Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient hillfort at the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh that dates as far back as 3,000 years ago. The peak received its name from the legend that King Arthur may be buried, asleep, inside of a glass coffin located in the heart of the hill.
The walls at the top of the extinct volcano were constructed by the mysterious and large Votadini tribe (a Celtic tribe that lived in the south-eastern part of Scotland and the north-eastern part of England).
CFA Archaeology and Historic Environment Scotland are the ones conducting the excavations at the 820-foot-high Arthur’s Seat which so far consists of three trenches. In a tweet last week, CFA Archaeology wrote, “More results from Arthur’s Seat! The wall line of what we think is the fort’s rampart is still surviving despite erosion,” adding, “Hard work to get our tools up the hill, but worth it for the view!”
Other digs at the site were quite successful as researchers found stone walls that were 18 feet thick and 4 feet tall that blocked off one side of the summit while there were steep cliffs on the other side. The tribe also used the land for farming. (Pictures can be seen here.)
In an interview with Edinburgh Live, Historic Environment Scotland said, “As an ancient monument which has seen thousands of years of activity, the park is rich in archaeological remains, which provide an indication of those who lived here before,” adding, “We have a team currently working who have opened up three trial trenches aimed at locating and identifying the nature and extent of archaeological features on a plateau near the summit of Arthur’s Seat.” “Initial findings are still being assessed but will help build a fuller picture of how the park was used and developed over the centuries, and inform the future management of this amazing place.”
The tribe was quite powerful and they built numerous settlements around the location like the burial site at Traprain Law located in East Lothian which was believed to have once been their capital. Some of the more than 250 items found there included Roman coins from the early part of the 5th century AD which indicated that the tribe was Romanized. In fact, it was the largest hoard of Roman silver discovered outside the Roman Empire.
It will be interesting to see what more information researchers will be able to gather on this mysterious tribe.