NEWSLETTER 165: November. 1984. Programme News.
Tuesday November 6th, Industrial Archaeology of London Docklands. Dr.R J.M.Carr.
The Port of London has always been of great importance in the history of Great Britain and the Empire. To-day many Docks are closed and the future of others is uncertain. Large areas are under development and in the last few years much evidence of the Port’s history and Archaeology has disappeared or remains at risk. In the early 80’s a Docklands History Group was formed and Dr. Carr was appointed Dockland History Survey Officer. The Survey is supported by various groups including the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of London.
Dr. Carr is a very active Member of the Greater London Industrial Archaeological Society – in fact a lady Member of that Society has ‘phoned from Acton to say she has heard about our November lecture, and having heard it before, was so enthralled she wants to know where it is to be held so she can come and hear it again.
Saturday December lst. Christmas Party. “An Arabian Night” at The Meritage Club, Hendon. N.W.4.
See separate insert for particulars and send in your application for tickets as soon as possible.
Tuesday January 8th. The Building of Regents Park – (3rd in the series) Dr.Ann Saunders.
MINIMART. – We’ve done it again – takings have reached the staggering figure of £825 and are still creeping up. Really sincere thanks must go to our many various generous Members who bake cakes and send in such good saleable items for us to sell, and for giving their whole-hearted support on the day, both by manning the stalls and coming to buy. Tessa Smith would specially like to thank the cooks who so kindly provided quiches for the Ploughmans’ Lunches.
The quality of our goods is coming over to the public and of the 200 odd who attended the event, a very large proportion were non-Members, and this is one of our aims – to raise money from outside the Society, as well as enjoy it as a social gathering ourselves.
THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD short courses
The University of Oxford External Studies Department are offering two very interesting short courses, one on Medieval Moated Sites (14th – 16th December) and the other on the re-use or monastic buildings after the Dissolution. This is from 18th – 20th of January. Each offers a range of lectures, drawing on evidence from other regions (one on Lincoln’s use of monastic buildings by David Stocker) and at least one field visit.
Details from: The Archaeology/Local History Course Secretary, Oxford University Department for External Studies, 3-7, Wellington Square, Oxford. OX1 2JA.
FIRST AUTUMN LECTURE. OCTOBER. 1st. 1984.
No one who was privileged to take part in the epic HADAS trip to the Orkneys in 1978 will ever forget the visit to the cliff-top grave site at Isbister; leaving the coach some distance away, we pilgrims plodded along farm tracks of ever – decreasing quality until finally, having trekked over smooth untouched turf, we came to the very edge of the sea.
There the waves glittered under the sun, while the colour of the water deepened from turquoise to a dark steely blue; a few seals sunned themselves on the narrow rocky shore, and – directly beneath our feet, it seemed – the sea-gulls swooped and screeched. “We’re facing the Westward Ocean, where lie the Isles of the Blest, and the sunset where the spirits of the dead deport” breathed one poetically-minded Member, as
we gazed out over the Infinite………………………. On Tuesday night we learned that the cliff in
fact faces South, towards the mainland of Scotland. But let it pass….
This was but one detail in the fascinating and complex account given authoritatively by our Lecturer, John Hedges, who has studied and evaluated the site in great detail (and moreover was our very helpful guide when we visited it), having been entrusted with this task by the owner of the site, a local farmer who had himself done much of the digging.
In its final stages some 4,400 years ago a ‘horned’ tomb with wide stone-built arms embracing a large open area (for ceremonies?), the site had started ca.3,200 B.C., as one small cell, later extended into an elongated ‘stall’ tomb (so called because of the huge stone slabs partitioning it rather like cow-stalls in a dairy); other small cell-like additions had been made branching off this central passage; and then, after an active life of some eight hundred years, the whole complex had been deliberately and carefully filled-in, presumably closed down and abandoned. No one will ever know why; nor will we ever know whether a small cist, inserted hundreds of years later and containing a mere three or four burials, was built here by mere coincidence.
Than principal deposits yielded some 13,000 human bones, most of them skulls and large bones which an expert in Sheffield was able to allocate to 342 distict individuals. As Mr. Hedges stressed repeatedly, these were people, whose remains allowed us to speculate about their life-style, health and religious beliefs.
Isbister people had to struggle for their living: in fact many leg-bones showed changes which could be due to the over-development of specialised muscles such as had to be used in cliff-climbing (in search of ‘sea-birds’ eggs and young to eat); many of the women’s skulls were flattened and rounded as though deformed by the pressure of carrying many heavy loads.
Minor but interesting variations in bone structures, e.g., big toes, cervical vertebrae and sacral bones promised material for the study of genetic variations in localised populations.
Both men and woman had bad teeth, grossly worn down by the sand and grit left in their food, or introduced while grinding grain; but caries, which plagues us so much to-day, was not present. On the other hand, there was much evidence of impacted wisdom teeth and long-standing dental abscesses which must have caused life-long pain.
No injuries due to violence were found in any of the bones; but where bones had broken in accidents and subsequently healed, osteo-arthritis, which plagued these people anyway, had struck with particular fierceness.
Because so few of the smaller bones were found in the tomb, Mr. Hedges argued very cogently that dead persons were first “excarnated” (cleaned of flesh by exposure to the elements and wild animals) and then at some appointed season brought into the tomb together with sacrifices (good joints of prime meat, whole small fish, charred grain and deliberately broken pots had all been found); and finally, perhaps when the identity of the dead had been completely forgotten with the passage of time, the ancestral remains were moved away from the centre and laid on the shelves of the ossuary-type cells branching off the ends of the complex.
One very interesting point was that large numbers of bones and claws of White-tailed Sea Eagles had been found with other deposits, even “foundation sacrifice” under the large slab floor of the very first to be built. From this discovery Mr Hedges deduced that these eagles (for long extinct on Orkney, but now staging a tentative come-back) may have been the tribal symbol of the people who built this tomb complex and lived in the surrounding area. Similar concentrations elsewhere, but of different animals (in one case, no less than two dozen sets of Red Deer antlers) might indicate different totems for different tribal groups.
Further calculations, of the man-hours thought to be needed to construct tombs for any given size or complexity, and their distribution over the area of the Orkneys, had led Mr. Hedges to speculate about the relationship of small tribal groups with neighbouring, possibly larger and more powerful units; a theory finding some support in the fact that the largest and most complex tombs on Orkney are each at the centre of an area dotted with smaller sites.
Touching briefly on the problem of population control (via abortion and infanticide) Mr. Hedges indicated that though the life of Orkney Man was nasty, brutish and short by modern-day standards (hardly any males surviving to age 45), that of Orkney Woman was considerably shorter and probably infinitely more disagreeable.
The demographic conclusions reached (via some fearsome-looking graphs) were challenged, at Question Time, by Mr. Andrew Selkirk, to whose pointed remarks Mr Hedges replied with grace and humour.
A book on the site (“Tomb of the Eagles” by John W. Hedges) has been published and is available at just under £13. Everyone – whether present at this most enjoyable talk or not – will undoubtedly find it of considerable interest. Our Librarian, June Porges, joined the queue to buy a copy for the HADAS Library and was delighted to find it inscribed :For the HADAS Library, in remembrance of splendid field trip of 1978.
The Committee met in mid-October after a longer interval than usual, due to holidays. Among the items discussed were:
Life Membership. The August Newsletter mentioned that, at a Member’s suggestion, our Hon. Treasurer was looking into this possibility. After full discussion of pros and cons the Committee decided life-Membership was not a feasible operation.
Subscription Renewals, The Membership Secretary reported that 63 Members have not yet renewed nor have they informed her of resignation; no further Newsletters will therefore be sent to them. Nine new Members have joined in the last. month.
The Society will celebrate its Silver Jubilee in 1986 end suggestions for commemorating this event are under consideration.
HADAS has been invited to comment on the latest Borough Topic Study – on Transportation.
Newsletter arrangements. We have now said farewell – with great regret and much gratitude for her past work – to Irene Frauchiger as Production manager of the newsletter. The October issue was her final fling. The new production arrangements (which will bring you this November issue) were summarised for the Committee: Dorothy Newbury has found a home for the duplicator at the Hillary Press. Christopher Newbury kindly organised the transport of the machine and paper stocks from Edgware to Hendon. Edgar Lewy nobly offered to Roll-off each month; Eileen Howarth and Nell Penny between them will collate pages, stuff envelopes and stamp and post them. Enid Hill who has for many months organized envelope-addressing and keeping the mailing list up-dated will continue with that excellent work. You will realize from all this that- as usually happens in a HADAS crisis – we have had excellent and immediate response from Members prepared to help and we thank all of them most warmly, as we are sure you will also wish to do: it is due to them – and also Isabel McPherson and Joan Wrigley, who are respectively editing and typing this issue – that you have a November newsletter to read.
Steps are being taken to make sure that HADAS poster are still on display in such places as the public libraries of the Borough. Suggestions for busy indoor sites where a poster could be permanently displayed will be welcomed: if one please tell one of the Society’s Officers.
The LAMAS Local History Conference will take place at the Museum of London on Saturday November 17th (11a.m. – 5:30p.m.). The theme as we mentioned in the last Newsletter, will be transport. The Committee discussed HADAS’s arrangements to organise a display and bookstall.
ADDITIONS TO THE LIBRARY.
It is many months since we had a list of additions to the Library list, but I hope it may become a regular feature of the Newsletter again. The books listed here have been generously contributed by many Members including Mrs. I. Worby, Miss V Sheldon, Eric Wookey, Philip Venning and Sheila Woodward, and some purchased by the
Society. If any Member would like to borrow a book please ring me on 346-5078
(evenings) or come to Avenue House on Wednesday 31st October between 8 and 9 p.m.
Whiting J E Golders Hill, Hampstead. 1909.
Ancient Monuments Board for England. Committee for Rescue Archaeology. Principles of publication in rescue archaeology. 1975,
Farquhar. J.V.C. The Saxon Cathedral and Priory Church of St. Andrew, Hexham. 1935.
Goddard. L. Coalhole rubbings: the story of an artifact of our streets. 1979.
Clough. T.H. Mc. and Cummins, W. A. Eds. :Stone axe studies; Archaeological,
Petrological, experimental and ethnographic (CBA research report No.30.) 1979.
Lyne, M.A.B. and Jeffries, R.S. The Alice Holt/Farnham Roman pottery industry (CBA research report No.30.) 1979.
Wymer, J. The Palaeolithic age 1982.
Fairservis. W.A. The script of the Indus Valley civilization. (Scientific American)
Barnett. J. Prehistoric Cornwall; a field guide to and analysis of Cornish stone circles, chambered tombs, barrows, standing stones and other ancient monuments 1982.
Romer. J. Romer’s Egypt; a new light on the civilization of ancient Egypt. 1982.
Milne. G. and C. Medieval waterfront development at Trig Lane London: an account of the excavations at Trig Lane 1974-6 and related research (LAMAS special paper No.5.)
Gordon. C.H. Forgotten scripts: their ongoing discovery and decipherment 1982.
Savory. H.N. Spain and Portugal: the prehistory of the Iberian Peninsula 1968.
St. Clair. W. Lord Elgin and the marbles 1983.
Fowler. P.J. The farming of Prehistoric Britain 1983.
Wardman. A. Religion and Statecraft among the Romans. 1982.
Lloyd. S. Foundations in the dust: the story of Mesopotamian exploration 1980 (revised edition.)
Snowden. F.M. Before color prejudice 1983.
MacGregor. P. Odiham Castle 1200 – 1500: castle end community 1983.
,Nriagu. J.O. Lead and lead poisoning in antiquity. 1983.
Grayson. D.K. The establishment of human antiquity 1983.
Speth. J.D. Bison kills and bone counts; decision making by ancient hunters 1983.
Brennan. M. The stars and the stones. ancient art and astronomy in Ireland. 1983,
Gregory. K.J. Ed. Background to palaeohydrology: a prespective 1983.
Carter. H.. An introduction to urban historical geography. 1983.
SITES FOR WATCHING.
Here is this month’s list of sites which might be of some Archaeological interest if the applications for their quite extensive development are approved:
Land rear of 23/25 Hankins Land NW7. Land bounded by Stafford Rd/Stapylton/ Carnarvon Rd. Chipping Barnet plans for 4 detached houses, road, etc. library carpark and access.
67 Hadley Highstone Barnet plans for a detached house garage, access
If: any Member notices building activity on these sites, please notify either Christine Arnott (455-2751) or John .Enderby (203-2630.)
The Borough Planning Officer has recently sent us a monitoring report on how events in the last three years have affected the Council’s Environment Topic Study.
Topic Studies (they cover a number of subjects such as Housing, Transport, etc.) provide guidelines for the Council in its conduct of the Borough’s affairs until such time as an overall Borough Development Plan covering every aspect is produced. The first Environment Topic Study came out (after consultation with many interested bodies, including HADAS) in July 1981, and this monitoring report says, in effect, how the original guidelines are working.
The paragraph on Listed buildings is of interest
“The revised Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic interest was confirmed by the Secretary of state for the Environment in April 1983 and this produced a major increase in the number of Listed buildings in the Borough, Ten buildings were ‘spot-listed’ during the monitoring period by the Department of the Environment and several additional buildings accepted for inclusion in the revised list. No Listed buildings were demolished between July 1981 and July 1983. Grants were made for the restoration of Lawrence Campe Almshouses, by the Heritage of London Trust to which the Council is affiliated, and for repairs to St. John the Baptist Church, Chipping Barnet. Further consideration is being given to the desirability of setting up a Building Preservation Trust to promote the repair and restoration of Listed buildings in the Borough.”
Two other items from the monitoring report are worth recording. First a pamphlet “dealing with the general heritage of the Borough and outlining the history and pattern of its development” is, being prepared. Secondly, in association with local societies the Council is in the course of producing a leaflet on ecology. These are two publications which will be worth looking out for.
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
HELEN GORDON and her husband, long-time Members of HADAS (Helen first joined in
1971, and is one of our now many Diploma. holders) have recently moved from their Hendon
house. Their new address is 1, North End Road, NW3 – right on the Hampstead/Hendon border. Helen is leader of the Society’s Roman Group, and Members may like to have her new telephone Number: 458-5316.
We would also like to seize this chance of thanking Helen publicly for so kindly allowing HADAS to store equipment for many years in her garage at Hendon. She bore most patiently with a horrible assortment of unshapely and unlovely objects – such as our wheelbarrows.
COLIN EVANS is another long-time Member – he and his late wife, Ann, who died tragically young in 1980, first joined in 1972. The Society has not seen much of Colin lately, as he has been living in France, but he has kept in touch by letter. He married again last January, a French girl: and now reports, with great joy, the birth of his daughter Vanessa Caroline Ann. Congratulations to Colin and Josyan and best wishes to young Miss Evans.
News comes (via JUNE end HANS FORGES ) of AUDREY HODES, now established as a teacher of English at Hua Qiao University, Quanzhou, Fujian, in the People’s Republic of China. He writes to June and Hans:
“I feel very happy and acclimatised out here. The people couldn’t be kinder or more helpful. My 80 students (3 classes) couldn’t be more delightful – so keen! Have a modern room in the foreign teachers’ guest-house: bed, fridge, bookcase, the all-important tea-cupboard, large balcony with magnificent view of mountains, bathroom and toilet en suite. Food here is totally Chinese – suits me! Only concessions to Western. tastes are warm milk and coffee for breakfast – as you know, Chinese dislike dairy products. Breakfast is at 6:30, lunch 11:30, dinner 5:30.
Lessons are from 7:30 to 11:30, then siesta till 2:30 – total shut-down, nothing moves outside. .Noel Coward got it exactly right in Mad Dogs and Englishmen! More lessons from 2:30 to 4:30. In the evening a popular pastime is ‘let’s visit our English teacher.’ I had 10 students here last night, impromptu. I played them Mozart and Schubert – first time they had really heard Western music. 10.p.m.:campus asleep.
Here are a few historical items I hope you will like. I am looking forward to a stimulating year in China, now that settling in is over and lessons in full swing….”
A ubrey’s thistorical items’ were as interesting as his letter: postcards of a 14c Buddhist temple and a 13c Chinese ship in the Museum of Foreign Trade where, he says regretfully ‘language is a.barrier no Museum staff speak any English. He included a printed leaflet (in English) on the history of Quan Zhou, which
explained the importance of trade:
“This. historic city of renown was built in the early 8th Century … foreign merchants -swarmed here for business and missionaries and travellers shuttled in and out. Their entrances, exits and appearances. in the streets were infestation of the prosperity of the city which had thus become the departure port of the Old Silk road as well as one of the largest seaports of the world in the medieval age,”
The city was renowned also for the temple of Kai Yuan, with its twin pagodas. Of it Aubrey says ‘we watched people worshipping and lighting candles – not only old people, young ones too, hoping for happy marriage blessed by Buddha. Religious freedom guaranteed under new constitution. In courtyard two trees (banyans) said to be 1,000 years old. Huge stone tortoises and lions, wooden dragons on building …. crowds here all day long.’
Bridges, too, are among the sights of Quanzhou – the city is on the estuary of the Jin river. One bridge, the Anping, is said to be so long that it was called ‘There is no bride under the sky that is as long this one.’ Nearby are ancient kilns ‘for burning export porcelain’ and a recently excavated shipwreck. ‘All these’ says the leaflet ‘are seemingly splendid pearls inlaid on the ancient city. Making it all the more attractive… tourists, domestic and foreign, are streaming endlesslyinto this city of envy.’
Before he went out to China Aubrey Hodes promised to send us back some articles for the Newsletter. We hope ho will remember…and that this, therefore is just a fore taste with more to follow.
Newsletter correspondence recently has been pretty varied. Here’s a selection:
From the Curator, Church Farm House Museum,
It was good to see the Philip Temple article on Hendon Churchyard reprinted in the Newsletter.
Is it worth mentioning in the next Newsletter that there was some correspondence arising from Temple’s piece printed soon after? A lengthy would-be refutation of the article was followed up by a pretty convincing – and quite amusing re-statement of the case by Temple himself. The relevant details are Times Literary Supplement December 2nd, 1983. p.1347 and TLS Dec 9th 1983 p. 1216. The TLS for 1983 is available on microfilm at the Central Library at Hendon.
From HADAS Member Eugene Loeb.
One wouldn’t think to look for Archaeology in a Supermarket, but…..
In Tesco’s window in Ballard’s Lane is a photo of Broadway, Church End, N.3 at the turn of the Century or thereabouts. Between the 3rd and 4th windows (first floor) of the building just South of what is now the Abbey National Building Society, the
photo shows a sign, LADIES’ HAIRCUTTING AND ….painted on the wall.Prompted by curiosity, I visited the site (5 minutes walk to the South of Tesco’ on the opposite side of the road); and indeed there are faint traces of the painted sign still to be seen there!
With best wishes,
From the Bishop of Edmonton
Over the years I have been receiving and reading with pleasure the Newsletter of HADAS. I have much appreciated this and the honour of being Vice-President of your Society. I write now to ask if you will very kindly accept my resignation from this Office as at the end of the year I leave London to become Bishop of Peterborough. It is, as.you know, a City and area rich in History but I must say that I shall miss reading about the findings and research carried out by your Members and I will admit, as I leave, that frequently quotations from your Newsletter find their way both into the files of Parishes and into the occasional sermon of the Bishop!
Thank you for letting me have this so regularly and the honour of your Vice-Presidency.
With all good wishes to the Society in the years ahead.
As a tailpiece to our paragraphs last month about Ralph Gill, 17c Keeper of the Lions at the Tower, who lived at the Clockhouse, East Barnet, Gillian Gear writes:
At Barnet Museum we hold of a copy of a letter addressed to the Earl of Salisbury (courtesy of the Archivist at Hatfield house) which mentions Mr. Gill in respect of the birth of two lion cubs at the Tower, dated 29th July, 1605. It includes the following:-
‘Mr. Gyll hath hertherto Feede them with rackes off motton and Heenes, and hath procured water in a Cesturne set in the spacious place for them to drincke at, which they contynually use to that purpose, wherein as he hath used his best indevours to preserve them, so will hee omitte noe occasion that maye servo for their good.’
Some of our letters have come from very far afield. One, from the Library of the Church of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City Utah wanted HADAS’s publications. Another, from a young Finnish Archaeological student, asked about coming to England next summer to join a dig. He wrote in the hope that HADAS might be able to offer the opportunity he seeks.
The postmark on the envelope looks like Tunku (or perhaps Turku)
The address was incredibly simple:
Hendon and District Arc Society,
It reached us within a week, going first to N.W.4, and then to the N.W.11 address of our former Secretary. That’s either fame or uncommonly neat footwork by the Post Office or perhaps a bit of both: