Here begins the report of the Court of Arnthor and Ceirech, King and Queen of Æthelmearc at the Æthelmearc Holiday Shoot in the Shire of Hunter’s Home, December 10 AS 57, jorundr hinn rotinn, Silver Buccle Herald, reporting.
Their Majesties thanked everyone who attended the event and the Shire of Hunter’s Home for the first indoor unmasked event with the Corsi Rosenthal boxes.
Their Majesties called for all the newcomers to Æthelmearc to join Them. They welcomed them and gifted them with mugs.
Their Majesties invited the autocrats Baron Snorri skyti Bjarnarson and THLord Alrekr Bergsson. They recognized the winners of the day’s tournaments and competitions Best Crossbow Master Seamus McRay, Best Handbow Mistress Elska a Fjarfelli, and Best Period Shooter Lord Godzimir the Golden. They further thanked all the marshals of the day.
Baron Snorri skyti Bjarnarson, the Kingdom archery champion was invited to talk about the tournament for his successor held this day. Mistress Elska a Fjarfelli won the day significantly ahead of her competition.
Her Majesty recalled Mistress Elska a Fjarfelli and presented her a token, naming her performance in the competition as Queen’s Inspiration.
Their Majesties called Lord Gnaeus Iulius Celsus and spoke of his skill in archery and fencing. They inducted him into the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Amalie Reinhardt.
Mary of Hartford was next called before Their Majesties. Her long tenure in society has been marked by many classes and a love of archery. For this Their Majesties Awarded her Arms. Scroll by Rachel Dalicieux.Their Majesties summoned Lord Yakub al-Musafir. His skill at archery impressed Their Majesties. Thus, they inducted him into the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Robaird Michael Patrick Timothy James O’Suilleabhainn.
Their Majesties called Lord Godzimir the Golden. It was noted that Godzimir has achieved the rank of Master Bowman. They presented him with a medallion and a scroll by Mei Lan Hua.Their Majesties called all the scribes, wordsmiths, and regalia wrights to join them and choose a gift from the scribal box.
Their Majesties spoke of the impressive shots They saw that day and thanked everyone for coming out.
Archery has always been one of my more longer-term interests – as a teenager, I briefly shot Olympic-style archery, plus it’s how I found out about the SCA way back when; asking around for a place to shoot traditional-style longbow archery and finding the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn’s weekly practice. I vividly remember my husband saying after attending a handful of practices not to get too invested as he did not intend to drive me all over the place…! Boy, did he misread that situation… But then, during the plague, I was only one of many artisans who kinda sorta lost their groove and had a bit of a rough start getting back into things when events started happening again. Cycling back to my beginning, what really pulled me back to playing again was the archery range. Not only is it outside and people automatically keep their distance – especially since I shoot left-handed! – the ranges have become quite an interesting challenge and something to look forward to at many events.
Iron Will Junior posing with helpers THLord Bjarki and Akira Watanabe
Culminating this past weekend at Pax Interruptus, where I met my match and got foiled by Will, the Advancing Man. I shot at Will, but I did not get him… I must admit, while on the one hand I was disappointed to be eliminated from the finals that quickly, on the other, the visual of eight archers’ worth of arrows bouncing off a moving target wearing chain mail is quite a vivid sight to remember! The mastermind behind this target, and most of the ranges post-plague, is Baron Snorri skyti Bjarnarson from the Shire of Coppertree.
Baron Snorri has recently been elevated to the Scarlet Guard – the Kingdom’s grant-level award for prowess in archery – and of course he takes his job of promoting the arts of archery quite seriously. When I asked his thoughts on the archery community of Æthelmearc, he shared the following: “We’re lagging behind other kingdoms here, especially the East. We need our experienced shooters to come and shoot at practices and events, and our novice shooters to put in the hours of practice needed. Archery is first and foremost about prowess – no one calls light when you hit gold, and no one else gets to decide that your score was lacking in some subjective measure. It’s one thing to know, as a new archer, that Grand Master Bowmen exist in the SCA. That can seem unreal and unreachable, though! But when there’s one of them right next to you at practice, filling up the gold with shafts every round, you start to realize that it’s actually possible, it’s a real, attainable thing – this guy next to you on the range still puts on his pants one leg at a time, and if he can do it, you can too!”
And just as I enjoy upping my SCAdian game to make my wardrobe and brewing more plausibly period, Baron Snorri has a similar mindset in regards to archery. He feels that people doing archery in a medieval recreation society should actually be trying to do medieval plausible archery. “It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m a little bit of a purist (some would say a snob – and maybe, sometimes, justly) about shooting period bows and arrows in the SCA. So, to practice what I preach, I only shoot ‘period’ bows, and I only shoot ‘period’ arrows.” He puts “period” in quotes as he is well aware that what he is doing, and virtually everyone else shooting in the period divisions of the SCA, isn’t really shooting actual period equipment – just the draw weight itself is significantly lower and most bows, even period-looking horsebows, use modern glues and have fiberglass components.
To help the archery community define “period,” the Society Handbook includes a definition of a “period” bow and arrows for SCA context. The broad strokes are that the archer would shoot off their hand, meaning no cut-out rest in the riser (handle) of the bow, and shooting arrows with self-nocks, that is, the nock of the arrow is cut into the shaft of the arrow, rather than being a glued-on commercially-made plastic nock. Since all SCA archers have to shoot with wooden shafts and feather fletchings anyway, we’re already halfway, so this does not seem all that hard, right?
But in Baron Snorri’s experience, the vast majority of archers in the SCA cannot seem to quite get all the way there: most are still shooting what’s generally referred to as “traditional” or recurve archery equipment. In the before-time, pre-internet, it could be difficult to get a bow that met the period archery requirements. No one really made them outside of hobbyists, and the traditional archery scene in the USA is huge, so recurve types of bows are readily available – often at garage sales and secondhand shops for a near-pittance. But now that we have the internet, bows of a much more medieval form are available from a bunch of different places. Both horsebows and longbows that meet the SCA’s definition of “period,” as discussed above, can be had for around $100, and a dozen appropriate arrows can be had for as little as $40.
Now, certainly that’s not “let’s go try out archery” money for most people. For a beginner, telling them to fork out $150 to try out archery would most likely kill their interest immediately. But Baron Snorri is not trying to make the case that a beginning archer in the SCA should be shooting period gear – just like no one’s telling a fledgling fighter that they should be buying a $500 helmet before they can fight. But, just like with fighting, where when a fighter reaches a certain threshold of skill and time-in-grade, it’s time for them to surrender the ancient bascinet from the loaner pile and start looking at something that fits their own head and persona. And when archers reach a certain skill and dedication level, I feel like they ought to be looking to set down their Samick Sage or their 1978 Bear recurve, and start looking to move to a period longbow or horsebow.
He is unsure why many archers do not take their equipment to the next level (if you have an idea why, Baron Snorri asks to please reach out and tell him!). “My current working theory is, again, availability of equipment. Although availability of bows is largely a moot point now that vendors such as AliBow, Flagella Dei, Ringing Rocks Archery, and many others are selling longbows and horsebows that meet the SCA’s period requirements for very reasonable prices. However, availability of arrows may be an issue. Many, many archers in the SCA either make their own arrows, or personally know a person who is making their arrows for them, and if this is you, then you’re my target audience for this next section…” (see the first bullet point).
As the Scarlet Guard doesn’t have a “mission statement”, Baron Snorri made his own (which I think is worth sharing here):
It’s my duty as a member of the Scarlet Guard to:
Mentor new archers, whether by running practices, offering equipment to try, coaching, assisting with equipment acquisition, and teaching associated skills like fletching and leather working.
Challenge experienced archers by running challenging and exciting ranges, traveling to events that have archery, shooting in tournaments, and issuing personal challenges.
Represent the Kingdom of Æthelmearc and our archery community in a positive light, by competing for honors for our Kingdom in the Pennsic Champion’s Shoot, SSAC, GAT, GET, IKAC, and other inter-kingdom competitions.
Maintain my prowess by continuing to practice and improve in all disciplines: handbow, recurve, and crossbow.
Find and nurture archers to become new members of the Scarlet Guard, by taking Students.
To cycle back once again: Will the Advancing Man is both my nemesis, and a very well-done functional moving target. To entice other archers to challenge themselves against this wicked warrior – to shoot at Will! – I am letting you all know ahead of time this invader of our Sylvan Lands will make another appearance this coming weekend at Bog 3-Day! In the general shoot, the “easy” version is just a painted cardboard Viking warrior with a spear and a shield in the East Kingdom’s colors, attached to an upright backstop that’s about eight inches of closed-cell polyethylene foam on a 4-wheeled sled (want to make your own sled? Take a look at the Gallery of sled pics). Will the Advancing Man is shot as a 30 second timed end, with the sled starting about 40 yards out, and advancing to about 10-15 yards out. Hits to the warrior count for 3 points, hits to his shield or anything else are zero.
For the quarter finals, Iron Will Junior is something else: the cardboard Viking is removed and a “real” Viking is assembled by ‘dressing’ the backstop in a linen Bocksten tunic, a padded linen gambeson (worn backwards), and a real metal maille shirt. Snorri and his team added “arms” of duct-taped pool noodles with gloves on the ends, and a Styrofoam head. They glued a wig onto the head, and used expanding spray foam to securely attach a conical steel nasal helmet. The arms and head were attached to the body with 12” sticks of shaved rattan, just jammed between the layers of backstop foam. An old wooden shield was attached with a ratchet strap to cover his “legs.”
It is shot as a timed end in the same way as before, but at Pax all eight quarter finalists shot at the same time, with the four who stick the most shafts into him advancing to the semifinals.
Medieval armor piercing arrow heads, called bodkins, as available from 3 Rivers Archery Supply.
To give well-prepared ‘period’ archers a leg-up, Baron Snorri had posted in advance of Pax that he would allow non-target points for this portion of the shoot. He was disappointed to find that only THL Bjarki took him up on this, and he only brought rigging-cutters for the semi-finals (to cut the water-bags, another really cool target), not armor-piercing bodkin points for Iron Will Junior… As this was a brand-new target, I asked Baron Snorri how he thought it worked out: “I tested Iron Will Junior at home with a field point arrow shot at 20 yards from my 45-pound horsebow. I blew through the maille, actually destroying seven rings. I figured this would not be an issue for the other shooters. Spoiler: I was wrong. How it actually worked: less than half the shooters were able to pierce the maille. Some were unable to adjust and stuck no arrows – Forester Ælfric of the Midrealm was skilled enough to adjust his aim to the [tiny and helmeted] head and stuck two there. As this was meant to be an elimination round, that’s ultimately fine, but it’s a lot more fun if everyone can stick arrows!”
Will you do it again or tweak it? “One time is not a great test of anything. We’re going to run him exactly the same at Bog 3-Day this weekend and see how it goes. I do need to fix the “snowplow” on the front though. We put an angled piece of plywood on the front at the bottom, covered in 2’ insulation board foam and fake grass, so that no one shoots the tires (we don’t actually care about the tires, we shot one as a test and it was fine, because they’re not inflated tires – but if you shoot the wheels as it’s rolling, your arrows get broken), and the weight of the fully-armored Iron Will Junior pushed that down just enough that it dragged on the ground a tad and it bent. Minor adjustment is all it needs.”
What other archery events do you have planned? “In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is, I took over as Marshal-in-Charge from Naran Noyon of the Pennsic Period Bow Shoot. This will be the 8th Period Shoot at Pennsic, and it is running from 9 AM to noon on middle Saturday at the archery range. I have a collection of period targets from medieval Europe and Asia to shoot, and prizes for the best participants. We even have a fabulous period dayboard prepared by Baroness Oddkatla Jonsdottir and Baroness Annika Iosafova on the range immediately afterwards. It’s always a great time to come see all the different period missile weapons and garb everyone comes in.”
“Here’s a picture from the 6th Period Shoot: at least nine of those folks are Æthelmearcians, and we were fortunate that year to also be joined by Their Highnesses of Ealdomere. This shoot is an excellent time every year, and is always the highlight of my war. If the Archery Champion’s Shoot is the Super Bowl of SCA Archery, the Period Shoot is the Pro Bowl.”
Is there anything new happening in Kingdom? “This all JUST came together, and I’m SUPER EXCITED about it: the Æthelmearc Holiday Shoot! Big thanks to Master Denys the Decadent for finding the new site for the Holiday Shoot, and to THL Alrekr Bergsson for agreeing to be my co-Autocrat and setting this all up with his local shire, Hunter’s Home. I can’t even express how excited I am – HRH Arnthor is going to choose his next Archery Champion at this event, we’re going to have a HUGE prize table, the owners of the range are very excited to have us, and there are over EIGHTY targets at this indoor range to shoot at. We got a great price ($15 for members, NO CHARGE for non-shooters) and I’m ecstatic about this event. I’m expecting shooters from four or five kingdoms to be at this.”
And what about the very-near-future? Bog 3-Day this coming weekend! The archery range will include:
Woods hunt with 3D animals
Woods walk with a very challenging Spot Shoot
Some various flavors of bullseye targets at known distances, timed and untimed
A moving Advancing Man timed end
The eight best scores from all that will advance to the quarterfinals and shoot at Iron Will Junior, and the four who stick the most in him will advance to do falling water-bag duels!
Baron Snorri would like to thank the following gentles, who are always there to back him up: “Big shout-out to THLord Bjarki for always being game to help with whatever I’ve volunteered us for, as well as Lord Dalibor, Lord Halfdan, Lord Godzimir, Lord Gunnlaud, and everyone else in Ætt Skyti. I’m not a member of their household, but they’re always there to help and shoot.”
And thank you, Baron Snorri, for your help with this story but most importantly, for making the archery range something exciting to look forward to!
Another amazing Spring Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College transpired this weekend, perfectly hosted by the Shire of Coppertree at a well-equipped Scouting Campground. As part of the War College track, several classes covering different types of martial arts were on the menu, like throwing the Ancient Roman plumbata, throwing axes side arm, as well as fencing, but with a German longsword. Two classes especially stood out this weekend: martial classes who did not only taught how to do the thing, but also discussed the why. Hersir Marek Viachedrago discussed visual calibration during Heavy fights – why did this fighter take the shot, but that fighter did not? – for the non-fighting observer, adding context to fights otherwise mostly only appreciated by those who have done so themselves.
Bjarki instructing Master Robert of Ferness on where and why to anchor your string-hand.
Another martial class I am particularly excited about, and was very happy to be able to take myself, is the “Olympic Archery Fundamentals for Medieval Archery” taught by THLord Bjarki Rikarðarson. After being foiled not once, but twice, in the finals of the Kingdom Archery Championship against Baron Snorri skyti Bjarnarson, our newest member of the Scarlet Guard, I figured I need to up my game! I came away with several tips to work on, but especially, with a number of insights into the mechanics of how bow and body work together I had not previously been aware of, or ever heard being put into visuals and words. I found the class extremely beneficial, and feel any aspiring archer should check it out – I know I will again. Even our teenage archer Simon has practiced at home what he learned in class, wanting to retake it again when he can – and that is quite the compliment!
I asked THLord Bjarki if he could tell us a little more about his ideas behind this class and his SCAdian and mundane experiences teaching archery.
Ælfric the Kestrel from Ealdormere instructing youth Simon á Fjárfelli to line up properly with the target.
Bjarki shared his archery class is a pretty standard class used for introducing people to archery and onto the path of competition shooting (known as Olympic archery style). He was certified as an USA Archery coach/teacher about three years ago. He says: “Some of the local traditional guys mentioned coaching for the YMCA as a side gig and I followed up on that. They put me through the training for it and I spent a handful of my Saturday mornings teaching kids to shoot. Pretty fulfilling to see how excited a 6 to 10 year old gets when they hit the target.
Before that, I’ve been using a bow my entire life. Everything from traditional to compound shooting. I’ve been successfully bow hunting since I was 13.
Ælfric the Kestrel came down from the Kingdom of Ealdormere. He has taken the equivalent course for certification in Canada. Originally, he wanted to come shoot and to see Snorri get inducted into the Scarlet Guard but since the event was all classes, I asked him to assist me with my class. His input was nice because he shoots very differently than I do and shoots well that way.
I would like to teach this “class” again, but really, anytime I’m on the range I can coach and assist with the knowledge I have. Unofficially, I’ve been giving this class and coaching people in the SCA my entire SCA career. It really makes me happy to give someone advice, see them process it, and then successfully use it to accomplish a goal.”
THLord Bjarki has won archery tournaments, is an archery marshal, and the current Shire of Coppertree’s Captain of the Archers. When you see him on the range, feel free to ask your pointy questions as he clearly loves to enable others into the arts of archery!
Overall, they are not drastic, but do include the formal addition of Plumbata and Sling to Thrown Weapons, and the transition of Atlatl over to Archery.
Please note that those of you with Atlatl warrants issued through thrown weapons will need to contact the Kingdom Archer General to discuss carrying them over. This is not an automatic transition.
Kingdom rules reflecting these changes are in the works.
Letters of Interest for Kingdom TW Marshall
While the plague may have robbed us of some of our time together, my term still comes to a close at the end of this year. As such, all those who would have a desire to serve this Kingdom as Thrown Weapons Marshal are asked to submit a letter of interest at this time.
The position oversees and promotes all thrown weapons activities within the Kingdom as well as our compliance with Society Thrown Weapons policies. The position also supports Thrown Weapons on the Pennsic range and will run (or appoint someone to run) those activities at Pennsic 50.
The normal time commitment for this position is an hour or so per week and does require some travel within the Kingdom. During Pennsic, expect to spend 4 to 8 hours per day on the range.
You should include your experience in thrown weapons and the SCA, what things you would like to change or simply improve upon in thrown weapons, and any other relevant information you feel would allow us to make an informed decision.
Letters should be sent to Their Majesties (firstname.lastname@example.org) (email@example.com), the Earl Marshal (firstname.lastname@example.org) and myself (email@example.com).
The office typically transitions at Kingdom 12th Night.
It has been my pleasure to serve in this capacity, and I look forward to the continued growth with in our little community.
In service to Æthelmearc and Thrown Weapons,
Maestro Antonio de Luna
Every year, in the beginning of December, the Shire of Coppertree gathers at Warrior Archery in Sherrill, NY, to hold their annual Holiday Shoot for the archery community. Consisting of a dozen targets downstairs, and a “wild game hunt” of 3D animal targets upstairs, the shoot runs from a bit before lunch to about 3 PM, with a hearty dayboard served all afternoon. For non-shooting attendees, they offer an A&S salon, where people can gather and work on projects, teach impromptu classes and demos, and enjoy fellowship with other artisans.
The “Save Christmas!” range, developed by Lord Snorri – photo by Baroness Amalie Reinhardt
Each year’s shoot has a theme, and this year’s was “Save Christmas!”. A dozen hand-painted targets were made, each with a classic Dungeons & Dragons monster trying to make off with a piece of holiday loot: presents, candy canes, even Christmas trees! Each one was a friend-or-foe target – you needed to hit the monster without hitting the holiday swag, or you’d lose points. Four of the twelve targets were also timed ends; archers had 30 seconds to shoot as many shots as they could.
Photo by Robert of Ferness
One of the hallmarks of the Coppertree Holiday Shoot are the lovely prizes: scrolls (by Lady Vedis Aradottir) and trophy arrows for the winners, and a table of prizes for the runners-up, with donations by several well-known SCAdian artists, including THL Robert of Ferness, Mistress Elska a Fjarfelli, and Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnarson, as well as garb accessories from Sister Marykate at LARP Essentials. Even the Marshals are well-rewarded, this year receiving hand-woven trim pieces and bolts of red brocade cloth for their hard work.
This year’s Holiday Shoot was also the Kingdom Archery Championship tournament. The outgoing Champion, Lord Snorri, chose to use the shoot itself as the qualifier, and the top twelve finishers (who were subjects of Æthelmearc and desired to compete for the championship) got to continue to shoot for the pleasure of Their Royal Majesties Timothy and Gabrielle, who were in attendance and shooting!
First, Second and Third place trophies, plus a special Championship trophy; courtesey of Lord Snorri and his fabulous woodworking father.
The first round of eliminations was grueling, and took nearly two hours of competitive, cut-throat shooting to winnow the field of hopefuls down to eight, and ended with a high-stakes, one arrow shootout between young Mary of Harford, and Celsus of Delftwood. Mary emerged victorious, and after that, things went quickly. The next round had all eight of the archers shooting together in a 40 second timed round, at six 3D animal targets. Each one needed to be hit once in order to advance to the final round. Three of the eight archers advanced: Lord Ronan a Conaill, THL Robert of Ferness, and Baron Edward Harbinger – His Lordship Robert’s advancement was particularly noteworthy, as he was shooting period equipment (a sixty pound longbow) and in full archer kit: helmet, gambeson, etc.
Those three worthies then engaged in another timed contest, this time 30 seconds, at three paper targets, 20 yards away. One of these was a standard 24” Royal Round target, but the other two were period target faces from the Luttrell Psalter. As an added wrinkle, all three targets must receive a scoring arrow from an archer if that archer’s scores are to count at all. All three archers shot well, but in the end, Lord Ronan was victorious, and was chosen by Their Majesties as Their new Archery Champion.
Lord Ronan chosen as the Æthelmearc Archery Champion – photo by Baroness Amalie Reinhardt
Hello, dear citizens of Æthelmearc. Today, the KEM of the Midrealm made a sensible call which impressed me. In the interest of the fighters of Æthelmearc, I will do the same–
Marshals of all disciplines:
We have a serious heat problem across our land at this time. Extreme temperatures combined with high humidity are quite dangerous, and can lead to a variety of heat injuries. In the interest of the safety of all participants across our many fields, now hear this:
For the remainder of the 2019 outdoor activity season in Æthelmearc, all official martial and marshal-controlled activities will cease at the Heat Index of 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
This measurement can be obtained by using the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App (which is free and crazy easy to use), handheld wet bulb thermometer, or handheld temperature/humidity meter, (which are not free). The Heat Index measurement must be taken onsite at the time of the practice, event, formal training session, tournament, range, ring, or list field activity. And, this measurement should be rechecked during the activity.
No official Marshal or Martial activity is to be allowed to continue if the local heat index is 103 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.
Local Marshals and MIC’s may decide to stop activities sooner than this if the environment is seen to be inherently unsafe.
Please don’t harass your local marshals over this, feel free to direct all issues and concerns to me.
Pennsic has its own rule set for heat control, and similar decisions of this type will be made by Duke Sir Vissevald (Pennsic Marshal One) in accordance with these policies.
This is a temporary policy and will be strictly enforced.
In Service to All the Warriors of Æthelmearc, I remain:
I would like to take a few minutes of your time to talk about strange noises that could occur while shooting your bow. Most bows make noise when you shoot them, but sometimes they start making strange noises which could mean a problem. I am not saying that every strange noise means your bow is going to fail and that you should throw it away like a grenade with the pin removed. Some noises can be linked to simple issues that can be fixed easily.
Again, not every noise means that your bow is dying. Some bows are just noisy. If your bow suddenly starts clicking, buzzing, whistling, slapping, creaking, rattling, or making any strange noise that you have never heard coming out of your bow before, stop shooting and look at your bow or have a marshal take a look, for you.
A “thwack” is most likely the string hitting your sleeve. If you are wearing new garb to an event, garb that you’ve never worn on the range before, this can be an issue. If you have floppy sleeves, and don’t have an arm guard to keep the fabric out of the way, take a wide hair scrunchy and wear it on your arm. You might have to borrow one if you don’t have long hair.
A high-pitch “ripping” noise could mean that you loaded your arrow on the string wrong, and that the cock-feather is catching on the edge of the bow’s riser. If you keep doing this, you could have your cock-feathers stripped off of your arrows. I have seen/heard this on arrows that were fletched wrong.
A “scraping” noise can occur on bows without a separate arrow rest. The noise is coming from the arrow’s shaft rubbing against the bow shelf. A layer of bow shelf material (moleskin, bear or calf hair, or silicone) will make this noise go away.
A “whistle” could mean that your string got un-twisted and it is too loose. The whistle is the air rushing through the strands. Un-string the bow, completely, and twist the string back up. Re-string the bow and apply some bow wax to the entire string.
Or it could mean that the nock-point is loose and is spinning on the serving. The nock-point should be crimped firmly to the serving. This is an easy fix, crimp it down either with a pair of nock pliers, or a leatherman tool.
A “slapping” noise could mean that the string isn’t correctly seated. Check both ends of the bow and make sure that the string is not only seated properly around the horns, but that it is sitting in the grooves on both of the limbs. Check down the length of the bow and make sure that the limbs aren’t twisted. Twisted limbs can also cause a slapping noise.
A “bang” could mean a couple of things. If you hear a “bang” and the arrow goes a few feet down range, then it wasn’t nocked fully onto the string. If you hear a “bang” and the arrow goes all the way down range, but ends up higher than what you were expecting, then your string is either twisted way too tight, or you put on a string that it too short for your bow. This can happen if you carry a couple of bows in the same bag.
“Clicking” can be a major issue. One click at the same point of the draw could mean that an air pocket has developed within one of the limbs’s laminates. If it only happens once, at the same point, and never gets any louder, it could just mean an annoyance that might never get worse. It it gets louder, or if you hear multiple clicks, the limb could be slowly de-laminating (pealing apart).
A single “click” on a take-down bow could be either a limb isn’t fully seated in it’s socket. Or, it could mean that you didn’t tighten the thumb screws enough before you strung the bow. Finger tight is fine, but you have to tighten them before you string the bow. Or, it could mean that there is something in the socket, under the limb. Like dirt, or a wadded up sticker. Take the bow apart, check both sockets and limbs, then put it back together, string it, and see if it makes the same noise. Take-down bows can de-laminate just like one-piece bows.
Sudden creaking and groaning, when drawing the bow, could also mean de-lamination. Creaking noise when you draw the bow followed by the bow shaking in your hand, when you release, means that you should un-string the bow, ASAP.
I bring up the issue of noises, because I encountered a strange noise that I could not identify, with my take-down recurve, the other day. The bow started making a loud “click” at the 2 inch mark of the draw, but not when I backed off. It didn’t make the noise the week before. I was unable to figure out where on the bow the “click” came from and it persisted after I took the bow apart and put it back together. The bow was about 35 years old and I didn’t think that it was worth trying to fix. Oh, don’t worry; it’s not dead, I just sent the bow upstate to a farm so that it can run free. As nice as that bow was, I didn’t want to risk a catastrophic de-lamination while at full draw.
A sudden, new noise, accompanied by a radical change to where the arrow is going, could mean a bigger problem than just an annoying noise. It is your bow, and if you shoot it on a regular basis, you should be aware of any changes to how the bow feels in your hand and how it sounds. If you detect any changes, to the sound, feel, or how it shoots, please remember, your archery marshals are here to help.
Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Anna Leigh, Queen of Æthelmearc: The Business of Rhydderich Hael 40th Anniversary and Baronial Investiture, December 1, Anno Societatis LIII, in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael, accompanied this day by Her Heirs, Gareth and Juliana. As recorded by Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald, with assistance from Lord Salvadore de la Torres.
Baron Magnus. All photos by Michael Matlock except as otherwise noted.
In the morning, Her Majesty gave leave to Their Excellencies to conduct their last baronial court.
At the conclusion of their baronial court, Her Majesty then called Baron Magnus de Lyons and Baroness Miriel du Lac into Her court. She thanked them for their service and duty to their barony, and did divest them of their baronial coronets and release them from their duties as the 11th baron and baroness of the Rhydderich Hael.
Juliana and Padraig
Next, Her Majesty summoned Padraig O’Branduibh and Juliana Rosalia Dolce di Siena to hear their claim to the baronial thrones of the Rhydderich Hael. Her Majesty then heard words from the baronial officers confirming that an election was held in accordance with established laws and policies and that it was the will of the populace that Padraig and Juliana serve as the next baronage. Having heard testimony, Her Majesty did then invest Padraig and Juliana as the 12th Baron and Baroness of the Rhydderich Hael and did receive their oath of fealty.
Her Majesty then gave leave to Their Excellencies to hold their first baronial court.
Magnus and Miriel are made Court Baron and Baroness. Photo by Baron Steffan Wolfgang von Ravensburg.
Magnus de Lyons and Miriel du Lac were then summoned before the Sylvan Throne, where Her Majesty spoke of Her gratitude for their fine service as landed baron and baroness of the Rhydderich Hael and did create them a Baron and Baroness of the Court. Scroll for Baron Magnus by Sthurrim Caithnes. Scroll for Baroness Miriel by Rosemund von Glinde.
Reign Artisan Jasper Longshanks then approached Her Majesty and presented Her with scribal desks and 10th century pan pipes to be given as gifts as Her Majesty sees fit.
Lord Jasper. Photo by Baron Steffan.
The royal emissary, Countess Gwen A’Brooke from the Kingdom of Calontir, next presented Her Majesty with kind words and a basket of gifts from Their Majesties Calontir.
Her Majesty then heard words from Ambrosius MacDaibhidh, who spoke of how his attention to fun sometimes overshadows his attention to accuracy and did acknowledge an error in scoring at the Kingdom Archery Championship, in which THL Cynwulf Rendell was declared the winner when, in fact, Lord Ronan O’Conall had carried the day. Her Majesty then called for Her archery champion, Cynwulf Rendell, thanked him for the time he did serve as archery champion, and did divest him of his regalia and relieve him of his station. She next called for Lord Ronan O’Conall and did invest him as the Æthelmearc Archery Champion and bid him take his place in Her court. Scroll by THL Eleanore Godwin.
Lord Ronan is named archery champion. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
Her Majesty then had words for THL Cynwulf Rendell and thanked him for his service as Her champion and for his graciousness, and so did present him with a Cornelian. Scroll by THL Eleanore Godwin.
THL Lodthinn Vikarsson and Lady Isabella were next presented each with a Golden Escarbuncle for their work as autocrats for Coronation.
Lord Lodthinn. Photo by Baron Steffan.
Duke Sigenoth the Blissful was next received by Her Majesty and acknowledged that it was his intention to answer Her writ of summons later this day as to whether or not he would join the Order of the Pelican.
Duke Sigenoth (Cygnus) is sent to vigil. Photo by Baron Steffan.
Court was then suspended.
Upon the rapier field in the afternoon Her Majesty called for Lord Cyrus Augur. Acknowledging his prowess, teaching, and service to the art of rapier, she did induct him into the Order of the White Scarf. Scroll by Ekaterina Volkova.
Don Cyrus. Photo by Baron Steffan.
Court was suspended.
Comtesse Elena. Photo by Arianna
At the conclusion of the Queen’s Rapier Tournament Her Majesty called for Her rapier champion, Master Illadore de Bedagrayne, and released her from her service. Her majesty called for Countess Elena d’Artois, the victor of the tournament, and named her as Her Majesty’s Rapier Champion.
Her Majesty then presented Master Donnan MacDubhsidhe with a pin recognizing his service as a former rapier champion to Queen Elena.
Court was suspended.
In the evening, Her Majesty called forward the children and allowed them to select a toy from the kingdom toy chest.
Next, Her Majesty gave leave to hold baronial court.
Lady Thalia. Photo by Baron Steffan.
Her Majesty then received Lady Thalia Papillon, who presented Her Majesty with toys to be included in the kingdom toy box for the children. The Queen then bid Lady Thalia to tarry a bit longer and spoke not only of this act of service, but of the many other acts of service she does for her barony, and so did induct her in the Order of the Keystone. Scroll by Mistress Gillian Llywelyn.
Annika Iosefova was then called to attend Her Majesty, who spoke of her contributions to her shire and so did Award Arms to Annika. Scroll by Alita of Hartstone.
Lady Annika. Photo by Baron Steffan.
Lord Abdul Ishkhan Al-Rashid next appeared, and Her Majesty spoke highly of his skill in the martial arts as a fencer, fighter, and archer, and so did induct him into the Order of the Golden Alce. Illumination by Anlaith Ingen Trena, calligraphy by Graidhne ni Ruadh.
Her Majesty then sought the attendance of Lord Chebe of the Rhydderich Hael, where she recounted his service to the martial community in the Hael, particularly his contributions to siege weaponry, and so did create him a companion of the Order of the Keystone. Scroll by Lady Eilionora inghean an Bhaird.
Next, Syele Pfeifferin was addressed by Her Majesty, who spoke of the many deeds of service given to the Crown, particularly in her acts in creating garb; and for this service did Her Majesty create Syele a Baroness of the Court. Scroll forthcoming.
Baroness Syele. Photo by Baron Steffan.
Her Majesty sought audience with Her Order of the Millrind and, stating that she has heard their words, did call forward Duke Maynard von dem Steine and induct him into the Order for his years of service to the kingdom and the martial community. Scroll by Phelippe Pippi Ulfsdotter.
Duke Sigenoth the Blissful next appeared before Her Majesty, whereupon he stated he was willing to receive the accolade, and so Her Majesty called for the Order of the Pelican. In testimony, Duke Maynard von dem Steine rose for the Order of Chivalry and spoke of how Sigenoth is someone who is looked up to, who inspires others to grow, and is a standard of excellence. For the Order of the Laurel, Sir Ian Kennoven spoke of Sigenoth’s dedication to the arts. For the Order of Defense, Master Jacob of Dunmore spoke of the ways in which Sigenoth had a personal influence on his own growth in the Society. As a royal peer, Duchess Dorinda Courtenay told of how Sigenoth is an inspiration to all of us, noting that he is the voice that says, “it can be done.” And for the Order of the Pelican, Duke Matthew Blackleaf spoke of the decades of Sigenoth’s amazing breadth of service. Having been satisfied by these words of the peers of the realm, Her Majesty then called for Sigenoth to be arrayed in the regalia of the Order of the Pelican and did receive his oath, and did induct him into the Order of the Pelican. Scroll forthcoming.
My first colonial ale — called Dear Old Mum, a spiced wheat — at Chowning’s Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. (Photo R. Mazza)
The 8th annual Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference, hosted by the experimental archaeology group EXARC (https://exarc.net), drew speakers and participants from many parts of the world. The REARC conference once again took place in Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia from October 18 to 20. Mistress Chrestienne deWaterdene and I drove down together to check out the event.
Friday was reserved for the presentation of papers by students and researchers alike, demonstrating the wealth of information and practical skills available within the EXARC community. Saturday was filled with numerous demonstrations in which the conference attendees could participate and museum visitors could watch and learn.
Elska presenting her very first academic paper, which started life as an uncooperative Ice Dragon brewing entry. (Photo S. Stull, occasional SCAdian and a conference presenter)
The presentations ranged from practical recreations like making flutes from bird bones and weaving with captive reed beads to duplicate pottery impressions to the use of recreated objects such as determining if Ötzis’ tools were for hunting or for warfare, and the function of experimental archaeology within different types of classrooms. Some researchers presented a follow-up on previous papers, such as Neil Peterson with his ongoing Viking bead furnace project.
Some might look for resources not yet found; the joy of Caitlin Gaffney after finding a possible source for a reproduction medieval knife to carve her bone flutes was absolutely contagious. And some were looking to network: David Spence asked for additional projects for his experimental archaeology in high school plan and left with numerous contacts and suggestions.
Each and every paper had some unique view, some unusual bit of information; since the practical aspects of experimental archaeology requires a more interdisciplinary approach than traditional academics, conferences like REARC are essential. You just never know from what discipline, from which subject, the answer to the question you did not even realize you had could come from. I personally was amazed to find that the gist of my paper — to not take words at their literal modern definition — was independently repeated in another paper… to have my initial interpretation validated via an independent source right then and there.
The work stations, surrounded by assorted Colonial-era garments being altered or repaired.
During the lunch break, Chrestienne and I quietly excused ourselves and took a quick look at the Annual Open House at the nearby Colonial Williamsburg Costume Design Center. Here, the staff fits, designs, creates, and dresses the area’s costumed interpreters.
The clothes range from silk gowns and caps for the ladies, to cotton and linen wear for the middling sort, to handmade leather gloves and embroidered coats for the male gentry. Ordinarily, the Center is only open by appointment, except one day a year, when it opens the doors for all to show and tell. And we made sure to be there! It was a cornucopia of fabrics and embellishments, and the workstations were to die for…
Talon Silverhorn showing his beaded belt made using Fingerweaving. He also told about how his tribe uses this technique to record and tell stories right up to our modern period.
I also learned that the colonial interpreters do not make nor own their costumes. It is this department that researches, designs, fits, and creates for everyone on the payroll. Except for the Native Americans, it seems. We did not see any Native American wardrobes out in storage or on display, and from talking with Native interpreter Talon Silverhorn we learned that most make their own as part of their tribal community and heritage.
Bill Schindler, experimental archaeologist and co-host of the National Geographic show The Great Human Race. I enjoyed our conversation over a craft beer at the hotel, and even taught him a thing or two about historic mead brewing.
The keynote speaker for this year was Bill Schindler, an experimental archaeologist with Washington College and part of the Eastern Shore Food Labs. His quite-engaging presentation on Fusion: ancestral diets, modern culinary techniques, and experimental archaeology was well received and left the audience with a number of questions to think about.
This paper was perfect for the younger generations now growing up in an environment that might be more hostile to them than they would surmise, and this area of research, experimental archaeology, could help shed light on where to go from here. The connection between human biology and our diet, and the impact industrialization has had on our health to the point where humans and our pets can be both obese and malnourished, is not only fascinating from an academic point of view but relevant to the survival of our species.
This year’s demonstrations were two part: the practice of throwing atlatl and observing and shooting early bows, combined with the technique of smelting and casting bronze and making Viking era glass beads.
Unfortunately, while the weather was absolutely gorgeous on Friday, by the time Saturday came around it had changed to intermittent drizzle and rain. But that did not stop us from having a go at each of the stations and appreciate the added value of tent coverings at the metallurgy and flamework areas. While I would have loved to try the Ötzi replica bow as initially intended, Manuel Lizarralde did not feel comfortable to have it out in soaking rain as it was not yet waterproof.
I did get to shoot a fire-hardened black locust Native American self bow, weatherproofed with bear grease, and even hit the target center. Conference host Tim Messner enjoyed the primitive tattoo kit and extant stone tools that Talon Silverhorn, Native American interpreter, brought to share – and almost talked him into a tattoo demo on the spot!
Fergus Milton, with help from David Spence, melting bronze to do a lost-wax mold casting later in the afternoon.
At the station near the blacksmith area, we enjoyed Fergus Milton’s bronze casting demonstrations — with help on the bellows by David Spence — using a small furnace constructed on site from local clay and aerated with a primitive leather-bag bellows.
He began the day by smelting the bronze and preparing two molds, and poured the molds mid-afternoon. Several museum guests returned specifically to witness the casting, after stopping by periodically to keep an eye on the proceedings.
Chrestienne making her first Viking glass bead over a charcoal bead furnace under the expert supervision of Neil Peterson (a SCAdian of old). She’s wearing the loaner sweater Neil provided (available to those wearing flammable man-made fiber fabrics). Wool is a safer fabric to protect against sparks and burning embers.
At the same time Neil Peterson had his coal-fed bead furnace up and running for conference attendees to try their hand at making a Viking glass bead. His station was in continuous use throughout the day and many of the attendees left with a precious homemade bead in their pocket. Surprisingly, participants often had more trouble with the coordination required to operate the bellows effectively, me included, than they had creating a simple bead.
Pouring molten tin into a cuttlefish mold encased in fresh clay as support.
The mold is only able to be used once, becoming burned during use. Although tin is used to demonstrate, it is a softer metal than the master used for the impression.
Finally, before packing up, Fergus Milton did a quick demonstration of cuttlefish casting for David Spence to consider showing to his high school students. He used some tin he had on hand, and as it had a lower melting temperature than the bronze, it quickly became molten and he was able to show how the porous nature of the cuttlefish bone lends itself well to making a quick mold. It takes in a good amount of detail from the master used to press into the material and feels a bit like a dense, fine Styrofoam when pushing a metal object in to make an impression.
To cap off this wonderful experience, the resident founders at Williamsburg had invited Fergus Milton (burgundy shirt) for a special bronze casting demonstration at their shop on Sunday morning. To experience the prehistoric process, so closely followed by the much more refined methods of the 18th century Geddy Foundry, was an appropriate ending to an otherwise perfect immersive weekend of reconstructive and experimental archaeology. We are ready to come back for more next year!
Insistent cow, with bull calf, determined to charm snacks from us! (Photo: R. Mazza)
All photos credited to S. Verberg, unless otherwise stated.
For details on the presented papers, see the EXARC site.