FrenchGenius
"The best of Man is his Ruins..."



génie
français


poèmes en français


megaliths of the pas-de-calais

 



irish pages


field guide


houses for the dead:

court-tombs

portal-tombs

passage-tombs

wedge-tombs


stone circles


petroglyphs
(rock art)


standing-stones


stone forts, crannógs & souterrains


ogam-stones &
cross-pillars


cross-pillars
& cross-slabs

 

sweathouses

 

ireland
& the phallic continuum


satan in the groin

 

the earth-mother's
lamentation


dissident editions


egregious.org


links

 

feedback

 

 

 

 


photo by Michel Polard

Detail of "kennel-hole" in the southern dolmen of the aligned megaliths at Wéris in Belgium (3 km ESE of Dubuy in the eastern Belgian province of Luxembourg).

Click here to see

large pictures of two of the most impressive tombs in the South of France

 

 

 



version française


EAST OF
BRITTANY

part IV


...continued

 

High up on the vista-rich watershed
between the beautiful rivers Lot and Célé, a rough-hewn monolithic limestone cross stands a few metres from a dolmen on the Pilgrim Road from Figeac and the shrines of Western Auvergne to Santiago de Compostela. This is one of the most poetic dolmens of France.



click for more pictures

Dolmen de Pégouriés or de Pech Laglaire, Gréalou (Lot)

On another causse, not far away to the West, is another well-exposed tomb,
with a large long cairn, looking very like a tomb of the Irish limestone uplands.


click for more pictures

Dolmen de Pieyro Clabado, Larnagol (Lot)


But many of the tombs on the limestone plateaux lurk - well-camouflaged by moss or lichen -
in the open, primeval woodland of oak, sweet chestnut and juniper
which covers thousands of square miles.

Dolmen de Parra, Limogne (Lot) with its mossy roofstones.

Dolmen de Parra seen from the rear


Dolmen de Joncas,
Limogne (Lot)


Another mossy "box-dolmen" at Rastouillet, Limogne (Lot)

 

Dolmen de Pech Linar (Quatre Routes), Saint-Jean-de-Laur (Lot)


click to enlarge

 

Dolmen du Lac d'Aurié, Limogne (Lot) whose roof-slab weighs 18 tonnes.


click for more


The dolmens around Livernon in the Lot tend to have enormous roof-stones. That of the Dolmen de la Pierre-Martine (broken and now supported on two concrete pillars) is seven metres long and weighs some 20 tonnes.

La Pierre Martine, Liverdon

The quarry from which these slabs were extracted is nearby.

 

A better-preserved and almost as large example (with chamfered semi-porthole and natural perforations in the massive side-stones) is at Roux.

Dolmen de Roux, Livernon (Lot)

Click for another (high-resolution) view
click for a (high-resolution) detail of this tomb

 

Le dolmen du Rat, Saint-Sulpice (Lot)

click to see the roofstone which may have been artificially enhanced

 

Natural or artificial ? Or a bit of both ?
The capstone of the dolmen du Mas d'Artillou, Grèzes(Lot).

 

Dolmen de Custalou, Grèzes (Lot)

Click for another (high-resolution) view
another (high-resolution) view of this tomb

 

Dolmen de la Métairie-Haute, Saint-Sulpice (Lot)
whose roofstone is estimated to weigh 20 tonnes.

 

Dolmen de l'Igue de Planagrèze, Caniac du Causseretour (Lot)

 

The impressive remains of the dolmen des Cloups,
Ginouillac, Saint-Projet (Lot)


click for more pictures


Here is a photo of a prehistoric quarry not far from Livernon.


But really, almost anywhere on the Causses would have provided
fine slabs for dolmens or for menhirs...

...which of course are not absent either from the département of the Aveyron
(such as this fine menhir, 3 metres tall, right beside the D.2 road at the hamlet of Sermels,
to the south of Séverac-le-Château)...

...or from the département of the Lot.
The tallest of these is the Menhir de Belinac, near Livernon,
which stands (or, rather, leans) at a height of 3.5 metres.


click for more


But the most interesting and beautiful is beneath modern power-lines
some 2 km SW of Saint-Vincent Rive d'Olt.


click for more


A handsome stone now featuring as a fountain in the village of Fourmagnac (Lot) could well be an adapted standing-stone...

click for a larger photo


In the West of the neighbouring département
to the east (Aveyron), there are several dolmens of similar appearance - including one, very rare, surviving intact (virgo intacta!) and almost invisible in a wood, buried in its cairn. The tops of three roofstones are, however, a give-away to the keen dolmen-hunter!

click for a larger picture
click to enlarge
Foissac (Aveyron)

On the other hand - as already indicated, some tombs have been partially-reconstructed with the aid of concrete. In the case of the Dolmen de Vaour the concrete has been replaced recently with machined stone supports.

Vaour (Tarn)
Detail of underside of broken, re-erected capstone

Vaour (Tarn)
Chamfered «semi-porthole » which is a feature of many dolmens of the Causses


Where the Western Causses descend into the plain which divides them from the Pyrenees lie less-box-like tombs such as Le Tombeau du Géant (The Giant's Grave) near Saint-Cirq
(Tarn-et-Garonne)

Click for more photos.
more (high-resolution) photos of this tomb


or the Dolmen de Saint-Pierre at Sainte-Cécile-du Cayrou, Verdier (Tarn)...

Dolmen de Saint-Pierre, Verdier
click for more


...not far from which, on the other side of the village, is a large limestone slab, le Menhir de Sainte-Carissime, some 2.5 metres high and wide, but only half a metre thick, close to a little tree-lined tributary of the river Aveyron - which may be the remnant of a huge dolmen.

Menhir at Verdier-Vieux
click for more

______________________

 

The départements of the Tarn and the Aveyron feature the curious megaliths known as Statues-Menhirs, many of which have now been preserved under cover, notably at the Musée Fenaille at Rodez.

 

However, one curious and atypical example survives by the roadside at La Croix-Salvetat (Tarn).

CLICK TO ENLARGE
click to enlarge

This looks as if it might be a prehistoric, anthropomorphic menhir (forerunner of the statues-menhirs ?) Christianised much later with a crudely-incised cross. On the other hand, it might be a Christian monument, recalling the Irish "face-crosses" and, in particular, the anthropomorphic cross on the rock-monastery of Skellig Michael in county Kerry.


______________________



On a wooded causse near Prayssac

in the département of the Lot above the river are several megalithic tombs, which can be seen along a "Dolmen Trail" that also includes several gariottes or corbelled stone huts. One of the former is a typical box-dolmen.

Prayssac (Lot)

But before you come to it on the trail you pass a megalithic complex which is marked Chaos on the trail, but Menhirs on the map. The complex is neither standing-stones nor chaos, but the amazing remains of three cyclopean tombs known as Los Tres Peyres (Les Trois Pierres), whose salient features are three up-ended capstones some four metres high and broad - which may never have covered the violently disturbed tombs behind them, or which may have been up-ended by a heroic act of vandalism such as occurred at Ballynoe (county Down) in Ireland. These tombs are quite different from others on the causses - and indeed from any I have seen elsewhere.




a fine allée-couverte more recently wrecked >

 

Click here to see a group of monuments around Arras
in the Pas-de-Calais

 

Click here to visit

two of the most imposing tombs in Languedoc-Roussillon.

 

 

Some approximate dolmen and menhir statistics
in départements of Languedoc and Roussillon
(by courtesy of Bruno Marc):

Hérault: 550 dolmens, 150 menhirs
Gard: 300 dolmens, 300 menhirs
Lozère: 400-500 dolmens, 300 menhirs
Ardèche: 750 dolmens
Tarn: 50 dolmens, over 100 menhirs, 60 statue-menhirs

Dating from: 3500 to 2500 BCE (with frequent later re-use)

 

Some dolmens and menhirs in Lozère on another website.

 


published April 2011

 

return to part one




go back to part three

 


For a neat, well-illustrated itinerary-
Guide to megaliths
on the limestone plateaux, see

'Statues, menhirs et dolmens des
Causses et du Haut-Languedoc
'
by Bruno Marc
Les Presses du Languedoc
(Patrimoine Archéologique)
ISBN 2859982256 - price 16,77 euros
and available through amazon.fr.


plus

Dolmens de l'Ardèche (2001)

Dolmens et menhirs des Cévennes (2003)

Enhanced versions of these pages
are included on the
Order the CD ROM
developed and expanded from this website.