——————————— Basse Crémonville ———————————

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The megalith is located on the edge of the RD 313 southwest of the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Vauvray between the plateau and the Eure a few hundred meters.

The menhir of Lower Cremonville is a block of Senonian limestone 3.30 m high, with an average width of 1.90 m and a thickness of 0.70 m. At the top and 0.50 m from the top, on the side opposite the road, there is a square cavity measuring 0.20 m on the side and 0.05 m deep. A break is also visible at 1 m from the ground, following the transfer of the megalith in 1866.

The monument dates from the Neolithic. It is mentioned for the first time in 1842 when the earthworks of the road along the draw attention to her: “Near the farm Lower Crémonville, hamlet of Saint-Étienne-du-Vauvray, it The road crosses, everyone knew well a large stone, higher than wide, whose limestone, detached from the upper coast, rose in point. […] A search conducted at the foot revealed he ended irregular peak at 1.25 m below the soil surface, and that no object was confined there. It is remarkable only by its direction parallel to the valley and by a shallow opening in the form of a parallelogram which is observed at its summit. The locals confirm what historians think in view of this niche, she had to house a statuette of a Christian saint thus preserving the megalith of destruction.

The continuation of the excavation works of the road is a surprise to the workers when they dig under a huge block of limestone and release many human bones. When they announce their discovery a few days later, additional excavations are undertaken to clear the part of the tomb that was not destroyed by the diggers. They reveal a circular structure about 4.50 m in diameter and composed of three superimposed levels of 0.40 m high each. On each level, skeletons were found: “Each of the body, whose head was resting on a flat stone placed against the circular stone, had his feet in the circle; their arms were lying near the body that filled the cavity. Rubble assembled without masonry separated the corpses between them. Stones 0.15 m thick ensured separation between the intermediate levels. A limestone pavement composed the soil of the tomb. The last level was covered with a sort of rubble vault, itself covered with the enormous block of limestone whose dimensions were, however, smaller than those of the tomb. It had a height of 1.65 m between the ground and the stone that covered it. Only three skeletons are found intact but the meticulous examination of their remains reveals no metal objects. Only a shapeless fragment of a coarse earthen vase and a hatchet species are found.5

This discovery revives interest in the menhir. Its proximity to such a burial could indeed suggest a link between the two.

The construction in 1865 of the railway line connecting Louviers to the line of Rouen endangers the menhir since it is on the route. But the mobilization of the members of the French Society of Archeology is paying off. They rallied the mayor of Louviers André Prétavoine to their cause with the support of his first deputy, Marcel, who had supervised the excavations of the Neolithic tomb. While the road construction works are being completed, the menhir is still in place, “supported by props in the middle of the chalky roadway under construction”. The proceedings with the prefect are successful because he asks for a credit of 400 francs from the General Council of Eure6. Louviers City Council agrees to complete the sum necessary for the translation of the megalith and in the first days of May 1866, the operation is performed by the contractor Huvey, already responsible for the restoration of the Church of Our Lady Louviers7.

“A foreman, 3 workers and 20 labourers worked on it. After digging up, the heavy mass pulled by winches was dragged along a wooden path. The operation was not made smoothly since the block was accidentally broken into two almost equal (one can still follow, one meter from the ground, the irregular trace of the fracture). Finally, the menhir was placed on a bed of limestone and a layer of concrete, in the middle of a field of land offered to the department by the owner of Crémonville-Basse, Mme de Lux. The cost of the transfer, 3 times higher than had been expected, amounted to 1,803 gold francs at the time. The department found this expense so heavy that it renounced to surround the stone with a wall with an inscription, as it had been intended; we contented ourselves with a little hedge of thorns. ”

The megalith occupies the place where was buried the Neolithic burial. It is now classified as historical monuments by decree of June 27, 19272.

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