Brian Hope-Taylor, the Council for British Archaeology, and ‘The Need for Adequate Archaeological Propaganda’

Brian Hope-Taylor (1923–2001) is remembered as one of the first archaeologists in the United Kingdom to introduce the discipline to a wider audience, through presenting television programmes in the 1960s. He also oversaw numerous excavations. The

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  © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2014 DOI 10.1179/1465518713Z.00000000034 public archaeology, Vol. 12 No. 2, May 2013, 101–16 Brian Hope-Taylor, the Council for British Archaeology, and ‘The Need for Adequate Archaeological   Propaganda’ Suzie Thomas Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow, UK Brian Hope-Taylor (1923–2001) is remembered as one of the first archaeolo-gists in the United Kingdom to introduce the discipline to a wider audience, through presenting television programmes in the 1960s. He also oversaw numerous excavations. The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is known for being an educational charity, with the protection of the UK’s archaeo-logical heritage and historic environment central to its activities. What is perhaps less well-known is that, in the 1940s, Hope-Taylor was behind a proposal to the CBA to introduce a campaign of ‘cheerful propaganda’, in order to raise awareness among the wider public about chance archaeo-logical finds and their significance, and hence to persuade them to report these discoveries to appropriate ‘experts’. This paper uses archival evidence and the existing literature to examine, within a historical context, the pro-posed scheme. Had it come to fruition, it would have introduced principles and mechanisms for public reporting and recording of archaeological dis-coveries comparable to those laid out by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which itself did not come to fruition for another five decades. keywords history of archaeology, portable antiquities, Council for British Archaeology, Brian Hope-Taylor, propaganda Introduction The formation of the Council for British Archaeology, protecting the past, and treasure trove The protection of the physical evidence of the past has always been a significant area of debate and concern for archaeologists and other heritage specialists. This has particularly been the case for the Secretariat and membership of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), an educational charity concerned with the protection and enjoyment of archaeological heritage. 1  The CBA was established in 1944, and it was  102 SUZIE THOMAS identified from the outset that one of its principal objectives would be the ‘safeguard-ing of all kinds of archaeological material and the strengthening of existing measures for the care of ancient and historic buildings, monuments, and antiquities’ (Heywort h, 2006). The CBA was by no means the first organization in the UK established to raise awareness about, and lobby for, the protection of built or buried heritage. Archaeol-ogy had already for some time been a subject of interest, with the foundation of numerous archaeological and antiquarian societies from the eighteenth century onwards. There are early examples of movements established to campaign for the preservation of heritage assets in the UK. These include the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), founded in 1877 by William Morris, and regarded as ‘the most famous preservationist body of the Victorian period’ (Miele, 1996: 19). Enacted just five years after SPAB’s foundation, the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1882) dealt with the safeguarding of archaeological monuments, and for the first time introduced the idea of a schedule of monuments (Champion, 1996: 39); legisla-tion which was incrementally strengthened in 1900 and 1913. In the case of portable antiquities, 2  there had in fact been a legal instrument in place for much longer, in the form of the treasure trove common law. This, until its supersession by the Treasure Act (1996) in September 1997, was one of the oldest laws still in use in England and Wales (Scotland as a separate jurisdiction still operates its own form of treasure trove). In practice, treasure trove was always problematic, since in its archaic creation there had been no plan for it to operate as an antiquities law (Bland, 2005b: 440). At the same time as the 1882 Act appeared, however, treasure trove experienced some systemic changes, which also reflected the development at this time of a greater awareness of archaeological heritage: [...] antiquarians realized that the old law of treasure trove had a significance over and above that of simply adding to the royal revenues and so in 1886 the Government announced that finds claimed as treasure trove would be offered to museums, and finders (but not landowners) would be paid a reward. (Bland, 2005b: 441) The CBA, then, was formed years after these preliminary developments, and it brought together existing archaeological groups and societies to form a collective representative voice. Its formation recognized that an organization was needed for ‘British archaeology in all its aspects’ (Morris, 2007: 342). The arrival of the CBA also coincided with the beginning of the end of the Second World War. This major world event was significant, according to some, in changing wider public opinions about the protection of heritage: ‘As a result of the war, and in particular the aerial bombard-ment of Britain, the public began to be very concerned about the preservation of ancient monuments’ (Halfin, 1995: 8). Indeed, one of the first actions of the CBA, following its inaugural meeting in March 1944, was to set up excavation committees ‘in a number of bombed towns’ and to use its local networks to gather information on known sites (Morris, 2007: 342). However, policy makers and the wider public did not necessarily always share the same sentiments as the CBA concerning the impor-tance of archaeological heritage. It has been noted elsewhere that the introduction of listed building protection, also in the 1940s, was as much to enable planners to know which buildings could be demolished, as to show them which to protect (While, 2007:  103 ‘THE NEED FOR ADEQUATE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROPAGANDA’ 647). This also chimes with Brian Hope-Taylor’s concerns over ‘public apathy’, discussed in further detail below.In order to assist the protection of portable antiquities in particular, the CBA consistently supported, and even led, initiatives to try to reform treasure trove (Addyman, 2009: 59). Yet, despite being a key objective of the CBA, little progress was made on reforming treasure trove for decades, due largely to ‘the difficulty of securing an archaeological consensus as to what needed to be done’ (Bland, 2004: 273). Even with the progression from treasure trove to the Treasure Act 1996, a still relatively small percentage of all archaeological discoveries are subject to mandatory reporting by the finder. Hence now, as previously, it is desirable for the archaeologi-cal record to encourage voluntary reporting of finds in parallel to the legislation, an activity greatly facilitated in England and Wales since 1997 by the Portable Antiqui-ties Scheme (PAS). 3  The PAS has gone a long way to raise awareness about the importance of reporting and recording archaeological finds by the general public, and metal-detector users have been targeted in particular as a community that regularly engages directly with artefacts. However, the challenge remains of how best to engage with all sectors of the public, including those who do not already have some interest in archaeology (but who may nonetheless come across archaeological material by chance). Brian Hope-Taylor Brian Hope-Taylor (1923–2001) was an artist and an archaeologist. In the field of Medieval Archaeology, his name is most associated with his excavations at Ad Gefrin (Yeavering) in Northumberland (O’Brien & Frodsham, 2005: 9). His extensive report on the site, simply titled Yeavering  (Hope-Taylor, 1977), has been described as ‘one of the most important works on the archaeology of Northumberland ever published’ (Frodsham, 2004: 71). Before becoming an archaeologist, Hope-Taylor was an accomplished artist, and had worked in naval intelligence and the Royal Air Force throughout the Second World War. During this time, his growing interest in archae-ology was encouraged by professional archaeologists with whom he worked at Medmenham, Buckinghamshire, where he was involved with making models of targets identified by aerial photography (Graham-Campbell, 2001). His academic career was at Cambridge, where he received his PhD (despite not having attended university prior to his doctoral research), and he was subsequently appointed Assist-ant Lecturer and then Lecturer (Graham-Campbell, 2001). There he worked alongside close colleague and fellow advocate of disseminating archaeology through popular media, Glyn Daniel (Taylor, 2005: 206).He is possibly remembered best for his presentation of two television series in the 1960s: Who were the British?  and The Lost Centuries  (Graham-Campbell, 2001). As a television presenter, he was responsible for bringing archaeology to ‘millions of viewers to whom it was entirely new. Tony Robinson and Michael Wood have much to thank him for’ (Taylor, 2005: 207). Much has already been written about the exploits of another ‘celebrity’ archaeologist, Mortimer Wheeler (e.g., Moshenska, 2009, 2011; Moshenska & Schadla-Hall, 2011). He, like Hope-Taylor, expressed con-cern at the potential for damage to archaeological sites due to the impact of warfare, and even took measures while posted abroad during his own military service in the  104 SUZIE THOMAS Second World War to provide what protection he could to archaeological sites (see Wheeler, 1955: 153–55). As a consequence of the Second World War, many of Britain’s towns and cities suffered extensive damage and required rebuilding, as noted above. On an interna-tional scale there was apparent collective shock felt at the destruction of cultural property, including ancient monuments as well as fine art and museum collections, due to the events of the international conflict (Toman, 1996: 20). One outcome of aftermath of the conflict, for example, connected not only to concern for cultural heritage but to the desire to develop a ‘broadly supported regime of educational cooperation in the post World War II era’, was the foundation in 1946 of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (Mundy, 1999: 27). Hammond (1980) also noted the strategies employed by various governments to attempt to safeguard their cultural treasures during the war itself, including removal of paintings from London galleries for safekeeping, and the activities of the Roberts Commission. 4  Hence, the concept of protecting antiquities and other cultural mate-rial was already employed within governmental and supra-governmental policies.Working at a regional level within England, Tony Gregory, who was actively engaging with metal-detector users in East Anglia from the 1970s, is often credited with developing a model on which PAS is based (e.g., Bland, 2005b: 442). Certainly, at the time Gregory acknowledged his initiative, which started in Norfolk and later rolled out to Suffolk, to have been developed as a response to the lack of archaeo-logical policy, at a national level, to the threat of uncontrolled treasure hunting (Green & Gregory, 1978: 161). However, it is clear that the material produced by Hope-Taylor in his proposals to the CBA, some three decades earlier, also features elements comparable to PAS. Indeed, as discussed later in this paper, recent re-display of Hope-Taylor’s posters have also directly influenced a new poster series raising awareness about Scottish Treasure Trove.Of course, the advent of the metal detector was particularly significant in contrib-uting to the development of PAS. It initially appeared in the late 1960s, having become a significantly popular hobby by the late 1970s and early 1980s (see Thomas, 2012 for a description of the archaeological sector’s responses to the hobby during this period) and still a thriving hobby by the mid-1990s, when PAS was launched. In the 1940s, however, there was no comparable hobby making a direct impact on the archaeo-logical heritage. The public did make some chance discoveries of archaeological material, for example through agricultural work or in urban development and rebuilding, but this was not on the same scale. The archival research: Hope-Taylor’s ‘propaganda’ The archives of the often-fragmented field notes of Hope-Taylor, concerning the sites that he investigated, are the subject of research elsewhere. For example, his unpub-lished notes, records, and in some cases even finds from Bamburgh, Northumberland, only became available after his death in 2001. These have since contributed to the continued investigations of the Bamburgh Research Project (Bamburgh Research Project, 2013; Young, 2008). Much of Hope-Taylor’s research archive is currently held by the Royal Commission of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland  105 ‘THE NEED FOR ADEQUATE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROPAGANDA’ (RCAHMS, n.d.), and, as the Bamburgh Research Project shows, the majority of research utilizing the archives left by Hope-Taylor has specifically focused on his contribution to archaeology. In this paper, too, the focus is on his contribution to strategies for public communication and engagement by heritage organizations. How-ever, in light of acknowledgement over the past few decades from historians of the role of the archive as evidence of people , rather than as records of government and administrative organizations, for example   (e.g. Hobbs, 2001; McKemmish, 1996), and the apparent appetite within the discipline of archaeology for understanding better particular individuals (perhaps demonstrated by the current fascination with Mortimer Wheeler, see Moshenska & Salamunovich, 2013), there is clearly scope in the future for a more person-orientated study of Hope-Taylor, as he may be under-stood through his archival legacy. Certainly, understanding the contribution and biographies of particular individuals helps to shed light on the development of archaeology as a discipline, particularly when the individuals studied have had an impact on a particular aspect of archaeology, such as public engagement.This paper makes reference to primary material from the CBA’s own archives, and specifically on the small body of material in the collection produced by Hope-Taylor himself. At the time of writing, most of the Hope-Taylor material was on loan from the CBA’s main offices in York, and kept in storage at Bede’s World Museum in  Jarrow, South Tyneside, following its prominent display in a temporary exhibition titled A Process of Discovery . 5  The Hope-Taylor material studied primarily focused around a proposal made to the CBA, and is relatively modest in size, but nonetheless significant for discussions of public engagement and awareness-raising about portable antiquities in the British context. This infrequently seen section of the archive is particularly significant, given Hope-Taylor’s influence as ‘perhaps the most influential of all early TV archaeologists’ (Fowler, 2007: 91).During the doctoral research from which this paper stems, the primary approach taken towards the majority of the archive encountered at the CBA was ‘chronicling’, listing the events in narrative form (Murray Thomas, 2003: 18), in order to establish the chain of events, as revealed in the archive, that influenced policy towards the management of portable antiquities and of those finding them. Additionally, since the CBA archive contains a huge volume of publications, correspondences, draft docu-ments, and other material relating to its activities since its 1944 inception, the research was inevitably limited to focusing on the material that had a direct connection to the doctoral research questions, which principally related to the reactions to and treatment of metal-detector users and other hobbyist treasure seekers by professional archaeologists and organizations. The potential distortion of information through the amount and quality of material selected for research, as well as inevitable uncertain-ties about the completeness of the archive to begin with, needs to be clearly acknowl-edged as a potential disadvantage (Murray Thomas, 2003: 19), and the dangers of assuming that one can maintain objectivity in the interpretation of the records that have survived in archival form are noted elsewhere (e.g., Burton, 2005: 9). On occa-sion particularly significant material was encountered, such as that discussed in this paper, which could be drawn out for further analysis. Remembering the nature of the material being analysed (in this case, a ‘propaganda’ of sorts, albeit unpublished), has been central to understanding the material’s meaning and relevance (Tosh and Lang,
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