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Semantics of the Sea...

...Stories & Science along the Celtic Seaboard

By: K.E.Kavanagh & M.R.Bates, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 7ED.


The stories of Noah, Gilgamesh and Atlantis are internationally infamous, telling of lands submerged beneath the sea.  Similar stories exist for the European seaboard from Brittany through southern England, Wales, Ireland and parts of Scotland.  Today we know that many areas now lost beneath the sea were dry land in the not so distant past, consequently papers purporting to link the geological events associated with flooding these lands and the stories have been written.  However, these papers have been written from the perspective of the scientist with little regard for the perspective of the story or from that of the story-teller. In this paper we attempt to redress this inferred normativity by drawing attention to the problematic nature of such an endeavour, developing a discussion about how else one might approach this balance from that opened by fields as diverse as folklore, ethnography and archaeo-astronomy.

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