Digs and Finds on The Heath (2) - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

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Digs and Finds on The Heath (2)

There is quite a lot of evidence that The Romans were occupying areas around Hampstead.

Roman pottery has been found in Hampstead and in Highgate Wood.

The Roman pottery is shown in the illustrations and was found during the digs in the early 1970s.

The kiln is approximately 2000 years old.

It was found high on a ridge in Highgate Wood which, strictly speaking,  is in Harringay

The Wood was once part of the ancient Middlesex Forest.

Between 1966 and 1974, ten kilns were found which produced a range of kitchen and table wares for Roman households such as beakers, bowls, dishes and jugs.

The kilns were in operation between AD50 and AD160.

The area is composed of London clay and there was a good supply of wood for fuel

Streams would have been dug to bring water across the site and the Highgate potteries would have required sand as temper for the wheel made pottery.

As no buildings have been found, it is surmised that the Highgate potters were probably itinerant, travelling between areas where demand was made.

The Highgate Wood pottery was situated between two main Roman routes: Ermine Street to the east through Tottenham and Watling Street to the west to St. Albans.

The Anglo Saxons were prolific in the area and there is much evidence of them in The Heath area.

There is a very obvious Anglo Saxon ditch on the East Heath, dating from about AD986.

In the article above, ancient boundaries are discussed in detail.

The historical boundaries that have been prevalent on Hampstead Heath over the ages are shown by The City Of London's map:

There are some pictures of items on display at Burgh House that are part of the Hampstead History:

Leather apprentice shoes, made in 1890

A fragment of Clay Pipe found on The Heath, near The Spaniards Inn.

A pearl brooch made of pearls from mussels in The Leg Of Mutton Pond.

A temperance medal from about 1836

A nineteenth century pewter tankard.

Two nineteenth century bricks from 19, Lyndhurst Gardens

This is just a brief account of the Heath and its archaeology.

June, 2015

The Highgate Ponds are currently having their banks raised to prevent the unlikely scenario of flooding.

During the work next to The Model Boating Pond Victorian pennies, 18th and 19th century pottery and a Mesolithic/Neolithic flint have been discovered.

It is possible that the pottery is either that which was dumped from Kenwood House or used by the work gangs who built The Ponds.

The remains of a hearth, possibly associated with the work gangs, has also been discovered.

The details opposite are taken from an article in The Illustrated London News of 1892, where some treasure was found near Parliament Hill!

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