Since the 12th century -- and up to this very day -- tourists venture to Somerset's Glastonbury Abbey to see the grave of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, allegedly buried in the churchyard by 12th century monks who discovered their skeletons in an underground tree-trunk.
The monks were lying.
They had been panicked by the prospect of the waning of their abbey, which had gone from strength to strength as a center for pilgrimages and commerce when it went from being a major glassworks (melting down Roman glass) to the wealthiest monastery in England to the jewel of the Norman conquerors' crown, to a burned-out hulk after a disastrous fire.
The monks feared that the modish crowd would become accustomed to visiting the newfangled Westminster Abbey in stupid old London by the time they got their smoldering rubble rebuilt into a new church, so they invented the grave of a possibly fictional king and queen to get the tourists to come by and spend a penny.
Westminster Abbey won anyway.
With England going crazy for Geoffrey's tales of Arthur, it was a perfect time for the monks to claim a part of that history. Glastonbury was an ancient site—indeed, even Gilchrist confirms that it originated in the fifth century, when Arthur allegedly lived. People bought the idea, and Arthur's grave soon became a lucrative attraction.
As late as the 1950s, archaeologist Ralegh Radford believed that Arthur had been buried there. But Gilchrist told Urbanus that "Radford may have exaggerated his evidence. Reassessment of his excavation records shows that this was merely a pit in a cemetery, dating to sometime between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries.”
Medieval monks invented King Arthur’s grave as an attraction to raise money
[Annalee Newitz/Ars Technica]
Legends of Glastonbury Abbey
(Image: King Arthur's Tomb Sign - Glastonbury Abbey, Dark Dwarf, CC-BY-ND)
These smiling assassins enlisted as snipers when Germany invaded Russia in 1941. “We mowed down Hitlerites like ripe grain,” said Lyudmila Pavlichenko aka Lady Death, one of many elite snipers whose photos were colorized by Olga Shirnina aka Klimbim.
A copy of Look Magazine from July 4, 1939 will cost you $950, because it has a a six-page photo-illustrated feature by William P. Hitler, called “Why I Hate My Uncle.” William Patrick Hitler was born in Liverpool in the UK in 1911. His father was Adolf Hitler’s brother Alois Hitler. William moved to Germany […]
Robots (or spiders, or crawlers) are little computer programs that search engines use to scan and index websites. Robots.txt is a little file placed on webservers to tell search engines what they should and shouldn’t index. The Internet Archive isn’t a search engine, but has historically obeyed exclusion requests from robots.txt files. But it’s changing […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]