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Underwater archaeological expert survey at the bottom of Le Rabot on Hiva Oa Island
:: Marquesas Archipelago – French Polynesia, 2006 ::

While on a leisure dive, Mr Philippe Penot has discovered at the place known as "Le Rabot", at depths ranging from 10 to 30 meters, an area providing shaped stones which may once have been used in fishing activities. The finding of this site was declared by its finder to the competent authorities.

In order to help make an inventory of the French Polynesia underwater archaeological sites, conduct surveys, enhance the understanding of the underwater sites made up of an accumulation of stone artifacts, 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 GRAN in Polynesia is going to conduct an expert and assessment survey of the site.

These works will take place from Feb 26 thru March 11. The site survey will aim at: evaluating its area, estimating the number of artifacts, studying the type of the objects, implementing  the mapping and bathymetric chart, as well as investigating the nearby shore and adjoining valleys.

The first week will be dedicated to the underwater survey, the second one to the land search, but depending on the weather conditions this program may be modified.

The team consists of Robert Veccella, the GRAN manager in Tahiti, an archaeologist and the 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 project is sponsored by Mr Tauhiti Nena, the Minister of French Polynesia Youth Affairs, Culture and Heritage and his services. It was duly approved by decision 2/MJC as of February 8th, 2006.

Several underwater sites featuring fishing weights and anchors but also stone-made tools have already been signaled in French Polynesia , but so far only the Afareaitu Pass site in Mo'orea was subject to a survey  by the GRAN; it was in 2003.

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.

Partners :

The French Polynesia Department of Youth Affairs, Culture and Heritage in charge of raising public awareness of contemporary art issues.
The French Polynesia Culture and Heritage Service
Pacific Plastique company
The GRAN is technically supported in Tahiti by Scuba Tek,  the diving center of the Arue Yacht Club.

List of participating people :

In French Polynesia
Robert Veccella - GRAN Polynesia archaeologist, project leader
Christiane Dauphin - A Culture an Heritage Service agent
Yann Hubert - Underwater photographer

Means  :
The organization of the dives is secured by Eric Le Lyonnais, a scubadiving instructor at the Atuona diving center (Hiva Oa)

Translations :
English : Bertrand Devaux

Email :

Tahitian :

Marquesan :
Duchek Antoinette and Dupont Géraldine

Contacts :

Robert Veccella
GRAN, Tahiti
Email :
Phone : (689) 53 10 85

Max Guérout
GRAN, France
Email :
Phone : 00 33 4 67 35 92 01 or 00 33 6 23 16 78 17

Sébastien Eon
Mastering and management of the Internet website of the GRAN - -
Email :

Author : Robert Veccella

      © GRAN 2006