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France’s new Stonehenge

by John Lichfield

A spectacular discovery of Stone Age menhirs in Brittany could unlock the code to one of the most puzzling chapters of human development, and transform our knowledge of mankind’s early history. Some months ago builders were clearing a piece of wasteland in southern Brittany when they struck an enormous hunk of granite. The developer was no historian but he knew instantly what the obstacle must be: the remains of a buried “menhir” or neolithic standing stone. He ordered a bulldozer to shove the stone underground again before any passing busybody spotted it. He did not want the work on his six seaside bungalows to be halted for a prolonged archaeological dig.

Brittany, he probably reasoned, is crammed with old stones. At Carnac – the largest neolithic site in the world, just down the road – there is a linear forest of 3,000 menhirs in the space of four kilometres. Was that not enough ancient monuments to satisfy the historians, the tourists and the Ministry of Culture in Paris? Too late. A passing busy-body had noticed the unearthed menhir. Work on the bungalows was halted. An archaeological dig was ordered.

Read the original article at: Independent

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