A milestone discovered at Tintagel in Cornwall refers to the Emperor Licinius (r. 308–324) suggesting that it was occupied during the Roman era; there are also traces of earlier Bronze Age/Iron Age habitation. Archaeological remains from the 5th and 6th centuries, including pottery sourced from the Mediterranean, suggest a high-status settlement, with surrounding rectangular commoners’ huts on the site of the future Chapel. Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing in c. 1130, first connected Tintagel to the Arthurian legend. It is likely that the aura of myth that it had acquired impelled the Earl of Cornwall to build a castle on the site in the 1230s, with the Upper ward on the site of the earlier stronghold, and the lower ward forming the entrance and defence to the ‘island’ isthmus. However, the site had little military and strategic value, and fell into disuse before brief restoration by the Black Prince, son of Edward III, in the 14th century.
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