Delancey dig reveals 20th century excavators got there beforehand

ARCHAEOLOGISTS at Delancey Park were surprised and disappointed when they uncovered early 20th century items in soil previously believed to be untouched since the Neolithic period.

The Clifton Antiquarian Club from Bristol, with the help of locals and specialists, has been digging at the site to the north of the gallery grave in the park.

An exploration last year appeared to show that a small area, under a 1932 excavation spoil heap, had been left undisturbed.

However, it appears that a 1919 dig by Societe Guernesiaise had got there first.

Excavation director Dr George Nash said there were few records of this earlier dig, so they had not known the site had been dug until they got down there.

‘We found some lines that show some sort trench activity,’ he said. ‘There was also evidence of modern glass and a clay pipe from the early 20th century.’

‘Also, when they excavated they seem to have been after big finds, so we have found lots of small finds such as pottery and flint, but all have been disturbed.’

Despite this, he described some of the finds as ‘spectacular’.

These include a dolerite ceremonial mace head and three 9mm blue glass beads – two intact and one broken.

The team also uncovered evidence of postholes where the gallery stone would have originally have been placed and the cobbled floor of the grave itself.

Archaeologist Donovan Hawley said the finds were important and have helped the team date the site as it changes over time.

‘They can tell us whether they were living here or visiting. We have found flint chippings, which suggests tools were made, so we think people lived here.’

He said the finds point to people having lived on the site 4,500 years ago – 2,000 years before the grave.

The items will be taken back to Bristol and washed and catalogued before being returned to Guernsey,

States Archaeologist Dr Phil de Jersey said it was unfortunate the area had been dug before, but he was impressed with the work that had been done.

by Juliet Pouteaux

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