Newsletter-335-March-1999

HADAS DIARY

 

Tuesday 9th Feb         Lecture - Paul Roberts - Villa of the Mysteries ;

Recent excavations at Villa Novum in the Sabine Hills, Italy.

(Members will remember the fascinating lecture which Paul Roberts gave last year when he came from the British Museum to talk about Mummy Portraits from Ancient Egypt. Last summer's Sabine Hill excavations did not turn out as expected - hence the Villa of Mysteries!)

 

Tuesday 9 Mar            Sam Moorhead - Letters, curses and the landed gentry in Roman Britain.

See below for more on Mr. Moorhead.

 

Tuesday 13 April        Eric Robinson - Archaeology of local building materials.

 

Tuesday 11th May HADAS. AGM.

 

BACK TO SCHOOL

Our March Lecturer, Sam Moorhead, is giving a course at the British Museum, titled The History of British Archaeology' on Tuesday evenings, 6 April - 18 May 1999, 5.30-7.00p.m. In these lectures he will be exploring archaeology in Britain through the people who founded and developed its study. These include famous names such as Camden, Stukeley and other antiquaries, through the age of Darwin and Pitt-Rivers to Woolley, Carter, Wheeler and Kenyon. (Readers could give themselves a mini-quiz by associating these names with the relevant sites, which include, among others and in no particular order, Wroxeter, St. Albans, Ur, Valley of the Kings and Avebury - Ed.) The course includes optional field trip and museum visits. Tickets £90.00, BM Society and concessions £80.00.

The Archaeology of Landscape public lecture course at the Institute of Archaeology, Birkbeck College,26 Russell Square (barely 10 minutes walk from Euston Station) began 21 January. February lectures include Roman Spain (4th), landscapes in late prehistory (11th) , landscape archaeology in Northamptonshire (18th) and, starring Mick Aston from Time Team ( and University of Bristol) medieval settlement in Somerset (25th). Thursdays from 7pm; £5.00 on the door (Concessions £2.50).

 

URGENT APPEAL****URGENT APPEAL****URGENT APPEAL****URGENT APPEAL

Local author, Hendon resident and HADAS member PERCY REBOUL seeks help; he is working on a book about the London Borough of Barnet in the 20th century and would be delighted to hear from any HADAS member who has a good photograph of the 1997 Princess Diana funeral procession passing at any point through the Borough, (a weekend memorable for those of us on the HADAS trip to York - which was shut for the day of the funeral. Many members signed the books of condolences at some of the Yorkshire churches -Ed). He undertakes to return the picture within 24 hours and the usual credit would be given. Percy can be contacted on 0181-203-3664.

 

NEW BOOK REVIEW - VIKKI O'CONNOR

Between Two Hedges is Peggy Wells' personal account of the history of Village Road, Church End, Finchley 1908 - 1998. Her parents moved there in 1911 when the area was newly developed along the lines of the model planning used at Letchworth. The two hedges of the title mark old field boundaries and may have been planted in medieval times. A pedestrian visitor passing through Village Road with its enclosed green space may sense the same air of nostalgia I experienced whilst reading this delightful book - a living local history bringing together facts, photographs, maps, anecdotes about the early residents, a decline in communal activities after World War II and, more recently, a revival of 'village' events. The 28-page book is obtainable by post from Peggy Wells, 50 Village Road, N3 1TJ, price £3.00 plus either an A5 stamped addressed envelope or an additional 50p to cover same. (It would be fascinating to see more books like this...).

 

THE JEWISH MILITARY MUSEUM

A new museum for north-east London is The Jewish Military Museum and Memorial Room in Stamford Hill. The Association of Jewish•Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX) Military Museum was established several years ago at the AJEX Headquarters to commemorate the contribution to various military campaigns made by British and other Jewish men and women over the last two centuries, with a particular emphasis on the two world wars. The displays use material purchased and donated by veterans and their families and includes the uniform of Lieut. F. A. de Pass, the first Jewish VC. (1914); the Museum also serves as a resource centre for serious researchers by collecting a variety of papers and documents and advising on availability of official records such as the WW2 British Jewish Chaplain Index cards kept on serving personnel.The Museum is staffed by volunteers and is presently open by appointment only to groups and individuals by writing to ; The Archivists, AJEX Museum, AJEX House, East Bank, Stamford Hill, London N16 5RT. Appointments can also be made by telephoning Archivist Henry Morris on 0181 800 2844 or faxing Assistant Archivist Martin Sugarman at 0181-533-5228. Admission is usually free but donations are very welcome.

 

LONDON ARCHAEOLOGICAL ARCHIVE AND RESEARCH CENTRE - A REMINDER As mentioned last month, the Museum of London LAARC Project at Eagle Wharf Road, Hackney still needs donations. Fellow society COLAS have contributed £200,000 from one bequest, and over £500.00 from member's donations, but the gesture of support is as important as the money in many ways and HADAS Hon Treasurer Micky O'Flynn (address on back page) will be pleased to receive any contributions to one overall HADAS donation as agreed by the Committee.

 

COMMITTEE NEWS

Ever wondered what the Committee does other than drink all the Wrigley's Tea and fuss the cats? HADAS Secretary DENNIS ROSS reveals all...

Meetings of the Committee are held quarterly. At a recent meeting, it was agreed to include in Newsletters matters of general interest to members discussed at such meetings. The last meeting was on 11 December 1998 and included the following items;

The Committee expressed its regret at the death of Ted Sammes. It was reported that he had left the Society half a share in his residuary estate. It will, of course be some time before the actual amount of this bequest can be established.

Various working groups and their respective leaders were identified; Field Work, Brian Wrigley; Research, Vikki O'Connor; Industrial Archaeology, Bill Firth; Site Watching, Myfanwy Stewart; Roman Group, Stephen Aleck; Publications, Andrew Selkirk; Programme and Newsletters, Dorothy Newbury.

As mentioned elsewhere, examination of the Brockley Hill finds continues. Fiona Seeley of MOLAS had looked at the finds and established a 'reference collection' and the Roman pottery will be further inspected by Fiona in due course.

4 The Treasurer reported the receipt of a f1000 legacy from Gill Baker, and the Minimart showed a profit to date of £1385.

5 There are now 291 members of the Society. The Committee has under consideration ways to increase membership and the question of publicity generally.

VIKKI O'CONNOR adds ;

The Society regularly receives correspondence from official bodies, most of this requiring carefully considered attention, and Brian Wrigley is frequently the Committee Member who, in consultation with the Committee, undertakes these labours..

Hadas was recently requested by the London Borough of Barnet to provide comment/suggestions for amendments to the areas of archaeological significance noted on their Unitary Development Plan (UDP). This document is consulted when the Borough considers planning applications, in compliance with Planning Policy Guidance Note 16 (PPG 16). We proposed that one of the areas should be extended to include the Decoy Pond and a short stretch of the Mutton Brook to the north of this feature close to Golders Green Road. The Borough's Planning Department has confirmed to Brian that our recommendation has been accepted.

HADAS has copies of the Borough's official maps of areas of archaeological significance which are kept at Avenue House and are of course available to any interested members.

LEAP

The Environment Agency has conducted HADAS, inviting us to comment on environmental issues for inclusion in their North London Local Environment Agency 5-year Plan (LEAP). A extract of Brian's reply on our behalf follows:

`Routes of watercourses are in general of potential archaeological interest, particularly where there are areas of open land beside them where ancient land surfaces (possibly containing evidence of past use) may be covered and protected by alluvium. We should very much like to see some provision in the LEAP for archaeological work to be allowed, and indeed encouraged, in such areas where for any reason operations take place involving earth moving such as dredging, de-silting or water course changing'

 

NEWS FROM OUR NEIGHBOURS

Barnet & District Local History Society Venue - Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet. Mon 8th February 3pm Talk by Jack Edwards; The Eleanor Crosses

Mon 8th March 3pm Talk by Dr. John Kent; London's Money, From the Romans to the Victorians.

Edmonton Hundred Historical Society ( Also at the Jubilee Hall Enfield - Visitors £1) Wed 24th February 8pm Talk by Dr. Jim Lewis on Forgotten Industries of the Lea Valley

Enfield Archaeological Society

Venue - Jubilee Hall, Junction of Chase side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield. Visitors welcome - £1. Fri 19 February 8pm Talk by John Clark; The Industries of medieval London

Hornsey Historical Society

Venue - Union Church Community Centre, corner of Ferule Park Road and Weston Park, N8. Wed 10th February 8pm Talk by Ruth Phillips on Historic Food in England

LONDON AND MIDDLESEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

The 36th Conference of London Archaeologists

Saturday 20th March 1999 11.00 AM - 5.45 PM Museum of London Lecture Theatre Morning Session; Recent Work.  Afternoon Session; Archaeology of the River (Thames)

Speakers will include Mike Webber of the Thames Foreshore Project, John Williams of Kent County Council speaking on the Research Framework for the Thames, and Martin Bates from University on the topographical modelling of the Thames flood plain. (Both Mike and Martin have talked to HADAS within the last couple of years)

Tickers, £3.00 (LAMAS Members) £4.00 (Non - Members) available from Jon Cotton, Early Department, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y SHN.

Cheques payable to LAMAS- S.A.E. Required.

Pinner Local History Society (0181-866-3372) (Village Hall, Chapel Lane, Pinner) Thurs. 4th February 8pm Talk by Catherine Dolman on Renaissance Jewellery

FROM THE PAPERS - I

The Daily Mail recently reported that life for the dinosaurs some 200 million years ago may have had its problems. Palaeontologists at Portsmouth University have found evidence that they may have been bothered by parasitic mites ; in one example they found 70 micrometer wide mite eggs on a 120 million year old fossil archaeopteryx ( a bird -like creature) feather found in Brazil.

PROGRESS ON BROCKLEY HILL FINDS

 

Members are still in residence at Avenue House, Finchley most Sundays and Wednesdays carrying on with post-excavation work .We are presently engaged in analysis of the material from the fieldwalking at the Roman pottery kiln site at Brockley Hill last August. The material has all now been cleaned and bulk sorted; we are now beginning the task of sorting the Roman pottery by type and form and marking it up with the site code. There is a small amount of Samian table wares, some grey-wares and a great deal of Verulamium Region ware, known to the cognoscenti as `VRW' including; as would be expected, many mortaria sherds plus fragments of flagon necks and strap handles also from jugs and flagons. There is also a considerable quantity of Roman brick and tile including flanged `tegula' and lesser quantities of clay pipe and post medieval pottery and glass. As this material comes from the plough soil it is well broken up with few pieces of pottery larger than 2 or 3 inches although these do include some good base fragments. Most of the Roman pottery does appear to have come from the area nearest the road with totals thinning out the closer you move to the centre of the field; more analysis will permit further exploration of distribution patterns.

Contact Brian (0181-959-5982) or Vikki (0181-361-1350) if you wish to join in!

 

PLANNING APPLICATIONS - News from TESSA SMITH

Edgwarebury Farm  Installation of sewage treatment plant - warrants further consideration says English Heritage.

Mill Hill School The Ridgeway. EH again recommend further investigation.

94 Gervase Road Burnt Oak Near the site of the Roman finds excavated by HADAS from the drive of a house in Thirleby Road in the 1970s.

 

TRANSPORT CORNER                                                       by ANDY SIMPSON

No North London tram books to review this month, but ever keen to maintain a theme, I popped out one lunchtime recently for a quick bit of transport archaeology fieldwork. Until a few months ago, one of the attractions (?) of Mill Hill Park was the dingy underpass beneath the Barnet By-Pass. This has now been completely rebuilt and is much larger and better lit. One feature that did disappear during the rebuild was two four-five feet long lengths of grooved tram track stood vertically in the pathway at the western end, acting as barriers to bikes and other wheeled traffic. To my knowledge this was the last tram track still visible in the Borough; other track, disused since 1938, is certainly still in situ at the foot of Barnet Hill, though well buried by modern road surfaces and only visible during roadworks, and some of the track at the site of Colindale depot survived into the 1970s. If anyone knows of other extant tramlines in the Borough I would be interested to hear from them. South of the River of course, a whole new generation of trams is already running on test as Croydon Tramlink nears completion with classic street track around Croydon and reserved track to Wimbledon. Recent transport studies have considered modern 'light rail' or even trolleybuses back on the Edgware Road but as with the suggested reopening of the rail route from Mill Hill East to serve Copthall Stadium these plans have yet to materialise.

 

FROM THE PAPERS - II

The Evening Standard recently reported the discovery of the possible foundations of a large Roman triumphal arch at the main entrance to Londinium on a site at the rear of the Old Bailey, along with a tributary of the lost River Fleet. The foundations could alternatively be those of a huge mausoleum.

 

TV NEWS - TIME TEAM AND MEET THE ANCESTORS

We are now well into the new 10 part Time Team series on Channel 4 at Sunday Teatime as usual. Following programmes on kiln sites in the Potteries, and Roman Cumbria in a back garden, at the time of writing we have still to see programmes on the 7th Feb Smallhythe, Kent - medieval port destroyed in 1514; 14th Feb Beauport Park East Sussex -iron works of the Classis Britannica; 21st Feb Reedham Marshes, Norfolk recovery of two WW2 B17 bombers; 28 Feb Turkdean ,Gloucs return to the Roman villa site; and four more programmes in March.

Also back on Thursday nights is BBC look-alike 'Meet the Ancestors' which has already reconstructed the Saxon Warrior found buried surrounded by the graves of small children, also with weapons for the afterlife, found on an American Airbase in East Anglia, and a Roman inhabitant of Winchester in his lead coffin.

Lucy Etherington in the Evening Standard 'Hot Tickets' Entertainment guide, in that publication's usual objective manner, reviewed 'Ancestors' thus; 'I always thought that people working at the British Museum were the sort who had been told by their doctors to avoid excitement. If so, there's going to be a lot of sick notes when archaeologist Julian Richards presents them with his (sic) latest find -an Anglo Saxon warriors grave...For those who found Tony Robinson's Time Team on Channel 4 a touch infantile, this is the sensible BBC2 version for grown-ups and pipe smokers.' Charming!

 

NEWS FROM CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM

Latest in the always excellent programme of temporary exhibitions at the Museum, running only until Valentine's Day (146 Feb) , so hurry - is 'JIGSAW PUZZLES'.

This display is based on three extensive local private collections and features jigsaw puzzles from the early nineteenth century to modern day 3-D versions. The huge range of puzzle subjects is well covered including educational tools and TV tie-ins, including such childhood memory-joggers as Andy Pandy and the Flower Pot Men, which is not, contrary to rumour, the name of the new digging team rock band. (Mind You, Bill does a mean air guitar!)

But seriously folks, the modern items such as the 3-D 'Millennium Falcon' space ship and bust of Darth Vader from Star Wars are impressive, as is the wonderful selection of GWR publicity jigsaws. Depending on your railway allegiances, the 'Great Way Round' or 'Gods' Wonderful Railway' certainly knew how to keep itself in the public eye, the jigsaws featuring holiday destinations and GWR locos, especially pride of the fleet, the 'King' class express passenger locos. For the children -and others - there are plenty of puzzles to try out.

Following on from 13 March to 9 May 1999 will be 'HAUNTED BARNET' - the story of the supernatural and occult in Barnet Borough, covering ghostly highwaymen and witches' covens.

FAMILY RECORDS CENTRE

Those with an interest in family history may like to check out this new facility established by the ONS and the Public Record Office; it provides a new base for the research facilities previously at St. Catherine's House and the Census Reading Rooms in Chancery Lane. The centre provides advice on its collection of genealogical records and a bookshop, photocopying service and refreshment area. Visit it at 1 Myddelton Street, London EC1R 1UW. Tel. 0181 392 5300. Those 'on line' can check the web site at www.open.gov.uk/pro/prohome.htm Got that?

 

DOROTHY NEWBURY reports on THE HADAS CHRISTMAS DINNER (AVENUE HOUSE, FINCHLEY 3 DEC 1998)

After many trials and tribulations with the planning of the 1998 Christmas Dinner- and even a couple of sleepless nights- the evening seemed to go well in the end. With three different  council departments to deal with I just could not believe things could possibly run smoothly. However all was well in the end, and the 54 members present all seemed to enjoy the evening. (Definitely! - Ed). After a preliminary glass of wine and get together, Norman Burgess our Finchley Society speaker also had some problems trying to track down a working projector. No matter - his talk on Henry Charles 'Inky' Stephens and the Avenue House grounds and house itself was amusing and very enlightening and started the evening off well, as did the opportunity to view the Stephens Museum. Our traditionally served meal was excellent and the service of the catering staff was most jolly and efficient - so all was well that ended well.

must also thank Vikki and Roy for handing me a greeting and thank you card for my efforts, signed by those present and accompanied by a box of luxury chocolates. Thank you all for appreciating my efforts. ( A pleasure Dorothy - amply deserved as always - Ed.)

A HADAS MEMBER'S VIEWPOINT

Dorothy Newbury pointed out this item which appeared (under a different title!) in a October 1998 Northamptonshire County Council Newsbrief;

Councillor Derek Batton's unique initiative only yards from his home caught my eye...read on to discover this news story which has hit national and local headlines...told in his own words.

A HADAS MEMBER'S HOME IS HIS CASTLE

Well, not quite. This story began in April 1997. M•route to many local areas took me from my home in Paulerspury through the small village of Alderton and along the side of a wooded mound which I passed countless times without giving it a second thought. Suddenly an Estate Agent's board appeared: FOR SALE: CASTLE AND MOAT.

Curiosity and a lifelong interest in history took their grip soon after election day and I clambered to the top of the embankment to be amazed at the extent of this neglected monument. Further details from the agents gave me a flavour of its history and I was suddenly in a bidding race. Something else happened at this time. The Norwich Union de-mutualised and I was given a vast number of shares, the value of which seemed to me to verge on the immoral. I had to submit a final sealed bid, dreamt up a number, panicked and then realised that the number had some significance to me, stuck with it, put in my bid and was delighted to be successful.

So, what am I going to do with this castle I've bought? I intend to release the latent archaeological and historical potential of this historic Ringwork. I had done some archaeological work in the past, in America on Indian Wars and Civil War Battlefields, and thought it would be fun to.start digging my own castle. Not too easy. This is a scheduled monument (only some 7% of monuments are scheduled, so it must be important) and I am not allowed to put a spade in the ground or hardly pull up a weed without consent from English Heritage, but with the inestimable help of Northamptonshire Heritage, we are working on it. The next year should see us doing some geophysical-work and then, maybe, some 'real' archaeology.

There are five Ring Works in Northamptonshire. Mine at Alderton is by far the largest and is the one about which least is known. The scale of the moat and ramparts is dramatic; I have a badger sett in one corner ; surface pottery finds so far have been identified as Iron Age, Medieval and Roman.

The top is a natural amphitheatre with great potential; there is scope for finding something really important. As a friend of mine remarked: 'Derek, it's great big toy, isn't it? Just about the most exciting toy I've ever possessed.

A friend tells me that Warwick Castle is up for sale. There is a horse called County Councillor running in the 2.30 at Kempton Park tomorrow, starting price should be 25 to 1. Now, if I take what's left of the Norwich Union money out of the bank.....

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