The Ice Age Island

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Photo: La Cotte de St Brelade has more Neanderthal artefacts concentrated in one place than the whole of the British Isles put together

The island of Jersey is looking to cash in on its rich prehistoric heritage by creating Ice Age trials along its coast to attract more tourists.

Jersey has hunting sites and submerged ice age landscapes dating back to the earliest occupation by the Neanderthals 250,000 years ago.

The creation of the ice age trails around Jersey is being conducted by Jersey Heritage in partnership with the archaeological team, Societe Jersiaise and the National Trust for Jersey. It’s being supported by a £199,000 grant from the Tourism Development Fund (TDF).

One of the trails will take walkers from Ousiane to St Aubin. Along the way, it takes in the important Neanderthal site La Cotte de St Brelade where 200,000 stone tools have been found preserved in ice age sediments.

The site has more Neanderthal artefacts concentrated in one place than the whole of the British Isles put together.

A team of archaeologists from University College London are undertaking a three year study of the island’s ice age past.

They are currently excavating Petit Portlet in Gorey and Col de la Rocque in St Mary. In the 1930s a multitude of Neanderthal stone tools were found at the site. Experts think that the area may have been occupied by hunter gathers during a cold period when the sea level was much lower.