Tributaries of the Elbe Palaeovalley: Features of a Hidden Palaeolandscape in the German Bight, North Sea

  • Daniel A. HeppEmail author
  • Ursula Warnke
  • Dierk Hebbeln
  • Tobias Mörz
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)


Prior to postglacial global sea-level rise in the present North Sea area, Mesolithic hunters and gatherers were able to settle in the coastal lowland landscape between England, Germany and Denmark, commonly known as Doggerland. Regarding the reconstruction of this now drowned palaeolandscape, the German exclusive economic zone (EEZ) sector is still ‘terra incognita’. Recent discoveries of two ancient fluvial systems, both of which were tributaries of the Elbe Palaeovalley, give new insights into the formation of the Mesolithic Doggerland landscape in the German EEZ. One of these fluvial systems developed during the last glaciation and connected the Dogger Hills with the Elbe Palaeovalley. The second river structure discovered in the south seems to be slightly younger and can be identified as the drowned extension of the modern Ems River.


Doggerland Drowned Rivers Elbe Palaeovalley Tributaries 



We gratefully acknowledge Sebastian Feldmann, Lukasz Socko, Mike Belasus and Vanessa Wahlers for their excellent technical and scientific operation on board LEV Taifun and for assistance with the data processing onshore. We thank Mark Coughlan for his suggested improvements to the text, and Henk Weerts and Dimitris Sakellariou for constructive reviews that improved our manuscript. This study was funded through DFG-Research Center/Cluster of Excellence ‘MARUM – The Ocean in the Earth System’ in cooperation with the project ‘Bedrohtes Bodenarchiv Nordsee’ funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany). The study was further supported with data from several anonymous industry partners.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel A. Hepp
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ursula Warnke
    • 2
  • Dierk Hebbeln
    • 1
  • Tobias Mörz
    • 1
  1. 1.MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental SciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.German Maritime Museum – Institute of the Leibniz-Association (Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum – Institut der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft)BremerhavenGermany

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