megalith(redirected from Megaliths)
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a structure made of huge blocks of undressed or crudely dressed stone. Megaliths include dolmens, menhirs, cromlechs, cists, and covered galleries. They are found throughout the world, except Australia, primarily in coastal regions. In Europe, megaliths generally date from the Aeneolithic period and the Bronze Age (3,000-2,000 B.C.); those in England, however date from the Neolithic.
It is not always possible to establish the purpose of a particular megalith. For the most part, megaliths were used for burials or were linked with the burial cult. Evidently they were communal structures. Their erection constituted a very complex problem for primitive technology and required the combined efforts of numerous people.
REFERENCESArtsikhovskii, A. V. Vvedenie v arkheologiiu, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1947.
Niderle, L. Chelovechestvo v doistoricheskie vremena. St. Petersburg, 1898. (Translated from Czech.)
Obermaier, H. Doistoricheskii chelovek. St. Petersburg, 1913. (Translated from German.)