New Island Day Trip

20140709_151151Post by Dr Martin Bates. Geoarchaeologist. Ice Age Island Project.

My day saw geoarchaeological work on Jersey extended off-shore to Maître Île on Les Minquiers as well as continuing work at Les Varines where the excavation of a Late Pleistocene archaeological site is on-going. The visit to Maître Île was made thanks to the Fisheries department on Jersey and we travelled across on their patrol boat. Landfall was made through transfer to a RIB and a fast journey across the sound.


IMG_1545I was accompanied by a botanist and entomologist and all three of us were grateful to be back on terra firma as the journey across was not perhaps the most pleasant with a large swell running throughout the 1hr transit.
Once on Maître Île we were able to examine the island and a large patch of eroding Neolithic organic soil was recorded and sampled.

A number of flint flakes were found and a piece of pottery (probably of Iron Age date) was also recovered. Augering at three locations confirmed the stratigraphy reported by previous excavators and the chance was taken to recover the first samples from the island for pollen analysis. We returned to Jersey rather more rapidly than we went out satisfied with a good days work.
The remaining work has focused on augering at Les Varines where we are attempting to understand the geology of the slopes where archaeological material has been under excavation for the last 4 years. Our geophysical data gathered in previous years and in May of this year is now making more sense and auger holes are allowing us to begin to understand the distribution of the main sediment bodies. We can now think the possible origin of the flintwork and where we might locate our excavations next year.