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The menhirs and the engraved slab of St-Denec

( Municipality of Porspoder)

Classified Historic Monuments on 27 December 1923

Parking GPS : 48°29'49 N 4°44'39 W

Be careful, do not enter the plot if there are cattle or if it is cultivated.

The engraved slab is in the foreground. Photo Jean-Yves André

Access :   This can be done either from Lanildut or from Porspoder.
   * From Lanildut, on the D27 towards Porspoder, pass the little port of Melon and turn right, rue Hent ar Feunteun, opposite the Guénnéguès transport company. Then follow the signs for the "station d'épuration" of water treatment. Behind the second sign, at a field entrance on the right, you can see the two menhirs.
   * In the village of Porspoder, on the D27 towards Lanildut, turn left on rue du Spernoc at the sign "Menhirs de Kergadiou - St Denec", then follow the signs indicating "Station d'épuration" of water treatment. Behind the third sign, at a field entrance on the right you can see the two menhirs.

The North-East menhir :

   The menhir n°1, the westernmost and closest to the road, measures 4.12 m high by 1.48 m wide and nearly 1 m thick at the base. The stone, cut in porphyroid granite from the Aber Ildut, has been carefully bush-hammered all over its southern side. It's broken at the top.

Drawing by Jean-Yves André ©

The South-West menhir :

The other stone, 9.50 m from the first, is 10 cm shorter, 20 cm wider and 1.15 m thick. It has a flat side.

   At the foot of the menhir, a 2.85 m long and 0.85 m wide slab lies on the ground. One can discern engravings that intrigue the visitor.

Both hatchets are embossed.
It was therefore necessary to strip the entire surface of the slab with stone or bronze tools, depending on the period, to create these engravings.

Drawing by Jean-Yves André© A good drawing is often more telling than a photo.

   Two hatchets are recognizable, as they also exist on other megalithic monuments. 1
Their sleeves, roughly parallel, are about fifty centimeters long. Both cutting edges face east. Some archaeologists have suggested that this large slab could have been a knocked down menhir. But besides the fact that it is located too close to the second menhir, this position would make the axes horizontal which is illogical for such a tool. It is therefore likely that the engraved slab has always been in its present position and its true meaning is unknown.
Today, exposed to the passage of powerful agricultural machines and hidden from their driver by the height of the crops, the engraved slab of St-Denec is in danger2. This megalithic monument of our heritage, dating back some sixty centuries, has survived to us almost intact because hundreds of generations of breeders and farmers had their heart set on respecting and preserving it. Will it be the same for one more century? We know that another slab also existed in the past, until the 1930s, at the foot of the first menhir. It was destroyed by the owner of the time because it hindered in his works, and that a dozen years hardly after the classification of the megaliths of St-Denec as Historic Monuments...
In terms of heritage, any deterioration is irreversible.


-1- Another engraved slab was discovered at Le Conquet, in 1916, on the Kermorvan peninsula. See on this website the photo at the very bottom of the page on The last menhirs of Kermorvan .

The hatchet of the Musée Boucher de Perthes in Abbeville, in the Somme.
The polished blade is stuck in a deer antler sheath, which is drilled to attach a long wooden handle, here broken. This universal tool could be used for clearing, as well as cutting stems during harvesting or making furrows. It constitutes an improvement compared to a direct pressing of the axe in the slot of a stick as shown by the engraving on the slab of St-Denec.

-2- Good news :

Newspaper Le Télégramme 17-02-2021

This joint decision by the municipality of Porspoder and the current owner of the plot is to be welcomed. The engraved axes, unique in the Pays d'Iroise, will soon be protected from agricultural work. We will now have to rely on the civic-mindedness of visitors and lovers of megaliths to ensure that they are respected for a long time to come.


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