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Tuscan 'Excalibur' Mystery To Be Unearthed
Discovery ^ | 3-1-2004 | Rossella Lorenzi

Posted on 03/02/2004 7:24:15 PM PST by blam

Tuscan 'Excalibur' Mystery to be Unearthed

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

The Sword in The Stone

March 1, 2004 — Archaeological digging might soon unveil the mystery surrounding a sword buried in a Gothic abbey in Tuscany, Italian researchers announced.

Known as the "sword in the stone," the Tuscan "Excalibur" is said to have been plunged into a rock in 1180 by Galgano Guidotti, a medieval knight who renounced war and worldly goods to become a hermit.

Built in Galgano's memory, the evocative Gothic abbey at Montesiepi, near the city of Siena, still preserves the sword in a little chapel. Only the hilt and a few centimeters of the blade protrude from the rock in the shape of a Cross.

Read about researchers working in the field featured in our Discovery Quest series.

Learn more about history in our History Guide.

"The sword has been considered a fake for many years, but our metal dating research in 2001 has indicated it has medieval origins. The composition of the metal doesn't show the use of modern alloys, and the style is compatible with that one of a 12th century sword," Luigi Garlaschelli, a research scientist at University of Pavia, told Discovery News.

By the summer, Garlaschelli hopes to excavate the area around the stone, in search of the knight's body. Indeed, ground penetrating radar analysis revealed the presence of a 6 1/2-foot by 3-foot room beneath the sword.

"It could well be Galgano's tomb, [sought] for about 800 years," Garlaschelli said.

The figure of Galgano Guidotti, who is said to have be born in 1148 in Chiusdino, near Siena, is shrouded in mystery and legend. Evidence of his historical identity has never been found and no records exist in documents from his time.

Galgano Guidotti was said to have been an arrogant and lustful knight who isolated himself in a cave and became a hermit after seeing a vision of the Archangel Michael.

Legend has it that, Galgano was lured out by his mother who convinced him to meet with his former beautiful fiancée; on the way to her house, Galgano was thrown by his horse while passing Montesiepi, a hill near Chiusdino. There, another vision told him to renounce material things. Galgano objected that it would be as difficult as splitting a rock with a sword. To prove his point, he struck a stone with his sword. Instead of breaking, the sword slid like butter into the rock. Galgano once again became a recluse, isolating himself by the sword's side. There he remained until he died in 1181.

Garlaschelli admitted that the excavation would not unveil another mystery over the sword: the one of the Tuscan "Excalibur" predating the legend of King Arthur.

If the sword really dates to 1180, decades before the first literary reference to the "sword in the stone," it would support the theory that the Celtic myth of King Arthur and his sword Excalibur developed in Italy after the death of Galgano.

"Further evidence may lie underneath the rock, but the Arthurian link is almost impossible to prove. It will remain one of the many mysteries that surround St. Galgano. More multidisciplinary studies are needed to understand what the hill of Montesiepi hides. Meanwhile, we are all anxious to see what results this excavation will bring," Maurizio Cali, president of the "Project Galgano" association, told Discovery News.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: archaeology; archangelmichael; arthurianlegend; artifacts; catholic; chiusdano; chiusdino; economic; excalibur; galganoguidotti; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; italy; kingarthur; legends; middleages; montesiepi; montesiepichapel; montesiepisiena; mystery; relic; romancatholicism; roundtable; saintgalgano; saintgalganoabbey; saints; sangalgano; santuccio; siena; siepichapel; stgalgano; sword; swordinthestone; tuscan; tuscany; unearthed
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1 posted on 03/02/2004 7:24:17 PM PST by blam
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To: farmfriend
GGG ping.
2 posted on 03/02/2004 7:24:50 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Cool! Thanks for this post.
3 posted on 03/02/2004 7:27:49 PM PST by DestroytheDemocrats
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To: blam
Great post!
4 posted on 03/02/2004 7:34:34 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: blam
Cant they use that ground penetrating radar on that rock, to see if there is actually an entire sword in that rock.
5 posted on 03/02/2004 7:41:09 PM PST by Husker24
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To: blam
Amazing, blam! Thanks for the post!
6 posted on 03/02/2004 7:42:34 PM PST by JennysCool
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To: blam
Awesome article, thanks for posting!
7 posted on 03/02/2004 7:43:03 PM PST by padfoot_lover
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To: Husker24
BUMP!
8 posted on 03/02/2004 7:44:16 PM PST by jmstein7 (Real Men Don't Need Chunks of Government Metal on Their Chests to be Heroes)
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To: blam
Very interesting
9 posted on 03/02/2004 8:03:46 PM PST by mylife
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To: blam
Blam... Thanks. Very interesting.

I was once told that Excalibur is derived from

Excalibur ->Ex Calx Liberatus -> From the Stone Freed

10 posted on 03/02/2004 8:23:59 PM PST by Swordmaker (This tagline shut down for renovations and repairs. Re-open June of 2001.)
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To: blam
Maybe this will help to free the sword--
"Annul nathrac, uthvar spethud, dochial dienve!"
11 posted on 03/02/2004 8:43:53 PM PST by MilesVeritatis
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To: blam
Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcicial aquatic ceremony! You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!

(Still a great post though. Will be interesting to see how it turns out).

12 posted on 03/02/2004 8:50:51 PM PST by Johnny_Cipher (Making hasenfeffer out of bunnyrabbits since 1980)
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To: Axiom Nine; Xenalyte
Really cool sword ping
13 posted on 03/02/2004 8:53:45 PM PST by pax_et_bonum (Always finish what you st)
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To: blam
Interesting post...I've never heard of the Tuscan Excalibur.
14 posted on 03/02/2004 9:02:21 PM PST by in the Arena (1st Lt. James W. Herrick, Jr., - MIA - Laos - 27 October 69 "Fire Fly 33")
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To: pax_et_bonum; Bacon Man
Sweet - thanks for the ping! Hey Bacon, here's a sword you don't have!
15 posted on 03/03/2004 6:12:37 AM PST by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I shall defend to the death your right to stick it)
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To: Johnny_Cipher
Listen, if I went around claiming to be an Emperor or something, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away....
16 posted on 03/03/2004 6:16:32 AM PST by Wombat101 (Sanitized for YOUR protection....)
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To: Wombat101
Hmm..Let's see, "King" Arthur, according to what little is known of him, appears to have lived in the 5th century AD, and been Welsh, and here we have a sword that has been dated to the 12th century, embedding in a rock in Italy.

By the 12th century, the tales of the Knights of the Round Table were already popular throughout Europe, and it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think that anyone claiming any sort of authority might "borrow" some of these legends in order to achieve legitimacy.

P.S. The Welsh name of Arthur's sword was "Caledfwlch" (Caled-FOLK) which means "Forked Lightning".
17 posted on 03/03/2004 6:21:38 AM PST by Wombat101 (Sanitized for YOUR protection....)
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To: blam
Well, has anyone tried to pull the dang thing out?
18 posted on 03/03/2004 6:25:24 AM PST by bigcheese ("Standing on the beach with a gun in my hand, staring at the sea, staring at the sand...")
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To: MilesVeritatis; Vic3O3; cavtrooper21
Now THAT was a truly bad but fun movie!

Semper Fi
19 posted on 03/03/2004 7:04:14 AM PST by dd5339 (Happiness is a full VM-II and a DEAD AND BURIED AWB!)
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To: MilesVeritatis
Or maybe "Klatu, verata, necktie!"
20 posted on 03/03/2004 7:10:40 AM PST by Future Snake Eater ("Oh boy, I can't wait to eat that monkey!"--Abe Simpson)
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