Salon Archive

Issue: 79

Weekly meeting report

At the weekly meeting held on 12 February 2004, David Hill, FSA, gave Fellows an account of the Anglo-Saxon map of England and Wales compiled by Laurence Nowell in 1563. David suggested that the atlas was based on the survey work of John Leland, whose large-scale map of England and Wales hung in the house of William Cecil, Nowell�s employer and patron. Nowell�s study of Anglo-Saxon place names and his transcriptions of Saxon manuscripts, such as Beowulf and the Burghal Hidage, created a very important resource for all subsequent generations of Anglo-Saxon scholars.

A full report of the meeting is available on the Fellows� side of the Society�s website.

Forthcoming meetings

19 February: Farewell Party for Dai Morgan Evans
26 February: Phalanx versus Legion: a classical problem from a Renaissance perspective, by Sydney Anglo, FSA
4 March: Eight Thousand Years of History in Eighty Hectares: the interpretation of the past at Terminal 5, Heathrow, by John Lewis and Ken Walsh

Missing Fellow

Lisa Elliott would be grateful to hear from anyone who knows the current address of John Ellis, FSA.


Despite the existence of the Salic Law that prevented women from succeeding to the French crown, the editor of Salon nevertheless managed to put Frances I on the throne in the piece on Bourdichon's Nativity last week � Francis I was meant.

Meet the Ancestors

The editor�s source for the news that a �Meet the Ancestors Special� all about the Amesbury Archer would be broadcast on BBC2 on Wednesday 19 February was very out of date. In fact, a new series of Ancestors (the rebranded Meet the Ancestors) began on 14 February at 8.30pm. Our Fellow Julian Richard will be presenting three of the six new programmes:

Saturday 28 February: The hunt for Darwin's Beagle
Saturday 13 March: The Curse of Oxford Goal
Saturday 20 March: The Stonehenge Enigma.

For those who like their history with the superior pictures that you get on radio, Julian is also presenting a new series of Mapping the Town on Radio 4, starting on Wednesday 25 February at 11am. The first programme is about Jarrow and features our President, Rosemary Cramp. Subsequent programmes will look at Gloucester, Berwick on Tweed, Spitalfields in London, Caernarfon and Calais (though not necessarily in that order).

The Amesbury Archer

Brendan O'Connor, FSA, has written to say that northerly Fellows can hear Andrew Fitzpatrick, FSA, talk about the Amesbury Archer in Edinburgh on Monday 12 April. This is an open lecture taking place during the Edinburgh Science Festival, though formally part of the programme of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.


Mention of Stonehenge in last week�s Salon led several Fellows to ask whether the Society had a view on the proposed road scheme. Indeed it does, and the following paper was drawn up by the Council of the Society in December 2003 and sent to all the parties involved.

�The Society of Antiquaries of London has been concerned with Stonehenge since the eighteenth century and has voiced its interest and concerns throughout the protracted negotiations concerning road proposals and the new visitor centre since the 1990s. The Society appreciates that decisions of this kind must be a balance between the conservation of the past and the needs of the present and future. In reaching this balance we look for the minimum damage possible to be caused to the historic environment of the World Heritage Site.

�The Society most recently commented on the current Highways Agency proposals in our letter of 12 August 2003. In sending this letter the Council of the Society of Antiquaries of London had considered the current proposals for improving the A303, and associated roads, through the World Heritage Site area of Stonehenge. The Council was also aware that English Heritage has firm proposals for a new Visitor Centre just outside the World Heritage Site Boundary, affecting the setting of the World Heritage Site and which will have access links to the archaeological features within the World Heritage Site. We note that if the Highways Agency scheme is approved then there will be a significant effect on the existing English Heritage visitor facilities making the provision of new ones essential. The proposals for road schemes and the provision of visitor facilities and access are inextricably interlocked. Council continues then to support the integrated approach to development set out in the Management Plan.

�In taking a view of the current development proposals within the World Heritage Site the following objectives stated in the World Heritage Management Plan seem especially relevant:

�Objective 6: There should be improved recognition of the importance of the WHS as a whole and its need for special treatment and a unified approach by government departments, agencies and other statutory bodies with responsibilities for making and implementing national policies and undertaking activities that may impact on Stonehenge and its environs.

�Objective 14: the WHS boundary should capture all significant archaeological features and landscapes immediately related to Stonehenge and its environs.

�Objective 23: Measures should be identified which will provide comprehensive treatment of important road links within the WHS in order to reduce traffic movements and congestion, improve safety and enhance the historic environment.�

�The Council of the Society of Antiquaries of London feels that the impact of the current Highway Agency proposals on the World Heritage Site can only be properly considered within an integrated approach to the whole World Heritage Site and to other known proposals. Discussion of, and a decision on, the road proposals cannot and must not be taken in isolation and the English Heritage Visitor Centre and visitor access proposals must form a proper part of the decision making process. The Council is aware that a number of pieces of legislation are involved but knows that joint Public Inquiries have been and can be held.

�The Council is firmly of the view that any decision taken on the basis of the Highways Agency proposals alone would be fatally flawed.

�The Council therefore urges the Secretary of State of the Department of Transport to suspend the forthcoming Public Inquiry on the road proposals once evidence has been taken and � together with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport � to reopen it to take account of the English Heritage proposals for a Visitor Centre and visitor access in their own right as well as in the light of the road proposals.

The Council urges English Heritage and the National Trust speedily to reconcile any outstanding differences and to submit joint Planning and any other relevant applications by the end of March 2004 so that they may be examined in the light of the road proposals, as well as on their own merits and for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to use their good offices in the practical resolution of this process.�

Save the Tara�Skyrne Valley Campaign

The Stonehenge landscape is not the only one subject to potentially damaging road proposals. From Ireland comes news of a campaign launched in September 2003, following An Bord Pleanala�s approval of the scheme to route a new privately funded toll road, the M3 Clonee-Kells motorway, through the Skryne Valley, passing within 2.5km of the Hill of Tara. This, say the campaigners, is the equivalent to the Egyptian government proposing to build a motorway through the Valley of the Kings. Using non-invasive survey techniques the government-funded Discovery Programme recently revealed the extraordinarily rich archaeology of the hinterland around the Hill of Tara. Campaigners have vowed �to prevent the motorway passing through this valley by all and any legal means open to us�. Further information from the campaign website.

Protesters dig in at Stanton Lees

And yet another campaign has brought passionate protestors in their hundreds to the site of the early Bronze Age circle known as the Seven Ladies (aka the Seven Sisters) on Stanton Moor, between Bakewell and Matlock on Derbyshire. The Guardian reported on 14 February that they are trying to prevent the Stancliffe Stone company from opening up the Endcliffe and Lees Cross quarries to extract some 3.2m tonnes of high-grade sandstone. The proposed new workings will come to within 200 metres of the standing stones.

Using tactics reminiscent of the Twyford Down and Newbury by-pass protests of the 1990s, protesters have built tree houses and dug a complex of deep tunnels to make it difficult for the company to evict them. The protesters say that the National Park authority and the Government have failed to protect the 3,500 year-old site, so they are aiming to make it difficult and economically enviable for the company to go ahead with its extraction plans.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is also concerned that the re-opening of these two redundant quarries could set a precedent that could lead to more than a hundred other dormant quarries in English national parks being reopened through the use of open-ended development rights.

Brian Wallace, managing director of Stancliffe Stone, defended the company�s plans, saying: �We have adapted our plans to take account of [local] concerns. But we need this quarry as a reserve for when our other [nearby] quarry is worked out in a few years. Sixty-eight jobs are at risk�. John Bull, chairman of the Peak District national park authority's planning committee, said legal advice was being sought. �This is a very sensitive site and we have said that we do not want it worked. But the quarries already have permission to reopen. It's not in our power to refuse permission.� One option under consideration, however, is a land swap which would allow Stancliffe Stone to mine an equivalent amount of similar stone in a less sensitive area.

Lost world discovered under the North Sea

Archaeologists at the University of Birmingham have teamed up with geologists and engineers to devise a virtual reality reconstruction of the prehistoric landscape that now lies beneath the North Sea. Before it was flooded by glacial melting some 8,000 years ago, the North Sea consisted of a large plain drained by a river comparable in size to the Thames or the Rhine. The river channel has provisionally been named the Shotton River after the University�s pioneering geologist and archaeologist, Professor Fred Shotton.

As well as reconstructing the topography of the drowned landscape using seismic data, the Birmingham team is recreating the natural environment using pollen and plant traces extracted from geological core samples from the sea bed. Dr Vincent Gaffney, director of the University's Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity and lead investigator on the project, said that: �this work has great significance for the whole of the quaternary research community, in its environmental, geological and archaeological forms. We intend to extend the project to visualise the whole of the now-submerged land bridge that previously joined Britain to Northern Europe as one land mass, providing scientists with a new insight into the previous human occupation of the North Sea.�

Radar used to find HMS Beagle's resting place

The Observer reported on 15 February that marine archaeologists working for the Beagle Ship Research Group believe they have found the remains of HMS Beagle, the ship that carried Charles Darwin round the world and led him to develop his theory of natural selection.

Robert Prescott, of St Andrews University, has been leading a team that has deployed advanced ground-penetrating radar to locate the ship near Potton Island in Essex. I am quietly confident we have found the <I>Beagle</I>, Robert said, adding that the bulk of the ship is intact and could be raised and restored.

Launched in 1820 at Woolwich Royal Dockyard on the Thames, the Beagle was a 90ft, 10-gun brig, one of the commonest class of warships built by the Navy. After several years' service, it was refitted as a hydrographic survey vessel and set off on its great journey, with Darwin on board, in 1831 to carry out a five-year survey of the tip of South America and in the Galapagos islands. Darwin later described the voyage as 'the most important event in my life�. Noting local variations among the birds and animals he encountered, he developed his theory of natural selection.

On its return to the UK, the Beagle was used by HM Customs and Excise as an anti-smuggling patrol vessel along the Essex coast, being moored in mid-stream on the River Roach, where it was perfectly placed to intercept smugglers bringing in contraband along the maze of rivers, channels and creeks that criss-cross the marshes south of Burnham-on-Crouch. Several families of coastguards made their home on the ship and Prescott�s team have found broken toys and bits of pottery from that period.

In 1870, the Beagle was auctioned for �525 to local scrap merchants and disappeared from the historical record. In the search for any surviving remains, the Beagle Ship Research Group has been surveying a small dock on the north bank of the Roach. Ground-penetrating radar has revealed the image of a ship that is similar in size to the Beagle and which is buried under 12 feet of mud inside the abandoned dock.

Prescott says the discovery is of major importance for several reasons: �the Beagle came from a class of ship that was the mainstay of the Royal Navy for many decades, although surprisingly little is known of this type of craft. The discovery also demonstrates the use of ground-penetrating radar as an archaeological tool.�

National Gallery to retain Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks

Charles Saumarez Smith, FSA, Director of the National Gallery, announced on 13 February that the Getty Museum has withdrawn its application to buy and export the Madonna of the Pinks, and that the estate of the Duke of Northumberland has accepted the gallery�s offer of �22 million for the work, instead of the �35 million originally offered by the Getty Museum.

The price includes �11.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund � the largest grant ever given by HLF for a work of art � along with public donations, and �1 million offered in the last few days by the philanthropist, Sir Christopher Ondaatje.

It is believed that the picture was commissioned as a devotional image by a wealthy Perugian widow around 1506, when Raphael was in his early 20s. It was bought in 1853 by the 4th Duke of Northumberland for Alnwick Castle and thought to be a copy until infra-red photography revealed the under-drawing, which National Gallery curator Luke Syson described this week as �utterly characteristic of Raphael�.

The painting is now to go on tour to Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and County Durham before returning to the National Gallery in October.

Looted armour sent back to France

Armour looted from Paris after the Battle of Waterloo made its way back to France last week on board the Eurostar. The armour consisted of a pair of tassets � thigh covers � from a suit of sixteenth-century armour. The tassets were stolen in 1815 by one of the Duke of Wellington�s foot soldiers from the French national arms and armour collection, then housed in a former convent church in Paris. Now they have been restored to the suit of armour from which the came, housed in Les Invalides, made around 1520�1530, possibly by Milanese craftsmen working in France. Maev Kennedy, reporting the story in last weeks Guardian, described the suit as �decorated in imitation of fashionable dress, with gilding and engraving suggesting slashed silk and brocade ... originally gilded, and heated until the metal turned peacock blue, in alternate stripes�.

In returning the tassets to the Mus�e de l'Arm�e on �long-term loan�, the Royal Armouries stated that this set no precedents for other collections. Paul Evans, chief executive of the Royal Armouries, stressed that he had volunteered the loan, which was never sought by the French museum. He described the return as: �a gesture of goodwill and a symbol of the friendship between our two museums.�

Nevertheless, pressure is mounting on museums to return looted treasures, especially where these belong to a living and active culture rather than a defunct civilisation. The Sunday Times, for example, reported on 15 February that Professor Richard Pankhurst, of the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, has written to the Queen requesting the return of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century religious manuscripts held in the Royal Collection that were looted from Ethiopia after the Battle of Magdela in 1868.

Clive of India�s treasures to be auctioned

Mughul treasures that led to Clive of India�s arraignment before parliament in 1773 are due to be auctioned by Christie�s in April on behalf of Clive�s descendants. They include a white jade flask, delicately enmeshed in a net of gold and studded with flower-like emeralds and rubies. The flask has been on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum for many years. Made in the seventeenth century for the Mughal court, it was probably acquired by Clive after his victory over the Nawab of Bengal at Plassey in 1757. Clive installed Mir Jaffir as the new Nawab, and Jaffir repaid Clive by inviting him to take his pick of the Bengali treasury, which included objects looted from the Mughul court in 1739 by Nadir Shah.

Clive�s career in India was subject to a parliamentary enquiry to investigate whether he had corruptly enriched himself during his 35-year career with the East India Company. In his defence, Clive declared himself to be �astonished at my own moderation�, but he committed suicide the following year, having become addicted to the opium he took to escape depression.

New dates for South African rock art

A report published in the academic journal South African Humanities says that the rock art at the World Heritage Site of uKhahlamba-Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal could be 3,000 years old, three times older than previously believed. A research team led by Dr Aron Mazel, a South African researcher based at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, has dated the paintings by analysing salt samples taken from the painted rocks using accelerator mass spectrometry.

The mountainous uKhahlamba-Drakensberg region has the largest and most concentrated group of painting in Africa south of the Sahara, with over 40,000 paintings. They are the work of San hunter-gatherers, who settled in the area about 8,000 years ago. A member of the research team commented that: �We are still in the early stages of exploiting this new dating technology but it's possible further investigation could reveal that some of the paintings could be even older than 3,000 years ... we hope to date more of the paintings and organise them in chronological order in the hope that they can tell us a more about how life evolved for the San people during the several thousands of years they occupied the mountains�.

Dr Chris Chippindale, FSA, reader in archaeology at Cambridge University and professor with the Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, said: �It looks as if the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg rock art sequence may be very long. Any new study which tells us reliably about its age is very much to be welcomed.�

Kennewick Man dispute comes nearer to resolution

The long and drawn-out legal dispute in the US over the right of archaeologists to study the remains of Kennewick Man reached an important milestone on 4 February when the US Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling allowing the scientific community to study the 9,000-year-old human remains, and rejected an appeal by the Colville tribe and various other Northwest Indian tribes claiming kinship and seeking to rebury the remains.

Jim Chatters, the archaeologist who found the remains after they were washed out of a bank of the Columbia River in 1996, said: �I'm absolutely thrilled that the court has affirmed the public's right to knowledge and rejected this attempt, on religious grounds, to limit scientific inquiry�.

The Kennewick Man case has been used to test the way that the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies have been interpreting the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.

The Appeal Court judges ruled that the Department of Interior had mistakenly given the tribes authority over all prehistoric remains based on an �extreme� definition of Native American as �any persons predating European settlers�. The judges also ruled that the tribes must be able to prove a direct relationship to human remains if they want to claim authority over them.

Lawyers for the tribes said this placed them in a Catch 22 situation: in order to stop the studies, the tribe will have undertake studies to prove that the remains are Native American.

Kennewick Man has been determined by radiocarbon dating to be anywhere from 8,340 to 9,200 years old. He has a distinctive bone structure unlike that of modern Native Americans and has the potential to throw light on how humans first came to the Americas.

This is not yet the end of the case: the tribes now have forty-five days in which to file an appeal with the US Supreme Court. Pending resolution of the legal dispute, the remains are being held at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington.

March issue of British Archaeology

The latest issue of British Archaeology is now out and it bears the marks of a new editor (our Fellow, Mike Pitts) determined to make a commercial success of the magazine. Innovations include TV reviews (of past programmes rather than those about to be screened), shorter and pithier book reviews, and a column called �Spoilheap� that takes a lighter look at the world of archaeology.

This leavening is not at the expense of ground-breaking archaeological features. The March issue looks at the controversy surrounding the excavation by �aviation archaeologists� of the remains of a Battle of Britain pilot inside his crashed Spitfire last year, a report on the techniques used to excavate the site of Heathrow�s Terminal 5 site � the country�s largest excavation and the subject of a paper to be given to the Society on 4 March �and the results from a decade of fieldwork at the Thornborough henges.

British Archaeology is published bi-monthly and available in larger W H Smiths and Borders and selected independent newsagents.

Independent museums lobbying against change to Gift Aid rules

In an article in The Guardian on 9 February, Maev Kennedy, Arts and Heritage Correspondent, interviewed a number of archaeologists and museum curators to assess the impact of the Chancellor�s decision to prevent heritage bodies reclaiming income tax on admission fees under the Gift Aid scheme. Among those who said the change would have devastating financial consequences are Bede�s World in Northumbria, Fishbourne Palace and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum. Lord Redesdale, who owns a small museum in Northumbria, said that �there is no doubt some small museums will go to the wall over this�, and Sam Mullins, chair of AIM (the Association of Independent Museums) said that about seventy of AIM�s members would be adversely affected and that his organisation was pledged to fight to keep Gift Aid.

The treasury has repeated its determination to draw the line between supporting specific charities and visiting certain buildings. The Inland Revenue, however, is seeking views from affected charities and has set up a web page to explain the background with a questionnaire . Comments are invited by 20 February 2004. The Inland Revenue also plans to hold a number of meetings to discuss the situation � if you would like to be involved, please contact Tom Parsons.

Among options being proposed as a compromise are delaying the implementation of new legislation on Gift Aid until April 2005 and allowing a new form of annual membership, offering unlimited visits over the year, to be eligible for gift aid.

New members appointed to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

Our recently elected Fellow Nicholas Kingsley is one of four new members appointed last week to the Board of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. The seventeen-member Board, chaired by Mark Wood, supervises the work of MLA (initially known as Resource), which was established in 2000 from the merger of the Museums and Galleries Council and the Library and Information Commission, with a remit to advise the government on the development of museums, libraries and archives

Nicholas Kingsley is the County Archivist for Gloucestershire, where he is also responsible for museums development and local library services. He has held the post of Chairman of the National Council on Archives since 1999, and has a number of professional appointments, including membership of the Archives Task Force, the South West Regional Archives Committee and Wellcome Foundation Library Advisory Panel.

Standards on managing and archiving emails

The ever resourceful conservation team at the National Archives has produced new standards and guidance on the archiving of that most ephemeral of all communications media, the email. In reality, of course, emails represent a potentially invaluable resource for future historians. Guidelines on developing a policy for managing email is available from the National Archives website.

Closure of London NMR

Almost unnoticed and with none of the protests that marked the removal of the National Monuments Record to Swindon over a decade ago, the London search room of the NMR at Blandford Street closed for ever on 13 February 2004. The London archive collections and books will now move back to the National Monuments Record Centre at Swindon. In order to complete the task of integrating the London archive, the Swindon search room, including the NMR library, will be shut from 16 February until 3 May. There will be no Saturday openings in February, March or April 2004 and only a limited Buildings service during this time. The Air Photography and Archaeology services will also be affected, but it is hoped that a near normal service for these two areas of the NMR will resume by the end of March.

Getty Research Institute call for papers

The Getty Research Institute is inviting papers for an international colloquium to be held in Paris on 9�11 December 2004 on the theme of �Redistributions: revolution, politics, war and the movement of art, 1789�1848�. The event, organised with the Institut national d�histoire de l�art, Paris, complements the colloquium on the theme of �Collection et march� de l�art en France, 1789�1848� held in Paris in December 2003, focusing on changes in collecting and the art market in France from the revolutionary to the post-Napoleonic era.

This colloquium moves beyond the borders of France to explore how violence and socio-political changes reshaped taste, collecting, and the emergence of institutions throughout Europe and the Americas during the period. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: the dispersal, restitution, and movements of collections; the changing physical and conceptual status of art objects; the consequences of secularisation; the roles of dealers and collectors in the negotiation of sales and acquisitions; the creation of national collections.

One-page abstracts in English, French or Italian should be sent via email by 31 March 2004 to Roberta Panzanelli at the Getty Research Institute and/or Monica Preti-Hamard at the Institut national d�histoire de l�art.

Fellows� books

John Pickles thought that Fellows might like to know that he has some forty copies for sale of the Index to the Contents of the Cole Manuscripts in the British Museum (vii + 170 pp) by G J Gray for �11. Originally published by Cambridge University Press in 1912, the work has long been unobtainable except at high prices from dealers. A small number of copies were reprinted by CUP last year and a copy has been donated to the Society's library. Any Fellow who might like their own copy should send a cheque to J D Pickles, 27 Cavendish Road, Cambridge CB1 3AE.

Were they three, wise or even men?

Although it will soon be the start of Lent, correspondents to The Times are still debating a question that arose at Epiphany, when the revision committee of the General Synod of the Church of England declared that the �three wise men� of the authorised King James version of the Bible could have been more than three in number, were not necessarily wise, and may not even have been men.

The Synod committee argued that the original Greek � magos/magoi � was a transliteration of the name of an official in the Persian court and that the Evangelist Matthew deliberately used an exotic word to emphasise the exotic nature of Jesus�s visitors. The committee�s report said that �while it seems very unlikely that these Persian court officials were female, the possibility that one or more of the magoi were female cannot be excluded completely.� Furthermore, they said that the number of magoi is not specified in the Gospel, only the number of gifts they presented to the infant Jesus.

The committee has therefore recommended that the term �Magi� be used to replace �three wise men� in collects and prayers, though Mr Edmund Burke writing to The Times on 11 February has a better idea. His version of the well-known Epiphany carol begins: �We indeterminately numbered, gender neutral, democratically elected heads of state of Orient are.�