Friday, 10 February 2017

Lost Ancient Forests

Diver Dawn Watson found incredible ancient forest under the North Sea
10,000-year-old trees appear to have been hidden underwater since Ice Age
The 45-year-old discovered oak trees with eight-metre branches off Norfolk.
A shocked diver has found an incredible 10,000-year-old pre-historic forest under the North Sea and experts believe it could have once stretched as far as Europe.
Diver Dawn Watson, 45, discovered the remarkable 'lost forest' when she was diving just 300 metres off the coast of Cley next the Sea, Norfolk.
Ms Watson, who runs the Marine Conservation Society's survey project, Seasearch in East Anglia with partner Rob Spray, said she was 'absolutely thrilled' with the find.
She said: 'I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first.
'The sea was quite rough by the shore so I decided to dive slightly further out and after swimming over 300 metres of sand I found a long blackened ridge.
'When I looked more closely I realised it was wood, and when I swam further along, I started finding whole tree trunks with branches on top, which looked like they had been felled.'

'It was amazing to find and to think the trees had been lying there completely undiscovered for thousands of years. You certainly don't expect to go out for a quick dive and find a forest.'
It is believed the forest was drowned when the ice caps melted and the sea level rose 120 metres.
The fallen trees are now lying on the ground where they have formed a natural reef, which is teaming with colourful fish, plants and wildlife.

'At one time it would have been a full-blown Tolkien-style forest, stretching for hundreds of miles,' added Mr Spray, who has begun surveying the forest with his partner.
'It would have grown and grown and in those days there would have been no one to fell it so the forest would have been massive.
How it could have looked
'It would have looked like a scene from the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, which is something we don't get in this country anymore. Geologists are very excited about it, it was a really miraculous find.'
Ancient forest lost beneath the North Sea is uncovered: Shifting sands reveal 7,000-year-old woodland and human footprints.
Evidence of the forest, which has been preserved in peat, can be seen on a 200-metre stretch of the Northumberland coastline - Denmark, due to shifting sand - It shows 7,000 year old human footprints in Doggerland, which then connected the UK to Europe - The area had been preserved in a layer of peat all these years.
The ebb and flow of the North Sea revealed a waterlogged archaeological secret of Britain's past - traces of hunter-gatherers stalking animals through a long-lost woodland.
An ancient forest, which dates back more than 7,000 years and has lain buried beneath the sand for millennia, is slowly being uncovered by the ocean.
Tree stumps and felled logs, which have been preserved by peat and sand, are now clearly visible along a 650 feet (200 metres) stretch of coastline at Low Hauxley near Amble, Northumberland.
Studies of the ancient forest, which existed at a time when the sea level was much lower and Britain had only recently separated from what is now mainland Denmark, have revealed it would have consisted of oak, hazel and alder trees.
The forest first began to form around 5,300 BC but by 5,000 BC the encroaching ocean had covered it up and buried it under sand. Now the sea levels are rising again, the remnants of the forest are becoming visible and being studied by archaeologists.
Rather than a continuous solid landmass, archaeologists believe Doggerland was a region of low-lying bogs and marshes which would have been home to a range of animals, as well as the hunter-gatherers which stalked them.
But the relatively rapid change in the surrounding environment would have gradually confined animals and humans in the region to Europe and the UK as the bogs and marshes became flooded, making them impassable.
Doctor Clive Waddington, of Archaeology Research Services, said: 'In 5,000 BC the sea level rose quickly and it drowned the land.
'The sand dunes were blown back further into the land, burying the forest, and then the sea receded a little.
'The sea level is now rising again, cutting back the sand dunes, and uncovering the forest.'
The forest existed in the late Mesolithic period, which was a time of hunting and gathering for humans.
In addition to tree stumps, archaeologists say they have uncovered animal footprints, highlighting the diverse wildlife which would have roamed the ancient Doggerland forest.
Dr Waddington, who says evidence has been discovered of humans living nearby in 5,000 BC, added: 'On the surface of the peat we have found footprints of adults and children.
'We can tell by the shapes of the footprints that they would have been wearing leather shoes.
'We have also found animal footprints of red deer, wild boar and brown bears.'
A similar stretch of ancient forest was uncovered in 2014 near the village of Borth, Ceredigion, in Mid Wales after a spate of winter storms washed away the peat preserving the area. The ancient forests were exposed along the Welsh coastline after the storms washed away peat and exposed gnarled tree trunks on the shore near the village of Borth, Ceredigion, Mid Wales.
Seahenge, an early Bronze age structure on the coast of Norfolk, 
overlooks the ancient world of Doggerland
Rather than a continuous solid landmass, archaeologists believe Doggerland was a region of low-lying bogs and marshes connecting the British Isles to Europe and stretching all the way to the Norwegian trench. The area, which would have been home to a range of animals, as well as the hunter-gatherers which stalked them, became flooded due to glacial melt, with some high-lying regions such as 'Dogger Island' (pictured right, highlighted red) serving as clues to the region's ancient past.
Peat is able to preserve trees and even the bodies of animals so well because it is so low in oxygen, effectively choking the microbes which break down organic matter, so preserving their organic contents for thousands of years. But in coastal regions, where ancient forests have been long preserved in peat, such as in Wales and Northumberland, the rising seas are washing away this layer and exposing remnants from Britain's past.
Source HERE and HERE
Love and light,


Sarah Owen said...

This is fascinating. I was going to say it's like the land that was lost at the west Wales coast, but you mention that in your post. :)
I assume you know the legend about it- the bells of Aberdovey.
Sarah xx

Tracey-anne McCartney said...

Hi Sarah, :o)
I just looked up. Oh, it's a song based on the legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod. Love it. Thank you for the info. I really have a thing about Bardsey Isle and hoping to buy a Bardsey apple tree this year. Wanted to plant one for ages, years. I've also been reading up more on Lyonesse. Love all the lost lands and the lore that follows.

Sarah Owen said...

Hi Trace,

Yes that's it - Cantre Gwaelod. Couldn't remember the Welsh name of the legend when I wrote my first comment. :D
I love the stories of lost lands too, wondering what they were like etc.
Ooh, a Bardsey apple tree would be lovely. I'm still trying to find a magnolia, lol. :o)
Sarah xoxo