The lost Doggerland

Doggerland is the name given to the vast area that until ten thousand years ago linked the British Isles with Denmark and Northern Germany, a time, Little Britain Eurosceptics please note,  when the Thames was a tributary of the Rhine. Then the ices waned and the inhabited hills, plains, valleys and  forests were flooded. I came across Doggerland listening to this facinating BBC radio 4 documenary. It explores a land lost beneath the waves near Craster on the Northumbrian coast with the help of archaeologists, locals and a storyteller who tells a possible creation myth dating from the 10,000 years ago, as the lands were engulfed.

The land was likely a rich habitat. There is numerous archaeological evidence of human habitation during the Mesolithic period.  Commercial trawlers operating near the sandbank and shipping hazard known as the Dogger Bank (from dogge, an old Dutch for fishing boat) in the North Sea have dragged up mammoth and lion remains, among other remains of land animals, as well as small numbers of prehistoric tools and weapons which were used by the region’s inhabitants. After the end of the last ice age, Doggerland was submerged beneath the North Sea. The Dogger Bank was an upland area of Doggerland.

  • BBC radio 4 documenary – fascinating. Helen Mark explores a land lost beneath the waves off the Northumbrian coast.
  • Doggerland – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Armed with a map depicting a 10,000-year-old landscape submerged beneath the North Sea and fresh evidence from nearby sites, archaeologists are realizing that early humans were more territorial than was previously thought. Laura Spinney reports. Nature
  • Addition soure: Heritage Britain Doggerland – A Mesolithic Landscape
  • Book Europe’s Lost World – the rediscovery of Doggerland, written by Vincent Gaffney, Simon Fitch & David Smith. “Whilst many may associate Doggerland with the area of sea described memorably each night in the BBC Shipping Forecast, 10,000 years ago Doggerland was an inhabited land where communities of hunter-gatherers lived and roamed, hunting and gathering resources, just as they did in many other areas of northern Europe. Previously interpreted by archaeologists simply as a ‘land bridge’, this project has described this amazing landscape in detail for the first time and revealed the valleys, hills, rivers and plains which lie beneath the North sea and which were home to unique cultures, tribes and, perhaps, thousands of people. More information here;

Bizzarely from this site (Strange Maps)

North Sea Drainage Project to Increase Area of Europe

From above site

In the 1930s, there existed at least one wild plan to reclaim this particular piece of sunken real estate from the seas, if maybe only in the pages of the editors of Modern Mechanix, an American magazine (1928-2001) that ran under a variety of titles (the best-known perhaps being Mechanix Illustrated). This map, dated to September 1930, has a slightly unbelievable air to it, and its inspiration probably isn’t Doggerland, but might well be the better-argumented Atlantropa scheme.

Under the title North Sea Drainage Project to Increase Area of Europe, a caption reads: If the extensive schemes for the drainage of North Sea are carried out according to the plan illustrated above, which was conceived by a group of eminent English scientists, 100,000 square miles will be added to the overcrowded continents of Europe. The reclaimed land will be walled in with enormous dykes, similar to the Netherland dykes, to protect it from the sea, and the various rivers flowing into the North Sea will have their courses diverted to different outlets by means of canals.”

Conspicuously absent are the scientists’ credentials. The logistics of building a 450 mile long dyke connecting Norfolk (England) to Jutland (Denmark), rising 90 feet above the sea level, seem too daunting for this age, let alone for the 1930s. A similar dyke at the North Sea’s south end, barely 150 miles long, would only leave Antwerp and London with direct sea access, depriving the whole of the Netherlands and much of Germany and Denmark of a coastline – which can’t but have ticked them off. (Strange Maps)

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