Newsletter-190-December-1986

Newsletter 190: December 1986                                            Edited by Liz Sagues

HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND AN

ARCHAEOLOGICALLY PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
TO ALL MEMBERS

DIARY

Until December 7 HADAS 25th Birthday Exhibition, “One Man's Archaeology” at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon, by founder member Ted Sammes. Open on weekdays (except Tuesday afternoons) from 10am to 1pm and .2pm to. 5.30pm, Sundays 2pm to 5.30pm. Admission free.

Friday December 12 Christmas Supper and tour of the Gatehouse, Clerkenwell. We have had a very good response - 75 members attending. If any late-comers want to join the party please ring Dorothy Newbury, 203 0950, to see if there are any cancellations.

Wednesday January 7 The Early Saxon Period in the London Region, by John Mills, Field Officer West London Archaeological Group, Museum of London. At Hendon Library, The Burroughs, Hendon, 8.30pm start, coffee available beforehand.

Wednesday February 4 London in the Mid-Saxon and Viking Period, by Dr Alan Vince, Museum of London.

REMEMBER, 1987 LECTURES WILL BE ON WEDNESDAYS MINIMART POSTSCRIPT

Dorothy Newbury reports that the super anniversary year effort by so many members has brought our final total - clear profit - to... £1,009. This has been achieved by sales since the day, and by the tireless effort of Mrs Lampert taking various items round to salerooms. But PLEASE, PLEASE, don't expect us to repeat this phenomenon, at least not before our 50th anniversary.

DIG NEWS

Medieval charity Excavations at the site of the old Royal Mint, near the Tower. of London, are confirming the charitable work of the Cistercian abbey of St Mary Graces, founded in the 14th century by Edward III and one of the richest and most prestigious houses of the order in Britain. Among buildings being revealed by the Department of Greater London Archaeology in a major project set to continue into 1988 is a monks' dining room, part of which seems to have served as a soup kitchen for the local needy. There are hopes of a HADAS visit to the site in due course.

A second major religious site, that of  Bermondsey Abbey, burial place of two queens of England, first a Cluniac priory and later a Benedictine house, is also being excavated by the department and beyond the City bounds archaeology does get some attention in the current Capital Gains! exhibition at the Museum of London, until February 1.

THE ROMANS'  CIVIC CENTRE UNCOVERED

Audrey Hooson reports on the November lecture

Our lecturer was Gustav Milne from the Department of Urban Archae­ology at the Museum of London, Mr Milne had visited HADAS in 1981 when he gave an early report on the excavations centring on the port of Roman London - now summarised in a book recently published by the museum, In order to put the Roman Civic Centre Project in context he reminded us of those excavations and compared the City's two market areas.

The harbour market was in the present Thames Street/Monument Street area. The first small warehouses were built in the first century and there was gradual expansion during the second and third centuries on land reclaimed from the river. As might be expected, the finds show that trade was in imported goods, particularly from the Mediterranean.

North of the port on the eastern hill of the City in the present Gracechurch Street area were the Forum and Basilica. In the 1880s, prior to the building of  Leadenhall Market, impressive Roman walls and floors were exposed, which were drawn and painted by Henry Hodges, an architectural artist. During 1977 the GPO dug a three-metre deep tunnel along Gracechurch Street which showed parts of the Basilica and the Forum in the sections and in 1981 buttresses were found in Cornhill.

It has always been the policy of the DUA to record and if possible excavate before any development which might add to knowledge of the Roman civic centre and therefore the planned major redevelopment in 1985 by the Legal and General Insurance Company gave an excellent opportunity for large-scale excavations, which were funded jointly by the developers, the City of London Archaeological Trust Fund and English Heritage. The site, which exposed part of the NE area of the Basilica and some external buildings to the north, was excavated partly after demolition, surrounded by massive concrete shoring which was one of the main reasons for the large budget, and partly in basement areas before demolition, in order to avoid delays to the development.

Evidence from many phases was found. These included the original oak woodland covering the hill, early simple buildings, a burnt layer containing the charcoal impression of a 10cm wide writing tablet and at least two major re-buildings. During the Roman demolition clearance prior to the first stone buildings horses or mules were used in transporting materials and they left their hoofprints visible in the trampled mud of the loading area. The first stone building was constructed with inadequate foundations over earlier pits and ditches and soon had very bad cracks in the substructure. A later building had tile piers on sandstone blocks to give greater stability. In the later periods some of the rooms in the Basilica had been subdivided.

A two-metre depth of road with varying standards of upkeep in the successive surfaces showed that there were some periods in the three or four centuries of its use when repairs were delayed or poorly executed.

When the Saxon street were laid out in 1086 they crossed the northern line of the Basilica, which was presumably therefore no longer visible,

Although Mr Milne was able to tell us in great detail about individual areas of the site he emphasised that it is still too early to attempt to arrive at a final conclusion concerning the stratigraphy and dating, especially of the eventual decline.

However, there is a very good pottery sequence and the further analysis of the finds and the detailed site recording, which are now all that remains of this important phase in the history of the City, will enable him to write not only the full technical archaeological report but also another illustrated book. A treat in store.

The Port of Roman London (Batsford, £9.95) is available from the Museum of London and bookshops. Royalties go to the City of London Archaeological Trust Fund.

WORK DONE, IN HAND AND TO COME

Ted Sammes reports on the annual meeting of local societies at the Museum of London

Twenty-one people attended this meeting, four of whom were from the staff of the Museum of London, two from the Geffre Museum, two from the Passmore Edwards Museum and one from the Cuming Museum. Perhaps the Kingston Heritage Service should also be loosely classified with the museums. Societies represented were the Carew Manor Group, City of London Archaeology Society, Fulham and Hammersmith Historical Society, Pinner Local History Society, Ruislip, Eastcote and North wood Local History Society, Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological 'Excavation Committee, Wandsworth Historical Society and West Drayton and District Local History Society.

Harvey Sheldon read a report from Clive Orton on post-excavation work. Interim reports have been published in the London Archaeolo­gist on the excavations at Beddington and also on.Bermondsey Abbey. A book, Archaeology of West Middlesex, has been published.

Reports, with slides, were given by the Passmore Edwards Museum on work at Barking Abbey. Keith Whitehouse reported that the local council now has plans to restore part of Fulham Palace for a museum;

Slides were also shown of a dig at the palace.                                                                   

Colin Bowlt, Ruislip, Eastcote and Northwood, again stressed the plight of many standing buildings which had no statutory pro­tection. He had produced a paper and it was agreed to pursue the matter further and if possible secure a meeting with HBMG. Recent CBA matters were discussed, especially the code of practice for developers and archaeologists sponsored by the British Property Federation and the Standing Conference of Archaeological Unit Mana­gers.

I am conscious that I have only touched .on the total breadth of the topics discussed. A copy of the minutes is held by our, secretary. A further meeting has been arranged for March 23 1987.

A GREEN PUZZLE

Pamela Taylor, one of the borough archivists, wonders if any member can help with the precise meaning of the term "green lane", particularly in the 18th century              There is in the local collection a lease of Hendon House and various lands, made in 1764 (MS 8665). One block of land, in Hendon, is said to lie between other lands on the south, the road leading up Brent Street to Hendon Church on the west, Vicarage Lane on the north and the other Green Lane called the Park Lane on the east. The next block described consists of 20 acres in Finchley parish abutting other lands on the south, two woods on the east,  Mordens (Dollis) Brook on the west, and the Green Lane leading from Hendon to Finchley Church on the north.

The term "green lane" is obviously being used as a precise description but if it means, as it is often taken to, an unsurfaced road, it seems surprising that Hendon Lane was not among the first to be metaled,

As this deed indicates, there are rich seams of material waiting to be uncovered in the Local History Department, and the archivists would be delighted to see more researchers from HADAS. There is a steady flow of new items into the department and the archivists hope in future to keep the newsletter informed of at least some of the new acquisitions. Recent additions include log books from the Hendon St Mary's Girls Friendly Society with early photographs of the church, title deeds for houses in Baronsmere Road and Copthall Drive and a number of his original drawings donated by Herbert Norman,.

PUBLISHED AT LAST

Gillian Braithwaite reviews  The Roman Art Treasures from the  Temple of Mithras by J. M. C Toynbee (LAMAS Special Paper No 7,  price to non-members £5)

It was a very nice surprise to receive this excellent and attractive-looking monograph through the post last month, with the latest copy of the Transactions of LAMAS, and to find that it came free as part of my subscription.

This is a very important publication, and one that has been long awaited, ever since the Temple of Mithras was first discovered beside the Walbrook stream in 1954 and the majority of the statues and art treasures here reviewed were found. Many of the sculptures and the famous silver casket have been published elsewhere at different times, in particular by Professor Toynbee herself in JRS XLV, 1955, and in Art in Roman Britain (Phaidon, 1965), but this is the first time the complete collection of treasures  including the three sculptures that were found during building operations on this same site in 1889 and undoubtedly came from the temple  has been published together, in a separate volume of its own. Though Professor Toynbee completed the text several years ago, sadly this publication was not to see the light of day until over a year after her death. However, it was worth waiting for, as it is extremely well produced, with a good collection of colour plates and many more in black and white.

The marbles from the Walbrook Mithraeum are without doubt the most important single set of classical sculptures ever found in Britain, and indeed as a collection of Mithraic sculptures they are almost unique in the Roman world, only one other Mithraeum, that of Merida in Spain, having yielded a comparable set. It seems they were deliberately buried within the temple sometime in the early fourth century, shortly after the temple had been partly destroyed, and, given the timing, it is assumed that it was the Christian icon­oclasts who had sacked the temple and that the worshippers of Mithras saved what they could of their treasures and later buried them beneath the temple floor.

Though the treasures were buried in the fourth century, most of the marbles date from the second century, and almost certainly they were imported ready sculptured from Italy. The famous heads of Mithras, Minerva and Serapis would apparently all have originally belonged to full-size statues, the bodies of which were probably locally made, of inferior stone or stucco. The Mithras head is in all likelihood from the cult image Mithras Tauroctonos, which seems to have stood at the end of the nave in all Mithraea, showing Mithras slaying the Bull Sometimes this is just a flat slab carved in relief, but others may be carved in the round, such asthe one from Rome now in the British Museum: The head of Minerva which now looks as though the back of her head has been sliced off would, it seems, have worn an elaborate crested helmet made of metal, either silver or bronze.The helmet must have been removed before burial, stolen perhaps by the Christians. Apparently this is the only large-scale head of Minerva ever found in a Mithraeum.

The brilliantly polished head of Serapis with the obligatory corn modius on top is of a standard type well known in the Roman world, particularly in the reign of Commodus. It is by no means uncommon to find Serapis, god of fertility and the underworld, asso­ciated with the mystical religion of Mithras, which was concerned above all with the passage of the soul through this world and into eternal life. All the other gods represented in the sculptures, Mercury, Bacchus, mother-goddess, Genius, Dioscurus, river-gods, can also be seen to be natural associates of Mithras in their roles either as guides of the soul on its journey after death or as prime movers in the fertility cycle of death and rebirth.

Reading through the catalogue describing all the different sculptures and treasures, one cannot help being struck not only by Professor Toynbee's immense knowledge of Roman art in all its aspects but also by her great ability to describe a work of art and convey the spirit of it. This excellently produced volume is a fitting memorial to her, but also a very poignant reminder of the great loss caused by her death.

MORE BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS LISTS

Liz Sagues suggests some new titles:

First, a little HADAS advertising, for Pinning Down the Past, Ted Sammes' survey of some of the more unusual and interesting finds from the society's Church Terrace, Hendon, dig in 1973-74. Don't expect turgid trench-by-trench detail - Ted's method has been to take particular finds and set them in their historical perspective. So, for example, a reader learns that the medieval English lobed cup has its origin, in form at least, in China's Sung Dynasty or that one tiny fragment of pottery can be traced back to a manufacturing site in Germany's central uplands. Lace tags or spa water bottles, the splendid Saxon pin, "rose farthings" and a forged groat - all these and many more are explained, in easy to understand language, What more appropriate gift for any Hendon resident, or anyone beginning to take an interest in local archaeology. Copies cost £1.50 - as a special pre-Christmas offer, no extra charge is being made for postage - from Joyce Slattery, 5 Sentinel House, Sentinel Square, NW4 2EN.

 

Ranging much further afield is Barbara Bender - a happily-remembered name to many extra-mural diploma students - in The Archaeology of Brittany, Normandy and the Channel Islands (Faber & Faber, £14.95). It's an invaluable guide for the archaeologically-minded, Francophile tourist, providing excellent detail for locating sites (I've tested it) and ranging wide, even to sites which, "while unexciting in themselves, provide a marvellous opportunity to explore wild and remote areas". There's a comprehensive introduction as well as the gazetteer with its map references, plans, photographs and concise explanations. And archaeology to her includes Romanesque churches, useful leavening - her own word - for a heavily prehistoric diet.

 

Lindow Man - The Body in the Bog (British Museum Publications, £15) is an intriguing, compelling acknowledgement of the extraordin­arily comprehensive range of scientific disciplines brought to bear on one small human survivor, edited by Ian Stead, J.B. Bourke and Don Brothwell. Much, as the contributors reveal, has been dis­covered about him, from height to blood group, from why his teeth fell out to the particular worms that infested his gut. But many puzzles remain... Watch out for volume two.

 

More briefly, the British Museum Publications "blue book" series is newly extended by Egyptian Life, by Miriam Stead, and Greek and Roman Life, by Ian Jenkins. Colourful, excellently produced and with a wealth of human information, they are excellent value at £4.95.

And for a really indulgent Christmas time read, give or be given - Some Small Harvest, the memoirs of Glyn Daniel. Though published by Thames and Hudson (£12.95) it does not form part of the Ancient Peoples and Places series, through which Glyn Daniel has contributed so much to archaeological publishing... Full of both personal and archaeological detail, it's a long and rewarding read.

SITES FOR WATCHING

The following sites, subject of new planning applications, could be of possible archaeological interest. Members noticing signs of development on any of them are asked to notify John Enderby on 203 2630.

1 Brockley Avenue, Edgware                                               Front and side extension

20 Brockley Avenue, Edgware                                             Side and rear extensions

Brockley Hill Farm, Brockley Hill,                                        Landfill regrading and

Edgware                                                                                            planting scheme

100-102 Sunningfields Road, NW4                                      Erection of 12 flats

234-236 Hendon Way, NW4                                                Block of 17 flats

The Barn, Nan Clarks Lane, NW7                                        Extension

Holcombe Cottage, Holcombe Hill, NW7 Extension side and rear

Little Manor, Barnet Lane, Elstree                                        Covered swimming pool

Site of "Retreat" and "Glenmore",                                         Erection of 12 flats

Tenterden Grove, NW4

Lawrence Farm House, Goodwyn Avenue, Extension and car park

NW7

Spaniards Field, Wildwood Rise, NW11 House and covered swimming pool

Land at Arkley Hall and Arkley Rise,                                   Six houses
Barnet toad, Arkley

116-118 High Street, Barnet                                                 Alterations and extensions to

listed building

145 High Street, Barnet                                                         Block of Offices

36 Wood Street and rear of                                                   36 flats

23 Union Street, Chipping Barnet

Land adjoining East Finchley Station 6,912 sq m of offices and fronting High Road          parking for 560 cars, also l50 flats

68-72 Union Street, Chipping Barnet                                    Office building.

A CHURCH'S PAST REMEMBERED

From HADAS member Frances Gravatt comes a copy of You Shall Remember, her account of the beginnings of Hendon Baptist Church, published to commemorate the centenary this year of the present church building.

She traces the congregation's history back to the 1821 census listing of the "Dissenting Meeting House" in Brent Street, identifies those important in its progress thereafter and chronicles the building of the new church - which, apart from predictable financial problems also faced unwanted natural hazards, including an unfortunately located spring. But all, as this year's celebrations confirm, were successfully overcome.

Copies of You Shall Remember are available from Frances Gravatt at 47A Finchley Lane, NW4 1BY, price £l (add 20p for postage). 

THE FIGHT TO SAVE THE GRAHAME-WHITE HANGAR 

Bill Firth reports on the latest moves

The Thirties Society, which was founded to protect British archi­tecture and design after 1914, has expressed its wish to become actively -involved in the protest. This is the first significant. national body, to do so, which is very encouraging for those members who missed the issue of The Times in which the HADAS letter on the hangar was published, the letter is reproduced here.

The RAF is leaving Hendon on 1 April next year after some 70 years, and the event is being commemorated by honouring the service, with the freedom of the Borough of Barnet, in which Hendon Aerodrome is situated.

However, the aerodrome is older than the RAF having been founded by the great aviation pioneer, Claude Grahame-White, in  1910, Nothing remains of this early period, but amongst the buildings dating from the Great War there is a hangar, a listed building, which includes an office block bearing the name "The Grahame-White Company Limited".

The Ministry of Defence is proposing to demolish this hangar despite its listing, but Barnet Borough Council, bearing in mind the historic importance of Hendon Aerodrome, is opposed to demolition not only in view of the historic significance of the building but also because of the lack of evidence that possible alternative uses for it have been examined.

In addition to the Hendon and District, Archaeological. Society, the Association for Industrial Archaeology, the Greater London. Industrial Archaeology Society and a number of other organisations have made representations for the retention of the hangar, but the. Ministry insists that it must be demolished so that the full commercial value of the site can be realised. We believe that the importance of this building overrides purely commercial considerations and that its demolition would be a major loss to aviation history and archaeology. 

... and gives advance notice of a visit

The RAF has agreed to a visit to the Grahame-White buildings at Hendon Aerodrome in late February/early March 1987. When the RAF gives me a firm date I will send details to all those who have expressed interest. If anyone else wishes to join the visit, please send a SAE to me at 49 Woodstock Avenue, NW11 9RG. The visit is restricted to about 30 people and applications will be dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis. 

HELP, I'VE BEEN DRABBLED 

Ted Sammes becomes a victim of typographical gremlins

One of the few rewards that one looks forward to with both appre­hension and hope after mounting an exhibition is that of reading the press reports. I was a little bit moithered when I failed to find any report in the Ham & High, which normally does us so proudly. It was, however, pointed out by Gerrard Roots that if I would look for a heading which read "Findings of one man and his dog" I would find what I was missing.

This was followed some days later by an apologetic note from Liz Sagues saying that if I took the "o" out of dog and inserted an "i", all would be well! Well, well, and I thought I had been turned into a budding Phil Drabble! PS: the exhibition is open until December 7.

 

AFTER IRON ...

Percy Reboul argues the case for plastics as historical material

It may come as something of a surprise, HADAS members that plastics (depending on how you define the word) were discovered nearly 125 years ago. What is generally regarded as the birth certificate of the industry occurred in 1862 when a remarkable inventor called Alexander Parkes showed his Material "Parkcsine" at the Great Inter­national Exhibition in London's South Kensington. The actual exhibi­tion site was where the museum complex now stands.

While most people have heard of the 1851 exhibition, far fewer are aware of the 1862 show which was, however, regarded by its con­temporaries as a world event of outstanding importance. It is possible that the Prince Consort's death in December 1861 cast a long shadow over public life in general and the exhibition in particular.

The exhibition was to bring forth at least two inventions of major importance: a "new match which could not be'ignited by friction alone" (today's safety match), and a new material called Parkesine after its inventor, "the product of a mixture of chloroform and castor oil which produces a substance hard as horn but, as flexible as leather, capable of being cast or stamped, painted, dyed or carved...". Parkesine was awarded a bronze medal for excellence of quality.

Parkesine was an early form of what most of us know by the name “celluloid" and it is highly prized by collectors. Perhaps the finest collection of Parkesine is in the basement store of the Plastics and Rubber Institute in London where it remains awaiting the birth of a National Plastics Museum. A few pieces can be seen, however, in the Science Museum.

Of more direct interest to HADAS members, perhaps, is the news that the Institute of Industrial Archaeology is to hold a one-day seminar at Ironbridge during the 1986-87 academic year. I am hoping myself to make a contribution to the proceedings.

The amount of sheer ignorance and antipathy towards plastics is startling. Proof our emergence from the Iron Age came about a decade ago when the tonnage of plastics produced in the world's leading industrial country, the USA, overtook the tonnage of ferrous metal produced. We should be thinking ahead, to the not-too-distant time when plastics will become dating evidence at least as important as pottery.

One can see already, for example, the value of objects such as squeezy bottles and polythene bags which arc as distinctive as pottery for dating purposes. Now is the time, incidentally, to make your mark in this field. The world awaits a typology of the tooth­brush or a catalogue of cornflake packet giveaways which, make no mistake, will be as collectable and interesting to archaeologists a mere hundred years from now as Pratt-ware or Codd bottles in our day.

It has been my privilege recently to work with a small dedi­cated team to found the world's first Plastics Historical Society. Its objects are to promote the study, preservation and sharing of information on all historical aspects of plastics and to encourage the recording of current developments judged to be of value to future generations. 

The plastics industry is lucky in the sense that many of its pioneers are still alive. It is vital that their memories and the records of their achievements are recorded. They are the equivalent of the greats such as Brunel, Stephenson and Lister of previous generations. The chance to record first-hand evidence is not to be missed.

Sadly, many of the early records are disappearing fast, brought about mainly by the current spate of mergers and buy-outs. New owners don't care overmuch for traditions and archives take up val­uable office space which can better be used in the fight for indus­trial efficiency; but there is always hope. More and more people are coming to value things such as old photographs, cine film, catalogues and even the typescripts of chairmen's speeches. An excellent organisation called the Business Archives Council is doing sterling work on a pathetically small budget to encourage industry to look after its old records.

Paradoxically many of the very fine artefacts made from plastics in the '20s and '30s are being preserved because. the dealers have realised that there is money to be made.....There even rumour that some plastics artefacts are being forged using the original moulds - which should prove as lucrative a field day for the lawyers as the mouldings themselves are for the dealers.

In conclusion, I hope any member who may have a query on the subject, or would like help with identification, will contact me.

ALWAYS KICK A MOLEHILL,    Tessa Smith explains why

We only went into the pub for a flagon and we ended up... But that would be giving the game away!

We were in the village of Corfe Castle, in the Isle of Purbeck, quenching our thirst in the quaintest little terrace cottage pub. To my surprise, there on the wall was a photo of Roman finds from a nearby-excavation, a square-sided glass-flagon, a colander, black glass flagon, a colander, black burnished bowls and jars (but unfortunately no spacers!). On seeing our interest the publican sold us a booklet summarising excavation work from 1976 to 1984, of a Roman villa at Bucknowle Farm, only half a mile south west of Corfe Castle

 

Apparently in 1975 Tony Brown, on kicking a molehill, noticed Roman-pottery and tile so, with permission, dug trial holes, and one of these produced a short length of stone walling and part of a red tessellated  floor. The following summer, under the auspices of the Dorset Archaeological society, an exploratory excavation began, and it has continued each summer since.

The publican told us it was such a pity we had not arrived the day before as the excavation was being filled in that very minute, but if we wanted he would give us instructions as to where it was. Almost forgetting our local brew, we went hot foot the half-mile or so, until we saw the dreaded JCB in the distance, and sure enough it was smoothing down the final clod of earth. Dismally disappointed we field-walked the area and to our joy we noticed and examined a few small sherds of black burnished pottery left on the surface.

This extensive Roman site overlies an earlier Iron Age habitat and covers an area of at least five acres. By 1984, eight buildings, including barns, a hypocaust, corridors,' furnace, hearths, child burials, coins, pottery and many small finds had been excavated, much of which is now housed in the museum at Dorchester. This Roman villa is thought to be the first substantial form of the villa-type, based upon a pasture economy, in the heart of Purbeck.

The moral of this story is: 1. always kick a molehill, and 2. develop a thirst for knowledge on a hot summer's day. You never know what may turn up. 


RESISTIVITY SURVEY OF WATLING CAR PARK SITE 1986  Brian Wrigley presents an interim report

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Our first concern was to cover as much as possible of the main accessible area,. Which we have done, in the main by runs 5 metres apart with probe spacings of 1 metre. The results are shown in the diagram called Main Overall Plot, on which high readings are shown as "x", low as "o" and medium as y. Blanks are areas inaccessible (brambles, trees, etc) or readings for one reason or another suspect.

It will be seen that the high readings seem to concentrate in the top left of the plan (north-west) and the lows in the bottom part, particularly towards the left (west). To see if any pattern emerged from this low area, we did a further more detailed series of runs 1 metre apart, probe spacings of 1 metre, covering the rectangle shown, and these are shown by the same symbols in Grid 2. Here there seems to be a linear run of lows, near the top.

 

We have tried some runs at ½ metre probe spacings (which means, broadly, that only half the depth of ground is being explored) and found this gave readings three or four times as high  i.e. the features giving high resistance are, say, within a metre or so of the ground surface. One possible theory to explain this is that the deeper readings are including more of the water-bearing clay sub-soil, which is of low resistance, and thus lowering the overall reading.

If the high-resistance features are near the top, it seemed to be sensible to explore the high areas with ½ metre probe spacings, so as to concentrate more on the top. This we therefore tried in the area which had given some high readings, top left of the Main Overall Plot; the result is shown in Grid 3 and shows hardly any regular pattern.

At about the point A on the Main Overall Plot, we found a spot consistently giving the lowest reading, when traversed in two directions at right angles, at 2 metre spacings. It is just possible that this is a pit.

To sum up - we have made no breathtaking discoveries; but we have achieved what we expected to, that is to find some indication of two or three places where trial trenching would be worthwhile. Our loyal band of resistivity testers is now itching to get trowels into the earth!

One other result of this activity is that we now have a little group of members well practised in operating the resistivity meter, and in the course of using it much improvement has been made in the external leads and contacts - we think it is now a much more robust machine which can be used at some speed even in tangled long grass. .There are other projects for which this could be useful - for example, a search for the "missing piece of moat at Finchley Manor and, further in the future, exploration in advance of the water pipeline to be laid around the north of the borough.

 

OBITUARIES 

Jeanne Thompson     Members, and especially those who go on the coach outings, will be sorry to learn of the sudden death of Jeanne Thompson. Her husband Alec took early retirement in the spring of 1983 so they had high hopes of doing many things together, and one they did manage was a visit to Turkey. But their plans were cut off by a sudden heart attack.

They were both often on the outings and I sometimes used to pull her leg because she invariably returned to the coach having somehow acquired what appeared to me to be the major part of the weekend shopping!

Alec intends to move up to the Newcastle area so as to be close to his married daughter. I am sure we will all wish him all the best in starting a new life in a different area. I for one will also miss Jeanne's cheery presence.                                                            By Ted Sammes

 

Harry Mason You will all be sad to learn of the death of Mr Mason on November 6, less than a year after that of his wife Connie. They both came into the society in the very early years and were both regulars on outings until Mr Mason's health deteriorated. Mrs Mason continued right up until the weekend in Cumbria' in 1985. And they will be remembered by us all as our coffee providers at lectures. They came out in all weathers and gave up only in May 1985.                                                                                                                                                          By Dorothy Newbury

MORE DIARY DATES

Egyptology

It's proving an excellent winter for anyone with an interest in Egyptology, for overlapping with the University of London Extra Mural Department series on British Archaeology in Egypt comes a complementary series given by staff from University College's Department of Egyptology concentrating on one of the most absorbing and controversial periods of that country's ancient history, the reigns of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten and his successors:

Dr Geoffrey Martin, whose discovery of the tomb of Maya, treasurer of Tutankhamun, had such widespread, publicity earlier this year, is introducing the lectures, on Wednesday evenings, in the Chemistry Auditorium, Christopher Ingold Laboratories, Gordon Street, Euston (just round the corner from the Institute of Archaeology), starting at 6pm.The series continues until February 25, full details from the Department of Egyptology, UCL, phone 387 7050.

The Extra Mural Department series draws to its close on December 4, when the speaker will be Professor Harry Smith-Edwards Professor of Egyptology at UCL, and the subject Memphis. At the Institute of Archaeology, Gordon Square, at 7pm; The series as a whole has been a rewarding one, with one of its highlights a lecture with the most uninviting title of all - The Carians in Egypt and the Decipherment of Carian Script. But the Carians, revealed John Ray of Cambridge University's Faculty of Oriental Studies, were the Gurkhas and the SAS of antiquity, a rebellious, belligerent people, spreading wide from their homeland -in Western Turkey and selling their services as mercenaries to the highest bidders ­notably the Egyptian Pharaohs. The lecture was great entertainment as well as full of scholarly information - if John Ray speaks on the subject again in London, don't miss it. 

Early Hominid Evolution 

Those who remember, a good many years ago, the sight of the distinguished anatomist Michael Day giving a demonstration of how early hominids walked to a packed lecture hall at the Institute. of Archaeology won't want to miss a possible repeat. Professor Day is one of a wide-ranging panel of speakers in the post-Christmas Extra Mural Department series, starting on January 8 and continuing every Thursday until March 12.

Titles include Australopithecus and early Homo, Evolution of the Mind, Reconstructing Early Hominid Diet and Evolution of Loco-motor Behaviour, lectures start, as usual, at 7pm at the Institute of Archaeology, a-season ticket for the series costs l6 or individual lectures E2. Full programme and advance season tickets from Miss Edna Clancy, Dept of Extra Mural Studies, 26 Russell Square, WC1B 5DQ. 

Diet and Crafts in Towns - the Evidence from Animal Remains

A one-day seminar at the Extra Mural Department, 26 Russell Square, on Saturday December 13. Tony Legge introduces, Harvey Sheldon sums up Tickets £10.50, from Edna Clancy at the above address.

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