There are more than just lost cities, Doggerland is also a whole lost landmass off the coast of the United Kingdom in the North Sea the size of Florida. The emerging tale of its destruction is every bit as dramatic as those of the fabled Lost City of Atlantis. While hard to study under the fridged and murky waters of the North Sea, Doggerland is also proving to be invaluable to studying human history in Europe.
During the Ice Age, North America also had its own land bridge connecting it to Laurasia. Today the remanents of that landbridge can be seen in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve in Alaska. These landmasses stand as a cautionary tale of the impact and threat of rising sea levels that could inundate more low-lying areas in the future.
The Size And Richness of Doggerland
Doggerland is was the land in the southern North Sea that once connected Great Britain with Europe. It has been shown that this land once stretched from Denmark's Jutland peninsula to Germany to the Netherlands to the United Kingdom.
Doggerland was a plentiful region that attracted many people.
“Britain was just a range of hills on the edge of Europe back then and the land that is now under the North Sea would have been the prime place to live, with plentiful fish, birds, animals and fresh water to be found along the rivers and coastlines”
The people who lived here included Neanderthals and one of their artifacts that have been discovered is a 50,000-year-old flint tool. Later they were replaced by modern humans.
- Animal Discoveries: Antlers, Lions, Wooly Mammoths, And More
- Human Discoveries: Human Bones, Tools, Weapons, and Other Artifacts
It is believed that this land was once rich in human habitation during the Mesolithic period and was once the home of the wooly mammoths. Dredging is constantly pulling up artifacts of past civilizations (prehistoric tools and weapons), mammoth tusks, lions, and the like.
One of the first discoveries was in 1931 when a fishing trawler dragged up a barbed antler that was then dated to the time when the land was tundra.
- Size: 180,000 sq km (70,000 sq miles) At Its Greatest Extent
- Human Occupation: Goes Back As Far As 800,000 years
Rising Sea Levels And The Destruction of Doggerland
Today the land is submerged. Rising sea levels flooded much of the land around 6500 to 6200 BC. As the sea levels rose, the land was reduced (still large), low-lying islands. People were forced to migrate to the higher ground of what is now Great Britain and the Netherlands. It is thought the that last of the landmass was plunged into the depths following a massive tsunami caused by the Storegga Slide.
- Tsunami: It Is Thought The coup de grâce Was A Massive Tsunami From the Storegga Slide
- Depth: Shallowest Waters Around 15 Meters (50 feet)
Today it is known that its vast region was covered in forests and river valleys. At its greatest extent, it was larger than the state of Florida. But today the more shallow parts lie under around 15 meters (yards) of cold and murky water.
Recent studies show that the human inhabitants even transitioned from hunter-gatherers to farming communities.
Doggerland was named after the Dogger Bank in the North Sea which is likely a moraine formed in the Pleistocene.
Threats, Opportunities, And Archeology of Doggerland Today
The North Sea is famous for its oil and gas. The upshot of that is that oil and gas companies have carefully mapped the sea flood and there are now detailed maps of the hills, rivers, and valleys of this lost world.
- Oil Exploration: Has Produced Detailed Sea Floor Maps That Archeologists Can Use
Armed with these maps, archeologists have been able to pinpoint the places that would have been the most attractive for people to settle. Once those places have been identified they can look for artifacts in those places.
- Off-Shore Wind Power: Poses Both A Threat And Opportunity To The Exploration of Doggerland
Today there is concern that the UK's dramatic push for off-shore wind power will seal off access to some of the best-preserved parts of the Doggerbank to archaeologists. Alternatively, this new push for off-shore wind power may even give the archaeologists the tools they need to study Doggerland if it is handled right.
If one thinks of lost cities to the sea, the Lost City of Atlantis often springs to mind. Perhaps ironically, there are many rediscovered lost cities in Egypt (like Heracleion/Thonis), Greece, and beyond that were plunged into the waves. At the same time, the scholarly consensus (for now at least) is that Atlantis never existed.
Today there are many submerged cities and whole landmasses that people once called home.