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Late pharaonic necroplis found in Minya, Egypt

History Blog - Sun, 2018-02-25 00:17

Archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown necropolis from the late pharaonic and early Ptolemaic periods in Minya, 150 miles south of Cairo. Burial grounds have been found in the area before. Late last year, archaeologists embarked on an excavation with the aim of discovering the rest of the necropoli at Minya, and soon struck paydirt. They unearthed tombs of priests of Thoth, inventor of writing, god of wisdom and the patron deity of the 15th nome (province) of Upper Egypt, known as Khmno, and of its capital city Ashmounin. They also found burials of the priests’ family members.

One of the tombs belonged to a priest identified in the hieroglyphics on his canopic jars as Djehuty-Irdy-Es, a Haras Sa Aissa, meaning one of the Great Five, a title reserved the senior priests of Thoth. The four alabaster canopic jars, all in excellent condition, still contain the remains of the deceased’s mummified organs. Their lids represent the heads of the sons of Horus. The priest’s mummy was found wearing a gilded bronze collar depicting the winged sky goddess Nut.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and leader of the excavation describes the mummy thus:

The mummy is decorated having a collection of blue and red beads as well as bronze gilded sheets, two eyes carved in bronze and ornamented with ivory and crystal beads.

“It is seen stretching her wings to protect the deceased, according to an ancient Egyptian belief,” Waziri said, adding that four amulets of semi-precious stones were also found decorated with engraved hieroglyphic texts, one phrase says, “Happy New Year.”

That amulet, a scarab, was discovered on New Year’s Eve in what is either a fortuitous coincidence or a sign that the ancient gods aren’t quite dead yet. The mummy is in a relatively good state of preservation but has suffered some moisture damage.

A large group of people, likely the priest’s family, was buried close by. The sarcophagi of 40 family members were found in the tombs. These are very high quality, expensive limestone coffins, many of them anthropoid and engraved with hieroglyphics that include the owners’ names.

All told, so far the team has explored 13 burials. In these other tombs archaeologists have found more sarcophagi, statuettes, pottery and other funerary artifacts, including more than a thousand intact faience ushapti figurines plus hundreds more broken into pieces and the excavation is far from over. According to Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani, the density of finds is so significant that it will take at least five years to fully excavate the necropolis.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Target: Another Flying Creature

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2018-02-24 00:41

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Underdog….

No, its not Underdog, it’s the second installment of Flying Creatures!

Thinking back to the Wizard of Oz, I came up with” parachute pooch.”

First you need to make a basket. To do that, cut construction paper in to strips.

Take a paper plate and tape the strips to the bottom of the plate, then turn the plate over. Weave the paper like you would a basket.

Then, take a small plush dog and a cloth napkin, Tie the napkin to the dog with heavy cord to make a parachute and place him in the basket.

Now, this is why the basket is made of paper…..You hang the basket from the front of the witch’s broom from last month’s column. If the basket is hit by an arrow, the paper will tear and the pooch will parachute to the ground.

There are two ways to play: 1) You shoot to hit the basket so “Toto” can jump for freedom, or 2) shoot to miss the basket and hit the witch because you don’t want “Toto” to fall.

Either way, you will need a lot of baskets.

If you want to try this shot, it will be at the Castle Archery Muster on April 22 in the Debatable Lands.

This month’s safety tip: Time to check your bow string.

In this picture you can see this string has not been waxed in years. Even if it was waxed, there are two broken strands and the serving is worn out on one end. Warning DO NOT REPAIR, Get a new one.

In service,

THL Deryk Archer

Categories: SCA news sites

Oldest known cave art painted by Neanderthals

History Blog - Fri, 2018-02-23 21:49

An international team of researchers have dated painted art found on the walls and inside four caves in Spain and discovered that the oldest known art in the world long predates behaviorally modern humans. Previously believed to be solely the province of Homo sapiens, the painted walls and marine shells are indisputably the work of Neanderthals.

La Pasiega, section C. Cave wall with paintings. The scalariform (ladder shape) composed of red horizontal and vertical lines (centre left) dates to older than 64,000 years and was made by Neanderthals. (Credit: P. Saura)

The paint is made of mineral pigment, not charcoal, so it’s not possible to use radiocarbon dating to figure out how old they are. Instead, researchers turned to the calcium carbonate crusts that formed on top of the paintings when water dropped down the wall. The art has to be older than the calcite, ergo, dating the calcite gives a minimum age of the paintings.

Calcite crust on top of the red scalariform sign. The U-Th method dates the formation of the crust which gives a minimum age for the underlying painting.
(Credit: J. Zilhão)

The technology used, Uranium-Thorium dating, requires a very small sample and returns more precise dates going back further in time than radiocarbon dating based on the radioactive decay of Uranium into Thorium. Researchers tested more than 60 carbonate samples from cave paintings in three Spanish sites, La Pasiega, in Cantabria, north-eastern Spain, Maltravieso in Cáceres, western Spain, and Ardales in Andalusia, southern Spain.

Dirk Hoffmann and Alistair Pike sampling calcite from a calcite crust on top of the red scalariform sign in La Pasiega. (Credit: J. Zilhão)

The results found that the paintings are at least 64,000 years old. In La Pasiega, the ladder with animal shapes in the interior rectangles and dots on the inside is a minimum of 64,800 years old. The red-painted speleothems in the Ardales cave are more than 65,500 years old. A hand stencil in Maltravieso is more than 66,700 years old. All of them long predate Homo sapiens‘ arrival in Spain who only moved to the area 40,000 years ago. The results of the testing have been published in the journal Science and can be read here.

Left: Panel 3 in Maltravieso Cave showing 3 hand stencils (centre right, centre top and top left). One has been dated to at least 66,000 years ago and must have been made by a Neanderthal. (Credit: H. Collado) Right: Color enhanced version of Panel 3. (Credit: H. Collado)

Samples from all three caves from the north, center and south of the peninsula date to the time when Neanderthals were the only human species in the area, which means these paintings aren’t random or some one-off fluke, but rather a conscious, well-developed cultural approach with specific symbolic meaning and thoughtful application. The locations, all of them in the depths of caves where they did not live, light sources and pigments were chosen with careful deliberation to make their artistic and spiritual visions come to life.

Left: Cave wall in Maltravieso with Neanderthal hand stencil, almost completely covered with calcite. It is older than 66,000 years. (Credit: H. Collado) Center: Color enhanced version of stencil. (Credit: H. Collado) Right: Detail of stencil, color enhanced. (Credit: H. Collado)

Even older examples of the Neanderthal ability to convert abstractions into art have been found in southeast Spain in the Cueva de los Aviones. Marine shells discovered there are pigmented with red and yellow and perforated. Again using Uranium-Thorium dating, the team has dated the flowstone covering the shells to an astonishing 115,000 to 120,000 years old. Homo sapiens produced similar pieces but the earliest of them date to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Left: A shell with remnants of pigments found in sediments in Cueva de los Aviones. It dates to between 115,000 and 120,000 years. (Credit: J. Zilhão) Right: Perforated shells found in sediments in Cueva de los Aviones and date to between 115,000 and 120,000 years. (Credit: J. Zilhão)

The results of the shell dating study have been published separately in Science Advances and can be read here.

“Neanderthals created meaningful symbols in meaningful places”, says Paul Pettitt from University of Durham, also a team member and cave art specialist. In the Cueva Ardales, where excavations are currently being conducted by a German-Spanish team, the presence of Neanderthals has also been proven from analysing occupation layers. “This is certainly just the beginning of a new chapter in the study of ice age rock art”, says Gerd-Christian Weniger of the Foundation Neanderthal Museum Mettmann, one of the leaders of the Ardales excavations. […]

“According to our new data Neanderthals and modern humans shared symbolic thinking and must have been cognitively indistinguishable”, concludes João Zilhão, team member from the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona and involved in both studies. “On our search for the origins of language and advanced human cognition we must therefore look much farther back in time, more than half a million years ago, to the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.”

When the fossilized remains of Neanderthals were first discovered in the 19th century, one of the proposed names for the hominid species was Homo stupidus. They were held to be apelike and unintelligent, incapable of abstract or symbolic thought. The confirmation that they were not only capable of symbolism but also pretty freaking phenomenal artists puts to rest those old prejudices once and for all. Neanderthals were just as cognitively capable as modern humans.

Cueva de los Aviones, seen from the breakwater of Cartagena harbour. (Credit: J. Zilhão)

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Inscription found on medieval spindle whorl in Poland

History Blog - Fri, 2018-02-23 00:07

The small, purplish spindle whorl was unearthed by archaeologists in Czermno, Poland, in 1952. What the people who found it didn’t realize is that the biconical slate piece was inscribed, making it a unique find in the Polish archaeological record. It was Iwona Florkiewicz from the Institute of Archeology of the University of Rzeszów who discovered how precious this little piece really during an inventory project of materials discovered at Czermno over the course of decades.

Palaeographic research (on the form of writing) carried out by Dr. Adrian Jusupović, historian from the Institute of History PAS in Warsaw, shows that the inscription was made in the second half of the 12th century or in the 13th century.

The spindle whorl bears an inscription composed of 6 letters in Cyrillic, which can be transcribed as Hoten\’. It is a masculine name that means a lover, volunteer or master. It is also possible that the inscription was a toponym. In that case it should be associated with the name of a town or village. But researchers find this second possibility is less likely.

It is the only spindle whorl with a text inscription from this period ever discovered in Poland. It’s likely not of Polish origin, in fact. The slate itself is a non-native material. It is Volhynian slate, recognizable from its characteristic shades of pink to purple, found in the Ukraine. From the 11th century through the mid-13th, craftsmen in the nearby town of Owrucz produced inexpensive spindle whorls from the slate that were sold throughout the Kievan Rus and in what is now Poland. This trade came to an abrupt end in the 1240s when the invading Mongols destroyed the spindle whorl workshops.

While it’s possible the spindle was an import that was then inscribed in Poland, the lettering and indeed the inscription itself suggest it came to Poland with the inscription already done. Not only is it written in Cyrillic, but a number of inscribed spindle whorls have been found in the former territory of the Kievan Rus (Ukraine, Russia and Belarus), whereas this the first found in Poland.

As Czermno was a border town, it was yanked and forth between Poland and the Kievan Rus for centuries. The Kievans took it in the 10th century. Bolesław the Brave of Poland’s Piast dynasty took it back in 1018. After his death in 1025, Czermno’s fortunes shifted again and Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Rus, reconquered the town and region in 1031. There it stayed until the 14th century when Casimir III the Great reclaimed it for Poland. So at the time this spindle whorl was made, Czermno was firmly in the ambit of the Kievan Rus.

“We are not sure whether the spindle whorl was used for its original purpose – spinning – or had a secondary function as an amulet. The latter possibility should not be ruled out” – Florkiewicz believes. She adds that according to the researchers, similar inscriptions could be signs of ownership. There are known spindle whorls that bear the names of women and men. “It is also possible that in this case it is the name of the object’s maker” – she concludes.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The Barony Endless Hills Kicks off its Year of Tournaments!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2018-02-22 18:00

2018 is the 20th anniversary of Endless Hills becoming a Barony. In celebration, Their Excellencies, Verde and Fiona, have declared that there will be a Year of Tournaments, culminating in a Grand Tournament on January 1st, 2019. January 23rd saw the first qualifying tournaments.

Don Po ran the first Fencing Tournament. We had a great turn-out with 10 fencers coming in from groups across Æthelmearc and the East Kingdom to fence in the tournament. The format was a “Throw Me Under the Bus,” Bear Pit. The fencers fought their first two bouts like a traditional bear pit, but if they made it to their third fight, the fencer got to pick their opponent from anyone in line. The competition was furious, but in the end there must be a victor and that victor was Lord Lucha Delion of ACG. Initially tied for second place were Lady Jenevieve Spillane of Hartshorn, Dale, and Curt the Confused of Endless Hills, with Lady Jenevieve edging out second place. Lord Lucha also walked away with the Bragging Stick of Endless Hills. If you want it, track him down and challenge him for it.

On the Heavy side there were six heavy fighters who competed. It was a standard best of three Round Robin tournament. Completion was as close as it could be, with three fighters tying for the win: THL Lotharius, Lord Ulfkell Dongelsson, and Baron Cormacc mac Gilla Brigde. The three went into a sudden death round. First up were THL Lothar and Baron Cormacc, with Lothar coming out on top. Next up, Baron Cormacc fought Lord Ulfkell, with Cormacc taking the victory. The third match was THL Lothar against Lord Ulfkell, with Ulfkell coming out on top. Once again, a tie. This forced yet another round. After 2 very dramatic tie-breaker rounds, Baron Cormacc squeaked out a victory, with THL Lothar finishing second and Lord Ulfkell third.

Lord Lucha and Baron Cormacc are the first to earn one of the 16 spots for the Grand Tournaments.

There will be plenty more opportunities to earn a spot. There will be a Fencing Tourney the first Tuesday of every month and a heavy tournament the third Tuesday of every month in 2018. These tournaments are open to all combatants who are authorized in the fighting style that they are competing in. Both will be at 8pm with doors opening at 7pm, at the Jackson Township Fire Hall, 1160 Chase Road, Shavertown, PA 18708. Come help the Endless Hills celebrate the Year of Tournaments!


Categories: SCA news sites

A Call to Fiber Artists for the Royal Wardrobe

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2018-02-21 20:28

Æthelmearc Seamstresses, Weavers, Embroiderers!

Their Highnesses are looking for help from the Populace on their Royal Wardrobe. Are you interested in being involved in making our next Royals look fabulous? Do you have ideas, skills, thoughts to share? Their Highnesses are hoping for outfits inspired by what the travelers of the Nordic countries would have encountered during their trips (raids?) around the years 950 -1050, from Sweden, to Dublin, to Paris, to Iceland and over to Constantinople.

Interested? In the spirit of the Wardrobe Project hosted by Mistress Elisabeth we are hoping to provide more exposure to our wonderful Æthelmearc artisans. Participants would work in groups towards a specific outfit with a predetermined deadline. Historical plausibility is requested. Materials will be provided for or reimbursed. We will again make use of the Wardrobe Project Facebook group to update progress and for the inspiration and enjoyment of all!

We like everyone to share with us ideas for wardrobe items that fit the time period, but don’t worry, we have a few starting ideas as well. Also let us know if you don’t have a specific idea, but would like to participate. Together we will find a way to contribute your skill.

We are looking forward to working with many of you towards another wonderful Royal Wardrobe.

Mistress and Master of the Royal Wardrobe,
Elska á Fjárfelli and Hrólfr á Fjárfelli

Contact information:

Categories: SCA news sites

Only known Roman boxing gloves found at Vindolanda

History Blog - Wed, 2018-02-21 13:57

The Roman fort of Vindolanda just south of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland continues to reap the blessings of its anaerobic, waterlogged soil. Last summer’s dig season was replete with important finds including a cache of 25 writing tablets, but the greatest find was a pre-Hadrianic cavalry barracks from around 105 A.D. in which were found all kinds of utility items from daily life — ink writing tablets, styluses, combs, pottery, wooden spoons, bowls, leather shoes, small wooden swords that were likely children’s toys — as well as an extraordinary group of cavalry weapons, armor and harness fittings. Two swords, one complete with wooden pommel, its edge still sharp inside an intact wooden scabbard, were particularly exciting finds.

Among the treasures discovered in the remains of the cavalry barracks were two leather pieces unlike anything else found at the fort. Thousands of leather shoes have been unearthed at Vindolanda. These definitely weren’t shoes. They are elliptical bands which archaeologists and Roman experts have identified as boxing gloves. Dating to around 120 A.D., they are the only known surviving boxing gloves from the Roman era.

Unlike the modern boxing glove these ancient examples have the appearance of a protective guard, designed to fit snugly over the knuckles protecting them from impact. The larger of the two gloves is cut from a single piece of leather and was folded into a pouch configuration, the extending leather at each side were slotted into one another forming a complete oval shape creating an inner hole into which a hand could still easily be inserted. The glove was packed with natural material acting as a shock absorber. This larger glove has extreme wear on the contact edge and it had also undergone repair with a tear covered by a circular patch. The slightly smaller glove was uncovered in near perfect condition with the same construction but filled with a tight coil of hard twisted leather.

The two gloves can still fit comfortably on a modern hand. They have been skilfully made, with the smaller glove retaining the impression of the wearer’s knuckles. It is likely that the gloves functioned as sparring or practice caestu each has a stiffened contact edge being a softer representation of the of the more lethal metal inserts used in ‘professional’ ancient boxing bouts. It is thought that the larger glove may have been unfit for purpose due to prolonged use and may have survived alongside the ‘newer’ model resulting from a personal attachment given to it by the owner.

Boxing was a popular sport in Classical antiquity. It was used to hone and improve combat skills in the Roman army, as well as for general fitness. In addition to regular sparring, boxing matches and tournaments between soldiers were arranged as spectator sports attended by civilians.

As of yesterday, the gloves are now on display in the Vindolanda museum. They’ve been fitted onto a pair of mannequin hands and mounted in front of a large image of The Boxer at Rest, a Hellenistic bronze statue posed with begloved hands on his knees in front of him. The mannequin hands are placed in front of the boxer’s so they look almost like extensions of his own. It’s a little… disconcerting, but ultimately I think it’s a good idea to convey how they were worn in antiquity.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report Harvest Raid Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, A.S. LII (2017)

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2018-02-21 09:28

The Report of the Court of Their Majesties Gareth, King and Juliana, Queen of Æthelmearc, held on the 30th day of September, Anno Societatas fifty-two, at Harvest Raids, in the Shire of Heronter. Business of the court recorded by Propraetor Marcus Claudius Cincinnatus with the assistance of THL Sophie Davenport, Silver Buccle Herald, and Baroness Helena Mutzhasen, Windmill Pursuivant.

In the morning at the list field:

Their Majesties called before them The Honorable Lord Thorsol Solinauga, and summoned the Members of the Order of Chivalry in attendance to join him. Their Majesties questioned His Lordship as to his preparedness to sit vigil, in contemplation of elevation to the Order of Chivalry. His Lordship replied in the affirmative.

THLord Thorsol is sent to vigil for Knighthood.

Before releasing the Order of Chivalry from Their presence, Their Majesties commanded that Baron Dominic MacMorland be brought before them. Their Majesties noted His Excellency’s prowess in the lists, and commanded that he too would sit vigil and contemplate elevation the Order of Chivalry. His Majesty invited Sir Michael of Northwood to conduct a final piece of business with his squire. Sir Michael reclaimed his squire’s belt from Baron Dominic, and they both noted the long years His Excellency had worn that belt. Thus freed of conflicting loyalties, the Order of Chivalry was commanded to take the candidates to their places of vigil. Scroll by Mistress Roberta McMorland.

Baron Dominic is sent to vigil for Knighthood.

Court Suspended

Court Resumed, In the evening:

Those gentles attending their first event were invited before Their Majesties. Five gentles came forward and were given gifts to commemorate the beginning of their journey in the Society.

Morgan Littlejohn was brought before Their Majesties and named a companion of the Silver Sycamore in recognition of her burgeoning culinary skills. Scroll by: Baroness Anastasie de Lamoure.

Morgan receives a Silver Sycamore.

Madeline of Ballachlagan was named a companion of the Silver Buccle for her willingness to help others in both her Shire and Household. Scroll by: THL Suilean

Madeline receives a Silver Buccle.

Their Majesties called forth the youth present, and set them upon the task of finding the Kingdom Toy Chest being hidden at that moment, by Tristan.

The Honorable Lord Oliver Sutton was called forth and invested as the captain the Queen’s Guard.

THLord Oliver is made Captain of the Guard.

Maestro Antonio de Luna came forward and spoke of the day’s competition to determine the next Kingdom Thrown Weapons Champion. He noted that all of the gentles who participated in the competition threw well, but in the end Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnson had proven victorious. Lord Snorri was called forth and invested as champion.

Before allowing Lord Snorri to take his place amongst their other champions, His Majesty noted that the Crown had further business with him. Their Majesties then created Lord Snorri a companion of the Golden Alce in recognition of his skills and service in both the Archery and Thrown Weapons disciplines. Scroll by: Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Lord Snorri receives a Golden Alce.

Maestro Antonio begged a further moment in Their Majesties court to recognize gentles having achieved the Thrown Weapons rank of Huntsman. Baron Caleb Reynolds, Baron Edward Harbinger and THL Renata L’Rouge were so recognized. Sir Aquila d’Athos was also recognized as having achieved the Thrown Weapons Rank of Marksman.

Master Diego Muñoz de Castilla approached Their Majesties and presented them a blade to succeed the one carried by Her Majesty’s Rapier Champion. Master Diego reminded Their Majesties that the Countess Æthelmearc had first bestowed the now retired rapier, and suggested that it be returned to her. Their Majesties, finding this right and proper, summoned Countess Caryl Olesdottir, First Rose of Æthelmearc and Master Diego presented the blade to her.

Master Diego returns the retired sword to Countess Caryl.

Baroness Sadira bint Wassouf came forward and renewed the fealty of the Barony of Thescorre to the Crown of Æthelmearc.

Baroness Sadira swears fealty.

Baron Magnus de Lyon and Baroness Muriel du Lac, came forward and renewed the fealty of the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael to the Crown of Æthelmearc.

Baron Magnus and Baroness Miriel swear fealty.

Propraetor Marcus Claudius Cincinnatus and Propraetrix Desiderata Drake came forward and renewed the fealty of the Barony of Delftwood to the Crown of Æthelmearc.

Propraetor Marcus and Propraetrix Desiderata swear fealty.

For her service in coordinating garb for several Crowns of Æthelmearc, and stalwart leadership in the Shire of King’s Crossing, Mistress Chrestienne de Waterdene was named a Companion of the Keystone. Scroll by: Isabella Montoya.

Mistress Chestienne receives a Keystone.

Lady Ginevra Isabetta del Dolce came before Their Majesties and was given permission to award prizes to the winners of the days Arts & Sciences competition, THLady Elska Fjarfelli, and THLord Hrolf Fjarfelli.

Their Majesties retained Lady Ginevra in their court and spoke of her sewing, her work as Arts & Sciences minister, and newfound interest in Calligraphy. She was therefore created a companion of the Sycamore. Scroll by: Dona Alessandra Bentivegna da Faenza, called Yasmina, calligraphed by Sophie Davenport.

Lady Ginevra receives a Sycamore.

In recognition of her many deeds helping with Pennsic setup, and service to the fencing community, Lady Alita of Hartstone was named a companion of the Keystone. Scroll by: Lady Gulsah Aydini.

Lady Alita receives a Keystone.

For his arts and his willingness to answer to His Majesty’s ‘science-y’ questions, Lord Marius Sittius was named a companion of the Sycamore. Scroll by: Sirina Milani.

Lord Marius Sittius receives a Sycamore.

Apollonia of Heronter was Awarded Arms and named a Lady of Their Majesty’s court in recognition of her infectious enthusiasm and being helpful at all turns. Scroll by: Duchess Dorinda Courtenay and Lady Ginevra Isabetta del Dolce.

Apollonia receives an AoA.

Lady Isabelle of Dunbar was named a companion of Keystone for her service to the Crown of Æthelmearc, and its heirs on behalf of her Shire over the course of years. Scroll by: THL Elyse le Bref.

Lady Isabelle receives a Keystone.

Lord Akayama Yatoru Kage’o, in recognition of the deadly accuracy with the throwing of pointed and bladed weapon. So fierce is his throw, Their Majesties noted, that even the handles of his aerial arsenal pierce the intended target, and so named him a companion of the Golden Alce. Scroll by: Baroness Rosemunde von Glinde.

Lord  Akayama Tatoru Kage’o receives a Golden Alce. 

Lord Mikus was inducted in to the order of the Keystone for his long hours of quiet service with broom and camera. Scroll by: Mistress Cori Ghora.

Lord Mikus receives a Keystone.

Their Majesties then summoned Lord Angus the Bull. They spoke of Lord Angus’ prowess on the Heavy Weapons field and noted that they had not been the only ones to observe his skill. So speaking, Their Majesties summoned forth Their Order of the Gage, and commanded that Lord Angus be Granted Arms and made a Companion that august company. Scroll by: THL Mairghead.

Lord Angus is inducted into the Gage.

Mistress Gillian Llewellyn of Ravenspur was commanded to present herself to Their Majesties. After remarking on Mistress Gillian’s skills with both needle and pen, Their Majesties presented her with a Writ of Summons. Further, she was commanded to appear before Them at a later date and answer whether she would accept elevation to the most noble Order of the Laurel. Writ by: THL Mary Elizabeth Clayson.

Mistress Gillian receives a Writ for the Laurel.

Their Majesties then called for The Honorable Lord Thorsol Solinauga. His Majesty inquired if Thorsol had sat vigil and if it was still his desire to join the Order of the Chivalry. His Lordship answered in the affirmative, and Their Majesties summoned forth the present members of the Order of Chivalry.

Duchess Etain ingen Dalaig stepped forward and offered words of support for Thorsol as a royal peer. She told all present of Thorsol’s ability to always see good in others, and his inner strength that inspires others.

Meisterrin Felicitas Flußmüllnerin then spoke as a member of the Laurel and attested to Thorsol’s desire to grown and learn. She explained that every time Thorsol asked her for new knowledge, he would work to learn it and then share with any who asked, and in so doing, grow himself.

Master Benedict Fergus atte Meade then addressed the court, and declared that he had seen Thorsol learn wisdom, had seen him share his knowledge, and be an ever dedicated defender of Æthelmearc and its lands.

Countess Caryl Olesdottir, Mistress of the Pelican, spoke to Thorsol’s willingness to serve in any way he could, stating that the question, “How can I help you?” was indeed, the very personification of Thorsol.

Duke Magnus Tindal, stood and addressed Thorsol’s worthiness to join the Order of the Chivalry. His Grace shared that Thorsol listens when advice is offered to him, and that he is ever willing to share his joy. Further, his Grace noted that no matter how much is asked of Thorsol, he will continue forward.

Having heard the words of Their Counselors, Their Majesties called for the ancestral chain and presented it to His Lordship. Duke Magnus Tindal, presented Thorsol with a personal chain. Sir Murdoch Bayne presented Thorsol with the spurs of a knight. Sir Beatrix Krieger placed the white belt of Chivalry about Thorsol’s waist. Kilauren placed a coat about her father’s shoulders, to warm him during his quests. Seeing Thorsol properly attired and prepared, His Majesty drew the Sword of State of Æthelmearc and dubbed Thorsol a knight of Æthelmearc and the Society.

THLord Thorsol is knighted.

Sir Thorsol then rose, and received from His Majesty his last blow to be left unanswered. Finally, Their Majesties accepted the Oath of Fealty of Sir Thorsol Solinauga.

Scroll-Wordsmithing: Baron Fridrikr Tomasson; Calligraphy and Illumination: THL Abigail Kelhoge; Parchment created by: THLady Ayleth of Stormsport and THL Abigail Kelhoge.

Their Majesties then called forth Baron Dominic MacMorland, and asked him if he had sat vigil per Their Majesties wishes. His Excellency answered in the affirmative and indicated his desire to proceed.

Their Majesties then asked who would speak for Dominic. Duke Khalek Shurrag Od rose and spoke to the noble qualities of His Excellency. Count Robin Wallace, also as a royal peer, next rose and also affirmed Baron Dominic’s worthiness to be a peer of the society. Maestra Imigla Venture, Laurel, vouched for His Excellency’s artfulness and learning. Master Eric Grenier de Labarre, as a member of the Order of Defense, next gave words on behalf of Dominic’s abilities and willingness to defend Society, Kingdom, and those in need. Mistress Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina approached Their Majesties and vouched for the many acts of service of His Excellency. Countess Isabeau de l’Isle, Order of the Rose, next addressed the Court and verified Dominic’s quality and worthiness. Finally Viscount Edmond Dracatorr, Knight of the Society, came forward and declared His Excellency’s chivalric virtue and his readiness to stand as a peer of the realm.

Hearing these words, Their Majesties called for the Ancestral chain of Chivalry for the Kingdom of Æthelmearc. Sir Thorsol Solinauga brought forth the Chain and read the Chivalric lineage of Æthelmearc. Sir Michael of Northwood then presented Dominic with a personal chain of chivalry. Sir Michael and Viscount Edmond then strapped the spurs of a knight upon Dominic’s feet. Eleanor MacMorland placed a belt of white about Dominic’s waist.

His Majesty drew the sword of state and dubbed His Excellency Sir Dominic MacMorland. Sir Dominic then rendered his oath of fealty unto The Crown of Æthelmearc, and rose. Lastly, His Majesty delivered the last blow which Sir Dominic MacMorland, Knight, will leave unanswered.

Scroll by: Mistress by Mistress Roberta McMorland.

Sir Dominic swears fealty.

Their Majesties recognized the many scribes who had provided scrolls for the day’s awards.

Team Project Norse was recognized for their efforts and generosity in providing clothing for the Crown of Æthelmearc.

Maestro Antonio de Luna was named the Queen’s inspiration for the day.

Master Antonio is named Queen’s Inspiration.

As Their Majesties prepared to close Their court, they were informed that an item of business had been overlooked, and so they demanded that Her Excellency, Countess Margerite Eisenwald, present herself before them. Their Majesties spoke of Her Excellency’s long service to both shire and kingdom. They spoke of her many efforts, particularly regarding the children of the Sylvan Kingdom, and her service as Seneschale of Æthelmearc. Having considered the length and breadth of Her Excellency’s good works, Their Majesties summoned also the Order of the Pelican and instructed them to counsel Countess Margerite on elevation to that Most Noble Order.

Countess Margerite receives a Writ for the Pelican.

Court Closed


Later that evening, Their Majesties later celebrated that His Grace, Duke Maynard von dem Steine, stood as victor of the Æthelmearc 500.

All photos by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Categories: SCA news sites

Hieroglyphic inscription identifies statue of Kushite king

History Blog - Wed, 2018-02-21 00:27

The head from a statue of a Kushite ruler discovered in 2008 at the site of the Temple of Amun in, Dangeil, Sudan, has been identified as that of Aspelta, the king of Kush who reigned from 593 B.C. to 568 B.C. Archaeologists thought the head might be that of Aspelta based solely on a comparison between its features and those of other statues known to depict the Kushite king, but his identity could only be confirmed when fragments of the statue containing a hieroglyphic inscription were discovered during the 2016 and 2017 dig seasons. The inscription, now puzzled back together, describes Aspelta as “King of Upper and Lower Egypt,” “Beloved of Re’-Harakhty” (a Kushite version of the Egyptian sun god “Re”) and as having been “given all life, stability and dominion forever.”

He was not, incidentally, king of Upper and Lower Egypt or any other part of it, for that matter. Some of his distant predecessors were, but by the time Aspelta took the throne, the Kushite monarchs no longer ruled Egypt. The last Kushite king of Egypt was Tanwetamani who ruled ca. 664–653 B.C. and lost control of the ancient land to the north more than 50 years before Aspelta’s reign. The title is vestigial, a carryover of former glory rather than any stubborn claim to the throne of Egypt.

The Temple of Amun where the statue pieces were found is about 2,000 years old. The statue of Aspelta is believed to have been carved during his lifetime circa 2,600 years ago. It was displayed in the temple long after his death for religious reasons.

“Statues might be displayed in temples, particularly the forecourts of temples, after the reigns of the kings, as they may have served as intermediaries between the people and the gods in popular religion,” [excavation co-director Julie] Anderson told Live Science.

The temple remained in active use until the early 4th century. Kush collapsed shortly thereafter and that was the end of the temple’s ancient prominence. It retained enough significance, however, that in the Middle Ages the ruined temple was repurposed for use as a burial ground for wealthy people, even though the area was firmly Christian by then. The last two field seasons have discovered eight graves dating to between the late 11th and early 13th centuries containing skeletal remains of adult women and one juvenile. The tombs were rich with grave goods, among them elaborate bead necklaces, bead belts, rings, bracelets and anklets. More than 18,500 beads and 70 copper bracelets in total were found in the eight graves.

There are no indicators of who these people might have been. The jewelry suggests they were rich, members of the elite, but there are no names or any other information that might explain who they were or why they buried in the remains of an ancient temple dedicated to a sun god.

Meanwhile, the statue of Aspelta is still being pieced together. The Berber-Abidiya Project team, a collaborative effort of archaeologists from the British Museum and the Sudanese National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) are hoping to discover more fragments to aid in the reconstruction. Once more of the work is done, they’ll be able to tell how large a statue it was. Right now it looks to be about half life-size.

Named after the region, the Berber-Abidiya Project aims to conserve the temple and its artifacts in situ so it can be converted into a museum and archaeological park. This will bring much-needed tourist attention to an area where cultural patrimony is in danger from development, road construction, agriculture and irrigation installations.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

This is a Marathon Not a Sprint: A Love Letter to the SCA Newbie

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2018-02-20 16:35

As you attend your first events and marvel at all the wonders this society provides you- keep a few thoughts close to your heart.

Firstly, you don’t have to rush, there’s time to relax and I encourage you to relax often. There’s no need to choose a name today, and it doesn’t matter what you wear so long as you are happy. Most importantly you don’t need to define who you want to be, use this time to explore who you can be. Take years if you want and try everything, let no person tell you who you are!

This society is a wondrous entity with something for everyone. Don’t worry if your “thing” isn’t obvious in the beginning − that’s ok.

Secondly, try something new and scary! There is more to the SCA than can be imagined at first glance. At your fingertips there are fighting, the arts, and the sciences. While you’re learning, takes notes, you’ll never know when someone will want that knowledge. Don’t be afraid to speak up, no matter how new you are, YOUR voice matters. Like everywhere in life, there will be people you love and some you can’t stand. Wherever individuals fall on that scale and no matter what title they hold, treat all your fellow SCAdians with respect and expect nothing less than the same.

Thirdly, be cautious with your words and actions. As life has taught us, words hold weight and actions cannot be undone. We all make mistakes; to be human is to err, but remember: when mistakes inevitably happen, be honest, own up, and never be afraid to reach out. Your fellow SCAdians have all been new to the society at one time in their lives, from Kings and Queens to merchants and teachers and all of us in between. We know it can get overwhelming and we are all here for you, rooting for you.  All of us from every part of the Known World want you here, we want you to enjoy yourself and to grow within the society for that purpose. Your local Chatelaine is an ocean of knowledge, a fantastic guide through your first days, and any questions you have that they can’t answer, they definitely know a member who can.

Lastly, speaking for all of us, if ever you need, we are here.

Yours in Service.

Lady Syele Pfeifferin

Categories: SCA news sites

Lock of George Washington’s hair found in college library

History Blog - Mon, 2018-02-19 23:53

A lock of George Washington’s hair has been discovered in an 18th century almanac in the library of Union College in Schenectady, New York. Archivist Daniel Michelson found a red leather-bound volume of the Gaines Universal Register or American and British Kalendar for the year 1793 nestled in the stacks on the third floor of the library and gave it to librarian John Myers to catalogue. The almanac is inscribed “Philip Schuyler’s a present from his friend Mr. Philip Ten Eycke New York April 20, 1793.”

Schuyler was a member of a very prominent New York family that figured largely in the Revolutionary era and beyond, so the fact that the book belonged to him made it an important object. Myers carefully turned each pages of the book and found annotations from Philip Jeremiah Schuyler including instructions on how to “preserve beef for summer’s use.” Then, inside an envelope stuffed into the accordion folder affixed to the book’s cover, Myers discovered strands of grey hair bound in a single white thread. The envelope was labelled “Washington’s hair, L.S.S. & (scratched out) GBS from James A. Hamilton given him by his mother, Aug. 10, 1871.”

Philip Jeremiah Schuyler was the son of General Philip John Schuyler who fought in the Revolutionary War and was elected to the Continental Congress, the New York State Senate and the Senate of the United States. He is considered one of the founders of Union College. General Schuyler was a personal friend of George Washington’s and served under him in the Revolutionary War. His daughter, Philip Jeremiah’s sister, Eliza was married to Alexander Hamilton. The James A. Hamilton who wrote the note on the envelope identifying the hair as George Washington’s was their third son.

Alexander and Eliza were close friends of George and Martha Washington. It’s likely that Martha gave them the lock of hair after George’s death in 1799 as a memento, a common practice at the time, all the more so for prominent citizens mourned by many friends and indeed the whole country.

“In an era when people frequently exchanged hair as a keepsake, it’s quite probable that Martha had given Eliza some of George’s hair, which in turn was given to their son, James, who later distributed it, strand by strand, as a precious memento to close friends and family members,” said Susan Holloway Scott, an independent scholar and author of the recent historical novel “I Eliza Hamilton.”

Officials with the Schuyler Mansion, a state historic site in Albany, believe that James Hamilton gave the lock of Washington’s hair to his granddaughters, Louisa Lee Schuyler and Georgina Schuyler, whose initials are on the envelope discovered at Union. The mansion displays another few strands of Washington’s hair in a locket kept under glass.

A lack of documentation on clear custody of the material found in Union’s archives or DNA testing makes it difficult to verify that the strands of hair are Washington’s. The handwriting believed to be James Hamilton’s on the envelope is similar to Hamilton’s handwriting that accompanies strands of Washington’s hair held by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

DNA testing is not possible as the hairs have been exposed to too many hands and potential contaminants to allow for accurate results. They’re also cut, not pulled from the root as Martha was not a monster. Union College has no record of the book entering its collection, so there’s no clear line of ownership history that could help solidify the claim. However, the Schuylers had such a strong connection to the college and the hair itself is very similar to other strands that are confirmed to have been George Washington’s.

India Spartz, head of Union College library’s Special Collections and Archives, is currently conserving the hair bundle, the almanac and an 1804 letter to 1804 Philip Jeremiah Schuyler that was also found inside the accordion folder. The group will be exhibited at an undetermined point in the future.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

A Missive about Pennsic from the Society Chatelaine

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2018-02-19 22:05


Pennsic is rapidly approaching and we are starting to work on some plans to make it an even better experience for any newcomers in attendance. We are reaching out to all of the Chatelaines who will be attending Pennsic, for we need your help to again implement our ideas.

We are going to once again have a dedicated Newcomers track of classes. It will be open and available to newcomers during Pennsic, at a location that is easy to find at the center of activity. Newcomers can take classes geared towards newer members and learning about the SCA and/or ask questions. Right now we are looking to first fill the time slots of 10 am – 5 pm from the Thursday of Peace Week through Wednesday of War Week (8/2/17 – 8/8/17) for Newcomer oriented classes. If we can fill those time slots, we can open up additional days and hours. I have already scheduled a couple of classes, and we are in the process of scheduling a Newcomer’s Social/Ask a Chatelaine Q & A Session, but that leaves many time slots that we need to fill with classes. And that is where you all come in. We need your help to assist with teaching classes.

You don’t need to be a Chatelaine to teach a newcomers class. These classes will need to be registered through Pennsic University like any other class being taught at Pennsic, but on the special request/accommodation part of the form, you will need to fill in “Please schedule this as part of the “Newcomer Track” in the tent set aside for newcomers (tent 19).” We are specifically looking for classes geared toward individuals who are new to the SCA. This is less about offering classes on beginner A&S topics, because individuals can seek those types of classes out on their own if they are interested, and more about helping newcomers to get acclimated and interested in the SCA. For example, a couple of years ago there was a class specifically about Pennsic and what was offered there for newcomers (and it included a guided tour). Another great class could be a guide to how court works. These are just some suggestions, but we really do need your experience and excitement about the SCA to make this a success. We are also looking for classes specific to Chatelaines and training or discussion groups. They could also be booked in the same tent. So if you have any interest in teaching some classes designed to help Chatelaines, that would be fantastic!

We are also going to have a dedicated Newcomers’ Point. Our goal is to have a place that is open and available to newcomers, where they can feel comfortable and learn more about the event and the SCA in general. Newcomers’ Point will be a set place where Newcomers can come to ask questions or get information about the SCA and/or Pennsic. We will also be able to help Newcomers get involved with their local group after Pennsic. It will be located under the same tent as the Pennsic Watch, and we will need your help staffing the tent. Please consider having your Kingdom sponsor a day of volunteering at Newcomers Point. We will be posting more about volunteer opportunities as it gets closer.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at chatelaine@sca.org. Let’s work together to make this Pennsic amazingly special for newcomers!

In Service,
Duchess Kalisa Aleksandrovna
Society Chatelaine

Categories: SCA news sites

A Request for Assistance in Tragedy

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2018-02-19 10:01

Great friends and fellow SCAdians have been struck by devastation. If anyone can help, it would be greatly appreciated.

The home of Malys MacGregor, Lady Sophia von Konstanz, Lady Ysabeau du St. Wandrielle, and Lord Derek Fairhair has been struck with tragedy. Anything helps. Thank you all.


~Reinert der Spinner
Mountain Confederation

Categories: SCA news sites

Purloined Klimt drawing found in secretary’s closet

History Blog - Sun, 2018-02-18 20:23

A mystery almost 70 years in the making was solved when a lost drawing by Gustav Klimt was returned to the Lentos Museum in Linz, Austria, after the death of a former secretary who turns out to have stolen it decades ago. The sensual drawing of two women, Zwei Liegende (“Two Reclining Figures”), was one of four loaned to the museum (then the Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz) by Linz-born artist Olga Jäger in 1951. The other three were pieces by Egon Schiele. In 1964 it was loaned to the Albertina Museum in Vienna and returned without incident. That is the last mention of the four loaned works on the historical record.

Olga Jäger died in 1965 and it seemed the disappearance of the drawing might fly under the radar forever, but in 1990 Olga’s niece-in-law, wife of nephew Kurt Jäger, sent the museum a letter asking that the loaned works be returned. Museum staff looked for the art in their own stores and in other city and regional collections, but came up empty. The niece’s sons pressed the case in 2006 and again a thorough search was fruitless.

In 2011, the Jäger descendants sued the City of Linz and were awarded damages in the amount of €100,000 ($124,000) for the loss of one of the Schiele works (“Paar”). Damages got even more damaging in 2017, when the Linz Regional Court ordered the city to pay the Jägers €8.21 million (about $10 million) for the other three. The Klimt drawing was the least costly of them, assessed at €100,000.

This January, the Klimt was returned to the museum out of the blue. It was delivered by a lawyer who explained his client, said former secretary, has died in December and left explicit instructions in her will to recover the work from her closet and give it back to the city.

But how did the Klimt drawing end up in a closet? According to [Julius Stieber, the director of culture and education for the City of Linz], the secretary’s will said that in 1964, she noticed some irregularities with the documentation of the Schiele pictures after a loan to the Albertina Museum in Vienna, and notified the Neue Galerie’s then-director, Walter Kasten.

Mr. Kasten told her to keep the irregularities quiet and gave her the Klimt drawing as “hush art,” Mr. Steiber said, further describing the will’s account of the events. “For years the Klimt hung in her apartment, but when the Jäger case became public, she hid it in her wardrobe,” Mr. Stieber said.

“It’s like a thriller,” Klaus Luger, the mayor of Linz, said in a news conference on Tuesday.

The secretary has not been named for legal reasons. The three Schiele pieces are still missing and there is no evidence she was involved in their loss. Was Kasten handing out art like candy to cover his tracks? The police investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, the discovery of the 1990 letter, which had also fallen through the museum’s cracks, has led to a reopening of the court case. It could be pivotal in determining whether the heirs waited too long to pursue their case. The statute of limitations may have run out.

The drawing is now on display in the 1918 – Klimt – Moser – Schiele exhibition at the Lentos Museum. It runs through May 21st, 2018. After it closes, the drawing will be returned to the Jäger family as long as they repay the €100,000 the museum paid them for it.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Ugly Sweater-wearing idiot steals thumb of terracotta warrior

History Blog - Sun, 2018-02-18 00:16

An individual who can only be described as a complete dumbass has been busted by the FBI for breaking the thumb off a Terracotta Warrior on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and hiding it in his desk drawer. It’s incalculably sad that this 24-year-old loser who still lives at home with Mommy and Daddy was at the museum on the evening of December 21st just to attend an Ugly Sweater Party. He was able to access the room where 10 priceless terracotta warriors, among them the Cavalryman standing next to a horse, were on display simply by walking through a door carelessly left unlocked by (Keystone) rent-a-cops and stepping over the black rope capable of cordoning off nothing and nobody.

He got a couple of his friends to join him, but they quickly left because they’re not complete dumbasses. He lingered a bit, looking at the statues with light from his cell, putting his arm around the Cavalryman and taking a selfie like an idiot. Then he deliberately with malice aforethought snapped off one of the statue’s thumbs and slipped it in his pocket before decamping.

We know all this now because the FBI’s crack Art Crime squad reviewed security tape footage and saw it all go down. The museum staff only noticed the damage to the Cavalryman on January 8th, more than two weeks after it was looted. That’s when the FBI stepped in. FBI Special Agent Jacob Archer compared the surveillance footage to credit card receipts for the night and identified the thief as Michael Rohana of Bear, Delaware.

When the agent showed up at the Rohana household, Michael folded like an origami crane.

In front of his father, Rohana admitted it that he had stashed the thumb in his desk drawer.

A U.S. attorney has decided to charge him with theft of a major artwork from a museum, concealment of major artwork stolen from a museum, and interstate transportation of stolen property.

He was arrested and released on a 15,000-USD bail, on the condition that he hand over his passport, consent to drug testing, and refrain from leaving the country before trail.

Meanwhile, the museum has reviewed its security systems and procedures in the wake of this debacle.

The actions of one jackhole and the failure to follow any number of responsible security protocols shouldn’t irredeemably taint the exhibition. This particular group of warriors and artifacts have only been shown in two museums in the US. The first was the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, from which they all survived unscathed. The Franklin is the second and therefore the only one on the East Coast. It’s the first time in 30 years that the City of Brotherly Love has had any Terracotta Warriors come stay for a while and given the colossal miscarriage of stewardship, it may be more than 30 years before they come back. Plus, they’ve created a nifty Augmented Reality app that allows visitors the chance to see the warriors in virtual close-up and to view them with digital versions of the original weapons and accessories that have long since been destroyed or lost. The Cavalryman would likely have held his horse’s reins in one hand and a spear in the other. The digital view includes those long-gone accoutrements.

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor runs through March 4th of this year.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Medieval carved Gonzo demon found in Lincolnshire

History Blog - Sat, 2018-02-17 00:09

Archaeologists excavating the route of the Lincoln Eastern Bypass highway in Washingborough, just outside of Lincoln city, Lincolnshire, have discovered a stone sculpture of the Muppet Gonzo that dates to the Middle Ages. Technically it’s a corbel, carved in the shape of a grotesque of the beakhead type, terminology that I’m sure is deeply offensive to members of the Gonzo species, whatever that might be.

The Romanesque style dates it to the middle of the 12th century when it was probably used to adorn a church or chapel. The bug eyes, long, downward-facing beak or nose, not to say the human face between its jaws, were intended to strike fear in the heart of the congregants, to avoidance of sin and failing that, repentance so as to avoid being devoured by beaked demons from Hell.

Beakhead corbels were particularly in vogue in the century or so after the conquest of Britain by the Norman French in 1066.

Before then, most village churches were simple wooden buildings, but William the Conqueror’s invasion force and their descendants set about rebuilding in stone, driving home the message that they were now the new landowners. Our example is particularly finely sculpted.

The exact source of the Gonzo-faced corbel is unclear. It’s possible that there was a carving workshop there instead and our cruelly and unfairly maligned Muppet friend was made on site but intended for another destination. The Network Archaeology team has found evidence there was an extensive medieval monastic grange nearby that was active from the Norman Conquest until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was sure to have had a chapel and the corbel could have come from the grange’s early years.

The contract archaeology firm has been digging along the bypass route since September 2016 and they have unearthed an unprecedented wealth of artifacts and human remains from every major time period — Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Post-Medieval. The team has recovered 40,000 objects and pieces of archaeological material, including flint weapons and tools going back as far as 12,000 years ago, Bronze Age barrows, pottery, intact and in fragments, the foundations of several stone buildings, lime kilns, pottery kilns and wells from the Roman period, and more than 150 skeletons dating to the Middle-Saxon period (700-900 A.D.) given a Christian burial.

The Lincolnshire County Council has a big photo album of the discoveries on their Facebook page.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Sea monsters and murder scandal in one dress

History Blog - Fri, 2018-02-16 00:18

The Yale Center for British Art recently acquired a portrait of a young lady by renowned Jacobean painter William Larkin. The panel painting is believed to be a depiction of Lady Jane Thornhaugh, wife of Sir Francis Thornhaugh, because its ownership history can be traced back through family inheritance to an 18th century Thornhaugh. The inscription provides a date for the portrait — 1617 — and the age of the subject as 17. Assuming on solid grounds that the sitter was a Thornhaugh, only Lady Jane could fit the date and age.

William Larkin’s portraits of early 17th century aristocracy and nobility capture more than just the individuals’ looks. They are invaluable records of the fashions, textiles, accessories, furnishings and styles of the most rarified denizens of James I’s court. Lady Thornhaugh’s gown in this portrait provides a glimpse into the playful motifs popular in Jacobean times, and is even a little scandalous, and I don’t mean the more than generous décolleté.

She is wearing a masque costume with a pale yellow lace collar and a silk gown embroidered with fantastical flora and fauna, including insects, birds and numerous sea monsters diving in and out of the embroidery. As if that weren’t cool enough (and it is), the yellow color of her lace collar and cuff is a nod to a huge scandal that rocked high society shortly before the portrait was painting.

It all started with a poem in praise of the ideal wife. The poet was Sir Thomas Overbury, one of King James I’s favored courtiers. He introduced his bestie Robert Carr to court and Carr quickly rose in the ranks of the king’s retinues, soon becoming his favorite and among the most powerful men in England. Overbury was seen as Carr’s puppetmaster, largely because he was. When Carr began an affair with Frances Howard, Countess of Essex, Overbury protested that it would harm his standing at court as she was notoriously unchaste. Carr ratted him out to Frances Howard, so when Overbury wrote and circulated A Wife, she was sure that was a direct hit on her as the embodiment of none of those wifely virtues.

The Countess schemed to take Overbury down, spreading malicious gossip about him and then convincing the King to offer him an ambassadorship to Russia which Overbury would turn down, offending James. Overbury got thrown in the Tower of London for that offense, and was dead within months.

Two months after Overbury’s death, Frances Howard had successfully secured an annulment from her husband and remarried to none other than Robert Carr. That’s when the rumors started that there was some kind of shenanigan afoot. Overbury had died too conveniently and too quickly. Could Frances Howard have had a hand in it?

It took two years for anyone to look into it, but when King James I reluctantly agreed to an investigation, famed jurist Edward Coke and philosopher and statesman Sir Francis Bacon were selected to lead it. The trial in 1616 revealed that Frances Howard had definitely had a hand way up in it. She had replaced the Lord Lieutenant of the Tower with one of her minions and got a new gaoler appointed to tend to Overbury. The gaoler, Richard Weston, poisoned Overbury with sulfuric acid. He was aided in this by Anne Turner, another minion of Frances Howard’s who was well-known for her skills as a yellow starcher who produced the pale yellow collar and cuffs so favored by the fashionable set at court and so sharply detailed in Larkin’s portrait.

Frances Howard and Robert Carr were convicted of the murder, but quickly pardoned by King James. Anne Turner was hanged from her neck until dead, a neck adorned, as poetic justic would have it, with a yellow starched ruff.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Spring Crown Letter of Intent Deadline

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2018-02-15 19:30

Greetings unto all those intending to enter Spring Crown Tournament.

Please be aware that both the combatant and the consort must submit a joint letter of intent, either through the following link (preferred): http://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/372252?lang=en or by email to TRH Prince Brennan mac Fearghus and Princess Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain with a copy to the Kingdom Seneschal.

The Letters of Intent must be received prior to 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2018, which is Coronation. If using email, the letters of intent must include all of the following information for both combatant and consort: Society name, legal name, address, telephone number, years of residency, a statement that both the combatant and consort affirm that they do not have knowledge of any legal basis why they would not be able to legally cross the United States/Canadian international border for the duration of their reign, and be accompanied by proof of membership with membership number & expiration date that is valid at least thirty days after Crown. If both entrants are combatants, then that should be clearly indicated.

A recent change to Kingdom Law requires that the consorts be present at Crown Tournament.

Should you wish for Their Highnesses to grant any allowable exception to the requirements, be sure to clearly state your request in your letter of intent.

TRH also request that combatants bring heraldic shields for the list trees.

Google for Non-Profit Migration

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2018-02-15 19:11

Google for Non-Profit Migration – Local Seneschals please review.

The Webministry has asked, they have been patient, they have reminded, yet, they still do not have the required information from the following groups:

Distant Shore


Frosted Hills



Northern Outpost

Rusted Woodlands





The following groups need to complete their information:





I have instructed the Kingdom Chronicler to only publish official email addresses in the Regnum of next month’s Pikestaff.  East Kingdom Law requires officers of the East Kingdom and their deputies to use their officially-provided online account for all business of their Office. If your group does not have official email addresses, your group will be in violation of East Kingdom Law and will be suspended.

Please make sure that all of the required information is sent to the Webministry immediately.

Thank you.

Katherine Barr

East Kingdom Seneschal

Unofficial Court Report: A Market Day At Birka

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2018-02-15 18:10

Their Majesties, Ivan Tsar and Matilde Tsaritsa, did pay a visit to their Barony of Stonemarche, whereupon they attended the annual Market Day at Birka on 27 January, AS LII (2018)

The Royals address the crowd at morning court.

Their Majesties did hold a brief court in the morning.  There, the following gentles were thus awarded:

Marguerite inghean Lachlainn, Order of the Golden Rapier, with a scroll illuminated by Camille des Jardins calligraphed by Cezilia Raposa and words by Jean du Montagne Cedric of the Floppy Hat, Order of the Golden Rapier and a Grant of Arms, with a scroll by Arianhwy barwnes
Johannes Jensen Mikkinen, Silver Tyger, with a scroll by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova containing words by Yehuda ben Moshe
Juliana de Essex, Silver Tyger, with a scroll illuminated by Carmelina da Vicari, and calligraphed by Harold von Auerbach

Order of the Golden Rapier scroll for Countess Marguerite inghean Lachlainn.

Theodricus of Malagentia, Silver Tyger and an Award of Arms, with a scroll by Fiona O’Maille ó Chuan Coille
Snorri Olafson, Silver Tyger
Ariana of the North, Maunche, with a scroll by Robin dit Dessaint containing words by Dalla Olafskona
Lambert d’Ogremont, Order of the Tygers Combatant and a Grant of Arms, with a scroll by Robin dit Dessaint containing words by Pellandre dit le Frère
Bric James Beech, Order of the Tygers Combatant and a Grant of Arms, with a scroll illuminated by Cassius (Pontianus) calligraphed and worded by Nadia Hart


Their Majesties further sent Antonii Machinevik to sit vigil in contemplation of his elevation to the Order of Chivalry.

After an amazing day of various combat tournaments, lots and lots of shopping, Arts and Sciences, and general carousing, Their Majesties once again opened court.

Her Majesty West, Helga, Her Highness Atlantia, Una, and His Highnesse Ealdormere, Baldric, joined Ivan and Matilde in their Court.

These gentles were called into court, and awarded the following awards:

Gaius Suletus, Tyger’s Cub, with a scroll illuminated by Leonete d’Angely & Aeryn Fitzpatrick and calligraphed by Leonete d’Angely
Evan Ivanovich, Tyger’s Cub, with a scroll by Embla Knútrdottir containing words by Caleb Patrasso
Rowyn, Tyger’s Cub, with a scroll by Annika Björnsdóttir
Dana, Tyger’s Cub, with a scroll by Aelisif Hoarr Kona
Leo MacCullan, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Matilda Fossoway
Robin Baillie, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Nyfain merch Cohel
Catherine of the Beladies of Carolingia, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Mari Clock van Hoorne
Joshua Mustard, aka Drunkybear, Silver Tyger and Award of Arms, with a scroll by Sláine báen Ronan containing words by Nicol mac Donnchaid and heraldry (Tyger) devised by Vettoria Antonello
Rodrigue Ignis, Award of Arms,with a scroll by Mýrún Leifsdóttir

Award of Arms for Rodrigue Ignis

Godewyn du Nord (aka : Godewyn of Bois Ardent), Silver Brooch, Scroll 1: Triona MacCasky, containing words by Arianhwy Wen Scroll 2: Alisay de Falaise
containing words by Kirsa Oyutai
Olev le Hellequin, Silver Brooch, with a scroll by Elena O’ Sirideain containing words by Marion of Ruantallan
Aurnia MhicWard, Silver Brooch, with a scroll by Kenric aet Essex
Lavina Attewode, Silver Brooch, with a scroll by Ysemay Sterlyng containing words by Sorcha inghean ui Niall
Barrett the Map Maker, Court Barony and a Grant of Arms
Ealusaid Mac Phaidin, Queen’s Order of Courtesy, with a scroll by Ysemay Sterlyng containing words by Matilde de Cadenet
Hemma Eilika Shweisenfür von Nuremberg, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Maud de Bracebridge containing words by Peter de Bracebridge
Veronika Caterina di porto di Ghiaccio, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Onora ingheann Ui Rauirc
Padraig Ó Riain, Maunche and a Grant of Arms, with a scroll by Tola knitýr
Svalinn of Mountain Freehold, Silver Tyger, with a scroll illuminated by Lisbetta Medaglia and calligraphed by Tola knitýr
Khayra bint Sa’id, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Soffya von Kulpe (Midrealm scribe)
Will le Phoénix, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Kira and Vettorio Antonello
Christina Jenevra de Calvalhal, Writ for Laurel, with a scroll by Eva Woderose containing words by Alys Mackyntoich
Grind Jul (Juliana Berners), Award of Arms, with a scroll by Melina al Andalusiyya containing words by Robin dit Dessaint
Floreyne Doukas, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Matilda Fossoway
Kira Asahi, Apollo’s Arrow, with a scroll by Mariette de Bretagne
Madok Arwe, Apollo’s Arrow and an Award of Arms, with a scroll by Keziah Planchet
Ysemay Sterlyng, Queen’s Order of Courtesy, with a scroll by Matilde de Cadenet
Anastasia of the Oaks, Court Barony,  with a scroll illuminated by Keziah Planchet and calligraphed by Harold von Auerbach
Beitris Mc Tavish, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Uaine as Ar n-eilean-ne
Bran Mc Tavish, Award of Arms,with a scroll by Sunnifa I Hvalseyju
Ronan O’Faelan, Award of Arms, with a scroll by Harold von Auerbach
Tegwen ferch Cydifor, Silver Wheel, with a scroll by Marieta Charay
Ottilia des Hauterives, Silver Wheel and an Award of Arms, with a scroll by Mergriet van Wijenhorst (Griet)

Tsar Ivan and Prince Brennan tie spurs on Antonii

Edgithe Hlammandi, Silver Wheel and an Award of Arms, with a scroll illuminated by Carmelina da Vicari and calligraphed by Harold von Auerbach
Antonii Machinevik, Chivalry, with a scroll by Vettorio Antonello containing words by Analeda Falconbridge
Bess Brechin, Silver Mantle
Regnulf of Crakehale, Silver Mantle



The following also happened during the Court of Their Majesties:

  • Her Majesty’s “Beast of the East” garb challenge winner – Liadan ingen Chineada was announced
  • Her Majesty Helga of the West ran the Children’s Toybox
  • Newcomers were presented with tokens

    Tsar Ivan greets newcomers and gives them tokens.

  • Chatricam Meghanta, King’s Bard,  told a story during a brief intermission of Court
  • During his elevation, Antonii Machinevik proposed to his lady, Ciar of Skye.  


Another Birka concluded, Tsar Ivan and Tsaritsa Matilde closed their court.  Long Live the Kingdom of the East!


Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald

Thank you to the following court heralds for the day: Mylistant Grey, Elizabeth Elenore Lovell, Audrye Beneyt, Connell an Doire, Lucien de Wyntere, Marian Kirkpatrick, Maria von Ossenheim, Simona bat Leon, Yehuda ben Moshe, Ilulia Baebiana, Kirsa Oyutai, Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle, Rose Erembourc

Photos by Brendan Crane