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From the Kingdom Seneschal on Events

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-08-17 09:43

Unto the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, Greetings from Duke Christopher, Seneschal. Please read the following missive from the Society Seneschal
and make sure that your groups are conforming to this policy when entering into any kind of contract.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Christopher
Seneschal, Æthelmearc

This is a formal communication from the Vice President of Operations, SCA
Inc. (Society Seneschal) and must be implemented immediately.

1.  In terms of contracts, only seneschals should be signing contracts for events or services. If the seneschal chooses to designate the autocrat/steward (i.e. a deputy seneschal) as the signatory to a contract, that contract must first be completely read and reviewed by the ranking seneschal before the ranking seneschal gives authority IN WRITING to the designated deputy (autocrat/steward). As such, the Kingdom Seneschal must review all contracts for Kingdom events, Principality Seneschal for
Principality events or Baronial Seneschals for Baronial events; in terms of all other local events, the local group seneschal must review the contract for the event prior to granting the autocrat/steward the authority to sign the contract and this must b in writing. In the event the seneschal wishes to designate a deputy (autocrat/steward) to sign the contract, that signatory must be an actual and recognized/authorized deputy Seneschal with a valid membership (i.e. autocrat/steward) and said contract must be first reviewed by the ranking Seneschal (Kingdom Seneschal, Principality Seneschal, Baronial Seneschal et al.).

2.  In terms of contracts calling for something other than the usual surety of a “named insured” insurance policy, the contract must be submitted to the Society Seneschal (V.P. of Operations), Renee (V.P. of Corporate Operations and the President of the SCA.  If the written contracts calls for any surety, indemnification, provision for repayment or action in furtherance of acting to bind the SCA Inc. to some known or
unknown liability, then that contract must be submitted to the Society Seneschal, Renee and President. This excludes security deposits  We are currently dealing with a landowner who is requiring something other than a “named insured” policy and this requirement of indemnification/additional surety is causing a great deal of concern.  As such, if you see something in a contract that proposes that the SCA accept some form of liability (anticipated or not anticipated), acceptance of indemnification, offer of a surety– in short, anything that is not a simple and usual “named insured” policy– you must forward that contract. If you are unsure about a contract, send it to me for review. Trust me, no one wants to explain why the SCA is now on the hook for something either anticipated or not anticipated pursuant to a contract, i.e. in this case, it is paramount that permission is sought prior to the signing of this type of contract.

3.  This is a reminder in view of the theft of golf carts this year…always obtain insurance for all moveable items rented as anything moveable can be stolen; this includes but is not limited to golf carts, rented trailers, rented trucks et al.  If it has wheels, ask the renting agency to provide us with the opportunity to seek insurance.  Stolen moveable items are not covered by the SCA’s insurance and the cost of the stolen item will be the responsibility of the group hosting the event.

4.  Equestrian insurance if acquired [sic] if there are any horses present at any event or demo (demonstration); even if it is just one horse for people to view in an enclosed arena, equestrian insurance must be obtained. Horses and their “accidents” are considered strict liability under the law because horses are inherently dangerous, i.e. even if we are not negligent, the SCA will be liable. Even if there is a single horse present at an event, Equestrian Insurance must be obtained. If there is no equestrian insurance and someone wants to bring their horse to the event, that horse is prohibited from entry in terms of the event. If you are unsure about the circumstances, please contact me immediately.

Please disseminate this information to all of your local group seneschals, autocrats/stewards of Inter-Kingdom Wars and all Equestrian Officers.


Categories: SCA news sites

Obsidian biface cache found in Willamette Valley

History Blog - Tue, 2016-08-16 23:10

A rare cache of Native American two-faced stone tools known as bifaces has been discovered on private property in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The landowner, who prefers to remain anonymous, discovered the obsidian pieces with the telltale flaked edges of flintknapping while digging a pond and notified the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. Assistant State Archaeologist John Pouley excavated the find site and unearthed a total of 15 blank trade bifaces, tools shaped by flintknappers for trade but left incomplete.

“For starters, we wouldn’t know the site existed if the landowner hadn’t reached out to our office to report the find,” Pouley said. “Aside from the importance of his stewardship, the biface cache is additionally a rare type of archaeological site.

“Of approximately 35,000 recorded archaeological sites in Oregon, few, likely less than 25, consist of biface caches, he added. “Of the known biface cache sites, it is believed to be the first recorded in the Willamette Valley.”

Archaeologists were able to trace the origin of the obsidian from its chemical composition to Obsidian Cliffs in the Central Oregon Cascades more than 100 miles east of the Willamette Valley. The rough shaping was done there. It’s not clear how they ended up in the valley in the traditional territory of the Santiam Band of the Kalapuya. The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation were consulted by archaeologists during the dig for insight into the artifacts and their movements.

Blank bifaces are rare. The vast majority discovered are finished tools — hand axes, knives, spear tips, arrowheads — stockpiled and buried. Biface caches have been found all over the world dating back as far as 20,000 years ago. Sometimes they appear as burial offerings in a funerary context. Other times they are buried in isolated locations probably for storage purposes with the intent of later retrieval. The Willamette Valley cache is of the latter type and is between 1,000 to 4,000 years old.

There is no equivalent of the UK’s treasure trove law in the United States. All archaeological objects (save for Native American human remains and related funerary objects) found on private land belong to the landowners. The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office doesn’t know what the landowner plans to do with the bifaces. He can keep them, donate them to a museum or another institution or a tribe. He could sell them, for that matter, but given his responsible reporting of the find, which he was in no way legally obligated to do, perhaps he’ll take the more civic-minded approach. He already took advantage of the unique opportunity to have middle school students observe the excavation as a field trip.

The cache gave them a tangible piece of history, said a teacher who accompanied the students to the site. Adding, “When we study the history of ancient native peoples of this area, we can now speak more fully to a complexity of culture — trade routes, the manufacturing of goods, migratory patterns–and then point to artifacts like those found here and show our students the evidence.”

Pouley plans to publish a formal archaeological report in a peer-reviewed journal and he will also share his findings with those students and the rest of the pre-K through 12th grade Abiqua Academy.

You can get a glimpse of the excavation of the 15th biface in this video:

In this one Assistant State Archaeologist John Pouley discusses the biface cache:

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Have You Smiled Lately?

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2016-08-16 20:35

The AmazonSmile program has been benefitting the SCA for almost a year – have you Smiled lately?

If you shop at Amazon.com, the SCA can benefit from your purchases at no additional charge (or hassle) to you!

Here’s how: Go to smile.amazon.com. Sign into your account and a pop up page will appear. In the “search” box type in: Society for Creative Anachronism and click the search button. Click on the top one and you are done. Your donations will be automatic for any purchase within the Amazon Smile program (which is most merchandise). You can also use this link.

Amazon will donate 0.5% of each purchase to the Society for Creative Anachronism. These donations will be deposited quarterly from the AmazonSmile Foundation into a separate SCA corporate account dedicated for these donations. 


Categories: SCA news sites

Updated Information from Their Highnesses on Pollings

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-08-16 15:11

Photo by Lady Lavina Attewode

Members of Our Noble Orders:

As we mentioned at our order meetings at Pennsic, it has come to our attention that several recommendations were not picked up during our first polling. To fix this issue and to make sure everyone recommended is on the polls, here is what we are going to do.

First
We will be extending the due date of the current 1st poll one week so it is now due August 29th at 11:59 PM.

Second
We will send out a second polling with the missing recommendations in the next few days.

Third
We will likely do a third Polling at some point following coronation.

In general, we will send out all recommendations that we receive in order to gain feedback on any candidate. We trust you, Our Orders of High Merit and Peerage to give us the feedback We need to make informed decisions.

Thanks you for your patience and participation. If you have any questions about this or any other matter, please feel free to contact us.

In Service to the East,

Brion Princeps
Anna Principessa


Filed under: Announcements Tagged: pollings

Skeleton may be ancient Greek human sacrifice

History Blog - Mon, 2016-08-15 23:54

The skeleton of a teenager unearthed on Mount Lykaion in the central Peloponnese region of Arcadia may be evidence that repeated references to human sacrifice in Greek mythology, literature and philosophy may have some truth to them. According to local legend, Zeus was born and raised on Mount Lykaion (Mount Ida in Crete is more commonly cited as his birthplace) and the mountain was sacred to him. Lycaon, the legendary first king of Arcadia, was said to have built a sanctuary to the god on the mountain and sacrificed a human baby to him, spilling its blood on the altar. Other versions of the story have Lycaon roasting parts of his own son or grandson and feeding them to Zeus as a test of his divine powers.

Whatever the sacrificial method, Zeus was less than pleased, transforming Lycaon into a wolf in punishment. The wolf king’s name is the root of lycanthropy and elements of the myth were incorporated into literary and folk traditions about werewolves. The 2nd century geographer Pausanias in his Description of Greece recounts the myth and finds it persuasive even though later embelishments gave the truthful Lycaon origin story the ring of falsehood.

It is said, for instance, that ever since the time of Lycaon a man has changed into a wolf at the sacrifice to Lycaean Zeus, but that the change is not for life; if, when he is a wolf, he abstains from human flesh, after nine years he becomes a man again, but if he tastes human flesh he remains a beast for ever.

Werewolf lore aside, there is an ancient sanctuary of Zeus on the southern peak of Mount Lykaion at almost 4,600 feet of altitude. Since 2004, the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project, a collaboration of the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the University of Arizona, has been surveying and excavating the site, exploring both the upper sanctuary, the sacrificial altar at the peak, and the lower sanctuary, a large complex of monumental buildings including a hippodrome, stadium, baths and an administrative building. The Lykaia festival and games were held there to honor Zeus. They found evidence of use of the Mount Lykaion site — early Helladic pottery sherds — dating back 5,000 years, although there is no indication Zeus was worshipped that early.

There is, however, unmistakable evidence of copious animal sacrifices at the upper sanctuary from at least the 16th century B.C. in the Mycenaean period until around 300 B.C.: an ash altar 100 feet broad built up over more than a thousand years of burnt offerings. Tens of thousands of animals, mainly goats and sheep, were sacrificed and burned there for Zeus’ pleasure. This summer, the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project discovered a man-made stone platform. Neaby in the ash altar, they found a human burial, the first ever discovered at a sanctuary positively bursting with animal remains.

The skeleton was on its back in a narrow trench dug into the ash and charred earth. The remains are in good condition, almost intact save for the upper part of the skull which is missing. They belong to an adolescent, probably male. He was laid out on an east-west orientation and both north and south sides of the trench are lined with field stones. More stone slabs cover the pelvis. This burial method is very unusual. Ceramics found buried with the body date to the late Mycenaean period, around the 11th century B.C., during the transition from the late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age.

David Gilman Romano, professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona, who participated in the dig on Mount Lykaion said classical writers linked the remote peak with human sacrifice. According to legend, a young boy would be sacrificed with animals, before the human and animal meat was cooked and eaten. “Several ancient literary sources mention rumours that human sacrifice took place at the altar but up until a few weeks ago there has been no trace whatsoever of human bones discovered at the site,” said Romano.

“Whether it’s a sacrifice or not, this is a sacrificial altar … so it’s not a place where you would bury an individual,” he said. “It’s not a cemetery.”

The remains will be studied for confirmation of age, sex, date and hopefully any indications of cause of death. Even if additional analysis is inconclusive, only 7% of the altar has been excavated in four years, so future excavations may answer some questions about how the ancient Greeks sacrificed to their gods. The Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey will continue to excavate the site until 2020.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Polling Award Recommendations Due August 22nd

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2016-08-15 19:22

Editor’s Note: Since this article was published, Their Highnesses have announced a change in the polling schedule. Updated information is available here.

Polling Orders: Prince Brion and Princess Anna’s first polling of awards is due on the 22nd of August 2016. Please send Them your recommendations no later than this date, and, as always, early is better.


Filed under: Court, Law and Policy, Official Notices Tagged: award recommendations, awards, polling deadlines, polling orders, pollings

Peerages at Æthelmearc Pennsic Court

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-08-15 15:05

The Court of King Byron and Queen Ariella on Tuesday of War week saw three peerage elevations along with two Writs for the Laurel.

Duke Timothy of Arindale was elevated to the Order of the Pelican for his work inspiring the martial community.

Duke Timothy listens to his scroll being read.

THLady Alfrun ketta was elevated to the Order of the Laurel for her fiber arts work.

THLady Alfrun laughs at comments by Master Morien MacBain speaking as a Pelican.

Mistress Irene von Schmetterling was inducted into the Order of the Laurel for her sewing, knitting, and fiber arts.

Mistress Irene consents to be made a Laurel.

Sir Ian Kennovan received a Writ for the Laurel for his skill in cooking and crafting sotelties; elevation to occur at Coronation in September.

Sir Ian receives a Writ for the Laurel.

THLady Solveig Throndardottir received a Writ for the Laurel for her work in heraldic research of Japanese names and insignia. Elevation was held in the Clan Yama Kaminari camp on Wednesday of War week.

THLady Solveig bows as Their Majesties announce her Writ for the Laurel.

Also at Pennsic, Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc was inducted into the Order of Defense after playing the prize on the battlefield.

Don Clewin is made a Master of Defense. Photo by Baron Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg.

As previously reported, THLord Kieran MacRae received a Writ for the Laurel on Sunday night at the Debatable Lands Baronial Dinner at Pennsic, elevation to occur at Agincourt in October.

All photos not otherwise attributed are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.


Categories: SCA news sites

Lost Dürer engraving found in French flea market

History Blog - Sun, 2016-08-14 23:34

An 500-year-old engraving by Albrecht Dürer lost since World War II turned up in flea market in France. A retired archaeologist and art collector found copperplate engraving entitled Mary Crowned by an Angel at a stall of assorted tchotchkes in Sarrebourg in northeastern France close to the German border. Priced to move at just a few euros, the engraving had been acquired by the stall owner at a home clearance sale. Mary Crowned by an Angel

The buyer recognized it as a Dürer engraving and quickly bought it. When he examined it more closely, he saw a stamp on the back from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Being a responsible, law-abiding type, he looked it up in the database of the German Lost Art Foundation which registers cultural items that were illegally seized usually by Nazis but also by other looters from private owners and institutions. The entry in the database confirmed that it was stolen and the new owner decided to return it to the museum. He and his wife went to the museum in person, long-lost Dürer engraving in hand, and gave it back.

“We are very grateful that, after more than 70 years, the work came to the hands of an art lover who did not keep his valuable find for themselves, but returned it to the public instead,” the museum’s director Christiane Lange said on Thursday.

How it got from Stuttgart 130 miles west to Sarrebourg is a mystery. It was likely stolen from storage at the end of the war in 1945 and crossed the border for a surreptitious sale. We know that at some point after the war it belonged to a former deputy mayor of Sarrebourg. None of the post-war owners can claim good faith since the stamp on the back of the engraving makes it clear that its legitimate owner was a museum.

At least the illegitimate owners treated it right, keeping it wrapped in paper and preserving it for 70 years. The engraving is in excellent condition, complete with the original matting. It depicts Mary holding a chubby baby Jesus (who looks, it must be said, distinctly over it all) while being crowned by an angel. It’s part of series of 15 engravings of Mary and the Christ Child Dürer printed at different times over the years.

The museum has not put the prodigal Mary on display yet. Officials are contemplating the best setting for their returned treasure. Perhaps a special Dürer exhibition is in order since the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart has an extensive collection of 250 prints by Dürer.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic 45 A&S War Point

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-08-14 12:02

This year marks the second in a row that an Arts & Sciences competition was included in the War Point count. The East and Middle were each represented by 15 Champions, including allies. While Kingdoms were allowed to include members of the Order of the Laurel among their champions this year, there was a limit to the number of Laurels per Kingdom. Points were awarded based on votes from members of the populace who held a Kingdom level or higher A&S award like the Sycamore, Fleur, or Laurel.

Since this war was East vs. Middle, only five slots were available for Æthelmearc artisans on the Eastern side, but we were mightily represented by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen’s woodblock printing; knitting and fiber arts by Mistress Irene von Schmetterling (who received her Laurel at Kingdom court on Tuesday of War week); soaps made by Lady Elska Fjarfell, who is our current Kingdom A&S Champion; glass made by Lady Kalishka Peredslava; and ceramic tiles made by Lord Ian Campbell of Glen Mor.

Click to view slideshow.

According to King Byron, “If my memory serves, the 15 Champions of the Midrealm and its allies scored 411 points, while the 15 Champions of the East and its allies scored 526. The 5 AEthelmearc Champions were responsible for 262 of those [Eastern] points. It was wonderful to stand with HRM Avelina of the East at the conclusion of the competition and congratulate all 30 of the Champions on their tremendous work.”

His Majesty further noted that the silver lining of martial activities being cancelled due to excessive heat that afternoon was that He was able to spend much of his time at the A&S competition.

King Byron addresses the competitors after the A&S War Point competition.

The slideshow below includes samples of the many other wonderful entries.

Click to view slideshow.

All photos by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.


Categories: SCA news sites

Roman phallus pendant found in Horncastle

History Blog - Sat, 2016-08-13 23:45

A metal detectorist has discovered a Roman phallus charm in a field near Horncastle, Lincolnshire. Made of copper-alloy, the phallus weighs 11.6 grams and is 45.41 mm (1.8 inches) long. It’s curved in profile, with two spheres at one end representing testicles and two thin grooves run down the length of the underside with notched ribs between them. It was worn as a pendant from a loop in the center. Comparison with similar examples suggest a date of 120-300 A.D.

Phalluses were widespread in the Roman empire. They were talismans of protection against the evil eye, a curse that could be inflicted by individuals or by entire tribes that were believed to be collectively well-endowed with evil eye powers. The phallic deity Fascinus was thought to be protect against such spells, so his small, portable representatives performed the same function. They were extremely popular with the Roman soldiers. They were worn as pendants on necklaces and as decoration on cavalry horse harnesses.

Because they were so common in the army, phallus amulets can be found all over the empire. Britain is no exception. In fact, it’s particularly rich in phalluses. The largest collection of phallus amulets with the fist or the “fig sign” warding gesture at one end was discovered in Camulodunum, modern-day Colchester in Essex, the first capital of Roman Britain. Very few have been found in Lincolnshire, however.

The Horncastle phallus is similar to several horse harness pendants, but it could have been worn around the neck by a civilian. It wasn’t found on the site of a fort or other known army encampment. Phallus pendants were worn by adults and children — they were considered very effective against harm to a child — with no connection to the military.

It doesn’t have quite the rarity and cachet of the gold phallus pendant found in Hillington, Norfolk, in 2011, and since it’s not made of precious metals, it won’t be declared treasure trove which means the finder gets to keep the piece. That’s way better than gold, as far as I’m concerned. If I found something like that, I’d wear it every day.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Mexican sword tip from 1830s found at Alamo

History Blog - Fri, 2016-08-12 23:29

The excavation at the Alamo has unearthed an intriguing fragment from the same period of the doomed defense of the fort that has been immortalized in film, literature and legend. It’s the broken tip of a sword, a piece about six inches long from a type of sabre known as a briquet which was manufactured in France from the Napoleonic era through 1860 and was sold to the Spanish and Mexican infantry. It would have been issued to a non-commissioned officer in the Mexican army.

The object was discovered in the area of the south wall gate where the adobe bricks were discovered. That was considered the weakest part of the fort and it saw a great deal of military action, but this is the first confirmed military artifact recovered thus far at the south wall.

Military artifacts expert Sam Nesmith, director of the Texas Institute and Museum of Military History, identified it as a Mexican briquet. He dates by its design to between October 1835 and February 1836. Until December of 1835, the Alamo was held by General Martin Perfecto de Cos, General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s brother-in-law, who ordered extensive modifications and fortifications, including strengthening the south gate right. After 56 days of siege, Cos surrendered San Antonio and the Alamo to Texian forces in December. Just a hundred men held the fort for the next two months. In the chaos of the period, requests for reinforcements went unfulfilled by the Texas government.

On February 23rd, Santa Anna, Cos and the Mexican army arrived in San Antonio and turned the tables. They besieged the Alamo for 13 days. On March 6, 1836, they attacked. Colonel Juan Morales was tasked with assaulting the south wall and gate with 100 infantry. The defenders, Davy Crockett and his Tennesseans, put up a strong fight, forcing Morales’ men to shift to the southwest corner of the palisade. They broke through there. Morales’ men turned the cannon onto the barracks and to the artillery installation on the roof of the Alamo church. Davy Crockett and James Bowie were killed in this assault.

If the dating proves accurate, this sword tip could have broken off during the famous battle itself. Nesmith doesn’t think so, though. The torquing and pattern of breakage suggested to him that the sword may have been being used as a tool in construction causing the tip to break. Somebody, perhaps during Cos’ fortifications of the wall in late 1835, could have reached for the sword as a handy device only to inadvertently break it. It wouldn’t be the first time. Another sword tip was unearthed in the Main Plaza in 2007 where Cos had his troops dig a defensive entrenchment in December of 1835.

The sword tip will go to the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas San Antonio. They don’t know yet if they will clean the corrosion to restore it to a more recognizably shiny-swordy condition. The process is expensive, so they’ll have to see if there’s room in the budget.

There’s an excellent video in which an archaeologist explains the tip fragment in detail here. I can’t embed it because of cursed autoplay, but it’s just a couple of minutes long and well worth a look.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Field Battle Results

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-08-12 18:27

The East won all three armored field battles today.

The fencing field battles were split, with two won by the Mid and one by the East, giving the war point to the Midrealm.

Results are courtesy of Mistress Anastasia, HRH Brion, and Mistress Alys Mackintosh.


Filed under: Heavy List, Pennsic, Rapier Tagged: heavy list, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic war points, Rapier, War Points

Populace Archery War Points Announced

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-08-12 18:18

The East won all three populace archery war points.  Results for each shoot are below.

Clout
East 5636
Mid 4132

Castle Window
East 2529
Mid 1446

Soldiers
East 6095
Mid 4933

Results courtesy of Mistress Ygraine of Kellswood.


Filed under: Archery, Pennsic Tagged: archery, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic war points, War Points

Barons set to the Game of Kings: Mid victorious in 3rd Annual Baronial Chess Match

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-08-12 14:12

Baron Mael Eoin and Baroness Ysmay of Bhakail bought a themed chess set a few years ago and sought a purpose for the set.  Realizing that one of their populace had moved from the Barony of Flaming Gryphon in the Midrealm, their Excellencies of Bhakail issued a challenge.  At Pennsic 43, Baron Dafydd of Flaming Gryphon sat across the table from Baron Mael Eoin, accompanied by three of Baron Dafydd’s kegs.   Three and half hours later, the Midrealm emerged victorious.

Bhakail then sought a contender from the East for a rematch at Pennsic 44.  Baron Jean Paul of Concordia of the Snows pointed out the bout was fire against fire, with flaming Salamander fighting the flaming Gryphon, and suggested a different tack.  Baron met Baron once more the following year and, fierce though it was, the match once again saw Flaming Gryphon victorious.

This year, Flaming Gryphon sat once more against Bhakail.  Baron Mael Eoin met the newly invested Baron Edward of Flaming Gryphon as numerous Barons and Baronesses of the Middle and Eastern realms attended Bhakail’s annual Period Games and Bardic Night during War week.  Despite a worrying opening, Bhakail rallied for a strong middle game.  Ultimately, however, the Flaming Gryphon proved victorious and the East succumbed once more to the might of the Midrealm over the Game of Kings.

Looking forward, Bhakail encourages all Eastern and Midrealm Baronies to consider finding gaming Champions to join in the tradition; we will of course continue to foster friendship and entertainment between our Landed Barons and Baronesses through the traditional match but will hope to see exhibition matches between numerous Champions, if we may.

Here’s to more gaming and next year, we hope to bring the chess set back to the East!

Baron Mael Eoin mac Echuid, OP

 

Submitted by Baron Bhakail, Mael Eoin mac Echuid, OP; edited by Efeilian ferch Owain
Filed under: Pennsic

Roman horse race mosaic revealed in Cyprus

History Blog - Thu, 2016-08-11 23:18

A large Roman-era mosaic floor depicting chariot racing has been revealed in full after a year of excavations in the village of Akaki outside Nicosia, Cyprus. Excavations on the site began in 2014 when the remains of a large cistern 10 x 14 meters (33 x 46 feet) in dimension were discovered. In the summer of 2015, a section of a mosaic was unearthed on the south side of the cistern. Its large size, exceptional quality and very rare depiction of a chariot race distinguished it as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Cyprus.

This year’s dig has exposed almost all of the mosaic. It is 11 meters long and four meters wide (36 by 13 feet) and was likely part of the floor of a large villa. It dates to the first half of the 4th century. Much of it is in a good state of preservation. The ornately decorated scene shows four quadrigae (chariots drawn by a team of four horses as in Ben Hur), possibly representing the four factions of professional racers in the Roman world — the Reds, Whites, Greens, and Blues — competing in a race at a circus or hippodrome. The chariots race around the spina, the median running down the center of the track. The charioteers are all standing and each quadriga is labeled with two inscriptions that are probably the names of the charioteer and the lead horse.

At the eastern end of the spina is the meta, the turning point where the greatest concentration of accidents, often fatal to rider and horses, occurred as the driver attempted to maneuver four galloping horses and one two-wheeled vehicle tightly around the curve. The meta is shown as a circular platform with three cones, each topped with an egg. The spina is decorated with an aedicule (a small temple) on one end and three columns, each topped with a dolphin with water pouring out of its mouth, in the middle. Standing between the chariots on the track are two men, one holding a whip, the other a vessel of water. There is also a figure on horseback.

The scene is encased in borders of intricate geometric designs. At the western end of the floor is another mosaic, nine medallions arranged in a circle, each holding the bust of a female figure. While this section has yet to be fully cleaned, already it’s clear that the nine figures are the muses, each identifiable from the symbols they hold.

Racing scenes like this one are extremely rare in the eastern provinces of the Roman empire, and even in the west they can be counted in single digits. Only two have been discovered in Greece and a total of seven have been found elsewhere in the empire (North Africa, France and Spain). The find is particularly exciting because it is the only such mosaic ever found in Cyprus, and it was discovered inland, about 20 miles west of Nicosia. The vast majority of Roman archaeological material has been found along the coast of the island.

Speaking to journalists, Director of the Department of Antiquities Marina Ieronymidou said: “It is an extremely important finding, because of the technique and because of the theme. It is unique in Cyprus since the presence of this mosaic floor in a remote inland area provides important new information on that period in Cyprus and adds to our knowledge of the use of mosaic floors on the island.”

Excavations will continue next May when archaeologists hope to unearth more of the mosaic floor and the villa. Until then, the floor will be covered with protective temporary structures.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Photos and Results from Pennsic 45 Arts & Sciences War Point

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-08-11 16:56

Today’s Arts & Sciences war point featured displays from 30 artisans from around the known world.  The East’s artisans showed their work with furniture, casting, clothing, metalwork, glass beads, calligraphy and illumination, and a medieval fiber study by the Princess of Acre (who was selected for the war point as a citizen of the East).

The final point tally was 527 points for the East and 445 points for the Middle, giving the war point to the East.  Participants in the judging consisted of individuals with a Kingdom-level arts and sciences award, and the participants came largely from the Midrealm (110), Atlantia (73), East (72), Aethelmearc (50), and Ealdormere (26).

Queen Avelina, accompanied by Mistress Amy Webbe (East Kingdom Minster of Arts & Sciences), examines entries at the A&S War Point.

 

Entrants
Stefan of Silverforge (East)
Typhaine Arondeal (Northshield)
Kateryne Ferneley (Atlantia)
Roís alann inghean Uí (Mid)
Irene von Schmetterling (Aethelmearc)
Edyth Miller (Mid)
Lucrece de Montsoreau (Ealdormere)
Kaleeb the Green Eyed (Atlantia)
Amie Sparrow (Atlantia)
Moll Sotherden (Mid)
Elena Hylton (East)
Eithni (Northshield)
Ulfgeirr Ragnarsson the Nice (East)
Heather Hall (Mid)
Lucic de Moromzo (Ealdormere)
Biétriz la Cristalieve
Katherine Hatton Rames (Mid)
Reinhold von Glier (Mid)
Merewen de Sweynesheie (Ealdormere)
Elysabeth Underhill (East)
Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen (Aethelmearc)
Lada Monguligin (East)
Vivian de Dunbar (East/Acre)
Sorcha ingen Dennchada (Mid)
Ziyad ál-Atar (Atlantia)
Ian Campbell of Glen Mor (Aethelmearc)
Kalishka Peredslava (Aethelmearc)
Iosobail Inghean Villiam Mhic Leoid (Mid)
Roana Aldonach (Mid)

Stefan of Silverforge displayed his work with furniture and metalcasting.

Elena Hylton showed a 1480’s Florentine Woman’s Ensemble.

 

Ulfgeirr Ragnarsson the Nice displayed his metalwork.

 

Elysabeth Underhill displayed her work with glass beads.

 

Lada Monguligin displayed her scroll work, including both calligraphy and illumination.

Vivian de Dunbar, Princess of the Kingdom of Acre, displayed a medieval fiber study.

Reporting by Mistress Anastasia and Mistress A’isha bint Jamil, photos by Mistress Anastasia.

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Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Pennsic Tagged: Arts and Sciences, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic war points

A&S War Point

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-08-11 14:18

With martial activities halted due to heat, please stop by the Great Hall to support the artisans competing in the A&S War Point.  From 9-3, anyone with a kingdom-level A&S award may vote on the displays, and from 3-4, artisans will be available to discuss their works.  Results will be announced at 4.

 


Filed under: Pennsic Tagged: a&s, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, War Points

Martial Activities Halted

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-08-11 13:50

All martial activities at Pennsic have been halted until dusk due to heat.


Filed under: Pennsic

Tiny gold bead may be oldest gold artifact

History Blog - Wed, 2016-08-10 23:10

A tiny gold bead unearthed at a prehistoric site outside the town of Pazardzhik, southern Bulgaria, may be the oldest known gold artifact. It was discovered two weeks ago in the remains of a small house. The bead, a small strip of gold wrapped into a ring, weighs just 15 centigrams (.005 of an ounce) and is 4 millimeters (1/8 inch) in diameter. It dates to around 4600 B.C., although how that date was determined is not clear from the news reports.

The oldest known gold jewelry currently on the books was also found in Bulgaria, in the Copper Age necropolis at Varna. An enormous quantity of gold was found in burials and cenotaphs at the Varna necropolis, more than 3,000 artifacts weighing a total of six kilos. One grave alone, grave 43, held more gold than has ever been discovered from that period in the whole world combined. The Varna treasure dates to between 4600 and 4200 B.C., so there’s enough overlap that the Pazardzhik bead can’t be absolutely confirmed as the oldest with current dating technologies.

Nonetheless, one archaeologist at least is certain the tiny bead predates the great treasure by at least 200 years.

“I have no doubt that it is older than the Varna gold,” Yavor Boyadzhiev, associated professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, said.

“It’s a really important discovery. It is a tiny piece of gold but big enough to find its place in history.”

The settlement in which the bead was found, known as Tell Yunatsite after a nearby village, is believed to have been founded by descendants of Anatolians who migrated to Europe from Asia Minor the 7th millennium B.C. and over the next thousand years developed metal processing know-how into a full-fledged industry. In the 5th millennium B.C., urban settlements grew around these burgeoning industrial centers. They are the oldest towns in Europe, and Tell Yunatsite may well be the oldest, with artifacts dating to 4900 B.C.

So far archaeologists have unearthed between 10 and 12 hectares (25-30 acres) of the settlement, just about a third of the tell, and the remains of defensive wall that would have been about nine feet high when it still stood. Little of the homes and possible workplaces have survived, but there is evidence of specialization and larger-scale production, for instance seven millstones to grind grain were found in one room. There are streets, public buildings, closely-knit dwellings, even clearly discernible uptown and downtown neighborhoods.

The settlement is known as the “Town of Birds” because of the more than 150 ceramic bird figurines unearthed at the site. The preponderance of the birds depicted sitting upright rather than in flight or other natural positions suggests the townspeople had a cultic devotion to their feathered friends. The Town of Birds was destroyed around 4100 B.C., probably by invading Indo-European tribes from the northeast. They did not have sophisticated urban culture, but they had horses and they had weapons and the defensive walls were not enough to keep them out. Skeletons of women, children and the elderly with holes inflicted by axes have been found strewn on the floors of structures, suggesting a deliberate massacre of non-combatant residents.

The bead will be studied now in order to confirm its age. Once the analysis is complete, it will be put on display at the Regional Historical Museum of Pazardzhik.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Archery Champions Results

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-08-10 19:23

The archery champions of the East defeated the Mid today, taking 2 of the 3 shoots.  Complete results are below.

East Kingdom archery champions team. Photo by Lady Avelina Percival

10 station roving range
East 2015
Mid 1780

Friend/Foe timed
East 72
Mid 48

Long Distance Walk Up
East 90
Mid 96

Results provided by Mistress Ygraine of Kellswood.

Edited Aug. 12, 2016 to clarify the outcome.


Filed under: Archery, Pennsic Tagged: archery, Pennsic, Pennsic 45, pennsic champions