A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Monday, 22 August 2011

King Arthur's Round Table Found...Yet Again

King's Knot Stirling--Arthur's Round Table?
One of the  inside jokes of living on this big beautiful green island is that of King Arthur having lived/died/romanced/danced in almost every county from the south to the north. "King Arthur lived here," seems to be the drawing card of lots of places that attract thousands of tourists. If you go to Glastonbury, you can see where the legendary king was presumably buried...on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey. It's marked with a stone, so you know that has to be legitimate....or is it? Research suggests that perhaps this "burial place" of Arthur was merely a trumped-up ruse to bring in more pilgrims to Glastonbury and therefore prove a bit more lucrative for the monks who tended to the site. And it was this way everywhere for hundreds of years.

This week, it was announced that archaeologists searching for King Arthur's Round Table think they found it in Scotland. The site that is being examined is that of the King's Knot in Stirling which is a large geometrical earth formation in the gardens that are just below Stirling Castle. The famous Knot in its present incarnation dates from the 1620's. However, many historians believe that the origin of the center part of the Knot is much older.

This would be quite splendid except that almost a year ago last year, other historians placed the fabled Round Table in a Roman amphitheatre in Chester, England. They contended that the true Round Table would have been something made of stone and wood that would seat 1,000 people at a time with the most important people gathering at the center and the less important sitting on the outside of the circumference. They believed that perhaps the Camelot of lore had been constructed upon leftover Roman buildings. Historians refer to the account of Gildas, a monk who lived in the 6th century and was one of the chroniclers of Arthur's life. He wrote that one of Arthur's two main battles was in the "City of Legions" which had a martyr's shrine within it. This amphitheatre in Chester has a shrine in it. Based on this, Chester last year was poised to lay claim to being the true place of the location of Arthur's Round Table. Now that has been thrown into question.

It is the University of Glasgow's researchers that are now thinking that perhaps Arthur's Round Table is found in Stirling, a town in Eastern Scotland. Using remote sensing technology they were able to view a circular form underneath the Knot. Their findings are corraborated by stories told throughout the years. For example, William of Worcester in 1478 wrote that "King Arthur kept his Round Table in Stirling Castle" and Sir David Lindsay, a 17th century Scottish writer also stated that Stirling Castle housed the "Chapell- royall, park and Tabyll Round."

So, where is the true Round Table located? England, Wales, Scotland or even Ireland? It's easier to place your bet on a football game, till then, let the tourists keep coming. In today's economy, no one is going to want to find out soon.