newsletter-404-november-2004

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Tuesday 9 November: `Durolevum' - lecture by Paul Wilkinson.

Friday 10 December: HADAS CHRISTMAS DINNER - PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE Due to circumstances beyond our control date and venue have been changed. Details and booking form are enclosed; please complete and return with your cheque as soon as possible.

Tuesday 11 January 2005: 'Colchester' - lecture by Kate Orr: a follow-up to our recent visit.

Tuesday 8 February 2005 'The Silk Road' - lecture by Dr Susan Whitfield


Lectures start promptly at 8pm in the Drawing Room of Avenue House, East End Road Finchley N3 3QE. Non-members £1, tea or coffee 70p

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SEPTEMBER OUTING TO CHIPPING ONGAR & COLCHESTER Reporters: Susan and David Willoughby

On a warm and sunny day we set off into beautiful Essex, through lovely villages on the outskirts of Epping Forest. On the way Stewart regaled us with tales of Dick Turpin, the famous highway¬man of Epping Forest. During the drive to Greensted, we passed the old North Weald Airfield (now privately owned) that had been used during Battle of Britain. Dorothy, our resident MBE, had been a telephone engi¬neer based on that airfield and she told us that the picture we have of airmen sitting around drink¬ing and smoking before being "scrambled" is completely true!

St Andrew's, Greensted-juxta-Ongar

(Green = green; Stead = clearing or place) Dorothy told us that she had found the programme of the last HADAS outing to Greensted Saxon Church which had been organised by Ted Sammes in 1982. The programme showed a picture of the church, with details of the building and its history. But, more interestingly, inside it had a pic¬ture of our founder member, Aristotle Constantinides, together with his notice of HADAS's very first outing in 1961 which was to .... Greensted Church! The cost had been 10/- including coach and everything! She informed us that Ted had left money to HADAS in his will and he had been buried in the family plot in St Andrew's churchyard; we followed her to the Sammes memorial, in a shady cor¬ner of the graveyard, on which we found Ted's name. The origins of the church date back to St Cedd, a Saxon Christian, who is said to have built the first church in Greensted in about 654 AD. An archaeological dig (in 1960) revealed two wooden structures under the chancel floor which are thought to have been built during the late 6th and early 7th centuries. The dedication of the church to St Andrew suggests a Celtic foundation. The nave was added in about 1060 AD and would have been windowless. Light would have been from lamps round the altar. Norman additions after 1066 include the flint footings of the chancel wall and the pillar piscine inside the sanctuary. Further alterations were made in 1500AD when the chancel was replaced and the thatch was replaced with tiles on both nave and chancel roofs. Three dormer windows were added to provide light to the nave. It is believed that the tower was added in the 17th century to house the bells, Extensive restoration was carried out in 1837. Although dendrochronology indicates that the timber walls were constructed around 1060/1063 AD, rather than the earlier date of 845 AD, it still remains the oldest wooden church in the world, and the oldest wooden building standing in Europe.

Chipping Ongar

(Chipping = cheap or market place, Ongar = grazing land) A short drive from Greensted brought us to Chipping Ongar, once the end of the Central Line, and, much earlier, the administrative centre of the Saxon Ongar Hundred. It's a pleasant town with sev¬eral interesting churches and the meagre remains of a motte and bailey castle. St Helen's Church is a small red brick building of 1870 with the typical Victorian use of bands of blue brick and fine ornamental ironwork on the original door. The United Reformed Church was built in 1833 (Architect: James McClelland) and replaced a smaller building of 1720 and is accessed through an archway in a line of cottages.The room over the archway was once occupied by the famous explorer, David Livingstone in 1838 while he was training for the ministry. St Martin's Church has a Norman chancel and nave with original narrow round headed windows and the re-used Roman bricks at the corners. The belfry is 15th Century and the dormer windows were inserted in the 18th Century to give more light. Inside, the chancel roof is dated 1643, but is a unique and ingenious repair of a much older mediaeval structure. The nave roof is also medieval.

Colchester

From Ongar we headed off to Colchester along the Roding valley through several picturesque vil-lages named after the river, with their pretty pink-washed cottages. This journey reminded Dorothy of the green van she drove as a telephone engineer during the Second World War. Driving along a track in thick fog, her van was hit by an American jeep from a nearby airbase. After a 360 degree spin, the little van was a write-off. Dorothy, luckily only a little shaken, was driven back to the airbase on steamroller! She was given a tour of the camp and a rejuvenating meal of meat and rice pudding (served together on the same plate!). Colchester is reputedly named after the mythical King Cole (or Coel) of nursery rhyme fame (Col +chester = Cole's Camp). Its Romano-British name was Camulodunum and it was probably the royal capital of the Trinovantes tribe. Some equate Cunobelin with King Cole. After the Roman conquest in 43 AD Colchester was established as a Roman colonia (`Colonia Victricensis') where retired Roman soldiers and their families settled, coexisting with the British settlement at present day Gosbecks. At this time the town was the Roman capital. After the sacking of the town by Boudicca in 60 AD the town was walled and the British settlement appears to have lost its autonomy. In Colchester, we were met by our guide, Kate On of the Colchester Archaeological Trust who told us about the excavations of the Roman town in the modem town centre. She then guided us on a coach tour to see the British remains three miles to the south-west at Gosbecks and Lexden, pass¬ing the remains of a early presumed Christian church (circa 330 AD) at Butt Road. At Gosbecks we saw the site of the British town of Camulodunum with its impressive dyke system, designed to impede chariot warfare. At Lexden, which is the site of a major British cemetery we visited 'the Lexden tumulus' located in a private garden set off by giant redwood trees. Although the tumulus is somewhat degraded it was once the impressive tomb of a British king, perhaps the Trinovantian king Addedomaros. On returning to the town centre, many members picnicked in the Castle Park in glorious sun¬shine or went to explore the remains of the Roman town walls in the park. Others visited the Castle Museum, housed in the 'largest Norman Castle Keep in Europe' and built on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius in which many Roman citizens were burnt alive by Boudicca's followers. This museum houses many finds from all periods of Colchester's history. After lunch we were guided by Kate through the Dutch Quarter (named after the Flemish weav¬er immigrants who settled in the 16th century). This quaint quarter contained medieval half-tim¬bered buildings, the foundations of a Roman theatre, a Quaker burial ground and two early Norman churches, St Helen's Chapel & St Martin, built of septaria stone and re-used Roman tile. From Colchester we headed south east through fruit growing areas, source of raw ingredients for the famous Wilkin & Sons Tiptree jams, to the small village of Goldhanger located by the mouth of the River Blackwater. Here we stopped at the 15th century 'Chequers Inn', next to the Norman church of St Peter. It was here that the church tax collector gathered church dues using a 'chequer' board. After sampling a cream tea which included Hartley's (Of Bermondsey!) jam, many mem¬bers walked along the sea wall to enjoy stunning views of the Blackwater Estuary and Osea island. However, for many, the facilities of 'The Chequers' proved to be irresistible. After a passing through Maldon and a protracted encounter with East London traffic we returned home late in the evening looking back on a thoroughly satisfying day. Our thanks to June Porges and Stewart Wild for another fascinating and varied day out

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THIRD AND FOURTH CENTURY ROMAN MONEY IN BRITAIN Part Two of HADAS member William A Morris's survey of Roman coinage

During the first and second centuries AD the Roman coinage was fairly stable and based on the denarius with its subdivisions the dupondius, the sestertius, and the as. The story during the third and fourth centuries is much more confusing however and one of a slow decline. At the end of the second century increasing military expenditure and civil war caused inflation in the Roman Empire and the value of the denarius decreased. Finally in about AD 215 it was nec¬essary to introduce a new, higher value coin with a value of 2 denarii. It was slightly larger than the denarius, made of silver, and distinguished from the denarius in having a radiate crown on the emperor's head, the usual Roman method of indicating a double value coin. This new coin was called the antoninianus after the emperor Antoninus Caracalla who was reigning at the time of its introduction. It was the size of a modern twenty pence piece.

ANTONINIANUS

The silver denarius, brass sestertius, and copper as continued in use alongside the new coin, but the new silver coin caused the denarius to slowly fall out of use and no more were issued after AD 244. The value and standard of silver coins continued to decline and by AD 268, after a period of chaos for the empire, the antoninianus had lost much of its value and contained only 2% silver. By this time the lower value base metal coins, the dupondii, sestertii and asses, had been driven out of circulation. Things got so bad that the emperor Aurelian was obliged to reform the coinage in about AD 274. He produced a new, smarter looking antoninianus called an aurelianianus with 4% to 5% sil¬ver content. These coins, worth 4 denarii, were distinguished by the letters XXI on the reverse indicating an alloy of 20 (XX) parts of copper to 1 (I) part of silver. The old antoninianus coins remained in use as small change together with a limited number of base metal coins.

AURELIANIANUS (REVERSE)

The aurelianianus was not popular in Britain, especially between AD 286 and AD 2% when Britain was separated from the main empire. This reformed currency lasted until the Great Currency Reform of AD 294 when the emperor Diocletian laid down a completely new currency system comprising the argenteus, a high quality silver coin worth 100 denarii; the follis, asilver-copper coin worth 25 denarii and the size of a modem two pence piece, to replace the aurelianianus; and silver-copper coins of value 5 and 2 denarii respectively. Of these new coins the smallest value coin does not appear to have been used in Britain and the argenteus did not survive for long and was discontinued in AD 308.

FOLLIS

The old standard Roman gold bullion coin, the aureus, was replaced by a smaller size gold coin called the solidus in AD 310 and this coin lasted until the end of the Roman occupation. As the fourth century progressed Roman coinage became very confused. The monetary decline continued and by AD 315 the coinage had again become debased with a decreased silver content. Coins got smaller and smaller. In a further attempt to improve coinage, the emperor Constantine introduced in AD 318 a new coin called the centenionalis, equal to about 12.12 denarii, to replace the follis, and in AD 325 a new silver coin, the siliqua, to replace the argenteus, together with a more valuable coin called the miliarense which however appears to have served a mainly ceremo¬nial purpose. The siliqua, which was smaller than a modern five pence piece, remained in use until the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.

SILIQUA

In AD 346 Constantius II revised the coinage to coincide with the eleven hundredth anniversary of the founding of Rome and introduced a new coin called the maiorina, the size of a modern 20p coin and valued at one twelfth of a gold solidus. This new coin, huge numbers of which were pro¬duced, bore the upbeat legend on the reverse: "FEUICIUM] TEMKORUM] REPARATIO" (The Return of Happier Times), and was used together with the siliqua and centenionalis. Half and third maiorina coins were also produced for a while but by AD 361 had gone out of use. A number of low value copper coins circulated in the later fourth century as small change but their names and values are uncertain. Towards the end of Roman rule the use of coins decreased rapidly in Britain and after the depar¬ture of the Romans in AD 410 coinage quickly ceased to be used. Money was replaced by barter. There is a great deal of confusion over the coins used during the later period of the Roman occupation and such coins can be hard to identify. Sizes of particular copper coins changed sub-stantially over the years and this makes it hard to allocate values to them. Further difficulties arise in that there is not even agreement about the names of some of the later coins (a coin's actual value was never written on it) and experts cannot agree exactly when specific coins were introduced or went out of use. Many counterfeit coins were produced. It can be seen therefore that the subject of late Roman coinage is a minefield, but the main details are as outlined above.

TOOL COLLECTION PROJECT AT ST ALBAN'S MUSEUM

HADAS member, Jack Goldenfeld, commenced a research and curation project in August at St Albans Museum in Hatfield Road, St. Albans, which is likely to run through to October or November 2004. Like the Ted Sammes Archive on which Jack did the original work for HADAS, the museum has produced for him a large collection of personal papers, correspondence, published articles and documents requiring sorting, curating and conserving, all relating to the tool collection which is on permanent display there, having been originally assembled by an eminent engineer and tool expert, Raphael Arthur Salaman FRS, of Harpenden, with, interestingly, children once resident in Hendon and Barnet! The tools and equipment of all sorts of trades, crafts and industries are represented, many of which no longer exist, having been overtaken by the march of technological advance in the years since the 1700's. Wigmakers, quill-pen makers, hurdle and gate makers, sailmakers, fathers, coopers, wood-carvers, gunmakers are just some of the trades whose tools are now antiques in their own right, but which also document the way in which crafts and traditional skills, both present and extinct, influ¬ence social patternings and the development, and in some case, the decline of, communities. Hatfield Road is well worth a visit, exhibiting, as it does, artefacts from periods other than the Roman, that being the speciality of Verulamium. Also, there is a temporary exhibition at Hatfield Road relating to the Aircraft Industry in Hertfordshire, some items having been loaned to it by the Aircraft Museum at Hendon. There are also items there which were lent by one of Jack's ex-students, who had served his apprenticeship at the de Havilland aircraft factory, and who had worked on Concorde.

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HADAS WEBSITE UPDATED

Our website, www.hadas.org.uk, has been updated. As well as a new look to the website, the Newsletter archive is being added, and Hadas members can login and contribute articles and stories. Please visit http://www.hadas.org.uk for more details.

NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE VOLUNTEERS WANTED

After the great digital scanning campaign, the complete Hadas Newsletter archive is now being added to our website. Once complete this will be a full, searchable collection of every issue from number one to the present and a most useful research tool for anyone researching our archaeology. However, we need more volunteers to prepare them for publication. Members with typing skills, a computer and internet access, can help with converting the scanned images to text in order to make them easier to read and fully searchable. Email Christian Allen at website@hadas.org.uk for more information.

BOOK REVIEW by Stewart Wild

Spice: the History of a Temptation by Jack Turner 409pp, HarperCollins, £25 In his new book Jack Turner sets out to demonstrate that for our earliest forebears spices were loaded with alluring associations. In particular, the most valuable, exotic eastern spices - pepper from India, mace, nutmeg and cloves unique to the Indonesian Molucca Islands, cinnamon from Sri Lanka and ginger from China - trailed resonances of tropical sensuality, extraordinary wealth and the loftiest social cachet. Spices were a well-known part of life for the ancients. The Greeks traded in India and the Romans navigated a route to its southwestern coast for the pepper they prized (which was available even to ordinary soldiers). But in the thousand years after the decline of the Roman Empire, knowledge of the "spice lands" fell again into myth. Direct European involvement dissolved. Meandering overland trading routes, which from time immemorial had snaked westwards to Egypt and the Levant and on to Europe, ensured a continuity of supply, but the cost spiralled. In medieval Europe, spices took their place alongside gold, diamonds and furs as the most prized and exquisite of luxuries. Turner shows that it was the promise of enormous financial rewards from monopolising the spice trade that provided the impetus for western colonial expansion. Vasco da Gama set out to claim the pepper harvests and the ancient spice trade of the Malabar coast for Portugal; Columbus sailed west explicitly in search of eastern spice and instead discovered America; Magellan's global circumnavi-gation was fuelled by a quest for the rarest spice of all - the tiny clove. From the Romans to the Normans and the ruling powers of early medieval Europe, spices played a powerful symbolic role. The finest of them were reserved for ostentatious display as well as for oil¬ing the cogs of religious diplomacy, and their lack of nutritional value made them doubly impressive. Food was prized for being highly scented and robustly spiced, and cooks - once menial members of the household - became high-ranking officials (the possible cause, according to Livy, of Rome's degeneracy and ultimate decline). Slowing the processes of decomposition, spices were as useful in the mortuary as in the kitchen. Roman emperors were immolated, like the phoenix, to be reborn from a cinnamon pyre. Used to bal-ance the "humours", protect against poisoning and bad breath, cure piles, or act as an aphrodisiac, spices - at once mysterious and glamorous - wafted through the early history of the Western world. Only at the threshold of the modern era did their potency begin to decline. As the high flavourings of previous generations went out of fashion, simplicity and freshness began to reign over spice, and culinary obsession switched to tea, coffee and chocolate. Turner's rather overbearing book is most informative, and best on the long view of history rather than the domestic or intimate, where he is encumbered by the sheer quantity of his source material. Copy abridged from a recent review in the Daily Telegraph by Kate Colquoun.

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ERIC MORGAN'S ROUND UP OF OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS

Saturday 6 November 1.30am - 4pm. LAARC, Mortimer Wheeler House, 46 EagleWharf Road N1. Open Day: Londinium Beneath Your Feet.

Wednesday 10 November 6.30pm. London & Middx. Archaeological Society - Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. Coram's Children: History of the foundling hospital in London 1789 - 1926. Talk by Jane King.

Wednesday 10 November 8.15pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. The History of Modern Architecture. Talk by Brian Adams.

Monday 15 November 8.15pm. Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries, Church End library,24 Hendon Lane, N3. An Introduction to the Local Studies Centre in Daws Lane, NW7. Talk by Yasmin Webb.

Friday 19 November 7pm. City of LondonArchaeological Society, St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3. Further Excavations at Winchester Palace, Southwark. Talk by Bruce Watson (Molar). Friday 19 November 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, Junction of Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield. Roman Harlow. Talk by Chris Lydamore.Visitors £1.

Saturday 20 November 10am-5pm. LAMAS Local History Conference, Museum of London Lecture Theatre. St Paul's & Diocese of London: 1400 years. (For details see October diary).

Wednesday 24 November 8pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St John's Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Stn.), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. A Tour Around Musell Hill. Talk by Hugh Garnsworthy. Cost £2 + refreshments.

Thursday 25 November 3pm. The Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3. The Work of the Landmark Trust. Talk by R W G Smith.



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