newsletter-421-april-2006

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY- Forthcoming Lectures and Events

Tuesday 11th April - Kathryn Piquette, Institute of Archaeology, UCL: "Maintaining Order, Fighting Chaos: evidence in the Petrie Museum for Egyptian Warfare." (Then judge for yourself how accurate those battle scenes in the recent Sunday evening BBC "Egypt" programme really were.)

Tuesday 9th May - Andy Agate, Institute of Archaeology, UCL: "Kingsbury Old Church". (Andy is a member of the Wednesday Evening Course working on the Ted Sammes Hendon Church Terrace site for publication, and dug with us at Church Farmhouse Museum in 2005).

Tuesday 13th June - Annual General Meeting.

Saturday 24th June - Outing to Sussex with June Porges and Stuart Wild.

Saturday 22nd July - Day Trip to Leicestershire with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward.

Wednesday August 30th - Sunday September 3rd 2006: Annual HADAS Long Weekend - Devon and Cornwall, staying at Plymouth University. To book one of the few remaining places, please contact Jackie Brookes.

As ever, lectures and the AGM take place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 30E. Events begin at 8pm. Non-members £1. lea, coffee and biscuits 70p. Fifteen-minute walk from Finchley Central tube station. Several nearby bus routes; limited parking.

METAL DETECTOR by Andrew Coulson

The Society is buying a state of the art metal detector, and possibly a global positioning system, which will considerably enhance our survey capability, and which will also be used for scanning spoil heaps for small metal artefacts. Would anyone wishing to be trained in the use of this equipment please make themselves known, by writing to Peter Pickering, 3 Westbury Road, Woodside Park, London N12 7NY, ringing 020-8445 2807,

BATTLE OF BARNET RESEARCH by Andrew Coulson

The Battle of Barnet Working Group (BoBWG) would like members to send them any details they have or any military formation of any sort whatever using the Barnet and Hadley Green area to camp, manoeuvre or hold firing practice at any time from the Tudor period until the outbreak of the First World War. Please write to Peter Pickering, 3 Westbury Road, Woodside Park, London N12 7NY, ring 020-8445 2807, or e-mail.

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EDGWARE JUNIOR SCHOOL AIR-RAID SHELTER DIG: by Gabe Moshenska

In a cold and wet week in February a team of diggers including several HADAS members unearthed a large concrete air-raid shelter under the playing field of Edgware Junior School. The shelter had been sealed for almost sixty years and was excavated as part of a UCL project aimed at combining the archaeology, history and memory of the Second World War. History Records show that shortly after the start of the war the Hendon Education Committee contracted the construction of air-raid shelters in schools to Messrs Lavender McMillan Ltd, at a price of £259 10s each. A variety of different kinds of shelters were produced at this time by different companies. Some were built out of segments of panels, others were cast in situ with steel reinforcements. At Edgware School classes were taught in children's homes until enough shelters, thirteen in all, were constructed for them to return to school. Air raid drill was practised regularly, with the children traipsing down to the shelters where lessons continued underground. The school was damaged by bombing in 1940, presumably because of its proximity to the railway sidings, and was nearly hit again by a V1 doodlebug in 1944. No children were injured in the bombings. Archaeology Although the archives record thirteen shelters at the school, only two are clearly visible on the surface. The archaeological work aimed to open up one of the shelters to get a good look at it inside and out, and also to establish the locations of at least some of the others. A resistivity survey was carried out in November 2005 by the UCL/HADAS team, revealing a number of rectangular shapes beneath the soil, some of them very clear. This appeared to show at the most eight shelters beneath what is now the school football pitchThe excavation began with the main trench, designed to clear the earth and rubble out of the entrance staircase, and gain access to one of the shelters. This began to produce artefacts of all ages, including a 20p coin and a variety of stoneware. An exploratory trench was dug to investigate a brick structure protruding from the grass, but this proved to be a mysterious wall of pre-war date. A third trench was opened over the roof of the shelters, to examine the roof and to locate the shelter in relation to the resistivity readout. As the main dig progressed it became clear that the staircase down to the shelter was a single piece of cast concrete, while the shelter was constructed from prefabricated panels of reinforced concrete, and at least partly from bricks and mortar. The staircase had shifted slightly, possibly due to root disturbance, and was no longer precisely aligned with the shelter. The pinnacle of the dig was the 'Howard Carter' moment: stepping into the newly opened dark doorway with a torch and announcing that we could see "Things! Wonderful things!". In truth, the interior of the shelter was quite sparse, as fittings were stripped before they were sealed, and in the case of the two chemical toilets we were rather grateful for this! However, significant portions of the electrical fittings remained, as did a scattering of artefacts including a hurricane lamp, an inkwell, a fire bucket, a gas heater and a mysterious pair of shoes. As we had hoped, some of the graffiti left on the walls by the kids had survived — a chalk drawing of a sailing ship with a cross on the sail. There was also, remarkably, an entire wall of maths problems chalked onto the brick, as fresh as when it was first put up! Memories of the shelters On the second day of the dig we were lucky enough to be visited by Tessa Smith, HADAS member and former pupil at the school during the war. Tessa told us about the shelters she remembered, which interestingly were not under the present playing field, but elsewhere in the school grounds. This made the total of thirteen seem much more feasible. She described sitting in the shelter on benches, closely packed together in rows, singing patriotic songs to pass the time. Tessa also spoke to Year 6 children at the school, telling them about her recollections of school in wartime, and answering their questions. Her visit to the site provided valuable information for the archaeologists, and a wonderful experience for the children whose enthusiasm for the project as a whole was remarkable.Conclusion The dig was a resounding success both from an archaeological perspective, recording and studying the buried structure; and from an educational point of view by giving the experience of the Second World War a human voice and a physical presence in the school. The shelter will remain open, and the school hopes to use it in teaching the War both for themselves and for other schools in the area. We are continuing to work with the school, getting the children involved in other archaeological activities including finds cleaning and sorting. This dig was made possible by the participation of hardy and hard-working HADAS volunteers, and by the kind loan of HADAS equipment. My thanks to all involved.


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The archaeology of Buddhism in Eastern India: Report of February Lecture by Peter Pickering

Dr Robert Harding opened the eyes of HADAS members to a culture of which we had previously known very little if anything. He has worked in the city of Rajgir, which was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha. This was where the Buddha started the religion that bears his name in the fifth/fourth centuries BC. He was the son of a king, and gave up wealth and power to embrace the Middle Way (between extreme asceticism and the comforts of the world); after achieving enlightenment he travelled around preaching. Dr Harding showed us many images of the Buddha and of his miracles. Buddhism was a minor religion until it was adopted by the Emperor Asoka, who propagated it throughout his Mauryan empire, and it was carried into other countries of south-east Asia along trade routes. Before Buddhism, temples and religious buildings generally in India had been insignificant, but with the royal patronage of Buddhism there began the construction of stupas (hemispherical mounds containing ashes or other relics of the Buddha, surrounded by a walkway for processions and surmounted by a tier of discs known as an umbrella), and of monasteries. The many spectacular Hindu temples in India are all later than the Buddhist buildings; the Brahmins learnt from Buddhism the value of royal patronage, and the way in which spiritual and temporal power can come together in magnificent construction projects. Buddhism has only a small presence in India to-day (having in some respects been absorbed into Hinduism), though various forms of it are still the dominant religion in several other Asian countries. Dr Harding described his own work on the landscape archaeology of Rajgir. Landscape archaeology is very fashionable in Britain nowadays, but is very new to India, where written texts have priority. Rajgir was surrounded by what was believed to be a fortification wall, 35 kilometres in length, but it is distant from settlement and even when complete would have presented very little of a barrier to an enemy. Dr Harding's thesis is that it was a walkway, leading pilgrims from one stupa or similar site to another, and that Rajgir remained of great religious significance after the commercial and political centre had moved elsewhere.

Daniel Lampert: 1913- 2005 An appreciation by Margaret Maher

Dan, who died in December 2005 at the age of 92, had a long and distinguished career before he joined HADAS. He was a diver in WW 11 with the Royal Marines and his early academic achievements included a BSc in Engineering. He subsequently became a Fellow of the Institutes of Civil Engineering, the Mechanical Engineers and the Petroleum Engineers. He was a Freeman of the City of London and a founder Member of the Worshipful Company of Engineers. The Lamperts joined HADAS in 1974 and played active parts in the society, being generous with both their time and expertise. Helen frequently took items, donated to Dorothy Newbury's garage Minimart store, to antique specialists for verification and valuation. Both were regulars on outings and the Christmas Dinners. Dan completed the Extra- Mural Diploma in Archaeology in 1979. I wonder whether he had an exemption from the compulsory one-week surveying course? A man of enquiring mind and many interests, he actively pursued his other hobbies which included bookbinding, calligraphy and furniture restoration.

In 1984 he dug at Southwark for the City of London Archaeology Society and in 1985 he offered to conduct a much-needed survey of the surface contours of the mesolithic site at West Heath. Unfailingly good- humoured and courteous, with a natural gift for teaching, he made the acquisition of new skills seem easy for the HADAS members and Extra-Mural students he taught. He was a popular figure on site and always a welcome visitor, and we were grateful for the survey which was conducted with minimum disruption. Dan and Helen had been together for seventy years and to her, and their daughters, on behalf of those members who knew him, I would like to say what a a pleasure it was to know and work with him.

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS by Mary Rawitzer

Our appreciative thanks to all those people who settle their annual HADAS membership by cheque and have done so very promptly. To the few still to come, a gentle reminder: the due date is 1st April. If you have any queries, just contact me (details on the back page). Further thanks are due to the many who had not previously done so, but have now kindly signed a Gift Aid form. We are now carrying out our final (I hope) promise to encourage as many others as possible to make their subscription under Gift Aid. Enclosed with this Newsletter is a Gift Aid form for anyone who pays by Standing Order but has not yet signed such a form. If you find one with your Newsletter, are a tax-payer and feel able to sign the form, please consider doing so and help HADAS to recover the extra income. Thank you in advance from myself and from our Treasurer.

THE LONDON ACADEMY (NORTH), EDGWARE

The following summary report of this site by AOC Archaeology appeared in the latest (November-January) Quarterly Review of GLAAS (the Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service). It has rather more detail than the earlier report in last month's newsletter. The evaluation consisted of twenty two trenches. The western edge of the development area revealed a good level of survival of archaeological remains with a series of ditches and several isolated pits and portholes. These were cut from the surface of a layer of colluvium containing similar cultural material. Much of the pottery was 11-0M jars and other domestic vessels of low to medium status. The pottery was dated to the late Roman period, with no evidence of earlier activity. The large quantity of CBM recovered very probably came from the nearby Brockley Hill Kilns. The alignment of the linear features. parallel with, and at right angles to. the Roman road, support the idea that they formed part of a Roman roadside settlement. The site may represent late Roman expansion into the hinterland of Londinium as the city declined. Towards the east of the development area very few archaeological remains were observed. A shallow pit contained the remains of a terret ring, which would have been mounted onto a horse's harness-pad, dating from the 1st century BC to the Roman period. Apart from one undated ditch. the remainder of the trenches contained only ill-defined variations in the natural clay. Mitigation in the western side of the site has been achieved by revision of the construction design.

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OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS Compiled by Eric Morgan

Tuesday 4th April 2-3 pm Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. History of Headstone Manor. Talk by Patricia Clarke £2.50

Monday 10th April 3pm Barnet and District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street (opposite Museum), Barnet. Barnet Almshouses (the Laurie Adams Memorial Lecture) by Peter Willcocks.

Wednesday 12th April 6pm LAMAS. Learning Centre, Museum of London 150 London Wall EC2. Re-Inventing the Middle Ages: the new Mediaeval London Gallery at the MoL. Talk by John Clark (mediaeval curator); refreshments 6pm.

Tuesday 18th April 2-3 pm Harrow Museum , Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. Maintaining Health in the Tudor Still Room. Talk by H Lewis £2.50

Friday 21st April 7pm COLAS. St Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3 Surgery in the Roman World. Talk by Ralph Jackson (BM). Light refreshments.

Sunday 23rd April I lam The Battle of Barnet. Guided Walk. Meet at Junction of Great North Road and Hadley Green. Led by Paul Baker. £5 lasts 2 hours.

Monday 24th April -Sunday 7th May Barnet Borough Arts Council in The Spires High Street Barnet. Paintings and What's On (including HADAS).

Wednesday 26th April 8pm Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. St John's Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane N20. History of Church Farm (Talk by Gerrard Roots) £2

Thursday 27th April 8pm The Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road N3. Stained Glass in North London. Talk by Helen Davidian. Non-members donation.

SUMMER FESTIVALS

Church End Festival. Sunday 14th May from 1 to 5pm. Avenue House Grounds. HADAS will have a stall there promoting our organisation and selling books etc. Members are cordially invited to come along.

Cricklewood Festival Saturday 15th July not Sunday 16th July as announced in the March Newsletter.


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