We’ve all heard the stories of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and Camelot. And by now, a lot of us have also
drooled over scientifically observed the new pictures of Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur in his upcoming film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Whatever your introduction to King Arthur and his Knights, be it stories from your childhood, Monty Python, a BBC show, a musical, or anything else, the story has always been told as a legend. A rad legend, but ultimately a story that wasn’t real.
While we still don’t have any proof to say that the likes of Arthur and Merlin actually existed, according to English Heritage and The Independent, archaeologists have uncovered something that makes the Arthurian legend a bit more real: Tintagel Castle. The castle was in the ancient southwest British kingdom known as Dumnonia, modern-day Cornwall, and is said to be the place where King Arthur was conceived. If you’re unfamiliar with the legend, Arthur was the result of a steamy affair between British King Uther Pendragon, and Igraine, the wife of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall. #scandal
Of course, just finding the location where Arthur was conceived doesn’t necessarily prove or disprove the existence of the mythical king, but it will definitely reignite the scholarly debate on Arthur’s existence. While there are several scholars who believe Arthur to be nothing more than legend or a mash-up of some of ancient Britain’s greatest rulers, there are some Arthurian scholars who believe the king was real. Finding the place where it all began will definitely add some fuel to the Arthurian fire, and maybe give us some solid answers behind the legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth first penned Arthur’s origin story in his work Historia Regum Britanniae (or the History of the Kings of Britain) and was the one to place King Arthur’s conception at Tintagel. According to the archaeologist findings, the castle dates back to the 5th or 6th century, which would be just about the right time for the legend, if it were true.
So who knows what Arthurian wonders await archaeologists within the ancient walls of Tintagel? Regardless of the castle’s ties to the legend, a great discovery in British history has been made, and will help shape our understanding of the past. Indiana Jones—the famous American archaeologist who was totally real and definitely not a legend—would be proud of his British colleagues.
What do you think of Arthurian legend? Do you think King Arthur was real or made up? The castle is open to the public–would you ever visit? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Featured Image: Sony Pictures