Newsletter-365-August-2001

No. 365           AUGUST 2001           Edited by Peter Pickering

 

Editor's Note of Explanation

Readers may be surprised at the editor's name above, since last month the name of Micky Watkins appeared as the next editor. Well, so it was intended, but she had to go into hospital suddenly. Our thoughts are with her and we trust she will be back amongst us very soon. I fear however that in the circumstances it has not been possible to have more than a skeleton newsletter this month. Come to think of it, archaeologists often find skeletons very interesting.

 

HADAS DIARY

Saturday August llth Waltham Abbey and the Gunpowder Mills, with Stewart Wild and June Porges. Details and application form enclosed.

 

September 6th-9th Long Weekend to Bangor and Anglesey, with David Bromley and Jackie Brookes.

 Tuesday October 9th Start of Lecture Season

 

HADAS JOINS WITH BIRKBECK TO SET UP A NEW PRACTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY COURSE Andrew Selkirk

A new type of practical archaeology course is being set up as a joint project The Origins of Hendon Project by HADAS and Birkbeck College. This is a project to write up the excavations carried out by HADAS at Church Terrace, Hendon, in 1974.

These were among the most important - and successful - excavations ever undertaken by HADAS. HADAS was set up to investigate the Saxon origins of Hendon - one of only two places in North London mentioned in the Domesday Book. But where was Saxon Hendon? The obvious place to look is round the church and this is where major excavations took place and very successful too - Roman and Saxon pottery, a Saxon pin, and a load of medieval and post medieval material. Ted Sammes, who did the excavations, wrote a charming account of some of the finds in his booklet Pinning down the Past - copies of which are still available from the society - with a brief introduction about the excavation itself.

However Ted was never able to publish the excavations in full, so when he died, - leaving the society a substantial sum - the society resolved that its first duty was to publish his unpublished excavations. One of our members - Jack Goldenfeld - has catalogued all the voluminous boxes he left behind, and he has confirmed that that there is plenty of material to enable a full-scale publication to be undertaken.

Harvey Sheldon, at Birkbeck College - now the society's new President - has agreed to undertake the publication of the material as a Birkbeck course, and has found no fewer than three tutors, all ready and eager to take on the challenge: Roberta Tomber, Louise Rayner, and Kim Sadler, - two of them from MOLAS, and the other from one of the other leading professional units, so between them they are at the cutting edge of archaeological publication. They are going to lead the members of the course in dealing with all this material,and preparing it for publication, and eventual archiving. The result will be a report which we hope will he published in the LAMAS transactions.

The courses will take place in Avenue House, Finchley on Wednesdays from September onwards for 28 weeks. It will be a certificated course, with fees around £140, with the usual concessions. The course will be open to anyone, HADAS members or not, and it will be limited to 15 people, on a first come, first served basis. This newsletter therefore provides you with an opportunity to get in first before the general public - though we hope that there will be some outsiders, whom we can persuade to become members of HADAS.

The course will be very much more practical than the usual extra-mural course, and should result in those who have taken it knowing how to write up an archaeological excavation - indeed they will have the published report to prove it. If therefore you want to know how archaeology really works, on a practical course taught by the leading edge practitioners of practical archaeology from MOLAS, then apply quickly for full details to: Zoe Tomlinson, Executive Officer for Archaeology, Faculty of Continuing Education, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ

(Those of you with Internet access will find further details at www.hadas.org.uk)

The HADAS Journal.

With your September Newsletter you will get your copy of the HADAS Journal, with full reports of important work carried out by HADAS, and with a contribution by Bill Firth on Industrial Archaeology.

 

1263-1275 High Road, Whetstone                                                                                                                                       by Graham Javes

First a correction. In our report last month, HADAS digs at Whetstone with Thames Valley Archaeological Services', the excavation director was wrongly named as Graham Hall. He is in fact Graham Hull. We apologise to Graham for this error,

Graham has sent us a copy of the evaluation report on the dig, which I have placed in the library at Avenue House. For those on the Internet, the earlier desk-based assessment of the site can he found at www.tvas.co.uk together with information about the company, staff vacancies, projects it has undertaken since 1998 (with photographs of finds) and an impressive publications list. I am interested in the range of journals and society transactions in which the company's excavation reports are published.

 

A portrait of Mill Hill in Watercolours by Peter Hume                                                                                                                 by Gerrard Roots

Peter Hume is one of the most distinguished artists living and working in Barnet Borough, and is particularly noted for his paintings of historic buildings. An architect by training, Peter Hume well understands how good building, grand or humble - works to complement and enhance its surroundings. He is therefore acutely aware of the way poor architecture and feeble planning controls can ruin the environment with great speed.

Hence this new book. Peter Hume's sensitive watercolours (accompanied by brief but illuminating texts) show the richness and diversity of buildings along the Ridgeway. But this book is not just a celebration of what we fortunately have. A Portrait of Mill Hill is a reminder of what we have already lost, and a timely call to vigilance in maintaining conservation areas such as Mill Hill Village for the future.

A Portrait of Mill Hill is available from Church Farmhouse Museum, Barnet's Archives, and a number of Barnet's Branch Libraries, price £10.

 


Church Farmhouse Museum: Masks (23rd June - 2nd September)                                                                                            by Gerrard Roots

Masks are ancient, and common to most cultures. This exhibition shows the huge variety of facial disguises, for ritual, theatrical, protective or leisure purposes - from Noh play masks to gas masks, carnival masks to flying helmets. The exhibition also shows masks based on Greek theatre and African designs made by local schoolchildren.

Not another tunnel story? Graham Javes

In early July Jennie Cobban was asked by English Heritage to investigate a report of a large hole or tunnel, which had appeared at Gladsmuir House in Monken Hadley during replacement of the swimming pool adjacent to the house. The story had originally been conveyed to a member of Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, who contacted English Heritage. Gladsmuir is a grade two listed building overlooking Hadley Common, close to the church.

With feelings of curiosity tempered by disbelief at yet another tunnel story, Jennie and I visited the house on 6 July. There was no tunnel, nor anything to be seen on the site of the swimming pool. However, we were shown around the house, now being extensively refurbished. Descending by ladder a hole in the kitchen floor, now surrounded by a protective wall suggestive of a newly built well, we discovered an old cellar below. Until recently this had been completely filled with concrete, which has now been laboriously removed to reveal a large brick-built cellar with a barrel-vaulted roof. This, we believe, to have been the so- called 'tunnel'.

It was called Lemmons by Kingsley Amis when he owned the house in 1972. Amis claimed this to be an earlier name. The house has now reverted to Gladsmuir, which according to VCH Middlesex was its earlier name. An earlier house on the site belonged to Henry Bellamy in 1584. Referring to the Battle of Barnet, VCH Hertfordshire suggests that, `... from remains found at Gladsmuir in Monken Hadley, that is believed to be the centre of the battle'. The writer fails to note either his source or the nature and whereabouts of these remains. That the battle centred around here, in the vicinity of the church, is generally accepted, but physical remains ...? In contrast, the later VCH Middlesex ignores this anecdote in the brief entry on Gladsmuir House.

The house was built by the locally prominent Quilter family, which owned it from 1736 to 1909. Cecil Day-Lewis was a guest of Kingsley Amis when he died there in 1972. Bill Gelder waxed lyrical over the building in his Georgian Hadley but little has been written of its history or of the Quilters. We understand that the present owner has engaged an architectural historian to report on the house.

 

POTTERS BAR DIG                                                                                                                                                                                                           by Bill Bass

Over the last few weeks, excavation has been taking place at the site of a Roman tile kiln at Parkfield in Potters Bar. The kiln was originally discovered and dug during the 1950s; it was first thought to have been the site of a Roman villa but the discovery of a flue and many tile wasters, plus the lack of large amounts of domestic debris pointed mostly to a tile manufacturing area.

The current excavation is being run by Potters Bar Museum, directed by Tony Rook on behalf of the Welwyn Archaeological Society and Hertsmere Council. Tony is a well-known Hertfordshire archaeological personality and has lectured to HADAS in the past.

It was hoped to discover more about the nature of the site — were there workers' living quarters near by, signs of workshops, clay extraction pits? Was it built to supply a local settlement or villa, or were they exporting to places such as St Albans and London? Last year a large area of Parkfield (west of High Street) was surveyed with resistivity and magnetometry. Anomalies were found in the vicinity of the kiln excavated in the 1950s (the exact location of which had been lost subsequently). This year volunteers opened up several large trenches in the grassland, mostly shallow in nature (less than half a metre or so). The group believes they have located the Roman kiln and have uncovered scatters of tile dumping but unfortunately


Text Box: 4there is precious little other evidence apart from some scraps of pottery; a deeper trench was dug to identify the flue end, but this was also inconclusive. So the site at present remains a mystery, but it is a large area. Further towards the High Street the park is landscaped, so any evidence here has probably been lost.

Over the weekend of June 30th-July 1st the site was opened to the public with tours of the dig and various displays and activities. Roman artefacts from other sites were on show, displays of finds from the earlier dig were on hand, while children were encouraged to make mosaics and so forth. Other displays included Roman food and replica tableware; togas and armour were also in evidence.

A booklet by B. Kolbert — Roman Potters Bar an introduction (a Wyllotts Museum Publication) — discusses further the possible evidence for a settlement and road structure in the area.

 

PLANNING APPLICATIONS IN THE NORTHERN AREA                                                                                                                                                  by Bill Bass

English Heritage has noted that developments at Hadley Green Garage, Victors Way, Barnet and 30-38 St Albans Road, Barnet may affect archaeological remains of the medieval town or battlefield site and are investigating the applications.

 

OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS

Saturday 4th-Sunday 5th August. Enfield Steam & Country Show. Trent Country Park, Cockfosters Road.

Sunday 12th August 10am - 2pm Historic Hadley. Walk with the Southern Area CMS. Meet at the come] of Christchurch Lane and Great North Road, Hadley Green.

Tuesday 14th August 8pm Amateur Geological Society. The Parlour, St Margaret's Church, Victoria Avenue N3. Minerals and the Environment. Talk by Prof. Howard Colley.

Wednesday 15th August 7.30pm Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. The Dissenters' Chapel at the Cemetery, W10 (Ladbroke Grove). Burial before Undertakers. Talk by Clare Gittings (£3).

Saturday 18th August - Sunday 19th August. Friern Barnet Summer Show. Friary Park, Friern Barnet Lane, N12 Saturday 12noon-l0pm, Sunday 12 noon - 6pm.

 

 

 

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