Previous: The line
Several tens of thousands of years after Blombos, the people of Europe also left evidence of creative art. We are talking about the paintings in caves and on rock walls. Chauvet, Lascaux or Altamira are considered today as prehistoric sites, which with hundreds of drawn animals unreservedly attract the admiration of millions of visitors. Consistently the animals are painted in great beauty.
Some abstract drawings, which consist of dots and lines, confuse today’s viewers more than that they have a beguiling and at the same time calming effect on the mind of the viewer like attractively designed, aesthetically sophisticated and highly skilled paintings.
In contrast to the abstract work of art from South Africa, the cave paintings depict concrete life.
The three caves in southern Europe do not attribute their reputation to the strokes and dotted notes. The excellent craftsmanship and taste of the illustrations of animals and humans differ significantly from the legacy of those people who carved lines and dots into the stone and thus set a first sign of intellectual achievement.
In contrast to the abstract work of art from South Africa, which is now exhibited in the Natural History Museum in Big Apple, the cave paintings depict concrete life: animals, hunting scenes and people. The painters from the Stone Age drew these creatures so precisely that they are recognizable as such on the painted walls and can be assigned to a very specific genre. The painters preferred large animals to draw them.
The question is of course audacious, whether the man of Carnac knew people, who had knowledge of the art of the cavemen in the south of the country. Another question that will remain unanswered.
It is scientifically proven that the cave paintings are older than the menhirs by a significant time factor.
The people of Carnac were not interested in depicting their environment.
Back to Carnac. There, 6000 years ago, people put up quite a number of menhirs that did not correspond to the thinking structures of the cave people. If those of Carnac had wanted to follow the example of those in the caves, they could have followed with their stones, for example, the pattern given by a spider with its web, and in this way could have set a monument to the perfect aesthetic construction that this animal species achieves when weaving its webs. The people of Carnac did not do this. They did not want to think concretely. The people of Carnac were not interested in depicting their environment.
Unlike the art of the cavemen, Carnac’s Alignements, as the rows of stones are called, do not represent an experience, an aesthetic object that the people copied and placed one to one in the landscape, but the implementation of a thought process.
The intention of the two creators must have been inequal.
The people have set up a sea of menhirs of over two thousand stones. In a certain sense, due to the quantity of boulders set up in structured lines, the structure refers to the army of soldiers that the first Chinese emperor brought underground as a burial guard several thousand years later and that has gone down in history as a terracotta army. The faceless menhirs also differ from these individualized terracotta soldiers in Qin Shihuangdi in that they were not buried in the earth, but are visible from afar above the ground. The intention of the two creators, who created these fundamentally different monuments, must have been inequal.
The Stone Age monument of Carnac stretches over more than four kilometers and is therefore of an overwhelming length, a dimension beyond thinking. The rows of menhirs cannot be seen in their entirety from the ground.
The fact that the area is broken through by a valley makes it difficult to get an overview and interpretation. On both sides of this incision in the terrain the rows stretch out. What began in the west with large boulders ends in the east as a narrow swallowtail, which is now overgrown by trees and shrubs.
Many questions remain open. Not far from the big Alignements, but at a certain distance of the central place, there are smaller stone groups, which are partly composed of very powerful menhirs. Is there a connection between these small menhir fields and the large bulk of the Alignements? Are they related to each other? In which one? Do they form a competition to the central piece or does the whole area merge into one unit? What order does the thinking follow, that built and organized these structures? These questions, too, will probably remain unanswered.
What has been given here so far are facts. Part of the nature of a treatise is, that it is an intellectual achievement, an interpretation of what the builders of Carnac did. This should now be done.
What did the people of that time think of to create something, that could only be measured in terms of fame by Stonehenge.
The Carnac Alignements certainly did not form a closed meeting place due to their dimensions. Areas of such size are difficult to fill with people. How many people have room on the Tjenanmen in Beijing? Millions? So many people will not have lived in Carnac at that time. What did the people of that time think of to create something so gigantic, that could only be measured in terms of fame and importance in those days by Stonehenge, the round on the other side of the English Channel, where the society like a village community could gather in a circle for a party.
Various elements characterize the Carnac Alignements. The menhirs are ordered by size. It can also be observed in the rows, which are over four kilometers long, that they do not follow the straight line, but form a curve over their entire length. As mentioned before, the entire plant is not visible from the ground. To get an overview requires the flight of a bird or the perspective offered by a high-flying hot-air balloon.
Amateurish thinking leads to the claim that extraterrestrials had their hand in the game, when the Alignements were designed. As soon as one leaves this esoteric path, however, the consideration follows that man in the Carnac of that time, whose original name has not been handed down, grasped the whole structure of the Alignements with his mind. And at this point the analysis becomes exciting.
Prehistoric findings prove, that in prehistoric times man already decorated earthenware such as vases and cups with dots and lines. But Carnac is more than just an everyday object. The immense dimension of the complex suggests, that because of its size, it could have served as an ornament to the landscape of that time. But there is no elevation, no mountain in the area, that allows to perceive the beauty of the Alignements from above and even more so as a whole.
Remaining on the ground of reality, one thing can be recorded. Carnac means first of all a lot of hard work. The aforementioned guide to the Alignements, the very one who explained that the dragging of the stones damaged the ground so badly, that for some time no trees grew there and the stones were therefore visible from afar and that people walked around on paths between the rows of stones – exactly this guide will explain, that at the beginning of the first Alignement, which is initially located near the village of Carnac, there was a severely damaged stone circle, in the center of which there was a menhir that is now destroyed.
From this large menhir, the lines run in a north-western direction. The first oversized menhirs are replaced by smaller and smaller ones as the distance increases. In between, they grow back to a stately size.
At the very end of the rows – where the forest overgrows the stone strips – small formations follow again as if they were the foothills of the complex.
If you keep in mind that it takes quite some time to walk down this menhir forest, then it becomes clear how much time it took to set up this whole facility after the stones were dragged here. Moreover, they were not placed there at random, they do not stand in a jumble, disordered like a dense, naturally grown tree population, but strictly in a row.
A further element stands out in the Alignements. After a few kilometers, the menhir turns slightly but clearly northwards. The directional correction will probably be of no importance. Maybe it will. You will never know.
The topography of the terrain would have allowed the stone rows to continue in their original direction, despite the abrupt incision formed by a valley.
In this place, a great deal of thinking was at work.
A tremendous force must have been at work at Carnac. Not one that works through the biceps, but one that is carried and driven by the spirit. The Alignements are of such a breadth and precision that it is fair to say: In this place, a great deal of thinking was at work that went far beyond what was necessary to draw a circle from whatever spirit.
Spirit and thinking collide in the different structures of point and line. At their starting point, the Alignements form an interplay of geometric initial forms and in this way point to a creative confrontation – not of a creator, but of creatures who wanted more than just copying nature or marking out a space for themselves where people could come together.
In the duality of creature and creator may be the answer to what was going on at Carnac when mankind went there, not guided by a creator but creator himself, based on his own thinking and feeling, his own responsibility and his own decision to build a structure. He moved away from the vague inspirations of an indeterminate, searching mind to a purposeful thinking. Carnac first of all testifies to the effort to give a very specific direction to thinking that frees itself from the circular form.
For some reason, the menhirs could have absorbed the structure of the circle, which is characterized by a center. They could have moved away from this center in a star shape. The plane of Carnac offers enough space for such a construction.
In other places there were stone-age structures that comprised several stone circles. The already mentioned Stonehenge is one of these models of earlier architecture: Around a central circle other are formed. From a larger one you step into a smaller circle. Carnac is quite different.
There are no written sources.
The Alignements clearly and distinctly represent perhaps the effort to move away from the circular form and everything it contains. This word “ perhaps “ naturally indicates the uncertain basis on which this analysis is based. There are no written sources on the intentions of the Carnac builders. Only the over two thousand menhirs tell of what the people of that time intended. Each menhir is a letter. Together they form the book, in which we have to read today to the best of your conscience and knowledge.
Is the key to unlocking the secret of Carnac perhaps in the reflection on the book? Are there other elements besides those already mentioned, which need to be pointed out? Sure, there is at least one more: The distances between the rows of stones. The structured arrangement of the showpieces arouses admiration and associations in many lovers of great and splendid parades. They remind of a military show. The self-declared fans of a monumental boulder open-air Aida opera can argue that the rows were far enough apart to hold processions between them; this over a distance of four kilometers and partly impassable terrain.
However, the gigantic complex rather allows the conclusion, now expressed with great impudence, that the structure of thought of the people of that time was fundamental for the construction of the menhir lines. The people of that time joined a first menhir with a second one and discovered that the line formed in this way could be continued. Man did that. He could do this because the community of that time in today’s Bay of Quiberon had enough strength to free itself from the power of the circle.
Next: The money
Back to Carnac