Archaeologists are set to explore the Ice Age history of Jersey by examining a collection of artefacts from the Neanderthal site at La Cotte à la Chèvre. The site, located on the north coast of the island, is believed to have been used by Neanderthals as a hunting ground 250,000 years ago. The team of experts, led by Dr Josie Mills, will be cataloguing over 16,000 stone tools, animal bones, and sediment samples. Most of these artefacts have been stored in boxes or bags since their excavation in the early 20th century and 1960s.
Dr Mills, who has studied Palaeolithic sites in Jersey since 2010, has stated that the artefacts’ repackaging and cataloguing will reveal more about how Neanderthals used the site and how it compares to the larger and better-known La Cotte de St Brelade at Ouaisné. The team will be in Jersey for three weeks and will be working alongside Jersey Heritage’s curator of archaeology, Olga Finch.
Apart from examining the artefacts, Dr Mills will also lead a free guided walk around the area on April 16th, providing an opportunity for people to learn more about La Cotte à la Chèvre. Additionally, a free talk on the collection will be held on May 4th at Sir Francis Cook Gallery.
The excavation of La Cotte à la Chèvre is expected to provide new insights into Neanderthal history and shed light on their hunting practices in the Ice Age. The team’s work will be of significant historical importance and will provide an exciting opportunity for the public to learn more about the island’s past.