Scientists at the University of Bradford (UK) discovered in the North Sea flooded ancient landscape, which may have preserved the remains of settlements of early hunter-gatherers. The Live Science reports.

The researchers took sediment samples from the seabed during an 11-day expedition on RV Belgic. The age of the sunken landscape with fossilized remains of prehistoric forest reaches 10 thousand years and is part of Doggerland — an area of several thousand square kilometers. It was located between the Eastern shores of Britain and the mainland.

Analysis of some samples showed that there was a layer of compressed peat under the seabed. This indicates that in the past there were fertile wetlands suitable for permanent human habitation. However, some parts of the flooded land are completely covered by more modern sediments from the largest rivers. Nevertheless, scientists are confident that soon they will be able to find traces of settlements.

About 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, Doggerland began to break free of the ice cover and eventually became a vast wooded plain with herds of animals and communities of early hunter-gatherers. However, the continuing melting of the ice led to the flooding of the area about eight thousand years ago.