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The Plates of Pennsic

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-09-16 09:07

Wencenedl reports that he has discovered a photo composite of SCA license plates found at Pennsic posted on Flickr.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Neolithic necropolis with 20 monumental tombs found in France

History Blog - Mon, 2014-09-15 22:40

A team of archaeologists from the National Institute for Preventative Archaeological Research (INRAP) has unearthed a vast Middle Neolithic necropolis with 20 monumental tombs in Fleury-sur-Orne, in the northwestern French state of Lower Normandy. Dating to around 4,500 B.C., the tombs are of the Passy kind, named after the municipality in Burgundy 70 miles southeast of Paris where the these long funerary structures were found and radiocarbon dated for the first time.

The Fleury-sur-Orne monuments range in length from 40 feet to 985 feet and are enclosed on both sides by ditches 8 inches to 50 feet wide. The ditches may have contained palisades made from trees felled by stone adzes. The earth from the ditches was piled up in the center of the structure forming a mound that housed one or more graves of important people. Many of these mounds have eroded away or been destroyed by agriculture, development or war. One of the 20 structures excavated at Fleury, however, is intact and in excellent condition. The original walls of stacked grass turf are extant if somewhat reduced. Archaeologists believe they were at least six and a half feet high originally.

As with all Passy-type tombs, archaeologists have found few grave goods interred with the human remains: arrowheads that were originally attached to full arrows but the shafts have decayed into nothingness and the skeletal remains of whole sheep that were buried as sacrifices with deceased. In one of the tombs, 200-foot-long Monument 19, archaeologists found a single grave of a man buried with an impressive seven sheep. A grave in Monument 26 was found to contain a pelvis with a sharp arrowhead embedded in it.

We don’t now a great deal about the people who built Passy-type funerary monuments. They were the descendants of the Danubian culture, first agrarian society in central and eastern Europe who migrated to France in around 5,500 B.C. and mixed with the local hunter-gatherers to produce the monument-builders known as the Cerny culture. These monumental necropolises were the first of their kind, not just in Europe but anywhere that we know of, predating the pyramids of Egypt by thousands of years. Since they required an exceptional amount of labour to benefit very few people, they may be indications of a burgeoning hierarchical society, but it’s unlikely that it would have been so developed as to have a massive captive workforce. This was a community effort, and it’s possible therefore that the monuments served a community purpose as well, perhaps as a locus of religious rituals and/or feasts.

INRAP researchers plan to examine the skeletal remains in the lab. DNA analysis, stable isotope analysis and parasitological analysis should fill in a great many blanks about who was buried in this necropolis: whether they’re related, what they ate, if they were local or were born and raised elsewhere, any diseases or injuries they may have been afflicted with.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Immortality… For a Year

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-09-15 16:37

Image from a Labours of the Months Calendar c. 1580. British Museum E,9.168

Would you like beautiful SCA artwork on your walls? Want to explain what you do on your weekends to relatives? Show a friend why they should come to an event? Support the East? The 2015 Labors of the East calendar will do all this, and you have the chance to write a dedication for one of the months.

The calendar (and also sets of note cards) will be sold starting in October to support the Royal Travel Fund. Each month features original calligraphy and illumination illustrating an SCA activity and a humorous poem written by Master Christian von Jaueregk.

Want to dedicate the courtly love month to someone special? Perhaps your fighting household would like the month for Pennsic or a guild would like the month about their art?   There will be space on each month for a dedication message and the name of the person or group sponsoring it.

Sponsorship is $100 per month. If you’re interested, contact Lady Lucie Lovegood of Ramisgate (erin.neuhardt@gmail.com) or Mistress Catrin o’r Rhyd For (rhydfor@gmail.com). The subject of each month is listed below with its artists.

January Feasting Mistress Rhonwen glyn Conwy February Sitting by the fire entertaining Lady Lada Monguligin March Martial Pursuits Lady Sakura’i no Kesame April Equestrian Mistress Eleanore MacCarthaigh May Courtly Love Mistress Ro Honig von Summerfeldt June Shearing, spinning, weaving Mistress Eva Woderose July Preparing for war Lady Palotzi Marta August Pennsic Baroness Emma Makilmone September Brewing Doña Camille des Jardins October Crown Tourney Doña Isabel Chamberlaine November Sewing Garb Mistress Khioniya Nikolaevna Ryseva December Baking and Cooking Lady Lisabetta Medaglia with Mistress Eleanor Catlyng

More information on how to order a calendar will be available at the beginning of October.


Filed under: Tidings Tagged: calendar, Calligraphy and Illumination

Recall alert: QoR® Synthetic Ox Gall watercolour paint medium

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-09-15 11:38

Health Canada reports that Golden Artist Colours has issued a recall notice for "QoR® Synthetic Ox Gall which is designed to be used with artists' watercolour paints in small amounts to improve the flow and wetting. The product contains the preservative MIT which can cause skin rash or blistering."

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Categories: SCA news sites

Byzantium on Scotland, Hospital Food and the 1970s: Medieval News Roundup

Medievalists.net - Mon, 2014-09-15 11:02
For our fellow medievalists, here are some of the news and interesting posts that we came across in the last week:

[View the story "Byzantium on Scotland, Hospital Food and the 1970s: Medieval News Roundup " on Storify] Finally, this image, created in 1512, shows the first mention of the phrase: "Throw out the baby with the bath water".


Found in Narrenbeschwörung (Appeal to Fools) by Thomas Murner.
Categories: History, SCA news sites

Hrothgar and Ingriðr new Outlands Heirs

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-09-15 09:39

Duchess Kathryn reports that Duke Hrothgar Monomakh was the victor of the Fall 2014 Crown Tournament in the Kingdom of the Outlands. His Grace was inspired in his endeavor by Lady Ingriðr Rauðkinn.

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Categories: SCA news sites

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History debuts tonight

History Blog - Sun, 2014-09-14 16:46

Ken Burns’ documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History premieres tonight at 8:00 EST on your local PBS station. It’s a seven episode, 14-hour series that covers the life and times of three Roosevelts — Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor — from 1858 (the year Teddy was born) to 1962 (the year Eleanor died). Tonight’s episode follows the family from 1858 to 1901, the births and childhoods of all three of the main players and the early travails and successes of Teddy Roosevelt through his ascension to the presidency after the death of President William McKinley on September 14th, 1901, 113 years to the day ago.

I loves me some do-rag-era TR, so I’m looking forward to tonight’s show. The next episode is sure to deal with another of my favorite TR stories, the time he got shot in the chest but refused to get treatment until he finished the speech he had been scheduled to give.

A later episode will include the extremely rare footage of Franklin Delano Roosevelt walking on his iron leg braces filmed by Jimmie DeShong, the Washington Senators pitcher who recorded the president with his 8mm home movie camera at the All-Star Game in Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., on July 7, 1937.

PBS has made a half-hour preview of the first episode available if you want a sneak peek. There are lots of short clips on the website already, and the full episodes will be uploaded after they air.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Re-enactors gather for Bannockburn anniversary

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-09-14 12:09

The battle of Bannockburn took place 700 years ago near Stirling, Scotland. Now the legendary battle has been commemorated by more than 250 re-enactors from around the world. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

"What's Up Wednesday" in Drachenwald for July 2014

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-09-14 08:52

Mistress Bridget of the Kingdom of Drachenwald reports on activity of the A&S community in the kingdom in the latest What's Up Wednesday blog entry.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Save the Wedgwood Collection

History Blog - Sat, 2014-09-13 22:14

The Wedgwood Collection isn’t just one of the largest and most complete collections of ceramic in the world with more than 8,000 pieces from Josiah Wedgwood I’s early experiments on materials and glazes to examples of every design manufactured from 1950 through the present. It’s a vast archive of art, industrial design, business records, pattern books, photographs, correspondence, more than 80,000 documents that cover the history of the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the English Enlightenment, the anti-slavery movement, commissions from the crowned heads of Europe, trade, politics, science, and so much more. It’s no wonder the collection was inscribed on UNESCO’s UK Memory of the World Register in 2011.

Josiah Wedgwood himself, founder of the pottery company that would become the first industrially manufactured ceramic producer om the world, started the collection in 1774. He wrote his business partner Thomas Bentley:

“I have often wish’d I had saved a single specimen of all the new articles I have made, and would now give 20 times the original value for such a collection. For 10 years past I have omitted doing this because I did not begin it 10 years sooner. I am now, from thinking and talking a little more upon this subject … resolv’d to make a beginning.”

And so he did, going far beyond just saving examples of his ceramics ensuring that his already impressive legacy would include one of the most important industrial archives the world has ever known. In 1906, collection was put on permanent public display at Etruria, the Staffordshire estate that had served as both Wedgwood family home and factory site since Josiah bought it in 1766. It was moved in 1940 to keep it safe during the war, and reopened in a new gallery in 1952. Since then it has expanded into a vast purpose-built museum complex with picture gallery to display the Wedgwood family’s extensive collection of paintings, a ceramics gallery, screening room and visitors center. It has a great website too, with a searchable database of objects complete with nice big pictures.

Although the Wedgwood family planned to completely separate the Wedgwood Museum Trust from the company in 1961, for some reason they never were fully severed. This oversight became a catastrophe when Waterford Wedgwood went into administration in January of 2009. The company carried a £134 million ($218,000,000) pensions liability which was transferred to the solvent museum because five of its employees participated in the shared pension plan. Even the trust going into administration could not stop its assets from being targeted to repay the pension fund debt. A 2011 High Court ruling held that the Wedgwood Collection was an asset of the Wedgwood Museum and therefore could be sold to repay the pension fund. In 2012 the attorney general upheld the decision.

To prevent the breakup of this historic and irreplaceable collection and its piecemeal sale to the highest bidder, the Art Fund determined that it must raise the money to acquire the entire Wedgwood Collection to keep it intact and on display. The price tag is a whopping £15.75 million ($25,617,000), an impressive £13.1 million of which has already been raised thanks to contributions from the Art Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and other private trusts and foundations.

The outstanding £2.74 million has to be raised by the end of November or the Wedgwood Collection will be sold off. The Art Fund has started a campaign asking for donations from the public to cover this last bit of ground. You can donate online here. That page also has information for donations by mail, text or phone. Every donation will be matched by private donors, so whatever you can give is worth double. To find out more about the collection and keep up with campaign news, bookmark the Art Fund’s Save the Wedgwood Collection website.

If the money is raised on time, the Art Fund will gift the collection to the Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A will then return it to the Wedgwood Museum on permanent long-term loan. Nary a vase will be moved from its current location. The transfer will be a legal one, not a physical one, and it will ensure that the entire Wedgwood Collection is safe and sound in public hands and on public display in perpetuity.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Known World Tapestry to tour Lochac

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-09-13 20:12

For over six years, Lady Jadwiga Wlodzislawska of the Middle Kingdom has been stitching away on the Known World Tapestry, chronicling the history of the SCA in its 50 panels. In 2016, the tapestry will be on display at a number of events in the Kingdom of Lochac.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Rome's Colosseum in the Middle Ages

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-09-13 11:45

Once a scene of battle and carnage, Rome's Colosseum later became "a bustling medieval bazaar full of houses, stables and workshops." Evidence of the re-purposed site was collected recently during an archaeological dig.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Smithsonian traces pieces of Star-Spangled Banner

History Blog - Fri, 2014-09-12 22:59

Sunday, Saturday 14th, is the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s penning of the poem that would become the national anthem of the United States. Fort McHenry, target of the British bombardment during the Battle of Baltimore that inspired Key’s poem, is hosting a panoply of commemorative events this weekend, culminating in the Dawn’s Early Light Flag-Raising Ceremony at 8:30 Sunday morning. The historically accurate replica of Mary Pickersgill’s flag made by Maryland Historical Society volunteers last year will be hoisted at the ceremony, a stand-in for the original flag. If you’re not going to be in Baltimore this weekend, you can enjoy some of the rockets’ red glare, air shows, flag-raising and fireworks via webcam.

The original Star-Spangled Banner is in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It’s so delicate it is kept in perpetual semi-darkness (no more than one foot-candle of light) in a custom display case that cost $30 million dollars to make. The two-storey chamber is climate controlled and keeps the flag free of oxygen and vibrations. The flag is angled at 10 degrees, enough so people can view it without subjecting the banner to the drag of gravity.

One of the reasons the flag is in such a delicate condition is that for years people snipped off souvenirs from it. The Smithsonian has a number of snippets in storage, including a red and white fragment that was once on display at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. Other fragments may be out there in the hands of people who don’t know what they have. The Smithsonian can examine these fragments to help identify them.

With Maryland celebrating its Defenders’ Day on Friday and America’s victory over the British 200 years ago Sunday, at least two families recently inquired whether their fragments might have historical value.

Museum conservators are using microscopes, x-rays and other equipment to analyze their weaves, stains and soils to see if they match. Family histories and documents also help prove provenance.

Since the flag came to the Smithsonian in 1907, about 17 pieces have been donated or bought at auction. The museum last acquired pieces in 2003 but has no plans to try to recover them all or reattach them to the original flag.

It would be impossible to reattach most of the pieces. How could you tell where a postage-stamp sized piece of white, for example, originally fit on the flag? Curators would love to see one particular fragment reappear, however. There were 15 stars on the flag when Mary Pickersgill’s team made the flag. One of them was cut out before June 21st, 1873 when the flag was photographed on display at the Boston Navy Yard.

“We’d love to have that back,” said the flag’s chief conservator Suzanne Thomassen-Krauss. “That one I might put back on.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Royal chapel found near Edinburgh

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-09-12 18:03

A team of archaeologists and volunteers have found evidence of a 16th century chapel, believed built by Sir Simon Preston in 1518 "to rest the souls of James III and IV. "

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Categories: SCA news sites

Midrealm mourns passing of THL Mathildis De'Ath

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-09-12 13:27

The Honorable Lady Mathildis De'Ath (modernly Sally Hoff Schneider), a kind and courteous lady of the Current Middle Ages and of the modern world, passed away on September 9 at the age of 70.

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Categories: SCA news sites

New exhibition of ancient sculpture in technicolor

History Blog - Thu, 2014-09-11 22:59

On Saturday, September 13th, a new exhibition about polychromy in ancient art opens at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptoket in Copenhagen. It’s not the first time the museum has put on a show focusing on the vibrant colors of ancient art and architecture. Gods in Color was hugely popular, traveling from the Munich Glyptothek to the Carlsberg Glyptoket to the Vatican Museums in 2004 and then moving on to other countries in Europe, reaching the United States in 2007. New research and advances in technology since then have allowed for a more precise understanding of the evolution and extent of ancient polychromy, which is what Transformations: Classical Sculpture in Colour will explore.

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptoket has an extensive collection of ancient Mediterranean art (the largest in northern Europe, in fact), so between its own sculptures and loans from other museums, the exhibition features 120 original sculptures and color reconstructions, a geometric expansion of the 20 pieces in the 2004 exhibition. The interdisciplinary research traces the history of painted sculpture touching on the Egyptians much of whose painted works have survived, before zeroing in on Greek and Roman sculpture which was subjected to brutal destruction of its polychrome remnants by the post-Renaissance obsession with phony white marble Classicism.

The research underpinning the exhibition has been a cooperative enterprise of the museum with institutions like the Archaeology Foundation of Munich, home of the von Graeve research team in ancient color which has been pioneering the study of polychromy on Roman and Greek art and architecture since the 1970s. It’s an interdisciplinary pursuit pairing archaeologists with conservators, artists, and cutting edge technology like infrared reflectography and electron microscopy to identify and replicate the remnants of color on the original sculptures.

The exhibition at the Glyptotek shows spectacular original works juxtaposed with experimental reconstructions in their original wealth of colour, the shocking sensuality of which, at one and the same time, makes Antiquity both more present and remote. In the course of the exhibition the story of the development of colour in the art of sculpture unfolds; from the first, very insistent, but extremely effective use of strong local colours on marble, towards a higher and more refined degree of naturalism. At the same time the exhibition shows that our reading of the classical motifs sometimes changes radically when the sculptures appear in colour.

The Glyptotek has uploaded some nifty videos about the exhibition. First a simple introduction:

The next explains how we can tell that sculptures were painted, ie, by direct evidence — actual remnants of color visible to the eye — and indirect evidence — uneven weathering depending on the durability of the pigment, clearly missing elements in a relief that suggests they were once painted on, naturalistic inlaid stone eyes that would have been matched with naturalistic color on the rest of the figure.

In this video the artist experiments with a variety of natural pigments and binders, and then confers with the archaeologist and a conservator to decide which approach to take.

There is a fourth video that I gather describes how researchers scan the sculptures looking for microscopic traces of color, but so far it is only available in unsubtitled Danish. I’ve emailed the museum asking for an English version and I’ll update the post when I hear back. Meanwhile, here’s the original version which is still worth watching for the pretty pictures. If you can understand Danish, please do tell us what they’re saying in a comment or email me via the contact form.

The catalogue of the exhibition is available in English from the museum shop and online here for 249 Danish Krone, about $43. (That includes VAT but not shipping, which to the US is a gulpworthy 199 Krone, or $35.) It features articles by experts in the field with the latest research about ancient Roman and Greek polychromy and is “profusely illustrated.” Pardon me while I dab a lace hanky at my drool.

There’s also a coloring book so you can paint some of the sculptures in the exhibition to your own taste, but sadly you can only order it as part of a bundle with the Danish-language catalogue. I’ll tell you, I’m still tempted to get it even though it would push this venture well into the absurdly extravagant range. I just really, really love coloring, and it’s so irresistibly apt in this context.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

New Richard III exhibit sparks outcry

SCAtoday.net - Thu, 2014-09-11 14:43

Historians and Richard III experts are outraged over an exhibit in the new Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester, England which features the armor of the warrior king painted white, making him look like a "Star Wars stormtrooper." (photos, video)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Ansteorra Summer 2014 Crown Tournament photos online

SCAtoday.net - Thu, 2014-09-11 09:30

Caelin on Andrede reports that he has created an album of photos from the Summer 2014 Crown Tournament in the Kingdom of Ansteorra.

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Categories: SCA news sites

"Unscripted and candid" at the Canterbury Renaissance Faire

SCAtoday.net - Thu, 2014-09-11 05:50

In July 2014, the Canterbury Renaissance Faire opened its gates in Silverton, Oregon. Saerom Yoo, of the Statesman Journal, visited the faire and spoke with some of its participants. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites