Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, one of Britian’s most knowledgeable Bronze Age archaeologists, is in Sark this month leading a two-week long dig with a team of eight experts from the UK and Guernsey. The main excavations have been taking place in fields near the mill in an area known to have been a long-term settlement around three thousand years ago. As well as stone spindle whorls and large numbers of pottery fragments, this year’s dig has discovered two broken pieces of bronze weapons, a sword blade and an axe head, both thought to have been collected to be melted down and re-used. Barry’s favourite find though is a mysterious carved piece of serpentine, a soft stone unique to Sark within the Channel Islands. He is baffled as to its purpose but is certain that it meant something special to someone on Sark three millennia ago; an amazing thought! Many locals have been involved in supporting the work at the dig but Sarkee Andrew Prevel, a keen amateur archaeologist, has been trained by Barry over the ten years that he’s been visiting Sark and now works alongside the professionals on the excavations. “It’s fascinating finding out what’s buried under out feet,” he explained. “We’ve got a Bronze Age environment here and it’s fantastic to find out what’s been going on all that time ago.” Finds from this year are being cleaned by members of La Société Sercquaise and will join those from previous year’s excavations on display in the Heritage Room.
Follow the link below to see the Channel TV report broadcast on 20th June.
Pictures and words by Sue Daly. Photos clockwise from top left;
This year’s site
Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe at work
The mysterious serpentine carving
Andrew Prevel working on the dig