Sunday, 17 April 2011

From the archive: Landes de Cojoux

Let's make another Sunday visit to Brittany, this time to the amazing prehistoric monuments of Cojoux.

Brittany is rich in neolithic remains, and on Monday I visited an area second only to Carnac in importance. The Cojoux moor above the village of Saint Just is liberally scattered with stone age monuments. Not only their quantity but also their variety impress the visitor: in a few miles' walk, you can see menhirs, dolmens, alignments, tumuli, circles and gallery graves. Some even have later Bronze Age monuments superimposed onto them. Thanks to a 7km (4 mile) walk and a series of information boards, exploring is easy with something of interest at every turn.

Some of the monuments were clearly graves, but the function of others is more open to speculation. However, later legends have sprung up to account for them: thus the two white demoiselle menhirs are supposed to be young women who went dancing instead of attending mass, and were literally petrified as a result.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

One is, as you suggest here, always fascinated as to the original purpose of such monuments as these. The myths which develop over time are of interest but do not, in all probability, bring one any step closer to the truth.

Anonymous said...

The legend of the maiden or maidens petrified for being naughty is not unique. We were told a similar story when visiting a stone ring in Cornwall.

One interesting feature of this is that the victims of petrification are always female, it seems. Men can be as naughty as they like without fearing they will be turned into stone.

(Then there was Lot's wife...)