|English pages||Megaliths: General information|
|General info > Appearance - Age - Function - Civilization - Funnel Beaker|
Megalithic monuments of different models and age are existing in Western
Europe, North-Africa, the Middle-East,
India, Japan en America (N&Z).
Megalith = 'big stone' (Greek).
Standing stones, also called "menhirs", are up-standing stones witch
are mostly slightly shaped by human.
Many standing stones are solitaire monuments, but they also exist in rows (alignment) like in Carnac and Kerzhero (Bretagne, France).
Some standing stones are colossal.
Some standing stones are Christianised. A cross once was carved in the stone or a metal cross was put on top...
Not all standing stones are real megaliths. Some are natural rock formations, other are more recent.
In many sites the standing stones are set in a circular shape, sometimes surrounded by a ditch. The biggest stone circle is situated in Avebury (G.B.). Stone circles are also called "cromlechs". The term "cromleg" is also used for incomplete circles, elliptic- and rectangular shapes.
Dolmen, Passage tomb etc.
The variation in names can be very confusing...
Dolmen strictly seen have only one capstone, also called portal tomb. Possible this kind of monuments never was covered by a mound. Constructions whit several capstones, like "passage tombs", are also often called "dolmen".
The name "dolmen" or "stone table" is formed by the Breton words "dol" (table) and "men" (stone).
Passage tombs or passage graves,
in French allée
are names used for tombs consisting a passage made of many side stones
supporting several capstones.
A ring of kerbstones often encircles the mound.
Court tombs are an Irish variant whit an enclosed "court" in front.
Passage tombs covered whit a mound of sand are also called tumulus.
A long barrow is a long grave
Hunebedden are a variation on passage tombs existing in the Netherlands and Germany. The entrance is situated on one of the sides, not in front.
"Henge" mains "hanging stone", called after the famous example in Stonehenge (G.B.). The stone construction in Stonehenge is set inside a circular ditch. Other monuments consisting a circular ditch are also called henge, even if hey are stone less. (Example: "Durrington Walls" near Stonehenge.)