Mark your calendars. Re-enactors will return to Battle Abbey on 14 October 2016 for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
When the SS City of Rio de Janeiro struck the shoals of Fort Point in San Francisco Bay early morning on February 22, 1901, 128 of the 210 souls aboard perished. It was 5:00 AM and the Bay was wrapped in one of those blinding fogs that are its trademark. Visibility was literally zero. Captain William Ward tried to steer the 345-foot steamer through the Golden Gate but with no visible landmarks, he veered slightly too far south and the ship ground onto the jagged rocks. The underside of the vessel was torn open almost from stem to stern, and when the ebb tide pushed the ship off the shoals, the cargo holds and engine room flooded. Built in 1878 before the era of watertight bulkheads, City of Rio was under the waves in 10 minutes.
Passengers, many of them Chinese and Japanese immigrants, crowded the deck, fighting for life jackets and seats on the lifeboats. The ship had 11 lifeboats, enough to save everyone aboard, but in the chaos of the sinking, only three of them were lowered and passengers overloaded two of them so they sank too. It all happened so quickly that the Fort Point Lifesaving Station had no idea there was a ship going down yards away from them. They only realized they’d missed a shipwreck when the one surviving lifeboat was spotted emerging from a fog bank two hours later. Italian fishermen who were heading out of the Bay for the day’s work when City of Rio went down and rescue ships eventually sent from Fort Point collected a few survivors clinging to wreckage in the water. Captain Ward was not among them. His body was found more than a year later on July 12, 1902, when the wooden pilothouse detached from the wreckage and floated to Fort Baker. Ward’s remains were identified by the serial number on his watch and its unusual fob made from a Chinese silver coin.
The comparatively large loss of life and circumstances of the disaster inspired some historians to dub City of Rio the Bay Area’s Titanic. News accounts at the time reported gossip that the steamer went down carrying a fortune in “Chinese silver” (the bill of lading lists the cargo as 923 rolls of matting, but why let facts get in the way?) so treasure hunters have long sought the wreck site. In 1987 one group thought they had found it, but their remotely operated submersible was carried away in the currents and the coordinates they shared didn’t match any wrecks.
Last month, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) set out to find the City of Rio as part of a study of the shipwrecks in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Equipped with a powerful remotely operated vehicle, a 3D sonar and experts to run them, the team was able to identify the City of Rio 287 feet under the surface just outside the Golden Gate inside the main ship channel.
The 3-D model generated by the Coda Octopus “Echoscope” sonar also gave researchers an entirely new perspective on the condition of the wreck site. What they found was a crumpled, scarcely recognizable iron hulk encased in more than a century worth of mud and sediment, lending support to the narrative that the ship sank quickly before many of its passengers could escape.
While they were in the area, the research team also used the 3D sonar to remap the wreck of the City of Chester that was found in 2013. The Echoscope found that the City of Chester is in far better condition, with the ship’s frame and propulsion machinery still well preserved. It went down in a collision with another ship and unlike the City of Rio, its engine room didn’t explode after it sank.
The NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program will continue the map the wrecks in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. So far they’ve documented nine of them. Almost 200 ships have gone down in San Francisco Bay, so there are plenty more to be found. None of them will be interfered with beyond the mapping of them as they are maritime graves.
Museum conservationists never know what they might discovered under layers of paint and grime. What lies beneath the surface is the subject of a new display at London's National Portrait Gallery which reveals, for the first time, some of the conservationists' findings.
The Avian and Industrious Barony of Thescorre is pleased to again announce that the College of Three Ravens will be in held on February 21st, 2015. The College will take place at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622. The site will open at 9:00am and close at 9:00pm. Those present after 9:00 pm may be pressed into clean-up duties! Classes will begin at 10:00am and continue until at least 4:00pm. The site is handicapped accessible and has ample parking.
With your paid reservation, please include “C3R” in the subject line.
A sideboard lunch will be prepared by Baroness Mistress Sadira bint Saleem-(315-524-9823) firstname.lastname@example.org. A Tour Across Europe feast will be prepared by Baroness Nuzah bint Saleem-(585 615 0398 email@example.com) with assistance from Lady Elzbieta and Lord Andrew. Please contact Baroness Nuzah by 1/31/15 with dietary restrictions. Adult feast is $9 (children under eighteen – $5, children under 5 – free). Feast seating is limited to 85. Feast reservation cannot be guaranteed unless reserved by 2/15/15.
Pre-reservation for this event is always appreciated for planning both the sideboard & feast. Please send reservations to the reservationist/tollner THL Otelia d’Alsace ( Esther Heller, 1355 Walworth-Penfield Rd, Walworth NY 14568 firstname.lastname@example.org). Checks are to be made payable to SCA NY Inc – Barony of Thescorre. Please do include modern name, SCAdian name & membership number (where appropriate) for each person to be covered by your payment. Also, indicate if any are minors, and for whom feast reservations are desired. Inclusion of contact info will be invaluable in clarifications. Please remember that the only good reservation is a paid reservation.
For further information or questions, please contact the autocrat: Lady Mairghread Stiobhard Inghean uí Choinn (Margaret Wilcox) at email@example.com or 585-414-3748 before 8:30 pm.
Call for Classes
Unto the Good Gentles of Aethelmearc does Lady Kaðlin Sigvaldakona send Greetings!
As Chancellor of Classes for the upcoming College of Three Ravens event in the Industrious Barony of Thescorre, I am humbly requesting for gentles to share their knowledge and skills by signing up to teach a class (or two)! This day of teaching and learning will be on February 21, 2015 at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622.
Please use the following format when supplying information:
SCA Name: (as you wish it to appear in the class listings)
Class Format: (lecture, round-table, hands-on, etc)
Handouts provided: (yes/no)
Participant Fees: (if any)
Class Limits/Restrictions: (# of participants, no children, children with supervision, etc.)
Preferred teaching time: (am, pm, either)
Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘C3R’ in the subject line.
Yours in service,
Lady Kaðlin Sigvaldakona
Chancellor of Classes
College of Three Ravens, 2015
Registration for the TMS Bladesmithing Competition will close December 15, 2014. The TMS 2015 Annual Meeting and Exhibition will take place March 15-19 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Delftwood Regional Fight Practice
Location: Rockefeller United Methodist Church
Join the Barony of Delftwood and members of the Order of the Chivalry for the Delftwood Regional Fight Practice as they host the Æthelmearc Army. There will be plenty of fighting for participants as well as the opportunity to get pointers from the deep end of the pool.
Syr Stefan Ulfkelsson, Æthelmearc’s Warlord, will also be leading a series of melees. Come bring your A game and leave your excuses at home. This is one practice you don’t want to miss!
Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia, East Kingdom Seneschal, is looking for someone to head up the East Kingdom Display at the 50th Year Anniversary celebration. This should be someone who has an interest in the pageantry and history of the East, as well as the ability to work with a multi-kingdom group to make the 50th Year celebration shine. The following letter is from the coordinator of the display chairs, and details what is expected from the chair and the Kingdom display. Please contact Dueña Mercedes with questions or to express your interest in the position.
To the Great Kingdom of the East does Eleanor, Baroness of the Flame, in the esteemed Kingdom of the Middle send greetings!
The 50th Anniversary of the Society for Creative Anachronism is upon us! “50 Year” will be celebrated in the Middle Kingdom in the State of Indiana, at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds & Conference Complex from June 16th to June 27th, 2016.
I have the pleasure of working as the Archivist for the event, alongside THL Elizabethe Alles, who is the Chair of Historic Displays, to ensure that all Kingdoms are represented at this most noble function!
We are asking that each Kingdom designate a Chair who will head your particular Kingdom’s display. This person will work directly with me in coordinating their displays, including the acquisition and collection of items if needed. If a representative cannot be on site for the event, any and all items can be sent to me and volunteers will set up the display. While these are static displays, having members of the Kingdoms on-hand to answer questions and tell stories is highly encouraged.
Each Kingdom will be allotted a 20-24’ (length) x 8’ (Depth) space located in the Hendricks Power Exposition Hall.
We are asking that all displays include the following:
Recommended but not required:
Though the event is a year and a half away we want to ensure each Kingdom is represented in the best way possible. Display Chairs should be chosen by February 28th 2015 in order to facilitate communication and provide time to plan and gather the materials needed for this project. A common information sharing webpage will be created when all Chairs have been identified.
I look forward to working with the Kingdom Display Chairs for all Kingdoms, and will assist in any way I can to make sure that all displays are successful.
Filed under: Tidings Tagged: SCA 50 Year, volunteers
Looking forward to showing off your latest court garb at Æ Twelfth Night, but not to once again standing in line for an hour at lunch?
We think Kingdom Twelfth Night should be the high point in the feasting year. We want this one to be extra special.
If you’ve read the event announcement for the kingdom celebration on January 10th in the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais, you may have noticed that the group has several different plans in mind for the day’s food—plans that it hopes will address these common concerns and make the dining experience far more relaxed and enjoyable.
(See announcement at http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~acg/Events/TwelfthNight2015.shtm.)
The autocrat (Mistress Alicia Langland) and head cook (Baroness Bronwyn MacFhionghuin) graciously agreed to chat about these plans with The Gazette: [Editorial clarifications are in brackets]
Q: The dinner plan for Kingdom Twelfth Night is different from the standard feast service at most Æthelmearc events (a two- or three-course meal served at night). Please explain your plan and what inspired it?
A: Bronwyn: We’re offering two feast options, which is one or three meals. The first meal [at lunchtime] is provided to all those attending and is included in the site fee. The second and third meals [mid-afternoon and early evening] have an additional fee and will be served approximately two to two-and-a-half hours apart.
Alicia: ACG’s cooks often provide so much food that our feast guests complain they’ve run out of room (in their stomachs) before they run out of dishes! To combat this, we decided to borrow an idea from a Thescorre Twelfth Night feast many years ago — to serve the feast throughout the day, with time to socialize, participate in activities, and digest between each course. Because not every SCAdian wants to — or is able to — stay for all three courses, I decided to offer two pricing options. The first course would be included in the site fee and thus provided to all, and the second and third courses would be available for an additional fee for those who wish.
Bronwyn: The original idea came from Master Gille. Also, from my point of view doing tablesetting research, big elaborate meals did not take place in the evening by candlelight. When you look at the lists of items needed for a historical feast in various account books, there was a heck of a lot of food prepared. Now, did they eat it all at one sitting? It takes time to prepare, make, and serve all that.
So…why not create a day for the kingdom for everyone to go out & have a grand day dressed in their finery, socializing, eating, being festive, happy & relaxed. That’s how we created an event where one of the big showcases is the feast.
Alicia: One big benefit of serving the three courses separately will be evident at the end of the day. Typically, feasts are served late afternoon/early evening and can last up to two hours, depending on the number of courses served. By this point, folks are generally anxious to get on the road and don’t care to linger for dancing. By serving two of our three courses earlier in the day, we’ll have only one course remaining to serve later, which means there will be plenty of time for dancing. Or, if folks don’t wish to remain, they’ll be able to get started on their homeward journey sooner.
Q: In addition to earlier, spaced-out dinner timing, you’re also planning to serve lunch “family style” (a table’s worth of food served to each table, as is common at dinner) rather than offer the standard stand-in-line sideboard. Why did you decide to serve lunch that way?
A: Bronwyn: Two things—
Alicia: One of the things we enjoy most about events is socializing with friends. At lunch, this can be hard to do, either because there is no set time for lunch and thus everyone eats catch-as-catch-can or because there’s not enough space at tables for larger groups to be seated together.
In the SCA, lunches tend to be served in a modern style.
When we hosted Timothy and Gabrielle’s Coronation, it took almost an hour for all of our guests to be served lunch (buffet-style). (I think we had over 300 attendees.) That’s just too much time waiting. And with all the activities we have planned for Twelfth Night, we’d rather our guests spent their time having fun than waiting on line.
Q: You’re also preparing a feast specifically for children. How is that different from the adult meal?
A: Bronwyn: That is my protégé’s idea, Lady Macaah Sitt al Galb. She tried this out at our Shire birthday event and it was a great success. Her own children are picky eaters, so she looks for children-friendly medieval recipes (using her children as taste testers) and creates a menu that also becomes an instructional coloring book.
The food is milder in flavor and subtly differs from food they would normally eat. The meal is very interactive; the menu doesn’t overwhelm the children’s appetites and it gives them the chance to play with subtle teaching. It is definitely geared to the younger child or the smaller appetite. We actually have a few pre-teen/teen girls here in ACG who are not adventurous eaters. Last time, they assisted Macaah with the younger children, as well as eating with them. (Also, prior to the feast, there will be a butter making class where the children will make the butter for their meal.)
Alicia: One thing I love about the children’s feast is that it introduces children to period food… which they will enjoy eating! (How many times have we heard adults say they don’t like period food? If we win them over when they’re young, these young diners might be more open to eating at feasts when they’re adults.)
Another plus is that since children participating in the children’s feast will be seated at a special table, this frees up those spaces for other guests at the other tables. It also means we’re not serving adult-size portions to someone who’s unlikely to eat it all. This is more economical and efficient.
I would like to note that the children’s feast is limited to 12 children, aged five to 12. [Children who are not signed up for the special children’s feast table can be signed up for the regular feast, sitting with their parents and eating the normal feast with them.]
Q: You’re also offering pre-seating registration for dinner. Please explain how that will work?
A: Alicia: As an autocrat, one of my biggest headaches has been the feast seating chart. I’ve had guests come to me in tears because they couldn’t sit with their friends at feast because someone forgot to sign them up on the seating chart and all the seats at the table were filled.
Most feast-goers don’t understand what goes into table portioning in the kitchen. Tables often end up not being filled or being over-filled, which means folks are either served too much or too little food.
In addition, people might mistakenly be signed up a two different tables. People who pay to eat on-board sometimes don’t sign up on the feast chart, making it difficult to determine how many on-board spots are available for waiting-list folks to fill. Sometimes, people sign up, but their names are illegible, making it hard to tell if everyone who’s on-board actually has a seat. Large groups might wait so long to sign up that there aren’t enough spaces at any one table for them to sit together …. The list of problems goes on and on.
I wanted to find a way to avoid some of these issues. Pre-seating is one part of the overall plan. This fall, in a post to the Æthelmearc listserve, Her Grace Dorinda mentioned that Stormsport wanted to try pre-seating at its event. Afterward the event, I wrote to her and asked how it went. Based on her comments, I decided it was worth trying at Twelfth Night.
Here’s how pre-seating will work at Twelfth Night (I hope!):
When they send their reservation, guests should include names of and payment for everyone in the group (up to 12). Prior to the event, the reservations clerk will print the pre-seated names on the seating chart. When pre-registered guests troll in, they will be given a sticker to place on the chart. (This will help event staff identify which seats are “unclaimed” prior to serving the first course.) Guests must place their sticker on the chart prior to the start of the first course in order to keep their seat.
Q: Has your group tried any of these meal ideas before at your events and, if so, how did they work out?
A: Bronwyn: We did the children’s feast before. It was very well received by the children as well as their parents.
Alicia: At Timothy and Gabrielle’s Coronation feast, we had a server — wearing a spiffy shire tabard — assigned to each table. Having assigned servers worked out really well, and I thought was much more classy than the typical all-call for someone from each table. At a pre-arranged signal, the servers came back to the serving table, received instructions about what to say when they served the dishes, and then took the dishes to their assigned table. At that point, the servers were free to sit with their friends and enjoy the meal. (They were responsible for periodically checking with their assigned table to refill beverage pitchers and returning emptied dishes to the kitchen for washing.)
Q: For cooks in other groups who may want to try out these ideas, what kind of scheduling or planning concerns have you had to address to accomplish these?
A: Bronwyn: So far we have had to work the schedule to give enough time to eat as well as have the other activities throughout the day. We also need more servers than usual, since the feast will take place in two rooms and have two shifts of servers at lunch. Plus, we also need to provide washing stations twice for the three meals. In addition, there will be two sign-up boards for seating, as well as two different site tokens.
Alicia: Logistically, a LOT of planning went into this event! Starting with the projected attendance (between 200 to 250), I needed to make sure there would be enough seats for everyone to be served at the same time. I used a scale drawing to experiment with various layouts to find what would work best. (It is much easier to move rectangles in a computer screen than to lug tables about!)
As for the head cook’s job at this event, serving three separate courses — with a different cook heading up each course — has added additional levels of complexity. To manage this, Dame Bronwyn is tasked with the job of ensuring continuity among the three cooks and their courses. Unlike head cooks for most feasts, she will not plan a menu, shop for ingredients, or prepare dishes. What she will do is manage the kitchen, to make sure it runs efficiently and that the cooks have what they need.
Q: One potential issue I foresee is that, for a normal sideboard, the lunch cook only needs one or two table’s worth of serving equipment. However, since you’re serving eight portions to each table, you’ll need enough serving equipment for each table, just as you will hours later for dinner.
A: Bronwyn: Correct, plus the first meal serves the largest amount of diners. So, we will be washing dishes, pots, etc. three times. That means we’ll need more serving-ware than we normally would for a first course. But we will have a longer time to accomplish the washing-up. And the second and third courses will be served to a limited number of guests, so there will be fewer dishes to wash after these courses. Also, the recipes we chose are not too elaborate in prep or execution, so that will keep the kitchen moving. Finally, we will bus the great hall tables between courses to keep them tidy.
Q: You’re planning to serve the feast in two rooms at the same time? What inspired that decision and how do you envision that will work out?
A: Bronwyn: The front room will be the Æthelmearc Winter Market. We are designing the room to look like an outdoor medieval winter market complete with merchants, a tavern, and a dining area (think: beer garden). We hope the choice of decor will give that feeling.
Traveling through the market, you will see the entrance to the great hall. This is where the diners partaking of the three meals will be. Royalty will be here as well as the children’s feast. We hope the decor in this room will provide the ambiance of a great hall adorned for the winter holiday.
Alicia: We are fortunate to have a site with two large banquet rooms. Based on my layout experiments, I determined that, to accommodate everyone comfortably, we needed to seat people in both rooms.
From this came the idea for the “Great Hall” and the “Marketplace.” Those diners who pay the additional fee for the second and third Courses will be served in the “Great Hall” and will receive a hand-cast pewter feast token. Those who pay only the site fee will be served in the “Marketplace”; their site token will be more rustic.
Seating in two different rooms is not common in the SCA and will involve extra planning as well as lots of pre-event publicity so folks aren’t so baffled when they arrive.
When they troll in, guests will be given a color-coded sticker with their name on it to place on the seating chart. The stickers for those eating only the first course will be a different color from those who pay to enjoy the second and third courses. They will then place their stickers on the seating chart that is color-coded to match their sticker.
To emphasize the differences between the two rooms, the decoration and layout will be very different. The Great Hall will be more open and formal, with High Table and the Great Throne at one end. The Marketplace will be bustling with activity throughout the day, with merchants lining two sides of the room and a Tasters’ Tavern, with potables supplied by the Æthelmearc Brewers’ Guild, at one end. We hope musicians, jugglers, and bards will add to the lively atmosphere in this room. In the center of it all will be the tables for our guests. A masked ball with live music will round out the day’s festivities.
In addition to the activities going on in the marketplace, court and bardic activities will be take place in the auditorium on the second floor. A vigil, children’s activities, and dancing instruction for the masked ball will be held in the basement. Trying to schedule all of these activities plus three separate sit-down services has been quite a challenge!
All of this is made possible by the hard work of a number of people and a LOT of communication. I am extremely grateful to the event staff, who have worked so hard to make this event happen.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add about the event?
A: Alicia: We think Kingdom Twelfth Night should be the high point in the feasting year. We want this one to be extra special.
Although ACG is centrally located in the Kingdom (four hours from almost everywhere) and conveniently located at the nexus of two major interstates, many folks think it’s too far to travel to.
Hopefully, with the promise of a delicious feast, the Tasters’ Tavern, merchants, an amazing auditorium for bardic activities, and a masked ball, folks will find something to entice them to come!
I feel very lucky that our cooks (and shire members) are willing to try something new. I just hope it works the way I’ve planned it in my head!
—submitted by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina
War is once again behind us, and though the fertile mantle of the East Kingdom will soon be covered in snow, it’s the perfect time for its fencers, soldiers, and duelists to bare polished steel and mind their deadly art. Another war is always around the bend, and preparation is paramount to victory!
To keep the East Kingdom rapier army’s skills sharp and improve unit cohesion, the Barony of Carolingia will be hosting an EK Regional Fencing Practice on Sunday, January 4th. At the practice, fencers will get a chance to work on their melee skills both with their household/local fencing unit, and with the kingdom army at large. There’ll also be time for single bouting, and a tournament taking place is also a strong possibility.
There will also be a class or two for fencers to learn from. Parties interested in teaching a fencing class (be it for single or melee), should contact Lord Remy Delemontagne de Gascogne, Captain of the Carolingian Caliver Company with their class title and agenda.
When: Sunday, January 4th from 12-5pm
Can’t make it to the EK Regional Rapier Practice? Have no fear! Carolingia hosts a monthly melee practice at the War Memorial, open to all who want to work on their melee techniques. Here are the upcoming melee practice dates (more dates added monthly).
December: Sunday the 14th from 2pm-5pm
Any questions, thoughts, or concerns should be directed to Lord Remy.
Filed under: Fencing Tagged: fencing, regional practice
Congratulations to Lady Astridr Vigaskegg (Kelly West), Seneschale of the Barony of Blackstone Mountain, and THLord Darian Valskr (Jesse Denton) on the birth of a healthy baby girl.
Elora Nicole Denton was born at 5:04 pm on Dec 9th, 2014. She weighs 8lbs 3oz.
Lady Astridr says, “She has Jesse’s curly hair and my strong lungs, and she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. My mom and Jesse were with me all day, and both Elora and I are doing fine.”
- submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
Conservators at Chicago’s Field Museum opened the sarcophagus of a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy on Friday. Excavated from the Akhmim cemetery on the east bank of the Nile about 130 miles north of Luxor in Upper Egypt, the mummy has been in the museum’s collection since 1925 when they got it from the Chicago Historical Society. Due to its fragility, the sarcophagus hadn’t been opened. It’s one of 30 complete mummies in the Field Museum collection (the oldest collection in the museum) so for decades there was no compelling reason to interfere with mummy #11517.
Now there is a compelling reason: a new exhibition, Mummies: Images of the Afterlife, which will take 20 of the mummies from the Field’s vaults on a traveling tour of select U.S. museums. In anticipation of the exhibition, researchers have been using the latest technology — CT scans, 3D imaging, stable isotope testing, DNA analysis — to find out all they can about the mummies, their history, burial rituals and current condition. To ensure they can safely travel, any urgent conservation issues need to be addressed.
CT scans done with a mobile medical scanner in 2011 revealed that mummy #11517 was a boy of about 14 years of age when he died. He was properly nourished, seemingly healthy with no injuries or disease that could be detected. An inscription on his coffin identifies the youth as Minirdis, son of Inaros, a priest of fertility god Min. As a stolist priest, Inaros was responsible for the ritual washing and dressing of Min’s statue. The position was hereditary, so if Minirdis had lived, he would have gotten the job after his father died.
Scans also revealed that the mummy and wrappings signficant condition problems. Both feet are detached from the legs. The beautiful gold-painted cartonnage mask has a large hole in the face. The shroud underneath the mask was pulled to one side, dragging the cartonnage chest piece under the mummy’s back making it dangerous to move. The shroud and linen wrappings are brittle. They’ve split open at the feet, exposing the toes. Conservators want to close the holes in the wrappings and face mask as much as possible. They also want to reattach the feet and stabilize the sarcophagus and mummy.
On Friday, the conservation team at the Field Museum lifted the coffin lid using custom-designed clamps as a cradle. Being careful not to damage the shifted cartonnage collar, they were able to raise the mummy out of the sarcophagus. The CT scans didn’t eliminate all surprises. Painted in gold on the inside bottom of the coffin was a drawing of the Goddess Nut nobody knew was there.
The exhibition debuts next year at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. It takes a combined approach of high tech and traditional display. Accompanying the mummies are exhibited in century-old display cases, there are touch table interactive displays showing multi-layer segmented scans of the mummies that visitors can unwrap at their own pace, video projections, 3D printed casts of bones and figurines, and the hyperrealist sculpture reconstructions of Elisabeth Daynès. The tech isn’t glaring or obnoxious, though. The environment is kept deliberately quiet, in sound and sight, to ensure the space has a feeling of reverence for the dead rather than sensationalizing them.
Frivolity! Foolishness! and Fun! are the order of the day at Æthelmearc Twelfth Night, hosted by the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais, on Saturday, January 10, 2015. Be you brewer or bard, dancer or diner, gamester or juggler, we hope you will find much to amuse you!
The day will be jam-packed with plenty to do:
Please note that only pre-paid reservations postmarked ON or BEFORE December 15, 2014 will be guaranteed on-board space. Even if you only want to eat the first course, mailing your reservation by Monday, December 15 allows you to take advantage of the Early Bird reservation discount and SAVE $$$$!
** This site allows alcohol and is BYOB. Please respect the legal drinking age, which in Pennsylvania is 21, and drink responsibly. Anyone found serving alcohol to those under 21 or publicly intoxicated will be asked to leave immediately with no refund.
For details about these activities, the site, or the schedule, please visit http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~acg/Events/TwelfthNight2015.shtml
To see photos of this GORGEOUS site — including its 600-seat auditorium — go to http://caldwellconsistory.com/facility
Like us on Facebook! Tell everyone you’re planning to attend! See who else is coming! Updates and teasers will be posted here regularly: https://www.facebook.com/events/663432110413436/
The official event announcement can be found in the Kingdom Newsletter, The Æstel. This unofficial event announcement is being printed as a courtesy to the autocrat, and the Gazette is not liable for any changes to the event or event listing.
The Gazette asked Count Jehan de la Marche, eighth King of the East, for memories of some of his early SCA experiences. This is the second installment he sent, which covered his memories of his reign.
The next event I recall was my coronation, which was also the next Crown Tourney, which was supposed to be the tradition at the time, though observed irregularly. (I believe it fell in late September or early October 1972.) It was held on a site in Beyond the Mountain which was basically an unmown field –the owner of the site had told the autocrat that it would be mowed in advance of the event, but it was not, so the field was covered in grass two or three feet high. Oddly enough, I have no distinct recollection of the moment that Cariadoc put the crown on my head, though I know the ceremony was very simple by later standards. I believe we used a version of the Archenlandish oath from C. S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy (”This is what it means to be a king: to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there’s famine in the land, as must be sometimes, to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your kingdom.”) However, that belief is based on what I recall of the practice of the time, not direct memory of hearing it. The one moment I distinctly recall is that when I kissed my queen after crowning her, her crown fell off.
There was also the episode of the Queen’s Piper. Sometime before the coronation, I was walking through Wolsey Hall at Yale and heard a man playing a bagpipe alone in an empty auditorium. I had invited him to the coronation, and since there was already a King’s Piper (Sir Eyolf) I appointed this one (whose name I do not recall), the Queen’s Piper, whereupon Lauryon said “All right, now play.” Someone said “The queen has issued her first command,” and he played.
I recall asking Duke Cariadoc and Duke Akbar to serve as my guards. We had a lot of byplay in those days over our personas’ religions (nowadays it might be more sensitive). I said approximately that although I was a Christian king I had found Saracen dukes very reliable.
There was a very small crown tourney –I believe there were five fighters entered (the minimum under SCA law at the time) and I asked Duke Akbar to enter so we would have even numbers for the first round. He did and ended by winning the crown, defeating Sir Finnvarr de Taahe, who had lately moved to the East from the Middle Kingdom (Barony of North Woods).
The next event I recall was a tourney in the Barony of Myrkwood (Baltimore), then led by Begum Sita of Oudh. The main point I remember was the tourney destroyed four swords (all those available in the barony at the time). I believe Middle-trained fighters tended to hit harder than Eastern ones (on average) –there were some exceptions, such as Shlomo and Garanhir. Sir Finnvarr and I met in the final, and I won. I believe one of the other fighters was Alain du Rocher.
I believe the next event was the Carolingian Yule Revel –the ancestor of the masked ball, though I am not sure it was masked at that time. All I recollect distinctly was that there was some elegant dancing and that I ended the event (or at least the formal part) with a quotation from Shakespeare “Our revels now are ended.”
During my reign, I did issue the first code of laws for the East Kingdom, all or nearly all of which have since been superseded. They included an attempt to have a representative of the Crown in each group to encourage communication –which was never implemented –and a law advocating (as it could not be required) that subjects who could not attend the wars should contribute to the costs of those who served (scutage). Although this was never enforceable, and has not been law for many years, I was told lately that one lady in the East still abided by it and contributed to her friends’ costs of going to war. My recollection is that I circulated these laws by postal mail (there being no email in those days) rather than discussing them in a live council.
I also reorganized the kingdom order of merit – as I understand the situation (it was before my time), Duke Akbar in one of his earlier reigns had created the Order of the Silver Crescent, and then Shogun Rakkurai had created an equivalent Order of the Golden Dragon . I merged the two orders into the one Order of the Silver Crescent (all members of the Golden Dragon becoming members of the SIlver Crescent). At that time, I believe that order was the only order beneath peerage level in the kingdom.
The last major event of my reign was Twelfth Night held in the Barony of Myrkwood. My queen Lauryon was unable to attend due to illness, and so I asked Countess Abrizhade al-Medina O.L. (who had been queen to Franz von Blickend-Lichten, second king of the Middle) to serve as my ceremonial consort, which she graciously did.
The guests at the event included members of the Maryland Medieval Mercenary Militia (later Markland) who contributed considerably to the liveliness of the occasion. Two of them staged a mock dagger fight (with steel daggers) and rolled around my feet as I was sitting at the feast. There was also an episode I never fully understood in which I remarked my drink tasted odd and one of the MMMM shouted “The king has been poisoned.” I am not sure whether someone had actually put something in the drink or it was just an improvised response.
More seriously, I did (as I mentioned before) knight Asbjorn the Fairhaired, chiefly for his valor at the First Pennsic War. Since he was squire to Duke (at the time Prince) Akbar, I asked Akbar if he would prefer to actually dub Asbjorn, but he replied that he wished me to do it, so I did. This was the only peerage granted in my reign.
Afterward I did crown Akbar as king (his third and last reign), and his lady Duchess Khadijah was crowned queen. Oddly enough, I do not recall the ceremony at all. There was no ceremony making me a count –I think the title was only developed a little later, though Atenveldt had Crown Barons and I believe Franz von Blickend-Lichten had been made a baron after serving as king of the Middle.
I do remember that the next morning El of the Two Knives asked me how it felt to be a duke, and I replied I was not a duke as I had only been king once. In fact, I never became a duke –I sometimes like to say “I only made one mistake” –though in fact I fought hard in several later crowns
Filed under: History, Interviews Tagged: History
About three dozen gentles gathered in the Canton of Steltonwald for an unusual event last Saturday. It featured classes with names like “Corset Making,” “The Dofuku — a Casual Men’s Japanese Jacket” and “Period Smocking,” but the most unusual thing about it was that it was held in modern dress.
The event was the brainchild of Lady Teresa Alvarez, who is apprenticed to Mistress Cassadoria Finniala and considers herself a student of historical costuming. Fourteen years ago she suggested to some friends that they hold something a little bigger and more formal than the weekly sewing circle, so they ran a costuming symposium. Then, as Teresa put it, “life happened” and she didn’t get back to the idea until the summer of 2013, when some friends suggested she revive the symposium. Last fall’s symposium was a big hit, so Teresa was persuaded to host the event again this year.
Why modern dress for attendees? Teresa said she’s just more comfortable in modern clothes, but also that she felt it would be less of a distraction if teachers and students weren’t in garb. Several attendees chimed in that some of the peers and other long-time members are less intimidating in modern clothes – they felt more at ease asking questions of their friend Chadd than they might of Duke Christopher Rawlyns (who taught a class on his reconstruction of the Jupon of the Black Prince).
In addition, to keep the event easy to run and informal, attendees were treated to doughnuts from a local bakery when they arrived, and takeout Chinese food for lunch.
The array of ten classes focused on clothing and needlework. Some were presentations of research while others were hands-on practice that permitted students to take home patterns or embroidery. Here are just a few samples:
Countess Aidan ni Leir taught a a class on making Elizabethan thread buttons from wooden beads. Participants spent about an hour learning the stitches and making their own buttons. These buttons are documented in hundreds of portraits and many extant garments in England and the continent. The ribbed buttons, shown here, are made from 12mm wooden beads with pearl cotton thread wrapped around them.
THLady Marguerite d’Honfleur presented an overview of the clothes owned by Queen Eléanore of France, wife of King François I, including an analysis of the types of fabric, weaving, and colors used in those clothes. Her presentation was based on an inventory the Queen’s gowns, kirtles, farthingales, and petticoats taken in 1532. Attendees learned that most of the Queen’s gowns and kirtles were red or black, probably because those dyes were expensive and showed off the wealth of the Royalty. Many were lined or edged in fur, including loup-cerviers, or lynx, another costly element. THL Marguerite also introduced her students to French terms like toile d’or frisée (cloth of gold with loops of gold thread or wire forming a pile on the surface of the brocade) and drap de soie (silk fabric).
Mistress Ysabel Graver walked participants through the process of drafting a sleeve pattern from The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant. Ysabel explained that it starts with a bodice that fits properly so the armscye is correctly positioned and shaped for the sleeve. Students spent two hours learning the concepts, measuring each other, and then drafting their patterns, with Mistress Ysabel offering examples of her own gowns with correct and incorrect sleeve placements.
Lady Rivka bat Daniyel provided students with information on how to research period uses of embroidery to match their personas, including methods for searching online. She recommended that students seek out academic articles or well-known museums like the Victoria and Albert and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Afterward, she guided students through some embroidery stitches.
Countess Elena d’Artois displayed an array of appliquéd clothing and discussed the uses of appliqué in period, from ecclesiastical furnishings and vestments to heraldic display and decorated clothing. She then gave each participant an item to hand appliqué, explaining how to couch pearl cotton thread around the edges of the decorative cloth pieces to affix them to the backing fabric.
In Duke Christopher Rawlyns’ class, he displayed his recreations of the Jupon of the Black Prince of England, who died in 1376, and discussed the history and construction of the garment. The original jupon (a kind of arming jacket) is on display in Canterbury Cathedral beside the Prince’s crypt, along with his helm, shield, gauntlets, and sword scabbard (the sword itself is missing, rumored to have been stolen by Oliver Cromwell). His Grace based his research in part on an examination of the jupon by the famed costume researcher Janet Arnold, done in 1985 and published in 1993. He reviewed some of the controversies surrounding the garment, including what the padding was made from (he concluded it was cotton, which was costly but available in the late 14th c.) and whether it originally had long or short sleeves. After making and wearing one of these jackets in combat he noted that it experienced stress at the armscye, resulting in the jacket sometimes ripping at that point. He attributed that structural failure to his elbow cops being affixed to the exterior of the sleeve, and twisting the fabric as he threw sword blows. Christopher examined multiple period manuscripts showing military men in such garments, and concluded that unlike Scadians, 14th c. knights probably wore their armor under the jacket rather than over it.
To cap off the day, Lady Teresa taught a class in how to do fittings on European garments, with assistance from Mistress Cassadoria. Teresa demonstrated fitting techniques on Her Majesty Queen Anna Leigh, for whom Teresa is sewing a new gown for 12th Night in the German style. Teresa emphasized the importance of making the initial adjustments to bodice patterns first at the shoulder, and then at the sides. She also addressed how to handle fit issues relating to the kind of fashion fabric being used – for example, how to keep wool or linen from stretching. After her class, she asked if people had fun at the event, to which the answer was a resounding “Yes!”
Other classes offered included Corset Making, taught by Lady Madeleine de l’Este, Period Smocking, taught by Mistress Ts’vee’a bas Tseepora, An Overview of Japanese Costuming, from Loom to Garment, by Magariki Katsuichi no Koredono-sama, and The Dofuku — a Casual Men’s Japanese Jacket taught by Lady Hara Kikumatsu.
In addition to the formal classes, two workshops were available throughout the day: Mistress Alessandra d’Avignon helped participants create duct tape body doubles, while Lady Teresa taught period hand sewing techniques.
When asked if she wants to make any changes to the Symposium next year, Teresa said she might implement a suggestion from Mistress Aoibheil of Dun Holen to hold a fabric swap. She would also encourage merchants to attend, especially those selling goods relating to costuming. In addition, Teresa plans to put the word out to prospective teachers earlier in the hopes of attracting new classes, though she wants to keep the event “small enough to still be cozy.”
-submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
The massive hoard of Celtic coins that was raised in a single block from a field on the Channel Island of Jersey in 2012 is proving to be even more precious a treasure trove than was immediately obvious, and that’s saying a lot since the Le Catillon II treasure is the largest Celtic coin hoard ever discovered. The original estimate of the number of coins by volume was 30,000 to 50,000. As the Jersey Museum’s conservator Neil Mahrer has worked his way down the hoard, unsticking the corroded coin cluster, the estimated number has increased to 70,000.
Finders Richard Miles and Reg Mead first began to search for the hoard when a woman told them a story 30 years ago about a pot of silver coins found when her father uprooted a tree on their farm in Grouville parish. She didn’t know exactly where this fabled discovery had happened but she knew the general area and Miles and Mead secured permission from the current landowner to search the field with metal detectors during the brief window between harvest and planting. Over the decades they scanned the property with no success until in February of 2012 they found 60 Celtic coins. They dug a little deeper and encountered a large solid object. Mead grabbed a handful of the soil on top and found a few silver coins inside. Being extremely responsible and awesome people, they immediately filled in the hole and alerted Jersey Heritage to the find.
It’s because of their dogged determination spanning three decades and their respect for the archaeological context that the Le Catillon II hoard was archaeologically excavated from the site and is now being archaeologically excavated in an extremely cool glass-walled laboratory in public view at the Jersey Museum. Richard Miles and Reg Mead are part of the conservation team. They’ve been particularly helpful in coin identification, classification and cleaning, and of course they’re superstars to museum visitors.
The first gold peeked through the vertical face of the hoard in July of 2012. When the green corrosion from the silver and silver alloy coins was washed away, a thin sheet of flattened and twisted gold that had once been a torc was revealed. Later that month, conservators found another gold torc above and to the left of the first one. Only a couple of inches of it were visible at first, but the curve looked proper to the original curve around the neck and there was no evidence of twisting or flattening. This tendered the exciting prospect that there might be an intact gold torc amidst the layers of packed coins.
It has been two and a half years since the first glimpses of torc, and only now have conservators gotten down to the layers where they are nestled. It took close to two years to get all the permits and funding sorted. During that time, Mahrer and the conservation team removed 2,000 loose coins from the surface and cleaned them. This summer, they were finally able to start work on taking apart the coin block, laser scanning each coin in the mass and after its removal to ensure they have as detailed a record of the block and coins at every possible stage. The hoard is too big and dense for X-rays to give conservators an excavation road map, so they’re only discovering what’s in there as they go along.
In the beginning the finds were coins and organic material. To preserve the organic material (mainly peat and plant stalks), the team had to move very slowly during the unsticking process. They found that, as expected, most of the coins in the hoard were staters and quarter staters of the Coriosolitae tribe. Unexpectedly, they regularly encountered petit billons, a small denomination that is so rare a few tens of them were known before this hoard. They’re so rare that nobody knows what tribe made them or when. Other numismatic surprises are two coins from the Osismii tribe, the Coriosolitae’s western neighbors: one a five-sided stater that contains some gold, one is a solid gold quarter stater of the Bull Standard type.
In November, they reached the torc area. The solid gold torc was first revealed to have a join in the back, a hole through which a pin would be inserted to close the piece around the neck. Then they found another much larger torc.
At first it appeared to be a thick, tightly curved gold torc but when cleaned back a bit it was revealed as a pair of solid gold “wheels” at the end of a thick, curved, gold torc collar. The wheels are about 4cm accross and the collar part about 15mm thick. We’ve now cleaned back enough coins to see that the torc appears to be constructed from two semi circular parts which would have fitted together to be worn. We’ve think we’ve exposed about 90% of the first part with the wheels and about 50% of the second. We don’t know what the other ends of both are like yet. The sheer size of this piece is amazing in comparison to everything else we’ve seen yet and the torc surface appears to be in good condition and of a very pure gold.
And then they found even more:
In the same way that we found the large torc while clearing around another one, we have continued to find more new pieces as we cleared around it. We’ve found another of the sheet gold objects long visible on the hoard’s side. This new one seems very similar but is possibly in better condition. We have also partially uncovered two other smaller diameter possibly solid gold torc sections, one towards the rear of the hoard and another towards its centre. As such we just don’t know how far the rich area of jewellery extends throughout the hoard’s body, but it’s certainly further than we initially thought. What we are going to do over the next few months therefore is to extend the coin removal out from the torc area to a 5cm depth over the whole surface and see what we find.
That makes a total of six torcs — five gold, one gold-plated — found so far in an area the size of a shoebox. For more about the history of the coins, the hoard and its discovery, check out the Treasure Island page on the Jersey Heritage website. Keep your eye on Neil Mahrer’s Treasure Island Blog to follow the exciting developments as the conservation continues.
With the coming of the Advent season, the Barony of Delftwood held its annual Christmas season event this past weekend. Once again, this proved to a warm and friendly event. Held at the Rockefeller Memorial UMC in Syracuse, the Friðr Tourney (a name taken from the Old Norse, meaning “peace, tranquility, friendship, love”) featured two Arts & Sciences tourneys, an all-day sideboard, and much conversation and frivolity.
Their Excellencies, Benedict Fergus atte Mede and Helene al-Zarqa’, celebrated the Yule season by naming the A&S and Bardic champions of Delftwood. The new A&S champion is Lady Kalishka Perdeslava, for her stunning glass making. The new bardic champion is Lord Ixac Ben Simone, for a beautiful song and a wonderful poem which he wrote the day of the event.
There was also a tourney for the overall A&S and bardic entries. Lord Ixac also won the Bardic Tourney, with an honorable mention to Lady Genevieve du Chaumont. The Arts & Sciences field was full of lovely and tasty work. An honorable mention went to Illari of Delftwood for her splendid Elizabethan needle and wirework. The tourney winner was Lady Lasairfhiona ingen Aindriasa, for her delicious English feast dishes.
At the court, held in the afternoon in the lovely sanctuary, Their Excellencies named their champions, announced the tourney winners, and inducted several gentles into the Baronial orders. These included Lord Reinaldr Bjórtappr (Order of the Guard of the Mill), Baroness Clarice Roan and Lord Jan Langhe ten Walde (Order of the Capstan), THL Svana in Kyrra (Friend of the Windmill), and Lady Wylde Wysse (Order of the Windmill).
During the day, Baroness Clarice Roan and her dedicated kitchen staff provided the revelers with a delicious season side-board, including several fine meat dishes (venison and bear were both included), seasonal vegetables, quiches, and yummy cookies. The side-board was served throughout the day and sent everyone home well-fed.
All in all, the 70+ attendees enjoyed a wonderful day of fine food, friendship, and celebration of the peaceful arts in the Yule season. Many thanks to Baroness Othindisa Bykona and her staff for an excellent event.
respectfully submitted by Fridrikr Tomasson,
Lady Rowan of the Estrella War staff is seeking households willing to host EMTs for dinner at the upcoming War.
Currently open for commentary is a proposal by the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee (“APEC”) for a new Rapier Peerage.
Greetings unto Fair Æthelmearc,
Gulf Wars looms in our future, and registration including Acceps online payments are now open for the war. If you plan to stay in the Royal Cabin
For those who will camp in tents you may also now go to the Gulf Wars
(photo by Maestro Augusto Giuseppe di San Donato)
Long an annual tradition, the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael held Masked Ball on Saturday the 6th of December.
The author of this missive spent the day in the kitchen cooking the feast (which was well received; battle was almost fought over the leftover cheese gnocchi and the pâté-filled hedgehogs were only remnants in their nests of greens at evening’s end), but news was heralded in from all activities.
Masked Ball is about the dancing, and this year was no exception. Dance mistress Lady Maeve Ni Siurtain reported, “With some hesitation, I agreed to teach and run dancing at Masked Ball. I was very surprised when a fairly large group showed up for the instruction time in the afternoon! The room allotted was even a bit small for all the people wanting to learn. Brief instruction was given on some basic steps and movements and then we tried dancing Sellenger’sRound, an English country dance. There was a bit of confusion and some funny moments. What I thought would be about an hour of class turned into one and a half hours!
After the tournaments were done, the main hall was available for dancing before court. We danced the Lorayne Almain, Hole in the Wall, and even Strip the Willow! Every one, especially Their Excellencies Carolus and Isolde, enjoyed themselves. Their were two gentles who traveled from the Midrealm to come and dance, and there was at least one newcomer dancing as well. I had great pleasure teaching and dancing with many good gentles, and would do so again if asked.”
Many deserving gentles received awards in Baronial Court, but the one award that brought the populace to their feet was the awarding of the Tangled Rose to Baroness Morgan Elandris. This is an award for those who have given almost a lifetime of service to the Barony. Baron Carolus and Baroness Isolde spoke movingly of her service to the Hael from its very beginnings, and the Vivats could be heard well beyond the hall.
As the lights went down for feast, we rejoiced in a day well spent with friends, and dinner to come with our Hael family.
~submitted by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin,
(photos by Mikus)