Vandals Drill into Neolithic Jersey Dolmen Looking for Quartz
A famous dolmen on the Channel Islands has been damaged. Vandals drilled into one of the supporting stones of the 6,000-year-old Stone Age monument. It is believed that they were looking for quartz in the stone. Another prehistoric dolmen was also damaged by vandals who painted graffiti on the prehistoric structure.
The Channel Islands are a popular tourist destination, located in the English Channel between France and Britain. They are known as Crown dependencies and their head of state is the British Queen. The islands had close cultural associations with France. Up until the 19 th century Norman French was the main language used by the inhabitants and many still speak it today, although the majority official language is now English.
Members of the Société Jersiaise on Jersey were shocked to discover that vandals have drilled into one of the supporting stones of the famous 6,000-year-old dolmen of Faldouet. ( La Société Jersiaise )
6000-Year-Old Passage Grave
The islands are home to several important Stone Age megaliths such as La Hougue Bie , a Neolithic ritual site on Jersey, and the carved standing stones (Menhirs) on the island of Guernsey. One of the best-known and preserved Stone Age structures is the dolmen of Faldouet, which is “a Neolithic passage grave built around 6,000 years ago which was first recorded in 1682,” reports Channel 103 . La Pouquelaye de Faldouet , as it is known in the local variant of Norman French, is located on the largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey.
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This dolmen has several standing stones that support a 24-ton capstone. There are a number of smaller standing stones that form a pathway or entrance to the structure. It was once used for burials and rituals in the Neolithic and is aligned to the solar equinox. For centuries, the local people on the island of Jersey believed that it was a place where mythical fairies lived. According to the Bailiwick Express , the monument is a “spectacular site” that has survived largely intact for 6,000 years and is very popular with visitors.
The vandals have drilled into the dolmen of Faldouet, a Neolithic passage grave in Jersey dating back 6,000 years. Were they looking for quartz? ( La Société Jersiaise )
Were the Vandals Drilling for Quartz?
Members of the Archaeology Section of the Société Jersiaise monitor the dolmen at Faldouet. On October 25th some members visited the dolmen and were shocked by what they discovered. During their routine visit they found a hole, several inches wide and deep, had been drilled into one of the stones that support the capstone. ITV reports that “residents nearby reported hearing noises on the night of 24 October.”
The Bailiwick Express reports that “it is believed this was done to extract quartz crystals.” The vandals may have believed they could sell the crystals or they could have been simply looking for souvenirs. This was an act of criminal damage because the dolman is a Scheduled Site of Archaeological Importance and protected by the local government. The members of the archaeology group reported the damage to the police. The damage is not believed to threaten the integrity of the structure, but it has left an unsightly hole.
Searching for Clues: Police Hunt for Vandals
A few days later members of the Société Jersiaise made another shocking discovery in Jersey. During a routine visit to the Stone Age dolmen at Mont Grantez they found that it too had been vandalized. Newly drawn graffiti was found sprayed on the ancient stones. Mont Grantez is a passage chamber formed out of several large standing granite blocks and stone walls, that leads to an underground oval chamber. Like the dolmen at Faldouet, it was used for burials and rituals by a Neolithic community and probably dates from about 4,500 to 4,000 years ago.
The Bailiwick Express quotes a Société Jersiaise statement which declares that "it is a shame that these wonderful monuments are drawing such negative attention and vandalism". So far, it is not known if the two acts of vandalism are linked. The organization have asked anyone with information to contact the police. Residents have also been asked to report anything suspicious, especially at nighttime.
Top image: The dolmen of Faldouet is one of several Neolithic Jersey dolmens. It is a Neolithic passage grave located near St. Martin and a highlight for visitors to the island. Source: Lux / Adobe Stock
By Ed Whelan