‘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.
A team of climatologists, archaeologists and geophysicists has now mapped the area using new data from oil companies – and revealed the full extent of a ‘lost land’ once roamed by mammoths.
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’, the researchers claim.
The wave was part of a larger process that submerged the low-lying area over the course of thousands of years.
‘The name was coined for Dogger Bank, but it applies to any of several periods when the North Sea was land,’ says Richard Bates of the University of St Andrews. ‘Around 20,000 years ago, there was a ‘maximum’ – although part of this area would have been covered with ice. When the ice melted, more land was revealed – but the sea level also rose.
‘Through a lot of new data from oil and gas companies, we’re able to give form to the landscape – and make sense of the mammoths found out there, and the reindeer. We’re able to understand the types of people who were there.
‘People seem to think rising sea levels are a new thing – but it’s a cycle of Earht history that has happened many many times.’
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.