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Sunday, March 21, 2010

DARC at Forward Into the Past

Saturday March 27, Laurier University, Waterloo Ontario
FITP web site

If I have this correct from the schedule, these are the classes being taught by / or of special interest to, those studying the Viking Age.

* indicates those classes being taught by DARC folks who are going to L'Anse Aux Meadows in August 2010

9:00 AM
(Keynote) Out on the town in 10th century Reykajvik, a survey of jewelry dress and textiles in early Iceland

10:30 AM
Intermediate Glass Beads "The fancy stuff"

Pottery: An experimental early-period Pit Fire *

Introduction to Tablet Weaving *

Norse Sagas - the Bloody, Bawdy and Bizarre * (which right now is the single highest registration)

11:30 AM
Viking Navigation Techniques

Introduction to Fibre Prep for Spinning

Bead Production in Scandinavia: converting archaeological evidence to a practical method *

Feet firmly in the past – Shoes from the Viking Age 800 – 1050 *

Meaningful Scratches *

1:00 PM
Viking Combat Demonstration

Treasure Necklaces

Warp Weighted loom - a Hands-On Introduction *

Iron Smelting in Vinland: converting archaeological evidence to a practical method *

2:00 PM
Building the Coppergate Helm

Bone Carving *

Tablet Woven Artefacts *

3:00 PM
Iceland - Geography and Museums *

Introduction to Drop Spinning

Norse Music *

Flint and Steel Fire Striking

Classes on Interpretive method

11:30 AM
Not Just Costume - Reenactors as serious historians

2:00 PM
Habits of mind; How tools affect thinking

3:00 PM
The importance of excellence in material culture

4:00 PM
The Importance of Excellence in Material Culture

Setting the Scene: Interpretive Methods for Living History *

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pit Fire Pottery 1

Icelandic Althing Event, September 2009

Kary's project, with contributed pots by the group.

Some images of the extraction and the results.
All shot by Jo - on my camera.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

DARC at Bonfield

Some images from 'Viking Hill' at Bonfield over Labour Day, 2009. Most of these images were taken Monday morning, after a couple of days of late nights and reduced sleep (!)

Washing Up

What time is it?

Þórgrímr & visitor (Aelswitha)

Auðr and Kaðlín





Images by Darrell Markewitz


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Norse Camp in Panorama

All taken at Bonfield, September 7, 2009 - A few modern elements (outside our camp !) were cropped out. In this case I don't think anyone really shows clearly enough to really identify (without knowing them anyway).
Images by Darrell Markewitz


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Trade Like the Norse - Coins and Currency at the Althing

The following will be of most interest to those attending the 'Icelanding Althing' event being held September 26 near Orono ON.

Although the Icelandic Althing was centred on legal maters, any time a lot of people gather together is a chance for other activities - trade among them. Although a certain amount of barter was still taking place, one of the aspects of the Viking Age was the increased use of sliver based coinage as the means of exchange. Although the Anglo Saxon Silver Penny was closer to 1.5 gm total weight, the years of 'Danegeld' had lowered their silver content to closer to 50%.

The Norse system of measures is based on the following, (the values are converted to grams of pure silver):

1 peningar = about .78 gms silver

1 eyrir = 30 peningar
about 24 gms silver = cost of 6 ells (yards) of wadmal (wool cloth)

1 mark = 240 peningar or 8 eyrir
about 200 gms silver

Although the Anglo Saxon Silver Penny is closer to 1.5 gm total weight, the years of 'Danegeld' had lowered their silver content to closer to 50%.

In the spirit of the Althing, a set of trade tokens will be available as exchange at the Althing. These are backed by Master Sylard (and the Wareham Forge).

LEFT to RIGHT (life size)

Pewter Ingot - trade amount $10 ( 45 gm)

Silver Pennies - trade amount $5 (.75 gm = 1 penningar)

Pewter Token Bar - trade amount $1 (15 gm = 1/2 eyrir)

The INGOT shows 'Wolves and Cattle' on a thick oval surrounded by line and dot pattern. It was intended to be used as a guard for a knife (cut a slot to fit the blade). No specific historic prototype, never released to the public.

The PENNIES are the two replica coins issued by the Wareham Forge, artifact sizes and weights, made of 99 % fine silver. Sometimes called 'Silver Sylards' - a detailed description at:

The TOKEN is slightly modified from the event token used at the original Althing, years ago. It's shape is taken from a small whetstone, and has the figure of a Norseman - and original design.


Modern currency can be converted into any of these trade tokens either at the Admittance Troll or at my demonstration of coin minting inside the DARC market encampment. You will in effect be PURCHASING these tokens.

At the end of the day I will happily REFUND the full purchase amount against any of the tokens returned to me for exchange.

Merchants may also 'buy in' by purchasing extra token to act as 'change'. These may also be exchanged for full refund at the end of the event.*


1) I will make myself available for refund exchanges :
Saturday September 26 - until * 10 PM * (after that I'm likely to be in bed)
Sunday September 27 - from 9 AM to 12 Noon

2) The pewter INGOT and TOKEN have no refund value AFTER Sunday September 27.

3) The silver PENNIES remain the standard 'gift certificate' for the Wareham Forge. They may be returned against goods in to the future at their $5 trade value.

4) Only full, unaltered tokens are ellidgable for refunds. (If you cut a token to make 'small change', the pieces can not be refunded.)

* 5) Merchants ONLY can make special arrangements to exchange collected tokens for a LIMITED PERIOD (two weeks) after the event. Please contact me directly ( to make arrangements.

(Cross Posted from Hammered Out Bits - Darrell)

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Coffee Time at Trillium Wars

Just in case you thought all that happens in a DARC camp is all serious and historic:

This is Kettil first thing in the morning before he has had his coffee.This is Au∂r first thing in the morning before she has had her coffee.Or more just like she is just getting her coffee. Can't have Einarsson camp coffee without whipped cream. Can't have whipped cream without a cherry on top (in this case a small strawberry - '..we have to make some concessions for being at the front..') Note spot of whipped cream on the nose.

DARC historic camp rules have been carefully crafted so that we can all have our much needed camp coffee in the mornings.



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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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



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