Saturday, August 02, 2014

Dolmen de Bontemps

Another little video from my wife. This is a place I know in the forest north of Thenon, between Ajat and Limeyrat. When I lived in Ajat, I used to bike here almost every day. The stone slab is almost 3x4 meters and about 40 cm thick. It sits on two upright slabs, like a table, but over the 3 to 4,000 years since it was erected, it slipped a little off of its supports. It was quarried from a location about 20 kilometers away and brought here by the neolithic people who lived here before the Celts. The folklore of the region divides the population in to groups and you can see the physical differences to this day. The pre Celt neolithic people are short, compact with blue eyes, small noses and black hair. The Celt influence is tall, and light, with bigger noses and ears.  Obviously, the language and the culture of the pre Celts has been lost in time and evolved into the myths we know today. The reason they erected these stone monuments throughout Europe are lost in time and we can only conjecture. The little stone hut next to the dolmen is called a borie. They are stacked stone with no mortar. They are typical of the skill humans acquired and passed on over thousands of years. There are still borie villages in rural France. The great Eglise de St. Martin, a 12th century Templar church in Ajat has a lauze roof. Lauze is a technique of splitting limestone and layering it to make a stable rock roof with out cement. The entire roof was recently rebuilt using the ancient technique.
This borie is named the borie of Jean Adroit, because the last person who lived in it was nick named Adroit...that translates to "Clever John". He died around 1912, but the borie was probably built over 1000 years ago. The country side around here has many of these structures still standing in forests and meadows and the technique is still passed on. The dolmen might have been a burial chamber, but what ever it was, it represents the spiritual legacy of the culture that created it. I always feel I am in a very special, ancient and peaceful place when I come here. 


Jono said...

Maybe a burial chamber, but I'll bet it could double as a picnic table. I heard that was a pre-Celt invention.

Ol'Buzzard said...

Interesting: I have found cairns in the Maine woods - not sure of their purpose or who built them. Found four small tomb stones deep in the woods with the primitive inscriptions: Mother, Father, Brother, Sister... Makes you wonder the circumstances.
the Ol'Buzzard