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1917 blackboard lessons found in Oklahoma City school

History Blog - Mon, 2015-06-08 07:09

Workers dismantling old blackboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City to make way for new whiteboards and Smart Boards discovered blackboards with lessons and drawings intact from November of 1917. Instead of being removed, they had been covered up with new “Slate Black Boards” installed by D. J. Gers & Co. We know this because janitor R. J. Scott signed and dated three of the old ones (November 30th, December 1st and December 4th, 1917) before the new ones were put in place. The new ones were larger than the ones they were covering so there are only a few holes and some adhesive marring the old blackboards. The writing, arithmetic and art are all in exceptional, like-new condition.

The 1917 blackboards were found in four classrooms. They wrap around the rooms, a blackboard perimeter surrounding students with learning. Lessons include addition, subtraction, simple multiplication on one board, a multiplication wheel on another, musical notation, in-class homework titled “Busy Work” with assignments like “draw a 5 in. square,” “Name 8 kinds of trees” and “How many pints in a half gallon?” A student has left us important hygiene tips in a list entitled “My Rules to Keep Clean” — “1. Wash my hands / 2. Wash my teeth / 3. Comb my hair” etc. — and there’s a list of names, probably students, next to some subtraction problems (Robert, Agnes, May, Sophia, Homer, Franco, Ray, Gladys, Mabel and Newton).

The glory of the collection is the drawings, though. In bright colors, there’s a little girl in a blue dress blowing a soap bubble and another girl in a bright pink dress who I suspect is sprinkling salt on a turkey’s tail feathers. That’s the largest turkey, but there are at least two others. This being November, the first Thanksgiving was a recurring theme in all three class rooms. There are plain white chalk outline drawings of pilgrims and two mutli-color scenes of the Mayflower arriving at Plymouth, complete with Plymouth Rock marked 1620.

The girl in pink with the salted turkey has her back to a calendar. It’s titled December but it’s actually a November calendar. That’s why Thursday the 29th is in red, because that’s Thanksgiving which was obviously a seasonal theme of the lessons. The class had just begun to change the dates to December — the title, the 1st-3rd of November erased and replaced with Saturday, the 1st of December — but stopped before they got to the second row.

The origins of the classroom blackboard are shrouded in mystery. Individual erasable slates were used by students for centuries and larger boards used in the front of the class to teach music as early as the 16th century. There are documentary references to writing with chalk on a blackboard in mid-18th century England, but the first blackboard known to have been used in the United States was at West Point in 1801. President Thomas Jefferson signed the act officially establishing the United States Military Academy on March 16th, 1802, so they were still just getting their act together as a school for anything besides artillery training when the blackboard made its first appearance in the first class at West Point on September 21st, 1801. The teacher was mathematician George Baron who was English. He brought with him a standing slate board he wrote on in white chalk to illustrate his lesson for the 12 cadets that made up the entirety of the West Point student body at the time.

Colored chalk may have first been used in class by James Pillans, Scottish classicist, educator, reformer and an early adopter of blackboard technology. He apparently had his own recipe for making colored chalk out of ground gypsum, porridge and dyes. Some sources also grant him the honor of having been the first to strap together individual slates to make one large enough for front-of-the-room usage, but that’s almost certainly apocryphal. Pillans was an undergraduate at Edinburgh University when Baron used his slate board and in fact actively resisted becoming a teacher until 1810 when he was elected Rector of Edinburgh High School and began to teach Greek, Latin and classical geography.

In an 1814 letter to his colleague Mr. Fox, Pillans expounds at some length on the value of blackboard drawings with colored chalk for his classical geography class at Edinburgh High School.

A sketch or outline of each country is drawn by the Master on a black board with white chalk; the mountains are represented in green, and the rivers in blue. In this state the board is first presented to the pupils and the Master, with a rod, explains the physical features of the country, points out and names the leading ranges of mountains, and the rivers that fall from them. The board as yet presenting so little detail, the eye, and the mind through the eye, readily takes in and retains the information. At this stage also the length, breadth, longitude, latitude, and boundaries are fixed. The next lesson presents the towns, (drawn thus # in pink chalk,) which are to be found on the rivers already learned, descending from the source to the mouth. These towns are demonstrated by the Master in the same way, care being taken to mention at the time some striking facts respecting the situation, inhabitants, history, or neighbourhood of each, which may be associated with its name and position on the board. Having thus made out a sort of skeleton or frame-work of the country, by presenting, in striking relief, without those details which confound the eye in maps, the great physical features, the next object is to mark out in dotted lines the artificial divisions : and when these are well fixed, the remaining towns of importance, whose position is not indicated by rivers, are referred to the province or shire, and associated again with those already known. The situations of great battles are pointed out by a cross in red chalk. The object being to make a strong impression on the eye, and to set the imagination and conception to work, the chalks being of different colours is a circumstance not to be despised.

A century later, blackboard drawings as a pedagogical tool had moved far beyond colored maps for geography lessons. Blackboard Sketching by Frederick Whitney, Director of Art, State Normal School, Salem, Massachusetts, was published in 1908 to teach teachers how to make chalkboard masterpieces that would catch the eye of students bored with lectures. It’s brilliant and very short (a pamphlet, really), so be sure leaf through the whole thing.

Quick correction: Whitney wrote in the instructions to Plate 14 that the log cabin in Plate 16 is Lincoln’s birthplace. It’s not. Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky and spent much of his boyhood in another one-room log cabin in Indiana. The two-room cabin so adroitly drawn in chalk was his father and stepmother’s place near Lerna, Illinois. Lincoln was already a member of the Illinois House of Representatives when his father built that cabin in the early 1840s and visited it seldom. It was dismantled for display in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and was either lost or destroyed in a fire before it could be reconstructed. The current Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site is a replica built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 from photographs.

As for the Emerson High School 1917 blackboards, administrators are working with the school district on a preservation program that will keep these rare artifacts of the 1917 classroom frozen in time, if not in place. Here’s an extensive photo gallery and below is a news story with some great views of the blackboards and classrooms.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Melee Madness

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-06-07 13:41

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Her Majesty’s Court at Melee Madness, 30 May Anno Societatis L, in the Barony of Endless Hills, accompanied by Their Excellencies Gunnar and Barbary Rose, Baron and Baroness of Endless Hills. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.

Her Majesty called forth the children in attendance, and bade them meet with THL Alianora Bronhulle in the back of the hall, where treat bags had been prepared for them.

Her Majesty gave leave to Their Excellencies to conduct the business of their Baronial Court.

Emma Fynne was Awarded Arms for her enthusiasm in involving herself as a new person in many of the activities of our Society, including games and children’s activities, sewing, and helping to set up, run, and tear down events. Words from a scroll by Baroness Anastasie l’Amour were read.

Lord Chahagan Duras was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce for his skill in fencing and training to become a fencing marshal, and also for his pursuit of the arts of heavy combat, target archery and combat archery. Scroll by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.

Lord Perote Gorman Campbell was created a Companion of the Keystone for his service as fencing and thrown weapons marshal and assisting with setup and teardown of events, and primarily for the numerous feasts that he has prepared for multiple events in multiple Kingdoms. Scroll by Lord Cormacc mac Gilla Brigde.

Lord Sigvaldi the Ram was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for his complete and utter inability to see something that needs to be done without doing it. Scroll illuminated and calligraphed by Baroness Barbary Rose upon words by Lord Perote Gorman Campbell.

Don Po, Captain of The Muses Call, and Lord Stefan, Captain of the Green Wolf’s Pluck, came forth as the two remaining Captains of the Royal Fleet and offered their tribute to their Queen. As the Fleet had been sailing for 6 years since receiving their charter from the Crown, and as Lord Stefan would soon have to retire from a life at sea to answer the call of the people to serve as the Baron of Endless Hills, Don Po inquired whether Her Majesty wished him to continue to sail the seas in the name of Æthelmearc. Her Majesty commanded him do so, and continue to bring the bounty of the oceans to the Crown.

Her Majesty named Lady Jinx as Her inspiration for the day, for the many pictures she takes to help all those who attend events remember the special moments of the day, and presented her with Her token of inspiration.

Her Majesty then asked all those who had contributed to the day’s scribal efforts to stand forth and be recognized.

There being no further business, Her Majesty’s Court was closed.

Categories: SCA news sites

Oldest tea in Britain found in museum stores

History Blog - Sun, 2015-06-07 12:49

Researchers have identified the oldest known tea in Britain in the stores of the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London. The small box of loose-leaf green tea is part of a collection of “Vegetables and Vegetable Substances” that was bequeathed to the nation by Hans Sloane, physician to three monarchs in a row, president of the Royal Society and avid collector of curiosities. Sloane’s natural history specimens became the nucleus of the NHM when in 1881 it became a museum in its own right instead of the neglected and abused natural history department of the British Museum, so this box of tea has been there since the very beginning.

It wasn’t until a recent study of the Vegetable Substances collection that the specimen was properly documented and made easily accessible to scholars. PhD candidate Victoria Pickering, who is doing her doctoral studies on Sloane’s Vegetable Substances, created a searchable digital transcript of the catalogue. That’s why historians from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) were able to find the sample while researching an upcoming book on the history of tea, and they’re the ones who pinned down its age and historical significance.

The tea is labeled “A sort of tea from China” and note marks it as a gift “from Mr Cuninghame.” That is the clue that helped establish the age of the tea. James Cuninghame was a Scottish surgeon, explorer and dedicated specimen hunter who had gotten in touch with Hans Sloane, then Secretary to the Royal Society, after returning from a voyage to the East Indies in 1696. The next year Cuninghame boarded the private trading ship Tuscan on its illicit (because it violated the East India Company and New Company’s monopoly on Asian trade) voyage to the Chinese city of Amoy, today’s Xiamen. There he collected a large number of plant and animal specimens for Sloane. Upon Cuninghame’s return in 1699, Sloane was so delighted with the haul he nominated his friend for election as a fellow of the Royal Society. Cuninghame’s Amoy specimens were the first collected by a European in China to arrive safe and intact back home.

Cuninghame went back to China just six months later, this time on an authorized East India Company (EIC) ship the Eaton. That authorization didn’t make things easier the second time around. Cuninghame’s was ship’s surgeon so he was inextricably connected to the trade mission. The mission failed in China so in 1702 they moved on to the island of Pulo Condore in what is today Vietnam. The settlement and garrison were obliterated in 1705 when the locals massacred almost everyone for reasons that are unclear today. Cuninghame was one of few survivors. He was wounded, though, and taken prisoner for two years. After his release in 1707, Cuninghame was sent by the EIC to its trading post in Banjarmassin, southeastern Borneo. That settlement was also attacked by locals three weeks after Cuninghame’s arrival. That’s when the good doctor decided it was time to head home. He wrote to Sloane in January of 1709 telling him he was on his way back. That was the last anybody heard from him. The ship that was bringing him home, the Anna, disappeared without a trace.

Because Cuninghame regularly sent specimens to his correspondents back home while he was still abroad, the tea could have been collected when he was in Amoy (1698-99) or when he was in Chusan (present-day Zhoushan) between 1700 and 1702. The Amoy collection was larger with many dried plant specimens and Amoy was an early center for the tea trade, but tea was also grown and processed in Chusan and we know he found wild tea plants there and witnessed its manufacture.

Ubiquitous today, the common cup of tea was once considered an exotic and fashionable pleasure. [QMUL researcher and co-author of the book Dr. Richard] Coulton says the consumption of tea in Britain did not become widespread until decades later.

“In the seventeenth century, the simple act of blending hot water with infused leaves was considered pretty extraordinary. It was priced as a luxury item and the best tea was ten times more expensive than the best coffee. In 1663, tea was priced at up to 60 shillings per pound for the finest quality, whereas the best coffee was only six shillings per pound. What makes this discovery so fascinating is that it captures the very moment at which tea was about to lay claim to a mass market in Britain.” [...]

“The tea is loose-leaf green tea, manufactured by peasant labourers on small-holdings in China. The basic process for manual tea production hasn’t really changed, so we might assume that this tea would have tasted much like an artisanal green tea today, albeit one of the rough-and-ready rather than boutique variety. The ‘green’-ness of the tea is interesting: for its first half century, so 1650-1700, Britain’s tea-habit was almost entirely green. It wasn’t until the second quarter of the eighteenth century that darker teas started to take over.”

For more about the early history of tea in England, see this excellent blog by the Queen Mary University of London research team. Their book, Empire of Tea: The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World, is available for pre-order on Amazon, but can be purchased directly from the publisher now.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Æthelmearc Invades Northern Oaken War Maneuvers

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-06-06 22:50

The Midrealm has been raiding Blackstone Mountain for years. Æthelmearc has since returned the favor and begun invading the Barony of the Cleftlands at their annual event, Northern Oaken War Maneuvers.

The Æthelmearc Rattan Army fielded a vast 63 fighters who had a banner day. Sir Steffan Ulfkelsson, the Æthelmearc Rattan Army Warlord says, “Æthelmearc Army started slow but won the day at Northern Oaken War Maneuvers.”
Early reports say that Æthelmearc took three out of the five field battles, two out of the three bridge battles and the gate battle. Way to go Æthelmearc!

Æthelmearc Army at NOWM XIX. Photo by: Lady McKenna Henderson

Categories: SCA news sites

50 Year Celebration Reminder

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-06-06 17:00

From the SCA Board of Directors:

The Board of Directors would like to briefly remind everyone of the 50 Year Celebration of the Society on June 17-27th, 2016 [in Indiana]. This is a celebration of the history and the future of the Society. It is also a chance to meet and enjoy the company of those throughout the Known Worlde and experience just how diverse and wonderful the SCA truly is and how much it has grown.

The Board does request that if there are other events in the Society on or near the June 2016 dates of 50 Year please take the time to raise a toast and salute what we all share in common. Thank you all.

More info on this grand event can be found here:
SCA 50th Year Celebration
EK Calendar Entry for 50th Anniversary Event

Filed under: Announcements, Corporate, Events

Memorial Service for Master Kali

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2015-06-06 12:10

Mistress Caryl de Trecesson has announced plans for a memorial service next month for her dear husband, Master Kali Harlansson of Gotland.


Mistress Caryl adds: “Everyone is welcome! The gathering is open format, drop by when you can, from 2pm till 5pm. There’ll be a somewhat more formal service in the middle at 3pm.”

Filed under: Announcements, Tidings Tagged: in memoriam, obit

A Day of Tournaments Draws Near

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2015-06-06 11:23

Mark your calendars for the weekend of June 19-21 as the Shire of Port Oasis is trying something new. Hosting an all tournament event to showcase pageantry and inspiration as well as honor and prowess. When asked what sparked the idea for a different type of event, Lord Olaf Steinabrjotr, co-autocrat for the event, said, “The model of this event was conceived out of a few of us talking when we discussed the lack of pageantry and the lack of tournaments in our southern reaches of the kingdom, and also the fact that we would have to travel outside the kingdom to get to an event.”

There is a full day of tournaments scheduled and announced:

  • Bertie Beetle Tourney
    • Each fighter has to cut off an opponent’s body part. The purpose is to collect a whole fighter by body part. (Head, body, left leg, right leg, left arm, right arm). Once a needed blow is landed, the bout ends. All opponents continue to fight other bouts (AKA Round Robin) until a fighter collects a whole body. If an opponent is wounded with a body part already collected, the bout continues. If the opponent is killed with a headshot, the bout ends. All forms acceptable.
  • Roman Style Grand Melee Tournament
    • All in melee. last two standing combatants will do best two out of three.
  • Olaf’s Polearm Challenge
    • Single elimination pole arm tournament. First combatant to score 3 killing blows against an opponent will advance. Arm shots are ignored during this tournament.
  • William Marshal Tourney
    • Each fighter is given five coins. Then a Round Robin structure of tourney is held. Each “loss” of a bout requires the fighter to give up one coin to the winner. Once the fighter runs out of coins, they are eliminated from the tourney. The winner is the fighter with all (or a predetermined amount of) the coins. AKA: Ransom Tourney. Round robin or speed tournament depending on amount of combatants
  • Basic Single Elimination Tournament
    • All forms are welcome.
  • The Final Tournament
    • A double elimination tournament fought in the same fashion as crown tournament.
    • Each match will be a best 2 out of 3 to advance farther.
    • The final bout between the top combatants will be the best 3 out of 5 in each of the different forms : weapon and shield, two weapon, great sword, pole arm, spear.

      Co-Autocrat Lord Olafr fighting tournament-style. Photo by Master Alexandair

The final tournament will be comprised of the winners from each of the five tournaments as well as a sixth combatant that will be chosen to enter the list based on the deeds and chivalric values demonstrated throughout the tournaments.

Not a fighter? Never fear! Port Oasis has also come up with a Day of Tournaments for the Arts & Sciences crowd which has a little something built in for everyone.

  • The Water Tournament
    • Our shire’s heraldry features a boat and water.  Our spring event was canceled due to water related issues, but in mid June’s heat we’ll most likely welcome some extra water to cool off.  This tournament will honor the many aspects of water in any non-performance medium.
  • The Period Technology Tournament
    • Let’s illuminate the populace’s knowledge of period technology!  Please share your working pieces, models, blueprints, research and other items of technological interest from anywhere within the known world of our period.
  • The Handout Tournament
    • To make up for a lack of class offerings, we are offering the Handout Tournament.  This means that those who would have attended your class wont have to decide between two activities, and you don’t have to worry about space or pre-approval from those in charge of the event.
  • The War Preparations Tournament
    • For this tournament, please show us any pieces that are related to period wars (such as a specific battle, people involved in a war, etc) but also anything created for warfare in the Modern Middle Ages such as your period camp equipment, garb meant just for war, war meals, fighter kits, photos of handmade pavillions, etc.  Please be creative and include any references that you have for this.
  • The Bardic Tournament
    • The Bardic Tournament will be judging for a period performance and an original performance.  Any performance art (music, story, poem, dance, juggling, etc.) is welcome for either tournament.  These will be judged by the populace.

There are Archery and Thrown Weapons Tournaments in the works as well. The full event announcement and more details can be found here.

Categories: SCA news sites

Museum acquires St. Albans gold coin hoard

History Blog - Sat, 2015-06-06 07:24

The hoard of 159 Roman gold coins discovered near St. Albans, Hertfordshire, in the fall of 2012 has been acquired by St. Albans’ Verulamium Museum. The first 55 coins were unearthed on September 23rd by first-time metal detectorist Wesley Carrington who found the first coin seven inches under the surface just 15 minutes after beginning his search. After consulting with the owner of the shop where he had bought his metal detector, Carrington reported the discovery to his local Finds Liaison Officer. On October 1st, Carrington returned to the site with a team of archaeologists from St. Albans City and District Museums Service and they found another 104 coins.

The coins are all 22-carat gold solidi from the late 4th and early 5th century struck in Milan, Ravenna, Rome, Trier during the reigns of Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius I, Arcadius and Honorius. Although they were found all over the field, archaeologists believe that’s the result of a couple of centuries of farming scattering the cache, that the solidi were originally buried together in a now-lost container. Their rough treatment by one or more ploughs has left surprisingly few marks on the coins. They are in pristine condition.

This is the second largest group of Roman gold solidi found in Britain. The largest was the 565 solidi found in the massive Hoxne Hoard that also contained 14,272 silver coins as well as jewelry and silver dinnerware. The St. Albans Hoard is the largest in Britain composed entirely of gold solidi.

Gold solidi were enormously valuable coins. By law they could not be spent on retail market goods, but only for large purchases and deals like property sales and entire ship’s of goods. Whoever owned these coins was very wealthy, a merchant or a banker. The last coins to arrive in Roman Britain from the continent came in 408 A.D., two years before the army withdrew leaving the province to deal with the descending chaos on its own. One of the ways they coped was to bury their valuables to keep them safe from pillagers until they could reclaim them, which is likely what happened here. It could also have been buried as a sacrifice to the gods, but it’s on the generous side for a votive, to put it mildly.

After the discovery of the hoard, the coins were examined by an independent panel of experts at the British Museum. Based on the panel’s report, a coroner’s inquest in July of 2013 determined that the hoard was treasure according to the UK’s Treasure Act. The British Museum panel then assessed fair market value of the coins at £98,500 ($150,000) and the relevant museum closest to the discovery spot, in this case the Verulamium Museum, was given the opportunity to acquire it for that amount.

They raised it and then some. Thanks to a sizeable Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £105,000, £24,000 from an overseas benefactor who prefers to remain anonymous, £11,000 from the St. Albans Museums and Galleries Trust and £6,000 from the Council, the museum was able to secure the hoard and some funding to create a display worthy of their rarity and beauty. The coins will go on display at the museum in September.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

A Peek Into The Kitchen

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2015-06-05 13:59

This was written by Meesteress Annetje VanWoerden in response to requests the Gazette has received for an article on how to cook a feast. The Gazette thanks her for writing the article.

So. You have decided that you want to create an SCA feast by offering to be a head cook.

Welcome. We are a small, but happy, crew that delights in newcomers, and we are more than willing to share our kitchens, floor space, and techniques with you.

Pull up a chair, cozy up, here’s your beer.

To begin, you should know that it’s hard work, but some of the most rewarding work I have ever been a part of. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a feast hall full of happy diners who have eaten all that you have prepared and knowing that you met your expectations and your budget!

The first thing I highly recommend is that you go into and learn in other people’s kitchens. This is the best way to get an idea of the similarities and differences between feast cooking and a modern party planning kitchen. You’ll learn how to deal with volunteer help with different abilities, site restrictions, and maintaining the menu and serve time no matter what you are exposed to. The experienced head cook will duck and parry and will continue until all the food is served and eaten.

To start, you must know the group you will cook for. Are there written rules to follow? Is this a themed event? What type of budget are they aiming for? What type of food are they looking for?

Once these basic answers are given, you will need to determine your menu . What time, place, and budget will you be working with? Who is in charge of setup, who is in charge of clean-up? I highly suggest that your kitchen staff should NOT be the cleanup crew. You will be exhausted.

First and foremost: Go with the autocrat to see the site. Turn on everything. Make sure the ovens heat up. Bring a thermometer to test them. Make sure that the sinks really drain.(Really. Experience here.) Tailor your menu to the equipment you have available. Plan ahead if you will need to outsource other equipment. Be sure you know exactly what equipment is available to you — what the site will let you use, what local group has, what you have. Add oven thermometers to your kit … ovens that work on visit day don’t always work as well on cook day.

Second: Build a menu of things you know will be both tasty and easy to execute. Recruit your friends for taste testing and kitchen help! Go over your menu often until you can do it in your sleep. Then practice some more.

Third: Use in season or easily obtained items in your first feast. Your fabulous idea of serving quail and asparagus in the middle of winter will break your budget. It can be done, but it requires a great deal of preparation, and it is better to be shelved until you have some experience under your belt.

Fourth: Keep the communication open. This can make or break your kitchen. Even the smallest glitch in this can cause your kitchen to grind to a halt. This is probably the most important item other than the food itself. Stress can increase the anxiety levels of your staff, and lack of interpersonal communications can break down the efficiency of your kitchen. Keep the flow by having a well located chore list for people to follow (Erasable white boards are awesome here). If it is a large event, designate crew chiefs to be available to answer questions from volunteers if you are not available. Have separate food, drinks, and things for your staff to make their volunteer experience nicer.

Fifth: If you have an event where the start time is uncertain (i.e., Court is running late), a cold first course can be a lifesaver. You can get it prepared well ahead and let it sit in the refrigerator, and it’s ready to go as soon as your diners are seated. Keep an eye on the timing. If the event is causing a lag, adjust the kitchen to that lag. Monitor food handling, food storage, and oven temps with appropriate modern techniques and practices. Cold food is cold, warm food is warm, and nothing stays out at room temperature unless it is safe to be so.

Sixth: Send the food out. Keep to your schedule. Make it pretty if you can. But overall, make it go out. It will be hectic and amazingly hard for about a hour, but know that with time and experience, this hour gets easier and easier to work. Fill bowls, cut things, slice and plate, and pass it to your servers. Push through and send out everything from your kitchen until it’s all gone.

Seventh: It’s done. Turn off the burners. Sit your staff down. Eat your food. Put your feet up. Toast your volunteers. Rest until you need to gather up your gear for the night. Socialize with attendees if you still feel able to. Thank the autocrat for their hard work.

Extras, as time and more experience allow: Provide music in your kitchen, encourage turnover breaks if you get a lot of volunteers, send people away from the kitchens to see the event if you have the time. Have someone in the hall just to monitor course flow, and adjust timing as necessary. Having a musician friend who can fill in a food course serving gap is a great friend to have.

For yourself in general: Invest in really good arch-supported shoes or boots. Have your own food and drink available. Designate someone not on the kitchen staff to monitor your food and drink intake. Take bathroom and hall monitoring breaks. Wander the hall during service to see how the food is being received. Being able to see your dream of a medieval feast completed as you imagined it is probably one of the greatest joys of a cook. I highly recommend it and would be very happy to help you in experiencing it for yourself.

Filed under: Arts and Sciences Tagged: Cooking, feast

400 years of fashion porn at the Rijksmuseum

History Blog - Fri, 2015-06-05 12:34

In 2009, the Rijksmuseum acquired two vast collections of fashion plates: the Raymond Gaudriault Collection and the MA Ghering-van Ierlant Collection. The two collections brought more than 8,000 prints, many of the hand-colored engravings, from the year 1600 through the first half of the 20th century to the museum. It took years for curators to catalogue and document this exceptional record of historical clothing and costume. This month, more than 300 prints will go on display for the first time at the New for Now: The Origin of Fashion Magazines exhibition which runs from June 12th to September 27th, 2015.

The first fashion plates — mechanically reproduced portraits depicting the contemporary clothes worn in given place and time rather than a specific individual — appeared in the 16th century. Books like Omnium fere gentium nostrae aetatis habitus (1563) by Ferdinando Bertelli and Trachtenbuch (1577) by Hans Weigel showed what people wore in different countries in significant detail. Books on what different classes wore within one country, on hairstyles and accessories followed. Bohemian printmaker Wenceslaus Hollar, a highly prolific and varied artist who made etchings of the rich and famous, landscapes, anatomical studies, maps, ruins, animals, architecture, religious subjects, heraldry and much more, published two series of costume prints of women wearing fashionable outfits, Theatrum Mulierum in 1643 and Aula Veneris in 1644.

Thirty years later, the Mercure Galant, a periodical by Jean Donneau de Visé, published fashion plates and articles on the styles of the season in supplementary issues. France under King Louis XIV set fashion trends all over Europe. People wanted to see what courtiers were wearing and de Visé obliged. The plates were also sold separately as prints of elegantly attired men and women were increasingly popular. In the 18th century series of fashion plates were published for retail and subscription. They weren’t magazines — they were captioned but that was it as far as words were concerned — but they were periodically published glossy prints designed to make contemporary fashion look damn good.

The publishers of fashion prints did everything to make their product as attractive as possible. They attracted skilled illustrators for this purpose, some of whom went on to become specialists in this area: true ‘fashion illustrators’. The trick was to portray the models on the prints as skillfully as possible and with a great sense of elegance. The printmaker was responsible for transferring the design sketches onto an engraving that could reproduce the design. A so-called ‘colourist’ subsequently added colours to each individual image by hand.

This painstaking process continued well into the age of multi-colored lithography because brilliant, varied colors and crisp details were of paramount importance in making the clothes look their best.

In the second half of the 18th century, the periodicals like the Galerie des Modes et Costumes Francais and the Collection de la Parure des Dames captured the last hurrah of Ancien Régime style. They were printed in sets called cahiers (notebooks) in the decade before the French Revolution and they celebrated the indulgence and extravagance of aristocratic fashion in clothing, hairstyles and accessories. The French fashion spigot was nearly cut off during the Revolution when anything that suggested appreciation for nobility could land a person in front of a tribunal or in the cold embrace of Madame Guillotine.

With the advent of the Directory and the revival of imperial grandeur, fashion magazines like the Journal des Dames et des Modes picked up where their predecessors had left off. The epicenter of style had shifted. No longer were the prints focused on the latest elaborate coiffure and gown worn by the First Estate at court. Muses like Josephine de Beauharnais inspired imitation, but editors like Journal des Dames et des Modes‘ Jean Baptiste Sellèque sought out the latest trends worn by fashionable people frequenting the theater, public promenades, balls the Parisian hotspots.

The fashion glossies spread across the continent, the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. People wanted to see the latest in Parisian and French fashion and replicate them as closely as possible. Fashion plates were widely copied and reprinted. By the 1830s the fashion plates were accompanied by patterns giving readers a template to bring to their seamstresses or to make on their own. In the 19th century we also see the rapid development of what we now recognize as fashion magazines with more and increasingly diverse content. Issues of the Magasin des Demoiselles included editorials, plays, articles on history and nature, how-to guides, detailed explanations of the outfits in the plates and closed with a rebus.

Even the advent of photography couldn’t stop the fashion plate. The color and detail that could be produced with illustrations remained the option of choice for fashion magazines until indoor color photography became widespread in the 1950s.

What makes the Rijksmuseum’s collection so signficant is that it covers almost the entire history of fashion glossies from their antecedents in the costume books well into their modern magazine setting, 400 years of what-are-they-wearing. And the best part, which I have deliberately saved for last, is that you will soon be able to browse the whole thing. The fashion plates are being digitized and integrated in the museum’s exceptional online database of high resolution photographs of the art and objects in its permanent collection. While they’re not quite done with the digitization project, there are already thousands of images you can peruse. I count 5,915 plates uploaded as of this moment although some of them — almost all of them from the 20th century — have no photographs attached yet.

Have I scrolled through all 5,915 search results, you ask? Yes. Yes I have. It’s historical fashion porn of the highest quality. You can refine the search to narrow them down by date, place, maker, etc. if you’re looking for something in particular, or you can just spend the forseeable future bingeing on the whole beautiful buffet of style.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

New Gazette Feature – Call for Arts and Sciences Papers! / Nouveautés dans la Gazette : Demande de documents ayant comme sujet les Arts et Sciences!

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2015-06-04 20:01

En français


Have you just finished some fascinating original research? Can you tell us about a day in the life of your persona? Do you have a fabulous method of producing something in a medieval style? The East Kingdom is rich in artisans and scientists, and the East Kingdom Gazette is beginning a pilot program to provide a platform for their written work. Beginning July 1, the Gazette will publish articles from a guest Artisan or Scientist. We initially anticipate publishing one a month, but may publish articles more frequently if response is particularly strong. Please see below for our inaugural call for papers!

– There is no limit to the number of submissions, but each author will be limited to one posted article per calendar year.

– Articles should focus on arts and sciences topics that exist within the SCA period. Examples include: how to recreate a period X or Y; history lessons; a day in my persona’s life; experimenting with period techniques; original research. If you are uncertain about the suitability of a topic, please ask our Article Curator, Mistress Aildreda de Tamworthe (molly.eskridge@gmail.com).

– Links to existing personal websites are welcome within an article, but should not replace the article.

– The Society champions courtesy, and properly crediting the work of others is both courteous and required. Images that are not your original photos must be fully cited. Substantial quotations from other sources must be likewise fully cited. For examples, please see: http://www.wikihow.com/Cite-Sources.

– The Gazette reserves the right to fact-check all articles, and also to edit for grammar and clarity. All resulting revisions will be given to the original author for review.

Any questions about this pilot will be cheerfully received by Mistress Dreda; she looks forward to your submissions!

En français
Article traduit par Lady Cellach Dhonn inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh

Salutations !
Est-ce que vous venez de terminer une recherche fascinante et originale? Est-ce que vous pouvez une journée de la vie de votre personnage ? Vous venez de découvrir la méthode pour produire un article de façon authentique. Le Royaume de l’Est moissonne de très bons artisans et scientifiques. La Gazette du Royaume veut soutenir ces bonnes gens et leurs offrir une plateforme pour leurs documents écrits. A partir du premier juillet, la Gazette va publier certains articles d’artisans invités ou de scientifiques chevronnés. L’objectif est de publier un article par mois ou plus selon la réponse obtenue. Lire les informations suivantes afin d’obtenir tous les renseignements nécessaires.

– Il n’y a aucune limite, vous pouvez soumettre autant d’articles que vous désirez, mais un seul sera publié par année.

– Le sujet des articles d’Arts et Sciences doivent représenter la période où évolue la SCA. Par exemple : Comment recréer la période X ou Y; Leçons d’histoire, une journée dans la vie d’un paysan anglais au 12e siècle. Si vous êtes incertain de votre sujet, veuillez écrire à : Curateur d’articles : Maitresse Aldreda de Tamworthe (molly.eskridge@gmail.com)

– Liens vers des articles personnels sont les bienvenus mais ne remplace pas l’article.

– La Société encourage la courtoisie et les droits d’auteurs. Créditez les ouvrages d’autres sont nécessaires. Les images ou photos qui ne sont pas les vôtres doivent êtres crédités. Toutes les sources doivent être citées. Pour plus d’informations, voir : http://www. wikihow.com/Cite-sources.

– La Gazette se réserve le droit de vérifier l’exactitude des articles et d’éditer, de corriger pour plus de clarté. Les articles réédités seront envoyés aux auteurs pour accréditation.

– Toutes questions au sujet de cette nouveauté peuvent être adressée à Maitresse Dreda, elle attend vos soumissions et a hâte de vous lire.

Filed under: Arts and Sciences, En français Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences, call for papers, east kingdom gazette

2,000-year-old round pearl found in shell midden

History Blog - Thu, 2015-06-04 05:43

In 2011, archaeologists from the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the University of New England (UNE) excavating the Brremangurey Rockshelter on the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia discovered a pearl in the site’s shell midden. The rockshelter was used by Indigenous peoples for more than 12,000 years, as attested by rock art and shell middens. The pearl was found in a layer of marine shell that radiocarbon dating found was 1800-1906 years old. It is the only pearl known to have been recovered from a prehistoric archaeological site in Australia.

The unique find caused much excitement in the community because of the area’s rich pearling history. The harvest of natural South Sea pearls from the large oyster species Pinctada maxima was a major industry along the Kimberley Coast in the 19th century, and while those beds collapsed more than a century ago, since the introduction of the Japanese techniques of pearl culturing in the 1950s, the coastline has been a center of pearl production.

The marine pearl is small but comely at 5.9mm in maximum diameter and weighing a quarter of a gram. Its petite size, warm golden-rose color and almost spherical shape are characteristic features of a cultured Akoya pearl rather than a natural South Sea pearl. Local pearl experts thought it more likely to be an intrusive cultured pearl that somehow made its way into an ancient midden pile instead of the one and only prehistoric pearl ever found in Australia. Indeed, tests on the midden pile found that some of the deposits had experienced significant time-averaging and downward movement of shell layers.

In order to determine the pearl’s true nature, the archaeological team had to eschew the usual analytic methodologies like radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analysis because they result in the destruction of samples. Instead they teamed up with Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm to do a comparative analysis of a cultured Akoya pearls with the Brremangurey pearl using non-invasive X-ray computed microtomography to capture the pearls’ inner architecture. They scanned three Cygnet Bay pearls — two seeded in 2010 and harvested in 2012, one keshi pearl that grew without a bead — and the Brremangurey pearl.

The scans left no doubt whatsoever that the Brremangurey pearl is natural. The CT scans of the seeded pearls showed a very clear homogeneous spherical nucleus (the bead made of crushed and compacted Mississippi mussel shells) wrapped in two relatively thick layers of nacre, one per year of growth. The Brremangurey pearl has a much smaller nucleus and 14 thin layers of nacre. There is no pearl farmer in his right mind willing to wait 14 years for a six millimeter pearl to grow, nor has this ever been a practice in the history of pearl culturing.

The nucleus is also very different. Like the cultured bead, it is almost spherical, but that’s just a fluke. A separate scan of the nucleus itself underscored how different its structure is to the beads of the cultured pearls. Instead of being a solid homogeneous material, it has a tiny hollow center — a cyst formed as a result of damage to the edge of the mantle — surrounded by rays of calcium carbonate terminating in an exterior surface the published paper describes evocatively as “pustolose.” That surface was then wrapped in layer of nacre. That’s how natural pearls form.

“This analysis confirmed that it was a natural pearl that had grown inside a small pearl oyster for over a decade before the animal was harvested for eating,” [PhD student and co-author of the study Brent Koppel] said.

Although there are no records to suggest that pearls are of cultural significance to Indigenous peoples of the Kimberley, the pearl oyster shells which produce them are very important. The shells formed the basis of a historically-recorded trade which stretched from the Kimberley to the Central Desert. It is likely that the pearl at Brremangurey is a by-product of pearl shell collection. The great numbers of pearl shells within certain layers of the shell midden at Brremangurey suggests that the shells’ cultural value extends well back into prehistory.

You can read the paper about the pearl study here (pdf). The Brremangurey pearl will go on public display along with some of those highly significant prehistoric pearl shells in the Lustre: Pearling & Australia exhibition which opens on June 20th at the Western Australian Maritime Museum.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Æthelmearc War Practice, May 15-17, A.S. 50

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-06-03 18:07

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy & Gabrielle II, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Their Majesties’ Court at War Practice, 15-17 May Anno Societatis L, in the Canton of Steltonwald. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, assisted by Mistress Kayleigh MacWhyte; Master Ryan MacWhyte, Brigantia Herald; Maistir Brandubh Ó Donnghaile, Tabor Herald; Brehress Gwendolyn the Graceful; Drotin Jǫrundr hinn Rotinn, Golden Alce Herald; THL Marcus Cincinnatus, Windmill Pursuivant; and Lord Arias Beltran del Valle.

Friday night, during the Gage Meet & Beat tournament:

Their Majesties convened the Order of Chivalry, then invited THL Arnthor inn sterki to join Them. Arnthor confirmed that it was still his wish to sit vigil in contemplation of elevation to the Order of Chivalry, and so moved, Their Majesties bade the Order to convey Arnthor to the place set for him in the Border Watch camp.

Their Majesties then convened the Order of the Laurel, and invited Baron Robert of Sugar Grove to join Them. Likewise, Baron Robert confirmed his desire to sit vigil in contemplation of elevation to the Order of the Laurel.

Saturday morning, at the Fencing tournament:

Their Royal Majesties called forward Baron Benedict Fergus atte Mede and presented him with a writ to determine when he would sit vigil to become the 4th Master of Defense of Æthelmearc.

Their Majesties called before Them Don Orlando di Bene del Vinta. After returning his yellow belt  to his Pelican Mistress Irene von Schmetterling, Their Majesties sent him to vigil to contemplate his elevation as Æthelmearc’s second Master of Defense.

Later Saturday morning, on the Heavy Weapons field:

Sir Arnthor’s knighting. Photo by Lady Àine ny Allane.

Their Majesties summoned THL Arnthor inn sterki, who testified that he had sat vigil as instructed, and was now prepared to receive the acclaim of Knighthood, should Their Majesties still wish to bestow it upon them. Sir Stevan Ulfkellson spoke of Arnthor’s worthiness, and the Knight’s belt as the symbol of purity. Sir Tarl MacLave spoke of
Arnthor’s Peer-like qualities of teaching. Master Aengus MacBain spoke of Arnthor’s skill and research in the art of bone carving, and his teaching of that art to others. Mistress Constance Waite spoke of Arnthor’s many years of service. Viscount Bear the Wallsbane spoke of Arnthor’s upstanding courtesy and chivalry. Arnthor was invested with a set of ancestral spurs by Duke Titus, a belt of chivalry by his lady, and a Knight’s chain by Sir Tarl. His Majesty mused that, while it is the law of the Known World that only a King can make a Knight, He saw things differently, namely, that each person walks the path of Chivalry on their own, and as King, it is his privilege to recognize when one has made that journey as Arnthor had. His Majesty then dubbed Arnthor a Knight of the Society, Granted him Arms by Letters Patent, named him a Peer of the Realm and rendered unto him his last unanswered blow. A scroll by his lady was read, and finally Sir Arnthor was wrapped in a cloak from the Shire of Hunter’s Home.

Saturday evening, accompanied by His Highness Magnus Tindal, Prince of Æthelmearc; His Highness Brennan, Prince of the East Kingdom; Their Excellencies Liam and Constance, Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands; Athos and Bronwyn, Baron and Baroness of Thescorre; Carolus and Isolda, Baron and Baroness of Rhydderich Hael; Fergus and Helene, Baron and Baroness of Delftwood; Ichijo, Shugo-daimyo of Blackstone Mountain; and Iago and Emilia, Baron and Baroness of St. Swithin’s Bog:

Mistress Cunen Beornhelm. Photo by THLady Sophie Davenport.

His Majesty spoke of a piece of business that He had watched undone for the 25 years that He had stood as Knight of the Society, and that it was now his pleasure to see it finally brought to fruition. He then assembled the Order of Chivalry, and with their assent, invited Mistress Cunen Beornhelm to join Him in Court to accept a Writ of Summons for elevation to that Noble Order. Scroll forthcoming.

His Highness Brennan thanked Their Majesties and the people of Æthelmearc for the hospitality shown to Him at the event, and presented gifts to Their Majesties and His Highness.

Lady Cionaodh Gunn, the event steward for War Practice, gave thanks to her staff and all those who had made the event such a rousing success.

Ichijo Honen, Shugo-daimyo of the Barony of Blackstone Mountain, presented the Kingdom with a $500 donation to the Kingdom Trailer fund, and presented a challenge to the other Landed Nobility of Æthelmearc to do likewise.

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope, who had overseen the Youth Champion tournaments of the day, was invited forth to inform Their Majesties and the populace of the results of those tournaments. While all who entered showed great chivalry and honor among the field, two demonstrated prowess above and beyond all others, and thus Henry was named the Division I Youth Combat Champion, and Ulf was named the Division II and III Youth Combat Champion. Scrolls illuminated by THL Ursula of Rouen and calligraphed by Lady Ylaire Sainte Claire upon words by THL Ursula.

Henry and Ulf are invested as Youth Champions. Photo by Master Alaxandair O’Conchobhair.

The children of the Kingdom were summoned forth, and invited to the back of Court where THL Hrefna Ulfvarinnsdottir had games and activities for their amusement.

Thora of Olach Lacha was Awarded Arms for her enthusiasm and assistance to all who need it, as well as her spirit and prowess as a heavy fighter. Scroll by Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba.

Lady Thora of Olach Lacha. Photo by Master Alaxandair O’Conchobhair.

Arlian was Awarded Arms for his skill as a fighter, as well as his volunteering to transport others to events and practices. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Lord Arlian. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

Baron Robert of Sugargrove is made a Laurel. Photo by Lady Valentina de la Volpe.

Baron Robert of Sugar Grove was called forth and presented his block plane, the tool of his trade, to Their Majesties, that They might return it to him if They deem him worthy of being named a Master of his craft. Viscountess Judith of Kirtland recalled when she and Viscount Syr Bear sat on the thrones of the Principality of Æthelmearc, and how jealous she was of the luxurious thrones of the East, which had been crafted by Robert 14 years previous. Viceroy Sir Gui Avec Cheval of the Kingdom of the East proclaimed that Robert had the true heart of a tiger, for the two of them had fought side by side many times, and Robert’s courage never failed. Master Tigernach Mac Cathail spoke to the many hundreds of hours that Robert has labored in service to his Kingdom, creating thrones, boxes, and other wooden treasures. Master Gille MacDhonuill called Robert a master artisan and teacher, with vast knowledge of how period craftsmen knew and learned their craft. Viscountess Judith then conveyed the words of Master Ali Abbas al Gazzaz of the Kingdom of the East, who named Robert a kindred soul, for they both, as craftsmen, put their words into their actions. Their Majesties, being thus moved by these good words, adorned Robert with the regalia of the Order of the Laurel, being a medallion, a cloak, and a wooden wreath. Robert gave his homage to Their Majesties and exchanged Oaths of faith with Them. Their Majesties then named him a Peer of the Realm and a Companion of the Laurel, Awarded him Arms by Letters Patent, and returned to Master Robert the tool of his craft. Scroll by Master Jonathan Blaecstan of the Kingdom of the East.

Lord Enzo de Pazzi was granted admittance into the Order of the Golden Stirrup for his devotion to creating authentic armor. Scroll by Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte of the Kingdom of the East.

Lord Enzo de Pazzi. Photo by Lady Àine.

Mistress Jenna MacPherson of Lion’s Tower was created a Companion of the Golden Alce for her study of heavy fighting and her tutelage of the youth of Æthelmearc in the combat arts. Promissory scroll by Maîtresse Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon.

Mistress Jenna MacPherson of Lion’s Tower. Photo by THLady Sophie Davenport.

Lord Thorstein Thorgrimsson was elevated to the Order of the Golden Alce for the enthusiasm with which he has transitioned from Youth Combat to Adult Combat, and for his especially strong showings in newcomers tournaments. Scroll by THL Tegrinus de Rhina.

Lord Thorstein Thorgrimsson. Photo by Master Alaxandair O’Conchobhair.

Lord Uaithne Mac Faelan was named to the Order of the Golden Alce for his diligent study and training of the combat arts, often staying on the field long after others have retired in order to analyze his own fighting, and for seeking out those who have achieved Knighthood in order that he might learn from them. Scroll illuminated by Lady Isabel Fleuretan and calligraphed by  Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.

Lord Uithne Mac Faelan. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

Lord Nicholas Hossbalder was created a Companion of the Golden Alce for his study and skill in heavy combat, and for his teaching those same arts to others. Lord Nicholas was presented with two scrolls commemorating his admission into this order, one by Mistress Liadin ní Chléirigh na Coille and the second by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.

Lord Nicholas Hossbalder. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

Lady Arianna dal Vallone was admitted to the Order of the Sycamore for her great skill in both cooking and jewelry making. Scroll by THL Sophie Davenport.

Lady Arianna dal Vallone. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

THL Morien MacBain was elevated to the Order of the Sycamore for his pursuit of the bardic arts, bringing music to the combat field, the fireside, and the Kingdom. Scroll illuminated by Frau Saskia Feldmeyrin and calligraphed by Baroness Alex upon wording by Jeanne de Penthièvre.

Lord Morien MacBain. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

Don Orlando di Bene del Vinta was brought into Court to answer the summons set before him. He surrendered his rapier to Their Majesties until such time as he might reclaim it as a Master of Defense and Peer of the Realm. Countess Kallista Morgunova declined to speak of either his prowess or his charm, though both are great, but rather of his honor and loyalty to Æthelmearc and her people, and of his personification of the Dream that we strive for. Mistress Euriol of Lothian recalled the 12th Night where she met Orlando, when his singing silenced the room, how he taught her the meaning of true courtly love, and how he exemplifies the art of the Dream. Mistress Irene von Schmetterling, to whom Don Orlando had been protegé, proclaimed the service he had rendered to Æthelmearc, both as fencer and as musician. Duke Sir Titus Scipio Germanicus spoke of the similarities between the Orders of Chivalry and Defense, and how Orlando served as an inspiration and example. Duchess Dorinda Courtenay, Æthelmearc’s first Mistress of Defense, reminded the Kingdom that the Order of Defense is not one of many years and great traditions, and so Orlando knows that this day is not just about him, but about creating something for those that will come after him. Their Majesties then named Orlando the 2nd Master of Defense in the Kingdom and a Peer of the Realm, Awarded him Arms by Letters Patent, and presented him with regalia appropriate to his new station: a pair of garters, a cape, the Ancestral livery collar of the Order of Defense, and a livery collar for Maestro Orlando’s personal use. Don Diego brought forth the Book of the Lineage of Æthelmearc’s Order of Defense, and that lineage was read. Maestro Orlando then gave his Oath of Fealty as a Master of Defense and received his sword from Their Majesties. Scroll by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Countess Kallista speaks for Don Orlando. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

All those who contributed time and effort to the scrolls presented during Court stood and were recognized by Their Majesties and the Kingdom.

Her Majesty spoke at length of the service and courtesy of THL Marcus Cincinnatus, Windmill Pursuivant, who volunteered when Their Majesties were in need of a herald and conducted Sir Arnthor’s elevation to Knighthood. She proclaimed that Marcus had received her token of inspiration before Court.

Dame Bronwyn reminded the populace that one week hence, a muster and Kingdom Work Session would be held to prepare Royal Regalia for the upcoming Pennsic War.

Sunday morning, before the Heavy Weapons Championship Tournament:

Lord Howard Bowman was invested into the Order of the Keystone for his service as event steward and his assistance wherever it is required. Scroll by Gillian Llewellyn of Ravenspur.

At the conclusion of the tournament:

Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford invested as Kingdom Champion. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford, having proven himself victorious in the morning’s tournament, presented himself before Their Majesties, who named him as the Heavy Weapons Champion of Æthelmearc. The scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova was held by Their Majesties until another time when the weather would be more agreeable to present to Sir Byron.

There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.

In Honor and Service,

Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

Updates from the Society Exchequer / Nouvelles de l’échiquier de la société

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-06-03 17:18

En français

On May 25th, an open letter was sent from Society Exchequer Baroness Katherine Angelique d’Artois de Berry to all Exchequers and Seneschals, discussing the findings from an external audit of the SCA, Inc. which was conducted last year.

You can access the complete letter as a .pdf document by clicking here.

The text of the letter is as follows:

May 25, 2015

Greetings to the Exchequers and Seneschals of the Known World!

During the past year, our organization was subject to an external audit. This audit included an evaluation of our processes, covering our record keeping from the Corporate office to the smallest branch. We have now received the finding from the audit, and the recommended changes that will need to take place in order to be in compliance.

The SCA, and all its subsidiaries are considered a large organization, and although we are a volunteer organization, we must still meet modern day accounting requirements. Some outlined changes have already been put into place, and the time has come to communicate the other required changes so that your group can be in compliance. A failure to implement the changes places all groups at risk, for we are all tied together under the SCA umbrella.

There is already an updated Society Financial Policy in place, approved at the April 2015 Board meeting. The changes in the policy that will affect all groups are listed below:

1. If you are writing a check for yourself or another related person for either a cash advance or reimbursement, it must be signed by unrelated parties.

2. If your kingdom does not already require this, bank accounts (all branches) must be reconciled monthly. The bank reconciliation/bank statements must be signed by the Seneschal (the reviewer) and the Exchequer (the preparer), and the signed copy must be sent their superiors. Quarterly reconciliations are no longer allowed and signatures are a must.

3. NMS must be submitted to your Kingdom Exchequer within 10 days of the close of the event. Your Kingdom Exchequers will be sending in their NMS reports and checks on monthly basis.

4. Failure to submit your NMS in a timely manner can cause your group to be place in suspension. NMS is considered financial reporting, and will be subject to the same criteria for reporting standards.

5. As a reminder, all signers on the bank accounts must maintain a current membership while a signatory on any bank account. Please make sure to provide membership information (membership number and expiration date) on your quarterly reports to the Kingdom/Society Exchequer.

There will be a few more changes that will be introduced at year-end. I have held off on them at this time in order for all groups to work towards achieving compliance by the deadline of July 1, 2015, the end of the 2nd Quarter.

Thank you for all your hard work and service,

Kathy Palmer
Baroness Katherine Angelique d’Artois de Berry, OP, OL
Society Exchequer

En français

Traduit par Baron Godfroy de Falaise

Kathy Palmer
Échiquière de la SCA
25 mai 2015

Salutations aux Échiquiers et Sénéchaux du Monde Connu.
Durant la dernière année, notre organisation a fait l’objet d’un audit. Cette expertise incluait une évaluation de nos processus ainsi que la tenue de livres de la Corporation jusqu’au groupes locaux. Les résultats de l’audit nous sont maintenant connus et certains changements devront être mis en place pour que nous soyons conformes.

La SCA et toutes ses filiales sont considérées comme une seule grande organisation et bien que nous soyons une organisation bénévole, nous devons, tout de même, rencontrer des exigences comptables modernes. Quelques changements ont déjà été mis en place et il est maintenant temps de vous communiquer les autres changements pour que votre groupe soit conforme. Le non-respect de ces nouvelles normes placerait l’ensemble des groupes à risque puisque nous sommes tous lié sous la SCA.

Une mise à jour de la ‘’Society Financial Policy’’ approuvée en avril 2015 est déjà disponible. Les changements qui affecteront tous les groupes sont les suivants.

1. Si vous vous adressez un chèque, pour un remboursement ou une avance de fonds, il doit être signé par une tierce personne.

2. Si votre Royaume de le demande pas, les comptes bancaires de tout groupe devront faire l’objet d’une conciliation mensuellement. La conciliation bancaire et les relevés bancaires devront être signés par le Sénéchal (examinateur) et l’échiquer (l’auteur) et devront être envoyés à leurs supérieurs. Les conciliations trimestrielles ne sont plus permises et les signatures sont obligatoires.

3. La NMS doit être soumise à l’échiquier du Royaume dans les 10 jours suivant la fin de l’événement. L’Échiquier du Royaume fera parvenir les rapports de NMS et les chèques sur une base mensuelle.

4. L’omission de la soumission de la NMS dans les délais requis pourrait causer la suspension de votre groupe. La gestion de la NMS est considérée comme un rapport financier et est donc soumise aux mêmes critères que ceux-ci.

5. Nous rappelons que les signataires des comptes bancaires doivent maintenir leur membership tant et aussi longtemps qu’ils sont signataires. Les échiquiers doivent donc fournir les informations de membership de tous les signataires lors de leurs rapports trimestriels.

D’autres changements seront introduits vers la fin de l’année. J’attends avant de les mettre en place afin que tous les groupes puissent atteindre la conformité pour le 1 juillet 2015, soit la fin du 2e trimestre.

Merci à vous tous pour votre dur labeur et votre service.

Kathy Palmer
Baronne Katherine Angelique d’Artois de Berry, OP, OL
Échiquière de la SCA


Filed under: Announcements, Corporate, En français, Law and Policy, Official Notices Tagged: corporate announcements, Exchequer, sca announcements, sca inc, Society Financial Policy

17th c. French noblewoman found fully clothed in lead coffin

History Blog - Wed, 2015-06-03 08:00

The remains of a noblewoman buried at the Convent of the Jacobins in the northwestern French city of Rennes in 1656 have been found in exceptional condition. Discovered in March of 2014, the remains have been quietly studied by a multidisciplinary team who are now revealing the results of their investigations.

The 14th century Convent of the Jacobins site was thoroughly excavated by archaeologists from France’s National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) before construction of a convention center would damage the archaeological record. The location was known to have been inhabited from the 1st century when it was the intersection of four major roads just outside the Gallo-Roman city of Condate. It was left to its own devices in the 4th century when the city contracted to the 3rd century walls for protection against marauders. It wasn’t until the 14th century that the area came back to prominence with the construction of a Dominican convent on the site.

The convent was built in 1369, funded by a local burger but officially founded by John IV of Montfort, Duke of Brittany, after his final defeat of Charles of Blois at the Battle of Auray (September 29th, 1364) in the War of the Breton Succession. In the 15th century a painting on wood of the Madonna and Child known as Our Lady of Good News became a popular object of veneration and as a result, the convent grew into a major draw for pilgrims and preachers. Because of the painting, the convent became known as the Convent of the Good News. It also played a significant political role. It was at the Convent of the Jacobins that the 14-year-old Anne of Brittany was engaged, under extreme duress, to King Charles VIII of France two days after Rennes fell to his besieging army in November of 1491.

For the next 300 years, the convent served as an important burial ground not just for the religious who called it home, but for the devout who wished to be buried in the shadow of Our Lady of Good News. It all came to an end in 1793 when the Convent of the Jacobins was claimed by the French Revolutionary Army which had expanded geometrically early in the year with the introduction of recruitment quotas and then mass conscription by the summer. They used it as barracks and sports club off an on for more than two centuries, finally selling it to the city of Rennes in 2002. It has been unoccupied and unused since then.

After the city decided to restore the convent’s historical buildings and integrate them into a contemporary space that will include two auditoriums and underground convention rooms beneath the medieval foundations, INRAP was called in to excavate the site starting in 2011. They found evidence of its Roman life (road remains and artifacts dating to the 1st century A.D. when there was a small shrine which by the 3rd century was a full-on temple surrounded by large townhouses), medieval masonry and more than 800 burials, mainly in the chapter room.

Out of those 800 burials, five were in lead coffins, an indication of the wealth and prestige of the deceased. Four of them were found in the church choir, and their remains, while skeletonized, were in good enough condition to show the tell-tale marks of embalming, a funerary practice reserved for the elite in the 17th century. The fifth lead coffin was unearthed at the base of a wall of the Chapel of St. Joseph. As soon as the archaeologists opened it, they saw it was completely different from the other four.

“We saw right away that there was a lot of volume, fabric, shoes,” said Rozenn Colleter, an archaeologist at the French national institute for preventive archaeological research.

Colleter also said that beneath the cape, archaeologists could distinguish “hands that were holding a crucifix”.

To discover what they could about the deceased, archaeologists enlisted the aid of experts at the University Hospital of Toulouse. They had to act quickly, like within 72 hours after opening, because after 350 years protected in a lead coffin, the remains were in grave danger from environmental conditions and insects. The body was scanned and X-rayed and a virtually autopsy was performed. She was a woman of about 60 years old at the time of her death. Lesions in the lungs indicate she died from a respiratory infection like pneumonia or most likely tuberculosis. She also had kidney stones. The mummification was natural.

She was buried wearing a multi-layer religious habit: a cape, chasuble, a brown gown of coarse wool twill, a linen shirt, wool leggings or stockings, a devotional scapular wrapped around her right arm and leather mules with cork soles on her feet. Her face was covered by a shroud and her head was covered by two bonnets and a cap held in place by a headband. This is an exceptional find. Complete habits from the 17th century, the fabric still supple, don’t crop up very often.

The woman was not, however, a nun, not for most of her life, anyway. We know this because her husband’s heart told us so. All five of the lead coffins were found with lead heart-shaped containers next to their heads. Each of them held a heart, some wrapped in fabric and plant matter, probably embalming plants. Four of the hearts were engraved, including the one next to our well-preserved lady. It was inscribed “This is the heart of Toussaint de Perrien, knight of Brefeillac, whose body lies at the Savior near Carhay in the convent of the Discalced Carmelites that he founded and died at Rennes the 30th of August, 1649.” Documentary research found a reference to one Louise de Quengo, Lady of Brefeillac, who died in 1656 and was buried in St. Joseph Chapel next to the heart of her husband.

The removal of hearts and burials in multiple locations were a common practice among the elite of medieval, Renaissance and early modern France. Indeed, Louise herself is missing her heart. It was removed before burial — the ligatures in her chest testify to this posthumous operation having been performed by a highly skilled surgeon — and was likely buried next to her husband’s body just like his heart was buried next to hers.

It was also fairly common for noble widows to retire to a convent. That would explain why Louise was buried in a habit. Even if she never took the vows, she may have given the convent a large donation and been buried in religious garb as an honorific.

The garments are being cleaned and conserved. They were acquired by the Museum of Brittany and will go on public display. When the investigation is complete, Louise de Quengo’s remains, currently in a freezer in Toulouse, will be reinterred in the North Cemetery in Rennes.

The French language video on this page has excellent footage of the convent excavation and of Louise’s remains.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Becoming a Pelican

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-06-02 21:11

In our continuing series on the peerage, Mistress Arianna interviewed several Companions of the Pelican about their journey to the peerage, what they see as their role in the Society, how they choose and work with protégés, and what they look for in candidates for their order.

Paths to the Pelican

As most Scadians know, the Order of the Pelican is a Society-level peerage given by the Crown for service. There are many types of service in the Society, and while all can lead to a Pelican, some paths may be longer or harder than others.

Mistress Euriol of Lothian, who will soon be finishing a lengthy stint as clerk of the Order of the Pelican, is best known in recent years as a royal retainer and all-around go-to person for getting things done, but when she started in the SCA in the West Kingdom, her primary interest was in cooking. As such, she saw herself on more of a “Laurel Track” and hadn’t considered the service side of her work. “I think that the hardest pursuit of any of the peerages for a person to wrap their head around is the pursuit of being a Pelican,” she said. “With Martial or Artistic endeavors there is a much more tangible result of trying to improve your skills to hopefully achieve a level of mastery. How does one pursue mastery level of service?” She felt that helping out was a natural thing to do. During her career in the West, the principality where she lived needed someone to run their cooking competitions, so she figured “I could do that” and applied for the position. When the Minister of the Cookery Guild stepped down, she once again thought “I could do that” and took on that role as well. When a “scary” Duchess/Pelican/Laurel asked her to take over the Kingdom cooking competition, Euriol says “’Who, me?’ was what I was thinking but what came out of my mouth was ‘OK.’” She was elevated to the Pelican shortly before moving to Æthelmearc in 2004.

Mistress Irene. Photo by THLady Sophie Davenport.

Mistress Irene von Schmetterling, currently serving as Kingdom Youth Fencing Marshal, recalls that her path to the Pelican was longer than most because she kept moving when she was on the cusp of being considered for the Order, first from Debatable Lands to Thescorre, then to the Midrealm, then to Meridies before returning home to Æthelmearc. She received her Pelican in 1997 from Meridies for bringing rapier to that Kingdom, though that was actually controversial at the time because there were some who opposed incorporating rapier into the SCA. Fortunately, that has rather obviously changed in the ensuing 18 years.

By contrast, Master William de Montegilt, who is married to Mistress Irene, had perhaps one of the shortest paths to a Pelican of anyone in Æthelmearc, though he was elevated to the order by the East Kingdom while living in what is now Atlantia. William joined the SCA in the mid-1970s, when the SCA was much younger and smaller than it is now. He was a co-worker (and squire) of the King, who ran into a bit of SCA officer trouble. Although William had only been in the SCA for a few months, the King knew William was a good problem-solver and asked his advice. William proposed the creation of regional Deputy Seneschals to reduce the burden on the Kingdom Seneschal. The next thing William knew, the Kingdom Seneschal had offered him the position of Southern Region Deputy. Two years later, William became Kingdom Seneschal, receiving his Pelican when he stepped down from that office in 1979. William recalls that during his term as Kingdom Seneschal, the number of groups almost doubled, from 39 to 69 groups. “While this was generally a high growth period for the SCA, I think I was successful because I was diligent about communicating with local seneschals – making sure that new groups got information and help fast, which in those days meant letters and phone calls.”

Countess Alexandra of Clan Donald took a fairly conventional path to a Pelican by being a Kingdom officer and also serving as a retainer to royalty. What’s a little less usual is that she mostly did these things after her reign as Queen of Æthelmearc. “I became Kingdom Exchequer partly because, as Queen, I enjoyed being at the center of the action and knowing what was going on in the Kingdom at a nuts and bolts level. The only other way to do that was to hold Kingdom level office.” Her Excellency had served as a local exchequer in Atlantia before moving to Æthelmearc, so it was a logical place for her to serve here. She was elevated to the Pelican in 2011.

Mistress Cori. Photo by Duchess Anna Blackleaf.

Mistress Cori Ghora, currently Kingdom Seneschale, was the first Pelican made by the Kingdom of Æthelmearc in 1997, for her service in a variety of venues including head cook for many large events, autocrat, scribe, and holder of numerous offices in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael and its Canton of Beau Fleuve, including Seneschale and Chronicler.

Like Mistress Irene, Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin took the long way to get to the Pelican because she moved from Atlantia to Meridies to the Barony of Endless Hills and then to the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael. Also, like Mistress Euriol, she says “I never thought of myself as on a service track, I was more interested in the arts.” Tiercelin served as Chronicler in Endless Hills and then in the Hael (including both simultaneously for a couple of months while she found a successor in Endless Hills). She received her Pelican in 2012 as she was completing her term as Kingdom Chronicler, then went on to hold the position of Society Chronicler. Mistress Tiercelin is currently the managing editor and founder of the Æthelmearc Gazette.

Mistress Phiala O’Ceallaigh received her Pelican in 2012 primarily for service to her Shire of Nithgaard and to the Arts and Sciences. Like Tiercelin and Euriol, she thought of herself more as an artisan than as someone on a service track. Mistress Phiala is currently the Exchequer for Nithgaard as well as Deputy Kingdom Seneschale for Region 3.

Mistress Ekaterina Volkova, known as “Ekat,” who just stepped down as Kingdom Signet, was made a Pelican in 2008 at Pennsic XXXVII for her work over multiple years with Pennsic Security (now called “The Watch”) as well as her service locally and at the Kingdom level, especially as a Minister of the Lists.

The Role of the Pelicans

All of the Pelicans interviewed agreed that their role is not just to continue doing service, but to mentor others wishing to serve. As Countess Alexandra said, “My job as a Pelican is to notice the person sitting in a corner who wants to serve but doesn’t know how, and show them.” Mistress Euriol agrees, saying “I believe that it is my responsibility to show where opportunities are available. On more than one occasion in conversation with someone who was eager to find a way to be more involved, I would say ‘Have you considered… ?’ I am surprised by the number of times that the person didn’t think they would be qualified to fill a position [when they really were].”

Master William. Photo by Gardner.

Master William puts it this way: “Pelicans are people who see something that needs to be done and either do it themselves or else find someone else to do it. They should be the lubricants who find the people poised to take the next step in their SCA careers and encourage them on to that next step.”

Mistress Phiala thinks older SCA members need to provide opportunities for new blood. “We need to step back and make room for younger people to hold offices and achieve higher levels of service. Our roles should be to mentor, not to keep running the organization ourselves.”

Mistress Ekat feels responsible for “being a representative of the people to the Kingdom and Society, advocating for others to the Crown and Orders.” She feels her need to be a good example has increased since becoming a Jewel of Æthelmearc last fall.

The Pelicans’ role in the SCA is to
mentor others in service.

Mistress Cori commented that, as the Society has aged, some of the old-timers have forgotten just how young they were when they first held positions of authority. “The Pelicans need to get out of the mindset that people in their 20s are too young. When I joined the SCA, people in their 20s were holding kingdom offices and getting peerages. Mistress Irene autocratted Pennsic 7 when she was 20.”

Misconceptions about the Pelicans

Mistress Euriol. Photo by Lady Christine Mary Lowe, aka Jinx.

Mistress Euriol says one of the most common misconceptions about the Pelicans is that they don’t pay attention to the service being done by others. “This can especially be the mindset of a group that has few, if any, active Pelicans in it. If we as an order are doing our job, then people should not notice that we are watching.” On the flip side of that, she notes, “If you think you are being watched, don’t let that be a distraction. Do what you are going to do because it is what you want to do, not because you think you’ll receive an award for it. People will appreciate your efforts.”

Some people believe that many Pelicans served with the specific goal of receiving awards. Countess Alexandra disagrees, saying, “The Pelicans are the worker drones of the SCA because they *like* doing service.“ It’s certainly the case that many members of the Pelicans have continued to serve long after being elevated to the peerage, when they had few, if any, additional awards to gain.

Mistress Tiercelin said that another common misconception people have is that one can’t be a Society-level officer without being a peer. “You just need to be competent,” she says.

Master William says a lot of people think Pelicans are scary. In reality, he hopes that people consider the Pelicans approachable, and come to them for advice and aid, because mentoring is one of the things Pelicans do.

Avoiding Burnout

Mistress Ekat. Photo by Lady Christine Mary Lowe, aka Jinx.

We all reach a point where we’ve given all we can and need to step back to retain our sense of the fun and joy we found when we first joined the SCA. Mistress Ekat faced this several times over her SCA career. “At one point I had been either a Royal Retainer or on Pennsic Staff for twelve years straight and started to feel burned out. It had reached the point where people assumed I would handle various tasks at events without even asking – they would just hand the tasks to me when I showed up, and I couldn’t say no without feeling guilty.” She took a year off until she could again find her joy in service. She needed to prove to her group and herself that she was not indispensible. Ekat knew it was ok to come back when people started being glad to see her just for her, rather than for what she could do for them.

Mistress Cori says it can be important to take a step back, and try not to be too emotionally invested in a problem. Communication is key. “You have to make careful choices in a dispute. Communicate with everyone and try to understand all sides’ points of view, so you come up with the fairest solution to the problem.” To avoid burnout, she also tends to jump from project to project. She says it also helps to bring other people along with you, so you can train them to take over the job when you’re ready to step down.


As with other peers, not all Pelicans take associates. In this order particularly, though, some feel than one cannot “teach” service – it’s either something that’s in you or it’s not. But many Pelicans do take protégés to teach them the skills they learned in particular offices or roles, or just to help guide their associates in their SCA careers.

It’s not necessary to be a protégé to become a Pelican

Mistress Irene notes that there are a lot of ways for SCA relationships to function, so each person has to choose what works for them. “People sometimes want to know if Pelicans want to ask or be asked to take a protégé. The answer is yes – either is fine. Also, if a Pelican asks you to become their protégé, it’s ok to say ‘no.’ Don’t get into a relationship you’re not comfortable with for fear of offending the other person.” She goes on to note that it’s ok to have more than one mentor. “I have a protégé who’s a squire, another who is a cadet to a White Scarf, and a cadet who is protégé to another Pelican. The mentors just need to make sure they are communicating so the associate doesn’t end up with conflicting expectations.”

Mistress Ekat has several protégés. When choosing them, she looks for people who have a spark of joy when serving, a common theme among other members of the Pelican. “Some [of my protégés] are friends, while others have been people I didn’t know well until after they became my protégé. My job is to teach them how to harness that joy of serving, and to how to fight off the “why am I bothering” that can come if they don’t feel appreciated at times.”  Ekat also likes to introduce her protégés to people from around the kingdom. She gives them Quest books with a list of questions and of people who they are to interview, so they can appreciate other people’s perspectives. “In order to be a better person in the SCA, you have to know its people and learn their definitions of “the Dream,” which may be different from yours or mine,” Her Excellency says.

Mistress Tiercelin. Photo by Master Alaxandair O’Conchobhair.

Mistress Tiercelin has an “equerry” for equestrian activities and an “apprentigé” (one who is both apprentice and protégé).  She likes to mentor people who are on a good path and remind her of her own attitude when she began. Both of her associates were already friends of hers who were “on their way” but just wanted guidance to find their niche. She commented, “I don’t need to teach them ‘how to serve’ since they already know that, but rather, how to serve with grace, avoid politics, and clarify what they want their path to be.”

Mistress Cori notes, “Not everyone wants to or should be a protégé. It’s not necessary to be a protégé to become a Pelican, but it is important to seek out mentors you’re comfortable with, and to get feedback on how you’re doing, so you can improve.“ Mistress Phiala agreed, saying “You need a mentor to learn how to do things better. Find someone you like whose teaching style suits you.”

Interestingly, of the Pelicans interviewed, only Mistress Irene was a protégé to another Pelican, though several were squires, cadets, or otherwise affiliated with various peers or mentors.

What Pelicans Look for in Candidates

The word used over and over again in discussions about candidates for service orders was joy. Virtually every Pelican said they want to see people who serve because it makes them happy – whose personalities draw them to serve others because doing so gives them joy.

Pelicans look for candidates who find joy in service.

Mistress Tiercelin recounted the saying Peers are recognized, not made. She noted that “Most Pelicans keep on doing what they were doing before the peerage because they enjoy it. This is the key to being a Pelican –the work is joy. Those who do service as a way of ticking off a box on the list of things that they think they need to do to become Pelicans are going to make themselves miserable and probably not be recognized. If it’s not fun and doesn’t bring you joy, don’t do it, whether it’s service, arts, or martial skills.”

Mistress Cori believes that the essence of being a Pelican is simply “doing the work that is in front of you.” She goes on, “Whether it’s putting in a bid to autocrat Pennsic or wielding a plunger when the toilets are clogged at an event, Pelicans are people who get things done that need doing.” More generally, for all peerages, she says, “Kindness is the most important thing. Kindness and PLQs (peer-like qualities) are paramount in Æthelmearc. Our kingdom is really different from many other Kingdoms – in some kingdoms, members of the grant-level orders are considered competitors for the peerage. In Æthelmearc, we’re much more cooperative – we want everyone to succeed and have opportunities to serve at the highest level to which they aspire, so mutual support and kindness are really important here.” She also suggested that candidates should make a point to promote other people. “You don’t have to already be a Pelican to look around you and encourage the people who are on the same path. You can take students even if you’re not a Pelican, just as some fighters who are not knights take men-at-arms.”

Countess Alexandra. Photo by Duchess Anna Blackleaf.

Countess Alexandra likes to see candidates taking serious levels of responsibility. “People should be doing a job where their butt is on the line. They need to be someone who can be relied upon. They don’t have to be perfect – everyone makes mistakes – but they have to have to admit their mistakes and make restitution, not pretend the mistake didn’t happen.”

Mistress Ekat agrees, noting that “Service can be washing dishes or pushing a broom; it doesn’t have to be high-level or showy, but the work should be significant enough that others would notice if you weren’t doing it. It needs to have an impact on the Society at some level. Candidates also need to own their mistakes – admit to them and take responsibility for fixing them.”

Similarly, Master William says “I like to see someone who has shaped or molded the Kingdom – who is the linchpin of their local group, who thinks differently to solve problems. I am also very serious about PLQs. Regardless of the main type of service, I want to see people who get their hands dirty. Purely local, lower level service over a long period of time is also sufficient if the person is leading by example and inspiring others to provide similar service.” Mistress Irene chimed in, “People being considered for the Pelicans need to literally get their hands dirty – sweep floors, wash dishes, set up and tear down list fields, etc.”

Mistress Euriol concurs, adding “It is also very important that I feel comfortable in sending a newcomer to a candidate and know that the newcomer will be treated well.”

Mistress Phiala, photo by Lord Thorvaaldr Frithsamr.

Cori, Phiala, and Tiercelin all expressed concern regarding the common belief that it’s wrong to want a Pelican or a Laurel. They note that fighters are encouraged to want to be a Knight; it should be the same for the Laurel and Pelican. Mistress Cori commented, “It’s not fair to set up a goal of a service or arts peerage and then imply that people are wrong for wanting it. The SCA is not doing right by newcomers; we need to teach them more clearly what steps they need to take to earn a peerage. We can’t make them guess.” She plans to teach a class called “How to become a Laurel” in which she’ll explain exactly that: how artisans can beef up their research and documentation, learn to give and receive critiques, and get their art seen by others. Eventually she wants to develop a similar class for the Pelican, covering networking, recruiting people to the SCA, developing better management for a barony, region, or kingdom, learning how to build consensus, and handling decision-making. She believes people also need to learn how to self-evaluate, so they can improve the way they handle their roles in the SCA.

Categories: SCA news sites

Genoa port dredge finds cannons, huge anchor

History Blog - Tue, 2015-06-02 10:10

A dredging project in the port of Genoa has recovered a record haul of English cannons, other artillery and anchors dating from the 16th century through the 19th. The project has been ongoing since 2009 to make the port accessible to high tonnage commercial container and cruise ships. So far they’ve moved three and a half million cubic meters of port sludge which, after being sifted through for artifacts and unexploded ordnance from World War II (20 of them have been found and disarmed so far), is being used to expand the container dock of Calata Bettolo.

The artillery recovered includes five 17th century front-loading cast iron cannons almost three meters (10 feet) long each weighing around one ton. These are all of English manufacture. Earlier weapons found include two breechloading light cannons small enough to be fired by one person that are 1.5 meters (five feet) long and weigh a quintal (100 kilograms, or about 220 pounds). They are of unknown manufacture and date from the late 16th to the middle of 17th century.

The rarest piece discovered is a bronze falconetto cannon. About two meters (6’6″) long and weighing two quintals, the small caliber cannon bears the mark of the Alberghetti family, a Venetian foundry active in the second half of the 16th century. The German Landsknecht mercenary troops famously used a falconetto in the Battle of Governolo on November 25, 1526, to take down Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, scion of the Medici family and leader of the papal troops. The falconetto shot hit his right leg leaving a wound so severe the surgeon had to amputate. The operation was too late and possibly too circumspect; a recent exhumation of his remains found that only his foot was amputated when witnesses like poet Pietro Aretino reported his wound was at the knee. (Aretino wrote that the surgeon ordered 10 men to hold Giovanni down, but the warrior insisted not even 20 men could hold him down, so he just picked up the candle to illuminate his own surgery and told the doctor to get to it. The scene was too much for Aretino who fled the room to return only after it was all over. “I’m cured,” Giovanni told him.) Four days later, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere died from gangrene. The Landsknechts would take their falconetti and go on to sack Rome.

The anchor haul is impressive as well. Most of them are from the 19th century — a Rodger’s Small Palms anchor from 1832, several British Admiralty examples from the 1840s — but one is a British example from the 18th century and it’s massive. The anchor is five meters (16 feet) long and weighs four tons. It is the largest anchor and the only one of its kind ever recovered from Italian waters.

You can get a better look at how huge the anchor is in this Italian language video.

If you’re worrying about those cannons and anchors being left out in the sun, fear not. Artifacts retrieved after centuries in the ocean (eg, the Erebus‘ bell and the H. L. Hunley submarine) need to take very long baths to ensure their stability, and the artifacts are currently beginning their conservation with a leisurely desalinization treatment. Once they’ve been stabilized and cleaned of their copious incrustations, the cannons and anchors will go on display, likely at Genoa’s Galata Museo del Mare, the largest maritime museum in the Mediterranean, and at the Palace of St. George right across the street from the city’s Ancient Port.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Queen’s and King’s Archery Championship

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-06-01 23:39

The new Archery Champions, as previously reported, are:
Tournement winner and Queen’s Champion: Master Li Kung Lo
King’s Champion selected by His Majesty: Baroness Jehannine de Flandres

Archers on the line for the charging Bulls shoot (Photo by Arlyana)

May 30, 2015 was a hot and humid day in Carillion, as 55 archers took to the range to vie for the honor of serving Their Majesties as Royal Archery Champions. Queen Etheldreda gave Her encouragement to those gathered, Master Rupert the Unbalanced and Master Peter the Red (the retiring champions), and Captain General Jehannine de Flandres provided instructions and thanked helpers, and the tournement commenced.

Archers shoot at the long-distance windmill (Photo by Arlyana)

All participants could shoot the full course of 10 stations, each in keeping with the “Don Quixote” theme. The first shoot of the day was at a long distance “giant” (a windmill with moving blades), followed by a charging bull shoot (a traditional advancing soldier timed shoot, at 70 through 20 yards). After a break for lunch, shooting resumed, and the tests of skill included shooting the bars of a cage, killing scurvy sailors, slaughtering a wild boar, puncturing wine skins and flasks, herding sheep, and shooting through knot holes. Scores were then totaled and sorted. Captain General Jehannine reminded all present of the obligations and duties of serving as a Royal Champion, and as the top scorers were announced, each was asked if they wished to compete. Six finalists chose to step out of the competition:

King Omega, Peter, and Jehannine, in front of the first 2 shoots (Photo by Arlyana)

declined – Krakken Gnashbone (83)
declined – Colin Ursell (78)
declined – Phillip Reed the Facetious (73)
1 – Alexandra Krakkensdottir (70)
2 – Mark Squirrelsbane (67)
3 – Nathaniel Wyatt (65)
4 – Jehannine de Flandres (63)
5 – Godric of Hamtun (62)
6 – Alexander von Heisler (62)
declined – Radagast (59)
declined – Kusunoki Yoshimoto (59)
7 – Li Kung Lo (59)

Finalist pairings (Photo by Ygraine)

8 – Miles Boweman (57)
9 – Conor O’Ceallaigh (55)
10 – Otto Gottlieb (54)
11 – Tamsin Whitlocke (53)
declined – Aaron the Arrowsmith (52)
12 – Siobhan Inghean Cormaic (50)
13 – Treya min Teanga (59)
14 – Ygraine of Kellswood (48)
15 – Tomaloc (47)
16 – Alec Craig (43)



Mark vs Li in a quarter-final pairing, observed by Krakken, Rupert, King Omega and Godric (Photo by Arlyana)

The 16 finalists were addressed by King Omega and Queen Etheldreda. The overall winner of the competition would be the Queen’s Champion (per usual), and the King said He would select His Champion from among the other finalists (as has been occasionally done in past years), then the shoot-offs between pairs of seeded competitors began.

Each archer had to knock down six “books” from a shelf, and the first to shoot a final, center target would advance to the next round. Between rounds, the shooting line was moved, and several books were replaced by smaller ones. (It is worth noting that the “books” were such famous works as Facing the Perils of Castle Anthrax by Sir Galahad, Distribution of Wealth in a Medieval Economy by R. Hood, PhD, How to be Very, Very, Quiet While Hunting by Sir E. Fudd and other similarly lofty titles.) The final pairing was a hard-fought contest between Baroness Jehannine and Master Li; she was ahead by two targets, then he caught up and hit the final target a split second ahead.

Final round targets (Photo by Ygraine)

Final pair – Jehannine vs Li (Photo by Ygraine)






Queen Etheldreda congratulated Her new Queen’s Archery Champion, Master Li Kung Lo. Because of the excitingly close finish, King Omega selected Baroness Jehannine de Flandres as His King’s Archery Champion.

For those who keep such statistics, the 16 finalists were evenly split between handbow and crossbow, and this year six of the final archers were women.

Reported by Baroness Ygraine of Kellswood

(Photos by Baroness Arlyana van Wyck and
Baroness Ygraine of Kellswood, as noted.)

Filed under: Archery Tagged: champions

Metal (and Glass) Symposium is Coming!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-06-01 15:18

Greetings unto all of the metalsmiths and glassworkers in the glorious Sylvan Kingdom of Æthelmearc. The time has come for me to put together a class schedule for the Metal Symposium next weekend at the Myrkfaelinn Summer War Practice.

This site is a wonderful Boy Scout camp on the shores of Cayuga Lake
with a variety of venues for teaching. We have fully enclosed buildings, sheltered open pavillions, a sheltered barbeque area for forges, and a
beach. And did I mention a gorge with a river and a waterfall?

I know there are a lot of folks in this Kingdom who would like the
opportunity to showcase their teaching skills (and maybe teach the King, Queen, or Prince new skills?) we are looking for people willing to teach anything metal, glass, or similar technology related.

Please email here. (use Metal Symposium in subject line)

A class description
Instructor SCA name with titles if any
Desired facilities type (enclosed, sheltered, open, power necessary etc)
Handout yes/no
Fees, if any
Class length (or if ongoing all day)
Hands on or demonstration?
Tools if any participants should bring
Prerequisite experience/skills if necessary for participants
Desired time range for Saturday or Friday evening.

Please feel free to email me at the above email address with any questions
Master John Michael Thorpe
Guildmaster: Royal Guild of Æthelmearc Metalsmiths

Info on the event can be found here.

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