Newsletter 234: September 1990        Editor: Brigid Grafton Geen




Sat Sept 29      CAMDEN TOWN WALK    with Muriel Large


Tuesday October 2nd Lecture: “Excavations in West Africa” Dr. Paul Craddock origins of West African Bronze work.


Saturday October 6th MINIMART St Mary’s Church House, Hendon NW4


Tuesday November 6th Lecture “Waters Sweet and Fresh for London” Dr. Michael Essex- Lopresti


Tuesday December 4th Christmas Dinner



This Newsletter is being put to bed by a surrogate editor because, as readers will be most sad to hear, our real editor, Isabel McPherson, was unexpectedly taken off to hospital in the middle of August. Friends wishing to enquire after Isobel can get the latest news from June Porges, on 081 346 5078 (evenings only); or if you would like to drop her a "best wishes" card, address it to Cordwainers Ward, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, NW3.

Before she went to hospital Isobel had already accumulated a heavy postbag. Here is a selection from it:

Would HADAS by another name smell sweeter?
From Mr R G Michel

Dear Editor,

I would like to record my support for the status quo party in the debate on a possible change of name.

I read Jennie Cobban's "The Case for Change" in Newsletter 231 with interest, but in my view the defence at present has no case to answer.

Even if it had, I suspect finding improved name would prove a difficult task. I do not favour the use of "Barnet" because of the potential for confusion with the town or with the local authority. I am certainly against anything like "London Borough of Barnet Archaeological Society" unless the Council intend to fund in full our academic activities.

“North West London" would not do at all. I'm sure the residents in the vicinity of Barnet High Street and Stanmore (for insurance purposes if no other!) do not consider themselves to live in that area.

I am certainly not against change in principle, but on the other hand I do not like change for change's sake. If a convincing case for change can be assembled and a more appropriate name created, fine – until then I suggest the noes have it.

Yours sincerely,


163 Colin Crescent,

Colindale,                                          August 2, 1990 London N1 19 6ET

From Mrs Daphne Home Lorimer FCR, ARPS, FSA (Scot) 

I was sad to read that there is, once more, a desire to alter the name of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society. The name is descriptive (it started in Hendon and now encompasses the District of the Borough of Barnet) and it is well known. HADAS is so well known, in fact, that people as far apart, for example, as the Secretary of the Palaeopathology Society in the USA and the new Professor of Archaeology in the University of Glasgow have heard of it. HADAS is a name to be proud of and to cherish.

It is not unknown for a local society to change its name - for example, the East Anglian Archaeological Society became the Prehistoric Society and the South London Entomological and Natural History Society became the British Entomological and Natural History Society. In each case, however, it was in acknowledgement of the fact that the society in question had become a national body. HADAS, much as we love it, will never be a national body. By changing its name, 25+ years of work will be forgotten, except by those involved in it, and HADAS will lose its identity.

It is for the present custodians of the HADAS name to see that it is as well known as it used to be throughout the Borough of Barnet. However much we used to grumble at manning exhibitions at every fete and jamboree, at giving talks to schools, lectures to adult evening classes and penning short notes for the papers whenever asked, it did keep the name before the people of the Borough.

The origins of the names of local societies are as much part of the local history as the origins of its street names and the changing use of its buildings. Might I suggest, Madam Editor, that far from changing its name, HADAS appoints an archivist to burnish it?

I am your obedient servant,



Orkney KW17 2RF


From Mr Alan Lawson          
Dear Editor, 4th August 1990

In any discussion about possible change of name that might take place within HADAS, I think that we need to be most careful in our choice of words and cliches that we use to argue our case.

No one would deny that HADAS has changed, inasmuch as its membership has changed over the years, BUT its objectives remain the same. "Moving with the times" (Percy Reboul, Newsletter 233) is a truism not an argument.

Really! Amami, Drene, etc, and also Passing Cloud (probably very carcinogenic) have nothing to do with HADAS, unless of course we should come across some discarded containers on one of our digs years hence - and then they would be classified as "industrial archaeology."

Finally, TRAMS! They are now beginning to re-emerge as the "in" means of solving urban transport problems.


68 Oakwood Road,                                                   ALAN LAWSON
London NW11 6RN


Also in the Editor's incoming mail was a letter from Nell Penny which set things off on quite a different tack. Nell was curious about the shape of an amphora's bottom; she wrote:

"Stimulated by Brian Wrigley's lucid and witty 'metallurgy for beginners,' I am emboldened to ask some potter-archaeologist why the Greeks and Romans persisted through a millenium in using amphorae - two-handled vessels which couldn't stand up for them­selves. I am told that these later cultures were copying Middle Eastern habits. There practically anything will stand up in sand.

The capacity to stick flat bottoms on large jars certainly existed in the second millenium BC - I saw it proven in the huge jars of Minoan Knossos. Why then did Mediterranean societies continue to make and use unweildy amphorae? Innate conservatism?"

Amphorae are a subject dear to the heart of any archaeologist interested in the period from the Bronze Age to the Dark Ages. These large, clumsy vessels possess - from a digger's point of view - priceless assets. Because of the detailed chronology which has been built up on the basis of their changing shape, colour, capacity and stamping, they are an invaluable tool for dating, sharing in that respect the important characteristics of more elegant artefacts such as coins and Samian pottery forms; and amphora fragments from many sites round the coasts of the Mediterranean and western Europe provide the bedrock for modern theories on the trade routes and economics of the ancient world.

Returning to Nell's problem, I don't believe that died-in-the-wool traditionalism had anything to do with dictating the contours of an amphora's bottom, whether it was peg-tip, long sharp spike or button-like "pip." I've always understood that because wine amphorae were so heavy ­often over a metre tall, containing up to 25 litres of wine and possibly weighing, when full, some 50kg - you had to be able to hold them firmly when you picked them up to decant the liquid. A flagon like object of that size and weight, flat-bottomed, could not have been easily held - but put a spike on its bottom and you could sling it around, gripped at the top with a hand through one handle and at the base by the spike.

The essentials of amphora shape were summed up by an American archaeologist who took part in the excavation of the Agora in Athens a few years back, where 800-odd commercial amphorae were re-assembled. In a pamphlet, Amphoras and the Ancient Wine Trade, he described the finds, which covered over a thousand years, from 500 BC to the 6c AD. He found that the amphorae had in common

"a mouth narrow enough to be corked, two opposite vertical handles and at the bottom usually a tip or knob which serves as a third handle, below the weight, needed when one inverts a heavy vessel to pour from it. A flat bottom big enough for the jar to stand on would give no purchase for lifting. Attached bases like those on small two-handled vases for the table would add uselessly to the weight of these containers and to the inconvenience of stowing them as cargo, as well as to the cost of manufacture. Stands of various kinds were ordinary household equipment ... when the jars needed to be kept upright - sometimes wooden or bamboo tripods, or large pottery rings in which the body of the amphora sits as in an egg-cup."

Wine-jars on stands appear in tomb-paintings of Egyptian and Syrian banquets; but not at Greek parties. The Greeks usually drank their wine diluted with water, and the mixture was prepared in a krater or mixing bowl away from the table: but the boy who prepared the wine must have had to up-end the heavy vessel over the krater just as a server would have done at table, and must have needed the spike equally. The Syrians and Egyptians often sucked their wine direct from the jar on its stand through a bent tube - an almost exact ancestor of today's "bendy straw" so beloved of modern toddlers.

Though amphorae began by being vessels for wine, often being fired in kilns beside the vineyard, the American digger in Athens writes that "they tended to accumulate just as gasoline cans do in countries today, and to be adapted to many purposes. They were re-used for all sorts of commodities - cheese and pickled fish, beer, nuts, honey. Some became funerary urns; others, with a section cut from one side, served as coffins for infants. Whole or broken, their bulk was exploited in filling disused wells or cisterns, or levelling a stretch of ground for a large building. Their hollowness ... was used for strategic purposes, most memorably as Herodotus tells            by the Phocians of central Greece, who dug a great pit in a mountain pass, laid in amphoras and covered them with earth, and so trapped the enemy cavalry, whose horses crashed in and broke their legs."

As in Athens, so later in Londinium amphorae were used for many purposes. The Capital Gains exhibition at the Museum of London a few years ago showed an amphora dated AD70-120, found on a riverside site in Southwark. An analysis of the residue showed it had contained liquamen, or fish-sauce; the inscription read "Liquam/Antipol/Exc/ L Tettii Africani" - i.e. "the finest fish sauce from Antipolis (Antibes) product of Lucius Tettius Africanus." Although the amphorae from British sites often had the weight, content and name of the producer inscribed on the body of the vessel, earlier wine-jars which provide so much evidence for east Mediterranean trade often showed a stamp impressed on the handle of the jar before firing.

Other imports into Roman Britain in amphorae between c. AD50-200 were whole olives, olive oil, wine, concentrated sweet grape juice, dates, figs and salt fish. An amphora found unbroken in the Thames estuary still had its undisturbed contents - about 6000 olives. Sweet grape juice, known as defrutum, was an essential ingredient for Roman cooks. Olive oil usually arrived in distinctive globular, round-bottomed amphorae from southern Spain. c. AD200 was the beginning of the end of the amphora era, although the vessels continued to be used in dwindl­ing numbers for three or four centuries: for instance, fragments of a Palestinian wine amphora made in Gaza in late 4c/early 5c AD helped to date one of the last Roman buildings built in Londinium. Casks and barrels, however, used in Europe since the let century BC, were becoming increasingly popular.

Finally, something about stoppers, or bungs. Ancient vintners had a choice of substances with which to close the mouths of their amphorae: wax, clay, wood (though that was mainly used as bungs for casks); but they did not, so far as we know use cork for wide-mouthed amphorae, though cork from Spain and North Africa was known in Rome in the 1st c. BC and Pliny mentions it. Cork comes into its own as a closure for wine only in the early 15c AD, when cork and glass bottles get together.

There are, in the Greek gallery at the British Museum, some objects made of twisted bronze openwork strips, about 9cm long and perhaps 3cm in diameter, found in tombs dated c. 750BC. The caption suggests that pitch-coated twine was wound round and round these, and that they were used to close wine jars. Pitch had long been used for various purposes in the prehistoric wine trade - for instance, to paint the bodies of Greek amphorae to render them more impervious. It has, indeed, been suggested that storing wine in pitch-treated amphorae originally gave the Greeks their liking for what is still a local product, retsina - wine with a turpentine taste.

A recent article in Archaeometry took that theory back into the Bronze Age. Divers exploring a shipwreck off the Turkish coast dated c.1350 BC found about a hundred Syrian amphorae. They contained lumps of greenish-amber coloured resin, thought to have been used for sealing them. Chemical analysis identified the lumps as a species of pistacia, still known as the turpentine tree. That gives modern retsina a really long ancestry.       Brigid Grafton Green

TALKING OF BARNS AND TEMPLES . . .                            PETER PICKERING describes HADAS's July adventures in Essex

Dorothy advised us to bring a packed lunch and rainwear. So we did, and we took them home again, untouched. Our vision of crouching under a shared umbrella trying to undo a sodden bag of sandwiches proved the diametrical opposite of the reality. The globally-warmed sun blazed down on a large marquee, in which were all the goodies the Essex Federa­tion of Women's Institutes could muster.

But I must control myself, and begin at the beginning. Our first visit was to Harlow Museum, in Passmores House, which has a medieval core, a 1723 front, and an imported Adam fireplace. Congratulations to Harlow Council on its imaginative purchase of this attractive building. The curator, Ian Jones, who had fascinated us in February with his account of the excavation of the Temple of Minerva, displayed his collection. The Harlow area is rich in Roman finds, and had a flourishing post-medieval pottery industry particularly yellow on brown slipware whose quality, if Mr Jones was not slandering it, was not of the highest. There was also an exhibition of jigsaws, including one with pictures of the peoples of the world, with brief characterisations a la Nicholas Ridley.

Thence to Cressing Temple. The soubriquet "Temple" comes from the Knights Templars, whose two great 13c barns (the Barley and the Wheat Barns respectively) are the dominant feature. They were hives of activity, with crowds milling around the Women's Institute competition entries. But Mr Wadhams found a quiet place in which to tell us the history of the site, and teach us about medieval carpentry and timber-framed building construction. He then took us through the barns themselves, where the apter pupils could spot the different types of joints on the beams, rafters and braces for themselves. Congratulations to Essex County Council on its imaginative purchase of this beautiful and important complex, which will be even better in a year or two when the walled garden and the court house are restored.

Next to Coggeshall and another barn, equally grand and even older, but seeming somehow lifeless, perhaps because so much was rebuilt from a derelict state in the 1970s, or perhaps because instead of the thronging Women's Institutes doing their thing there were National Trust displays. Nevertheless, congratulations to Braintree Council for saving it in 1982 (am I perhaps dropping a series of hints to our own dear Borough?) The party then split up to wander round Coggeshall, trying to find shady spots from which to see the wealth of domestic buildings, many with pargetting or carved bessumers, or even to have a cream tea. Then homewards, with thanks to Frank, our helpful driver, and congratulations to George Ingram, about to celebrate his ninetieth birthday.

MORE ABOUT THAT PIPELINE                                                        by Victor Jones

We reported in Newsletters 230, 231 and 233 on HADAS's monitoring of the Three Rivers Pipeline which the water authorities are cutting across north and northwest London. When it has been completed the pipe­line will pass through about seven miles of our Borough. The present line starts at Rowley Green and we are watching its progress closely, hoping to pinpoint information of archaeological interest. The cut being made in the surface of the ground is 10m wide and 25cm deep; with an inner cut, which will carry the actual pipe, 75cm wide by 2m/3m deep.

The original intention of the water authorities sounded a bit like the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Rockies - to start at each side (in the case of LBB from Brockley Hill, going NE, and from Rowley Green, going SW) and meet in the middle. However, that's not how it has worked out in practice.

The digging proramme in fact began at Edgwarebury Farm, in the area some little way to the east of Brockley Hill; since then the plan has been changed almost weekly, so that we have had to tailor our watching on a day-to-day basis. Here is a report on what is happening in the different sections:

The Edgwarebury section (from the A41 to M1) is almost complete, the pipe having been laid and covered. We made a few finds while watching and they are being processed.

As reported in the last Newsletter, work on the section between the Ml and A1000 won't be completed until the end of September, because one part of it crosses Mill Hill golf course and the golf club is to be allowed to complete its match programme in peace. The part of this section which covers Scratchwood open space will require constant watching during the next few weeks.

The section between the A1000 and Arkley was completed in June/July as far as the Barnet Road; again, finds are being processed. The line has now been taken across the Barnet Road and the NW corner of  Hyver Hill to the A1000. We have found no material of interest in the part cleared and walked so far, about halfway to the A1000.

As reported in the last Newsletter, the section from the A41 to the  AS (Watling Street) was started in June, and then adjourned to the other side of Watling Street, going from Wood Lane down to the point where the crossing of Watling Street is to be made. Little material of interest was found. In the last Newsletter we reported that the crossing of Watling Street would take place in the first week of August, but that did not happen. We also outlined the agree­ment reached with the contractors by which we would have time to examine the pipeline on both sides at the Watling Street crossing, an area which might prove to be of outstanding archaeological interest. The crossing is now scheduled to be made from Sept. 7-10, and we hope the same arrangements will stand.

The finds and observations made so far have not provided anything of outstanding interest. Pottery and other artefacts consist mainly of material dated to the last two/three centuries, and are of the kind one might expect in a spread of farm rubbish in field and woodland, in an area geared mainly to the provision of hay, for the horses in a metropolis. A full report on the finds will be made when monitoring is complete and they have been studied; and it is hoped to publish in a forthcoming Newsletter a map showing the line taken by the pipeline.

Meantime, members interested in taking part in the remaining walks, or in the investigation of the Watling Street crossing, please phone either Tessa Smith (081 958 9159), Brian Wrigley (081 959 5982) or Victor Jones (081 453 6180).


It was sad to hear last month of the death of Bill Taylor, aged 84, leading local historian of the northern part of our Borough and a colleague of HADAS's of long standing. We had many links with him. From 1965-83 he was Curator of Barnet Museum, a position which went well in tandem with his secretaryship of the Barnet & District Local History Society, with which he had been associated since he first joined it as a young man in his twenties.

HADAS's collaboration with him was probably at its closest during the planning of the Battle of Barnet quincentenary when, on our first suggesting a commemoration of the battle, Bill gave us his wholehearted co-operation in forming a committee and then in collecting, preparing and mounting a large exhibition in the old Council chamber at Barnet, next door to his Museum.

That was in 1971, and our association continued to thrive in such matters as the exhibition of Industrial Archaeology, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow," .which Bill invited us to put on at Barnet Museum in 1979; and the backing which he gave to HADAS's efforts to spread blue plaques, commemorating famous people and events, outside the environs of Hendon to other parts of the Borough. That project culminated, among others, in plaques on Thomas Lipton's former home in Chase Side, Southgate; on the Tudor Hall, in Chipping Barnet; and to Benjamin Waugh, founder of the NSPCC, in Friern Barnet. I remember Bill saying he rejoiced in all those.                              BGG


19-25 High Street, Chipping Barnet

As the heatwave continues, so does work on extending this site. A fifth small trench has now been opened on the eastern edge, close to the entrance. This is in the hope of picking up traces of buildings fronting the original line of the Great North Road, which runs along the eastern edge of the site and out into the main lower High Street; however, modern interference - what appears to be a brick-built toilet block - has removed most of the archaeology at this point. The exception is a small area of medieval deposits immediately below modern topsoil, which has yielded 12c/15c material.

Traces of buildings continue to be elusive over the rest of the site, despite extensions to trench 2 in the centre: however, much medieval pottery, mostly "grey wares," continues to be found. Digging on the site is expected to continue into September: the hardy band of a half-dozen or so regulars could certainly do with some help to extend

The trenches and complete the surveying. Details as always from the “Gang of three”. Come and help us add to our present tally of one hand-made sherd “not later than 1150AD. 


This is an attempt to kill two birds with one stone: to provide an interim progress report and to cry for help.

Our Hon. Treasurer, Victor Jones, reported in the June Newsletter on the suitability of our new room at Avenue House "for housing a small, well-ordered library." Since then he has been working out the practical­ities of that project. First step is to take stock of salvaged material.

Though some of our books and papers were badly damaged in the Avenue House fire, many people working many hours managed to save something from the wreck. The full tale of that marathon rescue is likely to become a HADAS legend and Victor hopes to tell the complete story in a forthcoming Newsletter.

The salvaged material went into storage until details of our new accommodation could be settled. Now Victor and Ted Sammes, continuing the work of June Porges, have started the long trek towards getting the less damaged material back into use.

They have unpacked some books and begun the job of putting then on the shelves. That's not, however, quite as simple as it sounds - and this is where our cry for help comes in. Every item has to be carefully examined, a decision taken about its condition, books cleaned, dusted, covers replaced, and so on.

Would you - yes, you who are reading these very words - be able to spare even an hour or two to help? Even better, a whole morning, after­noon or evening? The work is not difficult, though it is a bit grimy and calls for old clothes, if you can help, will you ring Victor Jones on 453 6180 and discuss days and times? You're guaranteed to get a great welcome. 


The following sites, subject of recent planning archaeologically sensitive. Members living near are on them and report anything of possible interest to John Enderby, on 081 203 2630.

Central Area

Manor House, 80 East End Road, N3 

Five Bells PH, 167 East End Rd, N3

St Michaels Convent, Nether St, N3

Northern Area

62/72 Wood St, Chipping Barnet

58 Union St, Chinning Barnet 

19/29 High St, Chipping Barnet

98/100 High St, Chipping Barnet

56 Galley Lane, Arkley

170 Bells Hill, Chipping Barnet

198 High St, Chipping Barnet


92a Bells Hill, Chipping Barnet

Western Area

30 Church End, NW4

Rosebank Barn, The Ridgeway, NW7


93 Francklyn Gns, Edgware

108/110 Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware

30 Hartland Drive, Edgware


HELEN GORDON, our woman in the Dordogne, sends this despatch

Another museum has been opened in Les Eyzies this year, on the site of the Pataud shelter which lies between the Prehistoric museum in the castle, and the Cro-Magnon hotel. Here the cliff towers above the village road about 200m from the Vezere; the shelter lies partway up the cliff in a deep overhang.

The shelter bears the name of its farmer proprietor at the end of the 19c when signs of its ancient prehistoric inhabitants were first recognised Peyrony and the other French archaeologists recovered much material from the area, but it was not until a full-scale excavation was carried out between 1958-64, led by Harvard Professor Movius, that the shelter was shown to be one of the most important upper palaeolithic sites in France, having been occupied on numerous occasions between 32-30,000 BC and 18-17,000 BC.

The site itself has been preserved in one section of the museum, showing clearly the stratification and the location of the principal finds, replaced where they were discovered. The second part is located in the troglodytic cellar of the farm which has required little adaptation for the display of a rich selection of the material, and incidentally, with great serendipity, provided a wonderfully cool atmosphere in which to enjoy it, in this hottest of Dordogne summers (temperatures reaching 40° C).

Needless to say the museum is well equiped with headphones in different languages, ever-changing screens of information, and a final electronic game to test a visitor's knowledge and observation, sending him back to look again if he fails. In the centre sits "Mme Pataud," brooding over eternity. She has been modelled by the sculptor Eirik Granquist, advised by H-A de Lumley, a palaeontological specialist on diseases, on information derived from the well-preserved skeleton of a young woman found buried with her new-born baby-at the back of the shelter. She was in her twenties when she died, a strong young woman and, belonging like us to the genus homo sapiens, one who might pass unnoticed in a modern crowd; though I detected a certain ferocious toughness in her expression which might cause surprise.

At the end of the visit, lights go out and a five minute film is projected on the background of the rock, showing shelter life. A fire is blazing, lighting up returning hunters, animals being skinned, tools being made, food prepared and eaten; (the sense of reality, which breathes life into the museum exhibits, its unfortunately jolted by the close-ups, inevit­ably out of scale with the background). This aside, the museum provides an excellent introduction to this slice of prehistory, and I find endearing their emphasis on the continuity of occupation of the shelter, from the Aurignacians to N. Pataud, and indeed to the museum.

GEORGE IN HIS NAUGHTY NINETIES Spotlight on a special occasion, hosted recently by JUNE PORGES at her Finchley home

There was a touch of "This Is Your Life" about George Ingram's 90th birthday party - because it was all a surprise. George expected to enjoy a little light supper with one or two cronies - and instead he walked into a gathering of twenty or so HADAS friends waiting to congratulate him.

The occasion, however, had none of the formality of "This Is Your Life." It was a glorious July evening and there was no official programme. People drifted from sitting room to garden and back; and there was much nattering about HADAS and its high spots, past and present. The age-range was roughly two-plus (our hostess's grandson) up to George's ninety: no generation gap visible at this party.

Of course good food and wine marked the event - including a birthday cake with candles, lovingly made, needless to say, in a HADAS kitchen. Glyn Daniel started something when he suggested more than a quarter century ago, in his classic The Hungry Archaeologist in France, that there is an affinity between good food and archaeologists. It's a tradition HADAS cooks like to nurture.

The party went with such a swing that one hostess, in charge of presents, nearly forgot to give George his. They were a series of albums ­four or five, each immaculately wrapped, to hold his photos, starting with a tiddler for casual snapshots and building up to a monster which could take full-size exhibition prints. One or two photos of George (in HADAS gear, with trowel or guide-book at the ready) started each album off. Know­ing George's canny hand with a camera, they seemed a most appropriate gift.

After gossip, goodies and gifts there came, naturally, "Happy Birthday To You," sung with a will by the assembled company. That's a wish, dear George, with which the Newsletter warmly associates itself.

MARY O'CONNELL - so successful as a guide to City tourist groups that she is now tutoring classes for probationer guides - is also busy on another front. She and. her husband have bought a holiday home in Taunton and are busy equipping it - no wonder they are keeping a beady eye on what comes in for the Minimart.

Sad news from MARY BARNETT, currently in hospital undergoing tests for an undiagnosed infection. She and husband Barney, two of our most regular outings addicts, had signed on for the Ironbridge weekend, but whether they will be able to take part is in the lap of the doctors.

REVA BROWN, HADAS member since 1979, is now studying at Bradford-University. Her subject is unexpected. "I'm looking at the purpose of university schools," she writes, "and at academics and the management of knowledge. It's proving fascinating." She is two-thirds through her course, so we can hope to welcome her back to London before too long.


Thought for the day, seen on the Institute of Archaeology notice-board:

"Competent Field Archaeologist wanted with survey, drawing
and excavation skills, for four to six weeks' field work in Kuwait." 

Underneath a wag had written "Combat experience preferred."