Roquefort-des-Corbières dolmen   Leave a comment

Located in the Hautes Corbières Maritimes, this is the most easterly of the dolmens of the Aude. It is set on a small limestone plateau that looks out across the Etang de Sigean to the Med. The crazed and fractured karstic upland extends for many kilometers all around, crossed occasionally by rutted tracks and the Sentier Cathare.

In bright noon light the architecture is not easy to photograph : this is a view from the SW, with a large flat stone that might be the ‘table’ in the foreground.

Above are the two LH or west side orthostats : the first is 1.5 m. long by 60 cm. high. The second is 60 cm. x 60 cm.

The LH stones are leaning in, while the RH orthostats have collapsed totally inwards. These both measure 1 m. long by 60 cm. high.

The ‘chevet’ or headstone is unusually wide : 1.5 m. x 60 cm.  and extends beyond the width of the tomb, which is a typical 80 cm.

The dolmen is oriented 210° or S S-W.

Above is a closer view from the foot of the tomb, showing the collapsed orthostats. The length of the dolmen is 2 m. and there seems to be no evidence of a passage : this would appear to be ‘un dolmen simple’.

The dolmen is encompassed by the reduced remains of a tumulus of 8/9 m. diameter.

It is extraordinary that this dolmen has never appeared on any list, and has never attracted the attention of any archaeologist. It has been known about however, for many years. The botanical group of S.E.S.A. were alerted to its existence , on an outing in 1999. The speleological group that has undertaken extensive research into the cave-network that honey-combs this whole plateau, have named their main spelunking entrance after this dolmen.

How are we to account for the reluctance of local people to inform the regional archaeologists? Do local families & landowners fear accusations of grave-robbing, conducted by their grandparents?

The silence that has fallen upon this prehistoric grave is deafening. Thanks to the research undertaken by Joel Bouakaz, I was able to go directly to the site. This belated ‘discovery’ belongs to him.

[Correction: the dolmen does appear in a collection of regional studies : La France des dolmens et des sepultures collectives (4500-2000 avant J.-C.). edited by Philippe Soulier – 1996.  The Megalithic Portal references its existence too, courtesy of The Captain, an indefatigable researcher. However, neither its location nor any description has ever appeared in the archaeological records. Sicard does not include it in his 1929 Inventoire, nor Barbaza in his 1979 survey. Guilaine includes it in his section of Soulier’s regional collection – and that is all.]

Posted October 3, 2011 by MH

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