Royal Find at King Arthur’s Legendary Birthplace



Gallos sculpture by Rubin Eynon is on the Tintagel campus.

Cornwall, United Kingdom – A five year archaeological dig at Tintagel, the location of King Arthur‘s birth according to chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth – has shown that the site may indeed have been a royal seat.

Archaeologists recently unearthed stone walls 1 meter thick  rising from a flagstone floor – quite a luxury during the Dark Ages – when most houses had dirt floors maybe sprinkled with rushes.

In addition to this architectural opulence, the central “palace” contained remnants of a global household. Shards of colored glass that once formed cups were  determined to be from Merovingian France. They also uncovered fragments of pottery originating in North Africa, and wine vessels from Greece.

House wares from such wide ranging areas demonstrate that though the structure was built after the Romans departed the Britain (410 C.E), Tintagel was still a trading post of some important. Cornish and Welsh tin would be the inhabitants main item of trade.

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King Arthur and Court

Who lived in Tintagel?

Scientists have not found a Pendragon crest or any evidence of individuals who lived in the castle. They do speculate that given the grandeur of the structure, it was the seat of the rulers of Dumnomia, a local kingdom contemporary to the building’s construction.

Even without the crest of King Arthur, scientists and historians say the castle could still represent a link in the Arthurian legend. Many believe King Arthur to be a composite of historical leaders during the Dark Ages whose deeds were spread in an oral tradition until being formally catalogued by Monmouth in the 12th century. One of the leaders on which Arthur is based may have lived and ruled from Tintagel.

Additional sources: The Smithsonian Magazine, BBC, The Independent

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