Feed aggregator

Templo Mayor skull tower keeps getting skullier

History Blog - Sun, 2017-07-02 23:52

The Aztec tzompantli (skull rack) discovered in the Templo Mayor complex in downtown Mexico City two years ago has proven to be on an even vaster scale than first realized. Archaeologists with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) unearthed the tower of skulls six feet under the floor of a colonial-era house west of the Templo Mayor. At the center of a rectangular platform 34 meters (111.5 feet) long and 12 meters (40 feet) wide, they found a circular structure six meters (20 feet) in diameter made of skulls mortared together with a combination of lime, sand and volcanic gravel.

Tzompantli were used by the Aztecs to display the heads of the sacrificed, usually warriors captured in battle. The skulls were pierced from temple to temple and threaded onto wooden stakes that were mounted onto vertical posts like a grisly abacus. Pierced skulls and the remains of stakes have been found before, but they’ve been very modest in size and there was no permanent, mortared structure in place studded with the skulls of sacrificial victims.

The Templo Mayor skull tower is therefore unique in the archaeological record. Holes through the parietal bones of the skulls’ indicate that as unusual as it is, the tower was part of the life cycle (death cycle?) of the Huey Tzompantli, a huge skull display in the city center that horrified even the Spanish conquistadors, no strangers to mass slaughter. One of Cortes’ soldiers, Andres de Tapia, described the Huey Tzompantli as displaying thousands of skulls at a time. Archaeologists believe the tower was the stage two, the final disposition of the heads after they’d been exposed to the public on the Tzompantli array. The defleshed heads were then mortared into the tower, all of the skulls positioned to face the inside the circle.

When the discovery was first reported in August 2015, archaeologists had found 35 skulls. Now that number is now 676, and the excavation isn’t over yet. Archaeologists fully expect the final tally will reach into the thousands, just like de Tapia said. The sheer scale of the tower is striking enough, but the inclusion of skulls of adult women, youths and small children took archaeologists by surprise.

Historians relate how the severed heads of captured warriors adorned tzompantli, or skull racks, found in a number of Mesoamerican cultures before the Spanish conquest.

But the archaeological dig in the bowels of old Mexico City that began in 2015 suggests that picture was not complete.

“We were expecting just men, obviously young men, as warriors would be, and the thing about the women and children is that you’d think they wouldn’t be going to war,” said Rodrigo Bolanos, a biological anthropologist investigating the find.

“Something is happening that we have no record of, and this is really new, a first in the Huey Tzompantli,” he added.

The Templo Mayor was one of the most important temples in the sacred precinct of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire which became Mexico City after the Spanish conquest. The tower is now located next to the Metropolitan Cathedral built over the Templo Mayor by the Spanish. When it was built during Stage VI of the construction of the Templo Mayor (between 1486 and 1502), it was on the corner of the chapel of Huitzilopochtli, Aztec god of the sun, war and human sacrifice, a fitting location for a tower of skulls.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic Largesse Items Needed!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-07-02 10:46

Greetings  Most Generous Populous of Æthelmearc,

Largesse generously donated by the people of our Kingdom, given to Atendveldt at Estrella War. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann

This year the gift exchange has departed from tradition; We do not have a Kingdom assigned to us. This gives some unexpected flexibility and opportunity for our artists. In that spirit Our Gracious Monarchs Timothy & Gabrielle will be gifting all of our Royal cousins with tokens of friendship!

There are two ways for you to be involved in this endeavor. The first is the gift exchange basket. Since there’s no Kingdom & we have already received some beautiful items to build around, the theme of the basket is Norse (Viking). Cohesive items to this theme are greatly appreciated, but all generosity is welcomed.

The second way to be involved is making items for all the Royal Cousins. To keep this manageable I’m splitting the Crown and the Consort. Ideally 15-20 like items would keep this equal & easy to distribute (for all bags we would need 30-40).  This is a big task! If you can only make 6 of something, please still do! There’s no need to worry about colors, make best use of resources available. The gift bags are approximately 12”x14”.

We have some amazing gifts for this purpose already, but value all contributions.  If you have any questions or need to brainstorm, please reach out to me (phone & Facebook preferred over email). If you have the will & ability, but not the resources, please contact me. Material assistance may be possible. Items can be delivered at events to TRM or I, mailed, or delivered at Pennsic to the Kingdom encampment. Please do so by Saturday morning, August 5th, 2017.

Please include your name, Facebook name (if applicable), home group & contact information. You can do this either once, or even better, attached to each item. You’d be surprised where your gifts end up and who might want to thank you! If liquid or consumable, please make sure items are sealed and include ingredients on each item. If you have documentation include it (but don’t fret if you don’t)! With TRM’s permission, I’m looking forward to photographing many, if not all, of the donations to share on Facebook. If for any reason you do not want your work shared, please note that as well. We want to show all the amazing deeds of our kingdom and help inspire future participation!

Great ideas can be found on the Largesse Makers Facebook group, found here.

In Service by the Grace of Timothy & Gabrielle,
Countess Anna Leigh

Facebook: Anna Leigh
412-901-3581 Cell phone (between 9am-10pm)


Categories: SCA news sites

Miniature apothecary’s shop in cabinet form

History Blog - Sat, 2017-07-01 23:46

If the shamelessly indulgent excess of Baroque pietre dure cabinets are too ostentatious for your tastes, the Rijksmuseum has an alternative for you: an 18th century collector’s cabinet that opens into a miniature apothecary shop complete with every Barbie Dream Apothecary Shop accessory you could possibly conceive of in your nerdiest of fantasies.

It doesn’t have the glorious riot of colors and patterns you see in the hard stone inlay, but by no means was this a modest piece. About eight feet high and three feet wide and deep, the cabinet is made of oak and pine wood with veneers of walnut and olive wood, plus shell and ivory inlays and gold-plated copper accents. When its doors and drawers are closed, the cabinet looks like a handsome piece expertly built out of fine woods. The way the veneers are cut and installed to create Rorschach-like complex symmetrical patterns attest to the craftsman’s skill before you even get a glimpse at the spectacular interior.

It’s divided into the three horizontal sections. On the bottom is a wide, deep two-door closet in which important books and larger items in the collection were kept. The middle section consists of three drawers, two small ones above one large one the full width of the cabinet. The top is another two-door closet, smaller than the bottom level and unlike the veneered ones below, these doors are mirrored.

It’s the mirrored doors that open to reveal the plethora of cubbies, drawers, shelves, bottles and more than 300 Delftware jars that are so instantly recognizable as an apothecary’s shop. The scale is so accurate that when you look at the open cabinet without seeing the rest of the cabinet, it looks like you could walk right in and buy all the basil, dried scorpion, mummy flesh and Mithdridatum you need. (All of those materials are listed on the labels of the Delft pots, btw.) There’s even a faux tiled floor made with inlaid wood veneers that looks totally real.

Painted panels on both sides of the central wall represent the medical motif. The top left painting depicts Apollo, Greek god of healing, standing on a pedestal inscribed “Ars longa” (art is long). His counterpoint on the right side is the grim skeletonized figure of death holding his scythe, standing on a pedestal inscribed “Vita brevis” (life is short). Life and death are the stocks in trade of the medical professional, then as now, and the phrase “Ars longa, vita brevis” is a Latinized version of an aphorism written by the Greek physician Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine. The most prominent painted panel is the one on the center bottom in which a doctor examines a urine flask (which is a large part of what doctors did back then, other than read ancient sources). The painting to the right of this is a pharmacology student cooking something up in the lab; to one to the left is a room filled with books. They’re depictions of the practical, hands-on work, the book learning and the staring at pee that symbolize the broader medical profession, including pharmacology.

A pair of gilded putti hover at the top of the central wall. Above their heads they hold up a crown made of medicinal plants and in their other hands, a draped banner which bears the motto “Pietas, scientia, temperantia, vigilantia, et studium assiduum ornant pharmacopceum” (piety, knowledge, temperance, vigilance and assiduous study are ornaments to the pharmacist). The left, central and right walls of the miniature shop are covered head to toe with pharmacological specimens, each to its own, often labeled, jar or drawer. The Delft jars, some with spouts, others smooth-lipped, are all custom-made to fit the shop. There are dozens of them, each painted with their own label.

But no self-respecting cabinet would lay it all out there. Hidden compartments are a must, and this cabinet is no exception. The back “wall” of the shop conceals 56 more drawers, each divided into multiple compartments. Only five of them are empty. The rest still contain specimens of almost 2,000 plants, seeds, animal body parts, minerals, rocks and fossils, all deemed to have medicinal use back then. The whole back wall slides up to reveal its secret cache of drawers.

The maker of this masterpiece is unknown. Researchers have discovered that the cabinet was made around 1730 in Amsterdam, and the combination of quality materials, intensive attention to detail and the specificity of the pharmacological motif indicates this was a very expensive custom-made piece of furniture commissioned by a wealthy doctor or pharmacist. In the 18th century, the Dutch bourgeoisie, flush with profits from flourishing trade and business, enjoyed the conspicuous consumption the aristocracy had always indulged in, but put their own stamp on it. Instead of making collector’s cabinets that looked like church facades inlaid with a multitude of the hardest, most prized semi-precious stones, the kind of thing popes and princes were into it, the businessmen sought to create luxury versions of their own environments. What better way for a medical man to show off his collection of animal, vegetable and mineral specimens than in a cabinet that looks like a dollhouse version of his flawlessly appointed shop?

The Rijksmuseum acquired the cabinet in 1956, but it has very seldom been on display. It needed a great deal of study and conservation before it could be stabilized for its own safety and those of visitors. More than 50 experts were involved in this research project, and good thing too, because they found samples of uraninite and two other uranium-heavy minerals that had to be locked up in lead boxes and put into storage in accordance with the regulatory provisions of the Dutch Nuclear Energy Act.

The cabinet has now been conserved and has gone on display in the Rijksmuseum’s 18th century gallery. It is the only known 18th century miniature apothecary’s shop in the Netherlands, and will be displayed fully open so visitors can enjoy the cabinet in all its detail. The results of the research project has been published in a large-format book — so large the photographs capture the miniatures almost in real size — which can be preordered on Amazon (cost: $60) or purchased directly from the Rijksmuseum’s online store (cost: €40) starting July 3rd.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pax Interruptus: Lunch Menu

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-07-01 17:58

Pax Interruptus 41 is in one week!
What will you be eating there?
Glad you asked…

A talented group of head cooks who have not yet cooked a lunch (or a lunch in Thescorre) have planned a delicious menu of portable period items, under Mistress Bryn’s menu guidance and Baroness Katja’s logistical cat-herding.

Each cook has been responsible for choosing and cooking one or more of the recipes. Please welcome Duchess Branwyn ferch Gwythyr, Lady Cairistiona Symon, Lady Dubheasa inghean Dubgaill, Lord Eldjarn the Thoughtful, Lady Khalekin Erbekei (Talia of Thescorre), and Lady Lasairfhiona inghean Aindriasa.

Lunch is preregister only and limited to 100 gentles.

When you bring your preregistered lunch stub to the kitchen popup on the field, you will NOT need to hunt for or find your feast gear beforehand — you only need to bring your drinking vessel.

You will receive a plastic spoon and hot cup filled with:

  • Lentil soup (generous ladles of bacon bits will be added for those who are not vegetarian)

You will also receive a tied cloth napkin filled with various items in individual ziplok bags or wrapped in aluminum foil:

  • Fresh seasonal fruit & dried fruit (most likely grapes and dates)
  • Olives
  • Homemade Flatbread
  • Herb- & Garlic-Marinated Chicken Kabobs on Skewers
  • Fried Parmesan Zucchini Spears
  • Caraway & Pepper Cucumbers
  • Pickled Carrots
  • Cinnamon Shortbread
  • Butter Cookies with Currants

There will also be a large drink dispenser filled with iced water; you can add your choices of:

  • Lemon Syrup
  • Sikanjabin (mint vinegar) Syrup, or
  • Lemon slices

The recipes are here:
http://www.katjaorlova.com/2017_Pax_menubook.pdf

Official event announcement is here. Payment must be in the reservationist’s hands by Wednesday, July 5.

Join the Facebook event page here for the list of lunch items to avoid for certain food issues, schedule updates, etc.

(by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France))


Categories: SCA news sites

Neolithic funerary urn found in Yorkshire barrow

History Blog - Fri, 2017-06-30 23:09

Archaeologists have discovered a rare complete Late Neolithic funerary urn in Silsden, West Yorkshire. The clay vessel dates to around 3,000 B.C. and was buried in a prehistoric barrow discovered on the site of a future housing development. Because it was clear to the naked eye that there were archaeological features on site, a terrace on the north side of the River Aire, developers Barratt Homes engaged Prospect Archaeology (PA) to organize a seven-week excavation before construction began. PA brought in contractors Archaeological Services WYAS (ASWYAS) to evaluate and excavate the site.

The ASWYAS team began with a geophysical scan of the property. The magnetometer picked up anomalous features consistent with Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age burials. Excavation confirmed the results of the scan. Just under the surface of the terrace was a prehistoric barrow bounded by a double ditch. Few artifacts and remains were discovered, but the ones that were are notable. Among the few flints unearthed was a Neolithic leaf-shaped arrowhead, a later flint blade and most significantly, a complete collared clay urn. The artifacts, size and design of the barrow indicates it was first created around 5,000 to 4,500 years ago in the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age.

The barrow is only part of a larger complex. About 100 meters (330 feet) from the barrow is squared space enclosed by ditches is probably a mortuary enclosure, used in funerary rites that culminated in the barrow burial. On the outside of the barrow’s outermost ditch archaeologists found a pit alignment — a lined up series of pits that delimit an area in the same way boundary ditches do — that dates to the Iron Age, 1,500 years after the barrow was first made. Pit alignments are still somewhat mysterious. Archaeologists aren’t sure if they were dug that way in haste — some were later dug out into full-on ditches — or if there was a deliberate purpose to the pit design. Soil samples have been taken from the bottom of the pits so that they can be dated and analyzed for more information.

The large urn was decorated with engraved lines in the collar. These types of vessels are believed to have been used primarily for burial or other ritual purposes. The Silsden pot falls into line with its brethren. It was found buried in a pit near the center point of the round barrow. Archaeologists believe it was the primary burial, the reason the barrow was built. This pot was not the only burial found in the barrow. Other pottery vessels that may contain human remains and a later cremation burial were unearthed from the barrow and its associated ditches. That means the barrow was recognized and used reverently for hundreds of years well into the Bronze Age.

To ensure its precious contents, which may still contain human remains, were not disturbed or worse, carried away by a stiff breeze, during excavation in situ, the main pot was wrapped on site and raised intact so it could be transported safely to the conservation lab and excavated in a contained and controlled environment. After excavation, conservation and study, the funeral urn will probably go on display at the Cliffe Castle Museum.

The excavation of the Silsden site also found later remains, mainly evidence of agricultural usage like field ditches, ridge and furrow cultivation from the Middle Ages, and relatively new features added in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of them in particular deserves a spotlight dance: a dry stone wall built to mark a boundary line or enclose a field. It is a real beauty and I feel compelled to give it a vigorous, even vehement, Charles Foster Kane clap. I love a great dry stone wall, and apparently Yorkshire is crisscrossed with them, like a great patchwork quilt with masonry seams. The craft is still very much alive, with drystone walling associations and training programs to ensure there will be a new generation of builders keeping the tradition, and any historic walls in need of repair, standing proud.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Calling All Artisans

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-06-30 23:09

River War will soon be upon us. Lady Aibhilin inghean Ui Phaidin, the Coordinator of Artisans’ Row and Youth Activities, sends greetings. Join her on Labor Day weekend when there will be ample space under 2 large pavilions for artisans to show their skills.

They are looking for Artisans from a variety of disciplines…glass bead making, metal smithing, cooking, fiber arts, music, scribal arts, etc… Please contact Lady Aibhilin (Erica Janowitz) at erislp@gmail.com if you’d like to be part of Artisans’ Row and have any questions.


Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events Tagged: a&s

Archaeologist on vacation finds ancient figurine

History Blog - Thu, 2017-06-29 23:56

Archaeologist Piotr Alagierski was enjoying his vacation, taking a leisurely Sunday stroll through a farmed field in the southeastern Poland village of Kosina when he came across a small clay figurine. Just seven centimeters (2.8 inches) long, the little man was missing some of his parts. Only his head, torso and one arm or hand remain. What was left of him was enough for Alagierski to conclude that the fired clay piece is a Neolithic figurine that may be as much as 7,000 years old.

If that age is confirmed, it will make the figurine one of the oldest depictions of a human ever found in Poland and an object of national significance. Even among the few pieces from this period that have been found, he is extremely rare. The others have the voluptuous bodies and exaggerated sex characteristics frequently seen in prehistoric mother figures. All the detail in these types of figures tends to be centered on the breasts, belly and genitalia, not on facial features or adornments. The Kosina figurine takes a different approach.

“The style in which the figurine was made is surprising. It resembles similar figurines from Slovakia and Romania” – explained [Piotr Alagierski]. […]

“It is different in this case. The details of the head are clearly modelled – the hair, the nose, the chin are visible. There is a visible indentation on the chest, probably representing a garment, probably a tunic. A necklace is visible on the neck” – the archaeologist described. Contrary to the few figurines from this period previously found in Poland, this one does not have prominent sex features.

“In the field around the figurine I also noticed large quantities of fragments of ceramic vessels and obsidian, volcanic glass, which is produced by the instantaneous cooling of the lava. This material is also known from the areas of Poland’s neighboring countries: Ukraine and Slovakia” – Alagierski described in an interview with PAP.

Alagierski believes the area where the figurine was found was an agricultural settlement founded by some of the first farmers to make a living from the land in what is now Poland. That’s what he’s basing the date of the figurine on — that there was a farm on the site from early in the shift to agriculture, and that the figurine is contemporaneous with said settlement — which seems tenuous to me so early in the investigation.

We may get some firmer answers soon. Alagierski plans to excavate the site to find material evidence of the settlement and to flesh out the context in which the figurine was discovered. The figurine itself will also be studied. Researchers will run a series of chemical analyses that will determine where the clay came from. Given the objects and materials Alagierski saw in the field, it’s possible that the clay may not have been local, but rather from north of the Carpathians, which would suggest either population movements or trade with neighbors to the north.

The figurine is now in the custody of the Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments in Rzeszow.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Wood beams, furniture preserved by fire found in Rome

History Blog - Wed, 2017-06-28 23:55

The construction of Rome’s Metro Line C continues to be the archaeological gift that keeps on giving. The latest discovery is an early 3rd century villa that collapsed in a fire. The intense heat of the blaze charred wooden beams and the collapse of the structure on top of them helped preserved the organic remains for 1,800 years.

Organic remains preserved by instant carbonization have been found at Pompeii and Herculaneum, but those cities succumbed to a cataclysmic volcanic eruption that froze everything in time. Buildings burned down in Rome all the time, some fires spreading rapidly throughout the city like the Great Fire of 64 A.D. over which Nero is said to have sung mournfully about the destruction of Troy, some relatively contained either by (rudimentary) firefighting measures or by a fortuitous separation between buildings.

Surviving organic remains, however, are extremely rare in the city of Rome. Even though the tightly-packed, wood-heavy ancient city was subject to regular conflagrations, most of the evidence for them in the archaeological record consists of marks, dark spots indicating charring. Thousands of years of battling the water table and Tiber floods and construction over construction have made Rome a tough environment for the preservation of wood, textiles and organics of any type. The discovery of fire-preserved wood from a villa in the city is therefore an extremely exciting find.

“The fire that stopped life in this environment allows us to image life in a precise moment,” said Francesco Prosperetti, in charge of Rome’s archaeological ruins and excavations.

Experts say the Rome ruins might be from an aristocrat’s home at the foot of the nearby Celian Hill or from a nearby military barracks, which itself had been explored in other excavations for the subway line.

The remains were discovered last month at the bottom of a 33-foot hole bored into Rome’s undercarriage near the ancient Aurelian Walls (built between 271 and 275 A.D.). The most significant find was a charred wooden ceiling that collapsed during the fire. It is unique in Rome’s archaeological record. Pieces of furniture, hardened by the fire, also survived: the leg of a stool or table, a larger leg or foot believed to have come from a trunk, and two tables, one large rectangular one, one smaller piece. Other surviving wooden architectural features include a wooden railing or balustrade, rectangular wooden joists that acted as anchors for the rods that attach the plaster to the ceilings and walls, and a large support beam for the floor that Vitruvius described in De architectura as a contignatio. The beam still has notches where the transverse beams were once installed and a large iron nail driven into the middle of it. Fragments of a wooden window jamb with traces of the glass panes still extant were also found.

Non-organic features have survived in fine condition as well. There are frescoed sections of brickwork wall dating to the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus (late 2nd, early 3rd century) decorated with delicate red florals against a white background. Part of a black-and-white mosaic floor that had once been on the upper story of the building survived its plummet with its handsome double border, heart-shaped leaves and wave pattern intact.

In another nod to famous Pompeiian finds, the skeleton of a dog still posed in the crouching stance it was in when it died, was found at the door of the house. Archaeologists think it was trying to escape the fire but was trapped by falling debris when the building collapsed. The dog’s jaw complete with teeth has remained surprisingly intact. The skeleton of a second smaller animal found at the site, possibly the dog’s puppy or a cat, has yet to be identified.

The architectural and decorative materials are all in good state of preservation thanks to the fire, and archaeologists will study them in detail to discover new information about how wealthy Romans of the 3rd century lived, how their homes were built and furnished. Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) will also study the site. They hope to determine whether the fire and collapse were caused by an earthquake.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic Newcomer Guides Updated for Pennsic 46

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2017-06-28 17:22

Are you a Pennsic “virgin” wondering what you are getting yourself into and how to prepare?

Wonder no more! Our series on Pennsic has been updated for Pennsic 46! Click the links below to access each article.

Enjoy, and have fun at Pennsic!

Photo Credit: Lord Darter the Chronicler


Categories: SCA news sites

Touch a 1,000-year-old Viking palisade

History Blog - Tue, 2017-06-27 23:34

The town of Jelling in Jutland, Denmark, was the seat of the earliest kings of Denmark in the 10th century. Today the Jelling complex consists of two large burial mounds, two monumental runestones and a small church built on the site of three earlier wooden churches going back 1,000 years. The combination of tumuli, runestones and church capture the transition from the traditional Norse religion to Christianity. King Gorm the Old, the first king of Denmark, dedicated the smaller and older of the runestones. The inscription translates to: “King Gormr made this monument in memory of Thyrvé, his wife, Denmark’s adornment.” His son Harald Bluetooth had the second, much larger stone raised and its runic inscription reads: “King Harald bade this monument be made in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra his mother, that Harald who won for himself all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians.”

Within the perimeter of Jelling, the massive cultural shift from the reign of Gorm (936- ca. 958) to that of Harald (958– ca. 986) is documented in language, funerary and religious architecture. That’s why the Jelling mounds, runestones and church are on the UNESCO World Heritage List and why the site is one of the most important in Danish history.

In 2006, archaeologists were able to explore a previously inaccessible area: the bed of a pond across from Gorm’s Mound. Before a planned renovation, the pond was pumped dry giving archaeologists the opportunity to excavate the mucky bottom looking for remains of the large wooden stockade that once encircled the royal estate at Jelling. Postholes from the stockade had been found before, but no physical remains. The stockade was known to have intersected part of what is now the pond, and therefore there was a chance the thick clay and mud on the bottom of the pond had preserved the organic remains of the stockade’s timbers. Viking-era reports suggested there had been a body of water in the area when the stockade was built, so conditions for preservation of wood may have existed on site since the 10th century.

Excavation along what was believed to be the stockade line hit the jackpot almost immediately. Just over two feet under the pond bed surface, archaeologists unearthed four large oak posts. Radiocarbon dating of samples taken from three of posts found that all samples were approximately 1,000 years old. In later excavations (2012-3), archaeologists found vertical stakes also made of oak. They are 4-5 inches thick and were driven directly into the clay of the pond bed two-by-two. There was no ditch dug into the soil first as in evidence elsewhere along the palisade line. This could only have been accomplished if the site was already watery when the stockade was built in the 10th century by Harald Bluetooth who greatly enhanced the Jelling defenses.

King Harald’s stockade was a huge, kite-shaped fence measuring around 1180 x 1180 feet, totaling just under a mile of wooden palisades at least 10 feet high. There’s evidence of some sort of superstructure at the top of the fence, perhaps a parapet for defenders to patrol. It is by far the largest Viking fenced-in space ever discovered in Denmark or Scandinavia. It’s also the only kite-shaped palisade known. The discovery of the timbers has been a boon to research on the architecture and layout of Jelling. Excavations also unearthed evidence of three different longhouses and a boat burial, although no boat remains have survived.

So far, the oak posts and vertical stakes are all of the physical remains archaeologists have found of the stockade. One of their dearest wishes came true when they found a timber large enough among the thick, square planks to be dated with dendrochronological examination (i.e., tree ring counting). The wood posts and stakes were recovered from the pond site and transported to the National Museum’s Conservation Department in Brede. They were dendrochronologically dated to between 958 and 985 A.D., with 968 A.D. the likeliest year for the felling of the oak tree.

Even if the widest dates prove accurate, these years fall squarely into the reign of Harald Bluetooth, confirming the timbers found were part of Harald’s defensive expansion. After four years, the timbers have been stabilized and will go on display starting June 29th at the National Museum’s Jelling branch. The exhibition will explain to visitors the challenges in building such a huge structure in Jelling a thousand years ago. Just securing enough large oak trees for a palisade a mile long would have been enormously difficult; cutting them down, processing them and carrying them to Jelling added exponentially to the level of difficulty.

The surviving wood planks and posts will be displayed in custom cases, protected from light, heat, fluctuating moisture levels, humans and the wide variety of damaging microorganisms we take with us wherever we go. All except for one small fragment from the palisade that would have disappeared compared to the larger pieces behind the glass. Curators therefore decided to allow guests to touch a piece of a 10th century Viking stockade that once enclosed the royal compound of kings Gorm and Harald. Since it was Harald Bluetooth who ordered this stockade built, it’s eminently possibly that he even touched that same sliver of wood that Jelling visitors will now get to touch.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Original 1953 Disneyland concept map sells for $708,000

History Blog - Mon, 2017-06-26 23:50


The first map of Disneyland, created in a single frenetic weekend of 1953 by Walt Disney and Disney artist Herb Ryman, sold at a Van Eaton Galleries auction in Los Angeles on Sunday for $708,000. That’s on the low-end of the $700,000 to $900,000 pre-sale estimate — some breathless reports before the auction suggested the price could top $1 million — but it still sets a record for the most expensive Disneyland map ever sold, even though it’s not an actual map of the real life Disneyland.

The map was created to use in a pitch to a potential investor, the television studio ABC which was then just five years old. Walt Disney’s idea for a theme park nestled in the orange groves of Anaheim, California, sounded like a cockamamie scheme to most money people and Walt and his brother Roy were repeatedly turned down. Walt was so convinced this was a winning idea that he refinanced his home to raise money for the enterprise, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough. Construction of Disneyland would cost $17 million and to convinced financial types to invest that kind of money, Walt realized he needed to create a visual representation of his idea so they could get it without having to use their limited imaginations.

On September 26th and 27th, 1953, the weekend before Roy Disney’s pitch meeting with ABC executives in New York City, Walt Disney and Herb Ryman sealed themselves in to a room at Disney Studio a drew up a map. Disney told Ryman what to draw, and Ryman penciled his boss’ vision on a sheet of vellum. He then transferred the drawing to more durable paper and hand-inked and colored it. The map was mounted on a three-fold presentation board and Roy Disney hustled it off to New York to present Walt’s vision to the ABC people. It worked. In exchange for a Disney-produced TV series to be aired on the network, ABC agreed to finance the construction of Disneyland, still the biggest network deal in history adjusted for inflation. (Disney bought all of ABC’s shares of Disneyland in 1960 and 36 years later bought ABC itself.)

In October, Roy brought the map back to California where it was used throughout 1953 and 1954 to show designers, investors, engineers and artists what Walt had in mind. It was altered several times in 1954 — lines darkened, colors added, new cars hooked up to the train, the scroll gussied up — and was repeatedly featured in the advanced publicity materials from September 19th, 1954, until the park’s opening on July 15th, 1955.

It didn’t keep up with the planning, though. Land of Tomorrow on the map became Tomorrowland in the park. Frontier Country became Frontierland. Lilliputian Land never happened at all. Sleeping Beauty Castle, the center point of Disneyland, is way at the back of the park in the concept map. The train station and Main Street square do match up with the real Disneyland.

Even though the map had been essential to securing the funding for Walt Disney’s brainchild and in promoting it in the months before its opening, Walt gave it away without hesitation before the park was even completed. The lucky recipient was one Grenade Curran, a show business veteran and jack of all trades who worked at Walt Disney Studios.

Grenade’s father was Charles Curran, an adept with the hand-held camera who became both Clark Gable’s and Roy Rogers’ personal cameraman. His mother had been an MGM dancer in her youth and had a very successful later career in the studio’s scenic art department. With an uncle and cousin in the business as well, Grenade grew up on the backlots of Hollywood. He was buddies with some of the most famous actors of all time and their children. From the time he was a baby, he was in front of the camera in commercials and movies. As an adult, he followed in his mother’s proverbial footsteps and worked as a background dancer in classic MGM musicals like Singin’ in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and The Band Wagon. Over his decades in the business, he also worked behind the camera, touching every aspect of production from wardrobe to set design to direction.

In 1954 he got his first job with Walt Disney Studios working as a safety diver on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas. Several other behind-the-scenes jobs followed in Disney pictures and television shows. Walt Disney knew Curran’s family and he took a liking to Grenade, not the least because of his undeniably kickass first name. So even though he was just a regular production guy, not an executive, animator or an artist, Grenade found himself in the middle of historic events thanks to that jocular rapport he had with Disney.

After the deal was struck in New York, Walt Disney showed Grenade the first check from ABC and the check the mortgage company gave him when he refinanced his home. Grenade also saw the map, witnessing artists make changes and additions at Disney’s command. In March of 1955, Grenade asked him what he planned to do with the map and then boldly asked if he could have it. Walt said yes and Grenade Curran became the proud owner of the first map of Disneyland.

Construction on the park began in 1954 and on July 15th, 1955, Disneyland had its World Premiere Invitational Opening broadcast live on television and hosted by Art Linkletter, Ronald Reagan and Robert Cummins. Walt Disney assigned Grenade Curran to drive one of the Autopia cars in the very first Main Street Parade led by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Actor Don DeFore road in the car with him.

The opening was supposed to be an invitation-only preview, a show for celebrities and tantalizing glimpse brought to the rest of the country by ABC, but word got out and the public showed up in droves. The park, which was still under construction as of that morning, wasn’t even remotely ready for the 50,000 people who clamored to ride the teacups, moon over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and squeal with delighted horrors through Snow White’s haunted forest. The asphalt on the streets melted in the 100 degree Anaheim heat. The toilets backed up. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. And yet, the massive failure of the opening day was also proof that Disneyland was a major draw, would make all of its costs back lickety-split and basically turn out to be a license to print money.

Curran knew when he got the map that it was significant as a piece of history and a unique example of Walt Disney’s creativity and his team’s artistry. When Disneyland’s success birthed a myriad theme parks all over the world, he realized the map marked the beginning of a global cultural phenomenon. He kept it for 25 years before selling it to avid Disney collector Ron Clark. Clark has had it in a vault ever since. The map went on display for the first time in more than 60 years earlier this month at the auction preview.

The buyer has chosen to remain anonymous but appears to be a private collector. Clark had hoped the map would be acquired by Disney so it could go home, but they must not have been bidding because there’s no way a company with pockets as deep as Disney’s wouldn’t push the hammer price above the low estimate.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Æthelmearc Family Party at Pennsic

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-06-26 16:51

The children preparing to chase the toy box. Photo by Lady Mary Christina Lowe, aka Jinx.

Duchess Ilish O’Donovan and Dame Hrefna Ulfvarinnsdottir send fond greetings!

Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle, have once again charged us to create a wonderful party for the kingdom’s families and children, which is scheduled on Sunday, August 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in AE Royal. It is Their Majesties wish to have games, face painting, crafts, prizes, treats, and snacks for all who attend. 

As organizers, we are reaching out to you for support to help make the Æthelmearc Family/Children’s Party a wonderful and great time for all!

With that, we are looking for donations toward the party to help support and defray the cost so all who attend may enjoy themselves. We are planning for 75 children. Below are some of the items we are currently looking for and hope some of you will be willing to donate:

  • Prizes for the games (ideas are necklaces, containers of bubbles, little things you might get at a carnival game or fair) – The Dollar Tree is a good brick and mortar source for inexpensive items. Oriental Trading Company is a good online source.
  • Donations of snacks (gummy treats, cookies, pretzels, chips, etc….)
  • Setting up a game or craft sponsored by you or your group.
  • Items for a prize table – suggestions include books, notebooks, small toys, small stuffed animals, period games, etc.
  • Volunteers to help run games, crafts, and entertainment for the children and their families.

These are just a few ways that you and your group can help. If you have any questions or are willing to donate or volunteer to help make this year’s Family party a huge success, please contact us. We thank you, and I know Their Majesties thank you as well.

More information and updates are available on Facebook.

For Æthelmearc!

Duchess Ilish and Dame Hrefna

Contacts:
Duchess Ilish: illish_o@hotmail.com
Dame Hrefna: ravenstyx@gmail.com


Categories: SCA news sites

Large collection of Nazi objects found in Buenos Aires

History Blog - Sun, 2017-06-25 23:51

Argentina’s federal police and Interpol discovered a secret cache of Nazi artifacts in a Buenos Aires home earlier this month. It was an accidental find. The police were looking for smuggled Chinese art, antiquities and mummies but instead found around 75 Nazi objects in a room at the end of a secret passageway whose entrance was hidden behind a bookshelf. The collection is varied but appears to be of very high end material — magnifying glasses, telescopes, firearms, medals, an award from Krupp, a Reichsadler (imperial eagle) manufactured by Carl Eickhorn of Solingen, busts and reliefs of Hitler, a presentation dagger with carved antler handle and swastika medallion, swastika-branded toys like board games and harmonicas to help raise good Nazi children. It is the largest collection of Nazi tat ever found in Argentina.

Officials believe these pieces may have been entered Argentina with one of the high-ranking Nazi officials who traveled to the country either during the party’s heyday or who fled there after Germany’s defeat. The monster/doctor Josef Mengele who used Auschwitz inmates as guinea pigs in his sickening and usually fatal experiments lived in Buenos Aires for more than a decade from 1949 until 1960. Adolf Eichmann, one of the main architects of the Holocaust who was “just following orders,” was captured by Mossad agents in Buenos Aires in 1960, tried in Israel, convicted and executed. The home where the secret trove was found is in Beccar, a northern suburb of Buenos Aires. Both Mengele and Eichmann lived in Beccar during their sojourns in the Argentinian capital.

The name of the homeowner has not been released. All the authorities will say about this individual is that he is a collector who claims to have acquired the Nazi memorabilia in a single purchase 25 years ago from an Argentinian national. He has an eclectic group of 17 different collections, including a collection of erotica which features highly decorative Russian dildos from the Tsarist era. The collector has yet to be charged for any crime, but he is accused of smuggling (charges unrelated to the Nazi artifacts) and is being investigated for illegal sale of Nazi propaganda. He insists he wasn’t selling any of those objects and his ownership of them is not against the law.

Meanwhile, the objects have yet to be authenticated. No matter what he was doing with them, if they’re fakes, it’s not illegal even if he was trying to sell them. The police have called in historians to study the pieces and help determine their origin.

“Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces,” Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told The Associated Press on Monday, saying that some pieces were accompanied by old photographs. “This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer. There are photos of him with the objects.” […]

Police say one of the most-compelling pieces of evidence of the historical importance of the find is a photo negative of Hitler holding a magnifying glass similar to those found in the boxes.

“We have turned to historians and they’ve told us it is the original magnifying glass” that Hitler was using, said Nestor Roncaglia, head of Argentina’s federal police. “We are reaching out to international experts to deepen” the investigation.

Militaria expert and appraiser Bill Panagopulos of Alexander Historical Auctions disputes the police’s initial conclusions in the strongest possible terms, calling the objects “carnival-quality garbage” and “a bunch of ersatz liverwurst.”

There’s no question that authentication is going to be challenging, if not impossible. The Eickhorn company still exists today in Solingen, for example, but their records are patchy thanks to the disruption war and several bankruptcies. They found nothing in the archives matching the Eickhorn pieces found in Buenos Aires, and counterfeits abound.

Once the investigation is complete, the plan is to give the artifacts to the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires. Whether this actually happens remains to be seen. If they prove to be fakes, the museum may not be interested, and even if they are authentic, this could well end up in civil court if the collector files a claim of legitimate ownership.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Ancient cemetery found during work on new Managua stadium

History Blog - Sat, 2017-06-24 23:11

A few days ago, workers with Nicaragua’s National Electric Transmission Company (Enatrel) discovered six large pottery vessels while digging a ditch for a substation to power the new National Baseball Stadium currently under construction in Managua. They called in experts from the archaeological department of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture (INC) who excavated the site further and discovered more than 30 of those large vessels. They also found the vestiges of inhumation burials, skeletal human remains and smaller pieces of pottery. Archaeologists believe this was a Pre-Columbian cemetery dating to sometime between 800 and 1350 A.D., although those dates have yet to be confirmed.

The skeletal remains are few and scattered. One of the most intact skeletons has a skull with some teeth still in the jaw (important features if there’s any hope of stable isotope analysis or DNA extraction), ribs, arm and leg bones. Its hand and feet, however, are missing.

Some of the large pottery vessels contain human remains as well, and while their contents haven’t been thoroughly examined in situ, these were almost certainly Pre-Columbian funerary urns. Even though they were found buried less than three feet under the surface, many of them are in excellent condition, complete with fitted lids, reliefs and engraved images of animals like iguanas and human faces. Some even have traces of the original polychrome paint. They come in a variety of shapes — squashed spheres, pot-bellied, horizontal alien egg with the lid all the way to one side.

According to INC Director of Archeology Ivonne Miranda, this is a finding of national significance. It’s the first funerary complex found in Nicaragua with such a density of burials in the same small area. The ancient cemetery site hasn’t been populated in modern times, which is damn good luck because there’s no way these delicate remains and ceramics would have survived major construction just a few feet underground, but centuries ago the indigenous people who lived in what is now Managua settled there because of the ample sources of water from a nearby lake and rivers.

Other objects from the period have been found in Masaya and Granada, about 20 miles southeast of Managua, and in Rivas, about 56 miles south of the capital. Archaeologists hope this historic find will shed new light on the population and culture of the region.

“This allows us to understand a little better how the dispersion of these materials in the same space of time … and try to rescue the cultural identity of the old settlers of Managua,” Miranda said.

The archaeological discovery also “helps us to know about the behavior of our pre-Hispanic societies,” Miranda said.

Excavations are still ongoing. The urns, remains and other artifacts will be transferred to the National Palace of Culture where they will be analyzed in the National Museum’s laboratory.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Vomitorium, small horse hoof found at Colchester Roman circus

History Blog - Fri, 2017-06-23 23:14

A three-week excavation on the site of the Roman circus in Colchester, southeast England, has unearthed the remains of one of the circus’ passageways and the hoof bone of a small horse. The Colchester circus was built in the 2nd century A.D. as a venue for chariot racing. It is the only Roman circus ever discovered in the UK and it’s the only one ever found north of the Alps. Its characteristic U-shaped arena was 450 meters (1476 feet) long had eight starting gates plus a monumental archway at the flat end of the U. There were three tiers of bleachers around the arena with one large entrance passage at the curved end and multiple other passageways through which the estimated 8,000 spectactors attending the races could enter and leave the stands. These entrances/exits were known as vomitoria in Latin because of the crowds that spewed forth from them. Some were also used by the staff for the quick removal of mangled bodies, human and equine, and chariots from the arena floor.

The Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT), which raised funds to save the circus from being buried under a housing development and then even more funds to buy the adjacent Victorian barracks to expand the excavation and build a new visitor’s center, has been excavating the site for more than a decade and still don’t know precisely how many passageways the circus had. They estimate there were 12 of them. The newly discovered vomitorium is only the fifth unearthed so far and it is the best preserved of the five. Six Roman feet (5.8 feet) wide, it has a north-south orientation and led from outside the arena to the southern stands. Archaeologists thought the passageway in this section was about 20 feet east of the one they found, so the discovery came as a surprise.

Another happy surprise was a small but significant find: a small hoof bone. Just 6 cm (2.4 inches) wide, 3.5 cm (1.4 inches) high and 4.2 cm (1.7 inches) deep, it’s the coffin bone, aka the distal phalanx, the core of the hoof. Its diminutive size — comparable to a large Shetland pony’s — suggests it came from a small female horse or a pony. The clean symmetrical shape and lack of wear indicates this was a young horse, but there is evidence of arthritis which would not be present in a young horse unless it was subjected to major physical strain. The sharp turns and hard running of the chariot races — each race required competitors to do 14 turns around the central spina and breakneck speed — would certainly qualify.

The bone was found inside the passageway. If this particular passageway was used for the removal of charioteers, horses and equipment that met a Ben Hur-like end in the arena, the little hoof could be all that remains of one of the equine athletes.

Mr Crummy said: “It is another exciting find but quite ambiguous as to what it means.

“There has been a long-running debate about the size of the horses which would have been used to race the chariots and this discovery suggests they would have been quite small.

“It suggests it would have been about nine hands quite is small but the bone has not been looked at properly yet.”

Even if the horse wasn’t part of a chariot team, the bone is a significant find because horse remains are very rarerly discovered on the site of a Roman circus. Other ancient hoof bones have been found in Colchester, but not in the circus itself. They were also larger.

You can explore the newly discovered circus entrance in this 3D model:

Entrance
by Alec Wade
on Sketchfab

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Previously unknown daguerreotype of Sophia Thoreau gifted to museum

History Blog - Thu, 2017-06-22 23:57

The Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts, has an extensive collection of artifacts from Concord’s Native American, Colonial, Revolutionary and 19th century history. The town’s pivotal role in the opening salvos of the War of Independence, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, is represented by, among other treasures, the lantern Paul Revere had hung in the steeple of Boston’s Old North Church to warn the colonial militia that the British regulars were coming by land, and the Amos Barrett powder horn which was used at the Battle of Concord on April 19th, 1775.

Concord is just as prominent in 19th century literary history. Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose father was raised in Concord, moved there in 1835 and his circle of Transcendentalist writers and thinkers grew around him. The likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott wrote seminal works as part of Emerson’s Concord crew.

It’s Henry David Thoreau, however, who left his greatest mark on Concord and its museum. He was one of Emerson’s circle, but he didn’t follow him to Concord; Thoreau was a native Concordian, the son of a local pencil maker father and committed abolitionist mother. Their family home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Walden Pond, where he lived in a little cottage for two years and wrote his seminal work Walden is in Concord. He wrote Civil Disobedience after spending a night in Concord jail for refusing to pay taxes in protest of slavery.

Unlike Emerson’s, Thoreau’s writings were largely dismissed during his lifetime, especially his political essays which would have such a profound influence on world-changing figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. His writings on natural history, primarily Walden, got more attention, but they received mixed reviews at best. Even though his friend and literary luminary Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered the eulogy at his funeral after he died of tuberculosis in 1862, Thoreau didn’t even get his own individual obituary. It was lumped in with a group of other people who had recently died.

His younger sister Sophia, an accomplished botanist whose precision and artistry in mounting specimens was and is staggering, took on the responsibility of maintaining her brother’s legacy. They had been very close — Thoreau was no social butterfly and could be a cantankerous cuss even with his close friends, but he was a loving and warm sibling — and enjoyed their shared interest in naturalism. He recorded several times in his journals that she had discovered botanical specimens he’d never seen before. Her particular skill was in pressing and attaching plants to a backing sheet with strips of paper that were entirely invisible once she was done. They were so good that a professional like Louis Agassiz, Harvard’s first professor of botany, acquired some of Sophia’s specimens. Several of her specimens now in the Concord Museum include tributes to great authors including Emerson, Shakespeare, and of course her beloved brother. She wrote verses from their poetry in ink on pressed leaves.

Their bond and love of nature is sweetly illustrated in this passage from Thoreau’s journal dated May 22, 1853.

When yesterday Sophia and I were rowing past Mr. Prichard’s land, where the river is bordered by a row of elms and low willows, at 6 P.M., we heard a singular note of distress as if it were from a catbird — a loud, vibrating, catbird sort of note, as if the catbird’s mew were imitated by a smart vibrating spring. Blackbirds and others were flitting about, apparently attracted by it. At first, thinking it was merely some peevish catbird or red-wing, I was disregarding it, but on second thought turned the bows to the shore, looking into the trees as well as over the shore, thinking some bird might be in distress, caught by a snake or in a forked twig. The hovering birds dispersed at my approach; the note of distress sounded louder and nearer as I approached the shore covered with low osiers. The sound came from the ground, not from the trees. I saw a little black animal making haste to meet the boat under the osiers. A young muskrat? a mink? No, it was a little dot of a kitten. It was scarcely six inches long from the face to the base — or I might as well say the tip — of the tail, for the latter was a short, sharp pyramid, perfectly perpendicular but not swelled in the least. It was a very handsome and precocious kitten, in perfectly good condition, its breadth being considerably more than one third of its length. Leaving its mewing, it came scrambling over the stones as fast as its weak legs would permit straight to me. I took it up and dropped it into the boat, but while I was pushing off it ran to Sophia, who held it while we rowed homeward. Evidently it had not been weaned — was smaller than we remembered that kittens ever were — almost infinitely small; yet it had hailed a boat, its life being in danger, and saved itself. Its performance, considering its age and amount of experience, was more wonderful than that of any young mathematician or musician that I have read of.

Sophia edited The Maine Woods, a collection of articles he’d written about his travels in what was then an unspoiled wilderness, and Cape Cod and saw them through publication. She also preserved Thoreau’s belongings, manuscripts and journals. Practically everything of Thoreau’s in museums and collections today is a result of Sophia’s commitment to her keeping her brother’s memory and literary legacy alive.

Today the Concord Museum has the largest collection of Thoreau-related objects in the world. More than 250 pieces of his furniture, glassware, books, pictures, manuscripts, pottery and textiles are in the Concord Museum, including the green pine desk on which he wrote Walden and Civil Disobedience. Fully half of the objects in the Concord Museum’s Thoreau collection came directly or indirectly from Sophia. The rest came from donations and purchases over the past 50 years.

July 12th is the bicentennial of the birth of Henry David Thoreau. The Concord Museum has even more cause to celebrate because a previously unknown daguerreotype of Sophia Thoreau has come to light and has been donated to the museum. It was bequeathed to the Concord Museum by the Geneva Frost Estate in Maine. Curator David Wood and collection’s manager Tricia Gilrein went to Maine and retrieve the rare image.

The daguerreotype of Sophia will go on display at the Concord Museum in This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal, the first major exhibition dedicated to Henry David Thoreau, which opens in Concord on September 29th, 2017. The exhibition is currently at the Morgan Library & Museum, collaborators with the Concord Museum on this very special show. Thoreau journaled his entire adult life, recording his thoughts, observations of his surroundings, books he’d read, and botanical data from Walden that scientists are still studying today. When the exhibition opens in Concord, the new image of Sophia will be displayed next to her brother’s quill pen, one of the many artifacts that she preserved for posterity. It still bears a tag with labelled in Sophia’s own hand: “The pen that brother Henry last wrote with.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Eastern Results From the April 2017 LoAR

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-06-22 21:58

The Society College of Arms runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.

The following results are from the April 2017 Wreath and Pelican meetings. The submissions in this letter are from Herald’s Point at Pennsic 2016.

EAST acceptances

Áine Dhána. Name and device. Per chevron sable and vert, three triskelions of spirals counterchanged argent and Or.

Submitted as Áine Dhánae, we have corrected the byname to Dhána_ to make the orthography internally consistent for post-1200 Gaelic.

There is a step from period practice for the use of a triskelion of spirals.

Alaxandair Mórda mac Matha. Name and device. Sable, an escutcheon within an orle Or.

Alton Hewes. Badge. Per chevron throughout sable and azure, in base an annulet Or surmounted by a sword proper.

Artist’s note: Please draw the annulet more centered on the sable portion of the field.

Anne Forneau. Name.

Ato no Sumime. Name.

Brian of Stonemarche. Name and device. Argent, a chevron inverted sable between a chabot gules and two chabots azure.

Stonemarche is the registered name of an SCA branch.

The submitter requested authenticity for “English.” Although Stonemarche is an SCA branch name, it can also be constructed as an English place name from attested elements.

Thus, while the name is not “authentic” as the College defines that term, the construction is consistent with 13th-14th century English naming practices.

This is the defining instance of the chabot in SCA heraldry. The chabot is a fresh-water flatfish, a species of bullhead, found in period armory in the canting arms of Cabos or Cabot, c.1400 [Wapenboek Beyeren, folio 25v]. Unlike most fish in heraldry, the chabot is tergiant by default.

Brien MacShane. Name.

Nice 16th century Anglicized Irish name!

Dagobert Gerhardt von Hohensee. Name and device. Or, three seeblätter one and two, a trimount gules.

Dash of Distant Shore. Holding name and device (see PENDS for name). Per pale Or and gules, a chevron embattled and in chief two mullets of eight points counterchanged.

Submitted under the name Dash Altan.

Fernando de Rivera. Name.

Nice late 15th century Spanish name!

Janna von Guggisberg. Name change from Janna von Guggenberg.

The submitter’s prior name, Janna von Guggenberg, is released.

Joscelyn de Villeroi. Device. Per bend purpure and vert, a falcon striking within an orle of escarbuncles argent.

Artist’s note: Please draw fewer and larger escarbuncles to improve their identifiability.

Madlena Malacky. Name and device. Sable, a crescent pendant and on a point pointed argent a crescent sable, a chief wavy argent.

Madlena Malacky. Badge. Sable, a crescent pendant and on a triangle issuant from base argent a crescent sable.

This was originally blazoned as a point pointed. However, on a badge form, a point pointed would look similar to a chief triangular, with the edges of the point issuant from the lower corners. As this charge originates well away from the corners of the form, we have reblazoned it as a triangle.

Máirghréad Huntley. Name and device. Vert, a winged dog couchant and on a chief argent three square weaver’s tablets vert.

This name combines a Gaelic given name and an English byname, an acceptable lingual mix under Appendix C.

The submitter requested a given name that sounds like “Molly.” The given name Máirghréad does not have that sound; it is closer “Moy-red.” However, Molly is a documented English given name, dated to 1596 in the FamilySearch Historical Records.

If she prefers Molly Huntley, she may make a request for consideration.

Michiel Césaire. Name.

Nice French name for circa 1500!

Nergis bint Mustafa. Device. Per chevron purpure and vert, on a chevron argent three bunches of grapes palewise slipped and leaved proper, in base a bird migrant to chief argent.

A bird migrant to chief is a step from period practice.

Pádraig Ó Brádaig. Name and device. Argent, a bear statant and on a chief sable three shamrocks Or.

Nice 16th century Gaelic name!

Pádraig Ó Brádaig. Badge. Argent, on a saltire sable four shamrocks palewise Or.

Artist’s note: Please draw the shamrocks more centered on each arm of the saltire.

Quintus Lucius Fortunatus. Name and device. Gules, in bend two lion’s heads cabossed and a chief argent.

The submitter requested authenticity for “Roman.” Using evidence from the Epigraphic Database from the University of Heidelberg, Alisoun Metron Ariston confirmed that this name is authentic for “at least the Roman provinces (Baetica in particular) in the first century A.D.”

Rowan Auley. Name.

Nice late 16th century English name!

Suke Arslajin. Name.

Taichleach an Chomhraic mac Ualghairg. Name and device. Per chevron inverted vert and argent, a skull and a serpent nowed counterchanged.

Artist’s note: Please draw the skull so that the field doesn’t show through the eyes and nasal cavity.

Therion Sean Storie. Badge. Azure, on a saltire argent, a lemming statant sable, a bordure Or.

Artist’s note: Please draw the lemming centered on the saltire.

Tristan of Northern Outpost. Holding name and device (see RETURNS for name). Or, within a torii gate a fox’s mask gules.

There is a step from period practice for use of a torii gate.

Submitted under the name Kurama Kitsutarou Makoto.

EAST returns

Gunnvor hausakljúfr. Badge for Raina Hausakljufr. (Fieldless) Two axes in saltire gules each blade charged with a plate.

This must be returned for conflict with Uðr bloðøx: Argent, in saltire two axes embrued gules. There is one DC for the field and nothing for the gouttes. Commentary was mixed, but leaned heavily towards the tertiary charges being too small to count for difference.

When resubmitting, we recommend that the submitter draw the axe heads wider, to give more room for the plates. This will help with recognizability.

Kalos Dumas. Badge. Argent, a tree split, blasted and eradicated, in chief a sword inverted gules.

This badge must be returned for conflict with Tala al-Zahra: Argent, an olive tree fructed and eradicated and a bordure gules, with only one DC for changing the type of secondary charge.

The depiction of the tree as being split has not been registered since 1987, and we have not seen evidence of the motif in period heraldry. Upon resubmission, if the submitter wants to retain this motif, they should supply documentation for it.

Kurama Kitsutarou Makoto. Name.

Although Kurama was documented as a place in Japan that existed in period, not all period place names were used as family names in Japanese. No evidence was provided showing that this particular place name or place names like it were used as a family name prior to the 19th century. Therefore, we are forced to return this name for lack of documentation supporting Kurama as a family name.

His device is registered under the holding name Tristan of Northern Outpost.

EAST pends

Dash Altan. Name.

The submitter requested authenticity for mid-13th century Mongol. This request was not summarized on the Letter of Intent. As this issue was not addressed in commentary and we did not receive sufficient information from which to analyze authenticity, we are pending the name for additional commentary on this issue.

His device is registered under the holding name Dash of Distant Shore.

This was item 9 on the East letter of January 31, 2017.


Filed under: Announcements, Heraldry Tagged: heraldry, LoAR

Cooks Collegium: Dim Sum, Pie Crust, and Live Fire!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-06-22 21:20

Cooking over coals in period-style ceramic pots

Do you like to cook? Are you a new cook? An experienced one? Do you just like to help in kitchens?

Æthelmearc’s Cooks Collegium this weekend (June 24, 2017) has something for all of you!

If creating modern, workable recipes from period texts is baffling, Mistress Rowan de la Garnison will guide you through Basic Redacting.

For first-time head cooks who want to learn the whole process of planning a meal and running a kitchen — or experienced cooks who want a refresher or learn another cook’s methods — Master Jamal Damien Marcus is teaching The Feast – Kitchen management to Clean Up.

Those who want to focus on keeping their feasts and lunches on budget will want to go to  Baroness Oddkatla Jonsdottir’s class on How to Make a Period Dayboard for $2. Afterward, check out the roundtable discussion Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina is leading on Saving Feast Costs

Need to improve some cooking or baking skills? Mistress Rowan will show you how to make and roll out Pie Crust! Lady Ragna Feilan walks you through Cleaning and Cooking with Cast Iron 101. Lord Bovvi will teach you How to Clean Fish. And if you’re interested in Cheesemaking, wander outside so Master Gille MacDhnouill can show you how to make a simple soft cheese over the firepit.

Speaking of outside…Master Gille is running an Open Fire Cooking throughout the morning for anyone who wants to play with the fire and cooking equipment available. Master Mezaros Janos is making the Medieval Food Lab available all day to teach live fire skills (including maintaining a stable temperature). There are also plans to cook various dishes, starting with simple pottages, baking, and possibly some roasting.

Inside, hands-on cooking classes include Baroness Oddkatla’s Introduction to Medieval Spanish Cooking, where you’ll make macrones, figs in the French manner, and roasted almond-stuffed dates, and Mistress Mathilde des Pyrenees demonstration on making Sambocade: An Early Cheesecake.

And if you haven’t taken Baroness Sadira bint Wassouf’s always-popular incredibly delicious Dim Sum class… go, don’t question it, just go!

Are you a bread baker? Lady Ragna will lead you on A Journey into Viking Bread, while Lady Katerin Starcke will show you how to make Bread From Beer.

We didn’t forget about the brewers; Wentliana Verch Meuric and Meuric ap Gwillim will explain how Soda Pop Is Period or the Basics of Fermentation.

If you’re trying to figure out what books to add to your personal library, Mistress Alicia Langland has organized a cookbook and food resource library for you to peruse. The books will not leave the library area, but gentles are welcome to use the copier/scanner or snap photos of pages.

Mistress Alicia is also leading a roundtable discussion on Medieval Gardens for those who like to grow food as much as cook it!

By the way, both lunch and dinner are included in your event registration and all of the food cooked in the morning’s classes will be served for lunch. Yes, everything cooked in the afternoon classes will be served for dinner. Don’t worry — there will be a break to eat, so you won’t miss any classes.

See Facebook event group here for the latest updates.

See official announcement here.

(By Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France))


Categories: SCA news sites

Compte Bancaire de Tir Mara pour les Soumissions Héraldiques

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-06-22 19:45

À la population de l’Est, moi, Malcom Brigantia, Héraut Principal, envoie mes salutations.

Il est de mon plus grand plaisir d’annoncer que le Collège des Hérauts peut maintenant recevoir les paiements pour les soumissions héraldiques venant de Tir Mara à partir de comptes chèques canadiens !
Ce projet est l’aboutissement de trois ans d’efforts; je souhaiterais remercier pour leur travail acharné les hérauts de Tir Mara, le Royaume, les échiquiers  régionnaux et du Royaume, ainsi que mon prédécesseur pour que ce projet voie enfin le jour.
À cause des différences entre les devises, les soumissions payées en fonds canadiens seront au prix de 10$ CAD par item, alors que ceux en fonds US resteront au prix de 9$ USD par item.
Cette nouvelle structure de prix prendra effet à partir du 1er juillet.
Veuillez diriger vos questions à moi-même, ou au député héraut de soumissions de Tir Mara, Jeanne Blue Alaunt.
En Service,

Malcolm

English: https://wordpress.com/post/eastkingdomgazette.org/12506


Filed under: Uncategorized

New Kingdom Equestrian Champions Chosen

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-06-22 16:03

photo by Jennifer Jenkins Benke

Sunny skies, balmy weather and a huge arena made for a wonderful day for the Æthelmearc Kingdom Equestrian Championships, held at Melee Madness in Endless Hills on June 3.

Lady Gesa von Wellenstein on Freya. Photo by Jinx.

Outgoing King’s Champion and Kingdom Equestrian Officer, THL Aaliz de Gant, ran a fierce competition for the riders, including the new Ride Before a Prince portion.

To Ride Before a Prince, which debuted as a War Point at Gulf Wars this year, incorporates historic research into period riding techniques to put together a performance to show off both rider and horse to the best of their abilities. The name comes from Grisone and Markham, two of the late 16th century riding masters, who included in their riding manuals instructions on how to perform before a prince. Modern day dressage stems from this art form, which began to supersede jousts and melees during the 1500s.

The driving force behind this new activity was THL Bridget Rede of Dunvegan, who was just given a writ of summons for a Laurel in Ansteorra for her historic equestrian research. Just as the fencing community is delving more into historic research and combat manuals, the equestrian community is starting to move beyond the normal “games” seen at most horse events.

THL Maeve ni Siurtain on Lexi, and AE Head Groundsman THL Rhiannon Elandris of Glyndyfrdwy. Photo by Jinx.

We had many new riders this year from Endless Hills thanks to outreach by Master TTigernach mac Cathail and Lady Rhiannon le Meke from Endless Hills – the local group fielded six feisty Paso Fino horses, including the stallion ridden by Master Tigernach.

The first part of the competition was the Ride Before a Prince. The rides were performed to period music. and emphasis was placed on pageantry and the comportment and unity of horse and rider.

The second half of the competition was a traditional games course with reeds, Saracen heads, quintain, a “water” hazard, and several maneuvers to show command of the horse, such as turn on the haunches and backing through an obstacle.

Scores were tallied and the new King’s and Queen’s Champions were announced in court, much to the surprise of Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin, who was named King’s Champion. Her score of 142 bested Master Tigernach in a close race with his score of 132.75, and he was named Queen’s Champion.

Mistress Tiercelin on Freya. Photo by Jinx.

“Although our son was an active rider in the modern world,” says Tiercelin, “I decided to start riding because of the chance to do equestrian within an SCA context. It has taken 8 years of practice, and I’m just now starting to feel confident on my horse. I challenged myself to a Spark goal (and His Majesty Timothy, that he would ride in the procession if I met it) of cantering this year in the Championships, and we did it – it was a truly wonderful feeling! Plus, who can say no to getting to make cool barding!”

The Champions serve the Kingdom through two reigns due to weather constraints in our Kingdom. Everyone is looking forward to next year!

 


Categories: SCA news sites