NEWSLETTER NO. 169 March 1985.
Tuesday, March 5th. Annual Constantinedes Memorial Lecture –
by Daphne Lorimer on the WEST HEATH EXCAVATION
Daphne will start her lecture with a resume of this Mesolithic site and its surroundings, telling how a HADAS Member, Alec Jeakins, first suspected its presence while walking on Hampstead Heath and how the excavation (Phase 1) developed in the next six years from 1976-1981. This is the nearest Mesolithic site to London which has so far been found and in 1977 HADAS entered it in the BBC Chronicle Contest reaching the final six. Daphne, who was site Supervisor during these six years will be showing slides, a display of photographs and a selection of the finds.
Her talk will be of great interest to all those who took part in the dig but also to those who have since joined the Society and to our many Members who do not participate in our dirt Archaeology activities.
The lecture is a tribute to our founder, the late Themistocles Constantinedes. His daughter, Miss Vivienne Constantinedes hopes to be present.
Tuesday April 2nd. England’s Heritage: An Aerial View. Christopher Stanley.
Tuesday May 14th. Annual General Meeting.
All the above at Central Library, The Burroughs, Hendon, N.W.4, Coffee 8.p.m. Lecture 3:30.p.m.
Saturday May 18th. Outing to Cambridge. Andrew Powell.
Friday June 21st/23rd. Weekend in South Cumbria. Isobel McPherson.
This is a beautiful area, seldom visited and rich in Archaeological interest. We hope to visit several prehistoric costal sites, a late Neolithic (megalithic) circle, a Bronze Age circle and three hill-sites of Pre-Roman occupation,, as well as the ruins of Furness Abbey and the extensive site at Heathwaite, which seems to have been settled first in Neolithic times, though most of the visible remains are now thought to be Early Mediaeval.
WRITING IN ROMAN BRITAIN – VINDOLANDA AND BATH …
Report on a lecture by Mark Hassell on 5th February.
The particular interest of the Vindolanda and Bath writings lies in the information they contain of ordinary people’s lives, the ordinary soldiers of the early second century in Vindolanda, and civilians of the fourth century in Bath. Roman Britain apparently lacked native authors and most Roman monumental inscriptions contain only formal information such as an individual’s status, age or career; but here in Vindolanda a soldier had written thanking for a parcel he had been sent, containing socks, two pairs of slippers and two pairs of underpants.
At least two earlier forts underlie the vici alongside the major Vindolanda fort, visible to-day near Hadrian’s Wall; the later occupation has happily sealed off these earlier forts, leaving their organic remains, in an exceptionally good state of preservation. Small pieces of wood thus preserved and excavated during the last fifteen years, have been found under close examination to be covered in fine ink writing in the old Roman cursive script. Some are letters such as the thank you for the socks and pants, or one about the 50 oysters sent to a convalescent by a friend. Others are lists of provisions, such as barley, wine, beer, fish sauce, etc; the words “per privatum” often appear on these lists, probably meaning “on private account” – are we reading here the Roman equivalent of NAAFI accounts?
Sentences such as “I write to you from winter quarters in Vindolanda” and mentions of names of people or places and dates help fill in information about this first hundred years of Roman occupation which is still a dark period in our knowledge. For example one letter referred to a visit by Marcellus a Govenor whose decorations for military valour in Britain are known from inscription elsewhere; Vindolanda must have seen heavy fighting at that time.
The richness of the Bath writings lies ‘in the details of the curses recently excavated from the hot spring. Curses were written on thin sheets of pewter, tin or lead, which were rolled up end cast into the sacred waters for the attention of the goddess Minerva. These curses also reflect the pattern of human life. For example the curse of the man who had lost his towel, and named a string of possible thieves perhaps they had been bathing with him when it was stolen; and a man who had lost his cloak cursed the thief up and down “whether he was a man or a woman, a slave or a free man”, the curse running on to wish various evils on him -.death, and no sleep and no children etc. until the cloak should be returned.
Other examples of informative writing included a scrap of a soldier’s diploma from which the whole document has been reconstructed by Dr. Roxan,(well-known to many HADAS Members) whom Mark Hassall named as the world authority on military diplomas.
The many such informative items detailed in the lecture help to put flesh on the skeleton of roman Britain, outlined by Archaeology, and Mark Hasall’s lively presentation gave us a vivid new picture of life at that time as seen through the eyes of the writers.
Members who never enjoyed one, or both, of Mark Hassall’s lectures may be interested in a short course at Oxford on The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, including lectures on the evidence from inscriptions for military organisation, for civil and civic life, religious belief and practice and one on the ‘curse tablets.’ Tutors: Dr. Graham. Webster and Dr. Roger Tomlin. This course runs from April 13th – 14th. Full residential fee £24.00. Details from The Archaeology/Local History Course Secretary, Oxford University, Department of External studies, Rewley House, 3-7,Wellington Square, Dxford. GXI 2JA.
Correspondence re “Pop Arch”
This is a happy ending.Last month we told the unfinished story – from a reader’s eye view – of the problems which were bedevilling the journal ‘Popular Archaeology.’ It hadn’t appeared since last August. we were keeping our fingers crossed that it would manage to publish its January issue, and it just made it – by a whisker. The Newsletter copy arrived from the Newsagent on January 31st.
Now we’ve had a letter from ‘Pop Arch’, which says:
“The February copy is now available, and I have Great pleasure in enclosing it. I must say how much I appreciated the comments (in your February Newsletter) regarding our magazine, and can only apologize for the omission of copies since September 1984… It is not just distribution problems which we had to contend with, but also printing and general production.I would appreciate it if you could make some mention in your next Newsletter to the effect that Popular Archaeology is alive and kicking.'”
That we’re delighted to do.
Do you remember April Fool’s Day last year when we unveiled the plaque on Finchley Memorial Hospital to the memory of Grimaldi the clown? The vicar of the Clowns’ Church, Father Michael Shrewsbury, who was present at the unveiling writes:-
“The Sunday was drab and grey but wonderfully enlivened by the motley as once again the Clowns came to Church. On the 3rd of February some forty Clowns paid their annual visit to the Clowns’ Church, Holy Trinity, Dalston in Hackney, the headquarters of Clowns’ International and the St. Francis gallery of Clown pictures. Strictly, there were only one or two Clowns and the remainder Augustes.
The day began with the annual meeting of Clowns’ International followed by the scrimmage for corners in hall and gallery to don the motley; the greeting of old friends and the meeting of new. At 4.00pm began the great procession into Church – clouds of sweet incense, Cross, Candles, Preacher (Canon Sebastian Charles of Westminster Abbey) Clowns’ Chaplain and – of course the Clowns, one complete with huge snake!
During the Service tribute was paid to the great Grimaldi. The President of Clowns International, Ron Moody, laid a Chaplet in the Grimaldi corner while the Chaplain prayed, “God our Father, we remember before you the life of your servant known as Grimaldi the Clown, his artistry, skill and invention. Surely he helped You to touch the hearts of Your children and for this we give you thanks.” This is a Collect the Chaplain composed some years ago.
With trumpets and organ, Clowns, Clergy end congregation sang ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ at the end of the Service while processing into the hall, for a ceremonial cutting of the Clown cake end a rousing show.”
The Vicar asked if any HADAS Members would like to go to the service and kindly said he would keep a couple of seats. We gave Sheila Milligan a ring as we thought Spike (who unveiled the plaque) might like to go. He would have done, but alas, had a TV appointment at precisely that time.
A GOOD DINNER
NELL PENNY takes another dip into parish records.
Gazing into my crystal ball can I see HADAS in 1999 celebrating the bicentennial of a Hendon Vestry dinner on April 24th 1799 at The Greyhound Inn? This re-creation will not be an elaborate exotic feast such as we have had recently, but a hearty, homely English dinner. The menu will he copied from the bill presented by Mr. Rayham, The publican to whom the parish had let the Inn; to the “Gentleman and Overseers.” These are the items:-
£. S. D.
Beef 19. 10
Pudens (in 1798 they had been Plumb Puddens.) 12. 0
Greans, Potaters and Melted Buter 3. 6
Horse Radish and Salt 3. 6
Bread and butter 3. 0
Ale 7. 3
Dressing (is this the cooking and serving charge?) 10. 0
Tea for 13 10. 0
Wine (about 10 bottles I think.) 15. 0
The business of “making a poor rate” was spread over a whole day with intervals for dinner and tea. On April 24th the vestry decided on a rate of 6d. in the pound. The money raised did not last the year; in November 1799 the leading parishioners had to declare another 6d rate. But this time they only allowed themselves tea at 10d a head, as they did every month when they met to pass the accounts of the overseers of the poor.
PROCESSING ROMAN BONES WITH IRE GREATER LONDON ARCHAEOLOGICAL UNIT by Helen Gordon.
Bones from 112 Roman skeletons ere in need of washing. Excavated last year in West Tenter Street, E.1 (Goodman Fields), they had lain in a cemetery to the east of the city wall since they had been buried there between the middle of the 2nd and the end of the 4th century AD. The graves were aligned – either parallel or at right angles – to the Roman road between Aidgote and Limehouse, leading towards the Shadwell Roman military tower.
In addition to these inhumations, the excavation revealed 13 in situ cremations (dated between. early 2nd and early 3rd century), some depositions, and the skeleton of a horse. The graves were not richly furnished (16 ceramic pots, 6 pairs of hobnailed shoes; 6 graves contained jewellery) and there were 6 “plaster” burials, the bodies being covered with calcium carbonate, possibly quicklime. A deep pit containing plaster, found nearby, was probably a “ritual pit” possibly associated with the plaster burial rites. Gravestones were conspicuous for their absence – probably re-used for building material; but two tombs were found, stone structures above ground level.
The condition of the skeletons varies enormously, some being represented by a few bone fragments only, while some are well preserved, with intact skulls and near- complete trunk and limbs. The bones are still in the cemetery earth, as excavated; they must be washed and packaged for expert examination for evidence (among other things) of disease or injury – we haven’t spotted any, though it is easy to see tooth wear or decay.
Four HADAS Members end one other are now taking part in this work on Monday daytimes, in the GLAD premises at 42, Theobalds Road, near Gray’s Inn, under the kindly eye of Stephen Pierpoint and Bob Whythead; the latter will be reporting on the excavation at the Annual Conference of London Archaeologists nt the Museum of London on March 23rd
Though we are halfway through the skeletons, there is still need for more workers, regular or occasional – ring Jean Snelling, 346-3553. There is also an evening group (non-HADAS) working on Tuesdays.
First Committee Meeting of 1985 was held on January 25th. Among matters discussed were the following:-
Our membership Secretary, Phyllis Fletcher, reported that Membership is holding up well this year. Tally to date for 1984-5 is 382 Members.
Each year the Society makes a donation to a worthy Archaeological cause. This year we decided to send £20 to the Hod Hill appeal, recently launched by the National Trust. Many Members will know this important Dorset Iron Age hillfort, later occupied by a Roman military garrison. In addition to being a scheduled ancient monument, Hod Hill has environmental claims. It is a Site of Special, Scientific Interest in on Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and includes a nature reserve. The Notional Trust has taught 67 acres of it; 50% of the cost has been met by grants, but the Trust is now appealing for the other half.
In November we reported that the Committee was discussing ways of celebrating our Silver Jubilee which falls in 1986. No detailed decisions have yet been taken, so we can’t at this stage tell you dates, places, etc: but you may like to know that discussion is centering on two possible functions. One, under some such title as ‘One Man’s Archaeology,’ is likely to be a public exhibition the other a buffet Christmas do at which the history of HADAS will play a prominent part.
A brief notice of the 1984 West Heath dig has been sent to the London Archaeologist for their annual Excavation Round-up.
HADAS will, as usual, mount a display and organise a bookstall at the Conference of London Archaeologists at the Museum of London on March 23rd.
The Committee passed a warm vote of thanks to Edgar Lewy who so willingly and at great expenditure of his own time duplicated the November, December and January issues of the Newsletter. Much thanks too to Christopher Newbury, without whose help the February issue and the up-to–date Members list would not have seen the light of day.
The Committee decided to write to the four MP’s whose constituencies cover our Borough – Sidney Chapman (Barnet), John Gorst (Hendon North), Margaret Thatcher (Finchley) and Peter Thomas (Hendon South) – drawing their attention again to the fact fact that the Bill for the abolition of the GLC makes no reference to the future of the Greater London Record Office and the associated History Library. This is a matter of the greatest concern to all those who have any interest at all in the history of the London area.
MORE ABOUT GLC ABOLITION.
As a footnote to the final item in Committee Corner, the current issue of the LAMAS Newsletter (issue 53, January, 1985) analyses the abolition Bill.
Under it the Government will take over GLC funding and management of the Museum of London. English heritage (the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England) will have responsibility for certain great houses – Kenwood, Marble Hill House and Rangers House and for most of the powers of the GLC historic Buildings Division. As regards Archaeology, LAMAS has this to say:
“Although no reference is made in the Bill to Archaeology, it is
understood from letters from ministers and from written answers to questions in the House that these responsibilities will include the funding of the existing London Archaeological Service; there is as yet no indication how, or from what source, this funding is to be provided.”
The LAMAS Newsletter makes another point which is of particular interest to HADAS:
provision (in the Bills) is made for any of the other GLC functions in areas of our Society’s interests, the hundreds of other historic buildings and sites it maintains, its grants to local museums and to the London Museum Service – except that they will devolve to the London Boroughs.. If this happens Local Societies, such as those affiliated to LAMAS, will have an even greater responsibility to campaign for the maintenance and protection of Historic Buildings and Museum collections in
their own Boroughs”
Obviously, there may be changes as the Bill goes through its stages in Parliament; and clearly the debates on the Bill are going to be of considerable interest to anyone connected with history and archaeology in London.
Applications for planning permission have been made recently for the following sites, which might have some archaeological interest:
land at rear of No,6 Brockley Hill. Edgeware detached house
any trenches in this area would be worth watching, if planning permission is granted, for possible Roman evidence.
Queenswell School site surplus land adjoining blocks of sheltered
Lawrence Campe almshouses, Friern Barnet Lane flats, access road
Its proximity to the Friern Barnet Lane Almshouses, (some of the oldest buildings in the Borough, built c 1612) makes this a site of possible interest
Land at rear of ‘Moorings,’ fronting onto bungalow, access
Galley Lane, Arkley.
Some 300 yds from this site, which is almost on the northern boundary of LEB, medieval pottery has been found in some quantity
51. High Street. Chipping Barnet. rear extension &
This site has figured before on our “interesting sites” list: now there is an amended development plan. Any site in Barnet High Street is of interest for possible medieval evidence.
Two outline applications for additions to Edgware General Hospital are of interest: trenches dug so near to the line of Watling Street are always worth watching. The proposed buildings are:
a day surgery
a laboratory building with ancillary facilities, near the present North London blood Transfusion Centre.
Members noticing activity on any of the above sites arc asked to inform either John Enderby (203 2630) or Christine Arnott (455 2751.)
OF PEOPLE. VARIOUS.
SHEILA WOODWARD and TESSA SMITH spent a Sunday afternoon recently at Hill House, the large, basically 18c mansion in Elstree High Street which is now owned by a charitable trust. Stephen Castle of the British Museum had kindly put HADAS in touch with the Warden, who had reported finding pottery and building material in the garden which he thought might be Roman.
Sheila and Tessa walked the kitchen garden between the vegetables but could not find anything earlier than a possible fragment of 18c pottery. however, meeting the Warden provided a useful contact for the future.
TED SAMMES has sent us news recently received from one of our founder members, IDA WORBY, who served on the HADAS Committee from its earliest days. She is now living in Bedfordshire – where .she celebrated her 88th birthday last November with her nephew Kenny Hunter and his wife who, she says look after me well.’ Mrs. Worby keeps in touch with HADAS activities via the Newsletter and occasional chats with another Member of long standing. TRUDIE PULER, for years her neighbour in Sheaveshill Avenue.
And from Canterbury came a letter from LOUISE DE LAULAY, a HADAS Member (and benefactor) since 1973, when she and her husband lived in Edgware. “It was while I was living at Edgware,” she wrote,”that I became acquainted with Mill Hill and Hendon. I have some 35mm transparencies which I should sort out and offer to the HAAS records – showing many changes in the use of land, buildings town down, new building. I wonder if freight still arrives at Edgware British Rail Station? And the
aerodrome at Hendon,— once during World War II I flew from Hendon to Scotland for a USA flight via the Azores. Much of Burnt Oak still held aviation history, in both plant and street names. And the Theatre at Golders Green; Pavlova’s home, which I am told at last is used as a school of ballet…”
Of people. various
Mrs. de Launay accompanied her letter with some abstracts of wills from Cranbrook, Kent, on which she hags been working. Here is just to give you an idea of the comparative value of money and goods four or so centuries .ago. It is from the Will of Henry ‘aching, proved on June 27th,1596:
To my two sisters named Damaris Paching and Joy Paching my
house and situated in Milkhouse Street in Cranbrook
parish, when my sisters are
To Damaris Paching, my standing bedstead and all things
thereto and 2 pairs of sheets.
To Joy Paching, a pewter platter, .a dish, a saucer, a salt.
To the sons of my uncle. Thos llis, .namely Daniel Ellis & Henry Ellis, £6.6.8d each, to be levied on the house & land. in Milkhouse Street.
To Robt Hasond 5a.
To John Hermden, .5s.
To Rich. Akers, 5s.
To John Ridings my cloak and a pair of- sheets.
To the poor of Milkhouse, 5s.
My Exec. shall bestow the sum of £1 at my burial.
Exec: Morgan Boreman. Nicholas Hughes.& Wm. Potter.
AND OF FACES. ROMAN.
It was a real pleasure to open the 1984 voIume of Britannia (one. of the two journals published by the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies) and to find in it n paper by ex—HADAS Member, Gill. Braithwaite, who joined the Society. in 197’ and resigned in 1982 when her husband was posted to the British Embassy in Washington. She dug enthusiastically at West Heath for three seasons, and also studied at the Institute of Archaeology, obtaining a 1st class degree in 1982 before departing for the States.
Her Britannia paper (vol XV 1984, 99-131) is on Romano—British Face Pots and Head Pots, and was originally part of her BA dissertation. The distribution map which accompanies it shows that the finds of face pots closest to our area occur (Verulamium) and Enfield. They belong to a group which Mrs. Braithwaite describes as being in the ‘pinkish—buff sandy ware of the region (that is, the w that is so familiar at Brockley Hill, though we know. of no face pots from there). She dates the earliest pots in this group to AD 120–160: and says:
“The earliest examples … have eyebrows. merging into a plain rim, with a stabbed beard and two pierced spouts,.but the. commonest, and seemingly
later type, c. AD 150-220, no eyebrows, beards or spouts, but three
handles equi—spaced round a frilled or rouletted rim..::,It seems possible that these handles, attached to the rim, which are so. characteristic of British second-century face pots, may have evolved from ,earlier spouts. Sherds- of around 20.to 30 vessels, as :well as one complete face pot, have been found at Verulamium, inccluding seven or eight from a recently excavated bath—house. Other examples have been found at Enfield, Bancroft Villa, Welwyn Baldock, and an unprovenanced pot is in the Ashmolean.”
AND OF FACES, ROMAN
Face pots are decorated with the masklike features of a face (brows, nose, eyes, ears, mouth, sometimes beard) applied to the wall of the pot, usually occupying the top half between maximum girth and rim. Faces are found mainly on jars of cooking-pot type, which can be with or without handles, with plain or frilled rims, or with or without rouletting, cordoning or grooving. Head pots, on the other hand, are moulded more or loss in the shape of a head with naturalistically portrayed features.’ Gill Braithwaite suggests that the two forms derive from different traditions– the face pots from the masks of Celtic and Germanic art, the head pots from the classical world.. There are no known examples of head pots from our area, the nearest found being from Colchester.The paper does not cover face-neck flagons, which are of later date. An example of. a face-neck flagon was found by HADAS at Church Terrace, Hendon, in 1974 and was published by Ted Sammes in Trans. LAMAS Vol 28,1977,272-3. Mrs Braithwaite suggests that face-neck flagons would be ‘well worth a separate study of their own. We congratulate Gill warmly on a most interesting paper, which received a well-deserved CBA publication grant. We have been able to give you only a taste of it here – should you have the chance you will find it well worth reading in full.
THE COPTHALL PROPOSALS.
Among HADAS’s valued corporate Members is the Kill Hill Historical Society. John Collier, MHHS Hon. Secretary, has sent us a copy of a letter which he is currently circulating for the Longfield Area Residents Association, as he thinks HADAS Members, particularly in the Mill Hill and Hendon districts will be interested. He writes:
“When we lasts raised the matter of the proposed Copthall Sports Stadium most people whom we contacted were against .it.
The Barnet Council’s Planning Committee has now approved the proposition in spite of opposition both inside and outside the Council. After its recommendations have been passed to the full Council … the matter will then be .considered by the GLC.
· The next step would be a Ministerial Public Enquiry.
It is at this present stage that we think decisive action should be taken by those against the scheme.. If you agree
(a) that it is wanton intrusion on the Green Belt,
(b) it will degrade the area for miles around and
(c) it will create tremendous and dangerous traffic problems
· on our already overloaded roads, then we urge you to write immediately to:‑
Mr. George Nicholson
Chairman, Planning Committee Members Lobby,
Greater London Council, The County Hall,
London S.W.1 7PB.
expressing your opposition, giving your reasons for doing so and asking him to reject the scheme.”-
Further information, if required, can be obtained from Mr. Collier at 47, Longfield Avenue, N.W.7. 2EH (203-2611).