Newsletter 159 May 1984
BLUE PLAQUES – AND BLUE HANDS
On Sunday April 1 at 3.30 pm, in weather cold enough to freeze the bells off a Court Jester, over 100 HADAS members, friends and guests, young and old alike, attended the unveiling of a Blue Plaque to the great clown Joseph Grimaldi.
The plaque is fixed to a north-facing wall of Finchley Memorial. Hospital, Granville Road, N12, and it was an inspired thought to get another great clown, Spike Milligan, to do the unveiling honours on All Fools Day; In the event; the curtain was drawn by three clowns simultaneously, Spike himself, plus Mr Woo and Barney – the two latter in traditional clowns’ costume.
It was a truly hilarious afternoon, described by Spike Milligan himself as ‘the craziest opening ceremony of my life.’ Wit, repartee and fun abounded throughout the ceremony to the delight of the audience. Grimaldi himself would surely have enjoyed and approved of the occasion. Incidentally, his great-great-grandson, Daniel Grimaldi, who is the spitting image of a portrait of great-great-grandad by J Cawse in the National Portrait Gallery, was also present. So was Father Michael Shrewsbury, of Holy Trinity Church, Dalston, and of annual ‘Clowns Service’ fame.
Our Chairman, Brian Jarman, introduced the guests, thanked the organisers and actually managed to keep going amid a chorus of good-natured repartee and off-stage noises by the clowns present (e.g. SM to BJ ‘My abiding memory of this event will be the rheumatism I’ve developed standing round in this cold.’
Spike Milligan himself was in top form, with nothing and no one spared, in a witty and entertaining speech. In a memorable phrase he described clowns as ‘people who see the harsher side of life … the working class on stage.’ A bouquet of flowers was presented to Mrs Sheila Milligan (with the best bow and curtsey seen for a long time) by Rachel Davis, our Hon. Treasurer’s grand-daughter.
The formalities were recorded by what must surely be one of the largest contingent of the media ever to’ cover a HADAS event. The full complement of local papers were present, as were BBC TV and Radio London. Pre-publicity was excellent too.
The last part of the event was a HADAS home-made tea (as ever, up to the highest standards) with a special celebration cake baked by Barbara Pincherli who, as well as being a queen-bee cake-decorator in her spare time, works in the hospital physiotherapy department. The centre of the 12 in. diameter cake carried a representation in coloured icing of a contemporary painting of Grimaldi by a Sadlers Wells musician; while perched round the rim of the cake, their heads poking above it, were six highly coloured icing clowns. The cake was ceremonially cut by Spike and
Sheila, Mr Woo and Barney, with only two thumbs and three fingers lost between them.
Here are the credit titles for the big cast responsible for this top-class theatrical event:
Catering by: nine members of the HADAS Catering Corps
Planning by: Isobel McPherson, Victor Jones, Brigid Grafton Green Guests (looked after) by: Dorothy Newbury
Recording/sound by: Christopher Newbury
Curtains (for plaque) & installation thereof: Joan Brian Wrigley Photographs (special assignment for HADAS) by: Eric Ward
As a final thought, it occurs to me that we should perhaps be thinking about another Blue Plaque to put next to Grimaldi’s to commemorate yet another HADAS achievement, recording ‘a lot of hard work by a lot of people.’
A superb event and congratulations to all concerned.
POSTSCRIPT (DELAYED ALAS!) TO GRIMALDI
There’s one story of a missed opportunity in connection with the Grimaldi celebration.
The arrangements for the unveiling had to be made pretty quickly within about 2i weeks. We knew that Prince Rainier, the Prince of Monaco, was the head of the Grimaldi family, and we decided to write and tell him what we were doing and ask if he would care to send a message to be read at this ceremony to one of the greatest Grimaldis.
Nothing had been heard from Monte Carlo by the day of the ceremony, so we decided regretfully that the Prince was not interested.
But we were wrong. Two days after the unveiling we had a letter, dated March 29, from the Prince’s Private Secretary, which said:
“I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter to His Serene Highness The Prince of Monaco, dated March 17, which reached this office this very morning.
Since the plaque in the honour of Joseph Grimaldi will be unveiled at your April 1 ceremony, the message you requested from His Serene Highness will arrive too late for the event, and there would be no purpose in sending it today.
This unfortunate delay is indeed regrettable.
With all best wishes for the full success of this event,
We feel very frustrated that some gremlin, either in the British or the Monagasque postal service, managed to put a spanner in the works. Anyway, we are planning to send Prince Rainier, with HADAS’s compliments, a photograph of the new plaque for his family records.
ABOUT HADAS PEOPLE
The Prehistoric Society Spring Conference on March 24/25 was – as indeed it usually is – full of HADAS members. One of them reported counting at least 15.
The Conference was on Prehistoric Settlement and Society, with speakers from the States, Israel, Canada and France, as well as Britain. The ‘new archaeology’ was much in evidence, so the programme was spattered with phrases like alternative models,’ ‘spatial analyses’ & ‘research strategies.’
four members are known to be joining its Spanish trip next October . CLODAGH PRITCHARD, ENID HILL, SHEILA WOODWARD and CHRISTINE ARNOTT; and a couple more disappointed hopefuls didn’t apply quickly enough and found, the trip was full up.
At the end of March SHEILA WOODWARD retired from her civil service job, in what sounds like a blaze of family and office parties. She’s hoping to have more time now for private pursuits, like HADAS: the co-directorship, with MARGARET MAHER, of the West Heath dig this summer will be one of them.
A birthday offering which greatly pleased her was a card bearing a series of thumbnail sketches by one of her cousins. It depicts her future activities. It includes Sheila in wellies marching down the middle of a Barnet river bearing, like the boy in ‘Excelsior,’ a banner with a strange device – as well as Sheila wielding a nifty trowel and engaging in other archaeological activities. The strange device? Why, H A D A S, of course!
Also retiring this year at the end of August, is one of HADAS’s founder members, JOHN ENDERBY, who has been Principal of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute for 30 years.
We are delighted to report that he is not immediately leaving Hendon, and we hope that he, too, will have time for more archaeology. Indeed, he has already announced publicly that he hopes he may now have time to attend archaeological lectures at his own Institute!
Finally, news from another member of long standing: school teacher ANN TREWICK. She has recently acquired a weekend flat not far from Sutton Hoo, and that fact inspired her to apply to take part in this summer’s Sutton Hoo excavations, already billed in various archaeological journals and on ‘Chronicle’ (which will be reporting them extensively for the next five years) as ‘the dig of the decade.’
Ann tells us with great pleasure that she has been accepted and hopes to put in as much time as possible between mid-May and September. Digging hours – just in case anybody thinks this will be a rest-cure – are 7.30 am to 4.30 pm, ‘with occasional night shifts!
Members who want to follow events at Sutton Hoo can do so through a series of ‘6 monthly Bulletins being published by the Sutton Hoo Research Committee, which will give regular reports of how things are going on this famous site. If you want to go on the mailing list, send £2 to the Research Director, Martin Carver, Sutton Hoo Project Centre, Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit, PO Box 363, Birmingham B15 2TT.
UNDERWATER EXCAVATION A report on the HADAS April lecture by STEPHEN CONRAD
What a splendid lecture to end our winter season! There had been some speculation whether this would be a popular subject, but the 110 or so members present were captivated by the revelations of architect archaeologist Alexander Flinder, who was personally involved in all the discoveries he described.
The first area, he dealt with was the harbour of Caesarea in Israel. Caesarea, in King Herod’s time 2000 years ago, was a busy, thriving town of more than 20,000 people, a seat of learning and, according to the writer Josephus, possessed of a magnificent harbour, greater in size than that of Piraeus. However, for centuries, through Crusader times to the present day, the harbour has been small and quaint, and of nothing approaching the magnitude that Josephus boasted.
In the sixties Edward Link (of Link trainer fame) took some aerial pictures which began to explain the discrepancy. They showed a massive harbour beneath the waters, reaching out into the sea. The dark outline of the stone walls was clearly visible 30 ft below the modern surface. Detailed underwater inspection showed the walls to be made from stones sometimes as large as 10 x 10 x 30ft: superb masonry.
This poses a lot of questions, what happened to this magnificent harbour? Did an earthquake (Caesarea is in an earthquake zone) shake it to pieces? Did the water level rise? (The answer to that is no – the level is now more or less as it was 2000 years ago). Did the land sink? There is, after all, a geological fault in the nearby seabed.
The experts have now decided that the answer is a commercial one. Caesarea harbour came to a ‘help yourself’ ending. There was enough stone ‘in Caesarea to build at least three other cities, and when the town ceased to be important the stone was carted off elsewhere in the Mediterranean to Greece and Italy. The town of Acre, it is known, was built with stone from this area.
Caesarea provided another problem. Three hundred metres south of the town, on the water’s edge, there was a large rectangular pool about 4 ft deep known locally as Cleopatra’s pool, which had been presumed to be for bathing. On closer examination, however, and after observation of the sluices and cuts in tree rock surrounding the pool, it seemed more probable that this was in fact, a fish tank. No self-respecting Roman of status, said Mr Flinder, would have been without one.
The water washed in from the sea, over a low wall and filtered out at the side through cuts in the rock and over sluice boards, being sucked down into a bore hole which is still working today. It might have been Herod’s own fish pool, but no palace for Herod has yet been found. A similar pool and mosaic surround has been found in Cyprus, where it is called ‘the pool of the queen.’
The next site under examination was in the Red Sea at Sham el Sheik. Clear brilliant water made diving excellent. On the sea bed a wreck, probably Turkish, its wooden hull having burst open over the centuries like an overblown flower, was now lying flat on the sea bed. The cargo ‘was small Turkish pots made of porous clay, with a filter at the neck and a lid to go on top. A water jar, possibly? More to Mr Flinder’s taste is the suggestion that this is a type of refrigeration jar. A sweetmeat – say Turkish delight could have been put into the top of the jar with the lid on. The water evaporating through the porous clay would have had a cooling effect.
Final subject of the evening was the coral island of Jezirat Faraun, situated in the Red Sea about 10 miles south of Elat and lying just off the shore of the Sinai desert. This is a picturesque island, noted on British naval charts as having a safe anchorage between island and coast. Remains of a fort made an ideal subject for further investigation.
A survey of the origins of the island and of the straits was made. The fort was easily identified as a Saracen fort of the Crusader period. The foundations of a more ancient wall circled the whole island, keeping out the sea as well as enemies. A small gap in this outside wall together with an aerial photograph, showed that there had once been an internal harbour for the island, the break in the wall being its entrance.
A detailed survey of the waters of the straits was made, and produced Byzantine urns covered with coral. On the mainland, immediately opposite the harbour entrance, a landing stage was discovered, indicating the method by which communications were maintained across the straits.
A few miles south a subsonic instrumental survey – using the same equipment that found the Mary Rose – showed up an anomaly some 30 ft below the seabed, which in turn was 80′ ft below the surface. There is every indication that this represents a wrecks but the possibility of reaching what may be a Solomonic relic at such depth and in so difficult a position will mean that it will probably remain a mystery for many years to come.
Michael Purton, in his vote of thanks, expressed all ours wishes that he hoped Mr Flinder would return again and tell us more
It was interesting a few days after Alexander Flinder’s talk, to see a letter from him in The Times, in his capacity as Chairman of the Nautical Archaeology Society, on the Dept. of Transport’s proposal to introduce new legislation on wrecks and the material from them.
This proposed new legislation cannot, in Mr Flinder’s views be made to work unless the advisory committee which administers historic wrecks on behalf of the Government – the Runciman Committee – is placed under the aegis of the new Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, and thereby has some access to that Commission’s funds for archaeology.
The Government has so far refused to consider this; and is leaving the Runciman committee to operate with voluntary members and only enough funds to pay for a part-time secretary.
‘Is it not a cruel irony,’ Mr Flinder ends his letter, ‘that in 1984, which the Government has designated “Heritage Year,” it might very well, by its own actions kill the discipline that sprouted the Mary Rose?’
FLYING A KITE FOR AUTUMN
For many years we have been lucky enough in the Borough of Barnet to have been able to study locally for the two part-time Qualifications which appeal most to amateur archaeologists – the Diploma in Archaeology and the Certificate in Field Archaeology, both awarded by the University of London. HGS Institute has always encouraged Diploma courses and. Barnet College has run Certificate .classes,
Last year, however, Barnet College brought its Certificate classes (from which many ‘HADAS members have emerged triumphant) to an end. This year we hear that there are likely to be no Certificate classes available anywhere in North London.
The HGS Institute, however, is prepared to try to fill the gap – provided enough students want it filled. It will organise a Certificate class if a minimum of 15 people can be found who want to take it. This could be a day-time, not an evening, class if that would be more popular.
Perhaps some details about the Certificate would be helpful. It is considered to be a practical, dirt archaeology qualification while the Diploma tends to be more academic: though generalisations like that are always too slick. The Certificate normally takes 3 years, the Diploma 4. Certificate classes are divided chronologically, and are concerned only with British archaeology: Year 1 Prehistory, Year. 2 Roman, Year 3 post-Roman up to 1056. On the practical side, Year 1 deals with the planning of excavations, Year 2 studies digging methods and techniques; Year 3 concentrates on analysis of data and publication.
John Enderby, Principal of the HGS Institute, has asked the Newsletter to find out how many HADAS members might be interested, if he were to initiate a two-term Year I. Certificate course next September. He is trying to test the water, as it were – and not asking you to commit yourself finally at this stage. Should you be interested, will you either ring Brigid Grafton Green (455-9040) and let her know; or talk to Mr Enderby at the AGM on May 15, when he will be happy to provide anyone interested with literature. Don’t forget to mention whether day-time or evening course would suit you best.
The European Science Foundation, an international organisation with HQ at Strasbourg, has begun publishing a series of handbooks for archaeologists, starting with an excellent 50-pager on Thermoluminescence Dating.
After an outline of the history and present position of TL dating, followed by an exposition of the principles of the method, the booklet goes on to detail the techniques for various types of material ceramic, burnt stone, burnt flint and chart, calcite and Aeolian sediment (including loess).
There is a useful section on Samples and Sampling, taking each type of material in turn. Since HADAS has been able (see Newsletter 147, Nay 1933) to submit flint samples from West Heath for investigation under the programme of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology at Oxford, this quote from the section on flint sampling may be of interest:
“Flint may have been burnt in antiquity to 400°C or more which is sufficient to reset the TL clock; with TL dating it is the age of the burning event that is determined. The ideal number of samples for each level is 6 to 12 well-burnt flints. The outer 2 mm of sample must be removed in the TL laboratory to leave a disc measuring at least 1cm by 3cm. This is the very minimum size, and it is no good submitting shapes which will not yield such a disc even when the sample form is irregular. Bigger pieces are better. For burial depth and uniformity of the surrounding soil the requirements are as for ceramics.
Avoid prolonged exposure to light; indeed, try to avoid any exposure at all. Particularly avoid sunlight or fluorescent light. Put the sample an opaque bag. As with all other sample materials, avoid excessive heating and exposure to ultra-violet, infra-red, X-rays, beta-rays or gamma rays.
About kg of soil, typical of that in which the samples were buried, is required. For packing, moisture conditions, etc follow the recommendations for ceramics.”
*Note: the requirements and recommendations for ceramics are:
“Only samples that have been buried to a depth of 30 cm or more for at least two-thirds of the burial time are acceptable. Ideally the sample should be at least 30 cm from any boundary (e.g. edge of pit, change of soil-type, wall, floor, rock surface …
.”the soil should be tightly double-bagged … also a sample of each type of material occurring in large proportions within 30cm of the 7 sample is required. In the case of a scatter of small stones in the soil these should be included in the soil sample in representative proportion. Information about burial conditions should include a section sketch and photographs of the context showing roughly the points from which the samples were taken and the deposits for at least 30cm around.”
Under a heading ‘Possibilities and Limitations’ results of TL dating’ from a number of different sites are analysed: a medieval kiln’ in Lubeck, Germany (average TL date AD 1244); Viking Age layers from Ribe, Denmark (AD 700); average. TL dates from 7 Romano-British sites of known. age (the deviation from 6 out of 7 was less than 5% between known age and TL date); a Bronze Age site at Skamlebak Denmark; an Early Bronze Ago settlement at Demirchihuyuk Turkey; pottery from a Japanese Jomon culture site (TL, age of pottery 13,970 +/-1850 years, making it the oldest pottery in the world); Viking Age houses at Lejre, Denmark (AD1040); and flint samples froth the paIaeoIithic cave- at Combo Grenal, .Perigord (TL age from 44,000- 113,000 year).-
There it a list of ‘TL dating laboratories in Europe, and it is interesting that most countries have only one (with 4 in France and 3 in Germany) but the UK has 9. A section on literature, followed by one suggesting selected reading is also helpful. Free copies ‘of the booklet are obtainable from the CBA, 112 Kennington Rd, SE11 6RE (enclose an A5 size sae, stamped 20½p.)
SITES TO WATCH
The following sites, which might be of some archaeological interest have been mentioned in recent planning applications:
Land at Glengall RD, opposite Crammer Rd,
Land bounded by Springwood Cres, Burrell: Cl
2‹:Knightswood Cl, NW7
142-E Gt North Way NW4
Former W. Hendon multi-storey carpark betw.
W.Hendon, Broadway/Marsh Drive,NW7
Land fronting The Causeway, betw. East End
Rd/4 The Causeway, N2
Land adj. “Parklands”, Hendon Wood Lane NW7
61 houses, 165 flats, access roads
houses, estate reads (oUtline)
12 houses, access roads.
Members who notice building activity on any of these sites are asked to alert Brian Wrigley (959.5982; 21 Woodcroft Ave NW7).
Sat May 5. Meet Burgh House, 2 pm. Hampstead Walk with Christopher Wade (see April.-Newsletter): Please ring Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) if you are thinking of coming, as Mr Wade would like some idea of numbers.
Sun May12. Day trip to York. With all the press and TV publicity the timing for our visit, is now crucial. WILL ALL MEMBERS BOOKED please be punctual. Departure Quadrant, NW4 8.25 am; Refectory, Golders Green 8.30. In fact, be a little earlier if you possibly can – we are booked at the Jorvik Centre at 1 pm. The coach is full, but there is no waiting list, so if you still want to join ring Dorothy Newbury up to the last minute in case there are cancellations.
Tues. May 12. AGM, 8 for 8.30 pm, at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Several members have offered to show slides on subjects ranging from Wales to Swaziland. We will include as many as time permits.
Sat June 16. Outing to Icklingham/West Stow, Suffolk, with Ted Sammes. Application form will be in June Newsletter.
PAID YOUR SUB YET? If not, please do: it became due on April 1. Details of the new rates are in the April Newsletter. Payment should be made to our Membership Secretary, Phyllis Fletcher, 27 Decoy Ave TA91 NW11 OES:(455 2558).
NEWS.FROM THE GROUPS.
The Prehistoric Group is in a ‘Waiting for Godo situation – only it is ‘waiting for West Heath. Dig reopens on June 16 for 6 weeks. Further information from either Margaret Maher (907777) or Sheila Woodward (952 3897). The Group’s river walks have ceased for the summer; it is hoped to start again in the autumn:
ROUND AND ABOUT
. Guildford Museum and the Surrey Archaeological. Society are running a joint medieval pottery workshop at Dorking Christian Centre on Sat. June 2 from10am – 4pm.’ In the morning 5 Surrey kilns will be discussed: Farnborough Hill, Kingston, Cheam, Vicars Haw, Limpsfield and Earlswood Reigate. The afternoon will be given over to pottery identification. Ticket £l.50, from Julia Arthur, -Guildford Museum, Quarry St, Guildford. GU1 3SX.
Northwest London Family History Society intends to begin recording inscriptions in Holy Trinity churchyard, East Finchley, on May 19. Any HADAS member who cares to help will be most welcome, 10 am-6 pm.
One day conference on Aspects of Romano–British Villas takes place on Sat. May 26, 9.15 am-6 pm, at the University Centre, Barrack Road, Northampton, to celebrate the Upper Nene Archaeological society’s 21st birthday. Speakers will include Graham Webster, Keith Braniganl David Neal, Tom Blagg, Alan McWhirr. Tickets £6- (plus £2.50 if you would like a buffet lunch) from Diana Friendship Taylor, 86 Main Road, Hackleton, -Northampton NN7 2AD.
A London Wall Walk, masterminded by the Museum of London, opens on May 21. Information panels of blue and cream tiles have been erected along the City defences at 21 points between the Museum and the Tower. They show explanations of the surviving remains and reconstructions to show what the wall was originally like. The walk is 1¾ miles, takes one-two hours.
The Museum of London is helping the Royal Institute of British Architects to celebrate its 150th anniversary by offering a series of lectures on :-.London buildings from the 1830s on Weds/Fri at-1.10 in the Museum theatre. Full programme obtainable from the Museum.
LUTYENS AND ELGAR
The RIBA is, in fact, planning a London wide Festival of Architecture this summer. In our area events are being organised by the Northwest London branch,-which covers 8 boroughs. A travelling roadshow will be at Brent Cross shopping centre from May 24/26.
In what is perhaps the Borough’s most architecturally famous Conservation Area Hampstead Garden Suburb – the Northwest RIBA, with the co-operation of the Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, is to mount a son-et-lumiere presentation on the evening of May 24. This will jointly, commemorate one of the Suburb foremost architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens (who designed St. Judes) and Sir Edward Elgar, the 50th anniversary of whose death occurs this year. Elgar’s music, played on the great Willis organ of St Judes (which came originally from Samuel Barnett’s church of St Judes, Whitechapel), together• with a spoken commentary on Lutyens’ architecture, should make it a memorable evening,