Now that Britain has severed ties with Europe, I reflect on the origin of their geographical separation, the inspiration for my short story: Doggerland (link).

Doggerland is a submerged area stretching from the east coast of England across to Jutland and the Netherlands. A long time ago this was above sea level and it is thought that around 6500 BC there may have been a tsunami which led to it being inundated and cutting Britain off from the continent of Europe.

We know very little about the Dogger folk but every now and again North Sea trawlers have dredged up an old implement, ancient bones, or some other remnant of that lost Mesolithic civilisation. What else might lie buried under the shifting sands of the seabed?

I wanted to write about a distant people who have left virtually no trace of their existence.  Perhaps some of their language lives on in the accents of East Anglia and of the Netherlands and Jutland.

I imagined the Dogger people as fisherfolk, living amongst wide waterways like the Norfolk Broads. I thought of a man with a dog and a home and a family, but threatened by inundation. Not knowing whether to move, or whether to remain in place and accept whatever fate might bring. 

This is even now a universal dilemma: it belongs to the émigré, to the refugee. It is exactly how my partner and I felt in the UK as we watched the approach of Brexit, so universal that across thousands of years I sense a commonality with that lost people. Eve and I chose to move, and settled in Ireland; we now look back with sorrow, but forward with hope.

Doggerland can be read here (link) and appears in my collection of 20 historical short stories In Other Times (link), available as a free download for subscribers to The HistWriter e-newsletter.


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