Les Varines - Ice Age Key Sites - Jersey Heritage

Located above St.Helier at the head of a dry valley dropping towards the sea, Les Varines was occupied by Magdalenian hunters around 18 000 years ago, immediately after the last glacial period.


Location

Location

St Saviour


Over 3000 stone tools have been found - mostly narrow, backed flint blades that were hafted as weapon heads. At this time, an extreme cold period (the last glacial) had just ended; sea level was very low, and much of the channel would have been dry land, supporting cold, steppe adapted, animals. The hunters of Les Varines would have travelled throughout these landscapes, carrying with them simple tool kits - flint cores collected from the exposed sea floor, together with light spears or javelins. Bone-working and engraving was an important activity; graving tools are common at Les Varines, and, where preserved elsewhere, Magdalenian bone and antler artefacts are often highly decorated.

Take a look at this 3D sketch of the site.  

Les Varines appears to have been a large campsite; extensive sites like this are known from the Paris Basin, where tents, engravings and complex activity areas have been excavated. On going excavations at Les Varines will allow us to understand how hunter-gatherers were surviving within the landscapes of the channel river valley during periods of extreme cold. Geophysical survey and the drilling of boreholes at the site suggests evidence of much older landscapes, from previous interglacial periods when sea levels were higher 125,000 or 200,000 years ago, may at the site and may preserve traces of Neanderthal occupation buried deep beneath the modern ground surface.