Stop Press News
— has just arrived: the HADAS entry for the Independent Rescue Archaeology competition has reached the last six, to be judged in the final on 7 May at the new Museum of London.
As reported in last month’s Newsletter, our entry is on the West Heath excavation. We understand that there were over 20 entries, from all parts of the country, so have to have got as far as this is a real cause for rejoicing.
In the final part case will be presented by Desmond Collins, in a 15-minute speech. The contest starts at 2.15p.m., and the HADAS century comes no, 6 on the programme. Whether or not it’s advantageous to have the last word can be argued both ways!
The other five finalists are described like this:
The Rape of Hastings
Severn Avon Aerial Survey
Welwyn/Lockleys Archaeological Society
Waltham Abbey Historical Society
Offa’s Dyke Project
First prize in the competition is £250; second prize £150; and third prize £100. The awards will be made in a BBC “Chronicle” programme next September.
Back Home to West Heath
By Daphne Lorimer.
Once more the digging season is upon us and HADAS members will be getting out their trowels and refurbishing their kneeling pads. Already a small group, inspired by a gleam of sunshine, has spent a day tidying up the West Heath site and removing bushels of acorns. Two ducks inspected the proceedings and it felt like being home again.
Digging plans for West Heath this year are complicated, but exciting — and members may wish to note dates in their diaries:
30 April – 15 May has been reserved for the dig on the upper side, where the stream feeding the Leg of Mutton pond arises. This dig, of necessity, has to be limited both in time and number of diggers, as too many people working there might harm this interesting botanical area. The GLC Parks Department, the Nature Conservancy, the London Natural History Society and the Heath and Old Hampstead Society of all given the project their blessing. Miss Maureen Girling, the paleao-entomological expert from the Department of the Environment, and her botanical colleague, have written a most interesting report on the findings of last year, which has been submitted for publication in the journal “Nature.” The samples which they took in 1976 provided evidence of the environment of West Heath back to 3,000 BC; and they hope, this year, to obtain evidence that will carry the story back as far as the end of the last Ice Age.
Unfortunately finance, at time of going to press, may preclude the investigation of the waterlogged area for the present. We would required to hire or borrow a mechanical digger, steel shuttering to ensure the safety of the unstable sides of the trenches and a pump to run continually. However, even if we are unable to start on the marshy area in May, conventional trenches will be dug on the dry edge of the bog was to ascertain if evidence exists of Mesolithic settlement.
Will members wishing to excavate or help on the site (either in the marshy area if dug, or in the perimeter trenches) please contact Daphne Lorimer as soon as possible? A shift system has been worked out to meet the GLC’s requirements. Members are warned that, if it does prove possible to open a trench in the waterlogged area, this will be very heavy, tiring and dirty work — for which reason strong men will be doubly welcome!
4 June – 19 June. A full-time dig (10.00a.m.-5.30p.m. each day) will be held at the lower site on which we dug last year. Is hoped to extend the area and to finish investigating along the edge of the bluff. Some trenches will be opened near the southern fence and a trial trench may be dug along the side of the stream in order to estimate the limits of the occupation area.
Training dig. The West Heath cite is now an official training excavation, recognised by the Extra-mural Department of London University as providing suitable training for the external Diploma in Archaeology. A certain number of trainees will therefore be accepted for the two weeks 6-11 June and 13-18 June. Cost to non-members will be £12 per week (including membership of HADAS). Anyone who was a member of the Society before 1 April 1977, will however be required to pay only £6 per week. A full programme of instruction is being devised, under the direction of Desmond Collins. Members who wish to participate as trainees are asked to apply at either to Brigid Grafton Green or to Daphne Lorimer.
Digging will continue during the summer on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, except for the month of August, when the dig will be closed. Digging will start again on 3 September. It is possible that the dig may be closed on those Saturdays when there is a Society outing: and members who intend to dig on those days should check first with Daphne Lorimer.
It has been suggested that a full week’s dig would be appreciated in July. Would members who are interested, and would like to take part if this can be arranged, please contact Daphne Lorimer?
At the end of last season the West Heath excavation gave every appearance of moving into an even richer and more exciting area. It is hoped that as many members as possible will come along to help with it and enjoyed this summer.
Annual General Meeting
The notice calling the Society’s Annual General Meeting accompanies this Newsletter. The Meeting will be on Tuesday 24 May, 1977 at 8.30 p.m. at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4.
Would members note that this will be on the third, not the first, Tuesday of the month.? We would hate members to make a wasted journey and turn up, by mistake, on the first Tuesday in May.
There will be coffee before the meeting, from 8.15 on; and a show of slides of HADAS activities of the business is completed.
The May outing
On Saturday, 14 May, will be to Thaxted, Saffron Walden and Lavenham.
Like most HADAS outings, there should be something from every period and for most tastes. Thaxted is basically a mediaeval town; at Saffron Walden we shall have a conducted tour of the Museum, with collections ranging from Palaeolothic to nineteenth century; and at Lavenham we start by inspecting a 16th century Guildhall and end with tea at a pub with fourteenth century connections.
An application form for the outing is enclosed: please completed as soon as possible and send it, with remittance, to Dorothy Newbury.
Further dates for the some are are:
Sat June 18 – Northamptonshire
Sat July 16 – Grimes Graves
Sat August 13 – Avebury, Swindon
Sept 23-25 – Weekend in Bristol
HADAS has recently enrolled its first Australian member — Miss Maria Koulaouzos she was on holiday in England last summer and heard about HADAS and the West Heath dig. When she returned to New South Wales she decided to join as an overseas member. The Newsletter welcomes her warmly, and also the 41 other new members who have joined us since Christmas.They include Mrs. Joanna Corden, Archivist to the London Borough of Barnet and a real friend in need to HADAS researchers; and Andrew Selkirk, founder and editor of Current Archaeology:
Mrs. Balham Davis, E. Finchley; Mrs. Bedford, Edgware; Mr. Berkenstead, Mrs. Bowling, both Mill Hill; Mrs. Brockdorff, Hampstead; Olive Burton, Finchley; Mrs. Garsaniga, St. Johns Wood; Mrs. Corden, Golders Green; Hugh Curtis, Hampstead; Harry Dillon, Finchley; Miss Diver, Hampstead Garden Suburb; Robert Dominy, Mrs. Ferris, both Finchley; J. Fuller, Stanmore; Christopher Gallagher, Edgware; Mr. & Mrs. Griffiths, Barnet; Miss Hall, Totteridge; Mrs. And Miss Harling, Hadley; Miss Hawkins, Hampstead; Mrs. Sandra Hooper, Finchley; Mrs. V.R. Hooper, E. Finchley; Douglas Jobson, Hampstead Garden Suburb; Maria Koulaouzos, New South Wales; Mrs. Killeen, Hendon; Miss Lau, West Hampstead; John Luce, Michael McKeen, both Hampstead; Yann Maidment, Wembley Park; Eric Morgan, Hendon; Mr. & Mrs. George Mortimer, Mill Hill; Miss Murray-Davey, Cricklewood; Yvonne and Carl Nunn, Hendon; Miss Reading, Mill Hill; Andrew Selkirk, Hampstead; Miss Slatter, Hendon; Mrs. Stocks, Mill Hill; Mr. Tink, Hoddesdon, Herts; Mrs. Wooldridge, N. Finchley.
A report by JOHN HOOSON on the April Lecture.
Two years ago Mr Ted Sammes, HADAS Vice-Chairman and Archivist, participated in a tour of Jutland with the Medieval Society, under the leadership of Prof. David Wilson. For this season’s concluding lecture, a capacity audience thoroughly enjoyed a sampling of that tour, excellently illustrated by colour slides and description.
We were reminded that it was C.J. Thomsen of the Danish National Museum who in 1836, developed the time-scale precepts of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages leading to the Vikings. Around 2700 BC the first farmers emerged, and with them pottery and long barrows. From the Bronze Age came the famous Trundholm sun-chariot and the lurer, distinctive wind instruments since recovered from the peat-bogs. The Vikings brought terror and fear to Britain, but current excavations at York are producing much evidence that they eventually settled peacefully.
In Jutland much remains from the Viking Age. At Jelling, Gorm the Old and his wife Thyra were reputedly buried in the two Round Barrows, the largest of their kind in Scandinavia. By the tenth century Church there now stand two rune-stones, the larger of which was set up by Gorm’s son Harald Bluetooth in his parents’ memory. Its carving includes a crucified figure in addition to the characteristic Viking ornamentation. There is also an avenue of standing stones.
One of the four known army barracks in Denmark, the Fyrkat Viking Fortress, has been reconstructed on its original site at Hobro. Consisting of a large circlar rampart and ditches, the enclosure is divided into four quadrants by roads joining opposite gates, with the barrack buildings symmetrically arranged in the quadrants. The resultant geometric pattern has not been overlooked by the present day brewery who have adopted it, as we were shown, as the symbol appearing on their bottle labels.
The excavation of a large area of wind-blown sand has revealed at Lindholm a vast Viking cemetery where many of the graves have been enclosed by stones set in the form of ships of varying size. Also revealed was a ridged field where the ploughed furrows can now easily be seen.
Of more recent date of the half-timbered buildings which abound in Jutland, many dating from the sixteenth century and many with Tudor-style brickwork. As the Danes are not averse to using colour, these fine buildings are brilliantly and beautifully decorated. Although many of the streets in towns such as Aarhis and Ribe appear to have remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years, about 70 years ago Den Gamle By was established in Aarhus. This is an open-air museum for the conservation of threatened buildings in Jutland and it has been set out as a village with cobbled streets on the banks of a stream, with the houses and shops appropriately equipped inside.
In the space of a rapidly passing hour, HADAS members were conducted on an extremely enjoyable tour of Jutland by Mr. Sammes, their personal guide, who explained clearly and succinctly the significance of the places he, and we, visited.
News about the Book Box
First, kindly presented by Jeremy Clynes: Finchley Vestry Mminutes, 1768-1840, parts 1 and 2 (two volumes) by Alan B. Collins. Pub. Finchley Public Libraries, 1957-8.
Next, our indefatigable Hon. Librarian, George Ingram, has listed the contents of the book box, which now runs to some 150 volumes. This list, itemised under such headings as Anthropology, General or Roman Archaeology, General or Local History, etc, runs to some five A4 pages. If there is sufficient demand, we would arrange for it to be duplicated. Will any member who would like a list of the contents of the HADAS book box at 31 March, 1977, therefore please let the Hon. Secretary know?
The book box has been well used during the past winter, with members seizing the chance to change books before lectures. George Ingram hopes that those who have books out at the moment will return them as soon as possible; or, if they wish to retain them a little longer, will warn him by phone or at the AGM.
Summer arrangements for borrowing are not as simple as winter — but members who arm themselves with the book list will know what is on offer and can ring George if they want to borrow.
New Site in Brockley Hill
By Brigid Grafton Green.
Evidence has come up in the last few weeks of a possible new area of interest on Brockley Hill.
HADAS members will be very familiar with the evidence already available for the 1st/2nd century AD pottery kiln site of Sulloniacae on either side of the present A5 road, in the vicinity of the Orthopaedic Hospital on the west and of Brockley Grange Farm on the east. Digs took place in various parts of this area in 1937, from 1947-56 and more recently in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The finds, mainly pottery, from the early excavations are in fact on permanent loan to the London Borough of Barnet, and HADAS has been able, thanks to have permission from the Borough Librarian, to work on it, studying and cataloguing, for the last few years.
There has, however, always been one gap in the Brockley Hill story: although there is abundant evidence for pottery-making between c. 60-160 AD, and for later occupation by 3rd century farmers, no evidence has been found either for the settlements where the 1st/2nd century potters must have lived or for the mansio (or hostel for travellers), standing beside the Watling Street, which has been presumed to be indicated by the inclusion of the name Sulloniacae on the Roman Road map known as the Antonine Itinerary.
Now, further south than the kiln site (the parameters of which, incidentally, have never been defined) deep ploughing has brought to the surface a concentration of Roman pottery and building material (including roofing tile, both imbrex and tegulae, bricks and flue tiles) on the east (or Barnet) side of the modern A5 road and near its junction with Pipers Green Lane.
This is the same area in which, in the mid-1950s, the late P.G. Suggett excavated some five trenches, following the chance discovery of two second century cremation urns, a small and almost complete flagon, the head of the Roman Key and some fragments of pottery. This excavation revealed nothing further; yet recent evidence suggests that Mr Suggett’s dig missed what may well be a rich Roman Site by only a whisker.
Field walking by HADAS in the field at the junction of the two roads during the last few weeks has produced 291 sherds of Roman Pottery, including fragments identifiable as Brockley Hill forms, flagons handles and rims, mortaria, tazze, red-rimmed bowls, lids. There are one or two fragments of abr??ed Samian; and sherds of grey and black ware as well as the more familiar cream and buff sandy fabric characteristic of the Brockley Hill kilns. In addition, 86 pieces of identifiable Roman building material (as well as a large number of pieces which might be Roman) had been found.
The first field walk was undertaken by two members, merely as a sampling. It was clear from this that much material lay on the surface, and permission for a full walk was obtained from the farmer, to whom HADAS is most grateful. The field was divided into approximate 20 m squares, and the material found was kept square by square. As a result it is now possible to pinpoint where the concentration of pottery occurs in that part of the field which has been walked.
Unfortunately and the weather did its best to wreck the whole project. The full field walk took place on the wettest day of this spring. At least four separate and unofficial streams were running down the field. One HADAS members disappeared over his hocks in a bog, and might have vanished altogether if he hadn’t been pulled out with loud sucking noises. Rain stopped us walking on several other occasions; and when finally the date for our second walk (on which we hoped to complete the field) was fixed, it was only to find that the very day before the farmer had decided the ground was dry enough for sowing, and the seed had gone in.
This means that the field has not been completed; and we shall now have to wait until after harvest to finish it. Sufficient evidence has, however, already been gathered to suggest strongly that this is a Roman site. At first glance the material seems to be mainly 1st/2nd century. The presence of flue tile may indicate some kind of hypocaust system, and could mean a bathhouse. An interesting fact about the pottery finds is the unexpectedly high proportion of sherds from heavy, coarse storage jars. The finds from the Brockley Hill digs of 1947-56 included only eight fragments of this type of jar; yet two field walks had produced at least 16 surface fragments, including bases and rim sherds. One or two of the rims are of distinctive incurved type, possibly from imported oil amphorae from Southern Spain — type Bessell 20.
The Outing Season Starts: St. Albans, April 23
A report by Enid Hill.
We set off in Good Roman style along Watling Street, led by Ted Sammes, who pointed out Roman kiln sites at Brockley Hill and Radlett and the site of the Park Street villa.
Highlights of visit to Verulamium Museum came when the Director, Mr Gareth Davies, described the conservation work done in the Museum laboratory, using not only normal reassembly of sherds, but x-rays, ultra-sonic equipment and something resembling a dentist’s drill!
After visits to either the Roman theatre, the hypocaust or a later industrial site — the Kingsbury Watermill, dating from Tudor times and in good working order, powered by a low-breast shot wheel — and a picnic lunch, we climbed the hill to the Abbey. It is founded on the supposed site of the execution in AD 209 of St. Alban. Particularly noteworthy are its wall and ceiling paintings, two find stone screens, the chapel containing the shrine of St. Alban, the wooden watching chamber where the monks guarded the shrine, and the chantry of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, founder of the Bodleian Library.
We managed finally to visit the City Museum, full of craft tools, plus a Natural History section with live mice and guinea pigs, and return through the busy Saturday market to tea and the coach. Even then Ted found another site for us to visit — Beech Bottom Dyke, probably the boundary to land connected with the Catuvellauni– a good end to a well-organised day.