The Carnac Stones are a huge collection of more than three thousand standing stones around the French village of Carnac, in Brittany, a cultural region in the north-west of France. More than 3000 standing stones were hewn from local rocks and erected here by the pre and/or proto-Celtic people of Brittany, and form the largest such collection in the world. The stones were probably erected during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, but some may be dated as early as 4500 BC.
The Carnac Stones consist of both single standing stones (menhirs) and multi stone assemblage (dolmens). The main group of stone alignments consist of 12 converging rows of standing stones stretching more than a kilometre with the remains of a stone circle at either end. The largest stones, which are around 4m high, are at the western end and they become smaller along the length of the alignment reaching around 0.6m in height.
There are three major groups of stone rows – Ménec, Kermario and Kerlescan. Once they may have formed a single group, but have been split up later in course time, as stones were removed for some other purposes.
It is said that, a Roman legion was on the march when the wizard Merlin turned them into stones. Since then, a wide variety of theories have been put forward to explain the purpose of these mysterious stones. Scholars opined that, the stones may have been an elaborate earthquake detector. Another interpretation is that the stones were erected by ancient people to honour their ancestors. In fact, the actual purpose of the huge collection of the standing Carnac Stones (menhirs) is still shrouded behind the clouds of mystery.