Newsletter 359 February 2001

 

HADAS DIARY  - OUR 40th ANNIVERSARY YEAR

 

Tuesday 13th February Lecture; Dr Ben Lazreg - Aspects of Roman Tunisia . Dr. Lazreg is a Tunisian Archaeologist who taught Roman History at the University of Tunis and conducted digs in central Tunisia, currently working on Leptis Minus and Thapsus. His special visit to HADAS is sponsored by Wigmore Holidays in conjunction with its tour programme “Aspects of Tunisia.”

Tuesday 13th March Lecture; Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills ( outing planned for August)

 Tuesday 10th April Lecture; Chris Thomas Spittlelfields

 

Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th September 2001 Long Weekend to Bangor and Anglesey, North Wales with David Bromley and Jackie Brooks; Application Form Enclosed

     (All Lectures commence 8 p.m. at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley)

 

 

STILL LOOKING

 

Following on from Bill's report in the previous newsletter, the Hanshawe Drive, Burnt Oak

excavations have revealed a post-medieval soil layer sealed by the 1960s demolition rubble of the former Wesleyan Meeting Hall, itself sealing natural London clay. The buried soil contains clay pipe stems, 17th - 18th century pottery and one very nice green glazed, possibly Tudor, sherd. Still no trace of the Romans yet, however. The first trench is now almost finished. Many of the finds have already been processed and recorded at Avenue House, and a short note submitted for the next annual round- up in 'London Archaeologist' together with a note on last year's work at Barnet Gate Meadow.

GET YOUR NAME IN PRINT

 

Calling all potential authors; the society has received the following letter from Katherine Burton, Project Editor, Tempus Publishing Ltd; 'I would like to find someone to compile a book of old photographs of the Hendon Area. In particular, I would like to find someone who would undertake to produce a photographic history of Golders Green; but I am fairly flexible with the territory chosen. We are publishers of local interest books ; our Archive Photographs series; Images of England has become a front runner in this popular way of presenting local social history. We also produce a Then & Now series, an oral history series called Voices and a History and Guide series. Books in the Images of England series are produced to a standard format. We require 200 photographs each with an appropriate caption to fit nicely into 128 pages and we can offer as much editorial advice as is necessary. All the costs of production are borne by us and all our authors are paid a royalty based on the net price of books sold. Books will be sold at a cover price of E10.99 and we have a dedicated sales team who will deal with the after production life of the book. I would be happy to meet anyone should further discussion be useful.

Katherine Burton can be contacted on 01453 883300 or tempusuk@tempus-publishing.corn

( Your Editor has gained a free book or five by providing photos to others writing books in the same series for the Wolverhampton area; short text introductions head sections on topics such as Transport; each photo (c.1860-1980) - usually two to a page on matt paper - has a 2-5 line caption)

ROMAN LONDONERS                                                 by Peter Pickering 

I was one of a good crowd at the Museum of London's 'Roman Londoners' Study Day on 9th December. The programme fully lived up to my hopes. All the speakers except for Mark Hassall were from the Museum or its Archaeological or Specialist services; they were clear and amusing, and quite a lot of what they said was new to me, even if some of it ought not to have been; though there was a little overlapping between speakers, they reinforced rather than contradicted one another. HADAS members may be interested in some account of what I learnt.

Despite the high-status objects found in the river and the fact that the name Londinium was of Celtic origin Hedley Swain's judgement was that London was a greenfield site at the conquest.

Early London was therefore outside both the Celtic and Roman social structures, and so attracted especially young and middle aged single men who found those social structures irksome. Mark Hassall and John Shepherd both emphasised the brutality and repression of the Roman conquerors, certainly until Boudicca had taught them a lesson. That rebellion left the Romans with a carte-blanche in Southern England - the pro-Roman elite had been eliminated by Boudicca and the anti-Roman elite were eliminated by the Romans. There were however many benefits from the Roman conquest, not least the introduction to Britain of roofs ( made of tiles) that actually kept the rain off ( which must have been an inestimable benefit if the weather was like that of November 2000).

Nick Bateman looked at the question whether London was in any sense the 'Capital' of the Roman Province of Britannia, or of any of its later subdivisions. He was very sceptical of the so-called Governor's Palace, and pointed out that the Procurator - who had charge of the finances - did not necessarily operate from the same base as the Governor, whose functions were military and judicial. To complicate matters, the provincial Council - which was not as important as it sounds to modern ears - was probably based at Colchester, where the Temple of the Imperial Cult was, though it could have had a subsidiary office in London. There is however a piece of evidence from the third century, in the form of a tombstone of a pro-praetorian legate, who was Governor of Upper Britain.

Francis Grew emphasised how difficult it was for us, after nearly two millennia, to get a real understanding of Roman Society. But that does not stop intelligent speculation, and he went on to speculate in an enthralling way about the human stories behind Roman tombstones and other inscriptions.

Finally, Angela Wardle went through the many trades and industries for which there is evidence in Roman London, from baking to weaving by way of bone working, carpentry, the forgery ( and legitimate production) of coins, jewellery, leather working, and pottery production. Most remarkable, perhaps, were the fragments of glass (some 100,000 in all) found near the amphitheatre adjacent to the fort.

BOOKNEWS

Latest from the Museum of London Archaeology Service is the snappily titled ; The Archaeology of Greater London An Assessment of archaeological evidence for human presence in the area now covered by Greater London  - yours for £26 plus 20% Postage and Packing, for which you get a 344pp paperback including gazetteer of sites and finds, 48 b/w figures and 13 colour maps. There are 10 period based chapters and an extensive bibliography, 'drawing together the knowledge of specialists and experts to provide a framework within which future archaeological discoveries and research may be considered'. Details on 020 7410 2200 or garyw@molas.org.uk

HADAS ON-LINE                                                                                   by Andrew Selkirk

HADAS is now firmly established 'on-line', and has eagerly embraced the world of the Internet. For some time now we have had our own ( very fast loading - Ed) web-site at

www.hadas.org.uk

which not only has a lot of general information about the society and its activities but also has special 'cyber-tours' of some of the societies' recent activities - the experimental pot-firing weekend at College Farm last summer, and the current excavations at Hanshawe Drive - both of them with full colour illustrations ( the advantage in using the web!)

We have now gone one stage further - and HADAS now has its own e-mail Discussion Group. It is very easy to join - just send a blank e-mail to hendon-subscribe@listbot.com and you will receive a confirmatory e-mail back inviting you to join.      Alternatively, just go-to our web site and you can join there by clicking on the button, and filling in the form with your e-mail address. The list is run for free, courtesy of Microsoft - though the name HADAS had already been taken, so we are using the name 'Hendon'.

We hope this will soon develop into a major asset for HADAS, and indeed for the Borough generally. Anyone can join - you need not be a HADAS member and I hope it will be used by all those who have queries about the history of our Borough, and that members of the Society will be able to give advice. We are after all a charitable organisation, and this is an opportunity to spread the message among the general public - and to answer their questions. I only hope that some of them will then go on to join HADAS.

We already have 7 list-members, and hope we will soon have lots more!

TIME TEAM

 

Are back on the telly ( Sundays at 6) . Thanks to Bill Bass for this schedule of the new series; Down, Down, Deeper Down, Blaenavon                                                    4 February

A Palace Sold For scrap, Rycote, Oxfordshire                               11 February

Iron Age on Salisbury Plain                                                            18 February

The Bone Cave, Alveston, Gloucestershire                                     25 February

The Inter City Villa, Basildon, Berkshire                                        4 March

The palace on the Sea, Holy Island                                                 11 March

The Leaning Tower of Bridgnorth, Shropshire                                18 March

Three Tales of Canterbury                                                              25 March

The Lepers of Winchester                                                              1 April

SPONGE CORNER 

In answer to Vickys' query last month about mystery stones, HADAS member Brian Warren rang to tell me that it is actually a fossil sponge, with the lines - identifying it also as a banded flint - caused by differential erosion of hard and soft layers within the fossil.

NEWS FROM THE CITY  

In mid January the press carried reports of an exciting Roman find near Fenchurch street Station - 43 Gold Aurii found last year in a recess below the floor of the cellar of a Roman house. They are dated between 65 and 174AD; the second biggest gold coin hoard found at a UK dig and equivalent to about four year's pay for a Legionary; they are now on display at the Museum of London.

THE TED SAMMES ARCHIVE                                            by Andrew Selkirk

The late Ted Sammes directed some of the most important excavations carried out by HADAS, notably in the centre of Hendon, around the church. The most important of these was that at Church Terrace, some of the finds from which were featured in his book Pinning Down The Past. There were also earlier excavations at Church End Farm, Hall Fields, and Burroughs Gardens. For an outline of these digs see the Society's web site at www.hadas.org.uk

On his death, Ted Sammes left half of the residue of his estate to the society - a sum amounting to more than £70,000 - and the society now wishes to use a substantial proportion of this legacy to publish these excavations as a tribute to Ted.

As the initial stage to this project, the Society wishes to carry out an assessment of the archive from these excavations to form the basis for the proposed publication. A substantial fee/honorarium will be paid for the compilation of this assessment. This will he in three parts, as follows.

PART I

Prepare list of storage boxes and rough estimates of contents at Avenue House, College Farm, Hillary Press and any other storage sites.

PART II

Assess the various categories of Archive, as follows;

1.    THE WRITTEN ARCHIVE - Site notebooks, Other Primary Evidence; Secondary workings

2.    PLANS AND DRAWINGS - Ordnance Survey maps and site plans; Detailed site plans; other primary plans; secondary plans

3.    PHOTOS - B/W photos -Negatives or Prints? Can prints be tied up with negatives?; Colour Slides and prints - what is their condition? Have they faded?; Photographic notebooks - Can the photos all be identified? Can these be collated against the site notebooks?

4.    FINDS These need to be assessed under the following categories Pottery - Washed? Marked? Analysed? Linked to source? Small Finds - Marked? Analysed? In Need of Conservation/ Bones - Washed? Marked? Analysed? Linked to sources? Other Categories ( Building Material, glass, clay pipe, metal working residues etc.)

5. 'Pinning Down The Past' - As a final check, can all the finds published in Pinning Down The past be located?

PART III

 

Prepare/recover analysis of site trenches and system of recording. Prepare master plan. Index the various categories in Part II to the master plan and record present location. Prepare written assessment of the entire archive with analysis of work needed for final report, and proposals of how this can be achieved.

It is assumed that the work in Part II would he prepared as a computer database, and probably

( though not necessarily) the work in parts I and II. Help could be given in establishing the relevant databases.

In carrying out this work, preference will be given to members of the Society, and applications should be made before the closing date of 1st March 2001. If no suitable application has been received by this date, the work will be offered to professional archaeologists outside the society. ( If you are not quite certain whether you can do all three parts, you could apply just to do Part I first, and we can then decide whether you want to do Parts II and 111 as well.)

Further enquiries/applications should be sent to the Chairman, Andrew Selkirk, at ;

9, Nassington Road, London NW3 2TX, tel. 020 7435 7517; e-mail selkirk@hadas.org.uk

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS AT EAGLE WHARF ROAD        by Peter Nicholson

In October, I attended a meeting at the Eagle wharf Road depot of Museum of London Specialist Services, held to explain their plans for the future use of the premises as the LAARC ( London Archaeological Resource Centre) , with particular reference to intended greater access to the MoL collection of pottery fabrics. Although invitations were sent to all the local archaeological societies, rather disappointingly I was the only amateur present, all the other participants being MoL staff-or­staff from archaeological units in the areas surrounding London.

LAARC will open later this year ( August is intended) as a public resource available for reference and consultation, with a visitor's area for use by school parties and others, and a room to provide a base for local societies. It will contain all the records and finds currently deposited, with space for another ten years of deposits at the current rate of acquisition, but a planned re-arrangement, with some `weeding' of finds should mean that the present premises will be adequate for another 20 years. As part of the overall scheme the MoL pottery fabric collection which covers some 4000 sherds covering Roman to Post-Medieval periods will be available for public access, though some degree of supervision and prior appointment, the details of which have not yet been decided, will be involved.

Detailed discussion of the collection alerted me to a problem of which I was previously ignorant. It seems there is no common system for classifying pottery fabrics. People working in different centres often have a knowledge of each other's systems, but it is possible for connections between pottery of the same type, found at different locations, to be missed, because of this lack of uniformity. As would be expected suggestions were made for overcoming this problem without, as far as I could see, anything definite being set in hand. The obvious solution of a concordance between the different systems would require a considerable amount of time and effort, with no obvious candidate to provide the finance which would be required under the present rigorously costed system.

It is intended to hold further meetings. A suggestion made by several people was to have one dealing with ceramic building materials. I am sure it would be of value to us to be represented at future meetings and I hope that other local Societies will be too, so that amateur needs and concerns can be properly represented. A considerable culture change will be needed at Eagle Wharf Road to enable it to realise its full potential as a public resource. It is to be hoped that intentions present in the overall plans now in place will also be carried through into the detailed arrangements which will determine the quality of the experience of the ordinary user; the wider the participation the more likely this is to happen.

THE PAPERS  all seem to have picked up on the story of the Ancient Egyptian woman who died , in her 50s, 3,000 years ago; she had been fitted with an artificial wooden right big toe, according to German scientists who believe it is the oldest example of an artificial limb prostheses. It was built in three sections and fixed together with seven leather strings, and showed signs of wear.

Lecture report: TIME TEAM AT ALDERTON                                           by Andy Simpson

As HADAS powers into the information age with its Web site and e-mail discussion group, another milestone was reached here with our first ever computer based power-point presentation, as opposed to the traditional 35mm slides. This was an engrossing presentation by Derek Batten and his neighbour John Hieney. HADAS member Derek is a local man from Finchley, and purchased his very own scheduled ancient monument - a 1.72 acre ringwork castle with notably deep moat in Alderton, near Banbury, Northants in 1997. After joining the Time Team club, he wrote suggesting they excavate, and they eventually sent two researchers, followed by a surveyor and eventually the full team, minus Carenza Lewis who was on holiday, for the usual three days. Derek was full of praise for all the team and their friendly, approachable manner. After obtaining scheduled monument consent they investigated Derek's Castle and neighbour John's moated manor house site and other features such as the nearby sunken Saxon road. There was a lottery funded topographical survey and the main dig which succeeded admirably in giving a better picture of the castle and its history. Several trenches were dug across the castle moat and enclosure and much pottery found, from the Iron Age, Roman and Medieval periods, plus musket balls possibly from a civil war skirmish at the site.

Geophysical work and excavation revealed buildings inside the enclosure and the stone footings of a gatetower and sections across the ditch and rampart, and visiting re-enactors tested the range of a Norman bow ( 92 yards) A splendid piece of medieval horse harness, and Norman knife were found, plus traces of a lost post-medieval manor house on the site of John's house through geophysical work.. The excavations suggest the castle originated as a larger Saxon Burgh

John Hieney discussed the Manor Houses of Alderton  in the second part of the presentation, following on from his extensive documentary research. Pottery from the surface of the moated site covered the third to mid fourteenth century, with most covering the 11th to 13th century, with the Castle and Manor both deserted around the time of the Black Death in the mid fourteenth century and

absorbed into a neighbouring Manor, becoming part of a Tudor Royal Hunting Ground. A new Manor House was built in 1582 and was at the centre of a lively inheritance battle in 1591, but was in decline and mostly demolished by the 1700s. The Stuart period saw it visited by both James I and his Danish Queen. In the 1640s Arthur Heselrige owned it and raised his regiment of Parliamentarian heavily armoured Cuirassiers, known as Lobsters due to their red armour - illustrated in the accompanying display of finds and drawings which generated much interest. By 1821 the site was covered by three stone barns, converted into houses in 1985, one of them occupied by John Hieney.

It is hoped to leave the castle in trust to permanently protect the site; grant aid is being sought to manage the site and erect an information panel; an education pack for schools has been produced and a 60-strong Friends of Alderton Moat and Manor group formed - membership £2 per annum! - as a vehicle for grant aid from bodies such as the Local Heritage Initiative. A web-site is forthcoming and further excavation is planned, dependent upon Scheduled Ancient Monument consent being obtained, e.g. of the moat site which the RCHME claim as a post-medieval prospect mound, despite finds of medieval pottery from the surface.

JUNE PORGES adds; We were sorry not to be able to show Derek's video of Time Team at Alderton as promised. This was because we were unable to borrow a video projector without paying an exorbitant price. If any member has access to this type of equipment we would be glad to hear about it for future occasions. However, the slide presentation which Derek and John gave was brilliant, and we have Derek's video for the Society, so if anyone would like to borrow it to view it at home please contact Dorothy Newbury ( 020 8203 0950) or June Forges ( 020 8346 5078)

When I announced that I was off to New England in November everyone assumed it was to see the Fall and laughed when I said it was for a conference on Roman Mosaics. But there I was in Worcester ( Massachusetts) where on walking into the Art Museum one is immediately confronted by a  breathtaking mosaic floor depicting a hunting scene. This is about 20 foot square and contains lions, tigers, bears and antelopes pursued by young men on horses, with one youth leaning nonchalantly on his spear which has transfixed a boar. Another rider has snatched up a baby Tiger and is galloping off holding it high vainly chased by the mother Tiger and its siblings. This exhibit is a permanent part of the Worcester collection. It was brought here from Antioch (Modern Antakya, Turkey, on the border with Syria) in 1939. An expedition which included the Worcester Art Museum, the Louvre, Princeton University and the Baltimore Museum had been digging in Antioch for several years but found there was little remaining except at floor level, where more than three hundred mosaics had survived. The sponsoring institutions divided the spoil between them (over half did remain in Antakya) , often splitting up the floors from a single room. These have-been displayed (or stored) in various-locations since then.

In November 2000 many of these Mosaics were reunited by Christine Kondoleon, the Curator of Greek and Roman Art at Worcester, in an exhibition 'Antioch - the Lost Roman City'. After February 4 the exhibition will move to Baltimore and Cleveland, after which the individual pieces will be returned to their owners. Besides Mosaics the display includes statues, jewellery, tableware, inscriptions and other artefacts mostly from the 2nd to 6th centuries AD illustrating Antioch's place as a cultural, economic and spiritual centre of the Mediterranean at that time. It was a very mixed society, Jews participated in the founding of the city in 300BC, and when, after the death of Christ, the Apostles went out as missionaries Antioch provided an important base for the emerging church.

It was here that the followers of Christ were first called 'Christians'. An excellent catalogue to the exhibition gives the background to the history of the city. If anyone is in Cleveland between March and June or Baltimore from September to December I very much recommend a visit.

In association with the exhibition the North American branch of AIEMA ( l'Association Internationale pour L'Etude de la Mosaique Antique) held a colloquium in Worcester. There were delegates from all over the world including several from ASPROM the British Branch of AIME. In a crowded two days we heard over twenty speakers, mostly on Near Eastern Mosaics, including, from Britain, Pat Witts on 'Universal Messages - Iconographic Similarities Between Mosaics of Antioch and Britain' and Janet Huskinson on ' Performance in the Pavements of the House of the Menander, Daphne'.

So I had a really worth-while trip to New England enjoying wonderful American hospitality, lovely seafood ( lobsters in Maine and clam chowder everywhere) and visits to Plimouth Plantation Village - a reconstruction of how the first Pilgrims lived, Mayflower II, Boston Harbour and tea-party scene, various museums including the New York Metropolitan ( and Met Opera) and of course miles and miles of glorious coloured trees. To say nothing of the Presidential Election - history in the Making!

MEET THE ANCESTORS  is back on BBC 2 and at 8.30 on Monday 5 February will feature two late Roman burials from the extra-mural area of Bath excavated by the Bath Archaeological Trust in 1999/2000; the BBC commissioned detailed scientific and osteological assessments of the remains and covered details of diet, ethnic and geographical origin, and medical treatment.

 

NEW HOME SOUGHT

HADAS had a useful mention in the local free newspaper 'THE PRESS' on 11th January. Headed by a photo of Tessa Smith with some Roman Pottery, Dorothy was quoted extensively describing our need to relocate our stored finds and equipment from College Farm, Fitzalan Road, Finchley due to intended developments there, together with an appeal for anyone who could help to contact her or Vikki.

The farm is to lodge an appeal for £2.5 million of lottery funding to refurbish existing buildings and bring in new features and business plan. Last May, the site owners, the Highways Agency, agreed to sell the site to the College Farm Trust for less than market value, to save the farm buildings and the two fields and their bovine occupants from developers.

OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS                                        Eric Morgan

Wed 14 Feb 8pm Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, Cnr. Of Ferne Park Road] Weston Park, N8 Baird & Ally Pally - talk by Bob Hawes

 

Thurs. 15 Feb 7.30pm Camden History Society Netherhall House, Cnr. Of Masresfield Gdns/Nutley Terrace, N W3 History of the Reading Room of The British Museum Talk by Marjorie Caygill.

 

Fri. 16 Feb 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2, Parsonage Lane, Enfield ( Near Chase Side) Molluscs to Mamelukes - Archaeology of Lebanon Talk by Ian Jones

 

Mon. 19 Feb 8.15pm Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries Church end Library 21. Hendon Lane, N3. A Childhood In Finchley 1840-1900  Talk by Hugh Petrie, Heritage Officer

 

Thurs. 22 Feb 8.15pm Hampstead Scientific Society Crypt Room, St John's Church, Church Row NW3 London Underground - Old & New  Talk by Angus Mackenzie

 

Sat 24 Feb 11am-4pm North London Transport Society St Paul's Centre Cnr. Of Church St./Old Park Ave., Enfield Spring Transport Bazaar  £1 Admission, Light Refreshments

 

Wed. 28 Feb 7.70pm Finchley Antiques Appreciation Group Avenue House, East End Road N3 Preserving the Fabric of our Inheritance Talk by Jacqueline Hyman

 

Thurs. 1 Mar 7.30pm. London Canal Museum 12-13 New Wharf Road, Kings' Cross, Ni. Bringing the Boatmen to God - The work of the Boatmen's Missions -  Talk by Dr. Wendy Freer

 

Sun. 4 Mar. 230pm. Heath & Hampstead Society From Kenwood Kitchen Garden, E. side Kentwood House, Hampstead Lane The Heath, Past and Present  Walk by Michael Hammerson

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