Newsletter-327-June-1998

HADAS Diary

Saturday, 13th June MoLAS Training Day for fieldwalkers - see page 3

Saturday 27th June OUTING: Bletchley area - Micky Cohen & Micky Watkins Booking form enclosed

Saturday 4th July  VISIT: St Pancras Chambers, Euston - Vikki O'Connor Booking form enclosed

Saturday, 25th July OUTING: Fishbourne & area - Tessa Smith & Sheila Saturday, 15th August Woodward OUTING: Shaftesbury & Fontmell Magna - Bill Bass & John Enderby

Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th September  HADAS ANNUAL WEEKEND: Bristol

To go on waiting list, contact Dorothy Newbury 0181 203 0950Saturday, 26th September OUTING: Kensal Green Cemetery - Stewart Wild

Saturday, 10th October MINIMART - our annual fundraiser - what can YOU do to help?

Tuesday, 13th October NEW LECTURE SEASON:

The Wroxeter Hinterland Survey - Gordon White


Church Farm House Museum, Greyhound Hill - Agnes Holgate's Hendon.

Repeating an exhibition from the early 1980s, the museum is currently displaying a collection of some 50 watercolours and drawings belonging to the Barnet archive. The pictures, although not technically brilliant but having their own charm, were executed during the late 1830s and '50s when the artist lived at her father's house in Brent Street until she married, and they will be on show until mid-July.

Whilst you are there, look out for the case of finds from the 1996 HADAS excavation at the museum's grounds.

Not on display but on the prowl, Henry, the curator's cat is once more enjoying the wildlife. Gerard Roots admitted that Henry recently caught and ate three squirrels in one day, but could be more gainfully employed catching rats at St Mary's churchyard next door where the Council have been dealing with an infestation.

Annual General Meeting - May 1998

A full report of this meeting will be in the July newsletter but, in brief, two key appointments were proposed and adopted.

1 Dr Ann Saunders, FSA, has agreed to become the new HADAS President.

2 Denis Ross has agreed to become the Society's Secretary.


IN SEARCH OF SULLONIACIS
Bill Bass

For years the site of the Roman posting station of Sulloniacis has been assumed by many to be at Brockley Hill on Watling Street north of Edgware. Books, maps and indeed a plaque at the site attest to it. However, a book published in memory of the late Hugh Chapman, (Interpreting Roman London, Bird/Hassall/Sheldon, Oxbow Monograph 58. 1996) Harvey Sheldon's paper challenges this long-held view. Some of his main arguments are summarised below.

Harvey points to mileage discrepancies in the Antonine Itinerary. For instance, this document records Sulloniacis as being 9 Roman miles from the walls of Verulamium and 12 from Londinium. However, by his calculation, Brockley Hill is actually 15 miles from Londinium. Suggesting that distances in the Itinerary should not be taken at face value and that in fact a VIII recorded here could be a corrupted XIII, thus Sulloniacis may be 13 miles south of Verulamium, somewhere below Brockley Hill.

In spite of antiquarian observations by such as Norden (a resident of Hendon) and later Stukeley, of decayed buildings, foundations and so forth seen on Brockley Hill there has not been much archaeological evidence found to support what should be at least a modest mutatio if not a larger mansio. Of course the pottery industry has been known and excavated over the years but this does not account for what would have been a station which at its smallest would have provided stables facilities to change horses, or a larger establishment with offices, rest rooms, baths and possibly a small garrison to police and escort officials on business.

If Sulloniacis is not to be found on Brockley Hill, what would be a more likely location? The settlement, Harvey expects, lies on an expanse of flat, reasonably high ground with a good water supply nearby. The last point is important as research by Chevalier (Roman Roads, 1989) on the location of roadside stations generally in the Empire emphasises the need to water travellers, their horses, pack animals and herds. The same study shows that a location at the base of a steep slope is important to perhaps change or double horse teams in readiness for an ascent, the final approach to Brockley Hill rises steeply (approxi­mately 200ft over a mile).

Amongst several suggestions for alternative areas, two are favoured - Edgware or more likely Burnt Oak, as they both fit the above criteria. Edgware was considered as it has a history of settlement at least from the medieval period with possible Saxon origins. The town also has been attending to the needs of travellers for sometime including coaching inns, taverns and hostelries. There is some evidence for a pre-Reformation halting place for monks journeying between London and St Alban's. If this was a Chapel of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (there's some debate) they may have had a tradition of following the ancient staging points as replacements of mansiones (Chevalier 1989).

Burnt Oak is less than 1 mile south of Edgware, being largely an inter-war LCC housing estate (see below), but also claims an earlier origin. The area known as Redhill on older maps, for instance Seale (1750), Rocque (1754), and Carey show land on a slight promontory with the Silk Stream running down its eastern side. Redhill is recorded at least as early as the late 15th century. An ancient coaching inn The Bald Faced Stag is also shown on these early maps at Redhill, and a hostelry (of the same name) still occupies the site today. The pub lies some 10.75 miles (approx 11.75 Roman miles) from Londinium not dissimilar with that between the City and Sulloniacis as listed in the Itinerary.

Also noted is the excavation by HADAS at Thirleby Road in 1971, some 0.25 miles east of the 'Stag' and close to the Silk Stream finding pits with 'Roman pottery, bones, building material and ...a coin... of the late 3rd or early 4th century'. The debris was thought to be from a house 'established on a low hill in Burnt Oak'. (Gordon, a Place in Time, Ed. P Taylor 1989). Harvey continues - could this discovery of Roman features and material be the first indication in the ground that Sulloniacis is located here, on a promontory that was dominated by an inn and surrounded by farmland until the extensive development of the 1920s and 1930s obliterated its rural character and transformed its appearance almost beyond recognition?

WATLING ESTATE

As it happens, the Watling Estate is being proposed as a Conservation Area. At the request of Barnet Environmental Services, HADAS has commented on the draft 'Character Appraisal', on some of the archaeological aspects of the area such as the Thirleby Road finds. These estates were developed as part of the 'Homes for Heroes' building programme, following the First World War, on sites beside the new underground lines that had made such areas accessible. The Watling Estate was built to the design of architect George Forrest as a garden suburb to relieve the over­crowded slums of London, including King's Cross and Islington, and the first residents had moved in by April 1927. The land had not previously been built on, so the open spaces incorporated into the estate will be of interest to the Society should the opportunity for investiga­tion arise.

VERULAMIUM

The new extension to the museum is still being built after delays, partly due to increased construction costs. It is now taking shape using brick with flint bands to match the original establishment.


TRAINING DAY FOR FIELDWALKERS

As preparation for the fieldwalking planned for August at Bury Farm, Brockley Hill, we have arranged a training day for interested HADAS members. The two 

sessions will be led by experts from MoLAS: surveyor Duncan Lees and finds specialist Fiona Seeley.

VENUE: St Mary's Church Hall, Greyhound Hill (where we hold the Minimart, and opposite the Greyhound public house).

To cover the cost of the hall and the refreshments, there will be a charge of £3 - pay on the day.

It would be helpful if you could phone Vikki O'Connor if you wish to attend. 0181-361 1350

SATURDAY 13 JUNE Programme:

9.30am Introduction

9.35am Duncan Lees - surveying

·     Principles of...

·     Practical - if the weather permits we will try out our new skills with the dumpy level in Church Farm House Museum gardens

1 2.3 0                                                                                  Working lunch

1.30                                        Fiona Seeley - finds processing

·     What the experts do...

·     Hands-on session, looking at some of the finds from previous HADAS field-walking at Brockley Hill

4.30                Close

APRIL LECTURE report by Jack Goldenfeld Continuity and change in rural Roman Sussex

The Roman presence in Sussex, as documented through 'villa' and other forms of structural evidence, was the subject and HADAS members again benefited from the expertise and enthusiasm of an excellent guest speaker. David Rudling, Director of the Field Archaeology Unit of the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, is a specialist in the Roman period, with particular reference to Sussex and its adjacent counties.

This writer, and other HADAS members, was able to recall with nostalgia working with David in the 1980s on a seemingly endless sequence of digging seasons at the Beddingham villa site. The core theme of David's address concerned current investigations and re-evaluations of data

from Sussex farmstead and villa occupation sites. This was illustrated by an enlightening sequence of slides which evidenced the way in which the process of Romanisation took place, with fluctuations in economic and political circum­stances reflected by modifications to the sizes of individual establishments and the patterning of settlement within the landscape. It appears that what had once been the tribal domain of the Regni in pre-Conquest times became gradually transformed and integrated into a fully-fledged Roman province. A relatively small number of substantial villas of first century date supple­mented a much greater number of less ambitiously sized farmstead/villas through the second and third centuries. Farmers and stockbreeders were seemingly benefitting by meeting the needs of the Roman military and civil administrators,

becoming wealthier, with assured markets and an imposed money-economy infrastructure, testified to by the presence of structural additions, such as mosaics and bathhouses. A growing network of roads, notably Stane Street, linked military,

industrial and commercial centres, providing impetus to communication, economic activity and growth. David devoted some time to discussing Fishbourne, with reinterpretation now suggesting that it had been a military supply base dated to 43AD, a possible invasion landing place because of its natural harbour, which became a `proto-palace', now re-dated to circa 90-110AD. He pointed out that there has never been any actual evidence that Cogidubnus (or was it Togidubnus?) lived there, even though this remains a tantalizing possibility, supported, if somewhat tenuously, by the oft-quoted Chichester inscription.

As I hope you will have gathered, this was yet another first-class lecture evening, much enjoyed and appreciated by all who were prepared to brave the elements to be present. It is to be hoped that David Rudling can be persuaded to visit us again, so that HADAS can keep up with the ongoing work of UCL's Field Archaeology Unit.

RESEARCH NEWS

Defence of Britain calling for Volunteers

Yes, your country needs you! We need to transfer the information amassed by John Heathfield for his book Barnet at War on to the Defence of Britain  Project forms. John lodged the paperwork with the Local Studies Archive so it is accessible during their working hours. There is enough work for at least two, and it would be a good introduction to the kinds of features sought. And, no - John hasn't picked all the best apples, there are still vast swathes of LB Barnet awaiting the keen-eyed HADAS sleuth, Mill Hill Barracks for example. I have a copy of the CBA handbook 20th Century Defences in Britain available for use on this project - not quite I Spy Pillboxes but it does explain features including anti-tank ditches, gun emplacements and civil defences, in plan, in aerial photos, sketches and photos of dereliction.

·    We will get interested members together with John Heathfield by the end of this month so that he can define our tasks. We need to focus on the recording of the disappearing physical evidence of the London Defence Rings, and John can advise which Old War Office, RUSI and Public Record Office documents offer relevant information -apparently there is a LOT !

n Apart from the record forms, DoB Project are collecting oral records of the defences. So, if you lived in the (now) Borough of Barnet, you could start by jotting down anything you remember being constructed for military purposes - things one wasn't supposed to even whisper at the time! My own wartime memories are restricted to struggling with a blackout board (a toddler's response to the siren) and, later, wondering why the concrete blocks above the railway line had to be so ugly! Nonetheless, they are now worth recording.

n Graham Hutchings phoned in response to last month's note, and we need a volunteer with a camera and notebook to check out a couple of features in Edgware.

Roman around Hendon

No apologies for the pun. We are taking a fresh look at the work HADAS did on the Viatores route 167, way back in the 1970s, in the light of excavations done in the Borough since then, and referring to the SMR (Sites and Monuments Record). This group should be paving the way for more fieldwalking and/or resistivity surveys. We are meeting in the Garden Room,

Avenue House on Sunday 7th June at 10.30am. If the Garden Room gets too crowded we will go on to the Catcher in the Rye! If you have signed up for this project, or wish to, and will be coming along on the 7th please leave a message (in case I'm out): 0181 361 1350 - answerphone.

Access to the Garden Room is through the park entrance beside Avenue House in East End Road, off Regents Park Road at the Gravel Hill junction. The Garden Room is attached to Avenue House but with its own entrance. Can we tempt you with the promise of coffee and biscuits?

VO'C

More next month ..

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Another happy event - Marion le Besque (nee Newbury) had a baby girl, Sarah Alice, on Monday 20 April, a sister for Grace and James. Marion joined HADAS in 1972 and led a couple of outings into Hampshire before she married.

Welcome to three new members: Don Cooper, Javier Inigo and Colin Gregory - we hope they will all find something of interest and are able to join in our activites.

Two members who have decided to 'hang up their trowels' are Eunice Wilson who has been a member for some ten years, and Nigel Harvey, an expert on the history of agriculture who joined in the early 1970s.

Birkbeck are currently promoting their MA Archaeology with a flurry of leaflets. The selling points are two years part-time, campus taught and home study, useful as a professional qualification or as an amateur interest, the course taking the form of five specialist modules. Entrance - upper second hons or equivalent.

Further information from Birkbeck's Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, telephone 0171 631 6627.

 

 

THAMES ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY recently held a promotional weekend conference generously sponsored by the Environment Agency, hosted by the Museum of London and brilliantly organised by Mike Webber, who talked to HADAS in February '96 about the TAS project.

Speakers from the Environment Agency, Museum of London and English Heritage outlined problems, solutions, ideals and compromises. The following EA statement summarizes their mission: 'Encroachment on the Tidal ,foreshore should not reduce the storage volume of the river; lead to a loss of foreshore habitat; interrupt the flow of the river or alter the velocity of flow; reduce public access to the riverside or the foreshore; release pollutants from contaminated land into the river; impair the integrity or stability of the Tidal defences'. The environmental issues are complex and it is refreshing, after previous generations of official bodies seemingly uncaring and unfunded, to find an empowered department with a brief to protect this long-overlooked part of our heritage. PPG23 ekists to review waste disposal at the planning stage, and various legislation which the Agency can invoke includes the Land Drainage Act '91.

Several speakers referred to the Effra event, when planning permission was denied for a new river wall ajdacent to the River Effra, to extend into Thames frontage. An appeal was upheld because the acknowledged valid argument against this work was unsubstantiated by hard facts. Although this particular construction work resulted in detrimental environmental effects, it triggered the Post-Effra Initiation which included the Tidal Thames Encroachment Study, Public Perception Survey and the joint funding of the Thames Archaeological Survey. A study of river hydraulics confirmed that erosion is occurring and the capping of the Jubilee and Bakerloo tunnels also provided proof of this.

The range of habitat for wildlife is varied but not secured. For example, Crayford Marshes - resting place for birds when the tide is in - are under threat. At another site, the ancient anti-erosion method using hurdle bundles and willow fencing has been reintroduced. The Agency have produced a riverbank design guidance to encourage eco-friendly landscaping. Even though the Thames is now pretty well managed and an 

example to European cities of how to clean up your act, the water quality can be drastically affected very quickly. An example cited was 'a tidal excursion in a slow-flushing period' -following storm overflows into the Thames, sewage led to an oxygen depletion which killed fish within three hours. In answer to this particular problem, a Thames barge now has the

tales of pumping oxygen into the river. Not a lot of people know that!

Public access is one of the aims of the Environ­ment Agency, and they are promoting `enhancement projects'. For example, reed beds are being planted by the Thames Barrier,

The Saturday sessions included summaries of their work by the local societies who have been allocated specified sections of the foreshore, with responsibility for recording features for the Baseline Survey which will be complete by the end of '98. The survey has awakened realisation that the hitherto unglamorous Thames foreshore has huge archaeological potential. Just too much to explain here and now, better to visit the Museum of London's forthcoming exhibition called CapitalConcerns , scheduled for 3rd July to 17th August.

Gus Milne had star billing at the end of Saturday and in his usual effervescent style utilised the whole stage to enthuse and amuse his audience as he interspersed facts with humour. He proposed a rolling programme of research, where students, local societies or indivuals could provide enough papers to hold Chemed conferences every two years for at least the next twelve years. We left, full of enthusiasm, to the upbeat strains of Blondie singing The Tide is Out. .

And ... as a final treat, on Sunday morning, Mike Webber and Fiona Haughhey led a party along the foreshore by the Globe Theatre to see some of the features discussed over the previous two days: peat deposits; barge beds; blocked off inlets, and the remains of a prehistoric forest. We were shown the bits to avoid: the dark and somewhat oily deposits running from land which are industrial waste from the 19th and 20th centuries. Because wildlife had been a strong theme throughout the weekend, I was disap­pointed to only see the inevitable gulls and not so much as a fin.

Vikki O'Connor



TAILPIECE

The smelt has been used as an indicator of how healthy the Thames now is, and one of the speakers from the Environment Agency Education Department proudly wore a t-shirt depicting this fish. A colleague speaking later showed an atractive slide of a smelt in a pleasantly weedy setting. To everyone's amusement she admitted that they don't handle well, shock easily, so this lovely slide they use to illustrate success is not quite what it seems - a healthy, happy fish. They had in fact photographed a dead one!

 

OTHER SOCIETIES' NEWS

Pat Alison of (HADAS and) Barnet & District Local History Society is leading the Barnet Society's outing to Coggeshall on Sunday 12 July, starting from Barnet Odean. Pat may have a few places to fill on this coach, so if anyone is interested they should phone her on 01707 858430.

East Herts Archaeological Society

have published A Century of Archaeology in East Herts 1898 - 1988. Paperback £4.95 or hardback £9.95, copies are available at Hertford Museum, Hertford bookshops, or from one of the contributors, David Perman at 11 Musley Lane, Ware (postage may be extra?). Summarizing the founding, aims, key members and achievements of the Society over the years, it is peppered with anecdotes. Anstey Castle gets a mention, HADAS members who went on the Hertfordshire trip last year may remember the spectral tale of the fiddler Blind George - this gets retold in the EHAS book.

SUMMER IN THE CITY

How about attending some of the Museum of London's Friday lunchtime 50-minute lectures? They all commence at 1.10pm

26 June: Archaeology of the Tower of London, Dr Edward Impey

3 July: Southwark, Lambeth & Wapping (recent archaeological work on the Delftware industry) 10 July: Recent work in the Roman fort, Dave Larkin

17 July: The lost palace of Whitehall, Dr Simon Thurley, Director of the Museum of London

Or how about a walk organised by the Museum?

Tuesday 14 June, 10.30am: The Jewish East End - Spitalfields, tickets £7.50 (concs.£5).

Looking ahead a month... Sunday 26 July, 10am - The City foreshore: north side.

For a booking form phone the Events Booking department of the Museum's Interpretation Unit, main switchboard number: 0171-600 3699.The Council for Independent Archaeol­ogy (CIA) 1998 Conference,

Research Strategies for Independent Archaeol­ogists held on 16 May was chaired by HADAS Chairman Andrew Selkirk.

As might be expected, PPG 16 came under fire and instances of its failure to protect as intended were discussed, some horror stories which implied destruction on a scale similar to what was happening in the 1960s.

English Heritage are presenting conducting a survey of publishing needs and instances were cited of non-publication following contracted

digs. Adrian Oliver of English Heritage explained that EH have the role of developing policy, also that the archaeology budget has been reduced and could be cut again at any time. However, it was not all doom and gloom. There are grants avail­able to the Independents for collaborative projects where they need to gain expertise. A couple of things he mentioned, which we should watch out for, are the EH proposals for a training school, and Campaign 2000 - a European congress on the role of the voluntary sector, private initiatives and young people. On the subject of young people, it was felt that local societies in general were not benefiting from the current public interest in archaeology generated by the popular TV programmes, and are failing to recruit younger members. (HADAS - any suggestions?)

The scarcity of training digs was mentioned by lecturer Dave Beard; Birkbeck's summer dig has 145 applicants for 125 places. He is, however, confident about the strength of independent

participation in research and cited a range of topics undertaken by his extra-mural students. Tony Rook, of course, was the shining example of how to be an independent archaeologist, with his well-documented successes in Hertfordshire.

Paul Wilkinson from Kent demonstrated how an independent researcher can be amazingly productive - his efforts and that of his evening class students have identified several previously unrecorded villa sites in Kent, working initially from maps. Inspiring!
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