Salon Archive

Issue: 287

The Society of Antiquaries of London’s Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector, focusing especially on the Society and its Fellows and the contribution that they make to public life through their many and varied activities. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website and feedback should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.

Burlington House closed for the morning of 27 November 2012

The Society’s apartments at Burlington House will be closed for the morning of Tuesday 27 November until 12.00pm, so that all staff can attend a staff meeting.

Salon delay

Apologies to everyone who was looking forward to reading Salon with their Monday morning coffee or evening night-cap; the delay in sending it out was due to a fault in the Massmail software used to distribute Salon that has only just been resolved.

Forthcoming meetings

15 November 2012: ‘Monastic foundation and the Anglo-Saxon conversion: new archaeological perspectives from Lyminge, Kent’, by Gabor Thomas, FSA
The Kentish village of Lyminge is well known to Anglo-Saxonists as the site of an early double monastery with an important pagan-period cemetery on its outskirts. Since 2008 the University of Reading has been unearthing rich Anglo-Saxon settlement remains from under the core of the village spanning the late fifth to the ninth centuries AD. Drawing upon insights gained by preliminary post-excavation analysis part-funded by the Society, this paper teases out a series of social transformations that allow the origins and development of Lyminge as an Anglo-Saxon monastic landscape to be charted as a dynamic sequence.

22 November 2012: ‘The cult of St Winefride and the conservation of her chapel at Holywell, Flintshire’, by Rick Turner, FSA, and Sian Rees, FSA
Interest in St Winefride took off in the early fifteenth century within Prince Henry’s inner circle. This saw the development of a pilgrimage route from Shrewsbury to Holywell, and a line of buildings associated with the Stanley family, culminating in a jewel of late Perpendicular architecture. St Winefride’s Well was the only Catholic shrine to survive the Reformation; it remains in daily use. Cadw have recently completed the conservation of the whole building and its remarkable collection of sculpture.

29 November 2012: ‘“The Daily Dungeon”: the practice of medieval and Renaissance school life’ by Annamarieke Willemsen, FSA
Recent excavation on the sites of schools and boarding houses has revealed the objects used by pupils and teachers for reading, writing, mathematics and school life in general. Combining those finds with texts and hundreds of depictions of school scenes in manuscripts, frescoes, sculpture and prints, it is possible to reconstruct the practice of education and show how school was experienced by the pupils themselves, who called it ‘the dungeon’.

This paper results from an interdisciplinary study published in 2008 (Back to the Schoolyard), which revealed a specific material culture of school life that made school children stand out as a large and recognisable group in medieval society, impossible to ignore. Based on this research, existing ideas about the accessibility of schools, especially for underprivileged groups (the poor, orphans, girls) must be revised. Evidence suggests that more than half of the children went to school, at least in late medieval towns. A new and ongoing research project into the material culture of student life — again using archaeological, pictorial and literary sources — indicates that our image of medieval universities might also be revised by this interdisciplinary approach.

6 December 2012: ‘The day Parliament burned down’, by Caroline Shenton, FSA
In the early evening of 16 October 1834, to the horror of bystanders, a huge fireball exploded through the roof of the Palace of Westminster, creating a blaze so enormous that it could be seen by the king and queen at Windsor and from stagecoaches on top of the South Downs. In front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses the great conflagration destroyed Parliament's glorious old buildings and their contents. No one who witnessed it would ever forget it.

Caroline Shenton will examine the fire’s progress and its far-reaching consequences, based on her new book of the same name, which is the first full-scale study of the disaster. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

13 December 2012: Miscellany of papers and mulled wine reception

Ballot results 1 November 2012

At the ballot held on 1 November 2012, the following were elected as Fellows of our Society:

Nicolas Barker, OBE, Editor of The Book Collector (former Chairman of the London Library and Deputy Keeper, British Library, in charge of conservation); Matthew Symonds, Editor of Current Archaeology; Anthony Sigel, Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, Straus Center for Conservation, Harvard; Deborah Anne Priddy, Inspector of Ancient Monuments, English Heritage; Brian Allen Cummings, Professor of English, Sussex University; Andrew Peter Wigley, Principal Archaeologist, Shropshire County Council; Christopher Charles Thornton, independent historian and Editor of the VCH for Essex; Christopher Phillpotts, consultant historian and archaeologist; Keith May, English Heritage Archaeologist.

York Antiquaries

The York Antiquaries are holding their annual Christmas Lunch on Saturday 15 December 2012 in the McLeod Suite, Dean Court Hotel, York, at 12.30pm for 1pm. All Fellows are welcome. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Jim Spriggs for further details. The cost, including a welcome drink and gratuities, is £22.50.

Cotswold Antiquaries

The Cotswolds Fellows group will be meeting for lunch and an informal celebration of the Society’s 305th anniversary at 12.30pm on 1 December 2012 in the Oddfellows pub in Cirencester. All Fellows are welcome; anyone wishing to attend should contact Christopher Catling for further details.

Fraternising with the enemy on Hadrian’s Wall

Richard Hingley’s recent book on post-Roman perceptions of Hadrian’s Wall (see Salon 286) makes the point that the Wall has often been seen as a symbol of hostile relations between the two nations that it separates. The discovery of what is being described as a pub or wine bar north of the wall suggests that relations between Roman and native were a lot more convivial than this image of Hadrian’s Wall suggests. According to the Scotsman, the ‘pub’ has been found outside the walls of the fort at Stracathro, near Brechin, Angus, part of a line of forts and watchtowers stretching from Doune, near Stirling, to the end of the Gask Ridge. The system is thought to mark the earliest Roman land frontier, built around AD 70, some fifty years before Hadrian’s Wall.

The fort was discovered from aerial photographs taken in 1957 but has only recently been subjected to detailed study by archaeologists working on the Roman Gask Project. They have found a settlement outside the fort, including a structure that our Fellow Birgitta Hoffmann, Co-Director of the Project, said ‘could be identifiable as the Roman equivalent of a pub. It has a large square room which seems to be fronting on to an unpaved path, with a rectangular area of paving nearby, the equivalent to a modern beer garden’. Evidence for the building’s use for drinking came from sherds of high-quality pottery from a wine jar imported from the Rhineland.

Birgitta said that forts in the south all have attached civilian settlements, but Scottish forts were conventionally believed to lack them ‘because it was too dangerous — civilians didn’t want to live too close … We hadn’t expected to find a pub. It shows the Romans and the local population got on better than we thought’. She added: ‘People would have known that if you stole Roman cattle, the punishment would be severe, but if they stuck to their rules then people could become rich working with the Romans.’

Lyminge end-of-dig party illuminates Saxon hall

Continuing the party theme, archaeologists working on the Lyminge project under the direction of our Fellow Gabor Thomas have established a tradition whereby the end of the dig is marked by illuminating the principal features of the site with tea lights. The picture shown on the left was taken from the dig blog and it brings home the sheer scale of the hall that was this year’s major discovery.

Writing about the discovery in the Guardian, our Fellow Maev Kennedy said the hall, measuring 21 metres by 8.5 metres, would have been the most imposing structure for miles around, large enough to hold at least sixty people, and was likely to have been the setting for the sort of epic parties described in Beowulf. Gabor Thomas confirmed that it would ‘undoubtedly have been the scene of many Beowulfy type activities, great assemblies for feasts that lasted for days, much drinking and story-telling, rich gifts like arm rings being presented, all of that. There could have been no more visible sign of wealth and status than raising a hall like this.’

Gabor believes that the hall, dating from the late sixth or early seventh centuries, marks the last flicker of the ancient pagan ways before the site was abandoned when local people, as with the other Anglo-Saxons in Kent, turned to Christianity. The associated settlement was abandoned, too, and a new village established on a nearby hill around the new church — another lofty building, grander than any of its neighbours, that became the new focus for gatherings and celebrations. Fortunately, the land on which the hall was built remained unploughed: today it forms the village green, located, fittingly, a few metres from the Coach and Horses pub. Finding the hall was a complete surprise, as geophysical survey had given no hint of its presence.

Gabor Thomas will be giving a paper to our Society on 15 November 2012 on this and earlier excavations at various sites in the village.

Should the London pub get UNESCO World Heritage status?

Guardian also reported last week that a group of architecture students have undertaken the convivial task of characterising the London pub and have, as a result, delivered a dossier of evidence to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport arguing that traditional pubs should be afforded World Heritage status. Presumably the civil servants in charge of World Heritage bids will now face the onerous task of visiting a range of public houses to sample their offerings and make a decision on whether pubs should join the category of World Heritage ‘types’ that already includes French and Belgian belfries, modernist housing estates in Berlin, Flemish béguinages and Viennese cafes.

The architecture students at Kingston University delivered their 350-page document to DCMS after their tutor, David Knight, set them the task of researching pub heritage, asking where heritage resides and what the effects would be, intended and unintended, of designation, The aim of the project was to encourage the students to recognise that heritage does not just describe the physical building and its contents, but also relates to the way pubs are used and the role they play in the community ‘For example’, he said, ‘it could be that the loss of an upstairs function room has a catastrophic effect on a pub which is used by community groups for meetings, wedding receptions, and so on. Accordingly, our research captures extraordinary examples but it also aims to try and describe the typical, or generic qualities of “London pub-ness” which might influence policy.’

Mixed messages from the National Trust in response to Alan Bennett

One of the criteria for World Heritage status is that the designated structure must represent ‘an important interchange of human values’, and though no doubt Alan Bennett might want to express that in more lucid language, one imagines that he would be very much in favour. What he doesn’t like, according to his latest play, is an England in which everything is for sale and heritage is seen a commodity to be packaged, marketed and sold to the largest number of people appealing to lowest common denominator values.

The play, called People, opened at the National Theatre last week and the drama involves two sisters deciding what to do with the crumbling historic property that has belonged to the family since 1465 — give the house and its contents to the National Trust, or auction the contents and sell the house to developers, living the high life on the proceeds. The National Trust comes in for attack as a ‘growth organisation’ that likes to ‘maximise our percentage footfall’. The character who plays the National Trust’s representative dreams of buying Cilla Black’s childhood home and of preserving one of Northern Ireland’s ‘dirty protest’ prison cells. Bennett says in his introduction to the published play script that he feels a sense of unease when going round a National Trust house and that he prefers to be ‘left alone with the pictures or whatever’ and not drawn into listening to a guide ‘wanting to share his or her expertise’.

How to react to such satire? The National Trust press office surely got it wrong by putting out a statement about the size and popularity of the Trust (those indicators of ‘value’ based on numbers rather than on understanding, are surely what Bennett was criticising). Not much better was the comment of Ivo Dawnay, Director for London at the National Trust, who described Bennett’s play as ‘extraordinarily elitist’ (if that were the case, why are his works are so popular?). Full marks then to our Fellow Sarah Staniforth, Museums and Collections Director at the National Trust, for coming up with a tension-busting comment worthy of Bennett himself: ‘He is not saying anything that we don't think about as well’, she said, while another unnamed spokesperson said diplomatically ‘it is always interesting to hear the views of one national institution about another’.

Group formed to fight ‘marketisation’ of universities

Echoing Bennett’s concern that the heritage is too often packaged and monetised, branded and turned into theme-park history, the Council for the Defence of British Universities will be officially launched this week, with a mission to ‘defend universities against the erosion of academic freedom’. The Council’s sixty-six founder members include our Fellow Sir David Attenborough, along with Alan Bennett himself and Dame A S Byatt, Sir Andrew Motion, Michael Frayn, Lord Rees, Lord Bragg and Richard Dawkins. Sir Keith Thomas, another of the founder members, said in the Times Literary Supplement last week that the purpose of the university was being ‘grossly distorted by the attempt to create a market in higher education’. He accused university leaders of being ‘remarkably supine’ in seeking to gain ‘local advantage’ from government reforms rather than opposing them.

Students, he wrote are now ‘regarded as “consumers” and encouraged to invest in the degree course they think most likely to enhance their earning prospects’, while academics are ‘producers, whose research is expected to focus on topics of commercial value and whose output is measured against a single scale and graded like sacks of wheat’.

All this means that ‘the central values of the university are being sidelined or forgotten’, and the task that the Council faced was ‘not just to challenge a series of short-term political expedients: it must also combat a whole philosophy’. Among specific measures, the Council wants the abolition of government-funded research councils in favour of independent grant councils, arguing that academics should be free to work in fields that were not dictated by political policies. They also want an end to ‘excessive, inefficient and hugely wasteful accountability measures’.

£48,000 penalty for damage to Priddy Circles

Roger Penny, a retired businessman who caused substantial damage to the Priddy Circles, in Somerset, has agreed to pay for repairs to the monument and other mitigation works at a cost of around £38,000. He was also fined £2,500 by Taunton Crown Court on 26 October 2012, and ordered to pay costs of £7,500. The judgement takes into account Mr Penny’s early guilty plea, his good character and his full co-operation throughout the case.

The four Priddy Circles (also known as Priddy Rings) have recently been dated by Dr Jodie Lewis, Head of Archaeology at the University of Worcester, to around 3000 BC, which makes them very early examples of the henge monument type. Dr Lewis says ‘The Priddy Circles have long been an enigma’ and she suggests that the nearest analogy is to the first phase of Stonehenge, when the monument consisted of a circular bank and ditch enclosure, currently dated to c 3100 BC. That similarity, and the early date, means that the circles are an internationally significant example of the early experiments in monument building that led to the great monuments of the later Neolithic, such as Avebury and the later stages at Stonehenge.

The earth-moving activities of contractors brought in by Mr Penny with the intention of ‘tidying up’ the monument resulted in a substantial portion of the southernmost circle having its banks flattened and ditches and sinkholes filled in. Prehistoric banks were also cut through.

Mike Harlow, English Heritage’s Legal Director, said: ‘the outcome of this case sends out a clear message that English Heritage can and will prosecute in cases of serious damage and unauthorised works to Scheduled Monuments. The defendant and the court have recognised the great importance of these sites and the serious nature of this offence. The outcome reflects the substantial penalty offenders may expect to receive if convicted. The court has also recognised the importance of mitigating the impact to this damaged site. This will give back to the monument some of what has been lost.’

Consultation on the proposed merger between the RCAHMS and Historic Scotland

In the light of the proposed merger between the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and Historic Scotland, ODS Consulting has been appointed to run three half-day consultation events to allow stakeholders to discuss in more depth the potential offered by the creation of a new merged organisation and ways that previously expressed concerns can best be mitigated.

The events are being held on 28 November 2012 at St Mungo’s Museum, Glasgow, on 3 December at the Quaker Meeting House, Edinburgh, and on 4 December at Eden Court, Inverness. For a booking form contact Emma Hewitt at ODS Consulting. Background information can be found on the RCAHMS website, where you can also find details of an online stakeholder survey.

National Trust's Arts|Buildings|Collections Bulletin

The autumn issue of the National Trust’s ABC Bulletin has just been published, showcasing the latest curatorial and conservation news, projects and expertise at National Trust and packed as ever with reports of interest to antiquaries. This issue includes a report form Rachael Hall, Midlands Region Archaeologist, on the excavation of the Hermitage at Belton House, Lincs — the must-have accessory (ideally complete with live-in hermit) of every aspiring eighteenth-century Romantic. There is also good news from Curator Emma Jones who writes about the restoration of the Grade II listed Naval Temple, which sits on top of The Kymin, a hill above Monmouth with spectacular views across south-east Wales. This neo-classical monument was unveiled in 1801 to commemorate Nelson’s victories at ‘the Glorious and Ever-memorable Battle of the Nile’. Painted panels depicting the battle were lost in the nineteenth century but have been repainted based on contemporary engravings by local artist Laura Stevens. Medallions carry the names of the sixteen admirals who took part in the battle, and a newly carved sandstone figure of Britannia was unveiled in time for the Trafalgar Day celebrations on 21 October 2012.

Events

12 to 24 November 2012 (9.30am to 5.00pm daily; closed 18 November): ‘The Art of the Woodcarver: medieval to nineteenth century’, an exhibition at Marwood House, Honiton, Devon EX14 1PY, in support of Honiton Antiques Festival mounted by our Fellow Roderick Butler, including the Herbert Read Workshop Collection of ecclesiastical woodwork and many rare examples of religious, secular, polychromed and decorative work. Further details from the Honiton Antiques Festival website.

1 December 2012: ASPRoM’s autumn symposium will take place from 2pm to 5.30pm at King's College London, Room K2.29 (the Council Room). There will be three papers: Cristina Boschetti on ‘The Doves mosaic from Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli: manufacture, materials and interpretation’; Fellow Simon Esmonde Cleary on ‘The Chedworth villa and its mosaics: rethinking and redisplaying’; and Jane Chick on ‘A sixth-century mosaic pavement at Qasr el-Lebia, Libya: a miscellaneous collection of images or a coherent programme?’ Full details are available on the ASPRoM website. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Dr Will Wootton.

3 December 2012: ‘Shakespeare’s Restless World’, by our Fellow Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, 7pm to 8pm, Southwark Cathedral. Neil MacGregor comes to Southwark Cathedral, Shakespeare’s parish church, to give an illustrated talk about the dynamic and dangerous world that Shakespeare knew: £5 plus booking fee.

6 December 2012: ‘Representing Pregnancy in Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraits’, by our Fellow Karen Hearn, to be given in celebration of her recent appointment as Honorary Research Professor at UCL. The lecture will be at 4pm in the Institute of Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6, Gordon Square. All welcome (Karen will give a different paper, but on the same topic, as part of the Society’s Thursday meetings programme in February 2013).

6 December 2012: Soane Annual Lecture: Richard Osborne will speak on the 350-year history of The Grange, in Hampshire, from its Jacobean origins to its re-casting as a masterpiece of the Greek Revival and its present use by Grange Park Opera. Drinks will be available in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons from 6.30pm, with the lecture starting at 7.30pm.Tickets cost £20, with all profits going to the museum’s education programme. Full details are available on the website of Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Call for papers: The Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East

ASTENE’s Tenth Biennial Conference will take place at Aston University, Birmingham, between 12 and 15 July 2013 and papers are invited that explore the impact on travellers and the impact of travellers to Egypt and the Near East, Turkey, the Ottoman Balkans and Greece, from the earliest times to the twentieth century. Papers are welcomed on individual travellers, scientific surveys, pilgrimage, the logistics of travel, the slave trade, artists, photographers and architects, diggers and dealers, government representatives and leisure travellers, authors and narratives, map-makers, guides and dragomen, naturalists, and more. Please send an abstract of no more than 100 words for a paper of no more than 25 minutes to Patricia Usick by 1 February 2013. For further information, see the ASTENE website.

News of Fellows

Fellow and former Chief Inspector Mark Harrison, when he is not busy fighting heritage crime as the National Policing and Crime Adviser at English Heritage, runs a community archaeology project called ‘The Forgotten Frontline’, that seeks to raise awareness and understanding of the preparations made by the military and Kent communities to counter the threat of a possible Nazi invasion during the Second World War. Since 2009, the project’s participants have been collating oral histories, images, documentation and aerial photographs to produce a series of exhibitions and workshops. ‘In an innovative twist’, says Mark, ‘we thought that it would be fun to work with Dave Chisholm, the cartoonist for the Sunday Timesto create a reconstruction drawing of Whitstable circa 1940.

‘Archaeologically correct, the drawing (an extract from which is shown below) features a range of characters and structures identified during the research phase, such as Home Guard members, Air Raid Wardens, Auxiliary Fire Fighters, Pillboxes, a Flame Barrage, and so on. The final piece of work funded by Kent County Council was unveiled on 28 October 2012 at Whitstable Castle, as part of Kent Coastal Week 2012. Dave also held a cartoon master class attended by over 100 families and young people. The cartoon and the cast of characters will now be used as an educational resource in local schools. As far as we know this is the first time that an academic research project has used this technique and we are hoping to develop the idea for other parts of the country and to extend into other periods of time.’


Conference report: 'Ireland in a Roman World'

Fellow Michael Potterton has sent the following report on the conference on ‘Ireland in a Roman World’ held on 20 and 21 October 2012 at Trinity College Dublin, at which no fewer than nine Fellows of our Society were involved as session chairs and speakers. One of the conference organisers — Jacqueline Cahill Wilson — will be addressing our Society on 31 January 2013 on the work of the LIARI (Late Iron Age and Roman Ireland) Project, so here is a flavour of the wider context for that forthcoming paper.

‘The Discovery Programme, a public institution for advanced research in Irish archaeology, recently hosted an important conference on the subject of Ireland’s interaction with the Roman world during the first five centuries AD as part of the Discovery Programme’s Late Iron Age and Roman Ireland (LIARI) Project. Speakers included some of the most prominent archaeologists from the UK, Europe and the USA, and this event was the first of its kind to occur in Ireland.

‘The conference was opened by Terry Barry (FSA) of Trinity College Dublin, who is also Chairman of the Discovery Programme. Jacqueline Cahill Wilson, Principal Investigator for the LIARI Project, gave the audience an overview of the team’s work to date, as well as some plans for the future. In a wide-ranging paper, Conor Newman (FSA, Chairman of the Heritage Council/National University of Ireland, Galway) brought the event into full swing by asking the audience to consider the extent to which Ireland may have been influenced by the late antique world. Edel Bhreathnach (UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute) then took a brief look at the potential of linguistic and literary sources to inform our understanding of Ireland’s relationship with the Roman world.

‘Following Aidan O’Sullivan’s (University College Dublin) opening comments on the session, Anthony Corns (Discovery Programme) highlighted the potential of new technologies to develop the LIARI Project further by introducing the audience to what is undoubtedly one of the Discovery Programme’s greatest strengths: the application of new technology to archaeology. He was followed by Fraser Hunter’s (FSA, National Museums Scotland) captivating discussion of the material culture of Roman Iron Age Scotland.

‘James Eogan, of the National Roads Authority, brought us through the third session. After Bill Hanson’s (FSA, University of Glasgow) look at the incomplete Roman conquest of Scotland, David Mattingly (FSA, University of Leicester) took us to another peripheral zone beyond the Roman Empire: the Sahara Desert. His case study looked at the Garamantes people and their interactions with Rome, and shed light on the connections between the two seemingly distant cultures.

‘For the fourth session, the audience turned its attention to the “continent”, with an introduction from Ingelise Stuijts (Discovery Programme) and papers from Hans-Ulrich Voss (Romano-Germanic Commission, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut) and Thomas Grane (independent scholar). Dr Voss investigated the evidence for a “mixed Romano-Germanic culture” using the artefactual remains appearing in the area known as the central European Barbaricum. He also used archaeological evidence from well beyond the Rhine limes frontier to challenge the accounts in Classical literary sources. Next, Dr Grane guided us through some of the material evidence of Roman interaction with southern Scandinavia.

‘The first day finished with a taste of future work in the field as Ger Dowling (Research Archaeologist for the LIARI Project) introduced three promising doctoral students. Fiona Gavin’s (National University of Ireland, Galway) reinterpretation of silver pins from Ireland was followed by a presentation by Sean Daffy (National University of Ireland, Galway) emphasising the need to look at the contextual evidence of Roman finds from Ireland. Patrick Gleeson (University College Cork), in contrast to the previous two papers, which were focused on material culture, took a landscape approach to the systems of kingship in late Iron Age Munster.

‘Sunday’s proceedings were opened with three papers with a scientific focus, all of which were introduced by Dr Cahill Wilson. Although Jane Bunting (University of Hull) was unable to attend the conference, Dr Stuijts very capably presented to the audience Dr Bunting’s most recent work on pollen diagrams and vegetation maps. This was followed by a discussion of Irish burial practice in the relevant period presented by Elizabeth O’Brien (FSA, INSTAR Mapping Death Project). To close the session, Alistair Pike (University of Southampton) and Chris Standish (University of Bristol) opened our eyes to the potential of isotope geochemistry and its applications to archaeology.

‘The final session of the conference was opened by Gabriel Cooney (FSA, University College Dublin). The two final speakers, Peter Wells (University of Minnesota) and Richard Hingley (FSA, University of Durham), impressed the audience with their dynamic approaches to the subject at hand. Professor Wells, using communication theory and network theory, took a fresh look at Roman material culture beyond the frontiers. Professor Hingley brought us back to modern times with an analysis of the reception of the Roman world and its implications for the world today.

‘In closing, Tomás Ó Carragáin (FSA, University College Cork) spoke briefly and eloquently about what the conference had achieved and his hopes for the LIARI Project in the future.

‘The atmosphere of the conference was lively and congenial, and the event seems to have started many new dialogues in Iron Age and Roman studies in this part of the world. The organisers of the conference intend to podcast selected recordings of the conference, and eventually to publish the proceedings. These proceedings will be invaluable to anyone interested in the subject of Ireland’s interaction with the Roman world, or indeed anyone studying the impact of the Roman Empire on areas traditionally considered to be outside of its control.’

Conference report: the XVth Congress of the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH)

More than 200 delegates from twenty-three countries attended the fifteenth Congress of TICCIH, held in Taipei from 4 to 8 November. The Congress takes place every three years and this was the first to be held in Asia. The Congress theme, ‘Post-colonialism and the re-interpretation of industrial heritage’, afforded opportunities to address attitudes to and the effects of industrialisation and approaches to conservation in contrasting environments and jurisdictions. Our Fellow Neil Cossons was one of the keynote speakers and Fellow Stephen Hughes (of the RCAHMW, and Vice-President of ICOMOS UK), was appointed Secretary, succeeding Stuart Smith who has held the post for twenty-six years.

Topics covered included the identification and classification of industrial landscapes; the need for high-definition conservation planning in the mediation of adaptive reuse proposals and the dangers to historical integrity from inexplicit briefing and architectural narcissism; threats posed to historic mining landscapes by spoil reworking and large-scale mining proposals resulting from the worldwide escalation in metal prices and the forward buying of rare mineral resources; digitising databases and the need for international comparative data when determining value and significance; and the role of industrial heritage in developing national and regional identity. In this last respect the new emphasis placed on industrial heritage as part of nation-building agendas by the Scottish and Welsh governments was noted.

Coinciding with the Taipei Congress was the launch of Industrial Heritage Re-tooled, the TICCIH guide to industrial heritage conservation (ISBN 9781859362181) edited by James Douet, and available from late November through the TICCIH website.

The XVIth Congress will be held in September 2015 in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, where the Bassin Minier, as an outstanding evolved cultural landscape, was designated a World Heritage Site in June 2012. Further details will be posted in due course on the TICCIH website.

Conference reports: Russia's Scandinavian foundations

Our Fellow Heinrich Härke has filed another of his letters from Russia, keeping Fellows abreast of antiquarian matters in the Russian Federation.

‘This year has been designated “Year of History” in Russia, on account of the 1150th anniversary of the “foundation of the Russian state”. Not only is it an odd anniversary to celebrate, it is also an odd occasion for the chauvinist Putin government to choose. In AD 862, the Slavs invited the Varangians “from across the sea” to rule over them, according to the Primary Chronicle written around AD 1100 at Kiev. This momentous and controversial chronicle entry has been debated for well over a century now: the “Normanist” position (which holds that Swedish Vikings founded the first Eastern European state) is hotly contested by the anti-Normanists (who call the chronicle report a foundation myth and believe that the Rus’ polity of the later ninth to eleventh century was a Slav creation), and many intermediate positions have developed over the years. The fall of the Soviet Union restarted the debate in Russia because it became possible again after 1991 to openly suggest a Scandinavian contribution to Russian state formation, something that had been anathema since Stalin.

‘The three most important history and archaeology events marking the anniversary of AD 862 all occurred in November 2012, for reasons that may have as much to do with academic competition as with the peculiarities of Russian planning and organization. First was the Moscow conference on “Ancient Rus’ and Medieval Europe: the emergence of states”, from 29 October to 2 November 2012, organised by the Institute of World Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, under the directorship of the formidable and widely respected historian Alexander Chubaryan. The emphasis here was on the issue of state formation across Europe, and speakers included a number of western colleagues (and Fellows), including Peter Heather (London), Jonathan Shepard (Cambridge), Martin Carver (York), Grenville Astill (Reading), Anne Stalsberg (Sweden), Dagfinn Skre (Norway) and your correspondent (travelling from Germany). The key session pitted the Polish archaeologist Vladyslav Duczko against Anne Stalsberg, but it turned out that this “provocation” (as Anne called it) was based on a misunderstanding by the organisers of the title of Anne’s paper (“There are no Vikings in Ancient Rus’!”): Anne wanted to make a point about terminology, not dispute the presence of Scandinavians in early medieval Eastern Europe which had been so emphatically demonstrated by the previous speaker.

‘While the participants of this conference were attending the external sessions held at Rostov Velikij, a charming old town on the “Golden Circle” around Moscow, the State Historical Museum on Red Square, opened its anniversary exhibition “Sword and Gold — on the 1150th anniversary of the Old Russian State” on 1 November. It was the usual VIP affair, with representatives of the government and the Orthodox Church in attendance. But the exhibition itself is a stunning collection of early medieval exhibits of the ninth to thirteenth centuries, from Staraya Ladoga in the north to Byzantine Chersones in the south. Exhibits include the impressive new finds from the tenth-century trading site of Gnezdovo and the enigmatic tenth-century Supruty hoard, as well as the wonderful old finds from the late tenth-century “Varangian warrior” barrows of Chernigov (Ukraine).

‘Some of those who had absconded from the conference to attend the opening of the exhibition barely had time to draw breath before they had to perform again, less than a week later, at the next conference. The Director of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nikolaj Makarov (recently promoted to full Academician status), clearly wanted to make a point by putting on his own conference on “The Rus’ in the Ninth and Tenth centuries: society, state, culture” on 6 to 8 November. The more limited scope of the conference may have been one of the reasons for the much smaller number of western participants (one, to be precise — Jonathan Shepard again) than at the previous conference, but it also reflected the contrasting outlooks and styles of the respective Directors of the two organising institutes. And there is a hint of contrasting positions in the resuming ‘Normanist’ debate here as well, made more urgent and relevant by the current political situation in Russia.’

Lives Remembered: Ian Curry FSA (1930—2012)

Salon’s editor is very grateful to Christopher Downs, Cathedral Architect at Durham, for permission to quote the following extracts from the tribute that he delivered at the funeral of our Fellow Ian Curry, who died on 8 October 2012, at the age of eighty-two.

‘Born in Newcastle on 18 September 1930 and resident in the Sunderland area for his entire life, Ian Curry became a prominent regional and national figure in the field of architectural conservation, and in the care, repair, adaptation and enhancement of churches and cathedrals in particular. Educated at Durham School, he went on to study architecture at Durham University, punctuated by a period of practical experience in the form of National Service with the Royal Engineers, first at Chatham and then Gibraltar. At University Ian was an outstanding student with an independent turn of mind and a keen interest in architectural history. This led him, in the face of some opposition, to study Gothic buildings rather than the prevailing Classical tradition — and his persistence was rewarded when his measured drawings of the Divinity School in Oxford earned him an honourable mention in the RIBA silver medal awards. Somewhat ahead of his time, he also showed an interest in contextual design, the integration of new elements with existing historic buildings, rather than the usual emphasis on unfettered open sites (although it must be admitted that, in those early days, he was still not averse to removing structures that got in the way: his final design thesis was a conference centre on the site of the listed buildings currently occupied by the Chorister School!).

‘After University Ian was taken into the Newcastle office of the Professor of Architecture, W B Edwards & Partners, working on a variety of new build and historic building projects, including educational buildings and a limited number of churches. He then moved to join George Charlewood, gaining a deeper involvement in historic buildings and churches in particular (especially the quinquennial inspection of churches under the Measure introduced in 1955). Ian became sole principal on George's death in 1962 and although he carried out several projects for Newcastle University and designed a handful of new churches and parsonages in the following years he continued to develop the practice as the foremost church conservation consultancy in the region, winning several awards for his work. He served for a number of years as consultant architect to Selby Abbey and York Minster (following terms on the advisory committees at each), overseeing particularly sensitive conservation projects at both. His crowning achievement was his twenty-one-year term as consultant architect to the Dean and Chapter of Durham, in which time he saw through a wide variety of repair and enhancement projects with a rare combination of sensitivity to the history of the buildings and understanding of the practical and liturgical needs of our time. He set a standard to which many other cathedral architects aspired.

‘As well as leading by example with his own work, Ian gave freely of his time in serving on advisory committees and with professional associations. At the local level he was for many years a member of both the Newcastle and Durham Diocesan Advisory Committees for the Care of Churches as well as shorter spells on other diocesan committees. At the national level he served on the Cathedrals Advisory Commission and the Redundant Churches Advisory Board and also the Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee. He served two terms as president of the Ecclesiastical Architects’ and Surveyors’ Association, separated by twenty years as its secretary, and organised two of their conferences in the north east. He was for a time treasurer of the Cathedral Architects Association. He also served locally as president of the Sunderland Antiquarian Society and treasurer of the Northern Region of the Royal Institute of British Architects and of the Northern Architectural Association.

‘A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, Ian was a not-inconsiderable scholar. His researches into the history of repairs to this cathedral in particular resulted in a number of publications, and he made significant contributions to books and journals on the history of the church in the north east. He also shared his knowledge through meticulously prepared lectures and by explaining his work to groups visiting works in progress. This erudition informed all his work, and in particular his quinquennial reports would contain fascinating insights into the history and artistic qualities of the building in question, making them far more than mere lists of defects.

‘In summary, this quiet kindly man achieved a tremendous amount and influenced at least two generations of church and cathedral architects as a pioneer of sensitive repair and conservation practice. He played a major role in ensuring that the legacy of outstanding ecclesiastical and secular buildings we have inherited from the past has been passed on to succeeding generations enhanced in their physical condition, practical usefulness and aesthetic beauty.’

Feedback

Our apologies to our newly elected Fellow Edgar Roy Samuel who was listed on the Society's ballot paper for 18 October 2012 and in the last issue of Salon as a retired opthalmologist. Edgar says that he is, in fact, a retired optometrist.

Fellow Charles Trollope asks if he may be allowed to offer an alternative origin to the Jersey finds that were identified as sword pommels in Salon 286. Given that all of them seem to have been found in an agricultural context, Charles wonders whether the same pommels could have been used for horse collars. ‘The working horse collar is built on a metal frame which finishes with two horns. It still is standard practice (and was when I was young seventy years ago) to decorate these horns in some way and these pommels would be suitable. It might be worth checking some collars to see if this is the case’, he writes.

David Phillipson writes to say that the obituary for Peter Locke in Salon 286 ‘made no mention of his work at Burlington House in the early 1990s when he oversaw renovations of lasting benefit, including installation of the lift’.

Books by Fellows: Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture: Western Midlands

Volume X of the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture (ISBN 9780197265154; OUP/British Academy) is devoted to the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Shropshire, a very rich region for surviving stone sculpture, and yet, as the principal author, our Fellow Richard Bryant makes clear, this is the first attempt to investigate the material as a whole as distinct from the many studies of individual churches and works.

Fellow Michael Hare contributes a useful historical introduction to the region’s post-Roman history and the emergence of the first Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the supremacy of Mercia, the growth of the region’s towns and the role of the Church in the region. In addition to the comprehensive gazetteer, there are essays on the distribution of the sculpture, evidence for regional craft centres and even for individual sculptors, on the types of stone employed, the different types of sculpture (for example, architectural, grave monuments, crosses, fonts and furnishings), figural imagery and the ornamental repertoire.

Overall the volume shows that late eighth- to tenth-century Mercia offered ‘a vibrant milieu in which influential artistic ideas could develop and spread, and that Mercian craftsmen of the period produced work of the highest quality’.

Books by Fellows: The Chronicle of Geoffrey le Baker

Geoffrey le Baker’s chronicle (ISBN 9781843836919; Boydell) covers the reigns of Edward II (1307—27) and of Edward III from his accession in 1327 up to the English victory at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, though, as our Fellow Richard Barber makes clear in his introduction to David Preest’s translation, his real hero is not Edward III but his son, Edward, Prince of Wales. The early part of this chronicle draws heavily on earlier chronicles, though with Baker’s own interpolations; its most famous passage is the account of Edward II’s journey from Corfe Castle to his final place of imprisonment, at Berkeley Castle, the story of which was ‘told me by William Bishop, who is still alive after the great plague’; in other words, it is an eye-witness account from the man who was in charge of Edward II’s escort; though it does not tell the story of Edward II’s actual death, to the delight of playwrights and novelists ever since, who have been free to invent their own accounts.

There is something of the flavour of the novelist in Baker’s own chronicle, which Richard Barber commends not just as an important source for the people and events of the period, but for its ‘sharply defined vignettes’ and Baker’s love of a good story. This gossipy anecdotal chronicle is thus very easy to read and really does paint a vivid picture of life in fourteenth-century England and France, from the Great Plague (which the Scottish welcomed as a just punishment visited by God on their English enemies until ‘the sword of God’s anger withdrew from England and in a furious outbreak of leprosy slaughtered as many Scots as it had killed Englishmen’) to the realities of military life, the guile and treachery, the sweat and toil, the violence and the terror and cheapness of human life — dead bodies litter every page.

Books by Fellows: Rome and the Sword

If Geoffrey le Baker’s chronicle gives the impression that it was every man for himself in medieval Europe, Fellow Simon James’s book, Rome and the Sword (ISBN 9780500251829; Thames & Hudson), begins by giving the impression that strict discipline underpinned the rise of Rome as a military power. The Roman army’s perceived competence in all the so-called arts of war has inspired generations of military historians and yet much of it turns out to be post-event propaganda; surviving accounts of Roman victories belong to a genre of literary writing that Simon calls ‘the battle piece’, with its own conventions, in which the central theme is Roman skill and superiority, not least in virtue and manliness (which, of course, ensures the favour of the gods).

The reality, Simon demonstrates, is that Rome’s success was built on extreme brutality and rapacity, opportunism and guile and a measure of good luck (which you might call the favour of the gods). This was an approach to conquest and empire building that could never last, because no matter how shocked Rome’s enemies might have been at the slaughter, sacking and despoliation visited upon them, they soon learned to be just as good (or should that be bad) in war, to be equally callous and merciless, to copy weapons and tactics. In a sense, then, the end of Rome, to paraphrase T S Eliot, was in its beginning, and as the pages of Simon’s book roll on with their detailed analyses of battles and campaigns, weapons and armour, battle scenes on Trajan’s Column, tombstone carvings and inscriptions, fortifications and militarised landscapes, there is a certain inevitability to the ending of the story as Rome is encircled by resentful and aggressive enemies.

Rome’s ability to keep its enemies quiescent for so long through diplomacy and alliances and the pax Romana is just one of the many sub-themes of Simon’s book, in effect a complete history of the Roman Empire written from the perspective of the sword-wielding Roman soldier. The book ends by asking whether there are any positive aspects to Roman imperialism to set against the atrocities, the war crimes and the rivers of blood. How would you answer the (anonymous) ‘leading British Iron Age archaeologist’ who Simon quotes as saying ‘I hate the Romans’? One conventional response is to say that Roman economic expansion was to everyone’s benefit: Simon doubts that this is an adequate answer because these trends were already under way; far from being the results of conquest, they might have been the pre-condition that permitted the creation of the empire: Iron Age Britain was already part of that economic network long before it was conquered.

The answer that Simon teases out is that Rome was the biggest shark in a sea full of sharks and shares many characteristics with the worst totalitarian regimes of recent history; unthinking admiration for all things Roman is at best naive and at worst based on wilful ignorance. But because Rome remains a ‘central phenomenon of western history’, one that shaped the destinies of people from Arabia to Ireland, from Morocco to Scandinavia, it therefore demands the sort of objective critical analysis that Simon has provided in this wide-ranging book, vividly written and compellingly argued book.

Books by Fellows: Roman Britain through its Objects

This book shows exactly what being Romano-British meant in terms of consumer goods: Roman Britain through its Objects (ISBN 9781445601304; Amberley Publishing), by our Fellow Iain Ferris, details all the new kinds of material wealth that archaeologists like to label as ‘small finds’, objects that are regarded as special — potentially of museum quality — because of their rarity, their material or their aesthetic qualities. Quite apart from their value to archaeologists as potential dating material, such objects are imbued with symbolic meaning and cultural significance, and these are the themes that Iain Ferris discusses in his book by means of chapters with such teasing titles as ‘The Self and Others’, and ‘The Comfort of Strangers’, rather than what we might expect — ‘Jewellery’ or ‘Statuary’ or ‘Ex-votos’. He is not, in other words, concerned with typologies, or with the processes of manufacture and distribution but rather with what he calls ‘emotional currency’ — the meanings and roles of those objects in the lives of the people who acquired, used and disposed of them.

One of the book’s big themes is the religious role of many small finds, and their association with ritual and religious sites designed for the management of fear: fear of illness, death, infertility, theft or crime, fear of dislocation, or the disfavour of the gods and ancestors. Another theme is the role of material culture in indicating specific cultural positions and assumptions: ideas of masculinity and femininity, civic virtues, references to the literary classics of the Graeco-Roman world or to the iconography of classical mythology. The book also has interesting things to say about heirlooms or ‘curated’ objects: that is to say, objects that are far older than the contexts in which they are found, and that seem to have been cherished as links to an imagined or mythical past or even to imagined ancestors.

Perhaps anticipating objections from archaeologists who may not be sympathetic to this kind of speculative re-creation of past minds and ideas, the author favours an approach to interpreting small finds that presents the minimalist and maximalist interpretations side by side: the minimalist approach describes indisputable facts; the maximalist approach broadens the interpretation of the data by setting it in context, drawing comparisons, looking at ethnographical parallels and discussing theoretical perspectives; this book is a fine example of how that maximalist approach can produce a fuller and richer narrative account, and remain fully plausible.

Books by Fellows: Technologies of Enchantment?

Written from a similar perspective is a new book by Duncan Garrow and Fellow Chris Gosden called Technologies of Enchantment? Exploring Celtic Art: 400 BC to AD 100 (ISBN 9780199548064; Oxford University Press), which combines a comprehensive database of artefacts found in Britain between about 400 BC and 100 AD that have come to be known as ‘Celtic Art’ with a theoretical argument that this group of distinctively decorated objects was ‘deliberately complex and ambiguous so that it could be used to negotiate social position and relations in an inherently unstable Iron Age world’.

Discussing such famous objects as the Snettisham torcs, the Battersea shield and bronze mirrors found mostly in southern Britain, the authors analyse past and present approaches to this material as a body of ‘art’, whose various decorative motifs are analysed for evidence of styles and changes over time; they then examine their archaeological contexts (in hoards, burials and settlements and as depositions) to ask how they fitted into the Iron Age and Romano-British societies in which they were made.

Books by Fellows: Making Sense of an Historic Landscape

The landscape in question is that of the Blackdown Hills in Somerset, which Fellow Stephen Rippon selects as the focus of his analysis for the fact that these hills mark the boundary between landscapes of radically different character. In Making Sense of an Historic Landscape (ISBN 9780199533787; Oxford University Press), these hills are shown to mark the western limit of extensive Romanisation (as reflected in the distribution of villas, small towns, pottery kilns and mosaics) and the boundary between the territories of the Durotriges and the Dumnonii (as mapped by coin finds). From the medieval period and up to the nineteenth century, common field agriculture was practised to the east of the hills but not to the west (as measured by Enclosure Acts). The hills also mark the boundary between the upland zone (to the west) and the lowland zone (to the east) and between the so-called Central Province of England, where villages predominate, and the Northern and Western Province, characterised by dispersed settlement. There are important geological differences too that are reflected in building styles and agricultural practices either side of these hills.

Much of the book is concerned with investigating different data sets to establish that these differences are real, and exploring just how far back they can be traced. An important part of this analysis is the attempt to re-create the pre-Domesday landscape of large early medieval ‘folk territories’, the ‘great estates’ and villae regiae, that pre-date the fragmentation of the landscape into the vills and manors recorded in Domesday, and for which a surprising amount of physical evidence still exists in the field in the shape of banks, ditches and other topographical features, as well as place names. Inevitably this exercise leads to the question: ‘are we looking at the survival of Roman, or even pre-Roman, administrative boundaries?’, to which Stephen Rippon’s answer is that any similarity is based not on continuity but on the choice of the same dominant topographical features as boundary markers.

And yet when it comes to examining agricultural practices from bone and environmental assemblages, a more complex story emerges because there are marked differences between agricultural practices on either side of the Blackdown Hills in the medieval period, and in the Roman period (differences such as the continued dominance of emmer wheat in the west, and the practice of marking out fields with substantial banks instead of hedges).

Wherever you turn, the Blackdown Hills boundary begins to look increasingly like a social and cultural one — there is even a suggestion that the people either side of the hills had developed different identities in the Iron Age as witnessed by different grain storage regimes (in pits in the east; above ground in the west) and burial practices (cist burials and inhumation cemeteries in the west, burial in former grain storage pits in the east).

By detailing all these many contrasts, a powerful case is built up to show that the communities of south-west England might have wanted to be different. You could interpret this as a negative characteristic — rooted in an innate conservatism that rejects new ideas (such as nucleated settlement). Equally it could be a sign of contentment, embracing tradition as a positive value, being happy with what you have, as appears to have been the case in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when so many churches and houses were rebuilt in the east but not in the west. Local pride is already strong amongst the natives of Dumnonia: this interesting and provocative book has the capacity to strengthen further that deep-rooted spirit of independence.

Books by Fellows: Charters of Glastonbury Abbey

Published just in time for our Society’s Glastonbury Abbey colloquium on 16 November 2012 is Anglo-Saxon Charters 16: Charters of Glastonbury Abbey (ISBN 9780197265079; OUP/British Academy), edited by our Fellow Susan Kelly. As Fellow Nicholas Brooks reminds us in his Foreword, Glastonbury Abbey commands our attention as a very early monastic institution, founded in the seventh century, as one of the wealthiest monastic houses in England (the richest Anglo-Saxon monastery by far and second only to Westminster in the later Middle Ages), and for the clever (not to say mendacious) way in which it maintained its wealth and prominence by forging a number of charters to support its claims in land ownership disputes. The abbey was also ‘a prodigious creator of myth concerning its ancient and British past’ — spinning a series of powerful yarns that linked Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, the Crown of Thorns, the Holy Grail and Arthur into one juicy myth that attracted pilgrims by the thousand and continues to impact on the character of the town and of its residents to this day.

Susan Kelly’s extensive introduction to the sixty-one extant pre-Conquest charters covers what is known about the early history of the monastery and its land holdings, through to the Dissolution. In discussing the vexed question of the authenticity of the charters, she claws back from the extreme position adopted by earlier commentators, typified by W H Stevenson who virtually dismissed the entire Glastonbury cartulary as consisting of ‘clumsy and impudent forgeries’. Under the current editor’s more temperate scrutiny, it looks rather as if many of the charters are late and corrupt copies of possibly genuine earlier versions and that we should therefore lend them greater credibility. This point is expanded upon in the copious notes that accompany each charter.

The result is a fresh and lively account of Glastonbury’s early history, revealing just how much can be learned from Saxon charters that is of importance to our understanding of the political and religious development of the entire south west of England at a formative period in English history — even more so now that we have Glastonbury’s charters to compare with those in Susan Kelly’s earlier editions for the abbeys of Malmesbury, Shaftesbury and Bath and the see of Wells.

Books by Fellows: Wakefield Diocese: celebrating 125 years

Maybe not as old as Glastonbury, but Fellow Kate (Coral) Taylor’s book on Wakefield Diocese: celebrating 125 years (ISBN 9781848252530; Canterbury Press) is not without its moments of drama: fresh in everyone’s mind, for example, is the spirited stand that Pamela Greener (wife of the Dean of Wakefield) took in April this year when she led national campaigning against the imposition of VAT on listed building work, having composed and performed a protest ditty that swiftly became a YouTube hit.

As you might expect from an author with antiquarian credentials, historic buildings and their restoration feature prominently in this account of the diocese, which was created in 1888 as (in the words of the current bishop, Stephen Platten) ‘a rather tardy response to the Industrial Revolution in this part of West and South Yorkshire’. So too do the difficult issues, familiar to everyone who sits on a Diocesan Advisory Committee, of redundant churches, the sale of parsonage houses and the re-ordering of churches to accommodate new forms of worship.

Though the Wakefield (Towneley) Mystery Plays are not part of the recent history of the diocese, Kate’s account of the formation and demise of the Wakefield Diocesan Committee for Religious Drama, under the inspired leadership of RADA-trained Pamela Keily, has moments of triumph as well as echoes of Linda Snell and the Ambridge community as this ‘tall dramatic woman with fine-drawn features’, with ‘a bearing that belongs to a forgotten aristocracy’, works with amateur groups ‘to raise the level of dramatic production and to get away from the image of the nativity play’. As for the future, Kate ends this history by reminding us that the jury is still out on the recommendation of the Dioceses Commission that the three dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield should be merged. If the scheme is accepted, the 125th anniversary year of the Diocese of Wakefield will also be its last; it is more likely, however, to remain proudly independent, with a newly restored cathedral, adding two further reasons for the people of the diocese to celebrate in 2013.

Books by Fellows: Sultans of Rome

Our Fellow Warwick Ball, former Director of Excavations at the British School of Archaeology in Iraq, has just published the third in his planned quartet of books on Asia in Europe and the Making of the West. This volume, Sultans of Rome: the Turkish world expansion (East and West Publishing), looks at the history of Turkish people in the centuries prior to the capture of Constantinople in 1453 and their revitalisation of Constantinople as a European capital, a new Athens as well as a new Rome and a new Baghdad, bridging many civilisations and bringing many cultural strands together.

The first two volumes in the series — Out of Arabia: Phoenicians, Arabs and the discovery of Europe and Towards One World: ancient Persia and the West — argue that Europeans have too long underplayed the contribution of Asiatic people to western civilisation. ‘I do not wish to match East against West nor to demonstrate that everything came out of the East’, Warwick says: ‘I wish simply to explore the affect of those cultures from beyond the conventional boundaries of Europe that, to a greater or lesser extent, expanded westwards — the counterpart of the “European expansion”. Since the earliest times, the history of Europe has been inextricably bound up with peoples and cultures from the East. It is an extraordinarily rich and complex relationship.’

Books by Fellows: The British as Art Collectors

Fellow Charles Sebag-Montefiore writes to say that ‘my first book was published in July 2012: I wrote it jointly with an old friend, James Stourton, the Chairman of Sotheby’s UK’. The reviews have been very positive — enough to encourage Charles to plan to spend more time in writing other books when he retires from Ludgate Investments at the end of this year. The British as Art Collectors: from the Tudors to the present (ISBN 9781857597493; Scala Publishers) starts with Henry VIII, takes in the Grand Tour and the country-house boom, the bonanza for collectors created by the Napoleonic Wars, the new collectors spawned from the Industrial Revolution, banking and shipping, the nineteenth-century heyday for the creation of museums; the private collectors who sparked the belated British love affair with Impressionism; the state’s role in patronage and collecting after World War II and London's recent emergence as a metropolis of contemporary art.

Writing in the Art Fund magazine, Brian Allen, Director of Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, said the volume has great depth and range ‘and provides the reader with an extremely pacey account of the subject … easily the best source of reference published [on this subject] to date.’

Books by Fellows: All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded

Fellow Stuart Laycock likes to take a sideways view of his subject (his previous book set out to show that there was nothing very Roman about Roman Britain) and he has certainly hit a nerve with this book, judging by the spluttering indignation of one Guardian writer who took grave exception to the idea that one could write humorously about such serious matters as imperialist aggression.

Stuart’s book might well win a prize for the sheer length of its title: All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded (And the Few We Never Got Round To) (ISBN 9780752479699; History Press). As for claim made in that title, we (‘Britain’) have apparently invaded or fought conflicts in 171 out of 193 countries that are currently UN member states, so there are just 22 that have not felt our tender military embrace, including Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Sweden, Uzbekistan and the Vatican City. Stuart told the Daily Telegraph that he wrote the book as a response to his eleven-year-old son’s question about how many countries the British had invaded. He also said that the only other nation that has achieved anything approaching the British total is France — which also holds the unfortunate record for having endured the most British invasions.

Books by Fellows: Cultural Heritage and Prisoners of War

Fellow Harold Mytum writes to Salon to say that he has become increasingly interested in prisoner-of-war archaeology since starting research on the Isle of Man, which was used for the internment of many civilians in both World Wars (including Gerhard Bersu and his wife, who used his period of internment to undertake field work that was partly sponsored by our Society).

This interest has led Harold to edit two books related to prisoners of war jointly with Gilly Carr. The first, Cultural Heritage and Prisoners of War: creativity behind barbed wire, is in the Routledge Studies in Heritage series and considers the tangible and intangible heritage derived from civilian and military prisoner-of-war experiences in the twentieth century. Case studies from both World Wars extend geographically from Poland and Germany through the Isle of Man to North America and south-east Asia. The innovation, resistance and re-created identities of internees are explored through literature, photography, art, crafts, medicine, embroidery, theatre and music. The editors have sought to bring together in one volume a wide range of disciplinary approaches to a shared theme that reveals the resilience and creativity of those held captive in times of war.

The second volume, Prisoners of War: archaeology, memory and heritage of nineteenth- and twentieth-century mass internment, is published by Springer and is more clearly archaeological, with examples from the Napoleonic Wars onwards, and with case studies from North America, Britain and Europe. The variety of surviving evidence recovered by excavation and field survey, and the at times challenging memories that can be evoked by these finds, are themes throughout the book.

Harold says: ‘together these volumes develop a interdisciplinary understanding of the prisoner-of-war experience, one where the material conditions of the internees was of paramount importance and where archaeological perspectives give unique insights. These can be set beside interpretations derived from other disciplines to enrich our understanding of this painful heritage.’

Vacancies

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Senior Assistant Curator in Archaeology to start on 1 December 2012 or as soon as possible thereafter on a fixed-term, 10-month appointment, until 30 September 2013
Closing date 14 November 2012

Applications are welcomed from research-active archaeologists with museum experience. The appointee will contribute to the care of the museum’s extensive archaeological collections, their documentation, storage and display, and to making collections accessible to researchers, students, public audiences and source communities. He or she will be expected to supervise assistant staff, volunteers and students, and contribute to museum administration and university teaching. Candidates should hold a PhD in archaeology or a related subject, and have experience of curatorial work. Teaching experience in archaeology, involvement in exhibition development and experience in museum-based research are highly desirable.

Informal inquiries may be addressed to the Museum’s Director, Professor Nicholas Thomas (tel: 01223 333511). Further particulars relating to this role (ref: JU22112) can be downloaded from the museum’s website.

The School of Archaeology and Anthropology in the Australian National University (ANU) College of Arts and Social Sciences is seeking to appoint an archaeologist to convene its Master of Archaeological Sciences program and complement its overall research and teaching. The position is expected to commence in February 2013. The School seeks to appoint a lecturer (Level B) or senior lecturer (Level C) with a long-term commitment to teaching and research and who is able to translate research interest into lively and engaging courses taught at the postgraduate level. The position will also require the ability to attract and supervise postgraduate research students as well as have a strong record of teaching, research and publication, and of securing external grants. For further details please contact our Fellow Professor Peter Hiscock.

York Archaeological Trust: Chief Executive
Salary: up to £70,000 with benefits; closing date 20 November 2012

The Trust’s Chief Executive, our Fellow John Walker, retires in March 2013. With 200 staff plus volunteers, the Trust now seeks a successor to lead one of Britain’s foremost archaeological charities. The York Archaeological Trust owns and runs two of the UK’s leading archaeological attractions, JORVIK (which alone has welcomed more than 17 million visitors) and DIG (our ‘hands-on’ archaeology centre), as well as two historic properties, Barley Hall and Micklegate Bar Museum. It also runs over 150 public events each year in the City of York and across northern Britain. In addition, the Trust has significant archaeological fieldwork units in Yorkshire (ArcHeritage, Sheffield), the Midlands (Trent & Peak Archaeology, Nottingham), and Scotland (Northlight Heritage, Glasgow) and is part of a number of international academic projects.

The Chief Executive through drive, vision and determination will enable the Trust to continue to build and develop its role by:

• leading a large team of professional and specialist technical staff and front-line attractions and event staff;
• maximising the income-generating potential of each pursuit in order to sustain a balance between the Trust’s award-winning charitable and educational activities and its primary reliance upon self-generated funding;
• encouraging further national and international academic partnerships and training schemes;
• securing grants and charitable donations towards archaeological research, major exhibitions, capital projects and further enhancement of its wide-ranging services to the public.

For further information about the position and for details of how to apply, send an e-mail, in confidence, to the Chief Executive.