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Avalon in Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England


Avalon is associated with Celtic mythology and with Britain's King Arthur myths and legends. In the Stargate Universe, Avalon is said to be within the underground caverns of Glastonbury Tor and is the location of both the treasure gathered by the Knights of the Round Table and a stash of alien technology left behind by an Ancient who came to be known as Merlin, the wizard. The name "Avalon" is also said to have been given to the new home of the Altera, the advanced human race who traveled to the Milky Way Galaxy millions of years ago and became known as the Ancients. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

Earth Mythological References

The story of Avalon of Arthurian legends is the result of centuries of embellishment by the recorders of the stories. The first work associated with King Arthur is said to have been written c. 540 by a monk named Gildas. His work, De Excidio Conquestu Britanniae (on the Ruin and Conquest of Britain), speaks of Ambrosius Aurelianus and the Battle of Mount Badon in which the Saxons were defeated. Gildas is said to have claimed that the battle happened within his own lifetime (the year of his birth), and it has been widely-accepted that the battle occurred sometime around 500, but Gildas does not provide additional details about the battle which would point to its location or to others who actually fought in it. In any case, the association of King Arthur with Ambrosius Aurelianus was based on this work.

The author who is considered the first to mention Arthur is Nennius, a monk living in Bangor around 800. His work is a compilation of other works handed down through time, but which no longer exist:

Then Arthur fought against them in those days with the kings of the Britons, but he himself was the leader of battles.
The first battle was at the mouth of the river Glein. The second, third, fourth, and fifth upon another river which is called Dubglas, in the district of Linnuis. The sixth battle upon a river, which is called Bassas. The seventh battle was in the Caledonian wood that is Cat Coit Celidon. The eighth battle was in Fort Guinnion in which Arthur carried the image of St Mary the Virgin, his mother. The ninth battle was waged in the city of the legion. The tenth battle he fought on the shore of a river called Tribruit. The eleventh battle took place on a mountain, which is called Agned. The twelfth was on Mount Badon, in which nine hundred and sixty men fell in one day from one attack by Arthur, and no one overthrew them except himself alone. And in all the battles he was the victor.

Nennius' work (c. 796) doesn't mention Ambrosius Aurelianus, but Arthur, as the victor in the Battle of Mount Badon. It is through the Battle of Mount Badon that some have proposed that Arthur was Ambrosius Aurelianus, a theory which is played out in the Stargate Universe. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1")

The Annals Cambriae (Annals of Wales), thought to be written c. 950, is an incomplete chronology of events covering over 533 years. There are two quotes within this work which mention Arthur. The first one, dated 518, is "The battle of Badon, where Arthur carried the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders for three days and nights, and the Britons were victorious," and the second, dated 539, "The strife of Camlann in which Arthur and Medraut perished, and there was a plague in Britain and Ireland."

The Annals Cambriae are the first written text known to mention Camlann and Arthur's death at that battle, as well as the first mention of Medraut, whose identity was not known, but who'd become Arthur's kin in later works (as Mordred, Arthur's son through incest, or his nephew).

The Historia Brittonum (History of the Britons), written in the early twelfth century, provides a list of Arthur's battles, just as Nennius had provided in his work (Nennius is considered the original author of Historia Brittonum). Basically, the Annals Cambriae and the Historia Brittonum form the backbone to all Arthurian mythology. Any errors in translations from their original sources and misinterpretations of historic events were then passed on from this framework.

Additional works which used the Historia Brittonum and Annals Cambriae further link Arthur, Glastonbury, and Avalon. Caradoc of Llancarfan wrote that Arthur played a part in Gildas' life in Vita Gildae (The Life of Gildas), written in the twelfth century. From stories about Arthur from other sources, Caradoc placed Gildas in the role of Abbot of Glastonbury who mediated a dispute between Arthur and king Melwas of Somerset. Caradoc was the first writer to mention Glastonbury in connection with Arthur, but there was no association made between Glastonbury with Avalon.

Later works, such as William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum Anglorum (Acts of the Kings of the English), written in 1125, and Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), written around 1136, continued to combine previous works and folklore. William identifies Arthur as helping Ambrosius Aurelianus in fighting the Angles and said that Arthur bore the image of the Virgin Mary throughout the battle at the siege of Mount Badon. Geoffrey is the first to mention Uther Pendragon as Ambrosius' successor and Arthur's father. According to Geoffrey, Arthur succeeded his father, subdued the Saxons, and reigned until the battle of Camlann. Geoffrey then glorified Arthur's reign, including accounts of the sword Caliburn (later known as Excalibur), fashioned on the mystical isle of Avalon (Insula Avallonis), where Morgan and her eight sisters ruled over a population which could live over a hundred years.

Geoffrey also introduced Merlin the Magician, a sorcerer and Arthur's mentor. Geoffrey was also the first to state that Arthur did not die at the battle of Camlann, but was taken away by the good sisters of Avalon where he was healed and lived with them there.

Wace, an Anglo-Norman poet who lived c. 1115 to c. 1183, used Geoffrey of Monmouth's work to compose his poem Roman de Brut (The Romance of Brutus) in 1155. He was the first to introduce the Round Table to Arthurian legend. The Round Table could seat fifty of Arthur's greatest knights. Chrétien de Troyes wrote a series of stories from 1160 to 1180 which introduced Guinevere as Arthur's wife, and Sir Lancelot, the king's champion and friend (and Guinevere's lover). He also glorified Arthur's time as a chivalric utopia, with Arthur as a Christian ruler with his order of knights. He was the inventor of Camelot and was also the first to introduce the theme of the Grail, which was a holy object, but not said to be the cup of Christ. The association of the Grail as the cup of Christ happened after Chrétien's death.

The tales of Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table flourished, and Arthur became exceedingly popular during this time. The monks of Glastonbury Abbey are said to have taken notice of this popularity and formulated a marketing scheme to help finance the restoration of their abbey which had been gutted by a fire in 1184. In 1191, they claimed to have discovered Arthur's tomb fifty feet from the south door of Lady's Chapel. Digging seven feet into the ground, the monks are said to have discovered a leaden cross bearing the inscription in Latin: Hic iacet sepultus inclytus rex arthurius in insula avallonia cum uxore sua secunda wenneveria (Here lies the renown King Arthur in the Isle of Avalon with his second wife Guinevere). After digging another nine feet down, the monks discovered a large coffin which contained the skeleton of a large man with a head wound and a lock of golden hair, thought to be that of Guinevere, which turned to dust when it was handled. This discovery supported two popular Arthurian legends at the time which stated that Arthur's first wife was Ganhumara and his second, Guinevere. Future legends dismissed Ganhumara and so it was said that the monks had stated simply Hic iacet sepultus inclitus rex arturius in insula avalonia (Here lies the renown King Arthur in the Isle of Avalon). The only written record of this dig dating from that time was said to have been produced by a Welsh man named Giraldus Cambrensis, who wrote down the accounts of witnesses and had not personally seen it himself. The leaden cross is now lost, the only record being a drawing done by William Camden in 1607. Archaeologists and historians alike have said that the monks faked this discovery.

The thirteenth century work (c. 1225-1237), the Vulgate Cycle, expanded upon the Chrétien's romance of Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Quest for the Holy Grail, as well as the downfall of Arthur's reign. Two later stories added to the Vulgate Cycle were based on the works of Robert de Boron (c. 1200 and c. 1240) and further entwined Merlin's role in Arthur's legends (including Excalibur and the Lady of the Lake), as well as associated the Grail with the cup of Christ, taking its history all the way back to the time of King David, King Solomon, and Joseph of Arimathea.

The monks updated the historian William of Malmesbury's 1130 history of the church of Glastonbury with the contemporary works of Robert De Boron and an English priest named Laymon in 1247. At this point, they mentioned how Joseph of Arimethea brought the Holy Grail, the cup of Christ, to the vale of Avalon. It was already a popular legend that Arthur's knights had been sent on a quest to find the Holy Grail to heal the land. In this revised version of De Antiquitate Glastontensis Ecclesiae (On the Antiquities of the Church of Glastonbury), Joseph of Arimethea was the founder of the first church in Glastonbury. This revised history disagrees with Malmesbury's original version. The monks' claim that Glastonbury is Avalon, Arthur's resting place and once the home of the Holy Grail, has become accepted ever since dispite this disagreement of histories.

The most famous of Arthurian writers, Sir Thomas Malory, who wrote Le Morte d'Arthur (The Death of Arthur) from his prison cell in 1485, drew together the most prominent Arthurian tales, including the English translation of the Vulgate Cycle, and created the Arthur known today. Malory includes Arthur's dubious birth and the drawing of Excalibur from the stone to prove his rightful place as the king. Arthur is portrayed as a king in shining armor, ruling from a fabulous court in the Plantagenet period (1154 to 1485). Malory mentions Glastonbury and Avalon separately, claiming that Arthur had indeed been carried off on a boat to Avalon, but that Sir Bedevere encountered a hermit who claimed that some women had brought a corpse to him to bury at midnight at Glastonbury.

The Glastonbury Tor became associated with Gwyn ap Nudd, who was the first Lord of the Underworld, and later King of the Fairies, when there was a resurgence of interest in Celtic mythology in the nineteenth century. From that time on, the Tor came to be represented as an entrance to Annwn or Avalon, the land of the fairies.

Stargate References

Connecting the Ancients with the King Arthur Legends

Vala tells Daniel tablet's history
Myrddin's tablet
Ancient Database from Atlantis

Vala Mal Doran, the thief who tried to steal the Prometheus and sell it for a case of weapons grade naquadah, contacted the SGC looking for Dr. Daniel Jackson. She had obtained a tablet, written in Ancient, which told of a treasure which by all accounts were said to be on Earth. Not knowing how to go about searching the planet, she decided that she'd ask for Daniel's help. The tablet was encoded, but Vala had the cipher. Daniel translated the tablet and found no outright reference to where the treasure was located. (8.12 "Prometheus Unbound", 9.01 "Avalon Part 1")

Daniel recognized the name of the person who carved the tablet, though — Myrddin. Using a portion of the Ancient database brought back by the Atlantis Expedition Team, Daniel found the name on the list of those Ancients who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago. Myrddin is one of the historical names for Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1")

Going on his assumption that Myrddin was Merlin of Arthurian legend, Daniel investigated the best possible location for the treasure. Arthurian legend is based on centuries of writings and is the result of several compilations and embellishments, so Daniel had to sift through what aspects of the legends could actually have applied to the Ancients who returned to Earth so long ago. It is possible that Daniel concluded the thousands of years of Myrddin's life could have been explained through the use of advanced Ancient technology, some of which included stasis and time travel capabilities. (7.22 "Lost City Part 2", 8.13 "It's Good To Be King", 9.01 "Avalon Part 1")

Daniel's Briefing on the Glastonbury Tor

Daniel presents his research
Mitchell and Vala
Gen. Landry and Teal'c

Daniel prepared a presentation on his research results and gave it to Gen. Hank Landry, Teal'c, Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell, and Vala Mal Doran. His goal was to associate the treasure described in the tablet which Vala brought for him to translate with the best possible location on Earth. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1")

"Arthur was then carried off in a barge by Merlin, saying that he was headed for the Vale of Avalon, which according to legend, was a magical place where the dead would meet."

Daniel is combining several versions of the Arthurian legends with those of Celtic mythology to identify the Vale of Avalon as the place where the dead would meet. This association was through Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) in which Avalon was the a mystical place where Arthur was taken after he was mortally wounded and Annwfn, the Celtic Underworld. The Vale of Avalon is actually a valley, but the Isle of Avalon is considered to be present-day Glastonbury Tor, a hill which at one time was surrounded by water.

"Now at the time, some said Arthur never actually died but would in fact one day return. From what we know about the Ancients, it's possible that Avalon was actually a place where Merlin helped Arthur, a mortal, ascend. [...] it's possible Merlin was not actually ascended himself, but was in fact, just a human, far along on the evolutionary path."

Again, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) is the source of this detail concerning Arthur's return. This account, of course, conflicts with the finding of a burial site for the human remains of Arthur in 1191 which established Glastonbury as Avalon in many versions of the Arthurian legend. Daniel's experience with ascension dictates that there are no physical remains of a human's body when he ascends, but he knows that the legends of Arthur were built over the centuries and that not all of the information can be taken as fact. In this presentation, he is attempting to apply a practical explanation of what he knows to be fact against the myths. His conclusion that Merlin was not ascended himself is based on his assumption that Merlin was the Ancient who carved the tablet under the name Myrddin and that Myrddin was one of those Ancients who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago from Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy. It wasn't necessary for Merlin to be ascended in order to help Arthur to ascend; he could have used technology instead. The Atlantis Expedition had discovered a lab in the city which supported the conclusion that the Atlantians had conducted research on artificial means of achieving ascension. (5.21 "Meridian", 8.18 "Threads"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.03 "Hide and Seek")

"Well, there are a number of conflicting interpretations, but certain threads point to the Knights of the Round Table gathering great treasures from the far corners of Arthur's domain and hiding them in a magical stronghold at Avalon."

Daniel is answering a question concerning the treasure spoken about in the tablet. Oftentime, the victor of a battle will carry with him the spoils of war which went to paying their men and increasing the treasury. Knights under King Arthur were said to have done such a thing in a battle led by Sir Florence, written by Malory in Le Morte d'Arthur: "Then Sir Florence and Sir Gawaine harboured surely their people, and took great plenty of bestial, of gold and silver, and great treasure and riches, and returned unto King Arthur, which lay still at the siege. And when they came to the king they presented their prisoners and recounted their adventures, and how they had vanquished their enemies." (Book V, Chapter XI)

Avalon's magical stronghold was considered to belong to Morgan le Fey in Geoffrey's account of the Arthurian legend. (The source as to it being Arthur's stronghold has not yet been identified for this article, but has been reported on several websites used in the research for this article, specifically, Mystical WWW.)

Mitchell includes the Holy Grail among these treasures, and Daniel replies, "According to some," meaning that the Holy Grail as the cup of Christ was not introduced into the written Arthurian legends until c. 1240. Before that, the Grail, introduced by Chrétien de Troyes in 1155, was a holy object, but not the cup of Christ as was put forth by later versions of the legend.

"In 1191, the monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have found the grave of King Arthur. On the stone burial was an inlaid lead cross was the inscription: Hic Iacet Sepultus Inclitus Rex Arturius in Insula Avallonis. "Here lies the famous King Arthur, buried on the Isle of Avalon." Now the claim was not taken seriously until 1278, when Henry II ordered the grave to be exhumed. Now Glastonbury, a small town about 125 miles west of London has been a pilgrimage for believers since."

Daniel mixed up his facts in this part. Henry II (March 3, 1133 – July 6, 1189) was around when the grave was initially discovered after the abbey fire in 1184, but wasn't around for the actual digging up of the remains in 1191. It was his interest, however, that prompted the monks to claim the grave as King Arthur's and gain monetary support for their restoration project. Instead, it was Edward I (June 17, 1239 – July 7, 1307) who was the one who presided over the re-interrment ceremony in 1278 in which the remains were placed into a new marble coffin in the High Altar at Glastonbury Abbey (the remains had been in another part of the abbey church after their discovery).

"Certain Celtic legend says that Glastonbury Tor, the hill overlooking the town, is actually hollow, and that contained within it is the entrance to the underworld, Avalon. There have been several scientific studies apparently disproving the myth—"

The Celtic legend that the Tor is hollow spawned the legend that it was the site of the entrance to the Underworld and the Palace of Gwynn ap Nudd (from the website Glastonbury Legends).

Several studies have been made of Glastonbury Tor to determine its true nature. Neither of the two studies conducted in 1964 and 1966, associated with the burial sites and possible locations of the monastaries, churches, and forts said to have been located there, remarked on the legends of the Tor being hollow (based on limited Internet research).

"We're talking about the Ancients, sir. It's very possible that the underground entrance was concealed with some sort of technology."

The Ancients are considered the most technologically advanced race which ever existed in the galaxy. They have left behind incredible technology only now being discovered. The most sophisticated of the Ancients' technology on Earth, besides the Stargate itself, was discovered in Antarctica where the Ancient Outpost remained intact after millions of years. Evidence of a powerful shield used by the Ancients was discovered on Praclarush Taonas, and the Outpost located there was identical to the Antarctic Outpost. The city-ship Atlantis also had advanced shielding technology which would not be detectable by normal Earth sensors and scanners. It was only through the use of Asgard sensors on the Prometheus that the hollow nature of the Glastonbury Tor was established. (7.22 "Lost City Part 2", 9.01 "Avalon Part 1"); Stargate Atlantis: 2.01 "The Siege Part 3")

Accessing Avalon

Scanners on the Prometheus detect underground caverns
Team rings into the main cavern
Mitchell stands next to the sword in the stone and Merlin's hologram

Once Mitchell and Daniel were given the go-ahead by Gen. Landry to use the Prometheus to scan the Glastonbury Tor, the discovery of Avalon quickly came about. Lt. Marks of the Prometheus expertly used the Asgard sensors to map out the inside of the Tor. He discovered a large main cavern, a network of tunnels, and some smaller caves almost a half-mile underground with no visible access from the surface. Knowing that the Ancients invented the ring transporter, the team decided to try locking on to a set of rings within the Tor. Even though they knew that their communications would be cut off because the Tor's caverns had shielding which caused an energy distortion, the team decided to try accessing the caverns through the ring transporter anyway. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1")

The large cavern housed the ring transporter, a platform with a large stone in its center, and various underground water reservoirs. The environment was dark and empty. But, as soon as the team stepped near the platform, a sword magically appeared with its blade embedded in the stone. Mitchell thought that the sword in the stone was Excalibur, but Daniel said that Excalibur wasn't Arthur's sword in the stone which he pulled to prove his right to the throne. According to some legends, that sword was broken in battle and was replaced by Excalibur, having been forged by the Lady of the Lake in Avalon (some say elves did the forging). Excalibur is said to have been returned to the Lady of the Lake by Arthur's request after he was was mortally wounded in the Battle of Camlann. The name Excalibur means "hard lightning."

Mitchell attempted to pull the sword from the stone, but with no luck. Suddenly, a hologram appeared. It was a Middle Age depiction of Merlin, the sorcerer, complete with robe, pointed hat, and magic staff. The hologram had a message:

Welcome, ye knights of the round table, men of honor, followers of the path of righteousness. Only those with wealth of knowledge and truth of spirit shall be given access to the underworld, the storehouse of riches of Ambrosius Aurelianus. Prove ye worthy, and all shall be revealed.

At this point, Daniel got excited. He knew that the true identity of Arthur was lost in time, but this holographic message implied that Arthur and Ambrosius Aurelianus were one and the same. Daniel started to share what he had learned from his research: "Certain scholars have speculated that Ambrosius and Arthur were one and the same, but that would have made him 74 years old at the Battle of Mount Badon. It's actually quite fascinating. See, Ambrosius was the son of the Emperor Constantine…"

The Battle of Mount Badon's exact date is still unknown, but historians nearly all agree to place it in the year 500. Ambrosius Aurelianus was thought to have come into power sometime between 455 and 467. If one were to assume he came into power at the age of 20, then he could have been anywhere from 52 to 83 years old at the Battle of Mount Badon when considering the date range of 499 to 518 for the battle. Daniel's use of the age 74 is the one presented when assuming that the Battle of Mount Badon occurred in 495 and that Ambrosius Aurelianus was born c. 420 (as was the case in the Britannia article cited in "Further Reading" below). Geoffrey's interpretation of Ambrosius' biography is that he was the second son of Constantine III, who took the title Western Roman Emperor in 407 and died in 411. The oldest son, Constans, had a brief reign, but was murdered. Ambrosius and his little brother Uther (also known as Uther Pendragon) sought sanctuary until they were old enough to seek revenge against the evil Vortigern who had seized Ambrosius' rightful reign. Uther is said to be King Arthur's father, however, and that is why there are some who believe that Ambrosius Aurelianus and Arthur are two separate persons. It should be stated that some researchers have questioned Geoffrey's interpretation of Constantine's lineage, since it contridicts known history. There are even some accounts that can only be reconciled if one were to assume that there were two men named Ambrosius Aurelianus and were at least one generation apart. Also, it should be pointed out that Stargate depicted Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table as Malory presented them in his work which placed Arthur's time during the Middle Ages, possibly as much as 1000 years after the Battle of Mount Badon.

Merlin's Challenges

"The Universe is infinite" and "The treasure is in this pot"
"Reflect on the Eightfold Path"
Mitchell proves himself worthy by defeating the knight

The ring transporter and the holographic representations of the sword and Merlin weren't the only technological features of the caverns of Avalon. In order for the team to gain access to the treasures promised in Merlin's holographic message, they had to solve two riddles, each contained in its own chamber. When the cavern's sensors detected that someone had crossed the threshold into the puzzle chamber, fires were automatically lit to reveal the puzzle situated on top of a rectangular pedestal which was located in the center of the chamber. After Mitchell and Teal'c both entered their chamber, a large stone came down from within the ceiling to close off their entrance. The same thing happened in the chamber which Daniel and Vala entered. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1")

Daniel's puzzle included two pots with lids, one golden and the other of silver. The silver pot's clue, written in Ancient, stated, "The treasure is in this pot," and the golden pot's, "The universe is infinite." Vala, not being patient enough for Daniel to figure out the puzzle, lifted the lid on the silver pot and found it was empty. She was offended that the label had lied to her and immediately lifted the lid on the golden pot to find it empty as well. Because she solved the puzzle incorrectly, the ceiling in the chamber began to lower. If they weren't able to solve the puzzle, they'd be crushed to death. Daniel reset the puzzle by replacing the lids on the pots and then declared that the Ancients taught that there is only one truth and that truth was that the universe is infinite. With that, he lifted the lid on the golden pot and a coin was contained therein. As soon as they had solved the puzzle correctly, the ceiling began to return to its place and the stone door lifted to allow them to exit. Daniel quickly sought out Mitchell and Teal'c, fearing that they would not know how to solve their puzzle because neither of them knew how to read Ancient. Vala, lingering behind, took the coin. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

Mitchell's puzzle had eight stones each etched with a different symbol. One long line of Ancient lettering provided the clue on how to solve the puzzle, but Mitchell and Teal'c couldn't read it, so Mitchell decided to rearrange the stones in a progression of combinations. As soon as he placed his first attempt in order, the ceiling began its descent. By the time that Daniel arrived to yell at him through their door, the ceiling had already made it down to where the pedestal itself was starting to lower into the floor, and Mitchell and Teal'c were on their knees. Mitchell described the puzzle and then went on to cleverly describe each letter of the clue. Amazingly, Daniel understood Mitchell's imaginative description of the letters and translated the first word of the clue, "reflect." Knowing how the Ancients' philosophies were similar to Earth's Buddhism, Daniel provided the remainder of the clue as "on the Eightfold Path," which is the Path to Enlightenment. Repeating the clue to himself as he shuffled the eight stones, Mitchell realized that the symbols on the stones were the Arabic digits "1" through "8" with their mirror images. He quickly arranged the stones, and he and Teal'c were saved. (9.01 "Avalon Part 1", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

The team made it back to the main chamber where the sword awaited them. Mitchell pulled the sword from the stone with great ease, his reward for having solved the puzzles. Then, much to his dismay, an additional challenge appeared: a holographic knight dressed in full body armor raised his sword to challenge him. Claiming that he had flunked fencing in college, Mitchell did his best to fight the knight, but the knight was an excellent swordsman who inflicted several debilitating blows. The nature of the holographic knight and his sword was like nothing the team had ever encountered before: both objects seemed solid, but the blade of the sword did not cut. Instead, it zapped Mitchell with an energy which he claimed "hurt like hell." When Mitchell requested help, Teal'c fired his P-90 at the knight, but the bullets went through him, and when Mitchell threw his sword to Teal'c, the sword passed through him. Fearing that the knight would kill Mitchell, Daniel ordered that they leave the cavern, but Mitchell insisted that he could succeed. Rallying his strength and determination, Mitchell vanquished the knight with a "fatal blow" through the chest. The knight disappeared but no treasure was revealed. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

Daniel theorized that the sensors of the cavern had patterned themselves to Mitchell only because he was the one who had first touched the sword, pulled it out, and defeated the knight. Daniel, Teal'c, and Vala left Mitchell alone in the cavern to test whether or not the program thought that only Mitchell was the worthy one to receive the treasure. After they left through the ring transporter, the ground began to tremble and Mitchell quickly left the sword behind and returned to the Prometheus. He said that they must have done something wrong, to which Daniel immediately challenged Vala as a thief. She finally revealed that she had taken the coin. Mitchell returned to the rumbling cavern and put the coin back into the golden pot, and the tremors stopped. Once he reentered the main cavern, he was further disappointed when no treasure was revealed. He started to return to the Prometheus when he had the idea that he should place the sword back into the stone. As soon as the sword worked its way back to where it had originally been embedded, a large treasure appeared. The effect was similar to the Asgard's beaming technology. It is possible that the treasure had been demolecularized all of these centuries and stored within the technology of the cavern, waiting for one to prove himself worthy of it. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

Treasures of Avalon

Britain's treasure
Ancient storybook tells of the Altera
Ancient Communications Terminal

The gold and jewels found in the Avalon cavern belonged to Britain, so Daniel reassured Mitchell that Vala could not take any of it. Members of the Prometheus crew sifted through it to see if any Ancient treasure could be found, since, after all, the Avalon cavern was built by an Ancient. Daniel discovered a large book which read like fiction and told of a race of humans who lived long ago who traveled thousands of years until they found a belt of stars which would become their new home. After naming their new home "Avalon," they build their "Astria Porta." The story, although written like fiction, was actually telling the history of the Ancients who came to this galaxy from another galaxy which is very far away. The original name for the race were the Altera, and they were the ones who built the network of Stargates and later became known as the Ancients once they were in the galaxy for some time. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

The next great treasure found in the cavern was a communications terminal, which, when used in conjunction with the communications stones the SGC had on hand, would establish a subspace link with others using similar technology in another galaxy. The device was described in the storybook, and Daniel asked that he attempt to establish communications through it to see if there was an extant Ancient civilization with whom they could share knowledge and technology. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

Daniel and Vala used the Ancient communications terminal
Daniel and Vala on the Plains of Celestis
Daniel meets the Ori, Ascended Beings manifested in a wall of fire

Unfortunately, Daniel's use of the communications terminal gained the attention of a collective of Ascended Beings called the Ori who were the enemies of this galaxy's Ascended Ancients. All these millions of years, the Altera (Ascended Ancients, The Others) had protected humanity in this galaxy from the Ori by shielding their existence because the Ori plan to force humanity to worship them or to destroy them if they refuse. Once the Ori have gained the power through the sapping of their worshippers' life forces, they plan to take the battle to the Ancients' plane of existence. (9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2")

Daniel reads Merlin's research in an alternate dimension
Daniel studies in Merlin's library in Camelot
Merlin's hologram wears the Sangreal, the anti-Ori weapon

An additional piece of Ancient technology was also found in the caverns of Avalon: Merlin's interdimensional research computer. This device was taken back to the SGC for Carter and Dr. Lee to study. Through a series of scientific experimental mishaps, Daniel was phased out of his normal dimension and into the alternate dimension where he could read the device's display. The computer database, known as Arthur's Mantle in the legends because it appeared to render a person invisible, was Merlin's research notebook on the development of an anti-Ori weapon, said to neutralize Ascended Beings. Merlin had once been ascended himself, but retook human form to develop this weapon against the Ori in this alternate dimension, presumably outside The Others' watchful gaze. He recorded the Stargate address of where he continued his research and the team went there, to a village called Camelot. Merlin's library contained volumes of his research and Ancient technology similar to that found in the Avalon cavern, including another treasure and holographic message. The team discovered that Merlin's weapon was the Sangreal, the Holy Grail of Arthurian legends, which took the form of a blood-red pendant. Unfortunately, the Sangreal was not in the treasure, but was the object of Arthur's quest — a quest from which he and his knights had still not returned after all of these centuries. (9.18 "Arthur's Mantle", 9.20 "Camelot Part 2")


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--DeeKayP 11:20, 17 Nov 2005 (PST)