Doggerland : ‘Britain’s Atlantis’ Found At Bottom Of North Sea

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Britain’s Atlantis’ – a hidden underwater  world swallowed by the North Sea – has been discovered by divers working with  science teams from the University of St Andrews.

Doggerland, a huge area of dry land that  stretched from Scotland to Denmark was slowly submerged by water between 18,000  BC and 5,500 BC.


Divers from oil companies have found remains  of a ‘drowned world’ with a population of tens of thousands – which might once  have been the ‘real heartland’ of Europe.


The research suggests that the populations of  these drowned lands could have been tens of thousands, living in an area that  stretched from Northern Scotland across to Denmark and down the English Channel  as far as the Channel Islands.

The area was once the ‘real heartland’ of  Europe and was hit by ‘a devastating tsunami.’

Organised by Dr Richard Bates of the  Department of Earth Sciences at St Andrews, the Drowned Landscapes exhibit  reveals the human story behind Doggerland, a now submerged area of the North Sea  that was once larger than many modern European countries.

Dr Bates, a geophysicist, said: ‘Doggerland  was the real heartland of Europe until sea levels rose to give us the UK  coastline of today.

‘We have speculated for years on the lost  land’s existence from bones dredged by fishermen all over the North Sea, but  it’s only since working with oil companies in the last few years that we have  been able to re-create what this lost land looked like.

‘When the data was first being processed, I  thought it unlikely to give us any useful information, however as more area was  covered it revealed a vast and complex landscape.

‘We have now been able to model its flora and  fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to  understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land,  including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.’

The research project is a collaboration  between St Andrews and the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee and  Wales Trinity St David.

Rediscovering the land through pioneering  scientific research, the research reveals a story of a dramatic past that  featured massive climate change. The public exhibit brings back to life the  Mesolithic populations of Doggerland through artefacts discovered deep within  the sea bed.

The research, a result of a painstaking 15  years of fieldwork around the murky waters of the UK, is one of the highlights  of the London event.

The interactive display examines the lost  landscape of Doggerland and includes artefacts from various times represented by  the exhibit – from pieces of flint used by humans as tools to the animals that  also inhabited these lands.

Using a combination of geophysical modelling  of data obtained from oil and gas companies and direct evidence from material  recovered from the seafloor, the research team was able to build up a  reconstruction of the lost land.

The findings suggest a picture of a land with  hills and valleys, large swamps and lakes with major rivers dissecting a  convoluted coastline.

As the sea rose the hills would have become  an isolated archipelago of low islands. By examining the fossil record – such as  pollen grains, microfauna and macrofauna – the researchers can tell what kind of  vegetation grew in Doggerland and what animals roamed there.

Using this information, they were able to  build up a model of the ‘carrying capacity’ of the land and work out roughly how  many humans could have lived there.

The research team is currently investigating  more evidence of human behaviour, including possible human burial sites,  intriguing standing stones and a mass mammoth grave.

Dr Bates added: ‘We haven’t found an ‘x marks  the spot’ or ‘Joe created this’, but we have found many artefacts and submerged  features that are very difficult to explain by natural causes, such as mounds  surrounded by ditches and fossilised tree stumps on the seafloor.

‘There is actually very little evidence left  because much of it has eroded underwater; it’s like trying to find just part of  a needle within a haystack. What we have found though is a remarkable amount of  evidence and we are now able to pinpoint the best places to find preserved signs  of life.’

For further information on the exhibit,  visit:

Drowned Landscapes is on display at The Royal  Society Summer Science Exhibition 2012 from July 3-8 at the Royal Society in  London.