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Megalithic monuments

Megalithic monuments

Step back in time in Finistère, tracking down ancient megalithic sites. Check out our guide to some of the must-see spots...

The oldest monument in the world!

The Cairn de Barnenez in Plouézoc’h is classed as a National Monument. Located to the north of Morlaix, it is Europe's largest burial chamber and probably the world's oldest monument. Overlooking the seas, it has a magnificent 75-metre corridor measuring 28 metres wide that is estimated to date from 5000 BC. This makes it an incredible 2000 years older than the Egyptian Pyramids.

The oldest traces of fire

The brand new discovery centre of Menez Dregan, in Plouhinec, not far from the Pointe du Raz, is an introduction to the specificities of these archaeological sites and presents the methods used by archaeologists.

Standing Stones at the edge of the world

The alignment of standing stones known as L'alignement de Menhirs de Lagatjar in the neighbourhoodl of Camaret-sur-Mer is an unmissable prehistoric site, contemporary with the famous stones of Carnac. Located a stone's throw from the sea, near the beach of Toulinguet, this site includes 60 monoliths ranged in a line that reaches over 200 metres (and believed to have once been even longer) plus two lines of standing stones arranged at right angles.

The tallest standing stones

To admire the tallest of standing stones, head to Plouarzel: le menhir de Kerloas stands 10 metres tall and is one of the highest in France, while that of Men Marz in Brignogan is 8.5 metres, making it one of the tallest in Brittany.

Mini glossary

A menhir is a Breton term for a standing stone; it can be on its own, part of an alignment, or part of a circle.

A dolmen is also a Breton term, but signifies a stone placed horizontally; it is often used for a horizontal stone lying on other vertical stones that created a tumulus or a particular form known as an allée couverte.

An allée couverte consists of a parallel set of upright stones covered with horizontal stones, creating a Gallery Grave.

A tumulus is a tomb covered in earth, forming a tump or small hillock. 

A cairn is an Irish term for a pile of stones; it signified a funereal chamber or burial ground built from several stones.

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