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.

The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, Drowned landscapes, is running until Sunday, 8 July 2012. More here and here.