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The Community carried out archaeological surveys on the coast after Irma
The Community carried out archaeological surveys on the coast after Irma
The Community carried out archaeological surveys on the coast after Irma
Hurricane Irma strongly impacted the islands of St. Barthelemy and St. Martin. Gusts of wind measured at 295 km / h and the cyclonic tide generated a devastating swell that caused the submersion of many coastal areas of the island, causing significant erosion. Equipped with this expertise internally, the Collectivité de Saint-Martin was able to carry out, in 2017 and 2018, an inventory of fixtures and a diagnosis of the impact of the passage of the hurricane on the archaeological heritage of Saint-Martin.

The inventory of archaeological sites of Saint-Martin, made in 1999 *, indicated the presence of numerous sites established along the coast. As early as the 21 September 2017, a few days after Irma, a first contact is made by Christophe Hénocq, in charge of Archeology and Scientific missions within the Collectivité, with the Regional Service of Archeology (SRA) in order to implement place a survey on the entire coastline. Authorized by the order SRA-2017-094 and SRA-2108-077 of the prefecture of Guadeloupe, prospection "Post-IRMA Saint-Martin 2017" covered the entire coastline of the territory of the community.

The survey took place following the slope of erosion generated by the swell along the coast of the French part. 70 km of coast was traveled from Lucas Bay in the east to Baie Longue in the west. 36 sites or site indices have been observed, including 18 unpublished archaeological sites.

The factors that led to the partial destruction of the sites are not limited to the action of waves. Public works of clearing carried out in urgency, the temporary storage of the waste, the opening of dune cords allowing to evacuate the water stored in the ponds, the private works of security of the residences built at the seaside, have it isalso affected some archaeological sites.

Among the known sites impacted, 7 correspond to Meso-Indian occupations, 8 to Neo-Indian occupations and 4 to vestiges of colonial era. Among the new sites observed during this survey, 3 correspond to Meso-Indian occupations, 7 to the New Indian and 8 to vestiges of the colonial era.

Started 24 October 2017, the prospection is still in progress, especially on the ilets. A first report was submitted to the President and the General Manager of the services of the 21 September 2018, with a copy to the SRA. The 12 last February, the president Gibbs and the acting DG Romain Perreau received Christophe Henocq to make a point on the stakes of this prospection. A synthesis of the data observed in the field should make it possible to set up conservatory measures in collaboration with the Regional Archeology Service, in order to avoid the irremediable loss of the coastal archaeological sites of the Collectivité de Saint-Martin.

President Gibbs praised this scientific work done by the community; these data will be taken into account in future developments.

Simplified chronology of the island of Saint Martin

Pre-Columbian period

3000 av. J. - C. - 100 ap. J.-C., Meso-Indian

400 av. J. - C. - 960 ap. J.-C., neo-old Indian

660 ap. J. - C. - 1600 ap. J.-C., recent Neo-Indian

Colonial period

1493 - 1627, Precolonial period, 2e voyage of C. Columbus, then Flibustiers

1627 - 1648, First Franco-Dutch settlers

1648 - 1764, Starting Indigo and Cotton Crops

1764 - 1848, Agriculture and Sugar Industry

1848 - 1930, Emancipation and decline of agricultural production

1930 - 1960, End of salt exploitation

Contemporary period

1960 - 1985, Starting the Tourism Economy

1985 - 2018, Abandonment of agriculture for the benefit of tourism, strong urbanization.

* In 1999, the inventory of archaeological sites in the French part of the island of Saint-Martin was made by P. Stouvenot and C. Hénocq. See archived report at regional service of Archeology of Guadeloupe (SRA), Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe.

Resources / Texts and forms

R - 2017-11-11
The Community of Saint-Martin proceeded, Friday 10 November 2017, to the repair of the statue Lady Liberty, symbolic statue located Road of Approval. IRMA had, indeed, broken the arm of this sculpture of the artist Theo Bonev, enthroned on the roundabout of Agrément, at the entrance of Marigot. Led by the Human Development Center of the community and its Culture Department, this intervention was ...
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Pr - 2016-12-07
Ᾱ The initiative of the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the scientific census of the built heritage of the territory, started since the beginning of the year 2016, is in the process of completion. For several months, the Directorate of Territorial Archives and Heritage, supported in its realization by Mrs. Michèle Robin-Clerc, urban architect, and Elisabeth Dandel, art historian, specialist of the cultural inventory, alternated observations on the ground...
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Heritage Census b
Heritage Census b - 2016-03-11
The Collectivity of Saint-Martin is currently carrying out a scientific inventory of the built heritage of the territory, with the aim of identifying, knowing and valuing its historical and cultural heritage. This work is carried out over a period of three months, in March and April and May 2016. This heritage census will thus lead to field surveys and observations to be carried out by two providers chosen by the Community. These are the companies Robin-Clerc and Art2, ...
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