Newsletter 197 July 1987 July Editor: June Porges
Saturday 11 July Outing To Danebury and Andover.
Calling first at Winchester to see the major new excavation there.
Itinerary and application form enclosed. This outing is early in the month, so please send applications as soon as possible.
Saturday 15 August Outing to Royston Area – Peter Griffiths
11 12 and 13 September Long weekend at Abergavenny with John Enderby. A couple of places still left if anyone wants to go.
Saturday 26 September Minimart
Ring Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) or Christine Arnott (455 2751) if you have goods available now and can’t hang on to them. If anyone has a spare room to store some boxes of goods priced and ready for the day, please ring Dorothy on 203 0950 as she is approaching overflow point.
Another reminder to members old and new. If you decide late that you would like to join an outing, please ring Dorothy (203 0950). We are not always full, and we sometimes have last minute cancellations.
As reported at the AGM, we have permission from the farmer, Mr. Shepherd, to dig exploratory trenches at Brockley Hill during the month of September. If there is sufficient support we propose to start on the Bank Holiday weekend August 29-31 and then continue on throughout September on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If you can come and help at any time during that period please contact Brian Wrigley (959 5982) or Gillian Braithwaite (455 9273). Digging experience is useful but not essential. Strong muscle power will be particularly welcome at all times!
HELP Can anyone offer the use of a garage or secure storage space for barrows and other equipment close to Brockley Hill?
From the Membership Secretary:
A gentle reminder that there are still many subscriptions outstanding. If you have not yet paid yours I append below the rates, i.e.
Full Membership £5.00
Under 16s and over 60s £3.00
Additional members of the family £1.00
(Schools and Societies) £6.00
Phyllis Fletcher, HADAS, c/o 78 Temple Fortune Hill, London NW11 7TT
OUTING TO DOVER – 20 JUNE 1987
Dover was at its clear and sunny best for us, with the French coast just discernible in mist. The castle overwhelms the visitor with choices and it is doubtful if any of us saw as much as we had hoped. The huge keep in its palace courtyard, the two lines of concentric walls and towers, the various gates, the subterranean fortifications, the Anglo Saxon/Victorian church, the Roman “lighthouse”, are all complex buildings in themselves. Additionally they have all been altered in the long history of occupation from Iron Age fort, Roman site, Saxon borough, royal fortress and palace from Norman to Stuart times, and garrison centre in the 13th and 19th centuries. Struggling to perceive at least some of this significance in the buildings, one is distracted by the huge and inviting green spaces of the hill-top and cliff-top enclosure and the enticing views of sea and town below. For Dover Castle, one visit is not enough.
Our second call was to the Roman Painted House. Mrs. Wendy Williams still excavating it after 17 years, accounted for it at first hand, from Mortimer Wheeler’s earlier prediction that a Roman maritime town lay there to be discovered. Continual excavation around the Painted House and rescue openings in old Dover are showing not only the extent of the Roman town but the great extent of the Painted House itself. It was founded in about 200 AD on the remains of an earlier building of about 150 and lay just outside the first fort of the Channel fleet, the Classis Britannica. It was demolished by the army about 270 to make room for and provide stone for the Saxon shore fort, a few rooms (now on view) being only partly broken down before being earthed up and built over, thus preserving their plastered and painted walls. Originally this was thought to be a town house, possibly of the Admiral of the Fleet. Now it is believed to have been a 5 star hotel for important travelers. Finds of walls and plaster fragments indicate that there were possibly about 30 rooms, expensively decorated throughout by wet-plaster frescoes, some with painted symbols representing Bacchus. The central heating system made it possible to warm rooms individually while running economically on brushwood. The building had its own piped water and was built of navy bricks (stamped CLBR); its outside walls were painted a bright red. It is hoped that the wall plaster in situ will eventually recover its original brightness, if means can be found to-leach the salt from the supporting walls.
After these two state buildings, we were refreshed to escape from the motorway to two small Kentish villages, hidden away through narrow lanes and copses. The little church at Barfrestone wears its astonishing carvings on the outside, the inside being rather more restored. Though the church may be earlier Norman, the decorations in Caen stone are attributed to about 1180. The Church guidebook sees them as the contemporary de Port heir’s celebration of his marriage to a wealthy Normandy heiress, employing Canterbury masons. The effect recalls Kilpeck but is more genteel. Further lanes led us to Eythorne whose church is overshadowed by Barfrestone but arouses curiosity about its construction. Here we attended more to the church hall where the vicar had organised a most generous home-made tea.We all appreciated Dorothy Newbury’s planning and preparation of this lovely day’s programme.
Sites of possible archaeological interest that I would ask Members living in the locality to “watch”, taken from this month’s Planning Applications:
The Manor House
80 East End Road, N3
235 Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware
Land ad joining
Orchard Drive, Edgware
34 & 40 Martland Drive, Edgware’
Land rear of The Burroughs, NW4 fronting Watford Way and Greyhound Hill
The Elizabeth Allen School Wood Street, Barnet
36 Wood Street, Barnet 116/118 High Street, Barnet
Land adjoining Stapylton Road, Barnet
Little Pipers Hadley Green Road, Barnet
74 Galley Lane. Arkley
146 Wood Street, Barnet
Please contact me on 203 2630 if anything of interest is noticed on the above sites.
BARNET COLLEGE ACCESS COURSES TO HIGHER EDUCATION
Here is a chance for adults who have no “0” or “A” levels to gain access to a degree level course. From September two courses – Science or Social Science – will be run at Barnet College. People who complete them successfully will gain automatic admittance to degree courses at Middlesex Polytechnic the following year. Anyone interested should contact Sue Berryman, Barnet College (440 6321).
HOW TO ATTACK AN ETRUSCAN CITY
Warning Do not attempt this while the tourist crop is being taken in and try to avoid early May, when large flocks of migrating schoolchildren can be expected. They are charming young things, anxious to practice their English and will not only delay you but seriously impede your use of those excellent siege weapons between upper and forearm
Perugia, like all Etruscan cities, is perched upon a mini-mountain and approached by busy roads which corkscrew up to the summit. Do not drive up these; you will only have to drive down again. Park at the bottom, and spend some time reconnoitering the line of the Etruscan walls which are obviously unassailable, even where they are not topped by Roman and Mediaeval masonry. Study the main gates, especially the impressive Arco d’Augusto, restored in 40 AD. Reject these means of access and look for the secret keys to the citadel. There are three of these:
A The defences may be breached by any one of several linked stairways, notably Via Appia, a quick, direct route, though physically demanding. Regroup at one of the excellent cafés on Corso Vanucci. In case of forced retreat, the descent of Via Appia at speed is like scree-running on Gable. The views are impressive too.
B. On the east side of the city, a lift goes up through six stories of car park and market, landing the invader at Corso level, on a fine terrace with distant views of Assisi and Monte Subasio. An excellent approach route, if only there was the slightest chance of a place in the car park.
C. The recommended route. On the south (?) side of the city, just above a sports stadium, a series of escalators, housed in the rock and linked by short stairways, leads directly to the top, with the minimum of effort. Both the top, in Piazza Italia. and the bottom of this system are cunningly hidden and the present writer is by no means sure that they are on the south side, as one entrance was glimpsed close to Arco d’Augusto on the north of the city. Perhaps the defenders re-route it secretly by night.
Perugia is a glorious city, a prize worth winning, even at some cost. Those who are intent on tracking down the Etruscans must expect further delaying tactics when they reach the centre. The National Gallery of Umbria will tempt them in for half an hour and detain them for three. In every church and every square the Middle Ages and the Renaissance will distract them from their purpose. But if they have patience and will give the city the three or four days it deserves, the Etruscans will reveal themselves, keeping a certain distance, as always, but surprising the visitor with the range of their achievements and their capacity to survive.
The bronze griffin, high on the Palazzo dei Priori, is Etruscan all but his wings – and they are 13th Century. East of the Duomo a narrow arch and sloping, rocky shaft lead to an Etruscan well of prodigious depth and dimensions. To look down into the dark water is to renew one’s respect for this ancient, much vilified, people. Everywhere Etruscan walls survive. There are three splendid gates, the Arco d’Augusto (Arco Etrusco) Porta Marzia and Porta Trasimena and on the stepped streets one is walking where the earliest citizens trod. The Archaeological Museum is airy and spacious. The Iron Age Hall was closed against us, for some reason, but the Etrusco-Roman galleries were full of interest, especially the earliest, 6th century finds, and, of course, the famous Cippus with its lengthy inscription.
In front of this, the invader must finally admit defeat. The letters are familiar, the right to left system no obstacle, but no one as yet has been able to decipher Etruscan script. The Cippus gives its message to deaf ears. It is time to go down to the plain where the people who first built the city were buried. Out on the Foligno road, perilously near the railway, is the family tomb of the Volumnii. At ground level, a modern building houses a crowded collection of urns from the large neighbouring cemeteries. On some, reclining portraits meet the intruder with a startled gaze originally intended for the gods. Their treasures are bundled into glass cases: painted bowls, mirrors, armour, back-scratchers, figurines, and a monstrous kottabos over six feet high.
At the bottom of a long shaft lies the tomb of a remarkable family, a late 2nd century EC construction, an underground copy of a Roman house with atrium. tablinum and two wings. In the tablinum Aruns Volumnius, the founder, and his daughter Velia reside. He reclines on a couch, supported by winged figures; Velia is seated, a comfortable, matronly figure. Among the other family shrines one is particularly interesting. Publius Volumnius, the last of the line, was buried here in the first century AD. By that time, Rome had long ago destroyed the Etruscan power, suppressed its language and blackened its history, but this man was still true to his origins. The Volumnii were not defeated: they prospered under Rome and kept their secrets. We are not likely to come closer to them than this.
J I MCPHERSON
The latest news is that the future of the site, not just the Grahame-White Hangar is being studied by the Property Services Agency (PSA) of the Department of the Environment assisted by consultants. The consultants’ report should be available by early summer (which, despite the adverse meteorological evidence, presumably means fairly soon) after which decisions about the site can be made.
The PSA has informed us that the “consultants are working very closely indeed with the Barnet Planning Department in finding alternative uses for Hendon itself and those uses will take into account the circumstances of the listed buildings.”
This is good news in so far as we know that the Borough Planners support the retention of these buildings.
HOW TO RUN YOUR ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY SUCCESSFULLY!
This is the title of the second Congress of Independent Archaeologists, organised by Andrew Selkirk, which is to be held this year in Selwyn College, Cambridge, on September 18th/19th 1987.
Subjects will include:
How to deal with your professionals
· To dig or not to dig
· How to get results published
· Adult education how useful is it?
· Museums and public archaeology; opium for the masses?
There will also be a workshop on computers in archaeology. Residential cost will be £39, non-residential £10. Apply to CIA, 9 Nassington Road, London NW3 2TX (435 7517).
The results of the British Archaeological Book of the Year award were announced in November — the winning book was Bryony and John Coles’ Sweet Track to Glastonbury.
This was chosen from a shortlist of thirteen books – you may be interested to know these in case you have birthday book tokens to spend:
Sweet Track to Glastonbury by Bryony and John Coles (Thames and Hudson)
Tomb of the Eagles, by John Hedges (John Murray)
The Roman Port of London, by Gustav Milne (Batsford)
The History of the Countryside, by Oliver Rackman (Dent)
The European Iron Age, by John Collis (Batsford)
Invitation to Archaeology, by Philip Rahtz (Blackwell)
Symbols of Excellence, by Grahame Clark (Cambridge UP)
Symbols of Power at the Time of Stonehenge by David Clarke, Trevor Vowie and Andrew Foxton (HMSO, 1985)
Exploration of a Drowned Landscape: The Archaeology and History of the Scilly isles, by Charles Thomas (Batsford)
The Special Foundations of Prehistoric Britain by Richard Bradley
Images of Lust: Sexual Carvings on Mediaeval Churches, by Anthony Weir and James Jerman (Batsford)
The Prehistory of Metallurgy in the British Isles by R F Tylecote
(Institute of Metals)
The Iron Industry of the Weald by Henry Cleere and David Crossley
It is interesting to note that four of the authors shortlisted have lectured to HADAS in recent years — congratulations to Dorothy on picking winners John Hedges’ Tomb of the Eagles and Gustav Milne’s The Roman Port of London are both in our Library with inscriptions by the authors, and another recent addition to our stock is Desmond Collins’ Palaeolithic Europe: a Theoretical and Systematic Study, which we acquired while visiting him at his home in Somerset last year during the Exeter weekend.
This book, which Desmond published under his own imprint “Clayhanger Books” is a fascinating in-depth study of Palaeolithic man in Europe which Desmond says in the Preface “is not an introductory text but should be of use to any serious student interested in either early man or Pleistocene chronology, or human evolution, or several other tangential disciplines, and especially it is designed for anyone who wants to examine the underlying theory or principles of this kind of research.” A copy is available in the Library or for purchase. New members might like to know that HADAS has a library of about 800 publications. A few of these are displayed at the monthly meetings for members to borrow. The Library is located at Avenue House in East End Road, Finchley, and can be visited by arrangement with June Porges (346 5078).
Text Box: — 7 –LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
FROM JEAN SNELLING:
Thank you for a very interesting Newsletter, full of meat. The Sutton Hoo team used not only kites but at least one metal detector which is said to have located army shrapnel mainly. I think we should take steps to see whether cooperation with owners of metal detectors is possible. If the water pipeline is begun, they will surely be active there in any case, and it would be a nuisance to have them operating in secret. I don’t know if the same would apply to Stapylton Road if the dig develops there, but should think it very probably would.
I think we should aim to have a computer (for; all future digs) and a word processor with printer. I don’t know how feasible it is to share, e.g. with another voluntary society based in Finchley or Hendon, but wonder if it would be. (I suppose the gramophone society can use the Library’s computer). Finchley Society? Bird watchers and nature reserve people? etc.
FROM JENNIE LEE COBBAN:
I read with interest your reference to metal detector owners and their relationship with archaeologists (“Kite Flying”) in the April Newsletter. As a new society member, an archaeology graduate and an owner of such a machine, I thought you may be interested to hear my views, as I can appreciate the situation from both sides of the fence.
I think the first point to make clear is that most metal detector owners are genuine history enthusiasts who adhere to a strict, universal code of practice, which I enclose from the magazine “Treasure Hunting” (a dreadfully provocative name which I wish they would alter!):
Code of Conduct for Responsible
Metal Detector Users
1. Do not trespass. Ask permission before venturing on to any private land.
2. Respect the Country Code. Do not leave gates open when crossing fields, and do not damage crops or frighten animals.
3. Do not leave a mess. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small objects buried a few inches under the ground without digging a great hole. Use a sharpened trowel or knife to cut a neat circle or triangle (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground); extract the object, replace the soil and grass carefully and even you will have difficulty finding the spot again.
4. Help to keep Britain tidy – and help yourself. Bottle tops, silver paper and tin cans are the last things you should throw away. You could well be digging them up again next year. Do yourself and the community a favour by taking the rusty iron and junk you find to the nearest litter bin.
5. If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not touch it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the locally police.
6. Report all unusual historical finds to the landowner.
7. Familiarise yourself with the law related to archaeological sites. Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a scheduled ancient monument unless permission has been obtained from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for
England. Also acquaint yourself with the practice of Treasure Trove.
1. Remember that when you are out with your metal detector, you are an ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that may give it a bad name.
(“Treasure Hunting”, April 1987)
As you can see, no responsible metal detector owner would dream of wandering about digging a scheduled site. Unfortunately, however, there are the so-called “cowboys” of the hobby who have been known to detect stealthily by night on sites where excavations are actually in progress. The activities of these people are abhorred by archaeologist and responsible metal detectorist alike, and until they are stopped (by heavier penalties?), I see little likelihood of the two sides forming an amicable working relationship.
Personally, of course. I would very much like to see more co-operation between archaeology and metal detecting, and in a way am trying to combine the two approaches in my persona/ studies.
At the moment I am attempting to pull together all the archaeological evidence for, the medieval Order of Knights Templars in Britain. This is a tough task, as interest in the order seems minimal, and few preceptories (regional Templar headquarters) have been fully excavated. Even the actual sites of some are in question. Therefore, as well as the orthodox forms of archaeological research, I have spoken to the Editor of Treasure Hunting” (hate that name!) who has agreed to inform her readers of my project and, hopefully, enlist their help by letting me know of any Templar artifacts found by metal detectorists around the country and thus help me pinpoint areas of Templar activity.
Metal detecting could also, of course, help me pinpoint certain sites which are theoretical at the moment. So why don’t I use the machine there?
Because I am afraid of compromising my reputation as a bona fide archaeologist by drawing attention to the fact that I even own a machine, although I wish to use it merely to find archaeological evidence rather than “treasure”. You see the problem?
To conclude, I could just like to say that metal detectors detect to a maximum depth of 10 inches. Many excavations I took part in used JCBs to remove at least the top five feet of earth! Also, my husband, plus detector, will be available for use on HADAS spoil heaps (when convenient to both sides) to recover for our excavations any small metal objects missed, and if any member wishes to examine the machine, he or she is very welcome.
Seeing Egypt is probably the dream of everyone interested in archaeology most of us first encounter it at primary school and for many this is the first time they hear of archaeology. Whatever it is, we feel we must go there some day. Several members of HADAS have been to Egypt recently and although all inevitably covered much of the same ground, did it in slightly different ways and we thought those who are still at the dreaming and planning stage might be interested to hear of their experiences:
A Nile cruise proved an ideal way of touring Egypt. The Nile is still, as it always has been, the life-line of Egypt, and it is the sole source of water in Upper Egypt where rain is almost unknown. Both ancient sites and modern towns and villages are therefore clustered along its banks and easily accessible to the river traveller.
We flew to Cairo and immediately boarded the Swan’s boat “Nile Star”, our home-base for the next 2 weeks. That is one of the great advantages of a cruise no hassle of packing and unpacking as one moves from place to place. The ship was modern and air-conditioned, the accommodation compact but comfortable, and the Nubian staff charming and incredibly efficient.
The ship remained moored for the first 24 hours, enabling us to see something of modern Cairo and visit the Pyramids at Gizeh. Then we began our leisurely 600 mile journey up-river, stopping each night so that we missed nothing of the passing scenery and slept undisturbed by the throb of the engine. Our days were a pleasant mixture of strenuous site visiting and relaxing on deck as we watched the riverside scene. Rural life in Egypt must have changed little in 5,000 years (though it is beginning to change, and quickly). Women still come down to the Nile from their mud brick houses to draw water in clay pots, and to wash their clothes and their cooking pans and themselves in the river. Tiny children haul on the leading ropes of water buffalo twice their size. Father rides home from the fields on his donkey or drives the poor beast almost submerged under its load of alfalfa. And the scenes of fishing and wild-fowling in the reeds might have been taken from a New Kingdom painting. Shore visits brought us in closer contact with country life: a walk through a field of water melons or sugar cane, or between heaps of grain waiting to be winnowed in the time-honoured fashion of tossing to let the breeze blow away the chaff. Or one could take a starlight stroll along a country road, the silence only broken by a chorus of frogs. The bird watchers on board ship were kept busy spotting each new species: egrets, heron, pied kingfisher, little green bee-eater, and the ‘Amazing purple gallinule.
Travelling by river gave us the opportunity to visit a great variety of sites in addition to the pyramid complexes at Gizeh and Saggara we saw the pyramid at Meydun with its magnificent corbel-roofed burial chamber. We visited the Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hassan with their enchanting reliefs depicting scenes of everyday life. It was a stiff climb to reach them but the view of the Nile valley was unforgettable. We visited the evocative site of El Amarna, Akhenaten’s capital, and saw some of the recent excavations and we explored Abydos, ancient Egypt’s most sacred site. Of course we saw all the great tombs and temples around Luxor where we were moored for three days, and we also saw an interesting series of Ptolomeic temples at Dendera, Esna. Edfu and Kota limbo. From Aswan where we stayed for two days we flew to Abu Simbel and had a magnificent aerial view of the temples as we came in to land. It made the achievement of moving them to their present site, well above the waters of Lake Nasser, seem even more staggering than one had realised.
We began our tour by visiting the greatest monuments of the Old Kingdom, the Pyramids at Gizeh, so it was appropriate to end it at Abu Simbel with two of the greatest monuments of the New Kingdom. However, there was a postscript. From Aswan we flew back to Cairo for two days sightseeing, including the great National Museum, before we flew home.
After watching mile upon mile of sand unfold beneath the aircraft the pyramids came into view looming large and regular on the edge of the desert. Even from 300ft they looked huge. My first trip to Egypt was a short appetiser in which we visited the pyramids, firstly in the evening for the Son et Lumiere, then at 6am the next morning we just had to see them again, but time was short. We were at the Cairo museum for 9am for two hours before returning home. At least I had fulfilled one promise to myself: to see the treasures of Tutankamen’s tomb in Cairo (I had been unable to see it in London). The trip also made me absolutely determined to see more of Egypt, and so three friends and I decided to go.
We had memories of being rushed from site to site by a guide who treated us like recalcitrant sheep so our aim was to ‘do our own thing’, as far as possible. It soon became clear from the agent’s expression that the modern Thomas Cook is not used to intrepid travellers proposing to book their own transport both to and within Egypt. We therefore took the easy option and booked a Bales tour which provided the greatest degree of freedom. We decided against the Nile cruise because we thought not only would it restrict our freedom for a week, but also we would see more local colour from the bank. Flights to and within the country were booked as were the hotels, but what we did when were deposited at the hotels was left entirely to us. Two of our party had been to Egypt before, and we felt confident that we could manage without guides.
We arrived in Cairo on Easter Saturday and were greeted at the hotel by a pen of the most delightful Easter bunnies! There were evil rumours afterwards about rabbit dishes, but I didn’t see any! We did, however, consume the most enormous chocolate Easter Egg the following day which one of us had brought from the UK!
During our initial three days in Cairo we visited the Pyramids, Cairo Museum the Bazaar, the Citadel, Memphis and Saqqara. On the fourth day we flew via Luxor (where we had a wonderful aerial view of Hatshepsut’s Temple) to Aswan. Our hotel, the Old Cataract, was the height of colonial splendour. One of the most dramatic moments of the trip for me came when my roommate opened the thick curtains, then the windows, then the shutters to reveal the Nile and various islands below our balcony. From Aswan we visited Abu Simbel very early one morning, Philae, the High Dam, a granite quarry and lazed on a felucca on the Nile.We took a coach back to Luxor so that we could stop off at Kom Ombo (those ghastly mummified crocodiles!). Esna and Edfu. The situation of Kom Ombo is idyllic and Erna and Edfu are both impressive for their size and preservation. The coach trip was very worthwhile to see in addition to the sites the villages and people on the way: women in black watering water buffalo houses painted to show the owner’s pilgrimage on the Haj to Mecca, Bedouin encampments, herds of camels being driven on foot and in the back of small trucks to unthinkable fates.
The hotel at Luxor, as in Cairo of the Movenpick group, was excellent. It was situated on the east bank of the Nile from where we could watch the sun setting behind the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. We visited the tombs, of course, which were most impressive as was the architecture of Deir el Bahri. By now we were used to – even blasé about – masses of wall paintings and reliefs and Deir el Bahri was perhaps a little disappointing except for the relief of the foreign dignitaries Hatshepsut met including the misshapen Queen of Punt. On the contrary Deir el Medinah, which we had to ourselves was evocative of how the men working on the great tombs of the kings lived. Another highlight for me was the Ramesseum which had fired my imagination when as a teenager I had read Shelley’s Ozymandias. Again there being only the four of us there, we were able to absorb the atmosphere of the place while reminding ourselves of the poem which had very thoughtfully been provided in the guidebook.
Karnak on the east bank is more grand and immense than you can imagine. The Son et Lumiere was impressive, but a little spoiled by the hoards of people vying for a front place. On our last day in Luxor we went to Abydos and Denderah, the latter being particularly well preserved and interesting.
Back in Cairo we saw the old Coptic area and did last minute shopping. Unfortunately (?) we ran out of time without experiencing the promised camel ride – next time?
The dreaded ‘gyppie tummy’ only really caught one of us, and for some reason 1 was perfectly fit the whole holiday (I put it down to years of immunity to bacteria as a result of my own cooking!).
In retrospect I still think the unaccompanied tour suited us the best we were able to linger as long as we liked, usually on our own, at the sites. Taxis were always at hand and for four of us the cost was not, in our view, unreasonable. If you are considering an Egyptian holiday do take the plunge – it’s well worth it.
Hans and June Porges:
We delayed our visit to Egypt for years because we could not decide whether to go on a Nile cruise or another way, but finally decided on Bales’ economy fifteen day tour, which involved flying to Cairo and staying there and in two other centres: Aswan and Luxor. This meant there was not too much packing and unpacking and, as we did not know the country, we appreciated having an efficient tour manager who organised our transportation and luggage (though mine did go missing for two hours at Aswan – but he did the worrying!) and who could be called upon in an emergency.
The tour included organised visits, accompanied by a local guide, to all the “musts” — the pyramids (where one of us did ride on a camel), Saqqara, the Valleys of the Kings, Queens and Nobles etc. but also gave us about five “free” days when we could take optional tours, lie by the pool (our hotels at Luxor and Aswan were both on the edge of the Nile), go shopping or make private visits to sites. We particularly enjoyed a second visit to the Temple at Luxor (where the stage was being erected for the famous Aida) one lunch time when we were virtually alone. Even the little men who beckon one to see the “risqué” wall paintings and then demand baksheesh were having their siesta. We also went alone to the Coptic Museum and district in Cairo and then attempted to return to the centre on the “Metro” which turned out to be non-existent after two stations end deposited us in a dubious area of Cairo to walk what seemed like miles back to the centre – a marvellous way of getting a flavour of Egyptian life!
Sheila and Elizabeth have graphically described the Nile and many of the sites so we will not add to those – just say that the joy and astonishment of standing in the sand in front of those monuments, so often seen in films and photographs, and seeing them in their own context, sends one into a state of shock never to be forgotten. Do go!
NEWS OF HADAS MEMBERS
Olive Banham one of our founder members, writes to say how she misses joining us on outings and lectures. We miss her too – she was one of our regulars. She says her general health is excellent but she has developed osteoporosis of the spine which prevents her walking far or fast. We send her our best wishes.
Philip Venning, known to many of us as a regular digger during the first few
years at West Heath, has recently married. We wish him every happiness.
Margaret Taylor. A marvellous achievement for a member of very long standing (1971). She has been elected President of the St Albans and Herts Architectural and Archaeological Society – a great honour as the Society, which was founded in 1845 and was largely run by a Council of clergymen, archdeacons, bishops and venerables, has never had a woman President before. She hopes the founders are not turning in their Victorian graves at the thought of a woman taking over. She recalls first taking up archaeology with Brigid Grafton Green at Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute in Desmond Collins’ first ever extra mural class, and also digging with us at St Marys, Hendon, before moving to St Albans. We are all waving the flag for her!
Brigid Grafton Green. We are sorry to hear that Brigid has had to go into hospital for an operation and will be out of action for some weeks. We all send our warmest wishes for a speedy recovery. Meantime if you need to contact her, Brigid says please ring Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) who will pass on any messages.