newsletter-417-december-2005

Newsletter

Page 1

Holiday wishes

As we approach the holiday season, we take this opportunity to wish all our readers a happy holiday and a healthy and prosperous new year.

YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT PROBLEM SOLVED.

Hot off the press, the latest HADAS publication is now available - THE LAST HENDON FARM, subtitled "The archaeology and history of Church End Farm". This very readable book is based on the HADAS excavations in Hendon between 1961 and 1966. It expands known documentary evidence of the area and buildings by including the results of the excavations, giving a history of the development of the buildings. An analysis of the finds by those members who have, over the last 4 years, been taking part in the courses run through Birkbeck College at Avenue House on Wednesday evenings has provided a picture of the occupants and their lifestyle — their diet, the every day items that they used, and other interesting snippets. I hesitate to give more detail. The book is excellently produced, with over 100 pages in total, containing 73 good quality photographs and diagrams, and gives much credit to those whose hard work have gone into the contributions and production. It illustrates much of the purpose behind the existence of HADAS. Meanwhile, the courses continue and have turned their attention to Church Terrace. The book will be appearing in local shops at a price of £11.99, but HADAS members can obtain them from Don Cooper (contact information on the last page of this newsletter) for the knock-down price of £8 (plus £2.50 postage and packing if required). Certainly something to add to your book shelf, and those of your friends. So go on, treat yourself and them.

HADAS EVENTS FOR YOUR 2006 DIARY

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

Tues. 10th January lecture by Jon Finney, London Borough of Barnet, on "Conservation and Archaeology".

Tues. 14th February lecture by Dr Julia Shaw, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, on "Archaeological landscapes in Central India: approaches to religious and economic change, c. 3`d century BC to 5th century AD"

Tues. 14th March lecture by Nadia Durrani, Assistant Editor, Current Archaeology, on "The Queen of Sheba"

Tues. 11th April lecture by Kathyrn Piquette, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, on "Maintaining order, fighting chaos: evidence in the Petrie Museum for Egyptian warfare.

Tues. 9th May lecture by Andy Agate, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, on "Kingsbury Old Church"


Page 2

ESSEX OUTING — Saturday 10th September

The following contributions record the trip into Essex organised by June Porges and Stewart Wild.

.

1. COPPED HALL by Jean Bayne/Paula Dalton

Contributed by Jean Bayne, with many thanks to Pauline Dalton who kindly provided much of the material for this report. When we arrived at Copped Hall (cop = top of a hill), we saw before us the grim outline of a derelict building, which had burned down early in the twentieth century. Stepping across the threshold, we soon discovered a treasure trove of history and archaeology, both in the house and the grounds. Copped Hall was built between 1753 and 1759 to a perfect 18th century country house plan by J. Conyers. The principal rooms were on the first floor with 8 rooms, which could be entered in two ways, either from the staircase landings or from the adjoining rooms via doors adjacent to the external walls allowing people to walk from room to room without using the staircase landings. This arrangement is known as 'rooms enfilade'. There were two staircases, one in wood for the servants, the other in Portland stone, which was cantilevered, and was used by the family and guests. The top of the stairwells at second floor level terminated in triple arched openings allowing daylight into the staircases. The house was altered in 1775 and again by the Wythe family in 1895. This was the most opulent period for Copped Hall. The house was extended by two wings: a large conservatory and a new accommodation wing with rooms for servants. The garden was also redesigned with geometric beds, borders statues and temples. The fire in 1917 and subsequent demolition had removed most of the 1775 and 1895 alterations revealing the original mid-Georgian fabric. The future of the Mansion is as an Educational Trust and the fabric will be restored back to the original Georgian design, although the later Victorian extension will not be demolished. A narrow tunnel, about Oft high, runs all round the house, acting both as a kind of buttress and a damp course. The Cellars are amazing, although some visitors find them 'spooky'. They have vaulted brickwork and the temperature is around 45 degrees, summer and winter. They originally housed all the provisions and the working areas for the house including the wine cellar and laundry. The silver plate was originally stored down there until a burglar in a hackney cab robbed the family. He was caught and hung within a few days and the silver removed to first floor storage! The Kitchen, which is original, is two storeys in height- with a vaulted ceiling and was originally lit by three large high-level windows. The one in the west wall was blocked up when the Victorian extension was built. The kitchen immediately adjoins the food preparation area. Once cooked, the food was passed through a hatch and taken up to the servants' hall via a dumb water. From there it was carried up to the principal rooms. The kitchen had an early bread oven which, bricked up in the 1895 alterations. The wall tiles above the work area were also laid without grout but with brass headed pins. A canopy on top prevented dust falling into the food preparation. Hot air drove a spindle, which turned a spit. There was no drain in the kitchen so a scullery was used for washing up. This house was the first to have a lift, for goods not people, so that coal and linen could be easily transported to the guest bedrooms. The tour continued through the basement via the link building which was built in 1895 to join the Georgian stables to the house. The stables for the horses are teak with iron railings on the upper part. Several stalls have their water sinks and hay byres intact and the floor is designed in a chevron tile pattern. The party returned via the gallery and the recently roofed Servants Hall to the first floor with a visit to Lady Henrietta's bedroom. This only became accessible in 2005 when a, donation enabled the Trust to put in wooden staircase. This part of the house had been altered in the 1770s to include a toilet block and a corridor. The group enjoyed refreshments in the Racquets Court before headings off down the gardens via King Henry's yew lined walk, past the sunken garden, and the recent excavations, which unfortunately had been backed filled for the winter. These excavations, carried out by an Essex society, centred on the Elizabethan mansion, which had been built in the 16th century on top of a medieval structure. Part of the medieval building, the hall, had been incorporated into the Tudor mansion. Masonry had been found and also a wall from the Tudor Mansion. It was very large - a drawing existed of it - but was built facing north, the opposite of the old house, and had a colonnade of which one small pillar remained. There were also some remains of outhouses. It overlooked a magnificent country view on the edge of the forest. But it was not the site of the later Georgian building. Perhaps there were boundary disputes over taxes as the Elizabethan House was in the Waltham Abbey area whilst the 18th century one was under Epping. King Henry VIII acquired the original house in 1538 at the dissolution of the monasteries. Both Elizabeth and Mary Tudor stayed at Copped Hall at different times. When she became Queen, Elizabeth gave it to Thomas Heneage who rebuilt it in 1568. The first performance of "Midsummer's Nights Dream" was said to have been performed here, in honour of Heneage's marriage to the Countess of Southampton. The mansion was taken down in 1748 and the later Victorians turned this part of the garden into a rock garden and a rose garden. Our tour ended in the magnificent walled garden , built on a slope with a pond in the centre. Water runs down to the ponds via drains and is pumped up to tanks for use in the garden. Unusually, the walls follow the contours of the incline and need supporting. Much restoration work has gone on here and the outside walls with their heating boiler are being restored on the Victorian model. Sections of the garden are being developed to represent different historical periods of horticulture. We then made our way back to the house, passing sections of old statues and garden ornamentation from the most recent owners, the Wythes in the 19th century. Copped Hall is opened to the public every third Sunday in the month, by prior appointment. The Trust is anxious to gain public support but is very careful to maintain the privacy of the people who live there and discourage vandalism.

2. WILLINGTON CHURCHES Contributed by Ruth Wagland

Two churches on one site. This is what we visited in the village of Willington ('nook of Willa's people'). In 1120 Hervey D'Espania built the church of St Andrew, Willington Spain. In the 14th century the wool trade lead to a growth in the population: consequently St Christopher, Willington Doe was built by the D'Ou family on the same consecrated ground. The parishes had their own priests and congregation until 1929 when they were united. The arch of the south porch of St Andrew has much Roman brick in it as has the doorway to the vestry. There are windows from the 12th, 13th, 14th and 17th centuries. In Anglo Saxon times an altar of oolite from Leicestershire was used as an altar. This was removed after a decree of 1550 stated that only an altar table should be used. The slab was buried, to be unearthed in 1890 and restored to its original position. There is a memorial to the 387th USAAF who flew out of the local air base during 1943. The hardcore for the base was London bomb damage reused, when the land reverted to agriculture, in a local bypass. The locals don't believe in wasting anything. St Christopher's chancel and nave were built in 1320, the tower and south porch in 15th century. Much drastic restoration and addition was done in 1853. It has a 15th century octagonal font and the holy water stoup was made from a piece of coping from Canterbury Cathedral. A floor slab commemorating Dr Clopton Havers, who died in 1702, refers to his interest in anatomy. He is remembered for 'Haversian Canals', minute channels in the bones through which blood vessels run. Onwards through the winding lanes of Essex to Pleshey castle. On arrival we were told the grass was very long and wet but as HADAS members are not deterred by such things we continued, to be rewarded by the sight of a huge motte with a very deep moat spanned by what is thought to be the most ancient brick bridge in Europe and unique to Britain. There is mention of it in a survey of the castle in 1558-9, which states it was 'old' at that time. From the top of the motte we could see the earthworks of the town enclosure, lower bailey and upper bailey. The castle was abandoned in the 16th century and eventually came in to the hands of the Micklem family in 1749. Jenny and Alexander Michlem, the current owners, have done much to restore the site. A local couple held their wedding reception on top of the motte, which entailed mowing the area for weeks before hand. As the bridge has minimal handrails it is hoped all were sober on the way home.

3. THAXTED Contributed by Graham Javes

Our final destination was Thaxted: a delightful and well-loved market town which has preserved many of its medieval timber-framed houses, albeit often behind Georgian, Victorian or later frontages. Thaxted is built on a hill: the town dominated by an exceedingly fine parish church at its summit. A little distance below the church lies a middle row, the east end of which terminates with an outstanding Guildhall, one of the finest in all England. Here the road continues down Town Street, one of the medieval market places where a Friday market is still held today. Built in a late perpendicular style, perhaps the first thing to strike the visitor entering the parish church is that it is filled with light. The church is much larger and grander than could be expected of any township, even one as prosperous as was Thaxted when the church was built, between 1340 and 1510. The church seems to have had many outside patrons. These included Elizabeth de Clare, lady of the manor of Thaxted, and her circle of influence — the Mortimers and the House of York. Clues to these patrons are to be found in carved embellishments to the church — the bull of the House of Clare; the griffin and lions of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March; the falcon of the House of York, and the spread eagle of Edward IV. Unfortunately time was short and I only found a few of these. Edward IV is portrayed in a stained-glass window, holding a model of Thaxted church. Next, I made my way to the Guildhall, kindly opened especially for our visit. The hall is built on three floors above a basement, each of the two upper storeys jettied out over the one below on three sides, making a bold architectural statement at a visually strategic road junction. The Guildhall was built by the Cutlers' Guild between c 1400 and 1420 when the trade flourished. The hall was taken over by the town burgesses as a civic centre after the cutlery trade declined during the sixteenth century; later it became the grammar school in the eighteenth century. Fortunately, it retains a civic role today as well as being a piece of our heritage and housing a museum in the basement. The Swan Hotel, a former coaching inn, in the Bull Ring opposite the church, provided an excellent cream tea for our refreshment. Time, or rather the lack of it, precluded investigation of that hostelry's selection of cask ales. Few places can boast of a working windmill within sight of the church. The Thaxted mill was built in 1804 by farmer John Webb using bricks and tiles from his own brickworks. (Webb also owned the Swan Inn.) It replaced an earlier mill and had an active life of around a century before it became redundant. In the 1930s the ground floor became a youth club for about 30 years. Following a second period of redundancy and neglect a Thaxted Windmill Trust was set up to restore the mill and bring it slowly back to full working order. The mill was officially opened to visitors this April. Today corn is again occasionally ground in Thaxted but the mill is essentially a museum. Thanks are due to our organisers June and Stewart for another successful outing.

Page 3

SOFT CURVES AND FULL FIGURES: IMAGES IF WOMEN IN ICE AGE ART Review by Audrey Hooson

Our speaker was Dr Jill Cook of the British Museum. She discussed images of women in the last European Ice Age, 35,000 - 10,000 years before the present, illustrating many examples and putting before use some the varied theories for their possible use and relevance to these ancient societies. The people of this long period were fully modern humans, Homo Sapien Sapiens, living be hunting and gathering. There are examples of permanent habitations. We first saw parietal art from Alltamira and Chauvet caves. It showed felines, horses, aurochs and rhinos, with examples of composition and perspective and the use of many natural pigments. Several portable objects including an ivory carving of two swimming reindeer found at Tarn et Garrone, confirmed the importance of animals. Human figurines 35,000-c28,000bp. We were shown an ivory statuette from Hohlensstein-Stadel in the Swabian Alps and several examples of the female sexual triangle. One very interesting formal figure from Lower Austria is known colloquially as "Fanny" after a famous ballerina as she seems to be dancing. It is carved in amphibolite, an unusual rock that contains inclusions which would have twinkled when the figure was turned in the light. 28,000-21,000 bp. The most famous figure of this period is the Willendorf Venus found in 1904 in Lower Austria. It is carved in limestone and typical of many European "Venus" figures, it has a full, possibly pregnant, figure with pendulous breasts and either an elaborate hair style or a braided hat. Jill Cook suggested that the unusual proportions might be because women were showing their own view of their body. A relief figure from the rock shelter of Lausell in the Dordogne is rather unusual as it shows a "Venus" figure holding a bison horn. Many figures have been found in Russia. The sites at Kostenki-Borshchevo had mammoth bone houses and other evidence of regular habitation, such as hearths and debris-filled pits. These open- air sites on the Don river terraces have been excavated over many years and produced a large number of ivory animal and human figurines. 14,000-12,500 bp. In this later period there were many smaller human depictions, often on everyday items such as spear-throwers. The figures also tend to more abstract. A large group of engraved schist plaques from Gonnersdorf in Germany show schematised female profiles with pronounced buttocks. We would assume that the term "Venus" refers to the classical Roman goddess. However it is more likely that archaeologists in the early 19th century had another inspiration. Sara Bartmaann, an African with steatopygia, was exhibited in Europe at this time as the "Hottentot Venus" An unusual aspect if Jill Cooks' talk was her use of pictures of more recent art. The importance of female amplitude as a sign of fertility and plenty was shown in the portrait of the merchant's plump wife from St. Petersburg seated at a well provided table. Pregnancy and fertility were also demonstrated by "Alison Lepper, pregnant" (currently in Trafalgar Square) and the post¬revolutionary Russian painting of a family hoping for a better future, where the wife was shown in profile and obviously pregnant. It is impossible to define what these "Soft Curves and Full Figures" meant to Early Persons. Were they sexual symbols, made by men for men, made by women for women, goddesses, fertility symbols, totems shamanie or tokens? Having been given this list and many examples we must make our own choices. NB. Examples of Palaeolithic images can be seen at the British Museum in Case 1, Room 3b, at the top of the south staircase

Page 4

THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF SMALL ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS Review by Liz Gapp

The lecture, given by Edwin Baker, formerly a photographer with the British Museum & MoLAS, was, in fact, a practical demonstration of the way in which photographs have to be set up according to the features of the object that are to be highlighted. Unfortunately, Edwin Baker was held up by a traffic accident, and delayed one and a half hours. There was no time to set up the mechanics of the demonstrations for the lecture, so that the technology planned to display the photographs was sadly deficient, slightly marring the presentation. However, we have to thank him for persisting through very difficult conditions. Using an angle poise lamp for his lighting source, Edwin Baker showed how to set up a photograph to be taken. He explained that the tungsten light from the lamp gives a yellowy effect. To allow for this, he has a special grey board, which is used first to adjust the camera's sensitivity to the light before photographing the object. This card is expensive. Once the camera is set up, if the item is small, it can be photographed from above. To allow for a light source deficiency, a colour and monochrome separation guide, is sometimes included as part of the photograph. This costs about fl 0 from Jessops, the photography specialists. The guide is then cropped out of the final photograph once all colour adjustments have been made. When photographing, two additional items are used. One is a background, of which, depending on the colour of the object, the best is black acrylic velvet. For certain items where the three dimensional aspect of the object is crucial to obtaining a true view, then the background extends to a backdrop. That is the background extends to two dimensions, horizontal under the object, and vertical behind it. This, of course, also applies when taking larger objects. The second item used is a reflector, for which expanded white polystyrene used in packaging can be used. The reflector is positioned to send back light so as to reduce shadows that would be thrown by the light source. The camera is adjusted for say a 2 second exposure, hence the reason it is on a tripod. When the light meter is used to decide this, it has to be remembered that objects that reflect the light excessively, such as new white ceramic pipes, may give a false reading, so a certain amount of trial and error would be involved. Lights with a discontinuous spectrum, that is with certain colours missing, such as from a fluorescent or neon light source, can distort the colour set-up. Sunlight can be diffused using tracing/tissue paper or a white nylon umbrella. It should be noted that daylight under a blue sky will give a bluish tinge to the lighting in a photograph, but daylight where there is whitish cloud is neutral in colour effect. When photographing a very shiny object, the light source frequently results in a hot spot, a strong specular reflection. Diffusion of the light source can be achieved by the use of tracing paper in front of the light source. This will reduce the power of the light by about half. A reflector can be used, in addition, to improve the picture quality. When photographing objects usually only one light source is used, rarely two. For a flat document two lights are used more frequently, one either side of the item, at a 45° angle each side, for scanning. This is often used for plan copy work. A close-up (micro-nickel) lens is better than a zoom lens for this work as the quality of the lens will be better. In all this, it should be remembered that both the angle of lighting and of shooting are very important. When using a reflector, moving it away a little will allow the edges of the object, such as the brown bottle used in the lecture demonstration, to be more defined. The final photographic result can be manipulated on a computer using Adobe Photoshop, but in the first instant the photograph must be as perfect as it is possible to get it, as an imperfect one limits the end product. The file type used for this will also be a limiting factor on the changes that can be made. It also limits the time required to load the picture. A JPEG file is small; a TIFF is larger; and one in RAW format is larger still. This last, RAW format, allows the greatest versatility in changes to the final product. At the end of the lecture, Edwin Baker distributed a four-page handout for people to take away. Our thanks go to Edwin Baker for persisting through adversity to convey some of his knowledge of a very useful and practical subject as far as Archaeology recording is concerned.

Page 5

MOVABLE AND TOY BOOKS THROUGH THE AGES by Gerrars Roots

(10 December 05- 19 March 06. NB Closed 24-27 December & 1 January) A note from Gerrard Roots Church Farmhouse Museum's Winter exhibition is based on a remarkable local private collection of children's books, ranging from the C18 to the present day. The first 'movable' books were produced by Robert Sayer in the 1770s: using characters from the contemporary Pantomime, and thus given the name of `Flarlequinades', these included pages with flaps which were lifted up to change the pictures. 'Peepshow' books, where cut-outs were placed behind one another to give an illusion of depth appeared at more or less the same time. 'Panoramas' — books which folded out, sometimes to ten feet or more! - to give the impression of a large scene - came a little later. `Pop-ups', in which the illustrations sprang from the page to create a 3D effect were first published in the mid-19th Century, and they continue, with an ever-increasing sophistication in the technique of 'paper engineering', to be produced today. The exhibition includes some very scarce items indeed, and, as a demonstration of an often extraordinary ingenuity applied to the simplest of subjects, it should appeal to adults and children alike. As usual, the Museum's 1850s Dining Room will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas from 6th December to Twelfth Night.

Page 6

Other Society's events by Eric Morgan

Until 5th December During shopping hours - Barnet Borough Arts Council at The Spires Shopping Centre Barnet (outside Waitrose). Display of paintings. What's on — including HADAS

Sunday 4th December — 11 am — 4 pm — Barnet Xmas Fair, High Street Barnet. Music, Dance, Entertainment. Also at The Bull Theatre and Barnet Church (1 — 3 pm). Funfair and stalls.

Wednesday 7th December — 5 pm. British Archaeological Association, Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1 — "Bigger digs — widening participation in archaeology" Talk by Dr Carenza Lewis (of Time Team fame).

Saturday 10th December 10:15 am — 3:30 pm. Amateur Geological Society. Mineral and Fossil Bazaar. St Mary's Hall, Hendon Lane, N3 — including rocks, crystals, gemstones, jewellery. Refreshments. Admission £1.

Tuesday 13th December, 8 pm. Amateur Geological Society. The Parlour, St Margaret's Church, Victoria Avenue, N3. Talks - "Alfred Russell Wallace and the Theory of Evolution" (Michael MacDonald), "Early days of the Society" (Clement Krysler). Slide show — "Science in the City walk". (Mike Howgate)

Wednesday 14th December - 8 pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. "The development of the English Country house" — Mrs Pamela Wright (NT)

Wednesday 14th December - 8 pm. Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church, corner of Ferme Park Road and Weston Park, N8. "The archives at Bruce Castle". Talk by Libby Adams.

Thursday 15th December - 7:30 pm. Camden History Society, Upper Room, 8, Greenland Street, NW1. "Foul deeds in Camden". Talk by Mark Aston. (Also exhibition until 14 Jan (except Dec 5th — 10th) at Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Rd, WC1.

Friday 16th December - 8 pm. Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side/ Parsonage Lane, Enfield. "An English Heritage bulding inspector". Talk by Andrew Wittick. Refreshments from 7:30. Visitors £1.



Comments