Doggerland – Europe’s Lost Land

Related Articles

Related Articles

Doggerland is a submerged land mass beneath what is now the North Sea, that once connected Britain to continental Europe.

Named after the Dogger Bank, which in turn was named after the 17th-century Dutch fishing boats called doggers.

The existence of Doggerland was first suggested in a late 19th-century book “A Story of the Stone Age” by H.G. Wells, set in a prehistoric region where one might have walked dryshod from Europe to Britain.

 

The landscape was a diverse mix of gentle hills, marshes, wooded valleys, and swamps. Mesolithic people took advantage of Doggerland’s rich migrating wildlife and seasonal hunting grounds that have been evident in the ancient bones and tools embedded on the present seafloor brought to the surface by fishing trawlers.

Over time, the area was flooded by rising sea levels after the last glacial period around 6,500 to 6,200BC. Melting water that had been locked away caused the land to tilt in an isostatic adjustment as the huge weight of ice lessened.

Map showing hypothetical extent of Doggerland (c. 10,000 BC), which provided a land bridge between Great Britain and continental Europe

Doggerland eventually became submerged leaving only Dogger Bank, a possible moraine (accumulation of glacial debris) an island until around 5000BC when Dogger Bank also succumbed to the sea.

A recent theory among archaeologists suggests that much of the remaining coast and low-lying islands was flooded around 6225–6170 BC by a mega-tsunami caused by the Storegga Slide. (The Storegga slide was a landslide that involved an estimated 180 mile length of coastal shelf in the Norwegian Sea which caused a large tsunami in the North Atlantic Ocean).

Archaeology discoveries within the Doggerland region have included the remains of mammoth, rhinoceros and hunting artefacts that have all been dredged up from the sea floor of the North Sea.

In 1931, a famous discovery made the headlines when a trawler named Colinda hauled up a lump of peat whilst fishing near the Ower Bank, 25 miles off the English coast. To the astonishment of the fisherman, the peat contained an ornate barbed antler point used for harpooning fish that dated from between 10,000-4,000 BC.

Other extensive discoveries of prehistoric finds have included textile fragments, paddles and Mesolithic dwellings just off the coast of Denmark. In addition, settlements with sunken floors, dugout canoes, fish traps and a number of burials in the Rhine/Meuse delta of the Netherlands, and a skull fragment of a Neanderthal, dated at over 40,000 years old dredged from the Middeldiep off the coast of Zeeland.

Divers have even discovered patches of prehistoric forests, like the discovery in 2015 off the coast of Norfolk, when the research group “Seasearch” was studying marine life and unexpectedly found remains of compressed trees and branches.

Map showing hypothetical extent of Doggerland area – Map Credit : Francis Lima

Several Universities have presently been involved in numerous studies in order to map the geology of Doggerland, understand the flora and fauna of this forgotten land.

The story of Doggerland is a cautious warning as to the power nature wields in shaping the landscape through climate change. Entire peoples found themselves displaced as the sea encroached on a region larger than many European countries. Today, over 1 billion people live close to coast lines, in vulnerable areas.

Header Image Credit : Daleyhl

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

The Oldest Known Cremation in the Near East Dates to 7000 BC

Ancient people in the Near East had begun the practice of intentionally cremating their dead by the beginning of the 7th millennium BC, according to a study published by Fanny Bocquentin of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and colleagues.

How Stars Form in the Smallest Galaxies

The question of how small, dwarf galaxies have sustained the formation of new stars over the course of the Universe has long confounded the world's astronomers.

Remains of 17th Century Bishop Support Neolithic Emergence of Tuberculosis

When Anthropologist Caroline Arcini and her colleagues at the Swedish Natural Historical Museum discovered small calcifications in the extremely well preserved lungs of Bishop Peder Winstrup, they knew more investigation was needed.

Study Rewrites the Recent History of Productive Cascade Arc Volcanoes

Volcanic eruptions in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest over the last 2.6 million years are more numerous and closely connected to subsurface signatures of currently active magma than commonly thought, according to newly published research.

Traces of Ancient Life Tells Story of Early Diversity in Marine Ecosystems

If you could dive down to the ocean floor nearly 540 million years ago just past the point where waves begin to break, you would find an explosion of life--scores of worm-like animals and other sea creatures tunneling complex holes and structures in the mud and sand--where before the environment had been mostly barren.

Humans Prepared Beds to Sleep on Right at the Dawn of Our Species Over 200 000 Years Ago

Researchers in South Africa's Border Cave, a well-known archaeological site perched on a cliff between eSwatini (Swaziland) and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, have found evidence that people have been using grass bedding to create comfortable areas for sleeping and working on at least 200 000 years ago.

Some Dinosaurs Could Fly Before They Were Birds

New research using the most comprehensive study of feathered dinosaurs and early birds has revised the evolutionary relationships of dinosaurs at the origin of birds.

Searching the Ancient Depths of a Reptilian Genome Yields Insight into all Vertebrates

Scientists searching the most ancient corners of the genome of a reptile native to New Zealand found patterns that help explain how the genomes of all vertebrates took shape, according to a recently published study.

Popular stories

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.

The Real Dracula?

“Dracula”, published in 1897 by the Irish Author Bram Stoker, introduced audiences to the infamous Count and his dark world of sired vampiric minions.