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Scientists say they are confident of locating a medieval town swallowed up by the sea 600 years ago.

Scientists are searching for a town swallowed up by the sea 600 years ago.
Ravenser Odd was an Anglicised version of its Viking name, "the raven's tongue" describing the shape of nearby Spurn Point. — Image by David Nichols

Ravenser Odd, on the East Yorkshire coast, was one of many settlements lost to coastal erosion.

An underwater sonar search by the University of Hull has uncovered sand dunes on the seabed which suggest stone structures underneath.

Prof Dan Parsons who leads the research team said: "We'll definitely find something eventually".

He said the sonar findings were similar to other sites around the world where ancient buildings have been uncovered.

"The surveys that we've undertaken revealed all the sand waves, big sand dunes a good couple of metres high," he said.

"This settlement will have hundreds of years' worth of sand dunes and mud on, all draping over on those foundations we are looking for."

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Author Phil Mathison said the town was once "one of the most powerful ports in Britain" and was given a Royal Charter in 1299.

Its name was an Anglicised version of its Viking name, "the raven's tongue" describing the shape of nearby Spurn Point.

"It had two MPs, it had warehouses, it had a big fishing fleet. Its power rivalled at least Grimsby and Hull," he said.

Despite its prosperity and importance Mr Mathison said the town fell victim to increasing coastal erosion during the 14th Century.

"The last remains of the town were washed away in a storm in January 1362 called The Second Great Drowning," he said.

Prof Parsons said the team will recommence surveys when the weather improves.

"We're very confident there's something there it's just a matter of getting the sonar equipment at the right place at the right time," he said.

He said uncovering the site would not only be of archaeological interest but could help in understanding the effects of coastal erosion.

"As we're moving into uncertain times with climate change and significant coastal change predicted over the next 100 years learning from these past stories would be incredibly important," he said.

"It is really important to the coastal communities and how we adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change."


“Search for sunken East Yorkshire medieval town continue”s. BBC. London. 17 feb. 2022. 18 feb. 2022. <>.

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