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Megalithic Madness: 3,000 Menhirs – Carnac, Brittany

Carnac standing stones menhirs

Location: LIeu-dit le Ménec, 56340 Carnac, France

There is an amazing group of standing monoliths in southern Brittany near the villages of Carnac & La Trinité-sur-Mer. Here you will find THOUSANDS of monolithic standing stones which have been curiously arranged in parallel rows, rather than the more familiar stone circle formations which are to be found across Europe, and the rest of the world.

Carnac is truly one of the largest Neolithic sites on the planet. There are approx 3,034 roughly hewn monolithic stones at Carnac, which are known locally as Menhirs, and there are also many other examples of neolithic construction in the surrounding areas such as tumuli & dolmens.

Carnac stone tomb

 

DATE:

Neolithic period – approx 4500 BC – 2000 BC.

Various periods of construction.

All stone monuments are difficult to date because of the lack of organic material found at these ancient sites. Sometimes archaeologists may be able to take organic samples from the soil directly beneath an undisturbed monolith, but it only gives an approximate date. Some of the granite menhirs at Carnac are visibly older than others, but there is no known way to date an actual stone, although orthodox historians estimate this site’s main period of construction & use was around 3,300 BC.

http-::3.bp.blogspot.com:-qnMfrqkYPtg:URWT55LPX_I:AAAAAAAAa04:SDoPFkwqBqI:s1600:carnac+menec

 

LEGENDS:

As with all millennia old monuments that have witnessed different empires rise & fall, the Carnac stones have attracted numerous myths, legends & wayward explanations about their construction & purpose.

Would it surprise you to learn that the most popular myths about the rows of standing stones at Carnac involve a marching army?

The Christian church says that the 3rd century Pope Cornelius 251-253AD (later to be St Cornelius), turned a pagan army to stone, whilst another version of this military inspired myth says that it was the druid Merlin from the Arthurian legends who turned a Roman Legion of Centurions into stone. Either way it is easy to see how the straight rows of stones generated mental images of marching soldiers in the minds of the myth makers. Read More…

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menhirs-a-carnac_reference

THE THREE MAIN GROUPS OF CARNAC:

There are three main groups of standing Menhirs at Carnac in Brittany; namely Ménec, Kermario & Kerlescan, but there are also a couple of other groups of standing stones close to Carnac which are similar in style &  age, such as Petit Menec & Kerzerho.

Group 1 – Menec alignment

Carnac Stones 2

12 rows of menhirs

1,169 stones

1,165m by 100m (3,822 ft by 328 ft)

There are the remains of stone circles at either end, there is a “cromlech” made of 71 stone blocks at the western end, and the remains of another cromlech / stone circle at the eastern end. The largest stones, around 4m high (13 feet), are at the wider, western end; the stones then become as small as 0.6 metres (2 feet 0 inches) high along the length of the alignment before growing in height again toward the extreme eastern end.

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Group 2 – KerMario alignment

Kermario

10 rows of menhirs

1,029 stones

1,300 m (4,300 ft) in length.

Aerial photography led to the discovery of a stone circle shape at the east end of the formation.

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Group 3 – KerLescan alignment

Kerlescan

13 rows of menhirs

594 stones

800 metres (2,600 ft) in length.

Height 80cm – 4m (2′ 7″ to 13′).

There is a stone circle at the west end which has 39 stones.

There are also traces of a possible stone circle to the north of this formation.

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Other Groups:

Petit-Ménec 

http://www.map-france.com/La%20Trinite-sur-Mer-56470/photos-La%20Trinite-sur-Mer.html

A much smaller group of approx 200 Menhirs located further east of Kerlescan, close to La Trinité-sur-Mer. These monoliths are today covered in moss & ivy and surrounded by natural woodland that has grown up around the stones over the centuries.

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KerZerho near Erdeven

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Originally there were 10 rows of menhirs.

This alignment is estimated to have consisted of approx 1,000 stones.

 

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Les ALIGNMENTS de Carnac?

Some researchers suggest that the rows of standing menhirs, or “Les Alignements de Carnac” as the French call them, are aligned with astronomical events on the horizon, such as the rising point of the sun on the morning of the sumer solstice…

Summer Solstice

Sunrise – 54′ (36′ North of Due East)

Sunset – 307′ (37′ North of Due West)

Winter Solstice

Sunrise – 127′ (37′ South of Due East)

Sunset – 234′ (36′ South of Due West)

Animated gif - Summer & Winter Solstices at Carnac Brittany.

Animated gif – Summer & Winter Solstices at Carnac Brittany – 2006AD.

Origin of the Name CARNAC:

I have read that the French Count Maudet de Penhouet named the alignments “Carnac” in honour of the great Egyptian temple at “Karnac”. I have also read in a few different books and on a couple of websites that the word CarNac may be derived from the Arabic word Nek-Kar (Kar-NeK) which relates to the constellation of Bootes. It is also interesting to note that Menec / Menat is also associated with Bootes by the old Bretons. Read More…

Another strong theory has the word “Carnac” coming from the old Celtic tongues and suggests it originally was to be pronounced “Carn Ac”. The word Ac or Ach meaning “place” and Carn or Cairn meaning “tomb” or “monument”.

 

MAP OF CARNAC & LA TRINTE SUR MER

http://www.megalithia.com/brittany/carnac/

 

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Stellar Alignments…

Menec / Menat / Bootes

Walking in Albion by Richard Leviton

Carnac @ Ancient Wisdom.com

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One comment on “Megalithic Madness: 3,000 Menhirs – Carnac, Brittany

  1. Pingback: The Carnac Stone Alignments – fun on net

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