Building on the successes of the last two years, Jersey Heritage’s Ice Age Island project and Pop-up Museum made some significant discoveries and received impressive national media coverage, including an appearance on the BBC Two programme Coast at 8pm this Thursday.
The Ice Age Island project aims to discover more about Jersey’s rich Ice Age landscapes and histories through archaeological excavations and archive work. This season, the Pop-up Museum saw 1,000 visitors to the Les Varines site, with tourists from as far afield as Germany and America.
The highlight of the four week dig was the much hoped for discovery of a preserved Magdalenian hunter-gatherer camp, which has produced thousands of flint artefacts, many still lying where they were dropped on an ancient land surface, sandwiched between granite stacks. Finds of stone slabs and areas of burning hint at further exciting discoveries in the vicinity.
The Ice Age Island project has enjoyed national media coverage, appearing in the BBC shows Ice Age Giants and Digging for Britain. The next notable coverage will be on Coast on BBC Two and also Open Country on Radio 4, both airing this Thursday (13th August).
The project could not have gone ahead without the assistance of Capco Trust as sponsors and the Jersey Tourism Development board, whose continued support and investment is much appreciated. Jon Carter, Director of Jersey Heritage said, ‘Jersey Heritage and Société Jersiaise have worked very closely with the Tourism Development Fund on Ice Age Island and the fund’s investment has been very foresighted because we are continuing to see great international exposure for the Jersey story through this project’.
The Ice Age Island archaeologists, Dr Ed Blinkhorn, Site Director and Dr Matt Pope, Ice Age Island Project Coordinator, added: ‘The 2015 field season was the best yet. At Les Varines, we uncovered a new area with excellent preservation of the hunter-gatherer campsite. This confirmed our suspicion that the site in St Saviour is of international importance, and analysis of the results will enhance our understanding of how northwest Europe was recolonised by modern humans after the coldest part of the Ice Age. Needless to say we hope to continue our investigations here in the future.
In addition, our team worked with French colleagues in recording coastal areas with high archaeological potential but equally at high risk from erosion. Our work on the National Trust land on the north coast has continued to develop the Mesolithic story of Jersey, this year uncovering a very concentrated flint scatter and worked stones.’
This year was the last of the three year funding by Tourism Development Fund for the Ice Age Island project. However, all being well that further funding is secured, the team hope to return next year to unearth further discoveries and to continue to generate international exposure for the Island.