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The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra online

History Blog - Sun, 2017-02-12 22:43


Palmyra, the crossroads of civilizations, prosperous center of trade between the Silk Road and Europe from the 3rd century B.C. under the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom through the 3rd century A.D. under the Roman Empire, is no stranger to wartime destruction. Emperor Aurelian razed the city in 273 when it rebelled against his rule. He pillaged its temples and used their treasures to decorate his temple to the sun god Sol in Rome. Enough survived to make Palmyra’s monumental ruins some of the most extensive and dramatic in the Greco-Roman world, and when European visitors started writing about the spectacular remains starting in 1696 with Abednego Seller’s The Antiquities of Palmyra, Palmyrene structures like the Temple of Bel, the Temple of Baalshamin, the tower tombs and the Great Colonnade became icons of classical architecture and inspired Western artists, poets and architects.

One of those artists was Louis-François Cassas (1756-1827) who made highly detailed drawings of the ruins of Palmyra in 1785. Cassas spent a month in Palmyra, recording all of the ancient ruins he saw. As an architect, Cassas had a keen eye for sculptural features which gave his renderings a precision matched by none of his predecessors in the voyage pittoresque tradition of illustrated travel accounts. His drawings of Palmyra, detailed views of ornamental features, architectural elevations and reconstructions illustrated his own travel account, Voyage Pittoresque de la Syrie, de la Phenicie, de la Palestine, et de la Basse Egypte, published beginning in 1799.

Following in Cassas footprints but using a new medium was Louis Vignes (1831-1896), a French career naval officer and a photographer. In 1863, Vignes was assigned to accompany Honoré Théodore d’Albert, duc de Luynes, on a scientific expedition to Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. Luynes was an avid amateur archaeologist and antiquarian, an expert in Damascus steel and a patron of the arts with a particular taste for commissioning works in the classical style. The year before the expedition, the duke had donated his vast collection of antiquities — coins, Greek vases, medallions, intaglio gemstones — to France’s Cabinet des Médailles, and as an immensely wealthy aristocrat with a passel of big titles, when Luynes demanded that the French government provide him with a naval officer for his voyage, he got what he wanted.

Vignes was a particularly good choice for a mission that would encounter numerous archaeological remains, because he had been trained by pioneering photographer Charles Nègre and could be of as much help to the duke on dry land as he was on the seas. Luynes’ primary objective was to do one of the first scientific explorations of the Dead Sea. From the Dead Sea, the expedition traveled the Jordan River Valley, the mountains of Moab and the full length of the Wadi Arabah to the Gulf of Aqaba. Over the 10 months of the expedition, they also visited Palmyra and Beirut where Vignes took pictures of the ancient ruins.

The scientific report of the expedition, Voyage d’exploration à la mer Morte, à Petra, et sur la rive gauche du Jourdain, wasn’t published until 1875, eight years after Luynes’ death. Vignes photos of the Dead Sea were included in the publication, but by then Vignes had long since cut to the chase. He hooked up with his old mentor Charles Nègre to develop and print the negatives Vignes had taken in Beirut and Palmyra. The albumen prints were given to the duc de Luynes before his death in 1867. The Vignes photographs are the earliest known pictures of the Greco-Roman remains in Palmyra.

They have taken on even more significance in the light of recent events. Palmyra’s ruins have been devastated in the Syrian Civil War, bombed and shelled by everyone, deliberately destroyed by IS ostensibly out of iconoclastic fervor, although their real motivation, I think, is to taunt the world into multiple impotent rage strokes; cultural heritage destruction as a brutal mass troll. The temples of Bel and Baalshamin were blown up, as were three of the best preserved tower tombs, the Arch of Triumph on the east end of the Great Colonnade and, if recent reports bear out, the tetrapylon and part of the Roman theater.

In 2015, with the monstrous savaging of Palmyra’s ancient monuments well underway, the Getty Research Institute acquired an album of 47 of Vignes’ original photos taken in Palmyra and Beirut. That album was digitized — the pictures can be browsed here — as were 58 additional Vignes prints from the duc de Luynes’ personal collection.

Now the Getty Research Institute has enlisted its Vignes photographs, Cassas drawings and other important sources in an online exhibition dedicated to history of Palmyra.

The online exhibition draws heavily from the Getty Research Institute’s collections as well as art in museum and library collections all over the world. The exhibition explores the site’s early history, the far-reaching influence of Palmyra in Western art and culture, and the loss, now tremendous and irrevocable, of the ruins that for centuries stood as a monument to a great city and her people.

“The devastation unleashed in Syria today forces a renewed interpretation of the early prints and photographs of this extraordinary world heritage site.” said Getty Research Institute curator Frances Terpak. “They gain more significance as examples of cultural documents that
can encourage a deeper appreciation of humanity’s past achievements. Understanding Palmyra through these invaluable accounts preserves its memory and connects us with its grandeur and enduring legacy.”

The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra is the Getty Research Institute’s first online exhibition and it’s beautifully curated. I hope it’s the first of many to come.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Ædult Swim Class Schedule

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-02-12 19:43

Photo by THL Ursula of Rouen of the 2016 attendees

Prince Timothy recently shared the tentative schedule of rapier and cut & thrust classes planned for Ædult Swim 2017 on the AEthelmearc Rapier Army Facebook page. The free event will be February 18 and 19 at Milton Shoe Factory 700 Hepburn St. Milton, PA 17847.

Saturday 
10:00 AM
Master Raev/Benjamin Cooper – Cuts and Destreza
Warder Philipp Reimer von Wolfenbüttel – I.33 Sword and Buckler Methods and Philosophy

11:00 AM (90 min block)
Master Aeron Harper/David Biggs – Making Italian Rapier work at speed
Mistress Alesone Gray of Cranleigh/Wendy Marques – Combat strategies for cut and thrust

12:30 PM (90 min block)
Master Aedan Aylwyn – A Practical Understanding of tempo and measure
Jonathan Robert Bucci and Broken Plow – HEMA Presentation

2:00 PM
Master Aedan Aylwyn – Control & Kill your opponent, the Italian way
Master Clewin Kupferhelberlink/Wayne M. Canne – Cut and Thrust Sparring (will continue as long as people are interested)

3:00 PM
Master Connor Livingston/Damn Connor- Psyching out and sizing up your quarry
Master Will Paris – Swetnam: Chopping the Thrust; Hybridizing attack mechanics

4:00 PM 
Master Caitilín Inghean Fheichín – Training for performance
Master Aeron Harper – Coming to grips with Bolognese C & T

Sunday

11:00 AM
Mistress Irene/Wendy I Colbert – Techniques for Avoiding Injury and Physical Therapy
Master Caitilín Inghean Fheichín – Goal Setting as a tool for mental focus

12:00 PM
Mistress Fredeberg/Karen Heike Spieler Canne – Vor and Nach: Controlling the fight with a German Mindset
Lord Jacob Martinson – The Cone of Defense

1:00 PM
2 open class slots

The site opens at 8 A.M. each day, with marshal inspections beginning at 8:30 and sparring at 9 A.M.

His Highness added: “I would encourage the Rattan community to participate in the C&T classes and sparring… I intend to be there for my 8 A.M. slow work and footwork that I do. You are welcome to join me…”

On the class list, he remarked “Lots of fabulous skill in that list of teachers. Looking forward to all of the classes! Go get some! We will have the entire 3rd floor to work with. There will be singles fighting all day. We can also get a series of Bear pits going if folks are interested. Lots of good focused training time. See you all in the lists.”

See the official announcement on the kingdom webpage here.


Categories: SCA news sites

Polling Deadline – TODAY

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-02-12 17:53

Responses to the first poll of Their Highnesses Honig and Ioannes need to be sent before midnight tonight, Sunday, February 12, when the polls close.

 


Filed under: Uncategorized

Landsknecht Cooking

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-02-11 20:20

by Meisterin Felicity Fluβmullnerin.

In the year 1487, Maximillian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, formed the first regiments of the mercenaries known as the Landsknechts. They went on to fight in almost every 16th century military campaign, sometimes fighting on both sides of the engagement. These warriors fought in units of pikemen called a Fahnlein with a Hauptmann as leader and training captain. These units lived as a family, often with wives and children marching with the soldiers to their next campaign and setting up a small movable town as the entire army moved across Europe.

In devising my 16th century army camp meal, I started by looking at several German cookbooks, a list of which can be found in the bibliography. One of my favorite cookbooks to reference is Sabina Welserin’s because she was cooking for her family at home, not for a royal court. It was important to me that all the foods included in this class were able to be cooked in an outdoor camp situation and to be stored and eaten by hard-working men and women on the go. This is not meant to be a feast, but to be hardy working class fare. Dried, pickled, and smoked items come heavily into play for longevity’s sake.

Landsknecht camp woodcut circa 1500

In my cookware deductions, I used several woodcuts of Landsknecht camp life, assessing what tools were available to a camp cook. There are also some extant pieces that add to this list.

  • spoons and ladles of several sizes in wood and metal
  • metal pots and pans of various sizes for cooking over the coals
  • large metal and ceramic cauldrons for stewing and boiling
  • small ceramics for baking and roasting (pipkin and piggie pots)
  • several different stand and tripod configurations

Popular Food Choices for Landsknecht & 16th century Germany

  • Dried items: beans, lentils, peas, rice to add to stews or mains
  • Game meat: rabbit, boar, deer, bear, small birds
  • Kept animals: pig, cow, sheep, poultry (squab, goose, chicken, peafowl, duck, and eggs thereof)
  • Dairy: milk, cream, butter, cheese (hard and soft)
  • Fish: cod, crayfish, pike, carp, trout, bream, eel, oysters, shrimp
  • Fruits: apple, pear, cherry, grapes (raisins), currants, quince, plums, figs, lemon, lime, oranges, pomegranates
  • Vegetables: onion, leek, spinach, chard, peas, parsley, mushroom, head lettuce, carrots, parsnip, turnip, cucumber, cabbage
  • Nuts: almonds and almond milk, walnuts, hazelnuts
  • Bread or buns: rye loaf, brown bread, Semmel, Lebkuchen, Sack küchlein (pocket buns), Fässer (barrel rolls), Stauben (funnel cakes), Krapfen (fritters)
  • Spices: salt, pepper, sugar, honey, cloves, nutmeg, mace, rose water, cinnamon ground and stick, ginger, saffron, anise, juniper berries, mustard, elderflower, cornflowers, rosemary, marjoram, lavender, mint, cardamom, tansy, roses
  • Wine, beer, hyssop, verjuice, and vinegar
  • Pickles: fruit, veg, meat
  • Pasties or tarts: fruit, veg, meat fillings (easy to pack and carry)

Pea Soup

From Ein New Kochbuch by Marx Rumpolt

German: Erbeßsuppen mit klein gehackten Zwibeln/ die geschweißt seyn/ pfeffers vnd gelbs/ so ist es auch gut.

 My translation:

Pea soup with small chopped onions/ that (have been) sautéed/ pepper and yellow (saffron)/ so it is also good.

Redaction:

  • 2 oz. butter
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 T garlic
  • 16 oz. green split peas
  • 12 c. vegetable broth

Pinch of saffron Salt and pepper to taste.

Sauté the chopped onions in butter until clear. Add garlic, being careful not to let it go brown as it will be bitter. Add peas and coat in butter. Add broth, salt, and pepper and allow to simmer till peas are tender. Additional water might be needed during the simmering phase. Add saffron and smash to puree. Serve warm.

Fast Day Krapfen

From Ein Buch von Guter Spise

German: So du wilt einen vasten krapfen machen von nüzzen mit ganzem kern. und nim als vil epfele dor under und snide sie würfeleht als der kern ist und roest sie mit ein wenig honiges und mengez mit würtzen und tu ez uf die bleter die do gemaht sin zu krapfen und loz ez backen und versaltz niht.

Translation:

So you want to make a fastday krapfen of nuts with whole kernels. And take as many apples thereunder and cut them diced, as the kernel is, and roast them well with a little honey and mix with spices and put it on the loaf, which you do to make krapfen, and let it cook and do not oversalt.

Redaction:

  • 4 t. yeast
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1⁄2 c. warm water (or milk) *
  • 3c. flour
  • 3 eggs (or 1⁄2 c water)*
  • 1⁄2 c. nuts
  • 1⁄2 c. apples diced to match nuts in size.
  • 2 T honey
  • 1⁄2 t. cinnamon

Combine yeast, sugar, and water or milk in a small bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes to allow yeast to proof. Mix this with flour and eggs and kneed to form dough. Allow to rise to double the size (about 1 hour). Sauté the nuts, apples, honey, and cinnamon over low heat to toast nuts and soften apples. Allow to cool. When dough is ready: Heat oil to 325 ̊F. Cut off dough balls and flatten. Spoon in the apple mixture, close to form a ball, and drop into the oil, fry to golden. Drizzle with honey.

*As this class is not taking place on a fast day, I will be making this recipe with milk and eggs.

Note on Krapfen: This has modernly come to mean a filled jelly donut, but based on the descriptions above, I believe the 16th c. version is similar to the “traditional” style of krapfen, much more like a drop fritter. This is mainly because the modern donut is baked first and then filled, while the recipe calls for adding the filling to the krapfen and then baking.

To Make a Good Roast

From Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

German: Ain gút brates zú machen Nim kelberis oder ain lembratten von ainem ochsen, legs jn ain wein jber nacht, darnach stecks jn an ain spis, thú jn dan jn ain haffen, thú daran ain gúte fleschbrie, zwiffel, wein, gewirtz, pfeffer, jmber, negellen vnnd lasß woll daran sieden, versaltz es nit.

Translation: Take veal or a sirloin of beef, lay it overnight in wine, afterwards stick it on a spit. Put it then in a pot. Put good broth therein, onions, wine, spices, pepper, ginger and cloves and let it cook therein. Do not over salt it.

Redaction:

  • 6 lbs. sirloin beef
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 onion
  • 8 bay leaves (can use juniper berries as well)
  • 1/2 t each ginger, cloves, cardamom
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade the beef overnight in a mix of red wine, vinegar, ginger, cloves, cardamom, salt and pepper.

If working with a spit: Spit the beef and roast over high heat to achieve a browned crunch on the outside. Retain the drippings. Keep the marinade for later steps.

If working with a pan: Seer the beef in a VERY hot pan (I use cast iron) on every side. Remove the beef. Keep the pan drippings. Keep the marinade for later steps.

Place the beef in a pot or slow cooker. Cook the sliced onion in the beef drippings, deglaze the pan with 1⁄2 c of marinade. Pour this over the beef. Add bay leaves, remaining marinade, and salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 5 or more hours till beef is tender and falling apart. Stir to avoid beef sticking to the bottom of the pot. To thicken the sauce, add lebkuchen and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Roasted Vegetables

From Ein Buch von Guter Spise

German: Brat Ruben/ vnnd schel sie/ zerschneid sie/ vnnd geb sie in eine Schuessel/ vnnd gibs warm auff ein Tisch/ bestra:ew sie mit Zucker/ seind sie auch gut.

Translation:

Fry roots/ and peel them/ cut them up/ and give them into a bowl/ and give it warm to the table/ sprinkle it with sugar/ they are good too.

Redaction:

  • 2 leeks
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3 carrots of various colors
  • 1 T sugar

Peel and cut the root vegetables to equal sizes. Slice the leeks finely. Pour into a pan and roast till tender, sprinkling the sugar over top for the last minute or two to glaze and serve warm.

Field kitchen by Bartolomeo Scappi, Venice, 1570

Strawberry Tart

From Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

German: Ain pastetentaig zú machen zú allen auffgesetzten pasteten  at Nempt ain mell, das pest, so jr bekomen múgen, vngefarlich 2 gút gaúffen oder darnach jr die grosß oder klain haben welt, thiets auff den disch vnnd riert 2 air mit ainem messer daran vnnd saltzt ain wenig, macht jn ainem pfenndlin ain wasser vnnd wie 2 gúte air grosß schmaltz, last es als anainander ergan vnnd sieden/ darnach schit es an das obgemelt mell ob dem disch vnnd mach ain starcken taig vnnd arbait jn woll, wie dich gút dúnckt, wan es jm somer jst, músß man an des wasser stat ain fleschbrie nemen vnnd an des schmaltz stat ain abscheffet von der súpen nemen, wan der taig gearbait jst, so machent jn zú ainer rúnden kugel vnnd thenet jn fein mit den fingern vornen aus oder mit ainem walgelholtz/ das jn der mit ain hechin beleib, darnach lands erstaren an der keltin, darnach setzent daig aúf, jn maß jch eúch gezaigt hab/ aúch balten ain taig zú der teckin vnd welget jn zú ainer deckin vnnd nempt ain wasser vnnd bestreichts oben an der deckin vnnd oben an der aúffgesetzten pasten vnnd thiets mitt den fingern woll zusamen, last an ainem ort ain klain lechlin, vnd das es woll zúsamengedruckt sey, das nicht offenstand/ blassen jn das lechlin, das jr gelassen habt, so wirt die deckin hibsch aúfflaúffen, so trúcken das lechlin von stúnd an zú, darnach thits jn offen, set vor ain mell aúff die schissel/ secht, das jr den offen recht haitzt, so wirt es ain schene pasteten, also macht man all aúffgesetzt pasteten den taig.

Translation:

To make a pastry dough for all shaped pies

Take flour, the best that you can get, about two handfuls, depending on how large or small you would have the pie. Put it on the table and with a knife stir in two eggs and a little salt. Put water in a small pan and a piece of fat the size of two good eggs, let it all dissolve together and boil. Afterwards pour it on the flour on the table and make a strong dough and work it well, however you feel is right. If it is summer, one must take meat broth instead of water and in the place of the fat the skimmings from the broth. When the dough is kneaded, then make of it a round ball and draw it out well on the sides with the fingers or with a rolling pin, so that in the middle a raised area remains, then let it chill in the cold. Afterwards shape the dough as I have pointed out to you. Also reserve dough for the cover and roll it out into a cover and take water and spread it over the top of the cover and the top of the formed pastry shell and join it together well with the fingers. Leave a small hole. And see that it is pressed together well, so that it does not come open. Blow in the small hole which you have left, then the cover will lift itself up. Then quickly press the hole closed. Afterwards put it in the oven. Sprinkle flour in the dish beforehand. Take care that the oven is properly heated, then it will be a pretty pastry. The dough for all shaped pastries is made in this manner.

German: Ain erbertorten zú machen Mach das bedellin vnnd laß erstarcken jn der tortenpfanen darnach nim die erber vnnd legs daraúf vmber aúfs allernechst zúsamen, darnach zúckeres woll aúfs allerbast, laß darnach ain klain weil bachen, geúß ain malúasier daraúf vmber vnnd laß ain weil bachen, so jst er gemacht.

 Translation:

A Strawberry Tart

Make a pastry shell and let it become firm in the tart pan. Afterwards take strawberries and lay them around on top as close together as possible, after that sweeten them especially well. Next let it bake a short while, pour Malavosia over it and let it bake a while, then it is ready.

Redaction: For the Pastry:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fat, lard, or Crisco
  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs

To make the pastry dough:

Heat 1/4 cup water to just under a boil, and add the lard, simmering until it has melted. Pour half of this over the flour and salt, and mix thoroughly. When the dough is reasonably cool to the touch, add the eggs and mix. If the dough is still too dry, continue adding the water until the dough comes together in a nice mass.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface to just under 1/4′′ thick. Press the dough into tart pans, and set each on a baking sheet. Chill the prepared tart shells for a couple of hours, or until the dough is stiff.

To make the filling:

Slice the strawberries thinly, and arrange as closely as possible in the tart shells, layering until all the berries are used up. Sprinkle with the sugar, and bake for 15 minutes at 375F.

Remove from oven and pour an equal amount of the wine over each tart, and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Malvasia is an ancient Mediterranean family of grapes and the wines they produce can have several different flavors. There are dry wines and even the occasional red, but the majority are light and sweet. Malavosia, Malmsey, and Madiera are made from Malvasia grapes, as are several dessert wines.

For the Filling: 2 quarts of strawberries, sliced thin 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup Malavosia Wine *

Resources

Sabina Welserin’s Cookbook can be found in English here:

Sabina Welserin in German is found here:

Ein New Kochbuch by Marx Rumpolt in German and English here:

A list of cookbooks available online from several different countries. Some are translated to English.

Euriol’s Journey

The Role of Ducks and Geese by Umberto Albarella:

Traditional Krapfen

Nuts in Medieval Times

16th Century Recipes Still Tasty Today

Malvasia Information here and here

Historical Food Links:

http://www.ravensgard.org/gerekr/food.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookware_and_bakeware#/media/File:Grapen.jpghttp://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/food-art/

 

This lecture was prepared for the Delftwood Cook’s Guild Meeting on Thursday, June, 2, 2016, which is available online on YouTube here


Categories: SCA news sites

Viking boat burial found on British mainland

History Blog - Sat, 2017-02-11 11:54

Mainly found in Scandinavia, Viking boat burials are as rare as they are fascinating. The ones that have been archaeologically excavated in the UK were unearthed on the isles, like Orkney, Shetland and Man. The only boat burials found on mainland Britain were discovered in the 19th century and were excavated, if you can call it that, outside of archaeological protocols. Few artifacts from them have survived and it’s difficult to confirm that they were in fact boat burials. The discovery of an intact Viking boat burial in Swordle Bay on western Scotland’s Ardnamurchan peninsula in 2011, therefore, was a momentous one. The Norse were known to have been in the area when they were still raiding and exploring the British Isles in the 9th and 10th centuries, before they founded any settlements, but this is the first archaeological evidence of their presence.

The grave was first identified in 2006 as part of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project‘s survey of potential archaeological sites in the area dating from the Neolithic through the 19th century. The ATP team dug a test trench across the low turf-covered mound and found stones collected and placed by human hands, as well as a rove, a metal plate or grommet that rivets pass through in boat construction. The dating of the mound wasn’t clear. Possibilities included Bronze Age or medieval origin.

Full excavation of the mound would have to wait until 2011. Just under the topsoil, archaeologists found a spread of stones. Some of them were undisturbed, still placed where human hands had laid them centuries earlier. Others were scattered around the main stone pile and bore plough marks suggesting they’d been dislodged during later agricultural activity.

Once the soil and fill were removed, the stone feature was revealed to be an oval outlined by kerb stones embedded in a cut. A spear head and a shield boss were found on a cairn stone underneath the silt layer that overlays them. That suggests they were deposited around the same time as the stones, like at the time of burial, but that can’t be confirmed because the cairn has shifted significantly over time. Under the stones were layers of decayed organic material and a wealth of artifacts, among them a large iron pan with a handle three feet long, a ladle, the copper-alloy top of a drinking horn, more than 200 rivets and roves, a sword decorated with silver and copper wire with textile fragments wound around the blade, a broad-bladed axe, a copper alloy ring pin likely of Irish origin, a Norwegian schist whetstone, and an iron sickle.

The rivets and roves, the sword style, the whetstone, the pointed oval boat cut and the organic decay likely from wood confirmed this was a rare Viking boat burial, the only one on the British mainland excavated to modern archaeological standards. The boat was about 5.1 meters (17 feet) long, a small rowboat, not a seafaring vessel. It was placed in the boat-shaped cut, the body of the deceased placed in the boat and then surrounded with grave goods. Rocks were piled atop the body, creating a burial mound. Preliminary analysis of the finds dated the burial to the late 9th, early 10th century. The weaponry suggests the deceased was male, but the pan and ladle are more typical of female burials. A small fragment of bone and two teeth are the only human remains discovered in the grave, neither of them sufficient to conclusively gender the burial.

The latest report on the findings has now been published in the journal Antiquity. Strontium, lead and oxygen isotope analysis was done on the teeth to determine the deceased’s diet between the ages of two and 15 and thus a possible national origin.

Results showed that the person ate a land-based diet until he or she was 15, with a boost in seafood consumption when the individual was between three and five years old. Marine proteins were rarely consumed in Britain during the first millennium A.D., even for people who lived on the coast. In Norway, on the other hand, people ate plenty of seafood, although children less than adults. The fact that this person ate so much fish during that brief period as a small child suggests there may have been a food shortage that pushed the locals towards additional marine sources of nourishment. The stable isotope results exclude the deceased coming from the west coast of Britain, from western Britain in general, western Ireland or the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland. Other parts of Ireland are still possible candidates, but the likeliest is Scandinavia.

The authors of the study conclude from the evidence of the boat burial that the individual was someone of high rank and status:

When we consider this burial, what can we say about identity? At least three terms could potentially be used to describe the deceased: ‘Norse’, ‘warrior’ and ‘high status’. Evidence for the first of these comes from the boat and related connotations of travel and voyaging; from the material culture from Scandinavia and Ireland; and from the surviving teeth. Even though a definitive place of origin cannot be proven from the isotope evidence alone, when combined with the material from the grave itself a Scandinavian homeland is suggested; Ireland cannot, however, be ruled out. The evidence for a warrior identity lies, of course, in the weapons, although this imposes a traditional assumption that grave goods belong to the deceased and directly disclose their identity. Finally, the whole assemblage–the artefacts and their elaborate interment–suggests a notion of high status.

The fact that a person of such high status deserving of a boat burial with rich grave goods was interred on the peninsula may be a significant marker of the transition between the Vikings as raiders of Britain and the Vikings as settlers.

The warrior’s final resting place could indicate the first settlement of the area by the Vikings–indicated by Swordle Bay originating as a Norse name meaning ‘grassy valley’.

“I don’t think they are just sailing up and down the coast, someone has died, and they have just rowed into the nearest harbour and buried someone there,” Harris said. “There is a kind of connection to this landscape that is more substantial than that.

“It is perfectly possible [the burial] is linked with the process of settling in this bay.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Well that was horrific

History Blog - Sat, 2017-02-11 10:33

You may have noticed your trusty blog about history has not been so trusty the past couple of days. A server update is apparently the culprit. The site went down Thursday afternoon and we’ve been struggling ever since to get it back. Finally the planets aligned and we are back. Buggy and error-riddled, but I’ll take it for now while we iron out the kinks.

The trauma of the last few days has only underscored how desperately important it is that I upgrade the software of this site. It’s ancient and all kinds of features are broken because of it. Perpetually perched on the razor’s edge of functionality, it can fail at the least provocation. That means we’re going to have to say goodbye to my old-fashioned theme and the blog will look completely different. As history nerds tend to like old-fashioned things, I’ve dragged my feet to avoid having to make so big a change. Time to face facts.

I’m so sorry for the outage. Real post coming up.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

New Æthelmearc Website is Live!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-02-10 20:09

Greetings!

Maintenance is over and the new Kingdom website is up! You can find it here.

Please note that this does make links to any subpages from the old site not work and will most likely result in 404 errors. If you have linked to specific pages on the old aethelmearc.org website, please update your links accordingly.

If you do find an issue on the new site, please fill out the Website Error form that is located at the bottom of the announcements area on the main page.

Thank you all for your patience!

In service,
Amalie
AE Webminister


Categories: SCA news sites

Q1 Chatelaine Reports Due

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-02-09 15:50

Greetings Æthelmearc Local Chatelaines,

Just a friendly reminder that 1st quarter reports are due this Friday, February
10th.

A link to the online Chatelaine report form can be found at: http://aethelmearc.org/officers/chatelaine/

Thank you!!                                                     

THL Rosheen O faye
Æthelmearc Kingdom Chatelaine

 


Categories: SCA news sites

New Harriet Tubman photo found in 1860s album

History Blog - Thu, 2017-02-09 00:59

A previously unknown photograph of Harriet Tubman has been found in a carte-de-visite album compiled in the 1860s. She is seated, immaculately clad in a gingham skirt and dark shirt with gathered sleeves. It was taken shortly after the Civil War, between 1865 and 1868, and captures a younger, less care-worn Harriet than she is usually pictured.

[Historian and Tubman biographer Dr. Kate Clifford] Larson said that in her 20 years of researching Tubman, she’s been sent dozens of photos of black women by people claiming to have discovered a new image of the soon-to-be face of the $20 bill. But not one has actually depicted Tubman, Larson said.

On the other hand, she continued, she knew it was Tubman in Swann Galleries’ photo as soon as she saw it.

“There’s no doubt in my mind about the provenance of the photo and that it is Tubman,” she said. “I had never run across it.”

The album belonged to Emily Howland, an abolitionist and educator from a prominent Quaker family in Sherwood, New York, whose childhood home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. She taught at schools for free blacks in the late 1850s, and during the Civil War taught freed slaves and the children of slaves to read and write in the contraband camps of Union-occupied Virginia. After the war she donated land and founded dozens of freedmen’s schools in multiple states.

Tubman escaped slavery in 1849 when she was in her 20s and spent the next two decades dedicated to the abolitionist cause in the most dangerous, hands-on way. She personally risked her life returning to Maryland no fewer than 13 times to free 70 of her families members and other slaves, guiding them up north over the Underground Railroad to safety, which after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 made the north almost as terrifying a place for escaped slaves as the south, often meant Ontario. Abolitionist journalist William Lloyd Garrison nicknamed her “Moses” because she led her people out of slavery. During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman was a Union Army scout, spy and guide of the successful Union raid on Combahee Ferry, South Carolina, which liberated 750 slaves. After the war, she worked several jobs to support her family, gave extensively to charity though she had very little, and was a tireless advocate for women’s suffrage.

Tubman moved to Auburn, New York, in 1859 where she bought land from Senator William Henry Seward, future Secretary of State under Lincoln and engineer of the Alaska purchase under Johnson. The Sewards were part of a tightly knit network of abolitionists in Cayuga County, Emily Howland among them, and Harriet and Emily soon met. They became life-long friends, and worked together in the suffragist movement. Harriet Tubman died in 1913 at around 90 years of age. Emily Howland lived to cast her first vote in the 1920 election at the age of 92 after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. She lived almost another decade after that, passing away in 1929 at the age of 102.

The album has 44 pictures of prominent figures, including two of Tubman (the other is a very well-known full-length portrait of Harriet standing with her hands on a roll-back chair taken by Harvey B. Lindsley in the early to mid-1870s) and one of John Willis Menard, the first African-American elected to Congress in 1868. He would have represented Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district had he ever been seated, but his opponent, Caleb Hunt, lodged a challenge contesting Menard’s right to be seated which was ultimately decided by the full House of Representatives in neither’s favor. The black man was too black and the other guy didn’t even bother to show up, so they voted both of them down and left the seat vacant.

The new photograph goes under the hammer at Swann Auction Galleries in New York City on March 30th. The carte-de-visite album will be sold in its entirety, including the pictures of Tubman and John Willis Menard. The pre-sale estimate is $20,000 to $30,000.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Board of Directors Announces Position Opening: Corporate Treasurer

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2017-02-09 00:34

The message below was published Tuesday, February 7th via the SCA Board of Directors Announcements email list (announcements@lists.sca.org)

The Board of Directors is accepting applications for the position of Corporate Treasurer.  This is a part-time, stipend position, which requires approximately 5-10 hours per week except when finalizing the yearly budget.

Applicants must be available for at least the October quarterly Board Discussion Session (typically held on Friday), in addition to the October Board meeting (typically on Saturday).  Additional traveling may be required.

Skills:

1)  Working knowledge of basic financial spreadsheet program (QuickBooks or other);

2)  Experience with managing budgets and financial forecasting, including tracking and analyzing variances;

3)  Basic suite of office communication skills – spreadsheets, presentations, Word, etc.

4)  Preference for degree in accounting or finance.

Duties of the Treasurer

Maintain knowledge of the organization and personal commitment to its goals and objectives.

Work with the Society Exchequer, the Vice President for Corporate Operations and the outside accountant to ensure all financial filings are maintained.

Work with the Society Exchequer to ensure that our relationships with third party financial vendors (i.e. banks) are maintained.

Understand financial accounting for nonprofit organizations.

Work with the President and the Vice President of Corporate Operations to ensure that appropriate financial reports are made available to the Board on a timely basis.

Prepare and present the annual budget to the Board of Directors.

Develop and maintain internal control policies, guidelines, and procedures for activities such as budget administration.

Work with the Society Exchequer, President and the Vice President of Corporate Operations to maintain and improve internal control policies, guidelines and procedures for PayPal.

Analyze the financial details of past, present, and expected operations in order to identify development opportunities and areas where improvement is needed.

Evaluate needs for procurement of funds and investment of surpluses, and make appropriate recommendations.

Ensure development and broad review of financial policies and procedures.

Maintain current knowledge of organizational policies and procedures, federal and state policies and directives, and current accounting standards.

Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, together with modern and SCA qualifications, via hardcopy to:

Renee Signorotti
Society for Creative Anachronism
PO Box 360789
Milpitas, CA  95036-0789

Courtesy copies should be provided via email to:
resumes@sca.org
treasurer@sca.org.

The deadline for applications is April 1, 2017.
Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

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

This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc.  Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.


Filed under: Announcements, Corporate Tagged: corporate, corporate announcements

Arts & Sciences Research Paper #17: You Won’t Believe How They Went!

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-02-08 16:49

Our seventeenth A&S Research Paper takes a turn to the lighthearted, and comes to us from Mistress Aildreda de Tamworthe of the Barony of Carolingia. She offers a tabloids-eye view of some of the more ghastly deaths of the medieval period – not necessarily to be considered for our lunchtime readers! (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)

You Won’t Believe How They Went! Five Strange and Terrible Medieval Ends

Who is this? Read on to find out the unbelievable truth!

Nothing in his life / Became him like the leaving it.
– Wm. Shakespeare, Macbeth (1605), I.iv.

A person can achieve historical notoriety in many ways; brave deeds, terrible deeds, happy or cruel accidents of birth and geography, or even a greatly distinctive appearance. But one certain way to be remembered for posterity is to die in some memorable fashion. Today, the East Kingdom Gazette brings you five tabloid stories from history, wherein we learn of some of the more notorious exits of the Middle Ages. Please note that some are quite gruesome!

(NB: Like all good stories, these have been embroidered in the telling and the recollection. We have endeavored to provide the true tale in every case.)

Contents
Sigurd Eyesteinsson – Karma Bites Back
Martin of Aragon – No Laughing Matter
The Bal des Ardents – Practice Safe Cosplay!
Hugh Despenser – There’s No Outsmarting A Wolf
Charles of Navarre – The Cure Is Worse Than The Disease

Sigurd Eyesteinsson – Karma Bites Back

Sigurd (? – 892) was the Earl of Orkney in the latter half of the ninth century. Known as Sigurd the Mighty, he was a fearsome figure in the conquest of those northern Scottish isles by the Norwegian Harold Fair-hair. During one of the episodes of that invasion, Sigurd challenged a local chieftain, Maelbrigd the Buck-Toothed, to a battle with forty men on a side. Thinking to be crafty, Sigurd instead brought eighty men to the fight, winning it handily through superior numbers.

But in a strange twist of justice, Maelbrigd got his revenge. Sigurd struck off his foe’s head as a trophy and tied it to his horse’s saddle, thinking to display it as a mark of his prowess. As he rode, though, the head swung forward and the prominent teeth that gave Maelbrigd his nickname gouged a scratch in Sigurd’s leg. And as any playground veteran knows, the human mouth is a most unsanitary place – the scratch festered and quite soon Sigurd developed a gangrenous infection that killed him outright. Treachery does not pay!

Sigurd’s tale may be found in The Orkneyinger Saga.

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Martin of Aragon – No Laughing Matter

King Martin I of Aragon. Altarpiece of San Severo, Wikimedia Commons.

King Martin of Aragon (c. 1356-1410), like so many of his contemporaries, had a court fool to entertain him when he was disconsolate. One evening, after eating an entire goose at the dinner table, King Martin was suffering from indigestion and called for his fool, one Borra, to ease his distress. When the fool entered the room, the King asked him where he had come from, and the fool said “Out of the next vineyard, where I saw a young deer hanging by his tail from a tree, as if someone had so punished him for stealing figs.”

Succumbing to this wordplay, whose subtle humor has no doubt been muddied through time and translation, King Martin is said to have laughed so heartily and so long that he indeed died of laughter. The question of whether or not this is a tale drafted by the cook to divert attention from the goose is left to the interested reader.

King Martin’s tale may be found in Dr. Doran’s The History of Court Fools, 317-318.

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The Bal des Ardents – Practice Safe Cosplay!

The Dance of the Wodewoses, British Museum, Harley 4380, f.1

In 1393, a masquerade ball was held in Paris by Isabeau, queen to Charles VI. As a bit of fun, the young King and several of his friends decided to dress as wild men, costuming themselves in linen soaked in resin that was stitched all over with loose flax, so that they would appear fierce and hairy. In a crowded ballroom where the only source of light was from flame, what could possibly go amiss?

The young men disported themselves crudely, making obscene gestures and howling and spitting curses at the assembled nobility. (It may be noted that the entire affair was instigated by one Huguet de Guisay, a cruel and arrogant young man who, among other things, used to hunt peasants with arrows from his castle walls.) They thought themselves safe because they had forbidden anyone carrying a torch to enter the hall while they were at sport. But the king’s brother, Louis d’Orléans, defied the ban and came close to a masked reveler, ostensibly to learn his identity.

Unsurprisingly, a stray spark fell onto the highly flammable costume and instantly the dancer was in flames. Rushing about, he set many of the other “wild men” on fire, as well as other guests; the King was saved only by his aunt, the young Duchess of Berry, who threw her skirts over him to protect him. The quick-thinking Ogier de Nantouillet jumped into a vat of wine until the flames were all extinguished, and also survived.

The other young men all perished from their awful burns, most of them slowly and painfully. The odious de Guisay lingered the longest, cursing the dead and the living for three whole days before he died. There are no reports of his death being haunted by the spirits of arrow-filled serfs.

The story of the Wild Men may be found in Froissart’s Chronicles.

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Hugh Despenser the Younger– There’s No Outsmarting A Wolf

The Execution of Hugh Despenser the Younger, from Froissart’s Chronicles. Bibliotheque Nationale MS Fr. 2643, folio 11r

It is almost always a perilous thing to be a royal favorite. It is an especially perilous thing to be the favorite of a weak king who already has many enemies. Hugh Despenser the Younger (c. 1286 – 1326) was much beloved of King Edward II of England, and in his position of royal chamberlain, soundly proved the old adages about power going to the head – he even once reportedly said that he regretted that he could not control the wind! Indeed, Dispenser was so unpopular with everyone but the King that there was even a strange and curious plot wherein aggrieved courtiers enlisted the purported magician John of Nottingham to kill him (and the King) by sticking pins in their wax effigies.

We have no record of any discomfort from pins or effigies. But what we do know is that Edward’s Queen Isabella, nicknamed the “She-Wolf”, harbored a deep enmity toward Despenser, not least because he tried to have her murdered! When the Queen and her co-conspirator, Roger Mortimer, staged a very successful French-funded rebellion against the King, Despenser was captured and jailed. Knowing he was unlikely to escape with his life, Despenser tried to starve himself to death before his trial but was unsuccessful, coming quite alive to the trial and his almost immediate execution.

Here we learn that it can be exceptionally hazardous to try and fail to murder a wolf! Thanks to Jean Froissart’s love of a gory tale, we have a vivid account of Despenser’s death – he was bound to a ladder in the public square, where his genitals were cut off and burned before his eyes, his entrails slowly pulled out, and then his heart cut out and thrown into the fire. Once he was finally dead, his body was beheaded and quartered, and his severed head mounted on the gates of London. Who’s the apex predator now?

Hugh’s tale may be found in Froissart’s Chronicles.

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Charles of Navarre – The Cure Is Worse Than The Disease

The Death of Charles of Navarre. From Froissart’s Chronicles. Getty Ludwig XIII.7

Charles II of Navarre, called the Bad (1332 – 1387) was an exceptionally slippery character in a century that is rife with examples of diplomatic shenanigans. Consummately committed to his own best interests, he maneuvered throughout the Hundred Years War, regularly switching sides, sowing chaos, and on one occasion even throwing open all the prisons in Paris to create a state of anarchy.

Late in life, Charles was severely debilitated by many illnesses and in such a state of decrepitude that he reportedly could not move his limbs. (Froissart claims that this was because of the “viciousness of his habits”.) His physician recommended that he be wrapped up from head to foot in linen cloths that had been thoroughly soaked in brandy. (Again, what could possibly go wrong?!) To ensure a tight and enveloping fit, the cloths were sewn into place by an attendant; but when she moved to remove the end of the thread with a candle, as was her usual habit, the thread caught fire and the entire covering was instantly in flames.

Another version of the story locates the source of the flame in a pan of hot coals that was being used to warm the invalid’s bed, but the end of the story is the same – Charles the Bad died in horrible agony from terrible burns, lingering almost an entire fortnight until he succumbed. Naturally, popular sentiment attributed the gruesome death to Divine judgment; how else would such a Bad king end?

Charles’s tale may be found in Froissart’s Chronicles.

We hope you have enjoyed this small diversion into some of the more lurid corners of history!

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Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences

Birka Unofficial Court Report

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-02-08 13:05

Evening court at Birka. Photo by Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir

On 28 January, AS LI, Their Majesties Brion and Anna did hold a Royal Court in the Barony of Stonemarche at A Market Day at Birka.

Their Majesties were not only attended by Their Highnesses Tir Mara, Ioannes and Ro Honig, but also by a number of visiting royals.  This included:

Her Majesty Margerite of the Kingdom of Aethelmearc
Her Majesty Xristina of the Kingdom of Ealdormere
Their Majesties Yehuda and Hrodir of the Kingdom of Northshield
Their Highnesses Konrad and Aibhilin of the Kingdom of Northshield
His Highness Antonii of the Principality of the Mists

Their Majesties held several courts during the day.  In the morning, they presented the following awards:

Helena Lundonie, Award of Arms
Scroll by: Onóra ingheann Uí Rauirc

Brian of Stonemarche, Silver Wheel
Scroll by: Marrieta Charay

Peter de Bracebridge, Silver Tyger
Scroll by: Shadiyah Al-Zhara Words: Arthur de Beaumont

Svend de la Maison Al-Karakal (of House Al-Karakal), Order of the Tygers Combatant
Illumination: Ellesbeth Donofrey
Calligraphy: Jonathan Blaecstan

Tobijasz Bogdanovitch, Order of the Tygers Combatant
Scroll by: Heather Rose du Gordoun

Trentus Nubianus, Order of the Tygers Combatant
Scroll by: Shadiyah Al-Zhara Words: Arthur de Beaumont

Hrafn Bonesetter, Presentation of the Shield of Chivalry

Kenneric Aubrey, Silver Rapier
Scroll by: Shadiyah Al-Zhara

Their Majesties further sent on vigil the following individuals:

Emengar la fileresse, Vigil to consider joining the Order of the Laurel

Sigurthr Vigurhafn, Vigil to consider joining the Order of the Chivalry

Kennimathor sent on vigil. Photo by Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir

Kennimathor Geirrson, Vigil to consider joining the Order of the Chivalry

Their Majesties suspended court.  Later, they reconvened to present to the Children in attendance the toybox, and they themselves spoke to the youths about what it is to be the Crown of the East.

Her Majesty attended the fashion show, where she opened court and presented the following award:

Seigine Ruadh Friseal, Silver Crescent
Scroll by: Vettorio Antonello

Their Majesties, and the various guest royals in attendance, held court once more in the afternoon.  Their Majesties Brion and Anna presented the following awards:

Murighall O’Riein, Silver Brooch
Scroll by: Aesa Lokabrenna Sturladottir Words: Aislinn Chiabach

Vopiscus Rufus, Award of Arms
Iillumination: Sarah Davies of Monmouth,
Words & Calligraphy: Nest verch Tangwistel

Bess Brechin, Silver Wheel
Scroll by: Triona Maccasky

Lucie receives her writ. Photo by Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir

Lucie Lovegood, Writ for Pelican
Scroll by: Kayleigh MacWhyte

Aikaterine FitzWilliam, Seamstress to the Crown

Adrienne d’Evreus, Maunche
Scroll by : Isabel Chamberlaine Words: Aneleda Falconbridge

Sylvia du Vey, Golden Lance
Scroll by: Rhonwen glyn Conwy

Osmond de Berwic, Silver Crescent
Scroll by: Fiona O’Maille ó Chaun Coille

Richard Crowe, Silver Crescent
Scroll by: Kayleigh MacWhyte

Cellach Dhonn inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh, Queen’s Order of Courtesy
Scroll by: Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir Translation by: Kirsa Oyutai

Cellach Dhonn inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh, Silver Crescent
Calligraphy: Robin dit Dessaint Words: Edward Grey of Lochleven
Stained Glass: Marguerite de Gui

Catrin receiving the Tyger of the East. Photo by Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir

Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle, Silver Crescent
Scroll by: Alisay de Falaise
Latin: Sergei of Havre des Glaces and Steffan ap Kennydd
English: Kirsa Oyutai

Catrin o’r Rhyd Fôr, Tyger of the East
Scroll by: þóra Eiríksdóttir  Words: Aneleda Falconbridge

Emengar la fileresse, Laurel
Scroll by: Rhonwen Glyn Conwy  Words: Nicolette Bonhomme

Sigurthr Vigurhafn, Chivalry
Stone by: Kenric aet Essex

Kennimathor Geirrson, Chivalry
Scroll by: Edward MacGyver dos Scorpus Words: Aneleda Falconbridge

Additionally, their Majesties recognized both those new to the SCA, as well as those who have been around for 25 years or more.

Knighting of Sigurthr. Photo by Lord Brendan Crane.

Their Majesties thanked the Birka Staff for all their hard work.  They also went on to thank those who had worked on the EK Calendar, and thanked the artists, including Lisabetta Medaglia, Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova, Vettorio Antonello, Katrushka Skomorokha, Elizabeth Elenore Lovell, Ursion de Gui, Agatha Wanderer, Eloise of Coulter, and Kayleigh Mac Whyte

Thus did end the Court of their Majesties, Brion and Anna.

YIS,
Malcolm Bowman, Brigantia Principal Herald

PS – Thank you to the Heraldic Staff for the day!  Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys, Aneleda Falconbridge, Ysemay Sterlyng, Marian Kirkpatrick, Audrye Beneyt, Kirsa Oyutai, Lucien de Wyntere, Donovan Shinnock, and Gypsy.


Filed under: Court

Stolen Van Goghs on display before going home

History Blog - Wed, 2017-02-08 00:53

The two early oil paintings by Vincent Van Gogh stolen from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum in 2002 and recovered in Italy last fall will be heading home next month. When the announcement that the paintings had been found was released last September, it wasn’t clear when they would be returning to Amsterdam. As evidence in a complex international drug trafficking trial, the artworks could have been tied up in Italy’s Bleak House-slow court system for years. Italian authorities took quick action, however, and on January 19th, a judge in Naples released the paintings from attachment, freeing them to be returned to the Netherlands.

In gratitude for the efforts of the Guardia di Finanza, the financial police who spearheaded the raid on the apartment of drug trafficker Raffaele Imperiale the village of Castellammare di Stabia and discovered the stolen paintings in the basement, other law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and people of Naples, Seascape at Scheveningen (1882) and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen (1884/85), have gone on display at the Capodimonte Museum for a short exhibition before their homecoming. The paintings went on public view for the first time in 14 years on Tuesday. The show ends on February 26th.

Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum: “It is really a miracle that the paintings, which since 2002 were thought to have vanished from the face of the earth, have been found. The efforts of so many people have made the impossible possible. The fact that these two Van Goghs are again on public display after fourteen years calls for a celebration worthy of the occasion. As a ‘grazie mille’ for the efforts of all those involved in Italy in the recovery of the artworks, they are first being shown to the public in the region where they were found. Afterwards, our Van Goghs will return home, where a festive welcome awaits them and our visitors can once more admire them in the Van Gogh Museum. I cannot tell you how happy I am!”

The discovery of the paintings has inspired an upsurge of Van Gogh love in Naples. Vincenzo De Luca, the President of the Campania region, asked Joep Wijnands, the Dutch ambassador to Italy, to help arrange a new Van Gogh exhibition at the Capodimonte Museum. He also said they’re working on a loan of Van Gogh’s iconic The Starry Night, now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. That’s a lofty goal. The Starry Night has never been loaned to an Italian museum before.

The case raises an interesting question on the wider issue of art crime. This article quotes Giorgio Toschi, general with the Guardia di Finanza:

“More than ever we are seeing art works being used by criminals either as safe haven investments or as a way of making payments or guaranteeing deals between organized criminal groups,” he said at the unveiling of the two paintings on Monday.

This is the first I’ve heard of extremely valuable and recognizable artworks being used as a kind of black market currency in the criminal underworld. It’s fascinating. The most popular explanation, that major paintings are stolen on commission by shadowy private collectors in volcano lairs, almost never seems to pan out. When the paintings are found, they’ve been stashed in barns or sheds or moved all over the place because volcano lairs aside, it’s actually really, really hard to unload a world-famous painting whose theft made international news. It’s always seemed more likely to me that the most of the time thieves have no idea they’ll be saddled with unsaleable goods. Organized crime networks, on the other hand, are hardly cash-poor, so they don’t have to scrounge for buyers. Whether it moves or not, a Van Gogh is still worth tens of millions of dollars. Using it as a marker or a pension fund makes perfect sense.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Dress Your Best on March 4

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-02-07 20:17

Our event is one month away!!!

Come fight and fence once again in a medieval Great Hall. Show off your finery in our fashion show. Join us for a day of enjoyment at Risley Hall!

Please join the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn on March 4, 2017 at Risley Hall (536 Thurston Ave, Ithaca NY 14850) for Dress Your Best. There will be fencing and heavy fighting, but most excitingly a fashion show with prizes! Come take the stage and compete for prizes for things such as best overall, best persona, best accessory. And of course we don’t want to leave out they fighters so there will be prizes for things such as best heavy kit and fanciest fencer! We are also hoping for a class or two on personas and making garb.

Site opens at 10 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. Autocrat is Gytha Oggsdottir (Lori Drake, 101 Uptown Rd #33, Ithaca NY 14850 607-351-8433).

  • Adult Event Registration: $13
  • Adult Member Discount (or Adult Student Discount) Event Registration: $8
  • Teen Event Registration (13-17): $4
  • Youth (0-12): Free

Make checks payable to SCA NY Inc -Dominion of Mrykfaelinn

Please join us in our gorgeous medieval surroundings!

The official announcement on the kingdom webpage is here.


Categories: SCA news sites

Science reveals Selden Map’s secrets

History Blog - Tue, 2017-02-07 00:16

New research has discovered a fascinating hidden history of the Selden Map, the oldest surviving merchant map in the world. About 60 inches long and 40 inches wide, the map was drawn in ink and hand-painted with watercolors between 1607 and 1619. It plots 18 trade routes in an area of East Asia bounded by Siberia to the north, the Spice Islands to the south, Japan to the east and southern India and Burma to the west. At the top of a map is a compass labeled in Chinese characters to indicate the orientation of the map. The routes all start from the port city of Quanzhou in China’s southern Fujian province, which at the time this map was drawn in the late Ming Dynasty was a major shipping hub for trade between Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

By an unclear route, in the 17th century the map made its way into the possession of an English lawyer, avid Orientalist and collector named John Selden (1584–1654). He valued the map so highly that he granted it its own line-item in his 1653 will: “a Mapp of China made there fairly and done in colloure together with a Sea Compasse of their making and Devisione taken both by an englishe commander.” Selden bequeathed it to the Bodleian and it entered the collection in 1659. The Bodleian’s inventory note described it as “A very odd mapp of China. Very large, & taken from Mr. Selden’s.”

The “very odd” map was often put on display, unfortunately to its detriment, but it fell out of fashion in the 18th century after famed astronomer Edmond Halley declared it cartographically inaccurate. In 1919, the Selden Map was mounted on a linen backing so it could hung on the wall. This would have disastrous consequences. The fabric backing stiffened over time, distorting and cracking the fragile paper, and its brittle condition was exacerbated by being kept rolled up. In the 1970s conservators noted the map’s dire condition, but decades would pass before the conservation issues were addressed.

In 2008, Robert Batchelor, a professor of British and Asian history at Georgia Southern University, sought out the Selden Map. He identified two features on the map which made it unique compared to all other known historic Chinese maps: 1) it’s not a map of China, and 2) the shipping routes plotted from Quanzhou. China was placed in the center of other maps, but in this one it’s just one of many countries around the South China Sea that traded with each other. The shipping routes marked it as the earliest example of Chinese merchant cartography, commissioned by traders, not the imperial court. It also contravenes the received wisdom that China was isolated from the rest of the world during this period. Its merchants were still doing plenty of business.

Batchelor’s research spurred a new conservation and restoration plan. This time conservators took their time, researching past interventions to determine what parts of the map were original and which later alterations, if any, should be kept. They decided to keep a border added the map in the late 17th century because of its historically significant Latin annotations. The linen backing and earlier patching attempts were removed. The restored map was digitized and put online.

The restoration gave researchers the opportunity to learn more about this mysterious cartographical rarity. It was examined with remote multispectral imaging technology which revealed parts of the map invisible to the naked eye. They way the map was drawn, the materials used to make it,

The researchers found the binding medium used for the map was gum Arabic, a gum made from the sap of the acacia tree – typically used by European, south and west Asians – and not animal glue, which was almost always used in Chinese paintings at the time.

Examinations of the pigment used found a mixture of indigo with orpiment, a yellow mineral – rather than gamboge, a yellow dye – to make a green colour, which is also very unusual for a painting in China in this period. And the detection of a basic copper chloride in the green areas suggests an influence from south and west Asia, where it was often used in manuscripts. This green pigment was not typically used in paper-based paintings from China.

The binders and pigments used are more consistent with those found in manuscripts from a Persian or Indo-Persian tradition –and the Islamic world – than the European or Chinese, the researchers state.

Detailed examination even found instances where the cartographer made alterations – some stylistic, others unintentional, and some made as the cartographer’s knowledge of a certain area developed. The scientists were able to identify that the trade routes were laid down before the land was drawn in.

They believe that the cartographer did not plan the full map from the beginning, which was why they had to redraw some of the routes many times – and why they ran out of space at the southern and western points of the map, forcing the trade routes to be off the compass directions. Two trade routes were drawn without their corresponding compass directions, suggesting the map was unfinished.

As a result of this new evidence, the research team proposes that the map was drawn not in China, but in Aceh on the island of Sumatra.

It is the most westerly port in south east Asia marked on the map and has the longest history of the presence of Islam in south east Asia, as well as a long history of Chinese contact.

It is also one of only six ports on the map marked with a red circle – possibly indicating the main trading network of the map’s owner – and is the only port marked on the map to have a magnetic declination in the early 17th Century closest to that indicated by the tilt of the map’s compass rose.

The new research has been published in the journal Heritage Science and can be read in its entirety free of charge here.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Preregistration Open for Ice Dragon Pent

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-02-06 10:27

Greetings from the Ice Dragon Pent Staff!

Even though it’s only February, it’s not too early to register your entry for the Ice Dragon Pent!

Why take the time now instead of waiting until April 8? You can avoid the hassle of waiting in a long line and instead enjoy your morning knowing that all you need to do when you arrive is display your entry and enjoy the event.

Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

Whichever categories you plan to enter — and especially if you are entering the new 5-in-1 category — the performance, historic combat categories, or the Pent itself, pre-registration will make the process run more smoothly for you. 

Pre-registration forms are due by April 4th and are now available on the Ice Dragon website. Literary Arts entries are due by March 11.

The Facebook page for the Pent is here.


Categories: SCA news sites

Lost songs of Holocaust survivors found

History Blog - Mon, 2017-02-06 00:43

Lost recordings made just after World War II of Holocaust survivors singing songs have been rediscovered at the University of Akron. These recordings were part of a project by Dr. David Boder, a Latvian Jewish psychologist who had settled in the United States in the 1920s and quickly made a name for himself in academia and as a clinician. He became an American citizen in 1932, but he traveled regularly to Europe and kept in touch with his family until the war disrupted movement and communications.

In May of 1945, just days after the Allies accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender, Boder got the idea to interview displaced persons, Holocaust survivors, victims of the dislocations and horrors of World War II. His aim was first to get a record of victims’ experiences while it was all still painfully fresh. It was important to him to ensure Americans understood fully what had happened to people, how they managed to survive in ghettos, concentration camps, labor camps and on the run hiding in forests or barns or wherever shelter was to be found. He hoped that disseminating their stories would generate public support for immigration of war refugees to the US. Also, as a psychologist, he had a broader interest in how people cope with great trauma, a subject he would continue to investigate throughout his professional life.

His plans took a while to come to fruition. Financing the trip, securing the necessary permits to travel through occupied Western Europe delayed his plans for more than a year. Finally in July 1946, he arrived in Paris and dove right in to the project. Using what was then bleeding-edge technology, a wire recorder, Border spent the summer at 16 different locations in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, interviewing 130 displaced persons — mainly Jews, but also 21 non-Jews — in nine languages. The recordings, which included religious services and songs as well as interviews, took up 200 spools of steel wire. Border’s interviews are the earliest extant recordings of Holocaust oral histories today.

David Boder died in 1961. His archives, including the 1946 wire reels, were dispersed among several different institutions. In 1967, 48 spools of Boder’s wire recordings entered the collection of the University of Akron’s Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. They were fully inventoried at the time. Most of the other recordings mentioned in Boder’s writings were at UCLA or were rediscovered in the Library of Congress and the Illinois Institute of Technology in the late 1990s. There was one spool Boder listed that was missing, however. It was songs song in Yiddish and German by Holocaust survivors recorded at a refugee camp in Henonville, France.

Despite years of attempts, researchers at the University of Akron had not been able to play the wire reels. They had some old wire recorders, but they either weren’t compatible or couldn’t be repaired without a major overhaul of the original parts, which is far from ideal, obviously, from a historical preservation perspective. Finally they were able to find one on eBay which they repaired with new and cannibalized parts from other machines. With their new/old Frankenrecorder, the research team was able to convert the spools to digital format.

The digitization project was underway when they found one spool in a tin box that had been inventoried as “Heroville Songs.” It was a mistake. The label on the box actually said “Henonville Songs.” It was the long-lost spool. UA multimedia specialist Jon Endres digitized the song recordings and was the first to hear those haunting voices in decades. You can read his blog entry about the discovery here.

The team shared the digitized content with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., where experts translated the songs, five in Yiddish, one in German, and explained the background.

For [Cummings Center executive director David] Baker, hearing the recording for the first time was exceptionally moving. “There was a Holocaust survivor, after 70 years, singing to us,” he says. “Obviously we had a lot of questions.”

Some of Baker’s questions were soon answered. The singer was Guta Frank, and [U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum musicologist Bret] Werb knew her history. Frank was a Polish Jew who fled from one ghetto to another with her family for four years. Parents and siblings were killed along the way, and she and her sister finally ended up at a forced labor munitions camp outside Czestochowa, Poland. Her sister left behind a memoir, which can be read online.

Werb also provided Baker with a translation of the songs Frank sang to Boder. One, called, “Our Town is Burning,” is a well-known song often performed at Holocaust commemorations. Written shortly before the war broke out, the song calls out the complacency of bystanders watching a town burn and doing nothing to help.

But Frank’s version was different from the standard rendition of that song. She sang: “The Jewish people are burning.” On the recording, Frank tells Boder that the composer’s daughter sang the song in the basements of the Krakow ghetto to inspire people to rebel against the Germans.

A second song sung by Frank was the official song of the labor camp where she was held. Camp commanders encouraged the inmates to sing such songs on their way to work. “They liked it,” says Werb. The lyrics were long known, but the melody had never been heard before. “It’s sung by someone who must have been there,” says Werb.

Here are a selection of clips from the Henonville Songs spool. The first is Dr. Boder’s introduction which explains the interviews are taking place at the Henonville camp. The other three are song clips, the last of which is “Our Camp Stands At The Forest’s Edge,” the song inmates were forced to sing for their commanders’ enjoyment.

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Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Retainers Needed for F7D

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-02-05 15:29

Greetings, Æthelmearc! 

Just a friendly reminder that Their Majesties will be attending The Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins next weekend, February 12, and will need retainers to help out.

There will be both a morning court and evening court as well as opportunities for regular retaining during the day. Please contact me via Facebook Messenger or email to let me know if you’re available and what times work best for you. 

Please feel free to share this note with your local groups too!

The official announcement is on the kingdom webpage here.

In service,
Baroness Rowena Moore


Categories: SCA news sites

Making Yours the Social (Media) Event of the Season

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-02-05 14:42

Republished from a blog post by Olivia Baker (Kate Crandall). Used by permission.

Making an event happen, I mean really happen, is not simple or intuitive. I’m not talking about being an event manager or event steward, here. I’m talking about event promotion. I’m talking about getting your event in front of people who wouldn’t see it without the power of the internet. Now, take away any possibility of an advertising budget. Now add in the additional hurdle of being a group of medievalists.

This is what we, in the SCA face on a daily basis. We have grand thoughts and ideas. We have things we think others will be excited about, but we don’t always understand how best to get the word out to others about them.

Please note, not everything in this post is pertinent to every event. Some event stewards and social media deputies may choose to only implement one or two of the suggestions. However, even one or two of them is better than doing no event promotion at all.

Let me start with a bit of background. Mundanely, I am a small business owner. I began 14 years ago with some cake pans and a website. I started reading and learning and learning and reading. I began to optimize my website for search engines. I eventually learned how to promote my business through various free media outlets. From 2015 – 2016 the gross sales for my business nearly tripled due to optimization and social media promotion. I also did event promotion for Wars of the Roses in 2016, hosted by the Barony of Concordia of the Snows in the East Kingdom. Our attendance was nearly 150% of the previous year’s attendance (there were several other factors including weather and a new site, but the event promotion was also involved) I would like to share some of the knowledge that is applicable to the SCA with any and all who may be interested in promoting their own events.

There’s some terminology I’ll be using throughout the blog. Below are some definitions to help get you through the basics. Please take note, these are basic definitions and are not necessarily a complete explaination of each item. If you would like additional information, there are many resources available on the internet.

  • Server – this is where the data for your website will be stored, making it accessible to internet users
  • Host – to store data on a server
  • Platform – program that allows you to develop your website
  • Domain – the specific address for a website (www.eventname.org)
  • Public Domain – copyright-free media

Throughout this post, I am making an assumption that your local group has the following:

  • Group (barony, shire, canton, etc) website
  • Group Facebook page
  • Group Twitter account
  • Group Google + account

If you do not have any of these, discuss with your local group the best way to implement them. Don’t forget to consult and follow the Society Social Media Policy as well as your Kingdom policy, if applicable, while doing so.

Now, let’s get into the actual event promotion. As an event steward (or social media deputy, if applicable), the first thing to do is to determine if your event should have a website. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is my event a niche event, such as an immersion event, or an event aimed at a very specific group of members?
  • Am I expecting at least 100 attendees?
  • Is my event a Kingdom- or Society-level event?

If you answer “yes” to at least one of these, you should consider creating an event website. If you decide to proceed with an event website, do you want your website to be an “official” website, where you can put all of the necessary information, that will be hosted on your Kingdom’s web server (this may not be applicable in all Kingdoms – contact your local or Kingdom webminister for more information)? Or would you prefer to have your site hosted on a private server?

If you would prefer an “official” website, contact your Kingdom Webminister to determine which programs are compatible with the web server. If this sounds like gibberish to you, that’s okay! Don’t be overwhelmed! Your webminister will help walk you through what you need to know.If you would prefer an “unofficial” website, there are multiple platforms that allow you to host your site without paying hosting charges. I highly recommend Google Sites, as there are many free templates, and it’s relatively simple to apply a specific domain to your website.

PICTURES!!! You want pictures! All of the pictures! If your event is a niche one-off event, find pictures applicable to your event. If you’re doing a viking event, find some public domain images of vikings and viking settings. If your event is a fighting event, work with a known photographer and get permission from them to use their photos on your website. The #1 rule to promoting your event is pictures. To reiterate, PICTURES!!!

Also, you want your website to be “mundane friendly.” If you use a lot of SCA terminology, have a New To the SCA? page that explains what the heck you’re talking about.

Once you’ve created your website, make sure your event announcement on the Kingdom list of events is updated with your website. Be sure to put your domain multiple places in your announcement. More often than not, people will skim the announcement looking for specific information. You want people to see your website and go there…and see pictures! (see what I did there?)

While we’re on the subject of Kingdom announcements, if your event is worthy of a webpage (see the 3 questions above), and you are located within a couple of hours of another Kingdom, get your event up on the other Kingdom’s event listing as well. Often, people are interested in traveling to events in other Kingdoms. Your event may be just the thing to get them there.

The next step is to create an event on your social media pages. Google + and Facebook both allow you to create events. Make sure to put a picture on the event page that will catch the eye. Also, make sure your event website is very easily found on the page. Next, invite all friends you think may be interested in attending. Share your events with your local group, surrounding groups, and your Kingdom group. Encourage others to invite their friends to the event as well. The more invitations that go out, the more people see your event. Additionally, be sure links to all of your social media sites are on your event website.

Now, for many events, particularly those hovering around the 100 person range, this is enough. However, if you’re really interested in getting attendance, the next steps are crucial.

At least once/week, create a post in the social media event pages sharing specific information. Are you having merchants? Highlight a merchant or two each week. Are you having court? Share the time court will be expected. Are you having dayboard? share a sneak peek of the dayboard menu (2-3 items are plenty). With each of these, make sure you include a photo and a link to the website. When you share your post with the Local and Kingdom groups, they are far more likely to be read if they have a picture, than if they do not.  If you do not have a Social Media Deputy in your local group, ask for a volunteer to handle these posts for you, as the task can become cumbersome when you’re handling organizing the entire event.

Timing for these posts is also important. Posting at 6am or midnight doesn’t do you much good. Very few people will see it. You want to post during peak times: 8am, 12:30pm, 5:30pm, 8pm. Think about the times you’re online the most: maybe before work, during your lunch break, after work, after dinner. These are the best times to post and get your post seen. Optimal time is from around noon – 6pm. These are the times you want the bulk of your posts to go out.

If you’re interested in getting a large amount of newcomers find out if your local community has a community calendar that will allow you to add events. Many newspapers and local publications will offer these free to the community. Get your website on there! If you do this, please make it VERY clear that we are unable to accept credit cards at this time (if applicable).

This is the next big thing: get social media support from your local group members! When you share the event post on your personal page, local group page, and kingdom page, the exposure is limited. However, when others share the post on their personal pages, they significantly increase the chances of your post being seen by others. The more your posts are seen, the more intrigued and excited people will get about your event.

The closer you get to your event, the more you want to post. If times change, post about it. If you’re going to have visiting royalty, post about it. If the weather looks like it’s going to be amazing, post about it. If it’s going to rain, post about it, reminding people to bring an extra pair of socks or two. Anything that may affect your potential attendees deserves a post.

If your event is a recurring event, be sure you have someone in charge of taking quality photos for next year’s event promotion. Also, if you are able, have someone in charge of on site social media updates (don’t forget the pictures!). Twitter is a particularly good platform for this. This may seem like a waste of time. I assure you it’s not. Many people who were unable to attend this year will see the fun people are having and will be more likely to attend the following year.

When I say, “Event promotion is not simple or intuitive,” I truly mean it. There is a lot of information and it is not the easiest to manage. However, once you get the hang of it, it becomes much easier. I wish you the best of luck with your future events! If you have any additional questions on event promotion, I’m happy to share all of the knowledge I have in the area!

Bonus: Did you notice I used this blog post for event promotion? No? Look again!

 


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: event planning

Large Roman mosaic floor found in Leicester

History Blog - Sun, 2017-02-05 00:28

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) have discovered a large Roman mosaic pavement at a construction site in Leicester. The property on the corner of Highcross Street and Vaughan Way has been excavated since November and already archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a Roman street, two other buildings and an elegant villa with mosaic floors. Highcross Street today runs along the path of the Roman road that went from the Roman forum to the north gate of the city. The excavation site covers almost two-thirds of a Roman insula, or city block, which gives archaeologists an incredibly rare view into a cross-section of Roman Leicester.

The Roman house with the mosaic was unearthed on the east side of the site next to the John Lewis parking lot. At least three of its rooms had mosaic floors. One of them has a particularly large extant section about two meters (6.6 feet) by three meters (9.8 feet) in size. Archaeologists estimate this surviving section is about a quarter of the size of the original mosaic. It is the largest Roman mosaic pavement found in Leicester in last 30 years.

Mathew Morris, site director for ULAS, said: “The mosaic is fantastic, it’s been a long time since we’ve found a large, well-preserved mosaic in Leicester. Stylistically, we believe it dates to the early fourth century AD. It would have originally been in a square room in the house. It has a thick border of red tiles surrounding a central square of grey tiles. Picked out in red in the grey square are several decorations, including a geometric border, foliage and a central hexafoil cross. The intricate geometric border follows a pattern known as ‘swastika-meander’. The swastika is an ancient symbol found in most world cultures, and it is a common geometrical motif in Roman mosaics, created by laying out the pattern on a repeating grid of 4 by 4 squares. As part of the project, our plan is to lift and conserve it for future display.”

Another large Roman dwelling was found on the western side of the site. It has two sets of rooms along a corridor with a central courtyard. There are no mosaic floors, but there is a hypocaust system in one of the rooms which means heated flooring or a private bathing facility. This was likely a townhouse, and indeed a very similar townhouse was discovered on nearby Vine Street underneath the John Lewis lot in 2006.

The third Roman building is smaller. It was found in the center of the site and has a peculiar feature: a large sunken room, possibly a cellar. There may be an apse on one side of the sunken room. Archaeologists don’t know what this building was used for or what the purpose of the sunken room may have been. They are a rare feature in Roman architecture.

Mathew Morris added: “At the moment there is a lot of speculation about what this building might be. It could be a large hypocaust but we are still investigating. It seems to be tucked away in yards and gardens in the middle of the insula, giving it privacy away from the surrounding streets; and the possible apse is only really big enough to house something like a statue, which makes us wonder if it is something special like a shrine.”

Developers plan to build apartments on the property, but they are working with ULAS to determine how to construct the new building without destroying ny significant archaeological materials underneath the surface. They’ve removed rubble and soil accumulated from the Victorian era to now to reveal where the Roman and medieval remains are. Archaeologists and architects will collaborate on the ideal placement of the foundations of the new building to ensure remains are either left unmolested in situ or excavated and raised before construction. Most of the archaeology will remain in place under the new building.

The excavation is scheduled to continue through at least February. No medieval structures have been unearthed thus far, but in the 12th century Leicester’s first hospital, St Johns’ Hospital, was founded on the site. The medieval town goal was also there, so archaeologists are hoping to find at least some evidence of these important buildings.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History