he next time you stay in Brittany, take the road from the little river ‘Le Jaudy’ through the beautiful, picturesque village of Tréguier with its partly steep, medieval alleys and the imposing cathedral up to the plateau of the Côtes d’armor. Then continue towards the romantic seaside resort of Locquirec, on the highway D786. Shortly after Kerjean Huellan and before descending from the plateau to Saint-Michel-en-Grève and thus to the sea shore, you will discover a large menhir in a meadow on your right.
Anyone who works does not look at the monster made of stone.
This menhir rises five meters (15 feet) into the air. Many people do not see it at all because of the fast ride. Because of the high speed on this fast section of the route, the witness of prehistory, which rises far up, passes the hurried contemporary of today like lightning.
The drivers of the fast vehicles, co-drivers and passengers, if they even notice the artificially high boulder, only take a brief look at the primeval structure. Whoever uses the road everyday as a way to work will probably not appreciate the stone monster from primeval times, because one is used to its sight. With a quick glance, the driver only notices from time to time how to make sure: There he still stands.
Those who don’t know about the menhir and are surprised by its appearance, so the tourists, probably think: My goodness, it looks as old as stone. With its age and the peace and quiet it radiates, it is a clear contrast to our fast car, our fast-moving times. And all of a sudden, the observer’s senses clearly realizes that he has unconsciously just entered the land of prehistoric wonders and mysteries or, if he consciously traveled to Finistère with a megalithic thirst for knowledge, understands, that he has now arrived there in the country of old tales.
The tourist who is thus transported back to prehistoric times in the history of mankind will be amazed at the size of the menhir on the D786 and ask himself: What does the stone mean?
Of course, he points steeply towards the sky. This will encourage many people of today to explain: This mighty stone index finger, which according to prehistoric researches has been standing in this field for almost 6000 years, symbolizes the Creator who created the universe. It’s a memorial to God, whose warning finger urges man to humility and obedience. The stone thus formed the center of a religious site.
Is the Creator older than the Universe?
Evil tongues will naturally object that the universe is older than the Creator for whom the stone stands. The stone is therefore not a reminder finger of God in this field on D786, but a symbol for the universe.
Is the stone a symbol of rebellion?
Other observers make a different connection between the menhir and the universe. From their point of view the stone points to the stars, the sun, the moon and the planets. It was used to measure something, such as the circumference of the earth. Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth, using two vertical rods and his brain, more than two thousand years ago bevor our time. The result of his calculations was very precise.
It is possible that the stone was used to obtain precise information about the seasons, such as the winter or summer solstice. Its shadows announced when the days in the course of the year would become shorter, when they would become longer again – thus announcing spring, long before it made its solemn and colorful entrance into the region on the northwestern edge of Europe, which was hit hard as iron by wind and weather. The winter is a tough guy who is able to resist his expulsion for quite some time, using many raging storms and a biting coldness.
The menhir of Lannion served as a lighthouse.
Other interpreters of prehistoric times are convinced that the menhir in the bay of Lannion, near the modern fishing village of Saint-Michel-en-Grève, served as a guide for the helmsmen of boats at sea in the Stone Age. That is why he was raised. Thenceforth, seafarers could read from this rugged, distinctive stone what level of the coast they were at. However, the mockers, who claim this, never checked whether this menhir on the plateau could be seen at all from the sea, not to mention from the watercourses in the valleys surrounding the highland.
The mockers‘ theory about this prehistoric lighthouse, which was seen during the day but could not perform its service at night because it had no light, therefore has no followers. Even the following sentence is too of no use: At night, brushwood would have burned at the top of the stone, and during the day, smoke would have been used to point to it. The rude storms that regularly afflict the region punish such suggestions without contradiction.
Perhaps the menhir served as a signpost after all. The question is: For what and what did he show?
Another theory places the menhir of Saint-Michel-en-Grève in a political context. The MHTOU1, as the official order number of the prehistoric monument is, served long ago as a political meeting place for the people who inhabited the area at the edge of the sea and of whom there are hardly any traces left today. There justice was pronounced and decisions were made concerning the coexistence and cohesion of the community. The menhir Toul an Lann, as it is called today, took on the task that at a much later time the oak served among the Teutons and other peoples. The sacred grove constituted the official meeting places of the tribes.
An enemy hesitated twice.
Yet another hypothesis is put forward by various scientists who are researching prehistory. The menhirs, and therefore also that of Saint-Michel-en-Grève, testified to the talent for organization and therefore the power these early human communities had when they succeeded in erecting such a stone chunk. This was based on the principle that the larger the stone, the stronger the community was, that was responsible for the straightening of the stone. An enemy, if he attacked the clan, could first of all convince himself with his own eyes of whom he was facing.
The attacker thought twice whether it would be a good idea to become active at this place and try his luck. In view of the artificially displaced and clearly erected stone, he might have turned away. In this way, the menhir fulfilled a protective function that did not ward off the gods, but human intruders.
These interpretations all lack a secure and thus solid foundation, an explanatory scriptural evidence from primeval times and therefore prove no more valuable than those of the mockers, who blindly raise the stone to a lighthouse.
At that time tumuli, that’s the actual name of the artificial mounds of earth, were created. Cromlechs, too, are stone circles. Also dolmens and menhirs. Furthermore crains, as the brick stone hills are called today.
All these buildings found their way into our time without a name.
Already in this nameless mythological time, man wondered where life and consciousness come from, where he himself goes with death? These questions have still not been answered, even though mankind in the course of its history built up ever more refined patterns of explanation to justify its existence.
Man invented more and more sophisticated explanations.
Some explanatory patterns also appear rather clumsy and remain on a very low level, limiting their power of argumentation to good and evil. With the answer to the ever-recurring questions of mankind there is simply no way forward.
At that time, in prehistory, man did not have the wealth of experience in tackling the thinking problems that man has acquired till today in the course of his becoming in order to find answers to his various questions. In the search for interpretations of the „where from“ and the „where to“, man, having become a creator himself, made conscientious and often less conscientious attempts at explanation in order to give the answer as to its origin. These reflections sometimes lead to new questions, such as this one: What was first – the Creator or the universe?