Tuesday 8th June 2010 at 8pm at Avenue House.There will be a slide presentation looking at last year’s digs at Hendon School & at the back of Church Farm Museum, the long weekend at Hereford and how we are getting on with St Mary’s Hendon cemetery recording.
Sunday 11 July HADAS Summer Outing
Following last year’s successful Sunday outing, a Sunday has once again been chosen for
our next coach trip, a visit to Charles Darwin’s home in Kent. Recently and extensively
refurbished to celebrate two hundred years since the great man’s birth, the house and
gardens are superb. They have recently been submitted for consideration to be included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.
In the afternoon we go on to visit Lullingstone Roman Villa, another English Heritage
property that has undergone a top-class makeover in the last couple of years. There is
much more to see now than on our last visit in 1999.
Please book as soon as possible using the booking form enclosed.
12 July for 2 weeks – Digging with UCL on WWII bunker in Sunnyhill Park.
More details in the next Newsletter
HADAS long weekend to Norwich – Saturday 28 August to Wednesday 1 September.
There are still two places available. Apply to Don who is working hard for us; contact details at back of this Newsletter.
Galleries of Modern London – Launch Sue Willetts
Discover the story of the greatest city in the world at the Galleries of Modern London.
On 28 May 2010 the Museum of London unveils its spectacular £20 million Galleries of Modern London.
7000 objects, together with interactives, film and changing displays, transport visitors through London’s tumultuous history, rich with drama, triumph and near disaster. From the devastation of the Great Fire of 1666 to wonders of invention at the Great Exhibition in 1851,
the Suffragettes’ fight for voting rights to the fashions which made the sixties swing, the galleries are an experience of rebirth and renewal, of excess and struggle. They embody the creative spirit of the capital. Every artefact tells a personal story as Londoners reinvent their city and are changed by it.
Independents Day 2010. Andrew Selkirk
The Council for Independent Archaeology will be holding its next meeting in Waltham Abbey on Saturday, 14th August 2010, and I hope that many members of HADAS will be able to attend.
The Council for Independent Archaeology, which was established in 1985, sets out to promote the interests of independent archaeological societies, like HADAS. Its biannual weekend congresses alternate with one-day conferences which highlight the work of local societies in a particular region. This year, the one-day conference is being held at Waltham Abbey and is run by the very active Waltham Abbey Historical Society, and this will give an excellent opportunity to hear about the work of the Society and other societies in the area and to tell other societies what we are doing, and of the success of our evening classes.
Waltham Abbey itself has a fascinating history. The Abbey was originally intended to be the great church of King Harold who met an unfortunate end at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but who was buried at Waltham Abbey. Following his death the abbey inevitably went into something of a decline, but a century later King Henry II, in a fit of multi-culturalism, decided it was time to put Harold back on the map again and to tell the Anglo-Saxons that they were really English too, so he re-founded the Abbey as an Augustinian foundation. Today only the nave of the church survives, but Peter Huggins carried out excavations there in the 1980s (see Current Archaeology 125). At the end of the Conference he will be leading a tour of the Abbey and the surrounding areas of the town.
The cost of the Conference is £15 which includes lunch, and full details can be found on the Council’s website www.independents.org.uk
I look forward to seeing a number of HADAS members there!
Death on the (Greco-Roman) Nile; Peter Pickering
Egyptian Funerary Practices 332BC-AD130
Our last lecture of the 2009-2010 season was by John Johnson of the Egyptian Exploration Society. Its theme was the interaction between native Egyptian culture and ideas of the afterlife and those of the Greeks and Romans.
Egypt was conquered by Alexander the Great in 332BC; his general Ptolemy established a dynasty which lasted for three centuries until Egypt became part of the Roman Empire. Ptolemy indeed hijacked the corpse of the dead Alexander, so that he could be buried next to where Ptolemy himself intended to be buried, rather than with the Macedonian kings in Vergina.
Although the language and literature of the rulers and settlers was Greek, as was their culture generally, their building projects were firmly Egyptian. Their coins were Greek, but the Ptolemies were represented in sculpture as Pharaohs in the traditional way. The practice of burial as mummies in coffins decorated inside and outside with traditional Egyptian iconography spread among the Greek population. Indeed, although the very elaborate mummification procedures which had ensured the status of the Pharaonic élite in the afterlife were lightened, they were available to much wider sections of the population (some of whom had Greek names and some Egyptian). Some tombs had both Egyptian and Greek paintings on their walls, while others contained many ‘loculi’ (recesses) with false doors – much cheaper than individual tombs.
Mr Johnson produced many fascinating, and indeed gruesome illustrations (including the sacrifice of a leg of a living calf) of his theme, a theme which was made more difficult because in the past archaeological exploration in Egypt had concentrated on the earlier periods, often removing Greco-Roman levels with little recording. He noted that Greek inscriptions on mummy cases were often misspelt, and wondered if that was because of ignorance by the craftsmen, or a subtle hint that they did not think too much of these immigrants and their strange language. He suggested that the famous ‘portraits’ on mummy cases found by Flinders Petrie and others were of types rather than actual individuals – a proposition which several in the audience found it hard to accept.
At the end of the period covered in the lecture, Hadrian had his favourite Antinous, who was drowned in the Nile, commemorated in Egyptianising statues. Our speaker wondered whether the god Antenociticus, with his shrine near Hadrian’s Wall, was in fact the deified Antinous.
Mr Johnson finished his lecture with a promotion of the Egypt Exploration Society, which has done so much to forward the study of ancient Egypt. Interested members can find more about it on www.ees.ac.uk.
SOME NOTES ON LECTURES AT THE LAMAS 47th ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF LONDON ARCHAEOLOGISTS
SATURDAY 13th MARCH 2010. MUSEUM OF LONDON Andy Simpson
After a few years in the very pleasant Museum of Docklands, it was still good to return to the refurbished education wing of the Museum of London for this year’s conference.
The Thames Discovery Programme; Finds, Floods and Fabulous FROGS
Natalie Cohen, Thames Discovery Programme
…the FROGS being members of the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group set up and trained in safe practice by the project. With some 300 volunteers covering the Greater London area, this is a three year, HLF funded programme, based at UCL and the LAARC facility of the Museum of London. See www.thamesdiscovery.org Running for 18 months already, the small professional team administering the project is led by Director Gus Milne. Features recorded being uncovered, and sometimes eroded, by the Thames include gridirons at Bermondsey (with causeway) Charlton, Isleworth (with causeway), and Custom House. At Fulham/Putney an 18th –century bridge abutment was recorded. The work of Gus Milne and Mike Webber on the Thames Archaeological Survey, 1995-99 (with which CoLAS were involved) has been invaluable. Time Team excavated at Vauxhall in 2000, with Neolithic pottery being found in front of the MI5 building there along with a second Neolithic or Bronze Age causeway bridge. Chelsea has yielded Mid-Saxon fish traps along with a trepanned Bronze Age human skull. At Fulham the wooden piles of a lost 18th century bridge were plotted.
At Charlton an impressive quantity of timbers from scrapped 18th/19th century ‘wooden walls’ warships were found neatly stacked at the site of Castles Ship breakers. At Burrell’s wharf an intriguing complete18th century burial of an adolescent was found, most unusually buried on the Foreshore. Where the giant transatlantic Brunel steamship Great Eastern was launched in 1859, remains of the launch platform were recorded. On line resources include, as part of a community research project, a ‘Riverpedia’ and ‘Frog Blog’. Groups are taking responsibility for their own sections of Foreshore, e.g. at Swan Drawdock, where the other side of the 18th century Putney Bridge footings were found which formed the former bridge between Putney and Fulham.
Dan Hounsell of Network Archaeology Ltd reported work on ‘Settlement activity along the Harefield – Southall pipeline’. This was advance work ahead of construction of a new pipeline, which revealed two previously undiscovered late Iron Age and early Roman farmsteads, superseded by Roman field ditches.
Roman Cemetery at Trinity Street, Southwark
Doug Killock, Pre-Construct Archaeology
Dated c. 180AD – late 4th/early 5th century, with a ditch running through the middle of the site, this was a mix of inhumations and cremations, with triangles of skulls placed in the ditch with pottery.
Much of the site was disturbed by recent basements, with a lot of work actually being carried out within a basement, though with some outside work. Glass vessels and a pot with carbonised seed were recovered, which included grape seeds and others not as yet identified. Also found was a lead strip-reinforced wooden coffin, dated 180 – 300AD, of a type not known outside of London, though examples also recovered in the eastern cemetery of Roman London. Grave goods included glass vessels placed outside the coffin. There was evidence of cremated boots still on feet, and the spoil was metal-detected with good results, revealing 157 Roman coins, mostly fourth century in date. This is further evidence of the late survival of the Southwark ‘bridgehead’ to Roman London, with evidence of activity into the fourth/fifth century, so occupation had not simply retreated into the walled area at the time. One very late burial of c.388-402 was recorded, with then-antique bottles of 2nd-3rd century date buried with it. Another had a slab of tile, seemingly within the coffin. Burials within the cemetery were fairly densely concentrated, with a suggestion of demarcation within the cemetery, with densely used areas with burials in clusters and different, superimposed, East-West and North-South aligned burials. A plaster-lined burial of c.335 was dated by an associated coin, as it had no grave furniture or coffin evidence. As evidence of intense use, one grave had four stacked contemporary burials, perhaps hinting at a family tragedy?
The afternoon session – Saxon and Medieval London – Forty Years On, was most informative. Geoff Egan (MoLA) began by giving an overview of Medieval London’s Material Culture. Interesting finds from waterfront dumps included eleventh-century Byzantine items; nine coins and nine seals from the Vintry waterfront site. In the fourteenth century, pewter buckles began to supplement the traditional copper alloy variety. He pointed out also that metalwork of 1450 – 1480 was still rare.
Lundenwic; Discovery and Outcome Martin Biddle, Hertford College, Oxford
This was a fascinating review of middle Saxon London. In the early 1970s, little archaeology was being done in London and much evidence was being destroyed by redevelopment. The newly formed organisation ‘Rescue’ produced its document ‘The Future of London’s Past’ which focused on the walled city – a mistake, noted Biddle, who was one of its authors. Biddle referred to his work at Repton in Derbyshire, where 260 human bodies of Viking era origin, first noted in 1729, were excavated, having been buried in the winter of 873/4.
Despite Bede referring to the London of 731-2 being a trading emporium for many nations, the 1970s view was that at this time the Thames was lined with farms, not a major settlement. As far back as 1726, the minutes of the Society of Antiquaries recorded (Saxon) finds from under the portico of St Martin in the Fields, including a glass claw cup, supplemented by more similar finds – a bowl of c.700AD – from nearby recently. The Strand runs along the riverside, and the name Aldwych – ‘Old Vicus’ – the old vic of London, is a placename indictor of earlier Saxon occupation in this area, which became archeologically apparent only since the early 1980s.
In 1984, Biddle plotted the distribution of finds west of the walled area, and in 1985 came archaeological evidence of intensive seventh-century (middle Saxon) occupation at the Jubilee Hall excavations, with post holes, pits and a major ditch. At the Royal Opera House excavation a dense pattern of buildings gable – end on along a street was found. The western end of the still-occupied walled area probably featured high – status sites at this time, as did the White Tower area, perhaps a riverfront fort of late Roman origin, and there are early church dedications within the Temple area between the walled area to the east and Lundenwic to the west, perhaps suggesting this area too was part of Lundenwic, which had been abandoned by AD1000, and Westminster was colonised by church institutions.
Tales from the Riverbank – The Archaeology of our Medieval Port
Gustav Milne, Thames Discovery Programme
This covered work on London’s Riverbank along Thames Street 1972-2003, with emphasis on the Medieval port, which is also covered in Gus Milnes’ 2003 book, ‘The port of Medieval London’. The old docks were dying in the 1960s with the development of containerisation. Much destruction of archaeological deposits was caused by the still-unpublished redevelopment of the Baynard’s Castle site on the north bank of the Thames in 1972.
In the tenth-eleventh century, land on the North Bank was being reclaimed from the river, resulting in some 150 metres wide and one mile long being eventually reclaimed out to the present waterfront between Blackfriars and the Tower of London, using dumps of material that included domestic rubbish such shoes, pottery and metalwork – an invaluable archaeological source. At the earliest phase, a ‘beach market’ developed, with a dry standing laid up to the then-surviving Roman riverside wall and readily-beached shallow-draft ships berthed on this communally constructed ( like bridges and defences) timber and gravel riverside embankment/civic quay
London Bridge itself was built in stone in the twelfth century, following on from its timber-built Saxon predecessors.
Health in Medieval London – Jelena Bekvalac and Rebecca Redfern, Museum of London Centre for Human Bioarchaeology
Drawing on analytical work funded by the Wellcome Trust on the Museum of London’s very large collection of human skeletal material, this was a talk on the Bioarchaeological approach to Health studies. The data, giving some of the information to be gained about medieval life from the study of human remains, such as life expectancy, disease, diet and lifestyle is available online at
In the 14th/15th centuries, the climate was unstable, with a loss of agricultural land through flooding, and the population’s health was weakened by multiple epidemic events, with the great famine of 1315-17 followed by the Black Death c. 1348.
Urban populations were dominated by people under 40 – with many of them migrants vulnerable to, or bringing in, disease, since their immune systems were geared to a rural environment. There was a high population turnover. Average heights were 171.5cm (5ft 8 in) for males and 160.3cm (5ft 2 in) for women in medieval London – average for the UK medieval population. Most men died between the ages of 26 and 45, including those who died in epidemics. Many died at a younger age, due to a weaker immune system and riskier lifestyles, women on average dying between the ages of 36 and 45.
Diseases included osteoarthritis, common in both sexes, with diabetes and obesity evidenced especially in well-fed monastic community cemeteries. Dental health was fair, with no access to damaging sugar at that time, though cavities etc indicate poor dental hygiene.
Archaeology indicates syphilis was present in London pre-1492, despite earlier suggestions it came from South America post Columbus, with the earliest evidence being found in a monastic cemetery in Hull.
Metabolic diseases such as rickets and scurvy are not limited to urban populations.
Trauma wounds sometimes indicate evidence of assault, with hand and face fractures and limb dislocations, with weapon injuries indicated by evidence of recovery – regenerated bone – and surgery as well as embedded weapons such as an arrow point in one victim’s spine- he healed and lived for at least a year in that state. Cancers, both benign and malignant, are evidenced, and increased with urbanisation and industrialisation.
Changing Perspectives of London’s Monastic Archaeology
Chris Thomas, Museum of London Archaeology
The Archaeology of the Dissolution of the Monasteries might be seen as representing the end of the Medieval period. This aspect of archaeology has only really been studied over the past 20 years, and the ongoing series of MoLA monographs on these monastic sites, including their precincts and cemeteries, means that this area of London’s history is now more thoroughly researched and published than any other British urban centre. The Monasteries, or at least the religious buildings, wee usually made unusable by the stripping of lead and timber from roofs, the smashing of stained glass windows, again to recover the lead framing, and the removal of the dead from their tombs, (sometimes, but not always, with due warning for reburial elsewhere) sometimes leaving part for local use as happened at St Barts; other buildings were re-used for residential or industrial use. Others served simply as stone quarries.
Courses from Eric Morgan
Birkbeck Training Excavation. June & July. Syon Park, Brentford
Excavation of dissolved Bridgettine medieval abbey of Syon & Formal Gardens of16th Century.
Details available on http//www04.bbk.ac.uk/study/ce2009/summerschools/awards/XSCAR002.html
Cost per 5 day course £230-£265.
350 Years of Church Farm, Hendon Gerrard Roots
2010 is the 350th anniversary of Church Farm, the oldest surviving house in Hendon, and now Barnet borough’s museum. The Museum is marking the anniversary with an exhibition and associated events.
The exhibition, House on a Hill: 350 Years of Church Farm, Hendon, tells the story of the building- as centre of a busy hay and dairy farm, as dwelling and as museum- and runs from 29 May to 18 October.
Supporting the exhibition, we shall have a ‘Living History Day’ in the Museum garden in July, with re-enactments of scenes from everyday life in the 1600s; a series of talks (at Hendon Library), setting Church Farm in the context of national and local history; and, we hope, an evening of 17th Century music.
HADAS and UCL Institute of Archaeology, with pupils from local schools, will once again be digging in the Museum garden in July; then HADAS & UCL (using CFM as a base) will move on to excavate the WWII public air-raid shelters close by in Sunny Hill Park. (A small selection of finds from previous digs will be included in the exhibition.)
Children visiting will be invited to draw or paint the Museum, and we shall display their pictures during the exhibition. There will also be new displays within our exhibition of playthings past, The Moving Toyshop.
Dates and details of the events will be posted on the Friends of the Museum’s website, at: www.churchfarmhousemuseum.co.uk. Please come and join us in celebrating this splendid building- and keep your fingers crossed for decent weather!
Other Societies Events Eric Morgan
Wednesday 2 June 5.30pm Institute of Archaeology & British Museum Medieval Seminar. Room 612, IoA, UCL, Gordon Sq. WC1 “Fecit or Fake it? Anglo-Saxon Forgeries Old and New” Leslie Webster.
Saturday 5 June 12 noon-3pm on the hour, Guided tour of Forty Hall, Forty Hill, Enfield. Free costumed tour lasting about 45 mins. Booking required & info from firstname.lastname@example.org or 02083638196
Sunday 6 June 2.30pm Battle of Barnet Guided Walk. Meet at jnc. of Gt. North Rd./Hadley Green Rd. Led by Paul Baker. Cost £7. Lasts 2 hrs.
Sunday 6 June The Bothy Garden Open Day. Avenue House Grounds, East End Rd. N3
HADAS will be in the Garden Room in the morning from 10.30am.
Thursday 10 June 7.30pm Barnet Borough Arts Council, Trinity Church Centre, 15 Nether St. N12. AGM (HADAS is affiliated to BBAC). Talk by Gilly Kilburn on the new building at Barnet College. Coffee at 7pm.
Saturday 12 June 12.30-5.30pm Highgate Summer Festival,Pond Sq. N6. Lots of stalls incl Hornsey Hist. Soc., Highgate Soc.
Saturday 12 June 2-4pm Museum of London. Gardens in the City Tour of the Capital’s hidden historical gardens led by Sue Jackson.
Book in adv. £8 on www.museumoflondon.org.uk or 02070019844
Sunday 13 June 2.30pm Hooray for Hendon. Guided walk through 1000 years from the Domesday Book to Hendon Aerodrome. Meet at hendon Central tube stn. Led by Paul Baker. Cost £7. Lasts 2 hrs.
Monday 13 June 3pm Barnet & District Local History Society, Curch House, Wood St., Barnet (opp.Museum). “Shop till you Drop” 17th Century London Tokens. Talk by Barrie Cook. Tea & biscuits after.
Friday 13 June 7pm. COLAS, St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. “Roman Glass-Making in London”. Talk by Angela Wardle (MOL) Visitors £2.
Wednesday 23 June 7.45pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St. John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Stn.), Friern Barnet Lane N2. Freeman of the City of London&Liverymen of the Stationers Company – A Personal View. Talk by Andrea Cameron. Cost £2.
Wednesday 23 June 7.30pm.Museum of London. London Festival of Architecture. London Wall, EC2. Talk by Dan Cruickshank on “How Georgian London Was Shaped by the Sex Industry”. Free, but booking is advised as above
Thursday 24 June,8.00pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Rd. N3. A.G.M. followed by “Return to the Kruger National Park”. Talk by Roz Avery. Non-members £2.
Saturday 26 June 2.30pm.Enfield Society. Battle of Barnet. Meet at Arkley Hotel, Barnet
(307 bus terminus) for about 3 hour linear walk via Monken Hadley/Hadley Woods/Trent Park, ending at Oakwood Stn.. Led by Monica Smith.
Sunday 27 June East Finchley Festival,Cherry Tree Wood N2 (off High Rd. opp. Stn.)