Newsletter-316-July-1997

 No. 316                                 JULY 1997                                               Edited  Micky Cohen

DIARY

Saturday 12th July: Outing to Hastings application form  with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward. Apillication form enclosed.

Saturday 16th AugSeptembershire with Bill Bass and Vikki O'Connor. - September 4th to 7th :Weekend in York.

Friday 26th September: Thomas Coram Foundation, WC 1, and a morning walk with Mary O'Connell. (Please add this to your programme card.)

MEMBERS' NEWS

A message in a recent Newsletter from our old friend 'Shenny' (Miss Shenley) has been followed by the sad news of her death on 6th June.

    She will be remembered by many members on our outings and by many Garden Suburb friends far her kindly gifts of fruit and                                                                            flowers and never failing good humour. Her sewing skills raised some hundreds of pounds for good causes. - all done a real 'labour of love' - she had never  an idle moment; truly an unforgettable character.

Pat Bromley, a Member who always joins us on our weekends away and on outings with husband David and Con Graham (who is one of our digging team) is in hospital. We missed the happy trio on our June outing to Chedworth and Cirencester. We wish her well and look forward to seeing them all again soon.

And Vikki O'Connor reports a letter received from long-standing Member Elizabeth Sanderson, who has decided that,having lived in Sussex for twelve years, it is time to resign from HADAS. She sends "her best wishes to the Society and hopes we enjoy our outing to Sussex in July.

Just a thought - but - do people retire TO Hendon ?

HADAS Chairman ,Andrew Selkirk, has been celebrating the thirtieth birth­day of his publication 'Current Archaeology' and told Vikki of his plans for a ten-year lead-in to 'retirement' with the writing of more books and the possibility of a 'Current World Archaeology' publication. If there are any HADAS members who do not subscribe to 'Current Archaeolo­gy’, but would like to do so, Please contact Andrew on 0171-435-7517.

It carries a lively letters page, and the HADAS Newsletter would also benefit from more comment, constructive criticism or questions from the membership over to you ....

HADAS member Pat Alison asked Vikki to publicise the outing she has arranged for the Barnet District Local History Society on Wednesday, 2nd July. They will visit Brixworth and Cottesbrooke Hall,Northampton, and several Places are still available; cost £14.


The report of the HADAS excavation at 296 Golders Green Road, the Old Forge Site (GGR91), will shortly be published but as a taster some details of the clay tobacco pipe finds are set out below.

The shape and dimensions of the pipe fragments found at the forge indicate dates from the early 17th century to the late 19th century and possibly later. A few intact bowls and the larger pieces enable closer dating of some samples.

Makers' spur marks include: -B, NA, GD, -W, WT, CC, N-, and W-.

One spur bore a crown each side. Only one stem had a legible maker's mark, that of W.TINGEY, HAMPSTEAD.

Clay tobacco pipes are some of the most usual finds on our digging sites and are well-known as a useful aid for dating the context in which they are found. Fragments are so numerous that it is easy to forget that through these common bits of clay our ancestors actually drew breath, tempered by the smoke of tobacco when they could afford it and pure undiluted Hendon and District air when they couldn't.

 

HADAS AGM 1997

The AGM was held on May 13th and chaired by our President Michael Robbins FSA. The formal business was dealt with very smoothly, the Chairman gave his yearly report (see IN 4 ) and the accounts were presented by the Hon. Treasurer, Micky O'Flynn, and approved by the meeting. Officers and members of Committee were re-elected, and the appointment of Dorothy Newbury to be a Vice-President was acclaimed.

From Palmyra to Petra                                                                                       June Porges

After the A. G. M. a short formal proceedings, Stewart Wild showed us what he called his holiday snaps which he had taken while on a fantastic three week tour which started in Damascus and finished in Aqaba on the Red Sea. There were many high-lights but obviously Palmyra was one of the brightest. It was a way. station on caravan routes from Tyre on the Mediterranean via Damascus to Mesopotamia and eastern frontiers of the Roman Empire at Doura Europas on the Euphrates. After 1000 years as an Assyrian trading post, it was in turn a Greek, a Parthian and finally a Roman town,when it became for a time the richest city on earth. Emperor Hadrian visited in AD129 and declared it a free city, thus introducing the world to the concept of duty-free goods. Palmyra's most famous character was Queen Zenobia its ruler from 266AD, who claimed descent from Cleopatra, and who defeated a Roman army sent to clip her wings, besieged and sacked Bosra and invaded and conquered Egypt. The Emperor Aurelian finally captured her after regaining Egypt and Asia Minor, and conquering Palmyra. After becoming a Christian, then Muslim town, Palmyra was destroyed by an earthquake in 1089. It was later visited by another remarkable woman, Lady Hester Stanhope, during her travels in the Levant. There are remains of all these cultures to be visited, and Stewart showed many slides to illustrate them.

After visiting Bosra with its fortified Roman theatre the tour left Syria, and moved into Jordan which Stewart likened to leaving the scruffy and old-fashioned Spain of thirty years ago and entering the lively and modern Spain of today.

We saw slides of Jerash, and of Stewart reading the Times while lying in the buoyant water of the Dead Sea, 1300f1 below sea level and geologically part of the Great Rift Valley. Next , a ytsit Xarak Castle, which is the site of a citadel as far as back as the Iron Age. It was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Moab, and is shown on the world's oldest map, a sixth century mosaic map preserved on the floor of a Byzantine church in Madaba.

Then we saw Stewart's first sight of ancient Petra. It lies on cross-roads of two important trade routes of the ancient world, and had abundant fresh water , plenty of rain in winter which was stored in the many cisterns to be seen. There was also copper mining in the area, possibly the origin of King Solomon's mines. Rome annexed Petra from the Nabateans in 106AD in a peaceful takeover. The first westerner to see Petra was the Anglo-Swiss explorer John Lewis Burkhardt in 1812. Access is by a narrow defile about one mile long called the siq. Swiss archaeologists last year uncovered paving of an ancient roadway here. Horses are no longer allowed, visitors have to walk or go by carnage, the dramatic entrance to the siq brings you out facing the Treasury. This is a misnomer for what was in fact a temple, or a tomb or a royal mausoleum, or possibly all three. The facade is a memorial frieze full of the symbolism of death and life after death. It is a mixture of Nabatean, Egyptian and Greek beliefs all mixed together. This was the first slide in a series from this fantastic site, which must have inspired everyone who has not been there to start plotting to make the journey. We all envy Stewart his tour, and were very grateful to him for sharing the experience with us.

 

Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman's Report, AGM, 13th May 1997

The past year has been one of quiet but steady work. Once again an excavation was carried out to the rear of Church Farmhouse and in July and August work took place on ten Sundays and eight weekdays with a total of 27 volunteers participating. Three trenches were opened, one of which contained many shards of medieval pottery and a possible Roman tile. The medieval pottery appears to have been redeposited at a later date, but at least it suggests that there had been some substantial medieval occupation in the area.

Subsequently the Society has also purchased a new resistivity meter to replace the old meter which, after 25 years, was becoming increasingly erratic and we would like to thank those charitable trusts who supported us in this. Already the Excavation team under Brian Wrigley, Bill Bass and Roy Walker have put it to good use in carrying out surveys along the line of the Saxon boundary ditch on Hampstead Heath. The excavation section also continues to support English Heritage in monitoring threats in the Borough and they have submitted a dozen Error Report Forms for English Heritage's Sites and Monuments Record.

A regular series of lectures and excursions took place throughout the year, thanks to the energetic work of June Porges, the lecture secretary and Dorothy Newbury the excursion secretary and her team of helpers. A highly successful four day visit to Cornwall took place from 29th August to 1st September and after an initial shock when the windscreen of the coach shattered on the way to Cornwall, the remainder of the trip was conducted with the usual efficiency. There was also a memorable Christmas dinner combined with a viewing of the mechanism of Tower Bridge. The annual Minimart took place on 12th October which not only raised £1000 a vital element in the society's accounts, but also proved to be a very enjoyable occasion.

The Newsletter continues to appear throughout the year edited, as is our custom, by a rota of editors. It is a system that should not really work but in practise it does, thanks to the gentle support of Dorothy Newbury who actually prints the Newsletter.

The problem of the Society's premises remains difficult, and the rent we pay continues to strain our finances. Other societies are taking the opportunity to acquire their own premises. At Hornsey and in the Upper Nene, former chapels have been acquired and at Dunstable the Manshead Society has bought a former pub. With the lottery continuing to offer money to local societies such as ours, it would appear that there is a 'window of opportunity' which may not stay open for long, but I suspect that the great British gambling public would be happy to let us have 50% of the cost of any premises, which would present us with the interesting challenge of raising the other 50%. The Lottery may not continue in its present affluent guise for very long, so if any member has any ideas, please let me know as soon as possible.

Other projects which we would like to undertake include a revised edition of our booklet on The Blue Plaques of Barnet and if any member would like to undertake what will probably not be a too arduous task of revising the former booklet and adding in the new blue plaques, will they please contact me. We are also planning to hold a Saturday symposium at which members of the society and others can present work done in Barnet.

Finally can I extend my thanks to all those who have helped throughout the year -to Dorothy Newbury who not only masterminds excursions and the news letter but also runs the invaluable Minimart; then to our meetings secretary June Porges; and finally to my fellow officers, Brian Wrigley the Vice Chairman and excavationsecretary who does much of the real work;to Liz Holliday our hard working secretary to Vikki O'Connor the membership secretary; and a particular welcome toMicky O'Flynn whose work as Treasurer has meant that for the first time in three years, the Chairman has not had to step in at the last minute to prepare the accounts. Thanks to you all.        

NEWS from OTHER SOCIETIES and GEOLOGY TTEWS                       Vikki O'Connor
Barnet & District Local History Society, The Finchley Society and Enfield Archaeological Society all resume their lecture programmes in September. We will advise details nearer the dates.

Islington Museum Gallery, 268 Upper Street, N1. From 9-27 July: 'OWODYO' an exhibition on the use of art and design in everyday Africa - textiles, antique masks, jewellery and wood carvings.

GEOLOGY

Two items from the June edition of Bristol University's newsletter report some current work on dinosaurs. A series of 52 footprints found in a National Trust-owned quarry in Dorset are thought to be those of 70-ton herbivore Sauropods. Led by Dr Jo Wright, Bristol University Geology Dept is examining the finds which will be conserved and accessible to the public.

The Geology Department team is also working on mineralised soft tissue from Pelecanimimus polyodon, found in Lower Cretaceous rocks in Spain. These fossils were so well preserved that external wrinkles and underlying muscles are discernible. A report is to be published in the July edition of the Journal of the Geological Society.

Sale of the Centuries A national newspaper reported in May that the Bronze Age Rollright Stones are up for sale with an asking price of £50,000. The vendor, Pauline Flick, inherited them from her father who bought the Little Rollright Estate in 1929. She wished them to go to 'someone who will look after them but not commercialise them'. Legend has it that the stones cannot be accurately counted - so how will the new owner know he/she has them all?

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