No.483 June 2011 Edited by Micky Watkins
HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming events.
HADAS has won the 2011 Ralph Merrifield Award for London Archaeology presented by the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) for work undertaken in the field of post-excavation analysis. The award was presented at the LAMAS conference on Saturday 9th April 2011 by their new President, Professor Martin Biddle OBE FBA.
OUTING TO UPNOR CASTLE AND CHATHAM HISTORIC DOCKYARD
SUNDAY 31 JULY
Enclosed with this newsletter you will find the details and booking form for our outing in July to Chatham Historic Dockyard. Our last visit there was twenty years ago and there have been a large number of changes, improvements and additions since then. Join June Porges and Stewart Wild for what they promise will be another memorable trip and please book as soon as possible.
Barnet and District Local History Society invite HADAS members to join their Coach Trip The details are as follows:
Saturday 9 July. Coach trip to The Manor, Hemingford Grey, Huntingdon. – parts of which date to 11c. Tea and cake will be arranged in the nearby village of Hemington Abbots. Morning will be spent in St. Ives, Cambs – 15th c. stone bridge and one of the oldest regattas taking place on the Gt. Ouse during our time there. Details from Pat Alison 01707 858430
LECTURE ON HADAS Jim Nelhams
At a meeting of the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society at St John’s Church Hall, Whetstone on 27th April, our Chairman, Don Cooper, delivered a talk entitled “Fifty Years of HADAS”. A number of HADAS members also attended.
Don traced our history from the formation in 1961 by Themistocles Constantinides, through the various digs in Hendon which proved its Saxon history, and the expansion of our area to cover excavations in Hampstead and other parts of the Borough of Barnet. He noted that many recent digs had, with support from University College London, involved schools in the Hendon area. 2010 had included digs on the playing fields at Hendon School, within the grounds of Church Farmhouse Museum, and the opening of two second world war air raid shelters in Sunnyhill Park at Hendon.
Questions were raised about Church Farmhouse Museum and about Friary Park. The talk was well received by all present.
Copped Hall Trust Archaeological Project: Field Schools 2011
Monday 8th – Friday 12th August; Monday15th – Friday 19th August.
Continuing investigation into the development of this Tudor grand-house on the edge of Epping Forest.
An opportunity to dig, for people with some experience. Tel:01992-813-725
The Corieltavi Silver Bowl Mary Rawitzer
The beautiful 2,000 year old Iron Age Corieltavi silver bowl, the earliest known silver bowl to have been hand-made in Britain, is the highlight of a capsule exhibition, at Goldsmiths’ Hall until July 16.
The bowl, fitting in the palm of a hand, was found together with 5000 Celtic and Roman coins, some of which are also on show, two ingots and a small amount of jewellery and diverse artefacts. The discovery was made at Hallaton, Leics., in 2000 by a fieldwork group. Four years of excavation by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services have concluded that this was an open air shrine where items were deliberately buried in the first century BC and AD.
HADAS LECTURE 12 APRIL 2011 Report by Andy Simpson
BOMB DAMAGE IN LONDON AND MIDDLESEX, AS SHOWN ON LONDON AND MIDDLESEX BOMB DAMAGE MAPS 1940-45
Dr ROBIN WOOLVEN
This fascinating and well-attended lecture was given by former RAF V-Force navigator and Cold War Historian Dr Robin Woolven – he has made a particular study of the RAF and its situation at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
He later served in the Security Service, and was a Council member of the Camden Historical Society. On retiring in 1997 he researched the administration of wartime London in the War Studies Department of King’s College, London. A current interest is writing on wartime home front topics. He wrote the introduction to the London Topographical Society’s now out-of-print and greatly in demand London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945 (2005). This had 108 pages and reproduced 110 maps, and is still used by building surveyors as well as local historians. His article on the Middlesex Bomb Damage Maps is in London Topographical Record (2010).
This is a record of where bombs actually fell, the best one being for the City of Westminster, with different codes/colours for various types of bomb and level of bomb damage. 110 sheets of maps cover the former County of London as governed by the one-time London County Council, who
maintained the bomb damage maps for the 117 square miles of the LCC area. The City of London (Corporation of London) had its own maps. The maps were hand-coloured to show the severity of damage to houses (but not military installations or the Houses of Parliament, which suffered severe damage to the original Commons chamber and library). Circles show where a flying bomb landed, black shows a building totally destroyed, purple buildings damaged beyond repair, yellow minor blast damage. Broken windows and dislodged tiles counted as too minor damage to record. They show what happened and the extent of what happened. Some buildings were bombed several times, having gone through the night blitz of 1940-41, the 1944 Mini blitz, and the V1 ‘Flying Bomb’ and V2 rocket campaigns of 1944-45 which only ended when the last V2 hit on 27 March 1945, barely six weeks before the end of the European War on 8 May 1945.
I certainly hadn’t heard before that the LCC bought 50,000 wicker baskets in 1940 to carry away the rubble from bombed buildings, and that up to 13,000 troops were used to clear buildings and keep actual streets and roads passable. Also involved, with a requirement to do 48 hours duty in a
28-day period, were fire watchers who extinguished some 75% of incendiary bombs before the professional fire-fighters arrived. Slides included powerful images of the sheer devastation caused, not just around well-known locations such as St Paul’s, but out in the suburbs also, as well as considerable incendiary bomb damage to Oxford St department stores, as shown in the maps. Such images and information were of course classified during the war. Dr Woolven has visited many of the bomb site locations to gather then-and-now comparison photographs. More than one copy of each map seems to have been made, but not all have survived.
Regional Commissioners looked after zones including five boroughs from Hertfordshire, then covered by the Metropolitan Police area. Their job was to shepherd available fire fighting and ARP resources and direct them to the worst-hit areas within the 722 square miles covered. No 4 (Eastern) Region had its 6 Group HQ actually in Hendon. Sometimes communications for such purposes broke down, such as Twickenham in November 1940, when controllers didn’t realise the true extent of the damage.
One analysis covered bombs dropped per 1000 acres, with, understandably, the heaviest concentration in central London and fewer further out, though the suburbs certainly received their share of Luftwaffe bombs.
Middlesex bomb damage maps show only the three most severe levels of damage. An example of severe local damage was the 1800kg bomb dropped on an estate bordering the Welsh Harp reservoir in West Hendon on the night of 13/14 November 1940, which killed some 36 people and caused blast damage over a one-mile radius, completely destroying 50 houses.
As for different phases of attack, by 1941, it was noted that there were fewer raids, but those aircraft that did come over were carrying bigger bombs. The main V1 campaign was petering out by August
1944 as the advancing allies overran the launch sites in Northern France (though air-launches by lumbering and obsolescent Heinkel III bombers based in Holland continued until January 1945, killing some 500 people). Some 2,441 V1s actually hit the London region.
On Saturday 6 September 1944, British authorities famously announced that ‘The Battle of London is over’, only for the first V2 rocket to land the following evening. V1s (‘Divers’) could be combated by the highly efficient coastal AA gun belt, barrage balloons around the capital, and RAF fighters in the zone between, using gunfire (highly dangerous if the warhead exploded close to the attacking aircraft) or the famous technique of formatting with the V1 and flipping it over using the fighter’s wing tip. The supersonic V2s however plunged down unseen from extreme altitude. At
first unexplained, the authorities initially blamed gas explosions to avoid panic. HADAS excavated one V2 site (The Old Forge) on the road between Golders Green and Finchley back in 1991 (I had
hair, then!) finding plenty of medieval Herts greyware pottery sherds but no scraps of V2 rocket. The old Borough of Hendon itself, with a mid-1944 population of 126,305 and 10,320 acres suffered 13 V1 hits and two V2 hits; Finchley six V1s and one V2, Barnet Urban District five V1s and one V2.
This informative but sobering talk ended with a lengthy Q and A session and was much appreciated by the audience.
ROMAN ENFIELD Deirdre Barrie
If HADAS members ever wander as far as Enfield, a mini exhibition “Roman Enfield – from Settlement to Suburb” is well worth a look. Small but beautifully presented, it is on the ground floor of the Dugdale Centre in the centre of Enfield Town. The exhibition has proved so popular that its run is being extended until the end of June/start of July 2011.
The small undefended Roman settlement was on a long strip of land on the west side of Ermine
Street, the Roman road from Londinium to Eboracum (York), parallel to the current A10
Cambridge Road. Local Roman discoveries are enhanced by set pieces of rooms and items from the Museum of London. The settlement dates from the Flavian period in 69-96 AD, was at its most prosperous in the 2nd C AD, and continued at least into the 4th C AD. It consisted of timbered homes/workshops producing metal and leatherwork, an industrial site to the north, and possibly a mansio, for officials to stay overnight – roof tiles have been discovered. It is tempting to imagine roadside stalls selling local produce to travellers.
A small screen continuously runs films of Enfield Archaeological Society excavations, and “fly throughs” of the sorts of buildings you would have seen.
I had always assumed that all Enfield’s Roman remains were some distance eastward, towards Ponders End, so it was a surprise to discover that a Roman burial had been excavated not a hundred yards from where I am writing this.
Parking at Sydney Road and Palace Gardens. Nearest rail station: Enfield Town; 307 or 121 bus from Oakwood.Tube; or a 329 from Wood Green. For more information see 7-page article by John Ivens and Graham Deal: Finds and Excavations in Roman Enfield: http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-457-
1/dissemination/pdf/vol03/vol03_03/03_03_059_065.pdf (NB Do not confuse 1 and l)
BEDOUINS IN JORDAN Micky Watkins
In “the rose red city half as old as time” I rode on a donkey down the valley with its caves, some natural and some man-made in the soft limestone. I met a lad who was bunking off school to sell postcards. He lived in a big house in a village up the hill, but he said he liked to stay for a few
nights in their cave – a weekend cottage for the family where they had lived for centuries. About 20 years ago the Government gave the Bedouin a village about a mile from Petra and they were forced to live there. They still had their donkeys, horses and stalls for sale of handicrafts in the valley, but
it looked a lot cleaner. It was good to get rid of the televisions, aerials and trailing wires. I refused
to buy the postcards despite the boy’s good looks and charming smile, and told him to go to school.
DOOMSDAY Tim Gowen
Those of you who are interested in local history should definitely look at the Doomsday Project website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday). Unfortunately my part of the world hasn’t been uploaded but I certainly remember the project when it was launched in the early 1980s with its talk of futuristic-sounding stuff like LaserDiscs.
Unfortunately technology moved too fast in a totally different direction leaving the Doomsday project unusable, but it’s been recovered and re-launched. There’s some interesting stuff about the Hendon area, showing Burnt Oak and the Police College:
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/dblock/GB-520000-189000). Cosford is also well covered:
FILM REVIEW: WERNER HERZOG’S CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS Stewart Wild
This is a film like no other. In December 1994, three men exploring the Ardèche gorge in southern France perceived a draught of air from the rock face. They investigated and found the entrance to a cave system that had been blocked off from the outside world by a rock fall some eight thousand years ago.
But what an inner world they found! In this “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” near Vallon-Pont d’Arc are, as you might expect, wonderful and magical stalactites and stalagmites – but that’s not all. Around the walls and deep inside the cave are a series of prehistoric paintings of wild animals, animal bones, human footprints and handprints.
What makes them so special is that the images have been carbon-dated to between 30 and 32,000 years ago, making them almost twice as old as the famous paintings in the UNESCO-listed Lascaux cave in the Dordogne, discovered in 1940, which are estimated to date from 17,300 years ago.
Mindful of the problems caused at Lascaux by human visitors (damage from increased humidity, germs and mould spores), the French authorities have banned all unauthorized access and kept the exact location, northwest of Orange, a tight secret.
Last year, German actor and film director Werner Herzog (b.1942), perhaps best known in this country for Amazon epic movie Fitzcarraldo, was granted permission to film inside the cave, under strict conditions. Limited hours, minimal film crew, low lighting and areas off-limits all made his job more difficult. Yet he has managed to make a magnificent documentary film, narrated by himself and including interviews with archaeologists, that will linger in the memory.
Make the most of it: you will never be allowed to see the real thing. Not just horses and mammoths are depicted by some ancient hand, but charcoal lions, panthers, bears and rhinos. Using the natural contours of the walls, the artist – or artists – seem to capture movement frozen in time.
Did ancient man – or woman – see these animals, or just imagine them? Did they hunt them, catch them, eat them, use them; we will never know. Were the images made over a month, a year, a century, a millennium? Radiocarbon dating isn’t that precise.
The third dimension
The film’s producer, Erik Nelson, insisted that the cave be filmed in 3-D. Herzog wasn’t keen, but gave way. Perhaps commercial reasons triumphed (James Cameron’s Avatar was a 3-D box-office hit), but I agree with Herzog. In my view 3-D adds little to the experience and, it could be argued, detracts from it.
You are given special 3-D viewing glasses at the outset, which diminish even further the amount of light reaching your eyes. With low levels of lighting to start with, the cave’s images are sometimes hard to see, and not enhanced by a third dimension. If a gimmicky format had to be used, I would have preferred a giant-screen IMAX production.
I found Herzog’s soundtrack and commentary a bit irritating too. Despite his fluent English, he lacks the style and gravitas that someone like Kenneth Branagh or Morgan Freeman, for example, would have delivered.
The ninety-minute film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, to mixed reviews. It does not seem to have received wide distribution since then, but that may be because it will feature strongly on the History Channel, which helped to finance the project.
See it on the big screen if you can – armchair archaeology has never been so enjoyable. You can see a trailer and some short clips at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1664894/
SHOWING AT WATFORD PALACE THEATRE Friday 10th June 8pm. Parking at Charter Palace car park, reached from the ring road.
www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk Box Office 01923225671
Museum of London’s Gladiator Games
Witness an epic clash of the titans at the Museum of London’s Gladiator Games, 30th and 31st
July 2011. To book:www.museumoflondon.org.uk/FOBA
London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre Training School
Introduction to Finds Processing and Recording
Monday 18 July – Friday 22 July and Monday 1 August – Friday 5 August
During these week-long courses participants will learn the basics of processing
finds from archaeological excavations. Guided by nearly a dozen experienced practitioners and specialists from the Archive and Research Centre, they will go through all the various stages from handling and packaging, to sorting and cataloguing. There will be a strong emphasis on practical activities, drawing on one of the world’s largest and most diverse archaeological collections. The sessions will include:
Basic principles of washing, packaging and handling artefacts
Sorting and cataloguing ‘bulk’ materials: ceramics, building material, animal bone.
Identifying, handling and cataloguing metalwork and other ‘small finds’ Dealing with organic materials: leather, wood
Working on cemetery excavations and dealing with human remains
Liaising with conservators and specialists, and writing finds’ reports
The cost of £260 will include:
All tutorial expenses, including materials for practical sessions Documentation and access to on-line resources following the course Morning tea/coffee (five days); afternoon tea/coffee (four days)
lunch (four days); dinner (one day)
For further information about the course, follow the link from the Museum of London Archaeology website: (www.museumoflondonarchaeology.org.uk/ComLearn/Events/lecturescoursesandconferences.htm)
To book, contact the Museum of London Box Office, telephone: 020 7001 9844 (opening times: Monday to Friday: 9.15am to 6pm; Saturday: 10am to 6pm)
To discuss the content of the course, contact (preferably by e-mail):
Francis Grew (firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 020 7566 9317) or
Jackie Keily (email@example.com; telephone 020 7814 5734).
OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS Eric Morgan
Saturday 4th June, 9.30am-2.30pm CBA London’s Big Greenwich Archaeology Day, including Foreshore exploration, visit to exhibitions and walks round Roman temple remains, Saxon cemetery, Tudor palace. Book on firstname.lastname@example.org or britarch.ac.uk/cbalondon.
Sunday 5th June, Bothy Garden Open Day, Avenue House grounds, East End Rd. N3 3QE. Free entry. HADAS will be there from 10.30 am.
Tuesday 7th June, 7pm, Enfield Society Heritage Walk, Edmonton, from Edmonton Green Stn. Tickets free from Central Library 020 8379 8366.
Wednesday 8th June, 7.45pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Ferme Park Rd. Weston Park N8 Vaudeville, The Music Hall on Film. Talk by Roger Allday and Keith Fawkes. Visitors £2.
Thursday 9th June, 7.30pm, Enfield Society, Jubilee Hall, Parsonage Lane/Chaseside. AGM &
Royal Residences in England. Talk by Stephen Gilbert.
Saturday/Sunday 11/12th June, London Open Garden Squares www.opensquares.org
Monday 13th June, 3pm, Barnet Local History Society, Church House, Wood St., Barnet.
London Gasholders – Works of Art & Engineering. Talk by Malcolm Tucker.
Wednesday 15th June, 7.30pm, Camden History Society, Charlie Ratchford Centre, Belmont St. NW1 nr. Roundhouse. Kentish Town Baths – History & Restoration.
Wednesday 15th June, 8pm, Islington Archaeology Society, Town Hall, Upper St.N1. Islington’s
Regency Renaissance Talk by Prof Lester Hillman
Friday 17th June, 7pm, COLAS, St Olave’s Parish Hall. Mark Lane, EC3. Adventures with the
Lewis Chessmen. Talk by Dr Irvine Finkel (British Library). Visitors £2.
Friday 17th June, 8pm, Wembley History Society, St Andrews Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury NW9. Blue Plaques to Music Hall. Talk by Terry Lomas. Visitors £2.
Saturday 18th June, 12.30-5.30, Highgate Summer Festival. Pond Square N6.
Sunday 19th June 12-6pm, East Finchley Festival, Cherry Tree Wood (opp. East Finchley Stn.) Sunday 19th June-26th June, Barnet Borough Arts Council, The Spires, High St., Barnet. Festival
Week: Concert, events at the Old Bull Theatre.
Wednesday 22nd June, 2-3pm, Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Rd, EC1. National Monuments Record Collections: Bringing Family History to Life. £6 .
To book: 020 7553 3290 or email@example.com
Wednesday 22nd June, 7.45, Friern Barnet Local History Society, Friern Barnet Lane,N20. Family
History, Talk by Susan Fifer. £2.
Sunday 26th June,3-5pm, Bothy Open Day, Avenue House, East.End Rd, N3 3QE. HADAS will be in the Garden Room. Alyth singers, slide show, etc.
Thursday 30th June, 8pm, Finchley Society, Avenue House N3 3QE. AGM and slide show:
Finchley 100 Years Ago