Megalithic Jersey - Pre-historic people, their dolmens and ritual

Megaliths – literally means "big stones" – and they were widely used by prehistoric communities to build monuments, burial places, and sanctuaries. Megalithic tombs, dolmens and other monuments represent the oldest surviving indigenous architecture of Europe. Jersey has an outstanding set of these megalithic remains and perhaps it will help you understand how it relates to our own very origins.

Prior to the Megalithic period, we know that Neanderthals used caves and promontories around the rocky shores of the Island for shelter, at a time when the surrounding landscape, rather than sea, was tundra where mammoth and woolly rhino grazed. The later Mesolithic people were also hunter-gatherers who probably led a nomadic life following the seasons which affected the availability of food and shelter, and they were followed by the Neolithic people, who, as the first farmers, settled here permanently and who created megalithic Jersey.

Visit Jersey’s dolmens, the earliest remaining man-made structures here, as well as the promontory forts and refuges used during the Bronze and Iron Ages. With recent archaeological finds all over the Island and our foreshore, we are starting to gain a real insight into the ancient people of Jersey, as the Island entered the first millennium.

As many of the sites from these prehistoric periods are on Jersey’s coast, if you look out to sea from these sites today, undistracted by modern development, your view will be remarkably similar to what our ancient ancestors saw as the sea surrounded and created the Island following the melt of the last great ice age.

Many of the Jersey pre-historic sites are tucked away off the beaten track, in areas of outstanding natural beauty and not on the usual tourist routes. A must visit is La Hougue Bie, where the largest Celtic coin hoard ever found has been carefully picked apart, and where still buried Neolithic dolmen, which ranks as one of the best in Western Europe, can be explored underground.

Until archaeological investigations began in the 19th century, the dolmens and other standing stones around Jersey were entwined in  mystery, myth and folklore. Hence the local name given to dolmen of La Pouquelaye  or La Ploucée, meaning the home of the fairies.

When choosing your private tour, if prehistory and some beautiful scenery interests you, specify Megalithic Jersey

Look out for specific “Megalithic Jersey” scheduled tours – we will put them when there is demand.

A short video of our Megalithic Jersey Tour

Please see the separate Places section below to see some of the locations which are included in these tours.

You can also Click the Map icon (below main image in grey bar to the right) to view locations and see further information

History Alive’s and Jersey Military Tours are devised in a way to give our guests an overall and enjoyable experience which means that we won’t always follow the same route or stop at all the above locations. This also gives us the ability to make changes either to take advantage of, or to mitigate against, factors such as weather or other delays which might affect timing. On full day tours, we stop at lunch times where refreshments/food can be purchased, and on all tours, we will stop as necessary for refreshments and comfort breaks.

Our Tours are a combination of a coach tour and exploring the sites on foot, so please refer to the Level of Fitness required to enjoy these Tours. This tour does require a reasonable level of mobility and fitness. For more details, and for what’s included in these Tours and Prices, as well as Pick-Up points for the Tours, please see Information below

Jersey is proud to be a member of the Route of European Megalithic Culture, a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe certified in 2013, which explores the vast megalithic heritage through many different paths covering Sweden, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, the Channel Islands and Great Britain. The Route offers hiking and cycling activities that promote a strong connection with the land, so that the traveller can explore not only the megalithic monuments but also the manifold features of the surrounding landscape.

Megalithic Route

Places in Megalithic Jersey – Pre-historic people, their dolmens and ritual

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