South Cadbury Castle is well known for its suspected association with King Arthur as the site of his infamous castle, Camelot. Excavations have shown that the site was indeed strengthened in the period formally known as the Dark Ages, at the time of the legendary Arthur. However, there is one question that remains an enigma – why was the site abandoned?
There is no archaeological evidence that shows there was destruction or an invasion at the site of South Cadbury at the beginning of the sixth century – it simply went out of use. Its abandonment is perplexing for it was strengthened and inhabited in the fifth century as evidenced by the pottery sherds, but by the early sixth century it was uninhabited. South Cadbury has undergone some extensive excavations, especially by Alcock (1965-1970), who tells us ‘On the basis of archaeological evidence – and there is no other – the Cadbury II occupation had come to an end before 600AD’ (Alcock 1005, 152).