Salon Archive

Issue: 253

Easter holiday and bank holiday closure

The Society’s library and apartments will be closed on Friday 22 April, Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 April, Friday 29 April, Monday 2 May, Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 May 2011.

Forthcoming meetings

Wednesday 20 April: Anniversary Meeting, at which the President will give his Anniversary address. Tickets are required for the reception that follows, at which drinks and canapés will be served. Priced at £15, they can be purchased by contacting Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Executive Assistant.

Thursday 5 May: Finds and exhibits meeting. Fellows Roger Bland and Sam Moorhead, authors of the recently published British Museum book on the Frome Hoard, will give a presentation on ‘The largest Roman coin hoard from Britain in a single container’ and exhibit some of the 52,503 coins, weighing some 16kg, ranging in date from AD 253 to 293. Buried some time in the reign of the Emperor Carausius (286—93), the hoard contains the finest silver coins of Carausius’ reign ever seen, and the largest group of Carausian coins ever found.

Thursday 12 May: ‘Wise virgins and princely artisans at London’s second Royal Exchange (1667—72)’, by Christine Stevenson, FSA

London’s second Royal Exchange building, a post-Fire replacement for that built by Thomas Gresham (1566—8), was itself burned down in 1838. Taking as its points of departure two ceremonies — Charles II’s laying of the first stone on 23 October 1667, and the Lord Mayor Sir William Turner’s reopening of the quadrangle for trading almost two years later — this lecture explores the surprisingly lively role played by the construction of the Exchange in the political relationship between City and Crown.

Henley Review of Cultural Education: call for evidence

The Minister for Culture, with the support of the Secretary of State for Education, has asked Darren Henley, Managing Director of the Classic FM radio station, to conduct an independent review of cultural education in English schools. This review will look at ‘how we can ensure that every child experiences a wide variety of high-quality cultural experiences, ensuring both quality and best use of public investment’. The definition of ‘culture’ in this case includes museums and galleries, heritage and the built environment, as well as music and the performing arts, literature, the visual arts and design. You can respond to the call for evidence using the Henley Review's online questionnaire.

Stonehenge developments

The Government announced last week that plans for enhancing the Stonehenge landscape and building a new visitor centre were ‘back on track’, skirting over the fact that it was the Government’s withdrawal of £10m in funding that threatened to derail the project in the first place. The Minister for Heritage and Tourism announced that all the necessary funding was almost in place (Salon editor’s italics) thanks to the Government’s ‘Big Society’ approach to capital funding. In this case that appears to mean allowing English Heritage to spend £2m that it has already raised through its own fundraising efforts (under current Treasury rules, sums raised through such development activity by public bodies would normally have to be returned to the Government).

The Highways Agency has also agreed to contribute £3.5m in the event that the public inquiry into planned road improvements round Stonehenge allows the closure of the A344. In its own statement, English Heritage said that it was still around £3m short of the sum it needed to pay for the overall scheme of improvements, but that it was now committed to going ahead.

Southport Group opens consultation on draft report

The Southport Group, so named because it was formed at Southport during the Institute for Archaeologists’ conference held there in April 2010, exists to promote best practice in the interpretation and application of Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment. The Group’s draft report, bringing together the results of the consultations that have taken place over recent months, has just been published for comment before the final report is published in July 2011. Responses to the report, which makes twenty-seven specific recommendations, are invited by 3 June 2011.

The report outlines a vision for the sector where ‘management of the historic environment is a partnership between local authorities and community groups and where decisions proactively, confidently and genuinely take account of public values and concerns’. The authors say that it will be ‘challenging at both personal and institutional levels’ to make a reality of this vision, and that it will require the historic environment sector, local authorities, developers and central government to work in new ways, but it argues that the prize is worth the effort and ‘is within our grasp’.

The full report can be downloaded from the IfA website.

Why local authorities need an archaeologist

Implementing the Southport Group’s recommendations requires a well-resourced historic environment service at local authority level, and yet it is increasingly the case that planning control staff, archaeological officers and conservation officers are not replaced if they move on elsewhere or they fall victim to redundancy in the face of cuts in local government spending. To counteract this trend, The Archaeology Forum (of which our Society is a member) has produced a short paper setting out the reasons why archaeological posts, and supporting resources, such as Historic Environment Records, should not be regarded as optional. Copies of the advocacy document can be downloaded from the TAF website.

Heritage Counts to focus on volunteers

And as professional posts are cut, everyone is looking to the voluntary sector to fill the gap — whether the voluntary sector really can do so is one of the questions that will be addressed by this year’s Heritage Counts annual report. As part of the research for the report, members of local societies are being asked to contribute by sharing their experiences of the work that they do. The aim is partly to celebrate the contribution of volunteers to the conservation of the historic environment, but also to build up an accurate picture of the support that local societies need in order be more effective at what they do. Further information is on the Heritage Counts website.

SPAB warns that public buildings are at risk

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is also concerned at public spending cuts, not least because of the high proportion of listed buildings, including historic library buildings, swimming pools, town halls, museums and community centres, that are under local authority ownership and that are likely to be sold to developers or left to deteriorate through vandalism and lack of maintenance if buyers are not found. SPAB’s Secretary, our Fellow Philip Venning, told the Guardian that ‘we are deeply concerned that great swathes of the nation’s built heritage will face an uncertain future under new ownership, or will simply be mothballed’.

DEFRA launches consultation on a New Waterways Charity

What happens to British Waterways in the future will no doubt serve as a model for the way that future governments will want to treat analogous organisations (The Forestry Commission? English Heritage?) so it is important that plans to take England’s inland waterways out of the public sector and to create a New Waterways Charity (NWC) are soundly framed. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published its plans for the NWC and is now seeking views by 30 June 2011. The aim, says DEFRA, is to ‘help the waterways to be more financially sustainable, enabling access to new sources of commercial and private income, including legacies and donations and create the opportunity to grow a strong base of volunteers who can help maintain a range of waterways assets, through their knowledge, expertise, passion and commitment’.

National Heritage List for England launched

English Heritage has launched its National Heritage List for England, a new online database for all nationally designated assets, but this is more than just an information source. Our Fellow Peter Beacham, Designation Director at English Heritage, stresses that it is a major step towards the realisation of the plan for a unified approach to the historic environment under the Heritage Protection Reform (HPR) plan launched in 2002, bringing together list descriptions for all of England’s listed buildings, scheduled monuments, protected wreck sites, registered parks and gardens, registered battlefields and World Heritage Sites. What is more, it is the key to nominating a heritage asset for designation, or for amending an existing entry, in future, by means of an online form located on the same site, again, a major step towards the Unified Designation System promised under the HPR process.

Zurbarán paintings to stay at Auckland Castle

Jonathan Ruffer, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, has purchased the thirteen Zurbarán paintings of Jacob and his sons, the Elders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, that have hung in Auckland Castle, County Durham, home to the Bishops of Durham, ever since Bishop Trevor purchased them in 1756.

Mr Ruffer, who made his fortune from fund management and who has also given substantial sums to the Church Urban Fund in the past, paid £15m for the pictures and promptly donated them back to the Church of England, saying that ‘saving and spending money is empty’, and has the potential to ‘poison you’.

The donation was welcomed by our Fellow Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, who said: ‘It is excellent news that the Zurbaráns remain in their historic home’, while our Fellow the Bishop of London, The Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Acting Chairman of the Church Commissioners, praised Mr Ruffer’s generosity, saying ‘it has made that rarest of scenarios possible: the best of both worlds’.

Nevertheless it leaves unresolved the question of whether it was appropriate, or even legal, for the Church Commissioners to offer the paintings for sale in the first place, and for that reason heritage figures and clerics in the region, including the former Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, have criticised the gift, and have pointed out that the future of Auckland Castle itself remains uncertain, as does the fate of several more historic bishops’ palaces that the Church Commissioners have earmarked for sale.

Some newspapers reported that Durham County Council, the National Trust, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Art Fund and the National Gallery were all in talks about the future of Auckland Castle, and plans for greater public access to the castle and grounds, which have the potential to be turned into a ‘leading arts and heritage centre in the north east’, though further funding would be needed for this.

Seventh century coulter found at Lyminge

To the left is the coulter as it emerged from the ground; the main picture shows the position of the coulter on a nineteenth-century heavy plough in the Reading University Museum of Rural Life

Excavations at Lyminge, partly funded by our Society, and directed by our Fellow Dr Gabor Thomas, of Reading University, have produced a coulter from a context that dates it to the seventh century AD. The coulter, a key component of the heavy ploughs used to cultivate heavier clay soils, was found at the base of a sunken featured building, along with jewellery, glass, pottery, pins and beads that elsewhere in Kent are dated to the first half of the seventh century. Dr Thomas said that ‘it looks to have been carefully placed at the bottom of the pit on the building’s abandonment, perhaps as a ritual offering with symbolic connotations’.

Our Fellow Peter Fowler, an expert on ancient agriculture, said ‘this is the object I have been waiting for all my life’, explaining that the coulter, a substantial piece of metal weighing some 6kg that was fixed to the front of the plough to cut the soil before it was turned by the ploughshare, ‘was known in Roman Britain but apparently then forgotten, and with a lack of evidence we believed that such a plough was unknown in England before the late Saxon period’.

The heavy plough, drawn by a team of eight oxen, was capable of cultivating difficult soils and would have substantially increased the productivity of the early Christian monastery at Lyminge which is the focus of Dr Thomas’s field work.

The latest on Zawi Hawass and the looting of Egyptian antiquities

Zawi Hawass has accepted the post of Minister of Antiquities in the interim Egyptian government, despite having threatened to resign from the post in protest at the absence of effective security at the country’s museums and archaeological sites. In appointing Hawass to the post, Egypt’s interim Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, also agreed to the creation of an independent Ministry of Antiquities, separate from the Culture Ministry.

The appointment is likely to anger pro-democracy activists in Egypt because Hawass is associated with the discredited Mubarak regime, but the interim Egyptian government probably had little choice. Egyptian archaeologists and museum staff had written to the prime minister threatening to strike and bring what little tourism there is in Egypt to a halt unless a competent and independent minister was appointed swiftly to deal with archaeology-related affairs. In the letter, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, the director of the Central Administration for Antiquities in Alexandria and Lower Egypt, said that the archaeological decision-making process was in total paralysis, that foreign missions could not work on archaeological sites and that wide-scale looting continued. UNESCO officials said that they too had written to the Egyptian authorities voicing their concern and asking for more protection for the country’s archaeological sites.

On accepting the post, Hawass announced that a new armed police force would be deployed to protect archaeological sites and museums around the country in place of the unarmed tourist police.

Much confusion still surrounds the question of exactly what has been looted from where in Egypt, though it is thought that the numbers of objects looted from museums and museums stores alone amounts to hundreds of objects. Last week, Hawass announced the retrieval of four more artefacts of the thirty-seven said to have been stolen from the Egyptian Museum. The museum has recently confirmed that the missing objects include three gilded statuettes of Tutanhkamun from the boy king’s tomb, of which the most famous is the two-foot-high figure of Tutankhamun on a skiff throwing a harpoon.

Picture

STOP PRESS: As Salon was going to press last night, the news broke of the latest chapter in the extraordinary life of Zawi Hawass: Egyptian newspapers reported that he had been sentenced to a year in prison with hard labour for refusing to fulfil a court order relating to a land dispute that occurred when Hawass was in charge of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). The SCA lost its appeal against the ruling, having argued that the disputed land contained monuments and was therefore government-owned.

‘Ghost Music’ on Radio 4

Fellow Christine Finn recently wrote in the Sunday Times about the theft from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo of the bronze and copper trumpet that Howard Carter found in the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. The trumpet has since been recovered, and Christine, meanwhile, has made a programme for Radio 4 tracing the history of the trumpet with the help of Egyptologist Margaret Maitland. In ‘Ghost Music’ (19 April at 1.30pm, 23 April at 3.30pm, or on iPlayer) Christine finds a recording in the BBC archives of the trumpet being played in 1939, in Cairo, by British soldier James Tappern, bringing back to life a haunting sound last heard 3,000 years ago.

Christine also considers how archaeology has informed other attempts at the revival of ‘ghost music’; she talks to Richard Dumbrill about his reconstruction of the Silver Lyre of Ur, discovered by Leonard Woolley in modern-day Iraq around the same time that Howard Carter was excavating Tutankhamun’s tomb, and she hears from Domenico Vicinanza of the Lost Sounds Orchestra, an international group that uses technology to imagine the sound of ancient instruments, such as the epigonion, the harp often depicted on ancient Greek vases, incorporating archaeological discoveries into modern compositions.

Papers from the Staffordshire Hoard Symposium published online

Our Fellow Helen Geake, Finds Adviser (Early Medieval Objects) to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), is editing the twenty-seven papers that were given at the symposium on the Staffordshire Hoard that was held at the British Museum in March 2010, many of which are now available on the PAS website along with summaries of the discussions and subsequent thoughts (more will be added over the coming months).

Bamboo tool-making and experimental archaeology

It has long been theorised that the lack of sophisticated stone tools at prehistoric sites in south-east Asia might be due to the use of bamboo as a material for tools: not so much a palaeolithic as a palaeobambus. Now a group of archaeologists, led by our Fellow Ofer Bar-Yosef, Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Harvard, has carried out a series of experiments to confirm that it is actually possible to make a range of bamboo tools using simple stone tools, such as crudely shaped stone flakes.

The findings, published in the journal Quaternary International, confirm that crudely knapped stone tools performed remarkably well for chopping down bamboo and for making bamboo knives; the latter were efficient at cutting up meat, but not animal hide. Bar-Yosef was also able to make sharp spears capable of killing an animal. ‘But’, the authors write, ‘one is left to wonder, at least for butchery tasks, why a prehistoric person would go to the trouble of producing a bamboo knife when a stone flake would do the trick.’

Further comment on curatorial changes at the Museum of London

Fellow John Clark writes to clarify the situation with regard to curatorial posts at the Museum of London, following the statement in the last issue of Salon from the Museum's Head of Communications saying that the net effect of the proposed reorganisation would be to leave ‘a curatorial cohort of twenty-four people from an original figure of twenty-six’.

John says that while this may be true of the museum as a whole, the effect on the Department of Archaeological Collections and Archive (DACA, formerly the Department of Early London History and Collections) is much more fundamental than these figures suggest.

DACA, he explains, with a total staff of about eighteen, is responsible both for the museum’s collections up to and including the seventeenth century, for the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC) and for the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology. In summer 2009, DACA’s staff included six Senior Curators, one of them (not affected by the current proposals) running LAARC, one (the late Bill White, Fellow) in charge of the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology, and the other four being ‘period’ specialists responsible, respectively, for the Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval and Post-Medieval periods. These four were supported by two (junior) Curators whose duties were necessarily (and intentionally) general, and who undertook period-based projects as required. Rumours earlier this year of a proposal to merge the four ‘period’ Senior Curator posts into a single Senior Curator (Archaeology) post led Fellow Mary Beard to comment in her recent blog, which Salon subsequently reported.

Now, following the issue of final redundancy notices on 12 April 2011, the facts have become clear. The prehistoric and Roman posts are being combined into a single Senior Curator (Prehistoric and Roman) post. However, this post has not been filled. The existing Senior Curator (Prehistoric) and Senior Curator (Roman) are both being made redundant. The post of Senior Curator (Medieval) (John Clark’s own former post, vacant since his retirement and, he has been told, recently deleted) is being combined with that of the existing Senior Curator (Post-Medieval). So, from four Senior Curators and two Curators in 2009, the number of staff responsible for the Museum’s pre-1700 collections is now being reduced to two Senior Curators and two Curators, with one of the Senior posts unfilled.

John says: ‘the redundancies and the reduction in numbers of Senior Curator posts represent a huge loss of knowledge, experience and human resource. There has been little opportunity for those outside the Museum to comment on these changes until now, but given that they are now public knowledge, I hope that other Fellows will join me in writing to express their concern at the damage this will cause to DACA’s work, to the Museum of London’s academic reputation and to the proper curation and long-term development of the Museum’s outstanding archaeological collections.’

Making museums less useful: a current educational madness?

Museum matters have also been on the mind of our Fellow John Blair. In the hope of starting a debate he offers his thoughts on current trends in museum display.

‘Nobody doubts the intellectual standards or priorities of professional museum staff. But those staff often seem to have only a limited say in what happens when museum collections are redisplayed, as has happened recently in the case of entire museums or with particular collections. Displays are often driven by educational theories and design criteria rather than by the practical experience of scholars, curators or general visitors, and to many of us the changes seem for the worse rather than the better. In my view, some recent examples give serious cause for concern to the archaeological community and to this Society. Since the standard response to complaints is “It’s not meant for you; it’s for the ordinary public”, I offer for discussion three principles that I believe to be widely shared by the actual and potential museum-going public of all ages and backgrounds.

‘People want to see things. In new displays, even where there is supposedly more space, there is almost invariably much less on show. A small selection of items dotted around a large display-case may be aesthetically pleasing to the designers, but to many visitors it just looks bare and impoverished. “Ordinary” people are intrigued by rich assemblages of interesting objects, not put off by them. Observe the expressions of slightly puzzled disappointment (“There wasn’t much there, then”) on the faces of people coming out.

‘People want displays logically organised, with a clear chronological framework and an inclusive, non-coercive thematic one. It is easy to think up clever thematic and comparative arrangements that make sense to their designers; it is much harder to predict how much sense they will make to anyone else, especially the uninitiated. Traditional museum displays were meant to be educational, often successfully so. Many current ones seem to be uncontextualised groups of precious objects, like a jeweller’s window (“Now it’s just a bling-show”, as I overheard in one case), or alternatively they become so “thematic” that wider aspects get buried. A restrictive thematic organisation imposes a tyranny: the display is only rewarding if one happens to have the same interests as its designer. Recently I have heard identical comments from two university lecturers about the recently redisplayed museums in their university towns: “I used to take groups of students, but now there would be no point”. If museums are meant to be educational, that is worrying to put it mildly.

‘People want clear and informative labelling. Much labelling is now so sparse that it says nothing useful, and so artistic that it is barely comprehensible. Many “ordinary” visitors would probably find it easier to follow Victorian museum labels than the ones now fashionable. And cannot the expression of dates in the form of centuries be explained rather than abandoned? “Eighteenth-century” (somewhere within a recognised division of time) is qualitatively different from “1700—1799”, which is confusingly precise (why 1799 but not 1800?).

‘One intriguing exception is worth pondering: displays concerned with the Romano-British period often buck the trend by being both rich in content and informative in structure. The Verulamium and Corinium museums are excellent models, though in neither case does the rich post-Roman archaeology get adequate treatment. Do the people who want to see massed arrays of Roman objects really shy away from medieval or post-medieval ones? This perceptual quirk illustrates how far the problem is rooted in fashions and preconceptions. The design ethos now so widely evident seems self-indulgent, doctrinaire and patronising, and does injustice to the intelligence and initiative of both adults and children. The people it fails most seriously are the very ones who need museums most. Dissatisfied professionals can find information elsewhere; it is the “ordinary” visitors — for whom these displays are supposedly designed — who are really getting short-changed.

‘Not all current trends are depressing. Used sensibly, modern technology offers great opportunities for display-cases, lighting and, of course, digital graphics. The growing practice of putting objects in movable glass-topped drawers (again used very well at Verulamium) is a promising way to reconcile design priorities with making material accessible. And one great museum known to many of us has responded very seriously to criticisms of the kind made above, and has given a young curator a free hand to transform an inadequate new display. Fashions will change again: let us hope for a return to common-sense, and also that not too much more money is wasted in the meantime.’

Feedback

John Singer Sargent's portrait of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth

Three errors crept into the last issue of Salon. First, at the recent award ceremony for Gertrud Seidmann at Oxford University it was our Fellow Professor Helena Hamerow, Director of the School of Archaeology, who spoke on behalf of the School, not our Fellow Dr Susan Walker, Keeper of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum.

Secondly, the earliest phases of the Iron-Age road that Fellow Tim Malim has recently excavated near Telford, in Shropshire, is much earlier than the mid-first century AD date reported in Salon: Tim writes ‘just to clarify, C14 (three samples) and OSL dating (eight samples), plus Bayesian modelling, have shown that the trackway existed in the second century BC, that the engineered road originates in the first century BC, and that the third and final phase has an 82 per cent probability that it was built prior to the Roman conquest.’

Thirdly, Paul Buckland writes to say that Salon (and the National Trust press release on which Salon’s report was based) seems to be confused about the material used to make the dress that Ellen Terry wore to play the part of Lady Macbeth. The dress is not made of beetle wings (which are translucent) but of the hard and iridescent elytra (or wing cases) that are used to protect the delicate wing membranes when they are not being used for flying. Nor, says Paul, are wings or elytra shed naturally: these jewel beetles (Buprestidae) have to die for their wings to be used in the cause of art. ‘Members of the Beetle Liberation Front should see the interview with the Belgian artist Jan Fabre in Sculpture magazine’, says Paul, where Fabre says that he sources the many millions of buprestid elytra that he uses in his mosaics from Thailand, where jewel beetles (very common and not endangered) are fried and eaten and the shells discarded.

What Salon has also discovered through following up jewel beetle references on the internet is that Ellen Terry’s dress is far from unique: the Hampshire Museums Service website has a page on the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century fashion for embroidery that incorporates gem-like beetle wing cases on objects as diverse as ball gowns, tea cosies and book covers. Neither is the use in the decorative arts especially new: there are numerous ancient Egyptian examples and our Fellow Eva Panagiotakopulu has identified an example from Barry Kemp’s excavations at the Byzantine monastery of Kom el-Nana.

Inspired by the news, reported in Salon 252, that the Arts and Humanities Research Council was setting aside significant amounts of funding for research into the ‘Big Society’, the Council for British Archaeology announced on its website that seven universities and three archaeologists had come together to research the antiquity of the ‘Big Society’ concept. The statement said that much work had already been done in this field by archaeologists and that an accessible monograph (priced at £105.99) would shortly be published, showing that elements of the Big Society have been with us since the dawn of humanity; ‘the true fascination of the Big Society’, said Dr Chockan of the Big Society Co-ordinating Committee, ‘is that is, by its very definition, impossible to define’. The statement was issued on 1 April 2011.

Our Fellow Robert Gibbs was not amused, however, and has written to Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, to say: ‘I should like to voice again my profound disapproval of the use of an oxymoron with flagrant political connotations as a specific part of the agenda of the AHRC. It is utterly inappropriate for a public body (as opposed to a party political one) to adopt such a slogan, and it is a dismal reflection on the literary competence of our leading Arts Funders to associate size with a relationship structure. Societies are not populations but ways of organising them, tight or loose, united or divided. Populations may be larger or smaller, but not the nature of their structures. The incoherence of the concept emphasises that it is a political construct ill conceived, and not a philosophical or scientific one.’

Fellow Nicholas Stanley-Price has spotted another candidate for Salon’s file of archaeologists manqués, Glencairn Balfour Paul (1917—2008), whose obituary began: ‘Glencairn Balfour Paul was a soldier, diplomat, traveller, explorer, scholar and poet, and excelled in all these diverse careers and vocations. Above all this floated an original dream of becoming an archaeologist, a dream which had to be abandoned because of family responsibilities.’

Lost to archaeology, Balfour Paul went on to serve in the Sudan Political Service and as a diplomat in Chile, Lebanon, Dubai and Bahrain before becoming ambassador to Iraq, then Jordan and Tunisia, in all of which posts he no doubt took advantage of the opportunities to explore the archaeology of the region.

His distinguished diplomatic career brought him into contact with the great, the good and, sometimes, the not-so-good: it was his dinner party that Kim Philby was due to attend in Beirut before he fled for Soviet Russia. As Balfour Paul put it in his autobiography, Bagpipes in Babylon (2006): ‘One wet night (23 January 1963) Kim and his wife Eleanor were coming to a dinner party in my flat. Eleanor arrived and said that Kim had phoned to say that he was held up but would be along a little later. He never came.’

Lives Remembered: John Magilton

Our Fellow John Magilton died on 24 March 2011 just short of his sixtieth birthday (he was born on 26 June 1951). Salon is very grateful for the following appreciation, contributed by our Fellow Paul Buckland.

John began his digging career in Chester in the days when medieval and later deposits were mechanically removed to get at the Romans. Proud of his Irish ancestry, he preferred to take note of the evidence in the ‘topsoil’, and it was perhaps also inevitable that he chose the University of Southampton, then the most active department in the field, for a degree in archaeology and medieval history, where the influence of Peter Addyman was to shape his later career. Spending his vacations digging in places as diverse as the Sparsholt Roman villa and urban Doncaster, he made one last attempt to lead a normal life as a temporary clerk with Chester Constabulary. John was not, however, cut out for a humdrum existence and he joined Peter with the nascent York Archaeological Trust in 1973.

His career from that point was mapped out. John directed the excavation of the small medieval church of St Helen’s-on-the-Walls, revealing important Roman deposits beneath, including a pavement whose imagery might have led mistakenly to the medieval dedication. It was, however, the meticulous excavation of the numerous medieval burials and the subsequent careful evaluation of historical, as well as archaeological, evidence which made his reputation in medieval archaeology.

Whilst work in York was progressing towards publication, he moved to Doncaster, initially to prepare what was essentially an architectural survey of the local authority district, as well as to continue excavations on behalf of what is now English Heritage. Most of this research has been published, although he had always said that, in the absence of funding, the Roman fort would have to wait for his retirement.

His interest in the development of towns, evident since early days with David Palliser in York, continued with David Hey in south Yorkshire, where the study of the planned settlement at Tickhill was supported by limited excavation, and at Birmingham University, where working with Terry Slater on the plan of Doncaster caused him to wonder why so many holes had been dug in the urban landscape, when careful map analysis could provide better results more cheaply. John later applied similar techniques in his study of Midhurst in West Sussex.

Birmingham, however, provided other opportunities and whilst directing excavations on the Roman temple site at Coleshill, in Warwickshire, he completed a much lauded thesis on late Roman religion in Britain, with Simon Esmonde Cleary. This provided the background for a major report, long in publication, if not gestation, on the temple site.

The report appeared long after his move to Chichester, where he took over from the late Alec Down, steering several of Alec’s projects to publication before the dissolution of local authority archaeology on the altar of privatisation. It was again the York connection that provided a safety net, before the problems of many small units — those of cash flow and the growing reluctance of increasingly stretched local government to supplement developers’ pence to obtain that bigger picture — led to the demise of Southern Archaeology.

Survival thereafter depended upon John’s ability to cut through the Gordian knots of other people’s recording and produce meaningful reports. The monograph on the Fernhurst furnace, substantially updating earlier work on the Wealden iron industry, and the still-to-appear study of the Dorchester Roman bath-house for English Heritage will long stand as examples of life being breathed into the dead. And indeed the same could be said for his own excavation and publication (with Frances Lee and Anthea Boylston) of the leper hospital of St James and St Mary Magdalene outside the walls of Chichester, which extends John Magilton’s reputation beyond medieval archaeology into science and the history of medicine. Meticulously researched and related to the broader context, the report, like all his work, lives up to the definition of archaeology as truly multi-disciplinary (rather than Wheeler’s definition of archaeology as a vendetta).

John had always been holoptic in his approach, able to show that archaeology could make a very real contribution to many other fields, from historical geography to the history of disease. He was a very real academic who seldom worked in an academic environment, perhaps much to his advantage. His knowledge stretched geographically from his beloved County Clare to the eastern Mediterranean, from the mythology of the Celtic West (leading to contributions on the Lindow Men), to post-medieval archaeology, through what I would have to call regional ethnography to the music of the Morris. An accomplished melodeon player, he introduced many of his digging crew to the likes of Billy Pig, the Northumbrian piper, and Salopian traditional singer Fred Jordan, long before ‘folk’ became the de rigueur musical style on the archaeology circuit. It is a great pity that Life did not renew his contract with John for at least a few more years. Survived by his wife Eleanor and son Tim, he will be sorely missed.

Lives Remembered: Hugh Denis Charles Fitzroy, The Duke of Grafton, KG

Elected a Fellow on 1 March 1956, the 11th Duke of Grafton, who died on 7 April 2011, aged ninety-two, was one of that select group whose Fellowship exceeds half a century, reflecting a life of dedication to the cause of preserving the nation’s heritage. He was, said the Daily Telegraph, ‘an eloquent champion of conservation who lectured all over the world and sat on a breathtaking array of architectural and amenity bodies. He was chairman and later president of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and also chaired at various times the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Church of England’s Cathedral Advisory Commission and Sir John Soane’s Museum. He was a member of the Historic Buildings Council from its foundation in 1953, and until he succeeded his father in 1970 he was the National Trust’s administrator for Sussex and Kent, and later East Anglia. He was also vice-chairman of the National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to the organisations he chaired, he sat on the executive bodies of — among others — the Historic Buildings Advisory Committee, English Heritage’s Churches and Cathedrals Advisory Committee, the Council of the National Trust and the Royal Fine Art Commission. He was patron of the Historic Houses Association and a trustee of the Tradescant Trust, the London Museum and the Buildings at Risk Trust. He was also closely involved in the activities of the Georgian Group, the Victorian Society, Heritage in Danger, the Ancient Monuments Society and the Civic Trust.’

Among the many campaigns for which he will be remembered, he spoke out against the proposal to demolish Euston Arch (built on land that his family had once owned), he launched a scheme to help preserve the historic centre of Salisbury and he led a successful appeal to pay for the restoration of the Theatre Royal at Bury St Edmunds, the UK’s only surviving Regency theatre. He was also instrumental in the preservation of Woburn Square, one of the last Georgian squares left intact in Bloomsbury. More recently he will be remembered for leading the chorus of protest provoked by the decision of the Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral to sell the thirteenth-century Mappa Mundi, describing as ‘deplorable’ their failure to consult the Church’s Cathedral Advisory Commission before doing so.

Lives Remembered: Lewis Binford

Picture from Wikipedia
Lewis Binford, who died on 11 April 2011, at the age of eighty, was not a Fellow but his ideas have nevertheless had an influence, directly or indirectly, on the thinking of all archaeological Fellows through his championing of the New Archaeology. Binford helped to define the discipline as it was practised and conceived throughout the 1960s and 1970s, while the way that archaeology is taught and debated today in universities around the world can be seen either as deeply rooted in his legacy of ‘scientific’ rigour, or as a reaction (led by the young Turks of the 1980s and 1990s, including our Fellow Ian Hodder) against it.

Especially influential was Binford’s emphasis on ethno-archaeological fieldwork, supplementing what we know about the past from archaeology by looking for parallels in living cultures. The difficulties of inferring human behaviour and beliefs from objects was illustrated, however, by Binford’s disagreements with François Bordes over variation in Mousterian tool assemblages, which Bordes described as cultural, and the product of different tribal traditions and Binford wanted to see as functional, and as a response to different ecological conditions. That grew out of another strand in Binford’s thinking that characterised the New Archaeology: the search for universal laws in human behaviour, based in the belief that culture is an adaptive response to environmental conditions, and that the same conditions will produce a similar response.

Binford’s search for a network of interacting general laws, using science-based models of enquiry, proved highly appealing to generations of archaeologists looking for a way of establishing archaeology as a scientific and objective discipline, but ultimately it led to deep splits amongst archaeologists and a reaction from those concerned that the particularity and subjectivity that defines human behaviour was being lost in the search for universal formulae. The debate continues, and as the person who did so much through his research and writing to frame the terms of that debate, Binford can justly claim to have been, in the words of the obituary published by Southern Methodist University, where Binford taught since 1991, ‘the most influential archaeologist of his generation’.

Lives remembered: Jean Le Patourel

An obituary for our late Fellow Jean Le Patourel, who died on 20 January 2011, aged ninety-five, was published in the Daily Telegraph on 30 March 2011. This described her first encounter with the material culture of the Middle Ages when she took part in excavations at Kirkstall Abbey, soon establishing a reputation as an expert in the medieval ceramics of Yorkshire, publishing papers on the main types and their distribution, and identifying Cistercian Ware for the first time as a ceramic type characteristic of pre-Dissolution Yorkshire monasteries.

Jean Le Patourel’s work brought her into contact with John Hurst, the medieval ceramics expert at the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate, with whom she carried out excavations of important medieval sites, including Knaresborough Castle and Wharram Percy. At Wharram Percy, she became a pivotal member of the team of archaeologists led by Hurst and Maurice Beresford in what was to become the longest continuous excavation in Britain. She also collaborated with Hurst on four medieval moated sites threatened with destruction: Newstead, the Archbishop of York’s manor of Rest Park, East Haddlesey and the Archbishop of York’s manor at Otley. It was work which led her, in 1973, to publish a general survey of medieval moated sites in Yorkshire.

In 1967 Jean Le Patourel was appointed to a lectureship in History and Archaeology in the Department of Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies at Leeds University. In 1976 she was appointed associate lecturer in the Department of Archaeology. There, among other achievements, she introduced a two-year extramural certificate in Archaeology. Her field work with extramural students would lead to the publication of a study of the history of Yorkshire boundaries in 1993.

A keen member of Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Jean Le Patourel was instrumental in establishing a medieval section of the society, serving as its first chairman and later as vice-president of the society. She also supported the Thoresby Society (the Leeds historical society).

She served on the Council of the Society for Medieval Archaeology and the Executive of the York Archaeological Trust and as president of the Ilkley Museum and Archaeological Society, as well as on committees and working parties of the Ancient Monuments Board and the Department of the Environment. For many years she served as a British delegate on the Château Gaillard Conference on Castle Studies. She was elected a Fellow of our Society in 1960.

Lives Remembered: Robert Tear

The Guardian, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph have all paid fulsome tribute to our late Fellow Robert Tear, the internationally acclaimed operatic and concert tenor, conductor and writer, who died on 29 March 2011, at the age of seventy-two. Bob Tear was elected a Fellow of our Society on 22 May 2008, and his early death deprives the Society and the world at large of a man of deep and wide culture, not only one of the world’s leading tenors, but also an author, poet, painter and raconteur who was elected to the Society as much for his knowledge of early English watercolours, including topographical and antiquarian examples, as for his musical work.

The latter encompasses some 250 recordings, some of which (Britten’s War Requiem, for example) feature in every music lover’s collection. His autobiographical books (Tear Here, 1990, and Singer Beware, 1995) reflect the great intelligence, wit and empathy that he brought to his life and work — beginning as a choirboy in Barry, south Wales, and ending up as one of the greatest tenors of his generation.

Events

27 April 2011: Professor Danielle Schreve, Professor of Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway, University of London, will be speaking about Dorothea Bate, the self-taught archaeologist who shocked the late-Victorian age by setting out on her own to Cyprus, where she discovered the bones of Hippopotamus minor, or pygmy hippos, and pioneered the study of zooarchaeology, or the study of animal remains at archaeological sites. The talk takes place at 6.15pm, in the Windsor Building Auditorium at Royal Holloway, and is the first in series of six talks on pioneer women in scientific research. Send an email to Celia Mulderrig to secure a place.

3 May 2011: ‘Women Writers and the Victoria County History’, by John Beckett, 5.15pm in the Ecclesiastical History Room, Institute for Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. At a time when openings for young, educated women were few and far between, the VCH employed numerous women as researchers and writers, offering them a welcome alternative to teaching. These women should rightly be termed bluestockings, and some of the women went on to carve out career opportunities for themselves. This paper asks what do we know of them? How many women were involved? What was their background? What roles did they play in the VCH? How much were they paid? And how did the men who ran the VCH respond to them?

Further forthcoming seminars in this ‘Locality and Region’ series take place on 17 May, when Dr Carlos Galvis will talk about traffic management and road safety on the congested streets of late nineteenth-century London, and on 31 May, when our Fellow Alistair Hawkyard will talk about Inigo Jones’s work on the Parliament House in the first half of the seventeenth century and his role in the adoption of the colour green for the House of Commons in the 1640s. See the IHR’s website for further information.

3 May 2011: ‘Manpower, Ideology and Travel: twelfth-century architectural sculpture in northern Spain’, by our Fellow John McNeill, 5.30pm, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, open to all, free admission, organised in collaboration with the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland (CRSBI).

Unlike Romanesque architecture in Italy and France, where regional identity is strongly defined, that of northern Spain is unusually open to the work of masons and sculptors from beyond the Iberian peninsula. Reasons for this are not hard to find for the period between c 1075 and c 1120. What is less clear is why this situation endures through the twelfth century — why repopulated cities such as Avila or Salamanca might call on designers from differing parts of France, while neighbouring Segovia could develop an apparently indigenous and distinctive regional style.

5 May 2011: ‘A Case for Ruins and a Cause for Concern: the digital Mulberry Row Project at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello’, by Danielle Willkens, 6pm for 6:30pm, in the Seminar Room of Sir John Soane’s Museum, at No. 14, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP; places must be booked in advance by contacting Beth Walker, Head of Education. This talk will look at plans to make visible the largely invisible landscape of slavery at the World Heritage Site home of Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826) who, despite writing that ‘all men are created equal’ in the American Declaration of Independence, owned more than 600 slaves during his lifetime and formally manumitted only seven. In addition to exploring the use of technology for historical interpretation, the talk will address the preservation of memory in consideration of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s plans to reconstruct the Mulberry Row slave accommodation.

7 and 8 May 2011: British Rock Art Group 2011 Meeting, Department of Archaeology, Durham University; the website has full details.

18 May 2011: ‘Patronage, Collecting and Society in Eighteenth-century Britain: the grand design of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland’, by Adriano Aymonino, 6pm for 6:30pm, in the Seminar Room of Sir John Soane’s Museum, No. 14, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP; places must be booked in advance by contacting Beth Walker, Head of Education.

This talk will reassess the impact of activities of Hugh Smithson Percy (1712—86) and Elizabeth Seymour Percy (1716—76), 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, and their unparalleled architectural and artistic campaign, born of far-reaching political and social ambitions and wide-ranging cultural interests, to refurbish the family estates — Stanwick Hall, Northumberland House, Alnwick Castle and Syon House — with a targeted display of collections to match the architectural style of each residence.

Picture: The Hall at Syon House

19 and 20 May 2011: ‘Neighbours and Successors of Rome’, a conference organised by the Association for the History of Glass at King’s Manor, University of York, bringing together speakers from a dozen countries to talk about new work on the traditions of glass production and use in Europe and the Middle East in the later first millennium AD. The programme, some abstracts and a registration form are available on the Association’s website. The cost is £90 (one day £60), student fee £45 (one day £30). Email our Fellow Justine Bayley to register for the conference.

21 May 2011: ‘Antiquarianism and the History of Archaeology’, Department of Archaeology, Durham University; see the website for the speaker and topic list.

4 June 2011: The Monumental Brass Society’s Windsor Study Day; the morning will be devoted to visits to St George’s Chapel and the afternoon to papers on the chapel’s brasses and monuments. Further information from Fellow Martin Stuchfield.

6 June 2011: ‘Of Process and Practice: exploring developer-funded archaeology and London’s more recent past, 1800 to the present day’, 10am to 4.45pm, at the Wilberforce Theatre, Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay, London E14 4AL. London is largely a nineteenth- and twentieth-century city, and yet the below-ground archaeology of the last 200 years was dismissed until recently as ‘modern disturbance’, while its built heritage was viewed as a seemingly endless resource, and so not worth recording. The scope for a greater understanding of this period has been recently provided by the more holistic approach to heritage assets offered by Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5), which eliminates the artificial separation between buried remains and above-ground archaeology, and brings into focus the idea that understanding the significance of a site or a landscape plays a central role in its investigation, recording and dissemination. Through the presentation of short position papers by individuals engaged in every step of the archaeological process, this seminar aims to stimulate lively discussion about how London’s relatively recent past is understood, and provide a step forward in the development of working methods and standards that take account of London’s diversity within the PPS5 framework.

Further information can be found on the website of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology.

15 and 16 June 2011: call for papers for a conference on ‘Early Modern Merchants as Collectors’, to be held at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, to update and expand on the themes of the 1985 conference on ‘The Origin of Museums’, organised by our late Fellow Oliver Impey and our Fellow Arthur MacGregor. Papers are invited on merchants who were active in any region of the world and whose collections included objects from any collecting category. Papers may address the collecting of a single merchant or group of merchants and should fall within the period c 1450—1650. Contributions may be based on inventories or they may address the cultural context or any other aspect of a merchant’s or merchants’ collecting activities. See the museum’s website for the full details.

20 June 2011: ‘West meets East: contact and interaction between India and the Mediterranean world from the Hellenistic period to Late Antiquity’, a colloquium to be held in the History Department of University College London, aimed at those studying or interested in a broad range of themes associated with contact between India and the Mediterranean world. For further information, see the colloquium’s website.

25 June 2011: An afternoon exploring the medieval monuments in Standon Parish Church, Hertfordshire, followed by an evening concert in aid of the Friends of St Mary’s Standon, a church renowned for its impressive range of medieval brasses, the magnificent tombs of the Sadleir family, and its remarkable history. These will be the subject of talks to be given at the church from 2pm to 6pm by Fellows Caroline Barron, Linda Monckton, Martin Stuchfield and Phillip Lindley, followed at 7.30pm by a concert of church music for Choir and Organ. Caroline Franks, of the Friends of St Mary’s Standon, can supply further details.

Books by Fellows: The Marlborough Gems

In The Marlborough Gems (ISBN 9780199237517; Oxford University Press) our Fellow John Boardman reconstructs the contents of the gemstone and cameo collection of George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough (1739—1817), with the collaboration of Erika Zwierlein-Diehl and our Fellows Claudia Wagner and Diana Scarisbrick. The reasons why such a collection should be of interest to scholars lie not just in its sheer size — 800 intaglios and cameos — or the fact that so many of them (one-third) are now in major collections around the world, nor yet even in the individual biographies of some of the gems, which have passed from hand to hand, in some cases for 2,000 years, but because so many of them have been influential on the decorative arts of later ages, made accessible, to use a jargon word, through prints and illustrations, inventories and catalogues, wax impressions and electrotypes.

To take just one example, Professor Boardman traces the influence of the first-century AD cameo that is now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston depicting the Marriage of Cupid and Pysche. Once owned by Grand Duke Cosimo I of Tuscany and by the painter Peter Paul Rubens this is the prototype for many a similar scene in various art forms: early examples include the plasterwork on the walls of the coffee house of Cardinal Albani’s villa on Rome’s Via Salaria (1763), the marble frieze by the sculptor Vincenzo Pacetti for the Gabinetto Nobile in the Palazzo Altieri, executed in 1788—9, appropriately enough, for the wedding of Prince Paluzzo, and the frontispiece of the Lettere su le Belle Arti publicate nelle nozze Barabarigo-Pisani, published in 1793. Thus have tiny, but rare and accomplished, objects had a cultural influence out of proportion to their size.

Books by Fellows: The Classical Country House

Illustrated by crisply detailed pictures from the archives of Country Life, The Classical Country House (ISBN 9781845135935; Aurum Press), by our Fellow David Watkin, concerns the influence of classicism, rooted in Greek and Roman antiquity and vigorously revived in the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, on English architecture once transplanted to Britain by Inigo Jones, after his Grand Tour of the Continent in 1613—14. Among the twenty-six major houses analysed and celebrated in the book are Wilton House, Wiltshire, and Coleshill, Berkshire, both pioneers of Renaissance-influenced design, Chiswick House, Holkham Hall, Sir John Soane’s Pitzhanger Manor, and the Grecian templar house, Grange Park, among the celebrated houses of the eighteenth century, and Kingston Lacy, Dorset, and Brodsworth Hall, Yorkshire, from the nineteenth.

The final two chapters, on the twentieth century and beyond, analyse Sir Edwin Lutyens’ classical language as exemplified by houses as diverse as Nashdom, Gledstone and the British Embassy in Washington DC, and the more recent houses of Raymond Erith and Quinlan Terry, arguing that classicism is alive and well in the twenty-first century.

Books by Fellows: The Birth of Modern Britain

With this book our Fellow Francis Pryor completes the challenge that he set himself with Britain BC, and continued via Britain AD and Britain in the Middle Ages, of telling Britain’s story from the position of an archaeologist: asking what the material evidence tells us, as distinct from the documentary. The Birth of Modern Britain (ISBN 9780007299126; Harper Press) concerns the period from 1550 to the present day, and in doing so has only fifty years of post-medieval, historical and contemporary archaeology to draw upon, these all being disciplines of quite recent creation, compared with mountains of paper records.

Even so, Francis writes a valuable ‘bottom-up’ corrective to a history based on the supposed deeds of great men, whether they be inventors, generals, monarchs, politicians, explorers or even artists, and argues that the archaeological evidence is that ‘innovations’ are usually the result of decades of accumulated communal learning and activity — Francis refuses to use the term ‘Industrial Revolution’ to describe the accelerated application of long-term technological developments that were under way before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, for example. He also downplays the role of the innovator, arguing that it is the uptake and application of ideas by capitalists and consumers that makes the impact, not the inventor.

Critics have received the book in the spirit in which it is intended, and have praised Francis for a book that asks people to realise that heritage is not just National Trust country houses and that archaeology is not just something that happens in Egypt and Greece.

Books by Fellows: The English Castle

The English Castle (ISBN 9780300110586; Yale, and see John Goodall’s own website), by our Fellow John Goodall, has to be one of the best bargains for a long time in architectural publishing, a massive book whose postage costs must almost exceed the cover price of £45 (as little as £33 from online booksellers). Jokes about its size abounded at the book’s launch, held appropriately in a room overlooking the Tower of London’s White Tower: ‘this is’, said Mark Hedges, editor of Country Life, for whom John works as Architectural Editor, ‘a great tower of a book; as big as a foundation stone’, adding that ‘it will change your understanding of England’s iconic castles forever’.

Indeed, that is the aim of the book: John seeks to take castles out of the special box in which they have been placed for so long, marked ‘military’, and put castles into the box marked ‘mainstream architecture’, fit to be given equal attention by architectural historians as our great cathedrals, churches, abbeys and stately homes. John’s thesis is that castles are lordly dwellings that employ military-style architectural forms and embellishments as a statement of power and authority but, far from all being built as defended barracks and garrisons, many performed quite prosaic functions, such as tax gathering and estate management.

Peveril Castle, inspiration for one of Scott’s romances, is a good example of a building that was used as the base for the management of royal estates in Derbyshire, but far from today’s characterless offices, it looks simply magnificent, as do many of England’s castles, crowning rocky peaks or clifftops, often using sites that had been hillforts in earlier times. John argues that this is not accidental: one of his themes is the way that castle builders embraced landscapes shaped by earlier rulers, building on Roman foundations, in the case of Colchester Castle, or deploying Roman materials and building styles, for example at Chepstow or Caernarfon, in order to lay claim to territorial ownership. Another theme is the enhancement of the landscape that surrounds castles, which again and again we find deliberately manipulated to heighten the romantic effect of the building, ringed by watery reflections, evoking Arthurian mythology or the castles of medieval romance as depicted in the manuscripts of the age. Needless to say, John’s own book is superbly illustrated, not only with panoramic pictures of the castles that he studies, but also with numerous cutaway reconstruction drawings showing what the rooms were used for and how they might have been furnished when in use.

Books by Fellows: If Walls Could Talk: a history of the home

John Goodall got the chance to air some of his thoughts on the way that castles functioned, and in particular the communal role of the great hall, when he appeared on Fellow Lucy Worsley’s new BBC4 documentary, ‘If Walls Could Talk’, on 13 April 2011. The programme opened with John and Lucy visiting the Weald and Downland Museum to look at medieval halls and the difference that the invention of the chimney made to the structure and use of the domestic house.

The programme (which was also memorable for our Fellow Richard Hewlings, who was happy to discuss eighteenth-century taste with Lucy at Kedleston Hall but seemed nonplussed when Lucy tried to persuade him to join her in a minuet) was packed with information as it covered the entire history of living rooms, from the Anglo-Saxon hall to the modern multi-purpose open-plan ‘loft’, not to mention the history of heating, furnishings, wallpaper and lighting (including a visit to a delightfully eccentric private museum dedicated to antique light bulbs, some of them more than a century old and still working).

Lucy’s book of the series, If Walls Could Talk (ISBN 9780571259526; Faber) is equally crammed with information — so much so that the hapless reviewer in the Sunday Times wilted at the effort of keeping up with Lucy’s energetic pace (perhaps the Sunday Times needs to employ reviewers with a bit more intellectual stamina!). That reviewer was almost alone in being snooty about Lucy’s anecdotal style; others were intelligent enough to understand that Lucy possesses the knack of wearing her learning lightly and imparting huge amounts of information effortlessly and with a sense of fun: we need books like this as the gateway into the world of higher learning that lies beyond.

Books by Fellows: Table Settings

Where might a reader enthused by Lucy’s book go next in pursuit of more detailed knowledge? One possibility is Table Settings: the material culture and social context of dining, AD 1700—1900, edited by our Fellow James Symonds (ISBN 9781842172988; Oxbow), in which the authors travel well beyond the English domestic setting to consider the equipment used in the act of eating in a great variety of different contexts, from merchant families in post-Revolutionary America (‘Privy to the Feast: Eighty to Supper Tonight’, by our Fellow Mary Beaudry) to the southern hemisphere (‘Food and Drink in Early Colonial Australia’, by Susan Lawrence) or nineteenth-century Iceland.

Of course, it is not the equipment, the material evidence, that is the concern of this book, but the rituals and behaviours that they represent — and what human activity is more surrounded by etiquette than eating. This book considers the ways in which table manners are created and transmitted — arguably from the highly stylised rituals of European courtly elites, via mass-manufactured products into the homes and routines of the ‘middling sort’, as Lucy Worsley brings out in her investigation of tea-time rituals, and that are investigated in this book through papers on the output of the Staffordshire Potteries (by our Fellow David Barker) and on trade catalogues (by Christine Ball) or on the pottery assemblages from the excavation of miners’ cottages at Alderley Edge (‘“We Lived Well at the Hagg”: Foodways and Social Belonging in Working-class Rural Cheshire’, by Darren Griffin and Eleanor Conlin Casella).

Books by Fellows: Interpreting the Early Modern World

Closely related is Interpreting the Early Modern World, edited by our Fellows James Symonds and Mary Beaudry (ISBN 9780387707587; Springer), which compares the different approaches to their data that historical archaeologists take on the opposite sides of the Atlantic, even when exploring similar themes, such as landscape studies, urban archaeology, gender studies or the lives of industrial workers.

Papers are thus paired, as in a diptych, starting with one by the US-trained landscape historians Lu Ann De Cunzo and Nedda Moqtaderi partnered by another on ‘Estate Landscapes in England’ by Tom Williamson. Sometimes readers have to tease out the differences in approach for themselves; other times the authors address the differences explicitly; and a final chapter by Rebecca Yamin comments on the lessons to be learned from such transatlantic dialogues.

Gifts to the Library, January to March 2011

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from January to March 2011. Full records for all are on the OnLine Library Catalogue, and all the books are now available in the Library.

 From the author, Sally Badham, FSA, Medieval Church and Churchyard Monuments (2011)
 From Susan Bennett, The History of the RSA: a bibliography (revised edition) (2011)
 From the author, Jerome Bertram, FSA, Monumental Brasses and Other Minor Medieval Monuments in Chichester Cathedral (2010)
 From the joint author, Paul Booth, FSA, The Late Roman Cemetery at Lankhills, Winchester: Excavations 2000—2005, by Paul Booth, Andrew Simmonds, Angela Boyle, Sharon Clough, H E M Cool and Daniel Poore, Oxford Archaeology Monograph 10 (2010)
 From the author, Alan Borg, FSA, A History of The Worshipful Company of Cooks (2011)
 From David Breeze, FSA, Cumbria: Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness, by Matthew Hyde and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England (2010)
 From Mario Buhagiar, FSA, The Sixtieth Anniversary of the Malta Historical Society: a commemoration (2010)
 From the author, Christopher Eimer, FSA, British Commemorative Medals and Their Values (2010)
 From the author, Noel Fallows, Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia (2010)
 From the author, John Goodall, FSA, The English Castle 1066—1650 (2011)
 From the co-author, Kevin Greene, FSA, Archaeology: an introduction (5th edition), by Kevin Greene and Tom Moore (2010)
 From the co-author, Duncan Harrington, FSA, Hearth Tax Returns for Faversham Hundred 1662—1671: with supporting documents, by Patricia Hyde and Duncan Harrington, Faversham Hundred Records Vol 2 (1998); and Faversham Tudor and Stuart Muster Rolls, by Patricia Hyde and Duncan Harrington, Faversham Hundred Records Vol 3 (2000)
 From the co-author, Paul Harvey, FSA, The Hereford World Map: Mappa Mundi (2010), by P D A Harvey and Scott D Westrem
 From Paula Henderson, FSA, The Intellectual and Cultural World of the Early Modern Inns of Court (2011), edited by Jayne Elizabeth Archer, Elizabeth Goldring and Sarah Knight
 From the author, Simon Swynfen Jervis, FSA, British and Irish Inventories: a list and bibliography of published transcriptions of secular inventories (2010)
 From the editor, Katherine Keats-Rohan, FSA, ‘“Enjoyned by the Laws of this Assembly”: the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries and the prosopographical approach’, by Michael Stuckey; off-print from Prosopography Approaches and Applications: a handbook, edited by K S B Keats-Rohan (2007)
 From the joint editor, Richard A Linenthal, FSA, The Medieval Book: glosses from friends and colleagues of Christopher de Hamel, edited by James H Marrow, Richard A Linenthal and William Noel (2010)
 From Vincent Megaw, FSA, In Search of Celtic Tylis in Thrace (2010), edited by L F Vagalinski; Der späthallstatt- und latènezeitliche Siedlungsplatz von Bretten-Bauerbach ‘Herrnbrunnenbuckel’, Lkr. Karlsruhe, by Katrin Ludwig, Materialhefte zur Archäologie in Baden-Württemberg 90 (2009)
 From the author, Michael Nevell, FSA, Newton Hall and the Cruck Buildings of North-west England, University of Salford Archaeological Monographs 1 (2010)
 From Ann Payne, FSA, Regarding Thomas Rowlandson 1757—1827: his life, art and acquaintance, by Matthew Payne and James Payne (2010)
 From the author, Warwick Rodwell, FSA, Jersey’s Houses, Castles and Churches (2010)
 From Warwick Rodwell, FSA, The Paty Family: makers of eighteenth-century Bristol, by Gordon Priest (2003)
 From the editor, Brian Smith, FSA, Turnastone: stability and change in the Herefordshire countryside 1800—2000 (2010)
 From the author, Caroline Stanford, FSA, ‘Dearest Augustus and I’: the journal of Jane Pugin (2004)
 From the editor, Neil Stratford, FSA, Corpus de la Sculpture de Cluny: les parties orientales de la Grande Église Cluny III, by Neil Stratford, Brigitte Maurice-Chabard and David Walsh (2011)
 From the author, Wijnand van der Sanden, Reuzenstenen op de es de hunebedden van Rolde (2007)
 From Alison Taylor, FSA, Controlling the Past, Owning the Future: the political uses of archaeology in the Middle East, edited by Ran Boytner, Lynn Swartz Dodd and Bradley J Parker (2010)
 From the author, Gwen Yarker, FSA, Georgian Faces: portrait of a county, Dorset County Museum exhibition catalogue (2010)

Vacancies

British Institute at Ankara, Director
Salary £28,983, closing date 1 May 2011

Further information: British Institute at Ankara website.

University of Aberdeen, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
Buildings of Scotland Research Assistant
Salary £25,101, closing date 2 May 2011

A Research Assistant is sought to research and write for the Buildings of Scotland series, contributing to two volumes covering the north east of Scotland. Informal enquiries may be directed to our Fellow, Professor Jane Geddes. Further details online.

United Grand Lodge of England: Director of Research, Freemason’s Hall
Salary c £60,000, closing date 6 May 2011

Applications are invited from candidates with demonstrable experience in the compilation and analysis of historical evidence, and its utilisation in research projects, at a seniority level comparable to that of professor. See the academic jobs website for further information or email Sonia Dixon, HR Manager, United Grand Lodge of England for an application form.

University of Wales, Trinity St David, closing date 6 May 2011: Chairs in Archaeology and Classics, salary £55,000 to £60,000.