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Previous Suggestions

An Introduction to Lindisfarne Illumination
History of the Lindisfarne Gospels, notes on construction, techniques and motifs including simple knotwork and gripping beasts. Examples of SCA scrolls adapted from the Lindisfarne style will be available.
Speaker: Eve Harris

Apprenticeship in the Artistic Professions
An overview of the function of the apprenticeship system in the arts during the mid and later period. What made apprenticeship work for the artistic profesions and why it stopped working as effectively in the Renaissance.
Speaker: J Caz Bentley

Battle of Poitiers
Was this the beginning of the end for the English Archer? Using new data, a discussion of the historical account from the battle and afterwards will try to examine what was happening to change warfare using the English Archer and how they adapted.
Speaker: Russ Sheldon

Beginner Embroidery
Ever wanted to embellish your historical clothing and accessories but don't know where to start? Then this class is for you! This hands-on class is an overview of several common stitches used in both Medieval and Renaissance embroidery, including split, stem and couching. A small number of kits will be available for purchase at $5, however please feel free to bring your own materials to use instead. The kits will contain cotton embroidery floss, needles, hoops and a swatch of 18-20 count evenweave linen.
There is a materials fee of $5 for this class.
Speaker: Jackie Wyatt

Bone Carving (2 hours)
A practical course on bone carving, focused on period handcarving techniques. Each student will work on their own motif-piece, like those found in Viking settlements in Ireland and elsewhere in the Viking world. There will be a materials charge for the bone and handout, knives will be provided for use and available for purchase as well ($15).
Class is limited to 6 people.   There is a materials fee of $5 for this class.

Building a Viking Ship Model - A Boat for the Burning
A ceremony of honour and respect for departed warrior, credited to the Norsemen, was the burning or burial of his ship at his death. Most often, it was a cremation, with the dead man's remains on board, though there seems to have been at least one instance in which a ship was buried with no body aboard--perhaps because the man was lost at sea. (Sutton Hoo Burial) In the SCA, we have begun an annual tradition of burning a boat in miniature, in memory of all those departed from among us. The ship is built in 1/12 scale, and, through its yearly incarnations, is slowly evolving to become closer to the style of construction of the true Viking longship. This class is a lecture on the problems and procedures used in the ship's construction. It should be of help to those wishing to create models of their own, or simply of interest to those wishing to learn of longship construction.
Speaker: Gary Snyder

Chainmail - Second Steps (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 some different chain patterns will be discussed. A basic understanding of mail is required. Bring two pair of pliers. This class has two teachers who will be offering two different areas of focus. In addition to more complex patterns with standard rings this session will explore the use of smaller rings, or precious metal rings in decorative patterns and jewelry.
Speaker: Jerry Penner

Chainmail for Beginners
Why was chainmail the ultimate armour for warriors for over a thousand years? So versatile, it is still in use today. Historical background, ‘how to’, and ‘hands on’. Please bring two pairs of pliers.
Speaker: Jerry Penner

Christian catacombs of Rome
This class will explore the nature and history of the Christian catacombs built in Rome, focusing mainly on their period of use for burial (approximately the 2nd to 5th centuries CE) but briefly covering their later history as well. Special attention will be also be given to the art of the catacombs, placing it in the context of contemporary Roman culture as well as early Christian thought.
Speaker: Lianne Maitland

Cryptographic Praise Poetry
Hiding a message or a person's name in a poem is a technique that has been around for centuries. Find out more in this survey of some of the poets (and their verses) up to 1600.

Dances from Tudor England
These are fun, easy dances reconstructed from a recently found manuscript. Dating from around 1500, these are the earliest known English dances. No prior dance experience is necessary.
Speaker: Sarah Scroggie

Double Faced Tablet Weaving
Participants will be shown how to chart patterns and obtain endless design possibilities for tablet woven bands. The beginner tablet weaving class or some experience with tablet weaving is recommended. Weavers are invited to bring along their own projects for assistance and discussion.
Speaker: Rob Schweitzer

European Dance - English Country Dances
Dating from 1651, these dances range from Elegant to Energetic. Open to all skill levels. No partners required.
Speaker: David Learmonth

European Dance - Mimed Bransles
Fun and Silly Dances from Arbeau (1589). Open to all skill levels. No partners required.
Speaker: David Learmonth

European Influence on Japan
We will discuss the profound impact of the Europeans on Japan during their 100 year presence.
Speaker: Brendan Smith

Exploring the Viking Age in Denmark
In spring of 2008, Darrell undertook a two and half week trip to Denmark. The primary reason was to attend the 'Iron Seminar at Thy' - meeting and working with other experimental iron smelters. Much of the rest of the time was spent in museums, especially focused on the Viking Age collections. This illustrated talk will be an overview of what was seen and experienced, both in the museums and while travelling across Denmark.
Speaker: Darrell Markewitz

Farms to Forges
By 1730, Britain was the most industrialized country in the world. Many reasons have been advanced, from resource distribution to religious disenfranchisement. All can be shown to have validity at particular times and places, but fail to explain both local exceptions and the overall development. This paper argues that industrialization is best understood as part of a process stretching back to the 5th C AD. Changing social conditions, both in Britain and across Europe, led aristocratic and institutional landowners to repeatedly make the same economic choice. The precise manifestation of this choice varied with local conditions, but by at least the 13th C was leading some landowners down the path to industrialization.
Speaker: Ronald A. Ross, Ph.D.

Flint and Steel Fire Striking
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

Goodhearted Castles
This class will discuss the changes in castles over the centuries. Aimed more at the broader aspects than the parts of a castle. This is largely a repeat of last year's popular class.

Goodhearted Games
An informal presentation by one of the founders of the Games Guild of Ealdoremere. A few simpler games will be taught. Discussions will also be held of how to successful take gaming with you.

Hand Sewn stitches for seams, edges and hems (2 hours)
This class will allow the students to sew each type of stitch and learn their applications relative to fabric selection and use. Swatches for sewing, thread and needles will be supplied. Students are asked to bring snips or scissors for personal use.
Speaker: Valerie West

Harp 101
Do you have a harp, but can't find anyone to teach you? Or, have you always wanted to try a harp? Come on out to this class and learn the (absolute) basics of how to play. Plus, there will be a handout describing the types of harps, and companies that make them (in varying quality and price). Only two harps are available for loan, so please check before signing up for this class.
Class is limited to 5 people.   

History of Andalusia
This is a brief summary of the history of this culturally diverse and little recognized section of European history. With pictures, the intention is to discuss the political and cultural aspects, and put into perspective some of the things Europe inherited from this very enlightened time and place.
Speaker: Karina Bates

History of Japan
This class will cover the political, social and traditional history of Japan from the days of the first emperors till the beginning of the Tokugawa regime in 1603.
Speaker: Brendan Smith

Intro to Drop Spinning (2 hours)
Come and learn to spin wool on a drop spindle. This is a hands-on class for beginners where you'll be shown the basics of spinning wool to produce single-ply yarn. A small kit containing an adjustable drop spindle (made from recycled CDs!) will be available, or participants can bring their own spindle if they have one (top whorl, bottom whorl or turkish, whatever you have it fine). I will supply roving and handout. Students who attend the Intro to Fibre Prep class will have a chance to prepare their own rovings for this class, but it's not necessary to attend the fibre prep class to attend the spinning class. Class is limited to 10 participants, but observers welcome. Materials fee of $5 for those who want the spindle kit.
Class is limited to 10 people.   There is a materials fee of $5 for this class.
Speaker: Bridget Jankowski

Intro to Fibre Prep for Spinning
This is a hands-on class in preparing fleece (washed, but otherwise straight from the sheep) for drop spinning using hand cards and several styles of wool combs. I'll discuss and demonstrate worsted and woolen preparation, and the class will prepare their own rolags and rovings. Niddy noddies, notepinnes and dizzes will also be discussed as we go. For those planning to take the Intro to Drop Spinning class, the Fibre Prep class is designed for you to prepare wool for spinning later. Anyone is welcome, even if you don't plan to take drop spinning. Fleece will be provided (white, Dorset cross, surprisingly nice). Really, I have plenty. If you have hand cards or combs, please bring them, as supplies are limited, though some loaners from kind souls will be available. Due to this, class is limited to 10 participants (more if people bring their own tools), but observers are more than welcome.
Class is limited to 10 people.   
Speaker: Bridget Jankowski

Introduction to Black Hours Illumination (3 hours)
The class will cover a BRIEF history of Black Hours Illumination (this is because it is a "hands on" project class and most of the time will be taken up with producing an actual Black Hours Bookmark). The class would be limited to 8 active participants, but any number of those who wish to listen in would be welcome.
I will provide most of the materials...paper, paint, templates and water containers. Students should bring the following:
4/0 paintbrush (very small)
5/0 paintbrush
white plastic eraser
pencil (the "Bic" throw away mechnical pencils would do)
I have a few spare brushes (just in case)
Class is limited to 8 people.   
Speaker: Linda Kalusik

Introduction to Calligraphy
Calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing, and was used for books of all kinds throughout the Middle Ages. You'll learn the Caroline Miniscule script, later revived during the Renaissance as Humanist Miniscule. If you have a calligraphy pen please bring it. There will be some materials available to use in the class. Focus will be on hands-on teaching.
Speaker: Susan Carroll-Clark, Ph.D.

Introduction to Naalbinding
This will be a 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. Please bring (real) wool yarn and a naalbinding or blunt tapestry needle. Some materials will be available for those without. If time permits, we will look at some more advanced stitches.
Class is limited to 8 people.   
Speaker: Mark Patchett

Irish Bardic Music and How the Welsh Somehow Managed to Keep It Alive
The Bardic tradition died out in Ireland with the death of Dennis Hempson in 1807. He was the last 'classically' trained harpist on the island. However, this tradition was very closely linked to the bards in Wales, and *they* managed to get a lot of music written down. Thank goodness. If you've ever wanted to know what the true ancient music of Ireland and Britain sounded like, then come on out to this class. There will be a short lecture (with handouts), followed by some listening.

Keynote Lecture: Statim inuenire: the Manipulus florum in the 14th and 21st centuries
Dr. Nighman's presentation will be on the Electronic Manipulus Florum Project ( In his work with this project Dr. Nighman is using current information technology including electronic editions, internet publications, and search engines to make readily available a text that was created at the beginning of the 14th century using current information technology including alphabetized subject listings, cross referencing, and running page headers to provide a utilitarian reference work.
Speaker: Chris Nighman, Ph.D.

Linen: flax seed to fibre
With a brief history of this ancient and valuable commodity, linen, this is a discussion of how to grow flax as a fibre crop and the labour-intensive process involved in extricating the fibre from the plant including demonstration of the tools used.
Speaker: Wendy Maurice

Making Medieval Helms
An examination of early period helms from the point of view of the smith. A look at the materials available, methods used to produce the various helmets and the some of the problems encountered during fabrication of helmets.
Speaker: Ken Cook

Meaningful Scratches
This is a hands-on course on writing in runes and in ogham. Each student will learn a variety of Germanic, Anglo Saxon and Viking runic scripts, as well as Ogham - the Celtic equivalent. Each student will have the opportunity to make themselves a period Viking luggage tag based on documented archaeological finds. Wood and handouts provided. If possible, each participant should bring a small sharp single-edged knife suitable for whittling - blades no longer than 3 inches please. There will be a limited number of loaner knives available. This is a practical course involving sharp knives, so no unaccompanied children.
Class is limited to 12 people.   

Pewter Casting for Beginners (2 hours)
This is a practical class. Walk in with an idea, walk out with a pendant of your own construction and a mould to make hundreds more. Basic construction techniques will be taught for carving and casting two part soapstone moulds. Fee covers soapstone and pewter needed to make a pendant.
Class is limited to 10 people.   There is a materials fee of $3 for this class.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Pewter Casting for Triflers and Sadmen
This class will look at historic pewterware from the Norse, Medieval and Renaissance periods and how to reproduce it. From pilgrims tokens to spoons, candleholders and salt cellars, techniques of creating larger, more complicated soapstone moulds will be discussed. This is NOT a practical class, but demonstrations of some techniques will be made.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Popular Religion during the Middle Ages (c. 1100-1450)
How would an ordinary person have perceived their faith in the Middle Ages in Western Europe? We'll look at such practices as veneration of saints, pilgrimage, Crusades, going to church, marriage and the other sacraments, the role of guilds and confraternities, private religious devotions, and even "superstitious" practices. This is not a class on theology--we'll be looking primarily at laypeople and the place religious practices held in their lives.
Speaker: Susan Carroll-Clark, Ph.D.

Pottery in Europe
This is a brief tour through the medieval and renaissance periods, in Europe. What kind of pottery, if any, would have been used to cook and serve food with, drink mead or beer, in Germany, England or Russia? Does this change from 500 - 1650AD? Come find out.
Speaker: Karina Bates

Reading Medieval Books - what is that word?
This course will develop a hand's on approach to palaeography - the study of writing - from 1300-1500. The focus will be on learning to read and date a variety of medieval scripts used within English books and documents. The course will be picture-intensive and will include a number of exercises to help you develop your skills. I will also discuss online and local sites where you can view a range of manuscripts for yourselves.
Speaker: Helen Marshall

Samurai Cooking (2 hours)
The first part of this class will cover the history of Japanese food and what was eaten during the SCA's period of focus. Then, we will all make Gyoza, (dumplings) Tempura, rice, Miso Soup and a meat dish of some kind.
There is a materials fee of $3 for this class.
Speaker: Brendan Smith

Silver Point Drawing
Learn to draw in the style of the Renaissance master draughtsmen. Drawing with a silver stylus on a prepared surface. A hands on drawing workshop with bibliographic notes and explanations of how to prepare the materials.
Speaker: J Caz Bentley

Simple Medieval Dice and Table Games
8 different dice games, and two easy medieval games using the backgammon table - suitable for children aged 4 to 104! Gambling optional. Teacher will have take-home versions of the games available for a small cost if the participants are interested.
Speaker: Jo Duke

Stories and Poetry of Medieval Japan
This class will cover the thematic elements, creatures and story types of Japan. Also covered will be the history of Japanese poetry, the poetry types and a breakdown of how Japanese people write their poems.
Speaker: Brendan Smith

Tablet Weaving for Beginners (2 hours)
A hands-on introduction to tablet weaving. The participants will be shown how to string up a loom, as well as a few basic techniques and patterns. Observers are more than welcome.
There is a materials fee of $10 for this class.
Speaker: Rob Schweitzer

The Mary Rose - what we have learned so far
To be Added
Speaker: Russ Sheldon

The Possibilities of Early Period Colour
Anglo-Scandinavian plants and their natural dye pigments. An overview of what colours might be obtained from plants found in parts of Northern Europe based on archaeological evidence and experimentation. Colours possible, gathering/growing plants, which parts to use and natural dye safety will be covered in as much detail as time allows.
Speaker: Nina Bates

Three Early Medieval Celebrities
The Middle Ages had celebrities too. Here are three from the Early Medieval period.
Chair: Ronald A. Ross
Pope Gregory 1, by Debbie Kerkoff
Pelagius of Britain by Natalie Kauntz
The Venerable Bede by Kristel Schmidt
Speakers: Ronald A. Ross, Ph.D., Debbe Kerkoff, Natalie Kauntz, Kristel Schmidt

To build a Tent - Camping in the Viking Age
So there you are, Norse and in need of some overhead cover while travelling. What do you do? A 'friendly argument' presenting two alternate points of view : the A frame versus the Geteld. We will each make our case historically and practically, plus take a look at the evidence for some alternatives. Includes a discussion of plans, materials and construction tips for would be tent makers.
Speakers: Darrell Markewitz, V.M. Roberts

Towards an Icelandic Smelt
This session is a field report on the current experimental archaeology series being undertaken by DARC. Recent excavations by Kevin Smith at the Hals in Iceland have uncovered a Viking Age 'industrial' iron processing site. Using clues from the archaeology, is it possible to re-create the physical iron smelting methods which may have been originally used?
Speaker: Darrell Markewitz

Treasure Necklaces
Come learn about the Hon, Norway treasure necklace. What makes it so important and what parts constitute a "Treasure Necklace". Afterwards make a treasure necklace for yourself. Bring your beads and odd bits of metalwork, pendants, etc. Materials will be available to help you with your necklace. Children over 8 welcome with a participating parent. (If younger, please speak with the instructor) Material Cost per person not much but not yet determined.
Class is limited to 10 people.   There is a materials fee of $5 for this class.
Speaker: Jean Ross

Truth about the Tudors
The Truth behind the myths surrounding Henry VIII and his wives! Was it really all about sex? It sure looks that way on TV! Why did Henry need a son so badly, and what about the wives? (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived but you probably already knew that...)
Speaker: Catherine Ollerhead DeSantis

Viking Era Bead Production
The glass trade among the Viking Era Norse culture was complex not only in terms of the distances covered by these trade goods but by the complexity of the products produced in the workshops at the Ribe and Paviken markets. Using only the simplest of tools viking era craftsmen produced wonderfully detailed beads. This session will survey the material remains from these locations, and explore several experimental attempts to reproduce these techniques.
Speakers: Neil Peterson, Sarah Backa

Viking North Atlantic Sites & Museums
Karen and Neil went to Scotland and Iceland in May 2008 and visited every darn museum and archaeological site that they could find, with a heavy emphasis on the Viking Era. This is a picture heavy look at many of the Viking Era and Neolithic sites in Scotland, Orkney, Shetland, and Iceland. Many museums will also be examined including their presentation styles and policies.
Speakers: Neil Peterson, Karen Peterson

Viking age clothing and textile production
A brief introduction to the raw data on viking age clothing, including archaeological textiles, iconography, textual evidence, and evidence for production methods. Lots of pictures, including some of the finds which are a little less well known, or difficult to find good images. A shortened and adapted version of the 2 hour talk I presented at the Royal Ontario Museum in February.
Speaker: V.M. Roberts

Vikings and the Inuit in Greenland
Five hundred years before Columbus sailed for the New World, the Norse came and colonized Greenland. Not only did they have to adapt to a harsh new environment but they also had to contend with the Inuit, a group of people with a lifestyle completely unfamiliar to the European Norse. The talk analyses the nature of the four hundred years of contact, or the lack of it, between the Norse and the Inuit and tries to explain why it was so.
Speakers: Ronald A. Ross, Ph.D., Anatoly Venovcev

Warfare in the Renaissance Part 1
This class will examine warfare in the late medieval through early Renaissance time period. Review the systems that influenced warfare in the later Renaissance along with the problems and potential posed by early gunpowder weapons.
Speaker: David Stamper

Warfare in the Renaissance Part 2
This class will examine the development of pike and shot tactics in the 15th century through to the end of the 16th century. It will also look at the evolving role of cavalry on the battlefields of the Renaissance and the myth of the so called "Gunpowder Revolution"
Speaker: David Stamper

Warrior Monks and Ninja of Japan
The origins and ways of life of the other warrior types in Japan.
Speaker: Brendan Smith

Wet Felting
Participants will learn techniques of wet felting using raw fleece, soap and water. All materials and equipment will be supplied; however participants may wish to bring aprons and rubber gloves.
Class is limited to 6 people.   
Speaker: Sarah Hughes

Who were the Samurai?
This class will cover the origin, rise to power and way of life to Japan's iconic warriors.
Speaker: Brendan Smith

Contact us if you have any questions or suggestions