views updated Jun 11 2018

megalith (lit. huge stone) Prehistoric stone monument. Historians usually apply the term to the gigantic slabs that form stone circles, half circles and rows in n Europe. These constructions date from the Neolithic and early Bronze Age. One of the best-known and complex examples is Stonehenge (c.2100–2000 bc). Megaliths existed long before the first stone buildings of Mycenean Crete. See also dolmen; menhir


views updated Jun 27 2018

megalith. Large block of undressed or partially dressed stone used singly or with other megaliths as prehistoric monuments in c.4000–c.1000 BC. A single standing-stone is a menhir, sometimes arranged in regular rows (as at Carnac, Brittany). Megaliths are also found set in a circle, as at Stonehenge, Wilts. (c.1800 BC), with lintels forming a continuous band around the tops. Structures formed of uprights supporting a large flat slab were usually chamber-tombs, known as cromlechs or dolmens.


Burl (1976, 1995);
G. Daniel (1972);
Joussaume (1988);
Mohen (1989);
Reden (1982);
Rudofsky (1977);
Teichmann (1983)


views updated May 17 2018

meg·a·lith / ˈmegəˌli[unvoicedth]/ • n. Archaeol. a large stone that forms a prehistoric monument (e.g., a menhir) or part of one (e.g., a stone circle or chamber tomb).


views updated May 18 2018

megalith a large stone that forms a prehistoric monument (e.g. a standing stone) or part of one (e.g. a stone circle or chambered tomb).