The Megaliths of Carnac

Engraved Stones

Many megaliths are engraved, especially stones inside dolmen in tumuli. The most common motives are the axe or axe-plough, circles with projecting rays (perhaps representing the sun or moon), arcs, chevrons serpentines, hooks, torsos and cup marks. These symbols are used at Megalithic sites from Scandinavia to the Canary Islands.

The map below shows the location of sites with engraved stones in the district around Carnac and the Gulf of Morbihan. More engraved stones are being found every year as sites are renovated. A lot of work has been done over the last 10 years.

Map of locations of engraved megaliths

Click on map to see enlargement

Engraved stones in Gavr'Inis dolmen
Engraved stones in Gavr'Inis dolmen
Gavrinis engraved stone
Gavrinis engraved stone
Gavrinis engraved stone
Gavrinis engraved stone
Gavr'Inis 1981 engraved stone in chamber
Tumulus on island in Gulf of Morbihan
Best carvings in the Carnac/Locmariaquer area
23 of the 29 upright passage and chamber stones are carved, as well as the chamber capstone
Capstone is a piece of the same stone used as a capstone in the Marchand's Table
Most of the stones are decorated with swirls (look like fingerprints) and most have been smoothed before carved. Some also have wedges and one or two have been carved over quite rough and broken surfaces
The last photo was taken in 1983, our first visit to Gavr'Inis, and shows one of the stones in the end chamber. As well as the carved patterns, there are 3 deep holes gouged in the rock
About 6000 years old
Grah Niaul
Engraved stones in Grah Niaul covered alley
Grah Niaul engraved stone
Covered alley north of Arzon near northwest end of Rhys peninsula
Engravings on several stones of hooks (photo), circles, and serpentines
Le Grand Menhir Brisé
Grand Menhir Brisť
Locmariaquer, beside La Table de Marchand and Er Groh tumuli
Axe carved on underside of second from bottom piece (piece at right in photo)
Ile Longue On island west of Gavr'Inis
Dolmen with engraved stones
Carved axe in Kercado tumulus
Engravings in Kercado tumulus
Tumulus northeast of Carnac
Engraved capstone - axe with handle
Le Moustoir
Carved axe in Le Moustoir tumulus
Tumulus north of Kermario alignments, north of Carnac
Engraved axe with handle
Kerveresse Northwest of Locmariaquer
Cup mark engravings
engraved stone in Luffang dolmen
West of Crac'h
Angled passage dolmen with engraved stones
Stones are covered with moss and engravings difficult to see
Mané er Hroeck Tumulus on southeast of Locmariaquer
Several axes
Mané Kerioned Engraved stones in Mané Kerioned dolmen
Mane Kerioned engraved stones
Group of 3 dolmen 3 km northeast of Plouharnel
Passage stones in western of 3 dolmens are engraved with hooks, chevrons, serpentines and torsos
Mané Lud
Engraved stones in Mané Lud dolmen
Engraved stones in Mané Lud dolmen
Dolmen in Locmariaquer, north of La Table de Marchand
Several engraved passage and chamber stones: boats? face?
Backstone engraving may be a mother goddess (lower photo)
Mané Rutual
In Locmariaquer, just south of La Table de Marchand
Simple passage dolmen with engraved upright stones
Le Manio Large menhir near east end of Kermario alignments, northeast of Carnac
Parallel serpentine engravings at bottom of stone below ground level
Menhir de Kermaillard Large menhir near Le Net between Arzon and Sargeau on the Rhys peninsula
Called Scalehir (lump of butter)
Cup marks, crescent and square (torso?, stylized goddess?)
Penhap Dolmen on Ile-aux-Moines, island in Gulf of Morbihan east of Gavr'Inis
Several axes
Le Petit Mont Tumulus on southwest corner of Rhys peninsula
One of at least three passage tombs is engraved
Les Pièrre Plates
Engraved stones in Pièrre Plate covered alley
Engraved stones in Pièrre Plate covered alley
Engraved stones in Pièrre Plate covered alley
Pierre sPlates engraved stone
Engraved stones in Pièrre Plate covered alley
Covered alley-type dolmen (angled passage) on coast south of Locmariaquer
Several of the upright passage stones are engraved with several different torso designs
There are cup marks on "menhir" (really a lintel) at entrance
Le Rocher
Engravings in Le Rocher tumulus
Tumulus southwest of Le Bono on east bank of Rivière d'Auray
Engraved stones in angled passage dolmen
Engraved stones in Rondossec dolmen
Northern outskirts of Plouharnel
Central of 3 dolmen is engraved.
engraved stone in Runesto dolmen
1 and 1/2 km northeast of Plouharnel
Capstone is engraved
La Table de Marchand

Engraved backstone in Table de Marchand dolmen
Engraved capstone in Table de Marchand
Tumulus in Locmariaquer beside Er Groh tumulus and Le Grand Menhir Brisé
Backstone of chamber is covered with hook pattern (grain?). The back of this stone is also carved. A vandal has carved his name GAZELLI into the carved backstone
Capstone is engraved with an axe and animal (antelope?). This stone, the capstone in Er Groh, and the capstone in Gavr'Inis are all part of a 14-meter long, intentionally broken stone which was engraved before it was broken.

All photographs were taken by myself, during trips to the megaliths of Carnac in 1980, 1983, 1994, 1998, and 2002. All photographs are my property and may not be copied or used without my written permission.


Table of Contents


Types of Megaliths
of Carnac



May 5, 2009
©copyright Vicki Sherwood
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