This is photograph of the rows and rows of standing stones, Menhirs, in Carnac.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Corel Photography
The Stones of Carnac
The stones of Carnac, France, are probably the most famous stones markings outside of those found at Stonehenge
in England. Where Stonehenge is composed of standing stones, the Carnac area has many different types of stones and ancient markings. Carnac may also be the site of the world's oldest megaliths
, the earliest stones dating from around 4,500 B.C.
The Carnac region contains many, many Menhir or upright stones. The Menhir stones are sometimes found in a line and sometimes in a circle. They can be anywhere from 0.8 meters high to 6.5 meters high and rows lined with stones can extend for distances of over a kilometer. An enclosure of Menhirs is called a Cromleclh.
Some think these standing stones were signposts, others think they marked burial plots, still others think they were astronomical in nature. Research is going on now to try to find out if these stone markings served as sites for observing the skies or whether they were aligned with Sun or Moon risings or settings.
The area is also home to Dolmens, burial places formed out of big stones. Archeologists have found many bone fragments in these structures and so can be almost certain they were used as burial grounds. Dolmens would have a funeral chamber where people were buried and an access to that chamber. They basically look like a stone fort. There is another type of burial ground that was created by these Neolithic people, the Tumulus. A Tumulus is a huge mound of earth and stones that covers a burial place. It looks like a well-formed hill of dirt, covered with grass and such. A Tumulus didn't allow any access to the burial places. It is thought that sometimes a Dolmen burial ground would be covered with a Tumulus.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
You might also be interested in:
Many people are interested in the mysterious megalithic structures that can be found around the world. This page will give you all the ins and outs so these structures aren't such a mystery! First, a megalithic...more
The stone structures of England and France are very famous. But, one can also find megalithic sites in such places as Wales, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Russia and the Netherlands. The most...more
The stone structures of England and France are very famous. But, one can also find stone rings, tombs, and dolmen structures in present-day Italy. One such megalithic structure is a site in Fossa, Abruzzo....more
By 30,000 B.C,. Asian hunter-gatherers had crossed the Bering Strait into North America. These people were the first to inhabit this new land and so they are known as the Native Americans of North America....more
"The movements of the heavenly bodies are an admirable thing, well known and manifest to all peoples. There are no people, no matter how barbaric and primitive, that do not raise up their eyes, take note,...more
The stones of Carnac, France, are probably the most famous stones markings outside of those found at Stonehenge in England. Where Stonehenge is composed of standing stones, the Carnac area has many different...more
Not too far from Loch Ness, where the green highlands of Scotland rise and fall there lies three giant cairns of stones. They are called the Balnuaran of Clava. The Balnuaran of Clava, giant tombs encased...more