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The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

Archaeologists return to explore ice age Jersey

Published: 23 June 2011

Archaeologists from the University of Southampton are returning to Jersey to excavate an ice age hunting camp and carry out further investigations across the island.

Working in partnership with colleagues from the University of Manchester, University College London (UCL) and University of Wales Trinity St David, they will also trace buried ice age coastlines and use sonar to map ancient landscapes beneath the sea.

This second season of excavations follows successful ones on Jersey in 2010, when among other discoveries, the team found Neanderthal tools in St Brelade.

Southampton alumnus and project co-director from the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) Dr Matt Pope comments: “2010 was a great success and we are looking forward to building on these results. Jersey seems to have been a magnet for Neanderthals and other hunter-gatherer groups over the last half-million years.”

During the last ice age the sea level was lower than today and Jersey and mainland Britain would have been joined to continental Europe.

“Jersey is like an ice age time capsule for us. It preserves, in a relatively small landmass, internationally important archaeology from the deep past,” says Dr Andrew Shaw from the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins at the University of Southampton.

Excavations begin in July 2011 and will mainly concentrate on a 14,000 year-old hunting camp, which is close to an ancient cliff-line in St Saviour, and investigations at the Neanderthal site of La Cotte de St Brelade.

The project forms part of the Leverhulme-funded Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project, based at the British Museum and has been developed in close partnership with Société Jersiaise and Jersey Heritage.

See coverage of the Jersey excavation on the BBC website.

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