Newsletter No 172: June, 1985
ANNUAL GENERALMEETING: FINANCIAL OUTLOOK HEALTHY
Bad weather – it was. raining cats and dogs outside – caused a low attendance at the Annual General Meeting at Hendon Library on May’ 14 only 33 people. The Chair was taken by our newest Vice-President, Ted Sammes.
Apologies for absence included those of Councillor Brian Jarman Chairman of the HADAS Committee 1984-5; the Meeting was sorry to learn that he had been unwell or some little time and was undergoing various medical tests. It was agreed to send Mr Jarman our deep regret at his illness and our best wishes for his quick recovery.
As Mr Jarman had been unable to produce his usual annual report, our. Hon Secretary stepped in with thanks to some of those who help the Society throughout the year, including officials of the Borough of Barnet and in particular Librarian David Ruddom and his staff; and to those members responsible for seeing that the Newsletter reaches you safely each month. Special thanks were recorded to Mrs Mason, who for many years has looked after pre-lecture coffee for us at the Library. Owing to Mr Mason’s increasing ill-health she feels she must give this up. We are most grateful to her for her quiet and gentle help, and we feel very Pad that we are likely to see Mr and Mrs .Mason less often at lectures and on outings.
The Hon Treasurer’s Accounts which were approved unanimously, presented a healthy picture, with a surplus for the year of £669.08. Total membership recorded by our Membership Secretary to March 31, 1985, was 388 – just 2 down on last year’s 390. The Society’s Accumulated Fund, when the 1984-5 surplus is added, comes to £3539.48, as against £2780 last year – and we have no debts. A vote of thanks was passed to our Hon. Auditor, Ron Penney.
It did not escape one eagle-eyed member that the year’s surplus was still £119.72 short of the total made by last October’s successful Minimart. This was the proper moment to voice HADAS’s grateful appreciation of the work of Dorothy Newbury and Christine Arnott without which we would have been in the red on the year.
There was a report, from our Hon Secretary on the Excavation working party followed by reports from our four groups – Prehistoric, Rom an, Industrial Archeology and Documentary. We propose to follow last year’s pattern and publish most of these reports in full – you will find three of them elsewhere in this Newsletter.
Our remaining Vice-Presidents were then confirmed (we have lost two in the last year, the Bishop of Enfield, now Bishop of Peterborough, and the late and fondly remembered. Eric Wookey). They are: Mrs Rosa Freedman, Mrs Brigid. Grafton Green; Miss Daisy Hill, Sir .Maurice Laing, Edward Sammes and Andrew Saunders.
There were four nominations for the 4 officers of the Society, so the following were declared elected:
Chairman: Councillor Brian Jarman
Vice Chairman: Brigid Grafton Green
Hon. Secretary: Brian Wrigley
Hon. Treasurer: Victor Jones
The HADAS Committee consists of the Society’s officers and 13 other members. ‘Two members of the 1984-5 Committee had resigned: Peter Griffiths, who has been abroad for much of this last year, and who is now moving out to Royston; and Tessa Smith, who has been an active and hard-working committee member and will be greatly missed: she was warmly thanked for all the work she had put in.. There were 13 nominations for the J3 vacancies, so the following were declared elected:
‘Christine Arnott; John Enderby; Phyllis Fletcher;’ Daphne Lorimer;’ Isobel McPherson; Dorothy Newbury; Nell Penny; June Porges; -Michael Purton; Edward Sammes; Sheila Woodward; Margaret Maher; David Trinchero.
It was noted during the evening that the bookstall at the Museum of London is now under new management which appears to be sympathetic to the display and sale of local society publications – something which HADA might find it worthwhile to investigate.
After business was over, slides showing some HADAS events of 1984′ were shown – visits to Repton and to West Stow, the weekend at Lincoln, the walk around Hampstead and Our Arabian Night. Dorothy Newbury and Ted Sammes acted as commentators, and Ted included some excellent-slides of the Prehistoric Society disporting itself on its 50th birthday.
CALLING ALL MEMBERS
… to the. Aid of HADAS
There were a number of appeals for help with different aspects of HADAS’s work during the course of the AGM, and we thought we would focus attention by quoting them separately. The strength and effectiveness of any voluntary society like ours depends almost entirely on the amount of help its members are prepared to give – so we make no apology for reminding you that:
1. We badly need typing help from time to time. Can you type? Do you have a typewriter? Would you be prepared to use it, even once a year, for HADAS?
2. We make a small but steady income by having a bookstall at our own meetings and at outside functions. Sometithes. we have to turn down invitations because there is no one to run the bookstall. Would you be prepared occasionally to help?
3. The Roman Group – once a most active component of the. Society seems to have fallen on evil times. If you are interested in the Roman period, and would like occasionally to get together with other like-minded members, please think Seriously about joining this group and helping to resuscitate it.
4. Number of projects were mentioned in the Documentary Group report with which help would be welcomed. If you have ever thought about trying your hand at research, now’s the very moment to turn your thoughts into action. Particularly helpful would be an offer to research a site in. the middle of Chipping Barnet on which we hope to dig.
5. As mentioned above, our highly valued ‘coffee lady,’ Mrs Mason has had to give up. If you would be prepared to organise or to help with-pre-lecture Coffees next winter please say so now.
Volunteers for the above should apply to any committee member
APPEAL for people prepared to man the information stall in June and July
The excavation provides the longest consecutive period in the year when the existence of the Society, and some aspects of its work, can be demonstrated to the world at large (or rather, to the world and his wife as they walk on Hampstead Heath). The fact that HADAS members are ‘at the fence,’ ready to answer simple questions from the public, results in considerable goodwill towards the Society in an increased membership and in donations.
The busiest times are afternoons (2-5.30pm)- especially weekends and, Bank Holidays. A regular stint is not necessary, nor is an exhaustive knowledge of the site – the questions really are simple. The offer of ONE SINGLE AFTERNOON in June or July would be much appreciated,- as would a call to me on ‘907 0333 from anyone prepared to offer their time.
DIGGERS. Site open 6 days a week – not Tuesdays – from May 31 to July 31, 9AM – 6PM MARGARET MAHER
Fri/Sat/Sun Juno 21-23. Weekend in South Cumbria
Sat July 20. Mill Hill walk
Sat Aug 17. Porton Down/Salisbury
Sat Sept 21. Sutton Hoo/Woodbridge
Sat Oct 5 Minimart
June 29, 1985, will be the 50th anniversary of the uncovering of one of Britain’s most famous archaeological finds – the Swanscombe skull, found at Barnfield Pit, Swanscombeent. It consisted of two parietals and the occipital of a young woman (even though it’s called. Swanscombe ‘Man’) who lived around 250,000 years ago, in what is known as the Hoxnian interglacial. These are the oldest human remains known in Britain. Swanscombe is a 2-phase site, the lower levels with a. Clactonian stone-tool industry, overlaid by an Acheulian industry.
Dartford Council and the Nature Conservancy are co-operating to celebrate the occasion.. The Barnfield Pit site will be open to the public on Sat June 29 from 11 am – 4’pm and on Sun June 30 from 10 am-4 pm. There will be an exhibition, geological sections to inspect and flint knapping to watch, and on Saturday morning a commemorative plaque will be unveiled, by Magnus Magnusson. A specialised tour of the sites for archaeologists and geologists, is being organised on Mon July I. Further details from P. Boreham at Dartford Borough Museum (0322 27666,
Congratulations to MARY O’ CONNELL who, as mentioned in the April Newsletter, took the examination for City of London guides this spring. She not only passed and is now a fully qualified guide – but she passed in the top five. It sounds as if HADAS now has the prime requirement for a London Walk – a top-class guide all of its own.
It was a great pleasure to see DR DAVID COGMAN at the AGM – it’s many a long day since he has been able to join us on that sort of occasion. It was sad, however, to learn that his father, WALTER ERNEST COGMAN, one of our founder members, had died about six weeks before, at the marvellous age of 97: he had been hoping very much to make his century: As well as being one of our founders, Mr W E Cogman, a former civil servant, used to be our auditor. He resigned from HADAS in 1974 during the severe last illness of his wife, also a member. Dr Cogman is a talented archaeological photographer, and took most of the photos of our early digs at Church End Farm and the Paddock, as well as of the Roman road investigations in Mill Hill and Copthall. We hope that now he’s broken the ice again we shall see him at other HADAS functions.
TOMB OF AN EMPEROR. They’re digging again at, one of the world’s great sites – to the east of the Chinese city of Xian, where in 1974 the 7000 larger-than-life terracotta warriors were found, buried in serried ranks. This time Chinese archaeologists hope to uncover the fabled underground palace which is the tomb of Qin Shi Huan (221-207 BC), China’s first Emperor, said to have been buried amid the most priceless treasures. Eleven years of tests have, it is thought, pinpointed the place, one test was for mercury – and it proved that the ground in one area contained very high levels. This corroborates ancient records which said that liquid mercury was piped into Gin’s completed tomb to give the effect of rivers and oceans accompanying the dead.
(Condensed from. The China Daily).
Recent applications for planning permission
Former LTE Sports ground, Deansbrook Rd, Edgware
Northway School, The Fairway, Edgware
The Bungalow, Hendon Wood Lane
Land adj. The Paddocks, Rowley Lane, Arkley
If these applications are approved, the sites might be of some archaeological interest. If members therefore notice any building activity on them, please let John Enderby know (203 2630).
He would also like to know about signs of activity on six sites on which development has recently been approved by the Borough of Barnet:
Land at the rear of 2 Brockley Hill (3 Pipers-Green Lane)
Orchard Lodge, Hazel Mead, Barnet Rd
Five Bells public house, East End Rd, East Finchley
Hadley Memorial Hall, Hadley High
Glebe House, Camlet Way, Hadley
An interesting symposium is being organised in the autumn by the Surrey Archaeological Society on the techniques and results of field-walking. It will be on Sat Oct 26 at the University of Surrey, Guildford, from 10 am-4.45 pm.
Experienced field walkers from various southern counties will speak of their methods and discoveries – in Wilts, Hampshire, Berkshire, at Silchester and in Kent and Sussex, and it is hoped that there will be ample time for general discussion. Local societies are invited to put’-on displays. As a result of the symposium, Surrey’s Excavation Committee intend to produce a recommended standard method for walking a field, recording finds and publishing results.
Several HADAS members have already expressed interest in attending the symposium, in the hope that it may inspire us to breathe fresh life into our own field walking programme. Anyone who would like to join a party to attend the symposium should let Brian Wrigley know (on 959 5982), mentioning whether they would be prepared to take a car or if they would need transport. Tickets cost £5.80 (with lunch) or £3.50 (without), from Mrs Susan Janaway, Fieldwalking Symposium, Surrey Archaeological Society, Castle Arch, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3SX.
It sounds as if the long-awaited up-to-date Statutory List of Buildings of architectural or Historic Interest for the Borough of Barnet is about to see the light of day. If it appears in the next two or three months – and that is the informed guesstimate of Barnet’s Planning Department – its gestation will have taken nearly eleven years. Longer, even, than an elephant.
It was back in 1974 that the phrase ‘up-dating the Statutory List’ was first bandied about in Barnet. That year all local amenity societies were invited to put forward ideas for buildings to be included in the List; and HADAS, along with many others, accepted the invitation. We provided a list divided into 4 categories of buildings.
After that it took until April 1983 for the Dept. of Environment to issue a draft list, up-dated to show with which of the proposals they were prepared to agree. That draft list, however, contained many errors and omissions. LBB Planning Department went through it with a fine-tooth comb in order to point out the mistakes. The DoE then went through the mistakes and decided whether they really were mistakes. Finally four weeks or so ago DoE sent agreed amendments to Barnet.
Next stage is for the List and the amendments to be dove-tailed in a word processor so that a final up-dated, corrected, 1985 statutory list can be issued. It is hoped to provide copies – probably for sale – this summer to the many persons and groups in the Borough who want them. We shall be anxiously waiting to get our copy, although we have been greatly helped during the last 2 years by an unamended copy of the draft list with which LBB kindly provided us.
The Planning Department has another idea up its sleeve: that is to have itsown list of buildings which are of .local interest even though the DoE has not seen fit to award them national ‘Listing’ status. Once the Statutory List has been issued, Barnet’s planners intend to start work on this ‘local’ list. .A preliminary step has already been taken Barnet has checked with other London boroughs and has found that many of them operate ‘local’ lists. A building on a local list will not have any legal protection enjoyed by a building on the Statutory List; but the fact that it is considered worth local listing will, it is hoped, increase public awareness and appreciation of its architecture and/or historic interest.
BRONZE AGE RUBBISH. There’s nothing like a good rubbish pit, so far as
Archaeology is concerned. As witness the work currently in progress in Wiltshire village of Potterne… There, a midden covering 12 acres, dated to between 1000-700BC, with deposits from 40cm-lm deep, is being excavated. Glauconite from the greensand bedrock has entered into a stable compound with the organic, material in the midden and produced mineralisation – and preservation – of seeds, bones and other organic substances. Even the haematite-coated pottery has been mineralised so that it looks like new instead of rather grotty.. Part of the spoil-3% – is being watersieved through a mesh of 600 microns in order to recover very small seeds and rodent bones. The remains of shorthorn cattle, sheep, deer, pig, dog and horse (coming into use as a riding animal in the late Bronze Age) have been identified.
(from a report in The Times, 17.5.85)
GREATER LONDON RECORD OFFICE
As a footnote to comments in the April Newsletter about the proposed takeover, after the GLC’s demise, of the Greater London Record-Office-by Corporation of the City of London, here’s-a quote from a letter to Times: of May 17, 1985:
‘Where there are units Within the Greater London Council service that have developed a renown and excellence which’ should not be ‘dissipated by termination or dispersal, then in accordance with the corporation’s long tradition for serving the London area as a.whole, it is willing to consider undertaking certain of these functions where it has experience, if this will benefit London and suitable arrangements can be made.
In implementation of this policy it has indeed been agreed in principle that, should the Greater London Council be abolished next year, the Corporation of London will take responsibility for the Greater London Record Office and we have no doubt-that the combination of our proven expertise with the expertise of the membels of. that office will ensure-no diminution in .the .excellent service provided.
We are much too proud of our skills and our service to London and the country over the centuries to take on a responsibility which we do not intend to carry out effectively and economically.
The letter was signed by the Chairman of the Library Committee of the Corporation of London.
ANNUAL REPORTS FROM THE GROUPS
During the past year the Group’s activities have been entirely devoted to the Mesolithic site at West Heath, Hampstead. As most of you will know, .the first phase of digging was completed in 1981 and since then many hours of work have been devoted to the preparation of material for publication in the final phase I report. During this last year all the ends have been tied up, the report – a very substantial document has been typed and a copy is now with the Museum of London, who have expressed the hope that it may eventually be published as a LAMAS Special Paper. Financial considerations are the cause of the present delay publishing is now a very costly business.
During the year we were delighted to obtain our first scientific dating of the site: 9625 -900 BP: The method used was thermoluminescence i.e. the measurement of light emitted by the alpha particles of mineral crystals when subjected to heat. Burnt stone recovered from the site was used for its dating, which was done for us by Mrs Joan Huxtable of the Research Laboratory of the Dept of Art & Archaeology in Oxford.
Digging Phase 2 began in June 1984 and continued until the late autumn. Margaret Maher directed the dig in which 74 members participated (not all at once!) Twenty-one square metres were excavated and about 6000 flint artefacts were recovered, plus a similar quantity of burnt stone.
This season’s dig is already underway despite somewhat inclement weather. Fifty-six sq m. have been gridded, and 12 sq m. are currently being excavated. It is too early to say more than that satisfactory progress is being made. During April a DoE team surveyed an area of some 900 sq m. with a Fluxgate Magnotometer linked to two Epson computers, giving an instant print-out. Preliminary results showed no anomalies outside the known area of the site, i.e. we do not appear to be by-passing any important feature full report is still awaited.
Roman Group .
We can’t offer a verbatim report from this Group because TESSA SMITH, who spoke for them, did so off the cuff, and we didn’t realise quickly enough to get ‘our rusty shorthand working. So this is a paraphrase.
She mentioned processing – last May the Group had one of its Teahouse weekends to study further the Brockley Hill finds – and the exhibition on Roman pottery techniques mounted last August in a down stairs room at Church Farm House Museum. This is, in fact, still on display, but not for much longer. It will shortly be changed for a different exhibit of Brockley Hill material, which will occupy 3 large show cases instead of the two that have been used hitherto.
But it was what didn’t happen in the year 1984-5 that really worried Tessa. She could not report – as had happened in previous year’s special meetings, outings or research projects undertaken by the Group.What’s the reason? Just that interest among HADAS members in things
Roman seems, to Tessa’s great regret, to have declined – and she could not pinpoint why.
Excavation Working Party
The Working Party had Meet regularly during the year, continuing to review site-watching and research activities with an eye to possible digs again, no urgent rescue operation has cropped up during the year, and no excavation has been put forward by the Working Party although of course West Heath continued in 1984 and has re-opened this year (see. Prehistoric. Group report).
Site-watching is now being co-ordinated by John Enderby and Christine Arnott, and we are grateful to them for their efforts.
A proposal has been put forward to apply for a Lloyds Bank grant for archaeomagnetic dating of the Hadley. Wood earthwork. As will be known from the Newsletter, we are setting up co-ordinated resistivity survey and photographic teams. We continue co-operation with the Greater London Archaeological Service.
Two matters which we have particularly under review at present are:
1. The Water Board pipeline across the north of the Borough, described in .the May Newsletter, for which volunteer watchers are required.
2. The Borough’s proposed new Library site in the Stapylton Road area of Chipping. Barnet, where there may be a possibility of permission to make a trial excavation before building; we should be very pleased to hear from any members enthusiastic to dig.
Annual reports from the other two groups – Industrial Archaeology and ‘Documentary Group – will appear in the July Newsletter.
BIRTHPLACE OF ALEXANDER THE.GREAT? About five years ago there was the excitement of the tomb of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander, being found at Vergina, in Northern Greece: now Greek archaeologists think they have uncovered the building in which Alexander was born. This is the foundations of a palace, occupying 15 acres, at Pella, near Vergina. It cannot but be the palace of the Kings of Macedon,’ says Mary Siganidou, director of the dig. (Reported in The Times, 5.5.85)
The Department of Environment’s collection of some two million air photographs built up since the 1940s, has since last October become the responsibility of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England). It has been amalgamated with the National Monuments Record collection of half a million air photos, making a very substantial archive.
The photographs were taken (mainly by the RAF) between 1945-63 at scales ranging from 1:2500 to 1:30,000. It is intended that the collection should be made available for public use, and enquiries about photographs of specific areas should be made to the Air Photos Unit, RCHM(E), Fortress House, 23 Saville Row, London W1X lAB (734 6010 x337).
VEGES – OLD AND NEW
Two recent news items illuminate the origins of well-known vegetables, one commonly used for animal feed and the other a favourite human delicacy.
The horsebean, used mainly for horses and, cattle, is the last cultivated member of .the pea and bean family .to have an unknown and undated progenitor. Now an Israeli scientist suggests a Levantine origin. He has analysed as horse beans 2600 seeds found in a heap in a corner of a Neolithic room on a site 5 miles northwest of Nazareth, dated between 6500-6000 BC; ‘that’s ‘2000 years earlier than any known horsebean. The evidence that they were cultivated is not conclusive but they could have been. Science vol 228 No 4697
Then, tomatoes hitherto the tomato has been considered to have a Now World derivation discovered by Columbus (along with America) and cultivated in Peru and Mexico long before his arrival there. Now the Chinese may have a counter claim to being its country of origin, according to the China Daily of Feb 27, 1985.
In 1983 a Han dynasty (206BC-AD 27) tomb was excavated in Chengdu. Nine cane and bamboo plaited baskets were found, apparently containing. Rock-hard, carbonised food remains – almonds, rice, chestnuts, it was thought; to soften them they were covered with a damp, sterilised blanket. When the blanket was removed a month later germination had started and there were about 40 green shoots. These were grown on, and a year later they began to bear fruit, which at first looked like dates, but swelled to egg-size and reddened. They were tomatoes, though not entirely like modern ones. Now the question which is exercising Chinese archaeologists and palaeobotanists is whether the tomb in which the seeds were found was intact – or had there been an intrusion at some time in 2000 years? There seems’ to be some doubt about the evidence.
The European Science Foundation; based on Strasbourg has now published the second in its series of Handbooks for Archaeologists on Dendrochronological (or tree-ring) Dating. (The first, reviewed in an earlier Newsletter, was on Thermoluminescence Dating).This 55-page booklet covers the general principles and procedures of tree-ring dating how to take samples of wood, interpretation and the limitations of the method. These is a bibliography and a list of the laboratories in Europe which, deal with dendrochronology (5 of them in the UK). Copies can be obtained from the Council for British Archaeology, 112-Kennington Road, SE11 6RE, free – but please enclose an sae at least 9½” x 6½” and stamp it with 31p in stamps.
The first fascicule of the new series on the 1972-76 digs at Grimes Graves has boon published by the British Museum at £10 It isan analysis of the Neolithic antler picks .from Grimes Graves and Durrington Walls, by Juliet Clutton-Brock. The current CBA Newsletter remarks that it throws much new light both on the selection and fabrication of picks and on the age-structure of herds and their relationship with the Neolithic human population.
The Hornsey Historical Bulletin is always worth reading and the 1985 issue, No 2C, which is just out, is no exception. HADAS members will find Joan Schwitzer’s paper, ‘The Soda Water Site Explored’ particularly interesting. That’s because in 1978, at the invitation of the Hornsey Historical Society, some HADAS members took part in a short dig, directed by Tony McKenna, at the soda water site, just behind a chemist’s shop in Highgate High Steet. Dr Schwitzer records it thus: “Around the foundations of the stables adjoining the soda water site’ as it came to be called, a ‘rescue dig’ was undertaken by members of HADAS, by the Archaeological Society of the Polytechnic of North London, and by Tony McKenna, an archaeologist from the Museum of London. So far as is known, no detailed report on any of the archaeological work has so far been published. An explanation of when the factory started, how it worked and when it closed down has been lacking.”Dr Schwitzer’s excellent 11-page paper proceeds to remedy some of these omissions. She tells the story, from documents, of Henry Dunn’s pharmacy, with its outbuildings in which ‘artificial mineral waters’ were made, from 1830 onwards, including some interesting material on the origins and increasing popularity of carbonated water the beginning, in fact, of the soft drinks industry in this country and, indeed, in the world. Malcolm Tucker, of GLIAS, contributes material on the archaeology of the site. Some unexpected facts emerge. Dr Schwitzer points out that in the20 years from 1822-42 carbonated water had ceased to be a fad of the rich and had become a common commodity. Later, it gave a new word to the popular vocabulary, ‘codswallop.’ This was derived in part from the name of the inventor of the widely used ‘Codd’ bottle with a glass marble closure, Hiram Codd, a London soda water manufacturer in the Caledonian Road; the bottle displaced those with cork and wire fastenings after its invention in 1870. Codd bottles were also found on the Highgate site.
Copies of the Bullet in cost £1.95, plus 33p post and packing, from the Hornsey Historical Society, The Old Schoolhouses 136 Tottenham Lane, N8 7EL; or if you would just like a copy of Dr-Schwitzer’s paper that has been off printed at 95 pence.
OLDEST DINOSAUR IN THE WORLD. A dinosaur skeleton 225 million years old has turned up in the Painted Desert of Arizona. The animal was about the size of a large dog, with a long neck and tail. It is 3 or 4 million years older than any dinosaurs hitherto found in North America – and probably in the world.