St. Galgano Guidotti Sword in the Stone

Tuscany's Excalibur - The Real Thing?

   Rory Carroll reported in The Observer, Sunday, September 16, 2001, that the sword of St. Galgano Guidotti, a noble from Chiusdano, near Siena, said to have been plunged into a rock around 1180 by the medieval Tuscan knight when he became a hermit, has been authenticated, bolstering Italy's version of the Excalibur legend. For centuries the sword was assumed to be a fake; but research revealed last week by Luigi Garlaschelli, of the University of Pavia, has dated its metal to the twelfth century. Only the hilt, wooden grip and a few inches of the 3ft blade poke from the hill Montesiepi, a hill near Chiusdano, which still draws pilgrims and tour to the ruins of the chapel built around it. Ground-penetrating radar has also revealed that beneath the sword there is a cavity, 2m by 1m, which is thought to be a burial recess, possibly containing the knight's body. Carbon-dating also confirmed that two mummified hands at Montesiepi were also from the twelfth century. Legend has it that anyone who tried to remove the sword had their arms ripped out.

   One may wonder if this event predated or post-dated the stories of Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone.