But returning to our island, below is a Met Office satellite picture (much enlarged, placenames added) taken on 23 January 2014. The southern Somerset Levels resemble the Great Lakes. Channel 4’s Time Team made excavations (about which, more later) on both sections of the island site. On the eastern section they found subterranean traces of the medieval Athelney Abbey (post-Alfred); and on the western section the remains of metal-working, considered to be Saxon.
The initial ‘A’ of Athelney is just below the abbey site, to the left of it is the fortress site and to the left again is the causeway leading to East Lyng. More than 1,000 years after Alfred sought refuge in the levels they become as watery as ever – now from the flooding of the rivers over the low-lying land, but before that by the receding of the sea.