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New burials found at Ostia necropolis

History Blog - Tue, 2014-07-22 23:50

Excavations in Ostia, the ancient Roman harbour town at the mouth of the Tiber, have unearthed a group of more than 12 tombs from the 3rd-4th century A.D. Underscoring the cultural diversity of the port city, the necropolis includes inhumations and cremations, some right next to each other. The newly unearthed tombs are early Christian and surround a central tomb that belonged to someone of religious or social significance. The central tomb is a circular mausoleum lined in travertine that was originally built in the late Republican era and was reused in late antiquity. Archaeologists believe it may be an extended family unit who wanted to be buried at an important location, perhaps associated with one of the saints buried in early Christian Ostia.

The area being excavated, Parco dei Ravennati, was a suburb of the ancient city of Ostia on the left bank of the Tiber, now long since silted over. The area was used as a necropolis from the early imperial era through the 5th century when a basilica was built around the nearby tomb of 3rd century martyr Saint Aurea, patron saint of Ostia. The church was extensively renovated over the centuries; the current building was built by the Giuliano della Rovere, the future Pope Julius II, commissioner of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, in the 15th century. Another important saint, Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, died in Ostia in the late 4th century and was buried there. Her remains were moved to the Saint Aurea church in the 6th century before moving again to the Church of Saint Augustine in Rome.

There may be more information on the burials forthcoming courtesy of some inscriptions.

Additionally, several tombs had funerary inscriptions and archaeologists found a possible tabella defixionum, a lead curse tablet intended to protect the dead and bring anathema to tomb desecrators.

“They were really horrible curses to protect the dead”, Paola Germoni, head of Ostia’s archaeological superintendency, added.

Studies remain ongoing, according to Michele Raddi, excavation co-director, who said “we found a number of fragmentary inscriptions in the tombs as well as a possible tabella defixionum, but we need to evaluate its context and see if it has an inscription”.

Parco dei Ravennati wasn’t just a necropolis, however. Multiple domestic spaces have been unearthed, including an elaborate opus sectile marble inlay floor from the late 4th century. This season’s excavations have found even more of that aristocratic home, a space adjacent to the opus sectile room that was paved with paving stones and converted to commercial use. The discovery of hooks and lead weights from fishing nets suggest the elegant home was re-purposed for fish processing in the early Middle Ages. Ancient sources and earlier archaeology pointed to Ostia being in steep decline as a commercial center starting in the reign of Constantine I (306-337 A.D.), so the discovery of active businesses from the early Middle Ages is going to change what we know about Ostia.

“What’s amazing is that you have continual use in this park straight through from republic and imperial times through to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, its giving us precious information about the later periods and how it relates to Ostia Antica”, [director of the American Institute for Roman Culture Darius] Arya said.

“The discoveries in the Parco dei Ravennati underlines the extraordinary continuity of life and activity along the Tiber River banks, in Ostia Antica’s suburbs”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

East Kingdom Seneschal’s meeting

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2014-07-22 16:59

The East Kingdom Seneschal will be having a seneschals’ meeting at Pennsic on the Wednesday of War Week from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in EK Royal.

Reports, email, and more are scheduled to be discussed. The Seneschal asks that you please think about issues you’d like to bring up.


Filed under: Pennsic

Cynagua Coronet May 2014 videos online

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-07-22 13:15

Kean de Lacy reports that he has posted a collection of videos from Cynagua Coronet which took place in May 2014 in the Kingdom of the West.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Summer issue of "Quivers and Quarrels"

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-07-22 09:21

The summer issue of the SCA wide archery E-newsletter Quivers and Quarrels is now available.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Sam’s iconic piano from Casablanca for sale

History Blog - Mon, 2014-07-21 23:58

The piano on which Sam played As Times Goes By at the behest of a melancholic Ilsa and a choleric Rick in the classic 1942 movie Casablanca will be put up for auction later this year. It’s one of more than 30 pieces from the film that will be sold at Bonhams New York’s TCM Presents: There’s No Place Like Hollywood auction on November 24th, all of which belong to a single private collector. Along with the piano, the sale will feature the interior and exterior doors from Rick’s Café Américain, passports and other papers used in the movie, including the letters of transit that were hidden in this piano in a pivotal plot point.

Casablanca has long been one of the most beloved of Hollywood’s wartime classics and continues to be one of the most popular films in the Turner Classic Movies library,” said Dennis Adamovich, senior vice president of digital, affiliate, lifestyle and enterprise commerce at TCM, TBS and TNT. “With the addition of this extraordinary collection of Casablanca memorabilia, TCM and Bonhams’ There’s No Place Like Hollywood auction is going to be a truly unforgettable and historic event.”

“Bonhams is thrilled to represent this remarkable Casablanca collection, certainly one of the most significant film memorabilia collections still in private hands,” says Dr. Catherine Williamson, director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams.

Last year the centerpiece of the Bonham’s auction of movie memorabilia curated by the experts of Turner Classic Movies was from another of Humphrey Bogart’s iconic films, The Maltese Falcon. The lead falcon prop sold for an astonishing $4,085,000 including buyer’s premium. No pre-sale estimate for the piano has been announced yet, but Bonham’s expects it to sell for seven figures as well. There’s no guarantee, of course. The gorgeous 1940 Buick Phaeton from Casablanca‘s final scene sold for $380,000, $70,000 below the low estimate at last year’s sale.

The piano used in the Paris flashback scene where Sam first plays the song for Rick and Ilsa in happier times sold for much less than its estimate at Sotheby’s in December of 2012. The estimate was $800,000 to $1.2 million, but the hammer price was $500,000 ($602,500 including buyer’s premium). Some articles have erroneously conflated the two pianos. The one for sale this November was last purchased at public auction in the 1980s and has since then been loaned to Warner Brothers Studio Museum and the Hollywood Bowl for a 2006 performance.

This piano, which is salmon-colored in real life, looms large in film history as the song sung by Dooley Wilson in the role of Sam has become part of the cultural lexicon. Wilson didn’t actually play the piano (he was a drummer) so as he sang he imitated the real pianist Elliot Carpenter who was playing out of view of the cameras but in view of Wilson. Incidentally, the line most associated with the scene, “Play it again, Sam,” was never actually spoken in the movie.

The full auction catalogue is not yet available online, but keep an eye on this page where it will appear a month or so before the sale.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Updated Information On Reported Hacking Of SCA Vendor

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-07-21 20:57

Earlier today, the Acting Society Seneschal, Antonio Gioranoon, posted an announcement on Facebook that the vendor/purchaser account which handles the SCA’s corporate transaction had been hacked. The SCA has since retracted this statement.  Master Antonio provided this statement to clarify the situation at the request of the Gazette.

The SCA, Inc. was not hacked and no fraud has been linked to those utilizing their credit card to purchase memberships of materials.  I apologize for any concern raised regarding this misinformation, but the good news is that there is no link between credit card activity involving the SCA and credit card fraud.  It is always a good think to regularly check your credit card statements to guard against credit card fraud.  That being said, if you see a charge that concerns you, please let me know about it via email: seneschal@sca.org and I will refer it to the Vice President of IT. so that this questionable charge can be checked against any SCA transaction. Once again, there is no evidence of fraud linked to SCA, Inc. transactions and our site is secure. 


Filed under: Official Notices

SCA Corporate Vendor/Purchaser Account Hacked

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-07-21 18:32

This article has been edited to reflect updated information:

Earlier today, the Acting Society Seneschal, Antonio Gioranoon, posted an announcement on Facebook that the vendor/purchaser account which handles the SCA’s corporate transaction had been hacked. The SCA has since retracted this statement.  Master Antonio provided this statement to clarify the situation at the request of the Gazette.

The SCA, Inc. was not hacked and no fraud has been linked to those utilizing their credit card to purchase memberships of materials.  I apologize for any concern raised regarding this misinformation, but the good news is that there is no link between credit card activity involving the SCA and credit card fraud.  It is always a good think to regularly check your credit card statements to guard against credit card fraud.  That being said, if you see a charge that concerns you, please let me know about it via email: seneschal@sca.org and I will refer it to the Vice President of IT. so that this questionable charge can be checked against any SCA transaction. Once again, there is no evidence of fraud linked to SCA, Inc. transactions and our site is secure. 


Filed under: Corporate, Tidings

Mona Lisa in 3-D?

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-07-21 18:29

The discovery of a Mona Lisa twin in the Museo del Prado in Madrid has led art historians and scientists to consider if Da Vinci's most famous work was actually the world's oldest 3-D artwork. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic News: Missive From Their Majesties

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-07-21 17:42

“Greetings unto Our beloved East,

Her Majesty and I will have two processions that we invite the populace to join us for.

1) Opening Ceremonies. We will be mustering at 8AM in EK Royal to march out to opening ceremonies. Please dress in the colors of your local Barony/Shire/Etc. or join Her Majesty and I in wearing the Eastern purple and gold.
2) Field battle. I consider the field battle at Pennsic to be the single most “Scadian” thing we do. I would very much like to have as much of the Eastern host as is willing to join me in marching the army out to meet our friends and competitors. We will, once again, march from EK Royal to the battlefield. For Monday, we will muster at 8:30, to allow us time to conduct the business of Court before the business of war.

For both of these, we wish to have all the splendor of the East brought to bear. Wear your colors. Bring your banners and watch them flutter. Join us in Oriens Victoriousus

I want to thank everyone who has sewed, organized, or agreed to help Her Majesty and I make our vision come to life. We can not thank you enough for coming along on this ride with us!!

In Proud Service to the East,
Brennan Augustus and Caoilfhionn Augusta”


Filed under: Official Notices, Pennsic

Pennsic News: Paladin’s Pantry Food Drive

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-07-21 17:23

Paladin’s Pantry is an opportunity for the attendees of Pennsic to give back to the local Cooper’s lake communities each year. How, you ask? At the end of War you can donate your unused, non-perishable food items to families in need, just take your leftover goods to the collection points at Lusty Wench Tavern (E17), House Sable Maul Encampment (on Count Jehan’s Bounty), Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands encampment (Serengeti), or Chirurgeon’s Point. But do not let logistics stand in the way of donating your extra items to a worthy cause, if you cannot go to them then simply call 304-283-5640 and you can schedule a time for someone to come collect the items from you.

AND it is not just food items being collected, this year they also will be collecting things such as unneeded tents and sleeping bags to be donated to the homeless.

If you need more information about the program itself, you can contact Lord Morien MacBain (Stephen Vandevander) or call 304-283-5640.


Filed under: Pennsic, Tidings

PENNSIC TRAVEL: Breaking News

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-07-21 17:07

An early traffic report from Pennsic:
“They are working on the bridge at exit 99 on 79 for Cooper’s Lake. It is a bad bottle neck. Can still get off using that exit but you might want to change route in or plan on different timing coming in. ~Kathryne Sommerfeldt “


Filed under: Pennsic, Tidings

Kings College 2014 photos online

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2014-07-21 16:23

Master Caelin on Andrede reports that he has created an album of photos from Kings College which took place recently in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. The photos are available to view on Flickr.

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Categories: SCA news sites

See the lunar suface live tonight in high def

History Blog - Sun, 2014-07-20 20:00

In honor of the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11′s landing on the moon, at 8:30 PM EST tonight the Slooh Space Camera will broadcast live high definition video of the lunar surface. Host Geoff Fox will welcome a panel of experts including astronomer Bob Berman, science journalist Andy Chaikin and filmmaker Duncan Copp who directed the phenomenal The Planets — An HD Odyssey setting breathtaking images of the planets in our solar system with Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite. While you enjoy the high definition views of the moon today, the panelists will discuss the moon landing of 45 years ago,

The YouTube is embedded below. If that doesn’t work for you, you can follow the broadcast on the Slooh website.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Are you a bard?

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-07-20 19:44

What does it mean to be a bard in the Society for Creative Anachronism? THLaird Colyne Stewart, from the Kingdom of Ealdormere, thinks he knows, and shares his thoughts on the Athenaeum Hectoris blog.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Human remains mark Saxon settlement near London

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-07-20 10:12

Gardeners working at a private home in Purley, England near London, were surprised to unearth a skull and thigh bone dating to the 7th of 8th century. The remains are believed by experts to be Saxon, and are considered a "significant archaeological discovery."

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Categories: SCA news sites

Medieval longstone in Norway felled by grass edger

History Blog - Sat, 2014-07-19 23:29

Northern Norway’s tallest stone monolith was knocked down and broken into three pieces by a grass edger last month. The stone had stood in a field on the island of Engeløya in the municipality of Steigen for more than 1,000 years, towering 10 feet above the ground. Its exact date is unknown, but burials found at the site of other phallic stones date them to the Scandinavian Iron Age, 200-600 A.D., significantly before the Viking era.

Located 550 yards south of the picturesque 13th century Steigen Church, it marked the boundary line between two of the village’s biggest farms, Laskestad and Steig, although it long predates the existence of both farms. It may have been a grave marker originally, local legend says to an ancient king. It’s one of the area’s top tourist attractions and claims to fame.

Now its great height is halved and prostrate on the grass, while its stump alone is still vertical, buried in a hole, the glacier blue of the stone’s interior, once modestly covered by grey weathering and yellow lichen, lies exposed in the open wound. The subcontractor hired to cut the grass near the roadside where the monolith stood bumped into the stone and it broke at the base. He told the mayor that the stone was so delicate even the vibration of the edger was almost sufficient to topple it.

Obviously it was an accident, not a deliberate act of vandalism, but the longstone is a protected monument and damaging it is a violation of Norway’s Cultural Heritage Act. The stone was specifically described in the contract, however, so there’s a negligence element here. Mesta AS, the state-owned construction and civil engineering company who employed the subcontractor, is now in the legal cross-hairs. Egil Murud, culture protection chief of Nordland county, announced Wednesday that her office has written a report to be delivered Thursday, July 17th. Mesta AS will have to account for itself in court.

Meanwhile, archaeologists and conservators from the Tromsø University Museum have documented the broken pieces and wrapped them to contain any chipping. The question of what to do next is still open. Theoretically it is possible to join the sections by drilling holes in the stone and inserting stainless steel bolts into them. It’s a very invasive solution, however, and the stone is quite thin compared to its height and it’s very heavy, so the bolts may not even work. Other options are being considered, including creating a copy to stand in the original location while the pieces are moved to the Steigen village square where they would lie flat, or putting the pieces on display at the Tromsø Museum.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

An Announcement from the East Kingdom Chirurgeon

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2014-07-19 22:26

Greetings from the Kingdom Chirurgeon!

I write this message in an effort to address some false rumors concerning the Chirurgeonate.

As many of you are probably aware, some months ago in mid-January, the SCA Board of Directors (BoD) announced a proposal to do away with Chirurgeons as officers within the Society. They invited comments and ultimately made their decision in April. Effectively, the BoD decided to suspend action on this matter, pending further study and research. No decision was made at that time, nor has any decision been made since then; however, a committee (on which I am honored to serve) has been formed to investigate and discuss the issue.

Since the BoD announcement in January, rumors concerning the ultimate disposition of the Chirurgeonate have abounded. I have heard folks state with certainty that Chirurgeons no longer exist, or that their days are numbered. As stated above, these rumors are false. At this time, the Chirurgeonate continues to exist in the same manner as it has in the past: Chirurgeons – persons with mundane first aid and CPR certifications – continue to serve at SCA activities, patching up minor injuries and referring persons to higher levels of care when necessary.

In service to Chirurgy and the East,

Magister Galefridus Peregrinus,

East Kingdom Chirurgeon


Filed under: Official Notices Tagged: Chirurgeonate

Sterling Renaissance Festival opens for 38th season despite financial stress

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-07-19 20:22

It almost didn't happen. Weeks before Sterling, New York's famous Renaissance Festival was scheduled to open its gates, the management found itself lacking the US $300,000 needed to operate the faire. The public raised money and a bank came through with a loan, but the event's future is still uncertain. Sarah Blazonis of Time Warner Central NY has the story.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Norfolk "Q-tip" declared treasure

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-07-19 13:34

Everyday toilet implements, such as an ear scoop found by a metal detectorist, were among the recently-declared treasures in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. Also discussed was an early Anglo-Saxon "gold and garnet cloisonné circular domed object." (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites