Newsletter-301-April-1996

Diary

Tuesday 9th April Lecture: The Thames Archaeological Survey, by Mike Webber

An update on last summer's work on the Thames foreshore, undertaken mainly by volunteers and students.

 

Tuesday 14th May Annual General Meeting, followed by the excavation team's summary of their year's work. Bill Bass will show slides of Martin Biddle's excavation at St Albans, in which several of our members participated.

These two meetings are at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3, starting at 8pm for 8.30pm.

 

Saturday 8th June Our first trip in 1996, to Rye and Bodiam. It will be led by Mickey Watkins and Mickey Cohen. Details and application form will accompany the May Newsletter.

 

Trip to Ireland Regrettably, this has had to be abandoned, for various organisational and cost reasons. Instead, we are hoping to organise a trip to Cornwall. See the leaflet enclosed with this Newsletter for the latest details.

 

News of members

Sadly, we have to report the deaths of Enid Hill, Tim O'Connell and Ronald Kerman.

Enid, who died on February 22 aged 80, had long been a HADAS stalwart. She was involved in many of the society's activities, regularly attending lectures, outings and weekends away. She dug at West Heath under both Daphne Lorimer and Margaret Maher, and for many years prepared the labels for the Newsletter envelopes each month.For many years, too, she was a volunteer at the Museum of London, working on finds from City excavations, and continuing until she became ill. Her funeral, at Golders Green Crematorium, was attended by several members, with vice-chairman Brian Wrigley formally representing HADAS.

Tim, the husband of Mary O'Connell who has guided the society to many fascinating locations, died suddenly in February. He had been a regular supporter of our Christmas dinners. We send our sympathies to Mary.

Ron, a member for several years, died at the end of February after a long illness. Our sympathies go to Phyllis, his widow, a regular Minimart helper.

As this Newsletter went to press, Gill Baker, a popular and long-standing member, was a patient in the Royal Free Hospital. Dorothy Newbury and Tessa Smith have visited her and given the society's best wishes. Gill would love to hear from friends write to her at home, and letters will be forwarded.

A grandmother's error no doubt caused by the excitement of the moment was responsible for a slight embarrassment in the March Newsletter, when the birth of a baby boy was attributed to Marion Newbury, rather than Marion Le Besque (nee Newbury). Sorry, Marion.

 

Members' list

 

A new list of members is currently being prepared. If any member does not wish his/her address and/ or phone number to appear on it, please let us know. The list will only be circulated within the society. If you wish to receive a copy, please phone Liz Holliday, Hon. Secretary, on 01923 267483.

Concessionary subscriptions

The committee is considering ending the concessionary subscription for members over 60. Almost half the membership falls into this category and as expenses, particularly for the Newsletter and postage, are the same for all, the committee feels the concession can no longer be justified. Liz Holliday would welcome any comments before April 19, so they can be reported at the next committee meeting.

 

The medieval 'synagogue' in Guildford                                                      by Jack Goldenfeld

 

In the 13th century, the Jewish community in Britain numbered about 13,000. Many of them were expelled in 1290. Until then, the Jews enjoyed a certain degree of royal protection although they were discriminated against in terms of civil rights and economic and religious freedom. Nevertheless, they were able to benefit from periods of peaceful non-interference under some rulers.

Guildford, the county town of Surrey and a centre of the wool trade, had a Jewish community of which some individuals' names have survived in documentary form Josce, Formosa, Floria and Abraham. Isaac of Southwark, a wealthy individual, had a house in Guildford which was attacked in 1272 and he was just the sort of man who is likely to have built a synagogue in his home.

The "synagogue"

The structure was discovered during the renovation of a shop and consists of the remains of a small underground room. It is about 10 feet square, built of chalk, and has a stone bench running round the room with decorative arches formed by pillars of which only the lower portions survive.

The upper part of the entire room was deliberately demolished from about 4 feet above floor level. The enclosed space was filled in with the rubble for the upper part, except for worked stone which would probably have been salvaged for re-use elsewhere. The architectural style of the structure dates it
to circa 1180, but it seems that the partial demolition occurred in the late 13th century, since pottery found in the rubble is dated by style to the 1270s.

The only object from the room itself with a positive dating is a silver penny of Henry III, minted between 1251 and 1272, found between two stones of the seating bench in the centre of the east wall. Coins of this type were withdrawn from circulation in 1279 and it is unlikely that this particular example was lost by accident. It is more likely that it was deliberately pushed down into the very narrow slot formed by the abutment of the stone slabs.

Another object is a slim iron pin which was found in one of two drilled holes, diagonally opposed, in a stone slab which had apparently formed part of the doorway. If the room was a synagogue, the two holes would have been the fixing points for a "mezuzah", a piece of inscribed parchment with the texts Deuteronomy vi 4-9 and xi 13-21, enclosed in an elongated case and attached to the door post.

There are scorch marks near the base of a pillar on the eastern wall which may be from a lamp kept burning continuously, perhaps providing additional light by which to read the Torah, the scrolls of Mosaic law. There are faint traces of coloured decoration in the blind arcades, between the pillar columns, which

will be subjected to specialist examination. Stairs rise to the now destroyed upper section, leading perhaps to what once had been the ladies gallery, since male and female worshippers would have been segregated. The main doorway still has the iron stub of a hinge-swivel embedded in the wall, its size indicating that it could have supported the weight of a heavy door.

 

In conclusion

I agree with some authorities who are 80% sure that this was a synagogue, even though some unmistakeably Jewish form of evidence needs to emerge to be absolutely certain. The decoration and stonework suggest religious rather than secular use, whilst the discreet placement at the rear of the main property for this cell-like room seems compatible with what is known of the circumstances for Jewish worshippers at that time.

 

It does not, apparently, resemble any other building of that time known of in Britain and was too small and in the wrong location to have been used for a civic purpose. It is considered that it is unlikely to be a small Christian chapel because the shape and arrangements are wrong. I hope one day to be in a position to follow up this brief initial survey with a definitive interpretation of the Guildford medieval site but, in the meantime, would compliment the Guildford Museum Volunteer Excavation Unit on their discovery and thank them very much indeed for allowing me to visit it and write about it. I am sure other members of HADAS will join with me in wishing them much success in their on-going endeavours.

 

Sites under scrutiny

English Heritage have recommended an Archaeological Watching Brief for a proposed development at the Hadley Brewery Site, Hadley Green, Barnet.

They have also indicated that an assessment of archaeological implications should be carried out for a planning application at Copped Close, 15 Totteridge Village, N20.

 

Would you believe it!

From the Guardian:

A plaque on the deck of HMS Victory in Portsmouth, marking where Nelson fell during the Battle of Trafalgar, is to be moved because visitors keep falling over it.

 

From the Ham & High:

A reader in Brunner Close, Hampstead Garden Suburb, recounts an incident whose remains could leave a puzzle for future archaeologists.

"Today a large fox shot through our hedge and attacked a small white duck sitting on the lawn. After a five-second tussle, the fox zoomed away, leaving a broken tooth behind and scratch marks on the duck's head. The duck was made of concrete!"

Places to go...

A distinguished line-up of specialists will be leading the weekend seminar on Bronze Age Britain organised by Oxford University's Department of Continuing Education, on April 19-21. Contributors include Stuart Needham of the British Museum on chronology, Mike Olney of the Fenland Archaeo­logical Trust on the role of ritual at Fengate, Sean McGrail formerly ofthe National Maritime Museum on water transport, and Martin Bell from the University of Wales on changing environments.

Residential fees are £98.50 (shared), non-residential £68.50 (with meals) or £41 (without). There may well be some places left ring the Archaeology Course Secretary on 01865 270369 to check.

Other OUDCE forthcoming courses, part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Field Archaeology but open to all, include a field survey week June 23-27 and archaeology and the law, November 20. Further details on the number above.

Birkbeck College with Harvey Sheldon is this summer again proposing urban training excavations in Southwark, with the co-operation of the London Borough of Southwark, on sites that are awaiting development there. The sites are close to areas of Roman and medieval settlement near the Old Kent Road and Peckham.

The courses, run in conjunction with MoLAS, will provide training in surveying, excavation and recording techniques, initial finds processing and other aspects of archaeological investigation.

They are non-residential, and will run over the five weeks beginning June 24. The fee will be £125 per week of attendance, to include all tuition. Contact Lesley Hannigan, Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, Birkbeck College, 26 Russell Square, WC1B 5DQ, for further details.

Training excavations also continue this summer at Wortley Roman villa in Gloucestershire, running from June 22. through most of July and the first half of August. Tuition fees are £83 a week, and local B&B is available at around £12-£15 a night. For more information, contact Vicky Wilson, 01453 542708.

A new course aiming to offer a complete introduc­tion to archaeological fieldwork runs at St Mary's University College, Twickenham (a college of Surrey University), from next September.

The 28 two-hour sessions, which will each consist of an introductory slide-lecture followed by structured practical work and discussion, run on Friday afternoons. The course will be linked to the Sedgeford Hall Archaeological Research Project, covering an area where deposits range from neolithic to medieval. Summer fieldwork is planned.

The fee is £195, and a £50 deposit is asked for advance enrolments. Contact David Bellingham, Classical Studies, St Mary's University College, Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, TW1 4SX, 0181-240 4109 for more information.

 

Bill Bass reports on the February lecture

Archaeology goes Underground

 

There was a good turn-out for the first lecture of 1996 in our new downstairs room at Avenue House. As well as HADAS's President, Michael Robbins, it was good to see some new faces and some longer-term members returning to the fray.

Our lecturer was Mike Hutchinson, Archaeological Project Manager with the Museum of London Archaeological Service. He spoke about their work on the Jubilee Line Extension Project in the Westminster and London Bridge areas. Stratford, also affected, has been reported in a previous Newsletter. This extension to the Underground is a major undertaking and has provided MoLAS with several years' work. Most excavation concentrated around the sub-surface ticket hall and access areas, the tunnel-bores being too deep for any archaeology.Mike described how in the prehistoric andRoman periods the Thames was wider and slower moving, its banks formed by marshy areas and mud-flats with channels flowing around sandy-gravel islands or eyots.Westminster stands on one such eyot Thorney Island, mainly created by channels of the River Tyburn meeting the Thames. The station is located on the northern branch of one of these channels, and here MoLAS found a sandy foreshore overlain with a sequence of alluvial deposits and peats formed by varying changes of river and sea levels. Finds from sand under the alluvium included worked flints, some neolithic in date, and pottery, probably of the late Bronze or early Iron Age. Unfortunately, there were none of the votive-offering type Iron Age artifacts sometimes associated with these watery deposits. From the post-medieval period, a barrel-lined well contained fine examples of "watering can" vessels in Guys-ware fabric.

Over at the north Southwark site there were several excavations running concurrently. Mike concentrated on one adjacent to Borough High Street. A new ticket hall was to be built close to the present London Bridge Station.

Members may have seen the debate recently as to whether there was a Plautian invasion base in or near London, eg Southwark, Mayfair or Westminster, and to where Aulus Plautius crossed the Thames. This area in general could be important to help establish a firm date for the crossing and to indicate whether it was of military or civilian origin. Borough High Street aligns well with the known Roman road leading from Kent, an alignment which has survived for some 2,000 years and has accounted for the fairly good preservation of earlier Roman deposits. Alas, later truncation has destroyed much of the archaeology post 250AD.

A piled wall was sunk around the excavation site and an artificial road-deck constructed above, the archaeologists digging carefully to avoid a mass of service pipes, cables and sewers. Unfortunately, the main north-south Roman road was not encountered, being just west of the dig.

The earliest phase uncovered dated to about 60AD and showed narrow timber-framed buildings aligned on east-west side streets, assumed to be lanes off the main road. In places these lanes showed evidence of wheel ruts and repairs. Fire, indicated by red and black deposits, had destroyed these rooms of mud-brick walls, and pottery dated the conflagration to 60 or 61 AD. Boudica's calling card, perhaps?

The next firmly dated phase was c.120AD, the intervening years being difficult to interpret and unravel. Buildings of stone foun­dation replaced the previous timber slot beams or post holes, and walls were of tile. There appears to have been a mixture of residential and industrial use. The presence of blacksmiths was shown by kiln remains and the accumulation of hammer-scale, their workshop being in use for around 100 years. Bread ovens were evident, as well as butchered bones.

An unusual and puzzling feature was a "pad stone", a small plinth of stone and tile possibly used in a colonnade base. This led to suggestions of a monumental and prestigious building lining the road to London, maybe a fitting sight for Hadrian's arrival.

A selection of finds included amphora (one with inscription), decorated Samian ware, mortaria and domestic ware in many fabrics. Among the oil lamps found was one particularly fine example, from Holland, in the form of a foot wearing a thonged sandal with the wick protruding through the big toe. It can be seen in the newly refurbished Roman gallery at the Museum of London.

Michael Robbins put his experience in running London Underground to good purpose in giving the vote of thanks for this entertaining lecture.

An extensive survey by MoLAS of the Westminster area in general, covering contours, environmental and documentary evidence, was published in the London Ar­chaeologist (Vol 7, No 14); other monographs are planned.

 

News from our neighbours

April 27 is an important date in the calendar of the Finchley Society. The society will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a social event, including buffet and wine, a celebration cake, musical enter­tainment from the Hertsmere Choral Group and a pictorial display of the society's many activities.

The party will be held in the Professional Devel­opment Centre, 451 High Road, N12, from 7.15pm. Guests will include Councillor Suzette Parker; Mayor of Barnet. Tickets cost £9.50, including all drinks and buffet, from Mrs G. Davison, 36 Sherwood Hall, East End Road, N2 OTA (0181-444 8395).

HADAS sends best wishes for the anniversary.

April is AGM month for Enfield Archaeological Society, and the meeting on April 19, at the Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield, starting at 8pm will include reports of the society's work, including information about Forty Hall and its previous owners, and a look at recently-discovered underground air-raid shelters.

The society has also arranged a conducted tour of Forty Hall and its grounds on Saturday April 27 (starting at 2.30pm from the main entrance). The cost is £1, but names, addresses and phone numbers of those who wish to attend must be sent beforehand to Mr G.R. Gillam, 23 Merton Road, Enfield EN2 OLS (0181-367 0263). A second tour the next day, Sunday April 28, is possible if the event is over-subscribed.

News of the Mill Hill and Hendon Historical Society is provided by R. J.. Nicholson. He writes: Two more of our members have become authors, in each case writing their autobiography.

Sir Cyril Philips, former president, describes in Beyond the ivory Tower (Radcliffe Press,£24.95) how he was born in India and learned Hindi, Urdu and Malay before coming to England to complete his education. A fascinating aspect of the story is his war service, including spells in Gibraltar —where he found the pupils remarkably knowledgeable about horse racing, their previous teacher having been George Wigg, a noted racing enthusiast and India, Where his experience was particularly valuable.

There are Indian connections, too, in Ron Davies' book, Some Blessed Hope: Memoirs of a Next to No­body (The Book Guild, £9.99). Few people can have had the distinction of carrying Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel into the family home in Lancashire, when the Indian leader visited them pre-1939.

Ron Davies was brought up a Quaker and at the outbreak of war he joined the army in a non-combat­ant unit. He came to the conclusion that he should take a more active part in a fight against what he saw as a great evil, was posted to the Intelligence Corps and sent to India. On demobilisation he completed his degree at Oxford, then practised as a barrister. Later he joined the legal department of the Inland Revenue, and after that lectured in law, finally be­coming a full-time industrial tribunal chairman.

 

A call to all diggers:Out with your trowels

 

Barnet Council has kindly agreed to allow HADAS to carry out a further excavation of the garden at Church Farmhouse Museum. At the completion of our work in 1993 we suggested that additional investigations on a smaller scale which would complement our initial exploration, and we now have the opportunity to implement these proposals.

Our primary interests will be the medieval ditch feature located on the east site and the nature of the buried old land surface on the northern edge. The interim report of June 1994 provides full details of our previous work.

Start date: Sunday May 12, 10am till about 4pm. Location: Rear of the Museum, Greyhound Hill, Hendon NW4.

Requirements: Sturdy footwear, site clothing, hard hat (a few may be available on site) and if possible a good quality (forged) 4" pointing trowel.

Facilities: Tea and coffee will be provided. Bring a packed lunch or buy from The Greyhound next door where the food is reasonably priced and quite good. Please note: toilet facilities are only available in the pub from midday or the museum from 2pm. There are none on site.

Public transport: Hendon Central on the Northern Line is about a 15-minute walk away. Buses 113 and 186 stop at Watford Way, 143 and 183 stop in The Burroughs closer to the site.

Open weekend: It is planned to hold an Open Weekend on Saturday and Sunday June 1-2 when the public will be introduced to the work of the society. Non-digging volunteers will be needed for this weekend.

If you are interested in taking part in our first excavation of 1996 or would like further informa­tion, please contact Brian Wrigley on 0181-959 5982 or Roy Walker on 0181-361 1350.

 

Jennie Cobban investigates Edward IV's missing memorial to the soldiers slain in the Battle of Barnet:

Right royal mystery of the chantry chapel

What was it? Where was it? Why was it built? The mysteries associated with the chantry chapel built by Edward IV after the Battle of Barnet appear to be endless, and as I am presently trying to write about the subject, I wonder if any HADAS members could give me a helping hand on various points. Certain aspects concerning this chapel puzzle me very much indeed.

We are told, time after time, in local publications that the common soldiers were buried "on" or "near to" the field of battle, and it is constantly repeated that Edward later (how much later?) had a chantry chapel erected near to the burials, and appointed a priest to sing masses for the souls of the slain. Whenever this information is offered, the same source always seems to be trotted out, i.e. the Tudor historian, John Stow. However, I now understand it is mentioned in the Great Chronicle of 1512.

We are told in various modern local sources that when Stow visited Barnet and was shown the remains of the chapel, it was being used as a dwelling house, and that the upper quarters of the chapel still remained (how?). Local information also states that in Stow's time the house was being rented out at a rent of 20/- per annum, by permission of the king's officers, and that a later passage may provide a clue to the location of the chapel. The extract is said to run thus:

"And when the king and his company were come to the open space which lieth to the north of Barnet Town, they turned somewhat to the left hand, where three hundred yards or thereabouts from the highway there standeth a clump of trees. There did the king and they that were with him light down from their horses and having uncovered knelt for a space. Then the king rose up, and after he had talked for a space with Master Aston, he mounted his horse, as also did his company. Then sticking spurs, they rode northwards..."

Well, all this is far too vague and out of context for me, and unfortunately I do not have sufficient time during the day to chase down Stow's original work, The Chronicles of England, first published in 1580, in order to check either the accuracy or the context of these oft-used snippets of information. My first question must therefore be, does any HADAS member have access to a reliable transcript of the section of Stow's Chronicle relevant to the chantry chapel of the Battle of Barnet, or alternatively, has anybody produced an index to this document? Meanwhile, I am also trying to pin down the exact 1512 reference in the Great Chronicle.

The Battle of Barnet chantry chapel has several traditional locations. One is Hermitage Cottage, now within Wrotham Park because the writer of a c17 survey of the manor of South Mimms was told that this was where the chapel used to be. Another location favoured by some, including the historian Frederick Cass, is Pymlicoe House on Hadley Green because it has a couple of supposedly c15 or c16 timber-frame walls within the building and is said to fit the location as indicated by Stow, quoted above.

Yet another traditional location is the Mount House in Hadley, because of its mound, and the site of the Priory at Hadley, because of its name. Presumably because of Stow's description of the chapel as having been converted into a house, all local historians, when seeking the chantry chapel, have thus concentrated on particular houses which may, or may not, have been chapels at one time.

The problem is that if our chantry chapel were indeed a free-standing building, erected by Edward from scratch on a virgin site, then it was very unusual. Research into chantry chapels in general suggests strongly that when these mortuary chapels were established (the medieval sources, in fact, use the word "built"), what this actually meant was that they were set up within the fabric of existing churches, and were not separate chapels at all. A chantry priest could not be kept fully employed, after all, in singing masses for the dead all the time, even if he was employing extremely elaborate intercessions such as the Trental of St Gregory, which necessitated the singing of thirty masses over the period of a year.

Most chantry priests were expected to assist in parochial services also, and it would surely have made more sense for Edward to utilise an altar in one of the local churches for his chapel, rather than erect a special building. Hadley church, for instance, was presumably on the battlefield itself and therefore "close to" the burial place of the soldiers.

It is also worth pointing out that many chantry chapels were always intended to be of a temporary nature, and were often established for a fixed period of time only, often ten years. If the chantry had been erected at, say, Hadley church, then the church's rebuilding 23 years after the battle may account for our surprising lack of local records for a chapel which was built by a king after a major battle.

I am aware that there are certain objections to this theory which is, of course, pure speculation, but I put these ideas forward in the hope of stimulating further research. Perhaps it is time to look at the evidence for Battle of Barnet chantry chapel a little more critically, and to get some fresh ideas flowing.

Stow may simply have been shown a location for the chapel by the locals who came up with something just to keep him happy.

Edward's motivation for erecting the chapel has never been examined by local historians, but his reasons for doing so are quite understandable, when we consider that he was responsible for sending a vast number of soldiers precipitately off to Purgatory without the benefit, presumably, of the last rites. The medieval Catholic Purgatory was almost indistinguishable from Hell itself lots of red hot pincers and the like and not a nice place in which to find yourself abandoned when you died.

Edward would have been well aware that he might actually come face to face with these resentful souls when he eventually entered Purgatory himself, unless he had done his best to help the soldiers through as quickly as possible by having masses sung for their souls. Local Barnet people would also, no doubt, have been anxious that everything possible should be done for the hundreds of dead, lest they hung around the area as vengeful spirits.

I would welcome any comments on the above, and I would especially welcome any information concerning our earliest references (the exact wording being important) to the Battle of Barnet chantry chapel. I understand that HADAS once undertook a research project into the chapel, and I would be grateful for any further details.

Many thanks to Pamela Taylor, Graham Javes and John Heathfield who have already given me much assist­ance in trying to penetrate the mysteries of the Battle of Barnet.

 

A giant hoax?

There's a splendid controversy raging over the Cerne Abbas giant, which HADAS visited during the week­end in Dorset in 1992. A major article in the Sunday Times last month reported new research which sug­gested the figure a "well-endowed warrior" as the newspaper modestly put it had been cut into the chalk hillside only 300 to 400 years ago, not nearly two millennia earlier.

The proponents of this argument believe the giant was the work of the "ruder inhabitants of Cerne Abbas" and was intended to tease the local Puritans. Their claims are based on a discovery that although there are many references to the giant in local records from the 17th century onwards, nothing appears before then. But English Heritage and local archaeologists and historians cling resolutely to the belief that the carving dates from Roman times.

 

Good news, and bad

While the British Museum is celebrating its £3 million National Lottery grant for a major development, including a glass-roofed central square and transformation of the round Reading Room, things are less happy at the Museum of London.

It is facing severe financial difficulties follow­ing a cut in its government grant. After inflation and cuts from the Corporation of London, the mu­seum will be £1 million short in 1997-98, leading to the loss of up to 40 jobs and affecting such services as cataloguing and conservation. MoLAS, however, as a separate trading activity, is not affected.

 

Notice of AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the society will be held at 8.30pm on Tuesday May 14, 1996 at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3. Coffee will be available from 8pm.

Nominations for officers and members of the committee must be submitted to me on the nomination form below, to reach me no later than May 7, 1996. The consent of your nominee(s) must be obtained in writing before submitting their name(s).

Resolutions submitted by members for consideration at the AGM must be received by me not later than April 23, 1996.

 

Derek Batten goes west for his archaeology,

In the footsteps of Custer and the Cheyenne

My continued involvement in archaeological surveys of Indian Wars Battlefields seems to have begun more by accident than design, but once bitten, the phone has only to ring, an American accent has only to enunciate the word "dig" and I'm on my way. So in the first week of November 1995, I found myself at the Washita Battlefield in Western Oklahoma.

The land on which Black Kettle and his Cheyennes camped and where, on November 27 1868, George Armstrong Custer led his dawn attack (and established his Indian Fighter reputation) is in private ownership. All that is available to the visitor is an overview just off the highway and a diorama.

Most of the land is owned by a charming lady, Betty Westner, who was out in the field with us each day. It was hoped that the whole area would eventually be purchased by State or Federal agency or a combination of both so a National Monument could be designated. All that seemed to be missing was the political will and the money, but we hoped the archaeological survey would help.

The whole exercise was under the control of the Oklahoma Historical Society, represented in the field by Dr Bill Lees, a giant of a man with the largest walrus moustache I have ever seen. Others in the team were names familiar from the archaeological work previously carried out at Little Big Horn.

The main site problem was topographical. It is generally agreed that the course of the Washita River has changed. Several floods have occurred over the years, altering the ground level.

There was a ceremonial beginning when Laurence Heart, a local full-blood Cheyenne elder, performed a traditional herb fire ceremony. Each participant sprinkled a small quantity of tobacco on the fire and incantations were made to the gods to look kindly on our week's work. They must have been oversleeping as the first three days' recoveries were not very startling. We worked particularly hard on Day Three for just four artifacts.

By the end of the week, however, a total of nearly 200 battle-related artifacts had been recovered, most being Spencer cartridge cases. These established troop positions and gave a number of useful clues as to the location of the village.

Final conclusions must await the final report but by the end of the week, Bill Lees' moustache was elongating sideways with his smile.

I have since received an encouraging letter from Betty Westner. There is now a bill before Congress, part of which includes the purchase of the Washita Battlefield by the Federal Government and its subsequent classification as a National Monument. So it looks like our week's hard work was not in vain.

 

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