Guernsey Press

Medieval porpoise burial surprises archaeologists

A MYSTERIOUS medieval porpoise burial has been discovered on an island off the west coast of Guernsey.

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States archaeologist Dr Phil De Jersey, right, and Mike Deane alongside the trench where the skeleton of a medieval porpoise was found, a complete mystery to the archaeologists. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 19327802)

Archaeologists have been digging on Chapelle dom Hue off Perelle for the last three weeks, and uncovered what they believe are the ruins of a religious retreat.

But the strangest discovery was made in the final few days of the dig, at the northern end of a trench.

States archaeologist Phil de Jersey said they had believed there was a grave cut, due to a change in the soil. As they reached the medieval layer, however, it was not a human body they found.

Instead, the skull of a medieval sea creature was uncovered, followed by the rest of the skeleton.

Dr de Jersey said they believed it was a juvenile porpoise.

‘If we were in a church and we found something like this, based on the shape, we would think it was a grave cut,’ he said.

‘That is what puzzles me. If they had eaten it or killed it for the blubber, why take the trouble to bury it?’

Full story in today's Guernsey Press