back *****************VOLUME 25 page 7 ***************** next page
The SHUTLER Profile
*****With these discoveries made at ATIAHARA it was clear that a large scale excavation was in order. However the Department of Archeology in Tahiti was without funds, without even the money to pay for my work, let alone radiocarbon datation. Another consideration was the fact that the owner of the site had initially dug the hole to bury his garbage and compost. This meant that information and or cultural material must be salvaged quickly before the trench was refilled, allowing vegetation and roots destroy this valuable source of information.
Of course Dr. Shutler was very excited by the news and as he was already in the process of arranging a visit to Tubuai, we were hoping that permission would be granted to allow us to excavate.
*****Later that year Mark Eddows visited the site while passing through on his way back from Rimatira, we cleared some of the fallen Debris to allow a rough plan of the wall profile. In the process of this clearing a number of interesting artifacts were again recovered, including an untanged plano convex adze (unfinished) see Diagram 25.4, it was recovered from the East wall around the 38 meter mark, an area that had already proved to be artifact rich.
*****Dr. Shutler and Bill Dickinson arrived in April 1995 and permission was granted for us to clear the trench wall to permit a clean profile which could be used for future planning. By that time however the trench had already been filled with refuse and we had to hire a mechanical excavator to remove the tons of material now in our way. In as much as this work was done at our own expense and considering that we would have to pay to have the refuse put back when we were finished, our finances only permitted the clearing of a limited part of the trench. A 10 meter long profile was planned along the East wall from the 34 meter point to 44 meters, which would include the richest and perhaps most important part of the site.
*****Even though this work was again a salvage operation, great care was taken to clear the walls methodically, all material was screened and bagged. Arbitrary 10 centimeter levels were assigned from the top of the main cultural layer (0-10,10-20 and so on) photographs were taken of major features as well as the finished profile, (see photo).
*****We worked non-stop to finish the profile in the limited amount of time available, considering Dr. Shutlers busy schedule it was lucky that we managed to get the profile finished and all the data recorded. I promised to clean up the site and dry and store all the excavated material, all of which took many weeks of work. I realized that once we refilled the trench, nature would soon be at work and important treasures lost, so I sought permission from the owner to make one final attempt to recover cultural material. Following the strategy and methods that we used for the profile work, I continued on clearing the wall to its most southerly point then made a transverse excavation at the back of the trench to link up with the west wall (see plan A Squares).
*****This work revealed some very exciting changes in the nature of the layers but did not produce much in the way of artifacts. The mechanical excavator was then employed to refill the trench, but it was not without a certain sort of sadness that the owner and I watched as the hole filled with old tree trunks and rotted compost. We talked of the importance of ATIAHARA and of saving these precious clues which might one day reveal the early history of the Island. He and I knew that the jungle would soon return to claim the fragile walls and their hidden treasures. Why not try to save a bit more? I proposed another salvage along the Shutler profile but without making a hole! My plan was to fill behind me as I went and I promised the owner that I would leave the good soil (screened deposit material) on top. This seemed like a good deal for both of us and I proceeded with the B squares (see plan B Squares).
*****The B Squares were rich with cultural material and some important artifacts were found, however they seemed to be diminishing as I progressed South. I wondered if by chance there wouldn't be something found along the wall before the 34 meter mark. Thus I started working on the C squares which at the same time permitted me to fill my last B Square.
Return to the top of the page
Link to page 8***** page/link INDEX *****file INDEX*****Artifact/Diagram INDEX