Mythical islands were discovered on the medieval map of Britain, but what kind of Earth is this

(ORDO NEWS) — Medieval geographical maps in terms of accuracy and reliability of information, for obvious reasons, cannot be compared with modern ones. However, sometimes their study allows scientists to learn a lot about the past of the Earth.

As you know, the landscape of our planet changes over time, large islands or even entire continents go under water.

Moreover, for serious changes, millions of years are not needed at all. Some islands disappear without a trace for several centuries, as a result of which they may be present on old maps, but they are no longer on modern ones.

A recent study of a 650-year-old map of Britain is a clear confirmation of this. On it, scientists have discovered, perhaps, “lost” islands, the description of which can be found in Welsh mythology. It is possible that they are part of a larger land that was swallowed up by the ocean over time.

Lost land

Scientists have examined the ancient map of Gough, which is stored in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University. The exact date of creation of this map and authorship are unknown.

It is named after Richard Gough, who bequeathed the map to the Bodleian Library in 1809. He himself acquired it in 1774 in an antique shop. The dimensions of the map are 115 by 56 centimeters. An online version of the map can be viewed at this link.

While studying it, researchers noticed two islands in what is now known as Cardigan Bay in Wales. They reported this in their work, published in the journal Atlantic Geoscience.

Obviously, in the XIV century, when this map was created, the islands still existed. As the authors of the work suggest, these islands could be the remnants of a larger land from Welsh mythology, which is known as “Kantr’r Gwaelod”, or “Maes Gwyddno”. According to mythology, this land disappeared as a result of erosion, which destroyed it.

Mythical islands were discovered on the medieval map of Britain but what kind of Earth is this 2
The Eastwit River may have flowed further west a few hundred years ago than it does now

Mystery of the ancient islands

If the mapped islands are indeed the remnants of Cantr’r Gwaelod, it is possible that the rest of the information about this land is true.

According to mythology, before it disappeared, people lived on it and they even had their own rulers. One of the rulers was called Gwidno.

The authors of the work studied a number of sources in which there is a mention of Cantre’r Gwaelode. As it turned out, the philosopher Ptolemy, who lived from 100 to 170 BC in Egypt, spoke about this land. And he indicated the coordinates.

According to his data, the coastline of Cardigan Bay ran further towards the fuse. That is, if Ptolemy was right, the coastline has been heavily eroded over the last two thousand years. It is possible that the Eastwyth River in Wales also flowed further west than at present.

Mythical islands were discovered on the medieval map of Britain but what kind of Earth is this 3
The existence of the mythological Welsh land was told by the philosopher Ptolemy

In addition, references to the land of Cantr’r Gwaelod are also found in other sources. For example, the British monk Gildas, who lived in the sixth century, told how people lived near the bay. The sea forced them to go towards the barbarians, and the barbarians pushed back to the sea.

It is possible that the monk was describing just the period when Kantr’r Gwaelod was swallowed up by the sea, as a result of which only two islands remained of the land. This could have been due to a tsunami or storm surge.

Obviously, the natural disaster exacerbated the problem of erosion, which caused the flooding of a large area of ​​land. The authors also noted that the erosion process has not stopped to this day.

The soil along the coastline is quite soft, as a result of which the ocean gradually erodes it. Perhaps in the future, scientists will be able to find even more evidence of the existence of a mythological land.

Mythical islands were discovered on the medieval map of Britain but what kind of Earth is this 4
Gough’s map, according to some scholars, is not a reliable and accurate source

Did a Welsh mythological land exist?

I must say that not all scientists are optimistic about the results of this study. According to some experts, in particular, Katherine Delano-Smith, senior researcher at the Institute for Historical Research, the Gough map is not an accurate and reliable source that can help in the search for the lost islands and mythological land.

According to her, Cardigan Bay is not shown on the map at all. Many of the islands are not accurately plotted and are depicted as ellipses. This suggests that the author did not know the geography of some areas well. However, it is also impossible to completely exclude the possibility of the presence of two islands.

A number of scientists supported the researchers and agreed with their conclusions. Among them is Patrick Nunn, professor of geography at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

In his book, published back in 2018, he claims that Kantr’r Gwaelod has thousands of years of history. Therefore, it is possible that, unlike Atlantis, the Welsh land is not mythological.


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