British Museum QAEJ Lecture June 7th

At home with the Neanderthals: excavations at la Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey
UCL Lunch hour lecture, Thursday 7 June, 13.15
Book online or Watch online

The Neanderthals represent an incredibly successful and distinctive experiment in being human. They evolved as a separate human lineage over half a million years before apparently disappearing around 40,000 years ago. During this period they occupied large parts of Europe and Western Asia, developed sophisticated tools, mastered fire and engaged in the hunting of large mammals across a variety of different environments.
La Cotte de St Brelade, on the Channel Island of Jersey, is one of the best sites in the world for understanding Neanderthals and their achievements.

In this lecture Matt Pope will report on new work being carried out on this mega-site and will consider the evolution and ultimate fate of our closest evolutionary relative.

Internship Opportunity: La Cotte de St. Brelade Palaeolithic excavation archive reorganisation, Jersey

Jersey Heritage/Quaternary Archaeology and Environment of Jersey Project (QAEJ): 22nd April – 20th May 2012
 Closing date: 23rd March 2012

Jersey Heritage and QAEJ would like to offer a series of internships of up to four weeks duration, working with archaeologists from Jersey Heritage, the British Museum and Southampton University within the archives of the Jersey Heritage on the Channel Island of Jersey.

Extensive excavations by Cambridge University at the Neanderthal site of La Cotte de St.Brelade (1962-78) on Jersey produced in excess of 84 thousand flint artefacts; these were organised by type for the purposes of the original excavation. In order to make the archive accessible to modern researchers, we are undertaking a complete reorganisation of the lithic archive.  This will allow the existing collection to be re-analysed using legacy spatial data.

We are offering between 3-6 internships of 2-4 weeks to allow enthusiastic and meticulous volunteers to gain experience of museum work, archiving and handling Palaeolithic artefacts. Volunteers will assist with the physical reorganisation of the flint artefacts from the site, and will be responsible for maintaining accurate documentation under supervision. Individuals should be enthusiastic, highly motivated, and capable of meticulous attention to detail. These opportunities would be particularly beneficial for those with an interest in Palaeolithic archaeology, especially stone tools, and those pursuing a career in museums.

Accommodation will be provided within a mixed-sex room in a newly converted holiday cottage on a farm (Le Hurel) within walking distance of the museum stores. All meals will be provided for the working week (6 days), but interns are free to make their own arrangements on days off. The working day will be usually be 9-6, and everyone will help out with cooking and other chores around the house. The farm is on a regular bus route into St.Helier, and approximately 2 miles from the nearest beach.

For further information, contact Dr Andrew Shaw ( or Dr Beccy Scott, (; applicants should provide a CV, covering letter, and contact details for a referee, explaining how they would benefit from this opportunity, their relevant skills and expertise, and any dietary or other requirements. Preference will be given to applicants able to commit to the full 4 weeks, but individuals with appropriate skills will be considered for shorter periods.

La Cotte faunal archive revisited

Dr Geoff Smith is currently on Jersey to reanalyse the faunal material from the prominent Neanderthal site of La Cotte de St Brelade. His main focus is on layers 3 and 6, the so-called bone heap layers, which are characterised by large amounts of mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. This work ties in with new reanalyses of the lithics, and together this archival research is aimed at coming to a better understanding of the site and assessing the validity of the mammoth drive hypothesis.

Geoff’s work is being funded by the Quaternary Research Association through the Quaternary Research Fund.

Geoff got interviewed about his work by the Jersey Evening Post, click on the image to read the full article:

The Naked Scientist Interview: Neanderthals on Jersey

The QAEJ project is again the spotlight with an interview on the Naked Scientist website. The transcript is from the NERC Planet Earth Podcast that went out earlier and is the QAEJ media archive. The short interview discusses the ongoing work by the QAEJ team and also details some of the findings from last October’s fieldwork funded by the NERC Emergency Grant.

QAEJ seminar Nov 25

Dr Matt Pope and Dr James Cole are presenting the results of two years of new investigations into the deepest history of Jersey this Friday November 25th at the University of Southampton. The talk will take place at 5pm in CAHO‘s Wymer Laboratory on Avenue Campus and all are welcome to attend.

Matt Pope, James Coles, Beccy Scott, Andy Shaw, Chantal Conneller, Martin Bates, Geoff Smith, Dave Underhill and Karen Ruebens

Ice Age Island: New Investigations on the Ancient Occupation of Jersey.

Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands situated close to the north west coast of France. It provides an excellent record of human occupation and environmental change during the Quaternary, a record  of relevance both to Britain and the continental mainland. The Quaternary Archaeology and Environments of Jersey project (QAEJ) has now undertaken two field seasons of investigation on the island; a number of localities have been investigated through direct excavation and geoarchaeological sampling during this time and these include the Middle Mesolithic site of Canal du Squez, the Late Upper Palaeolithic site of les Varines and the first renewed excavations at la Cotte de St Brelade. Work was taken forward at la Cotte this Autumn under NERC funding and also in 2011 work began on detailed bathymetric survey of the sea floor around the coast of La Cotte de St Brelade.

This presentation provides an over-view of the project, the results of on-going research and potential for the future. The presentation will focus on the excavations at Les Varines and La Cotte with new perspectives on the latter site emerging from reassessment of lithic and faunal material in the McBurney archive. An account is also given of the technical challenges of survey of the complex structure of La Cotte de St Brelade, the three-dimensional modelling of the site and the emerging of terrestrial and marine datasets to create seamless reconstructions of cold stage landscapes surrounding the site.

This talk forms part of the seminar series of the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO, University of Southampton).