Le Pinacle

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Le Pinacle


Le Pinacle is an important archaeological site on Jersey's north-west coast which was occupied by man at various times in Jersey's pre-history

Two earth and rubble ramparts next to Le Pinacle have been attributed to the Neolithic/Chalcolithic periods and a third to the Bronze Age. Iron Age occupation is attributed to six pieces of iron. In Roman times a rectangular (11.2m x 9.15m) Gallo-Roman temple was constructed. Among the large number of finds from various excavations are flints, hammers, rubbers, polishing stones, a copper arrow head, bronze spear head, wheel turned pottery and a Roman coin.

It is suggested that the 200-foot high rock pinnacle which probably attracted early islanders to live in what is a most uninviting and exposed position.

thumbLe Pinacle in 1890


This description is taken from George Balleine's Bailiwick of Jersey

The Pinnacle Rock in the north-west corner of St Ouen is about 200 feet high, and rises sheer from the sea; and, though the soil is barren and the site exposed to the fiercest gales, at five widely divided periods of history men have made settlements at its foot.
The careful excavations of Father Burdo and Major Godfray revealed deep down ijh the sand remains of a typical Neolithic settlement with numerous hearths, 700 stone implements, and fragments of round-bottom pots. On the top of this came relics of an entirely different race, whose arrow-heads of Grand Pressigny flint from TOuraine show that they were in touch with traders from abroad. A copper axe proved that this camp belonged to the Copper Age.
Above this came a Bronze Age fort protected by two ramparts, its date indicated by a bronze spearhead.
And still nearer the present surface, just below the roots of the grass, came a fourth encampment, which an iron wedge, four iron bars, and part of an iron blade identified as belonging to the Iron Age.
A Gaulish coin showed that it had been occupied after the Gaulish invasion. From the Neolithic to the Iron Age was fully 2,000 years. Why should for races separated by such long periods of time have chosen such an uninviting spot to live in, though the sea has probably considerably eroded the neck of land with passing time/ The only possible answer seems to be the attraction of this awe-inspiring rock.
Nor isi this the end of the story. THe veneration for menhirs lasted well into the Christian era. As late as AD567 the Council of Tours forbade priests to allow inside their churches "any who offer worship to stones set up on end". So it is not surprising to find at the close of the 2nd century AD, long after most people had adopted the worship of the Roman gods, that there were still some devotees of the older forms of paganism.
All over Normandy little shrines called fana were being erected in out-of-the-way places to obscure local deities;l and the foundations of one of these were discovered just outside the earthwork at the Pinnacle. A coin which some worshipper had dropped in the sand helps to date this fanum. It bears the head of the Emperor Commodus and was minted in AD 181. It would probably take some years before it reached the island; so as late as AD 200 we may picture little bands of pilgrims wending their way westward to worship the god of the Pinnacle. No shrine in the island preserved its sanctity for so many generations.
From at least 2,000 BC till AD 200 this tremendous rock was filling men's minds with awe for the Unseen. This is a wonderful place to see wild flowers in the spring, including horse-shoe vetch, the brilliant gold of creeping broom, bluebells and thick clumps of thrift making a glorious kaleidoscope of colour.

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