dolmen

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dolmen

(dŏl`mĕn, dōl–) [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 monumentsmegalithic monument
[Gr.,=large stone], in archaeology, a construction involving one or several roughly hewn stone slabs of great size; it is usually of prehistoric antiquity.
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Dolmen

Several large stones capped with a covering slab, as those erected in prehistoric times.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dolmen

 

an ancient burial structure, one of the types of megalithic structures. Dolmens were built from huge stone slabs weighing tens of thousands of kilograms placed vertically and supporting one or several flat slabs. They were one of the first examples of integral architectural composition based on the laws of architectonics. Dolmens usually contained the remains of several dead with stone or bronze weapons and ornaments. Some dolmens were used for burials over a few decades or even centuries. It is assumed that they were originally constructed for the burial of tribal elders. According to another hypothesis, they initially served as tribal sanctuaries and only later were converted into burial places. Dolmens are widespread in the coastal regions of Europe, North Africa, and Asia. In the USSR they are found along the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus and in the Crimea. In Europe and North Africa dolmens date from the Bronze Age; in India and Japan, from the Iron Age; and in the Caucasus, from the Early and Middle Bronze Age (the second and third millennia B.C.), with some built as late as the first millennium B.C.

REFERENCES

Kuftin, B. A. MaterialykarkheologiiKolkhidy, vol. 1. Tbilisi, 1949. Lavrov, L. I. “Dol’meny severo-zapadnogo Kavkaza.” In Tr. Aokhazkogo instituta iazyka, literatury i istorii, vol. 31. Sukhumi, 1960.
Childe, V. G. U istokov evropeiskoi tsivilizatsii. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from English.)
Vseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1944. Pages 24-25.

A. L. MONGAIT

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

dolmen, table stone

A prehistoric tomb of standing stones, usually capped with a large horizontal slab.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dolmen

1. (in British archaeology) a Neolithic stone formation, consisting of a horizontal stone supported by several vertical stones, and thought to be a tomb
2. (in French archaeology) any megalithic tomb
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005