Stone tomb linked to King Arthur legend is older than Stonehenge, scientists say

A stone tomb in the English countryside that is said to be linked to the King Arthur legend is older than Stonehenge, researchers claim.

Known as Arthur's Stone, the distinctive structure is thought to be almost 6,000 years old and like Stonehenge part of "ceremonial landscape" spanning the area.

The stone site, which is found in Herefordshire, would have once been covered by a long earthen mound that is no longer visible.

The nine upright stones, with the enormous capstone on the top, would have formed the inner section of the ceremonial site.

Julian Thomas, a professor of archaeology at the University of Manchester in the U.K., told Live Science: "This is a ceremonial landscape like those around Stonehenge or Avebury, but rather earlier.

"It certainly implies that this is a location that was politically or spiritually important at the start of the Neolithic."

The capstone, which looks like the top of a table, is estimated to weigh more than 25 tonnes, which begs the question of how it was ever moved?

The legend of King Arthur says that he defended Britain from the Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries so the ancient stones near the Welsh border would have been present long before his time.

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The folk tale says that King Arthur killed a giant at the site and as the monster dropped to the ground he smashed against the stone leaving marks in the rocks.

King Charles I also gathered his army in the area on September 17, 1645, where he ate food and dined on top of the stones.

It is thought that Arthur's Stone was also the inspiration for the stone table upon which Aslan the Lion is sacrificed in the Chronicles of Narnia books.

The famous stone circle at Stonehenge is thought to date back 4,500 years, however an early henge monument at the site is thought to date back 5,000 years.

The lifting and the positioning of the stones in the circle would have taken great strength and skill, with the use of sophisticated equipment to lower and raise each one weighing over 25 tons.

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