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The search for Süleyman's heart

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-09-10 17:39

In the summer of 1566, the great Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent was on a hard-fought attempt to capture Vienna, but his dream was not to be. The great leader died in his campaign tent, and his heart was buried there. Now the ongoing quest to discover the burial site of the heart continues with Norbert Pap, a professor of political geography at the nearby University of Pécs.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Drachenwald Summer 2014 Coronation photos online

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-09-10 14:15

Nicholas reports that he has created an album of photos from Summer 2014 Coronation which took recently in the Kingdom of Drachenwald. The photos are available to view on Flickr.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Period or Not…Names

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-09-10 09:53

This is a recurring series by Mistress Alys Mackyntoich on whether certain names currently can be documented to period based on existing evidence..  There are a lot of names that people think are medieval, but actually aren’t, and others which people think are modern, but in fact are found in the SCA’s period.  If you would like to suggest a name, send an email to the Gazette.

Today’s name is Frasier.

A few people have asked about Frasier (or Fraser or Frazier) as a male given name, usually assuming it to be a medieval Scottish name.  In fact, it does not appear to have been a period given name.  It was a surname found largely in Scotland but occasionally in England.

However, Frasier, Fraser or Frazer can still be registerable as a given name in English and Scots names in the SCA.  There is an established pattern of 16th century English surnames having been used as given names.   Since we do have evidence of Frasier, Fraser and Frazer as English surnames[1], that pattern allows these names to be registered as given names.

[1]  “A history of Northumberland” (A. Reid, sons & co., 1930) (http://books.google.com/books?id=iG0gAQAAMAAJ) at p. 129 lists a Robert Frasyer buried in Newcastle in 1577.  Margrett Fraser was buried in 1596 in Lincoln, England (“England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JCGM-HTR), Margrett Fraser, 1596; Batch: B03058-2); Henrie Frazer was christened in 1587 in Devon, England (“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N54M-THG), Henrie Frazer, 02 Feb 1587; citing ILFRACOMBE, DEVON, ENGLAND, Batch: C05121-1).

Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: names

Ship from doomed 1845 Franklin Expedition found

History Blog - Tue, 2014-09-09 23:42

One of two ships from British explorer Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845 expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage has been discovered off King William Island in northern Canada. The ship appears to be in excellent condition. It’s standing straight up, with the bow five meters (16’4″) off the sea and the stern four meters (13’1″). The sonar image indicates that the deck is largely intact. Even some of its structures are visible, including the stumps of the masts that were sliced off by ice when the ship went down. With the deck still in place in the frigid Arctic waters, archaeologists are optimistic that there will be well-preserved artifacts still inside the ship.

It’s the sixth time since 2008 that Parks Canada has led a search of the Arctic seabed for the Franklin ships. This year the search area was the Victoria Strait, between Victoria Island and King William Island in the Nunavut territory. It was the largest search yet, a partnership between private and public organizations including Parks Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Arctic Research Foundation, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy and the government of Nunavut. They also had new technology on their side. Parks Canada recently acquired a remotely operated underwater vehicle which played a key role in identifying and documenting the wreck.

A team of Government of Nunavut archaeologists surveying a small island southwest of King William as part of the expedition has also made significant discoveries: an iron davit (part of the boat-launching mechanism) from a Royal Navy ship and a wooden object that archaeologists believe could be a plug for a deck hawse (the pipe through which the chain cable was threaded). The davit bears the telltale “broad arrow” marks of the Royal Navy and the number 12. These artifacts were found on September 1st, six days before the sonar encountered the ship. The discovery reinforced that the marine search was in the right area.

It’s not clear at this point which of Franklin’s ships it is. Sir John and 128 crewmen set out on his fourth Arctic expedition with two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. He was 59 years old and it had been 20 years since his last trip to the Arctic. The ships were provisioned with enough tinned foods to last three years (unfortunately the cans were poorly soldered and lead leached into the food) and outfitted with steam engines and iron cladding to help the ships break through the year-round ice.

European witnesses — crew from the whaler Prince of Wales — last spotted the ships moored to an iceberg off Baffin Island on July 26th, 1845. Historians believe Franklin wintered on Beechey Island only to become trapped by the ice off King William Island in September of 1846. The crew left the icebound ships and tried to make their way south on foot, but disease, starvation and lead poisoning ultimately claimed all of their lives.

Finding out what happened to Franklin and his crew became a cause célèbre. Thirty-nine expeditions were launched over the next 50 years to find some trace of Franklin’s expedition. The first clues were found in 1850 on Beechey Island, including the graves of three crewmen. A later expedition found a letter on King William Island noting that Franklin had died there on June 11th, 1847. In 1854, Inuit hunters told Scottish explorer Dr. John Rae that they had witnessed Franklin crewmen dying while walking on the ice and that the few survivors had resorted to cannibalism. Osteological analysis of remains found on King William Island in 1997 confirmed that they had indeed been cannibalized. Franklin’s body was never found.

The search for the ships has taken on new urgency in the past few years as melting ice has increasingly opened the Northwest Passage to shipping. The statement on the find from Prime Minister Stephen Harper emphasizes the significance of the find as the historical foundation of “Canada’s Arctic sovereignty.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Ontario students learn about medieval life from SCA members

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-09-09 20:41

In June 2014, students from  Pope John Paul II Catholic School  in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada, (Kingdom of Ealdormere) got a lesson on medieval life and history when members from the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism came for a visit. (photo slideshow)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Was the Black Prince really so evil?

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-09-09 15:30

British school children all know about the evil Black Prince Edward of Woodstock, who put to death 3,000 innocents after the siege of the French town of Limoges in September 1370. But the discovery of a letter written by Edward may change his image forever.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Unofficial Court Report – Pennsic War

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:36

War came upon us all!  So it was that Their Imperial Majesties, Emperor Brennan Augustus and Empress Caoilfhionn Augusta, did travel to the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, and attended Pennsic War XLIII,  August 2 – August 9, 2014 (AS XLIX).

On Sunday, August 3:

Gavin MacKinnon was called before Their Majesties upon the field of battle.  He was inducted into the Order of the Tygers Combatant, and received a scroll by Culann mac Cianain.

Thomas of Effingham was called before Their Majesties upon the field of battle.  He was inducted into the Order of the Golden Rapier (he was the 100th), and received a scroll with calligraphy and words by Eleanor Catlyng, illumination by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova

On Monday, August 4:

On the field of battle, after been sent to sit vigil the day before, Ivan Valfrekr Hroereksson was elevated to the Order of Chivalry.  He received a scroll by Elsa de Lyon.

On the field of battle, after being sent to sit vigil the day before, Wilham de Broc was elevated to the Order of Chivalry.  He received a scroll with illumination by Ro Honig von Somerfeldt, c alligraphy by Eva Woderose,  words by Angus Pembridge

On the rapier field, after the battle, Robert Earlson was called before the Crown.  He was made a companion of the Order of the Silver Rapier.  He received a scroll with calligraphy by Cezilia Raposa, illumination by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova, words by Marguerite ingen Lachlainn

On the rapier field, after the battle, Sorcha Dhocair was called before the Crown.  She was made a companion of the Order of the Silver Rapier, and received a scroll by Sorcha Dhocair inghean Uí Ruairc, words by Ulrich Reinhart

In the evening Their Majesties travelled into The Bog.  There they found the encampment of Surtr’s Brood, and opened Court.  They called before them Gevulfr of Surtr’s Brood, and Awarded Arms to him.  Scroll with illumination by Melina al Andalusiyya, calligraphy by Robin dit Dessaint, words by Dankwert Bathory

On Tuesday, August 5:

On the field of battle, after been sent to sit vigil on Sunday, Matthew Moraveous Avdenmork was elevated to the Order of Chivalry.  He received a scroll by Edward MacGyver dos Scorpos

On Wednesday, August 6:

At Archery Champions, Their Majesties called before them Godric of Hampton.  He in turn presented to Emperor Brennan and Empress Caoilfhionn newly ranked Master Bowmen:  Hope of Quintavia and Gregor von Heisler.

Godric them presented the newest Grand Master Bowman: Alexander von Heisler

In the evening Their Majesties opened up their formal Pennsic Court.

The following gentles received an Award of Arms:

Violante of Settmour Swamp, receiving a metallic scroll by Cormac Mor

Wynflaed of Bergental, receiving a scroll by Eleanore MacCarthaigh

Luther of Clan O’Niall, receiving a scroll by Katherine Barr

Madelaine de Mortaigne, receiving a scroll by þóra Eiríksdóttir

Alexandra Jacobsdochter, receiving a scroll with illumination by Lorita de Siena, calligraphy by Nest Verch Tangwistel

Tina of Lorraine, scroll forthcoming.

Gwenlianna Vachan, scroll by Constance de St. Denis, Eva, etc. (Constance was lead scribe, there were several others involved.)

Karrah the Mischievous was called into court.  She was inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent, and presented a scroll by Saerlaith ingen Chennetig, words by Lucius Aurelius Varus

Otto Gottlieb was called into court.  He was inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent, and presented a scroll with illumination by Camille des Jardins, calligraphy by Christiana Crane, word by Cedric of Thanet

Their Majesties called before them Judith the Uncertain.  After having been previously sent out on vigil, she was inducted into the Order of the Laurel, and received a cittern by Arden of Icombe, words by Ana de Guzman

Lillia de Vaux was invited before the Court.  Having been previously sent out on vigil, she was inducted into the Order of the Pelican, and received a scroll by Isabel Chamberlaine, words by Alys Mackyntoich

The following children were inducted into the Order of the Tyger’s Cub:

Kyle Williams, receiving a scroll with illumination by Robert of Stonemarche, calligraphy by Harold von Auerbach

Aiden von Sommerfeldt, receiving a scroll by Eva Woderose, words by Michael Acrensus

Rose Erembourc, scroll forthcoming.

Following his writ at Northern Region War Camp, and his previous vigil, Aethelhafoc Cadgfindan (called Aethelhawk Keyfinder) was called before the court.  He was inducted into the Order of the Pelican, and received a scroll with illumination by Eleanore MacCarthaigh, calligraphy by Aleksei Dmitriev, words by Tiberius Iulius Primus

Fergus Redmead was called into court.  He was named a Baron of the Court, and presented a scroll by Lada Monguligin, words by Ryan McWhyte

Their Majesties called into their court Lottieri Malocchio.  They inducted him into the Order of the Golden Rapier, and he received a scroll by Palotzi Marti

Jeanne de Robin was called before the court.  In absentia, she was presented with a Queen’s Order of Courtesy.  Scroll by Vettorio Antonello.  She was also awarded a King’s Esteem of Merit.

Their Majesties welcomed into their court Rainillt Leia de Bello Marisco.  After having sat vigil in contemplation, she was elevated into the Order of the Laurel, and received a scroll by Carolyne de la Pointe, words by Jovonne d’Esprit

His Majesty called into the court Dziuginte Litovka.  He presented her with the King’s order of Excellence, and she received a scroll by Shadiyah Al-Zhara, words by Yehuda ben Moshe

Their Majesties called before them Johann Lederer.  He was awarded a Burdened Tyger, and received a scroll by Sarra Graeham of Birnham

Lucie Lovegood of Ramisgate was called into the court.  She was awarded a Burdened Tyger, and received a scroll by Aetheric Lindberende.

Her Majesty called before her the Captain of her guard, Einar Njorthurson (called Billy Fish).  She awarded him a Queen’s order of Courtesy, and he received a scroll by Mergriet van Wijenhorst, words by HRM Caoilfhionn Augusta

Their Majesties called before them Kenric æt Essex.  He was inducted into the Order of the Laurel, and received a scroll by Fiona O’Maille ó Chaun Coille, words by Toki Redbeard, Latin by Steffan ap Kennydd Gregor von Heisler was called before the court.  He was named a Tyger of the East, and received a scroll by Katherine Stanhope, words by Aneleda ofFalconbridge

After court Their Majesties went shopping at Midnight Madness.  Their they stopped at the booth of Arastorm the Golden, and presented her with a Writ for a Laurel, with a scroll by Harold von Auerbach

On Thursday, August 7:

Their Majesties did pay a visit to the “War Room”.  There, they called forth Tree of the Forest, and made him a Baron of the Court.

Next they called Aiban Carr, and made him a Baron of the Court.

Then they called Manuel de Mierkolas de la Rosa Botella de Mierkoles, and made him a Baron of the Court.

Their Majesties called forth Tomasso Valeriano and Creatura Christi of Oakes.  They were each presented with a Grant of Arms.

Before the conclusion of the Pennsic War, the following awards were presented:

Tyzes Sofia (Zsof) was inducted into the Order of the Troubadour

The following gentles were named a Tyger of Valor:

HRH Michael of the West

Sir Mohammed

Jibril al Dakhil

Cedric of Armorica

Lord Septemris

Antonio Giancarlo Nicastri

In service,

Malcolm Bowman

Eastern Crown Herald

PS – Thank you for Heraldic assistance to Avelina Keyes, Ryan McWhyte, Alys Mackyntoich, Mylisant Grey, Alesone Gray of Cranleigh, Sabine de Kerbriant, Donovan Shinnock, Brighid MacCumhal, Yehuda ben Moshe, Martyn de Halliwell, Anastasia da Monte, Cezilia Reposa










Filed under: Court, Pennsic

Unofficial Court Report – Great Northestern War

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:35

And so it was that Their Majesties, Emperor Brennan and Empress Caoilfhionn, did travel to the Province of Malagentia and attended the Great Northeastern War on 12 July, 2014 (AS XLIX).

The following gentles were Awarded Arms:

Védís Iðunardóttir, scroll by Magdalena von Kirschberg

Ada Wright, called “The Little Loom Girl”, scroll by Harold von Auerbach

Brenden Crane, scroll with illumination by Lisabetta Medaglia, words & calligraphy by Nest verch Tangwistel

Krystyan Foljambe, scroll by Constance de St. Denis

Sweyn Mac Auliffe, scroll by Robert of Stonemarche, words by Aneleda Falconbridge

Laura of Panther Vale, scroll by Brangwyne of Wentworth

Sam of the Goff, scroll by Eowyn Eilonwy of Alewife Brook

Duncan Ian Graham, scroll by Sorcha Dhocair inghean Uí Ruairc, words by Ulrich Reinhart

Solveig Bjorndottr, scroll by Altani Khatagidai

Kasia Farlunder, promissory scroll with illumination by Lady Katharine of Caithness, calligraphy by Kay Leigh Mac Whyte

Ellen of Shrewsbury, scroll with illumination by Agatha Wanderer, calligraphy by Gwillim Kynith, words by Aneleda Falconbridge assisted by Aldreda de Tamwurthe

Michael the Unsure, promissory scroll by Alexandre St Pierre

Audrye Beneyt, scroll by Aldis Thorbjarnardottir

Cecile Du Pearche, scroll by Alisay de Falaise

Elspeth of Endewearde, scroll by Elen Alswyth of Eriskay

Muirenn Ban, scroll by Cristiana Crane

Trian O’Bruadair, scroll by Cristiana Crane

Tobias Troa, scroll with illumination by Camille des Jardins, words by Bryn Millar

Camille des Jardins was called before the court, and inducted into the Order of the Golden Rapier.  She received a scroll with illumination by Isabel Chamberlain, words by Michael Acrensis, calligraphy by Anna Mickel von Salm

The following gentles were inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent:

Baintighearna Ruadhnait inghean Ruaidhri, scroll by Emma Makilmone

Sabina Luttrell, scroll by Aleksei Dmitriev, words by Malcolm Bowman & Fergus Redmead

Roland de la Mar, scroll by Anna Mickel von Salm, words by Bryn Millar

Samuel Peter DeBump, scroll with illumination by Camille des Jardins, calligraphy by Anna Mickel von Salam, words by Michael Acrensis

Andre qui boit du Lai was called before Her Majesty Caoilfhionn, and presented with a Queen’s honor of Distinction.  Scroll by Eva Woderose, words by Lucien de Pointivy

Having been sent on vigil at the start of the day, Anne Meckil von Salm, known as “Mickel” and Maxton Gunn, known as “Max” were called before the court.  They were each inducted into the Order of the Laurel, and received matching books.  Hers was bound by Carolyn and Julian de LaPointe, featuring calligraphy by Carolyne de la Pointe, illumination by Camille des Jardins, Q, Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt, words by Aneleda Falconbridge, Jean de Montagne, Sylvia du Vey.  His book was bound by Carolyn and Julian de LaPointe, featuring calligraphy by Alexandre St Pierre, illumination by Carolyn de LaPointe, Camille des Jardins, words by Jean de Montagne, Michael Acrensus, Christian Woolfe, Cedric of Thanet, Sorcha Rie Aedh, Aneleda Falconbridge.

In addition:

It was announced that the proposed Riding of Raven’s Bridge in the capital district of Augusta, Maine that is sponsored by Malagentia was Granted Incipience.

Godric of Hampton presented the War Arrow for Pennsic to Their Majesties.

Duke Kenric announced the Belted Champions Team for the Pennsic War.

The largest number of children to thus far participate in Her Majesty’s Children’s Service initiative were recognized.

The running of the Royal Toy Box occurred

There was an intermission, during which many enjoyed the meaty fruits of the 2nd Wurst Fundraiser.

In service,

Malcolm Bowman

Eastern Crown Herald

PS – Thank you for Heraldic assistance to Kenric æt Essex, Jean de Montagne, Donnovan Shinnock, Anastasia da Monte, Simona bat Leone, Iain of Malagentia, Cezilia Raposa, Rosina von Schaffhausen, Kirsa Oyutai, Connall An Doire, Andreiko Eferiev and Martyn de Halliwell

Filed under: Court

Unofficial Court Report, Northern Region War Camp

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:32

Thus it was that Their Majesties, Emperor Brennan and Empress Caoilfhionn, did travel to the Shire of Glenn Linn and attended the Northern Region War Camp Meleepalooza on 5 July, 2014 (AS XLIX).

The following gentles were Awarded Arms:

Roynan Stonedune, stone by Kenric æt Essex

Arnbjorn Grettirson, drinking horn by Freygerdr in storrada Halladottir with words by Asgar Roulfson

Aurnia McWard, embroidery by Eleanor le Brun

Snorri Olafsson, word carving with illumination by Ruaidhri MacCrimthainn and calligraphy by Bebhinn inghean Ui Siodhachain (wood carving)

Erland Øx-kné, wood plank by Hawise ferch Meredith

Esperanza Zamora DeLaquava, scroll with calligraphy by Eleanor Catlyng, and illumination by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova

Rosabella de Corvis, scroll by Elisabeth Greenleaf

Saffir Weaver, scroll with Calligraphy & Illumination by Ignacia la Ciega, words by Lady Muirgheall O’Riein

Sabd ingen Domnail, scroll with illumination by Deirdre O’Rourke, calligraphy by Elisabeth Greenleaf

Katherine of Anglespur, scroll with calligraphy & illumination by Saerlaith ingen Chennetig, words by Lucius Aurelius Varus

Kurama Kenshin, scroll by Mariette de Bretagne

The following gentles were inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent:

Gideon ha-Khazar, scroll by Sunniva Ormstung

Asgar Rolfes sune, scroll by Jan Janowicz Bogdanski

Lorenz Greylever, scroll forthcoming

Óláfr inn orvi Haraldsson, scroll by Aleksei Dmitriev

Wentlyana Bengrek, scroll by Katrusha Skomorokha Negodieva doch’

Ailionora Inghean Ronain was called before Their Majesties, and inducted into the Order of the Maunch.  Scroll with calligraphy by Kay Leigh Mac Whyte, illumination by Lillian atte Valeye

Ivar Volosatoi was called before Empress Caoilfhionn, and presented with a Queen’s Order of Courtesy, and received a scroll with calligraphy by Elisenda de Luna, illumination by Renye Wurm

The following children were inducted into the Order of the Tyger’s Cub:

Arthur Tuck, scroll by Aesa Lokabrenna Sturladottir

Magdalena Amarilla, scroll with calligraphy & illumination by Leonete d’Angely, illumination by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova

Lorenz Greylever was called into court, and presented a VERY backlogged (AS XXIV) Tyger’s Cub, scroll by Alayne Alexandra Nyvern Nightwatcher

Borujin Acilaldai was called before Their Imperial Majesties, and inducted into the Order of the Golden Rapier.  She received a scroll by Harold von Auerbach

Aethelhafoc Cadgfindan (called Aethelhawk Keyfinder) was called into court.  He received a Writ to sit vigil for consideration to be inducted into the Order of the Pelican, receiving a scroll with calligraphy and illumination by Henna Sinclair, words by Pagan Graeme

Having been put on vigil at the beginning of the day, Cristoforo Donatello dei Visconti was presented before Their Majesties, and inducted into the Order of the Laurel.  Scroll by Ursion de Gui

In addition:

Their Majesty’s Unbelted Champions were announced for the coming Pennsic War.

Their Majesty’s Rapier Champions were announced for the coming Pennsic War.

Children participating in Her Majesty’s Service Challenge were presented tokens.

Brendan Firebow led a short chase for the Royal Toy Box

The local Seneschal, Gage Ormesby, named off all those who had made the event happen this day.

In service,

Malcolm Bowman

Eastern Crown Herald

PS – Thank you for Heraldic assistance to Alethea Eastriding, Alys Mackyntoich, Elizabeth Elenor Lovell,
Donnovan Shinnock, Anastasia da Monte and Rose Erembourc

Filed under: Court

Her Highness Thyra’s Favor is Available!

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:30

Her Highness Thyra’s Favor is now available! It can be found here. Heaven forbid that anything happen to our beloved Empress and Emperor, but one can never be too prepared.

Thank you!



Filed under: Tidings

First Viking fortress in 60 years found in Denmark

History Blog - Mon, 2014-09-08 23:43

Archaeologists from Aarhus University and the Danish Castle Centre have discovered the remains of a huge circular Viking fortress on the Vallø Estate, about 30 miles south of Copenhagen on the Danish island of Zealand. Only seven of these ringed fortresses have ever been discovered, all of them in Denmark or the southern tip of Sweden, and the last one was found 60 years ago. It’s design is in keeping with the Trelleborg-type fortresses built by King Harald Bluetooth in around 980 A.D.

Much of this discovery was done in the research phase. Archaeologists suspected there was another fortress on Zealand. The Vallø site was a likely candidate because it was in a place where old Viking roads met close to the Køge river valley which in Viking times was a navigable fjord with one of the island’s best natural harbors. This made it an ideal setting for large military installation.

The team did a detailed laser survey of the site, measuring the minute features of the landscape. They found that a mound that was barely visible to the naked eye had a distinct circular outline. To investigate further before attempting excavation, they called in Helen Goodchild, an archaeological geophysics expert from the University of York, to do a magnetic survey of the site. Geomagnetic data derived from measuring variations in the magnetic field of the soil identified the archaeological features of a circular fortress.

The image from the geomagnetic survey revealed a massive structure 475 feet in diameter, which makes it the third largest of the Trelleborg-type fortresses after Aggersborg (787 feet in diameter), in Limfjorden, Denmark, and Borgeby (492 feet in diameter) near Lund in Scania, Sweden. The inner ramparts are 35 feet wide and circular, surrounded by a spiked palisade. Four gates are placed at the cardinal points of the compass. This is the same plan as the other Trelleborg-type fortresses.

Armed with this key information, archaeologists chose to dig in the areas most likely to produce information about the fortress as quickly as possible. The first trenches were dug at the site of two of the four gates. Both of them were burned down at some point. Large charred oak timbers were found at the north gate, a precious find both because the sturdy timber gate is another feature of the Trelleborg fortresses and because they’ll give us a precise date for the fortress.

Nanna Holm underlines that the fortress was a genuine military facility, and probably the scene of fighting as well. She’s in no doubt that it dates back to the Viking Age.

“Fortresses built like this one were only built in the Viking Age, and the burnt timber in the gates enables us to fix the date using radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology. We’ve sent off samples for analysis, and the result should be available in a few weeks’ time. The date will be vital. If we can establish exactly when the fortress was built, it will help us to understand the historical events with which it was connected.” [...]

“We can’t wait to find out whether the fortress dates back to the time of Harald Bluetooth, or whether it was built by a previous king. A military fortification from the Viking Age may shed more light on the links between Zealand, ancient Denmark and the Jelling dynasty – as well as teaching us more about the period during which Denmark became Denmark,” says Holm.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Roam 1930s and 40s America in 170,000 pictures

History Blog - Sun, 2014-09-07 23:50

In 1935, Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Resettlement Administration (RA), a New Deal program that aimed to relocate hundreds of thousands of farmers on exhausted land and migrant laborers to viable land in planned communities purchased with low interest loans. FDR established the program by executive order and Congress wasn’t a fan, to say the least, so it was underfunded from the start.

In an attempt to get the support of the public, the head of the RA, Columbia University economics professor Rexford Tugwell, appointed Roy Stryker, a former economics student of his at Cornell and an accomplished photographer, to lead the Historical Section of the RA’s Information Division. Stryker set up a photographic program to document the hardships of the farmers and their successes with the RA. He enlisted a cadre of exceptional photographers, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano (no relation to FDR) and Gordon Parks among them.

The photographers traversed the country, capturing rural and suburban farmers, migrant workers, their families, equipment and stock in every state. When the goal of resettlement soon died on the vine, the RA shifted focus to the construction of relief camps in California for migrant workers fleeing the devastation of the Dust Bowl. Stryker made sure his team of artists were funded and that their photographs were published in the mainstream press. These early RA pictures established the reputations of photographers whose images would soon become enduring symbols of America in the Great Depression.

On January 1, 1937, the RA was subsumed under the Department of Agriculture and in September of 1937 it was transformed into the Farm Security Administration (FSA). The photography program continued under the FSA for another five years until it was transferred to the Office of War Information. The FSA was eliminated and all the photographs in its files were sent to the Library of Congress. The OWI photography program focused on documenting the country’s mobilization in World War II. Farms gave way to airplane factories and migrant laborers to soldiers. The OWI was dissolved in 1945.

By the end of the decade-long FSA-OWI photography programs, they had generated an extraordinary archive of almost 170,000 pictures, prints and negatives. The archive was kept at the Library of Congress, grouped together with the Office of Emergency Management-Office of War Information Collection, the American at War Collection and the Portrait of America Collection. Because the LoC is consistently awesome, the archives have been digitized and made available to the public. You can even surf the exceptional color photographs of the FSA-OSI collection on the LoC’s Flickr page.

To make perusing this record, following in the footsteps of the photographs as they crossed the country, easier, a team from Yale University with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities have created a web platform called Photogrammar. You can search the database by keyword, date, location or select the name of a photographer and browse all of his or her work. The best part, though, are the maps. There’s one organized by county (the darker the green the more photographs) and one where each photographer is represented by a dot of a different color. I especially love the dot map with the 1937 Vico Motor Oil Map feature turned on, because you can see the movements of the photographers on the street map. You can see all the photographers on the maps at once, or you can select one at a time from the dropdown menu.

Then there are the data experiments that are still works in progress. I like the Metadata Explorer which illustrates the distribution of photographers over time and subject matter in California.

It’s a brilliant way to collate a collection so large that it’s quite beyond human scale. It’s also a time sink of massive proportions, needless to say, especially if you want to explore the photographs in greater detail by clicking on the Library of Congress Call Number which opens the picture on the LoC site where you can view them in high resolution which of course I did religiously.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Medieval linen found in Northampton tanning tanks

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-09-07 18:53

Several scraps of linen dating to the Middle Ages have been found at the base of a timber and stone-lined tanks, believed to have been used for tanning, in the St John's Street excavation in Northampton, England. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Jousting at Linlithgow Palace

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-09-07 14:31

Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, was the site of the recent jousting tournament staged in front of the castle. A BBC News In Pictures articles offers "stunning" photos of the action. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

A new England - "all very much Game of Thrones"

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-09-07 09:48

In a recent article for BBC Magazine, sociologist, writer and performer Tom Shakespeare ponders what would happen if Scotland were to achieve its independence and the England left behind broke up into its original seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Hampton Court Palace chocolate kitchen and recipe

History Blog - Sat, 2014-09-06 23:21

Since the restored Hampton Court Palace royal Chocolate Kitchen reopened to the public on Valentine’s Day of this year, it has been very popular with visitors. The palace website now has a great section about the Chocolate Kitchens and have recently uploaded a couple of fascinating videos.

The first covers the kitchen’s history, its rediscovery and the intense work that went into recreating the Georgian environment.
It was William III who introduced chocolate drinking to England when he arrived from Holland in 1689. He installed the Hampton Court Palace chocolate kitchen. It’s the only royal chocolate kitchen surviving today, but documents record him building chocolate kitchens at Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle as well. Subsequent monarchs continued the practice, each retaining his own chocolate maker who would travel with the court from palace to palace. It ended with George III who hated Hampton Court Palace and refused to set foot in the place; his successors followed in his footsteps

The reason nobody knew where the Chocolate Kitchen was is that after it stopped being used to make chocolate for the monarch and queen, it was used as a kitchen for the Grace and Favour Apartments where other members of the royal family sometimes lived. By the Victorian era when the palace was opened to the public, the existence of the Chocolate Kitchen had become a legend like the stories of ghosts and scandals used to attract visitors. Besides, many buildings had been demolished since Georgian times and a devastating fire in 1986 had caused much damage.

Then, in 2013, curatorial intern Charlotte Barker found an 18th century inventory document written after the death of William III that recorded every room in the palace and their locations, including the Chocolate Kitchen. It was known simply as Door Eight to the curators. It had been used as storeroom for the annual Hampton Court summer flower show and was filled with racks, pots, vases, steel shelves.

They figured the room would have been bare bones, all the original chocolate-making accessories long gone. When they removed the clutter, however, they found the full Georgian chocolate kitchen, with original shelves on the wall, the fireplace with a smoke jack inside the chimney, a prep table that folded down from the wall, a cupboard, and the Georgian version of a stove top: a pair of charcoal braziers in a brick housing. Charcoal was placed under the grates and then copper pots placed on top to melt the chocolate with whatever liquids (water, milk, liquor) and spices for the beverage.

A smoke jack, also known as a turnspit, is a mechanism that uses hot air rising from the fireplace up the chimney to turn a fan which turns a pinion that turns wheels that turn a chain that turns a spit over the fire. The one in the the chocolate kitchen wasn’t used to roast pheasants and great joints of beef, but only for roasting the chocolate beans. An automated roasting device was extremely high tech for any kitchen, never mind one dedicated solely to the production of chocolate.

Once the beans were roasted, the nuts were shelled and the innermost bits, the cocoa nibs, were made into chocolate. The curved slab of granite used as a mortar to grind the cocoa nibs would be placed over the brazier to keep it warm during the grinding process. Once the grind was smooth, the chocolate would be formed into flat discs and stored for a month for the flavors to meld.

Just down the hall from the kitchen is the Chocolate Room. It too was being used for storage but unfortunately wasn’t kept in pristine condition underneath the clutter. The late 18th century fireplace and barred windows were all that was left of the original fittings. They were able to recreate the shelves from the marks on the walls indicating where they had once been and were also able to restore damaged fireplace iron tools.

The real trick was outfitting the Chocolate Room with all the gear — chocolate pots, wooden whisks called molinets that were threaded through holes in the lids of the serving pots to give the beverage a nice froth, china and delftware cups, frames the cups were placed in, glass sweetmeat vessels — that were needed to present the royals with their delicious and luxurious beverage. The palace curators enlisted craftsmen who use the traditional methods so everything is as historically accurate as possible. Pewterer David Williams used period antique bronze and lead molds to make replicas of Georgian chocolate pots in the Ashmolean and V&A Museums, only the new pieces were are out of pewter instead of the silver and gold of the royal court originals.

Chocolate was often served with breakfast or after dinner and sweetmeats would have been among the foods on offer. Glassmaker Mark Taylor made the replica sweetmeat jars. Hampton Court Palace archaeological collection includes fragments of original chocolate cups. They were used by potter John Hudson to reproduce the exact cups the Georgian royal family drank out of.

It’s fascinating to see the archivists, curators, craftsmen and food historian at work recreating the Chocolate Kitchen and Room.

If you want to try your own hand a Georgian style chocolate beverage, food historian Marc Meltonville has a fabulous instructional video on how to make Chocolate Port. He’s working in the Hampton Court Palace chocolate kitchen using the reproduction period tools and the chocolate he roasted and ground from the whole pod. It’s so hardcore. For the rest of who are not so cool, we can follow along starting with store bought chocolate that’s 80% or more cocoa solids.

The recipe calls for a pint of port to one ounce of pure chocolate, so teetotalers be warned. I’m guessing this was more for the after supper chocolate service rather than the breakfast of champions.

Here’s a written version of the Chocolate Port recipe (pdf), plus a 1692 recipe for the pure chocolate discs (pdf) that were the basis of all the goodies, and a very yummy looking chocolate cream dessert (pdf) from George I’s 1716 royal cookbook

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Richard III descendant to craft king's coffin

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-09-06 18:13

In 2013, when experts believed they had discovered the remains of King Richard III, they turned to Michael Ibsen, a 17th generation relation of the monarch for DNA testing. Now Ibsen has been tapped for service again - as the builder of the royal coffin.

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Categories: SCA news sites

English extend funds for 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-09-06 15:47

2015 will be a big year for Magna Carta enthusiasts, marking the 800th anniversary of the document. Recently ten organizations were awarded funds to help with commemorations of the event.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Papyrus fragment is early Christian amulet

History Blog - Fri, 2014-09-05 23:56

A researcher has discovered an important fragment of papyrus that is an early example of Christian scriptures used as an amulet at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library. Dr. Roberta Mazza, a Classics and Ancient History professor and papyrologist with a particular interest in ancient religions, was looking through the 1,300 uncatalogued and unpublished pieces of papyrus in the library’s Greek and Latin Papyri collection as part of a pilot program to research, conserve and digitize the fragments. She found a papyrus about eight inches high and six inches wide with clear Greek writing covering one side and a few faint lines of Greek on the other.

The papyrus is creased, with one vertical line dividing it in half and four horizontal ones. That suggests it was folded up into a packet 1.2 by 4.1 inches in dimension and kept either in a container in the home or perhaps worn around the neck as amulet to ward off evil, a common practice in ancient Egypt. Before the advent of Christianity, these kinds of charms used magic incantations and prayers to the Egyptian or Greco-Roman deities. The writing on this fragment, however, was found to be a combination of Bible verses, including Psalms 78:23-24 and Matthew 26:28-30.

The full text of the papyrus:

Fear you all who rule over the earth.

Know you nations and peoples that Christ is our God.

For he spoke and they came to being, he commanded and they were created; he put everything under our feet and delivered us from the wish of our enemies.

Our God prepared a sacred table in the desert for the people and gave manna of the new covenant to eat, the Lord’s immortal body and the blood of Christ poured for us in remission of sins.

Radiocarbon analysis dates the fragment to between 574 and 660 A.D. That makes it the is the earliest Christian charm papyrus found to use the Eucharist liturgy in a charm and the first to refer to the bread of the Last Supper as the manna of the Hebrew scriptures. It wasn’t written by a priest or someone transcribing verses from a Bible. Dr. Mazza notes:

“It’s doubly fascinating because the amulet maker clearly knew the Bible, but made lots of mistakes: some words are misspelled and others are in the wrong order. This suggests that he was writing by heart rather than copying it.

It’s quite exciting. Thanks to this discovery, we now think that the knowledge of the Bible was more embedded in sixth century AD Egypt than we previously realized.”

The faint writing on the other side, deciphered using spectral imaging techniques, was a receipt for the annona, an in-kind tax on crops named after the goddess who personified Rome’s grain supply (the grain fleet and the grain dole were also called the annona). That means whoever made the charm recycled an old receipt and just used the other side. The receipt was so faded because it was the outside while the protective Bible verses were folded up safe inside the amulet packet.

The fragment was purchased on the antiquities market in Egypt around the turn of the 20th century and has been in the John Rylands Library collection since 1901 or so. There is indication of who owned the charm, but the tax receipt references the village of Tertembuthis in the countryside near the ancient town of Hermoupolis Magna (modern-day el-Ashmunein) in Middle Egypt, so it was probably a local man.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History