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Digging News

The HADAS dig in the churchyard of St. James the Great at Friern Barnet continues each Saturday -- sometimes in the teeth of gales, snow, sleet and hail -- and Ann Trewick sends us this report:

In the March Newsletter the brickwork in trenches A and B was described. This has now definitely proved to be a vault. Its entrance, which is in trench B, has been damaged, possibly when a drain was laid near it. It has good barrel-vaulting and is now in the process of being cleared of soil.

Trench A, which lies nearer the Church, has been extended towards the Church so that the east wall foundations can be examined. About 70 cm below present ground level the roof of another vault has been uncovered. It, too, is damaged and has not yet been uncovered. A brass coffin plate has also been found, beautifully engraved and dated 1746. Further details of this will be given in a later Newsletter.

Members who wish to take part in the dig are asked to get in touch with Ann Trewick.

The May Outing

This will take place on Saturday 17 May; an application form is enclosed. If you would like to join the trip you are urged to send the form to Mrs. Newbury without delay.

The main objective of the outing will be the excavations at Mucking, about which Mr And Mrs. Jones talked to us last January. In addition to a conducted tour of this most interesting multi-period site there will be a visit to Thurrock Museum to see the finds from it, as well as stops at the twelfth century Cluniac Priory of Prittlewell and the fourteenth century moated Southchurch Hall.

Other outings this summer will be:

Sat June 14 - Maiden Castle and Dorchester
Sat. July 12 - Norwich
Sat Sept. 13 - Lullingstone Roman villa and Knole

Brushing up on Digging

A leaflet, "Notes for New Diggers ", comes with this Newsletter. We hope it will interest all our members.

That doesn't mean, of course, that you are all "new diggers". Many of you are seasoned hands at excavation; while others, though joining in many of our activities, preferred to opt out of the kneeling-mat-and-trowel routine.

All the same, we thought there was something for everyone in this lucid and practical exposition (a reprint of an article which appeared originally in the London Archaeologist) of what happens on an excavation site, with particular reference to how it affects the amateur archaeologist.

A number of new members in our rapidly growing Society have not yet had an opportunity to sample digging at first hand; others go on HADAS outings to various digs and may well be glad to brush up on the methods that they see being employed.

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Perish the thought that any HADAS member would ever commit the sins which were described to us recently by an archaeologist colleague who had welcomed a party of visitors to his Iron Age site. "I couldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it happen", he said. One over-large gentleman walked so close to the edge of a trench that the side started to crumble under him, and he had to leap wildly for safety. He made it -- but honestly I was more worried by the fact that one of my best sections was ruined.

"To cap that, three girls walked slap across a shallow trench. Two of my most patient trowellers had been working on it for six hours, showing up a beautiful pattern of pits and ditches -- only to have it ploughed up before their very eyes."

We crossed our fingers and assured ourselves that that could never have happened on a HADAS outing.

The April Lecture

A report by Trewick.

Are we fair to Neanderthal man? In a word, "No".

This was the theme of the last full lecture of this winter. In a fact-packed hour Desmond Collins postulated the theory of neotony* to explain the evolution of Cro-Magnon Man, and thus Homo Sapiens, from Neanderthal Man.

With the help of slides he gave a fascinating lecture which covered the history of the discovery of the Neanderthalers and the fables which became attached to these most interesting and enigmatic ancestors of the modern man.

The impression one has of Neanderthal Man is of a heavy-browed, stooping individual, half-man, half-ape. This is the traditional idea, built up from a type-specimen found at La Chapelle aux Saintes. When it is realised that this character was over 40 when he died in -- very old by the standards of his people -- and that he suffered from acute osteo-arthritis, it becomes evident that a reappraisal of Neanderthal specimens was necessary. In the last ten years such a reassessment has been going on and it now appears that Neanderthal Man could be the immediate ancestor of Cro-Magnon Man and not a branch which became extinct. Intermediate types have been found in the Mount Carmel caves, and early Cro-Magnon cultures have been associated with late Neanderthal cultures.

So Neanderthal Man has been much maligned but at last he is being given his rightful place in the order of things. And how could one believe he is extinct when one can see some vestiges of Neanderthal Man still extant?

Our thanks go to Mr Collins for a very thought-provoking evening.

  • Neotony: the prolongation of juvenile or foetal characteristics into later life (which means that man is born with a skull still sufficiently soft at birth to be easy; and then has a very long learning period as compared with other mammals).

Finchley as it Was

HADAS member Clive Smith has done it again. Following on his successes with booklets of old photographs of Hendon, Mill Hill and Golders Green, he has now done the same thing for Finchley.

This 30-page booklet, complete with reproductions from the 1873 O.S. map of Finchley, consists of many fascinating early photographs accompanied by fat captions of facts. Pubs, houses, churches, street scenes, farms, horse-coaches -- they are all here.

Obtainable from Mr Smith. Cost is £0.75, but HADAS members are offered a special price of £0.50, plus postage.

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Book-list for the Post-Medieval Period

In newsletters 42 and 43 were published book-lists for the Roman and Mediaeval periods. Below Edward Sammes suggests a post-Medieval book-list.

In this period come the beginnings of mass production and the Industrial Revolution. Whilst much is documented, vast gaps exist in our knowledge. The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, founded 1966, tries in its Journal (which reaches its 8th issue in 1974) to fill some of them.

Much of the pottery produced in the latter part of the period is the collector's perquisite, and there are many books dealing with the fine pottery produced. These are expensive, but the Central Library in The Burroughs, NW4, has a good selection, including dictionaries of pottery marks. These are often helpful in dating sherds.

  • indicates a key publication.

DATED POST-MEDIEVAL POTTERY IN THE LONDON MUSEUM. F. Celoria. HMSO, 1966, 17 1/2p when published.

TREASURES OF THE ARMADA. R. Stenuit, Cardinal paperback 1974, £1.45.

ELIZABETHAN LONDON. Martin Holmes, Cassell 1969, £3.15.

  • BRICK BUILDING IN ENGLAND, MIDDLE AGES TO 1550. Jane A. Wright, John Baker 1972, £7.50.
  • A GUIDE TO THE COLLECTION OF TILES. Arthur Lane, HMSO 1060, £1.05 Describes and lists the tile collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • DUTCH TILES. C. H. de Jonge, Pall Mall Press 1971, £8. Very well illustrated. Some copies were recently on the remainder market at £4.50.
  • LONDON CLAY TOBACCO PIPES. David Atkinson and Adrian Oswald, Journal of the Archaeological Association, Vol. XXXII 1969, available as a reprint.
  • EVOLUTION AND CHRONOLOGY OF ENGLISH CLAY TOBACCO PIPES. Adrian Oswald, Archaeological Newsletter Vol. 7 Sept 1971 (in Central Reference Library).
  • CLAY PIPES FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGIST. Adrian Oswald, British Archaeological Reports 1975, £3.80. This is new and as yet unseen; it would be logical to expect it to incorporate material from Oswald's many publications on clay pipes.
  • THE SO-CALLED BELLARMINE MASK. M. R. Holmes, Antiquaries Journal, XXXI 1951 pp 165-9 (in Central Reference Library).

STEINZUG. A catalogue in German, devoted mainly to stoneware. Cologne Museum 1971. Contains a small photograph of each pot mentioned.

THE FULHAM POTTERY. Occasional Paper No. 1, Fulham and Hammersmith Historical Society, March 1974, 50p.

LAMBETH STONEWARE. Rhoda Edwards, London Borough of Lambeth 1973, 95p plus postage.

ENGLISH DELFTWARE. F. H. Garner & M. Archer, Faber & Faber 1972, £7.50.

  • A GUIDE TO THE ARTEFACTS OF COLONIAL AMERICA. Ivor Noel Hume, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1970, $10.00. Deals with all types of artefacts of the period and is well worth the trouble involved in borrowing a copy. Obtainable by post on invoice from Publications Sales Desk, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia 23185, USA.

Various numbers of The Journal of Ceramic History are of interest, e.g. for chamber pots see No. 2 1968 by P. Amis, disguised under the title "Some Domestic Vessels of Southern Britain", George Street Press, Stafford, 30p. Postage extra.

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THE GLASS WINE BOTTLE IN COLONIAL VIRGINIA. Ivor Noel Hume, Journal of Glass Studies, Vol. III 1961, Corning Museum of Glass, New York.

Bottles, after the two works by I. N. Hume already mentioned, 2 sections 9 & 10 in ENGLISH AND IRISH GLASS, Geoffrey Wills in the Guinness Signatures series 1968 are well illustrated.

JOSIAH WEDGWOOD. Richard Tames, Shire Publications Ltd in their Lifeline series, 1972, 40p.

TURKISH POTTERY. Contains pictures of coloured and glazed pottery made at Isnik, 15th-17th centuries, HMSO reprinted 1971, 25p.

HISPANO-MORESQUE POTTERY. Pictures and brief details of the period 14th-17th centuries, HMSO 1957, 22 1/2p.

A COLLECTORS HISTORY OF ENGLISH POTTERY. Griselda Lewis, Studio Vista, London, 1969, £4.20. A very useful picture book, available on loan from the Central Library.

Much useful information can also be obtained from a DISCOVERING ANTIQUES, a weekly journal which ran for 80 issues. Pub. Purnell, 1970 onwards. Also numbers of Country Life, the Connoisseur and the Illustrated London News can help, if one has time to browse.

Trip into Huntingdonshire

This, the first outing of the HADAS summer season, was by way of being an experiment. It was held on a Sunday, took only half-a-day and occurred on 20 April, about a month in advance of our normal outings. It's good to be able to report that the experiment was an unqualified success, thanks mainly to the excellent staffwork by Daphne Lorimer and Dorothy Newbury.

They had planned an historically interesting afternoon through from Saxon to Industrial Archaeology. They supplied each member with excellent notes on what we would see, laid on guides and made sure we had a delicious tea (no easy task in rural Hunts late on a Sunday afternoon).

As a bonus, we had Spring. The sun shone, all the hedges were strengthening and all the buds bursting. The willows were already hidden in graceful golden veils, a hare went leaping through a field of young broad beans, cock pheasants showed of to their dowdy speckled little wives, the Ouse was full of specimens of homo sapiens messing about with boats, black-faced lambs capered around their mums and HADAS members, too, succumbed to that spring feeling. You should have seen 50 of them tearing round an earth-maze in the middle of a village green as if their lives depended on it. The locals must have thought that a coach load of zanies had descended on them.

Most odd coincidence of the day occurred when we got to the cafe in St. Ives for tea. The first thing we saw was that all the crockery had been purchased from, and was marked with the name of … guess what? The Brent Bridge Hotel, Hendon, NW4! "Just to make you feel at home", said to Dorothy Newbury, as if it was all part of the service.


GEORGIAN HADLEY, W, H, Gelder, 1974

Clay Pipes for the Archaeologist, Adrian Oswald, 1975

Both the above were bought by the Society.

Everyday life in Roman Britain, M. & C. B. H. Quennell (given by H. Lawrence)

Buildings and Earthworks (Ward) (given by Miss R. Wells)

Excavations at Brockley Hill March-May 1973. Reprinted Trans LAMAS Vol. 25 (1974) (given by Miss A. Trewick)


Jane Butler asks us to say that in her account of the Physic Well back to Barnet in the January newsletter there was an error in transcription. The date 1912, given up an analysis of the water by Dr Trinder should have been 1812.

NOTE - Correction to correction --- it appeared in Newsletter 48 of February 1975.