Newsletter-186-August-1986

Newsletter 186: August 1986                                                                         Editor: June Porges

Forthcoming EVENTS

Saturday 16 August Trip to Mary Rose and Portchester

This is additional to our published programme to take the large overflow from May 10th. The coach is full - but no waiting list - so any latecomers please  ring Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) and you might just get in. 

Thursday 11th September: Evening visit to Old Bailey 

Thurs - Sun 18-21 September Exeter Weekend Ann and Alan Lawson

The coach is now full but no waiting list. If anybody is still keen to go please ring

458 3827 or 203 0950 and we will notify you in the event of a cancellation. 

Until 10 August and all September Dig on Hampstead Heath (see below) 

Throughout August     'Historic Hampstead 1000'

986 - 1986 Exhibition at Burgh House, Hampstead. (See report elsewhere in Newsletter) 

Saturday 4 October Winchester 'Domesday 9OO' Exhibition

Application Form enclosed. Will members wishing to go on this outing return completed slip by end of August. The Domesday Exhibition requires numbers and cash several weeks beforehand for group bookings. Dorothy Newbury 203 0950.

Saturday 11 October   Minimart St Mary's Church House 

Saturday 18 Oct - 7th Dec HADAS Exhibition 'One Man's Archaeology Church Farmhouse Museum 

July 15 Feb 1987 British Museum Exhibition: Archaeology: New views of the Past 

REMINDER.....REMINDER.....REMINDER…..REMINDER…..REMINDER              

This is the last year the Society will be excavating the Mesolithic site at West Heath. If you've ever meant to dig there, or would like to dig again for old times sake - do it NOW. The site is open six days per week, weather permitting (not Saturdays) to 10 August and again in September Ring Margaret Maher on 907 0333 or Myfanwy Stewart on 447 3025. 

OUTSTANDING SUBSCRIPTIONS

I had a '`pleasant, evening" recently going through the list of members to ascertain those who have still not paid their 1986/7 subscription. The next evening I spent preparing reminder letters, 70 in all. These are enclosed with your newsletter. If you have paid before this reminder, please accept my apologies. If you still have not this newsletter will be your last. PLEASE pay as soon as possible.

MISS PHYLLIS FLETCHER (Membership Secretary)

27 Decoy Avenue, London NW11 (Tel: 455 2558)           

ARCHAEOLOGY IN BRITAIN AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM

This long awaited exhibition, subtitled New Views of the Past, proves to be well worth the wait. It covers the period 8000 BC to 1600 AD and demonstrates the expansion of archaeological activity in the last forty years, and by the use of objects, models, reconstruction drawings and audio visual presentations (a. chance to sit down!) demonstrates the Developments made and methods now used in the understanding of social history. It was satisfying to see records of places we have visited on HADAS outings and we came away fired with enthusiasm to go out and see more. Highlights are a reconstruction of the Garston Chariot burial and Lindow Man (or Pete Marsh) in person. Allow lots of time - entry fee is £1.50 but re-entry is permitted on the day the ticket is purchased so it is possible to take a break. The theme of the exhibition will be continued in a. series of lectures from 8 October to 3 December.

 

ALAS, POOR PETE

The following letter was published in The Times on 7 July:

Sir,

I am rather disturbed by the British Museum exhibition of "Pete Marsh", alias Lindow Man.

The attitude seems to be that since this is a discovery of such age and importance, the

actual substance is overlooked. This is a man not a fossil, nor a photograph. It is tasteless and repellent to display his mortal remains, which should be given the respect accorded to the more recentlydeparted.

Yours sincerely,

Bryan Ewing, 28 Revenscar Road, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey

How do HADAS members feel about this?


MONEY AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM

The British Museum is currently running a free exhibition entitled "Money from cowrie shells to credit cards", and if you work the cash machine you can have your own worthless souvenir!

This exhibition is very comprehensive, as its title implies, dealing with its origins, mints, methods of manufacture, uses and tokens. As is customary nowadays, there is an accompanying book which is also a. catalogue. It is full of illustrations which leave little need for further information - price £7.95. The introduction is written by Dr John Kent, Who was our mentor for the first excavation which the Society carried out at Church End Farm, Hendon. He is now Keeper of the Coins and Medals Department.

Visit this when you go to see the main exhibition of the year.

TED SAMMES

FAKES, FRAUDS AND PHYSICS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM

When one scans the nineteenth century registers of accessions to the British Museum one is struck by the sheer volume of material flowing in from collections great and small. Clearly each item cannot have been carefully examined at the time of its accession and often the true significance of many of the pieces has not been realised until this century. Unfortunately, as well as unrecognised treasures, there are also pieces of dubious authenticity. One task of the museum's Research Laboratory is to carry out scientific examination of these as they come under critical scrutiny, and also of the objects that are currently offered to the antiquities departments for purchase.

Usually the questions are not simply whether it is fake or genuine but how much antiquity has been restored, whether new parts have been added, or if indeed the whole has been stuck together from a pile of ancient bits, or was the all-important inscription which gives the object its value made in antiquity or last week? Scientific examination with modern instruments can often help unmask restoration or false patination. Joins and repairs invisible in normal light show up clearly under ultraviolet light or X-rays. If an area has been painted over to disguise the repair or addition then, no matter how skillful the restorer has been in blending in and matching colours, ultra-violet light will often show that the restoration has been carried out, and X-rays will of course penetrate further into the object showing exactly what is going on beneath. These techniques are quick, completely non-destructive to the object, and virtually foolproof.

A knowledge of the composition of the materials used in antiquity is vital. For example, before modern times it was not economically possible to remove from silver the substantial traces of gold which always occur with it, thus any plate purporting to be ancient should contain a detectable amount of gold We have in the British Museum a silver pillar dial and compendium, mainly sixteenth century, bearing an ER monogram which provides a good example. Although an attractive item in itself, its main interest lies in the monogram ER on the upper cylindrical section. Did this pillar dial really belong to Elizabeth I? The case and contents were all of silver with a healthy dash of gold, but not the section containing the monogram. Closer inspection showed the monogram had been added with a modern vibro-tool.

So, not just materials but the technology by which an object has been made can give away the modern restorer. In antiquity, wire was usually made by twisting thin strips of metal into a spiral, on the same principle as drinking straws, giving a distinctive spiral groove to the wires. Modern wire is made by drawing rods through progressively narrower draw plates. This leaves very characteristic scratches or striations running parallel to the length of the wire. Their presence, easily detected under the microscope, immediately gives away the recent origin of the wire.

All ancient bronzes must have a good patina and fakers and restorers have long laboured to imitate nature. Fortunately, there are problems. Although it is usually possible to get an acceptable colour, this is achieved only by using minerals and pigments which would not form naturally, and a simple chemical test can reveal this. Fixing the patina is another problem. If it has been forming on the metal in the ground for thousands of years it will be firmly attached; if it has come out of a bottle it will need to be stuck down in some way. Very often swabbing a test section of the patina with the appropriate organic solvent can unstick the materials used, leaving clean metal beneath and revealing the object's true identity. Here a difficulty arises out of the propensity of collectors in the past to improve on nature. A rich black patina was held to be the true antique ideal, and if reality could not oblige then it must be helped. Many perfectly genuine artefacts were accordingly stripped of their real patina in order to be given the appearance they 'Ought' to have had. One of the worst offenders was Richard Payne Knight. Of his enormous collection of classical bronzes, which passed to the British Museum in the nineteenth century, many show evidence of having been darkened. One can go along now to the gallery of Greek and Roman bronze statuettes where many of the bronzes from his collection are displayed (their registrations all commence 1824) and see the darker hue he so admired.

As well as deliberate forgeries there are also cases where good copies, made in all innocence for teaching or display, have been mistaken for the real thing. About 10 years ago a small bronze flat axe apparently of the Early Bronze Age was found in a school playing field in Northamptonshire. Stylistically the axe was acceptable and it had a good patina, but it was a type of axe rarely found in the Midlands and so, if genuine, was of some importance. Analysis showed it to be made of brass, i.e. copper and zinc, rather than bronze, i.e. copper and tin. Now brass was first introduced into these islands by the Romans, 2,000 years later than the supposed age of this axe. Almost certainly this was a nineteenth century copy, made for the school, that had been lost and forgotten in the soil of the playing field, acquiring during those years of burial a perfectly genuine patina, metal composition and patina are not the only features that can give away a fake bronze. If the bronze was cast on a fired clay core, then any remnants of that core can be tested by the technique known as Thermoluminescence. Thermoluminescence, or TL, is a property of crystals and, as the name implies, is light produced by heating. It is not a recent discovery Robert Boyle in 1663 presented observations to the Royal Society on a diamond belonging to a Mr. Clayton. One of his findings reads: 'Eleventhly, I also brought it to some kind of Glimmering Light, by taking it into Bed with me, and holding it a good while upon a warm part of my Naked Body'.

In an elegantly logical sequence of experiments Boyle also tried rather more conventional forms of heat such as a candle flame and a heated piece of iron, and like any good scientist, he attempted to replicate his findings using other precious Stones, as Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires, and Emeralds, &c. but found not any of them to shine except some Diamonds. The likely reason for this is that higher temperature and core sensitive light-detecting devices are generally needed to observe TL from most crystalline materials, including fired clay. For a ceramic object, the TL is proportional to the age of the piece (or, more specifically, to the time that has elapsed since it was last heated, i.e. when it was fired). It results from the action on crystals of high energy radiation from small amounts of uranium, thorium and potassium in the clay itself and in the environment.

Thermoluminescence of ceramics and bronze cores has been successfully detecting forgeries since the late 1960s, and in 1971 the British Museum purchased the first commercially available equipment designed for such work. Since then, TL has been applied to many objects offered for purchase such as a bronze boar and tiger from China, which was subsequently acquired; other pieces have received a less favourable bill of health. Objects acquired before 1971 are also subjected to TL. This second group largely comprises objects submitted by curatorial staff with an eye for stylistic inconsistency. One such piece was a supposedly Roman lamp doubts about the authenticity of this rather flamboyant object were unfortunately confirmed by the test.

Whole collections, large and small, can come into doubt. The sample size needed for TL is not large, hence testing of all five of the museum's collection of samian poincons was possible all, unfortunately, proved recent. The 73 ceramics, largely anthropomorphic or theriomorphic Urns of the Capotec culture fared better on a percentage basis, with 20 found to be modern. One piece, genuine in terms of its TL, was quite categorically thought to be modern on stylistic grounds. Did this mean a total re-assessment of, not just some, but all stylistic criteria? A second sample, taken from the head, rather than the base, gave the answer. Two genuine, but stylistically incompatible, fragments had been skillfully joined together and sold as an intact object.

Authenticity testing by TL has found applications beyond art objects. Tiles apparently excavated in 1902 at the Roman fort of Pevensey were displayed in 1907 to the Society of Antiquaries in London by a Mr. Charles Dawson. The interest in these tiles stems from the inscription HON AUG ANDRIA, thought to refer to the Emperor Honorius and hence to be archaeological evidence of the refurbishment of the sea defences at the end of the fourth century AD that previously was known only from references in the poems of Claudian. In 1908 one of these tiles was presented to the museum by Mr Dawson, whose name is better known in association, whether culpable or not, with the Piltdown hoax. More than 60 years later TL showed it to be a forgery.

Happily, not every object doubted on stylistic grounds warrants the suspicion. At least two objects relegated (when, by whom, and why is not known now) to one department's 'forgeries' cupboard have now been shown not to deserve their lowly status.

PAUL CRADDOCK AND SHERIDAN BOWMAN

This article is reprinted by kind permission of Paul Craddock and the British Museum Society from the July 1986 Bulletin of the Society. Some HADAS member may not be aware


of the Society's activities, which include a programme of lectures throughout the year, private evening viewing and free entry during the day to special exhibitions, the always interesting Bulletin and a 10% discount off all purchases from the British Museum shop. Recent support for the museum has included a contribution of £5,000 towards the cost of a vacuum table for the Conservation division, a children’s' guide to the British Museum and a projected one to the Museum of Mankind and sponsorship of a film "Clash of the Titans". So it is away to give to the museum we all value so much as well as receiving.

Membership is £10 a year, details from the British Museum Society, the British Museum, London WC1B 3DG

(Tel: 01-636 1555)

 

CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGY CELEBRATES ITS CENTENARY...

The summer of 1986 has been a memorable one for me. First of all HADAS did me the honour of electing me its Chairman, and secondly we have just produced the 100th issue of

Current Archaeology. We have made this into a special gala issue and we have gone into colour and had a total redesign and five of my most distinguished contemporaries - Barry Cunliffe at Oxford; Colin Renfrew from Cambridge, Peter Addyman from York, Geoffrey Wainwright at English Heritage, and Martin Biddle, of Winchester and Repton fame, have all contributed their reminiscences on the archaeology of the past twenty years.

It seems only yesterday that we launched Current Archaeology. It was on 3 June 1966 that my wife and I got married and we spent a deliriously happy summer going round and round the country visiting excavations and introducing ourselves to archaeologists. I think many archaeologists felt that we were somewhat rash launching a magazine like this from scratch, but luckily for us the first issue in March 1967 went down very well and we rapidly reached the 5000 subscribers that we needed to make the magazine viable. Now 100 issues and three children later we not only survive but thrive, and we can look back on 19 years of happy memories.

For our 100th issue we have printed 10,000 extra copies and we hope to distribute them as widely as possible. If any member of HADAS does not already subscribe to CA just drop us a line to 9 Nassington Road, NWS 2TX, or give us a ring on 435 7517 and we will be happy to send a free specimen copy and help clear away these piles of magazines that are littering my study....          

ANDREW SELKIRK

 

ANGLO-SAXON CEMETERIES:  A REAPPRAISAL     Letter to the Editor:

Reading through my copy of the July newsletter I came across your advance notification of the Fausset conference and thought you would like to know of HADAS involvement! I hope to be speaking at the conference on the use of Roman objects in pagan Anglo-Saxon graves (with reference to the Faussett collection) and at the end of the year, in a separate volume, my contribution to the Mayer Centenary Publication should be out on "Mayer and British Archaeology". For those of your readers who don't know Liverpool, and who have heard only bad things of it, this is a fine opportunity to see some of the greatest architecture north of London (Albert Dock - largest grade one listed building; St George's Hall - largest end finest Neoclassical building in Europe) and participate in the largest Anglo-Saxon gathering in Liverpool since 1854! Many thanks for your fine newsletter and keep up the good work.

Best wishes

Roger White (University of Liverpool)

 

GRAHAME-WHITE HANGAR

Contact with various bodies has continued. An interesting suggestion seems promising. Following an approach by GLIAS the Ministry of Defence is investigating whether demolition of the west end of the hangar might allow the east end to be saved. The most dilapidated part of the hangar is the west end with a Belfast truss roof. This is interesting but not unique - for instance the aircraft hall at the nearby RAF Museum is based on two such structures. Conversely, the east end with the CW offices is unique and historic. 

BILL FIRTH

 

PREHISTORY IN SNOWDONIA

Many of you will have visited the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre or know of the excavation at Bryn y Castell directed by Peter Crew, the resident archaeologist. This report is to bring you up to date with the final season of the excavation at Bryn y Castell and to tell you of future work.

Over the first six seasons of work at Bryn y Castell the major part of a hillfort was excavated, revealing the remains of a drystone rampart with two entrances, in the north and north east, not necessarily in use at the same time. The north east entrance had been blocked in at some time. A unique snail-shaped stone structure was excavated in the north part of the hillfort which contained iron smithing debris. Two smelting furnaces were found in the southern part of the fort and another furnace outside the rampart by the north entrance. Two other structures were found within the fort. Almost the entire internal surface of the hillfort had been covered with cobbles, and concentrations of slag and smithing debris occurred. Another area, Site A, to the north east and below the hillfort was excavated and also contained iron smelting and smithing slag and furnaces. Finds on the sites included unique fragments of glass armlets, gaming boards, gaming counters, pot boilers and other utilized stones.

Radiocarbon dates and archaeomagnetic dates indicate occupation in the late prehistoric period, to about 70 AD, and then at Site A only from 150 - 250 Al).

The final season completed the excavation of the hillfort and revealed three structures, two of which were stake-wall round-houses. The stakeholes were difficult to recognise and excavate, partly because the surface beneath the cobbles was very stony and partly because much of the subsoil was very variable in both texture and colour. One structure had four entrance post holes, two of which were especially well preserved with in situ packing stones, which supported posts for the framework of a shallow porch. These stake wall round houses are the first of their kind to have been recognised in north-west Wales, where timber buildings of any kind have rarely been recognised and stone founded buildings have long been accepted as the norm. It is likely that at least one of these structures represents a domestic element at Bryn y Castell.

Finally, the hillfort was backfilled, reseeded and reconstructed. The "snail" was rebuilt and its interior filled with cobbles, as were the interiors of the other structures, the site must now look very impressive and well worth a visit.

Needless to say, there is still work to be done before the final report can be published. The iron objects are being conserved, the armlets analysed, work continues on the local geology and soil phosphates, but the major task remaining is on the iron-working debris and metallurgical analysis. We will look forward to the outcome of those labours in the final reports, which will be published in a variety of formats.

I suspect few sites can rival Bryn y Castlell for the pleasure of digging there. My memories of the site are mixed: the magnificent views of mountains and estuary when one rested from "cleaning the cobbles", the thunderstorm viewed from inside a metal but (!), the occasion when the sun shone for a whole week and a generous director who treated us very gently, and even fetched ice-cream from the valley.

Peter Crew has started another excavation this summer for 3/4 seasons on a putative 2nd millennium settlement site at Crawcwellt on the eastern slopes of the Rhinog Mountains. Remarkably this site is producing even better iron smelting/smithing evidence than Bryn y Castell and (stop press!) the first glass bangle has been found! Unfortunately you have missed this summer's seasons which ended on 12 July, but you may like to make a note in your diary for future years: usually the season lasts a month from mid-June. Those who haven't visited the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre at Maentrwrog may like to know that very comfortable accommodation is available and evening lectures on associated topics take place.            ELIZABETH SANDERSON

 

THE PRINCE REGENT - Patron of the Arts and Sciences

An exhibition on this theme is now open to the public at Regent's College, Regent's Park - the premises are those formerly occupied by Bedford College. Besides a wealth of portraits, cartoons, letters, newspaper articles, architectural drawings and personal memorabilia, there are a set of the plans for the development of Regent's Park and a handsome wallmount of Richard Horwood's 1794 Fire Insurance map of the Whole of London. Two private collectors have lent early nineteenth century clothing, and the BBC has made available costumes designed and made for productions of Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. The Jane Austen Museum has lent a purse crocheted by the novelist herself, and there are photographs of letters between her and the Prince's Librarian, the Revd. James Starrier Clarke, suggesting that she should dedicate a book to the Regent - Emma was duly so dedicated - and that she might try her hand at historical romance - a proposal which Miss. Austen did not take up. There is some remarkable material from the Mender and Mitchenson Theatrical Collection, and the Royal Institution has reconstructed one of Faraday's early experiments with electricity and has lent one of the first miner's safety lamps designed by Sir Humphry Davy. There is something for everyone here, and for all the family, from children to grandparents.

The exhibition is open daily till 26 September, Monday to Saturday, free of charge, from 12.00 noon till 6.00pm. Refreshments are available in the Refectory. Members are urged to take a walk in Regent's Park and to enjoy the exhibition on the way.

ANN SAUNDERS

HAMPSTEAD'S MILLENNIUM

The Newsletter last month reported that Hampstead was celebrating a thousand years of its recorded history this year, and reviewed the exhibition on the Medieval Manor of Hampstead, held recently at the elegant Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 (Tel: 431-0144).

This month sees the opening of another exhibition, entitled Hampstead 1000, at the same address. This has been devised by Malcolm Holmes, archivist of the Camden Arts and Libraries Department and Christopher Wade, Curator of Burgh House Museum, and will run until 28 September. (Burgh House is open Wednesday to Sunday inclusive 12 noon to 5pm, entrance is free, and there is a Buttery serving delicious lunches and teas at reasonable prices),

This exhibition consists, of about 80 items, mainly topographical concentrating on the post medieval periods - and distinguished, as might be expected, by the evocative and artistic quality of many of the exhibits (some lovely water colours); and by the fascinating diversity of its inhabitants and their activities over the years. Items of particular interest include a geological map of the area (superimposed upon a 1984 Geographia/Ordnance Survey), a rubbing "from a fragment of medieval brass from St Mary's Kilburn. Supposed to be the memory of a Prioress c. 1390 and to come from Kilburn Priory"; illustrations showing local coinage minted during the Commonwealth and Restoration periods, a section on the wells of Hampstead (hence Well Walk and Flask Walk) and some stunning photographs; "They came to Hampstead" with addresses and a location map - an astonishing concentration of talents. What kind of Who's Who could HADAS muster for our areas? It might be an interesting exercise. I did not spot any specific references to Hendon (or Finchley) in this exhibition, and items of archaeological interest were naturally rather scant. The first caption, alongside the illustration recording the granting of the 986 charter by King Ethelred to the monks of Westminster Abbey, reads as follows:

"By 985 Hampstead was a small village in a clearing of the vast primeval forest of Middlesex. The earliest known inhabitants of the area were the forest hunters of about 7,000 BC whose camp sites have recently been excavated on the West Heath.  A Bronze age settlement on this desirable hill-top may be presumed from the barrow on Parliament Hill (fancifully known as Boadeclea's grave). But there is little to show of the Roman occupation except the straight line of Kilburn High Road, which is built on the Roman Watling Street). 

The recorded history of Hampstead begins with the Anglo-Saxon charters and grants of which King Ethelred was only one, and continues with the Domesday Book of 1086. This showed that 'Hamestede', the Anglo-Saxon name meaning 'homestead' centred on a small farm which was valued at 50 shillings.

In the Middle Ages, Hampstead Hill sprouted two windmills and a chapel (later a Parish Church) and a small Priory was built down in Kilburn. At the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII the Priory was suppressed, and in due course the manor was transferred from the Abbey to lay hands.

Hampstead remained a peaceful rural community until the end of the 17th century.

There is no catalogue; but a handsomely produced illustrated history by John Richardson entitled Hampstead one thousand AD 986-1986 (Historical Publications with the London Borough of Camden £7.50) covers to some extent the same ground. This is on sale at Burgh House together with other publications which include Hampstead Town Trail by Christopher Wade (Millennium Publications, 60p). Other souvenirs on sale at Burgh House include some attractive tea towels featuring famous Hampstead writers. Proceeds from the Millennium celebrations will be donated to St John's Church Restoration Fund, the North London Hospice and Save the Children Fund.

The celebrations continue until November but seemingly no further events with a historical/archaeological content are being planned. Is HADAS thinking perhaps of a prologue exhibition to the 986 saga, with special emphasis on the West Heath dig and that famous Bronze age barrow?        ANN. KAHN

 

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM

Keen archaeologists, such as members of HADAS, who have visited Bath to study our Roman past, will also have enjoyed its elegant crescents and terraces built in locally quarried honey-coloured stone. Perhaps, though, they may have missed a more recently established place of interest - the American Museum at Claverton Manor, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Its aim, according to the guide book, is "to interpret the history and arts of the United States'.

A series of furnished rooms presents a picture of domestic life from late 17th to mid-19th centuries, and of cultural traditions of English Puritans, Spanish Colonists of New Mexico and American Indians. There are displays of glass, pewter and silver, and a textile room devoted to quilted coverlets and rag rugs. Unfortunately it is not possible to appreciate fully the beauty and variety of these, as they are housed in a room too small for more than a few of them to be spread out.

There are further exhibits in the grounds - a herb garden and shop - a milliner's shop with a colourful collection of bandboxes decorated with illustrations of events of the time, e.g. a balloon ascent in the 1830s - the Mount Vernon Garden, a replica of George Washington's garden in Virginia - and, in the converted stables, a Folk Art Gallery.

If, after seeing all this, you are ready to sit down, there is an attractive dining room where light refreshments are served, including delicious American cookies. If you are lucky enough to have a fine day for your visit, you can eat there while sitting on the terrace, admiring the magnificent view over the Limpley Stoke Valley.

JEAN McPHERSON

 

RECENT RE-ASSESSMENT OF THE RUINED CHURCH AT STONE-BY-FAVERSHAM

Members who visited this site in June will be interested to hear that Paul Craddock has sent to Ted Sammes copies of this article, which according to the latest investigations establishes that the first building on the site was a Romano-British structure of the fourth century AD. Please contact Ted (062 86 4807) if you would like a copy.

 

HELP!

On 18 October a major exhibition organised by Ted Sammes will open at the Church Farm Museum to celebrate the 25th anniversary of HADAS. The exhibition will be entitled One Man's Archaeology and the highlight will be the finds from the Church Terrace excavations conducted by Ted Sammes. Here on a site not far from Hendon Parish Church not only was Roman pottery and tile discovered, but also grass tempered pottery of Saxon date and a very important and rare Saxon pin, providing some of the earliest evidence for Saxon Hendon.

To accompany the exhibition HADAS is producing a 24-page booklet, for which Andrew Selkirk is providing an introduction, describing the excavations and their importance for the history of Hendon, while Ted Sammes is providing a description of the many important objects discovered in the excavation. However, help is desperately needed in publishing this booklet, both on the editing side and from anyone who can draw the objects or from photographers who could print good photos from the original negatives. We also need help in the layout of the booklet and in instructions to the printers. If any member of HADAS would like to help in any of these ways, could he or she give Andrew a ring on 435 7517?

 

HENDON'S SAXON PIN

On the subject of the Saxon pin mentioned above, Ted Sammes writes:

"Visiting Martin Biddle's excavation in the cloister area of St Albans Abbey in 1983 I was surprised to discover that a similar one to ours had been found there. This he was tentatively dating to the 7th century AD. When we as a society later visited his excavations at Repton I was able to show the pin to him and his wife Birthe. There is considerable doubt about the dating of these pins, many have been found in wrong context. Of these double inturned spiral headed pins some 30 are now known, including two from York; a date range from 6-8c AD is probably reasonable. Martin Biddle has since started a review of all known examples and ours has been duly drawn and recorded for his survey. This pin came from the Church Terrace Excavations of 1973-4."

 

ANOTHER HELP!

It is said that everyone has one novel in them; this may be questionable, but I think every HADAS member has one article for the Newsletter in them. Members are on the move all the time: abroad and in Great Britain, visiting places, sites, museums and exhibitions. Please tell us all about your activities - it is interesting for members who can't get about and may be an inspiration for those who can. The name of next month's editor is always given at the end of the Newsletter.

JUNE PORGES

 

YET ANOTHER HELP! MIN1MART - SATURDAY 11 OCTOBER

The Minimart is our only fund raising effort of the year, and with the splendid support we get from members this effort certainly keeps the Society going financially, and our subscriptions low. Without this funding we would not be able to provide the excellent newsletter we all enjoy, hire the library for our lectures, pay for first class speakers, mount exhibitions, or run our excavations. We give a service to the public in our efforts to preserve the history of the Borough. We have made extensive churchyard surveys and records, mounted frequent exhibitions at Church Farm House Museum, HGS Institute and even at Brent X and have published books and pamphlets about the borough. All this we do from our own efforts and the only help we get from the public of Barnet is when they attend our Minimart and spend money. So members, please keep up the good work. Don't part with anything saleable between now and October. Send it to us for the Minimart. Ring 203 0950 or 455 2751 DOROTHY NEWBURY

 

In the March Newsletter (Committee Corner) it was reported that we hoped to be able to do some trial-trenching this summer at this site which is between Roman Watling Street and Thirleby Road where Roman pottery was found. We now have permission to investigate, for 2 months (extendable) from a date to be agreed. The area is, of course, too large for us to trial-trench the whole, so we are planning a resistivity survey and a metal-detector survey first, in the hope these will indicate likely areas to try trenching. We would then expect to arrange one or two week-end digs (planned so as not to clash with West Heath or other Society events!) which may well include some pick-and-shovel work as well as careful trowelling and sieving.

Apart from being near known Roman traces, the site may be interesting because it has not, as far as our historical research goes, been built on or ploughed so should have been undisturbed for some centuries at least; of course this may be because it was land that was never much use, and hence we may find few human traces! However it’s land now open, in our area, which surely we should have a look at before it's covered in concrete.

If you are interested in digging here please get in touch with Brian Wrigley,

21 Woodcroft Avenue, NW7 2AH (959 5982). It will help in planning, to know how many diggers we are likely to get.

BRIAN WRIGLEY

 

OBITUARIES

It is with great sadness we announce the deaths of these members:

HUGH CURTIS - a member since 1978 who studied for the Diploma at HGSI, and the Institute of Archaeology, as part of a group of HADAS members.

RENE DEYONG who died in a motor car accident. Her death will be felt by the groups in her community to which she made such generous contributions. The HADAS trips will be the poorer, as will be Margaret Roxan's Roman class in the Hendon Library on Wednesday evenings. 

ESTHER SHARPLEY (mother of June Porges), who enjoyed lectures and outings, and whose last engagement before going into hospital was the HADAS Christmas Party.

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