Metal detectorists discovered eight Roman copper-alloy vessels — an iron-rimmed cauldron, a deep bowl, a shallow bowl, a high-sided pot and four small scale pans — in Wiltshire’s Vale of Pewsey in October, 2014. They dug them out of the ground, unfortunately, but they did have the forethought not to clean them, a decision that ensured the survival of the pots’ incredibly rare contents. What looked like dirt and weeds was in fact ancient plant material packed in the vessel hoard when it was buried.
A hoard of eight Roman pots is already a great rarity. Fewer than 30 copper alloy vessel hoards have been found from late antiquity in Britain. As small as this number is, it’s still more than have been found anywhere else in the Roman world. That the organic remains the vessels contained didn’t decay into dust makes it a unique find. The plants were preserved by the creation of an air-tight pocket inside the carefully nested pots. It was probably a fluke, a result of the way the vessels were stacked and positioned inside each other.
Inside the cauldron, the biggest piece, was placed the shallow bowl (Vessel A). The high-sided pot (Vessel B) with the four little scale pans inside was placed in the shallow bowl, its rounded feet raising it from direct contact with the bottom of the bowl. The deep bowl (Vessel C), of a type known as an Irchester bowl, was flipped upside-down to cover vessel B entirely and cover the rim of Vessel A. The organic remains were almost entirely contained in Vessel B. As the metal corroded over the years, the copper salts were absorbed by plant material, also helping to preserve it. The plants have a powdery consistency now because of the copper salts, but they’re microscopically identical to when they were fresh.
Finds Liaison Officer Richard Henry has led the exciting quest to discover more about the find. He brought in a team to excavate the site of the discovery, led by David Roberts of Historic England and with the Assistant County Archaeologist, members of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group and the finders. Richard then brought in more experts, including Dr Ruth Pelling of Historic England and Dr Michael Grant who identified the plant remains and pollen. Peter Marshall, also of Historic England, coordinated the radiocarbon dating of the flowers and undertook analysis of the results. [...]
Richard Henry said “Such discoveries should be left in situ to allow full archaeological study of the find and its context. The finders did not clean or disturb the vessels which has allowed us to undertake detailed further research. If the vessels had been cleaned none of this research would have been possible”
Ruth Pelling commented that “It has been an absolute pleasure to examine this unique assemblage. By combining the plant macro and pollen evidence we have been able to identify the time of year the vessels were buried, the packing material used, the nature of the surrounding vegetation and the likely date of burial.”
Radiocarbon dating of the plants by Historic England found they were buried between 380 and 550 A.D., a turbulent time when the Romans were in retreat or just plain gone (Emperor Honorius pulled the last legions from Britain in 410 A.D.) and the Anglo-Saxons began spreading through England from their strongholds in the south and east.
Hoards from this period are generally thought to have been buried to keep them safe from Saxon raids. Roman copper vessels were relatively common household goods during more prosperous times, but at the remote ends of empire after the collapse of Roman rule they would certainly have been hoardworthy. The plant material packed inside the vessels consists mainly of knapweed flowers (23 knapweed flowers, to be specific, two of them black knapweed) and pinnules and stem fragments of bracken. There are also cowslip, buttercup and sedge seeds. The seeds indicate the hoard was packed and buried in the mid to late summer out of doors in a location with both pasture and farmland.
Why the plant material was included is more mysterious. They could have been simple packing material. There was hay in the mix, too, so the plants may have been the far less annoying 5th century equivalent of styrofoam peanuts. They may also have been a votive offering. It’s notable that the hoard was buried on the boundary between Roman and Angle territory, a dangerous frontier at that time and a hotspot of upheaval during the transition from Roman rule, the kind of place where you would have good reason to appeal to higher powers for protection.
The plants and seeds were donated to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes where they have been and will continue to be studied and analyzed. Some of the flowers are now on display at the museum. Experts were able to study the vessels, but the metal detectorists have chosen to keep them instead of donating them along with the plant materials. They can make that choice because the 1996 Treasure Act doesn’t define ancient artifacts made of base metals as treasure.
This is the same loophole that allowed the sale of the exceptional Crosby Garrett Helmet to an anonymous private collector. If there are two or more prehistoric artifacts, they count as treasure even if made of base metal. If an artifact is between prehistoric and 300 years old, it has to be composed of at least 10% gold or silver to qualify as treasure. It’s a nonsensical standard, particularly for archaeology where a literal bag of feces can be of inestimable value. Also, the finders can’t possibly be qualified to conserve very delicate ancient metalwork. The cauldron, for instance, is fragmentary, with the base, the little that remains of the body and the rim all in separate pieces.
The plants and bronze vessels have been together for 1500+ years. As a group, they are a great archaeological treasure. I hope the finders have a change of heart and reunite these longtime companions.
In my 20+ years of experience, many of the archery ranges I’ve been on have had a wand shoot. The wand shoot is a very simple shoot; basically it is just sticking a quarterstaff in the ground and shooting at it till someone knocks it over. As simple as is sounds, it is one of the most fun and popular shoots around. This article will explain how to implement a wand shoot in order to add that special magic to any boring old range.
Today, to make the wand shoot easier and safer, the marshal takes some duct tape and puts it on a piece of cardboard. I prefer woodgrain duct tape; it serves very well. If a marshal has a less experienced group of archers, he’ll put additional strips of duct tape on each side and score the near misses.
Next, I made a flat target with three different wands. You’ll note that the first wand on the left is thicker and taller than the wand in the middle. The wand on the far right, you’ll note, is at the very top of the grass so it looks like it’s way off in the distance. Even though this target is placed at 20 yards, it provides an optical illusion that the wands are further down range. You will also note that I put a black dot on the biggest wind. This is meant to be a nest for an animal, and also makes a perfect bull’s eye for a tiebreaker.
Lastly, I took a pool noodle and put some bends in it so it looks like a tree branch (remember, nothing in nature is perfectly straight or perfectly round). I added a little vine work from the $1 store and it looks like an average, everyday tree branch, once again using the wood grain duct tape.
Now you know how to make the magic yourself, but if you’d rather come experience the magic without having to build the wand yourself, then I want you to know that I’ll be running the novelty range at the Archery Muster being held at the castle of Their Excellencies, Earl Byron and Countess Ariella, on April 9. Can’t make that one? A shame, but you’ll have one more chance. For the first time, I will be marshaling archery at Blackstone Raid at the end of April. And you won’t want to miss that shoot because the first prize at Blackstone will be a complete beginner’s set up bow, arrows, quiver, arm guard, and glove.
This month’s safety tip is a repeat: these will be novelty ranges, you’ll be shooting at things you’ve never seen before, so be aware of all safety precautions and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the marshals.
‘Til next month,
THL Deryk Archer
Archaeologists have discovered a hoard of Bronze Age weapons of international significance in Carnoustie, Angus, eastern Scotland. The property at Newton Farm was bought by the Angus Council last year with the stipulation that it be dedicated to community use. Because an earlier dig in the area in 2004 had found evidence of extensive prehistoric and medieval remains, the council also had to ensure the site was excavated to recover any archaeological remains before construction. GUARD Archaeology were contracted to excavate the site.
In a shallow pit, the team unearthed a bronze spearhead next to a bronze sword, a pin and scabbard fittings. Decorated with gold ornamentation, the bronze spearhead is an incredibly rare object. Only a handful of Bronze Age spears of this type have been found in Britain and Ireland. One of them was discovered in a weapons hoard in 1963 at a farm just miles away from Carnoustie, so that means that out of the few gold-decorated bronze spearheads known, two of them were found in Angus. This suggests the area had a significant a wealthy warrior class around 1000 B.C.
Since the bronze weapons are around 3,000 years old, the metalwork is very fragile. To ensure these delicate artifacts could be excavated with all necessary caution in a protected environment, the soil surrounding the pit was cut out and the entire 175-pound block was removed to the GUARD Archaeology Finds Lab. There conservators analyzed the block to develop an excavation plan that would safely preserve the finds.
These few seconds of video convey how painstaking the process of excavation was:
The en bloc excavation proved even wiser when organic remains were found in the hoard. The leather and wood scabbard, while broken into several fragments, is the best preserved Bronze Age scabbard ever discovered in Britain. Textile fragments were found around the pin and scabbard; fur around the spearhead. These kinds of materials almost never survive outside of waterlogged or arid environments.
Another great archaeological boon to this hoard is that it was unearthed within the confines of a Late Bronze Age settlement. It’s not isolated on the edge of a ploughed field where all we can find about the hoard’s history is in the hoard itself. It’s part of a much wider context. The team unearthed the remains of around 12 roundhouses, probably from the Bronze Age, and other large pits holding what appears to be refuse (broken pottery, lithics). About 650 artifacts were discovered from the Bronze Age settlement. Most of the finds give a date range of between 2200 and 800 B.C. for the Bronze Age occupation of the site.
There were people living there long before the Bronze Age, though. Archaeologists found the remains of two rectilinear structures dating to the Neolithic. The oldest dates to around 4000 B.C., and it too is a testament to the area’s prehistoric prominence. It’s the largest Neolithic hall ever found in Scotland. There is no clear evidence of continuous occupation, so the site could have been inhabited from the Stone Age through the Late Bronze Age, or successive settlements could have been built on the site with gaps of centuries between them.
The site is slated to be converted into two grass soccer fields, as per the community use requirement, and construction will begin at the end of the month. The excavation of the larger site will continue.
In this week's news roundup of all things medieval, you can read about creating the face of St.Magnus, good reads about the Vikings, and someone having fun on Twitter.
[View the story "Magnus, Chaucer and Donaeld the Unready" on Storify]
Our image of the week - “Manuscript Leaf from a Missal” by Austrian via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0
All photos courtesy of Lady Elektra of Sylvan Glen.
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Marcus & Margerite, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Her Majesty at Sylvan Glen Twelfth Night, February 4th, Anno Societatis LI, in the Shire of Sylvan Glen. As recorded by Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.
Her Majesty invited the youth known as Thomas Bronhulle, the event’s King of Misrule, to join Her in Her court.
Her Majesty called for Tiberius of Sylvan Glen, the day’s co-autocrat, who made several announcements, offered thanks for those in attendance and for those who provided support and service, and also announced the winners from the day’s varied competitions. However, at the conclusion of his announcement, Her Royal Majesty bade Tiberius linger a moment longer. She spoke of his leadership and service to his shire and offered Her praise for his excellent efforts as first time co-autocrat alongside his mother, Lady Reina Dulcedame. Thus, She did Award him Arms and raise him to the ranks of the nobility. Scroll forthcoming.
Next, Her Majesty called for Niño of Sylvan Glen and thanked him for all of his helpfulness and service, despite his young age and small size, and She did bestow upon him a Silver Buccle. Scroll forthcoming.
Lord Daniel Rufus was next called before the Sylvan Throne, and his wife Lady Eleanor of Pembroke came forward in his stead. Her Majesty spoke of the courtesy, kindness, and chivalry displayed by Lord Rufus, and that these are values that are highly prized by the Society, and thus She did bestow upon him a Cornelian. Scroll forthcoming.
Her Majesty then sought words with Lady Umm Samin bint Asad al-Isfahaniyya. Her Majesty stated that She had heard much praise of Lady Samin’s work. Her Majesty spoke of Lady Samin’s work as the webminister for Sylvan Glen, and Herself found the webpage to be well maintained and attractive. Her Majesty then inducted Lady Samin into the Order of the Keystone for this service. Scroll forthcoming.
However, Her Majesty stated that Her business was not yet complete with Lady Samin, and reiterated that She had indeed received many words of praise of Lady Samin. Her Majesty told of the reports of Samin’s artistry, and that Her Majesty had witnessed Samin’s skill this very day when viewing the A&S display where several works of art with accompanying documentation by Lady Samin could be viewed. Thus, Her Majesty was moved to induct Lady Samin into the Order of Sycamore. Scroll forthcoming.
THLady Etain Eame was next called to attend Her Majesty. Her Ladyship’s years of quite service to her shire and to the kingdom as autocrat, head cook, seneschal, head tollner, kingdom NMS secretary, and more were noted. Seeing these years of service could not go unrecognized, Her Majesty called forth the Order of the Millrind, and inducted THLady Etain into that Order. Scroll forthcoming.
Next, Her Majesty invited forward all children. She noted to the King of Misrule that earlier in the day he used Her herald for his court, and so in return, She asked His Majesty Misrule to carry the chest of toys for Her so that the children might select a gift.
Her Majesty then called forward Lord Arthur of Linden from the Kingdom of Atlantia. She spoke of his A&S entry and how impressive was his detail and skill, and so named him Her Inspiration and bestowed upon him a Golden Escarbuncle.
There being no further business, this court of Her Majesty was closed.
Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta
The National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece, has taken one of their most curious artifacts out of storage and put it on display. It’s a Neolithic statuette carved out of granite about 7,000 years ago. It is 36 centimeters (14 inches) high and has a pointed, beak-like nose, a rounded torso with a prominent belly and thick, irregularly cylindrical legs. There are no arms, no genitalia or breasts to indicate sex, no facial features other than the pointy nose. I think he looks like the secret illegitimate love child of Sam the Eagle and the Shmoo.
Its design, material, great age and unknown origin make it an intriguing archaeological mystery. Museum curators call the figurine a 7,000-year-old enigma.
“It could depict a human-like figure with a bird-like face, or a bird-like entity which has nothing to do with man but with the ideology and symbolism of the Neolithic society,” Katya Manteli, an archaeologist with the museum, told Reuters.
Unlike most Neolithic figurines made of soft stone, it is carved out of hard rock even though metal tools were not available at the time.
And while it is too short for a life-size depiction of the human figure, it is bigger than most Neolithic statues, which are rarely found over 35 cm tall.
“Regarding technique and size, it is among the rare and unique works of the Neolithic period in Greece,” Manteli said.
It’s possible that the lack of sex characteristics and detailed features are a practical limitation of having to carve hard granite with stone tools. It could also be incomplete, although the high gloss polish indicates this is a finished piece.
There are more than 200,000 objects kept in permanent storage at the National Archaeological Museum. This charming Neolithic fellow is one of the treasures pulled from the storeroom for The Unseen Museum, an exhibition that gives the bench players a chance to start the game for once. It runs through March 26th of this year.
Eager to participate in the Barony of Concordia’s traditional mid-February blizzard, 26 artisans descended on Scotia, New York to show off their diverse talents at King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship.
The competition consisted of two phases. In the first phase, 7 teams of 3 judges each spent up to 45 minutes discussing an artisan’s project with them, and then retired to render scores via rubrics and to fill out feedback forms so that artisans could walk away with advice. After the first judging phase, the top 5 (well, in this case, 6!) would go on to an interview phase with Their Majesties, Their Highnesses, and the judges. The Queen’s Champion was the winner, and the King chose his Champion from among the field.
The entrants were:
Lord Agapios Cargos
We had quite the slew of judges as well:
Mistress Ose Silverhair
The room was packed full of incredibly diverse art, ranging from focused research on historic combat techniques to an actual working boat. Artisans spent the day talking to judges, to other artisans, and to enthralled members of the populace seeking to enhance their knowledge of period practices.
A full gallery of all entrants and their exhibits can be found here, courtesy of Baroness Cateline la Broderesse.
There was also a Youth Arts and Sciences display! Several young artisans of the kingdom put their work on display, and received an extraordinary response from the populace. So great was the volume of attention that the judging teams assigned to talk to them could not physically get to the table to talk to them – there were so many people clamoring around already!
As the dust settled, 6 artisans emerged as the finalists. They were:
Magister Galefridus Peregrinus
The room was cleared, and the six artisans waited by their projects. Their Majesties and Their Highnesses, accompanied by their Champions and a handful of retainers, sat with each artisan. They spoke about their project and enlightened their audience, and then spoke with passion and inspiration about what they would bring to the position of Champion.
After consultation, Their Majesties chose Lady Sofya Gianetta di Trieste as Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences and Lady Raziya bint Rusa as the King’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. There was much rejoicing!
Master Magnus and Mistress Elysabeth would like to thank all the entrants for showcasing their amazing talents, and all the judges for their tremendous service.
Photos courtesy of Caitline La Broderesse
Filed under: Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, champions, King and Queen's Champions, Kings and Queens Champions
On a day befitting the name of our hosts, Concordia of the Snows, thirteen exceptional performers assembled to vie for the positions of King’s and Queen’s Bards. The competition consisted of three rounds, with each performer given a total of 15 minutes to use over all three rounds (with extra time available for the finals at their Majesties’ discretion).
The competitors were:
Countess Chatricam Meghanta or “Megha” (aka Marguerite inghean Lochlainn)
Mistress Elizabeth Elenore Lovell
Mistress Judith Fitzhenry, called the Uncertain
Lady Lilie Dubh inghean ui Mordha
Lady Lillie von der Tann
Lady Lorita da Siena
Maestro Orlando di Sforza
Lord Robert of Anglespur
Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant
Lord Sean O’Morain
Lady Solveig Bjarnadottir
Jarl Valgard Stonecleaver
Mistress Ysemay Sterling
In addition to Their Majesties Brion and Anna, the judges for the competition were Mistress Alys Mackyntoich (Queen’s Bard), Lady AEthelflied Brewbane (King’s Bard), Master Grim the Skald and Master Michael of York.
The first round performances ranged from period documented pieces to SCA folk songs, poetry and prose, and even instrumental music combined with vocal song. The competitors did not make the task of deciding who should advance to the second round easy on the judges. After much debate, eight performers were asked to return to offer a second piece. They were: Countess Megha, Lady Lillie, Lady Lorita, Maestro Orlando, Lord Robert, Maitresse Sabine, Lady Solveig and Mistress Ysemay.
Once again, the performances were stellar, and selecting four to advance to the finals was not easy. Ultimately, Countess Megha, Maestro Orlando, Maitresse Sabine and Lady Lillie were asked to offer a third performance.
As is traditional, each finalist was given a challenge based on the performance resumes they had turned in at the beginning of the contest. Countess Megha was asked to prepare an inspirational speech on the subject of Winter. Maestro Orlando was asked to offer an Elizabethan monologue on the subject of Autumn. Maitresse Sabine was asked for a contrefacte (new lyrics added to existing music) on the Spring. Lady Lillie was asked for a song on Summer. They were given 30 minutes to prepare.
All four finalists rose to the challenges before them with passion, vigor and excellence. Maestro Orlando presented an original Shakespearean sonnet that he had written in 30 minutes. Countess Megha used her 30 minutes to adapt an existing period Indian poem about the rainy season and the generosity of Kings. Maitresse Sabine wrote and sang new words to go to the period tune E, Dame Jolie by Guillaume de Machaut. Lady Lillie presented an original song she had composed about the battle with the heat at this past Pennsic War.
Baroness Arlyana Van Wyck took videos of the final performances, which can be found at the public links below:
At the end of the day, Queen Anna chose Maitresse Sabine as Queen’s Bard and King Brion chose Countess Megha as the King’s Bard, with much acclaim all around.
Maestro Orlando was inducted into the Order of the Troubadour based in large part on his performances during the competition.
Mistress Alys and Lady AEthelflied thank all the competitors for their hard work, passion and willingness to perform, as well as the people of Concordia of the Snows for putting on a splendid event.
Article written by Mistress Alys, photos by Cateline La Broderesse.
Filed under: Events Tagged: Bardic, bardic champions, champions
An excavation around a medieval church in Sutton Farm, Shrewsbury, has unearthed the remains of a previous Anglo-Saxon church and a series of unusual animal burials that may be pre-Christian. The Church of the Holy Fathers, as it is now known, was bought from the Church of England by the Greek Orthodox Church in 1994. Built in the late 12th, early 13th century, the church had been abandoned in the late 19th century and was being used as a storage shed. The Greek Orthodox Church restored the nearly derelict Grade II-listed building and a congregation has worshipped there ever since.
The field on the west side of the church is slated for development — it will be a parking lot for a 300-home estate — and a team from Baskerville Archaeological Services was contracted to excavate the site before construction began. By the terms of the planning contract, developers Taylor Wimpey funded an archaeological survey of the parking lot site from late summer until November. The Greek Orthodox Church stepped in to fund an extension of the excavation and developers gave the archaeologists more time to explore the site.
They were able to unearth foundations of the current medieval church extending 20 feet from the modern-day walls, indicating that this small church was once much larger. Next to the medieval foundations and between 15 and 18 inches deeper under the soil, archaeologists found the stone foundations of an earlier building which they believe to be an Anglo-Saxon church. Several artifacts were discovered in a rubble pile: three garnet pins, a carved stone of indeterminate age and two coins, one of them a Charles I half farthing minted between 1624 and 1635.
The very last day of the dig on the west side, the team unearthed a 15-section of a wooden post, likely a door post, in the layer believed to be Anglo-Saxon. This was a key discovery, because wood can be radiocarbon dated to confirm or deny whether the earlier structure does date to the Anglo-Saxon period.
On the south side of the church, archaeologists found more foundations of the medieval church. These indicate the church had a transept, the arms on either side of the nave that form the traditional cross shape. They also discovered the medieval graveyard. The remains of three people were unearthed, including an intact skeleton of a woman buried in shroud, but that’s to be expected in a churchyard. Less expected were the elaborate animal burials: the skeletons of a calf and a pig carefully posed together with yin-yang symmetry, a Stone Age flint found between the ribs of the calf, the skeletal remains of a pig laid to rest in a leather-covered wood coffin, the bones of a large female dog that died during whelping found next to the bones of six chickens, a pregnant goat and what appear to be the bones of one more dog and a large bird. Those last two have yet to be fully excavated.
“It was a huge surprise to find these burials in a church graveyard. To find animals buried in consecrated ground is incredibly unusual because it would have been a big no no,” [Janey Green, from Baskerville Archaeological Services,] said. “The bones don’t show any signs of butchery and the animals appear to have been deliberately and carefully laid in the ground.”
“The site is a few hundred metres from known prehistoric human burial mounds so they may be connected. Initially I thought I may have come across a whimsical Victorian burial of a beloved pet. But the Victorians usually left objects in the graves such as a collar, a letter or a posie of flowers and we haven’t found a shred of evidence of anything like that here. Neither is there evidence that the animals were fallen farm stock that were disposed of in modern times.”
Green thinks these are likely pre-Christian burials. The bones will have to be carbon dated before we can know, and it doesn’t look like they have the budget for it at this point. They’re working on it.
The parking lot is still going forward. Taylor Wimpey have agreed to seal the medieval foundations under a geotextile membrane before pouring the asphalt. This will protect them from damage and make them more easily accessible should someone in the future pick the archaeological remains over the parking lot. Meanwhile, the excavations on the south side of the church will continue. The remains, both human and animal, will be reburied at the church in a special funerary service.
REMINDER: 1st Quarter Marshal Reports are due Wednesday, 15 February 2017
If you are a Standard Marshal, Group Marshal, or Knight Marshal then your reports are due by Wednesday, February 15th. To fill out your report you may use the on-line form found here. If you are a regional Marshal your report is not due until March 1st. If you are a Kingdom Marshal or Kingdom Deputy your report is not due until March 10th.
All Archery, Siege, and Thrown Weapons marshals are required to report every quarter including at large marshals.
Note: At-large heavy fighting and equestrian marshals are welcome to report if they wish or if they have something they feel should be reported, but they are not required to report this quarter. They are only required to report for the 4th quarter. At-large fencing marshals are required to report twice a year, 2nd and 4th quarters.
Any marshals with questions on reporting can contact their Kingdom superiors, listed below, using the email links on the Æthelmearc Earl Marshal page.
From the Aethelmarc Gazette
“Prince Timothy recently shared the tentative schedule of rapier and cut & thrust classes planned for Ædult Swim 2017 on the AEthelmearc Rapier Army Facebook page. The free event will be February 18 and 19 at Milton Shoe Factory 700 Hepburn St. Milton, PA 17847” ….. to read more click HERE
Filed under: Announcements, Events, Rapier
Duties and responsibilities:
Prior experience as an exchequer in the SCA is required; prior Kingdom Exchequer experience is highly desired. Working knowledge of SCA’s accounting procedures is necessary. Individuals with accounting backgrounds or training are highly desired. Dependable email access and dependable phone access are required for this position.
The Society Exchequer receives a stipend for their services and will receive a 1099 for tax purposes. Work load will vary but expect to put in an average of 15 hours per week.
Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, together with modern and SCA qualifications, via hardcopy to:
The deadline for applications is April 1, 2017.
You may also email email@example.com.
This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.
Filed under: Announcements, Corporate, Official Notices
There were 14 competitors across all skill levels! From this field two were victorious.
Chatricam Meghanta (or Megha), (who bears a striking resemblance to
Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant is the Queen’s Bard.
Congratulations to all!
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Official Notices
One of those artists was Louis-François Cassas (1756-1827) who made highly detailed drawings of the ruins of Palmyra in 1785. Cassas spent a month in Palmyra, recording all of the ancient ruins he saw. As an architect, Cassas had a keen eye for sculptural features which gave his renderings a precision matched by none of his predecessors in the voyage pittoresque tradition of illustrated travel accounts. His drawings of Palmyra, detailed views of ornamental features, architectural elevations and reconstructions illustrated his own travel account, Voyage Pittoresque de la Syrie, de la Phenicie, de la Palestine, et de la Basse Egypte, published beginning in 1799.
Following in Cassas footprints but using a new medium was Louis Vignes (1831-1896), a French career naval officer and a photographer. In 1863, Vignes was assigned to accompany Honoré Théodore d’Albert, duc de Luynes, on a scientific expedition to Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. Luynes was an avid amateur archaeologist and antiquarian, an expert in Damascus steel and a patron of the arts with a particular taste for commissioning works in the classical style. The year before the expedition, the duke had donated his vast collection of antiquities — coins, Greek vases, medallions, intaglio gemstones — to France’s Cabinet des Médailles, and as an immensely wealthy aristocrat with a passel of big titles, when Luynes demanded that the French government provide him with a naval officer for his voyage, he got what he wanted.
Vignes was a particularly good choice for a mission that would encounter numerous archaeological remains, because he had been trained by pioneering photographer Charles Nègre and could be of as much help to the duke on dry land as he was on the seas. Luynes’ primary objective was to do one of the first scientific explorations of the Dead Sea. From the Dead Sea, the expedition traveled the Jordan River Valley, the mountains of Moab and the full length of the Wadi Arabah to the Gulf of Aqaba. Over the 10 months of the expedition, they also visited Palmyra and Beirut where Vignes took pictures of the ancient ruins.
The scientific report of the expedition, Voyage d’exploration à la mer Morte, à Petra, et sur la rive gauche du Jourdain, wasn’t published until 1875, eight years after Luynes’ death. Vignes photos of the Dead Sea were included in the publication, but by then Vignes had long since cut to the chase. He hooked up with his old mentor Charles Nègre to develop and print the negatives Vignes had taken in Beirut and Palmyra. The albumen prints were given to the duc de Luynes before his death in 1867. The Vignes photographs are the earliest known pictures of the Greco-Roman remains in Palmyra.
They have taken on even more significance in the light of recent events. Palmyra’s ruins have been devastated in the Syrian Civil War, bombed and shelled by everyone, deliberately destroyed by IS ostensibly out of iconoclastic fervor, although their real motivation, I think, is to taunt the world into multiple impotent rage strokes; cultural heritage destruction as a brutal mass troll. The temples of Bel and Baalshamin were blown up, as were three of the best preserved tower tombs, the Arch of Triumph on the east end of the Great Colonnade and, if recent reports bear out, the tetrapylon and part of the Roman theater.
In 2015, with the monstrous savaging of Palmyra’s ancient monuments well underway, the Getty Research Institute acquired an album of 47 of Vignes’ original photos taken in Palmyra and Beirut. That album was digitized — the pictures can be browsed here — as were 58 additional Vignes prints from the duc de Luynes’ personal collection.
Now the Getty Research Institute has enlisted its Vignes photographs, Cassas drawings and other important sources in an online exhibition dedicated to history of Palmyra.
The online exhibition draws heavily from the Getty Research Institute’s collections as well as art in museum and library collections all over the world. The exhibition explores the site’s early history, the far-reaching influence of Palmyra in Western art and culture, and the loss, now tremendous and irrevocable, of the ruins that for centuries stood as a monument to a great city and her people.
“The devastation unleashed in Syria today forces a renewed interpretation of the early prints and photographs of this extraordinary world heritage site.” said Getty Research Institute curator Frances Terpak. “They gain more significance as examples of cultural documents that
The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra is the Getty Research Institute’s first online exhibition and it’s beautifully curated. I hope it’s the first of many to come.
Prince Timothy recently shared the tentative schedule of rapier and cut & thrust classes planned for Ædult Swim 2017 on the AEthelmearc Rapier Army Facebook page. The free event will be February 18 and 19 at Milton Shoe Factory 700 Hepburn St. Milton, PA 17847.
11:00 AM (90 min block)
12:30 PM (90 min block)
The site opens at 8 A.M. each day, with marshal inspections beginning at 8:30 and sparring at 9 A.M.
His Highness added: “I would encourage the Rattan community to participate in the C&T classes and sparring… I intend to be there for my 8 A.M. slow work and footwork that I do. You are welcome to join me…”
On the class list, he remarked “Lots of fabulous skill in that list of teachers. Looking forward to all of the classes! Go get some! We will have the entire 3rd floor to work with. There will be singles fighting all day. We can also get a series of Bear pits going if folks are interested. Lots of good focused training time. See you all in the lists.”
See the official announcement on the kingdom webpage here.
Responses to the first poll of Their Highnesses Honig and Ioannes need to be sent before midnight tonight, Sunday, February 12, when the polls close.
Filed under: Uncategorized
by Meisterin Felicity Fluβmullnerin.
In the year 1487, Maximillian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, formed the first regiments of the mercenaries known as the Landsknechts. They went on to fight in almost every 16th century military campaign, sometimes fighting on both sides of the engagement. These warriors fought in units of pikemen called a Fahnlein with a Hauptmann as leader and training captain. These units lived as a family, often with wives and children marching with the soldiers to their next campaign and setting up a small movable town as the entire army moved across Europe.
In devising my 16th century army camp meal, I started by looking at several German cookbooks, a list of which can be found in the bibliography. One of my favorite cookbooks to reference is Sabina Welserin’s because she was cooking for her family at home, not for a royal court. It was important to me that all the foods included in this class were able to be cooked in an outdoor camp situation and to be stored and eaten by hard-working men and women on the go. This is not meant to be a feast, but to be hardy working class fare. Dried, pickled, and smoked items come heavily into play for longevity’s sake.
In my cookware deductions, I used several woodcuts of Landsknecht camp life, assessing what tools were available to a camp cook. There are also some extant pieces that add to this list.
Popular Food Choices for Landsknecht & 16th century Germany
From Ein New Kochbuch by Marx Rumpolt
German: Erbeßsuppen mit klein gehackten Zwibeln/ die geschweißt seyn/ pfeffers vnd gelbs/ so ist es auch gut.
Pea soup with small chopped onions/ that (have been) sautéed/ pepper and yellow (saffron)/ so it is also good.
Pinch of saffron Salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté the chopped onions in butter until clear. Add garlic, being careful not to let it go brown as it will be bitter. Add peas and coat in butter. Add broth, salt, and pepper and allow to simmer till peas are tender. Additional water might be needed during the simmering phase. Add saffron and smash to puree. Serve warm.
Fast Day Krapfen
From Ein Buch von Guter Spise
German: So du wilt einen vasten krapfen machen von nüzzen mit ganzem kern. und nim als vil epfele dor under und snide sie würfeleht als der kern ist und roest sie mit ein wenig honiges und mengez mit würtzen und tu ez uf die bleter die do gemaht sin zu krapfen und loz ez backen und versaltz niht.
So you want to make a fastday krapfen of nuts with whole kernels. And take as many apples thereunder and cut them diced, as the kernel is, and roast them well with a little honey and mix with spices and put it on the loaf, which you do to make krapfen, and let it cook and do not oversalt.
Combine yeast, sugar, and water or milk in a small bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes to allow yeast to proof. Mix this with flour and eggs and kneed to form dough. Allow to rise to double the size (about 1 hour). Sauté the nuts, apples, honey, and cinnamon over low heat to toast nuts and soften apples. Allow to cool. When dough is ready: Heat oil to 325 ̊F. Cut off dough balls and flatten. Spoon in the apple mixture, close to form a ball, and drop into the oil, fry to golden. Drizzle with honey.
*As this class is not taking place on a fast day, I will be making this recipe with milk and eggs.
Note on Krapfen: This has modernly come to mean a filled jelly donut, but based on the descriptions above, I believe the 16th c. version is similar to the “traditional” style of krapfen, much more like a drop fritter. This is mainly because the modern donut is baked first and then filled, while the recipe calls for adding the filling to the krapfen and then baking.
To Make a Good Roast
From Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin
German: Ain gút brates zú machen Nim kelberis oder ain lembratten von ainem ochsen, legs jn ain wein jber nacht, darnach stecks jn an ain spis, thú jn dan jn ain haffen, thú daran ain gúte fleschbrie, zwiffel, wein, gewirtz, pfeffer, jmber, negellen vnnd lasß woll daran sieden, versaltz es nit.
Translation: Take veal or a sirloin of beef, lay it overnight in wine, afterwards stick it on a spit. Put it then in a pot. Put good broth therein, onions, wine, spices, pepper, ginger and cloves and let it cook therein. Do not over salt it.
Marinade the beef overnight in a mix of red wine, vinegar, ginger, cloves, cardamom, salt and pepper.
If working with a spit: Spit the beef and roast over high heat to achieve a browned crunch on the outside. Retain the drippings. Keep the marinade for later steps.
If working with a pan: Seer the beef in a VERY hot pan (I use cast iron) on every side. Remove the beef. Keep the pan drippings. Keep the marinade for later steps.
Place the beef in a pot or slow cooker. Cook the sliced onion in the beef drippings, deglaze the pan with 1⁄2 c of marinade. Pour this over the beef. Add bay leaves, remaining marinade, and salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 5 or more hours till beef is tender and falling apart. Stir to avoid beef sticking to the bottom of the pot. To thicken the sauce, add lebkuchen and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
From Ein Buch von Guter Spise
German: Brat Ruben/ vnnd schel sie/ zerschneid sie/ vnnd geb sie in eine Schuessel/ vnnd gibs warm auff ein Tisch/ bestra:ew sie mit Zucker/ seind sie auch gut.
Fry roots/ and peel them/ cut them up/ and give them into a bowl/ and give it warm to the table/ sprinkle it with sugar/ they are good too.
Peel and cut the root vegetables to equal sizes. Slice the leeks finely. Pour into a pan and roast till tender, sprinkling the sugar over top for the last minute or two to glaze and serve warm.
From Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin
German: Ain pastetentaig zú machen zú allen auffgesetzten pasteten at Nempt ain mell, das pest, so jr bekomen múgen, vngefarlich 2 gút gaúffen oder darnach jr die grosß oder klain haben welt, thiets auff den disch vnnd riert 2 air mit ainem messer daran vnnd saltzt ain wenig, macht jn ainem pfenndlin ain wasser vnnd wie 2 gúte air grosß schmaltz, last es als anainander ergan vnnd sieden/ darnach schit es an das obgemelt mell ob dem disch vnnd mach ain starcken taig vnnd arbait jn woll, wie dich gút dúnckt, wan es jm somer jst, músß man an des wasser stat ain fleschbrie nemen vnnd an des schmaltz stat ain abscheffet von der súpen nemen, wan der taig gearbait jst, so machent jn zú ainer rúnden kugel vnnd thenet jn fein mit den fingern vornen aus oder mit ainem walgelholtz/ das jn der mit ain hechin beleib, darnach lands erstaren an der keltin, darnach setzent daig aúf, jn maß jch eúch gezaigt hab/ aúch balten ain taig zú der teckin vnd welget jn zú ainer deckin vnnd nempt ain wasser vnnd bestreichts oben an der deckin vnnd oben an der aúffgesetzten pasten vnnd thiets mitt den fingern woll zusamen, last an ainem ort ain klain lechlin, vnd das es woll zúsamengedruckt sey, das nicht offenstand/ blassen jn das lechlin, das jr gelassen habt, so wirt die deckin hibsch aúfflaúffen, so trúcken das lechlin von stúnd an zú, darnach thits jn offen, set vor ain mell aúff die schissel/ secht, das jr den offen recht haitzt, so wirt es ain schene pasteten, also macht man all aúffgesetzt pasteten den taig.
To make a pastry dough for all shaped pies
Take flour, the best that you can get, about two handfuls, depending on how large or small you would have the pie. Put it on the table and with a knife stir in two eggs and a little salt. Put water in a small pan and a piece of fat the size of two good eggs, let it all dissolve together and boil. Afterwards pour it on the flour on the table and make a strong dough and work it well, however you feel is right. If it is summer, one must take meat broth instead of water and in the place of the fat the skimmings from the broth. When the dough is kneaded, then make of it a round ball and draw it out well on the sides with the fingers or with a rolling pin, so that in the middle a raised area remains, then let it chill in the cold. Afterwards shape the dough as I have pointed out to you. Also reserve dough for the cover and roll it out into a cover and take water and spread it over the top of the cover and the top of the formed pastry shell and join it together well with the fingers. Leave a small hole. And see that it is pressed together well, so that it does not come open. Blow in the small hole which you have left, then the cover will lift itself up. Then quickly press the hole closed. Afterwards put it in the oven. Sprinkle flour in the dish beforehand. Take care that the oven is properly heated, then it will be a pretty pastry. The dough for all shaped pastries is made in this manner.
German: Ain erbertorten zú machen Mach das bedellin vnnd laß erstarcken jn der tortenpfanen darnach nim die erber vnnd legs daraúf vmber aúfs allernechst zúsamen, darnach zúckeres woll aúfs allerbast, laß darnach ain klain weil bachen, geúß ain malúasier daraúf vmber vnnd laß ain weil bachen, so jst er gemacht.
A Strawberry Tart
Make a pastry shell and let it become firm in the tart pan. Afterwards take strawberries and lay them around on top as close together as possible, after that sweeten them especially well. Next let it bake a short while, pour Malavosia over it and let it bake a while, then it is ready.
Redaction: For the Pastry:
To make the pastry dough:
Heat 1/4 cup water to just under a boil, and add the lard, simmering until it has melted. Pour half of this over the flour and salt, and mix thoroughly. When the dough is reasonably cool to the touch, add the eggs and mix. If the dough is still too dry, continue adding the water until the dough comes together in a nice mass.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to just under 1/4′′ thick. Press the dough into tart pans, and set each on a baking sheet. Chill the prepared tart shells for a couple of hours, or until the dough is stiff.
To make the filling:
Slice the strawberries thinly, and arrange as closely as possible in the tart shells, layering until all the berries are used up. Sprinkle with the sugar, and bake for 15 minutes at 375F.
Remove from oven and pour an equal amount of the wine over each tart, and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
*Malvasia is an ancient Mediterranean family of grapes and the wines they produce can have several different flavors. There are dry wines and even the occasional red, but the majority are light and sweet. Malavosia, Malmsey, and Madiera are made from Malvasia grapes, as are several dessert wines.
For the Filling: 2 quarts of strawberries, sliced thin 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup Malavosia Wine *
Sabina Welserin’s Cookbook can be found in English here:
Sabina Welserin in German is found here:
Ein New Kochbuch by Marx Rumpolt in German and English here:
A list of cookbooks available online from several different countries. Some are translated to English.
The Role of Ducks and Geese by Umberto Albarella:
Historical Food Links:
This lecture was prepared for the Delftwood Cook’s Guild Meeting on Thursday, June, 2, 2016, which is available online on YouTube here.
Mainly found in Scandinavia, Viking boat burials are as rare as they are fascinating. The ones that have been archaeologically excavated in the UK were unearthed on the isles, like Orkney, Shetland and Man. The only boat burials found on mainland Britain were discovered in the 19th century and were excavated, if you can call it that, outside of archaeological protocols. Few artifacts from them have survived and it’s difficult to confirm that they were in fact boat burials. The discovery of an intact Viking boat burial in Swordle Bay on western Scotland’s Ardnamurchan peninsula in 2011, therefore, was a momentous one. The Norse were known to have been in the area when they were still raiding and exploring the British Isles in the 9th and 10th centuries, before they founded any settlements, but this is the first archaeological evidence of their presence.
The grave was first identified in 2006 as part of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project‘s survey of potential archaeological sites in the area dating from the Neolithic through the 19th century. The ATP team dug a test trench across the low turf-covered mound and found stones collected and placed by human hands, as well as a rove, a metal plate or grommet that rivets pass through in boat construction. The dating of the mound wasn’t clear. Possibilities included Bronze Age or medieval origin.
Full excavation of the mound would have to wait until 2011. Just under the topsoil, archaeologists found a spread of stones. Some of them were undisturbed, still placed where human hands had laid them centuries earlier. Others were scattered around the main stone pile and bore plough marks suggesting they’d been dislodged during later agricultural activity.
Once the soil and fill were removed, the stone feature was revealed to be an oval outlined by kerb stones embedded in a cut. A spear head and a shield boss were found on a cairn stone underneath the silt layer that overlays them. That suggests they were deposited around the same time as the stones, like at the time of burial, but that can’t be confirmed because the cairn has shifted significantly over time. Under the stones were layers of decayed organic material and a wealth of artifacts, among them a large iron pan with a handle three feet long, a ladle, the copper-alloy top of a drinking horn, more than 200 rivets and roves, a sword decorated with silver and copper wire with textile fragments wound around the blade, a broad-bladed axe, a copper alloy ring pin likely of Irish origin, a Norwegian schist whetstone, and an iron sickle.
The rivets and roves, the sword style, the whetstone, the pointed oval boat cut and the organic decay likely from wood confirmed this was a rare Viking boat burial, the only one on the British mainland excavated to modern archaeological standards. The boat was about 5.1 meters (17 feet) long, a small rowboat, not a seafaring vessel. It was placed in the boat-shaped cut, the body of the deceased placed in the boat and then surrounded with grave goods. Rocks were piled atop the body, creating a burial mound. Preliminary analysis of the finds dated the burial to the late 9th, early 10th century. The weaponry suggests the deceased was male, but the pan and ladle are more typical of female burials. A small fragment of bone and two teeth are the only human remains discovered in the grave, neither of them sufficient to conclusively gender the burial.
The latest report on the findings has now been published in the journal Antiquity. Strontium, lead and oxygen isotope analysis was done on the teeth to determine the deceased’s diet between the ages of two and 15 and thus a possible national origin.
Results showed that the person ate a land-based diet until he or she was 15, with a boost in seafood consumption when the individual was between three and five years old. Marine proteins were rarely consumed in Britain during the first millennium A.D., even for people who lived on the coast. In Norway, on the other hand, people ate plenty of seafood, although children less than adults. The fact that this person ate so much fish during that brief period as a small child suggests there may have been a food shortage that pushed the locals towards additional marine sources of nourishment. The stable isotope results exclude the deceased coming from the west coast of Britain, from western Britain in general, western Ireland or the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland. Other parts of Ireland are still possible candidates, but the likeliest is Scandinavia.
The authors of the study conclude from the evidence of the boat burial that the individual was someone of high rank and status:
When we consider this burial, what can we say about identity? At least three terms could potentially be used to describe the deceased: ‘Norse’, ‘warrior’ and ‘high status’. Evidence for the first of these comes from the boat and related connotations of travel and voyaging; from the material culture from Scandinavia and Ireland; and from the surviving teeth. Even though a definitive place of origin cannot be proven from the isotope evidence alone, when combined with the material from the grave itself a Scandinavian homeland is suggested; Ireland cannot, however, be ruled out. The evidence for a warrior identity lies, of course, in the weapons, although this imposes a traditional assumption that grave goods belong to the deceased and directly disclose their identity. Finally, the whole assemblage–the artefacts and their elaborate interment–suggests a notion of high status.
The fact that a person of such high status deserving of a boat burial with rich grave goods was interred on the peninsula may be a significant marker of the transition between the Vikings as raiders of Britain and the Vikings as settlers.
The warrior’s final resting place could indicate the first settlement of the area by the Vikings–indicated by Swordle Bay originating as a Norse name meaning ‘grassy valley’.
“I don’t think they are just sailing up and down the coast, someone has died, and they have just rowed into the nearest harbour and buried someone there,” Harris said. “There is a kind of connection to this landscape that is more substantial than that.
“It is perfectly possible [the burial] is linked with the process of settling in this bay.”
You may have noticed your trusty blog about history has not been so trusty the past couple of days. A server update is apparently the culprit. The site went down Thursday afternoon and we’ve been struggling ever since to get it back. Finally the planets aligned and we are back. Buggy and error-riddled, but I’ll take it for now while we iron out the kinks.
The trauma of the last few days has only underscored how desperately important it is that I upgrade the software of this site. It’s ancient and all kinds of features are broken because of it. Perpetually perched on the razor’s edge of functionality, it can fail at the least provocation. That means we’re going to have to say goodbye to my old-fashioned theme and the blog will look completely different. As history nerds tend to like old-fashioned things, I’ve dragged my feet to avoid having to make so big a change. Time to face facts.
I’m so sorry for the outage. Real post coming up.
Maintenance is over and the new Kingdom website is up! You can find it here.
Please note that this does make links to any subpages from the old site not work and will most likely result in 404 errors. If you have linked to specific pages on the old aethelmearc.org website, please update your links accordingly.
If you do find an issue on the new site, please fill out the Website Error form that is located at the bottom of the announcements area on the main page.
Thank you all for your patience!