23 June 2014

La Pierre Folle, a dolmen

La Pierre Folle is a dolmen. What's that? A dolmen is a stone structure dating from the megalithic era — five to six thousand years ago. There are many hundreds of dolmens in France.


The one called Le Dolmen de la Pierre Folle ("the crazy rock") is located not very far east of the town of Valençay, with its famous château, and just outside the village of Bagneux near the border between the Indre and the Cher départements. That puts it about 40 km or 25 miles east of Saint-Aignan.


The table stone at La Pierre Folle is nearly five meters (15 ft.) long and three meters (10 ft.) wide. It sits on top of seven upright stones. Nobody really knows who built it, or why. It's often assumed that dolmens were grave sites — prehistoric tombs.



A man named Ludovic Martinet did archeological work at La Pierre Folle in 1875. On the site, he found several fragments of pottery but no human bones at all. What he found mostly was fragments of flintstone that had to have been transported to the site from elsewhere, because the only local stone is sandstone.

To find the Pierre Folle dolman you drive for a mile or two through the woods...

...until you see this sign on the side of the road.

La Pierre Folle is not really easy to find. There are several other prehistoric stones in the area — menhirs — according to what I've read. They are even more difficult to locate and I didn't find them when I drove over to the area with CHM a few weeks ago.

10 comments:

chm said...

Excellent vivid photos. You have the impression, looking at them, you are really there again in person. Thank you for this post.

Tim said...

Lovely post...
These "tombs" are magnificent...
there's one near Charnizay that both Pauline and Niall&Antoinette have blogged about.
In virtually all cases of digs that have been undertaken, fragments of pottery and flint fragments & tools have been found...
but in only one case were bone fragments found...
and they were animal, not human!

When you think that these early ancestors lived mainly in rock shelters...
and in a good hunting area a permanent structure would have repaind the effort involved in shifting these slabs...
why could they not be "summer rock shelters"?

There is a tendancy in the archeo world to see everything that required enormous amounts of energy to build or make as religious...
and often, the more recent, probably religious as not!!

Conversely... they could have been sites where bodies were laid out for nature to strip the bones clean...
as I believe some North American Indian tribes used to practice....
and then the bones carefully collected and buried elsewhere.
Someone may well have needed to live "downstairs" to make sure that the body was not dragged off.
It is a fascinating subject... no books, just guesses, supposition and wild stabs in the dark!!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Here is a web page about the dolmens and menhirs in the Bagneux area: http://www.lieux-insolites.fr/indre/bagneux/bagneux.htm

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Near where I live in northeast Ohio there is a transient archeological site. No one lived here, but it was a stopping place as the native Americans moved about. There were many skeletons found but no skulls. There is no agreement - that I know of - on why this is so.
Your dolmens are very beautiful am glad you took the trouble to find them and share your photos....I've enjoyed reading Martin Walker's Bruno Chief of Police mysteries set in Perigord - which must be southeast of you? France is rich in things left from very ancient civilizations.

Gosia Kondej said...

Ken , the dolmen are very interesting and amazing ones. Definitely is worth visiting them personally.

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

Very cool, indeed!
Now... what is the difference between a menhir and a dolmen? I've looked at your linked site, and at a couple of Wikipedia sites, but still am not sure. Is it that a dolmen is always this set of stones, placed together kind of like this, and a menhir is a single large stone, sticking up??

Ken Broadhurst said...

I think that's right, Judy.

Tim said...

Thanks for that link, Len....
interesting that the fragments of flint were from the other side of the river...
seems to indicate working of flint taking place.
But in all cases there never seem to be hearths found....
hearths are normally used as an indicator of permanent habitation.
But a "summer shelter" wouldn't necessarily have had the fire in the same place each year...
and it would probably be outside where the weather would destroy the evidence over winter.

Pauline et moi are to our local museum "show us what you've found" on Saturday...
with our most recent items from the potager!!

Tim said...

Nah... got it all wrong...
dolmen is wot elderly widows look for...
and menhirs are wot Obelix leaves behind...
everytime he sees some Roman soldiers...
or a wild boar...
;-)

Unknown said...

This will be quite a lengthy comment. I only recently learned of these wonders from France's pre-history while reading a book entitled "Paris to the Pyrenees" by David Downie. David and his companion Alison are hiking portions of the pilgrim route through France, part of the journey is along old Roman roads. David mentions these dolmens and attributes them to Celts. I didn't realize that the area he was hiking through was so close to where you live. I'm reading the book because I have an interest in walking the Camino De Santiago across Spain. I started reading the book about a month ago and am about half way through. It's quite entertaining and I recommend it. Part of what excited me about this post was the coincidence. Ive been experiencing coincidences quite a bit lately, although it could be hyper-sensitivity.

Each time I experience a coincidence I think of a scene from the movie "Repo Man" in that scene a character named Miller (Tracey Walter) is relating to the protagonist Otto (Emilio Estevez) what life is. In that conversation he says "A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness."

Thanks for a cosmic experience Ken!

-craig-