Feed aggregator

"Oldest graffiti in Scotland" found in Mingary Castle

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-04-16 07:08

The builders of Mingary Castle on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Scotland may have been illiterate, but they left their mark on history through their graffiti. The markings, discovered recently in the castle's chapel, were probably inscribed when the chapel was first built, between 1265 and 1295. (photo)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Norway gives lost Chinese 1927 silent film to China

History Blog - Tue, 2014-04-15 23:18

The only known surviving copy of a classic 1927 Chinese silent film has returned home. The restored copy of <em>Pan Si Dong (The Cave of the Silken Web) was handed over to the China Film Archive in Beijing on Tuesday. After the ceremony and a reception attended by invited guests, the film, accompanied live by Chinese pianist Jin Ye, was screened at a sold out show in front of an audience of 600.

The film was thought to be lost until a nitrate print from 1929 was discovered in the National Library of Norway. It was found in 2011 when the library decided to examine all 9,000 cans of film in its collection. At first they didn’t realize what a treasure they had. The film had no opening credits to easily identify it and it was too delicate for careful examination of the whole movie. After an initial cleaning, the nitrate film was sent to a laboratory where it was copied onto stock that does not spontaneously burst into flames. Library researchers then began to investigate the history of the movie. That’s when they discovered that they had the only existing copy in the world.

Pan Si Dong, directed by Dan Duyu for the Shanghai Shadow Play company, tells a story taken from Journey to the West, a 16th century book by Wu Cheng’en that is considered one of China’s four classic novels. The hero is Hiuen Tsiang Tang, a Buddist monk sent to the “Western regions,” ie, India, by Emperor T’ai Tsung to bring back sacred texts. Accompanied by three protectors — Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy — and riding a fourth companion, the Dragon prince, in the guise of white horse, the monk arrives at the spider valley where they find themselves in a cave where seven beautiful women live.

The women are actually spider spirits in disguise who want to devour the monk, believing this will make them immortal. They succeed in capturing the party, but then one of the spider spirits is busted trying to double-cross the rest so she and her demon lover can eat him on their own. In the ensuing battle, Xuanzang and his spirit compadres escape. The spider women and their webs are destroyed by purifying fire.

The movie was hugely popular in China and a sequel was made in 1929. While the sequel was playing in China, the original made its way to Norway. Pan Si Dong was the first Chinese picture to be shown in Norway. It premiered in Oslo’s Chat Noir Cabaret Theater on January 18th, 1929, accompanied by the Colosseum orchestra. The print was customized for Norwegian audiences, with Norwegian translations appearing alongside the original Chinese on the title slides. The translation is not always accurate to the original. The translator interspersed his own comments in brackets next to some titles, and the Chinese is sometimes upside-down or backwards. This was noticed in some of the contemporary reviews which were generally positive, if patronizing. Norwegian reviewers found it “distinctive and interesting,” “quite strange,” and “worthwhile as a curiosity.”

Side note of interest: one of the great things about silent movies is how universal they were. Movie theaters all over the world could easily created title cards in their language. There was no need for post-production translations of complex dialogue and dubbing. That means it really doesn’t matter where a lost silent picture is found, because the movie retains its integrity even when the title card translations are tonally questionable or inaccurate.

Movies from this period are rare survivals in China, thanks to censorship, war and after 1949, the Communist rejection of Western and traditional Chinese arts. Since the revival of Chinese cinema in the 1990s and the loosening up of markets, China is as keen to retrieve its lost cinematic patrimony as it is its dispersed antiquities. Diplomatic relations between China and Norway have been tense since 2010 when the Nobel Committee gave the Peace Prize to democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for his political writings. Last fall Norway agreed to return seven marble columns looted from the Old Summer Palace, and now they’ve restored and returned Pan Si Dong.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Anglo-Saxon artifacts discovered near Maidstone

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-04-15 17:49

A metal detectorist from Medway History Finders has uncovered a collection of Anglo-Saxon artifacts dating to the 6th century near Maidstone, Kent, England. The hoard, valued at more than UK£40,000, includes silver brooches with red garnets and hairpins. (photos)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Rocket cats?

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-04-15 13:21

Proof that gun powder technology captured the imagination of 16th century military minds can be found in a manual written by artillery master Franz Helm of Cologne, Germany who proposed strapping rockets to the backs of cats in order to "set fire to a castle or city which you can't get at otherwise." (photos)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Kolskeggr skialdarbriótr fra Einknnir new Lord of the Mists

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-04-15 09:18

Hirsch reports that Kolskeggr skialdarbriótr fra Einknnir was the victor of the April 5, 2014 Coronet Tournament in the Principality of the Mists, Kingdom of the West. His Highness was inspired by Katla von Walravensijde.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Egyptian clay coffin with human face found in Jezreel

History Blog - Mon, 2014-04-14 23:06

Archaeologists excavating a site near Tel Shadud in Israel’s Jezreel Valley before a natural gas pipeline is installed in the area have unearthed a rare anthropoid clay coffin from the reign of Pharaoh Seti I (1290 B.C. to 1279 B.C.). The cylindrical coffin has a serene face sculpted in the lid, with hands crossed on his chest. Only a few similar coffins have been found before in Israel, that last of which was discovered 50 years ago.

The coffin was interred with pottery food storage vessels, a bronze dagger and bowl and animal bones. These could have been offerings to the gods and the means to provide nourishment for the deceased on his voyage to the afterworld. There was a skeleton of an adult male inside the coffin. Because the pottery was locally made, archaeologists think he was probably a local man working for the Egyptians, he could well have been Egyptian. Either way, the fact that he was buried with an Egyptian scarab seal encased in gold and bearing the name of Seti I suggests that he was of very high rank. The coffin itself confirms that, since it would have been an extremely expensive piece affordable only to the elite.

Egyptian control of Canaan had been waning since the 14th century B.C. thanks to the rising Middle Assyrian Empire. The process had accelerated in the declining days of the Eighteenth Dynasty when the social and political chaos brought on by Akhenaten’s attempted religious reformation made maintaining its empire the least of Egypt’s problems. Ramesses I, founder of the Nineteenth Dynasty, and his son Seti I sought to return order to the country and reclaim some of its lost territories.

Seti wasted no time, taking his army into Canaan starting the first year of his reign. He took advantage of nomadic incursions and infighting between the Canaanite city-states and “marched against them like a fierce-eyed lion, making them carcasses in their valleys, overturned in their blood like those that exist not. Everyone that escapes his fingers says: ‘His might toward distant countries is the might of his father Amun, who hath assigned to him a victorious valor in the countries’.” That vivid description is from the North Wall of the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak which, along with two stele unearthed at Beth She’an, a city in the Jezreel Valley about 25 miles southeast of Tel Shadud, is the main source of information about Seti I’s military campaigns.

The victorious army established fortifications at watering holes on the way back to Egypt. Beth She’an was rebuilt according to a new city plan and became an important administrative center. Its population was primarily Egyptian government and military officials and a number of artifacts imported from Egypt have been discovered there. The locally produced artifacts, mainly pottery, were made in traditional Canaanite forms or in imitation of Egyptian styles.

Archaeologists may attempt to extract DNA from the skeletal remains to determine whether the man in the expensive coffin was a local or an Egyptian, but that’s a long shot. Four other graves were found in the small 16-foot square trench, two containing the remains of men and two of women. It’s possible they are all family members. It’s also possible the area is the site of a much larger cemetery, like the one at Beth She’an.

This was just a salvage excavation, however, to unearth any archaeological remains in the path of the gas pipeline. There is no current project to expand the dig.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Stefan's Florilegium updates for March 2014

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-04-14 19:58

THLord Stefan li Rous reports that he has posted updates to Stefan's Florilegium for March 2014.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Position Opening: Laurel Principal Sovereign of Arms

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-04-14 17:43

The Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism are seeking applicants for the position of Laurel Principal Sovereign of Arms.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

New Directive from Recent BOD Meeting: Rapier

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-04-14 15:27

From the 4/12/14 Board of Directors meeting:
“Effective immediately, the use of spears, pikes and pole arms is prohibited in rapier tournament or rapier melee combat, and the Society Earl Marshal and Society Deputy Marshal for Rapier shall review the use of two handed swords in rapier combat.”

The East Kingdom Rapier Marshal, Don Caine Ramsey, went on to clarify:

“As spears, pikes or pole arms are not legal in the East, this is not a significant change.

However, any review of two-handers may cause some changes down the line. What those changes might be, are yet to be determined. Until such time as we have specifics on what this review entails, and what, if any, changes might be due this review are. It is business as usual for the use of two-handers.

We are waiting for more details from the SRM. As they roll out, I will forward them out to you”

 

 


Filed under: Fencing, Official Notices

The East Kingdom Royal Gifts Chest Issues Kingdom-wide Challenge

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:41

The East Kingdom Royal Gifts Chest is issuing a challenge to the Baronies and Shires of The East Kingdom!

Spring is here and the East welcomes a new King and Queen! It is time to fill Our gift coffers with beautiful and functional items, ones that represent the talents of Our Eastern Artists.

The Royal Gifts Chest therefore challenges each Barony and Shire in the East Kingdom to rally their members to make, create, and donate! Items will be collected at events throughout the Spring and Summer and credited to the Barony or Shire it comes from. The Challenge ends on Sunday, August 4, with the winning group being announced at East Kingdom Court at Pennsic. The group with the most points will have bragging rights and a chest full of goodies!

This list is by no means exhaustive, if you have something in mind but do not know what category it fits in, please ask! Points will be awarded as follows:

Clothing Items, 3 points each:
Lengths of trim (2 yards = 3 points), sets of buttons (8 small, or 4 large), gloves (pair), knit socks (pair), coifs/caps, hats, hoods, arming caps, veils

Needlework items, 2 points each:
Needle cases, sets of needles (bone, metal, wood), scissor cases, pin cushions, sewing kits, skeins of handspun yarn, lucets, drop spindles

Feast items, 2 points each:
Plates, mugs, glasses, napkins, candle holders

Cords, 1 point per yard:
Fingerloop braids, kumihimo, lucet cord

Pouches or bags, 2 points each:
Drawstring bags in small/medium/large, belt pouches

Jewelry, 2 points each:
Fibulas, penannular brooches, bracelets, earrings (pair), necklaces, pendants, pewter items, viking wire work, veil pins, paternosters/rosaries, lampwork beads (2 beads), rings

Wooden items, 3 points each:
Small/medium boxes, game boards and pieces, candle holders, wax tablets, small foot stools

Household items, 2 points each:
Soap, beauty/personal care items, candles, period spices and spice mixes, bottle opener, leather mug strap

Items from the Scriptorium, 3 points each:
Period scribal supplies, scroll blanks, illuminated thank you cards and envelopes (set of 4), leather covered journals, small handmade books

Award Medallions, 3 points each:
East Kingdom award and order medallions, extra bonus point if it’s a Middle Kingdom award or order medallion

Fighter’s Repair Kit, 4 points each kit:
Each kit to include – a leather punch, roll of duct tape, roll of strapping tape, lacing, two-piece rivets (quick rivets), blue electrical tape

Large items, 5 points each:
A set of arrows, a quiver, a collapsible bench, small collapsible table, leather or beaded baronial coronets, silk banners

Please include an info card with the donation listing your SCA name and Barony or Shire.  Donations are gladly accepted at all Royal Progress Events.*

If you have any questions, please contact the Royal Gift Coordinator Mistress Saerlaith 

 

*Royal Progress Events
4/5 Coronation
4/19 Balfar’s Challenge
5/10 Whistuntide Fest
5/17 Spring Crown Tourney
5/24 War of the Roses
5/31 King and Queen’s Archery Championship
6/21 King and Queen’s Champions of Arms
6/28 Southern Region War Camp
7/5 Northern Region War Camp
7/12 Great Northeastern War
Pennsic War (deadline of Sunday, August 4th)


Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Tidings

Spring Crown List Is Now Available

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-04-14 09:33

His Majesty Brennan has announced the following combatants and consorts in the list of Spring Crown Tourney to be held in the Barony of L’ile du Dragon Dormant (Montreal, QC) on May 17th AS 49

Duke Ronald Wilmot for Duchess Bronwyn Dawntreader
Duke Randal of the Dark for Duchess Katherine Stanhope
Baron Pellandres, dit le frère for Duchess Marieke van de Dal
Tribune Darrius Aurelius Serpentius , Called Omega the Impact for Duchess Roxane Farabi
Duke Konrad Der Lowe Von Ulm for Lady Aibhilin Fhionn
Duke Edward Grey of Lochleven for Countess Þóra Eiríksdóttir
Duke Kenric æt Eastseaxe for Master Krakken Gnashbone
Jarl Valgards Stonecleaver for Lady Gracia Vasquez de Trillo
Sir Rhys Ravenscroft for Viscondesa Jimena Montoya
Sir Stephen Grandchamp for Mistress Ellen Du Grandchamp
Sir Thomas of Ravenhill for Áine an Neamheaglach
Pan Jan Janowicz Bogdanski for Herrin Rosamund von Schwyz
Sir Gareth Grey de Wilton for Mistress Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys
Sir Wilhelm von Ostenbrücke for Mistress Vienna de le Mer
Baron Matthew Moreaveous Avdenmork for Mistress Fia Kareman
Master Edward MacGyver dos Scorpus for Lady Katerina Iliovna Vladimirov
Sir Sichelgaita von Halstern for Baron William Trout
Sir Antonio Patrasso for Mistress Elizabeth Eleanor Lovell
Master Angus Kerr for Baroness Katarzyna Gwozdz called Varju
Syr Culann mac Cianain for Baroness Edana inghean Aluinn mac Kinnon
Master Ávaldr Valbjarnarson for Mistress Eva Woderose
Syr Marcus Blackaert for Baroness Astrid Sigrun Ulfkellsdottir
Sir Angus McHaley for Mistress Tadea Isabetta di Bruno
Don Luis de Castilla for Lady Berenika
Thane Aethelhafoc Caegfindan for THL Siubhan Wallace
Baron Ivan Ivanov Syn Dimitriov vynuk Tzardikov for Baroness Matilde DeCadenet
Lord Mathew MacGyver for Baroness Lillian Stanhope
Baron Sigurthr Vigurhafn for Baroness Maev ingean ui Cheallaigh
Lord Kenimathor of Lochleven for Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge
Baron Matthias Grunwald for Lady Æsa feilinn Jossursdottir
Lord William MacCrimmon for Lady Astrid Olfasdatter
Lord William Ravenhair for Lady Kris the spinner
Lord Richard Crowe for Gabriella Crowe
Lady Cornelia VandeBrugge for Lord Perceval Gower, Esq.
Lord Aiden of Coldwood for Lady Elke Vuponne
Lord Ketilfastr Thorkilson for Lady Cezilia Raposa
Lord Wilham de Broc for Lady Isabel Chamberlaine
Lord Robert Gower for Lady Rachel of Ironwolf
Lord Fearghus O Conchobhairof Buckland Cross for Lady Markesa De Carvalhal
Lord Gawyn O’Clery for Maeve O’Clery
Lord Eoghan Bastard mac Lachlainn of Lochleven for Lady Chiara di Marte de Venezia
Lord Eliahu Al-Talhi for Lady Sandrine de Berry
Dominus Spurius Genucius Ruilus for Lady Isolda Fairamay
Lord Ryouko’jin of Iron Skies for Lady Indrakshi Aravinda
Lord Phelippe du Peiregore for Maeve
Lord Thorvald Olafsson for Lady Melisande De La Mer
Ivarr Rambison for Rose DuBois


Filed under: Events, Heavy List, Official Notices, Tidings

Mausoleum of Augustus restoration to begin this year

History Blog - Sun, 2014-04-13 23:42

Happy 43rd birthday, Tom Carroll! This one’s for you.

Caesar Augustus, adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar and first emperor of Rome, died on August 19th, 14 A.D., 57 years to the day after he was first “elected” consul of Rome. (He showed up at the city gates with eight legions, so it wasn’t much of an election.) According to Cassius Dio (Roman History, Book LVI, Chapter 30), on his deathbed Augustus declared: “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.” Suetonius agrees, noting in The Lives of the Twelve Caesars that “since the city was not adorned as the dignity of the empire demanded, and was exposed to flood and fire, he so beautified it that he could justly boast that he had found it built of brick and left it in marble.”

The first of Augustus’ many marble-clad improvements to the city of Rome was a monumental tomb for himself and his family. Construction began upon his return from Egypt in 31 B.C. after the final defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. With Antony dead by his own hand and Lepidus exiled, Augustus was the last triumvir standing and the sole ruler of Rome. While in Egypt, Augustus had visited the tomb of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, leaving flowers and placing a golden diadem on Alexander’s head. The grand Hellenistic mausoleum inspired the Augustus’ version built on the Campus Martius in Rome.

The tomb was completed in 28 B.C. Here’s Strabo’s description of it in Geography, Book V, Chapter 3:

The most noteworthy [among the great tombs on the Campus Martius] is what is called the Mausoleum, a great mound near the river on a lofty foundation of white marble, thickly covered with ever-green trees to the very summit. Now on top is a bronze image of Augustus Caesar; beneath the mound are the tombs of himself and his kinsmen and intimates; behind the mound is a large sacred precinct with wonderful promenades; and in the centre of the Campus is the wall (this too of white marble) round his crematorium; the wall is surrounded by a circular iron fence and the space within the wall is planted with black poplars.

The circular walls of the tomb were made of brick and clad in white marble or travertine. The roof was supported by vaults which left the inside sectioned for family burials. The entry arch was framed on either side with red granite obelisks pillaged from Egypt. The finished Mausoleum was 295 feet in diameter and an estimated 137 feet high (not counting the height of the cypress trees).

The first to be buried in the Mausoleum was Marcellus, Augustus’ nephew, who died in 23 B.C. The ashes of Augustus’ mother Atia Balba, who had died in 43 B.C., were moved to the family tomb at the same time. Next was Augustus’ greatest general and son-in-law Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in 12 B.C. Three years later was the turn of Nero Claudius Drusus, Augustus’ stepson. His sister Octavia also died and was buried around that time (her exact year of death is unknown, either 11 or 9 B.C.). The sons of Agrippa and Augustus’ daughter Julia were next, Lucius in 2 A.D., Gaius in 4 A.D. Augustus himself followed Gaius 10 years later.

After Augustus’ death, his wife Livia followed, then Germanicus, Agrippina the Elder, Agrippina’s daughter Livilla, Germanicus’ sons Nero and Drusus Caesar, Caligula, Tiberius, Tiberius’ son Drusus Julius Caesar, Claudius’ parents Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia, then Claudius, his son Britannicus and Nero’s wife Poppaea Sabina (whose body was embalmed rather than cremated). The last emperor to join the illustrious crowd in the Mausoleum was Nerva, who died in 98 A.D.

Basically, the entire cast of I, Claudius wound up in the Mausoleum. The only exceptions were the exiled and disgraced Julio-Claudians, like Augustus’ only daughter Julia who died shortly after her father and was explicitly prohibited from being buried with her dad by the terms of his will. Her daughter Julia suffered the same fate. The Emperor Nero, last of the Julio-Claudian line, was buried with his paternal family in the Mausoleum of the Domitii Ahenobarbi.

The monument remained one of the most important ones in Rome until it was pillaged by the Visigoths in the 5th century. After that, like so many of its brethren it was used as a source of construction materials by Romans. The pink granite obelisks were toppled and buried. The first was rediscovered in the 16th century by Pope Sixtus V who moved it to the Piazza dell’Esquilino where it flanks the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The other was rediscovered in the 18th century and moved to the fountain between the equestrian statues of the Dioscuri on the Quirinal hill.

And so Augustus’ legacy reverted from marble back to brick. As would later happen to the tomb of Hadrian, now the Castel Sant’Angelo, the Mausoleum of Augustus was converted into a fortress in the 12th century by the Colonna family. When they were defeated by the Counts of Tusculum in the Battle of Monte Porzio in 1167, the Mausoleum was stripped of its fortifications leaving it in ruin.

It still maintained its cachet to Romans, however. Cola di Rienzo, Tribune of the People, Senator of Rome, who briefly ruled the city over the howls of the Pope and endlessly bickering Roman nobility, was brutally killed in 1354 on my birthday, no less (well, 618 years before my birthday, but on the same day, is my point), and after his corpse was outraged for two days and a night, it was taken to the Mausoleum of Augustus and burned.

In 1519, Pope Leo X, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, had what was left of the travertine cladding removed to use as paving stones for the Via Ripetta, the street that leads to the Mausoleum. Pope Paul III sold the Mausoleum in 1546 to Monsignor Francesco Soderini who excavated the site looking for ancient sculptures and then converted the Mausoleum into a sculpture garden with a hedge labyrinth that was popular with artists, classicists and antiquarians. The Soderini’s financial difficulties gradually saw the sculptures dispersed, although the Mausoleum remained a garden until 1780 when it was acquired by the Marquess Francesco Saverio Vivaldi-Armentieri. He turned it into an amphitheater with elegant boxes and seating for 1,000. There he staged bullfights and buffalo fights (of the water buffalo variety, not the American bison variety), operas, theatricals and on summer nights, fireworks displays at which all the noblewomen of Rome wore white dresses so the colors bursting in air would be reflected in their garments.

The amphitheater wasn’t very profitable and in 1802 the Pope Pius VII bought the Mausoleum back. It was still used for spectacles of various sorts — animal fights, balls, carnivals, circuses, lottery drawings, plays, equestrian displays, even a test of fire-retardant materials like that asbestos suit I mentioned in a recent entry. After the Unification of Italy, the Vatican sold the Mausoleum to the Count Telfener who put a roof on it and renamed it the Amphitheater Umberto I after the new King of Italy. It was used for plays, concerts and operas, no more buffalo fights.

In 1909 it was refurbished yet again in Art Nouveau style and named the Augusteo in recognition of its original builder. Expanded to seat 3,500 people, the Augusteo was the seat of Rome’s main orchestra conducted by the great Arturo Toscanini, among others. Mussolini put an end to all that in 1936. He kicked out all the musicians, tore down the Renaissance buildings around it and ripped out all the theatrical modifications to return the Mausoleum to its original Roman masonry. This was a key part of his program of associating himself with the glory of ancient Rome and depicting himself as a second Augustus. Unfortunately, he did a piss-poor job of it. He had cypresses planted on top of the walls, in the mistaken belief that that’s where they had been placed originally instead of on the earthen tumulus. Inside the Mausoleum he had a squat two-storey tower built to mark the spot where Augustus’ ashes were once enshrined.

The end result of this brutal hack job was a Mausoleum in tatters, a derelict island in the middle of a traffic-engorged piazza. Homeless people found refuge under its walls and fences went up in a futile attempt to keep them out. Colonnaded Fascist buildings line the square while the real thing continues to decay. You can see its unfortunate current situation on Google Street View. Hadrian’s mausoleum, still clad in its medieval fortress trappings, is one of the icons of Rome, but Augustus’ tomb, which held the ashes of the first emperor and so many other august (*cough*) personages, doesn’t even make it onto postcards.

There was a plan to restore it in 2006 when the new glass enclosure of the Ara Pacis was built, but the funding never materialized, and the recession has starved Rome of the budget to maintain its ancient treasures.

Now Rome is reaching out to private donors to make up for its slashed budgets and it seems someone has stepped up to the plate for the Mausoleum of Augustus, one of the most expensive and difficult restorations in Rome. Mayor Ignazio Marino says a Saudi prince has approached him, expressing interest in funding the work. Who knows if that will come through, but meanwhile two million euros of public moneys have been allocated to get the process started. The mayor claims work will begin before the end of the year so that it will be in concert with the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus’ death.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

1,500-year-old Christian church unearthed near Tel Aviv

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-04-13 14:48

Construction work for a new neighborhood at Moshav Aluma, 30 miles south of Tel Aviv, has unearthed the foundations of a 6th century Byzantine church. The remains of the basilica and its artifacts discovered include "a cistern, a pottery workshop, cooking implements, oil lamps and central halls with a pair of side aisles divided by marble pillars."

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Medieval superpowers of the Swahili Coast

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-04-13 10:26

Great civilizations of the Middle Ages were not located solely in Europe or Asia. Some of the world superpowers grew up along the coasts of Africa. In a feature article for i09, Annalee Newitz takes a look Songo Mnara, a city that thrived from the 10th to 15th centuries. (photos)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Free online course on the archaeology of Portus

History Blog - Sat, 2014-04-12 22:13

Researchers from the University of Southampton have been excavating the ancient man-made harbour of Portus in modern day Fiumicino, 20 miles southwest of Rome, since 1998. In collaboration with experts from the British School at Rome, the University of Cambridge, and the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, they have explored the warehouses of Septimius Severus, the imperial palace, cisterns, an amphitheater, a massive shipyard, a bath complex and more.

The Portus Project website describes the immense historical significance of this site.

Portus (Fiumicino) was the maritime port of ancient Rome and, together with the neighbouring river port at Ostia, was the focus of a network of ports serving Imperial Rome between the mid-1st century AD and the 6th century AD. It was established by Claudius in the mid-1st century AD, enlarged by Trajan, and subsequently modified during the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The port began to enter a period of slow decline from the late 5th century AD onwards, although it was the scene of a major struggle between Byzantine and Ostrogothic troops during the Gothic wars (AD 535-553).

Portus was critically important for supplying the city of Imperial Rome with foodstuffs and materials from across the Mediterranean from the 1st century AD onwards. It also acted as both a point of export for supplies and products from the Tiber Valley to the north of Rome, and a major hub for the redistribution of goods from ports across the Mediterranean. It must also have acted as a major conduit for people visiting Rome from around the Mediterranean.

Now the University of Southampton is giving all us little nerd urchins (nurchins?) a chance to do more than press our faces against the glass. It’s offering a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the archaeology of Portus. The course is open to everyone free of charge and will include access to all the Portus Project’s research data so that students can explore the nuts and bolts of Portus and the archaeological process.

On this course you will chart a journey from the Imperial harbour to its connections across the Mediterranean, learning about what the archaeological discoveries uncovered by the Portus Project tell us about the history, landscape, buildings, and the people of this unique place. Although the site lies in ruins, it has some of the best-preserved Roman port buildings in the Mediterranean, and in this course you will learn to interpret these and the finds discovered within them, using primary research data and the virtual tools of the archaeologist.

Largely filmed on location at Portus, the course will provide you with an insight into the wide range of digital technologies employed to record, analyse and present the site. In addition to the lead educators, our enthusiastic team of student archaeologists will support your learning.

To register click here, fill in your name and email address and check the privacy policy and code of conduct boxes. The course starts on May 19th and is divided into six week-long classes. Once it’s open, you can go through the whole program in a weekend, if you want, or you can stretch it out longer than six weeks to suit your schedule. There are discussion modules with technology that allows you to follow particular learners. There’s a handy dandy Twitter hashtag (#UoSFLPortus) to carry on the conversation on social media. There are quizzes, scored tests and what looks like some really awesome homework.

So how about it? Shall we take a Roman archaeology class together?

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Anglo-Saxon tool papers online

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-04-12 09:45

On its website, Daegrad Tools of Sheffield, England offers an extensive list of papers on Anglo-Saxon tools. The papers are available for free download in PDF format.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Canoe thought to be 250 years is 1,000 years old

History Blog - Fri, 2014-04-11 23:40

New radiocarbon dating results have found that a Native American dugout canoe discovered in Lake Minnetonka southwest of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1934 is nearly 1,000 years old, making it the oldest dugout canoe ever found in Minnesota. It was thought to date to around 1750 and even though it was in excellent condition it wasn’t considered an archaeological superstar. That’s all changed now.

The canoe was discovered by Helmer Gunnarson and his brother Arthur when they were building an extension to their dock on the North Arm of Lake Minnetonka in August of 1934. It was a record dry year — the water level was seven feet below normal — and the shoreline had receded significantly. While sinking a dock piling 90 feet from the shore, Helmer and Arthur encountered an obstacle about a foot under the lake floor. At first they thought it was a log, but when they dug it out and dragged it to shore, they saw it was a dugout canoe. They noted it was in excellent condition, preserved by years under the silt and several feet of lake water.

The Gunnarsons reached out to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society to examine the canoe, but wound up donating it to the Minnesota Archaeological Society, who generously gifted their father Gustave with an honorary membership in response. The MAS loaned the canoe for display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Minneapolis Public Library and exhibited it at the Walker Art Gallery along with some of their other artifacts. In 1961, they sold it to the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association museum in Long Lake, Minnesota, who added it to the museum’s eclectic collection of artifacts including a moose once shot by Theodore Roosevelt.

It was in its display in a hallway of the WHCPA museum that Maritime Heritage Minnesota archaeologists Ann Merriman and Chris Olson first encountered the canoe. They secured a $9,000 grant from the state to radiocarbon date and study the Lake Minnetonka canoe and seven other canoes discovered in Minnesota. The study did turn up some bad news. The canoe has deteriorated over time. The ends are frayed and the sides lower than they used to be. There is a long crack that splits the craft’s entire 11-foot length, a crack that was not there in 1934 as historical pictures confirm. Fragments of wood have come off and litter the hull.

The good news is those fragments made sampling the wood for typing and dating a simple matter of picking up a few of them. The radiocarbon dating found the wood sample dates to 1025-1165 A.D., the Final Late Woodland Period of the Woodlands Culture. The report of the Maritime Heritage Minnesota study has now been published and can be read in its entirety here).

Now that the canoe’s true historical value has been identified, it must be properly conserved to prevent further deterioration.

In Long Lake, the canoe that once was relegated to a corner is now the museum’s centerpiece — fitting, since it’s about 6 miles from where it was discovered. The museum will rope it off and enclose it in a glass case with updated details about how rare and old it is.

“We’ll never loan it again, especially now we know what it is,” [Russ Ferrin, the volunteer who runs the Pioneer Museum,] said.

It’s not just newfound fame for an ancient artifact but also for the small museum. Founded by pioneers 107 years ago, the nonprofit is housed in an old school building. It’s run by Ferrin and other volunteers, and admission is free when it’s open for four hours on Saturdays.

“It is [the main attraction] now,” Ferrin said of the canoe. “We hope it will draw visitors.”

I’ll add that I hope it draws lots of donations too, to ensure it can be kept in a humidity controlled environment and properly conserved for future generations.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Nurture Our Next Generation

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2014-04-11 19:38

Pay heed to the words of our new King!

From His Imperial Majesty:

Be it known that the children of the East are Our most precious
subjects. Those members of the Eastern populace that honor children
honor Their Majesties.

These young members are contributing to our Society now, as artists
and archers, pages, heralds and dancers. Chivalry and courtesy demand
that our young members be welcomed and encouraged at every turn just
as we welcome and encourage all of Our subjects who would work for the
betterment of our Kingdom and Society.

We understand that there are times that our young members do not live
up to all the ideals of courtesy and historical accuracy that we
strive for. Very few of us do. Yet it behooves us all, parents, aunts,
uncles, friends, and strangers alike to make our children feel that
their presence is welcome and wanted.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of every Easterner who works to make
a place for families at events and incorporate them into all
appropriate activities.

In Service to the East,
Brennan Augustus

Photo by Baroness Cateline la Broderesse.


Filed under: Tidings, Youth Activities Tagged: children, families, Youth

Unofficial Court Report from Coronation

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2014-04-11 17:31

And it came to pass on 5 April 2014, AS XLVIII that Their Majesties Kenric II and Avelina II did leave the throne in favor of their heirs.

Thus Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta became Emperor and Empress of the Kingdom of the East!

The Greater Officers of state in attendance swore oaths of fealty to Their Majesties, as did the landed Barons and Baronesses, and the Viceroy of Ostgardr.

Their newly crowned Majesties processed from the hall as the historic Roll of Kings was sung. Soon after they sat in state for a time.

In triumph they came before the populace. His Majesty Brennan marched in with an impressive escort, followed by Her Majesty Caoilfhionn carried upon a litter and accompanied by an equally impressive escort.

Their highnesses of Æthelmearc, Tindal and Etain, as well as Their Majesties Acre, Damien and Tara, were invited to join Their Imperial Majesties in court. His Highness Tindal announced that the Sylvan Kingdom or Æthemearc would ally with the Kingdom of the East at the coming Pennsic War. His Majesty Damien presented, and together with Their Majesties, signed the historic Treaty allying Acre with the Kingdom of the East at the coming Pennsic War once again.

Einarr Njortharson, called Billyfish, was called before Her Majesty. He was thus named Captain of Her Guard, and called forth those who would stand in defense of Her person.

Their Graces Duke Gregor, Duke Edward, Duke Konrad for himself and representing Duke Andreas, and Duchess Kiena representing Duke Brion were invited before Her Majesty. All had been called upon to provide guards for Her reign, and those chosen were presented to Her.

Earl Kenric and Countess Avelina were called before the court. Their Majesties did invest them each as a Duke and Duchess of the Kingdom of the East. Both received Ducal Coronets and Cloaks, and His Grace Kenric a scroll by Eva Woderose. Her Grace Avelina received a scroll featuring illumination by Honig von Somerfeldt and calligraphy by Eva Woderose.

Lu An Hua was called before Their Majesties. She was made a Lady of the Court, and received an AoA with a scroll by Ding Li Ying Nu Shr, with words by Alayne Alexandra Nyvern Nightwatcher and Chinese calligraphy by Shr Ti Fun.

Devra Hanna bat Jacob was next called before Their Majesties. She, too was made a Lady of the Court, and received an AoA scroll created by Mergriet van Wijenhorst.

Cedric of Armorica was called before the Court. Heralded in by Aneleda Falconbridge, he received leave to speak to the populace in order to issue a challenge in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the same challenge offered prior to requesting the hand of his lady, Annastrina.

Antonio Patrasso was called into court by Her Imperial Majesty. Caoilfhionn Augusta presented him with a Queen’s Order of Courtesy, where he did receive a scroll by Isabel Chamberlaine, with words by Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaoláin. His Majesty Brennan Augustus presented Antonio with his own QoC glove, originally received from the hand of Duchess Jana.

Genovefa De Magna Villa was next called before Their Majesties. She was named a Lady of the Court, and presented an AoA with a scroll by Palotzi Marti.

Co-Autocrat for the event, Maerhild of Settmour Swamp, was called before Their Majesties. She was named a Lady of the Court, and presented with an AoA scroll featuring calligraphy by Kayleigh MacWhyte and illumination by Suzanne Nueber de Londres.

Engracia de Madrigal was next called before the Emperor and Empress. The Order of the Silver Rapier companions were called forth, and Engracia was thus awarded the Silver Rapier, receiving a pendant from Owynn Greenwood and a scroll featuring illumination by Camille des Jardins, calligraphy by Alexandre St Pierre, and words by Alys Mackyntoich.

His Majesty demanded the presence the Tyger Clerk of the Signet, Kayleigh McWhyte, in order that he might put an end to her impertinence in correcting Him when He addressed her as “Your Excellency”. She was named a Baroness of the Court, and presented a pair of scrolls. The first, in crayon, stated plainly – “Dudes, She Be a Baroness”. The second, a more formal scroll, was also received. Both were the works of Edward MacGyver dos Scorpius.

Thus closed the first court of Their Imperial Majesties, Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta. Long may they reign over the Empire of the East!

In service,

Don Malcolm Bowman

Eastern Crown Herald

PS – Thank you to the Heraldic staff for the day! Rowen Cloteworthy, Aildreda de Tamworthe, Ryan McWhyte, Thomas De Castellan, and Jehane de Fenwyk

Photos by Lord Hugh Tauerner and Baroness Cateline la Broderesse.

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: Court, Events Tagged: coronation

Wyoming college hosts Biduum Latinum

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-04-11 16:03

Latin is alive and well at Students at the college are required Wyoming Catholic College where students and professors recently participated in Biduum Latinum, a Latin immersion weekend, where everyone spoke only Latin. KCWY News 13 has the story.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites