Salon Archive

Issue: 90

Weekly meeting report

At this week�s meeting, Dr Elizabeth New gave Fellows a detailed account of the sights, sounds and even the smells of the chapel of the Jesus Guild, which occupied the chapel in the crypt of St Paul�s Cathedral from the mid-fifteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries. Using the records of the Dean and Chapter Dr New painted a picture of the chapel as covered in painted inscriptions, woven hangings and garlands of flowers, with richly ornamented altars lit by numerous candles and torches, its daily round of services accompanied by organ music and services set to music by Dr Robert Fayrefax, the noted composer, and sung by the cathedral choristers.

A full report on this week�s meeting can be read on the Fellows� side of the Society�s website.

Changes to the Society�s statutes

Various small changes to the statutes were ratified unanimously at this week�s meeting. The changes to the Statutes can be viewed on the Society�s website (in the Fellows� area, on the Events & Notices page).

Summer Soir�e

The last meeting of the season will take place on 24 June and (as is now traditional) will consist of a Miscellany of Papers followed by the Summer Soir�e. Short presentations will be made to launch the Society�s latest publications: Pamela Tudor-Craig, FSA, will talk about the diptych portraying Old St Paul�s (1616), painted by John Gypkin, in the Society�s Collection, and David Starkey, FSA, will talk about the 1542 Inventory of the Palace of Westminster.

Diary dates: next season�s meetings

7 October: Headstakes and Heathen Burials: the archaeology of execution in Anglo-Saxon England by Andrew Reynolds, FSA

14 October: The Old Minster at Winchester: Milan, Aachen, Jerusalem and Flanders, by Martin Biddle, OBE, FSA, and Birthe Kj�lbye-Biddle, FSA. Meeting to be held at St Hugh�s College, Oxford

21 October: The Birdoswald Section of Hadrian�s Wall: recent work, by Tony Wilmott, FSA

28 October: Ballot

4 November: London Armourers in the Seventeenth Century: makers, marks and products, by Thom Richardson, FSA

5 November: Excavating the Great Temple of Petra, by Martha Joukowsky, FSA. Annual Meeting of the Society�s American Fellowship in Boston

11 November: Excavations at Androna (Andarin) in Syria, by Marlia Mango, FSA

18 November: Woodland Archaeology in the South East: an assessment, by Nicola Bannister

25 November: The Archaeology of the Hansa: rediscovering cultural identity in northern Europe, by the General Secretary, David Gaimster

2 December: The Roman Middlewich Project: using the heritage to stimulate socio-economic regeneration, by Tim Strickland, FSA

9 December: Kelmscott before Morris and Afterwards, by Nicholas Cooper, FSA

16 December: A Miscellany of Papers, followed by mulled wine

Meeting of the Society of Antiquaries in Oxford on 14 October 2004

Fellows will be aware that the Society has held a number of meetings outside Burlington House and London, in York, Cardiff and Chester, not to mention the annual meeting in Boston in America (see below). The next such meeting is being organised at St Hugh�s College, Oxford, on 14 October 2004, by our Fellow Kenneth Painter, who writes that: �normal Burlington House timings will apply, with the lecture at 5pm, preceded by tea. The lecture, an important event in itself, will be by Martin Biddle and Birthe Kj�lbye-Biddle, on the Anglo-Saxon Minster at Winchester. All Fellows are welcome to attend and to bring a guest, as for London meetings. I expect the Society will hold a reception after the meeting; but this has yet to be confirmed. The arrangements will be made by Burlington House staff, and an official circular will be sent out nearer the date.�

Meeting of the American Fellowship in Boston on 5 November 2004

Norman Hammond writes to inform Fellows that the Annual Meeting of the Society's American Fellowship will be held at the Union Oyster House, Boston, on Friday 5 November 2004 at 6pm. Professor Martha Joukowsky, FSA, will speak on �Excavating the Great Temple of Petra�. All Fellows are welcome, although the number of places in the meeting room is limited. Fellows in the Americas and Caribbean will receive a more detailed notice in September, as will other Fellows who request it from the Secretary for the Americas, Professor Norman Hammond, FSA, at .

News of Fellows

The Society for Historical Archaeology (of North America) has just announced that the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology has won the SHA Award for Merit for the year 2005 in recognition of �its important role in promulgating historical archaeology in the UK through its publications, annual meetings and tours�. The SHA has also made a personal Award of Merit for the year 2005 to our General Secretary, David Gaimster. The awards will be presented at the SHA conference to take place at the University of York in January 2005.

Congratulations also to our Fellow, Claude Blair, who has been honoured by his old university � he received the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from the Chancellor of the University of Manchester at a special ceremony to mark Founder's Day on 12 May � and David Barker, Fellow, whose work at the Gladstone Museum of Pottery has been recognised by the award of an honorary doctorate by the University of Staffordshire.

Obituaries

The Society has been informed of the deaths of John Howland Rowe, a former Fellow, who died at the beginning of May, and of Dr James Quentin Hughes VOM MC OBE FSA.

Desmond John Bonney, Fellow since January 1968, also died on 11 May, succumbing finally to the leukaemia from which he suffered for some years. Many Fellows will have fond memories of Desmond as the ever-friendly face of the Royal Commission�s Salisbury office and a member of an especially productive field survey team that worked in Dorset in the 1960s and 1970s. Our Fellow Peter Fowler, a member of that same team, has contributed the following appreciation of Desmond�s life and work.

�Desmond Bonney, Fellow (1968), died on 11 May, 2004, after a long illness. One of the quiet but influential men of British archaeology, he was neither much of a public figure nor particularly well known even within archaeology; but percipiently, quietly, efficiently and utterly reliably, he made major contributions where they mattered. He was a brilliant archaeological fieldworker and the most sensible of counsellors.

�Desmond was a Cornishman from Wadebridge and a love of his county always stayed with him. After National Service, he read geography at Exeter where he was much influenced by one of his teachers, our Fellow Lady Aileen Fox. He worked with her on Dartmoor in the 1950s � and he always spoke fondly of Dean Moor � and the experience coloured his own methodologies and outlook. He then went to postgraduate study at Edinburgh under another Fellow, the late Professor Stuart Piggott, but his stay there was short. He was appointed (1956) as an Investigator of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), first working on Dorset briefly from London and then moving � it turned out to be for the rest of his professional life � as one of the original staff of the newly established Salisbury office. He became Head of the office in 1980 and the Commission�s Head of Archaeology for England in 1988. He retired three years later.

�One day early in 1959 he took a new colleague, an ignorant archaeological novice, to Corfe Castle and inducted him into the technique of measuring a profile across a wide and deep ditch. The operation was carried out with kindness, patience and utter meticulousness. Over the next 45 years I came to appreciate how lucky I was that so considerate a man had led me through an experience that could have been personally very humiliating. More importantly, the incident was a metaphor for Desmond, his work and his relationships with other people. Many could make the same point with different anecdotes.

�Desmond was one of a privileged group of young men whom fate brought together in that Salisbury office in the late 1950s under the rapidly maturing vision of Collin Bowen. Some of us tended to develop an increasingly vibrant, professional but extra-Commission life; Desmond got on with the work. Over the years he personally carried out the fieldwork behind many of the archaeological illustrations, and wrote much of the prehistoric text, in the great run of Dorset Inventories which finally lumbered into print in the 1970s and 1980s. Desmond�s skills and scholarship underpin the archaeology in them; they in turn are his major professional monument. He was also much involved, characteristically as contributor and editor at least, with other Commission projects and publications, notably Stonehenge and its Environs (1979), City of Salisbury I (1980) and Bodmin Moor I (1994).

�Desmond diffidently but firmly chaired the Archaeological Committee of the Wiltshire Archaeological Society in the 1960s and 1970s. He undertook significant personal research in Wiltshire, contributing the �Pagan Saxon� section to VCH Wiltshire I, II, and two seminal papers on Anglo-Saxon estate boundaries. The latter have been referenced sufficiently often as to make a full-time academic envious in terms of his citation index. I can guess what Desmond himself would have thought of such a fatuous mechanism: behind the quiet man were strong views as well as a percipient mind. He was reticent about public speaking but, again quietly and patiently, was actually a good fieldwork teacher. He inducted many a young person � one was a certain Christopher Taylor, later our Fellow � into fieldwork through the productive �summer assistants� scheme run from the Salisbury office, and I like to think he also enjoyed the several surveying courses for amateur archaeologists we led together from the Adult Education College at Urchfont Manor.

�A good man, and a Commission-man through and through, Desmond met his wife, Helen, in the Salisbury office. She and two sons survive him.�

T C Horsfall Kelmscott Press Collection

On 18 May, fifty-one publications produced by William Morris's Kelmscott Press were officially presented to the Society, to be displayed at Kelmscott Manor in conjunction with the volumes already in the Society's possession there. The donors, who were all present at the presentation, were Miss Oriole Goldsmith, Mr Andrew Simon and Mr Henry Simon, great-grandchildren of Mr T C Horsfall, the Manchester textile manufacturer, who was a contemporary of William Morris and corresponded with him in the 1890s. The fifty-one volumes (a complete set except for the Chaucer volumes) were bought as they were published and are in brilliant unmarked condition, with all silk ties still present.

The donation, to be known as T C Horsfall Kelmscott Press Collection, was suggested by our Fellow, Paul Hetherington, who had been asked by Miss Goldsmith if he could suggest a suitable location for what was clearly an outstanding collection. The Manor � surely the perfect home � now possesses a complete set of all of the press's publications in the paper editions (some were also printed in limited numbers on vellum). It is hoped to mount a display on the Press in Kelmscott Manor next year.

UK to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention

The Minister for Heritage, Andrew McIntosh, has announced that the UK Government is to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The Government was publicly criticised by leaders within the heritage sector last year, following the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad, for not having foreseen the need to protect cultural property and for not being a signatory to the Convention, which is fifty years old this year.

Adopted in the wake of the massive physical destruction of the Second World War, the Hague Convention was the first international agreement to focus exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage. The parties to the treaty have committed to safeguarding cultural property in periods of hostility, and also in times of peace. The UK Government claims to have �remained committed to the principles of the agreement�, which it signed in 1954, but did not ratify �due to issues surrounding interpretation and implementation�. The adoption of the Second Protocol in 1999 has, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, �remedied these deficiencies and has made it possible for the UK to ratify the treaty�.

Speaking last week at an international conference in Warsaw to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Hague Convention, Andrew McIntosh said: �This is a firm statement of our belief in the principles of the Hague Convention and its Protocols, and in the vital role that cultural heritage plays in the life of every nation and its people. The protection of individual cultures reflects the increasingly globalised world in which we live: the destruction of cultural property means the diminution of civilian and civilised life. Ratification of the Convention and its Protocols will ensure that such protection is enshrined in law.�

He continued: �The measures required by the Convention are relevant not only in the event of armed conflict, but also other emergencies, ranging from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. Protection of cultural property in peacetime can be used to enhance international commitment to the safeguarding of cultural property in periods of hostility.�

Full details can be found at the DCMS website.

Post-war listings

Three post-war structures were designated as listed buildings recently by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. One is a Thames-side sculpture: Wendy Taylor�s Timepiece, both sculpture and sundial, is located near Tower Bridge and its installation thirty years ago heralded the late twentieth-century revival of interest in public sculpture.

The two other new listings are 3 Clarkson Road, Cambridge (built in 1958), and 12 Dunstable Street, Ampthill (designed in 1964 and completed in 1967). Announcing the listings, Heritage Minister Andrew McIntosh said: �Because so many exist, a post-war structure needs to be of exceptional quality and character in order to qualify for listing. �Timepiece�, the well-loved landmark sculpture by Wendy Taylor, is just such an exception. Its elegance and nautical simplicity perfectly complements its prominent position along the Thames. 3 Clarkson Road Cambridge, is a striking illustration of modernism at its most thoughtful and refined. Trevor Dannatt�s subtle detailing and impressive use of light and space make this home a fine example of 1950s architecture at its best. 12 Dunstable Street in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, is a dignified and understated civic building of exceptional quality, and a fine example of Sir Albert Richardson�s post-war neo-Georgian style. It is also one of Richardson�s most personal buildings, designed for his home town of forty-five years.�

Further information from the DCMS website.

The archaeology of the urban commons

According to The Guardian (20 May), English Heritage archaeologists have just begun a major survey of three large commons that almost encircle the Yorkshire market town of Beverley. Traces of the original eighteenth-century local racecourse have already been detected by aerial surveys, along with the signs of Bronze and Iron-Age barrows. The work at Beverley is part of a wider thematic survey looking at urban commons, open spaces that lie close to the heart of some of the country's busiest cities and towns, preserving all sorts of features, from undisturbed Bronze-Age burial sites to evidence of medieval fairgrounds.

Mitch Pollington, an archaeological investigator for English Heritage, said: �Commons are archaeological encyclopaedias. They were intensively used for all sorts of activities, from communal gatherings like country fairs or political rallies to military rifle ranges in wartime. Features like the remains of Beverley racecourse have survived because they escaped modern ploughing, and that's also helped to preserve much older, prehistoric landmarks.�

Further information about the Commons survey is available on the English Heritage website (under Archaeology, Landscape detectives, National and regional archaeological surveys), along with details of current work on the Witham Valley, the Quantock Hills, the South Downs, the Malvern Hills, Cheviot hillforts and cursus enclosures.

For �green� read �brown�

In an age that rejects the notion of absolutes, it is perhaps not surprising to discover that words now mean the opposite to what you once thought they did. Hence the article in the Sunday Telegraph (23 May) saying that gardens have been officially classified as �brownfield sites� ripe for redevelopment under planning guidance issued by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister. The advice, which aims to ensure that 60 per cent of development in future occurs on brownfield sites, defines gardens as �previously developed land�.

Further support for the guidance comes from Professor Marcial Echenique of Cambridge University's Martin Centre for Urban Studies, who is leading a study on how to encourage substantial development within existing urban environments and reduce dependency on car use. He has stated that: "They made very large gardens in the 1930s and it is possible to sub-divide the plots with alleys and paths and to introduce denser development.� A spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has responded to the Telegraph�s story by saying: �This guidance is about using land efficiently and is aimed at substantial new building not back gardens.�

CBA response to the Draft PPS1: �Creating Sustainable Communities�

All the issues raised in the above report are also addressed by the CBA In its response to the Draft PPS1 published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (PPS1, or Planning Policy Statement 1, sets out the principles that underlie all the other planning policy statements). The CBA response says �we are deeply concerned at the greater emphasis placed in the draft PPS on economic, rather than social and environmental objectives of sustainable development�. It goes on to say that: �it is clear (from Annex A of PPS1) that the Government does not see conservation and appreciation of the historic and natural environment as a core strand of promoting sustainable communities � although communities actually put great value on, and derive great value from, such conservation�.

The CBA would like to see various core principles brought into the PPS, including a firm commitment to the precautionary principle of �treating uncertainty and risk of damage as a reason not to proceed until issues are clarified (this is especially important for archaeology as clearly recognised in PPG16)�. It also argues for a proper regard for environmental capacity limits: �ensuring that irreplaceable resources are not irrevocably exhausted or key environmental assets irreversibly damaged�, a principle that applies especially to historic environmental assets, given that archaeological sites and monuments and historic buildings are inherently irreplaceable.

New light on the Black Death

A newly published book, The Return of the Black Death, written by Chris Duncan, emeritus professor of zoology at Liverpool University, and social historian Sue Scott, concludes that the plague epidemics that swept Europe in the late medieval period were not bubonic plague, which is carried by fleas on the backs of rats, but another highly infectious and deadly virus, haemorrhagic plague. Their conclusions result from a study of parish records, wills and diaries across England, during which they noted a time lag between the first recorded death from plague and a second wave of deaths, which typically occurred some twenty-two days later.

The authors charted how quickly people died in a typical plague epidemic and calculated that the infection had an incubation period of around twenty-seven days, suggesting that the plague was not spread by rodent-borne fleas but by people travelling around the country. Their death in a village or town would be followed by mass deaths three weeks later. This solution answers the conundrum of how rats could have spread the disease at a time when there were no brown rats in Europe. According to Chris Duncan, native black rats do not live in rural areas and would not in any case have been resistant to bubonic plague. He adds that in winter it would have been too cold for the fleas on rats to survive.

Open meeting on the digital dissemination of archaeological publications

The Council for British Archaeology and the Society of Antiquaries of London hosted an open meeting in October 2003 to discuss the formation of a publishing consortium to disseminate electronic versions of archaeological publications to paying subscribers. As a result, a more detailed proposal was published in December 2003 (via the www.access2archaeology.info web site) to which over thirty organisations have responded.

A further open meeting will now be held on 14 June 2004, from 2pm to 4.30pm at the Society of Antiquaries of London, to take the discussions forward. This meeting will consider potential solutions to the key concerns expressed in response to the December 2003 proposal, especially with regard to financial, legal, constitutional and copyright issues. The meeting will also consider a timescale for the development of the consortium and a target date for the publishing operation to be launched.

The meeting is open to all: tickets should be booked in advance from Jenny Hudson at the Council for British Archaeology.

The Wallace Collection Seminars in the History of Collecting

Our Fellow, Philippa Glanville, Associate Fellow, Warwick University, and Former Academic Director, Waddesdon Manor, will lead the next Wallace Collection Seminar on 23 June 2004, on the subject of �Reassessing Ferdinand de Rothschild�. Baron Ferdinand (1839�98) is admired as the creator of Waddesdon and as a benefactor of the British Museum, to which he left the Waddesdon Bequest. Although many aspects of the French decorative arts at Waddesdon and the Renaissance holdings at the British Museum have been explored, Ferdinand himself remains little-documented and elusive, sometimes characterised as a lonely and effete widower. His London home, 143 Piccadilly, barely recorded, was his principal base.

A fresh look at his life in London and Paris reveals an active, well-informed connoisseur, a volunteer soldier, a breeder of prize cattle, passionate about travel and multi-lingual, and a discerning patron of music. His letters, his payments and other sources are now contributing to a more rounded picture of this unusual late-nineteenth-century collector. The seminar will start at 4.30pm and finish by 6pm. Advance booking is essential: contact Louisa Collins, Museum Assistant at the Wallace Collection.

Seminar in Arabian Studies

A major three-day seminar in Arabian Studies takes place at the British Museum from 22 to 24 July, with many Fellows among the eminent international line-up of speakers. Full details from the Arabian Seminar website.

Special Soane Lecture

Professor Alistair Rowan will deliver the Special Soane Lecture on the subject of �Robert Adam�s Adelphi: a speculation too far�, at the Royal Institution, 21 Albermarle Street, on 27 May at 7pm. Further information and tickets from the Royal Institution website.

British Decorative Ironwork Foundation

The British Decorative Ironwork Foundation, dedicated to preserving the UK�s heritage of decorative ironwork, has just launched a free newsletter, The Lamplighter, which can be obtained, along with details of the organisation�s activities, from The British Decorative Ironwork Foundation, 803 Samuel Lewis Building, Ixworth Place, London SW3 3QG.

Invitation to tender: Gateway to England project

Applications are invited from organisations or individuals wishing to tender for the work of developing the Gateway to England project so that an application can be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding for a three-year community archaeology project. This work offers an exciting opportunity to help develop a project that it is hoped will serve as a model for similar projects in other parts of the UK.

A key aim of the project is to integrate professional, academic and amateur archaeologists into one highly focused project involving fieldwork, geophysics, excavation, environmental survey and finds assessment � all designed to map the pre-Roman, Roman and post-Roman settlement and landscape organisation of east Kent, and to understand the special character of east Kent as the Gateway to England during the Iron Age, Roman and early medieval periods.

A detailed brief is available from Salon�s editor, Christopher Catling.

Bizarre books

Next time you are visiting the British Museum, spare a few moments to look at the books displayed in the window of Jarndyce Books, located opposite the BM at 46 Great Russell Street. Connoisseurs of quirky tomes have been kept amused for years by the window displays, which include absurdly titled books, or works whose authors glory in such names as A Clot, Richard Daft or Cecil Nutter. Jarndyce�s proprietor, Mr Brian Lake, has also written a book on the topic, available from the firms website at .

Gems from recent window displays include: Criminal Life: Reminiscences of Forty-two Years as a Police Officer, by Superintendent Bent, Correctly English in Hundred Days (full of �ordinary speak and write language�) published by the Correctly English Society of China, You Can Make a Stradivarius Violin, by Joseph V Reid, and two must-read titles for historic environment specialists: Piles for Civil Engineers, and The History of the Concrete Roofing-tile.