The Mysterious Megaliths of Filitosa
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In 1946, Charles-Antoine Cesari was walking in the heart of the 123 acres of land he farmed north of Propriano when he came across a quarry of scattered granite blocks with very distinctive human features. He had a feeling that his property had been occupied for longer than anyone realized, and he was right.
He had found Corsica's largest collection of anthropomorphic menhirs: huge standing stones that had clearly been carved and placed with a specific purpose in mind. It was another eight years before an archeologist arrived to examine the discovery, finding detailed depictions of faces, outlined ribcages, and weapons clearly visible on the surface of the six- to nine-foot tall pillars.
What wasn't clear was who created them, and why. Some archaeologists think that the statues were carved and planted in the ground as tributes to dead warriors and chieftains. Others conjecture that they were an ancient culture's way of cajoling the gods into keeping the land, and the women, fertile. (Evidence in the museum suggests that, with the rise of Christianity, the menhirs were destroyed as pagan artifacts.) It's possible that the columns represent an enemy tribe, and that they were erected to ward off invasion. If so, it was not an effective strategy. The invaders occupied the site and destroyed some of the stones, using the pieces to build their own temples and structures. Some of them still encircle a 2,000-year old olive tree.
Back to the Stone Age
The standing stones of Filitosa aren't that old in terms of Corsican history. It's possible that people crossed the strait from Sardinia around 9000 B.C., meaning it took about 7,000 years before anyone got around to megalith-making. Even that may be underestimating the arrival of Corsica's first visitors, some human bone fragments are said to be 20,000 years old.
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