Get your flippers on!

How to recreate a shipwreck site so that everyone can explore maritime archeological heritage. Dive with us down to the recreated archeological site of Bizeux (Saint-Malo, France).

By Adramar

Diver observing the naval architecture in place (2006-07-24) by Teddy Seguin & ADRAMARAdramar

Archeological sites protected by the law

Wrecks and objects lying on the seabed are considered to be cultural property. This is why they are protected by law, and deemed to be the property of the French State.

Discovery of an intact violin pulley on the site (2005-06-29) by Teddy Seguin & ADRAMARAdramar

Diving prohibited at historical sites

It is against the law to dive at the sites of ancient shipwrecks. On the one hand, this avoids unscrupulous divers plundering the site, whether to resell an object or merely to keep it as a souvenir of their dive, and on the other hand, this also avoids anyone disturbing the site's archaeological setting.

Launching from the ship Hermine Bretagne (2011-10-19) by Teddy Seguin & ADRAMARAdramar

Excavation of the ZI 24 wreck

The ZI 24 wreck (which stands for "exclusion zone 24" in French) was discovered in 1989. It was surveyed in 2011 and excavated in 2012 by ADRAMAR.

A wreck at the foot of the La Rance tidal barrage

The wreckage was named ZI 24 because it is located close to buoy 24, which marks out the exclusion zone around the La Rance tidal power station, which generates electricity using energy from the tides. This makes diving procedures for the site more complex

Taking measurements on a cannon (Excavation of the wreck of the ZI 24, Saint-Malo, 18th century) (2011-10-18) by Teddy Seguin & ADRAMARAdramar

A wreck dating from the 17th and 18th centuries

Eleven cast-iron cannons, laid out nose to tail and side by side, have been studied. These are not part of a battery of artillery, but were used as ballast for the ship. The remains of the hull can be found underneath the cannons.

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3D model of the pewter cover discovered on the wreck Zi 24 (2017-07-01) by ADRAMARAdramar





So few artifacts were found at the site, a pewter bell was taken and restored in the laboratory

Excavation campaign on the wreckage of the ZI 24, ADRAMAR (2012-10-05) by J. Le Lay & ADRAMARAdramar

Watch the video of the ZI 24 excavation

For now, wreck ZI 24 remains a mystery, with no sign of any formal identification, despite the field and archive research carried out.

Choice of site for re-immersion, the rock of Bizeux Saint-Malo (2016-01-01) by Nicolas Job & ADRAMARAdramar

A recreated archeological site?

In order to allow everyone to dive down to experience an archaeological site, ADRAMAR has installed a recreation of an archeological site at the foot of La Rance de Bizeux. The site of wreckage ZI 24 served as a model for the creation.

Bizeux Rock

Located in the estuary of La Rance, the Bizeux site is ideal for diving, with its location sheltered from the ocean swell.

Re-immersed archaeological objects (2015-01-01) by Anne Hoyau & ADRAMARAdramar

Genuine artifacts re-submerged

Genuine cast-iron cannons and a giant anchor have been made available and studied by ADRAMAR for this project. These objects were discovered on sites off the coast of Saint-Malo, but hadn't found a place in museums. So, they were re-submerged.

Map of the reconstructed archaeological site of Bizeux (2015-06-22) by ADRAMARAdramar

Recreation of a shipwreck site

The Bizeux archeological recreation site reproduces all the elements of an 18th-century shipwreck before archeological investigations.

Recreation of a shipwreck site

Two cannons, fitted as ballast to weigh down the ship, have found a bed among the stone ballast. Marking the axis of the ship's keel, they are implanted in the same way as those which were discovered a few hundred meters away on the ZI 24 wreck.

Recreation of a shipwreck site

Three cannons are located on the flank of the wreckage. They were in defensive battery positions at the sides of the ship.

Recreation of a shipwreck site

A giant anchor marks the bow of the ship.

Implementation of the reconstructed archaeological site of Bizeux - artillery pieces, Saint-Malo (2016-01-01) by Nicolas Job & ADRAMARAdramar

Here, you're the archaeologist!

The re-submerged remains allow you to explore a shipwreck, just like an underwater archaeologist would.

Briefing before diving on the reconstructed site of Bizeux (2016-09-18) by Nicolas Job & ADRAMARAdramar

A site open to all

A briefing, explanations and discussions before diving down to the underwater site.

Bizeux, an archaeological site reconstituted for all those who can swim (2016-01-01) by ADRAMARAdramar

Site exploration by snorkel

Marked out by a buoy, the site can be accessed by snorkeling when tides are low in high coefficients.

Start of the dive on the reconstructed wreck of Bizeux, Saint-Malo (2016-01-01) by Nicolas Job & ADRAMARAdramar

Dive (quite literally) into archeology

The Bizeux site can give you not just one, but two firsts: discovering diving and discovering underwater archeology.

Diving on the anchor of the reconstructed archaeological site of Bizeux (Saint-Malo, France) - 1 (2016-01-01) by Nicolas Job & ADRAMARAdramar

The giant anchor

The anchor boasts impressive dimensions, measuring 3.5 meters high and 2.19 meters wide, and weighing in at 600 kg.

Diving on the cannons of the reconstructed archaeological site of Bizeux (Saint-Malo, France) - 3 (2016-01-01) by Nicolas Job & ADRAMARAdramar

As close to the remains as you can get

The benefit of a recreated site lies in the option to explore it without the restrictions and constraints of an archeological site.

Diving on the cannons of the reconstructed archaeological site of Bizeux (Saint-Malo, France) - 2 (2016-01-01) by Nicolas Job & ADRAMARAdramar

A unique way to discover maritime heritage

You can even touch the remains!
Dive down to the recreated Bizeux archeological site for a fun, sensory-packed experience as you explore our heritage.

End of the dive on the site of Bizeux (2016-08-31) by Sophie Le PollesAdramar

End of a dive at the Bizeux site

A diver enjoying a well-earned rest in the sun after exploring the Bizeux recreated archeological site.

Credits: Story

The ADRAMAR association would like to thank everyone who supports these projects, with particular thanks to the Brittany Region, the departmental council of Ille et Vilaine, the city of Saint-Malo and DRASSM (Department of Sub-Aquatic and Marine Archeological Research, of the Ministry of Culture) for their financial support.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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