Newsletter-526-January-2015

 

Number 526                                                JANUARY 2015                                                                           Edited by Sue Willetts


 

Hendon and District Archaeological Society    Lecture Programme 2015

 

Tuesday 13th January, 8pm. Late Roman Fortifications in Northern France and their Social Implications. Lecture by Dr.James Bromwich.  Author of a number of excellent guide books on the archaeology of France.

Tuesday 10th February 2015            To be announced

Tuesday 10th March 2015                 To be announced.

Tuesday 14th April 2015    Excavations by Pre-Construct Archaeology at the former Inglis Barracks by Ian Cipin

Tuesday 12th May 2015 Robert Stephenson The Knights Templar and their London connections

Tuesday 9th June 2015          Annual General meeting

Tuesday 13th October            To be announced

Tuesday 10th November        To be announced

 All the above events, unless otherwise stated, will be held at Avenue House (part of StephensHouse & Gardens), 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, starting at 8pm, with tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members are welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 and 460 pass nearby and it is a 10 minute walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line).

Newsletter Editor desperately sought!                                            Sue Willetts

Each month of the year a different HADAS member edits this monthly Newsletter, helped and supervised by Sue Willetts and Mary Rawitzer.  We have 11 editors.  We need one more. 

It’s not difficult, involving mainly putting together items sent by others, though editors’ original articles are also welcome.  We supply a helpful hints document and there’s always back-up.  Someone out there with a computer:  Your Society Needs You!

Contact:  Sue (sue.willetts@london.ac.uk)

Christmas Party 2014   - Sorry no room for photographs in this issue!

This was the fourth time this event has been held. Thirty-five members attended which was fewer than in previous years, but still a good number. It was lovely to see some members at the party who, for various reasons, have been unable to participate in other activities of the Society.

Avenue House did us proud with a splendid buffet lunch, followed later with coffees and tea with mince pies. Also Liz (the Chairman’s wife) again made two lovely cakes, one fruit and one Madeira, to celebrate the occasion.

The entertainment consisted of a table quiz based on the First World War, which provided a bit of ‘head scratching’ The raffle had a myriad of prizes donated by various members including ‘The Roman Wine’!!!

Finally Jo and Jim Nelhams provided another musical offering, the sad story of ‘The Goslings’ and reminiscences of being a Wolf Cub and a Brownie. Also the imaginative reactions of the lady who received the presents listed in the carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’ The lady was not amused!!!

An enjoyable afternoon was had by all, but without the support of the members these events would not happen. Many thanks to all who came.

 

Obituary for Brian McCarthy                                                 Peter Pickering

 

Brian McCarthy died on 22nd November six weeks before his 83rd birthday. Archaeology (especially Egyptology, and the Romans) was one of the many serious interests of his life. He had been a member of HADAS for over forty years; I remember being driven home by him when we used to have lectures in Hendon Library. He dug with us on various sites, and also dug at St Albans and at Southwark Cathedral. He served on our Committee for a period from 1988, and became our auditor in 1995. His career had been in HM Customs and Excise, dealing with VAT; no doubt he found the HADAS accounts simple in comparison. He had lived in Finchley all his life, and was a member of St. Mary-at-Finchley Church where the memorial service for him was held.  He had been a magistrate working in the family court, and on Mental Health tribunals, and among his other interests were skiing, bee-keeping and wood-turning. He was also a steward at the Globe Theatre.

 

November Lecture – 'A Hamlet in Hendon' by Jacqui Pearce – P. Pickering

 Our November lecture was given by Jacqui Pearce, who is tutor of the HADAS finds group, and one of the principal authors of our recently published book with the same title as her talk. The class Jacqui has been taking had its origin in the belief of our then Chairman, Andrew Selkirk, that an amateur archaeological society, with proper professional support, could bring to publication the material and records preserved from excavations carried out in the second half of the last century. How right he was!

 Jacqui explained how the Finds Group began as a class under the auspices of

Birkbeck College, and first worked on the excavation of Church End Farm, directed by Ian Robertson, which was published as 'The Last Hendon Farm'. The Group then became independent of Birkbeck College, and undertook a bigger task - working over the archive left by our late Vice-Chairman, Ted Sammes, who excavated Church Terrace in 1973-74 in advance of the building of the Meritage Centre. Ted had described the dig in our newsletter, and published some of the most important finds in our booklet 'Pinning Down the Past', but never produced a full report.

 Jacqui explained the difficulties in bringing to publication an archive which has suffered some attrition over the years and is from an excavation carried out according to principles which were the best at that time, but which have now been superseded. At that time excavation was spit-by-spit, with finds recorded by depth, rather than the single-context recording now the rule. That meant the Group had to expend a lot of effort in working out the stratigraphic relationships of the finds. Members of the Group also used evidence from old maps and pictures to find out about the lives of those who lived on the site, and drank at the Greyhound pub, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is clear that the people who lived on the site in recent centuries were in modest circumstances, but far from destitute, and possessed some attractive trinkets. Jacqui showed more recent pictures too - the older members in the audience recognised some of the diggers. 

 The lecture took us through the whole history of the site, from the flints left by hunter-gatherers, through the large number of Roman pottery sherds (probably from agriculture, since there was no trace of a Roman structure) and the strong evidence of a Saxon presence (which would have gladdened the heart of our founder, Themistocles Constantinides), to the conquest period greyware pottery. Pottery continues through the mediaeval period, with a reduction after the thirteenth century, which it is tempting to connect with the Black Death (though that does not seem to have hit Hendon hard). Jacqui had slides of some of the pottery sherds which were found;  very helpfully she added illustrations of complete pots of the same type and fabric from the collections of the Museum of London;  for a moment, before I realised what was happening, I thought 'Did HADAS really find such impressive things?'. From the eighteenth century onwards there is evidence of buildings as well as pottery and small finds; perhaps most interestingly, a pit containing bottles, probably thrown away by the landlord of the Greyhound. There were many intriguing small finds - an artillery officer's button, an Ally Sloper pipe, Lamplough's pyretic saline - each with a story to tell. Jacqui also showed us the three graves which were found but vandalised over one night; why were they buried outside, but so near to, the churchyard?

 Jacqui's lecture was admirably clear, going into just about the right amount of detail, and her slides were very attractive. I could say much more, but rather urge you to READ THE BOOK, from cover to cover, which you must if you were not at the lecture and want to know who Ally Sloper was. 

 All right, I know you have read it, but you may know someone who hasn't. It is ABSOLUTELY FREE as one of HADAS's many benefits to members. 

HADAS Members at Pinner

Since the beginning of October 2014 HADAS members have been spending two days a week at Gunnersbury Park Museum helping to record the finds from the medieval kiln site at Potters Street Hill, Pinner, excavated in 1975. There are not many medieval kiln sites recorded in Greater London and this site which is dated to 1280 has by far the largest quantity of medieval pottery sherds and is therefore an important reference site. The finds from this excavation have been stored in the cellar at Gunnersbury Park Museum for many years. They were probably stored there because the now defunct West London Archaeological Field Group processed the sherds there and there the sherds stayed. Alison Laws of the Museum of London was also involved.    

Gunnersbury Park Museum is “supported” by Ealing and Hounslow boroughs, but the excavation took place in Harrow. A recent Heritage Lottery Fund grant is going towards the refurbishment of the house and museum  - see Hounslow web site: 

http://www.hounslow.info/arts-culture/historic-houses-museums/gunnersbury-park-museum/   for full details of the project.

 The consequence is that they need to find a new home for the Pinner finds. These finds have languished in the cellar at Gunnersbury for a long time and are not in a good state – the boxes (some the original ones from the dig in 1975) are rotten, damp and vermin eaten. It was decided to reprocess them to current MOLA standards, recording, rebagging, boxing and relabeling. Richmond Archaeological Society (RAS) and HADAS have volunteered to do this task, supervised by Jacqui Pearce of MOLA who was given a 10- day project in support. There were 148 boxes of pottery sherds which needed to be identified, measured, weighed, recorded, bagged and relabelled, to be completed by 27th November.

Initially there was nowhere for the bulk of reprocessed finds to go. There was a suggestion that Harrow museum would take some, but the museum itself appears to be under threat and it is possible that they won’t be able to take any. The rest would have gone to landfill had it not finally been decided that MOLA would collect all reboxed sherds on or after the 27th November.

It seemed likely that the task would not be completed by the 27th November, and therefore HADAS will probably bring the remainder to Avenue House on a temporary basis to complete the processing.

Unfortunately the limited timescale has, of necessity, curtailed the scope of detailed recording of the data from this site. However, with the finds safe and a database of as much data as we have managed to record. The sherds from Pinner Medieval pottery kiln live on to be further analysed another day.

The project is of special interest to HADAS, as our finds class is currently processing the relatively small amount of medieval pottery sherds (8 boxes) from a medieval kiln at Arkley, kindly lent to us by Barnet Museum, again under the direction, tuition and supervision of Jacqui Pearce. It is hoped that we will be able to do chemical and thin section analysis on both sites to establish the source of the clay and the tempering used. A comparison of the forms of vessels thrown at these sites will tell us more about the sorts of pottery being used in what is now the North London area in the 13th century.


Thanks are due to all the volunteers involved: From RAS:  Fred & Dot Flemen, George &

Yvonne Masson; from HADAS: Sigrid Padel, Geraldine Missig, Fiona Haughey, John

Marshall, Liz Gapp, Bill Bass, Mary Salton, Don Cooper; and two other volunteers Helena Costas and Lynne Darwood.  Of course there was also Jacqui Pearce, without whose help this project would not have been possible.







Notice about a Taster course on Archaeology at the City Lit  

by Jill Hummerstone. 

Saturday 25th January- Price from £15. This is a fun and informative day, and a chance to get to grips with some real finds.  This could be your opportunity to introduce friends and family to the joys of archaeology, or brush up on your own interests http://www.citylit.ac.uk/  Temple of Mithras oral history project. 

Did you visit the excavations in 1954? If so the project team would like to hear from you. The project marks 60 years since the discovery of the Roman Temple of Mithras. The excavation captivated public imagination with an estimated 400,000 people visiting the site to glimpse the remains. The project plans to celebrate the memories, ephemera and pictures of the visitors.  oralhistory@mola.org.uk or tel. 020 7410 2266.

OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS                                 Eric Morgan

Wednesday 28th January, 7.45pm, Friern Barnet and District Local History Society, North Middx. Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL.  The History of Shredded Wheat Cards, Talk by Colin Barratt. Visitors £2. Refreshments. 

Sunday 1st February, 10.30am Heath and Hampstead Society. Meet between the Old

Kitchen Garden & English Heritage Staff Yard, East of Kenwood House, off Hampstead

Lane, N6.  The Hidden Heath. Walk led by Michael Hammerson. 2 hours. Donation £3.00  

Monday 9th February, 3.00pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite the Museum). Friern Hospital. Talk by David Berguer (Chair Friern Barnet & District LHS.) Visitors £2. 

Wednesday 11th February, 2.30pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Trinity Church,  The Broadway NW7. History of Chelsea Physic Garden. Talk by Letta Jones. 

Wednesday 18th February, 7.30pm. Islington Archaeology & History Society, Islington

Town Hall, Upper St, N1 2UD. The Caledonian Park Clock Tower Project. Talk by Chris Harriades.  A study to prepare for conservation plans of this Grade II listed tower found ‘significant archaeological potential’ including the possible remains of Copenhagen House. Visitors £1.00 

Thursday 19th February, 7.30pm.  Camden History Society.  Burgh House, New End Sq. NW3 1LT. What Happened to the Heath after 1871?  Talk by Helen Marcus. Visitors

£1.00 

Friday 20th February, 6.30pm, Wembley History Society, English Martyrs’ Hall, Chalkhill Rd, Wembley HA9 9EW (top of Blackbird Hill). Indians in the Trenches: the contribution they made in WWI.  Talk by J. Sohal. Visitors £2.

 

Friday 20th February, 6.30pm. Friends of the Petrie Museum, UCL Lecture Theatre, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Sq. The Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project.

Rescuing History: The American Research Centre in Egypt’s efforts to record Sheikh Abdel Quma. Talk by Andrew Bednarski.

 

Wednesday 25th February, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. Address see 28th Jan event. A Look at John Betjeman.  Talk by Terence Atkins. Visitors £2.Refreshments / bar.

 


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