The Barony of Altavia is a local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts, skills, and traditions of pre-17th-century Europe. The Barony of Altavia includes the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita, and Malibu, and is part of the Kingdom of Caid which includes Southern California, Greater Las Vegas Area, and Hawaii.
The Barony of Altavia is based in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California and covers the following zip codes: 90263, 90265, 91040, 91042, 91300-91399, 91400-91499, 91500-91599, 91600-91699
Members of the SCA study and take part in a variety of activities, including combat, archery, equestrian activities, costuming, cooking, metalwork, woodworking, music, dance, calligraphy, fiber arts, and much more. If it was done in the Middle Ages or Renaissance, odds are you’ll find someone in the SCA interested in recreating it.
What makes the SCA different from a Humanities 101 class is the active participation in the learning process. To learn about the clothing of the period, you research it, then sew and wear it yourself. To learn about combat, you put on armor (which you may have built yourself) and learn how to defeat your opponent. To learn brewing, you make (and sample!) your own wines, meads and beers.
You will frequently hear SCA participants describe the SCA as recreating the Middle Ages “as they ought to have been.” In some ways this is true – we choose to use indoor plumbing, heated halls, and sewing machines. In the dead of winter we have more to eat than King’s venison, salt pork and dried tubers. However, a better description is that we selectively recreate the culture, choosing elements of the culture that interest and attract us.