Last year I lost a significant portion of my memory. Fortunately it turned up in an old briefcase last week, and I was delighted to slot it back into its USB port and review some of the dolmens and menhirs I had researched that autumn.
And since the ‘theme’ at the moment seems to be standing-stones, it would be appropriate to complete the little series of menhirs that cluster around the north-western corner of the Aude, with two reports: the Azérou stone sited 1.5 km east of Saissac, and the menhir de Picarel, 2 km. to the northwest.
The situation at both these sites is more complicated than usual: they were, or are, not single stones – but part of an alignment or cromlech.
Germain Sicard’s Essai sur les mégalithes de l’Aude of 1929 reports the finding of a number of lesser stones grouped around the one we see standing. I had read this, but not brought his account with me that day – nevertheless I managed to find some stones closeby.
Back home I discovered a much more detailed document on the site. A regional archaeologist, Jean Guilaine, had written about ‘Le Complexe Mégalithique de l’Azérou’ – in conjunction with a book called ‘Aude des Origines’ – a synthesis of prehistoric research compiled by the leading archaeologists of our area.
On the Azérou cromlech Page I offer a partial translation and synopsis, plus my own account and photos.
On the Picarel menhir Page there’s a précis of the work by another local archaeologist, Jean Vaquer – research which presents a new view of this site, plus other info & photos.