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Thursday, December 27, 2007

FINAL CALL FOR PAPERS (Please forward and circulate)


This is to announce, and is a call for papers to be presented at, the
3rd Annual Symposium of the Friends of the Mediaeval Studies Society
of the Royal Ontario Museum (FMSS-ROM), on Sunday 30TH MARCH, 2008
(problems with booking the ROM theatre around Easter and March Break
have rather caused problems with finalizing the date).

The FMSS-ROM is an association of ROM members and individuals that
are professionally involved with the mediaeval period. This one day
series of talks represents the continuation of what was a very
successful symposium last year, and which promises to be the
beginnings of a long tradition in Toronto. Ten speakers will talk on
various aspects of the Mediaeval world, including archaeology,
history, culture, and art. The nature of the talks will be scholarly,
but accessible to non-specialists. Chronologically, the scope of the
society, and of the symposium, runs from the late classical world
leading up to mediaeval times, and encompasses the Renaissance at
the end. Geographically it crosses the Old World from Europe to Asia
and Africa, having a general interest in the Age of the Stirrup
wherever it occurs.

The FMSS-ROM invites all scholars to submit proposals for papers to
be given at this symposium. The deadline is JANUARY 30th 2008, and
the proposals should eventually comprise a single page comprising
your name, contact address, affiliation, and an abstract of the
paper; but if you are pressed for time a title and a rough idea what
you want to speak about may get you a spot. The Symposium papers
will be presented on SUNDAY, 30TH MARCH, 2008. Proposed papers can
deal with any subject in the broad remit of the FMSS-ROM.
Presentations cannot be longer than 25 minutes in length and must be
illustrated by digital presentation. A vetting process will be used
to select papers, which will be chosen on merit and also to provide
recognition of scope of the FMSS-ROM.

The location for the FMSS-ROM Symposium will be in the Royal Ontario
Museum Theatre, 100 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto. The event will
take place from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

It is proposed that there will be an attempt to put together a
proceedings, bringing together papers from the first three symposia,
so presentation of materials for which the author has publication
rights would be particularly appropriate.

Participation in the symposium is free to speakers and those
accompanying them. Entry fee for non-speakers will be around $70,
and will be used entirely to support the event, with any surplus
going to the FMSS-ROM.

All paper proposals and enquiries should be sent to Robert Mason at

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Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 Experimental Overviews Available

(duplicate of post from 'Hammered Out Bits')

I have been plugging away over the last week taking the various raw data from the 2007 smelt season and getting it formated up for publication on the web site.

First - I have added the 'short form' overview to the series. The new 2007 information (with representative image) can be now seen at:

Second - Working ahead to the research that is planned for this winter, I have taken all our past data and put all the (currently) significant variables into one huge table. This is a bit of a pain to view because of the large number of elements listed for each smelt. It does relate details on furnace, ore, charcoal, process and results.

Neil is also currently in the process of re-designing the entire DARC web site, using a new layout that I think everyone will see as a great improvement when he has finished.

One thing you will see on comparing the two lists of experiments: In the past there had been some confusion over numbering. To the end of 2007, I make my own count at 28 smelts. I include in this all those that I felt I undertook a significant role. Just what 'significant' means is largely in the eye of the beholder. I have actually been at least marginally involved in a number of other smelts - those were I was more of an observer than active participant. This includes those where Lee and Skip were conducting the action.
I have always tried to distinguish clearly between the DARC series of smelts as being those where DARC resources in terms of manpower and raw materials have driven the experiment. For that reason I have not considered the 2005 OABA sponsored smelt at Wareham as part of the DARC series for example. This even though Neil was actually one of the team participating, with Ken Cook as lead charcoal monkey.
So my definitive list of smelt experiments lists DARC has undertook a total of 13 experimental smelts. Members of the group (Gus / Kevin / Dave / Darrell) also traveled to Virginia in 2002 to observe Skip and Lee at a public demonstration, but although we did participate with some grunt work on that smelt, it is not counted as part of the series.



Friday, December 21, 2007

* Tentative * Dates for 2008

The following dates are under consideration for events over 2008.
Most of the workshop type activities take place at Wareham - those dates are planned against the other activities of Wareham Forge.

March 1 - 9 : Smeltfest, Lexington Virginia (invitational only)

April 5 : Forward into the Past, Kitchener Ontario / many DARC instructors

May 24 - 25 : Workshop & Smelt Prep, Wareham Ontario

June 14 - 15 : Spring Smelt & Bead workshop, Wareham Ontario / normally camp too

June 28 - 30 : DARC camp at Ealdormere War, Oshawa Ontario

August 29 - 1 : DARC camp at Barron's Howe, Bonfield Ontario / possible smelt

September 12 - 15 : Vikings Return Again (museum demo), Bristol Rhode Island / team

October 10 - 13 : Early Iron 4 OR Thanksgiving Smelt, unknown USA OR Wareham

November 8 - 9 : Fall Smelt, Wareham Ontario

As with all DARC activities, most of these are private events with limited space for non member observers. However, if you are interested in attending an event, please contact



Thursday, December 6, 2007

'Gangue aux Fer' on Early Iron

Expedition Magazine

University of Pennsylvania Museum

3260 South Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6324

Tel: (215) 898-4124

Fax: (215) 573-2497

Volume 49,
Number 3

Winter 2007


in Experimental Smelting--Iron the Old-fashioned Way

Elizabeth G. Hamilton

Elizabeth is one of the consistent participants in the EARLY IRON series of symposiums. At Early Iron 3 (2006) she interviewed Lee, Skip, Mike and myself. This article is the result. The link will give you a direct download of the article as a PDF.


      Updated: 4 Dec, 2007
Text © Dark Ages Recreation Company, 2007
Photographs © Individual artists
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