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Old January 10th, 2017, 08:20 AM   #1
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Arthur again


Now Prof Peter Field, a renowned expert in Arthurian literature claims that Camelot "turns out to be a small Roman fort at Slack, on the outskirts of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire".

Ex-Bangor University professor reveals 'true Camelot' - BBC News

Possible location of King Arthur's Camelot found

I've been claiming for ages that it was in our Uncle Fred's field. I don't know why it took the good professor so long.

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Old January 10th, 2017, 11:19 AM   #2

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I've been claiming for ages that it was in our Uncle Fred's field. I don't know why it took the good professor so long.
Alas for your Uncle Fred, mate. According to the academic and former soldier, Jim Storr, Camelot would most likely have been Colchester. See Jim Storr`s book King Arthur`s Wars. An impressive book which sheds new light on the conflicts between the Romano-Britons and the Anglo-Saxons.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 11:50 AM   #3

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The problem of Slack is that it was well less great, rich and important of the "main Camulodunum" [Colchester] and we should remind that Slack was more known as Cambodunum ... CAMBODVNVM
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Old January 10th, 2017, 12:47 PM   #4
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But, but but, they found a pot!

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To understand the irony, it's probably best to read the BBC report:

"Prof Peter Field, a renowned expert in Arthurian literature, said: "It was quite by chance. I was looking at some maps, and suddenly all the ducks lined up.

"I believe I may have solved a 1,400-year-old mystery.""


This is the nature of "renowned experts" and yes, I know it wasn't Camulodunum and the only serious suggestions are that it might possibly be Cambodunum and even maybe the Campodunum refered to by Bede (B.II, Ch. XIV.8). The location and/or equivalence of Cambodunum and Campodunum have never been established.

It ought to serve as a warning that renowned experts and university professors too can be guilty of using name similarity to 'prove' their own pet theories. I am also surprised that he didn't know about it before either as William Camden was writing about it in the 16th century.

The important aspect of this site is that the vicus remained inhabited after the fort was abandonned in around 140AD. The hasty 1969 excavations concluded that the vicus too had been abandonned at the same time but, they had to press on and build a new motorway over the site. In 2007 they did excavate a small untouched part and immediately started bringing up surprising new evidence which indicated that it was still in use in the 4th century. Old victorian maps show a 'site of a roman circus' but all this evidence is now lost. A great shame as there was something there, possibly a mansio, though personally, I am not a believer in any one particular Arthur story anyway. I'd be happy if it could be shown to be Bede's Campodunum.

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Old January 10th, 2017, 01:12 PM   #5
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Perhaps the subject title, 'Arthur Again' was a bit too subtle and I should have entitled it, 'Not another bloody arthur theory'.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 11:20 PM   #6

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Not sure how long they'll give Tony Robinson and Time Team to dig a trench across the A640
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Old January 10th, 2017, 11:33 PM   #7
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Not sure how long they'll give Tony Robinson and Time Team to dig a trench across the A640

If Mick 'the dig' Worthington were on the episode!
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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:11 AM   #8
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A640? Isn't that the mighty M62 on the aerial shot?

'Cambodunum' means 'crooked fort' or (I suspect) 'fort at the crooked place'. It's probably cognate with the 'Camolodono' of the Ravenna Cosmography, which slots a fort of that name between 'Alunna' and 'Calunio'. Both 'Alunna' and 'Calunio' look to me to preserve the element *lon, so I'd put them both in the Lune valley somewhere - one of them Lancaster and the other either Burrow or Low Borrow Bridge.

The Ravenna list is moving roughly north and westwards at this point and in a wider context Camoloduno sits between entries for Manchester/the east Midlands and the entries for Cumbria. So an association with Slack is quite possible.

The name is a Latinised version of an earlier form. We might therefore expect there to have been a pre-Roman fort on (or near) the same site. Do we know if that checks out for Slack?

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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:15 AM   #9
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A640? Isn't that the mighty M62 on the aerial shot?
The A640 runs parallel to the M62 at this point but lies to the north of the vicus. It does appear to be very close to the 'roman circus' though and they have put down some trenches. Further to the north, in a field, is the source of the water supply to the vicus. The wood lining of the conduit allowed it to be dated, 3rd/4th century. It is still delivering water, despite the A640 and the M62 motorway being built on top of it. More a trickle thesedays, one and a half litres per hour, but impressive nonetheless.


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We might therefore expect there to have been a pre-Roman fort on (or near) the same site. Do we know if that checks out for Slack?
It's a few miles away but in clear sight of Slack. Castle Hill did have an multi-valet iron age fort and settlement with substantial fortifications and until 1970 it was thought to be an important site of the Brigantes. However, it appears that around 400BC the site was abandonned, probably due to an underlying shale coal seam catching fire. It is not known where they went after that. However in nearby Longwood, the romans built a watch station where a dedication to a god of the Brigantes was found, "To the God Brigans and the imperial divinities T. Aurelius Quintus gave (the altar) as a gift at his own cost and expense" so the romans at slack were keeping an eye on someone, until 140AD at least when they decided the natives were peaceful. The actual latin used is "Deo Breganti". It may have been reoccupied, but no signs of this have been found.

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Old January 11th, 2017, 02:22 AM   #10
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It's a few miles away but in clear sight of Slack. Castle Hill did have an multi-valet iron age fort and settlement with substantial fortifications
Interesting. I didn't know it was so old. That's the Castle Hill above Huddersfield, I take it?

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However in nearby Longwood, the romans built a watch station where a dedication to a god of the Brigantes was found,
Was there a beacon there?

Incidentally, are you familiar with Iter II of the British section of the Antonine Itinerary? It describes a route from Birrens in Dumfriesshire to Carlisle and then down to Richborough. Strangely, it crosses the Pennines twice - coming along the modern A66, dropping down to York and then coming back over to Manchester before heading through Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire and bending east again into Leicestershire. That is an extremely circuitous route which, if uncorrupted, probably gives us some interesting information about the Itineraries. Either way, a possible station 'Cambodunum' is postulated between Tadcaster and Manchester, apparently sitting 20 miles from the former and 18 miles from the latter. The mileages really don't work (it's about 55 miles), but Slack does sit on the best line between the two.
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