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More than 300 toppled monoliths and a human skeleton are discovered in France 

The skeleton of a ‘tall man’ has been uncovered in a burial cairn by archaeologists in France among a series of monolithic stones believed to date back 6,000 years.

Workers widening the A75 motorway near Veyre-Monton in central France made the initial discovery and called in experts from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) to explore the site.

So far they have found 30 of the stone monuments, known as ‘menhirs’, over an area of around four acres (1.6 hectares) and range in size from three to five feet (1 to 1.6m).

Experts say 30 tons of stone were used in the construction of the site – part of which was arranged in a horseshoe shape, similar to the famous Carnac standing stones in northwest France.

The monoliths and cairn, which may have had religious or spiritual significance for their builders, were deliberately knocked down – perhaps by a later culture with different beliefs, researchers say.

Archaeologists will continue to work at the site and expect to uncover more finds, which they hope will shed light on France’s ancient past.

The skeleton of a ‘tall man’ has been uncovered in a burial cairn by archaeologists in France among a series of monolithic stones believed to date back 6,000 years

Experts from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) were called in to explore the site and found more and more stones as they continued to dig

Experts from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) were called in to explore the site and found more and more stones as they continued to dig

Some of the menhirs are arranged in straight line that stretches for at least 450 feet (150 m) in a north-south direction, experts say.

Five large stones are set in a horseshoe shape nearby, alongside six regularly spaced blocks that form a circle 50 feet (15m) in diameter.

The cairn or a burial mound is 52 feet (14 m) long and 20 feet (6.5 m) wide and has four sides and was made of wedged stone slabs, which may have come from fallen or destroyed menhirs.

It is believed the man found inside was buried in a wooden coffin or similar container that has perished in the intervening years.

Few clues have been found at the site that can conclusively date the finds, some of which may have been moved into place at different times in history.

More tests will be conducted to accurately date the various elements of the site, particularly the skeleton found in the cairn.

So far experts have found 30 of the stone monuments, known as ‘menhirs’, over an area of around four acres (1.6 hectares) and range in size from three to five feet (1 to 1.6m)

So far experts have found 30 of the stone monuments, known as ‘menhirs’, over an area of around four acres (1.6 hectares) and range in size from three to five feet (1 to 1.6m)

Experts say 30 tonnes of stone were used in the construction of the site - part of which was arranged in a horseshoe shape, similar to the famous Carnac standing stones in northwest France

Experts say 30 tonnes of stone were used in the construction of the site – part of which was arranged in a horseshoe shape, similar to the famous Carnac standing stones in northwest France

The monoliths and cairn, which may have had religious or spiritual significance for their builders, were deliberately knocked down - perhaps by a later culture with different beliefs, researchers say

The monoliths and cairn, which may have had religious or spiritual significance for their builders, were deliberately knocked down – perhaps by a later culture with different beliefs, researchers say

Experts suggest that a powerful leader may have ordered the construction of the site, or that several communities worked together to achieve this feat of ancient engineering.

The builders may have demolished the monolithic arrangement themselves as part of a ritual or ceremony, or raiders from outside of the region may have destroyed it.

‘This ensemble first evokes the great Armorican megalithic monuments, notably that of Carnac, but it is part of a dense network of megalithic expressions present throughout Western Europe,’ an Inrap spokesman said in a written statement.

‘Pushed into large pits, sometimes mutilated or covered with earth, monoliths seem to have been intentionally removed from the landscape – perhaps due to a change of community beliefs.

‘Like the alignment of menhirs, the cairn was also deliberately removed from the landscape. The stones that constituted its elevation were torn from the monument and thrown into a large pit next to it.’

The cairn or a burial mound is 52 feet (14 m) long and 20 feet (6.5 m) wide and has four sides and was made of wedged stone slabs, which may have come from fallen or destroyed menhirs

The cairn or a burial mound is 52 feet (14 m) long and 20 feet (6.5 m) wide and has four sides and was made of wedged stone slabs, which may have come from fallen or destroyed menhirs

The menhirs are arranged in straight line that stretches for at least 450 feet (150 m) in a north-south direction, experts say, as seen in this overhead shot of the site

The menhirs are arranged in straight line that stretches for at least 450 feet (150 m) in a north-south direction, experts say, as seen in this overhead shot of the site

Five large stones are set in a horseshoe shape nearby, alongside six regularly spaced blocks that form a circle 50 feet (15m) in diameter

Five large stones are set in a horseshoe shape nearby, alongside six regularly spaced blocks that form a circle 50 feet (15m) in diameter

The monoliths are close to what was once an important transport route during the Stone Age, which is now a major road.

One of the monoliths is particularly interesting as it is the only one made out of limestone, while the rest are all basalt. 

The rock also has a human-like figure carved onto it, complete with a rounded head, rough shoulders, and two small breasts. 

This type of carving is extremely rare and is similar in style to northern French, Breton and Swiss examples, according to Inrap’s website. 

Workers widening the A75 motorway near Veyre-Monton in central France made the initial discovery and called in experts from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) to explore the site

Workers widening the A75 motorway near Veyre-Monton in central France made the initial discovery and called in experts from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) to explore the site

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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