During your stay in Monts & Lacs in Haut-Languedoc, you will certainly cross the path of mysterious stones erected and sculpted. These are menhir statues.
Representations of dieties ? Of clan chiefs ? Geographical landmarks ? The mystery remains for nearly 5000 years… !
What is a menhir statue ?
A statue-menhir is a stone planted in the ground whose shape very often looks like a menhir. It is engraved and represents a human figuration: feminine or masculine.
Built more than 5000 years ago, our menhir statues were the silent witnesses of the life of the first inhabitants of our regions, the first sedentary peasants, farmers and stockbreeders of which our current farmers are the worthy descendants.
We do not really know the meaning of these Neolithic menhir statues, so various hypotheses have always been evoked: milestones, gods, magical figures or important people.
Man, woman, both…
Menhir statues have different attributes.
Women have breasts as well as multi-row necklaces around the neck. Their hair is pulled back.
The men carry weapons (bow, arrow, axe) and a harness across the chest, from which hangs a scabbard likely containing a dagger.
Some menhir statues bear the marks of voluntary modifications of male or female attributes and characters. As a general rule, these transformations aim to feminize a statue by making the sheath disappear and by adding breasts or a necklace as the case may be.
Where to see menhir statues ?
On board in your vehicle, follow the discovery circuit “Statues-Menhirs des Monts de Lacaune” (60km) and go in search of these mute goddesses. Some are remarkable for their size (the Lacaune Planted Stone is classified as a Historical Monument and watches over the plain of Laucate from the top of its 4.50 m), others by the unexpected preservation of their sculptures (Statues-Menhirs of Paillemalbiau or the “Moulin de Louat” for example).
Understand the menhir statues
In Murat-sur-Vèbre, the Center of Interpretation of the megaliths unveils (almost) all the mysteries of the menhir statues!
Discovery of the life of Neolithic Men and Women (first farmers and breeders of Prehistory) and about fifteen of their stone works.
Menhir statues museum