*Absolutely wonderful video. It's as if you are there. Thanks to the creator of this vid!
La Roche aux Fees is a magnificent dolmen that is sequestered in a remote part of Brittany,
which is in northwestern France. Brittany in itself is easily interesting enough to be worthy of its own thread. In the hopes of bringing more depth
to La Roche aux Fees I would like to offer a bit on where La Roche aux Fees and Brittany are located geographically.
Brittany: Land of Megaliths and Merlin
*Brittany is famous for its pink coastlines.
Brittany is considered to be the megalithic epicenter of Europe. The part of Brittany called Carnac,
which is essentially where we find La Roche aux Fees, is host to over 10,000 standing stones. Although the construction of these sites is
attributed to the neolithic period, which ranges from 4500 to 2000 BC, the main phase of activity for Carnac is considered to be somewhere in the
range of 3300 BC.
You can see here from the map that Brittany's name really comes as no surprise. Brittany is considered to be one of the
six Celtic nations, along with Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales.
Brittany, high up in northwestern France, is very close Britain and Ireland. All three share what is now called the English Channel.
And here is the region we are concerned with. The Carnac site is not considered to be right where the
arrow points; that would be Carnac village. The Carnac megalithic site actually encompasses a large rectangle, and if you will find Rennes, there on
the map, just south and a little west of Rennes is where we will find La Roche aux Fees.
Brittany is also a heavy contributor to the Arthurian cycle of legends. Most intriguing to me is
that, according to ancient legend, somewhere in Brittany can be found the legendary Forest of
Brocéliande, in many tellings of the legends, is the great forest right outside of Camelot, where a great deal of the Grail Drama happens.
Merlin's tomb is supposed to be somewhere in the enchanted forest of Brocéliande as well. No one has
ever been able to nail down the precise location of Brocéliande, some believe that it is a purely legendary place while others place the forest at
La Roche aux Fees is is believed to have been a passage grave, and this one must have been very important. It is constructed of over 40
massive stones of purple, Ordovician slate, the largest of which weigh several tons each; the entire ensemble of stones is thought to weigh nearly 500
tons. The Rock of the Fairies is 60 or more feet in length, over 12 feet in width with a roof that nearly tops out at 13 feet high. The interior,
which is considered to be broken up in to 4 chambers, is lower in the front but is 7 feet high in the rear.
The huge dolmen would have originally been covered with a tumulus of stones that would have completed the construction. The entire monster of a
dolmen was also built in such a way that the sun rises in alignment with it during the winter solstice .
Legends and Oddities
The primary legend is that the dolmen was built as a house for 'good souls' by the fairie. It is said that the devil would only allow the dolmen to be
built if each fairy could make the trip from the quarry carrying three stones, one in each hand and one on top of their heads. If the fairies dropped
one, the devil made them go back to quarry three more and try again. Strangely enough, the quarry is said to be only 4 or 5 kilometers away, and they
way there and back is littered with large stones, as though they had been dropped randomly.
As is the legend with many dolmen and ancient stone alignments, the number of stones at La Roche aux Fees is known to change spontaneously.
This is also a feature in one local legend. It is held that if a couple to be betrothed begins at the same stone, and then they each go opposite
directions, each circling the stone completely and counting the stones as they go; if they both have the same number at the end, they will have a long
Although I am having trouble finding a good link, it is also said that the 16th regiment of Dragoons was partying there in 1789 and that they set a
fire that killed several of them. If you look at the pictures you will see that there is a stone that has fallen inward (apparently) and that stone is
supposed to have been involved in the deaths of some of the Dragoons..
And finally we have this oddity, which may have something to do with the difficulty in getting a proper count of the stones.
Thank you, ATS, I hope that you have enjoyed this short trip to La Roche aux Fees, have an enchanted Sunday.
Thank you for a really informative thread...lots of things I didn't know in there, and I'm enchanted by the stones to say the least. I come from
another part of the world with lots of megalithic structures, so they are very special to me. The pink coastlines are stunning too! Brittany has just
moved much further up my list of places to visit.
beautifully put together op, SnF and thanks for sharing!
i've pretty much always been fascinated by megalithis though i did not know about this particular monument and will be sure to look inot it some more
- as a lover of arthurian legend i also have to thank you for informing me that the forest of broceliand is reputed to be in brittany (which of course
means "little britain" due to it's myriad tribal and legenday links to ancient britain - maybe as a brit we should claim them :p ) - i'm in your
i've always wanted to visit Carnac too, it's the most amazing place - i have read historians argue that carnac was something of a last hurrah of the
local hunter/gatherers at the start of the neolithic, with the intention of demonstrating their power and significance to those who were taking up
agriculture and adopting new ways and new "gods"...
it's interesting to note though that the rows are generally far from straight and that they were pieced together over a fairly long period in stages,
rather than as one herculean effort - with the size of the task though, it's no surprise!
What a nice compilation of material -- and thank you for providing the maps! "Brittany" is one of those vague areas that many are not familiar
with, and it's delightful to see a compilation thread with nice maps that clearly set up the time and location for the topic being presented.
"Brittany" is one of those vague areas that many are not familiar
Yes, it's true, and the maps sure help to bring the already mysterious place in to perspective. I got lucky in terms of finding nice bits of map that
sort of zoom us in. Thank you for noticing.
It really gets my head to spinning when I consider that probably just about any mention of the sea in the Arthurian legends, likely refers to those
shared waters between Britain, Ireland and Brittany, and I am sure it contributes in no small way to the confusion in ever figuring out where
I also enjoy thinking about what the area might have been like during or shortly after its period of most activity. Unfortunately, many, many of the
stones have been moved, and many were adopted for other building projects in the distant past, so we will never really know what the area might have
been like when it was actively being used.
It actually works at me a little, and bugs me that we will always be missing how it all might have looked under a misty full moon, and it makes me
want to smear myself in woad, clutch a spear and howl. Just a little.
Aubrey Burl's "From Carnac to Callanish" is an awesome book that covers all of the stone rows in Britain and Brittany in superb detail www.amazon.co.uk...
i'd highly recommend it - it may be out of print which would explain the crazy "new" price (mine only cost about £20 too long ago to admit to) but
a second hand one is well worth it.
Wonderful thread! Thanks so much for sharing.
Does that weird and amazing tree have any stories associated with it? Looking at it, one can't help but think it's some sort of portal to the
Well done! Thanks again.
Legend has it that it is impossible to count the King’s Men (ed. The Rollright Stones).
A baker swore he could count them and and to prove it he baked a number of loaves. He placed one on each of the stones, but each time he tried to
tally them up some of the loaves were missing, spirited away either by the Devil or by faeries.
It is said that
-"The man will never live who shall count the stones three times and find the number the same each time."
In complete contrast it is also said that anyone who thrice counts the same number will have their heart’s desire fulfilled.
Even to this day it it genuinely difficult to count the Stones, and modern accounts seem to vary in the numbers they give, especially as it is not
known exactly which of the Stones are original.
Thank you for being here and helping to make this a fun and interesting thread. The legends of King Arthur and the Knights of The Round Table are my
favorite stuff, too, and I sincerely hope that we both make it to Carnac some day.
I wanted to post two things for you. One is this neat image of a model made to represent the Kermario alignment, also at Carnac.
hey, my pleasure - it's the historical and mythological stuff on ATS that really draws me here, besides saying "they are just rocks"
i spent loads of holidays in Wales as a kid which kicked started me on and Arthurian legend and my love of archaeology etc. As i got a little older i
devoured all the usual authors, starting with Roger Lancelyn Green and Rosemary Sutcliff but quickly moving on to Mallory, Geoffrey of Monmouth, The
Mabinogion, Von Eschenbach, Chretien etc etc etc..
one of the reasons i enjoyed your thread so much was the Arthurian tie in and the fact that having visited so many British megalithic and Arthurian
monuments and sites, i've barely been to any in Brittany.
like kingmonkey i'd love to do a road trip there, luckily the food and drink there is great so it shouldnt be too hard to convince my mrs to come
along and let me drone on about all that gumph to her as she sleeps off the booze while i drive around
you may already own a copy, but if you dont, i really would recommend Aubrey Burl's book that i mention above, it's a geek's dream.
26-2-2013 by skalla because: clarity
edit on 26-2-2013 by skalla because: must use brain before i type
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