Newsletter-283-October-1994

Issue No. 283     OCTOBER 1994  EDITED  by  Micky COHEN

DIARY

Tuesday, 4th October    Lecture : "Excavating in Egypt" by Dr Patricia Spencer.

Dr Spencer has been secretary of the Egypt Exploration Society since 1983. She has excavated with the British Museum at El - Ashmunein and Tel El - Balamun. In fact she has been excavating in Egypt for two months this year, so we can look forward to some first-hand knowledge of the subject.

Saturday, 8th October MINIM ART : Please phone if you can help unload Please phone if you can bake I Please phone if you can help man a stall ! Above all - PLEASE COME ! Telephone : 203 - 0950

Saturday, 29th October CITY WALK with Mary O'Connell. Details and application form enclosed.

Tuesday, 1st November Lecture : " The Hoxne Hoard and others : Late Treasures from Britain " by Dr Catherine Johns.

Saturday, 19th November LAMAS CONFERENCE at MUSEUM of LONDON - 29th

Local History Conference on the theme "London Poor - 1700 to 1900". Lectures from 10 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. will include "Care of the Infant Poor in 18 C London"; "Victorian Poor Law"; "The Labouring Poor"; and "The London Rookeries in the 19 C".

Tickets at 1.3.50 each can be obtained from Local History Conference, C/- 31 Lynton Road, Harrow. HA2 9NJ. Please enclose s.a.e. for reply and make cheques out to London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. Early application is advised; there is no guarantee that tickets will be available on the day.

Friday, and December Lecture at 1.10 p.m. "Development of Thorney Island and the Roman Settlement beneath Southwark" by Mike Hutchinson,at the Museum of London. Mr Hutchinson is the Archaeology Projects Manager at the Museum, concerned with London's 'New' Archaeology, for example excavation at station sites prior to construction of the Jubilee Line Extension.

Tuesday, 6th December                CHRISTMAS DINNER       Venue to be announced a.s.a.p.

Regrettably, we have been unable to make arrangements yet for this event - everywhere is so expensive. We are currently trying the Canonbury Academy or Brentford Steam Museum.

N.B. HADAS LECTURES are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, Hendon. NW4, at 8 p.m. for 8.30 p.m. start.

A  THOUGHT.... How about Ireland for next year's week away ? ? ? 

Our appeal for a member to take on the job of lecture organiser from Dorothy Newbury has been resolved.June forges has very kindly offered to take over from January 1995.

MEMBERS' NEWS EXAMINATION SUCCESSES -

Bill Bass has passed his third year (Post Roman) for the Certificate in Field Archeology,

Roy Walker has also passed the third year for the Field Archaeology Certificate.

Jean Bayne has passed her second year (Roman) for the Field Archaeological Certificate.

Daphne Lorimer (one of our Vice-Presidents) We are delighted to hear that Daphne is coming down from her home in Orkney in October and will be at the Minimart to help Sheila on the cake stall. So get baking everyone, so that there is plenty for them to sell Daphne is looking forward to seeing as many old friends as possible.

Andrew and Joan Pares are both unwell just now and they are sorry to have missed all our functions this year. They hope to be fit and well in 1995.

Daisy Hill, also a Vice-President and founder member, and one of our early Newsletter Editors, writes from Chesterfield, where she now lives, to say how much she looks forward to our Newsletter every month.

Both Mr Pares and. Mrs Hill have kindly sent donations for the Minimart, as neither can attend.

Derek. Batten Our news travels far and wide. Derek, who talked to us once about his excavating in America, sent one of our Newsletters to a friend in the Dept. of Anthropology at California State University. He spotted the name of Bill. Bass, who, with Vikki, organised our Butser trip. He wanted to know if it was the same Bill Bass who was his 'mentor and teacher from Tennessee'. Unfortunately not       or is our Bill hiding something
from us?

AND ANOTHER LONDON LECTURE           

Ann Saunders will be giving one of a series of lectures at the Linnean Society, Burlington House, to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Committee for Surveying the Memorials of Greater London. Her talk, at 6.30 p.m. on Monday, 17th October, will be entitled "London in Prints and Drawings : the Work of Antiquarians and Artists". Tickets at Z5 each from the Survey of London, Newland House, 37 Berners Street, London. W1P 4BP; enclose s.a.e. Cheques payable to Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.

NEWS from ENGLISH HERITAGE from STEWART J. WILD

Many members know of my interest in research activities connected with public houses, but they may not be aware that I am as interested in the pub itself as in the beer it sells.

A new booklet has recently been published by English Heritage, entitled "PUBS -Understanding Listing", and it is available free of charge from English Herit­age, 23 Savile Row, London W1X lAB. Telephone: 071 - 973 - 3000.

Local pubs are often part of social history, and very few remain in their original state. As the booklet explains, anyone can ask English Heritage to consider a building for official listing for architectural or historic importance, and that could be a mews pub or an Edwardian 'gin palace' as well as a castle or a mansion.

The booklet is well written and deals with the development of licensed premises from the early days of alehouses and taverns. I feel sure that even members who don't share my research interests will find it interesting.


HADAS- Five days in the Isle of Man
August 9th-13th 1994

Day 1, by Tessa Smith

Another first for HADAS, all due to Dorothy Newbury's flair and organisational skills.

A group of 28 of us flew off to the Isle of man, landing safely at Ronaldsway Airport, adjacent to, or maybe even on top of a rectangular Neolithic homestead site, which was discovered whilst lengthening the airport runway during the last war.

We met our guide, Les Quilliam. Affable, knowledgeable and handsome, with eyes as blue as the Manx blue tartan etc etc etc. Our driver, Ken, whisked us away to the excellent award-winning Manx Museum in Douglas, where we were very impressed with the well presented and wide range of displays: The archaeological gallery— the runes, the ogham. The Celtic, the Viking-- What./ No Roman? The fishing, farming, mining. The costumes— military & peasant. The horse drawn tram. The exhibition of wartime internee craftsmanship "Living behind the wire". Best of all, for me, was a Viking burial of the 'pagan lady' found at Peel castle in a Christian burial, but with grave goods-- a cooking spit, scissors, a sewing kit and a wonderful set of polished beads.

Like Manx magic- we were transported to Braaid stone circle- a tranquil setting of sheep on a hillside with a trickle of water. Here we were introduced to the name Gerhard Bersu, a talented German internee during the last war who was able to carry out meticulous excavations on the island. This stone circle had previously been identified as a Megalithic site and the stones then erected into a vertical position to fit the theory. Gerhard Bersu noticed the alignment of the stones which suggested to him that of a Viking boat-shaped long-house. This was later confirmed. Makes you think!

One minute we were speeding over the fairy bridge saying hello to the fairies for good luck "cre'n aght to shill", the next we were clicking our cameras at Braddon Church, capturing (for the AGM?) Celtic slab stones and Norse wheel crosses, Manx chain patterns and the Cholera stone.

At last we arrived at pretty Port Erin and a friendly welcome to our hotel- a place where time has stood still (circa 1950!). The seafront harbour has slipped slowly below the sea to become a hazard to shipping. By evening, the fairy (whoops! you must'nt say that 'F' word in the Isle of Man) lights of the bay shine out like the magic of the pagan lady's beads.

Finally we negotiated the mysterious and intricate warren that was the staircase system in the hotel, and did battle with the plumbing. And so we slept in anticipation of tomorrow.

This was only day one.

Day 2. by Audree Price-Davies

Small islands reveal their history through their archaeological sites and their progression in time can be traced. Large countries have a more complicated and diffuse history. The Isle of Man shows this continuity.

The Meyall Circle has chambers arranged in a circle and each pair of compartments is approached from outside by a passage, built with two orthostats on each side. Sherds of Neolithic pottery were found here. The plan on which it is constructed came from the Mediterranean, along the western trade routes which existed during Neolithic and Bronze Age times. Such a structure exists in the shaft graves at Mycenae.

At Chapel Hill, worked flints indicate Mesolithic and Neolithic occupation, cremation burials and crouched inhumations appearing to be of Bronze Age date. A small cist with the capstone missing is seen at the surface. Postholes indicate Iron Age occupation and the entrance is marked by two pairs of massive postholes at the NE corner of the enclosure. At the eastern end, a pagan Viking boat burial was uncovered beneath a low cairn of stones. The richly adorned body of a Viking was found in the boat, together with that of a woman. She had been sacrificed along with his horse and other livestock- ox, sheep, pig, cat & dog. The grave goods included bridle mounts, four enamel discs, three buckles and strap ends, some of silver gilt. These show the wide trade contacts of the. Vikings since they indicate links with workshops in Scandinavia, Ireland and England, and also Central and Southern Europe. At the western end of this Chapel Hill enclosure are the foundation walls of a 10th or 11th century keeill. This small Celtic chapel dedicated to St. Michael is probably on the site of an earlier pre-viking keeill.

In beautiful sunshine we ate our lunch at the Sound, looking towards the bird sanctuary island of the Calf of Man, with the seagulls approaching and alighting near us for peices of bread and the sound of sea and birds in complete harmony.

Castle Rushen, in Castletown existed in Norse times and was extended in the period after the Vikings, when England and Scotland fought for control of the Isle of Man. The English finally won and installed Sir John Stanley as Governor. During the Stanley regime the castle with its garrison was the main centre of the island's administration, and James, 7th Earl of Derby lived in it for several years, constructing Derby House within it's walls in 1644. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the keep was used as a prison. At the present time, the castle is used for holding the fortnightly courts and new governors are installed there. Essentially the castle is a showplace- as the various rooms are explained by wall charts and sometimes furnished to illustrate the different periods. The prison with torture cells, a mediaeval banqueting room, with a page holding a peacock, a Restoration banqueting room, with be-wigged gentlemen in gilt embroidered frock coats and the audience room of the seventh Earl of Derby, a room richly hung with silk and velvet, makes this castle a living experience.

On St. Michaels Isle, near Castletown, also known as Fort Isle, a fort was built by Henry V111 in 1540 as part of the defences around Britain. It was repaired in 1645 by the Earl of Derby and this date is carved above the door. A small stone house has been built inside the fort. There are a large quantity of cannons from various parts of the Isle of Man, and the sea swirls wildly around the little islet. Nearer to the mainland is a keeill of the 11th century surrounded by an earthwork, which probably indicates earlier settlement. On the headlands facing each other are two Norse promontory forts, one is called Hango broogh. A broogh is the brink or brow of a hill in Manx Gaelic, and this was a place of execution.

Cregneash is a village folk museum of a crofting community, with houses which have exhibitionsof spinning and weaving. Harry Kelly's house is kept as it was and the present 'inhabitant' in Manx dress of the 19th century invited us to taste the soda bread which she had just made on a griddle over the open hearth peat fire. There is a working farm here, a smithy and a wood turners shed. We needed more time here and were loath to leave the area.

We had reached the present day in our time journey, as we drove back to the hotel at Port

Erin.

Day 3, by Enid Hill

We drove north from Port Erin along a high moorland road with spectacular views over the island and sea until we decended via hairpin bends to Tynwald Hill. This has been used as an assembly place since the time of the of the mediaeval Norse Kingdom of Man and the Isles, and from this has come the present government of the island. The Tynwald or Parliament consists of 24 Keys (or members) now elected by universal suffrage for 5 years, a Legislative Council or upper house, and government officials, selected by the 24 Keys. It meets in Douglas, but used to meet in various places, and on July 5th, it meets on Tynwald Hill with much pomp. The members proceed from the local church to the four-tiered hill where the Governor, various officials and the Keys sit whilst new laws are read out in Manx and English according to ancient custom before they can become law. This has been happening for over a thousand years and the Tynwald has the longest continuous history of any legislature.

The other major visit of the day was to St. Patrick's Isle off the town of Peel where there are remains of St. Germain's Cathedral and Peel Castle. The Island was the birthplace of Christianity about 450 A.D., but a recent archaeological dig has found mesolithic flints, a pre-historic settlement of about 250 B.C., Viking burials of the 8th century, and fortification from the 11th-19th century. Many of the finds are in the Manx museum in Douglas, including a reconstruction of the 'Lady of Peel's' grave and the Sitric Silkbeard hoard of coins minted about 1030 A.D.

Exhausted after these two visits we spent the rest of the day looking at Odin's Raven, a reconstructed Viking Longship, which was sailed from Norway to the Isle of Man to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Tynwald, and moving on to a church— Kirk Michael, where a large collection of carved stone cross-slabs of the Norse period (10th-11th Century) found in the Parish is now preserved in the church. Covered in interlacing decoration with animals, people, dragons and some with Runic inscriptions on the sides, they are a magnificent collection. 


Day 4, by Marjorie Searle

Friday, starting with Manx kippers for breakfast, was a perfect ending to a memorable week. One did not have to be a passionate archaeologist to respond imaginatively to the evidence of human life from neolithic cairn, Norse and Celtic crosses and the 19th century industrial achievement to the ice cream sucking tourists of today. In a few hours, our bumpy coach covered the miles and the centuries:

passing along the sea-front at Douglas, we saw the evidence of late Victorian and early Edwardian prosperity in the hotels and boarding houses, while outside Lonan Old Church, now used only once a week in summer, we stood by one of the oldest celtic crosses, leaning tipsily under the trees.

Then on to Laxey, the site of the great Victorian engineering achievment, the huge water mill built in 1854 to pump water from the lead mines below, it's red painted wheel now a landmark and tourist attraction. The short walk into the entrance passage to the mine was disappointing, but did give us an inkling of the price paid by the miners for our past industrial prosperity. Those of us who climbed the many steps to the top platform and looked down on the heads of our lunching companions below found the effort worthwhile. Also at Laxey, we were fascinated by the skill and concentration of the weaver in the shop attached to the woollen mill founded by John Ruskin, and several of our party bought handwoven garments there.

How lucky we were that the glorious weather enabled us to take the electric train, another Victorian achievement, to the 2,036' summit of slaty Snaefell. Very windy, and several of us were bowled over attempting the short climb from outside the hotel to the summit, where even the hardiest did not want to linger. Down again, this time to see the so called King Orry's grave, the neolithic long cairn site which was probably split in two by the modern road.

The last major visit was to Kirk Maughold, its great churchyard overlooking the sea and its history passing through the centuries - Norse, Celtic and early Christian times, containing the sites of no less than four tiny early Christian Churches. Generations have been buried here, and what was the sad story of the 19th century family whose memorial records eight children who died in childhood? Gloomy thoughts on mortality were banished by the excellent supper we had, within sight of the sea, at the Sartfield Farm Cafe, followed by the drive in the warm evening light back "home". A memorable day.


Day 5, by Dr. Paul O'Flynn

Saturday morning started with breakfast and the loading of the trusty old bus that had carried us all over the Isle of Man. Dorothy barked instructions at the stragglers (some with hangovers) who did not move along in a well ordered fashion. The coach departed with our luggage, and we set off on foot to the Port Erin Steam Railway Museum.

At the museum I was particularly pleased to see a royal coach with a magnificent chair inside reserved for the Surgeon!! You dont get that on B.R., in fact you don't get trains at present (note for posterity- strike action by signal workers).

As we took our places on the steam train in our reserved carriages one member realised she had left part of her in Port Erin- namely her teeth. Not quite the same as leaving your "heart in San Francisco"! The train pulled out precicely on time at 10.15 (another novel railway experience) and we started our majestic journey to Castletown. Upon our arrival, we were again met by our guide Leslie Quilliam who pointed out some of the high spots of the town and alluded to some possible skeletons in his own ancestral cupboard relating to the extra-marital activities of one Captain Quilliam, who had served under Admiral Nelson.

Time was left over for optional tours of the Nautical museum or to watch the preparations in the port for the tin bath racing. Seeing all the baths gathering for competition explained why there were so few in the hotel.

Lunches were taken at various locations around Castletown where we could reflect upon what we had seen in the past few days: The stone circles, the neolithic chambered cairn, the great water pump, Tynwald, the impressive mediaeval castle and Chapel Hill. The Manx museum had given us a wonderful preview of what was to come archaeologically. However, nothing had prepared us for the nocturnal "goings on":-

Young prowlers were spotted in the hotel, apparently looking for young women, it must have been dark! (sorry ladies). It was later discovered that the hotel bar had been broken into and money was missing.

Next morning HADAS members gathered to discuss the nights events. Two ladies in our group on the top floor regaled us with tales of knocks on their doors by polite young men at 3.00am!! Another member, kept awake by what she had presumed to be an all night rave, passed the top of the stairwell on her circuitous way to the nearest watercloset. On looking down, she observed the front door of the hotel open and a group of youngsters milling about in the hallway. Added to this was the mystery of the toilet seat. Dorothy and Enid shared their own private 'out office' on the ground floor. During their nocturnal calls of nature, both found the lavatory seat lifted on each visit- could this be a clue? (I think this was a time and motion study). Alas, the combined talents of would be Marples & Poirots were unable to secure a satisfactory conclusion. Only one member of the hotel staff slept on the premises, and he heard nothing. The mystery deepened, and the task of solving it now lies with the Isle of Man police.

Hadas members also distinguished themselves in other extra-curricular activities. I believe that we were the first HADAS team to enter a pub quiz 'nite'. If we had only known Indonesia had such a large population, and if only our answer about germs had been accepted, then victory could have been ours. Other activities included bar football and pool. There was not much success in either.

Then homeward by Manx Air and coach. There had been many things to wonder about and be thankful for on this HADAS expedition; our driver Ken, our guide Leslie, both Manxmen born and bred, but most of all our leader Dorothy Newbury. Without Dorothy the entire project could not and would not have been conceived. Thank you Dorothy.

P:S: The author wishes to express his deep regret at any offence or embarrassment caused by this article. All persons are ficticious and bear no resemblance to anyone- unless you know differently...

further reading:

Our guide Leslie Quilliam has phoned to say that the excellent book 'Manx Crosses' by Kermode is now in print again- hardback £54, paperback £42. Prices during October £36 & £28 respectively.

Obtainable from the Manx Museum, Douglas.

 

 

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