A prehistoric forest that disappeared under the North Sea 6 000 years ago, believed to have been part of a land mass known as Doggerland, has been discovered by a British diver, Dawn Watson.
British diver Dawn Watson made a stunning discovery in the North Sea, a great expanse of ocean surrounded by many countries of Europe, including Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium.
Map showing North Sea
Dawn Watson came across a 10 000-year-old underwater forest when she was taken off her original path by the rough sea after diving off the Norfolk coast of UK, situated around 200 km northeast of London.
The waves brought Watson off course and she continued swimming to eventually find herself among large oak trees with eight-meter-long branches.
However, since she was running out on diving gas, she had to return from her wandering quickly.
Interviewed by reporters of the BBC, Watson said: “To start with I actually thought it was a piece of wreck. It just looked like a piece of hull. It wasn’t until I had a really close look that I realised it was actually solid wood.”
“If I’d been three or four meters to the right we’d never have seen it at all,” she added.
Thereafter, she returned to the site of the prehistoric forest with her partner Rod Spray to photograph her discovery.
Together, they explored the underwater trees that might have been uncovered following a big storm that had struck the coast last year, in December.
Commenting on the storm, Spray told the BBC: “You can see the damage it did on the surface, and underwater you have that on a grander scale. Thousands of tonnes of sand and gravel can just be sort of shuffled… it’s no surprise that after an event like that you see sand stripped away.”
The forest is said to have covered thousands of acres once, connecting the UK with continental Europe. It might have constituted a portion of an ancient mass of land called Doggerland. 10 000 years ago, life is thought to have flourished in Doggerland, making of it ideal for hunting and fishing. Doggerland, however, disappeared under the ocean around 6 000 years ago.
The North Sea has, since then, unveiled some of the secret it has been hiding from the world: fisherman in the North Sea have brought out bones and other artifacts from that part of the ocean.
The ancient forest now has turned into some natural reef, providing shelter to the marine life thriving in that region of the world.
Dawn Watson owns the organisation Seasearch together with Rob Spray. The aim of their marine conservation program is to map out the different kinds of sea bed situated in the near-shore zone in the region of Britain and Ireland. The two partners will now survey the ancient forest.