The Round Table: Fact, Fiction or Faction ?

I am just on my way back to OZ after spending the last couple of months in Copenhagen and the UK.  I had some amazing experiences because this trip was a mixture of research and promotion, so I’ve been flat out.

How about this for the coincidence of the year?

When we were writing the third book of Merlin, I needed a spot in present-day England where Uther Pendragon and, later, King Arthur, would have held regular meetings with the minor kings of the British tribes.

When discussing this with Michael, we spoke of the fact that no-one has ever been able to locate the Round Table, how the table worked for practical purposes, and the methods used by the High Kings to exercise their powers,

I tried to arrive at a logical approach and we decided to select a suitable settlement in central Britain that provided reasonable access for all the minor kings.  I selected Deva (present-day Chester) and duly embedded that location in the third Merlin book as the most
likely site.  It seemed like a reasonable assertion, so I invented my own version of the table to maintain the plot of my story.

I thought no further on the matter as I had other fish to fry, and just got on with my research and writing.

Then, about three months ago, an article appeared in the newspapers that King Arthur’s Round Table had been unearthed in an archeological dig.  Would you believe it ? The table was found at Chester, of all places!

Strangely, it wasn’t a timber table, or the sort that was imagined by many as the original prototype.

The archeologists at the dig had been uncovering a smallish tor that existed on the outskirts of Chester.  When uncovered, it turned out to be a small Roman gladiatorial arena that had been in use during the 2nd century by the local Romans who ruled the area.

Around the perimeter of the arena (about the size of a tennis court) was rock seating (three rows high) where observers could sit and view the meetings of the kings.  Inside the arena was a large flat rock which was the original “Table”, and around this were smaller rocks
where the tribal kings sat.  The High King was believed to have sat in the central place of honour.  In this way all the tribal kings were equal, each with the other, and the High King remained above them as the paramount ruler.

This discovery was a major breakthrough in our observations of the legends but, for me, it was awesome that my “guess” was shown to have a certain amount of accuracy.

See UK Press article