newsletter-390-september-2003

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Thurs 11 - Sun 14 September: London Weekend in the West Midlands Now full, but ring Jackie Brookes in case there is a cancellation

Tues 14 October, 8pm: 250 years of the British Museum. Lecture by Dr Marjorie Cayhill

Tues 11 November, 8pm: Roman Silchester. Lecture by Prof Mike Fulford

HADAS TRAINING "DIG" AT AVENUE HOUSE by DON COOPER

As announced in the last newsletter, HADAS will run two training "digs" at Avenue House, one on each of the last two weekends in September 2003. Each session is expected to take the two full days. The objective will be to impart as much excavation methodology as we can during that time. We already have a number of applicants. If you would like to participate please contact Don Cooper - his postal and email addresses are at the bottom of the newsletter - and don't forget you need to have an up-to-date tetanus jab. We regret that we will only be able to take people aged 16 or over

VISIT TO WEALD & DOWNLAND OPEN AIR MUSEUM: Saturday 20 September

Graham Javes is organising a coach outing to the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum for members of the Barnet & District Local History Society and invites HADAS members to join them. The museum has a collection of -over 40 historic buildings which have been rescued from destruction, carefully dismantled and painstakingly reassembled in 50 beautiful acres of the Sussex Downland, just north of Chichester. The coach will leave Barnet Odeon at 9.00am, returning at 5.00pm from the museum. The cost is £16.00, including coach, driver's tip and group entrance to the museum. Barnet Odeon is at the junction of the Great North Road and Station Road, near the foot of Barnet Hill, or High Barnet tube station is about 5 mins walk. The outing may be popular so please ring Graham initially to see if there are vacancies. Only then send your application to him with your name, address, contact phone number and your cheque, made payable to Barnet & District Local History Society.

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EXHIBITION: Memories of Hendon Aerodrome from Gerrard Roots The current exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum is based on the remarkable collection of photographs of early aviation in Hendon belonging to Clive and David Smith. The photographs concentrate on the beginnings of flying here - with Claude Grahame-White, Gustav Hamel and Samuel Cody - to the great aerial displays of the 1920s and 1930s which brought thousands of excited visitors to North West London. The Exhibition also includes flying memorabilia from the Royal Air Force Museum and from local private collectors. Memories of Hendon Aerodrome ends on 14th September, so hurry if you don't want to miss it. Phone 0208-203 0130 for further information, or to check on opening hours.

OUTING TO READING AND SILCHESTER Deirdre Barrie

Reading Museum's Roman Section holds many of the important finds from Silchester, and the limited time we had here meant we had to concentrate on a quick look at just this part, but the whole museum really merits another visit. The large Roman mosaics from Silchester were being restored and repaired so for now we could only view them from a distance. Their Victorian excavators had lifted one mosaic out in nine hexagonal pieces and reassembled them on a metal backing against a wall, but the sections were now rubbing against each other, so that individual tesserae were falling off. Among Reading Museum's virtues were the drawers full of real objects available for handling and the "dressing-up" clothes to allow schoolchildren - and, inevitably, others - to experience the feeling of power that comes with joining the toga-wearing plutocracy. (Footnote: the Museum's 2nd C AD wingless eagle, excavated in Silchester Basilica in 1866, inspired Rosemary Sutcliffe to write "The Eagle of the Ninth") Just part of Denis's secretarial duties On we sped the 9 miles south-west to Silchester, the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum, where the Department of Archaeo¬logy at the University of Reading were holding a very colourful open day. Prof Michael Fulford, who wrote a guide to Silchester in 2002 and recently figured in "Meet the Ancestors" on TV, was not there, but our groups were conducted round the site by Dr Hella Eckhart and Amanda Clarke (Prof Fulford is giving the November 11 HADAS lecture - see HADAS Diary on page1). The site is not only a research excavation, but also a training school. Younger members of the archaeological team mingled with the crowd, dressed in robes, togas and tunics. (The contingents of "Ancient Britons" with their spiky hair and woad-covered chests, suitably loud and unruly, had to be called to order by the person taking our party round the site.) Victorian excavation methods involved driving long trenches across the site until they hit a wall, which meant they did not take into account the many wooden buildings in the town An overview of the modern Silchester dig (photos courtesy of Barry Reilly but not available on the site yet!!)

Why was Silchester finally deserted? Is the date of the Roman street grid earlier than AD 40-60? The present excavation is now concentrating on one of the "street blocks", Insula IX, and hopes to answer these and other questions Insula IX was chosen because one of the houses is asymmetrical to the street grid, which means it pre-dates the Roman street plan. It is hoped to interpret some of the earlier layers known to exist - the settlement was founded in the Iron Age. There was practically no running water near the town, and the large number of wells are yielding finds (pottery, ritual objects) from the time of the Emperors Claudius and Nero. As we managed to lose at least one member (temporarily) in the woods around Calleva Atrebatum, the coach arrived late at the Vyne. Shrewd people made straight for the house. Others stopped for tea. The Vyne was built in the early 16th century for Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain and, from the mid- 17th C belonged to the Chute family. The house is on a small scale and set in beautifully kept gardens. Some of the furniture and paintings are from National Trust "central stores", but there is a fine Palladian staircase, a unique mid-17th C classical portico and a Tudor chapel with renaissance stained glass. (One of the Chutes was offered one hundred pounds, then a very large sum, for the 400-year old oak in the grounds, and refused to sell. The buyer returned the next day and offered one hundred guineas. The owner said if the oak could increase in value so much overnight he thought he would just keep it.). Our thanks again to Tessa and Sheila for their hard work in arranging an excellent outing.

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Visit to Bodrum Jeffrey Lesser's recommendations

Recently I had a successful holiday outside Bodrum in south-west Turkey. Now a holiday town, Bodrum was once the site of one of the seven wonders of the Classical world - Halicarnassus - and the original e century Mausoleum (occupying a site higher up in the town, but now hardly worth a visit, it has been robbed of almost all its stonework and only the base and a few columns remain, scattered on the ground - much cheaper and cooler to visit Room 22 at the British Museum). Stonework taken from the Mausoleum was used by local inhabitants, but principally by the Knights of St John to build their Citadel, the Castle of St. Peter, at the edge of the harbour. The castle is well worth a visit, needing several hours. It celebrates underwater archaeology with several shipwrecks reconstructed to show how cargoes and parts of the ships themselves were found on the sea floor. Along one courtyard is a display of amphora, explaining their characteristic anthropomorphic variations of neck, body and lip as well as handles and base and how these, and their clay, define their origin, purpose and period The Spanish Tower has a further display of amphora, this time arranged in groups of types as a serried audience in a lecture theatre. The Chapel of the Knights now houses a reconstructed trading vessel, showing its construction. As one walks round it at different levels, the crew quarters, their cooking and working methods can be seen as well as the methods of stowing cargo. Although there are many more conventional displays of archaeological materials - statues, reliefs, domestic and trade articles - it is the castle itself with its many towers used by different nationalities of the Knights which repays inspection, Despite a grisly dungeon and platform for dispatching but not discharging prisoners, there are many shady courtyards, some with pools, where one can buy refreshments during the lunch hour.

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OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS Compiled by Eric Morgan

Thurs 4 Sept 8pm: Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner Pinner Chalk Mines Revisited Talk by Ken Kirkman on the historical features, etc

Sat 6 Sept 10.30-4: LAARC, M Wheeler House, 46 Eagle Wharf Rd, NI Urban Jungle Open Day

Tues 9 Sept 8pm: Amateur Geological Society, The Parlour, St Margaret's United Reform Church,Victoria Ave, N3 Stonehenge: Geology & Prehistory Talk by Dr Christopher Green Wed 10 Sept 6-7.30pm: Highgate Wood Information Hut Walk to look at places of historical interest

Thurs 11 Sept 10 30am: Mill Hill Library, Hartley Ave NW7 Late Victorian Enfield, 1880-1900 Talk

Sun 14 Sept 11.30am-3.15pm: Natural History Museum Flint Knapping Demonstrations A chance to meet Phil Harding, flint expert & star of Time Team. Cones. £1,50 2pm-4pm: Friern Barnet & District Local History Soc, meet forecourt New Southgate Stn Tour of Friern Hospital led by Dr Oliver Natelson £1

3pm-5pm: Finchley Arts Centre Trust, The Bothy, Avenue House Grounds Garden Party (proceeds in aid of bothy and walled garden) music, refreshments, £5

Mon 15 Sept 8.15pm: Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries, Finchley Church End Library,Hendon Lane, N3 The Old Watling St from Marble Arch to Edgware Talk, David Barker

Wed 17 Sept 8pm: Willesden Local History Society, Willesden Suite, Library Centre,95 High Rd, NW10 Some Willesden Churches Between the Wars Talk, Dr Rex Walford

Thurs 18 Sept 7.30pm: Camden History Society, Burgh House, New End Sq, NW3 Dollis Hill House Talk by Hamilton Hay

8pm, Enfield Preservation Society, Jubilee Hall, jctn Parsonage Lane/Chase Side Commons & Village Greens Talk by Margaret Smith

Fri 19 Sept 7pm: City of London Archaeological Society, St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3 London's Pottery from Alfred toVictoria Talk by "our"Jacqueline Pearce (MoLSS)

8pm: Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall (see 18 Sept) Romano-British Cavemen Talk by Dr Martin Dearne, Visitors £1

Sat 20 Sept 12.30pm: LAARC (see Sept 6) Connected Earth History of telecomms lecture, Neil Johannessen, BT Group Historian, followed (2-3.30pm) by tours incl. communications equipment

Sat 20/Sun 21 Sept London Open House Weekend Various buildings not normally open1 lam-5pm: Enfield Autumn Show, Town Park, Cecil Rd, Enfield, incl E. Archaeol_ Soc, etc

Tues 23 Sept 8prn: Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, Old Fire Station (adj. Town Hall),Friern Barnet Lane, N12 Vernacular Architecture Talk by John Donovan (Pres. & Sec.) £2

Thurs 25 Sept 8pm: Finchley Society, Drawing Rm, Avenue House, East End Rd, N3 Work of the Peabody Trust & Urban Development Talk by Christine Wagg


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