Passage grave

Passage grave

s are usually used in construction.

Passage tombs of the cairn type often have elaborate corbelled roofs rather than simple slabs and sometimes a kerb surrounds the barrow or cairn. Megalithic art has been identified carved into the stones at some sites. The passage itself, in a number of notable instances, is aligned in such a way that the sun shines into the passage at a significant point in the year, for example at sunrise on the winter solstice or at sunset on the equinox.

The term passage tomb (at least in English) appears to have been coined by Irish archaeologists Sean O'Nuallain and Rúaidhri De Valera in the 1960s. They nominated 4 categories of megalithic tombs, (the other categories were court tombs, portal dolmens and wedge tombs) but passage tombs were the only ones which appeared to have a wide distribution through Europe. The writers were probably using the Spanish term "tumbas de corridor" which is used for tombs in Cantabria, Galicia and the Basque Country.

Passage graves are distributed extensively along the Atlantic façade of Europe. They are found in Scandinavia, northern Germany and the Drenthe area of the Netherlands. They are found in Iberia and in some parts of the Mediterranean, as well as along the northern coast of Africa. The earliest passage tombs seem to take the form of small dolmens or stone constructions. In Britain and Ireland passage tombs are often found in large clusters, giving rise to the term passage tomb cemeteries. Many later passage tombs were constructed at the tops of hills or mountains, indicating that their builders intended them to be seen from a great distance.

Examples of Passage Graves

* Avielochan, Clava cairn and Maeshowe in Scotland
* Bryn Celli Ddu, Wales
* The Gavrinis tomb complex, France
* Carnac Britany, France
* Los Millares necropolis, Spain
* Brú na Bóinne (or Newgrange), Loughcrew, Carrowkeel and Carrowmore in Ireland
* Rævehøj, Denmark
* La Hougue Bie, Jersey
* Cairn Hill, Corneddan, Longford, Ireland

External links

* [ Pretanic World - Chart of Neolithic, Bronze Age and Celtic Stone Structures]
* [ Newgrange Passage Grave]
*Bremore Passage Tomb cemetery, Co. Dublin [,null,228]


De Valera, Ruaidhri, & O Nuallain. Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland. Dublin: Stationery Office

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