Solving the Enigma of Dolmens

By: Ranilo Abando (Manila, November 10, 2020) ***

Prehistoric dolmens, estimated to have been built between 7000 and 3500 years ago, are some of the oldest preserved buildings on Earth as they are made of durable stones. These megalithic monuments are characterized by the use of large stones and the absence of mortar. Their distribution is very wide — in Africa, Middle East, India, the Far East, North America, and South America.  Europe has the highest densities of Neolithic dolmens, particularly the Atlantic side and the Caucasus region of Russia.  In the western Caucasus alone, approximately 3,000 of these megalithic monuments are known.

Dolmens are originally suggested to be tombs of the chieftains of Neolithic groups of people. But the human remains found are few in number, and sometimes non-existent.  In some cases, animal bones can be found and not human bones, suggesting that dolmens were never intended for burials.  So the question now is if these sites were not tombs, what were they built for?

The following is an extract from the article “The Essence of the Dolmen” by Vicki Cummings:

The first key element of a dolmen is the use of a massive capstone and it is the most important component of a dolmen.  Sites in both Britain and Ireland employ some massive stones in their construction, such as Garn Turne in south-west Wales where a capstone  weighs approximately 60 tonnes.   The largest is at the site of Kernanstown in County Carlow, where the capstone weighs around 160 tonnes.

Another key component of dolmens is the uprights which support the massive capstone.  Bearing in mind that many capstones weigh over 50 tonnes, the builders seem to have deliberately chosen slender stones to support the capstone.  Furthermore, many uprights have pointed tops which mean that only the smallest points of the uprights support the capstone.  Moreover, many dolmens are only supported by three uprights, even though there are more stones in the chamber.  This suggests that the builders were trying to balance massive capstones on the smallest number of supporters, and having the smallest areas touching.  This creates the most extraordinary effect with these monuments, and has led several authors to suggest that one of the primary roles of dolmens was the display of huge stones, where stones seem to almost float above the ground.  The essence of a dolmen, then, is the display of a large capstone, where the technical ability of the builders is demonstrated by balancing of this stone on the smallest points of the supporting stones as possible.

If dolmens are all about the display of large stones, should we still assume that these were burial monuments?  Certainly we know that some of these monuments were subsequently used as such, as evidenced by the presence of human remains in some of those that have been excavated.  However, the question is: were they originally designed as chambered tombs?  Many sites have only a small number of uprights, which means that, in their current form, it would be hard to describe them as ‘chambers’.  Therefore, it can be argued that the primary function of dolmens was not as burial chambers, although it is clear that many sites were subsequently used as such. 

Dolmens are scattered over the face of the whole earth.  So, what was their primary function ?

Shown above is an ancient dolmen in the Caucasus region of Russia exhibiting zigzag markings on its left side.  Markings such as this zigzag symbol, as well as spiral symbols, were sometimes drawn by the ancient builders on these kinds of monuments.  These symbols connote a deep meaning that merits a separate discussion. The round hole in the front slab is also symbolic.

Shown above is the Lanyon Quoit Dolmen in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.

Shown above is the Poulnabrone Dolmen in Burren, Ireland.  The dolmen is in a desolate location and one of the highest terrains of the region.  Three standing portal stones support a very heavy horizontal capstone.  Archaeologists date it to maybe 4200 – 2900 B.C. in the Neolithic period. 

Shown above is the Kernanstown (Brownshill) Dolmen, a very large megalithic monument in Carlow, Ireland.  Its capstone weighs more than 100 metric tons, and is probably the heaviest in Europe.  It is estimated by archaeologists that the stone monument was built between 4000 and 3000 B.C.  Two large standing stones support the huge granite capstone.  

Shown above is the Sorginetxe dolmen, in Alava province, northern Spain.  It is built of Paleocene limestone.  According to geologists, the nearest outcrop of this rock is 3 kilometers away, which means that these huge stones were transported over this distance.  Aside from slabs of limestone, the Eguilaz dolmen in the same region contain one sandstone block of 4500 kilograms that was transported for more than 5 kilometers.  Geologists were puzzled why a slab of sandstone was transported at least 5 kilometers if there were limestones available at a shorter distance of 3 kilometers.

Shown above is the Havelte Dolmen in Drenthe, Netherlands.

Shown above is the Carnac Stones in Brittany, northwestern France.


Dominos will fall.  Many big questions will be answered if we get the fundamentals right first.  I think by now, after all the discussions in my previous posts, you already have an idea what those mysterious dolmens are all about.  Yes, those enigmatic dolmens are like mass-distributed business cards, or the equivalent of modern wall graffiti that say “John was here” written in all four corners of the world.  Those ancient monument builders from realities high up the mind column were here and they were part of our forgotten history comprising more than 6,000 years. 

The effects of their past presence among humans were imprinted in the circuitry of our brains, enabling us to speak fluently, write complex composition like what I have been doing here, and think about abstract concepts such the meaning of metaphors.  These abilities we take for granted now, as if these are default human settings.  No, these are not.  It took a lot of sacrifice and effort to develop these human capacities over very long periods of time.  Without those sacrifices, without their active intervention, and if we were just left alone to our own devices, chances are, we would still be roaming the forests and savannas hunting wild animals and looking for berries at this time of our existence.

Those intellectually highly-evolved ancestors of ours, with their steady and direct access to influences coming from realities high up their mind columns even while they were in this physical world, did not want us to stay forever ignorant of our past, of our heritage.  So they left us with signs that they were here among humans a long time ago – by placing enigmatic dolmens all over the place.  They intentionally left behind these signs so that future generations of humans, thousands of years from their time, would have the opportunity to solve the riddles of humanity’s past. They built the dolmens as puzzling and enigmatic as possible, lacking any practical use, almost impossible to build using available human tools at that time, located in the remotest of places if possible, and scattered in the vast expanse of this world.

Understanding our heritage is important if we want to understand our own selves, our nature as human beings. A deep understanding of our nature as human beings will then allow us to take our destiny in our own hands.  We would have a map to guide us in our individual journeys.  Ignorance is costly.  If we have a reliable map, then we will be able to minimize mistakes, optimize opportunities, and there will be less suffering in this world.

(Thanks to for all the photos above)

Published by rabando

I am a Filipino and a geologist by profession but I have also been an ardent searcher for answers to the fundamental questions of human existence ever since 42 years ago. It has been a long, lonely and difficult journey. Why are we here? Where did we come from? What on earth is this world where I found my self in? Surprisingly, I found out that the answers are right there under our noses. There just need to be some adjustments in the way people think.

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