Newsletter-268-July-1993

ISSUE NO 268                       Edited by Peter Pickering                                         JULY 1993

DIARY

SATURDAY 17 JULY                      OUTING TO STONEA AND ELY - with Bill Bass and Vikki O'Connor. Guided walks round Stonea Iron Age Camp and Ely Cathedral, plus optional visit to Stained Glass Museum or Ely Museum. Details and application form enclosed.

SATURDAY 14 AUGUST               PINNER AND HEADSTONE MANOR

SUNDAY 29 AUGUST                    HADAS OPEN DAY. National Archaeology Day.

FRIDAY TO SUNDAY

3-5 SEPTEMBER                               CHESTER AND LLANDUDNO weekend

SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER         MUSEUM OF LONDON - private viewing of

Brockley Hill pottery plus talk and walk with Francis Grew.

TUESDAY 5 OCTOBER                  "ASPECTS OF ROMAN POTTERY" - Dr Robin Symonds

First in new series of HADAS lectures.

SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER             MINIMART - at St Mary's Church House, Hendon

Members with items to donate please contact Dorothy Newbury,

TUESDAY 2 NOVEMBER

SATURDAY 6 NOVEMBER

TUESDAY 7 DECEMBER

"FUN AND GAMES IN THE ROMAN BATHS"

Mark Hassell, FSA, Institute of Archaeology

VISIT TO ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL - with Mary O'Connell

CHRISTMAS DINNER at University College, Gower Street

 

OUR NEW TREASURER

We are very pleased to welcome Will Parnaby as our new Treasurer. He has lived in Mill Hill for 25 years, and has two adult sons, one still living in London and the other married and living in the United States of America. He has retired from the Ministry of Defence with whom he had two overseas tours of duty, one in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1960s and the other in Germany in the 1970s. His historical interests until now have been more political and sociological than archaeological - he is an active participant in the RAF Historical Society, and is a member of the Mill Hill Preservation Society.

 


NEWS OF MEMBERS

Frieda Wilkinson is in the Cedars Nursing Home and is likely to remain there for some weeks. The address is 12, Richmond Road, East Barnet, EN5 1SB, She would welcome contact from HADAS friends.

CHURCH FARMHOUSE DIG                                                                      Brian Wrigley

On Sunday June 6th a score or so of HADAS members and supporters assembled at Church Farmhouse to start deturfing, so enthusiastically that in the course of the day we had stripped nearly 100 square metres of turf, During the following week work was continued by a few enthusiasts who completed the turf stripping over two large (2 metres by 33 metres) trenches and cleaning off the stripped area went on the next Sunday.

The strategy is to open as large an area as is reasonably possible, including the two banks on the site, to see the construction of the banks and what features appear for further exploration. As yet we are on mainly redeposited layers and are using this to get into practice with the routines of recording and the collection of finds in readiness for the archaeologically more interesting features that will follow.

We shall be continuing digging every Saturday and Sunday throughout July except for the day of the outing on 17th July. Members will be most welcome to dig or even just to have a look. [It is a much more pleasant site for an excavation than many I have known; you will find lots of friends there; and the Greyhound Inn is just by, with a range of beers and food even on a Sunday. Ed. J

SITES OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTEREST                                                            Bill Firth

English Heritage has sent us copies of letters they have sent to Barnet Planners about a number of sites of interest recently. When development starts they may be worth watching.

Spaniards Field, Wildwood Rise, NW11

This site lies on the Bagshot Sands which cap the Hampstead Ridge, an area where scattered prehistoric finds are recorded.

Perry's Garage, 15/17 Hutton Grove, N12

2/4 Alexandra Grove, N12.

These sites lie close to where flint tools and tool-making waste, dated to the upper palaeolithic period, have been found in Hutton Grove.

110 West Heath Road, NWII

This site lies in an Area of Archaeological Priority proposed for the Borough Plan, which encompasses the West Heath site.

BOSWORTH FIELD AND THE LUNT - a Journey through time.         Liz Holliday

On 22nd June 1485 the fighting men of England were put on special alert and the commissioners of array instructed to ensure that "they be able persons well horsed and harnessed", ready to move at an hour's warning.


Five centuries later an intrepid band of HADAS members, marshalled by Sheila Woodward and Tessa Smith, left London for the heart of the Midlands and the site of the battle of Bosworth. As we approached our destination, a brief outline of late 15th century politics, background events and major figures in the drama was given by a self-confessed Yorkist and supporter of King Richard III - me!

We were met at the Battlefield Visitor Centre by Pauline Foster, our volunteer guide and set off to follow the two-mile Battle Trail. Although the countryside has changed greatly in the last five hundred years (rich arable and grassland in place of wild open ground and marsh), Pauline's evocative narrative made it easy to follow the sequence of events on 22nd August 1485.

Standing on the crest of Ambion Hill, beneath the Royal battle standard, we could see the Tudor flag, barely a quarter of a mile away down the slope - just out of bow-shot range. just visible to the north-west, the position of Thomas Lord Stanley and his brother, Sir William. Both cunningly positioned to allow them to join the winning side at the last moment. Behind the royal forces the Earl of Northumberland, nominally the king's ally, and his men waited until the Stanleys made their move. What should have been a resounding victory for Richard, the most experienced battle commander in the field, degenerated into a two-hour mêlée. In a desperate charge, the king led his bodyguard downhill, across the front of Sir William Stanley's men, into the heart of the Welsh usurper's [HADAS disclaims all responsibility for this word. Ed] knights. Richard cut down Sir William Brandon, Henry's formidable standard bearer, but the battle was lost. Richard was killed in the thick of the fighting. He was the second and last king to be killed in battle and, like Harold before him, was the victim of a man who had even less claim to the throne that he had.

After lunch at the Buttery, we had time to visit Leicestershire County Council's prize-winning exhibition hall and their excellent book and gift shop.

We then travelled another fifteeh hundred years back in time and arrived at The Lunt Roman Fort, Biginton near Coventry. Once again helped by two excellent guides, John and David, we toured the fort with its impressive reconstructed timber gateway, amazing gyrus (cavalry training ring) and threaded our way round the foundations of the principle (headquarters), barrack blocks and workshops. It did not require too much imagination to visualise this bustling military outpost packed with soldiers and horses ­rather like a Roman Sandhurstl

The fort is situated on a spur of high ground overlooking the River Sowe, with a commanding view over the surrounding area Three periods of roman occupation have been identified from c GOAD to c 8OAD, and only turf, earth and timber were used in the construction of the fort. The reconstructed granary houses a Museum of the Roman Army, Interpretative Centre for the site and many finds.

This excellent trip was rounded off with tea at Coventry Airport.

Industrial archaeologists among us had the added bonus of a railway engine in steam at Shenton Station, Bosworth and a Dakota flying circuits and bumps at the airport. What more could anyone want? Many thanks to Sheila and Tessa for a thoroughly enjoyable day.

 

 

The Roman Invasion and conquest of Britain


Richborough Castle on a glorious Saturday in May was the setting for a guided tour of the Roman Fort to commemorate the 1950th anniversary of the Roman invasion of Britain by Claudius - A.D.43 and all that! [Celebrated also by a fine new set of stamps Ed] The day was a complete sell-out and some 200 people met for both the morning and the afternoon sessions. Tom Blagg lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, was our guide for the morning, inspiring us to imagine a spur of land surrounded by sea, instead of to-day's built up silt flats. The first evidence of Roman building in Britain could be said to be the ditches at Richborough. A huge triumphal arch was built, twice as high as a tree, which could be seen from halfway across the Channel, and officers' quarters including hypocaust were built nearby, We perched on the foundations in the sunshine.

The magnificent remains of the Fort Walls were the last to be built, incorporating remains from previous structures and taking seven years to build. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring this defensive structure, under the guidance of such a splendid lecturer. But time pressed on and, after a pleasant lunch in a sixteenth century restaurant In Sandwich, which is well worth exploring, we met again at the Guildhall.

Mark Hassell, who is coming to HADAS next November, opened the afternoon to explain, in lively fashion, the background build up in Gaul, with links across the Channel with the Iron Age chieftains in Britain, culminating with Claudius' invasion in AD 43. Professor John Wilkes highlighted the troubles and the personalities of the Boudiccan revolt, using Tacitus as his reference, for his lecture "Resistance, Rebellion and Acquiescence". He drew his lecture to a conclusion by looking at events from the point of view of the people rather than the invading Romans.

In the interval, the Kent Archaeological Council awarded prizes to the new Heritage Centre at Maidstone, to the Dartford Archaeological group, and to schoolchildren for their home-made C! Ed7 historical artifacts.

Finally, Brian Philp of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit discussed "The Roman Military returns to Kent". His thesis was that the Roman Legion was called back from York to man the Saxon Shore defences at Richborough and that that crucial decision began the gradual withdrawal of the Roman forces from Britain.

Together with the HADAS outing to the Lunt Roman Fort the week before, this has been a thoroughly satisfactory beginning, for this Romanist, to our 1993 travels

PANNONIA, AQUINCUM AND ITS ORGAN                                              Peter Pickering

Pannonia was another frontier province, but its incorporation into the Roman empire was some 40 years earlier than that of Britain, the limes there was a chain of forts along the Danube rather than a wall, and the legions seem to have been withdrawn from it a few years earlier than those from Britain. The histories of the two provinces have many parallels. Aquincum was the capital of Valeria, the northern of the two provinces into which Diocletian divided the Trajanic province of Pannonia Inferior. It was on the very edge of the Roman world, looking across the Danube to the lands of the Iapyges. It is now a suburb of Budapest, and we had it virtually to ourselves in a heatwave in May. The excavations of the civilian settlement are well laid out, with the usual sets of baths, forum, tenements, a prosperous house with a mosaic of wrestlers, a macellum with a round building in the middle supposed to have been the weigh-house. A wide road and a suburban railway cut across the site - on the other side was the civilian amphitheatre.

The small and attractive museum would have meant more to us if more of the labels had been in a language other than Hungarian. Though there is not much in the British Museum in anything but English, and I puzzled out a few words with the aid of my dictionary.

One of the objects in the museum is however almost unique. That I did not realise until I got home, though I knew that I had never seen one before. It was an organ. There are some fifty illustrations of these instruments on mosaics and the like, a similar number of literary references, and perhaps a couple of fragments from Pompeii, but this is by far the best preserved. It was found with a plaque dating it to 228AD. It is small, 60 x 38 x 25cm, and had 4 rows of 13 pipes each. Unfortunately it is not clear how it got its wind - was it an example of the famous water-powered organs invented by Ctesibius or did it have a bellows? The excavation, in 1959, may simply ' not have been careful enough to find any trace of a bellows. Perhaps another organ will be found sometime - perhaps even by HADAS.

SITE REPORTS                                                                                            Roy Walker

Reports on archaeological evaluations undertaken within the Borough by

outside Units such as the Museum of London (DGLA or later MoLAS) or the

Birmingham University Field archaeology Unit are kept in the Avenue House

library for use by members. Some evaluations have resulted in negative

evidence but the reports usually provide an archaeological, historical and

geological background to the site under investigation making them of value

to the local historian or archaeologist.

Our current list includes the HADAS reports on Churc end Farm (1951 and

1962) and the watching brief on Bibsworth Manor (Finchley Manor House) by

Jean Snelling, March 1989, as archived by the DGLA. From outside units we

have evaluations or assessments for the following sites:‑

St Mary's School, Finchley (DGLA, February 1990)

Iver to Arkley Pipeline, Phase 1 (DGLA, August 1990)

Bibsworth Manor, East End Road (DGLA, November 1991)

Old Fold Manor, Barnet (MoLAS, December 1991)

Hill House, Elstree (BUFAU, December 1991)

Edgwarebury Park Community Forest (MoLAS, March 1992)

Christchurch Lane, Barnet (MoLAS, June 1992)

East Barnet School, Chestnut Grove (MoLAS, August 1992)

Warrens Shawe Lane, Edgware (MoLAS, August 1992)

Tenterden Grove/Finchley Lane, Hendon (MoLAS, October 1992)

Grahame Park Way, Hendon (MoLAS, January 1993)

Hendon Way Depot, Hendon (MoLAS, March 1993)

If you wish to borrow any of these reports please let me know on 081-361-1350

BRITISH GAS (NORTH THAMES) PIPELINE                               Myfanwy Stewart

British Gas is laying a new 30" diameter gas main across open ground from Dyrham Lane, South Mimms to Moat Mount near Target Wood in the London Borough of Barnet. The route comes south across open land from South Mimms, near Blanche Lane, running parallel with the AI. Entering the Borough of Barnet, it crosses Trotters Bottom and the end of Galley Lane and continues to run parallel with the Al as far as the roundabout at the bottom of Rowley lane. Here it veers to the east, runs adjacent to Rowley Lane, doglegs at Rowley Green and crosses Rowley Lane to run across more open land to Barnet Lane. Here it traverses the road just west of Barnet Gate near Hyver Farm and runs south to Moat Mount open space.A 100 foot wide topsoil strip is being removed along the route, pipes will then be laid on the surface ("stringing out") and finally the pipetrench will be cut. At the time of writing the topsoil stripping is already under way. English Heritage has liaised with HADAS over this matter and to quote Robert Whytehead, the Assistant Archaeological Officer for the London Region: ‑

 " The pipeline largely follows the route of an earlier one, so that much of the route will already have undergone a topsoil strip, and presumably, subsoil disturbance from the earlier construction activity. The engineers also pointed out that some of the farmland along the route has been extensively cut about for land drainage. There may therefore be considerable ground disturbance encountered."

Certainly when HADAS members were watching the water pipeline trenches in Arkley adjacent to Barnet Road, nothing of archaeological interest was seen. English Heritage have also advised British Gas that HADAS "may wish to be involved with the archaeological work" should any arise. British Gas have their own archaeologist, David Bonnor, working full time on site, and Brian Wrigley, with Arthur Till and Roy Walker, made contact with him and visited the site but set up near the roundabout in Rowley Lane. However, again quoting English Heritage "there are some limitations, in particular access tq the site will only be allowed during the five day/50 hour working week. British Gas view the entire route as a fenced building site, and access outside working hours will not be possible". Committee members will be visiting the pipeline this week and I will report on this in the next newsletter.

At the moment HADAS members are involved with the excavation at Church Farm but if anyone is interested in observing any of the pipeline, perhaps they would telephone me (081-449 3025) and I will contact David Bonnor at the site office.

STOP PRESS We have had two cancellations for the Chester weekend - any late-corners please phone Dorothy Newbury 203 0950

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