First Dig at Legendary Arthur's Stone Begins

Archaeologists start excavating tomb linked by legend to King Arthur
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2022 9:50 AM CDT
First Dig at Legendary Arthur's Stone Begins
Arthur's Stone in England.   (Getty/Neil Bussey)

Archaeologists in England have begun excavating a tomb thought to be more than 5,000 years old. While that in itself isn't too unusual in archaeological circles, this particular dig is attracting attention because it's taking place at what's known as Arthur's Stone, reports the Hereford Times. Yes, that Arthur: The ancient site in Herefordshire is linked by legend to none other than King Arthur, he of Camelot. Whether Arthur the man actually existed continues to be a topic of historical debate, notes Smithsonian, so while archaeologists aren't expecting to find the remains of a maybe-king, they do hope the Neolithic tomb can shed light on its era. Similar tombs have yielded skeletal remains and pottery fragments.

"Arthur's Stone is one of this country's outstanding prehistoric monuments, set in a breathtaking location—yet it remains poorly understood," says Julian Thomas of the University of Manchester in a statement. "Our work seeks to restore it to its rightful place in the story of Neolithic Britain." Maybe the most common legend associated with the stone is that Arthur slew a giant there, and the giant's elbows made an impression in the rock as he fell. The site consists of nine upright stones, with a massive capstone on top, explains the university statement. However, this is just a portion of what the tomb was in its prime, with these rocks probably making up only its inner chamber. Among other things, the current dig might offer new insights on the site's original size and shape. (More King Arthur stories.)

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