North Sea Stone Age Reconstruction And Philip K Dick

Some time ago I read an enjoyable 1954 short story The Dip, in which science fiction author Philip K. Dick describes a device that can actually bring forward parts of the past:

They entered the great chamber. At the far end, technicians hovered around an immense illuminated board, following a complex pattern of lights that shifted rapidly, flashing through seemingly endless combinations. At long tables machines whirred -- computers, human-operated and robot. Wall-charts covered every inch of vertical space. Hasten gazed around him in amazement.

Wood laughed. "Come over here and I'll really show you something. You recognize this, don't you?" He pointed to a hulking machine surrounded by silent men and women in white lab robes.

"I recognize it," Hasten said slowly. "It's something like our own Dip, but perhaps twenty times larger. What do you haul up? And when do you haul?" He fingered the surface-plate of the Dip, then squatted down, peering into the maw. The maw was locked shut; the Dip was in operation. "You know, if we had any idea this existed, Histo-Research would have --"

(Read more about the Dip - a time dredge)

I laughed a little when I read about a fascinating effort to reconstruct what is now called Doggerland, a portion of the North Sea that was above the waves six thousand years ago, before the flooding caused by melting glaciers from the last ice age.

This video tells the story.


(Doggerland reconstructed)

On Wednesday a crew of British and Belgian scientists set off on their voyage across the North Sea to reconstruct the ancient Mesolithic landscape hidden beneath the waves for 7,500 years. The area was submerged when thousands of cubic miles of sub-Arctic ice started to melt and sea levels began to rise.

The ancient country, known as Doggerland, which could once have had great plains with rich soils, formed an important land bridge between Britain and northern Europe. It was long believed to have been hit by catastrophic flooding.

Using seabed mapping data the team plans to produce a 3D chart revealing the rivers, lakes, hills and coastlines of the country. Specialist survey ships will take core sediment samples from selected areas to extract millions of fragments of DNA from the buried plants and animals.

Gaffney said they were praying for stable weather and good luck. “We can’t walk those fields looking for pottery or stone fragments, we can’t dig. We’re going to drop ‘grabs’, or do very small-scale dredges, to see if we can find these stones or tools, to give us a clue as to what is there. We are talking about an area that is the size of a modern European country. And we know almost nothing about it.

It's a time dredge! That's what Dick calls this device, which he also uses in his 1960 book Dr. Futurity.

Read more about 'Reconstruction' begins of stone age lands lost to North Sea.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/21/2019)

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