyer, from whom further information can be obtained; alternatively, a booking form and session list can be downloaded from the Leicester University Centre for English Local History website.
Nicholas Reeves is the Fellow responsible for the website of this weeks headline, which has a rich and detailed account of his own very varied research work, rooted in Egyptology, but extending far beyond. Nicholas is best known for his excavations in Egypts Valley of the Kings, where his Amarna Royal Tombs Project (ARTP) has made some important findings in the Valley of the Kings. Nicholass website has full details of his ground-penetrating radar survey that led to the discovery of two highly significant features in 2006: KV63, an undisturbed funerary chamber excavated by the University of Memphis that same year, and KV64 (as it has been tentatively labelled), the first of several potential burials still to be dug.
There is perhaps no better way to understand the experience of Huguenots fleeing from persecution in France (after the 1685 Edict of Fontainebleau declared their Calvinist religion to be illegal) than to study the history of La Providence, the hospital for the Huguenot community in England founded in 1708 by Jacques de Gastigny. To celebrate the tercentenary, our Fellows Tessa Murdoch and Randolph Vigne have traced that history and published the results in The French Hospital in England: its Huguenot history and collections (to be published by John Adamson, Cambridge, on 19 February 2009, at £30; for an order form contact John Adamson Publishing), a book that also has a contribution on Huguenot heraldry from our Fellow Gale Glynn.
The book bears witness to the tenacity of the community of Huguenot refugees and their descendants in building a new life in England, becoming integrated into English society, but taking time out from their busy lives as bankers, craftsmen, merchants and soldiers to devote themselves to the welfare of those Huguenot descendants who had fallen on hard times. It traces the story from the founding of the original hospital buildings in the parish of St Lukes, Finsbury, and the granting of the Royal Charter by George I in 1718 to the construction of a new building in Victoria Park, Hackney, in the 1860s designed by Robert Roumieu, himself an architect of Huguenot descent. Following bomb damage, the hospital moved briefly to Sussex after the Second World War before settling into its present location, in Rochester, Kent, where La Providence continues to provide sheltered housing for elderly people of proven Huguenot descent.
Archaeological Practice and Heritage in Great Britain: a heritage handbook (Springer) is a guide to the professional practice of archaeology and heritage management in England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, with an emphasis on understanding the specific contexts and differences between these various component nations and regions. It is the work of our Fellow John Schofield, Head of Military Programmes at English Heritage and co-ordinator of research into military and twentieth-century heritage, with co-authors Paul Belford, Director of Ironbridge Archaeology, the contracting archaeology unit of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, and John Carman, University Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Heritage Valuation in the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham, and is one in the series of World Archaeological Congress Cultural Heritage Manuals, designed to guide archaeologists through archaeological processes for studying, recording and preserving heritage sites in different parts of the world.
Right at the end of last year, Fellow Christopher Evans, of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), together with Duncan Mackay and Leo Webley, published Borderlands: the archaeology of the Addenbrookes environs, South Cambridge. The main focus of the book is on the Late Iron Age/Early Roman Conquest-Period phases, though the occupation sequence on the 3ha site spanned the later Bronze Age to Middle Saxon times. One of the key findings is that the later prehistoric and Roman landscapes were much more densely settled than previously thought, with settlements lying around 300m to 500m apart. The book argues that acknowledging these densities should revolutionise our understanding of the early social fabric of this landscape, which lies at the northern limits of the Late Iron Age, Gaulish-influenced AylesfordSwarling zone hence the Borderlands of the title.
Available through Oxbow Books, Borderlands is the first in a series to be published by CAU entitled New Archaeologies of the Cambridge Region, with a nod to Cyril Foxs renowned work on The Archaeology of the Cambridge Region (1923). The next in the series, Hinterlands: the Archaeology of West Cambridge, is currently in preparation and will be available late in 2009.
Our Fellow Robert Hannah, Professor of Classics at the University of Otago, has a new book out from Routledge which looks at the fascinating topic of Time in Antiquity. The Antikythera mechanism, upon which Salon has reported in the past, has brought to everyones attention the fact that the ancient Greeks had mastered the measurement of time in using sophisticated gearing and clockwork mechanisms, and Roberts book looks at such other examples as we have of time-reckoning technology in ancient Greece and Rome, including water-clocks, sundials, astrolabes and calendars. The material discussed ranges from the sixth century BC in Archaic Greece to the third century AD in the Roman Empire, and offers insights into the ways in which people thought about time, which in turn underpinned the technological and philosophical developments of the late medieval and early modern periods.
Our Fellows Michael Jones and Colin Renfrew are both contributors to The Ancient City: new perspectives on urbanism in the Old and New Worlds, edited by Joyce Marcus and our Fellow Jeremy Sabloff and published by the School for Advanced Research based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With more than half of the worlds population living in cities (and that proportion growing fast), the book asks what ancient cities can tell us about the social, political, religious and economic conditions of the past and also about our own time. The sixteen papers in this volume (presented at a Sackler colloquium of the National Academy of Sciences) discuss the founding and functions of ancient cities, their diverse trade networks, their heterogeneous plans and layouts, and their various lifespans and trajectories. They also report on excavations from around the world that are enabling scholars to document intra-city changes through time, city-to-city interaction, and changing relations between cities and their hinterlands.
Cadw, Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings; closing date 6 February 2009
Assistant Inspector of Archaeology, ref. 108674; salary band £25,000 to £32,100
The post-holder will be responsible for providing general archaeological and heritage management support within one of the Inspectorate regions and for support for work and policy relating to the maritime and coastal archaeology of Wales.
Assistant Inspector of Historic Buildings, ref 1066696; salary band £25,000 to £32,100
The post involves a wide range of duties relating to the built historic environment of Wales, including designation.
For information about both posts visit www.wales.gov.uk/recruitment.
The British School at Rome: Director; closing date 13 February 2009
Our Fellow Andrew Wallace-Hadrill returns to the UK later this year to become the twenty-fifth Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and a successor is now sought for Andrew as the Director of the British School at Rome, a full-time residential appointment of at least five years duration, which may be held on secondment from a UK university or similar institution. For further details, see the British Schools website.
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford: Post-Doctoral Researcher in World Archaeology
Salary £25,623 to £30,594; closing date 24 February 2009
Applications are invited for this 18-month fixed-term position which forms part of a project to produce a detailed characterisation of the range and significance of the world archaeology collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum, with the aim of increasing the accessibility of the collections for research and defining future research priorities for the study of these collections. Further information from the Pitt Rivers Museum website.