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Photograph n°4 

Imprint of an organeau in the basalt rock, Marine Richard in Saint-Denis, 2017



Historical and technical data


Located to the east of the town of Saint-Denis, in the north of Reunion Island, the site of the former landing bridge of the Marine du Richard, is on the seafront, below the embankment of the coastal path.

According to the historian of the Brotherhood of Seafarers,  Laurent Hoareau:

In 1860, Charles Richard embarked on a project to set up a navy in the Butor area. For its installation to accommodate ships, the administration must allow it to install a customs office. The Minister of Marine and Colonies asks for the opinion of the local administration on a petition from Mr Richard “to obtain that a customs office placed under the direction of an auditor, be established in Butor Bay” . The ministerial decision and the settlement of the affair arrived in January 1861  : The Director of the Interior submitted for the Governor's approval a draft decree prepared according to the instructions contained in the ministerial dispatch of October 20, 1860 N°270 and “in accordance with the favorable opinion of the General Council having for object to attach the harbor of Butor, as for the customs operations, to the main office of Saint-Denis, and to open it therefore to direct imports and exports”. The decision of 1861 validates the installation of a navy in Butor. Antoine Roussin represented it in 1860 on one of these lithographs   from a drawing by A. The Roy. You can see the bridge and the shops in the background. This navy operated in Butor until the early 1890s. Structurally, this installation was manifested by the construction of stores. Three longères seem to have been built at the origin of the installation. In a letter he addressed to the director of railway operations on September 18, 1896, Jacob de Cordemoy, interior director   pointed out "It is common knowledge that the establishment de Marine du Butor which the railway and port service acquired from the Richard estate has ceased to operate for some time. » 


Figure 1: The site of the bittern navy, from a lithograph by Antoine Roussin
Illustration: Patrick Drieu

The website


The underwater archaeological prospecting operation referenced OA: 2877 revealed the remains of a low wall. The front of the low wall is facing the sea at a distance of about 23.90 meters from the top of the sea with a side part facing South-East, with a height of about 1 meter. The low wall is oriented from East to West, its length is 3.60 meters. In the extension of the low wall, on the lateral part facing South-East, we observe the imprint of an organeau forming a semicircle. The outer curve measures 0.77 meters, the inner curve 0.55 meters apart from each other by 0.08 meters. The discovery of the imprint of this mooring device allows us to confirm that this element is to be linked to the maritime activity of the Butor navy.

A declaration of discovery of maritime cultural property has been made to the Department of Underwater and Underwater Research.

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