Menhires of Carnac
LIeu-dit le Ménec - Carnac, France
The Menhires of Carnac – a silent place of strength
The Carnac stones, a group of stones along the French Atlantic coast, consist for the most part from the regional granite rock of Brittany. These are over 3000 stones, erected in rows. Most stone surfaces have by now been weathered and covered by mesh. On the old stones you often see traces of a careful handling.
The stones form three groups over 3 kilometers long: Kerlescan, Le Menec and Kermario. The height of the stones varies between one half meter and 4 meters, the tallest stone in each case stands on the western side. Based on historical analyses it is assumed that the rows originally were 8 km long and encompassed further facilities: Le Petit Menec, St. Barbe as well as Kerzerho.
The group and/or the Le Menec row ends on both sides with stone circles. At one place the row changes its alignment, which indicates that Le Menec was constructed in two phases. The Kermario row has three directional changes and a stone circle at its western end, whose remains can only still be guessed at. Kerlescan also ends in a stone circle in the west and covers 13 rows, which run parallel to each other and consist of seven to 41 stones. Apparently the megaliths were partially made out of pre-existing blocks from the neighboring rock, from which they were cut.
Origing of the Carnac stones
The origin of the Carnac stones is the central European New Stone Age, which began around 4500 before Christ. The megaliths were used and expanded until approx. 2300 before Christ. Generally the stone rows in Brittany are dated to the late Neolithic period, which lasted from 3500 to 2800 before Christ. However, since there are only a few skeletal remains and ceramics, dating is difficult. Therefore, it is also possible that the stone rows were build on a later date.
According to a legend the Carnac stones were created when the Roman Cornelius had to flee, because he refused to sacrifice to Mars the God of war. Cornelius fled from Rome to the Atlantic coast of Brittany. The Roman emperor sent an army to pursue and take him prisoner. Cornelius fervently prayed to the Gods, who then turned the army into stones. These and other myths surround the mysterious Carnac megaliths. But historical proof is missing, so that we have to depend on estimations and assumptions about with the meaning and their origins. Because of the Carnac stones arrangements, which are lined up not far from the coast, the researchers are of the opinion that the regions former megalith inhabitants of the region were seafaring. To set up and work the heavy stones it needed the co-operation of many people, which hints at a highly developed social life
The cultural history of Brittany and the Carnac stones hint to an old religion, which probably created the stones for dead worship. To this very day visitors allow themselves to be bewitched by the mystical atmosphere, which surrounds the gigantic megalith collection. So the Carnac stones are more than just an archaeological place and attract numerous pilgrims annually.
I was there once 30 years ago and stood in this stone field. I can still remember to this very day, how I stood in one place in the facility and only saw megaliths and the predominating, absolute silence, that even the insects and birds obeyed.
- A truly magic place!