A major exhibition opens at the Jersey Museum this weekend that will shed new light on Jersey’s significant Ice Age past, and reveal a number of exciting recent discoveries. Jersey: Ice Age Island brings together Jersey’s Ice Age story, illustrating the importance of the archaeological sites at La Cotte de St Brelade and Les Varines and is based on a concept created by the Natural History Museum in London. Jersey is emerging as a key location for understanding human evolution, expansion and survival over a quarter of a million years of climate change.
Jersey’s Ice Age archaeology tells us about how our Neanderthal cousins survived in northwest Europe, a remarkable record of Ice Age occupation spanning half a million years of human history. The archaeology at La Cotte, which covers 200,000 years, and the wider landscape of Jersey contain an internationally significant record that has contributed to our understanding of human evolution. New cutting-edge research has revealed for the first time what the Ice Age landscape at La Cotte would have been like and how Neanderthal society worked – and this is brought to life through the new exhibition. Supported by funding from the States of Jersey Tourism Development Fund and in partnership with Jersey Heritage, a team of archaeologists and scientists from around the world have studied this remarkable story through the Ice Age Island project over the last three years.
Jon Carter, Director of Jersey Heritage said, “Jersey has an exceptional record of early stone age archaeology for such a small island, and this exhibition showcases the sites at La Cotte and Les Varines and the science behind research currently being undertaken by the Ice Age Island team. The work is bringing to light new stories from Jersey’s deep Ice Age heritage and continuing to show the Island is a scientific treasure trove”. The project is also attracting interest from leading network television programmes including Coast and Ice Age Britain in 2015 and Digging for Britain which will be aired on BBC in the New Year. The exhibition, which is sponsored by Capco Trust, is the culmination of three years’ research conducted in collaboration between Jersey Heritage and a UK archaeological team of academics and students from institutions including the British Museum, UCL Institute of Archaeology, the University of Manchester, University of Wales Trinity St David’s, St Andrews University and the University of Southampton.
The exhibition, which is sponsored by Capco Trust, runs at Jersey Museum from 25th October 2015 until 30th December 2016.