WHAT THE STORMS REVEALED
In May 20l3 shortly after the first set of storms to hit Britain there appeared what looked like many spikes protruding from the sands at a well known site in Borth Wales These were tree stumps exposed from a prehistoric forest, which had been flooded some 5,000 years ago by rising sea levels after the last Ice Age. The stumps previously disappearing from the sands for many years through the coming and going of the tides.
There is a poem children in Wales learn about the sunken kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod, swallowed by the sea and drowned forever after. On a quiet night legend has it, one can hear the kingdoms church bells ringing. When the sea battered Britain’s coastlines during these storms many people were left homeless and lives lost, but the prehistoric forest tree stumps re emerged.
Ancient Forest exposed at Borth Wales
An ancient forest as it would have looked .
As well as hoof marks from cattle & sheep also goats. human prints were also found at Borth
Just to think I have walked this stretch of sands with my children many times at Borth looking for fossils.
Not even thinking there may have been a sunken kingdom we were walking on.
Shortly after the first set of storms, Dr Nicholas Ashton ,Curator of the Paleolithic and Mesolithic collection at the British Museum commissioned Dr Martin Bates, a Geoarchaeologist at the University of Wales Trinity St. David to work on Britain’s East coast in Norfolk. The beach nr Happisburgh, a long standing archaeological site, had suffered severe erosion. Dr Ashton an expert in early humans, required a geophysical survey to map any channels and rivers that may lie beneath about 30 feet of sediment. Some of these channels, he believed may contain evidence of early humans because sources of fresh water would have natural gathering spots.
This ancient footprint with toe print and arch preserved was found at Happisburgh
It is the oldest ever found outside Africa
It was on the second visit May 10th 20l3, that Dr Bates noticed some indentations which looked like human footprints such as those found at Borth. Footprints of humans and animals in Borth had been dated to around 6,000 years ago, the site in Happisburgh was about 900,000 years old, a time when mammoths and hippos still roamed in these parts.
A close up of ancient animal footprints discovered at Borth. Wales.
Standing on the ridge of Cardigan Bay in Borth, Dr Bates described what the area would have looked like at the height of the last ice age some 20,000 years ago: more than half a mile of ice overhead and dry land stretching across today’s North Sea. The sea level was 400 feet lower than today he said. You could have walked from Denmark to Yorkshire in those days, ” he said.
About 10.000 years ago, temperatures warmed sharply, by eight to ten degrees Fahrenheit. By that time the European ice sheets had melted, but the much thicker North American sheets took much longer. While the climate had warmed to today’s levels, allowing mixed oak woodland to grow and humans to recolonize Britain, the sea level remained some 130 feet lower for another 3,000 years.
When it did rise it would have been traumatic for the population, wiping out whatever settlement there was, and eventually the forest of Borth. The displaced humans of the time, Dr. Bates, said, were prehistoric refugees from climate change. Even in the reduced life span of the day, the coastline would have advanced dramatically, ” said Dr. Bates, who is convinced that the stories like Cantre’r Gwaelod originated in this period.
Similar tales abound on the western European seaboard: There are Cornish and Breton versions, and variations of the theme exist in Jersey and the Orkney Islands. The ultimate legend of course, is Atlantis, which Plato placed somewhere in the North Atlantic.