Return to ‘Doggerland’

Because sea levels rose world-wide after the last glacial maximum, archaeologists have been largely stymied as regards exactly where migrating people lived and what they did. Much migration since fully modern humans left Africa around 70-80 ka is likely to have been ‘strandloping’ along coastal lowlands exposed as sea level fell as the last glacial period developed. Of course, this vast area is now drowned. It takes both a lot of work and a degree of good fortune to make anything of this landscape for ancient humans. Luck definitely played its part in getting some clue about one of the last of the migrations: from continental Europe to the British Isles, in the aftermath of the last glacial maximum. Trawlers have dredged not only animal bones from what was a great plain where the North Sea now sits, but also a superb bone harpoon point recovered in 1931. It has been a while in coming, but researchers at Birmingham University, UK have finally defined and mapped that drowned land area – Doggerland (see: Spinney, L. 2008. The lost world. Nature, v. 454, p. 151-153).

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