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Nature volume 134, pages 292293 (25 August 1934) | Download Citation



Tuamotuan Stone Structures. Plans and notes of Tuamotuan stone structures made on the Tuamotu Survey of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in 1929 and 1930 by Mr. Kenneth P. Emory are published in Bulletin 118 of the Museum. The only stone remains of any consequence in the archipelago are the maraes. In pre-European times houses were not built on platforms nor were stone walls erected around dwellings or villages. Many of the maraes were roughly built without the use of any squared stone, but many are carefully built and faced with neatly fitted slabs. Megalithic slab uprights trimmed to a conventional shape stand on the platforms in front of them and out on the court. Some of the courts are enclosed by low stone walls. The maraes in the western part of the archi pelago have suffered much. Except in the extreme eastern part of the archipelago the maraes of one island differ little from those of another. Through out they have an unpaved court, quadrangular with a platform at one end ranging from 10 to 80 ft. in length, 2 to 10 ft. in width, and 1 to 5 ft. in height. Along the rear edge of the marae are planted three or more upright slabs, and there is a tiny platform out on the court, placed midway between its sides. The ahu uprights range from 2 to 9 ft. in height. The tiny court platform may bear an upright and other smaller uprights may stand on the court. The only stone suitable for building is supplied by out cropping or uncovered limestone ledges. Rectangular slabs of limestone completely dominate the stone work of Tuamotuan maraes. When set on end these slabs serve as uprights. Orientation to the cardinal points was not practised.

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