Monday, August 29, 2011

Today's Stupid Historical Headline

From The Telegraph:
King Arthur's round table may have been found by archaeologists in Scotland
No, it really hasn't. Must we go further?
The King's Knot, a geometrical earthwork in the former royal gardens below Stirling Castle, has been shrouded in mystery for hundreds of years. Though the Knot as it appears today dates from the 1620s, its flat-topped central mound is thought to be much older. Writers going back more than six centuries have linked the landmark to the legend of King Arthur.
Archaeologists from Glasgow University, working with the Stirling Local History Society and Stirling Field and Archaeological Society, conducted the first ever non-invasive survey of the site in May and June in a bid to uncover some of its secrets. Their findings were show there was indeed a round feature on the site that pre-dates the visible earthworks.

Stories have been told about the curious geometrical mound for hundreds of years -- including that it was the Round Table where King Arthur gathered his knights. Around 1375 the Scots poet John Barbour said that "the round table" was south of Stirling Castle, and in 1478 William of Worcester told how "King Arthur kept the Round Table at Stirling Castle". Sir David Lindsay, the 16th century Scottish writer, added to the legend in 1529 when he said that Stirling Castle was home of the "Chapell-royall, park, and Tabyll Round".
Point the First: Arthur, if he existed, which is must disputed, was not a king, but a war leader; the earliest sources specifically say that he was not of royal blood.

The second: If he was a king (which he wasn't), he never had a round table.

The third: William of Worcester lived about a thousand years after the historical Arthur, if there was such a person, which makes him about as reliable a source about Arthur as I am about Sung dynasty China.

The fourth: How various sites around Britain have "come to be associated" with "King Arthur" is a good subject for dissertations in folklore, not archaeological investigations.

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