newsletter-383-february-2003

Newsletter

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DAPHNE LORIMER MBE

In her capacity as Chair of the Orkney Archaeological Trust, HADAS vice-president Daphne Lorimer has been awarded the MBE for services to Scottish archaeology in the 2003 New Year Honours List. She is in good company, with Richard Morris, previously Director of the CBA, receiving the OBE for services to archaeology, and Tim Strickland also receiving the MBE for services to archaeology and the Community in Middlewich, Cheshire. - Another HADAS member was honoured at the same time - PHILIP VENNING has been awarded the OBE for services to 'The Society For The Preservation of Ancient Buildings in Britain' Philip was very active in our society's early days and will be known to all our older members, reports Dorothy Newbury. Our congratulations to them both!

HADAS ON DISPLAY

With the kind permission and co-operation of Curator Gerrard Roots, HADAS are again going to be putting on an exhibition at Church Farm Museum, Hendon, in the upstairs back room - the Dunlop Room - from Saturday 15th March to Sunday 1 8thMay inclusive - 'HENDON'S HIDDEN HISTORY'. The theme will be excavations in the Burroughs/Church End area, featuring material from the three seasons of Church Farm excavations, the Church Terrace dig, material from the Ted Sammes course, and the Paddock Roman and other material from site watching by Stephen Alec in 1998.

HADAS DIARY

Tues 11th February 2003 Kitchen crocks to Sunday best - Ceramics in the Home from Henry VIII to Victoria Lecture by Jacqui Pearce FSA, who is well known to HADAS, particularly for running the excellent Ted Sammes post excavation course. Jacqui has been working as a ceramics specialist with the Museum of London for 25 years, currently as a senior specialist in medieval and later pottery. and also has an interest in clay tobacco pipes.

Tues 11th March 2003 The Mackerye Burials, Lecture by Simon West

Tues 8th April 2003 The Villa of Tiberius Claudius Severus; Roy Friendship-Taylor

Lectures start at 8pm in the Drawing Room (ground floor) of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3. Buses including the 82/143/2601326 pass close by, a 5-10 minute walk from Avenue House or 15-20-minute walk from Finchley Central Tube Station.

HADAS LONG WEEKEND, 111h - 141h September 2003

Jackie Brookes reports that those who have already booked will on this occasion need to arrange their own travel insurance. should they need it also that although the trip is almost fully booked she and David are trying to obtain more rooms so those still interested in wing should contact Jackie to see if there is a room available.

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OBITUARY — MICHAEL ROBBINS by Peter Pickering

Michael Robbins, our President from 1994 to 1998, died on December 21st 2002 at the age of 87. He had a long connection with our area, having been brought up in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Members may remember his presidential address Not What They Used To Be' about church restorations in the nineteenth century and the many controversies surrounding it. The list of Michael's high offices is awe-inspiring. He was at some time, and often for many years, President of the Omnibus Society, President of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, President of the Greater London Industrial Archaeological Society. President of the Society of Antiquaries, Chairman of the Middlesex Council of The Victoria County History, Chairman of the Victorian Society, Chairman of the Governors of the Museum of London, and Chairman of the Standing Conference on London Archaeology. Oh, and he was Managing Director (Railways) of London Transport from 1971 to 1978. It must be a matter of dispute whether his most enduring monument is the Heathrow extension of the Piccadilly Line or the magisterial History of London Transport, which he and T C Barker wrote. He was a historian rather than an archaeologist, but he was very knowledgeable about and sympathetic towards archaeology, and his influence was exercised in his best interests. He was in appearance and demeanour an English Gentleman, and HADAS is proud to have had him as President.

POST BOX SURVEY Bill Firth

At the time of writing 243 post boxes have been recorded in the Borough. These are listed by postal area and by cipher in the tables below. It should be noted that only a small part of N14 and rather larger parts of N10, NW9 and HA8 (Edgware) are in the Borough so the returns from these areas might be expected to be lower than elsewhere. The boxes with no cipher, ignoring one which is modern, and with VR and EviiR ciphers are, as expected in the old parts of the borough. The preponderance of GR (George V) boxes gives some indication of when the area became built up. Some of the EiiR boxes are double boxes. They seem to be fairly new and are sited in business areas to take ready franked business mail in one part and ordinary mail in the other. Many thanks are due to the 12 people who recorded boxes. The word got out to the Finchley Society and the Friern Barnet Local History Society and a member of each of these was a major contributor. I am not going to list names and numbers because the contributions of those who recorded only a few boxes are just as valuable as those who recorded many more. In any case some boxes had more than one recorder but I have attributed the sighting to the first report I received. Later recorders might feel aggrieved that their contribution had been downgraded. No. of boxes by Postal Area

N2 16, N14 4, NW9 8, N3 31, N20 25, NW11 41, N10 7, NW2 12, EN5 7 (Barnet), N11 13, NW4 27, HA8 7 (Edgware), N12 33, NW7 12, No of Boxes by Cipher - a total of 243 recorded in the Borough. None 13, VR 10, EviiR 40, GR 120, EviiR 1, EiiR 39,

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AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Ann Kahn kindly brings to my attention more archaeology on the web. A new dataset has been digitised for increased access by Getmapping, the company responsible for producing the Millennium Map, in association with the MoD and the National Monuments Record. This concerns the complete aerial survey of the UK made by the RAF between 1945 and 1949. This is one of the most significant national pictorial records available, showing the state of the country after the bombing and before the post war reconstruction and development of huge areas of former countryside. Previously there was limited access to the negatives, taken on fragile cellulose and nitrate film. Now a digitally scanned version will begin to appear on the Get Mapping website during 2003. See www.getmapping.com for details.

STORES Andrew Coulson

Every organisation of substance has stores. Not mere stores of things but stores. That is a place where thing are kept, categorised. listed; numbered. cleaned, -counted, and piled up-in logically ordered and mutually exclusive heaps. HADAS, as is only proper, has Stores. No longer the simple dump as before, our collection of things has evolved into a highly organised assemblage comprising a multitude of items. Did you know, for example, that thee are at present some forty major categories of things and that this is only the start? It is anticipated that the final total will run into hundreds of categories and thousands of things. Numbers alone are not enough. Each sub-category must be described. If this is not done we will not know where we are, nor where we should be. Take mattocks, for instance. Presently we have mattocks Large ancient and Mattocks Large Modern; two of each there should be but records say there's only one. Left behind at Hanshaw Drive, perhaps? Needs looking into. Then there are Mattocks Iron Small with funny red handles Five. If they are Mattocks at all, that is. Something to do with the (Very old — ed) Resistivity Meter we did not know we had. perhaps. But all this pales into nothing in comparison with the scandal of the Mattocks Military Small. Four of them are all complete, but the other four lack Mattocks and only the handles remain. And that is not all. The bayonets that once adorned the non-Mattock end of the handles are also missing. We want those back as well. They will do very nicely as a combination tin-opener/excavation trowel/assegai and they can have a category all to themselves. All good stores develop an ambience, which encourages the deposition of items but not their removal. Our stores are no exception. As witness our burglars who broke in, opened two finds boxes, and then left closing the doors behind them. What discouraged them? Could it have been the bones in one of the boxes, or the influence of that minor Deity which, since classical times, has interested itself in stores and especially in their willingness to receive and their unwillingness to disgorge. Appreciation of the existence and power of this force is vital. How else are you to retain your sanity when you find the item you need will not be given to you because it is being cleaned. It is only for emergencies, there is only one left, the key has been lost, it is being repaired. X took it out yesterday, they are stock-taking, and then when finally you arrive panting at the gates of the Stores with the right forms signed by the right people you are told you cannot have it as they are closing for lunch? The minor Deity may be a little more laid back in Hadas' case. Hopefully. But how much remains to be seen! With grateful thanks to all who had a hand in sorting out the Garage. (And to Andrew for cleaning all the tools! — Ed)


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LECTURE REPORT Andy Simpson

The Archaeology and Anthropology of Australian Rock Art Prof Robert Layton

The January lecture was an unusual and fascinating topic. Aboriginal peoples have been in Australia for some 50.000 years — before the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe. Humans evolved in Africa and spread south via the coasts of India and South — East Asia. initially colonising the North and South Australian coastline but not the centre. The two main aspects of their culture are living as hunter-gatherers and their distinctive religious traditions. Their broad-based diet features some 250 animals and plants — actually better than the restricted diet of a peasant farmer. In this egalitarian society, the men hunt, the women gather. A kill gives more meat than can be consumed by the immediate hunting group, so the social aspect of sharing the meat in the camp cements social relationships within the group. Since a the hunting/gathering necessary to feed the group may only occupy 2-3 hours per day, there is plenty of spare time — far more than that available to the peasant farmer. The bulk of the diet, including lizards and bugs (the latter eaten raw, or cooked), and bitter-tasting wild apples is gathered by the women as they chat. Calorific value comparisons included roast Kangaroo at 150 calories per 100 grammes, comparing favourably to beef at 160 calories per 100 gm. This is not a starvation level diet — there are plenty of calories. Distinctive heavy grindstones with their upper and lower portions are left at regular campsites. Population density is low, around one person per square Kilometre, this partly being controlled by women's body fat levels needing to build up to a sufficient level to ensure a successful pregnancy, whereas more sedentary lifestyles mean higher body fat levels and higher pregnancy rates/population level increases. Low-level landscape management includes setting bush fires to encourage growth of fresh grass for Kangaroos; yam tops are cut off and replanted to permit re-growth when dug up. Religion is based on the creation-period 'dream time' when hybrid beings, part human, part animal such as kangaroo, emu and python travelled the landscape. Clans of aborigines, each of whom has a separate ancestor, were given territory at this time, which it is their duty to look after as the locations shared by ancestors from a time thought just out of reach, trailing their ancestors across the landscape, figuratively speaking, by living out the customs that they established and followed. A key word for aborigines is 'becoming' as in `becoming a rock'. Of the 200 aboriginal languages spoken 200 years ago, some 40 survive. Though its antiquity is much debated, carbon 14 dating indicates that rock art at least 10,000 years ago (some suggest 12-15.000 years) with examples on the walls of rock shelters. Footprints, such as emu footprints, (follow them and you will find a water hole!) are central in rock art, as are circles representing campsites to which the footprints lead as the story of the ancestors/more recent clan or clan-members travels is recorded in rock or ground art, which can be both secular — recording a hunt or journey — or sacred, recording the ancestors. A distinctive form is X-ray style images of animals such as turtles showing their liver, other organs bone structure and eggs, the latter possibly as a symbol of fertility. Cross-hatching indicates a representation of the ancestors. Rock art is usually in red ochre on a white background, which needs regular re-touching, since if it fades, the power of the ancestors is diminished. Older rock art features only land animals, including now-extinct marsupial species, pre-end of last ice age, when melting ice raised sea levels and separated Australia and New Guinea, previously a single land-mass together with New Zealand at the height of the ice-age. Rather more recently, European colonisation is recorded with images of biplanes and highly detailed images of sailing ships showing cargoes in the holds, bullocks, and men on horseback. Aboriginal copyright to their artwork is now finally recognised, following granting of Australian citizenship in the 1960s, some half-million aborigines remaining today from a pre-colonial population of two million, of whom 90% were killed by colonists in some areas.

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PREHISTORIC 'BARGAINS' Eric Morgan

At the last two Amateur Geological Society's Mineral and Fossil Bazaars in December (See December Newsletters) as well as the obvious mineral and fossil specimens for sale, there was a stall also selling a number of Mesolithic artefacts. These included a 'Finds Bag' containing six potboilers from Lemsford, Herts. going for a real bargain at 50p. Some individual worked flints and scraper tools from the Upper Mesolithic at South Weymouth cost a pound each, and if you really wanted to splash out you can purchase larger individual scraper tools from Hertford for a mere £2.50. (Whatever your views on such things. the local antiquities market is obviously flourishing — Ed). The next such Bazaar is December 2003.

=SEVERN ESTUARY LEVELS RESEARCH COMMITTEE —(Continued from last issue)Andy Simpson

Martin Bell then discussed 'Mesolithic Coastal Activity and Goldcliff East and Redwick' These surveys were undertaken with CADW support, with eroding Iron Age structures recorded in the 1990s. There is a shortage of well-stratified Welsh/western British Mesolithic sites with associated environmental evidence. There are however, a number of such sites in the Severn Estuary/Bristol Channel area. The estuary formed 6,500 — 5.500 cal BC, affecting the lives of hunter gatherers and drowning old oak forest, submerged trees being found in various locations. sometimes only exposed at low or spring tides. At Redwick for the 2001 survey season a submerged forest was found at the base of the estuarine sequence. Dendrochronological samples indicate oaks up to 400 years old when they died. around 6,200 BC. Some trees had been burnt; there is no archaeological evidence, but it is unclear if this burning was natural or influenced by man. At Goldcliff in a bay thee is an island in the middle of an expanse of coastal wetland, which preserves Mesolithic human and animal footprint evidence in the silts — an old land surface with occupation evidence on it, being encroached by burying deposits which seal and preserve it. Activity on the surface is dated 5,700 — 5,300 cal BC from surveys undertaken August — September 2002. Submerged forest was excavated. sealed by a Mesolithic peat surface containing bone and flint. The peat included two submerged forest horizons on estuarine silts. A charcoal rich old land surface lay above glacial deposits. The Mesolithic peat horizons included calcined bone. Originally, encroaching salt marsh would have gradually inundated grassland. Traces of grass charcoal may reflect man-influenced burnings like the tree trunks mentioned earlier as areas of landscape were 'burnt off. Footprints and tracks, similar to those at Uskmouth. have been found. At Goldcliff they are in sediments tying over the basal peat and below the forest remains, c.5. 100 — 4,100 BC. Tracings are made on plastic sheets, and indicate oxen. gulls, and humans in the laminated surfaces, including 37 prints from 3 or 4 human individuals. including one person in their late teens. Animal bone evidence is mostly from deer_ with fish scales and bones also showing the importance of fishing. (To he Continued in future New sletters)


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OTHER SOCIETIES' LECTURES & EVENTS Eric Morgan's Monthly Round-Up

Saturday February 1.30-3pm, LAARC Open Day, Mortimer Wheeler House, 46, Eagle Wharf Road, N I . Buildings In Bits-From Roman London's Forum to Medieval Monasteries, Tudor Theatres, Palaces and Victorian Terraces. Handle and Examine original stone carvings, decorative bricks, tiles and stained glass etc

Thursday 6th February 1030am Mill Hill Library Hartley Ave, NW7; History of English Surnames — talk.

Thursday 6th February 8pm Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner: Swakeley's House, Ickenham — talk by Mrs. Betty Dungey. Donation £1.

Monday 10th February 3pm. Barnet & District Local History Society, Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet: BARNET IN POSTCARDS- talk by Terence Atkins Wednesday 12th February 8pm Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner of Ferme Park Road & Weston Park, N8; Alexandra Palace — North London's Treasure, Deborah Hitchcock.

Wednesday 12th February, 8.15pm Mill Hill Historical Society —The The Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7; Raffles In Mill Hill — talk by Dr. Richard Bingle (Preceded by AGM)

Thursday 13th February 2.30pm Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, Ordnance Road Methodist Church Hall, Junction with Raynton Road, Enfield; River Lea to Lee Navigation — talk by David Pain

Friday 14th February, 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, Junction Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield, visitors £1; Turkmenistan: Civilisations of the Oxus Valley. Talk by Ian Jones.

Wednesday 19th February 6.15pm London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, London Wall; Another World; Urban Archaeology in Russia Today; Clive Orton (Preceded by AGM)

Wednesday 19th February, 6.30pm Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society, Lecture Theatre, 2/3 John Vane Science Block, Medical College (Barts) Charterhouse Square, EC.1: Beneath Your Feet and Above Your Head: Street Furniture — talk by Sue Hayton

Wednesday 19th February, 8pm Willesden Local History Society, The Willesden Suite, Library Centre, 95 High Road, N W 10: W E Gladstone, PM and Willesden Resident Talk by Corinne Gladstone

Friday 2nd February 7.30pm Wembley History Society, St Andrew's Church flail, Church Lane, Kingsbury N W9: The Future of the Grange Museum of Brent (Neasden) Talk by Curator Alex Sidney

Tuesday 25th February 8pm Friern Barnet & District Local Hist. Soc, Old Fire Station, (Next to Town Hall) Friern Barnet Lane, N.12; To Finchley By Train; Talk by Alan Williams

Tuesday 27th February 2.30pm The Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road. N3 Barnet in Old Photographs; Talk by HADAS Member Graham Javes


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