newsletter-068-october-1976

Newsletter

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Lectures to Come

A note from Dorothy Newbury.

With summer sunshine and outings behind us, we look forward to winter programme of lectures. These, as last year, will be held in the Library, The Burroughs, Hendon, NW4. Buses 83 and on 143 pass the door; buses to 40, 125, 183 on 113 par within 10 minutes' walk, as is also Hendon central underground station.

The lecture room is open to us at 8.10p.m. when we start with coffee and biscuits, price £0.05. Members may bring guests, from whom a small donation in the coffee-tin would be appreciated. Non--members attending more than one lecture are encouraged to join the Society. Don't forget that your next-door neighbour at the lecture may be a new member, who would welcome a friendly word from you.

Mr Buckle, the Library attendance assists us in many ways, likes to get home too -- so don't hold him up by lingering and chatting after 10.00. Are member this holiday, who years is for us with the Library, will again be our able projectionist this season.

The October Meeting

We are fortunate in having Don Brothwell for first lecture on 5 October. He is one of the foremost bones specialists (archaeological bones, i.e.) in the country, and author of a Natural History Museum best-seller, "Looking at Bones."

The subject he has chosen, "Bones in Archaeology," is a fascinating one. It is incredible how much information can be wrung from a careful study of skeletal material. Members are strongly recommended to come along and hear all about it on 5 October.

The remainder of the winter programme is:

November 2 - Pompeii - Dr. Malcolm Colledge
December 7 - Dinner at Tower of London and watching
the Ceremony of the Keys. (see note below)
January 4 - From muscle to Steam - - Denis Smith
the Archaeology of Energy.
February 1 -Continuity or change: a fresh look at - Andrew Selkirk
Prehistoric Britain.
March 1 - Coinage of Pre-Roman Britain - Dr. John Kent
April 5 - Denmark - Ted Sammes


Instead of the party this year December festivities he will be a Christmas dinner at the Tower of London restaurant, followed by watching the 700-year-old Ceremony of the Keys.

Details and application form are enclosed. Please complete and return to Dorothy Newbury as soon as possible -- within two weeks if you can.

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West Heath Dig

By Daphne Lorimer.

The excavations at West Heath finished in September with a particularly rich haul of flints -- so many, in fact, that extra-time was required to clear the remaining trenches. Approximately 100 square metres of the area at risk from erosion have been uncovered; just under 5,000 worked flint flakes and tools have been excavated. Hazelnut shells had been found and areas of burnt flint and charcoal plotted, while many possible of postholes had been examined and cast, as Brigid Grafton Green described in the last Newsletter. HADAS can fairly confidently claim to have discovered the first Mesolithic occupation site in the North London area.

The extent of the site is still unknown; but the find, by Alec Jeakins, of a flint core on the bank of a stream between the campsite and the spring suggests exciting possibilities. The GLC had kindly given permission for the excavation to continue by the Leg of Mutton Pond next year and it is hoped to determine, if possible, the boundaries of the occupied area, which may have been used seasonally over a long period of time.

No report has been received, as yet, samples taken from the spring site, from which it is hoped to obtain information about the prehistoric environment of the Heath. The GLC is also allowing us next year to conduct a limited excavation there. This will have to be strictly controlled, in order to limit damage to the flora; it is interesting that the environmentalists hope, as a result of our excavations, to reproduce conditions conducive to the regeneration of species of bog plants now missing from the area.

During the summer 104 members have taken part in the dig and the average attendance since the close of the full-time fortnight has been fourteen each day (this does not include a week during which HADAS provided a skeleton team to supervise the girls of Camden School). It has been an enthralling summer and many of us (to quote one member) "cut our archaeological trees" on this dig, while judging from the little archaeological chats over the fence, nowhere in Britain is now better informed about the Mesolithic and Hampstead!

It is hoped that members will join in the various projects planned for the Teahouse weekends and will help to piece together the clues to the past that have been uncovered during the summer. These weekends will take place on October 2/3, 9/10. 16/17, from 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. each day. The Teahouse is at the top of Northway, NW11, near the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute.

Pottery Processing

There are other Teahouse dates too for your diary: November 6/7, 13/14 and 20/21. Again with the kind agreement or Mr. Enderby, we have booked the Teahouse for these three November weekends in order to continue working on the pottery and other finds from the HADAS did at Church Terrace, Hendon which took place from May, 1973 to August, 1974. Ted Sammes will be organising these sessions, from 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. each day, and all of members will be welcome.

It is possible that some work may also be done during these weekends on the Roman Pottery finds from the early Brockley Hill digs. The Brockley Hill material is now, however, in store at the Henrietta Barnett School, not at the Teahouse itself, and it will not be worth bringing the heavy cases to the Teahouse unless enough members wish to work on it. A further complication is that the Brockley Hill work has now reached a stage at which recognition of the types and fabrics, and the ability to draw pottery, are the skills required, so that some experience of Roman Pottery is needed.

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Would any members who would like to work on the Brockley Hill material during the November Teahouse weekends please contact Brigid Grafton Green and let her know the amount of time that they can spare? The Research Committee will then decide, on the basis of the response from members, whether or not to arrange for the transport each weekend of the Brockley Hill material.

Heart-Cry from our Hon. Treasurer

On looking through his records the Treasurer finds that over 90 members have not yet paid their subscriptions for the current year, which runs from 1 April 1976, to 31 March 1977. He would be happy to receive these as soon as possible, to save sending out 90 reminder letters. Subscriptions are:

Full membership - £1.00
Under 18 - 65p
Senior Citizen - 75p

Weekend in York

Report by Judith Bird.

Roman, Saxon, Viking, Norman, Medieval -- that was the archaeological feast prepared for the 53 members of HADAS who set out on 17 September for a rapid survey of York and surrounding sites.

The first Roman fortress at York, at the junction of the Ouse and the Fosse, was constructed by Cerialis around 71 AD, as a military base against the North Britons. By the third century York was the centre of the most prosperous region in Britain.

We arrived in New York soon after lunch on Friday, and that afternoon Christopher Clarke, our most admirable and knowledgeable guide, took us round the city defences, including the post-Severan Multangular Tower (c 300 AD) which was inserted to strengthen the wall. In the Undercroft of the Minster we viewed the remains of the Roman basilica, which had been revealed during recent the restoration.

The Undercroft is a truly fascinating treasure house. Particularly striking was the re-assembled Roman plaster, reminiscent of the theatrical Pompeian style, and William Lee's beautiful collection of silver, spanning four centuries from 1475. We were especially interested in the 900-year-old horn of Ulf, and an early mazer bowl.

Rain fell as we hurried along the Shambles, pausing to admire the close-packed, jettied mediaeval houses which had been built to preserve the ecclesiastical from the vulgar brawl of Commerce. We sought shelter in the beautiful 15th century Merchant Adventurers' Hall, with its oak roof supported by the unique arrangement of cross beams.

Fears that that this might be a Spartan weekend on the campus were quickly allayed in the evening on arrival at The University of York. We had a most friendly reception from the staff, and were well-fed and warmly housed.

The next morning we set out of the countryside of the North Riding on a perfect day. We visited two impressive twelfth century Cistercian Abbeys situated among pleasant pastures. Rievaulx was breathtakingly lovely: it had sheltered about 800 monks and the ruins included kitchens, vast cloisters and a massive drain. Byland was smaller, but some striking green and yellow glazed tiles showed that these monks, despite their reputation for austerity, appreciated colour in their surroundings. In contrast we also visited the Norman castles of Helmsley and Pickering.

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The highlight of the afternoon was a visit to the deserted mediaeval village of Wharram Percy. The church, with an original Saxon Tower, was situated in the valley, and on the hill above were remains of lynchets, medieval house platforms and Saxon grűbenhäuser with sunken floors and cross passages.

In the evening Peter Addyman, Director of the York Archaeological Trust, told us about the Trust's most recent excavations and explained how the drought had aided aerial photography by giving outlines a stronger definition. And so to bed – but no, a hard core of inexhaustible sightseers set off in the coach to view the Minster by night, splendidly bathed in golden light.

On Sunday morning we filled in a few gaps in the City, walked around the walls, and saw Micklegate Bar on which a row of hideously mutilated heads had been displayed during the Wars of the Roses. We were also fascinated by Clifford's Tower, a quadrefoil design, a twin to another "motte" across the river.

In the afternoon we looked round the Museums and discovered exciting finds of Viking jewellery. The Vikings had also played an important part in York's history, settling there as traders in AD 876. The traditional image of plundering Vikings in horned helmets is gradually being dispelled by evidence from the excavations at Coppergate. Pieces of Whitby jet and silver-inlaid and gold-encrusted necklaces testify to the existence of a Viking Kingdom, rather than to the presence of marauding raiders only. A wooden building, probably a Viking workshop, has been discovered, preserved in peaty sub-soil, and there is evidence that their ships sailed down the Ouse, probably carry on grain and local goods to the East.

We had an uneventful and pleasant journey home and were very grateful to the organisers, particularly Dorothy Newbury (in her roles of advisor, shepherd and knocker-up) for arranging for us a most enjoyable and absorbing weekend.

Industrial Archaeology – Trolleybus Poles

By Bill Firth.

The July newsletter carried a paragraph on tramway poles re-used as street lighting standards. A detailed survey has revealed that many such poles remain in the Borough of Barnet: on Cricklewood Lane between Cricklewood Broadway and Childs Hill, and on Finchley Road between Childs Hill and Henly's Corner. Viewed from the top of a bus, there appear to be none in the Edgware Road, nor any between Henly's Corner and Tally Ho, or from there north to Barnet. The road between East Finchley and Barnet, along which the Highgate-Barnet routes ran, has not been investigated.

This (September 1976) is a good moment to look at these poles in Golders Green, because new lighting standards are being put in, and it is possible to see side by side the adapted trolleybus poles, the rather ornate standards put in by Hendon Council (bearing on the Hendon Borough arms and the initials HC) and the new, plain, functional standards.

There are particular clusters actually Cricklewood Lane/Finchley Road Junction at Childs Hill, at Golders Green Station and at the Bridge Lane/Hendon Park Row/Temple Fortune Lane junction. HADAS member Raymond Lowe has photographed the different types of pole which can be seen in the Temple Fortune area.

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News about Books

With Christmas approaching we are offering for sale to members the complete range of Shire Publications, and enclose an order form with this Newsletter. Not only do these make excellent Christmas presents, but we are sure that members will find much of interest among the comprehensive range of titles.

The profit the Society makes from the sale of these books will go towards our future publications programme, which includes a third printing of Blue Plaques of Barnet (now temporarily out of print), at a cost of £155. Printing costs have risen so dramatically in the last two years that every reprint or new publication puts a strain on our resources.

Please encourage your friends, too, to order Shire Publications through HADAS -- further order forms are available from the Treasurer.

One which has recently been published is to be found in the HADAS book box, as a copy was kindly presented by the author, HADAS Research Committee member Nigel Harvey.

This is Mr Harvey's Shire Album 21, on the subject of Fields Hedges and ditches. It is a beautifully produced 32-page booklet, lavishly illustrated with photographs, maps and drawings. It discusses field systems and their history, from prehistoric to modern times; field drainage; and methods of enclosure, including hedges, stone walls, ditches, even barbed wire. The booklet costs £0.45 and is obtainable from our Hon. Treasurer.

Domesday

Some eighteen months ago (in June, 1975) the Newsletter reported a new venture in publishing – Philimore's county by county translation of the Domesday book in paperback, edited by a Dr John Morris. This has the complete Latin text on the left-hand page and the English translation on the right.

Doomsday is one of the great source books of the local historian, and members may like to know that the volume for Middlesex (published 1975) has now been followed by the volume for Hertfordshire. In fact 34 counties are now available.

Many familiar Hertfordshire names appear in Domesday, including places bordering on our home Borough such as Aldenham, Bushey and North Mimms. What is surprising is that neither Chipping Barnet nor East Barnet appear, although both were almost certainly in existence by 1086.The Hertfordshire volume is available from Philimore & Co, Shopwyke Hall, Chichester; price (with post/packing) £2.76.

Butser in Trouble

Members who took part in this year's June outing to Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire would be sad to learn that this splendid and worthwhile experiment in recreating the Iron Age farm has now run into serious financial difficulty. The following paragraph appears in the current Newsletter of the Council for British Archaeology:

"The generous grants made by the Ernest Cook Foundation to Butser have now come to an end, and the work is in danger of coming to a complete halt.


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The Butser Farm project is the most important venture in experimental archaeology in this country, and probably anywhere in the world. By its very nature it has are unlikely to yield rapid results -- agriculture is just not like that. Certainly a mass of valuable data has already been assembled during the short time the farm has been in operation, but the most far-reaching results in archaeological terms will not become apparent for a decade or more.

The Ancient Agriculture Committee of the CBA and the British Association is urgently seeking alternative methods of funding the project. In the meantime, any contributions will be gratefully received, as well as suggestions as to possible sources of major financial subventions. Write in the first place to Henry Cleere, Council for British Archaeology, 7 Marylebone Road, NW1 5HA."

Photography at Church Farm House Museum

Some of the many new members who have joined HADAS this summer may not know excellent local museum, Church Farm House, which is run by the library services of the London Borough of Barnet.

The farmhouse is an attractive mainly seventeenth century building at the top of Greyhound Hill, Hendon, NW4. The ground floor is arranged as a permanent exhibition or a nineteenth century farm kitchen, and eighteenth century dining room and a Victorian sitting-room. The kitchen is the most interesting of the three rooms, with its huge fireplace, spits, jacks, cooking pots and other household equipment.

The attics -- which are not generally open to the public, but can be seen by arrangement -- contain two open box gutters, typical of the vernacular architecture of this part of Middlesex.

The three rooms on the first floor are used for displays which change every six weeks. HADAS itself will be mounting an exhibit on local Archaeology, under the title "Archaeology in Action," there are early next year. At the moment there is an interesting exhibition of 100 prints taken from the collection of 100,000 negatives in the files of a local firm of photographers, John Maltby.

These photographs cover the last 40 years. They include work which Maltbys, specialising at first in architectural photography, have done for various clients locally and abroad, including the old Borough of Hendon and our present Borough of Barnet. The exhibition, entitled "A Photographer's Choice 1935-76," continues until 17 October. The museum is closed on Tuesday afternoons and Sunday mornings.

Field Archaeology at Cambridge

A weekend residential course in Field Archaeology which may interest HADAS members will be held from 29 April to 1 May next at the Cambridge Extra-mural Centre, Madingley Hall. The course will explore the archaeological evidence visible in the grounds of the Hall and survey in detail one group of remains, a deserted village site. The directors will be known to many members: Dr John Alexander and Dr David Trump.

Madingley lies 4 miles from Cambridge in beautiful surroundings. The main building is of several periods, the earliest being Tudor. One of the Halls claims to fame is that here Albert the Prince Consort is said to have contracted (owing to bad drains,) the typhoid which killed him. Intending HADAS students need not worry -- the drains are fine today! The course costs £20, all in, and you enrol with the director of Extra-mural Studies, Madingley Hall, Cambridge.


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