The money

Previous: The art

The guide, who today shows the tourists the way through the site of Carnac, will express to the group, she is leading, the assumption, that the society of that time had considerable wealth. In the former settlement area of today’s France, far inland, far away from the sea, salt was an absolutely scarce product and thus a coveted, basic commodity.

The guide through the site of Carnac further speculates, that the salt trade may have brought a certain prosperity to the people of the Bay of Quiberon. Of course, wealth and prosperity should not be taken to mean, what we consider to be such today. This was perhaps only that people could take time for something other than ensuring their daily survival and take care of something other than the daily absolutely necessary tasks that are: Fishing, hunting, gathering wood and food, cleaning, cooking, frying, resting and relaxing and whatever other actions, duties and idleness determine the daily routine.

Indispensable in the household: fire @ Georges Scherrer

This prosperity made it possible for the people, who at that time protected themselves at best with animal fur and bast mats against the weather, to devote themselves to a thinking task, that went beyond the exchange of goods and the concrete painting of the cave dwellers. To put it in a modern denominator: The good shareholder value led to this, that people had enough „financial“ means to start the project “Alignements” and thus to promote a certain line of thought, which can best be described with the neutral term philosophy. This term denotes the effort to bring thinking into a structure, that allows for further thought conclusions, i.e., to break away from the eternal cycle of the round.

Salt and money as a means of payment @ Georges Scherrer

Money and spirit found together. How this money, the cash flow, may have looked like in concrete terms is not important. It will not have been coins, that were hoarded as cash of payment to secure a satisfactory livelihood. Coins were not found in Carnac. Barter transactions probably formed the basis of trade. Salt was probably paid for with goods from the field, the forest, hunting or with labor provided by foreign clans.

Trophies of successful hunting @ Georges Scherrer

At that time Carnac had enough manpower at its disposal to start and realize the intended work. For the people of that time, the goal set was worth enough, not to shy away from the immense effort required to set up the Alignements. By erecting the stones, he realized a project based on an extremely ambitious guiding theme: the Alignements take up the idea of the upright stones, which form a contrast to the horizontally lying stones of the dead. 

Gravestone and dolmen cover @ Georges Scherrer

The Carnac construction, this is noticeable at first glance, was completely unsuitable for a meeting place because of its dimensions. Too spacious. Too immense. Sure. But, due to its dimensions, however, the place was definitely suitable for meetings. The distances between the rows, the menhirs, define a considerable space.

The threatening disappears.

The extended, larger and smaller areas are another element, that distinguishes the Alignements. An interesting phenomenon can be observed. If you stand between the largest menhirs, the spaces defined by these stones seem to be demarcated. The mighty stone colossuses build up almost like walls, shape an enclosed room, but at the same time allow a labyrinthine view into neighboring and more distant places. If, on the other hand, one stands between the smaller and smallest menhirs, the defined space takes on a completely different meaning. The threatening disappears. The squares pegged out with the menhirs seem open and invite you to move light-footedly from one field to the next. At the eastern end of the Alignements, they finally release the visitor into the vastness of the plain, which is now partly wooded – as has been noted several times in this tract.

The frightening giants of Carnac in the game of shadows @ Georges Scherrer

On the one hand, the marked-out fields are intimidating, on the other hand, the menhirs enable the visitor to walk through the menhir field with changing insights. In Carnac, threat and liberation stand close together. The spirit is stimulated. One feel reminded today of the Peripatetics of antiquity, who, walking in the old Greece, sheltered from the glow of the sun’s southern heat, through porticoes, followed and pursued their thoughts.

Walk through time @ Georges Scherrer

The menhir columns offered an excellent opportunity to walk along the rows, to change lanes to the left or right and to pull out in thought. This is still the case today, when one stands in amazement between the stone colossuses or looks over the dwarves beneath the menhirs and ponders, what this historical Carnac is all about. Many people leave the rows with a strange feeling, as if their thoughts had not moved together, but flow here and there.

Bronze and iron were still far away.

But despite all the confusion they cause, the stone lines also give the thoughts a direction, an orientation.

According to research, the people of that time were of smaller growth than we are today. The man who lived at the time of the construction of the Alignements already had a considerable selection of stone tools and other aids at his disposal, which he wrestled from nature and which made his life easier. Wood and bone were worked. Bronze and iron were still far away.

Indispensable for the household: a stone age loom @ Georges Scherrer

In Carnac, man secured his existence through fishing. He was able to move considerable loads, as the construction of the dolmens shows. He could work the stone and create fire. He arranged his everyday life with simple and clever means. Today, researchers are trying to find out, how the people of yesteryear moved and transported the stones, these stone giants, which fascinate the people of today so much. Did he drag them across the frozen ground in winter? Did he push the menhirs to bring them from there to here, over tree trunks rudimentarily planed with stones? 

Ice floor as a sliding surface for menhirs @ Georges Scherrer

It would also be interesting to know, what kind of society made the construction of Carnac possible. Were there slaves in Northern Europe, as in the era of the Egyptian pharaohs? Were the Alignements created with the help of voluntary, paid workers, who belonged to the people, who inhabited the Bay of Quiberon at that time? Was socage work done? Or were the people of that time still at the organizational level of the pack? Were people in northwestern Europe at that time in the process of breaking away from the organization in the pack and searching for new social structures? With the help of the Alignements. By creating a new order. By adding an upright stone colossus to the horizontal stone slab.

At a certain point, man discovered, that there are references in this matter, that have nothing to do with instinct.

The pack enabled people to survive in community and to protect themselves with simple resources against wind and weather and other dangers, that arose in daily life; just like animals, that seek shelter behind bushes, in rocks or on trees.

The upright stone, signifies a detachment from those lower forms of organization that are determined by instinct. At a certain point, man will have added a second stone to the first one and discovered, that there are references in this matter, that have nothing to do with instinct, but shows something else. Such a discovery tickles the mind of the man, who walks in skins.

The fur man @ Georges Scherrer

Even animals that play, i.e., pursue an activity that does not serve to secure their daily need for food, notice that repetitions in a game are definitely stimulating and encourage pastime.

In humans, this discovery will have triggered a process beyond the pastime, that spurs them on to do more, than indulge in playful repetition. By adding a second menhir to the first one, man discovered new connections, which he continued to explore with further menhirs. How much was planned at the beginning of the construction of the Alignements? This question is not entirely uninteresting, when one considers, that the people of that time did not have the organizational skills of the people of today.

Organizing to the point of a general staff grew up in mankind with the time and might have been in its beginnings 6000 years ago, provided that there was something like really foresighted planning at that time and not ad-hoc thinking determined the doing, the building of the stone colonnades. A pack is not yet a general staff. – If subject and object are exchanged in the sentence just mentioned, the word „not“ could probably be deleted.

The western version as well as the eastern version will find their followers.

From which side, from the east, from the west, from the north or from the south, were the more than four-kilometer-long Alignements tackled? Did the construction start in the east, where the stones are not of impressive size, or in the west, where some of the mighty menhirs stand? The western version as well as the eastern version will find their followers.

It is still possible to deal with this question in the mind.

The construction from the north or the south should only arouse interest among those, who include exotic things in their court. The east-west axis or west-east axis imposes itself overpoweringly. It lies parallel to the course of the sun. Which possibly means nothing.

Viewed from the gut feeling, the alignations might have had their beginning in the west. There, according to the guide through today’s tourist area, there is a stone circle, as already mentioned in this tract.

The guide will explain, „perhaps“, emphasizing this word, this circle gave the impulse for the first stone avenue. It would mean getting lost in speculation, if one were to search for the criteria, according to which the Alignments were created. However, it is still possible to deal with this question in the mind. That should now be done.

The stream and its valley divide the plain in two @ Georges Scherrer

If the builders advanced from the east, then the stone circle, the cromlech, in the west might have been the target. Ironic observers will notice, that the builders made a subtle mistake in the aforementioned valley cut, where the brook with the coquettish name Kerloquet has dug a small gorge into the Carnac plain over thousands of years. The constructors therefore had to make corrections on the rising slope and direct the stone galleries back towards the chosen destination, the circle with the menhir – if both were already in place.

Did they let their plans figuratively dry up?

What is certain, however, is that, seen from the west, the stones decrease in size. Up to the already mentioned valley the volume of the menhirs decreases steadily. On the other side, impressive monsters line up again. Further towards the east, these huge menhirs wither again and in the end they hardly reach the height of the people of that time.

Did the forces of the people of Carnac of that time weaken in the east, at the end of the rows? Did they let their plans figuratively dry up? Unlike other world-historically significant cultural sites, Carnac did not sink into dry sand.

Grains of oblivion: sand @ Georges Scherrer

Did those old masters run out of „money“ or at least that means of payment, that gave them the power, to advance the stone rows? Did the wealth, that had enabled them to begin and carry out the intended work, drained and wasted, put an end to the enterprise? Did a slump in the flow of money lead to an abrupt stop of the work, or did the company finish as planned, as the eve thinner stones in the eastern rows could make you believe? Did the barter collapse, causing the area a disaster similar to that which destroyed the dinosaurs?

Could something has gone wrong with these clans, who lived on the wide shores of the food-giving sea, with the salt trade or with another important export good, dried fish, which is long-lived as dried meat?

Does this discovery indicate, that there was a lively trade across the continent, that brought great wealth?

It is up to the archaeologists to prove, how well the lucrative barter business developed and established itself at that time, so that a society or a social class had such a wealth, that it could take the daring enterprise Alignements by the hand.

In an extremely powerful, high tumulus, which lies to the south and just beside the Alignements, grave supplements were found, which indicate connections to communities, those in the fields in present-day Spain and present-day Austria lived. Does this discovery already indicate, that there was a lively trade across the continent, that brought great wealth?

Next: The thought

Back to Carnac

3 Kommentare zu „The money

  1. Pingback: The art – Carnac

Kommentar verfassen

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:

Du kommentierst mit deinem Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s

%d Bloggern gefällt das: