The dolmen of Pépieux-Minervois is one of the most beautiful megalithic monuments of Aude and Occitania.
Situated on a hill called "Moural dé la Fados" (hillside of the Fairies), it is called the Dolmen of the Fairies.
The dolmen is 24 metres long and more than 5,000 years old. Human bones have been discovered there, as well as pottery remains and some carved stone accessories.
The village of Pépieux-Minervois has reproduced, in the middle of a roundabout, the dolmen on a reduced scale, a beautiful initiative that allows this testimony of the past to be made known.
The hill on which the dolmen is located is perfectly visible from the road D168 which connects, with the D206, Pépieux-Minervois and Siran. Overhanging agricultural land, it is also very well indicated by a sign.
The municipality of Pépieux-Minervois is to be congratulated for its signposting mentioning the village's website.
A small car park makes it easy to park vehicles and approach the dolmen.
On the left as you go up, you will appreciate a small room where some information about the dolmen and its history is displayed.
One learns there in particular that the dolmen had only one limestone slab and three sandstone pillars.
Toponymy is always an important source when trying to understand the place and its history.
Several dozens of megalithic sites have the name of "fairies" on French territory alone.
Fadarelles, fados, fadas, fadée... as many names as the local languages have managed to keep through the appellations.
Legends are often associated with these places on which the imagination has no trouble taking root.
This dolmen is also called "Palet de Roland", like the one a few kilometres away, in the commune of Villeneuve-Minervois.
The legends are numerous, accumulated and adapted over several millennia.
It is said that Roland de Roncevaux threw the stone from the top of the Serre d'Oupia or aimed at the Roman tower of Tourril, near Olonzac.
The impressive tumulus is almost 35 metres long and more than 2.50 metres high.
The limestone slab weighs between 25 and 30 tonnes, protecting the 24-metre long corridor.
No wonder it is considered the largest megalithic tomb in the South of France.
In 1946 the more meticulous excavations of Odette and Jean Taffanel revealed a necropolis of the "Champs d'Urnes" type, about 2,800 years ago.
These tombs were circular pits.
The funerary urn contained the bony remains of the cremation and elements of ornaments such as beads from terracotta necklaces or bronze bracelets.
Other urns contained offerings to the dead.
Iron objects were rare.
A few kilometres away is the Mourel des Morts (the Hill of the Dead), located almost symmetrically in relation to the village of Siran.
Burial practices thus continued long after the construction and use of the megalithic site.
With terrescathares - Photos Philippe Contal
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator