Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Ice Age Island 2015

Ice Age Island – the Saga Continues

So we have returned for another season in Jersey as part of a three year project to explore the deep prehistoric past, from exploration of the island caves, through the archaeological excavation of hunter gather camps preserved in the island’s interior, to the iconic sites at La Cotte de St Brelade.  In all of these locations we aim to discover why this remarkable landmass attracted Neanderthal and modern humans at different time periods.  Over the past 3 years we have been acquiring geophysical data both onshore and offshore in order to re-create the landscapes of the past.  We have also had a number of investigation sites such as the one at Les Varines shown below.

Les Varines dig 2015

Earlier in the spring we acquired 2D electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) data at the site, which together with boreholes drilled through the sequences allowed for the targeted expansion in the excavation.

At the other side of the island we are trying to survey cliff sections that will give us further insight to the history of climate change in Jersey over the last 200,000 years as recorded in the sediment sequences, and hence palaeogeography of the La Cotte site.  In Portelet Bay to the south east of St Brelades there is a particularly well exposed Pleistocene deposits.  The only problem is that its 15m high and loose – a job for extreme geophysics!  By abseiling off the top of the cliff we were able to clean a sufficient amount to achieve mapping, photography, sampling (for OSL dating, palaeo-climate and palaeogeographic setting) and a geophysical profile.  The geophysics consisted of both magnetic susceptibility and DC resistivity.  The mag did not produce much differentiation however the DC resistivity mapped distinct boundary changes within the various units. The preliminary results are shown below and you can visit here for some live action!

Some preliminary results

See some of the previous work for the site at an older blog:

The project is sponsored by Capco Trust and supported by the Tourism Development Fund.
For more information also see:

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