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Medieval Map of Britain May Show Mythological Lost Welsh Islands

Waterfall at Tresaith Beach, Cardigan Bay, Wales.
Waterfall at Tresaith Beach, Cardigan Bay, Wales.

A faded medieval map of Britain may reveal evidence of “long lost” islands detailed in Welsh mythology, a new study finds.

Researchers discovered the “missing” islands after analyzing the 650-year-old Gough map, which is now housed in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. In the area now known as Cardigan Bay, in Wales, the map shows two islands that no longer exist, study co-researchers Simon Haslett and Davis Willis wrote in a study published in the June issue of the journal Atlantic Geoscience (opens in new tab).

It’s likely that the islands existed in the 14th century, when a cartographer created the map, and were the remains of a much larger land known in Welsh mythology as “Cantre’r Gwaelod” or “Maes Gwyddno.” Due to erosion, this land was eventually swallowed up by the ocean over a period of centuries, according to mythology, the researchers wrote in the study.

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