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December 2015

Archaeologists unveil remains of 14,000-year-old Ice Age settlement

(25 November 2015)

Academic colleagues, from the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (SALC), have taken part in a dig which has uncovered the remains of a 14,000-year-old Ice Age settlement. Although they are not sure of the exact age of the campsite, it may represent some of the first hunter-gather communities to recolonise the north of Europe after the last Ice Age.

The site, called Les Varines, is located in the Jersey parish of St Saviour and has produced over 5,000 scattered stone artefacts during the past five years of excavation. But the team has unearthed denser concentrations of tools and burnt bone and, for the first time, fragments of engraved stone. These are currently being studied in an attempt to unravel the significance of these unique finds.

Dr Chantal Conneller, a Co-Director of the project, said: “We knew from the beginning that Les Varines was an important site. There is nothing of its size or scale elsewhere in the British Isles but there are parallels in France and Germany. Previously we had recovered stone artefacts disturbed by later mud flows, but now it seems we have found the well preserved edges of the settlement itself. Incised stones can be common on Magdalenian camps, many are known from sites in the Germany and the south of France, where they are often seen to have a magical or religious use. However, they are rare in Northern France and the British Isles, making this a significant find.”