France: menhirs destroyed in Carnac to make way for a DIY store

Forty small menhirs located near the famous alignments of Carnac (Morbihan, west of the France) were recently destroyed to allow the construction of a store, causing the incomprehension of heritage defenders.

The famous alignments of Carnac. Associated Press - FRANCK PREVEL

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The alert was given Friday, June 2 by an amateur archaeologist in a blog post revealed by the regional daily Ouest-France. He deplored the destruction of 39 small menhirs whose size, for the most part, was between 50 cm and one meter. In question, the construction work of a store Mr. Bricolage, authorized by a building permit issued on August 26, 2022 by the town hall of Carnac after being refused a first time seven years earlier.

The land was then the subject of excavations by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap), which ended "on a contradictory observation". "Only additional observations on the monoliths, or even an excavation, would make it possible to certify the Neolithic origin of this ensemble," details the organization in its report published in April 2015.

But for the archaeologist who reported this destruction, the problem is that "there have been no archaeological excavations to know if the stelae were menhirs or not". "The site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which normally requires them to notify the architect of the buildings of France and the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (Drac) before launching the project," he told AFP.

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For his part, the mayor of Carnac attests to having "perfectly respected the legislation" and invokes "the low archaeological value" of the objects found during preventive excavations. "This site was not located in the mandatory archaeological prescription zone in the local urban plan," he said.

Following this destruction, an association for the defense of heritage, Koun Breizh ("Breton Memory", in Breton), filed a complaint against X, in order to clarify the decision-making process that led to this destruction. The association Paysages des Mégalithes de Carnac et du Sud Bretagne, which brings together 27 municipalities in Morbihan, intends to register the vast set of menhirs in the south of the department as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. She wants to submit the file to the government by the end of the year.


With AFP)

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