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BELGIAN ALIGNMENT



Considering the fuss that archaeologists have made over the years concerning the idea of aligned prehistoric sites, it is amusing to note that an alignment near Weris, Belgium, is accepted without any qualms. Two dolmens are involved in the line -all the more significant as only three are officially recognised in all of Belgium! As archaeologist S.J. De Laet puts it, the two dolmens "seem to have formed part of a big religious complex, a sacred area. Indeed, on a straight strip about 5km (3 miles) long, and oriented NNE-SSW are to be found successively the site of the menhir at Tour (municipality of Heyd), which was destroyed at the end of the nineteenth century; the gallery-grave at Weris; a second menhir, 3.6m (12feet) high, which had been toppled and buried in a field, but rediscovered in 1947 and reinstated; the allee couverte of Weris, and finally the three menhirs of Bouhaimont at Oppagne (municipality of Weris). The last named, the largest of which is 3.6m (12 feet) high, had also been toppled and subsequently buried, but they were reinstated in 1906. "

The standing stones, like the dolmens, are of pudding-stone, the nearest source of which is 3 km distance. De Laet notes that another stone may have been part of the alignment, the so-called 'Pas Bayard' at nearby Wenin, which is a large puddingstone, painted white, around which numerous legends have grown. It may be a fragment of a menhir of a dolmen, but this is currently impossible to ascertain.

The larger of the Weris dolmens is of the 'gallery' type, and was built above ground then covered with an earthen mound (now gone). The internal dimensions of the chamber are 5.5m long by 1.75 m wide. There are two capstones, one now broken. The second dolmen, le petit dolmen, was robbed long ago, but excavations have revealed a 'hearth'or ritual fire and some bones, glint and sandstone artifacts and sherds of a coarse pottery. Dutchbased researcher John Palmer notes that stones around the monument might indicate a ruined processional approach, and the orientation of the dolmen is 32 degrees E, a couple of degrees off the axis of the alignment itself according to his calculations.

Reference

1. S.J. De Laet, "Megalithic Graves in Belgium - A Status Quastionis", in the Megalithic Monuments of Western Europe, Colin Renfrew (Ed.), Thames & Hudson 1983.

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