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UK£3,000 needed to secure Lindisfarne Hoard

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-11-15 10:42

In 2003, builder Richard Mason found an old, pottery jug on the island of Lindisfarne, in northern England. Later, he noticed that the jug contained 17 coins, dating from the reigns of Henry VI - Elizabeth I. The silver and gold hoard has been valued at UK£30,900, but the Great North Museum in Newcastle needs an additional UK£3,000 to purchase the coins for its collection. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Hospital scan reveals contents of Carolingian pot

History Blog - Fri, 2014-11-14 23:59

The Carolingian pot that was part of a Viking hoard discovered by metal detectorist Derek McLennan in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, last September has been CT scanned in a hospital. The silver alloy vessel is covered in verdigris (the green powdery substance produced from the corrosion of copper) and experts were concerned that it was too fragile to just take off the lid and dig out its contents blind. Richard Welander, Historic Scotland’s head of collections, contacted Dr. John Reid, a radiographer at Borders General Hospital and avid amateur archaeologist who had previously collaborated with Historic Scotland to scan the remains of a Roman soldier’s head discovered at the Trimontium fort in Newstead.

Dr. Reid secured permission from hospital chief Calum Campbell for the £485,000 CT scanner to be used on the pot. So as not to interfere with the machine’s normal operations on actual human beings, the vessel was brought in the evening and was scanned. Derek McLennan and Richard Welander were present to witness the pot’s innards scanned in 120 visual slices accurate to within a half a millimeter.

At first glance, one view revealed the presence of an Anglo-Saxon openwork brooch, a 9th century style seen in several pieces from the Pentney Hoard, now in the British Museum. Further examination of the CT scan results identified four other silver brooches, some gold ingots and ivory beads coated in gold. The contents are all wrapped in an organic material of some kind, possibly leather.

Now that they know the layout of the contents, conservators will be able to remove the contents in a controlled way.

Richard Welander, head of collections with Historic Scotland, said: “When I saw the results I was reminded of the words of Sir Howard Carter when Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened in 1922 – “I see wonderful things”.

“We are all so grateful to the Borders General Hospital for allowing us to forensically examine one of the key objects of the hoard.

“As with human patients, we need to investigate in a non-invasive way before moving onto delicate surgery.

“In this case, that will be the careful removal of the contents and the all-important conservation of these items.”

The wrapping is going to make it a particularly challenging mission since it could easily fall apart the minute it’s exposed to air or interfered with in any way. I hope they film the surgery like they did the CT scan (see video below) because it’s sure to be fascinating.

The scan also revealed more detail of the decoration on the exterior of the pot which is partially obscured by mud and a textile of some kind (no word yet on what that is). It’s that decoration that identifies the pot as Carolingian in origin, created between 780 and 900 A.D. It is a very rare discovery in Britain — only three, including this one, have ever been found — and this one is complete with its original lid still attached.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

New SCA Membership Website Now Live

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2014-11-14 16:30

The new SCA membership page is now available.

To access your information initially, you will log in with your member number and default password (first initial and last name, for example Jennifer O’Hara would use johara as a default password). You will immediately be prompted to create your own login credentials, both user name and password.

On the membership page, all of a member’s information is available, including type of membership; membership expiration date; and address, e-mail address, and telephone number on file. You can also renew or upgrade your membership, request a new membership card, and reprint proof of membership.

Additionally, there is a marketplace page where various publications are available for purchase. These include issues of Compleat Anachronist and Tournaments Illuminated as well as various society handbooks.


Filed under: Corporate

What's inside the Pot? Find out in this week's Medieval News Roundup

Medievalists.net - Fri, 2014-11-14 15:06
From a Medieval Fifty Shades of Grey to Black Death vs Zombie Apocalypse, here are some of the news medievalists want to know...

[View the story "What's inside the Pot? Find out in this week's Medieval News Roundup" on Storify]

Categories: History, SCA news sites

SCA Feast Survey results are online

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-11-14 14:11

Wulfwen Atte Belle and Antonio Bellini have announced that the results for the SCA Feast Survey are now available to download from the Barony of Sternfeld website.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Baron Tigernach mac Cathail placed on vigil in AEthelmearc

SCAtoday.net - Fri, 2014-11-14 11:16

Kameshima Zentarou Umakai, Silver Buccle Principal Herald, reports that, at Their Court at Siege of Glengary, Their Majesties Titus and Anna Leigh of the Kingdom of AEthelmearc placed Baron Tigernach mac Cathail on vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican.

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Categories: SCA news sites

New Peers in Lochac

SCAtoday.net - Thu, 2014-11-13 23:15

Lord Gunther Boese, Canon Herald for the Kingdom of Lochac, reports that Their Majesties Niáll and Liadan have chosen to offer Peerages to four of Their subjects over the past two months.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Unique remains of Ice Age infants found in Alaska

History Blog - Thu, 2014-11-13 23:03

The skeletons of two Ice Age infants discovered at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in central Alaska are the earliest human remains ever found in northern North America. The presence of grave goods is also unprecedented for an infant burial of this era. The remains date to about 11,500 years ago. By analyzing tooth eruption sequences (the stages of the teeth growing out of the jaw), archaeologists were able to determine that one of them is a very young infant, between six and 12 weeks old, while the other was a neonate above 30 gestational weeks, so it was either stillborn or born too premature to live.

These are the youngest individuals from the late Pleistocene to receive a formal burial found anywhere in North America. The only discovery that comes close is the child buried at the Late Clovis Anzick site in Montana around 13,000 years ago, and he was two years old at time of death. It’s rare to find burials of very young infants from highly mobile foraging societies because they didn’t stay in one place for long so there’s no central location like a cemetery and the odds are slim of encountering individual burials even of larger humans. The Upper Sun River site was a residential campsite, not a dedicated burial ground, and yet, three individuals were found buried there within the same feature: the two inhumed infants with grave goods, and a cremated three-year-old with no grave goods. That’s another thing that is unique about this discovery.

Archaeologists found evidence of six different occupations of the site separated by hundreds or thousands of years. All but one of them were short-term camps occupied for no more than a few days while people hunted small game (squirrels, hares, ptarmigan) and fished the plentiful summer salmon in the nearby Tanana River. They’d take their harvest back to the base camp and cook it on hearths. The third occupation is the only one that had a longer-term presence. In addition to 10 cooking hearths, the third occupation features the remains of a dwelling and the burials.

Because of the undisturbed faunal and lithic material excavated from the context of the burials, it seems the two infants were buried at the same time. The cremated remains were buried later (they were found first, in 2010; the infant remains were found last year about 16 inches beneath the cremation) but all three were either buried during the same summer or in subsequent summers. Radiocarbon dating confirms that the lower and upper finds are contemporaneous. Given the consistency of the faunal remains in the ground fill and in the hearth that tops the burial pit, the third occupation base camp was populated by the same people. They could have been the one band or maybe even one family. Archaeologists are optimistic that they’ll be able to retrieve testable samples of nuclear, mitochrondrial and Y-chromosome DNA from the remains which should tell us whether they had a familial relationship.

Since the double infant burial and the toddler cremation were done by the same people around the same time, there is no obvious reason for the differential treatment of the burials. It wasn’t a seasonal accommodation — frozen ground in the winter forcing cremations — because all three burials happened in the summer. There may have been a situational distinction — who was present for the burials, say — or perhaps a religious or cultural one.

The grave goods and funerary customs in the double infant burial are extensive. Archaeologists unearthed four antler rods, foreshafts to which projectile points would have been hafted, decorated along the whole length with geometric abstract incisions. This too is unprecedented. There are some scratchings or possible ownership marks on other paleo-Indian foreshafts, but these are the first ones found with the whole length decorated. Two stone projectiles, dart or spear points, were found placed at the end of two of the rods, exactly where they would have been attached with animal sinew that has now deteriorated. That makes these the earliest hafted shafts discovered in North America, and the first concrete evidence that the foreshafts were topped with stone points.

The entire pit and its contents were covered with ochre, a common element in pre-historic burials most likely due to the association of red with blood and therefore life. The bottom of the pit was lined with ochre, all of the grave goods were coated in it and all of the bones. The articulation of the infant skeletons — knees drawn to the chest, arms folded — suggest they were wrapped in that position before burial. Over time the wrappings disintegrated and the ochre in the pit then covered the bones.

[University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Ben] Potter and his colleagues note that the human remains and associated burial offerings, as well as inferences about the time of year the children died and were buried, could lead to new thinking about how early societies were structured, the stresses they faced as they tried to survive, how they treated the youngest members of their society, and how they viewed death and the importance of rituals associated with it.

“Taken collectively, these burials and cremation reflect complex behaviors related to death among the early inhabitants of North America,” Potter said.

Here is some b-roll of the excavation with great close-ups of the ochre-coated antler rods and a projectile point in situ:

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Call for Applicants – Southern Region Deputy Rapier Marshal

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2014-11-13 19:04

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

As I have mentioned, I am in the process of replacing several of my Regional Rapier Deputies, and to that end I am officially requesting resumes for anyone interested in the Southern Regional Rapier Deputy position.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Don Griffith Davion for his outstanding service to the Southern Region and the East Kingdom as Southern Regional Rapier Deputy.  I will be accepting resumes until December 1st, after which time I will review those resumes I have received and make a decision as to Don Griffith’s successor.

In Service,
Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East


Filed under: Fencing

Ansteorra Fall 2014 Coronation photos online

SCAtoday.net - Thu, 2014-11-13 18:00

Caelin on Andrede reports that he has created a large album of photos from Fall 2014 Coronation which took place recently in the Kingdom of Ansteorra.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Unofficial Court report for Bjorn’s Ceildh and Concordia Investiture

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2014-11-13 16:57

Photo by Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

The Court of our most excellent prince and lord, Edward, by right of arms most illustrious King of the East, third of that name, and Thyra, his Queen, held in the Barony of Concordia of the snows upon 8 November in the forty-ninth year of the Society; on which day were called all and sundry the lords of the realm and the great persons of the kingdom to hear the following publicly proclaimed:

Item.  Their Majesties summoned before the Tyger Throne Baron Pierre de Tours, and extended their thanks to the said Baron Pierre for his care of their lands of Concordia of the Snows during his tenue as Baron thereof; and as confirmation of their favor, they invested and endowed him with a Court Barony with a Grant of Arms, the which deed was confirmed by a document authored by Jean Paul Ducasse and calligraphed by Isabel Chamberlaine.

Whereupon, the said Pierre surrendered his authority and tenancy of the said Concordia of the Snows and departed the Court;

Item.  Their Majesties called into the Court Jean Paul Ducasse and Lylie of Penhyll and invested and extolled the same as Baron and Baroness of Concordia of the Snows, the which deed was memorialized in a document authored by Alys Mackyntoich, calligraphed by Carolyne de Lapointe and illuminated by Ro Honig von Somerfeldt;

Whereupon, the said Baron Jean Paul and Baroness Lylie swore fealty to Their Majesties for the lands they hold of them;

Item.  Their Majesties summoned into their presence Master Angus Pembridge and, in praise of his storytelling ability, conferred unto the said Angus the Order of the Troubadour, the which deed was memorialized in a document created by Wulfgar Silverhair and Theodora Bryennissa.

Item.  Their Majesties called Constantine of Aethelred before the Court and caused him to be inducted into the Order of the Tyger’s Cub, the which deed was confirmed in a document authored by Lucius Aurelius Varus, calligraphed by Saerlaith ingen Chennetig and illuminated by Caleb Reynolds.

Item.  Their Majesties caused gifts of toys to be distributed to the children of the East.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned Aífe ingen Chonchobair in Derthaige before the Court and thanked the said Aífe for organizing the gifts of poetry made to the Consorts at Crown Tourney.

Item.  Their Majesties called into their presence Ceara of Anglespur and awarded her Arms, the which deed was confirmed in a document created by Jonathan Blaecstan.

Item.  Their Majesties invited into their presence newcomers to the Society and gave them tokens of welcome in memory of the day.

Item.  Their Majesties called before the Court Bianca of Ulster, whereupon they awarded Arms unto the said Bianca, the while deed was memorialized in a document authored by Bebhinn inghean Ui Siodhachain, calligraphed by Kayleigh Mac Whyte and illuminated by Margaret Twygge.

Item.  Their Majesties summoned into their presence Pakshalika Kananbala, and, praising her many labors for the good weal of the Barony, inducted her into the Order of the Silver Crescent, the which deed was confirmed in a document, written in the language of Hindi, calligraphed by Ignacia la Ciega and illuminated by Dierdre O’Rourke,

Item.  Their Majesties gave public thanks to the musicians who had performed for the Court and for the dancing.

I, Alys Mackyntoich, Eastern Crown Herald, wrote this to memorialize and make certain all such things that were done and caused to be done as above stated.

Witnesseth:
Master Grim the Skald
Don Donovan Shinnock


Filed under: Court

Human remains found in Amphipolis tomb

History Blog - Wed, 2014-11-12 23:03

Excavation of the third chamber of the Kasta Tumulus in Amphipolis has revealed a limestone cyst grave containing human remains 1.6 meters (5’2″) beneath the surviving floor stones. The grave is 3.23 meters (10’7″) long, 1.56 meters (5’1″) wide and one meter (3’3″) high, but uprights discovered when the cyst was excavated indicate the walls were original at least 1.8 meters (5’10″) high. Two of the limestone slabs that once covered the grave are missing, and bones were found both inside and outside the grave, evidence the tomb was interfered with by looters in antiquity.

When the soil filling the grave was removed, archaeologists found a little ledge going around the bottom inside perimeter. A wooden coffin was originally placed on that ledge. It has long since rotted away, but iron and copper nails from the coffin were found scattered, as were ivory and glass decorations that once adorned it.

The bones have been removed and will be studied in the lab. The hope is that they will be able to tell us something about the identity of the tomb’s owner. It’s going to be a tall order. Even determining sex from disarticulated bone pieces is a challenge that could well be insurmountable.

The always excellent Dorothy King of PhDiva posits that if the remains prove to be male, a likely candidate for the occupant of this tomb is Hephaestion, Alexander’s the Great’s closest friend from childhood who was worshipped as a divine hero after his premature death from a fever in 324 B.C. Alexander was devastated by the loss of Hephaestion, likening their relationship to that of Achilles and Patroclos of Trojan War fame and explicitly modeling his mourning after Achilles’.

Plutarch describes Alexander’s reaction to Hephaestion’s death in Parallel Lives:

Alexander’s grief at this loss knew no bounds. He immediately ordered that the manes and tails of all horses and mules should be shorn in token of mourning, and took away the battlements of the cities round about; he also crucified the wretched physician, and put a stop to the sound of flutes and every kind of music in the camp for a long time, until an oracular response from Ammon came bidding him honour Hephaestion as a hero and sacrifice to him. Moreover, making war a solace for his grief, he went forth to hunt and track down men, as it were, and overwhelmed the nation of the Cossaeans, slaughtering them all from the youth upwards. This was called an offering to the shade of Hephaestion. Upon a tomb and obsequies for his friend, and upon their embellishments, he purposed to spend ten thousand talents, and wished that the ingenuity and novelty of the construction should surpass the expense. He therefore longed for Stasicratesa above all other artists, because in his innovations there was always promise of great magnificence, boldness, and ostentation. This man, indeed, had said to him at a former interview that of all mountains the Thracian Athos could most readily be given the form and shape of a man; if, therefore, Alexander should so order, he would make out of Mount Athos a most enduring and most conspicuous statue of the king, which in its left hand should hold a city of ten thousand inhabitants, and with its right should pour forth a river running with generous current into the sea. This project, it is true, Alexander had declined; but now he was busy devising and contriving with his artists projects far more strange and expensive than this.

So according to Plutarch Alexander had decided against turning all of Mount Athos into a sort of pre-dynamite one-man Mount Rushmore monument to himself, but he planned to make an even more elaborate tomb for his beloved companion, one worthy of a divine hero. Perhaps Alexander’s death in 323 B.C. kept the crazier of the grandiose plans from taking hold or perhaps the ancient sources were exaggerating, as they so often did, but it’s in keeping with Hephaestion’s importance to Alexander and the posthumous honors he received that the largest tomb ever found in Greece would have been built for him.

According to the Greek Culture Ministry, the Kasta Tumulus has to have a public religious purpose like the tomb of a divine hero. The tomb used the greatest amount of marble ever assembled in Macedonia, and the variety and precision of decorative and architectural techniques — the sphinxes, painted architraves, pebble mosaics in the entryway, the Persephone tile mosaic, the caryatids, the lion that was once on top of the tomb — make it a uniquely complex project. Its size and scope was so massive no individual could have mustered the resources to construct it. The archaeological team plans to examine the 430 or so marble elements from the tomb that the Romans stripped from the tomb in the 2nd century A.D. and used to shore up the banks of the river Strymon. Perhaps pieces from inside the tomb, fragments of the grave, for example, might be recovered that will lend additional insight.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Corporate Call for Comments on Proposed New Peerage

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-11-12 21:44

The SCA released the following announcement this evening. Deadline for comments about this proposal is January 15, 2015.

At the July 2013 Board Meeting, the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee (“APEC”) proposed that the Board of Directors create a new Patent-bearing Peerage Order parallel to the Orders of the Chivalry, the Laurel and the Pelican. This Rapier Peerage would be for the related martial arts of rapier and all forms of cut & thrust in the SCA. In August of 2013, the APEC’s proposal for name, heraldry and badge was sent out to the membership for commentary, and a second committee was formed of representatives appointed by the Kingdoms of the Known World to review the proposal and represent their interests. After reviewing all commentary received from the membership and the committees, the Board believes there is enough interest to request further commentary on the changes that would be required to Corpora if the Board decides to create such an Order. This will be the final opportunity for the membership to make its opinions and wishes known on this subject as the Board will vote at the January 2015 Board meeting on whether or not to create this Order.

In the event a rapier/cut & thrust peerage is created, the following would be the proposed changes to Corpora (additions in red; deletions in blue and struck out.)

Glossary, page 9.

DELETE

[• Peerage: Collectively, the members of the Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Laurel, and the Order of the Pelican, are referred to as the Peerage. A member of any of these Orders is a Peer.]

ADD

• Peerage: Collectively, the members of the Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Laurel, and the Order of the Pelican, and the Order of Defense are referred to as the Peerage. A member of any of these Orders is a Peer.

VIII. PERSONAL AWARDS AND TITLES

A. Patents of Arms

2. Order of Precedence Within the Peerage
DELETE
[The Crown may establish the order of precedence within the peerage according to the laws and customs of the kingdom. However, the Chivalry, the Laurel, and the Pelican, and Defense are of equal precedence and must be considered as one group.]

ADD
The Crown may establish the order of precedence within the peerage according to the laws and customs of the kingdom. However, the orders of the Chivalry, the Laurel, and the Pelican, and Defense are of equal precedence and must be considered as one group.

4. Patent Orders:

ADD

d. The Order of Defense:
(i) Members of the Order of Defense may choose to swear fealty, but are not required to do so. The candidate must be considered the equal of his or her prospective peers with the basic weapons of rapier and/or cut-and-thrust combat. The candidate must have applied this skill and/or knowledge for the instruction of members and service to the kingdom to an extent above and beyond that normally expected of members of the Society.

(2) The duties of the members of the order are as follows:

(a) To set an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct on and off the field of honor.
(b) To respect the Crown of the kingdom; to support and uphold the laws of the kingdom and Corpora.
(c) If in fealty, to support and uphold the Crown of his or her kingdom.
(d) To enrich the kingdom by sharing his or her knowledge and skills.
(e) To enhance the renown and defend the honor of the peer’s Lady or Lord.
(f) To advise the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Order of Defense

(The section on royal peerage becomes section e, etc.)

D. Titles
4. The titles listed here are considered standard, and may be used by those who have earned or been granted the appropriate rank or award within the Society. The College of Arms publishes a more extensive list of titles and alternative forms, which may also be used freely by qualified persons. In addition, the College of Arms has full approval authority over new alternative titles, which must be added to their list before being released for use in the Society.

DELETE

[TITLE

Master/Mistress
Members of the Orders of the Laurel, the Pelican, and Mastery of Arms.]

ADD

TITLE

Master/Mistress
Members of the Orders of the Laurel, the Pelican, Mastery of Arms, and Defense.

IX. Society Combat

DELETE:

[C. Rapier Fighting in the Society
The Board acknowledges rapier combat as an ancillary activity of the Society when properly supervised by the Marshals and when approved by individual kingdoms. Rapier combat may take place within a kingdom only by rules established by the Marshallate of that kingdom and after the approval of those rules by the Marshal of the Society. The Marshal of the Society will maintain guidelines for rapier combat within the Society. Rapier combat, not having been part of formal tournament combat in the Middle Ages, shall not be a part of formal tournament lists for royal ranks and armigerous titles. ]

ADD

C. Royal Lists
Only Chivalric (rattan) combat shall be used for formal tournament lists for royal ranks.

[This last might need some explanation. The current Section IX.C is a holdover from a Governing and Policy decision from October 1979, when the Board decided that rapier combat would be allowed in the SCA as an ancillary activity. Rapier combat is no longer considered an ancillary activity and has not been for many years. Also, the duties of the Society Earl Marshal are properly defined in section VI.D. So this section is reduced to a single clear, unambiguous rule.]

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

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


Filed under: Corporate Tagged: peerages, rapier

Two offered elevation at AEthelmearc Coronation

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

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

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Categories: SCA news sites

Message from the EK Polling Clerk

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

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

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

http://lists.eastkingdom.org/EmailLists.html

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

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

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

Katherine Stanhope
Polling Clerk”


Filed under: Official Notices, Tidings

Vivid murals found in 1000-year-old Chinese tomb

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Announcing KWDS XI Activities - Balls, Revels and More!

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

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

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Categories: SCA news sites

Baroness Othindisa Bykona given writ for the Order of the Laurel

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

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

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Categories: SCA news sites

Relief of unknown god found in Turkey

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

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

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

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

Excavation director Prof. Dr. Engelbert Winter:

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

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

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

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Bjorn’s Ceilidh – Concordia of the Snows Investiture

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

Baron Pierre de Tours steps down

Mistress Lylie of Penhille and Lord Jean Paul du Casse

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

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

Edward and Thyra lead the dancing at Bjorn’s Ceilidh

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

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

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

Pakshalika Kananbala receives the Silver Crescent

The Order of the Tiger’s Cub


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