Preliminary Analysis of the Warwickshire Hoard Yields Insights, Raises Questions about Fourth Age Su

Author: Celeritas

Nominator: Dreamflower

2011 Award Category: Hobbits: General - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A summary article detailing the various findings, and raising questions, concerning the Warwickshire Hoard found in 2008. A glimpse into a universe different from the world as we know it, but not necessarily incompatible with Middle-earth.

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

This is so much fun! It purports to be an article in the scholarly journal _Centar Arda_. The premise is that this periodical exists to elucidate on the historical periods that are covered by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous translator of the Red Book of the Westmarch. Just the summary adds depth to the background, for we are told the volume number of the journal and page numbers of the article. And in the world of _Centar Arda_, the Tolkien Estate exists not to safeguard Tolkien's literary output, but to validate his work as a translator of the Red Book of Westmarch by funding archeological digs in areas that were a part of the world of the first four Ages. Since the challenge from which this story sprang was about food, and since the artifact purported to come from the Shire it seemed only natural that the discovery was a culinary treasure trove, a box of recipes. This is such a clever bit of meta, combining our own times with that of the times of the world of Arda, poking a bit of fun at scholarly pretensions in much the same way the Professor himself did from time to time. I love the use of the Westronized names for things, such as Suza for the Shire! It's really delightful, and I hope that one day we will see more articles from _Centar Arda_!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 10

Dear Celeritas, I find it always fascinating to read a good spoof academic article, for example the wonderful Journal of Alatariel with which Clodia delighted us last year. Here we have another fine example of the same genre. You have hit the dry tone of archaeological analysis beautifully, to the point that I was, as usually when perusing such documents in real life, slightly confused about dates and facts. Nevertheless, the text got across the main idea very clearly: what hobbits valued most of all was food, so if they should ever take the trouble of preserving and hiding a treasure, it would obviously be recipes. It invites speculation, too – who was this hobbit who bothered? Could it have been Kira? Did she find the recipes somewhere and copied them out in her own handwriting? She certainly was a hobbit concerned with preserving the past, though on the other hand she seems much less concerned with food than other hobbits. I liked the hint that hobbit recipes had to be quick recipes to allow for all the meals in the day! This is a very original idea for a fanfic and expertly executed. Very well done indeed, and thank you for making me grin. I would try out the recipes if I had the time...

Reviewed by: Keiliss  ✧  Score: 5

I'm not quite sure how to review this - I think it's best I just say go and read it, because it is so well thought out and cleverly done as well as being very entertaining. The rather dry academic language works perfectly, so much so that I am almost convinced this is an authentic report regarding an equally authentic hoard *g*. Specially liked the footnotes. I am also struck by a sudden urge to go do some baking --- never mind that it's almost midnight! That's one confused archaeologist, I think. Trust a Hobbit to have a good, solid sense for what really matters. Nicely done.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

This is a fascinating bit of modern archeological scholarship applied to a Fourth Age artifact apparently recently unearthed. I love the construct that the LOTR era and at least some of the time afterwards are known and studied by scientists and scholars of modern times. And it's just great that the recipe for Bilbo's cakes was not only copied down, but sealed by Gondorian and/or Elvish techniques, box and recipes preserved well enough to last millenia! The historic/archeological framework is credibly set up here, with appropriate terminology. An interesting and enjoyable piece.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 5

A very clever idea and well executed! I wonder whether it was inspired by the discovery of the Staffordshire hoard--not that it would matter in the least if it hadn't been. In other words: a major contribution to the hitherto possibly overlooked field of Suza archaeology which yields extremely important data on kuduk culture of the Fourth Age, but in some ways raises more questions than it answers. But we always did know that hobbits valued food and that the dwarves appreciated Bilbo's seed cakes... And those who are not as useless in the kitchen as myself can now go and actually try to bake some.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 2

This is an interesting piece, to say the least. Very different—and actually quite believable, which is the author's purpose, I believe.