No. 317 AUGUST 1997 Edited by Peter Pickering
Saturday 16 August Visiting Hertfordshire with Bill Bass and Vikki O’Connor.
Moats, mills, lock-ups – and we trust, no hiccups. Visiting Reed, Anstey, Buntingford, Cottered, Cromer & Pirford. Booking form within. (Extra pick-up point).
September 4th to 7th Weekend in York
Friday 26th September Thomas Coram Foundation, WC1, and a morning walk with Mary O’Connell. (Please add this to your programme card)
NEWS OF MEMBERS
Alec Goldsmith is leaving our Society with regret. His initiation into HADAS was a very, very wet weekend on Hadrian’s Wall in 1974. But that did not deter him, and since then he rarely missed an outing or lecture. Some ill-health (and age) overtook him a year or so ago and he has decided to move to Dorchester to be nearer his sister. We miss him, and wish him well in his new home.
HADAS FIELDWORK – Back on the Heath
Our work on the Anglo-Saxon ditch on Hampstead Heath continues. We have completed the `—contour survey within the Kenwood area and are now using our new resistivity meter on an area where the ditch has disappeared, in order to trace its previous course.
Our main task then will be to produce an interim report on the above work supplemented by descriptions of the state of the ditch, photographs/drawings, locations of its boundary stones, and details of trees and vegetation alongside and within it. This latter task will require expert experience as the excavation team cannot tell a bramble from a blackthorn or a beech from a birch. Our contact at the Suburb weekend will be helpful, but are there any experts amongst our membership?
Our presence on the heath has provoked curiosity (and concern!) but much interest (and relief!) is shown when our purpose is explained. It would be helpful if more members could attend Sunday mornings to help on the publicity side if not on the survey side.
If you are interested please contact Brian Wrigley (959 5982) or Roy Walker (361 1350) for details of the days we are active.
—FOR YOUR BOOKSHELF (1)
An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms by C Arnold, has recently been fully revised – paperback £17.99, hardback £50.00.
Site Watching (1) by Tessa Smith
If you are walking in any of these areas please take a lively archaeological interest and report any “goings on”
Planning applications have been received regarding:-
Copthall Stadium to be demolished and a multi-sports stadium erected. Pottery and evidence of a possible Roman road have been found nearby by HADAS. English Heritage say that it warrants further consideration.
Brockley Hill Farm – west of Watling Street Extensions to the farm are planned to become a crematorium. Although it is out of our borough, we are still concerned as it is in the areas of the Roman potteries.
The Corner House – Stone Grove – Edgware. The Museum of London are watching this site, where extensions to the public house are being built, alongside Watling Street
Land between Belmont Riding Stables and St. Vincents – The Ridgeway NW7. Robert Whytehead of English Heritage considers that this application warrants further consideration as a mediaeval hamlet stood on the ridgeway – also, prehistoric finds have been made at Mill Hill School.
SITE WATCHING (2) Bill Bass
HADAS will be observing the ground clearance and foundation trenches of a site at the ex ‘Wheels’ Parking Lot, Potters Lane, Barnet (junction of Potters Lane and the Great North Road). This is due to take place during the middle of August; would any volunteers contact me on 0181449 0165.
Development of a site on land at the northern end of Barnet Gate Lane has been given a waiver of archaeological assessment/evaluation by English Heritage as it is unlikely to affect any archaeology in this area (none is known).
The vast Aldenham Works, latterly used to overhaul Routemaster buses has been demolished to make way for a business park. It was originally built to service the proposed tube extension from Edgware to Bushey Heath. When this was abandoned it was adapted for aircraft production especially Halifax bombers during the war, the overhead traverser cranes being particularly useful in their assembly. Used as a bus depot from 1955 it was closed in 1986.
BROUGHT TO BOOK IN THE SUBURB Roy Walker/Andy Simpson
Those who watched BBC1’s Omnibus on 7th July would have noticed the scenes filmed at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Weekend. We were there too – selling HADAS books. Our stall, initially, was not under cover but the rain held off until later in the day after we had moved into a nearby tented vacancy. Membership forms were distributed to those who showed interest in the Society’s activities, and a useful contact was made with the secretary of a Hampstead Heath ecology group who can advise us on the horticultural aspects of our ongoing Saxon ditch survey. Our books sales for the one day we were there totalled £60.60, and our presence resulted in a meeting with a local bookshop proprietor who subsequently purchased a selection of publications for resale in his Temple Fortune shop. In all, a worthwhile day, even though we just missed appearing on BBC1 – possibly a blessing! Many thanks go to Arthur Till for transporting our display to and from the Suburb and to Andy Simpson and Vikki O’Connor for manning the stall
FOR YOUR BOOKSHELF (2)
The latest volume of Hertfordshire Archaeology is now published. Copies are available from the Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust, The Seed Warehouse, Maidenhead Yard, The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PX. Cost 215.00, plus p&p £1.80.
PREHISTORIC SOCIETY STUDY TOUR IN THE NETHERLANDS June 1997 Brian Wrigley
This was a most interesting week, if at times a little strenuous – we never stopped at one hotel more than two nights! Our round trip started from Maastricht in the south-east, via Leiden (or should I spell it Leyden?) near the coast clockwise northwards to Assen then south to Nijmegen, and Leendert P Louwe Koolimans, our guide, was assiduous in explaining the varying geology of the areas we passed through. This gave a very good picture of the millennia-long contest between dry land and water partly from natural forces and partly from human activities; this has left many areas of past occupation in wet environments so that organic remains are preserved.
A good example of this is the terp, a man made mound for dwelling and cultivation (equals Dutch dorp, village – and English thorpe?). There are many of these in Friesland and Gronigen in the north. Terpen seem to have originated (6th or 5th centuries BC) by the building up of land in areas periodically inundated, and quite often animal dung was used in quantity which has made a useful preservative for archaeology! Examples go from Middle and Late Iron Age to the middle and late Middle Ages, and can show the distribution of dwellings/farms, and the laying out in plots of agricultural land. much impressive archaeological evidence of ancient land use patterns we were also told about at Weert and Someren in the south, where since 1990 large areas of the landscape (formerly mediaeval arable lands) have been surveyed by test excavations, yielding evidence of Early Iron Age urnfield ‘cemeteries’ and, in the area around, traces of dispersed Iron Age farmsteads – 13 at Weert, some 20 at Someren; and besides prehistory, both sites have traces of continuing occupation through Roman times on to the Middle Ages.
Indeed, we got an overall impression of the lack of any dividing line between ‘prehistoric’ and `Roman’ in the attitude of Dutch archaeologists, who have the evidence of the continuity of the way the native population carried on in the same way during Roman times. Some of us prehistoric enthusiasts were a little put out by the amount of Roman stuff we were shown in the areas of the Roman frontier (Limes was a word much used), but we began to realise the advantage of this non-divisive attitude in finding out the story of local communities. And we certainly got an impression of the local-community interest in archaeology, reflected in work being done by archaeological groups in partnership with local authorities – and at Oss, in the south, we were invited to the start of a dig where the local Mayor operated the mechanical digger
..„) open up the first trench at a site of numerous Bronze Age barrows! We were also welcomed by the mayor at Stein, where a boat Museum contains, in situ, a neolithic gallery grave which was the centre of a settlement of the early Neolithic (Bandkeramik), of which the ground-plans of many houses have been found.
Stone monuments are limited in Holland – there is not much rock about. However, in areas in the north, glacial erratics have been used to construct hunebedden, which are gallery-graves, 2 rows of upright stones with capstones across the top; they date from 3400 to 3000 BC and are related to the Neolithic TRB (Trichterband) culture of Schleswig-Holstein and southern Scandinavia. They have yielded quite a lot of grave goods and offerings (pottery, flint etc.) and burnt bone remains. We saw quite a number of these in our travels.
Another point of community interest was the extent of amateur work we were told about. A particular site we visited was the flint mine at Rijckholt, in south Limburg. Here there is what the Dutch call ‘a hill’ (they realised we should think this an exaggeration!) which has chalk below it with seams of flint – very reminiscent of Grimes’ Graves. Research has gone on here since last “century, and vertical shafts were discovered in the 1960s; however these could only be explored with the help of a group of amateur archaeologists who happened to have mining expertise, and this group tunnelled horizontally into the side of the slope, with the result that now there is a neat
concreted passage, with apertures at the side giving a view along the ancient galleries and of the shafts that have been found. The mining experts were most impressed with the extremely safe and efficient mining techniques of their prehistoric predecessors.
Time and space prevent me from giving details of the many more sites we visited than the above few, but I hope this is enough to demonstrate the interest of this trip.
SOME SITES IN NORTH YORKSHIRE Peter Pickering
On a recent week in North Yorkshire with the Royal Archaeological Institute we visited Philip Rahtz’s excavation at St Gregory’s Minster, Kirkdale. The church is especially famous for a sundial (now hidden from the sun in a porch) with an Anglo-Saxon inscription recording its rebuilding by Orm son of Gomal between 1055 and 1065. Research on the church and area, including topographical and geophysical survey, documentary study, structural analysis and excavation, has been in progress since 1994, on behalf of the Helmsley Archaeological Society and the University of York, with some support from North Yorkshire County Council. Important finds include a piece of lead sheet with an Anglo-Saxon inscription of 8th-early 10th century date, and a tiny (6mm by 3mm) bead or fragment of glass with spiral yellow and white trails – “a very classy piece” according to Professor Rahtz, paralleled only from San Vincenzo in Italy; whether it was imported, or made locally it emphasised the importance of St Gregory’s Minster, very remote though it seems now. On our visit there was a 3m by 3m trench open at the foot of the tower; an empty stone sarcophagus had just been extracted from it, and besides bones (including three skulls which had been found facing east) there was a robber trench, probably of the church which Orm rebuilt, and perhaps traces of glass-making.
Also during the week – which was led by Brian Dix, who talked to HADAS recently about garden archaeology – we saw the Roman camps at Cawthorn, in the middle of a forest; when these camps were partially excavated in the 1920s, they were thought to form practice works – it is certainly odd to find adjacent a coffin-shaped camp enclosing some 2 hectares, a square one immediately to the west overlying its defences, and another to its east – the last one subsequently provided with an annex on its eastern side. But re-appraisal suggests that they were used by a permanent garrison up to about 120 AD. From the other end of the Roman occupation of Britain came the Signal Station on the edge of the cliff within the precincts of Scarborough Castle. Little survives of that, but English Heritage are thinking of constructing a replica nearby.
The British Library has recently published a report of the Newsplan project in the London and South eastern Library Region. Member Ann Kahn has drawn attention to a review of this in a recent number of Refer, the journal of the Library Association, which says “No-one should doubt the importance of Newsplan. Although many libraries have acted to preserve their local newspapers, Newsplan offers a co-operative solution, with cost-sharing opportunities, to some of the problems which local newspapers bring to libraries. It works through a two-stage programme in each region. The first stage is an audit of regional resources and preservation requirements and priorities, carried out with substantial financial support from the British Library. In the second stage, which the London and South Eastern Library Region project has now reached, the region’s libraries co-operate, with continuing support from the British Library, to achieve more preservation of local newspapers at less cost.
This volume provides, for the first time, a view of London and south-east England’s local newspapers as a regional resource and in a national context. This is an indispensable tool for all local historians and researchers into aspects of local studies and a splendid role model for how reference books should be compiled.”
quality of service. There are some 31 miles of archives, books, maps, prints and photographs including a rich and varied collection of official and deposited London and Middlesex archives. The Archives are open to everyone five days a week (nearest stations Farringdon and Angel). There is access for people with limited mobility and parking bays are available for orange badge holders next to the building.
The latest Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society includes an evaluation of the Roman Road at Brockley Hill. Members may recollect our own field walking and small excavation in that area in 1987. The Museum of London Archaeology Service dug fourteen archaeological evaluation trenches in February 1995 and had a watching brief subsequently. In six of the evaluation trenches adjacent to the modern road a Roman road with a ditch on the west side was found directly below the topsoil. Limited investigation showed that the road had been constructed on a bank of clay and gravel layers, and had undergone periodic maintenance as indicated by a number of successive road gravels and re-cutting of the ditch when it had silted up. Dating evidence confirmed the road was in use into the fourth century, Early Roman pottery was of the type produced at Brockley Hill and the Roman ceramic building material was of fabric types produced in kilns found alongside Roman Watling Street. The most significant find was a Roman folding knife.
Members who went to Boxgrove in July 1995 or heard Simon Parfitt’s lecture last year may be interested to read “Fairweather Eden: Life in Britain Half a Million Years Ago as Revealed by the Excavations at Boxgrove” by Michael Pitts and Mark Roberts (Century, £17.99). A recent review of this in the New Scientist by Paul Bahn includes the following paragraph “Boxgrove’s other major contribution to our knowledge of early humans derives from its evidence for butchery and hunting. Cuts on animal bones were first noticed here in 1986. Gradually archaeologists discovered them on the remains of many more large animals, indicating the systematic and skilful removal of muscle from creatures such as a horse and a rhino. Moreover, any marks of carnivore teeth on the bones occur on top of the cut marks, proving that the humans were there first. Finally, a horse’s shoulder blade displays part of a circular perforation which pathologist Bernard Knight found to be consistent with a blow from a thrown spear these early humans were hunters of large, fit, mature animals. They also carried out the butchery of the carcasses in an unhurried, efficient and cooperative manner.”
MINOAN WALL PAINTINGS
Professor Doumas of the University of Athens gave a lecture recently in the Institute of Archaeology on the wall-paintings of Akrotiri on the Greek island of Thera or Santorini. These wall-paintings, in mineral colours, and lacking green, were preserved by a volcanic eruption in the middle of the second millennium BC. They come from private houses – presumably from the wealthiest part of the ancient city – and have a great variety of themes – a frieze of a naval expedition, showing its various ports of call; youths holding fish; women gathering saffron; two youths boxing; a woman in obvious pain from a cut to her toe; flowers of various sorts, aquatic birds, dragonflies, and decorative patterns. The style owed something to Egypt and the near east, but Professor Doumas emphasised the European nature of the art. He interpreted several of the scenes with figures as of initiation into adulthood, since heads seemed to be shaven. It was with sadness that the audience learnt at the end of the lecture that there was no point in rushing straight to Heathrow for a plane to Santorini, since the paintings are not yet on display.
Enfield Archaeological Society’s chairman, Geoffrey Gillam, was apparently ‘trampled in, the rush’ of volunteers offering to assist with their society’s activities. Geoffrey – what’s the secret?!!
It is 100 years since Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and twenty years since HADAS published “Victorian Jubilees”, edited by Ted Sammes, in the year of our present Queen’s Silver , Jubilee. It is evocative to read of the celebrations – church services, dinners, teas, sports, processions (in some places these put off for a couple of days and then spoiled by rain); and of the projects – two parks, a cottage hospital, and the refurbishment of the Campe almshouses in Friern Barnet Lane. Members who do not have a copy of this booklet can get one at the genuine bargain price of £1 including postage and packing (50p at meetings) from Roy Walker (2a Dene Road, N11 1 ES).
The Islington Museum Gallery, 268 Upper Street, N1, has an Exhibition: Your Museum: Present schemes and future dreams’ from 6 – 31 August. The gallery is run by the Islington Museum Trust, an independent charity whose aim is to establish a permanent museum located in the Town Hall, Upper Street, which would house and display their collections. The Trust has three support schemes: the Business Friends; Patrons; Friends of the Museum, and they are currently working on a lottery bid. This exhibition offers the chance to view part of their collection, learn their future plans and visit the proposed site. Opening hours are: Wed – Fri 11am – 5pm; Saturday 11am – 5pm; Sunday 2pm – 4pm, Admission free. —
The Church Farm House Museum, Greyhound Hill, has an exhibition this month entitled “Made in Heaven”; some 400 wedding photographs selected from a unique private collection. The Museum is closed on Fridays and Sunday mornings.
A DAY-SCHOOL IN SEPTEMBER
A day-school “Treasures from the Grave: Latest spectacular Discoveries at Colchester and St Albans” is to be held at The Lecture Room, Colchester Castle, Colchester on Saturday 27th September from 11.00 am to 4.45pm. Fee £16 (£12 concessionary) Speakers are Philip Crummy, Director of Excavations, Colchester Archaeological Trust, and Rosalind Nisbett of St Albans Planning and Heritage Department, St Albans District Council. For more details and tickets send to: The Centre for Continuing Education, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, C04 3SQ). (tel 01206 872519). Cheques payable to ‘University of Essex’.
A CONFERENCE IN DECEMBER
SCOLA (the Standing Conference on London Archaeology) has decided that it would be timely to revisit and expand “The Future of London’s Past”, that seminal document published almost twenty-five years ago. A conference, with Martin Biddle and Peter Addyman among the speakers, is therefore being arranged for Saturday 6th December in the Museum of London. It will cost £7.50 (£6 for members of SCOLA) to include tea and coffee.
This month’s editor is the Assistant Secretary of SCOLA, and if you will send him (P E Pickering, 3 Westbury Road London N12 7NY) a cheque payable to SCOLA he will send you tickets.
(A stamped addressed envelope would be helpful)