MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
             OF IRELAND.COM
GLOSSARY II ( M-Z )
S
Solstices occur twice a year,when the tilt of the earth's axis is most oriented
toward or away from the Sun,causing the Sun to reach its northern most
and southern most extremes.These occur around June 20th (summer solstice)
and December 22nd (winter solstice).
M
A Megalith is a large stone which has been used to construct a structure or
monument,either alone or together with other stones. The word Megalith          
comes from the ancient Greek, megas meaning great and lithos meaning stone.
Megalithic means structures made of such large stones,utilizing an interlocking
system without the use of mortar or cement.
A Menhir is another name for a standing stone.It is a combination of two
words from the Breton Language---
Men (stone) and hir (long).
The Mesolithic period (8,000 BC- 4,500 BC) also known as the Middle Stone
Age,is what historians refer to as the second of the three periods of the Stone
age. At this time homo-sapiens survived by a nomadic hunter-gatherer life
style with no permanent settlements.
N
The Neolithic period (4,500 BC-2,500 BC),also known as the New Stone Age,
is what historians refer to as the last of the three periods of the Stone age. It
is when homo-sapiens began to cultivate the land and give up their hunter-
gathering life style. It also marks the period when construction of enormous
tombs began.
O
Ogham is sometimes referred to as "The Celtic Tree-Alphabet".It was the
name given to the scribing of the Old Gaelic language and was used on
standing stones. It could also be found later scribed on a few tombs and
recumbent stones. It is believed to date from around 400 AD but may be
a lot earlier.
P
The term Paleolithic refers to a prehistoric era distinguished by the development of      
the first stone tools. It covers the greatest portion of humanity's time (around 99% of   
human history ),on Earth,extending from 2.5 million years BC to the Mesolithic           
period,8,000 BC. It is sub-divided into Lower,Middle and Upper Paleolithic.
Portal stones are a pair of matched upright stones that form the doorway
and also support the capstone at the front of a portal tomb. They are
usually taller the other uprights.
R
A Rath is a fortified ring-fort settlement built of earth or stone and are
generally deemed to be from the Iron Age.They are also known as Caiseal,
Cathair and Dun.
A Recumbent stone in the case of a circle,is when the stone is wider than it
is taller. When describing a standing stone,its when the stone has fallen.
Runic was used to write various Germanic languages and their Scandinavian
variants. The earliest Runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD and was
generally replaced by Latin along with christianization around 700 AD in
central Europe and by 1100 AD in Scandinavia. The origins of Runic are
uncertain but many characters bear a close resemblance to Latin.
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric time period during which humans
widely used stone for toolmaking.It spans a vast time period,2.5 million
years BC-2,500 BC.As such it is sub-divided into Paleolithic,Mesolithic
and Neolithic and these three periods are further sub-divided.
T
A Tumulus is a mound of earth and stone raised over a grave or graves.Also
known as Barrows or Burial Mounds.A Tumulus ( plural: Tumuli ) composed
largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn.
V
W
A Viking Log-Back burial is a type of tomb used by the Scandinavain and
Germanic peoples from around 500 AD- 900 AD.They can be decorated with
either Runic or Christian script or in some cases both.
A Wedge tomb can generally be defined as wider and taller at one end and
so are wedge shaped in plan and profile.
An Orthostat is a large upright stone used to form the walls of
megalithic tombs.
An Outlier is a standing stone positioned outside a stone circle usually for a
compass point or astronomical alignment.
A Passage tomb is a type of tomb where by the burial chamber is reached
by way of a long passage from the entrance to the tomb.
The De Profundis is one of seven Penitential Pslams that from earliest times has
been recited when the dead are being remembered.
A Souterrain is an underground structure consisting of one or more chambers,
connected by narrow passageways or creepways, usually constructed of dry-stone
walling with a lintelled roof over the passages and a corbelled roof over the
chambers .Most souterrains appear to have been built in the early medieval period by
ringfort inhabitants (500-1000 AD) as a defensive feature and/or for storage.
A Motte is an artificial,steep-sided,earthen mound on or in which is set the
principal tower of a castle.They were constructed by the Anglo-Normans in
the late 12th and early 13th century AD.
A Sun Dial is a structure used to show the time of day by means of the sun shining
on a "gnomon",the shadow of which falls on the surface of the dial,which is marked
with a diagram showing the hours. Can be freestanding, usually on a pillar, or fixed
to a building.These date from the medieval period ( 5th - 16th centuries ) AD.
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