(ORDO NEWS) — A Neolithic site in the west of England has been associated with the name of the legendary ruler of Camelot as early as the 13th century. But what exactly happened there is still unknown.
Archaeologists from the University of Manchester (Great Britain) have begun excavations of a Neolithic tomb, which is at least five thousand years old. This is the so-called Arthur’s stone (in fact, there are many stones).
The tomb is composed of nine vertically placed stones, on top of which there is a stone slab weighing at least 25 tons. Previous excavations outside the site have shown that the tomb is part of a large Neolithic complex that extends south of it. And it is not originally a stone structure.
Apparently, at first it was a long mound oriented to the southwest, surrounded by wooden pillars. After the mound collapsed, the locals of the Neolithic era made a wider alley of pillars, carved rock chambers, installed vertical stones with a stone “roof”. This time, the pillars were facing southeast.
Of course, the comparison with Stonehenge or the Darrington Walls complex immediately comes to mind . That is, not just a tomb, as was thought for a long time, but a sacred place where people came to perform rituals or feasts, a place that retained its significance for centuries.
The southwest of England is generally rich in Neolithic monuments. During the excavations of the area around the so-called Arthur’s Stone, incomplete human remains, flint flakes, arrowheads and ceramics have already been found.
The question arises: why is this stone (ten stones) associated with the name of King Arthur? He certainly lived (if he lived) not five thousand years ago. This name was given to this place in the folk oral tradition, but to this day it is actively used in the UK. There are several hypotheses about the origin of the name.
It must be taken into account that we do not know about the king from Camelot from the most reliable sources. Most of them are oral tradition. Moreover, there are versions of Arthur’s biography that seriously contradict each other.
The most complete cycle of Arthurian chronicles was collected, as is commonly believed today, by Sir Thomas Malory. His “Book of King Arthur and his valiant knights of the Round Table” was published (under the title “Death of Arthur”) in 1485 by the English printer William Caxton.
Malory compiled a kind of Arthurian encyclopedia: he collected together what he found in written sources and heard in oral retellings of legends. As a result, it is impossible to reliably assert something based on his work.
What can be said with certainty? In the 5th-6th centuries, in the west of Britain, there lived a dux (war leader) of the Britons named Arthur.
The original source, which tells about his deeds relatively broadly, is the “History of the Britons” by the Welsh historian Nennius (lived at the end of the 8th – beginning of the 9th century). Alas, his work is not reliable: the author talks about dragons and fairies, but gets confused with geography.
In the 12th century, the British priest Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote Merlin’s Prophecies, which he tried to pass off as authentic texts of a wizard (yes, the creators of the Book of Veles were not pioneers).
The deception failed, as William of Newburgh wrote back in the same 12th century : in his opinion, Geoffrey collected fragments from Nennius and generously mixed them with his own fantasies.
In general, we do not have the history of Arthur, but Arthur’s stone quite exists. According to one of the versions ( stated just by Geoffrey of Monmouth), at this place Arthur fought with a giant who created bloody and sexual chaos in the district.
When the giant fell, his elbows left huge footprints in the ground – most likely, these are the remains of a moat that ringed the entire structure in the Neolithic.
Another legend tells that around those places, “near the big stones”, Arthur fought with his nephew Mordred. Mordred died in that battle, but before that he mortally wounded his uncle, who, as a result, went to Avalon. By the way, in some versions of the legend, Mordred is the son, not the nephew of the king.
Finally, the most life-affirming and magical version of the origin of the name. Legend has it that once Arthur, heading to the next battlefield, found a pebble in his boot and threw it aside, after which it increased in size out of “pride that the king himself touched it.”
Arthurian legends circulated ubiquitously in the 12th and 13th centuries in the form of manuscripts for the wealthy and oral histories for the general population.
Although early stories emphasized Arthur’s strength in battle and his ability to build a state, these tales eventually became part of the medieval romantic tradition – a kind of longing for the times of morality, chivalry and righteousness.
Let us add that Arthur’s stone became the prototype of the Stone Table from the book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, the first part of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by Clive Staples Lewis.
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