During the Early Holocene, Doggerland would likely have been a peninsula bounded by the Ouse and Elbe rivers connected to the rest of the European continent to the south

A hypothetical map of Doggerland and the surrounding areas of northwest Europe in the Early Holocene

The Doggerland project

Professor Bryony Coles

Prof. Bryony Coles has been examining the archaeology of "Doggerland", which now lies under the North Sea. Its highest point is the submerged Dogger Bank where prehistoric artefacts are occasionally found by fishermen and geologists. At the height of the last Ice Age, Doggerland was dry and stretched from the present east coast of Britain and the present coasts of The Netherlands, Denmark and North Germany. Thus, the so-called land-bridge, was a place where people settled as the ice-sheets wasted and northwestern Europe became habitable once more. But, as the ice-sheets retreated further and sea levels rose, the North Sea encroached on the land, eventually separating the British Peninsula from the mainland.

The Doggerland Project has made use of recent geological exploration of the North Sea bed, and other sources of data, to reconstruct the former landscape and explore its cultural interpretations. The presence of the former landscapes, their changing coastlines, the process of land loss and the eventual insularity of Britain affected the inhabitants of northwestern Europe from the late Palaeolithic to the Neolithic, if not later. Three papers have been published from this project. The next stage will be to investigate possible means of underwater survey for archaeological sites, most probably around the former estuaries of Doggerland's rivers.

Coles, B.J. 1998 Doggerland: a speculative survey. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 64, 45-81. (Awarded Baguley Prize)

Coles, B.J. 1999 Doggerland's loss and the Neolithic. In: B. Coles, J. Coles and M. Schon Jorgensen (eds) Bog Bodies, Sacred Sites and Wetland Archaeology, 51-57. WARP Occasional Paper 12. Exeter.

Coles, B.J. 2000 Doggerland: the cultural dynamics of a shifting coastline. In: K. Pye and S.R.L. Allen (eds) Coastal and Estuarine Environments: Sedimentology, Geomorphology and Geoarchaeology, 393-401. Geological Society Special Publication No. 175. The Geological Society, London.

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