A few days ago, I drove down to Cornwall to see the ruins of a 12th century castle and to find this rock art labyrinth in a valley outside the little village of Tintagel. I had read about the rock art and am searching for labyrinths as I travel throughout Europe. I had to hike down a little used public trail along a beautiful babbling brook and search behind the ruins of a 18th century wool mill to find this image carved into the slate wall. The only other hiker I encountered was on his way out of the trail as I started. His black shirt with white lettering simply read, “I like my puns intended.” I knew I was in the right place and embedded a pun in the title of this blog post to celebrate my good fortune.
There are actually two classic style labyrinth images carved into the slate on the wall. An old rusted plaque next to them declares them from to be from the Bronze Age between 1800 and 1400 BCE, but later scholarship disputes this. Some arguments date these from the early Christian conversion era of this area in the 6th or 7th Century AD. Others as late as the 18th or 19th century when the mill next to them was operational. Regardless, they are a beautiful example of the classic style of labyrinth, a good excuse to take a lovely hike along the stream, and the first of hopefully many labyrinths I will track down in the coming months.