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Archaeologists seek out 'Britain's Atlantis'

Posted on Tuesday, 1 September, 2015 | Comment icon 8 comments

Prehistoric beasts once roamed the region. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Public Library of Science
Researchers are attempting to learn more about the people who were swallowed up by the North Sea.
Britain's distinctive coastline might be familiar to us today, but prior to around 7,500 years ago its land mass wasn't actually an island at all - instead stretching right the way across what is now the North Sea and connecting Britain up with mainland Europe through a region known as Doggerland.

Before being swallowed up by rising sea levels at the end of the last Ice Age, this huge 100,000 square-mile expanse was home to prehistoric beasts such as mammoths and tribes of modern humans who had been moving back in to Europe around 12,000 years ago.

Now as part of a ground-breaking new research project - the largest of its kind ever attempted - archaeologists are looking to piece together the lives of Doggerland's long-lost inhabitants.

The first stage will involve sinking bore holes in to the bottom of the North Sea to locate samples containing evidence of sophisticated farming practices and other human activities.
Hundreds of these samples will be sent to universities across the country so that researchers can look for signs of pollen, seeds, DNA material and other clues.

The team's findings could serve to not only revolutionize what is known about these ancient Britons but could even rewrite the history books with regard to the early spread of human agriculture.

"Because these areas of continental shelf became sea, they have been inaccessible to archaeologists until now," said project leader Professor Vince Gaffney.

"However, this project will access new data at a scale never previously attempted. Novel mapping, DNA extraction and computer modelling representing people, animals and even individual plants will generate a 4 dimensional model of how Doggerland was colonised and eventually lost to the sea."

"A dramatic, and previously lost, period of human prehistory will begin to emerge from the seismic traces, fragments of DNA and snippets of computer code that will form the primary data of this innovative archaeological project."

Source: Independent | Comments (8)

Tags: Britain, Atlantis, Doggerland

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Oniomancer on 1 September, 2015, 23:39
I thought Lyonesse was Britain's Atlantis.
Comment icon #2 Posted by The_Spartan on 2 September, 2015, 4:21
Abe (Abramelin) would be happy!!
Comment icon #3 Posted by Ozfactor on 2 September, 2015, 4:35
Anyone working on that project must be pinching themselves . I hope there are some incredible findings and new ideas , especially with the modern humans that used that land .
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer on 2 September, 2015, 12:55
Sounds like we had global warming for a long time. So it's not all our fault!
Comment icon #5 Posted by DieChecker on 2 September, 2015, 18:15
"However, this project will access new data at a scale never previously attempted. Novel mapping, DNA extraction and computer modelling representing people, animals and even individual plants will generate a 4 dimensional model of how Doggerland was colonised and eventually lost to the sea." With 100,000 square miles, I'd imagine this isn't going to be easy. To even find just one human habitation site may well take years. I wish them good luck.
Comment icon #6 Posted by sonofkrypton on 3 September, 2015, 8:47
could an oral story of this event have spurned the atlantis myth?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Regina Ulfa on 24 September, 2015, 21:31
Why is this sunken land just considered a property of Britain?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Black Monk on 1 October, 2015, 11:45
I thought Lyonesse was Britain's Atlantis. Considering that the sunken "Doggerland" completely surrounds Britain, I wonder if the legend of Lyonesse, a country which supposedly bordered Cornwall before it sank, is a collective ancient memory of the time before Doggerland was submerged, when Britain wasn't an island.

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