newsletter-442-january-2008

Newsletter

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HADAS Diary

The winter lecture series takes place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Nearest tube Finchley Central. Lectures start promptly at 8 pm – non-members £1, Coffee or tea 80p.

Tues. 8th January lecture by Kate Sutton – Museum of London “The Works of a Finds Liaison Officer”


Tues. 12th February lecture by Christopher Sparey-Green BA MIFA “The Archaeology of Dorset – a Time-torn Landscape”


Tues. 11th March lecture by Chloe Cockerill – Regional Development Manager “The Work of the Churches Conservation Trust”


Tues. 8th April lecture by Peter Davey – Bristol Tram Photographic Collection “Clifton Rocks Railway”


Tues. 13th May lecture by Angela Wardle – MOLAS Finds Specialist “Finds from Roman London” Angela hopes to present some results of a Roman London glass working project and talk about Roman London website with an online finds catalogue.

Dorothy Newbury Supplement

With this newsletter you should find a supplement containing an interview with Dorothy conducted by Andrew Selkirk on her life and subsequent work with HADAS. This was presented to Dorothy at the event held in her honour at Avenue House in September celebrating her retirement from the HADAS Committee, on which she served for so long. It also contains some of the photographs used in an exhibition at the event, and an album that was also presented to Dorothy.

New site for the HADAS/Birkbeck course by Don Cooper


This year’s HADAS/Birkbeck well-attended course on Post-excavation Processing has started processing a new site.

As well as continuing with the task of bringing Church Terrace (CT73/74) to publication, a site from 1987 that of Eagle House (site code EAG87) has been started. Eagle House, now home of the Bank of China, is at 90-96 Cannon Street EC4N 6HA near Cannon Street Station. The site lies within the scheduled area of the Roman Governor’s palace. The excavations were carried out in the basements of Eagle House during July and August 1988. The work was funded by the developer (MEPC).

The existing basements had already truncated the stratigraphy to within 0.3m of the natural brickearth, however, evidence of Roman foundations and more deeply cut post-medieval features had survived. The artefacts from the excavation have not been processed up to now for a host of different reasons. The large variety of Roman and Post-medieval artefacts involved is providing the course with an opportunity to identify and record these finds. Access to the archive of this site was provided by the London Archaeological and Research Centre (LAARC) and its manager Roy Stephenson to whom we are very grateful. A full report of the finds will be made on completion of the analysis.


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MATA HARI’S GLASS EYE AND OTHER TALES – A HISTORY OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY by Peter Nicholson

An intriguing title brought a lager than average audience to Avenue House on 13th November to hear Martin Barber of English Heritage Aerial Survey.

As an hors d’oeuvre before the main course Martyn told us something of what is being done now. EH have two high winged Cessna aircraft, one each at Oxford and York engaged in a national mapping program. Like painting the Forth Bridge this is never finished. Changes in the built environment and in the ground conditions, gives the possibility of crop marks appearing which have not been seen previously, this means that continual re-surveying is needed. A particular interest is comparison of current photos with those from the early days 50 or 100 years ago. A recent technique using laser scanning called ‘LINDAR’ can “see through” trees and bushes to show the contours of the ground surface in fine detail. It is very useful when looking for features in wooded areas, but unlike crop marks can give no indication of what lies under the surface. 2007 is the centenary of the publication of the first aerial photo of an archaeological site. The publication was by the Society of Antiquaries of photos of Stonehenge donated by the Royal Engineers, who had taken them from a balloon in the previous year. The Royal Engineers had begun ballooning in the 1870s and 1880s using the technique in the Boer War. Difficulties in producing hydrogen in the field meant that as far as possible balloons were kept inflated when transported from site to site – which was far from easy. Not all early aerial photography was military. Martyn showed a photo of Gertrude and John Bacon, the publishers of Bacon’s London Map, about to take off in their balloon. Their first aerial photo was taken over Stamford Hill in 1882. The approach of the First World War greatly increased interest and investment in aerial photography. There were now alternatives to balloons but not all trials were successful. An attempt to use a Cody man-carrying kite towed behind a warship resulted in the unfortunate aviator having to be retrieved from the sea. By the time hostilities began, aircraft with cameras capable of automatic plate-changing were an effective means of showing the immediate battlefield area and some way behind it. This greatly increased the effectiveness of artillery bombardments. We were shown aerial photos of the intricate pattern of trench lines, the devastation at Ypres, a gas attack in progress and a countryside ruinously pock-marked by shell craters, showing the nature of the conflict in ways which words cannot describe. An innovation on the maps produced form the aerial photos was the addition of a grid – a feature that was not to appear on civilian maps until the 1930s. Stonehenge taken from an early balloon flight (Sorry - Image not yet available). After the First World War the Ordnance Survey appointed an Archaeological Officer, OGS Crawford who collected photos which the RAF was taking over Britain for training purposes. These revealed the missing arm of the Stonehenge Avenue and also in 1925, Woodhenge was discovered. A publication “Wessex from the Air” was produced. Before long, thoughts of war returned with both sides taking illicit photos. Besides secret military flights apparently innocent airship flights and civilian aircraft were used. The final photo Martyn showed was one from the Luftwaffe archives taken before the declaration of war. It showed central London with a target marked – not Buckingham Palace or Downing St but Broadcasting House. Lord Reith would have been proud! Mata Hari’s glass eye? She didn’t have one….it was a bit of 1930s spin. When there were complaints about the cost of having an aerial photography program the response was that it was as good at gathering intelligence as Mata Hari with a glass eye (the camera). The lecture title is also the title of the book shortly to be published. It may be expensive but if you see it in the library it should be worth a read.

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ARCHAEOLOGY ‘08

February 9-10, at The British Museum A major new two day conference event organised by Current Archaeology Magazine and the British Museum’s Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure.

Preliminary Session schedule:

• THE NEW RADIOCARBON REVOLUTION

• READING THE STONES

• RETHINKING ROMAN BRITAIN

• TREASURES OF THE CELTS

• WHAT DID THE ROMANS DO FOR US?

• UNDERSTANDING PREHISTORY-NEW TECHNIQUES

• BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY ABROAD

• ROADS, PIPES AND POTATOES

• PICTS VIKINGS AND SCOTS

• ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE MEDIA

• THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF MODERN CITIES

• THE FUTURE OF THE PAST

• THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF MODERN CONFLICT


Current Archaeology subscribers £95.00, General Admission £125.00. To register go to www.archaeology.co.uk or call 08456 44 77 07

Welcome to New Members - Membership Secretary

Greetings to new members who have joined since mid-year: Natalie Lumsden, Kate Sweeney, Lesley Jones, Anne Harding, Dennis Bird, Evadne Smith, Christine Moritz and Christopher Carstairs. Some of you have already been to lectures or on trips, or are involved in the Birkbeck training course. Others just want to come and hear interesting lectures, or are now at the start of finding ways to use or to develop their interest in archaeology. A warm welcome to you all. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any committee members if you are looking for further information.

Captain Kidd wreck found

According to Barry Wigmore of the Daily Mail the wreck of a treasure ship captured by the British pirate Captain William Kidd 309 years ago has been found in the Caribbean. Lying in just 10ft of water, the Quedah Merchant is on the seabed off the island of Hispaniola between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The wreck is now being researched by marine archaeologists from Indiana University.

In 1695 Kidd left London in the Adventure Galley, a 284-tonner with a crew of 150 and 34 cannon. Late in 1696, he attacked a British East India Convoy and was declared a pirate. In 1698, he took his greatest prize the Quedah Merchant. A 400-ton Moorish trader from Armenia, it was loaded with gold, silver and fine silks. The Adventure Galley was by now rotting and leaky. So he scuttled her, renamed the Quedah Merchant the Adventure Prize, and sailed for the Caribbean – where the Adventure Prize was scuttled.

Eventually Kidd was arrested, and found guilty of piracy and murder, he was hanged on May 23, 1701 at Execution Dock in Wapping.


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HADAS PROJECTS - GARDEN ROOM, AVENUE HOUSE

Recent activity at HADAS HQ has included the updating and refurbishment of several archives and finds collections from past HADAS fieldwalking and excavation projects.

Burroughs Gardens

Currently we are dealing with a site dug at Burroughs Gardens, Hendon in 1972 (junction of The Burroughs and Burroughs Gardens). The dig directed by Ted Sammes produced a wonderful collection of medieval and post medieval pottery, clay pipes, coins and other bits and pieces. As with other similar archives the boxing, packaging and labelling needed to be completely revamped. Fortunately there is a pretty full archive – site diary and plan, finds listing (up to a point), slides and photos, associated notes and documents. The original dig was summarised in various papers but we now need to consider how far we go in listing and processing the finds and perhaps producing a final report.

St James the Great, Friern Barnet

In 1974 HADAS was asked to excavate beneath a tombstone in connection with a planned extention adjacent to the church. Subsequently a burial vault was excavated producing a fine collection of inscribed coffin plates and coffin fittings. These together with the paper archive researching the burial occupants and a survey of the remaining churchyard were conserved and repackaged.

Pipers Green Lane

This site lies on the junction of Watling Street (A5) and Pipers Green Lane (PGL) just north of Edgware just as Brockley Hill rises northwards. Brockley Hill is of course where a major Roman pottery producing site is known (see below).

The digging of a new sewage trench near PGL in 1954 discovered the remains of two Roman cremation burials, pottery and other finds. In the mid 1950s P. G. Suggett excavated 5 trenches in the area, where apparently little was found.

During 1977, due to deep ploughing, HADAS members decided to fieldwalk PGL once again finding significant amounts of Roman pottery and building material suggesting an occupation site at the foot of the hill (Newsletter No 75, May 1977). It’s the finds from the 1977 fieldwalking we repackaged as best we could, in this case, unfortunately the archive had suffered somewhat over the years with some of it seemingly missing, so it’s something we may go back to. Especially as………..

Brockley Hill

For many years HADAS have been the custodian of a substantial collection of Roman pottery excavated at Brockley Hill, Edgware. These digs were in the 1930s & 1950s so they are not HADAS digs but the material eventually came to us for safe-keeping, a lot of work was undertaken on this material by members around the 1970s/80s.

An equal amount of material is also held by the Museum of London, it maybe the time for ‘our' collection to join that of the MoL. To do that we would have to completely reorganise, record, rebag/box/label the HADAS material - it will be a big job. Something we need to ponder on in the next few weeks.

Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School, 68 Hale Lane, Mill Hill, London NW7

Around 2001, HADAS was asked to site-watch building work at the school. We have recently been contacted to do a similar job, possibly taking place in early 2008.

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LONDON ARCHAEOLOGIST – FIELDWORK ROUND-UP 2006

Selected sites from The Borough of Barnet

Bibsworth Manor, 80 East End Rd,Finchley

MoLAS (Robert Cowie) evaluation Aug 2006, The Manor House Trust MHF02 A watching brief in 2005 (LA 11, supp 2, 2006, 26) was followed by an evaluation in which a test pit on the medieval moated manor, a Scheduled Monument, revealed a post-medieval dump containing residual medieval pottery. The dump may have filled either a garden feature or possibly a moat shown on 18thc maps. Other test pits revealed late post medieval and modern strata and land drains over till (boulder clay). A trench in the NE corner of the site (outside the Scheduled Monument), revealed one side of a moat shown on early maps (1727-1935), crossing the area now occupied by a caretaker’s house and garden. In addition, a transect of four auger holes established the profile of a surviving section of moat near the SW side of the site.

St Paul’s Church, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill

MoLAS (Victoria Donnelly) watching brief Aug 2006, Parish of St Paul PLC06

A burial vault containing two lead coffins was recorded. From the coffin plates, the burials were identified as Matthias Newmarsh (d. 1837) and his wife Ann (d. 1841), servants of William Wilberforce, the slavery abolitionist and reformer. The coffins were re-buried within the churchyard.

36-38 High Street, High Barnet

PCA (Jonathan Crisp) watching brief May 2006, Lal Khajuria HSZ06

Above the natural gravels in the SW of the site were four 14th-15th c walls, which may have formed the east corner of a fairly substantial, chalk and stone medieval building. Evidence of 16th - 17th c maintenance of the structure was also recorded. These walls were truncated by a possible brick cellar dating to 17th-18th c. The site was then sealed by a brick soak-away dating to the late 19th or 20th c, and a well associated with the existing shops and businesses. A layer of 20th c garden soil covered the site.


TUTANKHAMUN AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE PHAROAHS by Vicki Baldwin


In November I visited the exhibition at The O2 (the infamous Millennium Dome in its previous incarnation). I had neither seen the Tutankhamun exhibition in 1972 nor visited The O2 before and overall I enjoyed both.

Many people have been disappointed to find that the exhibition does not include the famous gold mask, probably the first thing that springs to mind when Tutankhamun is mentioned, and that the publicity material actually features an apparently similar but much smaller canopic jar. Also the exhibition is presented in chronological order starting with rooms containing material relating to the time of Tutankhamun’s great-grandparents to, finally, Tutankhamun himself. The 130 plus exhibits therefore are drawn from a much greater collection than just the items from Tutankhamun’s tomb and fewer of those treasures than might be expected are on display. In spite of that, I found the exhibition both enjoyable and informative.

The cases are well lit and positioned so that it is possible to view most of the exhibits in the round. Labelling is particularly good in that the information on each exhibit is repeated in a large font on labels positioned at the top of the front and sides of the case. Certain items have been chosen as an introduction to each section and are particularly well displayed. All the information panels are easy to follow. At one point the exhibition continues on a lower level and there is a rather odd break in the continuity as one leaves the subdued lighting of the galleries to walk down a brightly lit flight of stairs. However, the theme of the exhibition is continued by photographs from the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb and a small gallery devoted to the discoveries and the publicity surrounding them. The penultimate gallery is devoted to items found in the sarcophagi and a projection indicating the position of certain items on the body. Also a series of brass lines in the floor show the size and sequence of the sarcophagi.

The exhibition ends with a display of the latest scans of Tutankhamun’s mummy. These indicate that the cause of death is as much a mystery now as it ever was.

I would encourage anyone that wants to visit to do so Monday to Thursday if possible as the tickets are £15 (£12-50, £7-50) instead of £20 (£16, £10) Friday to Sunday.

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MEDIA INTEREST

Olympic Archaeology

As reported on BBC London News digging is continuing at the Olympic Park in east London. Kieron Tyler, project manager for MoLAS reported that the latest finds included evidence for Iron-age occupation. The area, low-lying and marshy adjacent to the River Lea would have been used for fishing, the remains of cooking pots have been found, suggesting they had cooked their catch in the area. A Roman 4th century coin has also been recovered.

For a short film by Kieron made for the BBC’s Video Nation go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2007/11/13/london_archeology_video_feature.shtml

Blast - the Cutty Sark

Staying east of the capital, the METRO reports that the restoration project is short of £14 million due to a previous shortfall and subsequent the fire damage. Fortunately damage to the ships hull was not as bad as feared and most of the fixtures and fittings were stored at the Chatham Dockyard for conservation.

BBC News website mentions that a company had been appointed to cleanse, repair and repaint the wrought ironwork of the tea clipper. Martin Griffin of Sussex Blast Cleaning said “the contract involves blast cleaning the metalwork back its raw state and then applying layers of coating to specifications which will preserve the ship for years beyond our lifetime”. Renovation work will take around a year to complete.

Donations can be made on the Cutty Sark website www.cuttysark.org.uk

Humidity and temperature fluctuations threaten Westminster Abbey woodwork

Just how much damage dry heat can do in the wrong place was brought home by the story in the December issue of The Art Newspaper, saying that the 700-year-old Coronation Chair, commissioned in 1296 and used for virtually every coronation since 1308, had suffered from serious flaking of its gilded and painted surface because of fluctuating humidity caused by the central heating system at Westminster Abbey. Conservator Marie Louise Sauerberg said that environmental conditions inside the Abbey are now causing ‘serious concern’, and had already caused considerable damage to the early fourteenth-century painted sedilia, on the south side of the high altar. The World Monuments Fund and the Kress Foundation are funding a full survey of the sedilia, including photogrammetry, x-radiography and infra-red reflectography, prior to light cleaning and the securing of lifting paint with adhesive. Monitoring devices have now been placed throughout the Abbey to record temperature, humidity and light levels and provide the data for devising a better environmental strategy.

Drapers Gardens

It was reported widely in the media in December that Pre-Construct Archaeology has recently finished a major excavation at Drapers Gardens which could prove to be one of the most important London excavations in recent years. Amongst the large quantity of truly spectacular Roman finds the highlight of the site was a hoard of metal vessels recovered from a late 4th century well, which are currently on temporary display in the Museum of London until 27th January 2008. The archaeological excavations which were undertaken between February and November 2007 were funded by Canary Wharf Developments and Exemplar Developments LLP on land owned by the Drapers Company. The site was in the upper reaches of the Walbrook valley, 100m south of the City Walls, in an area where four streams of the river which divided the City were predicted to converge. With the exception of a multitude of concrete piles, the surviving archaeology was intact with an unbroken sequence dating to between 1st and 3rd centuries. The waterlain and anaerobic nature of the deposits has resulted in the exceptional preservation of organic materials such as wood and leather and the majority of the metal objects are largely without corrosion. The Walbrook valley has previously been known for industrial activity and the associated ovens and kilns encompassing areas of the buildings or even tacked onto the side of structures would conform to such activity. Large amounts of leather and an immense assemblage of animal bone also suggest tanning and other bone working processes with a number of tools such as awls and saws also having been recovered.

For the full article see: http://www.pre-construct.com/Sites/Highlights/Drapers.htm

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Not just dust and dinosaursb by Kimberly Martin

The prospect of attending a recent lecture on ‘The Natural History of Beer’ at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington sounded like fun all by itself. It combined two of my favourite topics – beer and science. Always a fan of the Museum, I remember years ago spending hours examining row upon row of rock specimens or pondering the survival value of different shapes of bird feet in various environments. Over the years, while I have been away raising children and developing a career, the Natural History Museum has evolved into an enthralling education and entertainment centre. On the last Thursday of every month, the curators and researchers at ‘Nature Live’ host an evening session aimed at adults. We walked into the Darwin Centre anticipating rows of seats arranged in lecture formation and a bearded, bespectacled lecturer describing the taxonomy and lifecycles of the various cereals, hops and yeasts employed in brewing beer from australopithecus to the present day. The speakers were bearded and bespectacled, but the tables and chairs interspersed among the rows of seats created a pub atmosphere. Meeting friends and fellow beer drinkers Helma Krueger and Bryan Betts (pictured) was a very pleasant surprise. The format of the evening could best be described as a mixture of the Christmas Science Lectures and The Wright Stuff: lectures and informal discussion with the added bonus of beer tastings. Dr Dave Roberts, researcher in microbiology at the Museum and quite possibly Rory McGrath’s evil twin, described the biological constraints of getting food out of grass and ‘what puts the fizz into fermentation’. He then provided an insight into the archaeology of beer. The first brewers may have walked the earth 23,000 years ago. Evidence for this comes from geological preservation of anaerobic conditions. Cave paintings dating back to this period revealed a ‘smart and artistic people without metal’. Although there were no crockery pots yet, ‘all you need to make beer is a way of holding water’, and this could be achieved by stretching an animal skin over a hole in the ground. Our first beer tasting of the evening, bottled Fraoch Heather Beer (apparently the oldest style in Britain), was led by Julian Harrington, Master Brewer and tutor at the Beer Academy. Julian’s knowledge of beer is encyclopaedic and the reader is encouraged to accept any opportunity to hear him speak. The nose of the beer elicited comments from the audience as ‘cow shed’, ‘honey’, ‘fizzy cola bottles’ and ‘sweet clover’; while the taste was variously described as ‘pine needles’, ‘sourness and dirt’ and ‘peaty’. Our next speaker was Dr Robert Symmons, Curator of Archaeology at Fishbourne Roman Palace and active CAMRA member from Sussex. Robert discussed the natural history of beer from an historical and social context. The history of beer varies throughout the world. In Britain, the ‘spiritual home of beer’, it probably formed part of the Neolithic domestication package, which it evolved independently from Neolithic Europe. The first evidence of this comes from pieces of pottery dating back to 2500 BC containing beer residues. During this period, beer was almost certainly made in large batches for feasting and celebrating. This was a ritualistic society and the prerequisites for brewing, i.e. barley, an oven or hearth and large crockery pots, are often found at Neolithic ritual sites. Robert provided an interesting perspective on the modern ritual of buying rounds. When you reciprocate, you do not cancel the debt, but rather transfer it to the next person! Descriptions of Viking drinking horns, which were shaped so they could not be put down, thus obliging the drinker to consume the lot, and the more recent yard of ale, provoked a comment from a lady in the audience that ‘with thousands of years of good binge drinking behind us, we are not likely to change overnight!’ Altogether, four beers were sampled by the audience. Three of these were bottled: Heather Ale, Harvey’s Porter and Harvey’s Tom Paine. The fourth was bright Harvey’s Sussex Best. Of these, Tom Paine turned out to be the most popular. Even without the beer, the organisers presented science in a novel and entertaining manner. If only all science classes were the same!

This article originally appeared in the ‘London Drinker’ Oct/Nov 2007, a magazine for the London branches of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) and is reproduced with their kind permission. Thanks to Kimberly Martin and Geoff Strawbridge


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Other Society's Events by Eric Morgan

Thurs 3 Jan: 8.00pm, Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. Gregory King’s Harefield in 1699 talk by Eileen Bowlt . Visitors £2.

Weds 9 Jan: 8.00pm, Mill Hill Historical Society, Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. A Meander Through Monken Hadley, talk by Paul Baker (City of London guide & HADAS member).

Weds 9 Jan: 8.00pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner of Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8. Theobroma: The History of Chocolate, talk by Ruth Hazeldine.

Thurs 10 Jan: 6.30pm (refreshments 6.00pm), LAMAS, Terrace Room, Museum of London. Recent Archaeological Work at St Paul’s Cathedral, talk by Dr John Schofield (MoL)

Mon 14 Jan: 3.00pm, Barnet & Local History Society, Church House, Wood St, Barnet, (opposite museum). The Mystery of Middle Row, talk by Richard Selby

Weds 16 Jan: 10.15am, The Enfield Society, meet at the front door of Forty Hall Mansion. A 2.5 hour circular walk through the Forty Hall & Whitewebbs Estates, led by Carol Cope and Kinu Ohki

Weds 16 Jan: 7.30pm,Willesden Local History Society, Scout House, High Rd, (corner of Strode Rd) NW10. More Willesden Images, talk by M Barres-Baker & Tina Morton (Brent Archivists & Museum)

Fri 18 Jan: 7.00pm, City of London Archaeological Society, St Katherine Cree church hall, Leadenhall St, EC3 (please note change of venue). £2, light refreshments after. Visiting Pompeii, talk by Dr Denise Allen

Mon 21 Jan: 8.15pm, Ruislip, Northwood & Eastcote Local History Society, St Martin’s church hall, Eastcote Rd, Ruislip. Visitors £2. City of London & Livery Companies, talk by Yasha Beresiner

Thurs 24 Jan: 7.30pm, Camden History Society, Burgh House, New End Sq, NW3. The Jewish Museum – Past Present & Future, talk by Ms Rickie Burman (Curator).

Weds 30 Jan: 10.15am, The Enfield Society, meet at Winchmore Hill Station for a linear 2.5 hour walk ending at Oakwood Station, after a short tour past some of the older & historic village buildings around and near the green, the varied parks of Groveland & Oakwood will be seen, led by Brenda Brown. Shorter options available.


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