Newsletter No 180: February, 1986
QUARTER CENTURY FOR HADAS
This year HADAS celebrates its Silver Jubilee. The Society began in April, 1961, so in two months’ time we’ll be 25. Dorothy Newbury is planning an attractive programme for Jubilee Year – here are some of its highlights.
Tues. Feb 4 Neolithic Arran by Dr Eric Grant
Dr Grant will need no introduction to many HADES members – specially the old hands. He first joined the Society in 1971 and was an active member until he left the area a few years ago. He is senior lecturer in Archaeology in the School of Geography & Planning of the Middlesex Polytechnic at Enfield. In 1981/2 he did fieldwork in Arran, surveying the distribution of Neolithic chambered tombs and their relationship to agricultural land use
Tues Mar 4 .Alexander the Great and Art in the Greek East by Dr Malcolm Colledge
Tues Apr 1 Recent excavations at Perachora, near Corinth by Professor R A Tomlinson
Tues May 20 Annual General Meeting
Thur-Sun Sept 18-21 Weekend in Devonshire, staying in one of the Halls of Exeter University. We shall see Exeter and any excavations current at the time. We’ll have a day on Dartmoor looking at classic Bronze Age stone alignments, etc; a day on Exmoor looking at hill-forts and barrow groups, and comparing these two very different geological areas; before we come home on Sunday afternoon we shall see the newly opened Deer Caves.
We shall be guided on the moors by lecturers from the Extra-mural Dept and in Exeter by an archaeologist from the Field Studies Unit. Anyone interested please phone Anne Lawson, 458 3827.
Oct 11-Dec 7 exhibition at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon, in honour of HADAS’s Silver Jubilee, and to tell the story of Ted Sammes addiction to the twin interests of archaeology and Hendon. Ted proposes to show many of his own photographs and other objects in this display.
Dorothy Newbury much regrets that the 1986 programme card is not yet out. We hope to include in our summer programme the following outings:
to Portsmouth, to see the Mary Rose (ship and exhibition) and also to visit Portchester;
a promised return visit to Sutton Hoo;
another trip into Kent, with tea by kind invitation of Paul Craddock, at his house by the river in Rochester;
a City Walk with Mary O’Connell, HADAS member who is now a fully-fledged City guide;
and a trip to a special 900th Anniversary Domesday exhibition at the Great Hall in Winchester.
Our lectures next autumn will be on Tues Oct 7 and Tues Nov 4, but other details about them have not yet been finalised – which is the reason for the programme delay. As soon as all dates and other details are complete, the programme card will come out and will be sent to you.
And now a forewarning for 1987. Next year our lecture evenings will have to be changed. We are sad about this, because we have had the first Tuesday of the month for many years. However, the Gramophone Society has its lectures on fortnightly Tuesdays throughout the year, so that in a 5-week month some of their Tuesdays inevitably clash with these of other societies. The HADAS Committee has decided that it might be confusing if we occasionally switched from Tuesday in order to accommodate the Gramophone Society. Instead, we have asked the Library to reserve the first Wednesday of every month for our lectures.
We are much indebted to Andrew Selkirk, Editor of Current Archaeology and HADAS member, who sent us this tribute by John Musty to the late
DR MAUEEN GIRLING;
It is with much sadness that I have to record the death of Dr Maureen Girling at the early age. of 35 ‘One of a mere handful of specialists in this country dealing with the examination of fossil insect remains from archaeological deposits, her loss is a severe blow to the archaeological science community in general and to the Ancient Monuments Laboratory in particular. Her work has been distinguished by a meticulous attention to detail; clear-cut conclusions and an admirable publication record (some 30 papers).
Initially trained as a geographer at Reading; University, she developed her specialist interest. in fossil beetles as the result of research she undertook with Russell Coope at Birmingham University which subsequently earned her a PhD. She joined the Ancient Monuments Laboratory around 1975 and for the last ten years had been engaged in the study of beetles and other insect remains from rescue excavations of all periods and from all parts of England.
However, possibly her spectacular results have come from prehistoric sites.- notably the Somerset Levels and Hampstead Heath.
In the Levels she was, able to provide information on such topics as palaeotemperatures (by identifying extinct beetles in both Neolithic and Early Iron Age deposits known to require warmer temperatures than present-day ones) and palaeohydrology by demonstrating changes from raised bog to fen conditions (as shown by changes in beetle fauna with change of habitat), She also identified the presence in the Neolithic phase, of syanthropic species (such as wood borers and dung beetles) – that beetles directly related to man’s influence on the Levels environment.
At the Hampstead-Heath site she produced the exciting identification of the beetle responsible for Dutch Elm disease in a position shown by the pollen record to be just below that of the Elm Decline episode. This discovery was the subject of her last published paper (Journal of. Arch, Science, 12, 1985, 347)
It is evident from ‘the high quality of the work Dr Girling had carried out that there is much more that she would have achieved. Her untimely death is a great loss to archaeological research: I feel that it will be very hard to replace her.
To John Musty’s words we would like to add HADAS’s own tribute to Maureen Girling, who died just after Christmas of pneumonia, She first came to West Heath in 1976, at the invitation of Desmond Collins and Daphne Lorimer. Many West Heath diggers of the early days will remember watching her slight figure (she always looked like a teen-ager) up to her neck and beyond in a hole taking careful samples. Death is always untimely – but never more so then when it takes someone so young and with so much to offer.
MRS CONNIE MASON. Some members will already have heard, with great sadness
of the death in the Royal Free Hospital, just before Christmas, of Mrs Connie. Mason – a HADAS member, with her husband Harry, of many years standing. She had been ill for some months. Olive Banham, Dorothy Newbury and Isobel McPherson represented the Society at her funeral on December 23
Mrs Mason it was who presided so gently and kindly the HADAS coffe cups before lectures she and her husband were always great supporters be of lectures and of outings, and it’s nice to remember that, although she was already in the early stages of her last illness, she managed to join the trip to Cumbria last June and, in her own words “had a whale of a time,” writing afterwards to say how much she had enjoyed it.
We shall miss her cheerful presence greatly, and our warmest sympathy goes to her husband who is now living at Abbey Lodge, Brunswick Park Road .- Old friends may care to write to him there.
MISS RHONA WELLS. We must also record with sorrow the death in January, in a home in North Finchley of Rhona Wells, long a resident in Hampstead Garden Suburb. For ten years from 1974 she was a HADAS member taking a great interest in all the Society’s enterprises. She resigned only when ill-health made it impossible for her to take part any longer in our activities.
THE ROMAN .BASILICA
The latest DUA dig at Leadenhall, on the site of the Roman basilica (said to the largest basilica built north of the Alps) has had much publicity since Christmas: a spread across the whole top page of The Observer (Jan 12), an article in the Dec ’85/Jan ’86 issue of Popular Archaeology, and interviews on the radio and tv with .Brian Hobley. In mid-January a viewing platform over the site was opened for the public; we asked ENID HILL to look in and see what was visible. Here’s her report:
The site is on the corner of Gracechurch Street and Leadenhall street. From the viewing gallery it is possible to see the Roman road running across from east to west on a slightly different alignment from the present street with part of the north wall of the basilica in the background. But until road is excavated it will not be possible to see much of the foundations of the wall – it has been extensively robbed.
I was fortunate enough to have a chance to speak to Gustav Milne, one of the site directors (members may recall him talking to HADAS in October 1981 about the discovery of the original Roman port of London which is the subject also, of his recently published book). It is suggested that it might be better for HADAS members to wait to visit the site until April, when there will be more to see, and it is hoped that the excavation will have been extended south to cover 1000 sq.m.
Going round to the back of the site I saw that there is a hole under the wall foundations where the soil has moved away, so the wall is cracking in places, possibly due to poor foundations. Also a section of the road, next to part of the wall, shows evidence of earlier layers of occupation, so the site must have been used before the road and basilica were built*
It is hoped that it will be possible to give a talk to viewers on some future occasions, and details about these talks will be announced later. Needless to say, I enjoyed the visit and I think many HADAS members would find it worthwhile too.
*We understand that trial trenching on the site showed three metres of Roman deposits.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
A leaflet from the DUA mentions that volunteer guides and sales counter staff are wanted for the public viewing gallery, which is a 40ft long porta-cabin with inbuilt heating and lighting. It is intended that the gallery will be open on weekdays from 9am-5pm, but if enough volunteers come forward it may be possible to organise two shifts. Phase I of the dig is due to finish at the end of April; Phase II is programmed provisionally for Nov ‘86-Apr ’87.
If you are interested, and you like working with the public, phone Diana Twells on 600 3699, ext 213.
THE ART OF SURVIVAL LIZ SAGUES reports on
“a seminar two-thirds successful”
Is there anything new to learn of prehistoric art? Yes, was the answer for seminar –attenders at the Commonwealth Institute on December 10, several HADAS members among them. Prehistoric Art – the Art of Survival was the title of the all-day event, one of several linking with The Human Story exhibition (which, as those who have seen it will know only too well, does prehistoric art a great injustice with a near-unintelligible blow-up of part of a Lascaux scene).
For an audience of an archaeological bent, the seminar was certainly two-thirds successful, most notably in Clive Gamble’s clear and.- within its limited time -,comprehensive introduction.
Dr Gamble, a lecturer in prehistoric archaeology at Southampton University, looked at the ‘art of survival’ in two ways – in terms of what has survived from the prehistoric past and of how art has contributed to human survival.
The facts came before the interpretation. He showed that the artistic lead was given by Central Europe, with carvings dating back well beyond 30,000 years. South Western France’s remains, he stressed, were later – those of 30,000-29,000 years ago were highly schematic, far from the naturalistic efforts further north and east. A time-span from 30,000-plus to a mere 10,000 years ago – the date established by C14 from an abandoned torch in a recently-. discovered painted gallery.at Niaux, most celebrated of the Pyrenean caves – was too long a period for a single tradition of art, a view supported by regional differences.in its execution.
After the where, the when, the how – the why? Dr Gamble summarised the major theories, from the original ‘hunting magic’ of Breuil, still favoured by some commentators today, to the complex symbolism advocated by Leroi-Gourhan. The Latter, he argued, had produced a major breakthrough in showing a patterning in the decoration of’cavcs but was the rest of his thesis tenable?
Turn instead, he suggested, to Michael Jochim, who summarised in Hunter Gatherer Economy in Prehistory (ed G Bailey, Cambridge University Press,
1963) an explanation which linked art to survival, as more functional reasoning
for why, when much of Europe had invitingly paintable surfaces, only some
were exploited. Might the answer not lie in the fact that the areas where art was found corresponded with remaining areas of rich food resources (remember, the artists worked in Ice Age Europe, where conditions could be hard). The coastal waters, warmed by Atlantic currents, were inviting to salmon, which migrated up the rivers, providing a reliable food source, while the valleys were the routes of migrating reindeer. People crowded in to exploit both, there was stress, inevitable conflict. Cave art could be seen as a way of marking group territories, of being an essential element in a system which served to ease that conflict and establish workable social patterns.
And, with the ending of those environmental circumstances, the ending of art was understandable – it was no longer needed.
Questions later brought support for this explanation in a recent ethnographic parallel quoted by the second speaker, anthropologist Robert Layton, of Durham University when he referred to the highly territorial systems of the NorthWest coast Indians of North America, even though they lived in a very rich environment. Elaborate assignment of people to land was not necessarily a sign of economic near-collapse.
In his own talk, Dr Layton discussed more recent rock art – though, with no informants left from the Palaeolithic past, the danger of impressing recent ideas onto ancient minds could never be overlooked.
He compared and contrasted Aborigine rock art in two areas of Australia, the Western Kimberleys and the Kakadu, where the former had a totemic importance to the clan and the latter was concerned with subsistence activities.
The Kimberley Aborigines had one major painted site per clan, portraying the clan’s particular symbol, retouched each year to ensure its continued effectiveness. The Kakadu had paintings in every shelter, in very different style –sometines ‘x-ray’ views, showing animals’ internal organs and, in earlier examples, hunting scenes which resembled the Bushman art of South Africa. The Kakadu paintings had no respect for clan boundaries, and included figures positioned one over another. The totemic art, particularly, lacked movement which, stressed Dr Layton, was not a reflection of the artists’ abilities, but fundamental to the art and its purpose.
He considered Bushman art, too, noting that it was not based on clans’ totems but showed the same species throughout its area. Like Paleolithic art; the animals depicted were not necessarily the most significant food resources – Eland was most important in the art, but wildebeests, just as crucial an element of the diet, was never shown. Could the horse/bison frequency in Paleolithic art be explained in the same way as Bushman interest in particular animals?’ But the Bushmen’s work showed similarities, too, with the totemic Aborigines in. the positioning of art sites related to concentrations of people.
. And what of the signs in Paleolithic art, which are not paralleled in recent hunter-gatherer art? Could they have evolved to achieve some other function, perhaps communication?
Final Speaker, art historian Alastair Grieve, from the University of East,. Anglia, discussed – and graphically illustrated – how tribal art had influenced Modern artists. Gaugin, for example, had simply copied from tourist photos of Tahitian temple art, and tribal art could be seen directly in Cubism revealing as his words and slides were, however, they had overtaken Paleolithic art by millennia.
STICKING LIKE GLUE
Interesting to note in the November issue of Popular Archaeology, in the Spoilheap column, a paean of praise for HMG Adhesive for mending ancient and/or valuable pottery and other artefacts.
When HADAS first began working at the HGS Teahouse on finds from the 1940-50s digs at Brockley Hill, the adhesive we decided to use was HMG. POP Arch now says, some 12 years later, that Liverpool University has just used it to reconstruct painstakingly a 3500-year-old Bronze Age collared urn. One great advantage of HMG is that, if one makes a mistake, the adhesive can be dissolved with a standard solvent and work can start again.
Main use of HMG (the Manchester manufacturers’ name is H Marcel Guest) is in model construction – of, for instance, boats or planes. We certainly found it invaluable for mending Roman pottery.
IDLE HANDS AT WORK
Albert Dean, who has been taking part in the Photographic Group’s project of recording all the Blue Plaques in the Borough in their 1986 settings, has produced one unexpected photo.
The forty or so excellent prints and negatives which he recently lodged with the society (and thanks very much, Albert, for your note that there’s ‘no charge’ for the film and developing: HADAS is most grateful) covered five plaques: one commemorating the site of Hendon parish cage (on the green at the junction of Bell Lane and Brent Street); the site of the parish cattle pound (on the wall above a dry cleaners at the Brent St/Finchley lane cross-roads); the site of the Courts Leet and Baron (at the White Bear inn, The Burroughs, NW4) ; one commemorating ‘Little Tich’ (music hall artist Harry Relph) on 93 Shirehall Park, NW4; and one in memory of John Norden; Elizabethan antiquary and topographer, on the wall of Hendon Senior High School, The Crest, NW4,
It’s this last that, at the moment, looks distinctly odd. Norden (1548 – 1625), mapmaker to Queen Elizabeth I, moved to Hendon, where he had built himself a house facing Brent Street, in the early 1600s. Because of his own connection with it, ‘Brentstreete’ thereafter appears as a place on all his maps of Middlesex. In his Speculum Britanniae he says that Brentstreete is ‘so called of the river or brooke called Brent through which it runneth.’
The close-up which Albert Dean has taken of Norden’s blue plaque, however, reads ‘Site of the residence of John Morden … etc” Some skilful joker has blacked out the bottom half of the diagonal of the ‘N’ and added an upward half-stroke, making it ‘M.’ You can imagine the confusion that may create for future researchers when they see Albert’s picture – because there was also a well-known cartographer called Morden (though he was ‘Robert’, not John, lived in the 18C and didn’t, so far as we know, have any special Hendon links.
Moral of this tale: don’t site Blue Plaques so low on the wall of a building (specially one inhabited by the youthful) that mischievous fingers can alter then easily. This plaque is on the brickwork, between two ground floor windows – about 4ft above ground level. It would have been safer – as well as more visible to passers-by – had it been 5ft or so higher. Albert suggests that the chap who put it up had forgotten his ladder!
Here’s a message from our Membership Secretary, Phyllis Fletcher, who has just finished one of the Society’s nastier chores – typing and checking an up-to-date members list.
Last year every member received a copy of the 1985 list, and since then new members have had one on joining. The 1986 list will therefore be circulated, as a matter of course, only to members of the Committee, to whom it will go with the March Newsletter, If, however, you are not a Committee member and you would like a copy of the 1986 list, please let Phyllis Fletcher know on 455 2558 and she will see that you get one.
WOODS AND HEDGES A report by JOAN EDWARDS of the HADAS New Year lecture
Large quantities of fresh snow in side roads caused difficulties in reaching Hendon library on Jan 7 and reminded us of similar Arctic conditions last year. In spite of this there was an enthusiastic audience to hear Dr Oliver Rackham speak on ‘The Archaeology of Hedges and Woodlands,’
Dr Rackham explained that he would not be talking about wildwood – that is, woods undisturbed since the Ice Age retreat – nor about plantations which are relatively recent. His subject would be woodlands, i.e. collections of spontaneous trees, some of which can be traced to Saxon times, which may have been extensively used by man, Woodlands can be divided like this:
Wood pasture a mixture of trees and grazing land
Park: woodland, mainly trees but enclosed
Forest, wooded land but open
He described the management of woods, by which scattered large trees were left for use as timber and the important underwood was maintained. This was mainly ash, hazel and sallow, which could be used for two purposes: first, for making tools such as scythe sticks, hurdles and wattle and daub framework; secondly, for fuel – faggots, logs and charcoal.
Slides illustrated the serial stages of growth of the stool which was left after cutting the underwood: it would throw up growth which would be small trees ready for cutting 12 years later. Similar wood could be grown in woodland where animals roamed by pollarding at a height above the reach of the animals.
Dr Rackham explained that information about the distribution of ancient woods could be obtained from ancient land records in which woods and hedges are described in detail; and by studying place names. When the endings -ley, -hurst, -thwaitc and -field occur, it can be assumed that these places grew up in clearings within wooded land.
In the woods themselves features such as isolated large trees, earthworks and boundary banks can indicate ownership and boundary lines. Moats may provide clues to abandoned manors or farms. Evidence of ridge and furrow indicates agricultural land replaced by spontaneous woodland.
Pollen analysis of bogs gives information on the composition of past forest, but it is important to remember the variation in pollen production by different trees; for instance, oak produces vast quantities of pollen, whereas hazel will flower and produce pollen only if the tree can reach up to the light. Small-leafed lime was common in ancient times in southern Britain. Plants under the trees, such as oxslips, wood anemony and violet, woodruff, lily of the valley and the Servis tree, will indicate ancient woodland and frequency of coppicing.
Another approach to historic woodland is to look at old local buildings and identify their timbers – rafters, beams and the wood content of the wattle and daub. Wood for great houses may, however, have been brought long distances.
Dr Rachham18 beautiful slides included examples of ancient trackways across peat bogs, showing Neolithic hurdles cut with stone tools; and similar modern copies made the same way. There were panoramas of different types of countryside showing trees and hedging. The patterns varied according to past social patterns and the enclosure laws.
Some field grid systems covering large areas seem to belong to the Bronze or Iron Age, as they are cut through by Roman roads. A series of photographs of fencing over the years showed how hedges can arise spontaneously along fencing that has been neglected or abandoned, e.g. such as beside disused railway lines. Dr:Rackham suggested it was likely that many old hedges grew up this way along boundaries and banks rather than by deliberate planting.
The vote of thanks was given by Paddy Musgrove, who has studied some of our local hedges; but I am sure that for many of us this talk opened up a completely new field of interest.
WHO’D DE A PROGRAMME SECRETARY?
As a postscript to Dr Edwards’ report of the January meeting, take a look behind the scenes of a programme secretary’s nightmares as described by DOROTHY NEWBURY.
Thirty people braved the elements for the opening lecture of 1986, and I’d like to thank every one of them; and most of all, those who stepped in at the last minute to help me out of what seemed an unending sea of troubles. At 6 o’clock on lecture evening, due to weather and domestic hitches, I found myself without a chairman, without a tea lady and with no bed for the lecturer to lay his head that night. The final straw came at 8.15: ,no projector at the Library for the slides!.
BUT … June and Hans Porges stepped in with a meal and transport for the lecturer; Andrew Selkirk took the chair at literally at 5 minutes notice; Dr Edwards agreed to do the write-up; Deirdre Barrie coped with coffee; Mr Selkirk rushed back to my house for a spare projector and slide boxes and the lecturer ended by coming back and staying with the Newburys that night.
It was the sort of experience that makes any sensible programme secretary declare she’ll chuck her hand in and let someone else have a go; However, when members rally round so willingly to help in every direction, one decides perhaps it’s not such a bad job after all (unless, of course, there’s someone out there who’s itching to take it over?).
Perhaps I could seize this opportunity to thank all those members who organise summer outings for me from time to time – without their help I really couldn’t cope. l’m sure they would agree that at the end of a day’s, when 53 people get off the coach and all seem to have had a happy day,- it makes the hard work worthwhile.
P.S. The lecture night on January .6 had a final twist. When the lecturer retired chez Newbury (he slept in Marion’s. room) I forgot there was no handle on the inside of her door and the poor man found himself locked in! We got him out unscathed in the end, but I doubt if he’ll forget his visit to Hendon!
A SLANT ON COLOUR SLIDES by Brigid Grafton Green
The Newsletter doesn’t often venture into the field of consumer research, but you may be interested in a small exercise in it which I undertook recently.
I wanted to broaden my collection of colour slides,-particularly Prehistoric
and Romanl so I wrote to about dozen museums outside London, from Carlisle
to Devizes, sending a stamped addressed envelope and asking what slides they
had for sale. The response was remarkably varied.
There is quite a range in the price of slides. A rough rule seems to be
that the further you get from London the more reasonable in price slides
become. In Carlisle and Newcastle, for instance, you pay 20p each; in Colchester
its almost double: 35p each. Colchester, too, charged heavily for postage:
an order for 3 slides, costing £1.05, would have set you back an additional
£1.50 for post and packing. The museum there comes under the local authority.
At the other end of the postage scale, I’d like to record that our colleagues at Verulamium Museum (which charges 25p per slide, probably the average) enclosed a note saying “We stand post and packing on small parcels.” Bully for them:
The most extensive list of Roman slides came from Newcastle, where the Museum of Antiquities is under the wing of the University and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. That’s partly, of course, because of the photogenic character of Hadrian’s Wall. They were also the quickest to reply by return. Leicester had an interesting selection to offer, both in prehistoric and Roman; and Devizes was – rather naturally – pre-eminent in the prehistoric section.
York – which nowadays has the reputation of being the front runner in all museum marketing enterprises – seems so overcome by the Vikings that it doesn’t offer anything at all which portrays its Roman roots. Cirencester is in process of changing slides in midstream, so I hope to return there when the new collection is ready; Canterbury didn’t bother to reply.
Salisbury was the slowest to answer – our correspondence got caught up in the Christmas rush – but they offered an excellent selection of all periods, including medieval and post-med: and they were punctilious enough when sending my order, to refund 30p .1 had overpaid in postage. I thought that very civilised,
The following applications have been made for planning permission in the last few weeks, and might be of some archaeological interest if granted:
Ambulance station 165 High St, Barnet
Land south of Pointalls Close, 1266, High rd, N20
Convent of St Mary at the Cross, Hale Lane, Edgware
1 Pipers Green Lane, Edgware
Old Central Public Health Lab, Colindale Avenue, NW9
If a member notices signs of development activity on any of the above sites John Enderby would much appreciate a call informing him.
Now some news about Listed Buildings: one bit of good news, one bad. Let’s get the bad bit over first.
The Grahame-White hangar at RAF Hendon, Listed in Grade II in 1979, is again under threat of demolition, again menaced by the Ministry of Defence. They applied to demolish it in 1980, and the Borough of Barnet withstood them: now the Ministry is having another go.
This is one of the few remaining buildings in the whole country which is connected with the birth of today’s great aviation industry. It was erected partly prior to 1914 and partly about 1919 by Grahame-White, a pupil of Louis Bleriot, as part of his School of Aviation. Claude Grahame-White also started on the same site in Hendon about 1911 the Grahame-White Aviation Company, producing early planes ander licence.
Lendon was once synonymous with flying. We ought to rejoice in that aspect of its history and hang onto every shred of it that we can. Moreover, the RAF Museum is adjacent, and should surely be able to put such an historic building to good use, if the Ministry of Defence doesn’t require it.
HADaS has – as it did in 1980 – written to LBB urging refusal of the Ministry of Defence application; and we understand that GLIAS, LAMAS and the Industrial Archaeology committee of CBA. have all done similarly – so keep your fingers crossed and pray that Barnet will stand firm.
COLLEGE FARM FINCHLEY
Here’s the good news. College Farm has, after years of pleading, by HADAS and the Finchley Society, at last been listed. The first HADAS request for that was made 12 years ago.
Other things, too, are happening on the College Farm front. Tenant farmer Chris Ower rang up in mid-January to tell us about them – we much appreciate the way he has kept us posted.
The farm has been taken out of the whole razzmatazz associated with the ‘improvement’ of Henly’s Corner – up till now it was being held by the Ministry of Transport as a pawn in that particular game. The possibilities are now either that Mr Ower might be offered a long lease (hitherto he has had to operate on an annual basis, which made planning ahead impossible); or, if and when a Trust is set up for the farm, the Trust might be able to buy the property. These two alternatives are not in fact exclusive: the second might follow the first.
A third bonus is that the Dept of Transport has agreed to pay (a grant, not a loan) for repairs for the main College Farm building. That’s really a great gain, and one which will help Mr Ower to ‘sleep happier at nights’.
A further plan is that Chris Ower is thinking in terms of possibly opening once again a little Museum like the one there used to be at the farm. Many HADAS members will remember it. It was the pet baby of .falter Nell, ‘of Express Dairies, who built it up in the years after the second war. HADAS and the Finchley Society fought hard – but, alas, unavailingly – to keep the objects in the original museum in the Borough of Barnet when the Express Dairy left the farm in 1974.
Mr Ower is at the moment negotiating with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust for College Farm to become one of the Trust’s centres. Should that come off, it might be possible to use the room where the Museum used to be partly as a display centre for Rare Breeds and partly as a museum.
The first Committee meeting of 1986 was held on January 10.
An 8-page mini-newspaper was available for inspection, entitled Greater London’s Rescue Archaeology Service. This appeared to be a Rescue News publication prepared in co-operation with the Greater London Archaeological service of the Museum of London. It contained separate articles on recent prehistoric, Roman, Saxon and Medieval discoveries and ended with an account of the Greater London Sites and Monuments Record, which began to be built up in 1983. The publication came out in September 1985 with financial help from the GLC.
The Hon Treasurer reported that a cheque for £8o had been sent last November to Chris Ower at College Farm as a small token of our appreciation for the accommodation he lets us have there: it is most valuable for storing and working on finds and for keeping equipment.
Membership is down by 8 on the same time last year – 371 instead of 379
The Water Board has deferred the cutting of the new pipeline across the north of the Borough, from Bushey to Arkley, until 1988 at earliest (see. Newsletters 171 May, 173 July; and 178 December, 1985, for previous mentions).
List of Local Buildings of architectural or historic interest. A further letter and a list of buildings so, far suggested for inclusion in a local list (for previous mentions of this subject, see Newsletters 172, June and 177, November, 1985) had been received from the Borough. Comments were invited by January 31, 1986. This meant that we were again unfortunately left with inadequate time in which to comment effectively. The Committee decided to remind LBB of our past work by sending them copies of the 4-part list we had prepared some 12 years ago for updating the Statutory List; and to point out that that project had taken us over 6 months work. A similar exercise now on the ‘local’ list would require equivalent time if it were to be properly done
Arrangements were discussed for a bookstall and display at the Conference of London Archaeologists on March 15 at the Museum of London.
A brief report on West Heath 1985 has been sent to the London Archaeologist for their Excavation Round-up for 1985.
HADAS members who are computer-conscious may like to know of the latest Cambridge University Press publication in the series Manuals in. Archaeology. It is Data Processing in Archaeology by J D Richards and N S Ryan, published last year.
The authors say that they have aimed at a handbook which “should be of interest to all archaeologists whether working in the field or in an academic environment;” and they hope that the book will be of equal value to the newcomer to computer use, without previous experience, and also “to those whose involvement has so far been limited to the use of published programme packages.”
TURN YOUR EYES ABROAD
Some of the foreign study tours that the Cambridge Extra-mural Studies
Board is organising this year are really mouth-watering. How would you like
to explore ancient Peru for 3 weeks in May, searching for the Nazca civilisation
and the later Incas, under the expert guidance of Nicholas Saunders? You can
do that for £1375.
Also in May, but for a fortnight, there’s a trip to Sardinia with Dr. David
Trump, whom many members will know from working with him on Diploma digs in Cambridge. Rock-cut tombs, the famous nuraghe (stone-built defensive towers dated c 1500 BC megalithic gallery graves, Roman sand Phoenician remains, as well as medieval sites, are all on the menu.. Cost of that is £495.
A September trip – a fortnight led by Morag Woodhuysen, an expert on Asiatic archaeology – will visit Hazor, Megiddo, Caesarea, Nabatean desert towns-. Jericho, Masada and, of course, Jerusalem. That costs £650.
But the jewel in the crown must be three weeks in China in August, taking in Peking, the Great Wall, Sian and its terracotta army, Lonyang (where there are about 100,000 images of Buddha in 1300 caves, with 2100 grottoes) and many excavation sites including Anyang, Zhengzhon, Kaifeng, Qufu (where you see the birthplace of Confucius) and. Shanghai, returning via Hong Kong. Cost of that is £1659.
OR- HOW ABOUT ORKNEY?
After all that, something as close to home as Orkney might seem small beer: but never to those who took part in HADAS’s unforgettable trip there in 1978.
This time it’s nothing to do with HADAS – but you may be interested, all the same. Christopher Newbury and a few friends, are hoping to organise a week in Orkney from June 13-21. The St Magnus Festival will be on that week; and it would also be a chance to revisit some of the sites we saw in 1978.
Anyone interested in joining, please phone Christopher Newbury on 203-0950 to hear more about it.
WHERE’S THE BODY?
When you start an archaeological project you can never be sure where – or when – you’ll end.
Ten years ago, in the autumn of 1975, Daphne Lorimer and Peter Clinch volunteered to do a survey of the memorial stones which still remained in the Dissenters Burial Ground at Whetstone, towards the top of Totteridge
There was at that time a plan to develop the site for an old people’s home and we wanted to record it before that happened. The Burial Ground’s own records had been lost in a fire in 1888.
The graves covered the period 1836-1881, Some of them had had wooden headboards which had disappeared. All those with stone monuments- about 40 -were photographed and the inscriptions were copied. Subsequently, in Newsletters No 60 and 61, Daphne reported on the project; and a display based on it, using Peter’s photos, was incorporated in several HADAS exhibitions. We thought that was the end of it . The Society moved on to other projects and the Dissenters Burial Ground became part of HADAS history.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Ten years later, in December 1985, HADAS had a call from Mr Nash of Hendon Cemetery. Again, plans were afoot to develop the site of the Dissenters Burial Ground. The 1975 plan had been abortive and the site was still empty. Before any development took place, however the Cemetery had been asked to exhume and rebury the remains interred in the Burial Ground. They couldn’t find any records, so didn’t know where to begin someone remembered the HADAS survey. Could we, by any chance, help?
We could – and we were happy to do so. Daphne Lorimer had kept her records and was able to place them at Mr Nash’s disposal.
That was certainly a twist in the tale that we could never have anticipated. There’s a spin off for HADAS, too, in this last instalment of the story. Mr Nash unearthed, in the remains of a stonemason’s yard by the Burial Ground, some ancient stone Working tools, and invited us to photograph them – so that’s “been passed to the Photographic Group for action. He is also working on a plan, for the Council, on which the position of each grave will be plotted: and has promised that we shall have a copy to complete our records.