Archaeologists to explore Ice Age landscape off Jersey coast

A group of archaeologists will carry out a survey of a former Ice Age landscape in Jersey to understand more about its history.

The Violet Bank, which sits 4.5km off the island's south west coast, is a section of granite reef which contains former land surfaces in its gullies.

The team of experts hopes the survey will help them explore how Neanderthal people and other early humans used the landscape and how it matches up with discoveries made on land.

They hope it will also set the groundwork for wider surveys which would allow them to identify artifacts and items of interest before they become inaccessible due to rising sea levels.

Dr Matt Pope, who is leading the project, says there are plenty of artefacts to be uncovered.

The Violet Bank is a starkly beautiful and scientifically important landscape. We know there is a record of Neanderthal archaeology, extinct fauna such as mammoth and more recent prehistoric monuments out there waiting to be discovered and documented.

Dr Matt Pope, Project Leader (UCL Institute of Archaeology)

The researchers will carry out the work in four-hour excursions, starting at Seymour Tower. They have already carried out excavations at La Cotte at Ouaisné, which is the largest known neanderthal Ice Age site in Europe.

Jersey Heritage, who are partnering the project, hope this new survey will build on that and help make the Channel Islands a focal point for archaeological research.

We are delighted to be part of this exciting and ambitious project to discover more about Jersey's prehistory. The Island has an incredible Neanderthal story to tell and one that has already been placed on the international map by the ancient site of La Cotte de St Brelade, located on Jersey's south- west coast.

Jon Carter, Chief Executive of Jersey Heritage