Salon Archive

Issue: 207

Forthcoming meetings

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

Frances Griffith is the County Archaeologist for Devon. Since 1983 she has been carrying out aerial survey in the county, which had previously seen only limited reconnaissance. The results have significantly altered perceptions of the prehistoric and Roman archaeology of lowland Devon. This paper will summarise some of the results, consider how they complement other sources of information and describe the new areas of research that have opened up in consequence.

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

12 March 2009: ‘Hill Hall: a singular house devised by a Tudor intellectual’, by Paul Drury, FSA, and Richard Simpson, FSA

This paper accompanies the launch of the first monograph in a new series published by the Society in partnership with English Heritage. Hill Hall, in Essex, was transformed during the sixteenth century from a modest medieval building into the highly sophisticated house of the scholar, polymath and courtier, Sir Thomas Smith (1512—77), a man of humble origins but precocious intellect, who became Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge at the age of thirty before entering political life as Master of Requests to the Lord Protector Somerset. While the exterior reflected Smith’s interest in French classical style, the interior was decorated with wall paintings of ‘Cupid and Psyche’ and ‘King Hezekiah’, conveying complex messages of morality and affinity as part of a coherent programme of images in paint, glass and tiles.

Four centuries on, the house was first used as an open prison, then, in 1969, largely gutted by fire. Taken into the care of the Department of the Environment in 1980, archaeological excavation and investigation of the surviving fabric took place prior to the restoration of the house and its mural paintings. The results will be summarised in tonight’s paper, and are presented in detail in the new monograph, a copiously illustrated account of one of the most interesting and singular houses to be built in Elizabethan England.

It is hoped that copies of the new book will be available for inspection at the meeting. Fliers for the book will also be sent to all Fellows in the April mailing.

19 March 2009: ‘Medievalism and the Grand Tour’, by Rosemary Sweet, FSA

Both the Georgians and the Victorians were fascinated by Italy, but they saw the country with very different eyes. Eighteenth-century travellers sought out the monuments of classical antiquity; their nineteenth-century counterparts, by contrast, were increasingly drawn to the art and architecture of the Middle Ages and the ‘primitives’ of the early Renaissance. This lecture draws on contemporary antiquarian and topographical literature alongside unpublished correspondence and diaries to examine how the classically oriented Grand Tour evolved into the picturesque tour of the nineteenth century, with a particular emphasis on changing perceptions of Gothic architecture in Italy.

Ballot results: 5 February 2009

As a result of the ballot held on 5 February 2009, we are pleased to welcome the following as Fellows of the Society.

As Honorary Fellow:

Kristian Kristiansen: Chair, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (former Director of the Danish Archaeological Heritage Administration, founding member of the European Association of Archaeologists; authority on Neolithic and Bronze-Age archaeology).

As Ordinary Fellows:

Fiona Kisby Littleton: Historian, schoolteacher and musicologist (has contributed to the fields of late medieval and early modern history and musicology; specialist on the Royal Household Chapel in early Tudor London).
Lotte Hedeager: Professor and Chair of Archaeology, University of Oslo, Norway (Head of the Nordic Graduate School; member of the Research Council of Norway and the Royal Danish Academy of Science; expert on the Iron Age).
Matthew Ponting: Lecturer in Archaeological Science, School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool (has published on archaeo-metallurgy, and numismatics).
Timothy Faulkner Potts: Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge (authority on the art and archaeology of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean).
John Oxley: Acting Head of Design, Conservation and Sustainable Development, City of York Council (archaeologist; has published on post-Roman towns in Europe).
Mark John Pearce: Associate Professor in Archaeology and Head of Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham (formerly Professore a Contratto, University of Pavia, Italy; has published on northern Italian prehistoric metalwork).
Christopher Havemeyer Roosevelt: University teacher (Director of the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey; has published on Lydian archaeology).
Oliver Fairclough: Keeper of Art, National Museum of Wales (authority on British and European applied art; has published on William Morris and the history of Aston Hall, Birmingham).
Gwenllian Vaughan Jones: Independent Scholar (Secretary of the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association and Gwent County History Association; has published on nineteenth-century archaeological work in Gwent and South Wales).
Hildegard Gudrun Hilke Wiegel: Research Fellow, Ecole Normale Supériere, Paris (has published on sculpture, the reception of antiquity and the antiquarian tradition).
William Robert Ferdinand Mount: Author and journalist (former editor of The Times Literary Supplement; head of the Prime Minister’s policy unit 1982–3; Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature).
Sarah Veryan Elizabeth Heal: Manager of Advice and Information, Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council (has extensive experience in the protection, management, investigation and interpretation of the historic environment).
Gillian Beatrice Shepherd: Lecturer in Classical Archaeology, University of Birmingham (has published on Greek settlements in Sicily and southern Italy).
Suzanne Elizabeth Higgott: Curator of Glass, Limoges Painted Enamels & Earthenwares, The Wallace Collection (has published on glass and Renaissance Limoges enamels).
Sarah Rees Jones: Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Co-Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York (has published on medieval urban and domestic histories).
Eleanor Casella: Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester (specialist in later historical archaeology; Reviews Editor for Post-Medieval Archaeology).
John Hartley Bowman: Retired Lecturer, School of Library, Archive & Information Studies, UCL (has published on librarianship and Greek printing types).
Stephen Taffe Driscoll: Professor of Historical Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow (has published on early medieval landscapes and sculpture, and the archaeology of Christianity).
Robert Wilson-North: Archaeologist, Exmoor National Park Authority, Devon (specialist in archaeological landscapes; research interests include monuments in Cornwall and Somerset).
Sarah Jane Buckingham: Head of Heritage Protection Reform, English Heritage (research interests include Egyptology).
Sue Colledge: Hon Senior Research Associate, Institute of Archaeology, UCL (has contributed to the study of archaeo-botanical remains and the study of agriculture in the Near East).
Charles Philip Clarke: Consultant Archaeologist (directed numerous excavations including prehistoric and Roman sites for Essex County Council; former director of the ECC Field Archaeology Unit).
Jackie Keily: Curator, Department of Early London History & Collections, Museum of London (expert finds specialist; Hon Secretary of the London & Middlesex Archaeology Society).
James Barrett: Deputy Director, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge (specialist in Viking Age and medieval Europe).

Burlington House Courtyard Societies

The combined lecture programme of the Burlington House Courtyard Societies (ourselves, together with the Linnean Society, the Geological Society, the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry) can be seen on the Burlington House website, where there are quite a number of lectures of potential interest to Fellows. In addition, the next Burlington House Lecture (intended to cross our disciplinary boundaries) will take place at the Geological Society on 6 May 2009 and will be given by Professor Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University on a topic, yet to be confirmed, that will address this year’s Darwin and Galileo anniversaries.

Towards a Museum of British History

Tasked by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport with examining the options for a Museum of British History, the MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council) has concluded that the objective of promoting awareness of British history would best be served by means of a federated approach, drawing on existing collections to create a programme of exhibitions and educational projects, rather than the creation of ‘a traditional, physical museum in a fixed location with its own collections and buildings’. The MLA report recommends that a ‘Museum Centre for British History’ (MCBH) be set up with a small team that would ‘pull together research, planning and programming around the theme of Britain’s story’. The MLA report also envisaged a major online component, aimed at supporting the teaching of history in schools.

Roy Clare, MLA Chief Executive, said: ‘Our consultation has brought us to a conclusion that the most stimulating and cost-effective way of meeting the objective for a museum that interprets Britain’s story would be to develop innovative access to the fantastic collections held in existing museums, heritage sites, libraries and archives across Britain. Many of these are publicly funded and can work together under scholarly leadership to present Britain’s history in many places.’

The Department of Culture has yet to respond, but it is likely that the next step will be for the MLA and partners to develop a more detailed proposal.

The Coroners and Justice Bill

The British Museum is lobbying MPs for changes to the Coroners and Justice Bill, which is currently before the UK parliament. One of the measures in this portmanteau bill is the creation of a new National Coroner Service; but whereas the draft version of the Bill contained provision for a coroner dedicated to dealing with all cases of Treasure from across England and Wales, this measure has been dropped from the final version.

The British Museum, which has a statutory role in administering the Treasure Act on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is asking MPs and peers (especially those who belong to the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group) to use their powers to amend the bill and bring back the provision for a Treasure Coroner. At present, the heavy workload experienced by coroners means that (understandably) they give low priority to Treasure inquests. Delays of a year or more are not uncommon and at present coroners take an average of 182 days to deal with Treasure inquests (the recommend period is 90 days).

The BM argues that a dedicated Treasure Coroner would streamline the process and make it more efficient, benefiting finders, landowners and museums. The proposal in the draft bill to create the post of Treasure Coroner was strongly welcomed by all key stakeholders, including the British Museum and the National Council for Metal Detecting, which represents metal-detector users who find 92 per cent of all Treasure finds. The BM also believes that the costs of establishing a Treasure Coroner could be very modest (under £200,000 pa) and savings would be made by taking this role from existing coroners.

Our Fellow Roger Bland, Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum, said that the Treasure Act has been very successful, leading to an increase in reported finds of Treasure from twenty-five a year before the Treasure Act to 803 in 2008, but that the biggest problem with the Act is the length of time it takes between a finder reporting their find and then receiving a reward, or receiving the find back if no museum wants it. Treasure inquests are a very minor part of a coroner’s job, and while some deal with Treasure very efficiently, others take a year or more to adjudicate. ‘Long delays are greatly resented by finders who are kept waiting for their rewards, and may also deter others from reporting finds’, he said.

Besides the Treasure Coroner, three proposed amendments to the Treasure Act have also been dropped from the Bill. The most significant one would widen the obligation to report finds of Treasure to anyone who comes into possession of Treasure (at present the duty to report Treasure rests solely with those who find the Treasure). The second would give the coroner power to require anyone who reports the discovery of a find of Treasure to deliver it to the coroner (at present the duty in the Treasure Act simply requires finders to report their finds to the coroner and they could in theory refuse to deliver it). The third would allow more time for prosecutions under the Treasure Act to be brought (the current six-month statute of limitations is inadequate, given how long it can take Treasure cases to come to a coroner’s inquest).

The Society’s General Secretary, David Gaimster, has written to members of the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group asking them to support amendments intended to restore all these provisions to the Coroners and Justice Bill.

Fire at the College of Arms

Fellows might have read reports in the press last week saying that hundreds of heraldry records were under threat as a result of a fire at the College of Arms, and indeed it did seem at first that genealogical and heraldic records and manuscripts dating from the fourteenth century might have been damaged —if not by fire, then by smoke or the water used to dowse the fire. It was therefore with much relief that we learned the day after the fire that the damage was confined to offices on the top floors of the west wing and no archival material was affected as they are located in the central block of the College, which holds the coats of arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families and their descendants.

Firemen are still investigating the cause of the fire with the College Conservator. Eight fire engines and forty fire-fighters spent several hours tackling the blaze after they were called to the six-storey building shortly before 11am on 5 February. Thirty-five people were evacuated from the College of Arms, and another 100 from adjacent buildings.

Odyssey Marine claims to have found HMS Victory

The claim by the Florida-based company Odyssey Marine Exploration to have found HMS Victory (the direct predecessor to Admiral Nelson’s vessel of the same name), which sank on 4 October 1744 off the Channel Islands with the loss of 1,150 crew, has once again raised concerns amongst the archaeological community about the integrity and conservation of underwater heritage.

Odyssey says it discovered the ship nearly 100km from where it was historically believed to have been wrecked, but that cannon recovered from the wreck confirms the identification. The company statement also says that it has been ‘co-operating closely with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) on the project, and all activities at the site have been conducted in accordance with protocols agreed with MOD and Royal Navy officials’. It adds that it is in negotiation with the Ministry of Defence to salvage the cargo — said to include four tons of Portuguese gold — and share the profits, along the same lines as the highly controversial Sussex Partnering Agreement between the company and the UK Government to recover bullion from HMS Sussex, which sank off Gibraltar in 1694 with 10 tons of gold on board.

The Sussex salvage project, however, has been scuppered by the Spanish authorities who have prevented Odyssey Marine Exploration from returning to the site. The Spanish Government takes a far more robust view of what it sees as treasure hunting masquerading as science. By contrast, the UK Government has refused to sign the Unesco Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, though it claims that it will abide by the terms of the convention.

If so, says Mike Williams — Director and Honorary Secretary of the Nautical Archaeology Society and a member of the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee chaired by our Fellow Robert Yorke — there are very hard questions to be answered about whether the British government should be sanctioning recovery of material from HMS Victory: ‘For the Ministry of Defence to now enter into a deal to recover the remains of HMS Victory would be to indulge in hypocrisy’, he said, adding that the convention makes it clear that ‘a site should be left undisturbed wherever possible — as this one has been for 265 years — and that if artefacts are recovered they should not be used for commercial sale.’

The Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee has set out what it believes to be the legal position on the home page of its website, making it clear that if the wreck is indeed that of HMS Victory, her remains are sovereign immune, the wreck remains the property of the Crown and no intrusive action may be taken without the express consent of the UK Government. The Institute for Archaeologists has also published a statement calling on the UK Government to ‘confirm that the wreck will be dealt with in accordance to the Annex to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage’.

Meanwhile, The Archaeology Forum, of which our Society is a member, has sought clarification from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and has been told that ‘English Heritage has been asked to investigate this wreck and advise on its possible identity and on the conservation issues’. DCMS also says that it has conveyed to Odyssey Marine Exploration its wish to see further work on the wreck halted until there has been an opportunity to consider advice from English Heritage.

The case of HMS Victory is not the only one giving cause for concern: in Greece, a move to lift a long-standing ban on coastal scuba-diving to boost tourism is reported to have backfired as looting has proliferated. Marine archaeologist Katerina Dellaporta says that Greek waters are some of the richest in well-preserved antiquities in the world, ‘thanks to very stringent controls over underwater exploration’. Until recently divers were allowed access to just 620 miles of the country’s 12,000-mile coastline, but the government opened the country’s entire coastal waters to underwater exploration in 2003. Since then, treasure hunters from all over the world have turned up, armed with hi-tech scanners, cameras and nets, posing as tourists on yachts. The websites of a US-based diving company with a fleet of 400 yachts even offers diving packages ‘ideal for treasure hunters’, and has pictures of typical finds, including sculpture, jewellery and warrior helmets.

Arts funding under threat

The last two issues of Salon have focused on the plight of archaeologists made redundant by the fall in developer-funded work as a result of the recession. Now it appears that the arts are suffering too from a downturn in sponsorship and philanthropy. Arts & Business, the consultancy that aims to ‘deepen and enhance business engagement with culture’, says that global recession threatens fundraising in the cultural sector and that investment from business had already declined by 7 per cent by the end of 2008, and has probably now fallen further. Colin Tweedy, the organisation’s Chief Executive, said that leading museums and galleries would find it more difficult to raise money for acquisitions, capital works and special exhibitions, and that their recent survey had found ‘great nervousness’ amongst potential sponsors.

The figures from Arts & Business follows on from confirmation that Turner’s painting of Pope’s Villa at Twickenham will be exported to the US, no UK buyer having been found for the work. The loss of this painting has prompted Martin Bailey, writing in the Art Newspaper, to warn that at least twenty-five paintings, considered to be national art treasures, are at risk if their private owners decide to sell them and public galleries cannot afford to acquire them. They include Titian’s Diana and Callisto, companion piece to Diana and Actaeon, for which the National Galleries in England and Scotland have to find £50 million within four years or else see the painting sold on the open market; Erasmus by Hans Holbein, 1523, owned by the Earl of Radnor and on loan to National Gallery since 1995; Portrait of a Man by Titian, c 1515—20, owned by the Earl of Halifax and on loan to the National Gallery, offered for sale but subsequently withdrawn; the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet, 1657, by Rembrandt, owned by the Penryhn Settled Estates Trust, offered for sale to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam but the museum’s offer of £26.4 million was rejected; and Omai by Joshua Reynolds, c 1776, owned by John Magnier and currently on loan to the National Gallery of Ireland, sold at Sotheby’s in 2001 but again withdrawn from sale.

Responding to the list, our Fellow Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, said: ‘To lose these paintings would be terrible because people have had them as such an important part of their visual experience in this country for so long. Paintings like Erasmus and Omai have a particularly special importance to the nation as not only are they great works of imagination, but they are hugely significant historical documents which tell us so much about the era in which they were created.’

Profile of New York Metropolitan Museum Director Thomas Campbell, FSA

Despite endowments worth US$2.5bn (£1.7bn), a sum that is envied around the museum world, the New York Met’s income has also been hit by global recession, which has impacted on donations as well as revenue. In the Guardian newspaper’s recent profile of our Fellow Thomas Campbell, the newly appointed Director of the Metropolitan Museum reveals that his response will be to achieve financial stability through spending less on ‘expensive and time-consuming exhibitions’ and instead directing creativity and energy into making better use of the Met’s permanent collections.

Priority number two is to use technology to enhance the Met’s relationship with the public. This is a Director who prepared for his big interview by driving through the English countryside listening to the punk-rock band ‘Pendulum’, and whose mission statement was delivered via YouTube. ‘We stand at a kind of threshold’, he said: ‘I don’t want to dumb down. But I do want to figure out ways we can deliver a lot more information to our diverse audience, whether through headphones, iPhones, iPods or whatever.’

Thomas Campbell also reveals that he wants to address criticism that the museum is insufficiently focused on contemporary art, though he insists ‘it’s very much a part of what we are doing’, and he looks forward to the reopening in 2011 of the Islamic wing, lamenting that its closure for reconstruction at such a sensitive time in the Middle East was a ‘desperately unfortunate coincidence’.

Like our Fellow Neil MacGregor at the British Museum, he sees value in the sheer scale of the Met’s collections: ‘It is quite extraordinary that you can walk from fifteenth-century Europe to fifteenth-century China or Islam. You can walk around the globe through the centuries, making connections, seeing communalities between cultures’, he said.

Van Dyck and Britain

Fortunately the decline in sponsorship has not impacted on Tate Britain’s new exhibition, Van Dyck and Britain, which opens to the public on 18 February 2009 (and closes on 17 May 2009). Our Fellow Karen Hearn, curator of the exhibition, says that the key strands of the exhibition are Van Dyck’s creative synthesis of his Antwerp baroque training and his study of Venetian art, his ‘luscious sparkling depiction of the rich fabrics of the period’. The exhibition also explores the ways in which Van Dyke was influenced by the types of portraits that he found in Britain when he arrived at the art-enthusiastic court of Charles I, and the legacy that he passed on to subsequent generations of British artists.

Perhaps there is no greater tribute to Van Dyck than the response to his art of the Commonwealth regime: Cromwell’s chief portrait painter, Robert Walker, simply painted parliamentarian heads on top of Van Dyckian bodies and based his portrait of the Protector on Van Dyck’s portrait of Sir Thomas Wentworth. The engraver Pierre Lombart went even further: he just took Charles I on Horseback with M de St Antoine and substituted Cromwell’s head for that of the king.

Memorial services and obituaries

A memorial service for our late Fellow Colin White is to be held on 2 March 2009 at 2pm in Portsmouth’s Anglican Cathedral, followed by a reception at the Royal Naval Museum, to which all are welcome. If you wish to attend, please inform Emma Nash (tel: 02392 727574) in advance.

Salon is grateful to our Fellow John Nandris for the following account of the memorial service that was held for our late Fellow Tom Braun (1935—2008) held in Merton College Chapel in Oxford on 31 January 2009. ‘It was attended by the Warden, Professor Dame Jessica Rawson, the Fellows and Choir, with a full congregation, followed by tea in Hall. The soprano Emma Kirkby sang twice, and, in addition to the anthems, there was a harp solo by Frances Kelly. The thoughtful addresses given by J R Lucas, Emeritus Fellow, and Professor Jasper Griffin, Emeritus Fellow of Balliol, illuminated a complex and cultured man. The sum of the occasion was to evoke with great affection the immensely likeable character of Tom Braun, of whom we were blamelessly deprived by a motor accident. A collection was taken for the Thomas Braun Classical World Travel Fund. Tom is buried at the historic Quaker Meeting House at Jordans.’

Salon is also grateful to Christopher Braun, Tom’s brother, for drawing attention to the obituary that was published in The Times on 27 October 2008, from which the following edited extracts are taken.

‘Thomas Braun was one of the last representatives of an all-but-vanished breed of Oxford don. In the first place, he possessed a staggeringly retentive and varied memory that was crammed with recondite but somehow always apposite material. He had almost total recall of the text of Herodotus and of many of the fragmentary Greek historians whose works are collected in Jacoby’s Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. From an early stage in his career, he interested himself in the Greeks overseas, contributing sections on ‘The Greeks in the Near East’ and ‘The Greeks in Egypt’ to the second edition of The Cambridge Ancient History.

‘But his scholarly interests were not confined to the Greeks. He was profoundly knowledgeable across an extraordinary range of subjects including the history of the Jews (in almost all periods), the migrations of the Slav peoples, physical geography, and German literature, to name but a few. The second thing that marked him out was a remarkable facility for languages. He also had a flair for verse and he took pleasure in the extempore compositions that he would occasionally publish or just circulate for the enjoyment of friends, family and colleagues. He delighted countless readers with his light verses that appeared in the Oxford Magazine; in his later years, he produced some fine translations of more serious poetry.

‘Apart from his learning, what really made him stand out among his Oxford colleagues was his extraordinary wit and charm, his personal modesty and his desire to share the byways of his extensive knowledge with all and sundry. His conversation sparkled and nobody who met him forgot his extraordinary talk. His parties were legendary, not least when he served his home-made fresh nettle soup.

‘Thomas Felix Rudolf Gerhard Braun (Tom to his friends) was born in 1935 in Berlin, the elder son of Konrad and Hildburg Braun. Konrad was an appeal court judge and stemmed from Berlin’s cultured Christian middle class. But his ancestry was Jewish and so the Brauns became victims of the Nazi regime. Konrad happened to be away on a visit to England in November 1938 when the Gestapo came to arrest him. Hildburg and Tom managed to get out with the aid of English Quakers, but many others of his closest family perished. In England the family eventually built a new life at Woodbrooke, the Quaker college in Birmingham.

‘Before going up to Oxford, Braun did his National Service. As a conscientious objector, he spent two years with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit. For six months, he worked for the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (later Oxfam), whose offices were tantalisingly just across the road from his future college. He went to Cephalonia to help with the building of a school after the devastating 1953 earthquake and spent a year as a hospital orderly in Woolwich.

‘He found his spiritual home at Oxford. After taking a double first in classics at Balliol, he moved to Merton for three years of postgraduate study. After a year at Leicester University, he was appointed Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Merton in 1963. He was appointed to a senior research fellowship in 1999 and retired in 2002.

‘Braun had a wide interest in the preservation of cultural heritage. Best known perhaps was his role in the successful campaign to prevent a road being built across Christ Church Meadow in the 1960s. Other concerns included the threatened ancient Christian communities in the Near East, the encouragement of learning in Eastern Europe before and after the collapse of communism, and the preservation of his own family’s fascinating history. He was unstinting in his help to scholars all over the world and children loved his word-games and sense of fun.

‘Braun never learnt to drive. It was quite common for friends and former pupils to drive him and they did so gladly. On an excursion with friends, he was involved in a major road accident on 22 August and died from his injuries in hospital a month later.’


Too late to watch but too good to pass by was a TV drama broadcast on BBC 4 on 14 February entitled ‘New Town’. The advance publicity described this as a ‘drama set in Edinburgh’s New Town area where starry architects Purves and Pekkala are offered the chance to redesign a Georgian church; but when the head of Scottish Heritage falls from the church tower in a mysterious accident, it becomes a question of whether he fell or was pushed.’!

We will avoid speculating about possible motives and culprits and instead move on to corrections. First Salon 206 forgot to mention that Paul Belford, Director of Ironbridge Archaeology, is a Fellow, but in any event it seems that Salon was premature in announcing the publication of Heritage Handbook that Paul has co-authored with John Carmen and Fellow John Schofield. Despite the fact that Amazon has sent three emails to Salon’s editor in recent weeks announcing the imminent publication of the book, John says it is still in preparation and will not be available for at least another year (he does, though, have another book just published by Springer: details can be found in ‘Books by Fellows’ below).

Fellow Richard Rastal points out that Salon’s report on the preservation of digital and online records, the subject of an article in the Observer recently by Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, was doubly incorrect in referring to her as ‘Ms Brindley’, as Brindley is her married name and she has been Dame Lynne for nearly a year now. And, as is very often the case, whatever the item of news, there is usually a Fellow of our Society involved in some important way: no sooner has Dame Lynne made the case for preserving websites and email correspondence for future historians than an announcement reaches Salon’s desk saying that our Fellow William Kilbride has been appointed Executive Director of the Digital Preservation Coalition, a not-for-profit membership organisation whose primary objective is to raise awareness of the importance of the preservation of digital material and the attendant strategic, cultural and technological issues (for further information, see the DPC’s website.

Salon mis-spelled the name of Frederick Douglass in the title of the paper — ‘The Archaeology of Frederick Douglass’ — to be given by Professor Mark Leone at St John’s College, Oxford, on 17 March 2009 (further details from our Fellow Dan Hicks.

Naively, Salon 206 also followed the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey in describing the Chapter House, on which English Heritage is to spend £2 million restoring the exterior, as twelfth century in date. As Fellow Philip Dixon points out, the Chapter House was begun around 1250 and finished about 1254, so unless the scheme is to demolish the present structure and restore its predecessor, it is thirteenth century.

Mention of Darwin and earthworms elicited much comment. Fellow Paul Stamper contrasted the treatment of Down House, well looked after by English Heritage and nominated a World Heritage Site, with the current state of The Mount, in Shrewsbury, built by Dr Robert Darwin in the 1790s on a fine site overlooking Shrewsbury where Darwin was born and where he spent his formative early years. The outhouse laboratory survives where he and his brother Erasmus experimented with the ‘bangs and smells’ experiments that earned him the nickname ‘Stinks’ at Shrewsbury School. ‘The Mount currently languishes as District Valuers’ accommodation’, writes Paul, ‘with classic 1960s chipboard partitions, boarded-up fireplaces and woodchip. But they are very welcoming to visitors who blunder across this most significant of places, and the Darwin Birthplace Society is working hard to achieve its vision of preserving the house'.

The note on Darwin and Surrey earthworms reminded Fellow David Taylor of a letter in the Lushington family archive which he is helping to catalogue in connection with his doctoral research on Vernon Lushington. Vernon and Jane Lushington, whose country home was in Cobham, Surrey, were close friends of Darwin’s daughter Henrietta (‘Etty’) and her husband, Richard Litchfield. The Lushingtons were also regular visitors to Down House. In November 1881 Etty wrote to Jane Lushington that her father was ‘much pleased with the success of his Earthworms book’. David adds that in 1930 Sotheby’s sold a collection of books which had formerly belonged to Lushington. These included a first edition of The Descent of Man inscribed by the author.

Fellow Chris Evans tells us all to look out for an Antiquity special section in June 2009 to mark the ‘great anniversaries’ of 1859 (Atkinson’s 1957 paper in Antiquity on ‘Worms and Weathering’ being, of course, the first archaeological assessment of Darwin’s worm researches). Fellow Colin Renfrew has contributed the overview, and the June issue will include papers on Evans and Prestwich’s adjudication of the Abbeville axes (Gamble and Kruszynski), on the discovery of a series of paintings commissioned by Lubbock illustrating the ‘savagery’ of prehistoric life and the staged ‘survival of the fittest’ evolutionism of social Darwinism (Murray) and his own paper on ‘Darwin’s Archaeology’ (including his site-based earthworm investigations).

Fellow Mark Milburn points out that it is in Germany that graves are often reused after twenty years, not in Italy, as reported in Salon 206; he also shares with Salon readers the anecdotes of a friend of his who looks after a churchyard where the Vicar wanted to ‘call a full committee meeting’ to discuss maintenance: ‘we don’t need meetings’, he said, ‘just a few folk willing to do some hard graft’. His friend adds that he thought he was in for trouble when, having removed a self-sown holly tree that threatened a grave, he saw a lady approaching; all she wanted to do was to say ‘thank you’, as it turned out.

Mark also highlights the article on rock art that was published in the Telegraph on 15 January, promoting the rock art database held by the Archaeology Database Service. Mark highlights the far from favourable comments of readers: leaving aside the one who thought that ‘English Heritage [was] busy allowing volunteers to scour the moorlands for fossils’, most felt that publishing the results of the rock art survey would only encourage theft and vandalism, and that ‘publishing this sort of thing will encourage the wrong people to scour the hills for trophies which will disappear onto someone’s sideboard or rockery’.

In amplification of Norman Hammond’s discussion of body ‘enhancement’ amongst the Maya, Fellow Clemency Coggins points out that babies who had boards strapped to their still soft skulls while infants were unlikely to suffer pain as a consequence, whereas tooth drilling was an entirely different matter: all that the Maya would have had by way of analgesic would be fermented fruit or vegetables, hallucinogens — or a knock on the head!

Finally, via Chris Hauer Jr, also of our American Fellowship, comes news of plans by the Archaeological Institute of America to celebrate Indiana Jones for ‘popularizing the importance of studying and preserving the past, and helping to foster a whole new generation of archaeologists’. Apparently, the actor Harrison Ford does a huge amount off screen to support archaeology and ‘has worked tirelessly to convey the importance of understanding the past in order to become better citizens of our global community’. The Institute plans to thank him by means of a gala to be held on 28 April 2009 in New York. Chris adds that Bruce Springsteen (quoted in the last issue of Salon) seems to be from a similar mould: ‘It is nice to discover a pop entertainer who is literate, sensitive, appreciates history and holds admirable political views’, says Chris.

News of Fellows

Fellow Ian Friel is one of two new members appointed to posts on the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites (ACHWS) that were recently advertised in Salon. Ian brings his expertise in naval and maritime history to the four-year appointment (2009 to 2012). Dr Friel is a freelance historian, writer and museum consultant who has published widely on maritime history, including the books The Good Ship: ships, shipbuilding and technology in England 1200—1520 (1995) and The British Museum Maritime History of Britain and Ireland c 400—2001 (2003). The other new member of the committee is Jane Maddocks, who represents recreational divers, and currently serves as a member of the Joint Archaeology Policy Committee and of the British Sub Aqua Club’s National Diving Committee advising on wreck-diving policy.

The ACHWS was set up to advise Department of Culture ministers on the suitability of wreck sites to be designated and protected on historical, archaeological, or artistic grounds, in accordance with the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. It also advises on the issue of licences for the surveillance and excavation of designated sites by named individuals, and recommends the conditions to be attached to such licences, as well as other general underwater archaeology issues which may affect historic wrecks within UK waters.

Dr Howard Williams, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester, recently appeared in the Channel 4 TV series on ‘Christianity: a history’, which charted the survival of Christianity in the Celtic West and Ireland, the warrior pagan religion of the Anglo-Saxons, Celtic Christianity and the resurgent Roman Christianity that arrived with St Augustine in 597.

Dr Williams was involved in the programme as an expert in the archaeology of the pagan Anglo-Saxons and their conversion to Christianity, but he has also been conducting research into the effectiveness of archaeology in creating links between communities and their sense of the past. Rather disappointingly, Howard suggests that community archaeology projects are only partially successful in fostering social inclusivity and a sense of place; having studied two key projects — the Museum of London-led excavation of Victorian tenements destroyed by World War Two bombing at Shoreditch in London, and a rural project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, in Stokenham, Devon — he and co-researcher Faye Simpson, Visiting Research Associate at the University of Chester, have concluded that archaeology projects carried out by members of the public in partnership with professionals do not have any lasting impact in educating people about the past and creating a sense of local identity, and that a principal failure of community archaeology is that communities do not gain a sense of ownership that lets them continue to explore the past through archaeology once the professionals have left.

Anyone interested in following this up can find the research published in the journal Public Archaeology (Simpson, F and Williams, H 2008. ‘Evaluating community archaeology in the UK’, Public Archaeology 7 (2), 69—90), which can be downloaded from Dr Williams’s Chester University web page, where you can also find details of his recent excavations of a Viking boat grave at Skamby, Östergötland, Sweden.

Fellow Matthew Bennett reports that 2008 has been a kind of annus mirabilis as he found himself invited to lecture abroad on several occasions. In May he visited Hungary to give the keynote address, ‘Warfare in Europe and the Crusades’, at an event organised by the Military History Institute in Budapest, dedicated to the 550th anniversary of the great Renaissance prince, Matthias Corvinus (1458—90). This was followed by a lecture on ‘Practical chivalry in the fifteenth century’ at the Central European University, in Budapest, on the strength of which he was invited to return to address the CEU Summer School in July to lecture on ‘Crusading warfare’.

In September Matthew presented a paper on ‘The experience of civil populations during the Hundred Years’ War in France’ at the 34th Congress of the International Commission for Military History, held in Trieste, and in November, he travelled to Spain for the first of three annual symposia to consider ‘The conduct of warfare 950—1350’ at the University of Extramadura at Caceres, speaking on ‘The meaning of medieval cavalry’ (the title refers to misunderstanding and exaggeration of the role of the knight). Next year Matthew returns to discuss the topic on military strategy from the point of view of mainly Norman sources, as regards the conquest of England, southern Italy and the Crusades.

Angus Buchanan was interested in Lawrence Keppie’s account of events at Ligonier, Pennsylvania, for the 250th anniversary of the fort built in 1758 and named after Sir John Ligonier, because he and his wife Dr Brenda Buchanan have made a similar journey. Angus writes that ‘the track cut during the Seven Years’ War (1756—63) by General John Forbes through virgin forests to the Ohio River was equipped with forts at roughly thirty-mile intervals. These were named “Loudon”, “Lyttleton”, “Bedford”, “Ligonier” and “Pitt”, after prominent British public figures, of whom the last two were both MPs for Bath. In 1995 I accompanied my wife, Dr Brenda Buchanan, on a visit to the town of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, where she had been invited to give a lecture to a Town Meeting in the Fort on Sir John Ligonier, Knight of Bath. She took with her a present from the Mayor of Bath to his counterpart in Ligonier, and we returned with gifts to Bath. We travelled south from Ligonier, visiting the hastily constructed “Fort Necessity”, where Washington fought a successful rearguard action, and the monument to and woodland grave of General Braddock, who had been killed on an earlier expedition. We also visited the dramatic house built by Frank Lloyd Wright at Falling Water.

‘General Ligonier was a Huguenot refugee who had come to Britain as a boy at the end of the seventeenth century and served an outstandingly successful career in the British Army, rising to become Commander-in-Chief and Master General of the Board of Ordnance during the Seven Years’ War. There is a fine portrait of him in The French Hospital, La Providence, Rochester [also mentioned in Salon 206 in “Books by Fellows”]. This year we hope to complete our journey along the Forbes Road by visiting Fort Pitt in Pittsburgh, where we plan to attend the annual conference of SHOT, the American Society for the History of Technology, at which we both intend to present papers (SHOT awarded me its Leonardo da Vinci Medal in 1989).’


20 March 2009: ‘Recent archaeological research into the manufacture of glass in the British Isles’
This study day, to be held at The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1, is hosted by the Association for the History of Glass. Topics include the earliest glass in Roman London, the glass of John Thornton, glazier of the Great East Window of York Minster and surveys of the glass industries of the Weald, Manchester and Salford, Birmingham, Bristol, Dudley and Stourbridge and Hightown Glassworks, Castleford, West Yorkshire. Further details from Hon Sec Sandra Davison.

25 March 2009, 6pm for 6.30pm: ‘Madox Brown, Hicks, and Clausen: the construction site in Victorian high art’
This intriguing topic is the subject of a paper to be given at the Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2, by Malcolm Dunkeld, lecturer at London’s South Bank University on architectural/construction history. Rather than looking purely at the aesthetics of paintings that depict construction sites, Malcolm Dunkeld has been asking what they tell us about the building process, whether they are convincing representations of construction work in progress. He will consider three paintings in detail: Work by Madox Brown (1852—62), The Sinews of Old England by Hicks (1857) and Clausen’s A Spring Morning, Haverstock Hill (1881). Places must be booked in advance by contacting Beth Kingston, Education Manager at the Sir John Soane’s Museum.

25 April 2009: Conference on medieval Grantham, Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham
The Medieval Grantham Conference will include papers on post-medieval houses by Dr Beryl Lott, St Wulfram’s Church by John Maddison, FSA, religious houses in Grantham by Dr Glyn Coppack, FSA, The Oratory, The Apple Cross and Bishop Fox, by David Stocker, FSA, The Angel and Royal, by Philip Dixon, FSA, and some preliminary thoughts on the development of the medieval town by Fellows David Start and David Stocker. Further details from the Heritage Lincolnshire website.

1 and 2 May 2009: ‘Roman latrines and cesspit toilets in the north-western provinces of the Roman Empire’, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Apparently archaeologists know quite a bit about toilets and associated rituals in the Roman Mediterranean, but not in the north-west provinces, because the resulting cess pits are often mistaken for rubbish pits. This corrective conference will look at private, public and semi-public military toilets, their construction and use, location and bio-archaeological content. For further information please contact

18 July to 2 August 2009: Festival of British Archaeology
The ‘Festival of British Archaeology’ is the new name for National Archaeology Week, the annual nationwide event which encourages people to get involved in archaeology through specially organised events, and which has been celebrated and supported by hundreds of heritage organisations since its outset in 1990. Co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology, it is entirely reliant on the participation and support of groups, societies and organisations around the UK. The CBA is now calling on potential participants to plan for participation in the 2009 event and to register using the documentation and guidelines that can be found on the festival website.

22—27 September 2009: Across the North Sea: later historical archaeology in Britain and Denmark c AD 1500—2000
To be held in Odense, Denmark, this conference on post-medieval archaeology in Britain and Denmark is being hosted jointly by the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (SPMA), the University of Southern Denmark, Odense City Museums and the City Museum of Copenhagen. A call for papers has been issued. Looking further ahead, the SPMA’s conference of 14—20 June 2010 will be held in St John’s, Newfoundland, and the conference will highlight early European exploitation of the New World, to mark the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the Cupers Cove Plantation in Newfoundland by Bristol merchant John Guy — the first English colony in what is now Canada. Again, the call for papers can be seen on the SPMA website.

Books by Fellows

Recognised as one of the UK’s leading experts on the study of human remains, our Fellow Charlotte Roberts, Professor of Archaeology at Durham University, has distilled her immense knowledge into a new handbook called Human Remains in Archaeology, published as the nineteenth in the Council for British Archaeology’s excellent Practical Handbook series. The whole point of this series is to give thoroughly practical guidance for people who are not experts, and in this the new book succeeds admirably, with clear diagrams and text on all aspects of the excavation, conservation, storage and curation of human remains. But the book goes well beyond this by considering ethical issues (including the display of human remains in museums and on television) and consideration of the legal requirements associated with the excavation of human remains in different parts of the UK.

Perhaps for many readers, though, the meat of the book lies in what the author tells us about the information to be obtained from human remains, from simple data, such as the sex, height and age at death of the individual concerned, to pathological lesions that can inform us about lifestyle and disease, to more advanced methodological developments, including stable isotope and ancient DNA analyses.

Roberta Tomber’s new book, Indo-Roman Trade: from pots to pepper, in the accessible and modestly priced Duckworth Debates in Archaeology series, edited by our Fellow Richard Hodges (), is a thorough investigation of pottery finds from India and Indian Ocean ports that have been interpreted in the past as evidence of Indo-Roman trade. Indeed, Roberta confirms that to be the case, but asks how direct that trade was, showing that the ceramics in fact represent trade through a complex network of Roman, Arab, Sasanian and Indian ports and merchants, in which ordinary goods were carried alongside such costly items as pepper, aromatics and gems. The evidence shows the interplay between these different ethnic groups, where they lived, when the trade was active, and even how it was organised from the first century BC to the seventh century AD.

David Meara, Rector of St Bride’s Church in Fleet Street, and President of the Monumental Brass Society, as well as a Fellow of our own Society, has produced a book that reminds us that memorials in brass are not all a product mainly of the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries: Modern Memorial Brasses 1880—2001 is concerned with the significant revival in the craft of memorial brass design and manufacture that began in the nineteenth century and that continues to this day. The handsomely made book with 196 plates covers the rise and decline of brasses during the medieval and post-Reformation periods, the firms that revived the craft in the nineteenth century and the history of the trade within the context of the ecclesiological developments of the period, examples of the work of individual designers and engravers and the general decline that occurred during the twentieth century in the use of memorials for commemoration within church buildings. The special introductory price of £28 includes post and packing (full price £35) and orders can be placed with Shaun Tyas Publishing, 1 High Street, Donington, Spalding PE11 4TA.

On 12 February 2009, our Fellows Dora Thornton and Timothy Wilson presented a paper to a packed meeting of the Society in which Timothy discussed the formation (especially in the 1850s) of the British Museum’s collection of Italian maiolica and the factors which led to it becoming one of the world’s great maiolica collections, with a strong emphasis on documentary pieces, and Dora presented three recent BM acquisitions of French faience made in the Italian tradition to add to that collection, discussing these documentary pieces in their cultural context. Their paper also marked the publication of their joint work, Italian Renaissance Ceramics: a catalogue of the British Museum collection, the definitive account of one of the most important collections of its type in the world. In two volumes, each of some 400 pages packed with colour photographs, the authors provide details of some 500 objects, including mailoica, incised slipware and the rare and coveted ‘Medici porcelain’ made in the ground-breaking Grand Ducal workshop in Florence in the late sixteenth century.

Particular attention has been given to patronage (the collection includes works made for such eminent Renaissance patrons as Pope Leo X, Isabella d’Este and Francesco Guicciardini), to the relationship with painting and the other arts of Renaissance Italy, and to the history of collecting and the role of the British Museum collection in developing the international study of the subject. The catalogue entries also incorporate the results of a long and detailed programme of scientific analysis of the clays used by Renaissance potters, also drawing upon the latest archaeological finds in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

The subject of The White Tower, edited by Fellow Edward Impey (), has been part of the London cityscape for nearly 1,000 years; it is also one of the most complete eleventh-century palaces in Europe and this book is a thorough architectural, archaeological and historical study of the building and its context, integrating recent archaeological evidence with documentary research in order to trace the building’s structural development, its original and subsequent functions and its architectural and historical significance.

Defensive structures of a more recent period are the subject of Fellow John Schofield’s book, Aftermath: readings in the archaeology of recent conflict. Written by one of the most prominent scholars in the growing field of conflict and battlefield archaeology, the book offers an overview of current research in the field, not all of which is easy to find elsewhere. As John himself candidly admits in the British Archaeology magazine (Jan/Feb 2009), writing about his archaeological work at Greenham Common, this is a field of study still struggling for legitimacy, like much archaeological work dealing with near-contemporary material, and grant applications for work in this field are often met with puzzlement (‘So, let me get this right: you are asking for money to find bottle tops, crisp bags and baked bean tins?’). Yet as John shows, his work at Greenham Common Peace Camp is in the same illuminating tradition as much work carried out by ethnographers, such as Lewis Binford, and it results in a record much more detailed, subtle and complete than would have otherwise survived.

The high regard in which our late Fellow Patrick Wormald was held by his colleagues is indicated in the publication by Ashgate of Early Medieval Studies in Memory of Patrick Wormald, edited by Stephen Baxter, Catherine Karkov, Janet Nelson and our Fellow David Pelteret. Patrick Wormald is credited with inspiring a generation of historians and students of Anglo-Saxon and Frankish politics, law, language, literature and religion, and the book reflects his interests, with many Fellows amongst the contributors, namely John Blair, Nicholas Brooks, James Campbell, Sarah Foot, Simon Keynes, Eamonn Ó Carragáin, Joanna Story, Alan Thacker, Barbara Yorke and David Pelteret (for a full list of papers and authors, see the publisher’s website; the massive 602-page work costs £85, but £76.50 if ordered online).

Cultural Heritage and the Working Class: call for papers

Laurajane Smith and Gary Campbell (University of York) and Paul Shackel (University of Maryland) are the editors of a forthcoming volume in the new series from Routledge called ‘Key Issues in Cultural Heritage’, and they are keen to hear from potential contributors to a volume that will highlight the heritage of working people, communities and organisations. Abstracts are required by 31 March 2009. Further information from Laurajane Smith.


The Chapter of Hereford Cathedral: Cathedral Archaeologist
Closing date 6 March 2009; interviews 19 March 2009

The Cathedral Chapter wishes to appoint a Cathedral Archaeologist to succeed our Fellow Ron Shoesmith and to take up the post at Easter 2009 as professional adviser on all matters for which the Chapter has archaeological responsibility as required by The Care of Cathedrals Measure 1990. Applicants should hold graduate or post-graduate qualifications in archaeology or a related subject, have proven experience in the study and understanding of historic buildings, in particular with regard to church archaeology, be able to organise and carry out small-scale programmes of archaeological recording and excavation and be conversant with legislation which impinges on archaeological work.

The post-holder will be required to attend meetings of the Fabric Advisory Committee which take place four times a year, usually in the mornings. A retainer of £1,500 per annum plus travelling expenses will be paid for attendance at FAC meetings and one Chapter meeting per annum. Additional visits and other work to be carried out at an agreed daily/hourly rate plus expenses. For further details and an application form, please tel: 01432 374212 or email: