REVIEW BY FRANCIS WENBAN-SMITH
This volume presents an interim report on the current research into Middle Palaeolithic Neanderthal occupation on Jersey and in its vicinity, centred on re-investigation of La Cotte de St Brelade rock-shelter and its distinctive mammoth bone heaps (previously interpreted as representing a mammoth-drive kill-site). We are reminded that the current, relatively high interglacial sea-level submerges what would have been the more-significant part of the previous Neanderthal inhabitants’ Ice Age landscape under La Manche (or the English Channel, according to taste), and invited to explore this landscape in an imagined metaphorical way rather than through more-traditional archaeological theory and data. Paradoxically, the volume is nonetheless dominated by solid data-heavy academic chapters on topics such as the mammoth bone heaps (reinterpreted as deliberately placed, but not necessarily from driven or hunted beasts), geoarchaeology, and the wider history of Neanderthal presence in the Manche/Channel region. It will fully engage the period specialist, although may be somewhat heavy going for the more-general reader.
B Scott, A Shaw, K Scott, M Pope (eds.)