Tsunami evidence uncovered

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Photo: Is Druridge Bay evidence that Britain was cut off from the Continent by a tsunami? Photo: Northumberland Wildlife Trust

The excavation of a Bronze Age burial mound which is sliding off the edge of a cliff in the UK has received an emergency grant to continue work after a layer of material has been found deposited by a tsunami.

Archaeologists hope that the site at Druridge Bay in Northumberland may help to supply more weight to the theory that Britain was cut off from the Continent thousands of years ago by a tsunami.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) initially awarded £285,000 to finance the ‘Rescued From the Sea’ project at Low Hauxley, and has now sanctioned the extra £70,000 which will allow another three weeks of work.

The grant will enable researchers to find out when the tsunami took place, the direction of the wave and its power by enabling excavation of the earlier level beneath the tsunami layer where evidence is emerging of early human activity after the ice age.

Archaeologists say that the area has been repeatedly occupied. After the tsunami, a new ground layer formed where more than 10,000 stone age flints have been found. And there is evidence of two Bronze Age grave chambers in the area and an Iron Age roundhouse.

Eight thousand years ago an incident called the Storrega Slide caused a huge section of the Norwegian coastal shelf to collapse and create a huge tidal wave in the North Sea basin. The archaeologists speculate that the tsunami layer at Druridge may be connected to this, but until now it wasn’t thought that the wave reached as far south as Britain.