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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Doggerland



Doggerland - a land that was slowly submerged by water between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC - stretched from Northern Scotland across to Denmark and down the English Channel as far as the Channel Islands.

It Was the Trees

It was the trees, lifting their tangled heads above the sea-swell,
heaving the trunks proud again, above the waves, unwinding their roots,
bending, again, towards the light, who told us it was so.  The land
slipped beneath the sea, quietly, without warning.  We woke
to trace the shifted outline of our lives, slid
unseen into a shadow shape we knew we didn’t know.  Grown
over us, under us, the wave pins light to the shore, lets it fall
way back to where we once walked.  Something drives us
inland, in retreat from ourselves, suddenly new waves - no
more than the mountains that cracked in the sun.  We leave homes behind
and all we have known until now.  Today, it changed.  And we changed, too.

And all we have known until now, today, it changed - and we changed, too;
more than the mountains that cracked in the sun.  We leave homes behind,
inland, in retreat from ourselves.  Suddenly new waves - no
way back to where we once walked - something drives us
over us, under us, the wave pins light to the shore, lets it fall
unseen into a shadow shape we knew we didn’t know, grown
to trace the shifted outline of our lives, slid,
slipped beneath the sea. Quietly, without warning, we woke
bending, again, towards the light.  Who told us it was so?  The land
heaving the trunks proud again, above the waves, unwinding their roots:
it was the trees, lifting their tangled heads above the sea-swell.

Edward Mackay


It was home to tens of thousands of people.
Now, after 15 years of research, the story behind Doggerland will be unveiled at the annual Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.
They believe the area was once the “real heartland” of Europe and was hit by “a devastating tsunami.”
Dr Richard Bates of the Department of Earth Sciences at St Andrews University in Scotland said: “We have speculated for years on the lost land’s existence from bones dredged by fishermen all over the North Sea, but it’s only since working with oil companies in the last few years that we have been able to re-create what this lost land looked like.
 “We have now been able to model its flora and fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land, including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.”
The research project is a collaboration between St Andrews and the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee and Wales, Trinity St David.
Rediscovering the land through pioneering scientific research, the research reveals a story of a dramatic past that featured massive climate change.
The public exhibit brings back to life the Mesolithic populations of Doggerland through artefacts discovered deep within the sea bed.
The interactive display examines the lost landscape of Doggerland and includes artefacts from various times represented by the exhibit - from pieces of flint used by humans as tools to the animals that also inhabited these lands.
The findings suggest a picture of a land with hills and valleys, large swamps and lakes with major rivers.
The research team is currently investigating more evidence of human behaviour, including possible human burial sites, intriguing standing stones and a mass mammoth grave.
Dr Bates added:”We haven’t found an ‘x marks the spot’ or ‘Joe created this’, but we have found many artefacts and submerged features that are very difficult to explain by natural causes, such as mounds surrounded by ditches and fossilised tree stumps on the seafloor.
 “There is actually very little evidence left because much of it has eroded underwater; it’s like trying to find just part of a needle within a haystack.”
    By Steve White