Malves menhir   Leave a comment

Germain Sicard reported this impressive stone in his Essai sur les monuments mégalithiques de l’Aude. 1929. He had first visited it in 1925. It is composed of Carcassian sandstone (Eocene Lutecian era) common to the quarries of the region, and measures 5 m. x 1.45 m. x 0.45 m. He posits its overall length at 9 metres, and guesses at a weight of 75000 kilos. The information panel repeats these estimations.

It was classed a ‘monument historique‘ in 1921 and underwent major surgery to prevent it splitting in two: iron bars were inserted at about 2 m. above ground, and concealed with cement.

It is unusual in having survived for so long, so near to the village. An explanation may lie in the legend that Saracen invaders of the 8th. century were so fearful of its powers that they spared the village. Many another standing-stone and dolmen has been razed as pagan, or plundered for mill-stone or lintel . . .

Its siting is of interest: it appears to be surrounded by an earthwork bank of about 3 metres, at least on its southern and eastern sides. The field around it is remarkably flat – one could imagine a large number of people easily accommodated there. Its orientation is S-E. – it may have been a summer-solstice sunrise-stone. It also lies very close to the commune’s boundary-line:

Its dominant position can be appreciated below: its little plateau sets it well above the valley. The far horizon – the Pyrenees.

 

Posted December 29, 2010 by Richard Williams

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