The Locmariaquer megaliths are a complex of Neolithic constructions. They comprise the elaborate Er-Grah tumulus passage grave, a dolmen known as the 'Table des Marchand' (Merchant's Table) and 'The Broken Menhir of Er Grah', the largest known single block of stone to have been transported and erected by Neolithic man.
The Broken Menhir of Er Grah was erected around 4700 BC, at the same time as another 18 blocks nearby, it is thought to have been broken around 4000 BC. Measuring 20.60 metres, with a weight of 280 tonnes, the stone is from a rocky outcrop located several kilometres away from Locmariaquer. The impressive dimensions of this menhir still divide specialists about the techniques used for transport and erection, but the fact that this was achieved during the Neolithic era remains remarkable.
The Table des Marchand is a large dolmen containing a number of decorations. The main capstone of the chamber includes a large carving on its underside depicting an axe, and part of a carved depiction of a plough, apparently pulled by oxen. This fragment indicates that the capstone was originally part of the broken menhir, since the design matches up with carvings on the broken remains across the breaks. Other parts were used in the tumulus and in the nearby dolmen of Gavrinis, on a nearby island. The stone at the back of the chamber contained an engraved stele with whorls and arched decorations which may represent fields of crops.
The Er-Grah tumulus is 140 metres long. It was probably originally constructed in the fifth millennium BC as a cairn, which was extended in both directions. A pavement surrounded the stepped structure. The capstone indicates that the monument was completed at around 3,300 BC.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.