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Research Groningen Institute of Archaeology Research Resurfacing Doggerland

Environment, Humans and Material Culture in a Postglacial Drowning Landscape

Project aim

RESURFACING DOGGERLAND is a 5-year project based at the University of Groningen and funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), with co-funding by the Cultural Heritage Agency. The central goal of the project is to study the effects of sea-level rise on hunter-gatherers who, between 20,000 and 7,000 years ago, were dwelling in the southern North Sea region, an area often referred to as ‘Doggerland’. Thousands of archaeological and palaeontological finds collected on Dutch beaches and brought up from the North Sea in fishing nets, form a rich source of information about the people who once inhabited this now lost landscape. A consortium of researchers from various disciplines will study these vestiges by applying a range of modern and ‘traditional’ methods to collect data on various aspects of life in Doggerland. Ancient DNA from human bones produce data on genetic relationships, isotopes provide insight into their diet, while the vast number of tools, waste and animal remains informs us about cultural developments and the environment of their activities. Combined with numerous radiocarbon dates, this will allow us to develop new insights into the effects of sea-level rise and related environmental change on socio-cultural life in the region, an issue that we know all too well today.

The scientific gain of the project will in addition provide the input for a range of outreach activities, aiming at the wider public and various stakeholders in modern-day offshore and coastal developments. Building on the increasing awareness that the prehistoric heritage in the North Sea is important for our understanding of how people behaved in a continuously changing world, archaeological firms, and national and municipal authorities will join forces to manage future developments appropriately.

Last modified:31 May 2021 11.16 a.m.