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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (August 23, 2001 – Tahitipresse)---An archaeological mission led by French scientist Jean-Michel Chazine to Makemo atoll, Tuamotu archipelago, has discovered mysterious stone structures.

Chazine, who has led many archaeological missions in French Polynesia, first visited Makemo last year, an atoll located roughly in the center of the Tuamotu archipelago.

He returned to the island, July 28 to August 16, 2001, assisted by experts from CREDO (Research Center About Oceania) and CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research).

Chazine's team examined a dozen archaeological sites, from sacred cultural places ("marae") to ancient burial grounds.

A craftsman's workshop, specializing in mother-of-pearl hooks, also was studied.

But the most striking site, far away from the ancient village and close to an offshore channel, was unknown before.

Mysterious blocks of coral appear to encircle an old pathway and more than ten half-buried huts.

Only three pathways of this kind are known to exist in Polynesia, but in islands located thousands of miles away from Makemo.

No one in the Makemo community can explain why the pathway and huts are there.

The scientific team is working to unravel the mystery, which will help determine the chronology of settlement in the archipelago.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse.

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