Week 1: Summary

After a full week on the island the team has made great progress, we’re looking to further our excavations and have begun planning a programme of geophysical survey for our upcoming north coast sites.

 The site at Petit Portelet is proceeding well with the completion of our first geological test pit, where we have unearthed several interesting sedimentological features. These allow us to understand the geological and sedimentary processes at work on the site, providing invaluable clues to changes in the Ice Age environment. The test pit has revealed the top of a 10 metre deep sequence of Pleistocene deposits including wind-blow aeolian loess. 

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Figure 1. Section of geological test pit 1 showing topsoil, loess, granitic sand and larger granite inclusions.

Loess is a fine-grained silty sand that has been deposited on Jersey during periods of glaciation accompanied by low sea level when the English Channel would become an expanse of arid polar desert.

This sequence discovered in the geological test pit provides an unparalleled opportunity to correlate and compare the sedimentary relationships from this part of Jersey to those discovered in sites on the northern French coast, such as Le Rozel. Moreover, these loess deposits have high potential for preserving buried land surfaces and evidence of Neanderthal occupation including stone tools and, if preserved, bone remains. The results from the geological investigations are very positive. Not only are they furthering our understanding Jersey’s sedimentary relationship to France, but also demonstrate that we have deposits present that are known to preserve and yield artefacts!

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Figure 2. Alex and Jak working on a corner filled with a lense of granitic sand.

In other news the work at Les Varines has begun again with a huge amount of back-fill cleared this week, the pop-up museum has also just arrived at the site and can be found on Ivy Still Lane all kitted out with brand new posters and extra Ice Age information, whilst you can catch our flint-knapper James at La Hougue Bie!

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