The full programme of meetings to 17 December 2009 can be viewed on the Calendar of Weekly Meetings page of the Societys website.
The next meeting takes place on 5 November 2009, when Simon Thurley, FSA, will give this years joint All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group lecture on The Cloister and the Hearth: understanding medieval palaces. Our meeting for that day will be held in the Macmillan Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, at 6pm for 6.30pm. The lecture is free, but numbers are limited. Fellows should contact Jola Zdunek, the Societys Administrative Assistant (tel: 020 7479 7080) to book a ticket.
By way of a preview of the content of his paper, Simon Thurley writes: In 1536 Henry VIII passed an act of parliament legally unifying the palaces of Westminster and Whitehall. Both these buildings were known by their great halls, the visual and symbolic centrepiece of any great medieval house. Yet in the 1540s Henry VIII added to Whitehall a vast cloister which was to visually dominate the important parts of the palace; perhaps more obviously than the White Hall itself. This addition, built as royal commissioners were demolishing the cloisters at Fountains and Rievaulx Abbeys, was in a long tradition of cloister-building in medieval palaces: a tradition that started at Westminster under King Edward III and was adopted by all the great ecclesiastical statesmen from the fourteenth century. To understand why this was so it is necessary to examine the role of liturgy in the life of the great households of medieval England. In doing so it becomes increasingly clear that the secular and religious lives of the household were inseparable and that the parts of the buildings used by church and state were likewise entwined.
On 12 November 2009, at the Societys Finds and Exhibits meeting, material from the spectacular Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard will be presented to Fellows by staff of the Portable Antiquities Scheme for discussion.
On 19 November 2009, Tim Williams, FSA, will talk about 2,500 years on the Silk Roads of Central Asia: research and management at ancient Merv.
On 26 November 2009, Caroline Knight, FSA, will give a paper on The Country Houses of Greater London: past and present.
On 27 November 2009, the Society will host a colloquium to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the excavation by the Society of Antiquaries of the Roman town of Silchester under the title Silchester, the Society of Antiquaries and Urbanism in Britain: Iron Age to early medieval. There are only thirty places left, so if you would like to attend, please contact the Society to reserve a place and send a cheque for £15 per person made out to the Society of Antiquaries of London.
The Society will publish two major new reference works on heraldry on 18 November 2009. Invitations to the launch, to be held at Burlington House at 6pm, have been sent out, but might not have arrived during this period of postal strikes, so if you would like to attend and have not had an invitation, please send your name to the Society so that we know how many guests to expect.
Heraldic Badges in England and Wales is an important four-volume work on the hitherto neglected subject of the heraldic badges that were in contrast to coats of arms, whose use was strictly regulated freely adopted from the late Middle Ages by individuals for their own use, and later worn as badges of livery by dependants and retainers. They occur in a wide variety of contexts on clothing, furnishings, armour, standards, horse trappings, uniforms, seals, plate and monuments, for example and this first comprehensive overview of the subject is long overdue as an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand the meaning of these important and ubiquitous commemorative devices. The author, Michael Powell Siddons, FSA, was appointed Wales Herald Extraordinary in 1994 and has won plaudits for many of his heraldic works; he was awarded the Paul Adam-Even Prize of the Académie Internationale dHéraldique for his recently completed four-volume work on The Development of Welsh Heraldry.
The Dictionary of British Arms Volume III, by Thomas Woodcock, FSA, and Sarah Flower, is another reference source of great value to anyone seeking to identify British coats of arms. Whereas many reference sources assume that you know the surname of the owner, the arms in this work are arranged alphabetically according to their designs (though there is also a surnames index), so it does not assume a detailed prior knowledge of heraldry and can be used to identify the individuals or institutions whose arms occur on tombs, monuments, seals, textiles, metalwork, glass and many other medieval artefacts.
Thomas Woodcock is Norroy and Ulster King of Arms at the College of Arms and was joint editor of the previous two volumes of the Dictionary of British Arms, copies of which are available from the Societys distributors, Heraldry Today while Sarah Flower has worked at the College of Arms since 2004.
Fellows are able to order both books at a discount: fliers will be sent out with the next issue of Fellowship News, and copies will be distributed in December 2009.
New and updated information relating to the Societys research grants has been posted on the Societys website. In many cases, the deadline for applications is Friday 8 January 2010.
New this year is the Margaret and Tom Jones Fund for fieldwork and research, set up as a result of a generous bequest from the estate of the late Mrs M U Jones, FSA, and worth up to £10,500 in 2010, as one or a number of awards, depending on the applications received by the Societys Research Committee. First priority will be given to applications relating to excavations at Mucking, Essex, between 1965 and 1978. Otherwise applications pertaining to the following research themes will be considered for funding: British landscape archaeology of the periods covered in the Mucking excavation (Neolithic to post-medieval); projects relating to the methodology for the field investigation, excavation or analysis of large sites or landscapes. For further details see the Margaret and Tom Jones Fund page on the Societys website.
The Society is also very pleased to be able to distribute further research bursaries on behalf of the Headley Trust, which has made £20,000 available to support British archaeology in 2010 and 2011. The emphasis of the scheme is to bring important new discoveries to full academic publication within a defined and agreed schedule. Those working in the independent and commercial sectors of British archaeology are particularly encouraged to apply. Full details can be found on the Research Bursary page of the Societys website.
At the last UK general election, heritage featured in just one of the party manifestos: that of the Green Party. That the situation might be different in May 2010 was signalled by a major policy speech that Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative Shadow Culture Secretary, made to leading figures from the heritage sector on 28 October 2009 in which he emphasised that heritage plays a key role in modern Conservative thinking. He argued that heritage under Labour had been ignored, derided and deconstructed. Labours attitude to the past, he said, had been black and white: either you value the past; or you value the future. Conservatives, on the other hand, have always valued the thread that leads from the past to the future … our extraordinary history and deep-rooted heritage are intrinsic to British culture, core to our very character as a nation.
Having drawn a line between the two parties, he went on to outline several Conservative party reforms. First, the National Lottery will be returned to its four original pillars [when set up by the National Lottery Act of 1993, these were sport, the arts, heritage and charities/voluntary bodies; since then Lottery funds have also been used to contribute towards the costs of the 2012 Olympics]. Jeremy Hunt did not say whether each of the four would receive an equal share of Lottery profits under his regime (currently the Big Lottery Fund (charities/voluntary bodies) receives 50 per cent, and the other three share the remainder) but he did say that the measure would give the Heritage Lottery Fund an additional £40m a year to distribute.
Except that, with his next breath, he announced the extinction of the HLF at least as an independent body. Referring to his desire to see the cost of distributing Lottery proceeds cut from around 8 per cent to a maximum of 5 per cent of the total distributed, he said that we need to ask whether English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund should exist as separate grant-giving entities. The Arts and Sports world manage with one, and, by HLFs own figures, combining their functions with EH would save £7 million. What he did not address was the fact that HLFs remit covers four nations to EHs one, and includes natural heritage and museums, libraries and archives the responsibilities of Natural England and the MLA, rather than English Heritage. One wonders exactly how such a merger would work in practice and whether fragmenting the HLF really would save costs.
Next he turned to the funding of museums and galleries. Here he proposed the introduction of long-term (possibly three-year) funding agreements that will end the scramble to use unspent budget at the end of the financial year, not to mention the requirement to hand back to the Treasury any funds raised, which means that the National Gallery has to keep its endowment in the US to stop the Treasury getting its hands on it.
Instead, museums and galleries will be allowed to carry funds forward from one year to the next and will be strongly encouraged to create endowment funds, following the example of the US museums sector (which has endowments worth US$14 billion) as a critical buffer against changes in the economic weather.
These, and further fiscal measures to encourage a US-style culture of philanthropy in this country, would form part of a new Museums and Heritage Bill to be introduced if the Conservative Party forms the next Government. The bill would also include key elements of the Heritage Protection Reform contained in the Heritage Protection Bill … [namely] reducing the bureaucracy of the current system by establishing a single system for designating heritage buildings, monuments and landscapes, introducing a fairer and more transparent online decision making and greater local decision-making.
During questioning from an audience keen for more detail, the Shadow Secretary emphasised two points: first, that whoever wins the next election will have no new money to spend, given that £1 in every £4 raised in tax is going to service the national debt, and thus all new measures will have to be cost-neutral; and second, that he believes firmly in bottom-up heritage support for the Heritage Protection Bill is built on a desire to devolve management of the historic environment on to enlightened local governments who have realised the potential for heritage at the heart of regeneration.
As it happens, the themes of local versus national planning also dominated the debate at an event hosted by English Heritage the previous week. In the past, the Heritage Counts audit report has been launched at a somewhat self-indulgent dinner: enjoyable for the inner circle who were invited, but doing little to promote the conservation message to the world at large. This years launch took a different format, when Martha Kearney, presenter of BBC Radio 4s World at One, played the David Dimbleby role in a heritage version of the BBCs popular Question Time (itself the offspring of BBC Radios long-running Any Questions).
Answering questions from the audience were Culture Secretary, Margaret Hodge, Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, our Fellow Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, journalist and broadcaster Tom Dyckhoff, Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Anthea Case, Chair of Heritage Link.
The large audience that gathered at the RIBA for the occasion included people from fields outside the heritage people such as Elizabeth Simon, for example, of the London Churches Group, which is not (as you might guess) a body set up to protect Londons historic places of worship, but is an ecumenical body devoted to social action among Londons deprived communities. Elizabeths question established what became the dominant theme of the evening: Why, she asked, do our towns and cities continue to be despoiled when there are so many bodies and planning processes set up to protect them?
Like Jeremy Hunt, our Fellow Simon Jenkins blamed central government for interfering in planning issues that ought to be taken at local level. Naturally enough, Baroness Andrews and Margaret Hodge disagreed and said that the planning system was not at fault, but rather the application of it; it is not the case that local planning authorities are good at protecting heritage and national governments bad or vice versa. Baroness Andrews went out of her way to say that, as planning minister, she had worked hard to put protection of the historic environment at the heart of the planning process. We all need to get out there and find the people who are making the decisions and make sure theyve got the evidence and the processes and the information to be confident about making good decisions, she said.
Simon Jenkins reinterpreted this in more journalistic terms: he drew muted cheers of approbation from the audience when he said: You take to the streets! You go for it. If ever there is something that enrages me on the radio it is insulting NIMBYs. Thank God for NIMBYs. If it wasnt for people caring about what happened in their backyard, forget it. My advice is go out there and campaign.
Anthea Case questioned whether the issue was one of local versus national democracy and said: I think part of the problem is not the system; I think it is the power of the purse in relation to developers in particular … Ive seen local authorities almost reduced to the status of rabbits in headlights when faced with the thought that developers were going to bombard them with planning applications. So I think there is a real question about where the balance of power lies. Does it lie with money or does it lie with local democracy?
Anthea also pointed out that campaigning tended to work well when there was a specific threat to a specific building that people want to protect, but that it was much more difficult to bring people together to agree on a document setting out what it is that makes a place special, and that needs to be enhanced and preserved as the basis for planning decisions.
And so the arguments batted to and fro, until the evening ended on the traditional lighter note, but still not far from the same theme when our Fellow Jill Channer, Heritage Policy Adviser at the Homes and Communities Agency, asked the panel members to nominate their heritage heroes and villains. Anthea Case said her heroes were the huge army of volunteers who maintain and look after our heritage, John Major for putting heritage into the lottery and Alan Bennett for giving his archive to the nation for nothing. Tom Dyckhoff said his heroes were Roger James and Celia Clark, who run the Portsmouth Society, in Portsmouth. They are an example of what Simon was talking about, NIMBYs, who need to be celebrated. I think NIMBYs are fabulous and wonderful people. Simon Jenkins nominated John Betjeman, who opened my eyes to what is beautiful about the building and the heritage and the city.
As for villains, Jenny Abramsky nominated Beeching for destroying the connections between places, and the things that actually make places thrive and survive, and Margaret Hodge went for Henry VIII who destroyed all the monasteries.
The proceedings were filmed and can be seen on the English Heritage website, from where you can also download a verbatim transcript of the proceedings.
Whether or not the current planning system in the UK is effective in protecting the historic and natural environments is open to discussion, but several organisations are in no doubt that proposed changes to the system are positively harmful. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, for example, has described the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which will start work next March, as a mockery of democracy.
The IPC was set up to bypass local planning authorities and to speed up decision making on developments that are deemed to be in the national interest. It is just such projects that are often the most highly controversial: the first projects to be considered by the IPC next year include two new nuclear power stations, five new wind farms, 50 miles of new overhead pylon lines and a road scheme in Kent. Sir Michael Pitt, the IPCs new chair, said the country needs a more effective means of decision making on national infrastructure, but conservation groups are concerned that key principles of the sixty-year-old planning system are threatened by the IPCs powers.
Meanwhile, as the closing date approaches for comments on the draft Planning Policy Statement 15: Planning for the Historic Environment, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the professional body that represents the planners themselves, has said that it has serious concerns about what it perceives as significant and substantial changes to the planning system embodied in the draft. The RTPI points to clauses in the policy that say the wider social, economic and environmental benefits of the proposed development should be taken into account when listed building consent and conservation area consent are sought to demolish or alter historic buildings. This, says the RTPI, undermines the whole point of PPS 15, rendering it fundamentally flawed and unfit for purpose.
Martin Willey, the RTPIs president, said: This could prove to be a charter for people who want to knock buildings down. This new guidance assumes that heritage stands in the way of development and economic recovery, which is patently untrue. Historic buildings and places are an asset, not a burden. The RIBAs president, Ruth Reed, has also said the new policy would cause more problems than it solves.
In their responses to the PPS 15 draft, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), The Archaeology Forum (TAF) and the Institute for Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) have all expressed serious reservations. Echoing the RTPIs concerns, the IHBC points to inherent failures in determining the future of historic places and structures based on their cultural significance alone as opposed to giving expert consideration to the many other benefits they can bring to society. Following a mammoth consultation across our multi-disciplinary membership, the IHBC concludes that PPS 15 cannot be considered as a document fit for purpose (see its response in full on the IHBC website.
The CBA asks whether the draft provides the intended clarification, consistency and certainty for decision-making that the planning system requires (see its response in full on the CBA website. The CBA and TAF have also called for a concerted campaign to explain, clarify and create confidence [in the PPS] among heritage professionals and the voluntary sector.
English Heritage, by contrast, says that: we strongly support the principles contained in the PPS. It is a modernisation that brings heritage planning guidance in line with wider changes to planning legislation and English Heritages own best-practice … PPS 15 represents a significant leap forward for Englands programme of Heritage Protection Reform … We are confident that there is no loss of protection for the heritage. Having been involved in the drafting of the PPS and the accompanying practice guidance, English Heritage nevertheless feels that the clarity of the PPS text could be improved and promises to put forward suggested modifications in our response to the consultation.
Next time you walk down Piccadilly, take a look at Nos 212, 213 and 214 (on the southern side of the street just after Piccadilly Circus tube station) that is, if they are still there, for very soon the only record of their existence will be a photograph on the website of the Victorian Society, which is campaigning for these handsome buildings of the 1860s and 1870s to be protected from impending demolition. Why are they even threatened at all? These are positive buildings contributing to the architectural and historic character of the St Jamess Conservation Area; as such, there is a presumption against demolition.
Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society, says that Westminsters planning officer recommended that permission be refused because the scheme falls short of planning guidelines; the fact that the committee overruled his recommendation is very worrying. This isnt the first time that Westminsters planning committee has overruled its officers with regard to a key Piccadilly site: the last time they did so we got the ghastly corner block that now looms over Wrens graceful St Jamess Church (and for which, a year after completion, there still do not seem to be any tenants).
Simon Jenkins would say time to take to the streets. But really, why should we have to? Back to Elizabeth Simons original question: why are our elected representatives so unwilling to fulfil their clear duty to serve as custodians and stewards of the historic environment; and why do we let them get away with behaviour that flies in the face of reason, justice, law and democracy surely their refusal to do so is far more harmful and reprehensible than merely fiddling ones expenses, about which the whole world seems to be so incensed.
One body that intends to do something positive about the situation is the Civic Society Initiative (CSI), the body launched by Griff Rhys Jones and Tony Burton on 1 June 2009 following the demise of the Civic Trust, which went into administration in April 2009. Burton and Rhys Jones have set up the CSI to provide a voice for the unique network of over 1,000 civic societies across the country. They believe that a revitalised civic society movement can champion the millions of local people who care about where they live and want to make a difference.
After a summer of consultation with existing Civic Society members, the CSI has published its first report Own the Future which analyses current civic society activities, and outlines the movements potential for defending and celebrating the identity and quality of the places where we all live in the twenty-first century. Launching the report, Tony Burton said: Local communities are fed up with the damage being caused to their streets, buildings and open spaces, and by the lack of respect from too many politicians and policy makers. People are taking more control of their own lives and the power of local communities working together is immense. A revitalised national movement for local civic societies can be in the driving seat of a new politics which respects and responds to community needs and the pride people have in their roots and their identity.
Copies of the report, which includes inspiring examples of civic society activities and campaigns, can be downloaded from the CSIs website website.
Salons less frequent appearance means that there is now only space to touch on a few of the heritage news reports that have been reported in the media since the last issue, but here is a rather breathless romp through some of the more interesting stories (with an emphasis on those involving Fellows) …
… such as Norman Hammond, whose brief report in The Times on 5 October 2009 told the story of a conical iron helmet that caught the attention of Fellow Nicholas Reeves in an antique dealers shop where it bore the label: Viking Helmet found in the River Derwent at Stamford Bridge by D R Lancaster, May 21, 1950. Nicholas (an Egyptologist) consulted Fellow Alan Williams (medieval armour metallurgist at the Wallace Collection in London), who concluded that the style of the helmet was consistent with an early medieval date, and the low-carbon iron from which it was made was typical of iron artefacts any time from the Iron Age to the Civil War. To help pin down the provenance more precisely, Nicholas would like to hear from anyone able to confirm the circumstances of the helmets discovery. For the moment the helmet remains in secure storage, but Dr Reeves says: If its what I suspect, then it belongs in a museum (photographs can be seen on the Societys website.
A similar story involving the detective work of Fellows (including John Goodall, Simon Thurley, Sir Roy Strong and Ralph Hyde) appeared in the Daily Telegraph, this time involving the return to Hampton Court Palace of two kyngs beestes early sixteenth-century heraldic leopards carved in Taynton stone that might have originally been made for Hampton Court or Nonesuch Palace. That they survived at all is down to the builder who rescued them from a Surrey pub in the 1980s when the pub manager was about to break them up with a sledgehammer so that they would fit more easily into a skip during the pubs re-fit.
The builder, Andy Delahunty, took them home in his van and they subsequently travelled to France when Delahunty and his family moved there to opened a campsite: the beasts became a feature of the campsite bar, where children liked to climb over them. Eventually Delahunty sent pictures to various experts, including Ralph Hyde, who showed them to John Goodall (Ralph Hyde says it was the only time hed ever seen John Goodall astonished) and eventually the beasts were acquired for the newly refurbished State Apartments at Hampton Court, positioned beneath the Minstrels Gallery in the Great Hall, flanking the two main entrances to the room. According to Jonathan Foyle, former Hampton Court archaeologist, the beasts are evidence that English sculptors of the early sixteenth century were not by any means inferior to their Italian counterparts.
Speaking of Hampton Court, Fellow Lucy Worsley, todays Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, has an entertaining website in which she shares her experiences of a hectic working life, which one moment involves all the pomp and formality of the installation of General Sir Richard Dannatt as 159th Constable of the Tower of London and the next sees Lucy speaking at the VCH Englands Past For Everyone conference in Bristol and witnessing some very freaky archaeological dancing at the Friday night disco. Lucy has just finished a book about Kensington Palace, and she came across an Elizabethan prayer by Thomas Bentley during her research, which was written as a prayer for those yet to be born but that Lucy feels applies equally to nascent books: Grant we beseech thee to all infants [books] yet unborn, that, knit together with their due veins and members, they may come forth into this world sound and perfect without fault or deformity.
Jonathan Foyle is now Director of the UK office of the World Monuments Fund which last month announced its biannual Watch List, designed to draw attention to cultural heritage around the world that is threatened by neglect, vandalism, conflict or disaster. Six of the ninety-three endangered sites on the list are in the UK or Republic of Ireland: Shobdon Church (Herefordshire), Sheerness Dockyard (Kent), the Tecton Buildings at Dudley Zoological Gardens (Worcestershire), Edinburghs Historic Graveyards, Russborough House, Co Wicklow, Ireland, and Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Each represents compelling issues and opportunities, says Jonathan. Read about these on the WMF UK website and see the entire 2009/2010 list on the WMFs international site.
A new public monument was unveiled at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, last month in the shape of a 70-foot-long mural by the artist Quentin Blake (best known for his illustrations for Roald Dahls books), commissioned to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge. Blakes mural depicts famous alumni from the past, amongst whom is Dorothy Garrod, FSA, appointed Disney Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge in 1939 and the first woman to hold an Oxbridge chair. Dorothy is shown digging up the grounds of her college (Newnham), surrounded by pots and bones. Quentin Blakes guide to the mural can be seen on the BBC website; Garrod is at about 2.56 minutes into the video.
The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) has secured £355,746.69 of additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to continue its workplace learning bursary project, founded in 2006 to address archaeological skills gaps following the award of £730,000 from the HLF in 2005. Thirty-two candidates have so far received workplace training built around the National Occupational Standards in Archaeological Practice and more than 90 per cent of bursary holders have gone on to employment within the historic environment sector. The new funding will allow twenty more individuals to take up placements.
The IfA was not the only heritage body to benefit from the HLF training bursaries scheme: an additional £2.85m has been invested by the HLF in 220 training places: thirty-four with the Historic and Botanic Gardens Scheme, twenty with the Institute of Conservation, fifty-six with the Traditional Building Skills for England and Wales Scheme, fifty with the Masonry Conservation in Scotland and Northern Ireland Project, twelve with the Natural Talent Project, run by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), and eighteen with the Herefordshire Nature Trust.
Liberal Democrat Culture Spokesman Don Foster is asking why the Government has still not given copyright libraries the legal power to copy and archive websites and digital literature, such as online scientific research. The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 has yet to come into force: the legislation was heralded in 2003 as evidence that Britain was at the forefront of the digital media revolution and that a vital part of the nations published heritage will be safe, according to Chris Mole, the Labour MP, now junior transport minister, who introduced it as a private members bill. The Act was intended to put digital publications on the same legal footing as books, journals and newspapers. Some digital publications (including Salon) are being archived as a result of voluntary agreements with the British Library, but Phil Spence, head of operations at the British Library, said there would still be huge gaps in the archives for future researchers, scientists and historians.
Teeth are beginning to tell us a lot more about the movements of humans and animals in the past. Dr Gundula Müldner and colleagues from Reading University have tested tooth enamel from 40 individuals from Lankhills Roman cemetery, located just outside Winchester, to see whether the people concerned were indigenous or migrants. Eight so-called Pannonian burials (those buried with ornaments similar to those popular in Pannonia, in the Danube region of central Europe) were tested, twenty from indigenous burials and twelve from graves that were unusual because of the burial position, but without grave goods and not attributable to a specific cultural background.
Far from falling into neat groups, the tooth enamel showed that four individuals from the Pannonian group grew up in the Winchester area; while a quarter of the locals grew up elsewhere and the unusual group also split 75 per cent local, 25 per cent migrant. Dr Müldner concludes that (if late-Roman Winchester is typical) many parts of the Roman Empire had multicultural communities as diverse as many of todays cities and that the objects buried with people dont always mean that they are migrants: ethnicity is constructed throughout life and is not simply determined by where you were born: people might become part of another community and adopt new cultural traditions by intermarriage, for instance, just as in todays globalised world people are moving a lot and adopting different customs all the time.
The tooth enamel from cattle, buried in unusually large quantities in the Bronze Age barrows of Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, and Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire, have been studied by Jacqueline Towers, a PhD student at the University of Bradford, asking whether the cattle came from local herds or were brought from far away as gifts. Publishing the results in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Towers and colleagues say that most of the cattle grazed and lived near their final resting place. The small number of cattle that had come from a different geological region had nevertheless spent several months grazing locally prior to slaughter. The authors of the study conclude that cattle were traded over long distances but that cattle were probably not brought by non-local mourners as tokens to the deceased at least, not for immediate slaughter.
Church bells were in the news last month when a consortium of well-known ringers, senior members of the bell industry and investors came together to form UK Bellfounders Ltd, which successfully bid for John Taylor & Co, one of the UKs two surviving bell founders, which had gone into administration earlier in the year. The company traces its history to the fourteenth century, and has been in the hands of the Taylor family since 1784. It will continue to trade under its historic name from its premises in Freehold Street, Loughborough, Leicestershire, with Mrs Merle Taylor as company president. The companys museum, and its important records, will be placed in a Charitable Heritage Trust and developed as part of the national archive. Further information can be found on the John Taylor website.
The other English bell foundry the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, founded in 1570 was responsible for the restoration of the bells of St Lawrence Church, in Ipswich, which were heard ringing across the Suffolk town again in October for the first time in 20 years, thanks to an £80,000 restoration project carried out by the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust. According to ringer George Pipe, they are the oldest full circle ring of bells in the world, pre-dating the five bells of St Bartholomew in London. The oldest of the bells was cast in the 1450s. Cardinal Wolsey would have heard them as a boy, being an Ipswich man, said Mr Pipe. Our Fellow John Blatchly, the Trusts Chairman (shown on the Daily Telegraph website alongside the restored bells), said that a new glass screen would enable everyone going through the doors of the church to see the bells, which had been hung in a new steel and cast-iron frame, eight metres lower than the previous frame.
Our Fellow Philip Venning, Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, sounded a cautionary note, however: writing to the Daily Telegraph, he argued that the practice of installing new bell frames often involved the destruction of important historic fabric, which the SPAB opposes. A response from Jonathan Stevens of Sweffling in Suffolk accused the SPAB of doing the Church no favours with [its] approach to worn-out bell frames. The frames should be replaced, Mr Stevens argued, because they are the external choir of the church, telling the audience that the Church is alive and there for them all. Where the bells fall silent, the Church can become invisible.
SPAB members (Mills Section) were out in force in mid-October to see the sails put back on Stembridge Tower Mill, newly restored to its former glory, complete with thatched cap, having stood in the village of High Ham on the Somerset Levels since 1822. Now owned by the National Trust, the Grade II* mill stopped working in 1910, but still has its mechanism intact. A photograph of the restored mill can be seen on the Pictures of England website.
The National Trust was also in the news last week for its daring new logo; apparently, in an effort to keep up with the internet age, the charity is dropping its prefix The and jazzing up its oak leaf symbol: the uniform dark green colour will be replaced by a more colourful palette, including blues, purples and pinks.
Those Fellows who have enjoyed visiting the Edinburgh head office of the National Trust for Scotland will be saddened to learn that the building Wemyss House, 28 Charlotte Square has been sold to Fordell Estates, a property investment company, for £8.75m. The sale of the Robert Adam-designed house is part of an effort by the charity to reduce costs and focus on its conservation work. More than 40 full-time jobs have also been lost. The Trust bought Wemyss House for £6 million in 1996 and spent a further £6.6 million on its refurbishment. The charity will move to a canal-side office at Hermiston Quay, west Edinburgh, in October next year. The Trust is now trying to find suitable homes for the important collections that are currently on display at No 28. The charity still owns Nos 5, 6 and 7 Charlotte Square, which are open to the public.
The newly appointed head of the Russell Group of the UKs top universities, Professor Michael Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University, has said in his first speech that he thinks that the UKs annual research budget of £1.5bn should be allocated almost exclusively to the countrys top 20 research-intensive universities. Acknowledging that his remarks would be seen as controversial, Professor Arthur argues that to do otherwise would be to spread the funds so thinly that critical research projects would die. How many research universities do we need? he asked, answering his own question by saying: I dont believe it is 169: I would like to suggest somewhere between twenty-five and thirty.
Equally controversial was the Governments rejection of the recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review, a three-year study led by Professor Robin Alexander, which argues for a more balanced primary school curriculum: art, music, drama, history and geography need to be vigorously reasserted, the report said; it also reports that science has been neglected in favour of the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) since Labours 1998 education strategy was introduced. The Governments instant rejection of the findings of the review was described by Professor Alexander as symptomatic of its high-handed approach to education.
France has been celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Astérix le Gaulois with a whole series of events unimaginable on this side of the Channel; in Paris, 29 October 1959, the date when Astérix first appeared in the magazine Pilote, was marked by costumed street parties, official dinners given by members of the political elite and a flypast courtesy of the aerobatics team of the French air force. Of course, the adventures of Astérix and his friend Obelix are not just being celebrated because the French love archaeology; rather, the appeal lies in the many parallels that readers detect between the story of ancient Gauls resisting Caesars colonial ambitions and the history of France over the last 50 years. As one fond reader put it: Astérix depicts the French as feisty, fun-loving patriots with a culture and spirit of résistance that cant be obliterated, even under duress.
Not all of France approves of the Astérix-fest. Our Fellow Lisa Barber sends news of an exhibition devoted to Astérix at the Musée de Cluny that almost did not go ahead because, according to Le Monde, purists were unhappy at the idea of devoting an exhibition there to little Astérix qui na rien à voir avec le Moyen Age; happily, this opposition was quelled.
Lisa also draws attention to an exhibition in Arles of the treasures found in the Rhone some 18 months ago and reported in Salon at the time, among them the bust of Caesar that one German professor later claimed was not Caesar, but on the basis of a poor photograph. Le Monde quotes Luc Long, the archaeologist who found it, as recognising instantly who it represented, with the words Oh putain! cest César! (by quoting that in French, Salon hopes not to fall foul of inappropriate language spam filters!) For the exhibition catalogue Long has written twenty pages of furious argument justifying his point of view. Caesar aside, Lisa says that the exhibition is of great importance as a summary of twenty years of archaeological work in the River Rhone.
The full text of the lecture and the accompanying PowerPoint presentation of the 2009 CBA Beatrice de Cardi lecture can now be consulted on the CBA website, in which our Fellow, Marilyn Palmer, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester, summarised 50 years of industrial archaeology and argued that the UKs industrial heritage should be better-represented in university teaching. Though the discipline has grown in recognition through the work of volunteers, national agencies and contracting units, resulting in a number of industrial sites being on the UKs World Heritage Site list, there are still very few undergraduate or postgraduate courses which take industrial archaeology into account. The lecture also recognised the pivotal role played by the Council for British Archaeology in establishing the discipline of industrial archaeology in 1959, and the work the organisation carried out throughout the 1960s in establishing a network of volunteers to record many hundreds of buildings under threat.
One of the pioneers of modern Pacific archaeology, Emeritus Professor Roger Curtis Green, died peacefully at his home in New Zealand on 4 October 2009 at the age of 77. Roger was elected an Honorary Fellow of our Society on 9 March 2000. A gathering is planned for those who would like to celebrate Rogers life and his 60 years of research in Oceania and the south-west USA: more information will be published in Salon once this planning has been completed.
Obituaries have been posted on the Societys website and indicate the range of Professor Greens interests. Roger was a true Fellow of our Society in that, although he was best known for his archaeological work in Polynesia and Melanesia, he was equally at home in linguistics and several branches of the natural sciences, and one of his skills was to integrate findings from diverse disciplines. In his tribute to Roger, his former colleague, Professor Emeritus Andrew Pawley, of the Australian National University, describes him as an academic entrepreneur and initiator of interdisciplinary projects in which there were archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, ethnobotanical and other strands.
He also made enormous contributions as a teacher, mentor and backer (in matters of grant-getting) to countless younger scholars. One of those is Peter Sheppard, Associate Professor in Archaeology at the University of Auckland, who writes about his work with Roger on aspects of Solomon Islands archaeology. Peter concludes his tribute by calling Roger the father and grandfather of archaeology and anthropology at the University of Auckland.
Roger was the first recipient of a James Cook Fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand, which is also planning a tribute to Roger that will focus on his scientific work. Archaeopedia, a superb online resource for Pacific Archaeologists, modelled on Wikipedia, has a comprehensive profile of Rogers life and work, and in true Antipodean style, there is even a poetic tribute an Ode to the Real Oceanic Archaeologist penned by our Fellow Lisa Matisoo Smith.
The Society has also learned that our Fellow Alan Deyermond, former Professor of Hispanic Studies, died on 19 September 2009, at the age of 77. Alan was the most prominent scholar of medieval Hispanic literature in recent decades, author of A Literary History of Spain: the Middle Ages (1971), now in its nineteenth edition and used by generations of university students and scholars around the world in its English and Spanish versions. Obituaries for Professor Deyermond were recently published in the Guardian and The Times and can be read on the Societys website.
Although she was not a Fellow, many of us did know Vanessa Brand, who died suddenly after a short illness at the end of September, and many Fellows were among those who attended her funeral at Christchurch, Spitalfields, London, on 8 October 2009. Vanessa worked for the GLC Historic Buildings Division before joining English Heritage as their first Buildings at Risk Officer, and eventually became Head of Publications. When she moved to the then Department of National Heritage, she was responsible for the oversight of several agencies, including the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. In more recent times she was Head of Policy at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, before working for the Olympic Delivery Authority.
As ever, Salons editor was caught napping on a couple of occasions in the last issue of Salon. The seventeenth-century planned village of Doel, which is inexcusably being destroyed to make way for Antwerps expanding port, is in East Flanders, not west, as Fellow Godfried Croenen points out, adding that, if you are trying to find it on a map, it ceased to exist as a separate commune in 1977, when its territory was added to that of Beveren.
And proof that there is not a single subject under the sun in which at least two Fellows are more than expert comes from Salons description of the HMS Caroline, launched and commissioned in 1914, making her the second-oldest ship in Royal Naval service (after HMS Victory) as a battleship. No, sir, says Philip Dixon: she is a 6-in light cruiser; a different beast altogether, and Peter Cormack concurs, saying: It would be better to use the word warship in this context as the term battleship refers specifically to a heavily armoured and heavily armed capital ship with, usually, at least four, and often eight or more, guns of between 11" and 18" calibre. HMS Caroline, with a main armament of just four 6" guns and armour of maximum 3" is altogether a much lighter vessel that could only be described as a battleship in very lay terms.
Peter goes on to applaud the ambition of our Fellow Dominic Tweddle, Director of the Royal Naval Museum, to bring HMS Caroline to Portsmouth to add to the museums collection. Sadly one might even say scandalously, given the importance of our naval history of the sixty or so Royal Navy battleships and battle-cruisers built between 1906 and 1946, not one has survived, Peter says, though one earlier British-built battleship, the Mikasa (flagship of Admiral Togo at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905) has been preserved at Yokosuka as a Japanese national monument/museum. It is the only surviving pre-dreadnought battleship (ie from the 1890s1900s era of early modern battleships) in the world.
Peter also points out that Salons reference to the Great Consul mine in relation to the report on the threatened closure of Morwellham Quay outdoor museum should actually be Great Consols (short for the Devonshire Great Consolidated Copper Mining Company), and reminds us that the mine, once the worlds biggest producer of copper, arsenic and tin, was largely financed by members of the Morris family, including William Morris Senior, father of our late Fellow (of Kelmscott Manor, Hammersmith and Walthamstow). Indeed, says Peter, it is often forgotten that William Morriss substantial fortune was mainly derived from shares, inherited from his father, in Devon Great Consols. The mines continued to yield large profits up to the late 1860s, as documented in Charles Harvey and Jon Press, William Morris: design and enterprise in Victorian Britain, Manchester University Press, 1991, pp 1013, 24.
Fellow Hero Granger-Taylor points out that Salon has twice referred to our Fellow David Watkin as one of those who have sent letters of objection to the British Museums extension plans; in fact the letters came from our Fellow David Walker, retired Chief Inspector for Scotland, and an expert on Burnet, the architect of the King Edward VII building; it was he who described that building as the finest piece of classicism built in Britain in the early 20th century and who is concerned about the loss of daylight to this and the North Stairs if the proposed extension goes ahead in its current form.
Final words on Cromwells head(s) have come from Peter Salway, who says that he devised the wording on the plaque that Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge, has mounted on its chapel wall to commemorate the interment of Cromwells skull, though he was prevented from attending that ceremony because of flu; and that he was entrusted with the task because it was felt that long experience in Latin prose composition was an appropriate qualification. Who says that Classics doesnt train you for anything useful? Peter asks.
On a related matter, some readers are aware that Salons editor moonlights once a month for a publication called Current Archaeology, where he has a diary column, called Sherds, made up of scraps gleaned from various publications looking at the lighter side of the heritage. Ever loyal to the Society, your editor included a mention of the latest volume of the Antiquaries Journal (which he also helps to edit: this is becoming very incestuous); specifically on the fascinating paper by our Fellow Joseph Bettey, called Ancient custom time out of mind, revealing that landowners in Wiltshire and Dorset in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries often granted property leases to tenants for the duration of three lives rather than for a precise number of years. By marrying a leaseholder at an advanced age to a teenage bride, such leases could, theoretically, be made to last up to 200 years.
This story reminded our Fellow Caroline Wickham-Jones of another anecdote probably apocryphal, that Stuart Piggott (I think) told us that once, as a young man, he had been at a big dinner in London and there was a very old lady to his right. During the course of the meal the conversation turned to Cromwell and Piggott expressed general disapproval. At which point the old lady said: You know, my first husbands first wifes first husband knew Cromwell well and said he was really a nice man, so you really should not be talking about him like that. Caroline adds that you have to bear in mind that Piggott was born in 1910, so the story might have related to a dinner held in 1930, and that I have always liked this story because it shows just how far back our memories can go and how apparently distant figures from the past can nevertheless reach out and touch us! Even so, the maths doesnt quite work: even assuming that each person in the story married a ninety-year-old at the age of sixteen, one is left about twenty-six years short of Cromwells death in 1658; what would work is my first husbands first wifes first husbands mother (or father).
3 November 2009: Fellow Richard Hobbs of the British Museum will deliver a public lecture on Hoards of Treasure from Late Roman Britain, including Hoxne, Mildenhall and Water Newton, and examine what these treasures tell us about the end of the Roman period on the northern frontier of the Empire, in the Plinston Hall (main hall), Broadway, Letchworth Garden City; doors open 7.30pm and the lecture commences at 8pm. This is one of a series of fund-raising lectures to help the North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society raise money towards the costs of publishing their highly important excavations at Ashwell where they revealed evidence of a temple dedicated to the hitherto unknown Romano-Celtic goddess, Senuna.
13 November 2009: National Parks and the Historic Environment 19492069: The Past and the Future, 10am to 4pm, at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House. This event celebrates the extent of the historic environment in National Parks and some of the more pioneering historic environment activities that have occurred in National Parks and looks forward to how the historic environment in National Parks might develop over the next 60 years. Speakers include Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, Professor Adrian Phillips, Deborah Griffiths, Dartmoor NPA, Ken Smith, Peak District NPA, and Gwilym Hughes, of Cadw. Free but prior booking essential: for further details or to book a place email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01969 652360 with your name and full contact details.
29 and 30 November 2009: Publishing the Fine and Applied Arts 15002000, at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N. The 31st Annual Conference on Book Trade History is being organised by Fellows Michael Harris, Giles Mandelbrote and Robin Myers in association with the Antiquarian Booksellers Association and will explore the relationship between the business of print and the practice of art and design across five centuries. Speakers include Fellow Charles Hind, Associate Director of the RIBA Library and H J Heinz Curator of Drawings; Malcolm Jones, author of Print in Early Modern England: an historical oversight; Susan Palmer, Archivist to Sir John Soanes Museum since 1989; Nick Savage, Head of Collections at the Royal Academy of Arts since 1987; and Fellow Charles Sebag-Montefiore, treasurer of various book charities, including the Friends of the National Libraries and the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust. Details and a booking form can be obtained from Claire Sharpe or from the ABA website.
10 December 2009 at 6.30pm: The Annual Soane Lecture: Now You See It Now You Dont: On The Harmonic Order, to be given by Professor Joseph Rykwert at the Royal College of Surgeons, 3543 Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE. Buildings will only stand up or be useful if they are ordered. That is why the orders of architecture are so important in all the literature of building. But is their authority so tightly bound to their ornamental fitting-out that it cannot be impressed without it? Or is some other principle involved in the constitution of the orders of architecture that may be worth investigating? Joseph Rykwert was Librarian of the Royal College of Art and held the post of Slade Professor at Cambridge. He is currently Professor of Architecture Emeritus in the University of Pennsylvania. His latest book, The Judicious Eye, was published in 2008.
Tickets cost £15 (£10 for students) and can be bought or booked in advance by calling Beth Walker, tel: 020 7440 4254, or purchased on the door (subject to availability).
28 January 2010 at 6pm: in the Board Room at the Museum of London, London Wall, an exploratory meeting to consider the proposal that an IfA Area Group should be formed in London. Some areas that a London Group might become involved with include: sustaining the regional archaeological research strategy, training/CPD events for IfA CPD requirements, regional IfA responses to planning and other consultations, regional study papers and liaison with CBA London with a view to joint working. Those attending will be asked if they support the idea of a London Group and, if they do, to elect members of a committee whose tasks will include preparing a constitution and initiating events.
13 and 14 March 2010: AD 410: The End of Roman Britain, a joint Roman Society and Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum conference on the end of Roman Britain to be held at the British Museum. The event will feature 20-plus speakers, most of whom are Fellows of our Society, and the topics to be covered will range from linguistic and historical to archaeological and numismatic, in addition to some papers on relevant Continental subjects. The conference is part of a broader programme of events being held in 2010 to mark the centenary of the Roman Society and the 1600th anniversary of the official end of Roman Britain. Further details can be obtained from The Roman Society, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU.
14 to 16 April 2010 in Southport: The IfA 2010 conference. Details of some sessions have already been released and abstracts can be seen on the IfAs website; anybody who would like to propose a paper for any session should contact Alex Llewellyn.
Two recently published books by Fellows have been receiving warm reviews in the UK press. The first is by Paul Cartledge, the A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge, who employs the clever device of explaining ancient Greek culture through the history and archaeology of eleven city-states, chosen because they epitomise some aspect of Hellenic society that the modern world has inherited. Ancient Greece: a history in eleven cities takes us on a journey from Bronze-Age Knossos to late Roman Byzantium, covering 1,700 years of Hellenistic innovation, including the one that most reviewers seem to have (
The second is the encyclopaedic History of Christianity, by Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church and Fellow at St Cross College, Oxford. So big is the book (at 1,216 pages) that the Revd George Pitcher, reviewing the book in the Daily Telegraph >), joked that it would be quicker to read the Bible. The reviewer went on to say with disarming honesty that he hadnt read the book, but that I learnt much about todays Church just by looking up the three entries for women, schism and homosexuality in the index.
Who better than Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to give an opinion. His review in the Guardian picked up on the books provocative subtitle The First Three Thousand Years the explanation for which is Diarmaid MacCullochs summary of the thousand years that preceded Christianity, and the intellectual and social background of the classical and Jewish worlds out of which the Christian faith grew. Rowan Williams conclusion is that the book is a landmark in its field, astonishing in its range, compulsively readable, full of insight even for the most jaded professional and of illumination for the interested general reader … a story told with unobtrusive stylishness as well as clarity.
There always has to be a dissenter, and in this case it is Paul Johnson, in the Spectator, who finds fault with the fact that the book was written to accompany a television series on the subject, which he believes results in conformity to elitist fashion and an absolute terror of offending people, especially powerful groups who know how to use their muscle. Accusing the author of having a positive relish for current correctness in all its forms, he concludes: I shall keep this book on my shelves, for reference. But I cant imagine anyone reading it for pleasure.
You can find out for yourself who is right by watching the TV series that Paul Johnson mentions when Diarmaid presents A History of Christianity his six-part series for BBC Four beginning this Thursday, 5 November 2009, to be repeated on BBC Two at a later date.
Also on TV this week is the first of a new series of Hidden Histories on the work of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, narrated by Huw Edwards and featuring plenty of Fellows; though broadcast on BBC Two Wales (Tuesdays at 7.30pm from 3 November), the programmes can also be viewed online via the RCAHMWs website. The first programme in the new series includes a report on how the key to Stonehenge lies in the Preseli Hills, while future programmes will look at Waless slate heritage, medieval coastal fish traps, a Roman villa in mid-Wales, the hidden wonders of St Davids Cathedral, Angleseys copper mines and Cistercian sheep farming.
Frontiers of Knowledge is the apt title of a two-volume work edited by our Fellow David Mason, County Archaeologist for Durham, with Project Officer Matthew Symonds, setting out a research framework for Hadrians Wall (£22.50 plus £4 p&p; obtainable from the Archaeology Section, Durham County Council, The Rivergreen Centre, Aykley Heads, Durham DH1 5TS). Needless to say, the project steering group (chaired by our Fellow David Breeze) includes a long list of the many Fellows who are experts in Hadrians Wall matters, as does the list of contributors to both volumes. The work is packed with information on what we know, and what we dont know yet but would like to know, about this monument, its landscape and the people who lived in and around the Wall.
Complementing Frontiers of Knowledge are two works written to accompany the two big Hadrians Wall events that occurred during the summer of 2009. The first was the handbook issued to delegates at the recent Roman Frontier Studies (Limes) Congress, held at Newcastle upon Tyne in August. Called The Roman Army in Northern England by Fellows Paul Bidwell and Nick Hodgson, this consists of the first ever complete gazetteer of all the Roman military sites in northern England south of Hadrians Wall (the area sometimes known as the hinterland of the Wall). Each site is the subject of an essay with bibliographical references and in most cases a plan. A 45-page introduction seeks to place the sites in their historical and archaeological context, using the results of the most recent research. The 195-page hardback, with 76 illustrations, can be obtained for £14 (including delivery) by writing with a cheque to: The Secretary, Arbeia Society, Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum, Baring Street, South Shields NE33 2BB.
The second work, Hadrians Wall 19992009: a summary of recent excavation and research prepared for the Thirteenth Pilgrimage of Hadrians Wall, 814 August 2009, compiled by Nick Hodgson, describes research and discovery that has taken place since the last pilgrimage in 1999, covering an extraordinary decade for Wall research, featuring the discovery of the probable ancient name for the barrier, and the recognition of a previously unknown element in its anatomy (obstacles in front of the Wall), the first such addition to the repertoire of Wall-structures in modern times. The 188-page hardback, with 54 illustrations, contains contributions from all of the major excavators and researchers working on the Wall at present, and is available for £10 (including postage and packing) from Ian Caruana, 10 Peter Street, Carlisle CA3 8QP.
Land and People; papers in memory of John G Evans, edited by Fellows Mike Allen, Niall Sharples and Terry OConnor, was launched at the Association of Environmental Archaeology conference in York at the beginning of September and is the second in the new Prehistoric Society Research Papers series. The 20 papers address themes of landscape archaeology and aspects of environmental archaeology and social order from Orkney to Cornwall and the Isle of Wight to Greece, including key papers providing major new interpretations of the chalkland landscape history. This volume is published in conjunction with the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland (an apt sponsor in view of John Evanss interest in snails) and the Prehistoric Societys partner in this venture, Oxbow Books.
Antiquaries and Archaists: the past in the present is to be launched on 12 November at Sothebys Institute of Art where our Fellow Megan Aldrich is the Academic Director. Megan is also the co-editor of this new work, along with Robert J Wallis, Director of the MA in Art History at Richmond, The American International University in London.
Their book consists of eight thought-provoking essays (more than half of them contributed by Fellows) on the broad theme of how, to use Stuart Piggotts words (from Ancient Britons and the Antiquarian Imagination), the past is shaped by the prevailing worldviews of the time. The books title sums up another of the main themes: that antiquaries are not the only people who contribute to that shaping, for there are others for whom the past is a very important component of the present here termed archaists who range from artists consciously working with traditional techniques and motifs (notable in Asia) and contemporary mystics, pagans, Druids and alternative archaeologists.
Though many Fellows would consider themselves to be a million light years away from the latter in terms of the rigour with which we collect and analyse data and construct paradigms, this volume shows that we cannot ignore or dismiss the latter, because they represent an important strand in human experience: we cannot, for example, hope to understand how people responded to the historic landscape many centuries ago if we try to do so with a modern archaeological mind.
If all this sounds somewhat airy and theoretical, the papers are not: they cover such fascinating topics as the origins and aims of the Church Monuments Society (Simon Watney), continuity and revival in modern Chinese culture (Anne Farrer), Thomas Rickmans Handbook of Gothic Architecture and the taxonomic classification of the past (Megan Aldrich, FSA) and the birth of Japanese archaeology (Simon Kaner, FSA).
Simon Kaner is also the curator behind a wonderfully compelling exhibition at the British Museum that is now in its final three weeks it is well worth sparing an hour to visit The Power of Dogu. This has been something of a slow burner of an exhibition in that it has not been splashed all over the media in the style of some of the museums blockbuster exhibitions, but slowly people have discovered it for themselves and spread the word. Once you have seen this collection of astonishing clay figures dating, in the main from about 2500 BC to 1000 BC (the Middle and Late Jomon periods) you will find it hard to get them out of your mind: a haunting triangular face, like a praying mantis, perches above a cruciform body balanced on massive thighs. Nobody knows what they were for: toys, puppets, deities, fertility spirits, characters from some unknown drama, mythical, tragic or comic part of the pleasure of the exhibition is making up your own theory. And as evidence of the past in the present that Megan Aldrichs book explores, dont miss the parallel exhibition of artwork by Hoshino Yukinobu, a leading manga artist, in which the world of dogu and the Jomon period are brought to life through the adventures of the fictional Professor Munakata.
From the weird world of manga and dogu to something that would be considered prosaic were it not for the fact that they are endangered: An Archaeology of Town Commons in England: a very fair field indeed, by Fellow Mark Bowden, Graham Brown and Nicky Smith, has just been published by English Heritage and it concerns such great swathes of green as Port Meadow in Oxford or Midsummer Common in Cambridge that once played such a vital role in English town economies as the green precursor to the car park; that is to say, as much-needed pasture for the hundreds of draught animals that provided motive power in the pre-industrial era. Copiously illustrated, Town Commons traces the history and archaeology of urban commons from the late Saxon period to the present day, and makes an eloquent case for protecting the 82 examples that survive.
The British School at Athens has just published a full account of the excavations conducted from 1957 to 1977 by our late Fellow Lord William Taylour at Ayios Stephanos, a key site for understanding early Aegean Bronze Age society. This port town had close trading links with Minoan Crete, specialising in the export of lapis lacedaemonius, a rare stone that was turned into luxury goods in Cretan palatial workshops. The deeply stratified deposits that Taylours team excavated have filled in important gaps in the regions pottery sequences, and throw light on settlement and trade from the Bronze Age through to the medieval period when, in 1321, a hostile raid left the town in ruins, never to be reoccupied. Richard Janko took over from Taylour as editor of the volume, which has numerous Fellows among its specialist contributors, including John Bintliff, Corrine Duhig, Lisa French, Martin Goalen, Penelope Mountjoy, Lord Stewartby and Ian Whitbread.
Lady Anne Clifford (15901676): culture, patronage and gender in seventeenth-century Britain is a wide-ranging volume of essays published by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and edited by our Fellows Karen Hearn, Curator of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century British Art at the Tate, and Lynn Hulse, Archivist of the Royal School of Needlework. The volumes origins lie in a symposium held in March 2004 at Tate Britain to coincide with the display there of Lady Annes Great Triptych (on loan from the Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal). Among the essays are those by Adam White on Lady Anne Cliffords church monuments, Karen Hearn on Lady Annes Great Triptych, Lynn Hulse on Lady Anne and music, and Fellow John Goodall on Lady Anne as a patron of architecture. Other contributors are Katherine Acheson, Elizabeth Chew, Heidi Brayman Hackel and Stephen Orgel.
Last but no means least for this issue is Mary Rose Your Noblest Shippe: anatomy of a Tudor warship, edited by our Fellow Peter Marsden, once again supported by a long roster of Fellows whose specialist knowledge has contributed to this fourth volume to be published in a planned series of five on the archaeology of the Mary Rose. Primarily concerned with the structure of the ship, the books 22 chapters deal with every detail, from the anchor, rudder and bilge pumps to the masts, rigging and sails.
One fact that emerges from the book is that the Mary Rose was not a static entity; throughout her 30 years of naval service she underwent numerous repairs and modifications. Peter Marsden and his co-authors explain how these adaptations reflect the changes that took place in sea-fighting tactics during her working life, from the almost medieval approach of 1512 where the aim was to grapple the enemy ship, climb aboard and fight the enemy hand to hand, to the formation engagements of the 1540s, when ships were in effect floating gun platforms. Peter even wonders whether these changes to the ship might have been the reason for her sinking: not only might they have weakened the ship structure, the re-arming of the ship in 1543 added greatly to the weight and could have made the ageing Mary Rose unstable.
More than 60 academics from Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe have come together to honour the life and career of the recently retired Professor of Celtic Archaeology at University College Dublin, Barry Raftery. Professor Raftery is best known for his widely published work on the Iron Age, including the landmark monograph Pagan Celtic Ireland, his extensive excavations at the late Bronze Age hillfort at Rathgall, Co Wicklow, and his programme of innovative research on wooden trackways and associated features in Irish raised bogs. This festschrift is a testament to the very deep regard and affection in which Barry is held in many countries. Called Relics of Old Decency: archaeological studies in later prehistory and edited by Fellows Gabriel Cooney, John Coles and Michael Ryan as well as Katharina Becker and Susanne Sievers, the festschrift is being promoted by the University College Dublin School of Archaeology, and full details of the contents, a pre-publication offer and an invitation to participate in a tabula gratulatoria to celebrate Barry Rafterys contribution to archaeology can be downloaded from the UCD website.
The Sir John Soanes Museum has recently moved its retail space and is offering the following drawings catalogues at greatly reduced prices: The Italian Renaissance Drawings, by Lynda Fairbairn (2 vols; 774pp) for £45; The Drawings of George Dance the Younger (17411825) and of George Dance the Elder (16951768), by our Fellow Jill Lever (1 vol; 464pp) for £30. Postage could be arranged at cost if required. To reserve copies email Julie Brock; tel: 020 7440 4279) or call at the Soane Shop, Sir John Soanes Museum, 13 Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP.
The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from July to September 2009. Full records for all are on the Societys on-line catalogue, and all these books are now available in the Library.
From the authors, Claude Blair, FSA, and Marian Campbell, FSA, Marcy. Ogetti darte della Galleria Parmeggiani de Reggio Emilia (2009)
From the author, Richard Haslam, FSA, Gwynedd, in the Buildings of Wales series, by Richard Haslam, Julian Orbach and Adam Voelcker (2009)
From Maurice Howard, Director, The Würzburg Residence and Court Gardens: official guide, edited by Erich Bachmann et al, 11th edition (2003)
From the author, George Hardin Brown, FSA, A Companion to Bede (2009)
From the author, Robert Coates-Stephens, FSA, Immagini e memoria: Rome in the photographs of Father Peter Paul Mackey 18901901, British School at Rome Archive, 8 (2009)
From Vincent Megaw, FSA, Kunst der Kelten 700 vChr700 nChr, by Felix Müller (2009)
From the co-author, Valerie Fenwick, FSA, Untold Tales from the Suffolk Sandlings, by Valerie Fenwick and Vic Harrup (2009)
From the co-editor, David Gaimster, General Secretary, International Handbook of Historical Archaeology, edited by David Gaimster and Teresita Majewski (2009)
From the author, Joe Flatman, FSA, Ships and Shipping in Medieval Manuscripts (2009)