Saturday, 5 September 2009

retroactive: bunker archeology

Bunker complex on the island of Ratonneau, part of the Frioul archipeligo. Map.

A retroactive post.

There are an enormous amount of bunkers in and around Marseille, in varying states of decay and disrepair. Some have been re-purposed as houses, or restaurants, I even saw an ice-cream parlour where the wide-angle machine-gun slot was used as a countertop... others are abandoned, ruined or squatted.

Just off the coast is a chain of islands, the Frioul archipeligo, home to the Chateau d'If (of Monte Cristo fame).
On the western tip of Ratonneau, the most remote of the islands, is a large complex of bunker and trench systems, mostly abandoned. Those that still look to be in use (signs on their doors bearing the legend "No public access. Construction site.") are possibly used only for training. Confusingly, some of the structures seem to have been purposefully destroyed: shell holes blocking entries; re-bar split, bent and rusted; gun emplacements buried under rubble; while others seem to have been painstakingly repaired, maintained and even extended (and from the look of the concrete, quite recently too).

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