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Gavr'inis

Chambered Cairn

<b>Gavr'inis</b>Posted by KammerImage © Simon Marshall
Also known as:
  • Gavrinis

Latitude:47° 34' 18.76" N
Longitude:   2° 53' 56" W

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Fieldnotes

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If you are in Brittany Go To Gavrinis!!
Boats go from Larmor Baden several times a day March - November. Phone 0297 571938 for reservations. Take the last sailing daily and get a close pass of Er lannic too. Cost 12 -15 euro.

Gavrinis is totally awesome. The carvings there have got to be seen. Go prepared just to be overwhelmed by it - no cameras or bags are allowed inside so your only record will be in your memory.

Also brush up on your French first - the tour is all in French although our guide did her best to translate for us. There is plenty of information on multilingual boards outside which gives you the gist. Whilst inside forget about the commentary and just be humbled by its magnificence!
Creyr Posted by Creyr
20th June 2010ce

It was time to head down to Larmor Baden village to catch the 3.30 ferry to see Gavrinis (cost in 2005: ten euros).

The ferry takes about a 15-minute chug across calm waters largely used these days for yachting and oyster beds. As we approached the southern end of the island of Gavrinis, I looked left to see the silhouette of some of the stones of the Er Lannic cromlech poking up.

With great anticipation I leapt off the boat and tore up the pathway towards to cairn. No bags, no cameras, no nothing can be taken in to the cairn and each tour is strictly guided and limited in both number and time. I sensed this was going to be frustrating.

Indeed it was. A guide, speaking only French, naturellement, began his talk. Being unable to follow French with any competency, I whizzed on ahead up to the cairn to admire its much restored façade of carefully laid stones, stepping up like a pyramid, with its little –locked – portal behind which held so much promise…

The group approached the cairn's façade and the guide continued his talk. And continued. From what little I could follow he gave a potted history of the neolithique et âge de bronze which was probably quite good, but in my mind I was screaming: 'shut the f**k up and let me inside, you bâtard!'.

Finally after perhaps 20 minutes he let half the group in. WOW. WOW. WOW. Swirls and spirals and waves and triangles and zigzags and lines and spots and bumps and WOW, WOW, WOW! Everywhere were the carvings; not just on one or two, but on practically ALL the wall slabs and even on the riser of the interior step into the slightly wider chamber at the end of the psychedelic passageway.

Imagine what this would have been like when it was painted- as it surely was. Everything else in antiquity was, after all. Think of all the Egyptian tombs and temples, Greco Roman statuary and so on. I could easily imagine the yellow and red ochres, ultramarine blues and umbers, chalks and charcoals swirling around in my mind.

The guide burbled on. I sat down to begin a sketch to try to study and understand some of the wild rhythms before my eyes. But, oh lâ lâ, I was asked to get out. Merde! I felt cheated and robbed. I'd only had ten minutes viewing.
Jane Posted by Jane
3rd August 2007ce
Edited 4th August 2007ce

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Internet Archive


'L'Anthropologie' volume 31, for 1921.

Lots of drawings of the lovely Gavrinis carvings. It's a shame they're not photographs. But as even drawings seem to be hard to come by on the internet, I was most pleased to find them.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th January 2011ce