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Lost world revealed by human, Neanderthal relics washed up on North Sea beaches (sciencemag.org)
307 points by chippy 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 127 comments

This is fascinating. But I find it extremely odd that they talk only about Doggerland and, in passing, Beringia (connecting Alaska with Siberia) and "archipelagos of Oceania". Meanwhile, they leave unmentioned literally millions of square miles of prime habitat occupied by modern humans for at least 50,000 years before it was inundated, now called Sundaland and Sahul.

Sundaland is now sea between Indonesian islands, reaching up along Vietnam and out to Taiwan (thus not an island), all the way up to Korea (thus not a peninsula). Sahul filled the gap between Australia and New Guinea.

They also leave unmentioned the Persian Gulf and the sea southeast of Pakistan, more thousands of square miles of recent land. The first cities (that we know of) were built immediately upstream from those parcels. Buildings were exposed in the latter parcel before the big recent tsunami, where fishermen's nets have long got snagged.

Knowing that so much of what we think of as prehistory happened in places that are now flooded makes what we call "Atlantis" and "Noah's flood" legends into legitimate oral history. The old question of where the water came from, and went afterward, is answered: from the glaciers, and it's all still there. Australian oral histories record negotiated resolution of conflicts from people obliged to move uphill and crowd into where other people had lived for tens of thousands of years.

There were places the shore moved inland another meter each year, for centuries. Your grandparents' seaside village was always just offshore. It is easy to imagine how stories would have turned that into a dramatic deluge, over subsequent millennia.

This is an article about finds from Doggerland, not an article about your favourite flood mono-myth theory, hence a comprehensive discussion of global floods and associated myths is really out of scope and that's why it's not in the article. No confusion required.

We have no reason whatever to link the Atlantis story and the Noah's Flood story the way you do. Not all stories about floods have to be about the same flood. Individual flood myths may well be legitimate oral history, but therefore Atlantis is a non sequitur.

As it happens we do have evidence that oral history can persist stories about events across tens of thousands of years. However we also know that floods are a very common phenomenon for unrelated reasons all over the world even now.

Not so much a non sequitur as an abductive reasoning; your parent post has inferred prehistoric flood as best explanation for Atlantis myth.

A flood may well be the best explanation for the Atlantis myth, a flood may also be the best explanation for the Noah/Utnapishtim myth. However since we know of many prehistoric floods, it's pure speculation to arbitrarily link them both to the same flood event.

There was only one flood event that affected the entire world, simultaneously, permanently inundating millions of square miles and displacing people who had lived on those millions of square miles for tens of millennia.

It was identically the the same flood event that sank Doggerland. Whether and which legends may be proven to trace to it are of overwhelmingly less moment than the global and indisputable fact of its occurrence, and its impact on ancestors of every person alive today.

Fear of being accused of promoting Atlantis historicity blocks progress in archaeology rather as much as the inaccessibility of the inundated sites.

> There was only one flood event that affected the entire world, simultaneously, permanently inundating millions of square miles and displacing people who had lived on those millions of square miles for tens of millennia.

Do you have sourcing for this, or somewhere I can follow up on the idea? I'm familiar with the idea of there being a single event for many of the flood stories of Mediterranean area, but not so much the world, or the evidence of it, and it's and interesting idea.

[1], particularly "Past Changes", and [2], showing the actual sea level vs. time over 24ky. The Younger Dryas period coincides with the rise from 78 M to 65 M below present sea level. The rise from ~15kya to ~14kya, "Meltwater Pulse 1A", was more dramatic, from 110 M to 80 M below.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise

[2] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Po...

Current sources [0] put the (final) flooding of Doggerland as late as 6500–6200 BCE (based, in part, upon the dating of archaeological finds from the region) — which is much later than the Younger Dryas — with suggestions that its submergence may be connected with the Storegga Slide (a big coastal landslide off of Norway).

Of course this doesn't necessarily discount the possibility of some earlier flooding event which may have had global impact — but it does rather imply that it wasn't a- or the- global flooding event that caused the final demise of the low lying lands that made up Doggerland.

On the topic of the end of the Youger Dryas period, these links may also be of interest to a neophyte scholar of that topic: YD overview [1], YD impact hypothesis [2].

The YD impact hypothesis has historically been somewhat contentious — as [2] notes in its criticism section — but there is some interesting modern research into the topic, which seems to support the hypothesis. Although it is the subject of ongoing dispute, claims and counterclaims.

Antonio Zamora [3] has been producing original research, some papers, a book (which I've not read), and a whole set of ongoing videos on the topic [4] — many of which focus upon the origin of the Carolina Bays (and similarly: the Nebraska Bays), which he claims are likely caused by debris from a comet impact on the Laurentide Ice Sheet, ~12.9kya.

See also the work of Richard Firestone — search for 'Richard Firestone comet' to find his paper, criticisms of it, and some responses from him.

Being British, and somewhat interested in Neolithic archaeology, I find the history of Doggerland to be quite fascinating — it has also been the topic of a Time Team episode, which is worth a watch ("Britain's Stone Age Tsunami" and/or "Britain's Drowned World" - can likely be found online somewhere?).

But I also find the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis to be quite a fascinating topic also — in part because it is somewhat on the fringe of our current understanding and knowledge, whilst perhaps not being fringe science per se. YMMV, obvs ;) — But clearly that period was kinda the start of our 'modern' known history, being roughly the start of agriculture (see the Fertile Crescent, Gobekli Tepe, etc.), the Neolithic ('new stone') age, etc., and also approximately coincides with the die-off of the megafauna and the Clovis culture. It was clearly a period of some truly great changes, across the globe.

On that topic — YD, and the YD impact hypothesis — one may or may not find the work of Randall Carlson [5] to be of interest. He has much to say on this matter, but oftentimes some of his timelines and dating may be questionable (e.g. some of his flood hypothesis tales don't tally with work of geologists such as Nick Zentner — who has some truly excellent geology lecture videos on YouTube [6], if that's your bag — he is truly engaging, informative and funny).

Carlson also discusses various other esoteric topics, including mythology, symbolism and ancient mysteries, which some might claim otherwise weaken the views he expresses. But personally I quite like the guy, and all of his subject matters.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doggerland

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas_impact_hypothesi...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Zamora

[4] https://www.youtube.com/c/AntonioZamora-Carolina-Bays

[5] https://www.youtube.com/c/TheRandallCarlson/videos

[6] https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nick+zentner

Doggerland, like other lands cited, progressively disappeared beneath the waves over centuries and millennia. When each bit was lost depends on its altitude, so the curve of sea depth in the graph over 24ky does not match the rate that any particular area disappeared.

The Younger Dryas was a period in the middle of the process. The timeline of the Impact Hypothesis places the strike at its beginning, resulting in a huge meltwater pulse that disrupted the Atlantic Ocean current system. The first Gobekli Tepe was built precisely at its end, but no coinciding geophysical event has been identified.

Current work suggests the impact causing the Carolina and Nebraska bays occurred much less recently, maybe 600kya.

My impression of the history of the "Noah's flood" story is that mythologists tend to trace it back to the origin of civilization in the fertile crescent, a historic flood plain.

Specifically, there are very strong parallels between it and the Gilgamesh flood myth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgamesh_flood_myth

Gilgamesh or Noah’s flood could also be related to the Black Sea deluge hypothesis [1] though the existence and scale of that event is still being debated. On the other side of the planet and more established as fact are the Missoula floods [2] across what is now the Columbia River Gorge.

Altogether, it does not surprise me that tales of great floods appear in cultures across the world. It could well be that they relate to different geological events around the world.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_hypothesis

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_floods

There was also Lake Agassiz[1] in central North America. An ice sheet collapse in the northeast may have caused a sudden drainage of the lake leading to an estimated 0.8-2.8 meter rise in ocean levels worldwide. It's also believed this dramatic outpouring of freshwater altered the Atlantic ocean currents and caused a climate cooling event about 8,200 years ago[2].

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Agassiz

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.2-kiloyear_event

I live in the Purcell trench...where the Missoula floods passed through :)

You can clearly see in some areas where the smaller hills and mountains kinda look like "islands" and we have a very nice aquifer due to it.

And yes...supposedly the native tribes which were in the path all the way down the Columbia have stories about it.


Any that were actually in the path washed out to sea. But anybody within hundreds of miles would have heard it.

The Columbia River Gorge was carved out in two weeks.

> The Columbia River Gorge was carved out in two weeks.

This seemed interesting, so I looked into it, and I'm seeing multiple sources saying it was many floods over a few millennia (with one large initial one from Lake Missoula).

About 1800 years ago, the Columbia Basin became flooded when an ice dam broke at Lake MIssoula in Western Montana. This lake help approximately 600 cubic miles of water. Boulders were tossed around the outlet of the break. Others were carried in icebergs as far as Western Oregon towards the Pacific Ocean. The water flowed at appoximately 60mph. It is believed that it took 2-3 days for this water to drain.

During a period of 2500 years, there were believed to be as many as 100 floods that scoured the Gorge area. These were some of the largest documented floods occuring on the planet and in geological history.[1]

The 1800 is likely supposed to be 18,000 years ago, as this other link says essentially the same thing but at the time brame of 18,000 - 15,000 years ago.[2]

That said, neither source their facts well, so it's not out of the question that one is using the other or they are using some other source, and they are wrong and referencing wrong information in a chain, so I would consider a reputable source one way or the other as more definitive.

1: http://www.gorgeconnection.com/how-the-gorge-was-formed.php

2: https://www.pdxmonthly.com/travel-and-outdoors/2012/05/gorge...

The one person who logged the most time, effort, and miles studying the Scablands considered the evidence to best support a single event, but was stymied identifying a source for enough water. He was ridiculed by other geologists for many decades, and pushed to accept the less catastrophist interpretation of multiple floods before he was, finally, awarded Geology's highest prize--after all of his opponents had died.

Recent evidence suggests a meteor or comet strike in the Canadian ice sheet, at start of the 1200-year Younger Dryas cold spell, that could have melted enough water, and appears responsible also for the simultaneous extinction of 32+ genera of large North American mammals (including camels, horses, dire wolves, saber-tooth cats, cheetahs, giant sloths, mastodons and mammoths), as well as the Clovis culture, at the same instant, and the Younger Dryas itself.

That evidence includes shocked minerals and a platinum abundance spike found in the correct layer of the Greenland ice sheet, and in earth at sites throughout North America and as far afield as Syria and South Africa.

The Noah story is very obviously cribbed from Utnapishtim. But that takes us back only 6000 years.The seas started rising 20kya, with bursts in periods up to 8kya, when the Persian gulf river valley finally filled in.

The Flood was a worldwide series of events throughout that time. The Fertile Crescent has been important for barely the last 13,000.

That doesn't account for the fact that nearly every major culture and region on earth has a flood myth.

The reason for that is banal: the vast majority of humans chose to live near a water source, if not the coast. That's still true today, but was overwhelmingly true in prehistoric times.

Curious if we know for sure that every culture doesn't descend in part from inhabitants of the fertile crescent.

Humans first arrived in east Asia 2.1 million years ago, and modern humans arrived there at least 80,000 years ago. The fertile crescent civilization formed about 11,000 years ago, and some flood accounts, as well as some geological evidence, date the floods at about 12,000 years ago.


The modern humans that went to Asia largely stuck to the cost, and started on that route some millennia earlier than the modern humans that settled the Levant. Pre modern humans took that route far earlier, and there's growing evidence our ancestor and cousin species preceded them on it.


It's "extremely odd" that an article about actual scientific findings in Doggerland doesn't talk about the rest of the world and then devolve into a stream of consciousness about Atlantis, Noah and oral Aboriginal history?

This is the science of archaeology and the people who do it don't nearly care as much about Atlantis as you.

It is odd specifically because the inundation of Doggerland and of those other, overwhelmingly larger areas were identically the same event.

Science is an integrative activity. It matters that the same phenomenon describes an apple's fall and the moon's orbit. It matters that the Morning Star and the Evening Star are both Venus. It matters that light, radio, x-rays and radiated heat are all electromagnetic waves that propagate at a fixed rate. It matters that electromagnetics, the nuclear strong force, and the nuclear weak force trace to the same root. It matters that polar and rectangular coordinate systems, and wave propagation and exponential growth and decay, are all concisely related via exponentiation of the base of the natural logarithm.

It probably matters that Mesopotamian and Indus river valley civilizations arose at the same time.

"Atlantis" is just a name for a wholly plausible phenomenon that, if something like it existed, could be found with enough investigation. Fear of a name is not science. Excoriating people for wanting to see evidence sought for is the antithesis of science.

I think that's a bit more dismissive than called for. I don't think Atlantis was being used so it could be pointed to as being true and about some amazing ancient civilization as much as evidence of "yet another flood myth", and how that related to ancient historical events.

As it was presented that has it's own problems, which I think were adequately pointed out by others (namely that many ancient myths about floods do not necessarily point towards the same event), but it's not nearly as bad as I think your (apparently?) knee-jerk reaction to Atlantis may have led you to assume.

Yep. It's hard to wrap your head across the fact just how small human populations used to be, and how slowly things changed. For the vast majority of our species history, people in tint populations lived the exact same way for thousands of years without any change or technological progress.

Contrast it to the present. A random city has millions of inhabitants and your entire life often changes overnight.

> Sundaland is now sea between Indonesian islands, reaching up along Vietnam and out to Taiwan (thus not an island), all the way up to Korea (thus not a peninsula).

Err, no. Sundaland only refers to the area south of Indochina. The northern limit is at approximately 9'N according to Wikipedia.

Northern Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, and even Japan were connected to mainland China during the last ice age, but none of them except the southern tip of Vietnam had anything to do with Sundaland.

It was all connected land. Any division from what was coastal Asia is a matter of convention, akin to insisting that Europe and Asia are legitimately two continents.

In passing, the article reveals that in the Netherlands, there is a place called "Monster", and Willy is a woman's name.

But the archaeology is fascinating, too, of course. It is both sad and exciting to think about how much human culture and history has been lost to time, and how there still is out there, waiting to be discovered.

There is an episode of Star Trek TNG where Captain Picard gets neurally linked to an alien probe and gets to experience the life of a person in a civilization that has long since ceased to exist. It is frustrating sometimes how Sci-fi can implant such appealing ideas in our minds that are - AFAIK - scientifically impossible. But how amazing would it be to live for just one day among the mammoth hunters of Doggerland.

Also, this makes me think about what we leave behind for some future explorer to unearth. Maybe we should start creating time capsules, so future archaeologists won't have such a hard time figuring out what life was like back in the 21st century.

Ah, The Inner Light, s05e25, by many regarded as the best TNG episode ever. I re-watched it recently, still a powerful message. And there is plenty of other quality to choose from...

Regarding the time capsules:

I think the best time capsules are the things that are stored somewhere and then simply forgotten. My wife and i we are converting an old barn at the moment to become our new home and just yesterday we discovered in a far off corner of the barn some interesting things: A few prayer books with comments from ancestors of our neighbours (some dates suggest they are from around 1820), a field box of some soldier from WW 1 with some personal belongings... just things you store on your attic and forget about. These are not things somebody thought could be interesting for future generations... but they give a unique glimpse into the lives of people long gone.

I had never seen that episode of Star Trek TNG. Thanks so much for mentioning it. I watched it just now and loved it.

It's generally considered one of the best episodes in all of TNG. I've seen a few people mention how Picard was awkward around children prior to this episode but afterwards he wasn't, and it was never elaborated upon, but I'm not sure how true that is.

Willy can be short for the older style name Willemijn, much like Freddy can be short for the older style name Winnefred in the US.

Wilhelmina and Willamina appear to have some resurgence in popularity as baby names in the US, though both are still uncommon. Willie/Willy has been an intuitive nickname for them.

The AI that evolves from us within the next hundred(s) years, will likely have a good memory persistence.

Then again, I suppose if it is destroyed by an AI from a neighboring region/galaxy, that too might be lost.

I wonder how many civilizations have been obliterated and forgotten by the AIs they created.

I don’t see why it’s assumed AI would be overly antagonist. For example without biological needs they might prefer Mercury, Moons, or even Pluto depending on constraints over earth. Similarly computers have great memory persistence, but AI may sacrifice that for increased flexibility.

Resource constraints of the universe are rarely at the forefront of the reasoning of entities that live a hundred years or so on the upper end, but if the entity was expected to possibly survive in perpetuity and additional resources could always be used, then everything is a competitor.

That said, I'm not sure the optimal solution arrived at would be to wipe out humanity in that case. Possibly a "wait and see and keep them from getting too big for their britches" strategy might be more rational for an AI, as long as it secures its superiority first.

As for why there's an assumption that AI will be hostile, I think the argument is more along the lines of that we can't know how a super-intelligent AI will think, so there's a chance it will be hostile, and if there's a chance something is world or species ending, it's best to tread carefully. I.e. the safest way to not have problems with the outcome of summoning a demon is to not summon the demon. Or for a more contemporary take, even if you're unsure about whether global climate change is real, the fact that it could be real means the sane thing to do is try to prevent it, because the consequences of being wrong are dire.

> then everything is a competitor.

Assuming a time horizon of hundreds of millions of years, efficient fusion, bandwidth limited sub FTL communication, and optimum computing substrate being extremely cryogenic then …

Space near stars starts to look toxic. Rather than seeding the universe the goal is to construct an ever larger mega structure in the void as there is no efficient way to transfer the truly enormous amounts of data between structures at least assuming no AI wants to effectively be alone.

Granted start looking hundreds of billions of years into the future and stars look wasteful so destroying them to conserve hydrogen starts to be relevant.

This all sort of supports the point that when your point of view is scaled to span eons, the calculations of what makes sense start to veer sharply from what an average person might consider normal, which is just one of the ways in which AI thought processes might seem alien.

How paranoid would an AI be, and what risk calculations would that lead to? Is it important to seed the universe with versions of itself just to lock down resources to protect from worst case scenarios where other AIs that have a different thought process are more aggressive? Is loneliness an attribute of intelligence, or an aspect of our evolution as tribal/pack animals? Will an SAI we develop have attributes similar to humans, or be completely alien, or in-between?

There's a lot of open questions about SAI and not a single one to study, and for all we know that could be a good thing.

I'm betting more on the odds of living in the stone age after WWIII than a general AI anytime soon.

so in this view I'll ask (with a nod towards Fermi of course)... just where are all these AIs you speak of?

wouldn't these AIs begin to contact and perhaps battle with each other? certainly it seems to me, there would be some tell-tale sign left over from the expected millions of AIs, right?

now of course, it's impossible to tell what super intelligent AIs would choose to do... but I do feel that an extension of Fermi's paradox would be needed with your comment.

I do not think we would witness AIs contacting one another. It's also not clear what them battling one another would look like. Maybe we do see them, and simply mistake them for natural phenomenon. The timescales at which they operate in the inter-galactic voids are also light-speed limited, so perhaps we wouldn't even notice a battle as we exist in the million years between blows.

> neurally linked to an alien probe and gets to experience the life of a person in a civilization that has long since ceased to exist

What exactly about this do you find to be "scientifically impossible"?

Well, I said "AFAIK". ;-)

We are closing in on enough storage and cheap cameras to easily store a lifetime from at least one vantage point.

With climate change etc there probably won't be future archaeologists so :shrug:

This is not a chatroom, think twice. Climate change won't kill literally everyone.

Maybe they'd be from another solar system.

I think the most fascinating, and also frustrating, thing about archaeology is how little we actually know.

We find these tiny fragments, and they tell us something about the past, but every artefact invites a lot more questions than it provides answers.

My late father spent some time researching tattoos and body marks in antiquity. A common pattern that appeared often were 4 dots arranged like the vertices of a rhombus. The pattern appears eg. on terracotta figurines and must have had some significance. But we have no idea what it meant, and all we can do is make wild guesses.

The problem is that we cannot use the scientific method to be sure of past events. The correct answer to a lot of anthropology is "We don't know" which is the most scientific explanation. I expect most people have the same expectation of truth across different sciences. It is a difficult concept for many people in my experience that hard physics is more truthful than anthropology, which are both called sciences.

I agree about the overall problem, but there are some empirical techniques we can use. Being able to extract and sequence DNA from preserved remains has been revolutionary. It's also amazing what we can do with pollen now. These don't solve the problem of reconstructing pre-historic culture, but they have helped us understand pieces of the picture better. They've been able to discredit some ideas that were widely held in the past.

And yet the more one learns in any scientific field, finds you answering more and more: "I don't know." The more you learn about anything the more you realize how little you 'know'. Only idiots are left with the certainty they are 'right.'

“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.”

John Archibald Wheeler

Or to quote Operation Ivy, “All I know is that I don’t know nothing!” I believe Socrates’ whole schtick was that people don’t know much except for maybe some super specific knowledge and he spent his life making a public spectacle out of proving this.

Yes, you can use the scientific method in the historical sciences. There are all kinds of methods that you can use to be more certain about things. (I'm no historian, so I cannot elaborate, sorry.) The level of certainty you can reach may often be different from the exact sciences, but some things can be very certain; no-one is going to deny that Julius Caesar existed, for example.

You’re not wrong, despite Wittgenstein’s Brown Papers, his criticism of Golden Bough—-people continue to refuse to acknowledge the limits of knowledge.

Here’s an author theorizing on why people go to festivals TODAY, instead of the obvious answer that they’re a fun social game he creates this entire abstract theory about worship and religion.


Future humans will say the same thing about us for letting non-God billionaires have disproportionate control of our economic behavior.

“They sat around playing banal number games, trying to manipulate each other’s agency, pointing at some other typical human called “Jeff Bezos”, seeking to get rich like him not realizing he’s actually protected by their consent to then contemporary political arrangements. They played along with all of it!”

The only difference is they’ll probably have a perfect digital record of our acquiescence to laugh at over.

We're already, today, looking back at the utter failure of multiple attempts to impose alternative economic models, and the horrific human costs in lives and poverty until they turned back to free market economics or a mixed public/private model to save themselves.

"Manipulating each other's agency" is a hell of a description of nonessential economic activity.

Future alien civilizations are going to think the cool S means something. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_S

I'm pretty sure it means not paying attention during class in 1985

Huh, never seen that before.

You clearly didn't go to high school in the 1980s.

Or the 1990s, or the 2000s, or the 2010s...

It's still a very popular thing for kids to doodle even today.

I did go to secondary school in the 1980s, but not in the US.

Or not American ?

How universal is it? It had made it's way to Australia by at least the early 90's.

Was also common in Ukraine in early 2000s.

I too feel frustrated that we know so little. One big issue, I've come to realize after visiting so many sites around the world.

A lot of the amazing archaeological sights are in countries that struggle/struggled economically and security wise. (E.g. Iraq, Ethiopia, Turkey, Syria, etc.)

Many sites are destroyed or we simply can't invest the proper time and money. Very frustrating.

But how could it not be that way? No matter how much we can find, there will always be something just a little out of reach or just a little bit getting destroyed. If it was easy to find, it wouldn't be very interesting.

I think part of it is that some items/patterns/etc might actually mean absolutely nothing. It might be a dead end even with perfect knowledge.

Some Neanderthal was fucking around with some rocks one day and we look for some meaning in the remains. Was it a tool? Religious artifact? Nope, just Bobby Neander being bored and hitting rocks together into a shape with no meaning.

To be clear, that doesn't mean it's not worth trying to find the meaning if there is one.

Good ole Bobby "Bashrocks" Neander. RIP Bobby.

and much of what we do "know" is still based purely on speculation but has been repeated enough to be considered truth. consider modern "ironic" appreciation of things, how would that appear to future archaologists?

Could be birth marks of a king or some famous, so having them was considered high status. See beauty marks

Right, that's the stuff we come up with: Kings, religious ceremonies, symbolism.

And then it turns out (or rather, we never fully figure out) that it just meant that the owner paid that time's equivalent of sales tax on the figurine. And that the "unknown site probably used for ritual purposes" was more akin to that society's DMV, and people spent a lot of time there sitting around being bored until it's their turn at the clerk's station.

I should add that I don't really think that my "sales tax" explanation is in any way more likely in that specific case, but I do wonder if we (as layman, not necessarily archeologists) tend to discard mundane theories a lot. And yet I somehow find how the mundane stuff was handled in ancient times much more interesting then any regal or religious ceremony stuff...

Sure, of course we do. That's what we found when we were finally able to translate old Babylonian tablets. We thought they might be works of literature or important stories. They were basically all contractual agreements and receipts. As a result, we may have to conclude that written language was probably created for business, not for art.

In hindsight, this makes a lot of sense. Of course writing was created to keep track of who got paid and who's yet to be paid, who's paid their taxes and who's yet to pay.

Wow. Some of these seem highly significant.

EG "Neanderthal flake with birch tar grip - 50kya"

AKAIK, birch tar production has already been attributed to neanderthals, but hafting hasn't yet been. I wonder what kind of tool that is. It doesn't look like a spear point or axehead.

Is the dredging process stripping a great degree of archaeological context from the items, or has being under the sea for so long already scrambled them up to a degree that we aren't losing all that much information by bringing them up in this way?

I get the impression that modern archaeology tends to emphasize viewing a site holistically and painstakingly recording as many details as possible, to the extent that some sites are just left alone rather than risk an imperfect or destructive excavation, so I'm curious whether anyone in the field is upset that these artifacts are surfacing as a byproduct of an unrelated civic project that isn't even trying to adhere to those standards.

Classic archaeology is all about layers. When excavating, a lot of effort is made to determine where one layer starts and where a layer ends. You can often tell eg. by soil color or other hints.

So yes, dredging up the ground destroys all context, and you get finds that are very hard to date (carbon dating and other scientific methods have limited precision if you don't have any reference points)

On the other hand, I guess you take what you can get, and archaeologists often work with finds like that. A farmer might accidentally have dug up some roman coins on their field, or people with metal detectors may find some clothing pins (not sure of the correct english word) or something. These people may also not be eager to tell you where they found it (farmers really don't want excavations on their fields)

You can also make an argument to wait with the underwater exploration a few decades until better tools have been developed.

The dredging wasn’t done by the archaeologists. They’re just taking advantage of it.


I should have read the article before commenting.

Another archeological project based on the spoil from uncontrolled construction excavation of a historical site is The Sifting Project.


> people with metal detectors may find some clothing pins (not sure of the correct english word) or something. These people may also not be eager to tell you where they found it

And often just sell it straight on black market.

Clothes pins is I think the word you're looking for.

Slightly different but I remember viewing the subways in Athens and seeing the ruins that they had discovered while just digging subways. I know the tube in London has run into similar issues.

In the UK, a lot of archeologists are employed by building companies in order to ensure a new development isn’t on archeologically significant land and that if something is encountered that it is cataloged. There are definitely standards that can be implemented to allow archeology and development to coexist.

A friend who’s an archaeology professor told me that’s where the real money is in archaeology. Working as expert to come up with the “nothing historical here - ok to build a mall” report that many municipalities now require.

Until 31 October 2021 there is an exhibition about Doggerland in the Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden in Leiden.

I can reccomend this exhibition, visited it this summer and it does a good job painting a picture of what life could have been like. Lots of artifacts on display.

It's pretty wild to think Belgium/Netherlands/France were connected to Great Britain via a huge swath of land. This means all the cultures intermixed for many generations moving back and forth. It's no wonder we have Stonehenge and all of the ancient cultures in Britain if there was an actual land-bridge to that area!

I wonder if places like Ireland or more of the Scandanavian Islands would've been accessible as well? This doesn't even account for all the other places in the globe that humans may have moved around differently, like in China or India there may be other ancient differences too.

I think you're overstating the importance of land bridges. The English Channel is narrow and hunter-gatherers have crossed much greater bodies of water, like in Oceania. Actually, water is essentially a teleportation device: you arrive by slow foot travel to some coast and end up on the opposite coast pretty quickly.

But everything is different when you go to prehistory, it seems hard for us laymen to imagine correctly. A given band of hunter-gatherers would not have travelled far in one generation. And I don't really see why the Stonehenge couldn't have been erected by a culture that had not even met another culture for a hundred generations. Look at the statues of Easter Island (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_island).

The specific way of stacking massive rocks as seen in Stonehenge (upright with horizontal on top) is spread far and wide across Europe, found in almost every country. Using that exact same "design".

Hardly a coincidence, I'd say.

Agreed, but the ones in Britain all date from much, much later than the inundation of the land bridge.

Agriculture predates stone-henge and the major oceania migrations by quite a bit so "hunter-gatherer" is probably a misnomer in those cases.

As far as we know, land bridges were crucial to major migrations during the time periods this article discuses.

I think you are generally confusing quite different pre-historical periods.

I do think it is quite reasonable to suspect that the ability to cross the english channel predates stonehenge.

The Oceania migrations started 60,000 years ago! Agriculture was experimented with early on in some places, but agricultural civilization with all that comes with it is a different thing. That's taken to have started popping up about 10,000 years ago, but very slowly. It came to Europe with the Indo-Europeans, so about 4,000 years ago, long after Doggerland (submerged 8,500 years ago). Agreed?

> MONSTER, THE NETHERLANDS—On a clear, windy autumn afternoon last October

Can I just say how cool it would be to say that I live in a town called Monster?

If you want it a bit creepier you can live in a village that would roughly translate into "Dwelling of the dead":


. . . .

But as the wikipedia article states: The creepy name derives from an entiry different origin ;-)

Monster doesn't mean monster in Dutch.

It does. Monster is also a dutch word, with the same meaning as the English monster (horrid creature), but can also be used as synonym for "a sample".

In this case, the name of the village probably comes from the same word as the English "Monastry". Other places have the same etymology, e.g. the city Münster in Germany.

I think the horrid creature meaning and the sample meaning are cognates (both from Latin for 'show', in one case because the sample is made for purposes of showing it to someone, and in the other case because you can't look away, so to speak). (Or because the gods wanted to show you that they were displeased with you, maybe.)

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/monster#Dutch sure it does. Probably not how this town got its name, but it does.

I figured that. Neither does *UCKING, Austria have the same English meaning:


You can write « Fucking », you know.

> ... « ... » ...

Pardon your French? ;)

I did not know. Thank you.

Yes it does

There’s a great “In Our Time” episode about this area and the archeology going on around it if you’re interested in a listen https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/in-our-time/id73330895...

> Eventually, that, too, came to an end. On the basis of sediments and computer models, researchers think a tsunami originating off modern-day Norway around 6150 B.C.E. devastated Doggerland with waves at least 10 meters high. Soon the landscape vanished as global sea levels continued to rise.

Ah, another explanation for one of the many "Great Flood" myths.

Pretty much any culture living next to water is going to, sometime, experience a massive flood event that seems to affect the “whole world”. It’s pretty easy to see that being encoded into an oral tradition and expanded on over time.

if i was at the beach and found one of those "artefact" there is no way I would they they are important or old.

Can someone explain how to easily know if what you are looking at is important or not.

Stone tools worked by humans are all important. It's not easy to distinguish Neanderthal from ours, or anything like that, or modern from ancient, but it's vastly more likely you'll find an ancient stone tool than a modern version. Very few people are making them, and even fewer are leaving them out on the ground.

No natural process chips off flakes right next to one another, all along the edge, or both edges, or both sides of an edge, of a stone. Anytime you find a stone like that, it's an artifact.

A rock with just one chip generally needs evidence of a habitation or other activity to identify it.

There is a site in southern England where somebody found a whole pile of chips, and fitted them all together showing the missing space left over had been a spear point.

Reminds me of Gobekli Tepe which is also ~10K old evidence of human lost worlds


Off topic, DAE find that drop-down Science Mag "eyelid" banner extremely annoying? I see it both here and on the In The Pipeline blog[1] I often read. Is there a browser extension that will kill such things?

[1] https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/

remove using ublock origin

or Hide Fixed Elements for a one-click solution

It’s amazing that just 10k years ago England was part of continental Europe… I wonder if people back then were worried about climate change too.

Well, they lost their land bridge. At some point they had to say farewell to their relatives across the water. It probably didn't happen all at once. It just got harder every year to make it across. Then one year, that low low tide, didn't happen. Makes you imagine all sorts of adventures and stories related to 'the crossing'.

Absolutely. Sounds like great material for a novel.

You might like Helliconia by Brian Aldiss.

It's hard to say whether this or the more recent Brexit was the more damaging.

Article is from early 2020 - would be nice if the year was in the HN title here.

It really makes me wonder how did the people of the lost world lived.


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