PBS' 'Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur's Lost Kingdom' Examines the Dark Ages

Christina Gables
Courtesy of 360 Production

After the Roman Empire — which covered most of Western Europe — collapsed, the Romans fled Britain, leaving the island open to hordes of pagan Angles and Saxons ready to destroy everything in their path. This tumultuous and violent time is what became known as the Dark Ages.

In Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur’s Lost Kingdom, Professor Alice Roberts of University of Birmingham uncovers new archeological evidence to rewrite our understanding of the Dark Ages and to explain the Arthurian Legend.

Courtesy of 360 Production

The key to Professor Roberts’ quest is the excavation of a stone fortification complex on the Tintagel peninsula in Western England. A five-week excavation unearths clues to a sophisticated trading village where a great leader known as Arthur emerged. A stone is unearthed with Roman Latin inscriptions suggesting a literate society.

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Artifacts from Turkey, North Africa and France show the prosperity of the area. An Anglo-Saxon broach made by 5th century British techniques suggest a blending of cultures. Professor Robert decodes these discoveries and pieces together a very different story of this turning point in Britain’s history.

Courtesy of 360 Production

More than folklore, was Arthur the ruler of a prosperous trading village and the heroic defender of the local Britons? No one really knew... until now.

Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur’s Lost Kingdom, Wednesday, March 27, 10/9c, PBS (Check local listings)