Now things begin to get more exciting in the Neolithic. This is the ‘New Stone Age’ when men were making fine flint tools including arrowheads. For the first time, people came to live permanently in the islands. They started farming and raising domestic animals instead of hunting.
So, archaeologists find a lot of Neolithic sites across the Channel Islands. We have found no houses as people must have still lived in little huts or tents. What we do find is plenty of megaliths. ‘Megalith’ is Greek for ‘large stone’. Using incredibly large stones these ancient people built a variety of different monuments. These included passage graves, like at La Varde in Guernsey, and gallery graves like the one which is now badly damaged at Les Porciaux Alderney. We think these were used to bury important people – possibly their chiefs and queens. Most of the entrances face towards the rising sun. We also have stone circles and standing stones like La Longue Roque in St Peters, Guernsey. These sites might have been used for religious ceremonies. The common at the north end of Herm is dotted with such sites.
Pottery was also invented at this time. This was needed for storing food that the farmers grew, and for cooking on the fire. I used to be a pottery expert, so find pieces of pot far more fun than pieces of flint. One pot breaks into lots of pieces, so that gives us lots of chances of finding some.
We still have no names, but we do have a face. The earliest picture of a human is a man with a beard, cut into a large stone. Perhaps it once stood in the open, but now it can only be seen by crawling into Le Dehuis dolmen in Guernsey and looking up at the ceiling.