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article imageNorth Sea ‘Atlantis’ abandoned after 5m tsunami, study says

By Martin Laine     May 2, 2014 in Science
After watching the sea waters slowly rise around them for thousands of years, the people of Doggerland abandoned the prehistoric settlement for good after a tsunami caused by an undersea landslide 8,000 years ago.
According to an article on the BBC website, this is the gist of a research paper presented at a geophysics conference this week in Vienna.
“It was abandoned by Mesolithic tribes about 8,000 years ago, which is when the Storegga slide happened,” said Prof. Jon Hill of Imperial College London.
Doggerland was located in the area between modern-day northern Scotland and Denmark. At the time, sea levels were much lower, and that region was one continuous landmass. At its peak, it may have had tens of thousands of inhabitants, according to an earlier BBC article.
Generations of North Sea fishermen had picked up ancient artifacts in their nets, as well as human bones. It had long been suspected that some sort of settlement had been located in the area.
The location of Doggerland was first discovered two years ago by Scottish archaeologists.
During the Mesolithic era, the region from Germany to England was one solid land-mass. As the glaciers of the last Ice Age began to melt about 20,000 years ago the sea levels gradually rose. And as the rose, the land mass shrunk, and people began to move elsewhere.
The Storegga landslide off the Norwegian coast has been known to geophysicists for some time. This study is the first to link the tsunami that was created to the final abandonment of Doggerland.
“We were the first ever group to model the Storegga tsunami with Doggerland in place,” Hill said.
The tsunami appears to have put an end to any human activity in Doggerland or anywhere else in the region. All the artifacts dredged up over the years date from the Mesolithic era, but no later. The slide that caused it was enormous, involving 3,000 cubic kilometers of sediment.
“If you took that sediment and laid it over Scotland,” Hill said. “It would cover it to a depth of 8m.”
More about Doggerland, storegga, mesolithic
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