Newsletter-263-February-1993

 

 

ISSUE No. 263           EDITED BY HELEN GORDON     FEBRUARY 1993

 

DIARY

 

Tuesday Feb 2nd ANCIENT NEAR EAST CYLINDER SEALS lecture by Dr Dominique Collon, (British Museum) These small cylinders, were used in the Near East between about 3300 and 300BC for sealing goods and clay writing tablets. They provide a unique source of information about contemporary life and culture. Their engraved designs, when rolled out on clay, leave reliefs illustrating their kings and gods, their palaces and temples, the worshippers with their musical instruments and the activities of daily life. They are of course an invaluable archaeological tool for dating and economic study.

Dr Collon has travelled extensively in the Near East and has taken part in excavations in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. She is a leading authority on these seals. This should be a fascinating evening.

 

Saturday Feb 6th EXHIBITION OF BROCKLEY HILL FOTTERY and a GUIDED WALK around ST MARY'S CHURCH, HENDON

Don't forget to keep this day free for seeing this hands-on exhibition at the Church Hall, St Mary's, Hendon, open from 12 noon to 4.00 pm to HADAS members (bring your membership cards). The walk starts at 2.00 pm. (Strong shoes and warm clothing advisable) Admission to both is £1. Light refreshments will be available in the Church Hall, and both the Chequers and the Greyhound will be serving hot meals between 12 and 2. This is an excellent opportunity to view and handle the Roman pottery and several HADAS members will be in attendance to welcome you. Both the burial urn and the Moxom Collection will be on view, including the spacer (see "In search of spacers" HADAS Newsletter No,121 May 81 p7) and the square sided flagon (see "A flagon rejected" HADAS Newsletter No.137 July 82 p6).

 

Tuesday March 2nd EXCAVATING IN NORTHERN IRAQ: from the Greeks to the Mongols lecture by Dr John Curtis (postponed from November)

 

Tuesday April 6th EXCAVATIONS AT FULHAM PALACE lecture by Keith Whitehouse

 

OTHER LECTURES:

 

SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES

Tuesday Feb 2, 6.00pm at the Museum of London,
Lecture in memory of Dr Hugh Chapman

"A BETTER MOUSETRAP: TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION IN THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD" by Mark Hassall. Chairman: President of Society of Antiquaries, Barry Cunliffe. Followed by reception in the Roman & Medieval Galleries between 7.00 and 8.30 pm. Apply for tickets for lecture & reception (Food & wine) £9.50 to:-

Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London W1V OHS

 

THE SILK ROAD; ARCHAEOLOGICAL THEMES FROM CENTRAL ASIA

A public lecture course on Wednesdays at the Institute of Archaeology

Feb 4 WESTERN RELIGIONS ON THE SILK ROAD - MANICHAEISM & NESTORIANISM S Lieu

Feb 18 THE EARLY SASSANIAN KINGS; THEIR ART & ARCHITECTURE G Herrman

Feb 25 EXCAVATIONS & SURVEY AT MERV; THE STUDY OF A CENTRAL ASIAN CITY

St John Simpson

March 4 THE KUSHANS & THE ART OF GANDHARA E Errington

March 18 THE SILK ROAD; ROUTES & COMMODITIES W Ball

Fee £12 (Concessions £6) Applications to Leslie Hannigan, Archaeology courses, Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, 26 Russell Sq, London WC1B 5DQ

 

LONDON AND MIDDLESEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Saturday March 27th  30th ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF LONDON ARCHAEOLOGISTS

at the Museum of London lecture theatre, 11.00 am - 5.30 pm Morning Session      - Recent Archaeological Research in the London Area. Afternoon Session - London's archaeology into the '90's: the London Assessment Document work is currently in hand on a document which sets out to assess, by period, the state of archaeological knowledge in the capital. Speakers will include those engaged in editing the document.

Ted writes: please let HADAS have a good attendance:

Tickets (£3 for LAMAS members, £4 for non-members) from Jon Cotton, Early Dept, Museum of London, London Wall. Send P.O. or crossed cheque payable to London & Middlesex Archaeological Society, and s.a.e.(Tel 071 3699 Ext 222)

Lectures: at Museum of London lecture theatre

Wednesday Feb 24th A.G.M. 6.15pm followed by the lecture 6.30pm THE OTHER TOWERS OF LONDON       Derek Renn

 

Wednesday March 10th          A WARRIOR BURIAL FROM FOLLY LANE, ST ALBANS by Rosalind Niblett

 

ROYAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W.1.

 

Saturday February 27th          SUBMERGED SETTLEMENTS AND SHIPWRECKS     10.00 am - 5.15pm

The present state and future prospects of archaeology under water Tickets (£9 for RAI members £12 for non-members) from Miss W.E.Phillips, RAI c/o Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly WIV OHS (and s.a.e.)

 

THE NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ROMAN INVASION OF BRITAIN

 

HUGH CHAPMAN memorial lecture series:-

Series of four Wednesday lectures at the Museum of London at 1.10 pm

Feb 3rd            Jon Cotton:     Countdown to conquest: the Iron Age in southern Britain
Feb 10th Professor John Wilkes: AD 43: Britain invaded

Feb 17th Peter Marsden:         The origins of London

Feb 24th Harvey Sheldon: The growth of greater Roman London

In tribute to Hugh Chapman, who tragically died last year, formerly Deputy Director and Keeper of the Prehistoric and Roman Department of the Museum of London.

COUNCIL FOR KENTISH ARCHAEOLOGY - COMMEMORATION OF THE INVASION OF BRITAIN BY CLAUDIUS At RICHBOROUGH CASTLE Guided tour of the Roman fort, reputed Invasion landing place May 29th 11.00 am - 12,30 pm

At the GUIDHALL, SANDWICH 2,00 pm - 5.30 pm Illustrated talks with displays

Mark Hassell : Claudius & Britain - D-Day 43

Professor John. Wilkes: Britains in the Roman Empire AD 42 - 84: Resistance, Rebellion & Acquiescence

Brian Philip <KARU) :           The Roman Military returns to Kent
Tickets (all day £4, morning only 11.20, afternoon only £3)

from CKA, 5 Harvest Bank Rd, West Wickham, Kent BR4 NIL Cheques payable to CKA with SAE

STANMORE & HARROW HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Wednesday April 7th Lecture - AD 43 AND  THE MAKING OF WATLING STREET - Geoffrey Toms

8.00 pm, the Canons Room, Harrow Arts Centre,Uxbridge Road,Hatch End.

BARNET CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS ESTABLISHED 1991, now meeting usually on the first Sunday of the month, 1030 - 4.30, membership free, transport available for all tasks, are inviting new members.

Write to Alison Cox, 21 Woodhouse Road, North Finchley, N12 9EN for details. or 'phone evenings C81 446 3227

 

A ROMAN IRON CHISEL FROM BROCKLEY HILL (1952) Grid reference:- TQ 175941 0/S map 176

Edward Sammes reports :

 

The re-examination of the Brockley Hill finds, which was carried out by HADAS in the 1970's at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Tea House under the guidance of Brigid Grafton Green, produced amongst other things a mason's chisel which came from the 1952 excavation and had not been subsequently reported.

It was cleaned, identified and preserved for us by the then Museum-of London. Its label showed it as having been found in trench 4B layer 2, light brown soil (SUL 52). The 1952 year's excavation was directed by P G Sugget MA, and was reported in:-Trans.LAMAS 1954 Vol XI pp 259-276.

 

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact spot on the site but it probably came from site B about 300 ft south east of the cafe or tea garden site The section reproduced on page 264 of the report shows a ditch and claypit, and is the only one with "light brown soil".

The form of the chisel is that of a mason's stone chisel rather than one for metal. As always with Roman hand-tools

 

one can only be amazed how little their form has changed since Roman days.

It is difficult to date since sherds of both the 1st and 2nd centuries AD were found in parts of the trench.

 




Excavations at Brockley Hill

 

UPDATE ON THE ST ALBANS ROYAL CELTIC BURIAL                  REPORT BY BILL BASS

The 1992 Christmas Lecture at Verulamium Museum was by Rosalind Niblett (Keeper of Field Archaeology) and Philip Carter (Conservation Officer), entitled 'The Chieftain's Burial the story so far'.

Remains of the burial excavated in February 1992 have been subjected to conservation, analysis and re-interpretation over recent months; this has been slaw and painstaking work as the body of the chieftain and all his possessions were burnt on a pyre, leaving a charred mass corrosion in acid soil has also compounded the problem. These lumps have been picked apart using scalpels, X-ray equipment, and an air-abrasive unit - a kind of sophisticated sand-blasting technique. Chemicals are not used for fear of destroying objects and evidence.

Finds such as a chain-mail tunic, first recovered as a corroded ball, was delicately hand cleaned showing it had been folded or dropped into a box or a container; cleaning revealed other metals, such as silver. In all, over 1 lb of silver residue has been collected including the remains of cups and handles from a casket. It appears that the dead king lay in state on an iron-framed bed or couch decorated with ivory and silver; a similar example Is in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Besides being rich in finds, the burial complex is also helping to shed light on rituals involved in a Celtic state funeral. First, within a five-acre ditched enclosure, an eight metre (26 ft) square pit was dug and a small wooden building/hut was constructed within it. This but was kept clean (no silt on the floor) and may have stood for a considerable time. Around the hut was a walkway and a 10 ft timber wall of cavity construction; infill of the cavity included gravel and clay.

The chieftain seems to have been placed on the bed in the wooden but and probably lay there in state for several weeks, with his possessions and funerary offerings placed around him in the building. Most of his possessions were then ritually smashed inside the building and the corpse and contents burnt nearby on a great funeral pyre. Human and animal sacrifices were probably also made.

Subsequently the charred bones and remains were placed in a separate pit adjacent to the main one, and the funeral building was demolished by pelting it with heavy boulders, Lastly, both pits were covered with a great square funerary mound. At around 90 AD a Roman temple was erected over the funeral pyre site. (the foundation of this building, being close to the surface, suffered damage from modern allotment digging), and a two metre high palisade was placed around the whole complex (140 metres square).

Pottery, including much samlan ware of which a high proportion was new, has established a date of between 45 and 50 AD for the burial, slightly later than at first thought. It was earlier suggested to be the grave of King Cunobelin, but as he died in c.41 AD, attention is now turning to his sons or a previously unknown client king (a supporter of the Romans). Of Cunobelin's sons, Togodumnus died in battle against the Roman invasion near the Thames, Caractacus fled to Wales where he continued resistance. Adminius was pro-Roman and was expelled by Cunobelin in the late 30s AD. He went to the emperor Caligula, pledged loyalty to Rome and may well have asked for military help to put him on his father's throne. When Claudius defeated the British it is suggested that Adminius was then placed on the Catuvelaunian throne, that his palace was near St Albans and that it is his tomb they have now discovered.

Text Box:  This conclusion is by no means certain and much more work needs to be done in processing the finds; there will be a phase II of excavation in a nearby area in the summer (1993).

This article was based on notes from the lecture and on an informative report in the INDEPENDENT newspaper

 

1.4.93. See also HADAS Newsletter No 253.

 

ALL HANDS TO THE PUMP          Dr B E Finch writes:-

Since the turn of the century a pump house with an early pump has stood in a small area next to the "refectory" at Golders Green Cross Roads. This pump raised water from the Brent reservoir and then uphill to Highgate. The line of the pipe is always marked by Metropolitan railings and these can be seen across gardens from the Vale, across Finchley Road up to Highgate. There was always access to the pipe and many areas of ground are still wild where the pipe runs below.

Now I see the pumping area has been sold to developers (Kennett & Co) and this includes the pump house and the pump (apparently the Thames Water Company did not know the pump was still on site).

The pump should be saved and I have written to Mr Eadie of Thames Water Headquarters at Reading and proposed the pump be saved or exhibited to the public and the whole be kept or bought back from the developer.

 

PROPOSED EXCAVATION IN 1993 AT CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM

Bill Bass, in 'Excavation News' in the November Newsletter mentioned the possibility of a HADAS excavation in the garden of Church Farm Museum, Hendon; discussions are now proceeding with the Borough Libraries Arts and Museums department of firm plans for an excavation during summer 1993, with the main work during June and July.

As Bill mentioned, this is very close to the site of the HADAS excavation in 1973-4 at Church Terrace (pace Ted Sammes!) where C3 AD Roman pottery was found, as well as medieval and Saxon ditches and pottery; other Roman material is recorded at 111 Sunny Gardens Road (cremation), Church Walk (coin of Hadrian) and in the area behind Middlesex University (formerly Polytechnic), where Dr Hicks found Roman pottery, brick, tile and bones in 1889. Medieval material, C12-14 pottery was also found in the HADAS dig at Burroughs Gardens. All in all, this suggests that this area along The Burroughs of high ground formed by a sandy glacial capping on the London clay, has been one of ancient occupation.

This opportunity provided by the Borough arising out of the proposed replanting and laying-out of the garden, clearly should not be missed.  The suggestions being considered include a display in the Museum whilst the dig is going on - a splendid and unusual chance to dig in the grounds of a museum which will be ready to display the results forthwith! That is, so long as we can have exhibits ready in time - which will need the back-up of all interested members to help in getting the finds washed, sorted, identified if possible and put on display whilst we are still digging. If you could help, do please get in touch with me: Brian Wrigley

 

PINNER LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY     HOT News      JUST OUT ... a local publication

'PINNER CHALK MINES' by Ken Kirkman. A complete story of 700 years of chalk mining in Middlesex.

£3.75 post free from 30 St Michaels Crescent, Pinner, Middx

 

FLAG FEN & DR FRANCES PRYOR

Those of us who visited Flag Pen with HADAS in June 1988 will be particularly delighted that Dr Frances Pryor was named Britain's Archaeologist of the Year for 1992, for his work on the fen. He won the Nationwide Silver Trowel Award, top prize in the 1992 British Archaeology awards, considered the most prestigious in national archaeology at the Royal Geographical

Society.           See HADAS Newsletter 208 July 1988, for Ann Lawson's report.

 

LAMAS PROJECT:   THE DEVELOPMENT OF LONDON'S TOWNS AND VILLAGES - Statistical studies of

parish registers to enable reliable estimates of the population of England, and London itself, have been made for the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The registers of the towns and villages of the London suburbs have not been studied in the same way before the first census in 1801. It is now proposed to carry this out in a group project. Anyone interested should contact Pat Clarke, 31 Lynton Road, Harrow, HA2 9NJ, Tel:081 864 2517, but immediately, because application should be made before January 31st. However she assures me the date will be extended for HADAS members.        No special skills required.

 

'TOYS FOR YOUR DELIGHT: an exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum (ends 21st February)

The Museum has been fortunate enough to be able to borrow material from a remarkable private collection, based in Hertfordshire, for this exhibition. The collection is vast and various-what is on show at Church Farm represents probably only a hundredth of it - so the main problem in mounting the show arose from what to leave out, not from what to put in.

The exhibition is, in part, aimed at schools, as the topic of toys features in both the History and the Design Technology elements of the National Curriculum. So here can be seen toys made of almost every conceivable type of material - plastic, tin-plate, wood, cloth, glass, lead, resin, fur, paper - dating from the late C19 tothe present day, and from many different countries. Thus cheap puppets made from old cornflake packets and thread from modern Thailand are shewn along with an elaborate china and celluloid doll from early C20 Germany; a 1930s Hornby clockwork railway engine along with a plastic battery-operated robot imported recently from Japan. There is a certain emphasis on home-made (or, in some cases, home-adapted toys) ­a train, for example, made in Britain at the end of WWII from an old cocoa tin and cotton reels. This leads on to a discussion of the safety of toys: many of the examples displayed could not now be sold legally in this country - early Britain's lead soldiers have swords like needles, Taiwannese tin-plate cars have razor-sharp edges. (Other toys halm become unacceptable for different reasons: golliwogs for their racist overtones, a tiny cigarette-smoking sailor for health reasons, even a little plastic pig, designed to move when a live fly was inserted into it, for its thoughtless cruelty.) So the exhibition makes connections between social history and the history of design, and seems, judging by the response of school parties, to do this quite successfully.

Of course, the exhibition was intended not just as an academic exercise. We hoped to engage a very much wider audience, by presenting truly 'toys' - the quotation is from A Child's Garden  of Verses - 'for (everyone's) delight'. We have had 2500 enthusiastic visitors and so it appears to have worked; and, in a curious sense, the exhibition has perhaps worked best for adults. Toys are static objects: children bring them to life by handling them, by using them to objectify their imaginative worlds. These toys are, for the most part, behind glass-tantalizing, rather than satisfying, small children. For adults merely seeing them brings back a distant childhood, and satisfies a nostalgic craving. Nostalgia is not an unambiguous experience, however toys - like Citizen Kane's boyhood sled 'Rosebud' - are like shards of our lost innocence, and, as archaeologists know, shards are not only evidence - they are also sharp: they can hurt.       Gerrard Roots
OPEN Mon-Thurs 10am - 5.00pm. Sat 10.00am-1.00pm, 2.00pm -5.30pm. Sun 2pm - 5.30 pm ADMISSION FREE

HADAS 1993 PROGRAMME is not yet finalised but here are the summer outing dates for your diary: May 22nd Bosworth - June 19th Arundel Area - July 17th Stonea/Ely

August 14th or 21st Pinner/Headstone Manor - September 18th St Paula - October 9th Minimart. Efforts are being made to organise a 5 day trip to the Isle of Man (Sep 1-5th) or a weekend in Chester/Llandudno. The usual programme card will follow as soon as possible.

I am pleased to say my plea for volunteers to help with outings was successful - May (Sheila
Woodward & Tessa Smith) June(Micky Cohen & Micky Watkins) July(Vicki O'Connor & Roy Walker)

September (Mary O'Connell)  Many thanks, Dorothy 203 0950

 

SUMMER SCHOOL & COURSES 1993

The Compton Bassett Area Research Project, based in the Avebury area, is undertaking a detailed study of a block of landscape encompassing 24 square kilometres of downland and clayland. This long-term multi-disciplinary study covers all aspects of human activity from the Mesolithic to post-medieval. There are four types of five-day training courses available:

General excavation - methods and techniques; The archaeological analysis of churches;

An introduction to environmental archaeology; Understanding the landscape - method and practice.

The first course is available between 5 July and 6 September but the three remaining specialist courses are only held once in August so speedy booking is recommended. The syllabus and application form are available from The Secretary, Compton Bassett Area Research_ Project, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H OPY. A large stamped addressed envelope should be sent with your request.

Also available from the Institute of Archaeology at Gordon Square is the International Academic Projects Summer Schools brochure. Apply to James Black, Co-ordinator, Summer Schools for the brochure which contains such diverse courses as gilding restoration, care and conservation of clocks and watches, getting to grips with personal computers and the making of replicas of museum objects. The archaeological options cover ancient Nubia, excavation techniques (at Bignor Roman Villa), the drawing of finds, experimental archaeology (at Michelham Priory), geophysical prospecting, mammal remains, the surveying of archaeological sites (also based around Bignor) and much more. Telephone requests for this brochure can be made on 071-387 9651.

The University of Bristol Department for Continuing Education (0272 303629) advertise residential courses on Ancient Woodlands, Medieval churches, monasteries and cathedrals of the West Country, parish churches and monastic houses of Wiltshire and the Cotswolds together with study tours of Santorini, Pompeii and Herculaneum and the South West USA. Several day schools are to be held at Wimborne (which makes a change from the Museum of London). Themes cover archaeological illustration, African archaeology and the search for human origins, farmers of Iron Age Wessex, fieldwork in archaeology and Bradbury Rings and Dorset Hiliforts. The brochure contains many other courses including dayschools at Cirencester and Bristol and a wide range of evening classes, too far away for us to attend but it is interesting to note what is on offer outside London.

 

PLANNING APPLICATIONS/SITE WATCHING            From BILL FIRTH

Two recent planning applications are for sites of potential interest and may require site watching when development starts.

The first is in Hendon and covers redevelopment at the Hendon Football Club ground, Claremont Road, NW2. This site is on or close to the medieval Clitterhouse Farm and manor house.

The second site is 271-279 Ballards Lane, N12 (near Moss Hall) and is in or near a medieval hamlet.

English Heritage have also written to Barnet Planning Department about these sites.

 

 

SPANIARDS INN & TOLL HOUSE           From Bill Firth

The inn and the toll house have recently been redecorated externally and in connection with this refurbishment Bass Taverns Ltd have applied for planning permission to erect internally illuminated signs similar to and the same size as the existing unlit signs on the outside of both buildings. These are not only listed buildings but are also in a conservation area and we have made our views clear to Barnet Planning Department that we oppose the illuminated signs particularly on the toll house. English Heritage, who we contacted on this application, have also written to Barnet backing this line.

 

 

TAIL –PIECE   A FIELD FULL OF HOLES AND OTHER OBJECTS

As luck has had it, our field as we like to think of it, although in fact it belongs to neighbours and is rented out to other neighbours who use it to grow maize, has quite a history. First let us try to explain the holes. In the last fifteen years three have appeared, two of them without any help from man and the third as a result of test explosions, part of an effort to find underground oil reserves. The two purely natural holes appeared as a result of earth collapse, presumably into a subterranean water course. Each was about two metres in diameter and twenty deep, circular with vertical sides through earth and lower down through more stony ground.

The other objects of interest are very numerous worked flints, about which more later, and shiny black fragments seemingly of volcanic origin. In the light of these facts and with the help of a little imagination the history of our field divides into three periods. The first when the volcanos were active must have been spectacular with lumps of molten rock showering down. Happily that must have been far too long ago for any humans or animals to have been present. Then much later, the second stage was when rain water had dissolved away the rocks to form underground cave systems, which still exist and lead to the holes in the earth's surface. As this developed the conditions for human habitation became more and more appropriate. The second stage led on to the third when man first appeared. He must have been there in rather large numbers as is shown by the vast number of flints turned up regularly by the annual plough.

The site has been reported to the local speliologists and archaeologists active in the area. No result has followed, so the cave system remains unexplored and the flints lie ready for collection and identification. A month ago the author of this note was lucky enough to find a scraper which was expertly dated as mousterian or expressed more simply as having been made between thirty or forty thousand years ago, a span of time easier to grasp for the non-expert such as the present writer. With a history such as this stretching from the last ice-age right up to modern times, how satisfactory it is that little is done to treasures that lie in the field. The search for oll led nowhere; the hole thus caused which blocked traffic on the road at the edge of the field has been filled in, and little or no interest has been shown by amateurs or professionals, except for one of the local gendarmes who has collected flints. Farmers fill in the other holes to prevent their tractors from disappearing, All remains very peaceful but also useful to badgers. A year ago three were seen moving towards one of the entrances of the cave system.

An interesting aspect of the whole situation is the evidence for the existence of caves under the field and the absence of any entry big enough for human exploration. If indeed the caves were used by the Mousterians, their remains, artistic or otherwise, are undisturbed.

A H G

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