This Is Overstrand

Research into Doggerland

On the north Norfolk coast we are used to looking out over the ocean. But it is not so very long ago that we could have stretched our legs and headed off across an albeit swampy plain to Holland, Denmark or Norway. The term 'Doggerland' is now used by some scientists to decribe that country.

Some of the most fascinating recent work on this has been undertaken by a team at Birmingham University led by Professor Vincent Gaffney. They describe how up until 12,000 years ago hunter-gatherers lived and roamed across much of what we now know as the North Sea. Landscape archaeology is a developing field of study but this is perhaps the first time that its techniques have been used where the land no longer exists!

The data on which the research is based is that collected over the years by the oil and gas industry. It does not come right into the coast at Overstrand - exploration has not been permitted right up to the coast - but clever assessment of several decades of data collected for quite another purpose now allows us to see the lakes, rivers and hills of Doggerland.

To view the data supplied by Brimingham University, select one or both of the tick boxes above the map (this uses the Google Earth plug-in which you may need to install before you can use it).

If you'd like to study this further, then it's presented in the very readable "Europe's Lost World - The Rediscovery of Doggerland", published by CBA.

There's more at the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity Department's site at Birmingham University under the heading North Sea Palaeoloandscapes.

Britain's Island Heritage will lead you to information about on-going research at Cambridge University about the North Sea story. Professor Gibbard's team confirms that it was probably still possible to wade from France to Britain as few as 9,000 years ago.

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