The Society of Antiquaries of Londons 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 Salons editorial policy can be found on the Societys website and feedback should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
Our warmest congratulations to those Fellows whose achievements have been recognised in the 2013 New Year Honours List.
OBE: Mary Beard (left), Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge, for services to Classical Scholarship; Nichola Johnson, University of East Anglia, for services to museums and cultural heritage; Geoffrey Charles Munn, for services to charitable giving in the UK; Timothy James Sainsbury, Chair of Trustees, Home-Start UK, for services to children and families.
CVO: Jonathan Mark Marsden, LVO, Director of the Royal Collection and Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art.
Congratulations, too, to Deborah Dance, Director of the Oxford Preservation Trust, on being created an OBE for services to heritage.
Tea is served from 4.15pm, and meetings start at 5pm
31 January 2013: Pushing boundaries: Irelands relationship with Rome, by Jacqueline Cahill Wilson
Marking the completion of the first phase of research in the Discovery Programmes Late Iron Age and Roman Ireland (LIARI) project, this paper will discuss the exciting new insights that have been gained into settlement, society and ritual practices in Ireland in the first five centuries AD, including key finds and sites where Roman material has been uncovered. The results suggest a high level of engagement between some communities in Ireland and the Roman Empire ― especially with Roman Britain ― from the Claudian invasion right through to late antiquity.
7 February 2013: Must Farm: Bronze Age boats and metalwork, by David Gibson
The Cambridge Archaeological Unit excavations at Must Farm, near Whittlesey and Peterborough, have revealed an astonishing series of submerged prehistoric landscapes, showing how humans have used this area of rivers and floodplains from the Holocene era (10,000 BC) to the present day. Much attention has been paid to the discovery of six Bronze Age log boats, spanning the period from the middle of the second millennium BC to the early first, but these represent only a fraction of the riches of the site. This paper will put the log boats in context, showing how the 150-metre stretch of prehistoric river bank and channel in which they were found has also yielded dwellings and hearths, watering holes and animal footprints, burnt mounds, fence lines, cremations and barrows, fish weirs and eel traps, woven wool and bark-fibre garments, wicker baskets, a wooden bowl containing the remains of nettle stew and swords and spears of bronze with intact wooden handles and scabbards.
Tours of Burlington House designed primarily for new Fellows will take place on Tuesday 12 February, Thursday 18 April and Thursday 20 June 2013. Each tour includes a welcome from the General Secretary, with an overview of the Society and its current activities, followed by an introduction to the Societys library and museum collections and a tour of the building, concluding with a display of significant items from the Library. Tours start at 11am and last about 90 minutes, followed by an optional light sandwich lunch, for which a charge of £5 is made. Numbers are limited to twenty-five Fellows per tour. To book a place, please contact Jola Zdunek, the Societys Executive Assistant (tel: 0207 479 7080).
On 5 January 2013, under the headline US treasure hunters ready to snatch gold from the jaws of Victory, the Daily Telegraph published a letter signed by, among others, our Fellow Robert Yorke, Chairman of the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee, calling on David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, to veto all further work [on the wreck of HMS Victory] by the Maritime Heritage Foundation and Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc and assert the Governments right to protect our national maritime heritage and the remains of British sailors from distasteful commercial exploitation.
The letter explained that a commercial salvage contract between the Maritime Heritage Foundation and Odyssey, which would allow Odyssey to be reimbursed for all its costs and give it a commission of 50 to 80 per cent of the value of all artefacts recovered from the wreck, is in contravention both of British policy for historic shipwrecks and international codes and conventions for ethical archaeology and museum practice.
The letter pointed out that the wreck site is the last known resting place of over 1,000 Royal Navy sailors who died on active duty, and concluded that the effect of the Victory deal, if it stands, will be to see the British Government allow the deliberate disturbance of [a] military grave for the private profit of the banks and hedge funds which invest in Odyssey.
In a related article, headed US treasure hunters ready to snatch gold from the jaws of Victory, reporter Victoria Ward said that the Government is expected to make an announcement soon on whether it will sanction the current proposals and pointed out that no work can go ahead without the explicit approval of the Defence Secretary.
The report also quoted our Fellow Lord Renfrew who said, in a House of Lords debate on Victory last year, that selling treasure from a historic wreck would be a tawdry thing to do with this great historic flagship of the Royal Navy, adding that there are major ethical issues involved here and it is difficult to avoid the impression that the Government are giving a poor and ill-informed lead internationally in their dealings with Britains underwater heritage. In the same debate, Baroness Andrews, Chairman of English Heritage, urged the Government to think hard about this, to recognise that our maritime heritage is an exceptional national asset, not an overseas commodity, and to act with resolve.
Four new discoveries were announced at the British Museum in December 2012 at the launch of the 2011 annual report of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). The first was a copper-alloy helmet (shown on the left) found by a metal-detectorist in October 2012 and excavated by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust. The helmet had been used to hold a human cremation; a brooch found with the helmet had probably been used to fasten a bag containing the remains. Both the helmet and the brooch date from the early to mid-first century BC. It is possible that the person who once owned the helmet had acquired it fighting as a mercenary in Gaul.
Found in the same month and excavated by a team of archaeologists from St Albans City and District Museums Service was a hoard of 159 Roman solidi (gold coins), the second largest hoard of its type ever found in Britain. The coins date from the late fourth to the early fifth centuries AD, were mostly struck in Milan and Ravenna and issued under the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius I, Arcadius and Honorius. Richard Abdy, Curator of Roman Coins at the British Museum, said that the late date of the coins suggests their burial could have been associated with the turbulent separation of Britain from the Roman Empire c AD 410.
An important hoard Viking Age (late ninth to early tenth centuries) gold and silver metalwork was found near Bedale, North Yorkshire, in May 2012 and recovered by archaeologists from Yorkshire Museums. The hoard consists of an iron sword pommel inlaid with gold foil plaques, four gold hoops (from the hilt of the sword), six small gold rivets (probably from the pommel or hilt), four silver collars and neck-rings, a silver arm-ring, a silver ring fragment, a silver penannular brooch, and twenty-nine silver ingots. Our Fellow Barry Ager, Medieval Curator at the British Museum, said the material in this significant hoard probably represents Viking bullion, either obtained by trade, or plundered or extracted from enemies, which could later be melted down and reused for jewellery, or further exchange.
Finally, a copper-alloy mount in the form of a boar was recently found on the Thames foreshore. Our Fellow Michael Lewis, Deputy Head of PAS and Treasure, said: given the renewed interest in Richard III, after the apparent discovery of his remains in Leicestershire, it is wonderful to have a London find associated with the king. The mount is very similar to a number of boar badges that have been reported as Treasure over the past few years, which were made for followers of Richard III (of York), as Duke of Gloucester, during the Wars of the Roses. Richard took the white boar has his sign; bore may have also been an anagram of Ebor, the Latin for York.
A further eighty-one pieces of Anglo-Saxon gold, silver and copper alloy have been found in the same field that yielded the so-called Staffordshire Hoard. The coroner has declared them to be treasure trove and although the finds were discovered by a team of archaeologists working for Warwickshires county unit, the proceeds from the sale will be shared between Fred Johnson, the landowner, and Terry Herbert, the metal detectorist who made the original find. It is up to the British Museums valuation committee to assess the financial value of the finds; an appeal has already been made for donations to a fund set up by Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham councils in an effort to purchase, conserve and study the new finds as an integral part of the larger hoard. More than a million people have been to see the original hoard, much of which is on display in museums in Stoke and Birmingham. The new finds include several pieces of patterned silver that might have come from a helmet, a cheek piece with four bands of intertwined animals (shown on the left) and a number of sword fittings.
For the first time in England, two metal-detector users have been given suspended custodial sentences and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) for illegal metal-detecting activities on a protected site. Peter Cox, aged 69, and Darren West, aged 51, both from Northamptonshire, were sentenced by Northampton Crown Court on 19 December 2012 to one years imprisonment, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to stealing artefacts from and causing serious damage to a scheduled monument at Chester Farm, near Irchester in Northamptonshire.
The men were also sentenced to 150 hours of community service, a curfew, confiscation of their metal-detecting equipment and compensation for the damage caused to the scheduled monument. They were given Anti-Social Behaviour Orders that restrict their future use of metal-detecting equipment.
Northamptonshire Police launched an investigation after two English Heritage officers witnessed the two men metal detecting on the scheduled monument last July. Damage had also been caused to the scheduled monument by the excavation of trenches, which had been illegally dug in search of artefacts. A large quantity of Iron Age, Roman and medieval coins, metal artefacts and pottery, along with metal-detecting equipment and documents relating to the scheduled monument, were recovered when the police raided their homes.
Mike Harlow, Governance and Legal Director at English Heritage, said: The sentence sets an important watershed in the combat against illegal metal detecting and acknowledges its true impact on society. These are not people enjoying a hobby or professionals carrying out a careful study. They are thieves using metal detectors like a burglar uses a jemmy. The material they are stealing belongs to the landowner and the history they are stealing belongs to all of us.
The BBC reports that six men have been given sentences of up to seven years for the theft of lead from churches across the counties of Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Since the six were arrested the number of metal thefts from churches in Lincolnshire is reported to have dropped from 186 in 2011 to 19 in 2012. Passing sentence, Judge Michael Heath described the thefts as professional, planned offending for financial gain and said they had caused serious financial consequences for the communities whose sacred places had been desecrated.
The last issue of Salon reported on Carscapes, the fascinating account of the impact of the motor car on the landscapes of Britain that resulted from fieldwork and research carried out in 2008―10 by English Heritage to identify road-related archaeology and buildings worthy of designation. Now as part of its wider study of Later Twentieth Century Heritage, English Heritage is turning its attention to schools built between 1962 and 1988 and it has published a major research report ― Englands Schools 1962―88 ― setting out the background to project.
This provides a clear account of the ways in which pedagogical ideas, construction technology and architectural trends prevalent in the decades following World War II shaped the way that schools were built. The scale of demand for education and better school buildings after the war brought about a collaboration between architects, educationalists and administrators, and school design often provided a test bed for the innovative ideas of smaller architectural practices, resulting in distinctively regional designs. The intention is now that the best of these schools will be considered for designation, but the team behind the report say that they also hope that it will inspire the current generation of policy makers, local authorities, architects and schools involved in the planning of future school provision or refurbishing historic school buildings.
Efforts by the architectural campaign group SAVE Britains Heritage to save Liverpools most prominent Art Deco landmark, the huge white Littlewoods building that dominates the citys eastern approach, have paid off with the news that Manchester-based developers Capital & Centric Plc intend to buy the building for conversion to a hotel with commercial space.
Built in 1938, the building housed the giant printing presses that sent millions of pools coupons across the country every week to players of Littlewoods famous football pool competition. The building has lain derelict for more than a decade and two redevelopment schemes have fallen victim to the recession, making demolition increasingly likely as the structure fell into decline.
Our Fellow Marcus Binney, SAVEs President, says: Littlewoods is a spectacular example of the architecture of the golden era of 1930s factory architecture, and doubly impressive for its enormous size. Liverpool has been a pioneer in the restoration of great landmarks of this date, notably with the handsome conversion of Speke Airport and its pair of matching hangars. It is excellent that Littlewoods is to join them and that funds are being earmarked for the work.
The buildings vast and well-lit internal spaces were enlisted in the national interest during World War II when, at the outbreak of the war, the buildings mighty printing presses were used to print 17 million National Registration forms in just three days. The floors of Halifax Bombers were assembled at the building, and it was also the nerve centre of MC5, the government agency that intercepted mail to break enemy codes. Bomb shelters in the basement areas still contain artwork and graffiti on the walls dating from the 1941 Wartime Blitz and Battle of the Atlantic, when parts of Liverpool, its rail yards and docklands suffered more bombs per square mile than even Londons East End.
FAME (the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers) has published a report on archaeological archives that makes clear the scale of the problem whereby archaeological practices in England, Scotland and Wales are left holding major archives because there is no store or museum able or willing to accept them. These archives typically consist of artefacts and ecofacts, documents and digital data, photographic negatives, prints and transparencies, drawings, x-rays, microfiche, blueprints, video, DVD and other media. In England alone, the FAME survey reveals that 1,160m3 of material is being stored in the form of completed archives at an annual cost to archaeological practices of some £300,000. When uncompleted archives and work in progress is taken into account, the total is around 5,860m3.
This is a huge and growing financial burden for archaeological practices, many of them operating as educational charities, caused mainly by the absence of client funding for archive completion and deposit and by museums not accepting archaeological archives and the lack of an alternative form of store. One result, says the FAME report, is that little use is being made of the material by scholars or the public, who may not even be aware that it exists.
Three inter-linked solutions are proposed: the establishment of county or multi-county resource centres and archives stores, perhaps with HLF funding; a more robust and rigorous selection process to ensure that the material selected for retention is that holding the greatest potential significance for further study, educational or community use; and greater use of digital archiving, to be undertaken in accordance with a set of agreed national standards.
The New York Times carried a story on 17 December 2012 on the work of our Fellow Marc Oxenham and his colleague Lorna Tilley who are excavating the 4,000-year-old Man Bac cemetery in northern Vietnam, south of Hanoi. Here they have found the grave of a young man suffering from the congenital disease known as Klippel-Feil syndrome. This would have left him paralysed from the waist down with little, if any, use of his arms. The fact that such a profoundly disabled person survived well into adolescence means that he must have been cared for by his family or by members of his community, which lived by fishing, hunting and raising barely domesticated pigs. It is rare, says Lorna Tilley, that one can find direct evidence in the archaeological record for human thought or emotion, but this burial indicates that tolerance and co-operation were part of his culture, and that he himself had a sense of his own worth and a strong will to live, without which he could not have stayed alive.
This intriguing headline appears on a press release from the Friends of the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome, which goes on to reveal that the Pyramid in question is the tomb of Gaius Cestius, to be found in the Testaccio district of Rome (shown to the left in Bartolomeo Pinellis engraving of 1811 called Funerale notturno nel cimitero acattolico), and that it is the site of what used to be called Romes Protestant Cemetery. And the cemetery has just got older with the discovery that the first burial of a non-Catholic took place there in 1716, being that of Dr Arthur, a Scottish doctor exiled for supporting the claims of The Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart (1688―1766), to the English, Scottish and Irish thrones.
Amanda Thursfield, Director of the Cemetery, says: the date is a little earlier than we had suspected, but what is really surprising is to learn that it was Pope Clement XI who gave his agreement to a Protestant funeral service and made available some unused land on the southern edge of the city for the burial of non-Catholic foreigners within the walls of Rome. We had always thought that the first burials were unofficial and held at night.
The new information is contained in an article by Edward Corp, Emeritus Professor of British History at the Université de Toulouse, on The origins of the Protestant Cemetery in Rome in the latest issue of the Newsletter of the Friends of the Cemetery, edited by our Fellow Nicholas Stanley-Price. The Newsletter contains some remarkable pictures of the cemetery and news of other recent discoveries about the cemetery in the eighteenth century, such as the identity of some of the visitors who left graffiti on the monuments, the form of funeral services at the cemetery and the biographies of some of those buried there.
The Reverend John Skinner (1772―1839), Rector of Camerton in Somerset, was a keen historian and archaeologist who produced some 13,000 paintings and drawings during his archaeological, architectural and topographical tours of Great Britain and Europe. Most of those that have survived (more than 11,000) are held in more than 120 of Skinners notebooks in the British Library. Thanks to the work of volunteers from the community archaeology group the Charterhouse Environs Research Team (CHERT), founded in 1998, these have now been indexed so that it is easy to discover which volumes hold which illustrations. The index can be downloaded from the CHERT website and is dedicated to our late Fellow Keith Gardener, Chairman of CBA South West 2003―8, whose energy and vision initiated the project.
To be held from 20 to 22 September 2013 at Magdalene College and the McDonald Institute, Cambridge, the main focus of this conference will be on the formative period of the first millennium BC in central Italy, but contributions are invited on the broader theme of frontiers in Italy and beyond. For further details, see the conference website conference website.
17 January 2013: Saving the City: the preservation and conservation of Rome from antiquity to the present day, a lecture by our Fellow Christopher Smith, Director, British School at Rome, at 6pm, in the A V Hill Lecture Theatre, Medical Sciences Building, University College London, Gower Street WC1E 6BT (please send an email to Bethia Reith) if you wish to attend).
Recent arguments have suggested that the concepts of cultural heritage and conservation have a longer history than is sometimes recognised, with M Miles arguing that the Romans had ethical conceptions of the treatment of cultural property and D Karmon claiming that there was already a conception of heritage management and conservation at Rome by the medieval period. This paper will look critically at these and similar positions, while arguing that, throughout its history, Rome has offered a peculiarly complex set of challenges to the notion of sustainable heritage.
19 January 2013: Last chance to book places at the third New Insights into Sixteenth-and Seventeenth-Century British Architecture seminar, organized by Fellows Claire Gapper and Paula Henderson at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. The programme includes sessions on House and Landscape, Ecclesiastical Eclecticism, Interiors, and Construction and Communication. For the full programme and a booking form, see the VCH website.
2 February 2013: Philip Rahtz; a day conference to celebrate his life and work in Somerset, to be held at the Kings of Wessex Academy, Cheddar BS27 3AQ, which now occupies the site of the Saxon palace that Philip Rahtz excavated in the 1960s. The event is being co-ordinated by Somerset County Council with support from the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society and the Society for Medieval Archaeology. The speakers include our Fellows Lorna Watts, Mick Aston, Roberta Gilchrist, Bob Croft and John Blair and will include a tour of the Cheddar Palace site guided by Bob Croft and Mick Aston. For a booking form, contact Somerset County Councilheritagecentre@somerset.gov.uk; tel: 01823 278805).
22 February 2012: Olivia Chaney and Friends at Kings Place, London, 8pm. Come and hear rising star of the folk music world (and daughter of our Fellow Edward Chaney) launch her new EP. Shirley Collins, no less, President of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, has described Olivias singing as beautiful, moving, intelligent. Folk fans among the Fellowship, how can you resist?
Left: The Wedding (1989―93), by R B Kitaj. Photo © Tate, London 2012
If you are visiting Berlin in the next three weeks, you just have time to catch the first comprehensive exhibition of the works of painter R B Kitaj since his death in 2007; this is currently showing at the Jewish Museum Berlin. If not, there is a second chance to see the exhibition, though split between the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and Londons Jewish Museum from 23 February to 16 June 2013. That the exhibition is coming to England is thanks to the intervention of Fellow Edward Chaney, who seized the opportunity to promote Chichester as a venue for the show when the plans for moving it to Tel Aviv fell through.
Edward wrote the essay in the exhibition catalogue on Kitaj as a Warburgian artist. This demonstrates that Kitaj was profoundly indebted to Aby Warburg and the legacy associated with the institution he created in Hamburg, before it relocated to London in 1933. It also tells the story of how Kitaj came to paint a portrait of Professor Sir Ernst Gombrich, Director of the Warburg Institute from 1959 to 1976, in the summer of 1986, after it had proved impossible to arrange a sitting with Lucian Freud.
Edward says: Its a great exhibition revealing Kitaj to be one of the most significant painters of the post-war period and it will do something to rectify the way critics gave him such a hard time over his mid-nineties Tate show, because he dared to defy the trends in abstract art prevalent from the 1960s. Edward says he is now working, with the permission of Kitaj's son, on an edition of Kitajs fascinating and as yet unpublished autobiography, Confessions of an Old Jewish Painter.
This exhibition at Christ Church, Oxford, is curated by our Fellow Dr Claudia Wagner (assisted by Dr Sanne Rishoj Christensen and Dr Cristina Neagu, with the collaboration of the Beazley Archive in Oxfords Classical Art Research Centre and the Oxford Conservation Consortium), and it brings home the fact that while gems might be modest in size, gem engraving was a major art in antiquity and that Greek and Roman intaglios and cameos were keenly (even obsessively) collected, observed and copied from the Renaissance period onwards.
The exhibition also includes impressions and casts of gems in a variety of materials, from sealing wax to glass paste, and books on engraved gems of the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, as well as superb examples of original gems and of copies: one such is the sardonyx cameo that features on the exhibition poster (left) from the collection of the Earl of Carlisle, engraved by Alexander Cesati (1510―64), showing Cupid taming a lion in the presence of two nymphs.
The exhibition will open with a talk by our Fellow Sir John Boardman, called Looking at Engraved Gems, on 16 January 2013, at 4pm, in Christ Church Blue Boar Lecture Theatre, after which there will be a small reception in the Upper Library.
Fellow James Graham Campbell gently chides Salons editor for falling for the National Geographic hype in reporting in the last issue that a second Viking site had recently been found on Baffin Island in North America. The radiocarbon date for this occupation is fourteenth century, writes James, a period for which, as you rightly say, there is a growing body of archaeological evidence for activity by medieval Greenlanders in this region. But in the Old World, at any rate, the Viking Age is considered to be over by the end of the eleventh century; so lets call it Late Norse or Medieval, but not Viking.
Salons report on the death of our late Fellow Nicholas Assheton said that he had served as our Societys Treasurer. In fact was a member of the Societys Finance Committee, serving under Michael Robbins (Treasurer from 1971 until 1987) and David Phillipson (Treasurer from 1987 to 1993).
Fellow Pamela Jane Smith has sent news of the latest in the series of oral-history seminars that she runs based on Personal Histories of Archaeology. This time the early days of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology are recalled in a film that can be seen on the Personal Histories Project website, featuring, among others, our Fellow Clive Orton. The seminar was held in March 2012 in Southampton as part of the fortieth anniversary of conference of the CAA (Computer Applications in Archaeology). The session was moderated by our Fellow Gary Lock, the current chair of CAA, and the contributors discussed advances in the field of archaeological computing fostered by the CAA as well as their personal and social experiences as archaeologists over the last forty years.
Further to the short report in the last issue of Salon on the death of Fellow Robert Wilkins, Fellow Martin Henig writes to say: I first met Bob when I came to the Oxford Institute of Archaeology in 1967, but had already seen his work as a photographer of gems. He was an outstanding practitioner of a difficult craft, a true pioneer. His work for our Fellow Sir John Boardman and myself was remarkable, and I feel very honoured that so many of the books and articles I have written have been vehicles for his art, for art it was. He was always a good friend, humane, generous, sociable and possessed of a lively sense of humour. As I am someone rather on the edge, without an academic post and consequently adequate funds, Bob contrived many a time to produce photographs for me for free. He was much missed at the Oxford Institute when he retired. He was a truly good person, an Antiquary in every sense of the word, and his death leaves a gap.
On the subject of the sale of church treasures, Fellow Hugh Harrison writes with another sad tale of a faculty that came before the Exeter DAC, of which he is a member, from a Devon parish seeking permission to dispose of a flagon and a paten, described as a beer drinking vessel by the top auction house that valued it for the parish. Hugh says he is concerned that auctioneers might be aiding and abetting such disposals, though they are of course legally entitled to do this.
In the light of this, it is interesting to note that the Court of the Arches is considering issuing new guidance to diocesan chancellors faced with difficult or contentious faculty applications. The following list of questions is now being proposed. 1. Would the proposals, if implemented, result in harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest? 2. If the answer to question (1) is no, the ordinary presumption in faculty proceedings in favour of things as they stand is applicable, and can be rebutted more or less readily, depending on the particular nature of the proposals. 3. If the answer to question (1) is yes, how serious would the harm be? 4. How clear and convincing is the justification for carrying out the proposals? 5. Bearing in mind that there is a strong presumption against proposals which will adversely affect the special character of a listed building, will any resulting public benefit (including matters such as liturgical freedom, pastoral well-being, opportunities for mission, and putting the church to viable uses that are consistent with its role as a place of worship and mission) outweigh the harm?
Fellow Mark Samuel is researching a book about the use of elephants in Imperial Rome and reports that, despite extensive research, he has found neither hide nor hair (nor bone) from any elephant in any of the published Roman excavation reports that he has read, other than ivory artefacts. Paradoxically, Mark says, we know the far older and long-extinct mammoth like the back of our hand. Given that a reasonably complete (or incomplete) skeleton of a North African elephant would be of considerable scientific as well as historic interest, I was wondering if such a discovery had recently been made, and had yet to make it into publication. Any mention of Syrian elephant skeletons or pre-Roman North African discoveries from obscure French colonial sources would be equally welcome, and acknowledged.
Fellow David Watkin has been named as 2013 Henry Hope Reed Award laureate by the University of Notre Dame, and will receive the US$50,000 award at a ceremony in Chicago on 23 March 2013. The award is given annually to an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the incorporation of the ideals of traditional and classical architecture into modern urban development.
The citation says that David first received international attention with his book Morality and Architecture: the development of a theme in architectural history and theory from the Gothic Revival to the Modern Movement (1977), which he expanded and republished under the title Morality and Architecture Revisited (2001). In these works, he challenges the language used to describe modernist architecture, which claims to be rational and truthful and to reflect the needs of contemporary society. Michael Lykoudis, Dean of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, said: David Watkin has given us a renewed and refreshing view of our past, present, and future by challenging contemporary attitudes that illustrate history as a series of distinct periods identified by the spirit of the age. He has proposed [instead] a framework that respects the primacy of the interconnectedness of cultures, yet celebrates these attributes that give each time and place its distinctiveness and character.
On 13 December 2012, our Fellow Peter Hiscock, Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University in Canberra, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science for his contribution to studies of lithic technology and research into the prehistory of Aboriginal Australia. The citation said that much of his work has been focused on understanding the technology of Aboriginal people, over their 50,000 years of occupation in Australia, prior to the arrival of Europeans. His research has redefined the sequence and chronology of technological innovation in prehistoric Australia and offered new explanations for the way technology was transformed on this continent. In recent years he has integrated this understanding of technology with broad syntheses of all the archaeological, genetic and environmental evidence for Aboriginal occupation of Australia. His 2008 book Archaeology of Ancient Australia won the Mulvaney book award and is now the standard textbook at all Australian Universities. Professor Hiscocks efforts in developing a rigorous and distinctive Australian view of ancient technology have been applied beyond Australia by him and his students, and they have helped transform descriptions of the evolution of hominid culture.
Fellow Neil Stratford has been elected a member of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, founded in 1663 for the study of the monuments, the documents, the languages and the cultures of the civilizations of antiquity, the Middle Ages and the classical period, as well as those of non-European civilizations. Neil was elected by secret ballot as one of fifty foreign corresponding members of the academy. Neil is Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Later Antiquities at the British Museum where he worked from 1975 until he retired in 1998. He played a leading role in the development of the Corpus of Romanesque sculpture in Britain and Ireland and the online inventory of Romanesque art. As the Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow at the British Academy in 1991, he worked on the international project, Corpus de la sculpture de Cluny, of which the second volume was published under his editorship in 2011. He is celebrated in France especially for his work on the chronology of the Burgundian Romanesque sculptures at Vézelay and Saint-Lazare dAutun.
Fellow Christopher Brooke (University of Nottingham) writes to say that he received an early Christmas present in the form of the news that he has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
After twenty-one years as Edwin Cuthbert Hall Professor of Middle Eastern Archaeology at the University of Sydney, Fellow Dan Potts has taken up a new position as Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and History at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW), New York University.
Fellow Paul Pettitt is on the move too, but not quite as far: he left Sheffield, where he was Reader in Palaeolithic Archaeology, to become Professor of British Prehistoric Archaeology at Durham University on 1 January 2013.
Staying in Sheffield is Fellow Maureen Carroll, who joined the university as a lecturer in Roman archaeology in 1998 and who has now been awarded a personal chair, to take effect from 1 January 2013. Maureens research interests include Roman death, burial and commemoration, Latin funerary epigraphy, infancy and earliest childhood in the Roman world, clothing, identity and self-presentation in the Roman Empire and the archaeology and history of ancient Greek and Roman gardens.
Loyd Grossman appeared on University Challenge over the Christmas break for the second time (the first time being as part of our Societys team in University Challenge: the Professionals in 2006), doing very well personally, though his team of London School of Economics alumni lost overall to a very strong New College Oxford team. Never mind; Loyd has at least one more chance to appear on the show and win (for he is also an alumnus of Magdalene College, Cambridge). As a consolation prize, Loyd has just been elected to the Council of the British School at Rome, about which he says he is more than delighted.
Fellow Willem Willems, along with his Leiden University colleague Corinne Hofman (Professor in Caribbean Archaeology), Gareth Davies (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Brandes Ulnik (Univeristy of Konstanz), has been awarded a European Research Council Synergy grant worth 15 million euros for NEXUS 1492, an archaeological study of the post-1492 colonisation of the Americas. Willem says this is the first time that archaeologists have won an ERC Synergy grant, which is designed to promote collaboration across different disciplines. Altogether the NEXUS team will include thirty-eight researchers, a large number of them from the Caribbean.
NEXUS 1492 was one of eleven projects awarded funding out of more than 700 applicants. Professor Hofman said: The unique synergy of four researchers and their international team of archaeologists, social, natural and computer scientists, and heritage experts is the best possible configuration to tackle the history of the Amerindians. The mixed competences of the team should help us to investigate the impact of colonisers in the Caribbean region and the first interactions between the New and the Old World, in a completely new way.
Fellow David Gurney reports that Norfolk County Council and the Milestone Society have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, covering conservation works to Norfolks roadside heritage assets. As a result, staff from the countys Historic Environment Service have been working with the society on a programme of re-lettering and re-painting. Where appropriate, milestones are relocated to safer locations; in some instances, they have been returned to their original positions.
Milestone Society member Nigel Ford is working his way around the county, raising funds from local authorities, parish councils and local businesses to cover the costs. The repainting often involves local volunteers, community groups and schools, and attracts a great deal of media interest, not least when HRH The Prince of Wales lent a hand. In the picture on the left, our Royal Fellow is shown with Nigel Ford re-lettering the sixtieth milestone to be tackled in 2012 (out of the Norfolk total of 360) in honour of The Queens Diamond Jubilee. The stone he is working on is Norfolks oldest known milestone, dated 1764, located at Anmer, on the Sandringham Estate. Originally located at a junction of roads and next to some allotments, the Anmer stone bears a complex set of inscriptions and became a popular local meeting place for a smoke and a mardle. An indentation on the stone was created by people sharpening their pocket knives. During World War II it was removed and buried for security.
Our Fellow Sir Marcus Worsley (elected on 6 January 1966) has died at the age of eighty-seven. The Daily Telegraph published an obituary on 19 December 2012 from which the following has been extracted.
William Marcus John Worsley was born on April 6 1925, read Modern History at New College, Oxford, after war service in West Africa, then joined the BBC European service as a programme assistant in 1950. In 1953 he took over the management of the family estate around Hovingham Hall, North Yorkshire, with its 3,500 acres of farmland and 1,000 of woodland, plus much of the village of Hovingham.
In 1959 he was elected MP for Keighley by 170 votes, and worked for Enoch Powell, then Minister of Health, but resigned late in 1961 pleading pressure of work. In 1964 he lost his seat but then was selected as the candidate for Chelsea and was returned at the 1966 election. His concern for fine buildings led him, just before the 1970 election, to persuade the Government to clean up the Foreign Office; he was convinced its filthy state was a first step to demolition. The election of Edward Heaths government brought Worsley the post of Principal Private Secretary to William Whitelaw, then Lord President of the Council. He was re-elected in the snap election of February 1974, but chose not to contest the election of October 1974.
He was influential in Church as well as Parliamentary affairs. A Church Commissioner and Church Estates Commissioner for over a decade including a spell answering questions in the Commons he chaired the Church Assembly committee that recommended in 1968 the creation of todays General Synod, in place of the Assembly and Convocations. He took a particular interest in York Minster, where his sister Katharine married the Duke of Kent in 1961. He was a member of the appeal committee founded under Lord Scarborough in 1967 that had already raised £3 million for restoration work when fire started by lightning destroyed the south transept in July 1984. After what Worsley termed a new burst of activity, with landowners led by Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk, contributing great oak trees for the roof, he was able, as Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, to escort the Queen to the rededication four years later. Worsley also showed his commitment to conservation through the National Trust. Between 1969 and 1992 he chaired its Yorkshire region and its property committee, and finally was its deputy chairman.
The very sad news has just reached Salon that our Fellow Geoffrey de Bellaigue died on 4 January 2013 of pneumonia at the age of eighty-one. Geoffrey was known and loved by many Fellows as a sympathetic friend and colleague, a man who was genuinely humble and always courteously deferential, despite being the worlds leading expert on French porcelain, and Sèvres in particular.
In 1942, when Geoffrey was eleven years old, his mother, the Belgian-born Marie-Antoinette de Bellaigue, was hired to teach European history and French to the future Queen Elizabeth II, introducing Geoffrey to the world that he was to inhabit later when, in 1963, he was appointed Deputy Surveyor of The Queens Works of Art. He had first graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1954, worked for J Henry Schroeder and Co until 1959, and then joined the National Trust as Keeper of Collections at Waddesdon Manor. He went on to serve as Surveyor of The Queens Works of Art from 1972 to 1996 and Director of the Royal Collection from 1988 to 1996. As the first full-time Director, Geoffrey is credited with turning the Royal Collection into the major conservation body that it is today, responsible for opening the inhabited royal palaces to the public, looking after the Royal Library at Windsor and for mounting highly regarded exhibitions in The Queens Gallery, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
On retiring in 1996, Sir Geoffrey wrote French Porcelain in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen (2009), a three-volume, 1,291-page catalogue of probably the finest, and certainly the largest, collection of Sèvres porcelain in the world, most of it acquired by that voracious collector, George IV
from the 1780s until the death of the king in 1830. When the catalogue won the Apollo Book of the Year Award in November 2010, the judges paid tribute to the authors meticulous and profound scholarly research and said that the catalogue is enriched by de Bellaigues exceptional broad knowledge of France and its history.
Above: our picture shows Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue (centre) receiving his Book of the Year Award from Oscar Humphries, Apollos editor.
Left: our former President Eric Fernie, flanked by some of his former University of East Anglia students, all of them now Fellows: Jill A Franklin, Veronica Sekules, John McNeill, Richard Halsey and James King. Fellows Frank Woodman and Stephen Heywood, also Erics students, were at the same British Archaeological Association annual conference in July held in Norwich at which this photograph was taken. Photo: courtesy of James King
When Eric Fernie was presented with this Festschrift at the Society of Antiquaries on 30 November 2012, he said that, just as the best way to stop an Italian talking was to make him sit on his hands, so the best way to silence an academic was to present him with a Festschrift. Eric then proceeded to disprove that statement by giving an eloquent account of the contents of the book; how had he achieved this miracle of speed-reading only minutes after being presented with a copy? It turned out that the book, Architecture and Interpretation (ISBN 9781843837817; Boydell), had been published in October, and, like a very well-disciplined boy with a box of chocolates, Eric said he had rationed himself to reading two a week of the twenty-two essays in the volume.
It is, said Fellow Sandy (T A) Heslop, one of the books three editors (the others being Fellows Jill A Franklin and Christine Stevenson), a book to inspire debate, a powerful and significant volume and a robust underpinning of the relatively new discipline of architectural history, to which Eric Fernie has contributed so much. It is also, said Eric, almost impossible to classify, so wide and varied are the contents, ranging in subject from the use of patterned marble in late antiquity (Fellow John Mitchell) to the design of bicycle sheds (Peter Guillery, arguing that we have for too long excluded from the category of architecture anything that does not conform to certain aesthetic ideals).
Several of the essays begin with a provocative quotation or statement that the author then proceeds to explore: Fellow Kerry Downs, for example, quotes Francesco Borrominis suggestion that the facade of a church ought to reflect the design of the interior, and he sets off to ask how true this is of churches in Rome. A number of the essays also deal with Romanesque architecture, Erics special field: Roger Stalley, for example, distils many years of studying beak-head ornament to ask where it originated, how the style spread and what conclusions can be drawn from the motifs distribution (largely confined to parish churches, rarely found on cathedrals or big monastic churches (Reading and Sarum being notable exceptions) and found in clusters (parts of the Cotswolds, Yorkshire, Herefordshire and Ireland) but absent from large areas of Britain. He concludes that we simply do not know and that much of the evidence is contradictory, whilst also suggesting that the biting beasts found in metalwork might have been an important influence and that rather than thinking of stone-carving, book-illumination and metal-working as separate crafts, we need to understand how these were practised in reality and how ideas might be passed from one craft to another.
Eric ended his thanks to all the contributors by enrolling them all as honorary members of the Footnote Preservation Society, of which he is, he says, the Life President: whether by accident or design, his own Festschrift is a model in this respect, with notes printed on the page of text to which they relate and thus easy to check as part of the reading process.
There have been many books about nationalism in archaeology, but the literature on internationalism is far shorter. Our Fellow Margarita Díaz-Andreu aims to fill that gap with Archaeological Encounters: building networks of Spanish and British archaeologists in the twentieth century (ISBN 9781443840019; Cambridge Scholars).
This book analyses the relationships established between British and Spanish prehistoric archaeologists from the 1920s to the 1970s, based on the correspondence of Barcelona-based Professor Luis Pericot, the archaeologist whose archive (the Fons Pericot in the Biblioteca de Catalunya) serves as the basis for much of what is discussed in the book. Tom Kendrick, Gordon Childe and John Evans, based in London, Grahame Clark, Dorothy Garrod and Glyn Daniel, in Cambridge, and Christopher Hawkes, in Oxford, all have chapters in the book, which analyses the research projects undertaken by British archaeologists in Spain and their largely unknown trips to the country to give talks and to visit sites. The success of these academic encounters in producing and transmitting new knowledge is explored in the final two chapters.
Sir Henry Raeburn (17561823) is especially well known in Scotland as the portrait painter of members of the Scottish Enlightenment. Outside Scotland, the artist rarely makes more than a fleeting appearance in portraiture studies. The most recent major exhibition of his work took place in 19978, in Edinburgh and London, and a reviewer then noted that it had the aspect of a closure rather than a new dawn in Raeburn studies. Seeking to rescue Raeburn from this artistic limbo, our Fellows Stephen Lloyd and Viccy Coltman have co-edited a collection of fourteen studies by leading international academics, art historians and curators and published them in a volume called Henry Raeburn: context, reception and reputation (ISBN 9780748654833; Edinburgh University Press); both the hardback and the paperback are available at 20 per cent discount for orders placed directly with EUP in January 2013, using the discount code 6JM.
Studies in the volume range across an investigation of the reasons for the artists bankruptcy in 1807, when his familys West India shipping business failed, leaving him owing his creditors more than £36,000, through comparative approaches to understanding his portraiture alongside those of his contemporaries, Lawrence, David and Goya, as well as the construction of his artistic reputation in England, France and North America by the means of the exhibition of key portraits and the dissemination of reproductive prints. Further technical evidence in the form of an infrared reflectogram and an x-radiograph is published for the first time to demonstrate that the famous painting of The Reverend Robert Walker (The Skating Minister) cannot have been executed by Raeburn, thus reinforcing the recent re-attribution of this graceful and elegant sporting picture to the French émigré artist Henri-Pierre Danloux. Previously unpublished archival material is also brought to light for the first time, including correspondence from the papers of the influential Scottish banker Gilbert Innes of Stow and the muniments relating to arguably the grandest of all Scottish art collectors, Alexander, tenth Duke of Hamilton.
The co-editors hope that this volume will stimulate further study and debate about Raeburn and there is every sign that it will achieve this, given the reception from reviewers: T M Devine, Personal Senior Professor in History at the University of Edinburgh, described it as fresh and engaging and said that a key strength of the book is that it ranges across a number of disciplinary approaches and beyond the normal conventions of history of art into political, economic, cultural and social history. Meanwhile Professor Mark Hallett, Director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, has welcomed the publication as consistently thought-provoking, original and revealing … this skilfully edited book promises to transform the ways in which we think about Raeburn's paintings and about the worlds of portraiture in which he and his canvases played such a fascinating part.
A must for anyone touring Norfolk is this guide to Norfolk Rood Screens by Paul Hurst and our Fellow The Reverend Canon Jeremy Haselock, Precentor and Vice-Dean at Norwich Cathedral (ISBN 9781860777417; Phillimore). The book features the best twenty-four late medieval chancel screens out of more than ninety in the county that have survived, carved and painted with images of Apostles, martyrs, scholars, saints and soldiers, holy women, donors, angels and demons. Photographer Paul Hurst has produced images of stunning quality, detail and colour accuracy, while our Fellow Jeremy Haselock has provided a text that he modestly says is short and to the point and brings together current scholarship in an accessible way rather than forging a new path through the material … but we have occasionally questioned the accepted identification of saints or dates and stylistic relationships where these seem unlikely.
Jeremy also pays tribute to the dedicated work of the doyenne of conservators, Pauline Plummer, whose conservation work over many years has ensured that some of the screens are now stable, clean and bright, but others are, he says, in poor shape and badly in need of specialist attention … we hope this book will raise awareness of the need for the major programme of study, care and conservation that is just beginning.
Another guidebook: this time to Petworth: the people and the place, written by our Fellow Christopher Rowell, and published by the National Trust in association with Scala Publishers (ISBN 9780707804200). This is a new type of National Trust guide (at 168 pages almost a monograph), which caters for the visitor who wants a fuller account of the current state of knowledge regarding the house, its contents and the people (architects and artists as well as owners and patrons) who have contributed to its rich assemblage of material culture ― including, says the author in his opening sentence, the National Trusts finest collection of paintings and sculpture, as well as one of Britains most beautiful man-made landscapes.
Well-chosen pictures bring the truth of this home, along with rich archival evidence for the way the collections were built up; Horace Walpole scathingly described the second earl of Egremont as one of those extravagant aristocrats who competed with each other to pay high prices for pictures, but he does seem to have made many a shrewd acquisition from the break-up of other notable collections of the day, as his detailed account books demonstrate. The guide contains fascinating insights, too, into the way the second earl built up the collection of antique sculpture that occupies the purpose-built gallery at Petworth, and of the contemporary debates concerning the degree to which ancient statues and busts should be restored or the ethics of joining together disparate fragments ― a torso from here, a head from there ― to create complete figures.
The third earl and his wife were enthusiastic patrons of contemporary artists and rising stars ― Blake and Turner being two of the most prominent ― and the guide contains a lively account of their patronage of these artists and their almost bohemian lifestyle ― not to mention the court case in which the sculptor, Sir Richard Westmacott, sued the earl for unpaid bills and lost, leaving him bankrupt and a broken man.
As for the landscape that inspired Turner to some of his most radiant work, that has been replanted following the storms of 1987 and 1989 with some 32,000 trees based on archival research to recreate Capability Browns designs of 1752. The guide reminds us that the National Trust had to campaign hard in the mid-1970s to prevent West Sussex County Council from going ahead with a plan to build a by-pass between the house and the lake that would have passed within 33 yards of the front door. Fortunately the National Trust won, saving the park that St John Gore described as the worlds most serene and precious example of the art of landscape gardening.
Would you buy a pan as a souvenir? It seems that the Romans did when visiting Hadrians Wall, though these were rather special pans ― sometimes also termed skillets or cups, or known by the Latin names patera or trulla ― made of bronze, decorated with geometric patterns inlaid with red, green, blue and white enamel. Some of the pans have stylised depictions of the battlements of Hadrians Wall; some also have text around the rim naming a sequence of forts along the Wall.
Our Fellow Ernst Künzl gave a lecture on these vessels and related enamel objects to the 220 people who took part in the 13th Hadrians Wall Pilgrimage in August 2009. Edited by our Fellow David Breeze, this short monograph, called The First Souvenirs: enamelled vessels from Hadrians Wall (ISBN 9781873124581; Cumberland and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society), builds on that lecture with a catalogue of the known vessels and essays from a number of Fellows who have studied them in detail. From this, we learn a great deal about the objects, their essentially Celtic decorative motifs, their inscriptions, their dating (some contributors argue for their manufacture shortly after the construction of the Wall, in AD 122―38, others for manufacture only once the original turf wall has been replaced by a stone wall in the AD 160s), the production centre (probably Carlisle) and method of manufacture, and even the name of one of the owners (Draco).
But what were they for and who bought them? Fellow Martin Henig seems to have the most plausible explanation to date: these are religious vessels designed for libation, and travel in the ancient world, when not work-related, usually took the form of pilgrimage to a religious sanctuary or temple. Therefore, somewhere in the region of Carlisle, waiting to be discovered, are perhaps a workshop where the pans were made and a temple, possibly dedicated to Jupiter and the gods who protected the empire. The pans were bought, Martin Henig suggests, by pilgrims to the temple for use in religious ceremonies in their own cult centres back home.
Fellow Steve Sherlock has just published his report on A Royal Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Street House, Loftus, North East Yorkshire (ISBN 9780953274758; Tees Archaeology Monograph Vol 6) on the Conversion Period cemetery excavated between 2005 and 2007. The highlight of the excavation was the discovery of the only Anglo-Saxon bed to have been excavated in north-east England; the report has colour images of this and the other significant seventh-century finds from the cemetery, along with specialist reports on the coins, glass, knives, pottery, slag, environmental finds and textiles. The discussion places the finds in their regional and national context and compares the Street House bed burial with others across the country. It also examines the significance of this important Christian site in the context of Hilds establishment of the religious house at Whitby, only twelve miles to the south, during the time that the cemetery was being used.
Courtauld Institute of Art: Lecturer in Buddhist Art and its Conservation
Salary scale £33,465 to £45,466; closing date 4 February 2013
The Lecturer will take a lead role in the provision of a new MA in Buddhist Art: History and Conservation, to be offered from October 2013 by the Robert H N Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Art and Conservation at The Courtauld Institute. Recognising the global significance of the vast cultural heritage of Buddhism, this innovative MA will, for the first time, combine the separate studies of Buddhism, Buddhist art and its conservation. Taught by a wide range of specialists, the multidisciplinary course will advance understanding and scholarship of what objects mean, how they are made, used and deteriorate, and foster appreciation of their significance and need for preservation.
For further information, see the Courtauld Institutes website.