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cromlech(krŏm`lĕk) [Welsh or Breton,=crooked stone], term that has changed in meaning from its original equivalent to dolmendolmen
[Breton,=stone table], burial chamber consisting of two or more upright stone slabs supporting a capstone or table, typical of the Neolithic period in Europe. See megalithic monuments.
..... Click the link for more information. . It later came to be used for a single standing stone and now usually refers to a circle of such stones; however, the term is used in this sense for such remains on the Continent, e.g., Britanny and Portugal, rather than for those on the British Isles.
a type of megalithic structure of the Neolithic period and primarily the Bronze Age. Usually, a cromlech consists of huge (up to 6–7 m high) free-standing stones that form one circle or several concentric circles. The stones enclose an area sometimes containing a dolmen or menhir. Cromlechs reveal that their creators already possessed the fundamentals of composition, a feeling for rhythm and scale, and the tectonics of post-and-lintel construction. Excavations within cromlechs have yielded burials, polished stone axes, modeled pottery, and stone grain mortars.
Cromlechs are encountered in Asia and America, but they are particularly abundant in Europe (France, Great Britain) and the USSR (in Transcaucasia). The cromlechs of Stonehenge and Avebury in Great Britain and Carnac in France are particularly well known. Their purpose is debatable. Most likely, they were ritual structures for burials and for religious ceremonies. According to one theory, cromlechs were connected with the sun cult and were temples of the sun.
A. L. MONGAIT