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International living history standards
#1
Inspired by an article Dr. Prof. Jon Coulston commented upon (http://blog.pennlive.com/gettysburg-150/...ments.html) and after talking to him about it, I've started inquiring about a broad cooperative academic framework that would involve the level of accuracy the US National Park Service looks for in their living history volunteers, as opposed to the average reenactor. 
Since there aren't any two reenactors in any time period who willingly agree on anything, the notion occurs to me to seek an independent third party accreditation which can set  standards for awarding academic credits: the one international organization that pops up first is the Internatiional Baccalaureate.
I have been talking with Ratna Drost of Archeon, as well as the EXARC folks, and she suggested using the manual Archeon has:

http://openarch.eu/files/2015-12-18_inte...web_a4.pdf

It would not mean that any particular living history / reenactor would have to change, but to achieve a level of accreditation required to give students academic IB credit, they would have to meet that particular criteria, both in verbal and visual presentation. Dr. Coulston feels reenactors have a lot to offer, and if academics felt they could guide/influence the curricula they might be more inclined to participate. It might also recruit (this is a big one) new people who agree with the standards.


(Ok, it might also mean the end of vambraces since no academic would support it, but a particular group would not have to eliminate them: they just would not be able to give credit, and schools might avoid them).
Richard Campbell
Legio XX - Alexandria, Virginia
RAT member #6?
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#2
I think this is a bridge too far. Reenacting is and will foremost remain a hobby. People should get into their stuff but not everybody in a group should have the same deep level of knowledge as far I'm concerned.
Academics might work with us and they might not work with us. Due to the level of some studies perporfmed by renactors of the past ecade I think they should consider that anyway, but that level is imposible to reach for everybody in this field. Even more so, I don't think we should aim to get it that high.

Vambraces wil not disappear - even if all reenactors would pas an 'exam' and reach 'acceptable' levels, Hollywood would still do their own thing. Wink
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#3
Not everybody should have deep knowledge but someone in a group has to.
Plus, if you are in reanacting some time, you will get that knowlege finally.

You know already that I like put the stick into an anthill so I cannot agree that it is "just hobby".
If I like fishing, do I just get a stick, wrap line around it, get some random bug from a ground and go fishing? Probably not. Most likely I will ask for advices, look for proper rod for begginers and as the years go by, I will slowly upgrade my stuff, my rod, baits etc. And finally I will the one who will be asked for advices.

Same thing with reanacting. One step at the time. Yet it is completly incomprehensible for me why people don't act in reanacting like in normal life. So we end up with reanactor with scratched shield, spear and mail as a guards with.... Berkasovo. I already saw such picutre. It does not fit (not to mention ugly india berkasovo). Do I wear suit-jacket to shorts and snickers? Definetly not. So why would I wear Berkasovo with poor (but good looking) guard stuff?

Bracers... This is beyond my mind. It's like we know that erath isnt flat but some people still say it is. I just don't get it.

Of course. No one ever will achieve 100% authenticity but bracers or leather armors are just unacceptable in roman reanacting world.
It's like "I have driving license" and then I'm driving 3rd gear at 80km/h becasue "I can".

If there is something we can accept, what is not historical, it is something we can't skip, like steel. Romans had used iron. Their "steel" was mostly side effect or forging. Spathas had had less than 1% carbon. Now, who's gonna find iron plate or ingot today? No one. That's why swords, armors and other stuff are made from steel, not carbonized iron and this is acceptable. But bracers, pressed helmets, not even slighlest knowledge about what are you doing is unacceptable imo.
Damian
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#4
I just like dressing up in armour and wearing a sword and helmet.
Andy Ross

"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference"
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#5
Well, then you are not reanactor becasue reanactment is more than wearing stuff.

If I dress up like a ballerina I won't become one.
If I dress up like a doctor I won't become one.

etc...
etc..
etc.
Damian
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#6
There are all different levels of reenactors and living historians. What I am suggesting is that to be at the level where you can confer academic credit, you would have to adhere to a certain standard set by folks like academics and educators. There is no slight to hobbyists, but as the article on the US Civil War points out, the US National Park Service makes a distinction between who does reenacting and who gets to talk to the public.
Richard Campbell
Legio XX - Alexandria, Virginia
RAT member #6?
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#7
(07-17-2016, 09:33 PM)Damianus Albus Wrote: Well, then you are not reanactor becasue reanactment is more than wearing stuff.
If I dress up like a ballerina I won't become one.
If I dress up like a doctor I won't become one.

Hello Damian,

You can be a reenactor just by putting on a costume. Why not? If that costume adheres to some standards acceptable to most reenactors (we're not talking about a fancy dress party of course), than that person is as much a reenactor as someone with a university degree who can holds his own in a discussion with a professor in archaeology. These reenactors just have different roles to play. I know several very knowledgeable reenactors who can't speak in public. 

I can't make a fire on my own. Some called me mannequin because of that. Many call 'living history' far different from reenacting beause in their opinion it's far less challenging than sleeping rough for a week. Or something like that. But in the end, the point is that there are no standards by which we call some people reenactors and we exclude others. 

You want to put the bar higher? Good for you! Get the best out of yourself and your group, and dazzle us all. But no need to look down on others because they don't want/can't to put in as much energy/money as you are prepared to do. You say you cannot understand that. That's OK. Just please dont think less of those you can't understand. Remember that you are speaking for yourself.

(07-17-2016, 09:47 PM)richsc Wrote: There are all different levels of reenactors and living historians. What I am suggesting is that to be at the level where you can confer academic credit, you would have to adhere to a certain standard set by folks like academics and educators. There is no slight to hobbyists, but as the article on the US Civil War points out, the US National Park Service makes a distinction between who does reenacting and who gets to talk to the public.

Agreed, but that would mean that you can talk to them individually as well. No need for the whole group to reach educational level, for sure?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#8
Certainly Robert. To reenact you don't have to have indepth knowledge. But there is an example in the US: a "Greek" group called the Myrmidions who wear all black vaguely hoplite outfits with modern sandals, etc. There is nothing stopping them from parading but if there was some research based standard the more authentic living history folks could point that out to event organizers.
Richard Campbell
Legio XX - Alexandria, Virginia
RAT member #6?
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#9
(07-20-2016, 04:20 PM)richsc Wrote: Certainly Robert. To reenact you don't have to have indepth knowledge. But there is an example in the US: a "Greek" group called the Myrmidions who wear all black vaguely hoplite outfits with modern sandals, etc. There is nothing stopping them from parading but if there was some research based standard the more authentic living history folks could point that out to event organizers.

Of course you have bad groups. Can't be helped. But I don't include them in my description of wearing a 'costume [that] adheres to some standards acceptable to most reenactors'. There is a fine line between a fancy dress costume and a bad reenacting group. But refusing to use sources puts you in the first category, surely?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#10
(07-20-2016, 03:40 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: Hello Damian,

You can be a reenactor just by putting on a costume. Why not?

If I dress up like a ballerina, will I be one? No, becasue I don't know how to dance.

If I dress up like a greece hoplite, will I be greece reanactor? Of course not because I have no idea about Greece military equipment or archeology.

Or if I dress up like a car engineer and people will come to me to fix car but I have no clue what to do (yet people pay me for this, just like they pay reanactors to show up)

In my dictioniary, reanacting is way more than "wearing costume". You have to have some knowledge. Not anything special from archeology but you at least need to know what kind of equipment you are using.

Imagine you are on some event and someone asks you abiut your gear.
What helmet is this?
Why you have short swords not long?
Why you have mail/segmentata?


etc... etc...

You must be able to answer such questions. It's a most basic knowledge you expect from reanactor. Can you imagine reanactor who doesn't know what equipment he has or anything about period he reanacts?

About the money - money is the smallest problem here. It's about your attitude. People want everything of the shell. What's the problem with making character for years? You have only 500$? Good. Get ncie shoes, tunic etc. Next year you will have another 500$ and you will upgrade yourself. Maybe sword, maybe armor.
Damian
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#11
The terms confuse me - "re-enactment", "living history", perhaps "reconstruction"...

My question is when you are "re-enacting" what past event are you acting out? Merely displaying homemade interpretations of ancient objects, answering questions, eating, standing around, hurling pointy objects at bales of hay doesn't seem like any kind of re-enactment...

What am I missing..?

(For the record, I've never participated in one of these events...)
Regards, David
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#12
The terms are used interchangeably, though to me "reenactment" means recreating some historical event and 'living history' means interacting with the public for educational purposes, but they get confused all the time. Try describing yourself as a 'living historian' and you get blank stares. Reenactor seems to click with people.
Richard Campbell
Legio XX - Alexandria, Virginia
RAT member #6?
Reply
#13
(07-20-2016, 04:38 PM)Damianus Albus Wrote: If I dress up like a ballerina, will I be one? No, becasue I don't know how to dance.
If I dress up like a greece hoplite, will I be greece reanactor? Of course not because I have no idea about Greece military equipment or archeology.
Or if I dress up like a car engineer and people will come to me to fix car but I have no clue what to do (yet people pay me for this, just like they pay reanactors to show up)

You are making the wrong comparisons.
If you dress up as a Roman, you're not a Roman. But you can be a reenactor. I wrote the reasons for that above.

(07-20-2016, 04:38 PM)Damianus Albus Wrote: In my dictioniary, reanacting is way more than "wearing costume". You have to have some knowledge. Not anything special from archeology but you at least need to know what kind of equipment you are using.


Agreed. So? That's not really the point here is it? If someone wants to dress up in a carnival costume, he's not a reenactor. Noboidy claims that. But some reenactors don't want interaction with the public, just to dress up and play with swords. It does not mean they don't know anything.

(07-20-2016, 04:38 PM)Damianus Albus Wrote: About the money - money is the smallest problem here. It's about your attitude. People want everything of the shell. What's the problem with making character for years? You have only 500$? Good. Get ncie shoes, tunic etc. Next year you will have another 500$ and you will upgrade yourself. Maybe sword, maybe armor.

Agreed. But it's also your attitude Damian. If people want to spend that money on cheap stuff, that does not make them unfit to be a reenactor. Your standards are not the only standards.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#14
I concur with you Robert  Smile
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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#15
(07-23-2016, 05:24 PM)JoeSmoe69 Wrote: The terms confuse me - "re-enactment", "living history", perhaps "reconstruction"...

My question is when you are "re-enacting" what past event are you acting out? Merely displaying homemade interpretations of ancient objects, answering questions, eating, standing around, hurling pointy objects at bales of hay doesn't seem like any kind of re-enactment...

What am I missing..?

(For the record, I've never participated in one of these events...)

In my opinion, which I am basing on a lot of the discussions about this topic in my country, as well as some conferences and panels about the subject, there can be made a distinction. This distinction however is solely for the participants, as visitors/guests need not be bothered with the semantics.

Re-enactment refers to the act of 're-enacting' the past. You dress up the way they used to, and possibly (but not necessarily) also practise some ancient crafts. 'Living History' can be then used to denote the level of authenticity. The living history community in the Netherlands prides itself on not using anything modern at events. Once you hit the grounds, no modern underwear, no modern food, no cellphones or electricity. The fabrics must be as close to the originals as possible (hand woven rather than machine).

I myself consider myself re-enactor. My opinion is that your level of authenticity, as well as the level of dedication and knowledge should depend on your goals. If you are doing it for your own pleasure in a group, make your own rules.

If the group (or person) focusses on displaying the past for an audience, make sure that the image is correct. Visitors should be able to look at a live scene and be correct in assuming that it could have looked that way in the past. The same goes for education; while re-enacting you should be able to convey correct information about the past. In my opinion, the look must be correct, and the knowledge must be correct.

If you are conducting experiments or want to experience the past fully, then you should focus on wearing hand-woven fabrics etc.

I always imagine the image a 7 year old kid will see; he will not care if your tunic is 100% wool, or a modern wool blend, as long as the color, shape and fit are correct. If they then are interested in the materials, one should be honest and tell them what was correct in the past.

Of course I can elaborate on this subject, but this is my two cents.

Re-enactment has different goals (own entertainment, show, education, others entertainment), and the knowledge level should match the goal.
Joerie van Sister
Carpe Diem
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