newsletter-109-march-1980

Newsletter

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HADAS PROGRAMME

The next lecture will be held on Tuesday 4 March at Hendon Library. Coffee will be available at 8.00p.m. and the lecture will begin at 8.30p.m.

Members who came to outing to King's Lynn voted it one of best. Our March lecturer follows this up with a talk on "Medieval King's Lynn: an archaeological, architectural and documentary survey." Dr Helen Clarke BA PhD FSA, is a specialist in Scandinavian Studies, is a lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at University College and talked about the Viking exhibition at the British Museum on the Nationwide television programme last week.

The programme for the rest of the season will be:

APRIL 1st. "Iron Bridge Gorge Museum" by Stuart B Smith MSc AMA.

MAY 8th. Annual General Meeting.

PROCESSING WEEKENDS

.. in connection with the WEST HEATH DIG have been arranged by Daphne Lorimer to take place in on the Teahouse, Northway, Hampstead Garden suburb, NW11 on Saturdays 19th and 26 April from 10.00a.m. to 5.00p.m. Please contact Daphne Lorimer if you can help.

COLLEGE FARM Open Days

With the assistance of Mr Chris Ower, HADAS and the Finchley Society will be organising four "open days" at College Farm, Finchley, during the weekends of 12-13 and 19-20 April, from 2-6 p.m. each day. It is hoped to their visitors will be able to look around the farm and meet some of the animals and see exhibits on the history of farming in the Borough and on a Nature Conservation. A number of local schools will be contributing interest to a painting competition. Admission to the "open days" is free and we hope the large number of HADAS members, their families and friends will be able to attend. HADAS need to provide about for exhibition stewards each day. If you could help for an hour or two on one of the afternoons please phone Dave King.

HADAS MINIMART

Members have been enquiring about the 1980 Minimart and we would like to inform everyone that there will not be a Minimart this year. This is due mainly to the considerable organisation entailed in the Roman Banquet that fully used the services of the members who normally co-operate in putting on the Minimart and thus preparations were not made insufficient time for March Minimart. Many members have, however, expressed disappointment and it is therefore hoped to stage a 1981 Minimart, backed up with fresh support from new volunteer helpers. So please do not dispose of anything suitable this year, try to store it for 1981 - or if you would like items stored (easily transportable variety) - Contact Dorothy Newbury or Christine Arnott will see who will see if they can help.

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OTHER EVENTS

These may be of interest to HADAS members.

LAMAS 17th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists on Saturday 26 April from the 11 a.m. in the Museum of London lecture theatre. Price £2.50 -- tickets from LAMAS Arch Conference c/o Museum of London, London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Cheques made out to "London and Middlesex Archaeological Society".

THE VIKINGS: exhibition at the British Museum open daily until 20 July. Price £1.40 for adults and £0.70 for students and OAPs. Well worth a visit.

ROMAN OPEN DEFENCES IN THE NORTHWEST PROVINCES - Council for British Archaeology and Museum of London, 21-23 March at the Museum of London -- fee is £16. Apply Mrs. Coleman, Council for British Archaeology, 112 Kennington Road, SE11.

HERTS ARCHAEOLOGICAL COUNCIL Annual Conference, Saturday 22 March at Campus West Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, subject - Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Hertfordshire and Hearth and Home. Fee £1, 1/2 day £0.75, students £0.75, children £0.50. Telephone in Derek hill's or Sue Agate, Welwyn Hatfield Museum.

HADAS OCCASIONAL PAPERS

HADAS has had a policy for a number of years of producing its own publications and has so far produced four successful titles, one of which has been reprinted three times.

We wish to encourage sales of these exciting titles both two members and the general public to help build a firm base for the future titles we have planned, and enclose an order form with this newsletter. We would welcome help and ideas for promoting these publications. Please contact the treasurer, Jeremy Clynes.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL HOLIDAYS

If you are wondering what to do about a holiday this year we thought you might get some ideas from the following holidays run in the UK: --

Holiday Fellowship, 143-144 Great North Way, London NW4 1EG - Archaeology, Industrial Archaeology and Local History Holidays throughout the country.

Field Studies Council, Preston Mountford, Mountford Bridge, Shrewsbury, SY4 1HW - Local History, Archaeology and Excavation with Professor Grimes throughout the country.

Snowdonia National Park Study Centre, Maentwrog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd LL41 3YU - the centre we visited last Autumn - Archaeological Excavation and Industrial Archaeology.

Peak National Park Study Centre, Losehill Hall, Castleton, Derbyshire, S30 2WB - Local History, Archaeology and Industrial Archaeology.

Further details about these and many other holidays can be found in the booklet entitled "Residential Short Courses" published by National Institute of Adult Education, 19B De Montford Street, Leicester, LE1 7GE - price 60p including postage.

THE LATER ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE CODEX SPIRENSIS

A report on the February lecture by Raymond Lowe.

The Codex Spirensis or the Book of Speyer was a famous volume belonging to the monks of Speyer in the Rhineland and kept in the cathedral library. The chance of survival was once again demonstrated by Mr. Christopher Hassall when he told us of the borrowing and subsequent loss of the book. The monks had refused to lend the book, but had made copies for their rich patrons. Only when the local Prince Otto Hienrich insisted on taking it was it lost, although only borrowed, he never returned it. The lost book was a late Carolingian, probably 9th/10th century copy of 5th century Roman texts. The particular copy for the evening was made for Pietro Donato, Bishop of Padua in 1436 and is now housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The Codex Spirensis is rather like the Bible, a collection of many books, in this case twelve, two of which were the subject of the lecture.

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Before describing them Mr. Hassall graphically illustrated how manuscripts were both faithfully copied and altered or updated. The insignia of the Secretary is show an object unknown to copyists, the tall official inkstands; these were therefore accurately shown whereas the cities, things they knew well, were updated to Medieval Standards containing monuments built long after the text was written.

The Notitia Dignitatum is a list of dignitaries or officials both civil and military throughout the Empire. By the fourth century, the Empire was divided into eastern and western parts. Our Notitia is the western part. The Notitia is a bureaucratic piece of red tape which in Roman times was called "purple parchment". It was looked after by the Primicenius-Dignitatum, the Chief Secretary, listing all the main administrators in the government and the army. The chief civil servant of Britain was the Vicarius Britanniarum in charge of five sub-provinces, Maxima Caesariensis, Valentia, Flavia Caesariensis, Britannia Prima and Britannia Secunda. The chief collector of taxes was the Comes Sacrae Largetiones, Count of the Sacred Largesse who did not accept the much debased coin but collected bullion and goods as payments.

The only largesse known is the large gold crossed bowed broaches which were given to the high officials as a badge of office. A number have been found in this country. The commanding officer was the Magister Peditum, master of infantry whose insignia of office shows the various regimental colours of their shields. The shields were no longer the rectangular pieces of the first and second century, but oval or round.

There were other changes in Equipment, the standards carried beside the eagles were now dragons with gilded metal heads and long silk tubular bodies.

Under the Magister Peditum were three commanders. The Dux Britanniarum was in charge of the wall. The Comes Litoris Saxonici was in charge of the forts of the Saxon shore. Both these commands were over the inferior frontier troops, the limetanei. The Comes Britanniarum commanded a mobile group of comitatense, the crack campaign troops.

The second book, the De Rebus Bellicis is an anonymous memorandum to the Emperor complaining of the high taxation and suggesting reforms not only in the exchequer, but also the army whose upkeep was such a financial burden.

The later part of the lecture was very visual with illustrations showing various war machines which must have been of great interest to the warring princes of the Renaissance causing the survival of De Rebus Bellicis. We were shown the scythe wheeled chariots Marks I, II and III with hinged blades, ox-powered paddle boats, ballistic fulminalis, the inflatable bridge, the ascogefymus and who will forget the Marti Barbubli, the "MARS BARB".

Mr Hassall gave a very witty and interesting tour of what could be in other hands a difficult subject.

Further reading -

B.A.R. S15 - Aspects of the Notitia Dignitatum.

B.A.R. S23 - De Rebus Bellici

CEDARS

Paddy Musgrove has checked the original note in the Gentleman's Magazine Library, English Topography, part VII (1896) and we reproduce it here.

HENDON (1779, p138)

Among the slighter devastations of Last New Year's hurricane I cannot but lament the destruction of perhaps the finest cedar in England. The superb tree stood close to the north side of Hendon Place, the residence of Mrs. Aislabie, eight miles from London. From the gardener's information and my own measurements some of its dimensions had been these: the height, 70 ft: the diameter of the horizontal extent of the branches, upon an average of 100 ft; the circumference of the trunk 7 feet above the ground - 16 ft; 12 feet above the ground - 20 ft. At this latter height it began to branch and its limbs, about ten in number, where work from 6 ft-12 ft in circumference. Its roots had not spread wide nor deep; and the soil that had suited it so well is a strong clay, upon rather than elevated situation. Tradition of ascribed the planting of the tree to Queen Elizabeth herself; yet the vigour of its trunk, and the full verdure of its branches make me doubt whether we are to allow so great an age. However that be, its appearance shows that it had not arrived at majority, and might have stood, perhaps even thriven for centuries to come. The gardener made £50 of the cones the year before last, but last year only £12. John Cullum.

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THE DENTIST'S TALE

Another of Percy Reboul's tape-recording transcripts.

I was born on January 11th, 1892 in Canton, China. At the age of 12 months, I moved with my family to Foochow. One of my earliest memories is at the age of three, carrying a Chinese lantern at a children's party.

My father was a pharmacist in a large firm of chemists and he moved about the world a lot. In 1899, I was brought to England and I was educated at a private school in Somerset and Haverford West Grammar School in Wales. I started my dental training at Bristol in 1909, which had only just become a University – I believe I was one of the first undergraduates there. There was no dental school but there was a medical school and we picked up what we could about dentistry from the medical curriculum. Most people in those days studied the subject of dentures for the first two years with private dentists in their workshops, but I commenced at the University itself.

I served in the 1914-18 war and was demobilised in 1919 with a major's gratuity of £600. I had to put in a year "mugging up" dentistry at the Royal Dental Hospital in London. After qualifying, I started a practice in Hendon about 1922 in Station Road, which I bought from a colleague.

I earned my living entirely from the practice. My patients were mainly middle-class people, with a few rich people. After a short time, I put in for a job at the Royal Free Hospital in Gray's Inn Road as an honorary Assistant Dental Surgeon.

As far as I remember, we charged a half guinea for a filling and I used to get angry letters because an extraction was five shillings. It varied depending on the person and the job to be done. For example, if you took a tooth out by gas you charged a half guinea and the doctor charged the same. Some local doctors' ideas of helping was to come to the surgery and stand with their back sides to the fire and say "You carry on, old man". I would have to give the gas and extract the tooth.

Working at the Royal Free.

I used to go to the hospital on a Friday at 9.00 a.m. by the old Midland train from West Hendon which took 17 minutes to get to town. I would find the waiting room filled with patients – all of them poor. It was a shambles; the anaesthetists were often inexperienced. It was almost like a smash and grab raid! You might say proudly, "I got eight teeth out in one go with gas:" that is in about a minute.

In Hendon, if you did a whole 'clearance' you would sometimes go to the patient's house accompanied by the doctor. The extraction would be done in bed or on a kitchen table, which is excellent because it's about the right height. I remember on one such case, at a farm near the Welsh Harp, where the doctor was new (it may even have been his first case) and he took an hour to put the patient to sleep – he was using ether alone and it is very difficult to put people to sleep with ether.

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There was far too much extraction done in the 20s. It started with an article in the Lancet, which discussed impacted lower wisdoms and their alleged contribution to all sorts of illnesses. There was a mania for deciding that diseased teeth could cause any disease under the sun and thousands of teeth were needlessly taken out.

In the 1920s, dentures were made with porcelain teeth in a vulcanite plate. They kept their colour well and were strong – in fact I would say that we have advanced very little with artificial teeth. A really good set of dentures, say in 1932 in the West End, cost £25-£35. The same thing in the suburbs would cost £10 and at a clinic at which I worked at Ladbroke Grove the charge was £2. 10s. It cost the dentist about £2 to make them.

The local anaesthetic in those days was novocaine and I was one of the first to do block injections (a standard practice today) in 1920 as a house surgeon. There was no one to teach me how to do it – I had to learn from an American book. I tried it first on three patients one after the other in adjoining chairs. The first one yelled the place down; the second said he couldn't swallow, but the third was a complete success.

That encouraged me. As the sister in charge of the department has said, "There have been no fatal cases in the department since I came here and I will take no responsibility for anything occurring now!"

The instruments and techniques used in dentistry have not changed basically since the 1930s.

BOOKBOX CORNER

Additions to the Bookbox.

Archaeology Foreign F43 A Pre-Neolithic Farmer's Village on the Euphrates (Syria) by A.W.T. Moore (Photostat ex "Scientific American" Aug 1978)
Anthro 221 "The Neanderthal" by E. Tinkaus and W.W. Howells (Photostat ex "Scientifioc American" Nov 1978)
Archaeology GB Sites 205 "A Neolithic and Iron Age Site at Crickley Hill, Glos" by P.W. Dixon (Photostat ex "Scientific American" Nov 1979)
Presented by Peter Fauvel-Clich Jan 1980
Archaeology Foreign F42 "BC The Archaeology of the Bible Lands" Magnus Magnusson
Local History 242 "Finchley as it was" Complied by C.R. Smith
Presented by Dorothy Newbury Jan 1980.

SURVEYING

In spite of indifferent weather in January, Barrie Martin was able to initiate new members into the mysteries of levelling in Friary Park. Members may be interested to know that he now hopes to continue the exercise further with them and show how the figures obtained in the field can be turned into plans. This is best done in very small groups so if other members are interested, let Daphne Lorimer know and other classes may be arranged later.

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SUMMER OUTINGS

Plans for the 1980 programme are well under way. The April weather has been poor over the last two years, so we are starting the season in May.

The dates for the diary are: -

MAY 17. - Oxfordshire - Leaders – Wendy Page and Sheila Woodward
JUNE 14 - Warwick/W Midlands - Eric Grant
JULY 12 - Bignor/Fishbourne - Raymond Lowe
AUGUST 16 - Northamptonshire - Isobel McPherson
SEPT 19/20/21 - Hampshire - (subject to confirmation by Southampton University)


Application forms for the September weekend will be circulated as soon as details are available.

Dorothy Newbury.

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