Megalithic landscapes of Carnac and South Morbihan

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Larmor-Baden

Gavrinis

Gavrinis – a Neolithic “masterpiece” – is a cairn located on an island, and especially renowned for its wall engravings. 

This large cairn, built on the Island of Gavrinis off the coast from Larmor-Baden, consists of a long corridor tomb, covered with an imposing structure made of stone rubble. Originally sealed, the inside of the monument was opened in the 1830s. The monument was then excavated by Mr De Closmadeuc, and between 1978 and 1984 by Mr Le Roux, enabling the first half to be dated to the fourth millennium BC. It is now the subject of research conducted by Mr Cassen (http://lara-polen.univ-nantes.fr/membres/cassen-serge/gavrinis-larmor-baden-morbihan-a/). 

The exceptional nature of Gavrinis relates to the quality of its internal architecture, featuring a slabbed floor, and above all the abundance of fine engravings on the walls. 23 of the 29 pillars are almost completely covered with engravings. These include recurring signs from Neolithic Armorica: crooks, snake shapes, bucklers, axe blades, chevrons and radiating arcs.

The archeological investigations suggest that the monument fell into disuse at the end of the fourth millennium BC. The corridor and entrance were blocked by a pile of stones, immediately after a wooden structure placed in front of the monument entrance had been burned.

Sea levels have risen since the Neolithic, so Gavrinis is now on an island. At that time it formed a hill connected to Larmor-Baden, overlooking a river separating it from Er Lannic hill. 

The site is the property of the Morbihan département and is run by Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan. For more information about tour times, visit http://www.sagemor.com/gavrinis.html.