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Two offered elevation at AEthelmearc Coronation

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-11-12 10:25

Kameshima Zentarou Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, reports that, after Their Coronation, Their Majesties Titus Scipio Germanicus and Anna Leigh offered elevation to the Peerage to two of Their subjects.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Message from the EK Polling Clerk

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-11-12 07:33

“I’ve had a lot of people contacting me to say they received some of their polls, but not all of them. I have no idea why that is, but if people haven’t received them they should contact me and I will send them the link. All polls have gone out. The only order not to be polled this round is the Sagittarius, and the members of that order should have received a note to that effect.

If someone isn’t sure they’re signed up for a poll, they should subscribe. The link is below:


It can also be found on the East Kingdom website – under “Getting Involved – Order Polling Lists”. You can subscribe to both polling and discussion lists here.

**NOTE** The polling lists and the discussion lists are separate and do not cross over. If you wish to receive both lists you must sign up for both lists. The difference between the two: You receive the poll from the polling list. You can discuss candidates on the discussion list.

However, BEFORE resubscribing, check your spam filter, just in case.

Katherine Stanhope
Polling Clerk”

Filed under: Official Notices, Tidings

Vivid murals found in 1000-year-old Chinese tomb

History Blog - Tue, 2014-11-11 23:24

In 2011, archaeologists from the Datong Municipal Institute of Archaeology discovered a mural tomb near the railway station in Datong City, northern Shanxi province, China. The tomb dates to the Liao Dynasty, an empire that ruled over Mongolia, parts of what is today Russia, northern Korea and northern China from 907 to 1125 A.D., and although no human remains were discovered inside, the high quality and subject matter of the painting indicates the tomb owner was a wealthy man of Han Chinese ethnicity. The paintings are in excellent condition with only some losses from damage to the structure, and they present a vivid picture of daily life for the elite of the period.

The murals begin at the entry to the tomb. The perimeter of the arched doorway and wall is painted in a thick stripe of red that doesn’t appear to have faded at all. Against a white background, two human figures are painted on either side of the entryway. The left guardian is a man wearing a black hat holding a staff. The right guardian is a woman holding aloft a feathered fan. Between them centered above the arch is the supernatural bird being Garuda, hovering amongst the clouds, watching over the entryway.

Inside the tomb, the largest mural is on the north wall. It’s a domestic scene depicting the tomb owner’s household. In the background are floor-to-ceiling windows with some excellent roll-up shades, a valance on top and curtains pulled back on the sides. There’s an empty bed in the center, flanked by attendants carrying different vessels and accessories. The stars of the show, however, are a black and white cat in front of the attendants on the left and a black and white dog in front of the attendants on the right. They both have ribbons tied around their necks and the cat is playing with a ball on the end of strip of silk.

On the west wall is a dense, dynamic scene of travel through the countryside. An elaborate carriage on the top right of the wall is pulled by Bactrian camel. In the foreground a saddled horse trots, led by a groom. On the top left farmers carry water, plough and hoe their crops. A small figure of horse and rider in the bottom left looks to be transporting goods in packed saddlebags.

The east wall is a riot of food, drink and animals. Attendants on the left carry trays of food and beverages while on the ground in front of them are pitchers and bamboo steamers doubtless groaning with more of the same. On the top right is a saddle hanging on a rack with a lotus flower fountain to its left. A dear sits in front of the saddle. Other animals in the tableau are a crane, a turtle, and a snake crawling behind an axe on a platform. Between the deer and the crane are bamboo plants. A poem written on a banner to the right of the saddle ties the scene together: “Time tells that bamboo can endure cold weather. Live as long as the spirits of the crane and turtle.”

The ceiling of the tomb is the most damaged — more than half of painting is lost — but vermilion stars connected with lines into constellations are still clearly visible on what remains of it.

The tomb was looted at some point in the last 1,000 years, but there was one artifact still present: a statue three feet high of a man sitting cross-legged wearing a black robe. Archaeologists believe it’s a representation of the tomb’s occupant. It may even have been a symbolic substitute for his body, a common practice for Buddhist burials at that time.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Announcing KWDS XI Activities - Balls, Revels and More!

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-11-11 12:25

The Drachenwald Known World Dance Symposium XI shall feature a wide range of afternoon and evening activities, from elegant balls to dissolute gambling! Refreshments will be served at all evening functions, and open dancing commences after the balls, continuing until the last reveler seeks their bed.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Baroness Othindisa Bykona given writ for the Order of the Laurel

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-11-11 07:45

At Crown Tourney, held October 11th, TRM Titus and Anna Leigh, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, presented Baroness Othindisa bykona with a writ for the Order of the Laurel.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Relief of unknown god found in Turkey

History Blog - Mon, 2014-11-10 23:33

University of Münster archaeologists excavating the ruins of a medieval monastery near the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep have discovered a basalt stele carved with a figure of a previously unknown deity. The monastery of Mar Solomon (Saint Solomon) was built in the early Middle Ages over the remains of the Roman-era temple to Jupiter Dolichenus, a deity who was a syncretized combination of the Greco-Roman thunderer, king of the Olympian gods, and the Hittite sky and storm god Tesub-Hadad. Before the Roman temple there was a sanctuary to Tesub-Hadad on the hill known today as Dülük-Baba Tepesi. The stele was recycled for use as building material in the wall of the monastery.

Archaeologist Blömer described the depiction: “The basalt stele shows a deity growing from a chalice of leaves. Its long stem rises from a cone that is ornamented with astral symbols. From the sides of the cone grow a long horn and a tree, which the deity clasps with his right hand. The pictorial elements suggest that a fertility god is depicted.” There are striking iconographic details such as the composition of the beard or the posture of the arms, which point to Iron Age depictions from the early 1st millennium B.C.

Hundreds of seals from the pre-Roman sanctuary have been found on the site, many of them carved with religious imagery and symbolism that are giving archaeologists new insight into worship practices at the sanctuary in the 1st millennium B.C. The discovery of the fertility god relief is an exciting addition to the archaeological record, and particularly relevant to the team’s investigation of how local cults survived over the millennia and in some cases expanded from their native contexts to widespread religions with adherents all over the Roman empire. Since ancient written sources — usually Roman elites — are unreliable documentation of Near Asian religions, archaeological sources are invaluable.

Excavation director Prof. Dr. Engelbert Winter:

“The image is remarkably well preserved. It provides valuable insights into the beliefs of the Romans and into the continued existence of ancient Near Eastern traditions. However, extensive research is necessary before we will be able to accurately identify the deity.”

Although Doliche was a small town, the empire-spanning prominence of the sanctuary of Jupiter Dolichenus transitioned into the Christian era. It was an episcopal see at least as early as the 4th century, and remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church to this day even though there’s nothing there but a glorious wealth of archaeological remains. The monastery of Mar Solomon was in use through the era of the crusades, but it was only known to archaeologists through written sources until the remains were first discovered in 2010.

Now the entire site is being transformed into an archaeological park even as excavations continue. The ruins are being carefully preserved and a trail was put in last year so visitors can view the Jupiter Dolichenus sanctuary and the remains of the monastery.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Bjorn’s Ceilidh – Concordia of the Snows Investiture

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-11-10 16:24

Baron Pierre de Tours steps down

Mistress Lylie of Penhille and Lord Jean Paul du Casse

Investiture of the new Baron and Baroness of Concordia, Jean Paul and Lylie, took place on Saturday among the festivities of Bjorn’s Ceilidh, our celebration of the Celtic New Year. Previous Barons Pierre, Angus, Balthazar and Emerson passed down the coronets to Their Majesties, while reciting the lineage of our Barony, so all would know our history.

After First Court everyone joined in the festivities. The King and Queen could not pass up a chance to dance with their subjects, and the Baron and Baroness showed off their newly learned skills.

Edward and Thyra lead the dancing at Bjorn’s Ceilidh

Many newcomers took part in our traditional games of sheep toss, haggis hurl and arm wrestling, and were skilled enough to take home prizes.

Among the pleasures of the second Court, Constantine became a member of the Order of the Tiger’s Cub, and Lady Pakshalika Kananbala was welcomed into the Order of the Silver Crescent.

The afternoon ended with a game of live chess. There was much worry when Queen Thyra was taken out of the game early, but her side played skillfully, and she was brought back in when a pawn reached the end of the board. The game was brought to a successful conclusion in time for everyone to enjoy a sumptuous feast. The evening ended with the traditional remembrances of those who have passed before us, and the lighting of the new flame for the new year.

Pakshalika Kananbala receives the Silver Crescent

The Order of the Tiger’s Cub

Filed under: Court, Events, Local Groups Tagged: Concordia of the Snows, events, Investiture

Early Christian charm found in Manchester library

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-11-10 12:30

A 6th century papyrus, identified as an early Christian charm, has been discovered among the documents in the University of Manchester's John Rylands Library. The charm is considered "the earliest surviving document to use the Christian Eucharist liturgy - which outlines the Last Supper - as a protective charm."

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Categories: SCA news sites

SCA BoD to decide on proposed Rapier Peerage Corpora change in 2015

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-11-10 08:51

Don Miklos von Baeker, Baron of Oldenfeld, reports that the Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism plans to make a decision on the proposed Rapier Peerage Corpora change in 2015.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Howard Carter the artist

History Blog - Sun, 2014-11-09 23:14

Before Howard Carter became the world-famous archaeologist who discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, he was an artist. In fact, it was pretty much all he knew how to do. Howard, the youngest of 11 children of Samuel and Martha Carter, was sick a lot in his youth. The many and varied miasmas of London were considered injurious to his health, so he was sent to live with his aunts in Swaffham, Norfolk, where his father and grandfather had been gamekeepers on the Hamond family estate.

Because of his sickliness he was never enrolled in school. His father, an artist who carved out a successful niche for himself painting portraits of the gentry and their pets, tutored Howard on regular trips to Swaffham, teaching him how to draw and paint. One of Samuel Carter’s patrons was William Amherst Tyssen-Amherst of Didlington Hall, an estate eight miles from Swaffham. As a boy, Howard visited Didlington Hall when his father painted Lord Amherst’s portrait, and this is where he first became exposed to Egyptology.

Amherst was an avid collector of Egyptian antiquities. He, his wife Margaret Mitford (whose father had a passion for all things Egyptian as well) and their seven daughters traveled frequently to Egypt, constantly acquiring new artifacts. A whole wing of Didlington Hall was dedicated to housing his vast collection. Seven statues of the lion-headed warrior goddess Sekhmet guarded the door of the museum, one for each of the Amherst daughters. Those statues are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Amherst family didn’t just give Howard Carter the chance to explore Egyptian art through their extensive collection. It was their recommendation and contacts that secured him his first job in Egypt. He was just 17 years old when he was hired as a tracer — someone who copies inscriptions and art work found in excavations onto paper for later study — for the Egyptian Exploration Fund (EEF) in 1891. This was an essential job in the age before color photography. Watercolors were the only accurate recreations of tomb decorations available.

Carter’s first assignment was the Beni Hasan excavation where the princes of Middle Egypt were buried. He immediately distinguished himself with his artistic ability and dedication, often working all day and then spending the night in the tomb. Carter began to learn archaeology on his next assignment at El-Amarna under pioneering Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1892. He was still an artist, recording artifacts as they were discovered, but Petrie allowed him to dig too, and Carter made some signficant finds.

In 1894, Carter was appointed Principle Artist of the EEF’s excavation of the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari. For five years Carter made drawings and watercolors of the wall reliefs in the temple. One of his watercolors from this period, The Temple of Hatshepsut (1899), is going up for auction at Bonhams’ Travel, Exploration and Natural History Sale in London on December 3rd.

Carter also joined in the excavation of the temple and learned restoration techniques as well. He did such a fine job that in 1899 the Egyptian Antiquities Service offered him the job of First Chief Inspector General of Monuments for Upper Egypt. He was 25 years old, had no formal education, and was now the supervisor of all archaeological excavations in the Upper Nile Valley. Carter did great work, installing the first electric lights in six Valley of the Kings tombs and at the temples in Abu Simbel.

His extraordinary run of success came to a halt in 1905 when a group of drunk and belligerent French tourists became violent towards the Egyptian guards at Saqqara. Carter told the guards they could defend themselves. The tourists complained to people in high places and the diplomatic hotshots insisted Carter apologize. He refused. In retaliation, Carter was shipped off to an obscure site with not much in the way of archaeology. Rather than twiddle his thumbs in exile, Carter resigned.

For the next two years, Howard Carter had something of a hard scrabble existence. He sold his watercolors or guided tours to make a living. Then he hit the jackpot. French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service who had given Carter the Chief Inspector General job, introduced him to George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Carnarvon had deep pockets and was keen to fund archaeological excavations. He got the necessary licenses and made Carter the Supervisor of Excavations in Thebes.

During this time, Carter painted Under the Protection of the Gods (1908), a composite fantasy that depicts a vulture — representing the goddess Nekhebet, protector of Upper Egypt — above a solar disc wrapped in a cobra — representing the goddess Wadjet, protector of Lower Egypt. It’s likely that the iconography of the watercolor was inspired by some of Carter’s finds in Thebes, including the 18th Dynasty Tomb of Tetaki and a 15th Dynasty tomb with nine coffins.

The Carter-Carnarvon partnership was very successful. By the time World War I began in 1914, Carnarvon had amassed a hugely important collection of Egyptian antiquities. That same year he secured a 15-year license to excavate the Valley of the Kings and Carter got to work. He painted The Valley of the Kings (1914) the first year of excavations. Excavations were disrupted by war, but Carter still managed to dig in 1915 and 1917.

In 1918 excavations restarted in earnest. For the next four years, Carter scoured the Valley of the Kings for the tomb of a previously unknown pharaoh whose name he had discovered. It became something of an obsession with him, but in 1922 when the tomb continued to be elusive, Carnarvon got sick of funding what seemed like a fool’s errand and told Carter that he had one digging season left. Three days after the last excavation began in November of 1922, Carter’s diggers found the top of a staircase. Three weeks later, Carter peered in through a small hole in the doorway and saw the “wonderful things,” that would take the world by storm and make him immortal.

Carter never forgot the people who helped him overcome his humble beginnings. His connection with the Amherst family continued throughout his life. William and Margaret Amherst’s eldest daughter Mary, known as May, wife of Lord William Cecil, took her family’s fascination with Egypt to even greater heights. Between 1901 and 1904, she personally funded and ran excavations at Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan. Howard Carter was Chief Inspector for Antiquities then, and he helped advise her.

In 1906, the family was left financially devastated when their solicitor and land agent, Charles Cheston, was found to have embezzled hundreds of thousand of pounds to support his gambling habit. Cheston committed suicide. Lord Amherst was forced to sell the collections he had spent decades building into some of the greatest private holdings in the country. His library went first, auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1908 and 1909. William Amherst died two months before the second sale.

May, heir to her father’s estate and title, had no choice but to continue the sell-off. In 1910, the estate itself, home and park, was sold to Colonel Herbert Francis Smith. May refused to sell her father’s Egyptian collection, however. She held on to that resolutely for a decade until her death from breast cancer in 1919. Only after May was gone was the legendary Amherst collection of Egyptian papyri, statues and other artifacts put up for sale at Sotheby’s in 1921. It was Howard Carter who catalogued the collection that had first inspired his great vocation. At the time of the sale, even though some individual objects had been sold piecemeal before then, the Amherst Egyptian collection was the third largest private collection in England.

In 1950, Didlington Hall, broken and neglected after requisition during World War II, was stripped of its last valuables when the interior fittings were sold at auction. The house was demolished and thus what had once been one of Norfolk’s greatest treasures was lost forever.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

2015 and 2016 SCA Board of Directors Meeting Schedule Confirmed

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2014-11-09 19:15

The following was published on Thursday, November 6th to the SCA Announcements email List (announcements@lists.sca.org).

By consensus at the Fourth Quarter 2014 Board of Directors Meeting, the following meeting schedule was confirmed for 2015 and 2016:

January 17, 2015
Kingdom of the West
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
1989 East Calaveras Blvd.
Milpitas, CA

April 18, 2015
Kingdom of the Middle
Embassy Suites Cincinnati – River Center
10 East Rivercenter Blvd
Covington, KY 41011

July 11, 2015
Kingdom of the West
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
1989 East Calaveras Blvd.
Milpitas, CA 95035

October 24, 2015
Kingdom of Æthelmearc
Embassy Suites – Pittsburgh – International Airport
550 Cherrington Parkway
Coraopolis PA 15108

2016 – Due to special projects, all 2016 meetings will be held in Milpitas, Ca.
Exact Dates and Locations to follow

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

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

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

Filed under: Corporate, Official Notices Tagged: board of directors, BoD, bod meetings, corporate, sca announcements

Two elevated to Pelican in AEthelmearc

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-11-09 19:02

Kameshima Zentarou Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, reports that Their Majesties Magnus Tindal and Etain of the Kingdom of Aethelmearc offered elevation to the Order of the Pelican to THL Filipo da Sancto Martino and Baron Sogtungui Bataar.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Call for Applicants – Central Region Deputy Rapier Marshal

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2014-11-09 14:29

Don Frasier MacLeod has requested we share the following announcement with our readers:


Unto the populace of the Kingdom of the East do I, Don Frasier MacLeod send greetings,

As many of you know, I stepped up into the Kingdom Rapier Marshal position at Crown Tournament. One of the priorities of my early tenure in this position is to find replacements for some of my Regional Marshals. To that end I would like to officially put out the call for resumes from anyone interested in taking on the position of Central Regional Deputy Rapier Marshal. As the previous Deputy, Don Donovan, is now my Kingdom Deputy, I need to fill the void left by his departure for this new position. Anyone interested in taking on this position please send me your SCA resume to the Kingdom Rapier Marshal e-mail listed in Pikestaff. I will be accepting resumes until Thursday, November 27th, at which time I will close the window and review the resumes I have received up to that point. I look forward to hearing from any of you who wish to take this position on.

In Service,

Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East

Filed under: Fencing, Official Notices Tagged: fencing, officers, rapier, volunteers

Steinnar and Lyda new Heirs to Ealdormere Throne.

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-11-09 06:42

Congratulations to Sir Steinnar Aggarson, the victor of the recent Crown Tournament in the Kingdom of Ealdormere.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Recreating Tullio Lombardo’s Adam after the fall

History Blog - Sat, 2014-11-08 23:26

On the evening of Sunday, October 6th, 2002, the medium density plywood pedestal supporting the 15th century marble statue of Adam by Tullio Lombardo in the Velez Blanco Patio at the Metropolitan Museum of Art buckled. All 770 pounds, six feet three inches of Adam fell, hitting the ground hard and breaking into 28 large pieces and hundreds of small fragments. The head came off at the neck, the torso skidded across the floor, the right leg broke into six pieces, the left arm into seven. Nobody even heard the crash.

The catastrophe was discovered at 9:00 PM by a security guard doing his routine rounds. The emergency call went out to curators and conservators and the patio was cordoned off to allow for a forensic crime scene-level recovery of every little chip. The museum opened as usual on Monday, but nobody was allowed to photograph the disaster. The Met didn’t want the horror of the scene to be the image of the statue in people’s heads even after it was put back together. It took two days for the precise mapping of each fragment to be completed and all the pieces carefully bagged and tagged.

Extensive damage to a sculpture is any museum’s worst nightmare — stone is much harder to repair than canvas — and this case was a particularly spine-chilling one because of Adam‘s singular importance. Commissioned for the tomb of the Doge Andrea Vendramin (d. 1478) in the church of Santa Maria dei Servi in Venice, Adam was the first monumental nude carved in the classical style since antiquity. The tomb, inspired by ancient triumphal arches, was recognized for the exceptional quality of its statuary before it was even completed. Venetian historian Marino Sanuto the Younger wrote in his diary in 1493 that the Vendramin funerary monument “will surely be the most beautiful in the world because of the excellent statues which are there.” Lombardo’s Adam was placed in a niche next to the sarcophagus of the Doge in the center of the monument. A matching statue of Eve (once attributed to Lombardo but now thought to have been the work of Francesco Segala) was on the other side.

The monastery and church of the Servi were demolished in 1812 in keeping with Napoleon’s edicts ordering the suppression of religious orders. The Vendramin tomb was rescued and installed in the choir of the church of Saints Giovanni e Paolo, but Adam and Eve never made it to the new location. Times had changed, and the classical nudes were now deemed to be not in keeping with the seriousness of the Christian religion. They were replaced by two warrior figures.

The first man and woman were moved to the Palazzo Vendramin Calergi where they both remained until 1865 (Eve is still there today). That year the palace’s owner, Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, Duchesse de Berry, daughter of King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and daughter-in-law of King Charles X of France, sold much of the contents of the palace at auction in Paris. Adam was acquired by collector Henry Pereire. After his death in 1932, it passed through the hands of a couple of dealers before being bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1936.

The Met was thrilled to have it. Art historian Preston Remington, who was curator of the Met’s Renaissance Art department at that time, described Adam as “the most distinguished of Tullio’s sculptures” whose “importance to the collection of renaissance sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum is paramount.” Besides, he noted, “aside from its archaeological interest, the Adam is a work of great beauty and lasting charm.”

Key to that great beauty and lasting charm was the unblemished smoothness of the carving, perhaps Adam‘s most famous feature. If he couldn’t be put back together with that flawless surface, it would be an incalculable loss. Monumental Renaissance statuary doesn’t come up for sale very often, or ever, really; finding something of equivalent historical significance would be all but impossible.

Initial prognostications were fairly optimistic: the damage was bad, but there were enough large pieces that conservators thought it could be fixed and returned to display in two years or so. That estimate was left in the dust. They decided to take a far more meticulous approach, studying every aspect of the reconstruction in detail before drilling holes in it and piecing it together with adhesives and pins. They stress tested the reversible organic adhesives to see if they could handle such a large statue. They discovered that fiberglass pins were better than metal ones because when they do break, they don’t take chunks of the marble with them. They used new laser imaging technology to create a 3D model so they could puzzle it out virtually before putting the physical pieces together. They even got a crappy copy of Michelangelo’s David and deliberately broke it in the same places Adam for testing purposes.

Instead of two years it took 12, but they were 12 years well spent. After all the work, all the research, was done behind closed doors, a secrecy that caused some comment as a new decade dawned with no publically visible progress, on November 11th, Adam is going back on display at the Met.

The story of the restoration is part of the exhibition. The statue, originally intended for a niche and therefore less worked in the back than in the front, will now be viewed in the round so people can see it the same way the conservators did. The Met has made some videos explaining the epic 12-year conservation project, and there will be an article about the process in the next volume of the Metropolitan Museum Journal (bookmark this page and check back for volume 49).

3D animation illustrating the order of assembly:

Time-lapse of the reconstruction:

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Tools help identify Viking blacksmith grave

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-11-08 14:48

Leif Arne Norberg, of Sogndalsdalen, Norway, certainly didn't expect to find treasure when he moved some stone slabs in his garden revealing what is believed to be the grave of a Viking blacksmith. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Oldest known siddur displayed in Jerusalem

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-11-08 09:15

Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum recently played host to the Book of Books exhibition which featured the world's oldest siddur, a 1,200-year-old Hebrew manuscript still in its original binding. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Yorkshire Hoards on Google Art Project

History Blog - Fri, 2014-11-07 23:50

The Google Cultural Institute and the York Museums Trust have joined forces to create an exhibition of hoards discovered in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Hoards exhibition gives audiences the chance to view buried treasure from the Bronze Age (1000 B.C.) to the Civil War (1650 A.D.). The entries are arranged in chronological order so you can take a virtual trip through Yorkshire history, and descriptions are accompanied by high resolution photographs and video.

Hoards were buried for different reasons in different periods. Bronze Age axe hoards, for example, were buried near bodies of water which suggests there was a ritual purpose behind it. Iron Age and Roman coin hoards are often indicators of unrest, earthly goods buried to keep them safe from danger until the owner could return. Some of them were clearly savings, however, the ancient version of stuffing it in your mattress. Valuables were added to over time, in those cases, instead of being buried in one fell swoop.

Hoards are a great way to explore a region’s history, therefore, because they’re concrete evidence of how people dealt with external threats, their religious practices, the geographic range of their connections, what kind of containers they used, etc. It’s also just cool to be able to zoom in on a great many beautiful artifacts and coins that haven’t previously been photographed in high resolution.

The York Museums Trust is also collaborating with Google to present an online highlight reel of one of their museum’s exhibitions: 1914: When the World Changed Forever, a World War I display currently enjoying great success at the York Castle Museum. Objects include a horse’s gas mask, weapons and an ingenious Zeppalarm device that connected to a home’s gas line and lit a light bulb and sounded an alarm when the gas company turned down the supply to dim the lights and warn of an impending dirigible raid.

The Google exhibitions are just the tip of the iceberg. The York Museum Trust has embraced digitization on a grand scale, placing 160,000 objects in its collections, thousands of which are not on public display, in a freely accessible online database. More than 50,000 of the entries include high resolution images of the objects, all of which are in the public domain so you can download them and use them as you wish. More photographs will be uploaded as they are taken.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The Poetry Project for Crown Tourney

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2014-11-07 18:09

Long before the day of Crown Tournament dawned dark, rainy and muddy, the poets of the East Kingdom had already been working to shine light upon the tourney field.  As a way of honoring the consorts role in the pageantry of the day Her Majesty Thyra asked her Queen’s Bard Mistress Aife ingen Chonchobair to have praise poems written for each one of the 49 registered consorts.

Mistress Aife said, “While we say that Crown Tournament is supposed to be about fighting for the inspiration of your consort, the consorts can get lost in the day as everyone focuses on the fighters.  Writing about the consorts seemed like a natural way to reflect the spirit of Crown Tournament.  The mechanism to make all of that work was the letters of intent.  If Their Majesties were willing to require that the combatants write a few lines about how their consort inspired them, I could then give those letters to poets who could make their words into poetry for their consorts.”   Their Majesties were willing. The letter of intent was modified to require the combatant to tell the Crown how their consort inspired them.

In the meantime, Mistress Aife started posting on social media asking for poets who were interested in a secret project. She received responses from poets not just from the East Kingdom, but also our artistic brethren from the Middle,  Aethermearc, Ealdomere, and Ansteorra .

In-process picture of the poems provided by Mistress Aife.

As the letters of intent were received and passed on to Mistress Aife, she assigned a poet to each fighter/consort and shared privately what each fighter had written.  She asked her volunteers to write a short poem, somewhere between 4 to 14 lines and to use the words of the fighter as inspiration as they wrote.  Many of the poets selected the style of their poem based on the persona of the recipient, which often encouraged the poet to learn a new verse form.

An email list was created and then the poets got to work.  Writers who did not personally know either fighter or consort could ask the others on the list for ideas or direction.  Some of the most enjoyable aspects of the process was the banter on the list, as the poets asked each other for advice, offered examples of period verse forms or spontaneously broke into limericks.   At the same time the poets maintained a deep respect for of the sometimes very private words a fighter offered their Crown about their consort.  As a result most of the poetry has still not been read by the other poets who participated in the project.

Mistress Aife, Queen’s Bard, at the coronation of Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta.

Mistress Aife reported back to the poet-volunteers that the poems were well received and that new participants to crown tournament in particular were very touched to receive such a gift from Queen Thyra and the poets of the known world.  “I thought the poem was very sweet,” Lady Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir said, “One of the best parts was seeing that someone I know and like wrote the poem which in itself is special to me.  When I do any sort of artwork or project, I get very emotionally attached to the piece and invest a lot into it.  To get a work of art, in this case poetry, from a friend was means a lot to me.”

The list of poets , the combatants and the consorts who inspired this art can be found on the East Kingdom Wiki.

Some of the poems produces are also on the Wiki, where permission has already been granted by the consort, combatant and poet to publish the poem.

Mistress Aife can put consorts in touch with their poet if they would like, and she can send along poems to the consorts who could not be there on the day of Crown Tournament.  Additionally, consorts and fighters can let her know if they are willing to have their poetry publically posted or performed.  Mistress Aife can be reached at:  alord@ilk.org

Article by Countess Marguerite.

Filed under: Arts and Sciences

Royal baths of Pliska unearthed in Bulgaria

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-11-07 16:12

In the 9th century, Pliska was the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom and heavily influenced by Mediterranean culture. This influence can be seen in the recently discovered royal baths, believed to be the oldest in the country. (photo)

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