11 Jul 2008

Mapping Doggerland

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Submerged in recent times, there was in the Mesolithic period a land bridge connecting Britain with the continent. Fishermen working the Dogger Banks have pulled up prehistoric human artifacts in their nets, and archaeologists consequently named the sunken landscape once thick with human settlement Doggerland. Efforts at mapping Doggerland are currently underway.

Nature News:

Doggerland is key to understanding the Mesolithic in northern Europe,” says Vince Gaffney, a landscape archaeologist at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Along with his colleagues Simon Fitch and the late Ken Thomson, Gaffney established the mapping project to outline the terrain of Doggerland, named after the sandbank and shipping hazard of the Dogger Bank (see ‘Mesolithic sites around the North Sea’). They managed to borrow seismic survey data, which outline sediment layers below the seabed, from the Norwegian oil company Petroleum Geo-Services. The researchers then put their powerful computers to work to reconstruct Doggerland in three dimensions.

In a pilot project beginning in 2002, the researchers reconstructed 6,000 square metres of the ancient landscape — slightly larger than a football field. There, about 10 metres beneath the modern seabed, they discovered the course of a major ancient river, almost as big as today’s Rhine. They named it the Shotton River, after Birmingham geologist Fred Shotton who, among other things, was dropped behind enemy lines to map the geology of the Normandy beaches before the D-Day landings. Now confident that the reconstruction would work, the researchers expanded the project. The result is a 23,000-square-kilometre map of a part of Doggerland — an area the size of Wales — that they hope eventually to extend northward as well as eastward, towards the Netherlands.

3 Feedbacks on "Mapping Doggerland"

Archie Frame

See also mapping available on Johnathan Adams website http://www.csd.ornl.gov as used in Stephen Oppenheimer’s book –
‘The origins of the British’. Excellent agrement of Adams’ computerised predictions.

jeff clinton

If some 80% or greater of humans alive today live within 50 miles of the current coast line, why wouldn’t we explore the possiblitiy that 10,000- 15,000 years ago the same, if not higher percentage of humans, lived with in that same configuration. And if we think about this a little, that means what little we know about early man is based on outcast/ people living on the fringes of the great majority. Why is this important? Fast forward another 15000 years, and the world again looks drastically different than it does today, and future archaelogist dig up a monk from an isolated monastery high up in the Alps. From this, all then current knowledge will be derived, and here is what they will say about us as a whole: 1- they were a very religious people. 2- they lived depressing, isolated lives. 3- based on demograhic modeling, and density studies, it is determined that in the year 2009, there where less than 2000 humans alive, and are a hair’s width away of going down the same path as our sapien brother who died out close to this same time according to archaelogial finds in another dig in a place formerly called “Hollywood”. See, there they found one watchable film, and it was “Battle for the Planet of the Apes”, and not knowing it was just a film for entertaiment, mistook it for news footage of our current living conditions!!!

Al Barrs

Jeff Clinton has a very good point. However before dug water wells and water pumps existed all humans lived along freshwater rivers, creeks, lakes and ponds. Why? Water to drink, bath and prepare meals. It was essential as today but more difficult to carry very far at 8 lbs per gallon. My farm is between three sinkhole freshwater ponds that has been a “kill zone” for native Americans for over 10,000 years. I have found many more artifacts near these ponds and other dried up ponds than anywhere else. I look for small rises in or around these dried up ponds and creek because that is where birds and alligators sunned and where they would be attacked by the native population. During the ice ages sea levels dropped by as much as 500 feet and stayed that way for a very long time. As the ice melted the sea again rose and forced ancient humans to move to higher ground while their old living areas sunk under first water then mud and silt. That is why much of human history is buried beneath silt, mud and some 450 of water today. These areas have never been explored with the exception of the Florida Archaeology Department who traced a river out into the Gulf of Mexico and found human artifacts along the still existing underwater river banks. Dr. Jim Dunbar was involved in these underwater discoveries but has since retired.


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