Science & Tech

A 'City of Atlantis' has been discovered after being lost for 600 years

A 'City of Atlantis' has been discovered after being lost for 600 years
Ruth Blankenfeldt

The remains of a church from a sunken town known as the 'Atlantis of the North Sea' has been discovered beneath the mud on Germany's coast.

The church is believed to be part of a site called 'Rungholt' located in the Wadden Sea. The town, which was previously thought to be a local legend, has not been seen since 1362 after it was submerged beneath the waves during an intense storm.

However, new research has shown that the town really did exist and that they had built reinforcements around the settlement to protect them from the severe elements.

The research was carried out on the area by archeologists from Kiel University, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the Center for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, and the State Archaeology Department Schleswig-Holstein.

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Searching the Wadden Sea which is the longest stretch of intertidal sand and mud flats on Earth, the team, using geophysical imaging technology found man-made mounds that had been constructed to protect the town against the tides.

Justus Lemm

Amongst this structure were the foundations of a building which the team determined had to be a church which may have been the location of the town centre.

In a statement, Dr. Dennis Wilken, a geophysicist at Kiel University of Kiel University 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."

Dr. Ruth Blankenfeldt, an archaeologist at ZBSA also suggested that the "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 storm that washed away Rungholt has gone down in history as one of the largest to ever hit the region, affecting not just Germany but also the Netherlands, Denmark and the UK. The storm happened on January 1362 and has since been referred to as "the great drowning of men."

According to historical reports, Rungholt was once a busy trading port for fishermen but was also populated by taverns, brothels and churches.

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