The Carnac stones are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites around the French village of Carnac, in Brittany, consisting of alignments, dolmens, tumuluses and single menhirs. The more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany, and are the largest such collection in the world.
Local tradition claims that the reason they stand in such perfectly straight lines is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin - Brittany has its own local versions of the Arthurian cycle. Most of the stones are within the French commune of Carnac, but some to the east are within La Trinité-sur-Mer.The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, but some may date to as old as 4500 BC.
In recent centuries, many of the sites have been neglected, with reports of dolmens being used as sheep shelters, chicken sheds or even ovens. Even more commonly, stones have been removed to make way for roads, or as building materials. The continuing management of the sites remains a controversial topic.
There are three major groups of stone rows - Menec, Kermario and Kerlescan - which may have once formed a single group, but have been split up as stones were removed for other purposes.
Kermario ("house of the dead") alignment
There are several tumuluses, mounds of earth built up over a grave. In this area, they generally feature a passage leading to a central chamber which once held neolithic artefacts.
Near the quadrilateral is a single massive menhir, now known as the "Giant". Over 6.5 metres tall, it was re-erected around 1900 by Zacharie Le Rouzic, and overlooks the nearby Kerlescan alignment.
The menec alignments of some 1100 stones in 11 columns.
The famous Dolmen of Crucno, in the middle of a small Breton village.
The chamber consists of nine pillars supporting a capstone weighing over 40 tonnes.
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