The Bradford team plans to acquire seabed mapping data to produce a 3D chart revealing the rivers, lakes, hills and coastlines of the country. The map will be analyzed, and researchers will return to the most promising areas to harvest core sediment samples, which will be surveyed for fragments of DNA. It will be the first detailed look we have at this lost continent. Site surveys will then be carried out at these sites. Professor Vincent Gaffney, from the University of Bradford, commented:
“If it is possible to undertake fieldwork that can locate prehistoric settlement on the Brown Bank this would be a major event. Until now the majority of Doggerland has been terra incognita in archaeological terms. If we can begin to locate settlement across the, currently, empty map of the Doggerland, we would open a new chapter in archaeological exploration”.
Currently, the team is zooming in on the most promising areas. Recent studies by researchers at Ghent University helped narrow the search, identifying paleo-river systems running across the southern North Sea at the end of the last Ice Age. Using this information, they have pinpointed a particular area where they believe there was once a large lake, at the edge of which could once have been a settlement.
Now, the team also needs a bit of good luck — and good weather. They can’t really go digging underwater, so they will dredge out parts and see what they come up with. Even the narrowed area is still pretty huge though, so researchers can only hope that their estimates are correct and they won’t come up empty-handed.
“We can’t walk those fields looking for pottery or stone fragments, we can’t dig. We’re going to drop ‘grabs’, or do very small-scale dredges, to see if we can find these stones or tools, to give us a clue as to what is there. We are talking about an area that is the size of a modern European country. And we know almost nothing about it,” Gaffney told The Guardian.
“It’s a needle in a haystack when you’re dropping a 1 metre bucket into a landscape the size of Holland,” he added.
However, fishermen working in the area have made several archaeological findings over the years, so there are reasons to be optimistic.