Carnac - Karnag


Returning from the Quiberon peninsula back to Plouharnel. Take the road southeast to Carnac.

Carnac is famous for ancient stone monuments. It is also a popular seaside resort with spectacular beaches and a large harbour. Carnac is one of the largest megalithic complexes in Europe with over 3000 standing stones.

In the Neolithic time the sea level was some 35ft below it's current level. This could link Carnac to other sites in the area such as Gavrinis and Er-Lannic and it has been suggested that they were in some way connected. The re-use of megaliths in the area can be used to determine connections between otherwise unrelated sites such as between the passage-mounds of Gavrinis and La Table des Marchands for example, both of which incorporated pieces of an earlier monument into their structures (capstones) at around 3,100 BC.

Carnac has many of the earliest megaliths in Europe. The ancient megaliths of Brittany are mysterious for a number of reasons. We do not know how prehistoric Bretons were able to move and place these massive stones weighing as much as 350 tons each, nor do we even know why. It is now believed they were built approximately 3,000 to 4,500 years ago. In common with other such sites the monuments were of ceremonial importance and carefully aligned to correspond with astronomical events and the natural environment in which they were placed.

There are a number of distinct phases of construction, which resulted in the re-use of existing monuments. The first major construction phase at Carnac is at around 4,500 BC. The Kercado passage mound, south-east of the Kermario alignment has been radio-carbon dated to about as 4,700 BC. The mound is surrounded by a circle of stones with a menhir on its peak. The entrance of the chamber points towards the midwinter sunrise. The Manio Tumular bank, an early monument of around 5th millennium B.C. is covered by the ends of the Kermario alignments so are seen to be more recent. Le Grand Menhir alignment as well as other parts of the Lochmariaquer site, have been dated at 4,500 BC.

The second main construction period is at 3,300 BC. Parts of Le Grand Menhir alignment are re-used as for La Table des Marchands (over an existing stone), Er-Grah, and the Gavrinis passage mounds.

Menec allignments

Menec allignments is one of three large groups of stones in Carnac. There are eleven groups of menhirs in the alignment covering a distance of about 3,820 by 330 feet. The stones vary in height from about 13 feet down to 2 feet. There are cromlechs to the east and west of the site.

Kermerio Alignements

Kermerio Alignements is made up of 1029 stones in ten columns that reach a distance of about 4,300 feet.

Kerlescan Allignment is east from Menec and Kermerio sites. There are thirteen lines consisting of 555 stones varying in height from about 13 feet to 2 feet 7 inches. They cover a length of approximately 2,600 feet and at the west of the alignment is a stone circle made up of 39 stones.

Petite Menec

Petite Menec is to the east of the Kerlescan along the D186 and then onto a minor road, It is north of La-Trinite-sur-Mer/An Drinded-Karnag. The allignment is located in a forest.

Tumulus of Saint Michael

Tumulus of Saint Michael constructed 5000 BC and 3,400 BC, it is one of a number of tumulus in the area. When excavated the tomb was revealed and a number of stone chests found. The artefacts are now in the Museum of Prehistory of Carnac. 

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