Those U.K. Storms Revealed the Remains of a 4,500 Year Old Forest | Smart News | Smithsonian
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Exposed tree stumps dot the landscape off the coast of Borth, Wales. (Richerman / Wikimedia Commons)

Those U.K. Storms Revealed the Remains of a 4,500 Year Old Forest

The ancient preserved forest is tied to the fable of Cantre'r Gwaelod

smithsonian.com

The series of storms that has battered the United Kingdom caused deaths and widespread flooding, but, as we wrote last week, have had a silver lining—the flooding is washing away the coast, which is bad, but, in the process, is revealing a wealth of archaeological treasures.

According to the Guardian, one of these ancient treasures is a forest, a relic of a very different United Kingdom in which ancient peoples, like us, struggled to cope with rising seas. Off the coast of Borth, Wales, there is a submerged forest beneath the waves. Some 4,500 to 6,000 or so years ago, a rising sea (caused by past deglaciation) buried the forest beneath a layer of peat and sand. The pounding waves of the recent storms have stripped the peat away, revealing the still-preserved tree trunks underneath. The Daily Mail has a bunch of photos of the ancient forest.

Roughly 20,000 years ago, at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the thick ice sheets that blanketed much of Europe started to recede. The flow of water from these melting glaciers caused the sea level to rise some 120 meters, eventually flooding the shallow Welsh coastal region.

This isn't the first time the Borth trees have been exposed, and their existence has fueled a Welsh tale, the story of the Cantre'r Gwaelod, a story similar in form to the more well-known tale of Atlantis.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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