Boulder burial

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Boulder Burial in the middle of the Kenmare stone circle in County Kerry in Ireland
Boulder Tomb in the Burren Townland in Cavan

In Irish archeology, a boulder burial (also called boulder tomb ) is a dolmen in which a massive capstone lies close to the ground on three or more much smaller bearing stones and, similar to the dolmen of the Fröböke type , one low, box-like cavity.


Plants of this type are mainly found in south-western Ireland . They are dated to the Bronze and Iron Ages. The capstone, which is mostly visible from afar, is a large rock or stone block up to 3.35 meters in length (Cappaghavuckee). The capstones are often rounded. Boulders are mostly used. In Ballycommane , Cooradarrigan and Cullomane the capstones are made of white quartz . The bearing stones are usually no higher than a meter and are usually buried deep in the ground. The bearing stones can also be made of quartz. No traces of the boulder burials being covered by mounds of earth or stone were found.

Research by the Ordnance Survey Ireland Archaeological Department in the 1970s identified 52 specimens of this type in Counties of Cork and Kerry . They are often in the middle of stone circles , such as the Dromagorteen Stone Circle and the Kenmare Stone Circle in County Kerry. It is unclear whether the stone circles were created at the same time as the boulder burials. Boulder burials are often located in notable locations such as Bawngare , Bohonagh , Dunmanus , Mill Little, and Reanacaheragh , all in County Cork.

Since remains of a cremation were sometimes found in the cavities under the capstones , such as in Bohonagh, or a chamber had been carved directly into the limestone below , as in the Boulder Burial in the Burren of Cavan, Seán O'Nualláin assumed that it was are grave sites. Excavations at Cooradarrigan and Ballycommane by William O'Brien in the 1980s, however, did not reveal any human remains. O'Brien dated the megalithic systems he was investigating to the Middle Bronze Age 3500 to 3000 years ago. It is noticeable that boulder burials were often found near old copper mines, e.g. B. a plant near the copper mines on Mount Gabriel .

See also


  • Seán ó Nualláin: Boulder-burials In: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol. 84C Dublin 1978 pp. 75-114

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Seán Ó Nualláin: Boulder Burials . Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C: Archeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature, 78, pp. 75-114, 1978
  2. William O'Brien: Iverni. A Prehistory of Cork. The Collins Press, 2012 ISBN 9781848891494

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