SCA news sites

"Re-creationists" meet amid the eucalypts and scrub near Mittagong - Wed, 2015-06-17 12:14

Easter weekend saw the annual pilgrimage to Mittagong, Australia for the Kingdom of Lochac's Rowany Festival, Australia's largest gathering of pre-17th century "recreationists." Peter Munro of the Sydney Morning Herald previewed the 2015 event with a look at life in the medieval village. (photos)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Gazette Editor Profile: Ursula of Rouen

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-06-17 07:09

This is the fourth in our series of Gazette editor profiles.

Name: THL Ursula of Rouen
Editor Area/Title: Region 1 Editor

What made you want to join the Gazette staff?
When I was presented with the opportunity, I thought that it would be a great way to showcase a lot of what the Kingdom and the SCA have to offer. I like that it’s free and open to anyone, so it could serve as a great “welcome mat” for the society.

What do you like most about being on the Gazette staff?
I don’t consider myself a writer, but being able to collaborate with several great writers to see ideas turn into stories from interesting perspectives is really fun. We all work really well together and have a great time discussing and sharing ideas, finding pictures, and digging up articles.

How has the Gazette been received in your area?
I think Region 1, mundanely West Virginia, has welcomed the Gazette with open arms. We like having up-to-the-minute news from events. Personally, I really enjoy the enhanced Court Reports we’ve been doing; it’s really nice to be able to put names and faces together for some of the regions we don’t get to travel to as often as we’d like.

What kinds of articles would you like to encourage people to submit?
ANYTHING! Seriously. If you have an idea and want to share it, please send it to us. We are really good at working with you to fill in details and find pictures that make it look polished. I really like the How-To articles that show you how simple some things really are to do as well. Even if you just have an idea, we’d love to hear it. We are here to serve Æthelmearc and want to publish articles the populace wants to read.

Interested in submitting articles to the Gazette, suggesting blogs to feature, or to be put on our roster of photographers whose work we have permission to use? Email us at Check out our submission guidelines here.


Categories: SCA news sites

Magna Carta Roundup - Tue, 2015-06-16 23:19
The 800th anniversary of the creation of Magna Carta was a major event, and here is a roundup of how newspapers and other media covered it.

[View the story "Magna Carta Roundup" on Storify]
Her Majesty The Queen unveils a plaque commemorating 800 years of Magna Carta - Photo courtesy Surrey County Council
Categories: History, SCA news sites

Event Report: Scarlet Guard Inn, Shire of Hornwood, June 12-14, A.S. 50rd

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-06-16 18:39

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope enjoyed the day at the Scarlet Guard Inn and reports on the doings there.

The Scarlet Guard Inn is one of a small number of archery-themed events held in Æthelmearc throughout the year. When the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais decided a few years ago that they would no longer run Will’s Revenge, the Companions of the Scarlet Guard, Æthelmearc’s grant-level archery order, persuaded the good folk of the Shire of Hornwood to fill the gap. This year’s third Scarlet Guard Inn was as much fun as ever, despite some occasional rain. A total of 57 archers participated in one or more of the shoots.

The event included camping from Friday night through Sunday for those who were interested, but the main activities were held on Saturday. Roving ranges, which required archers to walk through the woods and shoot at targets placed along the way, included one with archers shooting the damned souls of Dante’s Inferno, run by Lady Katherine Täntzel; another run by Alrekr Bergsson (who received his Award of Arms later that day) in which archers had to acquire the assistance of Mythic Heroes to kill the escaped Norse wolf, Fenrir; and a third in which Lady Marina Aragones de Navarre had archers take aim at natural objects like tree stumps, sometimes through tricky terrain.

Photo by THLord Juan Miguel Cezar

There were also several stationary ranges. Master Robert the Grey once again ran his “skeet shoot” which had a wooden machine that Queen Gabrielle described as “looking like something out of da Vinci’s notebooks.” It tossed disks into the air that archers had two chances to hit using “flu-flu” arrows. Master Robert also ran a Popinjay shoot that required archers to shoot nearly vertical to knock a stuffed bird off a wire many feet above them.

The Kingdom Archery Marshal, Baron Edward Harbinger, ran a charity shoot in which gentles could pay $1 per arrow to shoot at targets of Pelicans, Laurel wreaths, Knights, and Puss in Boots (for the Order of Defense), each sponsored by a peer of the appropriate order. The sponsoring peers matched the arrows shot at their targets to a maximum of $10, and those who were present could also “defend” their targets by shooting them, with each hit removing a point scored by another archer. Some targets were shared by multiple peers, which led to the amusing scenario of one peer defending their target while simultaneously adding points to another peer’s tally, only to have the peer sharing the target return the favor. The shoot brought in $393 for the Kingdom Trailer fund.

Count Andreas Morgan’s target loses an eye to the author’s arrow. Sorry, Your Excellency…

A third range, in which archers took aim at characters from the Princess Bride movie, was run by Lord Ru Cavorst. In addition, THLord Juan Miguel ran a 100-yard clout shoot with a dragon at the center, and there was also a standard Royal Round range available for those wishing to improve their scores or receive advice from the members of the Scarlet Guard.

Many of the ranges had members of the Scarlet Guard available to offer training to those who desired it, and some classes were also offered under the pavilion where the cooks of Hornwood provided an all-day sideboard of bread, fruits, veggies, soups, sweets, and drinks.

King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle each took turns at the archery range. Her Majesty, who has previously held the rank of Master Bowman, was shy a string for Her crossbow, so THLord Juan Miguel graciously loaned Her his crossbow.

Queen Gabrielle aims at the Royal Round targets

His Majesty shot a longbow, and despite His protestations of not being a very good archer, did a creditable job at the Royal Round targets. Their Majesties announced in court that night that They intend to arise early each day at Pennsic to participate in the populace shoot on all four days, to serve as an example to Their subjects and encourage everyone to shoot the Archery War Point. King Timothy has said several times that He believes this year the War may come down to the Archery War Point as the deciding competition.

His Majesty shooting with THLord Cynwulf Rendell, with THLord Brada Æthelward marshaling

Their Majesties chose the Inn as Their venue to select both the Kingdom Archery Champion and Their Thrown Weapons Champion. The outgoing Thrown Weapons Champion, THLord Gunther Grunbaum, ran the Thrown Weapons Tournament. The finalists were Master Tigernach mac Cathail, Baron Caleb Reynolds, Lady Aemelia Soteria, THLady Rois O’Faye (called Rosheen), and THLord Kenn the Just.

The Thrown Weapons finalists retrieving their weapons while THLord Gunther scores

The rounds included a variety of targets, including ones where the objective was to not hit certain portions of the target. After a hard fought final round, the winner was Master Tigernach mac Cathail, who was invested as the new Kingdom Thrown Weapons Champion at the evening court.

Master Tigernach is invested as Thrown Weapons Champion

The Kingdom Archery Champion’s Tournament was organized by the outgoing Champion, Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi. After a qualifying round, there were seven qualifying archers who were required to shoot six arrows alternating between the 20 and 30 yard targets, with speed as well as points a determining factor. After this round, the field was reduced to three: Lady Katherine Täntzel, Lord Ru Cavorst, and Lord Gawin Hawkseye. The semi-final round required the archers to perform the difficult task of hitting “snakes” that popped out of canisters when Lord Ichikiero pulled a string. It took at least six rounds but this then reduced the field to two finalists, Lady Katherine and Lord Ru.

Lord Ru and Lady Katherine shooting the final round of the Archery Champion’s Tourney

In the final round, the archers were required to hit paper plates affixed to a mechanical device that made them spin at varying rates of speed, which was another difficult challenge. Both archers performed well, but the winner was Lord Ru Cavorst.

Lord Ru is recognized as the new Archery Champion

That evening, Their Majesties held court, bestowing awards on a number of deserving individuals in addition to investing Their new Archery and Thrown Weapons Champions. They also welcomed Their outgoing Archery Champion, Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi, to the ranks of both Ludicrous Bowman (with a royal round average over 120), and the Order of the Golden Alce.

Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi steps down as Champion and is recognized as a Ludicrous Bowman and a Companion of the Golden Alce

THLord Juan Miguel announced the winner of the Scarlet Guard Challenge, which invited every Shire, Canton, College, Dominion, and Barony in the Kingdom or from other Kingdoms to send a champion to compete. Five groups sent a representative to this year’s Scarlet Guard Inn: the Debatable Lands, Rhydderich Hael, Steltonwald, Hunter’s Home and Delftwood. Since there were only five competitors, they all shot in both rounds of the competition. The first round consisted of shooting at the dragon in the clout range; each archer got 2 shots from 100 yards, 80 yards, 60 yards, and 40 yards. The second round was a timed shoot at the dragon from about 35 yards away, with the archers having to shoot through a castle window. At court, THLord Juan Miguel and his wife, Lady Marina, displayed the banner they had made, which features a white escarbuncle on red, the badge of the Scarlet Guard, and space to add the name of each group and its archer who wins the challenge going forward. This first year’s winner was Lord Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands.

The Scarlet Guard Challenge banner

THLord Juan Miguel also offered a challenge for all archers to complete all nine stations and roving ranges over the course of the day. As the archers completed each shoot, the marshal in charge gave them a sticker to place on a scorecard. Those who accumulated stickers for every shoot received a gray “Iron Tassel” crafted by THLord Juan Miguel, which included a small cast pewter rendition of a tassel as well as an actual yarn archery tassel. Quite a few archers accomplished this feat, with a few others coming very close. THLord Juan Miguel lists the following archers who received Iron Tassels:

Photo by THLord Juan Miguel Cezar

  • THL Meadhbh inghean ui Bhaoghill
  • Lady Simonetta d’Alfassi
  • THL Aindreas mac Ghille Fhionntaigh
  • Greg Straub
  • Lady Miriel du Lac
  • Lord Robert MacEwin
  • Feya
  • Brandy Straub
  • Baroness Elizabeth Arrowsmyth
  • Viscountess Lucilla Theresa de Courtenay
  • THL Madoc Arundel
  • Siobhan Readnait
  • Caelfind in Eich Gil
  • Lord Goffraid Cleireach
  • John Matichko

Gentles who earned an Iron Tassel, photo by THLord Juan Miguel Cezar

His Lordship says, “I’m already making plans for next year’s Iron Tassel, thinking of adding another range or having the archers attend a class.”

Saturday evening ended with gentles enjoying potables and good food around campfires. Despite the intermittent rain, which made it necessary for a few vehicles to be pushed out of the mud, everyone had a great time. Lady Katherine Täntzel said, “I can’t wait until next year!”

Companions of the Order of the Scarlet Guard with Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle. Photo by THLord Juan Miguel Cezar.

All photos not otherwise credited are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Categories: SCA news sites

"Hatch" determined to be male - Tue, 2015-06-16 08:40

In 1981, the skeleton of a dog was discovered among human remains on the Tudor flagship Mary Rose. Since then, the dog, nicknamed "Hatch," was identified as a female, but new research shows that the remains are that of a "young male dog, most closely related to modern Jack Russell terriers, with a brown coat."

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Memorial for Master Fiachra Bonesetter

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-06-15 22:36

Greetings to the Populace of the Known World!

This past Friday our Society lost a true treasure, Master Fiachra Bonesetter, of the Shire of Port Oasis, the Kingdom of Æthelmearc. In his honor we will be holding a Memorial at our upcoming event, Day of Tournaments, being held this weekend, June 19-20th, 2015, in the Shire of Port Oasis (more information can be found here).    

There will be a memorial set up in his honor where you may come pay your last respects and leave a personal message in a journal to be given to his family as a token of our respect and love for him. There will be a memorial service held after the feast at the fire circle later that evening.

The site fee for this event is being waived for all attendees as the Shire will be donating the cost of the site in his honor.  Anyone who wishes to attend the feast will be required to pay a $10 feast fee, and this is limited to the first 60 attendees.

Yours In Service
Master Robert the Grey

Categories: SCA news sites

Ludicrous news!

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-06-15 17:36

Baroness Ygraine of Kellswood, East Kingdom Archery Scorekeeper, reported the following to the Gazette.

I am delighted to report that Master Rupert the Unbalanced has this day
achieved the (unofficial) ranking of Ludicrous Bowman!

Shooting a recurve handbow, his 3 qualifying Royal Round scores are: 122 on
May 3, 119 on June 7 and 119 on June 14

Based on the reports of achievements that have reached me (there may be
others), Baron Rupert is only the 26th archer to achieve this lofty status
in the entire Known World.  For a list, and an account of how the Ludicrous
ranking came to be, please see:

Vivat, Rupert!

Filed under: Archery

Peers with Swords: Maestro Dante di Pietro

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-06-15 14:40

By Don William Parris.

This will be the first in a series of interviews with peers of the rapier world, throughout the Society. I have spoken with representatives of the Order of the Laurel and the Order of Defense, digging into their experiences and perspectives on the evolution of the fencing world. While there is an admirable company of these respected individuals in our Kingdom of Ӕthelmearc, I have approached several more from our neighbors in the Midrealm, Atlantia, and the East. I hope these interviews offer an interesting look through the eyes of rapier fighters that have risen to the prestigious rank of Peer of the Realm.

Cover of Maestro Dante’s Book. Photo by Shutterbug’s Creations at

Maestro Dante di Pietro

Credentials and History: Your titles, places you lived, accomplishments. Who made you a Laurel?  (Basically, who are you?)

Oh, wow. I’m going to start out with a huge cheat and link you to my precedence page: here. Ha! That just saved me about 10 minutes. Mumble mumble handwave something about a smaller tempo metaphor.

In terms of accomplishments unrelated to my awards list, I’ve been a Queen’s Champion and King’s Champion, Atlantia’s Deputy Minister of Arts and Sciences for Historic Martial Arts, and am presently the Society Deputy Minister of Arts and Sciences for Historic Combat Studies. I’ve won a bunch of tournaments, some at Pennsic, but most of those won’t mean much to people outside of my own kingdom.

I also published this recently, which I suppose has more of “who I am” in it than anything else I could offer: On Historical Fencing with the Rapier and Dagger

Maestro Dante has since been issued a writ to consider elevation to the Order of Defense, to sit vigil on June 20 at the Stierbach Baronial Birthday in Atlantia.

Focus of Study: What style or master have you researched and trained in? Is it one particular style, or a family of them?

Broadly speaking, my focus is in Italian rapier as taught by the Big Three of Fabris, Capoferro, and Giganti. I specialize in and teach Capoferro, though Fabris has been a huge source of understanding for theory.

What drew you to/interested you in this style/master/family?

This is a little embarrassing, but the honest truth is that when I started to have an interest, Kirby had already translated Capoferro and Leoni had just translated Fabris, and I have an Italian persona… so essentially I went with what was available at the time. By the time the Thibault translation, or any of the other perfectly wonderful options came out, I was 2 years into my research and didn’t want to change horses midstream. I went with the Italians because they were what I could order on Amazon.

What were your goals as you studied and practiced? What effect did you intend?

At the start, I really just wanted to be a better fencer and win more, and more decisively. The Fabris manual came out at about the same time that Atlantia’s White Scarves got hit by a wave of injuries, real life job stuff, World of Warcraft, and newborn children, and I was only four years in and eager to learn more. I decided that taking over and learning independently was my best option, and read that book cover-to-cover 4 or 5 times, and then started looking at every available resource I could find to  supplement it. I settled on Capoferro because I conceived of it as “Fabris, but upright” and have some hip problems that make Fabris prohibitive. Capoferro is not really just “Fabris, but upright”, and I’ve since added a layer or two of “Dante’s personal strategic preferences”, but I set out to be as much of a purist as possible.

I eventually started teaching classes and pushing the message for HMA pretty hard once I realized just how effective this stuff is, and how few people were doing anything with it. I thought of it like a real-life version of Tekken or Street Fighter (bear with me here, this works, I promise), where most of us were button mashing, some of us had figured out which buttons to mash to do certain things, and here are these guides to the full moves list that most people were just not bothering to read. The real world is more nuanced than that, but really, if you’re a new fencer, you can skip literal years of trial and error by going straight to these resources.

A Pennsic champion.

What challenges did you face/ overcome to be at a place worthy of recognition by the Laurels? Do you still feel those challenges?

In terms of research and knowledge, the biggest challenge was never
committing myself to an interpretation until I was absolutely certain I was right, and then still being willing to drop it and move on if presented with a better idea. You can’t be stubborn. You have to be willing to abandon an idea you’ve held for 5 years if it’s wrong. Sink the costs and go forward.

Outside of that, I’m really, really good at compartmentalizing and grew up in Connecticut, which means that navigating Southern culture has been a challenge. I’m from a part of the country where shouting during an argument doesn’t actually mean you’re angry, and just because the argument is heated doesn’t mean we can’t go right back to normal 5 minutes from now when it’s over. That does not work that way down here, even a little bit. When in Rome, and all that.

Had the A&S community interacted with you about your practice? Did the Laurels ever talk to you about your work?

Once I ended up as the HMA Deputy, I had a lot more interaction with the administrative side of things. There are plenty of Laurels who  fence, so it wasn’t too tough getting exposure. It was important to not only know my stuff, but to make it abundantly clear that I know my stuff. For example, I taught a 6 hour long Capoferro seminar at our Kingdom Arts and Sciences Festival. Several Laurels came by to observe for a bit, so it probably helped my case. I mention this because one trend I have noticed in the A&S polling orders I am in is that a lot of people don’t understand that they have to market their skills. Renown doesn’t just happen on its own, and I could go back through my email archives for the last 7 years and probably find three dozen examples of people who don’t display, don’t have a website, don’t teach classes, and don’t do these things despite direct suggestions. The bottom line is that if you want the recognition, you have to be recognizable.

Receiving his Laurel. Photo by Llwyd Aldrydd

How did you feel when you were asked to join the Laurels? Were you surprised?

It’s a very powerful and moving experience in that it is a final step that is really the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. I have often said that you have to earn the awards, and then you have to deserve them. That’s usually more work than earning them.

I am usually not “surprised” by awards. I don’t mean that I know they’re coming, but just that when I am called in to court I have a pretty good idea as to why. The only exception was my Pearl, which I received only a couple of months after my Coral Branch, so going from an Order of Merit (AoA) to Order of High Merit (GoA) so quickly was a surprise.

Has being a Laurel changed your perspective on study and training, and, if so, how? How has it changed your role in the community?

The only real change is that if I ever have any apprentices, I have a pretty solid plan in place for them to follow and would have the expectation that they do so. No takers, so far. Ha! I am a horrible taskmaster.

This next bit is something that you might not believe and won’t fully understand if you’re not a peer: peerage changes everything. All of the peers reading this just nodded. I would need a whole essay on how much that changes your role and interactions. It’s everything.

What advice would you give those interested in, or are already involved with historic combat?

Read the manual and then do what it says. Don’t argue with it. Trust the system you’ve chosen and follow it, utterly and completely.

Do you feel there is a place for the fencing Laurels in the greater Western Martial Arts/Historical European Martial Arts community?

I think all of those groups are dependent more on the individual’s abilities rather than titles. If you get into any system that has credentialing and ranks and whatever, you realize pretty quickly that they mean certain things and not other things. A black belt doesn’t mean you’re an awesome fighter, but it probably means that you have a
good understanding of that martial art. An NCAA wrestling champion is a judo white-belt, but can probably thrash a lot of black belt judokas despite not knowing much judo. At the end of the day, the titles, awards, credentials, and whatever else you have don’t mean as much as what you personally bring to the table. I am all about effectiveness
as the bottom line.

Do you feel the introduction of the Order of Defense has changed your role in the community?

Nope. I love that there’s finally a step up for the people who exceed the White Scarf, but HMA (historical martial arts) are not a requirement for the Order of Defense.

Receiving a writ of summoning for the Order of Defense. Photo by Tannis Baldwin

Categories: SCA news sites

Aska barrow identified as possible Viking feasting hall - Mon, 2015-06-15 14:01

What was long identified as a burial mound near Vadstena, Sweden has been determined to be a huge building, probably a feasting hall, measuring almost 50 metres in length.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

A Missive from Their Majesties

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-06-14 20:20

Unto the mighty Kingdom of Æthelmearc do Timothy and Gabrielle send warmest greetings,

In a few short weeks it will be Pennsic. The forces of the East and the Middle have marshalled their troops, and have decided to split Our Kingdom amongst themselves. Many amongst us have done what we could to rally others to our cause, and We have allies of Our own who will stand by Our side as we struggle to remain free. Atlantia, Ealdormere, Northshield, Ansteorra, Caid, the Tuchux, House Clovenshield and others will support us.

We are eternally grateful for all their assistance, but even with their help, we will have our hands full. These are our lands. It is time for us to step up to the plate. We have been amazed at the efforts of people throughout our Kingdom stepping up during these last few months. Fighters and fencers have been traveling throughout the Kingdom making muster after muster. People are authorizing in record numbers. Our ranks are swelling with new fighters, fencers and combat archers. Shires, Baronies and Households are having workshops (here’s looking at you Sable Maul) to equip more of our troops for the war.

It is deeply inspiring. With their Highnesses at our side, We will do everything in Our power to try and rally Our Kingdom to victory. His Majesty will be in armor, or under mask for every battle. Her Majesty will be joining the fencers for their battles, and both of Us will be shooting war points early each and every morning. If you want to meet Us at the range, it is Our intent to be at the range every day at 8:00AM. Several of Our marshals have agreed to open the range early so that We may have the opportunity to shoot alongside Our troops. It may turn out that the populace archery shoots decide the eventual outcome of the war. If you can, make the effort to not just shoot once or twice at the war, but pick up your bow once or twice before the war, and attend your local archery practice. Knock the rust off.

Æthelmearc, We are inspired by your efforts, and look to return the favor during this push for war.

Timothy and Gabrielle

Categories: SCA news sites

Their Majesties Seek Assistance

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-06-14 13:17

Photo courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

Greetings to the Kingdom of the East from Queen Etheldreda and King Omega!

The generosity of the East Kingdom is without renown. We ask for a bit of that generosity now so we may continue to give small tokens in court to newcomers to our society. This is an important tradition in which newcomers are called into court and given a small token to thank them for their attendance and give them something to remember the event. We have been blessed with many new faces this reign, with each event having no less than 6 new people at Our Courts! This means that our supply of newcomer tokens is running low.

Order of the Burdened Tyger

The tokens range from veil pins to small boxes. They are simply meant to say ‘Welcome’ and should not be large, expensive gifts, but rather small mementos of things useful to a new SCAdian.

We also have a lack of Burdened Tyger medallions and Tyger’s Cub medallions. We have a plethora of all other medallions but could use both of these types of medallions. The medallions can be painted, embroidered, carved from leather, or made of metal.

Order of the Tyger’s Cub

Finally, our toy chest coordinator has already placed a call out for more toys so we can continue to bring joy in court to the smallest members of our populace.

Thank you so much for your generosity! We truly appreciate those who donate time, skills and materials so worthy gentles can continue to be recognized!

In Service to the East,

King Omega and Queen Etheldreda

Filed under: Announcements

Gazette Editor Profile: Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-06-13 21:52

The third article in our series of Gazette editor interviews.

Name: Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina
Editor Area/Title: Food & Cooking

What made you want to join the Gazette staff?
First, I was thrilled to be asked to interview gentles about feasts and food research around the kingdom and to encourage gentles to contribute articles on such to the Gazette. Chatting with and learning from other cooks is absolutely one of my favorite, favorite things to do. I love it! Second, I was a newspaper reporter and then editor for a decade before moving into book publishing in mundane life, and I have a lot of fond memories of interviewing and writing back then (before I got tired of the long hours and low pay). So, I jumped at the opportunity to do some writing and interviewing again. Third, my dream is to move into food history publishing in some manner, and having some recent “clips” could be useful toward that goal. If it isn’t, I’ll still thoroughly enjoy interviewing gentles and nudging them to write articles.

What do you like most about being on the Gazette staff?
It’s a fantastic group of knowledgeable, excellent writers and techie folks. I love how we each take turns “manning the daily desk” so that we can all balance this work with our regular responsibilities. Having been a local chronicler and editor of the Pennsic book in the past, I find this a far more collaborative environment — staff members share story ideas and can switch daily editor duties when Life gets in the way, so it’s far more flexible and less arduous than being an individual running a whole publication. Having been in newspaper, magazine, and book publishing for the past 30 years, the ability of online publishing to quickly post stories individually and edit/update on the fly is a delightful eye opener to me. It’s so current and fresh.

How has the Gazette been received in your area?
Quite well, I think. Gazette articles are frequently mentioned at Thescorre meetings and are shared on the Barony’s Facebook group.

What kinds of articles would you like to encourage people to submit?
Anything on medieval food, of course! Seriously, some things I’d love to see are cooks sharing their thoughts and experience on what’s involved in being an effective head cook, how to research period recipes without spending a fortune, how to redact period recipes, how to plan a menu that will meet your group’s budget and please your diners, how to adjust your menu to your site and type of event, different ways to run an effective lunch, how to cook safely in a firepit…

The Gazette has published some excellent articles that introduce and explore a topic (such as the bardic arts) or offer step-by-step instructions on how to get involved in something (like building inexpensive archery targets).

Being a research geek, I completely and eagerly encourage gentles to share their advanced exploration of and research on a food topic or recipe — I’d love to see explanations of the humoral theory, redactions of recipes, diaries of building that elaborate subtlety — but I also want to see a variety of introductory, hands-on, practical articles on effective food preparation to encourage MORE gentles to cook delicious period food.

What are some of the articles you’ve done so far?
I interviewed Mistress Alicia and Baroness Bronwyn, the autocrat and head cook, before AEthelmearc Twelfth Night in Abhainn Ciach Ghlais about their special dining format and how it would work at that event. I chatted with Baroness Nuzha at College of Three Ravens about her feast of favorite dishes (and ones she had wanted to do but couldn’t fit into a previous meal) from her 20 years of SCA cooking. I am currently talking to Baron Janos about the Food Lab — so far, I’ve been focusing on talking to cooks about how and why they’re choosing their meal formats and menus, but I have several thoughts for future articles.

Interested in submitting articles to the Gazette, suggesting blogs to feature, or to be put on our roster of photographers whose work we have permission to use? Email us at Check out our submission guidelines here.

Categories: SCA news sites

The SCA Diffusion Study

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-06-12 08:37

THLord Thomas the Green

THLord Thomas the Green recently created a survey he calls the “SCA Diffusion Study,” in which he is attempting to determine how the Society has spread over its 50 years. You can contribute to the survey here. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope interviewed His Lordship about the project.

When did you join the SCA? Where are you from?

I joined the SCA in 1993 at the Shire of Dernehealde, Barony of the Middle Marches, Midrealm, in Athens Ohio, (Ohio University). Oddly enough, I’ve always lived in the Midrealm.

What sorts of activities do you like to do in the SCA?

Over the years I have been a group Seneschal for the Shire of Drakelaw, in Ashland, KY, a group Herald (same), a Herald at Large within the North and South Oaken region of the Midrealm, and a Silent Herald. I’ve also been a Fencing Marshal and the baronial fencing Champion for the Barony of the Middle Marches, as well as a heavy weapon spearman. Principally, though, I’m a scribe. I’m apprenticed to Mistress Katarina Helene von Schoenborn. So I’ve been pushing ink / graphite / lead for … nearly 15 years or so. It’s part of my monastic persona.

What do you do in the real world?

In real life I’m a doctoral student in sociology at Kent State University. Before enrolling here, I was a full-time instructor of sociology at Shawnee State University for the past 8 years (which seems sort of backwards, but it’s a long story).

What made you decide to do the SCA Diffusion Study?

The idea for the SCA Diffusion Study is one of those “No kidding, there I was” stories. Like many things in the SCA, it all began with a road trip. I was on the road with a good friend of mine who is also a Scadian. Mundanely she’s Dr. Amy Rock, Humboldt State University Department of Geography; in the SCA she’s Lady Catriona MacRath. Originally from the Middle Marches and the Midrealm like me – we met back in college – now she’s a transplant out to the West Kingdom. Her big focus both within and outside of the SCA is cartography so it’s a natural fit to ask for her help in the project. We were talking about how we’re now in A.S. 50, and I commented about how the SCA spread around the country and the world. Both of us knew the stories that the Society started in California and then moved around as people relocated either to or from universities or military bases. But, being a doctoral student, I came up with the idea of actually studying the process as a measure of cultural diffusion; how an idea, like the SCA, moves throughout society. Since Catriona is a cultural geographer and I’m a cultural sociologist., between the two of us we basically came up with the idea of putting the data (when groups were founded) on a map to track how the idea of the SCA spread.

I’ve done on-line research before and after a quick survey of what was available on sites like Midrealm Wiki, I figured that the best way to collect the data was to let SCAdians help me out. There’s enough “living history” out there that someone would be most likely to know when a group, barony, principality, etc. was formed. Once the form was completed on Google Docs, it was a simple matter of getting it out into the SCAdian hive-mind.

Other than social media, how are you distributing this study?

 Currently the survey form is being sent around through social media like Facebook, with email sent to a few people I knew in other kingdoms who could spread it on their end, since I’m only a member of the Midrealm and SCA Facebook groups.

Have you thought about how to find information on defunct groups?

The topic of defunct groups is why, specifically, I hit social media. I can dig through records like Gandalf in Minas Tirith but it seemed logical and efficient to ask the SCAdian population at large to help identify which groups are no longer in operation. I would have no idea where to even look for groups who aren’t currently reporting – especially groups that may have formed and gone cold twenty or thirty years ago.

When did you initiate the survey, and how many responses have you received to date? How has it been received?

So far people have been fairly curious about the project and I’ve received a lot of comments from people who were trying to pull in some of those ‘living history’ members who would know the history of the SCA within their region. So far I’ve received 40 responses and the project has only been live for 24 hours (since June 10 at 9 a.m.). I’m going to be tracking the progress on a weekly basis by kingdom, so if I know the total number of active groups (shires, baronies, etc.) within a given kingdom, I can measure how close I am to having data on all of the current groups for each kingdom. I already have responses from Middle, East, Caid, Calontir, Atlantia, and Ansteorra to just name a few, so the word is definitely getting out.

Have you contacted anyone at the Society level to gain additional data?

There was a post on one of the Facebook pages from someone mentioning that I should review the Board meeting minutes since any new group’s origin would be listed in them as an official point of business. I have no idea how to access those minutes but they would be a great resource. I’ll probably use them to fill in the gaps as needed and serve as a comparison between what was reported.

The Board minutes would only indicate when the group became official. That could be years after its founding. However, they would also list any groups that had been dissolved.

Right. Defunct groups will be plugged in as we get them. That may be what I look for in the Board’s minutes – to find where groups did exist but have gone dormant. There may be pockets of a kingdom’s territory that may have been active at one time but are now generally quiet.

You’ll probably also find groups that spring up and then die over and over again in the same location. Small towns and college groups are prone to that.

Yup. which hopefully we can track. What began as a brain teaser of “I wonder how the SCA spread around the world” will probably turn into a much larger project once I start digging through the responses and putting the information in order.

What sort of information do you expect or hope to learn from it, besides the obvious of how the SCA spread over time?

The study of diffusion is a lengthy one. I’m basically tracking an idea. This method only tracks the path the idea took, which is not exactly the same thing as the process. Many people have already told me stories of how one principality was founded when Duke-Sir-Someone broke down on the road and was helped by some people. They asked about the medieval stuff in his car and voila… the idea is passed from person to person.

What do you plan to do with the information you gain?

The idea is to take all of the information on the form (group’s name, area, first year, etc.) and plug it into a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) program. This is where my friend Lady Catriona, the Cultural Geographer, comes in. We can then plot, by year, where certain areas (probably by county) ‘went active’. Since we have 50 years of the SCA, I’d have 50 layers of map, and each one would show which counties light up (are active) or fade (go inactive) over that time period. There will most likely be various iterations of this mapping project where we track active groups over the years and then compare that information to the location of college campuses and military bases around the country/world.

Do you see this information as having a practical application? Or is it mostly of historical / social interest?

As far as practical applications for the research, there are a few things that we’re playing with. An interesting feature of GIS is that we can use existing trends (the spread of a cultural trend like the SCA) not only to see where the trend has come from but also to predict where it will most likely originate next. And that’s the really interesting stuff. Basically, this project will help shed light on questions like: “What is necessary to facilitate the creation of an SCA group?”

So could have predictive value?

I’m not as clear on how that part works, that’s where Catriona’s work in Cultural Geography kicks in. You would assume that SCA groups are formed in proximity to other SCA groups; so that you could have some degree of mentoring.

A lot of people have expressed concern that the Society is shrinking. The numbers I’ve seen on the Society’s membership levels seem to indicate that it’s increasing slightly in the past few months, with some kingdoms stronger than others. I wonder how your study results might correlate with that?

That’s also what I was curious about as well. With the economy being as it is – how much can people afford to “live the dream”? When I helped found the shire of Drakelaw in Ashland KY, we were across the river from an existing group in Ohio and only 30 minutes away from a group in Æthelmearc (Port Oasis). So we had a lot of other SCAdians around to help us build the idea of what the SCA was.

To participate in the survey, click here. If you have any questions about the survey, please email THLord Thomas. His Lordship has promised to update the Gazette once he has the data crunched from the survey. To see regular updates on the status of the study, you can Like its Facebook page.

Categories: SCA news sites

Donations Needed for the Royal Toy Chest

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-06-11 20:00
Greetings Everyone – The wonderful tradition of giving toys to the children during Royal Court is something we all look forward to. The generosity of the people of The East has kept the toy chest overflowing for our children. In celebration of the alliance between The East and The Midrealm I would like to fill the toy chest with tigers and dragons!! Please feel free to contact me about donations! In Service…Lady Tysha z Kieva – Toy Chest Coordinator
(The Keeper of the Toys!!) Facebook contact – Patricia Saklas
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gazette Editor Profile: Arianna of Wynthrope

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-06-11 19:32

Next in our continuing series on our Gazette Editorial Staff.

Name: Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
Editor Area/Title: A&S and Youth Combat Editor

Arianna of Wynthrope, photo by Don Corwyn Montgomery.

What made you want to join the Gazette staff:
I thought the SCA’s newsletter system was outmoded and needed to be replaced with something more relevant to modern methods of communication. I had read and was impressed by the East Kingdom Gazette, and asked Tiercelin about creating one here almost a year ago. I wanted to see a similar venue in Æthelmearc for timely news and articles that people throughout the Kingdom would find valuable and interesting, and I’m thrilled that it’s happened and worked out so well.

What do you like most about being on the Gazette staff?
I get to write about whatever strikes my fancy. As a teenager, I toyed with the idea of being a reporter, but ultimately decided against it as a career that was too much work and not enough pay. Now I get to do it! And it’s too much work with no pay….

But that’s ok because I can choose my topics and work on my own schedule. I really enjoy both the process of writing the articles and the pleasure others tell me they get from reading them. In particular, I’ve learned a lot from the interviews I’ve done, which kind of surprised me — I’ve been in the SCA for 38 years and I thought I knew most of what the SCA is about and how it operates. I guess there’s always something new to learn.

How has the Gazette been received in your area?
Very well. Quite a few people have told me how much they enjoy the Gazette.

What kinds of articles would you like to encourage people to submit?
Really, anything. Most of the submissions we get are more announcements than articles. I’d like to see people submit more opinion pieces, stories about things that have happened to them in the SCA, how they think things could be done differently or better, short A&S how-to articles like the ones THL Deryk Archer does about making archery targets, things like that. There are a lot of people with unique and interesting perspectives on the Society in our Kingdom, and I’d really like their voices to be heard!

Interested in submitting articles to the Gazette, suggesting blogs to feature, or to be put on our roster of photographers whose work we have permission to use? Email us at Check out our submission guidelines here.

Categories: SCA news sites

Event Profile: Artisan’s Village

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-06-11 16:30

This past weekend the shire of Hartshorn-dale hosted its first Artisans’ Village, a weekend long camping event dedicated to showcasing, promoting, and supporting the arts and sciences of our fair kingdom. The site was split into different artists areas, with similar arts located together. There were areas for glass bead making, metalworking (including blacksmithing and casting), confectionary science, paper arts (including scribal arts, bookbinding, and printing), plaster casting, historic combat, fiber (including spinning and weaving), and period brewing.

Attendees were free to wander through different village areas at the event, where artisans spent the day demonstrating and teaching their crafts to all. Many attendees chose instead to spend most of their day working and learning in only one of the village areas. This allowed people to learn new arts or to continue to build skills they already had, developing a more in-depth understanding of their art by working closely with other artisans.

While there was no overall arts and science competition, there were still many chances for those who chose to be competitive to show off their skills. A fleece to shawl competition was held at the event, pitting two teams of spinners and weavers against each other to complete a project. In a twist on the typical A&S competition, the populace was also invited to issue arts and science challenges a few months prior to the event. This allowed anyone to take up a challenge and display the fruits of their labor at the event for all to see. An hour was then set aside to allow challengers and the artisans who took up their challenges to discuss their works.

Photos by Mistress Rainillt de Bello Marisco and Lissa Underhill

**The event organizers are grateful to the East Kingdom University for sponsoring and supporting this event**

Filed under: Events Tagged: a&s, events

Rapier Announcement: Experimental Weapons Programs

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-06-11 16:01

We are pleased to announce the start of two rapier experimental weapon programs.

The first program is Fleeting Body Contact, run by Master Donovan
Shinnock. This experiment will explore the feasibility of changing
II.B.9, currently “Wrestling with an opponent, or any form of
body-to-body contact is prohibited.” to the Society Rapier Standard
of, “Fleeting contact between opponents is allowed, as long as no
grappling, deliberate striking or other unsafe behavior occurs.”
Fighters and marshals wishing to participate in this program should
contact Master Donovan.

The second program is Blade Grabbing, run by Baroness Alesone Gray of
Cranlegh. This experiment will explore the feasibility of allowing
blade grabbing in the East Kingdom as defined by the Society Rapier

For this experiment:
Blade grabbing will be announced at the beginning of each bout in
which it will be used. Both participants must agree to the convention.
If the blade that is grasped moves or twists in the grasping hand,
that hand is deemed disabled
Grasping techniques shall be used only to immobilize a blade, not to
bend it or wrest it from the opponent’s grip.
Fighter attempts to move or twist the blade free, the blade must be
released and the grasping hand shall be deemed disabled, even if the
blade is grasped tightly enough that it cannot be moved.
Wrestling or grappling with opponents or blades is prohibited.
Fighters and marshals wishing to participate in this program should
contact Baroness Alesone

With both programs:
Any marshal who has been deputized by the marshal supervising the
experiment may oversee bouts fought under the proposed new rule.
Combatants in such a bout will be informed of the rule and
expectations of behavior. After overseeing any such bouts, the marshal
will discuss the bout(s) with the combatants and send an after-action
report to the supervising marshal.

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me

In service,
Baroness Alesone Gray of Cranlegh,
Experimental Weapon Deputy, Rapier

Filed under: Fencing

Pennsic War Pre-registration Closes June 17th

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-06-11 13:07


As a reminder, paid pre-registration for Pennsic 44 closes on Wednesday June 17th. For more information, please see the Pennsic Registration Website.

Filed under: Pennsic

The Bristowe Hat - Thu, 2015-06-11 11:30

Eleri Lynn, Collections Curator for England's Historic Royal Palaces, is always looking for new items for the collection. She recently was thrilled to add the Bristowe Hat, "a rare example of Tudor or very early Stuart fashion made from silk tufting, with a green feather, silver button, and evenly positioned holes for attaching jewels." (photo)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Cambridge hospital skeletons revealed - Thu, 2015-06-11 00:04

From the 13th through the 15th centuries, the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist operated on what is now the grounds of St. John's College, Cambridge University. In 2010, archaeologists working there discovered the hospital's cemetery, considered one of the largest medieval hospital burial grounds in England. Photos of the discovery have now been released. (photos)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites