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Thieves ransack stores of Canterbury Archaeological Trust

History Blog - Sun, 2018-02-04 00:18

Thieves have broken into the Kingsmead stores of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust and made off with coins, metal artifacts, bone artifacts, tools and more than 850 Anglo-Saxon beads. They ransacked the storage warehouse, leaving it a shambles and making it hard for the Trust’s staff to sort out exactly what was stolen. A conservative estimate is at least 1,500 pieces. It was not a one-time deal. They broke in four times at the end of January, on January 18th, the night of the 22nd-23rd, then on the 23rd and 24th. They went so far as to cut a hole in the side of the building and yank out copper wiring from the walls.

It would serve them right if they were panting with exertion when they broke through that wall, because what they didn’t know is the exterior wall they broke through contained asbestos. I hope they inhaled deeply. Sorry not sorry. The disturbance of old asbestos only adds to the Trust’s burdens in recovering from the mess the thieves left behind, unfortunately, on top of all the other work that needs to be done. Only expensive hazmat abatement specialized are equipped to handle asbestos removal, and they don’t come cheap. Neither do plumbers and electrician, and that hole in the wall cut through electric and water pipes as well.

[T]he attacks in Canterbury appear to have purely financial motives. The two thieves also stole copper cables from the building during the burglaries and one of the men was caught on camera stealing beer from a local shop. […]

“The combs are so fragile that in their hands they will disintegrate,” added [Trust director Paul] Bennett.

“They may end up on eBay or car boot sales for pennies whereas their real place is in a museum. They are our legacy for future generations.

“These two people have been allowed to run rampant and steal our material. They are a couple of low lives who live locals. They must have a huge swag bag.

“It is the heritage of Canterbury trampled and trodden on by a pair of thieves. We have been caught up in a whirlwind of thievery.”

A supporter has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help defray the costs of dealing with the break-in. It has a £1,000 goal, which while modest will contribute meaningfully to the expense of added security, personnel time and repairs. It’s about a third of the way to goal after one day.

CAT is asking collectors and enthusiasts who know their coins and beads to keep a sharp eye open on eBay and other sites where the looted objects might be offered for sale, also to share the Facebook post to get the word out as far as possible about the theft. CAT staff are updating a photo album with pictures of the stolen objects as they figure out what’s gone. That will give you an idea of what to look for on sites like eBay that don’t ask too many inconvenient (or any) questions about the source of the antiquities up for bid.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Market Day at Birka Hotel Update

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2018-02-03 21:55

The staff of Market Day at Birka XXX (2019) would like to bring all our potential guests up to date regarding developments at the hotel which hosts the event.

An abbreviated version of this information was announced in Royal Court at Birka recently, but we want to provide more details, and also to inform gentles who were not at the event, or who did not attend Court.

We want to reassure everyone – we will be at the same location in 2019, and expect arrangements to be substantially similar.  We have a contract from the hotel in hand, which is currently being reviewed by the autocrat, the hotel liaison deputy, and the Seneschal of Stonemarche.  Once it has been signed, dates will be announced. We continue to have an excellent relationship with the hotel’s local management, and the are eager to see us return next year.

You will see some changes however – most notably the name of the hotel.  It is changing brand affiliations from Radisson to DoubleTree by Hilton. If you’re interested in the business details, a local new blog, Manchester Ink Link,  has written an excellent summary here.

What you, as a prospect Birka attendee, need to know right now is that you cannot make a reservation now and have it transferred to the room block reserved for Birka, at the special Birka rate, when the room block is officially opened later this year.  In past years the hotel staff has done this as a courtesy, however this year they will not do so.  They have their hands full with logistical issues related to the transition, including moving to using the Hilton reservation system instead of the Radisson system. They simply don’t have time to make a lot of manual adjustments to reservations for us.  Do not reserve now unless you want to pay full price.

We will, as always, have a block of rooms reserved for Birka which includes every hotel room in the facility which is not reserved under long-standing contracts with other clients. They have long term contracts with other businesses which pre-date us, and must be honored.

An announcement will be issued when we have a firm date for the room block becoming available.

We are also working to set up arrangements for room rates at other nearby hotels for those who aren’t able to reserve rooms at the primary hotel, or prefer another location. An announcement concerning these options will go out after the room block at our host hotel is released.

Thank you,

Lady Tomyris

Event Steward,  Birka XXX

From the Kingdom and Society Seneschals

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2018-02-03 19:48

Forwarded by request of Duke Christopher, Æthelmearc Seneschal, from the Society Seneschal:

To all Kingdom Seneschals,

I want you to alert all of your officers (Kingdom and local group officers) that DOXXING (i.e. posting personal information/contact information/political information about individuals) is a violation of the SCA Code of Conduct and the Anti-Bullying and Harassment policy. DOXXING is also against the law in California and a number of other jurisdictions; furthermore, DOXXING may likewise be actionable as an Invasion of Privacy which may result in a civil suit and money damages. Please convey to all of your officers at both the Kingdom and local group level that any officer or agent of the SCA found to be DOXXING is subject to termination from their office.

Additionally, I am instructing all Kingdom Seneschals and their deputies to obtain screen-shots of instances of DOXXING by any participant as this cannot be tolerated.

Everyone needs to contemplate the consequences of their actions. I know that there is a lot of anger and frustration over the events of the past week; however, as officers and agents of the SCA, we must act in accordance with the very foundations of this organization: courtesy, honor, chivalry and respect. We are and should be held to a higher standard and yet, there are allegations that at least one officer took part in DOXXING.

We have a responsibility to be leaders– to be part of a solution and not part of the problem, even when the fog of division, discord and blame make it hard to see what is truly important to us all.  It is times like these when we need to pull together, rally around what is good about our Society and lead by example. Even when the world appears bereft of courtesy, honor, chivalry and respect, we need to be an example of these virtues.

Very truly yours,
A.J. Pongratz
Vice President of Operations, SCA Inc.
Society Seneschal

Categories: SCA news sites

LiDAR reveals hitherto unknown vastness of Maya civlization

History Blog - Sat, 2018-02-03 00:16

Researchers using LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology to explore the Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Petén region of Guatemala have found evidence of large public buildings, homes, royal palaces, roads and other structures far more extensive than anyone had any idea existed. More than 60,000 man-made features invisible to the naked eye under the thick jungle canopy have been identified. The scans were done from helicopters. Researchers took aerial shots of the tree tops and then digitally removed the trees, thus peeling back nature’s reclamation of land that the Maya had developed and populated to an astonishingly advanced degree.

The reserve covers an enormous area of 8,341 square miles, almost three times the size of Yellowstone National Park. Within it lie the visible archaeological remains of great Maya cities like Tikal and Holmul. Researchers scanned 10 sections of the reserve totaling more than 800 square miles, a fraction of the Maya Biosphere Reserve but big enough to generate the largest amount of LiDAR data ever collected for an archaeological study.

The results suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilization that was, at its peak some 1,200 years ago, more comparable to sophisticated cultures such as ancient Greece or China than to the scattered and sparsely populated city states that ground-based research had long suggested.

In addition to hundreds of previously unknown structures, the LiDAR images show raised highways connecting urban centers and quarries. Complex irrigation and terracing systems supported intensive agriculture capable of feeding masses of workers who dramatically reshaped the landscape.

The ancient Maya never used the wheel or beasts of burden, yet “this was a civilization that was literally moving mountains,” said Marcello Canuto, a Tulane University archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who participated in the project.

Tulane University archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Maya expert who has made some extraordinary finds on the ground as well as participating in the aerial study, calls the LiDAR data “revolutionary” and expects it will take a century to thoroughly examine and fully understand the sheer masses of information discovered by the scanning technology. The conclusions that can be derived from the material that has been sifted through are exploding what we thought we know about Maya civilization.

Already, though, the survey has yielded surprising insights into settlement patterns, inter-urban connectivity, and militarization in the Maya Lowlands. At its peak in the Maya classic period (approximately A.D. 250–900), the civilization covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, but it was far more densely populated.

“Most people had been comfortable with population estimates of around 5 million,” said Estrada-Belli, who directs a multi-disciplinary archaeological project at Holmul, Guatemala. “With this new data it’s no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there—including many living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable.”

Virtually all the Mayan cities were connected by causeways wide enough to suggest that they were heavily trafficked and used for trade and other forms of regional interaction. These highways were elevated to allow easy passage even during rainy seasons. In a part of the world where there is usually too much or too little precipitation, the flow of water was meticulously planned and controlled via canals, dikes, and reservoirs.

Among the most surprising findings was the ubiquity of defensive walls, ramparts, terraces, and fortresses. “Warfare wasn’t only happening toward the end of the civilization,” said Garrison. “It was large-scale and systematic, and it endured over many years.”

This is only the beginning of the project. Over the next three years, the PACUNAM LiDAR Initiative will scan 5,000 square miles of the Guatemalan lowlands, spreading north to the Gulf of Mexico where Maya city states rivalling the ones to the south engaged in some of those centuries of conflict and alliance shifts that necessitated the construction of so many defensive structures.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, February 6th, the National Geographic Channel will premiere a special on the LiDAR research entitled Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings which is a bit of an eye-roller, but there you have it. The Snake Dynasty of Calakmul (which is in Mexico, not Guatemala and so was not scanned in this phase of the project) is undeniably cool, and their influence extended well into the Petén region of modern-day Guatemala, so I get the impulse to put them in the center frame.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Fasching

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2018-02-02 14:12

Here continues the Record of the Reign of Gareth and Juliana, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc at Fasching, November 25, AS 52, in Their Barony of Endless Hills; as recorded by Lord Arias Beltran del Valle, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald. 

Her Majesty Juliana gave leave to Verdi and Fiona, Baron and Baroness of the Endless Hills, to hold their Baronial court.

Be it known: On November 25, 2017 do We, Gareth and Juliana, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, expel Matthew Gibson, known in the Society as Tegrinus de Rhina, from participation in any SCA activity.

Her Majesty then called forward Romey Feuerherrts to attend Her. Romey was then tasked with conveying the children’s toy chest away from the Royal Presence so the children of the Kingdom might be entertained during the court. Having given Romey the traditional head start, the children were then sent to find her and their reward.

Her Majesty then invited forward all those who were attending their first event and, as has become Their tradition, gave each a drinking vessel that they may be better equipped to attend events in the Society in the future.

Lady Valgerdr inn Rosti was summoned before Her Majesty. Word of Lady Valgerdr’s work as the co-autocrat for events and logistical support, and her time spent retaining for the Kingdom and the Barony, had reached Their Majesties’ ears, and so did They think it right to name her a companion of the Order of the Keystone. Scroll by Lady Kadlin Sigvalda Kohna.

Her Majesty then summoned to Her Lady Julianna Woolworth. Her work in cooking and pickling different foods was on display even that day as she labored in the kitchens to provide plenty of tasty food for those attending the Fasching event. For her efforts was she named to the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll illumination by Lady Shirin of Susa and calligraphy by Isabella Montoya.

Lord Tufa Die Munthus was called to appear before Her Majesty after Her business with his lady was concluded. He, too, had labored long and hard in the kitchens that day, and was also known for brewing his own cordials and meads. So was he made to be counted amongst the order of the Sycamore. Scroll illumination by Gillian McGill De Verona and calligraphy by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Her Majesty bade him stay a moment longer. Having seen his work in the kitchens that day, and his tireless efforts to make the event entertaining (and tasty!) for all, She did name him Her inspiration for the day and awarded him a Golden Escarbuncle.

Her Majesty then thanked those scribes present who had contributed to those works handed out this day, and called for the populace to crusade with Their Majesties and represent Their lands at Gulf Wars in the coming year.

There being no further business before Them, the Court of Her Majesty was then concluded.

Photos courtesy of Lady Christina Mary Lowe, aka Jinx.

Categories: SCA news sites

Missive from the East Kingdom Seneschal

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2018-02-02 11:27
To the East Kingdom.

I have been advised that there have been incidences of individuals posting links to a site which provides personal identifying information in reaction to the recent events in Caid.

Searching for and publishing private or identifying information, or broadcasting links to such information, about individuals on the internet, with malicious intent (doxxing) violates the SCA’s Harassment and Bullying Policy.

Any such actions will be investigated by me. If warranted, Their Majesties and I will seek the appropriate sanctions.

Any reports of doxxing may be sent directly to me. Any reports sent to local seneschals shall be sent directly to me.

Katherine Barr
East Kingdom Seneschal

Anglo-Saxon bed burial cross gifted to museum

History Blog - Fri, 2018-02-02 00:28

The gold and garnet pectoral cross found in a bed burial of a wealthy young Anglo-Saxon girl has been donated to University of Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). Landowners Gosvenor gifted the rare and valuable piece to the museum under the terms of the 1996 Treasures Act, forgoing the ex gratia reward the landowners of a treasure find are entitled to. In this case, the reward for the cross along was likely to be more than £80,000, so this is a significant donation for a company to make on a purely pecuniary level.

That’s nothing compared to its historical value. The 7th century grave was discovered in 2011 by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit in the village of Trumpington Meadows just three miles south of Cambridge during a survey excavation of a site slated for development. The teenager had been laid to rest on a bed, probably the one she had slept on in life, adorned with her most precious gold and garnet jewels. While most of her bed was gone, its wood frame and straw mattress decayed to nothingness, the iron brackets did survive to bear witness to what had once been her final resting furnishings. This was only the 15th bed burial ever found in Britain.

At her neck, archaeologists found a gold and garnet pectoral cross. Intricate in design with the highest quality craftsmanship, the cross is only the fifth of its kind ever found. The finely worked gold and cut garnets are reminiscent of several pieces in the Staffordshire Hoard and archaeologists believe they were reserved for the wealthiest, most important people, which would make the young lady one of the elite of Anglo-Saxon society, perhaps even royalty.

The early date of the find is also immensely significant because the cross marks the girl as one of the earliest Christian Anglo-Saxons known. Christianity spread throughout Anglo-Saxon society from the top down, so it’s eminently possible that she was an early convert. The presence of additional grave goods characteristic of pre-Christian funerary practices underscore what a transitional time. Those grave goods, including another splendid piece of gold and garnet jewelry (a pin), an iron knife, glass beads and a chain which hung off her belt, are also part of the MAA collection now.

The cross and other grave goods from the very rare bed burial will be put on temporary display while a new bespoke display case is created to show off the cross to its full advantage.

The Museum also hopes to host public lectures at which the context and significance of the cross will be explained.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the importance of this magnificent and mysterious cross is recognised locally, nationally and internationally through research, exhibition and publication,” added [MMA Senior Curator Judy] Joy.

“The Trumpington Cross offers unique insights into the origins of English Christianity and we feel very lucky to be able to put it on display at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology just a few, short miles away from where this beautiful artefact was discovered.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Tournament Results from Birka

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2018-02-01 13:54

Tournament results are available from the bear-pit style tournaments traditionally held at A Market Day at Birka.

Photo by Aaron Replogle

152 heavy list (rattan) fighters entered the lists, fighting a total of 3,222 bouts. The overall top finisher was Lord Arne Ulrichsson with 280 points. The next ranked finisher was Sir Douglas Henry with 243 points.

Complete Birka heavy list tournament results are available by clicking here.

Photo by Aaron Replogle

72 rapier fighters entered the lists at A Market Day at Birka, and fought 1,496 bouts in total. The top finisher was Master Quintin Brilliant with 171 points.  The next ranked finisher was Maréchal Remy Delamontagne de Gascogne with 169 points.

Complete Birka rapier combat tournament results are available by clicking here.

East Kingdom Wiki Tutorial

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2018-02-01 10:59

Lady Violet Hughes has created a tutorial for creating and updating populace pages on the East Kingdom Wiki Site.

The tutorial can be found on Google Docs.

Tir Mara Populace Badge/ Le Blason pour la Population de Tir Mara

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2018-02-01 01:45

En français

Greetings from Lord Conn mac Branain, Chair of the Tir Mara Populace Badge Committee.

The process for selecting a populace badge for Tir Mara progresses.  We have finished evaluating the submissions received and are now ready to proceed to the next step: consulting the people of Tir Mara.

Five designs have been selected for consideration.  We feel an online poll utilizing a ranked ballot is the best approach.  The designs are available to view on the Principality website as well as in the poll itself, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XRC6TZM.  Please rank the submissions in order of preference from 1 to 5, with 1 being the most preferred and 5 the least preferred.

The poll will run until the midnight, 28th February, at which point we will make the results known and present them to Their Royal Highnesses for consideration.

En français —

Salutation de Lord Conn mac Branain, président le comité pour l’approbation du blason pour la population de Tir Mara.

Le processus pour le choix du blason de la population de Tir Mara avance bien. Nous avons terminés l’évaluation des soumissions reçus et sommes prêt à passer à l’étape suivante qui est de consulter la population de Tir Mara

Cinq blasons ont étés sélectionnés pour considération. Nous pensons qu’un vote en ligne est la meilleure approche. Les blasons sous considération sont disponible pour consultation sur le site de la Principauté au: http://tirmara.eastkingdom.org/populace-badge-committee/tir-mara-badge-options/ ainsi que sur le site du vote lui-même,  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XRC6TZM.

Veuillez noter les blasons de 1 à 5. 1 étant votre préférer et 5 étant le moins aimé. Le vote continuera jusqu’à minuit le 28 février. À ce moment les résultas du vote seront rendu publique et présentés à leurs Altesses pour considération.

Traduction: Lord Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle

Rare 14th-16th c. shipwrecks found in Stockholm

History Blog - Thu, 2018-02-01 00:17

Archaeologists have discovered the wrecks of two ships in the Baltic Sea off Stockholm. That’s not unusual because the Baltic is a) really cold, and b) so saline that shipworm (and other assorted wood-eating critters), which can devour a wooden wreck in a matter of months, find it distinctly inhospitable. There are at least 100 intact ships on the Baltic Sea bed around Stockholm.

What is unusual about the two that have just been discovered is their age. One is a medieval cog believed to date to the 14th or early 15th century. The other is from the 16th century. Most of the ships that sank in Stockholm’s waters date to the 17th and 18th centuries when Sweden’s naval fleet was in its fullest fulgor.

Swedish National Maritime Museums (SNMM) divers found the wrecks just before Christmas while photographing and surveying the seabed for a new museum dedicated to the maritime archaeology of the Baltic Sea.

The wreckage from the Middle Ages is mostly submerged in mud and its details indicate that it is a cog, most likely from the 14th or 15th century. The ship is 23–25 meters in length and seven meters wide. It is likely to have had a mast with a square rig. More shipbuilding details indicate it being from the Middle Ages, such as protruding deck beams with unusually high knees and a simple anchor wheel. When cog ships were introduced on the seas they were a brand new, large and powerful type of ship that came to dominate large parts of the trade around the Baltic Sea for centuries.

The other shipwreck is estimated to be from the 16th century and still stands with the mast straight up and fully equipped. Some of the discoveries onboard include 20 barrels of osmond iron, kitchen utensils and tools. The extent of the iron found is unprecedented in previous maritime findings. Osmond iron has largely built Sweden, but also supported countries around the Baltic Sea. Gustav Vasa wanted to ban the iron, and this happened later in 1604 when osmond iron was replaced with wrought iron.

The SNMM is working on a ground-breaking new approach to shipwreck archaeology and display: leaving them where they are. Instead of investing in the risky, time-consuming and prohibitively expensive recovery of shipwrecks as was done with the incomparable Vasa, known wrecks and ones still to be discovered will stay on the Baltic Sea floor where they will be explored by marine archaeologists. The new maritime archaeological museum, to be built next to the Vasa‘s museum home in Stockholm, will display artifacts and fragments of wrecks recovered in the dives rather than the ships themselves. Visitors will still get a chance to see them, not in person after decades of conservation and restoration (always precarious), but as if they had been part of the diving team. The wonders of computer graphics and virtual reality technology make it possible to experience marine archaeological remains in their original context, in virtual situ, if you will.

The Treasures of the Baltic Sea museum is scheduled to open in 2020.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Registration Deadline Today! King’s and Queen’s Arts & Bardic Champions

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2018-01-31 11:34

Today (January 31st) is the very last day to pre-register for the East Kingdom’s King’s & Queen’s A&S and Bardic Championships, held 2/10/18 in Northpass (specifically Mount Kisco, NY, upper Westchester County).

Come for the sights, the sounds, the smells and tastes of the dayboard, the embraces of your friends, and the pleasure of our mutual good company… and to make your entry into the halls of displayed treasures and performances as quick as possible, please pre-register using PayPal.

PayPal registration (an easy two part process):
1) http://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/728166
2) survey is followed shortly by an SCA email giving you the PayPal invoice and link.

Pre-Registration $17
Pre-Registration with membership discount $12
Reservation deadline January 31st, 2018

At the Door $20
At the Door with membership discount $15

Children 6-17: $8
Children under 6: Free

For more details,

Unofficial Court Report: Owlsherst Country Twelfth Night

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2018-01-31 07:58

photo by Svana Vefa

Being the Court of Their Majesties Ivan and Matilde held on January 20, A.S. LII (2018) in the Shire of Owlsherst at Owlsherst Country Twelfth Night

Court Heralds: Lady Marian Kirkpatrick, Baroness Christina Jenevra de Carvalhal, Padraig O’Bradaigh, Charlotte Ingen Mhuiraeg

Reporting Heralds: Master Malcolm Bowman and Lady Marian Kirkpatrick

1. Siobhan inghean ui Ghadhra – Award of Arms
(scroll by Mari Clock van Hoorne with words by: Mistress Alys Mackyntoich)

2. Brendon of Silver Rylle – Order of the Gawain
(no scroll)

3. Céline Elisabeth de Meaux – Order of the Silver Rapier
(scroll by Mairi Crawford with words by Eldrich Gaiman)

4. Céline Elisabeth de Meaux – Order of the Silver Wheel
(scroll by Linette de Gallardon and the Owlsherst Co-Operative Scriptorium)

photo by Svana Vefa

5. Jacques de Villiers Saint Oryen, aka Dorien of Elvenwood – Order of the Silver Rapier
(scroll by Mairi Crawford with words by Eldrich Gaiman)

6. Jacques de Villiers Saint Oryen, aka Dorien of Elvenwood – Award of Arms
(no scroll)

7. Jacques de Villiers Saint Oryen, aka Dorien of Elvenwood – Order of the Silver Wheel
(scroll by Linette de Gallardon and the Owlsherst Co-Operative Scriptorium)

8. Donnchadh Mac Lochlainn – Award of Arms
(no scroll)

9. Conall Ó Suibhne, also called Conall mac Suibhne or Conall mac Taithlich – Order of the Silver Wheel
(scroll by Linette de Gallardon and the Owlsherst Co-Operative Scriptorium)

photo by Svana Vefa

10. Fabrisse of Owlsherst – Order of the Silver Wheel
(no scroll)

11. Olwen ferch Bleddyn – Order of the Silver Wheel
(no scroll)

12. Olwen ferch Bleddyn – Award of Arms
(no scroll)


13. Marcus D’Orleans – – Order of the Silver Wheel
(no scroll)

14. Svana Vefa – Award of Arms
(no scroll)

15. Dimitrius Alexandros – Award of Arms
(scroll by Mari Clock van Hoorne, with words by Edmund Beneyt)

16. Leonilla Kalista Kievlianina, called Kalista – Order of the Silver Brooch
(no scroll)

photo by Svana Vefa

17. Esmeria de Rus – Order of the Silver Brooch
(Scroll – Illumination by Triona MacCasky, Caligraphy by Master Johnathan Blaecstan, words by Lady Shoshana Gryffith)

18. Esmeria de Rus – Award of Arms
(no scroll)

19. Orlaithe inn voðfroli – Order of the Silver Brooch
(scroll by Linette de Gallardon and the Owlsherst Co-Operative Scriptorium)

20. Elizabeth mac Neachtan – Order of Silver Brooch
(scroll – Illumination by Triona MacCasky, Caligraphy by Master Johnathan Blaecstan, with words by Mistress Dorigen of the Grey Gate)

21. Pani Magdalena Gdanska – Order of the Golden Lire
(no scroll)

22. Whistler O’Pit – Order of the Golden Mantle
(Scroll – Illumination by Ellesbeth Donofrey, with calligraphy by Jonathan Blaecstan)

photo by Svana Vefa

Other business:

– Shire Wars Charter was signed
– The Children’s toybox was run
– Mori Matsunomai made a presentation from Owlsherst
– Ivan Valfreker received a backlog scroll, and swore his fealty
– Ruslan Novgorodcev and House Gliepnirvirki made a presentation
– Ruslan Novgorodcev swore fealty to the crown

2,500-year-old grave mutliple burial found in Mexico

History Blog - Wed, 2018-01-31 00:43

Archaeologists with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered a 2,500-year-old grave containing the skeletal remains of at least 10 people during a salvage excavation in Tlalpan, a borough in the Federal District of Mexico City. The grave was found five feet below the surface under property belonging to the Pontifical University of Mexico. It is the first burial with so many individuals from the Preclassic period found in the Valley of Mexico. Previous finds have had two, at most three, individuals buried together.

The burial pit is modest in size, about 6.5 feet in diameter, considering how many bodies it contains. The skeletons found there were all buried at the same time. So far 10 individual skeletons have been identified. The sex of three of them has been determined — two female, one male — and archaeologists are working to identify the rest. Most of them were children at the time of death. There is one confirmed adult, one child between three and five years of age and the remains of an infant who died just one month old. Osteological analysis has found individuals with deliberate cranial deformation and some dental modifications as well. There are also evidence of wear on the teeth and bone spurs on the vertebrae, today more common in people older than 50.

The grave goods include earthenware bowls, pots and gourds of various sizes from large to tiny. There also stones and ceramic spheres placed in the hands of some of the deceased.

Investigations into the cause of death are ongoing. There is no immediate evidence of them being related to each other or affiliated in any other way, but there is likely a ritual significance to their deaths because their remains were carefully arranged, the arms of one placed under the spine of the other in a sort of windmill pattern that is particularly pronounced in the center. They’re not in the same positions, however. Some are on their sides, others on their back or with their knees pulled up to their chest or their lower limbs hyperextended towards the hips. Their intricate placement is how the team knew they were buried together in a single event.

The area was first settled around 1200-1000 BC as a small farming community. It was one of the first settlements south of modern-day Mexico City. The civic center that developed is known as Cuicuilco and the archaeological site contains the remains of a conical pyramid on oval base, built around 800–600 B.C., likely modeled after one of several active volcanoes in the Valley of Mexico. The attempt to appease the local Pele was successful for centuries. Until it wasn’t. Cuicuilco was obliterated in the eruption of the Xitle volcano around 100-200 A.D. Subsequent eruptions buried the city and the valley in lava.

The village of Tlalpan was settled just east of Cuicuilco between the Zacatenco phases (700-400 B.C.) and Ticoman (400-200 B.C.) of the Middle and Late Formative period. It had come to some prominence, apparently, until the eruption depopulation the valley. There may have been a brief Post-Classic period resettlement (archaeologists are still debating this point) but by then the area was dominated by the nearby urban center of Teotihuacan which didn’t exist yet as a single community when Xitle destroyed Cuicuilco.

When archaeologists first came across the remains of basalt stone walls, they weren’t sure at first what period they came from. They thought they might be Post-Classic, but closer examination found that they were built using river stones, which is marker of Pre-Classic construction. INAH experts believe Tlalpan had areas used for residential, ritual or burial purposes, pieces of which have been found in this excavation and others over the past dozen years. The stone walls were from a private dwelling, archaeologists believe.

This Spanish language video released by INAH shows the burial pit once it’s fully excavated and includes commentary from the researchers on the arrangement of the bodies. Turn on the closed captioning if your Spanish is shaky or non-existent and use the auto-translator to get a hint of what they’re saying through the autogenerated weirdnesses.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

SCA, Inc.: Addendum – Board Statement on Hate Speech

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2018-01-30 15:11

The following message was published today by the SCA, Inc. Board of Directors:

In our zeal to craft a statement to show where the Board stands on the subject of hate speech, the word “Religion” was inadvertently left off. We apologize for the oversight.

Paul Lancaster
Chair, Board of Directors
Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.


The Society for Creative Anachronism strongly condemns hate speech in any form by any officers and participants of this organization. The SCA was founded on and continues to be governed by the concepts of chivalry and honor, and strives to include and be respectful of all people, regardless of race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and politics. All participants are reminded of and expected to hold to these principles in participating in this organization and interacting with other people in person and in all forums, regardless of media.

The Board of Directors has heard the concerns of many people regarding the use of hate symbols in the SCA. The Board is concerned about this matter and has tasked the President of the SCA to immediately investigate. The President has the full confidence of the Board, and the Board will act as necessary to protect the participants of the SCA and to ensure that chivalry, honor, and respect for all continue to govern the organization.

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036

You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.

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.

Call for Applicants for SCA Board Communications Officer

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2018-01-30 07:13

The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. is seeking candidates for the position of Board Communications Officer, which will be a 3-year warranted term of service. The successful candidate will be primarily responsible for external and internal communications from the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers.

Key Responsibilities

* Create and curate posts, press releases, and official announcements from the SCA Board of Directors and the its officers.
* Ensure the consistency of messaging internally and externally.


* Experience in communications in an organization; nonprofit a plus.
* Proficient in WordPress and some knowledge of HTML preferred.
* Copywriting and editing ability.
* Expertise with social media and networking sites.

Candidate Profile

* A passion for, and commitment to, effective communication within the SCA.
* Organized, detail-oriented, ability to prioritize multiple projects.
* Outgoing, energetic, and accepting personality.
* Internet/Telephone access

Applicants must be paid members of the Society and able to travel to board meetings as requested by the Board.

Hard copies of résumés (both professional and SCA related, including offices held and honors) must be sent to the attention of ‘Communications Officer’, SCA, Inc., P.O. Box 360789, Milpitas, CA 95036-0789. Electronic courtesy copies should also be sent to resumes@sca.org.

The deadline for submissions is March 20, 2018.

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.

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.

Categories: SCA news sites

Rare Arabic-inspired chess piece found in Norway

History Blog - Tue, 2018-01-30 00:21

Archaeologists have unearthed a rare medieval chess piece in the remains of a 13th century house in Tønsberg, Norway. It was discovered just before Christmas by a team from the Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) who were excavating the Anders Madsens gate area of Tønsberg.

The cylindrical piece is 30 mm high (1.2 inches) and 26 mm in diameter (1 inch). There’s a wedge jutting out from the top front and it as well as the rest of the body are decorated all over with circles with dots inside. It was carved out of antler and archaeologists believe the maker inserted a piece of lead in the middle of the cylinder to ensure it would hold firm on the chessboard.

Its unusual design suggests it was at least inspired by Arabic art, but that doesn’t mean it was manufactured by Islamic artists or in an Islamic country.

“The design of the piece has an abstract shape, and is designed according to Islamic tradition, where no human figures are to be depicted,” says project manager for the excavation in NIKU Lars Haugesten. […]

“No previous archaeological finds from Tønsberg have such details, which emphasizes that this chess piece is a unique object,” says Haugesten.

Researchers determined that the this piece is a knight. The piece was called an “asb,” meaning horse in Persian in the early form of chess that spread throughout Europe after the Islamic conquest that ended the Sasanian Persian Empire in the 7th century. The game under its Arabic name, shatranj, was brought to Europe via Islamic Spain in the 10th century and from there spread to the far reaches of the continent over the next couple of centuries.

The oldest known chess piece in Scandinavia was found in Lund, Sweden, and dates to the 12th century. It too is of Arabic design and is not dissimilar to the one recently unearthed at Tønsberg. Similar pieces have been found in Bergen, Norway, as well, where more than a thousand game pieces have been discovered in multiple excavations. The Arabic-influenced abstract knight design is very rare. There are only six examples of them among the Bergen pieces, and they have different dimensions and decorative motifs.

The Anders Madsens dig started in the fall and has so far discovered the remains of streets and houses from the Middle Ages. Artifacts found include a panoply of daily use objects like combs, pottery and antlers. The excavation has been the subject of much interest because Tønsberg is the oldest city in Norway, its founding traditionally dated to 871 A.D. based on the account of 13th century chronicler Snorri Sturluson, and the dig site is located in a key position near Slottsfjell Castle, the royal estate and St. Laurence Church, now no longer standing.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Report on East Kingdom Curia

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2018-01-29 19:15

East Kingdom Curia was held on Sunday morning after the Market Day at Birka event in the Barony of Stonemarche.   Their Majesties Ivan Ivanov syn Dimitriov vynuk Tzardikov and Matilde de Cadenet presided, accompanied by Their Highnesses Brennan mac Fearghus and Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain and Mistress Katherine Barr, the Kingdom Seneschal.

The full agenda for the Curia can be read on the Kingdom Seneschal’s website: http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/docs/EKCuria20180128agenda.pdf

Results will be official when published in Pikestaff, the East Kingdom newsletter, and will then be available at http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/index.php as well.

The meeting opened with brief reports from the various kingdom officers.

A proposed change to the term of office of the Earl Marshall was noted, and approved as presented in the agenda without comment.  Most kingdom offices are held for two-year terms, but going forward the Earl Marshall will serve for a 3 year term, to commence immediately after the Pennsic War in years when the War has just been run by the East Kingdom.  Because responsibility for Pennsic rotates between the East, the Middle and Aethelmearc, this change allows the Earl Marshall to be involved in all the planning leading up to the year where he or she will be Marshall in Charge at War.

Proposed changes in the structure of the offices of Pennsic Steward and Pennsic Major-Domo were discussed.  These officers, between them, are responsible for the East Kingdom Royal encampment at Pennsic.  The changes proposed were well received by all, and are expected to be signed as presented in the agenda document.

The item of business generating most debate was the proposed change to Kingdom Law allowing  individuals and non-territorial groups to bid for and run Kingdom Events (Coronation, Crown Tourney, 12th Night and Champions events).

Mistress Mercedes de Calafia, former East Kingdom Seneschal, addressed the assembled Curia, noting that there is precedent for this, including the upcoming East Kingdom 50 Year Celebration, which is being run as a Kingdom-sponsored event, not by the group within whose boundaries the event site lies.  This law change was presented as formally codifying procedures for this situation.

A representative of House Runnymede proposed an alternate wording which would grant local groups the ability to veto such events.  Prince Brennan responded that that there is a significant and ongoing shortage of bids for these required events coming from the local groups.  After passionate but civil discourse an alternative wording was proposed which would call for the local seneschal to either accept or reasonably deny the bid within their lands.  If the bid was denied by the local seneschal, that decision could be overturned by the Kingdom Seneschal.  This was acclaimed as an acceptable compromise by all involved.

Other concerns which were expressed included whether the people organizing the bids would have sufficient knowledge of local laws to avoid actions which would result in repercussions to the local group as well as the Kingdom event.  The proposed law change provides for the local group to have a liaison to work with the event staff before and during the event, which would bring local knowledge to the event staff.  Also discussed was whether running an event in particular state but having all financial transactions handled at the Kingdom level would re-introduce the tax and financial issues which the state-by-state incorporations were put in place to avoid.  These concerns were resolved by a tax professional in attendance.

The modification to change the Award of Gilder to the Order of Gilder was accepted without significant comment.  Several heralds present did request some typographical corrections to the blazon as published in the agenda, which were duly noted for the final text.

The proposed Statement of Inclusion being added to the Rights of Subjects section was received positively, and accepted with some minor alternations to the wording.

One additional item, not present in the agenda, was added, exempting the polling order discussion lists from the email records the web ministry archives. An archive of those deliberations has never been maintained, but Kingdom Law as previously written appeared to require it. This will be corrected.

Request for Commentary – New SCA Mission Statement

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2018-01-29 16:05

Currently open for commentary is a proposal to expand the Society’s Mission Statement.

The Mission Statement currently reads as follows:

The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) is an international organization devoted to the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century life, employing knowledge of history to enrich participants’ lives and the lives of others through events, demonstrations, and other educational venues.

The proposed revision reads as follows:

The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (the “Society”) is a 501(c)3 Educational Not-for-Profit organization devoted to the study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  As a living history group, the Society provides an environment in which members can recreate various aspects of the culture and technology of the period, as well as doing more traditional historical research.

The Society’s mission is to promote the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century life, employing knowledge of history to enrich the lives of participants and others through live events and other educational venues.

In pursuing this mission, the Society is committed to excellence in its programs and activities and to

∙ act in accordance with the chivalric virtues of honor and service;
∙ value and respect the worth and dignity of all individuals;
∙ practice inclusiveness and respect pluralism and diversity;
∙ promote a safe and respectful environment for all Society events;
∙ act with transparency, fairness, integrity and honesty;
∙ be a responsible steward of Society resources; and,
∙ be committed to maintaining the trust of its members and participants.

It is the expectation of the Society that its members and participants, in all events and activities of the Society, will conduct themselves in accordance with these tenets.


Comments may also be emailed to comments@lists.sca.org. Please use “Mission Statement” in the subject line. Comments may also be mailed to the attention of ‘Attn: Mission Statement’, SCA, Inc., P.O. Box 360789, Milpitas, CA 95036-0789.

Commentary will be accepted until April 1, 2018.
Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.

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.

Categories: SCA news sites

SCA Board Statement on Hate Speech

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2018-01-29 14:14

The Society for Creative Anachronism strongly condemns hate speech in any form by any officers and participants of this organization. The SCA was founded on and continues to be governed by the concepts of chivalry and honor, and strives to include and be respectful of all people, regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and politics. All participants are reminded of and expected to hold to these principles in participating in this organization and interacting with other people in person and in all forums, regardless of media.

The Board of Directors has heard the concerns of many people regarding the use of hate symbols in the SCA. The Board is concerned about this matter and has tasked the President of the SCA to immediately investigate. The President has the full confidence of the Board, and the Board will act as necessary to protect the participants of the SCA and to ensure that chivalry, honor, and respect for all continue to govern the organization.

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

You may also email comments@lists.sca.org.

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.

Categories: SCA news sites