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A map of the UK with Doggerland marked as red. Image credit and © University of St Andrews
The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London this year showcases an exhibition titled Drowned landscapes -
The only lands on Earth that have not been extensively explored are those that have been lost to the oceans. After the end of the last Ice Age extensive landscapes that had once been home to thousands of people were inundated by the sea. Although scientists predicted their existence for many years, exploration has only recently become a reality.
This exhibit explores those drowned landscapes around the UK and shows how they are being rediscovered through pioneering scientific research. It reveals their human story through the artefacts left by the people – a story of a dramatic past that featured lost lands, devastating tsunamis and massive climate change. These were the challenges that our ancestors met and that we face once more today.
How it works
Current climate change and associated sea level rise are at the forefront of social and scientific discussion, but research shows that dramatic changes in the environment have occurred numerous times in the past.
One of the most significant landscapes lost to sea level rise is the European world of Doggerland. Occupying much of the North Sea basin, this inundated landscape, bigger than many modern European countries, was slowly submerged between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC. Archaeologists now consider Doggerland to have been the heartland of human occupation within Northern Europe at that time, but understanding it depends on being able to locate and visualise the landscape.
…sets out basic principles for the protection of underwater cultural heritage; provides a detailed State cooperation system; and provides widely recognized practical Rules for the treatment and research of underwater cultural heritage.
More videos on this as well as other topics here.
Diver with a Greek amphora. Image credit Big Blue Tech
Did you know that there are more than 20,000 estimated prehistoric sites lying on the bottom of the Baltic? Or that 3 million ancient shipwrecks are estimated to lie on the seabed? Have you ever supposed that more than 150 sunken cities and ruined sites are located under water in the Mediterranean, including the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the World? Or that artefacts recovered from the sea have been dated back 300,000 years!
The seabed holds a wealth of archaeological information yet, …these sites and the stories of human history that they tell are in danger. Pillaging, salvaging, oil-exploration and drilling, shore-front development and construction are just a few of the threats facing this remarkable heritage.
Source Archaeology News Network.
To help the public enjoy our underwater heritage, UNESCO will be organising an evening event on 12 December at 7 pm in the Free University, Brussels. Following the event, and to mark the tenth anniversary of UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of Underwater Heritage, there will be a meeting of experts at the Belgian Royal Library in Brussels from 13 to 14 December.