Sunday, March 21, 2010

Carnac...the oldest town in the world.

Today we visited the oldest continuously inhabited site in the world.  Carnac, Brittany.

Two thousand individual menhirs stretch over a 4 km area.  You drive along the D196 and there are fields and fields of standing stones off to the side--like someone planted them :)  Dotted among the long lines of stones (the alignments), are tumuli and dolmen (which is actually the Breton word for 'Stone table').

 (I'm sure these images are squashed--surely I'm not really short and squat???)

(Above:Alignments de Menec--the place of stones
Below: Alignments de Kermario--the place of the dead)

 (see the bus in the background?)

No one knows how the neolithic people moved the stones or why... I mean WHY?  Who decided...'I know, we've planted crops, let's collect stones?' You feel there has to be a really smart reason, but perhaps the chiefs were just competitive?  Each one wanted bigger, better stones than the last guy. No one knows.  No one will ever know.  I like it that way.

We followed signs to a tumulus (burial chamber), past an Indian Creperie and in the grounds of some stately manor...

 And this thing is just there in someone's (large and very grand) garden!

They've dated the megaliths to be at least 6000 years old, predating Stonehenge and the Pyramids (and the temples at Karnak, Egypt).  A truly astonishing place.

And after we visited the stones we went to the beach.  Because that, people, is what we do!!


  1. Cool! I never heard of Carnac before this post. Could the thing in the garden be a root cellar?

  2. It's a burial chamber, Mary. It's cool because inside you can see huge slabs you normally associate with dolmens--and then in between them are smaller stones and then the whole thing is packed with earth. I have no idea how many people were buried there.

  3. These things have also been used during revolutions and wars as hiding places. V. cool.

  4. Wow...I never even realized there was an oldest inhabited community! Great pixs!!