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Photograph No. 20

Old cemetery of Basse Vallée, Saint-Philip, 2020



Historical and technical data


Created at the end of the 18th century and abandoned in the middle of the 19th century, the site of the old marine cemetery is located at a place called Basse Vallée on the territory of the commune of Saint-Philippe, in the south-east of the island of La Meeting.

The intervention of the Confrérie des gens de la mer association on the lower valley cemetery is part of a restoration at the request of the municipality of Saint-Philippe following the desecration of a funerary monument in 2018.

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Figure 1: More imposing funerary monument in elevation of the lower valley cemetery 
Photo: Éric Venner of Bernardy de Sigoyer

The website


The site of the old lower valley cemetery is below rue  La Bourdonnais. This place dedicated to burial has a capacity of about fifty square meters. The funerary space is materialized on the surface by the presence in elevation of about fifteen tombs which do not present any epitaph. Scattered, these funerary monuments present on the surface diverse and varied architectural profiles. These structures are arranged for some of cut basalt stones and for others covered with a smooth plastered mortar. Some structures are disrupted. The most imposing tomb (figure above) is a funerary room which has a rectangular shape surmounted by a cornice. The elevation termination has a pyramidal shape. Nearby are two tombs of semicircular shape. Also observable are two children's graves remarkable for their small size. A metal piece is present near a tomb. It represents a religious figurine of Saint Joseph. These observations allow us to enrich our knowledge of the funerary heritage of Reunion.

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Figure 2: figurine of Saint Joseph 
Photo: Éric Venner of Bernardy de Sigoyer

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