[Sca-cooks] Images of Dining in Ireland 1581

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Tue Aug 22 04:45:33 PDT 2006

On Aug 22, 2006, at 5:36 AM, Huette von Ahrens wrote:

> --- Susan Fox <selene at earthlink.net> wrote:
>> Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise wrote:
>>>> Well, we've talked about this pretty extensively, but mostly,  
>>>> AFAIK,
>>>> from within the dread, murky realm of "archaeological
>>>> evidence" (which is usually a SCAdian euphemism for no
>>>> documentation ;-)  ).
>>> Whereas, bizarrely, in the real world, the "archaeological  
>>> evidence" dug
>>> up out of the ground is considered rather more reliable than textual
>>> evidence.
>> Tell me about it.  This is the age where Reliable Sources taught  
>> that a
>> giraffe was a cross between a camel and a leopard.  Give me
>> archaeological evidence any day.  People lie, dirt does not.
>> Selene
> And just the other day, someone was looking at a museum site in  
> Egypt, which
> had a item which was labeled "a small ceremonial mace" which was in  
> fact a
> drop spindle...  So sometimes archeologists can be clueless also.

This can happen to anyone working outside of their field (and  
sometimes in it, I guess), as with the pattern-welded Viking sword  
the Metropolitan Museum of Art guys say is inlaid, and, conversely,  
when a well-known manuscript specialist notes that a period recipe's  
instruction to take a pen and blow air into the neck of a capon to  
separate the skin from the flesh, may mean to baste it with a  
feather. Well, okay, that's an oversimplification, but it happens all  
the time, not just to archaeologists, and sometimes common sense  
needs to override an expensive education.

However, what I've been talking about all this time has been in no  
way an indictment of relying on physical versus textual/graphical  
evidence to understand how people of the past lived: a conscientious  
scholar uses both. My concern was for instances of people saying  
things like, "Oh, I don't pay any attention to the recipes... I'd  
rather work from the archaeological evidence," -- and then proceeding  
not to do so. I think we get a little more of that in the SCA than we  
do of people citing fake quotes from an imaginary MS Kaflooey 2346.  
Although I'm sure that has happened, too.


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