Menhir is a bretonische name for an upright put up “large stone” or Megalith. She meant „long stone “(maen = stone, here = long) and found already to end 18. Jh. as scientific term entrance into the archaeological technical literature of France. Soon the designation was transferred to Europe. If one refrains from the oldest Menhiren on the Göbekli Tepe , then they are a feature of the westmediterranen Cardial or Impressokultur to go out seems and all their successors seized. Besides however separate stand (if necessary. only bronze-temporal) local of origins. Decisive for their existence the presence of resources machinable with the stone-temporal methods is primary. For their treatment and their putting up an idea lying behind is decisive. A Spanish proverb says: “Stones mean lives”. The popular name common in the West German area, reads Hinkelstein. Already in the Middle Ages the term is „to Hinkelstein “, when a misunderstood derivative of the word „Hünenstein “(= giant stone), which became over „chicken stone “the mundartlichen „Hinkelstein “. Besides we know names and designations like long ones, broad, high ones, pencil sharpeners, thick stone or Sackstein, in order to call only the frequent. The term Menhir is also common in Argentina for präkolumbische Megalithen.
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points of view and arrangement
of Menhire are individual free standing often phallisch formed stones those, in circles or rows and squares were arranged set up. In Western Europe are common for latter designations such as Alignement or Cromlech. Menhire can be worked on or rough. Some (bes. the continental certain period) are verziert with queues, spirals or Gerätschaften, which facilitate their temporal classification. One calls Menhire with human outlines Statuenmenhire. They occur approximately around the western Mediterranean, in Switzerland and on the channel islands . In Germany the three Bamberger Götzen are the only feature of this kind.
From the Findlingen - during the ice age by glaciers “erratische” Felsbrocken kidnapped - the Menhire differ by the fact that they were consciously vertically placed and embodied in the earth. Also their places of assembly deviate mostly from the natural situation. Menhire were spent preferentially to mountain-slopes, on natural hills, to edges of way, water places and brook runs, always in free corridor and (zunmindest today) often far away visibly.
There is stone setting of different size. In Germany Menhire of the Saarland over Rhineland-Palatinate and Hessen is until Central Germany. The Gollenstein with a height of approx. is considered to 7 m as the largest Menhir of Central Europe; it stands with Blieskastel in the Saarpfalz circle. the largest today still upright-standing Menhir is with a height of 12 m and more for than 150 t weight the Menhir from Kerloas with Plouarzel, northwest from Brest in Brittany. Also the longest at all well-known Menhir is in Brittany in the section Morbihan. It is the umgestürzte and “Grand Menhir Brisé " broken into four parts from locomotive Maria crosswise. Originally about 21 m highly, its weight on 350 t becomes estimated. One found reference points for the fact that he was already fallen into the Vorzeit by human hand. At the same time also many other Menhire (La Tremblais) were umgestürzt. Among them also the Scalehir was Menhir mentioned of Kermaillard on the peninsula Grah Niol. When it was again put up 1985, its lower surface showed artful engravings, which are to be assigned to a nut/mother divinity.
The technical achievement, which must have been connected with transport and putting up, remains fascinating. Most stone Monumente wise heights of 1-3 m up, also their forms varies. Beside pointed, conical and obeliskenartigen stone columns are also compact, pyramid-similar and board-like things. Rocks became predominant such as quartzites, granite -, lime - and sandstones uses, materials, which line up mostly in the proximity of the place of assembly.
Menhire are common over several continents. Their European emphasis lies in the west. By Scandinavia over Ireland, England, France and Switzerland they are common in the westmediterranen area from Portugal to Italy and on the islands. In Fossa, not far from the Abruzzenhauptstadt L'Aquila, a field was discovered by 550 graves. Aerial photos show circles, in whose center powerful Menhire high up to 6 m mark a grave. Humans, those maintained this cult over one millenium long one above the other in the same place of graves put on. The splendor put at first into the massive Menhire changed itself and the dead ones weapons and decoration and verzierte chariot also on the last journey given.
The majority of the Menhire registered in France is in Brittany; their number in Carnac becomes alone estimated on approximately 4000. Menhire have every now and then as sole specimen/single copy or group specific designations how: Bautastein, Bullaun, Baityloi or Betyl, nozzle brick (and/or. Get Stone), to Massebe, Pedras talhas, pellet acre clay/tone as well as judge ring and/or. Cromlech or stone circle.
In earlyhistorical time set up and with pictures and characters of verzierte stones, may remind at first sight of small Menhire, are from these however clearly to be separated. Because while Menhire probably represent Gods and in the Neolithikum and in the Bronzezeit served joint rites, it concerns with the unlabelled Danish building TA and the Irish Oghamsteinen as well as the rune stones of the Wikinger Gedenksteine, which are to remind of individual acts or persons.
Menhire and Flurnamen
Flurnamen are often a good indicator for pre and earlyhistorical places of discovery, them form an important source for the reconstruction early and high-medieval settlement procedures and them supply frequently the last reference to a gone out cultural monument. As Flurnamen can refer to received or in the meantime gradened grave hills, how by it also Roman settlements or earlymedieval cemeteries can be opened, then Menhire also gone out are occasionally in Flurnamen delivered. Names like „Hüner or Hinkelstein “, „long ones “or „thick stone “can testify the former existence of these stone marks.
Flurnamen served or serve above all to give to village inhabitants a spatial guideline assistance. Since they point out also ownership structure, a majority of the names is in documents, archives and land registers documents and therefore very old.
A beautiful example of an old corridor name designation is „the long stone “from Einselthum, Donnersbergkreis/Pfalz. It originates from the year 1071 and might be one of the oldest documentary mentioned denominations of a Menhirs.
The term Hinkelsteingruppe for a culture of the Jungsteinzeit is based on the fact that the name-giving grave field was discovered by Monsheim in Rhineland-Palatinate in the corridor Hinkelstein. There a Menhir (Hinkelstein) originally stood, which is set up by Monsheim today in the lock yard.
the term “Hinkelstein” became popular by the Comicbücher around Asterix, the Gallier, the hero of a French series of the same name of Comicbüchern and films of the authors René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Its friend Obelix is a producer and supplier of Hinkelsteinen.
- see also to figures from Asterix
- J. E. Walkowitz: The Megalithsyndrom. Volume 36 into contributions for the Ur and early history of Central Europe, 2003. ISBN 3-930036-70-3
- December ore Zylmann: The mystery of the Menhire, Mainz food home 2002, ISBN 3-936326-07-X
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