Archaeologie in Marquesas Island
The first scientific archaeological works studied in the Marquises date back to 1956 with the expedition of the H.L.Shapiro followed by the studies of R.C. Suggs in 1957- 1958. These studies were confined and studied in Nuku Hiva where it was revealed that there were 49 sites and 15 were studied in detail.

Dating back as far as possible, it is thought that the sites go back to 150 BC . (But these dates may vary).  
  Since the discovery of pottery in several Marquesan Sites, it is thought that it came from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga as replicas were found in these parts.

Some of the first settlers bought pottery with them, some of which was made in Fiji. Pottery has been found in Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa and Ua Huka.

The pottery has characteristics of the Lapita culture, which, is considered to be the ancestral culture of the Polynesian people.

  The archaeological history in certain areas in the Marquesas (like in many areas) has unfortunately left sad memories with the locals.

Thief and lack of respect of these sacred sites and burial grounds by scientific researchers cannot be excused.


For the visitors who trek through the Marquesan Valleys they will not be surprised to find amongst the dense vegetation, several of the famous 'PAEPAE HIAMOE' - these are platforms of stone blocks, on which the hae or fae (dwellings) were built of plant matter. The pae pae is divided into two parts. 'le pavé ou l'on dort' is the back section, which was covered and slightly raised, served as a sleeping area. The front part was reserved for daily activites, cooking, working area and a shelter.

It is the stone foundations that have survived over time, in Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa and Ua Pou it is possible to see reconstructed HAE.

The TOHUA is where festivals, banquets and meetings of the 'elders' congregated. It is a paved rectangular level space with stepped rows of stone seats on either side. They are of considerable size (some up to 200m). Flat boulders form a sort of stage which dancers use, or in the ancient times young chiefs used to show off their tattoos. At one end there is a platform that was reserved for sacrifices and offerings. Certain TOHAU are restored and reconstructed which are used for festivals held in the Marquesas every four years.

he ME'AE ( Marae in Tahitian) are religious sites built from basalt blocks placed side by side and piled up. The Me'ae was a place of worship, burial and offerings. Generally found in the valleys and away from secular places, it was the the sacred precinct par excellence and strictly 'tapu' (sacred or forbidden). Particular trees and rocks are an integral part of the Me'ae, their shadows are also thought of as sacred. Generally the Me'ae was built by the majestic banyan trees.
Illustrations : Pétroglyphe de Teiipoka, Hatiheu Valley- Nuku Hiva.
Tiki of Hatiheu, tohua de Hikokua
Some lodge of Nuku Hiva by L. Lebreton who come in Marquesas in1838 with Dumont D'Urville.
Marquesas Home
Site of Kamuihei in Hatiheu
By the festival 2000. Here a ha'etoa

List of archaelogical sites Bouton: enter
History Bouton: Entrée
Traditional society Bouton: Entrée
Marquesan Legend Bouton: Entrée
Text for Bouton: Entrée


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