Is there a sunken country at the bottom of the North Sea?
The area located between the British Isles and the continental coast, around the current Dogger Bank, was dry land about 10 thousand years ago. There were forests, herds grazed, and people lived.
Then the glaciers began to melt, and the sea level began to rise. It is not known exactly what happened to the herds and hunters, but there are still traces of people on the seabed to this day.
In 2018, researchers from the University of Bradford (UK) undertook an 11-day expedition aboard the RV Belgic to sample sediment at the bottom of the North Sea.
It is part of Doggerland, an area located between the east coast of Britain and the mainland. The sunken landscape with the fossilized remains of a prehistoric forest is approximately 10 thousand years old.
Analysis of some samples showed that there is a layer of peat under the seabed. This suggests that there used to be a swampy lowland here.
One might think that it was suitable for the dwelling of the people of that time. Some of the flooded lands are completely covered by the more modern sediments of the largest rivers, such as the Rhine.
Nevertheless, scientists were confident that they would be able to find the real traces of prehistoric settlements. In recent years, numerous remains of fishing boats, ancient human bones, flint tools, spearheads, and even carved bones have been found in the Brown Bank area between England and the Netherlands.
The sediment samples obtained by the last expedition are still being thoroughly analyzed – this is a long and painstaking work. The expedition data will also be used to further update archaeological maps of underwater Doggerland, which have been prepared from seismic data and sediment samples over the past several years.