Over 300 wizards and warriors gathered recently at Patuxent River State Park in Maryland for the second annual Bellum Aeternuthe, an "invitational event for live-action role-play (LARP) and combat, open to participants from across the medieval-themed LARP community," and hosted by the Darkon Wargaming Club.
A 1700-year-old mass grave holding the dismembered and decapitated remains of 24 people has been discovered in the ancient Mayan site of Uxul. Researchers from the University of Bonn were exploring the Mayan drinking water system when they came across a 344-square-foot artificial cave that had been used as a reservoir just before it was converted into a charnel house. The floor of the cave was completely clean from when it held drinking water to supply the city during the dry season.
“Aside from the large number of interred individuals, it already became apparent during the excavation that the skeletons were no longer in their original anatomical articulation”, says the archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld, who studied the sophisticated water supply system of Uxul for his doctoral thesis and discovered the mass grave. All of the skulls were lying scattered around the interior of the cave, in no relation to the rest of the bodies. Even the majority of the lower jaws were separated from the heads. In contrast, detailed examination determined that the limbs of the legs and hands were in some cases completely preserved. “This observation excluded the possibility that this mass grave was a so-called secondary burial, in which the bones of the deceased are placed at a new location”, says Nicolaus Seefeld.
By “completely preserved” he means that some sets of legs, feet, hands and arms were found still fully articulated. That would not have been possible if the bones had initially been buried elsewhere and then moved to the cave. The articulated remains suggest that the deceased were killed all at once rather than over time, and then dismembered and placed in the reservoir.
The body parts were scattered around the space and then covered with coarse gravel and a sealing layer of clay. This burial method kept the bones in excellent condition. Because of the fine state of preservation, osteological analysis was able to identify the sex and age of 15 of the 24 sets of remains. There were 13 men and two women ranging in age from 18 to 42 when they died. Evidence of violence — hatched marks on the vertebra from decapitation, unhealed skull fractures from a blunt instrument, a number of cutting marks, possibly from stone hatchets, on many of skulls.
Some of the teeth had jade inserts, an indicator of high social status, but others showed signs of the long-term malnutrition and tooth decay that tend to afflict the poor. Archaeologists have not yet been able to determine if the dead were residents of Uxul or if they were victims of a war with a competing Maya city. The elite of Uxul weren’t in a good place in the seventh century when the mass grave was filled. The city was conquered and absorbed by my favorite Mayan dynasty, the Snake Lords of Calakmul, during this time. The local nobles were stripped of their titles and replaced with Snake Lord allies. Perhaps some of them were diced up and tossed in a dry reservoir too.
Stable isotope analysis of the enamel and dentine of the teeth might be able to answer that question. Isotopes like oxygen, strontium, lead, carbon and nitrogen become fixed in the teeth when they develop in childhood in percentages and combinations that are unique to a given area. By analyzing the teeth for the presence of stable isotopes, scientists can discover a great deal about the diet and movements of the teeth owners in their youth.
As it stands, the mass grave is strong evidence that the Maya dismembered their prisoners and/or enemies, something depicted often in Mayan art but rarely found in the archaeological record.
Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-roku-i Zentarou Umakai, reports that Their Majesties Maynard and Liadain offered Peerages to two of Their subjects at the recent Pennsic War.
The Tyger and Bucket Tavern (Saturday September 14th at 5:00 PM in South Hiram, Maine) is Malagentia’s semi-annual non-event event. Run with a skeleton staff of serving wenches and kitchen crew it seeks to bring the local community together by allowing everyone in attendance to participate in the central activities: schmoozing and eating.
The brain-child of Lady Honig von Sommerfeldt, currently Chatelaine for the Province of Malagentia, this event strives to be a fun event for the old timers who come to catch up with friends old and new, as well as an easy event for a newcomer to attend. Where other events are centered around activities that must be a developed skill before one can participate (such as fighting, archery, arts & sciences displays etc.) you don’t need to know how to do anything but eat to have a great time at this event and be a full participant in the goings-on. This will be the eighth incarnation of the Tavern, which materializes Brigadoon-like from the mists each spring and fall. There is an unwritten low-regalia dress code that helps new people feel at ease and lets those folks who wear the burden of peerage, crown, or coronet set it down for an evening and be “just like regular folks”.
Please join the Bad People of Malagentia for this enchanting evening. Check your stuffy authenticist cred at the door and relax. Travelers from afar are enjoined to settle in among these simple folk and share their war stories from the summer. Learn the secrets of the Schnitzelbank, strut your hirsute handsomeness in the hairy chest contest, purchase a pickle to be delivered by the talented pickle dancers, raise your voice in song, bring a bottle of your best home brew to share and feast and laugh until you guts might burst.
And just in case that isn’t enough to lure you out into the wilds of Malagentia on a crisp autumn evening the a-la-carte menu just might: Chef Gryff will be preparing the following delicacies which will be priced on a per-plate basis, dished up onto your own feast gear, and served to you by smiling, friendly wenches:
Filed under: Events Tagged: events, Malagentia
Wendy Furie is a veterinarian - and a Scottish bard. While the two professions might sound at odds with each other, she makes them work, in the modern world and as Swannoc Beag, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Laura Blasey of the Frederick (Maryland) News-Post has the story.
The SCA archery E-newsletter, Quivers and Quarrels, is requesting photographs for a photo section featuring "period" looking archers. Photos of archers in good looking period style clothing and gear or photos of period style gear (e.g. Bows, quivers. arrows, etc.) made by an archer will be published in each issue.
When the third century A.D. battlefield was discovered at Harzhorn, 60 miles south of Hanover, Germany, in 2008, it upended the conventional historical wisdom that Rome withdrew its legions permanently to the Rhine-Danube border after their devastating loss at the Battle of Teutoborg Forest in 9 A.D.
This seminal archaeological find started off modestly in 2000 when two metal detector enthusiasts looking for the remains of a medieval fortress discovered what they thought was a twisted and gnarled medieval iron candlestick. They kept the piece for years, not paying it much attention, until in 2008 they took it to local archaeologist Petra Loenne who identified it as a Roman hipposandal. These are not common finds in Lower Saxony, hundreds of miles north and east of the Roman frontier. Loenne assembled a team of professional archaeologists and historians plus dedicated metal detector hobbyists to investigate the field in which the hipposandal had been found.
Over the course of three months during the summer of 2008, the team found a large ancient battlefield covering a mile of German forest. They recovered 600 artifacts just from the surface of the battlefield, including clusters of Roman sandal nails, spear tips from ballistae (Roman artillery crossbows) all pointing in the same direction, axes, wagon parts, arrowheads and coins. The coins were from the first half of the 3rd century A.D. and a fragment of wood still attached to the arrowhead was radiocarbon dated to the same period.
The discovery of so late a battlefield far beyond the Rhine-Danube border led to five years of excavations on the site. An astonishing 2,700 artifacts have been found thus far, and excavations are still ongoing. The most recent discovery was made by archaeologists from the Freie Universität Berlin who discovered several pieces of Roman chain mail. Chain mail has been found before in warrior burials, but these are the first well-preserved pieces of body armour found on a Germanic battlefield. The team has been excavating the edges of the battlefield in an attempt to determine the full extent of the fighting and whether there were distinct areas where the overall battle broke down into smaller individual clashes. The discovery of the chain mail suggests the battle may have been particularly intense along that edge.
The chain mail, which was found in several fragments, consists of thousands of small chain links with a diameter of about six millimeters. The iron in the rings, however, is largely decomposed. Chain mail was worn in battle by Roman soldiers of various ranks. Germanic warriors usually waived this protection; however, in Germanic burial grounds, remains of those laboriously produced armor can often be found. In this case, not only the object itself was an unusual find, but also the position in which it was found. It was located directly on the edge of the battlefield with probably the most intense combat action that could be detected on the Harzhorn hill.
“This discovery represents something fundamentally new for the Battle at the Harzhorn,” said [lead archaeologists Prof.] Michael Meyer. “This is the first time that an almost complete part of personal armor was found.” Meyer said it is possible that the chain mail was stripped from a wounded Roman soldier by his comrades because they wanted to dress his wounds and carry him away from the battle zone. It is conceivable that they left the chain mail behind. However, it is also conceivable that it was specifically laid down in a certain place by Germanic soldiers after the fighting was over, as an indication that this location played a special role in the fighting.
Two or three links from chain mail have been found on the Harzhorn battlefield before, but they were probably lost during combat. These are lumps from an entire chain mail shirt that was removed and carefully folded on the spot. The largest pieces are about as big as a hand; most of the fragments are much smaller. Much of the iron has degraded, but you can clearly see the mail rings and structure in X-rays.
The chain mail is still in the process of being fully excavated and cleaned. Once it’s been properly conserved, the chain mail will join its brethren at the State Museum of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony where the exhibition Rome’s Forgotten Campaign: Battle at Harzhorn is offering the public the first chance to see the Harzhorn finds on display. The exhibit tells the story of the discovery and explains the historical context of this battle.
According to ancient historians like Herodian of Antioch and the author(s) of the Historia Augusta, towards the end of the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus (r. 222-235 A.D.), the Rhine-Danube border was weakened by troop withdrawals. The emperor was using the legions in his Persian campaigns, a tactical choice the Germans were glad to take advantage of. Raids and incursions savaged Roman territory in the Middle Rhine. Alexander Severus returned from Persia, bringing together a large Roman force at Mainz.
Before engaging in battle, he sought to negotiate with the German enemy. His troops didn’t like that plan since it would have deprived them of additional wages plus their share of slaves and loot, so they mutinied. Alexander was assassinated by the troops who declared low-born career army officer Maximinus Thrax the new emperor. Maximus either went forward with Alexander Severus’ attack plans or his legions were attacked by the Germanic warriors on their way back to Mainz.
Until 2008, historians thought the ancient sources were, let’s just be charitable and call it embellishing, the facts on this point since there was no archaeological evidence to support a strong Roman combat presence so far east and north of the border. Harzhorn may prove to be the redemption of their reputation.
The Kingdom of Acre in invites all to join them on September 20-22 for a Crusade. The weekend will include armored and rapier battles, archery, an Arts and Sciences display and classes. The event will be held at Camp Cedarcrest in Orange, Connecticut, which has tent camping and some cabins available.
The weekend has a full schedule, which includes a three hour armored resurrection battle with combat archery in which fighters will select either a Templar, Hospitaller or Byzantine role. A feast will be served on Saturday night. After dinner, the amphitheater will host a huge fire pit for bardic performers or those telling stories of past battles.
Descriptions of all martial scenarios, a full class list and A&S display information is available at the Autumn Crusade website. Site fees include Saturday’s day board and are $15 for an adult, $10 for children under 12 years. The camping fees includes breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday mornings and are $15 per person for a cabin (6-8 in a cabin) or $10 per person for tents. Saturday night’s feast is an additional $10 per adult, $4 per child. Event reservations can be made at the Eventbrite website.
Filed under: Events
Bard and artisan, Mistress Dervila ni Leanon, OL, demonstrates the art of Coptic bookbinding in a blog page, illustrated with many photos, that chronicles the process.
Most people spend Pennsic fighting, going to classes, dancing, or just hanging out around the campfire. Not the case for Ercc Glaison, who chose to spend his War in the persona of a wandering friar. (photos)
Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum has authenticated a new painting by Vincent van Gogh, the first full-sized canvas by the master to be found since 1928. It’s called Sunset at Montmajour, is 93.3 x 73.3 centimeters (36.73 x 28.86 inches) and was painted in the Arles area by van Gogh during the summer of 1888. Van Gogh Museum Director Axel Rüger explains the significance of the piece:
“A discovery of this magnitude has never before occurred in the history of the Van Gogh Museum. It is already a rarity that a new painting can be added to Van Gogh’s oeuvre. But what makes this even more exceptional is that this is a transition work in his oeuvre, and moreover, a large painting from a period that is considered by many to be the culmination of his artistic achievement, his period in Arles in the south of France. During this time he also painted world-famous works, such as Sunflowers, The yellow house and The bedroom. The attribution to Van Gogh is based on extensive research into style, technique, paint, canvas, the depiction, Van Gogh’s letters and the provenance.”
This isn’t the first time the Van Gogh Museum has examined this painting. The owner asked the museum to determine its authenticity in 1991, but experts concluded at that time that it was not an original work of Van Gogh. In 2011, the owner (the museum isn’t providing information about this person or whether it’s the same owner who submitted the work in 1991) brought the painting back to the museum for authentication. This time around things went very differently. Researchers had access to new information and new technology.
X-rays of the canvas revealed that it was the same type used by Vincent in another Arles painting, The Rocks, which is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Chemical analysis of the pigments found their colors and makeup correspond exactly to the palette van Gogh used in Arles, and even share their characteristic discolorations.
Experts were able to trace the ownership all the way back to Vincent’s brother Theo who kept all of his brother’s paintings after his death in 1890. Sun Setting at Arles listed as number 180 in Theo’s inventory, and the number 180 is on the back of the newly authenticated canvas. Theo’s widow sold 180 to French collector and dealer Maurice Fabre in 1901. There’s no documentation of Fabre selling the piece. It just disappears from the historical record until 1970 when it cropped up in the estate of Norwegian industrialist Christian Nicolai Mustad. According to the Mustad family, Christian had bought the painting from Fabre in 1908 when he was a newbie art collector. Shortly thereafter the French ambassador to Sweden told him the painting was a fake and, embarrassed that he had been conned, Mustad hid the work in his attic for the next 60 years. When Christian’s estate was sold after his death, an art dealer determined the painting was either a deliberate fake or the work of a minor German painter. From then it’s been in anonymous private hands.
On top of all this, a newly published collection of all of Vincent’s letters pointed the Van Gogh Museum experts to the location depicted in the painting — the hill of Montmajour a few miles outside of Arles — which they were then able to verify in person, even finding an apposite cluster of old oaks.
In a letter to Theo written at Arles on July 5th, 1888, Vincent describes the subject of his painting:
Yesterday, at sunset, I was on a stony heath where very small, twisted oaks grow, in the background a ruin on the hill, and wheatfields in the valley. It was romantic, it couldn’t be more so, à la Monticelli, the sun was pouring its very yellow rays over the bushes and the ground, absolutely a shower of gold. And all the lines were beautiful, the whole scene had a charming nobility. You wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see knights and ladies suddenly appear, returning from hunting with hawks, or to hear the voice of an old Provençal troubadour. The fields seemed purple, the distances blue. And I brought back a study of it too, but it was well below what I’d wished to do.
A week later he refers again to his drawings of the Montmajour area, two of which he believes to be the best pen drawings he’s done. He tells Theo he wants at least 100 francs for them, and he’s willing to throw in the three other drawings for that price even though the work took a toll on him:
And not everyone would have the patience to let themselves be eaten up by the mosquitoes, and to struggle against this infuriating nuisance of the constant mistral, not to mention that I’ve spent whole days out of doors with a bit of bread and some milk, it being too far to be going back to town all the time.
He then goes on to say that the works has exhausted him and that he has started a painting of Montmajour but the damnable mistral wind — a cold, dry wind that blusters over southern France at speeds of up to 55 miles an hour — is making it impossible for him to work on it for the time being. Scholars have thought that reference was to The Rocks, but Vincent doesn’t give specifics in the letter, so perhaps it was Sunset at Montmajour after all. He uses the plural “oaks” in the first letter quoted above while there’s only one oak in The Rocks, and he mentions the ruins of Montmajour Abbey in the background. The ruins can be seen in the left background of Sunset at Montmajour; they don’t appear at all in The Rocks. The Rocks is also significantly smaller than Sunset at 21 5/8 x 25 7/8 inches.
So why have experts have so much difficulty in the past identifying the painting as the work of Vincent van Gogh? Senior researchers Louis van Tilborgh and Teio Meedendorp think it’s because it’s a transitional piece where the artist was still using more traditional strokes, building up to the thick impasto and layering of his later works. Also, there are elements of the painting — some parts of the foreground and right side — that are a little muddier than van Gogh’s usual. Perhaps that’s why he considered it “well below what [he]‘d wished to do.”
Sunset at Montmajour will be on display at the Van Gogh Museum, on loan from the private collection, for a year starting September 24th. It will be part of the exhibition Van Gogh at Work which focuses on the recent discoveries about the painter’s technique as it developed over the course of ten years.
Potholes may be a modern annoyance, but the recent discovery of a Roman horseshoe stuck in a rut shows that the problem is ages old. The 2000-year-old show was discovered recently under Liverpool Street in London. (photo)
A highlight of the year in Boston, Lincolnshire, England is the South Kyme Festival where medieval jousters compete and the proceeds go to charity. This year's festival featured two medieval re-enactment groups – The Woodvilles and The Knights of Skirbeck. (photo)
Artifacts of a Life, a new type of Arts & Sciences event that is jointly sponsored by The Barony Beyond the Mountain and the Barony of Carolingia, is coming on September 21!
The event centers around display of artifacts that could have been left behind by a plausible historic persona — it does not have to be your SCA persona. The goal is to be able to look at these as a whole for what they reveal about the material culture of that persona’s time, place, and social context.
Because this is a new way of looking at Arts & Sciences, there is an additional page of information to help both judges and entrants prepare, that can be found here: http://sca-artifactschallenge.blogspot.com/p/prospective-judges-and-entrants.html
The staff of the event are still accepting volunteers for judging, previous experience is not necessarily required. The organizers are encouraging entrants and judges to be able to talk to each other face to face and hope the more judges that are available will allow a better quality of feedback for the entrants.
Please let event organizers know in advance if you plan to enter just so they can make sure to have the right space and layout available for you. It is not a requirement, but it is helpful to planning.
And of course, they can always use more volunteers, especially for gate and registration of entrants.
Those wishing to enter or volunteer can contact Baron Jehan at email@example.com.
Details are available at http://sca-artifactschallenge.blogspot.ca/
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events, Local Groups
Greetings Lords and Ladies,
There is a special project that needs your attention. New underwear,
If you could donate a new pack of underwear or socks or a box of
Filed under: Events, Local Groups, Tidings
Harvest Moon Shoot is coming right up. Saturday, Sept. 14 at Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds in South Hiram, Maine. There are some great things in store. https://www.facebook.com/events/1385201558359050/
The site is spacious and rain resistant, with covered areas for most or all of the activities.
Archery is the focus of the day, with a hunt theme. Alexandre and Adrienne and their crew will be marshaling the fields, with standard and friend & foe targets, and Iain will be running the Wood’s Walk, a roving range through a forest path with 3D targets.
Samuel Peter DeBump, more commonly known as Speedbump, will be offering a combat archery series, including classes in construction and technique, authorization attempts, and possibly some CA dueling. If you have an interest in CA but need some questions answered or help getting started, come take advantage of this rare opportunity.
There will be a Heavy List tourney. The local victor will win the title of Malagentian Heavy List Champion and bear an recently unearthed ancient Malagentian artifact as regalia for the year. The best fighting visitor will receive a set of drinking vessels, perhaps to be used at Tyger and Bucket Tavern later in the evening.
The Malagentian Thrown Weapons Champion will also be determined, and Boden has found an antique brass-headed axe as regalia for that honored thrower.
A lighthearted fencing tourney will be held. An embroidered favor, currently worn by Don Jordan Harvey, will be borne by the victor until next year.
Display your hunt-themed arts & sciences projects, finished or in progress. Elgiva Wilhelm will be coordinating.
Christiana Crane will be preparing a hearty day board. There is a menu at http://harvestmoonshoot.com/activities/food/
After the event, grab a bottle and visit the legendary Tyger & Bucket Tavern, a separate event conveniently located on the same site. Bawdy shenanigans and delectable victuals. Your Harvest Moon Shoot site token gives you free entry to the tavern. See https://www.facebook.com/events/555903351137080 for more.
All this PLUS lots more!
Google Map: http://bit.ly/hmslocation
Harvest Moon Shoot Facebook event page:
Harvest Moon Shoot website: http://harvestmoonshoot.com/
Filed under: Archery, Events, Fencing, Heavy List, Thrown Weapons
Sou-Grd-10th-art (4K) 8/29/13 "Southron Gaard's Glorious 10th" by mistress katherine kerr.
p-thts-animls-msg (18K) 9/ 8/13 Period thoughts on and behavior to animals.
per-lepers-msg (10K) 9/ 1/13 Stories of using leper personas.