Dolmen

DEFINITION

Large stones aerial view of Stonehenge(megaliths) standing upright with a horizontal stone balanced upon them (post and lintel). Numerous such structures have survived from Stone Age France and England ? for example, at see thumbnail to right Stonehenge, c. 2,500-1,500 BCE, stone, 162 inches high, and located 330 feet above sea level on the chalk downland of Salisbury Plain, about 80 miles west of London near the town of Amesbury. About half of the original monument is missing, but enough remains to provide an idea of what it was once like. It was built in three phases. The first phase saw the digging of the "henge" that encloses the main area in about 2800 BCE, and the first arrangement of stones erected c. 2100 BCE. Once on site, a "sarsen stone" was prepared to accommodate stone lintels along its top surface. It was then dragged until the end was over the opening of the hole. Great levers were inserted under the stone and it was raised until gravity made it slide into the hole. At this point, Stonehengethe stone stood on about a 30? angle from the ground. Ropes were attached to the top and teams of men pulled from the other side to raise it into the full upright position. It was secured by filling the hole at its base with small, round packing stones. At this point, the lintels were lowered into place and secured vertically by mortice and tenon joints and horizontally by tongue and groove joints. It was begun by people of the late Neolithic period and completed by a Celtic people called Beaker Folk for their use of pottery drinking vessels, began to use metal implements and to live in a more communal fashion than their ancestors. The popular story has been that Stonehenge was built by the Druids, but they were Celts present during the much later time of Roman occupation.Other examples of dolmen:Celtic Ireland, Ravensdale, Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, The Proleek Dolmen. Three upright stones and a 46 ton capstone mark a 5000 year-old tomb. According to local folklore, the capstone was placed by a giant.

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