Les Varines is once again our main focus of excavation for the next month. It is a site preserving the remains of a large camp site used by hunter-gatherers towards the end of the last ice age period, around 16,000 years ago. The site, situated on a hillside in St Saviours parish, Jersey, was attractive to these modern human populations as it provided, shelter, incredible views and access to fresh water at the base of the slope. For us it provides a window on a period where humans were recolonising northern Europe after a period of intense cold lasting 8,000 years which we call the Last Glacial Maximum. During the Last Glacial Maximum the area of the English Channel was intensely cold tundra and uninhabitable by humans. The hunters at Les Varines may have represented some of the first pioneer population to move into the region after this period.
The past week we have been preparing the excavation site at Les Varines. This involved locating and re-excavating last year’s stepped trench, a 10x10m stepped area, and then extending this trench a further 10m to the north.
The trench needs to be this big because we need to get our archaeologist working safely at depth, sometimes up to 3m below the original ground level at the south of the site.
The site has been carefully located after geophysical and augur survey by Dr’s Martin and Richard Bates, they helped us find the correct depth and distribution of the sediments containing the artefacts we are looking for.
The new trench, after days of careful cleaning, was recorded by our imaging expert Dr Sarah Duffy using photogrammetry. Using a combination of real-world reference points and DSLR photo mosaics, this delivers a high-quality, accurate and complete record of the site at different stages of the excavation.
You can explore the site by following this link.