Salon Archive

Issue: 87

Weekly meeting report

At the 297th Anniversary Meeting of the Society, the President delivered her review of her final year in office. Professor Cramp used the occasion as an opportunity to analyse the role of a learned society at the start of the twenty-first century. She said that we lived in an anti-elitist and anti-intellectual age in which those who possessed profound knowledge were under attack as never before, in which professionalism and authority were denigrated, and in which the specialists from different professions no longer felt themselves to be bound together by any cross-cutting sense of common purpose, as they had in previous centuries.

Nevertheless, she believed that the Society of Antiquaries did have a continuing role to play in contemporary society based on the unique diversity of its interests. The Society served as a model of objective and enlightened scholarship � qualities that might not be held in high regard now but that were essential to the health and well being of society and that would be appreciated again in due course. With that thought, the President said, we should approach our 300th anniversary in good heart and, whilst being prepared to adapt to contemporary demands, nevertheless be proud to restate the value of what we do as an alternative voice to those who would denigrate scholarship, knowledge and learning.

The President then presented prizes as follows: the Frend Prize to Dr Samuel Turner for his work on early monastic and ecclesiastical sites in south-west England; the Frend Medal to Bogdan Zurawski for his work on early Christian sites in the Nile Valley; the Society Medal to Helen Webb for her achievements during fifteen years� service as the administrator at Kelmscott Manor; and the Gold Medal to Joyce Reynolds for her lifetime�s work in epigraphy, especially her study of the inscriptions of Libya.

The President then invested the newly elected President, Professor Eric Fernie, by presenting him with the Presidential Badge of Office. The new President responded by saying that the Fellows owed Rosemary a great debt for the generosity, good humour and �lan with which she had led the Society over the past three years. He endorsed her view that the Society had a very important continuing role in society and said we should not forget that the Society is viewed overseas as one of London�s most important historic institutions, one of those bodies that help to give London its character and keep it in the forefront of international research and learning. He referred to the mediation currently under way to resolve the question of the Society�s tenure at Burlington House and said that there would be financial consequences, whatever the outcome, and that fund-raising would have to be a major priority for the immediate future to ensure that the Society could celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2007 on the basis of a firm financial foundation. He concluded by saying how much he looked forward to working for the Society with the Officers and new General Secretary, the staff, Council and committee members and the Fellowship � across the country and beyond.

Election of officers and Council

Prior to the main business of the meeting, a ballot was held to elect officers and members of Council for the year ahead.

The following fifteen Fellows were elected to serve again from the old Council:

John Penrose BARRON, MA, DPhil
Martin Oswald Hugh CARVER, BSc
Amanda Dorothy Barras CHADBURN, BA
Eric FERNIE, CBE, BA, AcDip
William Patrick FILMER-SANKEY, MA, DPhil
Andrew Peter FITZPATRICK, BA, PhD
Mirjam Michaela FOOT, MA, DLitt
Tom Grafton HASSALL, OBE, MA
Martin John MILLETT, BA, DPhil
Taryn Jane NIXON, BA
Sarah Penelope PEARSON, BA
Mark REDKNAP, BA, PhD
Julian Daryl RICHARDS, MA, PhD
Frank Edwin SALMON, MA, PhD
Geoffrey John WAINWRIGHT, MBE, BA PhD.

The following five Fellows were elected to serve on the new Council:

Thomas Hugh COCKE, MA, PhD
Timothy Charles DARVILL, BA, PhD
Diana Mary MURRAY, MA
Adrian Charles Harris OLIVIER, BA, PhD
Elizabeth SHEE TWOHIG, BA, MA, PhD.

The following members of the new Council were elected unopposed to serve as Officers of the Society:

Professor Eric Fernie, President
Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, Treasurer
Professor Martin Millett, Director
Ms Taryn Jane Pearson Nixon, Secretary.

Fellows in arrears

The names of Fellows who are in arrears or who have only paid a part of their 2004 subscription were read out at the Anniversary Meeting, with the warning that they face amoval if their outstanding subscription payment (which fell due on 1 January 2004) is not paid soon.

Corrections and apologies

The Society would like to apologise for an error that has been discovered in the Annual Report on page 33, where Nancy Katharine Sanders is listed amongst those Fellows who died during the year. In fact, the Report should have said that Minnie Gertrude Sandars, elected 27 April 1961, died on 12 August 2002.

Salon 86 reported the finding of only the second known Anglo-Saxon painting to survive in the UK but omitted to say where it is: the painting is on the east wall of the church at Deerhurst, in Gloucestershire, and is unfortunately not visible from the church, even with binoculars, as it is very indistinct and is located some 30 feet above the ground.

Forthcoming meetings

29 April: �Destruction�, Construction and Industry as seen by Twentieth-century Illustrators, by Alan Ball, FSA.

This lecture will feature works of art that reveal the growing fascination of artists for capturing the historic landscape in transition, from the hayfields of Middlesex, made redundant when the combustion engine took over from the horse as the motive power for London�s buses and cabs and built upon to create Betjeman�s beloved Metroland or the more recently demolished, redeveloped or cleared industrial and dockland landscapes of the East End, South Wales, Birmingham, Glasgow or Liverpool.

6 May: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Early English Patronage and Collecting, by Dr Elizabeth Goldring

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, died in 1588 leaving one of the largest collections of paintings and other works of art in Elizabethan England. This lecture examines the varied uses to which the numerous surviving inventories of this collection may be put, not only to identify which extant paintings were in Leicester�s collection, but also to shed new light on the dates and interpretations of these paintings. One such case will be considered in detail: a portrait traditionally identified as depicting Leicester�s nephew, Sir Robert Sidney (1563�1626). New archival findings suggest that the portrait may be read as an image of Robert mourning the death of his elder brother (and Elizabethan England�s model poet-courtier), Sir Philip Sidney (1554�86).

13 May: Ballot

Free tickets for �Prisoners of the Tower� exhibition

The Society has lent its painting of Henry VI from the Meeting Room to the Tower of London. exhibition on the theme of Prisoners of the Tower. In return the Tower has given the Society a small number of tickets to the exhibition, available to Fellows (one per person) on a first-come, first-served basis from Lisa Elliott . Fellows interested in the exhibition (which continues until 5 September 2004) might like to read the short review written by Salon�s editor on the Michelin Guides website.

English Heritage reveals its new approach to heritage protection

Our Fellow Sir Neil Cousins opened the Institute of Field Archaeologists annual conference in Liverpool at the start of April by announcing �a radical rethink in the way we designate and manage the heritage�. The reforms he announced � already foreshadowed in the heritage review published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport last July � could lead to the creation of a single list for all designated heritage assets, whether palace, terraced house, ancient monument, historic park or garden, shipwreck or battlefield.

They will also allow owners of designated assets to enter into management agreements that will eliminate the need for specific consent for works so long as the features that make the sites special and valuable are preserved and enhanced. The aim of the new system is to change the culture of protecting the historic environment from its generally passive, reactive and often adversarial form towards an approach that is positive, collaborative and strategic, while maintaining the present levels of statutory protection.

To test the viability of these proposals, English Heritage will run fifteen pilot projects across the country. Sites chosen for the trial include Arnos Vale cemetery in Bristol, medieval water meadows at Eastleigh, in Hampshire, stations on London Underground�s Piccadilly Line, the Langdale neolithic landscape and flint axe works in Cumbria, and the 32-storey Centre Point tower in London. Our Fellow, Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said that: �We don't need to test [the new approach] on simple cases, we need to test it on the most complex cases we can find�, adding that one of the properties selected as a pilot project was the Holkham estate in Norfolk, owned by English Heritage Commissioner, Lord Leicester � Simon Thurley wryly predicted that he would certainly hear about it if the system did not work.

He went on to say that: �The pilots ... are designed to demonstrate that the management of the historic environment must be a partnership between all those with an interest in its future. The new system is based on a shared understanding not just of what makes the grand estate, the office block or the archaeological site important enough to be listed but of how it needs to be managed. This is an aspect entirely lacking in the present system.�

The results of the trials will influence the content of new primary legislation which the Department for Culture, Media and Sport hopes to introduce into the parliamentary programme for 2007. Legislation will be preceded by a White Paper which will also draw on recent and current consultations of the ecclesiastical exemption, marine archaeology and Historic Environment Records. Full details can be found on the English Heritage website.

Archaeology and the Media

Another highlight of the IFA conference was an all-day session on �Archaeology and the Media�, chaired by SALON�s editor, bringing together a number of archaeologists (almost all of them Fellows) who work as journalists, authors or TV presenters, including Julian Richards of Ancestors, Philip Clarke, Carenza Lewis, and Neil Faulkner of Time Team, Mark Horton of Time Flyers, Roger Bland of Buried Treasure and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Maev Kennedy of The Guardian and Mike Pitts of British Archaeology.

All speakers agreed that archaeology is very popular. So popular, in fact, that it does not need archaeologists. As Neil Faulkner warned, archaeology of a kind will go on whether we like it or not: journalists will write about it, TV companies will make programmes about it and amateurs will dig or go out with metal detectors with or without professional guidance. Professionals therefore have to recognise that their best interests are served by empowering people and facilitating their involvement in archaeology. �To do so�, he argued, �leads to the creation of jobs and the achievement of our research goals and the opportunity to influence the way people think about archaeology. To say �no�, on the other hand, is to commit professional suicide, because the world can get on very well without us�.

Cross-engraved spoon found in Prittlewell grave

Mike Pitts, FSA, editor of British Archaeology, achieved a major journalistic scoop when he broke the news at the IFA conference that further spectacular finds had emerged from the Museum of London�s excavation of a Saxon king burial chamber found in February at Prittlewell, near Southend, in Essex. Many of the more fragile objects were lifted from the grave in blocks of soil and excavated in the laboratory. This has doubled the number of objects initially recovered to 120. One of the new finds is a silver spoon with a cross engraved in its bowl, along with two worn and incomplete inscriptions, one of which reads �FAB...� and the other �RONAM...� or ...RDNAM�.

A pair of small, gold-foil crosses that had lain on the body had already indicated that the tomb�s occupant might have been a Christian, and the presence of the spoon lends further weight to the theory. Our Fellow John Hines, interviewed by The Times, said there was no doubt that the man would have understood the Christian character of the cross: �Perhaps, like St Boniface � whose Anglo-Saxon name was Wynfrith �the Prittlewell man adopted a Latin name at his conversion.� The identity of the man remains unknown. There are records of two East Saxon kings who converted to Christianity: Saebert, who died in 616, and Sigebert II, who was murdered in 653.

Other discoveries made in the Museum of London laboratory include a set of fifty-seven plain bone pieces and two large deer-antler dice from some kind of game and a lyre, which is being described as the most complete lyre of the period yet seen in Britain � all of which prompted the popular press to speculate that �the Prince of Prittlewell, a high-ranking aristocrat who lived in Essex 1,400 years ago, was a gambler and a bard�.

A full report of the excavation and the work on the contents can be found in British Archaeology magazine�s April edition.

Stained-glass archive for sale

Estelle Morris, Minister for the Arts, has placed a temporary export bar on the archive of G King & Son, Norwich-based lead glaziers established in 1924. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art has awarded a starred rating to this exceptional archive, meaning that every possible effort should be made to raise enough money to keep it in the country.

The archive is described as �a very comprehensive and well-organised visual and documentary record of the firm's work�. It includes the firm's job files and account books, related collections of black and white photographs and glass negatives, and over 9,000 rubbings of glass that have passed through the workshop (rubbings made from a panel before it is taken apart for conservation, so that it can be reassembled accurately).

The DCMS press release announcing the deferral notes that: �The archive is of exceptional importance both on a national scale and in relation to the individual localities and regions involved. No study of medieval stained glass in East Anglia could be written without detailed study of it. Over 180 trays of unleaded medieval glass have been taken from the closing firm for storage, all marked with a notional place of origin. The best hope of establishing the history and ensuring the successful return of this precious glass to its correct position lies in a study of the firm's own files.�

Since 1924, the firm has not only conserved the glass at such important East-Anglian churches as Long Melford (Suffolk), East Harling (Norfolk) and St Peter Mancroft (Norwich), it has also looked after the stained glass at Great Malvern Priory, Wells Cathedral and Winchester College. Dennis King, the son of the firm�s founder, also acted as a consultant to conservation workshops at York and Canterbury and his unique standing as a master craftsman, restorer and historian of medieval stained glass was celebrated in a volume of essays published in 1984, called Crown in Glory: a Celebration of Craftsmanship Studies in Stained Glass (ed Peter Moore).

The deferral will enable purchase offers to be made at the agreed fair market price, which has been assessed at �13,810 (excluding VAT). Export is deferred until after 5 June 2004 with the possibility of an extension until after 5 September 2004 if there is a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase.

Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the archive should contact the owner's agent through The Secretary, The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2�4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH. Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200.

The Egan Skills Review calls on developers to �raise their game�

The newly published Egan Skills Review, compiled under the chairmanship of Sir John Egan, calls on developers �to raise their game�, and accuses them of �using the bottom line as an excuse to deliver mediocre design and mediocre building quality�. �Developers�, he insists, �must buy in to the common goal [and] commit to delivering high-quality attractive places for people to live�.

In a related development the Government has announced the creation of a new Planning Advisory Service (PAS). This will be open this autumn and provide support and advice to local authorities in England on all aspects of planning, from plan making to development control.

The Egan Skills Review summarises the views of 103 organisations who responded to the consultation, headed by Sir John Egan and set up last October, looking into the skills that built-environment professionals require to deliver the Government�s �22 billion Sustainable Communities Plan.

The overwhelming majority of the respondents said that substantial changes would be necessary to current systems and processes if the cultural change required by the Plan is to be realised. In particular, respondents were critical of developers for not understanding the objectives and intended outcomes of planning policy; of elected members and officers of local authorities for not having a good enough understanding of finance and economics; and of Local Planning Authorities for not using their planning powers more creatively. Respondents also wanted to separate the planning system from the political process and they wanted to see the early and continuing involvement of the local community, which was seen to be crucial to the successful implementation of planning policy.

The review notes that more people are needed who have the ability to cross traditional professional and occupational boundaries. As well as pinpointing the shortage of people with historic buildings craft skills, the report recommends that new qualifications and training courses be developed for raising the skill levels of those involved in two new professions within the planning system: those of �developer� and of �urban regeneration specialist�.

The report shows that there is overwhelming support for the proposal that elected members who serve on planning committees should be offered training in delivering the sustainable communities' agenda (along the lines of the HELM project (Historic Environment � Local Management) being developed jointly by English Heritage and the ODPM) though some respondents said that to make such training compulsory would interfere with the democratic process.

Further details and downloadable copies of the report can be obtained from the ODPM website.

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust awards

Scholarships worth between �2,000 and �15,000 are available to men and women of all ages to fund further study, training and practical experience in craft or trade skills. Applicants must demonstrate they have already developed a high level of skill and are firmly committed to their craft or trade. They must live and work in the UK. Past scholars' have included practitioners in blacksmithing, bookbinding, calligraphy, millinery, paper conservation, plaster conservation, stonemasonry and woodcarving.

Awards are made twice a year and applications forms for the autumn awards must be received by 16 July 2004. Further details and an application form are available on the website at www.qest.org.uk or by contacting: The Secretary, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, No. 1 Buckingham Place, London SW1E 6HR (with an A4 SAE and 34p stamp).

Restoration for Restoration losers

Three of the historical buildings at risk that featured on BBC TV�s Restoration programme last August but failed to win the �3 million prize, have since been awarded a total of �6m between them from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Cobham Park in Gravesend, Kent, will get the largest grant of �4.98m, which will be used to restore the Grade II-listed parkland, gardens and buildings, including the neo-classical Darnley Mausoleum commissioned in the eighteenth century by John Bligh, the 3rd Earl of Darnley, as his final resting place and now the target of vandals and arsonists.

Greyfriars Tower in King's Lynn, Norfolk, gets �849,000 to restore the tower and create a new visitor centre. The Grade I-listed tower � all that remains of the eleventh-century St Francis Church Priory � has been closed to the public because of safety problems. Trustees responsible for Carlisle's Brackenhill Tower will get �50,000 to appoint a project manager and draw up a development plan as the first step towards restoring the borderland peel tower dating from 1580 as a visitor centre celebrating the history of the border clans. The crumbling structure needs �3m to be fully restored.

Flying Scotsman saved

Transport heritage enthusiasts were celebrating earlier this month when an appeal for funds to buy the Flying Scotsman, arguably the world's most famous (non-fictional) steam engine, resulted in the engine returning to public ownership for the first time in forty-one years. The National Railway Museum in York, helped by �1.8 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, won a seven-week auction to keep the 81-year-old loco in the UK. A further �790,000 was raised through a public appeal, to which the entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson donated �365,000.

Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, the Flying Scotsman was built at the London and North Eastern Railway's Doncaster works, became the first steam engine to achieve a speed of 100mph, and completed the first non-stop journey from London to Edinburgh in 1928. It retired from British Railways service in 1963 and later toured North America and Australia, where it set another world record � this time for a non-stop steam run by hauling a train for 422 miles in New South Wales.

Our Fellow Stephen Johnson, Head of Operations at the Heritage Lottery Fund, borrowed a favourite phrase of the Deputy Prime Minister when he said that the Fund �was chuffed to have been able to help ... what better way can there be of using money from the NHMF than to help save this great piece of British engineering in memory of those who saved the country?�, he asked.

The engine will move to York in time for Railfest at the end of May, a celebration at the National Railway Museum of 200 years of rail travel. It will then haul excursion trains from York to Scarborough. Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency, has offered �500,000 to create a new exhibition space to house the Flying Scotsman when it is not in use. Its presence is expected to bring an extra 200,000 visitors to the museum over the next five years.

�10.8 million boost for museums

Grants amounting to �10.8 million have just been announced to fund educational and development work in English museums and galleries.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has awarded development grants totalling �3.8 million to thirty-nine of regional England's museums and galleries under the Renaissance in the Regions programme. One of the projects to receive funding is the Mary Rose Trust scheme to create an environmentally controlled storage facility (�71,750) where a significant proportion of the as yet unstudied artefacts from the ship can be researched. Another is an ambitious collaboration between communities in the Torres Straits, the Pacific region and the Caribbean to gain access to study material held in the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology, the Manchester Museum and the Horniman Museum. Further information can be found on the MLA website.

An additional �7 million has been allocated specifically to fund educational work. Over �1 million will be channelled through MLA for the teacher and museum educator professional development programme. This funding is to develop a national programme of secondments in collaboration with Arts Council England, the Museums Association, the Group for Education in Museums and Engage. Further information can be found on the MLA website.

Sue Wilkinson, Director of Regions and Learning at MLA, said: �This funding comes at a time when we have seen a 28 per cent increase in school visits, with particularly high take-up from schools in disadvantaged communities.�

Education in Museums � where next?

As part of Museums Month (May 2004), the Victoria and Albert Museum will play host to a debate on the topic of �Education in Museums: What Should Happen Next?� on 5 May 2004, at 7.15pm in the Lecture Theatre. Loyd Grossman, FSA, will be in the chair, and three leaders in the cultural sector � Mark Jones, FSA, Director of the V&A, Professor Lola Young, former Head of Culture at the Greater London Authority, and Sandy Nairne, FSA, Director of the National Portrait Gallery � will debate the future of education in museums and galleries. The lecture is arranged in association with the Royal Society for the Arts, the Campaign for Museums and the Madeleine Mainstone Trust.

For further information or advance bookings for the lecture call: 020 7942 2211.

Museum archive backlog 'could take a decade to clear'

The Auditor General for Wales has reported that work to document the collections of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales could take ten years to complete and solving storage problems could take another ten years beyond that.

The creation of a definitive national inventory is seen by many in the museums world as the key to unlocking its potential, of making reserve collections (which make up about 80 per cent of the resource) available to study and of realising the concept of �the extended national collection�.

At present, according to the Auditor General�s report, only a third of Wales�s artefacts and works of art works are listed in computer records. The National Museum believes it could take 384 staff years to complete the job at a cost of �1.65 million. It argues that reassigning staff to deal with the problem may cause the service it provides to the public to suffer.

But Sir John Bourn, the Auditor General, said that he expected further improvements from the museum and stressed that �the backlogs that persist mean that much of the collection is not maintained as well as it ought to be and that this needs to be addressed to preserve Welsh national heritage for future generations. Until these are dealt with, the public cannot take the full advantage of all that the museum has to offer.�

Steel sculptures to represent the Saxon churches of Dunwich

A scheme to rebuild the six drowned churches of Anglo-Saxon Dunwich in the form of offshore steel sculptures is one of four ideas selected by a panel of judges in a competition to find East Anglia�s equivalent to the Angel of the North. Antony Gormley�s 65-foot steel statue erected on a hill just south of Gateshead in 1998 has provided such a boost to the image and identity of the north east that the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has decided to follow suit and commission a landmark work of art to symbolise the region. Another of the shortlisted ideas involves erecting a huge steel suspension bridge, shaped like wind-bent fenland reeds, across the A14 at Quy, an idea put forward by a consortium that includes the National Trust, the Greater Cambridge Partnership, Cambridge firm Marshall and architects Landscape Design Associates. Replenishing and protecting a reef off the Norfolk coast and building a moveable bridge for riverside displays complete the line-up of projects that will now share a feasibility study grant of �250,000.

Building Stones Study Group invites new members

The Building Stones Study Group has been re-launched under the aegis of the Cathedral Architects Association to bring together practising architects and geologists with the aim of providing a better understanding of the geology of building stones and their decay mechanisms. Information is exchanged amongst members by email and future meetings are planned that include quarry and site visits to look at limestone and the problems of salting. Membership is open to all involved in the conservation and repair of buildings. For further information contact Jane Kennedy.

Pet cat found in 9,500-year-old-grave

T S Eliot would not have been at all surprised to hear the news that a cat has been found carefully buried beside its probable owner � along with a small pit containing 24 complete sea shells, and a variety of polished stones, tools, jewellery and axes � in a 9,500-year-old grave. The find, published in the journal Science, was made by a French team directed by Dr Jean Guilaine of the College de France in Shillourokambos, a large Neolithic village in Cyprus.

Credit for domesticating wild cats had previously gone to the ancient Egyptians, who are known to have used cats to deal with mice around 4,000 years ago. Researchers had suspected that humans began taming wild cats long before the rise of the Egyptian civilisation: a cat jawbone was first discovered in a Neolithic site on Cyprus during the 1980s, but this did not necessarily mean they had been tamed then. This discovery of a special burial perhaps indicates that a stronger relationship between cats and human beings had developed earlier than previously thought. Because of the richness of the other grave goods, it could be that cats were devoted to special activities or special human individuals in the village.

Shell beads claimed as world�s oldest jewellery

Do the sea shells found in the Cypriot cat grave represent a meal or an item of adornment? Perhaps the latter, if archaeologists working in South Africa are right in believing that shell necklaces were once the height of fashion. A team led by Christopher Henshilwood of the University of Bergen has found forty pea-sized shells with bored holes and worn areas, suggesting that they were strung on a cord and used as a necklace or bracelet. There is nothing especially unusual in that � except that the oldest jewellery previously known (according to Henshilwood) dates from 30,000 years ago, and these shells come from a 75,000-year-old deposit. Bone tools and decorated ochre have come from the same context. Our Fellow Clive Gamble, late of Southampton and now heading for the Royal Holloway, says the fact that the shells were found in clusters strengthens the idea that they came from a piece of jewellery.

Vatican to combat library thieves

Palm Sunday was marked not just by the Pope�s traditional blessing of the cardinals of the Church in St Peter�s Square, but also by the announcement that librarians at the Vatican Library will soon begin the task of inserting microchips into its 1.6 million books and manuscripts. The move is intended to deter thieves, but has an added advantage in that it will help library staff locate misplaced volumes using a radio transmitter. The Vatican�s twelve librarians currently devote the whole of August to tracking down the 130,000 books that regularly end up in the wrong place on the library�s thirty miles of shelves.

DNA tests reveal the theft of Petrarch's skull

Ancient books are not the only target for thieves in Italy: now even their authors are not safe, according to Vito Terribile Wiel Marin, the professor of anatomopathology at the University of Padua, who announced earlier this month that Petrarch�s skull has been stolen from his tomb.

The remains of the fourteenth-century Italian poet and humanist were exhumed from Petrarch's tomb near Padua in order to try and recreate the writer�s appearance in this, the 700th anniversary of the poet's birth. The skull when found was judged too small to match the skeleton. DNA tests carried out on a tooth and one of the ribs showed that they belonged to two different people and that the skull probably belonged to a woman. Physical marks, including a leg injury suffered while riding from Florence to Rome in 1350, suggest the other bones are Petrarch's. Professor Marin appealed to anyone who might be in possession of the real skull to come forward, adding that the theft could have occurred centuries ago.

Teenagers convicted of grave robbery under Scotland�s common law

Two teenagers who broke into the seventeenth-century mausoleum of Sir George �Bluidy� MacKenzie at Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh last June became the first people in 105 years to be convicted in Scotland of grave robbing. Both were sentenced for the common-law crime of �violation of sepulchre�: one was sentenced to three years� probation with 200 hours of community service and the other was given two years� probation. Sir George, who died in 1691, was a former Lord Advocate under Charles II. He won the epithet �Bluidy� for his persecution of Scotland's covenanters. The two teenagers were the first since 1899 to stand trial for breaking the old Scots law, introduced to stop grave robbing and body snatching.

All that Glitters...

A conference on �Treasure and Portable Antiquities� is to be held on 18 and 19 June 2004 at the National Museum & Gallery, Cathays Park, Cardiff, hosted by the National Museums & Galleries of Wales in collaboration with the Council for British Archaeology. The two-day event coincides with the showing at the National Museum & Gallery, Cardiff, of the exhibition Buried Treasure: finding our past. The conference provides an opportunity to reflect on the impact of recent changes in law � specifically the Treasure Act 1996 and the Dealing in Cultural Objects Act 2003 � and the introduction of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in England and Wales. The role of the exhibition in presenting the issues surrounding these developments will also be explored. Among the speakers will be Richard Allan, MP, sponsor of the Dealing in Cultural Objects Act 2003, Roger Bland, FSA, of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and Lord Redesdale of the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group. Further details from Elizabeth Verrinder, Department of Archaeology & Numismatics, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP, tel: 029 2057 3229.

Vacancies

Council for British Archaeology, Director
Salary c �40,000 plus pension; closing date 14 May 2004; interviews 10 and 11 June 2004

The Council for British Archaeology � with a membership of nearly 600 organisations and 10,000 individuals of all ages � is entering an important new phase in its development, building on sixty years of operations. The CBA invites applications for the post of Director from dynamic, articulate and committed candidates with a thorough knowledge of archaeology and the heritage sector in the United Kingdom. The successful applicant will play a key role in promoting the study and safeguarding of Britain's historic environment and act as an advocate for the sector. The CBA is looking for someone who is a good team-worker with partners, sensitive to a variety of stakeholder interests, and with the management experience for effective leadership of the Council's staff and volunteers.

Further particulars may be obtained from Peter Olver, CBA Finance Director, Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, England, tel: 01904 671417, email: admin@britarch.ac.uk. Relevant papers can also be downloaded from the CBA's website.

University College London, UCL: Art Collections, Collections Manager
Salary �22,445 plus London weighting, closing date 10 May 2004

The Collections Manager is responsible for the management of the Strang Print Room, for supervising documentation, conservation and storage projects, for loans to and from UCL, and for arranging temporary exhibitions. For a full job description, send an email and for further information on the UCL Art Collections, see the website.