Looking Ahead to Summer
By Dorothy Newbury.
With February snow, ice and blizzard, and at the time of writing, swirling fog, it’s hard to think of summer outings. Nevertheless a group of “volunteers” (albeit still suffering from a touch of arm-twisting!) are well away with arrangements for our trips this coming summer.
In 1972, we visited Dover to see the beautiful Roman painted room which had been uncovered during redevelopment. This, with other Dover finds, has been the subject of TV programmes and wide appeals for funds for preservation. Jeremy Clynes will start the HADAS summer season with a return trip to the Dover painted room in April.
Another repeat visit will be to Grimes Graves Neolithic flint mines in Norfolk, led by Brigid Grafton Green in May. We were overbooked by 50 members for last July’s trip, and a revisit was promised for this year. In June, we have a short-drive outing with Ted Sammes, who will compere us for a day in the Gade and Bulbourne valleys, taking in Berkhamsted Castle and Piccott’s End Murals.
Later in the summer we visit Framlingham, Saxted Mill and a newly opened stately home at Heveningham with John Enderby; finally we go to Danebury and Salisbury in the meticulous care of Liz Holliday. There will be no autumn weekend this year, as the July week in Orkney with Daphne Lorimer takes its place.
We fear there will be a big jump in prices this year. Finchley Coaches, having held their costs reasonably so far, have now been obliged to make hefty increases – but they do give us friendly and obliging service. Tea prices have almost doubled in he last three years, but everyone seems to enjoy that relaxed half hour with a cup of tea before returning home.
For the benefit of new members, an application form and itinerary for each outing goes out with the Newsletter fro the appropriate month, and booking are not accepted beforehand. Most trips are heavily booked, so please act promptly if you wish to go.
Date of the outings for your diary, are as follows:
Sat. Apr. 15 – Dover
Sat. May 20 – Grimes Graves
Sat. June 24 – Berkhamsted
July 8-15 – Orkney
Sat Aug. 12 – Framlingham
Sat. Sept. 16 – Danebury
Winter Meetings Still to Come
Tues. March 7. E. Clive Rouse, who speaks to us on “The Meaning and Purpose of English Wall Paintings,” is a leading authority in this particular field, and consultant on wall paintings to the Royal Commission.
Tues. Apr. 4. Scott McCracken, of the Surrey Archaeological Society, provides our only local London lecture of this current season, talking about digs and surveys in Wandsworth, Merton, Richmond and Sutton – an area for which he is senior Field Officer.
Mon. May 15. Annual General Meeting. Further details about this in the next Newsletter.
Meetings are held at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4, with coffee at 8pm. and lectures starting about 8.30.
ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT DATE come sup in a few days time: the HADAS Minimart, principle fund-raising effort for the year, which provides the wherewithal that makes our other work – excavation, field work, recording, etc – possible.
We look forward to seeing you at the Minimart at the Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4, on Saturday, March 4 from 10 am-12 noon.
Recent petrol problems and bad weather may have prevented some members from sending their contributions for the various stalls to the organisers. It still isn’t too late, however – just ring Christine Arnott or Dorothy Newbury and say what you have.
Archaeology across the Atlantic
A report by Freda Wilkinson on the February lecture.
It was a new experience for HADAS to cross the Atlantic and visit Peru and (for good measure) Mexico in the company of Mr Philip Barnes. His account covered more than 10,000 years, from early hunter-gatherers to the Spanish conquest.
In the Central Highlands of Peru there is evidence of early man from c. 9,000 BC, hunting elephant, mastodon and bison with flaked stone tools. The Neolithic or early Farmer Cultures of Peru differs strikingly in some ways from the Neolithic of Europe. The first crops produced were not food crops but cotton (for coarse fabrics and twine) and gourds (useful as containers). People fished from reed rafts using lines and nets and collected shellfish. Cultivation of food crops may only have begun about 2000 BC: chiefly maize (cultivated in Mexico more than 2000 years earlier) with beans, squash and chilis; and there was some domestication of animals especially guinea pigs (for food) and the “hairless” Dog, a scavenger which was also eaten. Highland Peru necessarily had a rather different economy from lowland, with terrace cultivation and herds of llamas and alpacas. Deer were hunted for food. Pottery did not appear until about 1800 BC, though it had been made in Colombia for over a thousand years.
Even in the pre-pottery era there were ceremonial centres, an important feature throughout Peru’s early civilisations — we saw an impressive pyramidal temple of adobe (mud brick); and later platform mound temples with carvings of felines and related motifs (claws, fangs). Ornamental metalwork was produced, especially of sheet gold. For many centuries obsidian was the favoured material for tools.
Much of the coastal region consists of arid desert and could have been habitable only on the edges of the swampy river valleys. By degrees in between 200 BC and AD 600 irrigation channels were constructed, so increasing crop production. The main agricultural tool was the digging stick; there were no ploughs. By this time crops included potato, sweet potato and pineapple.
The Mochica people, who carried out many of the canal projects and occupied the northern lowlands, were skilled in metallurgy. Artistic development reached a high point around AD 300, both in the Mochica and the contemporary Nazca culture of the southern desert. Funerary pottery was outstanding. Mochica designs depict the life of the people; there were many “stirrup-spouted” vessels and pots with modelled faces and hands — some decidedly humourous in appearance. Nazca pottery has stylised painted designs in beautiful colours: the vessels were painted after firing, and not glazed. The potters wheel was unknown. Textiles to and enwrap the dead were also skilfully made, using varied weaves and needlework, in intricate designs and bright colours which last astonishingly well.
Changes were brought about by wars and conquests in the next 800 years. And the Chimu empire, which extended over coastal Peru, fell to the Incas about AD 1415. The Incas used stone to build their chief cities, Cuzci and Machu Picchu, high in the mountains. One masonry form consists of huge polygonal or many-angled blocks, used for example in retaining walls of long irrigation terraces; another is not much smaller rectangular blocks in straight courses. The stones were worked into shape using only stone tools; all joints fit perfectly.
The Incas were good engineers, building roads, drains and bridges — the Romans of the area, Mr Barnes said. Excellent administration and a powerful regime were necessary to organise such works. Yet there was no wheeled transport, and no pack animals for heavy loads: only apparently the muscle power of men about 5 ft tall. The Incas were finally conquered by the Spaniards in 1572, and it is sad that so much destruction followed: beautiful jewellery, for example, was thrown into the melting pot.
Mr Barnes concluded with a brief look at Mexico, beginning with a modern scene showing that type of quern on which maize was rolled in much the same way as in early times. We saw temple sites with a strange “H-shaped” ball courts used for ritual games after which the loser lost his life. The Toltec temple of Tulum with its ceremonial stairway and great statue of a warrior, the Mayan Temple of Uxmal with the nearest approach to a true arch, the huge Pyramid of the Sun near Mexico City, and Chichen-Itza with its “plumed servants” were especially memorable.
The builders of the Mexican temples used writing and numeration; the peoples of early poll of Peru astonishingly did without either, relying on oral methods and memory. The Incas had a counting device using knotted string, but there was it seems no system of weights and no currency.
Two short papers appear in the current Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society describing objects from the Borough of Barnet. The first describes the jadeite axe found in Hendon in 1975, while the second deals with the interesting face flagon neck found on our HADAS excavation at Church End, Hendon.
Offprints of these two papers, in one cover, can be obtained from the Society, price £0.22 (including postage).
We also have a few copies left of the following LAMAS offprints, also of local interest:
An investigation of Roman Road No. 167 — £0.55 (including postage);
The brass areas of Middlesex (part sixteen: Hendon and Heston) — £0.55 (including postage).
All available from Jeremy Clynes.
Follow-up to the Friern Barnet Dig
In the spring of 1975, at the request of the Rector, HADAS conducted a small dig beside the Parish Church of Friern Barnet, St. James the Great. Among the material found were some finally-engraved coffin plates of lead and of brass. And Trewick, who was in charge of the dig in, here describes the latest developments regarding these.
Last December I met Mr And Mrs. Cook, at present studying in the Archaeological Department of University College, Cardiff, to discuss the conservation of the coffin plates which were found during the dig at St. James the Great and also while the foundations for the Church Room were being in the excavated. There were eight plates in all; the object of conserving them is so that they may be mounted and displayed within the church.
Little is known of the history of the manufacturer of coffin and plates. However, evidence is beginning to accumulate, and there may be some parallels for those from St. James in plates found in a church in Putney and others from the Museum of London. This suggests the possibility, especially in Victorian times, that some plates were manufactured en masse and kept in readiness for engraving as and when needed. One highly decorative plate from St. James the Great carried a place for a coat of arms; but the person for whom the plate was ultimately engraved was not entitled to bear arms, so the heraldic shield has been left blank. Is this an example of mass production from a mould? Perhaps only the really rich were able to afford an individually made plate.
The plates were made in different metals, some in more than one. Mr. And Mrs. Cook intend to x-ray the St. James’s plates to find out more about the metals. They will also treat and conserve them, building one which is broken up with fibre glass. They have at present the four plates which were most in need of urgent treatment.
At present I am trying to find out if there are any publications concerning coffin plates. I would be very grateful if anyone who knows of such a publication would let me know — it need not be a whole book, just a chapter in a book or a paper in the Journal would be helpful.
Aids to Research
Joanna Corden, Archivist to the London Borough of Barnet, continues her series on the various groups of local archives which are available for students.
II Barnet Museum.
BOOKS: the Museum holds a large collection of books, pamphlets, theses, transcripts and articles covering Barnet specifically and Hertfordshire are generally.
MAPS: there is a very useful collection of local maps; the Enfield Chase Inclosure map of 1776, Barnet Inclosure maps of 1819, Tithe maps and apportionments for East and Chipping Barnet, Hadley and South Mimms are held here. There are 25 in. OS maps from 1866, 6 in. OS maps from 1863, and 2 1/2 in. OS maps for 1947. Hertfordshire County maps exist since 1598, London maps since 1757, and plans of estates in the area since 1778.
PRINTS: there are a very large number of photographs, watercolours and drawings covering the locality, although most date from the nineteenth century. There is an index to the collection.
ARCHIVES: the manorial court rolls from the manor of Chipping Barnet are here, covering the period of 1553-1913, and some 19th-century correspondence concerning the manor. The parish records of Monken Hadley have been deposited here, namely the vestry minutes of 1672-1833, the Overseer’s accounts 1678-1835, Surveyor’s accounts 1846-1874, Churchwardens’ accounts 1717-1821, some removal orders, examinations, certificates, apprenticeship indentures, bonds of indemnity, legal opinions etc from the 17th-19th century and the accounts of a charity for educating poor girls 1737-1771. These parish records are incomplete; the items missing all to be found in the Middlesex section of the Greater London Record Office.
Also to be found here are the Hadley Brewery records — the Journal 1887-1910, and the invoice books 1887-1920; Barnet Urban District Council Register of civilian deaths were due to war operations, 1939-46; some 19th-century rate books; Arkley Infants School minute book, 1902; the Barnet Natural History Society minutes 1914-1932; Barnet Horticultural Society Minute Book 1837-1842; and two rather odd items, “account of relief given to distressed haymakers at Barnet 1830” and a book of contributions for the Fire Engine in 1751.
NOTE: Barnet Museum is open Tuesday and Thursday 2.30-4.30p.m. and Saturday 10.30-12.30 and 2.30-4.30.
A note by Myfanwy Stewart, who organises HADAS site-watching operations.
Some members may be unaware of this HADAS activity, which is concerned with the watching of building sites in the London Borough of Barnet. It began some years ago, when the county Society — the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, — set up a system of Secretaries for each London Borough. HADAS accepted the LAMAS invitation to provide the Secretary for the Borough of Barnet, to keep an index of sites and finds spots of archaeological interest in the Borough and to watch any development which might be of archaeological interest. In practise, in a Borough like Barnet for which no detailed archaeological survey has been made, this means keeping an eye on virtually every development that we can.
A list of all applications for planning permission is sent each week by the Council to the Society. We note items which will necessitate the digging of trenches (for drainage, foundations, water, electricity cables, etc) and notify members living nearby.
A two-tier system operates. First, we have a watchers (they must live near the site, so that they can pass is often and easily, without going much out of their way) who are willing to keep an eye on sites and to telephone me when any open trenches are visible. No archaeological training or experience is needed for this part of the operation.
Secondly, we have a short list of members who are willing to go onto sites when trenches are open and who are able to make a judgement on what, if anything, is revealed. A tactful manner, in order to establish a good relationship with the site foreman, is important here. After all, we have no legal right to go on to a site without permission. Nevertheless, we have never had a complete refusal, although sometimes the written permission of the owner and a definite appointment with the site manager have been necessary. This has happened mainly where the site is large e.g. at the new Tesco development in Finchley, where formerly Pope’s Garage stood.
Although the Society cannot, as yet, claim any spectacular finds as a result of this work, some items of interest has been noted. For example members may recall the coarse grey early mediaeval pottery found about two years ago in Galley Lane, Barnet, which was reported in Newsletter no. 66. As a result of site watching, 100 sherds or so of the same type for pottery were found some 300 yards away when a new house was built. In Woodside Avenue, N12, a man-struck flint flake and a piece of well-fired ancient pottery were found. Developments in areas of known historical or archaeological interest are watched with special care — a good example of this is the Brockley Hill area; and a by peering into every hole that is dug in the vicinity of the Edgware Road we hope that some lucky day we may recognise, in a section, evidence for the line of Roman Watling Street.
However, with more modern building methods trenches are sometimes open for about two days only, especially if the weather is fine. Thus, once planning permission is granted, sites have to be watched very closely. If the watching scheme is to operate successfully, we must have more members participating, so that we really can really “blanket” the Borough, particularly with first-tier (i.e. non-experienced) watchers. We are noticeably short of help in certain areas — Colindale, Edgware, Mill Hill and East and New Barnet.
All offers of assistance will be gratefully received. Please let me know if you can help, — either ring or drop me a line.
Accessions to the Bookbox
The following have recently been added to the HADAS book box (references on left are to categories and numbers on the Hon. Librarian’s master list)
Rom. Brit. 150 Roman Camden Brian Robertson
181 Excavations of the Belgic & Roman-British Settlement
of Quinton, Northants Journal 11, Northants Museum, Dec 1974
(presented by Ted Sammes)
Loc.Hist. 170 The Vale of Health on Hampstead Heath, 1777-1977 Helen C. Bentwich
Misc. 154 The Bristol Clay Tobacco-pipe Industry Iain C. Walker
Unnumbered List and Map of Historic Monuments open to Public Dept of Environment 1972
Ancient Monuments of Wales D. of E. 1973
The last three presented by Jeremy Clynes.
Residential Conference on Moats
.. sponsored by Moated Sites Research Group, April 7-9 next, at Villiers Hall,, Manor Road, Leicester. Sessions on moated sites all over British Isles, in the Low Countries and France, as well as on recording and surveying moats and excavating and preserving them. One afternoon will be spent on a coach trip to maots in Northants, led by Christopher Taylor. Further particulars from Vaughan College, St. Nicholas Circle, Leicester, LE1 4LB. Closing date for appliactions, 13 March, 1978.