What is the Dark Ages Society?

Shield Wall

Who are we?

“DAS” is a small, friendly, national group established for over 30 years, with a very broad age range of people from different backgrounds, reflected in our members’ varied interests: history, character roleplay, crafts, fighting, or experimental archaeology. We have members all over the country, from the South-West up to York.

What is our aim?

To re-create a time of Viking Invasion and of Anglo-Saxon resistance led by Alfred the Great, in the late 9th Century! DAS events are held at weekends and are usually plot events rather than public displays. We do occasional displays or living history events, but, unlike many other re-enactment groups, these are not our sole reason for existing. Members enjoyment is our most important factor; not fees or publicity.

Where are events held?

As any member is welcome to organise a weekend, they have been held from York to Plymouth, but the Midlands and the Southern Counties are currently most popular – although we normally do have one event in Somerset and one in York each year.

Tense negotiations

What do we do?

As Dark Age characters we interact in lightly plotted freeform activities, individual character development is encouraged through roleplay. Inevitably conflicts between different factions arise, which are not always resolved by violence. However, if they are, we have all had structured training to ensure plenty of action, safety and enjoyment, although tactical alliances, negotiated in period style and within character are often more appropriate!

We gather in the evening to celebrate at a banquet, continuing the role play from at least the day’s events, if not further back within our Society history.

Your unit are the people you fight and feast alongside, and your unit leader will support you in equipping yourself appropriately, according to your 9th Century character. You will then progress through weapons training, (if you wish to fight), and learning period crafts, all of which will help you become a well-rounded Dark Age character.

DAS concentrates on accurate re-creation of the period, keeping a balance between warfare and other, more sociable aspects of 9th Century life. Similarly, we keep the 9th and 20th Centuries in perspective priding ourselves on our very democratic structure and principles of equal representation and involvement, open to any race gender or creed.

At the feast

How do we fight?

We mostly fight with re-enactment spears and shields or double-handed spears – wooden poles up to 6 and a half foot long, tipped with blunt metal heads. All members are given full training in how to use spears to our society’s standards, delivering light taps to the target area. If you’re hit, you’re wounded, stagger out of the way and fall to the ground – fights normally continue until only one side has people standing. Who then loot the ‘corpes’, and move on… Then the ‘dead’ people get up, regroup their units, and get back into the game. There’s no permanent character death.

Who can join DAS?

Anyone over the age of 18 can join DAS if they share our interests. Everyone at a DAS event must be a member, so that they are covered by our insurance. You can join as an annual member (currently £18), or else you can pay Guest Membership which covers you to attend a single event (currently £5, or free at your first event). On top of membership, most events cost around £15 to £25, including full catering. For more details, e-mail DAS on info@darkagessociety.co.uk