Stonehenge has fascinated the world for years. The Neolithic wonder draws more than 800,000 visitors a year. But what if there was another older structure with the same mystery shrouded around it? Located in the Brittany region of France and not too far away from the beaches of Carnac, the Carnac Alignments have fascinated locals and historians.
They were built over 6,000 years ago, 1,000 years before the famed Stonehenge. Like its stone sister, the original builders are thought to be Neolithic. The stones are set up in rows and are over 4 km long, which is about 2.5 miles. The stones range from 0.5m tall to the tallest, standing at a whopping 6m tall, over 21 feet. This stone has been nicknamed the Manio Giant, and rightfully so. Through radiocarbon dating, historians also ascertained that the Neolithic removed the stones from bedrock near the surface. However, how they managed to erect or take them across all the land remains a mystery.
The reasons why this massive structure was created have become a thing of legends. There is one story: Saint Cornély, the patron saint of cattle, was pursued by Roman soldiers. He could not find any means of escape, so he hid in the ear of an ox and then turned all the Roman soldiers into rocks. Another legend uses the same story, but Merlin of the King Arthur legends magically turned the legion of soldiers into stone. Others think that their purpose could be ritualistic or had sacred functions. At the same time, some theories suggest it was used as a farming calendar.
They follow a ridge between the land and the sea, so the site’s director, Olivier Agogué, believes this may be relevant to its purpose. The chances are small that the Carnac Alignment’s true purpose will be uncovered. Yet, the world can still marvel at its splendor and debate the mystery around it for decades.