The start

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At one time or another, thought processes developed in man, began to take hold in his mind, lifting him above the instinctive actions of the animal, and moving him to imitate what he observed in his environment. It is well known that animals sometimes act in a really clever way when it comes to getting food. The bearded vulture is known to drop bones from a great height, so that they burst on the ground when he tries to get at their precious bone marrow. Chimpanzees use pieces of wood for various tasks. Beavers dam up the water to protect their buildings. Ants construct real buildings to survive and to house their colony. Crows use a whole range of tricks to make their lives easier. They use tools and hide food from their fellows, for example by creating false hiding places to distract from the right ones. Sometimes they even cover these hiding places with earth.

Smart animals; crows @ Georges Scherrer

In the megalithic period, people covered in selected places the small stone walls, which were formed into a round shape, with stone slabs and thus formed a closed space, the image of a cave providing protection.

Dolmens cannot be regarded as an outstanding achievement of intellectual profundity.

If one considers the above-mentioned examples from the animal world in the explanatory argumentation for the emergence of these buildings, the erection of the dolmens cannot be regarded as an outstanding achievement of intellectual profundity.

Securing the ground, which is enclosed by vertical stone slabs, with further stone slabs as a cover on top, corresponds to a feat of strength, which many a bird performs when building its nest. Certainly, such an act is equivalent to a tremendous achievement. The clan had to be organized like a beehive to make the undertaking possible. But it would sound rather audacious if one were to interpret such action of the human pack as the first artistic step, which finally led to the erection of the menhir as a subtle sign of the upright standing human.

Beeings in Carnac @ Georges Scherrer

The construction of the dolmens required considerable physical skill, but the intellectual performance was oriented towards that of animals, which secured their hiding place, their construction. Mockers of today counter this explanation with the striking term „artistic realization“, in order to give more prestige to the primitive constructions. This is to be countered: The wolf did not yet produce art.

In order to cut the word to these scoffers still in a further way, therefore the question is asked: What was first – the menhir or the dolmen? One will have resulted from the other. One action will have resulted in the next, whereby it is irrelevant in this consideration here whether the menhir was first or the dolmen. Did early man first want to protect his dead from the wild animals with a stone or did he want to make a mark with the stone standing vertically? A pointless question, because it cannot be answered.

There is no evidence to support this interpretation.

A small thought experiment on this is provided here: Does a stick stuck in the ground stand for a living person, whereas the stick lying on the ground stands for a dead person; or does the stick stuck in the ground remind of a dead person? Any answer to this question is open to interpretation.

Were the vertical stones – understood as menhirs – that surrounded the dead as part of the dolmen symbolic of people who protected the dead? This is another superfluous question, which can be answered with yes in a romantic-religious way. But there is no evidence to support this interpretation.

Marvelous messenger from another time @ Georges Scherrer

If the flat stone was already above the grave and the second stone was only erected afterwards, the standing stone as a sign of the self-confident upright person, then this circumstance shows that a development took place in the matter of man.

Possibly this plus means the first step into a direction that can be described as civilization.

Such a development would be a remarkable progress in the nature of man, a significant process in his thinking. For neither the dolmen nor the menhir were a necessity for man at that time, which ensured survival or the need for food. The use of the stones corresponded rather to a luxury that man afforded himself in addition to his breadwinning. Because both were basically superfluous to ensure the immediate survival of the people of that time, they represented an extra that the people of that time earned.

Possibly this plus means the first step into a direction that can be described as civilization. Possibly such a development can be framed with the term culture. 

Rudimentary hute @ Georges Scherrer

At the current state of this consideration, this treatise, on what happened in Carnac, it is not exaggerated in so far as the standard that can be set for the culture of that time is set extremely low-threshold, i.e. does not rise above the considerations of the horizontal and vertical as formative elements.

Something significant happened in Carnac 6000 years ago. Who was aware of it? The man of that time? Who took part in it? Who knew about it?

Next: Paleolithic globalization

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