by Jonathan Webb
A dig in Jersey has yielded a stash of hunter-gatherer artefacts from the end of the last Ice Age, including stone pieces criss-crossed by carved lines.
They are similar to engravings found from the same period in continental Europe, but are the first of their kind in the British Isles.
Archaeologists are in the early stages of analysing the finds, but estimate them to be at least 14,000 years old.
This places the camp among the earliest in northern Europe after the freeze.
It would also mean that the markings pre-date the earliest known art in the UK, which was found carved into stone walls and bones at Creswell Crags in Derbyshire in 2003.
However, the team wants to study the engravings more closely and hopefully find more of them, before making any grand claims.
Dr Chantal Conneller is co-director of the Ice Age Island project, which for five years has been working on the Les Varines site in the south east area of Jersey. She told the BBC: “We’re feeling reasonably confident at the moment that what we’ve got fits into this broader idea of non-representational Magdalenian art.”
The Magdalenians were one of several hunter-gatherer cultures which gradually re-colonised Europe as the ice retreated, 16,000 to 13,000 years ago.
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