This sunken kingdom was located between the islands of Ramsey and Bardsey in Cardigan Bay, west of Wales.
A map found in the Bodleian Library shows two “lost” islands in Cardigan Bay, possibly symbolizing the legendary sunken kingdom from Welsh mythology, Cantre’r Gwaelod.
Cantre’r Gwaelod is a land that legend says was west of modern day Wales. The legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod has different variants, but the earliest mention appears in the 13th century in the Black Book of Carmarthen, where the land is called Maes Gwiddno. According to one version, the land was inundated by a flood caused by the overflowing of a well by Mererid, its keeper.
A more widely known version, dating from the 17th century, describes Cantre’r Gwaelod as a low-lying land protected by a dyke and sluice gate from the sea.
One night Seitenin, one of the two princes responsible for protecting the sea, got drunk and as a result the sea overcame the defenses and flooded the kingdom.
Professor Simon Haslett, Professor Emeritus of Physical Geography at Swansea University, went in search of the lost islands in Cardigan Bay when he was a visiting research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. During his research he discovered two previously unknown islands on the 13th-14th century Gough map, which is one of the oldest maps of Britain.
One of the islands on the map is located between Aberystwyth and Aberdyfi, while the other is further north, near Barmouth.
In his study, published in the journal Atlantic Geoscience, Professor Haslett drew on previous studies of the bay and analyzed data on the movement and retreat of glaciers and sediments during the last ice age.
He believes the map goes some way to confirm contemporary accounts of the lost land mentioned in the Black Book of Carmarthen, as well as the records of the Roman cartographer Ptolemy, which indicate that the coastline was much further west than it is today.