La Hougue Bie

Jersey, United Kingdom

La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. Hougue is a Jèrriais/Norman language word meaning a 'mound' and comes from the Old Norse word haugr. The site consists of 18.6m long passage chamber covered by a 12.2m high mound. The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals. Gravegoods, mostly pottery, were also present. At some time in the past, the site had evidently been entered and ransacked.

In Western Europe, it is one of the largest and best preserved passage graves and the most impressive and best preserved monument of Armorican Passage Grave group. Although they are termed 'passage graves', they were ceremonial sites, whose function was more similar to churches or cathedrals, where burials were incidental. Since the excavations and restoration of the original entrance of the passage observations from inside the tomb at sunrise on the spring and autumn equinox have revealed that the orientation of the passage allows the sun's rays to shine through to the chamber entering the back recess of the terminal cell. Although many passage graves showed evidence of continued activity into the Late Neolithic period, La Hougue Bie was abandoned before that time.

On top of the mound were built two medieval chapels, one from the 12th century and the other from 16th century There is also a museum today.



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User Reviews

James O'Hanlon (2 years ago)
Very interesting place with a rich history. You got the ancient burial chamber, above an ancient chapel, an underground bunker as a memorial and a neolithic longhouse all on the same site. Nice to see inside all these places. Just be careful in the burial chamber as it's about a 8m crawl to get inside.
Stewart Russell (2 years ago)
Didn't realise quite how much of a day out this was. The neolithic chamber is fascinating, and put in context by examples of smaller cyst tombs on display. The old chapel on top of the mound is lovingly preserved. The memorial to the forced labourers during WW2 is moving and gives plenty of opportunities to think. We enjoyed the replica/reconstructed neolithic longhouse immensely, the volunteers who showed us around were incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Matthew Wilson (2 years ago)
Very interesting, historically speaking. The site is very well kept. However, even though the video at the start is informative they could have a bit more information to explain what you're actually looking at. But it is cool that you can actually go into the burial chambers (if you can get through the entrance - it's a bit low!) Well worth a visit!
Simon Rose (2 years ago)
Museum not open at the moment due to building work but this is still definitely worth a visit, the neolithic monument is fantaztic you have full access. Inside there is a very small amount light for after a while your eyes acclimatise. Very informative 2 videos to watch at the start in multiple languages, the church is also a quick visit too them the experimental archaeology long house, although I didn't feel they can call it neolithic as it was build using iron tools in the video, but it's great, and again you can explore inside fully. On top of this there's there's WW2 German bunker to explore too and all of this is within 100-150m of everything else You can get here and back from the main town by bus but they were very infrequent on a Sunday ( 2 hrs apart), still if you time your visit it works perfectly. Cafe was nice but a little slow( they cook fresh so say things will take time) so perhaps just plan that in. Lady at the gift shop also v helpful letting people store bags there...
Derek Williams (2 years ago)
It's a truly fascinating experience to visit a structure that was made by Neolithic folk over 6,000 years ago. This structure was buried and therefore protected from weather damage or human deconstruction until being rediscovered in the 20th century. The audio visual story and guided tour is uniquely interesting and to be in a structure that is older than the pyramids and stone henge has to be something to experience.
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