7,000-Year-Old Forest and Footprints Uncovered in the Atlantis of Britain

Ancient footprints as well as prehistoric tree stumps and logs have become visible along a 200-meter stretch of a coastline at Low Hauxley near Amble, Northumberland, in what is believed to be Doggerland, the Atlantis of Britain.

The Daily Mail reports that the forest existed in the late Mesolithic period. It began to form around 5,300 BC, and it was covered by the ocean three centuries later. The studies proved that at the time, when the ancient forest existed, the sea level was much lower. It was a period when Britain had recently separated from the land of what is currently Denmark. The forest consisted mostly of hazel, alder, and oak trees. Researchers believe the forest was part of Doggerland, an ancient stretch of a land, which connected the UK and Europe.

Doggerland: Stone Age Atlantis of Britain

Located in the North Sea, Doggerland is believed to have once measured approximately 100,000 square miles (258998 square kilometers). However, the end of the Ice Age saw a great rise in the sea level and an increase in storms and flooding in the region, causing Doggerland to gradually shrink.

Doggerland, sometimes called the Stone Age Atlantis of Britain or the prehistoric Garden of Eden, is an area archaeologists have been waiting to rediscover. Finally, modern technology has reached a level in which their dreams may become a reality. Doggerland is thought to have been first inhabited around 10,000 BC, and innovative technology is expected to aid a new study in glimpsing what life was like for the prehistoric humans living in the region before the catastrophic floods covered the territory sometime between 8000 – 6000 BC.

The area, which would have been home to a range of animals, as well as the hunter gatherers which stalked them, became flooded due to glacial melt, with some high-lying regions such as 'Dogger Island' (pictured right, highlighted red) serving as clues to the regions ancient past.

The area, which would have been home to a range of animals, as well as the hunter gatherers which stalked them, became flooded due to glacial melt, with some high-lying regions such as ‘Dogger Island’ (pictured right, highlighted red) serving as clues to the regions ancient past. (public domain)

Sunken Land Reveals its Secrets

The latest research was made by a group of archeologists and volunteers led by a team from Archaeological Research Services Ltd, which previously performed some other projects related to the Northumberland. The works were possible due to the lower level of water. The major excavations involved a total of 700 people and uncovered part of an Iron Age site dating from around 300 BC near the Druidge Bay.

Doctor Clive Waddington, of Archaeology Research Services said:

”In 5,000 BC the sea level rose quickly and it drowned the land. The sand dunes were blown back further into the land, burying the forest, and then the sea receded a little. The sea level is now rising again, cutting back the sand dunes, and uncovering the forest.”

Clive Waddington, project director of Archaeological Research Services Ltd at the prehistoric archaeological dig at Low Hauxley near Amble, Northumberland

Clive Waddington, project director of Archaeological Research Services Ltd at the prehistoric archaeological dig at Low Hauxley near Amble, Northumberland (The Journal)

Ancient Footprints

Waddington maintains that his team also discovered the evidence of humans living nearby. They found footprints of adults and children. Due to the results of the analysis of the footprints, it is believed that they wore leather shoes.  Animal footprints of wild boar, brown bears and red deer also had been found.

Fossilized Forests

The remains of the forest of Doggerland do not belong to the oldest known forest. The oldest fossilized forest was discovered by a team from the Binghamton University in the town of Gilboa in upstate New York. The Gilboa area has been known as a tree fossil location since the late 19th century. However, the first researchers arrived there in the 1920s. The most recent research started in 2004, when Linda VanAller Hernick, paleontology collection manager, and Frank Mannolini, paleontology collection technician, uncovered more intact specimens. According to the article published in 2012 by William Stein, associate professor of biological sciences at Binghamton, the fossils discovered in this area are between 370 to 380 million years old.

See the 5,000-year-old forest unearthed by storms:

Featured image: The remains of an ancient forest in what is believed to have once formed part of Doggerland. Credit: North News and Pictures.

By Natalia Klimczak

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