Time Please

By Wainwright, Geoffrey | Antiquity, December 2000 | Go to article overview

Time Please


Wainwright, Geoffrey, Antiquity


Introduction

I had been working in archaeology for about 10 years before my father thought to tell me that he had worked as a labourer for Cyril Fox in 1925 on a prehistoric tomb at Kilpaison Burrows near the village in Pembrokeshire where I was raised. Something may have been passed on to me from that unique experience for that young collier which was nourished and nurtured by the beauty and variety of the historic landscapes of west Wales. My purpose in writing this piece is to provide a personal perspective of the growth of my subject through my own eyes -- not to produce objective history. I cannot be objective about a subject which has consumed my working life and for which I care so passionately. I have not checked my recollections against those of my contemporaries, so as to retain the purity of that personal view, but my salutations and thanks are to them and to the countless friends with whom I have worked to push forward the boundaries of our subject. We are intensely tribal in our love of gatherings, feasting and vendettas and I have a fierce loyalty to them as well as gratitude for their companionship along the way.

In the beginning

In March 1952 the then Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments -- Bryan O'Neil -- sent a memorandum to the Director of his department which contained an account of developments in the heritage field since 1945. One can but envy his brief which was to take a strategic view of the United Kingdom, and his confidence that standards were being maintained. Any opposition to his ideas was dismissed with a lofty disdain: `we hear no criticism of our proceedings except occasionally from dilettante, who worship ruins as such without valuing them for their historical value. These people are sometimes vocal, but they cannot be many in number'. He retained his most cutting remarks for Hadrian's Wall where `some even of the local dilettante are being converted to our ways'. He had already pioneered the preservation of industrial monuments with two windmills in East Anglia and with remarkable foresight estimated the number of monuments which could be scheduled as 50,000 compared to 7554 in the UK in 1951. He had also overseen the expansion of rescue excavations between 1939 and 1945 when 55 such projects had been financed -- mainly in advance of airfields -- 450 of which had been built involving 300,000 acres of land. This programme of work continued after the war using `non-official' archaeologists instead of his own staff `because the system of subsistence for people like us is absolutely iniquitous after a stay of 28 days'. The period between 1945 and 1951 saw 40 excavations in historic cities such as London, Canterbury, Dover, Southampton and Exeter as well as Roman towns at Great Chesterford (Essex) and Caister (Norfolk) and classic post Roman sites at Thetford (Norfolk) and Mawgan Porth (Cornwall). His department was also funding a research excavation at Stanwick in Yorkshire under the direction of Mortimer Wheeler and employed 16 Inspectors of Ancient Monuments.

That 1952 memorandum had been written some years after a conference held in London in 1943 to discuss the contribution of archaeology to the post-war world (University of London 1943). Archaeologists are fond of such occasions which provide an opportunity for tribal bonding as well as forward planning, and this conference was both timely and addressed by front-rank speakers. It is rather disconcerting to realise that the subject matter would be familiar to the archaeologist nearly 60 years on -- research agendas, training, records, museums, education, amateurs and state archaeology. What was lacking in both O'Neil's memorandum and the 1943 conference proceedings was any sense of the legitimate and latent interest of the public in archaeological discoveries. For Britain this was to change in 1954 with the discovery of the Temple of Mithras in London. The queues of people wishing to see the remains, and the political and media interest, demonstrated conclusively that archaeology had a role to play in the cultural life of the country and would no longer be the preserve of the professional.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Time Please
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.