My amateur researches four years ago have turned into a more serious attempt to provide a geo-located ‘Inventaire’ . Various attempts have been made since Germain Sicard published the first, in 1909. Michel Barbaza published another in 1979. A further inventory was made in 1996 : La France des dolmens et des sepultures collectives (4500-2000 avant J.-C.). edited by Philippe Soulier. Bruno Marc’s guidebook recapitulates these studies and is helpful in visiting some of the sites – but is far from exhaustive.
Very early on I got the sense that ‘Prehistoric studies were finished’. That a generation of archaeologists had come and gone – and that everything that there was to be discovered – had been discovered. End of story – the book was closed. Another feather in the cap of Les Trentes Glorieuses. The archaeologists could retire from this particular field, knowing that everything had been discovered and written about.
Perhaps this is true for other départements and other regions of France. But here in the wild and overgrown hills of the Corbières and the Minervois, there still remain traces of our megalithic culture that have gone unrecorded.
One of the first discoveries that Joel Bouakaz shared with me, was the Three Stone Alignment near Minerve.
Joel simply gave me the GPS coordinates. He didn’t try to line them up. He is not interested in menhirs or dolmens as such – his focus is ‘pierres à cupules’ (offrand stones, or sacrificial basins.)
Joel finds dolmens and menhirs that are no longer or have never been, in the record – because he is not really looking for them. He is looking for something else – for other earlier vestiges of our presence here. He is interested in megaliths since they indicate human presence in the landscape.
His megalithic discoveries are astonishing and historic. Historic in the sense that heretofore , no-one has registered this prehistoric site. Noone has written or published about this place. And most importantly for the ‘Nouvelle Inventaire Définitive des Mégalithes de l’Aude’ – all the sites that we visit are registered on GPS. From now on, any claim to ‘knowing about a site’ must be accompanied with a GPS coordinate, or very precise map references.
There is an important distinction between ‘discovering’, and re-discovering. Neither Joel nor I pretend that we are discovering something new. These tombs and these stones have been known to the villagers nearby, for generations.
They are three very ordinary little stones, but form part of an extraordinary alignment.
More info, plus videos and detailed decriptions – on the Coupiat Stone Alignment Page;