Drought Reveals Long-Submerged Settlements in Europe

Lake Vyrnwy dam created the reservoir that flooded Llanwddyn in 1889.
Lake Vyrnwy dam created the reservoir that flooded Llanwddyn in 1889. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
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The Welsh village of Llanwddyn is the latest submerged settlement to be revealed by falling water levels as Europe’s worst drought in centuries continues to parch the region.

A reservoir in Powys, Wales, built in the 1880s to supply Liverpool with fresh water. It flooded the head of the Vyrnwy valley and submerged the village of Llanwddyn. Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Residents of Llanwddyn were displaced in the 1880s by the Liverpool Corporation Waterworks to make way for a reservoir for that rapidly growing industrial city. The then-submerged village has only been exposed once before, by a drought in 1976, and the current drought has caused water levels in the reservoir to drop to just 60% of capacity compared to the 90% of the reservoir that should be filled at this time of year.

Vintage engraving of the post-office and Cross Guns Inn, Llanwddyn, Montgomeryshire, Powys, Wales 19th Century, which was lost with the flooding of the river valley after the Vyrnwy dam was completed in 1888. duncan1890 / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

Earlier this year, a Bronze Age city in Iraq was also revealed and excavated when the Mosul reservoir fell due to extreme drought and human remains have been exposed by falling Lake Mead water levels in the U.S.

For a deeper dive:

Llanwddyn: The Guardian, Shropshire Star, The Mirror; Climate Signals background: Drought

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