A Royston-barlang egy mesterséges barlang az angliai Hertfordshire-ben, amely furcsa faragványokat tartalmaz. Nem ismert, hogy ki készítette a barlangot, és mire használták, de sok találgatás keringett.
Egyesek úgy vélik, hogy a templomos lovagok használták, míg mások úgy vélik, hogy Ágoston-rendi raktár lehetett. Egy másik elmélet szerint ez egy neolitikus kovakőbánya volt. Ezen elméletek egyike sem igazolódott, és a Royston-barlang eredete továbbra is rejtély marad.
A Royston-barlang felfedezése
Royston Cave was discovered in August 1742 by a worker in the small town of Royston while digging holes to build footing for a new bench at a market. He found a millstone during he was digging, and when he dug around to remove it, he found the shaft leading down into a man-made cave, half-filled with dirt and rock.
At the time of discovery, efforts were made to remove the dirt and rock filling the artificial cave, which was subsequently discarded. Some even believed that treasure would be found within Royston Cave. However, the removal of the dirt did not reveal any treasure. They did however discover very strange sculptures and carvings within the cave. It is worth noting that had the soil not been discarded, today’s technology could have allowed for a soil analysis.
Located below the crossroads of Ermine Street and Icknield Way, the cave itself is an artificial chamber carved into chalk bedrock, measuring approximately 7.7 meters high (25 ft 6 in) and 5.2 meters (17 ft) in diameter. At the base, the cave is a raised octagonal step, which many believe was used for kneeling or prayer.
Along the lower part of the wall, there are unusual carvings. Experts believe that these relief carvings were originally colored, although due to the passage of time only very small traces of color remain visible.
A faragott domborművek többnyire vallási jellegűek, Szent Katalint, a Szent Családot, a keresztre feszítést ábrázolják, Szent Lőrincot, aki a rácsot tartja, amelyen mártírhalált halt, és egy kardot tartó alakot, aki lehet Szent György vagy Szent Mihály is. . Úgy tűnik, hogy a faragványok alatti lyukak gyertyákat vagy lámpákat tartalmaztak, amelyek megvilágították volna a faragványokat és szobrokat.
Several of the figures and symbols have yet to be identified, but according to Royston Town Council, a study of the designs in the cave suggest that the carvings were likely made in the mid 14th century.
One of the main conclusions as to the origin of Royston Cave, especially for those who like összeesküvés elméletek, is that it was used by the medieval religious order known as the Keresztes Lovagok, prior to their dissolution by Pope Clement V in 1312.
Bad Archaeology criticizes the way websites across the web have repeated this association between the Royston Cave and the Knights Templar, despite the weakness of the evidence in favor of the hypothesis and the arguments in favor of a later date.
Some also believe that the cave had been split into two levels using a wooden floor. Figures near a damaged section of the cave depict two knights riding a single horse, which may be the remains of a Templar symbol. Architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner has written that: „A faragások dátumát nehéz kitalálni. Angolszásznak nevezték őket, de valószínűbb, hogy a C14 és a C17 (szakképzetlen férfiak munkája) között vannak.
Another theory is that Royston Cave was used as an Augustinian storehouse. As their name implies, the Augustinians were an Order created by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, in Africa. Founded in 1061 AD, they first came into England during the reign of I. Henry.
A 12. századtól a hertfordshire-i Royston a szerzetesi élet központja volt, és az Ágoston-rendi rendház közel 400 évig megszakítás nélkül ott maradt. Azt mondták, hogy a helyi ágostai szerzetesek a Royston-barlangot hűvös tárolóhelyként és kápolnaként használták termékeik számára.
More significantly, some speculate it may have been used as a Neolithic flint mine as early as 3,000 BC, where flint would have been gathered for making axes and other tools. However, the chalk in this area only provides small flint nodules, generally unsuitable for ax making, so this may cast some doubt on this theory.
A Royston-barlang titkainak megfejtése
To this date, there remains much mystery as to who created Royston cave and for what purpose. It is always possible that whichever community originally created the cave may have abandoned it at some point, allowing it to be used by another community.
The mystery surrounding the cave and the sculptures within make the Royston Cave an interesting destination for visitors who would like to speculate as to the origins of this ancient wonder.