The Mästermyr Project

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An effort by the members of TheForge


In 1936 on an island off the coast of Sweden a farmer plowing a recently drained swampland was stopped by something buried in the ground. He found his plowshare entangled in an old chain. As he dug deeper he found the chain wrapped around a chest that contained many old tools. Subsequent investigation by Sweden's archaeologists revealed that it was a tool chest from the Viking era of about 10 centuries ago. They were blacksmiths and carpenters tools over 1000 years old!

It has been the goal of the Mastermyr team to accurately recreate the artifacts of the Find in the interest of investigating ancient manufacturing methods and providing an exhibit for the purpose of public education. In addition, the Mastermyr Project is partly intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of theforge (ABANA's blacksmith-related mailing list) as a viable instrument for supporting and furthering the goals and interests of ABANA, and presenting blacksmithing as an ancient craft of profound significance to nearly all world cultures past and present.

The project members are an association of volunteer blacksmiths, from the United States and Canada who communicate on theforge. Each participating smith reproduced one or more of the included items. The work was to be completed by January 2002. Predictably, life did it's thing and we had items going out the door literally at the last minute, which in and of itself served to lend an element of excitement as the initial phase of the project came to a resoundlingly successful conclusion.

ABANA provided the Mastermyr Project with its first public viewing during the 2002 conference in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. Please consider that this collection of recreated artifacts is especially appropriate given the long history of Scandinavian culture and tradition in this region of the United States. From all accounts, the collection met with enthusiastic praise from those who saw it. Kudos to Mr. Rob Fertner for bringing most of the items by car to the conference and helping to set up the display. Please see Mästermyr Progress Link for images of the reproductions as they appeared on display at the 2002 conference in LaCrosse. See the Mästermyr Smiths. for a list of the smiths who have participated and given their time and expertise to this project to date. And please bear in mind that we have as yet completed only about 45% of the reproductions. There are about 55 items left needing to be made. We welcome and encourage all smiths to belly up to the bar and give it their best. To those who helped make this effort a success, a heartfelt round of applause and thanks are in order. You have much to be proud of!

Images from the find can be viewed in the Mästermyr Images Library.

All Images and Catalog information are taken directly from the volume "THE MASTERMYR FIND, A Viking Age Tool Chest from Gotland", by Greta Arwidsson and Gösta Berg. Larson Publishing Company, Lompoc California, with permission. Our sincere appreciation and thanks are extended to Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien (The Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities), Stockholm, Sweden for their kind permission to post the photos and drawings from the book on this site. The volume is available from Larson Publishing for $19.95 post paid.

Larson Publishing Company
5426 E. Hwy 246
Lompoc CA 93436
mailto:larbooks@impulse.net

For detailed information, including basic dimensions of the items scheduled for reproduction, see the Catalog.

For a quick peek at some of our fine Mästermyr smiths, go to our Rogue's Gallery.      Meet Cheyenne the Wonder Dog, and Jack in his cape and tights!

For those wishing to read a truly disgusting piece of poorly written, slanted yellow journalism, please read "Weapons For Sale" by CBS News. We encourage you to read this article, get good and angry about it, and write to CBS and as many of their advertisers as possible. If we don't put an end to corporate lying, nobody will. If you find the contents of this article as intolerably disgusting as I do, please take a couple of minutes to write a paragraph expressing your displeasure with the hatchet job Ms. Fiandaca has done on Mr. Licata and ask that CBS make a very public apology and send Fiandaca to the unemployment line. Write a letter to the CEO, Les Moonves and let him know that you find this sort of thing to be intolerable and demand they come clean about it and make public apologies not only to Mr. Licata, but to the entire nation. Here are the two letters I wrote. The first one was to CBS News and the second to the CEO of CBS.

Letter to CBS News


Concerning your article on the wares of Mr. Licata of Garfield NJ, I must express my displeasure. The content and timbre of the article smacks of either sorrowful ignorance on the topic of such weaponry, or perhaps your Ms. Fiandaca has brought yellow journalism to an all-time new low. In either case, Ms. Fiandaca has left your organization appearing very foolish at best and disgustingly dishonest at worst. If I were her manager, I would fire her on the spot, print a front-page apology to the viewers and readers, and beg the forgiveness of Mr. Licata for allowing such incalculably flawed material to make it to press. I would then fire myself for having allowed such nonsense to be aired/printed and find strong cause to hang my head in abject shame for a long time to come.

The very fact that she failed to identify the quoted neighbors who were supposedly so set against Mr. Licata's business is basis enough to see to it that she join the ranks of the unemployed. I, for one, remained unconvinced that any such comments were made by anyone that could be considered his neighbors and would bet good money that were I to mount my own investigation into how this piece was put together that we would find that either no such persons exist or that Ms. Fiandaca primed them with misleading information in order to steer their opinions to a predetermined value.

I openly challenge CBS to revisit this story and investigate the manner in which the information was gathered and to determine just how honestly it was represented to the viewers.

This story was fraught with inaccuracies and innuendo and was almost completely devoid of any substantive truth. More disturbing still was Ms. Fiandaca's use of certain tacit assumptions including the ones that imply there is something wrong with producing and selling such articles and that they, in and of themselves, pose a danger to "the children". This latter is one of the oldest and most dishonest ploys in the book and you should all be hanging your heads low for utter shame that you allowed such unforgivable drivel to be published in what appears to be either a failure on CBS's part to discharge due diligence regarding accuracy in reporting, or the satisfaction of some profit motive, the interests of which strongly appear to be in diametrical opposition to the truth and thereby those of the general welfare of the public.

It will be interesting to see whether CBS is willing to face its responsibilities squarely and honestly or if you will shrink away from the truth in the manner of cowards and thieves. I am not a letter writer by any means, but the character of this report is so intolerably distasteful and rotten with misleading statements and perhaps even outright lies, that I was moved to bring it to your attention.

Nothing would please me more than to see you make amends by setting the record straight so I may be proven wrong in my suspicions that you lack the decency to speak truthfully, but I will not be holding my breath. I welcome a large plate of crow, which I will consume with a smiling countenance, should your organization prove to be up to the truth. If not, then you shall have earned my disdain and dismissal as bumbling fops and cheap liars whose character I will happily expose as opportunity permits.

I await your response.

-Andrew Vida

Letter to Les Moonves, CEO of CBS

Les Moonves, CEO CBS Inc. 51-T W. 52nd St. New York, NY 10019 Sunday, May 16, 2004 RE: Report on Steven Licata by Cheryl Fiandaca

Dear Mr. Moonves,

It is my displeasure to bring to your attention a report made by your Ms. Fiandaca about a business owned and operated by one Mr. Steven Licata of Garfield NJ. In her report, Ms. Fiandaca paints what appears to be a highly misleading characterization of Mr. Licata and his business. The report is fraught with innuendo, implying that Mr. Licata is engaging in illegitimate business and somehow endangering the community in which he resides. This report greatly impugns his personal character without providing so much as an iota of substance to support her implications. I have made my displeasure known to CBS News by email, a copy of which is enclosed for your information. I will further make it known to you that Ms. Fiandaca.s report has come to the attention of hundreds, if not over one thousand, blacksmiths and knife makers nation wide, and beyond. I am in contact with many of them and I can tell you that they have received this report with utter shock, dismay, and anger. CBS has managed to earn the derision and ire of many people with this publication and Ms. Fiandaca has managed to gravely injure the image of CBS. From the timbre of the responses I have seen thus far, CBS may experience some lingering negative effects of this unjust, inept, and apparently mal-intended report. Time will tell.

I find it hard to understand why a broadcasting company such as yours would be so irresponsible as to publish a report on a matter without fulfilling its obligation to due diligence in sufficiently researching the subject matter beforehand. Such ineptitude and negligence is to be expected of a small child, but not from a presumably well-trained professional journalist. The only other possible conclusion one can reasonably come to is that CBS knowingly allowed one of its agents to embark on a vicious tirade of character assassination against a man who is an artist and a craftsman running a perfectly legitimate business similar to those of hundreds of others across the United States. A rational and reasonable person may only guess at the motives for such inexcusable behavior and can only wonder whether it was intentional. Further damning your spokesperson is the fact that Mr. Licata also makes very fine musical instruments, yet nothing of this was mentioned. Asking why this might be so, a few answers that immediately make themselves painfully obvious are bias against Mr. Licata.s business, a depraved and callous disregard for his rights and welfare, and some agenda to purposefully bring him to personal harm. Yes Mr. Moonves, these are the questions that come into the minds of reasoning people when they see such inexplicably shabby treatment of individuals by billion dollar corporate entities such as CBS.

That CBS would publish a whining polemic against a man who minds his own business and harms nobody is bordering on the unforgivable and seriously calls into question the character and abilities of its staff from the CEO down to its janitors. The nature of the innuendo therein is so egregiously flawed and seemingly vicious as to defy the belief that it could have happened by accident. The fact that CBS has effectively acted as an instrument of the state by .exposing. him to local authorities brings deep suspicion to your doorstep. CBS has now demonstrated itself to be a .squealer,. broadcasting the indelible image of a large corporate entity that is not to be trusted in any way, or for any reason. I regret to inform you that CBS is no longer a credible entity.

Further damaging your image and driving credibility into the negative integer range is the fact that at least a dozen letters to CBS/Fiandaca were responded to with the precise same canned letter which I have also attached for your information. Had the letter been nothing more than an acknowledgement of receipt, I would see no problem with it; but that it contained what I can only term as fawning and disingenuously hyperbolic language, telling the recipient that their input is .incalculably valuable., only serves to make CBS look all the more foolish, insincere, and as if they are not to be trusted.

As if this was not enough, I will now address the issue of hypocrisy at CBS, which fairly well lays waste all but the barest thread of a hope for any redemption in the minds of intelligent adults. As your esteemed Ms. Fiandaca was busily going about the task of trying to set to ruin the business of an upstanding member of a New Jersey community with her baseless innuendo with which she paints a man as a somehow dangerous supplier of .deadly. weapons to an unspecified, yet similarly smeared clientele, CBS panders to the public fascination with violence by airing productions such as .Helter Skelter. and .Swordfish., to name but two of a seemingly endless torrent of mindlessly violent television productions. I would be very interested in knowing the justification for glorifying violence by airing it as commonly and wantonly as CBS does while from the other side of the corporate mouth you whine about it whilst damaging honest people in the process. How does CBS explain such behavior such that we, the public to whom you are bound by law to serve, will say back to you .yes that is perfectly reasonable and right.? I defy CBS to present such an explanation for review by your viewers.

Since the report I have been in contact with Mr. Licata, of whom I knew nothing beforehand. He seems an articulate and intelligent man, judging from my exchanges with him, and shows no sign of being the shady character that your agent, Ms. Fiandaca, offered up in innuendo to the public. Based on my discussions with Mr. Licata, he appears to have been significantly damaged by the report, and to be candid it is my hope that he retains counsel to investigate the possibility of taking legal action against CBS, but that is neither my business nor relevant to the purpose of this letter.

What is relevant is my challenge to you personally, Mr. Moonves, as I have challenged CBS in the more general case (see the enclosed letter) to have a different journalist (preferably a real one this time) reinvestigate Mr. Licata.s business, give it a proper and honest context, and do a follow up report. Upon finding nothing of substance against Mr. Licata.s business as may directly relate to the report as published, I would then expect a very public front-page style apology on air and in print to Mr. Licata and a formal letter asking his forgiveness. It may all sound a hokey bother to a large broadcast corporation such as CBS that may in fact deem itself immune to public opinion, but I assure you that you are being watched carefully by a not insignificant number of intelligent, capable, angry, and motivated people.

The only way CBS will be able to regain even a modicum of trust and credibility in the eyes of a large number of people will be to come clean on the issue of the report on Mr. Licata and make a four star retraction of every hideously contrived word Ms Fiandaca so irresponsibly spewed forth into the public domain. The next act of good faith that would go a longer way towards showing sincerity and integrity will be to fire Ms. Fiandaca forthwith and with cause, as well as her supervisors who allowed her shameful drivel to be published.

Short of these, there is certainly nothing CBS will be able to do that will convince me and many others that it is anything better than a hack organization and a den of vicious and petty liars whose access to broadcast facilities should be terminated forthwith. I am giving you fair notice that not only will I be copying as many of your advertisers as possible on this issue, I believe that hundreds and perhaps even thousands of others may be doing the same. I will also alert you to the fact that in some internet forums there has been talk of starting a campaign against CBS and its advertisers in response to Ms. Fiandaca.s report. I thought it only fair to alert you to this possibility.

I don.t know what sort of man you are, Mr. Moonves, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt by reserving all judgment on your character until such time as the CBS response becomes apparent to the public. I very much look forward to you proving yourself a man of integrity, honesty, fairness, and prompt action as I await CBS.s substantive response.

Sincerely,


Andrew Vida