First Time Excavated An Ancient Tomb Linked To Legend To King Arthur

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An ancient tomb in the United Kingdom that’s older than the Great Pyramids is being excavated for the first time.

“Arthur’s Stone is one of this country’s outstanding prehistoric monuments, set in a breathtaking location ― yet it remains poorly understood,” Prof. Julian Thomas of Manchester University A news release. “Our work seeks to restore it to its rightful place in the story of Neolithic Britain.”

The tomb ― located in Herefordshire, England ― gets its name from supposed ties to the mythical ruler.

“Like many prehistoric monuments in western England and Wales, this tomb has been linked to King Arthur since before the 13th century,” English Heritage is available on its website. “According to legend, it was here that Arthur slew a giant who left the impression of his elbows on one of the stones as he fell.”

The tomb is more than 3500 years older that the legend of King Arthur. These stories were written in the 5th and the 6th centuries respectively and first appeared centuries later. Modern times have revealed that the Stone Table was inspired by the tomb. Lewis book The Wardrobe, the Witch, the Lion, and the Witch

This Neolithic burial chamber is located at the site. It appears from the outside as a group of stones with a large slab on top.

Arthur’s Stone was a large-sized prehistoric burial chamber made from huge blocks of rock. It has lost the earth mound that once covered it.

Getty Images: English Heritage/Heritage Images

However, the inner chamber was likely to have been covered with an earthen mound centuries ago. English Heritage art attempted to capture the scene as it may have looked centuries ago. The mound might have looked like this cutaway:

Artwork from English Heritage tried to capture what the site may have looked like centuries ago.
English Heritage art attempts to recreate the look of the site centuries ago.

Getty Images: English Heritage/Heritage Images

“The tomb has never been excavated, but similar examples in this region have been found to contain incomplete skeletal remains of several people, together with flint flakes, arrowheads and pottery,” English Heritage said on its website.

Another painting depicts a burial on the site.

Artist rendering of a burial at the Arthur's Stone.
Artist rendering of an Arthur’s Stone burial.

Getty Images: English Heritage/Heritage Images

Archaeologists believe Arthur’s Stone was also a place where rituals for ancestors may have taken place.

Excavations made nearby last year challenged the conventional wisdom. The tomb was thought to have a right-angle passage within an oval-shaped stone cairn. Instead, archaeologists discovered that Arthur’s Stone had long ago extended into what is now a nearby field, per Manchester University.

“They found that the tomb had first been a long mound composed of stacked turf, retained by a palisade of upright posts set in a narrow palisade surrounding the mound,” The university released a statement in a news release. “However, when the posts rotted away and the mound had collapsed, an avenue of larger posts were added, leading toward the mound from the Golden Valley below.”

Through this month, the excavations at the location of the stone will continue.



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