North Sea Palaeolandscape Project

University of Birmingham, 2011

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Primary contact

Prof Vince Gaffney
Chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics
Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

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University of Birmingham (2011) North Sea Palaeolandscape Project [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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Image of the project GIS in context

The North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project (2005 - 2006) sought to utilise existing 3D seismic data to generate information on the Mesolithic Landscape of the North Sea. The North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project utilised a variety of geophysical data sources, in conjunction with more traditional map data to record the Mesolithic landscape of this region. The primary data set (not included in this archive) consisted of the 3D seismic 'Mega-Survey' as compiled by Petroleum Geo-Services and kindly provided to University of Birmingham to assist this research.

The project covered approximately 23,000km² of the Southern North Sea, from the Norfolk coast to the Doggerbank, and represented what is probably one of the largest continuous areas of geophysical data ever used for archaeology. The work concentrated on mapping the upper land-surfaces of the region which related to the Early Mesolithic of Doggerland. 13 distinct landscape zones were observed during the course of this research. These range from marine estuaries and salt marshes, through regions dominated by freshwater river systems and wetlands, to coastal plains and areas of rolling hills.

The project has created a variety of resources in addition to the interpretive dataset archive lodged with the ADS. These include two volumes which discuss the results in more detail which have been published by Archaeopress (2007) and in a more popular style by the CBA (2009).


Gaffney V. Fitch S. and Smith D. (2009). Europe's Lost World: The Rediscovery of Doggerland. CBA Research Report.

Gaffney V., Thomson K. and Fitch S. (Eds.) 2007. Mapping Doggerland: The Mesolithic Landscapes of the Southern North Sea. Archaeopress. Oxford.