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Archaeology shock: 'Incredible' 1,300-year-old inscription linked to King Arthur exposed

The inscription (English Heritage)

ARCHAEOLOGISTS were thrilled when they uncovered a 1,300-year-old inscription in Cornwall, linked to King Arthur, which could help confirm the location as the birthplace of the famous Monarch.

King Arthur is said to be a courageous British leader, who, according to legend, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late fifth and early sixth centuries with his trusted Knights of the Round Table. Debates have gone on for centuries between historians over whether Arthur really existed, as accounts of his life are scarce and often contradicting. But, the discovery of an inscription on a slate windowsill at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall – often associated as his birthplace – could set the record straight over the King’s heritage.

The two-foot-long stone, uncovered by Cornwall Archaeological Unit, features Latin writing, Greek letters and Christian symbols all dating from the seventh century AD, adding weight to the theory that the castle was home in the early middle ages to a sophisticated and multicultural port community.
Put together with other finds including Iberian goblets and bowls from what is now Turkey, the slate ledge suggests Tintagel may well have been an important royal base with trade links stretching from Europe’s Atlantic coast to the eastern Mediterranean.
English Heritage Curator Win Scutt said in 2017: "It's incredible to think that 1,300 years ago, on this dramatic Cornish cliff-top, someone was practising their writing, using Latin phrases and Christian symbols.
“We can't know for sure who made these marks or why, but what we can say is that seventh-century Tintagel had professional scribes who were familiar with the techniques of writing manuscripts – and that in itself is very exciting.
"Our ongoing research has already revealed the extent of Tintagel's buildings and the richness of the lifestyle enjoyed here.
"This latest find goes one step further to show that we have a literate, Christian community, with strong connections from Atlantic Europe to the Mediterranean."
Michelle Brown, a writing expert from the University of London, added: “The survival of writing from this period is rare and this is a very important find, especially in terms of the continuity of a literate Christian tradition in post-Roman Cornwall,” 
“The lettering style and language used, as well as Christian symbols exhibiting Mediterranean influence and contacts, all reveal precious clues to the culture of those who lived at Tintagel in the seventh century.”
The inscribed slate stone features the Latin words “fili” (son) and “viri duo” (two men) on it and also Roman and Celtic names – “Tito” (Titus) and “Budic”.
This hints at a multicultural community on the north Cornwall coast some 1,300 years ago, the experts said.
While Tintagel is intricately bound up in the legend of King Arthur, who is said to have been conceived there in the late fifth century, experts think it was the seat of early Cornish kings with trading links to the Mediterranean during "Cornwall's First Golden Age".
It adds further weight to the theory of early medieval Tintagel as a royal site with a literate Christian culture and a network of connections stretching from Atlantic Europe to the eastern Mediterranean, English Heritage said.
Legend has it that when Arthur was a young boy he drew a sword called Caliburn from a stone. 
One version of the story states that the sword was made at Avalon from a sarsen stone that originated either from Avebury or Stonehenge and whoever drew the sword from the stone was the true King of England. 
Arthur was coronated in the ruins of the Roman fort at Caerleon in Wales.


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