The East Kingdom Bardic Championship will take place on February 11, 2017 in the Barony of Concordia of the Snows (Scotia, NY)East Kingdom Bardic Championship
King Brion and Queen Anna will select their Bardic Champions based on a three-round competition. Competitors will be judged by Their Majesties and the current Champions, along with an advisory committee, on choice of material, artistic impression, audience impact, technical skill, and individual response.
Questions regarding the competition format or requirements should be directed to the current Queen’s Bard, Mistress Alys Mackyntoich. Mistress Alys is not on Facebook, but Lady Aethelflied Brewbane, the King’s Bard is, and will answer questions arising in that forum.
***For the first time this year, we are asking those intending to compete to pre-register with Mistress Alys, the Queen’s Bard, by sending her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails must be received by midnight on February 6, 2017 if you wish to compete. The email need only contain your name and a statement of intent.***Responsibilities of the Champions
Before competing for the position of Bardic Champion, please consider the responsibilities of the office. Bardic Champions are expected to:
Time permitting, those who do not wish to compete for the Championship will be allowed time to display their performance skills between rounds of the competition. If you think you would like to display, please contact Mistress Alys in advance so that we can try to make sufficient time available for you.Performer Resume
Each performer is asked to submit, prior to the first round, an index-card-sized summary of types of performances and styles the performer would be willing to perform with little or no prior notice. This “resume” gives the performers a chance to display versatility as well as skill, and gives Their Majesties additional information as they consider their next bardic champions. Their Majesties will choose something from this list for the final round, so consider well what you may be called upon to perform!Examples:
Name (list relevant SCA info) what you do as a performer, and what you can do on command.
Romanus Gaius Cantus (SC, OTC, Troubadour) Roman-style boasts, filk on any topic to the tune of the Maltese Bransle or Greensleeves, good at extemporaneous speaking, can chant war-style marching songs in Latin. Excellent at theatre-style reading text I have not seen before.
Skihald the Viking (King’s Bard to John VIII, Troubadour, Order of the Maunche, Order of the Laurel) Perform and write Norse-styled poetry in English, tell skaldic tales from 4 to 10 minutes in length from hilarious to morose, excellent teller of jokes, intermediate juggler, have several magic tricks I have worked into period settings.
Ysibeau du Provance Period pieces in French for solo voice or recorder, Latin sacred music of the 12th century, improvisational harp. Can write small praise poems in French and English with some notice. Familiar with some music from most SCA periods, and SCA-appropriate songs. I am good at selecting music for different occasions.
Haven Fortnight (Bard to Baron of the Place) I know a handful of period pieces, but my strengths are really SCA-appropriate non-period songs composed by others (traditional, folk tradition, SCA-composers) or by myself. I also play guitar. I can write pieces on commission with some notice. I can play and stroll at the same time. I can write in rhyming verse on short notice on nearly any topic and present it.Structure of the Competition
The competition will take place over three rounds with the following parameters.
FIRST ROUND: a documented period piece, a period-style piece OR a piece written on an SCA theme.
SECOND ROUND: a piece of a different type or style than that done in the first round. For example, if you performed a documented period piece for round one and wish to perform another documented period piece for round two, the two pieces should differ in some other way, such as mood (happy vs. melancholy), type of performance (poetry vs. song, prose vs. instrumental), etc.
THIRD ROUND: Their Majesties’ choice. Their Majesties will instruct the competitors on what they wish to hear, guided by their earlier performances, the skills which have been listed in their “resume”, and (possibly) a brief interview of the entrant. Performers will have a few minutes to prepare.
For this competition, a “period piece” is defined as an actual historical piece of poetry, prose or music, with appropriate documentation. A “period-style piece” is an original or adapted work using documented period forms. A “piece on an SCA theme” is any work written about SCA persons, events, or culture, and does not require documentation.
For period or period-style pieces, please provide a brief executive summary, such as would fit on an index card. Any additional documentation, such as a paper explaining the period style in which the piece was written or documenting the source of the period piece, will be accepted happily and will be counted in favor of the competitor.
**Competitors will have a total of twelve minutes of performance time split over the all three rounds. For the third round, Their Majesties may add additional time at their whim.**
The new Bardic Champions will be announced and begin their service at Court this day.FAQ
Note: This list will be maintained and updated as new questions arrive on their own web page.Do I need to pre-register in order to compete?
Yes, for the first time this year, we are asking Bardic competitors to pre-register with the Champions stating their intent to compete. Those intending to compete must pre-register with Mistress Alys by February 6, 2017. Note that this is not the same as pre-registering for the event, although we encourage that as well.What are the judges looking for?
Both the King’s and Queen’s Bard this year prefer documented period pieces and period-style pieces, and encourage performers to try those forms. Their Majesties are looking for pieces that move them emotionally, and enjoy pieces that evoke SCA history and culture. So, the whole performing arts spectrum will be represented in the judging.Do I need documentation in order to compete?
ONLY IF you are performing a period or “period style” piece. The documentation can be as brief as an index card citing the source of your piece. E.g., “Now Is The Month Of Maying” by Thomas Morley (1595), found in The Oxford Book of English Madrigals (Oxford University Press, 1978). However, more documentation, particular if the piece is an original one, written in a period style, will be accepted quite happily and will be counted in the competitor’s favor.Can I compete as an instrumentalist?
Yes, as long as vocal performance is also part of what you do. At least one of your first two rounds should involve some sort of vocal presentation, whether spoken word or song.Can I use a group performance for one of the rounds?
Only individuals can compete to be King’s or Queen’s Bard. However, a group performance such as a choral song, recorder consort, or a brief mumming may be offered as part of an individual’s body of work IF the exact role of the person actually competing is made clear. For example, when Lady Hextilda offers a group performance of a recorder piece, she states on her index card and documentation that she wrote the piece in a particular period style and is performing the alto recorder part.What if I don’t want to be a Royal Bard but I want to get feedback?
Schedule permitting, there will be time between rounds for people to display their performances without competing for either Bardic position. If you think you would like to display, please contact Mistress Alys in advance so that we can try to make sufficient time available for you.
Filed under: Arts and Sciences Tagged: Bardic, champions, Kings and Queens Champions
Egypt is replete with animal burials. From crocodiles to baboons to falcons to dogs and cats, literally millions of mummified animals have been found in ancient Egyptian tomb complexes from the pre-Dynastic era through the Roman period. These were not companion animals, but sacred animals bred and raised for sacrifice, which is why they have been found in such industrial quantities. They were sold to pilgrims and buried as offerings in religious rituals.
An excavation in the ancient Red Sea port town of Berenike has unearthed a unique assemblage of animal burials that is not a religious deposit, but rather an actual pet cemetery. The burials have been excavated since 2011 under the direction of Steven Sidebotham in cooperation with the Polish Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology, Warsaw University. Almost 100 intact animal skeletons have been discovered since then on the outskirts of the Early Roman town. Artifacts discovered and the stratigraphy of the site date the pet cemetery to between the late 1st century the first half of the 2nd century A.D.
Berenike was in its heyday then. First founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (r. 283-246 B.C.) as a military outpost to protect the trade in African elephants from Ethiopia, by the Early Roman period in the 1st century, it was a key pivot in multiple trade routes connecting India, the Arabian Peninsula and Upper Egypt. The port in the Ptolemaic fort area bustled even harder under the Roman Empire, eventually becoming its own district with its own dedicated prefect.
When animal burials began at the site in the 1st century, the area was an undeveloped ground between the town and the Ptolemaic fort. It’s part of a large zone dubbed by archaeologists the “Early Roman trash dump.” The garbage proved helpful because the most recent burials had to be dug into the trash which dated them to the 2nd century.
The vast majority of the animals buried — 86 complete skeletons — were cats. Three of them were double burials and all of those double cat burials contained one adult and one juvenile feline. The next most popular burial subject was the dog, with nine skeletons unearthed. Monkeys — three grivets, one vervet monkey, one olive baboon — came third. Few grave goods have been found, although some of the animals were buried with accessories like iron collars found on three cats and a vervet monkey, and two cats found with an ostrich eggshell bead by their necks.
Study author Marta Osypińska writes in the journal Antiquity:
Most of the well-preserved, complete animal skeletons are free of any pathologies. Particular attention has been paid to any evidence for the intentional killing of the animals — a practice known from the Nile Valley animal mummies — but there is no indication of this in the Berenike assemblage.
On the basis of the type of burial, the absence of mummification, the diverse species list and the absence of human inhumations, it is suggested that the Berenike cemetery reflects different intentions and cultural practices compared to the Nile Valley animal deposits. In my opinion, the described features suggest that the Berenike finds should be interpreted as a cemetery of house pets rather than deposits related to sacred or magical rites.
Romans were known to be deeply bonded to their dogs. Tombstones dedicated to a beloved pup have been found all over the Empire. One of the dogs buried at Berenike burials, a young moolosser-type dog that is so much larger and more massive than the local dogs that it was probably imported from Rome or Greece, died of osteosarcoma, the earliest known example of the cancer in dogs. Its last meal was fish and goat meat. The owner placed its body in a basket and covered it with broken pottery to create a sort of homemade sarcophagus effect.
The tenderness and thoughtfulness evinced in these burials argues against the animals having been dumped on the trash heap, nor do they have the typical twisted necks of the animals killed for mummification and sacrifice.
Another specific feature of the Berenike cemetery is the very high percentage of cats. These animals were deeply respected throughout the pre-Roman periods, but such practices were never adopted by other societies. In Roman Europe, the cat initially became popular in the first century AD and its spread was aided by the Roman army (Toynbee 1973). Thus, could we suspect that the eclectic evidence (both Egyptian and Roman) from Berenike reflects the adoption of the cat as a pet in this multicultural community? Naturally, there are plenty of reasons for keeping cats in a port-town, but the general segregation of the kitten and adult inhumations suggests a more complex relationship than pragmatic coexistence.
Citizens of Æthelmearc, good morning.
Our Monarchs Marcus and Margerite will be travelling to foreign lands and would like examples of the bounty and excellence of their people.
They are looking to put together gift baskets for TRMs to take to Market Day at Birka (East) and Gulf Wars (Meridies). Needed are artisans to contribute to these baskets. Needed are items that Their noble cousins can give to their populace as well as supporting their own Reigns. Suggestions include awards of excellence, or personal tokens that can be given out. Their Majesties are also hoping for someone to step forward to coordinate collection of these items over the next two months.
Their Majesties are also looking to commission an artisan or artisans to create personal tokens of their own to hand out while travelling. These would be given to individuals that inspire TRMs as well as thank you gifts for those that perform acts of personal service to Æthelmearc citizens abroad.
If you think you might be interested to add your talent to the pool, or wish to serve the Kingdom with your skills of organization, you are encouraged to contact TRMs’ majordomo Mester Janos. They are looking to have this position filled before the holiday break.
Their Majesties thank you for your continuing support and look forward to seeing many of you at Their 12th Night Celebrations this winter.
In 814 A.D., a hermit named Pelagius saw a single star of great brilliance and a shower of stars around it over the Libredón forest near Iria Flavia (modern-day Padrón), seat of the main bishopric in Galicia. Pelagius, other brother hermits and some shepherds approached the site and heard a choir of heavenly hosts singing. Bishop Theodomirus in Iria was told of this portent. He had the underbrush cleared to reveal an arch over an altar with a sarcophagus at its feet. Either from divine revelation or from a papyrus found in the sarcophagus, Theodomirus realized this was the tomb of St. James, son of Zebedee, brother of John and one of the Twelve Apostles. According to local legend, James, who was decapitated by Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem, had preached in what is now Spain and after his death his body was miraculously transported in a rudderless boat from Jaffa to Iria Flavia and thence inland for burial.
When the miraculous find was reported to King Alfonso II of Asturias and Galicia, he ordered a chapel built on the site, a modest structure of stone and mud. He added a baptistery, another church and a small monastery and built a defensive wall around the small settlement called Compostela (ostensibly a corruption of the Latin “campus stellae” or field of stars in reference to the miracle Pelagius had witnessed). The legend of St. James’ burial in Spain had spread widely in the 8th century, a cultural rallying cry against the Umayyad conquest of the Iberian peninsula, so the discovery of his relics made a huge splash. It was considered a divine sign that Iberia would be Christian again, that retaking it was a holy crusade. Alfonso notified Pope Leo III and Charlemagne of the find, and they spread the world all over Christendom. Pope Leo had lost Corsica and Sardinia to Muslim raiders from Al-Andalus in 809-810, so he was very much on board with the St. James messaging.
Soon the pilgrims were flocking in thousands to Santiago de Compostela, first from the peninsula and then from all over Europe. The Way of Saint James became the most important pilgrim destination after Rome and Jerusalem. Alfonso II’s humble chapel was replaced in 899 by a stone basilica ordered by King Alfonso III. Built in the Asturian style with three naves and a rectangular head, this church was razed to the ground a century later by Al-Mansur, defacto ruler of Al-Andalus when the Caliph Hisham was but a boy, although he made a point not to damage the holy tomb of St. James.
In 1075, Alfonso VI, King of Castile and Leon, began constructing a new church. This one was to be a grand Romanesque cathedral that could accommodate the huge numbers of pilgrims following the Way of St. James without disrupting the quotidian services of the church. The new church would have a round head for traffic flow, a gallery above the aisles for crowd management and side doors to allow pilgrims access to the crypt underneath the altar without having the stomp through the nave during regular worship.
Construction stopped and started over the next century and in 1168, Master Mateo, an architect and sculptor of French origin, was engaged by King Ferdinand II of León to create a new main façade worthy of one of the holiest sites in Christendom. The old façade was demolished and in its place rose a massive two-story portico with three arches matching the three naves. Wide piers supported the arches and Mateo decorated them with an incredibly rich density of high relief sculptures. Around the base were fantastical animals. The middle of the piers featured pilasters with sculptures of the apostles and prophets. The sculptures at the top of the piers are symbols from the Old Testament and Book of Revelation. St. James gets central placement on the mullion of the central column, and at its foot facing in towards the altar instead of out at the pilgrims is Master Mateo himself, holding a sign identifying himself as the Architectus.
The overall theme was the salvation granted by God after the Final Judgment. Each of the three entrance arches represent different aspects of the theme. The left entrance focused on the Old Testament prophets, the right on punishments of the damned, the center of Christ the savior.
The 3D carving and individual detail of the more than 200 figures were great innovations in Romanesque art, and Master Mateo worked on his magnum opus, known as the Portico of Glory, until 1211. He and his workshop also created a sculpted stone choir which was replaced by a wooden one in the 17th century.
In the 16th century, the western façade of the Portico of Glory was taken down and the figures removed. Some were installed in other locations in the cathedral. Others went to museums or private collections. Because people are crazy, some of these precious sculptures were even treated like trash, used as fill in various construction projects at the cathedral. Thankfully the crazy abated and in the 18th century the Portico of Glory was encased by a new Baroque façade for its own protection. Exposure to the elements for 500 years had damaged the sculptures. They still managed to retain some of their polychrome painted elements, although most of the surviving color is from later restorations rather than the original.
Work at the cathedral over the years has unearthed some of those discarded Master Mateo works. Now the Museo Nacional del Prado is exhibiting 14 sculptures from the Portico of Glory and the dismantled choir, some of them together again for the first time 500 years.
The present exhibition includes fourteen works, opening with the document in which Ferdinand II grants a lifetime pension to [Master] Mateo, a text that constitutes the first reference to his activities at the cathedral.
Horses from the Retinue of the Three Kings – reused as infill material for the Obradoiro staircase and recovered in 1978 still with traces of its original polychromy – and Saint Matthew came from the retro-choir and exterior façades, respectively, of the granite choir constructed by Mateo and his workshop around the year 1200.
The other works on display are from the lost west façade, including the sculptures of David and Solomon which, following the dismantling of that façade, were reinstalled on the parapet of the Obradoiro loggia where they remained until they were recently restored on site prior to their inclusion in this exhibition; and the Statue-column of a male figure with a cartouche, a damaged figure that was rediscovered this October inside the cathedral’s bell tower where it had been used as infill material and is now being presented to the public for the first time. Also on display are other architectural elements that were part of the façade such as the large Rose window which crowned the central doorway and was reconstructed from fragments found in 1961; and two Keystones with the punishment of Lust, possibly from the arch on the south side, which had the same iconographic theme as the corresponding arch of the Portico of Glory, devoted to the Last Judgment.
A custom app created for the exhibit will allow visitors to virtually tour the Portico of Glory and the stone choir as Master Mateo designed them. The exhibition opened on November 28th and will run through March 26th, 2017.
The wrought iron gate with the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” stolen from the entrance to the Dachau Concentration Camp on the night of November 1-2, 2014, has been found in Norway. After receiving an anonymous tip, police found the gate in a parking lot near a shooting range in Ytre Arna outside Bergen. It was hidden under a tarp with assorted trash and has apparently been outside in the elements for some time. One anonymous witness told a newspaper that he had seen the gate in a trench in Ytre Arna several months ago.
The police could not confirm the length of time the gate had spent outside. Their forensic examination of the door yielded no clues to the identities of the thieves, no DNA, no magical trace evidence to send through an exotic piece of equipment. The Bergen police are continuing to investigate, as is the Bavarian police.
Police in the southern German state of Bavaria, where Dachau is located, confirmed the gate had been found.
“From the picture transmitted, police believe it is highly likely that this is the iron gate that was stolen from Dachau,” it said in a statement.
Bergen authorities will return the gate “as soon as possible.” As the investigation is ongoing, the evidence of the crime is subject to judicial review before it can leave the country. It’s likely the judgement will be in favor of immediate restoration given the historical significance of the object.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site staff is heaving a sigh of collective relief.
The President of the Comité International de Dachau, General Jean-Michel Thomas, took note of this news with great satisfaction, stating, “Even though we still do not know what was behind this outrage, I offer thanks in the name of the survivors’ association for the discovery of this crime and the international concern that was shown following its perpetration.”
Dr. Gabriele Hammermann, Director of Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, was also very relieved and offered thanks to the police in Norway and Germany for their meticulous investigations. “Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, along with the survivors and their relatives, is delighted that the background to this act is now being cleared up and that this particularly symbolic relict of the concentration camp will once again be returned to the memorial following a judicial review. Of course, it will be presented to the public again once the restoration work is completed. A decision will be made together with the Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätten (Bavarian Memorial Foundation) regarding the placement of the gate, whether at its former location or as part of the permanent exhibition.”
The Director of the Bavarian Memorial Foundation, Karl Freller, was overjoyed at this news, and responded by saying, “It is a great relief to me that this piece of original evidence of the Nazis’ cynicism and contempt for humankind has been recovered. I congratulate the security authorities on their transnational success.”
Not quite original, actually. The original iron gate was made by Communist political prisoner Karl Röder in 1936 by order of the SS. It was removed after the war and a historically accurate replica created from photos of the original was installed when the Memorial Site was created in 1965. After the theft in 2014, another replica was made and put in place so it would be for solemnities marking the anniversary of the camp’s liberation by the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division on April 29th, 1945.
Conservators at the National Library of Scotland have rescued a rare 17th century wall map from the verge of destruction. Ages ago, the map was balled up and stuck in the chimney of a house in Aberdeenshire to block drafts. It was discovered when the home was renovated and someone had the foresight to save what looked like a lumpy bundle of dirty rags from the trash and donate it to the National Library.
When it arrived at the Library’s Collections Care department, it was stuffed in a plastic bag carried inside a Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky box. Book and paper conservators carefully removed it from the bag. Its dire condition was immediately evident. It was balled up, caked with dirt and had been extensively gnawed upon by vermin and insects. Even the smallest movement would cause fragments of the brittle paper to shower down from the backing. Conservators had to unfurl it painfully slowly to keep the damage to a minimum. Even so, dirt and paper fragments flaked off and the paper was found to be severely distorted with deep creases.
Once opened, experts recognized the map as a late 17th century map of the world produced by the Dutch cartographer, engraver and publisher Gerald Valck. The map is colossal in size at 7-by-5 feet and there are only two other copies known to exist in the world. Large pieces of it had crumbled away and were irretrievably lost. Because of the map’s rarity, the conservation team worked painstakingly to preserve what was left of it.
The backing was quickly identified as the main cause of the damage. It was common in the 17th century for great wall maps to be affixed to a canvas backing for display for the delight of visitors. Dutch mapmakers were particularly prominent in the period, and large-scale maps of this time appear as elegant backdrops in the paintings of multiple Dutch Golden Age artists, including Johannes Vermeer in The Art of Painting (1666-68), now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The map that hangs in Vermeer’s painting, the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherland published by Claes Janszoon Visscher in 1636, is similar in style, dimensions and age to the one found in the Scottish chimney.
There was a steep price to pay for this mounting, because canvas and paper do not respond to environmental conditions in the same way or at the same rate. The canvas of the Chimney Map was far sturdier than the paper, causing it to warp and shrink and crack. Conservators had to remove the backing for the permanent well-being of the map, but first they had to stabilize what was left of the paper map.
The map was originally printed in eight separate sections and adhered to a linen backing. It was already splitting along the joins between the sections and the decision was taken to separate the sections to make the map easier to work with. These were each placed in a humidifying chamber as the gentle introduction of moisture made it easier to flatten out the map.
Removing the backing without further damaging the paper proved to be one of the most difficult tasks. This involved using a thick cellulose solution to fix light weight Japanese paper to the front of the map in two layers. This secured the paper map while the backing was peeled off using hand tools.
The final stage of cleaning involved suspending the map sections individually in water in a heated sink at 40°C for 40 minutes with the water being gently agitated to clean dirt from the surface. On removal they were placed in blotters to remove any excess water.
In total, the restoration took 150 work hours over a period of six months.
This silent video shows paper conservator Claire Thomson at work on the Chimney Map from extrication from the whisky box to microscopic examination of fragments to the water baths to a glorious final before-and-after comparison.
This one discusses the conservation challenges with Thomson and explores the history of the map.
This month’s On Target: Stocking stuffers for the Archer you love!
It’s Christmas time and we’re all just a little lost about what to give that archer in our life. I found this cute little Christmas tree ornament you both can enjoy. Everybody that looks at it will say, “Where did you find that?” The truth is, I’ve forgotten… but if you Google “archery ornament” you’ll find some like it.
Now just like the “Marshals Field Box,” your archer may need nocks, fletching, glue, and points. For those all day trips, a modern shooter may need some jerky, power bars, and carb mixers to go in their water. Also, the hunter in him or her might need field dressing gloves and doe scent.
Finally, remember “GLG” – Guys (and Gals) Love Gadgets. No matter how many pocket knives or multi-tools we have in that overstuffed pocket, one more is always welcome. And at the end of the day, who doesn’t need a corkscrew or a bottle opener?
I hope this helps you out with your Christmas shopping.
This month safety tip: whether you’re driving to the range or driving to Mom’s house, it’s Christmas and people are always in a rush and not very careful. Drive safely, my friends!
THLord Deryk Archer
A pair of dismembered mummy legs found in Queen Nefertari’s tomb (QV66) in the Valley of the Queens likely belonged to the queen herself, new research indicates.
Nefertari was the second and favorite Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II (r. 1279-1213 B.C.). Ramesses the Great so loved Nefertari that he built a temple to her next to his at Abu Simbel. Her colossal figures are the same size as his, a symbol of the immense respect and status he granted her. His love for her is literally painted on the walls of her tomb. Poetry he wrote praising and mourning her (“My love is unique — no one can rival her, for she is the most beautiful woman alive. Just by passing, she has stolen away my heart.”) shares space with scenes from the Book of the Dead, Nefertari in he daily life and the afterlife.
Queen Nefertari’s tomb was discovered in 1904 by preeminent Italian Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli. (If that name rings a bell, it’s because he was a member of an illustrious family of brilliant people including his cousin astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli who first observed the channels on Mars, and Giovanni’s niece Elsa Schiaparelli, the dazzlingly innovative fashion designer who invented much of what we take for granted in the industry today.) One of the largest tombs in the Valley of the Queens, its elaborately painted walls survive in beautiful condition earning it the moniker of the Sistine Chapel of Ancient Egypt, but the contents of the tomb had been looted and trashed in antiquity. All that was left inside were some small objects (broken pottery, 34 wood shabtis, coffer lids, a faience pommel knob bearing King Ay’s throne name “Kheper-Kheperu-Ra”), fragment of her pink granite sarcophagus, broken furniture, a pair of very fine sandals woven from vegetal fiber and two mummified human legs broken in pieces.
The remains are in three parts: one long leg piece composed of a patella and part of a femur and tibia, a medium piece composed of part of a tibia, and a short piece of a femur. Because Schiaparelli was the director of the Museo Egizio in Turin from 1894 until his death in 1928, the finds he’d made over 20 years of excavations in Egypt were added to the museum’s collection, among them the contents of QV66, including the mummy legs. Today the Museo Egizio houses more than 300,000 objects making it the second largest Egyptian museum in the world. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is number one, of course.
Because they were found in Nefertari’s tomb, which is thoroughly identified as such from inscriptions on the walls and surviving artifacts, the legs were believed to be the remains of the queen, but they’ve never been scientifically studied until now. A multidisciplinary team subjected the legs to radiocarbon dating, X-rays, osteological analysis, DNA testing, anthropological comparison, chemical analysis and historical research.
The body height was also independently estimated by professor Maciej Henneberg at the University of Adelaide, Australia, who obtained the same results — a stature of about 165 cm.
“Data about women from the New Kingdom and 3rd Intermediate Period show she was probably taller than 84 percent of the women of her time,” Rühli said.
Analysis of the materials used for embalming showed they were consistent with Ramesside mummification traditions, while X-rays of the left knee pointed to possible traces of arteriosclerosis, suggesting the legs belonged to an elderly person.
“The accumulated evidence could point to an individual between 40 and 60 years old,” Rühli and colleagues wrote.
That matches the Egyptological research into Nefertari’s age and approximate time of death around the 25th year of her husband’s long, long reign. The size of the sandals found in the tomb also match the stature and dimensions of the legs. Their quality suggests royal use as well.
Unfortunately, no useable DNA could be extracted — the samples were too contaminated — so there will be no genetic information forthcoming. Radiocarbon dating results indicated the remains were around two centuries older than Queen Nefertari going by the current chronology.
“A discrepancy between radiocarbon dating and Egyptian chronology models has long been debated. Indeed, some question on the chronological model of the New Kingdom may now arise,” Habicht said.
“For the future, we strongly suggest radiocarbon dating of other royal and non-royal remains of the Ramesside era, in order to validate or disprove the chronology,” he added.
You can read the full study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Our fifteenth A&S Research Paper comes to us from Edmund Beneyt of the Barony of Endewearde, who demonstrates that the delicious preserved lemons of the Middle East have a very long history indeed! (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)
On the Preservation of Lemons
The preservation of food has been an ongoing struggle against Nature since man first started storing food for later use. There is evidence of the most basic form of preservation being used 14,000 years ago in the Middle East, and many different strategies have been discovered.
Pickling, the process of preserving food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in a liquid of pH 4.6 or lower, is in use by most cultures across the globe. The range of pickled foods is astounding, from meats and fish to grains. The only limit on what can be pickled seems to be what is available to pickle.
A Little History
Some of the earliest references to the use of preserved lemons point towards a medicinal value. The Indian Ayurvedic cuisine uses the consumption of lemon pickle to remedy stomach disorders; in East African folk medicine lemon pickle is given for excessive growth of the spleen.
One of the very earliest proponents of preserved lemons, Abū al-Makārim Hibat Allāh ibn Zayn al-Dīn Ibn Jumay‘ [ Ibn Jumai/Jumay] (b ???? d 1198), was a Egyptian-born Jew who went on to serve as physician to An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (Saladin the Sultan).
Ibn Jumay is infamous for bringing the dead back to life. While watching a passing funerary procession he saw that the feet of the corpse were upright rather than flat, a sign that life had not left the body. He stepped in and treated the man, reviving him and preventing his being buried alive. The man had suffered a cataleptic fit, a condition that causes muscle seizures and non responsiveness, which could be mistaken for death.
He also wrote a minor treatise; On Lemon, it’s Drinking and Use. A medical cookbook, it is the earliest written source that I could find that details the preservation of lemons. Sadly none of the original documents survived past the 12th Century, but thanks to the work of other scholars (Ibn al-Baitar, Compendium) and the great Islamic translation projects the details are available to us. It has been said that the process Ibn Jumay documented has been universally copied since.
Take lemons that are fully ripe and of bright yellow color; cut them open without severing the two halves and introduce plenty of fine salt into the split; place the fruits thus prepared in a glass vessel having a wide opening and pour over them more lemon juice until they are completely submerged; now close the vessel and seal it with wax and let it stand for a fortnight in the sun, after which store it away for at least forty days; but if you wait still longer than this before eating them their taste and fragrance will be still more delicious and their action in stimulating the appetite will be stronger.
– Translated into English by Samuel Tolkowsky, “Hesperides: A History of the Culture and Use of Citrus Fruits” 1938 from the original, “On Lemon, it’s Drinking and Use”; Abū al-Makārim Hibat Allāh ibn Zayn al-Dīn Ibn Jumay‘, 12th century .
If we take this as a true translation, the process as described here is virtually unchanged in modern cooking. The process of opening the soft inner pulp to salt and then covering them in an acidic liquid forces a process known as fermentation. The outer rinds soften as the inner pulp desiccates leaving a vibrant lemon flavour. For use, they are rinsed, the pulp removed and discarded and the rinds used as required.
The climate in Egypt has daytime temperatures are around the 90-100F levels, so my first thought of oven warming would be impossible due to most modern ovens minimum temperature being in the 160-170F range. The only other option that could provide the required temperature range would be a hot water bath, but that would be prohibitive in terms of cost. I reluctantly decided to update my recipe to a more modern room temperature (70F) processing,
This change would also mean adjusting the fermentation time. The original also has a 54 day timeline, 14 days exposure to high temperatures plus 40 days “store away” (by which I would suggest was in a cold store or pantry). After consulting more modern recipes, it appears that between 30 and 45 days at room temperature will suffice to recreate the same quality of product.
The earliest reference to lemons in a European context would be as decorative trees in Southern Italy circa the first century CE. From there the plant was taken to North Africa, appearing in the 10th C. CE in an Arabic treatise on farming, spreading throughout the Arabic sphere of influence. Christopher Columbus transported lemon seeds to the New World in 1493.
While preserved lemons have a wide usage in period North African and Middle East cooking (it is not unreasonable to expect those who went on Crusade to have encountered dishes that contained preserved lemon), lemons were not much used by Northern Europeans for cooking until post Renaissance.
Lemons would have been rare and expensive during the medieval period, available to the influential and rich. England imported much of their lemons from the Azores after cultivation began there in 1494. (A more esoteric use was to rub lemon slices on your lips to deepen the colour, something that apparently does work. There is the apocryphal tale of the basket of lemons given to Anne Boleyn by Henry VIII as a courting gift, the last of which she used to deepen her lips colour just before she went to the Headsman’s block.)
There are recipes that use preserved lemons in late Tudor cooking;
To boyle a Capon larded with lemons:
Take a fair capon and truss him, boyl him by himselfe in faire water with a little small Oat-meal, then take mutton broath and half a pint of white-wine, a bundle of herbs, whole mace, season it with Verjuyce, put marrow, dates, season it with sugar, then take preserved lemons and cut them like lard, and with a larding pin, lard in it, then put the capon in a deep dish, thicken your broth with Almonds and poure it on the capon.”
– Taken from “A New Book of Cookeire…..”; John Murrell, Printed London 1617.
This recipe repeats through later works including the Compleat Cook with almost no deviation in wording.
Preserved lemons are a versatile and simple condiment that can be produced easily.
6 Medium sized lemons
1 Quart Mason preserving jar with sealing lid
Modern lemons are sprayed with a layer of protective wax-like material for transportation. Gently scrub lemons under warm running water to remove wax from the surface of the lemon. Use only scrubbing pads/foams that have not been used for cleaning or exposed to any soap as the lemon’s skin will absorb detergents very easily. Once the waxy looks has gone, hand dry with paper towel.
Make two opposite cuts into the lemons over the dish, using the tops and bottom stems as guides. Collect any juice.
Remove the top and bottom stems from the lemons.
Taking one lemon at a time, pinch the fruit from top and bottom to open cuts. Shake and press the salt into the cuts. Once all the cuts are well salted, reform the fruit into it original shape and place to one side. Repeat and collect any excess salt and juice.
Fill the Mason jar with the fruit. Leave a ¼ inch gap between the top of the fruit and the start of the jar neck. In the dish that was used for collecting excess juice and salt, mix in one cup of lemon juice. Pour mixture into the jar up to the neck. Use additional lemon juice if necessary to fill jar to ½ inch below the neck.
Seal the Mason jar, shaking gently to distribute the juice evenly and upending the jar to check for a proper seal.
Store at room temperature for 30-45 days.
Ibn Jumay (Abū al-Makārim Hibat Allāh ibn Zayn al-Dīn Ibn Jumay‘) d. 1198, “On Lemon, its Drinking and Use” undated (No copy of the original document has survived.)
Ibn al-Baitar (Ibn al-Bayṭār al-Mālaqī, Ḍiyāʾ Al-Dīn Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdllāh Ibn
1. Nummer, PhD., Brian A. “Historical Origins of Food Preservation”, National Center for
2. Herbst, Sharon. Food Lover’s Companion (3rd ed). Hauppage, NY: Barron’s Educational Series Inc, 2001. p. 492.
3. Johari, Harish. Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine: 200 Vegetarian Recipes for Health, Balance, and Longevity. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 2000. p. 29-30.
4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Traditional food plants: A resource book for promoting the exploitation and consumption of food plants in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid lands of Eastern Africa. New York: Food & Agriculture Organization, 1988. p. 199.
5. Selin, Helaine, ed. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer: Dordrecht, 1997. pp. 421–2
6. Ibn Abi Usaybi‘ah. Uyun al-Anba’ fi Tabaqat al-Atibba, tr A. Müller, 2 vols.
7. Sonnerman, Toby. Lemon: A Global History. London: Reaktion Books, 2012. p. 36.
8. Kraemer, Joel L. Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds. New York: Penguin Random House, 2010.
9. Morton, Julia F. Lemon in Fruits of Warm Climates. Miami, FL: Julia F. Morton, 1987. pp. 160–168
10. Lind, James. A treatise on the scurvy. Second edition. London: A. Millar, 1757.
11. Davidson, Alan, and Tom Jaine. The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
12. Anonymous. The Compleat Cook. N Brook at the Angel, 1658.
Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences
Archaeologists have discovered a 14th century temple to the wind god under a supermarket in the Tlatelolco neighborhood of Mexico City. The supermarket was demolished in 2014, and archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) excavated the site. That first excavation dug down three meters (just under 10 feet), revealing the top of a circular platform, pottery fragments and 20 burials of adults, children and animals.
The second excavation season began in March of 2016. It unearthed the full platform 11 meters (36 feet) in diameter and 1.2 meters (four feet) high. It’s more than 650 years old, but the original stucco still covers most of it. At the eastern entrance of the temple, a cist burial and another seven human burials were discovered. In total, archaeologists found eight complete skeletons (six infants, two adult women and one adult man) and the incomplete remains of seven individuals identified from disarticulated skulls, femurs and other long bones.
In the cist burial archaeologists found the skeletal remains of a newborn infant, bird bones, a mound of obsidian shards and arrowheads, agave thorns, copal resin and green stone. Other artifacts found at the site include incense burners, ceramic figures of monkeys and duck beaks. These figures are associated with the god Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, creator of precious rain-bringing wind after long droughts.
The shape of the temple also supports a link to the wind god. It is circular on the north, south and west sides. The entrance on the east side has a rectangular conversion which matches in design and orientation a temple dedicated to Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl that was discovered at the entrance of the archaeological site of Tlatelolco. Also, the fronts of temples dedicated to Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl always face east.
There is evidence the temple was built in the three phases. The first dates to the years right after the founding of the city in 1337 and is characterized by inclined walls, the only ones of their kind among the archaeological remains of the area. The second stage of construction went on between 1376 and 1417. The bulk of the platform as it stands today was built during the second phase. The third phase (around 1427) is compacted earth around the building. It’s possible this is not a 15th century feature, but rather was caused by the construction of the supermarket in the mid-20th century.
The two seasons of excavations discovered around 43,000 artifacts, 1000 of which were recovered and fully documented. They are currently being studied. Even as a shopping center goes up behind it, the temple will be preserved and covered with protective glass so visitors to the archaeological site of Tlatelolco can view the platform without damaging it.
Tlatelolco was an independent city-state before the Spanish conquest. It was a regional center of commerce with a major market. Its larger neighbor Tenochtitlan was the political and administrative center and depended on Tlatelolco market. Both cities were built on an island in Lake Texcoco, Tlatelolco on the northern part of the island, Tenochtitlan on the south. Tensions and rivalries between the two cities exploded into war several times in the 14th and 15th centuries, until in 1473 Tenochtitlan conquered Tlatelolco. When conquistador Hernán Cortés and his indigenous allies besieged Tenochtitlan from May to August of 1521, the starving and diseased survivors moved to Tlatelolco where they made their last stand against the Spanish conquest.
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Marcus & Margerite, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Æthelmearc Æcademy, November, 11, Anno Societatis LI, in the Shire of Nithgaard. As recorded by Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.
Their Majesties called to be attended by Elizabeth von Halstern and Isabelle von Halstern. Her Majesty spoke of the service both of these youth gave to the youth track at the Pennsic War and so inducted both into the Order of the Silver Buccle. Scroll forthcoming.
Next Their Majesties sought to be attended by Eli Martinson and Jayce Martinson. Their Majesties spoke of the courtesy and service of both of these youth and awarded each with a Silver Buccle. Scrolls by THLady Renata Rouge.
The children of Æthelmearc were then invited forward and were given leave to chase after Eli and Jayce in order to claim a prize from the treasure chest and occupy themselves during the remainder of court.
Lady Aine O’Muirghesan then presented herself and gave her oath of service as she assumed the role of Kingdom Chronicler.
Master Creador Twinedragon approached the Sylvan Thrones and gave Her Majesty a fishing rod and presented to His Majesty a token of esteem.
The Chancellor of the Æcademy, Mistress Alicia Langland, then addressed the populace and announced the next Æcademy in Spring would be in Angel’s Keep, and that she is still looking for a bid from Region 4 for Fall 2017 Æcademy. She also expressed her thanks to the teachers and offered gifts. Lastly, Her Excellency Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope was recognized for her years of service to the Æcademy and was named a Fellow of the Æcademy.
Sybil of Nithgaard was next called to attend Their Majesties. They spoke of her as a worker and a valued member of her group, and so did name her a Lady and Award her Arms. Scroll by Diane Southwick.
Their Majesties then had words for Baron Silvester Burchardt. They told of his prowess, and specifically spoke highly of his skill in melee combat. For these qualities They did induct him into the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll illuminated by His Excellency Master Caleb Reynolds with calligraphy by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.
Lord Tassim Treseol was brought before Their Majesties. Speaking of his valued service to Their Kingdom, particularly his service in the kitchen, Their Majesties did name him a companion of the Keystone. Scroll by Mistress Graidhne ni Ruaidh.
Their Majesties next wished to be attended by Lord Amano Zenjirou Nakatsune, and before the assembled populace praised him for his service in faithfully tending to the duties of the office of webminister and inducted him into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll forthcoming.
A call went out seeking THLord Madoc Arundel, who presented himself before The Crown. His service as voice herald was vast and difficult to overlook, and so Their Majesties saw it fitting to induct him into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll forthcoming.
Next, Their Majesties called for Lady Elena de la Palma. Their Majesties told of numerous instances of service; as retainer, chatelaine, autocrat, demo organizer, and so felt it just and proper to also name her a companion of the Keystone for these deeds. Scroll illuminated by Lady Vivienne of Yardley and calligraphed by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.
Lord Cormacc mac Gilla Bridghe was invited to join Their Majesties, who spoke at length of his courtesy and kindness, and recognized these traits by presenting him with a Cornelian. Scroll by Her Excellency Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
Seeking to be attended by THLord Aindreas mac Ghille Fhionntaigh, he did presented himself before Their Sylvan Majesties. Their Majesties told of his many long years of quiet service and teaching, his kindness and generosity, his contributions as a fencing marshal and ensuring that local events occur, and so were moved to bestow upon him the Æthelmearc Award of Excellence.
Having further business with THLord Madoc Arundel, Their Majesties once again called him forward. They recounted his skill and craftsmanship in the research and production of period drinks through his art of brewing and vinting. Recognizing that such skill is rare and when recognized should be properly rewarded, did call for the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc and did name THLord Madoc a companion of that Order. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.
Her Majesty then spoke of Her inspiration that day, a Lady whose strength and resolve is unwavering in the face of personal struggle, and bade Lady Wilhelmina Marion Bodnar, known as Mina, to attend, and did present Lady Mina with a Golden Escarbuncle.
Their Majesties then expressed gratitude for the scribes, wordsmiths, and other artisans who contributed their works and their time for today’s event so that others might be recognized, and Her Majesty presented each with personal tokens.
There being no further business, this Court of Their Majesties was closed.
Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta,
You can view the scrolls given at the Æcademy in the slide show below. All photos by Maestro Orlando.Click to view slideshow.
The British Museum just released its annual Treasure and Portable Antiquities Scheme report which announces archaeological findings made by members of the public in the preceding year. Among the whopping 82,272 finds reported in 2015 was a gold torc so huge it defies comprehension. Discovered by a metal detectorist on freshly ploughed farmland in East Cambridgeshire in September of last year, it is a four-flange spiral twisted bar torc dating to around 1300-1100 B.C., the Middle Bronze Age. Not counting the trumpet-shaped terminals at each end, the twisted bar is an exceptional 126.5cm (4’2″) long. The terminals are 108 and 107mm long, so just over four inches each, bringing the total length to more than 4’10″. At 732 grams (1.6 pounds) in weight, it is one of the heaviest bar torcs ever found in Britain and Ireland.
The find site is within 50 miles of Must Farm, the extraordinary bronze age village in the shadow of a chip factory on the edge of Peterborough.
“There was a lot going on in bronze age East Anglia,” said Neil Wilkin, the curator of bronze age Europe at the British Museum, “but it’s been a while since we’ve had anything as hefty as this.”
The torc is of the highest quality in materials and manufacture. It’s made of 86-87% gold and 12-13% silver (the remainder is copper), so 20-21 carat gold by modern standards. The four flanges are between 3.3 and 5mm long and are twisted counter-clockwise so expertly that the gap between them is consistently between 2.25 and 2.5mm for the entire length of the bar. Circular collars are fitted seamlessly between the bar and each terminal. How exactly they were mounted archaeologists haven’t been able to figure out yet, possibly by use of a solder with a different melting point than the gold of the bar and terminals, but tests have found no variation in the gold composition down the entire length of the torc, so if solder was used, it must have been incredibly subtle.
Torcs are usually thought of as jewelry worn around the neck, but unless there was an exceedingly wealthy and stylish Triceratops roaming around Bronze Age Cambridgeshire, this one cannot have been. It couldn’t have even been worn around someone’s waist. Because flange twisted torcs have never been found in burials, archaeologists don’t have any evidence to go on to determine how these giant torcs were worn. Suggestions include that it was worn as a sash, around the body from shoulder to hip, or possibly around the belly of a very pregnant woman as a protective talisman. It may even have adorned sacrificial sheep or goats.
The finder, who has chosen to remain anonymous, did not record the torc as he or she first found it so all experts have to go on is the finder’s vague description of it as “loosely bundled.” It was coiled but someone, and no one is naming names, opened it up into a single large loop and crossed the terminals before the discovery was reported to the Finds Liaison Officer.
The torc was reported to Helen Fowler at a finds meeting at Peterborough Museum, who said she was “gobsmacked” when it came out of the finder’s briefcase. The last torc she had handled was bracelet sized, but this one was far too big to fit on her weighing scales and she had to borrow a box from the museum to take it back to her office.
In addition to making it unwieldy, hard to weigh and materially altering a malleable, delicate archaeological treasure for no conceivable reason, the uncoiling damaged the flanges. In two places — about one third and two thirds along the length of the bar — the flanges are now distorted. In one of the spots, the edges of five twists have been scraped through the outer layer, exposing fresh gold. British Museum experts hope they’ll be able to figure out the original position of the torc at burial by examining the distorted places.
The torc has yet to be valued — a similar but smaller large-scale bar torc discovered in a bog in Northern Ireland in 2009 was valued at £150,000 — but whatever the final assessment, the Ely Museum hopes to acquire it.
Because your friendly neighborhood history blogger would never be so cruel as to report on a freaking huge gold torc without freaking huge pictures of said gold torc, your browser should probably stretch and do some light warm-ups before you click on these:
A metal detectorist has discovered two 11th century Viking silver coins near Newcastle in Co Down, Northern Ireland. Brian Morton was scanning a field last May when he found the silver pennies half an inch apart under four inches of mud. He didn’t know he’d found an extremely rare historical treasure. That was formally confirmed last week when a coroner’s inquest in Belfast declared the coins official treasure trove.
Made of 93% silver, the coins are of a rare type known as Hiberno-Manx coins. The rulers of Mann in the first half of the 11th century were Vikings from Scandinavia and from Dublin. Olaf Sigtryggsson, King of Mann in the early 1030s, was the son of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, King of Dublin, and his wife Sláine, daughter of Irish king and national hero Brian Boru. Viking Dublin had its own mint and issued coins which copied English designs. The Hiberno-Manx coins were very rough versions of the Dublin designs.
Despite the political and familial connections between Mann and Dublin and the numismatic mimicry, more than 90% of all known Hiberno-Manx coins have been found on the Isle of Man, which strongly suggests they circulated exclusively as currency on the island itself. The rest were found in Scandinavia. The two discovered by Brian Morton are the first to have been found in Ireland. (There are some in Irish private collections, but they were unearthed elsewhere or their find sites cannot be authenticated.)
How the coins made their way to the Co Down hinterland remains uncertain, but one possibility is that they were taken during a Viking raid on a nearby monastery at Maghera, the court was told. The discovery may also reflect more peaceful trading or strategic links between the Isle of Man and south-east Ulster.
Robert Heslip, a former curator of coins at the Ulster Museum, said they were probably dropped by someone passing rather than deliberately hidden.
Dr Greer Ramsey, of National Museums Northern Ireland, said: “We take coinage totally for granted but, prior to the Viking period in Ireland, there wasn’t coinage, and silver was the main form of currency. … The significance is that these coins are really the first that we can say were found in Ireland. It is a measure of contact – that people from the Isle of Man were travelling over.”
Next up for the coins is a valuation by independent experts at the British Museum. They’ll determine the fair market value which will be ponied up by whichever museum wants the coin as a finder’s fee to be split between Morton and the landowner. Local museums are given the opportunity to secure the treasure first, and given the oversized historical significance of these small pennies, I have little doubt the National Museums Northern Ireland, likely the Ulster Museum, will snap them up.
Mistress Alicia Langland, Chancellor of the Æcademy, reports on the doings at the fall session held on November 12, A.S. 51.
No matter whether you were hungry for a smorgasbord of classes or an all-day tuck-in, the recent Æthelmearc AEcademy and War College, hosted by the Shire of Nithgaard, surely had something of interest.
Some of the highlights on the menu included:
For those who craved a smattering of learning, the schedule included topics to tempt almost every taste. Accessories, Embroidery, Food, Literary Arts, Music, Soap-making and more were represented. Make-and-take classes as well as history and service-oriented classes were offered.
Many of the classes had never been offered at Æcademy before. For some teachers, this was their first time teaching at Æcademy; for a few, this was their first-ever teaching experience.
A testament to the excellent offerings on the schedule and to the event staff’s terrific publicity, attendance was nearly double what was expected. Kudos to the event staff – particularly the kitchen crew – for being so welcoming and accommodating.
Following the end of classes, Their Majesties capped the day with a court that had everyone in stitches. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.
We hope you will reserve Saturday, June 17, 2017, and plan to attend the next session of Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College, which will be held in the Shire of Angel’s Keep (central New York / Auburn NY).
An ancient turquoise-encrusted skull acquired by the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, the Netherlands, back in 1963 has been discovered to be a forgery. It was believed to be a very rare skull made by the Mixtec people of Postclassic Mexico (1200-1600 A.D.) who were renown for their craftsmanship in metal and precious stones. They made skulls and masks inlaid with turquoise, pyrite, gold and obsidian. Only about 20 Mixtec skulls decorated with precious stones are known to exist, but they are all of questionable origin. Their find sites and finders are unknown.
The National Museum of Ethnology bought theirs for the equivalent of about $20,000. Considered one of the greatest masterpieces of the genre, it is inlaid with small turquoise, shell and mother-of-pearl tiles all over the face, in circles around the eye sockets and larger rectangular tiles in the shape of a snake winding across the forehead. It was thought to date to around the 15th century.
Research into its origins took a new turn in 2010 when conservator Martin Berger heard from a colleague in Marseille that a private collector had recently donated a similar skull with the caveat that he suspected it might be a forgery. Between 2012 and 2016, Berger took the skull to Paris and back to Leiden where he and his colleagues subjected it to extensive testing. Radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analysis of tooth enamel samples found that the skull’s geographic origin and age indicated it was authentic Mixtec. The turquoise was authentic archaeological stone as well.
There was but one element left to test: the glue. The Mixtec made adhesives out of pine resin and orchids. Analysis of the glue used to affix the mosaic tiles to the skull discovered that it was a 20th century product commonly used in art restoration. That means someone in the 20th century took a genuine Mixtec skull and stuck genuine Mixtec mosaic tiles on it in a plausibly Mixtec style. So it’s a counterfeit made on an authentic foundation.
Conservators believe they know who might have done the job. There was a Mexican dentist working in the 1940s and 50s who was known to dabble in recreations of Mesoamerican artwork. In the mid-century period, Mexico’s archaeological sites were extensively looted and it would have been difficult to scare up a genuine skull and a bunch of genuine tiles. Apparently this dentist’s work appeared in more than one museum. He’s a suspect in this case because there is evidence that some of the teeth on the skull have been tampered with, and that was obviously in his professional wheelwell.
The National Museum of Ethnology is keeping the skull on display.
Asked whether he was disappointed by the revelation, Berger told the newspaper: “No.”
“In actual fact it’s given us a bizarre story and that’s exactly what museums want to do, to tell stories. It remains as one of our masterpieces — except, we’ve changed the information on the sign board.”
In any case, said Berger, the skull is only a “partial forgery”.
Greetings and a friendly reminder that College of 3 Ravens will be here before you know it!
I am class coordinator and am looking for classes and teachers. Please contact me to schedule your class, and include “C3R” in the subject line.
Her Avian Excellency Sadira and her Barony of Thescorre are pleased to invite you to the College of Three Ravens, which will be in held on January 28th, 2017. The College will take place at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622.
The site will open at 9 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Those present after 9 p.m. will be welcomed as volunteer clean-up crew. Classes will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until at least 4 p.m. The site is handicapped accessible and has ample parking.
We are anticipating a variety of classes. If you have a class that you would like to teach, please contact the Chancellor of Classes, Lady Adelheid Grunewalderin otfridssister at yahoo dot com – please include“C3R” in the subject line.
Event registration includes a sideboard lunch prepared by Lady Marguerite De Neufchasteau (Nancy Weed). For allergies and other food concerns, you may contact her at (315) 947-6968 (please no calls after 10pm) or nancyfuller1964 at yahoo dot com.
Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina is planning a Tudor-era English dinner with the help of the Cauldron Bleu Cooks Guild. For allergies and other food concerns, contact Katja at katja at thescorre dot org. The fee for feast will be $9 for adults and $5 for children. Seating is limited and cannot be guaranteed unless reserved by 1/20/17. (Head cook’s note: Anyone who wishes to play in the kitchen, please feel free to contact me.)
The site is dry (no alcohol is permitted) No flames, open or enclosed, are allowed.
Pre-reservation for this event is always appreciated for planning both the sideboard & feast. Please send reservations to the reservationist/tollner Baroness Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor (Wendy Sardella) 1728 Qualtrough Rd., Rochester, N.Y. 14625 (585) 264-1496. Please do not call after 9 p.m. Checks are to be made payable to SCA NY Inc – Barony of Thescorre. Please include modern name, SCAdian name and membership status for each person to be covered by your payment. Also, indicate if any are minors, and for whom feast reservations are desired. Inclusion of contact info will be invaluable in clarifications. As usual, the only good reservation is a paid reservation.
For further information or questions, please contact the autocrat: Lord Simon Caminante (James Fitch) jamesfitch3 at gmail dot com, (585) 802-2999 (voice or text, calls before 9 am will not be answered by a properly caffineated autocrat) 5315 W Henrietta Rd, Henrietta, NY 14467.
Directions: Take your best route to I-90 (the NYS Thruway), Exit 43 (Route 21). Turn left on Route 21 North. Follow Route 21 6.2 miles to Route 31. Cross Route 31 onto Church Street and turn right into the Church parking lot.
Submitted by The Honorable Lord Madoc Arundel, Region 2 Representative of the Æthelmearc Brewers Guild:
The Brewers Guild of Æthelmearc held their annual competition at Bacon and Brewing Bash III on October 22 in the Shire of Hunter’s Home. This is the third iteration of this competition and the second time it has been used to choose a regional champion. Judging was done face-to-face with each contestant, and involved two judges using the current A&S rubric for brewing and vintning (posted on the Guild website). This year, entries were limited to beer/ale, mead, wine, and hard cider. A total of five brewers entered nine beverages for consideration, although only seven of the beverages were eligible for the championship as the other two were submitted by a competitor from outside Region 2.
The overall winner of the competition was Lady Rhiannon filia Catell of the Barony of the Cleftlands with a score of 104/120 for a cinnamon melomel that one judge was heard to proclaim “tasted like Christmas.” The winner of the Region 2 Championship was Baron Rauthbjorn Lothbroke with a score of 96/120 for an aged pyment that had an extraordinarily rich flavor.
The other entries included:
Congratulations to the winners, and vivant to all the entrants. Remember – it’s not too late to start brewing for next year.
An excavation in Yehud, Israel, prior to construction of new housing has unearthed a unique ancient pottery jug topped with a figurine in a reflective posture reminiscent of Rodin’s “The Thinker.” The clay vessel was discovered on the last day of the dig by a team of professional archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority and very fortunate high school students in an archaeology-themed matriculation stream. It was one of several artifacts and remains — daggers, arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones and the bones of another animal, probably a donkey — found with the jug. Archaeologists believe at least some of these were funerary offerings for a prominent individual, and an extraordinarily rich array of grave goods at that.
The pot-bellied jug with a spigot on one side of the neck is of a shape and style common to the Middle Bronze Age period about 3,800 years ago, but the figurine attached to the neck is one of a kind. Nothing like it has been found before. The figurine appears to have been added after the basic vessel was complete. Archaeologists aren’t sure if the same potter who made the jug also created the figurine. It’s possible a second artisan created it, using the neck of the jug as the torso of the figure and then adding the arms, leg and face.
The figure sits on top of the jug, his knees bent and left arm crossing both knees. His right arm is bent, elbow behind the other arm on his knee, his hand holding his chin as if he is deep in thought. The degree of detail is exceptional and very unusual for pottery of the period.
The students who got to see this charming figure excavated are thrilled.
“Suddenly I saw many archaeologists and important people arriving who were examining and admiring something that was uncovered in the ground” recalls Ronnie Krisher, a pupil in the Land of Israel and Archaeology stream in the Roeh religious girls high school in Ramat Gan. “They immediately called all of us to look at the amazing statuette and explained to us that this is an extremely rare discovery and one that is not encountered every day. It is exciting to be part of an excavation whose artifacts will be displayed in the museum”.
Caesarean sections have the reputation of being named after Julius Caesar because he was delivered surgically from his mother Aurelia. That is a myth that grew from a misunderstanding of the ancient sources in the 10th century. Pliny states in Natural History (Book VII, Chapter 7) that the dictator’s branch of the Julius family acquired the cognomen of Caesar because the first to bear the name was excised from his mother’s womb (from the Latin “caedo,” meaning “to cut”). In other words, the Caesars were named after the section, not the other way around, and Julius just inherited the moniker. Anyway Aurelia lived for many years after her son’s birth, and c-sections were only performed on dead or dying women because an abdominal incision was considered impossible to survive at that time.
It was impossible for a very long time after Caesar, as a matter of fact. Without anesthesia, the pain from abdominal surgery would cause massive traumatic shock. If that didn’t kill you on the spot, the blood loss would. If by some miracle the mother managed to survive the immediate dangers, infection would surely finish the job. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that the advances in surgical procedure — Listerism to combat infection, anesthetics like ether, nitrous oxide and chloroform to keep shock at bay — made caesarean sections a consistently survivable option for emergency delivery.
There are a few reports of women managing to survive c-sections from before modern surgery. The earliest dates to 1500 and was first included as a case history almost a century later in a 1581 obstetrics monograph, L’hysterotomotokie ou enfantement césarien, by Parisian physician Francois Rousset who named the procedure after Caesar. The mother was the wife of a swine-gelder named Jacob Nufer from Turgau, Switzerland. After days of labour and with both his wife and baby in mortal danger, Nufer appealed to the town council to let him try to operate on his wife since none of the local surgeons were willing to take the risk. Assisted by a midwife and a cutter of bladder stones, Nufer cut into his wife and delivered a living child abdominally. Mrs. Nufer not only survived, but went on to have four more children. There are some records backing up the story, but there is no specific reference to the uterus being cut, so some scholars believe it was a laparotomy for sudden, acute abdominal pain rather than a caesarean.
Now obstetrician and medical historian Dr. Antonin Parizek of Charles University believes he may have found an earlier case: Beatrice of Bourbon, wife of the King of Bohemia John of Luxembourg who gave birth to their son in Prague in 1337. Beatrice was very young when she married the widowed king, just 14 years old, and it was not the happiest of matches. She had no interest in learning Czech of even German and was really only able to communicate with Blanche of Valois, the wife of her stepson (and future Holy Roman Emperor) Charles. King John spent all of two months at his court in Prague with his new bride in 1336, which was long enough to impregnate her. On February 25, 1337, Wenceslaus was born.
The only contemporary records of his birth that have survived are two letters from Beatrice announcing the birth in Latin. They do not mention a c-section. In fact, she goes out of her way to say that her son was born “salva incolumitate nostri corporis,” an unusual phrasing which directly translates to “without breaching our body.” The health of the mother is almost never mentioned in comparable announcements from 14th century from members of the Luxembourg and Bourbon dynasties. The focus is on the child. It’s odd that she even went there. Parizek believes her insistence that her body was intact was a response to rumors of surgical intervention in a difficult birth. Beatrice had to yet to be crowned Queen of Bohemia, and there was a strong association of the bodies of rulers, chosen by God, as physical manifestations of their souls and as symbols of the church. A large slice across the gut through which the king’s son had had to be fished out did not fit the mold of sacred and inviolate royal bodies.
It’s later sources that declare outright that Wenceslaus was born by c-section. The earliest is an early 15th century Flemish rhyming chronicle, Brabantsche Yeesten, by an anonymous author. There are verses in the chronicle that state that the boy was “taken from his mother’s body” and her wound healed. The author is amazed by this, because he had only ever heard of such an operation being performed on Julius Caesar. In 1549, Richard de Wassebourg, archdeacon of the Verdun Cathedral, reported the event in his book Antiquitez de la Gaule Belgique. At Wenceslaus birth, he said, “his mother Beatrice was opened up without dying.” Another reference is found in Mars Moravicus, written by Thomas Pesina of Čechorod, Vicar General and the Chapter Dean St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, in 1677. Pesina states: “John had a son named Wenceslaus, taken from the queen Beatrice of Bourbon, or rather from the maternal womb, without endangering the mother, rarely such a lucky example of recovery [or healthy fertility].”
If Beatrice really did survive a caesarean in 1337, it was a perfect storm of very good luck for her and the future Duke of Luxembourg, her son.
Prague was a center of education, but also of the medical care of the royal family. In light of the health of John of Bohemia [-- he suffered from ophthalmia and was basically blind by the time he married Beatrice --] a number of the most educated physicians of the time were present around the king. It can be presumed that they had the skills for the procedure, that is, cutting out a fetus from a dead or dying pregnant woman. Considering what we know, it can be rejected a priori that it was a case of deliberately saving the mother. In fact, the abdominal removal of the child from an apparently dead mother could partly explain the event described.
If that is indeed what happened, then with likelihood bordering on certainty Beatrice of Bourbon was considered to be dead when the procedure occurred. One explanation could be seizures as a complication of eclampsia. The cut would have had to be made immediately after the onset of such a state. The pain from the operation may have been the reason for a change in consciousness or awakening, and the stress reaction of the mother could also hypothetically explain why she did not bleed to death.
Suturing of wounds, especially of the abdominal wall, was a completely unknown procedure at that time. And that later complications did not arise from the non-sterile environment the operation was performed in push this hypothesis to the edge of reality. On the other hand, there is written evidence that using similar methods, with no anesthesia, surgical hemostasis or antiseptic conditions, the first experiments removing children through the abdomen after labor lasting several days were performed in the 17th to 19th centuries, and almost always in a home setting. It was very rare, but some women survived these operations.
Beatrice never had another child, which is another tick in the caesarean column, but she ended up outliving her first husband, who died in a famous charge against the English at the Battle of Crécy in 1346, by almost 40 years. Blind and 50 years old but still keen to fight, John tied his horse to his knights’ and rode fearlessly against the enemy. His was the only charge to break through the English lines, and the English killed them all. Beatrice also outlived all of her stepsons and even her son Wenceslaus, albeit only by 16 days.
You can read the whole fascinating paper published in the journal Ceska Gynekologie in English here. It touches on the history of c-sections, surgery, sutures, anesthetics and antiseptics, as well as on the specific case of Beatrice of Bourbon.
The Society College of Heralds runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.
An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.
The following results are from the September 2016 Wreath and Pelican meetings.
Alric the Younger. Name.
The byname the younger is found in the Oxford English Dictionary, dated to the 15th century.
Astriðr Sægeirsdottir. Name and device. Azure, two musical notes and a spool of thread Or.
Submitted as Astriðr Sægeirrsdottir, the genitive (possessive) form of Sægeirr is Sægeirs, so we have changed the byname to Sægeirsdottir to register this name.
Beatrice della Rocca. Name.
Nice 15th century Italian name!
Bella di Sicilia. Name.
Both elements are found in “Names of Jews in Rome In the 1550’s” by Yehoshua ben Haim haYerushalmi (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/Jewish/rome_article), making this a nice 16th century name for a Jewish woman living in Rome!
Brennan MacFergus. Badge. (Fieldless) On a wolf’s pawprint sable a ducal coronet Or.
There is a step from period practice for the use of a pawprint.
Bryniarr Ísólfsson. Name.
Nice 13th century Norse name!
Conn mac Branáin. Name and device. Ermine, six acorns azure.
Nice 12th century Irish Gaelic name!
The submitter has permission to conflict with the badge of Stephan of Silverforge: Quarterly per fess indented azure and argent, six acorns azure.
Endewearde, Barony of. Branch name change from Endeweard, Barony of.
The Old English wearde is only found prior to 1200, but is unattested in Old English place names. Ende was documented in the Letter of Intent as an Old English word, but all of the examples provided were as a Middle English deuterotheme (second element). Examples of “End” as a prototheme (first element) include Thendmoore (1586) and Endmoore (17th century), found in Watts, s.n. Endmoor, and Endegat (1201) and Endegate (1208) found in Ekwall, s.n. Ingate. The Old English -wearde cannot be combined with the Middle English Ende- in the same name phrase.
However, we can construct the barony’s preferred spelling entirely in Middle English. A place named le Wearde is found in the 13th century (‘Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 98’, in Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem: Volume 3, Edward I; http://www.british-history.ac.uk/inquis-post-mortem/vol3/pp489-508). The family name Ende (derived from the toponym atte Ende) is found in the late 14th century (An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk; http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol1/pp345-359). Compound place names formed from the pattern family name + place name are found in Juliana de Luna’s “Compound Placenames in English” (http://medievalscotland.org/jes/EnglishCompoundPlacenames/). Therefore, we are able to register the barony’s preferred form.
The barony’s previous name, Barony of Endeweard, is released.
Endewearde, Barony of. Order name change to Order of the Beacon of Endewearde from Order of the Beacon of Endeweard.
The previous order name, Order of the Beacon of Endeweard, is released.
Endewearde, Barony of. Order name change to Order of the Keystone of Endewearde from Order of the Keystone of Endeweard.
The previous order name, Order of the Keystone of Endeweard, is released.
Endewearde, Barony of. Order name change to Order of the Portcullis of Endewearde from Order of the Portcullis of Endeweard.
The previous order name, Order of the Portcullis of Endeweard, is released.
Eowyn Eilonwy of Alewife Brook. Heraldic will.
Upon her demise, Eowyn grants blanket permission to conflict for any names and armory that are not identical to her own.
Erich Guter Muth. Name and device. Azure, a serpent in annulo vorant of its own tail and a chief rayonny argent.
Submitted as Erich Gutermuth, the byname was an undated header form found in Bahlow/Gentry. As commenters were unable to date this element, we have changed the byname to Guter Muth with the submitter’s permission in order to register this name.
Erich Guter Muth. Badge. (Fieldless) A goose volant to sinister gules.
Gyða Úlfsdóttir. Device. Per pale purpure and argent, a sword between two wolves combattant counterchanged.
Please advise the submitter to draw the sword wider so it is easier to identify.
Hedda Bonesetter. Device. Azure, a comet bendwise sinister inverted Or between in bend two bones fracted argent, on the head of the comet a mullet of six points gules.
Ile du Dragon Dormant, Baronnie de l’. Order name Award of Dragons Scale.
In commentary, Siren noted that escama (“scale”, as in scale mail) is used in a 15th century Spanish order name, named after its badge of a circle of scales.
Jean Michel le Vaud. Name and device. Per saltire sable and gules, a wolf rampant argent and in chief a crescent Or.
Leo MacCullan. Name and device. Sable, a lion’s head erased and on a chief argent a mullet of four points in dexter sable.
Leonora of Østgarðr. Holding name and device (see PENDS for name). Per chevron gules and Or, three lions couchant counterchanged.
Submitted under the name Leonora da Ferrara.
Mærhild æt Anestige. Name and device. Lozengy sable and argent, three fig leaves in pall stems conjoined vert, a bordure Or.
Submitted as Mærhild of Anestig, a timely correction to the Letter of Intent noted that the submitter preferred the byname æt Anestige. We are happy to make this change.
Nishi’o Kageme. Name and device. Or, three hexagons gules each charged with a daisy argent and in chief a increscent azure.
Submitted as Nishi’o Kageme, the name inadvertently appeared in the Letter of Intent as Kagame. We have restored it to the submitted form.
There is a step from period practice for the use of hexagons.
Ragnarr bláskegg. Name.
Nice Old Icelandic name!
Simon Talbot. Name and device. Azure, a chevron Or mullety azure betwen three talbots passant Or.
The submitter requested authenticity for Elizabethan England. Both elements are found in London in 1582, so this name meets the submitter’s request.
Ulf Jagenteufel. Name and device. Gules, a bend per bend nebuly argent and sable between five open books Or.
Ulf is the submitter’s legal given name.
Ulfgeirr Ragnarsson. Badge. (Fieldless) Within and conjoined to the attires of a stag’s head caboshed sable a mullet of four points elongated to base argent.
There is a step from period practice for the use of a mullet elongated to base.
Violet Hughes. Device change. Purpure, a punner argent.
Leonora da Ferrara. Name.
Following the Pelican decision meeting, the question was raised whether this name presumes upon that of Eleanor of Naples, also known as Leonora of Aragon, who was the first Duchess of Ferrara. Therefore, we are pending this name to allow a discussion on this issue.
Ferrara was documented in the Letter of Intent from Florentine Renaissance Resources: Online Tratte of Office Holders 1282-1532, which normalized the place names. The submitted spelling is also found in “Some Names From Giovanni Boccaccio’s Il Decameron” by Giata Magdalena Alberti (2013 KWHSS Proceedings).
Her device is registered under the holding name Leonora of Østgarðr.
This was item 20 on the East letter of June 30, 2016.
Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: heraldric submissions, LoAR