Tuesday May 12: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING. Nominations for officers and members
of the committee must be submitted to the Hon. Secretary, Liz Holliday, Gorse Cottage, The Common, Chipperfield, Herts, WD4 9BL, to reach her no later than May 5. The consent of nominees must be obtained in writing before their names are submitted. After the AGM business – which we hope will be brief – members of the excavations working party will tell us about their recent work, followed by a talk with slides from member Stewart Wild on his journey to Tallinn, Estonia, last year.
The AGM will be in the Stephens Room at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3. starting at 8. I5pm for 8.30pm.
Members may also like to visit the HADAS library.
Saturday June 27: Outing to the Bletchley area, led by Micky Watkins and
Saturday July 4: Morning tour of the Midland Hotel at St. Pancras with
Saturday July 25: Outing to Fishbourne and around. Tessa Smith and SheilaWoodward head for the Sussex countryside.
Saturday August 15: Outing to Shaftesbury and Fontwell Magna. Dorset this time with Bill Bass and John Enderby as HADAS guides.
September 3 – 6: Weekend in Bristol with Dorothy Newbury. (0181 203 0950).
Saturday September 26: Outing to Kensal Green Cemetery, led by Stewart Wild. Saturday October 10: the Minimart. Contributions and volunteers please!
Tuesday October 13: The Wroxeter Hinterland Survey: Gordon White launches the
new lecture season.
Tuesday November 10; Bronze, Brass and Zinc in Ancient and Modern China.
Lecture by Paul Craddock.
Tuesday December 8: Christmas dinner. Details to be arranged.
MEMBERS’ NEWS – A HAPPY EVENT! Dorothy Newbury
Robert and Paula Michel had a baby girl on Thursday the 9th of April. Robert has been a member for nearly 20 years, starting at our West Heath excavations before going to university where he gained a joint Honours degree in history and archaeology.
CATAL HUYUK RECONSIDERED. Sheila Woodward
“It may be considered without undue exaggeration” wrote James Mellaart in 1965 “that Anatolia, long regarded as a barbarous fringe to the fertile Crescent, has now been established as the most advanced centre of Neolithic culture in the Near East”. He had then just completed several seasons digging at CATAL HUYUK in south-east Turkey and it was his discoveries there which prompted this observation.
In the HADAS March lecture Theya Mollison looked again at Mellaart’s findings in the light of modern technology and the result of new excavations at Catal Huyuk by Ian Hodder and his Cambridge University team. Undoubtedly it is one of the great Neolithic sites, recognisably a town, large and well structured, a permanent settlement. Domestication of plants and animals enabled such settlement; marketing and trade, especially in raw obsidium, ensured prosperity. Catal flourished from about 8000 BC and its 12 successive building layers cover about a millennium. The superimposed layers of mud-brick construction formed a huge tel. Mellaart excavated quickly and therefore recovered much organic material. Sadly, there has since been considerable erosion.
The houses of Catal Huyuk have always been intriguing: doorless, windowless except for a few high ventilation slits under the eaves, they must have been entered by ladders from the roof. This design would have given protection from excessive heat and cold, both features of a continental climate. The walls were of mud brick, plastered in white and re-plastered once or twice a year. The white dust for the plaster had to be dug from a base layer beneath the clay of the site at a depth of some 10 metres – and the digging implements would have been oxbone blades. Tough work! But the inhabitants knew how to ‘cut corners’. Damaged wall plaster was reground and used to repair floors. Ovens were very like modern Turkish pitta bread ovens and dung was used for fuel. Caches of food such as lentils have been found and caches of trading items such obsidian blanks and blades. Rows of aurochs’ horns decorate many houses. Mellaart suggested that they were horns of consecration to ward off evil; modern thought regards them as coat pegs!
Each room had two platforms under which the dead were buried after the flesh had been removed (presumably for hygienic reasons). Lurid wall paintings in some rooms, identified by Mellaart as shrines, depict vultures pecking the flesh from headless human beings. Our lecturer suggested that these should not be interpreted too literally. The burial rites and their significance still present problems. In one house, there were more burials under the north-west platform than under the eastern; and over 50% of the north-west platform burials were children. Does this mean anything? One room contained 64 burials, earlier burials were pushed aside to make room for new ones, but were not removed. In one foundation level there was a threshold burial of four newborn babies – did this indicate deliberate sacrifice?
Studies of the skeletons have indicated that these people were stocky in build, had few dental caries, but suffered from arthritis of the jaw and had striations on their teeth, probably from chewing straws and reeds when baskets making. But what do we make of the burial of some headless corpses? Are they related to the painting of headless people attacked by vultures? Much more research, said our lecturer, is certainly needed.
CATALL HUYUK – Further comments. Margaret Phillips
In her recent lecture, Dr. Mollison appeared to be tempting us to wonder why some of the skeletons she has been studying have been decapitated. James Mellaart in his book Earliest civilisations of the Near East (published by Thames and Hudson in 1965) includes a reconstruction of a funerary rite. Priestesses disguised as vultures are depicted in a shrine in Level VIII. It is based on the actual discovery of wall-paintings of vultures with human legs. Also in the reconstruction are human skulls in baskets below each large bull’s head on the walls of the shrine. James Mellaart also describes wall-paintings some of which seem to consist of symbols most of which are unintelligible to us. However, there is a reproduction of a painting of a dead man’s head from a shrine in Level IV c.5825 BC. There is also an illustration of a contracted burial in a basket from Level VI. At the end of her lecture Dr.Mollison described human teeth, probably damaged by basket-making.
Such considerations of the dead seems depressing and even sinister, but on a more cheerful note, they were furnished with funerary gifts. In the case of women and children, this would be jewellery, and in some cases obsidian mirrors, and once again baskets, this time containing red ochre mixed with fat to form ‘rouge’. Cosmetic spatula were also included.
I should like to express deep appreciation of Dr. Mollison’s talk, which, as promised, proved so stimulating.
35TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF LONDON ARCHAEOLOGISTS Sheila Woodward
This conference, held at the Museum of London on the 14th March, was exceptionally well attended, though HADAS members were fewer than usual. The programme followed the now well established pattern, with the morning session devoted to a series of short reports on recent work; and the afternoon to a more general theme, a review of 25 years digging in the City.
There was a short opening ceremony of the presentation of the annual Ralph Merrifield award by Mrs. Lysbeth Merrifield, this year an individual award to Jill Goddard. Then, following introductory remarks by the chairman Harvey Sheldon, there were reports by Andy Crockett of Wessex Archaeology on the excavation at Imperial College Sports Field, Harlington; Nick Holder of MOLAS on a prehistoric island at the Royal Docks Community School, Newham; Jon Binns on recent work on the foreshore by the Thames Archaeological Survey; a report on recent excavations at Hopton Street, Southwark and Westeroft Road, Carshalton; and on the excavation of a medieval mooted manor house at Low Hall, Walthamstow by Ian Blair of MOLAS.
The afternoon session considered excavation in London during the 25 years which have elapsed since the publication of The Future of London’s Past by RESCUE. Nick Bateman spoke on the Roman public buildings of Londinium; Bruno Barber on Roman cemeteries; Gustav Milne on the London waterfront; John Schofield on Building in the City from the Saxons to the Great Fire; and Simon Thurley on the Museum of London and London’s archaeology.
There were the usual displays of work and publications by local societies, including HADAS. A full and interesting day indeed. (Detailed reports will be included in the next Newsletter).
TUTANKHAMEN – REST, PERTURBED SPIRIT?
A book, The Murder of Tutankhamen, by Professor Robert Brier, from Long Island University in New York, is to be published next month. Professor Brier believes that the pharaoh was killed at the instigation of Aye, his chief consul and that the latter subsequently forced the young widow to marry him. (The Times 8 March 1998). (Professor Brier’s research had already been reported in the (Daily Mail, 20 March 1997) and quoted by this editor in the May Newsletter last year. An odd coincidence…
RESEARCH NEWS Vikki O’Connor, Co-ordinator
Well, it’s happening at last – after a couple of years of talking about it, we finally assembled a group of interested members and began the process of matching people to projects. It was encouraging that 30 members attended our meeting on Saturday 28th March at the hall situated directly beneath Barnet Local Studies & Archives Centre in Egerton Gardens, Hendon. Dr Pamela Taylor explained why the new researcher’s first port of call should be the Local Studies Centre and that she and fellow Archivist Joanna Garden (both HADAS members) would be only too pleased to advise on sourcing materials. After a quick cup of tea in the nearby Presbytery, Pam led the way to the Archives where people who had never been there before were suitably impressed – there really is something for everyone there. The Local Studies Centre is open Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday, telephone 0181 3592876.
* Industrial Archaeology (1) Bill Firth is the secretary of the Greater London Archaeology Society (GLIAS) and is presently working on their Gazetteer. He recently met with a small group of fellow HADAS members to discuss how we can assist in researching as yet unrecorded industrial features.
* Industrial Archaeology (2) We have contacted the Defence of Britain project which is accumulating records on World War II defences, working to complete a ‘Domesday’ survey by the year 2000, the project being sponsored by the Department of National Heritage. It is proposed that HADAS members undertake some recording for submission in a standard format. John Heathfield and Percy Reboul have already made inroads into this subject and are making available details of their work so that we can identify areas for recording. DoB are particularly interested in London’s inner and outer rings of defence. They are also keen to tap into the unwritten sources; if there is anything you can remember which you believe might be worth recording, please phone Vikki O’Connor on 0181-361 1350.
* History of HADAS
Sheila Woodward and Terry Dawson have begun the awesome task of identifying what we have been up to over the last 37 years – it will be of great practical value to have this information in a readily available format. Is there anyone else with an hour or so to spare on a (fairly) regular basis and who is willing to help Sheila and Terry?
* Non-Conformist Churches
One of our members has volunteered to look at this specialist area with a view to eventual publication. with another member on standby to assist on the architectural side further into the project. A plea for information – if anyone can provide input of any kind (newspaper cuttings, references in books, anecdotes etc) please send it to Vikki O’Connor, 2a Dene Road, N11 lES to forward to our researcher.
Field-walking at Bury Farm, Brockley Hill, is expected to happen late July/early August. The timescale is tight and depends on how the farming season goes. In the meantime, we are organising a `hands-on’ day in May for members who intend to participate in the field-walking. This will involve instruction in using the surveying equipment and looking at what sort of material we can expect to pick up. If you weren’t at the meeting on 28th March but wish to join in, please contact Vikki O’Connor a.s.a.p.
More next month…
MONEY… RESEARCH… MONEY
York University’s Department of Archaeology received a grant of £25,000 from English Heritage for a Northern tiles survey. York’s Institute of Railway Studies, in conjunction with Manchester Metropolitan University, has landed a grant of 7,000 ECU (how much??) from the EU’s Raphael heritage project. The money will help fund an international conference on the use of information technology in accessing museum collections, to be held at the national Railway Museum this summer. Another of York’s projects is Regeneration through Heritage – set up to study best practice in the re-use of disused industrial buildings which are frequently ‘innovative in design and structure’ and they will be creating a gazetteer of industrial buildings on their website.
University of Nottingham’s Department of Archaeology hit the headlines last year when they found evidence of the earliest metal (copper) mining in Italy. Building on this success, they set up a multidisciplinary team with their Department of Geography to work on a surveying project, adding air photography and photogrammetric digital imaging to the information gained from excavation, producing a digital video of modelling and visualisation for other students to access. They looked at three sites in Liguria: a late 4th/early 3rd millennium BC jaspar quarry at Valle Lagorara; the Monte Loreta copper mine of similar date; and Castellano di Zignano (2nd millennium BC), a fortified site which also revealed medieval activity. A new team of students has been sent out to continue the project this year.
A TOUR OF SUSSEX PAST
By the time you read this, you should have heard all about the Roman villas in Sussex from David Rudling, the April HADAS lecturer. He was expounding earlier in the month, too, at a major conference on Sussex archaeology, where his topic was broader — Roman rural Sussex, continuity and change.
The conference, the first major effort for 21 years to draw together new archaeological information on the county, was organised David Rudling wearing his University of Sussex hat. It included a number of topics which have relevance for HADAS, from Boxgrove man to mesolithic sites to Fishbourne Roman palace (the July outing).
To start at the beginning… Matthew Pope, standing in admirably for an indisposed Mark Roberts, revealed the very specific tool-making techniques of Britain’s 500,000- year-old hominids. Their standard tool was an ovate bi-face axe, sharpened with a tranchet flake. It was not, he emphasised, a general purpose tool, certainly not “the first Swiss Army rock”. It was made specifically for butchery, as his slides graphically showed. It was easy to hold, effective in cutting meat off carcasses in a less messy way than a simple flake, and quick to resharpen. With the exception of a single instance of hide polish, the only wear seen on the bi-faces was meat polish, while the animal bones found on the site showed very fine scratch marks, made with those same sharp tips. And Boxgrove’s first residents reached their food source before their rivals — their butchery marks preceded those of carnivores’ gnawing. Their butchery, too, was skilled, with the cut marks clustered around areas of major muscle attachment.
All that meat eating was good for them, Matthew Pope suggested. The activities at Boxgrove — hunting, butchering, making stone tools — went hand in hand with an increase in brain size, and was paralleled by a decrease in stomach size. It seemed there were almost certainly links between meat eating and increased brain size. He also hinted that the stone tool makers were probably right handed, as cut marks on the surface of a hominid incisor tooth, running from upper left to lower right, implied they were clamping a flint in their mouth to slice small amounts of meat. The right-handed theory was also supported by the patterns of waste at knapping areas.
Sussex mesolithic was summarised by Robin Holgate, now curator of Luton Museum. Most known sites dating before the mid 7th millennium were still located in the Weald, but new sites from the later mesolithic had been identified on the Chichester coastal plain. The three millennia from 6,500 BC were a time of change, with a greater number of sites in all environmental zones and a change to smaller tools. This could indicate, he suggested, close range hunting in the wooded landscape, and possibly task specific sites, with less movement of people. And the rising sea level, he concluded, affected the availability of resources, and possibly prompted the change to a farming economy.
John Manley, joint director of the Sussex Archaeological Society excavations at Fishbourne which HADAS will be visiting on July 25, devoted his lecture largely to that work, which is uncovering a building just to the east of the Roman palace and, at around 60AD, of slightly earlier date. It was one element in a busy area of activity stretching towards Chichester, where there were finds of military metalwork and of metalworking activity, traces of timber-framed buildings and of ditches. May be, he suggested, the military didn’t leave the area in AD43, as Barry Cunliffe had argued, but stayed around for most of the first century. May be, even, Chichester was the Roman bridgehead.
David Rudling himself argued there were both continuity and change in Roman Sussex. Roman culture was in many ways quickly absorbed in the countryside, with evidence of Romanisation of existing farmsteads, yet there were instances of Roman respect for Bronze Age monuments, and a similar continuity stretching forward into Saxon times.
The two days of lectures and discussion were a stimulating and far from parochial insight into 500,000 years of British past, continuing up into very modern times with such topics as defence medieval and modern (even nuclear bunkers!), the latest news on past coastal changes and the present threat to maritime remains. The papers will be published, probably late next year — watch out for them. Liz Sagues
HADAS AT CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM Andy Simpson
Members will recall that in 1993 and 1996 HADAS undertook highly successful excavations in the rear garden of the Church Farmhouse Museum, finding evidence of Roman and medieval occupation. Thanks to the kindness of the Museum’s curator, Gerard Roots, there will be a small display of finds from these excavations, commencing 14 May, hopefully until September. The ‘digging team’ have selected the finds for display, these include Roman the and pottery, including probable Brockley Hill produced Mortaria sherds, and a variety of medieval pottery, both glazed and unglazed, including much of a Kingston ware Jug found near- the present day pond, plus a few more recent finds. The display will hopefully include photographs and other illustrations. The captions have been written (comments/corrections to your scribe!) A few of the finds were displayed briefly at the Church Farmhouse Museum in 1993, but this will be the first time most of the items have been given public display, so do visit and have a look!
BARNET ARCHIVES Mrs. I. Carden, Archivist
The removal of the records stored at the Bookstore in Friern Barnet has now been completed. The building plans for all areas in the former county of Middlesex have now been transferred to London Metropolitan Archives (the former Greater London Record Office), although we did manage to find room for the building plans for the former Hertfordshire areas. All the rate books have now been transferred to the Totteridge Library, although they will still not be available to researchers except by request in advance, as before. Microfilm does exist for most of the rate books, and we would ask that if possible this should be used until the rate books have been fully re-shelved.
MILESTONES Bill Firth
My appeal for information on the Hendon Wood Lane to London milestones resulted in a marvellous response from Stewart Wild who has not only provided information but also photographs of the five of the nine which appear to be extant. These are:‑
– Whitestone Pond, junction of East Heath Road and Heath Street. Clearly marked IN it is upright behind a fence. It is not of course in the Borough of Barnet.
– The Quadrant, Hendon, built into the wall near to no. 161 Brent Street, by Lodge Road. Very clearly marked, VII miles from London.
– Holders Hill Road, close to Rydal Court, recently re-erected. Clearly marked
VIII miles from London.
– Bittacy Hill, in front garden of no.8, near Junction with Bittacy Rise.
IX miles from London. In the photograph it is not very legible.
– Highwood Hill, Hendon Wood Lane bus stop. The only stone on the right hand side coming from London. Sunk into verge, only a small part is above ground.
– V miles from London, near junction of Wellgarth Road/North End Road.
– VI miles from London, outside White Swan pub, Golders Green Road
– X miles from London. Ted Semmes described this as ‘almost buried in the grass on Mill Hill Ridgeway, about 20 feet west of the War Memorial’. Last autumn I noticed some almost buried stones by the War Memorial but did not think any of them was the milestone. This warrants another look which a holiday and bad weather have prevented me from making.
PLEA TO HADAS EDITORS Dr. Pamela Taylor, Local Studies and Archives
HADAS members are currently as sympathetically aware of archival problems as they have ever been. Bill Bass’s article in the April Newsletter detailed the present difficulties and hoped-for future of London’s Archaeological Archive. One of the main discussions at the research meeting on 28 March concerned the better care and use of the Society’s own records. All the best archival care is womb to tomb, and this must therefore be the ideal moment to plead, publicly this time, for care in the Newsletter’s creation. We keep a complete file, complete partly because we send it for binding, but the recent tendency to produce a continuous triple sheet numbered into six pages is causing a real problem. Although the sheet can be cut up before we send it off, the pagination is often no longer continuous -anyone who can find a way of making April’s issue, for example, yield anything other than pp 1,2,3,6,4,5 is welcome to claim a large prize. Please, please, please, if the triple-fold has to be used, check that the page-order works for binding, and in general err on the conservation side in innovation, (I’ve no idea if the coloured inks that have sometimes been used recently are as long lasting), and on the generous side of margins.
MAP OF TUDOR LONDON. A crucial missing section of the oldest map of London, on copper plate, c.1550, has been discovered during a routine cataloguing of the Flemish collection at the Dessau Art Gallery in Germany. The Museum of London will have a replica, it will be displayed at the Museum until 10 May. (The Times 30 March 1998).
BONES OF CONTENTION.
A reader asks: “Since human bones survive over centuries, why is the environment not littered with the bones of all the wild creatures which have existed?” Peter Harrison, Altrincham, Cheshire. (The Oldie, March 1998).
The Petrie Museum, University College London, is making its valuable collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts more accessible via CD-Rom and Internet. Barbara Adams, curator, reported that the core of the project will consist of the restored Middle Kingdom papyri from Kahun. Much of the restoration work is carried out in conjunction with the British Museum. According to Bridget Leach, the latter’s senior conservator, the fibre structure of the papyrus plant is invaluable as it runs through each sheet of papyrus, both horizontally and vertically, forming an interwoven pattern, with each bunch of fibres forming a sort of bar code that can be used to identify fragments from the same source.(The Times Interface 8 April 1998).
The most significant find of late Anglo-Saxon coins made in England this century was made by treasure hunters at Appledore, near Dungeness in Kent. It consisted of nearly 500 silver pennies of AD 1051/2. Most are of the ‘expanding cross’ type of Edward the Confessor. According to the British Museum, the find helps to establish that the ‘heavy’ type of ‘expanding cross’ penny is earlier than the light type. Only the ‘heavy type’ are present in the Appledore hoard, suggesting that the ‘light type’ had not yet come into circulation. The hoard was declared treasure trove and seized by the crown. (The Times, 6 April 1998).
MEDIEVAL PAINTINGS THREATENED BY SPIDERS. Extensive damage is being caused by spiders to the medieval wall paintings at St. Botolph Church in Hardham, West Sussex. The paintings date from 1100 and considered to be the most complete in Britain and include some 40 different subjects. A report by the Courtauld Institute of Art says that sticky cobwebs are pulling flakes of paint from the walls and that th spiders are dislocating fragile sections by scurrying over them and depositing their draglines. The cobwebs cannot just be brushed away because significant amounts of painting will disappear with then. There are 19 species of spiders in the church, including the common house spider. The report recommends extermination. (The Times, 13 April 1998).
OTHER SOCIETY’S LECTURES
THURSDAY 14 MAY 1998. 6.30pm. Whitehall Palace excavations, 1938-1964. By Simon Thurley, Director of the Museum of London. Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, ECZY 5124. (LAMAS. Visitors welcome).
FRIDAY 15 MAY 1998. 7.3Opm for 8pm. The anatomy theatre of the barber surgeons of London. By Professor Denis Hill. Jubilee Hall, Junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Lane , Enfield. (Enfield Archaeological Society. Visitors welcome, 50p per person).
THURSDAY 28 MAY 1998. 7.45pm. The history of the Post Office. By Andrew Perry. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3 (Flnchley Society)
THURSDAY 25 JUNE 1998. 7.45pm. AGM followed by ‘The Avenue House estate and its trees and plants’. By Janet Durrant, Friends of the Avenue House estate. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3 (Finchley Society).