WORDS Regina Featherstone
One of the better named student groups at Macquarie, the epic sounding ‘MacDAS’ stands for the Macquarie Dark Ages Society. The group was started at least 20 years ago, but in true Dark Ages style there are no records of who started it or specifically when. The student group is involved in all things from the Dark Ages including food, dress, weapons, skills, poetry and artifacts. If you thought that the Dark Ages were a… well… dark time at the beginning of the medieval period with little intellectual and cultural development after the fall of the Roman Empire in England, you would be mistaken. MacDAS president Tim Hendry says, “The Dark Ages were a fun period. It’s the days of Viking raids and exploration, of warfare between the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and of the Norman conquest.”
The appeal of the group is their loyalty to authenticity. Due to the lack of information known about the time, experimentation is key to further understanding life in that period. MacDAS offers a great way to learn about history and gain skills such as making your own clothes. For those interested in history, re-enactments, fighting and costumes this
group is a great way to learn and appreciate what life was like at that point in history. They have enough information from the time to act as a starting point which allows everybody to learn and grow together in their historical knowledge.
Anyone can join MacDAS including staff, students and the public as long as they bring enthusiasm for traditional feasts, history and swordplay. Compared to other student groups at Macquarie, MacDAS is very active with hands-on skills such as crafts and making historical costumes on Mondays and medieval weapons training on Tuesdays outside the Lighthouse Theatre. Meeting every week allows the group to get to know one another better and further develop their skills with Hendry’s favourite things being “WinterFest with the group, and seeing people gain confidence through learning swordplay”.
If you missed out signing up at O-Week, don’t worry. You can join MacDAS on Facebook, just search ‘Macquarie University Dark Ages Society’ or check out their website. If you want to learn swordplay like in Game of Thrones or just want to feast where “mead flows like a mighty river” then join the group and see if you would be enlightened.