You are currently viewing Megalithic heritage in Morbihan

Morbihan's megalithic heritage

Morbihan's megalithic heritage

This is the oldest in the world, and an application has been made toUNESCO to have the Carnac alignments recognized as " World Heritage ".

Megalith, menhir, dolmen, cairn, mound, tumulus... Origins and meanings

Megalith, from the Greek, mega grande and lithe the stone, we speak here of " large stones ". This title covers all menhirs, dolmens and other burial mounds...

In Morbihan, these date from the Neolithic period, i.e. around 5500 years ago; by comparison, the Stonehenge megaliths in England were built between 2800 and 1100 years ago...

Menhir, from Breton, men the stone and hir long, the long or upright stone, also known as a monolith. Menhirs can stand alone or in groups of one or more rows, known as alignments.

Dolmen, from Breton, dol la table et men la pierre, literally the stone table. A dolmen is a burial site made of vertical stones covered with horizontal slabs, with or without an access corridor (or aisle).

An enclosure is a megalithic structure enclosing a site of various shapes: a circle, known as a cromlech, a hemicycle, a quadrilateral or a horseshoe, for the most common.

Tumulus, from Latin, tumere, to be swollen - elevation. A tumulus is a pile or envelope covering one or more tombs linked by corridors. The nature of the pile may be earth (tertre), or stone (cairn).

The Saint Michel tumulus in Carnac is 120m long, 60m wide and 12m high, while the Mané Er Hroek tumulus in Locmariaquer is 100m long, 60m wide and 10m high.

Tertre, from Latin, terms, limit, boundary. A mound of earth covering a grave.

Cain, from Gaelic, carn, stone heap. The burial site is coveredby a pile of dry stones.

Stele: a monolith covered on one or more sides with engravings.

Sites in Morbihan

There are more than 550 sites from the north to the south of Morbihan.

The best known: the Carnac alignments

                                      the broken menhir at Locmariaquer

Worth seeing: the Gavrinis cairn

                        Petit Mont cairn

                        the menhirs of Monteneuf

                        the giants of Kerzerho (Erdeven)

                        Jean and Jeanne in Sauzon (Belle-Ile)

                        the star menhir (Camors national forest)

                        the Crucuno quadrilateral and dolmen (Plouharnel)

Focus on Carnac

La Maison des Mégalithes welcomes you all year round, with different opening times according to the season, and guides you in the discovery of this heritage. The permanent exhibition is free, and there are also visits, conferences and night-time shows (skedanoz) for a fee.

It is accessible to all, especially from the roof, which offers a beautiful view of the Ménec alignments.

A walkway has been laid out to allow you to make the tour, the " sentier des megalithes " .

A Carnac tour app is available to accompany you before, during and after your visit to the alignments.

Carnac boasts more than 3,000 menhirs at 3 sites: Ménec, Kermario and Kerlescan.

The Museum of Prehistory is located in the heart of Carnac-ville. It is the world's leading museum of megalithic art, and presents all the objects collected during excavations at the region's archaeological sites. The collections are constantly expanding, covering a period from the Neolithic to Roman times.

Founded by James Miln 's brother in 1882, he donated the collections discovered during the excavations, and Zaccharie Le Rouzic had the museum's collections listed as Monuments Historiques in 1928. The current museum has been housed in the former presbytery since 1984.

In Erdeven

Please note,

Erdeven is home to the2nd largest number of menhirs after Carnac, at Kerzhero, and where you can walk among these standing stones, follow the wooded paths to meet them along the sentier des Mégalithes, here is the link to this hike

On foot, leaving from the Gîtes, you can also discover the Sept Saints dolmen located on the Chemin des Villages, link for this hike


And you, what are you thinking of visiting?