Gauguin’s teeth found in well

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. An archaeological dig on the remote Marquesan island of Hiva Oa has uncovered the secrets of the water well used by Paul Gauguin. The buried objects range from a New Zealand beer bottle to four human teeth.

Gauguin lived in the village of Atuona from 1901 until his death two years later. He built his own Maori-style hut, “la Maison du Jouir” (house of pleasure), and dug a well just outside. The Marquesans did not use wells, but springs, and after Gauguin died it was filled with rubbish from his home.

The results of the excavation are revealed in the inaugural issue of Van Gogh Studies, an annual scholarly review from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, out this month. The essay, by Gauguin specialist Caroline Boyle-Turner, is the first report in English on the 2000 dig (a few other details emerged earlier in specialist publications).

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