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Monastery diet revealed by Durham Cathedral excavation

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-06-03 16:22

Archaeologists working on an excavation of a portion of Durham Cathedral, destined to become an exhibition space for the relics of St. Cuthbert, have unearthed over 20,000 animal bones and a "massive amount" of food waste. The site was once part of the monastery's 14th century kitchen. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Open Audition Call for the Pennsic Commedia All Stars Troupe!

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-06-03 10:40

OPEN CALL! If you are going to Pennsic and would like to perform in a commedia dell' arte play with the troupe named "Pennsic Commedia All Stars" please let me know!  The All Stars is a troupe that exists only at Pennsic, very much inspired by the Known World Players. 

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Categories: SCA news sites

Oldest known trousers found in China

History Blog - Mon, 2014-06-02 23:45

The oldest known trousers in the world have been found in two tombs of the Subeixi culture in northwestern China. The burials are among more than 500 that have been excavated in the Yanghai cemetery near the city of Turfan since the first grave was discovered by local villagers in the 1970s. The cemetery is in a gravel desert, an arid climate that can get as hot as 122°F in the summer and as cold as -20°F in the winter, which ensures the preservation of organic material like human and animal remains, plants and textiles.

The woolen pants were found in tombs M21 and M157. The ones in the former are almost complete, while only fragments of the trousers were found in the latter. Radiocarbon dating analysis on samples of the fabric from both pairs found that the M21 pants date to 1122-926 B.C., while the M157 pants may be slightly older at 1261–1041 B.C. That makes these finds centuries older than the oldest Scythian pants (5th to 3rd centuries B.C.).

This period marked the shift from settled farming and herding communities to nomadic pastoral lifestyles on horseback in central Asia. The bit and harness made controlling the horse at high speeds over long distances or during battle possible, but now the riders needed an article of clothing that would allow them to side astride while protecting their legs and genitals. The tunics, gowns, and the combination of loincloth and individual leggings tied to a waistband like Otzi the Iceman was wearing 2,000 years earlier when he died in the Alps weren’t going to do the trick.

It was the invention of the crotch that ushered in the era of the trousers. The crotch joins the legs together with the abdominal section and waist, converting the four pieces of the leggings-waistband-loincloth rig into a single garment. This design allowed riders to spread their legs as wide as they needed to while still protecting the inginual and pelvic areas.

The Yanghai trousers, particularly the pair found in tomb M21, illuminate this revolutionary construction. Even the damage is helpful to archaeologists. The front of the trousers and the left leg are in excellent condition, while the back and right leg have holes that fortuitously expose the inside of the pants and the left seams. A new study published in Quaternary International found that the trousers are formed from three separately woven pieces: two straight-cut legs and a stepped cross-shaped crotch that covers the genitals from the front to the back. There are side slits in the waistband, and a remnant of string at the edges of the slits suggests the trousers were closed on both sides with drawstrings.

The seams on the inside of the legs and the edges where the crotch-piece is stitched to the legs are covered with a decorative braid. There’s also decoration woven into the fabric.

The warp thread in the leg-pieces is brown but cream-coloured in the crotch-piece, whereas the weft changes between brown and cream and so forms patterns. At the upper part of the trousers, where the fabric covers the abdomen, the ground colour is cream and the ornaments are brown weft. Double lines of brown weft were woven into the fabric decorating the entire crotch-piece at regular intervals. By contrast, the fabric of the leg-pieces is dominated by a shade of brown, on which the ornaments stick out in cream-shaded weft. At the height of the crotch the background colour changes from shades of cream to brown through an interlocking stepped triangle pattern. At the height of the knees a zone of rhombic meandering ornament occurs. At the height of the calves two parallel zigzag lines and a third one just above the hemline are woven around the leg.

No cloth was cut in the making of these pants. Each piece was woven individually to fit the person who wore them. Since the yarns and threads all match, either one person did all the work or the weaver and tailor worked closely together.

Horse-related grave goods found in both tombs underscore the connection between the trousers and their function. The man buried in M21 went to his eternal rest with a decorated leather bridle with a wooden horse bit hanging from a stick near his head. Tomb M157 includes a whip, a decorated horse tail, a bow sheath and a bow. Both men were about 40 years old at the time of death and were buried wearing the ancestors of riding breeches.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Kolgrim Olafsson to be knighted at Battlemoor

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-06-02 19:53

Lady Danielle reports that Their Majesties Walrick and Cecilia of the Kingdom of the Outlands have chosen to offer elevation to the Order of Chivalry to THL Kolgrim Olafsson.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Jost and Isolte new Prince and Princess of Cynagua

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-06-02 14:20

Duchess Megan reports that Sir Jost von Luck was the victor of the Spring 2014 Cynagua Coronet in the Kingdom of the West. His Highness fought for Isolte le Quite.

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Categories: SCA news sites

War of the Roses Unofficial Court Report

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-06-02 12:03

Their Imperial Majesties, Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta visited their Barony of Concordia of the Snows on 24 May 2014, AS XLIX for War of the Roses.

Upon the field of combat Their Majesties did open a court. They called forth William Deth, and noted his prowess on both the heavy and rapier fields. This day was his rapier prowess in particular noted, and the recipients of the Order of the Silver Rapier were called forth. He received a medallion, and a scroll by Nest verch Tangwistel.

In the early evening, Their Majesties held their formal court.

Eithne ingen Fháeláin was called before the court. Her Majesty questioned if this young lady might be a long lost cousin, as they have a similar surname. Though no certain answer was made, she was named a Lady of the Court, and presented with an AoA scroll by Heather Rose DeGourdoun.

Next was Branwen Stargazer called before Their Majesties. She was named a Lady of the Court, a scroll for her AoA would be forthcoming.

It was thus announced that the proposed Shire of Midland Vale in the southern part of New York on the New Jersey border, sponsored by the Shire of Coill Tuar, was granted Incipient status.

The autocrat for the event, Jaquelinne Sauvageon, was called forward and made several announcements.

His Excellency Concordia of the Snows Pierre de Tours and Mistress Brid each swore their fealty.

Next Their Majesties demanded the presence of Queen’s Guard Aesa Lokabrenna Sturladottir. Her time and service spoken of with affection, she was named a Lady of the Court, and received an AoA scroll by Harold von Auerbach.

Children participating in Her Majesty’s Service Challenge were called forward and presented beads. The rest of the children in attendance were called forth, and presented gifts from the Royal Toy Box.

A pair of young brothers, Koen Hedinnson and Garron Hedinnson were called before the Court. They were soon joined by the Companions of the Order of the Tyger’s Cub. They were inducted into the order, Koen receiving a scroll by Rhonwen glyn Conwy, Garron receiving a scroll with calligraphy by Colin MacLaren and illumination by Rennenwief van Grunewald.

The Brewer’s Guild were called forth, and presented a gift to Their Majesties in the memory of Sheldon the Just.

Irmel von Lubeck was called before the court. She was named a Lady of the Court, and received an AoA with scroll by Katrusha Skomorokh.

Having received a writ from Kenric II and Avelina II, at the start of the day Alberic von Rostock had been sent to sit on vigil and contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican. He answered in the affirmative, and was elevated to the Peerage. He received a scroll by Fiona O’Maille ó Chaun Coille with words by Toki Redbeard. His Majesty Aethelmearc, Magnus Tindal, addressed the populace, thanking them for their hospitality. Prince Edward also offered thanks, and thus closed the court of Their Imperial Majesties, Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta was closed. Long may they reign over the Empire of the East!

In service,

Malcolm Bowman
Eastern Crown Herald
PS – Thank you for Heraldic assistance to Grim the Skald.

 Photos by Baroness Cateline la Broderesse








Filed under: Court Tagged: War of the Roses

Lionheart: "A bad son, a bad husband, a selfish ruler, and a vicious man?"

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-06-02 11:12

Richard the Lionheart is a beloved figure in English history, but the name has sparked controversy with many historians who found the king to be not so virtuous. On his history blog for The Telegraph, Dr Dominic Selwood tries to debunk some of the myths surrounding King Richard I.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Crown Tourney Unofficial Court Report

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2014-06-01 23:17

Investing the Prince and Princess of Tir Mara

Their Imperial Majesties, Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta made the long journey to l’ile du Dragon Dormant on 17 May 2014, AS XLIX, where they witnessed the tournament to determine their heirs.

Numerous outstanding combatants presented themselves, but the day was won by His Grace Duke Edward Grey of Lochleven, fighting for the honor of Countess Þóra Eiríksdóttir.

At the start of court Edward and Þóra were invested as the Prince and Princess Tir Mara, to the delight of the populace assembled.

Next The Ladies of the Rose present awarded tokens to worthy fighters. Tokens were presented to Ávaldr Valbjarnarson, Wilhelm von Ostenbrücke, Thorvald Olafsson, and Culann mac Cianian.

Shield of Chivalry to Wilham

Wilham de Broc was called forward and presented with the Shield of Chivalry.

Thomas of Ravenhill was named the Admiral of the Armies.

Christobald Della Rocca was called forth before the court, and inducted into the Order of the Tyger’s Cub. He received a scroll by Bebhinn Inghean Ui Siodhachain with translation by Brunissende le dragonet.

Genofeva Clerica was called before the court, and named a Lady of the Court. She was presented with an AoA scroll by Robin dit Dessaint, with words by Tadea Isabetta di Bruno and Translation by Kirsa Oyutai.

East Kingdom Minister of the Lists Sabina Luttrell was presented a token by His Majesty Brennan for her outstanding job with organizing the day’s lists.

Their Excellencies l’ile du Dragon Dormant, Angus McHaley & Tadea Isabetta di Bruno, Her Excellency Stonemarch Jocelyn del Espada, Their Excellencies Havre des Glaces Godfroy de Falaise and Alisay de Falaise swore fealty to Their Majesties.

It was announced that the proposed Canton of Basingstoke in the area known as Down East Maine, sponsored by the Barony of Endewearde was granted Incipient status.

Áine an Neamheaglach was called into court. Their Majesties presented business passed on to them by Kenric II and Avelina II, and named her a Lady of the Court. She received an AoA scroll by Caterina Giaocchini with translation by Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle.

Maunche for Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina

Ekaterina Solov’eva Pevstova was called before Their Majesties. She was made a Lady of the Court, and awarded an AoA with a scroll by Shadiyah al-Zahra’.

Yolente Van der Brugghe was called into court. She was made a Lady of the Court, and awarded an AoA with a scroll by Jonathan Blaecstan, with words by Jean Oste de Murat and translation from Arthur de Beaumont

Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina was called into the court. Citing her Roman research and creations, Their Majesties called forth the companions of the Order of the Maunche. She was inducted into said order, and received a scroll by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova.

Tailor to the Crown, Cristoforo

Now was called before the court Cristoforo Donatello dei Visconti. His incredible works as a tailor duly noted, he was named a Tailor to the Crown and received a scroll by Ursion de Gui.

Ehorik Ansgardson was called into court. He was named a Lord of the Court, and presented with an AoA scroll by Ignacia la Ciega, with words by Godfroy de Falaise and translation to English by Arthur de Beaumont.

Silver Crescent for Varju

Katarzyna Gwozdz, called Varju, was requested to present herself before the court. Her dedication and hard work cited, Their Majesties called for the companions of the Order of the Silver Crescent. She was thus inducted into the order, and presented a scroll with illumination by Ryan Mac Whyte, calligraphy by Kay Leigh Mac Whyte, words by Marguerite ingen Lachlainn and translation by Arthur de Beaumont.

Though not present during court, the following gentles were also awarded Arms, and presented with scrolls: Abygaelle du Havre des Glaces, AoA scroll by Harold von Auerbach, with words by Jean Oste de Murat and translation by Arthur de Beaumont; Matheo du Havre des Glaces, AoA scroll by Jonathan Blaecstan, with words by Jean Oste de Murat and translation by Arthur de Beaumont; Külicejin of Dragon Dormant, AoA scroll by Borujin Acilaldai translated by Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle.

Thus concluded a day of great chivalry, honor and prowess. The court of Their Imperial Majesties, Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta was closed. Long may they reign over the Empire of the East!

In service,

Malcolm Bowman
Eastern Crown Herald

PS – Thank you to the Heraldic staff for the day! Master Ryan MacWhyte; Master Grim the Skald; Aotroù Conogan mab Rioc, the Breton; Lord Martyn de Halliwell; Dominus Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle; and Behi Kirsa Oyutai

(Photos kindly provided by Lady Cat Lennox.)







Filed under: Court, Events Tagged: Crown Tournament, Crown Tourney, spring crown

Henry VII’s tomb yields silk cloth 10 feet long

History Blog - Sun, 2014-06-01 23:02

Last October, researchers from the University of Pisa opened the tomb of Henry VII of Luxembourg (1275-1313), King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor, in Pisa Cathedral to study the remains and grave goods. Inside the coffin they found his bones wrapped in a silken shroud. On top of the bundle were a crown, a scepter and an orb, the classic trappings of imperial power, all in gilded silver.

It was the shroud that proved the biggest surprise. When it was carefully unfurled, the rectangular cloth was just shy of 10 feet long and four feet wide. Woven out of silk in the 14th century, the shroud has horizontal bands about four inches wide in alternating colors of orangey brown (originally red) and blue. Embroidered on the blue strips with silver and gold thread are lions facing each other. The formerly red bands have some kind of decoration as well, but it’s in the same tonal range and can’t be identified with the naked eye. At the top of the textile is a dark red band with thin borders of golden yellow. There are traces of an inscription on the red band, but it’s not decipherable yet.

To top it all off, the edges along the length of the entire cloth are finished with selvages and the top and bottom edges are finished with checkered bands. That means this textile is complete, the full width of the loom on which it was woven. For such an exceptionally delicate textile to survive complete for 701 years is incredibly rare, unique even. It will be an invaluable source of information on the silk-weaving industry in the early 14th century, and if the inscription and decoration can be fully deciphered, it will also add to our understanding of Henry and his reign.

This isn’t the first time Henry VII’s tomb has been opened. It was opened before in 1727 and again in 1921. Researchers found a lead cylinder in the coffin with a parchment that was left behind in 1727, and the report from the 1921 intervention is extant. It describes the cloth as “a fine shroud woven in bands,” rather a dramatic understatement considering what a treasure it is. Archaeologists today have a much higher estimation of textiles than they did a century ago.

Celebrated as the “alto Arrigo” (high Henry) in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Henry is best remembered for his struggle to reestablish imperial control over the city-states of 14th-­century Italy.

He was crowned King of Germany in 1308 and two years later he descended into Italy with the aim of pacifying destructive disputes between Guelf (pro-papal) and Ghibelline (pro-imperial) factions. His goal was to be crowned emperor and restore the glory of the Holy Roman Empire.

After meeting strong opposition among anti-imperialist Guelf lords, Henry entered Rome by force, and was indeed crowned Holy Roman Emperor on June 29, 1312.

“He who came to reform Italy before she was ready for it,” as Dante described Henry VII, died just a year after his coronation, having failed to defeat opposition by a secular Avignon papacy, city-states and lay kingdoms.

Henry died on August 24th, 1313, 16 days after launching a campaign against his greatest enemy Robert of Anjou, King of Naples. He is thought to have died of malaria, but the timing is obviously suspicious and there were immediately rumors that he had been poisoned. There was no time to preserve his corpse, so his people took drastic measures to skeletonize it. His body was burned until the flesh was incinerated, then the bones were soaked in wine for preservation. The head was removed and boiled leaving a clean skull. There were ashes in the coffin and signs of charring on the bones.

The rough beginning was compounded over the centuries by multiple moves of the coffin to different locations inside the cathedral. The face area of the skull was badly damaged. An anthropologist on the team reconstructed the skeleton and cranium, which allowed researchers to estimate Henry’s height and age. He was about 1.78 meters tall (about 5'10") and around 40 years old when he died. His knees showed signs of having been used extensively in genuflecting prayer. A high concentration of arsenic was found in his bones, and the symptoms of arsenic poisoning — nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, convulsions — could be confused for a number of natural illnesses, including malaria. Arsenic was a very popular poison in medieval and Renaissance Italy, especially among the upper classes. It even earned the monicker “the poison of kings.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean Henry VII was deliberately poisoned, however. Arsenic was a common ingredient in medications. Hippocrates himself used an arsenic compound to treat ulcers and abscesses, and once Albertus Magnus isolated arsenic in 1250, the pure element was used to treat everything from skin conditions to venereal diseases to fevers and malaria.

The artifacts from the tomb are being kept in the Museum of the Cathedral while researchers continue to study the contents. Small fragments of bones have been sent to specialized labs for analysis. Hopefully the results will reveal more about Henry’s life, death and the treatment his body received after death.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The man who broke the Sutton Hoo story

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-06-01 21:47

In 1939, the biggest news in archaeology was the discovery of the Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, England. In a feature story for EADT24, Mike Bowden discusses how his father, Alfred Bowden, known as “Bow,’’ broke the story of the discovery. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

New Archery Champions!

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2014-06-01 15:53

Tournement winner and Queen’s Champion: Master Rupert the Unbalanced
King’s Champion selected by His Majesty: Master Peter the Red

83 archers participated in this year’s tournement, which was held May 31, 2014, in the Barony of Bergental and autocratted by Mistress Tamsin Whitlocke. The competition was run by the retiring Champions, Baron Master Krakken Gnashbone and Baron Colin Ursell. Their August Majesties, Brennan and Caoilfhionn, addressed the participants, then shooting commenced. The theme of the day was “Viking”, with challenges including Thor’s Hammer, ships sailing away, helmets, shields, shooting from “horseback”, and a singing Brunhilde. All participants were able to shoot the full course of 11 targets, then scores were totaled and sorted.

As the top scorers were announced, each was asked if they wished to compete for the honor and responsibility of serving as a Champion. Three top scorers chose to step out of the competition: Master Phillip Reed the Facetious (100), Lord Kusunoki Yoshimoto (90) and Lord Nathaniel Wyatt (88). The resulting 16 finalists then commenced shoot-offs against their seeded competitors; in each pairing, the winner was the first to knock down 5 small “axe-head” targets.

Here are the results:

16 Finalists
#1 – Rupert the Unbalanced (119) vs. #16 – Treya min Teanga (69)
#2 – Godric of Hamtun (117) vs. #15 – Hawkmoon (72)
#3 – Peter the Red (109) vs. #14 – Alexander von Heisler (73)
#4 – Urho of the Pines (92) vs. #13 – Kieran Bren of Bannockburn (73)
#5 – Ryan McWhyte (88) vs. #12 – Conor O’Ceallaigh (75)
#6 – Li Kung Lo (86) vs. #11 – Alberic maqi Droata (76)
#7 – Radagast (84) vs. #10 – Mongo Chinua (81)
#8 – Jehannine de Flandres (85) vs. #9 – Mark Squirrelsbane (81)

Quarter Finals
Rupert vs. Hawkmoon
Peter vs. Jehannine
Urho vs. Radagast
Ryan vs. Li

Rupert vs. Li
Peter vs. Urho

Rupert vs. Urho

Filed under: Archery, Events Tagged: champions, Kings and Queens Champions

Pikestaff Cover Art Needed

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2014-06-01 11:45

Mistress A’isha bint Jamil, Chronicler of the East Kingdom, writes on behalf of our Kingdom newsletter:

Please consider submitting cover art for Pikestaff.
Questions and submissions can be sent via email to chronicler@eastkingdom.org

The issue format is 8.5 x 11”, with a 1” margin of white space. Art can be line drawings or grey scale. The key is that it must be printable on a black and white printer. Photos rendered in black and white are also an option, but if they contain any people we must have a release form from each and every one before we can use it. This generally prevents us using candid scenes shot at events.

Art can be submitted electronically as a high resolution scan. Graphical formats (gif, jpg, png, etc.) generally give much better results than pdf. If you wish to include the required cover information (month, issue number, date, etc.)  in your art, please contact the chronicler (chronicler@eastkingdom.org) to confirm that the month you are submitting for is available. Otherwise the text will be added by the chronicler during the layout process. You will also need to complete an SCA creative release form (http://www.sca.org/docs/pdf/ReleaseCreative.pdf) granting us permission to publish the artwork. Releases for photos and models can also be found here: http://www.sca.org/docs/library.html.

Filed under: Official Notices Tagged: Pikestaff

Students "Eat Like a Roman" at the University of Buffalo

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-06-01 10:02

Roman music, historical dress and Latin greetings set the mood for a special banquet served to 2,000 University at Buffalo students in April 2014, as part of the class "Eat Like a Roman" taught by UB’s Department of Classics. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Decoding Anglo-Saxon art

History Blog - Sat, 2014-05-31 23:15

The British Museum’s consistently fascinating blog has an entry decoding the complex iconography of Anglo-Saxon art. If you’ve ever found yourself following the intricate interlacing lines and curves of an Anglo-Saxon design, trying to identify a highly stylized animal or face mask, then you’ve doubtless wished for a labeled map. British Museum curator Rosie Weetch and illustrator Craig Williams have made that wish come true.

They select three pieces from different periods to decode. The first is a silver-gilt square-headed brooch that was unearthed from the grave of a woman on the Isle of Wight in 1855. It was cast in silver and gilded on the front surface, a technique influenced by southern Scandinavian metalwork. Created in the early 6th century A.D., the brooch is a beautiful example of Style I art, characterized by a jumble of interwoven figures art historians amusingly call “animal salad.”

Its surface is covered with at least 24 different beasts: a mix of birds’ heads, human masks, animals and hybrids. Some of them are quite clear, like the faces in the circular lobes projecting from the bottom of the brooch. Others are harder to spot, such as the faces in profile that only emerge when the brooch is turned upside-down. Some of the images can be read in multiple ways, and this ambiguity is central to Style I art.

Once we have identified the creatures on the brooch, we can begin to decode its meaning. In the lozenge-shaped field at the foot of the brooch is a bearded face with a helmet underneath two birds that may represent the Germanic god Woden/Odin with his two companion ravens. The image of a god alongside other powerful animals may have offered symbolic protection to the wearer like a talisman or amulet.

The next example is from a century later, the great gold buckle from the early 7th century Sutton Hoo ship burial. It’s a Style II piece, characterized by more fluid intertwined animal figures. There are 13 animals on the buckle surface: snakes and four-legged creatures on the plate and tongue shield, snakes biting themselves on the loop, two animals biting a smaller animal on the top of the buckle, and two bird heads on the shoulders of the buckle.

Such designs reveal the importance of the natural world, and it is likely that different animals were thought to hold different properties and characteristics that could be transferred to the objects they decorated. The fearsome snakes, with their shape-shifting qualities, demand respect and confer authority, and were suitable symbols for a buckle that adorned a high-status man, or even an Anglo-Saxon king.

The last piece skips ahead to the 9th century Trewhiddle Style, named after the town in Cornwall where a hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins and decorated artifacts were discovered in a tin mine in 1774. The style is distinguished by enlaced animals, birds and humans, leafy scrollwork and a particular emphasis on using silver rather than gold and brass. The Fuller Brooch features the classic Trewhiddle humans, animals and plants along the border, but the central iconography is unique.

At the centre is a man with staring eyes holding two plants. Around him are four other men striking poses: one, with his hands behind his back, sniffs a leaf; another rubs his two hands together; the third holds his hand up to his ear; and the final one has his whole hand inserted into his mouth. Together these strange poses form the earliest personification of the five senses: Sight, Smell, Touch, Hearing, and Taste. Surrounding these central motifs are roundels depicting animals, humans, and plants that perhaps represent God’s Creation.

The metaphoric significance of these figures, its best-in-class quality and the unique vision of the piece may suggest a connection to the court of King Alfred the Great, who was not only a successful military leader but also had a deep and abiding passion for learning and education. The long period of Viking raids had decimated centers of learning. Alfred made it a mission to reinvigorate Latin education and, for the first time, to advocate learning in the English vernacular. He put his money where his mouth was, personally translating four major works from Latin into Old English: Pastoral Care by Gregory the Great, The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, St. Augustine’s Soliloquies, and the first fifty psalms.

Chapter XXXIV of his translation of Boethius uses the senses as a metaphor for enlightenment and understanding:

But gold and silver stones and every kind of gem and all this present weal enlighten not at all the eyes of the mind nor at all whet their sharpness for beholding true happiness but they rather blind the eyes of the mind than sharpen them For all the things which please us here in this present life are earthly and are therefore fleeting But the wonderful Brightness which enlighteneth all things and ruleth all things willeth not that souls should perish but willeth to enlighten them If then any man can see the brightness of the heavenly light with the clear eyes of his mind then will he say that the brightness of the shining of the sun is darkness beside the eternal brightness of God.

Since the motif is unique, the work of the highest caliber and the dating consistent with Alfred the Great’s reign (which ended in 899 A.D.), it’s entirely possible that the Fuller Brooch was crafted by artisans at Alfred’s court, likely for someone of great wealth and rank.

Sadly the article stops at just these three pieces, only whetting my appetite for more mapping of Anglo-Saxon designs. Weetch and Williams should go through the entire collection of the British Museum and decode every artifact in this way. Then they should animate the creatures untangling themselves from each other and make it interactive so we can select to follow one line at a time. Make it so.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Caelin on Andrede's Gulf Wars 2014 photos

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-05-31 16:12

Master Caelin on Andrede reports that he has created several albums of photos from Gulf Wars 2014 which took place in March in the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann. The photos are available to view on Flickr.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Tolkien's Beowulf to be published for the first time

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-05-31 07:30

British professor and author JRR Tolkien is best known for his works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but now a deal has been made to publish the beloved storyteller's translation of the Old English poem Beowulf, complete with commentary.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Richard III’s spine recreated by 3D printer

History Blog - Fri, 2014-05-30 23:13

For those of you who are over all this Richard III malarkey (hi anja!), I hope you understand why this post has to be. There’s a rotating spine gif here, people. How can I be expected to resist that? I’m only human. Besides, the question of Richard’s spinal deformity, its existence, nature and extent, has been the subject of many histories and even more theatrical performances for more than five centuries.

Now we have some real answers courtesy of the University of Leicester team which has published a brief paper on Richard’s spine in The Lancet. You can read it free of charge if you register on the site.

When a body decomposes, different parts break down at different rates. Ligaments that hold the spine together are some of the last ones to decompose, so usually the way the spine is found in the grave is how it was in life. The curvature in Richard’s spine could not have been a function of how he was placed. This was confirmed by examination of the bones, which found that the vertebrae of the curve are slightly different shapes and sizes. The only way those bones would fit together in life was in a spine with scoliosis.

The skeleton laid out on a flat surface, however, only shows the sideways curvature of the spine. It takes a 3D model to see the full picture of the condition. The bones were scanned on a multi-detector CT scanner which takes high resolution images from every side, allowing them to be viewed as a whole 3D structure or in slices across any plane. The bones obviously were not joined, since the soft tissue is all gone and there is no software that will take the disconnected bones and put them back together the way they were in life. Usually that work is done by creating models.

The team was able to use the imaging data to generate a model which was printed out in a polymer using the advanced 3D printing equipment of the Wolfson School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University in Leicestershire. This produces a near identical copy of the bones, only the model is durable, light weight and easily passed around, giving scientists the opportunity to study the skeletal structure without having to handle fragile human remains. Even after the king has been reburied, therefore, experts will still be able to examine his bones.

The bones of the spine join at three places: the gap between two vertebrae where there’s a disc and two facet joints at the back. With the plastic model, experts drilled a small hole in the center of each vertebra and ran a wire through them, separating each bone with a felt pad standing in for the disc. They then joined the facet joints using a similar technique. They saw that while the lumbar vertebrae in the lower spine appeared quite normal and fit together in a standard way, as they rose in the spine the osteoarthritic degeneration in the facet joints that was caused by the scoliosis increased markedly, deforming the joints. That deformity meant the bones fit together in a very specific way, an enforced thoracic curve that is the s-shaped bend in the spine we saw in the photographs of the skeleton in situ and in the lab. The measurement of the extent of the spinal curvature, called a Cobb angle, is 65-85 degrees. In today’s scoliosis patients that would be considered a large curvature to be corrected by the surgical implantation of metal rods. Once they reached the upper thoracic vertebrae, the facet joints returned to normal and the spine straightened out.

In addition to the sideways s-curve, the 3D model illuminates the spiral twist of the spine that you can only see when the spine is rotated. (You could see it even more clearly if the ribs were attached, but they haven’t 3D printed any ribs yet and probably won’t because many of them were broken when unearthed.) The model shows that the ribs on Richard’s back would have stuck out significantly on the right side, while they were sunken on the left. When he leaned forward, the prominent ribs on the right side of his back would have formed a hump. This would not have been visible, however, when he was clothed and in most any other position than leaning over, so all those pillows stuffed under costumes are way off.

The physical disfigurement from Richard’s scoliosis was probably slight since he had a well balanced curve. His trunk would have been short relative to the length of his limbs, and his right shoulder a little higher than the left. However, a good tailor and custom-made armour could have minimised the visual impact of this. A curve of 70—90° would not have caused impaired exercise tolerance from reduced lung capacity, and we identified no evidence that Richard would have walked with an overt limp, because the leg bones are symmetric and well formed.

He may or may not have had back pain. If his spinal curvature had been magically straightened, he’d have been 5'8" tall, about average for a man of the period. With the scoliosis he was two to three inches shorter.

The polymer model was photographed from 19 angles and the images used to create an interactive 3D model. You can click on it and drag it from side to side to examine the recreated spine from any perspective.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Stefan's Florilegium updates for May 2014

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-05-30 20:53

THLord Stefan li Rous offers updates for Stefan's Florilegium for May 2014.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Trumbrand and Kaylah new Heirs to Ealdormere Throne

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-05-30 13:49

Justinian Clarus reports that Duke Trumbrand the Wanderer was the winner of the May 24, 2014 Crown Tournament in the Kingdom of Ealdormere. His Grace was inspired in His endeavor by Duchess Kaylah the Cheerful.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Peers Wanted

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2014-05-30 12:57

The first nine peers have already signed up for Laurels vs. Pelicans, and the group includes a Midrealm Champion!  Now the call is going out for more adventurous peers.  The event raises money for the Pennsic war chest, which funds events such as the royalty dinner.  The Laurels vs. Pelicans website opens fundraising on June 7 .  Peers can sign up after fundraising starts (and have in the past), but are encouraged to sign up before then if possible.

So far this year’s group includes Mesterna Tyzes “Zsof” Sofia, who is the King’s Bard of the Mid.  Sir Tanaka Reiko, well known for entertaining people in the heavy list arena, has signed up to wield a boffer and will be trying for a specialty weapon of the not serious type.  The current list of participants is below.

  • Mistress Aife ingen Chonchobair
  • Mistress Alys Mackyntoich
  • Mistress Amy Webbe
  • Mistress Elizabeth Eleanore Lovell
  • Mistress Katherine Barr of Cumberland
  • Duchess Kiena Stewart
  • Mistress Mercedes de Calafia
  • Sir Tanaka Reiko
  • Mesterno Tyzes “Zsof” Sofia

People who would like to participate should contact Lord Fergus Redmead or Mistress Catrin o’r Rhyd For.  The fundraiser will be at Southern Region War Camp on June 28.  More information can be found at the Laurels vs. Pelicans website

Filed under: Events Tagged: Laurels vs. Pelicans