Archaeologists have discovered a royal palace in the southern English county of Cornwall in an area reputed to be the birthplace of King Arthur.
The palace, which has great tourist potential, was discovered at Tintagel in Cornwall It is believed to date from the sixth century – about the time that the legendary king may have lived.
Excavations at the site are part of a five-year research project being run by English Heritage, the charity which runs England’s heritage collection. Researchers want to find more about the historic site from the fifth to the seventh centuries.
Tintagel already has a castle which draws many tourists. It’s located on the peninsula of Tintagel adjacent to Tintagel village.
Earlier this year English Heritage unveiled a new outdoor interpretation revealing 1500 years of Tintagel’s past – from royal stronghold, to thriving trading port, to a castle of romantic legend.
A highlight of the new interpretation is Gallos (meaning power in Cornish) a bronze sculpture by Rubin Eynon, inspired by the King Arthur legend.
Jeremy Ashbee, English Heritage’s Head Curator, said: “With our exhibition and with this new interpretation, visitors to Tintagel can now get a complete overview of its history – from the artefacts discovered there to the legends associated with it.
“You cannot understand Tintagel’s history without understanding how the legends shaped it. Our new interpretation explains this and places these legends within the context of Tintagel’s overall history and significance.”
Archaeologists working on the new palace project believe the one-metre thick walls being unearthed are from a 6th century palace belonging to the rulers of the ancient south-west British kingdom of Dumnonia.
Win Scutt, English Heritage’s properties curator for the West, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “The discovery of high-status buildings – potentially a royal palace complex – at Tintagel is transforming our understanding of the site.”
Written by Peter Needham