The petroglyphs

Marius ARCHAMBAULT, the « grand découvreur » - i.e. "discoverer" of petroglyphs named the island, « l’île des croix » - i.e. “the Island of crosses” because there are thousands of cruciform motifs that adorn the rocks of New Caledonia.


petroglyphs origins

The Caillou (the Pebble) has numerous petroglyphs, but unfortunately, neither their origin nor their significance is known. Nobody knows exactly who engraved these motifs and when, and why they placed them there.

It is sufficient to mention that these petroglyphs were compared with rock glyphs from Spain, Venezuela, Hawaii and Britain and there are numerous similarities between the New Caledonian petroglyphs and the carvings of European Neolithic.

There are approximately 350 to 600 petroglyphs which have been listed, found in almost 140 sites known to date; the existence of a lot of undergrowth in the territory makes it possible that some petroglyphs sites are still buried underneath.


petroglyphs sites

The motifs discovered are in important quantities and of good quality. In addition to the crosses, there are circles, spirals, rounds, stars, flowers and other figures that cannot be described; the deepest groove is 5 cm.

Today they are covered by the vegetation and only certain sites are accessible to visitors: at Colde Katiramona (or Katiramona Pass), 20 minutes from Noumea, in a slope along a creek, 3 groups of petroglyphs stand up as time keepers on a surface of about 200 meters.
The most important petroglyphs site in New Caledonia is Montfaoué in Poya, discovered in 1947 by Mr. Routhier, the head of a geological expedition at that time. They are scattered over 200 meters, in 156 large motifs and the grooves are carved deeply onto the rocks.
On the presqu’île de Bogota (i.e. Bogota Peninsula), region of Canala, at 5 kilometres from the beach, there is a site that is without a doubt the largest in the territory.

The Museum of New Caledonia, exhibits a few blocks of these petroglyphs.