| 3 February 2012
Neanderthal mammoth hunters in Jersey?
Archaeologists are investigating the truth behind the story that Ice Age Neanderthals in Jersey would push mammoths off cliffs in St Brelade for food. About 30 years ago, evidence suggested early residents of what is today the island of Jersey chased the giant mammals off the cliffs at La Cotte above Ouaisne.
Dr Geoff Smith, an analyst for Jersey Archive, is now using new technology to look at whether that theory is correct or not. Dr Smith said: "I record the ages of the animals to see if they resemble natural deaths or whether it is indicative of human hunting or other carnivore. Was the climate change so severe it forced them into a refuge somewhere from which they became such a small population they couldn't survive? We still don't know, new theories are coming out every day."
In a cave at La Cotte in Ouaisne Bay archaeologists have, over the years, found tools and the fossilised bones and teeth of woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, cave bear and reindeer. These remains date from a time when the view from Ouaisne was not sea, but a huge treeless land stretching all the way to what is now St Malo.
Groups of nomadic people would move northwards in the spring, following the animals to their summer pastures in the place where England is today. On the cliffs at Ouaisne, it was thought these nomadic people would hunt for food by sneaking up on grazing animals and making them stampede over the edge.
Edited from BBC News (26 January 2012)
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