About 7,500 years ago rising sea-levels caused by the gradual melting of the ice caps and glaciers of the last Ice Age resulted in the place we now know as Jersey becoming an island.
Not long after, a new tool was created that changed the world and caused a revolution. The stone axe that had been used for millions of years was now used to cut down trees. This could only happen because the axes were ‘polished’ which means all of the bumps and edges were smoothed down by polishing the stone to create an axe which was now strong enough to cut down trees.
When the trees were cut down – that gave the people a way to create space to grow crops, have timber to make more permanent houses and create fences to keep animals. The New Stone Age had begun.
The Neolithic people made homes and communities and with those communities came the need to create a place to worship, perform rituals and bury the dead. Instead of using wood for this, the Neolithic communities used stone. They made dolmens and megalithic (large stone) monuments. There are lots of these all around Jersey which tells us that there must have been a large enough community of people who would work together to make them. They weren’t all made at the same time, they were built over the space of hundreds and thousands of years. One of the best preserved passage graves in Europe and possibly one of the oldest ‘buildings’ in the world is La Hougue Bie.
Neolithic Tools Film - Short film about Neolithic tools found at Le Pinacle (film is available to download)
Flint Knapping Film - A demonstration of how Neolithic people flint knapped and made the polished tools that changed the world (film is available to download)
Neolithic Spiritual Landscape - Information leaflet about the various features of Jersey's Neolithic Spiritual Landscape - the dolmens and menhirs.
Neolithic Terminology - Information leaflet about the various terms used by archaeologists to describe life and buildings in the Neolithic period.
Prehistoric Jersey - Jeremy Percival's excellent website featuring the Island's neolithic sites.
Neolithic Activity Sheets - Neolithic activities for a visit to La Hougue Bie.