Jersey’s Ice Age story to POP-UP at Les Varines this July - News - Jersey Heritage

An important archaeological dig set to uncover the Island’s Ice Age history commences at Les Varines, St Saviour, and the public are invited on-site to witness its findings and talk to the experts, first hand.

Ice Age Island Pop-Up Museum |Monday 30 June to Friday 25 July | Sunday – Friday (closed Saturday)

Launching on Monday 30 June, the Ice Age Island Pop-Up Museum will be on location throughout July. Visitors to Les Varines will be able to see a team of academics and students in action at the dig, handle real Ice Age objects, witness any discoveries as they are uncovered and learn more about the Island’s Ice Age past through the illustrations of Year 10 Hautlieu art students. There will be a free Shuttle bus to and from the site from La Hougue Bie Museum, where the Ice Age Island exhibition, sponsored by Capco Trust, goes into further detail about this important archaeological project to date.   


Jersey Heritage, working in partnership with La Société Jersiaise and the National Trust for Jersey, is co-ordinating the Ice Age Island research, which launched last year and forms part of a three-year archaeological project. Sponsored by Capco Trust and supported by the Tourism Development Fund (TDF), the project will further explore Jersey’s unique heritage stretching back over a quarter of a million years.  The team at Les Varines is made up of U.K. academics and students (British Museum, University College London, University of Manchester, Trinity St. Davids and St. Andrews).


Ice Age Island Exhibition at La Hougue Bie | Open: Monday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm | Sponsored by Capco Trust

As well as the Ice Age Island Pop-Up Museum, people can visit the exciting Ice Age Island exhibition currently on display at La Hougue Bie, which gives an audio and visual guide of the Ice Age Island project so far, as well as a selection of Mammoth and Rhino bones and early stone tools.  James Dilley – a specialist in prehistoric technologies and experienced ‘flint knapper’ will be at La Hougue Bie offering live demonstrations throughout July which illustrate what life was like in prehistoric times, the skills needed to survive and the significance of the archaeological finds being discovered across the Island.


Olga Finch, Curator and Archaeologist at Jersey Heritage commented: “We are extremely excited to be working at Les Varines with such a skilled team of experts. The Ice Age Island project is expected not only to uncover insight into the Island’s colourful Ice Age past, but into human evolution, with significant findings relevant across Europe and the wider world. Information to better understand Ice Age hunters, climate change and extinct mammals such as the mammoth will prove invaluable in painting this picture of Jersey as an Ice Age Island – we are only beginning to scratch the surface! It is thanks to the kind support of TDF and Capco Trust, as well as our partners at the National Trust for Jersey and the Société Jersiaise, that this ground-breaking knowledge can be discovered.’


Jersey Heritage will be facilitating the exploration and interpretation of this project, the results of which will have global resonance. They are working with Jersey Tourism to transform the archaeological discoveries into a tourism and educational resource, including dedicated Ice Age Walking Trails around the Island, an Ice Age Walking Guide and virtual tours, which are available to view and download on the Jersey Heritage website .


Initial project fieldwork and research has already uncovered hunting sites and submerged Ice Age landscapes, ranging from the earliest occupation by Neanderthals over 250,000 years ago to the arrival of the first modern humans. To date, there have already been significant finds which have received extensive national television and media coverage, including ‘Digging for Britain’ and ‘Ice Age Giants’. It is anticipated, however, that there are more artefacts and evidence of ancient human occupation still waiting to be discovered across Jersey. The team undertaking the study is led by Dr Matt Pope, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, and colleagues from a number of UK institutions including the British Museum.