In Carnac, at least thirty-eight menhirs destroyed to build a Mr. Bricolage

These small menhirs "probably constituted one of the oldest ensembles in France", according to one of their fervent defenders

In Carnac, at least thirty-eight menhirs destroyed to build a Mr. Bricolage

These small menhirs "probably constituted one of the oldest ensembles in France", according to one of their fervent defenders. Nothing remains. In Carnac, in Morbihan, the controversy swells, Wednesday, June 7, after the destruction of at least thirty-eight menhirs, located on the site of the path of Montauban, to make way for a Mr. Bricolage.

It was Christian Obeltz, an amateur archaeologist, who gave the alert on June 2, through a blog post spotted by Ouest-France. Published on the website of the Sites association

The building is being completed. The menhirs have disappeared. However, since 2015, the place has been listed in the Atlas of Heritage, a platform of the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC) which references all the archaeological sites of the country. Sign if any of the archaeological and historical value of the place.

As Christian Obeltz explains to Le Monde, these small menhirs, "from 80 centimeters to one meter high", dated, "judging by the carbon 14 dates obtained in 2010 on the site neighboring the artisanal zone of Montauban, from 5480 to 5320 BC, the highest dating obtained for a menhir in western France". And he is sorry for the disappearance of such a site. "You shouldn't minimize small sites. It's not a matter of size. This site would have been rich in teachings if in-depth excavations could have been made", advances Christian Obeltz, who assures that one of the rows of stelae was "exactly in its place of origin for seven thousand years". The path to Montauban was also on the indicative list of megaliths in the town, with a view to registering it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The town hall defends itself from any breach

A first request for a building permit from the same company had also been rejected by the town hall in 2015. At the time, the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) had carried out an archaeological diagnosis at the request of the prefecture du Morbihan and the DRAC and mentioned in a report the probable discovery of "an unprecedented megalithic alignment" composed of at least thirty-eight monoliths. "Only additional observations on the monoliths, or even an excavation, would make it possible to certify the Neolithic origin of this set", can we read in the report published in April 2015.

How to explain that a building permit was issued a few years later, even though the mayor of Carnac, Olivier Lepick, is also the president of the association Landscapes of megaliths, bearer of the UNESCO labeling project?

The town hall, which is sorry for such destruction, argues that a rigorous examination of the file was carried out before the issuance of the building permit. This second request met all the requirements, assures the municipality. The city of Carnac thus returns the ball to the DRAC which, according to it, had reported the site in the prescription zone in the old land use plan, but no longer in the new local urban plan (PLU).

In the evening, the DRAC indicated in a press release that the PLU "provides that the project area is an activity area" and that the land "is not otherwise listed among the areas of archaeological presumption". It specifies that, "due to the still uncertain and in all cases non-major nature of the remains as revealed by the diagnosis, the damage to a site of archaeological value has not been established".

The manager of the future Mr. Bricolage, meanwhile, did not wish to respond to Le Monde. “I don't know the menhirs; low walls, there (…) exist everywhere, ”he defended himself in the columns of Ouest-France. For the neophyte, this alignment indeed looked like a simple low wall. He assures that if he had been aware of the archaeological and historical value of the menhirs, he would "obviously" have done differently.

Following this destruction, an association for the defense of heritage, Koun Breizh ("Breton memory", in Breton), announced that it had filed a complaint against X, a complaint which could not be confirmed Wednesday evening with the prosecution.

"The purpose of this complaint is not to implicate this or that elected official, but to shed light on the decision-making process that led to this destruction despite all the forms of protection provided by law", explained to the Agence France-Presse the president of the association, Yvon Ollivier. "It's about making sure things like this don't happen again," he added.