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Lost city swallowed by sea for centuries has finally been found

Ben Thompson

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| Last updated 

Lost city swallowed by sea for centuries has finally been found

Featured Image Credit: Ruth Blankenfeldt / Dirk Bienen-Scholt

A city that spent hundreds of years beneath the sea has been unearthed by archaeologists.

The German town on Rungholt earned itself the name of 'Atlantis of the North Sea' after it was swallowed by the sea during a storm in 1362.

At the time, the storm was considered a 'great revenge' inflicted upon the people as punishment for their sins, including the flaunting of wealth, arrogance and drunkenness.

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Rungholt has been unearthed over 600 years after it vanished. Credit: Ruth Blankenfeldt
Rungholt has been unearthed over 600 years after it vanished. Credit: Ruth Blankenfeldt

Now, after years of being the thing of legend, the town has been discovered.

The research was undertaken by Kiel University archaeologists, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the Center for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, and the State Archaeology Department Schleswig-Holstein.

Using geophysical imaging technology, the researchers found manmade mounds that had been constructed to protect the people from the tides.

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Among the findings were the remains of a church, a harbour and drainage systems.

Rungholt has been discovered after over 600 years. Credit: Dirk Bienen-Scholt
Rungholt has been discovered after over 600 years. Credit: Dirk Bienen-Scholt

Geophysicist,Dennis Wilken, said: "Settlement remains hidden under the mudflats are first localized and mapped over a wide area using various geophysical methods such as magnetic gradiometry, electromagnetic induction, and seismics."

Dr Hanna Hadler, from the Institute of Geography at Mainz University, added: "Based on this prospection, we selectively take sediment cores that not only allow us to make statements about spatial and temporal relationships of settlement structures, but also about landscape development."

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Dr Ruth Blankenfeldt, an archaeologist, said that 'special feature of the find lies in the significance of the church as the centre of a settlement structure, which in its size must be interpreted as a parish with superordinate function.'

The town lies in the North Frisia region, which is to the north of Germany near to the border with Denmark.

Studies have shown that the town was rich due to its port status, which facilitated trade and overseas connections.

Some of the goods found in Rungholt's ruins include pottery, metal vessels, metal ornaments and weapons, which were likely left there when the town sank.

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Legend has it that this success led to the people growing proud and haughty, hence why they were supposedly punished and their town was swept under the sea.

Despite the comparisons to Atlantis, archaeologists are certain that Atlantis is a myth, as it was made up by Greek philosopher, Plato, over 2,300 years ago.

There is some concern that Rungholt has suffered a great deal of erosion already.

Dr Hadler said: "Around Hallig Südfall and in other mudflats, the medieval settlement remains are already heavily eroded and often only detectable as negative imprints.

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"This is also very evident around the church's location, so we urgently need to intensify research here."

Topics: News, Germany, Science, Weird, Environment

Ben Thompson
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