Approximate location of the Grand Ribaud F wreck in the Var.


DRASSM archaeologists are actively developing excavation methods on medium-depth wrecks with the aim of translating them to deeper sites.

One of the wrecks used as a testing ground for deep-water archaeology was Grand Ribaud F and its cargo of Etruscan amphorae from the fifth century BC. It was discovered in March 1999 near the islet known as Le Grand Ribaud during surveys by the Comex company. The latter was searching for the remains of the P-38 Lightning flown by Saint-Exupéry when the famed pilot disappeared in 1944. Between 2000 and 2003 the DRASSM team worked on the wreck to develop new recording methods using digital photogrammetry. They could rely on Comex’s support, in particular the use of its Rémora 2000 submersible and the ROV Achille. These excavations 60 m below the sea have given underwater archaeologists a greater operating range and pave the way for the development of deep-water archaeology.

The wreck contained a cargo of thousands of Greek and Etruscan amphorae, metal dishes, a score of vases undoubtedly containing freight, and Greek ceramics including vases and cups decorated with black figures and glazed stripes.

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With help from Comex, this amphora will be raised without suffering any damage.

© Frédéric Bassemayousse/Fonds DRASSM

For an exhibition, the set designer recreated the cargo of amphorae.

© Luc Long/DRASSM

Askos with black figures. An askos is a spouted vase.

© Frédéric Osada/DRASSM

Operation manager

Luc Long/Drassm (2000-2002)


  • LONG Luc, GANTÈS Lucien-François, RIVAL Michel — L'épave Grand Ribaud F : un chargement de produits étrusques du début du Ve siècle avant J.-C. In : Gli etruschi da Genova ad Ampurias atti del XXIV convegno di studi etruschi ed italici Marseille Lattes 26 septembre - 1 octobre 2002. Pisa, Roma : Instituti editoriali e polgrafici internazionali, 2006, p. 456-495.
  • LONG Luc, GANTÈS Lucien-François, DRAP Pierre — Premiers résultats archéologiques sur l'épave Grand Ribaud F (Giens, Var). Quelques éléments nouveaux sur le commerce étrusque en Gaule, vers 500 avant J.-C. Cahiers d'Archéologie Subaquatique, 14, 2002, p. 5-40.