Mousse dolmen 1   Leave a comment

The upper dolmen of this group of three is sited just by the trackside, on the left, as one descends Le Causse from the Lauriol dolmen towards the métairie at Mousse. It is not precisely where the Panoramio photo on Google Earth indicates – but back up the track a few metres, on the bend.

This dolmen and several others on les Causses de Siran and les Causses de La Livinière were searched thoroughly by Paul Ambert and his team (Brigitte Belair & Didier Ferry) over two seasons in the early 1970’s. His report was published in the Bulletin de la Société d’Etudes Scientifiques de l’Aude in 1972. It was the first serious study of the tombs. Nothing since has appeared about them they – seemed to be in the process of being forgotten, and then ‘lost’.

It is a long and very narrow dolmen: 6 m. by 80 cm. and is orientated like the Lauriol dolmen, N – S.

The capstone, or ‘table ‘, is not easily discernable amongst the broken stones around.

Above is the headstone, possibly moved forward of its original position and certainly no longer implanted in the earth – with the side orthostats severely worn down or broken to vestigal points.

This is the view from the foot of the tomb. I have done my usual ‘gardenening’ : branches broken back and grasses uprooted, so that a clearer view of the grave is posssible. The tumulus is still apparent, reaching up to the tops of the side orthostats on both sides.

Ambert found that, while the tumuli of all three dolmens may have been relatively intact – the interiors had been thoroughly emptied, leaving no strata of soil undisturbed. They had been completely ransacked.

Yet the tomb was not completely empty : 490 teeth, 300 finger-bones, 20 skull fragments and a few long bones were discovered in the sifting. In addition there were 4 flint arrowheads, one shell-bead pendant and a small rolled bronze-leaf button.The pottery shards were similarly disappointing : many were mediaeval, and the rest so undifferentiated as to be undatable.

The co-ordinates will be available to members of the  Société d’Etudes Scientifiques de l’Aude in Carcassonne.

Posted October 27, 2008 by Richard Williams

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