Court cairn

The court cairn or tomb is a megalithic type of chamber tomb and gallery grave, specifically a variant of the chambered cairn, found in western and northern Ireland, and in mostly southwest Scotland (where it may also be called a horned cairn or Clyde-Carlingford tomb), around 4000–3500 BCE, but many remained in use until as late as the Bronze Age transition, c. 2200 BCE. They are generally considered to be the earliest chambered cairn tombs in Scotland, and their construction technique was probably brought from Scotland to Ireland.[1] In Scotland, they are most common in what today are Argyll and Dumfries and Galloway (where they form the Clyde-Carlingford group), though a small outlying group have been found near Perth.

Megawal15
Various forms of court tombs. The form of the Behy court tomb is pictured top left (Hof=court, kammern=chamber).
Teergonean court cairn
The remains of the chamber of Teergonean court cairn

Form and purposes

Court tombs are rectangular burial chambers. They are distinguished by their roofless, oval forecourt at the entrance. Large slabs of rock were used to make the walls and roof of the very basic burial chamber, normally located at one end of the cairn, which although usually blocked after use could be immediately accessed from the outside courtyard. They are gallery graves rather than passage graves, since they lack any significant passage.

They usually had two functions: the chamber to serve as a tomb, and the courtyard to accommodate a ritual. Objects were often buried with the deceased, as the first neolithic people of this time believed in life after death.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Volume 58 Ulster Archaeological Society Ulster Archaeological Society, 1999
  • Twohig, Elizabeth Shee, 2004, Irish Megalithic Tombs, Shire Archaeology 63, ISBN 0-7478-0598-9.
Aghaderrard Court Tomb

Aghaderrard Court Tomb is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Leitrim, Ireland.

Audleystown Court Cairn

Audleystown Court Cairn is a dual court grave situated near the south shore of Strangford Lough, north-west of Castle Ward, 1.75 miles from Strangford village in County Down, Northern Ireland, at grid ref: 562 504). It contained human and animal remains, as well as pottery and flint implements.

Ballyalton Court Cairn

Ballyalton Court Cairn is a single court grave situated on a rock outcrop by the roadside 0.5 miles from Ballyalton village, which is 2.25 miles east of Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, at grid ref 531 448. The tomb contained human bones, flint implements and pottery now known as Ballyalton bowls.

Cairnbaine

Cairnbaine, also called Tiredigan Court Tomb, is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Monaghan, Ireland.

Carbad More

Carbad More is a double court cairn and National Monument located in County Mayo, Ireland.

Carrowreagh Court Tomb

Carrowreagh Court Tomb is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Sligo, Ireland.

Chamber tomb

A chamber tomb is a tomb for burial used in many different cultures. In the case of individual burials, the chamber is thought to signify a higher status for the interree than a simple grave. Built from rock or sometimes wood, the chambers could also serve as places for storage of the dead from one family or social group and were often used over long periods for multiple burials.

Most chamber tombs were constructed from large stones or megaliths and covered by cairns, barrows or earth. Some chamber tombs are rock-cut monuments or wooden-chambered tombs covered with earth barrows. Grave goods are a common characteristic of chamber tomb burials.

In Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe, stone-built examples of these burials are known by the generic term of megalithic tombs. Chamber tombs are often distinguished by the layout of their chambers and entrances or the shape and material of the structure that covered them, either an earth barrow or stone cairn. A wide variety of local types has been identified, and some designs appear to have influenced others.

Cloghanmore

Cloghanmore is a megalithic chamber tomb of the court tomb (or court cairn) type located about 8 km east from Carrick in Malin More, Glencolmcille, in County Donegal, Ireland.

Cranaghan

Cranaghan is a townland in the Parish of Tomregan, Barony of Loughtee Lower, County Cavan, Ireland.

Creevykeel Court Tomb

Creevykeel Court Tomb is one of the better examples of a court tomb in Ireland. The monument is located on the foothills of Tievebaun Mountain close to the sea near Mullaghmore in County Sligo.

Cummeen Court Cairn

Cummeen Court Cairn is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Sligo, Ireland.

Giants' grave

Giants' tomb (Italian: Tomba dei giganti, Sardinian: Tumba de zigantes / gigantis) is the name given by local people and archaeologists to a type of Sardinian megalithic gallery grave built during the Bronze Age by the Nuragic civilization. They were collective tombs and can be found throughout Sardinia, with 800 being discovered there.A stone cairn lies over the burial chambers, with some examples having a cup-shaped entrance similar to the court cairn tombs of Ireland.

Gortnaleck Court Tomb

Gortnaleck Court Tomb is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Sligo, Ireland.

Kilcashel Stone Fort

Kilcashel Stone Fort is a double court cairn and National Monument located in County Mayo, Ireland.

Killilagh

Killilagh or Killeilagh (Irish: Cill Aidhleach) is a civil parish in County Clare, Ireland. It contains the village of Doolin.

Magheraghanrush Court Tomb

Magheraghanrush Court Tomb is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Sligo, Ireland.

Moytirra East Court Tomb

Moytirra East Court Tomb, commonly called the Giant's Grave, is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Sligo, Ireland.

Rockmarshall Court Tomb

Rockmarshall Court Tomb is a court cairn and National Monument located on the Cooley Peninsula, Ireland.

Rosdoagh Stone Circle

Rosdoagh Stone Circle is a court cairn and National Monument located in County Mayo, Ireland.

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