The Huscarls is a Living History group, re-enacting the life and times of western Europe from the late Dark Ages (also known as the Viking Age, or Early Medieval), approximately 800AD to 1070AD; a member group of the Australian Living History Federation.
We have named ourselves after the elite bodyguard of the Anglo-Saxon king, consisting of wealthy lords and highly respected soldiers. The word comes from "House Carls", a name given to household servants in Scandinavia originally but adopted in England to mean revered royal soldiers.
Throughout our membership, based in Australia and the UK, we strive to faithfully and accurately recreate life from a thousand years ago, in what is now Scandinavia, Britain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Baltic region. Through extensive and ongoing research (including "experimental archaeology"), the Huscarls are about a hands-on approach to learning about a vanished age, demystifying the period and bringing light to the Dark Ages.
Amongst ourselves, we conduct weekend camps, workshops and combat training days. We also keep in touch via an online forum, which is vital given how widespread our membership is. Through displays and re-enactments, members are provided with an opportunity to exhibit their efforts to non members and the public. The Huscarls have conducted talks at schools, sponsored events, medieval fairs, and carnivals. The Huscarls have also been actively involved in media events, institutional promotions and other public liaison activities.
With an emphasis on authenticity, our members strive to achieve the highest levels of accuracy in all our equipment, clothing and kit, basing our information from thoroughly researched material, documentation and - wherever possible - actual artefacts. With the club Library and Museum to hand, this goal is something members continually strive for.
Of course no depiction of the Dark Ages is complete without combat. The Huscarls train in combat techniques from the period, using as close to accurate equipment, the biggest difference being our weaponry is blunted to ALHF standards (and we don't actually literally try to kill our opponents). Combat training is conducted in a thoroughly safe manner as befits any martial art, using techniques developed during the Middle Ages and used throughout Western Europe. Members under 16 are encouraged to train but are not permitted on the field of combat.
Activities many members enjoy include: combat, carpentry (using period tools), sewing, blacksmithing, cooking, literature, jewellery (making and wearing), leatherwork, carving (wood, antler, bone, leather), weaving, sewing, embroidery, pottery, brewing, all culminating in period camps where there is much feasting, drinking, music and singing.