newsletter-119-january-1981

Newsletter

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GREETINGS AND BEST WISHES TO ALL MEMBERS FOR A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR

THINGS PAST

THE CHRISTMAS PARTY Report by Nell Penny

Seventy members of HADAS celebrated Christmas early at Hendon Hall Hotel. On December 2nd we sat at round tables in a room of the imposing country villa built for David Garrick after he had bought the Manor of Hendon in 1756. Parson Street must have been a very pleasant rural area two hundred years ago. We eat a turkey dinner, drank our wine and talked with friends. I doubt that any of our chatter had a serious archaeological content. There were no speeches - but we did thank Dorothy Newberry for her first class organisation. After dinner we were entertained by the "Beaux Belles". Dressed in appropriate costumes they sang Victorian, Edwardian and neo-Georgian ditties. By this time, HADAS members were mellow enough to join in the choruses in fluting soprano, piping tenor and mellow bass. At 11 p.m. our Chairman, Brian Jarman, who was able to join us for the second part of the evening, wished us all a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.


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FROM THE EAST: ADVENTURES IN THAILAND experienced by Daphne Lorrimer

For nearly a week, I have had the thrill of walking in a land where anthropology brings archaeology alive. I have seen a primitive tribe who still use slash and burn agriculture, Still use a stone quern to grind their meal and a crossbow for hunting. I have gazed, with awe in the museums, at the earliest Bronze Age objects so far discovered in the world and have come back to Britain with the uncomfortable feeling that, primitive tribes or no, there lies the cradle of civilisation and ours is merely parvenu. The Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand, one of whom we visited, consist of small, isolated groups of nomadic people, who, even now, are barely practicing settled agriculture. The earliest known inhabitants were the Negritos, a pigmy race found in Thailand, Java and Sumatra, of whom very few are left. A small group of the Tibetan-Burmese people moved across from Burma. They had come down the big rivers from central Asia and gave Burma settled government for hundreds years. In Thailand these people, the Karens, still practice slash and burn to a certain extend although some terrace and irrigate their land. They are en- dogamous, matrilinear, and animist in religion and still use the custom of boat burial.The Lis people inhabit the Upper Salween river area, are patriachal and practice healing and exorcism. The Ekaw and Enter are connected to each other and, in common with many of the hill tribes, wear short pleated skirts and leggings to prevent damage by roots and branches left by slash and burn procedures. The Shan are mainly found in Burma but half a million are found in Thailand where they practice wet paddy as well as hill (dry) cultivation of rice. They are mainly Buddhist or Christian. The Maeo are divided into two groups, the Black and the White, (nothing to do with the colour of their skins but are the decoration on their clothing). Two and a half pillion Maeos have spread into China where they are regarded as a recognisable minority. Known as the Kings of the Mountains, they are animist in religion and are a hard-working, adaptable and ingenious people. They are said to be mediums and their wanderings controlled by spirits; they build both long and round houses. The Yao are the most prosperous group and migrated from Southern China between the 17th and 19th centuries. They are found mainly in Laos and Northern to Eastern China. The women wear trousers. The Thais, themselves, who arrived in Thailand after the Shan, but before the Maeos are believed to have originated in Southern China, Burma and Mongolia and founded the Kingdom of Nanchao which was important until about the 11th century. It was destroyed by Kublai Khan in the 13th Century and it is thought that the Thais may have moved south to escape him. There are references in Chinese literature from the 10th century onwards to Siam. The Siamese are, however, only one group of the Thai-Siamese peoples of whom the Thais arrived first, were by far the larger group and the leaders. The village we visited, belonged to the Black Maeos and was reached by bumping up a hair-raising track through the jungle - up an incredible series of hair-pin bends over torrent-strewn boulders with the wheels of the land-rover only inches from a sheer drop, when we were not crashing our heads against the roof or clutching frantically at the grab rails, we could see cultivated clearings on the hillside and patches abandoned and reverting to jungle. The area under cultivation is planted with hill rice as soon as it has been cleared by cutting and fire, so that the potash maybe used before it can be leached by the rains. All the clearings were within walking distance of the village but, in many cases, the climb was formidable. When the area around the village is worked out, the tribe, according to custom, move on - a practice which is causing alarming depredations to the only remaining major teak forests in the world. Hill rice is grown dry without paddy and only one crop a year is obtained. The rice has to be harvested by hand and is left for several days in small bundles, carefully balanced on the stubble, to dry. It is carried to the village in panniers on the back, threshed and spread out on a shallow wooden platform to dry further, in the sun as this improves its keeping qualities. The village is built on a considerable slope at the bottom of which is a communal patch of ground (possibly used as a meeting place). A fast running stream about 100ft below provides fish (caught in a tubular net on a bambo frame) and a washing place. One large long house lies immediately above the level patch and about 5 or 6 are sited on levelled plots up a very steep slope. Water is piped from a spring above by an ingenious system of bamboo pipes. The midden is carefully sited below the communal open ground but in such a position that it does not drain into the bathing place. Domestic sewage is taken care of by the numerous pigs at large in the area. The Maeo house is built on stilts and consists of a bamboo framework with thatch roof and walls of rush pannels. The stilts are a very necessary provision against the torrents of water gushing down the hillside in the rainy season. In the dry weather they provide a workshop area for weaving etc., and for housing animals. Inside the house, the family shrine faces the door and on the right is a shallow platform which serves as a seat (on which visitors are entertained) during the day and if necessary as a sleeping platform at night. To the left is an area partitioned off as a sleeping room. Storage of grain is in sacks and vessels within the house. The young men leave the family roof at puberty and inhabit a bachelor longhouse. Marriage does not take place until the girl is pregnant. The crossbow (of a very primitive type) is still used for hunting, together with rifle and spear. Small animals such as rabbits, ground squirrels, lizards and snakes are shot. The costume consists, for the men, of baggy black trousers and tunics with batik cummerbunds in red and blue. The hat is a round skull cap with a red pompom for festive occasions. The women wear short kilts of black batik ornamented with blue and red bands of traditional pattern, a black tunic with a batik sash and leggings. These hill people are the opium-growing tribes of the golden triangle. Outsiders suggested to them that it could be grown as a cash crop and it rapidly became the way in which they could earn luxuries they could not manufacture for themselves. The very enlightened Thai government realised that they could not prohibit the growth of opium (however much pressure the outside world put on them) without sponsoring an alternative cash crop. This was amalgamated with the desirable end of eliminating slash and burn to conserve the remaining teak forests. A policy of settlement, led by the King himself, has been undertaken to achieve these ends as well as to provide stability on a very insecure frontier. In the case of 'our' village, coffee was the cash crop chosen and the people have been settled in the last decade - deserted slash and burn can be seen across the valley and barbed-wire fencing, a brick built school and a community centre with a corrugated iron roof have, alas, now appeared. The Ban Chieng Culture The primitive tribes are but the modern successors of far older cultures and the hill regions of North-East Thailand have been inhabited since 7000BC, as has been shown by the discoveries in the four North Eastern provinces of Udonthani, Sakhang Nakhon, Nakon Phanon and Honkeen. Finds have been made in 17 villages of which one, Ban Chieng or Chiang, has given its name to an important Bronze Age culture, which has been C14 dated to about 3660 BC (thereby antedating the finds from Iraq and the Stang dynasty in China which is only 1300BC). Permanent settlement of people or peoples occurred from the 4th Millemium onwards on the Karat plateau, with a sequence of cultures which included domesticated animals, cultivation of rice and the existence of some sort of social stratification. The earliest phases (1 and 2) of metal working cover a period from approximately 3600 to 2900 BC and produce black burnished and incised pottery, decorated and undecorated beaker forms and a variety of cord-marked and burnished vessels. Burial, in phase I was flexed and phase 2 supine. The two types are not clearly separable but a large bronze spearhead was found with the flexed burial. About 2000BC Phase 3 produces cord-marked vessels with incised curvilinear designs. There were jar burials of children and the evidence from the graves is said to indicate sophisticated hunting techniques. In phase 4 (1600-1200BC) a great number of bronze objects were found together with metal objects made of bronze and iron - iron was still rare and used for ornament or important worked edges. The pottery has incised and curvilinear decoration as well as geometric designs with areas outlined and painted red. Phase 5 (from 1000-500 BC) shows a continuation of iron and bronze metallurgy. The burials are supine with rich grave goods - this is the red- buff pottery, painted freehand which is best known as the Ban Chiang pottery. Also found in this period are fired clay bodkins which are deeply carved with patterns of geometric and/or curvilinear designs. Complex and often inter- locking curvilinear designs have been discovered on some remnants of blue, red and ochre pigments together with strands of silk thread. These are unique to South-East Asian archaeology and continue into phase 6 (300-250 BC) which is the last funerary phase. Iron is far more commonly used, bronze being confined, principally, to ornament. Many glass beads were found and also special alloys for jewellery. The pottery of this phase is large, often thick and crudely made with a red slip. The report on the Ban Chiang excavations is awaited eagerly. Information for the European is sparse but archaeology in the Far East is beginning to uncover much exciting information and, be it ancient or modern, Thailand is fascinating,



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THINGS PRESENT

THE SILVER STUDIO COLLECTION 1880-1963 exhibition report by Ted Sammes

This free exhibition staged by the Middlesex Polytechnic at the Museum of London is open until 31st January 1931. The studio was founded by Arthur Silver, a contemporary of Walter Crane and William Morris. It produced designs for specialist shops such as Liberty's and John Line & Sons. There are 523 different items on show covering menu cards, wallpapers, carpet and textile patterns and some examples of metal working. Rex Silver, the son, who carried on the business after his father's early death, owned number 9 Wellgarth Road from 1926 - 1964. Another site for a Blue Plaque perhaps?

THINGS TO COME

A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY

The first lecture of the New Year is at 8.00 p.m. on TUESDAY 6th JANUARY at Hendon Library. Dr. John Alexander from the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, will speak about "RECENT EXCAVATION AT OASF IBRIM: A FORTRESS ON THE NILE". Many members will remember Dr. Alexander for his lecture about World Archaeology in November 1975, and others will know him as the Secretary of the Council for British Archaeology.

AN URGENT REMINDER from Christine Arnott

MINIMART 1981

Owing to intense booking at the 'Henry Burden Hall, we have had to accept 7th FEBRUARY 1981 for the great Saturday morning fund-raising effort. Please note this is a month earlier than we normally arrange, so we shall all have to get our skates on to achieve the spectacular result desired! Articles can be brought to the January and February lectures, or will be collected if necessary. Telephone Christine Arnott - 455 2751 or Dorothy Newbury - 203 0954 for help or information. There will be our usual stalls: HOMEPRODUCE - Daphne Lorimer - 455 2380 MISCELLANY - Nell Penny - 458 1689 "NEARLY NEW" - Dorothy Newbury - 203 0950 BRIC-A-BRAC - Christine Arnott We shall also have a stall selling HADAS publications and a stall for second-hand books (George Ingram - 202 8441). Please save any unwanted Christmas Gifts for us and if you have any spare time over the New Year, have a good turn-out in advance of the spring cleaning, so that we can relieve you of clearance problems. Now that we are renting two sets of premises for our activities and expenses are rising, as we all know only too well, the need to augment our income is very real so please reserve Saturday morning 7th February, 1981 from 10.00 a.m, to 12 noon.

"PINNING DOWN THE PAST"

is the title of the HADAS exhibition which will open at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon, at the end of next month. Nearly a year ago about a dozen members began to plan the project; since then they have been working quietly, collecting the basic material for various displays. Now the pace has begun to hot up. Although HADAS has played a part in several recent exhibitions at the Museum, our last full-scale show there, using all three upstairs rooms, was in 1977. The aim of Pinning Down the Past will be to indicate some of the avenues which the Society has explored in the last four years. Though there will, of course, be material on digging, the main emphasis, as the title suggests, will be on research and post excavation work. One section, called "Science and Archaeology", will show some of the projects that the backroom boys (and girls) of West Heath have been engaged on in their study of the Mesolithic. Similarly, displays of material from the early Brockley Hill digs will illustrate work which has been continuing on finds from that important Roman site. The key role of agriculture in the history of our area will be underlined in several exhibits. We shall follow the thread of farming through various parts if our Borough of Barnet; and a large wooden relief map, covering one wall, will name about 150 farms, past and present, from Chipping Barnet to Cricklewood, and Edgware to Southgate. One display will illustrate how College Farm, Finchley, provided milk for the growing suburbs of North London for over a century, and was used as a model for other dairy farms to copy another will pinpoint the importance of the hay trade, which sent the hay-carts rolling down to London from the outlying villages of North Middlesex. An exhibit on Edgware in History starts in the stone age and ends in the railway age; and from the other side of the Borough there will be a view of the hamlet of Friern Barnet - and particularly of its links with the City of London over several centuries - built up as a result of recording tombstone inscriptions in the church and churchyard of St. James the Great.. Those are just a few highlights of HADAS's recent work - to whet-your appetite, as it were.However, it isn't only as a visitor that we hope to see you at the exhibition.Your help with it is needed too, as NELL PENNY says in the following appeal: Are there 46 enthusiastic volunteers to steward the HADAS exhibition at Church Farm House Museum? It starts on Saturday February 28th and ends on May Day bank holiday, Monday May 4th. We need two stewards on duty on Saturday and Sunday afternoons - Saturdays 1.30-5.30, Sundays 2.30-6 p.m.; and possibly on two Bank Holidays as well. They will answer simple questions about the exhibition and will sell HADAS publications - and we shall have a new booklet to sell, about which you will hear more in next month's Newsletter. If you can offer to help, please ring Nell Penny on 458 1689. She'll be delighted to hear from you.


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ASPECTS OF ARCHAEOLOGY: A SPECIAL HADAS COURSE

The first course of HADAS lectures at Hendon College of Further Education Flower Lane, Mill Hill, finished just before Christmas. This month, as we mentioned in the August Newsletter, a second, quite separate, course will start called Aspects of Archaeology. The ten lectures will deal with particular areas of archaeological study. There are five lecturers, each of whom was invited to talk on two subjects which he or she found particularly interesting.Daphne Lorimer will devote both her lectures to the beginnings of farming; Ted Sammes will take Megalithic Man as one of his topics, and the island communities of Cyprus and Malta as the other; Brigid Grafton Green has opted for the early history of food for one talk and man in the next world for the other, covering both religion and burial practices. Sheila Woodward will handle Minoan Crete -in one lecture and Mycenae and Troy in a second; and the course will end with two lectures by Nicole Douek on Egyptian archaeology, a subject in which she has specialised. Because a course starting after Christmas is something of a new venture for the College, there is a little worry lest the numbers signing on should not come up to the figure that the authorities require: so we hope very much that any HADAS member who is interested in the topics to be covered will enrol. The course is on a Monday.


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ROMAN WEEKENDS AT THE TEAHOUSE Report by Helen Gordon

It is a tantalizing fact that Roman remains in this Borough are still largely below ground level, whether they are undiscovered (though suspected) or excavated but covered up again, or excavated and stored away in cellars. Brockley Hill is, after all, of great historical importance to Barnet,it should hold pride of place in any history of the Borough as the first industrial de- velopment in the area, and is one of the first instances of the mass production of pottery in Britain. The material that was examined at the Teahouse falls into all three of these categories. HADAS has the custody of all pottery dug in and before 1954 at Brockley Hill, carefully housed in strong wooden boxes. Shifting these boxes is the work of strong men, and we are very grateful to the strong men who in fact devoted two evenings to shifting these boxes in and out of cars between cellar and Teahouse. We are much indebted too, to Mr. Enderby for making the arrangements so easy for the unpacking and spread of this pottery in the spacious comfort of the Teahouse, which enabled some forty HADAS members to view and handle it during the weekends of November 8 and 15.While some came to do just that, steady work was carried on by others with a variety of skills - sorting, marking, mending, drawing and indexing. Field-walk finds, picked up from the area where occupation is suspected, were also sorted and marked; and in another corner maps were pored over in search of further clues to the line of the elusive Route 167. On the first Saturday afternoon a seminar was held, opened by a very competent rundown on the Brockley Hill Excavations by Brigid Grafton Green, and, needless to say, the usual HADAS coffees were consumed, and the picnic sandwiches partaken of, in the now customary HADAS fashion. Subsequent plan included the third Route 167 walk, which took place on November 23rd, examining both the line excavated by Brian Robertson on Copthall Fields, and an alternative line via Page Street; both these warrant further investigation including document search. Further work on the pottery is under discussion. Anyone interested is invited to attend the next meeting on Raman research on Wednesday, January 7th at 0.0 pm at 94 Hillside Gardens, Edgware.

RECENT ADDITIONS TO THE SOCIETY LIBRARY Presented by Christine Arnott

Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 1966, 1967, 1968, 19789 1979 LAMAS Transactions vol.27, 1976; vol.28, 1977 LAMAS Collectanea Londiniensia: studies in London archaeology and history presented to Ralph Merrifield. LAMAS special paper no.2, 1973. Presented by Dorothy Newburyry Smith, C.R. Hendon as it was Book-box Gear, G. and Goodwin, D. East Barnet village. Barnet Press Group Hewlett, G. ed. A history of Wembley. Brent Library Service. 1979 Boddington, A. The excavation record. Part 1. Stratification: an interim policy statement, Northamptonshire County Council Archaeological occasional paper no.1 1978. Boddington, A. and Morgan, M. The excavation record. Part 2. Inhumations. Northamptonshire County Council Archaeological occasional paper No.2 1979. Farrar, R. Survey by prismatic compass. Council for British Archaeology 1980. Presented anonymously Johnstone, P. The sea-craft of prehistory. Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1980. LAMAS Vol.39, 1979. Members are reminded that our Librarian, June Porges, will be at the HADAS room in Avenue House (East End Road, N3) on the Friday evening before each Society lecture, from 8-9 p.m. and will be delighted to see members and show them the library.


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BARNET LIBRARIES LOCAL HISTORY PUBLICATIONS

New sets of postcards On sale now at all libraries - five postcard views of Mill Hill (1900-1930). Drawn from the Local History Collection. Price 30p per set. Single cards availrble from Church Farm House Museum, price 6p each. On sale shortly - two sets of cards of Chipping Barnet in the 1890s from a collection of photographs recently donated to the Libraries Department. Church Farm, Hendon Copies of the anniversary folder are still available from 'Hendon Library and Church Farm House Museum, price £.1.80. The Contents of the folder include: reproductions of James Crow's "Plan of the Manor A Parish of Hendon" 1754 and the O.S. map 1914 a page from 1756 sale catalogue describing Church Farm; a superb lithograph of Hendon Church, 1798; a plan and isometric drawing of the farm house; and five descriptive broadsheets entitled 'Chronology', 'Architecture and Building','Domestic Life', 'Farming' and'Hendon Village'. Illustrations are drawn from the Local History Collection (many of them never previously reproduced). HADAS were involved in producing the folder - all wearing their other hats as members of the library staff.


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A BOOKLET for DOCUMENTARY RESEARCHERS

The list of Original Parish Registers in Record Offices and Libraries published in 1974 by Local Population Studies broke new ground and put a valuable (and reasonably priced) tool into the hands of all those local historians interested in demography, family reconstitution and similar studies. Supplements were added in 1976 and 1978 and now we have a third supplement, priced 0.75, obtainable from Tawney House, Matlock, Derbyshire. It is the first in the series to be produced since the Parochial and Records Measure came into force in. January 1979. There is therefore information about many new deposits - 1900 of them, against 1100 deposits additionally made by parishes which had already appeared in the earlier booklets. The supplements cover the whole of England and Vales county by county (with Middlesex included as a county). The full address and telephone number of each repository is given. Middlesex's working repositories are cut from seven to five, with the demise of the Greater London Record Officer at Ouccn Anne's Gate Buildings and Mary-le-bone Library ceasing to act as a repository. The registers previously held by these two offices have been transferred to the Record Office at County Hall. Of new deposits from our own Borough there is only the registers of All Saints, Durham Road, East Finchley, from 1893-1959. The eastern boundary of the Borough of Barnet has a kink in it which just includes this church and its grounds in the Borough.


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