Archaeologists carry out first dig at King Arthur’s tomb


The story of King Arthur is known to children and adults alike. 

But the facts around the legendary figure are mired in myth and folklore and historians generally agree that Arthur himself probably did not exist.

Instead, it is believed he may have been a composite of multiple people. 

Whilst there are many version of the Arthur legend, some common threads run through them. 

They stem from 12th Century figure Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fanciful and largely fictional work Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain). 

In 410 AD, the Romans pulled their troops out of Britain and, with the loss of their authority, local chieftans and kings competed for land. 

In 449 AD, King Vortigern invited the Angles and Saxons to settle in Kent in order to help him fight the Picts and the Scots.   

Guinevere leading a wounded Lancelot from The Rochefoucauld Grail. The illuminated 14th century manuscript containing what is believed to be the oldest surviving account of the legends of King Arthur

However, the Angles and Saxons betrayed Vortigern at a peace council where they drew their knives and killed 460 British chiefs. 

The massacre was called the Night of the Long Knives, which, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, occurred at a monastery on the Salisbury Plain.

Geoffrey claims that Ambrosius Aurelianus became King and consulted the wizard Merlin to help him select an appropriate monument to raise in honour of the dead chieftains.

Merlin suggested that the King’s Ring from Mount Killarus in Ireland be dismantled and brought to England. 

The king’s brother and Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, led an expedition of soldiers to bring the stones from Ireland to England. 

Merlin magically reconstructed the stones as Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain around the burials of the dead British chieftains in the monastery cemetery. 

Other legends say Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall and was taken by Merlin to be raised by Sir Ector.

Shortly thereafter, civil war broke out in England and Uther Pendragon was killed.

When Arthur was a young boy, the popular narrative says he drew a sword called Caliburn from a stone. 

Some legends say Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall and was taken by Merlin to be raised by Sir Ector.

Some legends say Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall and was taken by Merlin to be raised by Sir Ector.

One version of the legend states that the sword was made at Avalon from a sarsen stone that originated either from Avebury or Stonehenge.

It was said that whoever drew the sword from the stone was the true King of England. 

Arthur was then said to have been crowned as King in the ruins of the Roman fort at Caerleon in Wales.

In another version of the story, King Ambrosius Aurelianus led a battle against the Saxons at Badon Hill. 

Aurelianus was killed and his nephew, Arthur, took control of the soldiers and won the battle. 

Later, Arthur lost Caliburn in a fight with Sir Pellinore but was saved by Merlin’s magic. 

Arthur received a new sword (Excalibur) and a scabbard from Nimue, the Lady in the Lake at Avalon. 

The scabbard was magical and as long as Arthur wore it, he could not die.

Arthur had three half-sisters who are sometimes referred to as sorceresses. 

Arthur fell in love with Morgana, not knowing that she was his half-sister and they had a son named Mordred. 

When Arthur discovered the truth, he was horrified and ordered all male infants born at the same time as his son to be brought to Caerleon. 

The babies were put onto an unattended ship and set out to sea, which crashed on some rocks and sank. 

Film, 'King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword', (2017)Jude Law's sneering Vortigern

Film, ‘King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword’, (2017)Jude Law’s sneering Vortigern

Mordred survived the sinking of the ship and was found by a man walking on the shore and taken home.

Arthur fell in love again with a woman named Guinevere who was the daughter of King Lodegrance of Camylarde.

They married and her dowry included a round table and many knights. Arthur established his court at Camelot

The round table became a symbol of equality amongst his knights, for no knight was seated in a position superior to another.

In addition, a mealtime rule at the table was that no one could eat until they told a story of daring. 

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