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Though some of his predictions did not pan out, some did-with astounding accuracy. For example, he declared that after Charles II would come to power and begin his reign a great comet would so brighten the nighttime sky that people would be able to read a newspaper by its light. In 1658, Cromwell died, and in 1660, Charles became the new ruler. In 1665, the great comet appeared. The noted Samuel Pepys, in a letter describing its brilliance to a friend, affirmed that it was so great "that night was as day."
Daniel also said that during Charles IIs reign a great plague would befall England, only to be followed by a rampaging fire that would leave London in ruins. In 1666, a devastating plague struck London and many surrounding towns and hamlets. In September that same year "The Great Fire" began in a wooden house in Pudding Lane and burned for three days, consuming over thirteen thousand homes, ninety churches, many hospitals and libraries and government buildings.47
Excited over this find, the excavators doubled their efforts. At sixteen feet their shovels struck a large oaken tree trunk which had been hollowed out to serve as a coffin. Breaking the trunk coffin open, they found the skeleton of a man who once measured close to nine feet tall.51 Beside him lay the remains of a woman of average height, whom the excavators took to be Arthur's queen, Guinevere. About a century later the bones of the two were reinterred in the great church before the altar in the presence of King Edward I. "From that time," says the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "the Isle of Avalon has been identified with Glastonbury and romances connecting Arthur and Glastonbury are still being written."52
But many later disputed the find, claiming that the burial place of Arthur, if in fact he ever existed, was not known, and that Glastonbury could not possibly be Avalon to which he supposedly retired "to cure his wounds" following his final battle. As one of their most telling arguments, the critics called attention to the fact that the leaden cross with the inscription was found nine feet above the coffin. This, they said, proved that it had been buried at a much later date than the coffin. So they labeled that part of the find an obvious fraud, and many even came to view the find itself with much suspicion.
But that a deep grave with a giant in it was uncovered at Glastonbury can hardly be disputed. On this we have the word of Giraldus Cambrensis. This respected historian personally examined the bones and the grave about four years after the discovery and pronounced it a genuine find. Then, in 1962-63, after doing some additional excavations at the grave site, Dr. Ralegh Radford, an archaeologist, "confirmed that a prominent personage had indeed been buried there at the period in question."53
A doubter of the Arthurian legends, Cambrensis of course de-bunked the claim that the grave belonged to Arthur. Whose then was it? And who planted the lead cross with Arthur's name on it? Many think the exhumed couple were Celts, since they sometimes used hollowed-out oaks for coffins. As for the lead cross, some theorize that the monks at the nearby Benedictine Abbey, upon learning that King Henry planned to excavate the site, inscribed the emblem and buried it there-so that if an ancient grave was found it would be identified as Arthur's and would confirm their country of peat bogs and winding watercourses as the Isle of Avalon.54 The fame the Abbey would reap from this momentous discovery of the hero's tomb obviously would bring greater fortune their way-in the form of donations from the nobility to keep such a hallowed place up. The Encyclopaedia Britannica lends some support to this centuries-old theory. "The identification of Avalon with Glastonbury," it declares, "... is equally likely to have been an attempt by Glastonbury monks to exploit the prestige of the Arthurian legends for the benefit of their own community, just as later the popularity of the Grail legend led them to claim that Joseph of Arimathea had established himself at Glastonbury."55