National Geographic : 2012 Dec
• Europe, and the Mesolithic, in turn, as a period that holds lessons for us---living as we are through another period of climate change. anks to a team of landscape archaeologists at the Univer- sity of Birmingham led by Vince Gaffney, we now have a good idea of what this lost country looked like. Based on seismic survey data gath- ered mostly by oil companies prospecting under the North Sea, Ga ney and his colleagues have digitally reconstructed nearly 18,000 square miles of the submerged landscape---an area larger than the Netherlands. At the university's IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, which he heads, Ga ney projects images of this terra incognita onto huge, full-color screens. Just o the map, the Rhine and the ames met and owed south into the Channel River. Ga ney sweeps a hand across other river systems, comparably large, that we have no names for. In the climate of the day---perhaps a couple of degrees warmer than today---the contours on his screen translate into gently rolling hills, wooded valleys, lush marsh- es, and lagoons. "It was a paradise for hunter- gatherers," he says. e publication in 2007 of the initial section of this map allowed archaeologists for the rst time to "see" the Mesolithic world, even identify likely locations for settlements, with a view to potential- ly excavating them. e expense of underwater archaeology and the poor visibility in the North Sea have kept those settlements tantalizingly out of reach, at least for now. But the archaeologists have other ways to reveal who the Doggerlanders were, and how they responded to the inexorable creep of the sea into their homeland. First, there are the treasures brought up in the shermen's nets. In addition to the human jawbone, Glimmerveen has accumulated more than a hundred other artifacts---animal bones Archaeologist Lisa Snape-Kennedy traces footprints of a crane at Goldcliff. Now rare in Britain, cranes would have been a valuable food source for Mesolithic people here and in Doggerland to the east.