Culture and Heritage

The Menhirs at Clendy

Menhirs de Clendy Yverdon-les-Bains
Menhirs de Clendy Yverdon-les-Bains. © Roger Juillerat

    The unique formation of the Clendy Menhirs is the most important Neolithic site in Switzerland. Situated on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, it comprises 45 standing stones that were erected more than 6000 years ago, and are carved with human form. Some are 4.5 metres tall and weigh up to five tonnes.

    When the level of Upper Lake Neuchâtel decreased by 2.7 m after channeling the watercourses from the Jura (1869-1883), the menhirs appeared on the water surface in Clendy.

    In 1896, engineer Charles de Sinner published a description of the site and affirmed that these blocks had been aligned by man. It was not until 1975 that his claim was confirmed by scientist and geologist Jacques-Henri Gabus.

    These 45 erratic blocks - Alpine rocks swept along by the Rhône glacier – were cut into human shape. Some of them are 4.5 m high and weigh 5 tons. They are comparable to the carved statues of the Mediterranean Neolithic.
    As the site was not covered with trees in those days, there was a view from east to west, from the rivers to the mountains, from the stars to the Moon.

    After erosion caused by strong lake transgression, the menhirs started collapsing in 850 B.C. They were re-erected in 1986.
    This unique site in Switzerland resembles the one in Carnac in France. Some claim that benign waves can be felt there.

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