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Gladiator combat "less about bloodshed and more about drama"

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2015-02-28 12:13

Ancient history expert Prof. Garrett Fagan of Pennsylvania State University knows a lot about gladiators and shared some of his knowledge at a 2014 conference. Included in the discussion was his research on Roman gladiatorial combat, more spectacle than blood bath, he found.

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Categories: SCA news sites

A Brief Survey of SCA Bardic Music

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-02-28 11:22

by Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres.

In my previous article, I touched on the observation that so-called “SCA Bardic music” contains a preponderance of modern music in various forms. There have been countless classes and round tables at Pennsic and elsewhere devoted to discussions of the “types” of songs found within the SCAdian repertoire, which ones are and aren’t “period,” and what the difference is among “Period,” “Perioid,” “Traditional,” “Folk,” “Filk,” and “Original” music in the SCA.

This article is another brief discussion of that topic.

Curiously, a similar discussion broke out recently on the SCA Bards Facebook group (period vs. non-period). While it was presented as a choice, most all the participants took a “yes, and, both” approach to the question. Though there was a huge amount of variation in terms of what people thought enhanced the SCA experience and what people thought detracted.

This is not a discussion of what’s preferable or which types of pieces are appropriate for various settings. That’s topic for another day. This is more of a survey of the sorts of music one can find being performed within the SCA bardic community these days.

Period
Clearly, any music extant from within the scope of the SCA. Period music is diverse, rich, and if performed well or in the right context, accessible to a modern audience. Sometimes venues for period music are harder to find, though for ambient music, it’s almost always appropriate and a pleasant enhancement to a hall. Period music is relatively easy to find, but sometimes it takes a little research to verify that the version you’ve found is documented all the way back to period! Often only the lyrics have survived, so setting them to appropriate music can also be a challenge.

Near-Period
There’s no single term that has been coined for this type of music. Essentially what I mean here is music or songs that “pass” for period, done in a period style, or that we can’t prove were from period but we have reason to believe may be that old. For scholars of period music, these pieces “sound” right or at least evoke the right feeling in their presentation. Near-period can also refer to something that is partly documented, and partly not, or something that is just outside of a period style but is otherwise inoffensive. A lot of broadsides and other extant music qualify within this category, as does the case where someone has created contrefait with a period or near-period tune, or has written a tune for period lyrics. Some also call this “perioid” but that term also gets used for other subsets of original music.

Traditional
Traditional music is one of the widest practiced and oddly, least accurately presented types of music. It could be thought of as “gateway” music, especially since it’s music that lots of SCAdians learned growing up or in early adulthood, and they are often highly misinformed about its authenticity. Lots of different music from the early 1700s up through the mid-20th-century has been labeled “traditional” because the names of its authors have been lost, or because it got collected by song collectors who did not get attributions, or because it has passed into public domain, or because the singers learned “a version” somewhere and don’t actually know the song’s provenance. The thing about traditional music is that a lot of it is really fun, singable, easy to learn, and easily accessed, so it’s prevalent and often well-received. However, it’s also fairly recognizable. Lots of traditional music also has enormous clues that it’s well post-period. Most Irish and Scottish “traditional” music is quite clearly in this category.

Folk
Like “Traditional” music, “folk” music is a frequent gateway to the SCA. These are classic sing-a-longs, some of which really are anonymous, most of which are public domain, many of which were specifically written to be performed anywhere, anytime. But nearly all “folk” music is not more than 200 years old, and, also like its buddy Trad. Folk usually has hallmarks that indicate it’s well post-period. By some definitions, “folk” music is specifically music that arose out of the population of a given region, race, or culture, with no author or, if there is an attributed author, that author “gave” the music to the people (such as Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger). In the case of world folk music, frequently these pieces have been filtered and “Americanized.”

Contrefait
This is the period term for the practice of taking an existing tune and writing new lyrics to it. Broadsides were also composed the same way: by writing lyrics that could be set to popular music of the day (and sometimes more than one tune. It was not unusual for a broadside to list a number of “excellent tunes” to which one might sing the words). The SCA has, somewhat incorrectly, adopted the term “filk” for this practice. There are a number of reasons the term “filk” is controversial, and in fact, offensive, to some.

“Filk” was supposedly a typo once upon a once, when someone trying to put a “folk music circle” into a con program misspelled it. The misspelling stuck. So “filk” as it is used outside of the SCA is not confined to rewritten lyrics to an existing tune. In the Sci-Fi-Fantasy Convention circuit, “Filk” is a catchall term meant to include any and all music of interest to the subculture. But in the SCA, “filk” is also considered by many to be a pejorative term. I believe the major reason it elicits that reaction is that “filk” in the SCA has become synonymous with works that are not as serious, or not as appropriate, or that otherwise “break” the medieval experience for other listeners. I think it’s unfair to paint all “filk” with the same brush, but I’ll cover that another time.

Whatever it’s called, however, the essence of a contrefait is that it takes a tune someone else wrote and rewrites the lyrics. Songs like this are often humorous and fall under the heading of parody, but not all are meant to be funny. However, almost all contrefait with a modern melody do pick the original tune for some reason that puts an ironic or meaningful twist of some kind into the new lyrics. (And that’s often easier said than done.)

I will have a whole article on contrefaits and filk and such at a later date. For now, suffice to say, contrefaits can be “period” if they borrow a tune from period, but since it’s always new lyrics, those are always going to be post-period, but might be perioid.

Original (Historical) / Perioid
There are two segments of original music which have always been around in the SCA, but which continue to grow and change the bardic repertoire. The first of these is the “Historically-inspired” original song. These songs take their topics from period sources, but have been reinterpreted by an SCA artist and repackaged in an original tune. Some also refer to this type of music as “Perioid” – meaning that for most audiences, it “passes” for period even though it was written recently. Many of those tunes are themselves “perioid” in the sense that they evoke the right “feeling,” even if they are not written in a Medieval or Renaissance mode (more on modes in another article!). Sometimes the music and lyrics are more impressionistic, such as a song written from the point-of-view of an historical or legendary figure, and sometimes they tell the story of the original source material in the artist’s own way. These are new songs on old themes, entirely appropriate to the SCA’s area of study.

Original (SCA)
The final type of music is original songs written for and about the SCA’s people, life, culture, and so on. Patriotic songs about kingdoms or local groups, songs that uphold SCA traditions such as Crown Tourney, songs that venerate a particular person (for example on the occasion of a peerage) – these are an act of preserving the history of the SCA itself. As with the historially-inspired songs, they are being written currently, almost always in very basic, singable modes, rather than in courtly or church modes. These songs add to the fabric of the SCA and often help to create the illusion of the “Current Middle Ages” in that they provide a pride of place and character intrinsic to the conceit that “AEthelmearc,” “The East,” “The Midrealm,” and so on, are just as “real” as New York or the United States.

Sylvan Bard,

Without making value judgments as to which type of music is “more” appropriate, since all of them have appropriate places, uses, and audiences, it’s easy to see why so much bardic music “feels” modern. However, consider that original music of both historial or SCA subject matter can be “perioid” – if it’s done well, it can almost pass for period. At the very least, it doesn’t “jar” one out of a medieval context. Some contrefait can be written to actual period tunes, leaving only the lyrics to alert the listener to modern use of language (and again, depending on the lyrics, that may be indistinguishable, too). So the types of music one can encounter really can intermingle.

And regardless of the choice of piece, the three key elements to success for any bard are these:

  1. The material chosen must speak to some emotional grip on the audience;
  2. The performance must move the audience to that emotional place;
  3. The audience must be able to see, hear, and understand the performance.

Without those three things, it doesn’t matter whether the piece is period, perioid, or written last week. And it’s those considerations that dictate the appropriateness of a specific piece for a specific venue.

More on that… in another article


Categories: SCA news sites

Historian finds rare postcard of 1909 shipwreck on eBay

History Blog - Sat, 2015-02-28 07:42

Janet DeVries, local historian and president of the Boynton Beach Historical Society in Palm Beach County, Florida, was browsing eBay on December 19th of last year when she came across a period postcard with a picture of a shipwreck well known to her. It was the wreck of the Norwegian barkentine Coquimbo which ran aground on a reef off Boynton Beach on January 31st, 1909. The postcard had been sent and was postmarked Boynton, August 9th, 1909. The message on the back read:

Boynton Fl. 8/8/09 – Dear Roger. It has ben (sic) a long time since I have heard from you so I wanto (sic) know if you are still living. I have ben (sic) all over hell since I last wrote you but I am home now carpentering. clyde

DeVries clicked the “buy it now” button and acquired the postcard for $10, a bargain considering what a rare testament to the town’s early history it is.

The Coquimbo, an iron-hulled sailing ship with two square-rigged masts forward and schooner rigged mast aft, was carrying a hull full of pine lumber from Gulfport, Mississippi, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, when she hit the reef. The ship’s foghorns awakened guests at the oceanfront Boynton Hotel who hastened to the waterside to see what the commotion was about. The Coquimbo was perched on a sandbar, not sinking, but there were 15 crew members stranded on board, all Scandinavian, including Captain I. Clausen. Locals crossed the canal on a skiff and built a breeches buoy to rescue all 15 men.

The crew couldn’t afford to stay in the hotel so for the next two months they used the ship’s sails to make tents and camped out on the beach while they waited for the steam tugboat that would attempt to dislodge the ship. The tugboat spent days trying to budge the Coquimbo but it wouldn’t move an inch. It was destined to stay where it stood until the ocean waves tore the hull apart.

In 1909 southern Florida was still pioneer country, sparsely populated with limited supplies. The town of Boynton was only 11 years old at the time with a population of less than 700 souls. A ship full of long-leaf pine lumber with beams as long as thirty feet was a figurative gold mine for the settlers. Residents collected the wood that had washed up on the beach, stacking it in piles that reached as high as fifty feet. The lumber, along with the ship’s rigging, tackle, stores and provisions would be sold at auction (scroll down to see the notice) on March 30th, 1909, but the U.S. Marshall who oversaw the sale allowed the Boynton residents to mark the piles they had made and buy them for bargain prices at the auction.

There aren’t many extant photographs of the Coquimbo. DeVries has been actively searching for pictures of the wreck for the past 20 years and this is only the fourth she’s ever found. That it also comes with a reference to the building boom that resulted from the harvesting of the Coquimbo‘s cargo makes it an even rarer historical gem. To flesh out the story behind the postcard, DeVries tried to identify the “Clyde” who had mailed it. From her decades of historical research into the area, she knew that there were only two Clydes in Boynton Beach at that time. One of them was a carpenter who had helped build the hotel, so she thought he was the likely candidate. The dates didn’t pan out, however, so she turned to the second Clyde.

C.O. Miller is best known for creating Boynton’s most enduring and splendid roadside attraction, Rainbow Tropical Gardens. In addition, the master gardener designed the exquisite gardens of the famed Addison Mizner designed Cloister Inn.

Born Clyde O’Brien Miller in 1885, near Logansport, Indiana, Miller worked as a brakeman for the Pennsylvania Railroad before settling in Boynton in 1909.

By following census records, news accounts and government documents, it seems Miller did indeed move about or travel often (as described in his 1909 postcard).

The recipient of the postcard was one Roger C. Middlekauff of Jacksonville, Florida. There’s no further information about him at this time. Keep an eye on the Boynton Beach Historical Society blog for more about Clyde Miller.

The postcard will be added to the documentation of the wreck that DeVries has been compiling for years in order to have the site recognized by the state. What’s left of the Coquimbo was discovered in January of 2013 by free-diver Steve Dennison.

His heart pounded when he saw it: The huge bow of a ghostly ship jutting from the sand as if rising from its watery grave.

The hull that had looked black from the surface was reddish-brown close up, covered with marine organisms. He went down and grabbed the bow, and felt the cold metal underneath the barnacles.

He then saw a metal mast, then another mast, and about 200 feet from the bow he could see the stern and the steering mechanism. The hull was still buried underneath the sand.

It had been exposed by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy. You can see a slideshow of the wreck here and I’m embedding video of it below. The ship was only visible for a brief three months. When Dennison returned in April it was completely covered in sand again.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

How to research medieval games

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2015-02-27 17:08

In a discussion on Linked In, SCA member Jeff Johnston reports that he has published his research on medieval games on his HubPages website. The article is entitled Researching Medieval Games.

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Categories: SCA news sites

The Omnibus Martial Peerage Movement: an Interview with Duchess Tessa the Huntress

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-02-27 15:40

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope recently sat down with Duchess Tessa the Huntress to discuss the Omnibus Martial Peerage Movement.

Many SCA members were concerned when the Society’s Board of Directors decided at their January meeting not to create the Rapier Peerage that so many people were expecting. A lot of letters were written and many discussions were held on social media about what people thought the BoD should do going forward. One of the options a fair number of gentles suggested was an omnibus martial peerage to cover all of the non-rattan martial arts.

When the BoD surprised everyone by reversing course at their Feb. 2nd meeting and creating the Order of Defence, many people in the other non-rattan martial arts communities, while happy for their friends in rapier, were deeply disappointed that they were once again left out. A few decided to take action, and formed the Martial Peerage Facebook group as a way to organize support for an omnibus martial peerage. The leader in this effort is Æthelmearc’s Earl Marshal, Duchess Tessa the Huntress.

Duchess Tessa joined the SCA in the Canton of Cydllain Downs (Columbia, SC), in the Kingdom of Atlantia, in 1983. She said, “Combat archery and history are what drew me in. I’ve done heavy fighting, helped to start target archery in the southern part of Atlantia, and participated in the first equestrian games in Atlantia in 1985.” She moved to Æthelmearc in A.S. XXXII (1998).

Duchess Tessa in action, photo courtesy of Her Grace.

In 2002, Her Grace became the first Society Deputy Earl Marshal for Combat Archery. In that position, Duchess Tessa reached out to all of the Kingdoms’ archery communities, working with them to create testing procedures, spread the practice of Combat Archery throughout the kingdoms, and standardized combat archery rules across the society. Her Grace was elevated to the Pelican for that work in A.S. XLII. She became Earl Marshal of Æthelmearc in January of A.S. XLVI.

Interspersed with her work in Combat Archery, Her Grace managed to find time to reign as Queen of Æthelmearc three times with her husband, Duke Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn. She remembers, “When I was Queen last time, there were people in our kingdom who I felt were peers, but because their martial skill was not a rattan weapons form, they didn’t fit in the Chivalry. We tried to see if they could fit in the Laurel. and it became clear that they could for their research, but not for martial skill alone. This meant we had people in several martial communities who we couldn’t recognize [with a peerage]. I felt that was wrong. Since then, I have talked to a lot of people and realized that many people in those communities felt that their activities weren’t as appreciated as others, since their best couldn’t be recognized as peers.”

Sir Jon FitzRauf, photo courtesy of Sir Jon.

Her Grace pointed out that the idea for an omnibus peerage is not new. She explained, “Sir Jon FitzRauf [of the West Kingdom], former Archery Marshal of the Society, wrote the first proposal for an omnibus martial peerage back in 1999. He formed a group to work with him on it, open to anyone. It started with combat archery and target archery, but as he talked to people he realized there were other communities in the same boat, so his proposal grew to include all non-rattan martial activities. That proposal got no response from the BoD, but he has continued working on it and refining it, resubmitting new proposals four more times.”

After the BoD’s announcement of the new Order of Defence, Duchess Tessa said, “When I read the letter from the BOD, it upset me a great deal. I had hoped they would see the big picture and create something that included all martial activities. The part about other martial areas not having the community the fencers did – I believe they could have chosen their words more carefully, and perhaps they didn’t understand how it would affect those of us who do those other martial activities. In my opinion, it said that we weren’t worthy, that we didn’t have the numbers or the community to deserve equal recognition. That disappointed me.”

Her Grace said that, after sleeping on it, “I decided that it was time that I stepped up and helped to make the change that I wanted to see. So, I made a post on my Facebook page and tried to reach out to people in each martial community and across the Society. One of the first people I reached out to was Sir Jon. He started this movement and I wanted him to work with me, if he could. I’ve gotten to meet him, he’s an awesome person. He was thrilled that I had picked up the banner and was running with it. He thanked me for inviting him.”

Tessa decided to create a Facebook group.

She started with Sir Jon and about a dozen people in Æthelmearc, and then reached out to 20 more people in other kingdoms. She still has connections throughout the Society in the archery and CA communities, and others in the initial group had connections with equestrian, thrown weapons, and siege. Her Grace tagged someone in each kingdom, told them what she was doing and why, and asked them to spread the word. Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin set up a link for people to join the group, which the initial members shared. “The first day we had over 100 people. It spread so much quicker than I anticipated, because so many people helped.”

By the third day, the group had members in all 19 Kingdoms of the Society, and it has continued to grow from there. As of the writing of this article, the Martial Peerage Facebook group has over 780 members.

With such a large group, how does Tessa keep the discussions organized and productive? “We have a set mission: an omnibus peerage. We told everyone to keep it polite. At about 400 members we hit growing pains and I couldn’t keep up with all of the different threads, so I asked for suggestions and decided to make topic threads. It made a huge difference, helping to organize the conversations.”

Early on, Mistress Tiercelin created the group’s symbol, a Gothic capital “O” for Omnibus in gold on a purple background. Tessa said it’s been a big hit, noting that “People rally to symbols.” Tiercelin commented, “People were asking for something they could use to show support for the omnibus peerage – not the heraldic badge that will eventually be approved, but just a symbol to show that they are in favor of the creation of the new peerage. It started with a simple O, but then I added symbols for each of our activities. We have a horse for the equestrians, an arrow for the archers, arrow/horse combo for mounted archery, catapult for siege, and axe for thrown weapons.” A few of those symbols are shown here:

Images by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin.

Tiercelin notes, “So far we have seen the O being used as a Facebook profile picture, a smaller PicBadge on a regular profile picture, and in many forms of belt favors, tokens, brooches, and even earrings. The King and Queen of the East sported arm favors with the O at a recent event. We will have wooden pins available at Ice Dragon [in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael on March 21st] with the various versions; stop by the Equestrian Encampment to pick one up.”

When asked how the group plans to make its case to the Board, Duchess Tessa said, “[One of the things] we have focused on is participation numbers and collecting data on existing awards for our martial activities, trying to show depth and breath.” Master Dirk Edward of Frisia from the Middle Kingdom helped compile the following statistics on current participation among all martial arts in the Society across all of the kingdoms:

  • 9,324 heavy weapons fighters
  • 3, 859 rapier fighters
  • 8,212 target archers
  • 1,349 thrown weapons
  • 667 siege
  • 1316 equestrians
  • 2,454 combat archers

This comes to a total of 13,998 participants in the martial areas that would be covered by the omnibus peerage. Her Grace admits that there is some overlap in people who participate in more than one area, but said these are conservative numbers for target and thrown weapons, and there are still three kingdoms that haven’t reported.

She also noted that “In the past 5 years, all of our martial activities have gained people [except] the heavy community, which has lost participants.” When asked if she thought this is because the Society is aging and heavy weapons combat is hard on the body, Tessa agreed that was possible. She also thinks that in the past few years movies [like Brave and The Hunger Games] have greatly boosted archery numbers.

When asked what she thought the primary objections to an omnibus martial peerage are, Tessa said, “A lot of people mistakenly believe this is about people wanting to get a peerage for themselves. I think at least 3/4 of the people who are in the Martial Peerage Facebook group either don’t want a peerage for themselves or think they will never reach that level, but want to see those they respect and look up to recognized. In my opinion, it’s more about equal acceptance.”

As a result of the group’s discussions, a proposal is being crafted that will be sent to the Board in early March for consideration at their April meeting. While it is still a work in progress that is being developed by a steering committee comprised of people from each kingdom, here are some of its key elements:

  • Martial endeavors other than rattan and rapier have been in the Society for decades. They contribute to the SCA, bring in new people, and make the organization richer. Their numbers mirror the heavy community and are growing every year.
  • Everyone who is a peer deserves to be recognized as one, no matter what martial activity they do.
  • To ensure this, the group proposes that the SCA Board of Directors create an omnibus peerage for all martial activities that fall under the Society Earl Marshal except for rattan and fencing, since they are already recognized by existing peerages. Any new martial arts would be added to this order in the future.
  • This peerage would follow the Laurel model of incorporating all activities on equal footing together. The group has discussed creating rubrics on how to judge someone in a different martial activity.
  • The group is working on proposals for a name and heraldry. Current name candidates include the Order of the Valiance, the Order of the Chimera, and the Order of the Hunt.

Duchess Tessa plans to attend the April BoD meeting, which will be held in Covington, KY on April 18, and says she will do her best to get other members of the group to go, too. She knows this issue is not likely to be decided quickly, but says, “My plan is to present our proposal to the BOD and see what feedback we get from them. I believe the BOD would like to get this resolved, and if they don’t like part of the proposal, they will let us know and may create a committee to look into it. Several kingdoms already have omnibus Grant or AoA level awards for martial activities [like Æthelmearc’s Golden Alce], and I see this following a similar path.”

Duchess Tessa, photo courtesy of Her Grace.

Her Grace says she has been impressed with how well the group has been working together. “Sir Jon has worked with dozens of people on this for years. He should be recognized for his vision and hard work. The Facebook group has the numbers and growth it has because of the people like him who are part of it. They have inspired me. This effort would have no chance of success if we weren’t all working together. I have also been touched by those people who don’t do these activities but have stepped forward to support us. I just want to thank them, too.”

In closing, Duchess Tessa said, “I think it’s important that everyone feels they are welcome in the SCA and that their work and their activity is appreciated. As a Society, we need to make certain those members who have mastered the skills in these martial activities and are peers in every other way can be recognized appropriately as the peers that they are.”

From Sir Jon FitzRauf:

“I first started working on the idea of peerage recognition for the non-rattan martial activities (NRMA) back in 1999. I formed a Yahoo group of like-minded Society members and we put together the first proposal to create a new peerage that would allow recognition of those that excel in the martial activities that were not covered by the Chivalry, the Laurel, or the Pelican. That was presented to the BoD in 2000 and turned down by them.

I have continued working toward this idea for the last fifteen years. Because I believed that there are outstanding individuals that excel in the skills of these activities and who have the required peerage level qualifications who are unable to be recognized for these skills by the Crowns that would wish to do so. Since there is no current peerage that is open to them this excellence, the Crowns are unable to recognize them properly.

The BoD’s recent creation of the Order of the Masters of Defence finally allows the Crowns to recognize the outstanding rapier and cut and thrust participants. Nevertheless, it still left the other non-rattan martial activities without a deserved means of peerage level recognition. However, the discussion brought about by its creation did create further interest and support in the recognition of the NRMA across the Society.

The current Omnibus Peerage Proposal being put forth by Duchess Tessa and our group is based in part on my previous submissions to the BoD. If accepted, it will allow the Crowns to recognize those that are deserving. It will also allow the recognition of any future martial activities that would be recognized by the Marshalate without the BoD having to repeat this entire process again for each new activity.

I strongly suggest that everyone read the Omnibus Proposal and send a letter of support to the BoD.

I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have worked so hard toward obtaining peerage recognition for the NRMA for the last fifteen years. Their efforts and your support may finally make this possible.

Sir Jon FitzRauf, West. OL, OP.


Categories: SCA news sites

Belegarth takes up swords in Chicago

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2015-02-27 13:30

Caleigh Fleming enjoys medieval combat, and also having a safe place to enjoy "nerd" activities, so she helped to bring the Galahad Medieval Combat Society to Columbia University in Chicago. The group takes part in a medieval combat game known as Belegarth. The Columbia Chronicle has the story. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Roman tombstone of “Bodica” found in Cirencester

History Blog - Fri, 2015-02-27 11:18

The excavation of the site of the former Bridges Garage in Cirencester has unearthed a wealth of Roman funerary material from 75 graves, including pottery, jewelry and an extremely great chicken. Now Cotswold Archaeology (CA) has made another rare find: a tombstone with an inscription naming the deceased that may be covering her grave. Roman gravestones are rare — less than 300 inscribed ones have been found in the UK, 10 in Cirencester — but this one is in very fine condition, with the pediment atop the stone unbroken and the inscription is still sharp and complete.

The inscription is five lines long and reads: “DM BODICACIA CONIUNX VIXIT ANNO S XXVII.” DM is an abbreviation for Dis Manibus, literally “to the spirits of the dead,” a frequently used dedication on tombstones, so the full inscription translates to “To the spirits of the dead, Bodica, wife, lived 27 years.” It only fills the top half of the stone and there are horizontal lines on the bottom half that suggest it would be filled in with another inscription at a later date, perhaps when the husband died, but then it never happened. The tomstone is made out of Cotswold limestone and is elaborately decorated and impeccably carved. Bodica’s husband must have been quite well off to be able to afford such an expensive piece.

The Cotswold Archaeology team has been digging since January as a precursor to the construction of an addition to the St James Place Wealth Management structure that was built on the Bridges Garage site. They’ve discovered a total of 55 graves and were almost finished with the excavation when they found the tombstone.

“The problem we had was how to lift the stone without damaging the burial underneath. We could already see the skull and the rest of the body were covered by only a thin layer of soil,” [said Cliff Bateman, the Project Manager.]

“We decided to dig a hole next to the grave and then gently roll the stone over onto a pallet set within the hole. This could then be lifted out by a crane and transported to a secure store.”

Cotswold Archaeology has a short timelapse video of the lifting of the headstone here, and since the BBC filmed the event and broadcast it live, its article has two videos, one of the lifting of the stone, and one interview with CA archaeologist Neil Holbrook after the stone was turned over to reveal the inscription.

What makes this discovery all the more remarkable is that the tombstone survived at all. First it remained intact and virtually undamaged when it fell on top of the grave. Then it had to survive the stone foragers who looted graves and buildings to use as masonry for new construction. Archaeologists think that the headstone fell over relatively soon after it was installed and then was covered by soil so later looters missed it.

Then it had to outwit modern development. Before the Bridges Garage was built in the 1960s, the site was excavated by archaeologist Richard Reece who found 52 burials and an engraved headstone (not connected to any human remains). Then a building was constructed and an area large and deep enough to accommodate two huge underground fuel tanks was dug up, so archaeologists didn’t expect to find much of anything intact when they surveyed the site in 2011 before new construction. Instead they found an extensive burial ground with intact artifacts and human remains. The tombstone and the fragile human remains just under it came within inches of destruction.

CA’s Chief Executive Neil Holbrook said it was amazing the tombstone had survived “When they built the garage in the 1960s they scraped across the top of the stone to put a beam in. If they’d gone a couple of inches lower they’d have smashed it to smithereens.”

The stone dates to 100-200 A.D. It was found on top of adult human remains and next to the remains of three very young children. This could very well be Bodica and her children buried in a family grave. If it does prove to be Bodica’s grave, it will be the only of its kind ever found in Britain. Roman gravestones aren’t often found with associated remains; finding one with a name engraved on it which identifies the remains is the kind of thing you find in exceptional preservation conditions like Pompeii.

Experts will study the tombstone and remains in depth, a process that could take two or so years, in the hopes of answering some of these questions. After that, the stone will be given a permanent home in a museum. The Corinium Museum has been the fortunate recipient of other treasures unearthed at the Bridges Garage excavations — the cockerel is on display there now — so they’re hoping they’ll get Bodica’s headstone as well.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report for Dragonship Haven Investiture

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-02-27 10:56

Photo courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

COURT OF THEIR MAJESTIES EDWARD III AND THYRA II
AT DRAGONSHIP HAVEN INVESTITURE

The Court of our most excellent prince and lord, Edward, by right of arms most illustrious King of the East, third of that name, and Thyra, his Queen by agency of that same right, second of that name, held upon 21 February in the forty-ninth year of the Society in the Barony of Dragonship Haven; on which day were called all and sundry the lords of the realm and the great persons of the kingdom to hear the following publicly proclaimed:

Photo courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

Item:  Their Majesties thanked Baron Adhemar de Villarquemada for his lengthy and honorable service to the Kingdom and the Barony of Dragonship Haven, in witness of which Their Majesties awarded him a good and proper pension, the which deed was memorialized in a document created by Eloise of Coulter.

Whereupon Their Majesties relieved the good Baron Adhemar of his duties and summoned before the Court Joseph of the Red Griffin and Bronwen Rose Greylyng

Item.  Their Majesties invested Joseph of the Red Griffin as Baron of Dragonship Haven, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Emma Makilmone and Henna Sinclair.

Item.  Their Majesties invested Bronwen Rose Greylyng as Baroness of Dragonship Haven, the which deed was memorialized in a document authored by Grim the Skald, calligraphed by Alexandre Saint Pierre and illuminated by Camille des Jardins.

Item.  Their Majesties accepted the fealty of the new Baron and Baroness of Dragonship Haven.

Photo courtesy of Countess Caoilfhionn.

Item.  Their Majesties sent Aildreda de Tamworthe to sit vigil to decide whether she would accept the accolade of the Order of the Laurel.

Item.  Their Majesties sent Ysemay Sterling to sit vigil to decide whether she would accept the accolade of the Order of the Laurel.

Whereupon Their Majesties adjourned their Court until the afternoon, when the following was done and caused to be done:

Item.  Their Majesties made gifts of toys to the children of the East.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned Reinne Chevalet la Mareschale before the Court and thereupon awarded her Arms, the which deed was memorialized in a document created by Cezilia Raposa.

Item.  Their Majesties caused Amis Mwyn to be brought before the Tyger Thrones and, so doing, awarded the said Amis Arms, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir.

Item.  Their Majesties commanded Geoffrey Hart to appear before them, whereupon they awarded him Arms, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Onóra inghean Uí Ruairc.

Item.  Their Majesties commanded Leon the Navigator to attend upon them and, praising his labors and his skills in matters of thrown weapons, inducted him into the Order of the Golden Mantle, the which deed was memorialized in a document authored by Colin Mackenzie and calligraphed and illuminated by Sorcha Dhocair inghean Uí Ruairc.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned the noble and good Johanna de Glastingburi to appear before the Court, whereupon they inducted her into the Order of the Silver Crescent, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Aleksei Dmitriev.

Item.  Their Majesties gave tokens of welcome to newcomers to the Society.

Photo courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

Item.  Their Majesties made Awards of the Golden Lyre to the following musicians who had played for the dancing this day:  Deonna von Aachen, Rufina Cambrensis, John Elys, and Isabeau d’Orleans.

Item.  Their Majesties awarded Arms to Aleksei of Nordenhalle.

Item.  Their Majesties caused the good lady Isabeau du Valle to be brought before the Tyger Thrones and, praising her skills in beadwork and other noble arts, inducted the said Isabeau into the Order of the Maunche, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Katherine Stanhope.

Photo courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

Item.  Their Majesties summoned from among their musicians the good man Rufus Bowie and, praising his skills in music, endowed him with the Order of the Maunche, the which deed was confirmed by a gift of glass created by Solskinn of Smoking Rocks with words by Nest verch Tangwistel.

Item.  Their Majesties called Lavina Attewode before the Court and awarded her Arms, the which deed was memorialized in a document authored by Lucius Aurelius Varus and calligraphed and illuminated by Saerlaith ingen Chennetig.

Item.  Their Majesties awarded arms to Tegwen ferch Cydifor ap Bleddyd, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Eowyn Eilonwy of Alewife Brook.

Item.  Their Majesties called Hedinn inn Raudi before the assembled Court and, praising his valor and skills upon the list, endowed him with the Order of the Tygers Combatant, the which deed was memorialized in a document created by Lada Monguligin.

Item.  Their Majesties consulted their learned astrologer, Master Anton of Winteroak, to determine the just and proper course of their reign.

Photo courtesy of Countess Caoilfhionn.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned the good and noble Aildreda de Tamworthe to hear her answer to the question before her; Their Majesties then took testimony from noteworthy Peers of the Realm concerning the said Aildreda; and finding it just, fitting and right that the said Aildreda be elevated to the Peerage, caused the said Aildreda to be inducted into the Order of the Laurel and awarded Arms by Letters Patent, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Lucien de Pontivi and Peregrine the Illuminator, and calligraphed and illuminated by Isabel Chamberlaine.

Photo courtesy of Raziya Bint Rusa.

Item.  Their Majesties called before them the right and honorable Ysemay Sterling to hear her answer to the question before her; Their Majesties then took testimony from honored Peers of the Realm concerning the said Ysemay; and finding it just, fitting and right that the said Ysemay be elevated to the Peerage, caused the said Ysemay to be inducted into the Order of the Laurel and awarded Arms by Letters patent, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Toki Redbeard and calligraphed and illuminated by Fiona O Maille.

Item.  Their Majesties thanked the musicians who had played for both Courts and during the day’s festivities.

I, Alys Mackyntoich, Eastern Crown Herald, wrote this to memorialize and make certain all such things that were done and caused to be done as above stated.

Witnesseth:
Ryan Mac Whyte
Grim the Skald
Alesone Gray of Cranlegh
Donovan Shinnock
Matilda Wynter

 


Filed under: Court Tagged: Dragonship Haven

New Exchequer Office Contacts

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2015-02-27 09:07

A missive from the Kingdom Exchequer.

Greetings unto the Exchequers of Æthelmearc,

The Kingdom Exchequer’s office is being reorganized to better serve the Kingdom. I would like to thank THL Alina Marie de Valenciennes for her years of service as the Regional Exchequer for Region 4. Taking effect immediately, Regional Exchequers are changing. Baron Tofi is stepping out of the role of Regional deputy to get ready for taking over the Kingdom office as of Pennsic.

Please begin sending reporting to your new Regional deputies. The NMS Secretary THL Etaine Eame is not changing, but she is taking over additional duties as the Region 1 deputy. Baron Bataar and Baroness Anastasie are moving to different regional deputiships and I would like to welcome Countess Etain and Lady Laurentia of Caladonia as new regional deputies.

As always, any changes in signature cards should start with an email to me of the Bank Account Request form, so that we can provide this to the Society. Please email to ae.exchequer@aethelmearc.org.

Thank you all for your continued service,
Dame Kateryna ty Isaf
Chancellor of the Exchequer

Region 1 and NMS Secretary
THL Etaine Eame
etain0110@gmail.com

Region 2
Baron Sogtungui Bataar
bataarsogdo@hotmail.com

Region 3
Lady Laurentia of Caladonia
laurentia.caledonia@gmail.com

Region 4
Baroness Anastasie deLamoure
lovetoo76@verizon.net

Region 5
Countess Etain ingen Dalaig
angeliquejb@yahoo.com


Categories: SCA news sites

Event Report: College of Three Ravens

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-02-26 19:26

Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France), with assistance from Lady Máirghréad Stíobhard inghean uí Choinne, autocrat, reported on the College of Three Ravens.

For the 37th year, Thescorre celebrated its annual winter schola with 180 gentles attending despite the worst efforts of the still-roaring Ice Dragon.

The classes were the star of the day!

Hosted in the Avian Barony on February 21 at the Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra, NY, the College of Three Ravens boasted 25 instructors teaching 37 classes, organized by class chancellor Lady Kadlin Sigvaldakona.

The nimble hands of Mistress Elizabeth Johanna von der Flossenburg. Photo by Baron Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg

 

A Little History and Lots of A&S

Originally dubbed UWEKAT (The University of the Western East Kingdom at Thescorre) in 1979, the event was renamed in 1999 soon after AEthelmearc stepped away from the East to became a kingdom in its own right. The College fetes Thescorre’s three ravens: Huginn (Norse symbol of thought), Muninn (Norse symbol of memory) and Bob (“Bob Reaf!” which is “Fear Bob!’ backwards); the birds are featured on the Baronial heraldry in their avian splendor.

Mistress Euriol trying her hand at the late-period game Losing Loadum. Photo by Baroness Katja

 

Instruction at the College  this year included classes on stained glass, needlework and fiber arts, literary arts, bardic arts, woodworking, cooking, card games, scribal arts, and many other wonderful branches of the Arts & Sciences.

“The classes were the star of the day!” His Royal Highness, Timothy of Arindale, remarked while enjoying the day.

Terrified?

“A boggart is what we fear most,” Mistress Alicia Langland explained at the beginning of her class, “Too Terrified to Teach? Riddikulus!” using an example from the popular Harry Potter series.

Mistress Alicia leads a workshop discussion on conquering teaching fears. Photo by Baroness Katja

 

“We need to take whatever scares us most and defeat it with laughter,” as she coaxed attendees to list whatever prevented them from attempting to teach, some of which included fears of teaching whole classrooms as opposed to one-on-one instruction, preferring advanced “301 level” classes to “101” style intro courses, overly enthusiastic students who “take over” the class, not knowing how to answer questions they didn’t know, or just totally screwing up and doing something wrong.

After nonjudgmental discussion of each fear, Alicia walked each student through suggestions and strategies for preventing, preparing to deal with, or resolutions for their concerns. Hearing that the attendees found this very helpful, she plans to teach this new workshop again at future scholas.

Children use crayons to learn how to draw basic arms in Lady Elen Woderose’s Heraldry for Kids class, Photo by Baroness Katja

Wood, Fire & Iron

“How we cook and what we cook is really affected by the atmosphere in which we cook and the tools available to us,” Baron Janos Meszaros summarized at the beginning of his overview of food technology throughout history, joking he would cover “10,000 years in 50 minutes!”

He visually walked listeners from firepit cooking to hearths and stoves and from wood & clay pots to metal pans. Once humans progressed from hunter-gatherers foraging for food to settled villagers pursuing agriculture, he noted, this allowed potterers to make ceramic pots, which allowed for food to be stored, which led to the development of cuisine, which led to more food being grown, which led to larger populations, which led to the growth of cities… and so on.

 Court and Yummy Food

This was the last College to be hosted by the current Avian Excellencies, Baron Aquila and Baroness Bronwyn, since they are stepping down in June.

Baroness-Elect Sadira hugging Baron Aquila after receiving her new Broche. Photo by Lord Simon Peregrine

Our Baroness-Elect, Mistress Sadira Bint Wassouf, was inducted into the barony arts order, the Broche, during their Baronial Court. (Her Excellency and her husband, the late Baron Saleem, were Thescorre’s second baron & baroness two decades ago.) She also planned and coordinated the delicious lunch, which offered a delightful range of period German dishes (cheese flouden) juxtaposed with period Arabic dishes (red lentil soup, meat pies).

“I decided to highlight my two cultures,” Her Excellency explained. “I’m half Syrian and half German, and I’ve done several feasts focusing on recipes from either one, but this time I wanted to do them together.  The flouden – very thinly rolled bread dough filled with slices of Swiss cheese – were incredibly popular throughout the lunch hour. The amazing shortbread cookies, flavored with lavender Her Excellency grows at her home, were another high point of the delicious lunch!

‘It’s very important to me that food taste good and that people get enough to eat,” she smiled while watching gentles gobble up seconds and thirds.

The head cook,  Baroness Nuzha bint Saleem, was inducted into the Millrind during Regency Court for her years of cooking (often with her mother, Sadira), teaching, retaining, and many other forms of service.

Baroness Nuzah with her Millrind scroll and spoon “medallion.” Photo by Maistir Brandubh O Donnghaile

Her Excellency had an intriguing theme for the evening’s meal, “A Tour across Europe,” which sold out at 96 seats. Having started helping in SCA kitchens when she was six and served as head cook when she was only 15, Nuzha found that in 20 years of cooking single-themed feasts there were individual recipes that she really liked and wanted to do again, or just never had gotten to make because they didn’t fit into a past feast.

Plus, her two great friends and assistant cooks, Lord Andrew of Thescorre and Lady Elzbieta Triadenyte “chose ones that they had always wanted to try or loved as well. I figured that they shouldn’t have to wait 20 years to get to do the things they’d always wanted to do. And we found that even doing a feast where we could make ‘anything we wanted,’ there were still many things that we ended up NOT making. Which was odd!”

So, the dishes ranged from Portuguese to French to English to Roman and finally to German. While all dishes were warmly received and inhaled, Her Excellency said she was most happy with the custard tart included in the dessert selections. “It is one of my personal recipes that I make for people at my home and I was very happy that everyone seemed to enjoy it.”

In addition to the normal challenges head cooks face, Her Excellency spent the last week attempting to buy ingredients and prep this feast while closing on her new house and packing to move!

Despite repeated near-blizzards that pummeled the area throughout the week, industrious gentles drove to her house several times to help, including Baroness Bronwyn and her daughter, Lady Venetia. “Your help those days made the feast happen. Without you both, I would not have completed my prep. I was certain I would have to cut items out of the meal. Your help allowed me to ADD the pork roast (to the menu). Thank you!”

Although both cooks have always offered recipe books with past meals, their recent busyness understandably prevented them from having such available at the event. They expect to post the recipes soon to the Barony webpage or social media.

While diners enjoyed the sumptuous meal, Mistress Daedez and Lady Elen Woderose entertained them with tales and songs.

In additional court news, Lady Elzbieta  was inducted into the barony’s martial order, the Black Talon, while in Regency Court, Lady Vistalia joined the Keystone, and Duchess Ilish O’Donovan took Baroness Clarice Roan as her apprentice.

Lady Vistalia with her Keystone. Photo by Maistir Brandubh O Donnghaile

 

Lastly, Lord Simon Peregrine offered a  gratis portrait session all day in the sanctuary for event attendees, the photos from which he has posted to his Facebook account for all to enjoy. He hopes to procure a space to offer another photography studio at Ice Dragon.


Categories: SCA news sites

Q&A: East Kingdom Marshal of Equestrian Activities

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-02-26 11:44

This is one of a series of Q&A articles with East Kingdom Officers.  The Gazette thanks Baroness Doucette de Verdun, the Kingdom Marshal of Equestrian Activities, for answering our questions.

What do you enjoy about this activity?
It’s the combination of two of my favorite things! For a long time, I didn’t combine my horse world with my SCA world – there were no equestrian events in my region and I didn’t think of it. But when my horse became injured and I started using some of the SCA Equestrian games for his rehabilitation, I started to get involved, and it is now my favorite type of riding competition to do. I still ride in some mundane competitions, but SCA Equestrian events are now my first priority.

Do you have a goal for your term?
This is my first round as a Kingdom officer, so my number one goal for my term is “mess nothing up”. I have some likes… I’d like to see equestrian activities in Tir Mara. I’d like to see more new equestrians. Most of all, I’d like to see our equestrians and participants and spectators have fun, leave smiling and want to do this more often. That would be success.

Are you currently looking for any deputies?
I actually recruited my regional deputies before stepping up, and I took the extra step of recruiting a new position, a Deputy in Charge of Minors. Horse activities carry a lot of liability concerns, and sometimes those concerns get in the way of us letting our most enthusiastic riders (the littlest ones) get up and ride. I want them to be able to ride, and I felt the issue was important enough.

What was your first event?  And what made you stay?
My first event was Pennsic 31. My friend was a garb merchant, and she said “Come along with me on this annual camping trip I always go on, you need a break. Just one thing, you have to wear what I tell you to.” That was a week of surprises, to say the least! I stayed, as I continue to stay, for the people. I love my SCA friends and the broad range of people I meet. And the East Kingdom Equestrians are some of my favorite people!

Which people made an impact on you in the SCA and why?
The East Kingdom Equestrian Marshals are terrific people and they’ve had such an amazing effect on my life. From the moment I walked into my first Equestrian Annual Meeting at Birka, I was hooked. Each and every one of them has taught me important things, and their influence has improved my life in every aspect from self-reliance to career development. I am still privately amazed that they are allowing me to be Kingdom Marshal of Horse – it’s a huge compliment coming from them.


Filed under: Equestrian, Interviews

World’s only woolly rhino calf found in Siberia

History Blog - Thu, 2015-02-26 05:50

Two hunters have discovered the exceptionally well preserved remains of a baby woolly rhinoceros in the Abyysky district of Siberia’s Sakha Republic. The Siberian permafrost is a rich source of pre-historic skeletal and fossil finds, but on rare occasions the deep freeze is found to have preserved the carcasses of fallen Pleistocene animals in such good condition that even soft tissues survive. While bison and mammoths have been found before (female mammoth, two baby mammoths, juvenile mammoth), this is only the second time a woolly rhinoceros has been found frozen rather than mummified or skeletonized, and it’s the first woolly rhinoceros calf that has ever been found in any condition beyond than the occasional bone.

The little fella was first spotted by hunters Alexander “Sasha” Banderov and Simeon Ivanov (the Siberian Times made a rather unfortunate error in translating Ivanov’s first name) when they were sailing on a stream flowing into the Semyulyakh River last summer. They saw some hair hanging from the top of a ravine on the right bank. At first they thought it was the remains of a reindeer, but they couldn’t confirm or deny because the carcass was far out of their reach. When they returned to the spot in September, the ice had thawed and the section of frozen earth containing the remains had thawed enough to break off and fall onto the river bank. Although a section of the carcass sticking out of the ice had been devoured by wild animals (there are visible teeth marks), the head was intact and its two horns immediately identified it as a rhinoceros.

Banderov and Ivanov retrieved the rhino and carried it home to their village where they placed it in a glacier to keep it frozen. Knowing that scientists would want to examine this remarkable find, they contacted Albert Protopopov, head of the Mammoth Fauna Department of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha, Yakutia. It took almost six months to get the carcass 1,800 miles away to Yakutia due to the challenges inherent in transporting anything across vast distances in the Siberian winter.

On February 25th, the Academy held a press conference announcing the discovery, its arrival in Yakutia and its name: Sasha, after one of the hunters who found it. Protopopov emphasized what a unique opportunity they have to study a baby woolly rhinoceros. Before now they hadn’t even had the chance to examine a single tooth from a woolly rhino calf, never mind a complete skull and head with a surviving ear, eye, nostrils and mouth. There is also copious surviving wool and two legs with intact hooves. (The parts in the middle were eaten.)

Although it will take several months to get dating results, Sasha has to be at least 10,000 years old because that’s when the woolly rhinoceros became extinct. Scientists estimate the calf was about 18 months old at the time of death which was probably as a result of falling into a pit.

Mr. Protopopov explained: “Even to find a skull of a baby rhino is very lucky indeed. The possible explanation to it is that rhinos bred very slowly. Mothers protected baby rhinos really well, so that cases of successful attacks on them were extremely rare and the mortality rate was very low. Woolly rhinos are less studied than mammoths. We are hoping Sasha the rhino will give us a lot of answers to questions of how they grew and developed, what conditions they lived in, and which of the modern day animals is the closest to them.”

The team will focus first on extracting DNA from the carcass. Because the hunters were so brilliantly conscientious about keeping Sasha frozen, the odds of the scientists being able to extract testable DNA are better than usual. They hope they’ll be able to report on the first test results in a couple of weeks.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Æthelmearc’s Kingdom Equestrian Champions

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-02-25 23:40

In Æthelmearc, the Kingdom Equestrian Champions are chosen once a year instead of every reign. This is because of the fact that during the winter reign there are few events which include equestrian activities. During the winter, the footing in most outdoor arenas is too dangerous for horses and unlike the other martial activities of the SCA, it is not as easy to bring equestrian activities indoors. Most sites cannot provide a large enough indoor space for horses. And because equestrian activities are usually added to existing events, most event organizers are not willing to rent an arena or conduct their other activities outside in one, even if it is covered. Therefore, it was decided several years ago that the Equestrian Championship would be held once a year in the early part of the riding season. Another difference between the equestrian champions and the champions of the other martial disciplines is that there is both a King’s and Queen’s Champion. The King is guided in his selection of a champion by the results of a competition which is run by the current King’s Champion. In the event the King’s Equestrian Champion is unable to perform this task, the responsibility passes to the Queen’s Champion, or the Kingdom Equestrian Officer. The Queen’s Champion is chosen by the Queen, strictly at her whim, though is usually based on such traits as chivalric behavior or courageous effort.

The first King’s Equestrian Champion, Lady Rhiannon (Rhia)

The first Æthelmearc Equestrian Championship was held at Melee Madness on May 31, AS 43 (2008) in the Barony of the Endless Hills. The winner of that competition was Lady Rhiannon filia Catell who was declared the King’s Equestrian Champion. Khalek Shuurag Od was the King at that time. The Queen, Branwyn ferch Gwythyr, chose her champion – Lady Alexandra Caithnes. (Note: Titles for royalty are omitted here, as it can be assumed their titles were King and Queen at the time).

Viscountess Rannveigr’s winning ride in 2009.

The next year, during the reign of Maynard Von Dem Steine and Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh, the championship was held in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael at The Brass Ring Thing demo and event on June 6th, AS 44 (2009). Viscountess Rannveigr Haakonardottir was named the King’s Equestrian Champion and Lady Ragnailt in Eich was chosen by the Queen to be her champion.

Lady Marcan leading the procession.

 The Equestrian Championship was again hosted in the Barony of the Endless Hills in AS 45 (2010, on June 5th). Lady Marcan an Fhasaigh won the day’s competition and was named the King’s Equestrian Champion and Lady Alexandra Caithnes was called forth by the Queen to stand as her Equestrian Champion. Malcolm MacEoghain and Tessa the Huntress sat upon the Sylvan Thrones that day.

Lady Rhiannon passing the champion regalia to (then) Lord Tigernach. Photo by Michele Broton.

The Equestrian Championship of AS 46 (2011) was hosted by the Shire of Stormsport at their Tournaments Through the Ages event in Albion, Pennsylvania. On that 18th day of June, Lady Rhiannon filia Catell was declared the King’s Equestrian Champion and Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin was named the Queen’s Champion. (She was an Honorable Lady at that time, as this preceded her Elevation to the Peerage.) This was during the reign of Christopher Rawlyns and Morgen of Rye. The following year the Equestrian Championship was again held at Melee Madness in the Barony of the Endless Hills. This event occurred on June 2, AS 47 (2012) and Andreas Morgan and Kallista Morganova, were King and Queen. Master (then THL) Tigernach mac Cathail was declared the King’s Equestrian Champion and the Queen chose Lady Gesa von Wellenstein as her champion. On June 22, AS 48 (2013), the Equestrian Championship was  hosted by the Shire of Stormsport at Army Muster. Mistress (then THL) Shishido Tora (Gozen) won the day’s competition and was declared by Maynard von dem Steine to stand as his champion. Liadain ni Dheirdre Chaomhanaigh chose THL Meadhbh inghean ui Bhaoghill to be her champion. The most recent Equestrian Championship was held during the reign of Magnus Tindal and Etain ingen Dalaig. The event was the Æthelwald Proving Grounds which was held on June 14, AS 49 (2014). This was the first time that the Shire of Sunderoak had hosted the Equestrian Championship THL Meadhbh inghean ui Bhaoghill proved victorious in the day’s competition and was named the King’s Equestrian Champion.  The Queen chose THL Rhiannon Elandris of Glyndyfrdwy as her champion This year’s Equestrian Championship will be held once again in the Shire of Stormsport, at the Spring 2015 Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College event. This will take place on July 4, AS 50 in Albion, Pennsylvania at the Albion Borough Park and Fairgrounds. Once again, the sounds of thundering hooves will be heard as the riders of Æthelmearc vie with each other for the glory and honor of being named the King’s or Queen’s Equestrian Champion. Won’t you join us for a day of pageantry and equestrian excellence?

The current Queen’s Equestrian Champion with the regalia. Photo by Simon Peregrine.

By Mistress Shishido Tora (Gozen).


Categories: SCA news sites

"Battle, Bricks and Bridges" lead experts to the truth about the Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2015-02-25 19:27

"Archaeology is an evolving process so you always learn more and more," said archaeologist Paul Logue from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, about new discoveries on the 16th century Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits in County Fermanagh, Ireland.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Proposed Change to Corpora -- Chirurgeon's Office

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2015-02-25 11:05

The SCA Board of Directors is requesting commentary on a proposal to amend Corpora to close the office of the Chirurgeonate.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Possible joust casualty found at Hereford Cathedral

History Blog - Wed, 2015-02-25 09:21

In 2009, Hereford Cathedral began an extensive restoration of the cathedral close. As part of the project, the area around the cathedral including a graveyard was excavated. More than 700 skeletons dating from the Norman Conquest through the 19th century were unearthed between September of 2009 and May 2011, their bones providing a treasure trove of information about the lives and deaths of people from all walks of life over the course of nearly 1,000 years.

One of the skeletons may be a unique discovery: the remains of a man with wounds that strongly suggest he was fatally wounded in a joust. If that is indeed the case, this skeleton is the first of its kind that we know of ever unearthed in the United Kingdom. He was found buried in the churchyard very near the east end of the Cathedral, prime spiritual real estate due to its proximity to the high altar.

The skeleton is of a well-built adult man 5’10″ tall which puts him in the top 5% of men of his era in terms of height. He was at least 45 years old when he died sometime in the late 12th, early 13th century. Stable isotope analysis of his teeth found he was raised in Normandy. He was buried in a grave partially lined with stones, a sort of half-cist burial.

His medical history is writ large on his bones. He had a badly fractured right shoulder blade which had fully healed by the time of his death and a serious break in the lower left leg that had also healed. It’s a twisting fracture, possibly the consequence of a blow to the right side of the body (maybe that shoulder hit?) while on horseback. The twisting may have happened when, in reaction to that blow, the body spun around violently while the left foot remained caught in the stirrup.

Recovery from such serious breaks doubtless took a long time. It suggests that he fought in tourneys for years before his eventual death. There is no fatal blow that osteologists could find, but there are injuries potentially connected to one. He sustained at least nine rib fractures on two different occasions. The second occasion was the bad one as the rib fracture only shows signs of several weeks worth of healing. The blow to the ribs wasn’t fatal per se, but it was delivered along with the injuries that shortly thereafter claimed his life.

Why couldn’t these wounds have been inflicted during actual combat, you ask? Good question. They could have been, but there are no blade or arrow injuries to the bone. No sharp-force trauma of any kind is extant, although of course he could have been stabbed, speared, shot a million times in his soft tissues without that showing up on the bones.

[Regional Manager of Headland Archaeology] Andy Boucher said “obviously we can never be sure how people came about their wounds, but in this case there is a considerable amount of evidence suggesting this man was involved in some form of violent activity and the locations of his injuries do match quite closely what might be expected from taking part in mock battles. The fact that he was still doing this after he was 45 suggests he must have been very tough.”

If he did die as a result of tourney combat technically he was not allowed church burial. Jousts and its participants had been sternly condemned in the Second Lateran Council of 1139.

We entirely forbid, moreover, those abominable jousts and tournaments in which knights come together by agreement and rashly engage in showing off their physical prowess and daring, and which often result in human deaths and danger to souls. If any of them dies on these occasions, although penance and viaticum [communion] are not to be denied him when he requests them, he is to be deprived of a church burial.

Perhaps burial just outside the physical structure of the church was the loophole used to see that the Hereford knight got a proper Christian burial in a location near the high altar as would suit a man of status despite his death from abominable jousting. Anyway it’s always easier to ask forgiveness after the transgression than permission before so the church’s prohibition had little effect in practice.

The Normans had introduced tourneys to England after the Conquest as bona fide war games. The use of heavy cavalry armed with lances to charge in formation developed in the second half of the 11th century, and those formation charges required a great deal of practice to work in a combat situation. These early tourneys were mock battles, not one horseback lancer against another Ivanhoe-style, staged on large fields and fought by dozens, sometimes hundreds, of men at arms. They were dangerous, sometimes fatal, and inflicted more injuries on knights than actual battlefield combat did.

There were prizes to be won, however — ransom money, weapons, armour, horses — and there was always a steady supply of younger sons of nobility with skill at arms but no prospect of inheritance willing to fight their way to wealth and status. Richard the Lionheart attempted to regulate tourneys by issuing a charter on August 22nd, 1194, authorizing them in only five locations and requiring participants to pay hefty fees according to their titles (an earl had to pay 20 marks of silver, a baron 10, a landed knight four marks, a landless knight two) before receiving a license to fight in the tournament. This served the king’s purpose in several ways. It dangled the prospect of profit to the knights, keeping them in the country and available to defend the realm while at the same time keeping them from constantly injuring each other in tourney after tourney. It also made the assembly of large numbers of heavy cavalry subject to monarchical approval, a mechanism that would only grow in importance after Richard’s death and the subsequent clashes between crown and barons that famously resulted in Magna Carta. Last but certainly not least, it put significant coin in the king’s pocket.

The charter could not quench the thirst for tournaments which were still held outside of the crown’s rules. One famous joust was held at Chepstow Castle on the Welsh side of the border 35 miles south of Hereford in 1227. The castle (called Striguil Castle by the Normans) had been home to William Marshal, dubbed “the greatest knight that ever lived” by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, in his eulogy for William after his death in 1219. His son, also named William, succeeded his father as Earl of Pembroke and Lord Marshal of England to King Henry III. It was the younger William who hosted the 1227 tourney without permission from the king. Knights attached to eight earls, including the Earl of Hereford, fought in the tournament, and at least one of them, Reimund de Burgh, relative of Hubert de Burgh, Henry’s regent during his minority who the king had just that year made the 1st Earl of Kent, was heavily fined for his participation. Thus the king profited financially even from the illicit tourneys.

Given its proximity to Hereford and the date range of the cathedral’s knight, it’s conceivable that he could have fought in that very tournament. It could even have been the one to fell him, for that matter. I doubt we’ll ever know.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Corporate Call for Comments on Chirurgeonate Closure Proposal

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2015-02-24 23:45

The SCA released the following announcement this evening. Deadline for comments about this proposal is July 1, 2015.

Currently open for commentary is a proposal for the closure of the office of the chirurgeonate. The language for this proposal can be found below. The Board of Directors recognizes that this topic is controversial and would like to emphasize that commentary is being accepted until July 1, 2015, and would strongly recommend that all members forward their opinions for consideration.
Over the last number of years, issues have been brought to the attention of the Board and Society Officers regarding the chirurgeonate as it is currently organized. These issues included numerous disputes between chirurgeons regarding availability of over-the-counter medications, interactions between chirurgeons and contracted EMS personnel at large events, interactions between event participants and chirurgeons, and differences between first aid provider credentials available in different states, provinces and countries. The frequency of issues and the potential for liability to the SCA as an organization prompted the President to ask the SCA’s insurance carrier to clarify whether the duties of the Society Chirurgeon, as described in Corpora, are covered by the SCA’s policy. In addition, a request for opinion was made to outside counsel to consider whether the risk of not having an office of the chirurgeonate created more liability for the SCA than keeping the existing office of the chirurgeonate. The response from the insurance carrier was that the duties of the Society Chirurgeon, as defined in Corpora, were not covered under the insurance policy, and there was not an available option for coverage of those duties. The response from outside counsel was that there is more liability to the SCA if the SCA has an office of the chirurgeonate.
The Board requested that a committee of current chirurgeons from across multiple North American kingdoms consider options: revising the existing office; evaluating insurance options specific to that office; eliminating that office. Given the recommendations from that committee, the following Corpora changes are proposed.
There is no intention to release the heraldry currently associated with the functions of volunteer first aiders participating in the SCA, nor to prohibit any individual from volunteering as a volunteer first aider. This proposal is driven by issues from the North American branches of the SCA. Non-North American SCA affiliates will need to determine their own needs regarding regulation of provision of first aid.
Table of Contents
Current text:
VI. H. Society Chirurgeon
Proposed change:
Delete H. Society Chirurgeon
Re-Letter I. Webminister to H.
Re-Letter J. Reservations to the Board to I.

Current text:
VII. H. The Chirurgeon
Proposed change:
Delete H. The Chirurgeon
Re-letter items I through M to H through L.
Corpora VI. D. Marshal of the Society
Current text:
The Marshal of the Society is responsible for activities related to combat, archery and equestrian activities. This includes directing the Earls Marshal of the Kingdoms in matters concerning the supervision of combat and related activities at Society events and the manner and conduct of duties of all marshals throughout the Society; working with the Society Chirurgeon to promote safety in the Society’s martial arts; and working with the Minister of Arts and Sciences to encourage research in armor and weapons. The Board specifically authorizes the Marshal to make interpretations and clarifications regarding the Rules of the Lists, with the proviso that such rulings must be reported to the Board at the following meeting. The Marshal’s rulings will stand until and unless overruled by the Board.
Proposed text:
The Marshal of the Society is responsible for activities related to combat, archery and equestrian activities. This includes directing the Earls Marshal of the Kingdoms in matters concerning the supervision of combat and related activities at Society events and the manner and conduct of duties of all marshals throughout the Society; working to promote safety in the Society’s martial arts; and working with the Minister of Arts and Sciences to encourage research in armor and weapons. The Board specifically authorizes the Marshal to make interpretations and clarifications regarding the Rules of the Lists, with the proviso that such rulings must be reported to the Board at the following meeting. The Marshal’s rulings will stand until and unless overruled by the Board.
Current text:
VI. H. The Chirurgeon
The Society Chirurgeon is responsible for organizing a program of volunteer first aid services and health-and safety hazard warnings to be made available whenever feasible at Society events, and for establishing policies for and coordinating the activities of the Kingdom Chirurgeons.
Proposed text:
Delete VI. H.
Re-letter I and J to H and I.

Current text:
VII. KINGDOM, PRINCIPALITY, AND LOCAL OFFICERS
A. General
1. Officers assist Royalty in the administration of the lands and branches of the realm. Each officer has a specific area of specialization, and a defined geographic scope. Within those bounds, an officer coordinates branch activities, and may supervise deputies or lesser officers.
2. Kingdom Great Officers are responsible directly to the Crown, but also report to a corresponding Society officer if such a Society officer exists. Each Kingdom’s Great Officer corps must include the Seneschal, the Principal Herald, the Earl Marshal, the Minister of Arts and Sciences, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chronicler, and the Chirurgeon. No person may hold more than one of these Great offices at a time. The Crown may create additional Great Offices. Kingdom Lesser Officers and deputies are created by the Crown according to the needs of the kingdom. These officers may be supervised directly by the Crown, or be placed under the jurisdiction of a Greater Officer, and report accordingly. However, Great Officers retain ultimate responsibility for delegated functions.
Proposed text:
1. Officers assist Royalty in the administration of the lands and branches of the realm. Each officer has a specific area of specialization, and a defined geographic scope. Within those bounds, an officer coordinates branch activities, and may supervise deputies or lesser officers.
2. Kingdom Great Officers are not only responsible directly to the Crown, but also report to a corresponding Society officer if such a Society officer exists. Each Kingdom’s Great Officer corps must include the Seneschal, the Principal Herald, the Earl Marshal, the Minister of Arts and Sciences, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Chronicler. No person may hold more than one of these Great offices at a time. The Crown may create additional Great Offices. Kingdom Lesser Officers and deputies are created by the Crown according to the needs of the kingdom. These officers may be supervised directly by the Crown, or be placed under the jurisdiction of a Greater Officer and report accordingly. However, Great Officers retain ultimate responsibility for delegated functions
VII. H. The Chirurgeon
The Chirurgeon administers the organization that is responsible for voluntary first aid at Society events, including assisting participants in tournament combat, notifying attendees of health and safety concerns, and such other related activities as kingdom law and custom may entail.
Proposed text:
Delete VII. H.
Re-letter I through M to H through L.

WARRANT TO APPOINTMENT OF OFFICE
Current text:
[ ] Chirurgeon
Proposed text:
Delete [ ] Chirurgeon

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to: SCA Inc. Box 360789 Milpitas, CA 95036 You may also email comments@lists.sca.org. This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.


Filed under: Corporate

Corporate Announcement on the Chirurgeonate

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-02-24 23:32

Currently open for commentary is a proposal for the closure of the office of the chirurgeonate. The language for this proposal can be found below. The Board of Directors recognizes that this topic is controversial and would like to emphasize that commentary is being accepted until July 1, 2015, and would strongly recommend that all members forward their opinions for consideration.

Over the last number of years, issues have been brought to the attention of the Board and Society Officers regarding the chirurgeonate as it is currently organized. These issues included numerous disputes between chirurgeons regarding availability of over-the-counter medications, interactions between chirurgeons and contracted EMS personnel at large events, interactions between event participants and chirurgeons, and differences between first aid provider credentials available in different states, provinces and countries. The frequency of issues and the potential for liability to the SCA as an organization prompted the President to ask the SCA’s insurance carrier to clarify whether the duties of the Society Chirurgeon, as described in Corpora, are covered by the SCA’s policy. In addition, a request for opinion was made to outside counsel to consider whether the risk of not having an office of the chirurgeonate created more liability for the SCA than keeping the existing office of the chirurgeonate. The response from the insurance carrier was that the duties of the Society Chirurgeon, as defined in Corpora, were not covered under the insurance policy, and there was not an available option for coverage of those duties. The response from outside counsel was that there is more liability to the SCA if the SCA has an office of the chirurgeonate.

The Board requested that a committee of current chirurgeons from across multiple North American kingdoms consider options: revising the existing office; evaluating insurance options specific to that office; eliminating that office. Given the recommendations from that committee, the following Corpora changes are proposed.
There is no intention to release the heraldry currently associated with the functions of volunteer first aiders participating in the SCA, nor to prohibit any individual from volunteering as a volunteer first aider. This proposal is driven by issues from the North American branches of the SCA. Non-North American SCA affiliates will need to determine their own needs regarding regulation of provision of first aid.
Table of Contents
Current text:
VI. H. Society Chirurgeon
Proposed change:
Delete H. Society Chirurgeon
Re-Letter I. Webminister to H.
Re-Letter J. Reservations to the Board to I.

Current text:
VII. H. The Chirurgeon
Proposed change:
Delete H. The Chirurgeon
Re-letter items I through M to H through L.
Corpora VI. D. Marshal of the Society
Current text:
The Marshal of the Society is responsible for activities related to combat, archery and equestrian activities. This includes directing the Earls Marshal of the Kingdoms in matters concerning the supervision of combat and related activities at Society events and the manner and conduct of duties of all marshals throughout the Society; working with the Society Chirurgeon to promote safety in the Society’s martial arts; and working with the Minister of Arts and Sciences to encourage research in armor and weapons. The Board specifically authorizes the Marshal to make interpretations and clarifications regarding the Rules of the Lists, with the proviso that such rulings must be reported to the Board at the following meeting. The Marshal’s rulings will stand until and unless overruled by the Board.
Proposed text:
The Marshal of the Society is responsible for activities related to combat, archery and equestrian activities. This includes directing the Earls Marshal of the Kingdoms in matters concerning the supervision of combat and related activities at Society events and the manner and conduct of duties of all marshals throughout the Society; working to promote safety in the Society’s martial arts; and working with the Minister of Arts and Sciences to encourage research in armor and weapons. The Board specifically authorizes the Marshal to make interpretations and clarifications regarding the Rules of the Lists, with the proviso that such rulings must be reported to the Board at the following meeting. The Marshal’s rulings will stand until and unless overruled by the Board.
Current text:
VI. H. The Chirurgeon
The Society Chirurgeon is responsible for organizing a program of volunteer first aid services and health-and safety hazard warnings to be made available whenever feasible at Society events, and for establishing policies for and coordinating the activities of the Kingdom Chirurgeons.
Proposed text:
Delete VI. H.
Re-letter I and J to H and I.

Current text:
VII. KINGDOM, PRINCIPALITY, AND LOCAL OFFICERS
A. General
1. Officers assist Royalty in the administration of the lands and branches of the realm. Each officer has a specific area of specialization, and a defined geographic scope. Within those bounds, an officer coordinates branch activities, and may supervise deputies or lesser officers.
2. Kingdom Great Officers are responsible directly to the Crown, but also report to a corresponding Society officer if such a Society officer exists. Each Kingdom’s Great Officer corps must include the Seneschal, the Principal Herald, the Earl Marshal, the Minister of Arts and Sciences, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chronicler, and the Chirurgeon. No person may hold more than one of these Great offices at a time. The Crown may create additional Great Offices. Kingdom Lesser Officers and deputies are created by the Crown according to the needs of the kingdom. These officers may be supervised directly by the Crown, or be placed under the jurisdiction of a Greater Officer, and report accordingly. However, Great Officers retain ultimate responsibility for delegated functions.
Proposed text:
1. Officers assist Royalty in the administration of the lands and branches of the realm. Each officer has a specific area of specialization, and a defined geographic scope. Within those bounds, an officer coordinates branch activities, and may supervise deputies or lesser officers.
2. Kingdom Great Officers are not only responsible directly to the Crown, but also report to a corresponding Society officer if such a Society officer exists. Each Kingdom’s Great Officer corps must include the Seneschal, the Principal Herald, the Earl Marshal, the Minister of Arts and Sciences, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Chronicler. No person may hold more than one of these Great offices at a time. The Crown may create additional Great Offices. Kingdom Lesser Officers and deputies are created by the Crown according to the needs of the kingdom. These officers may be supervised directly by the Crown, or be placed under the jurisdiction of a Greater Officer and report accordingly. However, Great Officers retain ultimate responsibility for delegated functions
VII. H. The Chirurgeon
The Chirurgeon administers the organization that is responsible for voluntary first aid at Society events, including assisting participants in tournament combat, notifying attendees of health and safety concerns, and such other related activities as kingdom law and custom may entail.
Proposed text:
Delete VII. H.
Re-letter I through M to H through L.

WARRANT TO APPOINTMENT OF OFFICE
Current text:
[ ] Chirurgeon
Proposed text:
Delete [ ] Chirurgeon

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.

This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc.  Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.


Categories: SCA news sites

Expecting Mongols in Walmart

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-02-24 13:06

"During 10 days in June 2016, the SCA will transform the entire fairgrounds into a scene out of medieval Europe, complete with feasts, dancing, blacksmithing, jousting and archery competitions," writes Anthony Schoettle of the Indiana Business Journal about the Society for Creative Anachronism’s 50th anniversary celebration.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Newcastle Museum to permanently display Lindisfarne Hoard

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-02-24 09:32

In 2003, Richard Mason, a builder from Rothbury, England discovery a pottery jug in the foundation of a Lindisfarne house. The jug, and its contents of gold and silver coins dating to Tudor times, will now be on permanent display at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle, thanks to public donations and heritage grants. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites