Newsletter-277-April-1994

 

No: 277                                                APRIL 1994                                    EDITED BY VIKKI O'CONNOR

DIARY

Lectures are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4, starting at 8pm for 8.30pm.

Lecture: Archatheogy at St Bride's Church 1952-1993 -Gustav Milne.

Ihe church was originally investigated in the 50's by Professor Grimes and in 1993, prior to replacing The crypt display, a team from University College, London, led by Gustav Milne re-examined the standing structure with some surprising results.

Gus Milne has provided us with two excellent lectures, in 1986, and In 1988 on tDUAreat Fire of London. He was Then working for the DIJA at the Museum of London; he now is attached to the Institute of Archaeology, University College. It is six years to the day since his last visit - April 5th 1988 - 1 am sure we can look forward to another very entertaining evening.

HADAS Annual General Meeting - 8pm prompt for 8.15pm.

The venue for the AGM has been changed in an effort to save costs, following the doubling of the Library hire charge for 1994.

We will be showing slides of HADAS 1993/94 excavations. Also, we wil! be showing a video covering the whole of the Borough of Barnet made in the '70s which some of us saw at the Museum of London during a visit last September.

Visit: Coutts Bank - Mary O'Connell

Numbers are limited. Details and application form enclosed.

Outing: Dorchester (Oxfordshire) and Abingdon

-  with Micky Cohen & Micky Watkins

Outing: Richborough & Bishops' Palace, Maidstone

-  with Tessa Smith & Sheila Woodward

Outing: The new Butser site - Also visiting Old Winchester Hill, & Alton - with Bill Bass & Vikki O'Connor

If Dorothy receives a high enough response to make the Isle of Man trip viable, the Butser trip will be re-scheduled.

Confirmation in May newsletter,

ISLE OF MAN - Annual HADAS Extended Weekend Away

Details and application form enclosed.

Please advise Dorothy at earliest opportunity it you are interested.


The new lecture season commences Tuesday 4th October.


INDUSTRIAL CORNER          BiII Firth

De DION BOUTON FACTORY

Another historic factory in the London Borough of Barnet has disappeared recently. On the corner of High Road N12 and Woodside Grove there was a factory with an ornamented façade which was occupied by the McCurd Lorry Manufacturing Company in 1913. The McCurd Multiplane, an early unsuccessful aeroplane may have been assembled here. However, the facade clearly bore the date 1916. The French de Dion Bouton motor car company is believed to have assembled cars here for a time after the 1914-18 war.

The factory, unoccupied for some time, was badly fire-damaged a few years ago and recently it was demolished.

Do any of our members have more details of 'de Dion Bouton' in the Borough?

FROM HERE TO MATERNITY ... (Fame and glory dept.)                                                  Bill Bass

Members of the HADAS excavation team were featured in a 'photo special' article in the Barnet Borough Times, entitled 'Digging for Gold?' (we should be so lucky). It pictured Arthur Till, Roy Walker and Brian Wrigley (site director) investigating trench 2 at the former site of Barnet's Victoria Maternity Hospital.

The report of this dig has now been finalised and will be available soon, as a special paper or summary, with a future HADAS newsletter. It will also have been displayed at the March LAMAS conference.

The March 10 edition of the same newspaper carried an article about housing development in Galley Lane, Arkley, near to HADAS member Myfanwy Stewart, whose garden produced many sherds of medieval pottery, and may have been a kiln site. Myfanwy has been site-watching the area but with no results so far.

Barnet's northern boundary with Hertsmere has changed recently, so previous planning applications originally approved by Hertsmere also have to be monitored by Barnet and HADAS.

ON THE SUBJECT OF FLINTS...

John Heathfield has been handed a find from Mr Weatherall who discovered it when digging his fish pond at 9 Potters Road. John describes the 1" x 3/4" flint as leaf-shaped, not tanged, with the haft broken off. The chipping is very fine, ie, flakes of about 2mm. Although it could be dated from 10,000 years, John suggests a possible date of 4/5,000 BC. The flint now resides at Barnet Museum. John commented that it was not as good as one of Arthur Till's fakes

LOOKING BACK AT OLD HADAS NEWSLETTERS...Dorothy Newbury

Twenty years ago this month, we had about 220 members (two-thirds of current membership), our Day Trips, with tea, cost about £2 - £2.50, and our Shropshire weekend cost £12. Our minimart was held in March then and made a grand £115 profit! We took over the whole of Church Farm House Museum and put on a very successful exhibition - "Archaeology in the Borough". 40 members assisted the late Brigid Grafton Green, driven and guided by her unflagging energy. The late George Ingrams took over the Book Box which held over 100 books! (How many now - 1500?) The late Paddy Musgrove researched a hedgerow in Lyttleton Fields, Finchley, believed to be the boundary of the Bishop of London's "Park of Haringeye" and, after consultation with professional botanists who found 11 different species, a date of 13th century was arrived at - the first written reference to the Bishops park is dated 1241, The Church Terrace dig under Ted Sammes was coming to an end but an extension was being sought. We were confident that Saxon Hendon had been found. Members can read all about this dig in our occasional paper "Pinning Down the Past". Old Newsletters can be seen at Avenue House - ring Roy Walker on 081-361 1350.

CRUSADER CASTLES AND OTHER ANTIQUITIES IN NORTHERN CYPRUS              Stewart J Wild

HADAS members looking for an inexpensive holiday in sunnier climes might well consider the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. 1 spent a week there in February, enjoying mild spring weather, cheap car rental, and a remarkable variety of archaeological sites ranging from Phoenician ruins of the 5th century BC to Roman mosaics and remote Crusader castles over 2,000 ft above sea level.

Although the country is not recognised by the international community (on account of the invasion of northern Cyprus by the Turkish army in 1974), and United Nations troops still patrol the 'Green Line' which separates the Greek and Turkish communities, Northern Cyprus is friendly and peaceful, and there is little evidence of the Turkish conscripts that are garrisoned there.

Kyrenia Castle was started in the seventh century by the Byzantines to guard the natural harbour against Arab raids, although excavations have revealed Greek and Roman foundations dating from the first century BC. Richard the Lionheart apparently stayed here in 1191 on his way to the Crusades.

The castle was considerably enlarged and fortified, complete with moat, during the Lusignan period (13th century) and after its capture by the Venetians in 1491. They lost it in 1570 to the Turks who held it for 300 years. During the British administration it served as a prison and police school.

There is plenty to see, especially the Kyrenia Shipwreck Museum housed inside former Royal Guard Rooms. On view is the hull of the oldest trading ship ever found, dating from around 300BC, and raised from the bottom of the Mediterranean, complete with cargo, in 1970. The ship, built of Aleppo pine, originally measured about 47ft by 15ft, and a good part of it has survived, although the conditions in which it is currently kept must raise doubts about its long-term future.

The ship's cargo is especially fascinating: more than 400 amphorae, from Rhodes; 29 millstones, some with inscriptions; copper nails; lead fishing net weights and rigging rings; spoons, jugs, dishes and cups; and 9,000 perfectly preserved almonds, which have been carbon-dated to between 288 and 262 BC.

Three other Crusader castles are draped some distance from one another along the jagged peaks of the Kyrenia chain, described by Lawrence Durrell in Bitter Lemons as "par excellence the Gothic range". Near Girne (Kyrenia) is St. Hilarion Castle, originally a monastery in the 11th century, and first mentioned in contemporary accounts of Richard the Lionheart's adventures on the island in 1191. A splendid conglomeration of ruined towers and crenellated walls on umpteen levels is every child's idea of what a medieval castle should look like.

After several sieges and changes of ownership, the castle seems to have become a summer residence of the Lusignan royal family, until 1373 when the Genoese arrived. Following the capture of the island by the Venetians in 1489, the castle fell into disuse and was partially dismantled. The vast ruins are on three main levels, and from the topmost crag, some 800ft above the entrance gate and 2,200ft above sea level, there are fantastic views in all directions.

On a distant peak is Buffavento, a heap of crumbling stone, so remote as to be almost inaccessible. Some 40 miles farther east is Kantara, another awesome multi-level ruin over 2,300ft above sea level, started by the Byzantines and supposedly incorporating the remains of a signal tower built by the Romans. For dramatic ruins, Northern Cyprus takes some beating!

If anyone would like further information on TRNC, call the tourist office in Cockspur Street on 071-930 5069.

 

 

CERTIFICATE & DIPLOMA CHANGES

Details of the Birkbeck Extra Mural Dept Certificate & Diploma in Field Archaeology will

be given later this year, but of interest to people who are contemplating taking thiscourse and perhaps to those who have already undergone this experience, there

were some fundamental changes made to the examination system last year. Instead of writing 10-12 essays each year, entrants now have to write just four, two of which are submitted at the year end as part of the assessment system. These two essays carry 40% of the exam marks. At the same time the pass mark for the examination was lowered to 34%. These revisions were made following changes in the method of funding part-time education in so far as subsidies can only be given for vocational courses, ie those with an examination or assessment element. Birkbeck College are now bringing their courses into line with University courses where course work is taken into account. Evidently the alternative would have been to raise the tuition fees. There have been complaints about the system, although the lecturers regard it as being much fairer than previously where applicants were only assessed by examination, One problem is the poor level of communication from the Extra Mural Dept via lecturers to the students, with ambiguous rules and contradictory information. Some students feel that writing up to a dozen essays was the best way of learning and of revising for the exam whereas only being committed to four pieces of work does not provide the impetus for self-study. The regulations regarding the practical side of the course have been slightly amended but it is still necessary to undertake three weeks of excavation (including one week experimental or surveying) and one week of 50 hours finds processing.

TRAINING COURSE IN FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY

The on-going Compton Bassett Area Research Project situated in the Avebury area of North Wiltshire is undertaking a long-term multi-disciplinary study of an area covering 24 square kilometres, concentrating on the downland and claylands. The project is analysing aspects of human activity from Mesolithic to Post-Medieval periods. The project can offer a 5-day general excavation course running for 6 weeks from 11 July 1994 in and around the shrunken medieval village of Yatesbury. Price for one week is £125, accommodation is on campsite, and the fees include breakfast & evening meal. Alternatively, there is a 5-day course entitled "Understanding the Landscape", with particular emphasis on field assessment and survey. This 5-day course will run from 15-19 August and costs 2150. There is the alternative of more comfortable b&b accommodation at nearby Caine at prices ranging from £13 to £20 per night and the course fees will have a £10 reduction if this alternative is used. There are washing facilities at the campsite and trips to showers and shops, The village pub is both friendly and close at hand!

Booking form and further details are available from The Compton Bassett Area Research Project, University College London, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1 OPY.

PREHISTORIC TRACKWAY

'The Independent' report of 18 January described recent excavations in east London by the Passmore Edwards Museum which indicate a complex network of Bronze and Iron Age trackways and roads covering a 25-square mile area of former marshland, At Dagenham a 2,500 year old, 4m wide gravel road is the oldest proper road discovered in northern Europe. At Beckton a 3/3,500 year old wooden trackway has been found, constructed of brushwood. At Rainham they have excavated a stretch of half-metre wide, 3,300 year old wooden trackway of coppiced alder brushwood. In Barking there is a small brushwood trackway, probably Bronze Age, associated with a large timber structure and a second trackway, and pottery which could indicate a nearby settlement. Based on recent excavations, and given that the life span of trackway is probably 20 years, it has been estimated that there are some 1,100 miles of trackways and roads built over a 2,000 year span, or longer. These excavations, and others planned for this year, will enable an upgraded calculation of prehistoric population density in the London area. Wood, plant and insect remains are presently


being studied at various institutions, and seismologists will be investigating underground fault lines and the possibility that earthquake activity severed one of the trackways. Ken MacGowan of Passmore Edwards Museum spoke on this subject at this year's LAM AS conference. If members hear further news later this year, please let us know!

LECTURE REPORT: Wood Hall Project

With all due respect to Brian Wrigley (HADAS Excavation Secretary), and to the Readers Digest, this article should be entitled "The man we would most like to dig with"! Simon Tomson, director of the Wood Hall Project N. Yorkshire, provided one of liveliest lectures for some time as well as one which provided keen insight into archaeological interpretation, especially on the phasing of the bridge, more of which later... Firstly, a little background to the area: there are clusters of mooted manors in lowland vale sites, Wood Hall itself lying within the flood plain of the River Aire, near Pontefract. National Power at Egham are one of two power stations sending ash at a rate of 4m tonnes per year to Gale Common Ash Disposal Authority who own the site and have sponsored the dig for £5,000. Hickson Timber have an interest in the site and have also donated funds. Further funding of £1,000 came from English Heritage for the Project's role as a training dig. Stage 3 of the ash disposal will eventually cover Wood Hall, but not in the immediate future.

The Site

This will be the Project's fourth major season. The area contained by the moat is almost 4 acres, and three areas within this have been excavated. One is a farmhouse dated 1750-1775, (demolished in 1982). The 2-storey building had no foundations, the unmortared walls were one metre thick - once the building had settled it was held fast by surface tension. The farmhouse had an external, domed cool room with an unmortared brick floor, this was cooled by water evaporation.

At the north-west corner of the moat, they excavated the pre-moat ground surface and noted that an 1185 field boundary ditch bisected the site. They found several animal burials (not ritual!), and, if we are to believe the evidence of Simon Tomson's slide, cow named Daisy, photographed decked out in sunglasses, sunhat, drink and straw?

The moat proved to be 10m wide minimum, and 1.5m deep (restricted by a clay band. 11,500 cubic metres of spoil formed the island platform to a half metre higher than the surrounding fields, which would bring it above the flood plain. (Rivers rise very fast in this part of the world.) The team excavated lines of post-holes at this north-west corner, which proved to be a pre-moat, single-storey, four-bay building with a six­posthole structure added on. It was constructed around the late 11th/mid 12th 12th century and was aligned with a ridge gently sloping to the stream where the moat was later dug. The local soil comprises sands, silts and soft soil, so all stone had to be imported to site. Simon described this structure as the equivalent of the portakabin -the accommodation of the moat builders and, of course, this corner of the moot was the last section to be constructed. We saw a slide of Jake, the site dog standing on a bank which had arisen from continual clearing out of sediment from the moat.

They investigated a linear feature sealed by the ground surface, and in the first half metre found Iron Age, Celtic, and coarse gritted, coil-built, bonfire fired Pre-Roman pottery. Next season, going back to the same area, in 25 metres they found just one sliver of Roman glass and a late Maglemosian backed blade and scatter - but that's archaeology!

The other area they excavated was a 30m length of moat on the south side, extracting 18th century finds from black peat. At the edge of an 18th century pond they found a stone surface - a masonry raft with dipping lines, soft stone roofing slabs and 18" square timber. The following season they dug what was the entrance to the site. Underneath this area was a gatehouse complex, and baulks of silver birch,


complete with leaves, across the backfill of the moat. This was a platform supporting a causeway across the moat. It is easy to imagine the excavators' excitement as they went on to excavate three superimposed bridges. Around 1670/80 a demolished wall landed in the moat. This came from a two-storey gatehouse. The stone bays either side of the bridge's entrance to the site were designed to house a drawbridge. The 1562 phase 2c bridge had 45' bracing re-using timbers from the 1493 phase 2b bridge which had upright bracing and a 3 x 1m unsupported parapet. One of the two towers of the bridge gatehouse complex was cracked and leant at 9.5°. In 1620 the wooden raft base on clay slid half a metre into the moat, possibly caused by earth tremors. The Hall above the gatehouse was then demolished. The earliest bridge, 2a went all the way across, and had seven trestles - a miniature of London Bridge. Tree ring dating will be carried out this year by Sheffield University. Tests on wood last year showed samples to have retained 95% of the original mechanical strength.

Finds from the moat included: all types of local pottery; an expensive Venetian enamelled dessert glass; a crenellated chimney pot; a fire-damaged tripod cauldron; shoes (but the stitching had not survived); and a piece of leather with a punched design - the sleeve of a gauntlet (for hawking?). Simon showed us another object, circular with holes - unfortunately I didn't catch its name - it was for separating arrow shafts when being carried around to save damaging the flights. The tips were apparently put on at the point of use. Supercooks please note: we were shown an eel fishing spear with spring tines to hold the eel fast whilst it is drowned - the muscles will thus be relaxed and, as you all knew, an eel dying relaxed only takes half an hour to cook. Other finds next to the gatehouse also on a culinary note were: -oysters; whelks; cockles, and a drinking jug. A point made was that this moat must have been kept very clean,

As though on cue, the site yielded a star find on National Archaeology day - a ring inscribed in Medieval Court French, dated c.1420. Pity we didn't come up with something similar for our visitors at Church Farm House Museum on that day!

The lecture was superb - maybe Dorothy could persuade Simon Tomson to return and give us an update?

An 'Obituary' from another Society's magazine which was, in turn, 'lifted' from an old Regimental Magazine...

"FINAL STRAW - We are saddened to learn of the death of Someone Else, a most valuable member of our Society. His passing creates a vacancy that will be hard to fill. Someone Else has been with the Society from the beginning, and did far more than the normal person's share of work. Whenever there was a job to do, a helping hand needed, or just an ear required, these words were on everybody's lips - "let Someone Else do it". Whenever there was a need for volunteers, everyone just assumed that Someone Else would volunteer, Someone Else was a wonderful Person, sometimes appearing superhuman. But a person can only do so much. Were the truth known, everyone expected too much from Someone Else."

This is not an obligatory April 1st joke - the member who submitted the above (with tongue in cheek) does more than their fair share for us all!

And, when we look at the membership it is obvious that most have done their fair share of: setting up the Society, Committee work, research, digging, ferrying people and equipment, making equipment, writing articles, publishing books, lecturing, drawing, taking photos, setting up exhibitions, running outings, organising the lecture programme, running the library, selling our publications, distributing the newsletter, manning stalls, helping with the Minimart, etc. - which has all contributed to making HADAS a Society to be proud of.

However... there is always room for an extra pair of hands, time, interest/ideas, so


when we do ask for volunteers, we are not just calling on those who have already notched up 'Brownie' points. Anyone with a little spare time who has not yet teamed up with an 'active cell' - you could be our next 'Someone Else' I

And while we are on the subject

It just so happens that Dorothy Newbury is still waiting for volunteers to do a couple of Car Boot sales - she had only one reply to her appeal last month for helpers.

 

ANSWER...

The answer to last month's puzzle picture is that it shows the parish pump which stood at the junction of Brent Street and Bell Lane until 1866 and supplied water to the southern part of Hendon. The print, which dates from 1828, was reprinted from Hendon, Childs Hill, Golders Green and Mill Hill, by Stewart Gillies and Pamela Taylor, published by Phillimore. (Reviewed by Ted Sammes in our January '94 Newsletter.)

Membership News                                                                                                        Vikki O'Connor

Renewals are once again hitting my doormat - thanks to all who have renewed promptly - it is nice to get 'business' done early in the year and have time later to enjoy HADAS outdoor activities! Membership last year was down slightly, with people moving out of London, etc, but the steady influx of new members means the Society is thriving. The following are our newest members: Assad Khan (who dug with us at Church Farm House Museum), Garrick Fincham, Tim, Lynette and Natalie Wilkins.

Since HADAS was established in 1961, many projects have flowered, fruited and now rest in HADAS folklore, in longer-standing members' memories, and the archives within our Library. Newer members, like myself, have this wealth of information available to us - but knowing who to ask...? Are there any members with information on the Hog Market which existed at East Finchley? It is on my 'list of things to do some rainy year' -unless of course, 'Someone Else' has already researched it. Please, contact the next Newsletter Editor (or the next, or the next,) if you have any snippets on this (or any other possible project) to share.

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