No. 496 JULY 2012 Edited by Dot Ravenswood
HADAS DIARY 2012-2013
Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, and start at 7.45 for 8.00pm, with tea, coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members are welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 143, 326 and
460 pass close by, and Finchley Central Station (Northern Line) is five to ten minutes walk away.
Sunday 26 – Thursday 30 August Summer trip to Ironbridge
Sunday 30 September Day outing to the St Albans area with Stewart and June
Tuesday 9 October The Life and Legacy of George Peabody – Lecture by Christine Wagg Tuesday 13 November Archaeological discoveries in Southwark – Lecture by Peter Moore, Pre-Construct Archaeology
Sunday 2 December Christmas Party at Avenue House, 12 noon – 4.30pm (approx.)
Tuesday 8 January The Reign of Akhenaten: Revolution or Evolution? – Lecture by Nathalie
Tuesday 12 February From Longboat to Warrior: the evolution of the wooden ship – Lecture by
Eliott Wragg, Thames Discovery Programme
Tuesday 12 March The Railway Heritage Trust – Lecture by Andy Savage
To be continued…
Annual General Meeting Tuesday 12th June 2012
Report by Jo Nelhams
The 51st Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday June 12th at 8pm in Avenue House. The meeting was attended by 33 members, which was rather disappointing, with apologies from a further eight members.
The Chairman, Don Cooper, introduced the President, Harvey Sheldon, who proceeded to chair the meeting. The Annual Report and audited Accounts were approved by the meeting. The officers and current members on the Committee remained unchanged, although three vacancies still remain for the Committee.
The closing discussion centered on Church Farmhouse, which had closed as a museum at the end of March 2011. The building has been unused and unoccupied since its closure and its future is unknown. The meeting expressed its concern at the situation which had arisen with regard to Church Farmhouse Museum. It passed a resolution urging Barnet Council to re-open Church Farmhouse and authorised the HADAS Committee to explore how this should be done.
The meeting was followed by presentations of activities in which members have participated during the last year. Bill Bass gave an update on the site watching in Church Passage in Barnet. Vicki Baldwin presented a picture show of the Society’s trip to the Isle of Wight, and Don Cooper updated the work on the digs that have been done at Hendon School for the past few years, although this year will probably be the final one. Stewart Wild concluded the evening with an account in words and pictures of his very interesting adventures in North Korea.
Our thanks to all those who made contributions to an interesting meeting, and we look forward to continuing support from all our members in the forthcoming year for lectures, digs, outings and social activities.
● A reminder of the members of the Committee
Chairman: Don Cooper Vice-Chairman: Peter Pickering Hon. Treasurer: Jim Nelhams
Hon. Secretary: Jo Nelhams Hon. Membership Secretary: Stephen Brunning Committee: Vicki Baldwin, Bill Bass, Andrew Coulson, Eric Morgan, June Porges, Mary Rawitzer, Andrew Selkirk, Tim Wilkins, Sue Willetts
Hendon School We have recently completed another dig at Hendon School, close to Brent Street. We have dug on the school playing field each year since 2006, and have involved children from the school. Once again, we were surprised by the amount of pottery that we discovered. A further report will appear in due course.
Church Farmhouse We have been negotiating with Barnet Council for permission to dig again in the grounds at the back of Church Farmhouse in Hendon from Saturday 7th to Sunday 15th July. Things look very positive, although for the security of the building we will likely not be able to use the basement room for storage. Alternative storage is being sought. The objective is to further explore the Saxon ditch which runs through the grounds.
We appreciate that many members have expressed an interest in digging but because of work commitments are normally unable to take part. For this reason, we have chosen the dates to include two weekends. If you would like to get involved even for just a short period, here is your chance.
. HAVE YOU RENEWED YOUR SUBSCRIPTION YET?
Many thanks to those who have done so. At the time of writing, however, 33 have still to send off their cheques. If you intend to renew this year, I would be grateful to receive payment by 1st August 2012 at the following rates: £15 (full), £5 (each additional member at the same address), £6 (student). My address is on the last page of this newsletter.
It is not necessary to return the renewal form enclosed with April’s newsletter. A piece of paper with your name, postal address, telephone number and email address (if applicable) will suffice. I will then be able to check that the details we hold are still correct. It would also be helpful if you could indicate your willingness to receive the newsletter by email. This helps to keep our costs to a minimum. Thank you.
Stephen Brunning, Membership Secretary
● Please contact Jim Nelhams (020 8449 7076) if you are interested
Identifying and Recording Clay
Study Day at the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre on Saturday 21st April 2012
Report by Stephen Brunning
I attended the second and final study day on Identifying and Recording Clay Tobacco Pipes at the LAARC, Mortimer Wheeler House, 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7ED. The lead tutor was Jacqui Pearce, specialist in medieval and later ceramics at Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA). Jacqui was ably assisted by Francis Grew (Archive Manager), and Dan Nesbitt (Assistant Curator).
Following registration the group of 12 attendees had an hour’s PowerPoint presentation on the history of tobacco pipes and smoking. Jacqui explained how to date pipes accurately by sorting into bowl types on the basis of characteristic styles, which led to a London typology devised by David Atkinson and Adrian Oswald and published in 1969. We were also taught about makers’ marks that were stamped or moulded on the bowl, stem, heel or spur.
Although King James I initially disapproved of smoking on the grounds that it was bad for your health, he relented and granted the first charter in 1619 to the “Tobacco Pipe Makers of Westminster”. At first smoking was very expensive and the handmade bowls were small and crudely made. As techniques improved pipes were made with more precision, particularly after the introduction of the gin press around 1700. Bowls were thinner and stems more slender. By the 1850s clay tobacco pipe smoking was virtually at an end, as cigarettes were being used by soldiers in the Crimea. A few makers still exist to supply pipes to re-enactors and others. For further information see Heather Coleman’s website at www.dawnmist.demon.co.uk
After coffee we split into six groups of two people to take part in a practical session on recording individual pipes on the MOLA Context Record Sheet. My partner appeared to be unfamiliar with the various codes used on the MOLA recording sheets, but having been a part of the Avenue House evening class for some 12 years I was able to assist here.
Suitably nourished after sandwiches and fruit, we were given an hour’s PowerPoint presentation on decoration and imported pipes. During the first half of the 18th century London pipemakers were producing pipes with heraldic symbols on them. A common example was the Prince of Wales Feathers. By 1750, Masonic emblems were added, along with designs representing public houses and regiments. During the second half of the 19th century, the making of decorated pipes increased, and some bowls were even moulded into the heads of famous people. Popular figures included General Gordon and William Gladstone.
In London we find imported pipes from Holland and France among others. A common bowl design was that of Marshal Foch. Meerschaum, a soft white mineral, was also used to make pipes. When smoked, meerschaum pipes changed colour. »»
»» For the final exercise we were divided into groups of three and given a small assemblage of stratified pipes from one context. The object was to record and then give an interpretation to the whole class. I was spokesperson for my group and explained (or attempted to explain) the Terminus Post Quem (TPQ) and Terminus Ante Quem (TAQ) of our assemblage. The TPQ is based on the earliest date of the latest pipe, and the TAQ is based on the absence of the common types. In other words, what’s missing? The aim is to narrow down the date of deposition.
I realise that there are large chunks missing from this history of tobacco pipes, but needed to keep the report short for inclusion in the newsletter. Jacqui Pearce went into far greater detail and also explained how pipes were made. A good starting place if you wish to find out more is Eric G. Ayto’s book Clay Tobacco Pipes. Published by Shire at £4.99, it is still in print, although it was out of stock when I checked the website on 8th June.
A very enjoyable day, but then I never tire of hearing Jacqui’s talks. I always come away thinking “I don’t remember hearing that before!” I also got to see a small part of the wonderful new MOLA pipe reference collection, which was my main reason for attending.
Shared Learning Project at the London Archaeological Archive and
Research Centre (LAARC)
The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre is the largest archaeological archive in the world and has just entered The Guinness Book of Records. You have the opportunity to apply to join a Shared Learning Project that will take place one afternoon a week for 10 weeks from Wednesday 3rd October to Wednesday 5th December at the Museum of London LAARC, Mortimer Wheeler House, Eagle Wharf Road N1 7ED (weeks 1 – 7 from 13.30 to 16.00), and at the Museum of London, 150
London Wall EC2Y 5HN (weeks 8 – 10 from 13.00 to 16.00).
LAARC stores and curates over 200,000 boxes of London’s archaeology. LAARC’s Volunteer Programmes have been involving volunteers to assist with the repacking and reorganisation of its archaeological collections from early 60’s and 70’s excavations. This work helps increase access to the archaeological collections whilst creating extra space for future material. It also promotes archaeology and the use of archives via public tours and outreach events.
This exciting new project offers you the chance to work in the world’s largest archaeological archive,
to handle archaeology and learn how it is curated. You will also develop public engagement skills.
As a volunteer you will be required to commit to the 10-week programme, volunteering one afternoon (Wednesday) a week as outlined above. There are limited places on this project and you will need to be prepared to work as part of a team. Your attendance each week is essential, as during the project you will learn basic collections care skills, focusing mainly on pottery collections from one excavation before going on to use these skills to engage museum visitors in interactive handling sessions at the Museum of London. As a participant on this particular project you may claim up to £10 towards travel expenses on production of receipts.
As a volunteer you will be of great value to LAARC, as you will be helping to improve the storage and access of the collections and to promote archaeology and the archaeological archive. The closing date for applications is 30th July.
● For further information and an application form, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bumps, Bombs and Birds: the history and archaeology of RSPB reserves
A talk by Robin Standring, RSPB Reserves Archaeologist,
on 8th May 2012 Report by Sylvia Javes
The Society for the Protection of Birds was founded in 1889 by a group of women who were horrified by the mass slaughter of birds for their fashionable plumes. The society was granted its Royal Charter in 1904, and the RSPB has been protecting birds for more than a century. Now the RSPB has over a million members, and owns, leases or manages 211 nature reserves covering about 150,000 hectares. Much of this land contains ancient monuments, and in recognition of this, Robin Standring is employed by the RSPB with the help of a grant from English Heritage.
Gun emplacement Most RSPB reserves have something of historical interest, but there are many that have Scheduled Ancient Monuments within them. Arne, in Dorset, which is open heathland and old oak woodland, has a listed WW2 gun emplacement on top of a hill. This has been cleared of scrub and encroaching trees. Prehistoric burial mounds in various reserves, such as Lake Vyrnwy, and Normanton Down near Stonehenge, are similarly cleared of scrub to stop roots destroying the mounds and allow native heathland herbs to regenerate on and around them.
Iron Age broch The scheduled monuments on reserves vary considerably. In Shetland there is an Iron Age broch on Mousa. In Orkney, Brodgar reserve surrounds the monument of the Ring of Brodgar. In the Scottish Highlands there are clan chief burial sites to protect. Minsmere in Suffolk contains the remains of a small chapel on the original site of Leiston Abbey, which has been stabilised and protected. At the RSPB headquarters at Sandy in Bedfordshire there are two Iron Age hill forts.
Anti-tank cubes Many reserves have “ancient monuments” from the two World Wars. Minsmere came into existence because the coast was flooded during WW2 to prevent enemy tanks from landing. Avocets began to nest there, and the site was preserved. There are still anti-tank cubes along the coastal dunes, making useful perches for visitors to eat their picnics. Further up the coast at Titchwell, there was a minefield and firing and bombing ranges. Rainham Marshes, medieval marshes next to the River Thames, were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range. When the RSPB bought the site much of the infrastructure was kept, including shooting butts. Information boards explain the history of the buildings which have been conserved.
Saxon canoe Some reserves have archaeological remains that are not scheduled – in fact they may be unexpected. Signs of Roman occupation were found at Brading Marshes on the Isle of Wight; at South Essex Marshes 10,000 shards of Roman pottery were found when making the car park, and a Saxon log canoe was found at Langstone Harbour in Hampshire.
Archaeological services are very useful when the RSPB wishes to reinstate ancient landscapes such as wetlands. Land newly acquired by the RSPB may have been drained only 100 years ago. Trenches can reveal ancient land uses, and boreholes show the previous positions of lakes, rivers and alluvial terraces. At Willingham Mere near Earith in Cambridgeshire, archaeologists excavating the site ahead of Hanson’s Needingworth Quarry workings found evidence of wet woodland and reed beds. Bones from bitterns, marsh harriers and pelicans were found. Knowledge from this dig will be used when reinstating wetland at other fenland sites.
Many of the RSPB reserves are used as educational resources by schools, and whereas this is mainly for environmental education, the history of human occupation may also be taught using evidence in the environment. This was a fascinating talk, showing that RSPB reserves are not just about birds.
● More information may be found on the RSPB website, www.rspb.org.uk
Cowes Chain Ferry
A footnote to the HADAS trip to the Isle of Wight, September 2011 Jim Nelhams
Waiting for our ferry back to the mainland provided an opportunity to view the chain ferry. The Cowes Floating Bridge is a vehicular chain ferry which crosses the tidal River Medina between East Cowes and Cowes, saving a ten-mile trip via Newport. The first floating bridge here was established in 1859 and is one of the few remaining that have not been replaced by a physical bridge. The service is owned and operated by the Isle of Wight Council, who have run it since 1901. The ferry currently used is named No. 5; it is the fifth to be owned by the Council, and the eighth in total. It was built in 1975 and can carry up to 20 cars. At the side of the ramp is a plaque with a humorous poem by Glyn Roberts:-
The cars on board, the gates well shut, the ferry was to leave
From Cowes to make its crossing, one chilly winter’s eve
But sat there quite immobile, as the skipper called in pain,
“What VERY THOUGHTLESS PERSON tied a reef knot in the chain?”
You wouldn’t think it possible, each link weighed fifty pound
All welded up in solid steel and bolted to the ground
Yet somehow, while the ferry sat and waited in the rain
Some Very Thoughtless Person tied a reef knot in the chain.
It might have been a motorist who bore some kind of grudge.
It might have been an admiral, it might have been a judge
– But with what motivation? Can anyone explain
Why man or maid should want to braid a reef knot in the chain?
The skipper tore his hair out and called the County Press.
He radioed the Council to come and sort the mess
And he approached the Boy Scouts (as knots are their domain)
To see if they could puzzle out the reef knot in the chain.
A dozen Scouts pulled this way; a dozen Scouts pulled that
But still the chain stayed knotted up, they couldn’t get it flat.
In fact by seven-thirty – and this is quite uncanny,
The very simple reef knot had turned into a granny.
So then they called the firemen who when they came said, “Please
Just stand aside and we’ll soon have this knot undone with ease.”
They pushed and shoved till half-past ten, they couldn’t get it loose.
By then the wretched granny knot had turned into a noose!
If you wait here for what can seem like half an hour or more
And watch that ferry motionless on yonder blessed shore,
Do not despair but say a prayer – and hope it’s not in vain
That no Very Thoughtless Person tied a reef knot in the chain.
Little Syon The Syon Park Training Excavations this year take place in the area of Sir Richard Wynne’s house, Little Syon, shown (above) as it was in 1815. The house stood close to the London Road; it was demolished in the 19th century. Remains of the house and grounds may be found, and more Roman finds are expected. Courses run from Monday 9th to Friday 25th July. Further details below.
Other societies’ events Eric Morgan
Wednesday 4th July 1.30 – 3pm. Harrow Arts Centre, 171 Uxbridge Rd., Hatch End, Middx. HA5
4EA. Heritage Tour of Harrow Arts Centre site, including Royal Commercial Travellers’ School and
Grade II* listed Elliott Hall. Tickets £3.00. Book online at www.harrowarts.com or on 020 8416 8989.
Saturday 7th July 11am-5pm. Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery Open Day, Harrow Rd. NW6/
Ladbroke Grove W6. Tours, displays, Willesden Local History Society and Friends’ bookstall.
Sunday 8th July 2-5pm. Bothy Garden Open Day, Avenue House Grounds, East End Rd N3 3QE. Alyth Youth Singers 3pm. Teas £5 charge. (HADAS in Garden Room 10.30am)
Monday 9th – Friday 13th & Monday 16th – Friday 25th July Syon Park Training Excavations Syon Park, Brentford. In partnership with MOLA. Excavation of the area of Sir Richard Wynne’s house, close to London Rd. (The house was demolished in the 19th century.) It is expected that more Roman archaeology will also be unearthed. Two hands-on courses, suitable for all levels, covering aspects of site survey, excavation and recording. 9am-5pm each day. Cost £195. Contact Kath Creed or Kate Sumnall (020 7814 5733, email email@example.com), or visit www.museumoflondon.org.uk/London-Wall/Whats-on/Adult-events/Syon.
Tuesday 10th July 7pm. Enfield Society Heritage Walk round Enfield Town. Starts at Market Place Enfield EN2 6LN, and includes entry into St Andrew’s church and the Tudor room. Ends at Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/jnc. Chase Side, where refreshments will be available and purchases may be made. Tickets required. Please apply to Emma Halstead at Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane Enfield EN2
OAJ, enclosing s.a.e. and your telephone no.
Saturday 14th July Welwyn Archaeological Society. Archaeology in Hertfordshire: recent research. A conference to mark the 80th birthday of Tony Rook (who has given HADAS several talks in the past). At Campus West, Welwyn Garden City, starting at 9am. Various speakers. Please contact Kris Lockyear (one of the speakers) for booking details and further information on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th July Festival of British Archaeology: Enfield Archaeological Society dig at Theobalds Palace, Cedars Park, Cheshunt, Herts. Contact Mike Dewbrey on 01707 870888. »»
Saturday 14th – Sunday 29th July: Festival of British Archaeology at the Museum of London
150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN
Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd July. Join staff to find out about the vital role that ceramics have played in the history of the capital. Discover how and why pots were made. Free.
Friday 20th July 12-2pm Archaeology up Close: object handling session with members of the museum’s Archaeological Collections department. 2-2.30pm and 3-3.30pm: Roman fort visit. Free.
Wednesday 25th July 1-2pm Meet the Expert: London and the Olympics. Learn about the capital’s role in Olympic Games past and present with Cathy Ross.
Tuesday 17th July Festival of British Archaeology: Enfield Archaeological Society dig at Elsyng
Palace, Forty Hall, Forty Hill, Enfield. Contact Mike Dewbrey on 01717 870888 (office) for details.
Friday 25th July 7pm. COLAS. St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. Excavations at the London
Mint 1986-88: talk by Ian Grainger (MOLA). £2.