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Two WWII B-25 bombers found off Papua New Guinea

History Blog - Sat, 2017-05-27 23:56

Researchers from Project Recover have discovered the wrecks of two B-25 bombers that went missing over the waters off Papua New Guinea during World War II. Papua New Guinea saw a great deal of action in the Pacific theater between 1942 and 1945, and many US aircraft were lost, their crews listed as Missing in Action. The archaeologists, marine scientists and volunteers dedicated to the recovery of the remains of the fallen in action that make up the Project Recover team have been working since February to systematically map the seafloor in the search for lost B-25s.

In its search of nearly 10 square kilometers, Project Recover located the debris field of a B-25 bomber that had been missing for over 70 years, associated with a crew of six MIAs.

“People have this mental image of an airplane resting intact on the sea floor, but the reality is that most planes were often already damaged before crashing, or broke up upon impact. And, after soaking in the sea for decades, they are often unrecognizable to the untrained eye, often covered in corals and other sea-life,” said Katy O’Connell, Project Recover’s Executive Director, who is based at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “Our use of advanced technologies, which led to the discovery of the B-25, enables us to accelerate and enhance the discovery and eventual recovery of our missing servicemen.”

Project Recover blends historical and archival data from multiple sources to narrow underwater search regions, then surveys the areas with scanning sonars, high definition imagers, advanced diving, and unmanned aerial and underwater robotic technologies.

The second B-25 was actually known to have crashed in Papua New Guinea’s Madang Harbor. Residents and scuba divers had seen the wreck over the past 30 years, but no archaeologists had surveyed the site. Six crewmen were on board that aircraft when it went down. Five of them survived and were taken as prisoners of war by the Japanese. The sixth is believed to have gone down with the plane and is listed as MIA.

It’s because of that sixth crew member that Project Recover made it a priority to properly document the wreck site. Their scientifically precise documentation will be of paramount importance to the US military should they attempt to locate and recover potential remains of the missing airman or any other soldier associated with the information about the wreck.

Project Recover also enlisted the aid of oral histories from local residents who heard the wartime stories passed down from their fathers and grandfathers. These accounts proved invaluable to researchers. Not only did they learn about the downed B-25s, but they also learned of burial sites on Papua New Guinea and another airplane that crashed on land instead of in the ocean.

In the cases of the B-25 wrecks as with all such finds, Project Recover forwards all information about the craft, any identifying information and all possible crewmen associated with the wreck to the Department of Defense’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). It is the DPAA that pursues all potential recovery and repatriation of MIA remains and that notifies surviving family members.

“Any find in the field is treated with the utmost care, respect and solemnity,” said O’Connell. “There are still over 73,000 U.S. service members unaccounted for from World War II, leaving families with unanswered questions about their loved ones. We hope that our global efforts can help to bring closure and honor the service of the fallen.”


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Roman bathhouse found under Carlisle Cricket Club

History Blog - Fri, 2017-05-26 23:23

An archaeological survey at the Carlisle Cricket Club’s Edenside ground has discovered the remains of an extraordinarily important Roman bathhouse and dozens of artifacts. Archaeology contractors Wardell Armstrong were called in to survey the site of a proposed new floodproof pavilion, expecting to find little more than random fill dumped during the construction of the nearby Hardwicke Circus roundabout. Instead, they unearthed entire rooms from the ancient bathhouse, intact floors, the remains of a hypocaust system, terracotta water pipes, coins, arrowheads, hair pins, painted tiles and fragments of cooking pots including one with a handsome pouring spout in the shape of a lion’s head.

This was a military bathhouse, used by the elite Ala Petriana cavalry regiment. The 1,000-strong garrison was stationed at the Roman fort of Uxelodunum (later known as Petriana after the regiment it housed) on Hadrian’s Wall. It was the largest regiment on the wall manning the largest fort on the wall. The Ala Petriana was a highly prestigious regiment — its members were all granted Roman citizenship for valour on the field — and despite its remote location at the northernmost frontier of the empire, their fort had all the upscale amenities the cream of the Roman cavalry might expect.

Today whatever is left of the former fort lies underneath the Carlisle suburb of Stanwix, but very little of it has been excavated because it has been so extensively overbuilt.

“This site is highly significant,” said [Wardell Armstrong technical director Frank] Giecco.

“We’re just beneath the site of the Roman fort at Stanwix and, until now, we never knew where the fort’s bath-house was. The obvious place was near the river. There are blackened areas, probably where they had the furnaces for burning wood to heat the water.

“There were 1,000 men based here, members of the prestigious Ala Petriana and they were paid more than the other soldiers stationed here. The bath-house was a very important part of life for these cavalrymen – a meeting place and there would have been a lot of gambling and coins lost.”

One notable artifact is a carved sandstone block bearing an inscription with a tribute to Julia Domna, mother of Emperor Caracalla and an able administrator, philosopher, and cultural leader with great hair. Born in Homs, Syria, a city that has been tragically brutalized in the ongoing civil war, to a noble priestly family, she married the future emperor Septimius Severus who showered her with honors including Mater Castorum (mother of the camp or army), Mater Augustus (mother of Augustus, i.e., the Emperor) and Mater Senatus et Patriae (mother of the Senate and fatherland). She was so indispensable to her husband that he took her with him on his military campaign in Caledonia in 208. She was with him when he died in York in 211. Carlisle is just 40 miles northwest of York. It’s not clear to me whether the inscription dates to the reign of Caracalla alone (he was his father’s co-emperor from 198 until 211, becoming sole emperor after he had his brother Gaeta killed that same year and reigning until his own assassination in 217 A.D.). Archaeologists say the inscription was dedicated by her son, but the honorifics on the inscription referring to her as mother of Augustus predate Septimius Severus’ death, so that’s not dispositive; moreover, Caracalla led several incursions north of the Antonine Wall in the last two years of his father’s life, so we know he was in the area when his father still reigned.

The excavations were done on the quiet over the past few weeks to avoid drawing unwanted attention from looters. The site and a selection of artifacts were opened to the public on Friday afternoon so visitors could see the finds and the archaeologists at work. Now all the portable finds have been removed and the remains are being covered with a protective membrane. What happens going forward has yet to be decided. The Carlisle Cricket Club still wants to build their pavilion, but have no desire to screw with this nationally important find. They plan to work with the city council to figure out how to have their pavilion without damaging or obscuring the Roman bathhouse remains. See-through floor, man. All the cool kids from Iceland to Turkey to Rome are doing it.

“The archaeology they’ve found here is absolutely stunning,” said Carlisle City Council leader Colin Glover. “It’s a fantastic site. It’s been a dream for a long time to find Roman archaeology in Carlisle that is good enough to show to the public.

“We’ve already found lots of good Roman artefacts elsewhere in Carlisle and much of it is at Tullie House Museum where it helps tell the story of Roman Carlisle. [...]

“This is something we can do something with long-term. We want to work closely with the cricket club to make the best of this exciting discovery. There are also discussions that we can have with the Heritage Lottery Fund. It’s really exciting to see a place and artefacts that Romans were using in this city almost 2,000 years ago.

“It would be wonderful if we could develop something long-term just a 10-minute walk from the city centre.”

There’s a mini-tour of the hypocaust system and a good shot of the inscribed sandstone fragment in this ITV news story. The following brief Cumberland News video has some good wider views of the excavation.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Crown Tournament

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-05-26 19:10

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and Gabrielle, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of AEthelmearc Herald with the assistance of Lord Arias Beltran del Valle, Misty Highlands Herald and Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Herald, at Their Crown Tournament in the Shire of Sylvan Glen on May 13, Anno Societatis LII.

The Court of Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle was opened.

During the procession:

As Lord Ardden Scot of Clan Scot and his consort, Lady Dierdre Scot of Clan Scot, were presented to Their Majesties for inclusion in the tournament, His Majesty questioned whether Lord Arddenn’s title and station were correct. His herald assured Him that both were as recorded, but if His Majesty believed there to be an error, it was His prerogative to change things to fit His wishes. So counseled, Their Majesties convened the Order of the Gage, granted Arms to The Honorable Lord Arddenn, and admitted him into that company. Scroll illuminated by THL Fiora d’Artusio and calligraphed by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix upon wording by Duke Sir Malcolm Duncan MacEioghann.

At the conclusion of the Tournament:

Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle, accompanied by Their Heirs, Gareth and Juliana, called forth Gui Dai Li. Noting the grace by which she worked quiet service in water bearing and cleaning before and after events, Their Majesties Awarded her Arms and made her a Lady of the AEthelmearc court. The scroll was limned by Ana Ianka Lisitsina with calligraphy by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Gui Dai Li’s AoA scroll by Ana Ianka Lisitsina and Antoinette de la Croix.

Later in the Afternoon:

Their Majesties called forth Bekah of Sylvan Glen. For her work in the kitchens and halls of the Kingdom and the joy she takes and bestows from that work, Their Majesties inducted her into the Order of the Silver Sycamore. The scroll was painted by THLady Maeve ni Siurtain with wording composed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh and calligraphy by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Their Majesties called forth the rest of the children present and instructed Master Liam Mac An TSaoir to take the toy chest and run from the court.  The children were instructed to take one toy each, beginning with the youngest child present.  A countdown having been given, the eager horde chased Master Liam from the court.

Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties invited before them Mistress Morwenna Trevethan. On behalf of Their Majesties of Atlantia, Cuan and Signy, she presented Their Majesties with a gift and affirmed Their Majesties’ wishes to be comrades in arms for the coming War.

Their Majesties, noting the sad news of the passing of more than one member of the Society in the past few weeks, asked that the court observe a moment of silence for absent friends and the families of those gentles impacted by their loss.

Duke Marcus is recognized for his chivalry. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties invited before Them the Ladies of the Rose, Garnet, and Edelweiss. Countess Caryl, speaking on behalf of the Ladies of the Rose, Garnet, and Edelweiss, stated they had much to deliberate this day. To that end they had resolved to provide tokens to two individuals who impressed them greatly in their conduct in the lists. They requested the presence of Sir Bye, otherwise known well as Sir Luis de Castilla.  Remarking on the joy his fights had been to witness and the fact that they wished he would relocate into the Sylvan Kingdom, they awarded him a Rose’s token, gifted by the hand of Countess Alexandra. Next they requested the presence of Duke Marcus Eisenwald.  Stating that his behavior upon the field was the embodiment of all that it means to be a knight, they also awarded him a Rose’s token, gifted by the hand of Countess Caryl.

The Order of the Rose, Garnet and Edelweiss advised Their Majesties of the final duty they needed to perform this day. They called forth THLord Oliver Sutton. They advised that watching him they were confident in their choice and asked him to bear the Shield of Chivalry for them. His Lordship agreed and was asked to take up their shield and be their champion.

Lord Oliver receives the Shield of Chivalry. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties called forth Benjamin of Heronter. Their Majesties knowing that They are well served by this man both on the fencing field and in his labors whenever needed, They made him a Lord of the court and Awarded him Arms. The scroll to mark this is a work of embroidery in progress designed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Lord Benjamin receives an AoA. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Mara of Hartstone. Content that her skills with knives grace both Their kitchens and Their throwing fields and mindful of the service she provides at both places as well as her work as a Royal Retainer, They inducted her into the Order of the Keystone.

Lady Mara receives a Keystone. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties called forth Lord Tiberius of Sylvan Glen. For his skill making youth weapons and event tokens Their Majesties inducted him into the Order of the Sycamore with a scroll painted by Lady Vivienne of Yardley. The wording was composed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh and calligraphed by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Their Majesties called before Them THLord Grimolfr Ormalfrson. They advised that there are times when They are surprised to find a person is not speaking in Their orders only to find the person was somehow not a member of such order. Such is the case today and they would see this corrected. They called forth the Order of the White Horn. For his work in creating the rules for and teaching the Kingdom the use of the atlatl, They inducted him into the Order of the White Horn. The scroll was painted by Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba with wording and calligraphy by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Isabel Fleuretan. They spoke of how They had seen her work for both Their previous times upon the thrones as a scribe toiling to complete or correct a scroll on the day it was being given, so as to ensure the recipient received the commemoration immediately. They advised her that it was the privilege of the Crown to recognize such nobility and let it be known that They granted her the station of Court Baroness so that all may see the value they placed in her loving work. The scroll forthcoming is a work in progress by Baroness Alex.

Lady Isabel is made a Court Baroness. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties invited before Them Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Herald. Before he was able to step down from his office as Principle Herald of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, Their Majesties advised that They wished to correct the Title he was using. Speaking of how he had served the Kingdom for 4 years traveling to about 20 events per reign to ensure Their Majesties courts were heralded and giving up his free time and working tirelessly to ensure the continuity of the court, Their Majesties made him a Baron of the Court of AEthelmearc. The scroll forthcoming is a work in progress by Magistra Sólveig Þróndardóttir.

Master Kameshima is made a Court Baron. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Baron Kameshima asked that with Their Majesties permission he may continue and requested the attendance of the Brotherhood of Old Buccles comma Silver (BoOB,s).  As has become custom, the BoOB,s presented him with his life back (cautioning him not to indulge overmuch as the said box of Life had expired in 2002) and then presented his wife, Baroness Isabel Fleuretan with her life back as well. Baron Kameshima correcting the BoOB,s presentation politely removed the life from his and his wife’s hands and presented them instead to their daughter advising that truly she is the one who gets her life back to the great amusement of the court. Their Majesties confirming that he had a worthy successor called forth THLady Sophie Davenport. The BoOB,s then divested him of the Tabard signifying his office. As his last act as Silver Buccle Herald, Baron Kameshima placed the Tabard of Silver Buccle Herald upon THLady Sophie’s shoulders.

THLady Sophie swears fealty as Silver Buccle Herald. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

THLady Sophie Davenport, swearing to uphold the office of Silver Buccle Herald, took up her station and as her first act in the office conferred upon Baron Kameshima the title of Herald Extraordinary.

Baron Kameshima is named a Herald Extraordinary. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties asked that all scribes who contributed to the scrolls given during the courts today stand and be recognized.

Her Majesty invited Maighstir Liam Mac An TSaoire before Her. For his work in organizing the voice heralds this day and on behalf of all those who lent their voices to the field, Her Majesty named him Her inspiration of the day and bestowed upon him the Golden Escarbuncle.

Maighstir Liam receives a Golden Escarbuncle. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

There being no further business this day, Their Majesties court was thus concluded.

Categories: SCA news sites

Online Pre-Reg Closes Tomorrow for K&Q Rattan and Bhakail Investiture

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-05-26 17:26

Greetings one and all!

There is (paid) online pre-registration available for Bhakail Investiture and King’s & Queen’s Rattan Champions, to be held next Saturday, June 3rd in Springfield, PA.  Online Pre-registration closes tomorrow, Saturday 5/27 and includes a $5 discount for pre-registering

To preregister for the event, follow this link: http://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/681216

Within 24 hours, a PayPal invoice will be emailed to you, and your pre-registration is complete upon payment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to save $5, and time during check-in! If you have any questions about online pre-registration, please reach out to the EK PayPal team at paypal@eastkingdom.org

Come to the bright sunny southern lands of Bhakail to witness the passing of the flame of leadership as our new Baron and Baroness are Invested. Their Majesties also invite you to join Them in Their search for Their next Champion of Arms. The day will be fill with tournaments, merchants, an A&S competition, a brewer’s rountable, pick-up rapier bouts, and various entertainments.

A full accounting of the days events can be found on the event website at this link*: http://eastkingdom.org/EventDetails.php?eid=3163

The kitchen, under the direction of the masterful Mistress Julianna von Altenfeld will provide a dayboard, and a feast.


Bread and butter
Another (Eggs)
Fresh and Marinated Vegetables (roasted onions, radishes, carrots)
Fruit (oranges, apples, pears)
Fish in Green Sauce (Pompano)
Chick peas or Fried Beans
Cold Sage (chicken with sage)
Tallis (Fruit and Almond bread pudding) and one made without almonds
Poached Pears
Lemon Drink


Bread with Savory Toasted Cheese
Cormarye (pork with coriander)
Peiouns stewed (peas stewed with garlic and herbs)
Shrimp with vinegar
Ladies’ Thighs served with garlic paste
Rissoles on a Fish Day (dried fruit fritters)
Strawberry pudding
Lemon Drink

*Menus are subject to change, and all event details, including competition information and schedules will be updated/posted on the EK webpage, or available the day of the event at Gate.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Franz Xaver Mozart finally steps out of his dad’s shadow

History Blog - Thu, 2017-05-25 23:48

Born on July 26th, 1791, Franz Xaver Mozart was barely four months old when his father Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart breathed his last on December 5th, 1791. He and his older brother Karl Thomas were the only two of Wolfgang and Constanze’s six children to survive to adulthood, and almost from birth he was doomed to carry the burden of his father’s musical genius. Karl showed early promise as a pianist, but avoided the trap of being molded into a crappier version of his father by focusing on the business side. He took on an apprenticeship in a trading company when he was 13 years old with the eventual aim of opening his own piano store. The store never materialized, and instead he built a career in the Austrian civil service in Milan.

Alas, Franz was not so fortunate. When he was an infant, his father declared him to be “a true Mozart” because the baby once cried in tune with a piece he was playing on the piano. After Mozart’s death, Constanze poured all her hopes and dreams into little Franz, calling him Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jr., and deciding he would become a composer and musician like his daddy when he was two years old. He was just five years old when his mother sent him on a concert tour to Prague where he stayed with professor and family friend Franz Xaver Niemetschek. There he received his first formal piano lessons.

Back in Vienna, he took lessons from prominent instructors including Johann Andreas Streicher (piano), Sigismund Neukomm, Georg Joseph Vogler and Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (music composition) and Antonio Salieri (general music training). Still a young child at this point, Franz was under unrelenting pressure to develop as a prodigy the way his father had. You can get a taste of that pressure in this entry Constanze wrote in her nine-year-old son’s autograph book, which should probably go in the encyclopedia under the NO WIRE HANGERS EVER category of mothering philosophies.

“A child that offends his parents, / one that wishes them bad luck, / one that does not seek the blessing of his parents, / will be publicly cursed by God, / His end will be horrible; / He will encounter shame and pain. / This is a warning to my dear Wowi, / from his loving mother / Constance Mozart / Vienna, June 20, 1801.”

(Dear Mom, Thank you for having a very different definition of “loving mother” than Constanze Mozart or, say, Medea. Love you!)

At the age of 13, Franz made his debut in Vienna as a pianist and composer of a cantata. A review published on April 8th, 1805, in Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Leipzig, might as well have been a harbinger of doom:

“Young Mozart’s mother presented him to the public, which greeted him with loud applause. He played the great and beautiful piano concert by his father in C major, in a somewhat slow tempo, yet well and with precision. He also showed a lot of potential…. The cantata following the concert was, according to the program, composed by young Mozart for Haydn’s 73rd birthday. It is almost unbelievable that the entire orchestration could be by the boy [...] May the well-earned applause that young Mozart received be a double incentive for the budding artist to follow the footsteps of his great father! May he never forget that the name Mozart now grants him clemency, but will
later confront him with high demands and expectations….

Later? He was confronted with those expectations when he was literally in diapers. This was not lost on him at any point. It wasn’t just a question of musical skill either. Reserved and plagued with self-doubt, he couldn’t help but suffer in comparison to his extroverted and confident father.

His old teacher Niemetschek said in his biography of Mozart, Sr., that Franz (then 17 years old) was certainly gifted, but unlike his father, he lacked the firm guidance that Wolfgang’s father Leopold had provided his son, without which his brilliance might never have flourished. “The first fruits of his musical talent have been well received by the public. His piano playing is distinguished by fine expression and precision. [...] Apparently, the spirit of his father lives on in him. However, the son is missing an educating fatherly hand like the one that excellently guided and cultivated the genius of his own father.”

In 1808, he turned to teaching to make a living. He moved to Galicia where he taught Count Wiktor Baworowski in Podkamień for a few years before taking a job as piano teacher to Count Tomasz Janiszewski near Lviv in 1811. He would continue to teach the aristocratic families of Galicia for many years, with occasional concert tours and visits to his mother in Salzburg. In 1838 he moved back to Vienna, still employed as teacher and music master for the daughters of the noble Baroni-Cavalcabò family. (Their mother Josephine was his long-time lover.)

Back in his father’s old stomping grounds, Franz was invited to participate in the celebrations of Wolfgang Amadeus’ life and music. In 1839, he was asked to compose a cantata in his father’s honor for the dedication of the Mozart-Monument in Salzburg. He was so insecure about his “lacking ability” (those are his own words), he declined the commission at first. Eventually he took the job, transforming two of Wolfgang Amadeus’ unfinished works (the Offertorium Venite populi and the Adagio for piano) into a cantata he performed at the 1842 dedication of the monument.

In 1841 he was appointed Honorary Music Director of the newly-founded Cathedral Music Association and Mozarteum in Salzburg. Alas, his days were numbered. He died of a “hardening of the stomach,” i.e., stomach cancer, in the Czech spa town of Carlsbad in 1844. On his tombstone was engraved this sad testament: “May his father’s name be his epitaph, as his veneration for him was the essence of his life.”

In his will, he named Josephine Baroni-Cavalcabò as his sole heiress, but he had told her explicitly before his death that he wanted his personal library and all of his father’s materials — correspondence, autograph manuscripts, music, sketches and family portraits — to go to the Cathedral Music Association and Mozarteum. The successor of that organization, the International Mozarteum Foundation, today owns a great part of the Mozart estate thanks largely to Franz Xaver’s generosity.

Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart finally got his own exhibition at the Mozart Residence museum in Salzburg last year. Original documents, letters, and compositions traced Franz’s life on its own terms for a change, and he got the credit he deserved for preserving and bequeathing the rich legacy of Mozartiana that Salzburg is so strongly identified with today.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

An Historic Day for the Carolingian Company of Bowmen

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-05-25 17:07

An account by Baroness Arlyana van Wyck and Mistress Ygraine
of Kellswood

On May 20, 2017, the Barony of Carolingia hosted an event
featuring a venerable test of archery skill. This test was
devised by the founders of the Carolingian Company of
Bowmen, believed to be the oldest archery guild in the SCA.
Because it takes most of a day to complete, and involves
shooting at various distances out to 100 yards, this shoot
is not held often. Indeed, it had been about 10 years since
it was last attempted, so Lady Erica of Carolingia and Lady
Eleanora Stewart resolved to serve as co-autocrats and
provide the opportunity.

The Carolingian Company of Bowmen was chartered in November
1976. (The charter text can be read here:
http://www.kellswood.com/ccb/charter.php ) Its founders
created a ranking shoot which they believed was difficult
enough that advancement would merit the respect of any
archers, whether in the SCA or the modern world. It involves
accuracy shooting at distances from 15 to 100 yards, a brief
combat shooting scenario, and an endurance requirement of a
set number of total shots during one day. (The details of
the shoot can be read here:
http://www.kellswood.com/ccb/rankshoot.php ) It is a test of
consistency and concentration. Many of those who have
attempted this shoot have missed advancing in rank because
of just one poorly-placed shot.

The first level ranking, that of Bowman, has been achieved
by no more than 30 archers over the years; 10 more joined
that number at the event. Fewer than 10 archers belonged to
the rank of  Companion Bowman; now there are 2 more –
Master Kobayashi Yutaka and Lord Mikjall Bogmadr. No one had
achieved the top-level ranking of Master Bowman in the over
40 year history of the Company, but that honor has now been
claimed by Master Li Kung Lo.

At the end of the long day of shooting, Baron Colin held
Court at which he thanked the event staff, the marshals of
archery and thrown weapons, and Lord Orlando, provider of
the ample dayboard. His Excellency was then among the 15 new
members of the Company who pledged to uphold its standards
of honor and safety, and paid the entrance fee to the
Captain of the Company, Master Peter the Red. All those who
advanced in rank were recognized in Court, and Master Li led
a cheer in memory of Marian of Edwinstowe, one of the
Company founders. Many of those present were heard to say
they hoped it would not be another 10 years before this fun
and challenging shoot was held again.

The CCB Charter

Baron Colin pays to join the Company

Captain Peter congratulates Master Li

New members take the Company pledge

Filed under: Archery Tagged: archery

Spring Æcademy: Classes!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-05-25 15:13

Here are the classes scheduled for Spring Æcademy, on June 17, in Angels Keep; details can be seen on our website and as well as the full event flyer.

Come spend a day of fun & learning with the Angels!!

  • Using the Guidonian Hand for Gregorian Chant – THL Mairghread Stoibheard
    inghean ui Choinne
  • Including Brewing at a Dry Site – THL Madoc Arundel
  • Organizing a Brewing Competition – THL Madoc Arundel
  • 1378 Italian Gown OR Short Sleeves for Pennsic, Part I- Therasa du Domremy
  • 1378 Italian Gown OR Short Sleeves for Pennsic, Part II – Therasa du Domremy
  • The Greenland Gown- Baroness Orianna Fridrikskona
  • The art of conspicuous consumption: putting “authenticity” in your 15th- and
    16th-century clothing – Maistresse Marguerite d’Honfleur
  • Cloth Buttons: easy as one, two, three! – Lady Felice de Thornton
  • Beginning Embroidery- Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor
  • Brocaded Tablet Weaving – Baron Silvester Burchardt
  • Beginning Netting – Baroness Clarice Roan
  • You Too Can Warp and Weave on a Warp-Weighted Loom – Ld Hrolfr a Fjarfelli
  • Wearable Awards- Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor
  • Blackwork – Beyond the Basics – Moniczka Poznanska
  • Itamae 1: Fundamentals of Japanese Cuisine- Solveig Throndardottir
  • Itamae 2: Fundamentals of Food Preparation- Solveig Throndardottir
  • Itamae 3: Japanese Meal Planning and Execution- Solveig Throndardottir
  • Njal Saga: Plot and Characters- Baron Fridrikr Tomasson
  • The Age of the Sturlungs: How the Commonwealth Ended – Baron Fridrikr
  • A History of the Settlement of Iceland- Baroness Orianna Fridrikskona
  • Social Structure and Status in Early Medieval Ireland – Master Cynwyl
  • Pirates!!! Aaarrgghh!!! – Dyryke Hastings
  • Science in the Middle Ages – Master Gille MacDhnouill
  • Hello Poppet! – Ly Mairin O’Cadhla
  • Introduction to Leatherworking for the Novice- Lord Otto Boese
  • Just a Little Sling – Baroness Anastasie De l’Amoure
  • So You want to Throw What?!?! – Baroness Anastasie De l’Amoure
  • Sand Casting Pewter – Baron Artemius Magnus
  • Vinegaroon – Never Dye Leather Again – Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnarsson
  • Soap in a Bottle! DIY hard soap for use in scented soap balls – THL Elska a
  • Who do I fight next? A fighter’s and spectator’s guide to tournament trees-
    Baroness Ekaterina Volkova
  • A Look at Documentation – Master Creador TwyneDragon
  • A Quick Look at Judging – Master Creador TwyneDragon
  • Siting Gate/Troll – Baroness Anastasie De l’Amoure
  • Talking with Your Hands – THL Gytha Oggsdottir
  • Gouache 101: gouache for beginners – Lady Felice de Thornton
  • How to draw basic manuscript flora- Baroness Ekaterina Volkova
  • Introduction to Pole Lathe Turning- Iohn Spooner
  • Pouch Making with Floki – Floki Bjornsson
  • Period Games – Douglas of Arindale and Timothy of Arindale the Younger
  • Brass Rubbing – Ly Maire ni Cathal ui Conchobar
  • Becoming a Youth Combat Marshal – Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

Tiny medieval bird found at Bamburgh Castle

History Blog - Wed, 2017-05-24 23:46

Archaeologists excavating Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland have discovered an artifact whose historical significance is as large as its dimensions are small: a copper alloy fragment decorated with a stylized representation of a bird of a type often found in early medieval art from northern Europe. Just 23mm by 12mm (.9 by .5 inches) in size, the artifact is thin and flat with decoration only on one side. It was likely mounted on a larger object as a decorative element.

Harry Francis, part of the Bamburgh Research Project (BRP), found the piece at the end of last summer’s dig season on a cobbled surface just below a 9th century building used for metal working. Archaeologists believe based on the layers that the bird dates to the 8th century. The decorative style is more in keeping with eagle and bird of prey motifs from earlier 6th and 7th century artworks, which makes the bird mount unique with no known parallels in the archaeological record. It’s possible this was a local evolution of Anglo-Saxon art from a century or two before.

In the 8th century, Northumbria was one of about a dozen small kingdoms in the territory that would become unified England under Æthelstan in the 10th century. Bamburgh was a major political and military center in the Kingdom of Northumbria at that time.

Bamburgh Research Project Director, Graeme Young:

“The palace fortress of Bamburgh was one of the most important places in the kingdom and we have evidence of metal working, probably associated with the production of arms and armour for the warriors of the royal court in our excavation.

“In summer 2017 we will continue our investigations of the find spot and we hope to discover if it represents an earlier period of metal working or some other activity.

“At the moment our investigation of this horizon is at such an early stage we are unsure if the find came from within a building or from a yard surface or path where it may have been dropped. We are very much looking forward to getting back on site and continuing our excavations. Who knows what other finds await us this summer!”

Conservators have been cleaning and stabilizing the bird mount since its discovery, and the first publication on the artifact is scheduled for later this year. Meanwhile, the bird is on display at Bamburgh Castle until October 29th alongside other archaeological materials like swords and elaborately decorated gold pieces unearthed during the project. Bamburgh Research Project archaeologists will be on site between June 11th and 15th and will be available to answer questions and chat about their finds with visitors to the castle.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: A&S Faire

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2017-05-24 09:29

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and  Gabrielle, King and Queen of Æthelmearc , as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald with the assistance of THL Aindreas mac Ghille Fhionntaigh a’Ghaoithe Airgid, Nithgaard Herald at The Arts & Sciences Faire and Queen’s Prize Tourney in the Shire of Nithgaard on May 6, Anno Societatis LII.

The Court of Her Majesty Queen Gabrielle was opened.

Her Majesty called the children present before Her and ensuring they knew the rules, unleashed them upon Tassin Treseol with the ritual chase of the toy chest.

The children preparing to chase the toy box. Photo by Lady Mary Christina Lowe, aka Jinx.

Her Majesty asked that all pay head as Tetsutaka noh Tora was Awarded Arms in absentia on this day for his archery skill and service in helping with the ranges. The scroll is a work in progress limned by Lady Viviene of Yardley.

Her Majesty called forth Aurelie of Nithgaard. For her skill in embroidery and service as Deputy Chatelaine for the Shire of Nithgaard as well as her work at events, Their Majesties Awarded her Arms and made her a Lady of the court. The scroll was created by the hand of THLady Eleanor Godwin.

Her Majesty called Lady Elena de la Palma before Her. Lady Elena thanked the staff of the event and especially the cook, tollners, and set up and breakdown crew from Nithgaard for all their help ensuring the day went so smoothly.

Lady Elena, the autocrat, addresses the populace. Photo by Jinx.

Her Majesty invited before Her Baroness Orianna and Baron Fredrikr to discuss the Arts and Sciences Faire of the day. Their Excellencies were pleased to advise Her Majesty and the court that there were 22 entrants on this day, and thanked all artisans, sponsors, and advisers for their participation. As is the custom of the Faire, each artisan and sponsor came before the court where the sponsor presented a gift to their artisan to encourage their continued endeavors.

Click to view slideshow.

Artisans receiving gifts from their sponsors and advisors. All photos by Jinx.

The final gift of the Arts and Sciences Faire was presented to Lord Bjorn Bjorklund and Lady Theresa du Domremy. Theresa’s sister, Mistress Jeanmaire du Domremy, presented both with a pair of coronets made with pearls from Theresa’s grandmother’s necklace. Her Majesty advised them that this was at His Majesty and Her Majesty’s express request, as They felt this was a gift worthy of the two. The pair were made Baron and Baroness of the Æthelmearc Court.

Baroness Theresa and Baron Bjorn. Photo by Jinx.

His Majesty sent words from Cathay to both Baron Bjorn and Baroness Theresa thanking them for their hand in raising the young man he was so long ago. He advised that it has been His wish to be the model of chivalry and generosity that they showed Him and to pay forward their gift.

Her Majesty called forth Lady Abigail Kelhoge. Commending the Lady for her exceptional knowledge and skill in clothing, Her Majesty asked that the Order of the Fleur d’ Æthelmearc attend Her. Her Majesty granted Arms to THLady Abigail Kelhoge and bid Her Order to welcome their newest member. The scroll was the work of Mistress Gillian Llwelyn.

Her Majesty asked that all scribes please stand to be acknowledged for their continued contributions to the Kingdom.

Her Majesty then called forth Lord Robert of Ferness to advise him that he had been Her Majesties choice for the Queen’s Prize Tourney and that his work on the shoes for his daughters moved Her Majesty to make him Her inspiration for the day and award him the Golden Escarbuncle.

Lord Robert receives a Golden Escarbuncle. Photo by Jinx.

There being no further business, the court of Her Majesty was closed.

Categories: SCA news sites

Test of Rollo’s descendants’ bones gangs agley

History Blog - Tue, 2017-05-23 23:44

Last year, a team of French, Danish and Norwegian researchers exhumed skeletal remains from the tombs of two medieval dukes of Normandy, direct descendants of Rollo, the 10th century Viking raider who so effectively plundered the towns along the Seine that King Charles the Simple had to bribe him with great swaths of property. Those lands would become the Duchy of Normandy, and one of those dukes, Rollo’s three times great-grandson William the Bastard, would conquer England.

The lead ossuaries buried in the graves of Rollo’s grandson Richard I (known as Richard the Fearless) and his great-grandson Richard II (Richard the Good) were raised from under the floor of Fécamp Abbey on February 29th, 2016. The researchers’ aim was to recover teeth that might contain extractable DNA. The DNA might then answer a question that has long bedeviled historians: was Rollo Norwegian or Danish? Medieval chronicles and sagas differ on the subject. Per Holck, Professor Emeritus at the University of Oslo, and University of Copenhagen geneticist Andaine Seguin Orlando got permission from the French government to open the ossuaries in the hope genetic testing might resolve the debate over Rollo’s origins once and for all.

They were lucky at first. One of the ossuaries, the one purportedly containing the remains of Duke Richard II, included a lower mandible with eight teeth. Because recovering nuclear DNA from ancient remains is always difficult, often impossible, due to degradation of organic remains and environmental contaminants, teeth provide the best opportunity to retrieve viable, clean DNA because the genetic material is in the pulp, encased in and protected by layers of dentin and enamel. The team was allowed to keep five of the teeth which they sent to the University of Oslo and the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics for testing.

That’s where their good luck ended. They were unable to extract any DNA from the teeth, which were too old, had been exposed to high moisture levels and contaminated by decades spent in a lead ossuary. After hitting the wall on genetic analysis, researchers decided they might as well date the bones. When the radiocarbon dating results came in they blew apart any chance of the remains providing new information about Rollo. The bones in the ossuaries do not belong to Richard I and Richard II of Normandy. They long predate the Richards. In fact, they long predate Rollo himself. One of them dates to 704 (+/- 28 years), the Merovingian era, so more than 200 years before Rollo started marauding on the Seine. The bones belonged to a man, tall for his time at 1.8 meters (5’11″), and because his right forearm is slightly longer than his left, he was likely a warrior. The other is even older than that, like a thousand years older. It dates to 286 B.C. (+/- 27 years), which means it not only predates the Viking era, it predates the Roman occupation of the area.

It’s not a huge shock that the ossuaries did not contain the remains of Richard I and II. As I noted in last year’s article about the exhumation, the remains were repeatedly moved over the centuries. The Dukes were buried outside the Church of the Holy Trinity in Fécamp, consecrated in 990. They both requested that they be buried under a water channel so their sins could be washed away for eternity. Their remains were moved and buried inside the new Romanesque church in 1162 by order of Henry II of England, Duke Richard II’s three times great-grandson. They were moved again in 1518 to the high altar of the Gothic church, and again in 1748. The remains were rediscovered in 1942 when work was done on the church, and the bones were reburied in 1947. They were moved one last time in 1956 when they were placed in those lead boxes and moved to the southern transept where researchers at the time believed was the closest spot to the original burial location.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, the bones of a man from the 8th century and one from the 3rd century B.C. were confused for those of two dukes of Normandy. So the Rollo thing is a total bust, but now there’s a whole new bag of issues to keep researchers busy. The biggest surprise is the pre-Roman skeleton. How such an ancient personage wound up riding the reburial carousel is inexplicable right now. Researchers can only speculate that he may have been an early Celtic chieftain buried in a ritually significant spot — he is far older than the city of Fécamp — that was then reused as the site of Christian churches. The research team has sent one of his teeth for strontium isotope analysis. If all goes well, the results will pinpoint where the man spent his childhood.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Eastern Results from the March LoAR

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-05-23 22:35


The Society College of Arms runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.

The following results are from the March 2017 Wreath and Pelican meetings.  The submissions in this letter are from Herald’s Point at Pennsic 2016.

EAST acceptances

Æsa assa. Name and device. Purpure, an eagle rising Or sustaining a skull bendwise argent.

Álfr Jǫrundarson. Name and device. Argent, two demi-wolves respectant and in chief two ravens respectant sable.

Nice 9th-10th century Icelandic name!

Anni of Lincolnshire. Name and device. Argent, in saltire two artist’s brushes, in chief a tree eradicated proper.

An artist’s brush proper is hereby defined as having a brown wooden handle and black bristles. According to Cennini’s Il Libro dell’Arte c.1400 (translated as The Craftsman’s Handbook and published by Dover), the ferrule of a paintbrush (described by Cennini as a “miniver brush”) is a short bit of quill from a bird’s feather, and is not made of metal. We encourage submitters in the future to depict artist’s brushes with a period-appropriate ferrule, but at this time choose not to penalize submitters who depict a brush with a metal ferrule. The tincture and stylization of the ferrule is an unblazoned artistic detail.

Artist’s note: Please draw the tree larger, to fill its space.

Berta Ripperg. Name and device. Per bend sable and gules, a bear rampant and two axes in saltire argent.

Bertana æt Bathancestre. Name (see RETURNS for device).

Appearing on the Letter of Intent as Bertana æt Bathancestere, we have changed the locative to Bathancestre to reflect the documentation.

Brian Beedon. Name and device. Argent, a raven rising to sinister sable maintaining a kitchen knife fesswise reversed gules.

Brighid inghean an Phearsuin. Name and device. Or, in cross five quatrefoils saltirewise azure seeded Or and a bordure vert.

Originally submitted as Brighid inghean an Phearsain, kingdom changed the byname to inghean in Phearsain on the belief that this change was required by Gaelic grammar. It was not.

However, the correct genitive (possessive) form is Phearsuin, not Phearsain. Therefore, we have changed the name to Brighid inghean an Phearsuin to restore the original form in part and use the correct genitive form.

The submitter requested authenticity for an unspecified time and language. This name is not authentic for any particular time or place. Brighid is a Gaelic saint’s name. In medieval Gaelic, we have no evidence that unmarked saint’s names were used as given names. Because we cannot rule out this practice, we allow saint’s names to be registered. Thus, this name is registerable but it is not authentic.

Christoph of Marwick. Device. Per chevron purpure and gules, two pigs combatant argent and a vulture displayed Or.

There is a step from period practice for use of bird other than an eagle in the displayed posture.

Hilde Purdeu. Name.

Nice early 13th century English name!

Hrafn Isauga. Device. Per saltire azure and argent, a raven displayed sable within a bordure counterchanged.

There is a step from period practice for use of bird other than an eagle in the displayed posture.

Artist’s note: Internal detailing and a lighter hue of azure will aid immensely in easy identification of the raven.

João de Tagarro. Name and device. Per pale vert and gules, in cross five plates.

Nice device!

Lúta eyverska. Name and device. Per bend argent and azure, a wolf’s head cabossed and a winged unicorn segreant counterchanged.

The submitter requested authenticity for Old Norse. Although both elements are Old Norse, they were not found during the same time period or in the same location. Thus, this name is registerable but it does not meet the authenticity request.

Submitters had difficulty seeing the alicorn (unicorn’s horn) in the color emblazon. Artist’s note: make the alicorn larger and thicker.

Mairi de Innernarryn. Name and device. Gules, in fess a bezant between two stags combattant Or.

This name combines a Gaelic given name and a Scots byname, an acceptable lingual mix under Appendix C.

Meave Macintosh. Name and device. Gules, on a dragon sejant affronty wings displayed argent, an apple vert.

Michael Leg Bain. Name and device. Per pale purpure and Or, in saltire an armored leg and an arrow counterchanged.

Mishal Shirāzī. Name and device. Sable, two camels combattant and in base a mullet of seven points argent, a chief argent goutty purpure.

This name combines an Arabic given name with a Persian byname, an acceptable lingual mix under Appendix C.

The submitter requested authenticity for an unspecified time, place or culture. This name is not authentic for any particular time or place. However, it is registerable.

Muirenn ingen Ciric. Name.

Nicolas Étienne le Noir. Device. Per pale argent and sable, a calamarie inverted between three roundels counterchanged.

Pierre d’Abbeville. Device. Argent, three hearts gules and on a chief sable an escallop between two trees Or.

Beautiful depiction of the escallop and oak trees!

Rafi’ al-Qasid. Name and device. Quarterly sable and Or, a hyena statant argent charged on the shoulder with a crescent sable.

The submitter requested authenticity for 13th century Arabic. We were not able to meet that request because we could not document the name elements to the 13th century. However, Ursula Palimpsest found the given name in the 14th century as an element in the name of a man living in Cairo, in Law and Piety in Medieval Islam by Megan H. Reid (Cambridge University Press, 2013) (https://books.google.com/books?id=zZo0AAAAQBAJ). The byname was also documented to the 14th century in Egypt. Therefore, although not authentic for the 13th century, the name is authentic for an Arabic speaker in Egypt in the 14th century.

Robeke von Heidelberg. Name and device. Gules, a waterwheel and on a chief argent three keystones sable.

The submitter requested authenticity for 15th century German “+/- 100 years.” This name is not authentic because it combines Low German and High German, which are effectively different languages. However, it is registerable.

Robert of Shetland. Name and device. Per pale gules and sable, two horses combattant and in chief a sword fesswise reversed argent.

Þóra in kyrra Halbiarnardóttir. Name and device. Argent, a fox rampant proper and on a chief purpure two fleurs-de-lys argent.

Submitted as Þóra in kyrra Halbiarnardottir, this spelling incorrectly uses markings in the given name, but not in -dóttir. Markings in Old Norse names must be used or omitted consistently throughout the name. We have added the marking to the byname for registration. If the submitter prefers the form without markings, she may submit a request for reconsideration.

Ulf Dragon Slaghtere. Name and device. Per saltire Or and gules, a dragon displayed sable between four pheons in cross points to center counterchanged.

The submitter requested authenticity for “England.” Although all of the name elements are English, they are not all found in the same time period. Therefore, while this name is registerable, it is not authentic.

There is a step from period practice for use of a dragon displayed.

Artist’s note: make sure that the belly scales are in the center of the body, with flanks showing on either side and with the limbs displayed equally, to be more properly displayed.

Umm Butrus A’isha al-Anida. Name (see RETURNS for device).

Wærthryth æt Eoforwicceaster. Name and device. Vert, in fess two owls and a bordure argent.

Submitted as Wærthryth æt Eoforwicceaster_, the place name in a locative byname in Old English ordinarily needs to be in the dative form. In this case, that would be Eoforwicceastere. In commentary, Kenric æt Essexe found examples that suggest that the dative form may not have been used in all cases. We encourage more research on this issue. Meanwhile, we will give the submitter the benefit of the doubt that her byname as submitted is correctly formed. If the submitter prefers the dative form Eoforwicceastere, she may make a request for reconsideration.

Wærthryth was not actually found in the article cited in the Letter of Intent. The spelling actually found in the Latin source document is Uuerthryth. Fortunately, we can construct the name Wærthryth from the documented elements Wær- and -thryth.

The submitter requested authenticity for Anglo-Saxon “esp. 7th c. England.” As the given name is constructed, rather than attested in the submitted spelling, the name does not meet this request. However, it is registerable.

Nice device!

EAST returns

Bertana æt Bathancestre. Device. Per fess wavy azure and Or, in pale three suns counterchanged between flaunches vert.

This device is returned for redraw, for violating SENA A2C2 which states “Elements must be drawn to be identifiable.” Most commenters were unable to identify the line of division as wavy. Very little of the line of division is visible, with 2/3 of it obscured by flaunches and approximately half of the remaining line broken up by a counterchanged sun.

Eva von Kölln. Device. Argent, surmounting a cross sable between in chief two oak leaves and in base two otters combattant vert, a heart gules.

This device is returned for having a “barely overall” charge. SENA Appendix I, Charge Group Theory, in defining overall charges states “An overall charge must have a significant portion on the field; a design with a charge that has only a little bit sticking over the edges of an underlying charge is known as “barely overall” and is not registerable.” Here, more of the heart is on the cross than on the field.

Submitters were torn on whether this depiction of the otters succeeded in addressing the reasons for return at the kingdom level. We will note that in making the arms of the cross thinner, there will be more space with which to depict the otters, which should aid in identification.

Muirenn ingen Ciric. Device. Argent, on a bend azure between a spear bendwise and a rapier bendwise sable, three gouttes d’eau.

This armory must be returned for non-registerable depictions of gouttes. Per the March 2013 Cover Letter:

For non-maintained or otherwise artistic charges, however, given the evidence we express a strong preference for the traditional wavy-tailed gouttes. Teardrop shaped gouttes are registerable as long as they are elongated, more than twice as long as they are wide.

These gouttes are not the multiply-waved gouttes seen in period depictions of the charge, and look instead like commas. Upon resubmission, we advise the submitter to draw the gouttes with more waves in the tail, as seen in Bruce Draconarius’ Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry, 3rd Edition (http://mistholme.com/dictionary/gout/).

Umm Butrus A’isha al-Anida. Device. Azure ermined argent, on a roundel argent, a dragon displayed sable.

This device must be returned for redraw. In the return of William le Bond, the following precedent was reaffirmed:

This device is returned for redraw. In the return of Magdalene de Saint Benoit-sur-Loire, it was stated:

This device is returned for a redraw. At first glance this appears to be wyvern, not a dragon, as both forelegs and half the head are invisible due to their placement against the rest of the dragon. While no difference is granted between a wyvern and a dragon, they are still separate charges. On resubmission please advise the submitter that the head should not overlap the wing, nor should the forelegs lie entirely on the dragon’s body. [LoAR of December 2005]

This was confirmed in the return of Ciarán Alanson, on the LoAR of March 2006, for the same reason.

This submission has the same problem: the forelimbs are invisible due to their placement entirely against the wings.

There is a step from period practice for the use of a dragon displayed.

Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: LoAR

Henge, human remains found in Warwickshire

History Blog - Mon, 2017-05-22 22:29

An archaeological excavation of a field slated for development in Newbold-on-Stour near Stratford, Warwickshire, has discovered traces of a Neolithic henge and rare human remains dating back almost 6,000 years to around 4,000 or 3,000 B.C. A geophysical survey indicated the possible presence of something of archaeological interest resulting in a preliminary dig last year, but this year’s excavation found that what archaeologists suspected was a burial mound was in a fact a ritual site of religious significance.

The henge was a simple earthwork structure, not the wooden or grand monumental stone architecture of Britain’s more famous henges. It was composed of a segmented circular trench with an exterior bank built from the dug up soil. This ditch and embankment combination would not have had a defensive purpose, but rather served to enclose the interior circular space to mark it out for whatever religious or celebratory uses to which it was dedicated. What’s left of it today is the shallow circular ditch with an inner diameter of about nine meters (30 feet).

Five articulated skeletons were found buried in one of the segments of the circular trench. This is an exceptionally rare find, not only because of the great historical significance of the Neolithic henge context, but because the soil in the area is extremely acidic and ancient bone rarely survives at all. Intact, articulated skeletons, especially ones as old as these, are a gift from the archaeological gods.

The people had been buried carefully as none of the bodies had been placed on top of another. The three middle burials were facing west, out from the henge, while the two outer ones were facing east, into the henge.

The apparently deliberate arrangement suggests the people being buried were a group of some kind – possibly family members – and the people burying them knew where the others were buried. [...]

Archaeology Warwickshire Project Officer Nigel Page, who excavated the site said: [...]

“The skeletons have been recovered from the site and will undergo scientific analysis to try to answer the many questions that their presence on the site has raised. For example, it is hoped that the sex and age of the people can be established and it may also be possible to determine if there was a family connection between them.

“The rare survival of the skeletons will provide an important opportunity to gain a unique insight into the lives of the people who not only knew the henge and its landscape, but who were probably some of the region’s earliest residents”.

Radiocarbon dating results on the skeletons are expected in June.

Archaeology Warwickshire Business Manager Stuart Palmer said: “This exciting discovery is of national importance as it provides tangible evidence for cult or religious belief in late Stone Age Warwickshire.

“Amazingly it is the second such find by the team. In 2015 a group of four henges was excavated in Bidford although the burials at this site were all cremated. Prior to this there were no known henges in Warwickshire leading some archaeologists to believe that a different kind of cult was prevalent in the region.”


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Target: Be Prepared

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-05-22 19:24

This month’s On Target topic: proper preparation prevents poor performance!

It was a privilege to be the archery marshal-in-charge at Blackstone Raid. When I got to the site, the weather seemed to be perfect, so I set the range up the night before the archery competition. What we did not know was that there would be a sudden change; a microburst hit around 1 a.m.

The next morning, I went out to look at the range and a good bit of it was down… but fortunately I was prepared.

I had an extra box with spikes and washers, as well as extra rope. As you can see, the rope had clips and rings on it, so that I could pound spikes and retie the hay bales.

I also had extra targets, which was good since some of the original targets were destroyed in the rain.

In addition, I had a roll of camo-patterned duct tape that was perfect for outdoors. And for the first time, I had built backstops for the targets. Placing a backstop roughly 4 feet behind each target meant many of the arrows never dug into the dirt, or as we like to say, became “worm chasers.” Not having to look in the ground saved archers a lot of time.

Finally, I had brought an extra prize, which turned out to be important – I had planned for first, second, and third place prizes, but then I had one shooter strike a deer target in the heart it well over 50 yards, so on the fly I was able to give a prize for the best shot of the day.

In conclusion, if you’re the MIC, it never hurts to overpack!

Yours in service,
THLord Deryk Archer

Categories: SCA news sites

Large cache of embalming materials found in Middle Kingdom tomb

History Blog - Sun, 2017-05-21 23:39

Archaeologists with the Middle Kingdom Theban Project have rediscovered a large cache of mummification materials in the necropolis of Deir el-Bahari on the West Bank of the Nile at Luxor. The Spanish archaeological mission, led by Dr. Antonio Morales, found 56 amphorae and close to 300 linen packets of natron and other materials used in the embalming process in a well a few feet northeast of the entrance to the tomb of Ipi.

The Middle Kingdom Theban Project studies two tombs in the Deir el-Bahari necropolis, the tomb of Henenu and the tomb of Ipi, to investigate the development of the Egyptian state as reflected in the religious, artistic, epigraphic and archaeological features of the tombs of important officials during the transformative period at the dawn of the Middle Kingdom. Many of the aspects of later Pharaonic periods first evolved during this period in the wake of Egypt’s unification after centuries of conflict. The evolution of mummification procedures, so strongly associated with Pharaonic Egypt, is one of those aspects.

The tomb of Ipi is on the northern hill of the necropolis in front of the now-destroyed temple of Dynasty XI pharaoh Mentuhotep II, a privileged location where the most important officials of the early Middle Kingdom were buried. Ipi was a vizier, a high advisor to Pharaoh Amenemhat I of the early 12th Dynasty, and the overseer of ancient Thebes. The tomb was first explored in 1921-1922 by American Egyptologist Herbert Winlock of the Metropolitan Museum of New York. He found the mummification materials during that excavation, but had no real understanding of their importance. Interested in them for their aesthetic value only, he removed four of the amphorae and left everything else in the room without cleaning or documenting them. Winlock never got back to them, and people forgot they were there until now.

Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, points out that the discovery of such extensive materials directly connected to the mummification of a high official adds significantly to our understanding of the kind of embalming techniques, tools, textiles, chemicals and unguents used in the early Middle Kingdom which is when the mummification procedures that would reach their peak in the New Kingdom began to take form.

Dr. Antonio Morales the Head of Spanish Mission said that the deposit of the mummification materials used for Ipi include inscriptions, various shrouds and linen sheets (4 m. long) shawls, and rolls of wide bandages, in addition to further types of cloths, rags, and pieces of slender wrappings destined to cover fingers, toes, and other parts of the vizier’s corpse.

Dr. Morales explained that jars contained around 300 sacks with natron salt, oils, sand, and other substances, as well as the stoppers of the jars and a scraper are also found. [A]mong the most outstanding pieces of the collection are the Nile clay and marl large jars, some with potmarks and hieratic.

Because these items were used in the embalming process and were therefore impure, they couldn’t be included in the burial chamber with the sarcophagus. Biological remains including blood stains and clots were found on the bandages, and one of the linen packets contained Ipi’s heart. While the brain and heart were removed for optimal preservation by the time the embalming art reached its zenith in the New Kingdom, they were usually left in the body in the early Middle Kingdom. The fact that Ipi’s heart was removed and left in the materials dump rather than in a canopic jar as his stomach, intestines, lungs and liver were is likely an indication that his embalmers cut some corners.

The materials are so extensive that the Middle Kingdom Theban Project team will have to work on them for at least one more campaign season. The linen strips will be analyzed by gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and other technologies that will identify trace substances like natron and other chemical and biological remains. From a scientific perspective, it’s a great thing that Winlock ignored this find. That left organic materials untouched and in their original environment so they could be preserved until there was such a thing as a gas chromatograph.

Here’s some excellent film of the discovery of the room and its wealth of mummification materials.



Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Family Activities at Wars of the Roses – Something New!

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-05-21 10:17

Olivia Baker, reporting

This year at Wars of the Roses, we are doing something a little different. Rather than having specific family activities, we are encouraging and facilitating participation in all of the aspects of the event (to the extent legally and safely possible). Too much have we heard about families who cannot participate in “main” event activities and teens who are bored with crafts. There is always something to learn or help with, and it is our goal this year to provide as many opportunities for youth and their families to enjoy the event together as possible.

(1) There is always something to help with. We will provide a list of many of the activities happening at the event and things they will need volunteers for. Appropriate age ranges will be included so youth can easily find opportunities to help with the “main” Event.

(2) There is always something to learn. There will be many classes, and we will have a Village building full of artisans (and free play space) willing to share their craft and let anyone who is interested try it out. We are working with those who submit classes to have them post age ranges for their classes, and we encourage teachers to consider teaching beginner-level classes that would be appropriate for younger children as well. We are also looking for youth who would like to sponsor a competition at the Event.

(3) There is always someplace to be part of. The Village building will be a family-friendly space with free-play areas, artisan stations, and social space. It is a place where families can come to socialize, work on arts/sciences/handwork/etc, and play while enjoying “what we do in the SCA.” This is not the only place where families and youth are encouraged to participate. It is a sheltered area with boundaries that is explicitly family-friendly. Our goal is to keep families involved with the activities of the Event rather than sending them to a separated space.

We hope to see many families with all members engaged and enjoying the Event. If you have questions or suggestions, or you would like to volunteer to assist or teach, please contact me as soon as you can so we can talk!

If you’re interested in helping out with Family Activities, please contact the Family Activities Coordinator directly. 

Please remember that parents are responsible for their children at all times. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the East Kingdom Chancellor Minor Policies

Below is the current schedule of family-friendly activities!


11:00 AM – Anyone Can Make Largesse! (Lady Finnguala ingen Neill meic Chuircc) — A class/workshop about what Largesse is and ideas for what SCAdians in various age groups and skill levels can make. A table with materials and idea/instruction sheets will be available for open use during the day on both Saturday and Sunday. Young children will need an older helper, not just adult supervision. Ages 4+

12:00 – 1:00 PM – Family-Friendly Songs for the SCA: a singalong and learning circle for sharing youth-appropriate tunes. Bring copies of our favorite SCA-and-youth-appropriate song lyrics to share!

1:00 PM – Origami (Paper Folding) for Beginners (Anna Elisabetta deValladolid) — A family-friendly class for ages 6+

1:00 PM – Storytime for the Littles (hosted by Inlé) — Come hear stories and maybe find a new favorite! We will be sharing our favorite SCA-appropriate picture books and reading some aloud. This will focus on stories appropriate for ages under 6. Live storytellers also welcome to stop by and share!

1:30 – 3:00 PM – Family Field Games — Active games for kids, family, and friends to play together that get you up and moving around!

3:00-5:00 PM – Heraldic Games! (Lady Cecelie Vogelgesangkin) — Using Registered names and devices, these games will include trivia, spelling attempts, and drawing for a full gamut of entertainment. Fun for ALL ages, they will work best with mixed age groups, so don’t be shy about joining in.

4:00 – 5:00 PM – Medieval Soda and Other Non-Alcoholic Drinks (lærifaðir Magnus hvalmagi) — We know a lot about adult beverages of medieval people, but did you know that non-alcoholic beverages were just as common (if not more)? Yup, believe it or not, soda is period! Come learn how to make some of these tasty drinks with things you can get from the grocery store!

7:00 PM – Human Chess (hosted by Mistress Ose Silverhair)

8:00 PM – Teen Roundtable (followed by Teen Social)


10:00 AM – Woven Wood (Master Angus Pembridge) — A hands-on demo of making wattle panels/fences/edging/etc.

11:00 AM – Viking Wire Weaving (Lady Shannon inghean Bhrain ui Dhuilleain) — Learn how to make those nifty woven wire necklaces (and other things) you see people wearing with their Viking-age garb. We’ll get started; students may not finish, but will be able to take their projects home to work on them. Material fee $5, age 16+, class size limit 8.

12:30 PM – Refilling the Kingdom Toychest (Lady Finnguala ingen Neill meic Chuircc) — What goes into filling the toy chest that gets brought out when the King and Queen visit? How can we help keep it full? Ideas and materials will be available. Let’s see how much we can get done to give back to the toychest!

Filed under: Events, Local Groups, Youth Activities

Ancient bronze stud stolen from Pompeii exhibition

History Blog - Sat, 2017-05-20 22:49

Today in people are the worst news, a bronze artifact from the 6th century B.C. has been stolen from an exhibition at the archaeological site of Pompeii. The object was a door ornament on loan from the National Archaeological Museum of Basilicata in Potenza. It’s not of great monetary value. Just 7.3 inches in diameter and relatively plain in decoration, it was insured for 300 euros ($333).

The piece is of great historical meaning to Basilicata, however, as it was discovered at one of the most important archaeological sites in the region: a hill known as Torre di Satriano where a Norman castle, of which only the tower remains, once dominated the land. Excavations beginning in the 1960s (the first led by pioneer of early Italian archaeology R. Ross Holloway) have discovered evidence of human habitation of the site going back to the second millennium B.C., developing into a complex system of terraced settlements in the 8th century B.C. inhabited by the Peuketiantes, a local people who by the 6th century B.C. were building elaborate multi-use structures influenced by artistic and architectural styles of Greek colonies in Taranto and Corinth. One of the archaeologists who has excavated Torre di Satriano is Massimo Osanna, today the director of the archaeological site of Pompeii.

Massimo Osanna, the director general of the Pompeii archaeological site, expressed dismay. “In addition to being a gesture that injures Pompeii and Italy’s cultural heritage, even though it is not a priceless piece, it hits me on a personal level and it was an area where I had conducted the excavation myself,” he said.

The bronze stud was an example of that connection between one of the ancient Italic peoples of southern Italy and the colonies of Magna Grecia, which is why it was on display in the Pompeii and the Greeks exhibit in Pompeii’s Palestra Grande (the large gym). One of several bronze ornaments unearthed at the 6th century structure at Torre di Satriano, the wooden door they once adorned had long since decayed. For the exhibition, the stud was set down the middle of a cartoon-like replica of the door with three others just like it, while two larger, highly ornamented bronze knockers were placed on each side, recreating what archaeologists believe was the original placement.

The director of the Basilicata Regional Museum Hub, Marta Ragozzino, voiced “solidarity to my friend and colleague Massimo Osanna”.

“Above and beyond its extraordinary Lucanian context, which Osanna himself investigated and which the show on Pompeii and the Greeks has finally unveiled to the public, the stolen relic has modest value,” she said.

“But a gesture of this kind leaves us incredulous and pained, a gesture that attacks and wounds the cultural heritage that belongs to the community and, when brought to Pompeii, the whole world”.

The theft was discovered by security guards on the evening of Wednesday, May 17th, at around 8:00 PM. That means the stud was stolen during visiting hours, a bold and/or foolhardy choice since the thieves would have had to get behind the protective plexiglass panel in full public view and unscrew the bronze piece from the door-like panel. After hours, the room is under video surveillance. Police are now reviewing the tapes to see if the perpetrators can be identified.

There have been rumblings about the quality of the security — the ALES firm has the security contract for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage — for some time. To have an artifact stolen in front of the guards’ noses in broad daylight hasn’t exactly silenced the doubters.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Master Thorpe Wins Forged In Fire Competition

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-05-20 00:15

Master Thorpe displays the African blade he made in his home forge for the third round of the show Forged In Fire. Photo by THL Fionnghuala.

By Baroness Katja (Chris Adler-France)

Æthelmearc fans of the History Channel’s metalsmithing competition, Forged In Fire, recognized a familiar face last week: Master John Michael Thorpe.

One of four competitors in the sixth episode of the fourth season of the show, Master Thorpe was named the champion of that episode’s challenge and won the $10,000 prize.

In each episode of the reality TV competition show, four entrants forge bladed weapons in a three-round elimination, with the first two three-hour rounds to create and improve a specific kind of knife out of a specific kind of metal in a Brooklyn, NY studio. The two finalists then have five days to create a specific historic sword in their home workshops before returning to the studio for their creation to be judged in a series of sharpness and sturdiness tests. Past competitions have challenged contestants to create such blades as Japanese katanas, Elizabethan rapiers, Norse battle axes, Scottish claymores, German katzbalger, and cavalry sabres. (See the Wikipedia article here for more about the show’s history.)

A metalworking Laurel and an SCA member since 1982, Master Thorpe has lived in Myrkfaelinn, Nithgaard, Thescorre, and now Delftwood for the past 13 years. He has three apprentices and is the founder and guild master of the Royal Guild of Æthelmearc Metalsmiths. He has served in a number of officer roles over the years, including kingdom chronicler, baronial seneschal, and several rapier marshallates.

He talked to The Gazette about the competition experience:

Q: First, congratulations on your win! Second, how long have you been a practicing blacksmith/silversmith and what experience do you have with metallurgy?

I have been making knives since I was about 14 and forging them since about 1990 or so. I am mostly self taught as a blade smith, but have learned a lot about metallurgy and blade performance from ABS Mastersmith Kevin Cashen, and Tim Zowada, and have had long discussions with Dr. Roman Landes, who literally wrote (in German) the authoritative book on the metallurgy of sharpness. I started working with metal professionally as a bench jeweler at 19, although my first exposure to the jewelry trade was in fourth grade (when a silversmith visited his class as part of the American Bicentennial celebrations). I learned enough by watching him that I was able to teach myself chasing and repousse from memory eight years later and  started making jewelry in my dorm room at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology).

When I dropped out for a year on sick leave I went to work at a wholesale jewelry repair shop in Ithaca, where I worked my way up from polisher to bench jeweler. Repairing thousands of chains and sizing hundreds of rings is a great way to refine the fundamentals of your craft!

I taught myself metallurgy so that I could make better knives, and so that I could make a metallurgically correct 13th century knife to prove Laurel wrong when he said to someone that you could make a perfectly accurate 13th century knife that would work as well as the period ones by filing a blade out of the welding steel you get at a hardware store. I learned enough metallurgy in the process that despite my math education effectively ending after 9th grade, I was hired as a metallurgical associate engineer at an aerospace superalloy manufacturing plant, testing the metal that spins at high temperatures inside jet engines, and at one point was literally doing rocket science with tools that Benvenuto Cellini would recognize (using a chasing hammer and miniature carving chisels to collect samples for chemical analysis from the castings that became the main engine nozzles for the last three space shuttle missions).

Q: From watching the episode, it certainly appeared that you were very familiar with the competition’s specific expectations, such as the tests to gauge that the weapons were actually usable and not just impressive looking. So, how did you learn about this competition show and when did you begin watching it?

I initially learned about Forged in Fire when my wife (THL Fionnghuala inghean Diarmada) stumbled on it somewhere in the first season. I came down to watch the “cooking show about bladesmithing” and recognized one of the contestants from one of the bladesmithing hammer-ins I am a regular at. I went back and watched all of the episodes that were available and started watching regularly.

As to the specific expectations of the show, at one level, my focus in bladesmithing has always been on performance. A knife is a tool, I have always put function first, edge geometry (which determines sharpness), edge metallurgy (which determines how long an edge will continue cutting), and blade geometry (which determines how well a blade will pass through the medium it is cutting), how it will dissipate stress, etc.

The society of bladesmiths I have been a member of for over a decade, the New England Bladesmiths Guild (http://ashokanknifeseminar.com/), is a group of bladesmiths who organized the Ashokan Seminar as a vehicle to allow advancing knowledge of metallurgical science and bladesmithing outside of the heavily hype driven atmosphere of the more mainstream knife communities.

Q: What made you decide to enter this competition?

I am a horrible person. I sat and watched the show, armchair quarterbacking as the competition progressed with my wife (she can now recognize problems developing and strategic errors almost as quickly as I do, and as time went on I started bouncing some of my strategic ideas off of her for input).

As time went on, my ego got the best of me and I began to think that I could stand my ground against at least half of the winners skill-set wise, and that I had a better grasp of metallurgical knowledge than the majority of the competitors I had seen. I know and have shared an anvil with more than a few of the past episode winners, and I have a great deal of respect for the ones I know, but I felt that I had about a 50/50 chance in any given group and challenge.

Q: How did you prepare for the competition?

Since I don’t typically make blades over about five inches in length, before I even considered applying, I tested myself by forging a series of three blades giving myself a two-hour time limit from bar stock to quenched. I figured that if I could do that using all hand tools reliably, that would leave an hour for dealing with whatever material challenge curveball was thrown at me. When I proved to myself that I could do that, I sent in my application.

Q: First, you had to forge a Kukri (a large angled knife from Nepal) within a couple of hours in the studio with the other three contestants, then you and the other finalist had several days to make a specific blade in your home workshops. Had you ever made a Kukri or bent blade before? What were your thoughts about the in-studio challenge? Had you ever used the specific type of metal you were given to use?

Funny that you ask… I had never made a Kukri before, and in previous seasons competitors had always been tasked with “making a blade in their own signature style” for rounds one and two. I do not really have large blade signature style that would be appropriate for the typical performance tests, so I was planning to do a Persian style with a curved, tapered blade and trailing point, as that would perform well in the typical performance tests from the previous seasons. Then, they served up a curveball having us make a knife in (show judge) Jason Knight’s signature style. I had never intentionally made a blade with that kind of curve before. During the application process, the producer asked me if I had ever made anything “curvy or weird” before, so I ran out to the forge and made a quick serpentine dagger blade and emailed her the picture.

The Akrafena.

As to the type of steel, W1, I have used it to make little hand tools for chasing and repousse, but not for making a big blades. It is chemically similar to some other steels I have used, it is one of the most basic common tool steels, but not one of my usual choices for anything big.

Q: Had you ever made an Akrafena (an Ashanti sword with a perforated bulbous blade) or other large blade with cut-outs before? Your immediate response on the show, when told what you had to make, was that it was “scary.”

I have made several straight-bladed swords before, but not finished any of them into complete swords as I did not have the appropriate equipment to successfully heat-treat anything big to my standards (and the one rapier where I farmed out the heat treatment came back looking like a pretzel). The day before I left to go compete, I made a 45-inch-long electric heat treatment kiln (in his workshop) on the off-chance that I might make it to the final round and have to make something big, but I had not wired it or tested it before I left for New York. I did not have a quench tank big enough for a sword either.

I was not expecting to make it to the final round as I had not had any time to actually practice between the producers contacting me that it looked like I might be a contestant and when I had to get on a plane.

Q: What were your expectations when you entered the competition?

I went down with two goals: the first being to not get eliminated in the first round, and the second being to not embarrass my wife (Okay, not getting permanently injured is was also important.) Everything else was just gravy and experience points. I was going down to have fun.

Getting to the third round and facing the challenge of doing this extremely curved African sword with weird geometry and cutouts in the blade was intimidating. Then, adding in the logistical challenges that I had not had time to build any of the equipment that would speed up the build and make dealing with the odd shape easy was an extra piece of intimidation, not to mention that I was facing an opponent who had pulled off the unthinkable comeback (in the second round). I literally wired up the temperature control and modified a pottery kiln into a top-loading heat-treat kiln and welded up a quench tank during my home forge time with the camera recording my every move and the clock running. There were tons of logistical challenges to meet, and that was before I scrapped my first blade on the third day, and forge-welded five bars together to make up a bar with enough mass for a second attempt.

Q: How did you approach the Akrafena challenge? What was your process, how was it different or similar to blades you’ve made for the Society? What went well, what was the most difficult aspect of the challenge? How much did you research the historical weapon and how did that affect your design?

I researched the Akrafena on the Internet in the 32 hours I had between finding out that I was a finalist and the time my home forge time started. I was hoping that I would find one in the African section at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the morning before I flew back, but no luck. I analyzed about 20 examples and did up a CAD template that was true to the characteristics of the historic examples, and found about 30 pages of Adinkra symbols.

Then, after three days everything went sideways and I approached it basically as an exercise in situational triage. I started out with plans to make a fancy, very historically accurate piece while still following the design specifics designated in the rules. Things started to go wrong and I had to scrap the first attempt blade because it would be 1/8-inch shy of the required minimum in one dimension after finish grinding and trying to pull it out was not going as planned. I hit a point where I was not confident and abandoned my three days of work, starting over while there was still time. At that point, my whole strategy was just trying to make sure that I had a blade that could be tested, which was going to be a challenge considering the largest piece of stock I had was ¼-inch by 1 1/2-inch in cross section.

Q: What surprised you throughout the experience?

I won. Beyond that, the number of people involved in the production of the show, who are never seen on camera. During the three-hour forge sessions, there are easily more than 10 people just operating camera and sound equipment on the forge floor, all of us have at least one, more likely two or three cameras on us at any point during the three-hour sessions.

Also the lengths that they go to to ensure that everything is fair, the rules are followed, and that what you are seeing is real, despite the fact that only a tiny fraction of the footage makes it to the final edit. Seriously!

Beyond that, you expect that a reality show-type competition would have all sorts of artificially produced animosity between contestants to make drama happen? There was none of that. The production team was very professional and did nothing to try to encourage fake drama. While the four of us ribbed each other constantly in between the timed sessions, it was all good natured and we were laughing constantly (even when someone was the recipient of a particularly good barb) and have stayed in touch in the weeks since. We have plans to continue a good-natured series of build-off competitions under the name “Drunken Monkey Brotherhood Forge” to keep the camaraderie going.

Q: Brock, one of the other contestants, wore Ren Faire garb. Did you ever discuss the SCA with him?

I asked him if he does SCA. He does Ren Faire and LARP (live-action roleplaying), and that is where he makes his money.

Q: Have you ever entered any forging competitions before this? Do you plan on entering any future ones?

I do not typically do competitions, really not my style. Just like fencing tournaments, I feel most competitions bring out the worst in people and I want no part of that. This looked like fun and a unique opportunity, so I did it, not really to win, but just to do it. I had fun, and the experience was great, so I would go back and do it again given the opportunity.

Q: Is the $10,000 prize going toward any specific equipment or materials?

Medical debt. I plan to pay off some stuff, then the money that is no longer going to the creditors will go towards getting back to Florence and Munich, and taking the curator of European Weapons Collections at the Royal Armory at Leeds up on his invitation to take a close look at some pieces in the collections there.

Q: Did you get to keep either of the blades you created?

All weapons produced are property of the History Channel.

Q: Any suggestions or tips for others who want to try entering this competition?

My only real tip is this is an extreme athletic event with a technical challenge and a fire show. The round one conditions in the forge are tough, and have taken out several competitors, including one who had to be hospitalized. Understanding metallurgy and edge geometry is essential, as well as the ability to think on the fly.


If you missed the broadcast on the History Channel, you can see it here on the show’s webpage.

Master Thorpe’s metalworking business, Sunshadow Designs, can be found here on Facebook and here on the web.

Categories: SCA news sites

Human blood found on Revolutionary War musket ball

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

Archaeologists have discovered remnants of human blood on a musket ball discovered at Monmouth Battlefield Park in New Jersey, site of the June 28th, 1778, Battle of Monmouth. This is the first time human blood has been found on Revolutionary War artillery shot. The site has been excavated regularly for close to 30 years by the Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization (BRAVO). They’ve unearthed thousands of artifacts, including musket balls, but none of them showed any evidence of having struck anybody.

On April 16th of last year, BRAVO volunteer Bill Hermstedt found yet another musket ball. It was a piece of canister shot, one of multiple lead or iron balls packed into a metal canister and shot out of a cannon spraying the field with shrapnel. This one wasn’t like the many previous such discoveries. Battlefield archaeologist Dan Sivilich noticed upon close examination that there seemed to be an impression of fabric on the surface, perhaps made when the ball hit someone, tearing through his uniform. A second shot also appeared to have a possible textile imprint. In addition to being a battlefield archaeologist and president of BRAVO, Sivilich is an expert in musket and lead shot. He quite literally wrote the book about them — Musket Ball and Small Shot Identification: A Guide — so he knows a stand-out find when he sees one.

BRAVO sent the two balls with fabric impressions and two other artillery shots of interest to PaleoResearch Institute, Inc. in Golden, Colorado for analysis. One of them, the musket ball, came back positive for proteins found in human blood.

The canister shot in question was fired, Sivilich said, by the Americans into the British 42nd regiment. “They were trapped in an orchard just outside of Route 522,” Sivilich explained. “The American artillery line had them pinned down for a while.”

Legend has it that Molly Pitcher was shuttling water to the artillery from a nearby spring when her husband, William Hays, became incapacitated. She took his place at the cannon, so the story goes. When the smoke cleared, according to accounts from the period, the orchard was strewn with dead and injured British soldiers. The bloody piece of canister shot “may have been sitting underneath a piece of corn stalk,” Sivilich said. “We just got lucky.” [...]

“Based on its deformation, it did not appear to hit bone,” Sivilich said. “It hit soft tissue, went through the body and obviously ended up in the ground. It could have gone through a thigh, an arm, or it could have been a belly wound. We don’t know if it was fatal or not.”

Fought between George Washington’s Continental Army and the British Army under the new Commander-in-Chief for North America Sir Henry Clinton, the Battle of Monmouth resulted in a stand-off, but in effect it was a significant victory for Washington because for the first time the rag-tag Continental Army had succeeded in a pitched battle against the larger, better trained and better armed British. Fortified with French support and after a long, cold winter of constant drills and training in Valley Forge, the Americans finally proved themselves as a viable fighting force on the field at Monmouth.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

SCA Artisans List Website Launched

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-05-19 15:03

Tamaris painting. Image via Wikipedia commons, from an uncited French manuscript of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Des Cleres et Nobles Femmes, 1403.

Greetings all from the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White.

One of my goals in this office is to connect people with teachers and make learning more accessible. I’d like to see people working with other artisans more easily and to become better partners while developing a stronger community.

Another one of my goals is to not reinvent the wheel. If we have people already working on projects then let’s see if the East Kingdom can benefit form them too.

Master Lorenzo, from Meridies, has been working on an SCA Artisans List.
Click on the link and give it a look!

SCA Artisans Website

Full disclosure! Please note!
* The Mobile Interface is read-only.
* This is a work in process!
* There will be edits and improvements.
* We know it is not perfect.
* The list has been pre-loaded based off of the Order of Precedence published online.

I’ve tried it myself! I set up my registration and logged in. I’ve updated my information and finished setting up my account.

It is really easy to use.

The more people who participate the better the tool can become. There is a name search function but also by group or State or interest.

We could also even use this for local groups to register artisans, or set up judging, or classes, or something other things. There are options!

Remember… Have fun! Teach! Learn!

Your Servant to Command,


Filed under: Announcements Tagged: a&s, artisans, Arts and Sciences, database, websites

Rijksmuseum acquires 1st photo illustrated book by 1st female photographer

History Blog - Thu, 2017-05-18 21:08

The Rijksmuseum has acquired an extremely rare copy of the first photographically illustrated book, a compendium of British algae created and privately published by botanist Anna Atkins. The museum bought the book from a private collector for €450,000 ($500,000) with funding from the lottery and family foundations.

These were contact prints, technically photograms rather than photographs, made by placing the dried botanical specimen on cyanotype paper. The process was developed in 1842 by astronomer Sir John Herschel who used it as a tool to make quick copies of his notes and drawings (architects quickly followed suit, hence the blueprint). It was Anna Atkins, a personal friend of Sir John’s, who saw the potential of cyanotypes as scientifically accurate illustrations of botanical specimens.

Born in Tunbridge, Kent, in 1799, Anna Atkins was raised by her father, John George Children, after her mother died when Anna was still a baby from the effects of childbirth. Children was an accomplished chemist, mineralogist and zoologist who worked as a librarian in the British Library, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1807 and served as its Secretary in the 1820s and 30s. Under her father’s care, Anna received a rigorous scientific education that was extremely rare for girls of her time. She married in 1825, but continued to pursue her interests in the natural sciences, collecting and drying botanical specimens.

Her collection of dried plants gained recognition in the scientific community for its depth and breadth. She gave some of her specimens to the Kew Gardens museum and became a member of the Botanical Society of London in 1839. She would ultimately gift her vast collection to the British Museum in 1865.

She began to experiment with photography in 1841, buying a camera on the advice of William Henry Fox Talbot, an old family friend who in addition to being a mathematician and optician was the inventor of the salted paper and calotype processes. Atkins is often credited with being the first female photographer, although Constance Talbot, William’s wife, has a competing claim to the title. Neither’s photographs have survived, so there’s no way to adjudicate the dispute.

As a young woman, Anna had laboured extensively to create 250 engravings to illustrate her father’s translation of Lamarck’s Genera of Shells (published anonymously in 1823). She was intrigued by the idea of a system that would reproduce plant specimens more precisely instead of relying on the artistic talent of the engraver. Twenty years after she produced engravings of shells for her father’s treatise, Anna Atkins had mastered Sir John Herschel’s cyanotype process and went to work documenting her collection of seaweed specimens. Between 1843 and 1853, she made photograms and published them in a series of handwritten volumes.

For the various editions, Atkins produced thousands of cyanotypes, or blueprints. In those days, this photographic technique was a relatively simple and inexpensive way of making contact prints. By using two ferric salts, and exposure to strong light, a Prussian blue colour is created. Nevertheless, this process took a great deal of time and effort. All the stages had to be performed by hand: light sensitising the paper, exposure, rinsing and drying. The prints could only be made when there was sufficient sunlight, which is one more reason why Atkins took 10 years to complete her work.

During those 10 years, Atkins produced editions of different size and length. Today fewer than 20 are known to exist, many of them incomplete. The British Library has an extra-long edition (429 pages), which they have digitized so you can browse page by page. The Royal Society’s copy (389 plates on 403 pages) is believed to be the one which comes closest to Anna Atkins’ original plan for the book. The version acquired by the Rijksmuseum is an especially fine edition because it contains 307 photograms, all in excellent condition, and because it retains its original 19th century binding.

Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions will go on display at the Rijksmuseum’s New Realities. Photography in the Nineteenth Century exhibition which runs from June 17th to September 17th of this year.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History