Secrets from the Sky – Tintagel Castle episode 1: Historian Bettany Hughes takes to the air to unravel the legend of King Arthur. Bettany and Ben visit Tintagel Castle in Cornwall to show evidence that the castle has its roots in the Dark Ages and was once part of a world trading network.
Britain is full of monuments and other buildings that have historical significance, some of which are explored in an unusual way on this show. Historian Bettany Hughes and aerial archaeologist Ben Robinson explore the sites from above using camera-equipped, remote-controlled helicopters.The top-down view of the locations helps link together clues on the ground, which can have a different meaning when viewed from above, to discover the full story of the landscape. The locations that are explored via a bird’s eye view include Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, Suffolk’s Sutton Hoo cemetery and Stonehenge.
Bettany Mary Hughes is an English historian, author and broadcaster, specialising in classical history. Her published books cover classical antiquity and myth, and the history of Istanbul. She is active in efforts to encourage the teaching of the classics in UK state schools. Hughes was appointed OBE in 2019.
Secrets from the Sky – Tintagel Castle episode 1
Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortification located on the peninsula of Tintagel Island adjacent to the village of Tintagel (Trevena), North Cornwall in the United Kingdom. The site was possibly occupied in the Romano-British period, as an array of artefacts dating from this period have been found on the peninsula, but as yet no Roman-era structure has been proven to have existed there. It was settled during the early medieval period, when it was probably one of the seasonal residences of the regional king of Dumnonia. A castle was built on the site by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall in the 13th century, during the High Middle Ages. It later fell into disrepair and ruin.
Archaeological investigation into the site began in the 19th century as it became a tourist attraction, with visitors coming to see the ruins of Richard’s castle. In the 1930s, excavations revealed significant traces of a much earlier high status settlement, which had trading links with the Mediterranean world during the Late Roman period. Two digs in 2016 and 2017 at Tintagel Castle uncovered the outlines of a palace from the 5th or early 6th century (the early medieval period), with evidence of writing and of articles brought in from Spain and from the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Cornwall Archaeological Unit has a five-year project at this site, with a final report expected in 2021.