Ancient Corsica Tour
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How to get lost in the maquis

In 1839, Prosper Mérimée came to Corsica as Inspecteur des Monuments historiques en France. After one year of work, he published Notes d'un voyage en Corse, describing for the first time some of the most interesting prehistoric monuments of the island. Since then, very little has changed in Corsica. In the Sixties, the archaeologist Roger Grosjean began a series of excavation and a systematic survey, but the vast majority of prehistoric sites remains very hard to find. Even locals tend to be highly suspicious (or they simply don't know anything about prehistoric monuments on their land) and only a few, selected Corsican are of great help locating these ancient sites.

We have spent many, many hours walking in the maquis (brushwood), looking for dolmens and standing stones, following hunters paths, cursing the maps that don't plot the exact position of sites - many having been discovered only in very recent times - and drinking litres of lukewarm water (essential: bring a canteen with you if you are planning a visit to Corsica in summer, as water sources are scarce). Here is a list of sites we have missed:

  • Arghjola dolmen
    Locals have never heard about it, it is not plotted on maps
  • Bizzicu Rossu dolmen
    Locals - even the archaeological museum curator - have never heard about it, it is not plotted on maps
  • Casa di l'Urca dolmen
    Too exhausted after a 3-hour uphill walk to find the Casa di l'Urcu dolmen
  • L'Inzecca statue-menhir
    It is kept locked on the cellar of Aleria museum. It is not possible to see it; local museum representatives told us "maybe next year..."
  • Paomia dolmen
    Locals have never heard about it, it is not plotted on maps
  • Pogghjaredda dolmen
    Archaeologist François de Lanfranchi devoted 59 pages of his latest book Le secret des Mégalithes to this site, but he didn't give any direction on how to find it; locals said "there were just rocks" and they don't know the exact spot...
  • Tola di u Turmentu dolmen
    Locals said "It's under the top of that mountain, you can see it from here". After about 2 hours of frantic search we gave up, only to discover - the following morning with a new and more detailed map - that we had passed about 20m from the dolmen without seeing it
  • U zitellu statue-menhir
    Locals have never heard about it; it is not plotted on maps

And here is a short guide (please don't take it seriously) on how to get lost in the maquis looking for megaliths:

Paola & Diego - Can you please tell us how can we get to the dolmen (menhir, ancient monument)?

Local - You should ask to:
  1. the hunters
  2. the mayor
  3. the priest
  4. the professor

Paola & Diego - Where are the hunters?

Local - They are:

  1. Sleeping because they spent all night hunting
  2. Still away, because they went hunting at 4:00 AM

Paola & Diego - Where is the mayor?

Local - He is:

  1. Sleeping because it's siesta time
  2. In Ajaccio, because he's working there and he comes here only on weekends

Paola & Diego - Where is the priest?

Local - He is:

  1. Not here, we don't even have a church
  2. Away, because he manages other ten parishes too

Paola & Diego - Where is the professor?

Local - He:

  1. Went to the seaside
  2. Is dead


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