Standing Stones of Carnac

31 10 2011

field of menhirs

On a recent family holiday in France we endeavoured to have a variety of attractions to keep the children entertained. (We failed miserably in the entertainment bit, but that is another posting.)

We combined the Chateaux, Museums, Parisian landmarks with amusement parks (Asterix Parc, EuroDisney, Futurosopce and Puy du Fou) with neolithic and prehistoric. The Standing Stones of Carnac comes into the latter category.

Keen readers of Asterix comics will know that France has a long history, evidence of which dates back pre-French Royalty, pre-Roman and pre-Greek. Carnac is a town on the west coast of France, almost directly west of Paris but south of Mont Saint Michel.

I confess I had not heard of it prior to our trip there, and while, unless you have a specific interest in this type of thing, this is not going to keep you occupied more than half a day, it was pretty amazing to see.

The standing stones of Carnac are a neolithic graveyard. Approximately 3000 stones are arranged in perfectly straight lines. And by stones, I mean boulders, all arranged so then are standing upright on end. These are called Menhirs. The other arrangement, which is less common, is dolmens, which look like tables constructed again of massive slabs of rock sitting improbably on a circle or rectangle of upright rocks. While some of the photos don’t really show the scale, many of these are taller than a man and weighing, one would have to guess, many tonnes. How did neolithic technology move these rocks here and erect them so that they would emain standing for over 5000 years?

Dolmen

inside a dolmen

The stones are said to date back to around 3300BC, and while it is not clear if these are actual gravestones, it is believed that they were erected in honour of ancestors. The Dolmens may have been tombs.

These stones have been here for thousands of years...small boys aren't going to make a difference!

If you liked this post you might also like some more posts from France…..
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
Napoleon’s Tomb
Galeries Lafayette
Versailles

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30 responses

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