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13 February 2012
Conservation plan in place for Guernsey Neolithic site

As part of the final phase of the project to conserve a Neolithic gallery grave in Delancey Park (in Guernsey, a British Crown dependency located in the English Channel), archaeologist Dr George Nash has recently submitted to the Admiral de Saumarez Trust and the States of Guernsey Museums and Gallery Service a Conservation Management Plan. This document provided the stakeholders associated with the monument a strategy for the future protection and enhancement of the ancient site.
     Dr Nash, who teaches within the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol, ran three fieldwork seasons at the site between 2009 and 2011. The excavation revealed a complex history of the site that dates back to the Early Neolithic period, some 5,500 years ago. The project also revealed evidence of two previous excavations that took place in 1919 and 1932. The finds, some exotic, typify a site such as this and included three glass beads - their chemical properties suggesting an eastern European origin and dating to the Bronze Age (c. 1500 - 2000 BCE) -  a spindle whorl (used for the weaving of textiles) and an array of pottery and diagnostic flint.
     Although the site is classified as a gallery grave, finds from the 2011 excavation suggest that the site was in use much earlier, possibly as a settlement; this is not an uncommon association. The majority of the trenching was on the northern side of the monument, located over two previous archaeological spoil heaps. The team was surprised and in some ways disappointed with the results within this part of the site as it appears much of trenching revealed evidence of previous archaeological activity. However, at base of the trenching in this area was a clear prehistoric palaeosol (high organic soil) horizon which is currently been dated using chronometric dating techniques. This ancient soil horizon extended across most of the site. Incorporated into this ancient soil were the three very small blue glass beads, which probably date to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age,
     The Conservation Management Plan has identified a number of existing long standing issues that need to be addressed such as sporadic vandalism and tree root infestation. It is hoped that the Conservation Management Plan will pave the way of enhancing the monument through sensitive landscaping and visual enhancement in area of Delancey Park that has seen much neglect in recent years.

Edited from George Nash PR

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