King Arthur was a legendary British monarch who is said to have roamed the fields of England around 1,500 years ago. Although the wizard Merlin and the magical sword Excalibur were probably more fiction than fact, there is a chance that Arthur himself was real, and archaeologists in Cornwall have uncovered some evidence that maybe, just maybe, suggests that the legend of his birth may be true.
As the story goes, Arthur was conceived at a palace in Tintagel after an ancient British King and the visually striking wife of a local ruler illicitly got together. There’s been no direct evidence that this took place apart from references to it in several younger texts.
As reported by The Independent, English Heritage-funded archaeologists have uncovered the walls of a destroyed palace from the Early Middle Ages in southwestern England. It is considered highly likely that this was once the main residence of a 6th century ruling family presiding over a southwestern British kingdom named Dumnonia.
Significantly, the site at Tintagel matches up, chronologically and geographically speaking, with the Arthurian birth legend. However, the team haven’t yet found a “smoking gun” – there is currently no clear evidence that the future king was born here, or, of course, that he existed at all.
In any case, these ruins are a major archaeological find. They’re the first substantial buildings found in Britain dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries. About a dozen have been found, all together containing a plethora of pottery, glass, and – most importantly – implements and vessels that show they were of a truly elite status.
The birthplace of King Arthur? Emily Whitfield-Wicks