A mystery from history A QUEST FOR TRUTH; JUST FOR KIDS; YAK'S CORNER

THE BALTIMORE SUN

"Quest for Camelot" is more than the name of a movie - it's a mystery from history.

For more than a thousand years, stories have been told of brave King Arthur and his courageous knights of the Round Table. All that time, people have been searching western England for Arthur's castle, Camelot.

Some historians believe Arthur is just a legend that grew out of an even older myth. But others think Arthur dates back to the 5th century, when the Roman Empire was falling apart.

Britain, no longer protected by Rome, faced invasions. For a brief time, a great warrior united the British tribes. He may have been named Artorius or Arthwys.

This king did not live in a fairy ' tale castle, and he did not wear shining armor. Most likely, he lived on top of a hill in a big timber and stone farmhouse, surrounded by strong outer walls.

His home may have been discovered at Cadbury, a large hilltop fortress that dates back to the second half of the 5th century. It's made of wood and stone, but big enough to hold a whole army inside its walls. Ancient weapons, jewelry and pottery have been found in the ruins, but no Round Table - no table at all, in fact.

The Round Table and the rest - Merlin, Sir Lancelot, Queen Guinevere - became part of the legend over the centuries, as it was told by traveling storytellers.

By the 12th century, Arthur stories had been written down as the ones we now know, with fantastic castles, brave knights in armor and fair ladies.

Historians may never know if there was a real Camelot, but the story of Arthur lives on in every century. In that way, he really is "The Once and Future King."

! Pub date: 6/08/98

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