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Early medieval royal stronghold discovered on Trusty's Hill in southwest Scotland

Recently, historians have started to doubt that the Pictish stone carvings were genuine, since the carvings are rather far from the historically Pict-controlled lands in the north-east.

The Galloway Picts Excavation did indeed uncover an early mediaeval Pictish fort on the site, with considerable evidence of ritual activity.

The Galloway Picts Project has more information on the ongoing excavations.
mediaevalist: (King Arthur as a girl)
The Round Table might have been found.

Yep, Scootland.

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.

I've seen this mound when I visited Stirling Castle. At the time, I was more fixated on the crazy-ass story about how James II had murdered the 8th Earl of Douglas when he refused to end his alliance with the Earl of Ross and the Earl of Crawford (which James considered treasonous) by stabbing him 26 times (how did they find that number?) and tossing the body out the window into the garden below.

If I had know the friggin Round Table was out in the King's Knot, I would have paid less attention to the possibility of Douglas's ghost wandering around the inner garden.

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.

Yeah, well. Glasgow. There was a reason I was sent there for Celtic Archaeology studies.

Historian John Harrison, chair of the SLHS, who initiated the project, said: "Archaeologists using remote-sensing geophysics, have located remains of a circular ditch and other earth works beneath the King's Knot.

"The finds show that the present mound was created on an older site and throws new light on a tradition that King Arthur's Round Table was located in this vicinity."

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".

Oh, but it gets even better.

It has also been suggested the site is partly Iron Age or medieval, or was used as a Roman fort.

Considering that most evidence points to Camelot having been a former Roman fort?

If Camelot turns out to be Stirling Castle, I will laugh my derriere off. No, seriously, I will.

But once again, I maintain careful scepticism. As massively cool as this would be, the evidence must support it.

Mr Harrison, who has studied the King's Knot for 20 years, said: "It is a mystery which the documents cannot solve, but geophysics has given us new insights.

"Of course, we cannot say that King Arthur was there, but the feature which surrounds the core of the Knot could explain the stories and beliefs that people held."
mediaevalist: (Default)
I've really neglected this blog, haven't I?  Even when I'm active, I only seem to use it to archive interesting or relevant links.  Like today.

From Medieval News:

University of Glasgow creates first Chair of Gaelic in Scotland

Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh has been named as the first ever established Chair of Gaelic in Scotland by the University of Glasgow. The Chair has been created to recognise the University as a centre of excellence for the study of Celtic and Gaelic.

When I attended university there, there was already a Chair of Celtic, chaired by Professor Thomas Owen Clancy,  (Not to be confused with Tom Clancy)  though at the time it had been chaired by Professor Cathair O'Dochartaigh, if I recall correctly.  The Department of Celtic Studies was already a rapidly-growing department, but it looks like Gaelic has been sectioned off a bit from the rest of Celtic.
mediaevalist: (Default)
It was in the Louvre all along, possibly.

A Glasgow historian believes he may have solved the world's most ancient mystery - and found the Holy Grail. Mark Oxbrow is preparing to export his amazing discovery to the US leaving fans of book and movie blockbuster the Da Vinci Code with a new theory to consider.

That Dan Brown was full of it?

I know, I know. But some people still believe 'symbology' is a real word and that 'da Vinci' is a last name.

During a trip to Paris, Mark, 36, from the West End, stumbled across what he believes is the real Holy Grail - and it's not a bloodline between Jesus and Mary Magdalene as claimed in the book and film.

You don't say. I could have told them that, and for less money.

Seriously, though. First the real "da Vinci code" being discovered by an Italian musician and now this. They both make more sense than a coffetable thriller I know. With real history and everything.

While exploring medieval treasures in the Louvre, Mark found a green gem-encrusted serving dish which he thinks could have been used at the Last Supper.

That's not the cup of a carpenter! Quick, warn him not to take a drink from it!

OK, I promise not to make any more Indiana Jones jokes for the rest of the post.

Amazingly the French national treasure dates back to the time of Christ, matching descriptions of the Grail. Mark's discovery is documented in a new book which has already sold thousands of copies - and is due to hit US and French bookstores in the New Year.

Mark's curiosity was aroused when he and wife Jill spotted the Patene de Serpentine tucked away in the medieval section of the Louvre Museum.

As much as I would like to believe that Oxbrow really did find the Grail, I nevertheless have to remain a bit sceptical.

Mark, a historian and folklorist, said: "It's impossible to prove 100-per cent that the Patene de Serpentine is the real Holy Grail. But the Patene is a sacred medieval treasure that perfectly matches every detail of the earliest descriptions of the Grail. It was in the right place at the right time. There is certainly a lot of interest in the theory."

It remains to be seen, then. Again, I'm hopeful that it is, if for no other reason than it's one more nail in the coffin of bad history.
mediaevalist: (Default)
The alumni association of my alma mater, the University of Glasgow, recently sent me an email regarding the Scottish Christmas Walk held yearly in Alexandria, Virginia. I noticed something as I was browsing the website, though: one of the sponsorships being sold was the 'Scottish Christmas Walk Lairds & Ladies Parade Patron'.

This always makes me wince. I know that it's a tribute of sorts to 'national poet' Robert Burns, but I've had too many bad experiences in 'accented' role-play that I've complained about before. And admittedly, I've never cared for Burns's poetry. Blasphemy, I know. But hell, while I'm at it, I may as well also admit that I fell asleep at the incoming students' ceilidh. That may have just been food coma, however.

The thing is, the international alumni events tend to be about doing things 'typically' Scottish, what people generally think of when the term comes up. But the sort of event that would bring back the most fond memories of my uni life would have to be a pub crawl followed by a Red Dwarf or Dr. Who marathon session. I may have been in the Celtic Studies department, but I've always been a geek through and through. I spent most of my time (when I wasn't sitting lecture or at the internet cafes) at the Queen Margaret Student Union eating Hawaiian pizza and reading manga (or occasionally my course reading) or at Io tv & movie nights.

Historical re-enactment never fails to be entertaining for me, but I never associate it with my time at GU.

June 2015



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