The Tintagel Castle Archaeological Research Project is a five year research project seeking to find out more about the lives of people at this historic site over 1,000 years ago. Over the summers of 2016 and 2017, archaeologists were on site investigating a cluster of early medieval buildings, revealing remarkable evidence of a wealthy community.
Researching Tintagel Castle
In partnership with Cornwall Archaeological Unit, our five year research project will help us learn more about Tintagel's past. In 2016 -7, the excavation phase of the project exceeded expectations, revealing the remains of a cluster of Post-Roman buildings in a dramatic cliff top setting.
As well as uncovering the footprints of buildings dating back to the 5th to 6th centuries, the archaeologists found evidence of wealth, fine dining and trade with the Mediterranean world. Now we are working with academics around the country to learn more about the items uncovered, and help us piece together a picture of the lives of people at the castle during this period.
Exploring Tintagel's History
Tintagel Castle has inspired imaginations for hundreds of years and is today one of Cornwall's most iconic and popular visitor attractions. Our exhibition in the Visitor Centre features some of the finds from Tintagel for the first time, as well as taking a fresh look at the centuries old story. Designed to reflect the idea of a storybook containing many different tales, the exhibition explores how legend and reality have uniquely combined to shape Tintagel through the ages.
Our outdoor interpretation explores the history of the Cornish castle and the role legends have played in shaping the site that visitors see today. From the exhibition and interpretation, visitors can get a complete overview of Tintagel's history - from the artefacts discovered there to the legends associated with it. A series of panels reveal 1500 years of Tintagel's past - from royal stronghold, to thriving trading port, to a castle of romantic legend.
A stone compass points to places connected with the legend of King Arthur and engraved stepping stones around the island garden tell the tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult, a medieval tale set at Tintagel. On the beach, close to Merlin's Cave, a discreet carved face represents Merlin, who has been associated with the site since the 12th century and immortalised by the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Created by artist Rubin Eynon, Gallos (meaning power in Cornish), is an 8ft bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur and by the historic kings and royal figures associated with Tintagel.
The Beach Cafe
Originally used as the offices for Tintagel's silver and lead mines, the Beach Cafe has been completely refurbished to better reflect the area's industrial past in its decor, using slate floors, copper lights and sun bleached wooden panels. With a focus on fresh, seasonal and local food, the cafe's menu gives a real taste of Cornwall. The cafe is also now fully accessible for all visitors and is the perfect place to warm up after a blustery walk around the site.
English Heritage plans to build a new footbridge at Tintagel Castle that will follow the path of the original crossing between the mainland and the headland. The bridge will help visitors to better understand the site's history and will also improve access to the island as well as help to protect and conserve the landscape.
A competition was launched in 2015 to find the best architectural and engineering team to design the new footbridge and six were shortlisted. A period of consultation took place and the company with the winning concept design was announced as Ney & Partners Civil Engineers and William Matthews Associates in March 2016. The project is due to be completed in 2019.