Flint, Finds and Fieldwork!

Hi my name is Josie Mills, I’m an MSc researcher at UCL and am currently working on the Ice Age Island project on Jersey!

Our day on the Ice Age Island project (see here for more info) began bright and early as the team amassed to clean and tidy the base post our mid-dig party, sending off our first team of student volunteers, who leave the project on Saturday.

As our project is based in two places, one dig, one archiving, after breakfast I jumped into a car heading to Jersey Heritage Stores, where we are in the process of archiving some 94,000 flints excavated from La Cotte de St. Brelade in the 1970s (see here for more info).

Before the students arrived at the store I spent some time with Dr. Chantal Conneller looking through the collections from the North Coast of Jersey for evidence of Mesolithic stone tools. These collections are particularly fascinating because they span the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic but also have stone tools from the Mesolithic and Neolithic. It just shows the sheer importance of the North Coast of Jersey as an archaeological landscape, perhaps because of the wide clear view across the, now submerged, topography that would have existed throughout much of the Ice Age.

CoastlineA view of the North Coast from Grosnez

Usually we have one student in the stores to get experience of the archive system and the bigger picture of how our re-organisation effort will allow the stone tools to be studied by location in the site, helping us to understand specific areas of activity and raw material use. Today we had two students Eloise and Stacey, who spent the morning writing new bags for artefacts and organising them into boxes.

10393891_10154328764480366_4380804967825527440_nUCL students Eloise and Stacey working in the stores

After lunch there was an earthquake, the biggest on Jersey for around 200 years – fortunately everyone and the site was fine!

BsRUeUnCQAAOmL2.jpg-largeMe with the large flint nodule at the Houge Bie geology museum

I rounded off my archaeological day with a visit to the geology section of the Hougue Bie Museum. Where I got to see a giant flint nodule dredged from the Casquet Reef, near Alderney, which is very exciting for my dissertation research based on flint provenancing in the Channel area.