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HADAS DIARY - Forthcoming Lectures and Events in 2008

Tuesday 11th March - Lecture by Chloe Cockerill (Regional Development Manager) “The Work of the Churches Conservation Trust”.

Tuesday 8th April - Lecture by Peter Davey (Bristol Tram Photographic Collection) “Clifton Rocks Railway.“

Tuesday 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 the Roman London website, with an on-line finds catalogue.

Saturday 17 th May - Proposed Outing to Bath area. (Full details to follow in subsequent newsletters).

Saturday 5th July - Outing to West Sussex (As above, details to follow.)

Wednesday August 27th - Sunday August 31st 2008: Annual HADAS Long Weekend - Staying at Bishop Burton College near Beverley, S. Yorkshire. See February Newsletter for details.

Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, and start promptly at 8 pm. Nearest tube station is Finchley Central. Non-members: £1. Coffee and biscuits 80p.

Ted Sammes’ Balsamarium by Don Cooper

After Ted Sammes’ death, many of the artefacts stored in his flat were collected and brought back to HADAS. Most of them came from local HADAS digs notably Church End Farm (CEF61) and Church Terrace (CT73), however, amongst all the boxes there was a small one marked “Balsamarium” but unfortunately no documentation to indicate where it came from. It was broken into two large pieces and seven smaller ones, and showed signs of having a residue of whatever had originally been in it. It was shown to John Shepherd (a Roman glass expert) who thought it was very unlikely that it had come from a British excavation. Fortunately University College London’s conservation department responded positively to a request to (a) conserve the object and (b) to analyse the residues to see if it would help to locate its source.

Kathleen Magill, a Masters student at UCL reconstructed the vessel, which can now be seen in all its restored glory in the garden room at Avenue House. Kathleen (Magill, 2007, p4) states that “a balsamarium derives its name from the popular medicinal plant balsam”. This was an important herb within the Roman Empire, and numerous Emperors owned balsam groves throughout Syria (Jackson 1988 p79). Balsamaria were used extensively by the Romans and often turn up in burials. However, the analysis of the residue from “our” one was somewhat inconclusive although lead oxide was present. Ted Sammes’ Balsamarium by Don Cooper (continued from page 1)

This is a substance according to (Cruse, 2004 p67) used in numerous recipes practiced by Roman physicians, and listed in the “Michigan Medical Codex” from the fourth century AD. So after all Kathleen’s hard work, we are still left with the questions: Where did Ted get his balsamarium? Did he bring it back from one of his many trips abroad? This is perfectly possible as during our recent holiday in Jordan in October I was offered one after I had expressed an interest in them (I declined!).

What was in Ted’s balsamarium? We may never know!! There is more residue that could be analysed, but perhaps it is best left until better techniques are available. Our thanks go to UCL and Dr. James Hales, but especially to Kathleen Magill.


Cruse, A. 2004. Roman Medicine. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Pempus Publications Ltd. Jackson, R. 1988. Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire. London: British Museums Publications. Magill, Kathleen. 2007. Materials Science Project: The Residue within the Balsamarium. Unpublished Report.

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After the success of the 2006 London Archaeological Prize, SCOLA and London Archaeologist have again agreed to sponsor an award for publications that appeared in 2006 and 2007. The award, of £250 plus a certificate, will be presented at a ceremony in the autumn of 2008. If there are sufficient entries there will also be a second prize of £100 plus certificate. The publication must be in letterpress or digital form; broadcasts and the like will not be eligible. It must be related to the archaeology of Greater London. Any type of publication will be eligible – it may be a book, a journal article or the proceedings of a conference. It may be a professional, commercial or amateur publication. There is no restriction on the target audience – scholars, the general public, or children. The judges will be looking for quality and excellence; they will want to know how well the publication succeeds in its aims.

JUDGING Entries will be assessed by a panel of judges appointed by the Executive Committee of the Standing Conference on London Archaeology in conjunction with the Publications Committee of London Archaeologist.

PROCEDURE We want as many nominations as possible. Anyone, whether or not associated with the publication, may make a nomination. The nominator(s) should name the publication and give a brief explanation why they believe it is worthy of the prize. It would be helpful, but not essential, to use the standard nomination form. There is no need to provide copies of the publication at this stage. The judges will select a short list from those nominated, and will then ask the publisher for copies of the publication; these copies will be returnable on request.

NOMINATIONS Nomination forms are available from Peter Pickering, and should be returned to him: Peter Pickering, Secretary, Standing Conference on London Archaeology, 3 Westbury Road, London N12 7NY (Telephone 020 8445 2807) [mailto:]

CLOSING DATE for receipt of nominations: 19th May 2008

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The Time for Membership Renewal Approaches by Mary Rawitzer

The HADAS membership year runs from 1st April, so all memberships will be due for renewal at the end of this month, except for new members who have joined since the beginning of January.

If you pay by standing order you need take no further action. For those people who pay by cheque a renewal form is enclosed, which I would ask you to return with your cheque.

I am delighted that Stephen Brunning will be taking over from me as Membership Secretary; his name is on the new form - please return the form and your cheque to him.

Anyone who thinks they should have had a membership renewal form, but hasn't received one, anyone who wants to make their membership under Gift Aid and hasn't already done so, or anyone who has any question at all about their membership: just ask Stephen (his details are at the back of the Newsletter).

[Mary has been a very efficient Hon. Membership Secretary for over five years, and everyone would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all her hard work during that time.]

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Sunday 2 March, 10.30 am. Heath & Hampstead Society, Meet at entrance to the Kitchen Garden, Kenwood House, (off Hampstead Lane, N6) “Hidden Heath” (a look at historical and archaeological features of the Heath). Walk led by Michael Hammerson (Highgate archaeologist and HADAS member). Donation £2. Lasts two hours. Please note change of start time.

Saturday 1st - Saturday 8 March, Barnet Borough Arts Council. Trinity Church Centre, 1/5 Nether Street, N12. The Bothy Arts Centre. Arts and Crafts Fair to raise funds to ensure the future of the restored building as an Arts Centre in the grounds of Avenue House. (Trinity Church is near the Arts Depot.)

Friday 7th March, 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/Junction Chase Side, Enfield. English Heritage Work on Recent Sites in N. London. Talk by Kim Stabler. £1. Refreshments 7 pm.

Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th March, 10 am - 5 pm. Birkbeck College FCE, 26 Russell Square, WC1B 5BQ. Conflict Archaeology Weekend Workshop. Led by some of the UK’s leading field practitioners, giving a comprehensive overview and case studies on methodology, interpretation, presentation and ethics, practical examples from the militarised landscape of Woolwich Arsenal and Garrison and anti-aircraft and London anti-invasion defences during World War II. To enrol, please call 020 7631 6651. The module code is FFARO43N ACS. Cost £80. (£40 concessions). Limited places.

Monday 10th March, 3pm. Barnet & District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite Museum) Richard III - Hero or Villain? Talk by Alan Smith.

Wednesday 12th March, 8pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Harwood Hall, Union Church, the Broadway, NW7. The History of Inns and Inn Signs. Talk by John Weston.

Thursday 13th March, 6.30 pm. LAMAS. Terrace Room, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. Channel Tunnel Rail Link Investigations Within the Lea Valley. Talk by Andy Crockett (Wessex Archaeology). Refreshments 6pm.

Sunday 16th March, 2pm. In the Footsteps of the Famous, guided walk. Meet at High Barnet Tube (top of Meadway). Explore the history of Barnet through the lives of the famous and the infamous! Led by Paul Baker. Cost £6. Lasts 2 hours.

Thursday 27th March, 2.30 pm. Finchley Society. Drawing room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3. In the Footsteps of the Famous, talk by Paul Baker. Non-members £2. Visitors can do his walk in advance if they wish, on Sunday 16th (see above).

Saturday 5th April, 11 am-5.30 pm. LAMAS 45th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists. Wilberforce Lecture Theatre, Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14. (Same venue as last year).

Morning Session and Recent Work (11 am - 1 pm)

	The Olympics - First Fruit of Fieldwork (Nick Bateman) 

Syon Abbey - Recent Work (Harvey Sheldon - HADAS President) Standing Buildings Work in 2007 (Andrew Westman) Work in the City and Beyond (Sophie Jackson) Excavations in Drapers Gardens, City (Neil Hawkins). Afternoon Session - Londinium and Beyond (2.15 pm - 5.30 pm. Tea 3.45 pm-4.30 pm.) Picturing Roman London (Barney Sloane; The Population of Roman London (Hedley Swain and Tim Williams); Imagining Healthcare in Roman London (Ralph Jackson); Glass in Roman London (John Shepherd; Satellite, Parasite, or Just London? (Richard Reece).

Tickets (£7 for HADAS members) are available from Jon Cotton, Early Department, museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN (cheques payable to LAMAS, SAE please). There will be displays of work and publications (HADAS hope to have a few people there.) [mailto:]

STOP PRESS - Quiz Night, Friday 7th March 2008

A Quiz Night will be held in the Drawing Room of Avenue House, Finchley, on Friday 7th March 2008 at 7:15pm. Ticket price is £12.50 per head and includes a fish and chip supper, alternative available on request, plus tea/coffee. There will also be a bar. Teams will be of 8 per table, so if you can get a team together all well and good, if not, then no need to worry because you will be more than welcome to make up numbers on other tables. Due to expected demand it is advised that you book as early as possible. Tickets are available at Avenue House or the Lodge House.