Royal Becomes La Cotte Patron

Picture Credit: Danny Moisan.

The Prince of Wales has accepted an invitation to be the patron of the Jersey Heritage La Cotte project.

The charity is hoping it will give a huge boost to its long-term plans to protect and preserve the ancient site in St Brelade, which was first discovered more than 140 years ago.

Prince Charles joined excavations there in 1968.

Picture Credit: Societe Jersiase Photo Archive.

Jon Carter, Chief Executive of Jersey Heritage, says His Royal Highness' support is fantastic news for the future of unearthing stories of the island's Ice Age past.

"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 Archeological 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's 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."

The news comes as archaeologists return to the site at Ouaisne for the first time since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Vital stabilisation work that we have carried out at the site means that archaeologists are able to work there again and although it has already revealed so much about its incredible Ice Age past since it was first discovered over 140 years ago, La Cotte has the potential to surprise us with incredible new stories."

The excavation team is led by Dr. Matt Pope, who was recently in the island to carry out a survey at the Violet Bank.

Dr. Pope's team carried out a new era of research at La Cotte in 2010, which included fossil remains of Neanderthal people.

Geomarine carried out the cliff stabilisation and sea wall work and is on hand to make sure the archaeologists can access the site safely via a 30m rope descent.

"The Prince's time with McBurney at La Cotte de St Brelade, working under challenging conditions, saw the future British monarch physically revealing the traces of Ice Age archaeology from the site.

Reconnecting with that historic moment, over half a century later, and as the site is once more under excavation, is significant. It reminds us that understanding our shared past is an inter-generational endeavour." - Dr. Pope.

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