Mesolithic catastrophe: the impact of the Storegga Slide tsunami on the Mesolithic population of Britain

Annual joint lecture with Soc. Ant. Scot.
Dr Clive Waddington (Archaeological Research Services Ltd)
Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh
Archaeologists recording human and animal footprints in a late Mesolithic intertidal land surface under active erosion by the sea. © Clive Waddington


Around 6,175 cal BC Britain was irrevocably impacted upon by what is probably the largest marine megaslaide tsunami so far recovered on the planet. This event, combined with the climatic cold period or ‘neoglacial’ within which it occurred known as the ‘8.2 kyr event’, had significant effects on both the landscape, seascape as well as the human population of much of Britain. This paper will explore these events and their impact on the Mesolithic population with specific reference to several sites, including Howick and Low Hauxley, as case studies. 

Image copyright: © Clive Waddington