I have a problem with the archaeology of archaeology. I keep unearthing new bits of old information, and that should make finding lost dolmens easier, but it doesn’t – it just adds another layer of complexity or uncertainty. Recently I found a short report of Paul Ambert’s 1969-72 digs at Les Lacs, with a drawing of a dolmen he describes as having ‘échappé aux recherches des nombreux archéologues qui, de Renouvier à J. Lauriol se sont intéressés à la préhistoire des Causses de Minerve’. [Gallia préhistoire 1974 Volume 17 Numéro 17-2 pp. 629-664 ]. My problem was not just locating it, but identifying a dolmen not written about for 40 years: is it Dolmen des Lacs 4, or 6?
Well – I found this dolmen on my second attempt, after a lot of crashing about in the garrigue. But at first inspection, it didn’t look like the drawing – and it was the fourth dolmen as you go south. So for a while this was for me, ‘Dolmen 4 des Lacs’ – until more information was unearthed.
This is my dolmen des Lacs 4 (Ambert’s dolmen 6) – taken from the foot, or entrance.
There were enough discrepancies between his plan and my photo (and experience of visit) to make me do the whole trip again – another entire afternoon – to verify that we were talking about the same dolmen.
My two major problems centred on the two fundamentals of dolmen-construction : the orthostats and the orientation. Ambert’s drawing shows the three side stones to the left (west) and two to the right (east). His drawing shows them upright, vertical. My photo shows two stones leaning outwards and one fallen in, against the east orthostat. They are all virtually uprooted, with little to hold them at their bases.
What has happened here?
The second problem was orientation. Ambert states that this dolmen was oriented towards East North-East, at 60°. Whereas I read it as the complete opposite : 250° West South-West.
What on earth is going on here?
For more photos, and further elucidation about the Dolmen des Lacs 6 and its neighbouring tombs : go to the Dolmens des Lacs parent Page. Dolmens 4 and 5 will appear shortly.