Supporting printed evidence of a claim about something.
If you want to prove that you are recreating something accurately, then it is best to provide documentation (proof) that such a thing was worn/used/made/made from wood/etc.
There are three main reasons people like to document things in the SCA:
- To enter Arts and Sciences competitions. Normally documentation is one of the categories of the competition and to provide no attempt at doccumentation that your item is plausibly period will result in a lower mark than other entries that make the effort. Often even documenting that some parts of the entry are period, and admitting which parts you can't prove, or had to compromise upon for time, safety or cost reasons is considered a good effort, and you may even get tips from the judges on how to find info you missed, or how to get cheaper materials.
- A sense of personal satisfaction at knowing that they are wearing/using/making as close to a period item/practise/performance/etc as possible, and to pass that information on to others.
- To stick up your fingers at the snobby person who "always knows better". What better way of proving that they are wrong when they say "woad body paint isn't period", or similar, than providing proof that it is.
There is also an excellent article explaining (using pictures and diagrams) the differences between primary, secondary and tertiary sources, that I highly recommend at: []