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Court cairn

A tomb consisting of two sections
-A gallery (this would have originally been covered) and a courtyard


Describe the covered chamber in a court cairn

Divided by upright stones and sills orlintels creating doorways between spaces. Outside, a semi circular area created a formal entrance or ceremonial area. The cremated remains of the dead were placed inside the covered gallery


What was the open courtyard (court cairn) used for

Ceremonial purposes


What is a court cairn covered by

A mound of small stones called a cairn


Name an example of a court cairn

Creevykeel court tomb, Co Sligo


From what year is creevykeel court tomb from

4000-2500 BC


Why were dolmens identified as tombs

Because human remains from cremations and burials were found within them, along with stone age artefacts


How are dolmens constructed

Between three and seven stone legs supporting one or two large capstones.
The stones at the back of the tomb are generally lower than those at the front. Some archaeologists believe that this suggests the capstones may have been dragged up an earthen ramp to rest on the uprights.
A second stone which lies on the ground at the rear of the monument was likely a second capstone which would have fitted under the main capstone and covered the back of the structure.

The tomb was built on a limestone pavement and surrounded by a low mound of rocks. This mound of rocks would have added support to the upright stones, which are otherwise only supported by the weight of the capstone.


Why are dolmens also known as portal dolmens

Because the entrance can look like a doorway


Where can examples of dolmens be found

Poulnabourne in the Burren Co Clare


Describe the limestone flagstones

They were used to build the monument and would have been exctracted from the surrounding limestone pavement


What did excavations reveal

In the 1980s, they revealed the remains of 21 people in the tomb chamber