newsletter-385-april-2003

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Tuesday April 8th LECTURE "The Villa of Tiberius Claudius Severus: a peep into the past" by Roy Friendship-Taylor. This is the Piddington Roman Villa, which HADAS visited in August last year The visit was written up in the November newsletter.

Tuesday May 13th Lecture by Harvey Sheldon (our President) on Roman Southwark. Tuesday June 10th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.

Saturday 14 June Outing to Wheathampstead with Micky Watkins. At Wheathampstead Simon West, whose lecture at our March meeting is reported below, will show us his excavation in progress. In Ely we can visit Cromwell's House, the local museum, and the Stained Glass Museum as well as the Cathedral.

Saturday July 26th Outing to Reading and Silchester with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward.

Thursday September 11th to Sunday September 14th Long Weekend to Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire (including Hereford Cathedral, its Mappa Mundi and chained library, Stokesay Castle and the ruins of Witley Court). There may still be one or two places available. Contact Jackie Brookes

Lectures start at 8pm 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, and it is a five to ten minute walk. from Finchley Central Tube Station.

A MUST-VISIT: CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM

All members should visit the exhibitions now on at the Church Farmhouse Museum, and continuing until 1st June 2003. Besides Hendon's Hidden History, which curator Gerrard Roots describes below, there is an exhibition of 'Weird and Wonderful Contraptions Everyday Gadgets 1800-1950'. This collection, gathered together by Barnet resident Morris Collins over the last 30 years, includes a hundred-year-old clock that makes tea, a kettle that turns into an iron and an implement to massage your eyes. The display focuses on items that were used in everyday life and have been developed into products that can still be bought in the shops today. Admission to the Museum is free. It is open Monday-Thursday: 10-12.30 and 1.30-5; Saturday:10-1 and 2-5.30; and Sunday: 2-5.30. It is closed on Friday.

HENDON'S HIDDEN HISTORY Gerrard Roots

Hendon's Hidden History, one of two current exhibitions at Church Farmhouse Museum, displays finds made by HADAS in the Church End Hendon area over the past forty years. Highlights of the show include the Saxon pin from the Church Terrace excavation and the astonishing number of fragments of bird- pots from the Church End farm site. l am particularly pleased that material uncovered during the two excavations in the Church Farmhouse Museum garden is at last displayed in quantity. I am only sorry that my cat, Henry, who died last year, was not present at the private view for the exhibitions on 16th March, Henry was adopted by HADAS as their site supervisor during the Church Farm digs — a role Henry carried out with great authority. Henry even received an acknowledgement in the excavation report in the HADAS journal! I am very pleased that the ongoing happy relationship between HADAS and the Museum is highlighted by our exhibition. Please come and see it.


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CBA Winter Meeting Peter Pickering

The Winter General Meeting of the Council for British Archaeology was held on February 27th in the elegant rooms of the British Academy in Carlton House Terrace. The talks were linked, sometimes loosely, by the theme 'The Value of Development-led Archaeology', and everybody was awaiting the appearance of the consultation draft of PPG15, which will combine and update PPG15, which deals with standing historic buildings, and PPG16, which deals with archaeology. Many of the talks focussed on the need to involve and inform the public, on which the current PPG16 was not thought adequate, and which some people feared did not sit well with developer-funded archaeology and competitive tendering; they tended to believe that a general tax on developers and area franchising of the right to conduct archaeological investigations in advance of development would be preferable. But others were more optimistic that developers could see publicity for archaeological discoveries on their sites as being good publicity for them, and that the problems of health and safety and confidentiality could be overcome and really successful open days arranged. Kim Stabler of English Heritage produced statistics to show the increase over the last ten years not only in planning applications and archaeological interventions in Greater London but also in the number of requests made for access to the Sites and Monuments Records. She admitted that it was difficult to enforce the conditions requiring publication that had been imposed on planning applications, since a development might well be complete and a building open before it was apparent that publication would not be adequate, but on at least one occasion a condition had been enforced and an opening delayed. Natalie Cohen of the Museum of London Archaeology Service (MoLAS) described the problems of archiving the material found in developer-funded digs, which the contractors would scarcely want to store indefinitely. It became clear that the position in London, with the excellent new Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, is much better than that in most of the rest of the country. Digital archiving had great potential, but the problem of obsolescence must not be forgotten. One interesting paper separate from the main theme was by David Jamieson of MoLAS. He described an attempt to produce a computer topographic model of the prehistoric and early Roman land surfaces within the City of London. Using the available data for every archaeological intervention, he fed into the computer the levels above Ordnance Datum at which 'natural' and early Roman brickearth had been encountered, and then interpolated between the reference points so as to get a contour map. He freely admitted to problems with the accuracy of the data, and with the way in which the computer calculated interpolations, particularly at the edges of the map. But the results he has already obtained were suggestive, especially in the demonstration of Roman terracing on the river front, and he has ideas for solving the problems, for instance by using data from geological bore-holes, and so improving the results.

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The Mackerye Burials

Our March lecture was by Simon West, the Field Archaeologist for St Albans Museum Service, a man of quite infectious enthusiasm. He has, actually, a lot to be enthusiastic about. Mackerye End Farm is near Wheathampstead. In March last year metal detectorists who had been working a field there for some time without great success found several bronze objects from suspected cremations. They reported this to the St Albans Museums Service, who immediately started digging. Close to the cist burial found by the detectorists, there was another rather less rich one close by. The 'Main' burial was accompanied by eight bronze objects, the other by three., most striking were two bronze jugs with Medusa heads and bulls or tritons on the handles; they were of a type made in Campania in the late republic or early years of the Roman empire, the wear on them showing that they had been in use for some considerable time before they were deposited. There were also two silver brooches, great quantities of Roman glass, and, between the two burials, a complete dinner service for four people of undecorated Samian pottery, made before 140AD. Simon was most enthusiastic about a mass of heavily corroded iron objects which after conservation proved to he hunter's set of 25 arrow heads, of three different types — bolts for large game, barbed arrows for medium-sized game, and leaf-shaped ones for duck, hares and the like. These finds led to a geophysical survey of the whole field, and the excavation of three large trenches. Though the deposits had been truncated by ploughing there were ditches, pits and postholes. One set of postholes may indicate an Iron Age hall; or a Roman barn; or a Saxon hall. A series of walls may indicate a tower-tomb, or a temple mausoleum. Two of the pits may have had a ritual use — in one of them there was a vessel surrounded by burnt clay which had in it unburnt gravelly soil. Previously, two other pits had produced coin pellet moulds, usually associated with Iron Age royalty. Were the burials perhaps of a rich Roman couple in the second century AD whose estate had been owned by, and were perhaps even descended from, royalty from before the Roman conquest? The circumstances of the investigations were nearly as interesting as the finds themselves. Unlike so many nowadays, the excavations were not developer-funded and carried out by a professional contractor. This was not a well-known or scheduled ancient monument, though of course it is in an area where there are many Iron Age and Romano-British sites. The discovery was not the outcome of a research assessment. Metal detectorists found it in a field being inexorably eroded by ploughing; they very responsibly told the Museums Service what they had found (though not before their understandable enthusiasm had led to some damage and loss of context for the larger burial.) Because funding was short, much of the work was undertaken not by paid archaeologists but by volunteers from the Manshead Archaeological Society of -Dunstable. Simon and the St Albans museum are very keen on informing local people and involving them; they had a Young Archaeologists' Club working through spoil heaps, and held an open day which attracted over 1000 visitors. The BBC have become very interested, are putting some money into the excavation and are planning a programme about it in September this year. Simon intends to have another campaign to find out more. Very fortunately, HADAS will be able to visit Mackerye End on the way to Ely on 14th June while the excavation 'is going on, and Simon should be able to show us it.

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On the trail of HADAS finds Don Cooper

I appealed in the January newsletter for information on the whereabouts of any documents and/or artefacts that might be from the 1961-66 excavations at Church End Farm, Hendon. I have not as yet had anything relating to that particular dig, but I have received a box containing a large number of clay-pipe fragments (some with very interesting stamps on them) and a very few small pieces of pottery, almost but not quite all of which are recorded as coming from the dig which HADAS carried out from February 6th to March 6th 1982 at the Old Bull Arts Centre in Barnet in advance of the building of a new theatre. The excavation was reported on by Philip yenning in the newsletter of October 1982. I wonder where the other finds from this dig are? And what other important finds are lurking elsewhere in the garages and attics, or even under the beds, of HADAS members of longer-standing. Please look urgently, and do not wait for the better weather. Let me know what you find; my address is 59 Potters Road, Barnet ENS 5HS, and my e-mail address is atdcooper@msn.com. If it would help you, I would gladly come and collect.

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Nostalgia Audree Price-Davies

Looking through some of the back numbers of the Newsletter has been a reminder of the early years of the society. The original members had far-reaching enthusiasm and the number of excavations is inspiring. The society was started by Mr. Constantides who wanted to prove that Hendon had a Saxon foundation. The original meetings in 1961 were held in Church End House. The committee consisted of Dorothy Newbury, Daphne Lorimer, Sheila Woodward, Ted Sammes, George Ingram, and Brian Jarman. Two of the members, Dorothy and Sheila, are still active in the society to-day and Daphne Lorimer is active in the Orkney society and has recently been awarded the O.B.E. for her work in this field. Excavations were conducted at Church End Farm from 1961-66; the Birkbeck College course is currently well on with producing a report. The 1974 committee was larger and included Brian Jarman as chairman, Edward Sammes as Vice- chairman, Brigid Grafton-Green as Secretary and Jeremy Clynes as Treasurer. Committee members were:

Christine Arnott, Dorothy Newbury, Michael Bird, Nell Penny, G.M.T. Corlet, Anne Trewick, John Enderby, Joanna Wade, Eric Grant, Freda Wilkinson, Elizabeth Holliday, E.E. Wookey and Daphne Lorimer. Anne Trewick organised day trips and the society was organised into groups to cover research, Industrial Archaeology and Documentary Archaeology. Numbers grew significantly and at the Church Terrace dig from 1971-1974 there were 85 members on site in total. In 1974, Paddy Musgrove reported on hedgerow dating and Percy Reboul reported on churchyard surveys; the Church Terrace dig was on-going. In 1976 there were exhibitions of West Heath by Daphne Lorimer, and of Finchley by Percy Reboul and Vincent de Paul Foster at St Mary's Junior School. The main dig was at West Heath; there was also the Church Terrace dig and activity at Brockley Hill. In 1977, the exhibition "Archaeology in Action" got off to a flying start at Church Farm House when the Mayor of Barnet, Mr. Andrew Pares, came on February 19th to open it. Several Vice-Presidents were present: Mrs Rosa Freedman, Mrs. Daisy Hill and Mr_ Andrew Saunders, the Borough Librarian. In 1977 the current projects included:- A Parish Boundary Survey with Paddy Musgrove in charge. Edgware, a study of the district, both from documentary sources and in the field; Sheila Woodward was in charge. St. James the Great, Friern Barnet. The rector, Canon Norman Gilmore - a member of HADAS readily agreed that the society should record the tombstones. This project was expected to take several years to complete. Anne Trewick was in charge. History of Non-conformist Churches in the Borough. George Ingram had been steadily amassing information including, where they existed, copies of church guides. Dissenters Burial Ground Totteridge. Here HADAS has already recorded and photographed the graves but researchers were needed to dig out from libraries and other sources information about the families or individuals who were buried there. The co-ordinator was Daphne Lorimer. Resistivity Survey. Raymond Lowe was directing operations for the society. Industrial Archaeology — Bill Firth. Farm Building Survey - Nigel Harvey Parish Boundary Survey - Peter Griffiths. In March 1974 there were 234 members, in 1975 200, and in 1976 294. In 1977 there were 400 members and in November 1977 there were 120 members at a lecture. In 1978 a mound in the grounds of St. Joseph's Convent Hendon was excavated. Speculation as to its purpose was:- a brick kiln, a priest's secret passage, or an ice house. It proved to be an ice-house. In 1978 there were 100 members present at a lecture on Bridewell Palace and in 1979 digging continued at West Heath, co-ordinated by Daphne Lorimer, and at Church Crescent Finchley, monitored by Paddy Musgrove. The recording of graves in St. James the Great, Friern Barnet, co-ordinated by Anne Trewick, was also continuing. These are impressive achievements and have helped the society to its present position. Present members owe these early members a great deal and I hope that these events have stirred some memories.

Transport Corner Andy Simpson

Bill Bass advises me that in mid-February a contractor's trench across the old Great North Road at High Barnet revealed the tram lines still in situ about a foot beneath the present road surface. This on a route converted to trollevbuses in 1938. This was at a point virtually opposite the present entrance to High Barnet Tube station on Barnet Hill, a few hundred yards short of the former terminus at Barnet church. This time last year, similar roadworks at the foot of the hill just north of the Northern Line bridge also revealed the tram lines to be in situ. Some 15-20 years ago, road surface stripping allowed a colleague from the London County Council Tramways Trust restoration group to view double tram track right up Barnet Hill! As always, I would be delighted to hear of any other such sightings from around the Borough.


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Rescue meeting Peter Pickering

On 8th March RESCUE, the British Archaeological Trust (which our President, Harvey Sheldon, chairs), held its Annual General Meeting at the Museum of London, followed by an open meeting. The open meeting was on 'Buried Boats: Rescuing and Safeguarding Marine Archaeology'. The most interesting talk was about the Newport Ship, on which Andy Simpson reported in the last Newsletter. The others were about the new Marine Team which English Heritage have set up to implement the powers they have recently been given over archaeology between low-water mark and the twelve-mile limit, and about the survey Wessex Archaeology are carrying out on the salt-marshes of North Kent, finding many abandoned Thames barges, wooden minesweepers and concrete lighters (which had been used to carry ammunition and fuel during the Second World War); what about preserving some of the minesweepers and lighters (there are probably enough Thames barges preserved in maritime museums up and down the country)? Reports at the AGM itself focussed on four of the most difficult cases of the past year. One was the Newport Ship, saved (though there are still unresolved issues) following a major campaign, which reminded one of the Rose Theatre saga, and an enormous display of public support, which persuaded Welsh politicians to find a substantial sum of money. Another was the St Pancras cemetery, where the Channel Tunnel Rail Link contractors suddenly ordered the archaeologists off the site and prepared to dig the graves out themselves using excavation machinery and were only persuaded by a campaign from archaeologists and the Church to treat the human remains with dignity and respect and allow proper archaeological work to continue. Third was a road-widening near Southend where there is now to be reasonable protection for a Saxon cemetery. Finally, the serious problem of deep ploughing of the unexcavated parts of Verulamium has not been resolved, and there is no permanent voluntary agreement in sight. Indeed, after the expiry of the voluntary moratorium of two years the Earl of Verulamium estates could start ploughing again very soon. It is amazing that scheduling of this enormously important monument cannot guarantee its protection. It is to be hoped that the Government will act, and that resolving Verulamium will lead to a more general solution to the problem of plough damage to important sites unhindered by the planning controls because of what are known as Class Consents.

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Walking on Water Part 2 Andrew Coulson

As is becoming customary, I would like to begin with an apology. In last month's Newsletter I stated that Vanessa Bunton, our Community Archaeologist, was employed by MoLAS. This is quite wrong. In fact she operates under the aegis of MoL. MoLAS is the Museum of London Archaeological Services a commercial organisation — whilst MoL is, of course, the Museum of London. I wish to apologise for any confusion I may have caused. I would also like to apologise for the postponement, or maybe cancellation, of the survey and river walk intended for March 23rd. Unhappily I had neglected to obtain the land-owner's permission. Events must wait, therefore, until this is done. But all is not lost. Whilst it is impossible to disappear a full survey team in an instant, and hard to explain one away, much use can be made of tourists. Ours reported back that the ford (not, alas, the fort, as reported previously) was indeed a ford but only for deer, to judge by the hoof prints. They did not think it involved human activity because the banks were not scarped down to the water level, the 'track' was much less than one cart's width, and the gravel bed was not a continuous firm surface from bank to bank. They did not feel it was worth a survey at this stage. Stream walking, however, is still a possibility. It is very apparent that seasons when there is no leaf cover and visibility is best are the times to go. At the least we will be able to take photographs without needing to use flash! It is impossible to be entirely up to date in a monthly newsletter. The latest information is distributed on the E-mail list — hadas@hadas.org.uk.

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Other Societies' Events Compiled by Eric Morgan

Tuesday and Wednesday 8th and 9th April. The Family Records Centre 1 Myddleton Street EC1 'Meet the Neighbours' fair with stalls from twenty archive services in London and Home Counties including Camden Local Studies and Archives with Islington Local History Centre on the 8th.

Wednesday 9th April 8pm Barnet and District Local History Society. Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road Barnet 'Women I have Married'. Talk by Richard Selby.

Wednesday 9th April 8pm Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road and Weston Park, N8 `Muswell Hill to Hornsey'. Talk by Hugh Garnsworthy. £1 entrance fee.

Friday llth April 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side and 2 Parsonage Lane Enfield. Reports of fieldwork, excavations, research and other activities 2002, preceded by AGM Entrance fee £1.

Sunday 13th April llam Battlefields Trust (Barnet branch) meet at Ye Olde Monken Holt for site walk of Battle of Barnet. Adjourn to Barnet Museum 1pm.

Tuesday 15th April 8pm. National Trust Barnet Association. St. Mary Magdalen Hall, Athenaeum Road, Whetstone. 'The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial'. Talk by Charlotte Edwards.

Wednesday 16th April 6.30 pm London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2. 'Recent Discoveries at Saxon Lundenwic'. Talk by Gordon Malcolm (MoLAS).

Tuesday 22nd April 8pm Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. Old Fire Station (next to Town hall) Friern Barnet Lane 'The World of Second-hand Books' Talk by Martin Gladman £2.

Thursday 24th April 1pm Finchley Society. Drawing Room Avenue House East End Road N3 'History of Post Boxes in the Finchley Area'. Talk by Stephen R Krause.

Friday 25th April 6.30 pm City of London Archaeological Society St Olave's Church Hall, Mark Lane EC3. `Excavations at Paternoster Square'. Talk by Sadie Watson (MoLAS)

Saturday 26th April 2.15 pm Enfield Preservation Society Meet at front door of Forty Hall Mansion for 3 hour circular walk led by Colin Davies.


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