Society of Antiquaries of London

Society of Antiquaries of London
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The Society of Antiquaries of London is charged by its Royal Charter of 1751 with ‘the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries’. It celebrated its Tercentenary in 2007.

The Society’s 3,000 Fellows include many distinguished archaeologists and art and architectural historians holding positions of responsibility across the cultural heritage. The Fellowship is international in its reach and its interests are inclusive of all aspects of the material past.

As a registered charity, the Society’s principal objectives are to foster public understanding of that heritage, to support research and communicate the results and to engage in the formulation of public policy on the care of our historic environment and cultural property. The Society of Antiquaries receives no direct support from public funds.

Venue Type:

Association or society

Opening hours

By appointment only, Mon- Fri, 10.00 - 17.30

Admission charges

Please telephone 020 7479 7084 or email admin@sal.org.uk

Getting there

We are located in Burlington House, on Piccadilly, between the Piccadilly and Green Park underground stations. Burlington House is also home to several other learned societies, including the Royal Academy of Art. Our apartments neighbour the Royal Academy, just to the left of the RA, inside the Burlington House courtyard.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Weapons and War, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Coins and Medals, Social History

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Image of guided tour at the Society of Antiquaries of London

Guided Tour of the Society of Antiquaries of London

  • 31 January 2017 10am-12pm
  • 14 February 2017 10am-12pm
  • 21 March 2017 10am-12pm
  • 25 April 2017 10am-12pm

Join us for a unique opportunity to visit the historic apartments of the Society of Antiquaries of London at Burlington House and to learn about the history of one of Britain's oldest learned societies – a perfect way to spend a morning in Central London! This is a special chance to see our meeting rooms and library and to view some of the remarkable artefacts contained in the Society's collections. Also on display collection of Tudor portraiture including a famous portrait of Mary I by Hans Eworth and two 16th-century portraits of Richard III (one of which is probably the earliest-surviving copy of a portrait painted in Richard’s lifetime!).

Guests are served coffee and tea upon arrival and the intimate tour (1.5 hours) is led by qualified guide Anthony Davis MA (Oxon.), MA (Lond.), who is a Fellow and a Trustee of the Society.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

£10.00 per person

Website

http://www.sal.org.uk/tours

Society of Antiquaries of London

From the Dungheap to the Stars: The History of Early Gunpowder

  • 31 January 2017 1-2pm

Black powder – gunpowder – is probably, with printing and the silicon chip, one of the most important developments of the last millennium. In essence, it started the change from the use of animal, mechanical or natural sources of energy, all of which are limited, to the almost unlimited sources of chemical energy. However we know surprisingly little about its origins and early development and know even less about its properties and performance. This can be put down to a number of reasons including: few, if any, surviving artefacts; confusing and often misleading documentary sources; and the invention of nitrate based explosives in the 1860s. However, over the last 15 years, experimental and archive research by the Ho Group at the Middlealdercentret in Denmark has begun to unravel its mysteries.

One of the primary outcomes of our research has been that this seemingly simple mixture, of saltpetre, charcoal and sulfur, has proven to be amazingly complex. Its properties, particularly how fast it burns, are related to a number of interconnected variables including how it is contained, its degree of compaction as well as its composition. This lecture will outline our work over the last decade and explain some of the amazing properties of a substance that went on to contribute to the rise of Britain as a global power – gunpowder really did change the world!

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.sal.org.uk/events/2017/01/the-history-of-early-gunpowder/

Society of Antiquaries of London

Revealing Verulaneum: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town

  • 14 February 2017 1-2pm

This lecture is based on the ongoing archaeological project 'Sensing the Iron Age and Roman Past: Geophysics and the Landscape of Hertfordshire'.

This project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and run by Kris Lockyear, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. It began in 2013 and its aim was to conduct archaeological magnetometry survey on a number of Late Iron Age and Roman sites throughout Hertfordshire. A ranged of sites were surveyed — from small farmsteads such as the one at Broom Hall Farm to the city of Verulamium (modern St. Albans). Since the end of the funding, however, the group has continued to grow and grow and prosper, and has extended the range of sites it has surveyed and even crossed the border into neighbouring counties. The group, now called the Community Archaeology Geophysics Group (CAGG) continues to use the magnetometer bought for it by the AHRC and UCL, and now has access, thanks to SEAHA, to a Ground Penetrating Radar. A number of the collaborating groups have resistance meters, and CAGG also have access to an advanced model RM85 from Geoscan Research.

This project is a collaboration between the Institute of Archaeology, UCL and a number of local heritage groups, including the Welwyn Archaeological Society, the North Herts Archaeological Society, the East Herts Archaeological Society, the St. Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society, the Berkhamstead and District Archaeological Society, the West Essex Archaeological Group, the Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service, the St. Albans Museum Service, the St. Albans District Council, the Hertfordshire Historical Environment Department, the Wheathampstead Historical Society, the Welwyn Hatfield Young Archaeologists Club and the St. Albans Young Archaeologists Club.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.sal.org.uk/events/2017/02/revealing-verulamium/

Society of Antiquaries of London

Faking King Arthur in the Middle Ages

  • 21 March 2017 1-2pm

When Caxton published Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, he listed in his preface a number of relics which in his view showed that Arthur was real. Richard Barber looks at these and other supposed objects from Arthur's court, suggests sources for them, and places them in the context of the British passion for the Arthurian legend.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.sal.org.uk/events/2017/03/faking-king-arthur-in-the-middle-ages/

Dr Elizabeth New sharing the Society's Medieval Seals Collection

Hands Across Time: Medieval Fingerprints on Wax Seals

  • 25 April 2017 1-2pm

Medieval seals are miniature time-capsules, and one of the very few personal items owned by many men and women. They were the equivalent of modern-day credit cards and passports in legal and administrative terms but, unlike signatures, the combination of image and text enabled their owners to present themselves in different ways, projecting something about individual or corporate identity. By the later thirteenth century men and women across society owned and used seal matrices: some were bespoke and some were bought off the shelf, but all were necessary to validate and secure documents. The wax into which these seal matrices were pressed also often retain impressions of finger and palm prints, and new imaging and analytical techniques enable the exploration of the implications of sealing practice for revealing new evidence about networks of power, exchange and authority; the ‘performative act of sealing’, ritual and administration; sealing practice in relation to legal and administrative developments; the creation of proof and misuse of authority; and, from a forensic perspective, the viability of prints over time, technical challenges of identifying overlaid prints on uneven surface, adding to the body of evidence to support the uniqueness of prints. This lecture will include a demonstration of the cutting-edge forensic imaging techniques being used by the AHRC funded Imprint project, along with the latest findings from the project team.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.sal.org.uk/events/2017/04/medieval-fingerprints-on-wax-seals/

Getting there

We are located in Burlington House, on Piccadilly, between the Piccadilly and Green Park underground stations. Burlington House is also home to several other learned societies, including the Royal Academy of Art. Our apartments neighbour the Royal Academy, just to the left of the RA, inside the Burlington House courtyard.

Society of Antiquaries of London
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London
Greater London
W1J 0BE
England

logo: Museums at Night

Website

www.sal.org.uk

www.sal.org.uk

www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/galleries/collections/society-of-antiquaries-of-london-2055

www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/galleries/locations/society-of-antiquaries-of-london-kelmscott-manor-6070

makinghistory.sal.org.uk/

E-mail

admin@sal.org.uk

Telephone

General enquires

020 7479 7080

Fax

020 7287 6967

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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