Drowned Worlds – Doggerland, the Neolithic Bridge between Britain and Europe

During the last glacial maximum, sea level was around 600 feet lower than today. Southeast Britain was connected to Europe by a land bridge called Doggerland, which is derived from the Dogger Banks which the name of the submerged area. Northern and western Britain was covered by an ice sheet at this time. Doggerland provided a habitat for neolithic tribes migrating from the ice sheet. It was covered with forests and wetlands and was likely a prime area for hunting and gathering. About 8,150 years ago, when most of Doggerland had been inundated by the melting of the ice cap, there was a massive tsunami caused by the collapses of parts of the continental shelf off the coast of Norway. The tsunami was estimated to be 25 meters (82 feet) high. It would have devastated British coastal areas and much of the remaining area of Doggerland. There is evidence that some areas of Doggerland, which would have been islands at the time, were high enough to be refuges for the neolithic peoples in the area. These refugees may have been critical in the resettlement of Britain as sea level stabilized and the ice sheet disappeared.

References

Walker, James, Vincent Gaffney, Simon Fitch, Merle Muru, Andrew Fraser, Martin Bates, and Richard Bates. “A great wave: the Storegga tsunami and the end of Doggerland?.” Antiquity 94, no. 378 (2020): 1409-1425.

Gaffney, Vincent, Simon Fitch, Martin Bates, Roselyn L. Ware, Tim Kinnaird, Benjamin Gearey, Tom Hill et al. “Multi-proxy characterisation of the Storegga tsunami and its impact on the early Holocene landscapes of the southern North Sea.” Geosciences 10, no. 7 (2020): 270.

Gaffney, Vincent L., Simon Fitch, and David N. Smith. Europe’s lost world: the rediscovery of Doggerland. Vol. 160. Council for British Archaeology (GB), 2009.

Gaffney, Vincent L., Kenneth Thomson, and Simon Fitch, eds. Mapping Doggerland: the Mesolithic landscapes of the southern North Sea. Archaeopress, 2007.

Richards, Edward P. “The Societal Impacts of Climate Anomalies during the Past 50,000 Years and Their Implications for Solastalgia and Adaptation to Future Climate Change.” Hous. J. Health L. & Pol’y 18 (2018): 131.

 

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