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



<b>Brittany</b>Posted by Spaceship markAlignements de Kermario © Mark Williamson
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Tourists heave menhirs in France to solve ancient mystery

In the Asterix comic books you only had to drink a magic potion to be able to lift a menhir. But in reality you need vast quantities of muscle power and lots of patience. That is what a group of 30 holiday-makers found out when they heaved on a rope to move a 4... continues...
goffik Posted by goffik
27th July 2010ce

Summer Solstice Event in Brittany

18th - 22nd June 2009 - Stones, Snakes and Sun....

A unique chance to approach the mysterious megaliths of Carnac ! Talks, sunrise and sunset observations, visits on foot, by boat and by helicopter, workshops, exhibitions, films, story telling, music...5 incredible days of wonder and discovery... continues...
Megalithomania Posted by Megalithomania
12th June 2009ce
Edited 12th June 2009ce


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In the Cornouaille district of Brittany, where pagan ceremonies still linger in most force, there is a custom which Villemarque believes to be Druidical. In June the youths and maidens above sixteen years of age assemble at some lichen-clad dolmen, the young men wearing green ears of corn in their hats, and the girls having flowers of flax in their bosoms. The flowers are deposited on the dolmen, and from the manner in which they remain or wither the young lovers believe they can divine the constancy of their selected partner. The whole party then dance round the dolmen, and at sunset return to their villages, each young man holding his partner by the tip of the little finger. At whatever time this practice originated, it may be presumed the dolmen was not then considered a sepulchre, as we cannot suppose the youthful population of a district assembled to deposit the offerings of love on a tomb, or to disturb the dwellings of the dead with their joyous revelry.
Mentioned in "The early races of Scotland and their monuments" by Lieut.-Col. Forbes Leslie (1866).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th November 2011ce

The writer is contemplating how stone axeheads might have been used, and concludes from their variety of sizes that they were tools (or the larger ones being weapons).
.. the large celt appears to have been fixed in a cleft stick, or enclosed within the folds of a tough, slender branch [..] It is said that when the Breton peasant finds a celt, called in most countries on the Continent a "thunderstone," he places it in the cleft of a growing branch or sapling, and leaves it there until the wood has formed and hardened round it; but this must have taken a great length of time. We do not, however, find the slightest trace or mark of such a handle on a single celt in this Collection [that of the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy].
From p46 in 'A Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities ... in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy' by W R Wilde (1857) - on Google Books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th September 2007ce
Edited 11th September 2007ce


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Legends and Romances of Brittany

Chapter 2 of Lewis Spence's 1917 book, Legends and Romances of Brittany, Menhirs and Dolmen
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
1st September 2007ce
Edited 1st September 2007ce

Latest posts for Brittany

Showing 1-10 of 1,804 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

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

Le Petit Mont (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Le Petit Mont</b>Posted by costaexpress Posted by costaexpress
8th May 2018ce
Showing 1-10 of 1,804 posts. Most recent first | Next 10