No. 558 Date: September 2017 Edited by: Sandra Claggett
HADAS DIARY 2017/18
Monday 25th to Friday 29th September: Trip to Frodsham
Lectures start again with:
Tuesday 10th October 2017: The Curtain Playhouse excavations by Heather Knight MOLA Tuesday 14th November 2017: The Battle of Barnet Project by Sam Wilson
All Lectures are held at Stephens House & Gardens (Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8.00 pm, with coffee /tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a short walk away.
Harold and Erna Karton
Harold and Erna Karton had been HADAS members since 1981.
Harold grew up in the East End and after leaving school, secured an apprenticeship in the Jewellery trade. This led him to form a partnership and he worked in Hatton Garden trading in diamonds.
Erna was born in Poland and came to England when she was 8 and lived in London. Harold and Erna married in 1944 and had a daughter Marianne. Erna studied with the Open University and became a social worker, particularly working in psychiatric care.
Both had a keen interest in the arts and were members of a number of organisations. They were also volunteer workers, Harold especially with the North London Hospice. When Harold joined HADAS the West Heath excavation was in progress and he was one of the many members who participated in the dig. They used to attend lectures, but not in more recent years. Harold died on 23rd November 2016 and Erna on June 1st, 2017.
Jean grew up in Woodside Park, the elder of two girls. Father joined the RAF and towards the end of the war, he was posted to Catterick in Yorkshire, where the family lived for a while. Later she passed the 11 plus and attended South Hampstead High School. After leaving school, she joined the Board of Trade and, while working, she studied for a degree in modern languages, which led to promotion. She had a varied career, ranging from involvement in the Kyoto convention to eradicate CFCs as the UK representative at the United Nations conferences in Brussels and Geneva, to working with Lord Gowrie at the Ministry of Culture to develop business sponsorship of the arts, leading her to an interest in crafts, especially pottery.
She joined HADAS in July 1993 and when she retired her interest in archaeology broadened and she studied for a diploma. She visited many sites in Europe and was a member of a number of organisations. She frequently attended lectures, selecting those in which she was interested. She took part in the HADAS trip to Buxton as that was also an area that she had not visited.
Her volunteer work included organising a group of ladies with some memory of WW2 to go into schools to talk to the children with artefacts such as gas masks and ration books. Other interest included theatre, ballet and gardening.
Docklands Museum Outing By Jim Nelhams, Deirdre Barrie, and Audrey Hooson
The August newsletter carried a brief report of our bus pass outing, but did not report what we found. The exhibition ends on the 3rd September.
The Docklands Museum is part of the Museum of London, and is situated in an old rum warehouse on the side of the docks, close to those tall office blocks at Canary Wharf. It contains two floors with a permanent exhibition showing the history of the London Docks, including information covering World War 2. It is quite easy to spend a couple of hours in that section of the museum.
But, before starting, HADAS members fortified themselves at the Museum café before visiting what was a compact and professional exhibition based on the building of Crossrail across London. The railway line runs for a total of 118km (74 miles) including 42km (26 miles) of new tunnels. Ten new stations are included with eight existing stations having major upgrades and a further a further 22 needing adaptations. Tunnelling was undertaken using 8 tunnel boring machines (TBMs), working in pairs on parallel tunnels. All these TBMs were given female names following mining traditions. One of these was named Sophia after Sophia Kingdom, wife of Marc Isambard Brunel and mother of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
It was not possible to remove all the TBMs, so interesting discoveries await the archaeologists of the future.
Most archaeology in London is found within 9 metres of the surface and a lot of the tunnels are below this level. Thus, most of the archaeological discoveries were made on the surface or where work on a station was needed. Fourteen major archaeological sites were explored and a wide variety of the many finds were displayed in the museum.
Deirdre Barry notes that the archaeological finds made by Crossrail during their tunnelling include Roman hipposandals (iron horseshoes you tied on to horses’ hooves), medieval skates made of animal bone, the skeletons of Bedlam inmates who died of plague and a Tudor bowling ball. There is a collection of skulls from the Roman period whose origin is at present hotly disputed. The wall-high films of the actual tunnelling are especially impressive.
In addition, the project required the demolition of a number of buildings, and each of these has been thoroughly photographed and recorded.
Several historic graveyards were investigated, and a video made by an osteologist explained the research that had been possible into the various plagues which have been recorded in London.
To the west of Paddington, the archaeological team had found and recorded the original engineering works built by I K Brunel for the Great Western Railway. Immediately outside the museum is moored St Peter’s Barge, the only floating church in London.
Audrey Hooson reports that having been made aware recently of the fine carving needed for Hokusai’s print blocks she was intrigued by the wooden Tillet blocks in the museum.
They are dated 1767-1800 and measure H425mm x W400mm x D400mm. Tillet blocks were used to stamp the wrappings around bales of cloth for export across the globe. The designs featured the name of the manufacturer as an advertisement but included decorative elements sometimes showing the eventual destination. For utility objects, they were very attractive and very large blocks (see the picture below).
A wooden Tillet block
I have been involved with volunteering on both of these free temporary exhibition’s which are well worth a visit. There is also other information to see at their locations.
Exhibition at the Petrie entitled ‘Different perspectives’ on now until the 30th of
September. This exhibition concerns Flinders Petrie and the importance of the archaeologist’s role in gathering intelligence during the First World War in the Middle East. Archaeologists’ skills in mapping, languages, code-breaking and knowledge of the peoples of the Ottoman Empire were invaluable. Panels include information on T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell,
Leonard Woolley and themes such as the role of women and contested heritage. The Petrie Egyptology museum where the exhibition is held is also full of wonderful information. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/events/different–perspectives
Abandon Ship, surviving the Wartime Atlantic, exhibition on the HQS Wellington at Temple Stairs on the Embankment, on now until the 6th of November. It is a fascinating account of the bravery and fortitude of the British Merchant Navy. The exhibition highlights the SS Otaki sunk in 1917, her captain refused to leave his post and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The second, MV Richmond Castle, was sunk by a German Uboat in 1942; the U-boat captain generously surfaced to give survivors some supplies before departing. Afterwards, a young seaman from Stornoway, Angus Murray, improvised a sail from two blankets and steered one of the ship’s lifeboats for nine days until he and 17 others were rescued.
The Wellington itself is a floating treasure. The UK’s only surviving example of a Second
World War escort ship, it has been moored on the Thames at Victoria Embankment since 1948. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a vessel of this type and there are fascinating ship models and memorabilia on board.
The exhibition ‘Abandon Ship!’ is open, Sundays and Mondays only, 1100 to 1700. Full details of the exhibition programme can be found at www.abandonship/blog
Saturday 30 September, 2.00pm
Synopsis: AD 61, Britannia. On the furthest outreaches of the Roman Empire – at the very edge of the known world – rebellion is brewing. The King of the Iceni has died and his widow Boudica has tried to claim her rightful throne. For her insolence in defying Rome, the queen has been flogged, her daughters have been raped, and they have been banished from their homeland. But now, Queen Boudica has returned. And this time she has an army. She will have revenge. She will have blood. She will make Rome quake in fear.
Boudica is a brand new ancient history play that tells the story of one of Britain’s most infamous women: a queen, a warrior and a rebel. The role of Boudica will be played by Gina McKee. In 2016, McKee performed in Faith Healer at the Donmar Warehouse, and is wellknown for her role as Bella in the 1999 film Notting Hill. This production portrays the violent world of Boudica and the coarseness of battle. Please note Boudica contains strong language, blood, sexual violence and graphic fight scenes.
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Emma Densham, who led the UCL contingent at the recent Hendon School dig, is an ex- Hendon School pupil and spoke to HADAS about her career in archaeology. Emma is 23 and currently studying for an MA in Public Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.
When did you first become interested in Archaeology?
My mum has always had a passion for Egyptology, and used to give tours of the Egyptian galleries at the British Museum, so as a kid I was in the BM nearly every Sunday, picking her up once she had finished her tours. I didn’t really understand at the time that what I was seeing was archaeology, or even that archaeology was something that modern people did, but the huge statues fascinated me and I think that my interest in history grew from there. I think it was probably a combination of my parents’ encouragement, watching Time Team, finding the history that we were learning at school really interesting (because the projects were always the most creative!), and having a chance to take part in archaeological excavations at school that really attracted me to the subject.
What attracted you to take the subject further?
I was lucky to be chosen to take part in the excavations at Hendon School (run by UCL and HADAS) during their very first year, and I think it was this that first got me excited about archaeology. The encouragement of the people I met through that project, particularly the volunteers who taught me how to excavate and answered all my questions – most of which they had probably had to answer a hundred times before – about archaeology and what they did really ignited a passion within me. To me archaeology was this really fun thing that I could do to learn about the past that involved interacting with really nice people who were always encouraging and friendly. It was a great way to be introduced to the subject and is definitely a large part of why I am where I am today.
How did you end up at UCL?
When it came to applying for university I knew that UCL would be on my list, mostly because I had had the chance to interact with UCL students through the Hendon School excavations. I looked at a few other universities, but had pretty much discounted Oxford and Cambridge (my grades weren’t good enough and I never really understood the appeal!) and most of the other universities I looked at, such as Birmingham and Exeter, had much smaller archaeology departments than UCL. UCL had the added benefit of being close to home, meaning that I wouldn’t have to move out; I was in the first year of students where fees were raised to £9,000 a year, and although it was all covered by student loan it was a hugely daunting prospect to be in that much debt, and being able to stay at home meant that I could also keep my job. I think that perhaps what clinched it for me was going for an interview at UCL and being handed artefacts from their collections, and seeing the cases full of finds that are in most of the teaching rooms throughout the building: it was amazing to see so much history around me, and was the first time I had seen so much stuff outside of a museum.
What transferrable skills does archaeology give you?
Where to begin with this one?! The list is pretty much endless, and you don’t realise quite how many different skills archaeology provides you with until you’re filling out job applications and can tick box after box with things that you have learnt through archaeology! Probably the most important ones to me are: team and independent work; attention to detail; and endurance.
The ability to be able to work well both as a member of a team and on your own are hugely important life skills, and whatever area of archaeology you take part in they are skills that you will learn and hone very quickly. You have to take a measure of responsibility for yourself and your actions on an archaeological site, something which I feel also comes under the team/independent work heading, because whatever you do cannot be undone, and if you are messing around someone (or something) could get hurt.
Attention to detail is another key skill that you pick up very quickly when excavating – especially if the artefacts you’re looking for are the same colour as the mud you’re digging through! – because we often have such little evidence to interpret the past with, it is incredibly important to pay close attention to what you are doing, and this is something that you will then take with you to every other job you do.
Endurance sounds somewhat intimidating, and I can’t deny that archaeology can be hard work, often carried out in harsh conditions – every archaeologist has their favourite horror stories about the worst conditions they’ve worked in, and it can sometimes turn into a bit of a competition! Being able to carry out physical tasks, to be able to cope with camping (and to be able to deal with spiders – as a huge arachnophobe this one is still hard for me!), to not be afraid to get dirty, and to be able to focus for long periods of time are all skills that will serve you well in the future. This is not to say that if you don’t like getting dirty, or if you physically can’t dig or camp that archaeology is not for you! There are so many different tasks that come under the umbrella term of ‘archaeology’, so if you don’t enjoy excavating but love finds you might prefer finds processing or lab work, and these tasks will provide you with a whole different set of transferable skills that I haven’t touched on!
What are the range of careers you could go out on to with your qualifications? Do you have examples of what careers friends/colleagues have pursued with an archaeology background?
Here, again, the list is endless! A few examples of careers that some colleagues of mine from university have gone into: publishing, commercial archaeology, banking, teaching, working in museums, joining the police, not to mention a whole host of people who have continued on to do master’s degrees in various subjects… A careers advisor who used to recruit for NGOs once told me that if she had realised all the transferable skills that archaeologists had she would have hired us wherever possible! The list of careers you could go into is endless and is only limited by your imagination. Even if you don’t want to pursue archaeology as a degree, taking part in archaeological fieldwork – as well as being loads of fun – is a great way to learn new skills and will look great on your CV. Employers will always ask about the fieldwork that you have done, so it’s a great talking point for interviews too!
Why did you come back to Hendon School?
Hendon School is the school that I attended from 2005-2012, and I will always have a soft spot for it – I had some amazing teachers, made some great friends, and it’s where I had my first experience of archaeology! I knew that the school had reached out to HADAS and were hoping to restart the excavations, and I really enjoy working with kids. I think I was especially motivated to try and show teachers and students alike the importance of archaeology, and the number of different ways it can fit into the school curriculum, because this last year it has been announced that Archaeology will no longer be offered as an A-level subject, meaning that there will be no official qualification in Archaeology before degree level offered in England from next year. If you combine this with the fact that, when Britain leaves the EU, archaeology, which gets more than half of its funding from the EU, will be woefully short of funds, I think that it is incredibly important that archaeologists move now to try and show people the benefits and importance of what we do before we reach a crisis point. Coming back to Hendon was a first step in trying to do that for me, by giving students the same kind of positive experience of archaeology that I had as a child, and hopefully getting them interested in archaeology.
What did you get out of the Hendon School dig?
For starters, I definitely learnt a lot about what goes into organising and running an excavation! A lot of things went wrong – students turning up on the wrong day or in the wrong gear, and clashes with the school exams timetable that meant that we had to completely change our plans – but we managed to deal with each problem in turn and still run a successful project (transferable skill: flexibility!) and the feedback that we’ve had from the students has been overwhelmingly positive, with many students saying that they would be interested in taking part in archaeology again in the future because it was fun and interesting. We even had one student who came back to see us with things that he had excavated from his back garden! To me, that’s what excavating in schools is all about: engaging the students. What did you find on the dig?
We found a lot of different things from a mixed deposit, probably from when the field was levelled. Some of the things that the students found most interesting were the coke can from the 1970s, the bowl of a clay smoking pipe that was still intact, and some coins with dates ranging from 1927 to at least the 1990s, possibly later. There were a large number of finds, including pottery, metal, and CBM, which supported the conclusions of the previous excavations in the same area, and meant that the students had a lot of material to clean and record.
Is it important for young people to join their local Archaeology society?
Definitely. Not only will you learn things that you would never have imagined from the people you’ll meet there, you will have a whole range of new experiences opened to you. You will meet people who you would otherwise never have met, and will have a chance to do things that other people will never get to do. Joining up will give you a whole host of positive things, and you can help to teach others about the importance of archaeology for everyone. Archaeology has this reputation for being only for older people, but the majority of us are actually pretty young!
What could local societies do to attract more young people to join them?
Be open, be patient, and be inviting. There is definitely a tendency among all archaeologists to assume that people who haven’t done archaeological fieldwork before – and especially young people – shouldn’t be allowed to take part in ‘proper’ archaeology, but with the right guidance and supervision there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t – after all, we were all in that position once. Different people will be attracted to archaeology for different reasons, and may have a few misconceptions (often as a result of watching too much Indiana Jones or Time Team) so you might have to be patient with people, and always try to be inclusive of everyone who is interested in archaeology. One of the things that I loved about the Hendon excavations when I took part as a school student was how inviting and encouraging everyone I met was, and if that hadn’t been the case I might not have gone into archaeology at all!
I would also say offer as many different things for families as possible, and look outside of just digging, because archaeology is so much more than that! Perhaps approach pre-existing youth groups, and offer a programme of activities for the kids to get them interested and involved in archaeology, and definitely build relationships with local schools wherever possible. Local YAC (Young Archaeologists’ Club) groups might be a good place to start, as they will be made up of kids who are interested in archaeology already and who want to learn more! Embrace technology too – consider opening Snapchat and Twitter accounts so that people can easily follow what you’re doing and you can potentially reach a much wider audience, and try to publicise what you do whenever you can. Young people are often reluctant to join groups made up mostly of older adults in areas that they don’t know very much about, because they don’t want to seem stupid or be patronised, so try to engage them in a way where they feel heard and validated and you will be creating a group of knowledgeable and skilled young people who will be ready to take the world of archaeology by storm.
I have been contacted by Jack Berkovi about the newly formed Hampstead Garden Suburb
U3A branch. People have been asking him about having an archaeology “course/group”. Jack has asked if anybody from HADAS would like to run such a group for them.
If it is something you would be interesting in doing please contact Jack on his mobile
07788183196 or his email email@example.com . If anyone wants more information the website is https://hgsu3a.uk
Information on a new course offered by Mill Hill Archaeology Study Society sent by Peter Nicholson
From the 6th of October a new course begins with Allan Wilson entitled ‘The archaeology of the Eastern Roman Empire’. There are 10 sessions and it costs £75. Classes are held 10am until noon at: The Eversfield Centre, Eversfield Gardens, Mill Hill, London, NW7 2AE. You can enrol at the first meeting. Please contact the Secretary Peter Nicholson on 0208 9594757. The society website is http://www.mhass.co.uk/
Details of other societies’ events By Eric Morgan Friday 15th of September, 7.00pm. CoLAS, St. Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7EE. 21 Lime Street Revisited. Talk by Lesley Dunwoodie and Ian Betts (MoLA) on the latest excavations featuring fantastic Roman period painted wall plaster. Visitors £3.
Sunday 24th of September, leaving promptly at 9am return at 5pm from Embankment Station. CoLAS coach trip to West Stow Saxon village and Bury St Edmunds. West Stow is the scene of important excavations into early Anglo-Saxon settlement and is a site for experimental archaeology and reconstructed Saxon buildings. On the day of the visit there are re-enactments by Wulfingas, there is also a café. Later the market town of Bury St Edmunds is visited with its cathedral and Moyes’ museum. To book send a cheque for £32 (which includes West Stow entry) paid to the City of London Archaeology Society providing your full contact details to: Ms Rose Baillie, 14 Brock Meadow, Woodside Park, London, N12 7DB. Or contact her on Baillie_rose@yahoo.co.uk. Tel: 0208 201 9271.
Thursday the 5th of October, 8pm. Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner. Digging in Pinner. Talk by Pat Clarke (local historian and LAMAS) on archaeology findings. Visitors £3.
Monday the 9th of October, 3pm. Barnet Museum & Local History Society, Church House, Wood St, Barnet (opposite museum). History of Hadley Wood. Talk by John Leather-Dale. Visitors £2. Also Barnet Physic Well, Well Approach, Barnet, EN5 3DY is open on Saturday 28th of October 2-4. Free.
Tuesday the 10th of October, 1pm. Gresham College at Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN. Roman London’s First Voices. Talk by Doctor Roger Tomlin. On recently recovered wax stylus writing tablets from excavations at Bloomberg Square dated to AD 5090. How they were deciphered and what can be learned from them. Free.
Friday the 13th of October, 7.45pm. Enfield Archaeology Society. Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield, EN2 OAJ. Talk by Stephen Gilbert (E.A.S) Medieval Kremlins and Monasteries on Russia’s Golden Ring. Visitors £1. Joint meeting with the Enfield Society.
Friday 20th of October, 7pm. CoLAS. St. Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7EE. Talk by Lesley Grout (guide) on the royal burials at St. George’s chapel, Windsor. Burials from the Plantagenets to near the present day. Visitors £3. Light refreshments after.
Friday 20th of October, 7.30pm. Wembley History Society. English Martyrs’ Hall, Chalk Hill Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW. Talk by Bruce Thomson (Abbey guide). Women in Westminster. Visitors £3. Refreshments in interval.
Wednesday 25th of October, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. North Middx. Golf Club, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. Talk by Lawrence Summer on the Victorians. Visitors £2. Light refreshments and bar before and after.
Thursday the 26th of October, 6pm. Gresham College at Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN. Joint meeting with the Royal Historical Society. Annual Colin Matthew lecture given by Mary Beard. How to spot a Roman Emperor. Free, no reservations required. Linked to the City of London Roman Festival in Autumn 2017.
Thursday the 26th of October, 8pm. Finchley Society. Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road, N3 3QE. A talk by Mark King (Chair British Guild ofTtourist Guides) on Finchley during World War I. Visitors £2. Refreshments.
Saturday 28th of October, 2pm. Enfield Society. Joint meeting with the Monumental Brass Society. At All Saints Church, Edmonton. 65 Church St, Edmonton, N9 9AT. Looking at the history, monuments and personalities of Edmonton and All Saints Church. Howard Medwell (Blue Badge guide) talking on Edmonton through the ages as well as the history of the church, the monuments it contains and Charles Lamb. The newly restored tower will be open. Ending with tea and cakes. Free. The church will be open from midday.
Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th of October. M.O.L.A. Foreshore Forum 2017.
Thames Discovery programme and the Coastal Intertidal Zone of Archaeological Network (CITIZEN). A whole weekend of intertidal archaeology from the river to the sea. Full details on Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/foreshore–forum–2017–tickets–34360825153
Audrey Hooson, Roger Chapman, Jo and Jim Nelhams, and Eric Morgan