Archaeology Report for 2001

Guernsey enjoyed a busy and fruitful archaeological year. The Section’s activities began with Jason Monaghan giving a seminar on Roman pottery and later in the year he gave another on Armies of the Ancient World. Tim Schadla-Hall of University College London gave a pair of lectures to the Societe in March, covering first “Public Archaeology” then on the following day taking a detailed look at the prehistoric site of Star Carr in Yorkshire. In June, Dave Lane gave a seminar on flints and showed the section an assemblage he had retrieved from a coastal erosion site on Lihou Island. These included cores and flakes characteristic of a knapping site provisionally dated to the late Mesolithic. A trial excavation of the site took place later in the summer. Section members went on a ramble of sites on Lihou Island and participated in the active year of excavations, described by Heather Sebire below.

Richard Keen showed the section video footage of the mediaeval wrecks laying on the seabed in St Peter Port Harbour, which are gradually being broken up. By way of comparison, he then revisted the “Asterix” Roman wreck excavations of 1985-6 and reminded the audience that this was the last piece of sustained underwater excavation to have taken place in Guernsey. The ship is in the last year of its conservation process in the UK and a debate has restarted over how the ship will be housed and displayed on its return to Guernsey. The rudder from the Elizabethan shipwreck (c.1592) from Alderney returned home and went on display in the museum, whilst a catalogue of the finds from the wreck and a collection of historical essays edited by Jason Monaghan and Mensun Bound was published by the Alderney Maritime Trust.

The Section made representations to the IDC’s enquiry on the Urban Area Plan, which was well reported in the press. These centred on the inadequacy of the island’s ancient monument laws in respect of archaeological sites which are not listed. Section members also wrote to the press on the same issue.

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Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG, Channel Islands.