A famous archeologist once said, "Archeology is the search for fact, not truth." (Well…technically, he was a famous movie archeologist.) Nevertheless, the quote rings true. Archeology is a science. It searches for provable facts, or at least evidence that is as near to fact as we can state. The search for the Grail is not archeology. Nor is it a treasure hunt. Simply put, it is an investigation into a possibility — the possibility that the legend of the Holy Grail holds within it a hint of fact. While the literature cannot be taken as a reliable source as they are, they can be used as a clue for finding facts in other sources. History itself holds the clues that can piece together a theory that seeks to answer the question of whether or not that possibility is viable. Once we see if the possibility of a historical Holy Grail is acceptable, then we can begin using the evidence we have found, along with the literature and their dates, to span the gap between the legend's misty past and our perception of it today.
When we study the Grail, we study two subjects; the development of the legend, and its origins in history. These are two very different tasks that must be approached in very different manners. On one hand, we must pick apart the fanciful tales, and Medieval Romances to comb out only the simplest elements, leaving all the fantasy behind. On the other, we must think back to ancient history, to the very time of Christ itself, and see what happened in those days that may have lead the early devotees of the burgeoning faith to create these legends, or potentially safeguard certain relics to later cause these legendary tales to be spun. For the early history, we must investigate withe the eyes of an archeologist and historian, while for the second, we must simultaneously be historians, literary scholars and epigraphists, religious studies students, and skeptics. It may seem a daunting task at first, but only then will you be able to see any part of the ancient past that survives into modern accounts floating around the Grail legend today.
To help visitors to this site better understand the difference between the Grail of history and the Grail of myth, I have divided this section into two parts as shown in the links above, "History", and "Legend", both following each separate path. Follow which ever one piques your interest, but I would suggest starting with history first so that you no longer see the myth as nothing but sheer fantasy. Come…leaf through these dusty tomes and ancient volumes, for this begins our true course of study.