|15 February 2004
Undersea lost world mapped by scientists
A prehistoric lost world deep under the North Sea where man once hunted animals has been mapped by scientists with the help of earthquake data.
A team of archaeologists, geologists and engineers from the University of Birmingham have combined the latest computer techniques to devise a 3D reconstruction of the 10,000-year-old plain. The virtual features they have developed include a 600m-wide river the length of the Thames which disappeared when its valley flooded due to glaciers melting. The plain, part of a land mass that once joined Britain to northern Europe, disappeared about 8,000 years ago and was previously unknown to scientists.
Professor Bob Stone, head of the Department of Engineering's Human Interface Technology Team, said: "This is the most exciting and challenging virtual reality project since Virtual Stonehenge in 1996. Not only are we working with our colleagues in archaeology to ensure the visual accuracy of this very rich environment, we are basing the topography of the virtual landscape on actual seismic data and the computer-generated flora on pollen and plant traces extracted from geological core samples retrieved from the sea bed."
Dr Vincent Gaffney, director of the University's Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity and lead investigator on the project added: "We intend to extend the project to visualise the whole of the now submerged land bridge that previously joined Britain to northern Europe as one land mass, providing scientists with a new insight into the previous human occupation of the North Sea."
Sources: Ananova, Ireland On-Line (15 February 2004)
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