Europe’s Lost Frontiers
was the largest, directed archaeological research project undertaken in Europe to investigate the inundated landscapes of the Early Holocene North Sea – the area frequently referred to as ‘Doggerland’. Funded through a European Research Council Advanced Grant (project number 670518), the project ran from 2015 to 2021, and straddled both Brexit and the onset of the Covid pandemic. Despite suffering the curse of interesting times, more than 30 academics collaborated within the project, representing institutions spread geographically from Ireland to China. A vast area of the seabed was mapped, and multiple ship expeditions were launched to retrieve sediment cores from the valleys of the lost prehistoric landscapes of the North Sea. This data has now been analysed to provide evidence of how the land was transformed in the face of climate change and rising sea levels.
The first volume is due to publish in August 2022: this will be a precursor to publication of the detailed results, presents the historical context of the study and method statements. The following volumes will present the mapping, palaeoenvironment, geomorphology and modelling programmes of Europe’s Lost Frontiers
. Several supplementary volumes based on the works of postgraduate researchers will also be published prior to a final synthetic publication.
The results of Europe’s Lost Frontiers
confirm that these landscapes, long held to be inaccessible to archaeology, can be studied directly. Europe’s Lost Frontiers
will provide benchmark data for future research on the environmental and cultural heritage of Doggerland. Access to such data will become increasingly important. As these volumes are being prepared for publication, it is clear that contemporary climate change, and the rush for green energy, is pushing development within the North Sea at an unprecedented rate. At the point when archaeologists are finally able to access this unique heritage landscape, the opportunities to do so may be significantly limited in the future. In the face of such change, academics, developers and curators must work together to assist green development, and also continue exploration of Europe’s largest and best-preserved prehistoric landscape, Doggerland, before that chance is lost.
General Editor: Professor Vincent Gaffney
, University of Bradford