Around Minerve, the number of dolmens counted stand at: one at Bruneau, four at Mayranne, six at Les Lacs, five at Le Bouys and twelve at Bois-Bas. The necropolis at Bois-Bas is unique in the Minervois by the sheer number of dolmens distributed over such a small area. The count varies : from 12 dolmens in a good state of conservation, there could be as many as 25 in all. Various forms of construction are represented in this necropolis: dolmens with passages, dolmens with low stone walls, megalithic cists, and at least two diaclases or fissures in the limestone pavement, still covered with slabs. In the commune of Minerve alone, four groups have been registered. The dolmens of Le Causse Grand were first noted by Renouvrier in 1831, and were searched thoroughly. Cazalis de Fondouce in 1879 described six dolmens, and J. Miquel thought there were ten below the farm of Les Lacs, between the chemin du Bouys and the rocks that overhang the Gorge de la Cesse. J. Lauriol, J. Guilaine, Audibert, Doctor Arnal, J. Hinault and P. Lambert have all added their descriptions. The orientation is generally south-west and south. The builders belonged to a nomadic group called Pasteurs des plateaux, the upland herdsmen, who lived in dry-stone huts and wooden dwellings.
Finds recovered from the dolmens include:-
Personal ornaments and weaponry, pottery, and skeletal remains. Calcareous pearls – perles des cavernes – which are pisoliths composed by accretions of calcite around a germ of grit in running water. Ornaments made of shell; schist stones glittering with micas, hornblende, graphite and quartz; polished bone.
Arrow-heads of flint, bone and bronze.
Awls, rings, amulets and buttons in bronze
Clothing and hair pins in bronze
Large pottery items – campaniform and Verrazian
Skeletal remains: teeth, skull-bones, finger-bones
These items and documents relating to the various sites can been seen at the museum in Minerve village.
For more photos, 19th. century drawings and full text, go to Pages >>