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            a tsunami occurred, thought to have been triggered by a vast undersea landslide at

            Storrega off the coast of Norway. The deluge inundated the connecting peninsular
            which eventually became completely submerged and the prehistoric foragers who
            lived here became the first offshore islanders. Bryony Coles, a University of Exeter
            archaeologist, named the submerged territory Doggerland in the 1990’s after the
            Dogger Bank, which was in turn named after 17  century  “dogger” fishing boats. The
            inundation also created the Narrow Channel (later called the English Channel, or in
            French La Manche, from the Celtic for channel or canal). The British Isles now had
            their present shape.

            H.G. Wells had speculated about the existence of a possible Doggerland, but it was
            only confirmed by archaeologists at the University of Birmingham using seismic
            reflection data gathered by the offshore oil and gas industry at a cost of hundreds of
            millions of dollars. They used it to map the surviving prehistoric landscapes beneath
            the North Sea silts. Hills, rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes and marshes can now be
            identified. About 60% has been mapped.

            No settlements have yet been identified on the new sea bed – no Atlantis as some
            newspapers hopefully called it - but artefacts have been found. In 1931 a trawler
            dredged up a lump of peat containing a spear point. The dredging of material from
            the seas to create man-made beaches to help protect the modern coastline, has
            uncovered a treasure-trove of once-inaccessible artefacts from a world which had
            been inhabited for a million years by modern humans, Neanderthals and even older
            hominids. The wide, open grassy plains of Doggerland were an ideal grazing ground
            for large herds of animals such as reindeer who were prey for the cave lions, sabre-

            toothed cats, cave hyenas and wolves, among others. An army of amateur
            archaeologists scoured the Dutch coastline for artefacts and fossils, and found more
            than 200 objects, ranging from hand axes, a deer bone in which an arrowhead is
            embedded, fossils such as petrified hyena droppings and mammoth molars, a
            fragment of a skull of a young male Neanderthal, and a 50,000-year-old flint tool with
            a handle made from birch tarpitch,. Other finds include 75 Neanderthal stone

            tools and animal remains from off the coast of East Anglia, both dating to the Middle
            Palaeolithic – some 50,000 to 300,000 years ago.

            The significance of Doggerland is far-reaching. It wasn’t a land-bridge, more the size
            an entire prehistoric European country. Some archaeologists describe it as “the
            heartland of north-west Europe”. Such submerged territories lost to the oceans,
            which include similar landscapes around the Americas, are the only once-inhabited
            but unexplored lands remaining on Earth. Professor Geoff Bailey, at the University of
            York, calls them “the last frontiers of geographical and archaeological exploration”.

            Archaeologists have had to develop revolutionary techniques. These include mapping
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