Glossary Of Archaeological Terms


Backstone – (megalithic tombs) a stone forming the end of a chamber or gallery


Barrow -  An earthen constructed circular burial site


Bronze Age – Period from around 2400 to 600 BC


Bullaun – A round hollowed- out basin in the surface of a stone


Capstone – (megalithic tombs) A large horizontal roofing slab


Cairn – A pile of stones (usually large in size) covering a burial


Causeway – A raised path across a Fosse (ditch) used in association with enclosures


Cist – A Bronze Age single burial grave lined with stone slabs


Conglomerate - A rock that has pieces of other rocks cemented together to form one larger chunk.


Court - (megalithic tombs) An enclosed space of the galleries of Court Tombs


Cupmark – A simple rock carving consisting of a circular cup shaped pit


Dolmen – Large stones forming a burial chamber, also known as Portal Tomb


Fosse – A ditch or moat surrounding a defended enclosed area


Fulacht Fiadh - A Prehistoric cooking site


Gallery - A compartment in a Megalithic tomb in which burials were deposited


Henge - Circular or oval eathen area surrounded by a ditch


Inhumation - Burial of unburnt human remains


Iron Age – Period from around 600 BC to AD400


Kerb – A low retaining wall


Lintel – A horizontal stone spanning an opening or passage


Mesolithic - (Middle Stone Age) period from around 7000 - 4000 BC


Midden - A cooking site/refuse dump containing shells, animal bones and other refuse


Monolith – a single Standing Stone


Neolithic – (New Stone Age) – period from around 4000 to 2400 BC


Ogham – Early form of Irish language found inscribed in stones


Orthostat – (megalithic tombs) A large upright support stone


Outlier – A detached portion/stone of a structure


Passage Tomb – A megalithic burial structure with a passage way leading to a chamber


Portal Stones - (megalithic tombs) Jamstones forming the entrance to a Portal Tomb


Promontory Fort - Fortification of landward side of naturally defensive sea promontory


Pygmy Cup - Miniature vessels found at Early Bronze Age burial sites


SouterrainFrom French 'sous terrain' – an artificially constructed underground passage


Tumulus – A prehistoric mound or barrow


Wedge Tomb – Wedge shaped burial tomb



















Ballyquin Portal Tomb

A delightfully situated monument

Read about Here


Tallest Stone


Waterford's  tallest standing stone is  located 5 km from Tramore. The impressive stone measures 3.7m in height. See it  Here


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The White Lady, Ballymacaw



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 Website last updated 

14 July 2018



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