newsletter-361-april-2001

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Lectures

Tuesday 10th April SPITALFIELDS EXCAVATION

Tuesday 8th May WALTHAM ABBEY GUNPOWDER MILLS Replacing postponed lecture on Gadesbridge Roman Villa

Tuesday 12th June ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

All meetings start at 8.00 pm prompt in the drawing room on the ground floor of Avenue House Finchley N3, and are followed by question time and coffee. We close promptly at 10.00

Outings

Saturday 9th June outing to Canterbury

Saturday 14th July outing Cranbourne Chase near Salisbury

Saturday 11 August Waltham Abbey gunpowder mills

6th-9th SeptemberLong weekend in Bangor and Anglesea, North Wales with David Bromley and Jackie Brookes. Latecomers can be put on a waiting list. If you would like to join the trip, phone Dorothy Newbury on 020 8203 0950

BLACKOUT AT AVENUE HOUSE

At lunchtime on Tuesday, 13th March, Dorothy received a phone call from Avenue House to say they had a major electrical failure and there was little prospect of righting it before the evening. We were expecting Norman Paul to tell us about the Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills and a quick decision had to be made to stop Norman from setting out, and to cancel the meeting. We must apologise to members, especially any first time attenders, who came along. It was, of course, completely out of our hands. Norman Paul's talk will now take place on 8th May, and Dr David Neal's talk on Gadesbridge Roman Villa will take place in October.

MEMBERS' NEWS

June Wrigley has been in hospital for a third hip operation. She is home again now, cheerful as ever, and not complaining. I don't doubt that we will be seeing her and Brian on the coach for our summer outings again this season. (No, she hasn't got three legs!) Mr Kirk sadly died suddenly on 28th February after only three days in hospital. Many members will remember him at lectures, always accompanied by Ms Fisher, who cared for him. They also frequently came on our day trips. Mr Kirk had a long¬standing interest in archaeology dating from his schooldays. Over the years, Ms Fisher also became interested, and we hope she will continue to attend lectures and outings.

BOOK REVIEW PAMELA TAYLOR

The Origins of Hertfordshire, Tom Williamson

Origins of the Shire series, Manchester University Press, 2000, £45.00 Tom Williamson may be known to members as the brilliant scourge of ley-line enthusiasts, for various articles on settlement and landscape in Essex, and as the author of The Origins of Norfolk. Now a Lecturer in Landscape History at the University of East Anglia, in this latest book, he has brought his matured skills back to the county of his childhood. Hertfordshire is a particularly difficult shire to elucidate - a wholly artificial tenth-century creation, the earlier patterns largely erased when it was cobbled from part of Middlesex and part or all of some other regions, particularly those of the Cilternsaetan (as in Chilterns) and Hicce (Hitchers} named in the Tribal Hidage. Williamson makes an excellent stab at unravelling many of the problems, weaving together archaeology, geology, land use, place-name studies, and historical evidence to form a usually convincing and always stimulating whole. There are nevertheless some weaknesses. The Chiltern area is thinly served, so that although Berkhamsted is interestingly covered, Tring remains as enigmatic as ever. Nearer to home, his material on the Barnet area is out-of-date, failing to incorporate the evidence of the c.1000 boundary description, and in some places obviously wrong. This is not primarily due to lack of interest in the peripheries (although that too), but to his most serious flaw, a familiarity with the written sources and historians' interpretations of them far sketchier than in all the other fields. Relying on articles in Hertfordshire's Past and extremely few histories, however good, is simply not enough, as his handling of Domesday Book all too clearly demonstrates. The bibliography too, though valuable in itself, is therefore far stronger in all the other disciplines, including archaeology. I'm probably more unhappy about this imbalance than most other HADAS members, but can still recommend the book wholeheartedly. Williamson is exemplary not only in his handling of much of the evidence, but also in his writing: he employs jargon only when it is helpful, controls it admirably, and provides a book which is always sophisticated, clear, elegant, and a joy to read.

POLITICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

The last full week of February saw two meetings which put archaeology in the context of politics. At the winter meeting of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), held in the unusual surroundings of the Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Sir Neil Cossons, the Chairman of English Heritage, spoke about Power of Place, the report mentioned in the February newsletter. He was particularly exercised about the threat to the historic environment of Britain's towns and cities that will be posed by massive schemes of urban regeneration over the next decade. He was greatly encouraged by the MORI survey which had found well over 80% of people in England (of all ages and cultures) with a very positive attitude towards the heritage. That means, in his view, that it will be possible to ensure that despite redevelopment what is important to people (including locally loved buildings, townscapes and areas, not just major national monuments) is conserved and that what must be lost can be properly studied and recorded. But there will be a lot to do to ensure this; he hoped that the Government would react speedily and positively to Power of Place, but he feared that Ministers would be deflected by the immediate and pressing concerns of a general election. There was a rather different perspective at the Annual General Meeting of Rescue on 24th February. Its Chairman - Harvey Sheldon, well known to many HADAS members - sees the great threat to archaeology in the continued destruction of sites in the countryside by ploughing. The great Rescue concern at the moment is with the ploughing of unexcavated parts of Verulamium, where Harvey has some hopes that there will be some moratorium. But Verulamium is only one example, and Rescue will be campaigning vigorously. Archaeology is inevitably in to-day's world a political issue, even though many politicians may wish to ignore it and hope it will go away. A Historic Environment Forum is being set up, which will have both the CBA and Rescue on it, to speak out in a unified sense on archaeological issues; it plans to hold a hustings for politicians before the election. If any HADAS members think national bodies like these are worth joining - and I certainly do - their addresses are: • Council for British Archaeology: Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York Y01 9WA (Website - www.britarch.ac.uk) • Rescue: 15a Bull Plain, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 1DX (Website - www.rescue-archaeology.freeserve.co.uk/rescue.htm) The CBA website is a comprehensive and very useful one, with many links; that of Rescue needs development, but we were assured at the meeting that this development is in hand.


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EXHIBITION at CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM GERRARD ROOTS

31st March - 3rd June 2001

The Festival of Britain was one of the most significant events of the early 1950s. It grew out of a plan by the Labour government to promote British industry, but expanded into a nationwide celebration of this country's skill and inventiveness, creating the South Bank site, Battersea Fun Fair, major exhibition in Glasgow and Belfast, travelling displays, and hundreds of events in other town and villages. Church Farm will be showing a huge range of Festival memorabilia - from plaques to postcards, souveniers to songsheets. We are also fortunate in having access to the collection of the late Abram Games, former Golders Green resident and designer of, among many other things, the famous Festival of Britain 'Britannia Emblem'.

EPPING FOREST SURVEY BILL BASS

HADAS has been asked by Nicolas Bateson of the West Essex Archaeological Group (WEAG) to do some resistivity survey at the site of Copped Hall, near Waltham Abbey, Epping Forest, in front of an excavation led by Peter Huggins of the Waltham Abbey Historical Society. Nicholas explained, "The focus is going to be on a large Tudor House, owned by Henry VIII and lived in by Mary for some time, of which a detailed design exists that was made round 1750. One pillar does still survive above ground in situ. The purpose of the excavation will be to locate the rest of the house and carry out any appropriate preservation work on the remains. The aim of the geophysical survey will be (a) to see whether it confirms the c1750 design, and (b) to ascertain the precise geographical co-ordination, thus alerting the excavators as to what they might be digging into and minimising the likelihood of accidental damage." Nearby but not subject to this survey is the derelict shell of a later Georgian mansion. There was a meeting at Avenue House with Nicholas and other members of WEAG to establish a course of action, and a day in March was planned to have a site visit and lay out a grid. Unfortunately, due to the foot and mouth problem, the Forest Authority have asked all concerned to postpone any works for the time being until the crisis is over.

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THE CLAY TOBACCO-PIPE IN ARCHAEOLOGY BRIAN BLOICE

With the increasing interest of archaeologists in the post-medieval period, the clay tobacco pipe has become more important as an aid to dating the layers in archaeological excavations of this period. The dating of a clay tobacco-pipe is possible by comparison with known dated examples. Thus Adrian Oswald, in his classic work 'The Chronology of the Clay Tobacco-Pipe in England' in the Archaeological Newsletter (Sept 1961, Vol. 7, No. 3), lays out a series of well-dated types for comparison. Type and shape are not the only factors that can be used; another is the size of the hole running through the stem - the earlier the pipe, the larger the hole. Marks, initials and names of makers also appear on the pipe. Careful checking with published lists can elucidate the name and period of the maker and hence the date of the pipe. Tobacco seems to have been introduced into this country by one of the Tudor adventurers some time between 1565 and 1588, when smoking was becoming wellknown. At first, the smoke was inhaled from a "little ladell" made of silver for the rich or a half-walnut shell for the poor. Eventually, as a visitor to the Bear Gardens in Southwark notes in 1598, these little ladells or pipes were made of clay. Many other materials have been used for making tobacco-pipes - horn, bone, amber, even brass and iron, but fine kaolin or "pipe-clay' which has always been used by potters for decorating their products remained the favourite material until the last half of the 19th century. Because of the high price of tobacco in the 16th century, the early pipes were very small, the bowl sometimes being only 7mm in diameter and less than 25mm high The size of the pipe bowl the gradually increases in size from this period, with minor fluctuations, up to the end of the le century when the large scale manufacture and use of the clay pipe dies out to be replaced by the briar-pipe and cigarette. At the end of the 18th century, and through the whole of the 19th century, clay tobacco pipes began to appear with more elaborate makers' marks, usually on the back of the bowl. During this period also, many other decorations appeared on the bowl, for example, heads of famous people such as Nelson and Queen Victoria. Many organisations began to have their own devices placed upon the bowl - a pair of buffalo-horns for the Royal and Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. The 1851 Great Exhibition was commemorated by having pipes made illustrating the industrial achievements of the time. Much work still needs to be done on the interpretation of the varied symbols which occur on clay tobacco pipes of this period. A broad typology is illustrated which is based on specimens excavated on archaeological sites in Southwark and Lambeth. Reproduced with permission from the March newsletter of the Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society'


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