Salon Archive

Issue: 224

Christmas and New Year closure

The last full day that the Library and Burlington House apartments will be open this year is 23 December 2009; both will reopen again on 4 January 2010.

Last meeting of 2009

On 17 December 2009, the last meeting of the year will take the form of a Miscellany of Papers. Echoing the instruction issued by Fellows to the Director in 1718 ‘to provide us a box to lay up the books in’, the theme of the meeting will be: ‘From a box of books: a survey of the library’s historic interior through photographs and drawings’. Staff of the architects Wright & Wright will talk about how they used historic photographs of the library to chart changes in the physical appearance and use of the library over the years as part of their feasibility study for the library refurbishment; Toby Ward, the Society’s artist in residence — who has recently completed a watercolour painting of the Library — will talk about his residency; and Bernard Nurse, FSA, will give a short talk on the Society’s previous accommodation prior to moving to Burlington House.

The meeting itself is free, but Fellows wishing to attend the reception afterwards are asked to contribute £15, which covers the costs of the mulled wine and mince pies, and a contribution to the Society’s development fund. Tickets can be booked by contacting Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Administrative Assistant.

Meetings in 2010

The meetings calendar for the period January to June 2010 will be posed to Fellows early in January, but here are advance details of the first four meetings of next year.

Thursday 21 January: Ritual Breakage on Keros: the early Cycladic settlement and sanctuary at Dhaskalio, to be given by Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, FSA

Thursday 28 January: Excavating the Excavator: Jacquetta Hawkes’ biography as archaeology, by Christine Finn, FSA

Thursday 4 February: Finds and Exhibits meeting. Maurice Byrne, FSA, and Michael Wright, FSA, will present a newly discovered Iron Age Irish riveted horn, discussing its construction and position amongst the very few other known examples of this type.

Thursday 11 February: ‘The castle, I am building, of my ancestors’: creating and collecting at Strawberry Hill, to be given by Michael Snodin, FSA.

An ‘ace shop’ at the V&A

If you are stuck for Christmas present ideas, you could do worse than visit the ‘ace shop’ (to mimic a much-vilified advertising slogan of the 1980s) at the Victoria and Albert Museum which is packed with beautiful things — even if biased towards presents for the girls, and then at hefty prices — including jewellery, scarves, hand-embroidered jackets and replicas of Japanese ceramics. Oh, and there is of course also a quite nice museum attached, which has been much in the news in recent days because of the re-opening to the public, on 2 December, of the ten new galleries devoted to the art of the period from AD 300 to 1500 — thus stretching from late antiquity to the High Renaissance.

Tributes have been paid to our Fellow Peta Motture, who has shouldered the awesome burden of a £30m, seven-year project that has led to the display of more than 1,800 ravishing objects: objects such as the astonishing Gloucester Candlestick, made by a twelfth-century goldsmith for Abbot Peter of Gloucester, covered in writhing foliage inhabited by apes and long-eared dragons, gorgeous garments of velvet and gold, a quilt embroidered with the story of Tristan and Isolde, the spectacular facade of a Tudor timber house that survived the great fire of London only to be torn down to make way for Liverpool Street station in the nineteenth century and a wax model for a sculpture that bears the fingerprints of Michelangelo.

And an ‘ace caff’ at the Ashmolean

Also receiving much praise is the Ashmolean Dining Room, perched in a roof-top glass box with a wonderful view across the city’s domes, pinnacles and spires (not to mention intimate views into the bedrooms of the Randolph Hotel opposite). ‘Italy with a whiff of Middle Eastern promise’ was how one reviewer described the food, which divides the menu into tapas-style smaller dishes and larger dishes, plus nursery classics for pud.

And we must not forget the museum attached: reviews have been largely positive, and the critics seem even to have been won over by the most controversial aspect of the new arrangement — putting objects together from different periods and cultures to reveal inter-relationships (for example, the influence of the western Classical tradition on Gandhara of the Peshawar region of Pakistan). Some have complained about the irony that more space has led to fewer objects on display, but some of the new material that is on show for the first time is stunning.

This includes, for example, the splendid gold-embroidered white silk robe worn by Lawrence of Arabia (and made so familiar by David Lean’s epic film of the same name). In his autobiography, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T E Lawrence recalls that the robe was given to him by the aunt of the late King Faisal of Iraq. Faisal had advised Lawrence that he should dress like an Arab nobleman if he wanted to carry weight with the Arab leaders that he wished to recruit to his guerrilla campaign against the Ottoman Turks during the First World War.

As for the new extension that has enabled the museum to double its display space in a very narrow site, everyone agrees this is a joy to behold: albeit at a cost of £61m, the American architect Rick Mather has created 10,000 square metres of extra space, and thirty-nine new galleries, linked by a skein-like network of bridges and stairs of oak and Portland stone flooded with light and worth a visit in its own right.

More museums for Christmas and New Year

There are so many good things in our museums and galleries at the moment that any selection is likely to seem invidious, but here goes anyway — a few suggestions chosen with the interests of Fellows in mind. First, Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery has an exhibition called The Manchester Indian: Thomas Wardle and India, marking the centenary of the death of Sir Thomas Wardle (1833—1909), whose revival of the use of vegetable-based dyes in textile production led to a close friendship and collaboration with William Morris; the exhibition looks at Wardle’s influence on the textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, but also his efforts to reinvigorate the silk industry in India — the displays include some of the scintillating silk saris and sample fabrics collected by Wardle on his visits to India in the 1880s. The exhibition has been co-curated by Dr Brenda King, author of Silk and Empire, and lecturer at the University of Salford, who has been invited to give a paper to the Society on Wardle and Morris at some future date.

Too few people know the excellent Geffrye Museum, in London’s Kingsland Road, which has a sequence of rooms furnished in the style of their time, from an oak-panelled hall from the home of a London merchant of c 1630 to a loft-style apartment of c 1998. The influence of William Morris and his heirs are well represented in two rooms: the study of an 1880s Victorian villa, decorated in the aesthetic style, and the drawing room of a cottage-style house in the new suburbs of north London c 1910, with plain oak furniture in the Arts and Crafts style. The reason for going there now rather than at any other time of year is that these rooms are dressed in the authentic festive style of their day: see what Christmas was like for a seventeenth-century, Georgian or Victorian family, or the occupants of a 1930s Modernist flat.

Mention of north London’s suburbs leads to the exhibition currently on at the London Transport Museum, called Suburbia: from homes to gnomes, which shows how train companies worked with property developers to lure people from the cities to greener suburban fields, thus creating an army of commuters and a guaranteed captive market for the services of the railway companies. Posters and estate agents’ brochures promise paradise at the end of the railway line — a land of golf courses, eternal sunshine and fresh air in suburbs with such names as Oak Wood, Merry Hills and Southgate; but also, as this affectionate exhibition wittily shows, the land of the pipe-smoking gardener, the shed and the gnome.

Salon has several times in the past reported on the work of Parks Canada in trying to find the remains of the two ships — HMS Erebus and HMS Terror — that took part in Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to find an ice-free route from America across the pole to Asia in 1844, when he, his ships and his entire crew disappeared. The whole story is told in North-West Passage: an Arctic Obsession, on at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 3 January 2010. The fate of the expedition haunted Victorian imaginations: dumped supplies were eventually recovered along with personal possessions, letters and bodies, but all that has ever been found of the ship is a few copper rivets excavated from nineteenth-century Inuit summer hunting sites.

Another exhibition closing soon (17 January 2010), so see it before it is too late, is Drawing Attention, at Dulwich Picture Gallery, showing a wealth of drawings and watercolours by old masters and new, including Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Fueseli, Palmer, Ingres, Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Leger, Picasso, Matisse and Pollock. Some of the best work is by relatively unknown artists: A Standing Draped Youth by an anonymous fifteenth-century Florentine artist, for example, or Adriaen van de Velde’s red chalk drawing of a Seated Old Man.

At the British Library, Points of View: capturing the nineteenth century in photography is a selection of photographs from the more than 300,000 images that the British Library owns. You can look at the pictures as art, as stages in the history of photography, or as archaeologically rich sources for everything from dress styles to architectural detail, in pictures that depict ladies on Hastings Beach, a top-hatted archaeologist at Stonehenge, farm labourers caught (or rather posed) on their way home from a day’s reed cutting in the Norfolk Broads, slum dwellers in a London back yard, early tourist images of the Roman Forum, a study of Trafalgar Square showing Nelson’s column under construction, the first hippo to be seen in England at the Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park in 1850, and more serious depictions of war, science and industry.

Last but not least is the Society’s own exhibition, Making History, which reaches the end of its eighteen-month tour of regional museums on 3 January 2010: see it before it closes at The Collection: Art and Archaeology in Lincolnshire, but if that is not possible, you can see a virtual exhibition on the Society’s website, where clicking on the ‘Making Local History’ icon on the home page will take you to a page with pictures and captions for some of the exhibits that were selected to represent Lincoln’s contribution to the antiquarian enterprise for this exhibition (similarly, there are equally detailed pages for Staffordshire and West Midlands, the North East and Wiltshire, the three previous venues for the exhibition). Plans are in progress now to take the exhibition to American museums during the coming decade.

‘Making History’ Campaign

Our Fellow David Starkey, guest curator of the ‘Making History’ exhibition, is also the Chairman of the Society’s Development Committee, and he spoke at a gathering held at the Society on 1 December 2009 to thank Fellows who have contributed to the £0.5m that the development campaign has already raised.

David explained that ‘Making History’ has been chosen as the name of the development campaign because it best described the collective activity of Fellows, who make history by ‘writing the books that reinterpret and refresh our understanding of the past, make TV programmes that bring history, archaeology, art and architecture to a world eager for knowledge, mount the exhibitions that promote informed enjoyment of the world’s rich cultural legacy, run the national heritage agencies that manage historic properties and advise governments on heritage policy. Fellows add to our knowledge of the past by excavating and interpreting archaeological sites, and they teach the next generation of historians and archaeologists in schools, universities and evening classes.’

He pointed out that the Society has always depended on the generosity of Fellows and well-wishers for the contents of its museum and library collections and for gifts and bequests, such as the very generous donation that allowed us to take on Kelmscott Manor in the 1960s and undertake a major programme of conservation.

Our President Geoff Wainwright then announced that the Making History Campaign aimed to raise £6 million by 2014 for two projects of vital importance to our future: essential improvements to the Society’s Library and to Kelmscott Manor. An investment of £2.7m is needed to restore the Library’s historic interiors, provide better environmental conditions for the growing collections, increase shelf space by a third and free up space in the Library itself for more users, provide disabled access throughout the building, upgrade IT resources and provide access to more of the Society’s collections in digital form online, and create dedicated studios for on-site conservation and collections study.

At Kelmscott Manor, £3.3m is needed to improve visitor facilities and generate the income to underpin the sustainability of the Manor and its estate, create a new learning centre to provide training courses in partnership with national and local heritage organisations, including an ecology centre for the study of the Manor’s natural environment, and provide space for a rolling programme of exhibitions interpreting the Manor and Morris’s legacy.

Securing grants will be key to progress in the coming months, and the Society has already completed the pre-application stage of a bid for £1.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Kelmscott Manor project. Work is now going on to prepare a Round One application, which the HLF will use as the basis for deciding in principle whether or not to make a grant. If it does, Round One funding will then be used to draw up the detailed plans that are required by the HLF before they will release the full grant, and the HLF’s agreement in principle to make that grant will be used to seek match-funding from other grant-giving organisations.

A new brochure has been prepared setting out the campaign objectives in more detail: this can be downloaded from the Society’s website.

Archaeology in The Big Issue

Never let it be said that Fellows live in the past rather than the present: anyone who bought a copy of The Big Issue in late November will have seen an article about the work of our Fellow John Schofield (of English Heritage) in studying the highly relevant and contemporary theme of homelessness (for Fellows who do not live in the UK, it ought to be explained that The Big Issue is a magazine set up in 1991 to give homeless or unemployed people an opportunity to earn an income by selling the magazine rather than resorting to begging).

The article explains John’s project, which grows out of his conviction that society tends to think of ‘heritage as consisting of the prettier bits: but that to leave out the less appealing sides of human experience is to bias the record’. He is looking at the lives of people on the margins of society, interviewing them about their survival tactics, mapping their routines, and recording the materiality of homelessness — the artefacts and places that represent the patterns of life and dwelling places of the modern rough sleeper.

John finds that there is a linguistic history to homelessness: words such as ‘skipper’ for a person who sleeps rough, and ‘spike’ for a safe and sheltered spot that skippers regularly use, date back at least as far as the mid-nineteenth century. As for the tangible remains of rough sleeping, John finds that some homeless people live ordered lives; he admires their skill in constructing a dry and warm shelter from layers of blankets and duvets and vegetation, all of which can be packed into a rucksack at a moment’s notice.

Even as this issue of Salon goes out, John will be carrying out a small-scale excavation to explore the history of ‘Turbo Island’, a busy traffic island in the heart of Bristol used by homeless people and street drinkers for at least forty years. The Council of British Archaeology is funding the dig, and homeless people are taking part, as are members of the Bristol community police team and students from the University of Bristol. The results of the dig will be presented in talks and lectures and an exhibition in spring 2010.

Silchester seminar

Our meeting room was packed to capacity on 27 November 2009 for a day meeting to revisit one of the Society’s grand projects from the past, the twenty-year project to excavate an entire Roman town (Calleva Atrebatum, at Silchester, Hampshire), which ended in 1909 and produced the ‘Great Plan’, which was displayed in the Fellows’ Room (and is so large that it took up most of the floor space in that room, with Fellows kneeling round it in genuflection as they studied its hand-drawn details).

What is left to know of a town that has been fully excavated? In addressing that question, our Fellow Mike Fulford, who now leads the Reading University team excavating Insula IX at Silchester, explained that the Victorian and Edwardian excavators had left up to 90 per cent of the site untouched: they set out trenches across the site to look for masonry walls, and ignored everything in between. That meant, said Mike, that they missed evidence for timber buildings, which, on the basis of his own excavations, he believes to have constituted a third to a half of the total in third-century Silchester, with implications for estimates of the population of the settlement. Mike has also been studying the town’s water supply as an aid to gauging population size, and the large number of closely sited wells in the first century compared to later periods suggests that the city was most densely populated before its destruction by fire in the later 1st century AD.

Our Fellow John Creighton expanded on this by revealing the results of a massive geo-physical survey of the area beyond Silchester’s walls, showing evidence for cemeteries and mausolea, and for a town that, in the mid-1st century, extended well beyond the limits of the later Roman town defences, which were first constructed about AD 200. Sticking his neck out, John also pointed to what might be evidence for centuriation — the Roman practice of dividing up the countryside around newly established coloniae into regular grids of land defined by roads and ditches: if so, this will be the first firm example of centuriation to have been identified in Britain.

Our Fellow Barry Cunliffe set Silchester in the wider context, by demonstrating that pre-Roman southern England, northern France, Flanders, the Netherlands and western German shared ideas and culture, as demonstrated by the ceramic record, burial practice, the design of dwellings and the ways that settlements were laid out and defended. The similarities are very strong in the Bronze Age, implying ‘social contacts of real intensity’, though less so in the early Iron Age, when a weaker system of trade linked Normandy, Brittany and the south-west peninsula of Britain. The immediately pre-Roman period is marked by many new site types and new social systems, typical of a period in flux, and wealth perhaps dependent on the control of route nodes, such as the meeting places of roads and rivers. Barry’s conclusion was that Silchester, far from being a marginal site, as appears to be the case when viewed from the perspective of other pre-Roman sites in Britain, is in fact central to the Thames Valley and Wessex axes of communication and transport that connect southern Britain to our near Continental neighbours.

That fact was reflected, said Fellow Hella Eckhardt, in the multi-ethnic population of towns such as Silchester, as revealed by her studies of tooth and bone isotopes that reflect the geology, climate and diet of people whose skeletal remains she has analysed. On this evidence, up to a quarter of the population of Roman towns came from parts of the world that were either significantly hotter or colder than Britain, Dr Eckhardt said, suggesting, on the basis of grave goods, that people travelled to Britain from Scandinavia, Central Europe and North Africa. We tend to think of migrants today as refugees, she said, but in the past people travelled long distances for many different reasons, happily married people of a different culture than their own: ethnicity was a fluid concept that does not always tell you where a person was born or raised.

Summing up, our Fellow Martin Millett said that the picture that had emerged from the day’s papers presented a very different picture of Silchester than the one we inherited as students of tidy towns, with a shopping street and market, a forum for justice and civic ceremony and neat Roman style dwellings with mosaics and baths. Silchester had more of the character of a souk, with multiple activities going on side by side. The speakers had shown that even in the basilica, there was evidence that metal working went on literally side by side with rituals honouring native gods and Roman ones. Dogs were everywhere, pigs, cattle, goats and sheep were penned alongside dwellings, many of which were of timber and daub with earthen floors.

Ritual was an integral part of everyday life: house foundations and wells had pots deposited in them, often deliberately holed, and even so-called ‘rubbish pits’ demonstrate that ‘life’ and ‘belief’ were never far apart, with one pit yielding a dog, a razor with an ivory handle carved to depict copulating dogs, a raven and an infant all buried together, begging the question, concluded Professor Fulford, ‘what is deposition; what is rubbish?’

European Association of Archaeologists: Annual Meeting 2010

More and more Fellows have begun attending the annual meetings of the European Association of Archaeologists, attracted by the opportunities for networking with colleagues and the opportunity to take part in excursions that showcase the heritage of the host city — recently Cork (2007), Krakow (2008) and Riva del Garda (2009).

In 2010, the EAA’s annual meeting is being organised by our Honorary Fellow Willem Willems, of the University of Leiden, and will take place in The Hague in the Netherlands from 1 to 5 September, in the Royal Conservatoire building, adjacent to the central railway station in the centre of town and a short train ride from Schiphol Airport (which also has high speed train connections from the UK, Germany, Belgium and France).

Our Society intends to organise a session at the conference, and to host a reception to enable conference participants to meet the editors of the Antiquaries Journal and members of the Journal’s International Advisory Board. The broad theme of the Society-sponsored session is going to be ‘why we study the history of antiquarianism: what do we learn from the historiography of antiquarian studies’; speakers will address the contribution that antiquarian societies in Europe have made (and continue to make) towards the development of the disciplines that are encompassed within the antiquarian tradition. Salon’s editor would be happy to hear from anyone who is interested in contributing (sessions consist of up to eight 20-minute presentations, including discussion and introductory and closing comments).

We hope that the organisation of a session at the EAA annual meeting will become a fixture on the Society’s calendar, with future conferences planned for Oslo in 2011 and Helsinki in 2012. Meanwhile, details of the 2010 conference can be found on the EAA 2010 website: quite apart from the academic content of the meeting, who can resist an invitation to the Annual Party, ‘featuring the first European ArcheoRock’?

Dulwich Library papers go online

Earlier this year, Fellows were treated to a paper by Robert Weaver, FSA, on the treasures of the Dulwich College Library. That library holds thousands of personal and professional papers left to the College by its founder, the eminent actor Edward Alleyn (1566—1626), and those he inherited from his father-in-law, Philip Henslowe (d 1616). Together Henslowe and Alleyn ran acting companies, commissioned plays and built or expanded several London playhouses, including the Rose, the Fortune and the Hope; hence these manuscripts comprise the largest and most important archive of material on the professional theatre and dramatic performance in early modern England, the age of Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson.

Now that collection has been digitised and can be consulted online: it includes the 476 pages of Henslowe’s diary, our most important source for the names of more than 300 plays of the period, few of which have survived, box office receipts for Titus Andronicus and Henry VI, the 1587 deed of partnership for the Rose Theatre, notes of payments made to Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton for performances at the courts of Elizabeth I and James I, and Alleyn’s own script for a play based on Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso.

Further information can be found on the Henslowe—Alleyn Digitisation Project website.

The Rose and the Globe

That same deed of partnership features on page 33 of the new Museum of London Archaeology Monograph 48, on the excavations at the Rose and Globe theatres carried out between 1988 and 1990. The Rose and the Globe: playhouses of Shakespeare’s Bankside, Southwark, principally by Julian Bowsher and Pat Miller, reveals what new light archaeology can bring to our knowledge of the playhouse, which, for all its iconic status, was a very short-lived building type.

Characterised by experimentation and invention and inspired by a proliferation of new plays, the playhouse flourished for little more than six decades, its demise hastened by the rise of the indoor theatre (capable of staging more intimate dramas with a greater range of special effects, such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest) and the rise of Puritanism, leading to the 1642 ban on public stage plays. Given that many of the materials used to construct playhouses were salvaged and recycled, this report is a tribute to the remarkable skill of archaeologists in rescuing the huge amount of information that this report contains from such fragmentary remains.

It is worth bearing in mind that neither theatre was fully excavated: tantalisingly, the monograph lists research questions yet to be addressed and hints at the need for ‘small explorations’ to gather further evidence.

News of Fellows

Will the archive of our Fellow Sir Roy Strong be as interesting to future scholars as the Dulwich College material? Sir Roy, former director of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, is to donate his papers to the Bodleian Library. The gift is one of the largest that the Bodleian has received; it follows Alan Bennett’s donation of his archives last year, and it joins the archives of several other Fellows, including that of prize-winning novelist, Alan Garner.

Sir Roy’s archive includes hundreds of letters and postcards from society and literary figures, including correspondence with our Royal Fellow, HRH The Prince of Wales, on the design of parts of the garden of Highgrove, and nearly 150 scrapbooks recording his life and career, and the design of his own garden, The Laskett in Herefordshire. The archive is in the process of being handed over to the Bodleian and should be fully catalogued by 2011, when it will be opened to researchers.

Our Fellow Patrick Cormack, MP for South Staffordshire, and a member of the House of Commons since 1970, has announced that he does not intend to stand again for parliament at the next election. Press reports described Sir Patrick, who celebrated his seventieth birthday in May, as ‘one of the great warhorses of the Tory party’, and said that parliamentary sketch writers would miss the ‘punctilious former schoolmaster, known for pronouncing every letter of the word “parliament”‘. They noted that he stood recently for the Speakership and that, in many eyes, he would have made a better one than the one that was elected. ‘If only for the sake of colour’, said one commentator, ‘it is to be hoped that he will be given one of the peerages that the Tory leader is likely to make in a few months’ time.’

Congratulations to our Fellow Loyd Grossman on his latest appointment, as Chairman of the organisation that was known as Heritage Link, but that is to be renamed the Heritage Alliance. Your editor’s role in setting up Heritage Link has now long been forgotten: it all began in 2001 in a cubby hole tucked beneath the stairs at Burlington House, which Dai Morgan Evans, then our General Secretary, donated as the Society’s contribution to the formation of the new heritage charity, which Salon’s editor served as the first Director for some 2.5 years, negotiating charitable status with the Charity Commission, drafting the Constitution, recruiting members and trustees (and persuading Anthea Case to come out of retirement to serve as Chair), setting up networking lunches (and making the sandwiches), writing the first thirty or so issues of Heritage Link Update and raising the funds to keep the organisation afloat.

Ambitious to establish Heritage Link as the pro-active and dynamic voice of the voluntary part of the heritage sector, your editor suggested that we should have a manifesto. ‘Oh no’, said the trustees, ‘you will never find enough common ground for the sector to agree upon’. A wise friend said ‘give it five years and they will catch up with you’, but life is short so your editor moved on to other things. Five years on, almost to the day, it seems that the cats have finally been herded and that the Heritage Alliance has achieved the impossible: taking up the chair on 2 December 2009, Loyd announced the publication of ‘Making the Most of our Heritage’ (see Heritage Link’s website), the Heritage Link Manifesto, which he described as ‘a real fighting document, something we can use effectively in the run up to the General Election to get the message across consistently and enthusiastically’. That’s one very major task accomplished: the harder part now will be to get the decision-makers (especially at Nos 10 and 11 Downing Street) to listen.

Another challenging task is the one that Fellow Philip Crummy is shouldering on behalf of the Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT), which has launched an appeal to raise in excess of £200,000 to save Britain’s only known Roman chariot racing track. The money will go towards the purchase of the Sergeants’ Mess and its garden, which contain the remains of all eight of the starting gates of the Roman circus. ‘If we don’t succeed’, says Philip, ‘the building will be sold off for conversion into houses and the garden will become a private space. If we do succeed, part of the ground floor of the building will become an interpretation centre and an imaginative display of the gates will be installed in the garden which will then become the focal point for a long-term project to mark out and interpret the whole of the quarter of a mile-long building.’ Details can be found on the CAT’s website.

Also aiming to raise substantial new funding is our Fellow Richard Wendorf, who has just been appointed as the new Director of the American Museum in Britain (located at Claverton Manor, Bath), with effect from 4 January 2010. Previously, Richard was the Director of the Boston Athenæum, where he led the 200th anniversary celebrations and spearheaded a campaign that raised US$29.8 million for the institution’s historic renovation and expansion programme.

As a scholar, Richard’s books include Sir Joshua Reynolds: the painter in society (1996), The Scholar-Librarian: books, libraries and the fine arts (2005), After Sir Joshua: essays on British art and cultural history (2005) and The Literature of Collecting and Other Essays (2008). He is currently working on a monograph on printing practices in eighteenth-century London and the American colonies.

‘I’m absolutely delighted to be joining the American Museum at such an exciting moment in its history’, Richard said in response to the announcement of his appointment. ‘I look forward to working on the Museum’s capital campaign, the completion of the centre for American culture studies, and the institution’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations. Claverton is a very special place, and it is my conviction that we can increase its visibility and influence in the years ahead.’

Following the valuation of the Staffordshire Hoard at £3.285 million by the Treasure Valuation Committee, Fellows Roger Bland and Kevin Leahy are now busy fundraising too, hoping to contribute to the fund that will be used to acquire the hoard for the nation. They have agreed in principle to make three TV programmes about the hoard with National Geographic, in return for a donation of £150,000 towards the conservation and scientific research on the hoard, and they are donating the profits (of at least £1 a copy) of the book that they have written on the hoard, priced at £4.95, and published by the British Museum.

(Our Fellow Sonja Marzinzik writes, by the way, with a small piece of feedback re the statement in the last issue of Salon that said that soil blocks from the Staffordshire Hoard site remained to be excavated; in fact, all the blocks have now been excavated, and the work was undertaken by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, after the blocks were x-rayed at the Conservation Centre of the National Museums of Liverpool; the total number of catalogued items is therefore now known to be 1,662, though the figure of 1,800 pieces is also sometimes quoted, because some catalogue entries cover more than one fragment.)

Fellow John Blatchly marked the opening of the Medieval and Renaissance Gallery at the V&A by writing in the East Anglian Daily Times about a massive fifteenth-century door from Ipswich that was presented to the museum in 1912 by Sir George Hunter Donaldson and described as the doorway to the Bull Inn in Key Street. John demonstrates that it actually belonged to a much grander merchant’s house next door to the Bull, demolished in 1900, unlike the Bull, which was listed in 1971 and is now a private residence. Demonstrating a tenacity that beats even Salon, John says that he has been writing articles on aspects of East Anglian history for the EADT every Saturday for the last 240 weeks, without a break — surely some kind of record.

The contribution of our Fellow Henry Cleere to Conservation and Heritage Management has been recognised by the Archaeological Institute of America, which has chosen Henry as the recipient of its 2010 Conservation and Heritage Management Award for excellence in the conservation of archaeological sites and collections. The citation says that ‘his commitment to archaeological protection led to the development of the first international organizational framework for the archaeological heritage field. He helped establish the International Committee for Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) in 1984, and was a leading figure in drafting the 1990 ICOMOS Charter on Archaeological Heritage.’ The award will be presented on 7 January 2010, at the AIA’s Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California.

Our Fellow Malcolm Wiener was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 7 September 2009. Accompanied on the occasion by our Fellows Lord Renfrew, Stephen Shennan and Cyprian Broodbank, the award honoured Malcolm’s internationally renowned work in Aegean prehistory and his work for the Malcolm Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Near Eastern and Aegean Dendrochronology.

Finally, though he is not a Fellow, Harry Reeves is well known to many of us, for his commitment to heritage, not least in his work on the Heritage Protection Review and draft Bill in his capacity as Deputy Director at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Harry is moving on from DCMS to take up the post of Secretary-General of the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO, from 1 January 2010. Harry has been with the Department since its foundation (as the Department of National Heritage) in 1992, and he has worked on tourism, broadcasting, sport and recreation policy, before moving to built environment policy in September 2004. One of his tasks at UNESCO will undoubtedly be to try to persuade his successor to ratify some of the UNESCO conventions that are still awaiting the UK’s signature.


Our Fellow David Clarke has died — peacefully in bed — at the age of 86, and was buried following a funeral held on 7 December in Combe, Oxfordshire. As Director of Colchester and Essex Museums David was a powerful advocate of scholarship in museums. Throughout his career he played an active and formative role in the Museums Association, regarding the professionalism of curatorship as of paramount importance, and inspiring a younger generation of curators to excel through his unstinting voluntary work as Tutor for the Museums Diploma. David’s wife, Joan (née Kirk), also a Fellow and formerly Assistant Keeper of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, died in 2007. Our Fellow Christopher Young has offered to contribute a longer tribute to Salon in the New Year.

The Society has also been informed that our Fellow Emeritus Professor Dan Barag, of the Department of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, died in November; if anyone knows of an obituary for Professor Barag, Salon’s editor would be grateful for a link.

Our Fellow Father Geoffrey Holt (1912—2009) was the subject of an obituary in the Daily Telegraph, on 29 November 2009, which can be read in full on the Society’s website. Fr Holt devoted his life to studying the history of the Society of Jesus, of which he was a member. In particular, he was interested in what motivated individuals to choose the same life as his own: one of personal austerity, which was embodied in the simple room that he occupied for many decades as archivist at the Jesuit order’s English headquarters in Mount Street in London.

He was equally curious about the lives of Jesuits growing up at a time of intellectual ferment in Europe, yet choosing the religious way of life, a curiosity that led to the book for which he will be best remembered, The English Jesuits in the Age of Reason (1993). Like the Venerable Bede, he spent his whole life within a small space: he never went abroad, not even to visit Rome, and yet his work covered a vast world of intellectual history.

2010 British Archaeological Awards; call for nominations

Aimed at identifying the most impressive, innovative and imaginative archaeological endeavours of the past two years, the British Archaeological Awards are a showcase for the best in British archaeology. The awards ceremony will form the opening event of the Festival of British Archaeology, and will be held on 19 July 2010 at the British Museum.

The success of the awards depends on your nominations, so to ensure that the best projects are given the chance to compete for a prize, and for the recognition that goes with it, you should make your recommendations now in the following six categories: Best Project, Best Community Project, Best Book, Best Representation of Archaeology in the Media, Best Discovery and Best Innovation.

Full details on the criteria for each award, along with a nomination form, can be found on the Awards website. Nominations close on 1 March 2010.

The IfA seeks hosts for new HLF-funded workplace learning bursary placements

In October 2009, the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) announced that it had been successful in securing £355,746 of HLF funding to provide further Workplace Learning Bursaries. The IfA is now seeking hosts for twenty such placements for 2010 and 2011. These new placements will be tailored to meet the skills gaps that have been identified by research undertaken by the IfA. The project will also identify and train Workplace Learning Champions who will promote the scheme, and workplace learning in general, across the sector. Further information can be found on the IfA’s website.

HLF’s new ‘Skills for the Future’ programme open to applicants

Another £5 million is being made available by the HLF to help meet the skills gaps identified by heritage conservation bodies, so if your organisation could deliver high-quality work-based training opportunities for people seeking a career in heritage, you have until 19 March 2010 to apply. As well as traditional conservation training, ‘Skills for the Future’ will support a wide variety of skills needed to engage people with heritage and utilise new media and technology. Organisations can apply for up to £1 million, and the traineeships can be spread over five years. Online guidance and pre-application forms are available on the HLF's website.


14 December 2009: ‘Competing Against Segregation: sport and leisure on a “problem” council estate in southern England since the 1930s’, 5:15pm, Ecclesiastical History Room, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London. Mark Clapson will deliver this paper to the Sport and Leisure History Seminar, looking at the contribution of sports and leisure to community cohesion on council estates (and the Whitley Estate in Reading in particular) following the Housing Act of 1930. All are welcome. For more information, please contact the seminar secretary, Dion Georgiou.

20 January 2010: ‘Princess Eadgyth of Wessex and her World’, a free afternoon conference (2pm to 4pm) at the University of Bristol, Centre for Medieval Studies, to hear about excavations conducted at Magdeburg Cathedral that have uncovered what are thought to be the remains of Princess Eadgyth, Alfred’s grand-daughter, who was given in matrimony to Otto I in AD 936. Further details can be found on the Bristol University website; limited numbers of free tickets can be obtained in advance from our Fellow Mark Horton.

Books (and journals) by Fellows

This issue of Salon starts with journals rather than books. Newly elected Fellow Bill Moss, Principal Archaeologist of the City of Québec, is guest editor of the latest volume of Post-Medieval Archaeology, the journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (SPMA), which takes the form of a special edition devoted entirely to the recent archaeology of the early modern period in Québec City. Resulting from a collaboration between the SPMA and the Association des Archéologues du Québec, the journal’s sixteen papers cover the newly discovered remains of the short-lived colony of the 1540s, representing France’s first colonization attempt in North America, the interaction between the newcomers and local populations, the city’s port and defences, the great château on the crag above the city, and the growth and development of the historic district of Old Québec, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The journal’s publication marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. Bill Moss sums the volume up by saying that the sites discussed in this Journal ‘can easily be described by superlatives, not only because of their archaeological interest, which stems from the quality of their artefacts and architectural features, but also because of their contribution to a renewed and profound understanding of regional, national and even international history’.

In 2007 the SPMA published a journal themed on the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Jamestown, Virginia; in 2011 it plans to issue a journal centred on the 400th anniversary of the wreck of the Sea Venture (said to be Shakespeare’s inspiration for The Tempest) and the beginning of a sustained English presence on Bermuda. Further details can be found on the website of the journal’s publisher, Maney.

Another journal devoted to a single subject is the newly published Volume 12 of the European Journal of Archaeology (Sage Publications), edited by our Fellow Alan Saville, and dedicated to the legacy of V Gordon Childe (1892—1957), containing papers that were presented to the Durham 2007 conference organised by our Fellow Margarita Díaz-Andreu to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Childe’s death. Alan’s editorial says that ‘this towering (and still, one feels, in some ways rather misunderstood) figure — arguably the most outstanding practitioner of European prehistory in the twentieth century — embodied in so many ways the practices and aspirations of the European Association of Archaeologists’. Among the contributions are those of Fellows Tim Champion on Childe’s Oxford years, Ian Ralston on his Edinburgh years and David Harris on Childe’s time at the London Institute of Archaeology, plus a tour de force of a bibliography compiled by Peter Gathercole and Terry Irving, which fills forty pages and shows that during his most productive years, Childe was writing a major paper a month, on top of all his other activities.

SAVE Europe’s Heritage, the sister organisation to SAVE Britain’s Heritage, launched a new report last week highlighting the threat to the remarkable heritage of Silesia, in western Poland. Silesia: Land of Dying Country Houses, by our Fellow Marcus Binney, Kit Martin and Wojciech Wagner, is packed with pictures of one of Europe’s richest and most fertile provinces, in which almost every village has (or had) a great house and grand set of farm buildings with distinctive eyebrow roofs sweeping over the upper windows — so many, in fact, that the overwhelming majority now stand empty and disused, crumbling rapidly into ruin. SAVE’s report identifies the scale of the problem and describes more than 100 houses in desperate need of repair, among them fine examples, large and small, of Renaissance, baroque, neo-classical and Romantic architecture.

The book not only captures the desperate plight of these remarkable houses, it also looks at the ways in which they might be brought back to life by new owners, as single houses or sensitively divided for several families to occupy. A few have been successfully restored as hotels. Reading the book, it is hard not to want to book a train ticket straight to Silesia, to see this remarkable historic landscape and perhaps to rescue a property.

A new book by our Fellow Mark Girouard is a major event: Elizabethan Architecture: its rise and fall 1540—1640 (Yale) opens our eyes not only to the unique individuality of England’s Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture, but also to the context in which these distinctive buildings arose. England was undergoing its own Renaissance, rediscovering the architectural legacy of the classical past, but, Girouard argues, mediated through the influence of treatises and pattern books such as those of Hans Vredeman de Vries, the Low Countries engineer and designer, and Sebastiano Serlio, the Italian Mannerist working at Fontainebleau. It is the lively marriage of new fashions in ornament borrowed from Italy, France and the Low Countries with the ‘antique’ English style that results in such ‘prodigy’ houses as Holdenby, Burghley, Longleat, Kirby, Hardwick, Wollaton, Theobalds, Doddington and Montacute.

Girouard’s book explores the relationship between surviving architectural drawings of the period and the buildings that were put up by ‘artificer-designers’, such as Robert Smythson, John Thorpe and William Arnold, and he emphasises the literary and symbolic elements: the inscriptions on the parapets, the messages in the plasterwork and the monumental chimney pieces and (as our own Hill Hall publication has revealed) the morals in the murals.

Another celebration of all things architectural is the latest Pevsner volume: Yorkshire: The West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North by Nikolaus Pevsner, massively revised and extended by our Fellow Peter Leach so that Pevsner’s original one volume has now turned into two (not surprising as the West Riding is the largest of England’s historic counties). This first instalment covers the northern half of the former county: highlights are Fountain’s Abbey, Studley Royal, Ripon Cathedral and the spa town of Harrogate, the wool warehouses of Bradford and the mighty civic buildings of Leeds. Outside these urban centres, wonderful countryside stretches from the outskirts of York to the edge of the Lake District, with many a country house and gritty Pennine village in between, not to mention Quaker meeting houses and Primitive Methodist chapels and stout Victorian schools, all of which are given their due.

Cambridge Archaeological Unit has just published two very different books that are nevertheless alike in that they celebrate the work of Fellows. Fengate Revisited, by Fellow Chris Evans, with Emma Beadsmoore, Matt Brudenell and Gavin Lucas, highlights the contribution of Fellow Francis Pryor to our understanding of East Anglia’s archaeology. The book reports on three recent large-scale excavations at Fengate, and sets this in the context of Pryor’s prior work on Bronze Age field systems, and what they tell us about settlement character, landholding, territory and power within the East Anglian Fenlands. Typical of Chris Evans’s rounded approach to the material he studies, the report includes the transcript of interviews with Fellows Richard Bradley, Andrew Fleming and Francis Pryor, dubbed ‘the field system triumvirate of the 1970s and 1980s’, and the results of a review of early twentieth-century Fenland archaeology in the form of the Wyman Abbott archive.

The Anglo-Saxon Settlement and Cemetery at Bloodmoor Hill, Carlton Coville, Suffolk, by Fellow Sam Lucy, Jess Tipper and Alison Dickens (East Anglian Archaeology Monograph 131), is dedicated to our Fellow Catherine Hills and builds on the methods she developed for excavating and analysing the burials at Spong Hill Anglo-Saxon cemetery. In this case, the excavations at Bloodmoor Hill revealed a well-preserved and almost complete early Anglo-Saxon settlement, dating from the sixth to the early eighth centuries AD, and a mid- to later seventh-century cemetery, which lay within the settlement itself, and included high-status female graves.

The site is also remarkable for the amount of metalworking debris and the large assemblages of Anglo-Saxon pottery, fired clay, animal bone and other materials. The end result is a multi-facetted study of one of the most complete early Anglo-Saxon settlements yet to be excavated, which concludes that it may have been an early form of estate centre, with associated high-status burial and industrial activity.

Complementing the Bloodmoor Hill monograph is the final volume in the Excavations at Flixborough series, recording the finds from excavations carried out in 1989 and 1991 on the Anglo-Saxon rural settlement in the parish of Flixborough, North Lincolnshire, that uncovered the remains of approximately forty buildings dating from six main periods of occupation, from the seventh to the early eleventh centuries. Volumes 1, 3 and 4 appeared at the end of 2007, and Volumes 1 and 4 were co-authored by our Fellow, Christopher Loveluck, who was also a major contributor to Volume 3.

Now Volume 2 — Life and Economy at Early Medieval Flixborough c AD 600—1000: the artefact evidence (Oxbow) — has completed the sequence. This gives a comprehensive account of one of the largest collections of artefacts and animal bones yet found on an Anglo-Saxon site. Co-edited by Fellows David Evans and Christopher Loveluck, the book details some 10,000 recorded finds and over 6,000 pottery sherds, an assemblage of great significance for understanding daily life on a rural settlement of this period in eastern England, with contributions by many Fellows: namely Marion Archibald, Michelle Brown, Rosemary Cramp, Brenda Dickinson, Peter Didsbury, Vera Evison, Kay Hartley, John Hines, Patrick Ottaway, Tim Pestell, the late Elisabeth Pirie, Gabor Thomas, Penelope Walton Rogers, the late Alan Vince and Susan Youngs.

Mortuary Customs in Prehistoric Malta has just been published by the McDonald Institute. Edited by Fellows Caroline Malone, Simon Stoddart, Anthony Bonanno and David Trump, with Tancred Gouder and Anthony Pace, this is (remarkably) the first major report on prehistoric archaeology in the Maltese islands to have been published in forty-five years. Its importance also lies in the fact that this is the first of Malta’s Neolithic hypogea to have been excavated using modern scientific techniques, unlike earlier excavations at such subterranean burial temples as the Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum, now a World Heritage Site.

This excavation, at Xaghra, on the Maltese island of Gozo, thus provides important insights into the remains of temples that are among the earliest examples of stone architecture in the world. The report also gives a detailed account of the largest prehistoric burial assemblages of human remains yet discovered in the Mediterranean, amounting to some 220,000 bones, together with a rich assemblage of animal bone, figurative sculpture and symbolic artefacts.

Finally, slightly lighter reading and a Christmas gift suggestion: Emily Cole, who was elected a Fellow just two weeks ago, on 3 December 2009, is the author of the newly published Lived in London: blue plaques and the stories behind them (Yale), whose 500-plus images and 800 plaques give a unique insight into the history of a city that Benjamin Disraeli described as a ‘roost for every bird’. Emily knows her stuff, having been involved in the London Blue Plaques scheme since 1999, and having headed the Blue Plaques team at English Heritage since 2003. Emily’s book draws out the human element in the historic environment, and shows us where the great and the good have penned musical or literary masterpieces, strummed their guitars, practised political speeches or developed new technologies. It is also heart-warming to read that the hugely popular and much imitated blue plaque scheme has saved a number of London’s buildings from demolition.


Marine Conservation Society, Chair of Trustees; salary and closing date not known but full details can be obtained from the TPP Not for Profit recruitment consultants by sending an email to, quoting reference 34457MC.

Head of Archaeological Conservation and Technology, English Heritage, £29,337 to £40,695 depending on qualifications and experience, closing date 31 December 2010. English Heritage is looking for an individual experienced in archaeological conservation and/or ancient technology to head up its newly merged Archaeological Conservation and Technology Team. Further details from the EH website.

Chair of the British Library, £37,000 for 8 days a month, closing date 12 January 2010. Further details from the Department of Culture’s website.

Chair of the National Museum of Science and Industry, unpaid post, 3 days a month, closing date 15 January 2010. Further details from the Department of Culture’s website.