Forward Into the Past
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FITP XXVII Session Descriptions

Rooms are still subject to repeated changes

Lunch [Room 101 - 11:30-1:20]
A lunch is available for sale in BA101 from 11:30 until 1:20. The exact menu varies from year to year but it includes a number of options and keeps vegetarians in mind. Drinks are also available. Soda machines are available in the hall, and there is a quizno's across King St.


<PS> The Viking Settlement of North America according to Ragnarr Njalsson [Lecture - Rm 102 - 2:30 pm]
<Pseudo-History session> Ragnarr's work documents a conspiracy by the family of Eirik the Red to hide a large North American colony and its associated sources of revenue from the Norwegian King so as not to attract the tax collectors. As the colony grew and the weather patterns cooled in the mid-14th century the Greenland front was no longer viable and had to be abandoned with the residents withdrawn to the North American bases. These North American locations were wiped out by the English and French to destroy Scandinavian claims to North America. Come and Unearth the True History of North America according to Ragnarr's Theory.
Speaker: Neil Peterson

50 Shades of History - a look at non-traditional sexual practices in history [Lecture - Rm 111 - 11:30 am]
Although BDSM has become more mainstream thanks to a recent publication, the history of these and other lifestyle choices reaches back into the depths of time. Spend an hour with Bernie looking at the history and important milestones of this subculture including the Lupercalia, and the Marquis de Sade himself.
Speaker: Bernie Roehl

Advanced Embroidery [Hands On Workshop - Rm 112 - 3:30 pm] (2 hours)
This class if for those who have a grounding in embroidery, though they may not know advanced techniques. Students should bring with them a floor frame to allow for hand's free stitching. (though if they do not have one, a communal one will be provided) If students have their own frame, please have pre-mounted linen/cotton ready to work. Embroidery threads will be provided. Students must have a working knowledge of satin stitch, as well as chain, running stitch and split stitch. No knowledge of couching, beading or more complex stitches required. As time permits we will explore a variety of couching stitches, beading, goldwork, and some more complex stitches and colour application work. Historic periods and techniques will be touched upon. There is no fee (although a donation of a loonie helps keep the teaching going if you can spare it).
Speaker: Larisa

Advanced Tablet Weaving [Hands On Workshop - Rm 112 - 2:30 pm]
This class is for those individuals who have some experience with tablet weaving or who have attended the introductory class. Details on specific techniques that will be covered are coming soon. Observers are more than welcome. The second hour is optional and will be hands-on time for those who bring their own warp and cards.
Speaker: Rob Schweitzer

Anatomy of a steam engine through disaster and destruction [Lecture - Rm 110 - 10:30 am]
Description to follow soon
Speaker: V.M. Roberts

Behind the Black Sails [Lecture - Rm 113 - 11:30 am]
Come explore some of the history that inspired STARZ Original Series about the Golden Age of Piracy. Much is not known about the historical figures that appear in this work of fiction, but how does what we do know line up with what we're seeing on screen?
Speaker: John Wignall

Blow Me Down - Further Investigations of Human Powered Air [Lecture - Rm 102 - 3:30 pm]
In 2016 two experiments undertaken to further explore the possibilities of human powered bellows providing air blast for pre-Medieval bloomery iron smelting furnaces. The first used multiple small bellows linked via a central air bladder. This experiment was undertaken at the SCA 50th Event in June. The result was at best a 'proof of concept', but revieled an interesting social dynamic. The second was at the ReARC conference in November, employing elements learned at the ARTifacts - Pruszkow Archaeological Festival in September.
Speaker: Darrell Markewitz

Braiding and Cords [Lecture - Rm 111 - 12:30 pm]
Description will follow.
Speaker: Jo Duke

Canadian History 1001: The Bloody Norse Arrive! [Lecture - Rm 102 - 4:30 pm]
Description will follow.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Chainmail - Beyond the Basics [Hands On Workshop - Rm 111 - 3:30 pm] (2 hours)
Beyond the basics: mail is the most versatile, flexible armour ever developed. Able to be shaped to every part of the human form mail can also be the basis for wonderful jewelry. In this class you will learn how to make the King Chain, French Rope, and Foxtail patterns. A basic understanding of chain mail is required. Bring two pairs of pliers. In addition to more complex patterns with standard rings this session will explore the use of smaller rings and precious metal rings in decorative patterns and jewelry. Bring two pairs of pliers.
This Session is limited to 10 people.   
Speaker: Jerry Penner

Chainmail for Beginners [Hands On Workshop - Rm 111 - 10:30 am]
Imagine a shirt made of thousands of tiny metal rings, all linked together to form a cloth impenetrable by sword. Why was chainmail the ultimate armour for warriors for over a thousand years? Chain mail is so versatile it is still in use today. You can see it on divers in shark-infested waters and on the hands of your local butcher. While you learn to knit your own bracelet that you get to take home we'll discuss the historical background of this wonderful armour. Please bring two pairs of pliers.
This Session is limited to 10 people.   
Speaker: Jerry Penner

Keynote: Climates of Change: Environmental History as Hands-On Pedagogy
[Lecture - Rm 102 - 9:00 am]

Steven Bednarski and his students discuss their four-year experiential learning adventure to Herstmonceux Castle, where, each summer, they conduct excavations and visit archives for clues about late medieval climate change. The students, in conjunction with an international team of archaeologists, historians, palaeoclimatologists, and environmentalists, seek to understand the impact of changing weather and climate conditions on lived human conditions in southern England circa 1450. During the keynote, Bednarski and his junior research partners will report on finds, techniques, and the benefits of experiential learning.
Speaker: Steven Bednarski

Diagonal Braiding [Lecture - Rm 111 - 1:30 pm]
Description will follow.
Speaker: Jo Duke

Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived [Lecture - Rm 101 - 3:30 pm]
Henry VIII and his Six Wives Exposed!! The wives of Henry VIII of England continue to fascinate us 458 years after the death of the King. Come meet the Queens and discover for yourself why their lives continue to inspire books, plays, and films.
Speaker: Catherine Ollerhead DeSantis

Experiment and Experience [Lecture - Rm 102 - 11:30 am]
Re-enactors, Recreation, Interpreting, Experimental Archaeology, experiential archaeology - so many words. Are they the same? After giving a base for comparison this session will explore the background of Experimental Archaeology. We will also spend time discussing how to turn your interests into an experiment.
Speaker: Neil Peterson

Feet firmly in the past - Shoes from the Viking Age 800 - 1050 [Demonstration - Rm 110 - 11:30 am] (2 hours)
Taking examples from Viking Age artefacts from England, Norway, Denmark, and Germany, this session will present an overview of the styles, methods of construction, materials, and likely wearers of shoes at the end of the first millennium in Northern Europe. A simple method of pattern making will be demonstrated as well as the more common stitches employed during shoe construction. If time allows, attendees will be guided through the process of producing shoe patterns of their own.
Speaker: Marcus Burnham

Flint and Steel Fire Striking [Hands On Workshop - Rm 101 - 2:30 pm]
Learn how to build a fire, and light it using flint and steel. This will be a hands on course, where you'll get to try the techniques and practice making fire. Note that this involves "real fire", so breathing smoke and burning your fingers are potential dangers.
Speaker: Mark Patchett

Food and ambiance, translating the medieval feast to the modern table [Lecture - Rm 111 - 2:30 pm]
A discussion of the elements of a medieval feast and transitioning them to a modern dinner table. How to stage it, ideas for recipes, and ambiance will all be covered in this open session.
Speaker: Janet Lloyd

Introduction to Embroidery [Hands On Workshop - Rm 112 - 12:30 pm] (2 hours)
This is a class for those who have never done embroidery or have only learned how to thread a needle. The basics will be taught including: how to stretch fabric; differences between between types of thread; basic stitches; where to go to get historical ideas for future projects. This class will give a good start to anyone who wants to learn the most commonly used historic stitches. Demonstrations of each stitch will be followed by a short period of experimentation and assistance as required by the student. There is no fee (although a donation of a loonie helps keep the teaching going if you can spare it). Materials will be provided but please bring a hoop if you have one.
This Session is limited to 16 people.   
Speakers: Larisa, Eeva the Restless

Introduction to Tablet Weaving [Hands On Workshop - Rm 112 - 10:30 am] (2 hours)
This is a hand's on practicum where participants will be taught the basics of tablet weaving. Tablet weaving is a narrow-band weaving technique that is commonly used for belts, straps and decorative edging on clothes. The technique (also known as card weaving) developed independently in a number of countries and has been used for over a thousand years. Participants will learn how to string their own bands and will learn a variety of pattern techniques.
There is a materials fee of $12 for this session.
Speaker: Yvette Foster

Kumihimo - The Art of Japanese Cordmaking [Hands On Workshop - Rm 110 - 2:30 pm] (2 hours)
A hands on intro to Kumihimo. Starting with a short history and intro to terms, tools and uses. Participants will then be shown how to set up and create a Kumihimo braid. This class will cover both beginner and some intermediate techniques.
This Session is limited to 10 people.   There is a materials fee of $5 for this session.
Speaker: Melanie Robbins

Naalbinding 101 [Hands On Workshop - Rm 113 - 12:30 pm]
This will be an introductory hands-on class aimed at beginners. Come learn the basics of naalbinding, (sometimes called single-needle knitting) a textile craft used in medieval times. We will cover a basic naalbinding stitch you could use to make a hat, socks or mittens. Some wool yarn and a wooden naalbinding needle will be provided, but feel free to bring your own wool yarn and needle if you have either.
This Session is limited to 8 people.   
Speaker: Mark Patchett

Norse Practical Jokes [Lecture - Rm 102 - 10:30 am]
Description will follow.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Sword Dances [Lecture - Rm 110 - 1:30 pm]
Description will follow.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Symmetry and asymmetry in Viking Age Dress [Lecture - Rm 102 - 1:30 pm]
There have always been hints that the Viking-Age dress custom used asymmetry: overlapping caftans, for example, are fundamentally left-right asymmetrical, and front-back asymmetry is very common in images of women's skirts. The discovery of the Hårby Figurine, however, demonstrates a rather surprising left-right asymmetry used within the tradition, and invites a deeper look at the evidence for how Viking Age fashion viewed symmetry. This paper examines iconographic and other evidence in an attempt to establish some ideas about how both left/right and front/back asymmetry may have been used, and proposes the theory that some garments, formerly assumed to be very different may represent the same garment type viewed from different perspectives.
Speaker: V.M. Roberts

The Shosoin Repository [Lecture - Rm 113 - 10:30 am]
Description will follow shortly
Speaker: Melanie Robbins

Viking Submarine Navigation as a possible explanation for the Loch Ness Monster [Lecture - Rm 102 - 12:30 pm]
In this lecture, I will explore the possibility that the Vikings could have built a submersible version of their famous longships. With a dragon figurehead at the prow, it would have resembled a Plesiosaur. Cruising just below the surface, with the figurehead sticking above, this would present a striking image, closely resembling the classic description of the Loch Ness Monster. It is also possible that the inspiration went the other way-round: sea-monsters - which may have been more numerous in the Viking era - may have inspired the Vikings to build submersible craft.

Such a craft is entirely plausible using technology of the era, as was later proven by Cornelius Van Drebbel when he built several wooden-hulled oar-powered submarines. These, as well as some later human powered submarines (Fulton's Nautilus, McClintock's Pioneer, American Diver, and HL Hunley) proved to be moderately successful, so it's not beyond possibility that the Vikings used one to strike unsuspecting villages without being seen.
Speaker: Fred Blonder

Why Ancient Greece Was Really Kind of Terrible [Lecture - Rm 110 - 4:30 pm]
In this session, Dylan McCorquodale will discuss why he hates Ancient Greece, and why many things you think you know about it are wrong, or at least severely distorted by the bumbling intellectuals of the Renaissance. Topics include violence, patriarchy, sexuality, mythology, politics, and how they contribute to making Ancient Greece generally kind of terrible. Occasionally, grudging acknowledgements of Greece's various contributions to civilization will be made.
Speaker: Dylan McCorquodale

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