Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Les Varines Open Day 2017

Open Day at LesVarines. A quiet Sunday heralded the last opportunity for people to gather and peer into an archaeological pit delivering evidence of an ancient settlement of Neanderthals. 

Earth that hasn't seen the light of day since mammoth's roamed these pastures is carefully scraped and sifted to reveal small fragments of early man's existence.

A hearth is clearly indicated by carbon discolouration and flattened stones. A gloved hand is proffered for Matt to identify small chips of bone. Bagged and numbered it will add to the other 9,000 finds Les Varines has revealed. Tomorrow the site will be recovered leaving 80% still to be rediscovered by future generations armed with new ideas, theories and tools. A generous act repeated by archeologist's around the world protecting and preserving fragile remnants of man's existence. 

Thank you and goodbye to Matt, Ed and the team for all the hard work and effort you have put in to help us make sense of this island's history. Long may you remain curious.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Les Varines 2017

High on a bluff overlooking a lush valley that runs down to the sea is Les Varines and trapped in an ancient cwm or cirque  is an Ice Age archeological site yielding vast numbers of Neolithic finds. Small fragments of napped flint and over 3,000 tools created by Magdalenian hunters around 18,000 years ago, immediately after the last glacial period.

A recent discovery, a mammoth tooth, has been excavated and sent off for analysis.

Jus two more weeks and the site will be filled in and left for a good few years as the search for new sites continues.

As Dr Matt Pope explained "Jersey has provided some of greatest number of significant Ice Age finds in the world. It really seems as though we have barely touched the surface in what Jersey has to offer in informing us about the Ice age and its inhabitants."

I queried the need to close the site but Matt explained it was a matter of resource, the chance for further discoveries elsewhere and a desire to leave further digging for future generations.

This coming Sunday's open day will be the last chance to stare at artefacts and an exposed landscape that has not seen the light of day since mammoths were hunted by our ancestors. Worth a look.