I. Roman revels and matters more businesslike:
A final reminder that the 1980 AGM will be held on Thursday – yes, Thursday – May 8 at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Coffee from 8 pm, AGM at 8.30 pm and, afterwards, slides of some of the year’s activities, including the Roman Banquet. The chair will be taken by our most senior Vice-President – who also helped found the Society 19 years ago – Eric Wookey.
2. Out into the country – The May outing
How about a trip to Oxford and Oxfordshire in Maytime? This will be the first HADAS outing of the year and as we hope to include visits to a Roman villa, the ruins of a medieval manor house, a church with medieval wall-paintings and an archaeological museum there should be something to suit everyone’s taste. Further details , and a booking form will be found at the end of the Newsletter.
To repeat the list of pleasures ahead, the other outings this summer will be as follows:
June 14 – Warwick and the West Midlands, led by Eric Grant
July 12 – Bignor and Fishbourne, led by Raymond Lowe
August 16 – Northamptonshire, led by Isobel McPherson
And the long weekend – September 19, 20 and 21 – will be to Southampton and the Isle of Wight
3. Time for trowelling:
West Heath starts work again on Saturday May 3 and digging will continue through the season on Wednesdays and weekends, reports Daphne Lorimer. It is hoped to organise the occasional full-time weekly digs – provisionally, one is being contemplated for the week beginning Monday July 14. The site – just in case new members are unfamiliar with it – is a Mesolithic encampment, which has produced large quantities of microliths and waste flakes and some enigmatic environmental evidence.
Every trowel is wanted. West Heath is always full of surprises. Come and see if this season will produce an even bigger one. This will probably be the last season and we want to obtain every scrap of information we can from the site.
4. A silver jubilee celebration:
Not a HADAS event, but certainly one for your diary: From May 3 to July 5 an exhibition at Church Farm House Museum to celebrate the museum’s own silver jubilee, covering life at Church Farm from 1688 to 1944.
LOOKING BACK, MOVING FORWARD
Field walks, detailed studies of the West Heath flints, the compilation of a gazetteer of industrial archaeological sites in the borough – these are some of the planned activities of the new, energetic Research Committee. They are being organised by different groups – prehistoric, Roman, medieval, industrial and documentary – under the benign control of the main committee. Prospective researchers should make contact with the leader of the group in which they are most interested – the names are given below, in the brief summaries of the projected work.
The newly-formed Prehistoric Group is, writes its leader Daphne Lorimer, the old West Heath crowd and is very occupied with the organisation of material for the five-year report. The interim report was held up by the C14 date but, come what may, the report will be up-dated and submitted for publication at the end of the year.
Study of finds from previous HADAS field walks is already under way by the Roman Group, on alternate Tuesday evenings. The first session was scheduled for April 29. Contact Jenny Griffiths for more details. Next on the list of things to do is completion of study of the Brockley Hill finds. And, thirdly, the group plans to investigate the route 167, which is supposed to cross Copthall and continue along the Ridgeway to Arkley and St Albans.
Helen Gordon, who leads the group, will be contacting anyone who has already expressed an interest in Roman research, but those not content to wait for her approach should ring her or Jenny Griffiths.
The Medieval Group is led by Ted Sammes, whose sterling work on the Church Terrace finds is being published, instalment by instalment, in the Newsletter. Contact him to learn of future plans.
The first task of the Industrial Archaeology Group, writes its leader, Bill Firth, is to complete the gazetteer of known sites in the Borough. When we know better what there is we can plan to investigate it properly. Secondly it is hoped that we can interest more members so that we can perhaps widen our activities (so that we can interest more members so that we can widen our activities so that we can …) Plans have not been finalised, so watch this space.
The Society’s new research arrangements envisage some back-up service for the groups engaged in active excavation and field work. Members who fancy doing a little quiet documentary research will be most welcome in the Documentary Group, writes its leader Brigid Grafton Green. They will be particularly welcome if they can spare the sort of time this kind of research requires: it just can’t be done at speed.
The London Borough of Barnet’s Local History Collection possesses many written records, maps, drawings and old photographs which we may want to consult from time to time; Hertford Record Office has material from the northern part of the borough) and there are other documents which may be relevant to our projects at County Hall, in the Westminster Abbey Muniment Room and even as far afield as All Souls College, Oxford.
Anyone who would like to help is invited to contact Mrs Grafton Green, who hopes soon to arrange a Documentary Group meeting to discuss future work.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Church Farm House Museum, Barnet libraries have published a folder packed full of information about the Museum and related matters. It even includes a cut-out model of the farm. It costs £l.80 from the Museum or Hendon Library.
SMOKED OUT – OR THE PERILS OF EXPERIMENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY
Sheila Woodward hears of them in comparative safety, at the Prehistoric Society Spring Conference.
Experimental archaeology was the theme of the Prehistoric Society Spring Conference held at the Museum of London on March 29 and 30. It is an aspect of archaeology which bas received increasing attention in recent years, and the range of current experimental work was well illustrated by the varied nature of the conference papers.
The modern British Army helped Mr Brian Hobley at “The Lunt” Roman Fort to calculate the time and effort expended by the Roman Army in building the fort’s turf ramparts and wooden gateway. Dr Peter Fowler’s series of slides dramatically demonstrated the changes in the Overton Down experimental earthwork from the sharp white lines of the new bank and ditch 20 years ago to the present weathered and plant-colonised contours. Regular observation of the earthwork will continue and Dr Fowler declared his intention to be present at the survey in the year 2020, even if he has to be lowered from a helicopter in his wheelchair!
“Living a Stone Age Life” was the title of an entertaining paper and cine film presented by Messrs de Haas (father and son) from the Netherlands and other experimental villages were described by Dr Callahan (USA) and Dr Hansen (Denmark). Dr Hansen, emphasising the importance of not only building but also living in such villages, recounted the salutary experience of inhabiting an “Iron Age” house at Lejre during the winter. The daytime fire on the central hearth melted the snow on the thatched roof, which then froze into solid ice when the fire was damped down at night. When the fire was rekindled next day, the smoke had no means of escape through the roof and the hut became uninhabitable.
Experiments in stone and bone and metal working were reported by Drs Newcomer, Slater and Pleiner. Dr Newcomer warned of the danger of experiments becoming an end in themselves: for example, the making of a finer stone tool. The purpose of the experiments was to provide information about the method of manufacture of ancient artefacts and to enable us to study their function.
Mr R. Darrah spoke on the reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon houses at West Stow and the information obtained about the timber and tools used and the sequence for building such houses” and Dr Sean McGrail gave a lively account of testing the seaworthiness and passenger and cargo capacity of ancient craft.
Dr Peter Reynolds, in charge of the Butser Iron Age Farm experiment, talked about the weeds with which the early farmers had to contend and speculated on their methods of sowing and reaping. But man does not live by bread alone, and the technical accomplishment that produced the bronze “lurs” of Denmark and the stringed instruments of Anglo-Saxon and medieval England were vividly described by Mr Graeme Lawson and Dr Peter Holmes. The latter illustrated his lecture with a delightful example of the melodic potential of the six-stringed lyre. Altogether, a most stimulating and interesting conference.
A FAMILY OF IRON WILL.. THE DARBYS OF COALBROOKDALE
Bill Firth reports on the April lecture.
The weather always seems to be foul on the evening of the HADAS annual lecture on industrial archaeology and April 1 proved no exception. However, this did not seem to deter many members and there was a large audience to listen to Mr Ian Lawley, Research Supervisor for the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum may have been Mr Lawley’s title, but he gave us much more than that. He started with some history to sat the scene and not only peopled it with some of the chief characters but also illustrated it with examples of the output of the industries in the Gorge and made these the more topical by including examples from London which we may either know or can go and see. Iron has been worked at Coalbrookdale for more than 400 years and this still continues in modern foundries turning out cast iron parts for Aga cookers and other purposes. However, it is primarily on the innovations of the Darby family that the industrial importance and fame of the area depend.
Abraham Darby I was a Quaker born near Dudley but living and working in the foundry business in Bristol, who, in 1707, took out a patent for the manufacture of bellied cast iron cooking pots. In 1708 he took over the blast furnace in Coalbrookdale, which was built in the mid 17th century and, following rebuilding, in January 1709 he began to smelt iron ore using coke rather than charcoal as the fuel. Possibly the most important factor in Darby’s new process was that the increased demand for iron and thus for charcoal, and also for wood for ships, was rapidly denuding the country’s forests. Darby’s invention was instrumental in preserving some of them.
Before he died in 1717 Abraham Darby I had built a second furnace lower down the valley and established a successful industry in the area. His son, Abraham Darby II, was largely responsible for the great expansion of the Shropshire iron industry. It was his son, Abraham Darby III, who built the famous Iron Bridge.
Abraham Darby II had a daughter, Hannah, who married Richard Reynolds. Their son William developed the industry of the area by starting the manufacture of china at what later became the famous Coalport works and, among other activities, chain making and boat building.
In the early 1800s the workmanship at Coalbrookdale declined and it was Abraham Darby IV and his brother Alfred who reorganised and re-vitalised the works together with Francis Darby who introduced the production of art castings.
Having shown us slides of the early works and of the Darby family, Mr Lawley went on to show examples of the products, including plaques depicting the last Supper ornamental plates and, as an example of iron work combining the output of the Coalport works, desk ink stands with china ink wells. The heyday of the iron works was reached at the Great Exhibition, the famous gates from which, cast at Coalbrookdale, still stand, not far from the exhibition site, in Kensington Gardens. Later, lamp posts and other street furniture were produced and sent throughout the world. London examples are in Trafalgar Square. For a time, however, designs deteriorated and were in very bad taste.
Mr Lawley told a particularly good story of the Swan fountain intended for Sandringham, which was “banished” to Warrington and latterly, not being very welcome there, was left to languish in a park dump before the Museum Trust, in a superb piece of detective investigation, recovered the various bits and pieces for re-erection at the museum.
Finally Mr Lawley touched briefly on the Ironbridge Gorge Museum as a whole and, particularly, on the Blists Hill Open Air Museum where, in addition to the preservation of some items in situ, others which would otherwise be demolished, are being reconstructed.
Six square miles of museum under constant development can hardly be covered in one lecture. Mr Lawley did much better in concentrating on the history and background as an introduction to the area and gave us a most interesting evening.
INTO HISTORY BY BUS AND TRAM
Brigid Grafton Green visits London’s latest museum.
A new museum opened in London last month beneath the elegant ironwork roof that spans the former Flower Market at Covent Garden. Five years ago the GLC organised a competition to find a new use for this building originally designed by William Rogers and erected in 1871. The winner was the London Transport Executive, which put in a plan for a permanent home for its collection of vehicles, then in temporary accommodation at Syon House, plus much ancillary material such as models, photographs, paintings, posters and maps. The vehicles included horse and mechanised omnibuses, coaches, trams, railway stock and trolley buses. The new museum also has a lecture theatre and a reference library for students engaged in transport research (open 10.30 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Saturday, by prior arrangement).
The displays start with models of the Thames wherries which for centuries provided the main public transport system for a much smaller London. Then comes the excitement of the first horse omnibuses – copied, in July 1829, by George Shillibeer from an idea which had been pioneered in the previous year in Paris. The first London route ran from Paddington to the City, via Islington. Mr Shi11ibeer, advertising his new service, pointed out “that a person of great respectability attends his Vehicle as Conductor; and every possible attention will be paid to the accommodation of ladies and Children”.
Models of cabriolets (at first it was considered vulgar to shorten the word to “cabs”) are shown: “coffin” cabs in the 1820s, so called because of the shape of the passenger seat, then four-wheeled “growlers” which could also cope with your luggage and, in 1837, the hansom of which 7,500 were on the streets of London by 1903.
Horse-drawn omnibuses show steady improvements; climbing rungs at the back are replaced by stairs, at first open but later covered. The open upper deck acquires a centre bench where you sat back to back; this was the “knifeboard bus “, so called because it resembled the Victorian domestic knife-cleaning board. One of the first knifeboard buses, “The Times”, is on show, painted in green and gold and drawn by life-size replicas of two magnificent greys. It bears a name with Hendon connections – that of Thomas Tilling, Job Master. It plied between Camberwell, Oxford Street and Peckham. Tilling (1825-83), whose buses brought him great fame, lived for some time at Guttershedge Farm. Hendon, (now Park Road, NW4) and his name is on the list which we put forward to the borough in 1978 for commemoration by a blue plaque.
In 1910 the motor bus arrived. Long before that, however, horse-drawn trams, running on their own tracks, had made an appearance. They too steadily improved, with the arrival of electric trams in 1901 and, by 1932, the luxury “Bluebird”, equipped with heaters and fully upholstered seats. The last London “Bluebird” was sold to Leeds in 1951. In 1931, the swift, smooth, swooping trolleybus came on the London scene – a vehicle which, to many suburban commuters, was the acme of speed and comfort and the passing of which is still much mourned.
There are vehicles, too, from the early suburban railways run by the main line companies. The first in London was the London and Greenwich, opened 1836, which brought passengers in to London Bridge. It was followed by local lines coming into Euston (1837), Paddington (1838), Shoreditch (1840), Fenchurch Street (1841), Waterloo (1848) and Kings Cross (1852). Crossing London, however, from one terminus to another was a nightmare, and by the 1850s plans were on foot to link the mainline stations by underground railway. In 1860 work began on the Metropolitan Line, and the first urban underground railway in the world opened on January 10, 1863, from Paddington to Farringdon Street, via Kings Cross.
Some of the most interesting exhibits in this section show how much attitudes have changed. The luxurious double-car Rothschild Saloon, for instance, was specially built to carry Ferdinand de Rothschild’s eminent guests to house parties at his country estate Waddesden Manor, near Wendover. Similarly the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos had a private line – the Wotton Tramway – built in 1871, to convey goods and passengers to his estate. Railway carriages are marked with notices like “3rd class” and “Ladies Only” and the early Underground lifts have large printed warnings “Beware of Pickpockets”. The earliest locomotive on show was built in a glory of brass and ironwork and red paint in 1866 for the Metropolitan Line into Baker Street, and was refurbished and rebuilt in 1908 at the Neasden works.
The photographs and documentary exhibits are also worth study. There are some photographs of local interest to HADAS – showing Golders Green, for instance (and including the famous 1904 “cross-roads in the country” shot), and a plan of Hampstead Garden Suburb. Reproductions of the early transport posters are used to colourful effect in the hall, and the museum shop provides a whole range of reproductions at £1.50 each. The museum booklet (not an itemised catalogue) is 60 pence – 30 pages, with black and white and many colour illustrations.
The museum is open lOam to 6pm every day except Christmas and Boxing Days. Admission is £1.40, children and pensioners 60p. It has quite a good snack bar, with coffee, salads and sandwiches.
THE COMP’S TALE
Another in Percy Reboul’s series of tape transcripts.
I was born in Burn Street, Gateshead, in 1906, the eldest of eight children and went to Prior Street school which I left at the age of 13. My father was a glass bottle maker who was mainly on night work and suffered rather poor health. One of my memories of school was an old schoolteacher named Stephenson who got all the children to bring him their fathers’ tobacco coupons with which he got goods for himself.
It was hopeless for jobs in 1919 and the only possibility seemed to be a coalmine job at Scotswood, Newcastle, where they took my name and said they would let me know when something came up. On my way home I saw a notice in a shop in Collingwood Road, Newcastle, which said, “office boy wanted”. I went in and saw a Mr Laybourne, who told me that the job had been filled but that he needed an apprentice compositor for his print department. He asked me to spell the word recommendation, which I was able to do, and I got the job.
I was apprenticed for seven years and paid 10 shillings a week, of which I had sixpence and gave the rest to my mother. On my first day I was shown the proofing press and my job was to clean the black ink roller every night so that the compositors could have a fresh start the following day. I was so keen that 1 cleaned it up every time that it was used until I was told that ink was expensive, and one cleaning a day was enough! I was taken to the type cases, shown their arrangement and how to set type by hand and later how to set display type.
There were no “art” people then. The compositors did the layout and learned how to become artists in type. Mr Laybourne, the boss, was President of the Madrigal Society and each apprentice in turn as the Society came up with a concert, was asked to arrange a page for the front of the programme.
Laybourne’s were general printers. There was no newspaper advertising as we know it today, and the big stores such as Coxons and Bainbridges had their own catalogues printed. That was a big job, sought after by every printer. Perhaps 15,000 catalogues would go out by post.
We did printing for Reyrolles the electrical people, building industry estimating forms, weigh-bills for the coal mines and the Newcastle tramway.
The firm employed seven compositors, two apprentice compositors and a works foreman in charge of the machine print room binding paper and despatch department. In the print department there were five letterpress printing machines, mainly British equipment; and we did every side of printing except block making. The working hours were from 8 am to 6 pm on weekdays, 8 am to l pm on Saturdays, with one hour for lunch.
I was the general runabout for the compositor. Every pay day, it was my job to buy beer and cigarettes for the men. I had a pole with notch cut in it and I went to the Jug and Bottle to get beer in the men’s own cans which I hung on the pole. Woodbines were bought in the packet of five for a penny and the men also bought sweets for the girls. The average wage was about £2. lOs to £3 and the foreman got about £5 per week.
In those days there were compositors employed solely for breaking up the type and redistributing it back into the type cases after the job was done. This was sometimes done by casual labour and as the apprentice it was my job to go to the Union office to get a man. I remember on one occasion going to the small office where compositors wanting work sat and asking a man if he would direct me to the secretary’s office. He asked where I was from and I told him. When I returned to work a little later the man I had asked to direct me was hard at work at Laybourne’s, having made good use of the information!
When I came out of my time in 1927 it was the custom for all apprentices to be sacked. You needed further experience elsewhere. I couldn’t find a job at all until a friend pointed out in a religious magazine that a London firm was looking for a compositor. This was the time of the hunger marches. I went to London and joined the Wicliffe Press, Finchley, on a month’s trial. A difference then arose with the union. The London Society of Compositors didn’t want me on the grounds that I was taking the job of a London man. I didn’t see the logic of this as the man I had replaced had gone to Liverpool. My pride would not let me return to Newcastle where so many friends had seen me off. When I did so later on a return visit I saw some of my school mates who had never had a job since leaving school. I was lucky.
I am still at the Wicliffe Press; which prints the Churchman’s Magazine for the Protestant Truth Society and an annual religious diary of 20-40,000 copies. To help finances we undertake local work – for example the organisations in Hampstead Garden Suburb such as the Dramatic Society.
Printing as we knew it has nearly priced itself out of existence. The small printer, like the small shopkeeper, is going out of business – which saddens me. There don’t seem to be the craftsmen about who learned about all aspects of the craft. Today it is highly specialised.
DIGGING INTO RELIGION
Helen O’Brien previews an educational film in which HADAS features.
The West Heath dig is featured, though somewhat fleetingly, in the first of a new series of educational films for secondary schools called “Religion and Civilisation”, about world religions. There are 10 films in the series and the first of these, “Origins”, was previewed recently at the Essential Cinema in London. “Origins” explores the growth of religion from its roots in prehistoric times and West Heath is used almost by way of introduction – to show archaeologists at work on a prehistoric site.
Charles Harris of Rarmersue Ltd, who produces and directs the series, wanted an excavation sequence to illustrate the idea of “searching for clues” of prehistoric beliefs. A small team from Rarmersue visited the site last summer and spent several hours filming the work in the trenches. In fact only a few general shots and a close-up of Philip Venning uncovering a large blade were needed.
The main part of the 20-minute film features famous ancient sites, including stone circles, megalithic tombs and the caves of the Dordogne, as the evidence for prehistoric religious beliefs is discussed. As well as schools, universities and clubs throughout the English-speaking world will be offered the series. Foreign versions may also be produced, depending on demand.
This is a most attractive and informative short film. We wish the series every success.
BOOKBOX INTO LIBRARY
It was in January 1974 that George Ingram took over “for an experimental period” the organisation of the HADAS Bookbox, which had been started the previous year by Philippa Bernard. The “experiment” was successful enough to last six years – and it was with much regret that the committee heard recently that Mr Ingram wished to give up the librarianship.
In that time the Bookbox, which originally fitted into a small suitcase, has grown enormously. It is now a library, not a bookbox, and it has been moved for safe keeping to the HADAS room at Avenue House. We are lucky in having found another member, June Forges, who lives in Finchley not far from Avenue House, willing to take over the librarianship.
In the summer when there are no regular meetings it is sometimes difficult for members to use the library. Mrs Forges suggests that any member who wants to borrow, or wants to know if the library possesses a certain book, should ring and consult her.
Local History 246 “Harrow as it Was”, compiled by Brian Girling, 1975 Presented by Dorothy Newbury Misc 215 “The Romans” (a study of past culture), by H.H. Barrow, Pelican Paperback, 1949 Presented by Jeremy Clynes
Archaeology Roman 188 “The Coins of Roman Britain” by Andrew Burnett (booklet)
Presented by Brigid Grafton Green British History 71 “Celtic Britain” by Lloyd Laing, Routledge and Kegan Paul,1979 Anonymous donation Local History 243 Camden History Review No. 7, Camden History Society 244 “Barnet and Hadley almshouses” by W.H. Gelder, 1979 Both purchased by the Society
245 “The Book of Remembrance and War Record of Mill Hill School” complied by Norman B. Brett-James Presented by Mill Hill and Hendon Historical Society
British History 72 (2nd copy) “What happened in History” by Gordon Childe 2 (2nd copy) “Man and the Vertebrates” by Alfred S. Romer Archaeology General 123 “Prehistoric Britain” by J. & C. Hawkes 254 “Archaeology from the Earth” by Sir Mortimer Wheeler Foreign F44 “The Pyramids of Egypt” by I.E.C. Edwards F45 “The Hittites” by O.E. Gurney F46 “The Pre-history of East Africa” by Sonia Cole F47 “Foundations in the Dust” by Seton Lloyd F48 “The Stone Age of Northern Africa” by C.E.M. McBurney F49 “Early Anatolia” by Seton Lloyd F50 “The Dead Sea Scrolls” by John M. Allegro F51 “The Pre-history of European Society” by Gordon Childe All Published by Pelican Anthropolgy 1 (3rd copy) “History of the Primates” (4th edition) by W.E. le Gros Clark 222 “From Savagery to Civilisation” by Grahame Clark All donated by Miss Phyllis Dobbins
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 13 volumes (1955 onwards). Donated by Miss Dobbins.
The Archaeological Journal, vols 12,(?128) 129, 130 (1971, 1972, 1973) and
Current Arcaheology, vols 43 to 53 inclusive (March 1974 to November 1975). Donated by Liz Holliday.
DOWN ON THE FARM
The College Farm open days were, by all accounts a huge success. Dave King, who with Nell Penny organised the HADAS contribution, estimates that between 2,000 and 3,000 people turned up to see the animals and other exhibits. The HADAS display featured an exhibition of the history of College Farm itself, telling the farm’s story, largely through photographs, from the time the Express Dairy took it over around a century ago to the present day. The display included photographs from the Express Dairy’s archives, from a former manager of the farm and from the HADAS collection. To complement it, there was material on other farms in the borough, some of it loaned by Church Farm House and Barnet Museums. And, going back to the days before farming was developed, there was a display of flints from West Heath. HADAS members stewarded the exhibition, while the Finchley Society, with the co-operation of the farm tenant, Chris Ower, was responsible for the rest of the attractions. They included such rustic sports as wellie throwing, demonstrations by the riding school based at the farm, pony rides and a horse-drawn milk float provided by the Express Dairy. Fine weather both weekends, – April 12-13 and 19-20 – helped enormously. One outcome is the planned formation of the Friends of College Farm, of which more details shortly.
THE INSULAR LONDONERS
Sheila Woodward reports, post haste, on the 17th annual Conference of London Archaeologists, organised by the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society and held at the Museum of London on April 26.
When London archaeologists meet in conference each year they talk about London. Venture as far afield as Staines and you are in alien country and, commented Richard Reece darkly, you may encounter a hostile reaction. True, Tim Tatton-Brown talked about Canterbury, but only to compare and contrast it with London.
For the rest of the crowded programme we had a round-up of recent London excavations, followed by a more detailed consideration of the problems posed by Late Roman London. The speakers were excellent, the audience enthusiastic (every seat was sold), confirming that the usual high standard of LAMAS conferences was maintained.
As usual, HADAS staged a display for the conference – of photographs, showing the salvaging of the College Farm hay tedder and churchyard recording. For activities more purely archaeological, conference attenders were directed to another display, this time mounted by the museum itself and left from the earlier Prehistoric Society conference. That included prehistoric finds from all over London, including flints from West Heath.
HADAS Newsletter 100 (June 1979) carried an article by Michael Purton on The Geology of the Borough of Barnet. On p.10 Mr Purton referred to “Neolithic” flint implements found on the Boyn Hill and Tap1ow river terraces at Yiewsley in West Middlesex. This was incorrect: the adjective should have been Palaeolithic, not Neolithic.
This error came to light when the 1979 Newsletter was being indexed. The index is now ready, and photocopies are available at 70 pence eacb (to cover cost of photocopying and postage). The index greatly enhances the value of the Newsletter as a tool, both for officers and members and also for libraries and record offices which take regular copies.
If you would like a copy of the 1979 index, please let Brigid Grafton Green know. It might also be possible to provide copies of indices for earlier years, at a similar sort of figure.
BONES OF CONTENTION
A true story, in which the participants shall be nameless.
It concerns an archaeologist who, digging a deserted medieval village site, chose to begin on the largest mound, in hope of finding the manor house. No such luck. It was the cemetery. But, not being one to ignore bones in the pursuit of buildings he handed over the skeletons to a bone-specialist colleague. The latter was delighted, as the bones had many pathological fascinations.
Next on the scene, however, was the vicar into whose parish the village fell. Outraged at the disturbance to his ancient parishioners, he ordered they should be reburied immediately in his own churchyard, for which he would charge the archaeologists a substantial fee. After much negotiation, the archaeologist agreed to reburial, but at a much reduced fee. The vicar was satisfied – and so were the archaeologists for, unbeknown to the cleric, the skeletons reposing in his graveyard were those not of medieval Englishmen but of ancient Egyptians, surplus to the bone specialist’s requirements.