"White House Medieval Find is of Welsh Origin"

05/21/13 08:28:14PM
135 posts

Ha! Good April Fool's that was :)

Gaynor Madoc Leonard
05/21/13 08:11:34PM
302 posts

On Saturday, 1st April, 1995, Sion Barry of the Western Mail wrote this article:

A medieval long-house believed to have been built by Welsh settlers has been unearthed under the grounds of the White House in Washington.

The discovery, described as the archaeological find of the century, was made by a leading French geological team taking soil samples only 100 yards from the Clintons' bedroom.

President Clinton announced yesterday that the partially excavated quarter-acre site had been designated of special archaeological importance. He added that it might mean moving a wing of the White House brick by brick to gain full access to the site.

The President, whose wife Hillary is of Welsh descent, has described the find as "truly amazing."

At a press conference Mr Clinton, smiling but obviously moved, said, "To think Hillary and I have been sleeping just yards from something that could re-write the history books is simply staggering.

"From early analysis it would seem that the almost perfectly preserved building is of Celtic design.

"Due to the importance of this find I have already given the go-ahead for more in-depth archaeological work to be carried out. If need be we are willing to have our living quarters moved brick by brick, if there is evidence of further remains."

Some reports from Washington last night were claiming that the long house was in fact of Welsh origin.

Geological team leader Roberto Scheda, while admitting that the archaeological questions are for others to decided, is reported as saying that the name Madoc appeared to be inscribed on a lintel.

Also discovered some 10ft below the surface, is a circle within a cross, another strong indicator of a Celtic link.

Leading Welsh medieval expert Professor Sion a Rhys said the find could prove once and for all that 12th-century Prince Madoc was the first European to reach the Americas.

Prof Rhys added, "The discovery is remarkable, and could mean that the received views of historians regarding Welsh Prince Madoc relative to Christopher Columbus will have to be revised."

He continued, "The stories of Madoc reaching America and of a lost Indian tribe having a similar language to Welsh could now have to be elevated from the ranks of mythology."

Welsh long houses, with stone foundations, were particularly common in South-East Wales.

Welsh communities at the time were made up, not of village settlements but of farmhouses in which a family would share their home with their animals.

But Dr Vijay Singh, of the Museum of North American Indian Culture in Boston, said the Washington long house was not necessarily European.

Dr Singh said, "It is possible the remains of an ancient Indian settlement have been found.

"We know from artefacts that in the 12th century some advanced Indian tribes were building wood and stone structures. However, from the lay-out and design there is clearly a very strong Celtic connection."

A further complication arose last night, when experts in the Republic of Ireland sought to claim the settlement as their own.

Sean O'Shaughnessy of the Irish Archaeological Association said, "From our sources in America it would seem that the building is of Irish origin, and certainly not Welsh."

But a spokesman for the Wales Tourist Board said, "The knock-on possibilities for the tourist industry in Wales are endless if this long house is verified as being Welsh."

updated by @gaynor-madoc-leonard: 11/11/15 10:38:53PM