The menhir is propped up on two ordinary old pine posts – to have a look-see at what was underneath? A rather temporary measure for such a venerable object.
This is as close as I wanted to get to the edge – I dropped a couple of stones in, and they just disappeared . . .
There’sa distinctly phallic look to the carvings on the stone – which is a half-metre wide and 70 cms. thick. It has apparently been ‘couchée’ – lying down – since before 1897. But at some point this stone was inserted into this hole – for a reason.
I have mixed feelings about menhirs and ‘pierres droites‘ – they could be either waymarks, or fertility stones that were part of a general circuit of sacred stones, or exceptional stones standing apart and revered for ritual purposes. They do, however, seem, in this region at least, to be closely connected to water : wells and streams and other life-giving sources. I would therefore put my money on phallic. The effort needed to erect such stones is disproportionate to the simple need to mark a way.
And this monolith should have been restored and celebrated as one of the most astonishing examples of its kind in the south of France.Instead it gets wired in and abandonned.
That is the grave of the mapmaker from the Institute Geographique Nationale who couldn’t be bothered to visit the site, and couldn’t be arsed to consult the local scientific society, and so gave it the generic title of any other old bunch of stones in a forsaken corner of the country too far from Paris to be worth the train-fare. Or it once said ‘Danger – Trou!’
So they wired it off.
And forgot about it. One of the most impressive stones in the entire region.
The co-ordinates are : 43. 21′ 16″ N. 2. 23′ 53″ E. on the oh-so-reliable IGN GeoPortail.fr map site. Or 43.354444 and 2.398056 in Decimal Degrees.
Both sites are easily accessed. We were delighted to discover that on the drive home, it was the Route Departemental D.111 that took us all the way back to our village of Moux.