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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; artifacts; chiusdano; economic; excalibur; galganoguidotti; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; italy; legends; mystery; siena; stgalgano; sword; 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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To: Johnny_Cipher
You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you

Be Quiet!!!!

21 posted on 03/03/2004 7:12:29 AM PST by NativeSon
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To: Husker24
Can't they use that ground penetrating radar on that rock, to see if there is actually an entire sword in that rock.

One would think so. Hello???

22 posted on 03/03/2004 7:18:01 AM PST by null and void (Pay no attention to the 1's and 0's behind the voting booth curtain, and they'll return the favor...)
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To: Swordmaker
And why, pray tell, isn't that your tag line?
23 posted on 03/03/2004 7:19:05 AM PST by null and void (Pay no attention to the 1's and 0's behind the voting booth curtain, and they'll return the favor...)
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To: in the Arena
Interesting post...I've never heard of the Tuscan Excalibur.

Nor I. I LOVE FR!

24 posted on 03/03/2004 7:20:29 AM PST by null and void (Pay no attention to the 1's and 0's behind the voting booth curtain, and they'll return the favor...)
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To: Wombat101
["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."]

["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."]

??????
25 posted on 03/03/2004 7:26:45 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: blam
bump
26 posted on 03/03/2004 7:26:59 AM PST by dalebert
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To: Future Snake Eater
LOL! I just posted an "Army of Darkness" reference on another thread.


"See this? This is my BOOMSTICK!!!

27 posted on 03/03/2004 7:31:11 AM PST by Pyro7480 ("We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid" - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Wombat101
Old woman!
28 posted on 03/03/2004 7:33:18 AM PST by billbears (Deo Vindice.)
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To: billbears
Old woman!

Man!

29 posted on 03/03/2004 11:11:19 AM PST by Bacon Man (Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick once and you suck forever.)
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To: Xenalyte
Hey Bacon, here's a sword you don't have!

Well duh, some fool stuck it in a rock! :)

30 posted on 03/03/2004 11:12:48 AM PST by Bacon Man (Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick once and you suck forever.)
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To: blam
"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. "

The "Sword in the Stone" theme in King Arthur comes from the Sarmatians.

A Sarmatian unit was stationed in western Britain when it was a Roman province. The Sarmatians, an Eastern European tribe, fought on horseback and worshipped an image of a sword in a a stone. This may have been adopted as a theme by the British tribes living in that area, just as they may have adopted a Dragon, one of the images on a legionary standard of a Legion which was stationed there, in their title "Pendragon".

31 posted on 03/03/2004 11:18:58 AM PST by ZULU
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To: Bacon Man
Man, sorry Dennis... ;)
32 posted on 03/03/2004 11:24:14 AM PST by billbears (Deo Vindice.)
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To: blam
What? No "Watery Tart"?
33 posted on 03/03/2004 11:24:59 AM PST by Dead Dog
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To: ZULU
The sword in a stone may refer to drawing iron or copper from ore. It was the iron age by then, and iron weapons ruled. The dragon image was widespread around the world, and may refer to chemical processes. Eastern metallurgists, especially in the eastern Mediterranean, protected knowledge of their craft in a guildlike manner. We're probably looking at signs of the latest hi-tech advances of the times.
34 posted on 03/03/2004 11:28:05 AM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: NativeSon
I'm Being Oppressed!
35 posted on 03/03/2004 11:28:27 AM PST by Dead Dog
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To: billbears
What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior. ;)
36 posted on 03/03/2004 11:32:07 AM PST by Bacon Man (Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick once and you suck forever.)
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To: Wombat101
http://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/netsam/holy_grail.html
37 posted on 03/03/2004 11:39:39 AM PST by KillTime
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To: Just mythoughts
Okay, I think I've confused you, a bit..I apologize.

King Arthur and his knights (as we know them) are litterary inventions. There is no Round Table, no Court of Camelot,and if I have to point this out, some of the characters in those tales (particularly Lancelot) are French and obviously later inventions slipped into the tales.

In ancient history, evidence exists that indicates that sometime in the 4-5th century AD, there was a Welsh warlord named Arthur (Arturus in Latin)and that his main claim to fame is that he kept the invading Saxons at bay for at least a generation or two. This evidence, however, is flimsy, and is mostly based on the fact that there seems to be an explosion of young boys named Arthur in the later stages of this time frame (from village rolls, church records, etc). And from a few scattered bits of poetry and such proclaiming him King of the Britons.

The basis for all of the King Arthur tales is Celtic in origin, and very ancient. The idea of lake spirits handing out weapons, Merlin, and even the Holy Grail, have their roots in Celtic myth (the Grail Quest may have been a retelling in more modern times of the story of Cu'Chullain's (sp?)magic cauldron).

By the 12th century, these tales had been romanticized and told in European couts all over the continent. The Sword in the Stone tale never appears in the ancient myths about Arthur. In the original tales, Arthur receives his sword from the Lady of the Lake.

The name Excalibur is Latin, whereas in the Welsh, the sword if known as Caledfwlch. The names od the Round Table knights, such as Kay (Cei), Gawain, Owain, Derfel, and other caharacters, such as Igraine, Guinevere, etc. are all Welsh. Galahad, depending on which version of the story you hear, is the purest knight, while in others, it is Percival.
Percival, by the way, is a Fanco-German invention.

The sword in the stone tale is an older invention, and the point of it was that Arthur, by pulling the sword from it, was to be the future king of the Britons. It is symbolic, and a powerful symbol at that. It would not surprise me that other European rulers would not try to use similar sybolism to validate their own claims to power.
38 posted on 03/03/2004 11:43:25 AM PST by Wombat101 (Sanitized for YOUR protection....)
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To: Wombat101
Thanks for the clarification.

Could be using different names hunting for that sword little David took from that Giant ISamuel 17:51
39 posted on 03/03/2004 11:50:29 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Just mythoughts
No problem...For my next tick, I'll debunk Robin Hood for you...lol
40 posted on 03/03/2004 11:52:02 AM PST by Wombat101 (Sanitized for YOUR protection....)
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To: blam
Portland cement.
41 posted on 03/03/2004 11:58:24 AM PST by Old Professer
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To: Wombat101
smiling....
42 posted on 03/03/2004 11:58:28 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Wombat101
The most obvious use of Arthurian symbolism that comes to mind is that of the Nazis. There is a famous painting of Hitler as Percival in full armor, and Himmler maintained a Round Table for his SS lieutenants in some castle somewhere (I've forgotten the name!).

British monarchs used to sit on a throne under which was the Stone of Scone, symbolising that Scotland was firmly within the British Empire. The stone was the platform upon which Scots kings were coronated.

It's not unusual for people to reach into the past for the ancient symbols of legitimacy in order to justify their own claims to power.
43 posted on 03/03/2004 12:02:52 PM PST by Wombat101 (Sanitized for YOUR protection....)
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To: Dead Dog
Bloody Peasant!!!
44 posted on 03/03/2004 12:05:08 PM PST by NativeSon
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To: RightWhale
Interesting.

I've always thought that dragon legends may have been spawned by dinosaur fossils. A T-Rex skull would make a fine catalyst for such stories.

45 posted on 03/03/2004 12:28:10 PM PST by myheroesareDeadandRegistered
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To: Wombat101
debunk Robin Hood

Sherwood Forest has been subdivided, developed, and cut by highways so there are only a few acres left. The same has happened to Walden Pond. Robin Hood would be able to hide out in Sherwood Forest for maybe an hour these days.

46 posted on 03/03/2004 12:35:36 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: myheroesareDeadandRegistered
dragon legends may have been spawned by dinosaur fossils

Very likely some were. The dragon was used as a chemical symbol by alchemists and as a mystical symbol by . . . mystics, but they probably didn't invent the symbol.

47 posted on 03/03/2004 12:38:16 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: RightWhale
Perhaps, but when captured his defense would be that he was a deprived youth, his property and inheritance stolen by a capricious King, suffering from PTSD due to the Crusades and paranoid, thinking that Kevin Costner was always right behind him.
48 posted on 03/03/2004 12:41:36 PM PST by Wombat101 (Sanitized for YOUR protection....)
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To: Wombat101
Of course, he would have to serve 6 months in a halfway house and do 200 hours community service. Then he could write a book and go on lecture tour.
49 posted on 03/03/2004 12:45:01 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: ZULU; RightWhale
Have you guys read the Jack Whyte historical "Camulod" fictional novels? They start with Arthur's great grandfathers, and end with Arthur's coronation. Great read.
50 posted on 03/03/2004 4:41:02 PM PST by padfoot_lover
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