newsletter-098-april-1979

Newsletter

Page 1

THE SUMMER PROGRAMME

After one of the nastiest winters in living memory; spring is nearly here again; and that means that, like the birds, Dorothy Newbury is beginning to chirp gently about summer pleasures ahead.

The details of the 1979 programme of outings is not yet complete, but Dorothy says this will be the general shape of it:

Sat. Apr. 7. The first outing will be a half-day spent with the Hornchurch Historical Society, who will show us, at Upminster, Essex, a well-preserved smock mill and a 14th/15th century tithe barn which houses a folk and agricultural museum. An application form is enclosed. As the date is very close, please complete and return as soon as possible.

Sat. May 19. Kent and Surrey

Sat. June 9. Maidenhead district

Sat. Ju1y 14. Coventry and The Lunt

Sat. Aug.18. Castle Acre, near Swaffham

Sept. 19-22. Trip to Snowdonia

More details about the programme in the May Newsletter.

FURTHER DIG AT FINCHLEY

Trial trenching near the site of the old Rectory of St. Mary's-at-Finchley is shortly to be resumed. Digging during April and May 1978 yielded a quantity of medieval pottery, mainly 13th-15th c., and some struck flakes, probably Mesolithic. Unexplained, however, was a strange feature cut into the natural boulder clay at a depth of more than 2 m.

Permission has now been obtained to dig on the adjacent site in Church Crescent, in the hope of clarifying this mystery, and work will begin on or about Easter weekend (April 14-16). Diggers, experienced and otherwise, are needed, and are asked to telephone Paddy Musgrove for further details.

HENLY'S CORNER - IN THE ICE AGE

By Helen O'Brien.

The Pleistocene ice-sheets really did stop at Henly's Corner (which is the junction of the Finchley and North Circular Roads). What has become almost a local folk legend was confirmed recently by the Geological Museum, in answer to a query from HADAS, prompted by current road improvement proposals. But the Finchley glacier did not, as popularly believed, come from the last glaciation but from a much earlier one, approximately a quarter of a million years ago – known, in English terminology, as the Anglian advance; or as the Mindel glaciation in the European Alpine sequence.

Page 2

To ease traffic congestion along the North Circular Road a number of alternative road improvements have been proposed; one suggestion is to submerge the North Circular in a tunnel. If this takes place and excavation of this magnitude occurs, what evidence for glaciation might we expect to see at Henly's Corner?

Certainly not large deposits - the ice sheet at its furthest-ever-point of southerly advance lacked energy to carry big material; but boulder clay would be visible, containing broken rocks derived from the earlier Cretaceous and Tertiary geological periods, some possibly from as far afield as Scandinavia. Also, of course, there would be flint but, surprisingly, most probably very broken and unsuitable for knapping. And should the tunnelling expose the underlying blue London clay, this too would show evidence of glaciation by fossil ice wedges. These form in frozen ground and by their size indicate the depth of permafrost. Today they would be recognised as silty deposits infiltrating the clay where the ice wedges melted.

If the deep tunnelling scheme is approved - or, indeed, when any scheme of largish scale is undertaken at Henly's Corner to improve the traffic situation -HADAS may have an opportunity to inspect these interesting geological strata and to ascertain whether by any chance this area could have provided, in the Mesolithic, the source of flint for the hunter-gatherers of West Heath. In view of what the Geological Museum says, however, this now seems to be a less likely and less promising source than we had previously hoped.

(Note: HADAS has already notified the Department of Environment that if and when any work is undertaken at Henly's Corner the Society would like an opportunity to watch the site, in view of the possible geological and archaeological interest).

THE LAST LECTURE …

of this winter season will be on Tuesday, April 3, at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4. (coffe 8 pm, lecture 8.0). It will be on The Etruscans and will be given by an old friend of HADAS's , Geoffrey Toms.

Members who took part in our first ever weekend outing in the autumn of 1971 - to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and other Shropshire sites will remember that one of our guides on that trip was Geoffrey Toms, then Warden of the residential adult education college at which we stayed, Attingham Park; and that he was a tower of strength in crises and a notable guide, particularly around the impressive ruins of Wroxeter (Roman Uriconium), where he had been helping annually to organise the training dig run by Dr. Graham Webster.

Mr. Toms has now joined the staff of the Museum of London as Education Officer. He has led a number of study tours to Greece and Italy and is well qualified to speak to us on those interesting and mysterious people, the Etruscans.

TUESDAY, MAY 15

is the date of the Society's Annual General Meeting. A notice convening it is enclosed with this Newsletter. The business part of the Meeting rarely lasts more than half an hour. For the remainder of the evening you will be able to see a HADAS-eye-view of the past year on slides: places we visited in 1978 and some of the thing we did.

Page 3

Dorothy Newbury, who is organising this entertainment, would be particularly glad to hear from members able to lend three or four slides showing the last three outings of 1978, which were: Berkhamsted and Picotts End (June 24, 1978); Framlingham and Heveningham (Aug.12) and the Cotswolds (Sept 16). If you have anything which you think would be useful, please ring Dorothy and let her know.

THE FINDS OF FLINDERS PETRIE

By Christine Arnott.

Members may like to know that it is possible for the public to visit a most fascinating collection in the Department of Egyptology at University College, London. This is the Petrie Museum, which is open from Mondays to Fridays (10 am-12 noon and 1 pm-5 pm) except for a 3-week summer recess. Access to the museum is from the north end of Malet Street (opposite Dillons University Bookshop) through the DMS Watson Library on the left hand side, to the first floor where further guidance will be required to negotiate a labyrinthine approach through the Natural Sciences Library.

In a comparatively small space is housed a wide range of exhibits, mainly from Petrie's excavations, but also showing important acquisitions from the Egypt Exploration Society's Nubia and Saqqara digs and the Sir Henry Wellcome bequest.

The Petrie Museum is a teaching, research and study collection which aims at showing Egyptian archaeological material in its original excavated context, and of illustrating the development of Egyptian culture, technology and daily life.

A Guidebook is available (price 20p) explaining the layout and aims of the museum. Petrie's famous system of sequence dating is explained and the relevant pottery sherds are shown in the adjacent case.

The artefacts displayed range from Palaeolithic flints through pre-dynastic material to funerary portrait masks of the Graeco-Roman period. The shelves are full of objects to attract one's attention - unlike the British Museum with its concentration on single individual pieces of superb workmanship. There is therefore n special opportunity to gain a wider knowledge of Egyptian ways of life and objects in normal use. This is particularly relevant to the artefacts from the town of Lahun in the Fayum (the Delta area), built for the workers on the Middle Kingdom pyramid and temple of Sesostris II at Lahun. These include tools used in the work, such as mallets, chisels, levelling rods and plumb bobs; also agricultural implements - sickles, winnowers, hoes as well as everyday objects used by the inhabitants and toys for their children.

There are many lines of research that can be followed - the development of the slate plate, for example, or the use of faience from its beginnings in the archaic period. The wide range of material used in sculpture and jewellery is well represented.

Finally the research assistant in charge - Mrs. Barbara Adams - is very helpful and will give the benefit of specialist knowledge or display additional material packed away in drawers. I do hope this short account will encourage HADAS members to taste the delights of this absorbing collection.

Page 4

THANKING ALL MINIMARTERS

(or should it be "martyrs?")

That annual jamboree, the HADAS Minimart, took place on March 3. As always under the expert and highly efficient organisation of Christine Arnott and Dorothy Newbury, it not only took place it also took off.

Cheerful helpers sold to satisfied buyers and the stalls were crammed with goodies. We needn't tell you how much behind-the-scenes work that last simple statement involved; nor how many donors gave generously and how many collectors provided time and transport.

Members took the chance - as they always do - to turn this into a social as much as a commercial occasion, so that anyone who eavesdropped will not only have overheard discussions about apple chutney and second hand football boots, but also erudite titbits on geological strata, bones, methods of field walking, soil samples and old railway engines.

It was particularly nice to see some members who don't always get to ordinary HADAS meetings - for instance, one of our Vice-Presidents, Daisy Hill, was doing trojan work among the clothes racks; Liz Aldridge worked up a good trade in Shire and HADAS publications at her doorway bookstall; and Marjorie Errington presided over something new in Minimart trading - a "Grot Shop" which sold mini-priced bargains.

The comment which would have most delighted the two organisers' hearts - because it showed appreciation of the hours of careful preparation which are always put in beforehand - came from a member who said "It's a real pleasure to come to this sale - it's always so clean and well laid out and everything is priced."

That accolade for excellent staff work is deserved. Best of all, however, is the final hallmark of success: HADAS netted over £500.

REMINDER FROM THE TREASURER

The Society's new financial year commenced on April 1, and all subscriptions are now due for renewal. A form for this purpose is enclosed with this Newsletter and should be sent to the Hon. Treasurer, Jeremy Clynes. Current subscription rates are:

Full membership - £2.00
Under-18 - £1.00
Over-60 - £1.00
Family Membership: - first member - £2
- additional members £1 each


Forms are available from the Treasurer to pay subscriptions by bank standing order.

The Society has a small stock of the publication London Clay Tobacco Pipes, by David Atkinson and Adrian Oswald, at the greatly reduced price of 25p, plus l5p postage. Copies are available from the Treasurer.

THE SECOND INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

A report on the March lecture by BILL FIRTH.

Another good audience this time braved the rain to attend Kenneth Hudson's lecture on March 6.

Page 5

Mr. Hudson's second industrial revolution is based on oil and electricity and his alternative title was "twentieth century industrial archaeology." His interest in it is at least as much social as archaeological and social aspects were duly stressed in his examples.

The remarkable thing about so much 20th c. industry is that despite the enormous amount of paper which it turns out, it is very poorly documented and such records as remain are very valuable. However, people are still alive who can tell of their experiences and tape recordings give valuable evidence.

With the aid of slides we were taken through a series of interesting examples, including retailing and the change of scale which has occurred: upper class one-store food shopping at Harrods or Fortnum and Mason has now, in the supermarket, become the norm for all; council housing (20th c. successor to the Victorian village) and its decline in standard; and examples of company history, including Suttons Seeds, Fyffes Bananas, Chappie (now Pedigree Pet Foods), Wrigley, Walls, Heinz, Carreras, Shredded Wheat, Berni Inns and Burtons.

Heinz was the first hygienic American food factory" in this country (c. 1920); Wrigley and Shredded Wheat were others which set a new standard. Fyffes popularised the banana and set up a rail distribution network to satisfy demand - now superseded by road transport. Before the 1939-45 war Chappie could cope with the demand for pet foods from one modest factory on a trading estate at Slough. The rise, decline and recovery of "Burton the Tailor of Taste" is recent history - but how many listeners knew that Burton's stores had billiard halls built above them? And that when the decision was taken to modernise Burton's "image" and get rid of the billiard rooms, hundreds of second hand billiard tables had to be let out gradually onto the market, lest the bottom should drop out of it? That is why you will often find an ex-Burton bill1ard table in unlikely places like Kuala Lumpur or Accra.

Mr. Hudson commented on the changes which have occurred, the pictorial evidence and the social effects. Often the change has been one of scale - an industry outgrew its original site. Many of us felt some relief when in discussion it was suggested that some industries are now tending to move back to operating in smaller units.

A PLEA FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

One point which Kenneth Hudson made abundantly plain in his lecture was that, as an archaeological society, all those of us who are capable of doing so ought to be moving around with a camera at the ready photographing the all-too-ephemeral artefacts and usages of our century. If everyday objects are not recorded while they are in use, they often disappear without trace.

Even in the last 30 years so many things, once familiar, have vanished; and others are clearly on their way out. How often nowadays do you see a policeman on point duty? When did you last observe a telegraph boy delivering a wire? Where are they now, the pony-drawn milk-floats that used, only 25 years ago, to deliver our daily pints?

Do you remember the old-fashioned grocer's shops where tea and coffee were weighed out, even after the second war, on intricate and beautiful brass balances which stood on the counter? Or the strange "systems," often in draper's shops, travelling along overhead wires or in curious quick-turning capsules inside a cylinder, which carried invoices and change between shop assistant and counting desk? Is there a shop left anywhere which, like Chesterton's wicked grocer, "keeps a lady in a cage" to look after the cash?

Page 6

What happened to the blue police phone boxes which once stood at busy junctions (luckily HADAS photographed a few of those in the Hendon district before they were all removed). Are there still District Messengers? Do you remember the glowing glass jars of beautiful shape, filled with liquids of scarlet, emerald and amber, which hypnotised you in chemists' windows? The list of vanished, half-remembered objects and habits is almost endless. The constant thing about it is that everything changes, and today the change is sometimes so quick that no record survives.

All this brings us to one of HADAS's most urgent needs of the moment - more photographers. We would like to build up a "bank" of competent photographer-members on whom we could call in moments of need. Half a dozen or so members have helped us nobly in this way in the past (Peter Clinch, Ted Sammes, Alec Jeakins, Raymond Lowe, to mention just a few). They cannot, however, always be available, and some of them have many calls on their time. We were therefore delighted when two of our newer members, Harry Day and Nigel Gore, came forward after Kenneth Hudson's lecture and offered photographic help. We hope to ask both to do some assignments in the near future.

Not all HADAS's photographic work is in the Industrial Archaeology field (where Patrick Smith has done very valuable work for the Society. In addition to Industrial Archaeology work - which can range from the decorated tiles in a butcher's shop to a railway bridge or an early lamp standard - there are pictures to be taken on digs, tombstone recording, the farm buildings survey, and so on; almost every project undertakes has a photographic side to it.

Interiors, as well as, exteriors, are sometimes needed, so ability to work with flash is useful. Black and whites for record purposes, angled shots which can be blown up for exhibitions, colour transparencies for the Society's slide collection: all are in demand. Copying illustrations from books, or photographing parts of maps is also a valuable skill. Our aim is to lodge the negatives of all photos taken for the Society in our Photographic File, which will be kept in our room at Avenue House. The Society, of course, pays for the cost of film, and for any prints which it needs.

If you feel that you can help by undertaking any of this kind of work, we shall be delighted to hear from you - please give our Secretary, Brigid Grafton Green, a ring and let her know.

BUMPER DAYS FOR THE BOOKBOX

Books of many kinds have been rolling in to our Hon. Librarian, George Ingram, in the last few months. Below is a list of the latest additions. If you would like to borrow any of them, give George a ring and if it is not already "out" he will bring it along to the next lecture. (References are to the categories and numbers on the Hon. Librarian's master list).

Anthropology 1 History of the Primates, W E Le Gros Clark. 9th edit. With revised time scale, 1965, Brit.Mus. (Nat. Hist)
9 Social Evolution, Gordon Childe, Fontana 1951

Page 7

Archaeology General 126 Man the Toolmaker, Kenneth Oakley, BM
173 Still Digging, Mortimer Wheeler, 1956
174 Cave Drawings. Exhib. by Arts Council 1954
Arch Foreign F35 Egyptian Religion, E A Wallis Budge, Routledge Keegan Paul. 1899 reprint 1975
F36 Egyptian Magic. ditto
F37 Egyptian Gods, Alan W Shorter. RKP reprint, 1978
F38 Antiquities of Ur, C Leonard Woolley. Introduction to BM exhibition, 1936
F39 Scrolls from the Dead Sea, guide to BM exhibition, 1935
Arch. GB 202 Excavation of Maiden Castle, R E M Wheeler (not Roman) (reprint from Antiq. Journal July 1936

vol. XVI, No.3

Local History 61 Fenton House, Hampstead. Country Life 1953
198 London's Lost Railways. Charles Klapper. Routledge Kegan Paul 1976
199 Church Farm House. Borough of Hendon. 1962
200 Camden History Review - 5. Camden History Society, 1977
231 Camden History Review - 6. ditto. 1978
232 Hampstead, a London Town. E F Oppe. 1951
233 Ancient Priory and Present Church of St. John at Clerkenwell. Thos. W. Wood & Henry W. Fincham. 1903
234 London before the Conquest, W R Lethaby. Macmillan 1911
Roman Britain 184 Roman Britain. BBC pamphlet. c. 1956
185 Roman Ship on the site of New County Hall. LCC booklet
Misc 159 How Men Worship, F H Hilliard. Routledge Kegan Paul reprint 1978
211 The Truth About Cottages, John Woodforde, RKP reprint 1979
Unnumbered: Periodicals Proceed1ngs of the Prehistoric Society, vols. 38-42, 1972-76
Current Anthropology, June 1978
World Archaeology, vol. 10 No 2, Oct. 1978
Nat. Geographic Magazine, Jan. 1951
Guides Wisley Gardens. Royal Hort. Soc. 1970
Savill Gardens, Windsor Great Park
Norwich (set of 4)
Canterbury
Sandwich
Chipping Camden
Burghley House, Stamford, Hunts
Somerleyton Hall, Suffolk
Chawton House, Hants (Jane Austen)
Bramall Hall, Cheshire
For young readers The World We Live In. Collins,1957

These have, for the main part, been given by various members, including Elizabeth Holliday, Helen Gordon, Brigid Grafton Green, F. Meyer and several anonymous donors. To all of them, many thanks.

Page 8

LIFE IN ROMAN SOUTHWARK

Also recently added to the Bookbox are two newly-published volumes on Excavations in Southwark, 1972-74. They are reviewed below by SHEILA WOODWARD.

As their first joint publication, the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society and the Surrey Archaeological Society have produced the report on the Southwark Excavations from 1972-74. Its two volumes and 619 pages may seem rather a daunting "read," but they are packed with a wealth of fascinating information. After a general introduction to the history of Southwark, each of the seven sites excavated is dealt with in detail. The individual reports are very comprehensive and the text is amply supported by plans, sections and drawings of the pottery, glass and small finds. Specialist analyses of the organic data are included.

Although the sites were confined to small areas of current building development and in all cases the Roman levels had been disturbed or partially destroyed by the digging of post-medieval cellars, careful excavation ensured the recovery of a vast quantity of evidence about life in Roman Southwark. Fragments of painted wall-plaster indicate that even the wattle-and-daub houses of the lst c. settlement were not without embellishment, and the stone foundations of the 3rd c. levels suggest increased affluence and more substantial building.

Portions of textiles, mostly woven wool, have been found, and rubbish pits have yielded evidence of a pleasantly varied diet - grape, apple, cherry, plum, mulberry, blackberry and raspberry have been identified, with cucumber, cabbage, mustard and dill on the savouy side, presumably to accompany the beef, pork, mutton and fish to which the bones bear witness. Analysis of the insect remains found in the rubbish pits shows that they are indicators of climatic conditions, and also of the standards of garbage disposal. And why should 20 dogs, varying in size from boxer to Yorkshire terrier, have been deposited in wood-lined partitioned pit? The most likely explanation seems to be that they were votive offerings.

Part III of the report includes detailed studies of the Roman pottery, with a most useful Kiln Gazetteer and notes on the Roman pottery industry in the London area. Of particular interest to HADAS members are the notes on the Brockley Hill industry (pp. 534 and 541).

Many examples of Brockley Hill products are included in the finds illustrated in the report, and it is clear that the settlement at Southwark was one of the main markets for pottery from the kilns in the Verulamium area. For examples of the pottery known to have been made at Brockley Hill, see the mortarium reports on pp. 128-9; p.282; p. 378; and p.459. Brockley Hill products such as flagons of various forms, including ring-necked, pinch-necked and others), tazze, lids and jars appear on all sites.

The general report headed "Roman Pottery in Southwark" states that "from c. AD 70 until at least the mid-2nd c. the Verulamium region supplied the majority (over 90%; and 70% of flagons illustrated in this report) of the flagons found in Southwark."

Comments