Land-based processes

Back on land, the excavation's home base grew considerably during the first few years. The simple installations erected in 1999 for studying and preserving archaeological finds gave way, four years later, to a genuine base camp that included a large 45 sq. metre tent housing the various activities connected to storage, preservation, inventory and analysis. Under this arrangement, objects could be processed with a minimum of movement. In addition, it fostered an exchange of scientific, contextual and technical data about these objects. Photography and drawing were consigned to a 24 sq. metre prefabricated building, and archaeologists were given individual offices in large collective premises. This triple grouping was extremely beneficial: information could be easily transmitted between members of the team, and the working environment was both friendly and efficient.
In addition to excavation work, each of the team's permanent archaeologists spontaneously took charge of a specific area: inventory, management of underwater drawings, video footage, taking casts of the iron concretions, wood sampling, registration of dives, management of campaign notes, etc. There is no question that this exceptional versatility and involvement – over and beyond the scientific skills of each member of the team and the archaeological importance of the site – lent an extraordinary dimension to the excavation of the Natière site.


Lila Reboul © MCC / DRASSM
Layout of area for examining objects. This diagram shows the washing area, where objects are taken directly from the excavation support ship. After the layer of sediment that covers them is removed, the objects are brought to the so-called "object management tent", where they are placed in basins of water on a large inventory table. They are documented and sampled, and then stored in vats of water on either side of the table. The tent also has a small area for more specific examinations and for taking casts of ferrous concretions, a storage area and – separated by a partition – a conservation space. A desalination and drying zone is also located in front of the wet storage vats.
Frédéric Osada © (Images Explorations) – MCC / DRASSM
View of the premises used for inventorying and storing archaeological material since 2000, overseen by conservator Gwenael Lemoine. (Ref. : NAT01_T0077)
Elisabeth Veyrat © MCC / DRASSM
Arrival of a prefabricated unit at the Saint-Malo National Police Academy, for use as an archaeological workspace. (Ref. : NAT08_T0166)
Elisabeth Veyrat © MCC / DRASSM
Installation, at the Saint-Malo National Police Academy, of a 45 sq. m tent, to be used for inventory and conservation of objects. (Ref. : NAT08_T0169)
© Thomas Sagory (
Aerial kite photograph of the installations for underwater archaeology on the premises of the Saint-Malo National Police Academy. (Ref. : NAT08_T0314)
Teddy Seguin (Adramar) © MCC / DRASSM
Object inventory area under the tent in the courtyard of the Saint-Malo National Police Academy. (Ref. : NAT05_T0081)
Teddy Seguin (Adramar) © MCC / DRASSM
View of the equipment needed for underwater archaeological research. This shows the logistical challenges of keeping underwater excavations running smoothly. (Ref. : NAT05_T0238)
Teddy Seguin (Adramar) © MCC / DRASSM
Conference room where the staff can exchange and provide daily updates on the progress of the work. (Ref. : NAT07_T0208)
Teddy Seguin (Adramar) © MCC / DRASSM
Washing objects in clean water. (Ref. : NAT04_T500)
Teddy Seguin (Adramar) © MCC / DRASSM
Washing complex archaeological objects. The joint presence of an archaeologist and a restorer means that documentation about the objects can be completed during the cleaning process (here, Alexandre Poudret-Barré and Lila Reboul). (Ref. : NAT07_T0280)
Teddy Seguin (Adramar) © MCC / DRASSM
Objects are studied and inventoried. (Ref. : NAT08_T0193)

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