(ORDO NEWS) — According to legend, the vanished kingdom of Kantre’r Gwelod in Wales went under water. But now, apparently, scientists have established exactly where it is located.
For centuries, there have been rumors of the ancient kingdom of Kantre’r Gwelod that once existed in Cardigan Bay in Wales before it was swallowed up by the waves of the sea. It was it that gave rise to legends about the legendary “Welsh Atlantis”.
The tales of Kantre’r Gwelod have evolved over the years. So, in some legends, it is told about a girl who forgot to close the well and the water began to pour out of it, flooding the surrounding lands.
In later tales, the blame is placed on a certain drunken porter, who allegedly did not keep track of the dams, and now, according to legend, the bells of the church of the sunken kingdom can still be heard on quiet evenings.
And so, two scientists, based on the analysis of a medieval map, folklore texts, field research and geological surveys, presented new evidence that two islands really once existed in Cardigan Bay.
Led by Professor Emeritus of Physical Geography Simon Haslett of Swansea University in Wales and published in the journal Atlantic Geoscience, the paper states: “The existence of ‘disappeared’ islands can be considered quite probable, it gives us a plausible idea on the Postglacial Evolution of the Coast of Cardigan Bay”.
“This scientific paper, along with data from geological and deep-sea studies, analyzed historical sources, proposed a model that describes the post-glacial evolution of the coast, and provides an explanation for the reasons for the “disappearance” of the islands, which lays the foundation for future research,” Simon writes in the study.
Haslett and co-author David Willis, professor of Celtic at Jesus College, Oxford University. “There is a connection between Cardigan Bay and the ‘disappeared’ lowlands of Kantre’r Gwelod, which is confirmed by literary evidence and folk tales.”
The study cited here is the first scientific work to comprehensively study the two enigmatic islands depicted on the Gough Map, which is believed to date from the 13th or 14th centuries, making it the oldest surviving map of the British Isles [The Gough Map from Oxford University’s Bodleian Library is believed to be the earliest surviving complete map of the British Isles – approx.transl.].
It shows circular land masses a few miles off the coast of Wales, with the southern one covering an area of seven square miles and the northern one about twice as large, although Haslett and Willis caution that it is not easy to make accurate estimates from the source material.
Apparently the Roman cartographer Ptolemy, who lived some two thousand years ago, placed this section of the Welsh coastline about eight miles further out to sea than it is today. This leads us to the idea that intense coastal erosion could have occurred in subsequent centuries.
Based on their assumption, Haslett and Willis analyzed the changes that occurred in this region under the influence of glaciation during the last ice age.
As these ice structures have retreated over the past ten thousand years, they have left behind a low-lying landscape of unconsolidated rocks and deposits of material carried by rivers and other geological factors.
Interestingly, the localization of the mysterious islands on the Gough Map coincides with the so-called underwater “sarns”, which are piles of boulders and gravel formed under the influence of the processes described above.
Here we find a clue as to the possible cause of the origin of these islands, as well as their death in sea waters as a result of sea level rise or – which is also possible – some kind of catastrophic flood, such as a tsunami or storm surge.
“As shown by underwater studies, the localization of the two islands depicted on the Gough Map approximately coincides with the location of the Sarn-Sinfelin spit, which is located between the mouths of the Eastwyth and Daifi rivers, as well as Sarn-i-Bukh between the mouths of the Daifi and Mawddah rivers, which suggests that the rough fragments of these sarns could well have “touched” these islands,” the team of researchers notes.
“It seems that the erosion of these two islands was completed by the middle of the 16th century, since on later maps, such as Thomas Butler’s Map of England, dated 1547-1554, these islands no longer appear,” the scientists add.
In a rather fascinating section of the article, under the heading “Geomythology,” scientists have placed a number of stories and traditions that fully confirm the changes in the coastline of Wales. True, scholars add that “care must be taken where the boundaries between history, literature and tradition are blurred.”
“The story of Kantre’r Gvalod may indicate that the lowland, or at least a separate part of it, continued to be inhabited until the 5th-6th centuries of our era,” the scientists note.
“A number of authors believe that the legend of Kantre’r Gwelod is a geological event preserved in popular memory: the gradual subsidence of the region, which occurred as a result of rising sea levels” over the millennia after the last ice age.
“In Wales, the description of the passage into Ireland, which, according to the Mabinogion, was made by Bran the Blessed However, the suddenness of Kantre’r Gwelod’s flooding does not agree with the version of his death as a result of sea level rise; instead, some other event or several events quickly occurred, “the scientists added, referring to ancient narratives of flash floods, happened in the area.
In general, based on the conclusions drawn, we get an interesting explanation of those strange islands depicted on the Gough Map, which may well be witnesses to the existence, if I may say so, of the ancient Welsh Atlantis; perhaps these islands may even be the key to continuing the search for other underwater land masses.
“The legends about the coastal lowland landscapes that have “disappeared” to date are of particular geomythological interest, not only in Cardigan Bay, but also in areas adjacent to Cornwall and Brittany, as well as in other places,” the scientists said.
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