The U.S. Navy has released a comprehensive archaeological report on the recovery of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley and it is a total page-turner.
The Hunley sank off of Charleston Harbor on February 17th, 1864, but not before taking down its target, the USS Housatonic, in the first successful torpedoing of a ship by a submarine. Famous for this feat and for its disappearance immediately after the clash, the wreck of the Hunley was much sought by scholars, archaeologists and an adventure novelist. After decades of scholarship and fruitless searches, it was the novelist, Clive Cussler, with a team of exports from the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), who found the wreck in 1995. It was tilted on its starboard side, embedded in the seabed at a 45 degree angle and buried under feet of silt.
The idea of raising the hand-cranked iron submarine that played such a seminal role in the development of naval technology was a daunting one. It had been protected for 131 years by its silten blanket, and any excavation could endanger the sub. If it survived being dug out, then it would have to be safely raised out of the water, a logistical challenge of massive proportions. But the incentives to take the plunge were strong. Unlike other shipwrecks, Hunley almost certainly had sealed compartments that contained not just untouched artifacts, but the remains of the eight brave crewmen who operated this terrifying contraption. With the news of the discovery making headlines all over the country, the wreck would certainly become the target of looters.
Five years passed from discovery to recovery, five years of assiduous research, planning and problem-solving. You don’t have to be Civil War or naval history buff to find the Navy’s report on the recovery project riveting. It covers so much ground that anyone with an interest in archaeology, conservation, science, engineering, metallurgy, museums, even project management will be fascinated. I’ve read a lot of archaeological reports over the years, but I’ve never read one this thorough. It goes into depth on the historical background of Hunley, including its predecessors, recovery attempts after the war and searches in the 20th century. It’s not just verbiage, either. There is a plethora of pictures, maps and diagrams.
Dr. Michael McCarthy of the Western Australia Museum, who participated in a 1999 symposium of experts convened to discuss the recovery of H.L. Hunley, puts it beautifully in the foreword:
[This report] ably brings to the world the complexity of such a multi-faceted project, its own history, including the search and finding, the engineering problems and solutions, the archaeology, conservation, historical research, public access, and future exhibition plans. Clearly evident is the fact that it has all required perseverance, dedication, and exceptional time management from not only the archaeologists, researchers, and conservators, but those who managed the funding and the enormous resources required to complete the project. What editors Robert Neyland and Heather Brown have brought together and presented in what follows is a fitting and lasting tribute to the project’s many and various constituents and, like H.L. Hunley itself, it is a monument to its builder and to its three brave crews, young men once lost and now known to all.
The 321-page document can be downloaded free of charge in pdf format here.
For a brief window in the 1870s and 80s, cycloramas were all the rage in the United States. The trend began with large-scale panoramas in the late 18th century. European artists pioneered the form, creating massive works that depicted famous battles, Biblical and mythological scenes, landscapes, famous explorers exploring exotic lands and more. This evolved into cycloramas, 360 degrees paintings installed in purpose-built circular buildings so that viewers on a central platform could have a full-immersion experience of being in the middle of the action.
Cycloramas caught on in the 1870s after the Franco-Prussian War inspired a proliferation of battle depictions. It was European artists who brought their techniques of creating massive 360 degree paintings to the United States. The Battle of Gettysburg, now at the Gettysburg National Military Park and the largest oil painting in the world, opened the cyclorama floodgates. French artist Paul Philippoteaux, who had been painting cycloramas in Europe since 1871, was commissioned to create the massive panorama by a group of Chicago investors in 1879. It took him two years and a couple of dozen of assistants to finish the piece. It went on display in Chicago in 1883 and was a runaway success, so much so that Philippoteaux was commissioned to make another three Battle of Gettysburg cycloramas.
The Gettysburg blockbuster started a trend, and the same year it first went on display, German-born Milwaukee resident William Wehner founded the American Panorama Company. He had little difficulty investors that there would be a market in the United States for massive-scale views of scenes from the Civil War. The Battle of Atlanta, fought on July 22nd, 1864, was the chosen subject for the American Panorama Company’s second and most elaborate work, and little wonder since one of Wehner’s patrons was Illinois senator and Union Major General John “Black Jack” Logan who had commanded the Fifteenth Corps in the Battle of Atlanta.
Wehner recruited a team of 20 artists from Germany, each experts in large-scale painting and specializing in certain areas — landscape, horses, human figures — and researched the battle assiduously. They had access to the sketchbooks and notebooks of Harper’s Weekly Civil War campaign artist Theodore Davis, official government documents and maps, spoke to veterans of the battle from both sides, and traveled to Atlanta so they could scope out the site of the battle with their own eyes. Even though the neighborhood where the battle took place (Edgewood, then an eastern suburb, now intown Atlanta) was completely unrecognizable just 20 years later, the artists were able to view tracks and landscape features by sketching from towers.
The Battle of Atlanta made its debut in February 1887 in Detroit. Senator Logan had died in December of 1886 and the work was advertised as “Logan’s Great Battle” in homage to him. His cavalry charge to reinforce the Union lines was a featured scene in the cyclorama. Believe it or not, this massive painting more than 370 feet wide and just shy of 50 feet high was designed to be moved. After it was shown in Detroit, vast swaths of the canvas were draped on wooden frames and taken on the road where it was shown in Minneapolis and Indianapolis. The Cyclorama opened in Indianapolis in May of 1888 and by then Wehner’s company was in trouble. He sold The Battle of Atlanta to a local exhibitor. In 1890, that company sold it to promoter Paul Atkinson of Madison, Georgia.
Atkinson put it on display in Chattanooga, taking it south of the Mason-Dixon line for the first time. It finally set foot in Atlanta in February 1892, where Atkinson put it on display in a wooden building on Edgewood Avenue, close to the battle site. In Atlanta, Atkinson promoted the one-time “Logan’s Great Battle” as the only painting of a Confederate victory, and he had it altered to make sure it fit the new pro-Southern narrative. A group of cowering Confederate prisoners were changed to retreating Union soldiers, for example.
(It’s true that the Battle of Atlanta ended with the Union’s failure to take the city and the death of Major General James McPherson, one of the highest-ranking Union soldiers to fall in battle during the Civil War. General Sherman had to besiege Atlanta for more than a month before the city finally surrendered on September 2nd, 1864. Still, the one-day Battle of Atlanta was something of a Pyrrhic victory given the 5,500 Confederate casualties they could ill-afford this late in the war, and since the final conclusion of the wider fight for Atlanta was a decisive Union victory that played an important role in revitalizing Northern enthusiasm for the war and in re-electing President Lincoln, Atkinson’s pitch was more than a little disingenuous.)
The days of the great panoramas in the round drawing crowds were over by then, however, and the Edgewood Avenue exhibition was financial failure. A year later, the painting was sold for a comparative pittance to Atlanta business magnate Ernest Woodruff. He quickly resold it to George V. Gress and Charles Northen. They had it repaired and installed in a new building in Grant Park, but again The Battle of Atlanta failed to attract visitors. In 1898, George Cress donated the painting to the City of Atlanta.
The city created a new building to house it in Grant Park in 1921. For some unfathomable reason, instead of just measuring the thing and making proper calculations, the new building which, once more for emphasis, was custom-built to house the painting, could not fit the whole painting. About eight feet of sky and a vertical section of the six feet wide were sliced out to squeeze it into the new Atlanta Cyclorama building.
In 1936, a Works Project Administration team completed a diorama covering the space between the bottom of the painting and the edge of the viewing platform. On a red clay floor evoking Georgia’s characteristic russet heavy soil, landscape features, artillery, railroad tracks and 128 plaster soldiers were added to bring the painted scene into three dimensions. The soldiers ranged in size from 20 to 50 inches high and were placed to ensure they’d be in proper perspective and scale with the painting when viewed from the platform.
Condition issues proliferated over the decades at Grant Park. Twenty years of discussions from the late 1950s until the late 1970s considered a number of solutions to the problems, all of them rejected as too expensive. Finally between 1979 and 1982 the painted and diorama were conserved and the building renovated to include a revolving viewing platform.
Since then, the painting continues to struggle with condition issues. Meanwhile, Zoo Atlanta, which shares space in Grant Park with the Atlanta Cyclorama and draws far, far larger crowds than the painting could ever dream of drawing, is keen to expand. In 2014, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that the cyclorama would be moved to a new state-of-the-art facility at the Atlanta History Center‘s 33-acre campus in the toney Buckhead neighborhood.
Moving a painting 359 feet wide and 42 feet high that weighs seven tons is not for the faint of heart. It has taken more than two years to plan and prepare the move. Earlier this month, the deed was done, in a painstaking series of steps.
Workers, Mr. McQuigg replied, will spend days rolling the painting, which is appraised at $7.5 million, onto a pair of 6,200-pound spools. A crane will slowly lift the spools — “We’re hoping paint-drying goes faster,” Mr. McQuigg said in an interview — through seven-foot holes cut in the roof of the nearly century-old building. Then, once the shrink-wrapped painting is resting aboard two trucks, the workers will let the clock tick.
“We’re going to wait until everybody goes home and the traffic dies down and there’s no more Atlanta rush hour,” Mr. McQuigg said in the musty room where the cyclorama has hung for generations. “Heck, it might be 3 in the morning.”
That’s pretty much what happened, although the two giant spools were raised on different days. The first scroll did end up being transported in the middle of the night to the new Lloyd and Mary Ann Whitaker Cyclorama Building at the Atlanta History Center. The second was moved during the day.
Now that they’re in the new building, the sections of the painting will be reunited and restored.
The restored painting will finally have the proper perspective: Until now, the painting hung like a shower curtain and there were folds and creases. When the painting reopens next year, the aim is to return the “immersion” effect.
The Battle of Atlanta will be displayed in its original hyperbolic, or hourglass shape. Through proper tension at the top and bottom, the painting’s horizon will appear closer to the viewer, restoring the original 3D illusion.
You’ll be able to see the whole painting: At Grant Park, patrons sat on a carpeted revolving grandstand, which kept them from taking in the entire painting at once. At the AHC, visitors will gaze from a platform 15 feet above ground. The diorama will be rebuilt. The idea is to remove as many obstructions as possible and let the painting make its own statement.
The Battle of Gettysburg is the same height as the Atlanta Cyclorama, but it’s 377 feet wide. When the restoration is complete, The Battle of Atlanta will get a little closer in width and beat it in height. The pieces cut out to squeeze Procrustes the Painting into the 1921 Atlanta Cyclorama building will be readded so that for the first time in almost a century, the complete panorama will be seen as the German painters created it. The restored cyclorama will be 371 feet wide and 49 feet high. The Atlanta Cyclorama will reopen to the public in the fall of 2018.
Here are timelapse videos of the two halves of the painting being scrolled up. The first half was scrolled on December 7th, 2016, the second on January 21st, 2017.
Here is the first scroll raised from a hole in the roof of the old Atlanta Cyclorama building and then being laid on the flatbed truck for transport to the new building.
This news story has film of the cranes lowering the massive scrolls into the new cyclorama building at the Atlanta History Center:
Greetings unto all those intending to enter Spring Crown Tournament,
Please be aware that both the combatant and the consort must submit a letter of intent, either through the following link (preferred) or by email to Their Royal Highnesses Prince Ioannes and Princess Honig with a copy to the Kingdom Seneschal. Joint submissions are preferred if you are using the following link, or if you are using email.
The Letter of Intent must be received by Coronation, April 1, 2017.
If using email, the letters of intent must include all of the following information for both combatant and consort: Society name, legal name, address, telephone number, years of residency and be accompanied by proof of membership with membership number & expiration date that is valid at least thirty days after Crown. If both entrants are combatants, then that should be clearly indicated.
Their Highnesses would remind all entrants that should they win, they will be named Prince and Princess of Tir Mara for their time as Crown Prince and Princess of the East, representing the noble people of Our fair Crown Principality. Please bear these responsibilities in mind should you choose to enter the Crown Lists this Fall. Their Royal Highnesses also request that combatants bring heraldic shields for the list trees.
In Service to the East, I remain
Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia
Filed under: Heavy List, Official Notices Tagged: Crown Tourney, Letter of Intent
Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin receives what may be the oldest backlog scroll in the Known World.
Do you remember the first time you were called up in Royal Court? For most gentles, an Award of Arms is the first Kingdom award they receive. To this day, many of my friends remember exactly when and where they received their AoA, even when the timing of other awards has melded together.
It was just over a year since I had become active in the SCA, and I remember the outfit I was wearing (a brown velvet sideless surcoat embellished with rhinestones and rabbit fur that went into the Garb Closet of Shame many years ago, but that certainly lent the occasion a lot of, um…..dazzle). I remember being petrified that I was going to trip and fall onto the kneeling pillow (and yes, ok, that part has not changed). I remember the kind smiles of King Knarlic and Queen Alexis of Atlantia putting me at ease as I received my AoA and became Lady Tercelin.
The scribal arts were not what they are today, and although I was slightly disappointed at receiving a photocopied promissory scroll, nothing could take away the thrill of receiving my first SCA award. After all, I knew the actual scroll would be on my wall eventually.
Eventually arrived this Friday, when I opened a rather large envelope to find my backlog AoA scroll….from A.S. XIX. Yes, that would be Anno Societatis Nineteen (for those trying to quickly do the math, that would be 33 years ago).
It was definitely the oldest completed backlog in the Kingdom of Atlantia, and may well be the oldest in the Known World.
Done by Lord Adelric Falke from the Canton of Attillium in Atlantia, it will take center place on my scroll wall. Most definitely, good things come to those who wait.
Baroness Ysabeau Tiercelin, OP, OL
If you would like to make a backlog scroll recipient in Æthelmearc very happy, get in touch with our backlog deputy Signet, Pani Zofia Kowalewska for an assignment.
There is a family cap of $50.00, with a member discount of $10.00
Reservations can be mailed to Martha Powers, 15 Grover Street #1, Auburn, NY 13021. Please make check/money order out to SCA NY, Inc. – Shire of Angels Keep.
A drawing of a dog in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig, Germany, has been identified as the work of 17th century Dutch master Rembrandt Van Rijn. The chalk sketch of a little terrier, believed to have been drawn around 1637, has been in the museum’s collection since the 1770s, but was mistakenly attributed to German animal painter Johann Melchior Roos. His father, landscape painter and portraitist Johann Heinrich Roos, his brother Philipp Peter Roos, two other brothers and a sister were all known for their drawings of animals. Philipp Peter even kept a mini-zoo at his villa in Tivoli just to have live models for his drawings. The Roos were so strongly associated with animal studies that for centuries if a Dutch/German Baroque animal drawing turned up without a clear attribution, it would by default be categorized as a piece by Roos. The Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in particular has a large collection of Johann Melchior Roos drawings because he spent the last years of his life in Braunschweig.
The dog study was noticed two years ago by the museum’s head of drawings, Dr. Thomas Döring, when he was going through their collection of 10,000 drawings for the Virtual Kupferstichkabinett, a major digitization initiative virtually reunited the collections of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum and the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel which began life as the private art and book collection of the Dukes of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. The ducal collections were gradually split up between the two institutions between the 18th and early 20th centuries. The Virtual Kupferstichkabinett brings them back together online.
While cataloging the drawings, Döring saw the terrier and suspected there was a more illustrious hand behind the dynamic canine that previously realized.
“It’s been on display for decades under the name of Johann Melchior Roos,” he told CNN, “so the idea that this could be a Rembrandt was never considered before. But the boldness of the strokes, the variations in the shading from very gentle to quite violent and the expressive gaze [of the dog] — these are very typical idiosyncrasies of Rembrandt’s work.”
Doring said his experience cataloging drawings by Rembrandt and his pupils during an earlier project was key to the discovery.
“I was used to looking out for the differences between Rembrandt’s work and drawings by other artists,” he explained.
Two years of research ensued, including microscopic examinations of the drawing and extensive studies of comparable Rembrandts in museums and collections in Amsterdam, Paris and Vienna. Döring then consulted international authorities on Rembrandt for their opinions. Dr. Holm Bevers, Chief Curator for Dutch and Flemish Prints and Drawings at the Kupferstichkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in Berlin was the first to officially attribute the drawing the Rembrandt. Pieter Roelofs, curator of 17th century Dutch painting at the Rijksmuseum, was the second. An Old Master specialist at the British Museum was the third. Dr. Döring published the drawing as an original Rembrandt in the quarterly journal Master Drawings and so far has received unanimously positive responses.
Dogs appear as secondary figures in many of Rembrandt’s paintings, see the little fellow excitedly play-bowing on the bottom right of The Night Watch, and several of his sketches of people have a dog in the scene as well. Other animals he drew — lions, pigs, elephants, camels, cats, horses — as studies for larger Biblical, historical, pastoral and mythological paintings. Not many of his drawing of animals survive. Rembrandt is believed to have collected most of them in a single volume he called “Animals, from life” (“Beesten nae’t leven”) which was listed in a 1656 inventory of his belongings but is now lost.
Rembrandt’s doggie will go on display at the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum starting April 6th in the Dürer, Cézanne, and Me: How Masters Draw exhibition. It runs through July 7th, 2017.
Maighstir Liam macan tSaoire reports that Baroness Beatrix Krieger received a Writ of Summons to the Order of Chivalry at AEdult Swim today. The date for her vigil and elevation are to be determined.
Vivat Baroness Beatrix!
Submitted to the East Kingdom Gazette by Eloise, Baroness Beyond the Mountain
Ah, February. It feels like winter has stretched on forever, and like spring will never come. Some parts of the Kingdom are grey and cloudy, and others are wondering where to put the snow. It is enough to crush the spirit. What is one to do, to revitalize the soul and sustain us until the return of warmth?
The wise suggest exercising one’s artistic skills, which warms the fingers through activity and nurtures the mind through use. And what better application of winter survival skills than entries for Artifacts of a Life?
Artifacts of a Life III will be held in the Barony Beyond the Mountain (New Britain, CT) on September 30. Artifacts is a different sort of arts competition: entries must be “themed” – the theme is things that would have been used/owned by a single individual sometime in period. Possibly they are the items that would have been left in a will, or even just the day to day paraphernalia of life. They do *not* have to be items owned by *your* persona, but they do have to be linked to one person in one time/place.
There are currently anticipated to be three categories: Typical, Elite, and Village. The Typical category must include three to five items from a single culture and time. The Elite category will include six to nine items from a single culture and time. And for the communally ambitious, the Village category will allow you to work with others in a team to collaboratively create six to nine items. To flog the horse, all of the items in an entry must be placed within a uniform time and culture.
February is grey and quiet. Isn’t now a perfect time to work on your entries? You know that the closer we get to Pennsic, the more you will think about those deferred projects. The ones you were going to work on over the winter. You know as well as we do that you’re not going to do those jobs until July. It’s tradition – why fight tradition? Instead, take these snowy days, and immerse yourself in the artifacts of a life in period. Now is the perfect time.
And prizes! Did we mention the lovely prizes? As at the first two events, we will be bestowing hand-made wooden chests stuffed with materials to make the fingers of even hardened artisans twitch with avarice.
The event announcement is here: http://www.eastkingdom.org/EventDetails.php?eid=3108. The event website, with information about the rules, and pre-registration is here: http://sca-artifactschallenge.blogspot.com/. Please watch both spaces for updated information, as details about the event itself are always changing.
PLEASE NOTE: Entry in the competition REQUIRES pre-registration with Mistress Elizabeth Vynehorn. If you have not specifically notified her of your intention to compete, we will not be able to accept your entry. This is for the benefit of the contestants. Knowing at least roughly what you plan to enter allows us to recruit the best possible judges to give you the best possible feedback. Without pre-registration we will not have sufficient/appropriate judges. Speaking of judges…
If you are available and interested in judging for Artifacts, please let us know. Recruiting judges is by far the most difficult aspect of the event, and if you can assist we would be most grateful. Contact Mistress Elizabeth via the website or event announcement, and we will contact you if your expertise matches our needs.
Come to Artifacts! We would love to see you.
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events
They already been rounded up, truth be told, but when a stolen 17th century masterpiece is found in Casablanca, the headline pretty much writes itself. The masterpiece in question is Madonna with the Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory Thaumaturgus, an oil on canvas painted made in 1639 by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, aka Guercino. For the next 375 years, the painting remained safe in the Church of San Vincenzo in Modena. Even a direct hit on the church by an Allied bomb in 1944 left the Guercino unmolested while the presbytery and the frescoed choir were reduced to rubble.
The lucky streak broke in August of 2014 when the painting was stolen from the church, probably the night of August 10th. The theft wasn’t noticed until the morning of the 14th when the priest saw the front door was unlocked. The church is only open on Sunday for mass and the doors are kept locked at all other times. There was no sign of forced entry on the door, so the thieves must have gotten in when the doors were open and hid in the church until the coast was clear. Then they somehow made off with a painting nine and a half feet high and six feet wide still in its huge wooden frame.
Police investigated thoroughly, going full CSI on the church looking for any microscopic speck of evidence that might help track the painting and its kidnappers. They also collected hours of security camera footage from the streets around the church in the hope of finding a van or truck large enough to transport so large and unwieldy an artwork. The investigation enlisted the aid of Interpol and local authorities in countries around the world, but came up empty. There was no trace of the Guercino.
There was the usual speculation by police and in the press you see every time something huge and famous and therefore virtually impossible to resell is stolen that the theft was commissioned by a villainous private collector. And again as it so often seems to be the case, the real explanation is that art thieves are, as a group, terrible at everything but the stealing (and sometimes at the stealing too).
Last week, like a bolt from the blue, Interpol got a call from the Moroccan police alerting them to a large canvas discovered during an investigation, a canvas they believed to be the stolen Madonna with the Saints. A man claiming to be an art dealer had offered the painting for 10 milioni dirham (about $1 million) to a wealthy Moroccan businessman and art collector. He recognized it as a Guercino right away, and since he wasn’t off planet in August 2014, he knew it had to be the painting stolen from Modena. He reported the encounter to the cops. The judicial police of Casablanca’s Hay Hassani prefecture arrested three people, all Moroccan nationals, the ringleader a longtime resident in Italy, for the theft.
Interpol alerted the Italian authorities on the evening of Wednesday, February 15th. On Thursday, February 16th, Lucia Musti, chief prosecutor of Modena, confirmed “with the greatest satisfaction” that the painting recovered in Morocco was indeed Madonna with the Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory Thaumaturgus by Guercino, stolen from the Church of San Vincenzo between the 10th and 13th of August, 2014.
The Italian and Moroccan authorities are working out the details of the repatriation of the painting now. There are no reports yet as to its condition.
By Lady Astridr Vigaskegg.
Several months ago, I finally put scissors to fabric and began putting together an early 16th century German dress. I’d been researching for some time, but it took a lot of mental preparation to work myself up to the idea of constructing a late-period garment on my own. For this dress, I drew inspiration primarily from two Hans Holbein sketches of a Basel woman from 1523.
I began with my own measurements and looking at patterns from both Katafalk and Reconstructing History, but found that neither really worked for my body. So I ended up fitting myself and making my own, which was a long and infuriating process — next time I’m having a friend help me fit a new pattern.
When I finished my bodice pattern (which was slightly modified after these photos), I cut an interlining of heavy linen and the wool shell, then attached them mostly following Katafalk’s tutorial. I cut the guards out of black wool and attached them after the bodice was all put together, then moved onto the skirt.
Using Mistress Genoveva’s Rolled Pleat Calculator, I came up with the length needed for my skirt, which I think was about 6 yards. I had a whole bolt of red wool from JoAnn Fabrics, and I only used a half-width of the fabric for the top portion of the skirt. I spent several hours with a ruler and chalk, and by the end of it I had my skirt pleated.
I ended up piecing the bottom stripes together in three panels of stripes, then sewed them together and attached them. Next time, I’ll likely attach the stripes before I pleat the skirt, but it didn’t create any major inconveniences doing it the other way.
It was after I completed the skirt that I started running out of time leading up to Fall Coronation of Marcus and Margerite, so I decided to put my plans for the sleeves on the back burner — it would be easy enough to take the middle-class route and simply sew the exaggerated stitching at the joints over the chemise. The proper chemise also wasn’t going to happen in time, so I pulled a cheater shirt out for the event.
The last piece of the outfit that I could accomplish in time was the hemd and steuchlein, which I made following Katafalk’s tutorials. The hemd was even more difficult to fit by myself than the bodice pattern was, and I was extremely glad to cover it and all the mistakes I made on it with the steuchlein.
There weren’t a great deal of photos of the good-enough dress I took to the event, but I was pretty pleased with it. I’m currently working on the more-correct sleeves, a pleated chemise, and fixing some general mistakes on the dress. Ideally, there will also be a structured linen kirtle to go under this dress and over the chemise.
See Astridr’s blog here for more of her sewing and culinary adventures.
The Gazette asked each of the final four performers to share their piece with us. The four performers received the task of composing a piece with a specific theme, each one receiving one of the four seasons.
Winter – Countess Chatricam Meghanta or “Megha”
The piece as performed is based on Purananuru poem # 69, as translated by A.K. Ramanujan. The original poet was Alattur Kilar who was writing about the Tamil King Killivalavan.I modified it to fit the theme I was required to write to, “Winter” (I interpreted that to mean the rainy season in India), where I was, Concordia, and which king I was performing for. ~Megha
My singer friends, here you are, lute in your hand, a hunger in your belly that no one heeds, clutching at your waist, a cloth of patches with strange threads, cold, wet, on a body as aimless as a ruined man’s and your family dulled by poverty.
You round the whole earth and you are here to ask in a small voice for help. So listen.
In Summer Time His army slaughters the murderous elephants of enemy kings, leaves the wounded in pools of blood, makes a slaughterhouse of the battlefield.
Now, in the rainy season, he is in Concordia. He is Brion, King of the East. He wears perfect garlands, his ornaments are flames of gold. you can warm your hands by.
Go to him. You will not ever need to stand in the cold outside his great door. Go fill your eyes with the gold, the rice, the sweet liquor he gives away to singers.
Once he knows you want in winter you will not need to stand with your lute in your hand wet and empty.
Once you have seen him you will wear lotuses of gold, flowers no bee will touch.
He is warmth. He is hospitality. He is the light.
Spring – Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant I was given 30 minutes to prepare a contrafact (new lyrics set to an existing melody) on the theme of spring. For the tune, I chose “Douce dame jolie,” written ca. 1350 by Guillaume de Machaut. The original song is a virelai with a repeated refrain, with that structure partially mimicked here.
That fair and tender season
So joyful we will be
Think kindly of me is my plea
So joyful we will be
That fair and tender season
The blazing sun beats down upon
I gasp for breath, what do I find?
At last the marshals call a hold
Autumn – Maestro Orlando di Sforza
Autumn Sonnet dedicated to Her Most Royal Majesty, Queen Anna
Wilted willows sway, shamed to raise their eyes.
The quiver of ochre and scarlet leaves,
Alone and defiant she stands, complete.
Let us shine like her, brazen in bold show,
Filed under: Bardic Tagged: Bardic, champions, King and Queen's Champions
Metal detectorists discovered eight Roman copper-alloy vessels — an iron-rimmed cauldron, a deep bowl, a shallow bowl, a high-sided pot and four small scale pans — in Wiltshire’s Vale of Pewsey in October, 2014. They dug them out of the ground, unfortunately, but they did have the forethought not to clean them, a decision that ensured the survival of the pots’ incredibly rare contents. What looked like dirt and weeds was in fact ancient plant material packed in the vessel hoard when it was buried.
A hoard of eight Roman pots is already a great rarity. Fewer than 30 copper alloy vessel hoards have been found from late antiquity in Britain. As small as this number is, it’s still more than have been found anywhere else in the Roman world. That the organic remains the vessels contained didn’t decay into dust makes it a unique find. The plants were preserved by the creation of an air-tight pocket inside the carefully nested pots. It was probably a fluke, a result of the way the vessels were stacked and positioned inside each other.
Inside the cauldron, the biggest piece, was placed the shallow bowl (Vessel A). The high-sided pot (Vessel B) with the four little scale pans inside was placed in the shallow bowl, its rounded feet raising it from direct contact with the bottom of the bowl. The deep bowl (Vessel C), of a type known as an Irchester bowl, was flipped upside-down to cover vessel B entirely and cover the rim of Vessel A. The organic remains were almost entirely contained in Vessel B. As the metal corroded over the years, the copper salts were absorbed by plant material, also helping to preserve it. The plants have a powdery consistency now because of the copper salts, but they’re microscopically identical to when they were fresh.
Finds Liaison Officer Richard Henry has led the exciting quest to discover more about the find. He brought in a team to excavate the site of the discovery, led by David Roberts of Historic England and with the Assistant County Archaeologist, members of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group and the finders. Richard then brought in more experts, including Dr Ruth Pelling of Historic England and Dr Michael Grant who identified the plant remains and pollen. Peter Marshall, also of Historic England, coordinated the radiocarbon dating of the flowers and undertook analysis of the results. [...]
Richard Henry said “Such discoveries should be left in situ to allow full archaeological study of the find and its context. The finders did not clean or disturb the vessels which has allowed us to undertake detailed further research. If the vessels had been cleaned none of this research would have been possible”
Ruth Pelling commented that “It has been an absolute pleasure to examine this unique assemblage. By combining the plant macro and pollen evidence we have been able to identify the time of year the vessels were buried, the packing material used, the nature of the surrounding vegetation and the likely date of burial.”
Radiocarbon dating of the plants by Historic England found they were buried between 380 and 550 A.D., a turbulent time when the Romans were in retreat or just plain gone (Emperor Honorius pulled the last legions from Britain in 410 A.D.) and the Anglo-Saxons began spreading through England from their strongholds in the south and east.
Hoards from this period are generally thought to have been buried to keep them safe from Saxon raids. Roman copper vessels were relatively common household goods during more prosperous times, but at the remote ends of empire after the collapse of Roman rule they would certainly have been hoardworthy. The plant material packed inside the vessels consists mainly of knapweed flowers (23 knapweed flowers, to be specific, two of them black knapweed) and pinnules and stem fragments of bracken. There are also cowslip, buttercup and sedge seeds. The seeds indicate the hoard was packed and buried in the mid to late summer out of doors in a location with both pasture and farmland.
Why the plant material was included is more mysterious. They could have been simple packing material. There was hay in the mix, too, so the plants may have been the far less annoying 5th century equivalent of styrofoam peanuts. They may also have been a votive offering. It’s notable that the hoard was buried on the boundary between Roman and Angle territory, a dangerous frontier at that time and a hotspot of upheaval during the transition from Roman rule, the kind of place where you would have good reason to appeal to higher powers for protection.
The plants and seeds were donated to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes where they have been and will continue to be studied and analyzed. Some of the flowers are now on display at the museum. Experts were able to study the vessels, but the metal detectorists have chosen to keep them instead of donating them along with the plant materials. They can make that choice because the 1996 Treasure Act doesn’t define ancient artifacts made of base metals as treasure.
This is the same loophole that allowed the sale of the exceptional Crosby Garrett Helmet to an anonymous private collector. If there are two or more prehistoric artifacts, they count as treasure even if made of base metal. If an artifact is between prehistoric and 300 years old, it has to be composed of at least 10% gold or silver to qualify as treasure. It’s a nonsensical standard, particularly for archaeology where a literal bag of feces can be of inestimable value. Also, the finders can’t possibly be qualified to conserve very delicate ancient metalwork. The cauldron, for instance, is fragmentary, with the base, the little that remains of the body and the rim all in separate pieces.
The plants and bronze vessels have been together for 1500+ years. As a group, they are a great archaeological treasure. I hope the finders have a change of heart and reunite these longtime companions.
In my 20+ years of experience, many of the archery ranges I’ve been on have had a wand shoot. The wand shoot is a very simple shoot; basically it is just sticking a quarterstaff in the ground and shooting at it till someone knocks it over. As simple as is sounds, it is one of the most fun and popular shoots around. This article will explain how to implement a wand shoot in order to add that special magic to any boring old range.
Today, to make the wand shoot easier and safer, the marshal takes some duct tape and puts it on a piece of cardboard. I prefer woodgrain duct tape; it serves very well. If a marshal has a less experienced group of archers, he’ll put additional strips of duct tape on each side and score the near misses.
Next, I made a flat target with three different wands. You’ll note that the first wand on the left is thicker and taller than the wand in the middle. The wand on the far right, you’ll note, is at the very top of the grass so it looks like it’s way off in the distance. Even though this target is placed at 20 yards, it provides an optical illusion that the wands are further down range. You will also note that I put a black dot on the biggest wind. This is meant to be a nest for an animal, and also makes a perfect bull’s eye for a tiebreaker.
Lastly, I took a pool noodle and put some bends in it so it looks like a tree branch (remember, nothing in nature is perfectly straight or perfectly round). I added a little vine work from the $1 store and it looks like an average, everyday tree branch, once again using the wood grain duct tape.
Now you know how to make the magic yourself, but if you’d rather come experience the magic without having to build the wand yourself, then I want you to know that I’ll be running the novelty range at the Archery Muster being held at the castle of Their Excellencies, Earl Byron and Countess Ariella, on April 9. Can’t make that one? A shame, but you’ll have one more chance. For the first time, I will be marshaling archery at Blackstone Raid at the end of April. And you won’t want to miss that shoot because the first prize at Blackstone will be a complete beginner’s set up bow, arrows, quiver, arm guard, and glove.
This month’s safety tip is a repeat: these will be novelty ranges, you’ll be shooting at things you’ve never seen before, so be aware of all safety precautions and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the marshals.
‘Til next month,
THL Deryk Archer
Archaeologists have discovered a hoard of Bronze Age weapons of international significance in Carnoustie, Angus, eastern Scotland. The property at Newton Farm was bought by the Angus Council last year with the stipulation that it be dedicated to community use. Because an earlier dig in the area in 2004 had found evidence of extensive prehistoric and medieval remains, the council also had to ensure the site was excavated to recover any archaeological remains before construction. GUARD Archaeology were contracted to excavate the site.
In a shallow pit, the team unearthed a bronze spearhead next to a bronze sword, a pin and scabbard fittings. Decorated with gold ornamentation, the bronze spearhead is an incredibly rare object. Only a handful of Bronze Age spears of this type have been found in Britain and Ireland. One of them was discovered in a weapons hoard in 1963 at a farm just miles away from Carnoustie, so that means that out of the few gold-decorated bronze spearheads known, two of them were found in Angus. This suggests the area had a significant a wealthy warrior class around 1000 B.C.
Since the bronze weapons are around 3,000 years old, the metalwork is very fragile. To ensure these delicate artifacts could be excavated with all necessary caution in a protected environment, the soil surrounding the pit was cut out and the entire 175-pound block was removed to the GUARD Archaeology Finds Lab. There conservators analyzed the block to develop an excavation plan that would safely preserve the finds.
These few seconds of video convey how painstaking the process of excavation was:
The en bloc excavation proved even wiser when organic remains were found in the hoard. The leather and wood scabbard, while broken into several fragments, is the best preserved Bronze Age scabbard ever discovered in Britain. Textile fragments were found around the pin and scabbard; fur around the spearhead. These kinds of materials almost never survive outside of waterlogged or arid environments.
Another great archaeological boon to this hoard is that it was unearthed within the confines of a Late Bronze Age settlement. It’s not isolated on the edge of a ploughed field where all we can find about the hoard’s history is in the hoard itself. It’s part of a much wider context. The team unearthed the remains of around 12 roundhouses, probably from the Bronze Age, and other large pits holding what appears to be refuse (broken pottery, lithics). About 650 artifacts were discovered from the Bronze Age settlement. Most of the finds give a date range of between 2200 and 800 B.C. for the Bronze Age occupation of the site.
There were people living there long before the Bronze Age, though. Archaeologists found the remains of two rectilinear structures dating to the Neolithic. The oldest dates to around 4000 B.C., and it too is a testament to the area’s prehistoric prominence. It’s the largest Neolithic hall ever found in Scotland. There is no clear evidence of continuous occupation, so the site could have been inhabited from the Stone Age through the Late Bronze Age, or successive settlements could have been built on the site with gaps of centuries between them.
The site is slated to be converted into two grass soccer fields, as per the community use requirement, and construction will begin at the end of the month. The excavation of the larger site will continue.
In this week's news roundup of all things medieval, you can read about creating the face of St.Magnus, good reads about the Vikings, and someone having fun on Twitter.
[View the story "Magnus, Chaucer and Donaeld the Unready" on Storify]
Our image of the week - “Manuscript Leaf from a Missal” by Austrian via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0
All photos courtesy of Lady Elektra of Sylvan Glen.
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Marcus & Margerite, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Her Majesty at Sylvan Glen Twelfth Night, February 4th, Anno Societatis LI, in the Shire of Sylvan Glen. As recorded by Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.
Her Majesty invited the youth known as Thomas Bronhulle, the event’s King of Misrule, to join Her in Her court.
Her Majesty called for Tiberius of Sylvan Glen, the day’s co-autocrat, who made several announcements, offered thanks for those in attendance and for those who provided support and service, and also announced the winners from the day’s varied competitions. However, at the conclusion of his announcement, Her Royal Majesty bade Tiberius linger a moment longer. She spoke of his leadership and service to his shire and offered Her praise for his excellent efforts as first time co-autocrat alongside his mother, Lady Reina Dulcedame. Thus, She did Award him Arms and raise him to the ranks of the nobility. Scroll forthcoming.
Next, Her Majesty called for Niño of Sylvan Glen and thanked him for all of his helpfulness and service, despite his young age and small size, and She did bestow upon him a Silver Buccle. Scroll forthcoming.
Lord Daniel Rufus was next called before the Sylvan Throne, and his wife Lady Eleanor of Pembroke came forward in his stead. Her Majesty spoke of the courtesy, kindness, and chivalry displayed by Lord Rufus, and that these are values that are highly prized by the Society, and thus She did bestow upon him a Cornelian. Scroll forthcoming.
Her Majesty then sought words with Lady Umm Samin bint Asad al-Isfahaniyya. Her Majesty stated that She had heard much praise of Lady Samin’s work. Her Majesty spoke of Lady Samin’s work as the webminister for Sylvan Glen, and Herself found the webpage to be well maintained and attractive. Her Majesty then inducted Lady Samin into the Order of the Keystone for this service. Scroll forthcoming.
However, Her Majesty stated that Her business was not yet complete with Lady Samin, and reiterated that She had indeed received many words of praise of Lady Samin. Her Majesty told of the reports of Samin’s artistry, and that Her Majesty had witnessed Samin’s skill this very day when viewing the A&S display where several works of art with accompanying documentation by Lady Samin could be viewed. Thus, Her Majesty was moved to induct Lady Samin into the Order of Sycamore. Scroll forthcoming.
THLady Etain Eame was next called to attend Her Majesty. Her Ladyship’s years of quite service to her shire and to the kingdom as autocrat, head cook, seneschal, head tollner, kingdom NMS secretary, and more were noted. Seeing these years of service could not go unrecognized, Her Majesty called forth the Order of the Millrind, and inducted THLady Etain into that Order. Scroll forthcoming.
Next, Her Majesty invited forward all children. She noted to the King of Misrule that earlier in the day he used Her herald for his court, and so in return, She asked His Majesty Misrule to carry the chest of toys for Her so that the children might select a gift.
Her Majesty then called forward Lord Arthur of Linden from the Kingdom of Atlantia. She spoke of his A&S entry and how impressive was his detail and skill, and so named him Her Inspiration and bestowed upon him a Golden Escarbuncle.
There being no further business, this court of Her Majesty was closed.
Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta
The National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece, has taken one of their most curious artifacts out of storage and put it on display. It’s a Neolithic statuette carved out of granite about 7,000 years ago. It is 36 centimeters (14 inches) high and has a pointed, beak-like nose, a rounded torso with a prominent belly and thick, irregularly cylindrical legs. There are no arms, no genitalia or breasts to indicate sex, no facial features other than the pointy nose. I think he looks like the secret illegitimate love child of Sam the Eagle and the Shmoo.
Its design, material, great age and unknown origin make it an intriguing archaeological mystery. Museum curators call the figurine a 7,000-year-old enigma.
“It could depict a human-like figure with a bird-like face, or a bird-like entity which has nothing to do with man but with the ideology and symbolism of the Neolithic society,” Katya Manteli, an archaeologist with the museum, told Reuters.
Unlike most Neolithic figurines made of soft stone, it is carved out of hard rock even though metal tools were not available at the time.
And while it is too short for a life-size depiction of the human figure, it is bigger than most Neolithic statues, which are rarely found over 35 cm tall.
“Regarding technique and size, it is among the rare and unique works of the Neolithic period in Greece,” Manteli said.
It’s possible that the lack of sex characteristics and detailed features are a practical limitation of having to carve hard granite with stone tools. It could also be incomplete, although the high gloss polish indicates this is a finished piece.
There are more than 200,000 objects kept in permanent storage at the National Archaeological Museum. This charming Neolithic fellow is one of the treasures pulled from the storeroom for The Unseen Museum, an exhibition that gives the bench players a chance to start the game for once. It runs through March 26th of this year.
Eager to participate in the Barony of Concordia’s traditional mid-February blizzard, 26 artisans descended on Scotia, New York to show off their diverse talents at King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship.
The competition consisted of two phases. In the first phase, 7 teams of 3 judges each spent up to 45 minutes discussing an artisan’s project with them, and then retired to render scores via rubrics and to fill out feedback forms so that artisans could walk away with advice. After the first judging phase, the top 5 (well, in this case, 6!) would go on to an interview phase with Their Majesties, Their Highnesses, and the judges. The Queen’s Champion was the winner, and the King chose his Champion from among the field.
The entrants were:
Lord Agapios Cargos
We had quite the slew of judges as well:
Mistress Ose Silverhair
The room was packed full of incredibly diverse art, ranging from focused research on historic combat techniques to an actual working boat. Artisans spent the day talking to judges, to other artisans, and to enthralled members of the populace seeking to enhance their knowledge of period practices.
A full gallery of all entrants and their exhibits can be found here, courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse.
There was also a Youth Arts and Sciences display! Several young artisans of the kingdom put their work on display, and received an extraordinary response from the populace. So great was the volume of attention that the judging teams assigned to talk to them could not physically get to the table to talk to them – there were so many people clamoring around already!
As the dust settled, 6 artisans emerged as the finalists. They were:
Magister Galefridus Peregrinus
The room was cleared, and the six artisans waited by their projects. Their Majesties and Their Highnesses, accompanied by their Champions and a handful of retainers, sat with each artisan. They spoke about their project and enlightened their audience, and then spoke with passion and inspiration about what they would bring to the position of Champion.
After consultation, Their Majesties chose Lady Sofya Gianetta di Trieste as Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences and Lady Raziya bint Rusa as the King’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. There was much rejoicing!
Master Magnus and Mistress Elysabeth would like to thank all the entrants for showcasing their amazing talents, and all the judges for their tremendous service.
Photos courtesy of Caitline La Broderesse
Filed under: Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, champions, King and Queen's Champions, Kings and Queens Champions
On a day befitting the name of our hosts, Concordia of the Snows, thirteen exceptional performers assembled to vie for the positions of King’s and Queen’s Bards. The competition consisted of three rounds, with each performer given a total of 15 minutes to use over all three rounds (with extra time available for the finals at their Majesties’ discretion).
The competitors were:
Countess Chatricam Meghanta or “Megha” (aka Marguerite inghean Lochlainn)
Mistress Elizabeth Elenore Lovell
Mistress Judith Fitzhenry, called the Uncertain
Lady Lilie Dubh inghean ui Mordha
Lady Lillie von der Tann
Lady Lorita da Siena
Maestro Orlando di Sforza
Lord Robert of Anglespur
Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant
Lord Sean O’Morain
Lady Solveig Bjarnadottir
Jarl Valgard Stonecleaver
Mistress Ysemay Sterling
In addition to Their Majesties Brion and Anna, the judges for the competition were Mistress Alys Mackyntoich (Queen’s Bard), Lady AEthelflied Brewbane (King’s Bard), Master Grim the Skald and Master Michael of York.
The first round performances ranged from period documented pieces to SCA folk songs, poetry and prose, and even instrumental music combined with vocal song. The competitors did not make the task of deciding who should advance to the second round easy on the judges. After much debate, eight performers were asked to return to offer a second piece. They were: Countess Megha, Lady Lillie, Lady Lorita, Maestro Orlando, Lord Robert, Maitresse Sabine, Lady Solveig and Mistress Ysemay.
Once again, the performances were stellar, and selecting four to advance to the finals was not easy. Ultimately, Countess Megha, Maestro Orlando, Maitresse Sabine and Lady Lillie were asked to offer a third performance.
As is traditional, each finalist was given a challenge based on the performance resumes they had turned in at the beginning of the contest. Countess Megha was asked to prepare an inspirational speech on the subject of Winter. Maestro Orlando was asked to offer an Elizabethan monologue on the subject of Autumn. Maitresse Sabine was asked for a contrefacte (new lyrics added to existing music) on the Spring. Lady Lillie was asked for a song on Summer. They were given 30 minutes to prepare.
All four finalists rose to the challenges before them with passion, vigor and excellence. Maestro Orlando presented an original Shakespearean sonnet that he had written in 30 minutes. Countess Megha used her 30 minutes to adapt an existing period Indian poem about the rainy season and the generosity of Kings. Maitresse Sabine wrote and sang new words to go to the period tune E, Dame Jolie by Guillaume de Machaut. Lady Lillie presented an original song she had composed about the battle with the heat at this past Pennsic War.
Baroness Arlyana Van Wyck took videos of the final performances, which can be found at the public links below:
At the end of the day, Queen Anna chose Maitresse Sabine as Queen’s Bard and King Brion chose Countess Megha as the King’s Bard, with much acclaim all around.
Maestro Orlando was inducted into the Order of the Troubadour based in large part on his performances during the competition.
Mistress Alys and Lady AEthelflied thank all the competitors for their hard work, passion and willingness to perform, as well as the people of Concordia of the Snows for putting on a splendid event.
Article written by Mistress Alys, photos by Cateline La Broderesse.
Filed under: Events Tagged: Bardic, bardic champions, champions
An excavation around a medieval church in Sutton Farm, Shrewsbury, has unearthed the remains of a previous Anglo-Saxon church and a series of unusual animal burials that may be pre-Christian. The Church of the Holy Fathers, as it is now known, was bought from the Church of England by the Greek Orthodox Church in 1994. Built in the late 12th, early 13th century, the church had been abandoned in the late 19th century and was being used as a storage shed. The Greek Orthodox Church restored the nearly derelict Grade II-listed building and a congregation has worshipped there ever since.
The field on the west side of the church is slated for development — it will be a parking lot for a 300-home estate — and a team from Baskerville Archaeological Services was contracted to excavate the site before construction began. By the terms of the planning contract, developers Taylor Wimpey funded an archaeological survey of the parking lot site from late summer until November. The Greek Orthodox Church stepped in to fund an extension of the excavation and developers gave the archaeologists more time to explore the site.
They were able to unearth foundations of the current medieval church extending 20 feet from the modern-day walls, indicating that this small church was once much larger. Next to the medieval foundations and between 15 and 18 inches deeper under the soil, archaeologists found the stone foundations of an earlier building which they believe to be an Anglo-Saxon church. Several artifacts were discovered in a rubble pile: three garnet pins, a carved stone of indeterminate age and two coins, one of them a Charles I half farthing minted between 1624 and 1635.
The very last day of the dig on the west side, the team unearthed a 15-section of a wooden post, likely a door post, in the layer believed to be Anglo-Saxon. This was a key discovery, because wood can be radiocarbon dated to confirm or deny whether the earlier structure does date to the Anglo-Saxon period.
On the south side of the church, archaeologists found more foundations of the medieval church. These indicate the church had a transept, the arms on either side of the nave that form the traditional cross shape. They also discovered the medieval graveyard. The remains of three people were unearthed, including an intact skeleton of a woman buried in shroud, but that’s to be expected in a churchyard. Less expected were the elaborate animal burials: the skeletons of a calf and a pig carefully posed together with yin-yang symmetry, a Stone Age flint found between the ribs of the calf, the skeletal remains of a pig laid to rest in a leather-covered wood coffin, the bones of a large female dog that died during whelping found next to the bones of six chickens, a pregnant goat and what appear to be the bones of one more dog and a large bird. Those last two have yet to be fully excavated.
“It was a huge surprise to find these burials in a church graveyard. To find animals buried in consecrated ground is incredibly unusual because it would have been a big no no,” [Janey Green, from Baskerville Archaeological Services,] said. “The bones don’t show any signs of butchery and the animals appear to have been deliberately and carefully laid in the ground.”
“The site is a few hundred metres from known prehistoric human burial mounds so they may be connected. Initially I thought I may have come across a whimsical Victorian burial of a beloved pet. But the Victorians usually left objects in the graves such as a collar, a letter or a posie of flowers and we haven’t found a shred of evidence of anything like that here. Neither is there evidence that the animals were fallen farm stock that were disposed of in modern times.”
Green thinks these are likely pre-Christian burials. The bones will have to be carbon dated before we can know, and it doesn’t look like they have the budget for it at this point. They’re working on it.
The parking lot is still going forward. Taylor Wimpey have agreed to seal the medieval foundations under a geotextile membrane before pouring the asphalt. This will protect them from damage and make them more easily accessible should someone in the future pick the archaeological remains over the parking lot. Meanwhile, the excavations on the south side of the church will continue. The remains, both human and animal, will be reburied at the church in a special funerary service.