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



<b>France</b>Posted by Spaceship markDolmen du Cruz Moquen © Mark Williamson
Sites in France are listed in their départements which are roughly equivalent to English counties.

The only exception to this is the région of Brittany, which is subdivided into its départements of Côtes-d'Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine, Morbihan and Finistère.
See individual sites for details

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Add news Add news
Possibly Neanderthal cave structures in the Pyrenees

300 meters from the surface, circles of broken-off stalagmites stacked against each other, dated at 176,000 years old. There's a nice 3-D rendering in Nature and a nice photo in The Atlantic.
UncleRob Posted by UncleRob
27th May 2016ce
Edited 27th May 2016ce

Messages from the stone age

Stone age "writing" found in French caves,
postman Posted by postman
19th February 2010ce
Edited 19th February 2010ce


Add folklore Add folklore
In France, as in England, and indeed most countries [Stones] are usually connected in the popular belief with fairies or with demons - and in England, with Robin Hood. In France this latter personage is replaced by Gargantua, a name made generally celebrated by the extraordinary romance of Rabelais. A cromlech near the village of Toury, in Britany, is called Gargantua's stone; a not uncommon name for the single stone or menhir is palet de Gargantua (Gargantua's quoit).

A very common name for cromlechs among the peasantry of France is fairies' tables, or devils' tables, and in one or two instances they have obtained the name of Caesar's table; the covered alleys, or more complicated cromlechs, are similarly named fairies; grottos, or fairy rocks. The single stones are sometimes called fairies' or devils' seats.

The prohibition to worship stones occurring so frequently in the earlier Christian ecclesiastical laws and ordinances, relates no doubt to these druidical monuments, and was often the cause of their destruction. Traces of this worship still remain.

In some instances people passed through the druidical monuments for trial, or for purification, or as a mode of defensive charm. It is still a practice among the peasantry at Columbiers, in France, for young girls who want husbands, to climb upon the cromlech called the Pierre-levee, place there a piece of money, and then jump down. At Guerande, with the same object, they despose in the crevices of a Celtic monument bits of rose-coloured wool tied with tinsel. The women of Croisic dance round a menhir. It is the popular belief in Anjou that the fairies, as they decended the mountains spinning by the way, brought down the druidical stones in their aprons, and placed them as they are now found.
From Thomas Wright's 'The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon', parts of which are reprinted in a review in The Gentleman's Magazine v.193 1852 Jul-Dec (p233).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th January 2008ce


Add miscellaneous Add miscellaneous
Sites in France are listed in their départements which are roughly equivalent to English counties.

The only exception to this is the région of Brittany, which is subdivided into its départements of Côtes-d'Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine, Morbihan and Finistère.
Jane Posted by Jane
21st August 2007ce
Edited 22nd August 2007ce


Add a link Add a link

Megalithes du Monde

Interesting site from France detailing all manor of ancient sites in France, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. (Clearly not a fan of the English).

English translation via Google.
Chance Posted by Chance
6th March 2011ce
Edited 6th March 2011ce

Orientations of 935 Dolmens of Southern France

Orientations of 935 Dolmens of Southern France by Y. Chevalier
From the Journal of History of Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy Supplement, Vol. 30, p.S47

A full referenced Journal Article is available to download in PDF format or you can view the pages online in gif format.
Chance Posted by Chance
12th June 2010ce

Dolmens lost and found

All things Stone, Copper or Bronze in Languedoc.

A personal blog by an Irish Englishman, living and working in the Corbieres - a member of S.E.S.A. [la Société d'Etudes Scientifiques de l'Aude.]
Posted by roc
13th December 2009ce
Edited 13th December 2009ce

Oppida - Celtic towns

Oppidum (plural oppida) was the name used by Caesar to describe the Celtic towns that he discovered during his conquest of Gaul.

In archaeology, the term is now used to describe all fortified Celtic sites covering a minimum area of 15ha and dating back to the second half of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC (the late La Tène period).

These towns were both economic and political centres. They are considered to be the first towns to the north of the Alps.

This website offers you the opportunity to find out more about each of the oppida via information sheets. For more information, click on an oppidum or go to the themed exhibitions…

For more on Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul in the Gallic Wars, 58 BC to 51 BC.
See for more info on this period of European History
Chance Posted by Chance
15th May 2009ce
Edited 15th May 2009ce

Latest posts for France

Showing 1-10 of 2,857 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Chauvet Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Links

Cave Of Forgotten Dreams

Watch the full Hertzog documentary on YT. There are a few full versions.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
10th January 2019ce

Chauvet Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Miscellaneous

Extract taken from a superb novel by Edward Docx 'Let Go My Hand'.

We can see nothing – absolutely nothing. So black is the darkness that I swear I can hear the shape of the walls, taste the taste stone, smell the water that has passed through from the Earth from above.
‘Now’, he says. ‘Now look with your eyes. Friends, look!’
Gradually, gradually, a light grows. Like a hallucination. Like a red shape behind our eyelids. So that we think we’re mad. Or reborn from the womb. But it widens and it spreads so that the opposite wall starts to shape itself, the light growing sharper and brighter, sharper and brighter. We see ochre hand prints; the human mark. We see strange red patterns and dots; human signs. We begin to see the outlines of animals – the beasts. The human mind, the human imagination, the human signature. And now the light starts flood the wall and we see that these animals crouch and creep and crawl this way and that all around us – lions, hyenas, panthers, cave bears. The light brightens still further. There is an owl daubed in white paint. We sense the finger that smeared the surface of the wall on that day thirty thousand years ago. There is rhino notched and scored in black. We see the artist has chosen a certain place on the wall where the shape of the rock serves his purposes. We see a heavy-haunched bison painted in sweeping flowing lines. We sense the human being standing back and admiring his artistry in a flicker of his torchlight. We see the curved flourish of the antlers of a reindeer. We see head after head of black-drawn horses, each on the other’s shoulder, as if caught in the instant of the herd’s fierce gallop, their black eyes somehow still alive.
We are silent. Dad’s voice is full of wonder: ‘I’ve wanted to see this all my life’, he says.
I get this feeling the opposite of sickness – the feeling that these paintings are being sucked inside me and that they will somehow live there for ever and ornament my soul.
‘This is it,’ Dad says. ‘The beginning’. His voice has the hushed tone of long yearning met – as though he has been trying to get to this moment ever since he was born. As though now that he apprehends the beginning, he might understand the ending. ‘This is the best we can know it, boys. The dawn of a distinctly human kind of consciousness.
tjj Posted by tjj
9th January 2019ce

Alignements de Petit-Ménec — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Alignements de Petit-Ménec</b>Posted by costaexpress Posted by costaexpress
29th July 2018ce

Dolmen de Mané Croc'h (Chambered Tomb) — Images

<b>Dolmen de Mané Croc'h</b>Posted by costaexpress Posted by costaexpress
29th July 2018ce

Menhir de Kerluir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Menhir de Kerluir</b>Posted by costaexpress Posted by costaexpress
27th July 2018ce

Dolmen de Kerluir (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Dolmen de Kerluir</b>Posted by costaexpress Posted by costaexpress
27th July 2018ce

St Samson-sur-Rance (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Folklore

There's an article on this massive stone by Serge Cassen and colleagues in this month's edition of the Cambridge Archaeological Journal (v28:2, 259-281 - 'The 'historiated' Neolithic stele of Saint-Samson-sur-Rance'). Eight meters'-worth sticks out of the ground at 42 degrees, and the four sides are aligned to the points of the compass. It's made of granite, the nearest source of which is 4km away.

The researchers recently used various lighting and 3D techniques to highlight the carvings on the stone, and conclude that those on the different sides represent different aspects of the world (viz. an empty boat (east), human artefacts (south), wild animals (west) and domesticated animals (north). Whether you agree with this analysis is up to you… the depictions look a bit ambiguous to me but what do I know. There are also 100 cupmarks (none on the east face).

They talk about the folklore too, which is mostly from a 1902 article by Lucie de Villers ('Le Menhir de Saint-Samson pres Dinan' in Revue des Traditions Populaires 17(6)):

The vein of quartz diagonally crossing the stone was supposed to be from the devil's whip, or perhaps from the chains he used to try to drag it into hell. The devil wanted to use the stone as a key to open up hell (so he could pop some sinners in there) - but Saint-Samson and his pal Saint-Michel chased him away before he'd completed his evil plan.

There are various beliefs about a flood in Armorica: Ys is a legendary city in the bay of Douarnenez - it was submerged when the key of the dyke protecting the city was stolen from the king. In the 19th century local people said the stele was the key to the sea, and if the stone was removed, the sea would flood across the whole of France.

In other legends the stone is only one of three keys to the sea (one of the others was stolen by an evil woman from Breton in cohoots with the devil, and the third was kept in a distant country - or perhaps the other two were lost, or in the hands of a witch). The reason the stone is at such an angle is because the devil tried to take it away but didn't succeed. If someone dares to turn the stone, the sea will bubble out from under it and cause more trouble than Noah's flood.

One of the alternative names for the stone is 'Pierre Bonde' - bonde is the same word as the wooden bung used to seal a barrel.

Despite all this connection to the sea, the stone is about 20km from the sea and 55m above it. It's suggested in the article that it's at the point of the river where the maximum extent of the tidal wave would have been in the Neolithic, and that points to the reason for its location.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd May 2018ce

Gavr'inis (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Gavr'inis</b>Posted by costaexpress<b>Gavr'inis</b>Posted by costaexpress<b>Gavr'inis</b>Posted by costaexpress Posted by costaexpress
12th May 2018ce
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