UK storms unearth WWII bombs and ancient forest

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

The ancient tree stumps were preserved (kept intact) in a layer of peat (decayed matter).

The UK has been experiencing some of the worse rainfall in its history, complete with crashing waves and deep floods. Now, strong winds and large tides have uncovered active World War II (WWII) explosives and revealed an ancient forest. Bomb squads are hard at work to get the explosives out of harm’s way, while scientists study the mysteries around the old trees.

The Royal Navy’s Southern Dive Unit has dealt with at least 244 calls about bomb sightings since December in the UK, which is more than double the amount of calls they experienced the same period just a year ago. Many of the explosives are from the devastating WWII era, where the Axis powers – Japan, Germany, and Italy – fought the Allies – the UK, US, and Soviet Russia – about 70 years ago. It seems the unforgiving storm conditions forced these dangerous artifacts closer to the surface and nearer to residential areas, where they pose a huge threat. According to a member of the squad, it’s sheer luck that there haven’t been reports of injury.

The strong waves also revealed an ancient 10,000 year-old pine forest, which was previously hidden under 16 feet of sand and clay. Archaeologists are currently getting permission to take samples for lab testing. For now, experts believe the trees were around when humans started to inhabit the British Isle of Man shortly after the Ice Age, which took place 12,000-110,000 years ago.

Featured image courtesy of Royal Navy Ordnance Disposal Team. Image of ancient tree courtesy of Anne Hamilton.