(from the Mega. and Greek líthos stone) – buildings made of large blocks of wild or roughly processed stone. These include Dolmens, Menhirs, Cromlechs, Stone boxes, covered galleries. M. widespread throughout the world except Australia, mainly in coastal areas. M. in Europe mostly date from the Eneolithic and bronze age (3-2 Millennium BC), with the exception of England, where M belong to the Neolithic period. The appointment of M. it is not always possible to install. Mostly they were used for burials or were connected with funerary cult. Apparently, M. community structure. Their construction was primitive technology huge challenge and required combining large masses of people.
Menhir (Bretons. menhir, men — stone and hir — long) simplest type of megalithic structures (consisting of a single block of stone, dug into the ground. M reach the height of 4-5 m or more (the largest M height 20 m weighs about 300 tons, is in France). Sometimes M. are long alleys or arranged in a ring. Apparently, M. had a religious significance. Most Meters in North-Western Europe, are also found in Asia and Africa. On the territory of the USSR, disseminated in some regions of Siberia and the Caucasus.
Dolmen (Franz. dolmen from Breton tol table and men — stone) of the ancient burial structure, one of the types of megalithic structures. D. composed of huge boulders and slabs of up to several dozen thousand kg, is placed vertically and covered by one or more plates on top. D. — one of the first types of holistic architectural composition, based on the laws of architectonics. D. usually contain the remains of several dead with stone or bronze tools and ornaments. Some were used for burials for tens or even hundreds of years. Assume that D. were built for the burial of tribal elders; according to another hypothesis, they originally served as the ancestral shrines and only later were turned into places of burials. D. common in the coastal areas of Europe, North Africa and Asia; in the USSR known on the black sea coast of Caucasus and in Crimea. In Europe and North Africa Etc belong to the bronze age, in India and Japan — to the iron age; in the Caucasus were built in the early and middle bronze age (3-2-nd century BC), and some were used even in the 1st Millennium BC
The cromlech (from crom Breton circle and lech, a stone) is one of the types of megalithic structures of the time of Neolithic and mainly to the bronze age. Usually consists of huge (up to 6-7 m tall), single standing stones, form one or more concentric circles. They surround the platform in the middle of which is a Dolmen or a Menhir. K. show that their creators have mastered the principles of composition, rhythm and scale, the tectonics of post and beam construction. During the excavations of K. found inside burials, polished stone axes, ceramics stucco, stone grinders. K. found in Asia and America but are especially numerous in Europe (France, UK, Scandinavia), in the territory of the USSR — in Transcaucasia. Especially known, Stonehenge and Avebury in Britain and Carnac in France. Appointment To the controversial. Most likely, it is a ritual structures for burials and for religious ceremonies. One theory is, because it’s connected with sun worship and were temples of the sun.
The Cromlech Of Stonehenge. UK.
Stone boxes of the burial structure of rectangular shape made of stone slabs, set on edge, and multiple cover plates. Were widespread during the bronze age, linked to different archaeological cultures. Used for individual and group burials. Sometimes I over. they built the mounds. In the USSR the tradition of burials in K. I. traced in almost all the regions of the Caucasus (the North Caucasus until the 19th century), as well as in the Crimea, where the most characteristic of the Taurians. K. I. Tauri (2nd half of the 1st Millennium BC) contain collective burials in crouched position; was found in burials of the bronze jewelry and beads.
The mysterious and unknown always attracts people. Interest in megalithic architecture (from the Greek. megas – large and lithos – stone), in one form or another, has always existed. In our time this theme has generated an unprecedented number of conjectures and speculations, especially in our country. The spectrum of opinions is extremely broad: the megaliths called druid altars, attributed to them the construction of the aliens, and recently, surfing the Net, I came across a long discussion one citizen (I won’t mention his name, maybe he sincerely believes in what he says) that the megalithic monuments were not built by aliens, they, of course, was built by the giants – they once lived on Earth.
Even the bottom of the most prolonged, widespread and persistent misconceptions is in attributing the construction of the megaliths to the Celts. The appearance of stone giants and Celtic civilizations share at least 20 centuries. As an example, the same Brittany – the Golden age megalithic amerikanskoi industry accounts for 4500-2500 BC first penetration into this area of the Celtic tribes accounted for 430 – 450 years B. C. It is a historical misconception is obliged, in many respects, celtomania of the last century. Regional scholars then use megaliths to celebrate the Brittany as a country possessing all the advantages of antiquity, inhabited before large, strong, enterprising people, not unimaginative. Romantic travelers standing stones erected in a rank of the altar, saved from romanization, weakening, thus, the grip of classical culture that prevents flight of fancy. Images of the druids, pouring human blood on the altars, dolmens abound in many works of the time. At first, the authors are careful to back up their approval by the research on the ground.
MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS IN BRITTANY
Brittany is, of course, the country of the megaliths. It is from the words of the Breton language, in the end of XVII century and were written the names of the main types of megalithic monuments (dolmen:. daol – table, men – stone; menhir: men – stone, hir – long; cromlech: khomm – rounded, lec’h – space). In Brittany the megalithic era of construction began about 5,000 BC and was completed around 2,500 BC the megalith Builders were not the indigenous population Armorica. They came from the shores of the Mediterranean, gradually moving to the North-West from the southern and Western shores of the Iberian Peninsula, the densely populated first coast of Morbihan, between the rivers Vilaine and Ethel, and then other lands in the present Brittany, up into the Peninsula along the rivers and along the coast.
The dolmens usually consist of “boxes” composed of stone slabs to be joined, sometimes, a long or a short gallery. They were a collective burial chambers, as evidenced by the remains of bones and votive treasures (ceramics, jewelry, axes of polished stone). Dolmens could be as detached structures, and to enter into the composition of more complex designs. Consider some of them.