The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Chamber tomb

A chamber tomb is a place for burial used in many different cultures. In the case of individual burials, the chamber is thought to signify a higher status for the internee than a simple grave. Built from stone 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 the placemnet of multiple burials. There are numerous terms for them depending on the period, design and region in question. Most were built from large stones or megaliths and covered by cairns or barrows but the term is also applied to tombs cut directly into rock and wooden-chambered tombs covered with earth barrows. Grave goods are a common characteristic of chamber tomb burials.

In northern Europe they are known by the generic term of megalithic tombs. They 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.

Some types and examples are:

General terms:

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