Submerged Forests around British and Irish Coasts

 

The map below shows the principal locations where submerged forests are found around British and Irish coasts; giving access to both popular and specialist reports; some of these will give further detail and maps together with photographs.

 

Radiocarbon dates are shown here in square brackets. The dates suggested in the various press reports should be treated only as an approximate guide to the precise era of submergence and so are enclosed in quotes. Trees may survive for hundreds of years and it is not always stated whether radiocarbon dated material has been taken from tree stumps in-situ or from fallen logs. Only dated wood from the final growth-rings of a stump would be indicative of the true date of submergence.

Older published studies may refer to a 'submerged forest period' during the mid-Holocene, whereas more recent papers speak of the submerged forests as dating to various eras. This is in part, an artifact of random sampling of available wood; however it may be seen that samples from the North Sea coast tend to favour the conventional  dating for the submergence of 'Doggerland', while those around western coats tend to be from a later period.

 

The list is not intended to be exhaustive of either sites or of links and will be updated as and when new sites or relevant reports emerge. The intention here is merely to give an entry point for the general reader to the photographic evidence and relevant studies.

 

Amble, Northumberland [7000 BP]

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3593219/North-sea-reveals-7-000-year-old-human-footprints-ancient-forest-Woodland-stretched-Denmark-covered-ocean.html

 

Allonby, Cumbria [?]

See Steers, p77, also see Silloth below

 

Anglesey [?]

Numerous sites around the island, see

http://www.dyfedarchaeology.org.uk/lostlandscapes/submergedforests.htm

This includes a map of all the known sites around Wales

 

Benbecula, Western Isles [‘7000 BP’]

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-46890793

 

Ballinskelligs [‘4000 BP’]

https://www.theringofkerry.com/blog/155-pre-historic-4-000-year-old-forest-in-ireland

 

Bray, Wicklow [6180 BP]

https://jasonbolton.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/the-submerged-forest-of-bray-co-wicklow/

 

Borth [5500 BP] and Ynyslas [3500 BP]

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/storm-hannah-unearths-sunken-forest-16201397

https://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/421874/details/tanybwlch-submerged-forest

The 1979 carbon-dating in Nature may be found here, but is pay-walled

 

Canning Town, London [3940—3700 cal bc]

www.lamas.org.uk/images/documents/.../Pg_001-016_Submerged_forest.pdf

 

Cleethorpes [‘Neolithic’]

https://citizan.org.uk/blog/2016/Aug/25/three-submerged-forests/

 

Clare, Galway, Mayo [7400-5200 BP]

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/storms-reveal-7-500-year-old-drowned-forest-on-north-galway-coastline-1.1715303

 

Conwy [‘6000 BP’]

https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5119512

 

Drigg, Cumbria [?]

See Steers p82-3

 

Lancashire Coast [‘Neolithic’]

https://citizan.org.uk/blog/2016/Aug/25/three-submerged-forests/

https://www.arnsidesilverdaleaonb.org.uk/uploads/2016/05/lsca_chapter3a.pdf

 

Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire [‘6000 BP’]

https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/local-news/crowds-descend-submerged-ancient-woodland-1897235

 

Morecambe Bay [‘7600-5200 BP’]

see Isca report 3.11 under Lancashire

 

Mounts Bay, Cornwall [‘4000-6000 BP’]

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/ancient-submerged-forests-uncovered-by-storm-damage-to-coastlines-30030179.html

See also the paper by French C.N. below

 

Norfolk [’10,000 BP’]

discovered offshore by divers

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-30905267/ancient-underwater-forest-discovered-off-norfolk-coast

 

Orkney [4410–4325 cal BC]

https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle-2-15039/archaeologists-survey-scotland-s-forests-under-the-sea-1-4672611

See also the detailed paper of Timpany et al, reference below.

 

Pentewen, Cornwall [?]

See Steers, p 258

 

Pett, Sussex [‘Mesolithic’]

https://citizan.org.uk/blog/2016/Aug/25/three-submerged-forests/

 

Rhyll [?]

This includes a map of all the known sites around the Welsh coastline

http://www.dyfedarchaeology.org.uk/lostlandscapes/submergedforests.html

 

Siloth [‘8000 BP’]

http://www.solwayshorestories.co.uk/shore-stories/the-submerged-forest/

 

Solent [6300 BP]

Ancient logs discovered near a (recent) shipwreck site

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/~imw/ship.htm

 

Stolford [5398-5020 BP]

Campbell & Baxter (see Borth & Ynyslas above)

 

Westward Ho! Devon [6500 BP]

http://www.westwardhohistory.co.uk/submerged-forest/

See also the pdf of Bell, Manning and Nayling, suggesting an earlier and a later period of submergence:

https://dendro.cornell.edu/articles/Bell2009.pdf

 

……………….

 

References

 

Campbell, J.A.; Baxter M.S. (1979). "Radiocarbon measurements on submerged forest floating chronologies". Nature. 278 (5703): 409–413. doi:10.1038/278409a0.

 

French, C. N., The 'Submerged Forest' palaeosols of Cornwall, Geoscience in south-west England, 9, 365-369. www.ussher.org.uk/journal/90s/1999/documents/French_1999.pdf

 

Reid, C, (1913) Submerged Forests. The Cambridge Manuals of Science and Literature, Cambridge University Press. The full text is available here:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OQ89AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=Submerged+forests+Scotland&source=bl&ots=MAiHTxWLKP&sig=ACfU3U3RhYfX3g6lG4PWMNA6JNwEyRPEFA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwij1Ofgg8jjAhUSWsAKHWa4A6U4ChDoATAQegQICRAB#v=onepage&q=Submerged%20forests%20Scotland&f=false


Steers, J.A. (1964) The Coastline of England and Wales, Cambridge Univ. Press.

 

Timpany, S., Crone, A., Hamilton, D., and Sharpe, M. (2017) Revealed by Waves: A Stratigraphic, Palaeoecological, and Dendrochronological investigation of a Prehistoric Oak Timber and Intertidal Peats, Bay of Ireland, West Mainland, Orkney, The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 0:1–25 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15564894.2017.1284960

 

Bell, M., Manning, S.W. & Nayling, N. 2009. Dating the Coastal Mesolithic of Western Britain: A Test of some Evolutionary Assumptions. In P. Combé, M. Van Strydonck, J. Sergant, M. Boudin & M. Bats (eds.), Chronology and Evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe: 615-634. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Doggerland

Related to the study of submerged forests in Britain is the study of the North Sea land-bridge, for which an entry point may be found in the project of Professor Bryony Coles:

https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/archaeology/research/projects/title_89282_en.html

 

[added August 2019]

Further discussion of these subjects may be found in Towers of Atlantis and Atlantis of the West