The complete programme of meetings for the period October to December 2010 is posted on the Societys website.
Thursday 7 October: Recent excavations at the Palazzo Imperiale at Portus, the port of Imperial Rome, by Simon Keay FSA
Thursday 14 October: Archaeology and metal-detecting: perspectives from Roman Yorkshire, by Martin Millett FSA. This meeting will be held in the Huntingdon Room, Kings Manor, Exhibition Square, York.
Recently we have seen two strands of discussion about metal-detecting and archaeology. One represents a pessimistic assessment, focusing on the undoubted problems of night-hawking; the other is optimistic, celebrating the outstanding success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. This lecture will explore an area of middle ground. Since the mid-1980s, long-term research on several Roman sites in East Yorkshire has included a systematic study of the value of metal-detecting within archaeological research. The three aspects of this work will be examined: firstly, the value of collating metal-detector finds from an area and relating them to other aspects of landscape research; secondly, the methodological question of how to analyse such data; and finally how the integration of systematic detecting during excavations changes our understanding of object deposition patterns.
Thursday 21 October: Finds and exhibits meeting, preceded by a ballot. Museum of London staff will present a group of seventeenth-century items from London: a bone harpoon found on the foreshore at Deptford, three Delftware dishes excavated from Southwark and a London stoneware bottle.
Dont forget that you can vote online using the Balloting page in the Fellows area of the website or view Blue Papers before voting by post (if you need to register for a password to do this, please contact Jane Beaufoy). Recent updates to the website include the names of the members of Council and of the Societys various committees for the year ahead and details of the various rooms that the Society has for hire for meetings and receptions.
The Past President of the Society, Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, will deliver the Frank Mitchell Memorial Lecture to the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. The subject of Professor Wainwrights address will be Prehistoric Preseli and the Stonehenge Connection. The lecture will take place on Thursday 28 October in the Helen Roe Theatre of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, at 7.30pm.
In keeping with the tradition of honouring Professor G F Mitchell a reception will take place in the Societys House immediately after the lecture, the charge for which will be 10. All Fellows are welcome to attend both the lecture and the reception. For further information please contact the Executive Secretary of the Society, Colette Ellison.
On 12 November 2010, the Society is hosting a one-day seminar with the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee, English Heritage and the UK National Commission for UNESCO to consider the means of ensuring adequate protection for underwater cultural heritage. The seminar will outline the nature of the risks to that heritage, the very severe limits of the present regulatory mechanisms and the potential solutions afforded by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001. It will also draw on the experiences of some of the thirty-three countries that have already ratified, or are proposing to ratify, the Convention, address the perceived advantages and disadvantages of becoming part of the Convention and produce an up-to-date perspective for countries that have yet to ratify.
If you wish to attend and have not received an invitation, please contact our Fellow Bob Yorke who will, depending on space, try to include you.
We must get back to the same Enlightenment values that led to the formation of the Burlington House learned societies if we are to save the planet, said Lord May, former Government Chief Scientist, launching a series of free lectures at Burlington House between now and 8 October as part of the Story of London 2010 festival. Those values, said Lord May, were founded on such principles as judging ideas on the strength of the evidence, not on the authority of the person or organisation propounding them, and recognition that an ugly truth trumps a cherished but unproven idea.
Those same values underpin the continuing contribution of the learned societies to the intellectual and cultural landscape of London and the world, Lord May argued, and are needed at a time when science is showing that we passed the sustainability threshold (the point at which human demands on the planet and the planets ability to renew those resources) some time in the mid-1970s, that, on average, each human on the planet now consumes seven times as many resources as we did thirty-five years ago, and that extinction rates are comparable now with those of the mass extinction rates of the past, but this time because of human agency. Solving such problems needs the maturity of vision that informed our Enlightenment forebears, otherwise, concluded Lord May (with reference to Goyas etching, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters), fundamentalist urges from the past will continue to throw up monsters to thwart the dreams of reason, which is what the learned societies represent.
The full programme of this weeks lectures can be seen on the Burlington House website, and our own Society will host the meeting on 5 October, when our President, Maurice Howard, will speak about our Societys role in Recording Londons History.
Fellow Peter Guest and co-director Andy Gardner have announced the discovery of a near-complete suit of Roman armour at Priory Field, Caerleon, where a team of staff and students from Cardiff University and University College London undertook a six-week excavation during July and August 2010. Dr Guest described the find as extremely rare, adding to important finds from Corbridge, Newstead and Carlisle and the first find of its kind in Wales.
Conservators from the National Museum of Wales have removed the armour from the site in thirty soil blocks. Its going to be a very delicate process of careful and controlled excavation in the Museums laboratories over the next few months, Dr Guest said. He believes that traces of textile survive on some pieces and that excavation will almost certainly reveal a second set of (possible) ceremonial or parade armour as well as the segmentata, or banded armour, already known to be present.
The find is the latest in a series of major discoveries to be made at the Roman fortress in the last four years. At the start of this years excavation, the team announced that their geophysical survey had located a series of huge buildings squeezed into the ground between Caerleons amphitheatre and the River Usk in fields that were not previously thought to have been occupied in the Roman period. One of these buildings is being described as one of the biggest buildings known from Roman Britain. Peter Guest says that it looks uncannily like a residential villa, built on a palatial scale. Another possibility is that the buildings formed part of a riverside port complex, with markets and warehouses, administrative buildings, bath-houses and temples, or that there were plans to develop the fortress at Caerleon into a major settlement plans that for some reason never came to fruition.
This years excavation placed two trial trenches over the largest of these new buildings and revealed a long wall constructed of courses of tegulae (rooftile) that appears to be a harbour or quayside wall, and separate from the courtyard building that would have fronted on to the quay. A digital fly-through of Caerleon and the newly found complex (showing how Caerleons famous amphitheatre fits comfortably within the buildings central courtyard) can be seen on the dig website.
This years main excavation centred on the rooms of a possible warehouse within the fortress (and is the first excavation to take place within the walls of Caerleon for many years). Finds supervisor Chris Waite said that the season had proved to be very productive, with more than 1,000 small finds and lots of important new information about Isca (the Roman name for Caerleon) and its garrison.
In four days time, on 7 October, a newly discovered late first- to mid-third-century bronze parade helmet will be auctioned at Christies, in South Kensington, with an estimate of £200,000 to £300,000. The Crosby Garrett helmet, named after the small village south of Appleby and west of Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria where it was found by a metal detectorist in May 2010, is a rare full-face version with a griffin crest. This type of helmet was used during cavalry sports events designed to show the might of the Roman army (for pictures, see the Guardians report. Two other complete helmets have been discovered in Britain the Ribchester helmet, Lancashire, found in 1796 and now in the British Museum, and the Newstead helmet, in the Scottish Borders, found in 1905 and now housed in the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh and helmet fragments have been found at Guisborough, in North Yorkshire, and Worthing, in Norfolk.
This helmet is not covered by the terms of the 1996 Treasure Act because it is made of bronze (treasure is defined as containing at least 10 per cent gold or silver) and is not part of a hoard. Information about the find spot has been disclosed by the finder to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and it is hoped that archaeological examination of the find spot will be carried out. The helmet has been restored and cleaned for sale by Christies, having been found in thirty pieces.
The Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle has launched a public appeal in the hope of raising enough funds to buy the helmet, which would then form the centrepiece of the new £1.5m Roman Frontier gallery due to open next summer, showcasing some of the finds from the Millennium Excavation of Carlisles Roman fortresses. Local people responded generously: the campaign raised £24,000 in its opening four days and is now well on the way to achieving its aim of raising £100,000 from the public appeal and to making up the balance of the funds needed to make a successful bid at Thursdays auction from grants from such bodies as the Art Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Sainsbury Family Trusts. Donations can be made via the museums website.
Our Fellow Roger Bland, Head of the Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure, British Museum, said: this is an internationally important find and one which everyone agrees should be in a museum in this country and we are supporting the efforts of Tullie House Museum in Carlisle to acquire it. He added: getting the funding for a serious bid at such short notice is hard, but the extraordinary enthusiasm that the Tullie House appeal has generated is yet another demonstration of how much people care about their heritage.
The large sums of money involved in acquiring museum-quality objects and works of art like the Crosby Garrett helmet, the Staffordshire Hoard or the Madonna of the Pinks stands in stark contrast to the amount of money that museums and galleries have in their acquisitions budgets. This mismatch has led Maxwell Anderson, Director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, to propose in a paper given to the 2010 annual meeting of the Association of Art Museum Directors held in August that museums and galleries of the future will have to act as stewards not owners.
The popularity of temporary exhibitions, he says, shows that the enjoyment of static collections is less important to most people than the enjoyment of works not before seen, or not before seen in combination with other works … the public tires of seeing the same works in the same context year after year and increasingly demands impermanent experiences, such as loan exhibitions. Hence, he argues, gathering art, rather than owning it, is the best way forward … museums should consider turning their attention to gathering people, expertise, objects and experiences, and relinquishing the single-minded quest of ownership as our overarching goal.
Rather than hanging a trophy on a wall, Maxwell Anderson argues for barter, in which the barter currency in exchange for loans is other art, or expertise, or excellent care. When it makes sense to acquire a work, by all means pursue it. But the alternatives to ownership will in many instances yield great benefits in protecting heritage, new scholarship, public enjoyment, and institutional vitality. The full speech can be read on the Art Newspapers website.
Salons editor has argued in previous issues that beauty is not an adequate concept when it comes to placing a value on the heritage, if only because it is too subjective. It leads, for example, to the interchange that took place on the Today programme some years ago when our Fellow Simon Thurley was arguing against the conversion of rural barns to domestic residences, with all the suburban trimmings, and the presenter accused him of snobbery: other people might like net curtains and picture windows, she said.
A new survey carried out by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) suggests, however, that there is far more of a consensus about what constitutes architectural beauty and ugliness than we might think. The People and Places' survey asked 400 participants to give an ugliness or beauty rating to a number of buildings, including the City of Art and Sciences in Valencia, St Pauls Cathedral in London, 30 St Mary Axe, London (aka the Gherkin), Leeds Castle in Kent, the Duomo in Florence, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Londons Senate House, New Yorks Empire State Building, the Trellick Tower in London and Gaudis Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The results showed a strong consensus in every case but one: in the case of Sagrada Familia, as many people thought it unattractive as deemed it beautiful.
However, the results of the survey contain an unexpected twist: in some cases, a high proportion of respondents who categorised a building as ugly nevertheless said they liked it; vice versa, a significant proportion of people claimed not to like at least one building that they nonetheless judged to be very or quite beautiful. Judgements about beauty and ugliness do not necessarily tell us what people like and dislike (much as people might like a painting by Francis Bacon that does not conform to standard notions of beauty).
If it is good news that people recognise that beauty is not the only positive aesthetic judgement, less good is CABEs finding that people dont prioritise beauty over other considerations: 60 per cent of respondents think affordability, sustainability and functionality are more important than beauty. Even so, people were very clear that they did not want ugly utilitarian buildings: the overall conclusion is that many people are happy with the absence of ugliness and do not demand positive beauty: the report dubs this a preference for ordinary beauty.
Similar themes are addressed by our Fellow Simon Thurley in an article in the Financial Times published on 17 September in which he put the case for preserving aspects of the heritage that deal with the painful recent past, including the heritage of the Cold War. Using examples such as Estonias Tallinn battery, used during the Soviet era as a prison where political dissidents were held and tortured, or Upper Heyford, in Oxfordshire, a piece of urban America replicated behind razor wire in the middle of the English countryside, Simon acknowledges that it is instinctive to want to erase such places, because we deplore the ideologies they represent.
This is alien stuff, he writes, but stuff that should not be thrown away lightly. If the physical remains of the cold war are erased from the European landscape, so will be the capacity of future generations to understand what took place. Noting that heritage enthusiasts in Oxfordshire have nominated Upper Heyford as a potential World Heritage Site, Simon says these campaigners may have trouble persuading the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, which is in charge of such things that the US base deserves such a designation. On the other hand, he argues that Cold War monuments litter Europe, many of them indestructible or at least very expensive to destroy by virtue of the materials from which they were built and that European heritage agencies and governments need to come up with a strategy for deciding what places from the Cold War should take their place among the monuments of Europe that we have decided to preserve from older conflicts, such as the Hundred Years War or Napoleon Bonapartes campaigns.
Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose has rejected advice from English Heritage that Londons Southbank Centre and Waterloo Station should both be listed at Grade II. Officially the response was one of disappointment, though the Twentieth Century Society which had lobbied English Heritage to recommend the buildings for listing, used stronger language and described the decision as a real shocker, adding that we will be pushing for review. Privately, many in the sector were asking whether the Minister really understands designation and its purpose or whether, worse still, this decision signals political antipathy to the concept.
Certainly the reasons given in a letter from John Penrose explaining the decision are difficult to reconcile with listing criteria. The Minister said, of the Southbank Centre, that there were aspects that had never functioned as intended and that there had been many changes to the design and look of the buildings, and that the architecture is poorly resolved, the structures are not unique or groundbreaking and the individuals behind Archigram had limited influence on the buildings design. As for Waterloo Station and Grimshaws former Eurostar terminal, this was dismissed as much altered and demonstrating an unco-ordinated mixture of different styles. The letter concluded that although the Edwardian baroque style exterior survives, finer examples of that style exist.
The Twentieth Century Society has put forward the Southbank Centre for listing on two previous occasions: in 2004 and previously in 1999 when the Hayward Gallery was under serious threat of demolition. The Society argues that the Southbank Centre, comprising the Purcell Rooms, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery, are as important as the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall both of which are already listed which lie to either side. Constructed between 1963 and 1968, the centre showcases some of the best and most important Brutalist architecture in the country and is an original experiment in British architectural design by some of the most daring thinkers of the 1960s.
The Minister also rejected a listing application for six former army huts that date from the 1940s and that are rare survivals from the Second World War training camp at Fremington, in Devon. The camp is now likely to be sold for development and the huts destroyed.
Listing of the Southbank Centre might well have prevented the recent painting of the external staircases linking the different levels of the Centre; the significance of the complex partly lies in the purity and homogeneity of the original concrete, and in the deliberate muting of the colour in favour of an emphasis on form and function all of which has now been compromised by painting the concrete spiral staircases in crude poster-paint yellow and red.
On the other hand listing need not prevent change, as is demonstrated by plans for the Grade II* National Theatre that have won support from English Heritage and from CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment). The scheme, described by CABE as an extremely well-considered proposal that addresses the shortcomings of the National Theatre and at the same time respects its cultural and architectural significance, involves creating a new entrance and restoring architect Denys Lasduns original orientation, moving the service yard and punching windows into the north-east corner to emphasise the drama of the architecture. A new southern extension is to be built to house the theatres workshops, and there are plans to landscape the upper terraces to introduce trees and greenery. CABEs design review concluded that the scheme has been designed with a thorough understanding of the existing building, which has helped to produce a comprehensive and thoughtfully designed proposal.
Still on the theme of recent architectural heritage, some Salon readers will remember the BBC fly-on-the-wall series broadcast last year (and recently repeated) on various English Heritage projects designed to show the modern face of conservation practice. One of those programmes was concerned with the refurbishment of the Park Hill estate, which stands on the escarpment of the Don valley above central Sheffield, a Le Corbusier-inspired high-rise estate listed at Grade II* in 1998 and once a byword for deprivation and crime. The documentary made much of the credit crunch and its impact on the refurbishment, in which English Heritage was working with the developer Urban Splash, and ended on a bleak note, suggesting that the high-minded scheme to transform Park Hill was doomed.
A recent report in Building Online throws a different light on the project, however, with up-to-date photographs showing progress since the film was made. No longer resembling an abandoned and bleak Soviet-era apartment block in Eastern Europe, Park Hill has been clad in boldly coloured panels (and yes, they are not dissimilar to the colours used on the stairs at the Southbank Centre, but here they work because they have been integrated into the design). David Bickle, speaking for the architects working on the project, says the cladding literally and metaphorically symbolises the buildings transformation from a grey and light-sapping sixties council estate.
When it is complete, the new Park Hill will have 974 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats; 200 are earmarked for social housing and forty for shared ownership. Marketing is likely to begin in the New Year when show apartments have been completed and fitted out; that will be the true test of whether Sheffields aspiring home owners take to the building, with its superb views over the city and to the hills beyond, but for now the view from the city up to Park Hill is definitely much improved.
An idiosyncratic but influential building from the late eighteenth century, Strawberry Hill, the Gothic castle built by Horace Walpole, the son of Britains first prime minister, Robert, has opened to the public following a £9 million restoration project led by our Fellow Michael Snodin. The Guardian newspaper has a gallery of striking photographs showing details of the restored house. For information on visiting the house, see the Strawberry Hill website.
Salons headline announcing that the Cyrus cylinder was returning to Iran prompted several Fellows to ask why Salon, in common with much press coverage, had used this word, when the cylinder came from and was made for Babylon, the remains of which are in modern Iraq. One Fellow forwarded reports from the Iranian media of the opening ceremony of the exhibition in which the cylinder is the centrepiece; the report considered it to be highly significant that the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had made a speech at the ceremony drawing parallels between modern Iran and the empire of Cyrus the Great significant not least because there has been very little interest in the pre-Islamic history and archaeology of ancient Iran within the Islamic Republic for the last three decades. The Cyrus cylinder, the article concludes, is being invested with considerable symbolism in an attempt to connect Irans current history with its ancient past.
A further contribution to the World Heritage debate was published in the Guardian on 17 August 2010, in the form of a brief letter from our Fellow David Breeze. This said that Peter Fowler is right to stress the need for the sound management of World Heritage Sites (Letters, 5 August). This extends to all archaeological and historical sites. Cultural tourism is big business it would be short sighted to cut the budgets for the maintenance of our archaeological and historical properties.
Expanding on the reasons for the letter, David told Salons editor that the catalyst was watching someone from the Old Vic in Bristol eloquently defending spending on the arts and wondering why is no one doing this for archaeology? We need to speak out more, in this case about the maintenance of our visible archaeological and historical heritage, which many local authorities are neglecting, mainly, presumably, through lack of cash. David adds: we need more lobbying to bring our concerns to the attention of the decision makers. I would encourage Fellows and colleagues to respond as appropriate to the articles they read in newspapers, putting the case for archaeology and the heritage.
Salon 240 reported on the new Domesday database, which includes calculations of the asset value and annual rental income of some of Norman Englands richest landowners, expressed as a percentage of Englands GDP, estimated to be £72,000 in 1086. Fellow Nick Mayhew points out that the £72,000 value for Domesday England, which is Darbys well-established figure, is the sum of recorded valets and reddits, but this figure must be a very long way below total GDP for 1086. A few of us have made guesses about what that figure might have been, and my own is around £400,000, but even those proposing much lower figures agree that the £72,000 figure is only the starting point to which all sorts of additions are required. None of this of course throws doubt on the value of the new database.
Fellow Toby Parker says that Salon 241s comments on Digging for Britain were unfair. The programmes were mercifully free of the jazzing-up fuzzy recons which have become the rage in many TV quarters, he writes. Alice treated the diggers and boffins she visited as one would expect a colleague to do, and her astute questions drew lively responses even from the most cautious of rescue archaeologists. Her frequent comments about getting close to the ancestors were the published theme of the series, and though it may have seemed trite to old lags, it was worth repeating for a general audience. It is very difficult to get good on-site action into a TV shooting schedule and I thought the mix of high-vis vests and mud, along with tiny things in plastic boxes (something we did earlier) successfully brought us close to the reality of much archaeology. Rather than knocking this show I feel we should be encouraging another series, and indeed as many more as Dr Roberts is able to make!
On the other hand, Fellow John Collis very much supports John Hiness comment about the peer review of television programmes, having suffered a similar experience with my site of Owslebury in the Hidden Treasure series. I was initially contacted but, when the researcher left, I heard no more, and only later heard that a programme had been made without my input (so much for ten years of excavations!). After seeing the programme I wrote and complained but heard nothing. Finally, after the scandal about the misuse of the video of The Queens photographic session, I thought it time to attack again, via my MP. This time I got an apology from the Director General himself, not for the quality of the programme (it had been shown too long ago), but for the previous lack of apology. Could the Society organise an official approach by the archaeological world (EH, IfA, BM, APPAG, etc) to tell the television powers that be to get their act together or we will refuse to co-operate in future? Perhaps some sort of code of practice?
Since Salons comments on what a dire summer it had been for history and heritage programmes, the situation has brightened considerably. Jonathan Foyles all-too-short two-part series on Peoples Palaces: the Golden Age of Civic Architecture, broadcast in mid-September, was a brilliant example of how music, image, script and interviews can work together to reinforce each other and produce a programme full of well-informed analysis addressing interesting questions (in this case, many of the answers were provided by Fellows of this Society, such as Rosemary Hill, showing us Pugins notebooks and using them to analyse his character). This was literate and analytical TV about the radical nineteenth-century belief in the power of art and architecture to have an improving influence on society and unlike todays local governments who cut everything except the salaries of their chief executives, the city fathers of the past clearly thought that cost-cutting should never be allowed to compromise ambitious architectural designs.
And then there was our Fellow Michael Wood cleverly using the story of Kibworth in Leicestershire to tell the Story of England. Michael shared the limelight in the first programme with Fellow Carenza Lewis and ceramics expert Paul Blinkhorn as they used the pottery finds from a series of metre-square test pits to reconstruct the story of the village, from the Mesolithic to the pre-Norman era (with Martin Biddle putting in an appearance at Repton when the story of the Viking Great Army was told).
There was much scholarship behind the programme, but it was lightly worn. Any risk that the programme might tip into dangerous political territory with its emphasis on the essential continuity of the indigenous population was counteracted by Michael Woodss evident delight in the multi-cultural mix of Saxon and Viking in the place-names of Kibworth, some of which blended elements of Old Norse and Old English, some of which demonstrated that the Vikings sometimes farmed very marginal land and thus fitted in to the landscape rather than seizing the best for themselves. Above all, the programme was a case study in how to do community archaeology and turn even bored teenagers and sceptical adults into wide-eyed enthusiasts for archaeology by revealing what lies in their own back gardens.
In the tribute to the late John Alexander in the last issue, Salon asked whether he had ever been elected to the Fellowship. Several Fellows remembered that he had styled himself FSA at Cambridge in the 1970s, so Salon consulted Adrian James, our Assistant Librarian, who keeps a card-index record of every Fellows election date. Adrian confirmed that John was indeed elected in March 1964, but resigned in 1994. Fellow, Warwick Rodwell recalls that John lived in a delightful timber-framed house in Haslingfield, listed Grade II and described in the schedule as mid-seventeenth century, but, says Warwick, perhaps sixteenth century in reality. I used to go and see him there, writes Warwick, having an affection both for John and for the house, which my ancestors once owned. Warwick also reports that he has just celebrated the completion of his Barton-upon-Humber volumes, the culmination of thirty-two years work, and the largest opus that I have churned out: 500,000 words and over 1,000 illustrations, now safely at press with Oxbow.
Salon 240 reported that Fellow Paul Belford had recently left Ironbridge Gorge Museum after ten years as Head of Archaeology there, and expressed the hope that his departure did not mean the abandonment of archaeology. Steve Miller, Chief Executive at the Ironbridge Gorge Trust, writes to reassure Fellows that one of the museums key commitments in its new five-year strategy is to achieve excellence in the field of industrial archaeology, to which end the museum is in the process of recruiting an industrial archaeologist.
Salon 240 asked readers to help Quetta Kaye explain why the recent ploughing of an expanse of land on the island of Nevis (possibly previously uncultivated for more than a hundred years) should have led to the collection of many small pieces of abraded eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pottery. Within minutes of Salons distribution, three Fellows responded. First, Anthony Snodgrass wrote to say this is debated territory, but one strong body of opinion holds that the prime cause for such scatters, at least in the Mediterranean lands, was a kind of indirect linkage to soil improvement. In many pre-modern settings, there would be one all-purpose rubbish dump, into which went much compost and animal manure but also household breakages. Later, the entire contents would be spread on the fields as fertiliser, the earthenware or china inevitably included. See, as a start, Bintliff and Snodgrass in Current Anthropology, 29 (1988), 50613, followed up in Alcock t al in Classical Greece: Ancient Histories and Modern Archaeologies, edited by Ian Morris (CUP, 1994), 13770 and 199200.
Making a similar point, Donald Bailey wrote to say that Such a practice certainly occurred in many of the fields of Egypt, where, during the nineteenth to early twentieth century, thousands of tons of sherds and earth were scattered for many reasons, including the spreading of earth as a fertiliser, but also as hardcore. I wrote a short note on this some years ago: Sebakh, sherds and survey, in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 85 (1999), 21118.
From Elaine Morris came a different suggestion, which is that the pottery might include handmade and bonfired Afro-Caribbean pottery vessels created by women of African origin or descent on Nevis from the late seventeenth century through to modern times, and the origin of the Newcastle Pottery Co-operative today. Coming from newly ploughed land, the sherds might also indicate the presence of a hitherto unknown slave village like the ones that have been test-pitted recently by a joint American- and British-funded team composed of members of the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (Jillian Galle and Fraser Neiman) and the Nevis Heritage Project (Fellows Roger Leech and Robert Philpott) at the Jessups Estate on the west side of the island and the New River Estate on the east side.
Some of Elaines Southampton undergraduate students took part in this work as part of their fieldwork training: Afro-Caribbean pottery and imported eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century wares were systematically recovered from these sites along with other objects and based on samples recovered in 2008, Elaine has written up a petrological analysis of the Afro-Caribbean pottery for the project; she now hopes to follow up Quettas discovery as part of her own fieldwork on Nevis later this year.
The power of Salon to assist Fellows was further demonstrated by the speed with which new homes were found for two brass lecterns commemorating officers of the Punjab Frontier Force. Fellow Peter Boyden of the National Army Museum was contacted by our Fellow the Revd Martin Dudley, Rector of the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, as a result of which Fellows will soon be able to see the lecterns at Barts. One will be placed in the Lady Chapel, where, says Martin, we have long wanted a lectern; a permanent home has yet to be found for the second. A factor in deciding to have them, Martin says, is the way in which they will bring further military diversity to our memorials: we have two Boer War monuments, several from the First World War and two from the Second. These will be an interesting and useful addition.
Anyone interested in the following books and journals is invited to contact our Fellow Tim Malim, who is happy to give them free to anyone willing to arrange collection: Proceedings of the British Academy (hard back): vols 75, 76, 80, 82, 84, 87, 90, 101 and 105; IRAN the journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies (soft back): vols XXVIII to XXX and XXXIII to XLIII.
The European Union has launched a consultation designed to gather ideas for objectives and activities to be included in the EU Culture Programme after the current programme runs out in 2013. Consultation documents and information about the current programme can be found on the EU website and responses must be received before 15 December 2010.
Our Fellow Martin Biddle was granted the Freedom of the City of Winchester on 21 September at a black-tie dinner hosted by the Mayor. Martin was made an Honorary Freeman in recognition of the eminent services rendered to the city and the wider community regarding the study of the archaeology of Winchester. In bestowing the honour, the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Richard Izard, acknowledged the outstanding contribution made by the late Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle to their joint achievements.
A further tribute to Birthe was paid by our Fellow Richard Hodges, Williams Director of the University of the Penn Museum (Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology), where Martin was Director from 1977 to 1981. Writing in the museums quarterly magazine, Expedition, Richard says that the name of Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle deserves to be recalled as one of the University of Pennsylvanias finest archaeologists, publishing to standards that were no less intellectually rigorous than the complicated excavations she brilliantly managed at Winchester Old Minster, Repton and St Albans Abbey. Richard also pays tribute in the magazine to Bill Coe, the legendary excavator of Tikal, who died on 23 November 2009, a few weeks before Birthes own death on 16 January 2010. Bill and Birthe taught archaeological methodology together at Penn; lucky those students to have as their mentors two of the greatest stratigraphical diggers of their day.
From Winchester to Sparti: our Fellow Stephen Hodkinson, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Nottingham, has been awarded Honorary Citizenship of the Greek city , in recognition of his outstanding academic contributions to the history of ancient Sparta and its modern reception. The award was presented on 17 September 2010 by the Mayor of Sparti, Mr Christos Patsilivas, during the opening ceremony of the fourth international conference of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past, hosted by the Municipality of Sparti and the University of Nottinghams Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies, which Stephen directs along with our Fellow Bill Cavanagh, Professor of Aegean Archaeology at Nottingham. The citation records that through his scholarly work he has made the history of ancient Sparta and Lakonia known to a global audience. Stephens most recent edited volume, Sparta: Comparative Approaches (ISBN 978-1-9051253-8-8; Classical Press of Wales), was published in 2009. He follows in the footsteps of several other Fellows: Hector Catling, Paul Cartledge and Bill Cavanagh have all been awarded Honorary Citizenship of the city, an indication of the municipalitys enlightened commitment to its cultural heritage.
Finally to New York, where the Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced the award of the Sylvan C Coleman and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fellowship for 201011 to our Fellow Nicholas Reeves. Nick will use the Fellowship to study materials in the Mets collections relating to the Valley of the Kings and to other New Kingdom burials from the Theban west bank.
Fellow Christine Finn writes to draw Fellows attention to an online exhibition Past, Present, Man, Nature: celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes put together by Alison Cullingford, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Bradford, to mark the centenary of Jacquettas birth, drawing on material in the J B Priestley archive, which Bradford curates. Some hint of Jacquettas free spirit is perhaps indicated by the photograph that shows her as a child sat astride her fathers motorbike along with the observation that she identified herself with Kiplings Cat that Walked by Himself, resisted uniforms, organised games and Girl Guides and liked pretending to be a cave man and bicycling around Cambridgeshire visiting churches and taking brass rubbings.
Christine herself continues her journey around the UK visiting, filming and photographing places that featured in Jacquetta Hawkess work, The Land. Christine will be showing the results of her work at the Ilkley Literature Festival on 6 October and speaking about Hawkes and her circle on 16 October. Christines report on Robert Gravess home on the island of Mallorca was broadcast on the BBCs From Our Own Correspondent programme on 21 Aug and can be heard again on BBC iPlayer.
Newnham College, Cambridge, is hosting a Memorial Celebration for our late Fellow Carola Hicks on Saturday 30 October 2010 at 2.30pm. If you would like to attend please inform the Roll Office.
The Society has been informed of the death of our Fellow Peter Heath (elected 24 November 1988), Emeritus Reader in Medieval History, Hull University, on 2 September 2010. A specialist in the history of the medieval church, Peter is perhaps best remembered for his detailed account of the living conditions, duties, income and theological beliefs of parish priests around the year 1500, published as The English Parish Clergy on the Eve of the Reformation (Routledge).
In this issue of Salon we also remember Nic Appleton-Fox (19532010) whose simple funeral took place on 4 September 2010 at the green burial ground at Westhope, near Craven Arms, and ended up in Nics favourite pub, the White Horse at Clun. Nic was not a Fellow but he was well known in archaeological circles and many of us first encountered him when he was working for the Central Unit and for the Cornwall Archaeological Unit. For many years Nic was an itinerant archaeologist, going wherever the work required (and on digs as far from home as Ecuador and Peru), pursuing archaeology as a vocation rather than as a job and living out of his canvas just in case bag.
Eventually settling in Clun, he worked for Hereford City Archaeology Unit for several years, co-directing the excavation that preceded the new library building at Hereford Cathedral, and publishing, along with his co-director Richard Stone, a 68-page interim report A View from Herefords Past. He and Richard set up Marches Archaeology in 1995, doing much work in the Welsh Borders. He became a proud father, ran Clun youth club for many years and served the local community as a Green Party parish councillor.
Our Fellow Stephen Clarke, Chairman of Monmouth Archaeological Society, has called for Monmouthshire Council to be prosecuted for carrying out work without consent at a scheduled monument and of causing irreparable damage to the remains of Monmouths defensive town ditch at Clawdd Du. It has dug a two-foot deep trench, almost a quarter of a mile long, and in doing so its done irreparable damage to an important historic site, he said. Mr Clarke added that professional and amateur archaeologists throughout the town had been outraged by the councils actions and have called for an inquiry by the Assembly Governments heritage body Cadw, which he hoped would take a strong line.
Monmouthshire Councils Rick Longford admitted that the excavation of a shallow watercourse without going through the proper channels was a regrettable oversight, and explained that the work was intended as part of an environmental improvement scheme to clean up the monument, deter fly tipping and create a series of wildlife ponds to encourage the local community to look after the site in the future.
A Cadw spokesman said that its officers have asked that the works be stopped and are now carrying out a more detailed assessment of the impact of the works on the archaeology, which will inform decisions on how to proceed.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced confirmed funding of £15m for four major projects: new exhibition and education spaces at the William Morris Gallery in Waltham Forest (£1.5m); extensive repairs to the Grade I listed Cromford Mills, Derbyshire (£2m), to bring new areas of the mill complex into use as part of the activity programmes for schools, visitors and volunteers at the World Heritage Site; work on the cataloguing and digitisation of 95,000 images from the earliest part of the Aerofilms collection (from 1919 to 1953), plus community projects and exhibitions to help raise awareness of the collection in Swindon, Edinburgh and Aberystwyth (£1.7m); and conservation of the stonework of York Minsters east end and the fifteenth-century stained glass in the Apocalypse section of the Great East Window(£9.7m), including the provision of training opportunities in stone masonry and stained-glass conservation.
In addition, the HLF has granted initial funding to enable further planning to take place in a number of projects in which Fellows are involved, including the provision of a new gallery at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth, and the purchase and refurbishment of former monastic buildings that were lost to Hexham Abbey at the Dissolution in 1537.
19 October 2010: The Locality and Region seminars begin again at 5.15pm on alternate Tuesdays in the Ecclesiastical History Room in the Institute of Historical Research, London, when Margaret Escott speaks on Residential mobility in a nineteenth-century parish, examining the impact on the parish of changes in incumbents, local gentry and officials; of enclosure, the 1834 poor law and ancillary legislation; the railway and the more rapid urbanisation of nearby parishes. Margarets paper considers the ways in which late enclosure deprived manorial tenants of their common rights and freedom to graze animals on roadside verges, looks afresh at how the customary practice of building houses on the waste was curtailed and considers the ways in which the parish vestry, sanitary inspections, the Poor Law Boards appropriation of parish housing and local entrepreneurs who provided alternative accommodation all contributed to trends in migration and residential mobility.
The seminars are open to anyone interested in the relationship between local and national history and who wishes to share ideas, viewpoints and work in progress. They seek to make an original contribution to local and regional history by drawing upon the long-established national resources of the VCH and co-operating with participants from universities, record offices, local history societies and heritage organisations, as well as with those engaged in independent research. If you would like to join the e-mailing list, please contact our Fellow Elizabeth Williamson. For details of all seminars at the IHR see the Seminars page of the website and click on Locality and Region in the list to see forthcoming speakers and topics in this series.
21 October 2010: Glass in Literature and Art, a study day hosted by the Association for the History of Glass, to be held at The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London, from 10am to 4.45pm, to include papers on glass, glassmaking and glassworkers in ancient Greek literature, Roman glass and literature, poetry on Islamic glass, table manners and the use of glass vessels as depicted in pictures ancient to modern, depictions of Venetian and Façon de Venise glass, seventeenth-century glass and glassmaking reflected in the writing of Fellows of the Royal Society, and eighteenth-century glass in literature. For a booking form contact Fellow Sandra Davison, Hon Sec AHG.
25 October 2010: Glorious Mud: treasures from the Thames, by our Fellow Geoff Egan, the Fourth Annual Lecture of the Company of Arts Scholars, Dealers and Collectors will be given at 6.30pm at Carpenters Hall Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2JJ. The glutinous mud of the Thames, carried down to the capital from the shires for century after century, has created one of the worlds most important archaeological sites, preserving objects that give us fresh insights into daily life, fashion and the developing economy of the city that was to become the capital of a worldwide empire. For further details of this talk or to learn more about the former Guild of Arts Scholars, Dealers and Collectors, now elevated to the status of a Company without livery, contact The Clerk, Georgina Gough.
26 October 2010: The Great House in the Twenty-first Century, at the Royal Geographical Society, London SW7, 7pm. As part of the World Monuments Funds autumn lecture series, our Fellow Sir Simon Jenkins, as Chairman of the National Trust, explores the circumstances, values and opportunities of great houses in the twenty-first century. On 4 November, from 10am, the WMF hosts Strawberry Hill revealed: a study day to review the restoration, at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. On 9 December, again at the Royal Geographical Society, the WMFs Chief Executive, Jonathan Foyle, talks about his BBC TV series, Climbing Great Buildings in which he climbs the exterior of some of Britains most exceptional historic buildings in order to examine their construction. Details and booking information for all three events are on the WMF website.
30th October 2010: Who served the altar at Brixworth? Clergy in English Minsters c 800 to c 1100; the 28th Brixworth Lecture will be given by our Fellow Julia Barrow of the University of Nottingham at 5pm at All Saints Church, Brixworth, Northants. Tea served from 4pm at the Heritage Centre, Church Street, Brixworth. Tickets on the door, price £5 including tea (students and Friends concession £3), with all proceeds to Brixworth Church, or by email to Bev King. A poster can be downloaded from the Brixworth Friends website.
30 and 31 October 2010: Emperors, Usurpers, Tyrants: the history and archaeology of Western Britain from AD 350 to 500; numerous Fellows will give papers at this two-day conference to celebrate the Roman Societys Centenary, hosted by Cardiff University and the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association and sponsored by The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies.
Did the end of Roman rule mean the sudden abandonment of Roman culture throughout Britain? How much of Roman culture and traditions survived into the fifth century in Wales and the West? Did people continue to think of themselves as Romans or Roman Britons after AD 400? How did events in England affect how the population of Western Britain saw themselves and the world around them? The results of new archaeological research have an important contribution to make to the study of the emergence of an early Welsh identity from the legacy of Roman Britain, and 2010 is a timely opportunity to bring this work together and attempt a synthesis. The conference will include a wide range of papers on the history and archaeology of fifth-century Wales and Western Britain, delivered by experts at the forefront of current research.
For the conference programme and a booking form, see the Cardiff University website.
11 November 2010: Westminster Abbey: for ever new; the annual Soane Lecture will be given by The Very Reverend Dr John R Hall at 6.30pm at the Royal College of Surgeons, 3543 Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC2. Dr Hall, Dean of Westminster, will trace the complex history of the development of the Abbey, and the successive plans for its completion and aggrandisement over the centuries. He will also explain the Dean and Chapters current plans for the Abbey. Tickets cost £15 (£10 for students) and can be booked in advance by contacting Claire Lucky or purchased on the door (subject to availability).
8 and 9 March 2011: Fortifications at Risk, a symposium organised by the Fortress Study Group (FSG) to be held at the National Army Museum, London, to highlight concern at the number of nineteenth- and twentieth-century fortifications particularly WW1 and WW2 defences that have become derelict or have been destroyed. Building upon the Defence of Britain project, the FSG is bringing together interested parties to discuss the preservation of these structures, and imaginative ways in which they might be re-used. Speakers include prominent British and international figures in the heritage world. Further details of the symposium may be found on the FSG website.
13 to 15 April 2011: the annual conference of the Institute for Archaeologists takes place on home ground next year: Reading is to be the venue, and the theme will be Assessing Significance. A call for papers will go out in the next few weeks. The IfA also has a new website, which has been tested over a prolonged period by Institute members, but feedback and suggestions for further improvements or features are very welcome: please send them to Kathryn Whittington, the IfAs PR Co-ordinator.
Fellow Paul Arthur, Scientific Director of the Laboratory of Medieval Archaeology, part of the Department of Cultural Heritage at the University of Lecce, has published a full account (in Italian) of excavations carried out between 1993 and 1996 on one of the earliest excavated monasteries in Italy, the early medieval Byzantine monastery dedicated to the Saints Cosmas and Damian located near Otranto, Apulia. Il complesso tardo-antico ed alto-medievale dei SS Cosma e Damiano, detto Le Centoporte, Giurdignano (LE) Scavi 19931996 (ISBN 978-8-8808688-8-0; published by Congedo Ed, Galatina, 2009), co-edited with Brunella Bruno, focuses on the standing ruins of the monastic church, with its polygonal apse, erected between the late fifth and early sixth centuries and in use until the eleventh century, when the site appears to have been under the jurisdiction of the Italo-Greek monastery of San Nicola di Casole, founded in 1098 and one of southern Italys most important medieval artistic and cultural centres. The report provides details of the site, the building and its territory and specialist reports on the various finds, including worked stone, ceramics, coins, glass, metal slag, faunal and anthropological remains.
The last issue of Salon considered the relative merits of e-books and printed monographs, and now you can judge for yourself, thanks to the gift of the first ever e-book to the Societys library: Al-Khor Island: Investigating Coastal Exploitation in Bronze Age Qatar, edited by Robert Carter and Robert Killick (ISBN 978-0-9539561-2-8; 80 pages with many full colour drawings and photographs), is published by our Fellow Jane Moon under her Moonrise Press imprint); priced at only £12.99, Jane asks if this is the future for archaeological reports? In this case the choice of publication in digital form was entirely consistent with the genesis of the book, which arose out of the Qatar Archaeology Project, formed in 1999 as a joint initiative supported by the Department of Archaeology, University of Birmingham, and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage, State of Qatar, with a remit to conduct research into the archaeology and heritage of Qatar. This work reports on fieldwork carried out on Al-Khor Island, off the eastern sea-board of Qatar, where Bronze Age, Sassanian and Islamic remains were investigated. The project was notable for its technological innovation at the time, with every aspect of the excavation being recorded digitally, using graphics tablets with handwriting recognition software for field notes, a pen-based monitor for mapping and digital cameras.
Tin-glazed tiles from London, by Ian Betts and our Fellow Rosemary Weinstein (ISBN 978-1-9019929-0-8; Museum of London Archaeology), is dedicated to our late Fellow, the English ceramics expert, Jonathan Horne, and looks at the rich diversity of decorative tile designs used in the capital over 400 years. Starting with the first tin-glazed floor tiles to be imported to England from Valencia and Seville in the first half of the sixteenth century, the book traces the subsequent importation of decorative tiles from the Low Countries and their eventual manufacture in London itself. The early tiles formed spectacular multi-coloured floor patterns, while later tiles were used as a decorative wall covering, especially around fireplaces. Introductory chapters cover the manufacturing process, the chronology of tile types and designs and chemical analysis of the clays used to make the tiles and what this can tell us about the origin of the tiles. The bulk of the book consists of an illustrated gazetteer of in situ tin-glazed tiles from London, and then a catalogue of designs drawing on excavated as well as in situ examples.
An Archaeology of the Senses: Prehistoric Malta, by Fellow Robin Skeates (ISBN 978-0-1992166-0-4; Oxford University Press), is the result of Robins interest in the sensory dimensions of the material world and the role that hearing, taste, smell and touch, as well as sight, might have played in human development, using prehistoric Malta as a case study and seeking to reconstruct the way that landscape, dwelling places, monumental buildings and the underworld of caves, subterranean temples and burial sites might have been understood in the past from a multi-sensory perspective.
Life Everlasting: National Museums Scotland Collection of Ancient Egyptian Coffins, the latest book from Bill Manley and Fellow Aiden Dodson (ISBN: 978-1-9052671-7-0; National Museums Scotland), is a catalogue of the world-class collection of ancient Egyptian funerary artefacts in National Museums Scotlands collection, which though on display to the public for 150 years, remains relatively little studied. The book highlights such exceptional items as the royal burial group from Qurna, the coffin of the priest Iufenamun and the unusual double-coffin and mummies of the young half brothers, Petamun and Penhorpabik. The book also covers the history of the collection, and the numerous figures who were responsible for collecting, researching and preserving these collections over the years.
From our Fellow Neil Faulkner comes not a book but a new magazine: Military Times, edited by Neil and with several more Fellows on the Editorial Advisory Board, has features on why Boudica lost her last battle, what happened the first time Britain invaded Afghanistan, how Fighter Command defeated the Luftwaffe in 1940 and how Lawrence of Arabia pioneered the tactics now deployed by the Taliban (an article written by Neil himself, and in part based on his own excavation of sites in Jordan associated with the Great Arab Revolt, that was reprinted in the Independent on 23 September. For further information about the magazine, see the Military Times website.
Newcastle City Council: Director, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Salary £77,357 to £84,531; closing date: 6 October 2010
For further information see the museums website.
The Open University: Chair in Classical Studies, Ref. 6205
Salary negotiable within the range £59,977 to £67,175; closing date: 8 October 2010
For further information see the Open University website.
Church of England: Casework Officer; fixed term to cover maternity leave
Salary £31,590 to £34,570; closing date: 13 October 2010; interviews 1 November 2010
You will assist the Senior Adviser to the Statutory Advisory Committee on closed and closing churches in the preparation of key documents and supporting information relating to the Committees statutory casework. The work includes site visits, data management and research that complements the work of the Senior Adviser as a part of an integrated team within the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops Council of the Church of England. You must be educated to degree level or equivalent, preferably in the history of art and architecture, archaeology, history, heritage studies or related disciplines.
To apply, please visit the Prospect-Us website or call 0844 880 5154, quoting Ref: C2216-222-1/W.
La Trobe University: Professor of Archaeology
Salary: $139,540; closing date 15 October 2010
The Archaeology Program at La Trobe is very active and diverse, with research interests in the Old World, New World and Third World, with (of course) more of a focus on Australian archaeology than on any other region. There is no specific area of speciality designated for this professorial post; the appointee will be expected to take over the leadership of the Program, contribute to its breadth of teaching and to maintain its current diversity. Details of the position can be found on the LTU website.
La Trobe is also currently advertising for a Lecturer in Chinese Archaeology; salary $73,444 to $87,212; closing date 8 October 2010.
Heritage Lottery Fund: Chairs of regional committees in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber; closing date 1 November 2010
HLFs regional committees take decisions on the award of grants up to £1m in value, and provide the HLF UK Board of Trustees with regional perspectives on larger grants and national programmes. Committee Chairs are chosen for their wide-ranging experience and local knowledge relevant to the range of projects funded by HLF. In the past they have come from a variety of backgrounds, in heritage, tourism, education and regeneration, for example. For more information and to apply online please visit the HLF website.