Monday, January 28, 2008

Neolithic Allee Couverte

The Allee Couverte Du Mouhau Bihan sits on private property in Finisterre Dept., Brittany, France. It wasn't put up by Celts (or Gauls), but by the Neolithic people that preceded them.

It's about 5,000 years old, and you get a sense of its size by the children climbing on the far end. The entrance is lined up with the north.

Some of the stones are carved inside with what could be spearheads, or shepherd's crooks...or may mean something else entirely.

Brittany is full of megalithic structures--from the rows of stones at Carnac to single menhirs, to allees couvertes like this. Legend says it was once the grave of a giant.

Very few guidebooks tell much about these archaeological wonders and I can't understand why; what could be more fascinating than to touch and enter a structure raised and carved 5,000 years ago? I've found one, priceless, thoroughly researched guide, though--not on the travel shelves, but something to request from academic libraries

The Archaeology of Brittany, Normandy and the Channel Islands: An Introduction and Guide by Barbara Bender. Only problem is that it's now 22 years old.

1 comment:

Rob Hopcott said...

I agree. To me, the artifacts of ordinary people are much more potent than the castles and other playthings of kings and queens.

In Exmoor, where I live, there is a hill fort which is hard even to detect but still has a wonderful atmosphere and connects one with ordinary people in the past.