New Caledonia and, in particular, Grand Terre have more than a hundred sites with petroglyphs. The biggest of the sites at Le Caillou (The Stone – the nickname given to the territory) is Montfaoué, in the municipality of Poya.
The Montfaoué site extends over a 200-meter perimeter, and has 156 patterns of large size engraved into the rocks. The term “petroglyph” actually means engraving (glyph: from the Greek gluphê) on stone (pétro).
Even today, after several decades of research and theories, the meaning and the origin of these works remains obscure, especially as most of the Caledonian engravings contain abstract patterns.
They differ from other petroglyphs seen elsewhere in the world, which mostly contain representations of humans and animals.
The great discoverer of local petroglyphs was Marius Archambault (1864-1920), a local agent for the French post office, who also wrote the first tourist guide to the island, which just happens to be called “Crosses Island”. There are indeed thousands of cruciform patterns decorating the rocks in New Caledonia. In this respect, the patterns are somewhat reminiscent of engravings from the Neolithic period in Europe
The existence of damp underbrush that is still not known to man allows one to wonder whether there aren’t many other sites waiting to be discovered! If you have the explorer spirit, you know what you need to do!