Salon Archive

Issue: 81

Weekly meeting report

Sydney Anglo, FSA, entertained Fellows this week with an account of the exaggerated respect that �armchair generals� and �word warriors� afforded to classical authorities when debating the arts of war. The anachronistic question of whether the Graeco-Macedonian phalanx or the Roman legion was the best battle formation continued to preoccupy military theoreticians despite the revolution taking place in warfare with the development of field guns and ever-more impregnable fortifications.

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

Forthcoming meetings

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
11 March: Ballot
18 March: West Heslerton: new views of a much-visited landscape, by Dominic Powlesland

Corrections and amplifications

Peter Fowler, FSA, has rightly taken Salon to task for the erroneous use of Northumbria as a replacement for the name of his native county of Northumberland. �This is a modern misuse of the historic name of Northumbria�, he says, �which happens far too often, not least in The Guardian whose geographical knowledge of the north is woeful (witness its latest error in putting Middlesbrough in Yorkshire). There is nowadays no such place as Northumbria (except in the fantasies of the Northumbria Tourist Board and, of course, of the regional police).� Peter adds that Bede's World (which The Guardian and Salon located in �Northumbria�) is �at Jarrow in the Metropolitan Borough of South Tyneside, on the �wrong� side of the river Tyne to be in modern Northumberland. It was in the �new� county of Tyne and Wear and before that in County Durham. It has never been in Northumberland and was, I think, last in Northumbria well over a thousand years ago�.

George Lambrick, FSA, to stand down as CBA Director

At the Council for British Archaeology's Winter General Meeting held at the British Academy on 26 February George Lambrick, FSA, announced that he intends to stand down as Director of the CBA later this calendar year to pursue his interests through consultancy work based in Oxford. CBA Trustees were informed at a meeting on 22 January. Francis Pryor, President of the CBA, said: 'This came as a considerable surprise. George has done an excellent job as Director of the CBA in the last four-and-a-half years. I am sure I speak for everyone in the CBA when I wish him the very best for the future. We are reviewing the CBA's forward strategy and this early warning helps us all plan ahead. We are currently discussing transitional arrangements and will make further announcements in due course.' George Lambrick added that 'my decision is for personal and family reasons � I shall very much miss the CBA and remain totally committed to its cause�.

York�s archaeology in danger of drying out

Martin Wainwright in The Guardian reported on 24 February that York�s archaeology was facing a new danger: the drying out of the city�s waterlogged substrata because of newly built flood defences that were proving too effective. A new survey will be undertaken, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and English Heritage, to test whether the water table has fallen because of the efficiency of outer defences that protect the city from high winter water in the Ouse and the Fosse. Further details can be found on the website of the Geology Society.

Met plans to sell Victorian police stations

In the same edition of The Guardian, David Pallister reported that London�s Victorian police stations are to be sold over the next 10 years. In a radical shake-up of the Metropolitan Police's �1.5bn estate, about 360 of the 600 buildings will be replaced with new facilities near crime hot spots, with purpose-built patrol bases on industrial estates, or even within supermarkets. About 30 per cent of police properties are at least 70 years old. Some retain historic features, such as the yards where police horses were once stabled.

Northern MPs demand return of Lindisfarne Gospels

In the 25 February edition of The Guardian, Martin Wainwright reported that northern MPs are demanding the return of the 1,300-year-old Lindisfarne Gospels, which they are calling a �stolen icon� of their region's golden age. A group of MPs, led by Joyce Quin, Labour member for Gateshead, has called for an adjournment debate to put pressure on the British Library into releasing the gospels from their current �nice but ordinary� display in Euston Road, London.

The campaigners propose a permanent exhibition next to St Cuthbert's tomb in Durham Cathedral to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the translation of the saint�s body from Lindisfarne to the cathedral. The Gospels were placed in Cuthbert�s shrine and remained undisturbed from 1104 until 1539, when Henry VIII�s Commissioners removed the book.

Uffizi to double in size

John Hooper, Rome correspondent of The Guardian, reported on 26 February that the Uffizi, in Florence, is to double in size in an attempt to emulate the scale of the Louvre. The ambitious 56m Euro (�38m) scheme to double the gallery�s exhibition space will be completed by 2006 and will turn the Uffizi into Europe's premier art museum. Visitors will be able to see 800 new works.

The project is the centrepiece of Silvio Berlusconi's cultural policy. With refurbishment plans also afoot for the Accademia in Venice and the Brera in Milan, Italy is bent on securing a larger share of the European market for cultural tourism. Italian museum planners say the biggest problem they face is inserting a museum into a building that is itself a monument. There has already been an outcry over one proposed element, a seven-storey, canopy-like structure for a new exit by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. At the heart of the plan is the opening up of the first floor of the vast building, which for decades has been occupied by the local branch of the national archives.

Letter to The Times re Gift Aid

The following letter from Sam Mullins, Chairman of the Association of Independent Museums, and others appeared in The Times on 27 February.

'Sir, Museum charities are facing a potentially disastrous loss of income. Improvements in the Gift Aid scheme were introduced in 2000. By signing a simple declaration, visitors could turn admission charges into donations, which meant that museum charities, among others, could claim tax refunds. This has augmented charity incomes by 10 to 15 per cent.

�However, in the Pre-Budget Report last autumn the Chancellor announced that the provision was to be cancelled. This was also wrongly described as closing a �loophole�.

�The benefits of Gift Aid have been particularly welcome when museum charities have faced a decline in tourism and intensified competition from free entry to national museums and massive investment of lottery funds in other attractions.

�The Gift Aid scheme used by museum charities costs the Treasury probably less than �4 million a year and is concentrated on a small number of museums which rely on admissions at the gate. One benefit of Gift Aid has been to remind visitors that their visit supports charitable activity, for both education and conservation.

�We hope that the Government will at least talk to us about mitigating this massive blow to the care of our national heritage.

Yours faithfully,
SAM MULLINS (Chairman, Association of Independent Museums), WINSTAN BOND (National Tramway Museum, Crich), BILL FERRIS (Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust), GLEN LAWES (Chief Executive, Ironbridge Museums Trust), MATTHEW TANNER (Director, SS Great Britain Trust), MARK TAYLOR (Director, Museums Association)�

Coin of Domitianus: only the second ever found

Archaeology hit the front pages again last week when the British Museum announced the discovery of a coin bearing the name of the emperor Domitianus, who seized power in AD 271 in the short-lived �Gallic empire�, and ruled for less than a year before being toppled. The only other coin bearing the name of Domitianus was found in the Loire region in 1900. Since nothing else like it was known, and because the context of the find was uncertain, that coin has long been suspected to be a fake.

This new coin was found by Brian Malin using a metal detector in a field some 10 miles from Oxford. It was embedded within a corroded mass of over 5,000 bronze coins and has only recently been prised apart from the rest of the hoard. Roman coins curator Richard Abdy described the coin as �sensational�, adding that there are only two brief references to Domitianus in historical sources. Both refer to him as a high-ranking army officer, and to his being punished for treason by the emperor Aurelian but neither records that he became emperor. �This find� he said, �rewrites history ... only the archaeological evidence of this coin shows that he was indeed emperor and provides us with a face to go with history�s forgotten ruler.�

The �Gallic empire� is the name given to the secessionist state that was created in AD 260 in the aftermath of the Roman empire�s greatest humiliation � the defeat by the Persians of the emperor Valerian, who was captured alive and used by the Persian king, Sapor, as a living footstool for mounting his horse. This, said Richard Abdy, �was the cue for Gaul [modern France and the Rhineland] to revolt in order to look after their own security, taking Britain and initially the Iberian Peninsula with it.

�An officer called Postumus became the first breakaway Gallic �emperor�, with his capital in Trier. This is the probable location for the minting of the Domitianus coin. AD 269 was a particularly turbulent year for the Gallic empire, with three successors to Postumus staking rival claims. Finally power settled on Victorinus, who was reportedly prone to raping the wives of his courtiers. In 271, he was killed after propositioning the wife of one of his officials. Domitianus may have been one of the wronged husbands. Striking coins was a sign of seizing the purple.�

Domitianus may only have ruled for days, weeks or months, scholars suggest, before he was overthrown by Tetricus, the governor of Aquitaine, emperor from AD 271 to 274. The Gallic empire survived as a separate state for almost fifteen years before being reabsorbed into the central Roman empire by Aurelian.

The coin will go on public display from today until March 14 in the British Museum�s Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past exhibition.

Family feud forces sale of Shirburn Castle library

Richard Sharpe, FSA, has written to alert Fellows to the impending sale of the contents of the library at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire. Some twelve thousand books and rare medieval manuscripts are to be auctioned at Sotheby's in March because the Earl of Macclesfield is being evicted from the moated castle, following more than twenty years of acrimonious dispute with members of his family. Lord Macclesfield rents the castle from a family trust, whereas the library contents are his own property, which the earl now says he has to sell because he cannot fit them into his new smaller home.

Paul Quarrie, of Sotheby's, has described the collection as �an intellectual treasure house�. It it includes the Macclesfield Psalter, made in Suffolk in about 1325 and described by Sotheby's as �the work of one of the very great medieval East Anglian artists�. Among the other treasures are a 1543 first edition of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium libri by Nicolaus Copernicus, a copy of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius, in which he announced his discovery of the moons of Jupiter, and a substantial collection of seventeenth-century scientific manuscripts.

Fire at the Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Worcestershire

A fire has caused serious damage to the National-Trust-owned Fleece Inn at Bretforton near Evesham, Worcestershire, a half-timbered medieval farmhouse largely unaltered since it became a public house in 1848. Fortunately, no one was injured. The fire broke out in a part of the roof that was thatched just after noon on 27 February. A part of the roof has been destroyed, with widespread damage to the first floor. Merlin Waterson, the National Trust�s Director of Historic Properties, said: �The Fleece Inn is a much loved building, little changed over the past 100 years ... we very much hope that it will be possible to repair the Inn but a full investigation of the structure will be needed before this decision can be taken by our Committees.�

Fighting for our Future seminar

Last week�s Salon report on the closure of local-authority-funded museums brought an email from Andrew Pike, FSA, saying that Gloucester�s Folk Museum is the latest victim of council tax cuts. Located in a splendid sixteenth-century timber-framed building in Westgate Street, Gloucester, the museum is much used by school parties and other groups. The Folk Museum also acts as keyholder for St Nicholas's Church, located immediately opposite the museum, which is owned by the Churches Conservation Trust. Closure of the museum will have a detrimental effect on that part of Gloucester and numbers of visitors to the church are certain to be reduced. Andrew concludes with the comment that: �with so much insensitive redevelopment of the city centre in the 1960s, Gloucester cannot afford to be too cavalier in its attitude towards visitor attractions. I understand that other cultural centres are also under threat from the City Council�.

Rather than simply accepting such cuts, the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (in association with the British Museum and the Society of Antiquaries of London) is organising a half-day seminar to consider how the heritage sector can lobby decision-makers more effectively. Lined up to speak at the seminar are Roger Bland, FSA, of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, Lord Redesdale, Secretary of APPAG, Maev Kennedy of The Guardian, Brian Emsley, Media Relations, Royal Society of Chemistry, Dai Morgan Evans, Honorary Secretary of APPAG, Chris Batt, Chief Executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Helen Wilkinson, Policy Officer at the Museums Association, Alan Leighton of Prospect and Tim Schadla-Hall, of the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

The seminar takes place at the Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, British Museum, on 10 March 2004, from 2.30pm to 5.30 pm. All are welcome, but if you wish to attend please register with Jayne Phenton, Administrator, Society of Antiquaries of London.

Ecclesiastical Exemption consultation paper

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published proposals for changing the way in which the ecclesiastical exemption from listed building and conservation area controls operates in England. The exemption presently applies to six denominations in England and Wales under The Ecclesiastical Exemption (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Order 1994. The consultation paper proposes that the exemption should continue to operate in England under high-level management agreements entered into by individual denominations, which include the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Baptist Union of Wales (when acting in the capacity of trustee).

The management agreements would be made with English Heritage, who would be given the statutory power both to validate denominations' systems of control and to monitor their operation of the exemption. The management agreements would be reviewed after five years. The Welsh Assembly Government will be making separate arrangements for reviewing the exemption in Wales.

The consultation paper, entitled The Future of the Ecclesiastical Exemption � A Consultation Paper For England, can be downloaded from the DCMS website. Written comments on the questions asked in the consultation paper are requested by 31 May 2004.

�It isn�t true�, says Schama

Last week Salon reported Simon Schama�s less than complimentary comments on the quality of contemporary historical narrative. Schama has since written to The Independent to say that he didn�t make the reported remarks. On the contrary, he says, �I believe that we are now in something of a Golden Age of narrative writing, and that more history which combines scholarship of the highest level with narrative craft is being written than ever before. Antony Beevor was just one of a long list of names � including Cannadine, Colley, Brewer, Tillyard, Jardine, Ferguson � whose work I want to celebrate.�

Soul in the City: Cultural Tourism and Urban Spaces seminar

ICOMOS�UK, in collaboration with the Tourism Society, is organising a one-day seminar at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EL, on 16 March 2004 from 11am to 6pm to discuss cultural tourism, and what factors contribute the overall character and vitality of urban settings. The organisers believe that the time has come to remind policy makers and the world at large that a vast amount of tourism does not consist of people visiting formal attractions but rather of people simply enjoying the exploration of buildings, streets, squares and public parks. Yet until recently this public realm � owned simultaneously by �everyone and no one� � has been a neglected area of interest and debate. The questions to be discussed include the implications of treating urban townscapes as visitor attractions in their own right and how the interests of organisations representing tourists can be accommodated with those organisations conserving and promoting towns and cities.

Further information from the Tourism Society�s website or by email.

UK Government urged to sign up to world�s first landscape protection treaty

CPRE is leading a campaign to encourage the UK government to sign up to the new European Landscape Convention (ELC), which comes into force today (1 March), pointing out that the UK has led the world in recognising the value of landscapes, ever since the Labour Government of 1945 created National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The ELC aims �to promote landscape protection, management and planning� and commits the signatories to �integrate landscape into land use planning, involve the public in landscape matters, make national landscape laws and policies, develop awareness-raising and educational programmes and methods of assessing landscapes (including urban landscapes), and to co-operate at European level�. Those nations who have already ratified the treaty include Denmark, Ireland, Norway and Turkey, while many others, including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, say they will ratify the treaty in due course.

Full details of the European Landscape Convention can be found online.

International conference on the European Landscape Convention

Following their joint conference on Cultural Landscapes held in 2000, ICOMOS�UK (The International Council on Monuments and Sites�UK) and its sister body the IUCN (the World Conservation Union), are holding a second international conference on 7 to 9 May 2004, focusing on the practical implications of landscape conservation, looking especially at the tensions between conservation and development.

For further details contact the Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford, by email.

Fellows� books

Just out from Boydell & Brewer is a new work from John Hines, FSA, called Voices in the Past: English Literature and Archaeology, which Professor Helen Cooper describes in a review as an �accessible and groundbreaking book ... [which] shows how literature and archaeology can illuminate each other to new and stimulating effect.� John Hines himself describes the book as �a rather ambitious attempt to explore the scope for linking archaeology with the critical reading of literature in a fully interdisciplinary approach. Analytical discussions cover a range of English literature and its material contexts from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 1930s.� More details of the book, including an interview with John Hines and downloadable sample chapters, can be found on the Boydell & Brewer website.

Francis Edwards, FSA, has asked Salon to mention that two of his own works are still in print. They are Robert Persons, SJ: The biography of an Elizabethan Jesuit, 1546�1610 (1995) (further details are available on the website of the Institute of Jesuit Sources) and Plots and Plotters in the Reign of Elizabeth I (2002), (further details from the website of the Four Courts Press). Francis says: �these books explore dark corners and persons of a highly controversial period not so far much investigated. The conclusions are often revisionary so that, with no apology, the notes and references have to be extensive ... otherwise the books would read like mythology or unsubstantiated wishful thinking of a perverse kind!�.

The Society�s manuscripts catalogue now available on A2A

Entries from the Society's catalogue of manuscripts are now freely available via the A2A (Access to Archives) website run by the National Archives. A2A allows you to search 6.3 million catalogue entries for information held in archives by 345 record offices and other repositories throughout England, dating from the 900s to the present day.

An introduction to the Society�s manuscripts collection and full catalogue entries for Manuscripts 1 to 1010 can be found by going to the site, clicking on the �Search A2A� tab, then scrolling down the alphabetical list of archives in the �Location of Archives� field until you find �Society of Antiquaries of London�, then clicking on the �Search� button.

The subject index in the printed catalogue is not included, but keywords from descriptive fields can be searched. Personal names and places can be easily traced � for example, all the references to William Morris or Sir William Dugdale. Brief descriptions of most of the Society's manuscript collections are also available on the National Register of Archives website until summer 2004.

Theses available online from the Archaeology Data Service

ADS and AHDS Archaeology have launched a new service offering access to PhD theses online. The first four theses to be made available cover three-dimensional modelling of Scottish early medieval sculpture (Stuart Jeffrey, University of Glasgow), the idea of residence in the Neolithic Cotswolds (Nicola Snashall, University of Sheffield), a re-examination of sheep as represented in zooarchaeological assemblages (Robert Hayward Symmons, University College London) and the ways in which people understand standing heritage buildings and structures in the landscape (Jonathan Kenny, Lancaster University). The full texts of all four theses, as well as abstracts and data downloads, are available online at the ADS website.

New treasures of the Royal Academy's collection go on display

When the restored Fine Rooms at the Royal Academy open to the public on 13 March, the walls will be hung with paintings and drawings by its members, including works by David Hockney, self portraits by Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, and a whole room of Constables, including the Leaping Horse, which Lucian Freud once described as �the greatest painting in the world�. The Academy has also announced that John Madejski, the publishing tycoon who has paid for half of the �6m restoration, will be lending his latest acquisition, Degas' s bronze sculpture of a young ballet dancer, entitled La Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, which he recently bought at auction for �5 million.

One of the rooms remains to be restored: a temporary suspended ceiling hides one of the original Burlington House ceilings, dating from 1720 and decorated by William Kent, hidden under seventeen coats of paint, which will cost a further �1m to restore. For further details see the Royal Academy website.

Vacancies

Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Director
�Attractive package�, closing date 22 March 2004

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation is a generous donor to causes related to arts and education, particularly in relation to young people and the disadvantaged. The Director�s role is to oversee the Foundation�s work and maintain relations with other funders, charities and Government. Further details from nfp.response@odgers.com quoting reference NAO/6179ST.

Countryside Agency, Chair
Remuneration negotiable, closing date 22 March 2004

Given that DEFRA and the Countryside Agency are major stakeholders in the historic environment, it would be encouraging to see someone with a knowledge of and sympathy for the historic environment appointed to this key post. The task is to chair the board of the Countryside Commission during a period of transition following the Haskins report�s recommendation that the Commission be merged with English Nature. The high-profile role will suit someone with a strong grasp of the issues facing the English countryside and an eye for practical solutions. Further details from www.wmann.com quoting reference 17205AA(ST).