The case hardly seems believable. 39 menhirs of Carnac would have been destroyed to make way for a store Mr Bricolage, according to Christian Obeltz, a Carnacois, former vice-president of the association Menhirs Libres.
Evidence of Neolithic architecture, they were in place, for some, for 7000 years. "The small menhirs of the path of Montauban were undoubtedly one of the oldest sets of steles of the commune of Carnac, judging by the carbon 14 dating obtained in 2010 on the neighboring site of the Z.A. of Montauban: 5480-5320 BC, the highest dating obtained for a menhir in the west of the France", writes Christian Obeltz on the website of the association for the defense of heritage, Sites and monuments.
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Located a stone's throw from the menhir of Kerluhir and the dolmen of Roch-Vihan, the steles and low walls destroyed are not as impressive as the alignments of Ménec, 3000 menhirs whose conservation is managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux. Remains of 50 cm to 1 meter high, mostly buried, they are located on a craft and commercial area, a few kilometers from Ménec. Even so, the affair, revealed by Ouest France, spread like wildfire.
A first real estate project of Super U had been envisaged on this private area. At the request of the State, in 2014, an archaeological diagnosis was made by Inrap (National Institute of Preventive Archaeology), which concluded that stones and menhirs, partly buried, were present. "Only additional observations on the monoliths, or even an excavation, would make it possible to certify the Neolithic origin of this ensemble," detailed the organization in its report published in April 2015. According to Sites and Monuments, there were then excavation prescriptions by the State services. But the Super U project was abandoned, and the excavations were not carried out.
The space where the supermarket is to be built has been the subject of different procedures for ten years. Capture Google Maps
"I filed a building permit, which was investigated, posted (in October 2022) and served the appeal deadlines. No service, no document has ever warned us of a prescription. I am not an archaeologist, I do not know menhirs; low walls, there are everywhere. If we had known that, we would have done otherwise, "explains today the manager of the SAS Au marché des Druides, Stéphane Doriel.
Pressed from all sides, insulted on social networks, the mayor of Carnac, Olivier Lepick, defends himself. "This building permit is perfectly legal," he says. It was controlled by the urban planning services, the General Directorate of Cultural Affairs, the architect of the France buildings, as well as the prefecture. If there had been any alarm siren, I would obviously have taken it into account." The latter claims that there was no prescription for excavations in 2014 - the year in which he was not yet elected.
A heritage long despised
The site of Carnac, which forms an alignment over 4 kilometers is classified as a historical monument since 1889. It is not the only one in the region, since Morbihan has 550 megalithic sites. Twenty-six municipalities of the Bay of Quiberon have come together to try to have them classified as World Heritage by Unesco, managing to appear on the first list of the Committee of French World Heritage properties (antechamber of the classification). In this context, the case of the destroyed menhirs obviously falls badly.
Until his death in June 2022, prehistorian Yves Coppens was head of the scientific committee of the candidacy. In 2018, the latter estimated in LeFigaro that this megalithic heritage was not sufficiently defended, nor sufficiently studied. "In the past, farmers considered megaliths as part of the landscape. If they cluttered their fields, they got rid of them. No one asked too many questions, some even used what they called pebbles to erect their walls," he said. The history of Bricorama shows that these reflexes have not completely disappeared.