Warming climate exposed a vast continental shelf for humans to inhabit.
"Eighteen thousand years ago, the seas around northern Europe were some 400 feet lower than today. Britain was not an island but the uninhabited northwest corner of Europe, and between it and the rest of the continent stretched frozen tundra. As the world warmed and the ice receded, deer, aurochs, and wild boar headed northward and westward. The hunters followed. Coming off the uplands of what is now continental Europe, they found themselves in a vast, low-lying plain."
"Doggerland is now believed to have been settled by Mesolithic people, probably in large numbers, until they were forced out of it thousands of years later by the relentlessly rising sea. A period of climatic and social upheaval ensued until, by the end of the Mesolithic, Europe had lost a substantial portion of its landmass and looked much as it does today."
"Based on seismic survey data gathered mostly by oil companies prospecting under the North Sea, [...] the contours [...] translate into gently rolling hills, wooded valleys, lush marshes, and lagoons."
"In addition to the human jawbone, [there are] accumulated more than a hundred other artifacts —animal bones showing signs of butchery and tools made from bone and antler, among them an ax decorated with a zigzag pattern. Because [there are] coordinates of these finds, and because objects on the seabed tend not to move far from where erosion liberates them, [...] many come from a specific area of the southern North Sea that the Dutch call De Stekels (the Spines), characterized by steep seabed ridges."
"The most rapid rises of sea level were on the order of three to six feet a century, but because of the variable topography of the land, the flooding would not have been even. In areas as flat as modern-day East Anglia, a six-foot rise could have shifted the coast inland by miles; in hillier places, less. Down in low-lying Doggerland, the rising sea turned inland lakes into estuaries."
“There would have been huge population shifts. People who were living out in what is now the North Sea would have been displaced very quickly.”
Credit: William E. McNulty and Jerome N. Cookson, Simon Fitch and Vincent Gaffney, North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project.