Salon Archive

Issue: 62

The return of Salon

After a short summer break, Salon is back with a round up of the many antiquarian stories (some with a decidedly silly season flavour) that you might have missed while on holiday or in the field. There will be another edition on 22 September, before Salon returns to weekly editions with the beginning of the autumn session on 2 October.

Forthcoming meetings

The programme of Society of Antiquaries meetings for the autumn of 2003 has just been published and is as follows:

October 2: Enlightenment: restoring and adapting the King�s Library at the British Museum, by Andrew Burnett, FSA
October 9: Lambeth Palace: recent work on the fabric, by Tim Tatton-Brown
October 16: Curators and Curatorship at Sir John Soane�s Museum, 1837�1995, by Margaret Richardson, FSA
October 23: Ballot
October 30: The Archaeology of the Book, by Dr Mirjam Foot, FSA
November 6: Artistic Propaganda in the Wars of the Roses, by Elizabeth Danbury, FSA
November 14: Meeting to be held in Boston, USA
November 20: Sculptural Traditions in Roman Britain, by Dr Martin Henig, FSA
November 27: The Berkeley Castle Muniments, by David Smith, FSA
December 4: The Restoration of Kelmscott Manor Gardens, by Hal Moggridge, OBE
December 11: A Miscellany of Papers


The Society has recently learned of the deaths of three Fellows. Professor Robert T Farrell, who had been a Fellow since 1992, died on 31 July. Professor Farrell, of Cornell University�s Faculty of English and Medieval Studies, had been in ill health for some time. Aydua Scott-Elliott, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at Windsor Castle from 1946 to 1969, died on 9 July. Her obituary in The Times described her as the handmaiden to a distinguished team of art historians who produced a steady stream of outstanding catalogues on the Windsor holdings during the 1940s and 1950s.

Raymond Inskeep died on 3 August, aged 76. His obituary in The Guardian described him as the inspirational teacher of many of today�s most distinguished archaeologists both in Britain and in Africa, a profound influence on the rise of South African archaeology over the last forty years, and a tireless contributor to the work of learned societies, university administrative bodies and editorial boards.

Though he was not a Fellow, it is worth marking too the passing of Gerald Hawkins, former professor of physics and astronomy at Boston University. Hawkins was the author, with John B White, of Stonehenge Decoded (1965), the book that revealed that the builders of Stonehenge were not barbaric savages practising human sacrifice but skilled scientists, observing solar and lunar alignments. At the time his work was described as �overconfident, slipshod and unconvincing�, but, as Fellow Mike Pitts wrote in his Guardian obituary, �Hawkins changed the way that we think about Stonehenge ... and initiated a debate still alive�.

Memorial services

A celebration of the life of Basil Greenhill, FSA, will be held on the SS Great Britain in Bristol at 12 noon on Thursday 25th September followed by a buffet luncheon. If you would like to attend please contact Matthew Tanner on tel: 0117 926 0680 ext: 220.

A memorial service will be held in the University Church, Oxford, for Michael MacLagan, CVO, FSA, at 3pm, on 4 October. Refreshments in Trinity College afterwards.

Fellows� news

Tom Beaumont James, FSA, Director of the Clarendon Project, writes to say that staff from the Archaeology Department at King Alfred's, Winchester, will be working at the medieval ruins of Clarendon Palace (Wiltshire) with a group of students and local volunteers from 8 to 26 September (weekdays). This is the last summer season there for the present and brings to a conclusion many years work on the presentation of the site, supported by a parallel programme of conservation and consolidation. If any Fellow would be interested in visiting the site to work or to help during that period they would be very welcome. They can contact Tom by email.

Tom adds that the Society generously supported the excavations at Clarendon Palace under Tancred Borenius and John Charlton from 1933 to 1939, and published the results of those and post-war excavations as volume 45 of the Research Report series in 1988.

Michael Hare, FSA, also extends a welcome to any Fellows who might be interested in this year�s Deerhurst Lecture, which will be held in St Mary's Church, Deerhurst, Gloucestershire on Saturday 13 September 2003 at 7.30pm. To be given by Steve Bagshaw, the lecture is entitled �A study of the building stones of St Mary's, Deerhurst�. The geological theme is especially appropriate given that 14 September marks the 150th anniversary of the death of the well-known pioneering geologist, Hugh Strickland, who is buried at Deerhurst and is commemorated in a stained-glass window at the west end of the north aisle. A small exhibition about his life and work will be mounted at the church. Tickets cost �4 (students �2.50) and can be obtained from Mrs Beryl Coombe, tel: 01684 292562. Any queries to

Education and the Built Environment

The Secretaries of State for Culture and Education have announced the launch of a new initiative designed to make better use of the built environment as a tool for learning. A joint DCMS and DfES advisory committee has been set up under the chairmanship of Gillian Wolfe, to advise ministers from both departments on how best to promote the contemporary and historic environment as an educational resource. The committee will report to ministers in a year�s time.

Among the areas on which it will focus are: strengthening the partnership between DCMS and DfES to support policy proposals for the built environment; exploring and promoting the use that schools and other educational organizations can make of the built environment as an educational resource; identifying ways of promoting built environment-related careers in schools and further education establishments; and contributing to Government plans for community-led regeneration by engaging communities with their built environment.

Further details are available on the DCMS website.

CBA website on Designation

The Council for British Archaeology has added a new section to its website concerned with the ongoing Government review of archaeology and historic environment designations in England (including proposed extensive reforms to Scheduling and Listing regimes for ancient monuments and historic buildings). The page provides links to the consultation documents, as well as supporting information about the review, such as a discussion paper entitled �Designations and other reviews � a National Heritage Act for the 21st century?�. The page can be found at: The CBA secretariat is currently putting together an initial draft response to the review, which will be made available on this web page in early September. If anyone else wishes to use this website to post/add links to position statements, draft responses or other resources relating to the review then please contact Alex Hunt.

Ships for the Nation

Another DCMS consultation document was slipped out during August when everyone�s eyes were directed towards the Designation review. Ships for the Nation � A Consultation on Government Policy for the Preservation of Historic Ships sets out a proposed policy framework for the preservation of historic ships and is available from the DCMS website.

The document underlines the significance of historic ships as a heritage resource and draws attention to the benefits that they can bring to local economies, tourism and education. The consultation paper invites views on the preservation of historic ships, on key issues identified in the development of the policy, and on proposals for an arm�s-length mechanism for the delivery of that policy. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 31 October 2003.

Three-year funding agreements for the UK�s major museums

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has recently published three-year funding agreements for various museums, galleries and sponsored bodies, such as Resource and the Churches Conservation Trust. These give an interesting insight into current Government policy on the heritage, setting out what is expected of the institutions in return for central government funding. The British Museum, for example, has been set targets for increasing the numbers of visitors under 16 years old, the number of visitors in the C2DE economic categories, and the number of children involved in the museum�s organized educational programmes. A twice-yearly analysis of visitors, to be carried out by an independent market survey company, will be used to measure achievement against a target of some 71 per cent of visitors saying that they are very satisfied with their visit. Only one of the targets relates to collections: the number of venues in England to which objects from the collection are loaned is expected to increase from 70 to 85 over the three-year period. More details are available on the DCMS website.

Iraq: the tally

Though the US army attempted to downplay the extent of the losses from the Baghdad National Museum earlier this year, the US colonel put in charge of investigating the looting has now produced a report detailing the �current best estimates of artefacts stolen from the museum�. Colonel Matthew Bogdanos told a press conference in London in July that thirty objects were still missing from the museum�s display cases: 169 from the restoration storeroom, 236 from the Heritage Room, 2,703 from the ground-floor storeroom and 9,666 from the basement store (comprising 4,795 cylinder seals, 4,997 small finds, such as necklaces and amulets, and 545 items of ceramic, bronze or glass). Elsewhere, customs officers in New York, London and Rome have seized some 675 objects known to have been looted from Iraq. Only one arrest has been made: that of the American writer Joseph Braude, author of The New Iraq: rebuilding the country for its people, who was stopped in New York and found to be carrying three cylinder seals marked with Iraq Museum inventory numbers, which he says he bought for US$200.

Double villa: double surprise

When Mark Corney and a team from Bristol and Cardiff universities began work on a double villa complex at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, this summer they made two unexpected discoveries: first, sitting squarely on top of the mosaic floor of the main room of the easternmost of the two villas was a fifth-century octagonal baptistery; then the westernmost villa turned out to be nothing of the kind � though similar in plan and scale to the other villa, and built on precisely the same east-west alignment, this one turned out to be an agricultural building with cobbled and earthen floors hiding behind a villa facade � probably a deliberate ploy to preserve a sense of symmetry and give the impression of wealth and splendour when viewed from a distance.

Certainly there was no lack of luxury in the easternmost villa, which was approached through a pillared portico. Beyond the room with the baptistery lay an apsidal triclinium, with an almost complete fourth-century mosaic floor decorated with a beautiful dolphin and wine-cup mosaic, which David Neal, FSA, and Stephen Cosh, FSA, have managed to record just in time for the next volume of their corpus of Romano British mosaics.

The villa site has been preserved in recent times because it lies beneath the playing field at St Laurence's School. It sits high on a ridge above the town near a much older Iron Age hill fort and not far from Bradford�s famous Saxon church.

Another villa � this time with second-century floor mosaics � was discovered this summer by Bristol archaeology students and volunteers working at the Lower Woods Nature Reserve between Hawkesbury Upton and Wickwar in South Gloucestershire. Earlier in the year members of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust found large quantities of Roman pottery while putting in fencing posts, so a small trial trench was dug to investigate, revealing the well-preserved geometric mosaic with a later kiln built on top, associated with slag from iron smelting.

Roman soldier�s diploma found in Norfolk

A fragment of a bronze Roman military diploma has been found in Norfolk by a metal detectorist. The inscription on the fragment is incomplete but enough survives to show that it was awarded in AD 98 to a soldier recruited in Pannonia (modern-day Balkans), who served from AD 73, spending most of his military career in Britain. The diploma, the earliest yet found in Britain, was probably issued to the soldier as proof of his Roman citizenship on retiring after 25 years� service. The find site is being kept secret because of the wealth of material thought to remain unexcavated there. Adrian Marsden, finds liaison officer for Norfolk, said that 6,000 finds a year are being reported by members of the public from the county, but that this inscription was �the cream of the crop�.

Medieval babies thrived on breast feeding

Nitrogen isotope analysis carried out on the bones of eighty individuals from Wharram Percy has revealed that mothers in medieval Yorkshire breast-fed their infants for up to eighteen months after birth. Lengthy breast-feeding was first recommended by the classical Roman writer Soranus, in the first century AD, which in turn influenced medieval physicians. This new data, however, is the first solid confirmation that this advice was being followed. Dr Simon Mays, Human Skeletal Biologist at English Heritage's Centre for Archaeology, which led the research, said: �Extended breast feeding shielded children from the very high levels of infant mortality we might otherwise expect to see ... breast milk contains important natural ingredients that strengthen the immune system ... in medieval times it also enabled children to avoid contaminated food and water�.

Previous studies of the bones from Wharram Percy suggest that infants rapidly succumbed to malnutrition and numerous other diseases such as rickets and leprosy once they switched to a solid diet. �Whilst being breast fed they grew as well as modern babies,� said Dr Mays �but when breast feeding stopped the environment made its baleful impact, producing slow growth and widespread disease ... growth rates of children at Wharram Percy suggests conditions even worse than those of slum-dwelling Victorian workhouse children.�

Britain�s oldest house

Country Life magazine announced last week the results of its search for the oldest continuously inhabited house in Britain. Fellow John Goodall, of English Heritage, was brought in as adjudicator and decided that the honour should go to the Manor in Saltford, located a few miles east of Bath, which was probably built before 1150. Runner up was the Manor in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, which dates from the 1150s. Saltford Manor won by a narrow margin on the basis of the lozenge frieze decorating the north window, which is similar to one at Hereford Cathedral built before 1148.

Norman Hudson, of the Historic Houses Association and publisher of Hudson�s Historic Houses and Gardens, disputes the conclusion, saying that Traquair, in Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, is older than either manor, having been built as a hunting lodge and used by the Scottish King Alexander I in 1107.

Neolithic male fertility sculpture found in Saxony

Judith Oexle, state archaeologist for Saxony, announced in August that the torso of a 7,000-year-old statuette has been found in Zschernitz, on the German/Polish border, with outsize male genitals. The find challenges the notion that Neolithic fertility rites were exclusively focused around female fecundity � until now, all the statues found from this period from Middle Europe have been of generously endowed women. The new statue, made of fired clay and measuring 250mm when complete, resembles female fertility figures in having incised lines around the buttocks. Miss Oexle says that they probably represent tattoos. The torso, dubbed the Adonis of Zschernitz, is now on display in Dresden Museum.

Oetzi reveals new secrets

Oetzi, the Bronze-Age man found preserved in permafrost twelve years ago in the Oetz valley in the Tyrol, continues to surprise archaeologists carrying out forensic tests to understand how he met his fate. Analysis of blood traces found on his clothes and weapons carried out by Thomas Loy, of the University of Queensland, reveals four different DNA patterns. Examination of his body two years ago established that Oetzi did not die of heart failure or hypothermia, as was originally thought. Instead he was shot in the back by an arrow. This led to the hypothesis that he was the victim of a hunting accident, but now archaeologists at the University of Trento are suggesting that he was involved in a fight � perhaps ambushed or mugged � and that blood on his weapons shows that he injured at least four people before being chased and harried to his death.

Did Australians colonize America first?

An article in Nature (4 September 2003) suggests that the first human migrants to America came from Australia and not from Siberia. The author, Tom D Dillehay, of the Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, has studied thirty-three ancient skulls from Mexico and says that their long and narrow form has closer affinities with skull forms from the Oceanic populations of Australia and the South Pacific than with the typically broad and short skulls of northern Asians. The finding supports intriguing DNA evidence that America�s first migrants crossed the Pacific from Australia to settle in Baja California, long before northern migrants travelled to America via the land and ice bridge of the Bering Strait. Further information at

Lice provide clue to the origin of clothes

Archaeologists are used to making imaginative deductions from the basis of unlikely material evidence, so it is not really surprising that the genetic makeup of parasites should be used to provide clues to the origins of human clothing. Writing in the August issue of the journal Current Biology, Professor Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig says that body lice evolved from head lice around 72,000 years ago. That gives an accurate idea of when humans first wore clothes, because whilst head lice live and feed exclusively on the scalp, body lice feed on the body but live and reproduce on clothing. Professor Stoneking points out that the date fits well with the DNA evidence for the migration of early humans out of Africa, suggesting that climate change and cooling might have been a factor in both developments.

Silly season archaeology

East Anglian newspapers reported on 28 August that a holiday maker had discovered ancient petroglyphs consisting of swirls, dragons and runic inscriptions on a granite boulder used to build sea defences at the Norfolk resort of Gorleston. Staff at Norfolk Archaeological Unit (no names mentioned) concluded that the circular markings dated to the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age and that the inscription could be explained by the fact that the rock used to construct the Gorleston sea wall was imported from Scandinavia.

A few days later, artist Barry Luxton came forward to reveal that he created the piece in 1995, without intention to deceive anyone. �What I wanted to do was to make this as a new age rather than an old age thing to do,� he said. �The fire dragon was my conception, then I put on some runic engravings about the celebration of fire.� One person who claimed not to have been fooled was Fellow Brian Ayers, Norfolk's county archaeologist, who commented that the markings were �very strange�.

Recording rock art at Uluru

A team of Anangu elders and researchers from Melbourne University has begun compiling a database of the rock art at sites around the base of Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), the World Heritage Site in central Australia. The art, located at over ninety sites around the base of the rock, is under threat from weather and vandalism by tourists. The move was initiated at the request of the Anangu, the traditional owners of Uluru, and will include three-dimensional digital imaging and video footage of elders explaining their history and the stories associated with the rock carvings and paintings, some of which date back 40,000 years or more. Further information at

Tourism and heritage

Uluru is not the only World Heritage Site suffering from the impact of tourism. Monsignor Timothy Verdon, an official at the Duomo in Florence, has denounced the city authorities for allowing the Piazza del Duomo, as well as squares in front of the churches of San Lorenzo, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce, to degenerate into �chaos, criminality and filth�. Anyone who has visited Florence in recent years will know what he means: whilst millions are spent on restoring the Vasari frescoes inside the cathedral, the exterior resembles an overflowing litter bin, with large numbers of visitors using the plinth around the Duomo as a makeshift picnic bench, spilling cola and the grease from countless burgers and chips on to the cathedral�s fourteenth-century marble cladding. Goaded into action, the civil authorities have now invoked two ancient bylaws and have given local police the power to impose an on-the-spot fine of 50 Euros (�30) on misbehaving tourists who fail to treat the city�s monuments with more respect. The authorities in Rome and Venice are said to be watching with interest.

Closer to home, conservationists from Historic Scotland are investigating the impact of visitors on the ancient village of Skara Brae following concerns that the monument is suffering serious damage from the 55,000 visitors it attracts each year. Cameras will be used to record whether the stones in the walls are moving under visitor pressure. Other conservation issues will also be addressed by the study. A glass roof fitted to one of the houses in the 1930s is thought to be generating a build-up of heat that is damaging the structure. Natural salt spray is another suspected cause of damage to the site.

Stone circle found in the Outer Hebrides

An ancient stone circle, buried under peat for more than 3,000 years, has been uncovered by a team of archaeologists from Manchester University on a ridge overlooking the Callanish standing stones, on the Isle of Lewis. The 30m circle � at Na Dromannan � is situated on a rocky outcrop. Instead of being embedded in the earth, each of the 2.1m to 3.6m-high standing stones forming the circle was originally set on a rock platform and propped up by supporting stones encircling the base.

Colin Richards, senior lecturer at Manchester University�s School of Art History and Archaeology, said the discovery was exciting because the circle was built within the quarry from which the stones were extracted. �It adds extra weight to the theory that the place the stones came from had a sacred nature�, he said. �People have tended to see these things as temples. But I think the significance of the process was the dragging of the stones and their size and quality.�

Solent scanned for underwater archaeology

Wessex Archaeology is working with the Royal Navy to carry out a survey of the Solent seabed to assess its archaeological potential. The Ministry of Defence plans to dredge a new deep channel through the approach to Portsmouth Harbour in 2008, to allow a new generation of large aircraft carriers to gain access to the port. An initial assessment provided for the MoD by Wessex Archaeology has found that there are 174 known and documented wrecks and seabed obstructions in the Solent. Medieval, Roman and earlier wrecks could also be found, as well as sites dating back 18,000 years, to when the Solent still consisted of dry land. Further information from

Missing piece of the Mary Rose

As part of the same project to identify and protect the underwater archaeology of the Solent, divers went back to the Mary Rose wreck site earlier this summer and located a 5-metre-long stem timber that might have formed part of the missing bow castle of the Tudor warship. John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: �This summer�s excavation was carried out in order to ensure that there will be sufficient time ahead, before the channel is created in 2008, to ensure that all measures can be taken to secure the long term safety of the Mary Rose wreck site and the artefacts that remain there.� Further information at

The man who walked to India

Dom Moraes and Sarayu Srivatsa, co-authors of The Long Strider: How Thomas Coryate Walked from England to India in the Year 1613, visited Odcombe, near Yeovil, last week to present parishioners with a piece of brick from Coryate's grave in Surat in western India, where the Englishman died �a horrible death� from disease in 1619. Coryate, the Somerset-born travel writer, is famous in India because of his marathon walk which took him via Constantinople, Aleppo and Jerusalem, then across the Euphrates into Mesopotamia to the Tigris, where he joined a caravan and ultimately reached Lahore, Agra and the Mogul�s court at Ajmere. All that now remains of the manuscript of his book on India � where he met the Moghul Emperor, Jehangir, and quarrelled with the first English ambassador to the country, Sir Thomas Roe � are five letters written from India by Coryate to his mother. He died before he could continue his walk into China. In preparation for his trans-continental hike, Coryate took a 1,975-mile walk to Venice in 1608 and published an account under the title of Coryats Crudities, Hastilie gobled up in five moneths travells in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia, commonly called the Grisons country, Helvetia alias Switzerland, some parts of high Germany and the Netherlands; newly digested in the hungrie aire of Odcombe in the County of Somerset (1611).

Designs and applied art by William Morris and Philip Webb

This temporary exhibition at the William Morris Gallery (until 2 November 2003) celebrates the collaboration between William Morris (1834�96) and Philip Webb (1831�1915). It includes work designed by both men for the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company (founded in 1861), in which they were partners with fellow artists Burne-Jones, Madox Brown, Rossetti and others. Many of the exhibits date from the early 1860s, when Morris lived at Red House, Bexleyheath, the house designed for him by Webb and now owned by the National Trust, including their design for the Trellis wallpaper (1862) � with its rose pattern drawn by Morris and birds by Webb � which was directly inspired by the Red House�s medieval-style gardens.

Other works on show include designs for some of the Morris firm�s earliest stained glass commissions, and for painted tiles, textiles and wallpapers. A Morris embroidered hanging, made during the Red House period, is displayed, along with two little-known designs for embroidery by Webb. Two recent acquisitions, Morris�s designs for the Powdered wallpaper (1874) and the Flowerpot embroidery (1876), will be on show for the first time. Perhaps the most unusual exhibit is Philip Webb�s advertisement for the Warwick Brewery (c 1866), with its stylized depiction of Warwick Castle and richly ornamental details, which reproduces the label design used on its beer bottles.

The William Morris Gallery is at Lloyd Park, Forest Road, London, E17 4PP, tel: 020 8527 3782. Open Tuesday�Saturday and the first Sunday in each month from 10am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm.

Sanderson goes to the wall

Sanderson, the wallpaper manufacturer which holds the right to many of the original designs by William Morris, went into receivership at the beginning of August, after 143 years of trading. Arthur Sanderson founded the company in 1860 as an importer of luxury French wallpapers; it started printing its own designs in 1879. Sanderson�s archive of more than 25,000 original textile and wallpaper documents includes designs by Morris, Voysey and Pugin. Accountants Deloitte & Touche have been appointed as receivers and they are hoping to sell the business as a going concern.

The Gulbenkian Prize: call for entries

The submission process for The Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries 2004 has begun. Now in its second year, the �100,000 prize is awarded annually to one museum or gallery, large or small, in the UK, for the most innovative and inspiring idea � whether it is an exhibition, visual arts project, community project or new building � developed during 2003. The chair of this year's judging panel is Loyd Grossman, chairman of the Campaign for Museums. He is also a Commissioner of English Heritage, Chairman of the Blue Plaques Panel, Chairman of the 24 Hour Museum and a member of the board of Resource. His fellow judges will be announced later this year.

The Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries is open to all registered museums and galleries in the UK. Applicants must have opened, redeveloped or launched a new project or innovative programme of activity that has come to fruition in the calendar year to 31 December 2003. The closing date for entries is 31 October. Application forms and more information are also available at

The Guardian launches new museum award

Though not worth nearly as much as the �100,000 Gulbenkian prize, The Guardian newspaper�s new award for the most family-friendly museum in Great Britain is still guaranteed to generate favourable publicity. The Award was launched in the travel pages of The Guardian on Saturday 6 September 2003. Readers are invited to nominate a museum or gallery which, in their opinion, offers a family-friendly experience, and explain in writing why it should win. Museums and galleries are also welcome to nominate themselves. The closing date for nominations will be Saturday 4 October.

A judging panel including Mark Taylor of the Museums Association and senior figures from the museum world will agree a shortlist, which will then be road-tested by families and the winner will be announced in the Guardian in December. The winning museum will receive a plaque recognising their achievement and editorial coverage in the newspaper.

For further information, contact Diane Heath on 020 7239 9936, or Julie Taylor on 0207 713 4087,

The Dan David Prize

The Dan David Foundation, based at Tel Aviv University, is seeking nominations for its 2004 awards. A prize of US$ 1 million will be awarded to an individual or institution having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world in the field of Cities and their Historical Legacy. The closing date for nominations is 15 October 2003. In addition, the Dan David Foundation will award up to ten scholarships of $15,000 each to outstanding doctoral students throughout the world, working in the same field. The closing date for these nominations is 10 January 2004. Further details from:

World Monuments Fund in Britain lectures

WMF in Britain is putting on three lectures over the next couple of months with star speakers and intriguing topics. They are:

Tuesday 9 September: A N Wilson on �What the Victorians did to London�
Thursday 16 October: Simon Sebag Montefiore on �Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar�
Thursday 13 November: Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj on �The Greatest Private Collection in Rome�

All lectures start at 7pm at the Royal Geographical Society, South Kensington. Tickets are �15 for non-WMF members and �10 for WMF members. Call the WMF in Britain office to purchase tickets in advance: 020 7730 5344.

The legacy of ancient trees in the historic environment

The Association of Gardens Trusts� annual conference will take place on Thursday 6 November 2003 at the English Heritage Lecture Theatre, Savile Row, London, and is entitled: Peeling Back the Layers: the legacy of ancient trees in the historic landscape. The aim of the conference is to raise awareness of ancient trees amongst owners, professional practitioners and local authority planning, tree and conservation officers, and to foster an interdisciplinary approach to ensure their care and conservation. The keynote speech will be given by Thomas Pakenham. Further details from Sally Walker, Conference Organizer, at

Early Christianity in the South West

Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society is organizing a one day conference on �Early Christianity in the South West� on 18 October 2003. To be held in Taunton, the conference will focus on new information and ideas emerging from recent research in many different fields. A distinguished group of speakers will be chaired by Professor Charles Thomas, FSA. Andrew Reynolds, FSA, will discuss evidence for the Anglo-Saxon origins of Buckfast Abbey, while Martin Henig, FSA, will explore the influence of paganism from a south-western perspective. The evidence from burial practices in the sub-Roman period will be examined by David Petts, and Sam Turner will tackle the factors contributing to the formation of a Christian landscape. David Howlett, FSA, will provide a different context by drawing on the evidence from literary texts and inscriptions. For tickets and further information contact the SANHS Administrator, Betty Cloke, on 01823 272 429 or

Conservation catalogue

English Heritage has published a new Technical Conservation Publications Catalogue (2003�2004). This contains a comprehensive list of priced and free architectural conservation titles. Copies are available from English Heritage Customer Services, PO Box 569, Swindon SN2 2YP, telephone: 0870 3331181; e-mail: (ask for product no. 50777).

Should Hidden Treasure be buried?

The success of Time Team has led to a flood of programmes on television claiming to be about archaeology, but often about something entirely different. Last week�s Hidden Treasure (broadcast on BBC2 on Tuesdays at 8.30pm) was a particularly bad example of cashing in on the Time Team effect, with an excitable presenter running around and pretending to be Tony Robinson, but with no counterbalancing archaeological grounding from a Mick Aston character. During the programme, viewers heard detectorists avowing that: �field walking and pottery is boring � it�s treasure that interests me�, and using pointed spades to dig holes all over a possible temple site without regard for method or stratigraphy. All this was described as �exciting archaeology� without the fusty bits, and presented as a fascinating hobby, but one with the potential to make you very rich.

Miranda Krestovnikoff, the series presenter, constantly reassured viewers that �when it comes to rewards, the majority of metal detector fans are historians first, money-grabbers second�. Her thesis was continually undermined by her own frequent references to �the all-important question � what�s it worth!?� Eventually the programme degenerated into a confrontation between detectorists and academics over the open-market value of some finds from a shrine to the previously unknown Celtic goddess Senua, dug up from a field near Baldock in Hertfordshire. Fellow Ralph Jackson bravely tried to inject some real archaeological interest into the programme (see Baldock Hoard story below), but it was hard work when the programme makers clearly wanted to focus on the question of �how to get rich�.

One of the many worrying aspects of this programme is that it was made and broadcast by the BBC: the same publicly funded public service broadcasting corporation that has made responsible and well-informed archaeology programmes for the last forty years � including the excellent Restoration, which has done so much for the cause of historic buildings conservation and the issue of buildings at risk.

Let us hope that this week�s Hidden Treasure is an improvement � it will feature Fellow J D Hill, the British Museum�s curator of Iron Age Collections, Prehistory and Early Europe, revealing that the spectacular Winchester Hoard is Roman, not British as previously thought. Hill now believes that the jewellery and vessels in the hoard was made by a Roman or Hellenistic jeweller between 70 BC and 30 BC and perhaps given as lavish diplomatic gifts by Roman officials to Britain�s Iron Age tribal leaders. Fellows might be interested to know that the hoard will be the subject of a paper accepted for publication in the December 2004 volume of the Antiquaries Journal.

The Baldock Hoard

The British Museum has acquired an important collection of twenty-six Roman gold and silver objects, from the late 3rd or early 4th century AD, discovered on a ploughed field, near Baldock, Hertfordshire, in September 2002. The total cost of the hoard was �35,000. Funds were contributed by the British Museum Friends, and by the National Art Collections Fund (the Art Fund), the UK's largest independent art charity, which gave a grant of �10,000.

The hoard comprises a hollow silver figurine, gold jewellery and votive plaques, intended for dedication at a temple or shrine. The discovery of gold votive plaques is rare as they are a type that is almost exclusively known in silver or copper alloy. Many of the examples here bear the image of the goddess Minerva. However, some have inscriptions that reveal the fulfilment of vows to a goddess named Senua (or similar), thought to be British in origin, and also the names of those people dedicating votives to the goddess, including Cariatus, Celsus, Firmanus, Lucilia and Servandus. These inscriptions indicate that the hoard was not the single gift of an individual or family but a collection of votive objects dedicated by visitors to a temple or shrine.

The corroded and fragmented hollow silver figurine is of a standing woman, almost certainly the goddess Senua, dressed in a full-length garment, her left shoulder bare and her left arm supporting a fold of drapery. The hoard will be on display from mid September in Gallery 49 and in the exhibition Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past from 21 November 2003.


The Fitzwilliam Museum, Assistant Keeper (Librarian)
Salary �21,125 to �25,451, closing date 26 September 2003

To develop the museum�s library and information services in support of the public and academic aspects of the museum�s work. Further details from:

Church Buildings Strategy Officer, Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England
Salary c �25,000, closing date 19 September 2003

This is a one-year fixed-term post, working on the development of a strategy for church buildings that will include approaches to national, regional and local bodies and preparation of a comprehensive written report. It is an ideal development opportunity for a good candidate with some experience of dealing with issues relating to the historic environment and the best use of historic buildings.

A job profile and an application form are available from Alternatively, you can e-mail: or contact Sue Watson, HR Department, Archbishops� Council, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3NZ; tel: 020 7898 1172.

Council for the Care of Churches, Conservation Assistant
Salary from �19,204, closing date 15 September 2003

A graduate in a discipline related to the conservation of historic furnishings and works of art is required to advise parishes and dioceses on the management of projects and the availability of grants for the conservation of churches, their contents and churchyards. As part of the Conservation and Grants Section, you will support the Council�s eight specialist Conservation Committees and will be responsible for specific areas of work in the field of Fine and Decorative Art (which relates to the conservation of paintings, stained glass, textiles, monuments, timberwork and metalwork).

A job profile and an application form are available from Alternatively, you can e-mail: or contact Sue Watson, HR Department, Archbishops� Council, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3NZ; tel: 020 7898 1172.