Scotlands History Stories
Doggerland was an area of land, now submerged beneath the southern North Sea, that connected Britain to continental Europe. It was flooded by rising sea levels around 6500–6200 BC. Geological surveys have suggested that it stretched from where Britain's east coast now is to the present-day Netherlands, western coast of Germany, and peninsula of Jutland. It was probably a rich habitat with human habitation in the Mesolithic period, although rising sea levels gradually reduced it to low-lying islands before its final submergence, possibly following a tsunami caused by the Storegga Slide.
The archaeological potential of the area was first identified in the early 20th century, and interest intensified in 1931 when a fishing trawler operating east of the Wash dragged up a barbed antler point that was subsequently dated to a time when the area was tundra. Vessels have dragged up remains of mammoths, lions and other animals, and a few prehistoric tools and weapons.
Doggerland was named in the 1990s, after the Dogger Bank, which in turn was named after the 17th century Dutch fishing boats called doggers.
Map showing hypothetical extent of Doggerland from Weichselian glaciation until the current situation
Until the middle Pleistocene, Britain was a peninsula of Europe, connected by the massive chalk Weald–Artois Anticline across the Straits of Dover. During the Anglian glaciation, approximately 450,000 years ago, an ice sheet filled much of the North Sea, with a large proglacial lake in the southern part fed by the Rhine, Scheldt and Thames river systems. The catastrophic overflow of this lake carved a channel through the anticline, leading to the formation of the Channel River, which carried the combined Rhine, Scheldt and Thames to the Atlantic. This probably created the potential for Britain to become isolated from the continent during periods of high sea level, although some scientists argue that the final break did not occur until a second ice-dammed lake overflowed during the MIS8 or MIS6 glaciations, around 340,000 or 240,000 years ago.
During the most recent glaciation of the Last Glacial Maximum, which ended around 18,000 years ago, the North Sea and much of the British Isles were covered with glacial ice and the sea level was about 120 m (390 ft) lower. The climate later became warmer and during the Late Glacial Maximum around 12,000 BC Britain, as well as much of the North Sea and English Channel, was an expanse of low-lying tundra.
Evidence, including the contours of the present seabed, indicates that after the first main Ice Age, the watershed between the North Sea and English Channel extended east from East Anglia then south-east to the Hook of Holland, rather than across the Strait of Dover. The Seine, Thames, Meuse, Scheldt and Rhine rivers joined and flowed west along the English Channel as a wide slow river before eventually reaching the Atlantic Ocean. At about 10,000 BC the north-facing coastal area of Doggerland had a coastline of lagoons, saltmarshes, mudflats and beaches as well as inland streams, rivers, marshes and lakes. It may have been the richest hunting, fowling and fishing ground in Europe in the Mesolithic period.
One big river system found by 3D seismic survey, undertaken by the Birmingham "North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project," was the "Shotton River", which drained the south-east part of the Dogger Bank hill area into the east end of the Outer Silver Pit lake. It is named after Birmingham geologist Frederick William Shotton.
The red line marks Dogger Bank, which is most likely a moraine formed in the Pleistocene.
As ice melted at the end of the last glacial period of the current ice age, sea levels rose and the land began to tilt in an isostatic adjustment as the huge weight of ice lessened. Doggerland eventually became submerged, cutting off what was previously the British peninsula from the European mainland by around 6500 BC. The Dogger Bank, an upland area of Doggerland, remained an island until at least 5000 BC. Key stages are now believed to have included the gradual evolution of a large tidal bay between eastern England and Dogger Bank by 9000 BC and a rapid sea level rise thereafter, leading to Dogger Bank becoming an island and Britain becoming physically disconnected from the continent.
A recent hypothesis suggests that much of the remaining coastal land was flooded by a megatsunami around 6200 BC, caused by a submarine landslide off the coast of Norway known as the Storegga Slide. This suggests: "that the Storegga Slide tsunami would have had a catastrophic impact on the contemporary coastal Mesolithic population.... Britain finally became separated from the continent and in cultural terms, the Mesolithic there goes its own way." A study published in 2014 suggested that the only remaining parts of Doggerland at the time of the Storegga Slide were low-lying islands, but supported the view that the area had been abandoned at about the same time as the tsunamis.
Another view speculates that the Storegga tsunami devastated Doggerland but then ebbed back into the sea, and that later Lake Agassiz (in North America) burst releasing so much fresh water that sea levels over about two years rose to flood much of Doggerland and make Britain an island.
Discovery and investigation by archaeologists
Woolly mammoth skull discovered by fishermen in the North Sea, at Celtic and Prehistoric Museum, Ireland
The prehistoric existence of what is now known as Doggerland was established in the late 19th century. H. G. Wells referred to the concept in his short story A Story of the Stone Age of 1897, set in "a time when one might have walked dryshod from France (as we call it now) to England, and when a broad and sluggish Thames flowed through its marshes to meet its father Rhine, flowing through a wide and level country that is under water in these latter days, and which we know by the name of the North Sea...Fifty thousand years ago it was, fifty thousand years if the reckoning of geologists is correct", though most of the action seems to occur in what is now Surrey and Kent, but stretching out to Doggerland.
The remains of plants brought to the surface from Dogger Bank were studied in 1913 by paleobiologist Clement Reid, and the remains of animals and worked flints from the Neolithic period had also been found. In his book The Antiquity of Man of 1915, anatomist Sir Arthur Keith discussed the archaeological potential of the area. In 1931, the trawler Colinda hauled up a lump of peat whilst fishing near the Ower Bank, 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of Norfolk. The peat was found to contain a barbed antler point, possibly used as a harpoon or fish spear, 220 millimetres (8.5 in) long, which dated from between 4000 and 10,000 BC when the area was tundra.
Interest was reinvigorated in the 1990s by Bryony Coles, who named the area "Doggerland" ("after the great banks in the southern North Sea") and produced speculative maps of the area. Although she recognised that the current relief of the southern North Sea seabed is not a sound guide to the topography of Doggerland, this topography has more recently begun to be reconstructed more authoritatively using seismic survey data obtained from oil exploration. Between 2003 and 2007 a team at the University of Birmingham led by Vince Gaffney and Ken Thomson mapped around 23,000 square kilometres (8,900 square miles) of the Early Holocene landscape, using seismic data provided for research by Petroleum Geo-Services, as part of the work of the University of Birmingham North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project. The results of this study were published as a technical monograph and a popular book on the history and archaeology of Doggerland. Names have been given to some of its features: "The Spines" to a system of dunes above the broad "Shotton River", the upland area of the "Dogger Bank", a basin between two huge sandbanks called "The Outer Silver Pit".
Early Holocene landscape features mapped by the North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project
A skull fragment of a Neanderthal, dated at over 40,000 years old, was recovered from material dredged from the Middeldiep, some 16 kilometres (10 mi) off the coast of Zeeland, and exhibited in Leiden in 2009. In March 2010 it was reported that recognition of the potential archaeological importance of the area could affect the future development of offshore wind farms. In 2019 a flint flake partially covered in birch bark tar dredged up off the coast of the Netherlands provided valuable insight into Neanderthal technology and cognitive evolution.
In July 2012, the results of study of Doggerland by the universities of Birmingham, St Andrews, Dundee, and Aberdeen, including surveys of artefacts, were displayed at the Royal Society summer exhibition in London. Richard Bates of St Andrews University said:
We have speculated for years on the lost land's existence from bones dredged by fishermen all over the North Sea, but it's only since working with oil companies in the last few years that we have been able to re-create what this lost land looked like.... We have now been able to model its flora and fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land, including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.
Since 2015, the University of Bradford's Europe's Lost Frontiers project has continued mapping the prehistoric landscapes of Doggerland and has used this data to direct a programme of extensive coring of marine palaeochannels. Sediment from the cores has provided sedimentary DNA as well as conventional environmental data and these will be used in a major computational modelling programme replicating colonisation of the submerged landscape.
In June 2019, a team of scientists from the University of Bradford and Ghent University found a hammerstone flint on the seabed 40 kilometres (25 mi) off the coast of Cromer, Norfolk, from a depth of 32 metres (105 ft), which could point to the existence of prehistoric settlements.
Ancient artifacts are found by beachcombers in material dredged from the sea bottom 13 kilometers offshore and spread on a Dutch beach in 2012 as a coastal protection measure.[28
2. Celts descended from Spanish fishermen, study finds
Celts descended from Spanish fishermen, study finds
Wednesday 20 September 2006 00:00
Don't tell the locals, but the hordes of British holidaymakers who visited Spain this summer were, in fact, returning to their ancestral home.
A team from Oxford University has discovered that the Celts, Britain's indigenous people, are descended from a tribe of Iberian fishermen who crossed the Bay of Biscay 6,000 years ago. DNA analysis reveals they have an almost identical genetic "fingerprint" to the inhabitants of coastal regions of Spain, whose own ancestors migrated north between 4,000 and 5,000BC.
The discovery, by Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, will herald a change in scientific understanding of Britishness.
People of Celtic ancestry were thought to have descended from tribes of central Europe. Professor Sykes, who is soon to publish the first DNA map of the British Isles, said: "About 6,000 years ago Iberians developed ocean-going boats that enabled them to push up the Channel. Before they arrived, there were some human inhabitants of Britain but only a few thousand in number. These people were later subsumed into a larger Celtic tribe... The majority of people in the British Isles are actually descended from the Spanish."
Professor Sykes spent five years taking DNA samples from 10,000 volunteers in Britain and Ireland, in an effort to produce a map of our genetic roots.
Research on their "Y" chromosome, which subjects inherit from their fathers, revealed that all but a tiny percentage of the volunteers were originally descended from one of six clans who arrived in the UK in several waves of immigration prior to the Norman conquest.
The most common genetic fingerprint belongs to the Celtic clan, which Professor Sykes has called "Oisin". After that, the next most widespread originally belonged to tribes of Danish and Norse Vikings. Small numbers of today's Britons are also descended from north African, Middle Eastern and Roman clans.
These DNA "fingerprints" have enabled Professor Sykes to create the first genetic maps of the British Isles, which are analysed in Blood of the Isles, a book published this week. The maps show that Celts are most dominant in areas of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. But, contrary to popular myth, the Celtic clan is also strongly represented elsewhere in the British Isles.
"Although Celtic countries have previously thought of themselves as being genetically different from the English, this is emphatically not the case," Professor Sykes said.
"This is significant, because the idea of a separate Celtic race is deeply ingrained in our political structure, and has historically been very divisive. Culturally, the view of a separate race holds water. But from a genetic point of view, Britain is emphatically not a divided nation."
Origins of Britons
Descended from Iberian fishermen who migrated to Britain between 4,000 and 5,000BC and now considered the UK's indigenous inhabitants.
Second most common clan arrived from Denmark during Viking invasions in the 9th century.
Descended from Viking invaders who settled in the British Isles from AD 793. One of the most common clans in the Shetland Isles, and areas of north and west Scotland.
The wave of Oisin immigration was joined by the Eshu clan, which has roots in Africa. Eshu descendants are primarily found in coastal areas.
A second wave of arrivals which came from the Middle East. The Re were farmers who spread westwards across Europe.
Although the Romans ruled from AD 43 until 410, they left a tiny genetic footprint. For the first 200 years occupying forces were forbidden from marrying locally.
Letter from Leon
Dear Society Members and Associates,
Below is a link to videos about the Fordell Castle (composed by Suzanne Emerson) and stories told by Allen Henderson, RC of the UK, about the Henderson Stone at Glencoe. This link resides on our website. Please visit the website often to stay informed.
During a recent survey of members, the question was asked “why is the CHS so North Carolina centric?” I confess the question came as a bit of a surprise, but it occurs to me that there is a lot about the history of the Society that is unknown. We are working on a complete history that we hope to be available soon, but the short answer is as follows.
In September 1986, David S. Henderson, an attorney from New Bern, NC, contacted Dr. John William Phillip Henderson of Queensland Australia, who was recognized as the Chief of the Name and Arms of Henderson, to officially form the Clan Henderson Society. The permission was granted. The first official gathering occurred in 1988 at the Highland Games and Festival at Grandfather Mountain, NC. David S. Henderson, being an attorney in North Carolina, filed the necessary paperwork to establish a 501C3 not-for-profit corporation through the State of North Carolina. We are officially Clan Henderson Society, Inc. The official offices were established at his office in New Bern for all official correspondence from the State and/or IRS. More recently, this official office for official communications, has been moved to Southport, NC due to the fact that David S Henderson has retired from Society Operations, and the President of the Society (yours truly) lives in Southport.
Quite by accident, as it turns out, there are more Scottish surnames in North Carolina than any other state due to the early migration patterns of Highland Scots to the Cape Fear Region, and Scot Irish from Northern Ireland to the piedmont and mountain regions of the state. Many of these earliest migrants were Hendersons.
I hope you enjoy the videos, and that the above explains why our society is officially based in North Carolina.