Newsletter 162: August, 1984
Sat Aug 18. Repton Derbyshire – our last day-trip this summer. Colin Ditching of the Repton Village History Group will meet the coach as it leaves the M1 and take us through country lanes to the ancient village of Repton, where he will guide us through its long history; Excavations have been conducted here for the last 10 summers and are going on this August under Martin Biddle, who will show us the site and tell about their discoveries. If you wish to go on this outing please complete the enclosed form and return it to me with your cheque as soon as possible.
Sat/Sun Sep 15/16. The Lincoln weekend has proved very popular with too many for minibuses, so we are having a coach to take and fetch us. The whole weekend will be spent in Lincoln itself so transport won’t be needed there. We have filled the original small hotel and spread to two others. There is no waiting list, so any late-comers please ring me in case there are cancellations.
Sat Oct 6. Minimart (don’t forget the change of date). We are getting off to a good start collecting goods. Several members are moving house and HADAS is benefitting from their overflow. Please start turning out now and ring me or Christine Arnott (455 2751) when you have anything ready: unwanted gifts and toilet goods, clothing for all ages and sizes, all sorts of bric-a-brac, pictures, crockery, household utensils, curtains, linens, toys and games. If in doubt, ring and ask us. If you are making jams or pickles, make an extra jar for Brigid on the food stall. Thanks, everyone, you always do a grand job and I am sure you will do it again! Excellent ploughman’s lunches on the day, as usual.
DOROTHY NEWBURY (203 0950)
LIGHT RELIEF AT WEST HEATH by SHEILA,WOODWARD
The 6½ week dig at West Heath, due to end on July 31, has been blessed for the most part with dry, sunny weather and, in true British style, some of us have been complaining about the heat! In fact the site is a very pleasant place in which to spend a summer’s day.
HADAS members have responded well to our call for volunteers and to date over 50 have taken part in the dig. We are particularly grateful to those who have been able to give us regular help for several days each week. Special thanks are also due to our surveyor, Barrie Martin, who helped us to lay out the trenches and to Dan Lampert who, with our extramural students, carried out a contour survey of the site.
The site is being dug in one-metre squares and 17 squares are at present open. The flint flakes and burnt stones so familiar to all West diggers are being found, but it is too early yet to make any general assessment of these finds. Both dry and wet sieving are being operated. We have received several compliments from members of the public on the neatness of our trenches. However, it was rather disconcerting to hear one lady observe to her husband: ‘Isn’t it amazing, after all these years, how wonderfully preserved those steps are?’ and to be asked by another whether we were landscaping the Heath and making a series of steps down to the Leg of Mutton pond!
Other comments and questions we have cherished include ‘Are you the sketching party from Westfield College?’ ‘Have you found Robin Hood?’ and a dire warning against crossing ley lines for fear of incurring the wrath of the Druids. It was a 5-year-old who administered the Coup-de-grace with a dismissive ‘I know all about the Stone Age. We’ve read the book at school and we’ve finished it.’
Joking apart, it’s pleasant to have so much public interest and support. Two school parties have had a conducted tour of the site, and other visitors have included GLC Area Manager Malcolm Craig, members of the GLC staff and Mark Newcomer and some of his post-graduate students from the Institute of Archaeology. It was also delightful to welcome Dr Joyce Roberts, our ‘resident botanist’ of the earlier dig, who was on a fleeting visit to London from her Berwick home.
A final story: a party of 9-year-olds, gazing at our showcase flints, were told that they might find something similar if they looked carefully further up the Heath. ‘Like this, you mean?’ asked one little lad, casually pulling a core from the ground outside the fence!
AND WEST HEATH – THROUGH OTHER EYES
One of the school parties which Sheila mentions above was of 8 and 9-year-olds from the Hall School. They represented The Hall Express, the school’s wall newspaper. Afterwards we saw some of the reports filed by those budding journalists. Here are a few: the spelling is original (in more than one sense!):
From reporter Andrew Jackson: On Wednesday I went with the newspaper group to a dig where there trying to find out the way people lived in the ice age. I am not quite shure wereabouts it is but I do now that it is nere Hamstead. It is in an inclosher and there is string round all ‘the trenches so that you will not spoil the spicel layers. They dig in layers so not to miss anything and after that sieve it all once in a big sieve once in a medium sieve and once in a small sieve and then they put the remaining stuff in some water if any of the flint is covered in earth.
Reported by E Bell: On Wednesday June 27 the Hall Express went to Hampstead Heath to see an archaeological dig made by Hendon & District Archaeological Society.
The Site was about 30’ feet long and 30ft wide. The archaeologists were studying so carefully, but it looked as if they were looking for some mysterious treasure But to them it probably seemed as if flint was treasure. We were shown a box full of flint tools and then she showed us some newly dug up tools which someone was studying. Out of the whole 30 foot their were 2 diches each going down down like stairs. Each person who was digging dug very carefully with a very small trowel. They have this small trowel so they don’t miss some flint. They put it in a square sieve and pour the soil into the seive and the flint is left in the seive; but if the flint is dirty it is nut into a bucket and washed.
And by Ben Slater: We went to the Archaeologist dig. They had not dug f. r down threw the sand and stones. They started Digging in 1976 and ended at 198. They found quiet a lot of stones on the surface outside the area. When they dig stones up they put them in a bucket and tip it out in the sive and strain it. The area they are diging was lived in about 6000 years ago. The people who lived there used to make tiny tools from small pieces of flint. They used to live in small hollows.
The reporters’ stories were accompanied by graphic drawings which alas we can’t reproduce. But I’m darned if I’d like to meet on a dark the kind of rampant , Mesolithic West heather a Hall school Journalist portrays, bearded, starko and stone axe in hand!
At its July meeting the Committee welcomed a new colleague – Michael Purton, elected at the AGM; Another pleasant duty was to pass a vote of thanks to our Hon. Auditor, Ron Penney, and to agree to send him a small token of our appreciation for his help, always most willingly given.
Phyllis Fletcher retorted that membership is keeping up well this year with 1983. To July, 272 members had paid their subscriptions. That includes several new members enrolled as a result of West Heath, However, Phyllis still has over a hundred names on her ‘unrenewed’ list, and would dearly like to see it grow smaller.
The Committee has been asked to investigate the possibility of life membership, so the Hon. Treasurer is looking into the actuarial implications and seeing what action would be necessary under our constitution.
Some members with long memories may recall that back in 1980 a young man named Steve Herman (who was for a time a member of HADAS) began, with funding from the GLC and encouragement from the Borough of Barnet, to make a film on the early history of the area, which he called Barnet before Domesday. A lot of his material came from HADAS People and HADAS digs. So long, however, has been the film’s gestation that everyone had almost forgotten it. Mr. Herman has now surfaced again and hopes the film may be ready for showing this summer.
The Society was recently asked to trace the whereabouts of a Victorian horse trough which used to stand at the corner of Wellgarth and North End Roads, in Golders Green. In fact the Research Committee of the mid-1970s had followed the tribulations of that particular trough quite carefully. It had been removed by the Borough Engineer’s department for safe-keeping while flats were built on the corner site. The entrance– through which large lorries constantly delivered bricks, stone, cement, etc – was beside the trough and the chances of it being knocked about were considerable. At the time the Borough Engineer informed HADAS that it would be kept safely at Summers Lane depot until it could be reinstated: so we are now going into a huddle with the Borough Engineer about it.
The Committee heard a report on the continuing work (now mainly administrative) -which will, in due course, result in the first West Heath report. : The virtually complete text (over 250 pages) has been typed: only the final summary – into which it may be possible to put a TL dating as a finishing touch – remains to be done. Work is also well advanced on the illustrations; and a Plan is under way to raise grants from as many interested sources as possible towards the cost of publication, which we hope will be undertaken by LAMAS, either as part of the Transactions or as one of their Special Papers.
Members will recall that Elizabeth Sanderson, our site-watching co-ordinator, had to give up that work a couple of months ago. Christine Arnott and John Enderby have now agreed to share the job between them. The fact that John has a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of the layout of the Borough will be a great advantage. No doubt as soon as they get into their stride there will be reports from them in the Newsletter.
Advance notice was given that our neighbours in Hampstead propose to celebrate their millennium in 1986. They base their 1000 years of history of Westminster Abbey Charter which defined Hampstead in 986. We look forward to hearing more about their celebrations.The Committee has arranged, to relieve our hard-pressed publications secretary, Pete Griffiths, of some of his workload. Joyce Slatter has kindly agreed to take charge of dealing with book orders, either from members or non-members. Should you want to buy any publications, please get in touch with her at 5 Sentinel House, Sentinel Sq, NW4 2EN (phone
It may help in ordering if we list some of the latest Shire titles. Six volumes in the Shire Archaeology series have not yet been reviewed in the Newsletter:
Aerial Archaeology in Britain by D N Riley
Archaeology of Gardens by Christopher Taylor
The Gods of the Roman Empire by Miranda J Green
Greek Coinage by N K Rutter
Post-medieval Pottery 1650-1800 by Jo Draper
Roman Forts in Britain by D J Breeze.
These cost £1.95 each. Such names as Chris Taylor, Miranda Green and J D Breeze are themselves a guarantee of a well-handled subject. In the Shire Album series “Clay Tobacco Pipes”, by Eric G Ayto, originally published in 1979 (and reviewed in the Newsletter) has just been reprinted at 95p it is a good buy.
GLASS AND GOLDSMITHS
The Newsletter has mentioned before now the remarkable find of coloured enamelled glass made at Foster Lane in the City a couple of years ago. Some fifty fragments were found, probably of early 14c date. These have now been pieced together as far as is possible, in the Museum of London’s Conservation department, and a fascinating small exhibit has been mounted. Next time you are in the Museum, do have a look at it – it is to the left of the bookstall.
Enamel is coloured glass which fuses at a lower temperature than Ordinary glass. Ground up, it can be applied like paint to a glass vessel and then fired to fix it permanently. The technique was in use in Syria well before it got to Europe, but certainly by 1300 enamelled glass was being made in Venice.
The site on which the glass was found, in Foster Lane, is just south of Goldsmiths Hall. There is documentary evidence that the area, at the west end of Cheapside, was a centre of goldsmithing from certainly the early 1200s. It was rich in rubbish and cess-pits, and in one of the latter – a square, chalk-lined pit – accompanied by domestic pottery and fragments of crucibles the glass was found. It was an unexpected find among what appeared to be mostly household rubbish.
The glass comprises parts of at least six beakers, each up to 5 in. or so in height, decorated with figures of saints and a horseman, ornamental foliage, heraldic designs and inscriptions, in red, blue, yellow and other bright colours. When whole, they must have looked spectacular. The vivid colours like blue and red have been applied to the back of the glass, while the white outlines and the inscriptions are applied to the front. It is suggested that this may have been a device to prevent the colours running in the furnace.
One of the Latin inscriptions is ‘MAGISTER. BA …’ while on the rim of a beaker is ‘SBARTOLOMEUSFE …’ (probably …s Bartolomeus fecit‑) ‘Bartholomew made me’ It is interesting – and perhaps significant – that medieval Venetian records show a Bartholomew working there as a painter of glass between 1290-1325.
How did such expensive and luxurious objects come to thrown in quantity into a cesspit? The Museum experts advance two possible theories. One is that decorated drinking glasses were at this time often fitted into ornamental gold or silver bases, and that was goldsmiths’ work. -Were the goldsmiths doing that, was there a disaster in the workshop and did the glasses have to be jettisoned? the other suggestion is that the owner decided to realise the value of the bullion mounts and sent the glasses to have their bases removed!
CORNWALL CONFERENCE by BRIAN WRIGLEY
After the somewhat unenthusiastic – even critical – references in the Newsletter to the Prehistoric Society’s Spring Conference in London, it is a pleasure to be able to report that the Summer Conference, held from May 26 to June 2, was a most enjoyable and instructive event. There were lively and interesting lectures and splendidly organised field trips to fascinating and famous sites with guides (mostly Nicholas Johnson and Henrietta Quinnell) who had tremendous stores of information – and also the ability to project a learned discourse in voices that could be heard from one side of a field to the other.
Cornwall is of course rich in prehistoric sites. The message that came over to us, however; was that the problem for, Cornish archaeology is that the whole landscape, with -its routes and field boundaries of immemorial antiquity, is almost one vast archaeological site from sea to sea, with all the attendant, ever-present problems of priorities in preservation. Currently, we gathered, concentration is on mapping and. recording before the present form of the landscape disappears under changed methods of farming.
There was again a good representation of HADAS members. They must indeed have formed something like a sixth of the whole party.
POVERTY IN LONDON
The London Topographical/Society. has produced for its members another of its splendid annual offerings. This time it is a reproduction of Charles Booth’s map of London poverty, first published in 1889-1.
The map is in four 21″x25″ sheets in 7 colours. The colours are the key element. Booth’s system was to use each colour to show streets according to the !general condition of the inhabitants:’ starting with’ black .(‘lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal’) through shades of blue, purple and red to yellow (‘Upper-middle and upper classes. Wealthy’).
The maps: are introducedby Professor. David Reeder of Leicester University, there.is.a biographical note on Charles Booth, a list of further reading and a note about the records on which Booth’s survey was founded -.392 notebooks and 55 volumes of house-to-house surveys and 6 boxes of 1:2500 OS map hand coloured. These are lodged in the British
Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics. You can consult them by ‘Making an appointment with the archivist The collection is described as being ‘briefly and rather inadequately’ listed, but it is said to be a quarry that is full of potential nuggets for researchers.
The main aim of the London Topographical Society is to assist the study and appreciation of London’s history and topography by making available facsimile maps, plans and views. Its members receive the annual publication free each year, and can buy any extra productions at a 25% discount. Gels among past annual publications include Thomas Milne’s 1800 Land Use map of London and its environs, in 6 sheets; and the 1810 Rheinbeck Panorama of London.
The LTS subscription is only £5 a year, so you get some real bargains. Non-members, for instance, who want to buy the Booth maps will pay £12.50 for them anyone who would like to join LTS should write to the Membership Secretary, Trevor Ford, 59 Gladesmore Rd, London N15).
HADAS has an especially soft spot for LTS because a HADAS member, Dr Ann Saunders, is the Hon Editor and therefore responsible for its magnificent publications. 1984 is quite a year for Dr Saunders. As well as producing the Booth maps for LTS, she has had her fine book, The Art and Architecture of London, published by Phaidon.
As the Newsletter went to press the list of the University’s extramural courses arrived; so did the HGS Institute’s 1984-5 prospectus. Here are details of a few local courses which might interest members:
The Romans on Weds starting Sept 26 at 10 am at Owens Adult Education
Centre, 60 Chandos Avenue, Totteridge N20. Lecturer Tony Rook.
Greek and Roman Art & Archaeology, Tues from Sept 25, 7 pm, Camden Adult
Education List, Haverstock School. A C King.
Landscape Archaeology, Tues from Sept 25, 7.30 pm Community Centre, Allum
Lane, Elstree. A R Wilmott.
The Roman East, Wed from Sept 26, 7.30pm, Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Margaret Roxan.
Industrial Archaeology Mon from Sept 24, 7.30 pm, de Havilland College,
The Walk, Potters Bar. Dr D P Smith.
There are also some interesting new, but non-local, courses:
Art, Politics and Religion in Ancient Egypt. This will consists of 6 linked weekends at monthly intervals, starting Sat Oct 13, 10.30 am. At the Mary Ward Centre, 9 Tavistock Place. Mrs S Gee.’
Everyday Life in Medieval London, Thurs from Sept 27, 6.30 pm Museum of London, P L Armitage and A Vince.
Shipwreck Archaeology, Tues from Oct 2, 6 pm, Museum of London, Peter Marsden
There are central courses, mostly at the Institute of Archaeology, in all years of the Diploma in Archaeology; and continuing central post-diploma courses on animal bones, human skeletal remains and plant remains.
And of course, as the Newsletter mentioned last month, it will be possible this autumn to start the first year of the Certificate in Field Archaeology locally, at the HGS Institute. Tony Legge will take the prehistory of SE England from 2-4 pm.Thurs, starting Sept 27, at the Quaker Meeting. House, Central Square, NW11.
Other HGS Institute courses are: Basic Geology: an Introduction to Palaeontology and Stratigraphy (Thurs, 7.30-9.30 pm); Discovering England (Mons, 10-12 noon); Antique British Pottery & Porcelain, 1650-1900
(Tues, 7.30-9.30pm); Care & Restoration of Antiques (Weds 7.30-9.30 pm) and London’s Heritage (iris 10-12 noon). Further details from the HGS Institute office, 455-9951 (but not between Aug 6-17).
ALL ABOUT BARNS
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings – whose secretary, you may remember, is HADAS member Philip Venning – has recently launched a Barns Campaign. Part of this is described as a Domesday Survey of every barn in England and Wales, built of traditional materials, whether still in agricultural use or converted.’
The SPAB is calling for volunteers to visit all barns in their local parish and to fill in a simple questionnaire of some 25 or so questions. It has invited HADAS to take responsibility for dealing with the parishes in the Borough of Barnet, and we would like to accept – provided enough members are prepared to volunteer to help.
It should not be too tough a job because; alas, LBB has already lost most of its old barns. If we could find 4 or Volunteers, particularly in the northern part of the Borough; prepared to visit two or three Thithe barns each and to fill in the questionnaire, we think we could do all that SPAB requires.
Members who would like to take part in this piece of field work are asked to contact Brigid Grafton Green (455 9040; or drop her a note at 88Temple Fortune Lane, NW11).
RUMOURS OF WARS
There is no doubt that attitudes to nuclear weaponry arouse strong
Passions even in the unwarlike world of archaeology. Our note in the
last Newsletter about the new organisation, Archaeologists for Peace, produced- immediate reactions.
First came a letter from a member who warmly welcomed the new group. ‘I’ve written off for details at once,’ it said.
Hot on its heels came a phone call from a member who had almost been inspired to write saying that archaeology shouldn’t be dragged into politics.’ We begged her to put it in writing, but she never got round to it. However, one of our younger members, Robert Michel, now reading archaeology at Southampton University, who has been with us since his junior days, did put pen to paper. He wrote:
Do archaeologists need a separate voice in the debate on the arms race? Surely any of tour colleagues who feel sufficiently strongly on the matter can join one of the established organisations.
I for one would be unhappy to see archaeology as a profession/hobby dragged into the inevitably political arms race debate. As archaeologists, our concern is with the reconstruction of man’s past through the remains recoverable from the archaeological record. Our concern about the arms race and allied matters should be pursued in our capacity as private individuals, and I hope archaeologists will give this new organisation a very wide berth.
PS: Keep up the good work
It is some time since we listed HADAS’s new members and wished them harpy digging 7 of every kind. The following have joined the. Society in the last few months:
Susan Abraham, Hendon; Fred Armstrong, N. Finchley; Isobel Barrett, Hampstead; .Rae Bloxham, Finchley; Mr & Mrs Borrill, Mill Hill; Valerie
Brown, Kenton; Jonathan Chandler, Highgate; Stuart Goldshaft, Edgware; ‘ ,Paul Grandidge, HGS; Philip & Sarah Harris, Finchley; Miss W’S Hartnell, New Southgate; Bernadette Joslin, N. Finchley; Mr R V Kerman, Mill Hill; Lisa & Tracey Maher, Kenton; Marianne Mays, N. Finchley; Spike Milligan, Hadley; Fiona Monteith, Orpington; Gavin Morgan, Hendon; Irene Owen, Barnet;’ Mary Rawitzer, Highgate; Mr A Rayner Finchley; Miss M V
Rowland; Wandsworth; Malcolm Smith, Muswell Hill; J Symes, N19; Mr P D Wernick, Hendon; John Whitehorn, Barnet; Robert & Sue Woolley, Golders Grn.
We have also a now corporate member – the Mount School, Mill Hill.
A warm welcome to all the above.
PARAGRAPHS ABOUT PEOPLE
One horribly frustrated member this summer is MYFANWY STEWART. She has always been a most staunch West Heath supporter, and this season he was to have been one of the three ’eminences’ who kept the new dig running (Margaret Maher and Sheila Woodward being the others). Alas, with West Heath only a week old Myfanwy pulled a hip muscle. To add insult to injury she didn’t do it digging, either – she was just lifting up a grandchild at home! She had to spend a week on her back and then take life very slowly – and no West Heath. However, it must have been some consolation to hear that she had passed her degree in Archaeology this summer – with an upper 2: many congratulations.
Myfanwy’s Mum, MRS IRENE OWEN, who joined HADAS in May, has been one of the dig’s keenest supporters. She’s made her way to West Heath frequently – and it’s no easy place to get to by public transport from. Chipping Barnet. She has a particularly neat hand for flint marking, we’re told, not to mention being an outstanding coffee-maker;
Several HADAS members took part in this year’s annual Open Week at the HGS Institute – the last under the friendly eye of JOHN ENDERBY., who retires at the end of this month. JOYCE SLATTER, ENID HILL and VALENTINE SHELDON, took charge. of the bookstall, selling £30 worth of books and enrolling new members;. while CHRISTINE ARNOTT organised an exhibit on HADAS’s work. We are most grateful for their help and also for Mr Enderby’s invitation to take part.
News recently came of two former HADAS members who, for various reasons, have had to give up membership. They will, we feel sure, be
remembered by many who worked in West Heath Phase 1. NICOLE DOUEK took her degree in Ancient History at University College in summer ’83. She is about to start working for a PhD in September, on an aspect of her pet subject: Ancient Egypt.
It was a pleasure to get a letter – via the Diplomatic Bag from GILL BRAITHWAITE, who took an archaeological degree some 4 years ago just before she was wafted, off to Washington where her husband is No 2 at the British Embassy. She tells us she tries desperately to keep up with what’s happening in British archaeology – but it’s difficult at such a distance; and she sends her best wishes to all her friends in HADAS.
We also noticed – this time in the CBA Newsletter – that another.’ ex-HADAS member is managing to keep up his archaeology. DR ERIC GRANT, of the Geography department of Middlesex Poly, who was a HADAS member. all through the ’70s, has received a grant of £500 for an excavation in Langport, Somerset, ‘to elucidate the development of the Saxon and medieval town.’
HADAS member on the move this summer is CELIA GOULD. She has loft Hendon after many years to live at Winchmore Hill (at 23A Percy Rd, N21 phone 360 6129, if you would care to alter your members’ list).