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Encyclopedia > Chambered cairn

A chambered cairn is a burial monument, usually constructed during the Neolithic, consisting of a cairn of stones inside which a sizeable (usually stone) chamber was constructed. Some chambered cairns are also passage-graves. The Neolithic, (Greek neos=new, lithos=stone, or New Stone Age) was a period in the development of human technology that is traditionally the last part of the Stone Age. ... A cairn to mark the way along a glacier A cairn is a manmade pile of stones. ... A passage tomb near the town of Sligo in Ireland A Passage grave (sometimes hyphenated) or Passage tomb is a tomb, usually dating to the Neolithic, where the burial chamber is reached along a distinct, and usually low, passage. ...


Typically, the chamber is larger than a cist, and will contain a larger number of interments, which are either excarnated bones or inhumations (cremations). Most were situated near a settlement, and served as that community's "graveyard". A cist (pronounced kissed) is a small stone-built coffin-like box used to hold the bodies of the dead (notably during the Bronze Age in Britain). ... In archaeology and anthropology the term excarnation refers to the burial practice adopted by some societies of removing the flesh of the dead, leaving only the bones. ...


Chambered cairns in Scotland

Scotland has a particularly large number of chambered cairns, many of radically different type. Because of the lack of other remains (the only other significant remains we have are Hut circles and field systems), they are perhaps the most important clue we have to what civilisation in Scotland was like in the Neolithic. Here is a short description of each type as the classification currently stands: Royal motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within the UK Languages with Official Status1 English Scottish Gaelic Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area - Total - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ...


The Clyde-Carlingford group are to be found in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. On the Scottish side, they are mainly found in Argyll and Dumfries and Galloway, both in the south-west of the country (a small outlying group can be found near Perth). They are not passage-graves since they lack any significant passage and are properly termed gallery graves. The burial chamber (although usually blocked after use) is of very basic design and is normally located at one end of the cairn. As a result, it could be immediately accessed from the outside. An open, semi-circular forecourt at the entrance gives them their alternate name of Court cairns. They are generally considered to be the earliest in Scotland, dating from 4000 BC and were probably brought to Scotland from Ireland. Royal motto: Quis separabit (Latin: Who will separate?) Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685,267 122/km² NUTS 1... Argyll (Earra-Ghaidheal in Gaelic), sometimes called Argyllshire, is one of the traditional counties of Scotland. ... Dumfries and Galloway (Dùn Phris agus Gall-Ghaidhealaibh in Gaelic) is one of 32 unitary council areas in Scotland. ... Perths location in Scotland Perth (Scottish Gaelic: Peairt), otherwise known as The Fair City, is situated on the banks of the River Tay, in the Scottish Lowlands. ... A Gallery grave, also known as an Allée couverte tomb is a form of Megalithic chamber tomb where there is no divide between the burial chamber itself and the entrance passage. ... The Court cairn is a variety of megalithic chamber tomb found in south west Scotland and central and northern Ireland. ... (5th millennium BC – 4th millennium BC – 3rd millennium BC - other millennia) Events City of Ur in Mesopotamia (40th century BC). ...


Sharing some features with the Clyde-Carlingford group is the Hebridean group. As their name suggests they are normally found in the Hebrides, and have a crude polygonal chamber and a very short passage to one end of the cairn. The Hebrides comprise a wide-spread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, and in geological terms are composed of the oldest rocks in the British Isles and Ireland. ...


The Orkney-Cromarty group is by far the largest and most diverse. It has been subdivided into Yarrows, Camster and Cromarty subtypes but the differences are extremely subtle. In general, they all have dividing slabs at either side of a rectangular chamber, separating it into compartments. The number of these compartments ranges from 4 in the earliest examples to over 24 in an extreme example on Orkney. The actual shape of the cairn varies from simple circular designs to elaborate 'forecourts' protruding from each end, creating what look like small Amphitheatres. It is likely that these are the result of cultural influences from mainland Europe, as they are similar to designs found in France and Spain. The Orkney Islands are one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, and form a traditional county and Lieutenancy area. ... The name amphitheatre (alternatively amphitheater) is given to a public building of the Classical period (being particularly associated with ancient Rome) which was used for spectator sports, games and displays. ... World map showing location of Europe When considered a continent, Europe is the worlds second smallest continent in terms of area, with an area of 10,600,000 km² (4,140,625 square miles), making it larger than Australia only. ...


The Bookan type is thought to be the earliest to be found on Orkney. Because of Orkney's archaeological richness, Bookan type tombs are very hard to find. They are extremely unusual, some being double-deckered! They all seem to have features which suggest some early stage in the development of Maes Howe type tombs. The Orkney Islands are one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, and form a traditional county and Lieutenancy area. ...


The Maes Howe group, named after the famous monument on Orkney, is among the most elaborate. Like their counterparts on Shetland, they are unlike anything else in Scotland, so it is possible these were the result of local development, or influences from Scandinavia. They consist of a central chamber from which lead small compartments, into which burials would be placed. Maes Howe is a Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave situated on Mainland Orkney (off northern Scotland). ... Shetland Islands The Shetland Islands (also sometimes spelled Zetland or Hjaltland) are one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, and also form a traditional county and Lieutenancy area. ... Scandinavia, Fennoscandia, and the Kola Peninsula. ...


A final category is the Shetland group, of which little is known. On plan, they do look similar to the Maes Howe group although the whole chamber is cross-shaped and there are no small compartments.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Corrimony Chambered Cairn (170 words)
The passage grave of Corrimory in Glen Urquart, consists of a circular mound of river pebbles enclosed by an outer kerb, and a ring of 11 standing stones.
) are used as a standard for cairns of this period and region.
The passage and chamber are aligned on a Southwestern axis, probably with some relevance to the Midwinter sunset, as with the cairns at Clava.
Chambered cairn - definition of Chambered cairn in Encyclopedia (588 words)
A chambered cairn is a burial monument, usually constructed during the Neolithic, consisting of a cairn of stones inside which a sizeable (usually stone) chamber was constructured.
Typically, the chamber is larger than a cist, and will contain a larger number of internments, which are either excarnated bones or inhumations (cremations).
As their name suggests they are normally found in the Hebrides, and have a crude polygonal chamber and a very short passage to one end of the cairn.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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