Chapter 4 – Doggerland and the Ice Age

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant”Robert Louis Stevenson

Book Extract……………………………..


Wikipedia states: “Doggerland is a name given by archaeologists and geologists to a former landmass in the southern North Sea that connected the island of Great Britain to mainland Europe during and after the last Ice Age, surviving until about 6,500 or 6,200 BCE, though gradually being swallowed by rising sea levels. Geological surveys have suggested that Doggerland was a large area of dry land that stretched from Britain’s east coast across to the present coast of the Netherlands and the western coasts of Germany and Denmark. Doggerland was probably a rich habitat with human habitation in the Mesolithic period.

The archaeological potential of the area had first been discussed in the early 20th century, but interest intensified in 1931 when a commercial trawler operating between the sandbanks and shipping hazards of the Leman Bank and Ower Bank east of the Wash dragged up an elegant barbed antler point that dated to a time when the area was tundra. Later vessels have dragged up mammoth and lion remains, among other remains of land animals, and small numbers of prehistoric tools and weapons that were used by the region’s inhabitants.

Throughout the 19th century, oyster dredgers working the shallow waters off the north east coast of England, recorded frequent finds of animal bones caught up in their nets. These discoveries became a regular occurrence as the fishing technology increased and the trawlers at a later date fished in deeper waters of the North Sea. Furthermore, they also discovered traces of a civilisation’s tools within this lost continent. Sadly, the locations of these finds were rarely recorded, and if so were not often accurate, all we do know is that this material appeared to come from a number of areas within Doggerland.

LGM Ice Sheet

The last ice age and the ‘great melt’ flooded the landscape of Britain for over ten thousand years, creating a ‘chain reaction’ as water seeped very slowly into rivers which after many centuries finally reached the sea.  As a consequence, the sea levels slowly increased in height, covering vast areas of land, leaving a sandy bank just under the North Sea which we know today as the ‘Doggerland bank’.

On this and surrounding areas of submerged land, we believe trawlers have found the greatest number of finds, for it is only 30m deep and 90km – 110km (60-70 miles) from the coast of the British Isles and therefore, has the largest number of boats fishing its borders. This shoal – a somewhat linear landform within or extending into a body of water, typically composed of sand, silt or small pebbles – rises about 45m (150ft) above the North Sea bed. To the north it plunges into deeper water and forms a subterranean plateau covering 17,600 sq. km. (6,800 sq. miles) with a maximum dimension being 260km (160 miles) from north to south and 95 km (60 miles) from east to west. Over time the number of finds reduced as the same area was dredged day after day and any artefacts sitting on the surface would have been scooped up and either returned as a curiosity, or just thrown back in a different location.

Even so, items such as; bear, wolf, hyena, bison, woolly rhino, mammoth, beaver, walrus, elk, deer and most significantly horse remains have been collected. This precious collection of findings gives us a fantastic insight to what Doggerland looked like, the environment that supported these animals and more importantly the climate of this unique area of the world.

Rising Sea Levels and the end of Doggerland

Towards the end of the Last Ice age about 25,000 years ago Homo Superior lived in the green pastures of Spain and the South of France, isolated from their Eastern Homo Sapien Sapien (Modern Man) cousins in the east in Greece and Southern Asia by the Ice Cap that covered the Alps, and the tundra that covered northern France, Holland and Germany, which prevented them sailing their boats through the frozen rivers of Europe. About 20,000 years ago this landscape changed as temperatures increased and the tundra retreated. The ice which once covered Britain and Doggerland drew back, forcing the animals to move north following the lush grasslands and thick forest of Spain, France and Italy as the climate changed and the volume of rainfall increased with the rising temperatures. Homo Superior then moved northward to follow the herds in their boats up to the new tundra borders in Doggerland.  

In the years that followed, the ice cap continued to retreat. 15,000 years ago, the ice cap which once covered most of Northern Europe only covered parts of Scotland and Norway leaving the valley between these two peaks – Doggerland as a grassy oasis surrounded by ice covered mountains, but enjoying the benefits of southerly winds that encourage many varieties of animals that basked in the warm climate at the end of the Pleistocene. When we look in detail at the bones found by trawlers recently from the bottom of the North Sea, we get a clear indication of the extreme temperatures and environment found by the first Homo Superiors when they first wandered into Doggerland in 15000BC.

List of animals – found by dredging in the North Sea over the last 80 years:

 Alpine Ibex – (Capra ibex), is a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps. In its habitat region, the species is known as bouquetin (French), Steinbock (German), stambecco (Italian) and kozorog (Slovenian). The Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica) and the Middle Eastern Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana) are very close relatives of the Alpine ibex, and were formerly considered to be subspecies. Fossils of Alpine ibex dating back to the late Pleistocene, when it and the Spanish ibex probably evolved from the extinct Pleistocene species Capra camburgensis.

Alpine Ibex

Arctic Fox – The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus, formerly known as Alopex lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome.  The arctic fox will generally eat any small animal it can find: lemmings, voles, hares, owls, eggs, and carrion, etc. Lemmings are the most common prey.

Arctic Fox

Auroch or Wild Ox – Aurochs were about 1.75 metres (5 ft 9 in) tall, while a very large domesticated cow is about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) and most domestic cattle are much smaller than this. – The recovery pattern of aurochs remains led to the belief that they preferred swampy and wet wooded areas and, like modern cattle, could swim for short distances, enabling them to inhabit islands within their range (Pictures of Auroch were found in Cro-Magnon caves in France).

Auroch or Wild Ox

Bear – The English word “bear” comes from Old English bera and belongs to a family of names for the bear in Germanic languages, in origin from an adjective meaning “brown”. In Scandinavia the word for bear is Bjorn (or bjørn), and is a relatively common given name for males. The use of this name is ancient and has been found mentioned in several rune stone inscriptions. In Germanic culture, the bear was a symbol of the warrior, as evident from the Old English term beorn which can take the meaning of both “bear” and “warrior.” With the exception of the Polar Bear, the bears are mostly forest species. Some species, particularly the Brown Bear, may inhabit or seasonally use other areas such as alpine scrub or tundra.


Beaver – Beavers are known for their natural trait of building dams on rivers and streams, and building their homes (known as “lodges”) in the resulting pond. Beavers also build canals to float build materials that are difficult to haul over land – The Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber) was nearly hunted to extinction in Europe, both for fur and for castoreum, a secretion of its scent gland believed to have medicinal properties. However, the beaver is now being re-introduced throughout Europe. Several thousand live on the Elbe, the Rhone and in parts of Scandinavia. A thriving community lives in northeast Poland, and the Eurasian Beaver also returned to the Morava River banks in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.


Bison – The American bison and the European wisent are good swimmers and are the largest terrestrial animals in North America and Europe. Bison are nomadic grazers and travel in herds, except for the non-dominant bulls, which travel alone or in small groups during most of the year. Bison have a fairly simple diet. The bison’s main food is grass, and if they are faced with snowy conditions will forage in the snow looking for it. However, bison will resort to eating twigs and low-laying shrubs if they cannot find a good source of grass.


For more information about British Prehistory and other articles/books, go to our BLOG WEBSITE for daily updates or our VIDEO CHANNEL for interactive media and documentaries. The TRILOGY of books that ‘changed history’ can be found with chapter extracts at DAWN OF THE LOST CIVILISATION, THE STONEHENGE ENIGMA and THE POST-GLACIAL FLOODING HYPOTHESIS. Other associated books are also available such as 13 THINGS THAT DON’T MAKE SENSE IN HISTORY and other ‘short’ budget priced books can be found on our AUTHOR SITE. For active discussion on the findings of the TRILOGY and recent LiDAR investigations that is published on our WEBSITE you can join our FACEBOOK GROUP.