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Monday, 2 November 2015

Ice Age engravings found in Jersey

The recent discovery in Jersey of fragments from stone slabs proves that, like us, settlers in the UK were tablet aficionados 14,000 years ago. Plus ├ža change... 

The dig uncovered stone engravings which are similar to those discovered on the continental mainland - which are also dated similarly - but are the first of their kind here and pre-date the earliest discovered art in Britain. 

The 'art' in question - for we are using the term a little loosely here - comprises a series of criss-crosses carved into tablets, and are significant in that they perhaps mark the point when our ancestors began to think in a more abstract way. 

Unlike at other Magdalenian sites where tablets have been discovered with representations of other horses and animals on them, the carvings consist exclusively of repeated lines, leading experts to surmise whether the artist in question is in fact a distant ancestor of Ed Miliband

The discoveries were made by archaeologists who have been patiently toiling away at the site - 'Les Varines' - for five consecutive summers. And Dr Conneller, a lecturer at the University of Manchester, is hopeful their labours will bear yet more fruit:

"We're hoping this is a hint of what is to come, because at some other sites you get hundreds of these pieces. What we've got at the moment is only a fragment of something much larger."

A fragment of something much larger indeed:- Dr Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum is confident that the fragments are the real deal, revealing a shift in hunter-gatherer attitudes from the simplistic to the aesthetic:

"the stones ... show clear incised lines consistent with being made by stone tools, and they do not have any obvious functional role."

£180,000 has been invested by the Jersey States in the project - dubbed the Ice Age Island Project - and work resumes. 

We'll keep you updated as more discoveries, fingers crossed, follow.  

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Hat-doff to the BBC for pictures.

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