Tuesday 10 June 8pm ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Held in the Drawing Room, ground floor, Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3. The meeting will close promptly at 10pm, after discussion and coffee. Buses, including the 82, 143, and 326 pass close by, and it is a five minute walk from Finchley Central Tube station.
Wednesday 4 July — Sunday 18 July. Long weekend in Cumbria. Now full. If you want to go on the waiting list, please ring Jackie Brookes (020 8349 2253).
Saturday 7th August OUTING to the Lewes area with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward
Saturday 4th September OUTING to Colchester with June Porges and Steward Wild Application forms for outings are sent out with the Newsletter the month prior to the event
A Proper Acknowledgment by Ann Saunders
Historic Scotland has just published a sizable volume entitled The Heart of Neolithic Orkney: World Heritage Site Research Agenda. Edited by Jane Downes, Sally M. Foster and C.R Wickham-Jones with Jude Canister. It is dedicated to “Daphne Home Lorrimer, prime mover in the setting up of the Orkney Archaeological Trust and Chairman of the Trust 1996-2004.” The report can be downloaded from www.hislimic-scotland.Gov.uk/orkneyresearch. A free hard copy may be requested from Historic Scotland on 0131 668 8638.
Sutton Hoo and the Horse Burial by Rob Johnston
Opening her talk, Angela Evans took us on a brisk canter through some of the known origins of horse gear and riding skills; from the steppes of the Huns and Vandals to the cavalry of the Roman empire, and finally to the British Celt and East Anglia in the late sixth century to the first quarter of the seventh century. The engaging and interesting presentation showed remarkable finds in the grave of a horse of about 14 hands, buried next to the more modestly furnished grave of a young Anglian warrior, with a sword and shield, two spears, haversack and a pot of food. Rich gear interred with the horse was to accompany his master into the afterlife with his pagan goods. We saw the bridle gear, bit and snaffle, the arrangements of the reins, controlling head straps reconstructed and revealed by the skills and knowledge of the British Museum conservators. The fittings were of iron, copper alloy, tinned and gilded. Their decoration was a fine example of early English metal working skills, creative and sophisticated designs, borrowing and adapting Swedish and Celtic forms and incorporating them into fresh and lively English art forms. The Anglo-Saxons loved garnets and here they glinted redly through the centuries from their gold leaf insets, with ivory and mother of pearl. These trade goods, travelled hundreds of miles and passed through a dozen hands, perhaps from Germany, India and North Africa, to adorn the horse of a young warrior in a young England. Finally we visited the contemporaneous Mildenhall/Lakenheath warrior and horse burial, sharing the same grave space with again very rich grave goods for the horse. To be published soon under the name of Eriswell, an account of this discovery will be an interesting furthering of our knowledge begun this evening.
Looking at the past: a guide to resources.
A brochure with the above title has been produced recently by the University of London and the Greater London Archives Network (GLAN), thanks to generous funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (11FICE) Active Community Fund. The brochure is designed to meet the information needs of the general public as well as local historians, genealogists and archaeologists. The booklet describes some of the most useful resources to be found in record offices and offers advice on accessibility. It includes notes on illustrations: census returns, parish and probate records; maps and plans; directories; business and institutional records; newspapers and printed ephemera; architectural, engineering and maritime records. Additional notes mention the merger in 2003 of the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form the National Register of Archives (NRA). www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Useful websites for finding archives on particular subjects and their whereabouts are www.aini25.ac.uk and www.a2a.pro.gov.uk. It is intended that the brochure is widely disseminated and comments are invited.. It can be downloaded from http://www.ull.ac.iik/news/award_past.shtml# or from the Greater London Archives Network www.hinc.20v.uk/olan Further copies are freely available from Christine Wise, Head of Special Collection, University of London Library, (ULL) Senate House, Malet Street, London, WCIE 7HU (020 7862 8471) The ULL is keen to foster links with local groups and would welcome visits and volunteers to work with original archival documents and manuscripts.
Historic Landscape Characterisation: Hertfordshire and Beyond by Isobel Thompson
Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) is a national campaign, sponsored by English Heritage in partnership with county councils. Its purpose is to build a framework for understanding whole landscapes (not just individual historic buildings or archaeological sites), in their historical dimension as well as how they appear now. It supports and provides information to development control, to help make better decisions on managing change in the historic environment. It is also very useful for research. To date almost every county in England has completed, started, or planned an HLC project. Each is carried out at county level, but the counties are organised in regions: Hertfordshire is part of the east of England region, together with Beds, Bucks, Cambs, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. The project for Hertfordshire involved the historic mapping of the county to compile a visual history of land use from the 18th century until AD 2000, and producing a layered map of this data broken down into 35 different character types. Historic maps record alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries, piecemeal or formal (Parliamentary), and in the 20th century further alterations including hedge removal, and enclosures alongside motorways. Besides different types of field, character types include pasture, common, and heath; ancient woodland, and 19th-20th century planted woodland; industrial types, notably mineral extraction; water bodies including reservoirs, and especially watercress beds in Hertfordshire; historic parks, and 20th century types such as motorways, golf courses, airfields, and others. All built-up settlement is treated as one character type. A very complex picture emerges, with much built-up and much 20th century alteration, but also a surprising amount of land, which has survived unaltered since at least the 18th century. There are landscapes of ancient fields, historic parks and ancient woodland and even some surviving unenclosed common arable. A good deal of historic survival is visible at the south end of the county, close to the Greater London boundary. In some areas ‘co-axial’ boundaries have been investigated archaeologically; they may have first been laid out in the Bronze Age, and appear to be largely pastoral. This characterisation was taken further, defining larger areas of distinct character. The fundamental principle in this definition is that of change in the landscape over time: the degree of change (how much, and how often), and the nature of those changes. It proved possible to define 210 character areas, each of which has a dominant character type and distinct boundaries. They fall into four groups: those dominated by ancient irregular fields (many with scattered historic parks, and often with ancient woodland); those dominated by co-axial type fields, also often with ancient woodland; those with a history of formal enclosure of common arable; and other areas which are not dominated by field type at all, such as river valleys and motorways. Those character areas, which have undergone more than 50% alteration of field boundaries, are distinguished (these areas are not as extensive as might have been thought.) Each of these 210 areas offers potential for local research into the historic landscape: why is it so? Why are the area boundaries where they are? How does the area relate to, for example, the Sites & Monuments Record, and other data sets? Further questions arise at county boundaries. It would be surprising if the character areas did not project into neighbouring counties. Greater London is surrounded by counties which have completed HLC projects. It would be wrong to think that London does not need one, as it is built over. But there is much green belt land at the edges. The southern edge of Hertfordshire is a patchwork of urban settlement interspersed with much ancient unaltered land, and the open land within Greater London is unlikely to be different. A project design is being worked out for a pilot stage, which includes the whole landscape, built up and open, of Greater London. This pilot stage will cover the boroughs of Waltham Forest, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. It is vital for the same kinds of data to be recorded in each borough, which will also enable London to be compared with its surrounding counties. This is where local societies within Greater London might be able to help. Funding for the pilot stage is likely to be found, but further funding may be more difficult. HLC coverage, however, is needed sooner rather than later, and meanwhile local societies could perhaps do some of the basic map work. This would begin with finding out what historic maps (printed and other) exist for each borough, and local knowledge and interest would be particularly useful. Access to a GIS program would not be necessary; knowing what information to record would be.
Oldest Rock Art in Britain
Hard evidence that the engravings of women and extinct creatures at Creswell Crags are more than 12,800 years old is published today, making them Britain’s oldest rock art. Creswell Crags, on the Notts/Derbyshire border, is riddled with caves, which contain preserved evidence of human activity during the last Ice Age. Recently, engravings were found on the walls and ceilings depicting animals, such as the European Bison, now extinct in Britain; female dancers or birds, and intimate female body parts. Dating rock art is difficult, however scientists from Bristol, Sheffield and the Open University were able to measure minute traces of uranium in thin limestone crusts that had coated the engravings. The results establish once and for all the authenticity and Ice Age antiquity of the rock art. They will be discussed by Alistair Pike tomorrow [23.4.20051 at the British Rock Art Group conference at Bristol University. (Daily Telegraph 22.4.2005).
Membership renewal by Mary Rawitzer
If you normally pay by cheque and we have not yet had your payment you will find a reminder note enclosed with this Newsletter. Unless we hear from you during June we will not send out any further Newsletters or meetings notices.
Spare Newsletters needed by Mary Rawitzer
We seem to have been over-zealous in throwing away spare copies of our Newsletters. Normally a few recent ones are kept for our Library at Avenue House and also to send to new members. Now the British Library, which always gets a copy of each issue, has written to say that they haven’t had one since last September. We believe the problem lies with them not ourselves, but we still need to find extra copies to replace those that have been mislaid. Of course, that’s when we realised that we don’t actually have spare copies of the September, October, and November 2004 issues, nor for January and February this year. If anyone could give us this set, could they please let me have them, or phone to check with me. My address and phone number are on the back of the Newsletter.
Fifty Years of Church Farmhouse Museum (30 April-4 September 2005) by Gerrard Roots
Church Farmhouse Museum celebrates its 50’h anniversary this summer, and to mark the occasion, is looking back at some of the hundreds of temporary exhibitions held at the Museum since 1955, in line with the theme of this year’s Museums and Art Galleries Month — The Art of Collecting. Our anniversary show concentrates on some of those exhibitions which were either based entirely, or which drew extensively, on private collections — from jigsaw puzzles to Donald Sinden, from teddy bears to the Spanish Civil War. In addition, there are displays on the history of the Museum and its own collections. There is also a case of finds — kindly arranged by Bill Bass — from the excavations in the Museum garden carried out by HADAS in the 1990s. (It is also hoped that HADAS will arrange another small dig in the garden during the summer). With toys for little ones to play with, a ‘design a poster’ competition for older children, and events in the garden during the school holidays, the exhibition is our way of saying thank you to Church Farm’s donors, lenders, supporters and — above all — its hundreds of thousands of visitors over the past half-century. For further details please ring 020 8203 0130 or visit the Friends of the Museum’s website at www.churchfarmhousemuseum.co.uk.
Overheard in a Bus
“I can’t hear a thing. I really must go to the archaeologist about my ears!” (Quoted in Thanet Club’s Newsletter. Ilearing Concern. Spring 2005).
OTHER SOCIETIES EVENTS by Eric Morgan
Tuesday 15 June 8.15pm The Bishop’s Hunting Park at Highgate. Speaker: Malcolm Stokes, member of HADAS. Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, 11 South Grove, Pond Square, Highgate N6.