The Yorkshire Atlantis. God’s Own Atlantis. It’s got a nice ring to it, hasn’t it? Well, scientists might be the verge of discovering just that: a lost medieval trading town in northern England that was swallowed up by a river more than 650 years ago.
The port town of Ravenser Odd once stood where the River Humber meets the North Sea. Back in the thirteenth century the town was supposedly far more prosperous than upriver Hull, now one of Yorkshire’s largest cities. And yet Ravenser Odd was completely abandoned in the winter of 1356 due to storms, then mostly destroyed during an intense North Sea cyclone called the Grote Mandrenke in 1362.
Ravenser Odd has remained beneath the roaring flow of the Humber ever since, but the town could soon finally be found. Daniel Parsons, a professor in sedimentology at the University of Hull, had the idea of using high-resolution sonar systems to locate the lost settlement. His first survey in 2021 failed to find it, but Parsons is adamant that he’s close – he’s undertaking another experiment in a couple of weeks’ time.
Parsons told The Guardian that once his sonar detects the presence of Ravenser Odd, he will then focus on raising funds for serious archaeological exploration. He also hopes that the town can serve as a warning of the potential effects of climate change.
‘I think it is a fantastic way to start conversations with people on the impacts of climate change long into the future by using these stories from the past,’ Parsons said. After all, as global warming continues, extreme weather events become more common and sea levels rise, many more communities around the world could find themselves like Ravenser Odd.
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