Before I got into early history, I had only heard mention of Carnac as a personna Johnny Carson played on his Tonight Show while doing magic jokes with Ed McMahon. It's the site of one of the largest collections of megalithic stones, arranged in dozens of rows hundreds deep. In the surrounding hundred kilometers, there are many other sites which contain the broad variety of stone structures erected by French settlers in 3500 - 3000 BC. This was the period when equally amazing stone structures were being built in Turkey which we visited last year, and just before a huge and impressive burial mound (like the one we went to today on the island of Gravenitis) was built at Newgrange in Ireland.
Earlier today, we saw the largest Menhir (the stones which are usually standing up straight alone in a field). It had been carved, but broken before it could be erected. Unbelieveably, they decided to use the three pieces as roof stones in two locations, one of which is 27 kilometers away from where it was made. It was the roof stone in the burial tomb we saw today on Gavrinis Island. How they got it here, and transported it across the sea (it weighs 17 tons) is another ancient mystery. Unfortunately, I left my camera battery in the hotel room, and we only had time to photograph the island site - and there they didn't allow photos inside the mound. All-in-all a bad photo day, but a good stone hunting adventure anyway.
Tonight, we plan the route to the Loire Valley. Thanks for all of your patience with our rock hunting this past week. There will be at least a week's break until we get to the Pyrennees in southern France. Now for some inland culture.
To see all of the photos we took today, click on:
Wednesday, September 30th