newsletter-083-january-1978

Newsletter

Page 1

Two Noteworthy Dates

... on Wednesday, 8 February, HADAS will appear "on the box." The Chronicle programme on which the West Heath dig has an 8-minute spot will be shown then on the BBC 2 -- exact time as yet unspecified. The Radio Times of that week will carry further details.

... on Saturday, 4 March, the Minimart -- out major fund-raising effort for 1978 -- will be held at the Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4, from 10.00a.m.-12.00p.m.

Full information about the stalls, plus collection details, will be given in the February newsletter. Meantime, may we suggest that over the Christmas holidays you might put aside any unwanted gifts and/or other items which would be suitable either for the Bric-a-brac stall of for "Nearly New" clothing.

Forthcoming HADAS Lectures

3 January. "A Possession for ever: the Parthenon at Athens" – Brain Cook, MA, FSA.

The 7 February lecture, HADAS's first for many years on Latin American Archaeology, will be given by the P.B. Barnes, MA, on the Pre-Colombian Cultures of Mexico. Mr Barnes is Secretary of the Association for Cultural Exchange; in that capacity he has made a wide study of South and Central America, where he often acts as guide to archaeological parties.

7 March. The Meaning and per Person of English Wall Paintings – E. Clive Rouse, MBE, FSA.

4 April. Excavations in South West London -- Scott McCracken.

Lectures are at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4 on the first Tuesday of the month, starting with coffee at 8.00p.m.

Monday 15 May. HADAS Annual General Meeting at Central Library, 8.00p.m.

Other HADAS Events

Saturday 21 January. Surveying session, with Barrie Martin, at West Heath. Meet 10.00a.m. at the Pond site.

Sunday 29 January. Field walking at Bury Farm, Edgware, on a field we have not yet sampled. Meet at 10.00a.m. in Edgwarebury Lane at its junction with Clay Lane, which is a wide foot path on the right hand side of Edgwarebury Lane just before the Bury Farm buildings. Shiela Woodward is organising this walk, but as she is not on the telephone it would be very helpful if members would ring Brigid Grafton Green and let her know if they intend coming.

Saturday 11 February. Probable surveying session with Mr Martin at St. Joseph's Convent, Hendon, 10.00a.m. This arrangement is conditional upon the Convent giving permission; final details in the next newsletter. It is planned to record a large mound (origin at the moment unknown) in the Convent grounds.

Page 2

Weekend 18/19 February. Processing of West Heath finds at the Teahouse, Hampstead Garden Suburb, from 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Elizabethan banquet at Hatfield Palace

By Lily Lewy.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I spent many happy years here as a child, and a less happy term of uneasy internment during the turbulent reign of her sister, Mary Tudor. Most of the palace was torn down by Robert Cecil when he built his new mansion Hatfield House nearby (E-shaped as a compliment to his Queen), but the Great Hall remains, with its steeply pitched timbered roof whose supports seem to spring from quaintly carved corbels, and its walls hung with good stout twills printed with curious designs of dragons and exotic plants. And here we latter-day Elizabethans gathered to take part in a banquet. (How the real Elizabeth would have envied the least of us, who had made our way, on a rainy December night, from Hendon to Hatfield, dry-shod, with not a hair out of place, within less than an hour!)

From the dais within the Great Hall a lady impersonating Gloriana directed to the entertainment provided by a group of minstrels was who sang both loud and clear, frequently becoming audible above the hubbub created by members of HADAS and their guests (some 200 in all) and an additional 60 policemen, also wassailing. Her Master of Ceremonies schooled us in the art of applauding the Tudor style (you bang your fist on the board), instructed us in the aphrodisiac properties of that rare and costly commodity, salt, and told the men to break the bread for all to share has a sign of male dominance.


"Her Majesty" calling for a taster to see whether her wine was safe for her to drink, no less than 9 gallants made their way to the dais and were each rewarded with a fearsomely resounding case. Then the wine flowed without stint, and so did delicious flowery-scented mead.

The feast followed, beginning with stout pottery jugs full of steaming hot and savoury broth. How the eyes of HADAS members gleamed, as at a glance they assessed the age and provenance of each remarkably well-preserved vessel! Herring and Venison, Sallets and Gypsy Cake followed in due order, with Cheese and Coffee to conclude the repast. And the entertainment continued with singing and dancing and the Death of the Dragon at the hands of St. George, admirably performed.

It was a stroke of genius that prompted "Her Majesty" to knight by our own John Enderby, threatening him with the capitation as she administered the accolade. Creating him Knight of the Garter, moreover, so that duly robed in stately gown and cap he was forced to fumble for the Garter among the many-layered skirts of one of the comely Court ladies! How sad that the trophy of his gallantry proved to be but a modern imitation, no circlet of blue velvet embroidered with costly jewels.

It is not possible to list all the joys of the evening, but sovereign among them must be "Her Majesty's" sad-visaged jester who walked on stilts, tumbled, juggled, ate fire and performed many feats of sleight of hand, not only from the safe height of the dais, but "below the salt," where "Her Majesty's" lesser subjects were enjoying every moment.

Our thanks go to Dorothy Newbury who, as usual, performed the feats of impeccable organisation that we have come -- almost -- to take for granted; and to her able lieutenants who looked after the passengers in the individual horseless conveyances.

We can't wait to see what HADAS's Christmas outing will be in 1978!

Page 3

The Burnt Stone Project

Here Myfanwy Stewart provides an insight into the work she has been doing on some of the material from West Heath.

When we began at the dig at West Heath last year, questions came thick and fast over the fence. They varied from the affable "Got a dinosaur there?" to the somewhat belligerent "Who's paying for this lot, then?" Another frequent inquiry was "Do you think anyone lived here?" The burnt stone project attempts to throw some light on the last question.

In the earliest stages of the dig we noticed both reddened stones and the crazed white stones sometimes called "pot boilers." Both were believed to be the result of exposure to fire. Material found in the top layer of the excavation could well be the result of modern picnic fires. Burnt stone found in the lower levels, however, might be evidence of ancient hearths.

It was decided to attempt to trace the centres of fires, where temperatures were highest, out to their cooler parameters. We knew that the white crazed stone was the result of high temperatures but were unsure of the heat required to produce the different shades of orange and red, which might indicate in the outer areas of the fires.

The Fire Research Station packed Borehamwood was consulted. They said that little work had been done on the effect of heat on flint, but sent us an HMSO publication on the "Investigation of Building Fires," which dealt with aggregates containing flint. This confirmed that the development of the red colour "corresponds with the dehydration of the iron compounds and that its presence is a reliable indication that the sample has been heated to a temperature of at least 250°-300°C -- the higher temperature with shorter heating periods." At the other end of the scale, calcined white crazed opaque stone results from temperatures above 575°C; its more friable quality is the result of the expansion of quartz grains and the inversion subsequently of the alpha and beta forms.

We had pictured mesolithic hunters grouped around their open wood fires and wondered if temperatures above 575°C were possible in those pre-pottery times, when presumably the use of forced draught to produce high temperatures was unknown. The Fire Research Station reassured us and said that the red embers would be about 600°-700°C, while yellow embers or flames would be a great deal hotter. So if concentrations of white crazed stones were found in archaeologically interesting levels, they might indicate the centres of ancient fires. Similarly, quantities of red stones might be evidence of the outer limits.

We saw that there were many shades of red burnt stone ranging from orange to dark ox-liver red. As we had little idea of how long it would take to produce any colour change, I decided to do some preliminary experiments at home. Might domestic oven can produce a temperature of 285°C and so could be used.

The most common type of stone on the site is yellow, opaque and chert-like. Samples were used in the tests, together with examples of the hard glassy grey flint similar to that used by the mesolithic people of West East in their tool making.

It was not without some trepidation that work began and continued.

Page 4

Loud bangs shattered the Sunday calm and while I reassured my incredulous family that all was well, I wondered privately how much of the glass oven door would cost to replace. The dogs wisely took refuge under the table.

Miraculously nothing shattered except for family nerves and we had some results. Within 2 hours the yellow flint was veined with orange, in 4 hours it was a definite red and in 7 hours it was a dark liver read. The hard grey flint was unchanged. Temperatures of 600°C were required for tests to produce the crazed white flint. As a result of HADAS member Alec Gouldsmith's powers of persuasion, Johnson Mathey Chemicals generously undertook a series of tests for which they made no charge. After 17 hours at 600°C the stone, although calcined, was a pinky-orange and a further 17 hours was required to produce the white crazed flint similar to that found in the excavation.

Thus we were able to make up a "shade chart" which indicated the degrees of heat to which stones had been subjected. Three shades of red obtained in the kitchen tests were used for lightly burnt flint; 2 types of calcined stone for the highly burnt flint. When processing began, every burnt stone found in the season's dig was colour matched to our samples, and an attempt was made to build an overall picture of the fires on the site.

We cannot claim that clearly separate areas of light, medium or heavy burning are to be found. However, interesting concentrations were apparent. By far the most burnt area of the site was the southwest corner. Evidence of burning increased the further down we dug. In one south west trench the total number of calcined stones far exceeded those in any other and this appears to be the centre of a fire. Extensive burning was seen in the north east of the site and again in one trench on the south.

A most interesting fact is that the main areas of burning are not those in which possible postholes were found. This brings us back to the question "Did anyone live here?" In view of the enormous numbers of man-struck flakes that were found in 1976, the even greater number in 1977, the evidence of possible postholes and the evidence of burning, we may well be justified in believing that we are indeed excavated a dwelling site -- though it may be a seasonal one.

This season's processing is still in the earliest stages. Nevertheless, once again areas of heavy burning of becoming apparent, especially in the northeast of the site. A further report will be made when this later evidence has been sifted and started.

Exhibitions, Conferences and Courses

At Church Farm House Museum until 8 January (not 1/2 January) a phographic exhibition on their history of Hendon Errors Road, 1910-57. An excellent catalogue gives an outline history of this Mecca of flying.

Tuesday, 7 February, at City University, Northampton Square, EC1: one-day conference on the Materials in Archaeology, organised by the Materials Science Club, starting at 10.30a.m. Subjects to be discussed include Roman Silver plate, armour penetration, papyrus, the swordsmith in antiquity, bone in archaeological time, wood from archaeological sites, Highgate pottery, analysis of ancient metal objects, ancient bronzes, third century development of coinage alloys, pottery under the electron microscope and how soil alters buried materials.

Conference fee £4, including coffee, tea and buffet lunch with wine. Non-- members may attend free. Further details from David Price Williams, City University.

Page 5

Saturday 18 March: all-day Conference of London Archaeologists, organised by the LAMAS that Museum of London. Further details next month.

Cambridge University has recently sent us their list of next year's extra-mural residential courses at Madingley Hall -- one of the most attractive and historically-interesting adult colleges, in a beautiful setting 4 miles from Cambridge. An interesting innovation is a "Family Weekend" from July 28-30, on archaeology, natural and local history, to be conducted by David Dymond, Roland Randall and David Trump. It is described as "an opportunity for parents to bring older children to Madingley for a study weekend."

Other courses are:

Feb. 24-26. Interpretations of Air Photographs, with Prof. J. K. St. Joseph amd Dr. Trump.

June 16-18. Hedgerows and hedgerow dating, with Roland Randall.

Two linked weekends, June 2=30-Julyu 2, and Sept 29-Oct. 1, with Lionel Munby, on discovering that the history of a family and uncovering the history of a house.

Further details of all Madingley courses from the Director of Extra-mural Studies, Madingley Hall, Cambridge, CB3 8AQ.

Thanks where Thanks are Due

As another year ends, the editor of the Newsletter would like to thank all those who have made it possible were during 1977 for the Newsletter – HADAS's main line of communication with its ever-growing membership -- to reach you in the first week of each month.

First, thanks to many contributors, who come up smiling whenever they are asked to write for HADAS. A refusal to do so is very rare, and this willing response makes the editor's job of much easier.

Then thanks to Irene Frauchiger, who gives our duplicator a home (and it's not everyone who would tolerate a large and messy object like that around the place) and rolls off the stencils each month; and to Trudi Pulfer, who so willingly helps with the job of collating and stapling hundreds of pages, so that you can read them in good order.

Thanks also to Jeremy Clynes, who keeps our mailing list trim and up-to-date; and to Raymond Lowe, who looks after our addressing machine and produces the hundreds of envelopes we need to each month.

Last -- but certainly not least -- thanks to Harry Lawrence, on whom newsletters, insertions and envelopes converge from all sides, and who then "stuffs" and stamps the envelopes, agonises over the posting of them and whether you will get yours in time, and even delivers some 30 or 40 by hand, thus saving the Society, over the year, a pretty penny.

It's a good team, it works hard, and HADAS is truly grateful.

Sewer Vent Pipes

Our Industrial Archaeology organiser, Bill Firth, was asked about sewer vent pipes by a HADAS member at the Research Tea on 20 November. Unfortunately he has mislaid the name of the member. Would whoever was concerned kindly give him a ring?

Man before Metals

A report by Audrey Hooson.

Early man returned recently to the British Museum with the opening of "Man Before Metals," a permanent exhibition replacing the old First Prehistory room.

Page 6

As well as familiar exhibits like the Folkton Drums (from a Bronze Age round barrow near Filey, Yorkshire) and finds from Grimes Graves, Star Carr and the Swiss Lake sites, there are many interesting new showcases. These include one on the development of stone tools, which starts with pebble chopping tools from Olduvai and ends with mesolithic tools from Farnham in Surrey. "Working in Flint," with experimental flint work by a Dr Mark Newcomer, includes a fascinating "Core's View" of the sequential removal of flakes to form a hand axe. "The Search for Rare Materials" shows good samples and artefacts of jadeite, rock crystal, amber and other material was traded by neolithic man.

The exhibition is spaciously arranged and the lighting is good. However, I felt that it could do with better labelling -- for instance, the same grave goods from the Barnack Grave seen to be shown in two different places at once, without reference to one or the other (or both) being a copy. The gallery is certainly worth a visit -- even for non-devotees of prehistory -- to look at the Palaeolothic carvings; and you get a wonderful aerial view of the Hinton St. Mary fourth century Roman pavement below, thrown in for good measure.

Diploma Exam Papers

Many HADAS members are making their way steadily through the four years of the London University External Diploma in Archaeology. They may like to know that copies of recent examination papers in each of the four years or kindly donated to the Society by John Cundy before he left England a few months ago to live in Australia. The papers, which are launched in the book box, or are:

1st Year: Archaeology of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Man: 1969-1972 inc.

2nd Year: Archaeology of Western Asia: 1969-1971 inc & 1973.

3rd Year: Prehistoric Europe: 1969-1974 inc (duplicates of 1970-71).

Final Year: (2 papers for each option each year):

(a) Egyptology 1969-1971 inc.

(b) Roman Britain 1968-70 inc.

(c) Prehistoric Britain 1969-1974 inc (duplicates of 1969-71).

If exams are looming ahead in May, how about borrowing some of these from our Hon. librarian, George Ingram?

Additions to the Bookbox

(References on left are to categories and numbers on the Hon. Librarian's master list)

Rom. Brit 149 Fishbourne – the Roman Palace and its History
Arch. Foreign F.27 Middle America – Archaeological Map
F.28 Greek & Roman Life – guide to exhibition at British Museum, 1908
F.29 Soc for Libyan Studies, Annual Reports 1969-1975.
F.30 Iranian Art and Archaeology – Vth International Congress
Comments