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It was fantastic to see so many people at the opening lecture for the 2006/07 season. It was also encouraging to see some new faces amongst the regular attendees. For those of you who missed it, Deirdre Barrie’s review is on page 2.

Whilst on the subject of lectures, English Heritage has just informed me that they are unable to deliver the advertised lecture on the SMR for Barnet this month. Barry Taylor has resigned from EH, and Steve Ellwood is not able to be present on his own. However, HADAS member Brian Warren has stepped into the breach (see diary below).

HADAS Diary – Lectures and Christmas Dinner

Tuesday, 14th November 2006, South Mimms Castle – It’s History. Brian Warren – Hon. Archivist of Potters Bar & District Historical Society. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF LECTURE.

Tuesday 12th December 2006, Christmas Dinner at Harrow Museum – please see booking form enclosed for further information.

Tuesday, 9th January 2007, British Post Box Design & Use - the first 150 years. Stephen Knight - Curator of the Colne Valley Postal Museum, Essex.

Tuesday, 13th February 2007, The end of Roman Britain – what ended, when & how? Dr Andrew Gardner - Lecturer in the Archaeology of the Roman Empire, Institute of Archaeology, UCL.

Tuesday, 13th March 2007, The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) in the early days. Eileen Bowlt - LAMAS Chairman.

Tuesday, 10th April 2007, Thomas Telford (1757- 1834) 250th Anniversary lecture. Denis Smith - Lecturer on Industrial Archaeology.

Tuesday, 8th May 2007. TBA

Lectures start at 8.00pm in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. Visitors £1 Buses 82, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line).''

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THE QUEEN OF SHEBA - October lecture by Nadia Durrani Reviewed by Deirdre Barrie

The lecture began with a humorous touch - a slide of a poster for the 50s Hollywood epic “Solomon and Sheba” showing a sultry Sheba being embraced by a Yul Brynner with hair. This was the Hollywood idea of the Queen of Sheba! From then on facts whizzed past my ears, and fascinating slides flickered rapidly by as I scribbled feverishly in the gloom. Here is the gist of what I remember.

Both Yemen and Ethiopia claim Sheba as their own. Bilqis is the Arabian name for the Queen, and Emperor Haile Selassie claimed that he was descended from Menelik, the son of Solomon and Sheba.

The Queen is mentioned in the Bible (I Kings 10: 1 - 13 and II Chronicles 9), but although for centuries her story has inspired artists, her name is not recorded in inscriptions, as there are no lists of Queens, only of Kings. For the Queen’s origins, we ought to look to the Sabaeans from which “Sheba” seems to be derived. Archaeologists at the Mahram Bilqis site in Marib (from the 5thC. BC the capital of Saba) hope to find an inscription mentioning Sheba or her gifts to Solomon.

Wealth in Yemen was based on the incense trade from Arabia to the Mediterranean. Caravans carried frankincense, other spices and exotic Indian materials. (Pliny said the route took 62 days to travel.)

Nadia Durrani herself excavated in the Tihama in the 90s - this coastal plain on the shores of the Red Sea is anything from 20-50 miles wide, and hot and humid, and few people live there even now.

Was there cultural transference across the water? Gertrude Caton Thompson, who excavated in the area in the 1980s, thought probably not. The waters of the Red Sea were not easily navigable.

Yet there are tantalizing hints that there might have been that cultural transference: sorghum, a cereal originating in Africa, grows in Yemen. Did a bird drop the seeds, or was the plant brought by travellers? The Tihama people look like a mixture of Arab and African. The local round huts with their thatched roofs resemble those in the Horn of Africa.

Evidence is hard to come by - dating must be carried out by pottery analysis or palaeography, not carbon dating. But there are similarities in temple construction: a central entrance, with a tripartite section at the rear of the building.

At Al Hamid and Waqir in Yemen there is evidence of Sabaeans. Inscriptions are in Monumental Epigraphic Arabian. Sabaean architecture typically includes drafted and pecked stone. The elegant pillars of the Mahram Bilqis site persuaded earlier archaeologists that the site was a Hellenic one.

[Dr Nadia Durrani is Assistant Editor of Current Archaeology, and author of The Tihamah Coastal Plain of South-West Arabia in its Regional Context c. 6000 BC–AD 600 (Society for Arabian Studies Monographs 4) ISBN 1841718947. £32.00. ix+164 pages.]

Hampstead and North West London Historical Association

The above branch of the Historical Association meets on Thursdays at 8pm at Fellowship House, Willifield Way, London NW11. There is no problem with parking. Visitors are welcome at £3.00, members of Fellowship House, 50p.

The programme for 2006/7 follows on the next page.

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23rd November 2006, The Beginnings of Christianity in Britain (illustrated) Rev. Alan Walker (well-known religious broadcaster) 25th January 2007, Mussolini: how to become a ruthless dictator Professor Donald Sassoon (Queen Mary College) 8th March 2007, What history for a rainbow nation? The dilemmas of writing a history of contemporary South Africa Professor Shula Marks (School of Oriental and African Studies) 22nd March 2007, Booth’s Poverty Survey: the ground-breaking maps for his Grand Inquiry Professor Ifan Shepherd (Middlesex University) 29th March 2007, The Making of Marriage in mid-Tudor England Professor Ralph Holbrooke (Reading University)

For further information please contact the Secretary Hugh Hamilton, 2 Wild Hatch, London NW11 7LD.

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Other Societies’ Events Compiled by Eric Morgan

Saturday 4th November 10am to 4.30pm. Geologists’ Association, University College, Gower Street WC1. Annual Reunion. Displays from local & affiliated societies including The Amateur Geological Society, book sellers, rock and mineral dealers, photos, archives, slide shows. Also includes Festival of Geology with activities from UCL museum and collections including the Petrie Museum Rock Trail. Open to the public. Free.

Sunday 5th November 10.30am to 12 noon. Geologists’ Association. Rock around Bloomsbury –geological walk. Meet in front of Greek columns in quadrangle of UCL at 10.30am. Led by Dr Eric Robinson (who has lectured to HADAS in the past). Free.

Sunday 5th November 2pm. Stately Homes & Stately Lives. Guided walk. Meet outside The Spires, High Street, Barnet. An historical walk through beautiful unspoilt Georgian Monken Hadley. Led by Paul Baker (City of London Guide). Cost £5. Lasts 2 hours . Monday 6th to Sunday 12th November. Barnet Borough Arts Council. Brent Cross Shopping Centre (on the bridge between Boots and M&S). Paintings and What’s On (including HADAS).

Wednesday 8th November 8pm. Mill Hill Historical Society. Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. Naturalists of Mill Hill. Talk by Dr Michael Worms.

Wednesday 8th November 8pm. Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road, Weston Park, N8. History & Restoration of Hornsey Town Hall. Talk by David Winskill & Judy Bax. Refreshments.

Wednesday 15th November 6.30pm. LAMAS. Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. Country House visiting before the coming of the Railways. Talk by Charles Hind & H J Heinz. Refreshments.

Wednesday 15th November 7.30pm. Willesden Local History Society. Scout House, High Road (corner of Strode Road) NW10. Images of Willesden Past. Talk by Irina Porter (committee member and qualified London Guide).

Wednesday 15th November 8pm. Islington Archaeology & History Society. Islington Town Hall, Upper Street N1. Architecture in Islington. Talk by David Gibson.

Thursday 16th November 8pm. Enfield Preservation Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side) Enfield. Enfield in World War II. Talk by Graham Dalling.

Friday 17th November 7pm. COLAS. St Olaves’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. The conservation work of the Museum of London. Talk by Liz Barham (MoL).

Friday 17th November 7.30pm. Wembley History Society. Holy Innocents Church, Kingsbury Road (opposite Townsend Lane) NW9. The History of Kingsbury. Talk by Geoff Hewlett. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE.

Friday 17th November – 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side), Enfield. The IKEA site, Edmonton. Talk by Angus Stephenson on the 2004 dig which revealed a C5AD timber structure. Refreshments and info table from 7.30pm. Visitors £1.

Saturday 18th November 10am to 5pm. LAMAS Local History Conference. Museum of London lecture theatre. Lost London. (Regrettably this is currently fully booked, but there is a waiting list. If anyone is still wanting to attend, please contact Ann Hignell, 24 Orchard Close, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 7SL, or email

Saturday 18th November – 3.30 to 4.30pm. Harrow Museum, Headstone Manor, Pinner View, North Harrow. Behind the scenes. Tour from reception in the Tithe Barn of the museum’s new archive stores. £2.50. Max 15 people.

Saturday 18th November 11am to 2pm. Hampstead Heath Education Centre, off Gordon House Road, Gospel Oak, NW5 Historical Landscapes of the Heath. Pre-book by telephoning 020 7482 7073.

Monday 20th November 8pm. Pinner Local History Society History Circle. Arnold Room, Methodist Church, Love Lane, Pinner. Life & Death in the Tower of London. Talk by Mike Casson (History Circle). Visitors £1.

Monday 20th November 8.15pm. Ruislip, Northwood & Eastcote Local History Society. St Martin’s Church Hall, Ruislip. The Petrie Museum & the birth of Egyptian Archaeology. Talk by Jan Picton. Visitors £2. (For exact location see

Tuesday 21st November 2.30pm. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. 2 Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side) Enfield. The History of Chocolate. Talk by Ruth Hazeldine.

Wednesday 22nd November 8pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station), Friern Barnet Lane N20. Music Hall. Talk by Mike Hazeldine. Refreshments 7.45pm. Cost £2.

Friday 24th November 8pm. Barnet & District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street (opposite museum), Barnet. AGM.

Monday 27th November to Tuesday 5th December. Barnet Borough Arts Council. The Spires (outside Waitrose), High Street, Barnet.

===Paintings & What’s On (including HADAS)===.

Tuesday 28th November 10.30am. Enfield Preservation Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane (junction of Chase Side), Enfield. The History of the New River. Talk by John Cunningham.

Thursday 30th November 2.30pm. The Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road N3. The Impact of Pentland on Communities near and far. Talk by Lesley Roberts.