HADAS now has 400 members -- a landmark in the history of any society, and one which we passed a few weeks ago. The Newsletter sends Christmas greetings to each and every one of that happy 400, and a wishes them a rewarding, fortunate and prosperous 1978.
... is that the times for joining the respective coaches will be as follows:
Note: times of second and third pick-ups must be approximate, as they depend upon the state of traffic. PLEASE BE PUNCTUAL AT YOUR PICK-UP POINT.
200 members will be coming to the Banquet: but Dorothy reckons she could fit in up to eight more people if anyone has a last-minute urge to join us.
Dress will be informal. Tickets will be distributed on the coaches, except for those travelling by car, who will received theirs in the post.
There will be one change in arrangements for lectures after Christmas. Mr P.B. Barnes, who was to have spoken to us in January on South American Archaeology, has unexpectedly to go abroad early in the New Year. We have accordingly, with the kind co-operation of Brian Cook, swapped the January and February lectures.
Mr Cook, of the department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum, will therefore be talking to us on Tuesday 3 January on a subject dear to the heart of most archaeologists -- "a Possession for ever: the Parthenon at Athens." That title speaks for itself, and needs no introduction.
Lectures on Tuesdays at central library, The Burroughs, NW4. We start at 8.00p.m. with coffee; the lecture begins at 8.30. The remainder of the winter programme will be:
Members may like to note in their new diaries that the annual general meeting will take place on Monday 15 May, 1978, at Central Library at 8.00p.m.
"Speed Bonny boat like a bird on the wing, over the sea to -- Orkney."
Arrangements for one-week trip to Orkney on now all but finalised -- the "but" being British rail's inability to provide summer schedules and prices until next April.
We plan a 9.00p.m. start from Euston on Friday 7 July with sleeper, to arrive Inverness at 8.00 am on Saturday 8 July. An hour or two to stretch our legs and perhaps have breakfast, before leaving at 10.00a.m. for a meandering train ride along the coast and through the wild mountains of Northern Scotland to Thurso.
We board the St. Ola at Scrabster, where Daphne Lorimer will be awaiting us, for a two-hour trip over the Pentland Firth to Stromness. Daphne will point out the beautiful coastline of Hoy, with its spectacular rock stack, "The Old Man," St. John's Head, the second highest headland in Britain, Rackwick Bay, etc. A bus will meet us at the harbour and take us to our hostel for supper.
From then on we shall be in Daphne his hands. She is arranging the itinerary, as Orkney is her second home and there is nothing new she likes better than showing of its archaeological treasures and scenic beauties. She hopes to enlist, as necessary, the help of other guides, and to arrange some evening functions: lectures and possibly music.
Sites we hope to see include the famous Neolithic village at Skara Brae, chambered tombs, henges, brochs, Viking Settlements, fairy-tale Stuart castles, the Cathedral, museums and some of the more modern architectural achievements of the Orkneys. We shall be going to other islands, either by boat or across the wartime Churchill barriers. We also have an invitation from the Lorimers to visit them in their Orkney home, an old Scottish manse with lovely views over Scapa Flow. We will leave early Saturday 15 July, arriving Euston early Sunday morning, 16 July.
Accommodation will be in double and treble rooms, with a limited number of singles, in the newly built school hostel in Kirkwall which caters in term time for children coming in from smaller islands. The price, to include train fare, sleepers, or travel throughout our stay, and full board bracket (food on outward and return journeys excluded) will be about £98.50 (this costing includes the estimated rise in fares). If you wish to join this exhibition, please fill in the enclosed application form and send to Dorothy Newbury with a £10 per percent deposit by 18 January, 1978.
Report by Daphne Lorimer.
Defeated at last by the weather, digging finished at West Heath on 5 November. During the season 96 members took part at one time or another; although the area excavated was smaller than last year, it was much richer in finds, indicating that we are probably moving towards the centre of the encampment area.
The end of the season also saw a discovery, in Trench XM, of a hearth -- the first major feature of the West Heath site. This appeared as a blackened area, about 1 m square, in the lower levels of the North-West quarter of the trench. The unburnt soil above contained many flakes and blades. The hearth was rich in charcoal and one sample has already yielded over 5 grams of pure carbon -- quite enough for C14 dating, for which arrangements are being made. The section exposed at the side of the trench showed an area of reddened burnt soil at the bottom of the hearth.
The hearth was examined by Jane Fox, from Martin Aitkin's Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at Oxford. Samples are to be taken for thermoluminesence dating and magnetic density. Alastair Bartlett from the Department of the Environment examined the site with a magnetometer in an effort to locate other hearths; his results may help determine the area for excavation in the 1978 season.
The exposed hearth was vulnerable to weathering and vandalism, so it was felt that back filling on top of it might not provide sufficient protection for what may well prove to be a unique find and the only opportunity to obtain a positive date for the site. For this reason it was decided to lift the hearth. HADAS was fortunate in obtaining the advice and assistance of Paul Burford, a post-graduate student working in the conservation department of the Institute of Archaeology.
The area surrounding the hearth was gridded and the soil around it lifted and placed in numbered bags for subsequent examination. The hearth itself was then enclosed in a stout wooden frame of 2 inch timber provided by Dave King, and its surface covered with metal foil. Wooden battens were screwed into place at intervals over the top, and all the interstices within the frame were filled with polyurethene foam -- proceedings reminiscent of spine-chilling episodes of science fiction!
The polyurethene was left for eighteen hours to harden. The hearth, in its frame, was then cut from the soil like a slice of cheese, a wire hawser being pulled through the base by a one and a quarter ton winch. Metal strips were inserted in the wake of a wire and were afterwards used by seven strong men and true (including the Director) to tip the encased hearth into a vertical position. It was then gently lowered onto its face onto metal rollers, which we used to run it up builders' boards into a waiting truck supplied by Dave King.
The hearth is now safely ensconced in the Park Superintendent's garage at Golders Hill Park, and its lower surface (now uppermost) has been covered with polythene in order to slow down the process of drying out. Before being cut from the earth, the magnetic North was marked on quick drying cement let into the polyurethene foam and, using a flat metal disc and a spirit level, a flat surface 6 in. in diameter was made on the cement for subsequent study of the magnetic declination.
The whole exercise provided an exciting finish to a rewarding season, and HADAS has reason to be grateful to many people who have given time and skill to enable the maximum amount of information to be wrung from this Mesolithic site. The discovery of a possible Mesolithic hearth is sufficiently rare to be of note, and we can now hope that positive dating of the site will be obtained.
In Newsletter 79 we mentioned that the Borough Libraries Department had asked the GLC for microfilm copies of the parish registers of St. Mary's to be lodged in the Local History Collection at Central Library for the use of research workers. We are happy to report that microphone copies of the earlier registers are now also launched, as follows:
Copies of the later registers (baptisms from 1812-1946, marriages from 1781-1949 and burials from 1838-1953) have not yet reached our library. We have asked the Borough Librarian (whose help in this matter has been greatly appreciated by HADAS) if he will kindly make arrangements for microfilm of later registers to be made, to complete the record; we hope that this may be done in the reasonably near future.
-- who have joined HADAS since July. It is good news that almost a quarter of them are under 18, and we particularly welcome our largest family so far: Dad-plus-five, who joined in September! Our new members are:
Phyllis Altman, Hampstead; Marion Babbington, Hendon; Charles Bacon, HGS; R.J. Ballheimer, Golders Green; Ann Barrett and Julian, Colindale; Marion Berry, HGS; Christopher Bradshaw, NW1; Lynn Bright, Temple Fortune; Martin Butcher, N. Finchley; Mrs. & Miss Canniford, Edgware; Simon Coleman, Stanmore; Harold Cover, E. Barnet; Mrs. Craddock, HGS; A.H. Creighton and John, Mill Hill; James Docherty, HGS; Patricia Edwards, S. Norwood; Vania Ermolly, Edgware; Barry Feinberg & Nicholas & Daniel, Temple Fortune; Dr. E.B. Finch, Golders Green; Beth Gevell, Kenton; A.H. Gordon, Hendon; Peter Goulde, Edgware; Francis Grew, Finchley; Miss Gwyther, HGS; Maxine Hamilton, Highgate; Eileen Haworth, Willesden; Dr. Betty Jacobs, HGS; Mrs. Jampel, HGS; Shirley Korn, Maida Vale; Mary Lawson-Tancred, Kensington; John Lloyd, HGS; Miss B. McClane, New Barnet; Barbara McTeare, Finchley; Peter & Miss Marsh, Mill Hill; Dr. & Mrs. Michaels, Stanmore; Mr. Moriarty, HGS; Helena Nash, HGS; Laurie Neill, NW6; Lesley O'Connell, Kingsbury; Cordelia Pendse, Hendon; Kaye Perryman, Mill Hill; Stephen Petrie, E. Finchley; Helen Pickering, N. Finchley; A.J.W. Reeve, Mill Hill; Derrick Smith, Childs Hill; Miss T.R. Smith, Ealing; Sally Spiller, HGS; Taqui Stephens, WC2; Robert Stephenson & family, Hampstead; Diana Tallon, Muswell Hill; Sandra & Susan Unerman, Mill Hill; S.G. Waite, Essex; Gerty Webber, Golders Green.
November saw two highly successful processing weekends at Hampstead Garden Suburb Teahouse, when much backroom work was done on finds from the digs at West Heath, Church Terrace and Burroughs Gardens.
The last weekend culminated in the Research Tea on 20 November, when 8 members who are engaged in particular research projects "cried their wares" and sought to enlist volunteers for their pet projects. Even if at times the Teahouse seemed a bit like Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, the tubs were thumped to good effect. HADAS members turned up in force and a number of new volunteers came forward for research work.
The Edgware project (a study of the Edgware area in depth, requiring a both field workers and documentary researchers), the Dissenters Burial Ground project in Totteridge (where the field work has already been done but more documentary work is needed) and the Friern Barnet churchyard recording (not due to begin until after Christmas) all reported steady recruitment of new helpers.
One project -- the parish boundary survey -- even acquired a new organiser. Paddy Musgrove, who has nursed this project from outset, has long wished to hand over its administration, although he intends to continue his own work on the Finchley part of it; at the Teahouse he enlisted a new HADAS member, Peter Griffiths -- a welcome addition to the ranks of active researchers -- as organiser.
The leaders all the projects announced themselves as satisfied with the way the afternoon had gone; and everyone was more than satisfied with Christine Arnott excellent tea: it's surprising what a major a little research can put on your appetite!
Only sad note in the afternoon was the absence of George Ingram, who had intended to tell us about his work on nonconformist church records in the Borough. He fell at home the night before, and was laid low with a possible cracked rib. We missed him very much, and wish him a speedy recovery.
In case you didn't get to the Teahouse and would like to help with their win to work, these are the projects on tap, with the names of those in charge of them. Please ring or write and volunteer: you will be very welcome:
Members may like to be reminded of the one-term course in Classical Archaeology starting at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute on Monday 9 January, 8.00-9.30p.m.. There are still places available on it. The lecturer will be Dr. Malcolm Colledge, who last year provided HADAS with such a graphic picture of Pompeii. Both subject and lecturer was suggested by the Society, so we hope that the course will be well supported by members.
Also interest will be the ten Thursday lectures on Recent Research in European Prehistory, starting at the Institute of Archaeology on 12 January at 7.00p.m. -- season ticket £3.50, individual lectures 40p payable at the door. Five lecturers have so far accepted: R. Roddon, on Balkan Neolithic (19 January); Ian Kinnes, North European Neolithic (26 January); Tony Legge, Prehistoric European Agriculture (9 February); R. Harrison, Cross-channel EBA Contacts (16 February); Prof. Megaw, Iron Age Art (16 March). The University hopes that the opening lecture will be on the Mesolithic.
Finally, news of a HADAS walk: Bill Firth, our Industrial Archaeology organiser, will lead a walk around the perimeter of the Midland Railway's Brent Yard on Sunday 15 January. Meet at Cricklewood Station at 10.30a.m. All members of HADAS welcome.
A review of Dr. Michael Fullford's November lecture, by Helen Gordon.
Silchester is of particular interest because, of all towns in the Roman Empire, it is second only to Pompeii in the completeness of its excavation; secondly, because this has revealed in some detail the Romanisation of a native British agricultural community; and thirdly, because of its connection with the fascinating Quisling, King Cogidubnus, and his ill-gained Fishbourne Palace; or, to put it differently, the forward-looking Client-King, who early recognised the advantages of Pax Romana. The effect of Roman civilisation is cynically described thus by Tacitus:
"… to accustom (the people) to a life of peace and quiet by the provision of amenities… that instead of loathing the Latin language they became eager to speak it effectively… the population was gradually led into the demoralising temptation of arcades, baths and sumptuous banquets. The unsuspecting Britons spoke of such novelties as "civilisation, "when in fact they were feature only of their enslavement."
Silchester's history illustrates this Romanisation; Cogidubnus most probably spent considerable time in exile in Rome before he became king.
Dr. Fulford's lecture brought up to date the account of the excavations, originally started in the 1860s by the Rev. James Joyce and continued by many others since. Unfortunately much dating evidence was lost because of the earliness of the first investigations. Dr. Fulford's recent work examined the south and south-east gates and a small area of the forum, to determine the extent of plough damage (there was none). His excellent slides illustrated the town with its series of fortifications, forum, basilica, baths, inn, Christian church, etc.
In the late second century stone walls were erected, probably as a safety measure when Clodius Albinus withdrew troopers in AD 196/7. This tremendous work required some 45,000 wagon loads of Cotswold limestone and 105,000 loads of flint. An earth fortification had earlier been constructed, and Dr Fulford's work on the south gate showed that free-standing stone gateways had been erected prior to the earthwork. Of particular interest was the south east gate, commonly described as a sluicegate. Dr Fulford believes the "sluicegate" timbers to be those of the bridge.
Silchester was last occupied in the fifth century, and now little remains but the walls. However, aerial photography indicates that many areas previously thought empty contained dwellings which still remain to be excavated.