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How King Charles III played a part in unearthing Jersey's history...

How King Charles III played a part in unearthing Jersey's history...

Saturday 06 May 2023

How King Charles III played a part in unearthing Jersey's history...

Saturday 06 May 2023

In 1968, the future King Charles III helped to excavate one of the most important archaeological sites in Jersey.

La Cotte de St. Brelade, a ravine that runs through the Headland at Ouaisné, is an archeological site of international significance.

First discovered in 1881, the site has thrown up a colossal collection of artefacts from the Paleolithic period.

This collection includes over 200,000 stone tools, the bones of Ice Age megafauna, as well as the only Late Neanderthal human fossils found in the British Isles.


Pictured: His Royal Highness working at La Cotte in 1968. (Société Jersiaise Photo Archive)

It is estimated that people may have inhabited the site over 250,000 years ago. 

In 1968, the first modern scientific excavations of the site took place under the guidance of Cambridge Professor Charles McBurney.

During work on the site, Professor McBurney brought with him a number of his Cambridge students; including the then-Prince Charles. 


Pictured: Excavations at La Cotte in 1968, with His Royal Highness seen in the top right. (Société Jersiaise Photo Archive)

The Prince’s presence instantly raised the site’s profile internationally and has been a touchstone for its importance ever since. 

Thanks to the work done by Cambridge University, almost 100,000 large stone artefacts were recovered alongside thousands of mammal remains including large heaps of mammoth and woolly rhinoceros bones.

The site is currently owned by the Société Jersiaise and managed by Jersey Heritage. In July 2022, His Royal Highness became the Patron of Jersey Heritage’s La Cotte de St. Brelade Archaeological Project. 


Pictured: La Cotte de St. Brelade. 

Jon Carter, Jersey Heritage’s Chief Executive, said at the time: “We are incredibly grateful to The Prince of Wales for accepting our invitation to become Patron of Jersey Heritage’s La Cotte de St. Brelade Archaeological Project and are sure the news will be a tremendous boost to gathering interest in, and support for, the next crucial stage of this important project.

“Rising sea levels and storms continue to be a threat to this ancient heritage site and we know these are issues close to the Prince’s heart, having read archaeology at Cambridge University – which included taking part in excavation work at La Cotte itself – and having been a long-time campaigner to raise awareness of global warming and climate change.

“We are delighted The Prince of Wales has reaffirmed his connection with the site and it an honour to have him as Patron as we embark on this new chapter for La Cotte, which we hope will help to draw attention to its international significance.”

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