newsletter-384-march-2003

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Tuesday 11 March - The Mackerye Burials - lecture by Simon West (Field Archaeologist for St Albans Museum Service). The burials, at a site off Marshalls Heath Lane near Wheathampstead, are in a zone of dense occupation and activity from the Later Iron Age through possibly to early Saxon (c. 600 AD).

Tuesday 8th April - The Villa of Tiberius Claudius Severus - lecture by Roy Friendship-Taylor. (Villa at Piddington, near Northampton - HADAS outing, August 2002).

Saturday 14 June - Ely - outing (Micky Watkins).

Saturday 26 July - Reading and Silchester - outing (Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward).

Thursday 11-Sunday 14 September 2003 - HADAS Long Weekend (Jackie Brookes) to Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire (including Hereford Cathedral, its Mappa Mundi and chained library, Stokesay Castle, and the ruins of Whitley Court). A few further places are available. Please contact Jackie Brookes

Lectures start at 8 pm in the drawing room (ground floor) of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3. Buses including the 82, 143, 260 and 326 pass close by along Ballards Lane, a five to ten minute walk from Finchley Central Tube Station.


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KITCHEN CROCKS TO SUNDAY BEST - CERAMICS IN THE HOME FROM HENRY VIII TO VICTORIA - the February 11 Lecture by Jacqui Pearce

Jacqui introduced the lecture with a series of snapshots of items from Tudor to Victorian times, to demonstrate both the type of ceramics used at any period, and, by comparing the snapshots, to indicate the way in which they had both changed and stayed the same through the ages. She said she would demonstrate that the function of identifying pottery was not just to allocate dates to it, but to provide a picture of everyday life as it happened in the past. Jacqui started by providing a contemporary focus, with a slide showing the type of wares to be found in any 21st century household, comprising items in glass, plastic, metal and ceramic materials. Only a very small proportion was ceramic She then went on to cover each period in turn, starting with the Tudor period from Henry VIII to Edward VI, for which there were two snapshots, of items dating from 1531 and 1588; the early 17th century - James I, Charles 1, Oliver Cromwell, the mid-18th century comprising the first two King Georges, the turn of the 18th century to the 19th century, a snapshot in 1803 in Napoleon Bonaparte's time; and finally, the death of Prince Albert. For each of these periods, she showed representative groupings of the ceramics in everyday use, and as evidence included pictures painted of the lifestyle of the period, illustrating the ceramics in use. Some of the domestic ware - cooking pots, kitchen bowls and chamberpots - hardly changed throughout all the periods. This was because they were functional rather than decorative But the decorative wares were a different matter. The impetus for change came from greater individual wealth and hence buying power, which in turn led to a desire to demonstrate this wealth by having high- status tableware. First imported pottery, then locally made pottery, fulfilled this need. Another catalyst for high-quality ware was the start of tea and coffee consumption, combined with much greater availability of porcelain, initially from China. This changed over time as tea and coffee prices dropped and they became available to everyone. Jacqui concluded her lecture by showing slides of the large collections of pottery that have come from excavations in the City, which demonstrate what the households of the period were using in the kitchen and dining areas of their houses. Jacqui, perhaps the country's foremost expert on post-medieval pottery, demonstrated her great enthusiasm for her subject and the pleasure she gets from sharing her "beauties" with her audiences. by Liz Gapp (Jacqui Pearce also runs the Ted Sammes post excavation course).

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LAMAS CONFERENCE (40TH ANNUAL) - 22 MARCH 2002

Harvey Sheldon, President of HADAS, is to present the Ralph Merrifield Award at the 40th Annual LAMAS Conference. HADAS will also have a stand at the Conference, to be held from 11 am to 5.30 pm on Saturday 22nd March at the Museum of London. Topics include "Excavations in Southwark" (Pre-construct archaeology); "Developing a Research Framework for London Archaeology" (Peter Rowsome, MOLAS); "An Introduction to London Before London" (Jon Cotton, MOL); "Bronze Age Political Economies along the River Thames" (David Yates, Reading University); "Prehistory in the City" (Nick Holder, MOLAS) and "London in the Iron Age" (J.D. Hill, British Museum). Ticket applications (enclosing an SAE) and general enquiries to: Jon Cotton, Early Department, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN [e-mail to: jcotton@museum of london.org.uki LAMAS members E4, non-members £5. Cost includes afternoon tea. Eric MORGAN

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

For most HADAS members, the membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March. The next Newsletter will include a renewal form to be completed and sent back to me with a cheque, cash or a postal order for anyone who does not pay by standing order. If you are not sure which form of payment you have arranged, or if you want to change to making your payment by standing order (our preferred method for the time it saves), please contact the Membership Secretary (see details on back page). The exception to this is for those who have joined during the latter part of the year to 31st March 2003, whose subscription entitles them to membership until the April of 2004.


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SEVERN ESTUARY LEVELS RESEARCH COMMITTEE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Saturday 16th November 2002 - NATIONAL MUSEUM AND GALLERY, CATHAYS PARK, CARDIFF (Continued from February issue)

After a nice lunch of home-made tomato soup in the museum café, we resumed with our keynote speaker, Garry Member, Director of the Hams and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology, on 'Merged landscapes and Archaeology in the Solent'. Grant aided by English Heritage, the Trust has a staff of three to cover a programme that is more than just shipwrecks. A maritime SMR covers the many shipwrecks around the Isle of Wight, and was the first such database when established in 1989. Since copied by the RCHME, it has over 800 sites - archaeology beyond the low water mark to include submerged landscapes, intertidal areas and the area of the River Test, There are only 53 protected wrecks around the UK coastline. At Langstone Harbour, truncated cliffs give archaeological sections. A Bronze. Age hearth has been found there with scattered potsherds. Friends of the Trust are involved in fieldwork and found a log boat in Langstone Harbour, lying in a palaeochannel and carbon 14 dated to around 500 AD. It lay near shell middens and hurdle work of c. 900 AD. Split timber trackways have also been found. The increased size of modern vessels in the area increases damage to deposits due to silts being lifted off the stronger wakes and propellor wash, exposing the archaeology beneath. The Isle of Wight protected the Hampshire coast from erosion and the action of the sea as sea-levels rose. One oyster fisherman has recovered hundreds of stone axes, yet only three are shown on the local SMR. Volunteer divers working in low underwater visibility have been used to report on the nature of artefacts on the seabed - such as buried salt marshes and sunken peat deposits with channels and truncated peat cliffs, mapping this submerged landscape. An acoustic survey was made to image the sea bed. Peat with Mesolithic finds lies above estuarine silt deposits, with a typical date of 4100 cal BC for the Solent. 8m of sediments formed over 2000 years indicate a steep rise in sea levels. Next up was Richard Brunning, talking about 'Huntspill' A joint project in 2002 involving the Environment Agency and Somerset County Council on the Huntspill River, which gives a running section through the landscape. The river was cut in the 1940s to act as the reservoir for a wartime munitions factory and to help drain the inland peat meres. Today, in windy weather waves erode the soft shoreline, undercutting the river banks. Since the 1940s some 5m from each bank has been lost, uncovering much archaeology.. The Environment Agency is now grading the bank to avoid undercutting, and planting it with weeds and willow to stabilise it. At one site, erosion has exposed Roman pottery and masonry remains and field ditches. Roman salt making traces have been found, with the salt water originally contained in settling tanks. Hearth structures for the industry have traces of internal structures in the hearth, below trays in which the salt water was evaporated - the trays may have been of lead, with the nearby Roman lead mines at Charterhouse. Remains of Roman baskets have also been recovered, together with forged coins produced originally in this remote salt marsh environment where unwanted visitors could be spotted a long way off, giving time to hide the evidence! I found Richard Turner's paper on Chepstow Castle of particular interest, having visited this spectacular site some years ago. It is not every town that boasts a WWI U-boat deck gun in the central square! Working for CADW, Turner described how the actual structure of the castle has been examined in great detail, and relevant documentation also collected together. There has also been some limited excavation. The castle perches on a limestone cliff above the River Wye, which acted as water source and transport highway for supplies and building materials, water transport being dramatically cheaper than land transport. The oldest part of the castle is the great Norman tower at the centre, remodelled in the 1230s and finally completed in the 1290s. The original main Norman door is framed by re-used Roman tile. Sandstone and limestone was quarried from the Forest of Dean, Lydney, the Wye Estuary and other local sources. Much - how much is under study - is re-used Roman masonry, brought by river from Roman sites in the Severn Estuary area, but which ones exactly is presently unclear, though some suggest the major Roman temple at Lydney, Glos; there is tufa in the arches and crushed Roman tile in the plaster of the earliest phase of the tower (1080s). The second phase (1230s) uses different stone including Purbeck marble and stone from the Bristol area, with very high quality carving. Some was carved at the quarry and shipped to the site in kit form. Wooden doors of the 1190s survive in the castle - the oldest castle doors in Europe. The castle was proviSioned from the river, with supplies winched up into the castle. For water supplies, a natural spring at the foot of the castle cliff fed out below tide level, so a high quality circular stone cistern was bult to store the water, which could then be plumbed by bucket from the top; excavation has shown that it stands on a ?Norman timber platform. The conference finished with a very up-to-date joint presentation by Kate Howells and Nigel Nayling on the excavation of the recently discovered and highly controversial Newport Medieval Boat, and its Dendrodating. This fifteenth century ship was found on the site of the new Newport Theatrical Arts Centre. Most of it has now been recorded and lifted by the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust on behalf of Newport City Council. A watching brief is continuing on the site, and Cows at Llanwern steelworks have provided water tanks and storage facilities. The people of Newport gave outstanding support for the well- orchestrated "Save Our Ship" campaign. The site is on the River Usk in the centre of Newport, some 300m downstream of the castle ruins and adjacent to an Augustinian Friary site. When the orchestra pit for the new building was dug, archaeology was quickly uncovered including a post-medieval stone slipway running towards the river and a timber drain of similar date. The very well preserved clinker-built vessel - with overlapping hull planking over the ribs lying in alluvial clays - started to appear as three battered ribs, and eventually was revealed as being 21m long and 8m wide, with the extreme bow and stern beyond the line of the contractor's coffer dam - the renamed 'Save Our Stem' campaign is trying to ensure that these sections are also recovered, now that the area within the coffer dam has been fully excavated. Dendrodated to the mid-fifteenth century, excavation of the interior of the ship revealed more ships' timbers from this and possibly other vessels, including rigging, decking and a pulley block. The whole ship was planned at 1:10. Finds included Portuguese pottery, iron slag, three stone cannonballs, coins of Alfonso V of Portugal, and brass strips, possibly from a chest binding. A pump hole in the hull was lined with a wicker basket. Much rope, wool, textile - including hems and buttonholes - was recovered, plus reed matting, tool handles, combs and barrel staves. Since the vessel could not be cut or lifted out, it was dismantled piece by piece and placed on pallets for storage in 17 water tanks at Llanwern. It will be conserved and reassembled, probably in a basement close to where it was found. The vessel, probably built as a cargo carrier, most likely had a central mast with square sail: the keel was beech, deck planks of sawn softwood, and the hull planks oak, being assembled before the framework was inserted. The mast step, a rectangular hole, shows evidence of contemporary cracking thorugh the stresses imposed on the structure by a single mast, and would have required beaching for repair. Some 250 planks survive as 35 strakes (planking levels) on the partly collapsed starboard side, and 16 on the port side, which was probably cut down post deposition as a ground levelling exercise. One timber, which might be part of the vessel, has been dendrodated to 1465-66; the ship certainly had a long life. Updates and further details on the SOS Newport website. Andy Simpson

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WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS Mary Rawitzer (Membership Secretary)

It is a long time since we have had a news item concerning recently joined members, so may we welcome: Mr Donald Harris, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, whose particular interest in Whetstone was evident in his recent contribution to the Newsletter. Mr and Mrs Parks (Andrew and Val) and son Luke, London N3; Laurence Malin, Watford Way, Mill Hill; Stephanie Cooke, London N12; Michaela Iafrate, Cricklewood; Dorothy Rowan-Wicks, Barnet; Christopher Wiley, Kensal Rise; Dr Vivien Shanson, London N2; Christiane Fitzke, London N12, (who tells us she is a chef and has cooked Mediaeval and Roman dishes).

WALKING ON WATER - Andrew C and HADAS go river walking

Rivers make useful archaeological tools. People need water and settle near it; rivers function as routes for trade or war; ways have to be found of crossing them, and things are dropped in them. River-walking offers the chance of examining places which may have been untouched for centuries. HADAS members began river-walking in the early seventies, and began again in the Spring of 2001. There is no manual - we are constantly evolving methods and procedures. At present we are concentrating on the sources and headwaters of the Dollis which flows into the Brent and from there to the Thames. Wellies are adequate for ankle-deep water, waders for knee-deep and a boat for waist-deep water. You need to wear tough, "slippery" clothing so that you are not stung by nettles or ripped by thorns. Winter or early spring are thus good times. People interested in river walking could be given a brief course on what to look for (basic finds identification), and learn about riverine erosion and deposition patterns. We could "cheat" by using an SMR or finds register or archive to point us at a "lucrative" area, but we feel that the whole area needs searching. The best view is from the stream bed. The leader slowly scans the stream bed (the view of others in the group will be obstructed) and pays close attention to its banks. He or she must also test the bottom of the river for firmness with a walking stick - under four inches of water may be eighteen inches of mud! Progress is slow - recently it took us 180 minutes to cover 320 metres. We are using computer-generated maps on a scale of 1:4038 (approximately 7.8" to 1 km). Accurate map- reading from the stream bed is usually impossible. The best method we have so far found is to use marker tags. The report form, designed and produced by Emma Freeman (who also produced the OS maps of the river on handy A4 sheets which fit on to a clipboard) has 21 main headings along with sub-options to be marked. We hope to re-walk Dollis Brook from where it crosses Hendon Wood Lane at Grid: 221947 to its source at Grid: 217946; to survey with the resistivity meter for the possible fort on that section, to investigate the features ("cobbles" and "dry lake") found at the source, and also field-walk the area generally. Vanessa Bunton, MoLas Community Archaeologist, will attend. Dates: Sat / Sun March 22/23 and 29 / 30 March. (Probably Sundays). A minimum of four people will be needed for the river survey. A photographer (Eric?) and a liaison person (Emma Freeman?) would be helpful. Arrangements have to be made via e-mail (only medium fast enough) but you can contact me by text or voice-mail on 07803 470 475 giving your name and phone number and I will give you an e-mail contact.

18TH CENTURY MILITARY MEMORIALS IN NORTH LONDON

In an effort to assist a friend who has compiled a huge database on the officers of the British Army from 1715 to 1793, Andy Simpson has been trying to spot tombstones or memorials which record any details of officers who served in the army between these dates. Should any HADAS member know of memorials in churches local or otherwise, he would be very interested to hear of them or to receive a transcription of the text. The individual concerned must have served between the above dates, though of course he may have died after 1793

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OTHER SOCIETIES' LECTURES AND EVENTS - Eric Morgan

Tuesday 4th March, 10.45 am, Hornsey Historical Society. Guided Tour of Mortimer Wheeler House (LAARC & Social Working Collections, including items specifically related to North London). Meet in reception area, 46 Eagle Wharf Road (Between City Road and New North Road)

CENTENARY STUDY DAY - "They Came to Rome - Power and Poetry" Saturday 8 March 1030 - 3 pm. As the Republic crumbled, ambitious provincials sent their sons to Rome - they came to make their fortunes in law, politics and literature... Tutors: Janet Corran, MA and Mary Lanch, MA. Bushey Centre, High Street, Bushey. Tickets £10. Apply to Barbara Beaumont: Tel 020 8950 6046 (WEA)

Monday 10th March, 3 pm Barnet & District Local History Society, Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet. "The History of Barnet - An Introduction" -Talk by Graham Javes (of HADAS).

Wednesday 12th March, 8 15 pm. Mill Hill Historical Society - Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7 "The Geological Society of London" - talk by Andrew Mussel] (Barnet Archivist).

Wednesday 19th March, 6.30 pm London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. "Surgery in Roman Britain and Beyond". Talk by Ralph Jackson (British Museum).

Thursday 20th March, 1 pm, Senate House Archaeological Historical Society, Chancellor's Hall, Senate House, Malet St, WC1 "Radiocarbon Dating - Recent Projects and Developments at the Oxford Laboratory". Talk by Dr T Higham.

Thursday 27th March, 8 pm. The Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N2. "Industrial Heritage". Talk by R.W.G. Smith (National Trust).

Sunday 30th March, 10.30 am-4.30 pm. The Jewish Museum, the Sternberg Centre, 80 East End Road, N3. Open Day for 70th Anniversary. Art, craft, drama, films, music.



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