newsletter-115-september-1980

Newsletter

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OUR NEXT OUTING: SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 13TH

N.B. This one day outing is not in fact to Southampton, as previously announced, but replaces the Southampton week-end originally planned. Mr. David Johnston, Tutor in Archaeology for the Department of Adult Education at Southampton University will conduct us. He is known to some members through the Roman Cookery Course and Flint Knapping Course and has arranged an interesting day, starting at the Hospital of St. Cross, Winchester, Britain's oldest existing Charitable Institute housed in one of the most beautiful groups of Medieval buildings still in use. Here we will partake of the daily 'Traveller's Dole" of bread and beer, a tradition dating back to the 12th century. We will go on to Hayling Island where an excavation of a Roman Temple and its Iron Age predecessor is in progress.

Please fill in the application form and return it as soon as possible if you wish to join the group.

MRS ANN EVANS

It will shock and horrify HADAS members to hear of the untimely death early in August of Ann, wife of Colin Evans.

Ann and Colin, then already experienced diggers, joined the Society eight years ago, first when they were living in Finchley and later in New Barnet. They were among the keenest of our younger members, Colin taking his Certificate in Field Archaeology (with Distinction) and being an active member of the Research Committee, while Ann joined him on digs, at Teahouse processing sessions and in the small group which helped Dorothy Newbury to arrange and organise the year's programmes.

Many members will remember with great pleasure our first-ever HADAS weekend, to Shropshire in October 1974, and how excellently Ann and Colin arranged it all, from their attractive booklet with its quotations from The Shropshire Lad to the comfortable stay at Attingham Park and the visits to Shrewsbury, Wroxeter and the Ironbridge Gorge.

Some three or four years ago the Evans moved up to Bedfordshire, but they remained members of HADAS and keenly interested in our activities. We always hoped to see them at least once each summer at West Heath, and they were enthusiastic Roman Banqueters last Christmas, Colin as a centurion and Ann dressed as a slim, pretty Roman matron.

We send Colin our deepest sympathy in his tragic loss.

TREASURE HUNTING

The following article appeared in Current Research in Archaeology No 8, May 1980. It seemed to provide a rather different slant to the classic archaeological reaction to treasure hunting, so we asked if we might reprint it. We do so now, with kind permission of both the Editor of CRA and of the author.

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POTENTIAL DAMAGE TO ARCHAEOLOGICAL DATA FROM TREASURE HUNTING.

By D.R. Crowther of the Cambridgeshire Archaeological Committee.

For well over a decade the activities of "treasure hunters" have been causing archaeologists considerable alarm. It is felt that the arbitrary removal of metal objects from the ground inevitably will involve the removal, and therefore the destruction, of potential archaeological data, thereby jeopardising both present and future field work. Despite this growing feeling against the hobby, now finding expression in the national publicity campaign STOP, little or nothing has been done to quantify the efficiency of popular treasure hunting machines or methods; and this creates the danger of rendering many of the accepted anti-treasure hunting arguments flimsy, and even cant, in the critical eyes of the public.

The Welland Valley Project is currently excavating a six-acre prehistoric and Romano-British crop mark site threatened by gravel extraction at Maxey, Cambridgeshire, and as part of the intensive programme of topsoil studies prior to stripping, it was decided to attempt a metal detector survey of the site. This presented the opportunity to test a variety of equipment.

Over a survey transect measuring approximately 200 by 20 m, several types of machine and operator were employed, including experienced "treasure hunters" using their own machines. Using a search method far more rigorous than any hobbyist metal detector user would ever consider, the commercially popular (Induction Balance) machines, even in the hands of experienced operators, were unable to locate more than 7% of the material recovered by a more expensive, less popular type of machine. Out of the 1200 objects recovered, nearly 900 were nail fragments, the distribution of which suggested a post-medieval (i.e. post ridge and furrow) date. As for the rest, only 115 were even remotely identifiable, and about 25 were non-ferrous. Finds of direct relevance to the archaeology below: one Roman coin. No finds deeper than 20 cm were recovered from the damp clay-loam, and machine efficiency dropped appreciably in wet weather. Nearest neighbour analysis points to a random distribution of material and though the presence of a Roman coin proves the long term survival of non-ferrous objects at any rate, nothing else can yet be dated to even medieval times, rendering the material largely irrelevant for our purposes. Several of the objects, however - post-medieval tokens, Victorian harness decorations etc. - would be of great interest to the hobbyist treasure hunter.

Most "treasure hunters" it appear to prefer Induction Balance machines for their simplicity, low battery drain, lightness and value for money (Crowther 1978) and are not necessarily prepared to sacrifice these virtues for far more expensive, deeper penetrating equipment which may not be any more 'fun' to operate.

Much work still has to be done in testing such machines on various site and soil-types before any realistic assessment of the hobby should be made. Nevertheless, from the evidence so far collected, the direct threat to archaeological data caused by hobbyist treasure hunting could have been wildly exaggerated.

Bibliography.

Crowther D.R. - Archaeology and Treasure Hunting: a Discussion and Survey Unpublished undergraduate dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, London, 1978.

In view of Mr Crowther's remarks about the need to quantify the efficiency of popular treasure hunting machines, it is interesting that the current issue of "Which" - August 1980- tries to do just that, from the point of view of the purchaser.

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It takes 12 machines, American and British, ranging in price from £25 to £326 (this last the only machine from the Irish Republic, is described as "discontinued, but may still be in the shops"). It finds that two are good value (£52.50 and £100 respectively); one at £35 is "worth thinking about;" and one at £169.50 is "good but pricey." The other two-thirds suffer either from poor sensitivity, poor construction or poor performance in pinpointing finds.

The test results are accompanied by a general article which makes some of the points that the STOP campaign would like to see made; but by no means all of them, and probably none of them in terms emphatic enough to please STOP.

CHURCH TERRACE REPORTS NO 8 - Wig Curlers

Another article in the series by Edward Sammes.

When today the modern belle puts in her hair rollers, she is continuing a practice which, as far as wigs are concerned, possibly goes back to the Assyrians, since the very formal hair styles on bas reliefs would suggest the possibility of hair waving, or was it natural?

Artificial hair in the form of a wig has been found on Egyptian mummies, whilst the wig is often used to cover baldness it was also used as a fashionable means of adornment by both men and women. In the sixteenth century ladies took to wearing false hair and this fashion came into its full flowering, both in France and England during the 17th century and continuing into the l8th. Pepys wrote that he had "paid three pounds for a periwig" and that on going to church "it did not prove so strange as I thought it would".

By the first quarter of the eighteenth century a great variety of wigs of different fashions were on sale; full bobs, miniature bobs, naturels, Grecian flys and curly rays. Full play upon the extravagances of this fashion was made by caricaturists of the day. The fashion began to wane during the reign of George III except amongst professional men on the judicial bench, clergy and the Speaker of the House of Commons.

A necessary adjunct was a wig stand to support the wig when not in use. These were usually made of wood with leather overlay. During the seventeenth century stands were made in Dutch Delft pottery, usually with a blue and white decoration in imitation of Chinese porcelain. Examples of both types can be seen in the Museum of London.

A necessary accompaniment to the wig and stand was some means of setting the curls. Just who first discovered that the application of heat and moisture would curl hair must remain a mystery. To set hair it was wound round rollers of wood or any cylindrical object, together with a layer of paper. These cylinders varied in size according to the size of curls desired. The damp, curled up hair was subjected to heat in an oven until the pattern was set.

By the late seventeenth century these cylinders were being fashioned from pipe clay which had been fired to retain the desired shape. These curlers were rounded at each end and were thinner in the middle, thus helping to retain the hair on the curler. Some examples exist which are hollow to give quicker heat penetration. A wide range of types and sizes may be seen in Salisbury Museum, together with the clay pipes. It is reasonable to suppose that wig curlers were made by the pipe makers, but as far as I have been able to ascertain, no proof of this has yet been found.

Church Terrace yielded four examples, all broken in half, varying in diameter 6-9 mm in the middle and 9-14 mm at the widest part. Of these four, three bear an incuse stamp W B and two dots, one above and one below the space between the letters. The smallest has an illegible stamp. An article in the London Archaeologist by Richard le Cheminant would date these to about 1750. This article, although described as a preliminary survey, gives much useful background material. The use of incuse marking on pipe bases is, according to Adrian Oswald, limited to the seventeenth century. Brian Bloice has pointed out to me that the majority of Wig curlers found in London bear the initials W.B. Oswald lists 43 pipe makers with the initials W.B. in London, but of these only five were active in the eighteenth century.

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One can easily imagine the trials and tribulations that wig wearers suffered in trying to discipline the hair in time for a special function! Maybe the oven was too hot or too cold, and what happened if, like the Church Terrace curlers, these fragile objects fell on the floor and broke? Yes, we have regressed.

For further reading:

le Cheminant R. - The development of the pipe clay curler London Archaeologist, Summer 1978. Vol 3, No 7, 187-191

Hume I.N. - Artifacts of Colonial America Pub: A.A. Knopf 1970 pps 321- 3

Oswald A - Clay pipes for the archaeologist B.A.R. Report no 14. 1975 pps 62 and 132-3

MORE ABOUT EVENING CLASSES

Last month's Newsletter provided details of courses this coming winter at the three Colleges of Further Education in the Borough. Nowhere is some information about the various WEA classes:

In Golders Green ...

Thursdays starting October 2nd. GREEK ARCHAEOLOGY at Golders Green Library, 8 p.m. Lecturer Tony Rook

Wednesdays starting October 1st, FAMOUS HOUSES, CASTLES AND GARDENS , at 52 Clifton Gardens, N.W.ll. Lecturer Mr Bradbeer 8 pm.

Fridays starting October 3rd, HISTORY OF ART SINCE MID-19th CENTURY, at 44 Rotherwick Rd, N.W.ll. 1.30 p.m., Lecturer Mr. Tompkins

These three courses are each two terms, fees £13/14, pensioners £9.

In Mill Hill and Edgware ...

Mondays starting September 29th - THE GREEKS - MYTH, HISTORY AND ART , at Edgware Library, 8 p.m. Lecturer, Dr. Ann Ward.

Tuesdays starting September 30th, EARLY GEORGIAN-LATE VICTORIAN COUNTRY HOUSES, at Mill Hill Union Church, 10.30 a.m. Elizabeth Duncan

Both courses 24 meetings; fees £14.

In Barnet ...

Fridays starting October 3rd, GREEK SITES AND ARCHAEOLOGY, at Owen Adult Education Centre, 10 am- 12 noon. Tony Rook. 24 meetings £10.

In Hendon ...

Wednesdays starting October 1st, MESOPOTAMIA at Hendon Library, 7.30 p.m. Dr. Ulla Jeyes. Suitable for both beginners and more experienced students.

Wednesdays starting September 24th, AGE OF BAROQUE, at Hendon Library, 10.30 am -12.30 p.m. Mrs. Ford-Wille.

Thursdays starting September 25th, SOCIAL HISTORY OF LONDON IN 20th CENTURY, at Henry Burden Hall, 7.30 p.m. Malcolm Brown.

Fees: 24 meetings, £12.

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In Finchley ...

Wednesdays starting September 24th GREAT IDEAS IN HISTORY, at Avenue House, East End Road, 10 am -12 noon. Mr. Boothby

Wednesdays starting October 1st, ITALIAN CITIES AND ARCHITECTURE at North Finchley Library 10 a.m. -12 noon. Mr. Brill

These two courses, each two terms, fees £15, pensioners ~12.50. Please note there will be a creche at Avenue House where young mothers can leave their babies.

AUGUST OUTING

Rep ort on the visit to Brixworth and Raunds Northamptonshire by D. Lambert.

8.30 am to Raunds, first mentioned in 980 A.D. - the name means "at the borders or edges" - where a rescue dig, started in 1976, has revealed the foundations of a medieval manor house, two Saxon churches and the surrounding cemetery. The churches were in use centuries before 1066: there were four phases of construction, the first, a church, probably demolished in the 11th century to make way for a larger two-celled nave and chancel built in flat-bedded rough-hewn stone construction. Around 1100 A.D. there were alterations and the church went out of use to become a manorial hall. In the last phase the manor house was expanded and a dovecote, hall, passage and a service wing added. Around 1400 A.D. the house served as a barn and blacksmiths shop and eventually became derelict.

Bodies in the cemetery were buried East-West, mostly without coffins, laid to rest on beds of stones, with stones around and over the bodies. In one instance a stone had been used to support a deformed arm. No grave goods were found and even pins and buckles were not left in the graves. Mr. Graham Cadman, Director of the site on behalf of the Northamptonshire C.C. Archaeology Unit described for us the most exciting discoveries he had made during this rescue effort.

Before leaving, we all enjoyed coffee or a cold drink with biscuits - a special treat generously provided by Mr and Mrs Wade, Joanna's parents, who live in the district and take a lively interest in the dig.

On to Earls Barton to see All Saints Parish Church and its 10th century Saxon Tower - the finest Saxon tower in Britain. Its foundations were laid in the 8th century and it was built in four stages, ending with the battlements in 1450. Each stage is in stone and rubble with a distinctive pattern, the outside in plaster, all resembling the wooden buildings of Saxon times. Structural alterations were made in the 13th, 15th and 19th centuries and as a result Earls Barton has become a 'treasury of ecclesiastical architecture' down the centuries: in 1972 it feature in a special issue of our postage stamps.

Brixworth - the ladies of the village had prepared our lunch: good food by any standard, well organised and more then enough!

All Saints Church at Brixworth had its treasures described to us by David Parsons who has been conducting the research on it for the last five years, for Leicester University.

680 A.D. has been chosen as the founding date; there may have been an earlier church but details are not available although it was mentioned in connection with two Peterborough Abbots in the late 7th century, as a monastery. It became a parish church, (after going out of use in the late 9th century) by 12th century at the latest. 680-1980 was being celebrated in a local exhibition. The earliest surviving structures are not in their original condition, the nave walls were originally open with large arches. These now contain windows with masonry surrounds, inserted in the Victorian period. The restoration work contrasts well with the original building material and no effort was made to imitate the Saxon fabric.

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Some forty types of stone have been identified in the walls and a special study is being made to determine the geological source of the stone, to throw light on the phases of the construction. Bricks have been used, and dating tests suggest that some could be Saxon, or Roman. Most of the material is non-local, it is believed to have come from deposits or demolished buildings 30 miles away.

A study is being made to determine when the clerestory was built. One approach is to assess the age by the contents of the scaffold put-log holes: in one case the end of the original scaffold pole was found - though it proved unsuitable for carbon-14 dating. In addition it is noted that the holes were packed with waste material from the earlier construction stage.

In 1821 a Reliquary was found under a window in a chapel. It was a small piece of bone wrapped in a fabric contained in a small wooden box. The fabric disintegrated immediately on opening: the bone is believed to be the larynx of St. Boniface, brought to Brixworth possibly because the crypt chapel would have been an important missionary centre and a place of pilgrimage. St. Boniface died in 757; he was born in Devon and became Bishop of Mainz.

Our next visit was to Harrington. There we found the site of a medieval manor and some fish ponds, the ponds being fed by local springs and apparently expertly laid out and managed, to provide a continuous stock. There were extensive terraces too, part of a formal garden to an 18th century country house.

Finally to Stoke Bruerne for tea beside the canal lock.

An enjoyable day, full of interest, for which we are indebted to Mr. Alan Hannen, the County Archaeologist who was our guide and mentor for the day: it was his interpretation of what we saw that helped to make the visits memorable. The whole trip, itinerary and arrangements were planned by Isobel McPherson, to whom we owe our sincere thanks. It ranks as one of the best of the HADAS outings.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OLD MAPS?

HADAS is hoping to build up a collection of the earlier series of one inch Ordnance Survey Maps showing the Borough of Barnet. They are particularly useful in showing how the Borough and its surroundings developed. If anyone has copies of one inch series maps (including those of the 1960s) which they would be prepared to donate, could they please ring Dave King who will arrange collection.

AGRICULTURAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Agriculture was man's first industry and it remains his largest. The English landscape has been altered beyond all recognition by the demands of farming, but because it has been farmed for so long traces of almost every stage in the development of agricultural technology can be found in our countryside.

In his new book 'The Industrial Archaeology of Farming in England and Wales' (published by Batsferd, 1980 £15), HADAS member Nigel Harvey describes the evidence remaining for the development of agriculture, and relates this development to the changes in technology and economics which brought it about.

The early chapters of the book are mainly concerned with the agricultural landscape. Enormous areas of Britain have been reclaimed by farmers from heath land, forest, marsh and the sea. This process still continues, but much of it was accomplished in the middle ages using the most primitive equipment. Sometimes the improvements were on a grand scale, and were the work of great landlords or the monasteries. But often single fields were reclaimed piece-meal by the hard work of individual peasants.

As the demand for farm products changed, so did British agriculture. The feudal agricultural system was one of self-sufficient communities working their lands on the three-field system, making use of woodland and common for animal pasture. This gradually was replaced by the enclosed fields and isolated farms of an economy primarily dedicated to the production of wool. The demand for food from the increasing urban populations of the 18th and 19th centuries produced a boom in agriculture and allowed the developments of the agricultural revolution. The development of better communications, combined with the opening-up of the farmlands of America and Australasia led to a surfeit of cheap produce and an agricultural depression lasting from the 1880s until the second world war.

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Mr. Harvey shows how the landscape, the buildings and communities upon it, and the techniques of agriculture changed with these developments. Much of the traditional English landscape is relatively modern. The small enclosed fields surrounded by hedges were only established in some areas in the 18th century, although the process of enclosure began many hundreds of years earlier. The Kentish Oasthouse was a 19th century introduction, and the typical three-sided 'farmyard' with its pig-sties and cattle sheds was first built during the agricultural revolution. Some well-known agricultural 'traditions' were also relatively short-lived. The heavy horse only replaced the ox team during the 18th century; the farm cart, made famous as Constable's 'Haywain' was developed from its two wheeled predecessor in the same period.

Mechanisation of agriculture was closely linked to the horse, and not as might be thought the steam engine. Jethro Tull invented his seed drill in 1700; the first thrashing machine dates from 1786 and Ransome's hardened steel plough from 1803. Of course steam engines were used on some farms, but lack of mobility limited their range of application. The traction engine, invented around 1850, rapidly gained popularity for ploughing and driving thrashing machines, but the farm horse was only finally replaced by the diesel engined tractor in the 1940s. Farm buildings are a large subject in their own right (Mr. Harvey has already written a history of them), but they are also dealt with in this new book. Very few farms have buildings of a single period, and in some areas ancient forms of building survived until surprisingly recently. Thus the 'long house' with animals at one end and people at the other, whose original design dates from the Neolithic, was still being built in some areas until the 18th century. But farmers are practical people, who will only use a building design for as long as it serves a necessary purpose. The 'medieval' barn with its large opposed doorways to produce the draught needed in flail thrashing, largely ceased to be built after the introduction of the thrashing machine. Mr. Harvey's book is full of interesting snippets of agricultural history. One concerns the 'urban dairies' where cows were kept to provide fresh milk in city centres. The last cow was milked in the City of London in the 1950s and the last in Liverpool as late as 1975. This particular 'herd' was incidentally fed on the grass cuttings from the training ground of Everton Football Club!

Nigel Harvey describes his book as an 'introduction to an enormous subject'. Like all good introductions it provides in most readable form a concise account of its subject and a stimulus to further reading.. (There is a comprehensive bibliography). There are a number of well-produced illustrations, and many evocative photographs.

Dave King.

MORE DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Until September 21st next there is an interesting exhibition at Church Farm House Museum, Greyhound Hill, Hendon. Entitled "The Silver Years", it shows the work of John Maltby, a photographer who worked locally (his business is in Watford Way), although you wouldn't in a month of Sundays call him a local photographer.

He ranged his subjects all over the country, specialising in architecture and industrial processes, and encapsulating in many of his pictures the moods of the 30s and 40s. The cover of the catalogue is from one of his best known series, on the Odeon cinemas of the 30s.

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Mr. Maltby himself planned the early stages of this exhibition, although sadly he died last March. It is, therefore, by way of being a memorial to him.

Advance news now of the LAMAS Local History Conference to be held on November 15th at the Museum of London, from 2 pm. Tickets (price £1.50) from Mr. Robins, 3 Cameron House, Highland Road, Bromley, Kent. Further details later.

Several members, we know, have participated in the York Archaeological Weekends held every winter. These are non-residential, and you make your own arrangements for board and meals (the organisers will, if asked, supply a list of guest houses and hotels).

The eighth conference will take place from November 21st-23rd at the de Grey Rooms, St. Leonards Square, York. It is on the subject of Urban Friaries in Britain. It will trace the story, from archaeological evidence (from York, Oxford, Bristol, Leicester) of the spread of the friars in the 13th century through Britain and the work they did for both rich and poor. A visit to Beverley is included on Saturday afternoon.

Conference fee £18.00. Further details from Director of Special Courses, Department of Adult Education, The University, Leeds, LS2 9JT. Apply before November 14th.

WEST HEATH NEEDS YOU

Digging will continue at West Heath throughout September (except Saturday, September 13th) on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays.

THE PREHISTORIC SOCIETY

The Society is anxious to increase its membership in order to maintain a respectable coverage of the field in this country and to increase its international reputation. With more members and larger funds, action can be more effective and opinion better informed. Write for further details and an application form to: The Secretary, Prehistoric Society, Department of Archaeology, The University, READING.

ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE CITY OF LONDON

-Text John Schofield and Tony Dyson F.S.A.

A recent publication, by the City of London Archaeological Trust which attempts to combine the work of past generations, both documentary and archaeological, and that of the Department of Urban Archaeology during the first six years of its life.

Inevitably the lion's share goes to the Roman period and especially the excavation along the Thames waterfront. Saxon, Medieval, Tudor and later periods are represented and there are maps to illustrate all periods. Regrettably the reproduction of the photographs is poor. Despite this, a useful book of 76 pages with about 100 illustrations. Buy it from the book stall of the Museum of London £2.50 or by post 60p. extra. All profits go to the Trust which supports the Archaeological efforts of the Department.

E. Sammes.

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