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Chaninai al-Zarqa' bint Ibrahim ibn Rashid elevated to Pelican in the West

SCAtoday.net - Thu, 2014-08-14 16:33

Gillian reports that Their Majesties Conor and Isa of the Kingdom of the West have chosen to elevate her protégé, Chaninai al-Zarqa' bint Ibrahim ibn Rashid, to the Order of the Pelican.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Shishido Tora Gozen elevated to Pelican in AEthelmearc

SCAtoday.net - Thu, 2014-08-14 12:29

In June 2014, Their Majesties Tindal and Etain of the Kingdom of AEthelmearc offered elevation to the Order of the Pelican to Shishido Tora Gozen. The elevation too place at the Kingdom's Equestrian Championship.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Official War Dept. art from Western Front digitized

History Blog - Wed, 2014-08-13 23:09

When the United States joined World War I, the War Department commissioned eight accomplished artists to go to France with the American Expeditionary Forces and sketch what they saw. Illustrators William James Aylward, Walter Jack Duncan, Harvey Thomas Dunn, George Matthews Harding, Wallace Morgan, Harry Everett Townsend, architect and etcher J. André Smith, and illustrator and muralist Ernest Clifford Peixotto were given the rank of captain in tn the Army Corps of Engineers and sent to the Western Front in 1918.

This was the first time the US put official artists in the field and the AEF artists had a specifically documentary brief. Their job was to make a visual record of the people and activities on the front lines.

Throughout 1918, prior to the war’s end in November, the artists produced some 700 works, ranging from charcoal sketches to completed ink or watercolor compositions. Bart Hacker, a curator at the National Museum of American History, says the artists depicted four types of scenes: soldier life (washing up, meal time); combat, aftermaths of war (destroyed churches, devastated fields); and technology. In one image, wounded men carry the fallen through trenches and barbed wire. In another, soldiers on horseback travel through a destroyed French village. Notably, Hacker says, the artists did not depict dead bodies.

That isn’t entirely true. They did not depict Allied dead, perhaps, but there are German dead. No blood or gore, however, not even in the field hospital scenes or in combat actions. So their work was meant to document the front, yes, but not the horrors of war in an explicit or even impressionistic way. These images were going to be shown to the public, after all, and bodies torn apart by artillery don’t really sell a war or reassure worried loved ones.

When the artists completed their sketches and watercolors, the pieces were sent to the War Department in Washington, D.C. where some of them were exhibited immediately. Works deemed to be incomplete were kept for the artists to finish upon their return. In January of 1920, the collection was given to the Smithsonian for exhibition. The drawings were put in storage in 1929 and have only been exhibited a handful of times since then.

This year’s centenary of the start of World War I has brought new attention to these works. The American History Museum has digitized the Smithsonian’s collection (there are a few pieces in other museums) and made them available for browsing in high resolution on its website. They may go on public display once again in 1917, the centennial of America’s entry into the war.

While I’m on the subject of the Smithsonian and digitization, the institution has just launched a massive transcription project asking volunteers to sift through millions of images of documents, artifacts and natural history specimens in its collection and transcribe them to make these invaluable resources searchable. Beta testers took days to convert handwritten notes and archives into searchable text that would have taken Smithsonian employees months to complete.

All you have to do is register here, then activate your account by clicking the link in an email they send you and setting your password. Once you’re logged in, go to the Transcription Center and pick your project. Quite a few of the first round of projects are complete but you should look through them anyway because you can enjoy the transcripts which can be browsed page by page or downloaded in their entirety. You can transcribe pages that haven’t been done yet or you can review transcriptions that others have done.

A few open projects on my short list:

Archives Center – NMAH, Charles Francis Hall on his 1860 journey to the north, exploring western Greenland.
National Anthropological Archives – Horatio Hale’s notes on the vocabulary of more than a dozen West and Central African languages spoke by slaves in Rio de Janeiro and on their facial scarification.
Smithsonian Institution Libraries – Mary Smith’s Commonplace Book Concerning Science and Mathematics manuscript about science, math, medicine, religion, etc. written around 1769-1780.

Bookmark the site and check back regularly for new projects.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Brennos Agrocunos knighted in the West

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-08-13 13:46

Morucatha reports that, at the recent West-An Tir War, Their Majesties Conor and Isa of the Kingdom of the West offered elevation to the Order of the Chivalry to Brennos Agrocunos.

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Categories: SCA news sites

The SCA is now on AmazonSmile

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-08-13 09:24

Many of us shop at Amazon for a wide range of products. Did you know that the SCA can benefit from each purchase you make at no additional charge to you?

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Categories: SCA news sites

Entrance to “extremely important” Amphipolis tomb found

History Blog - Tue, 2014-08-12 23:53

Excitement is mounting in Greece over the excavation of a vast tomb atop Kasta hill in the ancient Central Macedonian city of Amphipolis. The Kasta Tumulus was first excavated in 2012, revealing a circular tomb almost 10 feet high (eroded from an estimated original height of 80 feet), 525 feet in diameter and 1,640 feet in circumference, making it significantly larger than the Great Tumulus at Vergina (43 feet high, 360 feet in diameter) that houses the tombs of Philip II of Macedon and other members of the royal family. In fact, it’s the largest tomb ever discovered in Greece.

Almost as soon as digging began, speculation exploded in the media about who might be buried in such a monumental tomb. Could it be Roxana of Bactria, last wife of Alexander the Great, and their son Alexander IV Aegus? According to historian Diodorus Siculus (The Library of History, Book 19, Chapter 52 and 105), they were imprisoned and killed in Amphipolis by Cassander, distant relative of Alexander the Great and Regent of Macedon, in around 310 B.C. Siculus says Cassander had his minion kill them and conceal the bodies. The largest tumulus in Greece doesn’t seem like an ideal spot to conceal anything. Outside of the fever dreams of the press, therefore, there is zero historical evidence that mother and son were interred in Amphipolis and zero archaeological evidence attesting to who was interred in the tumulus.

With Greece’s economy in deep recession, there was no budget to continue excavations or even to secure the site, now exposed to the world in injudiciously excessive terms as a tomb of great historical interest. Archaeologists found Philip II buried in a 24-pound gold casket. Even the most distant possibility that someone in the Macedon royal family or adjacent thereto could be buried in the Kasta Tumulus would surely prove an irresistible lure to looters.

Somehow the money was scraped up to continue excavations and by Spring of 2013, much of the perimeter of the tomb had been unearthed. The foundation of the perimeter wall was built of large limestone blocks clad in marble from the island of Thasos, the same kind of marble used to make a sculpture known as the Lion of Amphipolis. The lion and blocks of marble were found in the Strymon river in the early 1910s. Greek soldiers dragged the blocks out of the river and used some of them to build a base for the lion a few kilometers away from the Kasta Tumulus. The loose blocks and columns that weren’t used in the reconstruction are still there, grouped together next to the lion monument.

Many of the marble pieces from the tomb were missing, so Michaelis Lefantzis, the archaeological team’s architect, went looking among the lion’s marbles for blocks that may have come from the tomb. He found that 400 blocks from around the lion and 30 from the base were the same in shape, size and elaboration as the ones in the wall encircling the tumulus. It seems the Romans stripped them in the 2nd century A.D. and used them to stabilize the banks of the river. Archaeologists believe the lion was once perched on the top of the tomb before it was tossed in the Strymon.

The discovery underscored what an impressive monumental structure the tumulus was in antiquity. Now archaeologists are on the verge of getting inside and maybe discovering who was so important as to garner such a fancy final resting place.

So far, workers have unveiled a flight of 13 steps that lead to a broad path, flanked by masonry walls, which end in a built-up arch covering two headless, wingless sphinxes — mythical creatures that blend human, bird and lion characteristics.

Archaeologists believe the entrance will be unearthed by the end of the month. They haven’t found any evidence of tomb raider activity, no tunneling, no break-ins, so they expect to find an intact tomb. Anticipation is so high the Prime Minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras, visited the site Tuesday, calling the tumulus “clearly extremely important.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Viking sword has colorful history

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-08-12 19:01

Auctioneers at Christie's have announced that they will offer for auction a double-edged Viking sword associated with the battles of Hastings, Stamford Bridge and Bannockburn. The sword is expected to bring between UK£80,000 to £120,000. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic 43: Details from Archery Champions

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2014-08-12 17:41

The East and allied Archery Champions Team was victorious in the archery competition on Wednesday.

Their Majesties and Their Highnesses of the East were on-hand to support Their Champions. Before the start of the long day of shooting, a short Royal Court was held, during whichHope of Quintavia and Duke Gregor von Heisler received Master Bowman badges, and Alexander von Heisler was presented with his Grand Master Bowman badge.

Alexander receives his GMB badge.

In the 10 station Roving Range, the East scored 2358 points to the Midrealm’s 2288. In the Friend/Foe shoot, the East prevailed with 70 points over 60 for the Midrealm. Both teams tied on the Long-range Walk-up shoot, with 169 points.

Archery champions of the East

The team members and alternates for the East were:
Alberic maqi Droata
Alexander von Heisler
Alexandra Krakkensdottir
Colin Ursell
Daryl of Avalon
Denys the Decadent (AEthelmearc)
Godric of Hamtun
Gregor von Heisler
Hawkmoon
Hope of Quintavia
Isidora de la Tor
Jehannine de Flandres
Katelin of Carolingia
Katsutoshi Yoshimoto
Kieran Bren of Bannockburn
Kobayashi Yutaka
Krakken Gnashbone
Li Kung Lo
Lu Tao-Ying (Caid)
Mark Squirrelsbane
Mikjall Bogmader
Miles Boweman
Nest verch Tangwistel
Otto Gottlieb
Padraig O’Gealagain
Paganus Grimlove (Caid)
Peter the Red
Phillip Reed the Facetious
Poplyr Childs
Robert of Wolford (An Tir)
Robert the Doubtful
Ru (AEthelmearc)
Rupert the Unbalanced
Siobhan Inghean Cormaic
Tamsin Whitlocke
Thorlaeifr Hvitskegg
Thyra Eiriksdottir
Tysha z Kieva
Treya min Teanga
Ygraine of Kellswood

(Team photo by Lady Tysha z Kieva; Court photo by Baroness Ygraine of Kellswood, who also provided this report.)


Filed under: Archery, Pennsic Tagged: War Points

Pól the Pelican is cheered in Wales

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-08-12 15:18

Barun Pól O'Briain was yesterday elevated to the Order of the Pelican by the King and Queen of Drachenwald. Under threatening skies at Raglan Castle in Wales the two-time Viceroy of Insulae Draconis was made a peer before a tearful crowd of his noble friends and well-wishers.

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Categories: SCA news sites

SCA: A game of flashing weaponry, handmade crafts and occasional camping under the stars

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-08-12 14:38

"Every time I come, it's like the highlight of my life. It's addictive. Especially if you're an adrenaline junkie,"  said fencer Susan Woodard about a recent fighter practice held at Roosevelt Park in Longmont, Colorado. Woodard spoke with Scott Rochat of the Times-Call about the SCA and the Barony of Caer Galen. (photos and video)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Ancient instrument found in 7th c. Kazakhstan burial

History Blog - Mon, 2014-08-11 23:22

Archaeologists have found an artifact they believe to be an ancient musical instrument in the burial of a Turkic warrior in the region of East Kazakhstan. The burial in the Altai mountains was found intact, with the remains of an adult male in his 40s at the time of death and those of a horse buried next to him. The grave goods identify the deceased as a warrior of some status, and their design allowed archaeologists to provisionally date the burial to the 7th century.

The scientists found weapons belonging to this epoch next to the warrior: a helmet, a quiver, an arrow, a sword, sabers, as well as a horse with a golden harness and a bridle. The most important discovery of the excavation was a musical instrument, similar to (Kazakh) kobyz….

The kobyz is an ancient Kazakh instrument that has two strings made of horsehair. It was believed to be a sacred instruments that could drive away evil spirits. It was often used by spiritual medics and shamans.

There has been a dedicated effort by the Kazakh government and institutions of higher learning to expand historical and archaeological explorations of the nation’s past. The Altai mountains have been the site some of the most important archaeological finds relating to the nomadic peoples who inhabited the region from the 1st millennium B.C. on.

This most recent find was made as part of a Turkic Academy project investigating the statehood system of Western Turkic Khaganate, a state ruled by a Khagan (or Khan) of the Ashina clan after the founder’s kingdom, the Göktürk Khaganate, was split into east and west by his sons in the early 7th century. At its peak, the Khaganate’s sphere of influence stretched from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Sea of Okhotsk in the east, from modern-day Kazakhstan all the way to the other side of Russia. Its founder, Bumin Khagan, was crowned in the Altai mountains, so this was an important center of power.

The Khaganate united a great many nomadic tribes under one (or after the splintering, two) rulers. In the second half of the 7th century, the ten tribes of the Western Turkic Khaganate began to fight amongst themselves which left the state vulnerable to Chinese invasion. In 659 A.D., it was absorbed into Tang Dynasty China. They didn’t get to keep it for long. The tribes revolted and in 682 A.D., the Second Turkic Khaganate was established. It was the first Central Asian state that used Old Turkic as its official language, as evidenced by its appearance on stele known as the Orkhon inscriptions that tell the history of the Khaganate and its liberation from Chinese rule.

The remains of the Altai warrior will be removed for further investigation by the Turkic Academy. The bones will be directly dated and the surviving organic elements like the wooden musical instrument conserved and studied.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

SCA Audit Team

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-08-11 16:16

The State of California is requiring a full financial audit from the SCA. We have contracted with the CPA firm of Boman Accounting Group, Inc. to conduct the audit for the years 2012 and 2013 and report their findings.

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Categories: SCA news sites

New Laurel King of Arms named

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-08-11 12:40

Current SCA Laurel King of Arms, Meistari Gabriel Kjotvason, reports that Andrewe Bawldwyn has been named to take over the position as head of the College of Arms.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Committee on SCA Chirurgeonate sought by BoD

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-08-11 08:53

The Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism is seeking members for a committee concerning the Chirurgeonate.

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Categories: SCA news sites

18th c. sculpture of Jesus has human teeth

History Blog - Sun, 2014-08-10 23:58

Restorers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) working on a polychrome statue of the Christ of Patience have found eight human teeth in the figure’s mouth. These types of statues often have teeth, but they’re carved out of wood or bone either as a plate or as individual teeth. This is the first time actual human teeth have been found.

The ends of the teeth can be seen through the open mouth of the statue (they’re rather impressively white and even, too), but it wasn’t until restorers X-rayed the head to determine its conservation needs that they saw that they were full adult teeth complete with roots. According to Fanny Unikel, head restorer of INAH’s Restoration Workshop of Polychrome Sculpture of the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museology (ENCRyM), the teeth were probably donations made by devout parishioners, a practice seen frequently with far less painful materials like hair for wigs or clothing. Had they been saintly relics, they would have been displayed on their own and highlighted for people to revere.

The dental implant Christ is one of a group of 17th and 18th century statues of the saints belonging to the church of San Bartolo Cuautlalpan, a farming community in the central Mexico municipality of Zumpango. They have major condition problems — missing parts, termite and rodent damage, multiple layers of overpainting obscuring the original paint, bad previous repair attempts, thick coatings of hardened eggs and baby oil used by the parishioners to polish the statues — and have undergone an extensive program of restoration this year.

Saint Bartholomew, Saint Joachim, Saint Anne and Our Lady of Sorrows were all in significantly worse condition than the Christ of Patience. He may be drenched in blood and have bone-deep gouges in the flesh of his cheek and knee, but over the centuries he was always covered in clothing and only taken out for the Holy Week procession. The other statues have carved clothes and appear on saint days and other religious events; some spent time in a warehouse where they were at the mercy of vermin and less than ideal climactic conditions. Our Lady of Sorrows has a very rare mechanical element — her hands could be raised to her face as if she were crying — that hasn’t worked in years. In order to examine her insides with the aim of repairing the mechanism, restorers had to give her a CT scan because X-rays couldn’t see through the layer of lead paint, one of eight layers of overpainting just on this one statue.

Compared to his mother’s travails, Jesus has had it relatively easy. After examining the statue closely and X-raying to determine any internal damage, restorers found his structure is sound. The statue was cleaned and some areas of paint loss on the torso, sandal, legs and soles of the feet were filled in using a technique called rigatino which lays stripes of several hues in short brush strokes that from a distance blend in with the original painting but that do not attempt to disguise the fact that restoration was done. The platform on which Christ of Patience sits had been overpainted in a tragic beige. Restorers were able to remove it and reveal the reds and greens of the original polychrome.

There are some lovely gruesome views of the statue in this Spanish-language video featuring restorer Fanny Unikel talking about the teeth, the statue’s excellent condition and restoration.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Medieval bath found in Shkodër excavations

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-08-10 13:55

An archaeological team from the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Centre of the University of Warsaw, Poland has discovered a 14th century bath in northwestern Albania. The structure combines technologies of the Roman and Ottoman Empires.

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Categories: SCA news sites

From the SCA Ltd Board: Definition of an Event (a clarification)

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-08-10 09:07

It has come to the attention of the Board of Directors of SCA Ltd (Australia), that there is still a lot of debate around what an "event" actually is.

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Categories: SCA news sites

World’s oldest eel dies at 155 in Swedish well

History Blog - Sat, 2014-08-09 23:35

Sweden is in mourning today over the death of the world’s oldest eel. Åle the eel was around 155 years old when he left a country bereft, a prodigious age for the European eel Anguilla anguilla which in the wild typically lives around seven years in fresh water before returning to the ocean to spawn and die. They can be very long-lived, though. The oldest recorded wild eel was 85 years old.

Åle was put in the well in the fishing village of Brantevik on the southeastern tip of Sweden by eight-year-old Samuel Nilsson in 1859. This was a common practice in a time when running water was rare (Stockholm only got public water mains in the 1850s; it took more than a century after that for waterworks to be installed in smaller towns) and a good eel could keep the home’s water supply free of bugs, worms, eggs, algae and any other number of critters. European eels will even eat carrion, so they’re extremely helpful additions to a well.

This particular eel has been a star for close to a hundred years, garnering articles in the paper, TV news stories and documentaries, even making an appearance in the Swedish Tom Sawyer, Bombi Bitt and I written by Fritiof Nilsson Piraten in 1932. Thomas Kjellman, current owner of the cottage, remembers Åle from when he was a boy. His family bought the house in 1962 with the understanding that the eel came with the property.

Last Tuesday, Kjellman lifted the lid off the well to show his famous eel to guests when he discovered Åle was no more. He had fallen apart, in fact, which must have put a bit of a damper on the annual crayfish party. They had to drain the well in order to recover the delicate remains which are being kept in the freezer until eel expert Dr. Håkan Wickström comes to pick them up. He will then take them to a laboratory in Stockholm for a necropsy.

Although the body is in pieces, the entire spine is intact and the family is hoping to send along the head as well. Rings in the otolith, or ear stone, of the eel would reveal its exact age.

The Kjellman family will have to take solace in the fact that they have a backup superannuated eel. Their other well eel, currently unnamed, is only about 110 years old.

You can catch a glimpse of Åle in his rather depressing well home/dungeon at 2:39 in the following video. You can see him in all his big-eyed glory (reportedly a result of a century spent in near constant darkness) when they bring him up into the light starting at 4:00.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Wasaga under Siege coming to Ontario in August, 2014

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-08-09 14:47

Wasaga under Siege 2014 & the 200th Commemoration of Battle of Nottawasaga Bay and the Sinking of HMS Nancy, August 14th-17th 2014.

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Categories: SCA news sites