Salon Archive

Issue: 27

Fellows’ News

Fellow Robert Hamblin died on 31 August 2002 and Dr Phil Stone, Chairman of the Richard III Society, has written the following appreciation. ‘In 1984 The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers celebrated the 500th anniversary of their Royal Charter which had been granted them by King Richard III in 1484. In that year they headed the procession of livery companies in the annual Lord Mayor's Show with a tableau of Richard III's Court. A prominent member of the Company was Robert Hamblin and it was through the Quincentenary celebrations of the Royal Charter that he became acquainted with the work of the Richard III Society.

In 1989 the late Jeremy Potter retired as Society Chairman after nineteen highly productive years and one of his last acts as Chairman was to find a worthy successor. This he did by approaching and persuading Robert Hamblin to take the chair. An Oxford graduate, Robert had served his country during the Second World War and thereafter had a career in the City. He brought much experience and wisdom to his chairmanship and was to see the Society through a further decade of growth and achievement. Everyone who knew and worked with Robert over the years will remember him as an individual who saw public service as an important individual responsibility. He was, in many respects, a quintessential English gentleman’.

Forthcoming lectures

The new season’s programme of weekly meetings begins again at 5pm on Thursday 3 October with a paper by Dr Silke Ackermann entitled: ‘1752 hath only XIX days this year: The Introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in England 250 years ago.

Rewley House Kelmscott Conference

The programme for the weekend conference on Kelmscott has now been published. News from Somewhere: William Morris and the Kelmscott Landscape takes place on 9—11 May 2003, and the speakers (most of whom are Fellows) will address every aspect of Kelmscott over those three days, including the Manor House, the garden, the village, its church, its vernacular buildings, its landscape and its people, the Morris family, and the cultural ideals that Kelmscott embodies. Full details and a booking form are available from the Administrative Assistant at the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education by email at: ppdayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Among several other Oxford conferences that might be of interest to Fellows, Malcolm Airs, FSA, will lead a day school on Sir Thomas Bodley’s Library, on 1 February 2003, looking at the building and the early contents, with an emphasis on discoveries made during recent conservation work, and on 30 November 2002, Adrienne Rosen will look at Victorian Photography and the Local Historian, including the use of Victorian photographs as evidence for buildings history. Further details from www.conted.ox.ac.uk.

Annual Caerleon lectures

The celebrated Caerleon lectures are to be revived. The first lecture in a new series is to be given by Fellow Ralph Jackson on the subject of Doctor and Patient in the Roman World, on 23 September at the Junior School Hall, Endowed School, Caerleon, at 6.30pm. The date is significant as being the birthday of the Emperor Augustus, and the anniversary of the founding of the Second Augustan Legion, which was based at Caerleon from the end of the first century AD. The occasion of the 2003 lecture will also be used to launch an anthology of the original lecture series — The Second Augustan Legion and the Roman Military Machine — tracing the life and history of the legion and edited by Fellow Richard Brewer and Eurwyn William. Further details from The Roman Legionary Museum in Caerleon, tel: 01633 423134.

More lectures and conferences

The first Henry Loyn Memorial Lecture will be given in the Aberconway Lecture Theatre at Cardiff University by Fellow Professor Nicholas Brooks on 15 May 2003, on the subject of English Identity from Bede to Hastings. Contributors to the Henry Loyn Memorial Fund will automatically be sent tickets on 8 January 2003.

On 1 November 2002, the Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London, is hosting a conference on City Merchants and the Arts, with Fellows Philippa Glanville and Ann Saunders as the keynote speakers. Further information from Mireille Galinou, email m.galinou@virgin.net.

This year's Classis Britannica Lectures on the Roman Navy are to be held at the Museum of London on Saturday 5 October 2002. For full details of the day's lecture programme, see the website at www.classis-britannica.co.uk.

What’s in Store? Archaeological archives in Wales

The National Museums & Galleries of Wales, the Council of Museums in Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) have joined forces to form a new partnership to assess the physical condition of archaeological finds and excavation archives in Wales, and to improve access. The partnership’s first act has been to commission a survey that will examine archives spanning some 230,000 years of Welsh archaeology. The aim is to ensure that archaeological objects and specimens, and the accompanying paper, photographic and digital records, are cared for, to ensure their long-term preservation and to make them accessible to those who have an interest in studying and learning about Wales’ past.

The survey will be undertaken by Cardiff-based consultants Jane Henderson and Phil Parkes. They will look at material held in museums across Wales and deposited with other organizations, such as RCAHMW in Aberystwyth. They will also survey the finds and archives not yet allocated to a permanent repository, but which are currently being held by contracting archaeological units, such as the four regional Welsh Archaeological Trusts, universities across the country and local societies. The resulting report is expected to be published in Spring 2003. It will provide an invaluable source of data for museums and other heritage bodies, as well as the Welsh Assembly Government, to help plan the future needs for archaeological storage and also promote the value of the archive.

Friends of the Newport Ship

Following the announcement of the plan to save Newport's medieval ship by the National Assembly for Wales, SoS (Save Our Ship) campaigners have changed their rally slogan to Support Our Ship and have reformed as the Friends of the Newport Ship.

The Friends group has been formed to promote knowledge and information about the ship and to foster an appreciation of the maritime and industrial heritage of South Wales. The Association aims to provide a forum for debate, monitor progress on conservation of the vessel and contribute to the promotion of Newport’s rich heritage.

Membership details can be found online at www.britarch.ac.uk/sosnewport/sosfriends.html. Membership rates are �5 for individual members and �10 for corporate/organizational members.

The CBA’s Policy Consultations Bulletin

Alex Hunt (Research and Conservation Officer at the CBA — the Council for British Archaeology) produces a comprehensive monthly list of policy consultations (with weblinks for further information) for the UK as a whole, and for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The list is concerned with any government consultations that might have heritage implications, not just archaeological ones, and is an excellent way to ensure that you don’t miss anything of vital importance — September’s list, for example, covers consultations on CAP Reform, Lottery Funding, Social Inclusion Policy for the Built and Historic Environment and on the Future Development of Air Transport in the UK. If you would like to receive the list, send an email to: AlexHunt@britarch.ac.uk.

Airports

In the latest edition of the SPAB News, Secretary Philip Venning describes the Government’s plans for airport expansion as ‘the greatest threat to historic buildings since the war’. Quantifying the dozens of architectural treasures that would face destruction if plans go ahead, he writes: ‘At Heathrow, the hamlet of Harmondsworth would be wiped off the map, with the loss of one of the best tithe barns in Britain ... also to go would be the Norman church (and) eight other Grade II buildings ...as well as 25 per cent of the conservation area. At Stansted ... the site of Waltham Manor and The Grange ... and of the medieval Takely Priory at Warish Hall will be at risk. Equally worrying is the impact on the character of the small historic villages in the area, with a big question mark over the outstanding church at Tilty’.

The Government is inviting responses to its public consultation by 30 November, ahead of a White Paper planned for next year. Details are at www.airconsult.gov.uk.

Heritage and countryside groups opposed to the Government’s plans gave set up their own Airport Watch campaign website at www.airportwatch.org.uk with the aim of co-ordinating responses to the consultations and providing briefing and back up information.

Vacancy for Director of Built Heritage, Department of the Environment, Belfast

Applications are being invited for the permanent full-time post of Director of Built Heritage currently based in the Environment and Heritage Service, 5-33 Hill Street, Belfast. Salary: �51,250- �71,238.

The Environment and Heritage Service is an Agency within the Department of the Environment and operates under the flexibilities and freedoms set out in its Framework Document. The main aims of the Agency are to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and man-made environment and to promote appreciation and increase awareness of it for the benefit of present and future generations, in line with the Government’s commitment to the principles of sustainable development.

For an application form and more detailed information, including the duties and responsibilities of the above post, as well as how the criteria will be used during the recruitment and selection process, visit the Recruitment Service website at www.nics.gov.uk/recruitment or email recruitment.cpg@dfpni.gov.uk. Requests must include your name, address and the reference number SC/11/02. Completed application forms must be returned to arrive before 5pm on Friday 11 October 2002.

Discovery Programme Vacancies in Ireland

The Discovery Programme, Ireland's leading archaeological research institution, is currently developing a major programme of study on the theme of Medieval Rural Settlement. Three research topics have been identified: the study of an ostensibly Gaelic settlement area in north County Roscommon, the study of discrete manor centres in the Southeast and the study of the hinterland to the city of medieval Dublin. Applications for the positions of Assistant Project Director, Project Historian, Project Senior Research Archaeologist and Project Research Archaeologist are now invited. Employment will be on a full-time basis with contracts for between three and five years.

Further details can be found at www.discoveryprogramme.ie or directly from: Dr Brian Lacey, CEO, The Discovery Programme, e-mail: brian@discoveryprogramme.ie. Applications are to be received by 4 October 2002.

Chester Beatty Library wins European Museum of the Year Award

Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library has won the European Museum of the Year Award, the premier ward for museums in Europe, competing against museums in twenty-one other countries, from Ireland to Russia. The award was presented to Fellow Michael Ryan, the Library’s Director, by Queen Fabiola of Belgium. An international jury praised the way that new purpose-built galleries linked the old and new buildings at Dublin Castle, home to the Library since February 2002, and it described the new exhibitions as ‘elegant and evocative’, singling out the use of explanatory silent videos illustrating aspects of book production.

David to be cleaned

Michelangelo's David (1502—4), symbol of the youthful Florentine Republic standing up to the bullying might of Pope and Holy Roman Emperor, is to be cleaned of decades of grime. Unusually the restoration work will be carried in public, with glass screens surrounding the 17-foot sculpture, so that visitors to the Accademia gallery can watch work as it proceeds. Work should be completed by March 2003. More typically Renaissance works in Florence disappear for decades into restoration laboratories, but David is such an icon of the city and such a magnet for visitors that the decision has been taken to let the public see the restorers at work.

The restoration team will be led by Michelangelo expert Agnese Parronchio, who explained that grime was beginning to react with the surface of the Carrera marble of the sculpture and needed to be removed. The sculpture was last cleaned in 1873 when David was controversially moved from its original outdoor position in front of the Palazzo Vecchio into a purpose-designed alcove at the Accademia.

Charles Saatchi to open gallery in County Hall

Charles Saatchi has confirmed that he intends to transfer his art collection from Swiss Cottage to a new gallery in County Hall, which will be open twelve hours a day seven days a week from Spring 2003. The gallery will focus on younger British artists, showing work from other collections as well as from Saatchi’s own collection of 3,000 works. Regardless of one’s views on the claims of Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin to artistic status, the opening of the gallery will enable visitors to see the magnificent suite of rooms that lie at the heart of County Hall, including the Council Chamber, documented by the Survey of London team under Fellow Hermione Hobhouse, in the 1980s.

Genetics and material culture overlap points to migration

The September 2002 issue of Antiquity contains a paper by Roy King and Peter A Underhill of Stanford University in which the authors demonstrate a strong link between genetics and material culture at Neolithic sites in Europe. They show that the presence of a pair of mutations on the Y chromosome, called Eu9 and originating in the Middle East, can be used to predict the presence at sites in Europe of certain female figurines with 88 per cent accuracy and the presence of pottery painted with geometric and abstract designs with 80 per cent accuracy. Such a strong correlation reinforces the idea that physical migration rather than the movement of ideas lay behind the spread of agriculture into Europe from the Middle East in the Neolithic era.

Two new Neanderthal finds

Palaeontologists working in the Neander valley, near D�sseldorf, have found seventy-five Neanderthal bone fragments that were first excavated in 1856 but discarded at the time. When quarry workers found the first Neanderthal remains they kept the larger bones but threw the rest of the cave's contents into the valley floor, 20 metres below the cave where they were working. Fred Smith of the Loyola University of Chicago and his colleagues have now used historical records to work out where the cave's contents might have fallen, and they have succeeded in locating the remains of several individuals. Fellow Clive Gamble says that stone tools and animal bones found with the new bones are the most exciting aspect of the discovery. The first Neanderthal had always been a floating fossil — it lacked a context, says Clive: the new evidence grounds him in the bigger picture of what we now know about Neanderthals.

In France, meanwhile, the well-preserved remains of a four-month-old Neanderthal baby have been reunited to form one almost complete skeleton from bones discovered in two separate museums, ninety years after their original discovery in an exposed cliff near Le Moustier in the Dordogne. Anthropologists at the time were not interested in juvenile specimens but now scientists are hoping that the 40,000-year-old skeleton will reveal information about the growth and development of specific morphological traits.

Kennewick Man ruling

A US federal judge has ruled that the scientists should be allowed to study the bones of Kennewick Man, the 9,300-year-old skeleton unearthed on the banks of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington, in 1996. The ruling comes at the end of six years of legal debate resulting from the provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. The Act empowers Native American tribes to prevent the scientific study of ancestral remains, which they prefer to see re-interred.

In a 73-page ruling, Magistrate John Jelderks of Portland, Oregon, stated that there was insufficient evidence to link the skeleton to any modern tribe. Allowing study is fully consistent with applicable statutes and regulations, which are clearly intended to make archaeological information available to the public through scientific research, Jelderks says.

Anthropologists argue that the remains could provide new clues about the migration of people to America. The ruling gives researchers forty-five days to submit a study proposal (which will include DNA profiling) to the Department of the Interior, and another forty-five days for the Government to respond.