Outings Friday-Sunday 12th-14th July, GALWAY WEEKEND, Now full. Contact Jackie Brookes, in case of a cancellation.
Saturday 20 July, SUTTON HOO and WOODBRIDGE, with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward.
Saturday 17 August, PIDDINGTON ROMAN VILLA & EXCAVATION, NORTHAMPTON and CANONS ASHBY with June Porges and Stewart Wild.
Lectures The new lecture season begins on Tuesday 8 October, with ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL by Dr Ann Saunders, MBE, immediate past president of HADAS.
RECENT FIELDWORK by Bill Bass
HADAS has started work here, mainly plotting out base lines and a grid for the resistivity survey. The first target is a curved bank or causeway earthwork, close to the Friern Barnet Lane side of the park. This appears to be a slightly boggy area and may explain the nature of the earthwork. The survey is to investigate the Friary aspect of the park. Was there a medieval settlement here of some kind? On Sunday 9th June we managed to survey a 20x20m square with our new resistivity meter — its first time in action. The early results show a (not unexpected) high resistivity over the bank, which appears to be made up of gravel, but also further possible features elsewhere. The work will continue through most of June.
A remarkable burial has been discovered near Wheathampstead, Herts. The spot. in a shallow valley near to the River Lea, was initially unearthed by metal detectors and subsequently reported to the authorities. The site of at least two cremations was then partly excavated by Simon West of the St Albans Museum Service. One burial in a timber cist, was a cremation placed in a glass jug, this was accompanied by an array of finds including bronze lamp holders (for a floating wick), 5-6 bronze bowls, three sets of Samian vessels from the Rhineland, strainers and paterae (flat bowls). The vessels seem to indicate a ritual feasting as part of the funeral proceedings. Other finds would have included textiles and clothing that have not survived. Iron objects when x-rayed showed 27 arrowheads, a barrel lock and casket fittings. Another find from elsewhere on the site was a human figurine, possibly a Roman goddess. A pipeline had been excavated previously in the area by the Hefts Archaeological Trust. That dig produced coin-moulds and similar finds which makes this an important site a high status villa or possibly even a palace, the area is rich in villas and temples around St Albans. The burial is dated to 80-100 AD and is similar to a late Iron-Age burial at Folly Lane in St Albans, also a rich cremation laid out in a timber hut. A Roman temple was later built over the top. An area of 100m x 200m has been geophysically surveyed around the burial in Wheathampstead with many features being identified, further work is planned for this year.
The Enfield Archaeological Society continue their back-garden dig of a possible farm near a Roman posting station on the A10. They are currently excavating ditches. property boundaries, occupation layers/cobbled floors, etc. Finds include much pottery and coins.
Stream walking in the Dollis Brook ex parte Emma Freeman
Recently three members walked along the bed of the north fork of the Dollis Brook, from Hendon Wood Lane to its source, to gain experience for a more ambitious river-walking programme. Lessons were learnt and two intriguing sites were found. EF, C Da C, AC
A Roman Temple in Greenwich Park? — May Lecture by Harvey Sheldon. Graham Javes
President of HADAS, Harvey Sheldon gave his lecture on investigations which have taken place over the past century or so into a Roman site in Greenwich Park. The site stands on the Blackheath pebble bed, at a height of 43 ft above OD at the eastern edge of Greenwich Park. Humphrey of Gloucester enclosed the park in the 1430s. Duke Humphrey built a house by the river with a watchtower behind it. His nephew turned it into a palace. It later became a royal park. Edward VI died at Greenwich, the Stuarts did much building: James I walled it and began the Queen’s House. When Time Team dug here in 1999 they were only the latest to excavate this site. In the 18th century a group of barrows, thought to be pagan Anglo-Saxon, was excavated: there is a link here with Ted Sammes’ Archaeology in Southeast England. Jones and Webster dug in 1902. other excavators followed in the 1920s, and 1970s. Jones and Webster paid no attention to stratification but produced many drawings of their finds. These included Samian bowls, flagons, a range of pots from the first and second centuries; plus some late Roman pots, a rare ivory plaque from a stool or seat, and a range of coins from Nero to the 4th century. The excavations were left open afterwards and enclosed by railings. Tesserae weathered badly and as a compromise surviving tesserae were cemented in. In the late 1970s a number of elms on the site died of Dutch elm disease and the question arose as to what to do on the mound. Philip Walker, the assistant inspector, decided to inspect the damage done by the tree roots. Non-destructive investigation was tried. Harvey was one of the excavators, who found very severe erosion. Two robbed-out walls were found. The 17th century elms had done huge damage. In addition, there had been damage by Jones and Webster, and unnamed 1920s successors. It was decided that no more trees should be planted. When Time Team were looking for a London site, Hedley Swain suggested Greenwich: the Museum of London and Birkbeck College would support a 3-day dig. The excavation in 1999 found dwarf walls for beams on top, with a ditch around — the site bigger than just the mound. Two sandstone inscription tablets were found, as was a tile stamp in two parts, inscribed PPBR (Procurators of the Province of Britannia in Londinium). This then could be a London building out here in Greenwich Park. In Jones and Webster’s time there were three theories for the site: a pay station (on account of the large number of coins found) a sort of villa, or a temple (on account of the religious finds). Our excavations strengthen the temple idea: a classical temple like the Harlow temple, with central cella and podium ambulatory. Harlow was a Romano-celtic temple where native religion was practised in a Roman building. Harvey suggested to Time Team that the temple had an apsidal end. There are many complexities that we don’t understand. Temples on hilltops are not uncommon — associated with Roman army sites, as for example at Maidenbury. The Roman army spent its time on manoeuvres: cavalry, swimming rivers and exercises in attacking enemies from uphill. The site is the first high ground from London. A large 13-14 acre fort is a possibility, the high ground of the Greenwich plateau used for military training. Time team surveyors thought they had found a new route for Watling Street going straight through the site but Harvey remains committed to the traditional route, which skirts round the park.
Launch of the HADAS Journal. by Andrew Selkirk
Our proposed dinner to launch the HADAS Journal has had to he cancelled — unwittingly we scheduled it for the Jubilee weekend, when everyone was away. This was to have been held at the site of our excavations at High Street Whetstone, which is now appropriately a Pizza Express restaurant. They have done it up very nicely and made the roof space into a dining area, where you can dine amidst the medieval roof beams: while it is possible in summer to sit out at the back, right over the site of the excavation. If anyone would like to revive the idea, and have a get-together later in the summer where we can all have a pizza and toast the excavators, perhaps you could let Tim Wilkins know on 020 8445 2401
Andrew Selkirk writes:
I wonder if I could add a brief comment and an appeal to the note on the British Archaeological Awards in the June Newsletter. As you know, I was one of the founders of the Awards, many years ago, and have always been closely associated with the Pitt Rivers Award for local archaeological societies, of which HADAS was one of the winners in the very first awards in 1977. Subsequently I have been chairman of the Book Award for 16 years — the penalty for having invented that particular award, but I have now handed it over to David Gaimster, and have instead become chairman of the Sponsorship Award for the best sponsorship of archaeology. I believe this is a terribly important award — archaeology needs sponsorship — and I want to make this year’s awards the biggest and best so far. I would be very grateful if members of HADAS could help me in this, and tip me the wink if they have any ideas for good examples of sponsorship of archaeology. This can be quite informal — just ring us on 020 7435 7517, or email me at Andrew@archaeology.co.uk — or write to the usual address. Incidentally there are now around a dozen awards — details of this year’s awards can be found on my website at www.archaeology.co.uk The Bronze Age gold cup discovered in Kent is on the front cover of the latest Current Archaeology — in glorious colour. Sutton Hoo will be the main feature of the next Current Archaeology, edited by Neil Faulkner, who has written a superb article on recent work there — this should be out before the HADAS visit.
The Grahame White hangar by Andy Simpson
Members living in the Hendon-Colindale area may have noticed that, over the past few weeks, dismantling work has finally commenced on the Grahame White hangar building on the former RAF Hendon East Camp site. This building has been derelict for many years. The RAF camp itself finally closed in 1988 and there have been various plans for use of the site. The Grahame White hangar is to be moved a few hundred yards, to the newly-expanded RAF Museum, where it will be reassembled, close to where the £4.7 million lottery- funded landmark building hangar is now taking shape. This new hangar is to be opened in December 2003. With piling complete, the new brickwork for the Grahame White building is already under construction, and it should be structurally complete on its new site by the new year. Plans for the new displays within have yet to be finalised, and I will keep members informed of developments.
Deliberations of the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group by Peter Pickering
The All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (with 129 members from both houses) has, it tells us, been buried under a mound of replies calling for action to safeguard Britain’s heritage. An overwhelming number of archaeologists and heritage professionals have voiced grave concerns about the future of Britain’s past in their submissions on the state of the country’s archaeology. The preservation and management of sites under threat from development, and from agriculture; the lack of a government strategy for protecting them; the lack of resources for recording portable antiquities; the inadequacies of PPG16, and the undervaluing of the important part played by amateur archaeologists, are among the concerns shared by the archaeological community. More than 250 individuals and organisations —ranging from national bodies and university departments to local societies (including HADAS) — have submitted detailed accounts of the problems faced by professionals and amateurs involved in archaeology. The secretary of the Group, Lord Redesdale said: ‘The response has been fantastic. We are really impressed with the standard of the replies and also pleased that so many parliamentarians are showing an interest in the cause. There is huge public interest in archaeology right now. I am confident that we really can change the way archaeology is handled in the UK. Our heritage needs protecting, and people in archaeology need government support in order to do that.’The Group now plans to use this evidence as the basis for a series of meetings at which senior figures from representative bodies will be asked to respond to questions arising from these submissions, and to produce a report in the autumn. The Group invites anyone interested to attend in an observer capacity. (Committee rooms are entered via the St Stephen’s Entrance. Please allow a few minutes for security checks on arrival.) Four select committee hearings, chaired by Professor Lord (Colin) Renfrew, are scheduled for June and July. They will be held in a House of Lords Committee Room at 10.00-12 noon, on the following dates:
18 June. State advisers on archaeology.
25 June. Non-governmental organisations and museums.
4 July. The voluntary, universities and educational sectors, and the Heritage Lottery Fund. 11 July. Government departments DCMS, DTLR and DEFRA.
A public meeting on the debate, scheduled for 6 July at the Society of Antiquaries, has been postponed until the autumn.
Public Houses in Barnet Borough by Gerrard Roots
(Church Farmhouse Museum. Greyhound Hill, Hendon, NW4 020 8203 0130) Church Farm’s summer exhibition traces the diverse history of drinking houses in our Borough — from coaching inns at High Barnet to hay pubs in Hendon — through photographs, pub equipment and ephemera. There is even a reconstruction 1960s public bar – unfortunately with no beer for sale! The exhibition continues until 1 September. Open: Monday — Thursday 10-12.30, 1.30-5. Saturday 10-1, 2-5.30. Sunday 2-5.30. Admission Free.`Urban Landscape and Development in Hertfordshire to 1800′ is the title of a conference of the Hertfordshire Association for Local History, to he held at Madingley Hall, Cambridge, 21-23 February 2003. HADAS member Dr Pamela Taylor will give a paper on ‘Boundaries, margins and the delineation of the urban: the case of medieval Barnet from the 11th century to 1850’. Other speakers are: Dr Tom Williamson, Clive Partridge, David Dean, Tom Doig, Bridget Howlett, Dr Mark Bailey, and Dr Terry Slater. Details of this and many other residential courses are contained in the new courses brochure obtainable from Madingley Hall, M 01954 280399, or on the website at www.cont-ed.cam.uk
News of Members by Graham Javes
This month we say goodbye to Jennie Cobban, who leaves Barnet to return to her native Whalley, near Clitheroe in Lancashire. Jennie dug with HADAS on many sites, particularly at Barnet and Hadley. She was a member of the HADAS committee for some years. As a member of this society and of the Barnet & District Local History Society, of which she was a committee member, Jennie represented archaeology in Chipping and East Barnet and in Hadley. She frequently spoke to the local press, writing many letters to the editor. She was vociferous over the demolition of the grade II listed Mitre stables, and subsequently had various dealings with Barnet Council and English Heritage. Members may remember her article in this newsletter about the Witch’s Cottage, which once stood in the grounds of the now defunct folk museum in Park Road, New Barnet. Her book: Geoffrey de Mandeville and London’s Camelot, Ghosts, Mysteries and the Occult in Barnet, reflects her other great interest: witchcraft. No, Jennie isn’t a witch! We wish her well in her new life. She will be greatly missed in local archaeology.
Does anyone remember?
HADAS Newsletter No 69, November 1976, reported: ‘It is hoped to survey, as a training exercise, an area in Friary Park which showed, during the very dry weather, curious and regular patterns on the ground surface’. We should very much like to know where these markings arc. We would like to hear from anyone who remembers anything about this, or other fieldwork, in Friary Park. Please contact Graham Javes or Bill Bass.
ROMAN HENDON — ANOTHER PIECE OF THE JIGSAW
REPORT ON DRAINAGE EXCAVATION AT MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY’S HENDON CAMPUS, AND SOME THOUGHTS ON ‘ROMAN HENDON’ by Stephen Aleck and Andy Simpson
This article is by way of a draft for a fuller version to be submitted for the second issue of the HADAS Journal, discussing site watching at the University and the accumulated evidence for Roman Hendon. In the meantime, comments, pet theories, and additions are most welcome. Please write to Andy Simpson, Flat 36, Scottwell Drive, off Crossway, Colindale, London, NW9 6QB. Site History The university, formerly Hendon College of Technology and later Middlesex Polytechnic, is in the centre of historic Hendon and close to the former Grove House. The site, presently known as The Paddock, is a small, fairly flat, fenced field, immediately east of the main university campus buildings, which was formerly one of the fields of Church End Farm, and is now bounded on the south by the Burroughs, and to the cast by Church End. When in the 1750s Greyhound Hill was known as Hall Lane, the site was known as Hall Field. Now a park, part of the university grounds, it was still used as cow pasture in 1964 and in the 1950s for pigs. The Georgian farm with its barn dated 1750 and ruined older building bombed in the 1939-45 war, which lay immediately north of The Paddock, was demolished in the 1960s to provide extra space for the College. It is shown on a map of 1756 as John Coles’ Farm. Roman finds are concentrated on this area of Hendon, with first to fourth century pottery and building material from HADAS digs at Church End Farm, Church Terrace, and Church Farm House, and in the nineteenth century in the grounds of Grove House. HADAS previously excavated some trial trenches in The Paddock in 1964, but found no Roman material, only evidence of geological strata, reaching thick blue clay at a depth of seven feet, and an eighteenth century shoe in the clay.
The Works In August/September 1998 a new foul sewer was constructed, heading roughly east through the University site, through The Paddock, connecting into the existing main sewer under Church End. HADAS did not become aware of the trench running through the lower university buildings until it was virtually completed, since the work could not be seen from the public highway. By early September 1998 trenching work had reached The Paddock. The depth of the drain trench was approximately three metres. The sewer in Church End is apparently six metres deep. There is a manhole in The Paddock, close to the Church End fence, where the depth increases to six metres. The track of the drain through The Paddock was initially partially cleared of topsoil for a depth of about 200mm, over a width of some six metres. The removed topsoil was stockpiled nearby for later reuse. Because the ground is poor the method of digging involved shoring the trench with steel sheets immediately it was dug, with little opportunity to inspect sections therefore. Access HADAS member Stephen Aleck obtained permission from the University and contractor to conduct a watching brief, and he made visits throughout September 1998, (plus one by several HADAS ‘Digging Team’ members) to check topsoil and flower beds for finds – on that occasion, only post medieval material was noted.
Geology The Geological Survey map shows Dollis Hill glacial sand/gravel over London clay. The topsoil is sandy loam averaging 300mm in depth, but deeper in places. The subsoil is basically gravel, with flint nodules and large inclusions of boulder clay. This complies with the geological description, contrary to the contractor’s belief that it is made-up ground. Thick blue clay was recorded in the 1964 excavation.
Finds Stephen Aleck recovered finds on two visits, on the 2″ and 11th September 1998. Nothing was noted in the sub soil, either in the trench or in the spoil heaps. From the topsoil, both in situ and spoil heaps, were recovered fragments of post-medieval red brick, typically coarse red fabric peg-tiles and other tiles, wine bottle glass (jive piece of base) modern stoneware, two sherds of porcelain, and several sherds of mostly coarse red earthenware (PMR) which included two sherds of better quality ‘Manganese’ glazed ware; also, most notably, a large piece of 33mm thick, sandy red fabric Roman brick (ERIC), 10cm long, with part of one face intact. Material from the surface of a rose bed in the middle of the field, collected on the 2nd September included a 35mm long rim sherd of first/second century Verulamium Region White Ware (VRW) from the flowerbed surface, together with four sherds of modern stoneware, a half base sherd of a modern yellow glazed earthenware jar, plus two other sherds, a severely abraded rim sherd of orange-brown coarse fabric with small gritty inclusions, 45mm long with traces of burning or soot blackening along the rim, of seventeenth- eighteenth century date, the other of similar date from a coarse red London type earthenware greenish-brown internally glazed tripod pitcher sherd with grey reduced core and base tripod scar. Interestingly, there is a sherd of very similar glaze and fabric from topsoil elsewhere on the site, which could be from the same, or a similar, vessel. Curiously, there was no clay pipe and no ‘Willow Pattern’!
Discussion There is a growing corpus of recorded Roman material — coins, burials, pottery and building material — centred around the plateau on which stands the thirteenth century St Mary’s parish church on the high ground (a hilltop 87m abo e O.D, the highest point in Hendon). It is on the glacial sands and boulder clay that supports this histori core of Hendon and the surrounding fertile, undulating and once well-wooded area. The Hendon placename (Handone in the Domesday book) is derived from the Old English ‘At The High Down’. It is also suggested that the ancient name Sunny Hill (the name of the local park) may have been connected with pagan worship, perhaps of the sun. In addition to the Roman tile and pottery recovered from The Paddock in 1998 and recorded above, similar material is now recorded from Church End Farm, Church Farmhouse Museum opposite, and Church Terrace close to The Paddock and on the opposite side of the church to the other two sites. Slightly further away is the Roman cremation burial at Sunny Gardens Road. All are discussed in the following section.
ROMAN HENDON THE EVIDENCE
The HADAS excavations at Church End Farm (TQ 2280 8940), now covered by Middlesex University, in 1961-66 recorded, along with some thirteenth century pottery and much 17th century material, a residual fragment of second-third century bowl from a layer of disturbed rubble, plus one possible piece of Roman tile. Further post-excavation work by HADAS members and Jacqui Pearce of Birkbeck College, University of London on the finds from this site in 2001-2002 recorded two additional sherds of Roman pottery, one being a piece of fourth century Alice Holt type. See HADAS Newsletter 373, April 2002. Thanks also to Jacqui Pearce for her personal comment on this and The Paddock pottery. The 1973-74 HADAS excavations at Church Terrace — the area of the present Meritage Club (TQ2289 8953) found at the north western edge of the site, closest to Church End, a small concentration of some two dozen sherds of late third or early fourth century Roman ceramics. This included the well known moulded coarse redware face-flagon neck, possibly of local manufacture, and other pottery and three pieces of building material (CBM) — two being broken Tegulae tile (TEG) and one brick (BRIC). The pottery consisted of coarse red ware, two sherds of imitation Saurian, colour coated (possibly Nene Valley) and grey wares. Sammes makes the interesting point that also found were fragments possibly from the wide-mouthed section of a multiple vase; these and face-flagons have associations with religious beliefs, commenting ‘it is very tempting to take these two finds together and suggest that there was a ritual site at Hendon’. No Roman structures were identified. Also found was Saxon material, including nearly 400 grams of eighth-ninth century coarse grass tempered pottery in a ditch adjacent to the parish church of St. Mary, running parallel to Greyhound Hill. Like the ditch found at the rear of Church Farmhouse Museum in the 1990s, this remained open into the medieval period. There was also the well known, and rare, copper alloy pin with double spiral head. St Mary’s (TQ2287 8956) may be of Saxon origin — a priest is mentioned in the Domesday Book entry for Hendon (thereby suggesting the existence of a church), the parish being recorded in a charter (possibly forged) as being in the possession of Westminster Abbey by AD 959. Also found were probable Saxon burials and two fragments of a twelfth-thirteenth century Purbeck marble grave slab matching the date of the existing earliest church fabric. (The church was first built around 1080; it also has a twelfth century stone font, and foundations of a twelfth century chancel were possibly found 1929-31) The three seasons of HADAS excavations in the 1990s to the rear of the present seventeenth century Church Farmhouse Museum at 83-85m O.D. (TQ2283 8958) — See report by Bill Bass in HADAS Journal Volume 1, 2002, recorded nine sherds of residual and abraded Roman pottery, and also several pieces of Roman tile from Saxon/medieval ditch fills. These included three mid first-mid second century Verulamium Region White Ware (VRW) sherds matching the Paddock sherd and pieces of brick/bonding tile, with a preponderance of BRIC and two relatively small pieces of TEG roofing tile, one of them flanged. [To be continued next month]
Erosion washes away Orkney’s heritage
We are pleased to note that Julie Gibson, one of our Orkney guides in 2000, is now county archaeologist for Orkney. The Times interviewed her for a feature article on the damage and threat resulting from coastal erosion and climate change, to some of the important heritage sites. Already ‘sections of Bronze Age sites have been sucked into the sea, skeletons have been washed out of Iron Age burial chambers and part of a Viking grave ship, uncovered on the island of Sanday during a storm in 1991, has disappeared without trace’. Skara Brae too is under threat. The 1926 sea wall is crumbling and a new wall is needed. Archaeologists are considering the implications of moving the entire settlement to a new site, before the sea breaks round the back and turns it into an island. Meanwhile The Orkney Archaeological Trust, whose chairman is Daphne Lorimer, is urging the government to provide substantially increased funding. [Source: The Times, Feb 18 2002, p 11; with thanks to Audree Price-Davies.] This May, Chipping Barnet MP Sir Sydney Chapman saw his National Heritage Bill receive the royal assent. The main provision of this Bill is to transfer responsibility for marine archaeology from the Department of Culture Media and Sport to English Heritage. Presumably Scottish Heritage acquired responsibility at the same time for Scotland. [Source: Barnet & Potters Bar Times, May 23, 2002, p 23] From our member in the Orkneys, by Daphne Lorimer:
The Orkney Archaeological Trust (OAT) is in partnership with Orkney College in the development of a one- year Masters Course in Archaeological Practice. Orkney College is the lead college in this course which is also taught by staff from The Highlands and Islands University partners Shetland College, North Highlands College and the International Centre for Islands Technology of Heriott Watt University, Orkney. It is an exciting course and Orkney is an exciting place to study. It starts in February 2003 and OAT has provided a number of bursaries to cover fees. For further information, apply to: Jane Downes, Orkney College, East Road, Kirkwall, KW15 1LX . IP, 01856 569000