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2,200-year-old liquor found in Chinese tomb

History Blog - 2 hours 55 min ago

A bronze vessel unearthed from a Qin dynasty tomb still contains a hefty amount of liquor, archaeologists have discovered. The tomb was discovered in a cemetery of commoners’ graves in Yan village, located in China’s Shaanxi province near Xianyang, the ancient capital of the Qin Dynasty. The burials date from the late Warring States period (5th century-221 B.C.) through the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.), and although they have been extensively looted over the centuries, numerous artifacts were found interred in the graves. The bronze kettle was one of several highly significant objects among them.

It is a sacrificial vessel, buried for ritual reasons. Interring wine as a sacrificial offering for the dead was a common practice at the time. The jug’s mouth was sealed tight with a coarse hessian fabric, made of jute or sisal fibers, and tied with plant material. It was so effective at blocking air from entering the vessel that even after more than two thousands years, the liquid inside was still fluid when archaeologists removed the stopper. About 300 ml (10 fl oz) of liquid remained. When researchers extracted it, they found it was a cream-colored milky fluid that had undergone a fermentation process in antiquity.

According to Zhang Yanglizheng, an assistant researcher at SPIA, the 300ml of milky-white liquid possess alcoholic substances such hydroxyproline and glutamate. This would suggest that it possesses similar qualities and features to modern-day fermented wine.

The discovery not only reflects the level of wine making in Qin’s capital Xianyang, a prefecture in modern-day Shaanxi Province, at the time, but also shows that the Qin people inherited certain rites and ceremonies from the Western Zhou (1046–771 BCE) period, Zhang explained.

Glutamate and hydroxyproline are non-proteinogenic amino acids. Testing also found small amounts of proteins and fatty acids in the liquor which indicate this ancient tipple was similar to today’s yellow rice wine.

Another important piece unearthed in the excavation of the cemetery was a bronze sword. Just shy of two feet long (60 cm), the weapon has octahedron-shaped divots in the middle, which were meant to make the weapon easier to wield and thereby increase its effectiveness in battle. Dents and dings along the edge of the sword indicate that it did indeed see use on the battlefield, and a lot of it at that.

Also found in one of the tombs was a turtle shell, specifically the plastron or bottom half of the shell that covers the animal’s abdomen. It is 14 cm (5.5 inches) long and has a dozen squares punched out of the shell. There are burn marks along the edge. These features are characteristic symbols used by fortune-tellers to divine the future.

The research team is hoping these artifacts and the hundreds of others discovered in the burial ground will shed new light on the social history of people living under the Qin dynasty. Most artifacts of significance that have been recovered from the tombs of the elite. Discovering them in commoners’ graves gives archaeologists a whole new opportunity to examine the daily life of non-nobles in China’s first empire.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

1000 years of St. Albans Abbey’s history revealed

History Blog - Thu, 2018-03-22 00:27

Our friends at the Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) aren’t just busy inventorying their recovered artifacts. They’ve got excavations to do and archaeological treasures to unearth. One of their recent projects is a dig at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans which just came to a close last month. The excavation began in August 2017 in advance of the construction of a new Welcome Center for the church and focused on a burial ground known as Monks’ Cemetery which was in use from the 18th through the mid-19th century. They recovered 120 inhumed bodies from that cemetery, out of the more the 170 recorded burials before the cemetery’s closure in 1852.

But that’s far from all they unearthed. Not surprisingly, the burial ground lived several previous lives. Under the more recent graves, the archaeological team discovered the remains of a rectangular 15th century building. Two stories high, the building was an addition to the cathedral and is believed to have contained the treasury, sacristy, vestry and two chapels, all accessible from the main building’s transept and presbytery. It was likely razed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

It’s possible, albeit not confirmed, that the abbot’s quarters were also in the 15th century structure. It is confirmed that one abbot in particular was buried under the larger of the two chapels. The excavation unearthed a brick-lined grave containing the body of an adult man. Interred with him with three Papal bullae, lead seals that were attached to official papal decrees known as bulls. While only the obverse of the seals is even partially legible, experts were able to make out the name “Martinus,” which dates the bullae to the papacy of Martin V who occupied the Throne of Peter from 1417 to 1431.

It’s extremely rare to find a grave that contains more than one of these seals. According to Professor Martin Biddle who is working with the CAT team, the discovery of three is in fact “a unique discovery in archaeology.” This strongly indicates the deceased was someone of great importance in the Church. The dates and further archival research point to this having been John of Wheathampstead. John was the Abbot of St. Albans from 1420-1440, and again from 1451 until his death in 1465. He personally undertook the arduous journey to Rome in 1423 and was granted an audience with Pope Martin V. The abbot asked the pontiff for three privileges and Martin granted all three of them. The deal was sealed with, well, seals, two of them dated November 19th, 1423, and the third November 24th, 1423. Abbot John returned with them to the St. Albans where he was celebrated for his successful mission.

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Rev’d Dr Jeffrey John, said, “It is a wonderful thing to have found the grave and relics of John of Wheathampstead, one of the most interesting and successful of the Abbots of St Albans. The papal seals that were found in his grave are a reminder of some of the privileges that he won for his monastery, and of his own national and international influence on the Church at a time when (not unlike today) it was faced with threats of division and decline”.

He continued, “Abbot John added a great deal to the renown and the beauty of the Abbey, and attracted many new pilgrims from Britain and overseas. He also defended the Abbey from destruction during the Wars of the Roses and was proud to say that he had preserved its treasures for future generations. It seems appropriate that he should appear just as we are trying to do the same through the ‘Alban, Britain’s First Saint‘ project, which aims to make the Abbey much better known, and to provide better resources to welcome and inform new visitors. As John would certainly wish, in due course his body will be laid to rest again, with proper prayer and ceremony. We trust he prays for us, as we do for him.”

But it’s not abbots all the way down. Beneath the foundations of the 15th century building the CAT team found the foundations of Norman chapels that were in the apse of the original St. Albans Cathedral built just over a decade after the Norman conquest of England. Paul of Caen, a very well-connected Benedictine monk, became abbot in 1077 and immediately initiated an ambitious building project, replacing the 8th century Anglo-Saxon church with a new one in Norman style. He used materials pilfered by previous abbots from the ruins of the Roman town of Verulamium, just across the river Ver from the abbey, to create a large cruciform structure that was at that time the largest abbey in England. Some of his arches still stand in the nave, as does the tower built at the intersection of the four arms of the crucifix shape (known as a crossing tower). It is the only 11th century crossing tower still extant in England.

Paul of Caen’s particular attention to building massive foundations is a large part of the reason the tower and arches are still standing to this day, so it’s fitting that even though later construction tore up the walls of the Norman apsidal chapels, the foundations were down there just waiting for archaeologists to find them.

St Albans Abbey has been confirmed as one of England’s early Norman cathedrals after experts uncovered foundations of the early church. […]

The abbey is known as the oldest place of continuous Christian worship in the country and this find pre-dates that.

The site director said: “We knew it was probably there but this confirms it.” […]

“[Our find shows] that it was and is an important site of premier status,” site director Ross Lane said.

“One of our major aims was to confirm its presence and confirm the abbey was one of the early Norman cathedrals.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Spring Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College Teacher Registration Now Open!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2018-03-21 10:12

Have you sensed it? 

A change in the light? A soft smell in the air? A gentle kiss of a breeze instead of an ice-knifed gale? Well, ok, not today given the snowstorm blanketing much of southern Æthelmearc, but it’s coming!

If you are weary of the bite of winter, I invite you to think of the warmer months ahead … particularly June! 

The good folk of the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais look forward to welcoming you to the Spring 2018 session of Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College, which will be held on Saturday, June 16. Event information can be found here:   http://aecademy.net/spring2018/index.shtml

The theme for this session will be Adornments, Embellishments, Flourishes, and Garnishes.

We can all find ways to up our game, whether by adorning a garment with intricate embroidery, embellishing a tale, adding flourish to a calligraphed signature, or garnishing a tasty dish.  

Teachers are thus encouraged to offer classes that will inspire others to “kick it up a notch.”

Already, we have classes in:

  • Making turnshoes (An all-day, make-it-and-take-it class!)
  • Protocol for RP events (Helpful tips for Royalty Liasons!)
  • Running an event (Great for autocrats wanting to up their game!)
  • Scandinavian boxes (Spiff up your camp!)
  • Sewing hats (Every outfit is better with a hat!)
  • Short-sleeved Italian gown (Just right for Pennsic!)
  • Viking humor (Who knew?)

Complete descriptions for the classes being offered at Spring AEcademy can be found here:  http://aecademy.net/spring2018/classlist.php

For this session, we will be using two sites: one is a church with typical classrooms;  the other is a fire hall with one large open room.  

Having two kitchens means that those wishing to teach hands-on cooking classes will be able to do so without interfering with lunch prep. The fire hall is especially suited for multi-hour, messy classes.

Brewers will be pleased to learn that the fire hall will allow us to offer a Brewers’ Guild Roundtable

For the martially inclined, we have a large, flat open field that can accommodate any number of fighters and fencers.

In addition, Duchess Ilish is already working to line up a stellar slate of classes for our Youth Track. We welcome classes taught by our youthful artisans as well as for them.

I hope you will consider sharing your knowledge, skills, and passions with AEthelmearc by teaching a class (or two!)

To register your class, please visit   http://www.aecademy.net/registration/index.php?submit=+On+to+Registration+ and fill in the requested information.

The class schedules for recent sessions of AEcademy have filled up more than a month before the event. To avoid disappointment, please don’t wait to register your class … sign up TODAY!

Have something in mind that’s a little out-of-the-box? Write to me at   ae.aecademy@aethelmearc.org

Yours, in Service to the Arts and Æthelmearc,
Mistress Alicia Langland, Chancellor, Æthelmearc Æcademy

Categories: SCA news sites

7-year-old girl finds 65-million-year-old fossil

History Blog - Wed, 2018-03-21 00:30

Seven-year-old Naomi Vaughan was poking around the sagebrush next to the soccer fields on 15th Street in Bend, Oregon, when she came across a shining rock with a spiral formation. She dubbed it her Moana rock, because of its striking resemblance to the Heart of Te Fiti, a mystical greenstone that is the reason Moana undertakes her epic hero’s journey in the animated Disney movie. As appropriate as Naomi’s nomenclature is, in fact the “rock” is an ammonite fossil, but like the Heart of Te Fiti, it too is mysteriously far from home.

When she showed it to her mother, Melissa Vaughan recognized from its shape and pearlescence that it was likely a fossil. Paleontologists confirmed that it is indeed an ammonite and is at least 65 million years old, possibly as much 100 million years old. What it was doing next to a Bend soccer field is not so easy to determine.

Paleontologists say ammonites are not naturally found in Bend, but are common to the east near Mitchell, more than 80 miles away. How this ammonite wound up in Bend is a mystery.

Greg Retallack, director of paleontological collections at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, believes the fossil originated from the Bernard Formation of Bernard Ranch near the abandoned Eastern Oregon town of Suplee — about 112 miles east of Bend.

“Presumably there was some family connection between the ranches and Bend, or it was part of a school fossil collection,” Retallack said.

Or it came from somewhere else entirely. Its dark hue, pearlescent shine and excellent state of preservation are not typical of ammonites native to the state of Oregon. It could easily have been transported into the state by a collector and been mislaid. There’s no way of knowing as it was not recovered in a proper scientific excavation, and even if it had been, the find site might not be probative if it was simply a lost treasure dropped in the sagebrush in recent history.

On the other hand, it’s still possible that it’s some kind of Oregonian fluke, an exceptional specimen that was fortunate enough to be preserved in a particularly nurturing environment and then made its way to the soccer field by natural means rather than having been transported into Oregon from foreign parts.

Because of all these unanswerable hypotheticals, the fossil is worth very little from a paleontological perspective, and even less on the market. Twenty bucks at most, experts think, even though it is such a handsome example. Ammonites in excellent condition like this one, more often found in Canada than the US, can run in the thousands of dollars. That suits Naomi just fine ’cause she ain’t selling her Moana rock.

Naomi’s father, Darin Vaughan, said his daughter plans to keep the ammonite, which has become a cherished possession.

Vaughan, a pediatrician with Mosaic Medical, said he is used to his children collecting rocks and other things they find. He even remembers being drawn to colorful rocks as a child.

But this time it’s much different. His entire family, and the local paleontology community, are impressed with Naomi’s find.

“She was delighted to find something so beautiful and to discover it’s so old,” Vaughan said. “She is still really excited.”

Now she’ll always have a memento of the precise moment that set her on the path towards becoming a brilliant paleontologist.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Crown Tournament Letter of Intent Reminder

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2018-03-20 21:46

From the Kingdom Seneschal:

This is your reminder that any Letters of Intent for Spring Crown Tournament must be received no later than April 12th.  

If desired, letters of intent can be submitted online using the form located at http://ae.scaforms.org/ view.php?id=38582

Please note Their Highnesses’ requirements for this Tournament, as published in the March issue of the AEstel:

“We will hold Æthelmearc’s 43rd Crown tourney in the Barony of Endless Hills on Saturday, May 12th. The format will be the traditional double elimination tournament with the finals being best 3 out of 5 (with the first 3 rounds being matched weapons). We will provide the weapons for the first round. What will be new this year is an A&S requirement to enter Our Crown tournament. No documentation is required (but encouraged) and only one A&S item per couple. There will be a table provided to display physical items during the tournament. It is not Our goal to turn anyone away but We feel any potential ruler of Æthelmearc should have some appreciation of the Arts and Sciences of the society, no matter what level an artisan is at. We encourage all skill levels, from beginner to master, and look forward to your presentation.”

And note the applicable sections of Kingdom Law, which apply to both the combatant and consort:

III-200 All entrants in the Crown Tournament must be members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

III-300 All entrants in the Crown Tournament must be 18 years of age or older as of the date of Crown Tournament.

III-400 The withdrawal of either entrant from the Crown Lists shall automatically eliminate both from that Tournament, except as provided below in paragraph III-1100. Either may withdraw at any point in the Tournament by notifying the Minister of the Lists.

III-500 In order to be eligible to fight or be fought for in Crown Tournament, a person must be a subject (as defined in Corpora) of Æthelmearc for one year immediately prior to Crown Tournament and be able to demonstrate a reasonable level of participation in Æthelmearc during that period. The Crown may waive the above requirements if the entrants are subjects of the Kingdom and able to demonstrate to the Crown’s satisfaction by their own words or by recommendation of peers of the Kingdom that they have sufficient familiarity with Kingdom Law and customs and an acceptable level of participation.

III-600 Letters of intent must be sent to the Crown. They must include the following elements for both entrants:
• SCA names
• Legal names
• Addresses
• Telephone numbers
• E-mail addresses
• Proofs of membership
• Age (proof to be supplied at Crown Tournament)
• Proof of current authorization for Combatants
To facilitate complete letters of intent, a form is available on the Kingdom website as well as from the Crown and the Seneschal on request. Prospective entrants are encouraged but not required to use this form to ensure a complete letter. Letters of intent must be mailed, e-mailed, or hand-delivered to the Crown no later than 30 days prior to the Crown Tournament. The Kingdom Seneschal shall verify eligibility as defined in the Bylaws and Corpora.

III-700 No person shall enter the Crown Tournament without intending an honorable attempt to compete for the Crown. At the discretion of the Royalty whose Crown it is, the Kingdom Officers who administer Crown may step aside and have their emergency deputy administer the Tourney, so they may enter. In the event a Kingdom Officer should win Crown, the Law regarding Emergency Deputies and office succession will apply.

III-800 The entrants must be acceptable to the Crown or Their representatives.

III-900 No person fighting in or being fought for in Crown Tournament may administer the Crown Tournament.

III-1000 Any two people may champion each other in the Crown Lists (hereinafter referred to as a combatant couple so long as neither is championed by any other person.

III-1100 If one member of a combatant couple is removed from the Crown Lists for marshallate infractions or any infractions of the Rules of the Lists, both members are ineligible to continue in that Crown Tournament. If one member of a combatant couple voluntarily withdraws as a combatant in the Lists, the MOL and Marshal will confer with the withdrawing member to determine if they are also withdrawing as consort or if the other member may continue in the Lists. If the participant withdraws both as fighter and consort, both shall be ineligible to continue in that Crown Tournament.

III-1200 The preferred method of Crown Tournament is a double-elimination format.

III-1300 The winner of the Crown Tournament and the winner’s consort become the new Heirs to the Throne of Æthelmearc. They are each entitled to the Title of Crown Prince or Crown Princess, as appropriate to the individual’s persona.

III-1301 Upon ascending to the Throne, They may rightfully be acknowledged as Monarch and Consort with alternate Titles as appropriate to the dignity of the Throne.

Categories: SCA news sites

Day of the Decameron immersion event to take place in April 2019

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2018-03-20 16:08

Good lords and ladies sitting in a salon, eating fine foods, drinking fine wine, listening to stories. Laughter, merriment. Gasps and ‘oh no she/he/they didn’t!’

This is the setting for an event to take place in the East Kingdom on April 27, 2019. A group of performers and organizers are planning to immerse event goers in the late 14th century of Florence, Italy, via stories from The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio.

Lady Lilie Dubh inghean ui Mordha is a bardic performer who has been awed by the productions of both Beowulf and Njal’s Saga. She took the immersion idea and found something that clicked for her. The Decameron is a series of stories told by people escaping from the Black Death in Florence in the mid 14th century. The book was published first in the 1350s, and again in the 1370s, just before the author’s death. The stories range from silly and fun, to scary, to witty and lively, to downright Bawdy.

“These are stories for an adult audience,” Lilie Dubh says. “Parents will have to make their own decisions as to bringing their children.” There are 100 tales in the book in all. Lilie Dubh is working on creating a list of tales to be told in one day and evening for the event. “A Day of the Decameron will be just that,” she says, “A day of stories from the Decameron – probably about 15 tales, along with music and songs from the time and place, as well as appropriate foods, appropriate settings. That’s what immersion events are about – you start with the literary and add in all the things that would have existed to help people feel like they are actually there. In this case, we are re-creating a Florentine villa where people will be escaping from the mundane for awhile.”

The event will take place in the Crown Province of Ostgardr’s Canton of Northpass. The site is a lovely 1920’s mansion currently being used by the Knights of Columbus. The local chapter is eagerly helping the planning committee, and perhaps some of their members will also attend this SCA event.

Besides Lilie Dubh, several performers have already spoken up to be included in the event. Dame Judith Fitzhenry, Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant, Maestra Ana de Guzman, as well as some wonderful younger performers, such as Juliana Bird (currently a royal bard), Siona Dunleavy, Cedar san Barefoot and Lianor de Matos are all in for this event. From further shores, she has also gotten Mestres Tyzes Sofia (Zsof) and Peregrine the Illuminator on the list of performers.

The set for the event is being created by Lord Brandr Aronsson and Viscount Sir Edward Zifrans of Gendy, both long-time theatre people. The challenge of creating the atmosphere of a Florentine villa intrigued both, and they are diving in with glee. The event’s main room will look very like a Florentine villa!

Food-wise, the kitchens for this event are being headed by locally known Lord Friderich Grimme, a chef who has both helmed kitchens and helped out in many others. This project is something of a research challenge for Friderich, and he is happily researching all aspects of Florentine cooking. He promises a repast for event goers that will be period and delicious.

The royally chartered East Kingdom College of Performers is actively involved in this event, as it was for the Bhakaili-Hartshorndale production of El Cid in 2013. Performers and musicians will be able to draw on College resources to help them get even more immersed in the time and place of the Decameron. “The College is a great resource for performers,” says Lilie Dubh. “I’m hoping that this event will help the College be more known as well as entertain our audience.

Put this one on your calendars folks! It’s a one-time only event!

Arrest made in Canterbury break-in!

History Blog - Tue, 2018-03-20 13:40

The good news keeps coming regarding the break-in at the Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Kent police have made an arrest and recovered more of the missing loot. On Monday, March 19th, the police received a report of a man “acting suspiciously” in front of a building on Sturry Road.

Officers attended and located a 36-year-old man of no fixed address who was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

A number of historical artefacts were recovered by attending officers, which are believed to been reported stolen in January from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust in Kingsmead Road.

So that confirms the ignorant clown theory. I seriously doubt this one drifter was able to cut through the walls of the Kingsmead stores and make off with thousands of artifacts on his own, however. That strikes me as a little above the acting-suspiciously-on-the-street pay grade. I’m thinking patsy.

The suspect is being held in custody as the investigation continues.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Ten Auspicious Landscapes of Taishan: a Qing materpiece rediscovered

History Blog - Mon, 2018-03-19 23:13

A masterpiece of Qing dynasty painting and poetry has been rediscovered after having spent decades in the penumbra of the antiquities market. It is a handscroll called the Ten Auspicious Landscapes of Taishan painted by Qian Weicheng (1720-1772), a most favored official, poet and court painter of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795).

The scroll is 15 feet wide and 13 inches high and is divided into ten sections, each depicting a different landscape of Mount Tiantai (also known as Tiantai Shan). Each scene is drawn from a distance, which gave Qian Weicheng the opportunity to depict the great diversity of of the mountain views — highest peaks, lowest ravines, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, trees, caverns — and of the religious and historic sites that inhabit the ecosystem. Famed for his great talents as a writer and an artist, Qian Weicheng made use of both of gifts in this handscroll making it one of his greatest masterpieces crafted at the height of his career as court painter.

The Qianlong Emperor was the longest the longest lived emperor with the longest reign in Chinese history. He was a dedicated lover of the arts, particularly painting and calligraphy, and a collector of such fervor that he amassed more artworks than any emperor before him. His court officials, all highly literate in the first place to have passed the civil examinations that were a requirement to be recruited for imperial service, were most favored if they had artistic and literary gifts. An explosion of creative arts ensued, and the Qing court is widely considered a Golden Age for Chinese art and literature.

Qian Weicheng was a golden boy of this golden age. The scion of a prominent literary family, he was writing poetry by the time he was a young child and received his first public accolades for a poem published when he was 17. He placed first in his exams in 1745 and was brought into imperial service, climbing the ladder quickly due to his meticulous attention to duty in every position from Vice Minister of Works to Vice Minister of Justice to Education Minister of Zhejiang, to the presiding judge over an extremely complex embezzling trial. His deliberate, logical, impartial approach emphasizing adherence to clear moral standards impressed the Emperor. His ability to paint and write poetry brought him even more imperial favor, and the Qianlong Emperor often chose Quian to accompany him on official tours of the empire.

Afflicted with diabetes which made him frail and skeletal, Quian died when he was just 52 years old after a long and strenuous trip home after the death of his father. The Emperor felt the loss of his favorite ministerial and artistic luminary keenly, and granted him the posthumous name of Wenmin (literal meaning “cultivated”), a prestigious title reserved for officials of great note. Two years later, the Qianlong Emperor was still mourning Qian Weicheng, a fact attested to by the Ten Auspicious Landscapes of Taishan.

Each of the ten landscapes is accompanied by a description of the site written by Qian Weicheng. He describes the view, pointing out the natural marvels as well as the legends and history associated with each location. In the tenth section, his description, which like the other nine manages to be geographically and topographically accurate and intensely poetic at the same time, concludes with his signature.

Wannian Temple and Blissful Water. Built during the Taihe reign of the Tang dynasty, the Wannian Temple is located in Mount Bafeng to the northwest of the county. Ten li-miles to its southeast is the Luohan Peak overlooking the Tiechuan Lake, or literally “lake of the iron boat”, after the legend of a luohan passing through here in an iron boat. Off the front gate of the temple is a confluence of two streams meandering westwards. The streams are lined with gigantic cedars that provide shade even in high summer. On the side is a small hill called Liao, with its valley strewn with grotesque rocks resembling dangling gibbons, stretching birds or any imaginable shapes. This indisputably blissful land is where the Jin monk Tanyou rested to take in the view. Painted and inscribed by your humble servant Qian Weicheng.

Ten Auspicious Landscapes of Taishan has another remarkable feature: each of the ten sections includes a poem written by the Qianlong Emperor himself in his own hand. He played off Qian Weicheng’s descriptions as both a tribute to the many beauties of Mount Tiantai and to his favorite artist. This is the poem he wrote for the 10th landscape, an adroit and touching parallel to Qian Weicheng’s final note and signature.

Blessed with verdure and blissful with water,
Wannian is for cultivation and purification.
Like the rocky lake that never runs dry
To keep alive the iron boat story,
The painter and inscriber of this all
Will be remembered till eternity.
Inscribed by the Emperor late in the third lunar month of the jiawu year.

Jiawu year corresponds to 1774, two years after Qian Weicheng’s death. The painting is not dated, but researchers found a mournful annotation from the Emperor in the imperial archives that was not written on the scroll that states: “Qian Weicheng visited Mount Tiantai when he was
inspecting education in Zhejiang and painted this for presentation. Now that he has been gone for two years, all that is left is this scroll.” That suggests the painting was was done between 1763 and 1765 during or just after Qian’s term as Education Commissioner of Zhejiang.

The date is likely correct, but the Emperor was mistaken. Qian never actually did get around to visiting Mount Tiantai in person. We know from his own poems that he had scheduled a visit in 1762, but that was cancelled due to torrential rains. Another poem refers to a planned visit in 1764 that was also thwarted by weather. So instead he painted the Ten Landscapes based on distant views of Mount Tiantai glimpsed during his two visits to neighboring Mount Yandang and from his own imagination. His deep knowledge of the history and legends of the sites combined with his literary ability and his skill as a painter to capture the essence of the landscapes so effectively that even the Emperor, who had toured the area an unprecedented six times, never realized it wasn’t painted from life.

Qian Weicheng’s early death did have one positive side-effect. It ensured that his most of works were not scattered and remained in the imperial collection. There are 243 of his paintings and calligraphies in the Palace Museum today, and only 43 (mostly paintings) found in other collections in China. Very few pieces have turned up on the art market in auctions, and the ones that were, were smuggled out of the imperial collection by the last emperor Pu Yi.

In 1923, Pu Yi and his brother Pu Jie brought to fruition a conspiracy they had been hatching for several years. Between May and September, Pu Jie, who lived outside the Forbidden City, secretly removed the most prized books from the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1279–1368), and Ming (1368–1644) dynasties, and the most important paintings and calligraphies from
the Tang (618–907), Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing (1636–1912) dynasties. They temporarily stashed the purloined cultural patrimony of imperial China in Pu Yi’s father house Beijing, then packed it all up in 80 crates, scored a pass exempting the boxes from being tolled or examined and transported them to the Tianjin British Concession where Pu Yi had an estate.

On November 5th, 1924, warlord Feng Yuxiang expelled Pu Yi from the Forbidden Palace. He fled to Tianjin, although not to his property in the British quarter, but rather to the Japanese Concession. A few months later, the Qing Dynasty Aftermath Committee discovered a list of all the books and artworks Pu Yi had “gifted” to Pu Jie, the Ten Landscapes among them. It’s not clear if some of the works were reclaimed by the warlords that ruled Beijing for the next few years, or by the Kuomintang when they defeated the warlords in 1928, or not at all. We just know that numerous pieces on the list were, at some point, sold.

After the Communist Party’s victory in the Civil War in 1949, the scroll was reclaimed by the government office that preceded the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, one of thousands of paintings and other objets d’art confiscated from dealers and people deemed enemies of the state like Jin Bosheng (who had been an official in the Japanese puppet regime of Wang Jingwei during World War II) and Yang Pu-Jie (a onetime favorite of Mao’s who had joined the Nationalists in the 1930s). Experts were enlisted to authenticate the large trove of artworks, and while some important pieces by Qian Weicheng were authenticated and squirreled away in the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, for some unknown reason Ten Auspicious Landscapes of Taishan was not. It disappeared into the private market and was apparently sold repeatedly.

Now it has reemerged into the light of a Sotheby’s auction with an eye-watering but entirely reasonable pre-sale estimate of $6,400,000-8,960,000. The auction will be held on April 3, 2018, at Sotheby’s Hong Kong office. Here’s hoping it doesn’t disappear into another private collection not to be seen again for another 100 years.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report: Spring Schola Barony of An Dubhaigeainn

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2018-03-19 17:13

On the 10th day of March, AS 52, the court of Prefect Titus Aurelius Magnus and Baroness Sorcha of Stonegrave opened their court. They thanked everybody for attending the Schola event and marveled at the wonderful entrants for the champion competitions and the great teachers of the classes held.

Their Excellencies invited up all newcomers, gave them duck soaps and said they hoped to see them again at future events.

Rauð was called before Their Excellencies for the bardic competition he ran. Lady Keira and Astrid the Shy were called up as runner-ups and each given a coin from the Prefect in appreciation of their performances. Lady Hermina de Pagan was announced as the winner, and along with the Bardic book of An Dubhaigeainn, she was awarded a quill and ink from the previous champion. Rauð was awarded a duck token as the outgoing champion.  Before the bards were dismissed, this was the perfect opportunity to sing a birthday dirge to both Lady Nadia Hart and Tiberius Trebellius Severus, both celebrating their birthdays the following day.

As Lady Hermina joined the other champions, and the other three took their seats, Lady Nadia stayed before Their Excellencies to speak of the A&S competition that was ran. Padraig and Laird Eanraig were invited up and given token of thanks by Baroness Sorcha for their outstanding entries but it was Lady Medb ingen Donnchada who won. She was given the champions medallion along with a gift of calligraphy ink and brushes, because she clearly needs yet another craft to take up. Lady Nadia was given a thank you duck token.

Their Excellencies then got Their exercise running around awarding Bronze Ducks to the following gentles: Jean Xavier Boullier (4 of them!), Ronan Fitz Robert (2), Onora Inghean Ui’Rauirc, Nelson Sanchez, Slaine baen Ronain, Fiona the Volatile, Keira of House Three Skulls, Logan of House Three Skulls, Ealusaid ingehean Ui Phaidin (2), Genvieve Velleman, Akos Zekel, Eanraig the Bonesetter, Syd (2), Oda Lally, Muiredach Ua Dálaig, Arnhbiorg Nialsdottir, Duggmore Dunmore, and Katelyn.

Lady Elusaid was welcomed before Their Excellencies. She wished to thank everybody who helped at the Dickens Festival, especially Katelyn.

Their Excellencies closed out Their court talking about the events that were coming up in the Barony and surrounding areas. In particular, on April 21st, Prefect Titus would be going to Balfar’s challenge while Baroness Sorcha would be going to Lions Awaken. They encouraged everybody to attend one of those events and looked forward to seeing everybody at the many events being held in the next few months.

Reported by Lady Violet Hughes with Lady Slaine baen Ronain assisting.

Spring Archery Muster at the Castle

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2018-03-18 19:29

Attention All Archers!!

The Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands invites you to a Regional Muster celebrating Archery, Thrown Weapons, Youth Fighting and Arts & Sciences at the Castle home of Their Excellencies, Earl Byron and Countess Ariella, on Sunday, April 22nd. This is the day after Coronation. The muster will begin at 10:00 in the morning and continue until 5:00 pm.

The archery and thrown weapons ranges will be open at 10:00 am and archery from the towers, led by THL Deryk Archer, will begin at 1:00 pm.

Usually we would be competing in the Gwyntarian Winter Challenge. However this year, this practice will be after the deadline. However, THL Luceta di Cosimo is preparing some of her fantastical beast targets. There will also be training if we have enough marshals. The Barony’s loaner gear will be available.

Please bring something for a pot luck. We’re going to be there all day, so let’s eat. Pop, water, plates, bowls, and utensils will all be provided.

Their Excellencies have asked that you dress in garb for the day.

The Castle address is 755 Stonegate Drive, Wexford PA 15090.

In service to the Barony-Marche and the Kingdom,

Mestari Urho Waltterinen
crossbow1953 (at) verizon (dot) net

Per valde mustache adveho valde officium

Photo of Their Excellencies’ Castle  by Lady Brynna Barth.

Categories: SCA news sites

Antioch mosaics rediscovered at Florida museum

History Blog - Sun, 2018-03-18 16:47

The Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Florida, has rediscovered two ancient mosaics from Antioch that for reasons unknown were buried under the east lawn behind the sculpture garden. On March 7th, they were excavated and, along with three other Antioch mosaics in the museum’s collection, will be conserved in full view of the public in an outdoor conservation laboratory on the east lawn.

The ancient city Antioch, modern-day Antakya, Turkey, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Rome, Constantinople and Alexandria as one of the great metropolises of the Roman Empire. Part of the Syria province, one of the richest of the Eastern Roman Empire, it was founded in the 4th century B.C. by Alexander the Great’s general Seleucus I Nicator. It became the capital of the Seleucid Empire and continued to be a center of Hellenistic culture long after the collapse of the Seleucid dynasty in the 1st century B.C.

Its mosaics are outstanding examples of Hellenistic art. At a time when the fashion in the Western Roman Empire was for black and white mosaics, the trend in Antioch was for a pictorial, colorful style with narrative depictions of scenes from mythology, prismatic rainbow effects and complex trompe l’oeil 3D patterns that mimicked naturalistic Greek paintings of the time, very few of which have survived. Even as traditional Greco-Roman polytheism was replaced by Christianity, brilliant color, pattern and naturalistic figures (animals and florals replacing scenes from Classical mythology) still flourished in the city. Roman Antioch produced exceptionally high quality mosaics from the beginning of the second century A.D. until the destruction of the city in a series of earthquakes between 526 and 528 A.D.

Between 1932 and 1939, Princeton University archaeologist George W. Elderkin, directed yearly excavations at Antioch and its environs during which hundreds of mosaics were unearthed. As was typical at the time, the right of excavation granted by the Syrian Antiquities Service also stipulated to a partage (meaning division or sharing in French) system as regards any recovered artifacts. The sponsors, in this case Princeton University, the Worcester Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Musées Nationaux de France (ie, the Louvre), would be entitled to a portion of the finds, including the mosaics.

The excavations ended in late 1939, before the contract was up, due to the outbreak of World War II and the secession of Hatay province from Syria. It was annexed by Turkey, which had far stricter laws regarding the export of antiquities and obviously was not bound by the terms of the Syrian excavation concession. After a tense negotiation with the new bosses, the partage system remained in place, only the government of Turkey got what would have been Syria’s share. Many of the raised mosaics from the Princeton Antioch excavations of the 1930s are now in the Hatay Archaeology Museum in Antakya.

Their share of the artifacts were divvied up among the sponsors. Princeton University got a large number of the finds, not just mosaics, but also sculpture fragments, terracotta figurines, lamps, glass and pottery vessels, jewelry, bronze, bone, ivory and iron tools and decorative elements and some 40,000 coins. Some of the mosaics were installed in various university buildings and the Princeton University Art Museum. The library got the massive coin collection. Much of the rest, 300 boxes and trays worth, was placed in storage.

Over the years, Princeton sold some of the Antioch pavements to other institutions. The Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg bought its five from Princeton in 1964, one of the first acquisitions of the museum before it was even open. (It would open to the public in the Spring of 1965.) Two wound up on display, one in the Membership Garden, one embedded in a fountain in the Sculpture Garden. One was placed in storage under the stage of the Marly Room. The remaining two were buried under the east lawn in 1989. While this choice was documented at the time, there are no references to the reasoning behind it, and people just sort of forgot about the two priceless Antioch mosaics under the lawn.

That changed with the appointment of Kristen Shepherd as executive director of the museum in January 2017. She had studied in the Membership Garden when she was a high school student and had fond recollections of the mosaic installed there. When she took up her new job, she researched the mosaic and was delighted to find there were another four from the Antioch excavations in the museum. She quickly found the one in storage and the one in the basin of the fountain and the records of the burial of the two remaining mosaics. The records were sparse, however, and didn’t include the precise locations.

Shepherd sought out former directors and museum staff to see if they had a better idea of where the mosaics had been buried and last year a test pit was dug which revealed the corner of one of the two. She also started fundraising, creating the Antioch Reclaimed: Ancient Mosaics at the MFA project to conserve the mosaics and reinstall them in a manner befitting their archaeological and artistic significance. The March 7th excavation, which required heavy equipment to lift the mosaics on their reinforced concrete beds, also discovered an additional fragment from the fountain mosaic that had not been recorded.

Of the two buried mosaics and the largest of the five came from Room 4 of the House of the Drinking Contest, named after the spectacular mosaic pavement of Room 1, now in the Princeton University Art Museum, whose central panel depicts Herakles and Dionysus knocking back the gifts of the vine. It comprises most of a rectangular floor decorated with a geometric pattern of four-pointed stars. The second is a rectangular panel raised from the East Portico of the House of the Evil Eye. It is a geometric piece as well, featuring diamond shapes over a grid pattern.

Of the three remaining fragments, two are also geometric and one has a figure and an inscription in Greek. The figural piece was raised from Room 20 of the House of the Menander. From Room 1 of the House of Ge and the Seasons comes a fragment with an elaborate combination of guilloche and meander patterns that was part of the border of a pavement mosaic. The last of the five came from Room 5 of the House of Iphigenia and is also geometric border, this one depicting cubes in one-point perspective. All five of the mosaics are generally dated between around 100-300 A.D. and are made of limestone and marble tesserae.

The Antioch Reclaimed project will proceed in three phases. The first is the excavation of the mosaics from the garden, the raising of the one embedded in the fountain and the cleaning and conservation of all five mosaics in the outdoor laboratory. Once the mosaics are looking their best and have been stabilized, in phase two they will go on display in a temporary exhibition that explores their history as part of the Hellenist tradition of mosaic art. That’s scheduled for the Fall of 2020. Phase three is their permanent installation. The site hasn’t been determined yet, but the Membership Garden is due for a renovation and they could well end up there, although I hope in a more protected and conservation-appropriate environment than the old setup.

The museum doesn’t all have the funds needed to complete all three phases yet, but they do have a $50,000 matching challenge on the table right now, so now’s a good time to donate, if you’d like to support the project. To donate any amount, click here. If you donate $50 or more, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes tour of the mosaic under conservation led by Michael Bennett, senior curator of early Western art. The tours are being offered on March 23nd and 24th at 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30, so if you want in on this, you don’t have a lot of time.

If you think embedding a mosaic in a fountain or burying a couple in the garden is a less than optimal way of treating an ancient artifact, then consider the example of Princeton itself which took an even more opprobrious approach to one of the Antioch fragments it did not sell off. It was installed on the exterior threshold of the entrance to the Architecture Laboratory in 1951 where it was pummeled by the New Jersey elements and the tromping of thousands of feet for six decades. When, as was inevitable, the tesserae were dislodged or loosened, layers of cement were slapped on top. It continued to be brutalized in this manner until finally in 2011 it was raised and conserved. Significant portions of it were lost beyond repair. This video shows the whole process — the raising, conservation and its final installation on an indoor wall in the School of Architecture.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Objects stolen from Canterbury Archaeological Trust recovered

History Blog - Sat, 2018-03-17 18:42

Great news to report on this day of lucky shamrocks: most of the estimated 2,000 artifacts stolen during a destructive break-in at the Canterbury Archaeological Trust’s Kingsmead stores have been recovered. Kent Police received a tip that the loot had been dumped in a derelict house on Military Road. Officers from the Canterbury Community Policing Team and Canterbury Archaeological Trust staff went to the property and discovered boxes full of the stolen artifacts, including coins, axes, coins, metalwork, jewelry, carved bone artifacts and the full complement of more than 850 Anglo-Saxon glass beads.

Almost all of the archaeological material stolen in the raid is now back where it belongs. In other good news, because like so many thieves who steal cultural heritage these guys were a bunch of ignorant clowns who had no idea what to do with the material once it was in their grimy clutches, they didn’t even remove the objects from their labelled bags. That will make it a comparatively easy task for the museum staff to inventory and re-archive them.

Not found in the stash were the stolen educational materials, replica Bronze Axe axe-heads, replica Beaker pots and coins, that are actually expensive to produce although not worth much in terms of market value. See above re ignorant clowns.

Trust director Paul Bennett said: “We are hugely relieved to have got back such vital material which is of huge importance to the history of the city.

“We were overwhelmed by the support we got from around the world after we were raided. To get back such a significant proportion is fantastic and we would like to thank the police for their quick response.”

The raid on the store left property scattered about and a huge job for staff and volunteers to catalogue what was missing.

“The thieves probably didn’t know what to do with it because many of the items don’t have great monetary value. Some of the missing items may probably end up being sold at fairs.

“But we still hold out hope of getting some more of it back.”

The police investigation continues in the hope of recovering all of the stolen objects and, of course, the culprits. They have yet to be identified and the authorities are keeping mum on whether they have any leads to specific individuals.

The Canterbury Archaeological Trust is moving from Kingsmead, now afflicted with exposed asbestos and stripped copper wires thanks to the savage break-in, to a new facility in Wincheap later this year. The trust hopes to create a resource center there that will make their collection both more secure and more widely available to researchers and the public.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Remains of huge Iron Age feast found in Scotland

History Blog - Fri, 2018-03-16 23:23

An archaeological excavation on a cliff overlooking Windwick Bay in South Ronaldsay, Orkney, has discovered the remains of an Iron Age feast of gut-busting dimensions and the party favors were top-notch. The site, known as The Cairns, contains the remains of an Iron Age broch, a circular multi-story tower with thick stone walls forming a massive defensive structure. The dig is an ongoing project of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute which has been exploring different aspects of the broch complex every field season since 2006.

Found in North Scotland, both mainland and island, brochs were in use from around 600 B.C. through the 2nd century A.D. Radiocarbon analysis dates the demise of The Cairns broch to the mid-2nd century. Settlements often sprang up around a broch, and The Cairns is no exception. The remains of several buildings have been found right up against the defensive walls, and the close integration of village and tower suggest that the settlement was planned from the time the broch was constructed rather than a later ad hoc development.

The Cairns Broch Excavation, Orkney by Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark on Sketchfab

Even after the broch fell into disuse and then ruin, the site’s structures were either demolished and new ones built over them, or repurposed in whole or in part. The entrance chamber to the broch, for example, became part of a souterrain. One of the broch village buildings, Structure K, was derelict and had no roof when it was used for the production of metal jewelry on a large scale during a single event.

Dig director Martin Carruthers:

The remains of this episode include furnaces, bronze waste; bronze splashes and droplets, crucibles, and very significantly: moulds for casting fine bronze objects. Over sixty moulds and mould fragments have been recovered. These were used to cast a variety of objects ranging from simple bronze rings, to distinctive decorated dress pins, called ‘projecting ring-headed pins’, and penannular brooches, which are the lovely open-ring, cloak brooches that are sometimes referred to as ‘Celtic’ brooches.

The volume and nature of the items being produced suggests that this was a socially significant collection of prestigious items aimed at denoting the identity, and status of those who were to wear the items; badges of their belonging and importance within the community. Importantly, it is the entire suite of materials found together, as well as their precise distribution pattern within the trench, that indicates strongly that this material relates to an in situ metalworking event, rather than a secondary event, such as merely the refuse disposal of old moulds, or even their ritual deposition.

Radiocarbon dating found that this event took place between the mid-3rd and mid-4th century A.D., after the demise of the broch. Adjacent to and overlapping the metalworking area in Structure K, the team unearthed a midden replete with animal bones. The remains of more than 10,000 animals, domesticated cattle, sheep and pigs as well as red deer, otters and horses, were discarded on this spot. Extensive evidence of cooking — carbonized soil, ash, fire-cracked cobbles used to heat up water in pots — was also found in the midden, as were some crucibles and metalworking moulds that connect the metalworking event and this gargantuan party.

Martin Carruthers explains the significance and potential meaning of this connection:

The close stratigraphic association between the fine metalworking and the feasting raises the question of what exactly was going on here. One possibility that I like very much is that the feasting could be the spectacular social event at which the products of the jewellery-making were handed out, or gifted, to their intended recipients by those who had sponsored the metalworking in the first place. We may therefore be peering into the social circumstances of the jewellery-making and the distribution of its products amongst the community at The Cairns. If this is so, then it is a fascinating insight into the moment at which objects like the pins, brooches and rings started off on their biographies, their journey through people’s lives.

This is a very rare opportunity to see more clearly the initial nature of the social and political significance of these objects from their start-point. It would mean that the sharing or gifting of the jewellery was surrounded in the circumstances of a big social occasion, a massive party, if you like. We are seeing their birth and the important role they played in the power-play and social strategies of Iron Age groups and individuals. With the circumstances of the jewellery-making we are able, for once, to investigate the intended status and significance of these items within the context of their birth, rather than depending on the information we usually get, which is based on the discovery of these objects much later in their lives, in fact at the end of their lives, when they went in the ground, perhaps many decades, or more, after they were originally made and worn. Most theories about the brooches and pins and their role in society have been based on what we glean from them in this end-state, but the assemblage of metalworking evidence from The Cairns; the moulds, crucibles, and other items, together with the massive remains of the feasting allows us to grasp what was going on at the point in time when these jewellery items were instigated. […]

At one level, perhaps, everyone in the community was involved in the feasting, but only some were ennobled by receiving a pin; a ring, or a brooch. So it may well be that we are looking at the strategies for creating and maintaining the concept of the entire community at the same time as signalling social difference, and hierarchy within the community of this post-broch period. If so, the excavations are really coming up trumps in terms of allowing us to peer into the social circumstances of Iron Age communities.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Æthelmearc Goes to Gulf Wars!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2018-03-16 16:39

As King Gareth made sure everyone in Æthelmearc knows, with His Majesty’s encouragement, a large contingent of our folks journeyed to the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann (Mississippi) to partake of the delights of Gulf Wars. Many of them have reported back, and here’s some of what they’re saying.

It’s been unusually cooooooold

THLady Pippi models her polar fleece pajamas. Photo by THL Elaine Fairchilde.

Campers have endured overnight temps in the 30s and woken to frost in the morning. Baroness Kelda Jurgensdottir recounts wearing every stitch of wool she brought to sleep in at night, while THLady Pippi Ulfsdotter sported a fashionable polar fleece pajama onesie. Fortunately, day time temps have been comfortable, but many campers found it difficult to leave their sleeping bags in the mornings.

Opening ceremonies were awesome

As is traditional at Gulf Wars, the Kings and Queens rode in to Opening Ceremonies on horseback followed by their populace bearing banners. King Gareth and Queen Juliana were then heralded into the fort by Lord Christian Goldenlok.

Click to view slideshow.

Photos by THL Elaine Fairchilde and THL Silence de Cherbourg

Folks from Æthelmearc are enjoying lots of martial activities

Fencers and fighters from Æthelmearc have competed in a variety of tournaments, including the Diamond Tourney and the Rose Tourney, and been noted for their prowess and courtesy.

Countess Elena d’Artois said “Kudos to THLord Madison Morai, THLord Edward Blackthorne, called Nugg, and THLord Ardenn Scott for their display of chivalry, grace, comportment, and prowess in the Rose tourney today. Ardenn was recognized by the Roses in his round robin pool for outstanding chivalry and he advanced to the final 8.”

Photos of the Rose Tourney sponsors and competitors by Countess Elena d’Artois

A number of our heavy fighters also competed in the Viking Deed. His Majesty crafted Viking Helmets and procured chainmail for several combatants to improve their appearance especially for this battle.

Click to view slideshow.

Viking Deed photos by THL Silence de Cherbourg

Fighters also joined some of the traditional Gulf Wars battles, like the Ravine battle.

Photo by THLady Elaine Fairchilde

On the fencing field, Countess Elena also noted that “Don Jacob Dunmore represented Æthelmearc in the Diamond tourney. He was bested only after extended exchanges with a fierce competitor! It was a joy to watch the chess match with swords.” Countess Elena also said that Lord Mathias Al Tabai placed 3rd in the Everyman Tourney.

Fencer selfies by Countess Elena and Mistress Illadore

Her Excellency, who was our Kingdom’s Rapier Warlord for Gulf Wars, reports that Æthelmearc’s fencers also had a significant impact in the outcomes of several rapier battles.

Photos of a rapier battle by THL Silence de Cherbourg

On Thursday, Countess Elena won the Ladies’ Rapier Tourney, while Lord Niccolo Salvietti was named most courteous in the Trimaris 30-minute Bear Pit Tourney, and Team Murder Snowflake (Countess Elena, Don Jacob, Lord Niccolo, Lord Mathias, and Countess Grania of Trimaris to round out the team) took third in the Atlantian 5-man melee team tourney.

Our Siege team, including Duke Christopher Rawlins, THLady Elaine Fairchilde, Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful, Fuji’na Dono no Takako, and Sir Maghnus de Cnoc an Iora,  brought a ballista to Gulf Wars and participated in the Siege weapon competition as well as some battles.

Click to view slideshow.

Photos of the Siege crew by THLady Silence and THLady Elaine

The Moneyers Guild started striking coins

Earl Byron of Haverford, co-head of the Moneyers’ Guild with Master Anias Fenne, brought out some slugs and dies made by Master Anias for new coins honoring the upcoming reign of Prince Sven and Princess Siobhan. Everyone in the Kingdom camp got a chance to strike some coins.

Click to view slideshow.

Photos by THLady Pippi Ulfsdotter

There’s lots of food!

Once again, Mistress Illadore de Bedegrayne has coordinated meals for the Kingdom camp (in between rapier tourneys and battles) with a crew of able assistants.

Left: Mistress Illadore with Baroness Kelda, Right: members of the kitchen crew. Photos by Mistress Illadore de Bedegrayne.

Meanwhile, Master Alastar Scott MacCrummin’s GodeBakery, staffed by numerous gentles from Æthelmearc including Baron Brandubh o Donnghaile, Lady Rivka bat Daniyel, Lady Kattera Dopplerin, Lady Alicia de Berwic, and THLord Jorundr hinn Rotinn, has done brisk business as always.

THLord Jorundr hinn Rotinn serves hungry guests at the GodeBakery. Photo by Lady Alicia de Berwic.

Heavy rains on Friday have postponed and potentially canceled some activities.

Safe travels to everyone as they return home from Gleann Abhann!

Story compiled by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope, with thanks to all the gentles who provided information and photos!

Categories: SCA news sites

Moldy beer and pungent salt beef: a 17th c. sailor’s diet

History Blog - Thu, 2018-03-15 22:47

Preserving stores of food and drink on a ship during the long and treacherous ocean voyages of the 16th and 17th century was such a challenge that we still think of scurvy, rotten meat and brandy rations in place of water when we think of the sailor’s life before refrigeration. Actual scientific data on how well shipboard supplies lasted, however, is virtually non-existent. Texas A&M University nautical archaeologist Grace Tsai has crafted an experiment to find out what really happened to the unrefrigerated supplies during transatlantic voyages.

Her departure point was the archaeological remains of three shipwrecks, primarily that of the Warwick which sank in Bermuda’s Castle Harbor in 1619 when a hurricane dashed it against the reefs at the base of a limestone cliff where her captain had anchored her in the hope the cliff face would provide some protection from the high winds. The merchant vessel’s next destination was the English colony of Jamestown which was in dire need of supplies. The Warwick‘s provisions and the fortuitous way it collapsed on its starboard side in deep silt, preserving that half of the wreck from the depredations of woodworm, make it an important source of information about life on board a 17th century ship.

The wreck was extensively excavated and documented between 2008 and 2012 by a team including maritime archaeologists and experts from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and the Center of Maritime Archaeology and Conservation at Texas A&M. Grace Tsai began studying the data on the food supplies recovered from the Warwick just as the exploration was coming to a close in 2012. Her focus was analysis of sailors’ diets based on modern nutritional guidelines. She looked at the type of food they ate and how they prepared it based on period recipes, but the question of preservation is a large variable when trying to determine the nutrient value of a food.

So Tsai’s team got a bunch of period-accurate supplies and stored them inside the tall ship Elissa built in 1877 and now a museum docked in Galveston, Texas. From August through October 2017, the about the amount of time a transatlantic voyage would take in the 16th and 17th centuries. To ensure the experiment was as probative as possible, Tsai and her colleagues got hardcore about recreating the proper foodstuffs. They packed salted meat, peas, oats, those ship’s biscuits you see in museums that are basically rocks, heirloom rice, beer, wine and one barrel of fresh spring water. The team even made the salted meats from scratch, using the butcher marks on beef bones found on the Warwick wreck to determine how provisioners sized the cuts for optimal preservation. The salt itself they imported from Guérande in Brittany, France, whose salt marshes have been producing highly prized and widely traded salt for a thousand years.

After their stint in the Elissa’s hold, many of the provisions still seem edible. For safety reasons, nobody will actually be tasting the experimental results, but the baked ship biscuits are in the best shape by far, a testament to their legendary hardiness. The salted beef, however, has taken on a pinkish center resembling prosciutto. It has a pungent smell, says Tsai, though it isn’t rotten.

A big exception is the natural spring water, which has turned cloudy with greenish bits and “smelled pretty disgusting,” Tsai says. Sailors may have preferred quenching their thirst with beer and wine, which remained more palatable. Still, a surprising amount of lingering yeast fermentation and carbonation caused the beer barrel to leak and grow mold.

Yet the biggest surprise came from the diversity of microbes found in some of the food. Early genomic sequencing analyses, mostly from the salted beef, suggest that many of the bacteria are neither illness-causing pathogens nor beneficial probiotics—most seem to be relatively neutral. The unexpected microbial bounty, however, has forced the researchers to expand their genomic sequencing efforts.

I wonder if any wild yeast strains made it into that beer. The beer was made according to a historical recipe — people will be able to get a taste of it (the fresh version, not the moldy stuff) at a fundraiser on the Elissa later this month — but I don’t know if they secured a period-accurate yeast strain from before the discovery of a pure yeast culture by Carlsberg’s Emil Hansen in 1883. It seems to me that would be a significant factor in preservation given how wild yeast could sicken a barrel of beer even when it didn’t spend two months in a ship’s hold.

Here’s a video of the timber remains of the wreck of the Warwick, filmed in 2011. It’s a long, peaceful exploration of the site without commentary or soundtrack. Someone needs to loop it for one of those sleeping sounds apps.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Count Andreas Champions A New Charity Tournament Series

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2018-03-15 19:29

Count Andreas and THL Leonardis Hebenstrite. Photo Credit: Nonek Wyndhaven.

Count Andreas Morgan speaks about his call to champion a new charity tournament series at upcoming events for a great cause. 

Greetings Fair Æthelmearc,

We are all well aware of some of the ugly things that have transpired within our Society as well and in our mundane world. My family has been directly affected, to which I will not detail here. This has been greatly disheartening and we have often thought of slipping away into other pursuits. However, we will not be driven away from those that we love.

As a member of the Chivalry I feel a certain obligation to uphold. I will do all that I can personally to fight this evil. I understand that I cannot protect or save everyone. There are others that can help. I have been working with the RAINN Foundation which is an outreach network for abuse victims.

To help this foundation, I am working with others within the kingdom to hold charity tournaments for their benefit. His Excellency Sir Dominic organized the first of these this weekend at C3R and raised $332. Vivat to him and those that helped and contributed. I will be coordinating with Baron Cormacc in Endless Hills for another tourney at Melee Madness. I am also putting something together for Pennsic.

If anyone has any questions about or interest in what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at andreasmorgan@hotmail.com or through Facebook.

In Service,
Count Andreas

Categories: SCA news sites

Teachers Needed for YouthU and TeenU Tracks at Pennsic

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2018-03-15 15:25

Greetings to the Teachers of the Known World,

We are very excited to announce the return of the YouthU and TeenU tracks of Pennsic University this year.

We are looking for teachers who are interested in teaching classes to 11-13 year olds or to those gentles who are 14-17. These classes will be taught in the Pennsic University tents. Please make sure to include a second, unrelated adult in your planning for all classes. No youth teaching experience or certification is required.

Our youth are looking for a variety of classes, with beginning and intermediate arts classes often requested, hands on activities, classes about certain time periods, and practically anything else SCAdians are interested in. Some classes that had high attendance last year included cheesemaking, illumination, and creating a persona from your favorite anime characters.

If you are willing to teach a class, you have two options. You may contact me at youthu@pennsicwar.org with:

  • Class Name:
  • Short Description:
  • Best for Teens/Youth or Both
  • 2-3 Days that are best for you, and morning or afternoon preference.

Or, you may register directly with PennsicU at thing.pennsicuniversity.org, choosing the category of parent/child.

We look forward to offering our youth and teens a full schedule of classes targeted at their age groups and interests.

Thank you,
Leonete D’Angely
YouthU Coordinator

Basic Beginner Brocading

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2018-03-15 08:56

by THL Hrόlfr á Fjárfelli of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn

Tablet weaving is a very popular technique for weaving narrow bands for belts or trim. It is a weaving technique that requires very little investment beyond the actual thread for the product itself, making it affordable for many of us.

Yet, despite its deceptive simplicity, there is an enormous richness in variation, techniques, and concepts to create an infinite variety of beautiful patterns and designs. I can highly recommend getting a copy of Peter Collingwood’s The Techniques of Tablet Weaving.[1] This book is still available in reprint and is an excellent reference book on tablet weaving, both for a beginner and an experienced weaver. Brocading is just one of many tablet weaving techniques that are discussed. Most of the information in this handout is derived from this book and I will stick to his notation as closely as I can.

Brief history

It is hard to say when or where tablet weaving was invented. As Peter Collingwood so aptly says: “a distinction has to be drawn between the earliest known fabrics that could have been tablet woven and those which in all probability were so woven.”[2]

Figure 1: Warp from the Tegle find (Stavanger Museum).[3]

Figure 1a: A diagram showing the starting border and the probable warping method.

In his book, he presents a chronological list of the most important historical finds from the earliest ones in bog burials in modern day Germany dating back as far as the 6th century BC and up to the year 1000 AD, after which too much material survives to make a brief summary feasible.

Given my interest in warp-weighted looms, I find it particularly exciting that the earliest pieces of fabric that are positively identified as tablet woven are from the starter borders of textiles that were woven on a warp-weighted loom. In this context, Figure 1 shows the most unique example that I know of: the Tegle find, a complete warp found in Norway and dated to 445 to 545 AD. See Figure 1a diagram, right, for the starting border and probably warping method.

Another famous example is shown in Figure 2, a linen brocaded band with its warp still threaded to a set of 52 tablets, found in the Oseberg ship burial in Norway and dated to the 9th century AD.

Figure 2: Set of wooden tablets with attached warp from the Oseberg ship burial.[4]

The last example I must include in a class on brocading is the enormous wealth of artifacts found in the archaeological sites of the Viking settlement Birka on the island of Björkö in the Lake of Mälar in present-day Sweden. For almost two centuries, from about 800 to 975 C.E., Birka served as an important trading center between Viking-age Scandinavia and Western Europe and the with the Orient through the trade routes in Russia. Agnes Geijer published an extensive survey of the textile fragments from the Birka graves [5]. This publication contains a complete chapter on the Birka bands (see figures 3 and 3a for examples of some of these bands).

Figure 3: Examples of several Birka bands.[6]

 Figure 3a: Several Birka patterns.[7]

Tablet weaving equipment

Tablet weaving is a technique to combine warp and weft by using tablets to create a shed. The tablets can be made from a variety of materials and in different shapes. Historically, commonly used materials include wood, bone, ivory, and leather. Their shape was most often square with rounded corners and a hole in each corner. Their size varied but was typically on the order of 5 cm or 2 inches. A cheap modern alternative is tablets made from playing cards cut to a square with rounded corners and a hole in each corner.

The warp consists of the combined threads through the complete set of tablets, one thread through each hole, so four threads per square tablet (if all holes are used). The number of tablets varies; for brocading, it is often an odd number to allow for designs that are symmetric with respect to the center tablet. To maintain tension on the warp we need a means to secure both ends of the warp at a given distance apart. The simplest way of doing so is by tying one end to your belt and the other end to a fixed object, like a tree or a door knob. When the length of the warp decreases during the weaving, you simply move towards the fixed end. The finished band can be rolled on a peg that is tied to your belt. One advantage is that it requires only the bare minimum of equipment: just a set of tablets and a beater will do. Another advantage is that the weaver has complete control over the warp tension by moving slightly forward or backward. The main disadvantage of this method is the difficulty to weave complex designs or wide bands with many tablets.

Figure 4: My warp-weighted tablet weaving loom.

A more common method has the warp fixed at the endpoints of a wooden board, either clamped in some way or wound around a rod or peg that can be locked in place by a clamp or a ratchet. The weaver sits at one end or on the side, and every now and then the finished warp is collected at the end towards the weaver by loosening both ends, pulling the warp towards you, and retightening it again afterwards. This periodically adjusting of the warp allows for a good body posture with the tablets always within comfortable reach.

Figure 4a: Another view of my warp-weighted tablet weaving loom.

A variation on this concept, the one that I will teach in this class, is by having the warp tension maintained by gravity. The near end of the warp is wound around a horizontal rod, which is locked in place between each readjustment of the warp (in my case by a ratchet at one end of the rod). The far end is hanging freely over a second horizontal rod mounted at the end of a wooden board, suspended by a single weight for each cord (the set of threads through all the holes of a single tablet).

This warp-weighted tablet weaving method has several advantages. The warp tension is very nearly constant during weaving and the weaver has a lot of control on the amount of tension by using different weights. Surplus warp can be braided before tying each cord to its weight, thus giving a lot of flexibility in the total warp length. Buildup twist (the origin of which is discussed below) can be removed easily without untying the weights or removing the warp from the loom. This facilitates weaving designs or using techniques that are not twist neutral without the need to change the turning direction of the tablets periodically (which often leads to a discontinuity in the pattern or a visible change in the surface texture). One big downside that I have found so far is that traveling with a warped loom is not an easy task.

Warping the loom

Figure 5: Warping the loom with one loop through two holes at the time.

Peter Collingwood (2015) discussed several ways of warping the loom. I picked the one that I think is the easiest to learn. The idea is illustrated for tablets with four holes. Clamp the loom in place on a table on one side along the long direction and clamp two boards with pegs at the other end.

Start by going through one of the holes of the first tablet, loop around the horizontal rod near the weaver and go in the opposite direction through the second hole. Keep pulling the thread and wind around as many pegs as needed to get the required warp length. End by tying it to the last peg. Follow the same track around the pegs with the other end and cut and tie it around the last peg as well. Repeat for holes three and four and so on for the remaining tablets.

After completing the warping, surplus warp can be braided such that (after tying on the weights) the ends of the cords hang freely just above the ground. Complete the warping by rotating the loom such that the warp ends hang freely, and then tie on the weights, one at the end of each cord.

After weaving for some time and collecting the woven band on the rod nearest to the weaver, the weights will reach the level of the table. That is the time to feed more warp by loosening part of the braid.

The most important part to remember is to always pass all threads through the holes from the same side of the tablet as seen from one end; otherwise, the tablets will not turn!

Here are some videos showing how the warping is done, beginning with adding the warp threads:


Next, you braid the ends of the warp threads:


Then you tie the weights to the warp threads just above the braids:


As the weaving progresses, you need to periodically undo some of the braiding and lower the weights to allow the warp to advance on the loom.


Each tablet can be threaded in one of two ways, either “Z” or “S,” named after the way the thread direction through the tablet looks when viewed from above. This is illustrated in Figure 6.

Here you are looking at the tablet from above with the bottom of the figure towards you and the top towards the far end of the warp. For brocading the tablets are typically arranged in pairs: one “S,” the other “Z”. This arrangement results in easier turning as discussed in more detail below. With an odd number of tablets, you can leave the tablet at the center unpaired in order to get selvages that are mirrored with respect to the middle, e.g. “SZSZSSZSZSZ.”

Figure 6: “S” (top) or “Z” (bottom).[8]

A wide variety of designs can be woven using a combination of just four variables:[9]

  1. The colors of the threads through each tablet.
  2. The position of these colors in relation to those in neighboring tablets.
  3. The direction in which the thread pass through each tablet.
  4. The direction in which the tablets are turned during the weaving.

Only the first one has to be decided while warping the loom. The other three can be changed at the start or even during the weaving.


Tablet weaving in its simplest form is a repeating sequence of just two steps: 1) passing the weft through the shed, and 2) turning the tablets either forward or backward, thus creating a new shed. Here, I limit the discussion to square tablets and quarter turns after each pick.

Figure 7: Forward and backward turning.[10]

For differently shaped tablets or more complicated turn sequences, I refer to Collingwood. The forward and backward turning is illustrated in Figure 7. The shed is formed by the space between the two threads from the top holes and the two from the bottom holes of each tablet.

As a result of turning the tablets, the threads from each tablet will start to twist, thus locking the weft in place.

Figure 8: Twining direction of the cord.[12]

Figure 8 illustrates how turning the tablets is related to the twining direction of the cord.

Turning each tablet clockwise (as shown) will give a “Z” twined cord; turning the other direction will give an “S” twined cord.

If you work this concept out for turning forward or backward with an “S” or “Z” threaded tablet, you arrive at the following table:[11]


“S” threaded tablet “Z” threaded tablet Forward turning “Z” twining “S” twining Backward turning “S” twining “Z” twining

So, interestingly, both an “S” threaded tablet turned forward and a “Z” threaded tablet turned backwards give a “Z” twined cord.

The easiest way to change the twining direction of the cord is therefore to change the turning direction of the tablets. This is very relevant once you realize that turning the tablets leads to twining of the cord on both sides of the tablets; so, during weaving, you build up twist in the unwoven part of the warp behind the tablets. Without doing something you will end up with so much build-up twist that you cannot turn the tablets anymore. A common solution is to periodically change the turning direction to remove the build-up twist. Looking at the table above, another way to change the twining direction of the cord is to flip the tablets from “Z” to “S” and visa versa around a vertical axis through the center of each tablet.

One advantage –what I consider to be a big one — of warp-weighted tablet weaving with individual weights per cord is that you can easily remove buildup twist without changing the turning direction or tablet orientation. You simply lift the end while keeping tension on the cord, place a finger in the shed behind the tablet, and push out the twist by sliding your finger towards the end of the cord. The weight will spin freely to release the build-up twist.

One last aspect to address here is why most traditional bands are warped with  their tablets alternately “S” and “Z” threaded (unless the design dictates otherwise).

Figure 9: Illustrating why two similarly threaded tablets turn with difficulty.[13]

If you look in detail how the threads are moving while the tablets are turned for a pair of neighboring tablets that are threaded similarly, you can see that the threads between the tablets are sliding against each other. (See the left diagram in Figure 9.) The thread through hole 2 in the back tablet and the one through hole 4 in the front tablet rub against each other while turning the tablets. This situation is avoided by threading the tablets alternately “S’ and “Z” as shown in the right diagram of Figure 9. The thread through hole 2 in the back tablet now moves in the same direction as the thread through hole 2 in the front tablet while the tablets are turned.


There is a variety of techniques to create color or texture patterns by combining threads of different color in the holes of each tablet with sometimes very complex turning sequences. Brocading distinguishes itself from those in the sense that the pattern is created by an extra weft to create the design. It is discussed in detail and with many historical examples in Chapter 13.2 of Collingwood. The ground weave consists of the warp and the ground or structural weft binding the cords together and hidden in the usual way. Then there is an extra weft passed at each pick to decorate the surface.

This second weft is purely decorative; it has no other function in the woven structure. It lies on top of the band in floats tied down at certain intervals by the warp threads, usually only showing on the top of the band. The tablet woven band merely serves as the support of the brocading weft.

The easiest and the most common way for many Anglo-Saxon brocaded bands as well as the Birka bands illustrated in Figure 3 is to tie down the brocading weft under two threads of one or more cords. This means that the brocading weft floats on top of the band, but at intervals dictated by the desired design, it loops under the top two threads through the regular shed for one or more adjacent cords. When the brocading weft passes through the shed it is, like the ground weft, hidden by the warp and thus not visible from either the top or the bottom of the band. So the brocading weft is sometimes visible and sometimes hidden by the warp, giving us an enormous freedom of design.

We can chose a brocading thread in a contrasting color from the warp or use multiple colors in different parts of the band. We can even use silver or gold thread for the brocading weft, either as flat metallic silver or gold or wrapped around a core like silk. Most of the Birka bands were woven with gold or silver brocade. The ground weft is typically of the same color as the warp. Since it is always nearly invisible it was often made from a cheaper material like linen instead of silk. It is better to use a thinner ground weft thread to get a nice dense brocading coverage. Alternatively, you can use multiple threads as a single bundle for the brocading weft.

Instead of tying the brocading weft by two threads per tablet, you can also go completely around one or more adjacent tablets on the back of the band and then come forward to the front again. This results in a pattern on the back that is the negative of that on the front, which can be more interesting in certain uses for example for a belt.

There are a number of ways to treat the selvages. Quite often there was a stave border on both selvages. The brocading weft would always show at say the second and third and the two and one but last tablet and be hidden for the first and the last tablet. It would pass through the end of the shed just like the ground weft. This will show as small “pips” on both sides of the belt. Alternatively, or to avoid the latter, you can bring the brocading weft to the back between the one but last and the last tablet, then turn the tablets and at the next pick come to the front again between the same two tablets.

To more easily keep track of each pick, I recommend starting with the ground and brocading weft shuttles at opposite sides of the band. For example, start the ground weft on the left and the brocading weft on the right. Then always pass the brocading weft first, followed by the ground weft. Loop the ground weft over the brocading weft at each pick before passing it through the shed. This is not the only way to do it, but I think that it is less important what method you use than it is by picking one and sticking with it consistently. The rest is simply lots of practice.

Below are two examples of my own designs with their brocading diagrams. I make my diagrams in Excel. Setting the row height to 8 and the column height to 1 gives you a nearly square raster that can be colored for tablets where the brocade shows on top and left blank for those where it is hidden by the warp by going through the shed. I cut out an extra “ruler,” the column with numbers all the way on the left. I lay that on the diagram and push it forward one pick at the time. I also number the tablets correspondingly after I warp the loom. That way, I can read the diagram and match the numbers of the tablets where the brocade will show.

My blog has a video that illustrates the brocading process the way I do it.


Collingwood, Peter (1982) The Techniques of Tablet Weaving, Echo Points Books & Media (Vermont).

Geijer, Agnes (1938) Birka III: Die Textilfunde aus then Gräbern, Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien (Uppsala).

Hoffman, Marta (1974) The Warp-Weighted Loom: Studies in History and Technology of an Ancient Implement, Robin and Russ Handweavers.


[1] Peter Collingwood (2015) The Techniques of Tablet Weaving.

[2] Ibid. page 12

[3] Marta Hoffmann (1974)  The Warp-Weighted Loom, Figure 69, page 153 and Figure 70, page 154

[4] Peter Collingwood (2015) The Techniques of Tablet Weaving, Plate 5, page 15.

[5] Agnes Geijer (1938) Birka III: Die Textilfunde aus then Gräbern.

[6] Ibid. Plates 22 and 23.

[7] Ibid. Pages 82 and 83.

[8] Peter Collingwood (2015) The Techniques of Tablet Weaving, Figure 27, page 54.

[9] Ibid. Page 54.

[10] Ibid. Figure 29, page 56.

[11] Peter Collingwood (2015) The Techniques of Tablet Weaving, Figure 34, page 57.

[12] Ibid. Figure 33, page 57.

[13] Peter Collingwood (2015) The Techniques of Tablet Weaving, Figure 35, page 58.

For more information, contact THLord Hrolf via his email, and/or see his blog or Academia site.

Categories: SCA news sites

Local social history museum acquires Iron Age gold coin hoard

History Blog - Wed, 2018-03-14 23:07

Eden Valley Museum in Edenbridge is acquiring an Iron Age hoard of gold coins that was discovered by metal detector hobbyist Jonathan Barber in October of 2016 near the village of Chiddingstone in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England. The exact find site has not been disclosed for its own protection. The 10 coins were dispersed, not found in a single cluster even though they were buried together. They are believed to have been scattered in later centuries through agricultural activity.

The coins are all of the same type: Gallo-Belgic gold staters minted by the Ambiani tribe of northern France whose main settlement, Samarobriva, is the modern-day city of Amiens. The Ambiani were defeated by Gaius Julius Caesar when he fought the Belgae in 57 B.C. and submitted to him only to join in the uprising against Roman occupation led by Vercingetorix of the Arverni in 52 B.C.

The Ambiani were famed minters, their coins being widely distributed throughout northern France and southern England. The type of coin in the Chiddingstone Hoard is known as a “Gallic War Uniface,” struck during the general time period of Gallic Wars (ca. 60-50 B.C.) in northern France and imported into Britain a few years later. High quality coins made of solid gold, they were in wide circulation in the south of England and a number of them have been found there. Finding a group of ten together, however, is extremely rare.

Interestingly, the obverse is smooth. There is no image or text stamped on it. The reverse features a stylized Celtic horse facing right. Hence the name “Uniface” because there is an image only on one side of the coin. Comparable Iron Age coins struck by Celtic tribes normally had a head on the obverse representing a local ruler or deity. Experts believe the obverse was left deliberately blank as a political message. The Gallic allies fighting against Caesar claimed no sole ruler. They were trying to get rid of one.

The smallest coin in the hoard has a diameter of 15mm. It is also the heaviest, weighing in at 6.16 grams. The largest is 19mm in diameter but is just a hair less heavy at 5.98 grams. The lightest of the coins weighs 5.96 grams and is 18mm in diameter. They’re a remarkably uniform bunch, all in all, with just 4mm and a quarter of a gram variance among them.

When the coins were unearthed, the finder alerted the Kent Finds Liaison for the Portable Antiquities Scheme who recognized the Iron Age gold coins and submitted them for consideration as treasure. One declared treasure, the coins were assessed for fair market value by a committee of experts at the British Museum. Local museums are given first crack at acquiring the treasure for the price of the valuation, a fee which is then split between the finder and landowner.

Claire Donithorn BA, resident archaeologist at the museum said, “These will be our first significant Iron Age exhibits. They date from precisely the time when Britain emerged from Prehistoric to Historic Times. Our aim now is to keep the hoard together and to ensure that it stays in the Valley for us and for future generations.”

Experts in the British Museum examined the coins and identified them. The Eden Valley Museum was then offered the chance to buy them. The Museum leaped at the opportunity. Claire Donithorn said, “These coins are an important part of the history of the Eden Valley. They show that the Valley was connected to great events in European History – the Gallic Wars. Whoever buried them may have been involved in those wars and was probably living here in the Valley.”

The museum needs to raise £13,000 to acquire the coins and to create a secure display for them. Grants from the South East Museums Development Programme, Arts Council England/V&A Museum Purchase Grant Fund and the Headley Trust put £11,315 in the kitty, which gets them almost all the way there. While the fundraising isn’t quite complete, the museum is close enough to move forward with the plan. The Chiddingstone Hoard will go on display starting April 11, 2018.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pen v. Sword: Class List

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2018-03-14 22:14

We’ve added even more classes this year!  Here is the most recent list of classes for the event this weekend.  As always, a full list of classes with descriptions will be available on our website, www.angelskeep.net.

Hoping to see lots of you on March 17, 2018!

All classes are one hour long unless otherwise noted.

  • Understanding tournament trees – Baroness Ekatarina Volkvolva
  • Parchment 101 – THL Abigail Kelhoge (2 hours)
  • WWDD – What Would Durer Do? An Intro to Fine Line Pen Work – Lady Gillian McGill
  • WWDD Studio – Lady Gillian McGill
  • Chain Stitch Bookbinding: How to Make a Simple Book – Lady Ulfgrimma Tannadottir
  • At a Loss for Words – Baroness Ekaterina Volkvolva
  • Faux Fonts and the Technique of Their Development – Master Jon Blaecston
  • Making a Quill Pen – THL Robert l’Etourdi   2 Hours
  • Demystifying the Ames Lettering Guide, or How to Line a Scroll the Easy Way – THL Juliana Stafford
  • A Beginner’s Introduction to the Swetnam Style of Fence – Don Michael Gladwyne
  • Building Better Scroll Blanks – THL Abigail Kelhoge
  • Winning Documentation for Scribal Entries – Mistress Alicia Langland (2 hours)
  • Youth Fencing: Participating/Marshaling – THL Gytha Oggsdottir
  • Creating & Sewing List-Legal Fencing Armor – How to design and construct, from just about any era. – Lady Fenris McGill
  • Body Mechanics – Efficient Fighting – Master Diego Munoz
  • Reading Your Opponent – Master Diego Munoz
  • Round Table Discussion: Rules – Don Diego Munoz
  • Parries Do’s & Don’ts – Pan Henryk Bogusz
  • Beginning Polish Saber – Pan Henryk Bogusz
  • Dagger for Dummies – Baron Benedict Fergus atte Mede
  • Pattern Books: a valuable tool in the past…and present? – Lady Felice de Thornton
  • Kokuji: Signature Seal Carving– Mistress Sǫlveig Þrándardóttir
  • Shūji: Taking the Brush – Japanese Calligraphy – Mistress Sǫlveig Þrándardóttir
  • Playing Well With Others – Lord Dragos Palaiologos
  • Melee Combat – Lord Dragos Palaiologos
Categories: SCA news sites