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Details Regarding the Upcoming Kings and Queens Archery Champions

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-04-16 10:18

Kings and Queens Archery Champions

Panteria (Shire of Panther Vale)

5/26 through 5/29

Peter the Red, Queen’s Champion,  and I, Godric of Hamtun, King’s Champion, would like to invite you all to the 2017 edition of the East Kingdom K&Q Archery Championship, which will be held in the Shire of Panther Vale at their Panteria event. The archery competition will be held on Sunday May 28th and the following schedule has been tentatively approved. The ranges will be set up on Saturday evening May 27th. Peter the Red and I will need marshals to help us run the event. Please contact me at godricofhamtun@yahoo.com if you are a marshal and can give of your time.

On Sunday:

  • 9:30-10:30am: Open warm ups, bow inspections and competitors sign in.
  • 10:45am: A word from their Royal Majesties.
  • 11:00am: Competition starts with 3 mass shoots of varying distances and times.
  • Noon-12:30: Lunch
  • 12:30-2:30pm: Competition restarts with 10 station roving range.
  • 2:30-2:45pm: Top 16 archers are selected.
  • 2:45-4:00pm: Finals to determine Queen’s Champion of Archery; King’s Champion of Archery is chosen by the King. First shoot will take the field from 16 to 8 competitors, the second shoot will take the field from 8 to 4 competitors, the third shoot will take field 4 to 2 competitors and the final shoot will determine the Queen’s Champion of Archery.

This is a very ambitious schedule and I would very much like to stay as close to it as possible. Please, if you are competing, try and be at the range before 10:30am on Sunday to be inspected and to sign in for the tournament. This should be a very exciting tournament. Our theme for this year is The Princess Bride.

We look forward to seeing many on you at this event it should be a very fun and challenging shoot to determine our next champions. Thank you all!

In service

Master Godric of Hamtun

King’s Champion of Archery


Filed under: Archery Tagged: archery, King and Queen's Champions

You have 3 days to see Liverpool’s glorious Minton tile floor

History Blog - Sat, 2017-04-15 23:25

St George’s Hall in downtown Liverpool is a grand Neoclassical building constructed between 1841 and 1854. Located across the street from the Lime Street railway station, St George’s Hall was designed first and foremost to host Liverpool’s triennial music festivals, plus concerts, dances and other cultural activities. The Liverpool Corporation raised funds for the new building by selling subscriptions, and in 1839 held a design contest to choose an architect for the hall.

The winner was Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, a 25-year-old architecture prodigy who also happened to win another contest held at the same time to design a new building for the Civil and Crown Courts. He suggested both projects be combined, and thus St George’s Hall became the only combined concert venue, ballroom and courthouse in the country, possibly the world.

The Great Hall, a vast space 169 feet by 77 feet with 82-foot ceilings, was lavishly decorated with monumental red granite columns, statues and tunnel vaulting. But its greatest glory is the floor, a riot of color composed of more than 30,000 tiles depicting Liverpool-related motifs including the liver bird, the symbol of the city, and maritime imagery like Neptune, tridents, dolphins and sea nymphs. The floor was installed in 1854, the jewel in the crown of St George’s Hall. It is today the largest, most intricate example of a Minton tile floor.

Founded in 1845, Minton, Hollins & Company specialized in decorative tiles for the floors and walls of churches, public buildings and private homes. Minton’s encaustic tiles — ceramic tile with multiple colors created by different colors of clay rather than different glazes — were all the rage in the Victorian era. They were considered the epitome of beauty and durability and won gold medal upon gold medal at trade shows across the globe. There are Minton encaustic tile floors in the Palace of Westminster, the Victoria & Albert Museum, prestigious hotels, elegant mansions and even in the United States Capitol.

St George’s Hall only enjoyed the full glory of its Minton tile floor for a decade. A wooden covering was added in the 1860s to make it more comfortable for dances and other events. This reduced the wear and tear from thousands of foxtrotting feet over the decades, but it also left the tile unmaintained, not to mention hidden away. The building was all but abandoned in the 1980s when the courts moved to a new building. With no money for ongoing maintenance, the great neoclassical building, widely considered one of the most spectacular examples of the period in the world, rapidly deteriorated.

In the 1990s funds were raised to repair parts the building, and in the early 2000s a major refurbishment project saved St George’s Hall. In 2007, the Grade I listed building opened to the public once again, restored to its former splendor. The Minton floor, however, was deemed too fragile to expose to all those feet again. It was covered with protective wooden panels which are very rarely removed. Sections of the floor received the first thorough restoration only in 2015.

If you’d like to see the greatest extant Victorian encaustic tile floor, you have a brief window to do so. The floor will be uncovered and open to visitors only until Wednesday, April 18th. The entrance fee is £2.50 to view the floor from a viewing platform. There are also Walk the Floor tours (£10) and a Night on the Tiles option (£12, including a flute of prosecco).

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The Aquamanile: A Whimsical Way to Proper Table Manners

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-04-15 20:56

Elska á Fjárfelli of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn shares with us one of her entries into the Ice Dragon Pentathalon.

As seen at the Ice Dragon Pentathlon this weekend.

As part of my research into medieval soap I stumbled onto the ritual of hand washing at the table, and the use of whimsical pitchers to pour the water to do so. As black soap is not all that visually exciting, a beautiful medieval aquamanile reproduction would be the perfect eye candy for my A&S displays. Except all the ones I found available were in Europe, and as shipping is worrisome and prohibitively expensive, I took the plunge and decided to build my own.

An aquamanile, from the Latin words for water (aqua) and hand (manus), is an animal- or human-shaped vessel used for washing the hands. Medieval European examples date from the 12th C through the 15th C and, apart from curious shapes, have two water openings, one for pouring and one for filling, and a handle. According to one source, the name aquamanile for the vessel was not invented until the 19th C.; the medieval name for the aquamanile was lavoratorium, and the bowl receiving the water was the manilia. But as most resources including the MET designate these vessels as aquamanile, I will do the same.

From Francis Seager’s School of Virtue (1557) comes this poem to direct children to bring their parents water to wash when clearing the table after a meal:

Then on the table                     attend with all diligence,
It for to void,                           when done have thy parents.
Each side of the cloth               do thou turn in;
Folding it up,                           at the higher end begin.
A clean towel then                   on the table spread,
The towel wanting,                  the cloth take instead.
The basin and ewer                 to the table then bring,
In place convenient,                their pleasure abiding.
When thou shalt see                 them ready to wash,
The ewer take up,                    and be not too rash
In pouring out water               more than will suffice.
Chatto, 1908

The aquamanile from Castle Hoensbroek which was found in the castle moat. The figure probably represents a ram. This aquamanile is dated to the mid 14th century and decorated with green-tin glaze.

The hundreds of surviving examples show the popularity of aquamanilia during the Middle Ages. The aquamanile was a sculptural vessel, often cast in copper alloy using the lost-wax method, and made in many forms such as lions, griffins, horses, unicorns, stags, dragons and even men. Aquamanilia were important items for religious hand washing rituals, but were also a luxurious show piece at a Lord’s table. For a more humble clientele pottery aquamanilia were available, evident by their mention in two inventories of medieval citizens in the city of Deventer, the Netherlands. Regular sets of ewers and bowls are found in many inventories, but the aquamanile surely is the pinnacle of medieval hand washing equipment.

Animal shaped aquamanilia were not a new idea. Late Roman, early Byzantine, and Islamic cultures had a vibrant tradition of hollow-cast vessels in animal form. Although late Roman and early Byzantine examples were made to contain oil rather than water, they could be seen as precursors of medieval aquamanila in how they were made, as well as in the use of animal forms. Islamic aquamanilia could have been among the luxury items brought to the West through diplomatic gift exchange, trading routes, or even as booty from the Crusades. Western European metalworkers, proficient in the casting of solid objects, relearned a set of skills that had been lost in the West since antiquity when adapting the designs of Islamic hollow-cast vessels to create aquamanilia.

Example of a copper alloy Dragon aquamanile from The Metropolitan Museum, which has one of the largest and most important collections of aquamanilia in the world. This dragon aquamanile is supported by its legs in front and on the tips of its wings behind, and has a tail that curls up into a handle. It was filled through an opening in the tail, now missing its hinged cover. Water was poured out through the spout formed by the hooded or cowled figure held between the dragon’s teeth. In addition to its visual power, this aquamanile is distinguished by fine casting, visible in the carefully chased dragon’s scales and other surface details.

As is indicated by the name, aquamanilia were used by the general populace to wash the hands. Initially aquamanilia were used in both Christian and Jewish religious ritual, but by the 12th C the vessels start appearing outside the church, and at the dinner table. The aquamanile would be used in combination with a wide, shallow bowl, usually made of metal, and sometimes of pottery, and with towels made of linen, plain white or damask, which could be striped. (Heise 2007)

Sometimes guests were formally conducted to an adjoining lavatory accompanied by the music of a minstrel, but ordinarily they remained in the hall and received from the ewer the warm water; often perfumed with rose-leaves, thyme lavender, sage, chamomile, marjoram or orange peel, one or all. The water and the towels were, of course, presented in the order of social standing of the guest, and it was esteemed a signal honor thus to serve a king or a great noble. In accord with the dignity of the ceremony the water jug and the basin in great houses were often of gold or silver curiously wrought and enameled.
Edward Mead in his The English Medieval Feast, 1967. (Heise 2007)

There are several period scented water recipes available to use with the aquamanile. For instance Sir Hugh Plat’s Delightes for Ladies lists “An Excellent Washing Water Very Cheap” which is distilled and “Diverse sorts of sweet handwaters made suddenly or extempore with extracted oils of spices.” which uses extracted essential oils. Another way to make scented water would be by infusion as suggested by Le Menagier de Paris, a 14th century cook- and housekeeping book, where a description is given for water used to wash the hands:

Pour faire eaue a laver mains sur table, mectez bouillir de la sauge, puis coulez l’eaue et faictes reffroidier jusques a plus que tiede. Ou vous mectez comme dessus comomille et marjolaine, ou vous mectez du romarin, et cuire avec l’escorche d’orenge. Et aussi feuilles de lorier y sont bonnes.”

“To make water for washing hands at table: Boil sage, then strain the water and cool it until it is a little more than lukewarm. Or use chamomile, marjoram or rosemary boiled with orange peel. Bay leaves are also good.”

Scented washing water samples I have made:

Water scented with sage: home grown and dried sage leaves, boiled with rain water. Sage helps in keeping skin healthy, including skin inflammations like eczema.

Water scented with Rosemary and Orange: personally harvested rosemary (from the Carolina’s, where it is grown as an ornamental) and dried orange peels, boiled with rain water. The acids in orange peels act as a natural degreaser. Rosemary (family of sage) helps in keeping skin healthy and has an antibacterial effect.

My Project
Years ago I played in a university ceramics studio, but hand building sculptures was never really my thing. For the past few years I’ve stored a small kick wheel but had no kiln. After a friend of mine offered to bisque and glaze our projects my kid and I played around for a winter or two, with the idea to reclaim clay from our property and throw small Viking type cups, bowls & vessels. Trying to build an aquamanile is lightyears beyond that, and not a minor decision, so in the hope one would work I started work on three different shapes.

The Aquamanile from Castle Hoensbroek
I wanted to do this one as it was found in the Netherlands. But for the life of me I could not throw a pitcher to then narrow the waist without collapsing the clay, so this design bit the dust in the throwing stage. The bump on the rear of this ram seems to indicate it was thrown as one shape, with that being the plugged neck.

Aquamanile in the shape of a stag
Found in Rye, UK and dated to the 14th C. It is 24 cm high and 35.5 cm long and made from red earthenware with lead glaze. The body is tubular, the antlers lie back to form the handle, and the hind legs are missing. The body seems to be made from a large tubular vessel with a smaller vase chest and a bud vase head.

Aquamanile in the shape of a ram
This aquamanile is assumed to be from Scarborough, England and made between 1250 to 1350 CE. It is made from earthenware with green glaze and measures 23.9 cm by 29.2 cm by 13.3 cm. It seems to be made from two larger jars, with a small bud vase as the head and a separately thrown neck as the water intake. It likely is missing its horns, from the absence of glaze on the sides of the head.

Woodcut by Jost Amman, 1568

Short Glossary:
Bisque: The first stage of heating clay. Bisque dry means the object is ready to be bisqued. A clay object first is bisqued heated so it is hard, then glaze is added and it is heated again to melt the glaze. So each glazed piece is heated twice, once to harden, and once to glaze.
Leather Hard: letting clay dry for a while (often overnight) to partially dry out to a stage where it will be sturdy enough to withstand adding things onto it, like handles, legs etc.
Kiln: the oven clay is fired or heated in (I borrow the use of a friend’s kiln).
Slip: very watered down clay which can be used as glue.
Score, scoring: drawing lines into the clay with a sharp object to increase the surface of where two pieces of clay will be attached. Slip is added to cover the inscribed lines to soften the clay for maximal stickiness and thus adherence.
Wheel: the apparatus clay is thrown on. A heavy weight is kicked around an axle with a small tray at the top, the heavy weight keeps the small tray turning with just enough time between kicks to throw shapes out of clay. I use a mechanical kick wheel which looks like and works very similar to the kick wheels used in medieval times.

Possible Way of Assembly of the Stag

The Ram Aquamanile

Some Thoughts:
Reconstructing from museum photographs is not straight-forward, especially in this case as the stag is photographed in profile. As no detail is shown from a top view, reconstruction of the handle requires a bit of guesswork and a lot of careful scrutiny of the original image. In this case: as aquamanilia are expected to have two water holes, a small spout and a larger intake, where would the intake be? Is the handle made of one antler with one row of points, as it would seem from the single row visible, or two?

Interpretation found on the internet. Single antler and no water in-take hole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original from the British Museum.

I disagree with this interpretation for the following reasons:

About the antlers: I think there are two staves with two rows of points. There is a slight highlight [1] on the bottom of the front antler with a darker line behind it and I think that darker line is the bottom of the back antler, indicating there are two staves.

There is one row of antler points visible. I think that is coincidence: the top two happen to have been broken off at some point and the lower ones happen to be hiding behind the front antler (like they are in the photograph of my reproduction). Two oval break points are visible at [2] and [3], the right shape for a point and most telling: missing the glaze.

About the water intake: Aquamanilia are supposed to have both a spout and a water in-take, but where is it here? The only place that makes sense would be at the bottom of the antlers, hiding in between. Therefore I interpret the bump at [5] to be the top rim of the water intake, hiding behind the two horizontal last antler points [4], one on each side (another reason to need two antler staves). From the very similar profiles on my version and the original version I am fairly confident this interpretation makes the most sense.

Mine seems to be bit chunkier as the original as I am not proficient at throwing thin, plus I worried too small of a footprint for the bottom antlers, which doubles as a handle, would break too easily.

The finished interpretation; top view.

Ready for first use, with the matching bowl.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Amman, Jost (1568) Panoplia omnium lliberalium mechanicarum (Book of Trades); Der Haffner (The Potter), one of 133 woodcut book illustrations. Frankfurt: Sigmund Feierabend. The British Museum.
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=1127437001&objectId=3106145&partId=1

Chatto, Edith Rickert Francis Seager’s School of Virtue (1557) part of the Babees Book:

Medieval Manners for the Young: Done into Modern English from Dr. Furnivall S. Texts, p.151 London / New York: Duffield & Co., 1908

Greco, Gina L. & Rose, Chrisine M. (ed.) The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393). Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009.

Heise, Jennifer (2007) Hygiene of the Middle Ages and Rennaissance, Volume One: Personal Grooming The Compleat Anachronist #136

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET): Medieval Aquamanilia
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/aqua/hd_aqua.htm

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET): Dragon aquamanile
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/471287

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET): Stag aquamanile
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O9254/aquamanile-unknown/

Plat, Sir Hugh (1609) Delightes for Ladies. London: printed by Peter Short.
http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home

St. Thomas Guild: Medieval Table Manners; the aquamanile from Castle Hoensbroek.
http://thomasguild.blogspot.com/2013_10_01_archive.html

Virginia & Albert Museum (VA): Ram aquamanile
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/477815

Waterdene, Chrestienne de: Facebook post Stag Aquamanile.

 

 


Categories: SCA news sites

“The Two Maidens” of Pompeii are men

History Blog - Fri, 2017-04-14 23:31

An ongoing project to CT scan the plaster casts of the victims of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. has revealed that the cast of two embracing figures known as The Two Maidens are in fact men. The skeletal remains of the couple and the cavity in the volcanic rock left by the decay of their soft tissues were discovered in the garden of the House of the Cryptoporticus in a 1914 excavation overseen by Pompeii’s director of works Vittorio Spinazzola. The remains of eight people were found in that little peristyle garden, two of them in 1913, the rest between July 2nd and 21st of 1914.

All eight were found in the fine ash layer that followed the pumice fall, encased by the pyroclastic flow that covered the town. Plaster casts were made of three of the eight (the right conditions for creating the casts are rare; out of more than 1,100 human remains found at Pompeii, casts have been made of only 86 of them), with particular attention paid to the more complex problem of the couple. The Two Maidens were erroneously assumed to be women because of their posture and the shapeliness of their legs. Here is how Spinazzola described the find in the yearly report on the excavation (translation mine):

One of the fallen lies on the left side, the head pointing to the east and the legs, a bit contracted, to the west. The left hand is folded near the head, in the ashes, and the right is under the chin as if to push away something obstructing the mouth and preventing breathing. The other person is bent on the right side with his head on the breast of the first. And this pose against the abdomen of the first fallen, the right arm buried in the ashes, the left gently bent under the breasts, the legs with full and tender female contours, one more, one less contracted, as of someone sweetly reclining to sleep an eternal sleep in a protective womb.

Apparently seeking comfort in the face of apocalyptic death was deemed to be a feminine impulse rather than a human one. The supposed “female contours” of the legs and later descriptions of “little rings” found on the fingers were extensions of that assumption.

Examination of osteological and morphological features on the CAT scan indicates that both individuals are male and that the individual with his head against the chest of the other was a young man about 18 years old at the time of death. The other person is believed to be an adult male who was at least 20 years old when Vesuvius claimed his life. Mitochondrial DNA extracted from one tooth and bone fragments established conclusively that the younger of the two was male. DNA analysis confirmed that the two were neither brothers nor father and son. Some news stories have leapt to the conclusion that they were therefore lovers, which is not remotely supportable by the evidence and seems to me just another iteration of the same prejudices that caused the original Two Maidens error.

The scans are part of the Great Pompeii Project, an extensive program of architectural restoration and stabilization of the most endangered features of the ancient city. The 86 human casts, the oldest of which date to the 1860s when pioneering archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli first filled a cavity with plaster to capture the final death throes of one of Vesuvius’ victims, are in need of restoration as much as the buildings are, and they pose a thorny challenge since they contain human remains. In order to get a clear idea of what’s inside the plaster shell — bones, metal supports, more plaster in varying states of decay — conservators borrowed a state-of-the-art 16-layer CT scanner that was able to penetrate the dense materials.

With the scans as guides, the team was able to extract mitochondrial DNA (which survives far better than nuclear DNA in archaeological contexts) from the skeletal remains with pinpoint precision and minimal damage. This opens up a whole new arena of information about the people of Pompeii.

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Jorvik Viking Centre reopens 16 months after flood

History Blog - Thu, 2017-04-13 23:06

On December 27, 2015, the Jorvik Viking Centre was flooded by the heavy rains that submerged downtown York. One of York’s most popular attractions, the Jorvik Centre is a recreation of the streets of Viking York whose foundations were discovered on and around Coppergate Street during an excavation by the York Archaeological Trust from 1976 to 1981. The excavations unearthed artifacts like a silk cap, coins, amber and cowrie shells that proved 10th century Viking York had extensive trade links stretching as far as the Byzantine Empire and beyond.

(Coppergate is also the find spot for a record-breaking archaeological treasure: the Lloyds Bank Coprolite, discovered in 1972 at the construction site of the bank branch. It is the largest known human coprolite, a majestic turd eight inches long by two inches wide, that was mineralized and thus preserved in exceptional condition. The crap provided a rich glimpse into the life of a 10th century York Viking. He or she subsisted mainly on bread and meat, which explains the sheer size of that beast, and was riddled with parasites and parasite eggs.

This video featuring York Archaeological Trust paleoscatologist Dr. Andrew Jones talking about the coprolite beats raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens by a mile on my personal favorite things scale.

(Pardon the digression. You know I can never resist archaeological poop.)

Curators were able to rescue the large collection of artifacts unearthed in Coppergate from the floodwaters, but the mannikins of Vikings going about their daily lives and their recreated homes and businesses could not be moved. They stewed in the murky water that filled the first floor of the museum until it receded. The damage to the exhibits and the facilities was extensive.

Insurance payments and copious fundraising allowed the Jorvik Centre to rebuild and expand, improving some of the tableaux, adding new stinks to the beloved smell-o-vision feature of the recreations, and creating a new gallery that will allow the museum to securely host important loans from other institutions. After 16 months and £4.3 million ($5,380,000), the newly renovated Jorvik Viking Centre reopened to the public on April 8th.

One of the centerpieces of the grand reopening is the Coppergate or York Helmet, an 8th century Anglo-Saxon helmet that was found in a wood-lined well during construction of a shopping center in 1982. The pit was near the site where the remains of Viking York were discovered that is now the Jorvik Viking Centre. Even though the helmet was damaged by the mechanical digger that found it, conservators at the British Museum were able to reconstruct it to its original condition. It is one of only three intact Anglian helmets ever discovered in Britain.

The York Helmet’s permanent home is the Yorkshire Museum. It will be on display at the Jorvik Centre for four weeks in honor of the reopening.

“Although itself not strictly Viking, it is likely that it was appropriated and used by one of the Viking settlers into the late ninth century. It is a prestigious piece of armour, so it could have been buried in its wood-lined pit by the new owner to hide it, but for some reason, was never reclaimed, and remained underground until the very last excavations of the Coppergate dig in 1982,” comments director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, Sarah Maltby. “We are looking forward to bringing the helmet back in Coppergate — it is a real treat for those visiting during our first month of re-opening that they will see it in almost exactly the same spot as it was unearthed.”

After this brief visit to its old stomping grounds, the helmet will return to the Yorkshire Museum for a new exhibition Viking: Rediscover the Legend. A collaboration with the British Museum, the exhibition will bring together for the first time some of the greatest Viking and Anglo-Saxon archaeological treasures ever discovered, including the Bedale Hoard, the Vale of York Hoard, the Gilling Sword and the Lewis Chessmen. It opens at the Yorkshire Museum on May 19th and runs through November 5th before touring the country, stopping at the University of Nottingham, The Atkinson, Southport, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Norwich Castle Museum.

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Target: The Robin Hood Shoot

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-04-13 21:49

This month’s On Target is the Robin Hood shoot, or “Shootin in da hood.” In this shoot, archers are trying to “split” a cardboard arrow inserted in the gold center of the target. It’s been along time since I’ve seen this shot on any range, so here are some easy tips to build it.

I found some 1-1/4″ diameter cardboard tubes, glued them end to end to make a cylinder about 4-5″ long, wrapped them up with some white duct tape, and added electrical tape to look like the crest of an arrow.  Next I super-glued some feathers on it to look like fletching.

While waiting for the glue to dry, you can make a homemade compass. I drew two circles, one inside the other.

I prefer to hand paint this target instead of using a modern target because it gives it a more period look.

Next, cut six more sheets of cardboard to the same size as the target face. Drill holes in the corners and zip tie it all together. Zip ties are faster because you don’t have to wait for glue to dry. In addition, glue makes the cardboard harder and less arrow-friendly.

Now that the cardboard is all zip-tied together, take a 1-1/4″ inch spade bit or a gouge and cut a hole through the center of the gold, going through all six sheets of cardboard.

Now, insert the cardboard arrow into the hole. It should be a snug fit. If you want, you can glue or tape the cardboard arrow to the inside of the hole or the back of the cardboard target face. Make sure the cardboard arrow projects no more than 3″ from the target face. You don’t want it to stick out more than that, because some archers may be using crossbows, and crossbow bolts are much shorter than regular length arrows. If someone split the cardboard arrow with a crossbow bolt, you would have to take the target completely apart to get the crossbow bolt out.

This should be a all-day shoot because you’re going for a “dead center hit.” If you have a tie at the end of the day, give each archer 6 shots, awarding 10 points for dead center, five points for the gold ring, and one point for the black ring.

This month marks the second year I’ve had the privilege of writing On Target. I just want to remind you all to feel free to pass this article along. If you have any questions, call or Facebook me.

This month’s safety tip: at the castle muster on April 9th we caught a lot of sun, so be sure to use sunscreen, especially if you’re fair skinned.

‘Til next month, in service

THL Deryk Archer


Categories: SCA news sites

Roman settlement in north England may rewrite history

History Blog - Wed, 2017-04-12 23:08

The expansion of the A1, Britain’s longest road, has unearthed a major Roman settlement at Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire. Some of the artifacts are of exceptional quality, so much so that archaeologists are having to revise their understanding of the Roman conquest of northern England. There had to have been very wealthy Romano-Britons further north and earlier than previously realized, and a Roman administrative center to boot.

The settlement, about 40 miles north of York, was a small town by the standards of the mainland, but it was big for northern England. The site extended just under a mile from north to south and contained a mixture of Roman and native buildings. About 40 Roman buildings — rectangular and likely a combination of private homes and businesses — abutted the Roman road from London to Brigantia, the territory of the Brigantes tribe in northern England. Only 12 of them have been excavated so far. Back from the road archaeologists discovered Iron Age British roundhouses, probably the same number as the Roman structures; 14 of them have been excavated.

Archaeologists believe the Roman buildings were built in the 50s A.D., which means the road they face was already built or at least in the process of being built at that time. Before this discovery, historians believed it was constructed in the early 70s A.D., almost 20 years later.

Amidst the structures and buried in votive pits, archaeologists found expensive imported artifacts including a high relief glass bowl, glazed Roman tableware, a copper mirror and drinking vessels. One of the standout pieces is an exceptionally rare fragment of a carved amber figurine. The torso of a man wearing a toga, believed to represent an actor, was likely made in Italy in the 1st century A.D., and while a similar piece has been found at Pompeii, this is the first one of its kind ever discovered in the UK. For the Scotch Corner settlement to have had artifacts like this, they had to have a line on the highest quality export goods Rome had to offer.

The strongest evidence that Scotch Corner was a major administrative center is the large number of pellet moulds used to create gold, silver and copper coins. Fragments of dozens of ceramic mould trays were unearthed in the area where the British roundhouses have been found. Two distinct types of trays were discovered, one for making 100 smaller pellets, another for making 50 larger ones. The pellets were the first step in coin production. The balls would then be struck with hammer and die to create coins. This is the northernmost archaeological evidence of coin production discovered in Europe.

The moulds and alloys are characteristic of native British coin manufacture, but no Brigantian coins have ever been discovered and the scale of production indicated by the sheer number of moulds suggests the involvement of Roman administration or a massive increase in need for coinage stimulated by the Roman arrival.

The Scotch Corner settlement predates the Roman settlements in York and Carlisle by a decade, which means the Romans established themselves in the north 10 years earlier than historians thought. It didn’t last long, however, no more than two or three decades. It was eclipsed as a population and administrative center by the neighboring settlement of Catterick (Cataractonium).

The A1 excavation has unearthed a wealth of valuable artifacts from Cataractonium as well, among them a gorgeous ring shaped like a snake; many leather shoes in excellent condition; uncut sheets of leather indicating a large-scale manufacture of shoes and clothes, possibly for the Roman army; iron keys large and small; a pewter inkpot; and a number of styli, attesting to a high level of literacy in the population.

Neil Redfern, Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England said: “The sheer amount of exceptional objects found on this road scheme has been extraordinary. Through them we are learning more and more about life here in the Roman period. This project has given us a unique opportunity to understand how the Romans conducted their military expansion into Northern England and how civil life changed under their control.”

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

St. Ambrose’s silk tunic liberated from glass prison

History Blog - Tue, 2017-04-11 23:29

Textile conservation experts from the University of Bonn have been preserving the fragile silk textiles believed to have belonged to Saint Ambrose, the 4th century archbishop and patron saint of Milan, since 2014. Considered holy relics of the saint, the ancient silks are so delicate the team created a mobile conservation lab so they could be preserved in situ at Milan’s Basilica of Saint Ambrose. The process of cleaning damaging dust from the silk fibers using small brushes and miniature vacuum cleaners has taken years.

Now conservators have taken on the most daunting project of all: raising a pane of glass weighing 80 kilos (176 pounds) from the silk tunic it was meant to protect. The pane was supposed to keep the silk threads clean and allow the tunic to be displayed without damage, but instead the fibers formed undulations under the massive weight of the glass. The fine threads also adhered to the glass over the years, making it extremely difficult to remove the pane without tearing the tunic. Even simply moving the tunic still under glass into a space where it could be conserved required elaborate planning.

The silk tunic measuring an impressive approx. 170 x 280 centimeters was stored in a drawer cabinet in the gallery of Sant’Ambrogio. However, this room was unsuitable for the preservation work. The transporters thus packed the glass panes with the valuable cargo between two large wooden boards, and the huge artwork was then carried vertically along the narrowest, winding corridors into the basilica’s archive, which was transformed into a workshop for a month. “This transportation was highly risky,” reports the restorer Ulrike Reichert. In some places, the art transporters had to proceed millimeter by millimeter to ensure the transit was ultimately successful.

Once they arrived in the workshop, the six art transporters heaved the glass, silk tunic and wood sandwich onto a large table. The most dangerous moment of the preservation was now imminent. While the art transporters lifted the glass pane very slightly using suction handles, Ulrike Reichert used a flat stick to very carefully separate adhering parts of the silk tunic from the glass pane square centimeter by square centimeter. “This work took a long time – for the helpers, it was a feat of strength to keep the heavy pane in the air the whole time,” says Schrenk.

Once all the silk fibers were separated from the pane, the transport crew lifted the heavy glass slowly a centimeter at a time. If the suction cups had failed or the glass had broken, the tunic could have been irreparably damaged. Thankfully nothing went wrong. The glass lifted clean and the silk didn’t budge. The crew was able to quickly move the pane off the tunic and put it down.

The tunic can now be painstakingly cleaned as its brethren were. Once it has been fully cleaned and stabilized, it will be covered with a lightweight acrylic pane which will preserve the silk textile without forcing it to bear the weight of a grown man sitting on its chest for decades.

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Second Annual Arts & Sciences Faire

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-04-11 22:32

Unto the gentle folk of Æthelmearc, Good Greetings!

Now that the Ice Dragon has passed us by, as we prepare for the Coronation of Timothy & Gabrielle, and as Spring is upon us, it is time for the 2nd Annual Æthelmearc Arts & Sciences Faire!

This celebration of the Arts & Sciences will be held on 6 May in the Shire of Nithgaard. It will feature a large are for artisans of all levels to display their work and to share in their knowledge.

This year will also see the 2nd Annual Queens Prize Tourney. While there are no scores and no winner, the Tourney does give the lesser-known and recognized artisans of Æthelmearc an opportunity to display their work and to have face-to-face advice from the Fleurs and Laurels. It is a low-pressure opportunity to experience the face-to-face judging that is used in Kingdom A&S Championship held in the Fall.

We hope that many artisans will avail themselves of this opportunity to learn and teach.

Details on the Faire and The Queens Prize Tourney can be found here. There you will find the event announcement, an FAQ sheets, and registration forms for the QPT.

Of course, there will be also be an opportunity for fencers and fighters to have some fun outside of the hall.

We hope to see many of you at the Faire!

In service,
Fridrikr & Orianna, KMOAS


Categories: SCA news sites

Porter mandatory step down

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-04-11 11:03

Unto the people of the East from Alayne, EK Porter,warm greetings!

As my term serving our glorious Kingdom in the capacity of Porter draws to a close, I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity I have had to be able to make the East a wonderful example of inclusiveness and accessibility.

Northern Region War Camp in Glenn Linn will mark the terminus of my service in this particular aspect, as the Porters serve under the auspices of the Seneschalate, with a limit of two consecutive terms.

At this time I would like to thank all those good gentles who have acted as my Deputies, the fine Web Ministers who have helped us create and maintain a site of resources:

http://accessibility.eastkingdom.org/

Thank you also to all the fine Event Stewards who allowed me space for Accessibility Hours, and thank you to the people who attended these workshops.

I encourage anyone seeking a positive and proactive way of serving the East to consider putting in for this Office or working for the Office of the Porter in other ways.  During my tenure I have met amazing individuals, both in and out of the Kingdom.  Positive changes have occurred and will no doubt continue to occur because of the East Kingdom’s continuing commitment to courtesy and  accessibility.

Again, I thank you for this time in office and look forward to serving the East in other ways in the future.

Your humble servant,

Alayne

Alayne Alexandra Nyvern Nightwatcher, OP


Filed under: Tidings Tagged: accessibility, porter, service

Look at Idrimi’s statue and receive his blessing

History Blog - Mon, 2017-04-10 23:31

One of the gems in the British Museum is the statue of Idrimi, King of Alalakh, an ancient city-state in what is now Turkey, in the 15th century B.C. Destroyed in 1200 B.C., probably by the Sea People, Alalakh was never rebuilt. The remains of the city are today the archaeological site of Tell Atchana, which was first excavated by famed archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1930s. The statue of Idrimi was unearthed by Woolley in the remains of a temple during the 1939 dig season.

Woolley described the find in a dispatch on May 21st, 1939:

“A rubbish-pit at the temple gave us great surprise. From it there came a white stone statue just over a metre high of a Hittite king, a seated figure; the head and feet were broken off but except for part of the foot the statue is complete and in wonderfully good condition and even the nose is only just chipped. The figure is covered literally from head to foot with cuneiform inscription which begins on one cheek, runs across the front and one side of the body and ends at the bottom of the skirt, rather more than fifty lines of text. Nothing like that has been found before.”

Nothing like that has been found since. The Akkadian language inscription (pdf of translation here) is a detailed autobiography of Idrimi’s life and military conquests. Its chronology of monarchs, wars and population shifts remains to this day the primary source for the history of the Levant in the 15th century B.C. According to the inscription, Idrimi was born in Halab, modern-day Aleppo, Syria, part of the kingdom of Yamhad, the youngest of seven sons of a prince. Driven out of Aleppo by an unspecified “outrage,” Idrimi and his family fled to Emar where their maternal aunts lived, but Idrimi couldn’t tolerate going from prince to the poor relation; so he took his groom and chariot and joined up with groups of nomads in Canaan who recognized his noble lineage and acknowledged him as their ruler. This is the first known written reference to the Land of Canaan.

After seven years of vicissitudes and sacrifices to the god Teshub, Idrimi finally reclaimed his ancestral heritage and became king of Alalakh. Many conquests, much booty and the construction of great palaces and temple followed. Alalakh prospered for 30 years under Idrimi’s rule. At the bottom of the inscription, Idrimi threatened dire consequences to anyone who would seek to erase this record of his achievements or claim it as their own.

He who removes this my statue, , may the sky curse him, may his seed be closed in the underworld, may the Gods of sky and earth divide his kingdom and his country! He who always changes it, in any way whatever, may Teshub, the lord of the sky and the earth and the great gods in his land, destroy his name and his descendants!

There’s another coda to the inscription, this one anomalously carved into his cheek so it looks like the cuneiform version of a speech bubble.

Thirty years long I was king. I wrote my acts on my tablet. One may look at it and constantly think of my blessing!

That goal will now be fulfilled on a vastly greater scale than Idrimi could ever have imagined. The statue has been in the permanent collection of the British Museum since it was excavated. Its surface is so fragile that to preserve the inscription the statue is on display behind protective glass. Not even researchers are allowed to get behind the glass, which means the inscription has not been able to benefit from the latest scholarship on Akkadian cuneiform.

Scanning technology has stepped into the breach. For two days, Idrimi was liberated from his enclosure so experts from the Factum Foundation could 3D-scan the statue using close-range photogrammetry and white light scanning. With every minute detail of the surface captured, the data was used to generate a 3D model available online to anyone in the world who wants to examine the statue.

It is encased in glass because “dust contains moisture, which wears away the natural laminates in the stone”, [Curator for the Levant at the British Museum James] Fraser says. It is carved from magnesite — a soft, brittle stone that may have been chosen because it was easy to carve. The glass barrier also prevents close study of the text. Instead, scholars have had to rely on old photographs and transliterations of the text to aid their research. “The digital model will revolutionise access to the object,” he says. It will also act a great touchstone for conservators because it is an accurate representation of the object’s condition as of 2017.

James Fraser gives a brief tour of the inscription during the short time Idrimi was out of his enclosure for the scanning in this video:

And now for Idrimi in his full 3D scan glory. Get your ancient king’s blessing here!

Statue of Idrimi, king of Alalakh by The British Museum.

Incidentally, Idrimi is in excellent company on the British Museum’s Sketchfab page. There are 3D scans of ancient statuary from Egypt, Greece and Rome, a Bronze Age bracelet and two of the Lewis chessman (one king, one queen).

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Crown Tournament Competitors / Liste de participant du tournoi de la couronne du royaume de l’Est

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-04-10 19:40

En français
 
Their Majesties Ioannes and Honig have announced those gentles competing in Crown Tournament on May 6th in the Barony of Settmour Swamp.

Duke Ronald Wilmot fighting for Duchess Bronwyn Dawntreader
Duke Randal of the Dark fighting for Duchess Katherine Stanhope
Duke Achilles son Asia fighting for Shaunna
Jarl Valgard Stonecleaver fighting for Lady Gracia Vasquez de Trillo
Sir Wilhelm von Ostenbrucke fighting for Mistress Vienna de la Mer
Sir Zhigmun Czypsser fighting for Bannthegn(Baroness) Aleyd Czypsser
Sir Sichelgaita von Halsstern fighting for Sir Harold Hakonson
Master Ryan Mac Whyte fighting for Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte
Sir Culann mac Cianain fighting for Mistress Aneleda Falconbridge
Sir Cedric of Armorica fighting for Mistress Brid ni Sherlais
Master Ãvaldr Valbjarnarson fighting for Mistress Eva Woderose
Sir Pellandres, dit le frere fighting for Baroness Mari Clock van Hoorne
Sir Ivan Ivanov syn Dmitriev fighting for Baroness Matilde DeCaden
Master Dmitri Stephanovich aka Deacon de Chatillion fighting for Mistress Nadezhda Voronov
Sir William MacCrimmon fighting for Lady Susanna of Dragonship Haven
Master Sigurthr Vigurhafn fighting for Baroness Medhbh inghean Ui Cheallaigh
Baron Jonathan Miles fighting for Baroness Teresa Perez
Lord Donnan Fitzgerald fighting for Lady Aurelia Alfaiata d’Alcáçova
Baron Duncan Kerr fighting for Mistress Eleanor fitzPatrick
The Honorable Lord Richard Crowe fighting for Lady Ameria Browne
The Honorable Lord William RavenHair fighting for The Honorable Lady Albreda Aylese
The Honorable Lord Turi Mac Kinnon fighting for Baroness Marguerite de Sainte Nazaire
Baron Rory Maclellan fighting for Baroness Astridr Sigrun Ulfkelsdottir
Lord Ingvar Thorsteinsson called Critter fighting for Lady Hasanah bint al-Kalil ibn Habib
Baron Vachir Artslanjin fighting for Sarvuu Arslanjin
The Honorable Lord Gawyn O’Clery fighting for Maeve O’Clery
The Honorable Lord Klaus Winterhalter Von Wallachia fighting for Lady Anastasia Wolfe
The Honorable Lord Arne Ulriksson fighting for Lady Anna VonBaden
The Honorable Lord Galvyn Lockhart fighting for Lady Rhiannon of Ayres
Lord Dorian Kalogero fighting for Lady Aziza al Shirazyya
Lord Martin Wasser Speier fighting for Master Donovan Shinnock
Lord Berkhommer Von Nuemburg fighting for Lady Auriora de Bianco
Lord Brick James Beech fighting for Lady Nadia Hart
Lady Vasia von KÃenigsberg fighting for Lady Ãesa Sturludottir
Lord Patrick Lumhalghs fighting for Lady Melody
Lord Abel atte Watere fighting for Ãesa assa
Luthor Von Eisenfaust fighting for Lady Mabel Fortune
Onryo fighting for Esmeralda

En français Traduction par Madame Æsa of the Island

“Bon matin à l’Est
Nous sommes de retour de terres lointaines et nous avons apprécié l’hospitalité de nos voisins.

De retour à la maison et au travail

LISTE POUR COURONNE

Baron (of Settmour Swamp) Jonathan Miles se battant pour Baronne (of Settmour Swamp) Teresa Ana Perez
Duc Ronald Wilmot se battant pour Duchesse Bronwyn Dawntreader
Duc Randal of the Dark se battant pour Duchesse Katherine Stanhope
Duc Achilles son Asia se battant pour Shaunna
Jarl Valgard Stonecleaver se battant pour Madame Gracia Vasquez de Trillo
Sieur Wilhelm von Ostenbrucke se battant pour Maistresse Vienna de la Mer
Sieur Zhigmun Czypsser se battant pour Bannthegn (Baronesse) Aleyd Czypsser
Sieur Sichelgaita von Halsstern se battant pour Sieur Harold Hakonson
Maistre Ryan Mac Whyte se battant pour Maistresse Kay Leigh Mac Whyte
Sieur Culann mac Cianain se battant pour Maitresse Aneleda Falconbridge
Sieur Cedric of Armorica se battant pour Maitresse Brid nic Shéarlais
Maistre Ávaldr Valbjarnarson se battant pour Maitresse Eva Woderose
Sieur Pellandres, dit le frere se battant pour Baronne Mari Clock van Hoorne
Sieur Ivan Ivanov syn Dmitriev se battant pour Baronne Matilde de Cadenet
Sieur Harold Hakonson se battant pour Sieur Sichelgaita von Halsstern
Maistre Dmitri Stephanovich aka Deacon de Chatillion se battant pour Maitresse Nadezhda Voronova
Sieur William MacCrimmon se battant pour Madame Susanna of Dragonship Haven
Maistre Sigurthr Vigurhafn se battant pour Baronne Medhbh inghean Ui Cheallaigh
Seigneur Donnan Fitzgerald se battant pour Madame Aurelia Alfaiata d’Alcaçova
Baron Duncan Kerr fighting for Maitresse Eleanor fitzPatrick
The Honorable Lord Richard Crowe se battant pour Lady Ameria Browne
L’honorable Seigneur William RavenHair se battant pour l’honorable Madame Albreda Aylese
L’honorable Seigneur Turi Mac Kinnon se battant pour Baronne Marguerite de Sainte Nazaire
Baron Rory Maclellan se battant pour Baronne Astridr Sigrun Ulfkelsdottir
Seigneur Ingvar Thorsteinsson appelé Critter se battant pour Madame Hasanah bint al-Kalil ibn Habib
Baron Vachir Arslanjin se battant pour Sarvuu Arslanjin
L’honorable Seigneur Gawyn O’Clery se battant pour Maeve O’Clery
L’honorable Seigneur Klaus Winterhalter Von Wallachia se battant pour Madame Anastasia Wolfe
L’honorable Seigneur Arne Ulriksson se battant pour Madame Anna VonBaden
L’honorable Seigneur Galvyn Lockhart se battant pour Madame Rhiannon of Ayres
Seigneur Dorian Kalogero se battant pour Madame Aziza al Shirazyya
Seigneur Martin Wasser Speier se battant pour Maistre Donovan Shinnock
Seigneur Berkhommer Von Nuemburg se battant pour Madame Auriora de Bianco
Seigneur Brick James Beech se battant pour Madame Nadia Hart
Madame Vasia von Königsberg se battant pour Madame Æsa Sturludottir
Seigneur Patrick Lumhalghs se battant pour Madame Melody
Seigneur Abel atte Watere se battant pour Æsa assa
Luthor Von Eisenfaust se battant pour Madame Mabel Fortune
Onryo se battant pour Esmeralda

Seul la prouesse incontestable gagnera la journée, bonne chance à tous ceux qui prennent part.

Avec notre amour, et pour la gloire de l’Est.
LMR Honig Von Summerfeldt et Ioannes Serpentius”


Filed under: En français, Heavy List Tagged: Crown Tournament

Seeking Bids for Fall 2017 Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-04-10 01:21

Greetings unto the erudite Kingdom of Æthelmearc from Mistress Alicia Langland, Chancellor of Æthelmearc Æcademy!

Good Gentles,

Count Andrew and Sir Finn demonstrating some fighting techniques

Having received no bids for Fall Æthelmearc AEcademy and War College from groups in the preferred host region, I am now accepting bids from any group in the Kingdom.

The preferred date for Fall 2017 Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College is November 11, 2017.

Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College is an easy event to host.  It draws a sizable number of attendees, which typically includes royalty.  The host group is responsible for providing the site and lunch for attendees as well as staff to run Troll.  The Æcademy staff will assist with the rest!

Silk banner-making class taught by Baron Friderich Schwartzwalder. Photo by Mistress Alicia Langland.

If you’ve been wanting Royalty to visit your area, this is a great opportunity to bring them to you.  If you have a lot of newcomers, this is a fabulous event to introduce them to the many facets of the SCA.

Bids must include a completed Æthelmearc Kingdom Event Bid Form, which can be found here: http://aethelmearc.org/calendar-2/event-planning-resources/

Please remember that sites should include space and facilities for both gentle and martial arts.

If your group is considering submitting a bid, I would appreciate a quick note to that effect, sent to this address:  ae.aecademy AT aethelmearc DOT org.

Bids are due May 15, 2017, and should be sent to this address:  Bid.fallaecademy@aethelmearc.org

Resources for would-be autocrats — including FAQs — can be found here:  http://www.aecademy.net/downloads.shtml.  If you have questions or need help with putting together a bid, please let me know;  I will be delighted to assist!

Yours, in Service,
Alicia


Categories: SCA news sites

Fabergé egg reunited with missing surprise in Texas

History Blog - Sun, 2017-04-09 23:16

An imperial Fabergé egg will be reunited with its original surprise for the first time since the 1920s in a new exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS). Made of a translucent celadon stone and crisscrossed with a trellis pattern of rose-cut diamonds, the Diamond Trellis Egg is part of the McFerrin Fabergé Collection, the largest private collection of Fabergé treasures in the world, which is housed in the HMNS. The surprise inside, a jeweled ivory elephant wind-up automaton, was recently rediscovered in the Royal Collection and has been loaned to the museum by Queen Elizabeth II.

Presented by Tsar Alexander III to his wife the Empress Maria Feodorovna (née Princess Dagmar of Denmark) for Easter in 1892, the Diamond Trellis Egg held an elephant surprise that was a virtually identical replica of the badge of the Order of the Elephant, Denmark’s highest chivalric order. The only differences are the materials — Fabergé used ivory instead of white enamel — and the automaton mechanism. It was the second egg Alexander commissioned for his wife to have a Danish theme. The first was the Danish Palaces Egg, presented to Maria Feodorovna on Easter, 1890. The surprise inside was a ten-panel folding screen with miniatures of the Tsarina’s favorite Danish and Russian palaces. After Alexander’s sudden death in 1894 at the age of 49, his son Tsar Nicholas II continued the tradition of Fabergé Easter eggs, gifting them to both his wife and to his mother. It was Nicholas who gave the Dowager Empress her third and last Danish egg, the Royal Danish Egg, now lost.

The Diamond Trellis Egg and its elephant were confiscated from the Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg, Maria Feodorovna’s home base, by the Bolsheviks in 1917. It was sold in 1930 by the Antikvariat, the agency tasked with selling off Russia’s cultural patrimony to raise money for the Soviet government, probably to Emanuel Wartski, although there are no records of the sale.

At some point in the saga the three parts of the egg, the base (now lost), the elephant and the egg got separated. In 1935 King George V bought the little elephant without knowing it was part of an Imperial Egg or even that it was made by Fabergé. It has been in the Royal Collection ever since, on display in one of the state rooms for decades.

In 2015, Caroline de Guitaut, Senior Curator of the Royal Collection Trust, was cataloguing the collection when she noticed the elephant figurine bore a resemblance to the surprise in the Diamond Trellis Egg as described in Fabergé’s ledgers: “ivory figure of an elephant, clockwork, with a small gold tower, partly enamelled and decorated with rose-cut diamonds,” with “a black mahout…seated on its head.” The Trust’s restorers and clockmakers painstakingly took the elephant apart down to the internal mechanism. They finally found the confirmation of the figurine’s origin under the top part of the castle on the elephant’s back. There was the unmistakable hallmark of Carl Fabergé.

When the cleaned and restored elephant was put back together, curators were ecstatic to find that the mechanism still worked. They slid the key into the hole hidden under the diamond cross on the elephant’s side, wound it up, and the little guy walked and nodded his head like he’d never lived through war, revolution and separation from his home egg.

The reunited egg and elephant will help inaugurate the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s new gallery dedicated to the Artie and Dorothy McFerrin Collection and its whopping 600 pieces of Fabergé. Fabergé: Royal Gifts featuring the Trellis Egg Surprise opens April 10th. The elephant will be on loan for a year before returning to the Royal Collection.

There are some beautiful views of the glittering egg and surprise in this brief video in which Caroline de Guitaut and Joel Bartsch, President of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, discuss the discovery of the missing piece. There’s an all too brief glimpse of the elephant’s movement at the 1:57 mark.

This video from the Royal Collection Trust, on the other hand, shows nothing but the automaton’s motion, starting with the wind-up. He raises his head every few steps. It’s absurdly cute.

Oh hey, guess what?

ELEPHANT BUTT!

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Stolen Norman Rockwell painting found after 41 years

History Blog - Sat, 2017-04-08 23:28

Norman Rockwell’s original painting for Boy Asleep with Hoe, a.k.a. Lazybones or Taking a Break, has been recovered by the FBI more than 40 years after it was stolen. The 25-by-28-inch oil painting was stolen from the home of Robert and Teresa Grant in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on June 30th, 1976. The thieves also helped themselves to the Grants’ silver coin collection and their television. The Cherry Hill Police Department investigated the crime at the time but made no progress.

The FBI’s Art Crime Team got involved last year, partnering with the Cherry Hill police to launch a fresh appeal for leads in the very cold case on the 40th anniversary of the theft. It apparently worked, because a few months later in October the FBI got a phone call from a lawyer representing an anonymous client who wanted to return the painting.

Apparently the client was an antiques dealer who had the painting for years. He didn’t realize it was the original. He assumed it was a copy and had tried to sell it but never found any buyers, so he just hung it on his kitchen wall. That’s where it stayed for almost 40 years. The authorities found no evidence whatsoever that he was involved in the theft. It seems he was an unwitting fence of a stolen Norman Rockwell, and as soon as he realized it he made arrangements to return it. He is cooperating with the authorities in creating a composite drawing of the man he bought it from, but since four decades have passed it’s unlikely to lead to a sudden unmasking of the geriatric Lupin.

The image of a boy napping under a tree, the hoe between his legs a mute testament to the work he’s not doing, graced the cover of the September 6th, 1919, issue of the Saturday Evening Post. While Rockwell’s magazine covers enjoyed great popular success, his original paintings weren’t in demand at all, not for decades. Robert Grant acquired Boy Asleep with Hoe for $50 in 1952, and he only bought it because he had to after he poked a hole in it with a pool cue at a friend’s house. Robert’s son John says the friend told his father, “You just bought yourself a painting.”

That hole from the pool cue was key to the authentication of the painting. Experts from Christie’s and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, confirmed it was the real thing. Because the Grant family submitted a claim to their insurer, Chubb, at the time of the theft and the claim was paid, Chubb was the legal title-holder. The company graciously agreed to allow the Grant family to reimburse them for the $15,000 claim payment in exchange for the painting. Given that the estimated value of the painting today is between $600,000 and $1,000,000, this was an incredibly generous act. Chubb isn’t even keeping the money. It plans to donate the claim payment to the Norman Rockwell Museum.

The painting was officially returned to the Grant family at a ceremony attended by representatives from the FBI and Chubb in Philadelphia on March 31st. There are six Grant heirs who now have to decide together what they’ll do with it. For obvious reasons, none of them wants to run the risk of keeping the painting in their home, so for now it’s going into storage.

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Republican aqueduct found in Rome

History Blog - Fri, 2017-04-07 23:38

The construction of Rome’s new metro line has encountered yet another archaeological marvel: a Republican-era aqueduct dating to around the 3rd century B.C., likely a section of the first aqueduct built in Rome. Archaeologists found the structure during construction of a ventilation shaft under Piazza Celimontana on the Celian hill. The shaft’s 18-meter (60-foot) depth allowed them unique access to the 3rd century layers of the city. Without the bulkheads keeping the water from flooding the site, it wouldn’t have possible to excavate anywhere near that deep.

“The opportunity to safely reach this depth allowed us to uncover and document an exception sequence of stratigraphy and structures from the Iron Age (tombs and grave objects from the tenth century BC) to the modern age (foundations of 19th-century housing,” [sic] [said lead archaeologist Simona Morretta].

Because the structure was buried under intact layers of earth, the team was able to work out that after falling out of use as an aqueduct, Romans living in the first century BC used it as a sewer.

What’s more, close examination of the earth revealed the remains of food leftovers, offering an insight into what Romans used to eat, and the animals they kept as pets – from wild boars to swans, pheasants, and large seawater fish.

The dating of the aqueduct, determined by the stratigraphy, and its location under the Celian hill point to it being part of the Aqua Appia, the first aqueduct in Rome, built by censors Gaius Plautius Venox and Appius Claudius Caecus in 312 B.C. The source was about 10 miles outside the city, and unlike later aqueducts, almost the entirety of the length of the Aqua Appia was underground. Outside the city it ran through tunnels carved into tufa hills; inside it ran on top of the Servian Wall for stretch, but was mostly carried through channels deep under the city.

Only three sections of the Aqua Appia have been discovered, one by Raffaelo Fabretti in 1667 just inside the Porta San Paolo gate, one by English archaeologist John Henry Parker in the San Saba tufa quarries near the Aventine in 1867, and by Rodolfo Lanciani under the remains of an ancient villa on the Via di Porta San Paolo in 1888. These sections were small and in poor condition, cut tunnels that were later lined with stones.

The newly discovered section is distinct both because it is in exceptionally good condition and because it is a constructed dry stone wall an extraordinary 32 meters (105 feet) long. It is two meters (6.5 feet) high and is made of five rows of large tufa blocks arranged in prism shape. The water was carried from east to west by a lead pipe known as a fistula aquaria.

Because the structure is buried so deep, it wouldn’t be possible to put the aqueduct on display in situ. Archaeologists are therefore dismantling the whole thing in order to rebuild in a new location as yet to be determined.

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Two Full Courts at Ice Dragon

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-04-07 09:27

From the Jewel Herald of Their Sylvan Majesties Marcus & Margerite, greetings to the populace of Æthelmearc,

Their Majesties wish it be known that at the Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon this weekend there will be two full courts; one in the morning and one in the evening, including elevations at both (times to be announced at the event). The populace are encouraged to attend both courts and celebrate with us all as we recognize members of the populace for their skills and contributions to our Great Society and our beloved Kingdom.

Their Majesties look forward to this great event and wish safe travels to all.

In service to the Crown, I remain,

Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta,
Jewel Herald


Categories: SCA news sites

Michelangelo’s crucifix in 360 degrees

History Blog - Thu, 2017-04-06 23:32

A painted wooden crucifix by Michelangelo Buonarrotti has returned to its original home, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito in Florence, after a fresh restoration and a year on the road. Carved by the artist when he was 18 or so, it’s one of his earliest extant works. Not the earliest, though, because Michelangelo’s artistic gifts were evident from a very young age.

Michelangelo was apprenticed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, then at the peak of his popularity and productivity, in 1488. It’s a testament to Michelangelo’s indisputably immense talent (and his irascible father’s insistence) that even though he was just 13 years old, his apprenticeship contract guaranteed him a salary, six florins for the first year, eight for the second, 10 for the third. This kind of deal was very much against custom for such a young, unproven apprentice. Michelangelo was special, though, and Ghirlandaio knew it.

The lad didn’t end up spending three years in Ghirlandaio’s workshop as per contract anyway. In 1489, Lorenzo de’ Medici asked Ghirlandaio to send his two best students to an academy for sculptors and painters Lorenzo had founded in his palace gardens where he also maintained an extensive collection of Roman antiquities. This was a seminal period for the teenaged Michelangelo. Lorenzo took a personal interest in him, inviting him to live in the palace and exposing him to the greatest Humanist thinkers, artists and poets of the era assembled at the Medici court. He carved his first two sculptures at Lorenzo’s academy, the marble bas reliefs the Madonna of the Stairs and the Battle of the Centaurs, the latter showcasing how strongly influenced Michelangelo was by classical design already. For the rest of his life he would consider himself first and foremost a sculptor no matter how famous and in demand he became for his frescoes and paintings.

The death of Lorenzo de’ Medici on April 8th, 1492, put an abrupt end to Michelangelo’s formative idyll. He moved back in with his father, but he continued to study on his own. The Augustinian prior of the convent of Santo Spirito allowed the artist rooms to live with them from the spring of 1493 until the fall of 1494 so he could do anatomical studies of cadavers in the associated hospital of Santo Spirito. Lorenzo’s son Piero de’ Medici, called the Unfortunate, who was a big fan of Michelangelo, gave him permission to dissect and examine the hospital’s corpses, a rare opportunity for a young artist, and one he did not squander.

He carved the polychrome wooden crucifix to thank the prior for giving him lodgings and an invaluable understanding of the human body. When medical professionals examined the carving a few years ago, they determined it was an accurate and realistic reproduction of a dead youth about 14 years old. It seems Michelangelo, then just a few years older than the deceased boy who served as his unwitting model, gave Santo Spirito the very fruits of the anatomical studies it had made possible.

The sculpture hung above the high altar of Santo Spirito until the early 17th century when the altar was replaced with a more elaborate one. Michelangelo’s simple design was no longer deemed appropriate for the new setting and it was moved. After the French occupation in the late 18th century and the dissolution of the monasteries, the crucifix was considered lost. In fact, it never left Santo Spirito. It was rediscovered in 1962 by German art historian Margrit Lisner during her cataloguing of Tuscan crucifixes. It was hanging in a corridor at the convent and had been so thickly overpainted that not just its color was altered, but its form as well. With the original features dreadfully obscured in this condition, Lisner’s identification of it as the Michelangelo work was very much in doubt.

Nonetheless, it was cleaned and restored and put on display in the Casa Buonarrotti Museum, where it remained until December 2000 when it was returned to the basilica of Santo Spirito. While still not universally accepted, the attribution question was largely settled the next year when Umberto Baldini, director of the cultural division of Italy’s National Research Council, declared the carving the work of Michelangelo after a thorough artistic and forensic examination.

Now it has returned to its original stomping grounds, but in a new location. When the church reinstalled it in 2000, the crucifix was affixed to a side wall and could only be seen from the front. Today it hangs above the church’s old sacristy so people can walk beneath and around it and can view it from all sides.

 

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

K&Q A&S Bids

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-04-06 19:44
Greetings all from the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White.

We are just about two months away from when bids are due for both A&S Champions and Bardic Champions.

Please note, we are encouraging local groups to submit bids for both A&S Champions and Bardic Champions together as a combined event.

We see a combined event providing a number of benefits to the Kingdom:

For entrants:

* Brings the arts together more across disciplines fostering community
* Increased exposure to larger populations and audiences
* Helps make both Champions competitions more of a destination event

For volunteers:

* Minimizes the burden of the Crown for Royal Progress
* Opens up the Kingdom planning calendar
* Relieves the weight on groups needing to host Kingdom events
* Limits the number of volunteers needed by hosting only one event

We know that there could be a perception that this would split Royal attention between the two activities. We successfully managed a good experience at this last combined A&S Champions and Bardic Champions event.

We also know that there could be some individual conflicts of interest between people who would like to judge and/or enter both activities. We acknowledge that people will need to prioritize their activities. We will try our best to help with any accommodations. We believe you will still have a great time.

We understand that groups may make bids otherwise, of course, to host only one of the two Champion competitions. You are welcome to do this. Submitting for a combined event is not a requirement.

We also understand that our upcoming Heirs will consult with our Crown for their eventual decision. We would like to give them options. Please help make that possible.

To submit a bid, please follow the Kingdom Event Bid Process found at:

http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/docs/eventbidform.php

For potential hosting groups, a few notes:

* You will not be responsible for the organization of either Champions competition. Good event spaces will have a large hall for bardic performance, another large hall for A&S displays, and a separate room for judges.
* The King’s Bard Countess Chatricam Meghanta (or Megha)(Katherine Journeay) and the Queen’s Bard Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant (Wendy Gale) will be managing the Bardic Champions Competition
* The King’s A&S Champion Honorable Lady Raziya bint Rusa (Elizabeth Burdick) and the Queen’s Champion Honorable Lady Sofya Gianetta di Trieste (Maria Dedvukaj) will be managing the A&S Champions Competition
* The Kingdom A&S Special Deputies Mistress Elisabeth (Lissa Underhill) and Master Magnus (Peter Olsen) will be managing the A&S entrants and judging registration and assignments.

Remember… Have fun! Teach! Learn!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.

East Kingdom Seneschal – Event Bid Form Note: you may print this document from your browser; the graphics, colors, and side menu will not appear. SCA, Inc. – East Kingdom Event Bid Form. This form must be completed and submitted along with any other information you wish to provide in your bid for a Kingdom Event. Please send it via e-mail … seneschal.eastkingdom.org
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A&S Consultation Table Deputy

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-04-06 19:39

Greetings all from the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White.

Thanks to your feedback and support, the Kingdom A&S Office created and started offering A&S Consultation Tables at events.

We’ve test run them now a few times. We are very happy with the feedback we have received from event organizers, judges, and especially artisans. We want to continue offering them and plan to offer them as a resource at events all over.

To those ends, Honorable Lady Kataryn Mercer has agreed to work with me as a Kingdom A&S Special Deputy charged with supporting A&S Consultation Tables.

In particular, her roles will be to:

1. Proactively coordinate A&S Consultation Tables at the more well-attended A&S focused Kingdom events
2. Ensure A&S Consultation Tables are offered regularly throughout all regions of the Kingdom
3. Reactively assist with local events that would like to host A&S Consultation Tables including how to find a coordinator, space needs, and soliciting local support.

Her work will blend well with the roles that Mistress Elysabeth and Master Magnus have taken on as Kingdom A&S Special Deputies revising the Kingdom A&S Rubric. (They are doing great work there and we expect more this Spring.)

Who are the A&S Consultation Tables for?

Everyone.

The A&S Consultation Tables are a chance for entrants to voluntarily get a sample walk-through based off of the Kingdom Rubric and Judging process that we use at A&S Champions.

This is to help artisans get used to the higher degree of expectations that happen at a more competitive level. The focus is on extensive research, historical understanding, and exemplary execution. These are all things that are important at A&S Champions but also other activities throughout the Kingdom.

Even if you never plan to enter A&S Champions you can use these tables as opportunities for feedback.

You’d have a chance to talk to a couple of judges and walk through their thought process as they use the Kingdom rubric.

We also welcome volunteer judges. Want to help? Let us know! You’re who is going to help make these A&S Consultation Tables successful.

Never judged before and want to learn? Let us know. You can be a shadow judge. We’d welcome the company.

Our goals are:

1. Set expectations early for the next A&S Champions competition while also helping people who do not want to compete but do focus on historical accuracy
2. Help artisans plan in advance and understand those expectations
3. Train more judges
4. Build consistency in that feedback

We think that these goals foster learning and teaching throughout the year.

We also hope that this will make the judging experience more constrictive and more enjoyable.

If you are interested in helping with any of these tasks please contact her. You can reach her at Kataryn@kitsclothingcollection.com.

And remember… Have fun! Teach! Learn!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.


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