Nik Pontasch / Dr. Sarah Jane Murray / French Art & Architecture / 20 January 2011
Much like the Lascaux caves, the megaliths of France are remnants of a society and culture that preceded written record and have since disappeared. The structures themselves, therefore, do not serve alone as impressive monuments, but as clues about a mysterious and unknown time in the history of humanity. Thus, observation of these megaliths may provide valuable and more specific insights as to the nature of the people who created them.
Concerning the megaliths, it is quickly apparent that they served a purpose. If they did not, then it would seem an awfully great waste of time to hulk multi-ton boulders across distances of up to 10 kilometers. Beginning with this point, it seems safe to assume that most of these megaliths (the bigger, the better) were built with some kind of intent. Yet, because the hypotheses are so numerous and the answers so few about many of the megaliths, it seems that there is little more that can be inferred about this point.
Nevertheless, since archaeologists have discovered that some of the megaliths were used as tombs, it would appear that the makers of them believed in some kind of connection between earthly and spiritual realms, and, more specifically, a special reverence for the dead. Again, the sheer amount of labor and time required to move and build the various megalith structures can suggest many qualities about the makers: a cooperative society, language, religious beliefs and rituals, and a certain amount of ingenuity and technology.
Though these inferences are broad and perhaps simple, these same principles and ideals are crucial in laying down the foundation of societies, and, despite their great age, relate to modern society and culture in the most basic yet fundamental of terms.
Although typical conceptions of art may be limited in the megaliths – decorated and carved stones being at a minimum – their symmetry and size hint of a beauty and form of art in their own right. Much like the pyramids of Egypt, the megaliths display a necessity of creativity, geometry, and skill that are prerequisites of making any kind of art.
While there are still many mysteries surrounding the various purposes and origins of these megaliths, their mere presence provides the opportunity to consider and learn about humans of the past and their place in a time otherwise forgotten.