A passage grave (sometimes hyphenated) or passage tomb consists of a narrow passage made of large stones and one or multiple burial chambers covered in earth or stone. Megaliths are usually used in the construction of passage tombs, which usually date to the Neolithic. Those with more than one chamber may have multiple sub-chambers leading off from the main burial chamber. One common layout, the cruciform passage grave, is cross-shaped. Sometimes passage tombs are covered with a cairn, especially those dating to later times. Not all passage graves have had record of bodies being contained in them. One such example is Maeshowe.
Passage tombs of the cairn type often have elaborate corbelled roofs rather than simple slabs. 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.
In a 1961 survey of megalithic tombs in Ireland, Irish scholars Seán Ó Nualláin and Rúaidhrí de Valera describe four categories of megalithic tombs: court cairns, portal dolmens, wedge-shaped gallery graves, and passage tombs. This appears to be one of the first uses of the term passage tomb. It is likely that the writers borrowed from the Spanish term tumbas de corredor, which is used for tombs in Cantabria, Galicia and the Basque Country. Of their list, only passage tombs appear to have widespread distribution throughout Europe.
Passage graves are distributed extensively along the Atlantic façade of Europe. They are found in Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia, northern Germany and the Drenthe area of the Netherlands. They are also found in Iberia, some parts of the Mediterranean, and along the northern coast of Africa. The earliest passage tombs seem to take the form of small dolmens. In Ireland and Britain, 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.
... Townleyhall passage grave is an Irish chamber tomb around 2 km north of Dowth tomb and part of the megalithic complex of Brú na Bóinne in County Louth ... due to the death of a senior member, and turned into a passage grave ... in the Boyne valley, the tomb consists of a single chamber that merges with the entrance passage making it an undifferentiated passage grave ...
... The southern one is a large passage grave, the highest surviving passage grave in Ireland ... The passage grave cairn is 30 m (97 ft) wide and 5 m (16 ft) high ...
... dolmen Corbelled tomb Chamber tumulus Gallery grave including Allées couvertes Court cairn Giants' grave Naveta the Peak District tomb group Severn-Cotswold or Cotswold-Se ... Mycenaean chamber tomb V-shaped passage grave Cruciform passage grave Clava cairn Other types Domus de Janas Dysser Medway tomb Shaft and chamber tomb Prehistoric technology ...
... Barclodiad y Gawres, Neolithic cruciform passage grave ... Bryn Celli Ddu, Bronze Age passage grave on the site of a Neolithic stone circle and henge ... Fairy Toot, oval barrow Julliberrie's Grave, unchambered earthen Neolithic long barrow ...
Famous quotes containing the words grave and/or passage:
The shut gate and the decomposing wall:
The gentle serpent, green in the mulberry bush,
Riots with his tongue through the hush
Sentinel of the grave who counts us all!”
—Allen Tate (18991979)
“For I choose that my remembrances of him should be pleasing, affecting, religious. I will love him as a glorified friend, after the free way of friendship, and not pay him a stiff sign of respect, as men do to those whom they fear. A passage read from his discourses, a moving provocation to works like his, any act or meeting which tends to awaken a pure thought, a flow of love, an original design of virtue, I call a worthy, a true commemoration.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)