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  1. ITV Report

Archaeologists hoping to unearth Jersey's Ice Age past

The team are able to reach parts of the site that were previously inaccessible by abseiling. Credit: ITV Channel TV

A group of archaeologists are hoping to uncover the secrets of Jersey's prehistoric past.

The team are excavating at La Cotte at Ouaisné, one of only a handful of neanderthal Ice Age sites in the world. It is hoped that the project will give clues as to how our biological ancestors lived.

The site includes a remote area known as 'the bluff', which has not been excavated since 1981 due to safety concerns. Over the past year, sea walls and mesh have been manually installed to stabilise the cliffs and allow excavators safe access to the site.

One of the archaeologists leading the research has praised Jersey Heritage for the work that has been undertaken.

Jersey Heritage's programme of transformative engineering work has preserved this internationally-important Neanderthal site for the future. This means that not only are we able to restart excavations at La Cotte, but we can begin a new, long-term programme of scientific discovery at the site.

– Dr Matt Pope, University College London Institute of Archaeology

Excavation work has taken place at La Cotte since 30 neanderthal teeth were discovered there in 1910. It is now known to be the largest site of its kind in Europe and in 1968, Prince Charles joined the excavations as a student at Cambridge University.

Jersey Heritage and the Société Jersiaise have also launched a fundraising campaign to make sure that work to conserve the site can continue into the future.