“Like a rock”…. (cue Chevy truck commercial music)

Not only do we see a sophisticated use of tools and resources by the megalith builders in transporting such large stones across great distances and shaping them the way they envisioned, but their art, pottery, and tools are also remarkable testaments to a highly advanced civilization.  Upon reading about the aesthetic conscious and detailed fashion in which they designed their tools such as the “formal axes”,  I was very surprised to learn that they buried these tools with those that possessed them upon their death. However, this proves once again not only the importance of the afterlife to which you carry those things dear to you such as the hard work you did in your lifetime but also how important these hunting and scavenging tools were in their society that they took them even to their tombs. Perhaps this says something about the resourceful nature of the people of this region as well as their creative and artistic nature represented in embellished tools and pottery that they took the time to design despite having many other responsibilities in their daily lives.

It is amazing that it was not until the 1720s that people actually started noticing the rock formations such as the in the Carnac region and admiring them when they are indeed so ancient and remarkable. For example, it is difficult to comprehend how, for so long, no one seemed to notice that the Carnac menhirs are placed in such a planned and organized fashion of mostly parallel lines with relatively even spacing between each rock. To me, it is certainly a testament to the level of planning and architectural knowledge and skill that the people of this region must have possessed in order to execute such a feat.

Just like we see with the Lascaux caves, these rock formations were not constructed all at one time and not all by one people. The planning and building of these sites was done over time which makes it even more remarkable because it means that future generations would also come to find significance in building and maintaining these formations. They were also remarkably able to work with old plans and follow a consistent motif of parallel lines and enclosures that made “sacred” areas be set apart from the “profane” fields. This seems to show a passing down of “blueprints” perhaps as well as a passing down of the importance placed on the afterlife by ancestors to new generations.

As far as transporting these rocks as I discussed in my last entry, I now ask myself if the technology improved along the way to the point where these large rocks became easier to move.  Furthermore, I wonder if perhaps this compelling need to build such extravagant and labor-intensive structures for the dead did not in some way contribute to the advancement of their civilization’s technology and the importance the people then might have placed on finding easier and more efficient ways of building and living.

When reading about the tallest menhir structure, “The Manio Giant”, I thought it very interesting that it was placed at the end of the line and has been described as being in the “last man in line” position. It is almost as if these rock formations are being linked to humanity by comparing them to men. Even its name, “The Manio Giant”, includes the word “man”. Therefore, is it possible that these rocks not only lent themselves to burial sites for the dead but also be a representation of man itself? After all, both these rock formations and mankind are capable of eternal life, as these structures have endured the test of time as men also look to the afterlife to continue their legacy.

 

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