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Chapter 3: Alignments

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We shall begin discussion not with the easiest, as it is usually done, but from the most complex versions of megaliths − alignments. Why so? Simply because the more system features or properties an object has, the greater are the chances to explain its purpose. If all of these features have a general solution, we will have fewer doubts in the correctness of the chosen way, and we will be able to apply the found algorithm to other objects with greater confidence; to objects that can be simpler, but also to those that can be more polyvariant in use. Indeed, having found a stone embeded in the ground, we can offer more than a couple dozens of ways of its possible use, but having found a chain of stones, we can have difficulty in finding even one solution.

Below I am listing some characteristics and features of alignments, which surely are not accidental since they are repeated on different sites. Researchers noticed almost all of them prior to me. Nevertheless, none of them received a logic explanation if we do not take into the account arguments about ritual purpose of alignments by which it is possible to explain all and nothing.

  1. The alignments everywhere represent a set of several parallel lines along which stone blocks are established vertically, with some interval between them.
  2. Orientation of the majority of alignments in this area varies within the limits from NE-SW to E-W, except for St-Barbe, where orientaton is NW-SE.
  3. The Arrangement of four out of six alignments in general at some distance repeats a modern coastal line.
  4. The quantity of lines in the alignments does not exceed 12-13, usually it is about 5-10. Their number can vary even within the limits of one site.
  5. The distance between lines and blocks inside of the lines is nonconstant. Usually the larger the blocks are, the bigger is the distance between them, and vise versa.
  6. Blocks, even big ones, are established not on a surface of the ground, but are embedded in the ground and strengthened by stones.
  7. The weight of blocks varies in very wide limits: from 100-200 kg up to 30-40 tons.
  8. If blocks have flattening, it is always oriented along the lines.
  9. If blocks have the triangular form, they are usually established with a wider part upwards, and with a narrower part downwards.
  10. No linearity across alignments is observed.
  11. There is not exact parallelism between the lines, just like there is no precise periodicity in establishing the blocks along them.
  12. System variations between the first and last lines, allowing speaking about the presence of a front or a rear of alignments are not noticed.
  13. Alignments are attached to elevated parts of the country, but they can also descend into lowerings. On low sites the size of blocks, quantity of lines, and their filling by blocks decreases down to complete disappearance
  14. The western flank of alignments often (but not always) is the most scaled: there are the largest blocks, most of all lines, and the least number of gaps in filling them with blocks.
  15. The ranges with the largest blocks are always located near or on the outcrops of bedrocks, but the fact of the presence of such outputs does not necessary specify the presence of big blocks on them.
  16. Alignments are neigbouring with menhirs and barrows, less often with dolmens. In two known cases barrows have the same orientation as alignments do.
  17. From the western end, the alignments are usually limited by cromlechs or closed by straight walls made of blocks. In those walls, stones are set more densely than in the alignments.

Apparently, the list, which one can lay as a foundation of our somewhat overdue and almost criminal investigation is not short, which means that there are enough "tails" that one can possibly grasp. So there is hope.

Before starting the analysis of the position of alignments in the modern relief, we shall digress a little and talk about indirect sources used.

The thing is that we would need a topographical map. However, the map should not be a usual map used by tourists or drivers, but the one that contains as much as possible detailed information on the relief. The area Carnac is flat and even with a rather detailed topographical map – with 1:25000 scale, on the basis of which the tourist map of the area was made, which I managed to buy in Carnac (№№ 0821 OT and 0921 OT (I.G.N. Paris 1997, 2007 Edition 2, 3.)) − it was rather difficult to receive necessary information about the relief for decoding the locaton of megaliths. The reason for it was the overloading of the maps by excessive tourist information at the cost of contours and rather big intervals between them. I needed a map with contour lines drawn every 1-2 m. However, I could not get hold of such specialised maps (scale 1:2000 - 1:5000). The found way out was not classical per se.

In Paris, in a shop of the French geographical society (?) where I went during my search of such maps, they had a software product manufactured by company BAYO “Photo Exploreur 3D” concerning just the area of vicinities of the gulf Morbihan (French) which was based on the materials of air photography. As follows from “3D” supplement, the program could represent the relief in three dimensions. This was not necessary, but the information about the heights in each point of the image used in “3D” one could possible try to receive. Quality of the pictures was so good that at 100 % resolution allowed to view the territory approximately at 1:2000 scale. This was exactly what I was looking for. The interval of representation of heights (1 m) was also sufficient.

Much to our regret, the program did not allow drawing contours − its makers did not pursue such goal. Then, I had to go roundabout − more labor-consuming way producing less impressive result, but all the same advancing us to the target.

Using a function of a route lining that was available in the program it was possible to connect any points chosen in the field including those that have the same height. It allowed constructing contour lines manually. They turned out in the form of broken lines, in which the length of segment was not always identical, but the possibility of drawing contours at the interval of 1 m did its part, and on the screen of a computer gradually, step by step, a complex, internally connected picture of mutual relation of relief forms began to appear. In the most interesting and important places I increased the number of contour lines and as much as possible reduced an interval between the next points. Farther from them, I reduced details of construction while increasing an interval between the levels up to 5 m.

Most likely, the drawn contours map contains inaccuracies and every concrete relief form can be higher or lower, than it is in the reality, but for geometrical selection and determination of deformation structures, which in the past could have determined the position of megaliths, it is not important. Moreover, on some sites, characterized by especially flat relief, the reliability of positioning of some contours was obviously questionable, since there was a tendency of their attraction towards meridian direction, latitudinal direction, and towards diagonals between them (that, apparently, has to do with techniques of acquiring or processing material). However, this did not really hinder the work, since the most interesting sites, characterized by severe topography where surface forms are verified not by one, but by several contours practically were not effected by this. Comparison of the constructed relief with a tourist map available to me has yielded quite satisfactory results.

The last point in decision-making concerning the use of such self-made map became that all well distinguished ground geographical objects according to aerophotobasis − seacoast, dewaterings, lakes, bogs, streams, and hill tops − "laid down" well on the constructed relief.

For simplification of orientation on the represented fragments of the maps created on basis of “Photo Exploreur 3D” are diced. Its marking is supplied on the left and above. If detailed consideration is necessary, we will enlarge this or that fragment of the ground. Meanwhile the size of a cell will vary, but the designation of grid lines will always allow finding an object on a smaller-scaled charts. The scale rule located in the bottom right corner of the map is also convenient. It allows quick obtaining an idea about the real size of the represented objects. Menhirs - I, dolmens - П, tumuli - Т и barrows - are represented by un-scaled marks on a map.

Alignments, cromlechs, and quadrilаteres are represented at scales and are outlined along contour lines as areas. The bold line surrounds the sites with the largest stones, thin line – the sites with small stones. All megaliths are put against our background from two above mentioned tourist maps М1:25000. When they were visible on aerial photographs “Photo Exploreur 3D”, their position could be corrected.

The best-known "alignments" as it was already mentioned, are located a little to the north of Carnac. They are presented by four sites. The first three Le Menec, Kermario, and Kerlescan stretch with breaks along one the line SWW-NEE, repeating the modern coastal line. In the east, this line is finished by small alignments Petit Menec.

From among less known ones, we shall mention the alignments located nearby at the village St. Barbe and at the small town Erdeven (alignments Kerzerho).

A space photo from "Google Earth" (Figure 3.1) can give a general idea about geography of the vicinities of Carnac and the Morbihan gulf.

Area of vicinities of the Morbihan gulf from the space

Figure 3.1 − Area of vicinities of the Morbihan gulf from the space. (from "Google Earth ")

Area of a small town Carnac. Top view

Figure 3.2 − Area of a small town Carnac. Top view. (from "PhotoExplorer 3D")

The territory that interests us is within the limits of a quadrangle; its points are settlements: Carnac, Erdeven, Ploemel and Locmariaqer (scaled-up with a grid it is presented in a survey picture from the program “Photo Exploreur 3D” in figure 3.2).

It is located in a rear (northwest) part of the Quiberon bay (Baie de Quiberon). The bay itself extends in NW-SE direction is rather shallow. Its average depth is about 12-15 m. From the West and Southwest, it is separated from the water area of the Biscay bay by similar called peninsula and a chain of islands, shallows and reeves. Its mouth is in Southeast; it is there that deep-water begins.

The Morbihan gulf, the vicinities of which are also rich with megaliths, adjoins the Quberon bay from the Northeast. A natural barrier made of two peninsulas Arzon and Locmariaqer separates it from the bay. The gulf is full of islands and has a complex coastal line. Its mouth represents a narrow channel with a never ceasing current, caused by tides. It does not have a direct output into the ocean like the Quberon bay does.

Now we shall address the map and have a closer look at the "main" alignments. In the map represented in figure of 3.3 they are marked by blue color. Except for perfectly expressed confinement of the megaliths to the elevations, that was mentioned earlier, here we can see that the line of alignments coincides with the certain structural border dividing this territory into two parts that have different organization of the relief. In the northern (top) part the relief forms are not characterized by attraction to any marked directions − their character is somewhat unsystematic. In the southern (bottom) part, on the contrary, one can observe the alternation of low ridges and lows (further depressions) with NNW-SSE orientation, which are most intensively shown in the Eastern part of territory and get weaken towards the West. These depressions are remarkable because they have a direct sea outlet. We shall number them from the East to the West. (1 − Kerlescan, 2 − Kermario, 3 − between Kermario and le Menec, 4 − between Sent Michel and Carnac, 5 − big depression between Carnac and Plouharnel, 6 − Petit Menec).

Area of Carnac alignments Area of Carnac alignments

Figure 3.3 − Area of Carnac alignments. Thick contours are drawn every 5 m, thin − every 1 m. «0» contour – coastal line − is dark blue, cromlechs are circled by red. (If you wish to see this picture in detail, click on it).

Here something unexpected happens. Pay attention that alignments have obvious spatial connection with the above-mentioned depressions. This connection is not simple, perhaps, that is why it has not been noticed earlier, but it exists. For a better perception of the situation in the bottom of the map there is a relief profile with duplicated depressions’ numbers. (Drawing of the profiles hereinafter is executed by the program “Photo Exploreur 3D”. A red line should be ignored.)

Let us see what this connection is. Kerlescan alignments are located on the Western slope of a small depression representing an outlet from depression №1 into the depression of the Crac’h river. They partially block it. A little further, along this depression, as if a fence, which is fencing off the entrance into even a smaller depression № 6 located between two hills, Petit Menec alignments are established.

Kermario alignments are located on rear border of depression №2.

The western ending of Kermario alignments and the eastern ending of le Menec alignments are settled on the opposite coasts of depression №3 without blocking it completely.

The western end of le Menec alignments represented by the largest blocks is located on the eastern slope of a big depression №5, between small towns of Carnac and Plouharnel.

If we shall look at the position of alignments that did not get into this chart at villages called St.-Barbe and Kerzerho, there we shall also see precisely the same situation (Figure 3.4).

Position of Kerzerho and St.-Barbe alignments.

Figure 3.4 − Position of Kerzerho and St.-Barbe alignments. Scarlet lines indicate the axes of depressions.

The head part of Kerzerho alignments represented by the largest blocks is located on the Western slope of a small depression of Northeast orientation. The remains of St.-Barbe alignments almost block a big curved depression at the very riverhead, at the "watershed." This curved depression is an apophysis of the depression of the Plouharnel gulf.

Thus, the alignments either block a depression completely, or, being located on one of its boards, block it partially.

One more feature of their arrangement is that many alignments are connected to watersheds limiting depressions from the rear (Figure 3.5). The alignments located to the north of a small town Carnac are stretched along the edge of the ledge separating the northern lowlands from the seaside plain.

Profiles across the alignments Kermario Profiles across the alignments Kerlescan Profiles across the alignments St.-Barbe

Figure 3.5 – Profiles across the alignments (from left to right) Kermario, Kerlescan, St.-Barbe. Black marks indicate the marginal lines of the alignments. .

St.-Barbe alignments are arranged in the same way. They are extended (prolonged?) along the crest of a flat pass.

However, why did depressions attract the alignments’ builders, and how can one explain such connection between the alignments and watersheds? Places of their erection nowadays do not differ from surrounding landscapes. The relief is very soft and flat − the same woods and fields, as everwhere around, may be a little more dampness in lowlands, but that is all. The cross-section of the alignments in relation to depressions allowed assuming that they had been designed to interfere or block something. Moreover, their location at watersheds and heights forming a back wall of depressions suggested that such their position became exclusive only when everything around began to be submerged and they appeared on shallows across moving waters. Only then, the alignments could carry out the function of some kind of a barrier.

Consequently, the first assumption, which in this case would probably come to mind to the majority of not engaged researchers, will be that, possibly, in the past the depression were filled with water and turned into bays. Then the boards of depressions became coasts and the arrangement of the alignments receives some sense. However, here we immediately encounter an existing presupposition that the sea level in the Neolith was not above the modern one, but 5-7 meters lower. It means that those ancient farmers who, according to the modern version used to occupy Brittany, could plough where the sea-bottom is presently located, and any existence of bays in the places of depressions are out of the question.

But even if there were some mistrustful researchers who, despite of it would try to look how the coastal line would be settled with respect to the alignments at rise of sea level by 5, 10, 20 meters, it would unlikely lead to a solution of their function. However, such direction of thought would be in general right.

The main problem is that if we simply move of the sea level up and down in respect to the modern relief we will not be able to find that one level which would allow to have all alignments as well as separate lines in the similar position in respect to the water level. This is in the case of assuming the connection of alignments with water and a coastal line. And it is understandable. Even in the vicinities of Carnac, the alignments are located on high-altitudes from 15 up to 25 m, and if one considers the whole Brittany, the distinctions would be much greater. Such wide spacing of heights can be seen even within the limits of Kermario alignments. Bringing a coastal line up to highly located blocks, we completely submerge the low ones; lowering it to the level of the latter, we leave the former on the land far from the coast. For example, at rising of water up to 20-meter contour the alignments of St. Barbe located on marks 20-21 m, median part of le Menec alignments − 20 m, Petit Menec − 19 m, and marginal parts of Kermario alignments get within the coastal zone. Nevertheless, at the same time Kerzerho alignments (level 16-18 m), a significant part of Kermario alignments, the bottom part of Kerlescan alignments, and the eastern flank of le Menec alignments would be submerged under water. At the same time 4-5 meters above the assumed water level there would be the most part of blocks of Kerlescan alignments and a part of blocks on the hill of Kermario alignments. Lowering or raising a prospective sea level we remove the most part of alignments from the coastal line, in the first case leaving them on the land, and in the second − submerging them. Manipulating the level this way, we submerge other megaliths as well − dolmens and menhirs. This not only makes their existence senseless, but also makes their construction impossible.

However, it is not the assumption about the connection of alignments with water that is not correct, as it may seem at first sight, but the methodology, which is usually applied by researchers to restoration of borders between the sea and the land in the past. This methodology usually consists in simple moving the sea level upwards or downwards. Because of it, nobody till now could admit that all vicinity of the gulf Morbihan including Carnac and many territories on periphery and inside of Brittany, even those that are nowadays located at heights of several hundreds meters, just recently were at the level close to the sea level and were periodically flooded by water and drained.

The assumption that the above-mentioned depressions could be periodically flooded in the past is not fantastic even because similar structures that are presently bays in the mouths of rivers Crach, Auray, Etel, along the coast of the Morbihan gulf are still subjects to significant changes of the water level during incoming tides and onsets. They experience the sea influence even being removed by tens of kilometers from it. Moreover, the bottom half of №1 depression where Kerlescan alignments are located until now is submerged at flooding that is well seen on aerial photographs.

The simplest way (NB − only in this case) to get an idea about the relief before its reorganization is to change the numbering of contours. Then the line with 10 m height will turn into 1 m, 5 m − into 0,5 m, 20 m − into 2 m, etc. Let us do it.

Now our plain looks almost the same as dewaterings in this area, and if the sea level rises even by 2-3 m, the whole territory will be flooded. I shall notice that modern variations of the sea level during the tides in Carnac area are about 4-5 m. As a result, water in some places ebbs a few kilometers.

It is easy to guess, that water when approaching from the sea, will firstly flood into our depressions and in the process of rising it will move further and further on.

Having risen to the watersheds, on which the alignments are located, it will start to flow through them, by wide front running onto the plain that is behind them.

Will its movement be identical even when the whole territory is flooded? Most likely, it will not. As on the modern dewaterings, the main streams are localized in depressions where coming water will meet the least resistance. Currents will go around various obstacles − shallows and islands − and at deadlocks, whence water will have no place to flow, stagnant zones will be formed.

An attempt to restore the picture of currents in the past, after flooding of the territory, is represented in figure 3.6.

Chart of streams

Figure 3.6 − Chart of streams. (It is recommended to view it with oversize)

Well, now, in my opinion, the connection of the constructions with water becomes even more obvious. Alignments or barrows equip almost all ways of its possible flowing in depressions over a ledge.

The principles of their establishment, most likely, were the following:

  1. Being located on one of the slopes, they partially cut across the streams. These are alignments Kerlescan and Kerzarho.
  2. Others are located on the natural ledges complicating the boards of depressions, along which a stream was flowing, as the western flanks of Kermario and le Menec alignments.
  3. The third ones are established across the stream as three barrows which we have on this site: St. Michael barrow, a barrow on the eastern flank of Kermario alignments, and a barrow attached to Kerlescan alignments on the West.

Petit Menec alignments simply fenced off a more shallow lateral depression from the main one, having transformed it into a backwater (a deadzone).

In all cases behind constructions there was either artificial or a natural stagnant zone.

Here we have approached an important point. What was it in these places, these zones of stagnation that made them interesting to ancient people?

In order to try answering this question, we shall recall what piles up on the surface of water in sloughs, in small bays, on the coasts of rivers, lakes and the seas, as well as behind various coastal constructions like quays and dams?

With help of wind or current all waste that floats on the surface of water is accumulated in them or behind them: plastic packages, bottles, pieces of papers, boards, black oil, and other waste products, mixed with the rests of coastal vegetation. All of this either stand still in the slough or slowly turns in it, as coffee scum in a cup at stirring.

In those old days, for better or for worse, there were no bottles and packages. In pockets of the rivers and in sloughs only natural material could accumulate − fragments of reed, seaweed, leaves, knots, roots, grass, various fruit, maybe, even some animal additions. Most likely, the ancient people who had appeared on this transitory earth had to collect such "manna".

Though … after drying such product could be used as fuel, bedding, and heat insulation and, may be, food.

Nowadays it is difficult to imagine something less significant for a person than shafts of decaying plant residues that remained on a coast after the storm or incoming tides. But it was not always so…

I suggest those to whom this explanation does not seem convincing to consider it as a run-time version and to continue reading the article.

If the position and purpose of barrows within the frame of this assumption is more or less clear, − being set across the streams they formed behind themselves zones of stagnation, it is not that simple with alignments though they were established in the similar way. They could not function similarly, as they were permeable for water. Nevertheless, at the same time there is a close spatial connection of alignments with barrows. Places where it was most logical to assume the occurrence of circular currents had been equipped by alignments to meet incoming water from the sea. Moreover, these places were equipped not by ordinary alignments, but by the most representative ones − with the largest blocks and cromlechs. Obviously, this was not accidental.

The matter is that slow whirlpools (shown in the figure 3.6) and accumulation of floating waste − floating organic detritus, firther called waste − in them could take place only under two conditions: full flooding of the territory and the absence of wind. As soon as the air was on the move, the drift-waste got scattered (there were no coasts) and there was nothing for people to collect. In the same way, the waste that had accumulated behind barrows was gone as well. They did not stand out highly above the water and consequently they could not protect against the wind.

However, people found a way to neutralize the harmful influence of wind and even to make it work for them. They did it by the means of alignments − constructions working on slightly different principles. Without forming a solid wall, they did not interfere with the current, which brought the drift-waste, but at the same time, they detained and accumulated it in itself, similarly to roadside tree planting for snow retention. The only difference was that in the case with the latter the snow settles on the motionless ground, and in the barrows the waste was retained while floating on the surface of water.

The matter is that behind each block at the wind of certain force the zone of turbulence, a so-called zone of wind shadow (further "shadow") was formed. The waste floating past got there and was retained, turning according to some trajectory and got accumulated (Figure 3.7). Actually, behind each stone just as behind a barrow, a miniature stagnant zone was formed. The bigger was the area the more floating waste could gather there. In its turn this depended on the size of the block and, first of all, on its heights. A zone of turbulence from the same block put sideways would be essentially less. This explains builders’ attraction towards the alignments with big and high stones − they produced a greater shadow. It was difficult to replace them in these conditions by something lighter. Stones had certain advantages: they did not decay, they were steady against waves and wind, and people could hope that they put them forever.

Work of blocks in alignments

Figure 3.7a − Work of blocks in alignments.

Accumulation of waste behind blocks

Figure 3.7b − Accumulation of waste behind blocks (top view).

Everyone who at least once took count of a cloud as if being pasted on the side of the mountain top despite of wind has got across with wind shadow. Another example would be the autumn leaves, which the wind scurries on the squares and streets, and that get gathered somewhere. One more example is how during a blizzard the snowdrift is formed behind a house or a car. All of them, the cloud, and leaves, and the snow backed up behind the obstacle and remained there.

Next factor determining the area of shadow is the form of a block. If it has a flattening, this flattening can be turned along the wind, or across the wind. In the first case the shadow will be smaller, in the second case − bigger. The second is more preferable in order to increase the accumulating capacity of the whole construction. Therefore, in the alignments all blocks are established across the wind blowing from the sea, the wind, which drove all those things that people used to catch into depressions. Therefore, the direction of blocks’ flattening coincides with the spreading of lines in which they stand. Consequently, in the alignments there are no cross-section lines, highly expected if they had been built not for any pragmatic, but for aesthetic purposes. The system of installation of blocks along lines is simple − they should not “suppress” each other’s “shadow”. This condition had to be ensured by sufficient distance between the lines and a randomness of establishment of stones along them.

However, if the block is not only flattened but also has a triangular form, it is more favorable to establish its vertex downwards for increase of the area of its shadow, like the blade of turbine bucket (Figure 3.8). The shadow from it will be almost the same as the shadow from a much heavier rectangular block of the same dimensions. This is how practically all blocks of triangular form are established. Paradoxical from the point of view of attaining the maximal stability establishment of blocks «on the head», as it appears, had quite utilitarian purpose. Thus another feature of the alignments became clear.

Triangular blocks. Kerlescan alignments. Triangular blocks. Kerlescan alignments.
Triangular blocks. Kerlescan alignments. Triangular blocks. Kerlescan alignments. Triangular blocks. Kerlescan alignments.
Графический объект17

Figure 3.8 − Triangular blocks. Kerlescan alignments.

Certainly with, such establishing the narrow end of the stone had to be very safely fixed in the ground, so that it would not be overturned. At this point one should remember that both blocks in the alignments and menhirs were not simply buried in the ground, but were set in holes and surrounded by crushed stone. This essentially strengthened them. Certainly, for establishing blocks on land such strengthening increases durability, but there are no doubts that in water it is necessary. This is another indirect confirmation of the correctness of the assumption concerning the functioning of alignments in water.

The presence of blocks established this way simultaneously points to the fact that water level in the alignments hardly rose high. Most likely, it rose no more than 0.5 m. Otherwise, no strengthening of the foundation would save them from shaking by waves. (NB: it would be interesting to know if ancient Englishmen were guided by the same reasons when establishing blocks in their henges upside down.)

Accumulating capacity of alignments as a whole, naturally, depended on a quantity and sizes of blocks established in them. The efficiency of extraction of waste from passing water depended on quantity of their lines and density of stones set in them. Therefore the parts of alignments most filled by stones were set in the most productive places of production − near the boards of the main streams along which a great bulk of waste was being dragged.

Perhaps, not so much waste concentrated in them, and it needed to be collected constantly, walking between stones, by means of nets or sacks, but they guaranteed some minimum.

The presence of several lines in the alignments did not allow to suppose that they were intended for gathering of usual driftwood − floating trunks of trees, the value of which in such conditions was not small either. However, for this purpose it would be expedient to build one strengthened line, and not necessary from big stones. An available design of alignments specifies that people used to catch by them some trifle, which by itself did not render any pressure upon stones more than wind or waves.

The additional constructions increasing accumulative capacity of alignments are cromlechs. They closed the ends of alignments from the main stream, this way preventing floating the waste between the lines from the head part to the periphery where it could be dispersed. At the same time, the circulating current could provide gradual moving of driftwood towards the head part and its accumulation inside cromlech. Probably, people did it compulsorily. They took collected driftwood down there.

It is clear that with such purpose of alignments their extent is determined by the need to cover the waste inflow as much as possible. In the same way, anglers put nets across the movement of a shoal of fish. In the most perspective places, they set them in several lines.

The organization of stones in the alignments along the lines, that have provoked modern researchers to see the Lord knows what high purposes of ancient builders, is caused only by convenience of arrangement of blocks. Adhering to lines it is not necessary to think each time where to establish a stone. If there is a necessity on any site to increase accumulating capacity of alignments − there were many lines established, along which with some step many big stones were set. If the necessity vanished − it was possible to reduce the quantity of lines and to reduce the size and the quantity of blocks. Probably, linearity was also observed for simplification of moving of waste inside of the alignments from periphery to a head part. At certain winds, it could float along shallows, where the alignments were set, and get inside.

It is obvious, that in that case strict straightness of lines was not necessary to anybody. They were marked "approximately", hence all the defects. The same way, the blocks were placed along them − without Neolithic yard, a rope, or a measuring tape. It is obvious to any unbiased observer when he/she sees how roughly alignments are made. Linearity is completely absent in the group called Champ de menhirs and in Almendres (Portugal); and in the head part of Kerzerho it is very imperfect.

Orientation of alignments was first controlled by the relief, and not by position between the East and the West or any other astronomical directions. The majority of alignments are attached to edges of tectonic ledges − the largest geological structures of this area. This preconditioned the similarity of orientation of all alignments near Carnac. Similar tectonic ledges define the spreading of the modern coastal line as well, and the position of following higher step in the North, on which a small town Ploemel is located. That is why alignments approximately repeat the coast. In general, once they were located on it.

The absence of distinctions between a front and a back line, rear and front, is caused by the fact that alignments were not a barrier resisting something, but accumulating area (zone), a strip of detention, in which all waste was slowed down regardless of where it was coming from.

If the expediency of using big blocks is clear, the next question comes up. What were the small blocks used for − they create hardly any shadow (Figure 3.9). This is a problem, which I was not able to solve confidently.

Small blocks. The eastern flank of le Menec

Figure 3.9 − Small blocks. The eastern flank of le Menec.

On the one hand, carelessness of their arrangement, missing of whole lines and blocks along them testifies that small blocks played obviously a rather small role. On the other hand, people established them anyway. It means that they needed them for something. Probably, that ability of this or that block to detain driftwood behind itself depends not only on its own size determining the size of its "shadow", but also on the force of the wind.

At not very high speed of movement of the air even behind small stones, there can be zones of accumulation, which were reduced when the wind started to intensify, and then big stones remained the only hope. There were strong winds when alignments in general did not collect anything at all − everything went past. However, it was not difficult to establish small plates, and at favorable concurrence, they could increase the "harvest".

The given problem is an occasion to experiment with models of alignments for evaluation of the speed of the wind at which they started to function and at which their efficiency was maximal.

Besides, the alignments made of small stones could be slightly corrected according to the coastal currents. Sometimes they could be established with a view to certain currents, facilitating the delivery of waste into the alignments from sideways. Probably, this is how the eastern end of le Menec alignments operated. In the top part of figure 2.10 with enlargement zooming it is possible to notice that a tail of alignments, all lines presented by the smallest stones, is slightly turned to the North (it is marked by an arrow). It is from there that a circular current could enter the alignments represented in figure 3.10.

In figure 3.3 one can see that behind St. Michael barrow le Menec alignments are presented by small stones. The reason for this could be that that this part of alignments was intended for gathering the rests of waste, which it had not been caught.

Le Menec alignments. The purpose of lines with small stones

Figure 3.10 − Le Menec alignments. The purpose of lines with small stones.

The next riddle, which is illustrated by longitudinal profiles of Kermario alignments (Figure 3.11а) and Kerlescan alignments (Figure 3.11b) is connected with reduction of block sizes downhill. It might seem that for preservation of due height of a surface part of blocks, on such sites it was necessary to use the highest blocks, but for some reason it is not so.

Profiles along spreading of Kermario alignments

Figure 3.11а − Profiles along spreading of Kermario alignments.

Profiles along spreading of Kerlescan alignments

Figure 3.11b − Profiles along spreading of Kerlescan alignments.

The size of blocks is conditional. Red color designates barrows. In figure of 3.10 the lines of these profiles are colored in light-blue.

The reason, I think, is in various effectiveness of the stones’ functioning established on the tops and in lowlands. It is obvious, that for gathering of floating waste the alignments got to play the main role only when any islands of dry land disappear behind and in front of them, and the stones appear standing in water. Only then maximum quantity of waste will start to float through them. Until this moment, the leading role is played by the coast. Even at flooding some parts of alignments, it can be that water will not run through them, if lowering is not open-ended, and the waste driven to the bottom of alignments by the wind can be collected at the coast instead of behind the stones. It turns out that there was no sense to persist at establishments of stones of bigger size, which height could compensate the lowering. Besides, it was a very hard work. They were more expedient at the tops. All the more, one would not have to drag blocks from the place of extraction − on the majority of such places granite are uncovered right on the surface.

On profiles presented in figure 3.11, red lines designate barrows. Take note, in both cases they begin at the tops of hills (from coast) and go into the depths of depressions.

Since we have presented a longitudinal profile of Kermario alignmemts in which a declared earlier confinement of big blocks to the tops of hills is broken, − their central, highest part is covered by small blocks − there is an occasion to show, how the relief before reorganization (Figure 3.12) could look. Vertical lines here conditionally show infringements along which a growth of the relief was taking place.

Longitudinal profile of Kermario alignment before and after reorganization

Figure 3.12 − Longitudinal profile of Kermario alignment before and after reorganization.

This is an additional occasion to understand that both now and then any even the most invisible height is a potential structure for growth, which scale of development is not always directly connected with its initial size.

The similar thing, apparently, happened to the heights located on boards of depression №3. In figure 3.13 the modern profile across it is presented.

Профиль через депрессию №3. в районе линии рядов le Menec и Kermario.

Figure 3.13 − The profile across depression №3 in the area the lines of le Menec and Kermario alignments. In figure 3.10 the profile line is colored yellow.

On the left, there is a group of big blocks, related to the eastern flank of le Menec alignments, though it would be more correct to perceive it as independent small alignments. On the right, there is the western flank of Kermario alignments. The density of filling with blocks and block sizes is about the same and, probably, earlier they used to be located at similar hypsometric levels. Now the right hill grew 2-3 meters, and the left one remained as it was, preventing to consider these two coasts as being once equal.

From the listed features of alignments, we still have one left. Why there is tendency of reduction of size of blocks from the West to the East in some alignments on some intervals. Particularly, it takes place on the western flanks of le Menec and Kermario alignments, and along Kerlescan and Kerzarho alignments as a whole.

Supporters of the temple version, surely see in it symbolical expression of a daily birth and dying of the sun. But this is not so.

Without going into details, I shall note, that all these sites are located on heights, which have a non-central profile. Their western slope is more abrupt than eastern. This is visible even on the profile drawn below the figure 3.3. The nature of this phenomenon is clearly geological and is connected with orientation in space of the series of deformation structures mentioned in the beginning of the article. In the area of Carnac, it turned out that they are their front is more often oriented to the West. Therefore, a more abrupt western slope was a less convenient platform than stretched and mildly sloping eastern slope for building of such significant constructions as alignments. That is, a noted tendency of reduction of the size of blocks is a private feature of the given territory caused by the nature, and has nothing to do with cult.

In the end of this chapter, it is worthwhile to list all those factors which having integrated in the territory of Carnac, determined the expediency of erection alignments and barrows here.

  1. The presence of a big bay (Baie de Quiberon) extended in the direction of prevailing then SE winds with coasts, which used to be the main supplier of floating waste.
  2. The presence of series of depressions located in a rear part of this bay also extended in the direction of the prevailing winds, which are not only the ways of water and waste inflow, but also its collectors.
  3. The presence of a threshold in the end of depressions, over and through which waters were poured into the lowering located behind it.

Therefore, practically all features of alignments, most of which researchers could never explain, found their explanation. It has become clear what the alignments were, how they functioned, and why they were located this particular way.

Therefore, there are reasons to continue studying other megaliths from the same positions. Who knows, maybe, this will strengthen a proposed version.

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