The legendary "Atlantis of the North", the medieval city "swallowed" by the sea, has been found

Forensic pathologist Constanze Nies holds an approximately 700-year-old skull of a man from the vanished city of Rungholt / Photo: EPA/WOLFGANG RUNGE

The lost one medieval city of Rungholt, which legend says was swallowed by the sea as punishment for the sins of the locals, has been mapped by archaeologists for the first time.

In the Bible book of Genesis or Genesis, God punishes the people of Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness and destroys these cities. For the Germans, the legend of the lost city of Rungholt is a similar story. Legend has it that the once prosperous city was swallowed up by the North Sea in one night after a violent storm as punishment for the sins of its inhabitants.

According to folklore, these sins included drunkenness, impiety, and boasting of wealth, says "The Times".

A life of plenty led to a life of immorality, and the end came around Christmas when a gang of young drunkards tried to force a priest to give communion to a pig at a local inn. The priest went to the church, prayed and begged God to punish the youth. The next day he left the city, and not long after that a great storm hit him and wiped Rungholt off the face of the earth.

Local myth says that Rungholt's church bells can still be heard when sailing in the area during storms.

While some historians question whether the city ever existed outside of myth, new research has uncovered the remains of this "northern Atlantis" in the Wadden Sea.

Archaeologists from the Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel found about 1,9 kilometers of medieval mounds around the island now known as Zudfall after mapping the site with a geophysical survey.

According to the new research, the new discoveries include a port, the foundations of a large church and drainage systems.

A press release said the research continued to "uncover significant discoveries" and provided unparalleled insight into the lives of the people of North Frisia. But the researchers are in a constant battle with time, because the conditions in which they find themselves constantly "eat" the remains.

"The remains of the medieval settlement are already heavily eroded and can often only be seen as negative impressions," says Hanna Hedler, who works at the Institute of Geography at the University of Mainz.

"So we urgently need to intensify research," adds Hedler.

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