This Month’s HADAS lecture: Tuesday. February 3rd.
Hoards & Hillforts: Ireland in the First Millennium B.C. Harold Mytum B.A
Mr. Mytum is a Sir James Knott Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne and is at present researching the small enclosed farmsteads of the Iron Age and Roman Period in Western Britain and in Ireland. The Iron Age in Ireland was the subject of his recent Oxford Doctoral Thesis. He has carried out excavations in Wales and this summer will be continuing his field survey in Ireland. Many members are interested in this field and have been pressing for a lecture on the subject. It has been difficult to arrange one and we are very fortunate to have secured the help of Mr. Mytum. This may be one of those occasions when it is just as well to arrive early and make sure of a seat Further Lectures, March 3rd: Sutton Hoo. Kenneth Whitehorn, B.A. April 7th: Greek Royal Art. Malcolm Gulledge. M.A., Ph.D. If you have time before March 3rd, you might like to refresh your memory of the Sutton Hoo burial. This display has just returned from Sweden and.is (temporarily) again on display at The British Museum
THE MINI MART. A REMINDER FROM CHRISTINE ARNOTT 7TH FEBRUARY, 1981.
Will members please note the imminence of our fund-raising effort at the Henry Burden Hall (opposite the Hendon Library), The Burroughs, N.W.4, from 10.a.m, until noon. While we hope that you will all come and bring your friends to browse among the books or buy the home-made produce or find a treasure among the bric-a-brac or the Nearly New clothes, we still need contributions towards the establishment of our stalls! These can, be brought to the February lecture, or you can contact Christine Arnott (455-2751) or Dorothy Newbury (203-0950) for collection. Please search through your home for anything you do not need that we may be able to sell. We hope to see as many of you as possible:- its all great fun and in a good cause.
A BARGAIN FOR THE EARLY BIRD.
Christine has a small photocopier which she intends, generously, to put in the Sale. If you would like to know more about it and perhaps make an offer before the Sale date, please ring 203-0950.
OUR JANUARY LECTURE.
QASR IBRIM: A FORTRESS ON THE NILE. Dr. John Alexander. Report by Dorothy Rodgers.
Dr. Alexander introduction to his lecture outlined the site of Qasr Ibrim and its archaeological background. Ibrim, a Nubian fortress below the first cataract, is situated between Aswan and Wadi Halaf. Originally Nile based, it is now isolated on a pro montory surrounded by the lake formed by the Aswan Dam. It is exceedingly rich in archaeological material. For some years it has been the centre of a long-term British project organised through the Egyptian Exploration Society. Formerly Professor Plumley, now retired, was Director of the excavations. The baton has passed to Dr. Alexander who comments that sufficient work remains to occupy at least another decade. Ibrim lies in a frontier zone between two farming complexes going back to the 4th millenium B.C. – wheat-growing in the north, millet-growing in the south. Both crops were grown in the Ibrim area which was subject to incursion by various human physical types. Probably the sactia (animal driven water-wheel) was used for irrigation purposes. This has not yet been investigated. Two bonuses have greatly assisted the interpretation of archaeological evidence: 1) intact stratified levels 2) desiccative stemming of decay – particularly important in examination of organic material. Levels. From top to bottom the sequence runs: Islamic (Bosnian) – Christian – Roman – Ptolemaic – Meroitic – New Kingdom. The Bosnians were ousted in the 19th century A.D. The site therefore reveals continuous occupation for over 3,000 years. Dr. Alexander thinks increasing nomadic domination after Roman times is probably more attributable to the arrival of the camel than to the decline of the Roman Empire. Organic material.This abounds – including 30,000 pieces of cloth, 7-8,000 manuscripts (some over 2 metres long) with writing in Meroitic, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Arabic and Turkish. Animal skin and dung are well preserved. There is much basketry. Islamic matted timber roofs, some burnt, demonstrate fire hazard. Christianity arrived in the 5th or 6th century. Ibrim possessed a cathedral – a mediaeval bishop was buried with his letters of consecration. Fine lance-heads illustrate new weaponry. In Islamic levels horse dung is IN – pig dung is OUT! Ibrim had a Muslim shrine. New trade routes were developed. Dr. Alexander concentrated on the 1,200 year span covering Meroitic, Ptolemaic and Roman periods. In the 7th century P.C. the Kush victory over Egypt led to the establishment of Meroe in Sudan as the centre of the new independent kingdom. Slides of the period included the Taharqa temple and statue (with Nubian characteristics) – also the ‘mini’ pyramids with mortuary temples of the Meroitic kings. Pottery with floral and animal designs further emphasised Meroitic continuation of ancient Egyptian tradition. In Ptolemaic levels coins were found, also fine pottery, easily distinguishable for chronology. In Roman levels there were 2,000 wine amphorae, sandals, belts, arrow- heads and traces of roads. The main surprises of last season’s excavation lay in Ptolemaic and Roman levels. Of particular interest was the Roman bastion – overlooking what was then the Nile – from which ballistae could bombard hostile craft. Water erosion at adjoining frontier wall foundations revealed total Roman construction throughout with typical refuse fill- but also highlighted the pressing rescue function of the Ibrim excavations. Possible cultural influence on remoter African areas has not yet been proved. A packed house of smiling faces demonstrated the sincere welcome extended to Dr. Alexander. Characteristically, he made us feel he was equally pleased to see us: This was a warm and stimulating New Year occasion for HADAS.
HADAS GOES ON SHOW .
Our new exhibition at Church Farm House Museum, Pinning Down the Past, opens on the last day of this month and continues through March and April to May 4. Do come along and see it as soon as you can – and encourage your non-member friends to look in too. Many members have already added their names to the rota, which Nell Penny is organizing, to provide stewards at the exhibition on each Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It you haven’t volunteered yet and would like to, give Mrs. Penny a ring on 458-1689 – she’ll be delighted to hear from you. In the last Newsletter we mentioned some of the displays which the exhibition will contain: here are details of a few more; “Many A Dig …” will gather together information, photos and finds from several HADAS digs at Highgate, Hendon End and Finchley. Also hope to include a little material from the first HADAS dig of all – at Church End Farm, Hendon (now part of the Technical College grounds which took place in the early 1960’s. “The Roman Gourmet” will demonstrate some of the research undertaken for the 1979 Roman banquet; and “Our Earliest Industry” will give the background to the work of Romano-British potters at Brockley Hill. At the other side of the time scale, industrial archaeology offers a display called “Soft Drinks and Flying.” “Then and Now” is a collection of photos and postcards which illustrate the great changes. that have occurred in the Borough in this century; while “Take a Long Trip …”may show you yourself relaxing the HADAS way – if you joined any of our longer outings to such places as Bristol, Wales or Orkney.
Those were the days. by P. Reboul. HADAS Occasional. Paper No.5.
HADAS members, who have been enjoying Percy Reboul’s transcripts in the pages of the News Letter, will be delighted to learn that the whole collection is now in print. Publication, day is February 1st. These excursions into the recent past, the first thirty years of the century, already have a devoted readership. My own well-thumbed copies of the News Letter travel as far as Gloucestershire, to waken memories of early days in the West Country and they spark off useful recollections of Finchley in friends nearer at hand. For those of us old enough to remember milk kits and dippers, scrubbed wooden shop floors, and Woodbines at five for twopence our delight in reading is tempered, not unpleasantly, by a sense of galloping obsolescence. Our own lives, our present, it seems, is being swept at great speed into the past and might indeed have slipped into the unrecorded past, save for the dedication of such people as Percy Reboul, wisely, he wields his editorial powers very sparingly. He admits that Memory is fickle: these are not chapters of history based on records and diligent research. They are vivid and detailed recollections of life and work as it seemed to one bricklayer, to one postman, in our district, in the early years of this century. Who was Mr. Floyd who kept his dairy herd where ‘Whetstone Police Station now stands? Which was his farm? Did all the beat policeman in London have the same curious method of ‘marking’ banks and jeweller’s shops for signs of intrusion? These, among many questions, open up lines of research and return us to the records with a new zest. In these days of relative ease and prosperity, the constant references to long hours, brutally hard work and miserable wages strike the reader with great force, casual and uncomplaining though the tone may be!
“I went to work, cleaning for a local doctor, for which I got 2s. 6d. per day.— I can’t remember buying a new dress.” “In 1910 a milkman worked 11 or 12 hours a day, 7 days a week — for 25 shillings a week, with another 25 shillings made on fiddles.– You worked Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and you could not go sick, otherwise your book-keeping would be discovered.” “Generally (this is a nurse at Wellhouse Hospital) we started at 7 a.m and finished at 4:30 p.m., with one day off a month we were paid, I think, £26 a year. It seems more like the Dark Ages than the early twentieth century in our comfortable borough. We watch the lone P.0 pushing a corpse on his barrow all the way from Cricklewood Lane to Edgware General Hospital, the dentist trying out a new anaesthetic on reluctant patients – with varying success. These fragments of our past might well have been lost forever. In his informative introduction, Mr. Reboul gives credit to the unobtrusive modern cassette recorder for its part in the success of this rescue operation and it is true that the recent scaling-down of high quality recording equipment makes the procedure less formal, relaxes and reassures the speaker. Yet, as some of us know well, this is only half the battle. Interviewing with one eye on the clock or the recorder, asking questions which determine their own answers – or invite simply Yes and No, breaking in on a creative silence —- the man with his hand on the press buttons can mar all. This little booklet bears in every line the mark of the expert, an invisible presence, alert and responsive, drawing forth the treasures of the recent past. You will enjoy every line, – and not only you but many of your friends whose interest in local history may be slight: it is of general interest, beautifully produced, with tiny line drawings by Mary Spiegelhalter. At 95p, postage 20p per order, it costs little more than a birthday card and would make an excellent small gift. Copies will be on sale at the Church Farm Exhibition and at lectures: they can also be ordered by post: see attached order form. Please give Those were the Days the wide publicity it deserves. I.M.
Tailpiece: not for serious archaeologists.
My neighbour, Jane MacIntyre, as a child, saw a Bull in a China Shop in Ballards Lane. The Bull,—- well, the bullock, was on his way to the slaughterhouse behind Semple’s, the butcher’s. The China Shop was opposite, on the corner of the Station Approach. Years later, on holiday in France, she saw a Mouse run up the Clock. Truly. I.M.
CALLING ALL UNDER- 18 MEMBERS. a note from BRYAN HACKETT,
who serves on the HADAS Committee as Under-18 representative. In order to organize arrangements for Junior Members, I have to find out what sort of activities would interest you most, e.g., outings to museums, non-HADAS digs and other interesting places; or specially organised talks, fields walks, digging or research, also it would be useful to know your favourite period in archaeology. Junior Members have been offered a special talk by Mrs. Lorimer (West Heath Site Supervisor) before the next digging season starts at West Heath, so we can learn all about the site. At this meeting we could discuss what we would like to do as Junior Members. I will let you know later the date) time and place. Please telephone or write to me (Bryan Hackett, 31, Temple Fortune Hill, N.W.11,7XL 455-9019 – (weekends or weekdays between 6-9 p.m., are most convenient for phoning,) and tell me (a) if you would be interested in coming to the meeting and what your best days and times are; and (b) if you have any views about other activities.
A COLLECTION OF BYGONES.
Do you remember Green Shield Stamps? What did you do with your two and a quarter books when Green Shbld and later Argos ceased to accept them? Where are those crumpled strips of pink or blue trading stamps which used to nest in the old tea caddy? You thought they were worthless? No one wanted them any more? YOU WERE WRONG. All trading stamps maintain their cash value and any you can find, of any provenance, will be welcomed by our Treasurer, Jeremy Clynes, who can convert them into much needed extra funds. Bring them to lectures or send them to him at 66, Hampstead N.441. 7XX.
ANOTHER NEW SHIRE TITLE.
In November the News Letter reviewed two new Shire Titles. Now here are details, provided by Helen O’Brien, of a third. Later Stone Implements by Michael Pitts. This short book, which covers the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, sets out to “explore the sort of questions which should be asked of prehistoric lithic material in order to gain an advance of knowledge.” The basic raw materials – and methods of obtaining them – techniques of manufacture, distribution and possible use of stone implements are described in detail and reasons for changes in style considered. Michael Pitts shows how it is now possible, by means of petrological analysis, to establish the source of some raw materials; and how this information raises questions of distribution or methods of “trade”. He also discusses new ideas about stone tool use which have been raised by experimental tool-making and microwear studies. The book is well illustrated,both by photographs and diagrams, and can be recommended either as an introduction to the subject or as an additional book for stone tool enthusiasts.
West Heath Dig. Report for the 1980 Season. by Daphne Lorimer.
Despite a bad early summer, the 1980 season, at West Heath, produced some very interesting and satisfactory results. Seven trenches (XIIH,XIIIJ,XIVK,XIIIL,XIVM, XIIIN and XIIR) were continued from 1979 and finished, while thirteen trenches (IX and XIH,XII and XIVJ,XII and XIVL,XIIIM,XIIN,XIIP,XIIS,XII and XIIIT and XXXU were opened and excavated entirely during the season. this means that the entire area at risk from erosion has been investigated. Further investigations of the bank, itself, in the region of XO and XIO revealed a banana-shaped pit approximately 180 cms long by 90 cms wide by 90 cms deep. It contained a considerable number of struck flakes and a quantity of large pieces of charcoal at the lowest levels. It is very similar to the pits found on Mesolithic sites in Cumbria and Ireland and is under intensive investigations including, it is hoped, C14 dating. Smaller pits have been found in other parts of the site, the pit in XIIIN being particularly interesting as the charcoal contained in it may possibly belong to an earlier aforestation. The recognizable tool types excavated during the season number over IOO,together with over 50 cores and a number of pieces bearing miscellaneous retouch. The total number of flakes excavated has not yet been calculated. Further investigations by Jacqueline E. Pearce of the Department of Urban Archaeology, of the small, much abraided sherds of coarse, hand-made pottery found during the first season, indicate that they may possibly belong to the Pagan Anglo- Saxon period (5th – 7th century, or 8th century at latest,) and are representative of a domestic assemblage. Sixty members of HADAS worked on the dig, during the season with great skill and dedication. It is hoped that a short fairly intensive dig will be undertaken towards the end of next summer in order to answer some of the still outstanding questions.
The 18th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists will take place at the Museum of London on Saturday March 21st, from 11 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. The morning lectures will be devoted to current exenvation.and research in the London area, including a talk on London’S Samian ware supplies and another on Palaeolithic flints in the Museum of London. In the afternoon there will be two speakers – both big fish in the archaeological pond: J.J.v.iymer, talking on the Palaeolithic in the Thames valley; and Professor Christopher Hawkes, on the Thames in later prehistory.. The Conference will have a more prehistoric slant than many conferences of recent years. Tickets (which include tea, but not lunch) cost £10.50 (for LAMAS members) and 12:50 (for non-members). Apply to LAMAS Archaeological Conference, c/o Museum of London, London Wail, E.C.21 5HN, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. A warning: tickets usually go like hot cakes.
The next series of Museum of London wokshops starts on February 5th. It contains, as usual, a number of interesting subjects, particularly: Feb.5. Archaeological Photography ” 19. Anglo Saxon Metalwork Mar.5. Europe’s Earliest Spectacles – a new find from the City ” 19. Shoes and Footwear Apr.20 Tobacco and Smoking in Stuart London ” 9. The Conservation of Waterlogged Finds. Workshops are on Thursdays, starting 1:10 p.m. They take place in the Education Department and are informal – usually 25 to 30 people, who have a chance to meet the Museum’s specialist staff and to see and handle objects from the collections. Another happy hunting ground for HADAS is at Knuston Hall Adult Education College near Irchester, Northants. It runs weekend and longer courses which have been attended by many HADAS members. Knuston’s latest programme includes thefollowing: Apr. 10-16 A week’s course in Field Archaeology May. 29-31 Weekend on Roads and Trackways July. 10-12 Hedgerows: Archaeology and History 10-12 History of English Landscape Garden, 17c – 20o 27 to Aug. 9 The Pleasures of Heraldry Aug. 21-23 History of the English Landscape 21-23 Geology of Nenc Valley Oct. 2-4 Handwriting of Elizabethan and Stuart Documents Further details are obtainable from the Principal at Knuston (please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.)
THE HENDON FARTHING OF 1666
The HADAS Newsletter circulates fraternally at Council meetings of neighbouring Camden History Society, and being Hendon (Mill Hill) born and bred – though long resident in Hampstead – I take in all I can as it goes by. In No 113 (July 1980) my eye was caught by Edward Sammes’ most interesting Church Terrace Report No 6 about Farthings through the Ages. This referred briefly to the many different local trade-token farthings issued all over the country in Commonwealth and Restoration times to remedy the lack of official small change. A great many different local halfpennies and some pennies were issued too. But the little farthing issued actually in Hendon in 1666 was perhaps not strictly relevant to the Church Terrace project, and probably for that reason was not mentioned in that context. Nevertheless, being a local issue, it might interest Hendon readers. I have attempted the accompanying sketch of a specimen I have, showing it about 34- times actual size – and I hope such a line drawing will suit your Newsletter. (I say ‘I have’ meaning ‘which the Bank has,’ for Hamp stead seems to attract burglars, and a Hendon farthing is not easily replaced). The coin itself looks to me more like darkened copper than brass. It is small, about 16 mm, nearly 4 in. in diameter – almost the size of today’s halfpenny The inscription declares the issuer of “1666” to be “IOHN GREENE IN HENDON MALTMAN.” Initials “I M G,” in a triangle with 3 at apex, mean the issuer was a Mr I or J Greene and his wife a Mrs M Greene. Such family triangles of initials were common in 17th c England, especially on token coins. The Hendon Parish Registers revealed the burial of a John Greene on May 18 1668. To check that the man buried was not merely a namesake, I next hunted out his Will and got a photocopy. The testator describes himself as a maltman of Hendon, which tallies. Further, he refers to “Mary my beloved wife” which tallies with the M on the coin. The village had also its halfpennies, though my own specimen of the little local one issued in Restoration Hendon by “IOHN ALLIN,” attributed to 1669, is too worn for a similar line-sketch – and anyhow the article by Mr Sammes was about farthings. Seen far more often are the familiar and better-made Hendon token halfpennies issued at the end of the following century. They show on one face a ohurch probably representing St Mary’s, and the date 1794; and on the other side usually a greyhound or a bust of David Garrick. However, for this second period of tokens I have seen no Hendon farthing recorded. Yours sincerely, PHILIP D GREENALL