Mystiska symboler och sniderier i konstgjorda Royston Cave

Mystiska symboler och sniderier i konstgjorda Royston Cave 1
Royston cave carvings and mysterious symbols. © Public Domain

Royston Cave är en konstgjord grotta i Hertfordshire, England, som innehåller konstiga sniderier. Det är inte känt vem som skapat grottan eller vad den användes till, men det har varit mycket spekulationer.

Mystiska symboler och sniderier i konstgjorda Royston Cave 2
Detalj av Royston Cave, Royston, Hertfordshire. © Bildkredit: Wikimedia Commons

Vissa tror att det användes av tempelriddarna, medan andra tror att det kan ha varit ett augustinskt förråd. En annan teori hävdar att det var en neolitisk flintgruva. Ingen av dessa teorier har underbyggts, och ursprunget till Royston Cave förblir ett mysterium.

Upptäckten av Royston Cave

Mystiska symboler och sniderier i konstgjorda Royston Cave 3
Platta I från Joseph Beldams bok The Origins and Use of the Royston Cave, 1884 som visar några av de många sniderierna. © Bildkredit: Wikimedia Commons

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.

De snidade reliefbilderna är mestadels religiösa och föreställer den heliga Katarina, den heliga familjen, korsfästelsen, den helige Lawrence som håller rutnätet på vilken han blev martyr och en figur som håller ett svärd som antingen kan vara den helige George eller den helige Michael. . Hål som ligger under ristningarna verkar ha hållit ljus eller lampor som skulle ha tänt ristningarna och skulpturerna.

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.

Teorier relaterade till Royston Cave

Mystiska symboler och sniderier i konstgjorda Royston Cave 4
Reliefristning av St. Christopher vid Royston Cave. © Bildkredit: Picturetalk321/flickr

One of the main conclusions as to the origin of Royston Cave, especially for those who like konspirationsteorier, is that it was used by the medieval religious order known as the Riddare Templar, 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: ”Datumet för ristningarna är svårt att gissa. De har kallats anglosaxiska, men är troligen av olika datum mellan C14 och C17 (arbete av okvalificerade män)."

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 Henrik I.

Från 12-talet var Royston i Hertfordshire ett centrum för klosterlivet och det augustinska klosteret fortsatte utan uppehåll där i nästan 400 år. Det har sagts att lokala augustinermunkar använde Royston Cave som ett svalt förvaringsutrymme för sina produkter och som ett kapell.

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.

Att reda ut mysterierna i Royston Cave

Mystiska symboler och sniderier i konstgjorda Royston Cave 5
Skildring av korsfästelsen vid Royston Cave. © Bildkredit: Picturetalk321/flickr

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.

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