The North Sea is a body of water located between Scandinavia, northwest Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France), and Great Britain (England and Scotland). To the north, it connects with the Norwegian Sea. To the east, through the Skagerrak and Kattegat, it connects with the Baltic Sea. To the southwest, through the Strait of Dover and the English Channel, it connects with the Atlantic Ocean. The North Sea is relatively shallow, having a mean depth of about 300 feet. The Dogger Bank, in the south central portion of the North Sea, has an average depth of less than 100 feet and is a rich fishing ground. In 1931, the trawler Colinda, working the Ower Bank off Norfolk, found a lump of peat in its bottom haul. Examination of the peat revealed a barbed antler point, obviously worked by human hands into the point for either a harpoon or a fish spear. This finding highlighted the fact that manmade materials had been recovered from the bottom of the North Sea for many years. Research by archeologists, geologists, and others confirm that during and after the Last Glacial Maximum (which occurred between 26,000 and 20,000 years ago) sea level was sufficiently low that the area now known as the North Sea was at or above sea level. Great Britain, Scandinavia, and northwest Europe were connected. Significant rivers, including the Rhine, drained through the North Sea area and into the Norwegian Sea. Mammoths and other land animals, including ancient lions, lived in what is now referred to a “Doggerland” (the land area now occupied by the North Sea). A skull fragment of a Neanderthal has been recovered from sediment of the North Sea. A wide variety of evidence now conclusively proves that human ancestors hunted and established permanent settlements in Doggerland. Approximately 8,200 years ago, though, sea level gradually rose to the point where it entered Doggerland through the English Channel and the Norwegian Sea. This cut Great Britain off from the rest of Europe and forced the Doggerland inhabitants to seek drier land. The next time you are crossing the North Sea, remember that it was once trod by our ancestors.