Sunken Lands review: Heeding the flood warnings of history


TEWKESBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 05: Flood water surrounds Tewkesbury Abbey and surrounding streets because of widespread flooding after the Rivers Swilgate and Avon burst their banks on January 5, 2024 in Gloucestershire, England. Storm Henk brought strong winds and heavy rain across much of the country this week which lashed large parts of the country, hitting travel and cutting power. While across the UK numerous flood warnings were still in place after weeks of heavy rainfall, the UK's Environment Agency has warned people to expect flooding to become more frequent because of climate change. (Photo by Anna Barclay/Getty Images)

Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, UK, flooded in January.

Anna Barclay/Getty Images

Sunken Lands
Gareth E. Rees (Elliott and Thompson)

FOR many people, the most famous story of a great flood is that of Noah and his ark filled with animals, two by two. But it isn’t the only one. There are more than 2000 myths about flooding in cultures around the world, from tales about the lost city of Atlantis to the epic Mahabharata from India and the legend of the submerged kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod in west Wales.

“Floods linger deep in our cultural memory,” writes Gareth E. Rees…

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