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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Glastonbury's Monk Marketers

For centuries a mystical atmosphere has swirled around Glastonbury Abbey, which is said to be the resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.

Since the 12th century, the Abbey has been one of Britain's most sacrosanct destinations for pilgrims and monks; but archaeologists have discovered that it's part in British myth may be more contrived than previously thought. 

In fact, the whole Glastonbury origin myth may have to be rewritten after surveys conducted by Reading University conclusively established that no remains belonging to Arthur or Guinevere are buried on the site. 
This leaves open the possibility that the site's monk custodians were actually medieval Mad Men, who invented the myth in a bid to raise funds after a fire destroyed the site in 1184. 

It goes without saying that their mythopoeic marketing strategy was an overwhelming success, and so firmly entrenched Glastonbury Abbey in British folklore that the site's popularity has endured to the modern day. Cynical monks, however, are no match for science's quest for truth.

The group of archaeologists whose project resulted in the findings say that despite the prospect of "the history of Glastonbury Abbey [being] rewritten", tourist numbers will not dwindle. 

Likewise, site director Janet Bell insists that the report does not "debunk King Arthur's affiliation with the Abbey", and even hints at the possibility of using it as another marketing opportunity. 

Her predecessors would have been proud. 

Export & General's friends at C&N Hollinrake Ltd, consultant archaeologists, are situated in Glastonbury, and devote some of their time to ecclesiastical archaeology. You can visit their website here

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