newsletter-348-April-2000

 

 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

The Annual General Meeting is on Tuesday 9th May. Included with this Newsletter are the notice of the meeting and the minutes of last year's meeting. Please come along and have your say about the activities of what is, importantly, your society. If you think it. should be doing things differently, if you would like more of this or less of that, don't keep your thoughts to yourselves.

 

The business meeting will, as usual be followed by talks and slides about our activities during the past year.

HADAS DIARY

Tuesday April 11th TED SAMMES EVENING

This evening will be devoted to Ted Sammes, one of our founder members, who died in November 1998, leaving a very substantial bequest to our Society. Ted was born in February 1920 in Boxmoor. In about I930 his parents moved to Hendon and lived at No. 7 Sunningfields Road. This was the HQ of the local Labour Party of which Ted's father was the agent. Ted was in the Royal Corps of Signals throughout the war, serving in various overseas campaigns. When he came back he turned his interest to archaeology. For this our Society must be eternally grateful the rest of his life was devoted to archaeology and research into the history of Hendon. The results of his research are deposited in the Barnet Borough archives in Hendon. He organised local excavations, notably Burroughs Gardens and Church Terrace, put on exhibitions, and wrote booklets and reports.

Later, the family moved to a flat in Brent Street, Hendon. Ted never married, and when his parents died and his firm moved to Maidenhead, Ted bought a house there, but he kept on his flat in Hendon until he died. During the last ten years he developed a heart problem and was able to come to Hendon less and less. In the early years of his illness he spent weekends with Victor Jones who kindly brought him to the occasional lecture or meeting.

Several friends of Ted's have agreed to come and talk to us at this meeting—

Andrew Selkirk, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, as Ted was.

 

Matthew Wheeler, curator of the Dacorum Heritage Museum.

 

Brian Boulter, from Maidenhead, with whom Ted worked in his business life and in Maidenhead archaeology.

Sheila Woodward, our member, who went on many Prehistoric Society outings with Ted. Pam Taylor, another member and until recently a Barnet Council archivist.

Gerard Roots, curator at Church Farmhouse Museum. Ted was a regular visitor and Gerard helped Ted set up exhibitions there.

We hope there will also be time for any anecdotes which members of the audience have to tell.

Sunday 30th April Meeting at 11 am in the Garden Room, Avenue House to plan for National Archaeology Week; to find out more about this, see page 2 below

Annual HADAS long weekend away. A special 2000 effort.

Many people have asked about the possibility of a return to Orkney, where our member Daphne Lorimer lives, and which we last visited in 1978. See the enclosed leaflet about this.


Young HADAS having a LAARC

 

Monday 21 February saw the turn of the younger members and associates of HADAS to have an outing of their own when Vikki O'Connor arranged a morning's visit to the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC) at Eagle Wharf Road in Islington, run by the Museum of London. A party of eight, with ages ranging from seven to seventeen, turned up and the day started with a quick visit to Canonbury Tower at Highbury - "quick" because disruptions on both the Piccadilly and the Victoria lines had caused some delay! We then progressed by bus to the Centre. Some of the party had participated in the recent field-walking at Brockley Hill and the visit was aimed at demonstrating what had happened to the many finds that such archaeological endeavours uncover. John Shepherd, who had co-ordinated the visit, was on leave but in his place we were guided by Steve Tucker who was able to make allowances for the age range without unduly diminishing the quality of the tour. First of all we were shown part of the Museum's reserve collection — the transport section with sedan chairs, taxis, old fire engines and even milk floats. Then on to the archive itself with a sight of the larger building materials which included huge chunks of Roman dressed stone and statuary from more recently demolished buildings. John had arranged for a selection of pottery, building material and metalwork to be displayed which the youngsters were allowed to handle provided they wore the cotton gloves provided. There were no breakages (of course!) and it was pleasing that some of the pieces were recognised as being of the same fabric or finish as items found at Brockley Hill. We were then able to access the archive relating to the much earlier excavations undertaken at Brockley Hill and look at the finds made in the 1950s. Brockley Hill formed a unifying HADAS theme throughout, although the highlight not surprisingly was the much welcomed chance for our younger members to gather around a Spitalfields skull. Thanks were given to the staff at the Centre for the time and care taken over this visit which it is hoped has sown the seeds for future interest in archaeology amongst our younger members.

 

Another half-baked idea from Bill and Vikki?

We hope not! For National Archaeology Weekend this year we are planning to make and bake some pots. For a start, we have visited Chris Ower at College Farm, the model farm site by Regents Park Road, and Chris has agreed to make space available for us on 22/23 July. We will need some volunteers to help plan the weekend, make some pots beforehand, collect firewood, and help build the clamp kiln. If any members with clay skills can spare a few hours to advise, instruct, participate in the pot-making, please let us know. There will be a planning meeting in The Garden Room (entrance from the park to the rear of Avenue House) the first Sunday after Easter, 11am Sunday 30th April; everyone with ideas for experimental archaeology please come along. New members especially welcome - the usual bribe of free coffee and biscuits!

Ancient Rome was not all that different — or was it?                                          Peter Pickering

B Alfenus, a jurist of the first century BC, wrote the following:-  

                                      

Some mules were pulling two loaded carts up the Capitoline. The front cart had tipped up, so the drivers were trying to lift the back to make it easier for the mules to pull it up the hill, but suddenly it started to roll back. The muleteers, seeing that they would be caught between the two carts, leaped out of its path, and it rolled back and struck the rear cart, which careered down the hill and ran over someone's slave boy.

The owner of the slave asked me whom he should site for compensation.

 

My fellow diggers have no beer                                                                        Peter Pickering

Or so the junior officer Masclus wrote to Cerealis, his commanding officer, around AD 100. Well, actually he said 'fellow-soldiers' ("cervesam commilitones non habunt" — yes, those of you who are old enough to have had Latin drummed into them at school will think that last word ought to be`habunt'; so it ought, but grammar was obviously not taught proper in Britain nineteen hundred years ago.) Masclus asked Cerealis to send some. For the supply available to the HADAS team surveying Barnet Gate Wood see below.

Alan Bowman told the February meeting of the Royal Archaeological Institute about Masclus's letter and other new writing-tablets from the fort of Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall. One fascinating discovery was a reference to one Haterius Nepos, whose name has also been found as a graffito on the Colossus of Memnon at the other end of the Roman world, by the banks of the Nile. Another tablet contains a miscellaneous inventory with prices, including red, green, purple and yellow curtains; Dr Bowman speculated that these luxury items might be connected with the need to entertain the Emperor Hadrian in the style to which he was accustomed when he came to visit his very own wall.

 

And where they could get                                                       by Graham Javes

The Gate public house where we partook of refreshment during the recent resistivity testing is known to have stood at Barnet Gate on the edge of Barnet common in 1703, though it may be much older. There was a gate there to contain cattle and horses on the common. A drawing of 1807 shows the inn as a thatched cottage with a porch, the gate alongside it. An old man from a nearby cottage once told how when the common gate was removed a replica was added to the inn sign to commemorate the fact. Originally the Bell, it has been variously called the Bell on the Common, the Bell at the Gate, the Bell and Gate, and latterly the Gate.

In Picturesque Rides and Walks (1817), John Hassall tells that it had been "kept by a worthy, though humble person, a Mrs Taylor, whose civility and attention gained her the respect of every visitor to her humble mansion. It was, before her time in the possession of her father, and her father's father, and sorry am I to relate that at an advanced period of life, with her husband a cripple, she has been consigned to a wretched cottage immediately opposite to her comfortable dwelling. This poor creature is one of those dreadful examples of brewers monopolizing the dwellings of innkeepers and publicans".

Barnet Gate stands on the parish and former county boundary, which ran down the east, (Barnet) side of Hendon Wood Lane. It was known in mediaeval times as Grendel's Gate, and appears in the boundary clause of no less than two Anglo-Saxon charters. The earlier charter, that of King Edgar, dating from 972-8 granted the land of Hendon to Westminster Abbey; whilst the latter was Ethelred's 1005 charter granting the future manor of Barnet to St Albans Abbey, as a woodland attachment to Kingsbury, near St Albans. Pamela Taylor (A Place in Time) suggests that to be called after the monster slain by Beowolf in the epic poem this must have been an important place. Some Barnet manor courts were held there. As late as 1354 when the later Chipping Barnet had eclipsed other settlements, the tenants of the vills of Chipping Barnet and of East Barnet were summoned to separate courts on the same day at Gryndlesgate.

We have a few glimpses of tenants of the hamlet. In 1246, the first year of Barnet court records, Alexander de Grundlesgate is presented in court for selling a piece of meadowland to the Bishop of Ely without permission. Three years later it was noted in court that it was not known whether he had paid a fine (merchet) for marrying his daughters. Clearly he was a villein, though one of the elite villeins on the manor, for a few months earlier Alexander of Grendelesgate sat on a jury of inquisition into a land dispute between tenants of the St Albans' manor of Park. On the same manor in 1241 Raze de Grindelesgate paid ten shillings to the lord for licence to marry the daughter of Norman del Parkstrate and customary payment to take over Norman's land. Because they both hailed from Grindelesgate doesn't mean that Alexander and Raze were related, though they could have been. One Simon de Grundgate was a wealthy tenant. In 1295-6 Simon paid 6s 7 1/4d lay subsidy the second highest taxpayer on the manor of Barnet paid only 3s 9 1/4d, whilst the average paid by 34 taxpayers was is 1s 11 1/2d

At the end of the thirteenth century there was conflict on the Barnet manor between the lord and his tenants, a number of whom claimed to be free men and not hold their land by villeinage. In 1334 Alexander de Grindlesgate (this must he a different person) was one who claimed to be free and had been "unwilling to swear as other villeins of the lord". For several generations the wealthy elite tenants of the manor were to be rebel leaders, as witness their prominence in the Great. Revolt of 1381.

Sources: Graham Jolliffe & Arthur Jones, Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses, an historical gazetteer, (1995); Birch Cartularium Swconicum, 1290; Pamela Taylor, HADAS. NIL 309; AE. Levett, Studies in Manorial History, (1938); PRO. E179/ I20/5

 

Council for British Archaeology                                                                  Sheila Woodward

 

 

The CBA, to which HADAS is affiliated, held its Winter General Meeting this year in Carlisle. It was rather poorly attended, probably owing in part to the venue, though that for me was one of the attractions. It was my first visit to Carlisle, a compact little town with plenty of character, and the opportunity to explore its fine mediaeval castle, its small but glorious cathedral, and it’s interesting Tullie House Museum amply justified my 18 hour day! Even the long train journey had its highlights with its splendid views of the snow-capped Lake District peaks.

 

Following devolution of heritage matters to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly (devolution to the Northern Ireland Assembly has been temporarily withdrawn), the Council has now to work not only with its own regional groups but also with the Council for. Scottish Archaeology and the CBA Wales. Complications may arise through differing legislation. For example, 'Cultural Heritage" in Scotland does not necessarily include archaeology and historical environment. In England there is discussion with the Regional Groups about possible boundary changes to tie in with the boundaries of the Government's regions. London presents a special problem and a possible CBA London group is being considered in consultation with CBA South- East, CBA Mid-Anglia and the Standing Conference on London Archaeology.

There is continuing concern about local government cuts in funding archaeological services. The CBA is monitoring the position and it will continue to make representations against the cuts.

A paper headed `CBA Strategy 2000-2005' contained nothing startlingly new but set out formally the CBA's mission and objectives (promoting awareness of the past and appreciation and care of the historic environment) and proposed methods of implementation e.g. research, conservation, education, communication and participation. The meeting suggested that there should be greater emphasis on the co­ordinating role of the CBA.

There was the usual update on the Government's proposals for Stonehenge and reports from various working groups and sub-committees. The Portable Antiquities Group reported that the Treasure Act seems to have been successful with an encouraging number of finds reported in the first year. However, imports of and return of stolen antiquities continue to be major problems. The Young Archaeologists Club thrives with over 3,000 members, several new branches and a website. The Implement Petrology Group (working on prehistoric stone axes) actually predates the CBA and is now to be constituted as a separate entity which will be affiliated to the CBA.

Affiliation fees, which vary according to the type of organisation and the number of its members, are to be increased from April by about 20%. Individual membership fees have already been so increased.

With an affiliation membership of 500 and an individual membership of 5,760 the CBA remains a force to be reckoned with in the archaeological and heritage scene.

Corrections Department

1.                     Some members may have seen an article in the Daily Mail on 14th March about our member Daphne

Lorimer's study of Stone Age skeletons on Orkney and relating it to the size of women's bottoms to-day. Daphne would like it to be known that she did not think, much less say, what the Daily Mail attributed to her.

2.                     The Council for British Archaeology have pointed out that their website is http://www.britarch.ac.uk

(without the cba at the end as stated in the February newsletter). It is good to see that our newsletter is studied carefully in York.
 
 

Archaeology Out of Town                                                                           Peter Pickering

 

 

 

 

 

That was the title of the open meeting which followed this year's Annual General Meeting of Rescue, the Trust for British Archaeology.

Those of us whose concern is mainly with towns, where the provisions of PPG16 have greatly reduced the old problem of the unrecorded destruction of archaeological deposits by development. are unaware that such unrecorded destruction is continuing apace in the countryside. And, during our formative years, the conventional wisdom of archaeologists was that metal detecting was wicked, and not to be condoned; `treasure-hunters' damaged sites and the objects they discovered were valueless because they had been deprived of their contexts.

Helen Geake, an Assistant Keeper at Norwich Castle Museum, has opened our eyes, both with her talk at the open meeting and in her recent article in Rescue News. Agriculture is, in general, exempt from planning control, and so is completely outside the scope of PPG 16, and modern farming techniques — sub-soiling and de-stoning even more than the very heavy ploughs that are now used — bite ever deeper into the ground and disturb (or worse) the deposits. Many of these deposits would be completely unknown but for metal detectorists. Some 30 (thirty) Anglo-Saxon cemeteries in Norfolk are known only though metal detecting; scientific excavation has found under ten. Metal detecting, in general, finds objects that have already been disturbed by agriculture, not deeper undisturbed ones. indeed, detectorists are sometimes pleasantly surprised when a field they had worked over many times before suddenly produces 'treasure' after an agricultural operation. Metal detectorists can often get access to fields from which the farmer bars archaeologists, whom he sees as part of the resented officialdom.

As the admirable web-site (www.norfolk.gov.uk/touristnimuseums/museums.htm) of the Norfolk Museums Service tells us, the archaeologists there have a long-standing good relationship with detectorists, and most of the staggering 20,000 archaeological objects identified each year by the Service have been brought to them by detectorists. It is not therefore surprising that the Service has been selected to host one of the six pilot Portable Antiquities Recording Projects.

Although Ms Geake made various suggestions for ways of getting to grips with the problem of the unrecorded destruction of archaeological deposits in the countryside, the burdens they would impose on farmers made them seem unlikely to be adopted generally in the foreseeable future. So the need for co-operation with metal detecting, however unwelcome to some archaeologists, is likely to continue.

 

An update on Fieldwork                                                      by Brian Wrigley

 

Barnet Gate Wood Meadow Tree-Planting

Since the item on this in the February Newsletter, a very adequate and enthusiastic resistivity and levelling survey team has formed itself, and has surveyed nearly all the tree-planting area. Some patterns were shown up by the resistivity (which could be generally described as streaks running downhill but some could indicate human activity). A small amount of tree-planting started on 28th February but did not reveal anything which explained resistivity differences — the holes went only a few inches down. Further planting will take place, we understand, in the autumn, probably late November, and we shall be ready with our survey results to monitor these although we understand they will still be small holes and no substantial earth will be moved. However, we understand we shall probably be allowed, during spring or summer, to do some exploration by small test pits and angering in places where our surveys show some possible interest. I feel sure the survey team will have an interest in this — even if nothing of archaeological interest shows up, it will help our confidence in our resistivity results if we see what natural features they reflect.

We much appreciate the help and co-operation of Barnet's Countryside Officer, Mel Lloyd, and the contractor, Keith Gerrard, in arranging this.

London Charterhouse Project

At the time of writing, this project is being planned for the weekend of 18-19 March and by the time you read this we hope that the resistivity survey will have been completed. We have enough volunteers already to form an experienced resistivity team!

 

Hanshaw Drive (off Thurleby Road, Burnt Oak) — a possible dig

This site is a Barnet Council sheltered housing building which encloses an open area, part of which is a humped-up piece of grass: there is a proposal to level this, and the opportunity arises for some archaeological excavation, which HADAS has been invited to do. The timing is expected, to be sometime in the first half of this year, and Stephen Aleck and I are going to prepare a research design for submission.

This site should be of great interest to HADAS: the green hump is no more than 40 metres from the site where, in 1970, HADAS excavated Roman rubbish pits thought to relate to occupation nearby. (Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society 29(1978)).

 

 

OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS

PINNER LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY Talk 6th April 8pm. London Roman Roads — Brockley Hill in particular. Harvey Sheldon. Pinner Village Hall, Chapel Lane. Car park. £l donation.

BARNET LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY Talk 12th April Spm. Knebworth House/Lyttons. Jo Birch. Wesley Hall. Stapylton Road. Barnet. The Barnet Local History Society are planning a visit to Knebworth House in July

KENWOOD talk and guided walk Wednesday 12th  April 10.30 am The Ancient Boundaries in Kenwood Malcolm Stokes for English Heritage which charges £3.50 (£1.50 cones.) This is open to individuals and groups, but with a maximum of 30 and need to be pre-booked. Vikki O'Connor has reserved half a dozen places so if you would like to come along as part of a HADAS group, please phone her on 020 8361 1350. Otherwise, for information and booking contact Kenwood Visitor Information Centre (near the Restaurant) or the Service Wing Shop telephone 020-7973 3893.

 

CAMDEN HISTORY SOCIETY Talk 13th April 7.30pm. Hampstead Remembered — various speakers. Burgh House, New End Square, NW3. £1 donation.

LONDON AND MIDDLESEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY ANNUAL CONFERENCE Saturday 15th April Museum of London. LAMAS members £3, non-members £4. The programme includes papers about the excavations at London Bridge City and Spitalfields and the Time Team one at Greenwich. Nearer to our own patch will be a talk about the Roman pottery industry in Highgate Wood. Ticket applications and general enquiries should be addressed to Jon Cotton, Early Department. Museum of London, 150 London Wall. EC2Y 5HN. HADAS will have a stall at this conference — any of our members planning to attend are welcome to take a turn on the stall during the lunch break - or just come and say hello!

WILLESDEN LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY Talk 19th April 7.30pm. Street Names in the City - Paul Taylor. Willesden Green Library. Willesden Gallery, High Road NW 10. 1 donation.

FINCHLEY SOCIETY Talk 27th April Spm. Traffic and Transport in Barnet - Robert Hodson. Drawing Room. Avenue House N3.

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