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Doggerland: Lost ‘Atlantis’ of the North Sea

  gives up its ancient secrets...

   The land mass that linked Britain to continental Europe was rich in early

   human life until it flooded. The idea of a “lost Atlantis” under the North Sea

   connecting Britain by land to continental Europe had been imagined by

   HG Wells in the late 19th century, with evidence of human inhabitation of

   the forgotten world following in 1931 when the trawler Colinda dredged up

   a lump of peat containing a spear point. But it is only now, after a decade of

   pioneering research and the extraordinary finds of an army of amateur

   archaeologists scouring the Dutch coastline for artefacts and fossils, that a

   major exhibition is able to offer a window into Doggerland, a vast expanse

   of territory submerged following a tsunami 8,000 years ago, cutting the

   British Isles off from modern Belgium, the Netherlands and southern


   The exhibition, Doggerland: Lost World in the North Sea, at the

   Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) in Leiden,

   southern Holland, includes more than 200 objects, ranging from a deer

   bone in which an arrowhead is embedded, and fossils such as petrified

   hyena droppings and mammoth molars, to a fragment of a skull of a young

   male Neanderthal. Studies of the forehead bone, dredged up in 2001 off the

   coast of Zeeland, suggests he was a big meat eater. A small cavity behind

   the brow bone is believed to be a scar from a harmless subcutaneous tumour

   that would have been visible as a lump above his eye.


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Comment by Michael Grove on August 2, 2021 at 9:48

  Dated at between 850,000 and 950,000 years old, have been

  discovered on the storm-lashed beach at Happisburgh in Norfolk,

  one of the fastest-eroding stretches of the British coast. Within a

  fortnight, the sea tides that had exposed the prints last May

  destroyed them, leaving only casts and 3D images made through

  photogrammetry (stitching together hundreds of photographs) as

  evidence that a little group from a long-extinct early human species

  had passed that way.

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