HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming Lectures and Events.
Tuesday 8th April – Lecture by Peter Davey (Bristol Tram Photograph Collection) “Clifton Rocks Railway.”
Tuesday 13th May – Lecture by Angela Wardle (MOLAS Finds Specialist) “Finds from Roman London.” Angela hopes to present some results of a Roman London glass-working project, and talk about the Roman London website, with an on-line finds catalogue.
Saturday 17th May -Outing to Avebury and Bath with Liz Tucker and Micky Watkins. Application form enclosed.
Tuesday 10th June – Annual General Meeting.
Saturday 5th July -Outing to West Sussex (Details to follow in later newsletter.)
Wednesday August 27th – Sunday August 31st 2008: Annual HADAS Long Weekend – Staying at Bishop Burton College near Beverley, Yorkshire. See February Newsletter for details.
As ever, lectures and the AGM take place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. Events begin at 8pm. Non-members £1. Tea, coffee and biscuits 80p. Fifteen-minute walk from Finchley Central tube station; several nearby bus routes; limited parking.
Lecture Scribes Needed by Stephen Brunning
Would you be willing to write up the lecture for the HADAS newsletter on a regular basis?
An important regular feature of the newsletter is the lecture reviews. These are enjoyed by members who for whatever reason are unable to attend on a Tuesday night.You will not be required to stick to a particular month (unless you want to!), and once completed you will not be asked to do so again the same lecture season. If you can help, please get in touch with Stephen Brunning (contact details on back page of this newsletter). Thank you.
Tutankhamun – The Life and Times of the Boy Pharaoh by Peter Nicholson
Members may be interested in this course of six classes examining the events involving Tutankhamun and the Amarna period of the New Kingdom, one of the most controversial periods in the history of Ancient Egypt. You will study the new Aten religion; the Amarna art style; controversies over the lineage of the Amarna royal family and the relations with other Near Eastern kingdoms. We will investigate the questions surrounding Tutankhamun’s death and the excavation of his tomb. No curse comes with this course! The course is arranged by the Mill Hill Archaeological Study Society Tutor: Scott McCracken Time: 10:00-12:00 Friday mornings beginning 4th April 2008 Venue: Small Hall, Harwood Hall, at the top of Mill Hill Broadway Cost £40.00 Enrol at the first meeting or for further details contact Peter Nicholson, Secretary, Mill Hill Archaeological Study Society 020 8959 4757
HADAS at work on an old excavation
Almost every Sunday morning HADAS members fill the small Garden Room at Avenue House working through a collection of finds made in 1972 and the accompanying documentation and photographs. The material comes from an excavation in Burroughs Gardens almost opposite the former White Bear Public House (now itself a sorry sight). We had no idea when we started how important this archive was going to turn out to be. The excavation was not as well supported by members as HADAS digs in the 1960s and 70s usually were, and in the time available the site certainly did not reveal all its secrets -no early structures were recorded. But there is a wealth of pottery, of all periods from Saxon to very recent, glass and clay pipe fragments, coins (mostly losses over the last hundred years from patrons of the public house that used to adjoin the site) and an intriguing plaque with the likeness of Charles James Fox, the controversial Whig statesman who was an anti-slavery campaigner and who sympathised with the Americans in the War of Independence and with the French revolutionaries – an indication perhaps of political views held in eighteenth century Hendon. The quantity of early pottery on this site is paralleled at Church Terrace but not, as far as we know, on intervening sites, which suggests that there were two separate small early settlements. When the analysis of all this material has been completed – and the records are good but set a number of puzzles, for instance in reconciling the plans and the photographs – the results will be published in some way, and the archive will probably be deposited at the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre. If any members have recollections of the dig, or pictures connected with it, Bill Bass (020 8449 5666, firstname.lastname@example.org)would be very happy to hear from them.
Hadrian will follow the Chinese Warriors at the British Museum
The next exhibition in the British Museum’s historic Reading Room will open on 4 July and run until 26 October 2008. It will be entitled “Hadrian: Empire and Conflict.” According to the British Museum’s publicity it will explore the life, love and legacy of Rome’s most enigmatic emperor, Hadrian (reigned AD 117–138). “Ruling an empire that comprised much of Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East, Hadrian was a capable and, at times, ruthless military leader. He realigned borders and quashed revolt, stabilising a territory critically overstretched by his predecessor, Trajan. “Hadrian had a great passion for architecture and Greek culture. His extensive building programme included the Pantheon in Rome, his villa in Tivoli and the city of Antinoopolis, which he founded and named after his male lover Antinous. “This unprecedented exhibition will provide fresh insight into the sharp contradictions of Hadrian’s character and challenges faced during his reign. “Objects from 31 museums worldwide and finds from recent excavations will be shown together for the first time to reassess his legacy, which remains strikingly relevant today.”
New exhibition at Church Farm Museum by Don Cooper
The new exhibition at Church Farm Museum is a bit of a mystery! It highlights the work of Sidney Paget, whose centenary it is this year. Know who Sidney Paget is? I must confess that he had slipped my mind as well!! But I should have remembered as I loved Conan Doyle’s books when I was younger. It was Paget who created the now-iconic image of Sherlock Holmes – the hawk-like features, the pipe, the deerstalker cap and Inverness cape. Paget died in 1908, and is buried in Marylebone cemetery in Finchley, and so Church Farm Museum are commemorating the centenary of his death with an exhibition of his drawings, along with Sherlockian (is there such a word?) memorabilia, and clues to some of the most famous stories. The exhibition had its preview on Sunday, 9th March 2008. As well as the usual dignitaries – deputy mayor, etc. – members of the Paget family came along to look at the work of their forbear. Catherine Cooke, curator of the Sherlock Holmes collection at Marylebone library spoke of Paget’s work and how influential an illustrator he was. Interestingly, British films of the Sherlock Holmes stories, of which there are many, all use the Sidney Paget illustrations to base their Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on, whereas the American (Hollywood) films of the stories make up their own view of what they looked like! Basil Rathbone (14 Sherlock Holmes films) and Jeremy Brett (9 TV episodes and films) are shown in the advertising posters in poses taken directly from the illustrations by Sidney Paget. Do visit the exhibition, which is on until 5th May 2008. It is really well done, Gerrard Roots, his staff and all involved are to commended for fascinating display. It will bring back memories of both the books and the films.
January Meeting by Peter Pickering
At our January meeting Kate Sutton, the Finds Liaison Officer and Community Archaeology Officer at the Museum of London, told us about her work. As Finds Liaison Officer under the Portable Antiquities Scheme she identifies, records and then hands back objects brought into the Museum by people who have found them, while metal-detecting, mudlarking by the Thames or otherwise. The records are important for future researchers, and much information had been gained that would otherwise have been lost for ever since objects left in ploughland decay and become degraded by continual ploughing; unfortunately, because most of the artefacts brought to the Museum are from metal-detecting there is a bias towards metal objects in the records – Kate tries to counteract this bias by encouraging metaldetectorists to look out for and bring in non-metal objects as well. Occasionally objects are brought in that are ‘treasure’ as defined in the Treasure Act 1996, and the Coroner and the Treasure Valuation Committee are involved. Kate showed us a fascinating selection of objects. It is regrettable that the Portable Antiquities Scheme seems to facing an uncertain future.
As Community Archaeology Officer Kate organises community digs; she described and illustrated the one she ran in 2007 at the Michael Faraday school in Southwark. Such digs have purposes beyond the usual ones of excavation – they are for instance intended to involve the whole community (especially in this case local schools) and to instil in them an understanding of their past. Community excavations can also have a regenerative purpose. Kate showed slides of the Michael Faraday dig, with enthusiastic youngsters at work, and told us that another community dig is planned for this year.
Human Remains Issues
This note by Sebastian Payne, English Heritage’s Chief Scientist, was posted on 3rd March on the e-mail discussion list of the Council for British Archaeology: “Sunday’s article in The Observer (“Anger as burial site digs are blocked”: 2 March, p.24) has raised concerns that, following changes introduced last year by the Ministry of Justice in issuing licenses under the Burial Act, excavations of archaeological burial sites are being blocked, and that a new requirement to rebury excavated human remains within two months is causing large problems for the study of human remains. “One of these concerns is unfounded, the other very overstated. “As far as we know, no excavation of an archaeological burial site in this country has been or is being blocked as a result of last year’s changes; and the requirement to rebury within two months applies only to a small proportion of burial excavations, and is not new – it goes back to the Disused Burial Grounds (Amendment) Act 1981. “However these changes have created problems and uncertainties. The archaeological and scientific study of human remains is important to our understanding of our past, and archaeologists have a good record in aling with the ethical issues and human sensitivities involved. Subject to appropriate safeguards, it is important that archaeologists have enough time to study excavated archaeological human remains properly, and it would be regrettable if requirements to rebury made it impossible to apply new techniques such as DNA and stable isotopes to important groups of human remains excavated in the past. “English Heritage has for the last nine months been working with the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and sector representatives, including a representative from CBA, to try to resolve these problems. They result from a review of laws which are old and unclear, and it will take a little time to find the right way forward; but we are optimistic that a good outcome can be found.”
February Meeting by Victoria Baldwin
Art, Antiquaries & Archaeology – speaker Christopher Sparey-Green BA MIFA
Although this was a slightly different topic from the one we were expecting, it was an interesting and informative talk. The speaker was exploring references to the archaeology of Dorchester and the surrounding countryside by writers and poets such as John Meade Faulkner, author of ‘Moonfleet’, who may have used Lanceborough as the subject of a poem, and the Dorset dialect poet William Barnes, the Rector of Winterborne Came, but concentrating mainly on the works of Thomas Hardy. In 1610 Camden noted that Roman coins were being found in Dorchester and that these were referred to by the locals as ‘King Dorn – his pence’. Later Stukeley reported ‘much opus tesselatum found in town’. 70 mosaics were found in 80 acres, the first of which was drawn in 1725. Later works in the town uncovered a Roman cemetery in 1838. Nearby Maiden Castle, Maumbury Rings in the town, and the numerous barrows in the surrounding countryside are evidence of the even earlier inhabitants of the area.
Thomas Hardy was born in Bockhampton in 1840 and at the age of 15 began work with a local architect. In 1866 he was in London and given the task of moving the burials from the churchyard when St Pancras station was being built. Apparently he found this an unpleasant job. Subsequently he moved back to Dorchester and began writing. 1870 he was back in London again, living near Tooting Common, but returned to Dorchester in the 1880s. In 1885 he moved to Max Gate which he had designed. He noted in a letter that during the building a 1st century burial was uncovered and another five were decapitated. Hardy was one of only two people to have seen the remains in situ before lifting. He documented the finds, noting the orientation of the bodies and even the remains of food in the pots. In Hardy’s works Dorchester appears as ‘Casterbridge’, Puddletown Heath and Moreton Heath are Egdon Heath, and Rayne Barrow is mentioned in ‘The Return of The Native’. Perhaps the most intriguing is the earthwork in the short story ‘A Tryst At An Ancient Earthwork’ written in 1885. In the story the narrator has been asked if he would like to accompany a local antiquarian on a night time trip to verify the latter’s theory of a Roman presence at a major earthwork. Is this earthwork really Maiden Castle? The narrator mentions a warning notice on the way to their destination. Maiden Castle had recently been made an Ancient Monument (no. 1A for Dorset). In the story they find the Roman evidence which the antiquarian is seeking and rebury their finds. At Maiden Castle, Roman material was not found until Mortimer Wheeler’s excavations. We were left to ponder the possibility that Thomas Hardy was writing from experience and had actually attended a similar illicit excavation.
===Archaeology ’08 at the British Museum 9th and 10th February 2008 by Peter Pickering ===
I went to this conference, arranged by ‘Current Archaeology’ and ‘Current World Archaeology’, the magazines founded by Andrew Selkirk, who was for many years our Chairman. It was packed out, with some 500 there, but I did not see any other HADAS members – most people indeed seemed to be readers of the magazines who lived all over the country and who were making a London weekend of it. The theme was ‘The best of British Archaeology, at Home and Abroad’. There were two parallel sessions, in the Museum’s two lecture theatres. Both looked very interesting, but I had to choose. On Saturday I decided to give the Romans priority over the prehistoric, and listened to a series of papers on individual sites – Caerleon, Silchester, and South Shields, and on important finds, most reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme – votive objects from the bed of the river at Piercebridge and over fifty finger rings bearing the enigmatic inscription TOT (probably witnessing to a cult of the Celtic god Totatis), and almost all from the territory of the Corieltavi. This was followed by four papers on what the Romans did for us, in which Mark Hassall and Neil Holbrook (of Cotswold Archaeology) were pitted against David Mattingly and Neil Faulkner (who entitled his talk ‘A System of Robbery with Violence’).
There was much more in the conference than the Romans: metal detectorists have found Iron Age gold jewellery near Winchester and cauldrons near Swindon (a lesson here on how difficult it can be to get the finance for the proper excavation which such unplanned finds warrant); finds of Viking brooches in Lincolnshire have suggested not bloodthirsty war-bands but peasant women from Denmark; Martin Carver has discovered a civilised monastery in deepest Pictland. And from abroad I heard papers on Sidon, Roman and Byzantine Nazareth, Butrint, the lack of archaeological evidence for an opulent Solomonic Jerusalem, and water management in the Near East.
Nor were general themes ignored. Andrew Selkirk took us through forty years of Current Archaeology and Tim Taylor through the shorter but still impressive history of Time Team; while Mark Horton, more worryingly, implied that the BBC had gone off archaeology, and that the series ‘Coast’ only managed to being archaeology in by some dissembling. Julian Richards addressed the whole conference; he spoke about the importance of engaging with the widest public, and of communicating the adventure of archaeology to all; he clearly saw his talk as inspirational, but I have to say that I found it somewhat patronising towards genuine amateur participation and archaeological societies. The session at which Peter Hinton (of the Institute of Field Archaeologists), Tom Welsh (on the independent perspective) and Gabe Moshenska (from University College London) all spoke and joined in a panel discussion was far more constructive. NB. In this report I have ignored the sessions I did not personally attend, some of which, such as ‘The Archaeology of Modern Conflict’ would have been of great interest to some HADAS members I know.
Other Societies’ Events by Eric Morgan
Wednesday 2nd April 5pm British Archaeological Association. Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly W1 ‘Hanoverians and Archaeology?’ Talk by Dr Thomas Cocke. Tea at 4.30pm.
Thursday 3rd April 8pm Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. ‘Mediaeval Marriage.’ Talk by Dr Rose-Mary Horrox. Visitors £1.
Saturday 5th April 11am – 5.30pm LAMAS Archaeology Conference. Wilberforce Lecture Theatre, Museum in Docklands, West India Quay E14. Pre-booking advisable. For details see March newsletter.
Wednesday 9th April 8pm Hornsey Historical Society. Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park N8. ‘Hornsey Life in Maps.’ Talk by Peter Barber. Refreshments 7.45 pm. Visitors £1 Thursday 10th April 8pm LAMAS. Terrace Room, Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2. ‘The Rise and Fall of England’s mediaeval Jews.’ Talk by Dr Richard Huscroft. refreshments 6pm.
Friday 11th April 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/Junction Chase Side, Enfield ‘The Excavations and Fieldwork of EAS 2007.’ Dr Martin Dearne and Mike Dewbrey. After AGM.
Monday 14th April 3pm Barnet and District Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street Barnet (opposite Museum) ‘Gloriana – the Iconography of Elizabeth and her Court.’ Talk by Collette McMenamin.
Wednesday 16th April 7.30 pm Willesden Local History Society. Scout House, High Road,NW6 (corner Strode Road) ‘A Trip up the Thames from Woolwich to Twickenham’ Historical talk by Jean Linwood.
Friday 18th April 7 pm City of London Archaeological Society. St Katharine Cree Church Hall Leadenhall, Street EC3 ‘Finds from the Foreshore.’ Talk by Hazel Forsyth (Museum of London).
Monday 21st April 8.15pm Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society. St Martin’s Church Hall, Eastcote Road, Ruislip. ‘The history of Mount Vernon Hospital.’ Talk by Brian Morgan. Visitors £2.
Wednesday 23rd April 8pm Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. ‘History of the Women’s Institute.’ Talk by Dorinda Diggins. Refreshments 7.45 and afterwards. Visitors £2.
Thursday 24th April 8pm Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road N3. ‘Living in Barnet – a Partnership Approach.’ Talk by Michael Lassman. Non-members £2.
Thursday 24th April 7.30 pm Camden History Society. Crowndale Centre, Eversholt Street NW1 (Opposite Mornington Crescent Station) ‘Villages of Vision: Strange Utopias’ (history of model communities including Hampstead Garden Suburb). Talk by Gillian Darley.
Sunday 27th April 11am The Battle of Barnet. Guided walk. Meet at junction of Great North Road/Hadley Green Road. Led by Paul Baker. Cost £6.
Thursday 1st May 10.30am Mill Hill Library, Hartley Avenue NW7. ‘Middlesex – the lost county.’ Talk. Coffee/tea/biscuits 50p.
Thursday 1st May 8pm Pinner Local History Society. Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. ‘Harrow’s Heritage – a progress report.’ Talk by Amy Burbage. Visitors £1.
Friday 25th April 7.45 pm St Albans and Herts Architectural and Archaeological Society. College of Law, Hatfield Road, St Albans. ‘How old is the landscape? The Age of Field Boundaries in Herts. and surrounding counties.’ Talk by Dr Tom Williamson (looking at mediaeval and pre-mediaeval patterns.)