Welcome to Doggerland. Few people have heard of it, and you certainly wouldn’t find it on a map. This is because Doggerland has been under the North Sea (a large body of water located between Great Britain, Denmark and Norway) for about 8,200 years.
Later, Mesolithic ancestors standing on the “coasts” of eastern England saw rugged hills, wooded valleys and marshy lagoons, rather than a vast body of water. In other words, a fertile age capable of accepting an ancient human civilization.
Scientists want to learn more about these possible ancient civilizations that call Doggerland’s home, but marine archeology is notoriously difficult. You might think scientists have their time, but the explosion of interest in seabed mining and wind farms in the North Sea example could threaten these fragile areas of human history.
That’s why scientists from the University of Bradford in Great Britain are turning to a new method in marine archeology and analyzing magnetic fields in hopes of unlocking the secrets of human activity in Doggerland. The researchers describe the area as “one of the most resource-rich and ecologically dynamic areas during the Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods,” so there’s a lot to explore on the seabed.
“Small changes in the magnetic field can indicate changes in the terrain, such as peat formation and sedimentary deposits, or changes in areas of erosion, such as river beds,” says Bradford University’s Ph.D. student Ben Urmston in practice. “Because the area we studied was previously above sea level, the chances of this analysis revealing evidence of hunter-gatherer activity are very slim.”
Urmston will analyze magnetic data collected by research firm Royal Haskoning, which studies the North Sea as part of its environmental impact assessment for future green energy initiatives. This data is collected using magnetometers, which are torpedo-like instruments usually towed behind a ship and use an atomic physics principle known as the Overhauser effect to record magnetic fields along the ocean floor.
The technique is often used to search for shipwrecks of iron ore deposits, but Urmston hopes to uncover the existence of things like dumpsters, which are essentially dumps filled with bones and other biological material, which could provide an accurate picture of how Mesolithic Doggerlanders lived. . .
The team emphasizes that it does not want to interrupt or delay much-needed green energy initiatives in the North Sea, but hope to develop methods to build these projects responsibly. After all, the flooded valleys and hills of Doggerland may still hold many archaeological treasures.
Source: Port Altele
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