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The Mesolithic people of Doggerland - North Sea Islands

North Sea islands with prehistoric inhabitants were wiped out by tsunami

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New research presented at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna has revealed that an ancient civilisation located on a group of islands between Britain and Europe was wiped out by a tsunami about 8,200 years ago, according to a news report in BBC News.

Described as a prehistoric ‘garden of Eden’, the islands, known as ‘Doggerland’, were occupied by Mesolithic tribes, as evidenced by the discovery of a number of artifacts including flint tools and fishing nets.

Man-made artefacts from Doggerland

Man-made artefacts from Doggerland now lie beneath the ocean. Photo source.

Doggerland was an area of land between Northern Scotland, Denmark and the Channel Islands. It was believed to have been home to tens of thousands of people before it disappeared underwater.  Beginning around 20,000 years ago, a massive release of meltwater from a giant glacial lake in North America, called Lake Agassiz, caused sea levels to jump by more than two feet.  Doggerland gradually become submerged by water, leaving behind a number of islands.

East Coast of Britain and Doggerland

East Coast of Britain and Doggerland 8,200 years ago. Image source.

However, a team of scientists at the Imperial College discovered that a catastrophic landslide near Norway, which was an enormous 3,000 cubic kilometres, created a tsunami which covered the islands in water and wiped out the human inhabitants.

"The impact on anyone who was living on Doggerland at the time would have been massive - comparable to the Japanese tsunami of 2011," said Dr Jon Hill of the Imperial College. It would have also struck Scotland at a height of 14 metres and East Anglia at a height of 4 metres.

Dr Hill said that modelling tsunamis are important for understanding our history. But they can also provide us with data on what we can expect from similar events in future.

Featured image: The Mesolithic people of Doggerland. Art by Alexander Maleev

By April Holloway



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April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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