In the year A.S. 48, King Damien MacGavin of Calontir began challenging the populace of His Kingdom to think of the projects they had always dreamed of and take one year to complete them. In response to this, Saito Takauji has begun an anthology of Tanka/Waka from all corners of the SCA.
Last month, archaeologists excavating a mound in the Filippovka burial ground in the Orenburg region of Russia’s Southern Ural steppes discovered a rare intact burial from the nomadic Persian-speaking Sarmatian people who lived in the area from around 500 B.C. until 400 A.D. The burial ground has 29 funerary mounds, known as kurgans, almost all of which have been thoroughly excavated by archaeologists since the 1980s and thoroughly plundered by looters since antiquity. Archaeologists still work the site and have found important artifacts from Sarmatian daily life like hunting tools, household goods, but they thought there was no chance of finding any intact burials.
Mound 1, aka the Tsar Tumulus, where the most recent discovery was made was excavated in 1986 and a large collection of jewelry, glassware, weapons and 26 stylized carved wooden dear covered in gold sheet was discovered. It became a signature treasure of the Sarmatian archaeology, giving historians a whole new understanding of the Iron Age nomads of the steppes, and has traveled to some of the world’s greatest museums. This summer the archaeological team from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Archaeology returned to Mound 1 to explore the eastern section of the kurgan which the original excavation had overlooked. They had no expectations of discovering flashy artifacts; the goal was to find out everything they could about the mound and to determine how best to defend it from conservation threats.
Instead, five meters (16.4 feet) under the surface in a passage near the entrance the archaeologists were welcomed by a cast bronze cauldron more than three feet in diameter with two looped handles on the sides and two top handles in the shape of griffins facing each other beak to beak. Underneath the mound they found the burial chamber, miraculously untouched with its human remains and artifacts lying exactly where they were left 2,500 years ago.
A small wicker chest that is thought to be a vanity case was found near the skull. It was filled to the brim with items including a cast silver container with a lid, a gold pectoral, a wooden box, cages, glass, silver and earthenware bathroom flasks, leather pouches, and horse teeth that contained red pigments.
Nearby lay a large silver mirror with gilded stylized animals on the handle and embossed decoration on the back with the image of an eagle in the centre, surrounded by a procession of six winged bulls.
The garments were decorated with several plaques, depicting flowers, rosettes and a panther leaping on a saiga’s (antelope) back. There were also 395 pressed pieces of gold leaf sewn onto the breeches, shirt and scarf. A fringed shawl was held together with a golden chain and the sleeves of the shirt were embellished with multicoloured beads, forming a complex geometric pattern. Two cast gold earrings decorated in places with cloisonné enamel were found in the area of the temporal bones.
They also found stone palettes, gilded needles, bone spoons and decorated pens that are thought to make up an ancient Sarmatian tattooing kit, a wooden bowls with gold handles shaped like bears, gold rings, a decorated glass vessel of Persian manufacture, a quiver of bronze-topped arrows and so much more. More than 1,000 artifacts were found in this one burial.
Because of the wicker chest/beauty case, the mirror, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry, archaeologists initially thought the remains were of noble woman. Initial osteological analysis, however, indicates the skeleton belongs to male around 40 years old when he died. Only a DNA test can determine the sex of the person buried in this tomb of wonders.
Once the artifacts are fully cleaned, conserved, catalogued and studied, they will go on display in an Orenburg museum.
Sometime in the week of August 2-9, 2013, vandals "hacked out" two 15th century, decorative oak panels, bearing the images of saints from Holy Trinity Church in Torbryan, England. The panels were part of a screen and "one of the best examples of their kind left in Britain." (video)
Steven Muhlberger reports that his book Formal Combats in the Fourteenth Century in now available for the Kindle from Amazon.com in eBook format. Cost to download is US $3.99.
Tidings from the Brigantia Principal Herald.
The East Kingdom College of Arms is proud to announce that the Order of Gawain is now Fully registered with the SCA College of Arms. The Badge which has been in use since Gryffith and Aikaterine, the Green Garter with Yellow Star, passed without conflicts. * East, Kingdom of the. Order name Order of Gawain and badge. (Fieldless) A garter buckled in annulo vert charged on the tongue with a mullet Or.
The Tygers of the East have also had a badge registered for them.
* East, Kingdom of the. Badge for Tyger of the East Kingdom, Order of the. (Fieldless) A demi-tyger azure.
I would like to personally thank the entire Brigantia Staff, especially Mistress Alys, Eastern Crown Herald, and Lord Jocelyn, Blue Tyger Herald, and all those who commented and contributed to the registration process, for all their hard work in getting a very large chunk of the unregistered Kingdom’s awards finally registered with the SCA College of Heralds.
Filed under: Official Notices, Tidings Tagged: heraldry
2,000 years of English history will be open for study thanks to a UK£4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and investigate various sites at Chester Farm, in Irchester, England.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds will be on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., from September 13th through October 22nd as part of its The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s historic first flight. The codex usually resides in the Bibliotecha Reale in Turin, Italy, and rarely travels, so this a special opportunity to see one of Leonardo’s most important notebooks in the context of the history of human flight.
The Codex on the Flight of Birds is a bound notebook of 18 two-sided pages that Leonardo covered with sketches and notes in his characteristic mirror script. In it he examines how birds fly, principles of aerodynamics and what kind of machine might be able to duplicate natural flight. Leonardo wrote it in 1505-6, almost 400 years before the Wright brothers’ flight, and he made prototypes of several of the machines drawn in the notebook, none of which worked, alas. Still, the concepts he explored — like how air acts like a fluid when it moves over a bird’s wing or how a bird’s center of gravity and center of pressure are different — are some of the building blocks of aeronautics.
The notebook is a modest eight by six inches in size and will be displayed in a custom case for conservation and security purposes. Since visitors obviously won’t have the chance to put their grubby hands on the codex itself, the museum has set up interactive stations with digitized versions of the notebook. People can leaf through every page using a touch screen and see the details in high resolution. A full English translation of every page will illuminate the backwards Renaissance Italian script.
“For Leonardo, art was the foundation of engineering, and engineering was an expression of art,” said Peter Jakab, chief curator of the museum. “The artist who painted the ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Last Supper’ was a Renaissance visionary who saw the modern world before it was realized.” Jakab, an expert in early flight, is also serving as the curator of the special exhibition.
“The exhibition of Leonardo’s Codex at the Smithsonian, including in an electronically readable and scrollable format, is truly a unique event,” said the director of the Biblioteca Reale, Giovanni Saccani. “In fact, the Codex has rarely been exhibited outside the library, although in 2012, a reproduction of the document together with Leonardo’s self-portrait were fastened on a microchip and carried to Mars aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover—leading Leonardo’s genius on a mission to conquer space.”
One of Leonardo’s drawings in another manuscript is of an ornithopter, a plane with wings that flap like a bird’s. A full-size model built from da Vinci’s sketch by an Italian manufacturer is also on display in this exhibition, along with the original Wright Flyer of 1903 in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection and reproductions of several other earlier and later Wright kites and aircraft.
Here’s a quick intro to the codex narrated by curator Peter Jakab:
Important note: Not specifically flight-related but nonetheless extremely cool is the Leonardo self-portrait that is second only to Vitruvian Man in its frequency of use in history-of-man-and-science collages and documentaries. It too is part of the Bibliotecha Reale’s extensive da Vinci collection, and they loaned it to the Smithsonian for this exhibit along with the Codex on the Flight of Birds.
The East Kingdom Gazette provides a brief background to the proposed Rapier peerage.
A proposal is currently before the Board of Directors to create a peerage for Rapier and ‘Cut and Thrust’ martial activities. The proposal was created by the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee, which was created by the Board of Directors. It was comprised of representatives of eleven kingdoms, including representatives of the Chivalry, Laurel, Pelican, multiple Orders of High Merit for rapier combat, and heralds. The Easterners on the Committee were Earl Kenric aet Essex and Mistress Alys Mackyntoich.
SCA members have unofficially discussed for years the possibility of additional peerages for the martial activities of Rapier as well as for Archery, Equestrian, Thrown Weapons and Siege Weaponry. Currently the only avenue to a peerage open to someone for these activities is if their service to the sport is significant enough to merit a Pelican. Peerages are only given for Service (Pelican), Arts and Sciences (Laurel) or Armored Combat (Chivalry).
The Committee examined input collected by the 2010 SCA Census and correspondence received by the SCA on the subject. They summarized what they learned as follows.
The report also discussed possible names, badges and regalia for the Peerage. The Board chose one of each to put forward for commentary.
Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal should send their remarks to The Board of Directors by December 1, 2013. Use the title “Additional Peerage Proposal” as the subject line. Comments can be sent by email to email@example.com or
Editor’s note: The proposal put forward by the Board for comment can be found at http://sca.org/BOD/announcements/APECProposal.pdf
Filed under: Corporate, Fencing, Law and Policy
Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-roku-i Zentarou Umakai, reports that at Siege of Harlech in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, Their Majesties Maynard and Liadain of the Kingdom of AEthelmearc offered elevation to the Order of the Laurel to Odriana vander Brugghe.
Sir Kenneth Branagh will bring his version of "the Scottish play" by William Shakespeare to the drill hall of the Park Avenue Armory in New York City in June 2014. Sir Kenneth said: "I am delighted that we have the chance to recreate Macbeth in this epic setting."
Peru; reportedly from Corral Redondo, Churunga Valley
Twelve massive feather panels made by the pre-Inca Wari people of Peru at least 1000 years ago and possibly as long as 1,400 years ago have gone on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The panels in the Feathered Walls: Hangings from Ancient Peru exhibition, 10 of which are in the Met’s permanent collection while the remaining two are loans, will adorn the 88-foot-long wall between the ancient South American art galleries and the modern art galleries, an ideal transition for pieces of ancient Peruvian art whose solid colors and sharp geometries have such a contemporary aesthetic.
The feather panels were discovered in 1943 by workers making adobe near the town of La Victoria in the Churunga Valley along the southern coast of Peru. In an enclosure known as Corral Redondo after three concentric walls that encircles it, workers first encountered Inca artifacts and human remains before unearthing six to eight humaniform ceramic jars (conflicting reports have muddied some of the details) decorated with mythological subjects. The jars were three to four feet high and each contained 12 rolled up feathered panels for a total of 96. It was the largest discovery of ancient Peruvian featherwork ever made.
Kept safe in their jars from the depredations of insect, climate and the salty ocean air, many of the panels were found to be in excellent condition. The average size of the feather panels is seven feet in width and two feet and a half in height. They were all made using the materials and stitching method. On a foundation of plain-weave cotton, body feathers from the blue and yellow macaw were individually knotted onto strings and then stitched onto the cotton panels in overlapping horizontal rows. Along the top is a woven band made from camelid fibers with braided ties attached to the upper corners. It’s those ties that strongly suggest the panels were used as wall hangings rather than, say, garments or blankets. Hung against the rough grey walls common in Wari architecture, these brilliant, refined color blocks would have transformed a humble space into a suitable setting for ceremonial purposes.
Peru; reportedly from Corral Redondo, Churunga Valley
Four of the panels in the Met’s collection have been radiocarbon dated to between 600 and 1000 A.D, placing them firmly in the period of Wari hegemony in south coastal and highlands Peru.
Feathers, particularly those from colorful birds, were a highly valued material in ancient Peru, and featherwork was likely one of the most treasured of Wari art forms, which also include other types of fine textiles, polychrome ceramics, exquisite personal ornaments made of precious materials, and small-scale sculpture.
Such portable luxury goods were markers of wealth and power, and because the Wari, like other ancient Andean peoples, did not use a writing system, they also played an important role in expressing, recording, and preserving concepts about the human, natural, and supernatural realms. The bold minimalistic design, striking formal sophistication, and superb craftsmanship of the panels have appealed to modern sensibilities, serving as inspiration for twentieth-century artists such as Max Ernst and his wife Dorothea Tanning, who acquired one of the works presented in the exhibition.
By the time the discovery was published in English-language publications in 1958, the featherwork hangings were described as a buried cache, but according to original workers cited in early Spanish-language publications, Wari mummy bundles were found buried along with the ceramic jars. They were burned on the spot by the finders, presumably for religious reasons. If the panels were indeed buried along with people, they may have been offerings left at the grave of a very high status personage or a human sacrifice.
Twenty-three of the panels were acquired by Nelson Rockefeller who gave them to the Museum of Primitive Art, a now-defunct museum in New York he founded to house his collection of the art of indigenous peoples of Africa, Oceania, the Americas and early civilizations of Europe and Asia. The museum closed in 1976 and its permanent collection transferred over to the Metropolitan. Nelson Rockefeller died in 1979. He bequeathed the Wari feather hangings to the Met.
Peru; reportedly from Corral Redondo, Churunga Valley
Greys Court, near Henley-on-Thames, is an English mansion built in the 1550s. Now a major heatwave has revealed that the mansion was once much larger through "parch," areas of dead grass, outlining structures from the original building.
People traveling to this weekend’s Artifacts of Life event in Manchester, Connecticut should be aware of a travel advisory for I-84. At the border of Connecticut and New York, the westbound lane of I-84 will be closed starting at 5 pm on September 21 and stay closed through September 22. The westbound bridge over Dingle Ridge Road in the Town of Southeast, Putnam County is being replaced. Traffic delays are anticipated. I-84 westbound will be closed at Exit 1 in Connecticut and directed back onto I-84 at Exit 20 in Southeast, NY.
Filed under: Events
Lady Kestral likes to dance -- but also throw axes. Sgt. Eginolf is a fighter, who lets off stress through armored combat. Both spoke to reporter Sam Gause of the MLive (Jackson, Michigan) about the life in the SCA and the Shire of Talonvale. (slideshow)
Mistress Sofya la Rus reports that Lord Sifrid von Eichelborn has created an album of photos from Cross & Compass 2013 which took place recently in the Kingdom of Calontir. The photos are available to view on Flickr.
For centuries, a secret medieval chamber, complete with its own guarderobe, lay hidden behind the walls of Drum Castle near Banchory, Scotland, but now all has been revealed. The room appears to have been covered during later renovations. Drum, home of Clan Irvine, is Scotland's oldest castle.
I’ve got two hot tips for you today because I idled away large amounts of time sleeping, watching silent movies like a big nerd and enjoying the two virtual tours mentioned in the title like an even bigger nerd. The subjects are not related; the only thing they have in common is that their heyday was the 18th century.
The first tour uses documentary and map research to plot every stage of the 1760-1761 Jamaican slave uprising. This is so cleverly put together. You have the option of using a terrain map or political map as the base. If you want, you can explore each phase of the revolt by clicking on the timeline before, but the best thing to do is to click play in the upper left hand corner and just allow yourself to see the movements as they happened. I’m not usually the press play type. I like to click forward and back on my time, thank you very much. In this case, however, being taken on the voyage is a million times better than just clicking around, because you see the geographic links between each stage and flare-up of insurrection.
Historians have long debated whether the Jamaican slave insurrection that started in 1760 and continued for another 18 months was a spontaneous uprising, carefully planned by slaves across the country or a mixture of both. The end-result was devastation: 500 slaves killed, 500 deported to Africa, 60 white people killed and thousands of pounds in property destroyed. What this cartographical analysis found is that there were three major uprisings within the 18 months, that there were strategic choices made by rebellion leaders along with more spontaneous, disorganized outbursts.
It’s an impressive collaborative effort between historians and cartographers that has produced an attractive, easy to follow, surprisingly dynamic, information-rich resource on a complex period. I kind of want a map like this of everything now.
The second time sink is more of a literal virtual tour since you get to see with your own eyes the complete wreck site of the HMS Victory, First Rate Royal Navy warship that sank off the coast of Plymouth in 1744 and that was the predecessor to Admiral Horatio Nelson’s ship of the same name. The wreck was discovered by treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration in April of 2008.
The remains of the HMS Victory are 246 feet deep underneath a shipping lane beset by strong tides. There’s no chance of visiting the site in person, so Odyssey Marine has created a photomosaic map of the vast debris field complete with high resolution video captured by remote submersibles. Start here to follow the Virtual Dive Trail. Click on any of the outlined areas and you’ll see an incredibly clear photograph of the wreck. Click on “dive” in the upper right header and a pop-up window opens with video of the area and a description of what you’re seeing.
The quality is insane. I don’t know how that lit it so effectively but you can see bronze cannons, iron ingots, wooden planks, the large rudder, everything like it’s in your living room, assuming your living room has a vaguely blue cast to it.
The life of a photographer and videographer for a travel blog can be exotic, as exemplified by Ron Hay of the MegaPixel Travel blog who spent a day at the Kingdom of Osgoode Medieval Festival. (photos and video)
I am Yehuda ben Moshe, currently serving as Elmet Herald, the East Kingdom heraldic education deputy.
Over the last few months, I’ve run a series of classes, titled “So you want to be a (book) herald?” Parts I-III. The classes were run both online, via Google Hangouts and YouTube, and in-person at certain events. When originally created, this was planned as a stand alone series of lectures. Since then, there have been requests for more classes covering related topics. Therefore, it’s time to change things up a bit.
I am hereby announcing the creation of the East Kingdom Herald University (EKHU). The University will consist of a series of classes, held over Google Hangouts and live at selected events, designed to cover a variety of topics useful to beginner and intermediate heralds. I currently have about a dozen classes in mind, some taught by me, many taught by other instructors, and I’m hoping to grow the offerings. over time. This means that if you have ideas for classes you’d like to teach, or topics you’d like to see taught, email me. I am especially interested in classes that fit the video format, as well as classes that cover topics beyond book heraldry.
Information about the University will be available, for now, at www.yehudaheraldry.com/ekhu and will hopefully soon move to the official East Kingdom website.
Now, to the meat of the announcement:
I will be running the first two EKHU classes this week and next week.
On Wed, Sep 18, at 9:30pm EDT, I will be running “Book Heraldry 100″, the introductory class for book heralds, covering administrative matters and general principles, including the organization of the SCA heralds, becoming a herald, the submission process, and related topics. If you’ve previously taken my “So you want to be a (book) herald? Part I – Intro” class, you do not need to take this, as it covers the exactly same material.
On Mon, Sep 23, at 9:30pm EDT, I will be running “Armory 101″, the introductory armory class. This class will cover basics of armory, including blazoning. If you’ve previously taken my “So you want to be a (book) herald? Part II – Armory” class, this class is significantly different. While a few topics are the same, this class does not cover style rules, but does cover blazoning.
Students have two options for participating in the class. The first is to join the Hangout directly. This allows the student to fully participate in the video conference, talking (or typing) directly to the teacher. Please note that the class will be recorded, and the recording posted. You can choose not to turn on your camera, so as not to be on screen, but your voice will be in the video.
If you would like a spot, you must email me at elmet at eastkingdom dot org, spots will be first-come first-serve based on said emails . Please
The second option is to watch the class live through YouTube. This requires no account, there is no person limit, and you won’t be recorded, but it’s strictly one way – you won’t be able to talk to the instructor. You will be able to email me the questions, however, and I will try to respond.
Yehuda ben Moshe,
Filed under: Official Notices Tagged: heraldry, officers