newsletter-434-june-2007

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Tuesday 12 June — Annual General Meeting

Sunday June 17th 2-5pm Come to the HADAS Get-Together: ALL MEMBERS ARE INVITED to drinks, nibbles and chat on Sunday afternoon, 17th June. Our Chairman, Don Cooper will host the event which will be at Avenue House, East End Rd, where we usually meet for lectures. All recent new members will also be getting a personal invitation. We hope to find out more about what you all want and what ideas you have for us, as well as this being a chance just to get to know everyone - and each other. We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday 4 August —Outing to Fishbourne with June Porges & Stewart Wild We shall tour through the delightful Sussex countryside, with the possibility of a local dig in progress, visiting the Roman Fort of Anderitum (now better known as Pevensey Castle), and Battle (1066 and all that). Full details and booking form will accompany the July newsletter.

Lectures and the AGM take place at Avenue House, 17 East End Rd., Finchley N3 3QE. Fifteen minutes walk from Finchley Central tube station going south towards Golders Green, Gravel Hill junction. Limited parking. Events begin at 8 pm. Tea, coffee and biscuits 80p. Non-members £1.

Hadas Archaeological Work in June from Don Cooper

June is a busy month for the HADAS digging team. We are supporting the Institute of Archaeology's widening participation team with their digs at Hendon School (11th to 15th June) and also at St. Mary's (C of E) school also in Hendon (18th to 22'd June). These projects aim to provide training and experience in practical archaeology to the students while at the same time addressing real research questions on the area. The students will be trained in a range of archaeological techniques including excavation, recording, surveying and finds processing. This is the second year at Hendon School following up a successful week's work last summer. The results of these digs will be published in a later newsletter.

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Our Wonderful English Language by Stewart Wild

Ever since I began to learn languages as a schoolboy I have always been fascinated by the mechanics of the English language and the origins of words. We all know that a considerable part of our vocabulary derives via modern European languages from Latin and Greek, yet few are aware of how many words and ideas have entered our language from classical Arabic. Most people know that many English words beginning al- are likely to have come from Arabic (usually via Spain where the Moors were dominant until the Reconquest in 1492). Examples are alchemy, alcohol, alcove, alembic, alfalfa, algebra, algorism, algorithm, Alhambra, alkali, almanac and the rare word almagest (great astronomical treatise of Ptolemy). There are many others, especially in science and astronomy. Azimuth is one, nadir and zenith two more. Assassin comes from a sect word meaning 'hashish-eater', harem from a word meaning 'prohibited', sherbet from a verb 'to drink', mohair from an adjective meaning `choice' or 'select' and zero from Arabic gift (also our word cipher). Many are direct imports, increasing in number in proportion to the growth of Islam in the UK: mosque, minaret, imam, sheikh, emir, fatwa, intifada, jihad, madrassa or medersa, burnous and burqa. Others are less obvious, like magazine. This is a splendid word, with a variety of meanings: a store for arms, ammunition or provisions; a periodical publication containing articles by various writers; and an online forum for information and dialogue. The common thread here is the notion of "place where things are stored", and the French word magasin, meaning shop or department store, comes from the same root, which is the Italian word magazzino. This in turn comes from the Arabic word makhazin, the plural of makhzan, meaning "storehouse". Another fascinating word is gazette and its sibling gazetteer. Reaching us from the Italian gazzetta, this word for a newssheet or periodical publication has its origin in the 16th-century Venetian word gazett, meaning a small coin. This coin carried the image of a wise old owl, but this was mistaken for a magpie, in Italian, gazza, and the coin named accordingly. The gazett coin was the cost of buying a popular newssheet in Venice in those days, or at least what it cost to read it. Thus the coin gave its name to the periodical, achieving official importance in England when its first recorded use is in 1665: The Oxford Gazette. (The courts and government officials of London had moved to Oxford on account of the Plague.) Later this became The London Gazette, followed by The Edinburgh Gazette in 1695 and The Dublin Gazette in 1705. I am still trying to link gazza with an Arabic origin, but have not yet succeeded!

Rick Gibson An appreciation by Stewart Wild

News reaches HADAS of the sad and untimely death of Rick Gibson. Older members will remember Rick and his wife June, who lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb and who were active members of the Society in the 1970s and 80s. In recent years they sold their house in Erskine Hill and Rick moved to West Kensington. He was a Druid priest and was very knowledgeable about ancient Egypt and especially the pharoahs' religious practices. For some years he led tours to Egypt for study purposes. He died on 3 March, as a result of lung disease (apparently asbestosis) which may have been attributed to work many years ago at the Post Office Research Establishment in Dollis Hill. Apart from being a very skilled electrician, he was also talented at the repair and maintenance of clock mechanisms and did the London Borough of Barnet a considerable favour some years ago by volunteering to clean and repair the clock of the War Memorial at the crossroads in Golders Green, which still keeps good time today in his memory. He was interred on 23 March in a woodland grave at Wrabness, Essex, after a simple tree-planting ceremony.

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CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM

An Exhibition on Hampstead Garden Suburb is running until 9 September. The spade with which Henrietta Barnett dug the first sod, the Bible used for the United services which were held in a workmen's but in the early years, Henrietta's sketch book with a talented watercolour of a landscape are some of the many items on view. There is an impressive map of the many famous people who have lived in the Suburb, such as Harold Wilson and Elizabeth Taylor. There are many photographs dating from pre 1914 of the building of the Suburb, the social life, jubilees, pageants, children and communal housing for Henrietta wanted all classes of people to live in friendship.

THE FAMOUS IN HIGH BARNET April lecture by Paul Baker Reviewed by Stephen Brunning

Paul Baker commenced his talk with a reference as to why High Barnet had attracted so many famous people over the centuries — the clean air and pleasant living conditions as opposed to the smoky, smelly City of London was one reason given. The biggest Saturday night in Barnet's history occurred on April 13th 1471 when approximately 23000 troops gathered on Hadley Green to fight the Battle of Barnet the following day. Amongst them were three kings, the Yorkist Edward IV, Lancastrian Henry VI, and the future King Richard III, then known as the Duke of Gloucester aged just eighteen. The oldest standing pub in High Barnet — the Red Lion, probably paid host to Henry 'VTII's visit to Barnet in 1529. Samuel Pepys was known to have eaten cheesecakes here after a curative trip to the Physic Well near to Barnet Hospital. Charles Dickens and a friend lamed their horses during a madcap ride back to London following a boozy lunch at the Red Lion. Just around the corner from the Red Lion was a pub called the Crown — now demolished. It was here in 1611 that Arabella Stuart, cousin of James VI, stayed. Other pubs associated with famous people included Doctor Johnson eating at Ye Old Mitre Inn, and Prime Ministers Lord Melborne and Palmerston, as well as Sir Robert Peel frequenting the Green Man which still stands on the corner of High Street and St Albans Road. . The talk then moved onto churches, where Paul discussed famous architects involved with the building of Barnet's places of worship. William Butterfield was responsible for extending the parish church of St John the Baptist, George Edmund Street renovated St Mary's of Monken Hadley and St Mary's of East Barnet before working himself to death in 1881 as the architect of the Royal Courts of Justice. Sir George Gilbert Scott built Christ Church on St Albans Road — location of some the scenes from EastEnders!!

The novelist Kingsley Amis lived at "Gladsmuir" in Monken Hadley between 1968 and 1976. It was rechristened "Lemmons" by Amis and "Gin-and-Lemons" by John Betjeman who was a regular drunken house-guest. Another famous resident of Monken Hadley was Spike Milligan. Paul told us of an amusing tale of where Spike kept a dirty cup on his mantelpiece for many months. When guests asked what the cup was doing there, Spike explained that Prince Charles had done the washing up last time he'd dined with him, and was going to make sure that he (Charles) washed it properly next time he visited!! Paul concluded his talk about political associations with Barnet. Robert Carr, now Lord Can of Hadley, lived at "Monkenholt" for many years. When he was Home Secretary during Ted Heath's government in the early 1970's, the Angry Brigade exploded a bomb in front of the house which was heard all over Barnet. Luckily Lord Carr and his wife were out that night. With grateful thanks to Paul Baker for providing the notes to write this report. I had forgotten to ask a member of the audience to do so! Incidentally, Paul leads a series of 8 dffercnt wall.-.- in High Barnet, including one of the Battle of Barnes For further information please telephone 020 8440 6805.


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HEROD, THE CRUELLEST DICTATOR?

Herod built Herodium, south of Jerusalem for his own burial place. Like Hitler, Mussolini and Saddam he was a constructor of great monuments He built the second Temple, the fortress of Masada and the port of Caesarea. He was guilty of the massacre of the innocents — the slaughter of all boys under the age of two in Bethlehem. The location of the burial was discovered in 2006 and excavation has only just started. The location is still being questioned by some archaeologists.

BONE CLUES

Advances in analysing human remains have enabled scientists to find how neolithic people at Wayland Smithy met their death. Three people were shot by arrows, two were dismembered by dogs or wolves. They lived between 3625 BC and 3590BC which may have been a time of increasing social tension and upheaval.

THE GLADIATOR EMPEROR

A mosaic discovered at the Villa dei Quintili, south of Rome and the home of the Emperor Commodus, depicts a gladiator named Montanus holding a trident alongside a referee who appears to be pronouncing him the victor over a prone opponent. Commodus, who was Emperor from AD 180 to192, loved sport and sometimes dressed up as a gladiator himself and fought in the arena, a practice that scandalised polite Roman society, which regarded such fighters as occupying the lowest rungs on the social ladder.

RAPA NUI DID NOT COMMIT GENOCIDE

A new theory on the fate of Easter Island, now known by its native name of Rapa Nui — meaning navel of the world — suggests that rats and outsiders, not the depredations of its native people, caused the depletion of the island's resources and the shrinking of its human population. For two and a half centuries Easter Island has been famed for its moai statues, tall stone heads with elongated features that are found across the island. It has been alleged that the inhabitants destroyed the forest cover, depleting their food resources and shelter and eventually leaving themselves unable to build canoes. The recent book by Jared Diamond, Collapse, calls Rapa Nui "the clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by over exploiting its own resources". This has been called "ecocide". Yet rats rather than people may have been the crucial factor on Rapa Nui according to the archaeologist Terry Hunt of the University of Hawaii. He notes that the Pacific rat, rattus exulans, arrived with the human settlers, possibly as a fast breeding source of protein for the voyagers. Dr Hunt believes that the impact of rats on the forests of Rapa Nui was devastating. He estimates that the rat population could have exceeded 3.1 million within a very short time following their introduction. They ate seedlings, nuts and birds eggs. Dr Hunt says "The documented population collapse of Rapa Nui occurred as a result of European contacts, with Old World diseases and slave trading", adding to the damage by rats. It is not a case of ecocide.

TYRANNOSAURUS REX TASTES LIKE CHICKEN?

Researchers have isolated a protein from a 68 Million-year-old Tyrannosausus Rex that is very similar to one found in the 21 st-century chicken. The existence of prehistoric protein defies a long standing assumption that when an animal dies protein immediately begins to degrade and, in the case of fossils, is slowly replaced by mineral. The process was thought to be complete after one million years. Collagen tissue was removed from a fossilized thigh bone belonging to one of the giant predator dinosaurs. Analysis showed it was structurally similar to chicken protein, providing further evidence of the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. As well as showing how this technique can confirm the evolutionary relationship between long extinct creatures, the feat has shown how tiny traces of protein might be detected to reveal cancer in the body and track its spread. In another study it was found that extracts of soft tissue in T rex bones reacted with antibodies to chicken collagen, further suggesting the presence of bird-like protein. Until today's work, the oldest protein analysed by scientists was around 300,000 years old.

SILBURY HILL

Silbury Hill is the largest pre-historic man made structure in Europe. This summer English Heritage will spend £600,000, to preserve it. And in doing so may find out more about its construction and its original purpose. It was probably constructed 4,400 years ago. Earlier this year archaeologiqts found traces of a Roman settlement at the landmark. They say that it may have been a place of pilgrimage.


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OTHER SOCIETIES EVENTS from Eric Morgan

Saturday 2 June 7.30 pm CELEBRATING THE BICENTENARY OF THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE St. Paul's Church, The Ridgeway NW7 BRITAIN & THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE Talk by Prof. Jim Walvin

Thursday 7 June 10.30 am Mill Hill Library, Hartley Ave., NW7 AMY JOHNSON-BARNET'S OWN AVIATION HEROINE Talk by David Keen (RAF Museum) with refr. 50p

Saturday 9-10 June OPEN GARDEN SQUARES WEEKEND incl, THE HILL GARDEN OFF NORTH END RD., Hampstead

Sunday 10 June 2.30 pm ENFIELD PRESERVATION SOCIETY Heritage Walk FORTY HILL & BULL'S CROSS Start from car park of Forty Hall


Monday 11 June 3 pm. Barnet Local History Society, Church House, Wood St. (opp. Museum)CHARLES I & PURITANISM IN 1630s talk by Dr Alan Thomson

Sunday 10 June- 16 September Hampstead Museum, Burgh House, New End Sq., NW3 CENTENARIES OF UNIVERSITY COLLEGE SCHOOL, HAMPSTEAD TUBE& HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB EXHIBITION

Wednesday 13 June 8pm. Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, Ferme Fark/Weston Park Rd. N8 THE HISTORY OF LONDON'S BLACK & ASIAN COMMUNITIES Talk by Cliff Pereira


Saturday 16-17 June GLADSTONBURY FESTIVAL Gladstone Park, Kendal Rd. NW2 Stalls incl. Willesden Local History Society

Thursday 21 June 7.30 pm Camden History Society 2nd floor Crowndale Centre, Eversholt St. NW1(nr. Mornington Cres. Station) THE HAMPSTEAD TUBE Talk by Roger Cline

Friday 15 June7pm. COLAS, St. Olaves Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3 SUGAR REFINING IN THE EAST END Talk by Tony Tucker £2

Sunday 24 June EAST FINCHLEY FESTIVAL Cherry Tree Wood (opp. the Station) N2. Lots of community stalls

Tuesday 26 June 7.30 pm.Enfield Preservatioin Society, Mount Carmel Centre, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel & St. George RC Church, London Rd., Enfield E.A. BOWLES OF MYDDLETON HOUSE Talk by Bryen Hewitt

Wednesday 27 June 8 pm. Friern barnet & District Local History Society, St. John's Church Hall (by Whetstone Police Stn.) Friern Barnet Lane N20 THE SHOCKING HISTORY OF ADVERTISING Talk by David Bergner £2

Thursday 28 June 8 pm.Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Rd. N3 THE STEPHENS COLLECTION Talk by Eileen Kenning £2

Saturdat 30 June -1 July East Barnet Festival, Oak Hill Park, Church Hill Rd.E. Barnet. Stalls/Farmers Market A GUIDED WALK IN OAKHILL PARK 2 pm.

Wednesday 20 June 8 pm. Islington Archaelogy & History Society, Islington Town Hall, Upper St. N1 BERTHOLD LUBETKIN - MASTER ARCHITECT - WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO CLERKENWELL & FINSBURY Ta1k by John Allan



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