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A conference that looks like great fun: Dancing with Death: Warfare, Wounds and Disease in the Middle Ages . It is being held October 20th to 22nd at the California University of Pennsylvania, northeast of Pittsburgh, is free, and is not only open to the public but aimed at a general audience, and includes horses and fencing demonstrations. The description I got reads:

Highlights of this series of events include two talks by Cambridge University professor, paleopathologist, and practicing surgeon Piers Mitchell; an overview of medieval military history by the foremost historian of crusade military history, John France (University of Wales-Swansea); a debate over the effectiveness of the medieval longbow by medieval military historians Kelly DeVries (Loyola University-Maryland) and Clifford R. Rogers (US Military Academy, West Point); a talk on trauma to casualties after the battle of Towton (1461) in England, by Anthea Boylston (University of Leeds); a talk on palaeopathology in Asia by Christine Lee (Beijing University), who has just been named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer; and a discussion of violence and trauma in literature by Anthony Adams (Brown University).

In addition, there will be displays of Friesian horses (the closest living representative of the medieval warhorse); demonstrations of historically accurate fencing and combat by John Lennox and Steve Huff, internationally renowned experts in the field whose work has been seen in film and on stage; a book signing; and receptions in which the public can meet and talk to the speakers.

The final event is a performance of the first part of “Beowulf” by internationally-acclaimed early music specialist Benjamin Bagby. Mr. Bagby, who was a co-founder of the early music group Sequentia, will also offer a workshop in “Beowulf.”

All events are free, open to the public, and intended for general audiences.

For more information, contact the organizer, Paul Crawford, at crawford [underline]p[at sign]calu[period]edu. He is the editor and translator of The Templar of Tyre: Part III of the ‘Deeds of the Cypriots’ (Crusade Texts in Translation) as well as an assistant professor of ancient and medieval history at the university.

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