The Northern Coasts of Doggerland and the Colonisation of Norway at the End of the Ice Age

  • Håkon GlørstadEmail author
  • Jostein Gundersen
  • Frode Kvalø
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)


Due to the need for a national strategy for offshore wind farms in Norway, a small and preliminary joint archaeological and geological research project was conducted. The aim of the investigation was to determine the possibilities for human occupation in the southernmost parts of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea during the Late Glacial and Preboreal periods. The research was in the shallowest area of the Norwegian sector of the continental shelf, south of the Norwegian Trench. By analysing 3D seismic reflection data, several layers with traces of drainage systems and other landforms could be identified in the sediments. These features were, however, mainly situated deep down below the surface of the seabed, and covered by more than 100 m of younger sediments. Their age is therefore uncertain, even if the depth alone indicates that they are much older than the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). A sediment core through the shallow sea-bed sediments (0–13 m below present sea floor) was analysed for environmental and chronological data. The youngest observed transition, from glacio-lacustrine to marine sediments, was dated to approximately 14,000 cal. BC or the Older Dryas. This indicates that this part of Doggerland was not dry land after the LGM, but was first covered by an ice-dammed lake and later inundated by saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean. The analysis also indicates that the distance from Doggerland to Norway, in the periods when people began to inhabit southern Scandinavia, was far too long to be crossed by boats or on ice. This makes the western coast of Sweden and Bohuslän the most likely bridgehead in the colonisation of Norway. Humans arrived at the Norwegian shores first when a safe and sheltered passage was created between Bohuslän and the Oslo Fjord area, at approximately 9300 cal. BC.


Doggerland Norway 3D-seismic Preboreal Human colonisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Håkon Glørstad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jostein Gundersen
    • 2
  • Frode Kvalø
    • 3
  1. 1.Museum of Cultural HistoryUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Directorate for Cultural HeritageOsloNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian Maritime MuseumOsloNorway

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