newsletter-398-may-2004

Newsletter

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HADAS Diary

Tuesday 11th May Lecture on ROMAN ROADS Harvey Sheldon

Tuesday 10TH June ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (Details enclosed)


Lectures start at 8.00 p.m. prompt in the Drawing Room on the ground floor of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3, and are followed by question time and coffee. We close promptly at 10.00. Buses, including the 82, 143, 120 and 326 pass close by, and it is a five to ten minute walk from Finchley Central Tube Station.

Sunday 9th May CHURCH END FESTIVAL The festival will be held in the garden of Avenue House, Finchley. HADAS will have a table at the event, also there will be an 'open day' with a chance to look around Avenue House and The Stephens Collection.

Saturday 7th August Outing to the LEWES area with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward.

Saturday 4th September Outing to COLCHESTER with June Porges and Stewart Wild.

Application forms for outings are sent out with the Newsletter the month prior to the event.

Photographers urgently needed

Many HADAS members are keen photographers and list this among their interests and skills. If they haven't already seen it some among you may be interested in the following advertisement which appeared in The Guardian's volunteers section on March 31. (and maybe elsewhere): A groundbreaking heritage initiative, supported by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, requires volunteer photographers in various areas across Britain. If you have time to spare, take good quality photographs, and have a 35mm camera, we would like to hear from you! Expenses paid. For more information about the project and opportunities in your area please contact Sarah Meaker on 01793 414 643 or email ioevolunteers@english-heritage.org.uk

`An urban Roman site in Colchester': a lecture by Ben Holloway, reported by Graham Javes

Our March lecture was given by Ben Holloway, field officer for Colchester Archaeological Trust, who spoke on Roman Colchester and the recent excavations. Before the Roman invasion, Colchester was a fortified British township, which King Cunobelinus (10 to 40-43 AD) had made his capital and was the most important centre in southern Britain. Emperor Claudius, who badly needed a conquest for his own political reasons, seized the opportunity to invade Britain after Cunobelinus' death, while his sons distractedly fought each other. Claudius arrived in time to lead his troops in triumph into Colchester, which he made his capital. The Romans built a legionary fortress at Colchester (Camulodunum), building work commencing in 44. In 50, the first colony (colonia) in Britain was founded there, most of the population being army veterans and their families, that is Roman citizens. An influx of merchants and tradesmen followed, increasing the population to possibly 15,000 with an expansion of the settlement to the east of the fortress. The fortress was apparently manned until sometime in the 50s, when the legion was withdrawn. Tacitus said that the Romans were brutal in their treatment of the native population and, despite new prosperity, there was a wrangle in 61 over the appropriation of land. That year, Boudica, who had suffered at the hands of the Romans, marched on Colchester, which was largely undefended. No effort was made to defend the colony by the veterans, who were outnumbered. The Britons burnt everything. The Romans, according to Tacitus, sought sanctuary behind the bronze doors of the temple of Claudius and waited for help, but two days later the Britons broke through the roof. Mr Holloway showed a slide of the Boudican destruction horizon, a 1-2 cm thick layer of deep red material which now lies over a large area of the town: the heat of the fire in a glass and pottery shop causing molten glass to drip on to stacks of pottery below. Re-establishment of the colonia was important for two reasons: Colchester was very important to the administration of the province, but the Britons needed to be taught that the Romans were here to stay. Provision was made for extensive fortification of the new town called CoIonia Victriciensis, based on the old fortress. A coin of Nero (dated the year 64), the absence of a significant break in the pottery sequence, and the lack of weathering of artefacts, indicate that the town did not remain derelict for a long time. Last year, the Colchester Archaeological Trust dug on the Harper's shop site, four buildings on a site previously destroyed by fire in 1839. Investigations were in two phases. Evaluation trenches were dug in April 2002 to a depth of 1.4 metres, when material dated to 43-49 was found. One feature contained essentially blocks of Roman concrete, the foundations for a wooden building. A small quantity of pottery dated to the first century was found. There was evidence of clay buildings. New clay floors of a building would be laid from time to time when the floor became too rutted. A tessellated floor of a town house ran the length of two trenches. This was made up of 1cm cubes set in Roman concrete called opus signinum which sets under water. Used for bath houses, this was not to be seen again until the arrival of Portland cement. Three medieval and post medieval pits pierced through the tesserae. Archaeology was restricted to the pile and slab depth of the development. A very large oven, probably associated with the external kitchen of a post-medieval house, was discovered. Post- medieval metalworking on the site included a family bell-founding industry, though lower grade bronze cauldrons, saucepans etc, with a higher zinc content were made, rather than bells. After back-filling of trenches a watching brief was maintained on the new foundations, but due to depth restrictions, excavation stopped about the Boudican layer. Digging continues this year and HADAS will visit the excavations on 7th August.


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Barnet Local Studies and Archives Service Graham Javes

Barnet Local Studies and Archives Library, which closed its doors last September, has reopened in newly refurbished premises in Mill Hill. The new address is: The Local Studies & Archives Centre, 80 Dawes Lane, Mill Hill, London NW7 4SL. (Tel 020 8959 6657, Email: library.archives@barnet.gov.uk.) Opening hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9.30-4.30 and Thursday, 1.00-7.00pm, Saturday opening (1st and 3rd Saturday only) 9.30-4.30. It is to be regretted that the archive cannot open every Saturday, late-night opening until 7.00pm on a Thursday is really no substitute for those who must work on weekdays. As before, a prior appointment by phone or email is necessary. The new accommodation should prove more comfortable than at Egerton Gardens - no draughty windows, we trust, and superior loos! Better computers are promised, and there is now disabled access throughout. Yasmine Webb has replaced Andrew Mussell. Yasmine is a qualified local history librarian, previously employed at Islington Local Studies Library. Hugh Petrie, who lectured to HADAS last month on the subject of 'Hendon Field and Factory', will work alternate weeks in the Local Studies Library and at Church Farmhouse Museum. One of his tasks is to bring the two centres together.

The Load of Hay, Brent Street, Hendon by Bill Bass

During October 2003, Oxford Archaeology carried out an evaluation at the above site. The evaluation revealed the bases of late 17th and 18th century boundary ditches (possible tenement blocks) and an 18th century buried soil horizon. The upper strata of the site had been heavily truncated during the construction of the recent car park. No evidence of earlier archaeology was encountered during the evaluation. (Source - English Heritage, London Quarterly Review)

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Battle of Barnet Working Group by Andrew Coulson

HADAS and the Battlefields Trust (South Eastern Region) have combined to form the Battle of Barnet Working Group. It consists of six members, three from each organisation, has a close association with the two local history societies and with Barnet Museum, and consults with outside experts as necessary. Its remit is to collect and collate evidence concerning the Battle, with the proviso that anything and everything is to be considered to have some relevance until proved otherwise. It meets monthly but sub-groups within the Group meet more frequently as dictated by their particular activities and interests. It is currently producing a comprehensive data-base of finds, traditions, typographical features and sources. Presently using maps and over-lays, it is hoped to develop a computerised model of the locality on which to compare speculative ideas on routes and troop deployments.

Memories from HADAS Past by Dorothy Newbury

Can anyone else write in (funny or serious anecdotes) about happenings in HADAS history? Please send any tale to our next editors.

Daphne Lorimer

Our more 'mature' members will remember Daphne, an active member of HADAS before she moved to Orkney. I have spoken to her on the phone since Christmas, and she tells me that she has had to give up the Orkney Archaeological Society work she so loves, due to ill health. Many of our members will recall the excellent HADAS week in Orkney that Daphne organised in 1978, which was successfully repeated in 2000. Daphne would be pleased to hear from HADAS folk. Daphne helped on occasion at a short excavation run by Ann Trewick, as has Percy Reboul, who sends in the following anecdote

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Devilish Hard Work by Percy Reboul

The 1975 excavation in St James churchyard, Friern Barnet Lane, had some memorable moments — some of which did not appear in the official report. We were looking for possible foundations of a Saxon church and, right up against the east wall of the church, a lead coffin came into view. Knowing the golden rule — puncture a lead coffin with extreme care, I was cautious but surprised t see that it had already been crudely opened in the same way as you might open a tine of sardines with one of those old-fashioned lever-type tine-openers which leave a jagged edge. One of our diggers went into the trench saying that he would look inside to see the state of the skeleton. He bent back the top, looked inside and let out an almighty scream of fear. When I plucked up courage to peep inside, I saw the grotesque sight of a skull out of whose two temples were large curved tree roots looking for all the world like devil's horns! A second abiding memory occurred a minute or so later when the rector, who was standing at the edge of the trench said to us, "Is there any jewellery on the body? A ring perhaps on the finger? Please remember that anything of that nature belongs to the rector of a church." He may have said it with tongue in cheek, but to this day, I am not quite sure.

Rocket Science? by Graham Javes

Members participating in the Long Weekend visit to Cumbria and Carlisle might like to ponder on the following notice, which hangs in the side entrance to the Duke 0' York pub, on the former Great North Road, just north of Hadley: 'A New Elegant Four-Inside coach called the Rocket sets out every morning at 9 o' clock from the Duke of York to The Fountain Inn & Tavern, Carlisle.'

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Other Societies' Events by Eric Morgan

Wednesday 5th May 6.30-8.30 Pm Highgate Wood Information Hut - A walk to look at places of historical interest in the wood

Thursday 6th May 10.30 am Mill Hill Library, Hartley Avenue, NW7 — "Edmonton before World War One"

Thursday 6th May 7.30 pm London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, Kings Cross, N1 - "Grain, gravel and gunpowder, the Thames Sailing Barge yesterday and today" Talk by Elizabeth Wood, concessions £1.25

Sunday 9th May 9.00 Church End Festival, Avenue House grounds, East End Road, Finchley, N3 , and also Avenue House Open Day with guided tours of the house. HADAS will have a display stand here. We welcome any offers of help on the day with our new display boards, selling our books and publications, and helping to gain new members.

Wednesday 12th May 8.00 pm Barnet and District Local History Society, Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Stapytton Road, Barnet. "Janes I and Hertfordshire". Talk by Dr Alan Thomson

Wednesday 12th May 6.30 pm London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2 "The inside story Diarists' views of London". Talk by Heather Creation.

Thursday 13th May 7.30 pm Camden History Society, St Michael's Church, Camden Road, NW1. "St. Michael's Church, Camden Town: A masterpiece by Bodley and Garner'

Sunday 5th May 11.00 am North London Transport Society. St Paul's Centre, Junction Church St, Old Park Ave, Enfield. Enfield extra transport bazaar, road and rail memorabilia and models. Admission £1.50, light refreshments.

Friday 16th May 8.00 pm Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, junction Chase Side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield Romans and Time Team in Greenwich". Presidential address by Harvey Sheldon (also HADAS president. £1 Barnet Borough Arts Council, The Spires, High Street, Barnet. Exhibitions and What's On. Paintings and drawings, also information from member societies including HADAS.

Finchley Arts Centre Trust, The Bothy, Avenue House Grounds, East End Road, N3. Open day in the garden. (HADAS are usually in the Garden Room on Sunday morning s from 11.00 am.

Thursday 20th May 7.30 pm Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, The Dissenters' Chapel, Kensal Green Cemetery, Ladbroke Grove, W10. "Abney Park Cemetery". Talk by David Solman, refreshments 7.00 pm, donation £3.00

City of London Archaeological Society, St. Olave's Church Hall, Mark Lane, EC3. "The Roman building complex at Shadwell".Talk by Alistair Douglas (Pre-Construct Archaeology)

Wembley History Society, St Andrew's Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury, NW9. "Prints and drawings of Brent from the archives". Talk by Malcolm Bares-Baker. Visitors £1.



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