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Word from Æthelmearc: In Memoriam – Viscountess Ivonne la Doucette de Rouen

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-12-27 12:41

The Æthelmearc Gazette has posted a memorial post following the passing of Viscountess Ivonne la Doucette de Rouen, formerly of the East Kingdom. It can be found by clicking here.

Filed under: In Memoriam, Tidings Tagged: aethelmearc, In Memoriam

Cremains of Roman soldiers found in cooking pots

History Blog - Tue, 2017-12-26 23:35

Archaeologists have unearthed remains of stone structures, Roman engineering and the cremains of several deceased legionaries in cooking pots at a Roman military camp just over half a mile south of Tel Megiddo in northern Israel. The monumental base (it was around 330 yards by 550 in area) is the only permanent, full-scale legionary camp discovered in the eastern Roman Empire. There are several in mainland Europe and we know there were major bases elsewhere in the Levant and east — Jerusalem, or rather, Aelia Capitolina, built on the ruins of Jerusalem after Titus’ razing of it in 70 A.D., had a large base — but they have yet to be found.

The site is known as Legio (later Arabicized to Lajjun) after the camp built in the first half of the 2nd century A.D. and for more than a century was home to the formidable Legio VI Ferrata, meaning the Sixth Ironclad Legion. In the wake of the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 A.D.), the emperor Hadrian kept them in the Legio camp to guard the strategically important supply, transport and communication lines between the coast and Jezreel Valley.

Legio VI had a proud history of fighting under some of Rome’s greatest generals. They were with Julius Caesar when he spanked Vercingetorix in Gaul, then with Marc Anthony and after his defeat in the Battle of Actium, they served under Octavian. The Ironclads were transferred from Syria to Judea just before the Bar Kochba Revolt and would remain there through most of the 3rd century. They were sent to the eastern frontier and Legio was dismantled by command of Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century.

The site has been excavated regularly for years. In 2013 and 2015, archaeologists unearthed numerous ceramic tiles stamped with the mark of the Legio VI Ferrata, and even stamped with the imprints of the hobnails from their caligae, the legionary’s sandal that earned Caligula his nickname because he charmed the legions fighting under his father Germanicus when he wore a miniature pair as a little boy. They also found individual hobnails from those sandals, scales from Roman armour and the remains of infrastructure like clay pipes, sewer channels and buildings.

This season’s excavation was even more dramatic: they discovered the remains of a monumental gate that led to the base’s the principia, the religious and military headquarters.

The principia was the heart of the Roman military base, a huge complex some 100 meters by 100 meters. Grand in size and in design, it had a huge colonnaded façade as well as a grand colonnade inside.

“The principia was not just the legionary commander’s headquarters; it was also the legion’s shrine. It included an open courtyard that housed a sanctuary for the legion’s standards, the revered symbol of the unit,” Strauss told Haaretz. […]

The principia was also the site of the treasury, the armory, and was where the scribes worked.

As is so often the case, the latrines yielded treasures of great importance. The excavation unearthed hundreds Roman coins, glass, pottery, animal bones and assorted other detritus that had been cast down with the excrement to the delight of archaeologists 1,900 years later.

They also found a hand-dug cave inside the camp that held a cooking pot filled with the ashes of a fallen and cremated comrade. It wasn’t even the only one.

“Cremation burials in cooking pots were a common practice among Roman soldiers at that time. We found this kind of burial all around the site,” Tepper told Haaretz.

Finding one’s final resting place in a cooking pot was not atypical of Roman burial practices at other Roman military sites, in Israel and around the Mediterranean, Tepper added.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

In Memoriam: Viscountess Ivone la Doucette de Rouen

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-12-26 20:32

Viscountess Ivone with her husband, Viscount Yoshina.

We are saddened to report the passing of Viscountess Ivone la Doucette de Rouen on the 17th of December.

Her Excellency joined the Society in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael in the early 1980s. Her costuming abilities were recognized immediately, and she received her Award of Arms in 1985 for her sewing skill. She would go on to create many amazing gowns, such as the very complex Elizabethan—her preferred period and style. Only a few years later, she received a Court Barony from the East Kingdom.

After a whirlwind courtship, she and Atai Sir Yoshina were married in 1985. Sir Yoshina was serving in the Air Force at the time, so she ended up traveling the world with him to places as diverse as North Dakota and Germany. While in the Middle Kingdom, she received its mid-level arts award, the Willow, again for her amazing skill as a seamstress. She and Yoshina also began building their household, House Atai, with many young military men joining as Yoshina’s squires. Ivone served as a surrogate mother for them all.

During their time in Europe, Sir Yoshina won the coronet of the then-Principality of Drachenwald, and together he and Ivone reigned over that fabled land from June of 1989 to January of 1990 as its 19th Prince and Princess.

Viscountess Ivone was recognized again for her skills as a seamstress by Drachenwald with their Order of the Panache in 1990, and the Orden des Lindquistringes for service in 1992, as well as by the East Kingdom with the order of the Silver Crescent for service at Pennsic 21 and a Laurel at Pennsic 22.

Ivone and Yoshina’s son, Aaron.

Viscount Yoshina and Viscountess Ivone returned to the U.S. in the early 90s, eventually settling in the Shire of Coppertree, where they have lived ever since. They adopted a son, Aaron, in the mid-1990s. Aaron was a youth fighter who eventually authorized to fight as an adult alongside his father. He is currently a college student studying to become a pharmacist.

Though health issues kept her from participating in the Society much over her last few years, Viscountess Ivone still continued her love of sewing, dogs, and horses.

Sir Anton von Hagenstein, formerly of Drachenwald and now of Calontir, lamented, “We have lost a fantastic Lady. I’ve known these fine people since the mid-1980s and both of them have played a very large part of my life. Ivone hand-made my vigil clothing (which still hangs next to my court garb), and [added] embroidery with important phrases of my native language. She always had a smile and open arms to everyone, and if she knew you had a problem large or small, she was helping you get through it. Together they laid the Accolade of Knighthood upon my shoulder, and made that moment … That moment that changed my life, in so many ways.”

Mistress Geirny Thorgrimsdottir of the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael said: “Ivone was my Laurel. She was one of my most important mentors. But most of all she was my friend. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a friend as loyal, witty, and impassioned about the things she loved as Ivone was.”

Countess Genevieve Chastellain D’Anjou of the Barony of Rising Waters in Ealdormere wrote: “Yesterday I lost one of my dearest and longest friends – Mary Ann Edgar [Viscountess Ivone]. We met when I was only 20. While I know her suffering from her longtime illness with COPD is over and she is at peace, I cannot stop the tears. Tears for her devoted husband she leaves behind. Tears for her beloved son (my godson) who made her so proud. Tears for her family and loved ones who grieve with me. Tears for myself for I will miss her sorely. Mary Ann taught me so much. Some were hard lessons and we sometimes butted heads, but I always knew that she loved me. I loved her for her unique fierceness and passion for her arts and her hobbies. In the SCA she was my Laurel, my mentor, my inspiration, my pain-in-the-neck, and my confidante. My heart is aching for my own loss. And I hope that she knew how much I loved her.”

Lord Deerwulf the Druid, formerly of the Shire of Aachental (now defunct, once located at SUNY Geneseo near Thescorre) and currently of Ansteorra, said: “At Pennsic one year, House Atai had encamped at Willow Point. The solar showers were pretty new, and there was only a little warm water in the mornings. The menfolk took to Morning Water Purification Ritual: basically an early version of the Ice Challenge. We would gather around a collected water container, and take turns immersing our arms, heads, whatever, into the icy cold water. On the morning in question, we were engaged in our ritual when a rather un-coffeed Ivone came out of her tent, saw us gathered around splashing the water. She harrumphed … and returned to the tent, muttering how silly Japanese were.”

The Æthelmearc Gazette extends its condolences to all of Viscountess Ivone’s family and friends.

Categories: SCA news sites

A little gift

History Blog - Mon, 2017-12-25 23:04

I hope you’ve all had a grand, warm, lucrative, family-and-friends filled Christmas Day. As it has been a tad busy, I’m going to keep it short with a little gift post in the form of pretty pictures. You might recall my recent article about The Portrait of Achille Deban de Laborde (1817). As I was in the neighborhood visiting family, I popped into the Clark Art Institute to enjoy its exceptional collection of Winslow Homers, George Inneses, Renoirs, Monets, Sisleys, Alma-Tademas, Sargents, Renaissance Old Masters and about a thousand other art historical gems.

I also made a special pilgrimage to the 18th century French portraiture room to see the youth in a replica of his father’s Napoleonic uniform. He is just as sweet and soft-eyed as he looked in the official release pictures.

In that same gallery is a painting by Louis-Léopold Boiully, a portraitist and genre artist who was highly celebrated in his time and managed to thrive from the ancien regime all the way through to the July Monarchy, although he did have a little less than pleasant moment with the Committee of Public Safety over the erotic undertone of his paintings which would have cost him his life had it not been for the discovery of a properly propagandistic Le triomphe de Marat (1794) in his studio. The genre paintings capture scenes of French society, street life and current events. Most of his portraits were of middle class people and celebrities, including Robespierre.

The painting in the Clark, however, is not a portrait, even though it’s in the portrait gallery. It is a trompe l’oeil from 1785 called, appropriately, Various Objects. It depicts what looks like a pinboard with letters, a nosegay of pansies, a black and white drawing, a glass bottle hanging from a string, a leather pouch, scissors, a switchblade and a drawing compass. I think it’s pretty great, and appreciate it all the more because it was Boiully who coined the phrase “trompe l’oeil.”

Happy holidays, everyone!

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Curia to be Held After the Market Day at Birka

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-12-25 12:37

Greetings to all who see these words,

As published in the January 2018 issue of Pikestaff
Ivan and Matilde, Tsar and Tsaritsa of the East Kingdom, will hold a Curia after the Market Day at Birka,
in the Barony of Stonemarche (Manchester NH), on Sunday 28 January 2018, starting at 10:00 am.

Details of the agenda will be posted on the Seneschal’s web page as soon as they are available.

in service,
Eadgyth aet Staeningum
Clerk of Laws

Filed under: Announcements, Law and Policy Tagged: curia

Roman coin hoard, lead coffin found by veteran’s group

History Blog - Sun, 2017-12-24 23:26

A group of military veteran metal detectorists have discovered a hoard of 250 Roman coins and a Roman lead coffin in Ilminster, Somerset, England. Detecting for Veterans assembled in an Ilminster field (the exact location is not being disclosed for its protection) this year for its annual Christmas charity dig in aid of The Veterans Charity and Talking2Minds. Member Kevin Minto made the first modest finds — a button, a fragment of lead — and then hit the jackpot when he found a Roman coin.

Being a responsible and conscientious metal detecting enthusiast, the group founder, former 1st Battalion Light Infantry Veteran, Jason Massey immediately called the county Finds Liaison Officer to determine how to proceed without harming the archaeological context. He was told an archaeological team would be on the way, but to continue to detect and dig, but to be cautious and document everything he found.

Over the next four days, Detecting for Veterans worked the field assiduously, ultimately unearthing 260 Roman coins ranging in date from 270-305 A.D., and one ring and two brooches. They were then joined by the Somerset County archaeologist Bob Croft and discovered the Roman grave site. The lead coffin dates to around 400 A.D. and archaeologists believe it a young woman’s coffin. This is an extremely rare find; just six lead-lined Roman coffins have been discovered in Somerset. Only 200 have been found in the entire country.

Laura Burnett, the Somerset finds liaison officer, said lead was a “fancy and expensive” way of being buried in Roman times.

“They’re probably using locally produced lead from the Mendips – so it might have been a bit cheaper here than in other parts of the county – but it’s an expensive thing to be buried in.” […]

There are about 200 similar lead coffins finds in the country but only six have been previously been discovered in Somerset.

“This is a very special site, a rare discovery of lead coffins,” Mr Croft said.

“Lead ones that we know go from Shepton Mallet to Wiveliscombe, and this central part of Somerset – so this one is an unusual one.

If the hoard is declared treasure trove (and it will be), local museums will be given the opportunity acquire it for the amount of its official valuation which will be divided between the finder and the landowner. That would make a great gift for the charities supported by Detecting for Veterans.

Archaeologists are still exploring the site and plan to continue into 2018.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Queen’s gold and worker’s footprint to shine in Penn Museum’s new Mespotamian galleries

History Blog - Sat, 2017-12-23 23:51

On November 1st, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology began its first major renovation since it was founded in 1887. The building, a grand historical treasure in its own right, is in dire need of upgrades, especially systems. Most urgent is the air conditioning system which doesn’t need upgrading because it doesn’t actually exist. The museum gets hot in the summer and the body heat and moisture from visitors exacerbates the problem, putting the delicate objects on display at risk.

The three-phase renovation will create a new exhibition space with state-of-the art climate control technology and 6,000 square feet in which to showcase the Penn Museum’s stellar Near East collection. A pioneer in the field of Middle Eastern archaeology, the Penn Museum was the first in the country to send a team to explore Mesopotamian sites in 1887. They’ve been back hundreds of times since and collected more than 100,000 objects, making the Penn Museum’s Near East collection one of the greatest in the world.

More than 1,200 of those objects will go on display in the new suits of three galleries — Towards Cities, Ur: The Great City, The World of Cities — dedicated to Mesopotamian history, giving visitors a panorama of the evolution and development of culture and urban life in the cradle of civilization through objects of enormous rarity and significance.

The artifacts getting an abode worthy of them include the splendid headdress of Sumerian Queen Puabi, made from 24 feet of gold ribbon, 20 gold rings and long strands of lapis lazuli and carnelian beads. It was found by Sir Leonard Woolley during his excavation of the Royal Cemetery at Ur in 1928. Other Royal Cemetery stand-out pieces will go back on display in the new galleries, among them the bull head fragment from an ancient lyre made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and shell, the Ram in a Thicket statuette.

It’s not all glittering gold masterpieces of luxury materials. The breadth of the collection allows the Penn Museum to tell the story of how Mesopotamia moved from villages to large cities with massive populations and an unparalleled collection of wealth. Front and center in the new Middle East Galleries will be one of the museum’s most unusual Sumerian objects: a footprint left in a piece of wet mud brick in Ur 4,000 years ago. One of the world’s oldest wine vessels will be on display (a Neolithic pot discovered at Hajji Firuz Tepe, Iran, that dates to around 5400 B.C.), a baby rattle, a writing primer for children and many more objects that will give visitors a view into daily life from writing and record-keeping to agriculture, labour, meal preparation and burial practices over 10,000 years of Mesopotamian history.

The Middle East Galleries will take pride of place in the renovated museum, right next to the entrance hall. It officially opens to the public on Saturday, April 21, 2018.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Turkey busts massive artifact smuggling ring

History Blog - Fri, 2017-12-22 22:40

Istanbul police have recovered 26,456 ancient artifacts and arrested 19 people in the biggest anti-smuggling operation in Turkish history.

Among the items recovered were a golden queen’s crown with an inscription of the Hellenistic god, Helios, a bust dedicated to Alexander the Great’s conquest of India and a statue of a goddess dating back to the Hittite era 3,000 years ago.

The 26,456 objects recovered also included Egyptian-origin statues and Phoenician-type teardrop vials.

“The retrieved artefacts are… more valuable than the artefacts in the inventory of an average size museum,” Istanbul police said in a statement.

One of the seized artifacts is a rare bird: a 3,000-year-old Mycenaean sword ostensibly owned by the hero Achilles himself. It’s not rare that some random object would be attributed to a hero of Troy — that kind of faux relic was venerated in temples for hundreds of years — but very few of them have survived in any recognizable form.

This archaeological bonanza was the hard-won result of three months of painstaking investigative work and surveillance of key suspects. Operation Zeus switched from tracking mode to busting on December 12th when six men in northwestern Turkey’s Duzce province were arrested in the course of attempting to sell some of the trafficked artifacts. They were interrogated and named names leading to more arrests in four other provinces.

Police haven’t been to determine how such a vast number of high quality artifacts were acquired or where they came from, but we know they were intended to be sold on the black market through art dealers and shady outfits in multiple countries. Investigations are ongoing. The objects will be given to the Istanbul Museum of Archaeology for further study and conservation.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Remains of large Wari temple discovered in Peru

History Blog - Thu, 2017-12-21 23:26

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient pre-Hispanic, pre-Inca Wari temple at the archaeological site of Espíritu Pampa in the jungles of Peru’s La Convención province. The team first found the walls shaped like a capital D, a characteristic design for Wari culture temples. A second, smaller D-shaped structure was found in the middle of the big D. Archaeologists believe this was likely an astronomical observatory, a key element of Wari worship and important section of the full temple. It may also have been used to perform religious rituals.

Also inside the larger temple walls, the archaeological team discovered two burial pits built with small slabs of stone. The first of these was found to contain tooth fragments from an animal. The second burial contained to large Wari ceramic vessels, a silver pectoral band and one silver crown or headdress. One of the pots was particularly striking (and very much typical of Wari craftsmanship), a stylized representation of a crowned individual with large and prominent eyes, nose and mouth. The crown is painted on and is first archaeological evidence that Espíritu Pampa was home to a ruling elite during the heyday of Wari power.

When that day no longer made hey, the last hurrah of Inca independence filled the void, and there’s evidence of that too in the physical structure of the temple. On the long edge of the D-shaped enclosure, there are architectural remains of square and rectangular design. This is Inca work. The interior confirmed this identification when archaeologists unearthed tupus, silver needles and ceramic bottles and assorted vessels used for ceremonial purposes.

This second, later habitation by the Inca had a brief but significant heyday in the 16th century. As the Spanish conquest proceeded at a precipitous rate, Manco Inca Yupanqui defied the Spanish rulers who had installed him to be their puppet king. When Francisco Pizarro left his two bratty younger brothers behind in Cusco as regents (ie, the real rulers), they were so vicious and disrespectful that Manco Inca rebelled. He fought them in open combat, besieging Cusco for 10 months. He was successful at first, but eventually left the highlands to the Spanish and moved to the remote jungle were he founded the independent Neo-Inca State in his new capital of Vilcabamba in 1539.

Not quite so new, as it happens. Vilcabamba and Espíritu Pampa are the same city. Manco wisely selected a spot that already had surviving ancient architecture (the Wari Empire lasted from around 600 A.D. to 1100 A.D.) to piggyback off on — a major advantage in the jungle — and then proceeded to do just that. The distant location did not keep the fledgling independent state safe. There was near-constant fighting in the hills, not just between Inca and Spanish, but between Spanish factions, the first civil war to break out between the conquistadores in Peru. It was that subconflict that ultimately led to Manco’s death. He was killed by members of the anti-Pizarro faction who were hiding out in Vilcabamba under Manco’s generous protection. In exchange for his support, they murdered him in 1544. Manco’s men returned the favor.

The artifacts have been recovered from the dig and are slated to get a thorough cleaning, conservation and examination by experts at the Physical Chemistry Unit of the Decentralized Directorate of Culture of Cusco.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Corn Maze

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-12-21 19:49

Here continues the Record of the Reign of Gareth and Juliana, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc at Æthelmearc and East Kingdom War, called Corn Maze, November 11, AS 52, in Their Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais; as recorded by Lord Arias Beltran del Valle, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.

As has been Their tradition, Their Majesties first called for those present attending their first event to appear before Them.  Their Majesties welcomed each to the Society and bid them well in their journeys to come within the SCA.  They then gave each a drinking vessel to carry with them as they attended future events with the Society.

Their Majesties then summoned before Them Reinhard Dobbeler.  His Majesty then read a letter composed by the Lady Angel Deth of House Sable Maul before the populace, highlighting with words from the rest of his House the hard work and willing spirit that Reinhard brings to the support of that House and his Kingdom.  For this honorable work was he Awarded Arms and made a Lord of Their Majesties’ Court.  The scroll was a work of embroidery by Lady Angel Deth.

Jakob Krahe was next called to appear before Their Majesties.  Having heard of Jakob’s hard work on the field and his willingness to work hard to set up events, They were grateful, and of a mind to make Their gratitude known by creating him a Lord of Their Court and Awarding him Arms. Scroll artist was unknown.

Their Majesties then summoned to Their Presence Lord Burgos.  Word of his continued improvement as a fighter and the joy he takes in learning the martial arts in defense of Their Kingdom had come to their attention, and for this were They of a mind to count him amongst Their Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Lady Ashling.

The presence of Lord Gunnar Ulfrbani was next demanded by Their Majesties.  They had heard of Lord Gunnar’s brilliant tactical mind on the fencing melee field, and his enthusiasm in sharing his love for that combat with those around him.  So too was he made a member of the Order of the Golden Alce by Their Majesties. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Their Majesties then summoned to Their Presence Lady Jan al-Thalab, called Fox.  Word had reached Their ears of Fox’s work for many years as a member of the Sylvan Army Support Services, or SASS, culminating most recently in her leading the group, bringing SASS to the fields at Pennsic and keeping Their armies well fed and hydrated.  For this, as well as her giving spirit throughout the Kingdom was she made a member of the Order of the Keystone. Scroll by Lady Gulsah Aydini.

Their Majesties then summoned before Them Barwnes Nest ferch Rhys, from the duty set before her that very day handing out scroll cases in court.  Their Majesties spoke to her of her history of service to the Kingdom, and her work in the difficult job of serving her home shire as Seneschal after being unexpectedly thrust into the role.  They felt that her Excellency’s devotion to service was no longer properly recognized, and so did They call for Their Most Noble Order of the Pelican, and bid them bear her away to determine a time that she should sit in vigil and contemplate elevation into that august Order.  Scroll by Lady Shirin of Susa.

Lord Grimbald Deth was then summoned before Their Majesties from his duties as one of the Queen’s Guard on this day.  Her Majesty thanked him for his continue devotion to serving as both guard and travelling great distances to do so, coming from his home in Atlantian land.  So did she name him her inspiration for the day, and awarded him a Golden Escarbuncle.

Their being no further business, the Court of Their Majesties was then closed.

Categories: SCA news sites

Old bones identified as remains of one of England’s 1st turkey dinners

History Blog - Wed, 2017-12-20 23:39

Archaeologists have identified turkey bones so old that may well be the remains of one of the earliest turkey dinners in Britain. We’re talking Tudor turkey here, almost a century before the first Thanksgiving (which according to contemporary sources didn’t actually feature turkeys anyway; the Wampanoag brought deer and the British settlers migratory waterfowl). The three turkey bones in question, two femurs and an ulna, are not a new discovery. They were unearthed in 1983 on Paul Street in central Exeter during an archaeological excavation of the site of a planned shopping center and were squirreled away in storage boxes at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. At that time they were neither identified as turkey bones nor were they dated.

University of Exeter archaeologists dusted them off recently to investigate whether they could find out more about their age and background using technology and information that was not available in 1983. After a thorough examination and testing of the bones themselves as well as the pottery found next to them, researchers were able to identify them as turkey bones dating to between 1520 and 1550. That places them very early in the timeline of the bird’s introduction to Britain by gentleman navigator and future MP William Strickland who bought a half dozen wild turkeys from Native Americans in 1524-1526 and sold them upon his return to Bristol.

They were exotic creatures and the first ones were likely kept as very showy pets or estate adornment rather than immediately devoured. Turkey didn’t become popular as a poultry dish until after 1550, which, incidentally, is the year Strickland was granted a coat of arms that starred a “turkey-cock in his pride proper,” tail feathers at full spread.

Professor Alan Outram, zooarchaeologist and Head of Archaeology at Exeter, said: “As the date of these bones overlaps with the historical evidence of Strickland’s introduction of the birds, the remains of this feast may well represent the earliest physical evidence for a turkey dinner in Britain. This is an important discovery and could allow more research to be carried out about early domestic breeds and how the turkey has changed genetically since the 16th century.”

Analysis by Malene Lauritsen, a post-graduate researcher in the University of Exeter’s archaeology department, has proved from the bones that the turkeys were butchered and were probably eaten as part of a feast by wealthy people. The pottery lying alongside was also of high quality.

They were found together with the remains of a veal calf, several chickens, at least one goose and a sheep. This selection of food – some of which were very expensive at the time – suggests this was the rubbish created by a feast attended by people of high status.
“What is exciting about these turkey bones found in Exeter is that they date from almost exactly the same time as the first birds came to England. Their age certainly means it is possible that these are the remains of one of the first turkeys to come to England, or a turkey bred from this group,” Ms Lauritsen said.

“It is extremely rare to find turkey bones from this period. Remains from the first half of the 16th century have only been found in two other sites in Britain, the oldest from at St Alban’s Abbey in Hertfordshire. I have found cut marks on the bones, showing the birds were butchered. We can only guess at who ate them, and for what reason, but turkey would have been very expensive and the same household certainly ate other pricy meat too, so this must have been a special occasion.”

The bone trio has gone on temporary display at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum to give them due recognition after so many years of obscurity. In early 2020, they will become part of Exeter: A Place in Time, a much larger exhibition about the city’s archaeological record in the RAMM’s Making History gallery.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Frantically seeking a last-minute gift for the budding archaeologist?

History Blog - Tue, 2017-12-19 23:05

Look no further. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) have solved all your Bad Santa problems by creating a short but extremely sweet coloring book about archaeology for all the kids out there with visions of skeletal remains and radiocarbon analysis dancing in their head. (Don’t even pretend you weren’t one. In fact, don’t even pretend you aren’t still one.) The best part is you can get it online for free, which means you don’t even have to order it to get it. You just click on this link (pdf) and print that bad boy up.

It’s called Adventures in Archaeological Science Coloring Book and it’s just as adorably serious as it sounds. It manages to touch on some of the most important scientific techniques in use in archaeology today: the study of dental calculus to map an individual’s diet and health, DNA analysis, radiocarbon dating, analyzing microscopic food residue on the inside of pottery, stable isotope analysis and more. The issues are addressed succinctly in a few lines accompanying eminently colorable line drawings of ancient figures, animals and scientists in full gear. Actually now that I think about it that poses a significant challenge, color-wise. You’d either wear out the white pencils or throw caution to the winds and go psychedelic.

The project started out as an adjunct to a workshop on scientific illustration run by Christina Warinner and Jessica Hendy at the MPI-SHH. It has been a popular course for several years running, so when the Institute was pondering events for Germany’s public outreach evening, the Long Night of Science, Warinner had the idea to enlist her students to make a coloring book that illustrated the science of archaeology. Then, as Warriner and Hendy were adding the text and editing the final version, they realized they wanted it to have as wide a reach as possible. Enter crowdsourcing.

As we were making the final touches to the coloring book, we realized that it would be a shame to have it only accessible to English and German-speaking children. Human history belongs to all of us, and the research and discoveries we feature in the book have taken place all over the world. We thought – wouldn’t it be great if we could share this information with children everywhere – in their own native language – so that they too could experience the joy and excitement of science and archaeology? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could bring this book with us to our field projects so that we could explain to local children what we are doing and what the world learns by studying people from the past? And most importantly, what if we could show these children that they too could be part of this process and inspire a future generation of archaeological scientists around the globe?

One of the best things about being at an institute like the MPI-SHH is that our researchers come from all over the world. I’ve lost count of how many nationalities are represented among our students and staff, but it is more than twenty, and together we work in dozens of countries on every continent. As the coloring book was nearing completion, we asked for volunteer translators and we were absolutely overwhelmed by the response – with immediate offers for Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Croatian, Finnish, and Swedish, among others. After posting the coloring book to Facebook, we had many more offers from archaeologist colleagues and collaborators, and we now have translations underway for Hindi, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Ukranian, and Hebrew. And we’ve also reached out to the communities where we conduct fieldwork, and we will soon have translations in Nahuatl, Yucatec Mayan, Nepali, Mongolian, and Tibetan.

One of the things I have loved about the translation process is that nearly every translation is being performed by an archaeologist or anthropologist who is a native speaker of that language. This means that in addition to learning about archaeological science, the children will be introduced to someone from their own language group who is participating in this research. We hope that this will help give the children tangible role models from their own countries and communities, and to help make this connection even more clear, we are adding “cartoonified” portraits of each translator to the back cover so that children can see them, look them up, and learn more about their work.

The coloring book is available in several of those languages already — English, Chinese, Spanish, German — with many more in the planning stages. Arabic, Dutch, Italian and Nahuatl are on the cusp of being released. Many more have been assigned translators. You can keep track of their progress here.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Stormhaven and Sunderoak’s Newest Subject

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-12-19 18:52

House Stormhaven and the Shire of Sunderoak welcomed a new family member, Pepper Josephine, on October 18th.

Parents Lady Jerngürd Olfuss, Lady Fenna Riout, and Lord Brjann Feilan greeted Pepper just before 6am.

Categories: SCA news sites

K&Q Rapier Unofficial Court Report

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-12-19 17:04

A great gathering of rapier combatants did assemble, attending the Rapier Championship Tournament of Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde.  It was 16 December, AS 52, in the Shire of Buckland Cross.

Their Majesties did hold a brief court in the morning.  They made a couple announcements, then called forth Tola knitýr.  They spoke of her many accomplishments in the arts, then called for the Order of the Laurel.  Tola was sent on vigil to contemplate joining the Order.

The tournament featured 8 pools of 11 rapier combatants.  The round robin of 88 fencers gave way to a sweet sixteen.  The finals came down to Donovan Shinnock and Devillin MacPherson.  Donovan emerged the victor.

Soon after, Their Majesties reopened their court.  Tsar Ivan called forth his Rapier Champion, Lupold Haas.  Lupold was thanked for his service.  Donovan Shinnock was called forth, received the regalia of the King’s Rapier Champion, and a scroll by Robin dit Dessaint.

Her Majesty Tsaritsa Matilde called forth her Rapier Champion, Lottieri Melocchio.  Melocchio was thanked for his service.  Devillin MacPherson was called forth, and received the regalia of the Queen’s Rapier Champion, and a scroll by Robin dit Dessaint.

The Ladies of the Rose in attendance were called forth to present tokens to people who had impressed them during the day.  

Countess Honig presented a token to Mei and Leena.

Countess Marguerite presented a token to Sorcha Dhocair.

Countess Alethea presented a token to Matthias Grunwold.

Duchess Avelina presented a token to Collin Monroe of Tadcaster.

Duchess Katherine presented tokens to Antonio Patrasso and Melchior Kriebel.

Princess Caoilfhionn presented a token to Tsar Ivan and Prince Brennan.

Tsaritsa Matilde presented a token to Akamatsu Katsumoto.  Further, Katsu was presented with the Cloak of Perseverance.

Their Majesties next invited the children present to attend them.  Rather than the usual running of the toybox, His Majesty, with a sack of toys in the guise of the East Kingdom’s beloved Murder Santa, did pass toys to the children.

Sigridh Bengtsdotter was called before the Tsar and Tsaritsa.  They spoke of her art, and called forth the Order of the Silver Brooch.  Sigridh received a medallion, and a scroll by Triona MacCasky with words by Toki Skaldagörvir.

Next, Their Majesties called for any attending their first, second or third event.  One gentle came forward, and received a token for her attendance.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde called forward Tola knitýr to answer the question for which she sat vigil that day.  After hearing from speakers for the various Peerages, they called for the companions of the Order of the Laurel.  Tola received an armband, medallion and coat, as well as a scroll by Eva Woderose with words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Their Majesties next called for Finn mac Láebáin.  They spoke of his service, and Awarded him Arms, presenting him with a scroll by Shoshana Gryffyth with words by Donovan Shinnock.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde invited Anastasia de Monte into their court.  They spoke of her embroidery, and called for the companions of the Order of the Maunche.  Anastasia was inducted into the order, receiving a medallion and a scroll by Thyra (Þóra) Eiríksdóttir.

Etaine Clagh was called into court.  Their Majesties spoke of her service, and Awarded her Arms, presenting her with a scroll by Mairi Crawford with words by Sean O’Morian.

Their Majesties called for the companions of the Order of the Silver Crescent to attend them.  His Majesty Ivan went to join the order, and Prince Brennan noted how awkward that was.  His Majesty Ivan agreed, and said that Brennan would now have the same problem.  Prince Brennan mac Fearghus was invited into court, was inducted into the order, and received medallions and a scroll with calligraphy by Tola knitýr, illumination by Elizabeth Elenore Lovell, and words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Ivan and Matilde invited into their court their Chancellor of Minors, Leonete D’Angely.  They thanked her for her service, and presented her with a sock, freeing her.  They called forth Hugoline the Delicate, who swore fealty as the new Chancellor of Minors.

Next was Isabel del Okes invited into court.  Their Majesties spoke of her service, and Awarded her Arms, presenting Isabel with a scroll by Morwenna O Hurlihie.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde called into their court Rodrigo Medina de la Mar.  Her Majesty thanked him for fighting on her Rose Tournament team, and they spoke of his skill.  They called for the companions of the Order of the Silver Rapier.  Rodrigo received a medallion, and a scroll by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova.

But the Order of the Silver Rapier remained incomplete.  Their Majesties invited Akamatsu Katsumoto to join.  He received a medallion.  

Still incomplete, Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde invited Douglas Doan (of Anglespur) to attend their court.  He was also made a companion of the Order of the Silver Rapier, and received a medallion, and was further Awarded Arms.

Their Majesties invited Alys Mackyntoich into their court.  She begged a boon of them, to do something about her Apprentice.  Ivan and Matilde agreed to this, and called Raziya bint Rusa into their court.  They invited the companions of the Order of the Laurel to attend, and presented Raziya with a writ to sit vigil at their A&S and Bardic Champions event.  Raziya received scroll by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova with words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde invited Rhiannon the Curious into their court.  They began by wishing her a Happy Birthday, then offered an impressive gift.  They called for the companions of the Order of Defense.  Rhiannon was presented with a writ to attend their A&S and Bardic Champions event.  She further received a scroll by Eleanor Catlyng with words by Alys Mackyntoich.

Business concluded, and an amazing day of honorable combat complete, thus closed the court of Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde.  Long Live the King and Queen!  Long Live the Prince and Princess!  Long Live the Kingdom of the East!


Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald

PS – Thank you to day’s court heralds, Liadan ingen Chineada and Marian Kirkpatrick (and his Majesty Ivan).

Filed under: Court Tagged: court report, Kings and Queens Champions

2018 Webminister Warrant

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-12-19 16:45

Good morning to the Webministers of the East! On behalf of Maistir Mael Eoin mac Echuid, Kingdom Webminister, I bring you an important reminder!

The time has come for warrant renewals, and with the new calendar year we’re starting new – 2 year warrant terms, concurrent with 2 year office terms. You can hold multiple terms in offices, subject to any relevant local group by-laws.

We also feel strongly that you should have a deputy. If you’re in the office for more than a single term, you should train a deputy.

Even if you’re currently warranted, we’d ask you to fill out the current warrant form. We’re going to ask you how long you’ve been in the office, as well, to see how long people tend to stay in office (enthusiastically or otherwise – if you’re getting burned out, please let us know that as well).

Thank you very much for your service, and we look forward to continuing to work with you! If there’s anything we can do, please let us know.

On behalf of Maistir Mael Eoin mac Echuid,
Herr Matthias von Würzburg, Deputy Kingdom Webminister

Filed under: Announcements Tagged: officers, webminister

Largest group of artifacts from 18th c. coffee house found in Cambridge University cellar

History Blog - Mon, 2017-12-18 23:04

In the mid-18th century, an establishment named Clapham’s Coffeehouse served beverages and comestibles to customers in Cambridge, England. Coffee and chocolate had been sold in England since the 17th century, and were popular with people on various rungs of the social ladder from working stiffs to literary luminaries to reigning monarchs. When William and Jane Clapham opened their place in the 1740s, coffee and chocolate houses were still doing brisk business. Clapham’s quickly became a social hub, popular with students and townies alike who were always keen to enjoy the hot gossip and news served daily alongside the hot food and drink. The good times rolled at Clapham’s until the mid-1770s when Jane, widowed and ready to retire, sold the coffeehouse. It was a well-timed retirement as hot coffee and chocolate’s fortunes were by then on the decline as tea rose inexorably to become the national drink.

The building changed hands and was in-filled. Soon Clapham’s was forgotten and the one-time hotspot was left in the cold until the 21st century when Cambridge University’s St John’s College called in archaeologists to survey the area of its Old Divinity School and a cellar was found off All Saints’ Passage that had hundreds of 18th century coffeehouse artifacts. The excavations were completed in 2012. In the final accounting, archaeologists recovered more than 500 objects, several of which provided clear evidence of their former owners.

Some of the items found were still clearly marked with William and Jane’s initials. They included tea bowls (the standard vessel for drinking tea at the time), saucers, coffee cans and cups, and chocolate cups – which the researchers were able to distinguish because they were taller, since “chocolate was served with a frothy, foamy head”. They also found sugar bowls, milk and cream jugs, mixing bowls, storage jars, plates, bowls, serving dishes, sauceboats, and many other objects.

Even though Clapham’s was a coffeehouse, the finds suggest that tea was fast winning greater affection among drinkers; tea bowls were almost three times as common as coffee cans or cups.

Perhaps more striking, however, was the substantial collection of tankards, wine bottles and glasses, indicating that alcohol consumption was normal. Some drinkers appear to have had favourite tankards reserved for their personal use, while the team also found two-handled cups, possibly for drinking “possets” – milk curdled with wine or ale, and often spiced.

Compared with the sandwiches and muffins on offer in coffee shops today, dining was a much bigger part of life at Clapham’s. Utensils and crockery were found for making patties, pastries, tarts, jellies, syllabubs and other desserts. Animal bones revealed that patrons enjoyed shoulders and legs of mutton, beef, pork, hare, rabbit, chicken and goose. The researchers also found oyster shells, and bones from fish such as eel, herring and mackerel.

This sensational find gave researchers the chance to do the first comprehensive study of artifacts from a single, identifiable 18th century coffeehouse. Being able to develop a thorough understanding of the history one specific coffeehouse by examining its material culture is important because you don’t have to rely solely on period sources written sources which could be any combination of incorrect, incomplete, incompetent, ignorant, one-sided, lying, etc.

Although coffeehouses have traditionally been associated with the increasing popularity of smoking in Britain, there was little evidence of much at Clapham’s. Just five clay pipes were found, including one particularly impressive specimen which carries the slogan “PARKER for ever, Huzzah” – possibly referring to the naval Captain Peter Parker, who was celebrated for his actions during the American War of Independence. The lack of pipes may be because, at the time, tobacco was considered less fashionable than snuff.

Together, the assemblage adds up to a picture in which, rather than making short visits to catch up on the news and engage in polite conversation, customers often settled in for the evening at an establishment that offered them not just hot beverages, but beer, wine, punch and liqueurs, as well as extensive meals. Some even seem to have “ordered out” from nearby inns if their favourite food was not on the menu.

There was little evidence, too, that they read newspapers and pamphlets, the rise of which historians also link to coffeehouses. Newspapers were perishable and therefore unlikely to survive in the archaeological record, but the researchers also point out that other evidence of reading – such as book clasps – has been found on the site of inns nearby, while it is absent here.

“We need to remember this was just one of thousands of coffeehouses and Clapham’s may have been atypical in some ways,” Cessford added. “Despite this it does give us a clearer sense than we’ve ever had before of what these places were like, and a tentative blueprint for spotting the traces of other coffeehouse sites in archaeological assemblages in the future.”

Their first research paper on the find. the excellently named “To Clapham’s I go,” has just been published in the journal Post-Medieval Archaeology

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Great Beverage Showcase & Social – War Practice 2018

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-12-18 10:43

Countess Anna Leigh’s Great Beverage Showcase & Social

by Viscountess Lucilla Theresa de Courtenay

Countess Anna Leigh has conspired to create yet another fun activity at War Practice coming up this spring: the Great Beverage Showcase & Social. What does this entail, you may ask? Very simply, it is part competition, part social event, part inter-guild round table. The Showcase & Social brings together three of Æthelmearc’s guilds to present beverages of all types in a competition involving three different tiers of judging. Entrants will be able to choose the tier in which they compete: the Master level, which will be conducted in much the same manner and to the same standards as a Kingdom A&S; the Artisan level, which will be judged formally, but for which the documentation requirements are not nearly so stringent; the Aspirant level, which will be judged by the populace attending the social event. While the more formal judging is taking place, the populace at large will be enjoying a variety of beverages made available by those who revel in watching other people “enjoy drinking their stuff.”

The Grand Beverage Competition portion of the activity includes three guilds, each responsible for judging within their area of responsibility. The Æthelmearc Guild of Brewers, Vintners, and Meadhers will judge alcoholic beverages created through fermentation.

AEthelmearc Brewers’ Guild

The Æthelmearc Herbal & Apothecary Guild will judge cordials and potable infusions.

Æthelmearc Herbal & Apothecary Guild

The Worshipful Company of Cooks & Bakers will judge non-alcoholic beverages of all types.

Æthelmearc Cooks Guild

There will be prize winners in all three tracks, as well as at both levels of competition: Master and Artisan. The Social portion of the activity allows any beverage maker to showcase their wares without having to worry about documentation or critique, although Aspirants will be able to seek more formal evaluation of their beverages if they choose. Prizes will also be awarded for how the populace and a few VIPs judge the Aspirant beverages.

Her Excellency called on the heads of the various guilds to assist in bringing her vision to fruition. I had an opportunity to speak with these folks and get some perspective on this rather unusual concept for a competition.

Interviewer (I): This is a slightly different take on competitions. How and why did you conceive of this event?

Anna Leigh (AL): Opportunities for beverage makers to participate in many A&S activities have been shrinking due to the rise in the number of dry sites. This is an opportunity to bring the populace of the kingdom together for a good time as well as to celebrate those who willingly provide our libations.

Madoc Arundel (MA) (Brewers Guild): Anna Leigh contacted me about a multi-tier brewing competition. We brainstormed a bit before realizing that this was an excellent opportunity to bring multiple guilds together.

I: What advantages do you see from a competition structured in this manner?

AL: It’s an open and inviting construct. We invite everyone of any skill level, experience, or desire to participate without the pressure of the more formal constructs.

Maggie Rue (MR) (Herbal & Apoth): Allowing people to join in for a populace vote without worry of being judged will provide a “safe” haven for those that feel daunted by rubrics and highly authentic competitions. It also allows people to decide whether or not they wish to be judged on a heavier scale, in turn, allowing those who want to be recognized for their accomplishments to push themselves even harder.

Arianna Dal Vallone (ADV) (Cooks & Bakers): Having a populace category without documentation will encourage more beginners to try. I know as a young SCAdian, documentation was the most intimidating thing for me, and it took me almost three years to work up the courage to enter an A&S competition because of this.

I: How does this event promote your specific guild?

ADV: It will allow cooking enthusiasts a chance to look at a side of the art they tend to ignore or lump in with brewers’ arts.

MR: The herbalists and apothecaries would have been the top places in period for obtaining tonics, medicines, and alchemical potions of a myriad of types; a contest such as this will help the H&A Guild introduce themselves to the rest of the kingdom.

Elska a’ Fjarfelli (EF) (Brewers Guild): The more that people know about what the guilds can do for them, the more people are likely to join in our fun.

I: From your perspective, how will this event promote interactivity between the guilds?

MR: I think an event such as this will allow the guilds to see how much they have in common and how much they should be working together to create a better Society.

ADV: It will begin a dialogue between brewers, cooks, and apothecaries.

MA: Where beverages sit in the A&S spectrum has been a topic of discussion for decades. By involving all three guilds in this endeavor, we show a united understanding of how to promote the research and creation of any beverage, regardless of which guild takes responsibility for it.

I: What do you hope will be the long-term benefits?

AL: By creating a fun opportunity to mingle and meet people, structured around an open and welcoming competition, we’ll generate excitement for the various beverage crafts and help the community grow.

EF: As long as it is integrated with the guilds, feeding into and promoting their structure, I hope to see a renewed interest in historic beverage-making.

ADV: A better communication between the guilds in Æthelmearc, which can only make us stronger. More attention to beverages in our arts and sciences.

MR: I am hoping that this will lead to more inter-guild competitions as well as inter-kingdom competitions, and that the guilds may end up working together to autocrat various events such as academies and collegiums, even going so far as to help work each other’s events to ensure that the Society as a whole benefits.

MA: My biggest hope is that people who are making quality beverages will become comfortable enough with the concept of competition, formal or informal, to be able to be recognized for their contributions.

Countess Anna Leigh’s Great Beverage Showcase & Social will take place Friday evening at War Practice (2018).

An event page has been established on Facebook: 

Countess Anna Leigh’s Great Beverage Showcase & Social

Additional information will be available through Guild websites as details get set.


Prior to that feel free to direct questions here:

Countess Anna Leigh: aeannaleigh@gmail.com

Madoc Arundel: madoc_arundel@yahoo.com

Lady Maggie Rue: firewaterpro@gmail.com






Categories: SCA news sites

Four intact child burials found at stone quarry near Aswan

History Blog - Sun, 2017-12-17 23:53

Archaeologists have discovered four intact child burials in the 18th Dynasty necropolis at Gebel el-Silsila in the Aswan region of Egypt. Excavated by Lund University archaeologists with the Swedish-Egyptian archaeological mission in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities, first found the large necropolis last year and returned this year to explore it further.

The necropolis dates to the Thutmosid period, from the reign of Thutmose II in 1493 B.C. through that of his grandson Amenhotep II around 1401 B.C., a time when Gebel el-Silsila was in active use as stone quarry. Fewer than half of the 69 crypts and burial chambers discovered there so far have been excavated, and most of them were looted and damaged in antiquity. The four child burials, on the other hand, were not plundered which gave the team the rare opportunity to examine grave goods and human remains that are usually scattered and/or destroyed.

Burial ST59 was a crypt cut into the rock of the quarry walls in which the remains of a very young child, around 2-3 years old at time of death, were buried. The child was wrapped in linen and placed in what archaeologists believe was a wooden coffin. All that it’s left of it now is some organic crumbles so they can’t be sure what it was. The team thinks it was a wooden sarcophagus that was devoured by termites. It was covered by a sandstone lid that survived but in very poor condition. There were no grave goods and early osteological examination has not been able to determine cause of death.

Child burial ST63 was an inhumation in a wooden sarcophagus of a child between six and nine years old. The coffin was sealed with mud and positioned with the head to the east facing due north. While it was untouched by human interference, the annual flooding of the Nile, the high salt content in the air and a proliferation of beetles saw to it that the mud-sealed coffin suffered heavy damage. The beetles did extensive redecoration, in fact. They moved nefer-amulet from one location to the child’s chest where the archaeologists found it. Other grave goods buried with the little one included bronze bracelets and four scarabs amulets on the left wrist, a bronze razor wedged under the back of the head and an impressive collection of 10 ceramic vessels (beer jars, colorful bowls, plates).

ST64 was the inhumation of a child around 5-8 years old. There was no coffin, present or suggested. The body was wrapped in linen and laid to rest at the bottom of the tomb on a reed mats. The child was buried with three scarabs and one ceramic piece that at some point had moved and was no longer in its original spot.

The last child burial, ST69, was of a child between five and eight years old. It was a neglected burial, done with little care in an area that was still being quarried at the time. The body was put in the grave without goods, coffin or even a shroud and the grave filled in with rock spoil from the quarry work. Osteological examination found signs of illness.

“The team is excited about continuing the osteological analysis of the remains, which will hopefully provide us with more specific details regarding nutrition and the general health and well-being of the children,” lead archaeologists Maria Nilsson and John Ward of Lund University in Sweden wrote in an email to Live Science.

Gebel el Silsila was once thought to be a place where workers toiled and not much else happened — a site of “slaves and simple workers,” Nilsson and Ward said. But the excavations on the east bank of the Nile River have revealed a much richer picture of life at the quarry. In 2016, the same researchers reported the discovery of 42 tombs, mostly empty, and a shrine. They’ve also discovered the carved statues of a man named Neferkhewe and his family. In total, Nilsson and Ward said, the team has excavated almost 30 of the 69 tombs discovered, including two belonging to infants. […]

The research team plans to further analyze the bones found in the graves, Ward and Nilsson said.

“The importance of these child burials is first and foremost that they provide the team with a possibility to study completely preserved inhumations, giving insights into the burial customs and pathological information, but they are also a strong indication of the existence and activity of complete families on site,” they wrote to Live Science.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

“An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread…”

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-12-17 07:44

Ten points to the first gentle to identify the source of the title quote! (answer at end of article)

‘Tis the season for gingerbread. Gingerbread was a popular sweet during our time period, although not in the cake form we think of today. Here are some gingerbread resources for you to spice up your holidays and feasts!

From the British Library collection of digitized manuscripts comes this recipe.

“A medieval recipe for gingerbread features in a 15th-century English cookery book of extravagant banquets held at the British Library (Harley MS 279). Unlike our modern cake or biscuit-like version of gingerbread, the medieval recipe is more similar to confectionery in texture but experts agree that it will satisfy any sweet-tooth.”

This Gode Cookery blog post features the above manuscript recipe, with redaction.


(quote is from Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost)


Categories: SCA news sites

Cist grave points to Bronze Age burial ground near Loch Ness

History Blog - Sat, 2017-12-16 23:53

Archaeologists surveying a site in Drumnadrochit by Loch Ness in Scotland have discovered a 4,000-year-old cist grave. There were no human remains in the stone-lined pit because it had become filled with soil and any organic materials decayed into nothingness, but there was a single carinated beaker found intact on the cobbled floor. The geometric decoration of the pot identified it as dating to and 2200-1900 B.C.

The find is all the more significant because it’s not the only one. Another cist burial was unearthed on land adjacent to the current site in January 2015 after archaeologists were called in on an urgent salvage mission. Workers building a new health center in Drumnadrochit raised a large stone slab and found a stone-lined burial cist containing human skeletal remains in a crouched position. Preliminary study assessed the bones to date to the Bronze Age and a full archaeological excavation ensued. It revealed a partial skeleton of an adult. The remains weren’t in great condition, but three feet away from the inhumation, archaeologists found an oval pit with sherds from a beaker.

These were the first Bronze Age artifacts and human remains found in the location between the Coilte and Enrick rivers. At the time, archaeologists thought that might be significant, that the proximity to an ancient river channel made the site appealing to Bronze Age people as a site for funerary ritual. The area has long since been drained to make way for farming and it’s likely that centuries of agricultural activity damaged any other burials. The discovery of the intact beaker pot in a cist, even without a body, supports the contention that the spot had special meaning 4,000 or so years ago.

Mary Peteranna, Operations Manager for AOC Archaeology’s Inverness office, said: “The discovery of a second Bronze Age cist on the site provides increasing evidence for the special selection of this site in the prehistoric landscape as a location for ceremonial funerary activity.

“This cist, along with the medical centre cist and a second burial pit, is generating much more information about the prehistory of Glen Urquhart.”

Mrs Peteranna added: “Historically, there was a large cairn shown on maps of the area but you can imagine that centuries of ploughing in these fields have removed any upstanding reminders of prehistoric occupation.

“During the work, we actually found a displaced capstone from another grave that either has not survived or has not yet been discovered. So it’s quite likely that these graves were covered by stone cairns or mounds, long-since ploughed out.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History