Newsletter-324-March-1998

 

The Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held at 8.30 pm on Tuesday, 12 May at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3. Nominations for the Officers and members of the Committee must beHuyuktted to Liz Holliday (address on back page) by Tuesday 5 May. Resolution submitted by members for consideration must be received by Liz by Tuesday 21 April.

 

A NOTE FROM JUNE PORGES

 

Illness and the lambing season have unfortunately prevented anyone from Flag Fen being able to come to speak to us in March, but I am still hoping that they will make it in 1999, by which time there will probably be even more developments to report!

The exciting news is that at short notice, Theya Mollison has agreed to come to speak about recent discoveries at Catal Huyuk. Dr Mollison has been working on the bones found there in the last few years and has new information and theories about life in this city in Southern Turkey which was constructed from about 6250 to 5400BC, where the houses were made from mud brick and wood and were entered by ladders from above. Theya tells me they were a short-lived people and lived 64 to a room - could these facts be connected? Lots of fascinating conjectures and possibilities to be explored. Those who came to her lecture on Spitalfields in 1995 will certainly not have forgotten what a stimulating evening that was, and Catal Huyijk is a name that makes every archaeologist's heart beat faster.

 

WILLIAM MORRIS AND THE HISTORY OF OUR 'POT' LOGO                           by Dorothy Newbury

Many of our newsletter readers have asked me when it was designed and by whom. And although I haven't seen or spoken to William for at least twenty years, I remembered that he was the instigator. So here is the story:

During the month of July 1971, William Morris and Jeremy Clynes, two members of the Society's Research Committee, collected clay from the site of the Roman pottery at Brockley Hill and, as an experiment, recreated the Roman method of refining and preparing it for pot production. They then took the prepared clay to the pottery department of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, where a Roman pinch-mouthed flagon was reproduced. A series of photographs of the whole experiment, together with clay samples and the completed reproduction flagon were exhibited at Church Farm House Museum between 4th September and 10th October 1971.

Following this exhibition, Brigid Grafton Green, the then Hon. Secretary of the Society put forward the idea that the Society should have a logo for use on its publicity material and notepaper. As William Morris drew much of the artwork for the Society at that time, she approached him at one of the meetings of the Research Committee to see if he would design one.

During the winter, he produced a number of designs, three of which were based on the Roman pinch-mouthed flagon from the pottery experiment on which he had been working, one showing the flagon made of the letters HADAS, and the other two made of the letters HDAS, with different handles.

He presented these designs for consideration at the meeting of the Research Committee held on 13th January 1972. After discussion, the design chosen was the one in present use, and this was sent to the Main Committee for approval of a redesigned letterhead. The logo came into use on new notepaper from the autumn of 1972, but did not make its appearance on the newsletter until some years, when in July 1974, it was used for the first time on newsletter no. 41.

It was Ted Sammes who finally made the decision between the HDAS and HADAS forms of the logo. He thought the HADAS form was too cumbersome, and so we went for the simpler HDAS form.

William Morris joined HADAS in April 1969, and is still a member. He sends his good wishes to all who remembers him.

 

TALKING OF HADAS NEWSLETTERS      

Available for the cost of the postage, a complete collection of HADAS newsletters from 1969 onwards. If you'd like them: Reva Brown, work (01604 ) 735500, home (01604) 401804.

 

Medieval Pottery – the last ten years                                                                          by Bill Bass

 

Over the last decade or so excavations by HADAS and other agencies (MoLAS etc.) have produced several finds of Medieval ceramics ranging from several sherds to assemblages of over a thousand. This is part of an occasional series to report, round-up, or discuss sonic of those finds which have not been fully published during that period. We start with a site dug by HADAS in 1990 & 1992:

 

19 - 29 Barnet High Street, Chipping Barnet. TQ 24735 96345

 

As with the post-Medieval pottery (see NL 322), excavations at this site (code BHS 90 & 92) also produced a significant amount of medieval material, again both years are looked at together. This is a summary of the full report which is deposited with the archive. The site fronted onto the Medieval High Street near to where the market once stood, an adjacent pub (ex Red/Dandy Lion) has predecessors first mentioned from the 15th century, with origins probably earlier. A total of 1247 Medieval sherds were recovered from the two phases, with 13 different fabrics being recorded. The pottery consists mainly of hard wheelthrown unglazed wares made in the Herts/ Middlesex area and glazed wares from the London, Surrey and St Albans areas. There were also a small amount of handmade wares.

Handmade wares

These fabrics included Early Medieval Flinty dated 1000 - 1100 (35 sherds) 2,8% of the total, Early Medieval Shelly dated 1050 -­1150 (1 sherd) and North Middlesex Ware date 1055-1085 (3 sherds). Most were small body sherds, one rim fragment 'may have come from a flanged cooking pot.

South Herts Greyware date 1140-1300

This pottery was wheel thrown and is widespread throughout south east England in slightly varying fabrics, mostly sand and flint tempered. Our site produced 640 sherds, 51% of the overall total - the most common ware from BHS 90 & 92.

Rims: of 30, 15 were cooking pots - mostly flanged some beaded, there were no complete rims most represented 12% or less of the vessel. Estimated mouth diameters ranged from 102mm to 254mm. Other vessel rims came from bowls, jars and a jug with traces of a pouring lip. Two flanged rim/body sherds made the profile of a sizeable cooking pot or storage container, mouth dia 330mm, with a sherd wall 8mm thick. The rim has oval stab marks and there are two horizontal bands of thumb applied strip decoration on the body sides, grey fabric throughout.

Body: several hundred sherds, mainly plain some with thumb decoration, many have a sooty black external deposit. Usually smaller sherds e.g. 55 x 60mm or less.

Base:      several base sherds were present representing both 'flatish' bowl types and curved 'sagging' cooking pot or jug versions,

again some had sooty bits_

Handle: two types were seen - one was a 'strap' shape decorated with three lines of linear oval stab marks split by two rows of parallel grooved lines (illustrated Fig 2). Secondly, a handle sherd (cross section 25mm) on which the remains of two rows of small circular stab marks can be seen. It appears to have been attached to the vessel by luting (smoothing) the clay to the body.

Amongst variants of the above Greyware there's a fabric called 'Similar to Elstree' - possibly the same as pottery found in that district, which is usually a dark-grey colour with sand, (jar illustrated Fig 2) .

London-Type Ware date 1140-1300 (some earlier)

This is the earliest glazed Medieval pottery found in London,and so at Barnet, although six distinct fabric groupings are known, two were recognised here: London-Type Ware and a Coarse London version. A combined total of 319 sherds were recovered, 26% of the overall count, the second most common fabric.

Rims: of the 6 rims, 5 were flanged cooking pots with one from an abraded jug lip.

Body: some sherds have a thin white slip with external sooty layer. Glazed examples included mottle green, dark green and brown colours. On three or four sherds there's a single and double row of pierced circular dot stamps made by a roller-stamp also a single ring with a raised dot stamp. Several sherds have a trailed white slip decoration found usually on jugs around the neck and body area.

Base:      several. including one 'sagging' type  and another from a recessed jug which has signs of glaze with a

pinched impression around the foot of the base.

Handles: there were two handle sherds, both with an oval-rod cross section and a splashed brown glaze. Most notably one had a thumb impression with a pierced stab mark, again the handle appears to have been lured on to the surface of the pot (rather than being more securely attached).

Late Medieval Herts Glazed Ware date 1350-1400

Usually this ware is typically a salmon pink colour, wheelthrown and fine textured. Large quantities of this pottery found in St Albans suggest that it was made nearby, although no kiln has yet been found.

At Barnet 31 sherds were discovered - 2.5% of the total, including 6 rims mostly flanged from cooking pots or bowls, body sherds some with dark-green mottled glaze and ribbed/grooved/stab decoration, also several base sherds. One handle section was found strap shape decorated with a thumb size groove within which are oval stab marks, both outer sides have a roller-stamp 'fork' mark, the surface is covered with a mottled-brown glaze. The sherd is probably part of a medium size jug handle . Surrey Whitewares:

Kingston-type ware, Coarse Borderware, were the main whitewares.

These are generally white-firing, sandy tempered, wheelthrown, glazed wares made in the Surrey/Hampshire area. They came to dominate glazed pottery consumption in London between 1250 - 1500.

17 sherds were recorded - 1.5% of the total, nearly all were body sherds some with a pale-brown or mottled-green glaze. One handle/rim sherd recovered may be of the Coarse Borderware fabric, the handle is rod shaped and is smoothed onto a rim (mouth dia 76mm), its vessel was possibly a jug and there were signs of splashed glazing.

Saintonge ware

This was the most common imported pottery in late 13th to early 14th London. One small sherd was identified from our excavation. it has splashed glazing and traces of trailed slip decoration.

QUANTIFICATION

Weight: the total was 6.110 Kg, this can be divided between the unglazed wares - 4.470 Kg and glazed wares 1.640 Kg. Sherd count: 1247

Vessel count: it's difficult to estimate this with any precision, however taking into account the various fabrics and rim/handle sherds there could be around a minimum of 33 vessels from the known sample.

DATING

Unfortunately exact dating is not possible due to a lack of stratigraphy, lack of other datable material (coins etc.), not enough diagnostic pottery and also that most of the pottery had little development in typology or form during the 12th - 13th centuries.

The small amount of early handmade wares were mostly found within the same contexts as the wheelthrown variety and are probably contemporary and may date around the early to mid 12th century. Looking at the South Hens Greyware it would suggest that a mid 12th to 13th century period date is indicated Characteristics such as the finger nail stab decoration on top the rim (see BHS 92, context 106, storage jar illustration) is an earlier form of decoration in the South Herts material. Study of pottery from the London waterfront sites by Alan Vince shows that Hertfordshire Greywares become much more common in 13th century deposits than they were throughout the 12th century. At present our nearest Medieval kiln site is at Arkley, about one mile west of Barnet, here D.F.Renn suggests that all the available evidence points to a 13th century date, possibly around a central date of 1250 (see below).

Of the glazedware, London-type Wares are given a similar 1140-1300 date although the Coarse London-type variation went out of use by the early 13th century. Other glazed wares are much less in evidence, there appears to be a marked difference in the amount of London-type wares and the later Whitewares. The most notable Surrey Whiteware is Kingston-type Ware dated on London sites from 1250-1350. Finally, the Herts Glazed Ware, waterfront sites in the City of London show this fabric was in use c1350-1400.

In general there seems to be evidence for some continuous use of the site throughout the medieval period. With settlement perhaps starting in the early to mid 12th century then becoming more intensive in the build up to Chipping Barnet's grant of a market charter in 1199, Pottery from 1350 is much less in evidence but shows that some occupation continued through to the post-medieval era.

DISCUSSION

Stratigraphy of the site was shallow and in places heavily truncated or disturbed Medieval layers were on the natural sand/clay. Residual Medieval pottery was found in most trenches, but more securely dated contexts were from BHS 90 - trenches 2, 5, 6, 7, e.g. context 218 (trench 2) which represented a hard packed pebble layer in a sandy matrix 150mm deep, pottery was impressed into its upper layer and into within the body of the context. In trench 6 - context 613 was a soil layer perhaps a fading out of the pebbly surface. A small truncated Medieval pit was found at the front of the site. .Most of the sherds were broken or trampled into small fragments, much of this material was 'clean' broken and would seem to be contemporary with the site. Interpretation of the site was as a farmyard or possibly a stock-holding for the market, which may explain the trampled nature, it also could have been open ground and used for many years.

Vessel forms appear to be ordinary domestic types including large and small storage jars, bowls, cooking pots and jugs, some have been decorated with glazes, slip, stamps, thumb impression and so on. Overall the sample seems to indicate a set of basic kitchenware with some tableware, no elaborate examples such as zooinorphic designs or highly decorated jugs were found, except perhaps for the one sherd of imported Saintong ware.

Barnet's greyware appears to be similar to that found on sites in Herts. Middlesex and London, including St Albans, Elstree and Pinner and also to other material found near to the High Street - The Mitre, Old Bull Arts Centre, Wood St and possibly Tapster St. Comparison of the BHS 90 & 92 greyware with some of the Arkley kiln material shows that although it is made in the same style and tradition, it differed in some respects, BHS 90 & 92 material on the whole seems more sandy/quartz tempered and more consistently grey in colour. Those fabrics inspected from Arkley were mostly 'gritty' wares - flint tempered, coarser with differing colours. However, there were also some sandy wares here, reference to the Arkley report (Renn 1964) gives descriptions of "globular cooking pots in a fine hard grey ware with rounded quartz temper".

The source of Barnet High Street's pottery may have been a variation of the Arkley kiln products or a local kiln as yet undetected, but Barnet's geographical position means that its Medieval ceramics could easily be traded from London or the rest of Herts and Middlesex.

Bibliography:

Pearce, Vince & Jenner - Medieval Pottery, London-Type Ware,1985. Pearce & Vince - Surrey Whitewares, 1988.

Vince - Saxon & Medieval Pottery in London a review, 1985.

Renn - Potters & Kilns in Medieval Hertfordshire, 1964.

Wrigley & Simpson - Excavations at 19-25 High St, Barnet, 1990.

Rugg - Medieval Pottery in Hertfordshire, Hertz Archaeology Vol 11/1993.

 

UP TO SCRATCH               by Tony Gee

Prize-ring historian Tony Gee has written a book on pugilism in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Barnet/Whetstone/Finchley area. The book contains tales of many great champions and heroes of the prize-ring including Tom Johnson, Daniel Mendoza, Jem Belcher, 'Deaf Burke, Tom Sayers and Jem Mace. The book

contains approximately 200 pages, 32 illustrations and a bibliography, comprehensive appendices and an index. There is a foreword by Henry Cooper, and contains a considerable amount of material, researched from contemporary newspapers, on both boxing and the Barnet area, never before appearing in book form.

The book is due to be published in hardback form by Queen Anne Press, who are responsible for the British Boxing Board of Control Year Book, price £14.99. in order for the book to become a reality, Tony needs to show that there would be a demand for it, and thus it is necessary to obtain some firm commitments of intended sale. If you are interested, please write to Tony. You will only be invoiced for the book when it is in production, which, providing there is sufficient interest, is anticipated to be in the late autumn in time for Christmas.

For further details, or contact Tony Gee, at 8 Berkeley Close, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 2LG, Tel:. (011707) 651407.

 

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND?

University of Oxford Dept for Continuing Education Department are holding a Practical Archaeology Weekend on 14 -15th March on The Medieval Potter in the Community. The course is designed to promote the understanding of the potential of medieval pottery studies in the archaeological record, set in a chronological framework. The emphasis will be on explanation and interpretation. The relationship between the potter's production, the customers and their needs will be considered. For more information contact OUDCE at 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA (01865) 270369. Residential cost £98.50

 

WHAT 'GEOPHYS' CAN DO

Property developers are relying more and more on archaeological geophysics for underground information. If important archaeological remains are found beneath a site, then developers may not be allowed to develop the land , which could then turn into a huge white elephant costing a development company's investors vast sums of money. The techniques used by GSB Prospection, the largest group of chronological geophysicists in the UK (and familiar to us from the Time Team's TV programmes) include:

Fluxgate Gradiometry. a system which measures the gradient of a local magnetic field by using two fluxgate sensors. The system allows the geophysicists to identify ferrous pipes and cables, buried ferrous tanks and foundations, and also clay land drains and even mine shafts.

Electrical Resistiviity Survey, which injects a small electrical current through the earth and measures the subtle sub-surface variations in the resistance. These measurements can be used to position archaeological excavations in the best place, or even to redesign proposed developments and reduce excavation costs.

Ground Penetrating Radar, a new technique that utilises the absorption and reflection of electromagnetic waves to give an indication of the depth of a target. It has the disadvantage of needing a site with minimal electromagnetic noise from radio stations or nearby machinery.

Electrical Imaging, used for shallow prospection to produce a vertical section image which provides a good estimation of the depth of a target. It is possible to see archaeological features very clearly with this technique, as the picture on the screen gives extensive underground detail.

 

MILESTONES - HENDON WOOD LANE TO LONDON

Bill Firth writes that in Newsletter 305, September 1996, a piece on those milestones by Ted Sammes from Newsletter 208 was reprinted together with an appeal: "It would be helpful if the sites could be visited by members with a view to reporting back on their condition - for instance, are they still upright, are they undamaged? Send your observations to a future Newsletter editor please."

Did anyone send any observations? Bill doesn't recall anything appearing in a subsequent Newsletter.

The Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society is reviving a ten-year-old project for a book on London's industrial archaeology, which lapsed when the original editor died. Bill has agreed to produce a gazetteer of sites in Barnet which will include milestones, and he does not want to duplicate any recent work which has already been done.

 

MEMBERS NEWS- another cat story.

John Enderby, a founder member of HADAS and a vice-president, now moved away to the depths of Dorset, tells me he has acquired a 'British Blue' cat called 'Rumpuss' and a 'rum puss' it certainly is. Not only does he enter the cat flap daily with a mouse or rat, but around Christmas he was seen struggling to drag a live duck from the village pond through the same orifice! Wings flapping vigorously, it was rescued by John and returned to the pond where it has fully recovered from the experience. Shortly afterwards Rumpuss was again in disgrace attempting the same activity, this time with the neck and head of a turkey. Where the body was remains a mystery- or so John says! Perhaps the season of the year may afford a clue?

 

RESCUE

RESCUE, the British Archaeological Trust, is an independent charitable organization set up in 1971 with no ties to government or to any other public body. RESCUE aims to press government and business to take account or archaeology, urge adequate funds for excavation and publication, lobby for better legislation to protect archaeology, publicise archaeological concerns, achievements and problems, organise conferences and public meetings to raise awareness, create a fund to aid archaeological projects in difficulty and provide technical assistance and advice to local people and groups. Individual membership costs £12 for individuals, £20 for a family, and £6 for senior citizens and students per year. Membership gives you RESCUE News, full of articles, illustrations and information, details on the latest excavations and important new finds, a listing of excavations open to the public, reduced rates on special RESCUE publications, access to lectures, conferences, and activity days, special tours of important excavations, and a forum for your ideas, criticism and suggestions. If you are interested in joining, send your subscriptions to RESCUE, The British Archaeological Trust, 15a Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DX. Tel: (01992) 553377. (Office hours on Mondays, and Fridays, plus Wednesday afternoons, or leave a message on the answerphone.)


 

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