Dolmen at Bajouliere

Neolithic Megaliths

The most significant remains of the neolithic inhabitants of Anjou are certainly the megaliths, or large stone structures. Megalithic monuments are widespread in a large region; 4,500 have been counted in 60 departments of France. They are associated with the neolithic culture dating from 4,000 to 2,000 bce. Best known to Americans are the monuments is the plains of Bretagne and Stonehenge, on the Salisbury plains in England. In Anjou, the most famous dolmen is in Bagneux, right outside of Saumur.

The "Great Covered Stone" in Bagneux is claimed to be "one of the most majestic French dolmens," and the largest. This dolmen, or large chamber tomb, is now emptied of its skeletons and other contents. Its overall length is more than 23 meters (75 feet) and its chamber is over 18 meters (60 feet) long.

Megalith = "large stone," referring to this type of construction in general
Dolmen = Portal Tomb = Three or more upright stones with a capstone.
Henge = A circular or oval enclosure made of the earth ditch and bank, usually with one or more entrances, as in Stonehenge.
Menhir = Monolith = Standing Stone= A single standing stone, sometimes several meters high.

Dolmen at Bagneux


Websites of Interest

Le dolmen de Bagneux
Many views of dolmen, information about its construction and accompanying exhibits. In French, with text available in English.
Megalithes d'Anjou
In French
Megalithic Pages
Jan Bily's pages on "standing stones, stone circles, and other megaliths." In English.

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Last update: June 5, 2003
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