Megaliths and Dolmens, Carnac, France Week 78 23rd October 2012
Thick mist seemed like a good way to start a day at the dolmens.

Carnac has rows of neolithic standing stones.

Well at least standing stones that were erected during neolithic times. 4500 - 3000 BC.

We were last here in 1997. The area has become better known, fenced, and a visitor centre built.

Being Tuesday the museum in Carnac was closed.

As was the gate to the alignments opposite the Megalith Visitor Centre.

So these are some of the Kermario alignments.

We couldn't decide if they were the most visited because the gate was open or they are larger than most.

The road crosses the alignments and there is a dolmen (collective burial site) on the corner.

It would have been covered in stones and earth when first built.

Just an impression of size. At least the height.

More that the stone is tall than Ali is short!

All (except Ali) are local granite.

The alignments extend for a couple of hundred metres and are up to 10 (our estimate) rows wide.

Nearest we've seen previously was at Avebury in England, but that was simply two rows forming a single avenue.

Le Manio is further along the road to the east and could even be part of the same alignments, though there is this extra large stone is at one end.

Not sure if the cavern underneath is a result of archeological excavation, or part of a burial.

The Kercado cairn, a bit to the south, is a dolmen with its covering of stones and earth intact.
An imposing entrance.

The height inside seems to suit people who are less than 5' 2" or thereabouts.

And a way into the tomb.

We missed the crossed axes engraved on one of the stones.

The Kercado cairn is at the end (to one side) of this imposing avenue. Entrance to a chateau.

At the entrance to the cairn was an older map of the area showing many more interesting features than the simplistic map of things near the main road that is now supplied by the visitor centre.

The woods have lots of fungi, and this imposing fungi town caught our eye.
Further east again is the Manio Geant.
And very close the Manio Quadrilateral.

The stones have been "restored" and probably bordered a long barrow or cairn.

With our now vast experience of things neolithic (!!!) in various countries it felt like a dubious 20th century reconstruction. 

Beyond the quadrilateral is an intriguing looking path through some interesting looking woods

Signposted to Caen.

Further east again and the Sepulchre de Kerlescan.

A long barrow to us.

With most of its roof stones removed.

The alignements de Kerlescan point up the rise to a largish (100m square) open area which itself is surrounded by stones placed close together.

And the sun came out to remove some of the mystique and warm us up a bit. 

And so to the cairn on Gavrinis.

A bit larger than most.

Repeat after me .... the boat is at 14:30 not 13:30 as all the info says.


The earth cover has been removed at one end around the entrance.

The dolmen is the bit in the middle with the heavy roof stones. The cairn is the pile of stones and earth covering it.

A sneaky photo through the door.

Gavrinis is noted for the carving of side stones in the passage and tomb.

Cameras not allowed but we were.

Reminiscent of carving round the Clovis cairns in Scotland but on a much grander scale. Perhaps soft granite and hard quartz to carve helped.

Tending to be patterns rather than literal or abstract art.

Definitely imposing while we waited for our non-English speaking guide to kick the first group out and make room for us.

Its a 10 minute boat ride to the island. The guide was included and turned our usual 10 minute walk around into a 1 hour talk we couldn't understand that sounded like what we'd already read in the pamphlets provided and repeated on interpretive signs.. 

Leaving the island. 

The boat returned to Larmor Baden by circumnavigating the island.

The sea has risen a bit since the cairn was built.

The 17 tonne main roof slab has been identified as having been a broken one third of a tall stone from further west. Since the carving used to identify it was on the top surface a fair amount of 20th century rebuilding has probably gone into the cairn.

The next island over looked interesting.

At the time of building these were hills, not islands. The Golfe du Morbihan was flooded by the sea later.

Of course in this large area there are more megaliths, dolmens, cairns and barrows that we haven't seen than we have.

Sadly nearby Petit Mont, similar to Gavrinis, is apparently closed for the season.

The steel frames used for some sort of marine farm also intrigued us.

Perhaps mussels or similar.

And so to Sulniac to be welcomed at the Aires by this friendly bird.
Our camp for the night is in the Salles de Fetes.

The parking area is being reworked but the digger and roller obligingly stopped work around 5pm.

Looks like it scared off any other motorhomes though.

La Forêt sur Sèvre and Sers, France Week 78 24 - 26th October 2012

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