Wulfheodenas’ are a living history society who seek to recreate the military aristocracy, their warrior retinues and the meadhall culture of the 6-7th Century Early Anglo-Saxons and their contemporary Northern European cultures. ‘Wulfheodenas’ is the Old English equivalent of the Old Norse ‘ulfheðna’r meaning ‘wolf-coats’. Our emblem is derived from a pressblech foil from Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire. The foil depicts a weapon bearing wolf headed warrior and is one of a small corpus of similarly executed figures known from Northern Europe.
The key to our approach of living history as an educational and consciousness-raising tool is the imperative to pursue the highest standards in accuracy of clothing and equipment in the reproduction of existing assemblages, coupled with the use of iconographic and archaeological evidence drawn from the English, Continental (Merovingian) and Scandinavian (Vendel) material. Our faithful recreations of documented grave assemblages and artifacts may include weapons and armour, tableware and feasting gear, personal items and musical instruments extending to the detailed reconstruction of costume and other items required for daily living. The assemblages that we choose to replicate are chosen for their strong qualities of visual appeal, their high level of craftsmanship and their contribution to our knowledge of the material culture and ethos of the societies which produced them.
Wulfheodenas make no claims to being wholly ‘authentic’ as we believe our excursions into history are an exercise in applied imperfection unavoidable with the gaps in present academic knowledge and many questions remain unanswered, but we do hold that the principal aims of serious living history is an attempt to ‘get it right’, in the full awareness that what may be considered ‘right’ one month may be considerably modified by new research and finds the next, although a conscientious reconstruction of an object, one that you can use, abuse and repair, wear and carry around, can be very instructive and helps illuminate our understanding of those that we seek to recreate. Wulfheodenas continues with plans for further reconstructions of Early Anglo-Saxon and Vendel Period finds, assemblages which will illustrate the early Anglo-Saxons’ cultural links with the wider world.
The project’s interests and wide network of contacts have taken members to events in France, Germany and Poland and invitations to Scandinavia and beyond. At home Wulfheodenas members can often be seen at the larger multi-period living history festivals and events at museums and other exhibit centre’s intimately linked with our period of interest.
Together we are bringing to life the environment which the mythical Beowulf himself would recognize, the era of the Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard’s princely treasures, and exploring the cultural heritage of that exciting time when the Christian church and the heathen gods contended for the souls of the English and the North Sea communities themselves.
Visit our website at www.wulfheodenas.com