Jersey Heritage has been awarded a £199,000 grant by the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) to finance a three year archaeological project that will further explore Jersey’s unique history stretching back over a quarter of a million years.
The grant funding will be entirely dedicated to supporting the continuing work of the Quaternary Archaeology and Environments of Jersey Project, an eminent team of UK archaeologists and academics who have been working in Jersey for the past three years. The project is of notable importance in putting Jersey firmly on the historical map globally and it has the potential for the Island to become one of the most significant cultural heritage destinations in Europe.
The grant will be used to enable the continuation of fieldwork and research that has already uncovered hunting sites and submerged Ice Age landscapes, ranging from the earliest occupation by Neanderthals more than 250,000 years ago, to the arrival of the first modern humans. To date, there have already been significant finds, but it is anticipated that more evidence and artefacts of ancient human occupations have yet to be discovered across Jersey.
Peter Funk, Chairman of the Tourism Development Panel, commented:
“The Tourism Development Fund is delighted to be able to support this very special project. There is a huge level of interest in archaeological discovery and Jersey has a unique story to tell which we believe will be an integral part of Jersey’s tourism offering in the years to come.”
Jersey Heritage, working in partnership with Société Jersiase and the National Trust of Jersey, will be facilitating the exploration and interpretation of this project, the results of which will have resonance globally. They will be working to transform the archaeological discoveries into a tourism and educational resource.
Jon Carter, Director of Jersey Heritage stated:
“Over the past three years we have identified a number of Ice Age locations in Jersey, adding to the knowledge we had already gained from La Cotte de St Brelade, which is one of the most important sites in the world. We are heartened that the Tourism Development Fund has seen both the current and potential future value of continuing this work and supporting the role of Jersey Heritage as a custodian and promoter of the Island’s culture and heritage.”
The team undertaking the study comprises Dr Matt Pope, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, and colleagues from a number of UK institutions including the British Museum. Their work so far in Jersey has already received extensive national television and media coverage, including ‘Digging for Britain’.
Dr Pope commented:
“We have only begun to scratch the surface of Jersey’s rich record of Ice Age hunters, climate change and extinct mammals such as the mammoth. Jersey has a story to tell about human evolution relavent across Europe and the wider world. This funding will help to take the story of Jersey’s stunning coastal and deeply buried past to a new audience.”
To date, the project represents £170,000 of UK-funded research, including grants from the National Environmental Research Council and the Leverhulme-funded Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project.
The Tourism Development Fund is now open for the Spring 2013 application round, with a closing date for applications of 5 April 2013.
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