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Dolmen of Gaoutabry

Historic site and monument, Historic patrimony, Dolmen / menhir, listed (CMN), Prehistoric in La Londe-les-Maures

  • The biggest dolmen of the Var in La Londe les Maures

  • Unsuspected, Provençal megaliths constitute a rich regional heritage. Out of nearly 160 monuments listed in the Provence region, the Var has by far the largest number with about twenty menhirs and sixty dolmens.

    Discovered in 1876 and excavated several times, the Gaoutabry dolmen is a collective tomb: it contained calcined human bones belonging to at least 34 individuals, accompanied by offerings (pottery, flint tools, pearls). Due to the acidity of the soil and the losses caused...
    Unsuspected, Provençal megaliths constitute a rich regional heritage. Out of nearly 160 monuments listed in the Provence region, the Var has by far the largest number with about twenty menhirs and sixty dolmens.

    Discovered in 1876 and excavated several times, the Gaoutabry dolmen is a collective tomb: it contained calcined human bones belonging to at least 34 individuals, accompanied by offerings (pottery, flint tools, pearls). Due to the acidity of the soil and the losses caused during the first excavations, this rich furniture is only a pale reflection of the one that the tomb was originally intended to close. The latter was used for two periods: late Neolithic (2800 BC) and early Copper Age (2000 BC).

    The toponym "Gaoutabry" probably comes from the location of the monument on the nipple of a hill. The Provençal "gaouto" meaning the cheek, probably evokes this peak. The adjective "gaou", which means warm, also refers to this funeral shelter in relation to its exposure to the sun.

    Built in the centre of a now very degraded tumulus, the dolmen measures 6.5 m long by 1.5 m wide at its widest point, occupying nearly 10 m², making it the largest in the Var. Built with large slabs of schist, it has a room with an antechamber, of elongated rectangular shape. This architecture, typical of the dolmens of western Provence, makes it original compared to those of the Var, mainly with a single small square room.

    The symbolic orientation of its entry into the axis of the setting sun at the winter solstice is no coincidence. The absence of a tabular slab may be due to the nature of the materials used, probably wood as suggested by gaps between the vertical slabs. The slimness of the slabs certainly excludes the possibility of a roofing with a large stone slab.

    Listed in the inventory of Historic Monuments since 1988, it remains a fragile building, which has already undergone several restorations. The monument is empty of material discovered during the excavations that is on display at the Archaeological Museum of St Raphael.

    Orientation table allowing you to discover an exceptional panorama.
    Restricted access according to the opening of the blocks (fire alarm plan).
    Distance: 2.3 km
    Height difference: 150 m
  • Environment

    • Forest location
    • View over the vineyards
  • Spoken languages

  • Documentation

Services
  • Equipment

    • Orientation board
  • Services

    • Pets welcome
      • Pets allowed on a leash only
    • Tourist routes
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    • Tourist information
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  • All year
    Opened Everyday
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