newsletter-416-november 2005


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The winter lecture series takes place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Lectures start promptly at 8pm. Non-members £1, coffee or tea 70p.

Tuesday 8 November 2005 The Photography of Small Archaeological Finds - lecture by Edwin Baker, formerly a photographer with the British Museum and MOLAS. Wednesday 7 December - HADAS CHRISTMAS DINNER - details enclosed

Tuesday 10 January 2006 Conservation and Archaeology - lecture by Jon Finney, London Borough of Barnet.

Tuesday 14 February 2006 To be advised.

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I recently walked round York with HADAS; but it was not the Hendon but the Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society. Actually, they use HDAS rather than HADAS as their initials, but the difference is very slight. The Society actively studies, explores and records the archaeology of the Huddersfield area. It has been doing so since 1956, covering pre-history, the Roman and mediaeval periods and more recently, industrial archaeology. Like us, it has a programme of lectures and visits, and a website. Its most recent project has been investigating an iron-making site at local Myers Wood, active for some three hundred years until the middle of the 14th century. The questions they sought to answer were whether the 'Black Death was one of the reasons why this highly productive site was aban¬doned?' and whether, when circumstances changed, iron production resumed. To try to answer this question an examination was made of apparent water management features observed to the north (i.e. downstream) of the main site. Evidence of extensive water diversion and dam construction pointed to the possible use of water power on a new, but smaller, iron-making site. A geo¬physical survey, carried out by Rob Vernon (University of Bradford) and Society members, in the vicinity of a possible dam, produced encouraging results. Strong magnetic responses seemed to indicate a furnace with an associated water channel and wheel pit. There was also evidence of a trackway leading to/from a previously explored charcoal platform. They obtained permission for a short exploratory excavation to find samples for analysis and dating. It was expected that this would justify a more extensive excavation to show that iron making had indeed been resumed, using new technology, at a date that could be-clearly demonstrated. Such is the optimism of archaeologists! In early May 2005, an enthusias¬tic group of volunteers, under the supervision of Dr Gerry McDonnell opened up four trenches in search of the vital evidence. But "no dating material was obtained from the excavations. No pottery was found, no burnt surface that could be used for archaeomagnetic dating was identified. The pieces of charcoal uncovered are unsuitable for radiocarbon 14 dating ...." ".... no evidence of a structure was identified" However, "Trench S uncovered a dump of furnace bottom material that is physically different in nature from the slag previously recorded on this site. The slag morphology would suggest higher temperatures were utilised in this location" The conclusion was that "The site was used in connection with higher temperature iron processing that is different from that previously recorded in Myers Wood .... Whilst it is unclear from the excavations where the iron processing took place, it is likely to be on this site somewhere ....The lack of firm evidence for water power being employed on the site needs further investigation". They remain optimistic. "This short dig did not uncover a 'new technology' iron-making site, but there is strong evidence that we were looking in the right area. Further excavation is now off the agenda until extensive survey work has been carried out, in co-operation with English Heritage, to determine the full extent of any archaeology in the woods and fields surrounding this Site of National Importance".

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Micky Watkins has written a book on the life of Henrietta Barnet. Henrietta lived with her husband the Rev. Samuel Barnett in Whitechapel for over 30 years, working to improve the life and culture of the slum dwellers around them. They were helped by interesting friends - rich business men, aris¬tocrats, Pre-Raphaelite artists, writers and philosophers. In her fifties Henrietta founded her utopian Hampstead Garden Suburb, the opposite of all she had seen in the East End. The book shows that she was able to do this because she was supported by her circle of influential friends and because of the brilliant management skills she had built up while working in Whitechapel. Henrietta Barnett - Her First Fifty Years, published 2005 by Hampstead Garden Suburb Archive Trust and Micky Watkins. Price £7. Obtainable from or telephone 020 8455 8813.


The current exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum traces the story of major exhibitions in Britain from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the Millennium Dome. The Franco-British Exhibition of 1908 at White City (which included the Olympic Games), the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924/5, the Festival of Britain and a host of lesser-known expositions are represented by picture post¬cards; photographs; postmarks and stamps (the first British commemorative stamp was issued for Wembley in 1924); programmes, guides and books; posters; coins and medals; crested china and a wide range of other souvenirs. All the material comes from the remarkable collection of Barnet resident Don R Knight, much of which has not been on public display before. The exhibition ends on 20 November. Monday - Thursday 10-1 & 2-5; Saturday 10-1 & 2-5.30; Sunday 2-5.30.


For years, museum exhibits, films and book illustrations have depicted the vast majority of dinosaurs as covered in scales or thick hide. Now it seems that many were covered in feathers, a fact which should not come as a surprise since we have known for a long time that birds are directly descended from dinosaurs through species such as archaeopteryx and possibly pterodactyl. At a recent confer¬ence of the British Association, Dr Gareth Dyke, a palaeontologist from University College Dublin,told his audience that most of the prehistoric "awful lizards" were covered with delicate feathery plumage that might even have been very colourful. Fossil evidence, he said, showing that dinosaurs had feathers is now "irrefutable". The evidence arises from recent discoveries in fossil beds in northeast China where volcanic erup¬tions millennia ago buried many dinosaurs alive. The lack of oxygen and moisture also helped to pre¬vent the remains rotting away. Some theropod dinosaur fossils were preserved complete with plumage. Theropod is the generic name for those species that walked upright on two legs, balanced by a long tail, like Tyrannosaurus rex. The theory is that feathers evolved primarily to keep dinosaurs warm, and only later became an aid to flight.


A bowl of Neolithic noodles has revealed that China was the most likely birthplace of this popular food. For millennia, arguments have raged about whether the noodle was invented by the Chinese, Italians or Arabs. Now a sealed earthenware bowl of beautifully preserved, thin yellow noodles about 4.000 years old has been found by Dr Houyuan Lu, of the Chinese Academy ofsciences, with colleagues in Beijing and Louisiana. The researchers discovered the 20in-long noodles inside an overturned, sealed bowl under 10 feet of floodplain sediment in Lajia, by the Yellow River in north-western China. The meal could have been left untouched because of a disaster: the site harbours a settlement that was probably destroyed about 4,000 years ago by an earthquake and flood.

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I went to the CBA's weekend in Leicester from 23rd to 25th September. It included a very interest¬ing lecture on the fashionable topic 'Community Archaeology', by Peter Liddle. Unusually, the County Archaeologist for Leicestershire was based in the Museums rather than in the Planning department, and perhaps this made it easier for a network of volunteers to be developed, undertaking much fieldwalking, and also having an 'archaeological warden' in each parish who keeps an eye on all developments, even those for which no planning permission is required. This network has brought much archaeology to light that might otherwise have been overlooked, and has now been extended to include metal detecting. Although keeping the supply of volunteers going is a problem, as for most of us, the scheme is still thriving and successful. I did not think experience in such a rural county could easily be transferred to built-up Barnet. Moreover, some may have reservations at the implication that amateurs are a resource to be used by professional archaeologists, rather than autonomous actors in societies created and run by them. Another lecture with some relevance to our activities was on battlefield archaeology, and in particular how much could be learnt from it to supplement and clarify traditional military history. The battle studied was that of Edgehill, where the techniques of landscape archaeology (for instance using enclosure maps) showed what parts of the terrain would, in 1642, have been suitable for infantry and what for cavalry. Moreover, it is apparently possible to determine whether a musket ball has hit a person, and, with the distribution of finds of such balls, this can tell a lot about the deployment of forces. There was a talk by Julian Richards, of "Meet the Ancestors" fame, to a large and enthusiastic audience of members of Young Archaeologists' Clubs, and a report by the CBA Director, Mike Heyworth, on the work of the CBA. They are hoping to develop National Archaeology Week (formerly National Archaeology Day) into a 'Festival of Archaeology'. Finally, and perhaps predictably, there was a presentation on inclusivity, which did not give me any ideas on how to get more members, and more active members, for HADAS.

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OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS - Compiled by Eric Morgan

Sat. 5 November, 11am - 4pm NORTH LONDON TRANSPORT SOCIETY, St. Stephen's Church Hall, Park Avenue, Enfield: Autumn Bazaar A good mix of about 40 bus and railway stalls Admission £1.50. Light refreshments available throughout the day.

Wed. 9 November, 6.30pm LAMAS, Museum of London Lecture Theatre, 150 London Wall, EC2. Old Buildings: Dead or Alive? Talk by Sir Simon Jenkins £3.

Wed. 9 November, 8pm MILL HILL HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7: The greatest survival story ever told by Geoff Selley.

Wed. 9 November, 8pm HORNSEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY Union Church Hall, Corner of Ferme Park Rd./ Weston Park, N8: Lord Nelson - History in postcards: Hugh Garnsworthy.

Wed. 16 November, 8pm WILLESDEN LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY, Scout House, High Road, [corner Strode Rd.] NW10: Mark Twain in Willesden and elsewhere. Talk by Hamilton Hay.

Fri. 18 November, 7.30pm WEMBLEY HISTORY SOCIETY St. Andrew's Church, Church Lane, Kingsbury, NW9: History of St.Andrew's Church Talk by Father John (vicar) (Hadas have recently helped with some surveying work here). Visitors £1 with refreshments.

Fri. 18 November, 8pm ENFIELD ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY, Jubilee Hall ,Chase Side/ Parsonage Lane, Enfield: Prehistoric London: Talk by Jon Cotton (MoL) Visitors £1.

Fri 18 November, 7pm COLAS: St. Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3: Bringing Roman Britain to life. Talk by Daniel Shadrake (Britannia Roman Re-enactments).

Fri. 18 November, 8pm BARNET LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY, Church House, Wood Street, (opposite Museum) A.G.M.

Sat. 19 Nov. 10am - 5pm LAMAS, Local History Conference: Museum of London Lecture Theatre: When Lamas began, - London in 1855 (Details in Oct. newsletter).

Wed. 23 November, 8pm FRIERN BARNET & DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY St.John's Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station), Friern Barnet Lane, N20: Literary London: Diane Burstein (City of London Guide and Broadcaster) £2 refreshments 7.45pm and after.

Thurs. 24 November, 2.30pm FINCHLEY SOCIETY, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3: The Friends of Finchley Memorial Society: Talk by Marion Randall.

Wed. 30 November, 8pm FINCHLEY SOCIETY LOCAL HISTORY GROUP. Avenue House, East End Rd, N3: A History of Cromwell Hall, East Finchley: Talk by David Smith (Vice president)