The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Chambered Cairn


Do you know the way to Barnenez?
I've never been so
I may go wrong and lose my way
Do you know the way to Barnenez?
I'm going there to find a great big cairn in Barnenez
Allee couverts and some dolmens
See a whole bunch if you've got a car
In an hour, maybe two, you'll get quite far
Don't go too fast or they'll quickly pass
And all the stones are lying there amid the gorse for you to find
I've got lots of photos from Barnenez
Wo oh oh-oh, oh-oh oh-oh
Can't wait to get back to Barnenez
Wo oh oh-oh, oh-oh oh-oh
Do you know the way to Barnenez?

Côtes du Nord on a wild, wet Wednesday. Sane people do not go out in weather such as we experienced that day: grey skies and steady rain coming in at a slant with the occasional hailstorm. Sane people especially do not take expensive digital SLR cameras outside in these conditions. Welcome to the madhouse. Welcome to Barnenez, just 40 miles west from our cottage up on the north coast of Brittany.

Barnenez will make you gasp in wonder.

It's so big and grand, this one has a visitor centre and mighty glad of it we were, too, as a shelter from the storm. 75metres long and with twelve burial chambers within its stony step-pyramid mound this is a beast and reminded me strongly of an out-size Camster grey cairn combined with Egypt's Saqqara pyramid.

During its excavation and reconstruction, a huge chunk was left missing deliberately to expose the manner of construction.

Four of the burial chambers are open to visitors the others are walled up. Each chamber has a different manner of construction – corbelled vaulting, dolmen-type chamber, side slabs only, etc. Inside the visitor centre are some of the carved, decorated stones found within the cairn which are very intriguing – one looks like a sheaf of corn. There are also some cracking photographs of the cairn before, during and after its excavation and examples of the finds – beads, pottery, axes – discovered there.

We drove back east from Barnenez towards Lannion - there are lots of sites to see round here including many alleé couverts and menhirs.
Jane Posted by Jane
30th July 2007ce

Comments (1)

Was here yesterday, this is huge and very impressive, pity that acccess to
the all the chamber is blocked, spent a good bit of time here,shame
That the French seem to charge to access a lot of these national monuments, the large chunk missing from behind exposing parts of its innards was caused many years ago when a quarry company purchased the land and started to demolish the monument, fortunately offiicials stepped in, decided to leave it as it is now for the benifit of visitors, worth a fiver with no access, just about, two down, a dozen or so to visit during my trip
bogman Posted by bogman
4th July 2011ce
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