Academic Research

One of the elements of the Field Archaeologist's job involves Société-led and personal research into aspects of Jersey's archaeology and its place in the wider context of the Channel Islands Archipelago and the English Channel area as a whole.  To date, two projects of this type have been completed and three more are in progress.  They are itemised below.

Sark's Hope Silver Mines
2009-12

 

A project to document the history of this 1830s-40s silver mine was initiated by David Synnott of the Société Sercquaise, who invited Mr Waterhouse and Mr Rick Stewart over in 2009 to interpret the well-preserved archaeological remains on this clifftop site in Little Sark.  The Société Jersiaise subsequently allowed time for Mr Waterhouse to complete his survey work and write up his report on the site.    Copies of the report may be viewed in the Société Jersiaise and Société Sercquaise libraries. 

Tudor Bronze Guns of the Channel Islands
2011-13

 

These guns were brought to the islands from the Tower of London Armoury in the middle years of the 16th century, for defence against the French.  They have not been studied in detail before and close scrutiny has revealed details of their casting, finishing and subsequent use.  This research took place in conjunction with the Société Sercquaise and the Guernsey Archaeological Service.

The Minquiers Bronze Swivel Gun
2012-15

 

This gun was found on the Minquiers Reef in 1968 and brought back to Jersey, where it may now be seen in the 'Guns & Gunpowder' exhibition at Elizabeth Castle.  It has been studied in detail by the Field Archaeologist, showing that it is a rare example of an Iberian 'Esmeril' (a breech-loading swivel gun) commonly mounted on the deck-rail of a ship as an anti-personnel weapon.  The gun's special interest is that the only comparable example known is from a Spanish Armada wreck of 1588, now in the Ulster Museum, Belfast [http://www.nmni.com/um/What-s-on/Permanent-Displays/Armada].  

The Field Archaeologist gave a lecture on the gun's design and historical importance to the third international 'Guns From The Sea' conference at Portsmouth in September 2015 and a paper is in preparation for the Journal of the Ordnance Society.

Fish Traps in Jersey
2011-

 

Detailed survey work and a gazetteer of these enigmatic sites has been in progress since 2011 and is ongoing.  Surveys of two possible traps, at Saie Harbour and Le Saut de Geffroy, both in St Martin;  have been undertaken so far with Archaeology Section members and work is ongoing when tides allow.

Iron Age & Gallo-Roman Jersey Project
2012-

 

This Société-initiated project aims to find and study settlement sites of Iron Age and Gallo-Roman date (c.800-55BC and c.55BC-c.AD400) in Jersey.  Research to date has concentrated on South-East Jersey, where the most Gallo-Roman sites are known, but it is expected that in common with the pattern so far seen in Guernsey, evidence will eventually be found in most of the island.  This project is ongoing and currently has no perceived end-date.

Merovingian Sarcophagi in Channel Island Churches
2013-14

 

All known fragments of shelly Miocene limestone in the parish churches of Jersey and Guernsey are being recorded in this personal project.  The geological source of these is either the southern Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy, or north-east Brittany, where there are extensive deposits of this limestone, which was used between c.550AD & c.720AD for carving into stone sarcophagi and their lids.  These are known to have been used in early medieval Christian burials and many examples are known from Normandy and Brittany, where such coffins were often disturbed by later church building projects and incorporated into their walls.  So far, sarcophagus fragments have been recorded in four Jersey churches (St Martin, St Clement, Grouville and St Saviour) and two in Guernsey (Le Câtel and St Pierre du Bois).  An article for the Bulletin is in preparation.

Jersey Landscape Archaeology Project
2012-

 

This long-term project, which is being developed into PhD research with Exeter University starting in 2015, is looking at the development of Jersey's landscape over time.   Detailed study of maps, placenames and known archaeological sites are being combined to suggest past settlement patterns, field systems and communications.  This work continues Mr Waterhouse's long-term research interest in the subject, which began in Devon, where he completed several such studies.