newsletter-409-april-2005

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Tuesday April 12th Lecture by Angela Evans, Curator in the department of Prehistory and Europe in the British Museum, 'Anglo-Saxon decorated bridles from Sutton Hoo and Eriswell'. The use of the horse in early Anglo-Saxon England has been brought into closer focus by the identification of horse bones in cremations and by the discovery in 1991 of a magnificent bridle in a burial at Sutton Hoo. In 1997, a second decorated bridle was discovered, at Eriswell, Suffolk. Both bridles have a series of fittings on the reins which suggest that the Anglo-Saxons had developed a sophisticated riding style. Angela Evans is a specialist in the field of Early Anglo-Saxon metalwork and has been working on these two bridles since their excavation.

Tuesday May 10th The Road to Rome - in the steps of a Mediaeval Pilgrim. Mark Hassall

Tuesday June 14th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.

Wednesday July 27th to Sunday July 31st Trip to Northumbria. Now full. If you want to be on a waiting list, phone Jackie Brookes.

Saturday August 13th Outing to Swanscombe and Faversham with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward.

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.

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Remembering Daphne Lorimer M.B.E. by Sheila Woodward

When I joined HADAS in 1974 Daphne had already been a member for five years and was a veteran of several of the Society's digs including the major excavation at Church Terrace Hendon. She had obtained the London University Diploma in Archaeology, specialising in prehistory, so when HADAS agreed in 1976 to excavate a potentially Mesolithic site on Hampstead Heath, Daphne was appointed as site director. It was a most happy choice; Daphne was knowledgeable, efficient and good-humoured. full of enthusiasm and endlessly patient. The latter quality was essential as many of us claim to have cut our archaeological teeth at West Heath! The dig in its initial phase continued for six seasons. It was successfully productive and highly enjoyable, for which Daphne could take much of the credit. Of course, Daphne did not limit her HADAS activities to excavation. During the 1970s she took part in field walking, churchyard surveying and finds processing, helped to organise exhibitions and give lectures and she was one of the expert cooks at the never-to-be-forgotten Roman Banquet in 1979. With Brigid Grafton-Green she ran the cake and preserves stall at the annual Minimart. Whenever and wherever HADAS needed a helping hand, Daphne was there. It was also in the 1970s that several HADAS members including Daphne attended a post-diploma course at the Institute of Archaeology on The Study of Human Skeletal Remains in Archaeology'. Daphne was the star pupil; and thereafter the study of human bone became her special skill. During this period Daphne, a radiographer by profession, was living in Totteridge with her husband Ian and sons Andrew and Vincent, They had always holidayed in Orkney were Daphne had a fanner uncle and they soon bought the lovely old manse at Orphir, Scorradale House, which became their holiday home and later their retirement home. In 1978 HADAS members had their first outing to Orkney, an archaeologist's paradise. Daphne helped to organise the week's tour and we enjoyed her and Ian's hospitality at their beautiful house overlooking Scapa Flow. In the early 1980s Daphne and Ian retired to Orkney, Ian to pursue his hobby as a lepidopterist (he left his collection of butterflies and moths to the Orkney museum) and Daphne her archaeological interests. She wrote specialist reports on human bones from excavations in many parts of Scotland, and she helped to sort and categorise the thousands of bones from the neolithic 'Tomb of the Eagles' at Isbister in South Ronaldsay. Daphne served on the Orkney Heritage Society Committee and was its chairman from 1996 to 2002, helping to organise two major archaeological conferences in Orkney. It was under her guidance that the Orkney Archaeological Trust (OAT) was founded, and she was its first chairman; it was for her services to archaeology that Daphne received the MBE. In 2000 HADAS members made a second visit to Orkney and again enjoyed Daphne's hospitality at supper in Scorradale House. Sadly her health was already beginning to deteriorate, although she did manage a round-the world tour for her 80th birthday, visiting her son Andrew and his wife and daughter in Australia. When ill-health forced her to retire from OAT the Friends of OAT created a Daphne Lorimer fund to provide interest-free loans for archaeology students at Orkney College. I last spoke to Daphne by telephone in early December and she sounded very much her normal cheerful self though she knew she was in the last stages of cancer. Her sons and their wives and her grand-daughter spent Christmas with her. She died on 15th February aged 83. She was described on the OAT website as bringing enthusiasm, humour and grace to all that she did. I cannot better that description. Dear Daphne, we shall miss you sadly.

Rescue Meeting by Peter Pickering

On 5th March Rescue, the British Archaeological Trust, held its Annual General Meeting at the Museum of London, followed by an open meeting entitled 'Rescue and Research'. Rescue is essentially a campaigning organisation. We were told how its long battle to prevent the continued destruction of the Verulamium site by deep ploughing had at last been won; how the arguments about Stonehenge had yet to be resolved; and how Colchester's walls were crumbling. There are serious threats to Thornborough henges in Yorkshire and to many local museums throughout the country; those threats are from human beings or their institutions, but many monuments, especially barrows, are threatened by other species. Jonathan Last of English Heritage showed a dramatic slide of a barrow criss-crossed by tunnels dug by badgers; a protected animal, saved from hunting, the badger ignores the fact that a monument is scheduled. In his talk Jonathan Last was trying to counter balance the impression given by the infamous English Heritage website that Stonehenge is the only prehistoric monument in the country. I was particularly taken by what he said about the prehistoric art at Cresswell crags; and wondered if HADAS could visit it sometime. Chris Ellis of Wessex Archaeology spoke passionately about the need to engage the general public with the great amount of archaeological work being carried out by contractors on behalf of developers. He did not believe this was impossible, a threat to professional standards, or precluded by considerations of confidentiality or safety (the general public, in his view, were often more careful than students), and he believed that, as a general rule, allowing public access should be a condition when archaeological work is required before development. He hoped developers would see archaeology as an asset to be exploited, not a problem to be minimised.


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The Silk Road: Report of February Lecture by Sheila Woodward

The Silk road: what an evocative name! It conjures up visions of slow-moving caravans, laden with rich silks and other luxuries, moving in stately procession from east to west - romantic, mysterious, with just a hint of danger. Our lecturer, Dr Susan Whitfield, soon dispelled such illusions. The road or route was pioneered by the Chinese in the first century BC for military purposes. It certainly became a trading route for many commodities, not just silk, but it retained its military importance. It also played a part in the Great Game of espionage and counter-espionage between Russia and other contenders for influence in the region.

The road, which links the Mediterranean coast to Mery and Samarkand and ultimately Sian in China, crosses some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world. At its centre is the Taklamakan Desert, 'an abomination of desolation' subject to black hurricanes of whirling sand and pebbles which strike without warning. To the north, west and south rise the peaks of the Tianshan, Pamir, Hindu-Kush and Himalayas, and on the east the Taklamakan merges into the Gobi Desert of rock and gravel. The Silk Road skirts the Taklamakan, offering routes to the north or the south, but the going is tough and the climate extreme. Travellers need, and have always needed, to be well organised and carry a good supply of essentials. A further hazard for earlier travellers was posed by the local bandits who would attack to steal goods and animals, and later rifles, and who frequently resorted to murder. The Road could therefore, as our lecturer drily remarked, be described as both politically and geographically challenging. Archaeologists began to take an interest in the area in the late 19th and early 20th century when books in an unknown script and language were produced for sale in Kashgar, on the western fringe of the Taklamakan. There had long been legends of lost cities in the sands, and the strange books seemed to offer confirmation, or at least a chance to test the truth of the legends. Among the archaeologists attracted by this lure of new finds and new cultures was Aurel Stein. Stein was born in Hungary in 1862 of Jewish parents but was baptised a Lutheran 'for political expediency'. He studied oriental languages and archaeology in Germany and then at the British Museum, but had to return to Hungary for his national service when he (most conveniently) learnt surveying. In 1888 he moved to India, joined the education service in Lahore, met Kipling's father who was the curator of the 'wonder house' (museum) of Gandhara and learnt much about Indian iconography, and made his first forays into surrounding areas for archaeological surveys. He also read early reports on the Silk Road. Stein made his first great expedition into the Taklamakan desert in 1900. It lasted almost a year. He had to obtain leave of absence from his job (he could not afford to lose it) and negotiate the necessary permits from India and China. He made careful preparations for his journey: especially warm clothing (including a coat for his fox-terrier Dash!), thick furs for bedding, an arctic explorer's stove and portable water tanks. He ordered some supplies from Britain, such as marmite and Cadbury's chocolate. He arranged to hire camels and camelmen, and two Indian surveyors - he rarely travelled with other Europeans. Reaching Kashgar, Stein had to wait many weeks for a further permit. He enjoyed the hospitality of George Macartney, the British representative in Kashgar, with whom he formed a close friendship. Eventually his eastward journey was resumed. He questioned local inhabitants about the 'old books' which were said to have been found in the area and were for sale in Kashgar. He came to suspect that they were forgeries. However, genuine antiquities began to be unearthed: frescoes, stucco reliefs, etc. In many ways Stein was ahead of his time as an archaeologist. He appreciated the importance of ethnography and kept accounts of the people he met, and photographed them and their villages. He was a competent photographer in recording archaeological finds, giving details of date, time, exposure etc., and though he was not averse to 'doctoring' a photo, it was done not to deceive but to clarify. Stein was a great map-maker and his maps are still usable. He had an elaborate numbering system for his finds, which were marked and recorded each night, giving their exact provenance, and there is seldom an error. He kept everything, even apparent rubbish, and recorded it. There are about 70,000 items in all, and his photographic archive (10,000 photos) now in the British Library is invaluable. Stein was a healthy sceptic and was eventually able to prove that the 'old books' sold in Kashgar were forgeries. He obtained an admission from the forger - but perhaps the latter should be forgiven as the interest he aroused led to genuine archaeological finds. Stein's excavations at Niya, which he visited four times, and his other excavations along the Silk Road produced wall-paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and artefacts of a culture previously little known. The end of the story is poignant. Stein worked in India, China, Iran - but he always wished to visit Afghanistan. In 1943, at the age of 80, he at last received the necessary permit. Within a week of his arrival in Kabul he caught a chill and died. He is buried in the small Christian cemetery there, and his grave has recently been restored by British soldiers.


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Excavation in Enfield Town Centre by Deirdre Barrie

Recently, I passed by a development site in Enfield Town Centre and spoke to the person in charge. He let me have the following informative Press Notice:- Archaeology, History and PalaceXchange The development of PalaceXchange, a new 160,000 s ft shopping destination for Enfield, is providing a rare opportunity for archaeological investigation of a large section of the historic core of the town. On behalf of the developers ING Real Estate Development, Gifford Archaeology have designed a strategy for minimising the impact of the scheme on the archaeological remains through a combination of buried preservation of deposits in situ and detailed excavation. These measures are being implemented as an integral part of the construction works being carried out by Costain Ltd. In partnership with Gifford, Pre-Construct Archaeology are undertaking archaeological excavation on the site of Nos 9-19 London Road (next to Woolworths). The earliest remains on the site comprise a well-preserved boundary ditch cut into the natural brickearth. Finds from the upper fill of the ditch include abraded prehistoric pottery and a flint tool. The majority of the archaeological features date from the 12th century onwards and include a boundary ditch running parallel to London Road, back-filled pits and postholes. There are also at least two large quarry pits which may be contemporary with the construction of the Tudor Palace to the west. Once the existing Millets building has been demolished we will be undertaking further archaeological investigation to determine whether any archaeological remains associated with the Tudor Palace survive on the site of No 10 The Town. The results of all of the archaeological investigations carried out as part of the PalaceXchange development will be published in a forthcoming edition of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society Journal.

A Statue of Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan, author, poet, comedian, and creator of the famous "Goon Show", lived in Finchley from 1955 to 1974. He loved his surroundings: its open spaces, its often quaint architecture, and the brook that ran at the bottom of his garden. When the Finchley Society, was set up in 1971, he was one of the first to join. He became its President and later its Patron. As you will have read in last month's newsletter, a group of his friends and family have combined with the Finchley Society to raise funds for the creation of a bronze statue to be sited at Avenue House in Finchley. The aim is to raise £30,000 and to unveil the statue in April 2006. The life-size statue will show Spike sitting on a bench and turning as if to speak to an imaginary person sharing the bench with him. Many people, young and old, will come to have their photo taken in this unique setting. HADAS is very closely associated with Avenue House, and our members and visitors will be able to admire the statue. Since Spike was not a HADAS member, and erecting a statue is not archaeology (though excavating one would be) the Committee did not think society funds could properly be spent on the appeal. But the Committee did think that some members would like to make personal donations. Those who do are asked to send their cheque payable to "The Spike Milligan Statue Fund" to The Secretary, 17 Abbots Gardens, East Finchley, London N2 OJG. All donations will be acknowledged.

Subscription renewal

Enclosed with this Newsletter is your renewal reminder - subscriptions fall due on April 1st. The enclosure contains details of all the current subscription rates and the renewal procedure. People who have joined within the last three months will not need to renew their membership until April 2006. Please get in touch with the Hon. Membership Secretary if you have any questions or uncertainties, or if you are one of the few who have not yet signed a Gift Aid form and would like to do so now, allowing HADAS to benefit from tax recovery.


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Our War Stories: Memories of the Second World War by Jean Lamont

Yes, I know it is not archaeology .....yet! To mark the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II in May 2005, members of Barnet's Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme have written down their memories of living through the war. Some of the writers were in the Barnet/Finchley area during the war; others tell of their experiences in other parts of the country. The booklet is not being offered for public sale, but has been sent to local schools, libraries, museums and local history societies. I know many members of HADAS belong to other historical societies and if you know of any school or other organisation which you think would like a copy, please let me know. Note from Don Cooper Jean and the team of volunteers do splendid work going round the local schools bringing a personal touch to the history of the Second World War. If you would like to know more about the organisation, the volunteers meet on the first Tuesday of each month (except January and August) at Barnet Library, Stapylton Road at 2.30pm.

Other Societies' Events Compiled by Eric Morgan

Saturday 2nd April, 10.30am. LAMAS Historic Buildings and Conservation Committee. Exploring London Squares. Starting River Terrace, Somerset House. Walk through Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square St James's Square to Royal Academy. Free but numbers limited. Book j.finney2(i-ktl.world.com

Saturday 2nd April Ilam-4pm. North London Transport Society. St Stephens Church Hall, Park Avenue, Enfield. Extra Bazaar. A good mix of bus and railway stalls. Admission £1.50. Light Refreshments available throughout the day.

Thursday 7th April 10.30am. Mill Hill Library, Hartley Avenue NW7. Charabancs to Rationing - Life in the '30s and '40s. Talk with coffee and biscuits 50p.

Thursday 7th April 8pm. Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. Stained Glass in the Pinner area. Talk by Nigel Swift. Visitors £1.

Sunday l0th April 12.30-3.30pm. Museum of London, London Wall EC2. Roman Mysteries The Colossus of Rhodes. Book Launch with talks and book signing. Join author Caroline Lawrence. Also meet a Roman Armour Maker.


Monday llth April 3pm. Barnet and District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street (opposite museum) Barnet. Arabella Stuart. Talk by Dr Gillian Gear. Monday 11th -Sunday 17th April Barnet Borough Arts Council, at Brent Cross Shopping Centre (outside Marks and Spencers). Paintings, Art and Information - What's on. (Including HADAS).

Friday 15th April 7pm. CoLAS St. Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. Piddington Roman Villa Project. Talk by Roy Friendship-Taylor (Site Director)


Friday 15th April 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, Junction Chase Side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield. AGM followed by reports of excavation and fieldwork. £1.

Monday 18th April 8.15 pm. Ruislip Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society. St Martin's Church Hall Ruislip. The History of Cassiobury. Talk by Sarah Jones. Visitors £2

Wednesday 20th April 12 noon. LAMAS. The John Stow Memorial Service. St Andrew Undershaft Church Leadenhall Street EC3. Commemoration of Stow's life and work, including the 'Ceremony of the Quill'

Wednesday 20th April 8pm. Islington Archaeology and History Society. Islington Town Hall, Upper Street N1 . Clerkenwell - London's Hidden Village. Talk by Mary O'Connell (HADAS)

Thursday 21 st April 8pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society and Enfield Preservation Society. Jubilee Hall, Junction Chase Side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield. Domestic Architecture. Joint talk with John Donovan.

Wednesday 27th April 8pm. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. St John's Church Hall (next Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane N20. Totteridge Tales. Talk by John Heathfield (HADAS member) Cost £2 plus refreshments.

Thursday 28th April 8pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House. Galapagos Islands. Talk by Bruce Bennett.

Friday 29th April llam. East Finchley Library, 226 High Road N2. Spike Milligan. Talk by Bill Tyler (Finchley Society President)




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