Newsletter-338-June-1999

  

NEW DISCOVERIES-NEW INSIGHTS

 

It is received wisdom that the Neanderthals did not contribute to the development of Cro-Magnon man but ran parallel until they disappeared. New evidence has come to light which challenges this view. The skeleton of a young boy found in Portugal, shows distinct features of both the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon. As the Telegraph has it reporting the find, the two strains "made love not war"!!Joking apart, if there is inter­breeding it can be interpreted to challenge the long held "Out of Africa" theory that the early humans evolved in Africa before moving north and west to displace the Neanderthals without mingling. No doubt the new approach will give rise to much discussion.

The mummified bodies of three children have been discovered in NW Argen­tine at 22,000 feet. The richness and variety of grave goods have been wonderfully preserved in the dry cold. The completeness of the evidence throws light on the religious practices of the INCA some 500 years ago. They were then the most powerful civilisation in the Americas. It is thought that the altitude of the burials indicates sacrifice to the mountain gods. There is no evidence of violent killing; rather it is believed the children were drugged and buried while in a stupor, but still alive. Although the finds were made some five years ago, the team kept secret their importance until able to secure the site. They hope for a major advance in knowledge of the cultural and political context of the burials.

(Science)

Nearer home, an unsuspected and uniquely untouched site outside Swindon has revealed what is probably a large Roman religious complex. English Heritage have paid nearly £ 1 min to buy out an intending developer.

This a very large purchase for them, reflecting the importance placed on the site. Testing with keyhole bores is in line with EH's intention to move slowly, and in the greatest detail, taking years rather than months to develop the dig. (Times)

 

HADAS DIARY

Saturday 12 June- OUTING Penshurst Place, Lullingstone Roman Villa

and Eynsford Castle with Mickys Cohen & Watkins

 

Saturday 17 JULY        OUTING Gloucestershire with Tessa Smith &Sheila

Woodward

 

Saturday l4 August- OUTING West Stow & Framlingham(Sflk)with Bill Bass

 

HADAS LONG WEEKEND Portsmouth &Isle of Wight SEPTEMBER 3,4&5.

WE NEED A FEW MORE MEMBERS WHY NOT JOIN, BRING A FRIEND?

 

Mary O'CONNELL advises SPITALFIELDS SITE opens Mon-Fri12-2pm (no Sat)

Suns 10-4pm

Sunday 25 July SPECIAL TOUR-1pm. Booking advised

 

 

EXCAVATION SECRETARY'S CORNER

SITE WATCHING ON LOCAL WATER-COURSES          Brian Wrigley

Newsletter 336 contained 03) an item on the notification to us by the Environment Agency of proposed dredging of the Silk Stream at Colindale, and our request to be allowed to observe and record any features of archaeological interest.  We have now had notifications of similar work on Pymmes Brook, and on Dollis Brook at Finchley Bridge.

Our most recent information is that the Silk Stream and Pymmes Brook works are at present "on hold" so we have to await further news. The Dollis Brook works, I am

told, will possibly start about September, and I should of course be glad to hear from any Members who would be available to help with observation.

Another scheme we have notice of is a Silk Stream Flood Alleviation Scheme which involves considerable earth-moving work in various areas.         The 'Environmental Assessment
Scoping Consultation' we have received includes reference to possible archaeological investigations and we shall be in consultation and co-operation with English Heritage's Advisory Officer over this. There seems to be widespread consultation on environmental issues and it may be some time before we know when the work will be likely to start, but meanwhile I should be glad to hear from any Members who would be interested to help in any archaeological work which may fall to us.

HADAS AGM 1999

Our new President, Dr. Ann Saunders, ably chaired the AGM with her usual efficiency and good humour. The Chairman gave his report, and in the absence of the Hon. Treasurer on

holiday in the Bay of Naples (groans of envy from the audience!) he also presented the

accounts which were duly approved by the meeting.

All the nine Vice-Presidents were confirmed in office, and the Officers and ten members of the

Committee who had offered themselves for re-election were duly elected.

We were then able to move onto the more entertaining part of the evening when reports were given on the activities of the Society over the past year.

Andy Simpson gave a briefer version of the talk, with slides, which he recently gave to the Finchley Society on the history of HADAS over the last ten years.

Vicky O'Connor talked about the field walking on Brockley Hill. Funded by English Heritage this included training sessions in surveying and pottery identification. There have been many weeks of finds processing and analysis, which will continue for some time and helpers are always welcome. Roy Walker spoke about the future work on surveying the ditch on East Heath. This Anglo-Saxon boundary encloses land granted to Westminster Abbey by Ethelred in 986. The HADAS survey was started in Kenwood and will continue across the Heath.

Brian Wrigley, the Fieldwork Secretary, then outlined proposed interests for the next ten years,

including the Hampstead Heath continuing survey and watching the activities of the Water Board. They have a large programme for dredging the Silk Stream and Dollis Brook. He

appealed for ideas on work which could be undertaken by the Society. Many thanks to the President and to the Speakers for an enjoyable AGM.

Hendon and District Archaeological Society Chairman's Reports 11th May 1999


HADAS has enjoyed another successful year, with membership just exceeding the 300 mark.

The most notable project undertaken by HADAS over the past year has been a field walking exercise carried out at Bury Farm, Brockley Hill in the scheduled area which took place over the weekends at the cad of August 1998. English Heritage gave scheduled monument consent on condition that we received training and instruction from professional archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology Service. We are very grateful to Fiona Seale), and her colleagues for helping us lay out the site and identify the Roman pottery. English Heritage gave us a grant to cover the professional fees. Since then the working party has been fully engaged in its Sunday sessions in marking and quantifying the pot and in the process learning a lot about Roman pottery.

The lectures and outings continued to flourish and we are very grateful to June Porges for organising a stimulating lecture • session. The highlight of the outings was the three day trip to Bristol, organised once again by Dorothy Newbury on the 3rd to 6th September.

A major event for the Society is always the Minimart which happily turns a fund raising event into a happy social occasion: It was held this year on 10th October and raised nearly 4.1500, a record.' Once again our grateful thanks are duc to Dorothy Newbury and her helpers for its success.

The Newsletter continued to appear under its roster of editors which resulted in a wide range of styles and typefaces and indeed different colours. At the last meeting the committee resolved that one of the issues in the late Spring should be enlarged to form the HADAS Journal in which all the work done by our Society or concerned with archaeology in the Borough of Barnet in the past year should be brought together.

The Publicity and Publications Committees have been active and the publication of the revised edition of our Blue Plaques book entitled, Commemorative Plaques - People, and Places in the London Borough of Barnet, by Joanna Cordon and Liz Holliday has been scheduled for early in 2,000. Gill Baker generously left the society L1,00 in her will, and this has been earmarked towards the cost of this new book. A new publicity leaflet has also been produced thanks to Tim Wilkins.

Finally, I should record the sad death of one of our Vice-Presidents, Ted Sammes, on- November 7th -1998. Ted was one of the founder Members of the Society and directed two of the early excavations in Hendon at The Burroughs and more particularly at Church Terrace, the latter of which was published in one of our booklets, Pinning Down the Past: Finds front a Hendon Dig. He also wrote a book for Shire Publications,: South Eastern England in their Discovering Regional- Archaeology series. Ted was a cereal scientist by profession and shortly before his retirement he moved to Maidenhead. In his will he generously left the residuary estate to be divided between the Maidenhead Archaeological Society and HADAS, and in the coming year we will have to decide how best to forward the interests of archaeology with the help of this valuable bequest.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the members of the committee who have given us once again such a successful .year. In particular I should like to thank Denis Ross, our new secretary, for throwing himself in the task with such vigour; to Micky O'Flynn who manages the accounts with such quiet efficiency; and in particular to Vikki O'Connor who performs the thankless but vital task of Membership Secretary. Above all I would like to thank Dorothy Newbury, now our Vice President, for all she does for the Society, for organising the Minimart, masterminding and printing the Newsletter and masterminding and herself arranging many of our excursions, and the Christmas Dinner. I must not forget Brian Wrigley, who organises the working party and deals with most of the legal and planning side and represents us on many bodies, and who, with his wife Joan, makes our committee meetings so comfortable. Our thanks to you all.

 

APRIL LECTURE REPORT

 

In his second lecture to HADAS on the Thames Archaeological Survey (TAS), Mike Webber concentrated on the educational aspects rather than detailed site reporting. TAS has created public awareness of the river's resources, partly through organising walks and talks and partly through national press coverage which has been slanted towards human interest rather than artefacts. The finding of a baton-shaped object last September led to Press headlines proclaiming 'the first cricket bat' . Mike admitted that a more cautious interpretation would be a tool to kill fish caught in traps or a flax beater. Although English Heritage weren't amused by the press headlines, Mike found justification when he

learned that a full classroom session at Stoke-on-Trent had produced some colourful pictures of the object with alternative uses. The foreshore project has fostered public involvement through the open events, hands-on and feet-in. School parties are encouraged to visit and the children are enthused by the things they pick up and by the variety of wildlife they observe. Their perception of the Thames is changed by their experience, from seeing the Thames as dirty and boring they come to realise it is fascinating and possibly the cleanest capital city river in the world. Although archaeology does not feature in the National Curriculum, the Thames survey does connect through geography, geology, social and environmental sciences and history.

The objectives of the survey, as expressed at their Archaeology of the Thames Foreshore conference last year, have been fulfilled. The baseline archaeological survey of the tidal Thames from Teddington

to Greenwich actually went further, at no extra cost, to include Rainham and Erith. 

Through the survey activity Londoners were able to access their archaeological heritage, students and several local societies participated - giving their members the opportunity to learn and practice a range of new skills. TAS raised awareness of the potential of the foreshore as a resource, it is now on the agenda of planners, politicians and businessmen.

Mike highlighted some of their archaeological discoveries and latest interpretations. At Erith a submerged forest is suffering erosion, the area is the subject of study by PhD student Sophie Seal who has labelled 600 trees to date, sampling for species and felling age. Also, seeds which are buried in the sand and mud need to be researched further. Comparative study of trackways, such as at Beckton, may link them with felling in the Erith forest. Stone axes found at Erith are now (obviously) a product of forest management and not, as previously described, 'ritual objects'.

The 3-year survey completed at the end of May 1999, and to Mike and his team's credit, held to budget. (Perhaps they should have worked on the Jubilee Line extension or built the British Library instead?).

We were grateful to Mike Webber for agreeing to talk to us at very short notice, as our scheduled speaker had double-booked our date, and we look forward to a third visit...

Vikki O'Connor

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

 

Michael Holton writes to Dorothy Newbury:‑

"As a Geographer I have always admired the work of of HADAS and joined it hoping to support it. Alas I have too many irons in the fire but the Newsletter became a most enjoyable, informative and continuous

source. The membership is very good at writing up and interpreting events and the team at publishing results. One gets a clear picture of what is afoot over a very wide area of interest. A lot of effort.

My current chief task is to research the story of the Garden Suburb during the last war. I have been surprised at how much information there is still around mainly social history, though some of which has an archaeological aspect - though the physical remnants are now mainly below ground."

Dorothy suggests if any member has anything to tell or any photos about the garden Suburb during the last war, I am sure Mr Holton would be pleased to know.

Dorothy would like to take this opportunity of thanking the Editors and Contributors for their hard work on behalf of members, and says she receives many letters of appreciation.

 

CONGRATULATIONS to Stewart Wild for winning the Telegraph competition

"Where is it?" in May. Readers are asked to identify a mystery photo -what the object is and where located not easy with a minimum of clues. THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME...

Several HADAS members were working on finds at the Garden Room on Sunday 10th May and as it was a sunny day they were working outside. Around mid-day a St John's Ambulance lady approached us asking if this was the right day for the Church End Festival ‑

there being no sign of any activity in the park other than the usual kids, bikes and dogs. We hadn't seen any notices around but we believed this was the right date and very soon people began to arrive, dragging trestles, bags and boxes to the lawns. Not one to miss the chance of a sale, Andy Simpson quickly set up our display board next to where we were working and improvised a sales point with the projector stand. When we called it a day at around

3.30pm, Andy had sold £25-worth of HADAS publications and may even have recruited a new member or two.

 

BROWSERS' CORNER

 

Barnet Conservation Volunteers have published their 1999 task programme targeting Arrandene Open Space, Mill Hill; Totteridge Fields

nature reserve; Moat Mount Open Space, Mill Hill; and Hadley Green. IM s not archaeology but you do get the fresh air! For more information, visit their Web Site at: http://www.aborigine.demon.co.uk/bcv/

London Borough of Barnet is also now contactable on the Web (anyone care to test this?)   www.barnet.gov.uk

SPITALFIELDS - Web site for information on the excavations: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/sdg.htm

 

 

RETIREMENT NOTICE

Henry Roots, veteran of the Hendon anti-squirrel league has hung up his hunting claws. His bemused 'owner', Gerrard, (if anyone can claim to own a cat!), says that Henry has learned to live at peace with the wildlife around Church Farmhouse Museum - a complete change of character. This is the animal who, on more than one occasion, deposited a verminous beastie in the Roots' bath. The new persona seems to coincide with the broken tail event reported in HADAS newsletter 323, although there are other possibilities. Could he have been converted by a vision of a deceased squirrel in the churchyard? Has he become a vegan? Is he worried about pollution in the food chain, or genetically-modified rats? Does this mean the Museum will have to recruit a new pest controller? Take your NOMINATIONS along to Church Farmhouse Museum at the top of Greyhound Hill, NW4, when next you visit...

 

Farm Museum.

The current display at the Museum, "A Century of Bears', finishes on 6th June and will be followed by an exhibition on the origins and history of the St John's Ambulance Brigade - opening on 26th June.

An exhibition on Haunted Barnet (Borough) is being planned for the autumn. Anyone with material/suggestions/anecdotes to offer should contact the Gerrard Roots, Curator at Church Farmhouse Museum, on 0181-203 0130.

 

OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS

 

Barnet & District Local History Society

Wednesday 9 June, 8pm - Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, High Barnet BDLHS Vice-President(and member of HADAS)Graham Javes will reveal his recent researches into the history of Chipping Barnet and its Market. (Donation requested from non-members.)

 

Enfield Archaeological Society have planned an 'Air Raid Experience' to be held for their members and friends at Millfield House, Enfield on Sunday 4th July, with tours of a large communal shelter between 11am and 5pm. Details of their society from Geoffrey Gillam, 0181 367 0263.


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