Saussenac stone alignment   Leave a comment

The sole reference to this structure appeared in the reference for the commune of La Livinière, in Hérault. In a region that has one solitary cromlech and no stone rows – this should have merited an examination by at least one archaeologist.

But as far as I can ascertain there has been no further research on this structure.

It lies 800 m. south of the hameau de Saussenac – and while Saussenac is part of the commune of La Livinière, the stone alignment is in fact 60 metres inside the boundary-line of Félines. It is located just 60 meters from the Combe Lignières dolmen. The dolmen is almost precisely on the border line between the communes of Félines and La Livinière (almost – but according to the ‘Limites Administratives‘ layer on the IGN site, it is just a few metres on the Félines side). This raises again the question of boundary-lines and burial-places and standing-stones: in a landscape lacking any other permanent landmark feature, have some megaliths served as boundary-marks? Is it possible that communes were partly founded on prehistoric clan territory?

The stone alignment lies in a flat wide gully or narrow valley, between stoney ridges. It’s an anonymous place, between a ténèment called Les Fumades, and the upper reaches of Combe Lignières itself. I mistook it for a wall, at first.

But as can be seen from the photo above – the ‘wall’ stops abruptly in the middle of the gully. It is about one metre wide, which would be the usual size for a Bronze Age oppidum defensive wall. Some orthostats remain standing.

The alignment begins here, its NW end, and continues for 10 metres.

But on closer inspection, the construction continues for at least another 5 metres – lost in the undergrowth – but repeating the same pattern of intermittent orthostats and metre-wide rubble ‘path’. Then it stops, well short of the low cliff that encloses the gully.

The construction begins in the middle of the flat gulley, and ends close to the low cliff on top of which was built the dolmen. It does not ‘point’ at the dolmen.

Its orientation is 120° – close to S.E.

It is not a defensive structure:  situated so low down it cannot be part of an ‘épéron barrée’. Nor is it simply a farm wall: it begins and ends in the middle of a flat stretch of pasture. It is not built high enough to be effective as any kind of wall. Thus it looks like a one-metre-wide raised pathway, with intermittent orthostats.

I have not encountered enough stone alignments to make more than just a guess about the significance of this one: that it might be a ‘sighting line’ indicating the point at which the sun rises into view on a certain date – midsummer, or an equinox. It might therefore have both practical and ceremonial functions. I would sincerely like an archaeologist to examine this enigmatic structure.

The co-ordinates will be published through S.E.S.A. in Carcassonne – or contact me.

Posted October 8, 2010 by MH

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