Press release n° 01/2006 GRAN
Survey of an underwater archaeological site in the Marquesas Islands
Papeete, February 19th, 2006
An underwater archaeological expert survey will be staged from Feb 26 thru March 11 at Hiva Oa (Marquesas Archipelago – French Polynesia).
Located at the place known as "Le Rabot" on Hiva Oa island, the site to be examined was found by Mr Philippe Penot while performing a leisure dive and then declared to the authorities by its finder.
Situated at depths ranging from 10 to 30 m, the place contains worked stone pieces which are believed to have been used in fishing activities.
The site survey which will be conducted by the Polynesian local team of the Naval Archaeology Research Group (GRAN) will include an evaluation of the area, an assessment of the number of items lying on the site, a study of the type of the objects and a search along the shore and into the adjacent land valleys.
The scope is among others to help establish an inventory of the French Polynesia underwater archaeological sites, conduct surveys, enhance the understanding of the underwater sites made up of an accumulation of worked stone objects, draw up a typology of the stone objects (especially anchors and fishing weights) and investigate a possible link between this underwater site and some neighboring land sites.
The team consists of Robert Veccella, the GRAN manager in Tahiti, an archaeologist and project leader, an agent of the Culture and Heritage service in the person of Mrs Christiane Dauphin and Yann Hubert, an underwater photographer. On the spot, the team will get the technical support of several persons among whom the finder himself. This operation has been authorized and is sponsored by Mr Tauhiti Nena, the Minister of French Polynesia Youth Affairs, Culture and Heritage and his services.
Several underwater sites containing fishing weights and anchors but also stone artifacts have been signaled in French Polynesia but only the one located in Afareaitu pass (Mo'orea) has been the subjecy of a survey by the GRAN in 2003 (please browse the following Internet website :
). In the Society Archipelago islands, this type of site is mainly located near a pass. We have now the opportunity to study the particular case of the Marquesas islands the main characteristic of which is the absence of lagoon and to clear up the cause for such piling up of objects which has remained so far unexplained.
To secure a media coverage like during the excavation works performed in 2003 on Mo'orea island and the construction of the canoe
at the Museum of Tahiti and her Islands in 2004, we are going to set up a specially dedicated Internet website: introduction to the project, general public intended daily logbook giving details about the day-to-day work progress (one page of text with 2 or 3 photos), a special rubric about the Marquesas islands, etc.
Editors: Max Guérout and Robert Veccella
] – (689) 53 10 85
] Phone: 00 (33) 4 67 35 92 01 – 00 (33) 6 23 16 78 17
GRAN Internet website: http://www.archeonavale.org