New research suggests that climate change, not a tsunami, doomed the now-submerged territory of Doggerland
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Study Rewrites History of Ancient Land Bridge Between Britain and Europe
As recently as 20,000 years ago—not long in geological terms—Britain was not, in fact, an island. Instead, the terrain that became the British Isles was linked to mainland Europe by Doggerland, a tract of now-submerged territory where early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers lived, settled and traveled.
Doggerland gradually shrank as rising sea levels flooded the area. Then, around 6150 B.C., disaster struck: The Storegga Slide, a submarine landslide off the coast of Norway, triggered a tsunami in the North Sea, flooding the British coastline and likely killing thousands of humans based in coastal settlements, reports Esther Addley for the Guardian.
Historians have long assumed that this tsunami was the deciding factor that finally separated Britain from mainland Europe. But new archaeological research published in the December issue of Antiquity argues that Doggerland may have actually survived as an archipelago of islands for several more centuries.
Co-author Vincent Gaffney, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford, has spent the past 15 years surveying Doggerland’s underwater remains as part of the Europe’s Lost Frontiers project. Using seismic mapping, computer simulations and other techniques, Gaffney and his colleagues have successfully mapped the territory’s marshes, rivers and other geographical features.
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