Hitting the history headlines this week is the news that Camelot historians believe they have finally discovered the location of King Arthur’s Round Table – and it could have seated upwards of 1,000 people! The recent discovery of an amphitheatre in Chester, complete with execution stone and wooden memorial to Christian martyrs, has led the researchers to conclude that the city was the site of Arthur’s court and Round Table.
Elsewhere, the severed head of an aboriginal warrior, sent to England from Western Australia after his death at the hands of a settler in 1833, has been laid to rest in a traditional ceremony, in a memorial park thought to hold the remains of the rest of his body. Leaders of the Noongar tribe campaigned for decades to have the head returned to the country, and it was finally repatriated in 1997 – debates have raged ever since about where it should be buried.
Back in England, five activists clad in black veils poured an oil-like substance around the relic Hoa Hakananai’a – a 1,000-year-old carving of a human head and torso – situated in the British Museum. The move was made by the group Culture Beyond Oil in protest against the British Museum’s sponsorship deal with BP. The statue was not damaged.
Art was in the headlines again this week after a hand-coloured image of Edvard Munch’s Madonna was sold for £1.25 million at Bonham’s – the most expensive print to be sold in the UK and the second-most expensive sale of a print in the world. The work is signed and dated 1895.
Also in the newspapers was the planned auction later this year of a hoard of objects found in the attic rooms of Chatsworth House. Among the 20,000 articles going under the hammer are a marble fireplace designed by the home’s architect, William Kent, a Victorian back-scratcher, bookcases and candelabras. The three-day sale, planned for 5-7 October 2010, is expected to raise around £2.5 million.