Tuesday 11 January: COLCHESTER Lecture by Kate Orr A follow up to our last summer visit.
Tuesday 8 February. . TIE SILK ROAD Lecture by Dr. Susan Whitfield
Tuesday 8 March: THE CHALK MINES OF PINNER Lecture by Ken Kirkman — Pinner Local History Society
Tuesday 12 April: TBA
Tuesday 10 May: THE ROAD TO ROME
Lecture by Mark Hassell, In the steps of a medieval pilgrim.
27 to 31 July 2005: HADAS trip to NORTHUMBRIA
Lectures start at 8.00pm in the Drawing Room at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3. Non-members £1. Tea or coffee 70p. Meetings close promptly at 10.00pm. Nearest tube station is Finchley Central.
HADAS NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES by Jim Nelhams
Following an appeal for help, I have been working for the past few weeks to transcribe HADAS newsletters in a text format. This follows the work done by Andrew Coulson in scanning them as images — effectively photocopies, It is by no means a small task and so far 100 newsletters (over 500 pages of text) have been processed. So if it is so much work, why bother? Archaeology depends a lot on the quality and accessibility of documentation. The old maxim “Knowledge is Power” is of no use to an archaeologist if the knowledge gained by any predecessors is not available as a building block for progress. We have paper copies of most if not all newsletters at Avenue House — at least three sets — but they are not indexed, so finding something in them is not easy even if you know roughly when it was published. And they do contain a lot of information. By having them stored in text form on a computer, it means that anyone with access to the HADAS web site and the appropriate password, can now search for a word or name, and get a list of all the newsletters where that appears. I have already had some feedback from one user who is finding this extremely helpful in preparing a book on the history of Hendon. The storage on computer also gives us additional security so that if the paper copies should be destroyed or damaged, we have the computer copy elsewhere. Needless to say that we must also make sure that the computer copy is itself secure.
During the process, I have learnt a lot about the history of HADAS; the various digs and other projects which were undertaken, the outings, and most important the people who contributed so much to the foundation and growth of the Society. Some of these people are still active today. I noted on recent visits to Church Farm House Museum, Hendon and to W. H. Smith at Brent Cross how many of the books on sale there showed the names of people who were HADAS members. And at the Christmas Dinner. I was able to produce the newsletters which related to the 1979 Dinner (a Roman Banquet) — slides of which were presented by Sheila Woodward. These newsletters contained instruction sheets for making your Roman costume for the occasion. Since these instructions contained diagrams, they have not as such been transcribed, but can be easily found in the images Andrew has already stored. I have used several techniques in the transcription. At the start I used a program that allowed me to read the newsletter into a microphone and the program then did its best to translate my voice into words in a word processor. This gave some problems, since a lot of the more technical words were not in the computer’s dictionary, and I had to type those, but it got over 90% of the words correct. Some interesting misinterpretations arose: Fortifications came out as 40 vacations, Broxbourne came out as frog’s spawn, and a visit to Avebury came out as a visit to a brewery! (Now that sounds like a good outing! — BB). Gradually, as the age of the paper decreased and the quality improved, I was able to change to a scanning process, with rather better success, though occasional fading still gives a problem. A piece of Finchley history came out as a PIE of Finchley history. And the next article was headed “Food for Thought!” So I am now up to November 1979 — only 25 years to go and the newsletters have grown from 2 pages to 10, so I don’t expect to complete this quickly. And I am sure I will have made some mistakes which ideally should be found and corrected. Christian Allen’s recent appeal for further help has not as far as I know generated any response. Certainly help would be greatly appreciated and need not require keyboard or computer skills. For example, proof-reading what has been done already. And it need not be a big commitment. Each newsletter completed gets us nearer the final goal. So if you can spare a couple of hours and would like to help, please give me a call or email. My info is at the end of the newsletter.
When Victor Jones died he left a legacy of £1000 to HADAS “to start a fund for a Borough of Barnet Schools Archaeological Finds Collection”. Church Farmhouse Museum are now hoping to take this project forward by making-up boxes of archaeological finds and other material from the museum and Hadas collections. These will be lent to schools for educational purposes. A bench dedicated to Brian Wrigley should be located (subject to administrative matters) on the terrace outside the Garden Room at Avenue House. There is a project in hand to rationalise and reorganise the HADAS library. The result is there will be a number of surplus library books for sale, it is hoped there will be a book sale early in the New Year, (watch this space). A resistivity survey was carried out at Pinner Golf Course in July, with useful results in connection with a demolished 17th century Manor House. Ken Kirkman of the Pinner Local History Society has approached the General Manager of the golf course with a view to digging two small trenches. Developments are awaited.
Digging in the City of the Sun: settlement archaeology in Egypt by Lynette Wilkins
The first lecture of the winter series took place at Avenue House on 12th October to a full lecture room. It was given by Lucia Gahlin, a lecturer in Egyptology for the Universities of Exeter, Bristol and Birkbeck College London. She is the Chairman of the Friends of the Petrie Museum and is responsible for editing that museum’s database of material from Tell el Amarna, a site she has worked at as Registrar of finds. Lucia began by explaining the significance of the site. It was created as a new capital, an administrative city, by pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the new name of Akhenaten early in his reign (1352-1336 BC) to reflect his sponsoring of a new monotheistic cult of the sun god Aten. He moved the capital to a new site at Amarna, equidistant from Memphis in the north and Thebes in the south (about 200 miles from each). He called it Akhet-aten ‘Horizon of the Aten’ and it is thought that the site was chosen partly because the sun rises above a cleft in the surrounding rock cliffs. The move was also a political one to reduce the influence of the powerful and rich priesthood of the god Amun, based in Thebes. Akhenaten’s queen was Nefertiti, known to millions from the beautiful painted bust of her head, now in the Berlin Museum, which was found in one of the workshops at Amarna. Much of the art of the Amarna period shows Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their daughters being given life by the rays of the Aten sun god. the site is very large — about the size of Brighton — and it was abandoned a few years after Akhenaten’s reign, when the capital moved back to Thebes in the reign of Tutankhamun, The value of the site is that it is a city in a time capsule – it was a virgin site before its foundation and has not been built on since, except for a few Romano/Christian buildings. However, the area is now being settled by local families who scratch a living farming nearby, and the site is suffering from encroachment. It extends on both sides of the Nile, with the administrative and residential buildings on the east bank and mainly agricultural land on the west bank. It is bounded by cliffs on both sides of the Nile and the perimeter is marked by 15 massive inscribed stelae cut in the rock face. The main archaeologists who have excavated at Amarna are Flinders Petrie in the 1890s (hence the excellent range of Amarna finds in the Petrie Museum) and, more recently, Barry Kemp. Flinders Petrie is often called the father of scientific archaeology for his insistence on meticulous recording of the context of the finds and his interest in technology, trade and process of manufacture — he often kept the moulds and tools he found as well as the finished goods. Since 1979, Barry Kemp has been re-discovering the site — carrying out detailed mapping and using scientific analysis. especially archeobotany to learn more about the inhabitants. He has also encouraged experimental archaeology particularly bread and beer making! The extant remains at Amarna are nowhere near as impressive at first sight as those at the more famous sites. This is because they were constructed mainly of unfired mud brick with just a casing in stone blocks, and these collapsed over the years. The stone facings have sunken reliefs, which indicate the speed with which the city was constructed. Each stone block is exactly one royal cubit in length (about 52cm). However, there are remains of many types of building along the east bank, linked by a royal avenue, or King’s Road, as well as royal tombs in one of the wadis through the cliffs. At the north of the King’s Road was the North Palace, thought to be residence of the royal women. It had beautiful painted plaster walls and much conservation effort is now being made to conserve and consolidate the mud bricks to prevent further loss. Here, inscriptions naming Meritaten, a daughter of Akhenaten, have been cut over earlier inscriptions to Kiya, a second wife and possibly mother of Tutankhamen. The pharaoh would travel in procession each morning along the King’s Road to the centre of the city, where the Great Palace is linked to residential quarters via a bridge over the King’s Road. Also nearby are the Great Aten temple and the small Aten temple. These temples are different to normal temples found elsewhere in Egypt. They are open courts, rather than roofed, and filled with a grid of many offering tables to the god Aten and there are no shrines to the god as he can be worshipped in the sky. After worshipping the god Aten in the temples, the pharaoh appeared at a window in the residence to distribute gifts to loyal officials.The unique value of Armana is in the housing area, south of the temples and the nearby workshops. Unlike other Egyptian cities which have grown with the population, Armana seems to have been planned as a garden city. The main houses are large with gardens and smaller houses for servants clustered nearby. There are remains of ovens and granaries in the gardens. The houses, both large and small, have a tri-partite plan of entrance area, public rooms and private rooms. In the workshops have been found evidence of the processes of manufacture and numerous bread moulds. Barry Kemp has re-examined the spoil heaps from earlier excavations in this area and found much that was ignored or discarded by less meticulous excavators. Lucia illustrated her talk with many beautiful slides of the site and its finds, supported by clear maps of its location and layout. Her knowledge and evident enthusiasm for Egypt, and Amarna in particular, was infectious. Responding to questions following the talk, she noted that there have been very few domestic sites excavated in Egypt as they were usually located on arable land close to the Nile. This means that any archaeology is destroyed by subsequent inhabitants. The only exceptions to this are the workmen’s villages of Deir el Medina on the west bank at Thebes and on the Giza plateau, which are atypical as they were for a specific purpose. This is what makes the domestic areas of Armana so valuable and unique. Lucia encouraged everyone to visit the Petrie Museum at University College. just behind the British Museum and recommended the Petrie web-site at www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/museum where all of the museum’s collection can be viewed.
IT’S CHRISTMAS AGAIN!! by Don Cooper
HADAS held their annual Christmas dinner on Friday, 10th December 2004 at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley. More than 45 members and their guests assembled at 19.00 for 19.30 in the Drawing Room and were treated to canapes and a welcoming glass of wine. This year instead of “turkey and all the trimmings”, a French chef (Pierre) came, introduced himself, and primed us for the wonderful meal we were about to enjoy. Dorothy as usual had prepared a table plan and recorded the different courses we had all chosen when we first applied for tickets. this was a very sensible precaution as not everybody’s memory was totally reliable!! I won’t tickle your taste buds too much by describing the various courses, however, I must mention the Hot Fondant Chocolate, which was amazing!! In the interval between the main course and dessert, the customary raffle of many prizes” took place and gradually the pile of goodies” was reduced as winners collected their reward. After the meal. Sheila Woodward gave a brilliant talk, with many slides, on a previous HADAS Christmas dinner. The dinner; which took place in 1979, was a Roman banquet with togas. authentic Roman cuisine, slaves etc. Remarkably a least half a dozen of this year’s participants had been present on that famous occasion!! They had hardly changed at all!! The talk stirred up many memories and stories of the past. It was time for “carriages” and all that remained to round off a very successful evening was to thank Dorothy Newbury MBE and all her helpers for a great evening and to wish all HADAS members and their families a HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.
Catacomb? Daily Mail 8/12/04
An ancient stone carving which was used as a headstone for a pet cat was sold at auction for more than £200,000. Johnny Beeston and his wife Ruth thought the slab, found in a quarry by stonemason Mr Beeston years before, would make a fitting memorial for their much-loved tabby, Winkle. It wasn’t until amateur historian Chris Brewchorne spotted the stone on his daily walk passed their cottage in Dawlish Walk. Somerset, that its historical importance became clear. The stone has been assessed as a rare piece of sculpture, probably from King Alfred’s reign between 871 and 899AD when he was fighting the Vikings from his base in Athelney, close to the Beestons’ cottage in Somerset. The 18 x 17in carving depicts St Peter and may once have been part of a l5ft Christian cross or on a frieze in a Saxon church. ‘It is a rare survivor of English stone carving at its best’ said specialist Alexander Kader.
Report on Resistivity Surveys at Friary Park, Barnet
Site:Friary Park, Friern Barnet N12 (Woodhouse Ward, LBB). Grid ref: TQ 2730 9270 (centre of park) History and importance of the site: Friern Barnet Lane was until the 12th century the main road from London to the north. A community sprang up in the vicinity of St James church to serve travellers on this main thoroughfare. The original St James Church is first mentioned in 1187, the present (rebuilt) church contains a possible Norman arch. Because of the place-name ‘Friern’ it is suggested that there may have been a 12th century friary in the area possibly with an associated hospital (hospitulum). The Manor House of Friern Barnet, formerly held by the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem is thought to lie close by the church or the adjacent golf-course. The eastern half of Friary Park lies in an area of possible Special Archaeological Significance. as indicated by Barnet Council and English Heritage. Dr Oliver Natelson of the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society considers the present evidence:
(1) Evidence on the ground
Two earthworks – one mound (western), and one causeway or bank (eastern) now grass-covered are present.
(i)Local people who are well acquainted with the park cannot explain these earthworks.
(ii)These earthworks do not correspond to any known structures in existing records.
(iii)The western mound has old oaks growing on the surface and at a lower level to the south of the mound. These trees are about 2 centuries old, which indicates that the mound is older still.
(2) Other possible evidence
(i)A portion of land was originally given to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem in a document signed by King John.
(ii)What the knights actually did with the land is not known. Nonetheless it is felt that the knights would have put up a building – a hospitulum. There may well have been a church. However this is speculative.
(iii)If a hospitulum was built, it would have served pilgrims on the road from London to St Albans via Muswell Hill – where there was a shrine in the Middle Ages – although the position of the shrine is now uncertain.
(iv)The parish became known as Fryan Barnet or Friern Bamet (modern spelling) on account of the Freren or brothers who occupied a Friary. However there is no documentary evidence that there really were Freren let alone a Friary.
(v)the name of this parish “Frier Barnet” (became Friem Barnet Urban District Council in the 20th Century)
(vi)Little is known of the site before about 1860.
(vii)The 1863 map shows that Friary Park and St James church land were under one ownership.
Suggested archaeological fieldwork (by HADAS): A resistivity survey may show up archaeological features such as banks, ditches, pits, postholes or foundations of earlier buildings. The natural sub-soil (probably London Clay with gravel) and how heavily the park has been landscaped in the past, may affect the readings. The park is known to have been landscaped and planted cl909.
1.The ‘eastern’ bank or causeway running between the boundary of Friern Barnet Lane and the path in front of the house called The Friary’. There are obvious earthworks and undulations in this area.
2.The western terrace — a flattened mound or terraced feature to the west of the house and the bowling green.
Results For the record the meter used was the TR Systems Ltd/CIA Resistance Meter, using grids of 20x20m, recording at 1.0m intervals. During Spring 2002 HADAS surveyed 4 grids of 20x20m squares over the bank or causeway area (1. above) and another 4 grids slightly further south west. The straight white line across the plot is a modern tarmac path. Beneath this there appears to be two curved features of high resistivity (the light areas), these seem to be of two phases. Phase 1 is an existing curved gravel (or gravel topped) bank, the stones can be seen eroding from the top surface. On the ground, the bank fades away southwest beneath the modern path, but as can be seen from the plot it continues on a straight course southwest, appearing to terminate in a (broken?) hook/circle shaped feature. This gravel feature does not appear to be natural (glacial gravels etc.), neither does it look structural similar to building foundations, although without excavation this cannot be totally ruled out. Could it be an early access road, path or coach drive leading to the former mansion house within the vicinity? The hook/circle shape feature is a strong and substantial signal, it lies on higher ground on the edge of the south westward slope. The nature of this feature is not known, possibly a dump of demolition rubble or a solid foundation? Phase 2 is the earliest feature and curves gently southwest and appears to end indistinctly in the same area as the circle above. This may be a natural gravel feature or work connected with the early landscaping of the park e.g. ponds, of which one is thought to have been in this area. The second area surveyed (2. above), the western terrace, was surveyed with one grid of 17x20m this area proved difficult to survey as it was covered by many trees, bushes and plants etc. The plot shows no archaeological features. This garden is heavily terraced and at the western end leads to a slope and then a putting green. Any archaeological features surviving here would be difficult to detect.
Future work Although there are some strong signals from the plot, no obvious building plans that can be detected, it would be advantageous in the future to test the strongest signals by excavation to determine the nature and date of the high resistance levels.
OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS by Eric Morgan
Thurs 6 Jan: 10.30am, Mill Hill Library, Hartley Avenue, NW7. The Story of RAF Hendon. Talk with coffee and biscuits, 50p.
Thurs 6 Jan: 8pm, Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. The Chelsea Physic Garden – London’s Secret Garden by Mike watts, visitors £2.
Sun 9 Jan: 2.30pm, Pubs, Pomp & Paupers – Historical Walk in High Burnet. Meet outside Barnet College, Wood St, Barnet. Cost £5.
Mon 10 Jan: 3pm, Barnet & Local History Society, Church House, Wood St, Barnet, (opposite museum). Earning a Living in Barnet c1005-2005 by Graham Javes (Hadas member).
Weds 12 Jan: 6.30pm, LAMAS, Interpretation Unit, Museum of London. A Possible Bronze-Age/Iron-Age Crannog in the Lea Valley at Edmonton by David Birchfield.
Weds 12 Jan: 8.15pm, Mill Hill Historical Society, Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. St Albans Abbey – Past & Present by Mrs Pamela Martin (Cathedral Guide).
Weds 12 Jan: 8pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner of Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8. The Dead & the Living in London in the 16th and 17th centuries by Dr. Vanessa Harding.
Mon 17 Jan: 8.15, Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries, Church End Library, 24 I lendon Lane, N3. 1936-An Incident in Cable Street-Terror in Londons’ East End by Cyril Dombey.
Weds 19 Jan: 8pm,Willesden Local History Society, Willesden Suite, Library Centre, 95 High Rd, NW10. The Naimster Collection (early paintings & sketches of Willesden) by Tim Morton & M Barres-Baker Thurs 20 Jan: 7.30pm, Camden History Society, Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, NW3. Eleanor Farjeon & Family in Hampstead by Ann Harvey.
Thurs 20 Jan: 8pm, Enfield Preservation Society, Jubilee Hall, Junction of Chase side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield. Spitalfields talk by Stuart Harvey.
Fri 21 Jan: 7pm, City of London Archaeological Society, St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3. The Death Ritual in the Middle Ages by Robert Stephenson (Colas).
Weds 26 Jan: 8pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone police station), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. The Friary Park Story from 1909 By Helen Hooper (Hadas did resistivity in the park – see this newsletter).
Thurs 27 Jan: 2.30pm, Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Rd, N3. Peru Journey by Bill Tyler (President).