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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Experimental Archaeology and Iron Smelting at L'AM

Experimental Archaeology and the recreation of the Viking Era Smelt at L'Anse aux Meadows, NHSC

Investigations of the archaeological site at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, indicate local bog iron ore was smelted into workable metal, at least once, by the Norse some time about 1000 AD. Just why the first iron smelt in North America was carried out remains open to interpretation. Starting in 2009, a team from Ontario, Canada, conducted a series of five experiments, culminating on a full re-creation of the original Norse iron smelt at L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC in August of 2010. Experimental archaeology was used to aid in reconstructing the tools and processes involved in both that specific smelt and Viking era iron smelting in general.  Neil will walk through the archaeology, and the experimental sequences involved that led to the 2010 replication of that smelt.

A lecture by Neil Peterson for the Hamilton chapter of the Ontario Archaeological Society.

7pm - Thursday Feb 19th, Fieldcote Museum in Ancaster, ON

Visitors are welcome.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DARC at ICMS 2015

DARC was approved to host two sessions at the ICMS in May.

Archaeology & Experiment: Moving beyond the artifacts (papers)
Experimental archaeology moves beyond the artifacts, allowing researchers to examine the underlying question of "how" related to artifact finds.  Ideally, experiments can provide a preliminary answer to the question "Does this theory of how it was done actually work". A keystone of experimental archaeology (and a differentiator from reenactment/recreation) is that it follows the scientific method of question, setup, and result - whether that result is positive or negative.  Presentations in this session will be expected to review all three key elements in the discussion of their paper.  Papers submitted for these sessions would be good candidates for publication in the EXARC Journal.

Archaeology Unearthed: Hands on history demonstrations
 Many literary scholars see history in isolation from the artifacts and processes of the period under study. Adding a demonstration of techniques and technologies that have been understood or reproduced using Experimental Archaeological methods allows attendees of ICMS to enhance their appreciation of the underlying artifacts and technologies.  This session will showcase 2-4 technologies allowing session attendees to circulate among the demonstrations and discuss them with the presenters. 

If you would like to present in either session please reach out to Neil to discuss the topics....

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Snorri at ICMS-14

a bit dated...
At one of many evening open bar receptions...

Helping in the Wareham Forge sales booth.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

DARC at UCV - this weekend!

DARC at Upper Canada Village Medieval Festival

Saturday June 7
Sunday June 8
Monday June 9 (Education Day)

Morrisburg, Ontario

The Dark Ages Re-Creation Company will be mounting a presentation of daily life / life of the artisan during the Viking Age as part of the larger Medieval Festival at Upper Canada Village this weekend.

The core of the DARC living history presentation will be two complete 'camp' set ups, illustrating aspects of daily life, including domestic tasks centred on food preparation. Additionally, there will be four primary working artisan demonstrations ongoing :
Textiles (spinning / weaving / related fibre arts)
Glass Bead Making
Green Woodworking (spring pole lathe)

Images above from DARC's 2013 presentation

 Event Web Site

Official Press Release

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Activities for Young Norse - One

1a. Activities for 5 years olds
    Posted by:  rosie5823 to the Norsefolk discussion group
    Date: Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:19 pm ((PST))

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what activities would be suitable (and safe) for 5 years old boys to do whilst in costume?
DARC has had a fair amount of experience with public demonstrations. We 
centre on daily life and the craftsman, and also are using both full 
role playing (floating interpretive level presentation of characters and viewpoints), and fairly high authenticity standards. 

Kadja & Unn - Norstead 2000
One of the single most engrossing activities for younger visitors has related to water. We are well equipped with cooperage. A major task in any 'working' day is hauling water, for which we have a couple of yokes and lots of buckets and pails.

One of our team interprets the character of a 'household slave', and she undertakes a number of tasks related to this every presentation day. Gathering a bunch of kids to 'help' bring water from source back into camp always works well. We have a number of both pails and buckets with wooden lids that keeps water in the container, rather than on the carrier.

Volunteer Helper - L'Anse aux Meadows 2010

Related to that is washing up. We have a large tub especially for this. Three primary tasks : washing the dishes after meals, washing selected clothing, washing fleece as part of the textile preparation series.
Kadja - L'Anse aux Meadows 2012
Kids love to play in water - and the whole series of getting the water, doing the task, dumping the waste water - all re-enforces how much raw labour is required for the simplest task.

There are images related to all this on the DARC web site. Check the various museum presentation descriptions, especially at L'Anse aux Meadows for Parks Canada.

First image - Darrell Markewitz, Remainder by Paul Halsz

Friday, November 29, 2013

'Tell me EVERYTHING...'

 A re-post from 'Hammered Out Bits

This in response to a recent comment from 'Anonymous', or any others who :

a) are too lazy to follow the included links to the large amounts of research information freely available on the DARC web site.

b) take the 'tell me everything' approach. 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Teach me to make swords"

(I absolutely howled!)

A day in the life of a custom sword maker.

This is based on actual questions and comments I have received. The comments range from innocently misguided, through ignorant, to downright rude. They are presented here as if they all came from the same individual who becomes increasingly tiresome to deal with.

If you see yourself in the early part of the vid, don't feel bad, you are probably a well meaning if slightly confused individual.
If you see yourself toward the middle of the video, you may need to get a better understanding of how the world works. Put down the game controller and pick up a book once in a while. Maybe go outside.
If you see yourself toward the end of the video, you need counseling as your social skills are on par with those of a badger.

 I try not to do this kind of thing too often (re-post something seen on Facebook that is from YouTube). But this was just WAY too good not to pass along. I expect many of my fellow blacksmiths will also howl with laughter (and recognize the conversation!). Most of my readers here will also be highly amused...